Softpanorama

May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

National Security State Bulletin, 2016

National Security State

        National Security State Bulletin, 2017 National Security State Bulletin, 2016 National Security State Bulletin, 2015
  Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2016 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2015 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2014 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2013 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2011 Neoliberalism Bulletin 2009 Neoliberalism Bulletin 2008

Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Dec 30, 2016] The Coup against Trump and His Military – Wall Street Defense

Notable quotes:
"... In the wake of her resounding defeat, Candidate Stein usurped authority from the national Green Party and rapidly raked in $8 million dollars in donations from Democratic Party operatives and George Soros-linked NGO's (many times the amount raised during her Presidential campaign). This dodgy money financed her demand for ballot recounts in selective states in order to challenge Trump's victory. The recounts failed to change the outcome, but it was a 'first shot across the bow', to stop Trump. It became a propaganda focus for the neo-conservative mass media to mobilize several thousand Clintonite and liberal activists. ..."
"... The 'Big Lie' was repeated and embellished at every opportunity by the print and broadcast media. The 'experts' were trotted out voicing vitriolic accusations, but they never presented any facts and documentation of a 'rigged election'. Everyday, every hour, the 'Russian Plot' was breathlessly described in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Financial Times, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, BBC, NPR and their overseas followers in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Oceana and Africa. The great American Empire looked increasingly like a 'banana republic'. ..."
"... The coup intensified as Trump-Putin became synonymous for "betrayal" and "election fraud". As this approached a crescendo of media hysteria, President Barack Obama stepped in and called on the CIA to seize domestic control of the investigation of Russian manipulation of the US election – essentially accusing President-Elect Trump of conspiring with the Russian government. Obama refused to reveal any proof of such a broad plot, citing 'national security'. ..."
"... Obama's last-ditch effort will not change the outcome of the election. Clearly this is designed to poison the diplomatic well and present Trump's incoming administration as dangerous. Trump's promise to improve relations with Russia will face enormous resistance in this frothy, breathless hysteria of Russophobia. ..."
"... Ultimately, President Obama is desperate to secure his legacy, which has consisted of disastrous and criminal imperial wars and military confrontations. He wants to force a continuation of his grotesque policies onto the incoming Trump Administration. ..."
"... Trump's success at thwarting the current 'Russian ploy' requires his forming counter alliances with Washington plutocrats, many of whom will oppose any diplomatic agreement with Putin. Trump's appointment of hardline economic plutocrats who are deeply committed to shredding social programs (public education, Medicare, Social Security) could ignite the anger of his mass supporters by savaging their jobs, health care, pensions and their children's future. ..."
"... If Trump defeats the avalanching media, CIA and elite-instigated coup (which interestingly lack support from the military and judiciary), he will have to thank, not only his generals and billionaire-buddies, but also his downwardly mobile mass supporters (Hillary Clinton's detested 'basket of deplorables'). ..."
"... He embarked on a major series of 'victory tours' around the country to thank his supporters among the military, workers, women and small business people and call on them to defend his election to the presidency. He will have to fulfill some of his promises to the masses or face 'the real fire', not from Clintonite shills and war-mongers, but from the very people who voted for him. ..."
"... It is true there is breaking news today but you certainly won't hear it from the mainstream media. While everyone was enjoying the holidays president Obama signed the NDAA for fiscal year 2017 into law which includes the "Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act" and in this video Dan Dicks of Press For Truth shows how this new law is tantamount to "The Records Department of the Ministry of Truth" in George Orwell's book 1984. ..."
"... What we have to do is prove that there is an organization that includes George Soros, but is not limited to him personally–you know, a kosher nostra! ..."
"... I would dearly like to know what Moscow and Tel Aviv know about 9-11. I suspect they both know more than almost anyone else. ..."
"... Those dastardly Russkies have informed and enlightened the American public for long enough! This shall not stand! ..."
"... What I have against Obama is his regime-change war in Syria, his State Department enabled coup in Ukraine, his support of Saudi war/genocide against Yemen, his destruction of Libya, his demonization of Putin, and his bringing us to a status near war in our relations with Russia. ..."
"... Obama has been providing weapons, training, air support and propaganda for Terrorists via their affiliates in Syria, and now directly. This is a felony, if not treason. ..."
Dec 28, 2016 | www.unz.com

Introduction

A coup has been underway to prevent President-Elect Donald Trump from taking office and fulfilling his campaign promise to improve US-Russia relations. This 'palace coup' is not a secret conspiracy, but an open, loud attack on the election.

The coup involves important US elites, who openly intervene on many levels from the street to the current President, from sectors of the intelligence community, billionaire financiers out to the more marginal 'leftist' shills of the Democratic Party.

The build-up for the coup is gaining momentum, threatening to eliminate normal constitutional and democratic constraints. This essay describes the brazen, overt coup and the public operatives, mostly members of the outgoing Obama regime.

The second section describes the Trump's cabinet appointments and the political measures that the President-Elect has adopted to counter the coup. We conclude with an evaluation of the potential political consequences of the attempted coup and Trump's moves to defend his electoral victory and legitimacy.

The Coup as 'Process'

In the past few years Latin America has experienced several examples of the seizure of Presidential power by unconstitutional means, which may help illustrate some of the current moves underway in Washington. These are especially interesting since the Obama Administration served as the 'midwife' for these 'regime changes'.

Brazil, Paraguay, Honduras and Haiti experienced coups, in which the elected Presidents were ousted through a series of political interventions orchestrated by economic elites and their political allies in Congress and the Judiciary.

President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton were deeply involved in these operations as part of their established foreign policy of 'regime change'. Indeed, the 'success' of the Latin American coups has encouraged sectors of the US elite to attempt to prevent President-elect Trump from taking office in January.

While similarities abound, the on-going coup against Trump in the United States occurs within a very different power configuration of proponents and antagonists.

Firstly, this coup is not against a standing President, but targets an elected president set to take office on January 20, 2017. Secondly, the attempted coup has polarized leading sectors of the political and economic elite. It even exposes a seamy rivalry within the intelligence-security apparatus, with the political appointees heading the CIA involved in the coup and the FBI supporting the incoming President Trump and the constitutional process. Thirdly, the evolving coup is a sequential process, which will build momentum and then escalate very rapidly.

Coup-makers depend on the 'Big Lie' as their point of departure – accusing President-Elect Trump of

  1. being a Kremlin stooge, attributing his electoral victory to Russian intervention against his Democratic Party opponent, Hillary Clinton and
  2. blatant voter fraud in which the Republican Party prevented minority voters from casting their ballot for Secretary Clinton.

The first operatives to emerge in the early stages of the coup included the marginal-left Green Party Presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein, who won less than 1% of the vote, as well as the mass media.

In the wake of her resounding defeat, Candidate Stein usurped authority from the national Green Party and rapidly raked in $8 million dollars in donations from Democratic Party operatives and George Soros-linked NGO's (many times the amount raised during her Presidential campaign). This dodgy money financed her demand for ballot recounts in selective states in order to challenge Trump's victory. The recounts failed to change the outcome, but it was a 'first shot across the bow', to stop Trump. It became a propaganda focus for the neo-conservative mass media to mobilize several thousand Clintonite and liberal activists.

The purpose was to undermine the legitimacy of Trump's electoral victory. However, Jill Stein's $8 million dollar shilling for Secretary Clinton paled before the oncoming avalanche of mass media and NGO propaganda against Trump. Their main claim was that anonymous 'Russian hackers' and not the American voters had decided the US Presidential election of November 2016!

The 'Big Lie' was repeated and embellished at every opportunity by the print and broadcast media. The 'experts' were trotted out voicing vitriolic accusations, but they never presented any facts and documentation of a 'rigged election'. Everyday, every hour, the 'Russian Plot' was breathlessly described in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Financial Times, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, BBC, NPR and their overseas followers in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Oceana and Africa. The great American Empire looked increasingly like a 'banana republic'.

Like the Billionaire Soros-funded 'Color Revolutions', from Ukraine, to Georgia and Yugoslavia, the 'Rainbow Revolt' against Trump, featured grass-roots NGO activists and 'serious leftists', like Jill Stein.

The more polished political operatives from the upscale media used their editorial pages to question Trump's illegitimacy. This established the ground work for even higher level political intervention: The current US Administration, including President Obama, members of the US Congress from both parties, and current and former heads of the CIA jumped into the fray. As the vote recount ploy flopped, they all decided that 'Vladimir Putin swung the US election!' It wasn't just lunatic neo-conservative warmongers who sought to oust Trump and impose Hillary Clinton on the American people, liberals and social democrats were screaming 'Russian Plot!' They demanded a formal Congressional investigation of the 'Russian cyber hacking' of Hillary's personal e-mails (where she plotted to cheat her rival 'Bernie Sanders' in the primaries). They demanded even tighter economic sanctions against Russia and increased military provocations. The outgoing Democratic Senator and Minority Leader 'Harry' Reid wildly accused the FBI of acting as 'Russian agents' and hinted at a purge.

ORDER IT NOW

The coup intensified as Trump-Putin became synonymous for "betrayal" and "election fraud". As this approached a crescendo of media hysteria, President Barack Obama stepped in and called on the CIA to seize domestic control of the investigation of Russian manipulation of the US election – essentially accusing President-Elect Trump of conspiring with the Russian government. Obama refused to reveal any proof of such a broad plot, citing 'national security'.

President Obama solemnly declared the Trump-Putin conspiracy was a grave threat to American democracy and Western security and freedom. He darkly promised to retaliate against Russia, " at a time and place of our choosing".

Obama also pledged to send more US troops to the Middle East and increase arms shipments to the jihadi terrorists in Syria, as well as the Gulf State and Saudi 'allies'. Coincidentally, the Syrian Government and their Russian allies were poised to drive the US-backed terrorists out of Aleppo – and defeat Obama's campaign of 'regime change' in Syria.

Trump Strikes Back: The Wall Street-Military Alliance

Meanwhile, President-Elect Donald Trump did not crumple under the Clintonite-coup in progress. He prepared a diverse counter-attack to defend his election, relying on elite allies and mass supporters.

Trump denounced the political elements in the CIA, pointing out their previous role in manufacturing the justifications (he used the term 'lies') for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He appointed three retired generals to key Defense and Security positions – indicating a power struggle between the highly politicized CIA and the military. Active and retired members of the US Armed Forces have been key Trump supporters. He announced that he would bring his own security teams and integrate them with the Presidential Secret Service during his administration.

Although Clinton-Obama had the major mass media and a sector of the financial elite who supported the coup, Trump countered by appointing several key Wall Street and corporate billionaires into his cabinet who had their own allied business associations.

One propaganda line for the coup, which relied on certain Zionist organizations and leaders (ADL, George Soros et al), was the bizarre claim that Trump and his supporters were 'anti-Semites'. This was were countered by Trump's appointment of powerful Wall Street Zionists like Steven Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary and Gary Cohn (both of Goldman Sachs) to head the National Economic Council. Faced with the Obama-CIA plot to paint Trump as a Russian agent for Vladimir Putin, the President-Elect named security hardliners including past and present military leaders and FBI officials, to key security and intelligence positions.

The Coup: Can it succeed?

In early December, President Obama issued an order for the CIA to 'complete its investigation' on the Russian plot and manipulation of the US Presidential election in six weeks – right up to the very day of Trump's inauguration on January 20, 2017! A concoction of pre-cooked 'findings' is already oozing out of secret clandestine CIA archives with the President's approval. Obama's last-ditch effort will not change the outcome of the election. Clearly this is designed to poison the diplomatic well and present Trump's incoming administration as dangerous. Trump's promise to improve relations with Russia will face enormous resistance in this frothy, breathless hysteria of Russophobia.

Ultimately, President Obama is desperate to secure his legacy, which has consisted of disastrous and criminal imperial wars and military confrontations. He wants to force a continuation of his grotesque policies onto the incoming Trump Administration. Will Trump succumb? The legitimacy of his election and his freedom to make policy will depend on overcoming the Clinton-Obama-neo-con-leftist coup with his own bloc of US military and the powerful Wall Street allies, as well as his mass support among the 'angry' American electorate. Trump's success at thwarting the current 'Russian ploy' requires his forming counter alliances with Washington plutocrats, many of whom will oppose any diplomatic agreement with Putin. Trump's appointment of hardline economic plutocrats who are deeply committed to shredding social programs (public education, Medicare, Social Security) could ignite the anger of his mass supporters by savaging their jobs, health care, pensions and their children's future.

If Trump defeats the avalanching media, CIA and elite-instigated coup (which interestingly lack support from the military and judiciary), he will have to thank, not only his generals and billionaire-buddies, but also his downwardly mobile mass supporters (Hillary Clinton's detested 'basket of deplorables').

He embarked on a major series of 'victory tours' around the country to thank his supporters among the military, workers, women and small business people and call on them to defend his election to the presidency. He will have to fulfill some of his promises to the masses or face 'the real fire', not from Clintonite shills and war-mongers, but from the very people who voted for him.

(Reprinted from The James Petras Website by permission of author or representative)

Kirt December 28, 2016 at 3:19 pm GMT

A very insightful analysis. The golpistas will not be able to prevent Trump from taking power. But will they make the country ungovernable to the extent of bringing down not just Trump but the whole system?

John Gruskos , December 28, 2016 at 4:16 pm GMT

If the coup forces President Trump to abandon his America First campaign promises by appointing globalists eager to invade-the-world/invite-the-world, then the coup is a success and the Trump campaign was a failure.

Robert Magill , December 28, 2016 at 5:30 pm GMT

Ultimately, President Obama is desperate to secure his legacy, which has consisted of disastrous and criminal imperial wars and military confrontations

The current wave of icon polishing we constantly are being asked to indulge seems a bit over the top. Why is our president more devoted to legacy than Jackie Kennedy was to the care and maintenance of the Camelot image?

Have we ever seen as fine a behind-the-curtain, Wizard of Oz act, as performed by Barrack Obama for the past eight years? Do we know anything at all about this man aside from the fact that he loves his wife and kids?

Replies: @Skeptikal I expect Obama loves his kids.

Great analysis from Petras.
So many people have reacted with "first=level" thinking only as Trump's appointments have been announced: "This guy is terrible!" Yes, but . . . look at the appointment in the "swamp" context, in the "veiled threat" context. Harpers mag actually put a picture on its cover of Trump behind bars. That is one of those veiled invitations like Henry II's "Will no one rid me of this man?"

I think Trump understands quite well what he is up against.

I agree completely with Petras that the compromises he must make to take office on Jan. 20 may in the end compromise his agenda (whatever it actually is). I would expect Trump to play things by ear and tack as necessary, as he senses changes in the wind. According to the precepts of triage, his no. 1 challenge/task now is to be sworn in on Jan. 20. All else is secondary.

Once he is in the White House he will have incomparably greater powers to flush out those who are trying to sideline his presidency now. The latter must know this. He will be in charge of the whole Executive Branch bureaucracy (which includes the Justice Department). , @animalogic Oh, yes, Robert -- To read the words "Obama" & "legacy" in the same sentence is to LOL.

What a god-awful president.

An 8 year adventure in failure, stupidity & ruthlessness.

The Trump-coup business: what a (near treasonous) disgrace. The "Russians done it" meme: "let's show the world just how stupid, embarrassing & plain MEAN we can be". A trillion words -- & not one shred of supporting evidence.... ?! And I thought that the old "Obama was not born in the US" trope was shameless stupidity --

If there is any bright side here, I hope it has convinced EVERY American conservative that the neo-con's & their identical economic twin the neoliberals are treasonous dreck who would flush the US down the drain if they thought it to their political advantage.

Brás Cubas , December 28, 2016 at 6:17 pm GMT

Excellent analysis! Mr. Petras, you delved right into the crux of the matter of the balance of forces in the U.S.A. at this very unusual political moment. I have only a very minor correction to make, and it is only a language-related one: you don't really want to say that Trump's "illegitimacy" is being questioned, but rather his legitimacy, right?

Another thing, but this time of a perhaps idiosyncratic nature: I am a teeny-weeny bit more optimistic than you about the events to come in your country. (Too bad I cannot say this about my own poor country Brazil, which is going faster and faster down the drain.)

Happy new year!

schmenz , December 28, 2016 at 9:05 pm GMT
@John Gruskos If the coup forces President Trump to abandon his America First campaign promises by appointing globalists eager to invade-the-world/invite-the-world, then the coup is a success and the Trump campaign was a failure.

Exactly...

Svigor , December 28, 2016 at 9:28 pm GMT

The recounts failed to change the outcome, but it was a 'first shot across the bow', to stop Trump. It became a propaganda focus for the neo-conservative mass media to mobilize several thousand Clintonite and liberal activists.

On the contrary, this first salvo from the anti-American forces resulted in more friendly fire hits on the attackers than it did on its intended targets. Result: a strengthening of Trump's position. It also serve to sap morale and energy from the anti-American forces, helping dissipate their momentum.

The purpose was to undermine the legitimacy of Trump's electoral victory.

And it backfired, literally strengthening it (Trump gained votes), while undermining the anti-American forces' legitimacy.

The purpose was to undermine the legitimacy of Trump's electoral victory. However, Jill Stein's $8 million dollar shilling for Secretary Clinton paled before the oncoming avalanche of mass media and NGO propaganda against Trump. Their main claim was that anonymous 'Russian hackers' and not the American voters had decided the US Presidential election of November 2016!

This was simply a continuation of Big Media's Full Capacity Hate Machine (thanks to Whis for the term; this is the only time I will acknowledge the debt) from the campaign. It has been running since before Trump clinched the nomination. It will be no more effective now, than it was then. Americans are fed up with Big Media propaganda in sufficient numbers to openly thwart its authors' will.

The big lie, as you refer to it, hasn't even produced the alleged "report" in question. The CIA supposedly in lockstep against Trump (I don't buy that), and they can't find one hack willing to leak this "devastating" "report"? It must suck. Probably a nothing burger.

This is all much ado about nothing. Big Media HATES Trump. They want to make sure Trump and the American people don't forget that they HATE Trump. It's a broken strategy, doomed to failure (it will only cause Trump to dig in and go about his agenda without their help; it certainly will not break him, or endear him to their demands). Trump's voters all voted for him in spite of it, so it won't win them over, either. Personally, I think Trump's low water mark of support is well behind him. Obviously subject to future events.

Trump denounced the political elements in the CIA, pointing out their previous role in manufacturing the justifications (he used the term 'lies') for the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

CIA mouthpieces have been pointing and sputtering in response that it was not they who cooked the books, but parallel neoconservative chickenhawk groups in the Bush administration. The trouble with this is that the CIA did precious little to counter the chickenhawks' narrative, instead choosing to assent by way of silence.

Personally, I sort of doubt this imagined comity between Hussein and the CIA. Ever seen Zero Dark Thirty ? How much harder did Hussein make the CIA's job? I doubt it was Kathryn Bigelow who chose to go out of her way to make that movie hostile to Hussein; it's far more likely that this is simply where the material led her. I similarly doubt that the intelligence community difficulties owed to Hussein were in any way limited to the hunt for UBL.

Replies: @Seamus Padraig

The trouble with this is that the CIA did precious little to counter the chickenhawks' narrative, instead choosing to assent by way of silence.
That's not entirely accurate. CIA people like Michael Scheuer and Valery Plame were trying to undermine the neocon narrative about Iraq and WMD, not bolster it. At that time, the neocons controlled the ranking civilian positions at the Pentagon, but did not yet fully control the CIA. This changed after Bush's re-election, when Porter Goss was made DCI to purge all the remaining 'realists' and 'arabists' from the agency. Now the situation in the opposite: the CIA is totally neocon, while the Pentagon is a bit less so.

So even if what Trump is saying is technically inaccurate, it's still true at a deeper level: it was the neocons who lied to us about WMD, just as it is now the neocons who are lying to us about Russia.

Lieutenant Morrisseau , December 28, 2016 at 11:27 pm GMT

MAN PAD LETTER – DM 24 DEC 2016

I think Obama's right-in-the-open [a week or so ago] authorization for the sale and shipping [?] of "man pads" to various Syrian rebel and terrorist forces is insane, and may be contrary to law.

Yes, I have no trouble calling it TREASON. It is certainly felony support for terrorists.

Man pads are shoulder held missile launchers that can destroy high and fast aircraft .such as commercial passenger airlines [to be blamed on Russia?] and also any nations' fighter/bombers .such as Russia's Air Force planes operating in Syria still–that were invited to do so by the elected government of Syria which is still under attack by US proxy [terrorist] forces. Syria is a member in good standing of the UN.

Given this I think we are all in very great danger today–now– AND I think we have to press hard to reverse the insane Obama move vis a vis these man pads.

This truly is an emergency.

TULSI GABBARD'S BILL MAY BE TOO LITTLE TOO LATE. It may even be just window dressing or PR. [That could be the reason Peter Welch has agreed to co-sponsor it.... The man never does anything that is real and substantive and decent or courageous.]

IN ANY EVENT both Gabbard and Welch via this bill have now acknowledged
that Obama and the US are supporting terrorists in Syria [and elsewhere]–a felony under existing laws. –Quite possibly an impeachable offense.

"Misprision" of treason or misprision of a felony IS ITSELF A FELONY.

If Gabbard and Welch KNOW that the man-pad authorization and other US support
for terrorists in Syria and elsewhere is presently occurring, I THINK THEY NEED TO FORCE PROSECUTION UNDER EXISTING LAWS NOW, rather than just sponsoring a sure-to-fail NEW LAW that will prevent such things in the far fuzzy future–or NOT.

Respectfully,

Dennis Morrisseau
US Army Officer [Vietnam era] ANTI-WAR
–FOR TRUMP–
Lieutenant Morrisseau's Rebellion
FIRECONGRESS.org
Second Vermont Republic
POB 177, W. Pawlet, VT USA 05775
dmorso1@netzero.net
802 645 9727

• Replies: @Bruce Marshall The Man Pad Letter is brilliant!

It needs to be published as a feature story.

Yes finally someone has the guts to say it: Obama is a traitor and terrorist.

Said by a true antiwar hero, Lt. Morrisseau who said no to Vietnam, while in uniform, as an officer in the U.S. Army. The New York Times and CBS Evening News picked it up back in the day. It was big, and this is bigger, same war though, just a different name: Its called World War III, smouldering as we speak.

Again I do urge Unz to contact Denny and get this letter up as a feature. Note that it has been sent to Rep. Gabbard and Rep. Welch. so it is a vital, historic action, may it be recognized.

BTW Rep. Tulsi Gabbards Bill is the Stop Arming Terrorist Act.

Bruce Marshall , December 29, 2016 at 6:05 am GMT • 100 Words @Lieutenant Morrisseau MAN PAD LETTER - DM 24 DEC 2016


I think Obama's right-in-the-open [a week or so ago] authorization for the sale and shipping [?] of "man pads" to various Syrian rebel and terrorist forces is insane, and may be contrary to law.

Yes, I have no trouble calling it TREASON. It is certainly felony support for terrorists.

Man pads are shoulder held missile launchers that can destroy high and fast aircraft ....such as commercial passenger airlines [to be blamed on Russia?] and also any nations' fighter/bombers....such as Russia's Air Force planes operating in Syria still--that were invited to do so by the elected government of Syria which is still under attack by US proxy [terrorist] forces. Syria is a member in good standing of the UN.

Given this......I think we are all in very great danger today--now-- AND I think we have to press hard to reverse the insane Obama move vis a vis these man pads.

This truly is an emergency.

TULSI GABBARD'S BILL MAY BE TOO LITTLE TOO LATE. It may even be just window dressing or PR. [That could be the reason Peter Welch has agreed to co-sponsor it.... The man never does anything that is real and substantive and decent or courageous.]

IN ANY EVENT both Gabbard and Welch via this bill have now acknowledged
that Obama and the US are supporting terrorists in Syria [and elsewhere]--a felony under existing laws. --Quite possibly an impeachable offense.

"Misprision" of treason or misprision of a felony IS ITSELF A FELONY.

If Gabbard and Welch KNOW that the man-pad authorization and other US support
for terrorists in Syria and elsewhere is presently occurring, I THINK THEY NEED TO FORCE PROSECUTION UNDER EXISTING LAWS NOW, rather than just sponsoring a sure-to-fail NEW LAW that will prevent such things in the far fuzzy future--or NOT.

Respectfully,

Dennis Morrisseau
US Army Officer [Vietnam era] ANTI-WAR
--FOR TRUMP--
Lieutenant Morrisseau's Rebellion
FIRECONGRESS.org
Second Vermont Republic
POB 177, W. Pawlet, VT USA 05775
dmorso1@netzero.net
802 645 9727

The Man Pad Letter is brilliant!

It needs to be published as a feature story.

Yes finally someone has the guts to say it: Obama is a traitor and terrorist.

Said by a true antiwar hero, Lt. Morrisseau who said no to Vietnam, while in uniform, as an officer in the U.S. Army. The New York Times and CBS Evening News picked it up back in the day. It was big, and this is bigger, same war though, just a different name: Its called World War III, smouldering as we speak.

Again I do urge Unz to contact Denny and get this letter up as a feature. Note that it has been sent to Rep. Gabbard and Rep. Welch. so it is a vital, historic action, may it be recognized.

BTW Rep. Tulsi Gabbards Bill is the Stop Arming Terrorist Act.

• Replies: @El Dato Hmmm.... If I were GRU I would offer Uber services to the recipients of the manpads all the way up to West European airports (not that this is needed, just take a truck, any truck).

What will the EU say if smouldering wreckage happens?

Especially as Obama won't be there to set the overall tone.

Oh my. Reply Agree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments

Mark Green says: • Website Show Comment Next New Comment December 29, 2016 at 6:39 am GMT • 600 Words

This is a good article but there's been a sudden shift. Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel. And Trump is starting to sound like a neocon!

Maybe Trump is worried enough about a potential coup to dump his 'America First' platform (at least for now) to shore up vital Jewish support for his teetering inauguration. This ploy will require a lot of pro-Zionist noise and gesturing. Consequently, Trump is starting to play a familiar political role. And the Zio-friendly media is holding his feet to the fire.

Has the smell of fear pushed Trump over the edge and into the lap of the Zionist establishment? It's beginning to look that way.

Or is Trump just being a fox?

Let's face it: nobody can pull out all the stops better than Israel's Fifth Column. They've got the money, the organization skills, the media leverage, and the raw intellectual moxie to make political miracles/disasters happen. Trump wants them on his side. So he's is tacitly cutting a last-minute deal with the Israelis. Trump's Zionized rhetoric (and political appointments) prove it.

This explains the apparent reversal that's now underway. Obama's pushing back while Trump is accommodating. And, as usual, the Zions are dictating the Narrative.

As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right. Trump however is facing no such luxury. And Bibi is more defiant than ever. This is high drama. And Trump is feeling the heat.

Indeed, outgoing Sec. John Kerry just delivered a major speech where he reiterated strongly US support for a real 'Two State' solution in Israel/Palestine.

And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.

Didn't you?

Kerry also criticized Israel's ongoing confiscation of the Occupied Territories. It was a brilliant analysis that Kerry gave without the aid of a teleprompter. Hugely impressive. Even so, Kerry did not throw Israel under the bus, as claimed. His speech was extremely fair.

This renewed, steadfast American position, coupled with the UNSC's unanimous vote against Israel (which Obama permitted by not casting the usual US veto) has set the stage for a monumental showdown. Israel has never been more isolated. But it's Trump–not Obama–that's looking weak in the face of Israeli pressure.

Indeed, the international Jewish establishment remains uniquely powerful. They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.

Will Trump–out of fear and necessity–run with the mega-powerful Jews who tried to sabotage his campaign?–Or will he stay strong with America First and avoid "any more disasterous wars". It's impossible to say. Trump is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

I get the feeling that even Trump is unsure of where all this is going. But the situation is fast approaching critical mass. Something's gotta give. The entire world is fed up with Israel.

Will Trump blink and take the easy road with the Zions?–Or will he summon Putin's independent, nationalistic spirit and stay the course of 'America First'?

Unfortunately, having scrutinized the Zions in action for decades, I'm fearful that Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.

• Replies:

@Authenticjazzman

Okay so you voted twice for BO, and now for HC, so what else is new.

Authenticjazzman, "Mensa" society member of forty-plus years and pro jazz artist. ,

@Seamus Padraig

In general, I agree with a good portion of your analysis. A few minor quibbles and qualifications, though:

Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel.
Not really. Since he's a lame-duck president and the election is over, he's not really risking anything here. After all, opposition to settlements in the occupied territories has been official US policy for nearly 50 years, and when has that ever stopped Israel from founding/expanding them? No, this is just more empty symbolism.
And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.
It's been dead foreever. The One State solution will replace it, and that will really freak out all the Zios.
They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.
Oderint dum metuant ("Let them hate, so long as they fear.") - Caligula ,

@Rurik

Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.
I'm hoping that Trump is running with the neocons just as far as is necessary to pressure congress to confirm his cabinet appointments and make sure he isn't JFK'd before he gets into office and can set about putting security in place to protect his own and his family's lives.

For John McBloodstain to vote for a SoS that will make nice with his nemesis; Putin, will require massive amounts of Zio-pressure. The only way that pressure will come is if the Zio-cons are convinced that Trump is their man.

Once his cabinet appointments are secured, then perhaps we might see some independence of action. Not until. At least that is my hope, however naïve.

It isn't just the Zio-cons that want to poke the Russian bear, it's also the MIC. Trump has to navigate a very dangerous mine field if he's going to end the Endless Wars and return sanity and peace to the world. He's going to have to wrangle with the devil himself (the Fiend), and outplay him at his own game. , @map I wish people would stop making a big deal out of John Kerry's and Barack Obama's recent stance on Israel. Neither of them are concerned about whatever injustice happened to the Palestinians.

What they are concerned with is Israeli actions discrediting the anti-white, anti-national globalism program before it has successfully destroyed all of the white nations. That is the real reason why they want a two-state solution or a right of return. If nationalists can look at the Israeli example as a model for how to proceed then that will cause a civil war among leftists and discredit the entire left-wing project.

Trump, therefore, pushing support for Israel's national concerns is not him bending to AIPAC. It is a shrewd move that forces an internecine conflict between left-wing diaspora Jews and Israeli Jews. It is a conflict Bibi is willing to have because the pet project of leftism would necessarily result in Israel either being unlivable or largely extinct for its Jewish population. This NWO being pushed by the diaspora is not something that will be enjoyed by Israeli Jews.

Consider the problem. The problem is that Palestinians have revanchist claims against Israel. Those revanchist claims do not go away just because they get their own country or they get a right of return. Either "solution" actually strengthens the Palestinian claim against Israel and results in a vastly reduced security stance and quality of life for Israelis. The diaspora left is ok with that because they want to continue importing revanchist groups into Europe and America to break down white countries. So, Israel makes a small sacrifice for the greater good of anti-whitism, a deal that most Israelis do not consider very good for themselves. Trump's support for Israeli nationalism short-circuits this project.

Of course, one could ask: why don't the Israeli Jews just move to America? What's the big deal if Israel remains in the middle east? The big deal is the kind of jobs and activities available for Israelis to do. A real nation requires a lot of scut work. Someone has to do the plumbing, unplug the sewers, drive the nails, throw out the trash. Everyone can't be a doctor, a lawyer or a banker. Tradesmen, technicians, workers are all required to get a project like Israel off the ground and maintained.

How many of these Israelis doing scut work in Israel for a greater good want to do the same scut work in America just to get by? The problem operates in reverse for American Jews. A Jew with an American law degree is of no use to Israelis outside of the money he brings and whether he can throw out the trash. Diaspora Jews, therefore, have no reason to try and live and work in Israel.

So, again, we see that Trump's move is a masterstroke. Even his appointment to counter the coup with Zionists is brilliant, since these Zionists are rich enough to both live anywhere and indulge their pride in nationalist endeavors. ,

@RobinG "

As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right . "

THEN WHY DOESN'T HE DO WHAT'S RIGHT? As Seamus Padraig pointed out, the UN abstention is "just more empty symbolism."
Meanwhile...
The Christmas Eve attack on the First Amendment
The approval of arming terrorists in Syria
The fake news about Russian hacking throwing Killary's election

Aid to terrorists is a felony. Obama should be indicted.

@Tomster

Most of the Western world is much sicker of the head-choppers in charge of our 'human rights' at the UN (thanks to Obama and the UK) than it is of Israel. It is they, not we, who have funded ISIS directly.

Pirouette , December 29, 2016 at 7:08 am GMT

The real issue at stake is that Presidential control of the system is non existent, and although Trump understands this and has intimated he is going to deal with it, it is clear his hands will now be tied by all the traitors that run the US.

You need a Nuremburg type show trial to deal with all the (((usual suspects))) that have usurped the constitution. (((They))) arrived with the Pilgrim Fathers and established the slave trade buying slaves from their age old Muslim accomplices, and selling them by auction to the goyim.

(((They))) established absolute influence by having the Fed issue your currency in 1913 and forcing the US in to three wars: WWI, WWII and Vietnam from which (((they))) made enormous profits.

You have to decide whether you want these (((professional parasitical traitors))) in your country or not. It is probably too late to just ask them to leave, thus you are faced with the ultimate reality: are you willing to fight a civil war to free your nation from (((their))) oppression of you?

This is the elephant in the room that none of you will address. All the rest of this subject matter is just window dressing. Do you wish to remain economic slaves to (((these people))) or do you want to be free [like the Syrians] and live without (((these traitor's))) usurious, inflationary and dishonest policies based upon hate of Christ and Christianity?

Max Havelaar , December 29, 2016 at 10:45 am GMT

My guess: the outgoing Obama administration is in a last ditch killing frenzy, to revenge Aleppo loss!

The Berlin bus blowup, The Russian ambassador in Turkey killed and the Red army's most eminent Alexandrov's choir send to the bottom of the black sea.

Typical CIA ops to threaten world leaders to comply with the incumbent US elite.

Watch Mike Morell (CIA) threaten world leaders:

• Replies: @annamaria The prominence of the "perfumed prince" Morell is the most telling indictment of the so-called "elites" in the US. The arrogant, irresponsible (and untouchable) imbeciles among the real "deciders" in the US have brought the country down to a sub-civilization status when the US does not do diplomacy, does not follow international law, and does not keep with even marginal aspects of democracy home and abroad. The proliferation of the incompetent and opportunists in the highest echelons of the US government is the consequence of the lack of responsibility on the top. Morell - who has never been in combat and never demonstrated any intellectual vigor - is a prime example of a sycophantic and poorly educated opportunist that is endangering the US big time.
Karl , December 29, 2016 at 11:20 am GMT

the "shot across the bow" was the "Not My President!" demonstrations, which were long before Dr Stein's recount circuses.

They spent a lot of money on buses and box lunches – it wouldn't fly.

Nothing else they try will fly.

Correct me if I am wrong . plain ole citizens can start RICO suits against the likes of Soros.

@Seamus Padraig
Correct me if I am wrong . plain ole citizens can start RICO suits against the likes of Soros.
It seems you may be on to something:
RICO also permits a private individual "damaged in his business or property" by a "racketeer" to file a civil suit. The plaintiff must prove the existence of an "enterprise". The defendant(s) are not the enterprise; in other words, the defendant(s) and the enterprise are not one and the same.[3] There must be one of four specified relationships between the defendant(s) and the enterprise: either the defendant(s) invested the proceeds of the pattern of racketeering activity into the enterprise (18 U.S.C. § 1962(a)); or the defendant(s) acquired or maintained an interest in, or control of, the enterprise through the pattern of racketeering activity (subsection (b)); or the defendant(s) conducted or participated in the affairs of the enterprise "through" the pattern of racketeering activity (subsection (c)); or the defendant(s) conspired to do one of the above (subsection (d)).[4] In essence, the enterprise is either the 'prize,' 'instrument,' 'victim,' or 'perpetrator' of the racketeers.[5] A civil RICO action can be filed in state or federal court.[6]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racketeer_Influenced_and_Corrupt_Organizations_Act#Summary

What we have to do is prove that there is an organization that includes George Soros, but is not limited to him personally--you know, a kosher nostra!

mp , December 29, 2016 at 11:23 am GMT

In the past few years Latin America has experienced several examples of the seizure of Presidential power by unconstitutional means Brazil, Paraguay, Honduras and Haiti experienced coups

The US is not at the stage of these countries yet. To compare them to us, politically, is moronic. In another several generations it likely will be different. But by then there won't be any "need" for a coup.

If things keep up, the US "electorate" will be majority Third World. Then, these people will just vote as a bloc for whomever promises them the most gibs me dat. That candidate will of course be from the oligarchical elite. Trump is likely the last white man (or white man with even marginally white interests at heart) to be President. Unless things drastically change, demographically.

El Dato , December 29, 2016 at 11:39 am GMT
@Bruce Marshall The Man Pad Letter is brilliant!

It needs to be published as a feature story.

Yes finally someone has the guts to say it: Obama is a traitor and terrorist.

Said by a true antiwar hero, Lt. Morrisseau who said no to Vietnam, while in uniform, as an officer in the U.S. Army. The New York Times and CBS Evening News picked it up back in the day. It was big, and this is bigger, same war though, just a different name: Its called World War III, smouldering as we speak.

Again I do urge Unz to contact Denny and get this letter up as a feature. Note that it has been sent to Rep. Gabbard and Rep. Welch. so it is a vital, historic action, may it be recognized.

BTW Rep. Tulsi Gabbards Bill is the Stop Arming Terrorist Act.

Hmmm . If I were GRU I would offer Uber services to the recipients of the manpads all the way up to West European airports (not that this is needed, just take a truck, any truck).

What will the EU say if smouldering wreckage happens?

Especially as Obama won't be there to set the overall tone.

Oh my.

Authenticjazzman , December 29, 2016 at 1:00 pm GMT
@Mark Green This is a good article but there's been a sudden shift. Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel. And Trump is starting to sound like a neocon!

Maybe Trump is worried enough about a potential coup to dump his 'America First' platform (at least for now) to shore up vital Jewish support for his teetering inauguration. This ploy will require a lot of pro-Zionist noise and gesturing. Consequently, Trump is starting to play a familiar political role. And the Zio-friendly media is holding his feet to the fire.

Has the smell of fear pushed Trump over the edge and into the lap of the Zionist establishment? It's beginning to look that way.

Or is Trump just being a fox?

Let's face it: nobody can pull out all the stops better than Israel's Fifth Column. They've got the money, the organization skills, the media leverage, and the raw intellectual moxie to make political miracles/disasters happen. Trump wants them on his side. So he's is tacitly cutting a last-minute deal with the Israelis. Trump's Zionized rhetoric (and political appointments) prove it.

This explains the apparent reversal that's now underway. Obama's pushing back while Trump is accommodating. And, as usual, the Zions are dictating the Narrative.

As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right. Trump however is facing no such luxury. And Bibi is more defiant than ever. This is high drama. And Trump is feeling the heat.

Indeed, outgoing Sec. John Kerry just delivered a major speech where he reiterated strongly US support for a real 'Two State' solution in Israel/Palestine.

And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.

Didn't you?

Kerry also criticized Israel's ongoing confiscation of the Occupied Territories. It was a brilliant analysis that Kerry gave without the aid of a teleprompter. Hugely impressive. Even so, Kerry did not throw Israel under the bus, as claimed. His speech was extremely fair.

This renewed, steadfast American position, coupled with the UNSC's unanimous vote against Israel (which Obama permitted by not casting the usual US veto) has set the stage for a monumental showdown. Israel has never been more isolated. But it's Trump--not Obama--that's looking weak in the face of Israeli pressure.

Indeed, the international Jewish establishment remains uniquely powerful. They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.

Will Trump--out of fear and necessity--run with the mega-powerful Jews who tried to sabotage his campaign?--Or will he stay strong with America First and avoid "any more disasterous wars". It's impossible to say. Trump is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

I get the feeling that even Trump is unsure of where all this is going. But the situation is fast approaching critical mass. Something's gotta give. The entire world is fed up with Israel.

Will Trump blink and take the easy road with the Zions?--Or will he summon Putin's independent, nationalistic spirit and stay the course of 'America First'?

Unfortunately, having scrutinized the Zions in action for decades, I'm fearful that Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.

Okay so you voted twice for BO, and now for HC, so what else is new.

Authenticjazzman, "Mensa" society member of forty-plus years and pro jazz artist.

Agent76 , December 29, 2016 at 1:59 pm GMT

D.C. has passed their propaganda bill so I am not shocked.

Dec 27, 2016 "Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act" Signed Into Law! (NDAA 2017)

It is true there is breaking news today but you certainly won't hear it from the mainstream media. While everyone was enjoying the holidays president Obama signed the NDAA for fiscal year 2017 into law which includes the "Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act" and in this video Dan Dicks of Press For Truth shows how this new law is tantamount to "The Records Department of the Ministry of Truth" in George Orwell's book 1984.

Skeptikal , December 29, 2016 at 3:00 pm GMT
@Robert Magill
Ultimately, President Obama is desperate to secure his legacy, which has consisted of disastrous and criminal imperial wars and military confrontations
The current wave of icon polishing we constantly are being asked to indulge seems a bit over the top. Why is our president more devoted to legacy than Jackie Kennedy was to the care and maintenance of the Camelot image?

Have we ever seen as fine a behind-the-curtain, Wizard of Oz act, as performed by Barrack Obama for the past eight years? Do we know anything at all about this man aside from the fact that he loves his wife and kids? https://robertmagill.wordpress.com/2016/12/09/barry-we-hardly-knew-ye/

I expect Obama loves his kids.

Great analysis from Petras.

So many people have reacted with "first level" thinking only as Trump's appointments have been announced: "This guy is terrible!" Yes, but . . . look at the appointment in the "swamp" context, in the "veiled threat" context. Harpers mag actually put a picture on its cover of Trump behind bars. That is one of those veiled invitations like Henry II's "Will no one rid me of this man?"

I think Trump understands quite well what he is up against.

I agree completely with Petras that the compromises he must make to take office on Jan. 20 may in the end compromise his agenda (whatever it actually is). I would expect Trump to play things by ear and tack as necessary, as he senses changes in the wind. According to the precepts of triage, his no. 1 challenge/task now is to be sworn in on Jan. 20. All else is secondary.

Once he is in the White House he will have incomparably greater powers to flush out those who are trying to sideline his presidency now. The latter must know this. He will be in charge of the whole Executive Branch bureaucracy (which includes the Justice Department).

animalogic , December 29, 2016 at 3:01 pm GMT • 100 Words

@Robert Magill

Ultimately, President Obama is desperate to secure his legacy, which has consisted of disastrous and criminal imperial wars and military confrontations
The current wave of icon polishing we constantly are being asked to indulge seems a bit over the top. Why is our president more devoted to legacy than Jackie Kennedy was to the care and maintenance of the Camelot image?

Have we ever seen as fine a behind-the-curtain, Wizard of Oz act, as performed by Barrack Obama for the past eight years? Do we know anything at all about this man aside from the fact that he loves his wife and kids? https://robertmagill.wordpress.com/2016/12/09/barry-we-hardly-knew-ye/

Oh, yes, Robert -- To read the words "Obama" & "legacy" in the same sentence is to LOL.
What a god-awful president.
An 8 year adventure in failure, stupidity & ruthlessness.
The Trump-coup business: what a (near treasonous) disgrace. The "Russians done it" meme: "let's show the world just how stupid, embarrassing & plain MEAN we can be". A trillion words - & not one shred of supporting evidence . ?! And I thought that the old "Obama was not born in the US" trope was shameless stupidity --
If there is any bright side here, I hope it has convinced EVERY American conservative that the neo-con's & their identical economic twin the neoliberals are treasonous dreck who would flush the US down the drain if they thought it to their political advantage.

Seamus Padraig says: • Website

@Svigor

The recounts failed to change the outcome, but it was a 'first shot across the bow', to stop Trump. It became a propaganda focus for the neo-conservative mass media to mobilize several thousand Clintonite and liberal activists.
On the contrary, this first salvo from the anti-American forces resulted in more friendly fire hits on the attackers than it did on its intended targets. Result: a strengthening of Trump's position. It also serve to sap morale and energy from the anti-American forces, helping dissipate their momentum.
The purpose was to undermine the legitimacy of Trump's electoral victory.
And it backfired, literally strengthening it (Trump gained votes), while undermining the anti-American forces' legitimacy.
The purpose was to undermine the legitimacy of Trump's electoral victory. However, Jill Stein's $8 million dollar shilling for Secretary Clinton paled before the oncoming avalanche of mass media and NGO propaganda against Trump. Their main claim was that anonymous 'Russian hackers' and not the American voters had decided the US Presidential election of November 2016!
This was simply a continuation of Big Media's Full Capacity Hate Machine (thanks to Whis for the term; this is the only time I will acknowledge the debt) from the campaign. It has been running since before Trump clinched the nomination. It will be no more effective now, than it was then. Americans are fed up with Big Media propaganda in sufficient numbers to openly thwart its authors' will.

The big lie, as you refer to it, hasn't even produced the alleged "report" in question. The CIA supposedly in lockstep against Trump (I don't buy that), and they can't find one hack willing to leak this "devastating" "report"? It must suck. Probably a nothing burger.

This is all much ado about nothing. Big Media HATES Trump. They want to make sure Trump and the American people don't forget that they HATE Trump. It's a broken strategy, doomed to failure (it will only cause Trump to dig in and go about his agenda without their help; it certainly will not break him, or endear him to their demands). Trump's voters all voted for him in spite of it, so it won't win them over, either. Personally, I think Trump's low water mark of support is well behind him. Obviously subject to future events.

Trump denounced the political elements in the CIA, pointing out their previous role in manufacturing the justifications (he used the term 'lies') for the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
CIA mouthpieces have been pointing and sputtering in response that it was not they who cooked the books, but parallel neoconservative chickenhawk groups in the Bush administration. The trouble with this is that the CIA did precious little to counter the chickenhawks' narrative, instead choosing to assent by way of silence.

Personally, I sort of doubt this imagined comity between Hussein and the CIA. Ever seen Zero Dark Thirty ? How much harder did Hussein make the CIA's job? I doubt it was Kathryn Bigelow who chose to go out of her way to make that movie hostile to Hussein; it's far more likely that this is simply where the material led her. I similarly doubt that the intelligence community difficulties owed to Hussein were in any way limited to the hunt for UBL.

The trouble with this is that the CIA did precious little to counter the chickenhawks' narrative, instead choosing to assent by way of silence.

That's not entirely accurate. CIA people like Michael Scheuer and Valery Plame were trying to undermine the neocon narrative about Iraq and WMD, not bolster it. At that time, the neocons controlled the ranking civilian positions at the Pentagon, but did not yet fully control the CIA. This changed after Bush's re-election, when Porter Goss was made DCI to purge all the remaining 'realists' and 'arabists' from the agency. Now the situation in the opposite: the CIA is totally neocon, while the Pentagon is a bit less so.

So even if what Trump is saying is technically inaccurate, it's still true at a deeper level: it was the neocons who lied to us about WMD, just as it is now the neocons who are lying to us about Russia.

Seamus Padraig says: • Website December 29, 2016 at 3:25 pm GMT • 1

@Mark Green This is a good article but there's been a sudden shift. Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel. And Trump is starting to sound like a neocon!

Maybe Trump is worried enough about a potential coup to dump his 'America First' platform (at least for now) to shore up vital Jewish support for his teetering inauguration. This ploy will require a lot of pro-Zionist noise and gesturing. Consequently, Trump is starting to play a familiar political role. And the Zio-friendly media is holding his feet to the fire.

Has the smell of fear pushed Trump over the edge and into the lap of the Zionist establishment? It's beginning to look that way.

Or is Trump just being a fox?

Let's face it: nobody can pull out all the stops better than Israel's Fifth Column. They've got the money, the organization skills, the media leverage, and the raw intellectual moxie to make political miracles/disasters happen. Trump wants them on his side. So he's is tacitly cutting a last-minute deal with the Israelis. Trump's Zionized rhetoric (and political appointments) prove it.

This explains the apparent reversal that's now underway. Obama's pushing back while Trump is accommodating. And, as usual, the Zions are dictating the Narrative.

As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right. Trump however is facing no such luxury. And Bibi is more defiant than ever. This is high drama. And Trump is feeling the heat.

Indeed, outgoing Sec. John Kerry just delivered a major speech where he reiterated strongly US support for a real 'Two State' solution in Israel/Palestine.

And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.

Didn't you?

Kerry also criticized Israel's ongoing confiscation of the Occupied Territories. It was a brilliant analysis that Kerry gave without the aid of a teleprompter. Hugely impressive. Even so, Kerry did not throw Israel under the bus, as claimed. His speech was extremely fair.

This renewed, steadfast American position, coupled with the UNSC's unanimous vote against Israel (which Obama permitted by not casting the usual US veto) has set the stage for a monumental showdown. Israel has never been more isolated. But it's Trump--not Obama--that's looking weak in the face of Israeli pressure.

Indeed, the international Jewish establishment remains uniquely powerful. They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.

Will Trump--out of fear and necessity--run with the mega-powerful Jews who tried to sabotage his campaign?--Or will he stay strong with America First and avoid "any more disasterous wars". It's impossible to say. Trump is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

I get the feeling that even Trump is unsure of where all this is going. But the situation is fast approaching critical mass. Something's gotta give. The entire world is fed up with Israel.

Will Trump blink and take the easy road with the Zions?--Or will he summon Putin's independent, nationalistic spirit and stay the course of 'America First'?

Unfortunately, having scrutinized the Zions in action for decades, I'm fearful that Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.

In general, I agree with a good portion of your analysis. A few minor quibbles and qualifications, though:

Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel.

Not really. Since he's a lame-duck president and the election is over, he's not really risking anything here. After all, opposition to settlements in the occupied territories has been official US policy for nearly 50 years, and when has that ever stopped Israel from founding/expanding them? No, this is just more empty symbolism.

And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.

It's been dead for ever. The One State solution will replace it, and that will really freak out all the Zios.

They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.

Oderint dum metuant ("Let them hate, so long as they fear.") – Caligula

Seamus Padraig says: • Website December 29, 2016 at 3:28 pm GMT

@Karl the "shot across the bow" was the "Not My President!" demonstrations, which were long before Dr Stein's recount circuses.

They spent a lot of money on buses and box lunches - it wouldn't fly.

Nothing else they try will fly.

Correct me if I am wrong.... plain ole citizens can start RICO suits against the likes of Soros.

Correct me if I am wrong . plain ole citizens can start RICO suits against the likes of Soros.

It seems you may be on to something:

RICO also permits a private individual "damaged in his business or property" by a "racketeer" to file a civil suit. The plaintiff must prove the existence of an "enterprise". The defendant(s) are not the enterprise; in other words, the defendant(s) and the enterprise are not one and the same.[3] There must be one of four specified relationships between the defendant(s) and the enterprise: either the defendant(s) invested the proceeds of the pattern of racketeering activity into the enterprise (18 U.S.C. § 1962(a)); or the defendant(s) acquired or maintained an interest in, or control of, the enterprise through the pattern of racketeering activity (subsection (b)); or the defendant(s) conducted or participated in the affairs of the enterprise "through" the pattern of racketeering activity (subsection (c)); or the defendant(s) conspired to do one of the above (subsection (d)).[4] In essence, the enterprise is either the 'prize,' 'instrument,' 'victim,' or 'perpetrator' of the racketeers.[5] A civil RICO action can be filed in state or federal court.[6]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racketeer_Influenced_and_Corrupt_Organizations_Act#Summary

What we have to do is prove that there is an organization that includes George Soros, but is not limited to him personally–you know, a kosher nostra!

annamaria , December 29, 2016 at 4:36 pm GMT

@Max Havelaar My guess: the outgoing Obama administration is in a last ditch killing frenzy, to revenge Aleppo loss!

The Berlin bus blowup, The Russian ambassador in Turkey killed and the Red army's most eminent Alexandrov's choir send to the bottom of the black sea.

Typical CIA ops to threaten world leaders to comply with the incumbent US elite.

Watch Mike Morell (CIA) threaten world leaders:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZK2FZGKAd0

The prominence of the "perfumed prince" Morell is the most telling indictment of the so-called "elites" in the US. The arrogant, irresponsible (and untouchable) imbeciles among the real "deciders" in the US have brought the country down to a sub-civilization status when the US does not do diplomacy, does not follow international law, and does not keep with even marginal aspects of democracy home and abroad. The proliferation of the incompetent and opportunists in the highest echelons of the US government is the consequence of the lack of responsibility on the top. Morell – who has never been in combat and never demonstrated any intellectual vigor – is a prime example of a sycophantic and poorly educated opportunist that is endangering the US big time.

• Agree: Kiza • Replies: @Anonymous
The arrogant, irresponsible (and untouchable) imbeciles among the real "deciders" in the US have brought the country down to a sub-civilization status when the US does not do diplomacy, does not follow international law, and does not keep with even marginal aspects of democracy home and abroad.
It is corrupt, annamaria, corrupt to the very core, corrupt throughout. Any talk of elections, honest candidates, devoted elected representatives, etc., is sappy naivete. They're crooks; the sprinkling of decent reps is minuscule and ineffective.

So, what to do? , @Max Havelaar A serial killer, paid by US taxpayers. By universal human rights laws he would hang.

Maybe the Russian FSB an get to him.

Durruti , December 29, 2016 at 4:57 pm GMT

Nice well written article by James Petras.

I agree with some, mostly the pro-Constitutionalist and moral spirit of the essay, but differ as to when the Coup D'etat is going to – or has already taken place .

The coup D'etat that destroyed our American Republic, and its last Constitutional President, John F. Kennedy, took place 53 years ago on November 22, 1963. The coup was consolidated at the cost of 2 million Vietnamese and 1 million Indonesians (1965). The assassinations of JF Kennedy's brother, Robert Kennedy, R. Kennedy's ally, Martin L. King, Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, John Lennon, and many others, followed.

Mr. Petras, the Coup D'etat has already happened.

Our mission must be the Restore our American Republic! This is The Only Road for us. There are no shortcuts. The choice we were given (for Hollywood President), in 2016, between a psychotic Mass Murderer, and a mid level Mafioso Casino Owner displayed the lack of respect the Oligarchs have for the American Sheeple. Until we rise, we will never regain our self-respect, our Honor.

I enclose a copy of our Flier, our Declaration, For The Restoration of the Republic below, for your perusal. We (of the Anarchist Collective), have distributed it as best we can.

Respect All! Bow to None!

Merry Christmas!

God Bless!

[MORE]
For THE RESTORATION OF THE REPUBLIC

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles "

The above is a portion of the Declaration of Independence , written by Thomas Jefferson.

We submit the following facts to the citizens of the United States.

The government of the United States has been a Totalitarian Oligarchy since the military financial aristocracy destroyed the Democratic Republic on November 22, 1963, when they assassinated the last democratically elected president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy , and overthrew his government. All following governments have been unconstitutional frauds. Attempts by Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King to restore the Republic were interrupted by their murder.

A subsequent 12 year colonial war against Vietnam , conducted by the murderers of Kennedy, left 2 million dead in a wake of napalm and burning villages.

In 1965 , the U.S. government orchestrated the slaughter of 1 million unarmed Indonesian civilians.

In the decade that followed the CIA murdered 100,000 Native Americans in Guatemala.

In the 1970s , the Oligarchy began the destruction and looting of America's middle class, by encouraging the export of industry and jobs to parts of the world where workers were paid bare subsistence wages. The 2008, Bailout of the Nation's Oligarchs cost American taxpayers $13trillion. The long decline of the local economy has led to the political decline of our hard working citizens, as well as the decay of cities, towns, and infrastructure, such as education.

The impoverishment of America's middle class has undermined the nation's financial stability. Without a productive foundation, the government has accumulated a huge debt in excess of $19trillion . This debt will have to be paid, or suffered by future generations. Concurrently, the top 1% of the nation's population has benefited enormously from the discomfiture of the rest. The interest rate has been reduced to 0, thereby slowly robbing millions of depositors of their savings, as their savings cannot stay even with the inflation rate.

The government spends the declining national wealth on bloody and never ending military adventures, and is or has recently conducted unconstitutional wars against 9 nations. The Oligarchs maintain 700 military bases in 131 countries; they spend as much on military weapons of terror as the rest of the nations of the world combined. Tellingly, more than half the government budget is spent on the military and 16 associated secret agencies.

The nightmare of a powerful centralized government crushing the rights of the people, so feared by the Founders of the United States, has become a reality. The government of Obama/Biden, as with previous administrations such as Bush/Cheney, and whoever is chosen in November 2016, operates a Gulag of dozens of concentration camps, where prisoners are denied trials, and routinely tortured. The Patriot Act and The National Defense Authorizations Act , enacted by both Democratic and Republican factions of the oligarchy, serve to establish a legal cover for their terror.

The nation's media is controlled , and, with the school systems, serve to brainwash the population; the people are intimidated and treated with contempt.

The United States is No longer Sovereign

The United States is no longer a sovereign nation. Its government, The Executive, and Congress, is bought, utterly owned and controlled by foreign and domestic wealthy Oligarchs, such as the Rothschilds, Rockefellers, and Duponts , to name only a few of the best known.

The 2016 Electoral Circus will anoint new actors to occupy the same Unconstitutional Government, with its controlling International Oligarchs. Clinton, Trump, whomever, are willing accomplices for imperialist international murder, and destruction of nations, including ours.

For Love of Country

The Restoration of the Republic will be a Revolutionary Act, that will cancel all previous debts owed to that unconstitutional regime and its business supporters. All debts, including Student Debts, will be canceled. Our citizens will begin, anew, with a clean slate.

As American Founder, Thomas Jefferson wrote, in a letter to James Madison:

"I set out on this ground, which I suppose to be self evident, 'that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living':"

"Then I say the earth belongs to each of these generations, during it's course, fully, and in their own right. The 2d. Generation receives it clear of the debts and incumberances of the 1st. The 3d of the 2d. and so on. For if the 1st. Could charge it with a debt, then the earth would belong to the dead and not the living generation."

Our Citizens must restore the centrality of the constitution, establishing a less powerful government which will ensure President Franklin Roosevelt's Four Freedoms , freedom of speech and expression, freedom to worship God in ones own way, freedom from want "which means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peace time life for its inhabitants " and freedom from fear "which means a world-wide reduction of armaments "

Once restored: The Constitution will become, once again, the law of the land and of a free people. We will establish a government, hold elections, begin to direct traffic, arrest criminal politicians of the tyrannical oligarchy, and, in short, repair the damage of the previous totalitarian governments.

For the Democratic Republic!
Sons and Daughters of Liberty
florent.defeu@yahoo.com

Anonymous , December 29, 2016 at 5:02 pm GMT

@annamaria The prominence of the "perfumed prince" Morell is the most telling indictment of the so-called "elites" in the US. The arrogant, irresponsible (and untouchable) imbeciles among the real "deciders" in the US have brought the country down to a sub-civilization status when the US does not do diplomacy, does not follow international law, and does not keep with even marginal aspects of democracy home and abroad. The proliferation of the incompetent and opportunists in the highest echelons of the US government is the consequence of the lack of responsibility on the top. Morell - who has never been in combat and never demonstrated any intellectual vigor - is a prime example of a sycophantic and poorly educated opportunist that is endangering the US big time.

The arrogant, irresponsible (and untouchable) imbeciles among the real "deciders" in the US have brought the country down to a sub-civilization status when the US does not do diplomacy, does not follow international law, and does not keep with even marginal aspects of democracy home and abroad.

It is corrupt, annamaria, corrupt to the very core, corrupt throughout. Any talk of elections, honest candidates, devoted elected representatives, etc., is sappy naivete. They're crooks; the sprinkling of decent reps is minuscule and ineffective.

So, what to do?

• Replies: @Bill Jones The corruption is endemic from top to bottom.

My previous residence was in Hamilton Township in Monroe County, PA . Population about 8,000.
The 3 Township Supervisors appointed themselves to township jobs- Road master, Zoning officer etc and pay themselves twice the going rate with the occupant of the job under review abstaining while his two palls vote him the money. Anybody challenging this is met with a shit-storm of propaganda and a mysterious explosion in voter turn-out: guess who runs the local polls?

The chief of the local volunteer fire company has to sign off on the sprinkler systems before any occupation certificate can be issued for a commercial building. Conveniently he runs a plumbing business. Guess who gets the lion's share of plumbing jobs for new commercial buildings?

As they climb the greasy pole, it only gets worse.

Meanwhile the routine business of looting continues:

My local rag (an organ of the Murdoch crime family) had a little piece last year about the new 3 year contract for the local county prison guards. I went back to the two previous two contracts and discovered that by 2018 they will have had 33% increases over nine years. Between 2008 and 2013 (the latest years I could find data for) median household income in the county decreased by 13%.

At some point some rogue politician will start fighting this battle.

Miro23 , December 29, 2016 at 5:31 pm GMT

If the US is split between Trump and Clinton supporters, then the staffs of the CIA and FBI are probably split the same way.

The CIA and FBI leadership may take one position or another, but many CIA and FBI employees joined these agencies in the first place to serve their country – not to assist Neo-con MENA Imperial projects, and they know a lot more than the general public about what is really going on.

Employees can really mess things up if they have a different political orientation to their employers.

Rurik , December 29, 2016 at 5:42 pm GMT

@Mark Green This is a good article but there's been a sudden shift. Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel. And Trump is starting to sound like a neocon!

Maybe Trump is worried enough about a potential coup to dump his 'America First' platform (at least for now) to shore up vital Jewish support for his teetering inauguration. This ploy will require a lot of pro-Zionist noise and gesturing. Consequently, Trump is starting to play a familiar political role. And the Zio-friendly media is holding his feet to the fire.

Has the smell of fear pushed Trump over the edge and into the lap of the Zionist establishment? It's beginning to look that way.

Or is Trump just being a fox?

Let's face it: nobody can pull out all the stops better than Israel's Fifth Column. They've got the money, the organization skills, the media leverage, and the raw intellectual moxie to make political miracles/disasters happen. Trump wants them on his side. So he's is tacitly cutting a last-minute deal with the Israelis. Trump's Zionized rhetoric (and political appointments) prove it.

This explains the apparent reversal that's now underway. Obama's pushing back while Trump is accommodating. And, as usual, the Zions are dictating the Narrative.

As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right. Trump however is facing no such luxury. And Bibi is more defiant than ever. This is high drama. And Trump is feeling the heat.

Indeed, outgoing Sec. John Kerry just delivered a major speech where he reiterated strongly US support for a real 'Two State' solution in Israel/Palestine.

And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.

Didn't you?

Kerry also criticized Israel's ongoing confiscation of the Occupied Territories. It was a brilliant analysis that Kerry gave without the aid of a teleprompter. Hugely impressive. Even so, Kerry did not throw Israel under the bus, as claimed. His speech was extremely fair.

This renewed, steadfast American position, coupled with the UNSC's unanimous vote against Israel (which Obama permitted by not casting the usual US veto) has set the stage for a monumental showdown. Israel has never been more isolated. But it's Trump--not Obama--that's looking weak in the face of Israeli pressure.

Indeed, the international Jewish establishment remains uniquely powerful. They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.

Will Trump--out of fear and necessity--run with the mega-powerful Jews who tried to sabotage his campaign?--Or will he stay strong with America First and avoid "any more disasterous wars". It's impossible to say. Trump is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

I get the feeling that even Trump is unsure of where all this is going. But the situation is fast approaching critical mass. Something's gotta give. The entire world is fed up with Israel.

Will Trump blink and take the easy road with the Zions?--Or will he summon Putin's independent, nationalistic spirit and stay the course of 'America First'?

Unfortunately, having scrutinized the Zions in action for decades, I'm fearful that Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.

Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.

I'm hoping that Trump is running with the neocons just as far as is necessary to pressure congress to confirm his cabinet appointments and make sure he isn't JFK'd before he gets into office and can set about putting security in place to protect his own and his family's lives.

For John McBloodstain to vote for a SoS that will make nice with his nemesis; Putin, will require massive amounts of Zio-pressure. The only way that pressure will come is if the Zio-cons are convinced that Trump is their man.

Once his cabinet appointments are secured, then perhaps we might see some independence of action. Not until. At least that is my hope, however naïve.

It isn't just the Zio-cons that want to poke the Russian bear, it's also the MIC. Trump has to navigate a very dangerous mine field if he's going to end the Endless Wars and return sanity and peace to the world. He's going to have to wrangle with the devil himself (the Fiend), and outplay him at his own game.

Art , December 29, 2016 at 7:36 pm GMT • 100 Words

I do not like saying it, but the appointment of the Palestinian hating Jew as ambassador to Israel has disarmed the Jew community – they can no longer call Trump an anti-Semite – the most power two words in America. The result is that the domestic side of the coup is over.

The Russian thing has to play out. The Jew forces will try and make bad blood between America and Russia – hopefully Trump and Putin will let it play out, but really ignore it.

If we get past the inauguration, the CIA is going to be toast. GOOD!

Peace - Art

• Agree: Seamus Padraig • Replies: @RobinG "If we get past the inauguration...."

Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats today (effective Friday) - doing his best to screw things up before Trump takes office. Will he start WWIII, then say Trump can't transition during war?

Obama has authorized transfer of weapons, including MANPADS, to terrorist affiliates. If we are at war with terrorists, isn't this Treason? It is most certainly a felony under the Patriot Act - providing aid, directly or indirectly, to terrorists.

A Bill of Impeachment against Obama might stave off WWIII.

Francis Boyle writes:

"... I am willing to serve as Counsel to any Member of the US House of Representatives willing to put in a Bill of Impeachment against Obama as soon as Congress reconvenes-just as I did to the late, great Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez on his Bill to Impeach Bush Sr. on the eve of Gulf War I. RIP.

Just have the MOC get in touch with me as indicated below.

Francis A. Boyle
Law Building
504 E. Pennsylvania Ave.
Champaign IL 61820 USA
217-333-7954 (phone)
217-244-1478 (fax)

Svigor , December 29, 2016 at 9:52 pm GMT

That's not entirely accurate. CIA people like Michael Scheuer and Valery Plame were trying to undermine the neocon narrative about Iraq and WMD, not bolster it.

True.

alexander , December 29, 2016 at 10:08 pm GMT • 200 Words

Dear Mr. Petras,

It seems that our POTUS has just chosen to eject 35 Russian diplomats from our country, on grounds of hacking the election against Hillary.

Is this some weird, preliminary "shot across the bow" in preparation for the coming "coup attempt" you seem to believe is in the offing ?

It seem the powers-that-be are pulling out all the stops to prevent an authentic rapprochement with Moscow.

What for ?

It makes you wonder if there is more to this than meets the eye, something beyond the sanguine disgruntlement of the party bosses and a desire for payback against Hillary's big loss ?

Does anyone know if Russia is more aware than most Americans of certain classified details pertaining to stuff ..like 9-11 ?

Why is cooperation between the new administration and Moscow so scary to these people that they would initiate a preemptive diplomatic shut down ?

They seem to be dead set on welding shut every single diplomatic door to the Kremlin there is , before Trumps inauguration.

Perhaps something "else "is being planned ..Does anyone have any ideas whats going on ?

• Replies: @annamaria

"They seem to be dead set on welding shut every single diplomatic door to the Kremlin there is , before Trumps inauguration."

The subtitles are quite direct in presenting the US deciders as criminal bullies: http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/12/russia-obama-was-most-evil-president.html

@Tomster What does Russian intelligence know? Err ... perhaps something like that the US/UK have sold nukes to the head-choppers of the riyadh caliphate, say (knowing how completely mad their incestuous brains are?). Who knows? - but such a fact could explain many inexplicable things.

RobinG , December 29, 2016 at 10:25 pm GMT

@Art I do not like saying it, but the appointment of the Palestinian hating Jew as ambassador to Israel has disarmed the Jew community – they can no longer call Trump an anti-Semite – the most power two words in America. The result is that the domestic side of the coup is over.

The Russian thing has to play out. The Jew forces will try and make bad blood between America and Russia – hopefully Trump and Putin will let it play out, but really ignore it.

If we get past the inauguration, the CIA is going to be toast. GOOD!

Peace --- Art

"If we get past the inauguration ."

Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats today (effective Friday) – doing his best to screw things up before Trump takes office. Will he start WWIII, then say Trump can't transition during war?

Obama has authorized transfer of weapons, including MANPADS, to terrorist affiliates. If we are at war with terrorists, isn't this Treason? It is most certainly a felony under the Patriot Act – providing aid, directly or indirectly, to terrorists.

A Bill of Impeachment against Obama might stave off WWIII.
Francis Boyle writes:
" I am willing to serve as Counsel to any Member of the US House of Representatives willing to put in a Bill of Impeachment against Obama as soon as Congress reconvenes-just as I did to the late, great Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez on his Bill to Impeach Bush Sr. on the eve of Gulf War I. RIP. Just have the MOC get in touch with me as indicated below.

Francis A. Boyle
Law Building
504 E. Pennsylvania Ave.
Champaign IL 61820 USA
217-333-7954 (phone)
217-244-1478 (fax)

• Replies: @Art Hi RobinG,

This is much ado about nothing - in a NYT's article today - they said that the DNC was told about being hacked in the fall or winter of 2015 - they all knew the Russian were hacking all along!

The RNC got smart - not the DNC - it is 100% their fault. Right now they look real stupid.

Really - how pissed off can they be?

Peace --- Art

p.s. I do not blame Obama – he had to do something – looks like he did the minimum.

map , December 29, 2016 at 10:41 pm GMT

@Mark Green This is a good article but there's been a sudden shift. Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel. And Trump is starting to sound like a neocon!

Maybe Trump is worried enough about a potential coup to dump his 'America First' platform (at least for now) to shore up vital Jewish support for his teetering inauguration. This ploy will require a lot of pro-Zionist noise and gesturing. Consequently, Trump is starting to play a familiar political role. And the Zio-friendly media is holding his feet to the fire.

Has the smell of fear pushed Trump over the edge and into the lap of the Zionist establishment? It's beginning to look that way.

Or is Trump just being a fox?

Let's face it: nobody can pull out all the stops better than Israel's Fifth Column. They've got the money, the organization skills, the media leverage, and the raw intellectual moxie to make political miracles/disasters happen. Trump wants them on his side. So he's is tacitly cutting a last-minute deal with the Israelis. Trump's Zionized rhetoric (and political appointments) prove it.

This explains the apparent reversal that's now underway. Obama's pushing back while Trump is accommodating. And, as usual, the Zions are dictating the Narrative.

As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right. Trump however is facing no such luxury. And Bibi is more defiant than ever. This is high drama. And Trump is feeling the heat.

Indeed, outgoing Sec. John Kerry just delivered a major speech where he reiterated strongly US support for a real 'Two State' solution in Israel/Palestine.

And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.

Didn't you?

Kerry also criticized Israel's ongoing confiscation of the Occupied Territories. It was a brilliant analysis that Kerry gave without the aid of a teleprompter. Hugely impressive. Even so, Kerry did not throw Israel under the bus, as claimed. His speech was extremely fair.

This renewed, steadfast American position, coupled with the UNSC's unanimous vote against Israel (which Obama permitted by not casting the usual US veto) has set the stage for a monumental showdown. Israel has never been more isolated. But it's Trump--not Obama--that's looking weak in the face of Israeli pressure.

Indeed, the international Jewish establishment remains uniquely powerful. They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.

Will Trump--out of fear and necessity--run with the mega-powerful Jews who tried to sabotage his campaign?--Or will he stay strong with America First and avoid "any more disasterous wars". It's impossible to say. Trump is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

I get the feeling that even Trump is unsure of where all this is going. But the situation is fast approaching critical mass. Something's gotta give. The entire world is fed up with Israel.

Will Trump blink and take the easy road with the Zions?--Or will he summon Putin's independent, nationalistic spirit and stay the course of 'America First'?

Unfortunately, having scrutinized the Zions in action for decades, I'm fearful that Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.

I wish people would stop making a big deal out of John Kerry's and Barack Obama's recent stance on Israel. Neither of them are concerned about whatever injustice happened to the Palestinians.

What they are concerned with is Israeli actions discrediting the anti-white, anti-national globalism program before it has successfully destroyed all of the white nations. That is the real reason why they want a two-state solution or a right of return. If nationalists can look at the Israeli example as a model for how to proceed then that will cause a civil war among leftists and discredit the entire left-wing project.

Trump, therefore, pushing support for Israel's national concerns is not him bending to AIPAC. It is a shrewd move that forces an internecine conflict between left-wing diaspora Jews and Israeli Jews. It is a conflict Bibi is willing to have because the pet project of leftism would necessarily result in Israel either being unlivable or largely extinct for its Jewish population. This NWO being pushed by the diaspora is not something that will be enjoyed by Israeli Jews.

Consider the problem. The problem is that Palestinians have revanchist claims against Israel. Those revanchist claims do not go away just because they get their own country or they get a right of return. Either "solution" actually strengthens the Palestinian claim against Israel and results in a vastly reduced security stance and quality of life for Israelis. The diaspora left is ok with that because they want to continue importing revanchist groups into Europe and America to break down white countries. So, Israel makes a small sacrifice for the greater good of anti-whitism, a deal that most Israelis do not consider very good for themselves. Trump's support for Israeli nationalism short-circuits this project.

Of course, one could ask: why don't the Israeli Jews just move to America? What's the big deal if Israel remains in the middle east? The big deal is the kind of jobs and activities available for Israelis to do. A real nation requires a lot of scut work. Someone has to do the plumbing, unplug the sewers, drive the nails, throw out the trash. Everyone can't be a doctor, a lawyer or a banker. Tradesmen, technicians, workers are all required to get a project like Israel off the ground and maintained. How many of these Israelis doing scut work in Israel for a greater good want to do the same scut work in America just to get by? The problem operates in reverse for American Jews. A Jew with an American law degree is of no use to Israelis outside of the money he brings and whether he can throw out the trash. Diaspora Jews, therefore, have no reason to try and live and work in Israel.

So, again, we see that Trump's move is a masterstroke. Even his appointment to counter the coup with Zionists is brilliant, since these Zionists are rich enough to both live anywhere and indulge their pride in nationalist endeavors.

• Replies: @joe webb masterful interpretation here. But I doubt it , in spades. Trump cooled out the soccer moms on the Negroes by yakking about Uplift. And he reduced the black vote a tad. That was very clever, but probably did not come from Trump.

As for "The problem is that Palestinians have revanchist claims against Israel. Those revanchist claims do not go away just because they get their own country or they get a right of return. Either "solution" actually strengthens the Palestinian claim against Israel and results in a vastly reduced security stance and quality of life for Israelis."

That is a huge claim which is not substantiated with argument. If the Palestinians sign a peace treaty with Israel, and then continue to press their claims...Israel would have the moral high ground to beat hell out of them. Clearly, the jews got the guns, and the Palestinians got nothing but world public opinion.

Please present an argument on just how Palestinians and other Arabs could continue to logically and morally challenge Israel. Right now, the only thing preventing Israel from cleansing Israel of Arabs is world public opinion. That public opinion is real and a huge factor.

I have been arguing that T. may be outfoxing the jews, but I doubt it now.
Don't forget the Christian evangelical vote and Christians generally who have a soft spot in their brains for the jews.

Also, T's claim that he will end the ME wars is a big problem if he is going to go after Isis, big time, in Syria or anywhere else. He has put himself in the rock/hard place position. I don't think he is that smart. I voted for him of course and sent money, but...

Joe Webb , @RobinG "A real nation requires a lot of scut work. Someone has to do the plumbing, unplug the sewers, drive the nails, throw out the trash."

Perhaps you'd like to discuss why so much of this and other "scut work" is done by Palestinians, while an increasing number of Israeli Jews are on the dole. Reply Agree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments

Realist , December 29, 2016 at 11:05 pm GMT • 100 Words

"The 'experts' were trotted out voicing vitriolic accusations, but they never presented any facts and documentation of a 'rigged election'. Everyday, every hour, the 'Russian Plot' was breathlessly described in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Financial Times, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, BBC, NPR and their overseas followers in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Oceana and Africa."

You left out Fox, most of their news anchors and pundits are rabidly pro Israel and anti Russia.

There is a pretty good chance, since all else has failed so far, Obama will declare 'a special situation martial law'. And you can be sure many on both sides of Congress will comply. This will once again demonstrate who is on the power elite payroll. If this happens hopefully the military will be on Trumps side and round up those responsible and proper justice meted out.

joe webb , December 29, 2016 at 11:35 pm GMT • 200 Words

@map I wish people would stop making a big deal out of John Kerry's and Barack Obama's recent stance on Israel. Neither of them are concerned about whatever injustice happened to the Palestinians.

What they are concerned with is Israeli actions discrediting the anti-white, anti-national globalism program before it has successfully destroyed all of the white nations. That is the real reason why they want a two-state solution or a right of return. If nationalists can look at the Israeli example as a model for how to proceed then that will cause a civil war among leftists and discredit the entire left-wing project.

Trump, therefore, pushing support for Israel's national concerns is not him bending to AIPAC. It is a shrewd move that forces an internecine conflict between left-wing diaspora Jews and Israeli Jews. It is a conflict Bibi is willing to have because the pet project of leftism would necessarily result in Israel either being unlivable or largely extinct for its Jewish population. This NWO being pushed by the diaspora is not something that will be enjoyed by Israeli Jews.

Consider the problem. The problem is that Palestinians have revanchist claims against Israel. Those revanchist claims do not go away just because they get their own country or they get a right of return. Either "solution" actually strengthens the Palestinian claim against Israel and results in a vastly reduced security stance and quality of life for Israelis. The diaspora left is ok with that because they want to continue importing revanchist groups into Europe and America to break down white countries. So, Israel makes a small sacrifice for the greater good of anti-whitism, a deal that most Israelis do not consider very good for themselves. Trump's support for Israeli nationalism short-circuits this project.

Of course, one could ask: why don't the Israeli Jews just move to America? What's the big deal if Israel remains in the middle east? The big deal is the kind of jobs and activities available for Israelis to do. A real nation requires a lot of scut work. Someone has to do the plumbing, unplug the sewers, drive the nails, throw out the trash. Everyone can't be a doctor, a lawyer or a banker. Tradesmen, technicians, workers are all required to get a project like Israel off the ground and maintained. How many of these Israelis doing scut work in Israel for a greater good want to do the same scut work in America just to get by? The problem operates in reverse for American Jews. A Jew with an American law degree is of no use to Israelis outside of the money he brings and whether he can throw out the trash. Diaspora Jews, therefore, have no reason to try and live and work in Israel.

So, again, we see that Trump's move is a masterstroke. Even his appointment to counter the coup with Zionists is brilliant, since these Zionists are rich enough to both live anywhere and indulge their pride in nationalist endeavors.

masterful interpretation here. But I doubt it , in spades. Trump cooled out the soccer moms on the Negroes by yakking about Uplift. And he reduced the black vote a tad. That was very clever, but probably did not come from Trump.

As for "The problem is that Palestinians have revanchist claims against Israel. Those revanchist claims do not go away just because they get their own country or they get a right of return. Either "solution" actually strengthens the Palestinian claim against Israel and results in a vastly reduced security stance and quality of life for Israelis."

That is a huge claim which is not substantiated with argument. If the Palestinians sign a peace treaty with Israel, and then continue to press their claims Israel would have the moral high ground to beat hell out of them. Clearly, the jews got the guns, and the Palestinians got nothing but world public opinion.

Please present an argument on just how Palestinians and other Arabs could continue to logically and morally challenge Israel. Right now, the only thing preventing Israel from cleansing Israel of Arabs is world public opinion. That public opinion is real and a huge factor.

I have been arguing that T. may be outfoxing the jews, but I doubt it now.
Don't forget the Christian evangelical vote and Christians generally who have a soft spot in their brains for the jews.

Also, T's claim that he will end the ME wars is a big problem if he is going to go after Isis, big time, in Syria or anywhere else. He has put himself in the rock/hard place position. I don't think he is that smart. I voted for him of course and sent money, but

Joe Webb

• Replies: @map The revanchist claim that I refer to is psychological, not moral or legal. Palestinians think their land was stolen in the same way Mexicans think Texas and California were stolen. That feeling will not change just because they get a two-state solution or a right of return. What it will result in is a comfortable base from which to continue to operate against Israel, one that Israel can't afford.

It is Nationalism 101 not to allow revanchist groups in your country.

The leftists are being consistent in their ideology by opposing Israel, because they are fully on board going after what looks like a white country attacking brown people and demanding not to be dismantled by anti-nationalist policies. Trump suggesting the capital go to Jerusalem and supporting Bibi is just triangulation against the left.

I feel sorry for the Palestinians and I think they have been treated very shabbily. They did lose a lot as any refugee population would and they should be comfortably repatriated around the Muslim Middle East. I don't know who is using them or for what purpose.

Stebbing Heuer says: • Website December 29, 2016 at 11:36 pm GMT

Does anyone know if Russia is more aware than most Americans of certain classified details pertaining to stuff ..like 9-11 ?

I would dearly like to know what Moscow and Tel Aviv know about 9-11. I suspect they both know more than almost anyone else.

annamaria , December 29, 2016 at 11:50 pm GMT

@Realist "The 'experts' were trotted out voicing vitriolic accusations, but they never presented any facts and documentation of a 'rigged election'. Everyday, every hour, the 'Russian Plot' was breathlessly described in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Financial Times, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, BBC, NPR and their overseas followers in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Oceana and Africa."

You left out Fox, most of their news anchors and pundits are rabidly pro Israel and anti Russia.

There is a pretty good chance, since all else has failed so far, Obama will declare 'a special situation martial law'. And you can be sure many on both sides of Congress will comply. This will once again demonstrate who is on the power elite payroll. If this happens hopefully the military will be on Trumps side and round up those responsible and proper justice meted out.

The obscenity of the US behavior abroad leads directly to an alliance of ziocons and war profiteers. Here is a highly educational paper on the exceptional amorality of the US administration: http://www.voltairenet.org/article194709.html
"The existence of a NATO bunker in East Aleppo confirms what we have been saying about the role of NATO LandCom in the coordination of the jihadists The liberation of Syria should continue at Idleb the zone is de facto governed by NATO via a string of pseudo-NGO's. At least, this is what was noted last month by a US think-tank. To beat the jihadists there, it will be necessary first of all to cut their supply lines, in other words, close the Turtkish frontier. This is what Russian diplomacy is currently working on."
Well. After wasting the uncounted trillions of US dollars on the war on terror and after filling the VA hospitals with the ruined young men and women and after bringing death a destruction on apocalyptic scale to the Middle East in the name of 9/11, the US has found new bosom buddies – the hordes of fanatical jihadis.

• Replies: @Realist Great observations. Thanks. Reply Agree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
Art , December 30, 2016 at 1:06 am GMT • 100 Words @RobinG "If we get past the inauguration...."

Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats today (effective Friday) - doing his best to screw things up before Trump takes office. Will he start WWIII, then say Trump can't transition during war?

Obama has authorized transfer of weapons, including MANPADS, to terrorist affiliates. If we are at war with terrorists, isn't this Treason? It is most certainly a felony under the Patriot Act - providing aid, directly or indirectly, to terrorists.

A Bill of Impeachment against Obama might stave off WWIII.
Francis Boyle writes:
"... I am willing to serve as Counsel to any Member of the US House of Representatives willing to put in a Bill of Impeachment against Obama as soon as Congress reconvenes-just as I did to the late, great Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez on his Bill to Impeach Bush Sr. on the eve of Gulf War I. RIP. Just have the MOC get in touch with me as indicated below.

Francis A. Boyle
Law Building
504 E. Pennsylvania Ave.
Champaign IL 61820 USA
217-333-7954 (phone)
217-244-1478 (fax)

Hi RobinG,

This is much ado about nothing – in a NYT's article today – they said that the DNC was told about being hacked in the fall or winter of 2015 – they all knew the Russian were hacking all along!

The RNC got smart – not the DNC – it is 100% their fault. Right now they look real stupid.

Really – how pissed off can they be?

Peace - Art

p.s. I do not blame Obama – he had to do something – looks like he did the minimum.

• Replies: @RobinG Hi Art,

I try to write clearly, but if this is your response I've failed miserably. My interest in the hacking is nil.

What I have against Obama is his regime-change war in Syria, his State Department enabled coup in Ukraine, his support of Saudi war/genocide against Yemen, his destruction of Libya, his demonization of Putin, and his bringing us to a status near war in our relations with Russia.

Obama has been providing weapons, training, air support and propaganda for Terrorists via their affiliates in Syria, and now directly. This is a felony, if not treason.

Svigor , December 30, 2016 at 2:20 am GMT • 100 Words

Looks like I spoke too soon:

http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/312132-fbi-dhs-release-report-on-russia-hacking

The feds have now released their reports, detailing how the dastardly Russians darkly influenced the 2016 presidential election by releasing Democrats' emails, and giving the American public a peek inside the Democrat machine.

Those dastardly Russkies have informed and enlightened the American public for long enough! This shall not stand!

RobinG , December 30, 2016 at 5:37 am GMT

@Art Hi RobinG,

This is much ado about nothing - in a NYT's article today - they said that the DNC was told about being hacked in the fall or winter of 2015 - they all knew the Russian were hacking all along!

The RNC got smart - not the DNC - it is 100% their fault. Right now they look real stupid.

Really - how pissed off can they be?

Peace --- Art

p.s. I do not blame Obama – he had to do something – looks like he did the minimum.

Hi Art,

I try to write clearly, but if this is your response I've failed miserably. My interest in the hacking is nil.

What I have against Obama is his regime-change war in Syria, his State Department enabled coup in Ukraine, his support of Saudi war/genocide against Yemen, his destruction of Libya, his demonization of Putin, and his bringing us to a status near war in our relations with Russia.

Obama has been providing weapons, training, air support and propaganda for Terrorists via their affiliates in Syria, and now directly. This is a felony, if not treason.

• Replies: @Art
What I have against Obama is his regime-change war in Syria, his State Department enabled coup in Ukraine, his support of Saudi war/genocide against Yemen, his destruction of Libya, his demonization of Putin, and his bringing us to a status near war in our relations with Russia.
RobinG --- Agree 100% - some times I get things crossed up --- Peace Art
anon , December 30, 2016 at 6:33 am GMT

https://www.us-cert.gov/sites/default/files/publications/JAR_16-20296A_GRIZZLY%20STEPPE-2016-1229.pdf

This is a very underwhelming document.

I assume that everyone agrees that the final outcome of the security breach was that 'Wikileaks' leaked internal emails of Clinton Campaign Manager Pedesta and DNC emails regarding embarrassing behavior.

No one is suggesting that the leaked information is 'fake news'.

An alternative hypothesis is that the Wikileaks material was, in fact, leaked by members of the Democratic campaign itself.

Given that Podesta's password was 'P@ssw0rd' - does it take Russian deep state security to hack?

From WikiLeaks:

"From:eryn.sepp@gmail.com To: john.podesta@gmail.com Date: 2015-02-19 00:35 Subject: 2 things

Though CAP is still having issues with my email and computer, yours is good to go. jpodesta p@ssw0rd

The report is 13 pages of mostly nothing.

Note the Disclaimer:

DISCLAIMER: This report is provided "as is" for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within. DHS does not endorse any commercial product or service referenced in this advisory or otherwise. This document is distributed as TLP:WHITE: Subject to standard copyright rules, TLP:WHITE information may be distributed without restriction. For more information on the Traffic Light Protocol, see https://www.us-cert.gov/tlp .

• Replies: @Seamus Padraig
An alternative hypothesis is that the Wikileaks material was, in fact, leaked by members of the Democratic campaign itself.
His name was Seth Rich, and he did software for the DNC


Realist , December 30, 2016 at 8:17 am GMT

@annamaria The obscenity of the US behavior abroad leads directly to an alliance of ziocons and war profiteers. Here is a highly educational paper on the exceptional amorality of the US administration: http://www.voltairenet.org/article194709.html

"The existence of a NATO bunker in East Aleppo confirms what we have been saying about the role of NATO LandCom in the coordination of the jihadists... The liberation of Syria should continue at Idleb ... the zone is de facto governed by NATO via a string of pseudo-NGO's. At least, this is what was noted last month by a US think-tank. To beat the jihadists there, it will be necessary first of all to cut their supply lines, in other words, close the Turtkish frontier. This is what Russian diplomacy is currently working on."

Well. After wasting the uncounted trillions of US dollars on the war on terror and after filling the VA hospitals with the ruined young men and women and after bringing death a destruction on apocalyptic scale to the Middle East in the name of 9/11, the US has found new bosom buddies - the hordes of fanatical jihadis.

Great observations. Thanks.

map , December 30, 2016 at 9:16 am GMT

@joe webb masterful interpretation here. But I doubt it , in spades. Trump cooled out the soccer moms on the Negroes by yakking about Uplift. And he reduced the black vote a tad. That was very clever, but probably did not come from Trump.

As for "The problem is that Palestinians have revanchist claims against Israel. Those revanchist claims do not go away just because they get their own country or they get a right of return. Either "solution" actually strengthens the Palestinian claim against Israel and results in a vastly reduced security stance and quality of life for Israelis."

That is a huge claim which is not substantiated with argument. If the Palestinians sign a peace treaty with Israel, and then continue to press their claims...Israel would have the moral high ground to beat hell out of them. Clearly, the jews got the guns, and the Palestinians got nothing but world public opinion.

Please present an argument on just how Palestinians and other Arabs could continue to logically and morally challenge Israel. Right now, the only thing preventing Israel from cleansing Israel of Arabs is world public opinion. That public opinion is real and a huge factor.

I have been arguing that T. may be outfoxing the jews, but I doubt it now.
Don't forget the Christian evangelical vote and Christians generally who have a soft spot in their brains for the jews.

Also, T's claim that he will end the ME wars is a big problem if he is going to go after Isis, big time, in Syria or anywhere else. He has put himself in the rock/hard place position. I don't think he is that smart. I voted for him of course and sent money, but...

Joe Webb

The revanchist claim that I refer to is psychological, not moral or legal. Palestinians think their land was stolen in the same way Mexicans think Texas and California were stolen. That feeling will not change just because they get a two-state solution or a right of return. What it will result in is a comfortable base from which to continue to operate against Israel, one that Israel can't afford.

It is Nationalism 101 not to allow revanchist groups in your country.

The leftists are being consistent in their ideology by opposing Israel, because they are fully on board going after what looks like a white country attacking brown people and demanding not to be dismantled by anti-nationalist policies. Trump suggesting the capital go to Jerusalem and supporting Bibi is just triangulation against the left.

I feel sorry for the Palestinians and I think they have been treated very shabbily. They did lose a lot as any refugee population would and they should be comfortably repatriated around the Muslim Middle East. I don't know who is using them or for what purpose.

• Replies: @Tomster "treated very shabbily" indeed, by other Arabs - who have done virtually nothing for them. , @joe webb good points. Yet, Palestinians ..."They should be comfortably repatriated around the Muslim Middle East." sounds pretty much like an Israel talking point. How about
Israel should be dissolved and the Jews repatriated around Europe and the US?

Not being an Idea world, but a Biological World, revanchism is true enough up to a point. Of course The Revanchists of All Time are the jews, or the zionists, to speak liberalize.

As for feelings that don't change, there is a tendency for feelings to change over time, especially when a "legal" document is signed by the participating parties. I have long advocated that the Jews pay for the land they stole, and that that payment be made to a new Palestinian state. A Palestinian with a home, a job, a family, and a nice car makes a lot of difference, just like anywhere else.

(We paid the Mexicans in a treaty that presumably ended the Mexican war. This is a normal state of affairs. Mexico only "owned" California, etc, for about 25 years, and I do not think paid the injuns anything for their land at the time. Also, if memory serves, I think Pat Buchanan claimed somewhere that there were only about 10,000 Mexicans in California at the time, or maybe in the whole area under discussion..)

How Palestine stolen property, should be evaluated I leave to the experts. Jews would appear to have ample resources and could pony up the dough.

The biggest problem is the US evangelicals and equally important, the nice Episcopalians and so on, even the Catholic Church which used to Exclude Jews now luving them. This is part of our National Religion. The Jews are god's favorites, and nobody seems to mind. Kill an Arab for Christ is the national gut feeling, except when it gets too expensive or kills too many Americans.

As I have said, Trump is in between the rock and the hard place. If he wants to end the Jewish Wars in the ME, he cannot luv the jews, and especially he cannot start lobbing bombs around too much...even over Isis and the dozens of jihadist groups, especially now in Syria.

Sorry but your "comfortably repatriated" is a real howler. There is no comfort to be had by anybody in the ME. And, like Jews with regard to your points about revanchism in general, Palestinians have not blended into the general Arab populations of other countries, like Lebanon, etc.. Using your own logic, the Palestinians will continue to nurse their grievances no matter where they are, just like the Jews.

The neocon goals of failed states in the Arab World has been largely accomplished and the only way humpty-dumpty will be put back together again is for tough Arab Strong Men to reestablish order. Like Assad, like Hussein, etc. Arab IQ is about 85 in general. There is not going to be
democracy/elections/civics lessons per the White countries's genetic predisposition.\

For that matter, Jews are not democrats. Left alone Israel, wherever it is, reverts to Rabbinic Control and Jehovah, the Warrior God, reigns. Fact is , that is where Israel is heading anyway.
Jews never invented free speech and rule of law, nor did Arabs, or any other race on the planet.

The Jews With Nukes is of World Historical Importance. And Whites have given them the Bomb, just as Whites have given Third World inferior races, access to the Northern Cornucopia of wealth, both spiritual and material. They will , like the jews, exploit free speech and game the economic system.

All Semites Out! Ditto just about everybody else, starting with the Chinese.

finally, if the jews had any real brains, they would get out of a neighborhood that hates them for their jewishness, their Thefts, and their Wars. Otoh, Jews seem to thrive on being hated more than any other race or ethnic group. Chosen to Always Complain.

Joe Webb

Seamus Padraig says: • Website Show Comment Next New Comment December 30, 2016 at 2:05 pm GMT

@anon https://www.us-cert.gov/sites/default/files/publications/JAR_16-20296A_GRIZZLY%20STEPPE-2016-1229.pdf

This is a very underwhelming document.

I assume that everyone agrees that the final outcome of the security breach was that 'Wikileaks' leaked internal emails of Clinton Campaign Manager Pedesta and DNC emails regarding embarrassing behavior.

No one is suggesting that the leaked information is 'fake news'.

An alternative hypothesis is that the Wikileaks material was, in fact, leaked by members of the Democratic campaign itself.

Given that Podesta's password was 'P@ssw0rd' -- does it take Russian deep state security to hack?

From WikiLeaks:

"From:eryn.sepp@gmail.com To: john.podesta@gmail.com Date: 2015-02-19 00:35 Subject: 2 things

Though CAP is still having issues with my email and computer, yours is good to go. jpodesta p@ssw0rd

The report is 13 pages of mostly nothing.

Note the Disclaimer:

DISCLAIMER: This report is provided "as is" for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within. DHS does not endorse any commercial product or service referenced in this advisory or otherwise. This document is distributed as TLP:WHITE: Subject to standard copyright rules, TLP:WHITE information may be distributed without restriction. For more information on the Traffic Light Protocol, see https://www.us-cert.gov/tlp.

An alternative hypothesis is that the Wikileaks material was, in fact, leaked by members of the Democratic campaign itself.

His name was Seth Rich, and he did software for the DNC.

• Replies: @geokat62
His name was Seth Rich, and he did software for the DNC.
"Was" is the operative word:

Julian Assange Suggests That DNC's Seth Rich Was Murdered For Being a Wikileaker

https://heatst.com/tech/wikileaks-offers-20000-for-information-about-seth-richs-killer/ , @alexander Given all the hoaky, "evidence free" punitive assaults being launched against Moscow today ....combined with the profusion of utterly fraudulent narratives foisted down the throats of the American people over the last sixteen years...

Its NOT outside of reason to take a good hard look at the "Seth Rich incident" and reconstruct an outline of events(probably) much closer to the truth than the big media would ever be willing to discuss or admit.

Namely, that Seth Rich, a young decent kid (27) who was working as the data director for the campaign, came across evidence of "dirty pool" within the voting systems during the DNC nomination ,which were fraudulently (and maybe even blatantly) tilting the results towards Hillary.

He probably did the "right thing" by notifying one of the DNC bosses of the fraud ..who informed him he would look into it and that he should keep it quite for the moment...

.I wouldn't be surprised if Seth reached out to a reporter , too, probably at the at the NY Times, who informed his editor...who, in turn, had such deep connections to the Hillary corruption machine...that he placed a call to a DNC backroom boss ... who , at some point, made the decision to take steps to shut Seth's mouth, permanently...."just make it look like a robbery (or something)"

Seth, not being stupid, and knowing he had the dirt on Hillary that could crush her (as well as the reputation of the entire democratic party)......probably reached out to Julian Assange, too, to hedge his bets.

In the interview Julian gave shortly after Seth's death, he intimated that Seth was the leak, although he did not state it outright.

Something like this sequence of events (with perhaps a few alterations ) is probably quite close to what actually happened.

So here we have a scenario, where the D.N.C. Oligarchs , so corrupt, so evil, so disdainful of the electorate, and the democratic process , rig the nomination results (on multiple levels) for Hillary..and when the evidence of this is found, by a decent young kid with his whole life ahead of him, they had him shot in the back.....four times...

And then "Big Media for Hillary", rather than investigate this horrific tragedy and expose the dirty malevolence at play within the DNC , quashes the entire narrative and grafts in its place the"substitute" Putin hacks..... demanding faux accountability... culminating with sanctions and ejections of the entire Russian diplomatic corp.......all on the grounds of attempting to "sully American Democracy"
.

But hey, that's life in the USA....Right, Seamus ?

Skeptikal , December 30, 2016 at 2:38 pm GMT • 100 Words

"what looks like a white country attacking brown people and demanding not to be dismantled by anti-nationalist policies. "

The longer Israel persists in its "facts-on-the-ground" thievery, the less moral standing it has for its white country. And it is a racist state also within its own "borders."

A pathetic excuse for a country. Without the USA it wouldn't exist. A black mark on both countries' report cards.

geokat62 , December 30, 2016 at 2:52 pm GMT @Seamus Padraig
An alternative hypothesis is that the Wikileaks material was, in fact, leaked by members of the Democratic campaign itself.
His name was Seth Rich, and he did software for the DNC.

His name was Seth Rich, and he did software for the DNC.

"Was" is the operative word:

Julian Assange Suggests That DNC's Seth Rich Was Murdered For Being a Wikileaker

https://heatst.com/tech/wikileaks-offers-20000-for-information-about-seth-richs-killer/


RobinG , December 30, 2016 at 4:02 pm GMT

@map I wish people would stop making a big deal out of John Kerry's and Barack Obama's recent stance on Israel. Neither of them are concerned about whatever injustice happened to the Palestinians.

What they are concerned with is Israeli actions discrediting the anti-white, anti-national globalism program before it has successfully destroyed all of the white nations. That is the real reason why they want a two-state solution or a right of return. If nationalists can look at the Israeli example as a model for how to proceed then that will cause a civil war among leftists and discredit the entire left-wing project.

Trump, therefore, pushing support for Israel's national concerns is not him bending to AIPAC. It is a shrewd move that forces an internecine conflict between left-wing diaspora Jews and Israeli Jews. It is a conflict Bibi is willing to have because the pet project of leftism would necessarily result in Israel either being unlivable or largely extinct for its Jewish population. This NWO being pushed by the diaspora is not something that will be enjoyed by Israeli Jews.

Consider the problem. The problem is that Palestinians have revanchist claims against Israel. Those revanchist claims do not go away just because they get their own country or they get a right of return. Either "solution" actually strengthens the Palestinian claim against Israel and results in a vastly reduced security stance and quality of life for Israelis. The diaspora left is ok with that because they want to continue importing revanchist groups into Europe and America to break down white countries. So, Israel makes a small sacrifice for the greater good of anti-whitism, a deal that most Israelis do not consider very good for themselves. Trump's support for Israeli nationalism short-circuits this project.

Of course, one could ask: why don't the Israeli Jews just move to America? What's the big deal if Israel remains in the middle east? The big deal is the kind of jobs and activities available for Israelis to do. A real nation requires a lot of scut work. Someone has to do the plumbing, unplug the sewers, drive the nails, throw out the trash. Everyone can't be a doctor, a lawyer or a banker. Tradesmen, technicians, workers are all required to get a project like Israel off the ground and maintained. How many of these Israelis doing scut work in Israel for a greater good want to do the same scut work in America just to get by?

The problem operates in reverse for American Jews. A Jew with an American law degree is of no use to Israelis outside of the money he brings and whether he can throw out the trash. Diaspora Jews, therefore, have no reason to try and live and work in Israel.

So, again, we see that Trump's move is a masterstroke. Even his appointment to counter the coup with Zionists is brilliant, since these Zionists are rich enough to both live anywhere and indulge their pride in nationalist endeavors.

"A real nation requires a lot of scut work. Someone has to do the plumbing, unplug the sewers, drive the nails, throw out the trash."

Perhaps you'd like to discuss why so much of this and other "scut work" is done by Palestinians, while an increasing number of Israeli Jews are on the dole.

RobinG , December 30, 2016 at 4:32 pm GMT

@Mark Green This is a good article but there's been a sudden shift. Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel. And Trump is starting to sound like a neocon!

Maybe Trump is worried enough about a potential coup to dump his 'America First' platform (at least for now) to shore up vital Jewish support for his teetering inauguration. This ploy will require a lot of pro-Zionist noise and gesturing. Consequently, Trump is starting to play a familiar political role. And the Zio-friendly media is holding his feet to the fire.

Has the smell of fear pushed Trump over the edge and into the lap of the Zionist establishment? It's beginning to look that way.

Or is Trump just being a fox?

Let's face it: nobody can pull out all the stops better than Israel's Fifth Column. They've got the money, the organization skills, the media leverage, and the raw intellectual moxie to make political miracles/disasters happen. Trump wants them on his side. So he's is tacitly cutting a last-minute deal with the Israelis. Trump's Zionized rhetoric (and political appointments) prove it.

This explains the apparent reversal that's now underway. Obama's pushing back while Trump is accommodating. And, as usual, the Zions are dictating the Narrative.

As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right. Trump however is facing no such luxury. And Bibi is more defiant than ever. This is high drama. And Trump is feeling the heat.

Indeed, outgoing Sec. John Kerry just delivered a major speech where he reiterated strongly US support for a real 'Two State' solution in Israel/Palestine.

And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.

Didn't you?

Kerry also criticized Israel's ongoing confiscation of the Occupied Territories. It was a brilliant analysis that Kerry gave without the aid of a teleprompter. Hugely impressive. Even so, Kerry did not throw Israel under the bus, as claimed. His speech was extremely fair.

This renewed, steadfast American position, coupled with the UNSC's unanimous vote against Israel (which Obama permitted by not casting the usual US veto) has set the stage for a monumental showdown. Israel has never been more isolated. But it's Trump--not Obama--that's looking weak in the face of Israeli pressure.

Indeed, the international Jewish establishment remains uniquely powerful. They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.

Will Trump--out of fear and necessity--run with the mega-powerful Jews who tried to sabotage his campaign?--Or will he stay strong with America First and avoid "any more disasterous wars". It's impossible to say. Trump is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

I get the feeling that even Trump is unsure of where all this is going. But the situation is fast approaching critical mass. Something's gotta give. The entire world is fed up with Israel.

Will Trump blink and take the easy road with the Zions?--Or will he summon Putin's independent, nationalistic spirit and stay the course of 'America First'?

Unfortunately, having scrutinized the Zions in action for decades, I'm fearful that Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.

"As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right . "

THEN WHY DOESN'T HE DO WHAT'S RIGHT? As Seamus Padraig pointed out, the UN abstention is "just more empty symbolism."
Meanwhile
The Christmas Eve attack on the First Amendment
The approval of arming terrorists in Syria
The fake news about Russian hacking throwing Killary's election

Aid to terrorists is a felony. Obama should be indicted.

Art , December 30, 2016 at 4:49 pm GMT

@RobinG Hi Art,

I try to write clearly, but if this is your response I've failed miserably. My interest in the hacking is nil.

What I have against Obama is his regime-change war in Syria, his State Department enabled coup in Ukraine, his support of Saudi war/genocide against Yemen, his destruction of Libya, his demonization of Putin, and his bringing us to a status near war in our relations with Russia.

Obama has been providing weapons, training, air support and propaganda for Terrorists via their affiliates in Syria, and now directly. This is a felony, if not treason.

What I have against Obama is his regime-change war in Syria, his State Department enabled coup in Ukraine, his support of Saudi war/genocide against Yemen, his destruction of Libya, his demonization of Putin, and his bringing us to a status near war in our relations with Russia.

RobinG - Agree 100% – some times I get things crossed up - Peace Art

Tomster , December 30, 2016 at 5:03 pm GMT

@Mark Green This is a good article but there's been a sudden shift. Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel. And Trump is starting to sound like a neocon!

Maybe Trump is worried enough about a potential coup to dump his 'America First' platform (at least for now) to shore up vital Jewish support for his teetering inauguration. This ploy will require a lot of pro-Zionist noise and gesturing. Consequently, Trump is starting to play a familiar political role. And the Zio-friendly media is holding his feet to the fire.

Has the smell of fear pushed Trump over the edge and into the lap of the Zionist establishment? It's beginning to look that way.

Or is Trump just being a fox?

Let's face it: nobody can pull out all the stops better than Israel's Fifth Column. They've got the money, the organization skills, the media leverage, and the raw intellectual moxie to make political miracles/disasters happen. Trump wants them on his side. So he's is tacitly cutting a last-minute deal with the Israelis. Trump's Zionized rhetoric (and political appointments) prove it.

This explains the apparent reversal that's now underway. Obama's pushing back while Trump is accommodating. And, as usual, the Zions are dictating the Narrative.

As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right. Trump however is facing no such luxury. And Bibi is more defiant than ever. This is high drama. And Trump is feeling the heat.

Indeed, outgoing Sec. John Kerry just delivered a major speech where he reiterated strongly US support for a real 'Two State' solution in Israel/Palestine.

And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.

Didn't you?

Kerry also criticized Israel's ongoing confiscation of the Occupied Territories. It was a brilliant analysis that Kerry gave without the aid of a teleprompter. Hugely impressive. Even so, Kerry did not throw Israel under the bus, as claimed. His speech was extremely fair.

This renewed, steadfast American position, coupled with the UNSC's unanimous vote against Israel (which Obama permitted by not casting the usual US veto) has set the stage for a monumental showdown. Israel has never been more isolated. But it's Trump--not Obama--that's looking weak in the face of Israeli pressure.

Indeed, the international Jewish establishment remains uniquely powerful. They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.

Will Trump--out of fear and necessity--run with the mega-powerful Jews who tried to sabotage his campaign?--Or will he stay strong with America First and avoid "any more disasterous wars". It's impossible to say. Trump is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

I get the feeling that even Trump is unsure of where all this is going. But the situation is fast approaching critical mass. Something's gotta give. The entire world is fed up with Israel.

Will Trump blink and take the easy road with the Zions?--Or will he summon Putin's independent, nationalistic spirit and stay the course of 'America First'?

Unfortunately, having scrutinized the Zions in action for decades, I'm fearful that Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.

Most of the Western world is much sicker of the head-choppers in charge of our 'human rights' at the UN (thanks to Obama and the UK) than it is of Israel. It is they, not we, who have funded ISIS directly.

Tomster , December 30, 2016 at 5:14 pm GMT @alexander

Dear Mr. Petras,

It seems that our POTUS has just chosen to eject 35 Russian diplomats from our country, on grounds of hacking the election against Hillary.

Is this some weird, preliminary "shot across the bow" in preparation for the coming "coup attempt" you seem to believe is in the offing ?

It seem the powers-that-be are pulling out all the stops to prevent an authentic rapprochement with Moscow.

What for ?

It makes you wonder if there is more to this than meets the eye, something beyond the sanguine disgruntlement of the party bosses and a desire for payback against Hillary's big loss ?

Does anyone know if Russia is more aware than most Americans of certain classified details pertaining to stuff.....like 9-11 ?

Why is cooperation between the new administration and Moscow so scary to these people that they would initiate a preemptive diplomatic shut down ?

They seem to be dead set on welding shut every single diplomatic door to the Kremlin there is , before Trumps inauguration.

Perhaps something "else "is being planned........Does anyone have any ideas whats going on ?

What does Russian intelligence know? Err perhaps something like that the US/UK have sold nukes to the head-choppers of the riyadh caliphate, say (knowing how completely mad their incestuous brains are?). Who knows? – but such a fact could explain many inexplicable things.

Tomster , December 30, 2016 at 5:16 pm GMT

@map The revanchist claim that I refer to is psychological, not moral or legal. Palestinians think their land was stolen in the same way Mexicans think Texas and California were stolen. That feeling will not change just because they get a two-state solution or a right of return. What it will result in is a comfortable base from which to continue to operate against Israel, one that Israel can't afford.

It is Nationalism 101 not to allow revanchist groups in your country.

The leftists are being consistent in their ideology by opposing Israel, because they are fully on board going after what looks like a white country attacking brown people and demanding not to be dismantled by anti-nationalist policies. Trump suggesting the capital go to Jerusalem and supporting Bibi is just triangulation against the left.

I feel sorry for the Palestinians and I think they have been treated very shabbily. They did lose a lot as any refugee population would and they should be comfortably repatriated around the Muslim Middle East. I don't know who is using them or for what purpose.

"treated very shabbily" indeed, by other Arabs – who have done virtually nothing for them.

alexander , December 30, 2016 at 5:28 pm GMT

@Seamus Padraig

An alternative hypothesis is that the Wikileaks material was, in fact, leaked by members of the Democratic campaign itself.
His name was Seth Rich, and he did software for the DNC.

Given all the hoaky, "evidence free" punitive assaults being launched against Moscow today .combined with the profusion of utterly fraudulent narratives foisted down the throats of the American people over the last sixteen years

Its NOT outside of reason to take a good hard look at the "Seth Rich incident" and reconstruct an outline of events(probably) much closer to the truth than the big media would ever be willing to discuss or admit.

Namely, that Seth Rich, a young decent kid (27) who was working as the data director for the campaign, came across evidence of "dirty pool" within the voting systems during the DNC nomination ,which were fraudulently (and maybe even blatantly) tilting the results towards Hillary.

He probably did the "right thing" by notifying one of the DNC bosses of the fraud ..who informed him he would look into it and that he should keep it quite for the moment

.I wouldn't be surprised if Seth reached out to a reporter , too, probably at the at the NY Times, who informed his editor who, in turn, had such deep connections to the Hillary corruption machine that he placed a call to a DNC backroom boss who , at some point, made the decision to take steps to shut Seth's mouth, permanently ."just make it look like a robbery (or something)"

Seth, not being stupid, and knowing he had the dirt on Hillary that could crush her (as well as the reputation of the entire democratic party) probably reached out to Julian Assange, too, to hedge his bets.

In the interview Julian gave shortly after Seth's death, he intimated that Seth was the leak, although he did not state it outright.

Something like this sequence of events (with perhaps a few alterations ) is probably quite close to what actually happened.

So here we have a scenario, where the D.N.C. Oligarchs , so corrupt, so evil, so disdainful of the electorate, and the democratic process , rig the nomination results (on multiple levels) for Hillary..and when the evidence of this is found, by a decent young kid with his whole life ahead of him, they had him shot in the back ..four times

And then "Big Media for Hillary", rather than investigate this horrific tragedy and expose the dirty malevolence at play within the DNC , quashes the entire narrative and grafts in its place the"substitute" Putin hacks .. demanding faux accountability culminating with sanctions and ejections of the entire Russian diplomatic corp .all on the grounds of attempting to "sully American Democracy"
.

But hey, that's life in the USA .Right, Seamus ?

joe webb , December 30, 2016 at 6:15 pm GMT

@map The revanchist claim that I refer to is psychological, not moral or legal. Palestinians think their land was stolen in the same way Mexicans think Texas and California were stolen. That feeling will not change just because they get a two-state solution or a right of return. What it will result in is a comfortable base from which to continue to operate against Israel, one that Israel can't afford.

It is Nationalism 101 not to allow revanchist groups in your country.

The leftists are being consistent in their ideology by opposing Israel, because they are fully on board going after what looks like a white country attacking brown people and demanding not to be dismantled by anti-nationalist policies. Trump suggesting the capital go to Jerusalem and supporting Bibi is just triangulation against the left.

I feel sorry for the Palestinians and I think they have been treated very shabbily. They did lose a lot as any refugee population would and they should be comfortably repatriated around the Muslim Middle East. I don't know who is using them or for what purpose.

good points. Yet, Palestinians "They should be comfortably repatriated around the Muslim Middle East." sounds pretty much like an Israel talking point. How about
Israel should be dissolved and the Jews repatriated around Europe and the US?

Not being an Idea world, but a Biological World, revanchism is true enough up to a point. Of course The Revanchists of All Time are the jews, or the zionists, to speak liberalize.

As for feelings that don't change, there is a tendency for feelings to change over time, especially when a "legal" document is signed by the participating parties. I have long advocated that the Jews pay for the land they stole, and that that payment be made to a new Palestinian state. A Palestinian with a home, a job, a family, and a nice car makes a lot of difference, just like anywhere else.

(We paid the Mexicans in a treaty that presumably ended the Mexican war. This is a normal state of affairs. Mexico only "owned" California, etc, for about 25 years, and I do not think paid the injuns anything for their land at the time. Also, if memory serves, I think Pat Buchanan claimed somewhere that there were only about 10,000 Mexicans in California at the time, or maybe in the whole area under discussion..)

How Palestine stolen property, should be evaluated I leave to the experts. Jews would appear to have ample resources and could pony up the dough.

The biggest problem is the US evangelicals and equally important, the nice Episcopalians and so on, even the Catholic Church which used to Exclude Jews now luving them. This is part of our National Religion. The Jews are god's favorites, and nobody seems to mind. Kill an Arab for Christ is the national gut feeling, except when it gets too expensive or kills too many Americans.

As I have said, Trump is in between the rock and the hard place. If he wants to end the Jewish Wars in the ME, he cannot luv the jews, and especially he cannot start lobbing bombs around too much even over Isis and the dozens of jihadist groups, especially now in Syria.

Sorry but your "comfortably repatriated" is a real howler. There is no comfort to be had by anybody in the ME. And, like Jews with regard to your points about revanchism in general, Palestinians have not blended into the general Arab populations of other countries, like Lebanon, etc.. Using your own logic, the Palestinians will continue to nurse their grievances no matter where they are, just like the Jews.

The neocon goals of failed states in the Arab World has been largely accomplished and the only way humpty-dumpty will be put back together again is for tough Arab Strong Men to reestablish order. Like Assad, like Hussein, etc. Arab IQ is about 85 in general. There is not going to be
democracy/elections/civics lessons per the White countries's genetic predisposition.\

For that matter, Jews are not democrats. Left alone Israel, wherever it is, reverts to Rabbinic Control and Jehovah, the Warrior God, reigns. Fact is , that is where Israel is heading anyway. Jews never invented free speech and rule of law, nor did Arabs, or any other race on the planet.

The Jews With Nukes is of World Historical Importance. And Whites have given them the Bomb, just as Whites have given Third World inferior races, access to the Northern Cornucopia of wealth, both spiritual and material. They will , like the jews, exploit free speech and game the economic system.

All Semites Out! Ditto just about everybody else, starting with the Chinese.

finally, if the jews had any real brains, they would get out of a neighborhood that hates them for their jewishness, their Thefts, and their Wars. Otoh, Jews seem to thrive on being hated more than any other race or ethnic group. Chosen to Always Complain.
Joe Webb


Realist , December 30, 2016 at 6:57 pm GMT • 100 Words

Trump has absolutely no support in the media. With the Fox News and Fox Business, first string, talking heads on vacation (minimal support) the second and third string are insanely trying to push the Russian hacking bullshit. Trump better realize that the only support he has are the people that voted for him.

January 2017 will be a bad month for this country and the rest of 2017 much worse.

lavoisier says: • Website Show Comment Next New Comment December 31, 2016 at 1:38 am GMT • 100 Words

@joe webb

Sorry Joe, the "whites" did not give the Jews the atomic bomb. In truth, the Jews were critically important in developing the scientific ideas and technology critical to making the first atomic bomb.

I can recognize Jewish malfeasance where it exists, but to ignore their intellectual contributions to Western Civilization is sheer blindness.

[Dec 29, 2016] Cell phones can track their location, hoover up their personal info, record their conversations but that doesn't stop most people from owning one anyway. The populace has been convinced that owning the device that constantly spies on them is a necessity

Notable quotes:
"... I'd wager that most people know that cell phones can track their location, hoover up their personal info, record their conversations, etc, etc but that doesn't stop most people from owning one anyway. The populace has been convinced that owning the device that constantly spies on them is a necessity. ..."
"... I've often wondered whether the relatively high difficulty in buying a smartphone with less than two cameras has something to do with the SIGINT Enabling Project. ..."
Dec 29, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
PQS , December 28, 2016 at 11:30 am

I was paranoid about the Roomba and I'm pretty sure it doesn't have any connectivity, nor does it record anything.
Personal assistant connected to both the 'net and Large Corp? No. Way.

lyman alpha blob , December 28, 2016 at 1:01 pm

I'd wager that most people know that cell phones can track their location, hoover up their personal info, record their conversations, etc, etc but that doesn't stop most people from owning one anyway. The populace has been convinced that owning the device that constantly spies on them is a necessity.

Don't think learning that Echo is doing the same thing would deter most people from using it. 'Convenience' and all

cocomaan , December 28, 2016 at 5:40 pm

Fortunately, I can barely hear the person I'm talking to through my smartphone, so I am not optimistic that it can actually hear me from someplace else in the house, especially compared to someone's Echo I have experience with. But point taken.

hunkerdown , December 28, 2016 at 6:20 pm

The microphoneS (often there is an extra mic to cancel ambient noise) in a phone are exquisitely sensitive. The losses you're hearing are those from crushing that comparatively high-fidelity signal into a few thousand bits per second for transmission to/from the base station.

I've often wondered whether the relatively high difficulty in buying a smartphone with less than two cameras has something to do with the SIGINT Enabling Project. (Not that I'm foily )

carycat , December 28, 2016 at 3:17 pm

Wonder if Mr. B gave Mr. T and all the other attendees an Echo at Mr. T's tech summit. ATT and all the other big telcom players all said, scout's honor, they don't listen in on their customer's phone calls, so no worries because Fortune 500 companies are such ethical people. That may even be technically true because the 3 letter agencies and their minions (human or otherwise) are doing the actual listening. So if you are too lazy to go to Amazon.com to delete your idle chit chat, I can sell you a cloth to wipe it with (maybe I'll even list it on Amazon's marketplace).

Daryl , December 28, 2016 at 8:09 pm

It should be fairly simple to determine whether it's sending everything home by analyzing network traffic.

Of course, just because it doesn't right now, doesn't mean that Amazon or your local three letter agency cannot alter it to do so in the future

[Dec 27, 2016] U.S. Sold $40 Billion in Weapons in 2015, Topping Global Market - The New York Times

Dec 27, 2016 | www.nytimes.com

Developing nations continued to be the largest buyers of arms in 2015, with Qatar signing deals for more than $17 billion in weapons last year, followed by Egypt, which agreed to buy almost $12 billion in arms, and Saudi Arabia, with over $8 billion in weapons purchases.

Although global tensions and terrorist threats have shown few signs of diminishing, the total size of the global arms trade dropped to around $80 billion in 2015 from the 2014 total of $89 billion, the study found. Developing nations bought $65 billion in weapons in 2015, substantially lower than the previous year's total of $79 billion.

The United States and France increased their overseas weapons sales in 2015, as purchases of American weapons grew by around $4 billion and France's deals increased by well over $9 billion.

The report, " Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2008-2015 ," was prepared by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, a division of the Library of Congress, and delivered to legislators last week. The annual review is considered the most comprehensive assessment of global arms sales available in an unclassified form. The report adjusts for inflation, so the sales totals are comparable year to year.

[Dec 26, 2016] Snowden: 'The Central Problem of the Future' Is Control of User Data

Dec 26, 2016 | tech.slashdot.org
(techcrunch.com) 157 Posted by BeauHD on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @05:00AM from the no-place-to-hide dept. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey interviewed Edward Snowden via Periscope about the wide world of technology. The NSA whistleblower " discussed the data that many online companies continue to collect about their users , creating a 'quantified world' -- and more opportunities for government surveillance," reports TechCrunch. Snowden said, "If you are being tracked, this is something you should agree to, this is something you should understand, this is something you should be aware of and can change at any time." TechCrunch reports: Snowden acknowledged that there's a distinction between collecting the content of your communication (i.e., what you said during a phone call) and the metadata (information like who you called and how long it lasted). For some, surveillance that just collects metadata might seem less alarming, but in Snowden's view, "That metadata is in many cases much more dangerous and much more intrusive, because it can be understood at scale." He added that we currently face unprecedented perils because of all the data that's now available -- in the past, there was no way for the government to get a list of all the magazines you'd read, or every book you'd checked out from the library. "[In the past,] your beliefs, your future, your hopes, your dreams belonged to you," Snowden said. "Increasingly, these things belong to companies, and these companies can share them however they want, without a lot of oversight." He wasn't arguing that companies shouldn't collect user data at all, but rather that "the people who need to be in control of that are the users." "This is the central problem of the future, is how do we return control of our identities to the people themselves?" Snowden said.

[Dec 26, 2016] NSA's Best Are 'Leaving In Big Numbers,' Insiders Say

Dec 26, 2016 | yro.slashdot.org
(cyberscoop.com) 412 Posted by EditorDavid on Sunday December 11, 2016 @11:34AM from the blaming-Oliver-Stone dept. schwit1 quotes CyberScoop: Low morale at the National Security Agency is causing some of the agency's most talented people to leave in favor of private sector jobs , former NSA Director Keith Alexander told a room full of journalism students, professors and cybersecurity executives Tuesday. The retired general and other insiders say a combination of economic and social factors including negative press coverage -- have played a part... "I am honestly surprised that some of these people in cyber companies make up to seven figures. That's five times what the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff makes. Right? And these are people that are 32 years old. Do the math. [The NSA] has great competition," he said.

The rate at which these cyber-tacticians are exiting public service has increased over the last several years and has gotten considerably worse over the last 12 months, multiple former NSA officials and D.C. area-based cybersecurity employers have told CyberScoop in recent weeks... In large part, Alexander blamed the press for propagating an image of the NSA that causes people to believe they are being spied on at all times by the U.S. government regardless of their independent actions.
"What really bothers me is that the people of NSA, these folks who take paltry government salaries to protect this nation, are made to look like they are doing something wrong," the former NSA Director added. "They are doing exactly what our nation has asked them to do to protect us. They are the heroes."

[Dec 26, 2016] HP Shutting Down Default FTP, Telnet Access To Network Printers

Dec 26, 2016 | hardware.slashdot.org
(pcworld.com) 83 Posted by msmash on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @11:00AM from the business-as-usual dept. Security experts consider the aging FTP and Telnet protocols unsafe, and HP has decided to clamp down on access to networked printers through the remote-access tools . From a report on PCWorld: Some of HP's new business printers will, by default, be closed to remote access via protocols like FTP and Telnet. However, customers can activate remote printing access through those protocols if needed. "HP has started the process of closing older, less-maintained interfaces including ports, protocols and cipher suites" identified by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology as less than secure, the company said in a statement. In addition, HP also announced firmware updates to existing business printers with improved password and encryption settings, so hackers can't easily break into the devices.

[Dec 26, 2016] New Stegano Exploit Kit Hides Malvertising Code In Banner Pixels

Dec 26, 2016 | it.slashdot.org
(bleepingcomputer.com) 207 Posted by BeauHD on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @08:25PM from the hidden-in-plain-sight dept. An anonymous reader quotes a report from BleepingComputer: For the past two months, a new exploit kit has been serving malicious code hidden in the pixels of banner ads via a malvertising campaign that has been active on several high profile websites. Discovered by security researchers from ESET , this new exploit kit is named Stegano, from the word steganography , which is a technique of hiding content inside other files. In this particular scenario, malvertising campaign operators hid malicious code inside PNG images used for banner ads. The crooks took a PNG image and altered the transparency value of several pixels. They then packed the modified image as an ad, for which they bought ad displays on several high-profile websites. Since a large number of advertising networks allow advertisers to deliver JavaScript code with their ads, the crooks also included JS code that would parse the image, extract the pixel transparency values, and using a mathematical formula, convert those values into a character. Since images have millions of pixels, crooks had all the space they needed to pack malicious code inside a PNG photo. When extracted, this malicious code would redirect the user to an intermediary ULR, called gate, where the host server would filter users. This server would only accept connections from Internet Explorer users. The reason is that the gate would exploit the CVE-2016-0162 vulnerability that allowed the crooks to determine if the connection came from a real user or a reverse analysis system employed by security researchers. Additionally, this IE exploit also allowed the gate server to detect the presence of antivirus software. In this case, the server would drop the connection just to avoid exposing its infrastructure and trigger a warning that would alert both the user and the security firm. If the gate server deemed the target valuable, then it would redirect the user to the final stage, which was the exploit kit itself, hosted on another URL. The Stegano exploit kit would use three Adobe Flash vulnerabilities (CVE-2015-8651, CVE-2016-1019 or CVE-2016-4117) to attack the user's PC, and forcibly download and launch into execution various strains of malware.

[Dec 26, 2016] Backdoor Accounts Found in 80 Sony IP Security Camera Models

Dec 26, 2016 | yro.slashdot.org
(pcworld.com) 55 Posted by msmash on Wednesday December 07, 2016 @12:20PM from the security-woes dept. Many network security cameras made by Sony could be taken over by hackers and infected with botnet malware if their firmware is not updated to the latest version. Researchers from SEC Consult have found two backdoor accounts that exist in 80 models of professional Sony security cameras , mainly used by companies and government agencies given their high price, PCWorld reports. From the article: One set of hard-coded credentials is in the Web interface and allows a remote attacker to send requests that would enable the Telnet service on the camera, the SEC Consult researchers said in an advisory Tuesday. The second hard-coded password is for the root account that could be used to take full control of the camera over Telnet. The researchers established that the password is static based on its cryptographic hash and, while they haven't actually cracked it, they believe it's only a matter of time until someone does. Sony released a patch to the affected camera models last week.

[Dec 26, 2016] Yahoo Fixes Flaw Allowing an Attacker To Read Any User's Emails

Dec 26, 2016 | tech.slashdot.org
(zdnet.com) 30 Posted by msmash on Thursday December 08, 2016 @11:45AM from the security-woes-and-fixes dept. Yahoo says it has fixed a severe security vulnerability in its email service that allowed an attacker to read a victim's email inbox . From a report on ZDNet: The cross-site scripting (XSS) attack only required a victim to view an email in Yahoo Mail. The internet giant paid out $10,000 to security researcher Jouko Pynnonen for privately disclosing the flaw through the HackerOne bug bounty, In a write-up, Pynnonen said that the flaw was similar to last year's Yahoo Mail bug, which similarly let an attacker compromise a user's account. Yahoo filters HTML messages to ensure that malicious code won't make it through into the user's browser, but the researcher found that the filters didn't catch all of the malicious data attributes.

[Dec 26, 2016] Zeus Variant 'Floki Bot' Targets PoS Data

Dec 26, 2016 | it.slashdot.org
(onthewire.io) 25 Posted by BeauHD on Friday December 09, 2016 @05:00AM from the out-of-the-woodwork dept. Trailrunner7 quotes a report from On the Wire: Malware gangs, like sad wedding bands bands, love to play the hits. And one of the hits they keep running back over and over is the Zeus banking Trojan, which has been in use for many years in a number of different forms. Researchers have unearthed a new piece of malware called Floki Bot that is based on the venerable Zeus source code and is being used to infect point-of-sale systems, among other targets. Flashpoint conducted the analysis of Floki Bot with Cisco's Talos research team, and the two organizations said that the author behind the bot maintains a presence on a number of different underground forums, some of which are in Russian or other non-native languages for him. Kremez said that attackers sometimes will participate in foreign language forums as a way to expand their knowledge. Along with its PoS infection capability, Floki Bot also has a feature that allows it to use the Tor network to communicate. "During our analysis of Floki Bot, Talos identified modifications that had been made to the dropper mechanism present in the leaked Zeus source code in an attempt to make Floki Bot more difficult to detect. Talos also observed the introduction of new code that allows Floki Bot to make use of the Tor network. However, this functionality does not appear to be active for the time being," Cisco's Talos team said in its analysis .

[Dec 26, 2016] 5-Year-Old Critical Linux Vulnerability Patched

Dec 26, 2016 | linux.slashdot.org
(threatpost.com) 68 Posted by EditorDavid on Saturday December 10, 2016 @12:34PM from the local-Linux-attacks dept. msm1267 quotes Kaspersky Lab's ThreatPost: A critical, local code-execution vulnerability in the Linux kernel was patched more than a week ago, continuing a run of serious security issues in the operating system, most of which have been hiding in the code for years. Details on the vulnerability were published Tuesday by researcher Philip Pettersson , who said the vulnerable code was introd in August 2011.

A patch was pushed to the mainline Linux kernel December 2, four days after it was privately disclosed. Pettersson has developed a proof-of-concept exploit specifically for Ubuntu distributions, but told Threatpost his attack could be ported to other distros with some changes. The vulnerability is a race condition that was discovered in the af_packet implementation in the Linux kernel, and Pettersson said that a local attacker could exploit the bug to gain kernel code execution from unprivileged processes. He said the bug cannot be exploited remotely.
"Basically it's a bait-and-switch," the researcher told Threatpost. "The bug allows you to trick the kernel into thinking it is working with one kind of object, while you actually switched it to another kind of object before it could react."

[Dec 26, 2016] Vulnerability Prompts Warning: Stop Using Netgear WiFi Routers

Dec 26, 2016 | mobile.slashdot.org
(securityledger.com) 147 Posted by EditorDavid on Sunday December 11, 2016 @01:34PM from the nixing-the-network dept. "By convincing a user to visit a specially crafted web site, a remote attacker may execute arbitrary commands with root privileges on affected routers," warns a new vulnerability notice from Carnegie Mellon University's CERT. Slashdot reader chicksdaddy quotes Security Ledger's story about certain models of Netgear's routers: Firmware version 1.0.7.2_1.1.93 (and possibly earlier) for the R7000 and version 1.0.1.6_1.0.4 (and possibly earlier) for the R6400 are known to contain the arbitrary command injection vulnerability . CERT cited "community reports" that indicate the R8000, firmware version 1.0.3.4_1.1.2, is also vulnerable... The flaw was found in new firmware that runs the Netgear R7000 and R6400 routers. Other models and firmware versions may also be affected, including the R8000 router, CMU CERT warned.

With no work around to the flaw, CERT recommended that Netgear customers disable their wifi router until a software patch from the company that addressed the hole was available... A search of the public internet using the Shodan search engine finds around 8,000 R6450 and R7000 devices that can be reached directly from the Internet and that would be vulnerable to takeover attacks. The vast majority of those are located in the United States.
Proof-of-concept exploit code was released by a Twitter user who, according to the article, said "he informed Netgear of the flaw more than four months ago, but did not hear back from the company since then."

[Dec 26, 2016] Malvertising Campaign Infects Your Router Instead of Your Browser

Dec 26, 2016 | it.slashdot.org
(bleepingcomputer.com) 137 Posted by BeauHD on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @07:45PM from the connected-devices dept. An anonymous reader quotes a report from BleepingComputer: Malicious ads are serving exploit code to infect routers , instead of browsers, in order to insert ads in every site users are visiting. Unlike previous malvertising campaigns that targeted users of old Flash or Internet Explorer versions, this campaign focused on Chrome users, on both desktop and mobile devices. The malicious ads included in this malvertising campaign contain exploit code for 166 router models, which allow attackers to take over the device and insert ads on websites that didn't feature ads, or replace original ads with the attackers' own. Researchers haven't yet managed to determine an exact list of affected router models , but some of the brands targeted by the attackers include Linksys, Netgear, D-Link, Comtrend, Pirelli, and Zyxel. Because the attack is carried out via the user's browser, using strong router passwords or disabling the administration interface is not enough. The only way users can stay safe is if they update their router's firmware to the most recent versions, which most likely includes protection against the vulnerabilities used by this campaign. The "campaign" is called DNSChanger EK and works when attackers buy ads on legitimate websites and insert malicious JavaScript in these ads, "which use a WebRTC request to a Mozilla STUN server to determine the user's local IP address," according to BleepingComputer. "Based on this local IP address, the malicious code can determine if the user is on a local network managed by a small home router, and continue the attack. If this check fails, the attackers just show a random legitimate ad and move on. For the victims the crooks deem valuable, the attack chain continues. These users receive a tainted ad which redirects them to the DNSChanger EK home, where the actual exploitation begins. The next step is for the attackers to send an image file to the user's browser, which contains an AES (encryption algorithm) key embedded inside the photo using the technique of steganography. The malicious ad uses this AES key to decrypt further traffic it receives from the DNSChanger exploit kit. Crooks encrypt their operations to avoid the prying eyes of security researchers."

[Dec 26, 2016] Newly Uncovered Site Suggests NSA Exploits For Direct Sale

Dec 26, 2016 | news.slashdot.org
(vice.com) 33 Posted by BeauHD on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @08:25PM from the buy-one-get-one dept. An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: The Shadow Brokers -- a hacker or group of hackers that stole computer exploits from the National Security Agency -- has been quiet for some time. After their auction and crowd-funded approach for selling the exploits met a lukewarm reception, the group seemingly stopped posting new messages in October. But a newly uncovered website, which includes a file apparently signed with The Shadow Brokers' cryptographic key, suggests the group is trying to sell hacking tools directly to buyers one by one , and a cache of files appears to include more information on specific exploits. On Wednesday, someone calling themselves Boceffus Cleetus published a Medium post called "Are the Shadow Brokers selling NSA tools on ZeroNet?" Cleetus, who has an American flag with swastikas as their profile picture, also tweeted the post from a Twitter account created this month. The site includes a long list of supposed items for sale, with names like ENVOYTOMATO, EGGBASKET, and YELLOWSPIRIT. Each is sorted into a type, such as "implant," "trojan," and "exploit," and comes with a price tag between 1 and 100 bitcoins ($780 -- $78,000). Customers can purchase the whole lot for 1000 bitcoins ($780,000). The site also lets visitors download a selection of screenshots and files related to each item. Along with those is a file signed with a PGP key with an identical fingerprint to that linked to the original Shadow Brokers dump of exploits from August. This newly uncovered file was apparently signed on 1 September; a different date to any of The Shadow Brokers' previously signed messages .

[Dec 26, 2016] Netgear Releases 'Beta' Patches For Additional Routers Found With Root Vulnerability

Dec 26, 2016 | it.slashdot.org
(netgear.com) 26 Posted by EditorDavid on Saturday December 17, 2016 @10:34AM from the but-they-might-not-work dept. The Department of Homeland Security's CERT issued a warning last week that users should "strongly consider" not using some models of NetGear routers, and the list expanded this week to include 11 different models. Netgear's now updated their web page, announcing eight "beta" fixes, along with three more "production" fixes. chicksdaddy writes: The company said the new [beta] firmware has not been fully tested and " might not work for all users ." The company offered it as a "temporary solution" to address the security hole. "Netgear is working on a production firmware version that fixes this command injection vulnerability and will release it as quickly as possible," the company said in a post to its online knowledgebase early Tuesday.

The move follows publication of a warning from experts at Carnegie Mellon on December 9 detailing a serious "arbitrary command injection" vulnerability in the latest version of firmware used by a number of Netgear wireless routers. The security hole could allow a remote attacker to take control of the router by convincing a user to visit a malicious web site... The vulnerability was discovered by an individual...who says he contacted Netgear about the flaw four months ago , and went public with information on it after the company failed to address the issue on its own.

[Dec 26, 2016] McAfee Takes Six Months To Patch Remote Code Exploit In Linux VirusScan Enterprise

Dec 26, 2016 | linux.slashdot.org
Posted by EditorDavid on Saturday December 17, 2016 @05:34PM from the jeopardized-in-June dept. mask.of.sanity writes: A researcher has reported 10 vulnerabilities in McAfee's VirusScan Enterprise for Linux that when chained together result in root remote code execution. McAfee took six months to fix the bugs issuing a patch December 9th.
Citing the security note , CSO adds that "one of the issues affects Virus Scan Enterprise for Windows version 8.7i through at least 8.8 ." The vulnerability was reported by Andrew Fasano at MIT's federally-funded security lab, who said he targeted McAfee's client because "it runs as root, it claims to make your machine more secure, it's not particularly popular, and it looks like it hasn't been updated in a long time."

[Dec 26, 2016] Massive Mirai Botnet Hides Its Control Servers On Tor

Dec 26, 2016 | it.slashdot.org
Posted by EditorDavid on Saturday December 17, 2016 @06:34PM from the catch-me-if-you-can dept. "Following a failed takedown attempt, changes made to the Mirai malware variant responsible for building one of today's biggest botnets of IoT devices will make it incredibly harder for authorities and security firms to shut it down," reports Bleeping Computer. An anonymous reader writes: Level3 and others" have been very close to taking down one of the biggest Mirai botnets around, the same one that attempted to knock the Internet offline in Liberia , and also hijacked 900,000 routers from German ISP Deutsche Telekom .The botnet narrowly escaped due to the fact that its maintainer, a hacker known as BestBuy, had implemented a domain-generation algorithm to generate random domain names where he hosted his servers.

Currently, to avoid further takedown attempts from similar security firms, BestBuy has started moving the botnet's command and control servers to Tor . "It's all good now. We don't need to pay thousands to ISPs and hosting. All we need is one strong server," the hacker said. "Try to shut down .onion 'domains' over Tor," he boasted, knowing that nobody can.

[Dec 26, 2016] LinkedIn Warns 9.5 Million Lynda Users About Database Breach

Dec 26, 2016 | yro.slashdot.org
(neowin.net) 35 Posted by EditorDavid on Sunday December 18, 2016 @02:34PM from the profile-views dept. Less than four weeks after Microsoft formally acquired LinkedIn for $26 billion , there's been a database breach. An anonymous reader writes: LinkedIn is sending emails to 9.5 million users of Lynda.com, its online learning subsidiary, warning the users of a database breach by "an unauthorized third party" . The affected database included contact information for at least some of the users. An email to customers says "while we have no evidence that your specific account was accessed or that any data has been made publicly available, we wanted to notify you as a precautionary measure." Ironically, the breach comes less than a month after Russia blocked access to LinkedIn over privacy concerns .
LinkedIn has also reset the passwords for 55,000 Lynda.com accounts (though apparently many of its users don't have accounts with passwords).

[Dec 26, 2016] The FBI Is Arresting People Who Rent DDoS Botnets

Dec 26, 2016 | yro.slashdot.org
(bleepingcomputer.com) 211 Posted by EditorDavid on Sunday December 18, 2016 @04:44PM from the denial-of-liberty-counterattack dept. This week the FBI arrested a 26-year-old southern California man for launching a DDoS attack against online chat service Chatango at the end of 2014 and in early 2015 -- part of a new crackdown on the customers of "DDoS-for-hire" services. An anonymous reader writes: Sean Krishanmakoto Sharma, a computer science graduate student at USC, is now facing up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. Court documents describe a service called Xtreme Stresser as "basically a Linux botnet DDoS tool," and allege that Sharma rented it for an attack on Chatango, an online chat service. "Sharma is now free on a $100,000 bail," reports Bleeping Computer, adding "As part of his bail release agreement, Sharma is banned from accessing certain sites such as HackForums and tools such as VPNs..."

"Sharma's arrest is part of a bigger operation against DDoS-for-Hire services, called Operation Tarpit ," the article points out. "Coordinated by Europol, Operation Tarpit took place between December 5 and December 9, and concluded with the arrest of 34 users of DDoS-for-hire services across the globe, in countries such as Australia, Belgium, France, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States." It grew out of an earlier investigation into a U.K.-based DDoS-for-hire service which had 400 customers who ultimately launched 603,499 DDoS attacks on 224,548 targets.
Most of the other suspects arrested were under the age of 20.

[Dec 26, 2016] Russians Used Malware On Android Devices To Track and Target Ukraine Artillery, Says Report

Dec 26, 2016 | yro.slashdot.org
(reuters.com) 101 Posted by BeauHD on Thursday December 22, 2016 @06:25PM from the come-out-come-out-wherever-you-are dept. schwit1 quotes a report from Reuters: A hacking group linked to the Russian government and high-profile cyber attacks against Democrats during the U.S. presidential election likely used a malware implant on Android devices to track and target Ukrainian artillery units from late 2014 through 2016, according to a new report released Thursday. The malware was able to retrieve communications and some locational data from infected devices, intelligence that would have likely been used to strike against the artillery in support of pro-Russian separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine, the report from cyber security firm CrowdStrike found. The hacking group, known commonly as Fancy Bear or APT 28, is believed by U.S. intelligence officials to work primarily on behalf of the GRU, Russia's military intelligence agency. The implant leveraged a legitimate Android application developed by a Ukrainian artillery officer to process targeting data more quickly, CrowdStrike said. Its deployment "extends Russian cyber capabilities to the front lines of the battlefield," the report said, and "could have facilitated anticipatory awareness of Ukrainian artillery force troop movement, thus providing Russian forces with useful strategic planning information."

[Dec 26, 2016] Security Researchers Can Turn Headphones Into Microphones

Dec 26, 2016 | news.slashdot.org
(techcrunch.com) 122 Posted by BeauHD on Thursday November 24, 2016 @08:00AM from the proof-of-concept dept. As if we don't already have enough devices that can listen in on our conversations, security researchers at Israel's Ben Gurion University have created malware that will turn your headphones into microphones that can slyly record your conversations. TechCrunch reports: The proof-of-concept, called " Speake(a)r ," first turned headphones connected to a PC into microphones and then tested the quality of sound recorded by a microphone vs. headphones on a target PC. In short, the headphones were nearly as good as an unpowered microphone at picking up audio in a room. It essentially "retasks" the RealTek audio codec chip output found in many desktop computers into an input channel. This means you can plug your headphones into a seemingly output-only jack and hackers can still listen in. This isn't a driver fix, either. The embedded chip does not allow users to properly prevent this hack which means your earbuds or nice cans could start picking up conversations instantly. In fact, even if you disable your microphone, a computer with a RealTek chip could still be hacked and exploited without your knowledge. The sound quality, as shown by this chart, is pretty much the same for a dedicated microphone and headphones. The researchers have published a video on YouTube demonstrating how this malware works.

[Dec 26, 2016] Personal Data For More Than 130,000 Sailors Hacked: U.S. Navy

Dec 26, 2016 | news.slashdot.org
(reuters.com) 57 Posted by msmash on Thursday November 24, 2016 @10:04AM from the security-woes dept. Hackers gained access to sensitive information, including Social Security numbers, for 134,386 current and former U.S. sailors, the U.S. Navy has said . According to Reuters: It said a laptop used by a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services employee working on a U.S. Navy contract was hacked. Hewlett Packard informed the Navy of the breach on Oct. 27 and the affected sailors will be notified in the coming weeks, the Navy said. "The Navy takes this incident extremely seriously - this is a matter of trust for our sailors," Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Admiral Robert Burke said in a statement.

[Dec 26, 2016] Muni System Hacker Hit Others By Scanning For Year-Old Java Vulnerability

Dec 26, 2016 | developers.slashdot.org
(arstechnica.com) 30 Posted by BeauHD on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @09:05PM from the thank-God-for-backups dept. An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The attacker who infected servers and desktop computers at the San Francisco Metropolitan Transit Agency (SFMTA) with ransomware on November 25 apparently gained access to the agency's network by way of a known vulnerability in an Oracle WebLogic server . That vulnerability is similar to the one used to hack a Maryland hospital network's systems in April and infect multiple hospitals with crypto-ransomware. And evidence suggests that SFMTA wasn't specifically targeted by the attackers; the agency just came up as a target of opportunity through a vulnerability scan. In an e-mail to Ars, SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said that on November 25, "we became aware of a potential security issue with our computer systems, including e-mail." The ransomware "encrypted some systems mainly affecting computer workstations," he said, "as well as access to various systems. However, the SFMTA network was not breached from the outside, nor did hackers gain entry through our firewalls. Muni operations and safety were not affected. Our customer payment systems were not hacked. Also, despite media reports, no data was accessed from any of our servers." That description of the ransomware attack is not consistent with some of the evidence of previous ransomware attacks by those behind the SFMTA incident -- which Rose said primarily affected about 900 desktop computers throughout the agency. Based on communications uncovered from the ransomware operator behind the Muni attack published by security reporter Brian Krebs , an SFMTA Web-facing server was likely compromised by what is referred to as a "deserialization" attack after it was identified by a vulnerability scan. A security researcher told Krebs that he had been able to gain access to the mailbox used in the malware attack on the Russian e-mail and search provider Yandex by guessing its owner's security question, and he provided details from the mailbox and another linked mailbox on Yandex. Based on details found in e-mails for the accounts, the attacker ran a server loaded with open source vulnerability scanning tools to identify and compromise servers to use in spreading the ransomware, known as HDDCryptor and Mamba , within multiple organizations' networks.

[Dec 26, 2016] Russia Says Foreign Spies Plan Cyber Attack On Banking System

Dec 26, 2016 | it.slashdot.org
(reuters.com) 88 Posted by msmash on Friday December 02, 2016 @12:20PM from the hmmm dept. Russia said on Friday it had uncovered a plot by foreign spy agencies to sow chaos in Russia's banking system via a coordinated wave of cyber attacks and fake social media reports about banks going bust . From a report on Reuters: Russia's domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB), said that the servers to be used in the alleged cyber attack were located in the Netherlands and registered to a Ukrainian web hosting company called BlazingFast. The attack, which was to target major national and provincial banks in several Russian cities, was meant to start on Dec. 5, the FSB said in a statement. "It was planned that the cyber attack would be accompanied by a mass send-out of SMS messages and publications in social media of a provocative nature regarding a crisis in the Russian banking system, bankruptcies and license withdrawals," it said. "The FSB is carrying out the necessary measures to neutralize threats to Russia's economic and information security."

[Dec 26, 2016] Sysadmin Gets Two Years In Prison For Sabotaging ISP

Dec 26, 2016 | news.slashdot.org
Posted by EditorDavid on Sunday December 04, 2016 @02:39PM from the BOFH dept. After being let go over a series of "personal issues" with his employer, things got worse for 26-year-old network administrator Dariusz J. Prugar, who will now have to spend two years in prison for hacking the ISP where he'd worked. An anonymous reader writes: Prugar had used his old credentials to log into the ISP's network and "take back" some of the scripts and software he wrote... "Seeking to hide his tracks, Prugar used an automated script that deleted various logs," reports Bleeping Computer. "As a side effect of removing some of these files, the ISP's systems crashed, affecting over 500 businesses and over 5,000 residential customers."

When the former ISP couldn't fix the issue, they asked Prugar to help. "During negotiations, instead of requesting money as payment, Prugar insisted that he'd be paid using the rights to the software and scripts he wrote while at the company, software which was now malfunctioning, a week after he left." This tipped off the company, who detected foul play, contacted the FBI and rebuilt its entire network.

Six years later, Prugar was found guilty after a one-week jury trial, and was ordered by the judge to pay $26,000 in restitution to the ISP (which went out of business in October of 2015).

Prugar's two-year prison sentence begins December 27.

[Dec 26, 2016] Crooks Need Just Six Seconds To Guess A Credit Card Number

Dec 26, 2016 | it.slashdot.org
(independent.co.uk) 110 Posted by EditorDavid on Sunday December 04, 2016 @07:39AM from the one-Mississippi-two-Mississippi dept. schwit1 quotes The Independent: Criminals can work out the card number, expiration date, and security code for a Visa debit or credit card in as little as six seconds using guesswork , researchers have found... Fraudsters use a so-called Distributed Guessing Attack to get around security features put in place to stop online fraud, and this may have been the method used in the recent Tesco Bank hack ...

According to a study published in the academic journal IEEE Security & Privacy, fraudsters could use computers to systematically fire different variations of security data at hundreds of websites simultaneously . Within seconds, by a process of elimination, the criminals could verify the correct card number, expiration date and the three-digit security number on the back of the card.
One of the researchers explained this attack combines two weaknesses into one powerful attack. "Firstly, current online payment systems do not detect multiple invalid payment requests from different websites... Secondly, different websites ask for different variations in the card data fields to validate an online purchase. This means it's quite easy to build up the information and piece it together like a jigsaw puzzle."

[Dec 26, 2016] A Century of Surveillance: An Interactive Timeline Of FBI Investigations

Dec 26, 2016 | yro.slashdot.org
(muckrock.com) 52 Posted by EditorDavid on Sunday December 18, 2016 @09:34PM from the actually-it's-108-years dept. "Over a century of fear and filing cabinets" at the FBI has been exposed through six years of Freedom of Information Act requests. And now MuckRock founder (and long-time Slashdot reader) v3rgEz writes: MuckRock recently published its 100th look into historical FBI files, and to celebrate they've also compiled a timeline of the FBI's history . It traces the rise and fall of J. Edgar Hoover as well as some of the Bureau's more questionable investigations into famous figures ranging from Steve Jobs to Hannah Arendt . Read the timeline, or browse through all of MuckRock's FBI FOIA work.
The FBI interviewed 29 people about Steve Jobs (after he was appointed to the President's Export Council in 1991), with several citing his "past drug use," and several individuals also saying Jobs would "distort reality."

[Dec 21, 2016] Russia: The Old-New Official Enemy

Dec 21, 2016 | www.fff.org
by Jacob G. Hornberger December 15, 2016

It is impossible to overstate the stakes involved in the latest controversy over Russia. They involve trillions of dollars in warfare largess to the tens of thousands of bureaucratic warfare-state parasites who are sucking the lifeblood out of the American people.

Ever since the advent of the U.S. national-security state after World War II, America has needed official enemies, especially ones that induce fear, terror, and panic within the American citizenry. When people are fearful, terrified, and panicked, they are much more willing, even eager, to have government officials do whatever is necessary to keep them safe and secure. It is during such times that liberty is at greatest risk because of the propensity of government to assume emergency powers and the proclivity of the citizenry to let them have them.

That's what the Cold War was all about. The official enemies were communism and the Soviet Union, which was an alliance of nations that had Russia at its center. U.S. officials convinced Americans that there was a worldwide communist conspiracy to take over the world, with its principal base in Moscow.

A correlative threat was Red China, whose communist hordes were supposedly threatening to flood the United States.

There were also the communist outposts, which were considered spearheads pointed at America. North Korea. North Vietnam. Cuba, which, Americans were told, was a communist dagger pointed out America's neck from only 90 miles away.

And then there was communism the philosophy, along with the communists who promoted it. It was clear, U.S. officials gravely maintained, that communism was spreading all across the world, including inside the U.S. Army, the State Department, and Hollywood, and that communists were everyone, including leftist organizations and even sometimes under people's beds.

Needless to say, all this fear, terror, and panic induced people to support the ever-growing budgets, influence, and power of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA, which had become the national-security branch of the federal government - and the most powerful branch at that. Few cared that their hard-earned monies were being taken from them by the IRS in ever-increasing amounts. All that mattered was being kept safe from the communists.

Hardly anyone questioned or challenged this warfare-state racket. President Eisenhower alluded to it in his Farewell Address in 1961, when he pointed out that this new-fangled governmental structure, which he called "the military industrial complex," now posed a grave threat to the freedoms and democratic processes of the American people.

One of those who did challenge this official-enemy syndrome was President John F. Kennedy. At war with his national-security establishment in 1963, Kennedy threw the gauntlet down at his famous Peace Speech at American University in June of that year. There was no reason, Kennedy said, that the Soviet Union (i.e., Russia) and the rest of the communist world couldn't live in peace co-existence and even friendship, even if the nations were guided by different ideologies and philosophies. Kennedy announced that it was time to end the Cold War against Russia and the rest of the communist world.

What Kennedy was proposing was anathema to the national-security state and its ever-growing army of voracious contractors and subcontractors who were feeding at the public trough. How dare he remove the Soviet Union (i.e., Russia) as America's official enemy? How could the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA justify their ever-growing budgets and their ever-growing emergency powers? Indeed, how could they justify the very existence of their Cold War totalitarian-type apparatus known as a "national security state" without a giant official enemy to strike fear, terror, and panic with the American people?

Kennedy was considered a neophyte and an incompetent by the national-security establishment, not to mention an immoral adulterous philanderer who was even sleeping with the girlfriend of a Mafia don. What Kennedy didn't realize, the Pentagon and the CIA believed, was that it was impossible for the United States and the communist world to live in peaceful coexistence. This was a fight to the finish. Kennedy was being lulled, perhaps even blackmailed, into surrendering America to the Reds. He was considered a traitor, a betrayer, and the epitome of naïve. (See: JFK's War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne; The Kennedy Autopsy by Jacob Hornberger; Regime Change: The Kennedy Assassination by Jacob Hornberger; The CIA, Terrorism, and the Cold War: The Evil of the National Security State by Jacob Hornberger; and CIA & JFK: The Secret Assassination Files by Jefferson Morley.)

Once Kennedy was removed from the scene, everything returned to "normal." The Cold War continued. The Vietnam War against the commies in Asia to prevent more dominoes from falling got ramped up. The Soviet Union, Red China, and the worldwide communist conspiracy continued to be America's big official enemies. The military and intelligence budgets continued to rise. The number of warfare state parasites continued soaring.

Seemingly, there was never going to be an end to the process. Until one day, the unexpected suddenly happened. The Berlin Wall came crashing down, East and West Germany were reunited, and the Soviet Union was dismantled, all of which struck unmitigated fear within the bowels of the American deep state.

Oh sure, there was still Cuba, Red China, North Korea, and Vietnam but those communist nations, for some reason, just didn't strike fear, terror, and panic within Americans as Russia did.

U.S. officials needed a new official enemy. Enter Saddam Hussein, the dictator of Iraq, who had served as a partner and ally of the U.S. government during the 1980s when he was waging war against Iran, which, by that time, had become converted from official friend to official enemy of the U.S. Empire. Throughout the 1990s, Saddam was made into the new official enemy. Like the Soviets and the communists, Saddam was coming to get us and unleash mushroom clouds all over America. The American people bought it and, not surprisingly, budgets for the national-security establishment continued their upward soar.

Then came the 9/11 attacks in retaliation for what the Pentagon and the CIA were doing in the Middle East, followed by with the retaliatory invasions Afghanistan and Iraq. Suddenly the new official enemies were "terrorism" and then later Islam. Like the communists of yesteryear, the terrorists and the Muslims were coming to get us, take over the federal government, run the IRS and HUD, and force everyone to study the Koran. The American people bought it and, not surprisingly, budgets for the national-security establishment continued their upward soar.

The problem is that Americans, including U.S. soldiers and their families, are now growing weary of the forever wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan. But U.S. national-security state officials know that if they bring the troops home, the official enemies of terrorism and Islam disappear at the same time.

That's why they have decided to return to their old, tried and true official enemy - Russia and, implicitly, communism. It's why the U.S. broke its promise to Russia to dismantle NATO. It's why the U.S. supported regime change in the coup in Ukraine. It's why the U.S. wants Ukraine into NATO - to enable the U.S. to install missiles on Russia's border. It's why the national-security state is "pivoting" toward Asia - to provoke crises with Red China. It's why they are accusing Russia of interfering with the U.S. presidential election and campaigning for Donald Trump. The aim of it all is to bring back the old Cold War official enemies of Russia, China, and communism, in order to keep Americans afraid, terrified, and panicked, which then means the continuation of ever-growing budgets to all those warfare state parasites who are sucking the lifeblood out of the American people.

With his fight against the CIA over Russian hacking and his desire to establish normal relations with Russia, Donald Trump is clearly not buying into this old, tried-and-true Russia-as-official enemy narrative. In the process, he is posing a grave threat to the national-security establishment and its ever-growing budgets, influence, and power.

Share This Article (0)

[Dec 20, 2016] Is the slide toward military dictatorship the poarth the the USA will take due to collapse of neoliberlaism

Notable quotes:
"... But "bastard neoliberalism" that Trump represents in his internal economic policy probably is not a solution for the nations problems. It is too early to say what will be the level of his deviation from election promises, but judging for his appointments it probably will be considerable -- up to a complete reverse on certain promises. ..."
"... So I view his election as the next logical step (after the first two by Bush II and Obama) toward military dictatorship. Previous forms of "Inverted totalitarism" -- a neoliberal version of Bolshevism (or, more correctly, Trotskyism -- many neocons were actually former Trotskyites ) seems to stop working. Neoliberal ideology was discredited in 2008. All three: Bolshevism, Trotskyism and neoliberalism might also be viewed as just different flavors of Corporatism. ..."
"... After 2008 crisis, neoliberalism in the USA continues to exist in zombie state: as a non-dead dead, so it will be inevitably replaced by something else. Much like Bolshevism after 1945. How soon it will happen and what will be the actual trigger (the next oil crisis which turns into another round of Great Recession?) and what will be the successor is anybody guess. Bolshevism in the USSR lasted till 1991 or 46 years. The victory on neoliberalism in the Cold War was in 1991 so if we add 50 years then 2041 might be the date. ..."
economistsview.typepad.com

likbez, December 19, 2016 at 09:18 PM

I think the shift from New Deal Capitalism to neoliberalism proved to be fatal for the form of democracy that used to exist in the USA (never perfect, and never for the plebs).

Neoliberalism as a strange combination of socialism for the rich and feudalism for the poor is anathema for democracy even for the narrow strata of the US society who used to have a say in the political process. Like Bolshevism was dictatorship of nomenklatura under the slogan of "Proletarians of all countries, unite!", neoliberalism is more like dictatorship of financial oligarchy under the slogan "The financial elite of all countries, unite!")

In this sense Trump is just the logical end of the process that started in 1980 with Reagan, or even earlier with Carter.

And at the same time [he is] the symptom of the crisis of the system, as large swats of population this time voted against status quo and that created the revolutionary situation when the elite was unable to govern in the old fashion. That's why, I think, Hillary lost and Trump won.

But "bastard neoliberalism" that Trump represents in his internal economic policy probably is not a solution for the nations problems. It is too early to say what will be the level of his deviation from election promises, but judging for his appointments it probably will be considerable -- up to a complete reverse on certain promises.

So I view his election as the next logical step (after the first two by Bush II and Obama) toward military dictatorship. Previous forms of "Inverted totalitarism" -- a neoliberal version of Bolshevism (or, more correctly, Trotskyism -- many neocons were actually former Trotskyites ) seems to stop working. Neoliberal ideology was discredited in 2008. All three: Bolshevism, Trotskyism and neoliberalism might also be viewed as just different flavors of Corporatism.

After 2008 crisis, neoliberalism in the USA continues to exist in zombie state: as a non-dead dead, so it will be inevitably replaced by something else. Much like Bolshevism after 1945. How soon it will happen and what will be the actual trigger (the next oil crisis which turns into another round of Great Recession?) and what will be the successor is anybody guess. Bolshevism in the USSR lasted till 1991 or 46 years. The victory on neoliberalism in the Cold War was in 1991 so if we add 50 years then 2041 might be the date.

And the slide toward military dictatorship does not necessary need to take a form of junta, which takes power via coup d'état. The control of the government by three letter agencies ("national security state") seems to be sufficient, can be accomplished by stealth, and might well be viewed as a form of military dictatorship too. So it can be a gradual slide: phase I, II, III, etc.

The problem here as with Brezhnev socialism in the USSR is the growing level of degeneration of elite and the growth of influence of deep state, which includes at its core three letter agencies. As Michail Gorbachev famously said about neoliberal revolution in the USSR "the process already started in full force". He just did not understand at this point that he already completely lost control over neoliberal "Perestroika" of the USSR. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perestroika

In a way, the US Presidents are now more and more ceremonial figures that help to maintain the illusion of the legitimacy of the system. Obama is probably the current pinnacle of this process (which is reflected in one of his nicknames -- "teleprompter" http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/22/obama-photo-caption-contest-teleprompter_n_1821154.html) .

You probably could elect a dog instead of Trump and the US foreign policy will stay exactly the same. This hissy fits about Russians that deep state gave Trump before December 19, might be viewed as a warning as for any potential changes in foreign policy.

As we saw with foreign policy none of recent presidents really fully control it. They still are important players, but the question is whether they are still dominant players. My impression is that it is already by-and-large defined and implemented by the deep state. Sometimes dragging the President forcefully into the desirable course of actions.

[Dec 18, 2016] Revealed! Putin personally hacked DNC from surveillance aircraft with bear on board

Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Danielle Ryan is an Irish freelance writer, journalist and media analyst. She has lived and traveled extensively in the US, Germany, Russia and Hungary. Her byline has appeared at RT, The Nation, Rethinking Russia, The BRICS Post, New Eastern Outlook, Global Independent Analytics and many others. She also works on copywriting and editing projects. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook or at her website www.danielleryan.net. ..."
Dec 18, 2016 | www.rt.com
Danielle Ryan
RT
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 21:42 UTC Map © Alexey Nikolsky / Reuters Shocking revelations earlier this week as US intelligence officials confirmed with "high confidence" that Russian President Vladimir Putin was "personally involved" in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.

According to the anonymous sources inside the anonymous US intelligence agency, Putin's objectives were multifaceted, but the whole thing began as a "vendetta" against Hillary Clinton because she said some mean things about him a few times. Putin is also an "immature 12 year-old child," a former US official with links to the defense industry, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed (with high confidence).

The high level, anonymous and completely trustworthy sources also told a major US news agency that Putin himself had piloted a specially-designed Russian spy plane across the Atlantic to personally direct the still-ongoing hacking operations from the air.

via GIPHY
Satellite images seen by a separate anonymous NASA whistleblower are believed to show Putin in the cockpit of the spy plane alongside his co-pilot Boris, a lifelike robotic bear which has been under secret development in the depths of Siberia and has been programmed to attack Putin's enemies on command using a variety of lethal methods.

The NASA whistleblower did not provide journalists with photographic evidence, but the editors had a chat about it in their morning meeting and concluded that it's probably still true.

In fact, the American news agency could not verify any of the claims from the officials who commented for the story, but given that their sources used the term "high confidence" they took this to mean the evidence must be "nearly incontrovertible" and relayed the information to the public with this implication. An understandable decision, since, as we all know, only 100 percent factual information is ever released by anonymous intelligence officials.

Okay, let's rewind. Obviously that bit about the bear and the plane was fake news. And maybe a few other bits, too. But it all demonstrates a point. I've provided you with about the same amount of evidence as NBC has in its story this week claiming Putin personally rigged the US election: I made some allegations, I cited anonymous sources and then I conveyed it to you readers as "nearly incontrovertible" and suggested no further digging or investigation, or even a bit of healthy skepticism, was necessary.

Journalism is dying

There was a time when journalists needed more than 'maybes' and 'probablys' before deciding what their sources told them was "incontrovertible" and delivering half-baked conspiracy theories to the public. That time has apparently long gone.

Imagine for a moment that RT published a story about, oh, let's say Barack Obama personally hacking into Putin's computer. Now imagine the only evidence RT provided was "anonymous FSB officials" and told its readers the story was therefore practically indisputable because these anonymous sources were "confident" in the legitimacy of their secret evidence. Imagine the laughs that would get from sneering Western journalists. Well, that's pretty much exactly what NBC did. And they're not alone. The Washington Post has been at it too, reporting on a "secret" CIA assessment that Russia worked to get Donald Trump elected, quoting anonymous "top officials" and like NBC, providing no evidence.

Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but for something to be presented to the public as indisputable fact, there must be evidence made available to back it up. Neither the CIA or the FBI have provided any such evidence to the public.

Perhaps the saddest thing though is having to acknowledge that all our debates over fake news and real news really don't matter because the very people we are told to trust are the people who will most adeptly use the public's concerns over fake news to manipulate them. The CIA, for example, is hardly known for its long history of telling the truth. Its employees are literally trained in the art of deception and disinformation. They are hardly averse to creating a bit of fake news or making up 'evidence' where needed. Anything they say or do can be forgiven once someone utters the words "national security".

NBC's story claimed Putin not only wanted to embarrass Clinton with the DNC leaks, but to highlight corruption in the American political system; the emails showing, for example, how the DNC colluded with the Clinton campaign to ensure Clinton, not Bernie Sanders, would be the Democratic nominee.

Now, what better way to encourage people to ignore the corruption in the system than to focus their attention on the idea that Putin is the one who told them about it? Are people really reading these stories and convincing themselves that the CIA is the most credible source of public information on what the Russians are doing?

Clinton's long-shot

We've been hearing about Russian hacking for months, long before the election results in November, so why the sudden confidence in all this new and secret evidence? Why the new assertions that Putin himself directed the hacking? Look at your calendar. The Electoral College votes on Monday and it may be Clinton's last hope. It's a long shot, but in true Clinton character, she won't go down without a fight to the last gasp. Her best hope is to convince the Electoral College that Trump's win was influenced by a foreign power, is therefore illegitimate and that national security will be at stake if he takes office.

Amazingly, in the midst of all this, while Clinton's camp is still trying to get her elected through back-door tactics, Obama has pretty much called the election results legitimate .

Members of the Electoral College are expected to vote the way their states voted, but they are not required to. If Clinton can get enough members to flip their votes, Trump is deprived of the 270 votes he needs to become president. That's what this is really all about - and the media is serving as Clinton's willing accomplice.

Danielle Ryan is an Irish freelance writer, journalist and media analyst. She has lived and traveled extensively in the US, Germany, Russia and Hungary. Her byline has appeared at RT, The Nation, Rethinking Russia, The BRICS Post, New Eastern Outlook, Global Independent Analytics and many others. She also works on copywriting and editing projects. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook or at her website www.danielleryan.net.

[Dec 17, 2016] You think Putin personally supervised the Yahoo hacking? This could make many people patriotic in a hurry.

Notable quotes:
"... this will probably be in tomorrow's washington post. "how putin sabotaged the election by hacking yahoo mail". and "proton" and "putin" are 2 syllable words beginning with "p", which is dispositive according to experts who don't want to be indentified. ..."
"... [Neo]Liberals have gone truly insane, I made the mistake of trying to slog through the comments the main "putin did it" piece on huffpo out of curiosity. Big mistake, liberals come across as right wing nutters in the comments, I never knew they were so very patriotic, they never really expressed it before. ..."
"... Be sure and delete everything from your Yahoo account BEFORE you push the big red button. They intentionally wait 90 days to delete the account in order that ECPA protections expire and content can just be handed over to the fuzz. ..."
"... It's a good thing for Obama that torturing logic and evasive droning are not criminal acts. ..."
"... "Relations with Russia have declined over the past several years" I reflexively did a Google search. Yep, Victoria Nuland is still employed. ..."
"... With all the concern expressed about Russian meddling in our election process why are we forgetting the direct quid pro quo foreign meddling evidenced in the Hillary emails related to the seldom mentioned Clinton Foundation or the more likely meddling by local election officials? Why have the claims of Russian hacking received such widespread coverage in the Press? ..."
"... I watched it too and agree with your take on it. For all the build up about this press conference and how I thought we were going to engage in direct combat with Russia for these hacks (or so they say it is Russia, I still wonder about that), he did not add any fuel to this fire. ..."
"... The whole thing was silly – the buildup to this press conference and then how Obama handled the hacking. A waste of time really. I don't sense something is going on behind the scenes but it is weird that the news has been all about this Russian hacking. He did not get into the questions about the Electoral College either and he made it seem like Trump indeed is the next President. I mean it seems like the MSM was making too much about this issue but then nothing happened. ..."
Dec 17, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
pretzelattack , December 16, 2016 at 3:46 pm

this will probably be in tomorrow's washington post. "how putin sabotaged the election by hacking yahoo mail". and "proton" and "putin" are 2 syllable words beginning with "p", which is dispositive according to experts who don't want to be indentified.

HBE , December 16, 2016 at 4:13 pm

[Neo]Liberals have gone truly insane, I made the mistake of trying to slog through the comments the main "putin did it" piece on huffpo out of curiosity. Big mistake, liberals come across as right wing nutters in the comments, I never knew they were so very patriotic, they never really expressed it before.

B1whois , December 16, 2016 at 6:45 pm

The great sucking pit of need that keeps on giving. when will it abate?

different clue , December 16, 2016 at 6:49 pm

They are only hurt at the loss of their beloved Clintron, and are seizing on the Puttin Diddit excuse.

polecat , December 16, 2016 at 7:45 pm

Did they happen to offer you some Guyana Kool-Aid with that order of vitriol ?

Brad , December 16, 2016 at 10:26 pm

Unfortunately the whole "grief cycle" will get a reboot after next Monday's "Election II".

The rest of us are to be pissed off that the CIA and Clinton clique have continued to agiprop this.

Knot Galt , December 16, 2016 at 10:48 pm

Since the ex-Correct The Record key jockeys are out of a job they have to practice their craft somewhere.

hunkerdown , December 16, 2016 at 5:23 pm

Be sure and delete everything from your Yahoo account BEFORE you push the big red button. They intentionally wait 90 days to delete the account in order that ECPA protections expire and content can just be handed over to the fuzz.

auntienene , December 16, 2016 at 8:07 pm

I don't think I've looked at my yahoo account in 8-10 years and I didn't use their email; just had an address. I don't remember my user name or password. I did get an email from them (to my not-yahoo address) advising of the breach.

Do I need to do anything at all?

hunkerdown , December 16, 2016 at 8:22 pm

auntienene, probably not, but as a general principle it's better to close accounts down properly than to abandon them.

Tvc15 , December 16, 2016 at 10:50 pm

I was amazed as I watched a local am news show in Pittsburgh recommend adding your cell phone number in addition to changing your password. Yeah, that's a great idea, maybe my ss# would provide even more security.

Jeremy Grimm , December 16, 2016 at 4:30 pm

I use yahoo email. Why should I move? As I understood the breach it was primarily a breach of the personal information used to establish the account. I've already changed my password - did it a couple of days after the breach was reported. I had a security clearance with DoD which requires disclosure of a lot more personal information than yahoo had. The DoD data has been breached twice from two separate servers.

As far as reading my emails - they may prove useful for phishing but that's about all. I'm not sure what might be needed for phishing beyond a name and email address - easily obtained from many sources I have no control over.

So - what am I vulnerable to by remaining at yahoo that I'm not already exposed to on a more secure server?

polecat , December 16, 2016 at 7:53 pm

You are vulnerable to the knowledge that Marissa Mayer is STILL employed as a high-level corporate twit --

Lee , December 16, 2016 at 3:05 pm

It's a good thing for Obama that torturing logic and evasive droning are not criminal acts.

Ranger Rick , December 16, 2016 at 3:12 pm

"Relations with Russia have declined over the past several years" I reflexively did a Google search. Yep, Victoria Nuland is still employed.

Pat , December 16, 2016 at 3:32 pm

Yeah, it isn't like Mr. 'We go high' is going to admit our relationship has declined because we have underhandedly tried to isolate and knee cap them for pretty much his entire administration.

Jeremy Grimm , December 16, 2016 at 4:44 pm

Are you referring to Obama's press conference? If so, I am glad he didn't make a big deal out of the Russian hacking allegations - as in it didn't sound like he planned a retaliation for the fictional event and its fictional consequences. He rose slightly in stature in my eyes - he's almost as tall as a short flea.

With all the concern expressed about Russian meddling in our election process why are we forgetting the direct quid pro quo foreign meddling evidenced in the Hillary emails related to the seldom mentioned Clinton Foundation or the more likely meddling by local election officials? Why have the claims of Russian hacking received such widespread coverage in the Press?

Why is a lameduck messing with the Chinese in the South China sea? What is the point of all the "fake" news hogwash? Is it related to Obama's expression of concern about the safety of the Internet? I can't shake the feeling that something is going on below the surface of these murky waters.

Susan C , December 16, 2016 at 5:44 pm

I watched it too and agree with your take on it. For all the build up about this press conference and how I thought we were going to engage in direct combat with Russia for these hacks (or so they say it is Russia, I still wonder about that), he did not add any fuel to this fire.

He did respond at one point to a reporter that the hacks from Russia were to the DNC and Podesta but funny how he didn't say HRC emails. Be it as it may, I think what was behind it was HRC really trying to impress all her contributors that Russia really did do her in, see Obama said so, since she must be in hot water over all the money she has collected from foreign governments for pay to play and her donors.

The whole thing was silly – the buildup to this press conference and then how Obama handled the hacking. A waste of time really. I don't sense something is going on behind the scenes but it is weird that the news has been all about this Russian hacking. He did not get into the questions about the Electoral College either and he made it seem like Trump indeed is the next President. I mean it seems like the MSM was making too much about this issue but then nothing happened.

Pat , December 16, 2016 at 7:02 pm

Unfortunately the nightly news is focusing on Obama says Russia hacked the DNC and had it in for Clinton!!! He warned them to stay out of the vote! There will be consequences! Russia demands the evidence and then a story about the evidence. (This one might have a few smarter people going "huh, that's it?!?!")

I do like the some private some public on that consequences and retaliation thing. You either have to laugh or throw up about the faux I've got this and the real self-righteousness. Especially since it is supposedly to remind people we can do it to you. Is there anyone left outside of America who doesn't think they already do do it to anyone Uncle Sam doesn't want in office and even some they do? Mind you I'm not sure how many harried people watching the news are actually going to laugh at that one because they don't know how how much we meddle.

Knot Galt , December 16, 2016 at 10:55 pm

Obamameter. ty L. Scofield ;-)

[Dec 17, 2016] Yahoo's Hack Could Force Paying $145 Million Verizon Break-up Fee - Breitbart

Notable quotes:
"... potential material adverse event ..."
"... exploring a price cut or possible exit ..."
"... Net Neutrality . ..."
"... These enforceable, bright-line rules will ban paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services ..."
"... communicated with a total of 51 parties to evaluate their interest in a potential transaction ..."
"... 32 parties signed confidentiality agreements with Yahoo ..."
"... Payment card data and bank account information are not stored in the system the company believes was affected ..."
Dec 17, 2016 | www.breitbart.com
Given that the Donald Trump victory already made Yahoo less attractive for Verizon, the latest billion-account-hack at Yahoo could let Verizon dump their buy-out and still collect a $145 million break-up fee .

Yahoo's stock plunged over 6 percent after the company admitted its customer data had been hacked again, with at least 1 billion accounts exposed in 2014. The horribly bad news for Yahoo followed an equally bad news report in September that 500 million e-mail account were hacked in 2013. Yahoo unfortunately now has the distinction of suffering both of the history's largest client hacks.

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

Verizon's top lawyer told reporters after the first Yahoo hack that the disclosure constituted a " potential material adverse event " that would allow for the mobile powerhouse to pull out of the $4.83 billion deal they announced on July 25, 2016.

Less than 24 hours after Yahoo disclosed the even larger hack of client accounts by a "state-sponsored actor," Bloomberg reported that Verizon is " exploring a price cut or possible exit " from its proposed Yahoo acquisition.

Breitbart reported that Google and other Silicon Valley companies were huge corporate winners when Chairman Tom Wheeler and the other two Democrat political appointees on the FCC voted on a party-line vote in mid-February 2015 for a new regulatory structure called ' Net Neutrality . ' Although Wheeler claimed, " These enforceable, bright-line rules will ban paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services ," they were a huge economic disaster for Verizon's high-speed broadband business model.

Verizon responded last year by paying $4.4 billion to buy AOL in order to pick up popular news sites, large advertising business, and more than 2 million Internet dial-up subscribers. Buying Yahoo was expected to give the former telephone company to achieve "scale" by controlling a second web content pioneer.

After President and CEO Marissa Mayer began organizing an auction in March, Yahoo stock doubled from $26 a share to $51 by September. But she announced on Wednesday the new hack, Yahoo's stock has been plunging to $38.40 in after-market trading.

The buyer normally has to pay a break-up fee if an acquisition fails. But Yahoo chose to run its own auction that " communicated with a total of 51 parties to evaluate their interest in a potential transaction ." Then between February and April 2016, a "short list" of " 32 parties signed confidentiality agreements with Yahoo ," including 10 strategic parties and 22 financial sponsors.

Yahoo's 13D proxy statement filed with the SEC was mostly boilerplate disclosure, but it seemed that something must have been a potential problem at Yahoo for the company to offer a $145 million termination fee to Verizon if the deal did not close.

Yahoo on Wednesday issued a statement saying personal information from more than a billion user accounts was stolen in 2014. The news followed the company's announcement in September that hackers had stolen personal data from at least half a billion accounts in 2013. Yahoo said it believes the two thefts were by different parties.

Yahoo admitted that both hacks were so extensive that they included users' names, email addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, scrambled passwords and security questions and answers. But Yahoo stated, " Payment card data and bank account information are not stored in the system the company believes was affected ."

Yahoo said they have invalidated unencrypted security questions and answers in user accounts. They are in the process of notifying potentially affected users and is requiring them to change their passwords.

Yahoo was already facing nearly two dozen class-action lawsuits over the first breach and the company's failure to report it on a timely basis. A federal 3 judge panel last week consolidated 5 of the suits into a mass tort in the San Jose U.S. District Court.

Undoubtedly, there will be a huge number of user lawsuits filed against Yahoo in the next few weeks.

[Dec 15, 2016] Exclusive: Top US spy agency has not embraced CIA assessment on Russia hacking – sources

Dec 15, 2016 | uk.reuters.com

The overseers of the U.S. intelligence community have not embraced a CIA assessment that Russian cyber attacks were aimed at helping Republican President-elect Donald Trump win the 2016 election, three American officials said on Monday.

While the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) does not dispute the CIA's analysis of Russian hacking operations, it has not endorsed their assessment because of a lack of conclusive evidence that Moscow intended to boost Trump over Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, said the officials, who declined to be named .

An ODNI spokesman declined to comment on the issue.

"ODNI is not arguing that the agency (CIA) is wrong, only that they can't prove intent," said one of the three U.S. officials. "Of course they can't, absent agents in on the decision-making in Moscow."

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, whose evidentiary standards require it to make cases that can stand up in court, declined to accept the CIA's analysis – a deductive assessment of the available intelligence – for the same reason, the three officials said


marknesop says: December 13, 2016 at 6:17 am
But all of them, without exception, accept that the Democrats' server was hacked by Russia, and that it was Russia who leaked the information through Wikileaks, and that Russia also hacked the Republicans but declined to release incriminating or influential material it had in its possession. There is, to my knowledge, no evidence of this, either.

[Dec 15, 2016] French forgot how mercilessly they bombed cilians in Lybi and who created ISIS

Dec 15, 2016 | marknesop.wordpress.com
Patient Observer , December 13, 2016 at 9:36 am

We live in a sea of lies. Per NPR this morning – French officials are demanding that Russia stop the intense bombing of the huge masses of civilians seeking shelter in the last remaining rebel areas in Aleppo. They demand that a humanitarian corridor 5 kilometers wide be created for their escape [where to, I wonder] protected by NATO/EU troops. The barbarity of the Russians and Syrians are is simply impossible to describe per the report.

NPR and other MSM channels have adopted a relatively clever strategy – they simply pass along reports from important sounding organizations like the Observatory for Human Rights while ignoring any alternative information sources. They sort of learned their lesson from the WMD fiasco – don't manufacture the lie, let someone else do it. So the MSM is simply a component in the supply chain of lies.

et Al , December 13, 2016 at 12:13 pm
Moon of Alabama: MSM Create #Fakenews Storm As Rebel Aleppo Vanishes
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/12/-msm-create-fakenews-storm-as-rebel-aleppo-vanishes.html

I have not ever experienced a #fakenews onslaught as today. Every mainstream media and agency seems to have lost all inhibitions and is reporting any rumor claim regarding east-Aleppo as fact.

Consider this BBC headline and opener:

Aleppo battle: UN says 82 civilians shot on the spot

Syrian pro-government forces have been entering homes in eastern Aleppo and killing those inside, including women and children, the UN says.

The UN's human rights office said it had reliable evidence that in four areas 82 civilians were shot on sight.

1. A UN human rights office does not exists. What the BBC means is the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR). That commissioner is the Jordanian Prince Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, a Hashemite educated in the UK and U.S. and a relative of the Jordanian dictator king. That is relevant to note as Jordan is heavily involved in the supporting the "rebels" against the Syrian government.

2. The office has not "said" that "82 civilians were shot" or other such gruesome stuff. It said that there were "sources" that have "reports" that such happened. From its press statement today:

Multiple sources have reports that tens of civilians were shot dead yesterday in al-Ahrar Square in al-Kallaseh neighbourhood, and also in Bustan al-Qasr, by Government forces and their allies, including allegedly the Iraqi al-Nujabaa armed group .
####

More at the link.

#FFakeNews! #FMSM!

et Al, December 13, 2016 at 1:02 pm
Groaning Man: International concern over claims of chemical weapon attack in Syria
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/13/international-concern-over-claims-of-chemical-weapon-attack-in-syria?google_editors_picks=true

At least 93 reportedly killed and hundreds injured near Palmyra, with witnesses saying many child victims suffocated

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is seriously concerned about claims that at least 93 people were killed by a gas attack in central Syria when airstrikes hit a cluster of five villages.

Up to 300 people were also reported to have been injured in the strikes on Monday morning around 130 miles west of the city of Palmyra, which was retaken from Syrian forces by the Islamic State group. Witnesses to the attacks say that none of those who died had blast injuries

The high death toll is not consistent with the spate of chlorine gas attacks across Syria in recent years, which have killed scores of people in total but have not caused mass casualties at this scale.

Photographs purportedly taken after the attacks show rows of children lying on the ground. All appear to be dead and foam is apparent near the nose of one young boy.

The images resemble those taken in the aftermath of an attack that killed more than 1,300 people in the suburbs of Damascus in August 2013, which the United Nations said was 'indisputably' caused by sarin gas. On that occasion the US, UK and France blamed the Assad regime. The UN said the sarin used had probably come from regime stockpiles
####

So it didn't take so long after all. ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/Whatever can kill as creatively as they wish and the Pork Pie News Networks will consistently report is as being done 'by Assad'. ISIS forced them in to cellars then gassed them, only to have 'sources' present it as an

[Dec 15, 2016] Georgia asks Trump to investigate DHS cyberattacks

Dec 15, 2016 | marknesop.wordpress.com
Pavlo Svolochenko , December 14, 2016 at 2:43 pm
Georgia asks Trump to investigate DHS 'cyberattacks'

If you want to know what Washington is doing at any given time, just look at what they're accusing the competition of.

yalensis , December 14, 2016 at 5:05 pm
As the Worm Turns!
For all those Amurican rubes out there who beleived that Homeland Security was protecting them against foreign terrorists – ha hahahahahaha!

[Dec 14, 2016] Yahoo discovers hack affecting 1 billion users, breaking its own world record

www.dailynews.com
Yahoo has discovered a 3-year-old security breach that enabled a hacker to compromise more than 1 billion user accounts, breaking the company's own humiliating record for the biggest security breach in history.

The digital heist disclosed Wednesday occurred in August 2013, more than a year before a separate hack that Yahoo announced nearly three months ago . That breach affected at least 500 million users, which had been the most far-reaching hack until the latest revelation.

Yahoo has more than a billion monthly active users, although some have multiple accounts and others have none at all. An unknown number of accounts were affected by both hacks.

In both attacks, the stolen information included names, email addresses, phone numbers, birthdates and security questions and answers. The company says it believes bank-account information and payment-card data were not affected.

[Dec 12, 2016] Sundus Saleh, an Iraqi woman, claims that former President George W. Bush and other government officials committed the crime of aggression when they launched the Iraq War, an international war crime that was banned at the Nuremberg Trials

Dec 12, 2016 | www.moonofalabama.org

ALberto | Dec 12, 2016 3:02:04 PM | 2

The Nuremberg Court Trials rulings only apply to 'them' not 'US'

Sundus Saleh, an Iraqi woman, claims that former President George W. Bush and other government officials committed the crime of aggression when they launched the Iraq War, an international war crime that was banned at the Nuremberg Trials.

Saleh filed her lawsuit in March 2013 in San Francisco federal court. The court ruled in December 2014 that the defendants in the lawsuit - George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Paul Wolfowitz - were immune from civil proceedings based on the Westfall Act, a federal law which immunizes government officials from lawsuits for conduct taken within the lawful scope of their authority. Saleh appealed the decision in June 2015.

The Ninth Circuit has not indicated when it will issue an order with respect to Saleh's appeal.

Nuremberg trial also prosecuted Judges unt Doctors.

http://witnessiraq.com/blog/

[Dec 10, 2016] The head of the worlds largest private surveillance operation, billionaire Eric Schmidt

Notable quotes:
"... the world's largest private surveillance operation ..."
"... Ha! I wish I'd thought of that line! I just laughed out loud on the train and my fellow commuter drones are shuffling and wondering to themselves if I'm on day release from an institution. ..."
"... Of course, the joke's on us, because that's exactly what they (Google) are with all the right friends in high places to boot ..."
"... Something that has been occurring lately with Chrome makes me think that Google is truly watching. A lot of sites (RT et al) are having the https// crossed out in red implying that the connection is no longer secure. ..."
Dec 10, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Clive December 9, 2016 at 2:42 am

" the head of the world's largest private surveillance operation , billionaire Eric Schmidt "

Ha! I wish I'd thought of that line! I just laughed out loud on the train and my fellow commuter drones are shuffling and wondering to themselves if I'm on day release from an institution.

Of course, the joke's on us, because that's exactly what they (Google) are with all the right friends in high places to boot .

heresy101 December 9, 2016 at 1:33 pm

Something that has been occurring lately with Chrome makes me think that Google is truly watching. A lot of sites (RT et al) are having the https// crossed out in red implying that the connection is no longer secure.

For instance, the "true" link in the article above has the https// in red when using Chrome, but Firefox does not make it unsecure (at least it isn't showing it). https://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/maxim-eristavi/terror-against-ukraine-s-journalists-is-fueled-by-political-elites Does this have something to do with certificates or is something more sinister going on?

Chrome puts each tab in a new process versus Firefox creating one big file that becomes unstable if you open too many tabs.

There was a comment on ZH recently that referenced a secure browser but now I can't find the link. Does anyone have a suggestion?

Clive December 9, 2016 at 2:09 pm

Probably TOR but I would caution this is far from foolproof and may even incur The Panopticon's more intrusive surveillance attention.

I value my privacy as much as anyone but I don't use TOR or similar simply because if they are not a guaranteed solution, what's the point? And besides, why should I have to? It's just another tax on my time and resources.

Dopey Panda December 9, 2016 at 7:08 pm

The opendemocracy link you gave shows up as having issues in firefox also. It looks like they have some insecure images on the page, which is probably what chrome is complaining about.

[Dec 06, 2016] Mattis on Our Way of War

Dec 06, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.com
General Mattis reportedly spoke of his concerns during discussions over attacking Iran and thus fell afoul of the Washington establishment, so President Obama hastened his retirement. Foreign Policy 's Thomas Ricks reported :

Why the hurry? Pentagon insiders say that he rubbed civilian officials the wrong way-not because he went all "mad dog," which is his public image, and the view at the White House, but rather because he pushed the civilians so hard on considering the second- and third-order consequences of military action against Iran. Some of those questions apparently were uncomfortable. Like, what do you do with Iran once the nuclear issue is resolved and it remains a foe? What do you do if Iran then develops conventional capabilities that could make it hazardous for U.S. Navy ships to operate in the Persian Gulf? He kept saying, "And then what?"

Washington did have a "strategy" when it attacked Iraq, the neoconservative one. This was to intimidate the Muslim world with massive bombing, "Shock and Awe" we called it, so all Muslims would be afraid of us and then do what we ordered. Then we planted giant, billion-dollar American air bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. These would, they thought, give us hegemony over Central Asia, intimidate Russia and Iran, while Iraq would turn into a friendly, modern democracy dependent upon Washington. Other Muslim nations would then follow with democratic regimes which would co-operate and obey Washington's plans.

With the neocons discredited, no other strategy has replaced theirs except to "win" and come home. This is not unusual in our history. In past wars American "strategy" has usually been to return to the status quo ante, the prewar situation. Washington violates nearly all of Sun Tzu's dictums for success. Endless wars for little purpose and with no end strategy are thus likely to continue. They are, however, profitable or beneficial for many Washington interests.

[Dec 06, 2016] Why is the USA addicted to war?

www.moonofalabama.org
ben | Dec 3, 2016 2:01:32 PM | 10

http://www.addictedtowar.com/ read the books online. don't let the books format fool you, massive thought, with footnotes.

Penelope | Dec 3, 2016 11:47:02 PM | 59

Ben @ 10, it's not the USA that's addicted to war. Rather it is the US govt AS CAPTURED BY THE OLIGARCHS. Nor is it truly an addiction, but a means to the end of a global oligarchy. It isn't enough to see the evil of US aggression. One must also understand why the international institutions which have usurped nationhood around the world are evil: Fed/IMF system, World Bank, WTO and the entire UN system to which they belong. US hegemony has never been intended as the endgame. Oligarchical global govt is-- initially as a decentralized administration which they are already trying to sell you as "multipolarity".

[Dec 05, 2016] New Class War

This is a very weak article from a prominent paleoconservative, but it is instructive what a mess he has in his head as for the nature of Trump phenomenon. We should probably consider the tern "New Class" that neocons invented as synonym for "neoliberals". If so, why the author is afraid to use the term? Does he really so poorly educated not to understand the nature of this neoliberal revolution and its implications? Looks like he never read "Quite coup"
That probably reflects the crisis of pealeoconservatism itself.
Notable quotes:
"... What do these insurgents have in common? All have called into question the interventionist consensus in foreign policy. All have opposed large-scale free-trade agreements. ..."
"... the establishment in both parties almost uniformly favors one approach to war, trade, and immigration, while outsider candidates as dissimilar as Buchanan, Nader, Paul, and Trump, and to a lesser extent Sanders, depart from the consensus. ..."
"... The insurgents clearly do not represent a single class: they appeal to eclectic interests and groups. The foe they have all faced down, however-the bipartisan establishment-does resemble a class in its striking unity of outlook and interest. So what is this class, effectively the ruling class of the country? ..."
"... The archetypal model of class conflict, the one associated with Karl Marx, pits capitalists against workers-or, at an earlier stage, capitalists against the landed nobility. The capitalists' victory over the nobility was inevitable, and so too, Marx believed, was the coming triumph of the workers over the capitalists. ..."
"... The Soviet Union had never been a workers' state at all, they argued, but was run by a class of apparatchiks such as Marx had never imagined. ..."
"... Burnham recognized affinities between the Soviet mode of organization-in which much real power lay in the hands of the commissars who controlled industry and the bureaucratic organs of the state-and the corporatism that characterized fascist states. Even the U.S., under the New Deal and with ongoing changes to the balance between ownership and management in the private sector, seemed to be moving in the same direction. ..."
"... concept popularized by neoconservatives in the following decade: the "New Class." ..."
"... It consists of a goodly proportion of those college-educated people whose skills and vocations proliferate in a 'post-industrial society' (to use Daniel Bell's convenient term). We are talking about scientists, teachers, and educational administrators, journalists and others in the communication industries, psychologists, social workers, those lawyers and doctors who make their careers in the expanding public sector, city planners, the staffs of the larger foundations, the upper levels of the government bureaucracy, and so on. ..."
"... I have felt that this 'new class' is, so far, rather thin gruel. Intellectuals, verbalists, media types, etc. are conspicuous actors these days, certainly; they make a lot of noise, get a lot of attention, and some of them make a lot of money. But, after all, they are a harum-scarum crowd, and deflate even more quickly than they puff up. On TV they can out-talk any of the managers of ITT, GM, or IBM, or the administration-managers of the great government bureaus and agencies, but, honestly, you're not going to take that as a power test. Who hires and fires whom? ..."
"... Burnham had observed that the New Class did not have the means-either money or manpower-to wield power the way the managers or the capitalists of old did. It had to borrow power from other classes. Discovering where the New Class gets it is as easy as following the money, which leads straight to the finance sector-practically to the doorstep of Goldman Sachs. Jerry Rubin's journey from Yippie to yuppie was the paradigm of a generation. ..."
"... Yet the New Class as a whole is less like Carl Oglesby or Karl Hess than like Hillary Clinton, who arguably embodies it as perfectly as McNamara did the managerial class. ..."
"... Even the New Class's support for deregulation-to the advantage of its allies on Wall Street-was no sign of consistent commitment to free-market principles ..."
"... The individual-mandate feature of Obamacare and Romneycare is a prime example of New Class cronyism: government compels individuals to buy a supposedly private product or service. ..."
"... America's class war, like many others, is not in the end a contest between up and down. It's a fight between rival elites: in this case, between the declining managerial elite and the triumphant (for now) New Class and financial elites. ..."
"... Donald Trump is not of the managerial class himself. But by embracing managerial interests-industrial protection and, yes, "big government"-and combining them with nationalistic identity politics, he has built a force that has potential to threaten the bipartisan establishment, even if he goes down to defeat in November. ..."
"... The New Class, after all, lacks a popular base as well as money of its own, and just as it relies on Wall Street to underwrite its power, it depends on its competing brands of identity politics to co-opt popular support. ..."
"... Marx taught that you identify classes by their structural role in the system of production. I'm at a loss to see how either of the 'classes' you mention here relate to the system of production. ..."
"... [New] Class better describes the Never Trumpers. Mostly I have found them to be those involved in knowledge occupations (conservative think tanks, hedge fund managers, etc.) who have a pecuniary interest in maintaining the Global Economy as opposed to the Virtuous Intergenerational Economy that preceded. Many are dependent on funding sources for their livelihoods that are connected to the Globalized Economy and financial markets. ..."
"... "mobilize working-class voters against the establishment in both parties. " = workers of the world unite. ..."
"... Where the class conflict between the Working and Knowledge Classes begins is where the Knowledge Class almost unilaterally decided to shift to a global economy, at the expense of the Working Class, and to the self-benefit of the Knowledge Class. Those who designed the Global Economy like Larry Summers of Harvard did not invite private or public labor to help design the new Globalist Economy. The Working Class lost out big time in job losses and getting stuck with subprime home loans that busted their marriages and created bankruptcies and foreclosures. The Knowledge Class was mostly unscathed by this class-based economic divide. ..."
"... Trump's distinguishing ideology, which separates him from the current elite, is something he has summed up many times – nationalism vs. Globalism. ..."
"... The financial industry, the new tech giants, the health insurance industry are now almost indistinguishable from the government ruling elite. The old left–represented by Sanders–rails against this as big money coopting government, even while conservatives are exasperated by the unholy cabal of big business and big government in cohoots in the "progressive" remake of America. Both are right in a sense. ..."
"... The hyperconcentration of power in Washington and a few tributary locations like Wall Street and Silicon Valley, elite academia and the media–call that the New Class if you like–means that most of America–Main Street, the flyover country has been left behind. Trump instinctively – brilliantly in some ways – tapped into the resentment that this hyperconcentration of wealth and government power has led to. That is why it cuts across right and left. The elites want to characterize this resentment as backwards and "racist," but there is also something very American from Jefferson to Jackson to Teddy Roosevelt that revolts against being lectured to and controlled by their would-be "betters." ..."
"... The alienation of those left out is real and based on real erosion of the middle class and American dream under both parties' elites. The potentially revolutionary capabilities of a political movement that could unite right and left in restoring some equilibrium and opportunities to those left out is tremendous, but yet to be realized by either major party. The party that can harness these folks – who are after all the majority of Americans – will have a ruling coalition for decades. If neither party can productively harness this budding movement, we are headed for disarray, civil unrest, and potentially the dissolution of the USA. ..."
"... . And blacks who cleave to the democrats despite being sold down the tubes on issues, well, for whatever reason, they just have thinner skin and the mistaken idea that the democrats deliver – thanks to Pres. Johnson. But what Pres. Johnson delivered democrats made a mockery of immediately as they stripped it of its intent and used for their own liberal ends. ..."
"... Let's see if I can help Dreher clear up some confusion in his article. James Burnham's "Managerial Class" and the "New Class" are overlapping and not exclusive. By the Managerial Class Burnham meant both the executive and managers in the private sector and the Bureaucrats and functionaries in the public sector. ..."
"... The rise of managers was a "revolution" because of the rise of modernization which meant the increasing mechanization, industrialization, formalization and rationalization (efficiency) of society. Burnham's concern about the rise of the managerial revolution was misplaced; what he should have focused on was modernization. ..."
"... The old left–represented by Sanders–rails against this as big money coopting government, even while conservatives are exasperated by the unholy cabal of big business and big government in cohoots in the "progressive" remake of America ..."
"... . Some 3 – 5% of the population facing no real opposition has decided that that their private lives needed public endorsement and have proceeded to upend the entire social order - the game has shifted in ways I am not sure most of the public fully grasps or desires ..."
"... There has always been and will always be class conflict, even if it falls short of a war. Simply examining recent past circumstances, the wealthy class has been whooping up on all other classes. This is not to suggest any sort of remedy, but simply to observe that income disparity over the past 30 years has substantially benefitted on sector of class and political power remains in their hands today. To think that there will never be class conflict is to side with a Marxian fantasy of egalitarianism, which will never come to pass. Winners and losers may change positions, but the underlying conflict will always remain. ..."
"... State governments have been kowtowing to big business interests for a good long while. Nothing new under the sun there. Back in the 80s when GM was deciding where to site their factory for the new Saturn car line, they issued an edict stating they would only consider states that had mandatory seat belt use laws, and the states in the running fell all over each to enact those. ..."
"... People don't really care for the actions of the elite but they care for the consequences of these actions. During the 1960's, per capita GDP growth was around 3.5%. Today it stands at 0,49%. If you take into account inflation, it's negative. Add to this the skewed repartition of said growth and it's intuitive that many people feel the pain; whom doesn't move forward, goes backwards. ..."
"... People couldn't care for mass immigration, nation building or the emergence of China if their personal situation was not impacted. But now, they begin to feel the results of these actions. ..."
"... I have a simple philosophy regarding American politics that shows who is made of what, and we don't have to go through all the philosophizing in this article: Anyone who believes in same sex marriage has been brainwashed and is un-American and unreliable. Anyone who puts Israeli interests above America's is un-American. ..."
"... Re: Anyone who believes in same sex marriage has been brainwashed and is un-American and unreliable. Anyone who puts Israeli interests above America's is un-American. ..."
"... The first has nothing whatsoever to do with American citizenship. It's just a political issue– on which, yes, reasonable people can differ. However no American citizen should put the interests of any other country ahead of our own, except in a situation where the US was itself up to no good and deserved its comeuppance. And then the interest is not that of any particular nation, but of justice being done period. ..."
"... A lot of this "New Class" stuff is just confusing mis-mash of this and that theory. Basically, America changed when the US dollar replace gold as the medium of exchange in the world economy. Remember when we called it the PETRO-DOLLAR. As long as the Saudis only accepted the US dollar as the medium of exchange for oil, then the American government could export it's inflation and deficit spending. Budget deficits and trade deficits are intrinsically related. It allowed America to become a nation of consumers instead of a nation of producers. ..."
"... It's really a form of classic IMPERIALISM. To maintain this system, we've got the US military and we prop up the corrupt dictatorships in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Libya ..."
"... Yeah, you can talk about the "new class", the corruption of the banking system by the idiotic "libertarian" or "free market utopianism" of the Gingrich Congress, the transformation of American corporations to international corporations, and on and on. But it's the US dollar as reserve currency that has allowed it all to happen. God help us, if it ends, we'll be crippled. ..."
"... The Clinton Class mocks The Country Class: Bill Clinton, "We all know how her opponent's done real well down in West Virginia and eastern Kentucky. Because the coal people don't like any of us anymore." "They blame the president when the sun doesn't come up in the morning now," ..."
"... That doesn't mean they actually support Hillary's policies and position. What do they really know about either? These demographics simply vote overwhelmingly Democrat no matter who is on the ticket. If Alfred E. Newman were the candidate, this particular data point would look just the same. ..."
"... "On the contrary, the New Class favors new kinds of crony finance capitalism, even as it opposes the protectionism that would benefit hard industry and managerial interests." This doesn't ring true. Hard industry, and the managers that run it had no problem with moving jobs and factories overseas in pursuit of cheaper labor. Plus, it solved their Union issues. I feel like the divide is between large corporations, with dilute ownership and professional managers who nominally serve the interests of stock fund managers, while greatly enriching themselves versus a multitude of smaller, locally owned businesses whose owners were also concerned with the health of the local communities in which they lived. ..."
"... The financial elites are a consequence of consolidation in the banking and finance industry, where we now have 4 or 5 large institutions versus a multitude of local and regional banks that were locally focused. ..."
Sep 07, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Since the Cold War ended, U.S. politics has seen a series of insurgent candidacies. Pat Buchanan prefigured Trump in the Republican contests of 1992 and 1996. Ralph Nader challenged the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party from the outside in 2000. Ron Paul vexed establishment Republicans John McCain and Mitt Romney in 2008 and 2012. And this year, Trump was not the only candidate to confound his party's elite: Bernie Sanders harried Hillary Clinton right up to the Democratic convention.

What do these insurgents have in common? All have called into question the interventionist consensus in foreign policy. All have opposed large-scale free-trade agreements. (The libertarian Paul favors unilateral free trade: by his lights, treaties like NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership are not free trade at all but international regulatory pacts.) And while no one would mistake Ralph Nader's or Ron Paul's views on immigration for Pat Buchanan's or Donald Trump's, Nader and Paul have registered their own dissents from the approach to immigration that prevails in Washington.

Sanders has been more in line with his party's orthodoxy on that issue. But that didn't save him from being attacked by Clinton backers for having an insufficiently nonwhite base of support. Once again, what might have appeared to be a class conflict-in this case between a democratic socialist and an elite liberal with ties to high finance-could be explained away as really about race.

Race, like religion, is a real factor in how people vote. Its relevance to elite politics, however, is less clear. Something else has to account for why the establishment in both parties almost uniformly favors one approach to war, trade, and immigration, while outsider candidates as dissimilar as Buchanan, Nader, Paul, and Trump, and to a lesser extent Sanders, depart from the consensus.

The insurgents clearly do not represent a single class: they appeal to eclectic interests and groups. The foe they have all faced down, however-the bipartisan establishment-does resemble a class in its striking unity of outlook and interest. So what is this class, effectively the ruling class of the country?

Some critics on the right have identified it with the "managerial" class described by James Burnham in his 1941 book The Managerial Revolution . But it bears a stronger resemblance to what what others have called "the New Class." In fact, the interests of this New Class of college-educated "verbalists" are antithetical to those of the industrial managers that Burnham described. Understanding the relationship between these two often conflated concepts provides insight into politics today, which can be seen as a clash between managerial and New Class elites.

♦♦♦

The archetypal model of class conflict, the one associated with Karl Marx, pits capitalists against workers-or, at an earlier stage, capitalists against the landed nobility. The capitalists' victory over the nobility was inevitable, and so too, Marx believed, was the coming triumph of the workers over the capitalists.

Over the next century, however, history did not follow the script. By 1992, the Soviet Union was gone, Communist China had embarked on market reforms, and Western Europe was turning away from democratic socialism. There was no need to predict the future; mankind had achieved its destiny, a universal order of [neo]liberal democracy. Marx had it backwards: capitalism was the end of history.

But was the truth as simple as that? Long before the collapse of the USSR, many former communists -- some of whom remained socialists, while others joined the right-thought not. The Soviet Union had never been a workers' state at all, they argued, but was run by a class of apparatchiks such as Marx had never imagined.

Among the first to advance this argument was James Burnham, a professor of philosophy at New York University who became a leading Trotskyist thinker. As he broke with Trotsky and began moving toward the right, Burnham recognized affinities between the Soviet mode of organization-in which much real power lay in the hands of the commissars who controlled industry and the bureaucratic organs of the state-and the corporatism that characterized fascist states. Even the U.S., under the New Deal and with ongoing changes to the balance between ownership and management in the private sector, seemed to be moving in the same direction.

Burnham called this the "managerial revolution." The managers of industry and technically trained government officials did not own the means of production, like the capitalists of old. But they did control the means of production, thanks to their expertise and administrative prowess.

The rise of this managerial class would have far-reaching consequences, he predicted. Burnham wrote in his 1943 book, The Machiavellians : "that the managers may function, the economic and political structure must be modified, as it is now being modified, so as to rest no longer on private ownership and small-scale nationalist sovereignty, but primarily upon state control of the economy, and continental or vast regional world political organization." Burnham pointed to Nazi Germany, imperial Japan-which became a "continental" power by annexing Korea and Manchuria-and the Soviet Union as examples.

The defeat of the Axis powers did not halt the progress of the managerial revolution. Far from it: not only did the Soviets retain their form of managerialism, but the West increasingly adopted a managerial corporatism of its own, marked by cooperation between big business and big government: high-tech industrial crony capitalism, of the sort that characterizes the military-industrial complex to this day. (Not for nothing was Burnham a great advocate of America's developing a supersonic transport of its own to compete with the French-British Concorde.)

America's managerial class was personified by Robert S. McNamara, the former Ford Motor Company executive who was secretary of defense under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. In a 1966 story for National Review , "Why Do They Hate Robert Strange McNamara?" Burnham answered the question in class terms: "McNamara is attacked by the Left because the Left has a blanket hatred of the system of business enterprise; he is criticized by the Right because the Right harks back, in nostalgia if not in practice, to outmoded forms of business enterprise."

McNamara the managerial technocrat was too business-oriented for a left that still dreamed of bringing the workers to power. But the modern form of industrial organization he represented was not traditionally capitalist enough for conservatives who were at heart 19th-century classical liberals.

National Review readers responded to Burnham's paean to McNamara with a mixture of incomprehension and indignation. It was a sign that even readers familiar with Burnham-he appeared in every issue of the magazine-did not always follow what he was saying. The popular right wanted concepts that were helpful in labeling enemies, and Burnham was confusing matters by talking about changes in the organization of government and industry that did not line up with anyone's value judgements.

More polemically useful was a different concept popularized by neoconservatives in the following decade: the "New Class." "This 'new class' is not easily defined but may be vaguely described," Irving Kristol wrote in a 1975 essay for the Wall Street Journal :

It consists of a goodly proportion of those college-educated people whose skills and vocations proliferate in a 'post-industrial society' (to use Daniel Bell's convenient term). We are talking about scientists, teachers, and educational administrators, journalists and others in the communication industries, psychologists, social workers, those lawyers and doctors who make their careers in the expanding public sector, city planners, the staffs of the larger foundations, the upper levels of the government bureaucracy, and so on.

"Members of the new class do not 'control' the media," he continued, "they are the media-just as they are our educational system, our public health and welfare system, and much else."

Burnham, writing in National Review in 1978, drew a sharp contrast between this concept and his own ideas:

I have felt that this 'new class' is, so far, rather thin gruel. Intellectuals, verbalists, media types, etc. are conspicuous actors these days, certainly; they make a lot of noise, get a lot of attention, and some of them make a lot of money. But, after all, they are a harum-scarum crowd, and deflate even more quickly than they puff up. On TV they can out-talk any of the managers of ITT, GM, or IBM, or the administration-managers of the great government bureaus and agencies, but, honestly, you're not going to take that as a power test. Who hires and fires whom?

Burnham suffered a stroke later that year. Although he lived until 1987, his career as a writer was over. His last years coincided with another great transformation of business and government. It began in the Carter administration, with moves to deregulate transportation and telecommunications. This partial unwinding of the managerial revolution accelerated under Ronald Reagan. Regulatory and welfare-state reforms, even privatization of formerly nationalized industries, also took off in the UK and Western Europe. All this did not, however, amount to a restoration of the old capitalism or anything resembling laissez-faire.

The "[neo]liberal democracy" that triumphed at "the end of history"-to use Francis Fukuyama's words-was not the managerial capitalism of the mid-20th century, either. It was instead the New Class's form of capitalism, one that could be embraced by Bill Clinton and Tony Blair as readily as by any Republican or Thatcherite.

Irving Kristol had already noted in the 1970s that "this new class is not merely liberal but truly 'libertarian' in its approach to all areas of life-except economics. It celebrates individual liberty of speech and expression and action to an unprecedented degree, so that at times it seems almost anarchistic in its conception of the good life."

He was right about the New Class's "anything goes" mentality, but he was only partly correct about its attitude toward economics. The young elite tended to scorn the bourgeois character of the old capitalism, and to them managerial figures like McNamara were evil incarnate. But they had to get by-and they aspired to rule.

Burnham had observed that the New Class did not have the means-either money or manpower-to wield power the way the managers or the capitalists of old did. It had to borrow power from other classes. Discovering where the New Class gets it is as easy as following the money, which leads straight to the finance sector-practically to the doorstep of Goldman Sachs. Jerry Rubin's journey from Yippie to yuppie was the paradigm of a generation.

Part of the tale can be told in a favorable light. New Left activists like Carl Oglesby fought the spiritual aridity and murderous militarism of what they called "corporate liberalism"-Burnham's managerialism-while sincere young libertarians attacked the regulatory state and seeded technological entrepreneurship. Yet the New Class as a whole is less like Carl Oglesby or Karl Hess than like Hillary Clinton, who arguably embodies it as perfectly as McNamara did the managerial class.

Even the New Class's support for deregulation-to the advantage of its allies on Wall Street-was no sign of consistent commitment to free-market principles. On the contrary, the New Class favors new kinds of crony finance capitalism, even as it opposes the protectionism that would benefit hard industry and managerial interests. The individual-mandate feature of Obamacare and Romneycare is a prime example of New Class cronyism: government compels individuals to buy a supposedly private product or service.

The alliance between finance and the New Class accounts for the disposition of power in America today. The New Class has also enlisted another invaluable ally: the managerial classes of East Asia. Trade with China-the modern managerial state par excellence-helps keep American industry weak relative to finance and the service economy's verbalist-dominated sectors. America's class war, like many others, is not in the end a contest between up and down. It's a fight between rival elites: in this case, between the declining managerial elite and the triumphant (for now) New Class and financial elites.

The New Class plays a priestly role in its alliance with finance, absolving Wall Street for the sin of making money in exchange for plenty of that money to keep the New Class in power. In command of foreign policy, the New Class gets to pursue humanitarian ideological projects-to experiment on the world. It gets to evangelize by the sword. And with trade policy, it gets to suppress its class rival, the managerial elite, at home. Through trade pacts and mass immigration the financial elite, meanwhile, gets to maximize its returns without regard for borders or citizenship. The erosion of other nations' sovereignty that accompanies American hegemony helps toward that end too-though our wars are more ideological than interest-driven.

♦♦♦

So we come to an historic moment. Instead of an election pitting another Bush against another Clinton, we have a race that poses stark alternatives: a choice not only between candidates but between classes-not only between administrations but between regimes.

Donald Trump is not of the managerial class himself. But by embracing managerial interests-industrial protection and, yes, "big government"-and combining them with nationalistic identity politics, he has built a force that has potential to threaten the bipartisan establishment, even if he goes down to defeat in November.

The New Class, after all, lacks a popular base as well as money of its own, and just as it relies on Wall Street to underwrite its power, it depends on its competing brands of identity politics to co-opt popular support. For the center-left establishment, minority voters supply the electoral muscle. Religion and the culture war have served the same purpose for the establishment's center-right faction. Trump showed that at least one of these sides could be beaten on its own turf-and it seems conceivable that if Bernie Sanders had been black, he might have similarly beaten Clinton, without having to make concessions to New Class tastes.

The New Class establishment of both parties may be seriously misjudging what is happening here. Far from being the last gasp of the demographically doomed-old, racially isolated white people, as Gallup's analysis says-Trump's insurgency may be the prototype of an aggressive new politics, of either left or right, that could restore the managerial elite to power.

This is not something that conservatives-or libertarians who admire the old capitalism rather than New Class's simulacrum-might welcome. But the only way that some entrenched policies may change is with a change of the class in power.

Daniel McCarthy is the editor of The American Conservative .

[Dec 05, 2016] Is war the health of state ?

Notable quotes:
"... I keep trying to point out that these nations are proxies for the global plutocrats that own private finance and everything else. That is the social cancer we need to eliminate. The British people are not all bad any more than all Americans but all of private finance is bad and has been for centuries. ..."
Dec 03, 2016 | www.moonofalabama.org

james | Dec 3, 2016 11:39:28 AM | 2

sst comment -

"b

Well, if you looked at it and decided against it why am I wasting my time? "unlike the U.S. military which is used to destroys foreign cities without much thought of the aftermath" Always with the nasty, sneering, condescending attitude toward us. I remind you that it was the BRITISH army that destroyed your grandparents house, not the US Army. pl"

and the usa has learned and followed the British in so many of it's imperialist ways carrying the mantel for empire building forward into the 20th and 21st century.. enough of British or American bullshit..

psychohistorian | Dec 3, 2016 12:10:21 PM | 4
@ james who wrote " and the usa has learned and followed the british in so many of it's imperialist ways caring the mantel for empire building forward into the 20th and 21st century.. enough of british or american bullshit."

I keep trying to point out that these nations are proxies for the global plutocrats that own private finance and everything else. That is the social cancer we need to eliminate. The British people are not all bad any more than all Americans but all of private finance is bad and has been for centuries.

okie farmer | Dec 3, 2016 12:15:14 PM | 5
"the state made war and war made the state."

Lords of 'Pride and Plunder' by Robert Bartlett

The Crisis of the Twelfth Century: Power, Lordship, and the Origins of European Government by Thomas N. Bisson Princeton University Press, 677 pp., $39.50

One of the major institutions of pre-industrial society, and one that makes it hard for people in the modern Western world fully to grasp the past, is lordship. Lordship means a personal bond, reciprocal but not equal, tying inferiors to superiors, bringing the latter a power over the former that modern democratic and egalitarian ideologies would abhor. We are not accustomed to address others as "Master" or "Mistress," "My Lord" or "My Lady."

Of course modern Western societies are not communities of equals. Vast differences in wealth and access to education exist. But the world of lordship embraced and endorsed those differences. Hierarchy was a valued ideal, and some people considered themselves better born than others-remember those nineteenth-century novels with characters "of good family." The aristocrats ("aristocracy" means "rule by the best") did not court their inferiors. They ruled them, and, if they were just and well disposed, they protected them and furthered their interests. This is what "good lordship" meant. Not all lords, of course, were good. Submission to cruel, arbitrary, or unhinged masters could mean misery or death. Much of the savagery of the French Revolution is to be explained by the fact that thousands of peasants had suffered just such a submission.

Thomas Bisson's new book concerns itself with lordship, that all-pervasive institution, in a formative period of European history, the twelfth century (or rather the "long twelfth century," starting well before 1100 and continuing after 1200). It is an age that evokes for many the majesty of the great cathedrals, like Chartres and Canterbury, the rise of a new kind of intellectual inquiry, embodied in the questing spirit of Abelard or the emergence of the first universities, and the flourishing of the love lyrics of the troubadours and the tales of Arthurian romance. There is even the (now well established but initially paradoxical) notion of "the Twelfth-Century Renaissance." This book, however, presents a different, and much darker, twelfth century.

Bisson, professor of medieval history emeritus at Harvard, is one of the leading historians of the Middle Ages. His early work concentrated on Catalonia, a region with particularly rich archival sources from this period; he has continually expanded both his geographical range and the breadth of the historical questions he asks. In the 1990s he was a participant in a lively debate on the so-called "Feudal Revolution," the theory that a transformation in the patterns of power and authority took place in Europe in the decades around the year 1000. In those years it was argued that older, official, and public structures of justice and administration were replaced by new, more violent, and more localized forms, based on strongmen and their fortresses.

In his new book many of the elements of that "Feudal Revolution" recur, now extended to a later period. Bisson's summary of developments in Catalonia in the years 1020 to 1060 presents such a picture very clearly: there was "a terrifying collapse of public justice and the imposition of a new order of coercive lordship over an intimidated peasantry." Moving on into the twelfth century, the model is still recognizable: there is an "old passing world" ruled by a few nobles, and a "burgeoning new world" of "vicious men," castle-lords and knights prepared to use violence against the despised peasantry. This book is indeed an extended discussion of the issues arising from that earlier debate. Bisson acknowledges that it is "not a systematic treatise, still less a textbook," and those unfamiliar with the period may soon be lost. The book is an interpretation, an individual assessment of European history of that period, one that takes a stand on a dozen debated issues, often in implicit dialogue with other scholars. The main topics are lordship, violence, and the state.

Lordship was a building block of most societies until relatively recently -- serfdom was abolished in Russia only in 1861. Such societies were distinguished by extreme inequalities, made visible by costume and gestures, like bowing and doffing of hats, and often supported by belief in hereditary superiority and inferiority of blood. Collective groupings existed, but were not powerful, and conflict and ambition were channeled more by vertical than horizontal solidarities: retainers, servants, and other followers and dependants sought patronage from the great, not action alongside their peers. At the highest level, lesser aristocrats became followers of great aristocrats, who themselves would be competing for the ruler's favor. Costume dramas set in Tudor England, like Shakespeare in Love and Elizabeth, convey some of the flavor of such a world.

It was the prevalence of lordship that complicates any discussion of the medieval state. Bisson repeatedly uses the far from standard formulations "lord-king," "lord-ruler," and even "lord-archbishop" to convey the point that every ruler of this time was also a lord, a master of men, a patriarch of some kind, possessing his position as inheritance or property, rather than (or as well as) holding it as an office-indeed, he writes, "there is no sign that European people in the twelfth century thought of lordship and office as contrasting categories."

Kings were lords, but also more than lords. Like the great barons, their power was patrimonial: that is, inherited, dynastic, based on ideas of property we might call "private." A king's kingdom was his in the same way that a baron's landed estates were his. Transmission of power was through father-to-son inheritance, not by election. Hence marriages, births, and deaths were the great punctuating points of medieval politics, not caucuses and ballots. Yet a king was also more than just the greatest of the barons. Both the Church and a long secular tradition saw him as having special duties as a ruler, duties that might be called "public."

This dualism of lordship and the state meant that medieval rulership had two distinct faces, which were close to being opposites: on the one hand, the grand promises made at coronation by kings and emperors, to ensure justice and the protection of the weak and the Church; on the other hand, the reality of being a warlord trained in mounted warfare, a leader of proud, hard men, used to wielding lethal edged weapons, and the center of a court full of envy, ambition, and suspicion.

Europe in the eleventh and twelfth centuries was a militarized world: it was "an age of castles," when "those astride horses and bearing weapons routinely injured or intimidated people" -- although, of course, they were still doing it in the thirteenth century, fourteenth century, fifteenth century, and beyond. The Cossacks were still doing it in the twentieth century. This raises a problem. In the absence of even a hint of dependable statistics, it is virtually impossible to weigh up the relative violence of different periods and places of the past. We know all the difficulties involved in dealing with modern crime figures; for the past we rarely have figures of any kind, but must rely on stories told by chroniclers (often ecclesiastical) and interested parties (usually plaintiffs). Historians read the laments, the individual accounts of plunder, murder, and rape, and try to assess whether this was the way life was then, or whether it simply reflects a very bad moment in that world. And while there can be little doubt that levels of violence were higher in the medieval period than in modern Western peacetime societies, we, who live in the aftermath of the worst genocidal atrocities in recorded history, should not make that claim with any complacency.

It is not difficult to gather stories of local violence and oppression from the eleventh and twelfth centuries. But if we put these twelfth-century tales alongside those of the sixth-century historian-bishop Gregory of Tours, whose History of the Franks reveals a world of monstrous cruelty, we might wonder if things had really gotten much worse in the intervening six hundred years. On one occasion, Gregory writes, a noble discovered that two of his serfs had married without his consent: he supposedly said how delighted he was that they had at least not married serfs from another lordship; he promised that he would not separate them, and then kept his word by having them buried alive together. And was the twelfth century any more full of violence than, say, late medieval France, a happy hunting ground for mercenaries and freebooters during the Hundred Years' War?

The rulers of the eleventh and twelfth centuries were trained in, and glorified, war, and expected to live off it, as well as off the tribute of a subjugated peasantry. If such rulers formed "the state" of their day, what are the implications? The state engages in violence; it takes away our property. How then does it differ from a criminal enterprise? This was a question that went back at least as far as Saint Augustine in the fourth century:

What are robber gangs, except little kingdoms? If their wickedness prospers, so that they set up fixed abodes, occupy cities and subjugate whole populations, they then can take the name of kingdom with impunity.

Augustine's ponderings stem from the worrying doubt that states and kingdoms, indeed all lawfully constituted governments, are just the most successful of the robber gangs. This idea, that the state and the criminal gang are but larger and smaller versions of the same thing, was one recurrent strand in medieval thinking. In the words of Gregory VII, the reformist pope of the eleventh century:

Who does not know that kings and dukes had their origin in men who disregarded God and, with blind desire and intolerable presumption, strove to dominate their equals, that is, other men, through pride, plunder, perfidy, homicides, and every kind of crime, under the inspiration of the lord of this world, the devil?

Westerns (like Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid) often explore the thin line between the gunslinger and the sheriff, or the poignancy of the bandit turned law officer; and the thinness of that line is clear in the Middle Ages. In the fourteenth century the kings of France, wishing to concentrate their forces against the English, called upon their barons to curtail their own feuds and vendettas: "We forbid anyone to wage war (guerre) during our war (guerre)." What the king does and what the feuding nobles do is the same kind of thing-"war." Nowadays, we make a sharper distinction. For instance, in the modern world, someone who takes our property away is either a criminal or a tax collector. If the latter, then it is the state taking our property away, and most people, of most political outlooks, distinguish the lawmakers from the lawbreakers.

Traditionally the state took away people's property in order to finance war. In Charles Tilly's phrase, "the state made war and war made the state." The war-making, tax-raising state is indeed the standard, familiar political unit of modern world history. If we go back in time, do we reach a period when such an entity did not exist?

Bisson is not a scholar who throws the term "state" around freely. Indeed, the conceptual vocabulary of his book is worth a mention. On the one hand, Bisson is happy to use the traditional but deeply contested terms "feudal" and "feudalism," both of which even have entries in his glossary at the end of the book. He can write of "a massive feudalizing of England by the Normans." Some historians would do away with these concepts altogether. Even if some kinds of estates were called "fiefs" (feoda), they argue, why should that fact lead us to a characterization of a whole society? Perhaps a touch of self-questioning is visible in Bisson's embrace of the terminology: "'Feudal monarchy': is this the right concept?" he asks.
In contrast to his acceptance of this traditional terminology, Bisson has a marked tendency to use large conceptual terms with a peculiar, even personal, connotation. "Political" is an example. The bishops of this period, he says, "vied with one another for visible precedence," yet such struggles "were not political disputes; they were concerned with status, not process." A footnote refers us to an infamous incident when the archbishop of York, noticing that the archbishop of Canterbury had a seat higher than his, kicked it over and refused to be seated until he had a seat as high. Now, one might reasonably class this as a nursery tantrum, but why should not a public dispute over precedence count as "political"?
This wariness about the term "political" (usually in scare quotes in the book) is based on the idea that lordship "was personal, affective, and unpolitical in nature." Might it not be clearer to say that the politics of that time was not the same as the politics of ours? It may be that we have here an example of a recurrent dilemma, either to say that the power relations of long ago are not politics at all, or to say that they are, but that we must differentiate between medieval and modern politics. Similarly, we may say that the superior authorities of that time cannot be called states at all; or we can argue that they were, but that we must distinguish medieval and modern states.

One of the most important examples of Bisson's idiosyncratic use of general terms is his treatment of the word "government." He is reluctant even to apply the term to Norman England. "Royal lordship" was not the same thing as "government." Sometimes government is completely absent. Late-twelfth-century Europe was "an ungoverned society," although there were also "proto-governments" at this time; by the mid-thirteenth century "something like government hovered." This unwillingness to see the rulers of the central Middle Ages as constituting "governments" is to be explained partly because, in Bisson's view, the people of that time lacked any understanding of the state as distinct from lordship, but also because there are certain criteria for government, as distinct from lordship, that the rulers did not meet. He identifies three: accountability, official conduct, and social purpose.

"Accountability" is an important term in Bisson's historical vocabulary. Sometimes it means quite literally the rendering of financial accounts, like the Catalan fiscal records which Bisson himself has edited. He emphasizes the birth, in the twelfth century, of "a newly searching and flexible accountability," as simple surveys of resources and fixed revenues, which can be found from early in the Middle Ages, were supplemented by balance sheets of incoming and outgoing assets. The English Pipe Rolls, annual audits of income and expenditures of the royal sheriffs, are a classic example. The English Dialogue of the Exchequer of 1178, or thereabouts, reveals a department of government that is professional, with its own technical expertise, and (in the Dialogue) its own handbook or manual. Slightly later, in 1202, there appears what has been called "the first budget of the French monarchy."

But Bisson also uses the word in a broader sense: accountability means official responsibility, answerability. He associates it with the idea of office. Record-keeping is in fact one test of official status. And true government is "the exercise of power for social purpose," "social purpose" perhaps to be glossed here as "the common good." It is the emergence of "official conduct aimed at social purpose," linked, interestingly, with the rise of public taxation, that, for Bisson, signals the shift of the balance from lordship to government in the thirteenth century.

However, the chronology of state formation in the Middle Ages is a disputed issue. Some historians talk as if there were a stateless period at some point in the central Middle Ages. Others hold the view that, to take one notable example, the kingdom of England of the year 1000 was not only a state but a strong, centralized, and pervasive state. If taxation and a standardized coinage are, in Bisson's words, parts of "a new model of associative power" around the year 1200, then the uniform land tax and centralized currency of eleventh-century England show that that model already existed in some places two hundred years earlier.

What cannot be disputed is that over the course of the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries, the state became increasingly bureaucratic. The documents produced by the English government in the eleventh century could be placed on one large table (even given that monumental oddity, Domesday Book, the extensive survey of land ownership made in 1086 under William the Conqueror). The documents produced by the English government in the thirteenth century fill whole rooms and could never be read in one person's lifetime. Written records supplemented or replaced older oral forms of information gathering, testimony, or command (Michael Clanchy's 1979 masterpiece, From Memory to Written Record, analyzes this development for precociously bureaucratic England in the Norman and Plantagenet period). But more bureaucratic government does not necessarily mean less violent, or even less arbitrary, government.

Historians like bureaucracy, because it feeds their hunger for written sources, the raw material with which they work; but the bond between historians and government is deeper than that. The historical profession grew up in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in close symbiosis with government. Not only was the heart of historical study usually the archives produced by past governments, but many of the students and teachers in those generations, the first to study history as a discipline, entered government service. Charles Homer Haskins, the founding father of American medieval scholarship, was an adviser to Woodrow Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919.

He was also the teacher of Joseph Strayer, himself the teacher of Bisson. Such academic genealogies can be overplayed, but there is no doubt that all three great medievalists, Haskins, Strayer, and Bisson, demonstrate a deep-rooted concern with the techniques and records of administration, with the procedures of the bureaucrats and officials. Strayer was as familiar with the modern as with the medieval version, since he worked for the CIA. One of his most vigorous pieces of work is entitled On the Medieval Origins of the Modern State (1970; one might notice the emphasis on both the "origins" and the "modern"; we live in the modern state; its origins go back a long way, but the state of those days was not the state of ours). The book contains Strayer's cogent definition of feudalism as "public powers in private hands," with that confident assurance that these adjectives, "public" and "private," convey a simple and evident distinction that will arouse no intellectual discomfort in readers. By contrast, Bisson's book is generated in part by his wrestling with such concepts and their implications.

Bisson's book is called The Crisis of the Twelfth Century. "Crisis" means a vitally important or decisive stage in the progress of anything. But in that sense, any century of human history is a crisis. One might even say that this is simply the condition of human life-we are always in an Age of Crisis (although the situation might not always be as alarming as today's). Bisson acknowledges that "'crisis' was not a common word in the verbiage of the day," and the one instance he cites of the contemporary use of the word (in its Latin form discrimen) refers to a succession crisis in Poland in 1180. He wishes to see the various distinct political crises he discusses (such as the Saxon revolt of 1075, the communal insurrection in Laon in 1111, the "anarchy" of King Stephen's reign) as part of "the same wider crisis of multiplied knights and castles."

However, a case can be made that the levels of violence and disorder in this period were largely dictated by the patterns of high politics rather than by a deep-seated structural malaise. Disputed successions, or the accession of a child-king, could indeed upset the world of knights and castles, unleashing the strongmen and their castle-based predatory attacks. Yet a regime of knights and castles could also form the basis for fairly stable feudal monarchies, such as one sees in France and England for most of the thirteenth century. If this is so, there were, of course, crises in the twelfth century, but no Crisis.

The violence and greed of European knights of this period were directed beyond the local victims. Bisson's "long twelfth century" was not only an age of predatory lords in their castles bullying their peasantry but also an age of expansionary, one could say colonialist, violence. Christian armies, led by these predatory lords, crossed into Muslim lands, capturing Toledo in 1085, Jerusalem in 1099, and landing in North Africa in 1148; they destroyed the last remnants of West Slav paganism in the Baltic in 1168; they even turned their formidable fighting strength against their estranged Christian cousins in the Greek East, and sacked Constantinople in 1204. The energies generated in the conflicts between mounted men in the West, and the expertise they acquired in subjugating and fleecing the local peasantry, could be exported. The story of European violence is far from unique, but it was in the central Middle Ages that it took a form that shaped the subsequent history of the world.

A traditional view of the development of European society in the central Middle Ages, a view to be found in textbooks past and present, is that the empire of Charlemagne (747–814) and his successors had important elements of public authority, in the form of officials with delegated powers and courts open to all free men, but that this regime was replaced, around the year 1000, with a heavily militarized and violent world of strongmen in castles, lording it over peasants. Over the course of time this world was, in its turn, transformed by the persistent efforts of the kings of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries into a network of more centralized and bureaucratic states, which led ultimately to modern systems of government. Like every model at this level of generality, as long as people who know something about the subject have created it, there must be some truth in this picture, however little it can be the whole truth. But we might have questions. Was the "old public order" of Charlemagne and his successors so public and so ordered? Was the subsequent regime so close to anarchy?

Bisson adds to this traditional account by thinking deeply about the benefits and disadvantages of government. He is very aware of the inhumanity of the past he studies. He refers, with allusion to the words of the twelfth-century cleric John of Salisbury, to "hunter-lords." John was talking about the way that aristocrats were obsessed with the chase, but we might apply his phrase in a wider sense. Since some theorists believe that human society is imprinted with its origins in hunting packs and the mentality of the pack, the predatory lordship of the central Middle Ages could be conceived of as just such a hunting pack-but its prey being fellow human beings, rather than beasts.

Confronting this world of hunter and hunted, Bisson is inspired by attractively humane impulses. In an earlier book, Tormented Voices, a microhistorical analysis of complaints raised by Catalan peasants in the twelfth century, he stated explicitly that he was attempting "an essay in compassionate history." Likewise in this book. And he looks for public, accountable, official remedies for suffering and oppression. He seems sympathetic to the idea that "power is rightly oriented towards the social needs of people." "If ever government was the solution, not the problem," he writes, "it was so for European peoples in the twelfth century." Is the modern world so happy in its governments? Whether we should endure the violence of the state, as a defense against the yet more fearful violence of our neighbors, and whether there comes a point where the violence of the state must be resisted are great recurrent questions of moral and political life. The questions raised by Bisson's book remain open.

james | Dec 3, 2016 1:03:24 PM | 6
@4 psychohistorian.. and i agree with you in that too.. it has to do with the packaging and a tendency in people to identify with the packaging - in this example 'made in the usa' as some sort of rationale for that social sickness many suffer from called 'patriotism'.. it seems to be especially prevalent in the worst nations, the usa at this point in time being the focal point for much of this marketing...
psychohistorian | Dec 3, 2016 1:28:39 PM | 8
@ okie farmer who added a loooong comment that contained the following about the definition of government:
"
He identifies three: accountability, official conduct, and social purpose.
"

The narrative provided did not get into a discussion of "social purpose" but I think that it is an important concept. The example I would posit is the original humanistic motto of the US, E Pluribus Unum which was instantiated by government creations of the time like the pony express....true socialism, if you need an ism to cling to. Social Security INSURANCE is another example of an instantiation of social purpose.

The original US motto was replaced by In God We Trust in the mid 1950's which, IMO, destroyed the social purpose concept of government and instead tells you to trust the leaders and religious institutions.....reversion to kings and feudalism.

You get the government you demand. What sort of world do you want to pass to the children?

ben | Dec 3, 2016 2:01:32 PM | 10
Why is the U$A addicted to war?

read the books online. don't let the books format fool you, massive thought, with footnotes.

http://www.addictedtowar.com/

[Dec 05, 2016] The Real Story of How America Became an Economic Superpower

Notable quotes:
"... Rather than join the struggle of imperial rivalries, the United States could use its emerging power to suppress those rivalries altogether. ..."
"... "a power unlike any other. It had emerged, quite suddenly, as a novel kind of 'super-state,' exercising a veto over the financial and security concerns of the other major states of the world." ..."
"... Peter Heather, the great British historian of Late Antiquity, explains human catastrophes with a saying of his father's, a mining engineer: "If man accumulates enough combustible material, God will provide the spark." So it happened in 1929. The Deluge that had inundated the rest of the developed world roared back upon the United States. ..."
"... "The originality of National Socialism was that, rather than meekly accepting a place for Germany within a global economic order dominated by the affluent English-speaking countries, Hitler sought to mobilize the pent-up frustrations of his population to mount an epic challenge to this order." ..."
"... He could not accept subordination to the United States because, according to his lurid paranoia, "this would result in enslavement to the world Jewish conspiracy, and ultimately race death." ..."
"... By 1944, foreigners constituted 20 percent of the German workforce and 33 percent of armaments workers (less than 9 percent of the population of today's liberal and multicultural Germany is foreign-born). ..."
"... The Hitlerian vision of a united German-led Eurasia equaling the Anglo-American bloc proved a crazed and genocidal fantasy. ..."
www.theatlantic.com

The United States might claim a broader democracy than those that prevailed in Europe. On the other hand, European states mobilized their populations with an efficiency that dazzled some Americans (notably Theodore Roosevelt) and appalled others (notably Wilson). The magazine founded by pro-war intellectuals in 1914, The New Republic, took its title precisely because its editors regarded the existing American republic as anything but the hope of tomorrow.

Yet as World War I entered its third year-and the first year of Tooze's story-the balance of power was visibly tilting from Europe to America. The belligerents could no longer sustain the costs of offensive war. Cut off from world trade, Germany hunkered into a defensive siege, concentrating its attacks on weak enemies like Romania. The Western allies, and especially Britain, outfitted their forces by placing larger and larger war orders with the United States. In 1916, Britain bought more than a quarter of the engines for its new air fleet, more than half of its shell casings, more than two-thirds of its grain, and nearly all of its oil from foreign suppliers, with the United States heading the list. Britain and France paid for these purchases by floating larger and larger bond issues to American buyers-denominated in dollars, not pounds or francs. "By the end of 1916, American investors had wagered two billion dollars on an Entente victory," computes Tooze (relative to America's estimated GDP of $50 billion in 1916, the equivalent of $560 billion in today's money).

That staggering quantity of Allied purchases called forth something like a war mobilization in the United States. American factories switched from civilian to military production; American farmers planted food and fiber to feed and clothe the combatants of Europe. But unlike in 1940-41, the decision to commit so much to one side's victory in a European war was not a political decision by the U.S. government. Quite the contrary: President Wilson wished to stay out of the war entirely. He famously preferred a "peace without victory." The trouble was that by 1916, the U.S. commitment to Britain and France had grown-to borrow a phrase from the future-too big to fail.

Tooze's portrait of Woodrow Wilson is one of the most arresting novelties of his book. His Wilson is no dreamy idealist. The president's animating idea was an American exceptionalism of a now-familiar but then-startling kind. His Republican opponents-men like Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, and Elihu Root-wished to see America take its place among the powers of the earth. They wanted a navy, an army, a central bank, and all the other instrumentalities of power possessed by Britain, France, and Germany. These political rivals are commonly derided as "isolationists" because they mistrusted the Wilson's League of Nations project. That's a big mistake. They doubted the League because they feared it would encroach on American sovereignty. It was Wilson who wished to remain aloof from the Entente, who feared that too close an association with Britain and France would limit American options. This aloofness enraged Theodore Roosevelt, who complained that the Wilson-led United States was "sitting idle, uttering cheap platitudes, and picking up [European] trade, whilst they had poured out their blood like water in support of ideals in which, with all their hearts and souls, they believe."

Wilson was guided by a different vision: Rather than join the struggle of imperial rivalries, the United States could use its emerging power to suppress those rivalries altogether. Wilson was the first American statesman to perceive that the United States had grown, in Tooze's words, into "a power unlike any other. It had emerged, quite suddenly, as a novel kind of 'super-state,' exercising a veto over the financial and security concerns of the other major states of the world."

Wilson hoped to deploy this emerging super-power to enforce an enduring peace. His own mistakes and those of his successors doomed the project, setting in motion the disastrous events that would lead to the Great Depression, the rise of fascism, and a second and even more awful world war.

What went wrong? "When all is said and done," Tooze writes, "the answer must be sought in the failure of the United States to cooperate with the efforts of the French, British, Germans and the Japanese [leaders of the early 1920s] to stabilize a viable world economy and to establish new institutions of collective security. Given the violence they had already experienced and the risk of even greater future devastation, France, Germany, Japan, and Britain could all see this. But what was no less obvious was that only the US could anchor such a new order." And that was what Americans of the 1920s and 1930s declined to do-because doing so implied too much change at home for them: "At the hub of the rapidly evolving, American-centered world system there was a polity wedded to a conservative vision of its own future."

Widen the view, however, and the "forgotten depression" takes on a broader meaning as one of the most ominous milestones on the world's way to the Second World War. After World War II, Europe recovered largely as a result of American aid; the nation that had suffered least from the war contributed most to reconstruction. But after World War I, the money flowed the other way.

Take the case of France, which suffered more in material terms than any World War I belligerent except Belgium. Northeastern France, the country's most industrialized region in 1914, had been ravaged by war and German occupation. Millions of men in their prime were dead or crippled. On top of everything, the country was deeply in debt, owing billions to the United States and billions more to Britain. France had been a lender during the conflict too, but most of its credits had been extended to Russia, which repudiated all its foreign debts after the Revolution of 1917. The French solution was to exact reparations from Germany.

Britain was willing to relax its demands on France. But it owed the United States even more than France did. Unless it collected from France-and from Italy and all the other smaller combatants as well-it could not hope to pay its American debts.

Americans, meanwhile, were preoccupied with the problem of German recovery. How could Germany achieve political stability if it had to pay so much to France and Belgium? The Americans pressed the French to relent when it came to Germany, but insisted that their own claims be paid in full by both France and Britain.

Germany, for its part, could only pay if it could export, and especially to the world's biggest and richest consumer market, the United States. The depression of 1920 killed those export hopes. Most immediately, the economic crisis sliced American consumer demand precisely when Europe needed it most. True, World War I was not nearly as positive an experience for working Americans as World War II would be; between 1914 and 1918, for example, wages lagged behind prices. Still, millions of Americans had bought billions of dollars of small-denomination Liberty bonds. They had accumulated savings that could have been spent on imported products. Instead, many used their savings for food, rent, and mortgage interest during the hard times of 1920-21.

But the gravest harm done by the depression to postwar recovery lasted long past 1921. To appreciate that, you have to understand the reasons why U.S. monetary authorities plunged the country into depression in 1920.

Grant rightly points out that wars are usually followed by economic downturns. Such a downturn occurred in late 1918-early 1919. "Within four weeks of the Armistice, the [U.S.] War Department had canceled $2.5 billion of its then outstanding $6 billion in contracts; for perspective, $2.5 billion represented 3.3 percent of the 1918 gross national product," he observes. Even this understates the shock, because it counts only Army contracts, not Navy ones. The postwar recession checked wartime inflation, and by March 1919, the U.S. economy was growing again.

As the economy revived, workers scrambled for wage increases to offset the price inflation they'd experienced during the war. Monetary authorities, worried that inflation would revive and accelerate, made the fateful decision to slam the credit brakes, hard. Unlike the 1918 recession, that of 1920 was deliberately engineered. There was nothing invisible about it. Nor did the depression "cure itself." U.S. officials cut interest rates and relaxed credit, and the economy predictably recovered-just as it did after the similarly inflation-crushing recessions of 1974-75 and 1981-82.

But 1920-21 was an inflation-stopper with a difference. In post-World War II America, anti-inflationists have been content to stop prices from rising. In 1920-21, monetary authorities actually sought to drive prices back to their pre-war levels. They did not wholly succeed, but they succeeded well enough. One price especially concerned them: In 1913, a dollar bought a little less than one-twentieth of an ounce of gold; by 1922, it comfortably did so again.

... ... ...

The American depression of 1920 made that decision all the more difficult. The war had vaulted the United States to a new status as the world's leading creditor, the world's largest owner of gold, and, by extension, the effective custodian of the international gold standard. When the U.S. opted for massive deflation, it thrust upon every country that wished to return to the gold standard (and what respectable country would not?) an agonizing dilemma. Return to gold at 1913 values, and you would have to match U.S. deflation with an even steeper deflation of your own, accepting increased unemployment along the way. Alternatively, you could re-peg your currency to gold at a diminished rate. But that amounted to an admission that your money had permanently lost value-and that your own people, who had trusted their government with loans in local money, would receive a weaker return on their bonds than American creditors who had lent in dollars.

Britain chose the former course; pretty much everybody else chose the latter.

The consequences of these choices fill much of the second half of The Deluge. For Europeans, they were uniformly grim, and worse. But one important effect ultimately rebounded on Americans. America's determination to restore a dollar "as good as gold" not only imposed terrible hardship on war-ravaged Europe, it also threatened to flood American markets with low-cost European imports. The flip side of the Lost Generation enjoying cheap European travel with their strong dollars was German steelmakers and shipyards underpricing their American competitors with weak marks.

Such a situation also prevailed after World War II, when the U.S. acquiesced in the undervaluation of the Deutsche mark and yen to aid German and Japanese recovery. But American leaders of the 1920s weren't willing to accept this outcome. In 1921 and 1923, they raised tariffs, terminating a brief experiment with freer trade undertaken after the election of 1912. The world owed the United States billions of dollars, but the world was going to have to find another way of earning that money than selling goods to the United States.

That way was found: more debt, especially more German debt. The 1923 hyper-inflation that wiped out Germany's savers also tidied up the country's balance sheet. Post-inflation Germany looked like a very creditworthy borrower. Between 1924 and 1930, world financial flows could be simplified into a daisy chain of debt. Germans borrowed from Americans, and used the proceeds to pay reparations to the Belgians and French. The French and Belgians, in turn, repaid war debts to the British and Americans. The British then used their French and Italian debt payments to repay the United States, who set the whole crazy contraption in motion again. Everybody could see the system was crazy. Only the United States could fix it. It never did.

Peter Heather, the great British historian of Late Antiquity, explains human catastrophes with a saying of his father's, a mining engineer: "If man accumulates enough combustible material, God will provide the spark." So it happened in 1929. The Deluge that had inundated the rest of the developed world roared back upon the United States.

... ... ...

"The United States has the Earth, and Germany wants it." Thus might Hitler's war aims have been summed up by a latter-day Woodrow Wilson. From the start, the United States was Hitler's ultimate target. "In seeking to explain the urgency of Hitler's aggression, historians have underestimated his acute awareness of the threat posed to Germany, along with the rest of the European powers, by the emergence of the United States as the dominant global superpower," Tooze writes.

"The originality of National Socialism was that, rather than meekly accepting a place for Germany within a global economic order dominated by the affluent English-speaking countries, Hitler sought to mobilize the pent-up frustrations of his population to mount an epic challenge to this order." Of course, Hitler was not engaged in rational calculation. He could not accept subordination to the United States because, according to his lurid paranoia, "this would result in enslavement to the world Jewish conspiracy, and ultimately race death." He dreamed of conquering Poland, Ukraine, and Russia as a means of gaining the resources to match those of the United States.

The vast landscape in between Berlin and Moscow would become Germany's equivalent of the American west, filled with German homesteaders living comfortably on land and labor appropriated from conquered peoples-a nightmare parody of the American experience with which to challenge American power.

Could this vision have ever been realized? Tooze argues in The Wages of Destruction that Germany had already missed its chance. "In 1870, at the time of German national unification, the population of the United States and Germany was roughly equal and the total output of America, despite its enormous abundance of land and resources, was only one-third larger than that of Germany," he writes. "Just before the outbreak of World War I the American economy had expanded to roughly twice the size of that of Imperial Germany. By 1943, before the aerial bombardment had hit top gear, total American output was almost four times that of the Third Reich."

Germany was a weaker and poorer country in 1939 than it had been in 1914. Compared with Britain, let alone the United States, it lacked the basic elements of modernity: There were just 486,000 automobiles in Germany in 1932, and one-quarter of all Germans still worked as farmers as of 1925. Yet this backward land, with an income per capita comparable to contemporary "South Africa, Iran and Tunisia," wagered on a second world war even more audacious than the first.

The reckless desperation of Hitler's war provides context for the horrific crimes of his regime. Hitler's empire could not feed itself, so his invasion plan for the Soviet Union contemplated the death by starvation of 20 to 30 million Soviet urban dwellers after the invaders stole all foodstuffs for their own use. Germany lacked workers, so it plundered the labor of its conquered peoples. By 1944, foreigners constituted 20 percent of the German workforce and 33 percent of armaments workers (less than 9 percent of the population of today's liberal and multicultural Germany is foreign-born).

On paper, the Nazi empire of 1942 represented a substantial economic bloc. But pillage and slavery are not workable bases for an industrial economy. Under German rule, the output of conquered Europe collapsed. The Hitlerian vision of a united German-led Eurasia equaling the Anglo-American bloc proved a crazed and genocidal fantasy.

How the Great War Shaped the World

[Dec 05, 2016] Peggy Noonan What We Lose if We Give Up Privacy by Peggy Noonan

Notable quotes:
"... A loss of the expectation of privacy in communications is a loss of something personal and intimate, and it will have broader implications. ..."
"... Mr. Hentoff sees the surveillance state as a threat to free speech, too ..."
"... An entrenched surveillance state will change and distort the balance that allows free government to function successfully. ..."
"... "When you have this amount of privacy invasion put into these huge data banks, who knows what will come out?" ..."
"... Asked about those attempts, he mentions the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, the Red Scare of the 1920s and the McCarthy era. Those times and incidents, he says, were more than specific scandals or news stories, they were attempts to change our nature as a people. ..."
"... What of those who say they don't care what the federal government does as long as it keeps us safe? The threat of terrorism is real, Mr. Hentoff acknowledges. Al Qaeda is still here, its networks are growing. But you have to be careful about who's running U.S. intelligence and U.S. security, and they have to be fully versed in and obey constitutional guarantees. ..."
"... Mr. Hentoff notes that J. Edgar Hoover didn't have all this technology. "He would be so envious of what NSA can do." ..."
Aug 16, 2013 | WSJ

...Among the pertinent definitions of privacy from the Oxford English Dictionary: "freedom from disturbance or intrusion," "intended only for the use of a particular person or persons," belonging to "the property of a particular person." Also: "confidential, not to be disclosed to others." Among others, the OED quotes the playwright Arthur Miller, describing the McCarthy era: "Conscience was no longer a private matter but one of state administration."

Privacy is connected to personhood. It has to do with intimate things-the innards of your head and heart, the workings of your mind-and the boundary between those things and the world outside.

A loss of the expectation of privacy in communications is a loss of something personal and intimate, and it will have broader implications. That is the view of Nat Hentoff, the great journalist and civil libertarian. He is 88 now and on fire on the issue of privacy. "The media has awakened," he told me. "Congress has awakened, to some extent." Both are beginning to realize "that there are particular constitutional liberty rights that [Americans] have that distinguish them from all other people, and one of them is privacy."

Mr. Hentoff sees excessive government surveillance as violative of the Fourth Amendment, which protects "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures" and requires that warrants be issued only "upon probable cause . . . particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

But Mr. Hentoff sees the surveillance state as a threat to free speech, too. About a year ago he went up to Harvard to speak to a class. He asked, he recalled: "How many of you realize the connection between what's happening with the Fourth Amendment with the First Amendment?" He told the students that if citizens don't have basic privacies-firm protections against the search and seizure of your private communications, for instance-they will be left feeling "threatened." This will make citizens increasingly concerned "about what they say, and they do, and they think." It will have the effect of constricting freedom of expression. Americans will become careful about what they say that can be misunderstood or misinterpreted, and then too careful about what they say that can be understood. The inevitable end of surveillance is self-censorship.

All of a sudden, the room became quiet. "These were bright kids, interested, concerned, but they hadn't made an obvious connection about who we are as a people." We are "free citizens in a self-governing republic."

Mr. Hentoff once asked Justice William Brennan "a schoolboy's question": What is the most important amendment to the Constitution? "Brennan said the First Amendment, because all the other ones come from that. If you don't have free speech you have to be afraid, you lack a vital part of what it is to be a human being who is free to be who you want to be." Your own growth as a person will in time be constricted, because we come to know ourselves by our thoughts.

He wonders if Americans know who they are compared to what the Constitution says they are.

Mr. Hentoff's second point: An entrenched surveillance state will change and distort the balance that allows free government to function successfully. Broad and intrusive surveillance will, definitively, put government in charge. But a republic only works, Mr. Hentoff notes, if public officials know that they-and the government itself-answer to the citizens. It doesn't work, and is distorted, if the citizens must answer to the government. And that will happen more and more if the government knows-and you know-that the government has something, or some things, on you. "The bad thing is you no longer have the one thing we're supposed to have as Americans living in a self-governing republic," Mr. Hentoff said. "The people we elect are not your bosses, they are responsible to us." They must answer to us. But if they increasingly control our privacy, "suddenly they're in charge if they know what you're thinking."

This is a shift in the democratic dynamic. "If we don't have free speech then what can we do if the people who govern us have no respect for us, may indeed make life difficult for us, and in fact belittle us?"

If massive surveillance continues and grows, could it change the national character? "Yes, because it will change free speech."

What of those who say, "I have nothing to fear, I don't do anything wrong"? Mr. Hentoff suggests that's a false sense of security.

"When you have this amount of privacy invasion put into these huge data banks, who knows what will come out?"

Or can be made to come out through misunderstanding the data, or finagling, or mischief of one sort or another.

"People say, 'Well I've done nothing wrong so why should I worry?' But that's too easy a way to get out of what is in our history-constant attempts to try to change who we are as Americans."

Asked about those attempts, he mentions the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, the Red Scare of the 1920s and the McCarthy era. Those times and incidents, he says, were more than specific scandals or news stories, they were attempts to change our nature as a people.

What of those who say they don't care what the federal government does as long as it keeps us safe? The threat of terrorism is real, Mr. Hentoff acknowledges. Al Qaeda is still here, its networks are growing. But you have to be careful about who's running U.S. intelligence and U.S. security, and they have to be fully versed in and obey constitutional guarantees.

"There has to be somebody supervising them who knows what's right. . . . Terrorism is not going to go away. But we need someone in charge of the whole apparatus who has read the Constitution."

Advances in technology constantly up the ability of what government can do. Its technological expertise will only become deeper and broader.

"They think they're getting to how you think. The technology is such that with the masses of databases, then privacy will get even weaker."

Mr. Hentoff notes that J. Edgar Hoover didn't have all this technology. "He would be so envious of what NSA can do."

[Dec 05, 2016] Government Warmongering Criminals Where Are They Now

Notable quotes:
"... The American people and most of the world bought into the lies and half-truths because they wanted to believe the fiction they were being spoon fed by the White House, but is there a whole lot of difference between what the US government did against Iraq in 2003 and what Hitler's government did in 1939 when it falsely claimed that Polish troops had attacked Germany? Was subsequent torture by the Gestapo any different than torture by a contractor working for Washington? ..."
"... A friend of mine recently commented that honest men who were formerly part of the United States government do not subsequently get hired by lobbying firms or obtain television contracts and "teaching" positions at prestigious universities. ..."
"... If the marketplace is anything to go by Feith and Tenet are running neck-and-neck on secondary book exchanges as George also can be had for $.01. ..."
"... The historian Livy summed up the significance of his act, writing "It is worthwhile for those who disdain all human things for money, and who suppose that there is no room either for great honor or virtue, except where wealth is found, to listen to his story." ..."
"... "Power is always dangerous. Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best." ..."
"... senior government officials and politicians routinely expect to be generously rewarded for their service and never held accountable for their failures and misdeeds ..."
"... One thing for sure about the Washington elite, you never have to say you're sorry. ..."
Jul 08, 2015 | The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity

The United States already has by far the per capita largest prison population of any developed country but I am probably one of the few Americans who on this Independence Day would like to see a lot more people in prison, mostly drawn from politicians and senior bureaucrats who have long believed that their status makes them untouchable, giving them license to steal and even to kill. The sad fact is that while whistleblowers have been imprisoned for revealing government criminality, no one in the federal bureaucracy has ever actually been punished for the crimes of torture, kidnapping and assassination committed during the George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama presidencies.

Why is accountability important? After the Second World War, the victorious allies believed it was important to establish responsibility for the crimes that had been committed by officials of the Axis powers. The judges at the Nuremberg Trials called the initiation of a war of aggression the ultimate war crime because it inevitably unleashed so many other evils. Ten leading Nazis were executed at Nuremberg and ninety-three Japanese officials at similar trials staged in Asia, including several guilty of waterboarding. Those who were not executed for being complicit in the actual launching of war were tried for torture of both military personnel and civilians and crimes against humanity, including the mass killing of civilians as well as of soldiers who had surrendered or been captured.

No matter how one tries to avoid making comparisons between 1939 and 2015, the American invasion of Iraq was a war of aggression, precisely the type of conflict that the framework of accountability provided by Nuremberg was supposed to prevent in the years after 1946. High level US government officials knew that Iraq represented no threat to the United States but they nevertheless described an imminent danger posed by Saddam Hussein in the most graphic terms, replete with weapons of mass destruction, armed drones flying across the Atlantic, terrorists being unleashed against the homeland, and mushroom clouds on the horizon. The precedent of Iraq, even though it was an abject failure, has led to further military action against Libya and Syria to bring about "regime change" as well as a continuing conflict in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the US has been waging a largely secret "long war" against terrorists employing torture and secret prisons. The American people and most of the world bought into the lies and half-truths because they wanted to believe the fiction they were being spoon fed by the White House, but is there a whole lot of difference between what the US government did against Iraq in 2003 and what Hitler's government did in 1939 when it falsely claimed that Polish troops had attacked Germany? Was subsequent torture by the Gestapo any different than torture by a contractor working for Washington?

Many Americans would now consider the leading figures in the Bush Administration aided and abetted by many enablers in congress from both political parties to be unindicted war criminals. Together they ignited a global conflict that is still running strong fourteen years later with a tally of more than 7,000 dead Americans and a minimum of hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, Afghans, Libyans, Somalis and Syrians.

War breeds more war, due largely to the fact that guilty parties in Washington who piggyback on the prevailing narrative move onward and upward, rewarded in this life even if not necessarily so in the hereafter. A friend of mine recently commented that honest men who were formerly part of the United States government do not subsequently get hired by lobbying firms or obtain television contracts and "teaching" positions at prestigious universities. Though not 100% accurate as I know at least a couple of honorable former senior officials who wound up teaching, it would seem to be a generalization that has considerable validity. The implication is that many senior government officials ascend to their positions based on being accommodating and "political" rather than being honest and they continue to do the same when they switch over to corporate America or the equally corrupted world of academia.

I thought of my friend's comment when I turned on the television a week ago to be confronted by the serious, somewhat intense gaze of Michael Morell, warning about the danger that ISIS will strike the US over the Fourth of July weekend. Morell, a former senior CIA official, is in the terror business. He had no evidence whatsoever that terrorists were planning an attack and should have realized that maneuvering the United States into constantly going on alert based on empty threats is precisely what militant groups tend to do.

When not fronting as a handsomely paid national security consultant for the CBS television network Morell is employed by Beacon Global Strategies as a Senior Counselor, presumably warning well-heeled clients to watch out for terrorists. His lifestyle and substantial emoluments depend on people being afraid of terrorism so they will turn to an expert like him and ask serious questions that he will answer in a serious way suggesting that Islamic militants could potentially bring about some kind of global apocalypse.

Morell, a torture apologist, also has a book out that he wants to sell, positing somewhat ridiculously that he and his former employer had been fighting The Great War of Our Time against Islamic terrorists, something comparable to the World Wars of the past century, hence the title. Morell needs to take some valium and relax. He would also benefit from a little introspection regarding the bad guys versus good guys narrative that he is peddling. His credentials as a warrior are somewhat suspect in any event as he never did any military service and his combat in the world of intelligence consisted largely of sitting behind a desk in Washington and providing briefings to George W. Bush and Barack Obama in which he presumably told them what they wanted to hear.

Morell is one of a host of pundits who are successful in selling the military-industrial-lobbyist-congressional-intelligence community line of BS on the war on terror. Throw in the neocons as the in-your-face agents provocateurs who provide instant intellectual and media credibility for developments and you have large groups of engaged individuals with good access who are on the receiving end of the seemingly unending cash pipeline that began with 9/11. Frances Townsend, who was the Bush Homeland Security adviser and who is now a consultant with CNN, is another such creature as is Michael Chertoff, formerly Director of the Department of Homeland Security, who has successfully marketed his defective airport scanners to his former employer.

But the guys and gals who are out feathering their own nests are at least comprehensible given our predatory capitalist system of government. More to the point, the gang that ordered or carried out torture and assassination are the ones who should be doing some hard time in the slammer but instead they too are riding the gravy train and cashing in. To name only a few of those who knew about the torture and ordered it carried out I would cite George Tenet, James Pavitt, Cofer Black and Jose Rodriguez from the intelligence community. The assassination program meanwhile is accredited to John Brennan, currently CIA Director, during his tenure as Obama's Deputy National Security Advisor. And then there are Doug Feith and Paul Wolfowitz at the Pentagon together with John Yoo at Justice and Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney, and Condi Rice at the White House, all of whom outright lied, dissimulated and conspired their way to bring about a war of aggression against Iraq.

There are plenty of nameless others who were "only carrying out orders" and who should be included in any reckoning of America's crimes over the past fifteen years, particularly if one also considers the illegal NSA spying program headed by Michael Hayden, who defended the practice and has also referred to those who oppose enhanced interrogation torture as "interrogation deniers." And then there are Presidents Bush and Obama who certainly knew what was going on in the name of the American people as well as John Brennan, who was involved in both the torture and renditions programs as well as the more recent assassinations by drone.

So where are they now? Living in obscurity ashamed of what they did? Hardly. Not only have they not been vilified or marginalized, they have, in most cases, been rewarded. George W. Bush lives in Dallas near his Presidential Library and eponymous Think (sic) Tank. Cheney lives in semi-retirement in McLean Virginia with a multi-million dollar waterfront weekend retreat in St. Michaels Maryland, not too far from Donald Rumsfeld's similar digs.

George Tenet, the CIA Director notorious for his "slam-dunk" comment, a man who cooked the intelligence to make the Iraq war possible to curry favor with the White House, has generously remunerated positions on the boards of Allen & Company merchant bank, QinetiQ, and L-1 Identity Solutions. He sold his memoir At the Center of the Storm, which has been described as a "self-justifying apologia," in 2007 for a reported advance of $4 million. His book, ironically, admits that the US invaded Iraq for no good reason.

James Pavitt, who was the point man responsible for the "enhanced interrogation" program as Tenet's Deputy Director for Operations, is currently a principal with The Scowcroft Group and also serves on several boards. Cofer Black, who headed the Counter-Terrorism Center, which actually carried out renditions and "enhanced interrogations," was vice chairman of Blackwater Worldwide (now called Xe) and chairman of Total Intelligence Solutions, a Blackwater spin-off. He is now vice president of Blackbird Technologies, a defense and intelligence contractor. Rodriguez, who succeeded Black and in 2005 illegally destroyed video tapes made of Agency interrogations to avoid possible repercussions, is a senior vice president with Edge Consulting, a defense contractor currently owned by IBM that is located in Virginia.

John Yoo is a Professor of Law at the University of California Berkeley while Condoleezza Rice, who spoke of mushroom clouds and is widely regarded as the worst National Security Advisor and Secretary of State in history, has returned to Stanford University. She is a professor at the Graduate School of Business and a director of its Global Center for Business and the Economy as well as a fellow at the Hoover Institution. She is occasionally spoken of as either a possible GOP presidential candidate or as a future Commissioner of the National Football League. Her interaction with students is limited, but when challenged on her record she has responded that it was a difficult situation post 9/11, something that everyone understands, though few would have come to her conclusion that attacking Iraq might be a good way to destroy al-Qaeda.

Paul Wolfowitz, the Bush Deputy Secretary of Defense, is seen by many as the "intellectual" driving force behind the invasion of Iraq. He is currently a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and advises Jeb Bush on foreign policy. A bid to reward Wolfie for his zeal by giving him a huge golden parachute as President of the World Bank at a salary of $391,000 tax free failed when, after 23 months in the position, he was ousted over promoting a subordinate with whom he was having an affair. His chief deputy at the Pentagon Doug Feith left the Defense Department to take up a visiting professorship at the school of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, which was subsequently not renewed. He is reported to be again practicing law and thinking deep thoughts about his hero Edmund Burke, who no doubt would have been appalled to make Feith's acquaintance. Feith is a senior fellow at the neoconservative Hudson Institute and the Director of the Center for National Security Strategies. His memoir War and Decision did not make the best seller list and is now available used on Amazon for $.01 plus shipping. If the marketplace is anything to go by Feith and Tenet are running neck-and-neck on secondary book exchanges as George also can be had for $.01.

The over-rewarding of former officials who have in reality done great harm to the United States and its interests might well seem inexplicable, but it is all part of a style of bureaucracy that cannot admit failure and truly believes that all its actions are ipso facto legitimate because the executive and its minions can do no wrong. It is also a symptom of the classic American character flaw that all things are of necessity measured by money. Does anyone remember the ancient Roman symbol of republican virtue Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, who left his farm after being named Dictator in order to defeat Rome's enemies? He then handed power back to the Senate before returning to his plowing after the job was done. The historian Livy summed up the significance of his act, writing "It is worthwhile for those who disdain all human things for money, and who suppose that there is no room either for great honor or virtue, except where wealth is found, to listen to his story." George Washington was America's Cincinnatus and it is not a coincidence that officers of the continental army founded the Cincinnati Society, the nation's oldest patriotic organization, in 1783. It is also reported that Edward Snowden used the alias "Cincinnatus."

Lord Acton once observed that "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." More recently essayist Edward Abbey put it in an American context, noting "Power is always dangerous. Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best." That senior government officials and politicians routinely expect to be generously rewarded for their service and never held accountable for their failures and misdeeds is a fault that is perhaps not unique to the United States but it is nevertheless unacceptable. Handing out a couple of exemplary prison sentences for the caste that believes itself untouchable would be a good place to start. An opportunity was missed with David Petraeus, who was fined and avoided jail time, and it will be interesting to see how the Dennis Hastert case develops. Hastert will no doubt be slapped on the wrist for the crime of moving around his own money while the corruption that was the source of that money, both as a legislator and lobbyist, will be ignored. As will his molestation of at least one and possibly several young boys. One thing for sure about the Washington elite, you never have to say you're sorry.

Reprinted with permission from Unz Review.

[Dec 05, 2016] The internet is at risk of transforming from an open platform to myriad national networks

Notable quotes:
"... Far from being seen as the guardian of a free and open online medium, the US has been painted as an oppressor, cynically using its privileged position to spy on foreign nationals. The result, warn analysts, could well be an acceleration of a process that has been under way for some time as other countries ringfence their networks to protect their citizens' data and limit the flow of information. ..."
"... At the most obvious level, the secret data-collection efforts being conducted by the US National Security Agency threaten to give would-be censors of the internet in authoritarian countries rhetorical cover as they put their own stamp on their local networks. ..."
"... But the distrust of the US that the disclosures are generating in the democratic world, including in Europe , are also likely to have an impact. From the operation of a nation's telecoms infrastructure to the regulation of the emerging cloud computing industry, changes in the architecture of networks as countries seek more control look set to cause a sea change in the broader internet. ..."
www.ft.com

Revelations about US surveillance of the global internet – and the part played by some of the biggest American internet companies in facilitating it – have stirred angst around the world.

Far from being seen as the guardian of a free and open online medium, the US has been painted as an oppressor, cynically using its privileged position to spy on foreign nationals. The result, warn analysts, could well be an acceleration of a process that has been under way for some time as other countries ringfence their networks to protect their citizens' data and limit the flow of information.

"It is difficult to imagine the internet not becoming more compartmentalised and Balkanised," says Rebecca MacKinnon, an expert on online censorship. "Ten years from now, we will look back on the free and open internet" with nostalgia, she adds.

At the most obvious level, the secret data-collection efforts being conducted by the US National Security Agency threaten to give would-be censors of the internet in authoritarian countries rhetorical cover as they put their own stamp on their local networks.

But the distrust of the US that the disclosures are generating in the democratic world, including in Europe, are also likely to have an impact. From the operation of a nation's telecoms infrastructure to the regulation of the emerging cloud computing industry, changes in the architecture of networks as countries seek more control look set to cause a sea change in the broader internet.

[Dec 05, 2016] Failure of Globalization and the Fourth Estate

Notable quotes:
"... As Mr. Buffet so keenly said it, There is a war going on, and we are winning. ..."
"... Just type `TPP editorial' into news.google.com and watch a toxic sludge of straw men, misdirection, and historical revisionism flow across your screen. And the `objective' straight news reporting is no better. ..."
"... "Why is it afraid of us?" Because we the people are perceived to be the enemy of America the Corporation. Whistleblowers have already stated that the NSA info is used to blackmail politicians and military leaders, provide corporate espionage to the highest payers and more devious machinations than the mind can grasp from behind a single computer. 9/11 was a coup – I say that because looking around the results tell me that. ..."
"... The fourth estate (the media) has been purchased outright by the second estate (the nobility). I guess you could call this an 'estate sale'. All power to the markets! ..."
naked capitalism
Free Trade," the banner of Globalization, has not only wrecked the world's economy, it has left Western Democracy in shambles. Europe edges ever closer to deflation. The Fed dare not increase interest rates, now poised at barely above zero. As China's stock market threatened collapse, China poured billions to prop it up. It's export machine is collapsing. Not once, but twice, it recently manipulated its currency to makes its goods cheaper on the world market. What is happening?

The following two graphs tell most of the story. First, an overview of Free Trade.

Deficit4-1024x420

Capital fled from developed countries to undeveloped countries with slave-cheap labor, countries with no environmental standards, countries with no support for collective bargaining. Corporations, like Apple, set up shop in China and other undeveloped countries. Some, like China, manipulated its currency to make exported goods to the West even cheaper. Some, like China, gave preferential tax treatment to Western firm over indigenous firms. Economists cheered as corporate efficiency unsurprisingly rose. U.S. citizens became mere consumers.

Thanks to Bill Clinton and the Financial Modernization Act, banks, now unconstrained, could peddle rigged financial services, offer insurance on its own investment products–in short, banks were free to play with everyone's money–and simply too big to fail. Credit was easy and breezy. If nasty Arabs bombed the Trade Center, why the solution was simple: Go to the shopping mall–and buy. That remarkable piece of advice is just what freedom has been all about.

Next: China's export machine sputters.

CAIXEN-1024x527

China's problem is that there are not enough orders to keep the export machine going. There comes a time when industrialized nations simply run out of cash–I mean the little people run out of cash. CEOs and those just below them–along with slick Wall Street gauchos–made bundles on Free Trade, corporate capital that could set up shop in any impoverished nation in the world.. No worries about labor–dirt cheap–or environmental regulations–just bring your gas masks. At some point the Western consumer well was bound to run dry. Credit was exhausted; the little guy could not buy anymore. Free trade was on its last legs.

So what did China do then? As its markets crashed, it tried to revive its export model, a model based on foreign firms exporting cheap goods to the West. China lowered its exchange rates, not once but twice. Then China tried to rescue the markets with cash infusion of billions. Still its market continued to crash. Manufacturing plants had closed–thousands of them. Free Trade and Globalization had run its course.

And what has the Fed been doing? Why quantitative easy–increase the money supply and lower short term interest rates. Like China's latest currency manipulation, both were merely stop-gap measures. No one, least of all Obama and his corporate advisors, was ready to address corporate outsourcing that has cost millions of jobs. Prime the pump a little, but never address the real problem.

The WTO sets the groundwork for trade among its member states. That groundwork is deeply flawed. Trade between impoverished third world countries and sophisticated first world economies is not merely a matter of regulating "dumping"-not allowing one country to flood the market with cheap goods-nor is it a matter of insuring that the each country does not favor its indigenous firms over foreign firms. Comparable labor and environmental standards are necessary. Does anyone think that a first world worker can compete with virtual slave labor? Does anyone think that a first world nation with excellent environmental regulations can compete with a third world nation that refuses to protect its environment?

Only lately has Apple even mentioned that it might clean up its mess in China. The Apple miracle has been on the backs of the Chinese poor and abysmal environmental wreckage that is China.

The WTO allows three forms of inequities-all of which encourage outsourcing: labor arbitrage, tax arbitrage, and environmental arbitrage. For a fuller explanation of these inequities and the "race to the bottom," see here.

Of course now we have the mother of all Free Trade deals –the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)– carefully wrapped in a black box so that none of us can see what finally is in store for us. Nothing is ever "Free"–even trade. I suspect that China is becoming a bit too noxious and poisonous. It simply has to deal with its massive environmental problems. Time to move the game to less despoiled and maybe more impoverished countries. Meanwhile, newscasters are always careful to tout TPP.

Fast Tracking is a con man's game. Do it so fast that the marks never have a chance to watch their wallets. In hiding negotiations from prying, public eyes, Obama, has given the con men a bigger edge: A screen to hide the corporations making deals. Their interest is in profits, not in public good.

Consider the media. Our only defense is a strong independent media. At one time, newsrooms were not required to be profitable. Reporting the news was considered a community service. Corporate ownership provided the necessary funding for its newsrooms–and did not interfere.

But the 70′s and 80′s corporate ownership required its newsrooms to be profitable. Slowly but surely, newsrooms focused on personality, entertainment, and wedge issues–always careful not to rock the corporate boat, always careful not to tread on governmental policy. Whoever thought that one major news service–Fox–would become a breeding ground for one particular party.

But consider CNN: It organizes endless GOP debates; then spends hours dissecting them. Create the news; then sell it–and be sure to spin it in the direction you want.

Are matters of substance ever discussed? When has a serious foreign policy debate ever been allowed occurred–without editorial interference from the media itself. When has trade and outsourcing been seriously discussed–other than by peripheral news media?

Meanwhile, news media becomes more and more centralized. Murdoch now owns National Geographic!

Now, thanks to Bush and Obama, we have the chilling effect of the NSA. Just whom does the NSA serve when it collects all of our digital information? Is it being used to ferret out the plans of those exercising their right of dissent? Is it being used to increase the profits of favored corporations? Why does it need all of your and my personal information–from bank accounts, to credit cards, to travel plans, to friends with whom we chat .Why is it afraid of us?


jefemt, October 23, 2015 at 9:43 am

As Mr. Buffet so keenly said it, There is a war going on, and we are winning.

If 'they' are failing, I'd hate to see success!

Isn't it the un-collective WE who are failing?

failing to organize,
failing to come up with plausible, 90 degrees off present Lemming-to-Brink path alternative plans and policies,
failing to agree on any of many plausible alternatives that might work

Divided- for now- hopefully not conquered ..

I gotta scoot and get back to Dancing with the Master Chefs

allan, October 23, 2015 at 10:03 am

Just type `TPP editorial' into news.google.com and watch a toxic sludge of straw men, misdirection, and historical revisionism flow across your screen. And the `objective' straight news reporting is no better.

Vatch, October 23, 2015 at 10:36 am

Don't just watch the toxic sludge; respond to it with a letter to the editor (LTE) of the offending publication! For some of those toxic editorials, and contact information for LTEs, see:

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/10/200pm-water-cooler-10162015.html#comment-2503316

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/10/trading-away-land-rights-tpp-investment-agreements-and-the-governance-of-land.html#comment-2502833

A few of the editorials may now be obscured by paywalls or registration requirements, but most should still be visible. Let them know that we see through their nonsense!

TedWa, October 23, 2015 at 10:38 am

"Why is it afraid of us?" Because we the people are perceived to be the enemy of America the Corporation. Whistleblowers have already stated that the NSA info is used to blackmail politicians and military leaders, provide corporate espionage to the highest payers and more devious machinations than the mind can grasp from behind a single computer. 9/11 was a coup – I say that because looking around the results tell me that.

TG, October 23, 2015 at 3:27 pm

The fourth estate (the media) has been purchased outright by the second estate (the nobility). I guess you could call this an 'estate sale'. All power to the markets!

Pelham, October 23, 2015 at 8:32 pm

Even when newsrooms were more independent they probably would not, in general, have reported on free trade with any degree of skepticism. The recent disappearance of the old firewall between the news and corporate sides has made things worse, but at least since the "professionalization" of newsrooms that began to really take hold in the '60s, journalists have tended to identify far more with their sources in power than with their readers.

There have, of course, been notable exceptions. But even these sometimes serve more to obscure the real day-to-day nature of journalism's fealty to the corporate world than to bring about any significant change.

[Dec 02, 2016] Fascism or national-chauvinism is a tool purposefully utilized by the neoliberal center to divert economic discontent that might otherwise find a home on the left.

Notable quotes:
"... At the end of the day Trump isn't a real national-chauvinist, the compromise term I'll settle for here instead of you-know-what. He's a backbench member of the neoliberal ruling class, and a participant in the ongoing game in which two neoliberal electoral blocs make vague rhetorical overtures toward leftism and national-chauvinism while taking turns implementing different aspects of a thoroughly neoliberal governing agenda. ..."
"... the greater danger this US election season was Democrats' decision to validate and legitimize the so-called "moderate Republicans" who for decades have been laying the groundwork for Trump and all the future Trumps to come. ..."
"... In that vein, MisterMr touches on the crucial point that fascism or national-chauvinism is a tool purposefully utilized by the liberal center to divert economic discontent that might otherwise find a home on the left. ..."
"... Politics is about priorities. You don't need a policy statement "dropping" someone to drop them. All you have to do is make them one of your lowest priorities. ..."
Dec 02, 2016 | crookedtimber.org
Patrick 12.01.16 at 6:34 pm 88

"Since the collapse of faith in neoliberalism following the Global Financial Crisis, the political right has been increasingly dominated by tribalism. "

And the political left has been increasingly dominated by neoliberalism.

WLGR 12.01.16 at 7:02 pm 89 ( 89 )

faustusnotes, to blur the divide between the neoliberal center and the socialist left is to fall totally and completely into the trap. At the end of the day Trump isn't a real national-chauvinist, the compromise term I'll settle for here instead of you-know-what. He's a backbench member of the neoliberal ruling class, and a participant in the ongoing game in which two neoliberal electoral blocs make vague rhetorical overtures toward leftism and national-chauvinism while taking turns implementing different aspects of a thoroughly neoliberal governing agenda.

The fact that all these "never Trump" Republicans are now clamoring for roles in what's predictably shaping up as a neoliberal administration with a national-chauvinist veneer should validate what the left has been saying all along: that Trump as a politician is not in any meaningful sense unprecedented, his rhetoric proceeds logically or even inevitably from the long (and bipartisan) tradition of national-chauvinist ideology in US electoral politics, and if anything the greater danger this US election season was Democrats' decision to validate and legitimize the so-called "moderate Republicans" who for decades have been laying the groundwork for Trump and all the future Trumps to come.

... ... ...

In that vein, MisterMr touches on the crucial point that fascism or national-chauvinism is a tool purposefully utilized by the liberal center to divert economic discontent that might otherwise find a home on the left.

... ... ...

Sebastian H 12.02.16 at 8:03 am 93 ( 93 )

"WLGR, where is the democratic policy statement that they are "dropping" the interests of blue collar workers?"

This isn't a clear way of analyzing the problem. Politics is about priorities. You don't need a policy statement "dropping" someone to drop them. All you have to do is make them one of your lowest priorities.

[Nov 30, 2016] Trump Loves to Win, But American Generals Have Forgotten How

Notable quotes:
"... By Andrew J. Bacevich, a professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University. His most recent book is ..."
"... So, yes, Trump's critique of American generalship possesses merit, but whether he knows it or not, the question truly demanding his attention as the incoming commander-in-chief isn't: Who should I hire (or fire) to fight my wars? Instead, far more urgent is: Does further war promise to solve any of my problems? ..."
"... As a candidate, Trump vowed to "defeat radical Islamic terrorism," destroy ISIS, "decimate al-Qaeda," and "starve funding for Iran-backed Hamas and Hezbollah." Those promises imply a significant escalation of what Americans used to call the Global War on Terrorism. ..."
"... In that regard, his promise to "quickly and decisively bomb the hell out of ISIS" offers a hint of what is to come. ..."
"... To a very considerable extent, Trump defeated Hillary Clinton, preferred candidate of the establishment, because he advertised himself as just the guy disgruntled Americans could count on to drain that swamp. ..."
"... Were Trump really intent on draining that swamp - if he genuinely seeks to "Make America Great Again" - then he would extricate the United States from war. His liquidation of Trump University, which was to higher education what Freedom's Sentinel and Inherent Resolve are to modern warfare, provides a potentially instructive precedent for how to proceed. ..."
"... Celebrity Apprentice ..."
"... Which brings us, finally, to that third question: To the extent that deficiencies at the top of the military hierarchy do affect the outcome of wars, what can be done to fix the problem? ..."
"... The most expeditious approach: purge all currently serving three- and four-star officers; then, make a precondition for promotion to those ranks confinement in a reeducation camp run by Iraq and Afghanistan war amputees, with a curriculum designed by Veterans for Peace . Graduation should require each student to submit an essay reflecting on these words of wisdom from U.S. Grant himself: "There never was a time when, in my opinion, some way could not be found to prevent the drawing of the sword." ..."
"... this is the double failure of Washington. You might give them some credit if they were competent imperialists. But they are the worst of all worlds. They are reckless imperialists who can't even achieve their own stated aims with a modicum of competence. Real imperialists of the past would be rolling around laughing at this lot. ..."
"... They're not imperialists, they're corporatists. Graft is the object, and given that construction companies like Halliburton and mercs like Xe don't bankroll Ds, and since bombing campaigns are easy to keep up/out of the news, the money has now shifted to drones. ..."
"... I think they are imperialists in the sense that, as William Appleman Williams and others have argued, their primary orienting goal is to extend and sustain the US dominance of a world market. ..."
"... If you read what US foreign policy and military planners were saying in after WW2, that's an inescapable conclusion. Your focus on the corporation takes as a given what those planners have felt they need to strategically and militarily secure. Bacevich consistently avoids this issue and so ends up promoting a naive and implicitly hopeful view of US motives and the flexibility with which they can be pursued. ..."
"... It's really quite something to go back and read Dean Acheson testifying to a congressional committee that, unlike the Soviet Union, the US requires steady expansion of the world market to survive. He sounds like Rosa Luxemburg. ..."
"... The US is a nation of racketeers, which are perfecting the corruption of services into means of converting tax revenue into private profits. Some of these services are in fact essential, all have been – at least until recently – unassailable regardless of merit. Examples are housing, education, health care, private transportation and of course "national security". The rackets trace back to the exceptional US economic circumstances of WW2, and the leading racket was well established at the end of the Eisenhower presidency (his CYA address notwithstanding). ..."
"... For the "self-licking ice-cream cone" of military/security/intelligence/public safety expenditures to continue to grow exponentially, it is not only unnecessary for the tax-purchased services and goods to be functional, let alone deliver results – it is positively counterproductive. The question is not whether any captured government institution is dysfunctional, the question is merely whether and how the profitability it delivers to the "accounting control frauds" in charge of the incumbents can be increased. ..."
"... Success in any enterprise requires the definition of a goal. I believe that the goal of U.S. military action in MENA is two-fold: display fealty to Israel and the kings of the Arabian Peninsula; and to grow the corporate coffers of the MIC here at home. Defined in that way, the U.S. military has "hit it outta da park." Winning? Winning was a pipe dream of the likes of Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. Cheney knew better and took GWB along for a ride. ..."
"... I am highly suspicious that publicly stated goals of the wars were the actual targets. My take is that the actual goal has always been to keep those places in chaos; on US terms and under its control. with a safe US military base to punch those second-rate nations if necessary; By that measure, I believe both the Iraq and Afghan invasions were a success but they cannot pat each other's backs publicly. ..."
"... I think that may have been his point, albeit delivered obliquely, as in his statement that "some wars should not be fought"; his quote from Grant, "There never was a time when, in my opinion, some way could not be found to prevent the drawing of the sword", as well as elsewhere in the piece. ..."
"... Drain the swamp indeed, extricate the military from our national misadventures and retire the top brass more intent on career advancement that the true needs of the nation. Problems solved and we can move on as a nation. Will the world fall apart, if true men and women of honor step forward, I highly doubt it. ..."
"... Pretty radical stuff actually, but something that resonates with many people, people without a voice. Change will come from within the military, and it is refreshing to hear words of sanity form those inside the military system-Tulsi Gabbard for one. ..."
"... There isn't too much of an incentive to win if you're a careerist either which many of them are since the military is a giant welfare program/bureaucracy largely based on licking boots to advance. It might be nice to add another accolade to that fat stack of attendance ribbons on their chests but that's all it is. Also, even if you were super serious about winning the war look at what happened to Shinseki when he clashed with the civilian leadership over the numbers of troops needed to pacify Iraq post-war. He was marginalized and finally canned altogether. ..."
"... James P. Levy , Ph.D. FRHistS, a man who never hid behind a goddamned nom de plume ..."
"... Bacevich has made the point (as have others) that when the draft was eliminated voters no longer had skin in the game and became ambivalent which is why the founding fathers set up the system with the citizen soldier as a cornerstone principle. ..."
"... Andrew Bacevich, as usual, writes a great article. But Grant and Sherman benefited from having a war with a clear goal: destroy the Confederate army and its government. I hesitate to call anything happening with the US in the Middle East or North Africa or SE Asia a "war" of that nature. There are no clear objectives. There are no criteria for an end of the conflict. ..."
"... Instead, this looks a whole lot more like the North's occupation of the South during Reconstruction. We all know how that ended: the North had to pull itself out after an economic depression, more or less leading to a reign of terror through Jim Crow. ..."
"... You make a good, concise case for what the real objectives are for these unending expensive wars. Of course, this level of clarity re these goals are seldom stated to the populace at large. Rather we're mostly fed bullshit about terrrrists and being kept "safe" and other noodleheaded claptrap. ..."
"... Yes, as I said above, the neocons objective have been an abject failure. They display incompetence at all levels. And yet nobody pays the price. And the fact that the neocons don't try to fire the generals who failed (as numerous political leaders in the past have done) is a reflection of both their incompetence and the fact that the wars have become the ultimate in self licking ice creams. ..."
"... Ordinary people make the mistake of believing that the current crop of leaders have their interests in mind at all. They do not. If Clintons Public/Private mumbo jumbo didn't clear you of that thinking I don't know what will. ..."
"... The proper way to think about these things is the neocon plan is succeeding wonderfully but they are truly too short sighted- i.e. stupid in the long term- to understand the consequences. They understand short term profit completely and how to dispense physical power but little else. Consequences and payback are externalized in their world ..."
"... 30 years in lockup for Chelsea Manning is a warning for those, I suspect, who want to say "enough is enough." I also believe that your ability to move up the hierarchy to make those decisions to keep fighting is determined by your willingness to continue to see through the neoliberal project. ..."
"... I disagree to the extent that the ideological neocons had a very clearly stated and unambiguous strategic purpose – re-engineering the world as America's corporate playground, with any possible competitor (i.e. Russia and China) firmly penned in. This meant replacing all the mid-size States which were still refusing to be part of the Washington Consensus. ..."
"... Its no secret or mystery about what they were seeking. In this, they have failed – Afghanistan remains in chaos, Iraq is more Iran controlled than US controlled, Iran still refuses to come to heel, and Russia and China are making increasing inroads to Central Asia, eastern Europe, Africa and South America. The neocon project is slowly unravelling, with Trump hopefully about to put it out of its misery. ..."
"... There are now more people in Washington who's job depends on finding more wars to fight than there are people employed to stop wars. This is the neocons fault, but its not the neocons project – they are just useful idiots for the profiteers. ..."
"... I don't make a distinction between the neocons and the profiteers. The worst possible outcome from this neocon disaster would be for the profiteers, the rentiers, to be able to reconstitute their hold over society- or to hold onto it for that matter. What will it take, complete destruction of the biosphere for people to understand that cooperation is the only means of survival? ..."
"... Part of the problem with the U.S military is that the Army sees enemy #2 as the Air Force and Navy. Gotta get those dollars. Another problem is that the U.S fails at the oft quote dictum of Sun Tzu, know yourself and know your enemy. ..."
"... In America's defense they are great at logistics side of war. ..."
"... Generals and admirals are all adept politicians and bureaucrats. they have to be to get to that level in the structure. War-fighters, no so much, with few exceptions, https://fabiusmaximus.com/2008/01/14/millennium-challenge/ . ..."
"... It's long seemed to me one of the many failings of the species is that some of us produce wise counsel that actually looks to the horizon and beyond, like the fundamental questions articulated by Sun Tzu about whether to commit the peasants who pay for it to a prolonged foreign war with long supply lines that will bankrupt the nation - http://classics.mit.edu/Tzu/artwar.html . And then the idiot few that gain, psychically or monetarily, from conflict, blow that kind of fundamental test of wisdom off and "go to war" or more accurately "send other people to hack and blast each other while the senders get rich." ..."
"... So is it just the inevitable case that Empires rise up, loot, murder, grow the usual huge corrupt capitals and the militaries to support the looting and keep the mopes in line, and finally succumb to some kind of wasting disease where all the corruption and interest-seeking honeycombs and finally collapses the structure? Is there no other way for humans to organize, because so many of us have the drive to dominate and to grab all the pleasure and stuff we can get away with? ..."
"... I've grown up hearing commentaries that echo this one as relating to our foreign policy adventures since WWII, and if you take a results oriented approach, they're probably true. But having gone to school for foreign policy work and talking to people who were involved with the foreign policy apparatus (doing the leg work, not the people at the top who basically have no idea what they're doing), I've become more and more convinced that it's simply incompetence. ..."
"... I think that the people dictating policy are basically a bunch of Tom Friedmans, who are utterly convinced that their empirically wrong views about how policy is executed are correct. Look at Iraq in the aftermath. Not only did they get not understand that the Sunnis and Shia might not have the best of intentions towards each other, but US companies aren't even getting all the plum oil contracts. Now surely a country that guarantees the security of the Iraqi elite could ensure that it's own companies got the best deals? ..."
"... First and foremost the US is the greatest spender in weapons, and why does anyone spend in weapons if there is not plan to use them? The first objective is to use the weapons and avoid piling a dusting mountain of missiles, bombs, or any other kind of armament. Many wars are mainly the testing battlefields for new weaponry. ..."
"... Spreading fear might not be the best strategy but is has clearly been one of the main objectives in some cases, particularly Iraq. ..."
"... The best case of a president looking for an excuse to use the weapons and spread fear was G.W. Bush and Iraq v2.0. The fact that Bush excuses were clumsily manufactured and exposed without shame in the UN is a feature. It means: when we decide that we will attack you nothing will stop us. No democratic control and no international rules can stop us. ..."
"... The Bush Administration arrogantly assumed that all peoples are enough alike that they can be rescued the same way as Western Europeans were - after the Nazis were driven off. This premis was an epic error for the ages. The entire Washington establishment - to include the Pentagon - and the MSM went along with this premis. In many ways they STILL buy into it. ..."
"... You never read MSM articles questioning whether Iraqis or Afghans can buy into republican democracy. The assumption is that the whole world is waiting with baited breath to achieve this Western political-cultural ideal. ..."
"... The correct solution, in 2009, was to NOT expand Afghan operations. I spent many an hour arguing the folly of said expansion. It was inevitable that after any expansion there would be a massive draw down - which would destablize the Kabul government. ..."
"... Pull out of Syria entirely. Stop funding al Nusrah - which is an acknowledged branch of al Qaeda. Egypt has entered the conflict on the side of Assad, Iran and Russia, most recently. The "White Hats" are a fraud. ..."
"... US is caught in a typical occupation trap, where they want a subservient regime that is under their control. Subservient regimes are subservient because they lack a large power base and are dependent on their foreign backers. A subservient regime with a power base does not stay subservient for long, they quickly develop an independent streak at which point you have to overthrow them and install a different, weaker regime. ..."
"... Stabilizing a subservient regime with a weak power base requires US presence and boots on the ground. A subservient regime with a strong power base that can support itself quickly stops being subservient and has to be replaced. A "victory", where US troops would not be necessary for the regime support, means loss of control over the regime. ..."
"... So US is stuck in a loop. Political considerations force them to build up a regime to a point of independence, only to have to tear it down when it looks like it might go against American interests. US military takes the blame because they have to fight the latest insurgent group CIA built up to effect regime change. ..."
"... I would never gainsay that many technocratic, careerist general officers might be looking for ways to enhance their glory and bid up their asking price for CNN slots and board positions at Lockheed Martin. But the swamp you seek to drain has an apex predator; wealthy and powerful civilians. I seem to recall some generals, Eric Shinseki and Jay Garner come to mind, who tried to bring a little truth to power and avoid the biggest mistakes of the Iraq war. ..."
"... Eisenhower's prophecy has metastasized so deeply into the body politic, only a profound change in the views of the citizenry could possibly make a difference. Short of economic or military upheaval, it's hard to see how do we do this when our best paying jobs are strategically sprinkled across the country, making every procurement and every base sacrosanct to even the most liberal, libertarian or even peace-nick politicians? So, isn't the swamp much larger that the military officer corps? Drain this one part, and it would fill back in rather quickly if that was the main thrust of our attack on this nightmare. ..."
"... I suspect Trump is headed to the White House partly because a significant number of people concluded that social upheaval will be hastened by his administration, and that the consequences, whatever they may be, will be worth bearing so that we can rebuild on the ashes of the neoliberal/neoconservative era. ..."
"... Trump played the rubes about safety with his vitriolic Anti-Muslim rhetoric. Although Trump claimed not to want to continue the wars, I seriously doubt he'll do one damn thing to make improvements in this regard. ..."
"... Only Mussolini and Goering had a leg up on MacArthur regarding bling. ..."
"... Unfolding the Future of the Long War, a 2008 RAND Corporation report, was sponsored by the US Army Training and Doctrine Command's Army Capability Integration Centre. It set out US government policy options for prosecuting what it described as "the long war" against "adversaries" in "the Muslim world," who are "bent on forming a unified Islamic world to supplant Western dominance". ..."
"... Well, the US military's performance in WW1 and WW2, often against weak opposition, was less than stunning. They won their battles with massively superior firepower, for the most part. ..."
"... But the real problem does, indeed, lie in Washington; Accepting that the US strategy in Iraq, for example, was indeed to create a pliable, pro-western democratic state, it's not clear that there was actually much the military could do when it started to unravel because of the inherent stupidity of the idea. ..."
"... Nor should we overlook the resulting body count. Since the autumn of 2001, something like 370,000 combatants and noncombatants have been killed in the various theaters of operations where U.S. forces have been active. Although modest by twentieth century standards, this post-9/11 harvest of death is hardly trivial. ..."
"... A dozen terrorism scholars gave a wide range of answers when asked to estimate how many members there are, how the numbers have changed during al Qaeda's lifespan and how many countries the group operates in. Analysts put the core membership at anywhere from 200 to 1,000 ..."
"... Instead it was scaled up into stupid endless Perpetual War without achievable objectives. In retrospect divide $5T by 200-1,000 and consider how little it may have cost if 9/11 had been treated as a criminal act by non-state actors, instead of sticking our foot into the role of destabilizing other sovereign countries, killing /antagonizing the citizens and generally fking up their countries?? ..."
"... I think the US is falling into the old imperialist trap of thinking of these places as countries with capital cities and leaders recognized as such by the population. The British had that issue in the 1770s when they captured the capital(s) of the new US but the revolution didn't stop. External superpower (French) support was able to keep the resistance functioning and the British eventually gave up. Both of those superpowers kept duking it out on other battlefields for another 30 years. ..."
"... The nearest analog to what the US is trying to do in all these places is a lot like the imposition of the Spanish Empire; total destruction of native culture and replacement with Roman forms. The places the Spanish controlled are still broken, so don't look for success in this endeavor anytime soon ..."
"... The nearest analog to what the US is trying to do in all these places is a lot like the imposition of the Spanish Empire ..."
"... Say what you want about the British Empire, but they did leave behind functioning legal and political systems in most of the countries they controlled. In India's case, they also left them a common language since there are so many languages there. Many of the countries remained in the Commonwealth after independence which is something that none of the other colonial powers achieved. ..."
"... I think the key was the British focused on empire as an extension of commerce, not ideology (they already knew they were superior, so they didn't have to prove it, which allows for pragmatism). In the end, when it was clear that they couldn't hold on, they backed out more gracefully than many other empires. ..."
"... The military-industrial complex has perfected the art of putting parts of the design, manufacturing, testing, and deployment of these programs into just about Congressional District so that everybody wants their constituents to have a shot at one part of the trough. ..."
"... This is how empires fall. Asymmetrical economic and military warfare against entrenched bureaucracies and corruption. ..."
"... Sounds like the lament of an aging mafia don that's forgotten what he's talking about is illegal. "Why can't our generals pull off a good old-fashioned smash and grab like they used to? They must be incompetent!" ..."
"... So I don't think an old-fashioned smash & grab has been the goal for a long time. For decades (ever since WWII?) we've been trying to regime change our way to the goal of every Hollywood mad scientist and super-villian: everlasting world dominance. ..."
"... So while China and Russia aim for Eurasian integration, we're all about it's disintegration. We're also determined to keep the EU from ever threatening our dominance. South America is slipping the yoke, but we haven't given up. ..."
"... Here in the "Homeland" (genuflects), on the "home front," in the domestic "battle space," it's important to realize that when the Pentagon says "full-spectrum dominance," that means us, comrades. Wall-to-wall surveillance? Check. POTUS power to execute or disappear dissidents? Check. Torture enshrined in secret laws and the public mind? Check. ..."
"... Obama never renounced FSD. AFAIK it's still the strategy. Why doesn't the esteemed colonel frame his analysis in terms of our official defense posture? Are we any closer to FSD, or not? ..."
"... I'll be impressed when the colonel starts calling our wars crimes against humanity and for their immediate cessation and full reparations. "Moar better generals" will not succeed at accomplishing a basically insane strategy. Until then, I'll file Bacevich under "modified limited hangout." ..."
"... Agreed. I was surprised, too. Of course, it's the working class children in the flyover states who join the military and go to war, and come back maimed or with PTSD to a rotten job market. So that may have been politically astute on Trump's part and, if so, good for him. ..."
"... Let's be brutally frank. The US both wants an empire, but also wants to pretend it is encouraging democracy everywhere. Objectives where the result is deceitful and duplicitous behavior. Ask the Indians about the methods, or the beneficiaries of the "Monroe Doctrine." The British wanted an empire. A simple objective. If you are not England, you are a colony, and we, the English, make the rules. At the heart of American activities is a kernel of deceit. Self determination for people, but only if you do what we say. The kernel of deceit poisons every walk of life connected to Washington. Every single one. ..."
"... The US is called the empire of chaos. It could also be called the empire of Deceit. Do as we say, but we are not taking any responsibility for you if you do what we say. Don't do what we say, and we will fund your opposition until they stuff a dagger up you ass. ..."
"... Think about Democrats using identity politics to claim religious fervor and war used to show being strong on defense. With both political parties using corruption to align power and control at home and abroad. Choosing your enemies carefully, for you will become them. ..."
"... The US military was the first part of the government to be turned into a business, the first neo-liberal institution created in America. The real problem is that the US military is run by managers and not soldiers. The Germans used to make fun of the British Army in WWI by calling it an army of lions led by donkeys. The US military is an army of lions led by managers. ..."
"... If Andrew is looking for a denouement to the Military Industrial complex then one need look no further than the British empire – specifically what made it shrink and shrivel very rapidly. WWI and WWII. The decimation of the economy and the inability to keep spending money to maintain empire is what reversed the entire machine. It will be the same with the US as well. ..."
Nov 30, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Posted on November 29, 2016 by Yves Smith By Andrew J. Bacevich, a professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University. His most recent book is America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History. Originally published at TomDispatch

President-elect Donald Trump's message for the nation's senior military leadership is ambiguously unambiguous. Here is he on 60 Minutes just days after winning the election.

In reality, Trump, the former reality show host, knows next to nothing about ISIS, one of many gaps in his education that his impending encounter with actual reality is likely to fill. Yet when it comes to America's generals, our president-to-be is onto something. No doubt our three- and four-star officers qualify as "great" in the sense that they mean well, work hard, and are altogether fine men and women. That they have not "done the job," however, is indisputable - at least if their job is to bring America's wars to a timely and successful conclusion.

Trump's unhappy verdict - that the senior U.S. military leadership doesn't know how to win - applies in spades to the two principal conflicts of the post-9/11 era: the Afghanistan War, now in its 16th year, and the Iraq War, launched in 2003 and (after a brief hiatus) once more grinding on. Yet the verdict applies equally to lesser theaters of conflict, largely overlooked by the American public, that in recent years have engaged the attention of U.S. forces, a list that would include conflicts in Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.

Granted, our generals have demonstrated an impressive aptitude for moving pieces around on a dauntingly complex military chessboard. Brigades, battle groups, and squadrons shuttle in and out of various war zones, responding to the needs of the moment. The sheer immensity of the enterprise across the Greater Middle East and northern Africa - the sorties flown , munitions expended , the seamless deployment and redeployment of thousands of troops over thousands of miles, the vast stockpiles of material positioned, expended, and continuously resupplied - represents a staggering achievement. Measured by these or similar quantifiable outputs, America's military has excelled. No other military establishment in history could have come close to duplicating the logistical feats being performed year in, year out by the armed forces of the United States.

Nor should we overlook the resulting body count. Since the autumn of 2001, something like 370,000 combatants and noncombatants have been killed in the various theaters of operations where U.S. forces have been active. Although modest by twentieth century standards, this post-9/11 harvest of death is hardly trivial.

Yet in evaluating military operations, it's a mistake to confuse how much with how well . Only rarely do the outcomes of armed conflicts turn on comparative statistics. Ultimately, the one measure of success that really matters involves achieving war's political purposes. By that standard, victory requires not simply the defeat of the enemy, but accomplishing the nation's stated war aims, and not just in part or temporarily but definitively. Anything less constitutes failure, not to mention utter waste for taxpayers, and for those called upon to fight, it constitutes cause for mourning.

By that standard, having been "at war" for virtually the entire twenty-first century, the United States military is still looking for its first win. And however strong the disinclination to concede that Donald Trump could be right about anything, his verdict on American generalship qualifies as apt.

A Never-Ending Parade of Commanders for Wars That Never End

That verdict brings to mind three questions. First, with Trump a rare exception, why have the recurring shortcomings of America's military leadership largely escaped notice? Second, to what degree does faulty generalship suffice to explain why actual victory has proven so elusive? Third, to the extent that deficiencies at the top of the military hierarchy bear directly on the outcome of our wars, how might the generals improve their game?

As to the first question, the explanation is quite simple: During protracted wars, traditional standards for measuring generalship lose their salience. Without pertinent standards, there can be no accountability. Absent accountability, failings and weaknesses escape notice. Eventually, what you've become accustomed to seems tolerable. Twenty-first century Americans inured to wars that never end have long since forgotten that bringing such conflicts to a prompt and successful conclusion once defined the very essence of what generals were expected to do.

Senior military officers were presumed to possess unique expertise in designing campaigns and directing engagements. Not found among mere civilians or even among soldiers of lesser rank, this expertise provided the rationale for conferring status and authority on generals.

In earlier eras, the very structure of wars provided a relatively straightforward mechanism for testing such claims to expertise. Events on the battlefield rendered harsh judgments, creating or destroying reputations with brutal efficiency.

Back then, standards employed in evaluating generalship were clear-cut and uncompromising. Those who won battles earned fame, glory, and the gratitude of their countrymen. Those who lost battles got fired or were put out to pasture.

During the Civil War, for example, Abraham Lincoln did not need an advanced degree in strategic studies to conclude that Union generals like John Pope, Ambrose Burnside, and Joseph Hooker didn't have what it took to defeat the Army of Northern Virginia. Humiliating defeats sustained by the Army of the Potomac at the Second Bull Run, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville made that obvious enough. Similarly, the victories Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman gained at Shiloh, at Vicksburg, and in the Chattanooga campaign strongly suggested that here was the team to which the president could entrust the task of bringing the Confederacy to its knees.

Today, public drunkenness , petty corruption , or sexual shenanigans with a subordinate might land generals in hot water. But as long as they avoid egregious misbehavior, senior officers charged with prosecuting America's wars are largely spared judgments of any sort. Trying hard is enough to get a passing grade.

With the country's political leaders and public conditioned to conflicts seemingly destined to drag on for years, if not decades, no one expects the current general-in-chief in Iraq or Afghanistan to bring things to a successful conclusion. His job is merely to manage the situation until he passes it along to a successor, while duly adding to his collection of personal decorations and perhaps advancing his career.

Today, for example, Army General John Nicholson commands U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan. He's only the latest in a long line of senior officers to preside over that war, beginning with General Tommy Franks in 2001 and continuing with Generals Mikolashek, Barno, Eikenberry, McNeill, McKiernan, McChrystal, Petraeus, Allen, Dunford, and Campbell. The title carried by these officers changed over time. So, too, did the specifics of their "mission" as Operation Enduring Freedom evolved into Operation Freedom's Sentinel. Yet even as expectations slipped lower and lower, none of the commanders rotating through Kabul delivered. Not a single one has, in our president-elect's concise formulation, "done the job." Indeed, it's increasingly difficult to know what that job is, apart from preventing the Taliban from quite literally toppling the government.

In Iraq, meanwhile, Army Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend currently serves as the - count 'em - ninth American to command U.S. and coalition forces in that country since the George W. Bush administration ordered the invasion of 2003. The first in that line, (once again) General Tommy Franks, overthrew the Saddam Hussein regime and thereby broke Iraq. The next five, Generals Sanchez, Casey, Petraeus, Odierno, and Austin, labored for eight years to put it back together again.

At the end of 2011, President Obama declared that they had done just that and terminated the U.S. military occupation. The Islamic State soon exposed Obama's claim as specious when its militants put a U.S.-trained Iraqi army to flight and annexed large swathes of that country's territory. Following in the footsteps of his immediate predecessors Generals James Terry and Sean MacFarland, General Townsend now shoulders the task of trying to restore Iraq's status as a more or less genuinely sovereign state. He directs what the Pentagon calls Operation Inherent Resolve, dating from June 2014, the follow-on to Operation New Dawn (September 2010-December 2011), which was itself the successor to Operation Iraqi Freedom (March 2003-August 2010).

When and how Inherent Resolve will conclude is difficult to forecast. This much we can, however, say with some confidence: with the end nowhere in sight, General Townsend won't be its last commander. Other generals are waiting in the wings with their own careers to polish. As in Kabul, the parade of U.S. military commanders through Baghdad will continue.

For some readers, this listing of mostly forgotten names and dates may have a soporific effect. Yet it should also drive home Trump's point. The United States may today have the world's most powerful and capable military - so at least we are constantly told. Yet the record shows that it does not have a corps of senior officers who know how to translate capability into successful outcomes.

Draining Which Swamp?

That brings us to the second question: Even if commander-in-chief Trump were somehow able to identify modern day equivalents of Grant and Sherman to implement his war plans, secret or otherwise, would they deliver victory?

On that score, we would do well to entertain doubts. Although senior officers charged with running recent American wars have not exactly covered themselves in glory, it doesn't follow that their shortcomings offer the sole or even a principal explanation for why those wars have yielded such disappointing results. The truth is that some wars aren't winnable and shouldn't be fought.

So, yes, Trump's critique of American generalship possesses merit, but whether he knows it or not, the question truly demanding his attention as the incoming commander-in-chief isn't: Who should I hire (or fire) to fight my wars? Instead, far more urgent is: Does further war promise to solve any of my problems?

One mark of a successful business executive is knowing when to cut your losses. It's also the mark of a successful statesman. Trump claims to be the former. Whether his putative business savvy will translate into the world of statecraft remains to be seen. Early signs are not promising.

As a candidate, Trump vowed to "defeat radical Islamic terrorism," destroy ISIS, "decimate al-Qaeda," and "starve funding for Iran-backed Hamas and Hezbollah." Those promises imply a significant escalation of what Americans used to call the Global War on Terrorism.

Toward that end, the incoming administration may well revive some aspects of the George W. Bush playbook, including repopulating the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and "if it's so important to the American people," reinstituting torture. The Trump administration will at least consider re-imposing sanctions on countries like Iran. It may aggressively exploit the offensive potential of cyber-weapons, betting that America's cyber-defenses will hold.

Yet President Trump is also likely to double down on the use of conventional military force. In that regard, his promise to "quickly and decisively bomb the hell out of ISIS" offers a hint of what is to come. His appointment of the uber-hawkish Lieutenant General Michael Flynn as his national security adviser and his rumored selection of retired Marine Corps General James ("Mad Dog") Mattis as defense secretary suggest that he means what he says. In sum, a Trump administration seems unlikely to reexamine the conviction that the problems roiling the Greater Middle East will someday, somehow yield to a U.S.-imposed military solution. Indeed, in the face of massive evidence to the contrary, that conviction will deepen, with genuinely ironic implications for the Trump presidency.

In the immediate wake of 9/11, George W. Bush concocted a fantasy of American soldiers liberating oppressed Afghans and Iraqis and thereby " draining the swamp " that served to incubate anti-Western terrorism. The results achieved proved beyond disappointing, while the costs exacted in terms of lives and dollars squandered were painful indeed. Incrementally, with the passage of time, many Americans concluded that perhaps the swamp most in need of attention was not on the far side of the planet but much closer at hand - right in the imperial city nestled alongside the Potomac River.

To a very considerable extent, Trump defeated Hillary Clinton, preferred candidate of the establishment, because he advertised himself as just the guy disgruntled Americans could count on to drain that swamp.

Yet here's what too few of those Americans appreciate, even today: war created that swamp in the first place. War empowers Washington. It centralizes. It provides a rationale for federal authorities to accumulate and exercise new powers. It makes government bigger and more intrusive. It lubricates the machinery of waste, fraud, and abuse that causes tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to vanish every year. When it comes to sustaining the swamp, nothing works better than war.

Were Trump really intent on draining that swamp - if he genuinely seeks to "Make America Great Again" - then he would extricate the United States from war. His liquidation of Trump University, which was to higher education what Freedom's Sentinel and Inherent Resolve are to modern warfare, provides a potentially instructive precedent for how to proceed.

But don't hold your breath on that one. All signs indicate that, in one fashion or another, our combative next president will perpetuate the wars he's inheriting. Trump may fancy that, as a veteran of Celebrity Apprentice (but not of military service), he possesses a special knack for spotting the next Grant or Sherman. But acting on that impulse will merely replenish the swamp in the Greater Middle East along with the one in Washington. And soon enough, those who elected him with expectations of seeing the much-despised establishment dismantled will realize that they've been had.

Which brings us, finally, to that third question: To the extent that deficiencies at the top of the military hierarchy do affect the outcome of wars, what can be done to fix the problem?

The most expeditious approach: purge all currently serving three- and four-star officers; then, make a precondition for promotion to those ranks confinement in a reeducation camp run by Iraq and Afghanistan war amputees, with a curriculum designed by Veterans for Peace . Graduation should require each student to submit an essay reflecting on these words of wisdom from U.S. Grant himself: "There never was a time when, in my opinion, some way could not be found to prevent the drawing of the sword."

True, such an approach may seem a bit draconian. But this is no time for half-measures - as even Donald Trump may eventually recognize.

DanB November 29, 2016 at 9:05 am

As much s I have appreciated Bacevich's views over the past decade, my reaction to this is that he's asking the wrong questions. Just what would a "victory" in these imperial interventions look like? Does he really think our military is protecting our nation? I don't.

PlutoniumKun November 29, 2016 at 10:21 am

I believe his point is narrower. Victory in Afghanistan and Iraq would (in the eyes of the establishment) have involved the pacification of those countries with pro-capitalist and pro-western nominally democratic governments in charge (i.e. puppets). That is what the explicit and implicit aim of those invasions was to be. The military was charged with achieving those ends, and they failed (as they've failed elsewhere). And yet, even by the criteria set by the establishment, there has been zero accountability.

And this is the double failure of Washington. You might give them some credit if they were competent imperialists. But they are the worst of all worlds. They are reckless imperialists who can't even achieve their own stated aims with a modicum of competence. Real imperialists of the past would be rolling around laughing at this lot.

Colonel Smithers November 29, 2016 at 11:37 am

Thank you. Well said. You are right to make the distinction between competent, incompetent and real imperialists. My parents came to the UK from a colony in the mid-1960s and talk about the colonial officials they came across. It was the same with my grandparents. I have come across the aspiring neo-cons on the make (and on the take) in the City, marking time until they can be parachuted into a safe seat.

Few, if any, speak a foreign language and / or spent much time abroad. They give the impression of playing chess from Tory Central Office or some "think tank", but with other countries and lives of people they know nothing, much less care, about. As we watched Obama being crowned in 2009, one (an aspiring Tory MP and former central office staffer) forecasted that Obama would go down as the worst president in history and added that Bush would go down as one of the greats. I made my excuses and went home.

Foppe November 29, 2016 at 11:54 am

They're not imperialists, they're corporatists. Graft is the object, and given that construction companies like Halliburton and mercs like Xe don't bankroll Ds, and since bombing campaigns are easy to keep up/out of the news, the money has now shifted to drones.

As such, they're not failing, except insofar as they are losing access to markets. And that isn't really the case either, since the iraqi don't form a market that matters; whereas the notional 'rebuilding effort' - which did provide opportunities for looting - is/was pretty much over anyway, once it became impossible to deny it "failed".

hemeantwell November 29, 2016 at 3:06 pm

I think they are imperialists in the sense that, as William Appleman Williams and others have argued, their primary orienting goal is to extend and sustain the US dominance of a world market.

If you read what US foreign policy and military planners were saying in after WW2, that's an inescapable conclusion. Your focus on the corporation takes as a given what those planners have felt they need to strategically and militarily secure. Bacevich consistently avoids this issue and so ends up promoting a naive and implicitly hopeful view of US motives and the flexibility with which they can be pursued.

It's really quite something to go back and read Dean Acheson testifying to a congressional committee that, unlike the Soviet Union, the US requires steady expansion of the world market to survive. He sounds like Rosa Luxemburg.

Crosley Bendix November 29, 2016 at 8:57 pm

Do you have a source for that Dean Acheson quote?

b. November 29, 2016 at 4:06 pm

Close but not quite there yet who benefits?

The US is a nation of racketeers, which are perfecting the corruption of services into means of converting tax revenue into private profits. Some of these services are in fact essential, all have been – at least until recently – unassailable regardless of merit. Examples are housing, education, health care, private transportation and of course "national security". The rackets trace back to the exceptional US economic circumstances of WW2, and the leading racket was well established at the end of the Eisenhower presidency (his CYA address notwithstanding).

For the "self-licking ice-cream cone" of military/security/intelligence/public safety expenditures to continue to grow exponentially, it is not only unnecessary for the tax-purchased services and goods to be functional, let alone deliver results – it is positively counterproductive. The question is not whether any captured government institution is dysfunctional, the question is merely whether and how the profitability it delivers to the "accounting control frauds" in charge of the incumbents can be increased.

There are many aspects of this particular proud strain of dysfunction capitalism – US weapon exports, "foreign aid" to Israel or Saudi Arabia, support for proxy forces, actual direct expenditure of armaments, and of course force modernization and extension are some of the many flavors. The fuel cost alone for moving men and materiel "fuels" entire industries. It would not at all be surprising to find that those 700 bases maintained – and expanded – are completely useless – if not even significant liabilities – while at the same time improving the bottom line of many suppliers. PMC's and the growing industry supporting ever-increasing logistical "needs" are another vector of the disease. Terrorism, of course, and the market for global and domestic surveillance and "public safety", is both a consequence and a pretext. The perfect racket produces its own justification while profit shares increase and "product" cost decrease.

It is the privilege of the continental US that, wedged between two oceans, a colony of the crown and a failed state, that it is largely insulated from the blowback of the various theaters of war profiteering (this is, after all, the major advantage the national security racket has over the competing domestic leeches). It stand to reason that the weaker the coupling to the fallout from profitable dysfunction, the longer trends that cannot continue will.

Iraq 2003 might well have been the last time that any of the major industries involved had any earnest intention to profit from the theater itself. Libya, Syria, Yemen etc. are in the main write-offs, pretexts that open profit channels but not part of it. It is usually ignored that the main issue China and Russia have with the US and its minion states is the abrogation of the concept of sovereign nation stages, going all the way back to Clinton's interventions in the Balkans. By accident or design, US foreign policy is one of scorched earth, preferring failed states to nations capable of resistance. This, too, is a consequence of that "splendid insulation".

steelhead23 November 29, 2016 at 7:18 pm

Bravo – spot on.

Seth November 29, 2016 at 9:24 pm

Yes. As Gen John Smedley Butler said, "War is a racket."

JTMcPhee November 30, 2016 at 8:15 am

Thank you, b., for saying clearly what so many of us perceive dimly through the fog of propaganda, and struggle to name.

Next question: is there a prayer of catalyzing a healthier political economy, or do we ordinary people just live until we die, as best we can manage? Maybe "judiciously studying the actions" and talking learnedly about them among our percipient selves, until even that illusion of action is finally blocked?

"In the end, he found he could not help himself: He loved Big Brother."

steelhead23 November 29, 2016 at 7:10 pm

The truth is that some wars aren't winnable and shouldn't be fought.

Success in any enterprise requires the definition of a goal. I believe that the goal of U.S. military action in MENA is two-fold: display fealty to Israel and the kings of the Arabian Peninsula; and to grow the corporate coffers of the MIC here at home. Defined in that way, the U.S. military has "hit it outta da park." Winning? Winning was a pipe dream of the likes of Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. Cheney knew better and took GWB along for a ride.

Let us pray that President Trump's small mind and loose tongue substantially degrades the willingness of the U.S.'s partners to continue to play along. May he make America un-great again. Amen.

john bougearel November 30, 2016 at 7:23 am

In the US today, we have raised a whole generation of kids where "winning matters not." To that extent we, and our generals – whether imperialistic or corporatistic, are all "special snowflakes" that deserve "participation trophy's" so we don't cry and act out over not winning. I say give all our general's another star for starting and participating in wars that can't be won to begin with. Where participation and not winning is the objective. Three cheers: hip, hip, hooray!

Kemal Erdogan November 30, 2016 at 5:51 am

I am highly suspicious that publicly stated goals of the wars were the actual targets. My take is that the actual goal has always been to keep those places in chaos; on US terms and under its control. with a safe US military base to punch those second-rate nations if necessary; By that measure, I believe both the Iraq and Afghan invasions were a success but they cannot pat each other's backs publicly.

However, they must now admit that they did not think the case of Iraq through, and the case of Syria is a complete failure, raising the stature of Russia to a super power again, while slowly but surely losing influence on Iraq and Egypt. But, that, arguably, could not have been realistically expected of the generals of the time to predict.

Lee November 29, 2016 at 10:35 am

I think that may have been his point, albeit delivered obliquely, as in his statement that "some wars should not be fought"; his quote from Grant, "There never was a time when, in my opinion, some way could not be found to prevent the drawing of the sword", as well as elsewhere in the piece.

NotTimothyGeithner November 29, 2016 at 11:15 am

Grant's rise from drunk who couldn't get a job in 1861 and W Scott's efforts to recruit Bobby Lee, a guy who was out of the army for years by that point, are indications the general class was never particularly competent.

Norb November 29, 2016 at 12:01 pm

I think you need to re-read the post again. He is asking the right questions and provides a history lesson besides. The beginning paragraphs could be interpreted as the standard, we need victory fare, but all is designed to lead to his final prescription for action- all the while being very diplomatic and appreciative to those who serve in the military.

Drain the swamp indeed, extricate the military from our national misadventures and retire the top brass more intent on career advancement that the true needs of the nation. Problems solved and we can move on as a nation. Will the world fall apart, if true men and women of honor step forward, I highly doubt it.

Pretty radical stuff actually, but something that resonates with many people, people without a voice. Change will come from within the military, and it is refreshing to hear words of sanity form those inside the military system-Tulsi Gabbard for one.

Could Trump shake up the gridlock, we shall see. Like a toxic mine tailing pit, once the retaining walls are breached, the effluence tends to spill out very quickly.

Whine Country November 29, 2016 at 9:22 am

Silly question: Does the fault lie in our generals or in our commander in chief? Which leads to another silly question: Who does our commander in chief answer to?

tony November 29, 2016 at 10:20 am

The Praetorian Guard. aka the CIA and associates.

neo-realist November 29, 2016 at 3:16 pm

In addition to the Praetorian Guard, uber wealthy plutocrats and corporations.

Pete November 29, 2016 at 9:24 pm

The generals seem to be only as effective as the policy they are prescribed to carry out. They ultimately answer to the President. So if they're ordered to carry out an impossible task they will obviously fail and they will kick the can down the road to save their own reputations.

There isn't too much of an incentive to win if you're a careerist either which many of them are since the military is a giant welfare program/bureaucracy largely based on licking boots to advance. It might be nice to add another accolade to that fat stack of attendance ribbons on their chests but that's all it is. Also, even if you were super serious about winning the war look at what happened to Shinseki when he clashed with the civilian leadership over the numbers of troops needed to pacify Iraq post-war. He was marginalized and finally canned altogether.

ambrit November 29, 2016 at 2:05 pm

Yes, the good doctor should resolutely shoulder the burden of "opposition party spokesman" and return to the fray. If we all took every slight and injury offered online to heart, there would be nary a rational word communicated, and, we would have much recourse to the suppressed Rogers Profanisaurus.
Besides, Upstate New York must be cold now, and the Professor spending a lot of time being housebound.

integer November 29, 2016 at 7:37 pm

I stood in James' corner once or twice as he started lashing out, as I thought he was just having a few bad days. It went on and I simply ran out of patience with him when he wrote his farewell screed and signed off with: James P. Levy , Ph.D. FRHistS, a man who never hid behind a goddamned nom de plume

Colonel Smithers November 29, 2016 at 9:38 am

It will be interesting to hear from readers if they have colleagues who are former service men and women. There has been an influx in the City since the crisis, but they were always there in fewer numbers. Some thrive in admin / COO roles, but many are frustrated and last no more than a couple of years. Dad retired from the Royal Air Force in March 1991 after 25 years. He found it difficult to settle in civilian life (employed as a doctor at St Mary's hospital in west London) and left at the end of 1991 for a development project in southern Africa (a year or so of being a middle class welfare junkie masquerading as a Foreign Office adviser) and twenty years working for Persian Gulf despots around MENA.

Whine Country November 29, 2016 at 12:28 pm

I'm a Vietnam vet and I did respond but it has been ignored as usual. The point of my post was that the generals do what they are ordered to do by the commander in chief and the problem lies with whoever that is at any given time. From that flows the logical point that we elect the commander in chief and don't really pay much attention to what he orders. The fault lies with the electorate. Bacevich has made the point (as have others) that when the draft was eliminated voters no longer had skin in the game and became ambivalent which is why the founding fathers set up the system with the citizen soldier as a cornerstone principle. The president at any given time just does what he wants and the only possible means of accountability is through the voting booth. Our wars last stopped when the populace had skin in the game and made it extremely clear to Nixon that we wanted an end. We have met the enemy and he is us.

weinerdog43 November 29, 2016 at 12:48 pm

The fault lies partly with the electorate, but also with Congress. For more than a decade, Charlie Rangel has been introducing bills to reinstate the draft. Crickets from Congress.

I'm a former member of the Selective Service Board, and yes, they still exist. A draft in order to be effective, cannot offer deferments (a la Dick Cheney) and still be fair. Only until those who order the wars have family members (including women) subject to a draft, will we cease our idiotic imperialist impulses.

Norb November 29, 2016 at 1:57 pm

While all you say is true, 40 years of corporate evolution in the political sphere has changed the equation. As the last election cycle has shown, any attempt to alter current relationships will need political activism intended to change the system not just gaining office to make slight course corrections. We as a people are too far off course for that. The Vietnam era was a turning point and business interests mobilized to never let that fiasco- people power- take root again. They have been very successful in their mission, but now they have to deal with the problem of an unwanted and underused population. The unemployable if you will.

Re-instituting the draft is no longer necessary and would be counterproductive to the corporate mission. As long as our current standing army can be paid off, why bother with a draft, it is no longer necessary. You avoid the military coup problem also. Our military continues to be bought off and as long as the economic incentives supporting an excessively large military remain unchallenged, the draft is unnecessary. Unnecessary from the maintenance of corporate power that is. Corporate power must be minimized first, then talk of a draft will make more sense. What values are learned in the military today? USA has ben turned into a corporate brand.

Being poor, unemployable, or one illness away form such a fate is the new skin in the game. While national service is a force that must be worked into our social responsibilities, its true meaning for strengthening and protecting the people has been subverted into a tool for corruption. Voices within the military that call for a return to the ideal of a citizen soldier instead of a mercenary warrior is what I think Bacevich has in mind.

voxhumana November 29, 2016 at 5:41 pm

"now they have to deal with the problem of an unwanted and underused population. The unemployable if you will."

I call them the "discontinued."

cocomaan November 29, 2016 at 10:01 am

Andrew Bacevich, as usual, writes a great article. But Grant and Sherman benefited from having a war with a clear goal: destroy the Confederate army and its government. I hesitate to call anything happening with the US in the Middle East or North Africa or SE Asia a "war" of that nature. There are no clear objectives. There are no criteria for an end of the conflict.

Instead, this looks a whole lot more like the North's occupation of the South during Reconstruction. We all know how that ended: the North had to pull itself out after an economic depression, more or less leading to a reign of terror through Jim Crow.

The United States is trying to do Reconstruction in a whole lot of spheres and is failing at that because it's generally an impossible enterprise.

PlutoniumKun November 29, 2016 at 10:26 am

I would disagree that there were no clear objectives. The objective was to turn Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya, etc., in to countries like Egypt or Jordan or Indonesia – weakened pro-western (or at least western-dependent) puppets with a sheen of democratic respectability, where US corporations could roam free. I don't think there is any need to read anything else into the objectives – that is the 'ideal' for the neocons, and that was their objective, both stated and unstated.

RUKidding November 29, 2016 at 11:11 am

You make a good, concise case for what the real objectives are for these unending expensive wars. Of course, this level of clarity re these goals are seldom stated to the populace at large. Rather we're mostly fed bullshit about terrrrists and being kept "safe" and other noodleheaded claptrap.

Given your definition, however, with which I agree, the Generals have still FAILED. And again, where's the accountability? There is none.

Trump plans to give himself and all the other Oligarchs, and the corporations giant tax cuts. There will be some in the middle class who experience a tax increase. Yet we're supposed to bloat the MIC budget by some huge amount for what purpose?? So Trump can build hotels, golf courses and casinos in Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq? Not being all that snarky.

PlutoniumKun November 29, 2016 at 11:41 am

Yes, as I said above, the neocons objective have been an abject failure. They display incompetence at all levels. And yet nobody pays the price. And the fact that the neocons don't try to fire the generals who failed (as numerous political leaders in the past have done) is a reflection of both their incompetence and the fact that the wars have become the ultimate in self licking ice creams.

Norb November 29, 2016 at 2:50 pm

While a plan might not be 100% successful, I don't see how you characterize the neocon program an abject failure. It is chugging along just fine. If waste and chaos are states of being that directly benefit your program, they are probably 90% successful.

If war is a racket, then the good times roll on and talking about failed generals being replaced, or accountability will be served by getting hold of better generals, those sentiments must make them chuckle when they are discussing their private positions. Win/Win for the neocons.

Ordinary people make the mistake of believing that the current crop of leaders have their interests in mind at all. They do not. If Clintons Public/Private mumbo jumbo didn't clear you of that thinking I don't know what will.

The proper way to think about these things is the neocon plan is succeeding wonderfully but they are truly too short sighted- i.e. stupid in the long term- to understand the consequences. They understand short term profit completely and how to dispense physical power but little else. Consequences and payback are externalized in their world. If you live in the moment, who cares about the future. As the illuminist Karl Rove once stated, "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality - judiciously, as you will - we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Well, people don't stay passive actors forever. Just as nature cannot absorb carelessness forever. A day of reckoning will come- it alway does. Failure is in the mind of the beholder. It depends on perspective. As the neocons double, tripple, quadruple down on their policies, they will be able to ride the flaming mess into the ground. Think Clinton.

It is up to us- the sane- to realize the success of the neoliberal program and want out- or off- or whatever phrase makes sense. In our wars of misadventure, it will be those in the military that finally say enough is enough. If someone pulls that off, it would be viewed as the most courageous act in decades.

neo-realist November 29, 2016 at 3:30 pm

In our wars of misadventure, it will be those in the military that finally say enough is enough. If someone pulls that off, it would be viewed as the most courageous act in decades.

30 years in lockup for Chelsea Manning is a warning for those, I suspect, who want to say "enough is enough." I also believe that your ability to move up the hierarchy to make those decisions to keep fighting is determined by your willingness to continue to see through the neoliberal project.

PlutoniumKun November 29, 2016 at 5:50 pm

I disagree to the extent that the ideological neocons had a very clearly stated and unambiguous strategic purpose – re-engineering the world as America's corporate playground, with any possible competitor (i.e. Russia and China) firmly penned in. This meant replacing all the mid-size States which were still refusing to be part of the Washington Consensus.

Its no secret or mystery about what they were seeking. In this, they have failed – Afghanistan remains in chaos, Iraq is more Iran controlled than US controlled, Iran still refuses to come to heel, and Russia and China are making increasing inroads to Central Asia, eastern Europe, Africa and South America. The neocon project is slowly unravelling, with Trump hopefully about to put it out of its misery.

The issue of war profiteering is something that I see as something entirely different. What the neocons failed to anticipate was that their Clash of Civilisations would result in a hugely powerful military-industrial process which has become self replicating. There are now more people in Washington who's job depends on finding more wars to fight than there are people employed to stop wars. This is the neocons fault, but its not the neocons project – they are just useful idiots for the profiteers.

Norb November 30, 2016 at 1:09 pm

I don't make a distinction between the neocons and the profiteers. The worst possible outcome from this neocon disaster would be for the profiteers, the rentiers, to be able to reconstitute their hold over society- or to hold onto it for that matter. What will it take, complete destruction of the biosphere for people to understand that cooperation is the only means of survival?

While I agree with what you are saying, if desiring a peaceful world is on your agenda, then every effort must be made to not allow the rentiers to take the position of, well now, we overstepped somewhat, will do better next time.

Making neat divisions is the reason humanity is in the predicament we find ourselves in the first place. We have dissected the whole into so many parts, it is no longer recognizable.

Modernity has been a dissecting force- a unifying force is needed.

Brian M November 30, 2016 at 2:08 pm

I agree with so much of the analysis here. But why do people insist still (especially given his recent appointments) that Trump has any interest at all in putting "it" out of our misery? Color me skeptical.

cocomaan November 29, 2016 at 11:40 am

Hey Kim, as RUKidding says, I wouldn't argue that those are clear objectives, because the generals that are being talked about above aren't being told up front that they are working toward that goal.

Don't get me wrong, I think you're exactly right about those being the objectives.

visitor November 29, 2016 at 1:44 pm

Those are the ultimate political goals and the ends of the wars - but generals are never given them as objectives in this form. Concisely, the objectives of any general are threefold:

1) destroy the enemy forces;
2) break their will to fight;
3) control the territory under dispute.

They learned that at the military academy - after all, these were the fundamental principles articulated by Carl von Clausewitz almost 200 years ago. Well, in those purely military terms, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Yemen and Syria are total failures.

Trump is correct on this point: job not done. At all.

River November 29, 2016 at 4:44 pm

Glad you brought up Carl von Clausewitz. I remember the Newsweek article when Gen. Tommy Franks said there were 9 centers of gravity in Iraq. The article took this as some type of wisdom. It was clear that Franks hadn't even read the Cliff notes version of On War as there is only one center of gravity according to Carl von C in which you focus your effort on.

Probably one reason when Franks was put on the Outback Steakhouse board of directors it did so poorly and was pulled out of Canada. He was a great strategist after all /sarc.

Part of the problem with the U.S military is that the Army sees enemy #2 as the Air Force and Navy. Gotta get those dollars. Another problem is that the U.S fails at the oft quote dictum of Sun Tzu, know yourself and know your enemy.

The U.S seems to create the enemy they would like to fight rather than the one that's actually there and as a nation has no sense of self anymore. They don't understand their limitations or even their strengths it seems. It seems the Pentagon and the Gov. thinks throwing money equals effectiveness. I'd argue that the unlimited money is the problem. Actual innovation often stems from being limited in some way. Mother is the necessity of invention and all that. Look the German assault teams that were born out of desperation in the final days of WWI. This concept helped tremendously in WW2 and it wasn't unlimited money that created them.

In America's defense they are great at logistics side of war.

H. Alexander Ivey November 30, 2016 at 6:10 am

To further this thread as to why the generals have failed:

If the point of these wars is to install a pro-Western style (aka USA business friendly) society and government, a point to which I agree is the reason for the US's fighting, then how, in God's name!, are you going to do that when the point of a military is to destroy things and kill people? (words taken from the cover of DoD's documents). The US military is not to build things and help people! The generals are asked to do what their own training prevents them and those they direct from doing.

JTMcPhee November 29, 2016 at 3:55 pm

Generals and admirals are all adept politicians and bureaucrats. they have to be to get to that level in the structure. War-fighters, no so much, with few exceptions, https://fabiusmaximus.com/2008/01/14/millennium-challenge/ .

From all I can see, it's all about looking, emphasize "looking," STRAC, a term from my callow military youth: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=STRAC , a pejorative applied to ambitious second lieutenants and Real Lifer Troopers with those creases in their fatigues and dress greens you could cut your finger on. And sucking up. And kicking down. and feathering one's nest, both now ("Petraeus scandal puts four-star general lifestyle under scrutiny," https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/petraeus-scandal-puts-four-star-general-lifestyle-under-scrutiny/2012/11/17/33a14f48-3043-11e2-a30e-5ca76eeec857_story.html ) and "going forward" (generals never retreat - they "execute strategic rearward advances to previously prepared positions," as in "Pentagon's revolving door in full swing," http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/department-of-defenses-revolving-door-in-full-swing-098813 )

Anyone remember this 2010 bit of PowerPoint-ia? "'When we understand that slide, we'll have won the war:' US generals given baffling PowerPoint presentation to try to explain Afghanistan mess," http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1269463/Afghanistan-PowerPoint-slide-Generals-left-baffled-PowerPoint-slide.html (And note the Brass Balls of the contractor, PA Knowledge Group Ltd, claiming a COPYRIGHT over this obvious work-for-hire.) This kind of stuff is the daily grist of the strategic/tactical mill that grinds out body counts, serial deployments in search of missions, and the endless floods of corrupt cash, destabilizing weapons and internal and external subterfuges, along with a lot of wry humor and a large helping of despair for the Troops and the mope civilians who "stand too close to Unlawful Enema Combatants ™".

It's long seemed to me one of the many failings of the species is that some of us produce wise counsel that actually looks to the horizon and beyond, like the fundamental questions articulated by Sun Tzu about whether to commit the peasants who pay for it to a prolonged foreign war with long supply lines that will bankrupt the nation - http://classics.mit.edu/Tzu/artwar.html . And then the idiot few that gain, psychically or monetarily, from conflict, blow that kind of fundamental test of wisdom off and "go to war" or more accurately "send other people to hack and blast each other while the senders get rich."

There's a fundamental problem that to me gets too little attention: What the Empire is doing is an entirely Barmicide game. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/us/barmecide Our rulers here in the Empire are pretty good at the procurement, deployment and logistical mechanics of Milo Minderbinder's complex Enterprise, the "war as a racket" thing, the extracting of public wealth to build shiny or stealthy or smart "systems." But as Bacevitch notes, they get to completely escape from the consequences of Only-tool-in-the-box monomania, of applying the big hammer of "War" to the subtle tasks of creating and maintaining a survivable space for the species. Which patently is not the "goal" in any event. And never answered, as pointed out, is the daring question of "what is the goal/are the goals, and what actions or refraining from actions are likely to get there?"

The talk about "asymmetric warfare" is mostly whining about little wogs who dare to adopt the wisdoms of other ambitious and thoughtful humans, like the Afghans and, yes, even ISIS, on how to defeat (within the terms of the game they are playing and understand that the Empire does NOT understand the terrain or the rules or moves) invaders and colonialists and even corporatists. Though the latter are often victorious in the after-conflict processes, if you can't clobber your enemy, corrupt him! works too.) There are wheels within wheels, of course, and "we mopes" in the Imperial homeland are too busy eking out a survival locally to even try to contemplate let alone understand the complexities of even the Middle East, let alone the Great Game being played out again with Russia and China and the aggressive and Teutonic bosses of the Eurozone All while the "defence" establishment figures out ever more exotic ways to kill humans, via code (genetic and cyber) and "smart weapons" like autonomous killing robots "on land, in air, at sea "

So is it just the inevitable case that Empires rise up, loot, murder, grow the usual huge corrupt capitals and the militaries to support the looting and keep the mopes in line, and finally succumb to some kind of wasting disease where all the corruption and interest-seeking honeycombs and finally collapses the structure? Is there no other way for humans to organize, because so many of us have the drive to dominate and to grab all the pleasure and stuff we can get away with?

pictboy3 November 29, 2016 at 11:51 am

I've grown up hearing commentaries that echo this one as relating to our foreign policy adventures since WWII, and if you take a results oriented approach, they're probably true. But having gone to school for foreign policy work and talking to people who were involved with the foreign policy apparatus (doing the leg work, not the people at the top who basically have no idea what they're doing), I've become more and more convinced that it's simply incompetence.

I think that the people dictating policy are basically a bunch of Tom Friedmans, who are utterly convinced that their empirically wrong views about how policy is executed are correct. Look at Iraq in the aftermath. Not only did they get not understand that the Sunnis and Shia might not have the best of intentions towards each other, but US companies aren't even getting all the plum oil contracts. Now surely a country that guarantees the security of the Iraqi elite could ensure that it's own companies got the best deals?

I think the most probable explanation is that they believed their own propaganda. They believed that the Iraqis wanted to be a liberal democracy with a free market, and that US firms would obviously be the most competitive in a bid for the oil contracts. People like Kerry believe in the ideas of human rights and war crimes, condemning the Russians for bombing Aleppo even though we do the exact same thing with a ever so slightly less flimsy justification.

RUKidding November 29, 2016 at 12:13 pm

Yes, again, good points, esp in re to the fact that US companies aren't even getting the plum oil contracts. We were told by feckless Cheney via W that there would be that magical mythical Iraqi "Oil Dividend" that would not only pay for the War on Iraq – essentially giving us back the money we spent on it (conveniently ignoring the collateral damage of many US combatant deaths, and many hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizen deaths, but who cares about that piddling, trifling detail) – as well as getting more besides.

Eh? And then what? Well that Dick, Cheney, got very very rich offa US taxpayer dollars, and no doubt some other Oligarchs did as well. But we never ever got paid back for our "investment" in "freeing" the Iraqi's from their oppressor, Saddam.

And that salient detail was flushed down the memory hole, and duly noted, that at least the Oligarchs did learn ONE lesson from that bullshit, which is to never ever again even go so far as to make a promise that the hapless proles in the USA will ever see one thin dime from these foreign misadventures.

PlutoniumKun November 29, 2016 at 12:53 pm

I can't talk from personal experience but I've read plenty of foreign policy publications of the type taken seriously by academics and politicians, and I'd agree with you. Some are laughably stupid, they don't know the first thing about the countries they are talking about. It wasn't just Bush jnr in 2002 who didn't know the difference between Shia and Sunni, I strongly suspect that many 'experts' consulted had only the faintest knowledge of what they were dealing with. There are a scary number of second and third rate intellects roaming around sharing their 'knowledge'.

I think the standard textbook for this should be Graham Greenes 'The Quiet American' . I've always been amazed at the prescience of that book (he pretty much predicted the arc of the Vietnam War in 1959), but I always think of the main character, Pyle, when I see yet another Middle Eastern mess. Pyle is a generally well meaning young man with far too much power, who is convinced by some academic that he has the key to sorting out the whole Vietnam mess. Needless to say, lots of innocents die because of his half baked ideas. The establishment is full of Pyles, although many I think are not quite so well meaning.

Ignacio November 29, 2016 at 1:38 pm

I would like to agree with you, but I don't. First and foremost the US is the greatest spender in weapons, and why does anyone spend in weapons if there is not plan to use them? The first objective is to use the weapons and avoid piling a dusting mountain of missiles, bombs, or any other kind of armament. Many wars are mainly the testing battlefields for new weaponry. For that reason, having endless localized wars can be quite useful. Besides using it, the second objective is spread fear. I have it, I have the will to use it, and I am well trained. Spreading fear might not be the best strategy but is has clearly been one of the main objectives in some cases, particularly Iraq.

The best case of a president looking for an excuse to use the weapons and spread fear was G.W. Bush and Iraq v2.0. The fact that Bush excuses were clumsily manufactured and exposed without shame in the UN is a feature. It means: when we decide that we will attack you nothing will stop us. No democratic control and no international rules can stop us.

All the rest is palaver.

Mark P. November 29, 2016 at 5:29 pm

'why does anyone spend in weapons if there is not plan to use them?'

And yet the U.S.'s recent, most stupendously expensive weapons systems are unusable. Literally , they cannot be used for most practical purposes in combat.

The F-35, for instance, has trouble flying and would be bested by air fighters of the previous generation in combat. The Littoral Combat Ship's aluminum superstructure would burn down to the waterline if ever one were hit by a missile (among other problems). And there are other projects that are almost equally ridiculous.

The point is, of course, that with their cost overruns and sheer unusability, these projects continue precisely because they're stupendously profitable. The American economic system is utterly dependent on such military Keynesianism, which is a principle means of redistribution from rich U.S. states to small ones. And consequently we live in a world reminiscent of the world of useless wepfash designers - weapons fashions designers - envisaged by Philip K. Dick's The Zap Gun.

One takeaway may be that the U.S. can either have the largest level of military Keynesianism in history or win its wars. It apparently cannot do both.

voteforno6 November 29, 2016 at 10:37 am

Remember when Trump threatened to fire a bunch of generals? That really upset a lot of people in Washington. Replacing a flag officer is a very complicated affair – they have a whole rotation system set up, to move them from one job to another. That's certainly reflected in the combat commands as well. They all need to check that box, in order to burnish their credentials. It seems to be just achieving that rank is the real accomplishment. Measuring their performance afterward is irrelevant – in that way, it's very similar to how CEOs are treated in the corporate world. It would be nice if Trump fired a bunch of generals, just because we have too many of them already. I don't see that happening, though.

Bill Smith November 29, 2016 at 12:22 pm

Generals get removed. Mattis was retired a year early because he didn't get along with Obama. Whatever "get along' means. Flynn left early. Remember McChrystal?

Enquiring Mind November 29, 2016 at 12:43 pm

Rotation may have benefits of exposure to new areas and skill development opportunities. It may also hide failures, and demonstrate the military equivalent of the "dance of the lemons" that shuffles incompetent, corrupt or lazy principals around to different schools. There is more of a meritocracy in the military, with less overt politicization, although the politics takes different forms. I write that sadly as one from a family that supports the military and has many veterans.

American discussions about military are sidetracked easily by any number of stakeholders. Politicians posture for patriotism (alliteration intended to elicit Porky Pig), while collecting campaign cash. They are only the most visible of those that would shout down or hijack any objective discussion of mission failures or weapons systems debacles such as the F-35. Their less visible neo-con enablers, dual loyalty pundits and effective taskmasters all have their snouts in the trough and their rear ends displayed to the citizens. If there is no other change in DC than to unmask those Acela bandits, then many will applaud.

Eureka Springs November 29, 2016 at 11:03 am

War is failure. Do not engage. And for dawgs sake do not arm, train, fund al Q types. I think the last point in re Trumps way of doing things will be most telling. That would be victory.

Jim Haygood November 29, 2016 at 1:59 pm

Precisely. The US is situated in the safest neighborhood on the planet - oceans on two sides; Canada and Mexico on the other two. All of the other dozens of nations in the western hemisphere get along just fine without a global network of military bases and a 350-ship navy.

What the f*** is our problem? As history demonstrates, a value-subtracting global empire is an infallible recipe for economic decline.

a different chris November 29, 2016 at 11:04 am

To try to look at the bright side, here's the thing about military people who are "uber hawkish", or actually managed to get a nickname like "Mad Dog" . they like decisive, "clean" (funny word to use for blowing people and the landscape to smithereens, but that's what people label it as) engagements where bad guys are taken out and good guys rejoice.

If they are, and I'm sure they are, smart enough to see that this is exactly not what the Middle East messes are, they may well tell Trump "let's just get our stuff and go home".

What we have been trying to do in the ME is not, and has never been (going back to before us, the Russians in Afghanistan) anything where a military makes any sense at all. It's police+political work at best, and despite what we've been turning the police departments into at home, police work is very, very different from military work. Hopefully the warrior types see this, whereas the Hillary Clintons of the world simply won't.

Again, no more than just hoping

Plenue November 30, 2016 at 3:16 am

The US can win any standup fight. We quickly smashed the Taliban's military, and Saddam didn't last long at all. It's the long, grinding guerrilla war that comes after that we inevitably lose. And even there we will win 99% of the engagements (if all else fails, drop a giant bomb on them) and yet sooner or later we'll run home with our tail between our legs.

blert November 30, 2016 at 5:03 am

Washington is addicted to gold-plated occupations. Whereas the only route to success is minimalist, an economy of force strategy. That also entails economy of injuries. Occupying forces ought to spend most of their time like Firemen - in their bunks back at the barracks. That's how success was achieved in the 19th Century. ( British Empire, American nation, French Empire. )

Such a scheme is still working wonders in South Korea. Not a whole lot of casualties that way.

Nation building is crazy all across the ummah. They won't suffer it. You would NOT believe the amount of infrastructure blown up by our Iraqi allies - as a financial hustle.

It took forever for the American Army to figure out that the reason the power system kept crashing was that the fellow building it up was corrupt and cashing in hugely by re-doing the same work five times over. He would pull security off the power grid at point X so that his cousins could dynamite the towers. Yes, he fled when the jig was up.

With his departure, the system started to work. This fiasco was an extreme embarrassement to the US Army and the Iraqi officials. The perp had his whole clan involved. (!) Yes, this story is suppressed. Guess why ?

The dollar figures involved are staggering.

There were hundreds of Shia grifters, too.

Synoia November 29, 2016 at 11:14 am

1. The Generals have won. They are Generals.
2. The Military does not win wars, it prolongs the stalemate until the enemy's economy collapses.
3. With no public definition of win (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria), what is win?
4. The MIC is very lucrative. There are man, many winners there.

Mark P. November 29, 2016 at 5:30 pm

All correct.

blert November 29, 2016 at 11:21 am

The Bush Administration arrogantly assumed that all peoples are enough alike that they can be rescued the same way as Western Europeans were - after the Nazis were driven off. This premis was an epic error for the ages. The entire Washington establishment - to include the Pentagon - and the MSM went along with this premis. In many ways they STILL buy into it.

You never read MSM articles questioning whether Iraqis or Afghans can buy into republican democracy. The assumption is that the whole world is waiting with baited breath to achieve this Western political-cultural ideal.

But Islam proscribes democracy, and these lands are emotionally Islamic in the extreme. When queried, virtually every man demands Shariah law, under Islam.

Changing Afghan culture is what doomed the Soviet 'project.' So the Pentagon was not ever going to touch cultural issues. This has proved very controvesial as Afghans practice pederasty on a grand scale. Likewise, the NATO nations were not going to 'touch' the opium trade.

They were also wholly dependent upon Pakistan for logistics. Ultimately, a second rail route was established at horrific expense across Russia. But no military specific goods could travel by that route.

So the entire campaign was both necessary - to punish al Qaeda and the Taliban - and unwinnable in a WWII sense. There never was a thought about expanding the scope of the conflict up to WWII purportions, of course.

The problem is not that of Pentagon leadership.

The folly starts at the strategic level - straight out of the White House.

It was a mistake for Bush to be so optomistic, grandiose.

It was a mistake for Obama to run away from Iraq. A corps sized garrison force would've permitted him enough influence to stop Maliki from sabotaging his own army - with crony appointments. ( The Shia simply did not have enough senior talent. So he over promoted his buddies and his tribe. This set the stage for ghost soldiers and a collapse in morale across entire divisions. )

The correct solution, in 2011, was to endure - like we have in South Korea.

The correct solution, in 2009, was to NOT expand Afghan operations. I spent many an hour arguing the folly of said expansion. It was inevitable that after any expansion there would be a massive draw down - which would destablize the Kabul government.

The correct solution for both was a steady-state, economy of operations mode - with the US Army largely standing idle in their barracks - letting the locals run all day to day operations.

You end up with the best of all worlds, low American casualties, low interference with the locals, yet a psychological back-bone for young governments – – who are financial cripples.

At this time, the best route is to cut off Pakistan from all Western aid, and to entirely stop Pakistani immigration to the West. Islamabad is as much an enemy of the West as Riyadh or Tehran.

This would also help calm Pakistan down, as it's the cultural embarrassment vis a vis the West that's driving Pakistanis crazy. Let them interact with their blood cousins, the Hindus of India. That'll be plenty enough modernity for Islamabad and Riyadh.

Pull out of Syria entirely. Stop funding al Nusrah - which is an acknowledged branch of al Qaeda. Egypt has entered the conflict on the side of Assad, Iran and Russia, most recently. The "White Hats" are a fraud.

voislav November 29, 2016 at 11:25 am

Comparing "wars" in Iraq and Afghanistan with Civil War or such conflicts confuses the issue and shifts the responsibility from the policy makers to the military. Iraq and Afghanistan are not wars, they are occupations and as such are unwinnable.

US is caught in a typical occupation trap, where they want a subservient regime that is under their control. Subservient regimes are subservient because they lack a large power base and are dependent on their foreign backers. A subservient regime with a power base does not stay subservient for long, they quickly develop an independent streak at which point you have to overthrow them and install a different, weaker regime.

US imposed regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan are classic examples of this. Al-Maliki in Iraq was a marginal figure before becoming prime minister, similar to Karzai in Afghanistan. The new leaders, Ashraf Ghani as the new Afghan president and Haider Al-Abadi as the Iraqi prime minister are both ex-pats that only returned to the country after US occupation. Both Al-Maliki and Karzai have been in power long enough that they were starting to develop a power base and show signs of breaking away from the US, so they had to be replaced.

Stabilizing a subservient regime with a weak power base requires US presence and boots on the ground. A subservient regime with a strong power base that can support itself quickly stops being subservient and has to be replaced. A "victory", where US troops would not be necessary for the regime support, means loss of control over the regime.

So US is stuck in a loop. Political considerations force them to build up a regime to a point of independence, only to have to tear it down when it looks like it might go against American interests. US military takes the blame because they have to fight the latest insurgent group CIA built up to effect regime change.

Mick Steers November 29, 2016 at 11:27 am

I would never gainsay that many technocratic, careerist general officers might be looking for ways to enhance their glory and bid up their asking price for CNN slots and board positions at Lockheed Martin. But the swamp you seek to drain has an apex predator; wealthy and powerful civilians. I seem to recall some generals, Eric Shinseki and Jay Garner come to mind, who tried to bring a little truth to power and avoid the biggest mistakes of the Iraq war.

Ideologues in the administration had other plans. The first being the original sin of the war itself, supported by a vast industry of defense, finance and media interests who knew opportunity when they saw it. As for now, what the hell is the mission that the military is supposed to win? I get the sense we will have our next big, proper war on account of using the military to solve problems that no military could, like say a GWOT.

Eisenhower's prophecy has metastasized so deeply into the body politic, only a profound change in the views of the citizenry could possibly make a difference. Short of economic or military upheaval, it's hard to see how do we do this when our best paying jobs are strategically sprinkled across the country, making every procurement and every base sacrosanct to even the most liberal, libertarian or even peace-nick politicians? So, isn't the swamp much larger that the military officer corps? Drain this one part, and it would fill back in rather quickly if that was the main thrust of our attack on this nightmare.

I suspect Trump is headed to the White House partly because a significant number of people concluded that social upheaval will be hastened by his administration, and that the consequences, whatever they may be, will be worth bearing so that we can rebuild on the ashes of the neoliberal/neoconservative era.

I sympathize, but with three college aged daughters, I was willing to work for, wait for, another shot at a Bernie Sanders shaped attack on the system rather than throwing a Trump grenade. Trump will only disrupt the system by accident, and absolutely unpredictably. His family's interests are superbly served by the status quo, give or take a tax break or another busted union. It's madness not to see his run for presidency as a vanity project run amok. If his cabinet and congress play him right, it's pedal to the metal for the most reactionary, avaricious, vindictive and bellicose impulses in this country.

Someone might get hurt, and with bugger all to show for it.

Leigh November 29, 2016 at 11:30 am

Isn't victory the one thing we seek to avoid ? If there were victory anywhere, it would mean "the end", and everyone knows arm sales cannot, should not, must not, end. After all, it is the only industrial endeavor we are still good at.

RUKidding November 29, 2016 at 12:18 pm

Yes, well there's that as well. And that's not an insignificant issue. So again, the witless proles are fed endless propaganda about terrrrrists and being "safe" in order to keep on keeping on. Trump played the rubes about safety with his vitriolic Anti-Muslim rhetoric. Although Trump claimed not to want to continue the wars, I seriously doubt he'll do one damn thing to make improvements in this regard.

Colonel Smithers November 29, 2016 at 11:40 am

Have readers seen / thought of the amount of decorations modern US generals and admirals wear in comparison to their WW2 equivalents? I know Uncle Sam has been in permanent war for a long time, but does beating up Grenada and Panama count? The other lot to wear a lot of bling are the welfare junkies occupying Buck House.

NotTimothyGeithner November 29, 2016 at 12:38 pm

Compared to Ike and Bradley, but Beedle wrote a book where he claimed credit for single-handedly winning the war. West Point is ultimately a self selective group which poses a set of problems. What kind of kid wants to be a soldier for 30 to 40 years at age 16 when they need to start the application process? No one accidentally winds up at West Point or the other academies anymore. What kind of kid in 1810 thought he could carry on for Washington at age 16? I bet he's arrogant and loves pomp and pageantry.

I'm convinced we need to draft the officer corp from college bound seniors.

rd November 29, 2016 at 2:45 pm

Only Mussolini and Goering had a leg up on MacArthur regarding bling.

Fec November 29, 2016 at 11:48 am

From Nafeez Ahmed , last year:

Unfolding the Future of the Long War, a 2008 RAND Corporation report, was sponsored by the US Army Training and Doctrine Command's Army Capability Integration Centre. It set out US government policy options for prosecuting what it described as "the long war" against "adversaries" in "the Muslim world," who are "bent on forming a unified Islamic world to supplant Western dominance".

susan the other November 29, 2016 at 3:00 pm

Interesting. Rand was enlisted to write up a report almost a decade later on a decision that was made in 2000 when Little George decided to run for office. Making it appear to have just evolved into this situation today, no doubt. Remember Rumsfeld's name for the ME war in 2002 was "Odyssey Dawn". When he first tried to call it a "Crusade" he horrified everyone and had to find something more genteel. But Odyssey Dawn clearly says it all – it will be a very long war and it will carry us around the world and we will stagger in confusion but in the end we will find our way. Not the kind of war you can win by "bombing the shit out of em," as Donald might do. The victory we will get from Odyssey Dawn will be the benefits of attrition and engagement. But the devastation we cause will never be worth it.

Chauncey Gardiner November 29, 2016 at 12:05 pm

Bacevich: "Yet here's what too few of those Americans appreciate, even today: war created that swamp in the first place. War empowers Washington. It centralizes. It provides a rationale for federal authorities to accumulate and exercise new powers. It makes government bigger and more intrusive. It lubricates the machinery of waste, fraud, and abuse that causes tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to vanish every year. When it comes to sustaining the swamp, nothing works better than war."

Appreciated Bacevich's three questions, particularly the second. Far past time to come clean on the real strategy in MENA. The mission and "the job" of military leaders has NOT been to bring America's wars to a timely and successful conclusion. Instead, there is a strategy to balkanize that region, keep it in chaos, keep the American people in perpetual wars and "support our troops" mode, threaten Europeans with a flood of immigrants, assure profits for the MIC and access for oil majors, and simply keep the military and other agencies occupied. "Winning a war" (and subsequent occupation) in terms of "bringing conflicts to a prompt and successful conclusion" doesn't appear to be high on the priority list of those who set the nation's geopolitical and military strategy. Project for a New American Century indeed.

In terms of "draining the swamp" that war has created, as Bacevich points out, the names mentioned as prospective appointees as national security adviser and defense secretary are not cause for optimism that the incoming administration will implement policies that will lead to resolution rather than perpetuating this mess.

David November 29, 2016 at 12:20 pm

Well, the US military's performance in WW1 and WW2, often against weak opposition, was less than stunning. They won their battles with massively superior firepower, for the most part. But many of the same criticisms that Bacevich makes could be, and indeed were, made of the Vietnam War, which is an odd omission from his article. If anything, the level of generalship then was probably worse than it is today.

But the real problem does, indeed, lie in Washington; Accepting that the US strategy in Iraq, for example, was indeed to create a pliable, pro-western democratic state, it's not clear that there was actually much the military could do when it started to unravel because of the inherent stupidity of the idea. At what the military call the "operational" level of war, there seems to have been a complete thought vacuum in Washington. I can imagine successive generals asking the political leadership "yes, but what exactly do you want me to do " and never getting a coherent answer.

optimader November 29, 2016 at 12:48 pm

Nor should we overlook the resulting body count. Since the autumn of 2001, something like 370,000 combatants and noncombatants have been killed in the various theaters of operations where U.S. forces have been active. Although modest by twentieth century standards, this post-9/11 harvest of death is hardly trivial.

http://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/files/cow/imce/papers/2016/Costs%20of%20War%20through%202016%20FINAL%20final%20v2.pdf

figure ~$5T squandered to date

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424053111903285704576560593124523206
A dozen terrorism scholars gave a wide range of answers when asked to estimate how many members there are, how the numbers have changed during al Qaeda's lifespan and how many countries the group operates in. Analysts put the core membership at anywhere from 200 to 1,000

My recollection is toward the low end ( towards 200ppl) at the time of GWB addle-minded decision to pull the relatively modest special forces resources out of Tora Bora in Afghanistan that had the AlQ Principles in the crosshairs. Instead GWB pursued a bizarre and unrelated non-sequitur mission of tipping over SH in Iraq– allegedly because Saddam had threatened his Dad?

What was a reasonable response with explicit objectives to remedy a criminal act (as well at the time with fairly unanimous sympathies of other Countries) could have been accomplished with a modest Military footprint before getting the fk out of Afghanistan.

Instead it was scaled up into stupid endless Perpetual War without achievable objectives. In retrospect divide $5T by 200-1,000 and consider how little it may have cost if 9/11 had been treated as a criminal act by non-state actors, instead of sticking our foot into the role of destabilizing other sovereign countries, killing /antagonizing the citizens and generally fking up their countries??

Am I missing something here?

annie moose November 29, 2016 at 1:04 pm

oooo ooooo hand flailing wildly I want to build the next 43 million dollar gas station!

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/11/02/pentagon-afghanistan-gas-station-boondoggle/75037032/

rd November 29, 2016 at 1:07 pm

I think the US is falling into the old imperialist trap of thinking of these places as countries with capital cities and leaders recognized as such by the population. The British had that issue in the 1770s when they captured the capital(s) of the new US but the revolution didn't stop. External superpower (French) support was able to keep the resistance functioning and the British eventually gave up. Both of those superpowers kept duking it out on other battlefields for another 30 years.

Yugoslavia was a temporary post-WW II construct based on a personality cult of Tito. When he died, the real Yugoslavia turned out to be a bunch of tribes that really, really hated each other and it all went to pieces.

North America is unusual with a huge moat around it other than a little isthmus at the south end. Even so, there are millions of illegal immigrants that come over that isthmus or cross over the southern moat (Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean) over the years. Only three countries (Mexico, US, Canada) are in play and those borders have been stable for over a century. This was after the US fought a massive civil war to keep that basic structure instead of having another country. Even so, Quebec has come close to secession, Texas and California mumble about it periodically, and Mexico effectively has a civil war with drug cartels. However, this is VERY stable compared to nearly anywhere else in the world, so it leads us to false equivalencies about how other parts of the world should work.

Putting in corrupt leaders with no popular support doesn't work as we have recently proved again in Afghanistan and Iraq after having proved it previously in Vietnam and Cuba (pre-Castro). The Afghanistan outcome may have worked better if the concept of Afghanistan disappeared and NATO had worked with each region to come up with rational boundaries based on historical tribal alliances. T.E. Lawrence had drawn a map like that for Iraq c.1918 but it did not fit the colonial power requirements.. Turkey vs. the Kurds and Iran linking with the Shiites ensured that natural map wasn't going to happen in 2003 either.

So, it is not clear what victory means in these areas. I think in many cases our concept of victory is very different than what the locals think is acceptable. It appears that Assad, Russia, and Iran may be "victorious" in Syria because it is clear they are willing to wipe out the village to save it. They may find that there is nobody left there to rule though, so they will repopulate those areas with allies, thereby probably sowing the seeds for another future war.

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg November 29, 2016 at 1:15 pm

The nearest analog to what the US is trying to do in all these places is a lot like the imposition of the Spanish Empire; total destruction of native culture and replacement with Roman forms. The places the Spanish controlled are still broken, so don't look for success in this endeavor anytime soon

optimader November 29, 2016 at 3:59 pm

The nearest analog to what the US is trying to do in all these places is a lot like the imposition of the Spanish Empire

At least the Spanish had a quantifiable, albeit indefensible objective (resource extraction) that drove their predatory behavior. Our quizzical form of imperialism is a net resource drag with fuzzy morphing objectives

rd November 29, 2016 at 4:38 pm

Say what you want about the British Empire, but they did leave behind functioning legal and political systems in most of the countries they controlled. In India's case, they also left them a common language since there are so many languages there. Many of the countries remained in the Commonwealth after independence which is something that none of the other colonial powers achieved.

I think the key was the British focused on empire as an extension of commerce, not ideology (they already knew they were superior, so they didn't have to prove it, which allows for pragmatism). In the end, when it was clear that they couldn't hold on, they backed out more gracefully than many other empires.

Ranger Rick November 29, 2016 at 1:33 pm

If there's one thing we can hope for in a Trump presidency, it's going to be Trump looking at the disaster of biblical proportions that continues to unfold in the arena of government contracting. It doesn't matter which sector his gaze falls upon, he's going to find an appalling failure in contract negotiation: the F-35, the Zumwalt, the LCS, the KC-46, the B-21 (really, just the idea of cost-plus contracts in general), the SLS, the FCC's Universal Service Fund, the EPA's Superfund, the Department of Education's "Race to the Top" and "No Child Left Behind" mandates, the ACA, the dollar value on whatever classified contract the telecommunications industry has to spy on the American people, the private contractors presently employed by the military to perform its duties - the list is endless.

rd November 29, 2016 at 2:43 pm

The military-industrial complex has perfected the art of putting parts of the design, manufacturing, testing, and deployment of these programs into just about Congressional District so that everybody wants their constituents to have a shot at one part of the trough.

This is how empires fall. Asymmetrical economic and military warfare against entrenched bureaucracies and corruption.

dcblogger November 29, 2016 at 4:08 pm

the only way to win is to not play the game

jo6pac November 29, 2016 at 4:26 pm

potus wants to make money giving speeches after office and also needs $$$$$$$$$$$ for his lieberry.
The merchants of death will hire him for those speeches and send money for lieberry.
The generals of today help the merchants of death make money so when the retire they can go to work for the merchants of death.
The idea is to never win so there is always an enemy so the merchants of death can continue to profit.
The easy way to control a country is to have chaos all the time. This makes easier to steal resources and keep citizens from pulling their own levers of justice. We only have to look at Amerika but other countries around the globe have the same going on. austerity for all.

The .01% would like to thank you for staying at each others throats.

Joaquin Closet November 29, 2016 at 5:14 pm

I matriculated at one of the U.S. Military Service Academies. I had my share of classes on "War Footing," "War Strategies" and "War, War, War – The Scarlet O'Hara Doctrine." (That last one was mine and mine alone.)

And then I took the typical post-grad Naval War College assortment of "think-tanked" war symposiums. All for naught, I must say.

Then came my time in the field. Most of my peers were good soldiers, junior officers and even a few were leaders. But no one I knew had the stomach for the orders passed down – they were seen just as watered-down "march-in-place" bullshit until the next wave of senior leadership flew in.

We junior officers were in the field just as much as our men – I'd say half (or more) of my squadrons were comprised of men and women on their second, third, fourth – or more – tours of duty. I'm so glad they didn't hear the bullshit we had to listen to. In fact, to this day, my greatest gift to my men and women was the translation and humanizing effect of taking bullshit orders and making them palatable for them.

No, we haven't won a war since WWII for many reasons; but, in my humble estimation, the two biggest culprits are politics and logistics. For one, our politicians don't know what it's like to wage war, what it's like for the combatants or the civilians seemingly always caught in the middle. Or what the hell we're going to do in the off-chance that we win one of these puppies.

No, the Generals have not forgotten how to win wars – in fact, there are no generals alive now who ever had the good fortune to win one. So the Generals don't know how to win wars.

Oh, by the way – this was during Vietnam. Nothing has changed.

Wombat November 29, 2016 at 6:28 pm

Glad to read a comment from someone with first hand experience. Generals know how to win conventional wars, where success is measured based on % enemy destroyed or seizing an objective. One could argue Norman Schwarzkopf won the 1st Gulf War, only difference is that U.S. Generals weren't left to perform humanitarian functions after. As the author eludes to - but still doesn't stray from attacking the competence of senior military leaders– without an objective can success be determined? If one's mission as a Colonel is to lead a Brigade security operation on a Forward Operating Base for a year, can he/she be successful based on the author's arbitrary standards of success? I would argue with minimal casualties and no breaches over the year, the mission would be a success, but these everyday successes are neglected. Accordingly, if a Component Combatant Commander leads coalition operations in Iraq for two years with 0.05% coalition casualties and no FOBs being breached, shouldn't that be a success?

It's too bad that General's success can't be measured like their CEO equivalents based on an quarterly earnings, instead they have to answer to often ill-informed civilian leadership being judged by vacant metrics and arbitrary standards by those like Bakevich. At least the military's top executives (Generals) make about 4x their median worker's salary. These men and women could take far better jobs in the MIC or the Corporate Realm, many I'm sure stay for noble reasons to lead their servicemembers.

knowbuddha November 29, 2016 at 5:16 pm

Sounds like the lament of an aging mafia don that's forgotten what he's talking about is illegal. "Why can't our generals pull off a good old-fashioned smash and grab like they used to? They must be incompetent!"

That's so last millennium. We've moved on, don. Smash & grabs are penny ante. Now the game is Full-Spectrum Dominance.

Joint Vision 2020 Emphasizes Full-spectrum Dominance

So I don't think an old-fashioned smash & grab has been the goal for a long time. For decades (ever since WWII?) we've been trying to regime change our way to the goal of every Hollywood mad scientist and super-villian: everlasting world dominance.

What have they actually accomplished? Hard to say, from my vantage point. "Insufficient data," as the old Star Trek computer said.

I know that one of the main goals is to prevent there from ever being any threat to our dominance. So while China and Russia aim for Eurasian integration, we're all about it's disintegration. We're also determined to keep the EU from ever threatening our dominance. South America is slipping the yoke, but we haven't given up.

At the very least, our generals are doing a smashing job of spreading chaos. And then there's weaponized economics.

Here in the "Homeland" (genuflects), on the "home front," in the domestic "battle space," it's important to realize that when the Pentagon says "full-spectrum dominance," that means us, comrades. Wall-to-wall surveillance? Check. POTUS power to execute or disappear dissidents? Check. Torture enshrined in secret laws and the public mind? Check.

On what level are the relevant decisions being made: public discourse, or top security? We're not privy to the councils where super secret intelligence is discussed and the big decisions are made. We're out here, on the receiving end of weapons-grade PSYOPS.

So what are we talking about, here? I don't think analyses based in kayfabe will ever arrive at real insight. Analyzing events in terms of the cover stories meant to dupe us is much ado about nothing.

The above article was published in 2000. Obama never renounced FSD. AFAIK it's still the strategy. Why doesn't the esteemed colonel frame his analysis in terms of our official defense posture? Are we any closer to FSD, or not?

But I must say, nice job of framing the debate. /s

As far as any hope for change under the new don, I don't see any. He'd have to publicly renounce FSD, wind down the empire of bases, and find something to do with all those now in its employ, all while "pivoting" to climate change and rejuvenating the economy, to actually respond to our actual conditions. The Don is many things, but a martyr for peace and Mother Earth ain't one.

I'll be impressed when the colonel starts calling our wars crimes against humanity and for their immediate cessation and full reparations. "Moar better generals" will not succeed at accomplishing a basically insane strategy. Until then, I'll file Bacevich under "modified limited hangout."

integer November 30, 2016 at 12:28 am

Great comment. Thanks.

ewmayer November 29, 2016 at 5:17 pm

"But can he do anything about it?" - Don't go to war without a damn good reason seems like it might be a pretty good start. Despite his typically being all over the map on this – e.g. tough-on-terrorism-and-ISIS – I found myself repeatedly surprised during the primary season at Trump being the only major-party candidate – even including Bernie – to consistently talk good sense on Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Russia.

Lambert Strether November 30, 2016 at 3:30 am

Agreed. I was surprised, too. Of course, it's the working class children in the flyover states who join the military and go to war, and come back maimed or with PTSD to a rotten job market. So that may have been politically astute on Trump's part and, if so, good for him.

VietnamVet November 29, 2016 at 8:00 pm

Andrew Bacevich is correct if one wears blinders and looks strictly at DoD Generals. The reality is that there is a Western Imperium that is intent only on short term profits and has degenerated into looting its own people and destroying sovereign nations. The Vietnam War showed that colonial wars could not be fought with a conscript army. The volunteer US Army is too small to put a platoon of soldiers in every village and town square in Afghanistan let alone Iraq. The endless wars were unwinnable from the get go. The globalist empire is supremely efficient in looting taxpayers, trashing Deplorables and spreading regime change campaigns across the world. The forever wars are being fought by proxy forces with Western military support without a single thought for their deadly consequences to make money.

Synoia November 29, 2016 at 8:32 pm

Let's be brutally frank. The US both wants an empire, but also wants to pretend it is encouraging democracy everywhere. Objectives where the result is deceitful and duplicitous behavior. Ask the Indians about the methods, or the beneficiaries of the "Monroe Doctrine." The British wanted an empire. A simple objective. If you are not England, you are a colony, and we, the English, make the rules. At the heart of American activities is a kernel of deceit. Self determination for people, but only if you do what we say. The kernel of deceit poisons every walk of life connected to Washington. Every single one.

The US is called the empire of chaos. It could also be called the empire of Deceit. Do as we say, but we are not taking any responsibility for you if you do what we say. Don't do what we say, and we will fund your opposition until they stuff a dagger up you ass.

medon November 29, 2016 at 11:40 pm

I don't understand why we're in the Middle East at all. The US seems taken by the 4000 year old, 5th grade concept of controlling the "Fertile Crescent." Why don't we just buy the oil we want at prevailing prices.

Winning for the Boykin-ites is when the Middle East becomes Christian! lol As Smedley said. "It's a racket." Whatever, then there's Israel's push to steal Palestinian gas and pipe it thru Syria and Turkey to markets in the Europe.

blert November 30, 2016 at 4:51 am

1) You've got Qatar crossed up with the West Bank.

2) Israel has plenty of its own natural gas it wants to export.

Helping out Wahhabist Qatar is not in the playbook.

Wahhabish ~ Nazisim in all but name.

They line up almost perfectly right down the line starting with pathological Jew-hatred.

JTMcPhee November 30, 2016 at 10:12 am

HJi, blurt - Can you spell "Hasbarah"?

Davidt November 29, 2016 at 11:49 pm

Think about Democrats using identity politics to claim religious fervor and war used to show being strong on defense. With both political parties using corruption to align power and control at home and abroad. Choosing your enemies carefully, for you will become them.

Dick Burkhart November 30, 2016 at 4:37 am

Right on, Andrew!

Let's just pull out of the Middle East and do everything we can to de-escalate these wars: especially to keep the other great powers out too, unless called back in as a true UN peacekeeping force after the locals have found a way to cool things down.

Clark Landwehr November 30, 2016 at 6:01 am

The US military was the first part of the government to be turned into a business, the first neo-liberal institution created in America. The real problem is that the US military is run by managers and not soldiers. The Germans used to make fun of the British Army in WWI by calling it an army of lions led by donkeys. The US military is an army of lions led by managers.

fresno dan November 30, 2016 at 7:07 am

War on Crime.
War on Poverty.
War on Cancer.
War on Drugs.
War on Terror.

So many, many wars .so little victory.
A cynic might suggest its all a PR campaign

S Haust November 30, 2016 at 12:31 pm

Oddly enough, Tomdispatch does not appear to be on (drum roll)

THE LIST

Are they that stupid and careless or is it meaningful?

Paul Art November 30, 2016 at 3:40 pm

If Andrew is looking for a denouement to the Military Industrial complex then one need look no further than the British empire – specifically what made it shrink and shrivel very rapidly. WWI and WWII. The decimation of the economy and the inability to keep spending money to maintain empire is what reversed the entire machine. It will be the same with the US as well.

As long as the dollar is high and Wall Street keeps it that way, there will be no pressure to do anything different. When people start going hungry and jobless and start getting the bejesus bombed out of them as happened during the blitz then they begin to understand what war truly means. In America there has been no war for too long and the people here know nothing about war's sufferings and privations. There was a little window via the draft during 'Nam' but that's about it. Nothing will happen until a majority of the populace start hurting real bad.

[Nov 30, 2016] Collapse of neoliberalism means rise of neofascism

Notable quotes:
"... I think tribalism is a bad term to describe this phenomenon. In reality what we see should be properly called "far right nationalism". And in several countries this is a specific flavor of far right nationalism which is called neofascism ..."
"... Brexit is just a symptom of growing resistance to neoliberalism, and the loss of power of neoliberal propaganda. Much like "Prague Spring" was in the past. ..."
"... the sustainability of modern far right nationalism depends mainly on continuation of austerity policies and uncontrolled neoliberal globalization with its outsourcing of local manufacturing, services and replacing well paying jobs with McJobs. Which cannot be stopped without betraying of fundamental tenets of neoliberalism as an ideology and economic theory. ..."
"... Thanks to "neoliberalism achievements" far right nationalism already achieved the status of mass movement with own political party(ies) in most EU countries. Trumpism in the USA is pretty modest demonstration of the same trend in comparison with EuroMaydan (Yanukovich government was a typical corrupt neoliberal government). And first attempts might fail (as they failed in Ukraine) ..."
Nov 30, 2016 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 11.29.16 at 2:17 am 6

John Quiggin on November 28, 2016:

Since the collapse of faith in neoliberalism following the Global Financial Crisis, the political right has been increasingly dominated by tribalism

The sustainability of tribalism as a political force will depend, in large measure, on the perceived success or failure of Brexit.

I see it differently. I think tribalism is a bad term to describe this phenomenon. In reality what we see should be properly called "far right nationalism". And in several countries this is a specific flavor of far right nationalism which is called neofascism , if we understand neofascism as

neofascism = fascism 
    – physical violence as the main tool of controlling opposition
    – attempts to replace parliamentary democracy with the authoritarian rule
    + some degree of acceptance of "unearned income" and financial oligarchy 
    + weaker demands for social protection of middle class and Drang nach Osten 

Brexit is just a symptom of growing resistance to neoliberalism, and the loss of power of neoliberal propaganda. Much like "Prague Spring" was in the past.

And the sustainability of modern far right nationalism depends mainly on continuation of austerity policies and uncontrolled neoliberal globalization with its outsourcing of local manufacturing, services and replacing well paying jobs with McJobs. Which cannot be stopped without betraying of fundamental tenets of neoliberalism as an ideology and economic theory.

Thanks to "neoliberalism achievements" far right nationalism already achieved the status of mass movement with own political party(ies) in most EU countries. Trumpism in the USA is pretty modest demonstration of the same trend in comparison with EuroMaydan (Yanukovich government was a typical corrupt neoliberal government). And first attempts might fail (as they failed in Ukraine)

In other words neoliberalism is digging its own grave, but not the way Marx assumed.

[Nov 30, 2016] Welcome to the world of Europes far-right - Al Jazeera English

Notable quotes:
"... Moreover, the use of labels such as "populist right" are not really helping. Populism is not an ideology. The widespread use of the term by the majority of commentators distracts from the true nature of far-right parties. ..."
"... Are we then really sure that these movements moderated their agenda? In fact, they promote a narrow concept of community, that excludes all the "different" and foreigners. ..."
"... "Our European cultures, our values and our freedom are under attack. They are threatened by the crushing and dictatorial powers of the European Union. They are threatened by mass immigration, by open borders and by a single European currency," ..."
"... The Austrian Freedom Party , on a similar line, "supports the interests of all German native speakers from the territories of the former Habsburg monarchy" and the "right of self-determination" of the German-speaking Italian bordering region of South Tyrol. ..."
"... On the other hand, Marine Le Pen, president of the French National Front, promotes a principle of "national priority" for French citizens in many areas, from welfare to jobs in the public sector. ..."
Nov 30, 2016 | www.aljazeera.com
Around a decade ago, Columbia University historian Robert Paxton rightly pointed out how "a fascism of the future - an emergency response to some still unimagined crisis - need not resemble classical fascism perfectly in its outward signs and symbols ... the enemy would not necessarily be Jews.

An authentically popular fascism in America would be pious, anti-black, and, since September 11, 2001, anti-Islamic as well; in Western Europe it would be secular and, these days, more likely anti-Islamic than anti-Semitic; and in Russia and Eastern Europe it would be religious, anti-Semitic, Slavophile, and anti- Western.

New fascisms would probably prefer the mainstream patriotic dress of their own place and time." Does any of this sound familiar across the Atlantic?

Moreover, the use of labels such as "populist right" are not really helping. Populism is not an ideology. The widespread use of the term by the majority of commentators distracts from the true nature of far-right parties.

Are we then really sure that these movements moderated their agenda? In fact, they promote a narrow concept of community, that excludes all the "different" and foreigners.

There is also a sense of decline and threat that was widely exploited by interwar fascism, and by these extreme-right parties, which - after 1945 - resisted immigration on the grounds of defending the so-called "European civilization".

The future of Europe?

The future of European societies could, however, follow these specific lines: "Our European cultures, our values and our freedom are under attack. They are threatened by the crushing and dictatorial powers of the European Union. They are threatened by mass immigration, by open borders and by a single European currency," as Marcel de Graaff, co-president of the Europe of Nations and Freedom group in the European Parliament, declared.

Another fellow party, the Belgian Vlaams Belang , calls for an opposition to multiculturalism. It "defends the interests of the Dutch-speaking people wherever this is necessary", and would "dissolve Belgium and establish an independent Flemish state. This state ... will include Brussels", the current capital of the EU institutions.

The Austrian Freedom Party , on a similar line, "supports the interests of all German native speakers from the territories of the former Habsburg monarchy" and the "right of self-determination" of the German-speaking Italian bordering region of South Tyrol.

On the other hand, Marine Le Pen, president of the French National Front, promotes a principle of "national priority" for French citizens in many areas, from welfare to jobs in the public sector.

She also wants to renegotiate the European treaties and establish a " pan-European Union " including Russia.

At the end of these inward-looking changes, there will be no free movement of Europeans across Europe, and this will be replaced with a reconsolidation of the sovereignty of nation states.

Resentments among regional powers might rise again, while privileges will be based on ethnic origins - and their alleged purity. In sum, this is how Europe will probably look if one follows the "moderate" far-right policies. The dream of building the United States of Europe will become an obsolete memory of the past. And the old continent will be surely less similar to the post-national one which guaranteed peace and - relative - prosperity after the disaster of World War II.

Andrea Mammone is a historian of modern Europe at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is the author of "Transnational Neofascism in France and Italy". He is currently writing a book on the recent nationalist turn in Europe.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

See also:

rickstersherpa November 30, 2016 11:35 am

I note that some of your factual assumptions e.g. "Immigrants are disproportionate users of welfare" appear to be wrong and may be drawn from corrupt sources (FAIR and/or AIC, in particular Steve Camarota). See https://newrepublic.com/article/122714/immigrants-dont-drain-welfare-they-fund-it .

Exception of course are refugees (which one could say we have some moral responsibility to rescue since our 15 year war in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Syria (since we are bombing quite a bit in Syria), and many other places has more than done or bit fan disorder and violence from which the refugees flee rather than die, ditto the children fleeing Mexico and Central America where our war on (some people) who use drugs has created both right wing Governments and drug gangs and associated violence.)

I think it is bad form when left wing sites repeat right-wing memes (falsehoods and half-truths), particularly when the new right-wing authoritarian kleptocrats who are taking over the Government are talking about rounding up, placing in concentration camps, and deporting millions of people, citizens and non-citizens alike..

rickstersherpa, November 30, 2016 11:46 am

Just out curiosity, since Mr. Kimel used the example of Iran, there was a huge Iranian immigration to the U.S. In sense they both support (since many of the these people were high skill immigrants) and rebut his point (since they came from a culture he marks as particularly "foreign" to U.S. culture. http://xpatnation.com/a-look-at-the-history-of-iranian-immigrants-in-the-u-s/ It has actually been an amazingly successful immigration, with many now millionaires (a mark of "success" that I find rather reflects the worse part of America, the presumption by Americans, Rich, Middle, or poor, that if you are not rich, you are nothing, a loser; but still it appears to be a marker that Mr. Kimel is using.

Beverly Mann, November 30, 2016 3:47 pm

To add to Rickstersherpa's comments, I'll also point out that among the Muslim immigrants who've committed acts of terrorism in this country, none to my knowledge was on welfare nor were their parents on welfare, None.

This post is just the latest in what is now many-months-long series of white supremacist/ white nationalist posts by Kimel, whose original bailiwick at this blog was standard left-of-center economics but obviously is something close to the opposite now. He left the blog for two or three years, and came back earlier this year unrecognizable and with a vengeance. Literally.

I was a blogger here for six-and-a-half years until earlier this month, and was among regulars who comment in the Comments threads who repeatedly expressed dismay. Kimel's last few posts, lik this one, are published directly under his name. Before that Dan Crawford and run75441 were posting them for him and crediting him with the posts.

In my comments int those threads, I've suggested as you did here that this blogger belongs at Breitbart, or more accurately, you say that this blog is providing the same type of voice as Breitbart.

But at least Breitbart hasn't been known as left-of-center blog. Allowing these posts on a blog that has misleads readers into thinking, if only for a moment, that maybe this guy's saying something that you're missing, or not saying something that you think he's saying. It's really jarring.

The Rage November 30, 2016 3:49 pm

Sorry, but leftists were the originators of anti-immigration. They blasted classical liberals and their "open borders" to buy talent on the market rather than "building within" and using the state to develop talent.

"right wing" Christians are some of the worst people in terms of helping the underground railroad for immigrants in the US.

The Rage November 30, 2016 3:54 pm

Beverly, Breitbart loves illegal immigration and wants it to stay, indeed quite illegal.

You represent the problem of modern politics. Anyone you don't agree with, you start making dialectical points rather than going under the hood to find out the point.

Jack November 30, 2016 4:24 pm

Kimel,
Your points leave out any consideration of the cultural variabilities of this host country. Given that the USofA is a country made up of immigrants from a wide variety of places across the globe I would think that there is some benefit to varying the sources of immigration in the present given the past. Some of the cultural distinctions that you suggest as different from our own are not homogeneous within our own culture. For example, I wouldn't choose to live in some parts of the US because of the degree of antisemitism that I might find even though I am what one might call an agnostic Jew. There are many Americans that don't make that distinction.

Face it Mike, there is probably a place for just about anyone from any place that would be suitable for their emigration within the US. We don't all have to share the same values with the new comer. We don't share values amongst ourselves as it is. We've got large numbers of immigrants and their off spring from the Far East, South East Asia, Africa, South America and the middle East. We even have many Europeans. Keep in mind that that last category is made up of people who have spent the past two thousand years trying as hard as possible to kill one another. So who is to say what immigrant group is best for the US? We've been moving backwards for the past several decades. Maybe we need some new blood to get thinks going forward again.

Beverly Mann November 30, 2016 4:27 pm

Apparently you aren't able to distinguish between racist proclamations and fears unrelated to racism and ethnicity bias masquerading as "cultural" differences, on the one hand, and immigrants willing to work for lower wages irrespective of their race and ethnicity, on the other hand, The Rage. Even when the writer is extremely open, clear, and repetitive about his claims.

Rickstersherpa and I are able to make that distinction, and have done so.

Beverly Mann November 30, 2016 4:34 pm

CORRECTED COMMENT: Apparently, The Rage, you aren't able to distinguish between racist proclamations masquerading as "cultural" differences, on the one hand, and fears unrelated to racism and ethnicity bias, that immigrants willing to work for lower wages will put downward pressure on wages in this country, irrespective of the race and ethnicity or the immigrant willing to work for the low wages. Even when the writer is extremely open, clear, and repetitive about his claims.

Rickstersherpa and I are able to make that distinction, and have done so.

(Definitely a cut-and-paste issue there with that first comment, which I accidentally clicked "Post Comment" for before it was ready for posting.)

Jack, November 30, 2016 4:45 pm

I will accept one category of immigrant for exclusion. No identifiable criminals allowed. We haven't always done so well on that trait. So let's do a better job of excluding those seeking admission who can be shown to be actively involved with any form of criminal behavior. That goes for Euros, Russians, Chinese, South Americans, etc. That also includes very wealthy criminals whose wealth is the result of their positions of authority in their home country.

"The fact that there is homegrown dysfunction isn't a good argument for importing more dysfunction." What manner of dysfunction beyond criminality did you have in mind?

" it makes sense to be selective, both for our sake and the sake of those who are unlikely to function well and would become alienated and unable to fend for themselves in the US." Please define "unlikely to function well" more precisely. Remember that the goal of our immigration quotas is to allow a reasonable balance of people from varying countri