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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

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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

[Jan 17, 2019] The Kennedy Assassination plot overlord was Naval Intelligence.

Jan 17, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Red Ryder , Jan 17, 2019 3:15:46 PM | link

If you search the most nefarious and deadly covert operations, you will usually find Naval Intelligence deeply involved.

Bush-CIA was always a cover for Bush-Naval Intel.

The Kennedy Assassination plot overlord was Naval Intelligence.

The most pervasive war-mongering by the Hegemon is led by US Naval Intelligence.

See Bob Woodward's background, even Steve Bannon's CV.

The US Navy projects US hegemonic power and is decisive for Logistical transport of war efforts.

The most elite of SOF is Navy SEALS. SEALS are always sent on the most sensitive missions.

The Rumsfeld-Cebrowski doctrine followed this century to destroy the sovereignty of third world states is the masterplan of Cebrowski, an Admiral. Thierry Meyssan always refers to it as the strategic basis for the chaos in MENA and coming to Africa and Latin America.

From the USS Maine in Havana harbor, to Pearl Harbor, to Iran-Contra, to Iraq,Libya, Syria, the handprint is there.

[Jan 17, 2019] Yinon Plan, Israeli strategic plan to ensure regional superiority, stipulates that Israel must balkanize neighboring Arab states

Jan 17, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Chupacabra-322, 21 minutes ago link

The Zionist Plan for the Middle East, also known as the Yinon Plan, is an Israeli strategic plan to ensure Israeli regional superiority. It insists and stipulates that Israel must reconfigure its geo-political environment through the balkanization of the surrounding Arab states into smaller and weaker states.

The reach of a "Greater Israel", as described in the Yinon plan.

When viewed in the current context, the war on Iraq, the 2006 war on Lebanon, the 2011 war on Libya, the ongoing war on Syria, not to mention the process of regime change in Egypt, must be understood in relation to the Zionist Plan for the Middle East. The latter consists in weakening and eventually fracturing neighboring Arab states as part of an Israeli expansionist project.

"Greater Israel" consists in an area extending from the Nile Valley to the Euphrates.

Israeli strategists viewed Iraq as their biggest strategic challenge. This is why Iraq was outlined as the centerpiece to the balkanization of the Middle East and the Arab World. In Iraq, on the basis of the concepts of the Yinon Plan, Israeli strategists have called for the division of Iraq into a Kurdish state and two Arab states, one Shiite and the other Sunni.

The Atlantic, in 2008, and the U.S. military's Armed Forces Journal, in 2006, both published widely circulated maps that closely followed the outline of the Yinon Plan. Aside from a divided Iraq, the Yinon Plan calls for a divided Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria. The Yinon Plan also calls for color revolutions (Arab Spring) North Africa and forecasts it as starting from Egypt and then spilling over into Sudan, Libya, and the rest of the region.

"Greater Israel" requires the breaking up of the existing Arab states into small states. The plan operates on two essential premises. To survive, Israel must

  1. become an imperial regional power, and
  2. must effect the division of the whole area into small states by the dissolution of all existing Arab states.

Small here will depend on the ethnic or sectarian composition of each state. Consequently, the Zionist hope is that sectarian-based states become Israel's satellites and, ironically, its source of moral legitimation This is not a new idea, nor does it surface for the first time in Zionist strategic thinking. Indeed, fragmenting all Arab states into smaller units has been a recurrent theme.

Viewed in this context, the war on Syria is part of the process of Israeli territorial expansion. Israeli intelligence working hand in glove with the US, Turkey and NATO is directly supportive of the Al Qaeda terrorist mercenaries inside Syria.

The Zionist Project also requires the destabilization of Egypt, the creation of factional divisions within Egypt as instrumented by the "Arab Spring" leading to the formation of a sectarian based State dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood.

[Jan 17, 2019] The rise of National Socialism in Germany in the 30s had many causes and some surprising supporters

Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

RogerPalmer -> 5nufk1n4prez , 29 Nov 2018 07:30

True but incredibly naive.

The rise of National Socialism in Germany in the 30s had many causes and some surprising supporters.

Part of the problem was undeniably the crippling reparations for WWI forced on Germany by the victorious allies.

Part of the problem was communism strengthening in Russia and a growing communist threat in Germany.

Part of the problem was a desire by the entrenched elites to use the National Socialists as a counter to challenge the populism of the communism.

There are many contributing factors and the responsibility for the Nazis reaches far beyond the German border.

[Jan 17, 2019] What makes folks think that the Bush secret cabal has gone away?

Apparently papa Bush was a dirtbag.
Jan 17, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Pft , Jan 17, 2019 6:36:28 PM | link

psychohistorian , Jan 17, 2019 5:54:09 PM | link

What makes folks think that the Bush secret cabal has gone away?

I see a splintering or bankruptcy of many elite coming as part of the new order.....cull the herd...... If only the elite would take each other down in this event I would be pleased.....grin

Leave the rest of us to pick up the pieces and move on with life after our global private finance/God of Mammon world collapses.

I agree with comment #2 Richard Steven Hack that Hersh is playing his role of keeping focus off more recent crimes against humanity by exposing the deeds of the dead but staying tight lipped about deeds of the living.

lysias , Jan 17, 2019 6:08:17 PM | link

If Hersh is now revealing secrets he couldn't while Bush was still alive, I wish he would tell us what connection there was between Bush and the JFK assassination. Unfortunately, Hersh's disgraceful book "The Dark Side of Camelot," suggests he will not. That book reflects thinking by Hersh's CIA and Secret Service sources that Kennedy was such a bad person and president that it's a good thing he was killed. The book never explicitly says this, but it's the underlying thought.
Hersh seems to be engaged in a bit of revisionism to whitewash Bush's role on Iran-Contra. Probably he has been strong armed, like so many others today

President Bush decapitated the Iran-Contra investigation by pardoning 6 figures including Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, whose trial was about to begin, with Bush himself likely called to testify. ." Bush first consulted his attorney general at the time, William Barr. Barr has just been named by Trump as attorney general.

Interesting article on Barr here (i broke the link with space). The swamp just keeps getting nastier

https://larouchepub.com/eiw/public/1994/eirv21n42-19941021
/eirv21n42-19941021_029-william_barr_the_bush_clique_and.pdf


Bush was basically the acting President during the Reagan years like Cheney was during his sons regime. Cheney and Bush go way back. Bush like Cheney knew everything going on.

"On May 14, 1982, Vice President Bush's position as chief of all U.S. covert action was formalized in a secret memorandum (signed "for the President" by Ronald Reagan's National Security Adviser William P. Clark and declassified during the congressional Iran-Contra hearings)."

[Jan 17, 2019] Brasil neoliberal counterevolution by James Petras

Jan 08, 2019 | www.unz.com

Originally from: President Trump's Losing Strategy: Embracing Brazil and Confronting China James Petras January 8, 2019

Introduction

The US embraces a regime doomed to failure and threatens the world's most dynamic economy. President Trump has lauded Brazil's newly elected President Jair Bolsonaro and promises to promote close economic, political, social and cultural ties. In contrast the Trump regime is committed to dismantling China's growth model, imposing harsh and pervasive sanctions, and promoting the division and fragmentation of greater China.

Washington's choice of allies and enemies is based on a narrow conception of short-term advantage and strategic losses.

In this paper we will discuss the reasons why the US-Brazilian relation fits in with Washington's pursuit for global domination and why Washington fears the dynamic growth and challenge of an independent and competitive China.

Brazil in Search of a Patron

Brazil's President, Jair Bolsonaro from day one, has announced a program to reverse nearly a century of state directed economic growth. He has announced the privatization of the entire public sector, including the strategic finance, banking, minerals, infrastructure, transport, energy and manufacturing activities. Moreover, the sellout has prioritized the centrality of foreign multi-national corporations. Previous authoritarian civilian and military regimes protected nationalized firms as part of tripartite alliances which included foreign, state and domestic private enterprises.

In contrast to previous elected civilian regimes which strived – not always successfully – to increase pensions, wages and living standards and recognized labor legislation, President Bolsonaro has promised to fire thousands of public sector employees, reduce pensions and increase retirement age while lowering salaries and wages in order to increase profits and lower costs to capitalists.

President Bolsonaro promises to reverse land reform, expel, arrest and assault peasant households in order to re-instate landlords and encourage foreign investors in their place. The deforestation of the Amazon and its handover to cattle barons and land speculators will include the seizure of millions of acres of indigenous land.

In foreign policy, the new Brazilian regime pledges to follow US policy on every strategic issue: Brazil supports Trump's economic attacks on China, embraces Israel's land grabs in the Middle East, (including moving its capital to Jerusalem), back US plots to boycott and policies to overthrow the governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. For the first time, Brazil has offered the Pentagon military bases, and military forces in any and all forthcoming invasions or wars.

The US celebration of President Bolsonaro's gratuitous handovers of resources and wealth and surrender of sovereignty is celebrated in the pages of the Financial Times, the Washington Post and the New York Times who predict a period of growth, investment and recovery – if the regime has the 'courage' to impose its sellout.

As has occurred in numerous recent experiences with right wing neo-liberal regime changes in Argentina, Mexico, Colombia and Ecuador, financial page journalists and experts have allowed their ideological dogma to blind them to the eventual pitfalls and crises.

The Bolsonaro regime's economic policies ignore the fact that they depend on agro-mineral exports to China and compete with US exports Brazilian ago-business elites will resent the switch of trading partners.. They will oppose, defeat and undermine Bolsonaro's anti-China campaign if he dares to persists.

Foreign investors will takeover public enterprises but are not likely to expand production given the sharp reduction of employment, salaries and wages, as the consumer market declines.

Banks may make loans but demand high interest rates for high 'risks' especially as the government will face increased social opposition from trade unions and social movements, and greater violence from the militarization of society.

Bolsonaro lacks a majority in Congress who depend on the electoral support of millions of public employees, wage and salaried workers ,pensioners,and gender and racial minorities. Congressional alliance will be difficult without corruption and compromises Bolsonaro's cabinet includes several key ministers who are under investigation for fraud and money laundering. His anti-corruption rhetoric will evaporate in the face of judicial investigations and exposés.

Brazil is unlikely to provide any meaningful military forces for regional or international US military adventures. The military agreements with the US will carry little weight in the face of deep domestic turmoil.

Bolsanaro's neo-liberal policies will deepen inequalities especially among the fifty million who have recently risen out of poverty. The US embrace of Brazil will enrich Wall Street who will take the money and run, leaving the US facing the ire and rejection of their failed ally.

The US Confronts China

Unlike Brazil, China is not prepared to submit to economic plunder and to surrender its sovereignty. China is following its own long-term strategy which focuses on developing the most advanced sectors of the economy – including cutting edge electronics and communication technology.

Chinese researchers already produce more patents and referred scientific articles than the US. They graduate more engineers, advanced researchers and innovative scientists than the US based on high levels of state funding . China with an investment rate of over 44% in 2017, far surpasses the US. China has advanced, from low to high value added exports including electrical cars at competitive prices. For example, Chinese i-phones are outcompeting Apple in both price and quality.

China has opened its economy to US multi-national corporations in exchange for access to advanced technology, what Washington dubs as 'forced' seizures.

China has promoted multi-lateral trade and investment agreement ,including over sixty countries, in large-scale long-term infrastructure agreements throughout Asia and Africa.

Instead of following China's economic example Washington whines of unfair trade, technological theft, market restrictions and state constraints on private investments.

China offers long-term opportunities for Washington to upgrade its economic and social performance – if Washington recognized that Chinese competition is a positive incentive. Instead of large-scale public investments in upgrading and promoting the export sector, Washington has turned to military threats, economic sanctions and tariffs which protect backward US industrial sectors. Instead of negotiating for markets with an independent China, Washington embraces vassal regimes like Brazil's under newly elected President Jair Bolsonaro who relies on US economic control and takeovers.

ORDER IT NOW

The US has an easy path to dominating Brazil for short-term gains – profits, markets and resources, but the Brazilian model is not viable or sustainable. In contrast the US needs to negotiate, bargain and agree to reciprocal competitive agreements with China ..The end result of cooperating with China would allow the US to learn and grow in a sustainable fashion.

[Jan 15, 2019] Buchanan Is Bolton Steering Trump Into War With Iran

Jan 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

devo , 1 minute ago link

That fact Trump can be "steered into war" is disturbing.

2handband , 2 minutes ago link

This article is asinine. By the book, Bolton takes orders from Trump... not the other way around. Bolton is just being used as an excuse. Trump was never serious about getting the US out of any wars. I confidently predict that US troops will still be in Syria this time next year.

ne-tiger , 4 minutes ago link

"Was he aware of Bolton's request for a menu of targets in Iran for potential U.S. strikes? Did he authorize it? Has he authorized his national security adviser and secretary of state to engage in these hostile actions and bellicose rhetoric aimed at Iran? "

Yes, Yes and Yes, that's why he's an orange fucktard.

Taras Bulba , 12 minutes ago link

Bolton's former deputy, Mira Ricardel, reportedly told a gathering the shelling into the Green Zone was "an act of war" to which the U.S. must respond decisively.

This war mongering harpy fortunately was kicked to the curb by melania trump!

pelican , 13 minutes ago link

How did that psychopath appointed anyway? Another warmonger that hasn't served a day in the military.

MozartIII , 13 minutes ago link

Bolton can run the operation on the ground!

MozartIII , 14 minutes ago link

Send the House, Senate, FBI, CIA, IRS & all others state operatives to fight in Iran. Include the TSA for gods sake. Include the Obamas, Clintons and Bush's. So they can verify that their weapons are all delivered again and work properly. Bring our troops home to defend are border. Include NYT, WaPo and most of our current media in the Iran light brigade, so they can charge with the rest of the parasites. Many problems will be solved in very short order.

punchasocialist , 16 minutes ago link

This is another really infantile, softball article again by Buchanan.

As if Trump is anything more than an actor, and Bolton is anything more than a buffoon who has been laughed off the world stage FOREVER.

As if Trump and Bolton steer each other, instead of TAKING ORDERS from trillionaires.

resistedliving , 58 minutes ago link

You think Bolton is the new Alexander "I'm in charge now" Haig?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qarDtgSVpM

Captain Chlamydia , 22 minutes ago link

Yes he is.

I Am Jack's Macroaggression , 1 hour ago link

Obviously.

And so are Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, and Kushner, and his bankster pals.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YW4CvC5IaFI

Bolton is a traitor and agent of a foreign power. The Mouth of Netanyahu.

But Trump hired him, and Trump hasn't fired him.

Duc888 , 57 minutes ago link

Enjoy the show. Bolton has a half life of about 90 days. Can't you see a pattern when it's laid bare in front of you?

I Am Jack's Macroaggression , 40 minutes ago link

Like not having a wall, appointing neocon swamp creatures, still being in Afghanistan and Syria, and not releasing the FISAgate texts?

Like that pattern?

I... gee, I don't know.

You're right. I should prolly just ' trust the plan' like a good goy.

Thanks, newfriend!

🤨

I Am Jack's Macroaggression , 57 minutes ago link

Remarks by National Security Advisor Ambassador John Bolton to the Zionist Organization of America

JimmyJones , 27 minutes ago link

He also hasn't followed his recommendations. Perhaps he keeps him around so he knows what not to do?

Duc888 , 4 minutes ago link

He's a temporary useful idiot for Trump who will flush him at his convenience. He's handy to have around to encourage the Hawks do a group masturbation.

Seriously, if Ertogen tells Bolton to go **** off, he has no sauce. He's been neutered. Let him act all important and play in the sand box all he wants.

ted41776 , 1 hour ago link

trust the plan. there are white hats in government who have your best interest in mind. you don't need to do anything other than pretend like everything is fine, they'll take care of the rest. go to work and continue accepting continually devalued worthless fiat in exchange for time you spend away from your family and doing things you love. trust the plan, it's all going to be alright

/sarc

I Am Jack's Macroaggression , 47 minutes ago link

+ 1

Four chan , 41 minutes ago link

BOLTON IS MULLERS BUDDY, THATS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW.

Francis Marx , 42 minutes ago link

I doubt Bolton has that much clout. Trump is no fool.

Haus-Targaryen , 42 minutes ago link

No, because the oil price to follow would blowup the US war machine.

Iran isn't going anywhere.

Erek , 38 minutes ago link

Time for Bolton to lay his **** on the anvil.

I woke up , 24 minutes ago link

Yeah, if Bolton is so enthused about it, send him first

Erek , 17 minutes ago link

And alone!

Duc888 , 3 minutes ago link

...it would be lost amongst the metal filings and swarf.

resistedliving , 16 minutes ago link

Israel uses natgas and coal

Helps their little conflict in the Tamar/Leviathan gas fields.

[Jan 14, 2019] The L>obby at work

Notable quotes:
"... Since the announcement (but no real follow through) to end our military involvement in Syria what passes for our statesmen - John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo - have been ignored, mocked or both. ..."
"... When was the last time you heard of a major US political figure go overseas and be refused a meeting with a foreign head of state, publicly upbraided and sent home like an irrelevant flunkie? ..."
"... The insult couldn't be plainer. The lack of Bolton's self-awareness and understanding of the situation was embarrassing. And it left Erdogan the perfect opportunity to call out the Trump Administration's policies as beholden to a foreign power, Israel. ..."
Jan 14, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Something has changed in U.S. politics. And it may finally signal something changing for the better. Since the announcement (but no real follow through) to end our military involvement in Syria what passes for our statesmen - John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo - have been ignored, mocked or both.

Bolton attempted to box Trump in on not leaving Syria while Israel chest-thumped about how they will not yield an inch to Iran. Turkish President Erdogan publicly lambasted him with no response from President Trump. Or anyone else for that matter.

When was the last time you heard of a major US political figure go overseas and be refused a meeting with a foreign head of state, publicly upbraided and sent home like an irrelevant flunkie?

I can't think of one. Bolton came into the Middle East and made demands like he was the President which Bolton knew were clearly red lines for Erdogan -- guaranteeing the safety of the Syrian Kurds. And he did this from Jerusalem.

The insult couldn't be plainer. The lack of Bolton's self-awareness and understanding of the situation was embarrassing. And it left Erdogan the perfect opportunity to call out the Trump Administration's policies as beholden to a foreign power, Israel.


africoman , 59 minutes ago link

Why Israel so bent on hell to take Syrian sovereign territory of Golan Height seized on so calleds

the Six-Day War in 1967, they did strategic move, still occupied and considers its own,

OIL is the last reason to occupy it and is it related to coming antichrist ?

I think it's more of spiritual than resource control. There are something more

For interested, Check this out:

Circle of Og : Return of the Nephilim and golan heights

yerfej , 37 minutes ago link

Excuse me but Israel won the war and as such can keep the gains.

africoman , 32 minutes ago link

No. In November 2018, the US rejected a symbolic UN resolution calling on Israel to end its occupation of the Golan Heights. The resolution passed with 151 votes in favor, 14 abstentions and only two votes against – the US and Israel itself They call it, "Occupied" for no reason. Gaza also an example but joos kept slicing it out ever since installed there.

yerfej , 12 minutes ago link

Well yes and I held a conference with resolutions in my backyard over some beers and it resulted in calling out the occupation as the spoils of war. The Syrians will just have to suck it up. Everyone else who pays attention to the bleating of ****** morons at the UN should realize the backyard beer occupation resolution trumps all.

fiddy pence haff pound , 1 hour ago link

"The lack of Bolton's self-awareness and understanding of the situation was embarrassing. And it left Erdogan the perfect opportunity to call out the Trump Administration's policies as beholden to a foreign power, Israel. "

This fits into my theory regarding Trump as a good boss. He obviously could not avoid hiring Bolton, as Trump's balancing act goes on. Bolton is an old PNAC petty potentate, and he obviously believes that triumphalist drivel from 2000. So, Bolton obviously thought he could deke around Trump and defy him and walked right into this act of political suicide. He'l be fired when the time is right. He's too connected to get beat up like Sessions. Trump will have to lever Bolton out using his own mustache and with the appropriate backing. That's going to easier now that Bolton danced a jig in Jerusalm.

[Jan 14, 2019] I feel like the U.S. is an occupied country, invaded by corporate lobbyists. We have the kind of crap government you get from occupations.

Notable quotes:
"... Why did Trump appoint Bolton? ..."
"... I think Bolton is a sop to Sheldon Aldelson. He may be playing a similar role to "The Mooch", I hope. ..."
"... Likewise, Pompeo is the Koch brother's man. Both authoritarian billionaires trying to guarantee their investment in Trump. You see the US is being run like a business, or is that like a feudal fiefdom? ..."
Jan 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Edward , , January 14, 2019 at 1:01 pm

I feel like the U.S. is an occupied country, invaded by corporate lobbyists. We have the kind of crap government you get from occupations.

Ignim Brites , , January 14, 2019 at 7:36 am

Why did Trump appoint Bolton? A saying of LBJ, I believe attributed to Sam Rayburn, might illuminate. "It is better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in."

Edward , , January 14, 2019 at 8:26 am

I think Bolton is a sop to Sheldon Aldelson. He may be playing a similar role to "The Mooch", I hope.

Allegorio , , January 14, 2019 at 12:49 pm

Likewise, Pompeo is the Koch brother's man. Both authoritarian billionaires trying to guarantee their investment in Trump. You see the US is being run like a business, or is that like a feudal fiefdom?

Carolinian , , January 14, 2019 at 8:33 am

Why did Trump appoint Bolton?

Not to be a broken record but should we blame the Dems? Arguably Trump's "out there" gestures to the right are because he has to keep the Repubs on his side given the constant threat of impeachment from the other side. Extremes beget extremes. There's also the Adelson factor.

Of course this theory may be incorrect and he and Bolton are ideological soul mates, but Trump's ideology doesn't appear to go much beyond a constant diet of Fox News. He seems quite capable of pragmatic gestures which are then denounced by a horrified press.

[Jan 14, 2019] Something about MIC gargantuan appetites: the cost of running Texas Railroad Commsion (RRC) for year are less that one half of the cost of (mostly useless) F35 not including fuel

Jan 14, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

GuyM x Ignored says: 01/13/2019 at 8:26 pm

In support of RRC, I looked up their agency expenses, and found they are less than $50 million. That's to pay for keeping up with almost a half million oil and gas wells, thousands of operators, and multiple other duties, including taking care of a significant amount of State income. There is a grand total of about 725 employees. Hats off!
Longtimber x Ignored says: 01/14/2019 at 8:24 pm
Could have 1/2 of a F35 not including Fuel.

[Jan 14, 2019] The Push to Get Rid of Bolton by Daniel Larison

The US foreign policy generally doesn't depend on individual people. It is the Swamp which drive neolib/neocon policy which is driven mostly by the Deep State which means the coalition of MIC, Wall Street and intelligence agencies and their agents of influence within the government.
The most important question is how he managed to get into administration?
bolton is a bully and such people have no friends.
Notable quotes:
"... The National Security Advisor has had a reputation of being an abrasive and obnoxious colleague for a long time, and his attempts to push his aggressive foreign policy agenda have made him even more enemies. ..."
"... If Bolton is "under attack" from within the administration, it is because he has behaved with the same recklessness and incompetence that characterize his preferred policies overseas. He should be attacked, and with any luck he will be defeated and driven from office. Unfortunately, we have been seeing the opposite happen over the last few weeks: more Bolton allies are joining the administration in important positions and at least one major rival has exited. ..."
"... the longer he remains National Security Advisor the worse it will be for U.S. interests. ..."
Jan 14, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Henry Olsen is very worried that other people in the administration might be out to get Bolton:

Whatever the motive, conservatives who favor more robust U.S. involvement abroad should sit up and take notice. One of their strongest allies within the administration is under attack. Whether Bolton's influence wanes or even whether he remains is crucially important for anyone who worries that the president's impulses that deviate from past American foreign policy will weaken American security.

There have been a number of unflattering reports about Bolton in the last few weeks, but for the most part those stories are just proof that Bolton has no diplomatic skills and does a terrible job of managing the administration's policy process. If Bolton had done a better job of coordinating Syria policy, the administration's Syria policy wouldn't be the confused mess that it is. If he hadn't made such a hash of things with the Turkish government, there would have been no snub by Erdogan for anyone to report. There may be quite a bit of hostile leaking against Bolton, but that is itself a testament to how many other people in the administration loathe him.

The National Security Advisor has had a reputation of being an abrasive and obnoxious colleague for a long time, and his attempts to push his aggressive foreign policy agenda have made him even more enemies.

If Bolton is "under attack" from within the administration, it is because he has behaved with the same recklessness and incompetence that characterize his preferred policies overseas. He should be attacked, and with any luck he will be defeated and driven from office. Unfortunately, we have been seeing the opposite happen over the last few weeks: more Bolton allies are joining the administration in important positions and at least one major rival has exited.

Bolton's influence in the administration is an important indication of what U.S. foreign policy will look like in the months and years to come, and the longer he remains National Security Advisor the worse it will be for U.S. interests.

[Jan 14, 2019] 'A Reckless Advocate of Military Force' Demands for John Bolton's Dismissal After Reports He Asked Pentagon for Options to Str

Notable quotes:
"... By Jessica Corbett, staff writer at Common Dreams. Originally published at Common Dreams ..."
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... Daniel W. Drezner, a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, called the news "a reminder that when it comes to Iran, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo are batshit insane ..."
"... Trita Parsi, founder of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), tweeted, "Make no mistake: Bolton is the greatest threat to the security of the United States!" Parsi, an expert on U.S.-Iranian relations and longtime critic of Bolton, called for his immediate ouster over the request detailed in Journal ..."
"... Bolton: Chickenhawk-in-Chief ..."
"... Great point. None of my fellow comrades who actually participated in firefights (not just drove trucks behind the lines) are eager to be led into battle by National Guard and bone-spur deferrals, much less student deferral draft dodgers. ..."
"... Why did Trump appoint Bolton? ..."
"... I think Bolton is a sop to Sheldon Aldelson. He may be playing a similar role to "The Mooch", I hope. ..."
"... Likewise, Pompeo is the Koch brother's man. Both authoritarian billionaires trying to guarantee their investment in Trump. You see the US is being run like a business, or is that like a feudal fiefdom? ..."
"... Steven Cohen has an interesting editorial in RT, not about directly about Bolton but about the war parties' demand for ongoing M.E. conflict. https://www.rt.com/op-ed/448688-trump-withdrawal-syria-russia/ ..."
"... see what we could do ..."
"... Trump is interested in what is good for Trump. Why he thinks Bolton at his side is good for him is a mystery. Rather a hand grenade with the pin pulled in your pocket than Bolton. Much the same can be said of Pompeo. ..."
"... I agree with author Nicholas Taleb's view of the military interventionists, who include Bolton, that have repeatedly urged that we "intervene in foreign countries -- Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria -- whose governments did not meet their abstract standards of political acceptability." Besides the losses suffered by our troops and economy, as Taleb observed each of those interventions "made conditions significantly worse in the country being 'saved'. Yet the interventionists pay no price themselves for wrecking the lives of millions. Instead they keep appearing on CNN and PBS as 'experts' who should guide us in choosing what country to bomb next." Now, after imposing economic sanctions on Iran, they're evidently again seeking war. ..."
Jan 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on January 14, 2019 by Yves Smith Yves here. I am surprised that Bolton has lasted this long. Bolton has two defining personal qualities that are not conducive to long-term survival with Trump: having a huge ego and being way too obvious about not caring about Trump's agenda (even with the difficulties of having it change all the time). Bolton is out for himself in far too obvious a manner.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer at Common Dreams. Originally published at Common Dreams

Reminding the world that he is, as one critic put it, " a reckless advocate of military force ," the Wall Street Journal revealed on Sunday that President Donald Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton "asked the Pentagon to provide the White House with military options to strike Iran last year, generating concern at the Pentagon and State Department."

"It definitely rattled people," a former U.S. official said of the request, which Bolton supposedly made after militants aligned with Iran fired mortars into the diplomatic quarter of Baghdad, Iraq that contains the U.S. Embassy in early September. "People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran."

"The Pentagon complied with the National Security Council's request to develop options for striking Iran," the Journal reported, citing unnamed officials. "But it isn't clear if the proposals were provided to the White House, whether Mr. Trump knew of the request, or whether serious plans for a U.S. strike against Iran took shape at that time."

The Journal 's report, which comes just days after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered an "arrogant tirade" of a speech vilifying Iran, sparked immediate alarm among critics of the Trump administration's biggest warmongers -- who, over the past several months, have been accused of fomenting unrest in Iran and laying the groundwork for war.

Daniel W. Drezner, a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, called the news "a reminder that when it comes to Iran, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo are batshit insane."

me title=

Trita Parsi, founder of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), tweeted, "Make no mistake: Bolton is the greatest threat to the security of the United States!" Parsi, an expert on U.S.-Iranian relations and longtime critic of Bolton, called for his immediate ouster over the request detailed in Journal 's report.

me title=

"This administration takes an expansive view of war authorities and is leaning into confrontation with Iran at a time when there are numerous tripwires for conflict across the region," NIAC president Jamal Abdi warned in a statement . "It is imperative that this Congress investigate Bolton's request for war options and pass legislation placing additional legal and political constraints on the administration's ability to start a new war of choice with Iran that could haunt America and the region for generations."

In a series of moves that have elicited concern from members of Congress, political experts, other world leaders, and peace activists, since May the Trump administration has ditched the Iran nuclear deal -- formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) -- and reimposed economic sanctions .

NIAC, in November, urged the new Congress that convened at the beginning of the year to challenge the administration's hawkish moves and restore U.S. standing on the world stage by passing measures to block the sanctions re-imposed in August and November , and reverse Trump's decision to breach the deal -- which European and Iranian diplomats have been trying to salvage .

Iran continues to comply with the terms of JCPOA, according to the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). However, Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's nuclear chief, told state television on Sunday that "preliminary activities for designing modern 20 percent (enriched uranium) fuel have begun." While Iran has maintained that it is not pursuing nuclear weapons, the nation would still have to withdraw from the deal if it resumed enrichment at the level.

As Iran signals that it is considering withdrawing from the JCPOA, the Journal report has critics worried that Bolton and Pompeo have the administration on a war path -- with Bolton, just last week, insisting without any evidence that Iranian leadership is committed to pursuing nuclear weapons. Some have compared that claim to former Vice President Dick Cheney's infamous lie in 2002, to bolster support for the U.S. invasion, that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

me title=

As the Journal noted, "Alongside the requests in regards to Iran, the National Security Council asked the Pentagon to provide the White House with options to respond with strikes in Iraq and Syria as well."


The Rev Kev , January 14, 2019 at 5:55 am

So Bolton wants war with Iran? Pretty tall talk from a man who during the war in 'Nam ducked into the Maryland Army National Guard because he had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy as he considered the war in Vietnam already lost. His words, not mine. The Iranian military will not be the push over the Iraq army was. They are much better equipped and motivated and have a healthy stock of missiles. They even have the Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missile system up and running.

Once you start a war, you never know where it will go. Suppose the Iranians consider – probably correctly – that it is Israel's influences that led to the attack and so launch a few missiles at them. What happens next? Will Hezbollah take action against them as well. If the US attacks Iran, then there is no reason whatsoever for Iran not to attack the various US contingents scattered around the Middle East in places like Syria. What if the Russians send in their Aerospace Forces to help stop an attack. Will they be attacked as well? Is the US prepared to lose a carrier?

And how will the war end? The country is mountainous like Afghanistan so cannot be occupied unless the entire complete total of all US forces are shipped over there. This is just lunacy squared and surely even Trump must realize that if the whole thing is another Bay of Pigs, it will be his name all over it in the history books and so sinking his chances for a 2020 re-election. And if the justification for the whole thing is a coupla mortars on a car park, how will he justify any American loses? At this point I am waiting for Bolton to finish each one of his speeches and tweets with the phrase-

"Parthia delenda est!"

Tomonthebeach , January 14, 2019 at 2:17 pm

Bolton: Chickenhawk-in-Chief

Great point. None of my fellow comrades who actually participated in firefights (not just drove trucks behind the lines) are eager to be led into battle by National Guard and bone-spur deferrals, much less student deferral draft dodgers.

Calling Bolton on Pompeo "batshit crazy" cries out for revisions in the APA Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).

Ignim Brites , January 14, 2019 at 7:36 am

Why did Trump appoint Bolton? A saying of LBJ, I believe attributed to Sam Rayburn, might illuminate. "It is better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in."

Edward , January 14, 2019 at 8:26 am

I think Bolton is a sop to Sheldon Aldelson. He may be playing a similar role to "The Mooch", I hope.

Allegorio , January 14, 2019 at 12:49 pm

Likewise, Pompeo is the Koch brother's man. Both authoritarian billionaires trying to guarantee their investment in Trump. You see the US is being run like a business, or is that like a feudal fiefdom?

Edward , January 14, 2019 at 1:01 pm

I feel like the U.S. is an occupied country, invaded by corporate lobbyists. We have the kind of crap government you get from occupations.

Carolinian , January 14, 2019 at 8:33 am

Why did Trump appoint Bolton?

Not to be a broken record but should we blame the Dems? Arguably Trump's "out there" gestures to the right are because he has to keep the Repubs on his side given the constant threat of impeachment from the other side. Extremes beget extremes. There's also the Adelson factor.

Of course this theory may be incorrect and he and Bolton are ideological soul mates, but Trump's ideology doesn't appear to go much beyond a constant diet of Fox News. He seems quite capable of pragmatic gestures which are then denounced by a horrified press.

Lou Mannheim , January 14, 2019 at 10:11 am

"Not to be a broken record but should we blame the Dems?"

No. Despite Trump's wishes the buck stops with him.

Carolinian , January 14, 2019 at 10:27 am

... the Iran situation could have been solved years earlier by Obama and Hillary making it harder for Trump to stir up trouble.

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/iran-brazil-and-turkey-make-new-nuclear-proposal/

ChiGal in Carolina , January 14, 2019 at 11:25 am

The point might be, sure the Dems as part of the duopoly created the context within which Trump now acts as president. Nonetheless there is a direct linear responsibility for his actions that rests with him.

Unless you consider him so impaired as not to be responsible for his actions ;-)

Carolinian , January 14, 2019 at 1:54 pm

So will the buck stop with Obama/Hillary for destroying Libya, the half million dead in Syria, the covert support for the Saudis in Yemen which started under Obama, the coup in Honduras, the deterioration in US/Russia relations to the point where nuclear war has once again started to become thinkable? By these standards Trump's wrecking ball is quite tiny.

neo-realist , January 14, 2019 at 11:53 am

It's not like the Obama administration and the EU didn't strike a nuclear deal with Iran to freeze nuclear capable production and allow for lifting of sanctions -- how could they have gone further? How could its deal be worse then the saber rattling of Trump/Bolton? Not saying this as a fan of the Obama administration in general.

Bill Smith , January 14, 2019 at 2:03 pm

Pied Piper Memo. It's up in Wikileaks. Clinton campaign laid out a strategy to help Trump along so he would be their opponent. They bet that he was too far out there for the general public to vote him in as president.

Yves Smith Post author , January 14, 2019 at 2:20 pm

...Everyone including Trump was shocked he won. He has made an only partly successful hostile takeover of the Republican party. The fact that he got only at best the second string, and mainly the fourth string, to work in his Administration, Trump's repudiation of international institutions and his trade war with China are all evidence that he was chosen by anyone, much the less a cabal you create out of thin air called "the oligarchy"

As Frank Herbert said in Dune, the most enduring principles in the universe are accident and error. Trump did not want to win. This was a brand-enhancing stunt for him that got out of control.

KLG , January 14, 2019 at 7:46 am

Something for our would be Croesus and his minions: If you go to war with Persia, you will destroy a mighty empire OK, not so mighty, but an empire nevertheless.

Ben Wolf , January 14, 2019 at 8:29 am

Reminiscent of John Kerry and Susan Rice publicly demanding bombing of Syria in 2015 after Obama had taken that option off the table.

Anon , January 14, 2019 at 12:26 pm

Iran is a much more formitable foe than Syria. Bullies love to taunt the weak; Iran is not weak.

Mark James , January 14, 2019 at 8:48 am

The US has previously run multiple conventual war simulations and in all cases the US lost against Iran, only when the US used its nuclear option did the US prevail. The implications of a nuclear strike and how the Russian Federation will react, to having yet another one of its allies attacked is unknown?

Bill Smith , January 14, 2019 at 2:10 pm

Really, in all cases? Seems unlikely. What did these conventional war simulations cover? What was the definition of wining and losing?

Jeremy Grimm , January 14, 2019 at 2:36 pm

Really -- who cares? Any claim of 'all' is difficult to support under the best of circumstances and unwise. Besides, suppose we could 'prevail' in a war with Iran -- why should or would we want to? Are you OK with a little war with Iran if a couple of conventional war simulations suggest we could win?

johnnygl , January 14, 2019 at 9:07 am

Couple of quick points

1) I really hope jim webb gets the def sec job. That would be a strong signal.

2) if the TDS infected bi-partisan consensus wants to impeach. They can build on this. I suspect they won't though.

3) Keep in mind Trump like some trash talk. Pompeo seems here to stay. Not sure about Bolton. But, as we saw with N. Korea, sometimes the crazy gets dialed up to 11, right before things get calmed down.

The Rev Kev , January 14, 2019 at 9:34 am

Because that worked so well in the Balkans and Iraq and Libya, etc, etc etc. The world is not what you think it is. Let us compare Iran as a country with America's loyal ally Saudi Arabia as an example. Would you believe that Iran has a Jewish population that feel safe there and have no interest in moving to Israel? In Saudi Arabia, if you renounce Islam that is a death sentence. Women have careers in Iran and drive cars. Woman have burkas in Saudi Arabia and have very few freedoms. Iran has taken in refugees from the recent wars. Saudi Arabia has taken virtually none from Syria. Iran wants to have their own country and work out their own problems as they are a multicultural country. Saudi Arabia is a medieval monarchy that has been exporting the most extremist view of Islam around the world using their oil money. Ideologically, all those jihadists the past few decades can be traced to Wahhabi teachings. Now tell me that if you had a choice, which country sounds more attractive to live in?

Redlife2013 , January 14, 2019 at 10:46 am

Having been to Iran, it is an amazing place and they are the most welcoming of people. One of the few places I have seen female taxi drivers, too. Women are very self-assured there – they will blow past men to get to what they want to do. Lots of people don't like the Islamic government (and they will note that to you), but as you mentioned, they are NOT medieval.

The government praises science and technology in roadside ads up and down the country. The ads, by the way, are almost always in Farsi and English, as English is the 2nd language of the country. And I'd like to add that they love Americans. It didn't matter what town I was in and we went to some small towns. I literally had people yelling "We love America" and asking for my autograph. And no – I am not famous. They are the most generous, gregarious people I have ever met in my life.

I have odd memories of my trip like being in a taxi going into Tehran listening to a instrument only version of Madonna's La Isla Bonita (they really like Madonna). And going to beautiful mosques which are filled with mirrors and coloured light so it's almost like a disco (mirrors and water are ancient pre-Islamic symbols). And the gardens – in odd places like underpasses that happen to have a bit of opening to light and rain. Where ever they can stick a garden they will do it.

Iran is a hodgepodge of so many thoughts, peoples, and currents. One thing they are though – is fiercely loyal to Iran. Not the government, but to their homeland, to their people. There is no way we would win. Due to geography and due to the losses they would be willing to sustain we would be destroyed. We would lose so badly that it would look like the First Anglo-Afghan War where only one Brit got back after the entire army was destroyed. We tussle with them on their own land at our peril.

Kilgore Trout , January 14, 2019 at 10:52 am

+10

Roger , January 14, 2019 at 11:42 am

Saudi Arabia is America's loyal ally! You mean the SA that financed, planned, and manned the 9/11 attacks? Because SA is a bigger shithole than Iran is no argument. What does need to be faced is that SA has a lock on American politics through its financial control of Washington DC swamp dwellers.

The Balkans is quiet now. Iraq became a mess when Paul Bremer snatched defeat from near total victory. Libya, Syria and Ukraine are the victims of malevolent US meddling (as was Vietnam). I am hoping that President Trump can reverse course and create a foreign policy that puts the interests of people first, particularly the interests of the people of the USA. Forlorn hope perhaps. I would not want to live in either of them.

Keith Howard , January 14, 2019 at 11:02 am

How about we throw the Ayatollah Pence and the rest of his contemptible ilk out of our own government first?

Tony Wright , January 14, 2019 at 2:12 pm

Well said. All religious fundamentalists are dangerous because they believe they are the "chosen ones" and therefore superior to "non-believers", whose lives are less important and therefore expendable if and when they feel so inclined.

pjay , January 14, 2019 at 11:05 am

Re "the Iranian people":

(1) Echoing other responses, I suggest we ask the "Iranian people" if they would like the U.S. to help them into modernity. Given our track record in Iran and other ME nations, I'm not sure they would welcome our assistance, particularly if it involved "a few explosions" or so.

(2) It is "the people" that are always hurt first, and the most, in such interventions, not the government.

I wasn't sure if this was a serious comment or one meant to provoke. It did provoke me to make an earlier response. I thank the moderators for blocking it (sincerely – not being sarcastic).

Adams , January 14, 2019 at 2:05 pm

Bah, who cares about a little collateral damage. The Iranian people obviously don't know what's good for them. We just need to bring back Wolfowitz to make sure they are on hand to lay down palm fronds before the US forces as they enter Baghdad after we nuke it into rubble. Speaking of sociopaths, I am sure Darth Vader would make himself available to advise from Wyoming. Where the hell is Elliot Abrams when you need him. What's Rumsfeld doing these days? How great would it be to get the old gang together again, under the maniacal leadership of Bolton. Maybe Dubya would be willing to do the "mission accomplished" as the smoke clears over the whole MENA region. What a great bunch of guys.

Eureka Springs , January 14, 2019 at 11:54 am

You're a regular humanitarian bomber. Reminds me of "Assad must go" and the fact 'we' never bombed him but all the people, all around the nation of the ilk you pretend to want to help by doing the same thing in Iran.

At best, you are speaking a bunch of hooey without thinking. Oh, and last I heard Iran has not invaded another country for something like 400 years. Look in your mirror.

Edward , January 14, 2019 at 12:28 pm

Are the Iranian people asking us to invade their country? In the U.S. there seems to be this bizarre nonchalance about war, which used to be considered a terrible scourge. After the recent disasters in Libya, Ukraine, and Iraq, "regime change" should be discredited. The U.S. has caused nothing but misery in the third world. We should focus on our own human rights and democracy problems. If we want to do something abroad I favor ending our support for Israeli crimes against Palestinians.

lyman alpha blob , January 14, 2019 at 1:42 pm

Yeah! We can bomb those priests right into the modern world with our own fundamentalist Air Force. Murica #1

https://www.salon.com/2014/09/17/air_forces_mind_boggling_violation_members_forced_to_swear_religious_allegiance/

flora , January 14, 2019 at 9:23 am

re: Bolton asking for war plans

Steven Cohen has an interesting editorial in RT, not about directly about Bolton but about the war parties' demand for ongoing M.E. conflict. https://www.rt.com/op-ed/448688-trump-withdrawal-syria-russia/

Tony Wright , January 14, 2019 at 2:46 pm

Gotta keep the military industrial complex well fed. George Orwell was right, sadly; constant state of military alert and occasionally shifting loose alliances between three competing major military powers. What a waste of human resources.

Off The Street , January 14, 2019 at 9:48 am

IMHO, Bolton serves two roles in the Trump Administration.

  1. As a symbol for the hawkier folks in Congress and the media
  2. As a foil to Trump in a good cop-bad cop, or bad cop-worse cop role, if you prefer

The first provides air cover and the second forestalls ground action. The air cover says see what we could do , and the ground action blusters to draw attention by the media thereby serving to defuse any escalationist tendencies pushed by neo-cons.

Bolton is a price of admission, and will not have much of a purpose as the effects of the Iran sanctions become more evident and that regime becomes more pliable. The people on the ground in Iran seem to want de-escalation and more normal lives, like so many around the world and at home.

John , January 14, 2019 at 10:02 am

Trump is interested in what is good for Trump. Why he thinks Bolton at his side is good for him is a mystery. Rather a hand grenade with the pin pulled in your pocket than Bolton. Much the same can be said of Pompeo.

I have never understood the lust for war with Iran it looks entirely irrational to me. The Iranian government may not be to your taste and pursue policies you dislike in the extreme, but is this a reason to gin up a war. I could never support such a conflict and would do whatever I could to thwart it.

L , January 14, 2019 at 10:31 am

This is not news and while concerning is not fundamental.

Bolton was hired precisely because of his uberhawk obsession with Iran. That is in fact the central credential that he brought to the table and as such there should be zero surprise in this. Indeed the only real shocker is that he asked for plans rather than pulling them out of his own fevered mind as he usually does.

And as others have noted the Pentagon draws up plans like this all the time. This kind of speculative planning is a big part of what the Pentagon does and somewhere no doubt is someone who is paid to prepare for the "inevitable" war in Jamaca.

The question really is whether we will act upon these plans, or some others, and from what I read of this article that is no more likely than it was a few months ago. Scary yes but no scarier than it already was.

Mattski , January 14, 2019 at 1:03 pm

Well, what do they want us to think? Of course this is predictable–even SOP–for Bolton. But someone in the Pentagon is offering some pushback, or wants to suggest there is resistance. Or someone in the CIA. Some of these people prefer wars to quagmires, especially after an exhausting 20 years. And climbing into bed with the Saudis and Israelis to fight Iran may not appeal to everyone.

Some may even see that Iran is a much more promising place for consumer and capital growth, and implementation of bourgeois democracy, than Saudi Arabia. But Mr. Bolton might say that that's the point.

Ashburn , January 14, 2019 at 11:10 am

I think we may be closer to war with Iran than most of us care to think. Trump is under siege from multiple investigations with no room to run, the Democrats now have the House and will only intensify the pressure, Pompeo and Bolton–both Iran hawks–are now in charge of our foreign policy, and a former Boeing executive (with stock options?) is in charge of the Pentagon, Trump is also being pushed into war by Saudi Arabia and Israel–his two closest buddies–and probably the two most malign influences on US policy, and finally, our economy is beginning to look shakey, and the normal functions of government are now in shutdown. Shock doctrine holds that now is the time to act.

ChiGal in Carolina , January 14, 2019 at 11:39 am

I recall a piece by Chris Hedges and Ralph Nader posted by another commenter here that he would likely do so BEFORE the Dems took control of the House. I thought there was a lot of huffing and puffing going on, except for the likelihood of wagging the dog, a tried and true tactic of US presidents.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/are-we-about-to-face-our-gravest-constitutional-crisis/

Harry , January 14, 2019 at 12:31 pm

Was chatting to a someone who was a junior official in the GWB administration. He suggested the first thing Bolton does when he joins an administration is request these plans. If you didn't, you wouldn't be able to take advantage of any interesting events to bomb Iran. Besides, he hasn't actually implemented them yet!

Amusingly its standard bureaucratic form to ensure you have plans on file. Otherwise when asked to list the options, how would you make sure your plan for covert opps, or democracy subsidizing/subverting payments appeared to be the most reasonable plan on the table?

Bolton is the same paleoconservative he ever was. And in that sense he is refreshing. One gets tired of seeing Israelis and Saudis make proposals for spending American lives on countless critically important projects.

Mattski , January 14, 2019 at 12:55 pm

There's also word that the US and Bolton have been giving quiet encouragement, with the new President in Brazil, for a Venezuela intervention.

I think it's important, though, not to simply characterize these people as monsters but to finger the system behind them. There was word before the election that Ms. Clinton has become chummy with Bolton and some of the other neocons; we might be looking at much the same if she had been elected.

Also, Kissinger bombed Cambodia and set off a genocide. Bolton is awful, but nothing whatsoever will make me yearn for Mr. K. I have a friend who's still unhappy with me because I turned down an invite to dine with him long ago, but I was just too frightened of what I might say in his presence.

Mattski , January 14, 2019 at 2:07 pm

We can take it for granted that they are nuts–but nuttiness is like monstrousness, not always so useful as explanation. They're also operating out of the logic of a contradictory and decaying system. The neocons are the ideological successors of the neoliberals (who liked to follow with the velvet fist rather than lead with it, but hardly eschewed it). . . the culmination of much of the same logic. Egalite and fraternite trail far behind these days.

Chauncey Gardiner , January 14, 2019 at 1:17 pm

I agree with author Nicholas Taleb's view of the military interventionists, who include Bolton, that have repeatedly urged that we "intervene in foreign countries -- Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria -- whose governments did not meet their abstract standards of political acceptability." Besides the losses suffered by our troops and economy, as Taleb observed each of those interventions "made conditions significantly worse in the country being 'saved'. Yet the interventionists pay no price themselves for wrecking the lives of millions. Instead they keep appearing on CNN and PBS as 'experts' who should guide us in choosing what country to bomb next." Now, after imposing economic sanctions on Iran, they're evidently again seeking war.

The National Security Advisor is a senior official in the executive branch. Who placed these people in charge of our nation's foreign policy and to act in our name?

There is no threat to the United States involved here. I don't recall being given the opportunity to vote on them or the policies they represent and push. It's past time these individuals be removed from positions of power and influence and for American soft power and diplomacy to be restored to preeminence. I want this country to stand for peace, freedom, equal opportunity and hope; not war, chaos, fear and death.

[Jan 14, 2019] Lobby at work

Jan 14, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Something has changed in U.S. politics. And it may finally signal something changing for the better. Since the announcement (but no real follow through) to end our military involvement in Syria what passes for our statesmen - John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo - have been ignored, mocked or both.

Bolton attempted to box Trump in on not leaving Syria while Israel chest-thumped about how they will not yield an inch to Iran. Turkish President Erdogan publicly lambasted him with no response from President Trump.

Or anyone else for that matter.

When was the last time you heard of a major U.S. political figure go overseas and be refused a meeting with a foreign head of state, publicly upbraided and sent home like an irrelevant flunkie?

I can't think of one.

Bolton came into the Middle East and made demands like he was the President which Bolton knew were clearly red lines for Erdogan -- guaranteeing the safety of the Syrian Kurds.

And he did this from Jerusalem.

The insult couldn't be plainer. The lack of Bolton's self-awareness and understanding of the situation was embarrassing. And it left Erdogan the perfect opportunity to call out the Trump Administration's policies as beholden to a foreign power, Israel.


africoman , 59 minutes ago link

Why Israel so bent on hell to take Syrian sovereign territory of Golan Height seized on so calleds

the Six-Day War in 1967, they did strategic move, still occupied and considers its own,

Bolton to Netanyahu: We have the best US-Israel relations in history

'Golan Heights forever ours!' Israel praises US for its vote against UN anti-occupation resolution

Damascus slams Israel's 'Judaization plans & illegal elections' in occupied Golan Heights

Netanyahu wants to redraw map in the Golan, Russia says – go to the UNSC

OIL is the last reason to occupy it and is it related to coming antichrist ?

I think it's more of spiritual than resource control. There are something more

For interested, Check this out:

Circle of Og : Return of the Nephilim and golan heights

GILGAL REPHAIM, CIRCLE OF OG KING OF BASHAN | - Fallen Angels

Circle of Og, Return of the Nephilm, Circle of the Giants

'Wheel Of Giants' And Mysterious Complex Of Circles - Prehistoric ...

did biblical giants build the circle of the refaim? - Christian Churches of ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QLz2H8xjc0

Deuteronomy 4:43 Bezer in the wilderness on the plateau belonging ...

What do the Golan Heights, Hebron and the Gaza Strip have in ...

yerfej , 37 minutes ago link

Excuse me but Israel won the war and as such can keep the gains.

africoman , 32 minutes ago link

No,

In November 2018, the US rejected a symbolic UN resolution calling on Israel to end its occupation of the Golan Heights.

The resolution passed with 151 votes in favor, 14 abstentions and only two votes against – the US and Israel itself

They call it, "Occupied" for no reason

Gaza also an example but joos kept slicing it out ever since intalled there.

yerfej , 12 minutes ago link

Well yes and I held a conference with resolutions in my backyard over some beers and it resulted in calling out the occupation as the spoils of war. The Syrians will just have to suck it up. Everyone else who pays attention to the bleating of ****** morons at the UN should realize the backyard beer occupation resolution trumps all.

fiddy pence haff pound , 1 hour ago link

" The lack of Bolton's self-awareness and understanding of the situation was embarrassing. And it left Erdogan the perfect opportunity to call out the Trump Administration's policies as beholden to a foreign power, Israel. "

This fits into my theory regarding Trump as a good boss. He obviously could not avoid

hiring Bolton, as Trump's balancing act goes on. Bolton is an old PNAC petty potentate,

and he obviously believes that triumphalist drivel from 2000. So, Bolton obviously

thought he could deke around Trump and defy him and walked right into this act

of political suicide.

He'l be fired when the time is right. He's too connected to get beat up like Sessions.

Trump will have to lever Bolton out using his own mustache and with the appropriate

backing. That's going to easier now that Bolton danced a jig in Jerusalm.

[Jan 14, 2019] Its official: was of terrorism was replaced by war on populism

Jan 14, 2019 | www.unz.com

Like that scene in Orwell's 1984 where the Party switches official enemies right in the middle of the Hate Week rally, the War on Terror was officially canceled and replaced by the War on Populism. Or all right, it wasn't quite that abrupt. But seriously, go back and scan the news. Note how the "Islamic terrorist threat" we had been conditioned to live in fear of on a daily basis since 2001 seemed to just vanish into thin air. Suddenly, the "existential threat" we were facing was "neo-nationalism," "illiberalism," or the pejorative designator du jour, "populism."

[Jan 14, 2019] Ship of Fools How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution by Tucker Carlson

Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Amazon Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars October 2, 2018

Don't drink and read

Don't drink wine and read this book, you'll get angry and make posts on social media that are completely accurate and your friends will hate you.

[Jan 13, 2019] Mitt Romney, Commander of the Fake Internationalists by Doug Bandow

Notable quotes:
"... Mitt Romney, Commander of the Fake Internationalists Newly-inaugurated Senator has been promoted to standard-bearer for the bipartisan War Party, filling in for John McCain. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of ..."
Jan 10, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Mitt Romney, Commander of the Fake Internationalists Newly-inaugurated Senator has been promoted to standard-bearer for the bipartisan War Party, filling in for John McCain.

No surprise: Senator Mitt Romney does not like President Donald Trump, as he recently explained in The Washington Post . But what, one wonders, was the former GOP presidential candidate thinking two years ago when he supped with the man he now claims to deplore while seeking an appointment as secretary of state?

Much of Romney's complaint is over manners. Yes, the president is a boor. Most people, including many of Trump's supporters, recognize that. Trump won not because of his etiquette but because of what he stood for -- and against.

Romney also defended The Blob, Washington's bipartisan foreign policy establishment. In his article attacking the president, he offered the usual vacuous bromides that characterize the interventionist consensus, which poses as internationalism but with plenty of bombing raids, illegal occupations, and nation-building. Most importantly, this perspective presumes permanent American domination, irrespective of cost.

Romney wrote: "America has long been looked to for leadership. Our economic and military strength was part of that, of course, but our enduring commitment to principled conduct in foreign relations, and to the rights of all people to freedom and equal justice, was even more esteemed." Indeed, "The world needs American leadership, and it is in America's interest to provide it. A world led by authoritarian regimes is a world -- and an America -- with less prosperity, less freedom, less peace."

In fact, Romney appears more committed to dependence on allies than American leadership. For him, these are two sides of the same coin. The only alternative he sees to Washington in control is the bad guys leading.

Related is Romney's apparent belief that foreign policy is fixed, irrespective of circumstance: the very same U.S.-dominated alliances created in 1950 are needed today. Although America's friends have raced ahead economically, politically, even militarily, Washington must forever treat them as helpless derelicts. For instance, Russia, a weakened declining power, faces the U.S. and Europe -- which together have more than 20 times its GDP. Yet Romney sees Moscow as the greatest threat facing America. It is 1945 all over again.

Romney's most important omission is Iraq. After the war there turned bad, he remained silent about his support for it. The Iraq disaster is an important reason why Trump won and other Republicans, including Romney, lost. In 2008, Americans rejected John McCain, the very symbol of promiscuous war-making. Four years later, Romney criticized President Barack Obama for leaving Iraq too soon, by which the Republican nominee probably meant leaving at any time. In saying he would keep more troops in Iraq, he ignored the fact that the Iraqis had refused to negotiate a status of forces agreement with the Bush administration.

Romney also failed to mention Afghanistan, both as a presidential candidate in 2012 and senator in 2019. After all, what good can be said for entering the 18th year of nation-building in a region of little strategic interest? As for Syria, last November, Romney predictably denounced as "recklessness in the extreme" exiting a multi-sided civil war in a country never important to America.

Whose Side is Mitt Romney On? Robert Kagan's Jungle Book of Forever War

Now Romney is being touted as the new standard-bearer for the bipartisan War Party, filling in for John McCain. Bloomberg columnist Hal Brands theorized that Romney was attempting to "position himself as heir to John McCain as the congressional conscience of U.S. diplomacy" (defined as advocating policies designed to prolifically kill and destroy).

Towards this effort, Romney is articulating "a renewed Republican internationalism based on opposition to aggressive authoritarian regimes." Brands celebrates Romney's Russophobia, saying he "deserves credit for being anti-Russia before being anti-Russia was cool." No hint that the U.S. might have contributed to Moscow's hostility through the aggressive "internationalism" of Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama -- violating commitments not to expand NATO, dismantling Moscow's Slavic friend Serbia, and encouraging violent regime change against an elected government that neighbored Russia. After all, equivalent Russian intervention in Mexico would have triggered an extremely hostile reaction in Washington.

Neoconservative Max Boot lauded Romney for throwing "down the gauntlet to President Trump." Indeed, argued Boot, "it now falls upon Romney to champion the cause of principled conservatism in Washington." Boot hoped the freshman senator would lead a general opposition and seemed especially pleased at Romney's support for the interventionist status quo.

Yet the passion-less Romney is a poor substitute for the perennially angry McCain. It is difficult to imagine Romney leading Lindsey Graham and Joseph Lieberman on another apocalyptic ride, demanding that death and destruction be visited upon an enemy du jour. Indeed, Romney admitted as much, complained The New York Times , which noted that he said he "would only speak out against Mr. Trump on issues of 'great significance,' which means not much."

Worse, Romney is a typical denizen of Washington and lacks any connection to the disastrous consequences of his policies. Give McCain credit: he and his sons served in the military. Not Romney. He received four deferments during the Vietnam War, explaining that he "had other plans." This sounds eerily like Dick Cheney, who said his five deferments reflected "other priorities."

Moreover, none of Romney's five sons served. That is, of course, their prerogative. But their decision further insulated Romney from any consequences of his policies. His response to questions about their lack of service: "One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I'd be a great president." Did Romney believe working for him was as dangerous as fighting Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah? Or that his personal interest in winning the election was as important as the nation winning a war?

My friend William Smith at the Center for the Study of Statesmanship at Catholic University argued that Romney's article "is another clear sign that the bipartisan political establishment is largely oblivious to the terrible tragedy of wartime casualties disproportionately inflicted on certain communities." Candidate Trump did particularly well in states that so suffered. Complained Smith: "What is astonishing is that, after all this tragedy, Romney offers only cliched neoconservative bromides to the many heartbroken communities across the nation."

However, The Blob, which dominates foreign policy under both parties, poses an even larger problem. These policymakers consider permanent war to be America's natural condition. They seek to suppress dissident views to ensure united support for permanent war. Anyone who hesitates to back every proposed new intervention is demonized and marginalized.

The favorite technique, recently employed by Frederick Kagan in The Hill, is to call opponents, irrespective of their actual positions, "isolationists." Thus did Kagan urge left and right "internationalists" -- meaning military interventionists -- to work together to defend "the principle that the United States must remain actively engaged in the world," by which he meant warring without end on multiple countries.

Exclaimed Kagan: "The isolationists who have condemned the United States involvement in the Middle East and the rest of the world for decades are about to get their wish. We will witness what the world looks like when left to its own devices."

Egads. Imagine what might have happened had the U.S. not intervened in the Lebanese Civil War, armed Turkey to kill tens of thousands of Kurds and destroy thousands of Kurdish villages, invaded Iraq and triggered sectarian conflict, fostered civil war in Libya and the chaos that followed, supported decades of violent occupation over millions of Palestinians by Israel, backed murderous Saudi Arabia in Bahrain and Yemen, supported a coup against Iran's democratically elected government and a brutal invasion backed by chemical weapons against Iran's Islamist regime, actively underwritten tyranny across the Middle East, and tried to sort out the Syrian Civil War. Something bad might have happened.

Yeah.

In Syria, Kagan views as "isolationist" the withdrawal of an illegal military deployment that risks violent confrontation with Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Russia over minor stakes. In contrast, "internationalism" means war everywhere all the time, especially in a country like Syria.

Trump, complained Kagan, is leaving "Afghanistan for no clear reason whatsoever." No reason other than Washington long ago having achieved its objective of degrading and displacing al-Qaeda and punishing the Taliban for hosting al-Qaeda. And eventually having recognized, after more than 17 years passed, trillions of dollars were spent, and thousands of lives were lost, that using force to create a liberal democracy in Central Asia is a fool's errand. Why leave, indeed?

It has oft been recognized that Donald Trump is a flawed vehicle to achieve almost any foreign policy end. However, he still possesses far more common sense than Mitt Romney. It is time to rescue "internationalism" from those who love humanity so much that they would destroy the world in order to save it.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire . MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR

Attack of the Pork Hawks Does It Really Matter If North Korea Denuclearizes? Hide 20 comments 20 Responses to Mitt Romney, Commander of the Fake Internationalists

EliteCommInc. January 9, 2019 at 11:01 pm

"No reason other than Washington long ago having achieved its objective of degrading and displacing al-Qaeda and punishing the Taliban for hosting al-Qaeda."

One should avoid the back pedal here. the Taliban did not host Al Quaeda in the manner your reference suggests.

John_M , , January 9, 2019 at 11:06 pm
I truly voted against Romney when he ran for president because of his omnidirectional belligerence. I also didn't like his vulture capitalism style (and I did technical due diligence for venture capital activities as a side line).

I don't see that he has gotten any wiser.

Own Goal , , January 10, 2019 at 2:22 am
Romney just guaranteed that he won't get the nomination. Amazing, really, stupid and gratuitous.

He could at the least have shown a little "growth" in the direction of populist disgust with the wasteful, reckless, failed wars, not to mention concerns about the growth of government and corporate mass surveillance of the public, and the continuing unholy collaboration between Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Washington in ripping off taxpayers and importing cheap labor to take American jobs.

Not Mitt. He seems to think he's running for president of our utterly discredited, pseudo-meritocratic "Establishment".

steve mckinney , , January 10, 2019 at 2:48 am
Let's all thank the knuckle-headed Utahns for delivering another unimaginative empty suit to the Nation's State House. Sure, Trump is often a boor, and unmistakably human, but give me a man-child with conviction and Devil-may-care determination over a dapper dolt whose ideas are contrived platitudes and whose passion is a Macbeth-like obsession with stature and power any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Well written Mr. Bandow! Keep fighting the good fight.
polistra , , January 10, 2019 at 4:10 am
I get the sense that the "isolationist" line doesn't work any more. It was a commonly used rhetorical weapon 10 years ago, and it effectively silenced opposition. Now it's not used much, and it seems to be ignored or derided when it is used. Most Americans understand now that maintaining and expanding an empire is destroying us.
Aunt Lila , , January 10, 2019 at 7:44 am
You really don't get Romney, do you. Who are you to decided what anyone sees or feels. Do you think you could use the word seems like a professional journalist. I don't construe
Romney that way. You SEEM to put words in his mouth and thought in his head. Please be professional.
Dan Green , , January 10, 2019 at 8:12 am
My take is Mitt see's himself as a Gerald Ford calming effect, for this 4 year disruption, the Swamp battles with. The Deep state needs an impeachment win and soon. With that said it will be ever difficult for the Beltway to change Americans perception , they don't trust the government.
Kolya Krassotkin , , January 10, 2019 at 10:23 am
For someone so smart Romney should realize that Americans will reject him (again), when he takes up the mantle of McCain (again) as quickly as they did the last time. But that he fails to realize that substance trumps form, which is why 67 million Americans voted for the President, demonstrates what a shallow narcisst and sociopath he is. I mean, it's okay to rob your neighbor so long as you say "please" and "thank you," isn't it?
Stephen J. , , January 10, 2019 at 11:31 am
The writer states: "Now Romney is being touted as the new standard-bearer for the bipartisan War Party, filling in for John McCain."

I believe The "War Party" are:
"The Maniacs of Militarism"

The maniacs of militarism are creating wars
Countries are bombed by warmongering whores
Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and other countries too
Are hell holes of the earth, "The work," of this insane crew

Enabled by politicians in positions of power
These well dressed war criminals hide and cower
The generals salute their political masters
Then the brainwashed obey these bemedaled disasters

Cities are destroyed and reduced to rubble
Where are the perpetrators that created all this trouble?
They are residing in luxury and given fancy titles
War crimes trials are needed, and are so vital

But this is not happening: the system is corrupted
And these evil beings, by some are worshiped
Blood-soaked villains that never do the fighting
They are the "experts" that do the inciting

They are the producers of death and destruction
Others are profiteers of all the bloody actions
Missiles, bombs and horrendous weapons
There is no end to the endless aggression

Millions are dead, and millions are homeless
Millions are refugees, and all this is atrocious
Once they had jobs, families, and homes as well
Then their countries were bombed by the agents from hell

Setting the world on fire is what these war arsonists do
The money for their depredations comes from me and you
They have made us all accessories to their criminal acts
Our Taxes are the blood money and that is a fact

Will the people ever say: "We have had enough"?
And put all these villains in secure handcuffs
Then lock them up in maximum security prisons
Then, we can say "goodbye" to the maniacs of militarism
[more info at link below]
http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2017/04/the-maniacs-of-militarism.html
-- --
And:
"More War "

More war is needed to keep armies trained and employed
More wars are needed so that countries can be destroyed
More killing, bombing, destruction and death
More of this is needed until the victims have nothing left
[read more at link below]

https://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2017/08/more-war.html

prodigalson , , January 10, 2019 at 1:21 pm
Romney is such an empty suit i'm not sure if he isn't weakening his position just by virtue that, he Romney, supports it.

Does this guy inspire anyone to any emotion other than revulsion? Along with Hillary, they both strike me both as elites who want to become president, not from any actual passions or desires, but because they've run out of other things to add to their C.V.

The only thing I can say with certainty that Mitt Romney believes in, is Mitt Romney. So I'm intensely skeptical that ANYONE in America, aside from the most firebrand resistance types, are going to take anything coming out of this corporate drone's mouth with any seriousness. And even for the resistance types the support would equally follow a labrador retriever, just so long as it opposed Trump, so Mitt doesn't even have that thin thread of loyatly going for him.

I guess that leaves him with the neocons as BFFs. They're welcome to each other.

One Guy , , January 10, 2019 at 1:32 pm
Why are we ragging on Romney? Is it because he had the audacity to criticize Trump? Shouldn't we wait until he actually does something bad before ragging on him? Has he lied 6,000 times in the last few years, for example? Did he refuse to rake the forests?
Mike Clements , , January 10, 2019 at 2:54 pm
Such trashing of Romney becomes a real challenge for me.

I can't decide if it's the fevered imaginings or the straw man arguments that disappoint me the most.

Tim , , January 10, 2019 at 3:34 pm
I think Romney is simply miffed that the boorish Trump became president and he did not and sadly, he may be running for president again. I think someone used the word revulsion about Romney. I approve. It's ironic the boorish Trump isn't nearly as revolting as the urbane Mitt.
Jeeves , , January 10, 2019 at 4:09 pm
@Mike Clements
For me it's the straw man arguments that are most egregious. As an Arizonan, I knew John McCain, and Romney is no McCain (whose like we will never see again, if we're lucky).

Just to single out one objection to Mr. Bandow's argument: Romney didn't refer to the SOFA, which supposedly required Obama to abandon Iraq, for the very good reason that Leon Panetta, who should know, has said that Obama, with plenty of time to do it, made no effort whatsoever to re-negotiate the SOFA 2011 deadline. Panetta regrets this and so do I.

fabian , , January 10, 2019 at 4:34 pm
Romney is the epitome of the decay of the USA. Further, he shows the complete inability of the Republican party to choose the correct casting. After Bush and Iraq they propose McPain. After the Great Financial Crisis they propose Mittens. It's akin to cast Dany de Vito to play Casanova. When Trump is gone, this party is finished.
Kolya Krassotkin , , January 10, 2019 at 5:06 pm
I approve. It's ironic the boorish Trump isn't nearly as revolting as the urbane Mitt.

That Americans are revolted more by Romney than by Trump, in fact, speaks well for them. All morally mature folk should be repelled more by a polite, urbane, well-scrubbed pirate, who made his fortune destroying people's lives and wealth than by a loud-talking, crude womanizer, who creates wealth and, in fact, shows his concern for the people below him more than the polite, charming, well-bred pirate.

Bacon , , January 10, 2019 at 10:11 pm
As I understand it, Romney's saying we need more Middle East wars, more Wall Street bailouts, and more immigrants.

I think we already knew that Romney wants those things. It's why we don't want Romney.

Also, it's its unnecessary to counter Kagan's arguments. He's not taken seriously any more. Too many bad and wrong judgments about important things.

rta , , January 11, 2019 at 10:09 am
@Jeeves, Obama would have stayed in Iraq if the Iraqi's had allowed us to continue to kill with impunity. Thankfully, they said no. And why on earth would you regret us not negotiating a new SOFA?
kswc , , January 11, 2019 at 11:24 am
Mitt Romney is the Republican's answer to the Democrat's John Kerry.
WorkingClass , , January 11, 2019 at 5:06 pm
If Utah has a problem with Trump they could have elected a Democrat.

Romney is obsolete. Never Trump Republicans are sinking in a tar pit. Romney cannot be nominated much less elected even if Trump does not run. He can help with the impeachment of Trump if it comes to that. But again, a Democrat would be more useful.

[Jan 13, 2019] Those Porky Pentagon Earmarks Never Really Went Away

Notable quotes:
"... What's 5 billion dollars for a largely useless wall compared to this. The mind boggles. ..."
"... "People say the Pentagon does not have a strategy. They are wrong. The Pentagon does have a strategy; it is 'Don't interrupt the money flow, add to it.'" -Col. John R. Boyd (USAF Ret.) John Boyd (Fighter Pilot, Tactician, Strategist, Conceptual Designer, Reformer) died in 1997. ..."
Jan 13, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

about:blank

Those Porky Pentagon Earmarks Never Really Went Away In fact, the new scheme is even more venal, underhanded, and wasteful. By Winslow T. Wheeler January 11, 2019

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Michael Hogue In past years, Congress has become notorious for adding dubious items we call "pork" to spending bills. That way, senators and House members can advertise themselves to their constituents as bringing home the bacon, while picking up a few campaign contributions from thankful contractors along the way.

This practice was particularly notorious in defense bills, especially, and only became worse during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. After they were exposed spending billions of taxpayer dollars for earmarked projects like museums, artificial lungs, and VIP air transports for senior generals, bureaucrats, and lawmakers, Congress supposedly reformed the practice of earmarking -- first in 2007 by the Democrats in the majority, and again in 2011 by the Republicans in the majority, who claimed to have banned them altogether.

In truth, both parties in Congress have simply swapped the pork system for a scheme that is even more venal and underhanded. They've circumvented their own rules and are putting even more pork in defense bills than before. They hypocritically proclaim that their bills are earmark-free, while simultaneously boasting about the pork to constituents. They deceptively pay for the hidden earmarks by raiding essential accounts for soldiers' pay and military readiness, and they readily accept hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions from the very contractors who received huge chunks of the billions of dollars that Congress added.

The new pork system is deceptive and complex. It took all of my 31 years of experience on Capitol Hill to fully unravel it, with the help of some excellent research from two outstanding watchdog groups, Taxpayers for Common Sense and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.

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To explain, let's start with one of the more brazen acts of hypocrisy.

On October 22, Niels Lesniewski reported in Roll Call that 10 senators from both parties announced in a letter to the House and Senate leadership that they wanted to strengthen the existing ban on earmarks and make it impossible for anyone to "bring back earmarks" as President Donald Trump and others have suggested . Their new bill , they said, would impose even more serious procedural blocks on any earmark in any bill. But the bill, the senators' press release, and their letter are a sham. Another Roll Call reporter pointed out that gimmicks and various porky items in a new Department of Defense appropriations bill gave the lie to the idea that contemporary bills were free of earmarks. And Taxpayers for Common Sense and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance noted at the same time that the new DoD appropriations bill, just signed into law, was already stuffed with hundreds of earmarks costing billions of dollars.

The explanation of Congress's new, more deceptive and expensive pork system starts with Trump declaring that "America is being respected again" on September 28, while signing an appropriations bill into law that provided $675 billion to the Pentagon. The bill was passed in the House of Representatives with the vote of four of every five House members and in the Senate with almost nine of every 10 senators.

Speech after speech credited the bill with solving the problem of planes that cannot fly, ships with repairs delayed for years, and pay increases for soldiers who deserve more for their service.

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Notably, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the top-ranking Democrat on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, praised the bill he helped to write, saying , "The priority of this defense bill is supporting our troops . This bill shows what Democrats and Republicans can accomplish when we work across the aisle to solve problems." The chairman of the subcommittee, Republican Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, who had an even larger hand in shaping the bill, said , "I am proud to present this legislation to my colleagues and urge their strong support."

The issues they didn't talk about

Despite numerous speeches in the congressional record praising the defense spending bill, important details attracted not one word of discussion. The bill was riddled with earmarks, and the very pay and military readiness accounts that member after member praised were being raided to pay for it. This is hardly new. In my three decades on Capitol Hill, this behavior was typical -- and even self-styled "pork busters" including, I regret to say, the recently passed Senator John McCain, were known to participate. Despite the rule changes in 2007 and 2011, nothing ultimately changed for the better. Today, the money flow for earmarks has greatly increased, and the process that was once evident with a little inspection has been almost totally obscured.

What earmarks? The legislation has none; it says so. The joint explanatory statement (JES) for the defense spending bill, which purports to clarify the statutory text, contains the following on page two : "The conference agreement does not contain any congressional earmarks as defined by clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the House of Representatives."

That rule defines an earmark as spending specifically requested by a member of Congress for "an entity, or targeted to a specific State, locality or congressional district ." But simply fuzz up the authorship, recipient, or location of an added spending item, and it transforms from an earmark to a "congressional special interest item." There are hundreds of those, most of them buried in sparsely worded tables in the JES.

But these congressional special interest items are important: the conference committee that wrote the JES went to some length to cite them to the Pentagon for special treatment; they made the congressional special interest items subject to special rules to prevent DoD from reducing the amount to be spent. That conference committee, appointed to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, consisted of senior members of the same House and Senate defense appropriations subcommittees who wrote the original bills, such as Senators Durbin and Shelby.

Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS) reported that 68 procurement programs in this defense bill received $7.5 billion in new, unrequested spending, a large portion going to the Lockheed Corporation. These are blatant earmarks, as explained by TCS, which also pointed out that the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee added $5.6 billion to the procurement account for these items, while its Senate counterpart added a more generous $6.2 billion. The bill was "compromised" by the conference committee at a level above both: $7.5 billion.

The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) tabulated all the add-ons in the bill -- not just the 68 in Procurement -- above the Pentagon's request. Again, the Senate Defense Subcommittee proved more generous than the House, and again the final conference was higher than either subcommittee's recommendation. TPA found 679 earmarks costing $19.3 billion.

Pigs in a poke

Are these earmarks all pork, that is, poorly justified spending slipped into bills to enable a member to boast that he or she can "bring home the bacon" for jobs back home or to appease defense corporations?

The authors of this bill don't want you to know. In the past, earmarks would specify things like "Intrepid Naval Museum," "Fort Richardson Running Trail," or "Fort Huachuca Readiness Center" as the recipient, and for a short period, committee reports identified them and their House or Senate sponsors.

Now, none of that is done. Instead, sparsely worded tables contain vague entries like "Program Increase." Many add a hint such as designating the increase for "modernization" or "silicon fiber research." But there is nothing to indicate the state or district, the contractor, or any other specifics. Hence, they do not technically qualify as "earmarks." However, after the bill is law, congressional staff contact the Pentagon to make sure it knows where the money is to go -- and what will happen if it doesn't.

The rules meant to reform earmarking have made the practice worse. It is now more opaque, and it gobbles up more money than ever. The $19.3 billion TPA found in 2019 absolutely dwarfs the amounts that I and others, such as the Congressional Research Service and the Committee Against Government Waste , found in these bills before the so-called reforms took hold.

Perhaps the biggest joke is the recent debate on whether it would be a good idea to "bring back earmarks." They never went away. The hypocrisy of the members who opine on this is only exceeded by the cluelessness of the press and the president, who raised it as something to ponder. Then there's the mendacity of those 10 senators who designed their phony legislation to pretend earmarks are gone and must not be allowed to come back. The last section of their bill reads as follows : "(e) APPLICATION. -- This section shall not apply to any authorization of appropriations to a Federal entity if such authorization is not specifically targeted to a State, locality, or congressional district."

Yes, you are reading that right: the bill exempts any earmark that fuzzes up the targeted location, and under the existing system that would be all of them. The 10 authors of this fraud are the following: Senators Claire McCaskill, Jeff Flake, Pat Toomey, Mike Lee, Ben Sasse, Rob Portman, Joni Ernst, James Lankford, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz.

Too big to be hidden

Despite the carefully applied opacity, some of the biggest giveaways and their authors are clear. The House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee chairwoman, Texas Republican Kay Granger, was widely identified as behind $726 million added for six additional F-35Cs to be built by Lockheed in her Fort Worth congressional district.

But is this an example of pork? Granger and official Pentagon witnesses would surely testify that more F-35Cs are urgently needed. Others, including myself and colleagues at the Project on Government Oversight, will tell you that the F-35 is an ineffective boondoggle and is not ready for initial operational testing, let alone expanded production. However, despite many critical Government Accountability Office evaluations and embarrassing official and leaked reports from the Pentagon, the majority of Congress rejects such advice and welcomes more F-35 spending. Pork is in the eye of the beholder.

However, such easily identified earmarks are few and far between.

Trump requested $676 billion for the defense bill; the final Conference Report reduced that by $1.1 billion to $674.9 billion. How was the additional $19.3 billion found by TPA for 679 earmarks stuffed into a bill that cut spending?

While publicly touting the "largest pay raise for troops in nearly a decade" and claiming the bill "improves military readiness," Defense Subcommittee Chairman Shelby, Ranking Member Durbin, and other authors actually cut the budget for both.

They reduced the Pentagon's request for military pay, the Military Personnel account, by $2.1 billion. That's right: while praising themselves for supporting higher pay, they actually cut the budget for it. The request was $148.2 billion; the bill provided $146.1 billion.

Praising their handiwork on supporting military readiness, they cut the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) request from the Pentagon by $5.8 billion. O&M is a huge diverse account, but it is also the heart and core of spending for training, maintenance, spare parts, military depots, and everything else that means "readiness." The Pentagon requested $199.5 billion; it got $193.7 billion.

The way they cut both the Military Personnel and O&M accounts was notably duplicitous. A veteran journalist, John M. Donnelly, reported in Roll Call that most cuts were obtusely justified with explanations such as "Revised Estimate," "Historical Unobligated Balances," and "Not Properly Accounted."

My own research shows $809 million of cuts in those "Revised Estimates." They are completely unexplained in any text and neither committee report from the House or Senate appropriations committees mentions any such reduction. They appear to have been an invention of the conference committee.

When I worked for a Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee member (Republican Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico), I observed staffers being instructed to phony up reductions with just such a ruse. In one case, to make room for all senators' earmarks, the subcommittee chairman, Republican Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, directed the staff to use the earmark dollar total to determine the cuts to be announced. I suspect this crude offset technique underlies the "revised estimates" that appeared out of nowhere.

In both R&D and Procurement, they cut $1.5 billion using "Historical Unobligated Balances" or "Historical Unobligations" as a reason. An unobligated balance is money that DoD has planned but not yet spent: the program may be behind schedule, or it may be on schedule, but the timetable for sending out the money has not occurred yet. Here, some unidentified actor took the money away without a word of explanation as to what parts of the program were being lost or why.

The "Not Properly Accounted" justification meant $706 million in unexplained cuts.

Another term in the bill is "Rate Adjustments"; they cut $124 million. How is this different from "Revised Estimate" or "Historical Unobligated Balances?" The House Defense Subcommittee contains not a word of explanation. The Senate Defense Subcommittee report contains assertions of "Improving funds management: Rate adjustments," but that is all the explanation you get.

Further indecipherable cuts included "Unjustified Growth," another $1.1 billion; "Excess Growth," $468 million; "Underexecution," $134 million; and "Insufficient Justification," $35 million.

Yet another ruse was to transfer $2 billion out of the O&M budget to Title IX of the bill that funds the "Global War on Terrorism." But there, only $1.4 billion of the transferred $2 billion is actually retained. The transfer is a shell game.

There are other ruses in other parts of the bill; the details are mind-bending, but you get the point.

They were cutting military pay and readiness accounts so they could add to the DoD Research and Development (R&D) and the Procurement accounts. That's where the vast majority of the earmarks -- rather, congressional special interest items -- are.

In R&D they added $3.9 billion to the Pentagon's request. The account went from $91 billion to $94.9 billion. In Procurement, they added $4.8 billion to the Pentagon's request of $130.6 billion. Some of the earmarks in these accounts were huge. The controversial F-35 got over $2 billion in several earmarks, the notorious Littoral Combat Ship got $950 million, unrequested C-130s got $640 million, and so on.

Other unspoken consequences

While money over the years was being redirected to earmarks, something very different was happening at the other end of the world -- among our operating military forces.

On January 8, 2014, 29-year-old Liuetenant Wes Van Dorn died when his MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter, beset with maintenance problems the Navy had deferred, caught fire due to frayed wires and a leaking fuel line. He had been battling for three years to get adequate spare parts and much-needed refurbishment work to bring these old and unreliable helicopters up to minimally safe flying condition. His was only one of several lethal accidents involving the MH-53E resulting from inadequate maintenance, as reported by Mike Hixenbaugh and others in the The Virginian-Pilot and in a new documentary by investigative reporter Zachary Stauffer.

Such accidents resulted from raiding O&M money, such as in 2010 when, for example, Democratic Defense Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha of Pennsylvania cut O&M by a net $2.3 billion to stuff money into earmarks.

Advertising the earmarks they said didn't exist

Though their legislation proclaims earmarks banned, the authors of the defense bill changed their tune when they self-advertised to constituents.

In a press release from his personal office, Senator Dick Durbin declared , "From Rock Island Arsenal to Scott Airforce Base and Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois [t]his bill safeguards Illinois defense jobs by continuing investments in our state's defense installations and initiatives." Durbin took credit for funding nine programs in Illinois, costing $2.8 billion, most of it for Boeing -- headquartered in Chicago and the producer of the Navy's F/A-18 Super Hornet and MQ-25 Stingray refueling drone.

Subcommittee Chairman Shelby claimed he helped acquire $8.3 billion for 25 projects in Alabama.

Granger claimed she helped win over $12.3 billion for Fort Worth -- including $9.4 billion for Lockheed's F-35, $1.8 billion for Lockheed's C-130J, and $1.1 billion for the Bell Boeing V-22.

Note that they each claimed credit not just for their add-ons but for the entire program expense, including both the Pentagon-requested money and money spent outside their states or districts. For example, the C-130 is assembled in Marietta, Georgia, not Durbin's Illinois, and the F-18's engines are contracted by General Electric in Ohio. In fact, the entire F-18 is fabricated in Missouri; Durbin is advertising himself not to workers but to the Boeing headquarters.

The ranking member on the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Pete J. Visclosky of Indiana, did not participate in these overblown claims. His website shows no press release listing defense budget goodies for his Indiana district.

The under the table incentives

On the other hand, Visclosky was no shrinking violet when it came to accepting campaign contributions from the corporations benefiting from the legislation's earmarks. OpenSecrets.org, a project of the Center for Responsive Politics that documents federal campaign contributions, shows that for his 2018 reelection campaign, Visclosky accepted $347,933 from defense-related donors, $59,800 of it from Lockheed . The $347,933 constituted 27 percent of Visclosky's total campaign contributions , reported as of November 2018. For these and other efforts, Visclosky is getting a promotion: with the Democrats taking over the House next year, he is slated to be defense subcommittee chairman.

Chairwoman Granger accepted $397,560 from defense aerospace and electronics donors, constituting 17 percent of her larger total of $2,371,044 in reported contributions. Granger's contributions from Lockheed were more than twice Visclosky's: $136,360 .

The Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee ranking member, Senator Durbin, does not run for reelection until 2020. The OpenSecrets.org data on his last election in 2014 show that Durbin accepted $236,549 from defense aerospace donors, making him the Senate's top beneficiary of such donations at the time. Adding other defense contribution categories, he took in $455,799 .

Senator Shelby's total reported defense-related contributions for his reelection in 2016, before he became defense subcommittee chairman, were $334,800. Commensurate with his elevation to chairman in 2018, he received $1,048,000 , nearly tripling his defense-related total, and he is four years away from his next campaign in 2022.

Granger, Durbin, and the others will resent any implication that their actions are influenced by the generosity of Lockheed or other defense contractors, lobbyists, and PACs. Indeed, campaign finance laws, as written by Congress, make it hard to conclude that contributions illegally influence congressional decision-making, and a recent Supreme Court ruling makes it even more difficult.

The bottom line

All this adds up to a Pentagon budget process in Congress that is:

Dishonest : The bill and its authors proclaim it is free of earmarks, but it has 679 of them costing $19.3 billion according to research from an independent group. Deceptive : The bill's authors, with huge support from the rest of Congress, proclaim their dedication to better pay for the troops and military readiness, and yet cut those very accounts by almost $8 billion. The reductions are arbitrary and vague, and are used to offset those 679 earmarks. The senators and representatives circumvent their own rules on earmarks by fuzzing up sponsors, recipients, and locations, making the entire process opaque. Hypocritical : Imagine the gall of nine Republicans and one Democrat with their bill to profess earmarks gone and making sure they don't "come back." There is nothing new about members of Congress posing as pork reformers and actually being pork enablers; however, these 10 assume an unprecedented level of cluelessness among the press; in some but not all corners, they were right to do so. Mercenary : $19.3 billion in earmarks makes rich material for senators and representatives to advertise themselves, with considerable exaggeration, as successful porkers for their states and districts. They also accept hundreds of thousands of dollars from the contractors, lobbyists, and PACs that benefit from the millions, if not billions, of dollars that the Pentagon never requested.

All this is not illegal, but according to common English, it is venal.

Winslow T. Wheeler worked in the U.S. Senate for Republican and Democratic senators and in the Government Accountability Office on national security issues for 31 years. After he left the Senate in 2002, he ran the Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information, which moved to the Project on Government Oversight in 2012. He retired in 2016.

about:blank



HenionJD January 11, 2019 at 4:43 pm

What's 5 billion dollars for a largely useless wall compared to this. The mind boggles.
Minnesota Mary , , January 11, 2019 at 5:13 pm
This is a rather long article but well worth reading. I am sick of the Washington 2-Step dance.
Ed Lindgren , , January 11, 2019 at 7:48 pm
"People say the Pentagon does not have a strategy. They are wrong. The Pentagon does have a strategy; it is 'Don't interrupt the money flow, add to it.'" -Col. John R. Boyd (USAF Ret.) John Boyd (Fighter Pilot, Tactician, Strategist, Conceptual Designer, Reformer) died in 1997.
Taras 77 , , January 11, 2019 at 11:16 pm
This is a solid article by a very respected critic of the obscene defense spending and weapons programs. I believe Mr Wheeler early on was on this F-35 debacle, labeling it the flying swiss army knife. (aplogies to the manufacturer of the knife and its fans.) Notable of recent are a series of feel good reports that the F-35 is combat ready, etc. Hopefully, the pilots of the F-35's will never have to face the real test.

Thank you, Mr Wheeler, for the continuation of exposing this fraud.

EliteCommInc. , , January 12, 2019 at 1:26 am
Deeply appreciated this article.
Brendan Sexton , , January 13, 2019 at 1:56 pm
Now that we are well into this new era of draining the swamp, we are all over our heads in muck and democracy AND prosperity are in danger of drowning. Venal is awfully polite.

[Jan 13, 2019] Deep State neutered Trump: I have been FAR tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush or Clinton. Maybe tougher than any other President

He essentially became a Republican Obama, save Nobel Peace Price. If Obama was/is a CIA-democrat, this guy is a Deep State controlled republican. In any case he betrayed his voters in a way that resembles Obama betrayal. One has a fake slogan "change we can believe in" that other equally fake "Make [middle] America Great Again" (which means restoration of well-being of middle class and working class in my book, not the continuation of Obama foreign wars, and tax cuts for for corporations and super rich.
And that means that he lost a considerable part of his electorate: the anti-war republicans and former Sanders supporters. He might do good and not to try to run in 2020. He definitely is no economic nationalist. Compare his policies with Tucker Carlson Jan 2, 2019 speech to see the difference. He is "national neoliberal" which rejects parts of neoliberal globalization based on treaties and prefer to bully nations to compliance that favor the US interests instead of treaties.
And his "fight" with the Deep State resemble so closely to complete and unconditional surrender, that you might have difficulties to distinguish between the two.
Most of his appointees would make Hillary proud. That that extends beyond rabid neocons like Haley, Mattis, Bolton and Pompeo.
Notable quotes:
"... The Washington Post is without a doubt the most pro-establishment among all large mainstream publications, not only do they defend the narratives of the Deep State but actively attacks anyone who challenges them. ..."
"... Jeff Bezos owner of the Washington Post is also a contractor with the CIA and sits on a Pentagon advisory board all part of doing everything he can to cozy up and ingratiate himself to the establishment on which his empire is built. ..."
"... It's really sad that people in the public believe this stuff. It's insane and ridiculous. We're living in an Insane Asylum and the ones who should be there for the safety of themselves and others are walking around giving orders to Media and USG, fomenting war and making a mockery of laws and "normal behaviors. ..."
"... They flooded the news with the old Helsinki/Putin stuff to hide the real news. Lisa Page's testimony revealed that John Carlin, Mueller's former chief of staff was running the Russia investigation from the DOJ end, showing another conflict of Mueller's. Now Mueller is covering for two best friends, Comey and Carlin and he has to frame Trump to save them. ..."
"... The testimony also showed FBI David Bowditch was heavily involved, and Bowditch is now 2nd in command at the FBI and blocking the public release of witness testimony, and one reason for it is it reveals his involvement. ..."
"... It is also now revealed that John Brennan CIA had the dossier before the FBI, and the dossier was likely written by Nellie Ohr, who belonged to a CIA group, and then the dossier was laundered by Steele to look like foreign intelligence to get the Crossfire Hurricane investigation started on Trump. You would think it would be big news that Russians may have had nothing to do with the dossier but the media doesn't see it that way ..."
Jan 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Washington Post stating that he "has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details" of his discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin - telling Fox News host Jeanine Pirro in a phone interview that he would be willing to release the details of a private conversation in Helsinki last summer.

"I would. I don't care," Trump told Pirro, adding: "I'm not keeping anything under wraps. I couldn't care less."

"I mean, it's so ridiculous, these people making up," Trump said of the WaPo report.

The president referred to his roughly two-hour dialogue with Putin in Helsinki -- at which only the leaders and their translators were present -- as "a great conversation" that included discussions about "securing Israel and lots of other things."

"I had a conversation like every president does," Trump said Saturday. "You sit with the president of various countries. I do it with all countries." - Politico

In July an attempt by House Democrats to subpoena Trump's Helsinki interpreter was quashed by Republicans.

"The Washington Post is almost as bad, or probably as bad, as the New York Times," Trump said.

When Pirro asked Trump about a Friday night New York Times report that the FBI had opened an inquiry into whether he was working for Putin, Pirro asked Trump "Are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?"

"I think it's the most insulting thing I've ever been asked," Trump responded. "I think it's the most insulting article I've ever had written."

Trump went on an epic tweetstorm Saturday following the Times article, defending his 2017 firing of former FBI Director James Comey, and tweeting that he has been "FAR tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush or Clinton. Maybe tougher than any other President. At the same time, & as I have often said, getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. I fully expect that someday we will have good relations with Russia again!"

rumcho

Jeff Bezos paid $250 million for Washington Post, five years later he gets a government contract with the CIA for $600 million. Are you connecting the dots? You do the numbers. This is how fascism works. Bezos is a crony capitalist joker.

Anunnaki

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/01/the-trump-russia-scam-how-obama-enabled-the-fbi-to-spy-on-trump.html#more

is Trump waiting for Mueller to lay down his cards? Head him off at the pass and arrest Obama, Rice, Jarrett, Lynch, Comey, Rosenstein and McCabe all on day 1

best defense is a good offense. Make the narrative about Dem sedition not impending House impeachment hearings.

You are President, start acting like it. Make them fear you.

your re-election depends on Mike Obama not being your opponent.

Let it Go

WaPo, again?

The Washington Post is without a doubt the most pro-establishment among all large mainstream publications, not only do they defend the narratives of the Deep State but actively attacks anyone who challenges them.

Jeff Bezos owner of the Washington Post is also a contractor with the CIA and sits on a Pentagon advisory board all part of doing everything he can to cozy up and ingratiate himself to the establishment on which his empire is built. The article below delves into how WaPo is behind many of the big stories that manipulate America and moves the needle of public opinion in huge ways.

http://Washington-post-influence-and-power.html

MoralsAreEssential

It's really sad that people in the public believe this stuff. It's insane and ridiculous. We're living in an Insane Asylum and the ones who should be there for the safety of themselves and others are walking around giving orders to Media and USG, fomenting war and making a mockery of laws and "normal behaviors.

shadow54

They flooded the news with the old Helsinki/Putin stuff to hide the real news. Lisa Page's testimony revealed that John Carlin, Mueller's former chief of staff was running the Russia investigation from the DOJ end, showing another conflict of Mueller's. Now Mueller is covering for two best friends, Comey and Carlin and he has to frame Trump to save them.

The testimony also showed FBI David Bowditch was heavily involved, and Bowditch is now 2nd in command at the FBI and blocking the public release of witness testimony, and one reason for it is it reveals his involvement.

It is also now revealed that John Brennan CIA had the dossier before the FBI, and the dossier was likely written by Nellie Ohr, who belonged to a CIA group, and then the dossier was laundered by Steele to look like foreign intelligence to get the Crossfire Hurricane investigation started on Trump. You would think it would be big news that Russians may have had nothing to do with the dossier but the media doesn't see it that way.

Then there is the news that Fusion GPS worked with the Democracy Integrity Project and Knew Knowledge to run a fake Russian bots campaign against Roy Moore. The Democracy Integrity Project was started by Feinstein's aide and with New Knowledge wrote a report on Russian bots for the Senate Intelligence Committee. So the Senate Intelligence Committee hired creators of fake Russian bots to write a report on Russian bots.

[Jan 13, 2019] Ask your Senators if they've heard/read Browder's 2015 deposition in the Prevezon case

Jan 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

RobinG , says: July 24, 2018 at 4:59 am GMT

@exiled off mainstreet #BROWDERGATE

A perfectly good article, I'm sure, but why diffuse ourselves [and engender feelings of fear and hopelessness as you express] when a strategic pressure point has presented? Johnstone makes no mention of Bill Browder. Nor do the [100, so far] commenters.

BILL BROWDER is a key figure in the anti-Trump, anti-Russia hysteria. The notorious Trump Tower meeting was about the Magnitsky Act, a fabrication by Browder to hide his financial crimes. Browder "testified" in the Senate expressly to demonize Putin. Browder's contacts in the IC, the Jewish Lobby, and the fawning media have enabled his propaganda assault this week. He's appeared -- unchallenged, virtually unquestioned -- on countless talk shows. But he's been running scared at the mention of interrogation by Russians. There are huge holes in his story, made clear in his deposition in the Prevezon case. The truth will bring him down! And perhaps his Deep State supporters, along with him.

Ask your Senators if they've heard/read Browder's 2015 deposition in the Prevezon case. (See comment 161 under The Untouchable Mr. Browder? by Israel Shamir for links.)

Research links to primary sources on #Browdergate --
https://populist.tv/2018/01/20/bill-browder-links-and-resources-to-understand-controversy/

RobinG , says: July 24, 2018 at 5:02 pm GMT
@yurivku How about Idiot AND Troll.

BTW, have you seen "THE MAGNITSKY ACT – BEHIND THE SCENES" that Phil Giraldi posted today? Debunking anti-Russian criminal sociopaths like Bill Browder will go a long way to improving relations. Not to mention easing pressure on the unfortunate Trump.

Full research primary links available here, including Browder's 2015 deposition in the U.S. vs. Prevezon Holdings case. Every Senator who voted to support Browder should see this. [Any who already have, double shame!]
https://populist.tv/2018/01/20/bill-browder-links-and-resources-to-understand-controversy/

Yurivku , says: July 24, 2018 at 5:26 pm GMT
@RobinG UWell, we here in Russia know all this (about Browder) for quite a time. What new did you find? It's just one story in long list of those written and spoken for western idiots like Scripals
, MH17, chemicals in Syria and WMD in Iraq, Russian meddling in f-n US elections and so on. Eat it all dummies.

[Jan 13, 2019] RFK knew how it works. RFK junior explained the reason for RFK's focus on organized-crime until CIA whacked him. That's why his book was made to sink without a ripple.

Jan 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

MK-DELTABURKE , says: July 23, 2018 at 12:40 pm GMT

@Cagey Beast Yup. Furthermore, CIA is organized crime and organized crime is CIA. CIA recruits and runs agents in favored criminal syndicates in every illicit trade: drugs, child sexual trafficking, arms, fraud, bustouts, extortion, money laundering. Their purpose is not to interdict the trade but to control it.

CIA manages transnational organized crime to top up their budget for unauthorized clandestine operations, like killing JFK.

CIA protects its criminal proteges with their chartered impunity. They call off law enforcement with the magic words national security or 'sources and methods.' If the plan gets exposed, CIA's criminal cutouts insulate the agency from exposure.

RFK knew how it works. RFK junior explained the reason for RFK's focus on organized-crime until CIA whacked him. That's why his book was made to sink without a ripple.

https://popularresistance.org/the-mass-media-will-not-review-rfk-jr-s-book-why/

Evenfurthermore, CIA is the government and the government is CIA. Decades ago Fletcher Prouty showed that CIA's deepest-cover illegal moles are embedded in our own government. Every agency with repressive capacity is infiltrated with focal points, who report to CIA handlers without the other agency's knowledge.

https://ratical.org/ratville/JFK/ST/ST.html

Of course Israel is trying to infiltrate it -- they understand the levers of power.

Assange has got some mighty stinkers in his insurance file. All we can do is hope they're enough to destabilize the CIA Reich that has ruled America since 1949.

[Jan 13, 2019] CIA is boosting the volume of its anti-Russian vilification because more and more CIA assets are getting flushed out. Stephan Halper is an obvious spook. Page is the corniest traitor since Lee Harvey Oswald

Notable quotes:
"... CIA is boosting the volume of its anti-Russian vilification because more and more CIA assets are getting flushed out. Stephan Halper is an obvious spook. Page is the corniest traitor since Lee Harvey Oswald ..."
"... Strzok has clearly got a dotted-line report to his real boss in CIA ..."
"... Publius Tacitus is incorrect, though, in making a distinction between the Obama administration and the intelligence community. Obama is a third-generation CIA spook he's a CIA spokesmodel, not a head of state (see Andrew Krieg's Presidential Puppetry.) ..."
"... To add to the list of things that the Russians had on Hillary . IIRC, she was Sec of State at the time the US election-meddling-and-color-revolution brigade tried to rig the Russian elections against Putin. ..."
"... Putin does not seem to be the sort to let emotion be more important than policy, but I've always wondered that to the small extent the Russians did take a pop at Hillary's campaign, if it didn't bring a bit of a smile to Putin's face to know he was just giving back the hits he'd already taken from her. ..."
Jan 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

Halper , says: July 23, 2018 at 6:52 pm GMT

CIA is boosting the volume of its anti-Russian vilification because more and more CIA assets are getting flushed out. Stephan Halper is an obvious spook. Page is the corniest traitor since Lee Harvey Oswald .

https://dailystormer.name/is-carter-page-a-cia-spook/

Strzok has clearly got a dotted-line report to his real boss in CIA :

https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2018/07/22/a-review-of-the-doj-fbi-fisa-application-release/

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2018/07/fisa-fraud-by-obamas-doj-and-intel-community-by-publius-tacitus.html

Publius Tacitus is incorrect, though, in making a distinction between the Obama administration and the intelligence community. Obama is a third-generation CIA spook he's a CIA spokesmodel, not a head of state (see Andrew Krieg's Presidential Puppetry.)

Daniel Rich , says: July 23, 2018 at 10:35 pm GMT
@peterAUS It's impossible to asses [correctly] who's influenced by what, but it seems that telling lies doesn't work that well any longer. You can find some numbers in the following article: Democracy Dies in Debt? US News Outlets Slashing Staff Left and Right -- Link to Sputnik.

Excerpt : "A Pew Research analysis on Monday found that more than a third of the US' largest newspapers and more than a fifth of its largest digital outlets experienced layoffs between January 2017 and April 2018."

Bill the Cat , says: July 24, 2018 at 12:06 am GMT
To add to the list of things that the Russians had on Hillary . IIRC, she was Sec of State at the time the US election-meddling-and-color-revolution brigade tried to rig the Russian elections against Putin.

Putin does not seem to be the sort to let emotion be more important than policy, but I've always wondered that to the small extent the Russians did take a pop at Hillary's campaign, if it didn't bring a bit of a smile to Putin's face to know he was just giving back the hits he'd already taken from her.

Hillary of course was incompetent in having America interfere in Russian elections. That campaign never had a chance as Putin is a lot more popular in Russia than Hillary is in America. So, she took a pot shot at a rival world leader knowing (or at least some smart people did) that it would have no effect and that Putin would win that election anyways. And of course Hillary the Arrrogant could never imagine that another player in the game would get to take a turn, and that others might interfere in her election, and she knew she'd run and she knew she'd rig the Dem party to get the nod, in the same way the NED and the Soros NGO's tried to interfere in Russia.

skrik , says: July 24, 2018 at 1:59 pm GMT
@Northgunner

'ruling class', 'elites'

I share your sentiments [in a slightly different vernacular]; of course they, the usurping 'rulers' are neither a class nor in any way 'elite,' but who/what ever they are [jews, oligarchs, 'simply' psychopaths or 'true' spawn of Satan], they do seem to be 'in control.' Proof of that is the coordinated criminal actions of 'the West.'

Find "CIA is the government and the government is CIA" above; it's the obvious place to expect a ccc = covert criminal cabal to establish itself. Add to that the truly weird concept of having spies a) out of all control and b) with apparently unlimited power. We 'shall know them by their deeds' which is almost unrelievedly a 'bad look.' Odd is that the 1st mention of any conspiracy that I heard of was that of 'jewish banksters ruling the world.' We since know that such was pilloried by the CIA, but it seems to me to be a case of the tar-baby: The more they [CIA, jews] howl/deny, the guiltier they prove themselves to be. rgds

Mulegino1 , says: July 24, 2018 at 9:55 pm GMT
I would say that what is affecting the western establishment elites at this juncture is not mere dementia but the madness which arises from acts of pure, hellish evil. These people are the Gadarine swine of the contemporary era; a good portion of them appear to be Satanic perverts and pedophiles, if we are to judge from recent revelations. I am not being hyperbolic when I write that Antichrist's reign has been postponed. They had imagined it would be installed by November of 2016 and this is driving them to despair. They hate Trump because his election blocked their lord and master's ascent and they hate Putin because he represents the great restraining power.
Cagey Beast , says: July 24, 2018 at 10:16 pm GMT
@yurivku He's of course is a bone in DC's throat, but his level of intelligence and real power seem to be extremely low.

Yes, he's a golden chandelier stuck in the belly of the Beast. I think he's quite smart, in his own way, but can only do so much on his own. He also has some bad ideas and makes enemies when it isn't necessary but he's still the only hope for change at the centre of the American empire.

Jeff Stryker , says: July 25, 2018 at 4:12 am GMT
@skrik Be that as it may, Romper Stomper took place 30 years after the Vietnam War began. The reverberations of the war were felt in Australia long afterwards.
Jeff Stryker , says: July 25, 2018 at 4:27 am GMT
@peterAUS That's an armchair rugby referee for you, encouraging a Civil War in a country he's probably never set foot. What do you believe would change its policy towards Oz.

If you remember when Reagan broke the air-traffic control union strikes and 30,000 of them immigrated to Oz in 1981, what would happen would be that many qualified Americans would come to Australia and take Australian jobs.

That's how such unrest would affect you.

At any rate, the US would still have the same grip on popular culture (If not financial markets) and Vegemite would not suddenly replace McDonald's everywhere.

Also, though the Asians seem to slowly taking over your economy anyhow, if the US military was busy suppressing a civil war and Asian countries might get aggressive towards you militarily.

Jeff Stryker , says: July 25, 2018 at 4:31 am GMT
@peterAUS The Asians might get more aggressive if the US military suddenly found itself preoccupied with a Civil War.

Asia is taking over your country economically anyhow but they might get a bit anti-social if suddenly the US were to lose all capacity to maintain its presence in your hemisphere.

peterAUS , says: July 25, 2018 at 5:12 am GMT
@Jeff Stryker O.K.

Good luck.

skrik , says: July 25, 2018 at 6:15 am GMT
@peterAUS

I know, for your types. Feels comfortable

Aw, don't go all wussy -- you're acting like a wounded suitor. I suppose it was my rejection of your

I'd need to trust you and then we'd have a long chat somewhere in open public place

Similr to which you you offered Backstay

Have a quiet chat somewhere in a park, for example. Just two of us. Two

Try this google ; that the sort of place you had in mind? It's also reputedly a secret entrance to an ASIO bunker but I suppose you know that; I call attempted entrapment.

RobinG , says: July 25, 2018 at 6:18 am GMT
@skrik . ? ccc = 'great financial consortiums' ?

"As a matter of fact, the composition of the governments is predetermined, and their actions are controlled by great financial consortiums."

J. V. Stalin, Questions & Answers to American Trade Unionists: Stalin's Interview With the First American Trade Union Delegation to Soviet Russia
Pravda September 15, 1927 ___________(h/t, J.S.)

yurivku , says: July 25, 2018 at 6:52 am GMT
@Cagey Beast

think he's quite smart, in his own way, but can only do so much on his own

But I think he's stupid, ignorant, spineless (as well as most of POTUSes), the only difference is -- he's not completely belongs to DC. Probably it's better than if Clinton was on his place, but who knows, Trump can make any stupid thing

standall , says: July 25, 2018 at 7:39 am GMT
@exiled off mainstreet I agree.
skrik , says: July 25, 2018 at 9:31 am GMT
@RobinG

ccc = 'great financial consortiums' ?

G'day, q.possibly and glad you responded. Yeah sure, Stalin is 'close;' it's why some suggest oligarchs, but it demonstrably falls a bit short. My ccc = covert criminal cabal, each word of the highest significance; let's examine each one:

[COED:] covert = not openly acknowledged or displayed -- this is 100% true, since they operate from 'behind a curtain' of deliberate secrecy. Not declaring who they are is a lie of omission, then see after cabal below. Before moving on, let's consult Cicero:

mendaci neque quum vera dicit, creditor

= A liar is not to be believed, even when speaking the truth. That's never a 'good look,' and leads to the next:

criminal -- self-evident, then:

[COED:] cabal = a secret political clique or faction. Øarchaic a secret intrigue .

ORIGIN
C16 (denoting the Kabbalah): from French cabale, from medieval Latin cabala (see Kabbalah).

Finally [COED:] Kabbalah (also Kabbala, Cabbala, Cabala, or Qabalah = the ancient Jewish tradition of mystical interpretation of the Bible .

I allow myself to propose an exactly apposite example of the latter: 'Xxx promised it to us!' -- Where Xxx comes directly from some "mystical interpretation of the Bible." 'Nuff said?

More? IF it were only "great financial consortiums" THEN one would need to explain the criminality, since I'm pretty sure oligarchs *could* work legally. Then, the 'normal' consortiums' business is to 'make money' [and cheating and/or theft may be sort of 'normal'], but the ccc goes *far* past that into [mass-]murdering for spoil, quite/most often for oil and/or *soil* . The latter is within Nuremberg class = supreme international criminality. That may complete the loop and explain why covert in the 1st place.

I wrote above that I would 'revisit' lies; here's a partial quote:

But it remained for the yyy, with their unqualified capacity for falsehood,

Feel free to 'guess' at the yyy, then I assert QED rgds

Anon [243] Disclaimer , says: July 25, 2018 at 2:30 pm GMT
Great article. Good to read someone not suffering from dementia!
Jeff Stryker , says: July 25, 2018 at 3:00 pm GMT
@peterAUS Good luck?
EugeneGur , says: July 25, 2018 at 3:18 pm GMT
@peterAUS

Or who are the guys, in Ukrainian Armed Forces, presently engaged against Donbass?

Besides those in "volunteer battalions", which tend to be nationalistic with distinct Nazi overtones, people in the regular Armed Forces are there for the money. There are very few paying jobs in today's Ukraine, so men enlist and hope for the best.

the ratio hate/don't care shall shift, hard and fast. Not in Russian favor, I suspect.

That could've been the case in 2014. Today I very much doubt it. Even the Right Sector people are fed up with the current power in Kiev, and even the dumbest nationalists are beginning to realize what a deep hole the country is in. Normal people all over the South-East are hoping and praying for the Russians to come. The problem is the Russians aren't coming.

Poupon Marx , says: July 25, 2018 at 5:05 pm GMT
The moniker "journalist" should immediately by banished by replacement of "reporter", as in report the facts and observations, not interpretations or personal opinions.
Eagle Eye , says: July 25, 2018 at 5:18 pm GMT
@Authenticjazzman

I am not a Scientologist, but I consider [L. Ron Hubbard] to be one of the most brilliant minds of the twentieth century

Interesting point. Serious question -- in your view, what else (other than psychotropic medication) was Hubbard "brilliant" about?

Authenticjazzman , says: July 25, 2018 at 6:51 pm GMT
@Eagle Eye " In your view what else was Hubbard brilliant about?"

Well for example his bizarre sounding concepts regarding the sources of mankind, and the history of this insane planet, which are repeatedly ridiculed and labeled as absurd by the PTB, who of course have their own turf to defend, and their own concepts which they do not want to be brought into question.

AJM

peterAUS , says: July 25, 2018 at 6:53 pm GMT
@EugeneGur Well can't say I disagree with the comment.
Or, better, can't provide any concrete evidence to the contrary, especially re the second paragraph.

The thing is, nationalism is a peculiar feeling.
So, while this

Normal people all over the South-East are hoping and praying for the Russians to come.

could be true, the rest of Ukraine could get into quite the opposite.

But, as you say

The problem is the Russians aren't coming.

so it's all academic.

Now, speaking of

people are fed up with the current power .

one could feel, probably, the same in Donbass.
Things aren't great there either.

In any case the conflict is there, frozen for the moment (not for the people along the front line) and can erupt, again, when the US Deep State wants it.

Interesting times.

Cratylus , says: July 26, 2018 at 5:49 am GMT
@Michael Kenny If one wants a clear example of the Russophobic or Putinophobic hysteria infecting the West, one need go no further than this demented fellow. And to that he adds a conspiracy theory about the gangsters ruling over it all.
Uncle Bee , says: July 26, 2018 at 12:06 pm GMT
@Cyrano Imagine if the WMDs get you attacked rule applied to Israel?
Jeff Davis , says: July 26, 2018 at 3:17 pm GMT
@seeing-thru You got it 100% Right my friend. That's the best reality-connected assessment of the Donald's performance that I've read. I'm going to swipe it for reuse elsewhere. Thank you, and may the force be with you.
seeing-thru , says: July 26, 2018 at 5:58 pm GMT
@Jeff Davis Glad you liked it. Yeah, go ahead use it any which way. BTW, my fear is that the Donald may not be able to succeed because of the massive line-up of forces against him. The whole lunatic asylum is out of their cages, snarling and clawing and planning all sorts of stuff to bring him down. Let us wish him success.
Apolonius , says: July 26, 2018 at 9:54 pm GMT
@Vojkan Bravo Vojkane!
Jeff Davis , says: July 27, 2018 at 6:24 pm GMT
@Lauri Törni

So standing up for American citizens is considered a "mentally insane" thing?

You are utterly and completely out of your mind, virtually from another planet, another reality. A textbook example of insanity. The fact that you don't recognize it, simply confirms the fact.

The Deep state is not, repeat not , the American people.

Regarding the Intel community: There are the guys in the trenches. these are honorable guys. Then there is the leadership. The current leadership is on notice to behave itself, on account of the new "Sheriff" in town. The corrupt politicized leadership from the Clinton/Bush/Obama regimes however, now out of power, are attempting to overthrow the legitimately elected president of the United States. In so doing, they are pursuing treason-lite.

Clapper, Brennan, and Hayden are already full-on war criminals: Iraq & torture. Now, in their attempt to destroy the Trump presidency, they are adding betrayal of democracy and betrayal of the Constitution of the United States to their criminal resume. These are evil men who think it is their job to run the United States from behind a malleable (gutless?) figurehead who does what they tell him to do.

As I said in my original post, it is fascinating to observe people like you, utterly dominated -- brain-raped really -- by a neocon/neoliberal narrative that has reduced them to robotic -- even willing -- slaves of the 1%. Good for you. Enjoy. The others, who prefer self-mastery to self-enslavement, will benefit from your choice of enslavement.

That is what all of this boils down to; Trump treating Americans like s*hit in front of the whole world, while praising Russia and Russians.

The IC war criminals/traitors should not be equated with or allowed to hide anonymous behind the majority population of decent Americans. Which is what simpletons like you enable and then fall for.

I fully understood all the concerns for what the Left is doing to people and to the society.

Trump praises Israel and says that, "Securing Israel's safety is our most important task" not a peep comes from the Trump-supporters?!

Some Trump supporters do object. Others however grasp the political reality of Jewish political influence in the US. Politically incompetent simpletons like yourself think Trump should commit political suicide by taking on the Jews.

The Jews/Israel will be dealt with -- or not -- later, when Trump has secured his presidency. And then, the rebalancing of the US-Israeli relationship will not be grounded in hostility to the Jews, but will be more along the lines of America First.

Never ever did I expect, that it would be the Trump-supporters surfacing as the fifth column, giving the "finishing touch" to the destruction of American citizens.

The above is pure paranoid, "the sky is falling", TDS whackadoodle.

The Liberals seem to have woken up,

The country is in the throes of a cultural war between the bubble-wrapped snowflakes and "real" people. Thankfully, the "real" people will win, precisely because they have the advantage of being reality-connected. The snowflakes will benefit as well -- you will benefit -- by the resulting opportunity to reconnect with reality.

Good luck, best wishes, Trump is rapidly changing the world for the better.

And let me add: The Soviet Union is a quarter century gone, and with it Soviet Communism. Putin is the preeminent statesman of our times. Go to YouTube and listen to what he says. He and Trump, aligned, are a force for good in the world. Peace with Russia is coming, and with it a new era of peace and prosperity in the world.

Which leaves me to echo your closing comment:

Are you ever going to be able to comprehend this?

(Answer: Probably not for another six years, if ever.)

Malcontent , says: July 29, 2018 at 8:59 pm GMT
@Cyrano Are you joking? Russia is the second largest nuclear arsenal in the world.
Malcontent , says: July 29, 2018 at 9:01 pm GMT
@Jeff Davis Bravo! Exactly my thoughts!
peterAUS , says: July 29, 2018 at 9:27 pm GMT
@Jeff Davis

Thankfully, the "real" people will win, precisely because they have the advantage of being reality-connected.

Ah, good.

The last time when "real" people won against the US "Deep State" was let me see .well shame on me, can't think of it.

Let's see after the fall of the Wall:
Yugoslavia, then Serbia proper .no
Afghanistan .no .
Ah Iraq .no ..
Lybia no .
Syria well not so sure.

Ah, yes, those weren't Americans. Yeah.

I got concerned for a bit; all good now.
No need to think about M.A.D. anymore. (Re)focus on fishing. Snapper, preferably.

Jeff Stryker , says: July 30, 2018 at 8:09 am GMT
@peterAUS Australia's problem is going to be an Asian economic overclass you Australians always obsess about country's located halfway around the world first the UK now the US.

you're worried about blacks in the US in the ghetto's wealth inequality while Chinese business elite reduce you to paupers IN Australia and eventually you go the way of the black aborigines.

But you cannot see that because you're focused on US cultural colonization or things you have seen in Hollywood films.

Jeff Stryker , says: July 30, 2018 at 8:15 am GMT
@peterAUS Sorry, countries not country's.

Point is that in the sixties you were still obsessed with the British Empire though you are a bit of a lost colony now you are obsessed with the United States, another waning Empire.

Pretty soon the Chinese will have you sleeping in your cars and you will still be focused on the state of blacks in the US ghetto and inequality in America.

But see, the US won't be the problem in Australia. China will.

You compare yourself to the United States because it is a similar former British colony and white settler nation but it is Asia that will stomp you.

James Bacque , says: Website July 31, 2018 at 7:16 pm GMT
She is most likely onto something important. My solution is that most people are double-minded because it suits us to lazily allow our leaders to control us while we (somewhat) hypocritically condemn them for faults and errors which profit us.

St Paul, Shakespeare and Montaigne all complained of their own double-mindedness.

I hope that a column of mine on this topic will appear soon in The U.R.

James Bacque Penetanguishene ON

peterAUS , says: July 31, 2018 at 8:18 pm GMT
@James Bacque

most people are double-minded because it suits us to lazily allow our leaders to control us while we (somewhat) hypocritically condemn them for faults and errors which profit us ..

I guess you are onto something here.

It could go a bit deeper, though, as:

. most people are double-minded because it suits us to allow our betters to lead us while we (somewhat) hypocritically condemn them for their and our faults and errors which profit us.

skrik , says: August 1, 2018 at 3:18 pm GMT
@Jeff Stryker

But you cannot see that because you're focused on US cultural colonization or things you have seen in Hollywood films You compare yourself to the United States because it is a similar former British colony and white settler nation

If I may intercede, no, and that twice.

1. peterAUS, if my interpretation is correct, sees the world through 'military blinkers,' is assumed not to notice China et al. except as one 'enemy' among many, and probably thinks that ~100 F35s, xxx new warships, yyy new submarines and zzz new 'armoured cars,' costing the Aus-taxpayer nose-bleeding squillions will 'save his/their bacon.' As such, peterAUS cannot be addressed as any valid representative of 'the great Aus-unwashed.'

2. That great Aus-unwashed, hoovering up the trash err, sorry for the US-speak; hoovering up the horrendous rubbish 'presented' to them via their '1984-style telescreens' err, one-finger flat-screen distraction devices [when not actual television sets], is largely unconscious of any 'real world.'

Since the CIA-sponsored coup of 1975, the country has been 'going to the dogs' at an increasing rate. The sheople glory under their 'Lucky Country' delusion, not even knowing its full import: Lucky not to be even partly aware. Yeah sure, the corrupt&venal MSM+PFBCs [= publicly financed broadcasters] try to revive 'the yellow peril' scare, but that's just standard 'Bernays haze' scare mongering, to keep the proles from thinking: Der, they [as peterAUS] didn't think. rgds

PS The great Aus-unwashed, as any 'Western' citizen, has zero choice; so-called 'Western democracy' allows for as good as zero 'citizen input.' The 'choice' of Trump should be put down to an aberration -- some 'clever-clogs' manipulators -- *not* Russians -- pulled off a coup. But as they used to say: "Better red than dead;" better Trump than HRC.

Johnj , says: August 2, 2018 at 11:48 pm GMT
Do we have a democracy? Or even representative government? So what happened to our jobs off-shored. Who approved that? Who approved 100 million legal immigrants in the last 50 years?

Why does anyone accept our stilted self-image, especially Diana?

Johnj , says: August 3, 2018 at 12:10 am GMT
@Lauri Törni Good God, this Lauri reads the NYT and has the gall to post it as proof of her opinions. So that means she is nuts and brainwashed.
Ace , says: September 15, 2018 at 5:55 pm GMT
Outstanding article.

On the point about the "world's greatest prison population" note that some one-third of the federal prison population consists of illegal alien criminals and the large U.S. black criminal underclass commits crimes at a higher rate than everyone else, so there are more blacks in our prisons. Oh, the horror.

If other nations enjoyed large illegal immigrant populations and a large black criminal underclass we would see similar inflated prison populations.

Spare us the silliness on this score as well as the "regular massacres of school children" garbage. No doubt you'll enlighten us with your anti-gun views on American gun nuts at a later time. I wait with bated breath.

Still, you almost got a lock on insightful commentary these days.

Ace , says: September 15, 2018 at 7:59 pm GMT
@Lauri Törni Liberals fight for the existence of Americans?

Amazing. Do you intend to live on our planet or are you just visiting?

james bacque , says: Website October 24, 2018 at 6:51 pm GMT
Ron Unz

This is a very good blog, column, whatever, because it illuminates with the light of reason the mass madness of the Washington crowd, and probably much of the American population. See the New Yorker article in the current issue about the utility of caregivers lying to and/or deceiving demented patients to keep them content. That is what is happening now in the USA and your failure to understand my explanation for it, in my essay on double-mindedness, which I sent you last summer, I mind very much. You could lead the way out of the mess if you would re-read that essay and try to understand it.

I am a very ordinary guy and I understand it. Please try again. The world needs this.

Jim Bacque

[Jan 13, 2019] Potencial of having a nuclear cataclysm out of civil war in Ukraine is firtneing perspecitve

Jan 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

EugeneGur , says: July 23, 2018 at 9:30 pm GMT

@Peter Akuleyev

who has spent time in Ukraine knows how deep hatred of Russia goes

I don't know where is Ukraine you spent your time and in what company, but this is complete BS. The South-Eastern Ukraine hates the Western Ukrainian "banderovtsi" as much as the Russians do if not more -- after all, the followers of Bandera operated mostly on the Ukrainian soil. There are deranged individuals in every country, of course, and Ukraine has been subjected lately to intense hate propaganda as well as repressions, but there is no hatred of Russia. This is contradicted by both sociology and everyday behavior of Ukrainian, which move to Russia in droves, spend time in Russia, support Russian sport teams, etc.

we are supposed to dismiss the actual wishes of Ukrainians, Estonians, Poles, Georgians and other peoples who hate Russia (and love the US)

Nobody is asking about what the real Ukrainians, Estonians, Georgians or even Poles actually think, least of all the US. There are almost as many Georgians living in Russia as there are in Georgia, and they show no desire to move back. In 2008 during the conflict, their biggest fear was that they'd be deported.

The Ukraine's Maidan was a violent coup, where a few thousand militants armed and trained abroad overthrew a government elected by the entire country. Protests that immediately started all over the country were suppressed with force -- the one in Donbass still is.

How could anyone with an access to Internet remain unaware of these facts is beyond me.

Vojkan , says: July 24, 2018 at 8:25 am GMT
@Peter Akuleyev Why should anyone freaking care and put his ass in the line of fire because you bunch of primitives hate Russia? Between having a nuclear cataclysm because you pathetic dwarfs of nations are frustrated to have a neighbour you can't bully and Russia obliterating you, I say let Russia obliterate you, thus we won't have to suffer the ear-hurting dissonnance of your incessant whining any more. Though I doubt Russia would stomp on you. When you see shit, you don't stomp on it, you don't want you don't want your shoes to stink, you just walk around it.

[Jan 13, 2019] Who are the people populating Ukrainian Armed Forces?

Jan 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

peterAUS , says: July 23, 2018 at 10:25 pm GMT

@EugeneGur That's an interesting point. Even if true, doesn't matter. One could wonder ..who are the people populating Ukrainian Armed Forces?

Or who are the guys, in Ukrainian Armed Forces, presently engaged against Donbass? All of them. Including those is logistics/maintenance depots far away from the (current) line of separation?

The will to fight against "Russia" ranges from a deep hate to simply not wishing to go against the (current) Ukrainian government. The former are in those "shock" battalions. The later are manning the logistics train. And everything in between.

Now .if/when a real shooting starts, as soon as Russia, as expected (and desired) by the most of readers here, starts delivering ordnance into operational depth of Donbass enemy, the ratio hate/don't care shall shift, hard and fast. Not in Russian favor, I suspect.

[Jan 13, 2019] Hypocrisy Without Bounds US Army Major Slams The Tragedy Of [Neo]Liberal Foreign Policy

Jan 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Maj. Danny Sjrusen via AntiWar.com,

The president says he will bring the troops home from Syria and Afghanistan. Now, because of their pathological hatred of Trump, mainstream Democrats are hysterical in their opposition.

If anyone else were president, the "liberals" would be celebrating. After all, pulling American soldiers out of a couple of failing, endless wars seems like a "win" for progressives. Heck, if Obama did it there might be a ticker-tape parade down Broadway. And there should be. The intervention in Syria is increasingly aimless, dangerous and lacks an end state. Afghanistan is an unwinnable war – America's longest – and about to end in outright military defeat . Getting out now and salvaging so much national blood and treasure ought to be a progressive dream. There's only one problem: Donald Trump. Specifically, that it was Trump who gave the order to begin the troop withdrawals.

Lost in the haze of their pathological hatred of President Trump, the majority of mainstream liberal pundits and politicians can't, for the life of them, see the good sense in extracting the troops from a couple Mideast quagmires. That or they can see the positives, but, in their obsessive compulsion to smear the president, choose politics over country. It's probably a bit of both. That's how tribally partisan American political discourse has become. And, how reflexively hawkish and interventionist today's mainstream Democrats now are. Whither the left-wing antiwar movement? Well, except for a few diehards out there, the movement seems to have been buried long ago with George McGovern .

Make no mistake, the Democrats have been tacking to the right on foreign policy and burgeoning their tough-guy-interventionist credentials for decades now. Terrified of being painted as soft or dovish on martial matters, just about all the "serious" baby-boomer Dems proudly co-opted the militarist line and gladly accepted campaign cash from the corporate arms dealers. Think about it, any Democrat with serious future presidential aspirations back in 2002 voted for the Iraq War – Hillary, Joe Biden, even former peace activist John Kerry! And, in spite of the party base now moving to the left, all these big name hawks – along with current Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer – are still Democratic stalwarts. Heck, some polls list Biden as the party's 2020 presidential frontrunner.

More disturbing than the inconsistency of these political hacks is the vacuousness of the supposedly liberal media. After Trump's announcement of troop withdrawals, just about every MSNBC host slammed the president and suddenly sounded more hawkish than the clowns over at Fox News. Take Rachel Maddow. Whatever you think of her politics, she is – undoubtedly – a brilliant woman. Furthermore, unlike most pundits, she knows a little something about foreign policy. Her 2012 book, Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power was a serious and well-researched critique of executive power and the ongoing failure of the wars on terror. Drift was well reviewed by regular readers and scholars alike.

Enter Donald Trump. Ever since the man won the 2016 election, Maddow's nightly show has been dominated the hopeless dream of Russia-collusion and a desire for Trump's subsequent impeachment. Admittedly, Maddow's anti-Trump rhetoric isn't completely unfounded – this author, after all, has spent the better part of two years criticizing most of his policies – but her zealousness has clouded her judgment, or worse. Indeed, that Maddow, and her fellow "liberals" at MSNBC have now criticized the troop withdrawals and even paraded a slew of disgraced neoconservatives – like Bill Kristol – on their shows seems final proof of their descent into opportunistic hawkishness.

One of the most disturbing aspects of this new "liberal" hawkishness is the pundits' regular canonization of Jim Mattis and the other supposed "adults" in the room . For mainstream, Trump-loathing, liberals the only saving grace for this administration was its inclusion of a few trusted, "grown-up" generals in the cabinet. Yet it is a dangerous day, indeed, when the supposedly progressive journalists deify only the military men in the room. Besides, Mattis was no friend to the liberals. Their beloved President Obama previously canned "mad-dog" for his excessive bellicosity towards Iran. Furthermore, Mattis – so praised for both his judgment and ethics – chose an interesting issue for which to finally fall-on-his-sword and resign. U.S. support for the Saudi-led starvation of 85,000 kids in Yemen: Mattis could deal with that. But a modest disengagement from even one endless war in the Middle East: well, the former SECDEF just couldn't countenance that. Thus, he seems a strange figure for a "progressive" network to deify.

Personally, I'd like to debate a few of the new "Cold Warriors" over at MSNBC or CNN and ask a simple series of questions: what on the ground changed in Syria or Afghanistan that has suddenly convinced you the US must stay put? And, what positivist steps should the military take in those locales, in order to achieve what purpose exactly? Oh, by the way, I'd ask my debate opponents to attempt their answers without uttering the word Trump. The safe money says they couldn't do it – not by a long shot. Because, you see, these pundits live and die by their hatred of all things Trump and the more times they utter his name the higher go the ratings and the faster the cash piles up. It's a business model not any sort of display of honest journalism.

There's a tragic irony here. By the looks of things, so long as Mr. Trump is president, it seems that any real movement for less interventionism in the Greater Middle East may come from a part of the political right – libertarians like Rand Paul along with the president's die hard base, which is willing to follow him on any policy pronouncement. Paradoxically, these folks may find some common cause with the far left likes of Bernie Sanders and the Ocasio-Cortez crowd, but it seems unlikely that the mainstream left is prepared to lead a new antiwar charge. What with Schumer/Pelosi still in charge, you can forget about it. Given the once powerful left-led Vietnam-era protest movement, today's Dems seem deficient indeed on foreign policy substance. Odds are they'll cede this territory, once again, to the GOP.

By taking a stronger interventionist, even militarist, stand than Trump on Syria and Afghanistan, the Democrats are wading into dangerous waters. Maybe, as some say, this president shoots from the hip and has no core policy process or beliefs. Perhaps. Then again, Trump did crush fifteen Republican mainstays in 2015 and shock Hillary – and the world – in 2016. Indeed, he may know just what he's doing. While the Beltway, congressional-military-industrial complex continues to support ever more fighting and dying around the world, for the most part the American people do not . Trump, in fact, ran on a generally anti -interventionist platform, calling the Iraq War "dumb" and not to be repeated. The president's sometimes earthy – if coarse – commonsense resonated with a lot of voters, and Hillary's hawkish establishment record (including her vote for that very same Iraq War) didn't win her many new supporters.

Liberals have long believed, at least since McGovern's 1972 trouncing by Richard Nixon, that they could out-hawk the Republican hawks and win over some conservatives. It rarely worked. In fact, Dems have been playing right into bellicose Republican hands for decades. And, if they run a baby-boomer-era hawk in 2020 – say Joe Biden – they'll be headed for another shocking defeat. The combination of a (mostly, so far) strong economy and practical policy of returning US troops from unpopular wars, could, once again, out weigh this president's other liabilities.

Foreign policy won't, by itself, tip a national election. But make no mistake, if the clowns at MSNBC and "liberal" hacks on Capitol Hill keep touting their newfound militarism, they're likely to emerge from 2020 with not only smeared consciences, but four more years in the opposition.

* * *

Danny Sjursen is a US Army officer and regular contributor to Antiwar.com He served combat tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at his alma mater, West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge . Follow him on Twitter at @SkepticalVet .

[ Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.]

turkey george palmer , 43 minutes ago link

A the politicians carry their recordsike a ball and chain. Trump had no legislative baggage so in comparison he looked ok. There may be a chance that some plan to allow e wrything to sink to near chaos is happening, with that risk of a slip up being total collapse. It would appear total collapse is likely absent some very well thought out plan by a lot of people who appear to be morons

RussianSniper , 46 minutes ago link

The neowackjobs of the bush clinton bush bozo crime sprees must answer for their war crimes!

Put these monsters before a world court in Syria, Libya, Iraq, or Yemen.

Burn them alive on pay per view.

Zero-Hegemon , 53 minutes ago link

In the US the neocons switch between parties like changing underwear. Now that the republicans are soiled they'll wear democrats instead, lobby for more war until they're good and soiled, and switch when republican populism is back on the rise (like during the Bush years, and then Obama).

dogismycopilot , 53 minutes ago link

Lost me at calling Maddow a brilliant woman

halcyon , 1 hour ago link

Danny boy got sucked into the liberel-conservative-democrat fallacy. It is all one big party called the war party. The opposition is always theatrics.

AI Agent , 1 hour ago link

Lost me when you said Rachel MadCow was a brilliant woman.

Brilliant people have ethics. If she's brilliant, she wouldn't be lying. If she's stupid, then she's not smart enough to know she's lying.

quesnay , 53 minutes ago link

I don't watch her so can't comment on that, but brilliance and ethics have nothing to do with each other.

Got The Wrong No , 31 minutes ago link

Madcow is diabolical. A brilliant unethical he/she.

Debt Slave , 1 hour ago link

We all know it. If libtards didn't hate America, they wouldn't be trying so hard to change it.

Remember the happy white culture middle class America of 1955? Libtards hate it with a passion that can only be an obsession. The first thing libtards started whining about in the 1950's was the the poor 'oppressed' negroes weren't allowed to burp and fart at the same lunch counter as the evil white man. We foolishly caved in to that first step of liberal stupidity and look where we are today. Mall shootings in Chicongo and New Jersey.

Everytime the (((media))) shows you these violent examples, just remember how we got here.

Compromising with liberals is nothing more than a highway to hell, paved with compromise and liberal 'good intentions'.

Now we have Donald Trump who is willing to tell the liberal idiots to shove their fake altruism and egalitarianism up their collective asses. This chance of a lifetime for our children may never come again.

i know who I am voting for in 2020 ...

lincolnsteffens , 1 hour ago link

I voted for McGovern. I think that was the first time I voted. Now I can't stand either political Parties. I saw the games the Republicans pulled with the Massachusetts Caucus and Convention when I was an alternate delegate for Ron Paul. There is no trick dirty enough for either Party to pull. They are without a moral compass.

Escrava Isaura , 1 hour ago link

Bring 'some' troops home is just a political maneuver not a policy change. How can you tell?

Trump is an imperialist. That's why he fired Bannon.

And that's why Trump moved drones attacks operations from the military to the CIA.

There's no evidence that Trump is ending US intervention anywhere.

Now check this out when the President is Democrat.

52% of Republicans disprove withdrawing troops: Americans widely support President Obama's recent decision to withdraw nearly all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year, with 75% approving. That includes the vast majority of Democrats and independents. Republicans, however, are slightly more likely to disapprove than approve.

AI Agent , 1 hour ago link

How does firing Bannon mean Trump is an imperialist? That doesn't follow, it's a non-sequitur.

quesnay , 57 minutes ago link

I would argue that the Republicans are slightly more principled, although not necessarily in a good way. As your poll shows, when Obama was in power, 96% of Democrats were in favor of removing Troops. 96%!! And now only around 28% of Democrats support withdrawal - https://theintercept.com/2019/01/11/as-democratic-elites-reunite-with-neocons-the-partys-voters-are-becoming-far-more-militaristic-and-pro-war-than-republicans/ . This is almost a complete reversal.

The Republican position went from 50% supporting withdrawal with Obama to 70% under Trump. A change for sure, but not nearly as dramatic as the Democrats which have completely changed their positions i.e. their position has nothing to do with principles what-so-ever.

desertboy , 24 minutes ago link

So, I can interpret the deeper meaning of statements made by others, through your displayed intellectual acumen?

Really quite remarkable -- how utterly foreign is just a little introspection for some.

smacker , 11 minutes ago link

@Escrava Isaura: " Trump is an imperialist. That's why he fired Bannon. "

Not so sure of the connection there.

But America is an imperial nation (both major parties have supported this for years) and the problem now is that its imperialism is on an irreversible trajectory which will bring it to an end. As one might expect, they are trying to keep it alive but that will only delay the inevitable. What we don't know is whether it will end with a whimper or a big bang.

[Jan 13, 2019] This nasty neocon Rachel MadCow

Jan 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Serious.Lee , 1 hour ago link

""Take Rachel Maddow. Whatever you think of her politics, she is -- undoubtedly -- a brilliant woman.""

Take the above author, Maj. Danny Sjursen. Whatever else you think of his article, that statement is - undoubtedly - retarded.

lincolnsteffens , 1 hour ago link

I can't stand Rachael Maddow but she is smart.

peippe , 1 hour ago link

she said Trump would not win Florida. That is not too smart. actually, it is wrong.

True Blue , 1 hour ago link

Feral, yes; rabid, absolutely; smart... not so much. Why is anyone surprised? The DemoRats have never been a party dedicated to peace; the only ones thinking that are the walking bong-holes who assuage their cognitive dissonance by telling themselves that. Both the demorats and their willing accomplices 'across the aisle' have led us into constant war for nearly eight decades. Lilliputian Big enders and Little enders all.

AI Agent , 1 hour ago link

She's a good lying propagandist... but she's not brilliant. Smart? maybe. Brilliant? Cow flop has more shine than Madcow.

desertboy , 36 minutes ago link

Maybe he meant "brilliant manipulator" - sometimes they have meant the same thing.

Throat-warbler Mangrove , 1 hour ago link

Get.Us (a). Out.Now

Screw the war mongers and the MIC.

BlackChicken , 1 hour ago link

If you read the article, it's obvious that [neo]liberals/whores are the apogee of hypocrisy.

richardsimmonsoftrout , 1 hour ago link

"they're likely to emerge from 2020 with not only smeared consciences, but four more years in the opposition."

"Smeared consciences"... that's rich, pretty sure the psychopaths don't have a conscience.

navy62802 , 1 hour ago link

Perpetual war is about $$$. It knows no party. Never has and never will.

holdbuysell , 1 hour ago link

Yup. It's always about the money. As Fitts would say, that screeching you hear is the cash flow drying up for the rentiers. The murdering of women and children be damned. Hillary's demonic cackle is but the grotesque cherry on top: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgcd1ghag5Y

[Jan 13, 2019] Parkinson disease and Russians

Jan 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: July 23, 2018 at 5:46 am GMT

Hillary lost the election when she could not walk. she lost a shoe, she was shown in the van, and shoe was thrown after her. And that was arranged by Russians.

[Jan 13, 2019] The only reason the evil bastards who control our society can get away with their treachery is because most of the American people are out to lunch on the most important issues of our time.

Notable quotes:
"... This screaming comes not only from the US mainstream, but also from that European elite which has been housebroken for seventy years as obedient poodles, dachshunds or corgis in the American menagerie, via intense vetting by US trans-Atlantic "cooperation" associations. ..."
"... They are CIA assets who do what they're told. ..."
"... There is an unrecognized plague in our society called antidepressants. More than ten per cent of the people in the industrialized world take drugs which interfere with self doubt. They don't ask themselves whether an idea in their minds is true, fair or kind. They only ask if they believe it. And since the chemical they ingest prevents them from assessing the idea from all sides they always believe that if they think something it must be true. ..."
"... Other symptoms of antidepressant use include high levels of free floating anxiety (because useful anxiety is suppressed) and restlessness. ..."
"... I am still asking myself what motivated a veteran politician like Hillary Clinton to violate a cardinal rule of politics by attacking not her opponent but his supporters with the "basket of deplorable" comment in the closing days of the 2016 campaign except chemically induced madness. ..."
"... If history has recorded that the Roman Empire collapsed due to lead poisoning from the water pipes a future time may also conclude the US Empire was destroyed due to antidepressants. ..."
"... The psychology of the mass of Americans with it's self-righteousness and self-centerdness is really amazing. Just in the last seventeen years the US has invaded or otherwise attacked numerous countries and has caused millions of people to die, become miserable refugees, become orphans and all other manner of evil. ..."
"... Not least of all has been it's creation and patronage of ISIS, one of the most heinous groups in history. Yet Americans have this massive blind spot to the war criminality of all this that their country has committed against the peace of the world. Instead they're being stampeded into some irrational Russia-phobia. It's the US that's been on the march everywhere, labeling those countries that resist it's aggression as being aggressors for being willing to defend themselves. It's all upside-down. ..."
"... "I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than to risk peace in pursuit of politics." ..."
"... I'd really like to know who wrote that line for the Prez. (Since I think it unlikely that he wrote that, or any of his "prepared remarks".) Stephen Miller? Whoever. But it was a genius comment. ..."
"... "Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad" obviously the Gods want to destroy the so called western man ..."
Jan 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

lavoisier , says: Website July 23, 2018 at 11:47 am GMT

@peterAUS

Anyone with an average intelligence can, in two hours trawling of Internet, get how false all that is. And, yet, here we are.
The same people who can spend hours on social media, shopping and entertainment online can't, for SOME reason, figure all that out.

Easy to blame "them" and media/academia/whatever. Maybe it's time to start passing a bit of blame to people in general. Not holding my breath.

I fully agree with this sentiment. The only reason the evil bastards who control our society can get away with their treachery is because most of the American people are out to lunch on the most important issues of our time. If the sheeple were to take responsibility to inform themselves of what is happening today they would be able to see the lies they are being constantly exposed to as just that -- lies. And then, they could put down the beer and turn off the damn sports channel and get angry at what has happened to their country.

The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for ignorant people to remain ignorant.

Giuseppe , says: July 23, 2018 at 1:01 pm GMT

This screaming comes not only from the US mainstream, but also from that European elite which has been housebroken for seventy years as obedient poodles, dachshunds or corgis in the American menagerie, via intense vetting by US trans-Atlantic "cooperation" associations.

They are CIA assets who do what they're told.

Gordon Pratt , says: July 23, 2018 at 2:49 pm GMT
There is an unrecognized plague in our society called antidepressants. More than ten per cent of the people in the industrialized world take drugs which interfere with self doubt. They don't ask themselves whether an idea in their minds is true, fair or kind. They only ask if they believe it. And since the chemical they ingest prevents them from assessing the idea from all sides they always believe that if they think something it must be true.

This is the perfect environment for the virus of groupthink to spread.

And since our leaders, both on the left and the right, may be ahead of the curve on drug usage the neocons and the politically correct may use antidepressants at greater levels than 10 per cent.

Other symptoms of antidepressant use include high levels of free floating anxiety (because useful anxiety is suppressed) and restlessness.

I am still asking myself what motivated a veteran politician like Hillary Clinton to violate a cardinal rule of politics by attacking not her opponent but his supporters with the "basket of deplorable" comment in the closing days of the 2016 campaign except chemically induced madness.

If history has recorded that the Roman Empire collapsed due to lead poisoning from the water pipes a future time may also conclude the US Empire was destroyed due to antidepressants.

AnonFromTN , says: July 23, 2018 at 3:09 pm GMT
@Gordon Pratt I think you are mistaken trying to rationalize the behavior of the political class and their puppet masters. I believe the real driver are not antidepressants, but an obscene greed, which is so blinding that it made MIC profiteers forget that to enjoy the fruits of their thievery they have to be alive.
anonymous [339] Disclaimer , says: July 23, 2018 at 3:49 pm GMT
The psychology of the mass of Americans with it's self-righteousness and self-centerdness is really amazing. Just in the last seventeen years the US has invaded or otherwise attacked numerous countries and has caused millions of people to die, become miserable refugees, become orphans and all other manner of evil.

Not least of all has been it's creation and patronage of ISIS, one of the most heinous groups in history. Yet Americans have this massive blind spot to the war criminality of all this that their country has committed against the peace of the world. Instead they're being stampeded into some irrational Russia-phobia. It's the US that's been on the march everywhere, labeling those countries that resist it's aggression as being aggressors for being willing to defend themselves. It's all upside-down.

Jeff Davis , says: July 23, 2018 at 5:01 pm GMT

"I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than to risk peace in pursuit of politics."

I'd really like to know who wrote that line for the Prez. (Since I think it unlikely that he wrote that, or any of his "prepared remarks".) Stephen Miller? Whoever. But it was a genius comment.

Respect , says: July 23, 2018 at 5:10 pm GMT
QUOS VULT IUPITER PERDERE DEMENTAT PRIUS

"Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad" obviously the Gods want to destroy the so called western man

Jeff Davis , says: July 23, 2018 at 5:28 pm GMT
@Lauri Törni

Feel free to attack me.

TDS is a convenient shorthand for this form of disconnect from reality. That said it is absolutely fascinating to see and puzzle over this geopolitical tectonic event. The old narrative is crumbling, with the result that people like Lauri are fighting desperately to preserve their "sanity", dependent as it is on their tribal submission to the old order and its old narrative (its timeworn lies).

"Science advances one funeral at a time."
Max Planck

By which he means that people persist in believing in those "truths" (their belief system) they have held for a lifetime. Only when they die out will a new, revised belief system replaced the old. The same in geopolitics as in science.

Jeff Davis , says: July 23, 2018 at 5:34 pm GMT
@Tulips "Malefactors of great wealth."
Simple Pseudonym , says: July 23, 2018 at 5:58 pm GMT
American dementia is not new. It is current but after the false flags of almost all of our (US) wars going back as far as the Barbary Pirates, Americans have thrived on being the good guys in an evil world. We are SO GOOD, and the world thinks we are perfect and want to be part of US so much, that any other thought is treasonous.

The fact that getting along with Russia is necessary to NOT create armageddon, is irrelevant to the typical citizen because no matter how wrong, we are blessed and perfect in the eyes of the gawd we pretend to believe in.

So, same old same old

[Jan 13, 2019] They don't want popular support. They want agents in complete control

Notable quotes:
"... Their fundamental problem is, Aspen Institute is CIA. Their first and only instinct is to use people like toilet paper. They don't want popular support. They want agents in complete control. ..."
Jan 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

MK-DELTABURKE , says: July 22, 2018 at 8:25 pm GMT

@Cagey Beast Aspen Institute does make attempts at outreach, but they invariably cock it up by eliciting, recruiting, or suborning every single person they bring in. The shitheads even tried to do it to me. You would think they'd have a dossier saying I hate those cobags.

Their fundamental problem is, Aspen Institute is CIA. Their first and only instinct is to use people like toilet paper. They don't want popular support. They want agents in complete control.

Cagey Beast , says: July 22, 2018 at 10:58 pm GMT
@MK-DELTABURKE Exactly.

Aspen Institute is CIA.

Yes, the Aspen Institute is the CIA and the CIA is the Aspen Institute. Or, to be more precise, the CIA is the armed wing of Washington's permanently governing technocratic party, in the same way the KGB was the armed wing of the Soviet Communist Party.

Poor Julian Assange is likely going to be in their hands not too long from now. The citizen of one Five Eyes country will be arrested by another and then sent off to the imperial metropole, to be kicked around like a political football. The rest of us Anglosphericals are expected to cheer or remain silent. Either is acceptable.

skrik , says: July 23, 2018 at 8:59 am GMT
@TG

there is nothing at all mindless or demented about them

Me: Oh yes there is; by *them* I don't mean "Zuckerberg, others" but the actual rulers of 'the West,' then see this:

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Consider also:

Aspen Institute is CIA

and [perhaps most critically] this:

may depend on support for Trump from Israel and the Pentagon!

Now, I term the actual rulers of 'the West' the ccc = covert criminal cabal. Of course they are in hiding -- acting from 'behind the curtain,' as some have it -- it has to be that *dishonest* way -- for them. Among their most notable 'fruits' are the JFK murder, USS Liberty outrage, inside-job 9/11 psyop and the utterly wicked destruction of Libya/Gaddafi, just 4 of many. The extended list is looong, and note that the 1st 3 in my list demonstrate the ccc 'murdering their own' -- except that to the ccc, anybody not actually in the ccc itself is not 'their own' but only exploitable/disposable objects. Of course the ccc causes lies to be promulgated, hence the Lügenpresse . Neoliberalism/austerity must also come from the ccc, causing misery wherever it's forced upon us, we the people. One of the spivs in suits who 'sold' neoliberalism to the Aus people called it 'economic rationalism' and jeered: 'What would you rather -- irrational economics?' Another ccc modus operandi item is coercion as demonstrated by the downstream effects of Downer's "Get a briefing!" -- which shows us that the CIA et al. is a 'command conduit' if not a command originator. What I'm trying to illustrate here is that the ccc does not merely operate like a mafia, it *is* a mafia, and one of the author's "may depend on" items suggests a name for this mafia, namely: Khazar. That's our miserable world, deliberately made that way by that mafia; if that's not 'mindless and demented' what is? rgds

Pancho Perico , says: July 23, 2018 at 10:27 pm GMT
@MK-DELTABURKE The Aspen Institute is CIA, but the CIA is an organization created and controlled by the globalist conspirators at the Council on Foreign Relations, mostly the Rockefellers and other banksters.

[Jan 13, 2019] The USA repeats the history of the later Roman empire, with the army and intelligence agencies firmly in control

Intelligence agencies are a new Praetorian Guard
Jan 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

jilles dykstra , says: July 23, 2018 at 7:30 am GMT

In my opinion, no dementia. Too many careers and institutions are built on continuing hostility towards Russia. First ECB President Duisenberg's ph d thesis had as title 'The economic consequences of peace', something like that, his conclusion was that demilitarization was possible economically, when controlled sensibly.

Did anyone read 'The Iron Mountain Report', I never quite knew what to make of it, but it also is about if demilitarization is possible. Barbara Hinckley Sheldon Goldman, American Politics and Government, Glenview Ill.,1990 describes how the USA weapons industry skillfully prevents that spending on useless weapons diminishes. The history of the later Roman empire, the army in control.

[Jan 13, 2019] Whether kabuki theater or real gamesmanship but the threshold of decency has been crossed by Trump and uncrossing it is going to be very tricky

Jan 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

EliteCommInc. , says: July 23, 2018 at 5:04 am GMT

In my view, at the moment the deed is done. The president signed onto the report acknowledged the he accepts the report has even gone as far to say, he blames Pres. Putin

Another backtrack, just muddies the waters, and mat be acceptable because no one wants to accept the real consequences of a president who has repudiated the one state president he most desired to make a deal with -- the jig is up.

Whether kabuki theater or real gamesmanship --

A threshold has been crossed and uncrossing it is going to be tricky and in my further humiliation for the wh. The analysis here mattered before the president agreed with the report. But when he did, this analysis, becomes moot. Having a chit chat about de-escalating nuclear tensions is quaint in light of the president acknowledging that russia has in fact undermined the US democratic process. This is a serious charge and no amount of changing the subject, crying foul, or pretending it was all a big misunderstanding is going to change that.

I think it would have been prudent for the president to hold fire in Helsinki and read the report and then responded . He did make any of those choices. It matters not how exposed the establishment in wanton eagerness to have their way, wh has embraced the matter. it is on record and . . . oh well. I see merit in maintaining his original position of disbelief -- however, the president did a complete about face -- and there is no question of that or the implications.

[Jan 13, 2019] Republican politicians may invoke the rhetoric of free markets to justify cutting taxes for the rich and benefits for the poor, or removing environmental regulations that hurt polluters' profits, but they don't really care about free markets per se. After all, the party had little problem lining up behind Trump's embrace of tariffs

Notable quotes:
"... If anything, Trump and the GOP have finally shown common decent folk what the democratic experiment in America has become: a system that looks alot like feudal systems of the past. Including walls! ..."
"... There is no such thing as a free market. Let me repeat it again for effect: there is NO such thing as a free market. Whether one calls it libertarianism or neoliberalism, the idea is pretty much the same: if we just unleash the power of human greed, the market will equal everything out, and we'll all be freer because of it. Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. Our government gives huge incentives to large corporations with the idea that wealth will trickle down into middle class jobs and prosperity. But guess what? Those corporations keep most of the incentives and profits for themselves and their shareholders. The comparatively minuscule recent tax cuts for the middle class pale in comparison to the huge corporate cuts that added $2 trillion to our national deficit. The only thing stopping corporate excess and monopolies is government. Many libertarians cry "starve the beast." Well, they shouldn't complain if they get food poisoning because their food wasn't properly inspected by a government they loath. And neither should President Trump complain, if, like most Americans, his next Big Mac doesn't agree with him. ..."
"... Anarchy is oligarchy. The rule of law -- law crafted by dedicated public servants, who are elected by sober and informed citizens -- is the closest we can come to freedom. ..."
"... The libertarian philosophy is this: while you're young and healthy and productive, you can help make money for your boss. However, once you are old and no longer capable of making a contribution to someone else, it is your obligation to simply die. ..."
"... Privatizing Social Security so that investment firms can get a piece of the action, privatizing Medicare so that insurance companies can get a piece of the action, and privatizing the military, so that private paramilitary companies can get more than their fair share of the action. It's theft in plain sight. We can't believe it, because it's so obvious. ..."
"... Paraphrasing Marie Antoinette "Let them eat contaminated cake" ..."
"... Funny how libertarians never argue for privatizing the military, or law enforcement. ..."
"... I cannot enumerate the number of rich Republicans who tried to get the government to support their elderly while the children of those elderly got the money. I could tell you stories, including one about a certain Republican Governor of Pennsylvania who tried to put his adult, but mentally handicapped child on Medicaid. ..."
"... Cutting tax rates on the wealthy are stealing from the rest of us. We make contributions every hour of every day which are hoovered up by the wealthy and the powerful. Meanwhile we cannot afford the cost of living, which has skyrocketed vs wages and benefits. The cost of an apartment is exorbitant. The cost of health care is exorbitant. Meanwhile the commons suffer. Infrastructure suffers. Sidewalks are a menace. There is lead in the water. Rich people who do not pay their fair share of taxes are stealing from the people in so many ways it's impossible to count them. But count them in years lost, in lives cut short, in lives blighted. ..."
"... Republicans aren't against government, it has grown more under every Republican president including Reagan himself. They simply have their preferences as to who benefits from it. ..."
"... As the saying goes, you never miss your water until your well runs dry. ..."
Jan 13, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

That said, the truth is that libertarian ideology isn't a real force within the G.O.P.; it's more of a cover story for the party's actual agenda.

In the case of the party establishment, that agenda is about redistributing income up the scale, and in particular helping important donor interests. Republican politicians may invoke the rhetoric of free markets to justify cutting taxes for the rich and benefits for the poor, or removing environmental regulations that hurt polluters' profits, but they don't really care about free markets per se. After all, the party had little problem lining up behind Trump's embrace of tariffs.

Meanwhile, the philosophy of the party's base is, in essence, big government for me but not for thee. Stick it to the bums on welfare, but don't touch those farm subsidies. Tellingly, the centerpiece of the long G.O.P. jihad against Obamacare was the false claim that it would hurt Medicare.

And as it happens, many of the spending cuts being forced by the shutdown fall heavily and obviously on base voters. Small business owners are much more conservative than the nation as a whole, but they really miss those government loans. Rural voters went Republican during a Democratic midterm blowout, but they want those checks. McConnell may have trash-talked food stamps in the past, but a sudden cutoff would have a catastrophic effect on the most Republican parts of his home state.


C Wolfe Bloomington IN Jan. 10

I had an idiot,er, libertarian friend once who actually believed the market would take care of food safety, because people wouldn't buy food from a source if that source was known to have sold tainted food. "What about the people who die in the meantime?" I asked. "Well, it's up to people to decide what to eat. The government shouldn't tell people what to eat." "But how are you supposed to know? How much tainted food has to be sold and eaten before people even know to avoid it? People get sick or die.

What about people's lives?" "Argh, 'people's lives.'" (Eye roll.) "Liberals are always talking about 'people's lives.'" I swear this is an actual conversation that I repeated so many times I have it memorized.

AndyE Berkley MI Jan. 10

Ironically, the likelihood of chronic dependency on federal dollars is directly proportional to the redness of the state.

DB NC Jan. 11 Times Pick

One of the big obstacles I've observed is that conservatives, in general, have to experience negative consequences directly to understand the link between cause and effect. Liberals, in general, are better at imagining negative consequences and taking preventive action before they directly experience it. It has to do with empathy and solidarity, I think. Liberals see someone suffering, and they think, "We should find out what caused that and fix it so it doesn't happen to the rest of us." Conservatives see someone suffering, and they think, "That guy must be a terrible person. He totally deserves what happened to him. It can never happen to me because I'm a good guy." It is only when the negative thing does directly happen to the conservative that he may reconsider. That's when it is important to find a scapegoat- illegal immigrants, minorities, Jews- to blame in order to obscure the causal link.

Socrates Downtown Verona. NJ Jan. 10

Libertarianism attracts the finest stunted teenaged and hypocritical minds that are either disconnected from reality or that suffer from cognitive dissonance that allows hypocrisy and selfishness to flourish like mutant bacteria. Taxes and good government are the price of any decent civilization...and both of these concepts are completely demonized by Republicans even though Republicans are some of the greatest welfare queens in the nation. Productive, modern, blue Democratic state federal tax dollars have long subsidized rural, religious Republican states that hate the federal government....they curse they horse that feeds them and then they curse even more when the federal teat is turned off. America's 0.1% Robber Barons and crony vulture capitalists curse 'high tax rates' that aren't particularly high compared to the rest of the world while using America's infrastructure, legal system, government-funded research and technology, and corrupted electoral system to make parasitic profits that dwarf those of foreign corporations who pay their fair share of taxes to countries with increasingly better infrastructure and educational systems. The libertarian theology followed to fruition is Somalia-like; an unregulated anarchy of human misery. Decent human beings understand that healthy taxes produce healthy civilization. Today's version of libertarian Republicanism is a demented form of arrested emotional development that's been destroying the USA since 1980. Nice GOPeople.

Larry St. Paul, MN Jan. 11 Times Pick

Those who believe, like Ronald Reagan, that government is the problem, are about to discover that the absence of government is an even worse problem.

Wilbray Thiffault Ottawa. Canada Jan. 10

Senator Mitch McConnel said that the food stamp program is "making it excessively easy to be non productive." Well, Mitch McConnel is not on the food stamp program and he manages to be one of the most "non productive" senator in the history of the US Senate. Congratulation Senator!

Eric Bremen Jan. 11 Times Pick

Almost unfailingly, the stoutest Republican supporters seem to be the biggest beneficiaries of government: the military, farmers, pensioners or small business owners. Growing up in a military family, I remember subsidized gas, medical treatment for free and school trips paid by the DoD. Yet anytime there was a Democratic president, it sounded like there would be a coup when our military parents met at picnicks and had a few beers. If anything, Trump and the GOP have finally shown common decent folk what the democratic experiment in America has become: a system that looks alot like feudal systems of the past. Including walls!

jrinsc South Carolina Jan. 11 Times Pick

There is no such thing as a free market. Let me repeat it again for effect: there is NO such thing as a free market. Whether one calls it libertarianism or neoliberalism, the idea is pretty much the same: if we just unleash the power of human greed, the market will equal everything out, and we'll all be freer because of it. Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. Our government gives huge incentives to large corporations with the idea that wealth will trickle down into middle class jobs and prosperity. But guess what? Those corporations keep most of the incentives and profits for themselves and their shareholders. The comparatively minuscule recent tax cuts for the middle class pale in comparison to the huge corporate cuts that added $2 trillion to our national deficit. The only thing stopping corporate excess and monopolies is government. Many libertarians cry "starve the beast." Well, they shouldn't complain if they get food poisoning because their food wasn't properly inspected by a government they loath. And neither should President Trump complain, if, like most Americans, his next Big Mac doesn't agree with him.

TM Muskegon, MI Jan. 10

For those who despise government regulations, I offer 3 observations: 1. I lived near Muskegon, MI, prior to the EPA, when 3 foundries were constantly belching smoke and foundry dust into the air. Breathing the air was equivalent to smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day.

2. I lived in Cairo, Egypt for 3 years. I purchased 4 pairs of prescription eyeglasses before finally giving up. None of them were right - and no regulations meant that I had no recourse.

3. I lived in Accra, Ghana for 3 years. No construction codes meant that the brand new luxury apartment building I moved into suffered numerous problems with plumbing, resulting in mold, flooded floors and sudden loss of water pressure.

In Cairo and in Accra, there was no social safety net. Beggars were a constant. Often they would be horribly disfigured and with no family what were they to do? I am happily retired now, back in Western Michigan, thoroughly enjoying the clean air, safe food, and clean parks. Obama said it best - it's not the size of government, it's the effectiveness of it. And if it's not working, that's on us - we're the ones who put those people in office. 2020 can't arrive soon enough.

Lex DC Jan. 10

The Trump voter in my family was a libertarian before switching to the Party of Trump and still believes that government is an interference. One conversation we had was about electricians needing to be licensed. He said electricians did not need to be licensed because if their work led to customers being injured or killed due to a fire, that information would circulate and those electricians would be forced out of the market. I asked him if he cared about the people injured or killed, he shrugged his shoulders and said that's just the way things are. I then asked him what if he was one the customers injured or killed. He looked rather shocked at that question and immediately dropped the subject. That is all that I ever needed to know about libertarianism.

Michael W. Espy Flint, MI Jan. 11 Times Pick

I like to pay taxes, I get civilization in return.

Pat Somewhere Jan. 10

"Libertarianism" according to the GOP means that YOU need the discipline of the "free market," but I deserve all the protections and support of the nanny state (financed with your tax dollars, thank you very much.)

Goodglud Flagstaff, AZ Jan. 10

As George Lakoff reminded us, what the anti-government folks call "regulations" are, for the most part, "protections." We shouldn't let the Kochs, Trumps, McConnells, and Ryans frame the discussion. "The term "regulation" is framed from the viewpoint of corporations and other businesses. From their viewpoint, "regulations" are limitations on their freedom to do whatever they want no matter who it harms. But from the public's viewpoint, a regulation is a protection against harm done by unscrupulous corporations seeking to maximize profit at the cost of harm to the public." https://georgelakoff.com/2017/01/28/the-publics-viewpoint-regulations-are-protections

Michael McLemore Athens, Georgia Jan. 11 Times Pick

At some point the American people need to realize that conservative/libertarian pundits are just on-air hucksters selling a product. Instead of selling Vegematics, Ginsu knives or non-stick cookware, they are peddling right-wing bile for a profit. And the profits derived from their corporate advertisers are huge. Forget truth or journalism, Rush Linbaugh openly proclaims himself to be an "entertainer" and not a "journalist" (mainly to make it more difficult to sue him for falsehood). Ann Coulter similarly declares herself a "polemicist". Forget for a moment the subversive influence of Russian money and hacking on American politics. Our own homegrown corporate advertisers are eagerly subverting America by underwriting glib purveyors of corrosive right-wing propaganda, who will slyly proclaim the gospel of unbridled greed and not of social responsibility. Of course drug companies don't want the FDA. Why would they want oversight to keep the public safe, when safety costs them money? Why would banks want regulation to safeguard the financial system and consumers, when regulation interferes with short-term profits? The Koch brothers don't want pesky interference from the EPA in regulating their mega-refinery in Minnesota. Their family homes are in Aspen, Palm Beach and Manhattan, so why should it concern them if effluent rolls through St. Louis, Memphis, and New Orleans? Don't dare call this something so plain as "greed". Wrap it in a bow and call it "libertarianism".

FunkyIrishman member of the resistance Jan. 11 Times Pick

Republican mantra (even Libertarian) is to be left alone, so long as THEIR way of life is left alone, and they are subsidized by you for living that way. That may mean a MASSIVE military to be a deterrent, or to go invade some other country to keep the oil flowing. That may mean subsidizing all sorts of industries, businesses and the like, because they cannot compete at all on a truly free open market. That might mean support for all sorts of social programs, health programs, education programs and the like as well, because bootstraps only take you so far. I would use the word hypocrisy, but that would entail that many know what they speak of when describing what Libertarian, or Socialist. or another ''ist'' form of government actually means. We are all in this together or we are not. There is no in between, but many would have you believe it is possible. It is not.

earlyman Portland Jan. 10

@Bill Once you our you loved one eats salmonella contaminated lettuce and nearly dies, good luck going after, or even finding, the agra-business across the country who caused it.

Linda Sausalito, CA Jan. 10

European food is heavily regulated, uh, by governments. Much tastier and doesn't contain known carcinogens. Watching the train wreck of the United States.

Will Schmidt perlboy on a ranch 6 miles from Ola, AR Jan. 10

@C Wolfe This rings so true for me too. I majored in economics at UICC in the early seventies. My favorite prof was a PhD candidate at U of Chicago, and one of his advisors was Milton Friedman. Being at UICC, I did not study under the great man, but I did under one of his acolytes, who was close to tenure (ABD, if I remember correctly), and I thought, a very intelligent one. One of his two areas of doctoral specialty (you had to have two; his other was labor) was macro, and I took him for among other things, money & banking. In fact, I took M&B twice, because the first time (I got an A) was from a Keynesian, and I wanted to get it from a Quantity Theory guy; another A.) Because my prof was a diciple of M.F., I got to attend several special lectures at UC, and partake of the kool-aid. Well, I heard directly from the horse's mouth how consumers would boycotte inferior suppliers and only the best would survive. The free market would favor the best and punish the worst. Of course, this required perfect information. Unfortunately, no good case was made how a perfect information economy could be achieved nor how consumers could afford to acquire perfect information. The price of discovering bad suppliers of tainted food would surely include the deaths of some number of consumers before that information became generally available. We debated perfect markets and perfect information but never did get a convincing case for abandoning government inspection of food products.

Michael Kelly Bellevue, Nebraska Jan. 10

The famous Republican philosopher Grover Norquist once said that he's want to have government so small that one could drown it in the bathtub. Right now, nearly one million government workers are facing the prospect of drowning in debt. Trump suggests that they could make do like he always used to, namely declare bankruptcy or go to daddy for a loan. All this while court jester Pence 'handles' the negotiations. His idea is to make more requests while staying firm on a wall.

LT Chicago Jan. 10

Perhaps the GOP base will finally learn just how dependent they really are on the government they profess to hate. Trump loving farmers and small town business owners are in for a particularly nasty surprise. It's not just farm subsidies. As described by Michael Lewis in "The Fifth Risk": "As the U.S.D.A.'s loans were usually made through local banks, the people on the receiving end of them were often unaware of where the money was coming from. There were many stories very like the one Tom Vilsack told, about a loan they had made, in Minnesota, to a government-shade-throwing, Fox News-watching, small-town businessman. The bank held a ceremony and the guy wound up being interviewed by the local paper. "He's telling the reporter how proud he is to have done it on his own," said Vilsack. "The U.S.D.A. person goes to introduce herself, and he says, 'So who are you?' She says, 'I'm the U.S.D.A. person.' He asks, 'What are you doing here?' She says, 'Well, sir, we supplied the money you are announcing.' He was white as a sheet." There are rural counties in this country that are only viable with government money. Trump counties. It's going to be an expensive and painful education. Trump University lives.

Norm Weaver Buffalo NY Jan. 10

If ever there was a group that lives in a fantasy world, it's the libertarians. In another article in another newspaper that dealt with "intrusive" government, I submitted a comment saying that I wouldn't be surprised if Libertarians would be opposed to STOP signs and traffic lights because these would constitute an unnecessary infringement on their freedom. Wouldn't you know that a person of that persuasion actually replied to my comment and confirmed my suspicion. Working in an IT position for three decades I dealt with this type daily. Many were 30-something white males, often both cognitively and physically well above average, who had learned to program computers. They were blessed with being raised in two-parent families. I acknowledge the hard work they did to learn to wrestle with computers, but they lacked the perspective to realize that they had not hit a home run but rather had been born on second or third base due to the intellectual and physical gifts they possess that many others don't.They could not understand why others in society could not emulate their success. In one conversation about affirmative action, one such person asked "Why do we need that anymore? There are laws against discrimination.". Many of this type get bit in the behind when some government regulation is repealed then it turns out that THEY are the ones adversely affected by the repeal. But don't waste your breath trying to pierce the fantasy balloon. They hold tight to those fantasies.

George Chicago Jan. 10

I'm waiting for Grover Norquist and the other small government proponents to relocate to Somalia, home of no real government. Why it's not thriving without the yoke of onerous regulations is surprising.

Red Sox, '04, '07, '13, '18, Boston Jan. 10

"...making it excessively easy to be non-productive." -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The irony is too rich here. While he and his president and the "non-productive" Republican Senators draw a paycheck for soaking up the public dime, kids will go hungry; start-up hopefuls will lose loans; farmers will feel the bite; food will become contaminated and people will fill hospital ER's and strain their health insurance. For openers. The Right is getting its own back on FDR's New Deal. All because "government is the problem." Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Dominic Holland San Diego Jan. 10

A relatively minor point: "Maybe you believe that private companies could take over the F.D.A.'s role in keeping food safe, but such companies don't exist now and can't be conjured up in a matter of weeks." Such inspection companies could only exist if they were funded by the food companies they were inspecting. Competition among inspection companies would then obviously lead to grade inflation: hire some other company that is more likely to give you a passing grade, who in turn will be happy to lower standards to attract more customers. This is not an avenue for effective replacement of the FDA. Libertarianism is for chumps and fanatics, no one else.

Paul K Michigan USA Jan. 11 Times Pick

We lived in a small West African nation for 25 years. There were no collectable taxes because the tax collectors kept what they could extort from poor people, no safety nets such as social security or medicaid/medicare, no fire fighters, no functional road departments, no regulation of pharmaceuticals, an unprepared and unarmed military, no paid federal, regional of local police forces, no judges who were not bought by the highest bidder, no standards for the public hospitals, no communication systems, no running water in major cities, no electric power that functioned more than 4-6 hours a day, and not a single government official who was not on the take.

What we did have were cholera epidemics that killed 5000 people, annual measle epidemics that killed children under 5 years old , villages burned to the ground by wildfire, a school system which did not pay its teachers and finally a 12 year civil war which killed over 200,000 people and a [post war ebola epidemic which killed 12,000 more.

The proper use of taxes was not even a dream. Now in the USA, the "leadership" under its current president and his sycophants are playing personal and infantile grade school games with your and my tax dollars and the congress is helping them do it. Amazing! I feel like I am back home in my 3rd world village .

Tom B New York Jan. 11 Times Pick

Anarchy is oligarchy. The rule of law -- law crafted by dedicated public servants, who are elected by sober and informed citizens -- is the closest we can come to freedom. Governance that provides basic order and rules and a safety net for when people fail (either from behavior that is unwise or from ill fortune) is part of the rule of law. There are also necessary things that the government can provide (without a profit motive) better than either charity of for profit organizations. Roads and basic science are good examples. Other things are best left alone by government -- things like sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll. These should be principles that we all can live by, but it seems like the so-called conservatives believe quite the opposite. They believe in unregulated guns, flows of money to unregulated trusts, defunded public goods, and violent repression of sex, drugs, and free expression.

Kinsale Charlottesville, VA Jan. 10

@earlyman correct. The first thing those large corporations responsible will do is use their lobbying power to legislate liability caps on what they have to pay in settlement costs. That's the way the real world works. We're not living in some libertarian utopia.

James Wallis Martin Christchurch, New Zealand Jan. 10

Problems with the food industry in the US isn't just a new issue since the Trump administration, it has been an issue for decades. The problems of Big Ag and Food Manufacturers lobbying has been so bad, that whenever I see doctors in Germany and New Zealand, the first question they ask is have I been and eaten food in the US in the last six months, when they are trying to ascertain health issues". When the medical community around the world asks about US food intake, you know corporate libertarianism has run afoul and at the cost of the health of America. The fact that foods that can't be sold in Europe for health reasons are dumped in the US just highlights how it is no longer the United States of America, but rather the Corporate States of America. When will the people demand for Separation of Corporation and State?

John Moran Tennessee Jan. 11

I had serious Libertarian leanings up until a few years ago when my family and I moved to Bangalore, India to work for three years. It was an eye opening experience to see what actually happens when you don't have a strong central government regulating things like the air you breathe, the water you drink, and the food you eat.

Bangalore was once known as the Garden City and is considered the Silicon Valley of India, but corporate greed, unchecked expansion, and government corruption, along with no meaningful environmental laws that are actually enforced, has turned it into a nightmare-- or maybe into what Libertarianism looks like in the real world, outside of Ayn Rand novels.

The river beside our street was so polluted it had layers of chemical foam that would reach ten feet in height and blow across the road, stopping traffic.

The nearby lake would literally catch on fire, burning for days. Open sewers ran into nearby water sources. Forget tap water, it would make Flint, Michigan's water crisis seem desirable by comparison. Food safety? Roll the dice and take your chances.

Within a year any trace of Libertarian beliefs were wiped clean from my mind and I longed for strong government regulations to protect me and my family. This U.S. shutdown isn't even a minor taste of what it truly means to live without powerful and enforceable government regulations and protections.

Pete Victoria, BC Jan. 10

@Bill it is important to keep in mind that contaminated food can kill you before you even have a chance to pursue remedies. The critical elements for us now leaving much longer than our ancestors involve personal and public hygiene (e.g. safe food, sewer systems), medicine and healthy environments (e.g. pollution controls). I recommend watching the Trashopolis series, its quite informative.

Thomas Zaslavsky Binghamton, N.Y. Jan. 10

@C Wolfe Decades ago I had a very similar conversation with a doctrinaire libertarian, though it was about a less essential question. I also repeated it many times. The incredulity factor is large. I mean, I couldn't believe the degree to which rationality disappeared.

Karen Garcia New York Jan. 10

On the bright side, a federal judge just ruled Iowa's so-called Ag-Gag law to be unconstitutional, making it easier to expose the filthy and inhumane conditions on factory farms. So agribusiness will be smacked with the double whammy of losing their corporate welfare checks and bribery payments, and having their own cruelty exposed at the same time.

It's obvious that Trump's tantrum of a shutdown is the latest episode of disaster capitalism, or what Naomi Klein has dubbed the Shock Doctrine. Create a crisis, like neglecting New Orleans levees, or most recently, the criminally negligent homicides of Hurricane Maria victims in Puerto Rico, and you allow the vulture capitalists to swoop in and cash in. The entire school system of N.O. is now privatized, and libertarian billionaires are buying up huge chunks of Puerto Rico at bargain basement prices to create palaces. With walls, of course. The trash and overflowing toilets at our national parks are just the ticket for corporations to take them over and charge exorbitant admissions... before selling out to ranchers and drillers to further speed up the Anthropocene. The other semi-bright upshot of this disaster capitalism is that rich conservatives will get just as sick from eating tainted food as the poor. Trump probably figures he is immune, because he likes the polluting cow flesh he consumes to be well-done to burnt. But without getting paid, how long will the White House chefs continue to serve him? : -)

Chris Hunter WA State Jan. 10

Exactly so. It has been my experience that my libertarian friends are only able to be libertarian because they have been protected all their lives (at great expense, they would argue) by the very government they deride.

hen3ry Westchester, NY Jan. 10

What's fascinating about all of this is how the Gutless Obnoxious Popinjays refuse to take any responsibility at all for the problems. It's always the Democrats fault. I'm surprised that none of them have pointed a finger at Obama. After all, he didn't try to build a wall so it must be his fault that Trump is demanding money for a beautiful wall that will protect all Americans from the outside world. It's fascinating to realize that McConnell, Pence, Trump, and the rest of the obnoxious crowd are getting paid by the government they want to drown. They are contributing to the very cycles of misfortune that they blame people for. Are they going to write letters for every federal employee who loses a home, falls farther behind on loan payments than they should, who can't afford to pay for medical care or the premium? No. The GOP has no plans to share the misery it's causing. Trump doesn't understand or care. This is what happens when a complete incompetent is elected to run a country: chaos, uncertainty, and worse. The party that abhorred communism and the Russians now has a president who may be owned by the Russians. Even if he's not, the entire debacle that is Trump's presidency must warming the hearts of Putin and his "friends" each day it continues. As Obama said, elections have consequences. This is one of them. I don't know about the GOP and the libertarians but I prefer to eat, drink, and breathe safely. It's why I like a functioning government.

Mark McHenry Jan. 10

The libertarian philosophy is this: while you're young and healthy and productive, you can help make money for your boss. However, once you are old and no longer capable of making a contribution to someone else, it is your obligation to simply die.

If you look at all the proposals of the Republicans, this seems to be the guiding force. Privatizing Social Security so that investment firms can get a piece of the action, privatizing Medicare so that insurance companies can get a piece of the action, and privatizing the military, so that private paramilitary companies can get more than their fair share of the action. It's theft in plain sight. We can't believe it, because it's so obvious.

Lake trash Lake ozarks Jan. 10

It's the chaos this president keeps thrusting on all of us. We can't keep up day to day of his lack of self control, his lack of understanding how government works, the principles of the constitution, the rule of law that has sustained us through the years. He seems to believe that he has the support to destroy everything that keeps us safe. The foundation that made this a great country is at risk. I'm old now and can not believe what I see every day from this American President.

Cowsrule SF CA Jan. 11

@Zhou "I'll sue the company producing it". How will you do that in the absence of any governmental mechanism to enforce compliance with a law suit? And how will you prove contamination in the absence of any recognized standard to show it is present?

Aram Hollman Arlington, MA Jan. 10

@Bill So, you prefer the pound of cure known as a lawsuit to a regulatory ounce of prevention. Personally, I'd prefer to avoid both the discomfort of food poisoning and the expense of a lawsuit. Besides, do you really think you'd win? None of the many people poisoned by contaminated vegetables at Taco Bell stores a few years ago had any chance of even bringing a lawsuit, much less winning one and gettting compensation. It took regulatory agencies, public health departments, and the national Center for Disease Control simply to track down the offending vegetables and force Taco Belll to clean up its act. As for your checks and balances, most of the checks go from lobbyists to congressmen, and that throws any balances way out of whack. Your annual deficit figure of $1 trillion is out of date. The latest Trump tax cuts raised it to $1.5 trillion. So, start worrying real fast. But, I'd start worrying more not merely about the deficit, but about how money is being spent. You seem to worry more about the comparative peanuts spent on the FDA (which, by the way, also regulates drugs and medical devices) or the USDA (which also helps regulate food safety). than on the far larger amounts spent on the military (e.g. latest technology F-35 jets that can't fly in the rain), US taxpayer funding of arms sales to foreign countries that neither share our values nor help keep us safe (e.g. Saudi Arabia).

Otis-T Los Osos, CA Jan. 10

I work with alot of big Ag companies -- they're constantly raging about government regs and the red tape, etc, etc., but they have HUGE lobby and political power. On an average year, they get an amazing amount of subsidies coming in all kinds of forms, from direct compensation packages to float an industry a la corn, or from electric rates that are lower for them at the expense of the other rate classes. And when any hint of hardship comes, nevermind true hardship, they're front and center for the hand-outs. And they get plenty. All this before we even address immigrant labor! Ha! Libertarian Ag would look WAY different out in the fields. And one thing that would surely be needed: Cheap immigrant (sometimes illigal) labor. You get what you vote for.

JaneF Denver Jan. 10

@michjas Except the Republicans could reopen the government if they chose to. They could pass the same bill they passed in December, and then override the President's veto. Their conspiracy is that they won't do that.

John Quixote NY Jan. 10

So the party of fiscal responsibility which is already running up the deficit insists on building a wall over 2000 miles of border, seizing private property along the way . When we stopped teaching Geography and Citizenship and dismissed literature as irrelevant to getting a good job, we created an electorate that could be gulled by such propaganda and conned into thinking that fear is our avatar: fear of otherness, fear of government, fear of taxes, fear of liberals, fear of fear itself.

Cathy NJ Jan. 10

@Aoy when food is contaminated, the FDA is able to locate "ground zero" with utmost efficiency--Food Science 101. Without the FDA--which was established under T. Roosevelt's administration--there is no coordination between the food chain and the population. You can wash your lettuce to your heart's content, but if it was grown in contaminated soil, the cells within are contaminated. So, yes, the FDA is extremely necessary.

Jake Reeves Atlanta Jan. 10

"Government," declared Ronald Reagan in his first Inaugural Address, "is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem." Yup, Republicans say government is the problem and then they get in power and prove it. The Party of Problem Government.

keith San Miguel de Allende Jan. 11 Times Pick

Anyone who thinks enforced food safety is unnecessary should go to India and eat in a restaurant anywhere but a first-tier hotel for foreigners. Your odds of getting sick are very high. Ditto in Alexandria, Egypt, and other places I've experienced where profit is important and product is, well, less so. Remedies? Seriously? How will you prove anything? Especially when all the restaurants have the same cavalier attitude toward washing food and hands. You ate the salad? More fool you.

Castor Troy D.C. Jan. 10

I wish that shutdowns were actually that-- shut things down. That means no air traffic controllers, no TSA, no border agents. Wonder how quickly the politicians would solve their differences if they couldn't rely on slave labor from unpaid federal employees forced to work?

alank Wescosville, PA Jan. 11 Times Pick

Paraphrasing Marie Antoinette "Let them eat contaminated cake"

Ecce Homo Jackson Heights Jan. 10

Funny how libertarians never argue for privatizing the military, or law enforcement. When they think it's really important, even libertarians come running back to government. The facts are that markets are only free if they are transparent, and in all of history nobody has come up with a better way than government regulation to make markets transparent. We tried unregulated markets in food production, and it was a disaster - which is why we have federal regulation of food production today. We tried unregulated labor markets and it was also a disaster - which is why we have child labor laws, minimum wage laws, and the full range of other labor regulations we have today. politicsbyeccehomo.wordpress.com

Ben Chicago Jan. 10

People forget that government workers are themselves participants in the economy. They buy cars and houses. They go to the grocery and the hardware store. When they don't get paid, the businesses they patronize -- private businesses -- also go without. Yesterday, I had lunch at a famous old restaurant right near the federal plaza in Chicago's Loop. One of the workers there told me that because of the shutdown the place's business had fallen way off. (And that's with the federal courthouse still open. Just wait until the courts shut, too.) It's a closed system, folks.

Cal Prof Berkeley, USA Jan. 10

Spot on. Naïveté about libertarianism runs deep. It was brought home to me when I worked with programmers in Silicon Valley in the 1980s. A fair number espoused libertarian ideas. Yet they had all had their computer science degrees paid for by the Defense Department, many at state universities. I was not too sophisticated myself but even I could see the disconnect between the ideas they were pushing and the real world implications.

Tom B New York Jan. 10

Have you ever actually tried a personal injury case? For a food borne illness? I ask those questions rhetorically because I can tell from your comment that you haven't. As a lawyer, who doesn't often get involved in personal injury cases, I can tell you that people often think they aren't hurting anyone by cutting corners, and are only restrained from doing things like serving contaminated food or doing illegal gas line plumbing by the threat of fines if caught cutting those corners. It's not the lawsuit that makes them take care.

Rich Davidson Lake Forest, IL Jan. 10

The gilded age of the 1890's seem like a wonderful time for libertarians. The productivity of the nation was high and gaining. But, it came with dirty air and water, bad food and medicine, quackery and robber barons. It was followed by the Roaring 20's where stocks grew without limits and borrowed money paid for it. That did not end well, either. Finally, in FDR's first 100 days, government stepped in and wrote the rules that made life good for most of us. The GOP does not know history and forgot what happened when there was a libertarian society. They are getting an education, finally.

Linda Oklahoma Jan. 10

One of the things that might end is the Indian Health Services. The government made contracts with tribes that in exchange for their land, the federal government would provide education and healthcare. It's not a welfare program. It is payment for millions of acres of land. If Indian Health Services ends, that's the same as reneging on a contract. Trump may see tribes going to court to get what was promised to them in exchange for land and lifestyle. If the shutdown continues, lots of people may be taking Trump to court.

Yuri Asian Bay Area Jan. 10

Do you believe in magic? Religious extremists do. So do Libertarians. And so do Republicans though what they believe is a variant of magic that might be called delusion or magic mixed with whisky and soda, which we call cynicism. What they all have in common is a collective inability to see the forest from the trees: central to their emptiness is the absence of humanity and all the messy ambiguity that entails, instead substituting a bogus certainty that's nothing more than a palliative for existential panic at the absence of self identity grounded in community. Bertrand Russell called it cosmic anxiety. It drives the compulsion for religion, ideology, in fact all systems of coping that avoid the crushing weight of freedom that comes without compass or owner's manual. Whether the god of the invisible hand that directs the market, or the god of clubs with exclusive membership and status, or the god of ancient fables told and retold for a millennium of successive generations, all are rationales for the irrational aversion of responsibility to do the work necessary to make freedom meaningful without making it meaningless for others. The two bargain bins in the basement of modern life are religion and ideology. Libertarianism can be found on the clearance rack for one size fits all.

OUTsider deep south Jan. 10

Paul, you included this quote from Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader... When talking about Food Stamps he has denounced the program for "making it excessively easy to be nonproductive." He has no business being so judgmental. Being productive implies a positive result for society. When it comes to being productive, his entire career is in question.

Elizabeth Moore Pennsylvania Jan. 11

@ebmem You don't know anything. For one thing, you are DEAD WRONG. Medicare DOES NOT PAY FOR NURSING HOME CARE AT ALL! MEDICAID DOES, but only for the poor. It is WEALTHY REPUBLICANS who "Medicaid Plan" their assets so the government will cover their living expenses so they can preserve wealth for their heirs. How do I know this to be the truth? I spend 23 years as a government regulator for Medicaid (Medical Assistance) in the state of Pennsylvania.

I cannot enumerate the number of rich Republicans who tried to get the government to support their elderly while the children of those elderly got the money. I could tell you stories, including one about a certain Republican Governor of Pennsylvania who tried to put his adult, but mentally handicapped child on Medicaid.

Sherry Washington Jan. 10

It is remarkable how farmers, who are particularly reliant on federal government programs to buy seed, equipment, get loans, get crop subsidies, and market their food, still support Trump, even though these programs are shut down and he's started a trade war. One farmer in today's issue supports Trump, saying "we need some border security", even though it means he might lose his farm. What kind of politics is this where people support a President who intentionally ruins their prospects and their way of life? It reminds me how dictators keep power through propaganda, rewriting history and painting its leadership as heroic. Fox News is like North Korean TV rewiring Republican brains to believe that Republicans, no matter how bone-headed, are always good, and Democrats are always bad, so much so they are willing to lose the farm, like North Koreans are willing to starve.

Will Hogan USA Jan. 11

@Mark Nuckols all the government programs that help business mean that the wealthy owe some money back. when 5000 workers of a large corporation all drive the company trucks on free public roads built with tax dollars, when those roads need repair, it sure should be taxes on the company that helps pay, along with the gas tax we all pay. Your mistake is in thinking that the income of the company owner was earned by him and him alone, but in reality, the taxpayers helped him plenty every step of the way. You just did not see it all.

ridgeguy No. CA Jan. 10

The article focuses on food inspections, but what about drug inspections? Is the FDA inspecting pharma manufacturing houses? Are they inspecting precursor chemicals commonly imported from, say, China? Libertarians (along with the rest of us) may be in for much more consequential disappointments than bad lettuce.

Chris DC Jan. 10

Well, at this point it certainly comes as no surprise that the narrowly tailored ideological conceit republicans like to think of as - laughably - 'Libertarianism' was little more than an economic grubsteak to the plutocratic interests. Indeed, it makes my head spin to think how quickly the so-called libertarians of the republican party would support rollbacks on women's reproductive liberties, not to mention the liberties of minorities and the LGBTQ community, not to mention how they would import the Christian Right's version of theology into the public domain. (Ah yes, get government off our backs, but shove God into every home.) The issue that looms broadly over all this, however, is the republican's intent to liquidate this nation's status as technologically advanced, industrialized liberal democracy. Apparently the maintenance/perpetuation of modernity is not compatible with right wing notions of 'liberty,' let alone libertarianism.

Areader Huntsville Jan. 10

The first libertarian I knew was a slum landlord who did not want the Government regulations concerning maintenance of apartments and the like. This seems like a common trait among the political group as I think libertarians are more interested in profit.

Peter CT Jan. 10

No one complains more loudly and more often about attempts to curtail his first amendment rights "guaranteed by the constitution," than my libertarian friend, who refuses to pay taxes, then expects the government he won't support to protect his freedoms. If you really miss those debate club arguments from jr. high school, go try to talk sense to some libertarians. For the rest of us, plain old Republicans are a perfectly adequate source of flawed reasoning.

Sophia chicago Jan. 11

@Mark Nuckols Wrong! Cutting tax rates on the wealthy are stealing from the rest of us. We make contributions every hour of every day which are hoovered up by the wealthy and the powerful. Meanwhile we cannot afford the cost of living, which has skyrocketed vs wages and benefits. The cost of an apartment is exorbitant. The cost of health care is exorbitant. Meanwhile the commons suffer. Infrastructure suffers. Sidewalks are a menace. There is lead in the water. Rich people who do not pay their fair share of taxes are stealing from the people in so many ways it's impossible to count them. But count them in years lost, in lives cut short, in lives blighted.

sapere aude Maryland Jan. 10

Republicans aren't against government, it has grown more under every Republican president including Reagan himself. They simply have their preferences as to who benefits from it.

Helena Princeton New Jersey Jan. 10

I'm surprised that the air traffic controllers haven't all called in sick. They have the collective power to bring air travel to a standstill. I've long felt that a general nationwide strike would finally get the attention of our corporate overlords. After all, all they care about is money--just like Trump and the GOP.

YoursTruly Pakistan Jan. 11 Times Pick

When two elephants fight, its the grass that gets uprooted. In this show of arrogance and egos its the lives of many ordinary Americans that is adversely affected. I only wish that this crisis comes to an end soon to the relief of many.

dpaqcluck Cerritos, CA Jan. 10

@jrinsc, exactly right with an academic exception. Adam Smith and his ideas of free market competition assumed that there would be large number of companies competing with each other with their sole means of competition being consumer satisfaction, price and employee efficiency. Anyone who couldn't compete went out of business, hence "free market". The government's only role is to enforce anti-trust laws to keep businesses small and competitive, and assure that the competitive triangle of business, labor, and consumer are kept in balance. Fundamentally big business is bad, always! What real "free markets" DO NOT include is the idea that a small number of huge companies pay the government to create a competition free environment. The term "free market" has been stolen to mean that companies can do anything they want to succeed, including creating laws with profitable loopholes, laws to inhibit labor participation in the competition, and laws that inhibit consumers from using fraud laws to suppress shoddy products. In reality there is no "free market", as @jrinsc said, except to mean that big companies are free to do whatever they want to be profitable.

PB USA Jan. 10

My first lecture in economics dealt with free. The professor, then the Chief Economist at the Cleveland Fed, made the point that nothing was free: no free lunch; no free air; no free love. The point that he made was that somebody always pays. For everything; maybe not you, not now; but somebody does. So every time that I hear this Republican rant about free markets, I begin to laugh.

White Buffalo SE PA Jan. 11

@dpaqcluck Adam Smith believed corporate entities needed to be regulated. something always left out.

J. Benedict Bridgeport, Ct Jan. 10

I am wondering if Mitch McConnell and his close Republican allies have been living off food stamps because it seems to me they all have been incredibly unproductive for years which he sights as a consequence of anyone using food stamps.

John California California Jan. 11

@Joel Sanders This is completely specious reasoning. There are any number of non-state food groups that compete to set, e.g., organic, standards for food... for their participants. And they can restrict anyone from using their seal of approval without meeting their requirements. What they can't do, and the State can, is to require tainted products to be removed from distribution. Having the power of the State depends on law that transcends private agreement. And in the case of food, drugs, highways, airlines, and a number of other avenues of social life, that strikes me as a valuable thing. Why is this SO difficult for you, Mr. Sanders?

James Lee Arlington, Texas Jan. 11

I once heard a conservative economist give a speech in which he denounced the FDA for its suppression of competition in the pharmaceutical industry. I asked him what would protect the consumer if the market replaced the Feds as regulator of new drugs. He responded that, if my wife died from the effects of a toxic drug, I could always sue the firm that produced it. I found this notion deeply comforting. I might lose my wife, but the drug company would have to compensate me with a pile of dollars, assuming I could prove its negligence. For this libertarian, a life and money weighed equally in the scales of justice.

Aubrey Alabama Jan. 10

The people who support libertarianism are like those who support biblical literalism (fundamentalism). The libertarians want to get rid of some laws and regulations but not all of them. Just the ones they don't like. Usually these are laws which make corporations and businesses sell clean and safe food, treat employees fairly, pay taxes, etc. The libertarians don't want to get rid of laws which help business, corporations, and the well-to-do. They want to be sure that Boeing, Lockheed, and others get cushy defense contracts, the petroleum companies get subsidies, Big Pharma gets to charge a lot for drugs, etc. It is just a new name for the same old playbook -- make things tough on the weak and poor -- those with dark skins, immigrants, etc. All the while being solicitous for the well-off and powerful. Religious literalist do the same -- pick out the Bible verses which support the desired message. Ignore those which don't. So many things don't change. We get give them a new name.

Stan Sutton Westchester County, NY Jan. 10

Actually, Krugman didn't confuse Libertarians and Republicans. He said that Republicans used Libertarian rhetoric but weren't true Libertarians, and he didn't accuse Libertarians of favoring Republican policies across the board.

RLiss Fleming Island, Florida Jan. 11

@Bill: See Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 11/9, which covers the Flint water crisis in depth. These people didn't even know they were drinking contaminated water until a health worker broke ranks and made it public. THEN nothing was done.....(Oh, the state provided bottled water for a while, to drink).... The children of Flint were suffering IRREVERSIBLE brain damage due to lead in the water.....would suing 20 years later fix that? AND why did this happen at all? The Republican governor of the state wanted to help his buddies make a lot of money....

DB NC Jan. 10

@Goodglud Excellent link! We need to call it what it is. No more reduce "regulations" which people hear as reducing red tape. Make them advocate to "reduce protections."

Red Sox, '04, '07, '13, '18, Boston Jan. 10

@AndyE, Berkley, MI: Nice turn on Jennings' corollary to Murphy's Law (the chances of the toast falling buttered side down on the carpet is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet).

Buck Santa Fe, NM Jan. 10

@Mamawalrus72 We are living Government by the Kochs now. We have been living Government by corporations for some time.

NM NY Jan. 10

Money talks louder than reason. So long as moneyed libertarians like the Koch Brothers buy political influence, they will purchase an agenda to benefit themselves at our expense.

Chris Toronto Jan. 10

"In the case of the party establishment, that agenda is about redistributing income up the scale, and in particular helping important donor interests. Republican politicians may invoke the rhetoric of free markets to justify cutting taxes for the rich and benefits for the poor, or removing environmental regulations that hurt polluters' profits, but they don't really care about free markets per se." Head of nail, meet hammer. The US used to be the world's beacon of democratic values. No longer. The political system has been severely corrupted by PACs, Super PACs, self-funding billionaire politicians, skewed campaign funding rules, cynical electoral manipulation, self-interest and a lack of statesmanship amongst the political classes. You'd think a credible third political party would be able to drive a bus straight through the middle of this division. Two choices, left or right, just can't be enough to sustain a democracy.

Richard NM Jan. 10

@Will Schmidt perlboy "We debated perfect markets ..." Like in engineering somebody would design a car without engine because there is no friction and you just have to give it a push to get around. I am so happy I am an engineer, forces me into reality.

Audrey Germany Jan. 11

"Knowing that the food you're eating is now more likely than before to be contaminated, does that potential contamination smell to you like freedom?" Exactly. One of the most thing I appreciated of being in the EU is a strong consumer protection and safety regulations. But I guess, it's to "socialist" for some. Let's wait and see how the UK consumers will enjoy post-Brexit "freedom".

Mike Albany, New York Jan. 10

In answer to to Bill from Michigan, the problem with food and water contamination is that it may take years to find out that the food or water is actually contaminated, and then additional time for the public to be informed. After all this time passes, the damage is already done and lives are irreversibly damaged. As an example, the FDA has very strict limits on the amount of mycotoxin and bacterial contamination in our food supply. While E. coli contamination may be detected due to severe acute health effects, the carcinogenic effects of mycotoxin contamination may not be detected in years. The Flint Michigan lead contamination occurred in 2014 and wasn't declared an emergency until two years later, when public health officials alerted the public in 2016. Although this was largely a local issue, the H.R. 4470, the Safe Drinking Water Act Improved Compliance Awareness Act, mandates that consumers be informed. So, personally I'd rather have the Federal Government be on the side of the public and not rely on greedy lawyers.

JRM Melbourne Jan. 11

@ebmem Republicans get in office and go to work to prove that Government doesn't work and is the problem. Government works fine as long as Republicans are not in charge. The sabotage any effort to resolve or solve a problem. They complain about the debt and deficit until they are in office and then they blow the budget to smithereens with invented reasons for war so they can enrich themselves. They are the problem, not Government.

SandraH. California Jan. 11

@Bill, good luck with that. If you survive long enough to sue--and if you can prove the source of your cancer or other illness--you'll find that personal injury lawsuits get you nowhere. The big boys always win. Your best remedy is prevention. Don't let yourself or your loved ones ingest or breathe toxins. Don't let toxins into your groundwater or soil. How do you do that without government regulation?

ben220 brooklyn Jan. 10

Today, medical expenses are stratospheric. Meanwhile, the conservative movement strangles the welfare state so that nearly everyone in the middle class (regardless of political affiliation) who wants to live on more than $900 a month must go through legalized fiscal contortions to be able to pay for adequate care.

Robert David South Watertown NY Jan. 11

@TM Exactly the correct response to libertarians. They like to talk about what "would" happen, as though lack of government were a theoretical that can be calculated. There are plenty of real world examples of what "would" happen. There are historical examples too, but they "would" be different, of course.

Socrates Downtown Verona. NJ Jan. 10

@Aubrey Excellent analogy, although we can also use a good old-fashioned term to describe these 'libertarians', 'conservatives' and religious types -- -- hypocrites ..... of the highest despicable order.

Buttons Cornell Toronto, Canada Jan. 11

What courts? Courts are set up, run by and paid for by government. No government means no court system. You, the little, dying from tainted food, up against a huge agricultural corporation with deep pockets. Libertarianism is a bully system. Those with the money win and the rest die. That's it.

george Iowa Jan. 11

@jrinsc How quickly we forget, of course sometimes it isn`t that we forget but rather our memory is clouded by the smoke from the fires set by vulture capitalism. Upton Sinclair The Jungle should be required reading for all congress critters and all incoming Presidents. The Jungle is a mirror to where todays American Nobility, the 21st century Robber Barons, would like to take us. A disposable population for profit.

HN Philadelphia, PA Jan. 10

Where you see Libertarians, I see people who are so self-unaware and entitled that they believe the only apt government subsidies are the ones that benefit them. Remember the ACA debate line - "keep government out of my medicare?" Most people have no idea of what the government does! What about the staunch GOP voters who nonetheless complain when the government doesn't provide immediate aid to them after a disaster, but hesitate when the aid is going to others? And do they comprehend that all disasters - even those claimed to be "natural" - are actually man made? And do those that value privacy and their right to do what they want - do they really think that corporations and businesses will keep their products fair and safe? No, because corporations and businesses take the short view, while fairness and safety - both of which contribute to the health of the nation and its people - take the long view. Libertarians and their ilk are self-entitled peoples who only think about the immediate impact on themselves and their wallets. They change their tunes quickly when government is needed to help their bottom line.

Independent the South Jan. 11

@Bill The idea is not to sue after you get sick but to prevent you from getting sick. And if you want to reduce deficits, vote for Democrats.

Son Of Liberty nyc Jan. 10

What people with GOP/libertarian leanings should realize is that government regulations were ONLY put into place in response to the horrifying abuses of laissez faire capitalism.

Elizabeth Moore Pennsylvania Jan. 11

@Bill You keep right on believing. THE FACTS ARE that people who would sell you contaminated food have ways of covering up all the evidence. Besides, they could always hide behind the fact that the USDA and FDA inspectors weren't working and "they didn't know" because of that. You would lose any lawsuit because the inspectors didn't reveal any problems and the business owner "did not know to the best of his/her knowledge." EVERYTHING would be blamed on the shutdown, and you would LOSE>

Nova yos Galan California Jan. 10

@Goodglud Yes, regulations are limitations on their freedom to pollute.

Mark Rubin Tucson, AZ Jan. 10

Boy howdy, but it's easy to spout the libertarian line when the FDA, FTC, SEC, EPA, etc. do what they do, day in and day out. Government succeeds quietly! Many post smack about what seem like excesses, while they enjoy safe food and drugs, modest limits on fraudsters, clean air and water, etc.: Now, maybe, we'll see what happens when those who mouth off get the freedom they have demanded for decades. With a months' long shutdown lives will be lost, but those who disparage the regulatory state might get their come-uppance. The coming months, if they involve a partial shutdown, will highlight the value government offers. Opportunities like this one don't appear often. This writer, for one, hopes it represents a crisis which won't be wasted.

gbb Boston, MA Jan. 10

Government in this country seems to me to be run pretty well. I wish that more businesses were run as well as the US Postal Service.

JS Boston Ma Jan. 11

@C Wolfe I made friends with Libertarian from Texas in college my freshman year. He got me to read Ayn Rand's Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. My first take was that Ayn Rand was a pretty weak writer and clearly had serious empathy issues to the point of being a bit creepy. My friend insisted that everyone should be self reliant and was responsible for their own destiny until the day he flunked out because his academically weak high school left him unprepared to survive in our highly selective college. I really felt sorry for him but he was so far behind I could not help him. I have no idea where he ended up.

Lawyermama Buffalo Jan. 10

As the saying goes, you never miss your water until your well runs dry. A very big part of me says this is the only way red states will learn how to stop biting the hand that feeds them: they've been blindly following a party that made no secret that it wished to "starve the beast". This is what it looks like. This new perspective has delighted me even as I worry for my friends, family and colleagues who are feeling the effects. I hope our nation survives this president and learns from the mistakes.

Jim Brokaw California Jan. 10

The problem I have with libertarian utopias is that 'the market' isn't going to work to address all conflicts. So you need to hire enforcement, since government isn't doing it... or are we keeping the courts? And if the courts rule for you, and the other party just refuses to pay, now you have to go get your payment. Good luck with that. It all seems likely to devolve into a 'might makes right' series of standoffs, until people band together into unified groups to collectively agree to a set of rules, and work together with those rules. Sounds a lot like government. Or you can just hire some soldiers and go take what you want. Dare the other guys to take it back. Sounds a lot like anarchy. Libertarians always seems to me like trying to cherry-pick what they like about government, what benefits them, and then dump the rest, the stuff that costs them but they can't see the benefit for. Maybe they'll understand better if they get some contaminated lettuce next time they go grocery shopping...

Pat Stonington, CT Jan. 11

@Bill Who exactly administers said courts that you would turn to for justice? Oh that's right, the government. I hope the irony is not lost on you. Libertarians seem to forgot that no man is an island to himself.

Steve Nirvana Jan. 10

The people I have met who (loudly) espouse libertarian ideas tend to be of three types - all of whom benefit from this philosophy at the expense of others: 1) wealthy heirs like tRump who don't want to pay their taxes since it reduces their ability to live large AND pass on a dynasty to their heirs. 2) those with the luck to obtain the particular skills and education that provide a secure job with high remuneration. (Yes, it is usually a lot of luck) 3) good looking women who are confident that they can latch on to one of those described in 1) or in a pinch, 2) 2) will complain bitterly when the job market shifts - as it did for many in computer science after the glory years of the 80s. 3) will complain if their lawyer doesn't get them a big enough divorce settlement and their looks will no longer give them a second chance. A good economic system works equally for all people, not just those benefiting as members of the lucky gene club.

Spiro Jetti Jan. 11

@Socrates Amen. Something also came to mind in reading your comment: Productive modern blue states subsidize receiving red states, who then, thanks to their outsize representation via the electoral college, bludgeon the blue states with red policies like deregulation and taking of health care etc. Like I am paying someone to punch me. "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."

SunnyG Kentucky Jan. 10

We don't see the few inspectors who quietly keep our food safe, the EPA folks testing our air and rivers. The impact will be felt much later, and with no one to do the forensics, the story won't be told until well after the shutdown ends. I'm wondering how long the shutdown will last when visible folks start to go on strike. Will the federal employees who will perform the promised IRS, Food Stamp and farm distributions go to work, or ally themselves with their less visible brethren? With transportation, chaos will be most evident. After no paycheck on Friday, what if TSA doesn't shows or they picket Atlanta, OHare, JFK, SFO, IAD and DFW? Ditto for their compatriots in the Control Towers. Chaos. Who benefits? Perhaps we'll learn from Michael Cohen.

Rick Cedar Hill, TX Jan. 10

We as a nation are in this condition because the American character is one of greed, selfishness, one who does not think for himself/herself, and one that is controlled through fear. Maybe once our empire crumbles it will be divided into smaller countries that are easier to manage like the western European countries. I will move to one of the new countries that support a balanced budget, hates the concept of Citizens United and K Street lobbyists, wants to educate their masses, and provides healthcare for everyone rich and not so rich. An ignorant populous is easier to control and manhandle. The US is a good example.

Rima Regas Southern California Jan. 10

@hen3ry "It's fascinating to realize that McConnell, Pence, Trump, and the rest of the obnoxious crowd are getting paid by the government they want to drown." When you go the rest of the way you finally get a true sense of how perverted these people are.

javierg Miami, Florida Jan. 10

Thank you Dr. Krugman for a great perspective. It reminds me of the saying "be careful of what you wish for" ... for it may actually come true. Save for the sacrifice of many good Americans who depend on jobs and government benefits and the public in general, this may be the medicine those Republicans need to cure themselves of their hands off philosophy.

Ron Silverlake WA Jan. 11

@Bill I don't believe for a nano-second you would be willing to expose your family to contaminated or adulterated food on the chance you might be able sue someone after the fact. It could take you years and many thousands of dollars to get justice that way. There is a good reason we have agencies like the FDA. Many years before you were born, we in fact had the very situation you say you would be fine with. It was buyer beware for all foodstuffs. You could not trust food producers to put on the label what was actually in the can or bottle. Meat packers were packing and sending out absolute filth. If you want a hint of what it would be like here without these protective agencies, do a little research on food safety in China. It will make you sick when you see what the Chinese are exposed to.

Jody Quincy, IL Jan. 10

@C Wolfe Libertarian or not, in this country money is always more valued than human life. Again, it took Western Europe more than 2,000 years to become somewhat civilized and it will take this continent at least that long.

Thomas Zaslavsky Binghamton, N.Y. Jan. 10

@Eleanor How will you get around this? Reagan said, 'The nine most terrifying words in the English language are "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help."'

Anne CA Jan. 10

Does the shutdown mean that government will stop collecting tax money while services are suspended? Does it work both ways?

Teresa MN Jan. 11

@ebmem I am an employee of Medicaid who sees countless fellow workers toil long after quitting time to cover the most people, with the least potential harm or burden to them, to get the best services and quality of life possible, AND doing all that earning maybe half the compensation of a comparable private sector position. It saddens me that even the program ensuring our loved ones - or ourselves! - have care at the end of life is not safe from this kind of bitter, distorted partisan anger.

James K. Lowden Camden, Maine Jan. 11

@Bill Two words for you: Blue Milk. Look it up. Food contamination is an old story, as old as tort law. The FDA was created because tort law was unequal to the task. If you think the modern day is different, how is that romaine lettuce lawsuit going for you? As far as I know, no one knows where the contamination came from, much less who to sue. The romaine situation illustrates another flaw in your libertarian fantasy. The individual harm is collectively huge but individually small. Any action -- preventive or retributive -- requires collective action. Which, actually, is what democracy is, and why democracy created the FDA.

Joe Glendale, Arizona Jan. 11

@Linda You said it, Linda. I just returned from Europe. And I could not believe again how much tastier the meat and produce was - not only in restaurants but in humble meals in the country. Commercial food produced in the United States is terrible, tasteless, and full of pernicious additives. Ma and Pa Kettle have become inured to it, and don't know any better.

Blue Moon Old Pueblo Jan. 11

@Wilbray Thiffault "Well, Mitch McConnell is not on the food stamp program, and he manages to be one of the most 'non productive' senators in the history of the US Senate." Correction: Mitch McConnell and his fellow Republicans are indeed on the food stamp program, the best one ever, and the government shutdown is not preventing them all from being paid. They will never give it up willingly.

Sunny NYC Jan. 10

Prof. Krugman says, "Meanwhile, the philosophy of the party's base is, in essence, big government for me but not for thee." I totally agree. It is indeed Trump and the Republican party who is disrupting the free market. The free market can be sustained only when it is run by smart and fair-minded people including top-notched economists and politicians. Otherwise, the socialism-monster would threaten and collapse the free market anytime. What I mean by 'the socialism-monster' is not the economies of Northern European countries such as the Netherlands, Sweden, etc. Some Americans call their economies 'socialism', but that's very wrong; their economies are indeed one of the most advanced capitalistic systems. How can't they be? Capitalism in a sense started from there, i.e., the business markets of the Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal, etc. Only when capitalism is truly advanced can well-rounded safety nets exist. In any case, genuinely socialist countries such as North-Korea and China do not protect human rights and thus prohibit freedom. The real problem with Trump and his allies is that they offer the strongest momentum for socialism by killing the chance for developing truly healthy free market. Trump, with Putin, is turning the whole world back into the days of nationalism, ideologism, and colonialism. They all champion big , huge, monstrous government. If there is any American crisis, it is not border security but gun violence. But Trump underwrites the NRA.

[Jan 13, 2019] The American public naively assumes that their Imperial Project is so god-like in its powers and prowess that no other great power should be able to meddle in our domestic affairs and elections

Notable quotes:
"... This link, I believe, points into a very interesting direction. https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-07-23/imperial-naivete-american-public I don't think that "naivete" is a correct word there. ..."
"... the American public naively assumes that their Imperial Project is so god-like in its powers and prowess that no other great power should be able to meddle in our domestic affairs and elections. ..."
Jan 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

peterAUS , says: July 23, 2018 at 10:35 pm GMT

Back to topic. This link, I believe, points into a very interesting direction. https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-07-23/imperial-naivete-american-public I don't think that "naivete" is a correct word there. Some, perhaps, interesting excerpts:

.a public lulled into a warm and fuzzy sense of moral superiority based on the notion that we only go to war to save the good and punish the evil, and if we meddle in other nations' domestic affairs and elections, we're only doing so for their own good.

If we weren't a kindly, generous Empire, we'd let them go down the drain without trying to set them straight.

Key expression " moral superiority "

There is more:

. the American public naively assumes that their Imperial Project is so god-like in its powers and prowess that no other great power should be able to meddle in our domestic affairs and elections.

I don't think it's "naive" though. It's something else like, again:

there are no limits on our execution of power because we're morally superior

That is the key. That is what, deep in their hearts, Americans believe. We .are .better than .anybody .else. So, blaming "them", media, whatever no no that's a copout. Weak one. The crux is simple, eternal, hard wired: "I am better than you". "I can be homeless punk here, but, I am better than YOU." Feels good. That's all.

Blasphemy, a?

[Jan 12, 2019] Tucker Carlson Mitt Romney supports the status quo. But for everyone else, it's infuriating Fox News

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Adapted from Tucker Carlson's monologue from "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on January 2, 2019. ..."
Jan 02, 2019 | www.foxnews.com
Tucker: America's goal is happiness, but leaders show no obligation to voters

Voters around the world revolt against leaders who won't improve their lives.

Newly-elected Utah senator Mitt Romney kicked off 2019 with an op-ed in the Washington Post that savaged Donald Trump's character and leadership. Romney's attack and Trump's response Wednesday morning on Twitter are the latest salvos in a longstanding personal feud between the two men. It's even possible that Romney is planning to challenge Trump for the Republican nomination in 2020. We'll see.

But for now, Romney's piece is fascinating on its own terms. It's well-worth reading. It's a window into how the people in charge, in both parties, see our country.

Romney's main complaint in the piece is that Donald Trump is a mercurial and divisive leader. That's true, of course. But beneath the personal slights, Romney has a policy critique of Trump. He seems genuinely angry that Trump might pull American troops out of the Syrian civil war. Romney doesn't explain how staying in Syria would benefit America. He doesn't appear to consider that a relevant question. More policing in the Middle East is always better. We know that. Virtually everyone in Washington agrees.

Corporate tax cuts are also popular in Washington, and Romney is strongly on board with those, too. His piece throws a rare compliment to Trump for cutting the corporate rate a year ago.

That's not surprising. Romney spent the bulk of his business career at a firm called Bain Capital. Bain Capital all but invented what is now a familiar business strategy: Take over an existing company for a short period of time, cut costs by firing employees, run up the debt, extract the wealth, and move on, sometimes leaving retirees without their earned pensions. Romney became fantastically rich doing this.

Meanwhile, a remarkable number of the companies are now bankrupt or extinct. This is the private equity model. Our ruling class sees nothing wrong with it. It's how they run the country.

Mitt Romney refers to unwavering support for a finance-based economy and an internationalist foreign policy as the "mainstream Republican" view. And he's right about that. For generations, Republicans have considered it their duty to make the world safe for banking, while simultaneously prosecuting ever more foreign wars. Modern Democrats generally support those goals enthusiastically.

There are signs, however, that most people do not support this, and not just in America. In countries around the world -- France, Brazil, Sweden, the Philippines, Germany, and many others -- voters are suddenly backing candidates and ideas that would have been unimaginable just a decade ago. These are not isolated events. What you're watching is entire populations revolting against leaders who refuse to improve their lives.

Something like this has been in happening in our country for three years. Donald Trump rode a surge of popular discontent all the way to the White House. Does he understand the political revolution that he harnessed? Can he reverse the economic and cultural trends that are destroying America? Those are open questions.

But they're less relevant than we think. At some point, Donald Trump will be gone. The rest of us will be gone, too. The country will remain. What kind of country will be it be then? How do we want our grandchildren to live? These are the only questions that matter.

The answer used to be obvious. The overriding goal for America is more prosperity, meaning cheaper consumer goods. But is that still true? Does anyone still believe that cheaper iPhones, or more Amazon deliveries of plastic garbage from China are going to make us happy? They haven't so far. A lot of Americans are drowning in stuff. And yet drug addiction and suicide are depopulating large parts of the country. Anyone who thinks the health of a nation can be summed up in GDP is an idiot.

The goal for America is both simpler and more elusive than mere prosperity. It's happiness. There are a lot of ingredients in being happy: Dignity. Purpose. Self-control. Independence. Above all, deep relationships with other people. Those are the things that you want for your children. They're what our leaders should want for us, and would want if they cared.

But our leaders don't care. We are ruled by mercenaries who feel no long-term obligation to the people they rule. They're day traders. Substitute teachers. They're just passing through. They have no skin in this game, and it shows. They can't solve our problems. They don't even bother to understand our problems.

One of the biggest lies our leaders tell us that you can separate economics from everything else that matters. Economics is a topic for public debate. Family and faith and culture, meanwhile, those are personal matters. Both parties believe this.

Members of our educated upper-middle-classes are now the backbone of the Democratic Party who usually describe themselves as fiscally responsible and socially moderate. In other words, functionally libertarian. They don't care how you live, as long as the bills are paid and the markets function. Somehow, they don't see a connection between people's personal lives and the health of our economy, or for that matter, the country's ability to pay its bills. As far as they're concerned, these are two totally separate categories.

Social conservatives, meanwhile, come to the debate from the opposite perspective, and yet reach a strikingly similar conclusion. The real problem, you'll hear them say, is that the American family is collapsing. Nothing can be fixed before we fix that. Yet, like the libertarians they claim to oppose, many social conservatives also consider markets sacrosanct. The idea that families are being crushed by market forces seems never to occur to them. They refuse to consider it. Questioning markets feels like apostasy.

Both sides miss the obvious point: Culture and economics are inseparably intertwined. Certain economic systems allow families to thrive. Thriving families make market economies possible. You can't separate the two. It used to be possible to deny this. Not anymore. The evidence is now overwhelming. How do we know? Consider the inner cities.

Thirty years ago, conservatives looked at Detroit or Newark and many other places and were horrified by what they saw. Conventional families had all but disappeared in poor neighborhoods. The majority of children were born out of wedlock. Single mothers were the rule. Crime and drugs and disorder became universal.

What caused this nightmare? Liberals didn't even want to acknowledge the question. They were benefiting from the disaster, in the form of reliable votes. Conservatives, though, had a ready explanation for inner-city dysfunction and it made sense: big government. Decades of badly-designed social programs had driven fathers from the home and created what conservatives called a "culture of poverty" that trapped people in generational decline.

There was truth in this. But it wasn't the whole story. How do we know? Because virtually the same thing has happened decades later to an entirely different population. In many ways, rural America now looks a lot like Detroit.

This is striking because rural Americans wouldn't seem to have much in common with anyone from the inner city. These groups have different cultures, different traditions and political beliefs. Usually they have different skin colors. Rural people are white conservatives, mostly.

Yet, the pathologies of modern rural America are familiar to anyone who visited downtown Baltimore in the 1980s: Stunning out of wedlock birthrates. High male unemployment. A terrifying drug epidemic. Two different worlds. Similar outcomes. How did this happen? You'd think our ruling class would be interested in knowing the answer. But mostly they're not. They don't have to be interested. It's easier to import foreign labor to take the place of native-born Americans who are slipping behind.

But Republicans now represent rural voters. They ought to be interested. Here's a big part of the answer: male wages declined. Manufacturing, a male-dominated industry, all but disappeared over the course of a generation. All that remained in many places were the schools and the hospitals, both traditional employers of women. In many places, women suddenly made more than men.

Now, before you applaud this as a victory for feminism, consider the effects. Study after study has shown that when men make less than women, women generally don't want to marry them. Maybe they should want to marry them, but they don't. Over big populations, this causes a drop in marriage, a spike in out-of-wedlock births, and all the familiar disasters that inevitably follow -- more drug and alcohol abuse, higher incarceration rates, fewer families formed in the next generation.

This isn't speculation. This is not propaganda from the evangelicals. It's social science. We know it's true. Rich people know it best of all. That's why they get married before they have kids. That model works. But increasingly, marriage is a luxury only the affluent in America can afford.

And yet, and here's the bewildering and infuriating part, those very same affluent married people, the ones making virtually all the decisions in our society, are doing pretty much nothing to help the people below them get and stay married. Rich people are happy to fight malaria in Congo. But working to raise men's wages in Dayton or Detroit? That's crazy.

This is negligence on a massive scale. Both parties ignore the crisis in marriage. Our mindless cultural leaders act like it's still 1961, and the biggest problem American families face is that sexism is preventing millions of housewives from becoming investment bankers or Facebook executives.

For our ruling class, more investment banking is always the answer. They teach us it's more virtuous to devote your life to some soulless corporation than it is to raise your own kids.

Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook wrote an entire book about this. Sandberg explained that our first duty is to shareholders, above our own children. No surprise there. Sandberg herself is one of America's biggest shareholders. Propaganda like this has made her rich.

We are ruled by mercenaries who feel no long-term obligation to the people they rule. They're day traders. Substitute teachers. They're just passing through. They have no skin in this game, and it shows.

What's remarkable is how the rest of us responded to it. We didn't question why Sandberg was saying this. We didn't laugh in her face at the pure absurdity of it. Our corporate media celebrated Sandberg as the leader of a liberation movement. Her book became a bestseller: "Lean In." As if putting a corporation first is empowerment. It is not. It is bondage. Republicans should say so.

They should also speak out against the ugliest parts of our financial system. Not all commerce is good. Why is it defensible to loan people money they can't possibly repay? Or charge them interest that impoverishes them? Payday loan outlets in poor neighborhoods collect 400 percent annual interest.

We're OK with that? We shouldn't be. Libertarians tell us that's how markets work -- consenting adults making voluntary decisions about how to live their lives. OK. But it's also disgusting. If you care about America, you ought to oppose the exploitation of Americans, whether it's happening in the inner city or on Wall Street.

And by the way, if you really loved your fellow Americans, as our leaders should, if it would break your heart to see them high all the time. Which they are. A huge number of our kids, especially our boys, are smoking weed constantly. You may not realize that, because new technology has made it odorless. But it's everywhere.

And that's not an accident. Once our leaders understood they could get rich from marijuana, marijuana became ubiquitous. In many places, tax-hungry politicians have legalized or decriminalized it. Former Speaker of the House John Boehner now lobbies for the marijuana industry. His fellow Republicans seem fine with that. "Oh, but it's better for you than alcohol," they tell us.

Maybe. Who cares? Talk about missing the point. Try having dinner with a 19-year-old who's been smoking weed. The life is gone. Passive, flat, trapped in their own heads. Do you want that for your kids? Of course not. Then why are our leaders pushing it on us? You know the reason. Because they don't care about us.

When you care about people, you do your best to treat them fairly. Our leaders don't even try. They hand out jobs and contracts and scholarships and slots at prestigious universities based purely on how we look. There's nothing less fair than that, though our tax code comes close.

Under our current system, an American who works for a salary pays about twice the tax rate as someone who's living off inherited money and doesn't work at all. We tax capital at half of what we tax labor. It's a sweet deal if you work in finance, as many of our rich people do.

In 2010, for example, Mitt Romney made about $22 million dollars in investment income. He paid an effective federal tax rate of 14 percent. For normal upper-middle-class wage earners, the federal tax rate is nearly 40 percent. No wonder Mitt Romney supports the status quo. But for everyone else, it's infuriating.

Our leaders rarely mention any of this. They tell us our multi-tiered tax code is based on the principles of the free market. Please. It's based on laws that the Congress passed, laws that companies lobbied for in order to increase their economic advantage. It worked well for those people. They did increase their economic advantage. But for everyone else, it came at a big cost. Unfairness is profoundly divisive. When you favor one child over another, your kids don't hate you. They hate each other.

That happens in countries, too. It's happening in ours, probably by design. Divided countries are easier to rule. And nothing divides us like the perception that some people are getting special treatment. In our country, some people definitely are getting special treatment. Republicans should oppose that with everything they have.

What kind of country do you want to live in? A fair country. A decent country. A cohesive country. A country whose leaders don't accelerate the forces of change purely for their own profit and amusement. A country you might recognize when you're old.

A country that listens to young people who don't live in Brooklyn. A country where you can make a solid living outside of the big cities. A country where Lewiston, Maine seems almost as important as the west side of Los Angeles. A country where environmentalism means getting outside and picking up the trash. A clean, orderly, stable country that respects itself. And above all, a country where normal people with an average education who grew up in no place special can get married, and have happy kids, and repeat unto the generations. A country that actually cares about families, the building block of everything.

Video

What will it take a get a country like that? Leaders who want it. For now, those leaders will have to be Republicans. There's no option at this point.

But first, Republican leaders will have to acknowledge that market capitalism is not a religion. Market capitalism is a tool, like a staple gun or a toaster. You'd have to be a fool to worship it. Our system was created by human beings for the benefit of human beings. We do not exist to serve markets. Just the opposite. Any economic system that weakens and destroys families is not worth having. A system like that is the enemy of a healthy society.

Internalizing all this will not be easy for Republican leaders. They'll have to unlearn decades of bumper sticker-talking points and corporate propaganda. They'll likely lose donors in the process. They'll be criticized. Libertarians are sure to call any deviation from market fundamentalism a form of socialism.

That's a lie. Socialism is a disaster. It doesn't work. It's what we should be working desperately to avoid. But socialism is exactly what we're going to get, and very soon unless a group of responsible people in our political system reforms the American economy in a way that protects normal people.

If you want to put America first, you've got to put its families first.

Adapted from Tucker Carlson's monologue from "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on January 2, 2019.

[Jan 12, 2019] Tucker Carlson has sparked the most interesting debate in conservative politics by Jane Coaston

Highly recommended!
Tucker Carlson sounds much more convincing then Trump: See Tucker Leaders show no obligation to American voters and Tucker The American dream is dying
Notable quotes:
"... America's "ruling class," Carlson says, are the "mercenaries" behind the failures of the middle class -- including sinking marriage rates -- and "the ugliest parts of our financial system." He went on: "Any economic system that weakens and destroys families is not worth having. A system like that is the enemy of a healthy society." ..."
"... He concluded with a demand for "a fair country. A decent country. A cohesive country. A country whose leaders don't accelerate the forces of change purely for their own profit and amusement." ..."
"... The monologue and its sweeping anti-elitism drove a wedge between conservative writers. The American Conservative's Rod Dreher wrote of Carlson's monologue, "A man or woman who can talk like that with conviction could become president. Voting for a conservative candidate like that would be the first affirmative vote I've ever cast for president. ..."
"... The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents Are Growing Broke ..."
"... Carlson wanted to be clear: He's just asking questions. "I'm not an economic adviser or a politician. I'm not a think tank fellow. I'm just a talk show host," he said, telling me that all he wants is to ask "the basic questions you would ask about any policy." But he wants to ask those questions about what he calls the "religious faith" of market capitalism, one he believes elites -- "mercenaries who feel no long-term obligation to the people they rule" -- have put ahead of "normal people." ..."
"... "What does [free market capitalism] get us?" he said in our call. "What kind of country do you want to live in? If you put these policies into effect, what will you have in 10 years?" ..."
"... Carlson is hardly the first right-leaning figure to make a pitch for populism, even tangentially, in the third year of Donald Trump, whose populist-lite presidential candidacy and presidency Carlson told me he views as "the smoke alarm ... telling you the building is on fire, and unless you figure out how to put the flames out, it will consume it." ..."
"... Trump borrowed some of that approach for his 2016 campaign but in office has governed as a fairly orthodox economic conservative, thus demonstrating the demand for populism on the right without really providing the supply and creating conditions for further ferment. ..."
"... Ocasio-Cortez wants a 70-80% income tax on the rich. I agree! Start with the Koch Bros. -- and also make it WEALTH tax. ..."
"... "I'm just saying as a matter of fact," he told me, "a country where a shrinking percentage of the population is taking home an ever-expanding proportion of the money is not a recipe for a stable society. It's not." ..."
"... Carlson told me he wanted to be clear: He is not a populist. But he believes some version of populism is necessary to prevent a full-scale political revolt or the onset of socialism. Using Theodore Roosevelt as an example of a president who recognized that labor needs economic power, he told me, "Unless you want something really extreme to happen, you need to take this seriously and figure out how to protect average people from these remarkably powerful forces that have been unleashed." ..."
"... But Carlson's brand of populism, and the populist sentiments sweeping the American right, aren't just focused on the current state of income inequality in America. Carlson tackled a bigger idea: that market capitalism and the "elites" whom he argues are its major drivers aren't working. The free market isn't working for families, or individuals, or kids. In his monologue, Carlson railed against libertarian economics and even payday loans, saying, "If you care about America, you ought to oppose the exploitation of Americans, whether it's happening in the inner city or on Wall Street" -- sounding very much like Sanders or Warren on the left. ..."
"... Capitalism/liberalism destroys the extended family by requiring people to move apart for work and destroying any sense of unchosen obligations one might have towards one's kin. ..."
"... Hillbilly Elegy ..."
"... Carlson told me that beyond changing our tax code, he has no major policies in mind. "I'm not even making the case for an economic system in particular," he told me. "All I'm saying is don't act like the way things are is somehow ordained by God or a function or raw nature." ..."
Jan 10, 2019 | www.vox.com

"All I'm saying is don't act like the way things are is somehow ordained by God."

Last Wednesday, the conservative talk show host Tucker Carlson started a fire on the right after airing a prolonged monologue on his show that was, in essence, an indictment of American capitalism.

America's "ruling class," Carlson says, are the "mercenaries" behind the failures of the middle class -- including sinking marriage rates -- and "the ugliest parts of our financial system." He went on: "Any economic system that weakens and destroys families is not worth having. A system like that is the enemy of a healthy society."

He concluded with a demand for "a fair country. A decent country. A cohesive country. A country whose leaders don't accelerate the forces of change purely for their own profit and amusement."

The monologue was stunning in itself, an incredible moment in which a Fox News host stated that for generations, "Republicans have considered it their duty to make the world safe for banking, while simultaneously prosecuting ever more foreign wars." More broadly, though, Carlson's position and the ensuing controversy reveals an ongoing and nearly unsolvable tension in conservative politics about the meaning of populism, a political ideology that Trump campaigned on but Carlson argues he may not truly understand.

Moreover, in Carlson's words: "At some point, Donald Trump will be gone. The rest of us will be gone too. The country will remain. What kind of country will be it be then?"

The monologue and its sweeping anti-elitism drove a wedge between conservative writers. The American Conservative's Rod Dreher wrote of Carlson's monologue, "A man or woman who can talk like that with conviction could become president. Voting for a conservative candidate like that would be the first affirmative vote I've ever cast for president." Other conservative commentators scoffed. Ben Shapiro wrote in National Review that Carlson's monologue sounded far more like Sens. Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren than, say, Ronald Reagan.

I spoke with Carlson by phone this week to discuss his monologue and its economic -- and cultural -- meaning. He agreed that his monologue was reminiscent of Warren, referencing her 2003 book The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents Are Growing Broke . "There were parts of the book that I disagree with, of course," he told me. "But there are parts of it that are really important and true. And nobody wanted to have that conversation."

Carlson wanted to be clear: He's just asking questions. "I'm not an economic adviser or a politician. I'm not a think tank fellow. I'm just a talk show host," he said, telling me that all he wants is to ask "the basic questions you would ask about any policy." But he wants to ask those questions about what he calls the "religious faith" of market capitalism, one he believes elites -- "mercenaries who feel no long-term obligation to the people they rule" -- have put ahead of "normal people."

But whether or not he likes it, Carlson is an important voice in conservative politics. His show is among the most-watched television programs in America. And his raising questions about market capitalism and the free market matters.

"What does [free market capitalism] get us?" he said in our call. "What kind of country do you want to live in? If you put these policies into effect, what will you have in 10 years?"

Populism on the right is gaining, again

Carlson is hardly the first right-leaning figure to make a pitch for populism, even tangentially, in the third year of Donald Trump, whose populist-lite presidential candidacy and presidency Carlson told me he views as "the smoke alarm ... telling you the building is on fire, and unless you figure out how to put the flames out, it will consume it."

Populism is a rhetorical approach that separates "the people" from elites. In the words of Cas Mudde, a professor at the University of Georgia, it divides the country into "two homogenous and antagonistic groups: the pure people on the one end and the corrupt elite on the other." Populist rhetoric has a long history in American politics, serving as the focal point of numerous presidential campaigns and powering William Jennings Bryan to the Democratic nomination for president in 1896. Trump borrowed some of that approach for his 2016 campaign but in office has governed as a fairly orthodox economic conservative, thus demonstrating the demand for populism on the right without really providing the supply and creating conditions for further ferment.

When right-leaning pundit Ann Coulter spoke with Breitbart Radio about Trump's Tuesday evening Oval Office address to the nation regarding border wall funding, she said she wanted to hear him say something like, "You know, you say a lot of wild things on the campaign trail. I'm speaking to big rallies. But I want to talk to America about a serious problem that is affecting the least among us, the working-class blue-collar workers":

Coulter urged Trump to bring up overdose deaths from heroin in order to speak to the "working class" and to blame the fact that working-class wages have stalled, if not fallen, in the last 20 years on immigration. She encouraged Trump to declare, "This is a national emergency for the people who don't have lobbyists in Washington."

Ocasio-Cortez wants a 70-80% income tax on the rich. I agree! Start with the Koch Bros. -- and also make it WEALTH tax.

-- Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) January 4, 2019

These sentiments have even pitted popular Fox News hosts against each other.

Sean Hannity warned his audience that New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's economic policies would mean that "the rich people won't be buying boats that they like recreationally, they're not going to be taking expensive vacations anymore." But Carlson agreed when I said his monologue was somewhat reminiscent of Ocasio-Cortez's past comments on the economy , and how even a strong economy was still leaving working-class Americans behind.

"I'm just saying as a matter of fact," he told me, "a country where a shrinking percentage of the population is taking home an ever-expanding proportion of the money is not a recipe for a stable society. It's not."

Carlson told me he wanted to be clear: He is not a populist. But he believes some version of populism is necessary to prevent a full-scale political revolt or the onset of socialism. Using Theodore Roosevelt as an example of a president who recognized that labor needs economic power, he told me, "Unless you want something really extreme to happen, you need to take this seriously and figure out how to protect average people from these remarkably powerful forces that have been unleashed."

"I think populism is potentially really disruptive. What I'm saying is that populism is a symptom of something being wrong," he told me. "Again, populism is a smoke alarm; do not ignore it."

But Carlson's brand of populism, and the populist sentiments sweeping the American right, aren't just focused on the current state of income inequality in America. Carlson tackled a bigger idea: that market capitalism and the "elites" whom he argues are its major drivers aren't working. The free market isn't working for families, or individuals, or kids. In his monologue, Carlson railed against libertarian economics and even payday loans, saying, "If you care about America, you ought to oppose the exploitation of Americans, whether it's happening in the inner city or on Wall Street" -- sounding very much like Sanders or Warren on the left.

Carlson's argument that "market capitalism is not a religion" is of course old hat on the left, but it's also been bubbling on the right for years now. When National Review writer Kevin Williamson wrote a 2016 op-ed about how rural whites "failed themselves," he faced a massive backlash in the Trumpier quarters of the right. And these sentiments are becoming increasingly potent at a time when Americans can see both a booming stock market and perhaps their own family members struggling to get by.

Capitalism/liberalism destroys the extended family by requiring people to move apart for work and destroying any sense of unchosen obligations one might have towards one's kin.

-- Jeremy McLallan (@JeremyMcLellan) January 8, 2019

At the Federalist, writer Kirk Jing wrote of Carlson's monologue, and a response to it by National Review columnist David French:

Our society is less French's America, the idea, and more Frantz Fanon's "Wretched of the Earth" (involving a very different French). The lowest are stripped of even social dignity and deemed unworthy of life . In Real America, wages are stagnant, life expectancy is crashing, people are fleeing the workforce, families are crumbling, and trust in the institutions on top are at all-time lows. To French, holding any leaders of those institutions responsible for their errors is "victimhood populism" ... The Right must do better if it seeks to govern a real America that exists outside of its fantasies.

J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy , wrote that the [neoliberal] economy's victories -- and praise for those wins from conservatives -- were largely meaningless to white working-class Americans living in Ohio and Kentucky: "Yes, they live in a country with a higher GDP than a generation ago, and they're undoubtedly able to buy cheaper consumer goods, but to paraphrase Reagan: Are they better off than they were 20 years ago? Many would say, unequivocally, 'no.'"

Carlson's populism holds, in his view, bipartisan possibilities. In a follow-up email, I asked him why his monologue was aimed at Republicans when many Democrats had long espoused the same criticisms of free market economics. "Fair question," he responded. "I hope it's not just Republicans. But any response to the country's systemic problems will have to give priority to the concerns of American citizens over the concerns of everyone else, just as you'd protect your own kids before the neighbor's kids."

Who is "they"?

And that's the point where Carlson and a host of others on the right who have begun to challenge the conservative movement's orthodoxy on free markets -- people ranging from occasionally mendacious bomb-throwers like Coulter to writers like Michael Brendan Dougherty -- separate themselves from many of those making those exact same arguments on the left.

When Carlson talks about the "normal people" he wants to save from nefarious elites, he is talking, usually, about a specific group of "normal people" -- white working-class Americans who are the "real" victims of capitalism, or marijuana legalization, or immigration policies.

In this telling, white working-class Americans who once relied on a manufacturing economy that doesn't look the way it did in 1955 are the unwilling pawns of elites. It's not their fault that, in Carlson's view, marriage is inaccessible to them, or that marijuana legalization means more teens are smoking weed ( this probably isn't true ). Someone, or something, did this to them. In Carlson's view, it's the responsibility of politicians: Our economic situation, and the plight of the white working class, is "the product of a series of conscious decisions that the Congress made."

The criticism of Carlson's monologue has largely focused on how he deviates from the free market capitalism that conservatives believe is the solution to poverty, not the creator of poverty. To orthodox conservatives, poverty is the result of poor decision making or a lack of virtue that can't be solved by government programs or an anti-elite political platform -- and they say Carlson's argument that elites are in some way responsible for dwindling marriage rates doesn't make sense .

But in French's response to Carlson, he goes deeper, writing that to embrace Carlson's brand of populism is to support "victimhood populism," one that makes white working-class Americans into the victims of an undefined "they:

Carlson is advancing a form of victim-politics populism that takes a series of tectonic cultural changes -- civil rights, women's rights, a technological revolution as significant as the industrial revolution, the mass-scale loss of religious faith, the sexual revolution, etc. -- and turns the negative or challenging aspects of those changes into an angry tale of what they are doing to you .

And that was my biggest question about Carlson's monologue, and the flurry of responses to it, and support for it: When other groups (say, black Americans) have pointed to systemic inequities within the economic system that have resulted in poverty and family dysfunction, the response from many on the right has been, shall we say, less than enthusiastic .

Really, it comes down to when black people have problems, it's personal responsibility, but when white people have the same problems, the system is messed up. Funny how that works!!

-- Judah Maccabeets (@AdamSerwer) January 9, 2019

Yet white working-class poverty receives, from Carlson and others, far more sympathy. And conservatives are far more likely to identify with a criticism of "elites" when they believe those elites are responsible for the expansion of trans rights or creeping secularism than the wealthy and powerful people who are investing in private prisons or an expansion of the militarization of police . Carlson's network, Fox News, and Carlson himself have frequently blasted leftist critics of market capitalism and efforts to fight inequality .

I asked Carlson about this, as his show is frequently centered on the turmoils caused by " demographic change ." He said that for decades, "conservatives just wrote [black economic struggles] off as a culture of poverty," a line he includes in his monologue .

He added that regarding black poverty, "it's pretty easy when you've got 12 percent of the population going through something to feel like, 'Well, there must be ... there's something wrong with that culture.' Which is actually a tricky thing to say because it's in part true, but what you're missing, what I missed, what I think a lot of people missed, was that the economic system you're living under affects your culture."

Carlson said that growing up in Washington, DC, and spending time in rural Maine, he didn't realize until recently that the same poverty and decay he observed in the Washington of the 1980s was also taking place in rural (and majority-white) Maine. "I was thinking, 'Wait a second ... maybe when the jobs go away the culture changes,'" he told me, "And the reason I didn't think of it before was because I was so blinded by this libertarian economic propaganda that I couldn't get past my own assumptions about economics." (For the record, libertarians have critiqued Carlson's monologue as well.)

Carlson told me that beyond changing our tax code, he has no major policies in mind. "I'm not even making the case for an economic system in particular," he told me. "All I'm saying is don't act like the way things are is somehow ordained by God or a function or raw nature."

And clearly, our market economy isn't driven by God or nature, as the stock market soars and unemployment dips and yet even those on the right are noticing lengthy periods of wage stagnation and dying little towns across the country. But what to do about those dying little towns, and which dying towns we care about and which we don't, and, most importantly, whose fault it is that those towns are dying in the first place -- those are all questions Carlson leaves to the viewer to answer.

[Jan 12, 2019] CLASSIFIED The most powerful investor you never heard of by globalintelhub

Jan 12, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Pre IPO Swap New York, NY 1/12/2019

Did you know that the CIA has its own Venture Fund? And did you know that Venture fund was key in starting Facebook and Google? As explained in the book Splitting Pennies – the world is not as it seems.

For many readers especially on this comes as no surprise, as you are well aware of the octopus that wraps its tentacles around the globe. But it may surprise you how active In-Q-Tel is and how chummy they are with the rest of the VC community. It's as if they are just another VC, but with another purpose. Let's look at some of the stats, from Crunchbase:

Here's a list of recent investments

If you dig back you won't see Google or Facebook on there – which is company policy for retail consumer investments that can impact the public (it's kept secret behind an NDA). Here's how it works – In-Q-Tel may invest in your startup but there's a big catch. First, you have to sign an NDA which is enforced strongly – that you are not to disclose your partner. Second, you must agree to 'cooperation' when it comes to information sharing now or down the road, such as location data on people using Facebook, Google, or other systems – perhaps only to feed it into a big data brain at Palantir. Or perhaps for more street level surveillance. The surveillance is known by fact, not conspiracy theory – but by fact – due to the disclosure of classified documents by Edward Snowden. If it were not for Snowden, we could only guess about this. The name of the main program is PRISM but there are many others.

For those in the VC community that are deep in the know- the "Deep VCs" like Peter Thiel for example, the Snowden revelations would come as no surprise. MUST READ – No Place To Hide – the story of the NSA, PRISM, and Snowden (written by Greenwald).

But for others, it may come as a surprise that not only the CIA has its own VC fund, but that it sits on many corporate boards alongside many Wall St. firms and other VCs.

And of course, they always do well.

Let's consider the doors they opened for Google, or in the case of Google it was more like the doors that were closed. Google was not the best search engine, it was not superior technology – it wasn't even really very good. It just became a monopoly and crushed the competition. Many wonder how they were able to do it, and that this is part of the Entrepreneur "Magic" that few have. Well we can say in the case of Google there was no Magic they had a helping hand from a friend in the deep shadows. Google wanted to become huge – the CIA wants information (they always do, so we don't use the past tense 'wanted'). So it was a cozy and rational partnership – in exchange for making the right handshakes at the right time, allowing Google to become a global behemoth, all they needed to do was share a little information about users. Actually, a lot of information. No harm in that, right?

But in doing so Google violated itself as well as prostituted its model and its users. Google still does this and is not nearly as flagrant as its brother Facebook, however Google shares more detailed 'meta data' which is actually more useful to Echelon systems like Palantir that rely on big data, not necessarily photos of what you ate for breakfast (but that can be helpful too, they say).

The metaphor is making a deal with the devil; you get what you want but it comes at a price. And that's the price users pay to Google – they get service 'free' but at a huge cost, their privacy. Of course – this is all based on the concept of Freedom which really does exist in USA. You don't have to use Google – there are many alternatives like the rising star Duck Duck Go :

But who cares about privacy; only criminals, hackers, programmers, super wealthy (UHNWI) and a few philosophers.

Google remains the dominant search platform and much more. Google exploits niche by niche even competing with Amazon's Alexa service.

The argument here is that Google wouldn't be Google without the help of the CIA. This isn't our idea it's a fact, you can read about it here on qz.com:

Two decades ago, the US intelligence community worked closely with Silicon Valley in an effort to track citizens in cyberspace. And Google is at the heart of that origin story. Some of the research that led to Google's ambitious creation was funded and coordinated by a research group established by the intelligence community to find ways to track individuals and groups online. The intelligence community hoped that the nation's leading computer scientists could take non-classified information and user data, combine it with what would become known as the internet, and begin to create for-profit, commercial enterprises to suit the needs of both the intelligence community and the public. They hoped to direct the supercomputing revolution from the start in order to make sense of what millions of human beings did inside this digital information network. That collaboration has made a comprehensive public-private mass surveillance state possible today.

There you have it – Google is the child of the digital revolution of the surveillance state. Why spy, when you can collect data electronically and analyze with machine learning?

The new spy is the web bot.

And the investors in Google did well – so that's the investing story that matters here. It pays well to have friends in high places, and in dark places. Of all the investments In-Q-Tel made, almost all of them have done very well. That doesn't mean that Palantir is going to grow to the size of Google, but it does provide natural support should a company backed by In-Q-Tel run into problems.

By the time Facebook came out, digital surveillance was already in the n-th generation of evolution, and they really stepped up their game. In the creepiest examples, Facebook doesn't necessarily (and primarily) collect data on Facebook users – it does this too. But that's just a given – you don't need to perform surveillance on someone who gives all their data to the system willingly – you always know where they are and what they are doing at any given moment. The trick is to get information about those who may try to hide their activities, whether they are real terrorists or just paranoid geniuses.

How does Facebook do this? There are literally hundreds of programs running – but in one creepy example, Facebook collects photos that users take to analyze the environment surrounding. Incidentally, the location data is MUCH MORE accurate than you see on the retail front end. So you get the newspaper and see a gift in your mailbox for your birthday – you take a photo because the ribbons are hanging out. What shows up in the background? All kinds of information. What the neighbor is doing. License plate of the car driving by. Trash waiting to be picked up by the street. A child's toy left by the sidewalk. You get the picture. Facebook users have been turned into sneaky little digital spies! While they are walking around with their 'smartphones' (should be called 'dumbphones') scrolling their walls and snapping photos away – they are taking photos of you too. That means, Facebook collects data for the CIA about users who don't have Facebook accounts. This is the huge secret that the mainstream media doesn't want to tell you. Deleting your Facebook account will do nothing – every time you go out in public you are being photographed, video recorded, and more – all going into big data artificial intelligence for analysis.

But here's the best part. You own it! The CIA may have a bad reputation but it is part of the US Government, and thus – profits go back to the Treasury (those which are declared) or at least they are supposed to. Considering this, why is there a stigma about even talking about In-Q-Tel when in fact we should be more involved in any US Government operation when it is technically owned by the people and funded by taxpayers? Meaning, do taxpayers have rights to know what goes in in taxpayer funded entities, like In-Q-Tel? The big difference between In-Q-Tel and the CIA is that In-Q-Tel functions just like any other VC – they disclose most of their investments, they attend conferences, they accept business plans. You can literally submit your idea to In-Q-Tel and get funding. Of course, like any VC there's a very small chance of being funded.

So what's an investor's take on this story? In-Q-Tel is not Freddie Mac there is nor a quasi-government entity; it's not an NGO and there is no implicit guarantee that In-Q-Tel's deals will do any better than Andreessen Horowitz .

However, their deals do very well. Companies they fund not only have the backing of the CIA explicitly, it's not only about business – it's about national security! Under that guise, it's no wonder that companies like Google and Facebook rocket to the top.

We are not suggesting that investors double down on In-Q-Tel bets. We are only suggesting that at a minimum, we follow what they do. It's a data point – a good source of information. And the best part is that it's public.

Their most recent investment is in a virtual reality company in Boca Raton, FL called Immersive Wisdom:

Immersive Wisdom® is an enterprise software platform that allows users to collaborate in real-time upon diverse data sets and applications within a temporal and geospatially-aware Virtual, Mixed, and Augmented Reality space. Immersive Wisdom is hardware-agnostic and runs on VR, AR, as well as 2D displays. Regardless of geographic location , multiple users can be together in a shared virtual workspace, standing on maps, with instant access to relevant information from any available source. Users can simultaneously, and in real time, visualize, fuse, and act upon sensor inputs, cyber/network data, IoT feeds, enterprise applications, telemetry, tagged assets, 3D Models, LiDAR, imagery and UAV footage/streaming video, providing an omniscient, collaborative view of complex environments. Immersive Wisdom also acts as a natural human interface to multi-dimensional data sets generated by AI and machine learning systems. The platform includes a powerful SDK (Software Developer Kit) that enables the creation of customer-specific workflows as well as rapid integration with existing data sources/applications.

Cool stuff for sure – but it's in early stages. Pre IPO Swap suggests real Pre IPO 'unicorns' not because of size, but because of the right mix of risk and reward. https://preiposwap.com/pitch " style="color:#0d2e46; text-decoration:underline">See why we think so in our pitch.

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[Jan 12, 2019] In the news: NBC and MSNBC have been officially merged with the CIA

May be not yet, but talks talks are under way and hiring of former CIA officials commenced :-). What is coming is going to make COINTELPRO look like the work of some amateur meme-freak.
Jan 12, 2019 | www.unz.com

But, seriously, all that actually happened back in the Summer of 2016 was the global capitalist ruling classes recognized that they had a problem. The problem that they recognized they had (and continue to have, and are now acutely aware of) is that no one is enjoying global capitalism except the global capitalist ruling classes. The whole smiley-happy, supranational, neo-feudal corporate empire concept is not going over very well with the masses, or at least not with the unwashed masses. People started voting for right-wing parties, and Brexit, and other "populist" measures (not because they had suddenly transformed into Nazis, but because the Right was acknowledging and exploiting their anger with the advance of global neoliberalism, while liberals and the Identity Politics Left were slow jamming the TPP with Obama and babbling about transgender bathrooms, and such).

The global capitalist ruling classes needed to put a stop to that (i.e, the "populist" revolt, not the bathroom debate). So they suspended the Global War on Terror and launched the War on Populism. It was originally only meant to last until Hillary Clinton's coronation, or the second Brexit referendum, then switch back to the War on Terror, but well, weird things happen, and here we are.

... ... ...

And then there's the battle for hearts and minds, which they've been furiously waging for the last two years, and which is only going to intensify. If you think things are batshit crazy now (which, clearly, they are), strap yourself in. What is coming is going to make COINTELPRO look like the work of some amateur meme-freak. The neoliberal corporate media, psy-ops like Integrity Initiative , Internet-censoring apps like NewsGuard , ShareBlue and other David Brock outfits , and a legion of mass hysteria generators will be relentlessly barraging our brains with absurdity, disinformation, and just outright lies (as will their counterparts on the Right, of course, in case you thought that they were any alternative). It's going to get extremely zany.

The good news is

[Jan 12, 2019] Mass Dementia in the Western Establishment by Diana Johnstone

A mind is a terrible thing to lose
Any unbiased observer would suspect that considerable part of US Congress consists of senile gerantocrats...
Notable quotes:
"... You can accuse only the elites of dementia: they forgot that to enjoy the fruits of your thievery you have to be alive. ..."
"... They tricked us the last time, I hope that the people have learned their lesson – not to trust them anymore. ..."
"... Thank you, this is an excellent summary of the situation right now. It's worth noting too just how disconnected the establishment is from the wider public. They have enormous financial resources and access to the entire legacy media ..."
"... Let's stop using the word "elites". That sounds too positive, as though they have some admirable traits acquired by hard work, as in "elite athletes". Instead, let's call them "oligarchs" so that we get the right nuances of wealth and power, and get the correct emotional connotations of our disgust with them. We should label them with labels that they will dislike: oligarchs, mob bosses, etc. ..."
"... This is not irrational. The screaming, the hysteria, this is the utterly rational, breathtakingly brutal reaction of a ruling elite that has the moral sense of a reptile. And it's working. All of Trump's campaign promises to stop wasting trillions on pointless winless foreign wars of choice, and instead spend that on our own country? Gone. And so much else besides. ..."
"... It's dangerous to underestimate an enemy. The useful idiot foot soldiers, screaming in mindless herd instinct, are one thing. The people behind them – the Koch brothers, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, others – there is nothing at all mindless or demented about them. ..."
Jan 12, 2019 | www.unz.com

Where to begin to analyze the madness of mainstream media in reaction to the Trump-Putin meeting in Helsinki? By focusing on the individual, psychology has neglected the problem of mass insanity, which has now overwhelmed the United States establishment, its mass media and most of its copycat European subsidiaries. The individuals may be sane, but as a herd they are ready to leap off the cliff.

For the past two years, a particular power group has sought to explain away its loss of power – or rather, its loss of the Presidency, as it still holds a predominance of institutional power – by creation of a myth. Mainstream media is known for its herd behavior, and in this case the editors, commentators, journalists have talked themselves into a story that initially they themselves could hardly take seriously.

Donald Trump was elected by Russia ?

On the face of it, this is preposterous. Okay, the United States can manage to rig elections in Honduras, or Serbia, or even Ukraine, but the United States is a bit too big and complex to leave the choice of the Presidency to a barrage of electronic messages totally unread by most voters. If this were so, Russia wouldn't need to try to "undermine our democracy". It would mean that our democracy was already undermined, in tatters, dead. A standing corpse ready to be knocked over by a tweet.

Even if, as is alleged without evidence, an army of Russian bots (even bigger than the notorious Israeli army of bots) was besieging social media with its nefarious slanders against poor innocent Hillary Clinton, this could determine an election only in a vacuum, with no other influences in the field. But there was a lot of other stuff going on in the 2016 election, some for Trump and some for Hillary, and Hillary herself scored a crucial own goal by denigrating millions of Americans as "deplorables" because they didn't fit into her identity politics constituencies.

The Russians could do nothing to build support for Trump, and there is not a hint of evidence that they tried. They might have done something to harm Hillary, because there was so much there: the private server emails, the Clinton foundation, the murder of Moammer Gaddafi, the call for a no-fly zone in Syria they didn't have to invent it. It was there. So was the hanky panky at the Democratic National Committee, on which the Clintonite accusations focus, perhaps to cause everyone to forget much worse things.

When you come to think of it, the DNC scandal focused on Debbie Wasserman Schultz, not on Hillary herself. Screaming about "Russian hacking the DNC" has been a distraction from much more serious accusations against Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders supporters didn't need those "revelations" to make them stop loving Hillary or even to discover that the DNC was working against Bernie. It was always perfectly obvious.

So at worst, "the Russians" are accused of revealing some relatively minor facts concerning the Hillary Clinton campaign. Big deal.

But that is enough, after two years of fakery, to send the establishment into a frenzy of accusations of "treason" when Trump does what he said he would do while campaigning, try to normalize relations with Russia.

This screaming comes not only from the US mainstream, but also from that European elite which has been housebroken for seventy years as obedient poodles, dachshunds or corgis in the American menagerie, via intense vetting by US trans-Atlantic "cooperation" associations. They have based their careers on the illusion of sharing the world empire by following U.S. whims in the Middle East and transforming the mission of their armed forces from defense into foreign intervention units of NATO under U.S. command. Having not thought seriously about the implications of this for over half a century, they panic at the suggestion of being left to themselves.

The Western elite is now suffering from self-inflicted dementia.

Donald Trump is not particularly articulate, navigating through the language with a small repetitive vocabulary, but what he said at his Helsinki press conference was honest and even brave. As the hounds bay for his blood, he quite correctly refused to endorse the "findings" of US intelligence agencies, fourteen years after the same agencies "found" that Iraq was bursting with weapons of mass destruction. How in the world could anyone expect anything else?

But for the mainstream media, "the story" at the Helsinki summit, even the only story, was Trump's reaction to the, er, trumped up charges of Russian interference in our democracy. Were you or were you not elected thanks to Russian hackers? All they wanted was a yes or no answer. Which could not possibly be yes. So they could write their reports in advance.

Anyone who has frequented mainstream journalists, especially those who cover the "big stories" on international affairs, is aware of their obligatory conformism, with few exceptions. To get the job, one must have important "sources", meaning government spokesmen who are willing to tell you what "the story" is, often without being identified. Once they know what "the story" is, competition sets in: competition as to how to tell it. That leads to an escalation of rhetoric, variations on the theme: "The President has betrayed our great country to the Russian enemy. Treason!"

This demented chorus on "Russian hacking" prevented mainstream media from even doing their job. Not even mentioning, much less analyzing, any of the real issues at the summit. To find analysis, one must go on line, away from the official fake news to independent reporting. For example, "the Moon of Alabama" site offers an intelligent interpretation of the Trump strategy , which sounds infinitely more plausible than "the story". In short, Trump is trying to woo Russia away from China, in a reverse version of Kissinger's strategy forty years ago to woo China away from Russia, thus avoiding a continental alliance against the United States. This may not work because the United States has proven so untrustworthy that the cautious Russians are highly unlikely to abandon their alliance with China for shadows. But it makes perfect sense as an explanation of Trump's policy, unlike the caterwauling we've been hearing from Senators and talking heads on CNN.

Those people seem to have no idea of what diplomacy is about. They cannot conceive of agreements that would be beneficial to both sides. No, it's got to be a zero sum game, winner take all. If they win, we lose, and vice versa.

They also have no idea of the harm to both sides if they do not agree. They have no project, no strategy. Just hate Trump.

He seems totally isolated, and every morning I look at the news to see if he has been assassinated yet.

It is unimaginable for our Manichean moralists that Putin might also be under fire at home for failing to chide the American president for U.S. violations of human rights in Guantanamo, murderous drone strikes against defenseless citizens throughout the Middle East, the destruction of Libya in violation of the UN mandate, interference in the elections of countless countries by government-financed "non-governmental organizations" (the National Endowment of Democracy), worldwide electronic spying, invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention the world's greatest prison population and regular massacres of school children. But the diplomatic Russians know how to be polite.

Still, if Trump actually makes a "deal", there may be losers – neither the U.S. nor Russia but third parties. When two great powers reach agreement, it is often at somebody else's expense. The West Europeans are afraid it will be them, but such fears are groundless. All Putin wants is normal relations with the West, which is not much to ask.

Rather, candidate number one for paying the price are the Palestinians, or even Iran, in marginal ways. At the press conference, asked about possible areas of cooperation between the two nuclear powers, Trump suggested that the two could agree on helping Israel:

"We both spoke with Bibi Netanyahu. They would like to do certain things with respect to Syria, having to do with the safety of Israel. In that respect, we absolutely would like to work in order to help Israel. Israel will be working with us. So both countries would work jointly."

In political terms, Trump knows where political power lies, and is counting on the influence of the pro-Israel lobby, which recognizes the defeat in Syria and the rising influence of Russia, to save him from the liberal imperialists – a daring bet, but he does not have much choice.

On another subject, Trump said that "our militaries" get along with the Russians "better than our politicians". This is another daring bet, on military realism that could somehow neutralize military industrial congressional complex lobbying for more and more weapons.

In short, the only chance to end the nuclear war threat may depend on support for Trump from Israel and the Pentagon!

The hysterical neoliberal globalists seem to have ruled out any other possibility – and perhaps this one too.

"Constructive dialogue between the United States and Russia forwards the opportunity to open new pathways toward peace and stability in our world" Trump declared "I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than to risk peace in pursuit of politics."

That is more than his political enemies can claim.

Mass Dementia in the Western Establishment

exiled off mainstreet , says: July 20, 2018 at 7:02 am GMT

This is a frightening, accurate commentary on what we face as a result of an unaccountable power structure resorting to any and all means to retain power which, if this structure continues to exercise it, will lead to our extinction.
Donatella , says: July 21, 2018 at 2:08 pm GMT
Thanks to say things that make me feel not alone.
AnonFromTN , says: July 22, 2018 at 3:30 am GMT
In the establishment, it's not dementia as such, it's just serving the highest bidder. You can accuse only the elites of dementia: they forgot that to enjoy the fruits of your thievery you have to be alive. If only they die, it would be a great service to the humanity. Unfortunately, the way things go, they might take us all with them.
Cyrano , says: July 22, 2018 at 8:42 am GMT
This mass hysteria over a country hostile to both democracy and gay rights (it's hard to tell which one is worse) has been seen in the west before.

It's very reminiscent of the lead-up to Iraq war in 2003. I mean what's next? Are they gonna accuse Russia of having WMD's too?

They are pretty good at providing false evidence of WMD's, I wouldn't be surprised if they stage another presentation of evidence of Russian WMD's at UN, complete with satellite images of mobile trucks equipped with Uranium enrichment technology and all that.

That Nikki Halley can be quite persuasive, you know. I just hope that the world doesn't buy that BS again. Russia having WMD's? That's preposterous. They tricked us the last time, I hope that the people have learned their lesson – not to trust them anymore.

Cagey Beast , says: July 22, 2018 at 11:18 am GMT
Thank you, this is an excellent summary of the situation right now. It's worth noting too just how disconnected the establishment is from the wider public. They have enormous financial resources and access to the entire legacy media but seem to have almost no real base of support. Remember how the Never Trumpers had no one more prominent and well-known than Evan McMullan (!!) to run as their candidate? Note too the tiny number of views the YouTube videos of the Aspen Institute get: https://www.youtube.com/user/AspenInstitute/videos .

On its own, these things aren't conclusive proof but together they add up. The Aspen Institute crowd is an almost entirely self-contained subculture. They seem to have no base of support, beyond their stacks of money, job titles and the power that come with the various offices they hold. That's probably why they can never stop calling their opponents "populists" or why Bill Kristol keeps tweeting about encountering scrappy shoeshine boys who shout "give Trump hell, Mr Kristol!" as he goes about his urban peregrinations.

Anonymous [115] Disclaimer , says: July 22, 2018 at 11:54 am GMT
OT

Diana Johnstone is not alone. Others on the alt-Left are starting to wake up, too. This is Joaquín Flores:

People are seeing through dishonesty, and the old language traps are used up and done for. If reconquista is the goal, then we need to have an honest conversation about that. If there's a Latino nation with self determination in the south-west US, or rights 'back' to the south-west US, then let's speak of it in such terms. Because then we'd be looking at a Euro-American nation also. Now of course there's issues of interpenetrated peoples, and identities we carry in our minds in diverse urban centers. But the point here is that we have to have an honest discourse, and stop hiding reconquista sentiments under the rubric of 'human rights'. Because European-Americans don't have right of return to Europe, so the left is promoting what will ultimately be a race war, full scale, if they don't chill the fuck out and back off this disingenuous approach to policy-wonkism on immigration.

The paradigmatic question today is, how is wealth made, and where does wealth come from? What is the balance of trade and debts, and how is that is no longer manageable? The US empire and NATO is no longer manageable. Trump is unwinding NATO. That can't be a bad thing.

https://www.fort-russ.com/2018/07/explaining-trump-to-socialist-liberals-flores/

Fort Russ News is really turning out to be a leading voice of the Third Way movement.

Tulips , says: July 22, 2018 at 7:31 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN Let's stop using the word "elites". That sounds too positive, as though they have some admirable traits acquired by hard work, as in "elite athletes". Instead, let's call them "oligarchs" so that we get the right nuances of wealth and power, and get the correct emotional connotations of our disgust with them. We should label them with labels that they will dislike: oligarchs, mob bosses, etc.
AnonFromTN , says: July 22, 2018 at 9:44 pm GMT
@Tulips You are right, of course, the word "elites" has too many positive connotations. In fact, they are oligarchs, mega-thieves, or something on those lines. Functionally, in our society they are puppet masters of all the venal puppets (politicians, journos, etc.).
TG , says: July 23, 2018 at 4:56 am GMT
I hear you, and I sympathize, but this is not mass dementia. The oligarchy that runs the United States was worried that Donald Trump might actually (!!) take some consideration for the national interest of the people of the United States of America. That will never do.

This is not irrational. The screaming, the hysteria, this is the utterly rational, breathtakingly brutal reaction of a ruling elite that has the moral sense of a reptile. And it's working. All of Trump's campaign promises to stop wasting trillions on pointless winless foreign wars of choice, and instead spend that on our own country? Gone. And so much else besides.

It's dangerous to underestimate an enemy. The useful idiot foot soldiers, screaming in mindless herd instinct, are one thing. The people behind them – the Koch brothers, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, others – there is nothing at all mindless or demented about them.

peterAUS , says: July 23, 2018 at 5:48 am GMT
@TG Agree.

Having a title "Mass Dementia in the Western Establishment" and approaching this effort as "mass insanity", "demented chorus" etc. is simply delusional.

They know exactly what they are doing and, it appears, they are doing it well. The are able to create their own reality. What puzzles me a bit isn't "them" or their servants (media etc.). It's people in general. They appear to be buying that manufactured reality with ease. In this era of instant communications it's .sobering. This constant shitting on "them" and their servants is fine and dandy but feels as just a feel good exercise. Perhaps some effort could be spared in trying to analyze and explain common people approach to all this. The buying, hook and sinker, that manufacture.

Anyone with an average intelligence can, in two hours trawling of Internet, get how false all that is. And, yet, here we are.
The same people who can spend hours on social media, shopping and entertainment online can't, for SOME reason, figure all that out.

Easy to blame "them" and media/academia/whatever. Maybe it's time to start passing a bit of blame to people in general.

Not holding my breath.

jilles dykstra , says: July 23, 2018 at 7:31 am GMT
@Tulips I suggest 'ruling class'
Anon [122] Disclaimer , says: July 23, 2018 at 8:07 am GMT
@Daniel Rich The Russians are by nature cautious. They are a conglomerate of individuals, many of whom remember times when they would be sent by communist tyrants to a gulag for Wrongthink. Of course they're cautious.
Daniel Rich , says: July 23, 2018 at 8:13 am GMT
H.E. Mr. Putin clearly knows what the USA/West is about – Link to Youtube [03:42]
nagra , says: July 23, 2018 at 8:34 am GMT
How Hillary Clinton could even run for presidency after the murder of Moammer Gaddafi and Libya destruction, in any decent civilisation and society.
That's planetary shame and the most important question, not DNC hack or anything else, which just trace in wrong direction.

So, Trump should grow some balls and arrest not just her but Barack Obama as well on the same charges, as war criminals as they are, and prove that he really deserves to be trusted. And sacrifice himself in the process if needed as that would do any honest true US president, and he knew what to expect from such position from the start.

It's not TV reality show, as still it is. All he cares about is his ego and popularity, and he is loosing both.

Israel lobby finally see that they put their money in the wrong bank. I intend to believe more that West, namely USA and UK the most, keeps them more hostage in uncertainty for decades than in some Jewish conspiracy. Also, I also believe that only Russia can guaranty Israel security and peace in the region.

Sean , says: July 23, 2018 at 10:12 am GMT

In political terms, Trump knows where political power lies, and is counting on the influence of the pro-Israel lobby, which recognizes the defeat in Syria and the rising influence of Russia, to save him from the liberal imperialists – a daring bet, but he does not have much choice.

Saudi Arabia spent 40 billion dollars helping Saddam's Iraq in its war against Iran, the cost of US efforts in the Syria civil war have largely been met by the Saudis. The coming attack on Iran will be as much to please the Saudis as to lock Israel into West Bank Arab expulsion mode. The Israel Lobby will is not pushing Donald Trump, they are playing catch up with him. Trump has already shown with the Jerusalem recognition that he is encouraging Israel in unilateral courses of action.

Cagey Beast , says: July 23, 2018 at 10:42 am GMT
@TG No, I agree with the assessment in this article and its title: the establishment is dangerously detached from reality right now. Our stagnant and locked-down political culture in the West allowed the "elite" to develop a false sense of security and and certainty. They thought they had things pretty much figured out a few years ago but now they're genuinely panicked.
yurivku , says: July 23, 2018 at 10:43 am GMT
Looking to this circus from Russia, to those insane speaches, insulting caricatures in MSM, I understand the huge amount of rotteness of Western society, mainly its high top part, but not only. Even here in comments (not in this particularly article) the percentage of trolls and brainwashed idiots exceeds all I could've imagined. So I stopped writing here – no sense, I beleive that something can change only after the dramatic changes in US/West society and that is possible only after a big war/revolution.
So, I'm afraid our future is vague

[Jan 11, 2019] How President Trump Normalized Neoconservatism by Ilana Mercer

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... As it happens, neocons are in luck. Most Americans know little of the ideas that animated their country's founding. They're more likely to hold ideas in opposition to the classical-liberal philosophy of the Founders, and, hence, wish to see the aggrandizement of the coercive, colossal, Warfare State. That's just the way things are. ..."
"... If past is prologue, Ron Paul is probably right when he says the CIA is likely meddling in Iranian politics. ..."
"... Then US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, a woman as dumb and dangerous as Nikki Haley, was cool with the carnage. (One almost misses Henry Kissinger's realpolitik . At least the man was highly educated and deeply knowledgeable about history and world affairs. Second only to Jared Kushner, of course.) ..."
"... No one would deny the largely neoconservative nature of Trump's National Security Strategy . Tucked in there somewhere is the Trumpian theme of "sovereignty," but in watered-down words. The promised Wall has given way to "multilayered technology"; to the "deployment of additional personnel," and to the tried-and-tested (not!) "vetting of prospective immigrants, refugees, and other foreign visitors." ..."
"... These are mouthfuls Barack Obama and Genghis Bush would hardly oppose. ..."
"... "It's often said that the Trump administration is 'isolationist,'" wrote historian Andrew J. Bacevich, in the UK Spectator. Untrue. "In fact, we are now witnessing a dramatic escalation in the militarization of US foreign policy in the Middle East, Africa and Afghanistan. This has not been announced, but it is happening, and much of it without any debate in Congress or the media." ..."
"... To some, the normalizing of neoconservatism by a president who ran against it is a stroke of genius; of a piece with Bill Clinton's triangulation tactics. To others, it's a cynical sleight of hand. ..."
"... So Trump did morph into Hillary. Actually, it was something I was afraid of once I got the good news of Hillary losing, but expected, considering that I view presidents as empty suits, and the National Security State calling the shots. ..."
"... The Trump holdouts that maintain his turncoat buffoonery is actually 5d chess are the 2018 equivalent of the 2009 hopey changey Obots and can't accept their big daddy is a liar and a spineless turncoat. The system is broken and cannot be fixed from within. ..."
"... The signs were already there before the election, too many people were hoping that this time it will be different (it never is) and ignored them. He has jewish children and did say how he was anti Iran, he was always a neo cohen servative. ..."
"... I'm a little more sanguine about a Zionist President who approaches problems from a business and deal-making position than from one who comes a neocon political position (e.g., Hillary, every other GOP candidate except Rand Paul). The former are pragmatic and will avoid conflict, especially stupid conflict, at all costs. While the latter believe they are virtuous in going to war and/or attacking countries. Did you hear Hillary threaten to shoot down Russian planes in Syria during the campaign (WTF??!). ..."
Jan 11, 2019 | www.unz.com

It's fact: Neoconservatives are pleased with President Trump's foreign policy.

A couple of months back, Bloomberg's Eli Lake let it know he was in neoconservative nirvana:

" for Venezuela, [Donald Trump] came very close to calling for regime change. 'The United States has taken important steps to hold the regime accountable,' Trump said. 'We are prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule on the Venezuelan people.'"

"For a moment," swooned Lake , "I closed my eyes and thought I was listening to a Weekly Standard editorial meeting."

Onward to Venezuela! Mr. Lake, a neoconservative, was loving every moment. In error, he and his kind confuse an expansionist foreign policy with "American exceptionalism." It's not.

As it happens, neocons are in luck. Most Americans know little of the ideas that animated their country's founding. They're more likely to hold ideas in opposition to the classical-liberal philosophy of the Founders, and, hence, wish to see the aggrandizement of the coercive, colossal, Warfare State. That's just the way things are.

So, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have enlisted the West in "a proxy Sunni-Shia religious war," Riyadh's ultimate aim. Donald Trump has been perfectly willing to partake. After a campaign of "America First," the president sided with Sunni Islam while demonizing Iran. Iranians have killed zero Americans in terrorist attacks in the US between 1975-2015; Saudi Arabians murdered 2369 !

Iranians recently reelected a reformer. Pray tell who elected the Gulf petrostate sheiks?

Moderates danced in the streets of Tehran when President Hassan Rouhani was reelected. Curiously, they're currently rioting.

If past is prologue, Ron Paul is probably right when he says the CIA is likely meddling in Iranian politics. For the Left and the pseudo-Right, this is a look-away issue. As the left-liberal establishment lectures daily, to question the Central Intelligence Agency -- its spooks are also agitating against all vestiges of President Trump's original "America First" plank -- is to "undermine American democracy."

Besides, "good" Americans know that only the Russians "meddle."

In Saudi Arabia, a new, more-dangerous regime is consolidating regional power. Almost overnight has the kingdom shifted from rule by family dynasty (like that of the Clintons and the Bushes), to a more authoritarian style of one-man rule .

When it comes to the Saudi-Israeli-American-Axis-of-Angels, the Kushner-Trump Administration -- is that another bloodline in-the-making? -- has not broken with America's ruling dynastic families (the Clintons and the Bushes, aforementioned).

It's comforting to know Saudi Arabia plays a crucial role in the UN's human rights affairs. In January of last year, the Kingdom executed 47 people in one day, including a rather benign Shiite cleric. Fear not, they went quickly, beheaded with a sword .

Then US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, a woman as dumb and dangerous as Nikki Haley, was cool with the carnage. (One almost misses Henry Kissinger's realpolitik . At least the man was highly educated and deeply knowledgeable about history and world affairs. Second only to Jared Kushner, of course.)

Our bosom buddies, the Saudi's, are currently barricading Yemeni ports. No aid gets through her hermetically sealed ports. Yemenis are dying. Some Twitter followers twittered with joy at the sight of starving Yemeni babies, like this one . Oh well, Yemeni babies can be sinister.

No one would deny the largely neoconservative nature of Trump's National Security Strategy . Tucked in there somewhere is the Trumpian theme of "sovereignty," but in watered-down words. The promised Wall has given way to "multilayered technology"; to the "deployment of additional personnel," and to the tried-and-tested (not!) "vetting of prospective immigrants, refugees, and other foreign visitors."

These are mouthfuls Barack Obama and Genghis Bush would hardly oppose.

"It's often said that the Trump administration is 'isolationist,'" wrote historian Andrew J. Bacevich, in the UK Spectator. Untrue. "In fact, we are now witnessing a dramatic escalation in the militarization of US foreign policy in the Middle East, Africa and Afghanistan. This has not been announced, but it is happening, and much of it without any debate in Congress or the media."

Indeed, while outlining his "new" Afghanistan plan, POTUS had conceded that "the American people are weary of war without victory." (Make that war, full-stop.) Depressingly, the president went on to promise an increase in American presence in Afghanistan. By sending 4000 additional soldiers there, President Trump alleged he was fighting terrorism, yet not undertaking nation building.

This is tantamount to talking out of both sides of one's mouth.

Teasing apart these two elements is near-impossible. Send "4,000 additional soldiers to add to the 8,400 now deployed in Afghanistan," and you've done what Obama and Bush before you did in that blighted and benighted region: muddle along; kill some civilians mixed in with some bad guys; break bread with tribal leaders (who hate your guts); mediate and bribe.

Above all, spend billions not your own to perfect the credo of a global fighting force that doesn't know Shiite from Shinola .

The upshot? It's quite acceptable, on the Left and the pseudo-Right, to casually quip about troops in Niger and Norway . "We have soldiers in Niger and Norway? Of course we do. We need them."

With neoconservatism normalized, there is no debate, disagreement or daylight between our dangerously united political factions.

This is the gift President Trump has given mainstream neoconservatives -- who now comfortably include neoliberals and all Conservatism Inc., with the exceptions of Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter and Tucker Carlson.

How exactly did the president normalize neoconservatism: In 2016, liberals accused candidate Trump of isolationism. Neoconservatives -- aka Conservatism Inc. -- did the same.

Having consistently complained of his isolationism , the Left and the phony Right cannot but sanction President Trump's interventionism . The other option is to admit that we of the callused Old Right, who rejoiced at the prospects and promise of non-interventionism, were always right.

Not going to happen.

To some, the normalizing of neoconservatism by a president who ran against it is a stroke of genius; of a piece with Bill Clinton's triangulation tactics. To others, it's a cynical sleight of hand.

Ilana Mercer has been writing a paleolibertarian column since 1999, and is the author of " The Trump Revolution: The Donald's Creative Destruction Deconstructed " (June, 2016) & " Into the Cannibal's Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa " (2011). Follow her on Twitter , Facebook , Gab & YouTube . How President Trump Normalized Neoconservatism, by Ilana Mercer - The Unz Review


utu , says: January 5, 2018 at 5:57 am GMT

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

But you can fool the whole country all the time in American bi-partisan system. Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump each were brought to power by fooling their electorate.

Biff , says: January 5, 2018 at 9:02 am GMT
So Trump did morph into Hillary. Actually, it was something I was afraid of once I got the good news of Hillary losing, but expected, considering that I view presidents as empty suits, and the National Security State calling the shots.

I'm waiting for another one of those "Trump's Truth in Action" moments when describes the real political atmosphere in Washington. Trump was asked about something he said in a previous interview: "When you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do." "You'd better believe it," Trump said. "If I ask them, if I need them, you know, most of the people on this stage I've given to, just so you understand, a lot of money."

El