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National Security State as Protection Racket on the Danger of Terrorism: Review of Literature

“Plunderers of the world, when nothing remains on the lands to which they have laid waste by wanton thievery, they search out across the seas. The wealth of another region excites their greed; and if it is weak, their lust for power as well. Nothing from the rising to the setting of the sun is enough for them. Among all others only they are compelled to attack the poor as well as the rich. Robbery, rape, and slaughter they falsely call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace.”

Tacitus, Agricola
 

News Corporatism Recommended Links Skripal poisoning Did Obama order wiretaps of Trump conversations Neofascism Nation under attack meme
Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? The problem of control of intelligence services in democratic societies History of American False Flag Operations False flag operations as an important part of demonization of the enemy strategy False flag operations in cyberspace FBI and CIA contractor Crowdstrike and very suspicious DNC leak saga Vault 7 scandal
Neoliberal war on reality or the importance of controlling the narrative Operation Gladio - Wikipedia The Deep State Litvinenko poisoning Inverted Totalitarism Reconciling Human Rights With Total Surveillance To whom Euromaydan Sharp-shooters belong?
Mystery of Building 7 Collapse Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers Manchester attack vs Charlie Hebdo Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? Douma gas attack: Yet another false flag poisoning? Khan Sheikhoun gas attack Idlib false flag chemical attack
Demonization of Putin White Helmets as a tool for false flag poisonings Total Surveillance Media-Military-Industrial Complex Elite Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Two Party System as Polyarchy Corporate Media: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few
Edward Snowden as Symbol of Resistance to National Security State Facebook as Giant Database about Users Social Sites as intelligence collection tools DNC and Podesta emails leak and  subsequent false flag operation to  blame Vladimir Putin Systematic Breach of Vienna Convention Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism The Iron Law of Oligarchy
American Exceptionalism New American Militarism Machiavellism Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite The Grand Chessboard Humor Etc

"The greatest threat is that we shall become like those who seek to destroy us"

the legendary US diplomat George Kennan warned in 1947

“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem”


Ronal Reagan about a different crisis

Books have been written about President Eisenhower’s famous farewell warning in 1961 about the “military-industrial complex,” and what he described as its “unwarranted influence.” But an even greater leviathan today, one that the public knows little about, is the “intelligence-industrial complex.”

Michael Hirsh in

How America's Top Tech Companies
Created the Surveillance State )

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.

- James Madison


Introduction

The National Security State is an ideology and practice of the USA elite, closely connected with the idea of the rule of the Media-Military-Industrial Complex, and especially three-letter agencies (called "Trumanites" because of our 33rd president's role in founding the CIA, the modern Defense Department, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Agency).  It is somewhat different from national socialist idea as itdoes not reuare a single party system and the dominant ideology. Also the state can has less decisive, more flexible role in economic sphere. Formally, the  National Security State is the state, where the institutions of imperial and state security override any elected government.  In other words the state where Intelligence agencies are in change (and please note that CIA can be viewed as armed branch of Wall Street and historical ally top positions were initially staffed with Wall Street lawyers, such as Allen Dulles )

Under neoliberalism society has become increasingly the society of mass surveillance, with increasingly militarized police, meaning that as most aspects of the social-democratic state (New Deal state) are eliminated, a police state is rising in its place. All problems that in the past were seen as social problems, and hence required social solutions, now acquire police solutions.

Moreover intelligence services became Praetorian Guard of  neoliberal elite that is in power and that completely changed the nature of governance in the USA. Now there is a country within the country in the USA. It can be called "Classified America".  It has population of around 5 million people and it controls the other 320 million. Almost 5 million people is ~ 2% of total USA population but a higher percentage of the adult population  of working  age (around 200 millions). And now it become a formidable political force which in 20176 (and not only in 2016) strived to become a kingmaker.

Much like Praetorian Guard in ancient Role it is clearly out of control of elected government and has its own, sometimes nefarious agenda.  All-in-all this is the fastest growing part of media-military-industrial complex and connected to it influential caste of "Imperial Servants" -- people well being of which is dependent on the existence and expansion of the US global neoliberal empire. This is probably no less then 10 million people if we count defense contractors, Pentagon brass, Intelligence agencies staff, State Department employees, top layers from Wall-Street and Silicon Valley,  and the Staff of the Congress.)  

In economic sphere deregulation (economic liberalism or neoliberalism) produces social conflict, which at some point can not be masked by neoliberal demagogy ("shareholder value", "stakeholder participation" and other neoliberal crap).  At this point it requires police methods of suppression of dissent like was the case with "Occupy Wall Street" movement suppression. As the state now represents interest only of the top 0.1% population, economic and political spheres became merged under authoritarian rule of financial oligarchy, not unlike the USSR under Bolshevism with the only difference that until 1970th the USSR "Nomenklatura" was more aligned with the interests of the society then financial oligarchy. Later it became more detached from that interest of lower 80% of population, and in 80th adopted neoliberal ideology, became turncoats and facilitated dissolution of the USSR privatizing its wealth in the process. 

The neoliberal state now represents interest only of the top 0.1% population, economic and political spheres became merged under authoritarian rule of financial oligarchy, not unlike the USSR under Bolshevism with the only difference that until 1970th the USSR "Nomenklatura" was more aligned with the interests of the society then financial oligarchy. Later it became detached from that interest of lower 80% of population, adopted neoliberal ideology, became turncoats and facilitated dissolution of the USSR privatizing its wealth in the process. 

 

Both neoliberalism and the national security state are results of the "revolution from above"

Under neoliberalism, which established itself in the USA since late 70th, tax laws, inheritance rules, status to trade unions, "revolving door" regulations (which highly correlates with the degree of corruption of the society) became the result of political decisions favoring neoliberal elite at the expense of common citizens. So it was a typical revolution from above. To hide this requires constant brainwashing of the population and instilling fear using external threat (with Russia as preferred object). That's where intelligence agencies come handy as they by-and-large control key journalists and key MSM. For example Washington Post for a long time was called "voice of CIA" even in the US establishment. 

Since 9/11 terrorism is used as a smoke screen to hide the warts of neoliberalism and facilitate the transition of state into national security state. Adoption of Patriot Act and resulting hypertrophied growth of intelligence agencies in the USA are just a tip of the iceberg. In reality the situation became pretty much Orwellian with Intelligence agencies as the new incarnation of the "Big Brother" as well as the "permanent war for permanent peace" between Oceania (USA and NATO vassals) and Eurasia (Russia and China) in the Orwell's famous  novel 1984. 

It is clear that the war with terrorism launched also can be called  "permanent war for permanent peace" as the enemy is illusive and can be  really easily faked with minimal propaganda efforts by intelligence agencies (who control most "terrorists" anyway).  The level of rampant militarism in the USA now is close to what we observe in typical neo-fascist movements, especially under Trump when American Exeptionalism (or, more correctly, the American version of nationalism) got the features of a regular supremacist ideology  similar to Zionism (Fascism - Wikipedia ):

Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism[1][2] that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe, influenced by national syndicalism. Fascism originated in Italy during World War I and spread to other European countries. Fascism opposes liberalism, Marxism and anarchism and is usually placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.[3][4]

Fascists saw World War I as a revolution that brought massive changes in the nature of war, society, the state, and technology. The advent of total war and total mass mobilization of society had broken down the distinction between civilian and combatant. A "military citizenship" arose in which all citizens were involved with the military in some manner during the war.[5][6] The war had resulted in the rise of a powerful state capable of mobilizing millions of people to serve on the front lines and providing economic production and logistics to support them, as well as having unprecedented authority to intervene in the lives of citizens.[5][6]

Fascists believe that liberal democracy is obsolete, and they regard the complete mobilization of society under a totalitarian one-party state as necessary to prepare a nation for armed conflict and to respond effectively to economic difficulties.[7] Such a state is led by a strong leader—such as a dictator and a martial government composed of the members of the governing fascist party—to forge national unity and maintain a stable and orderly society.[7] Fascism rejects assertions that violence is automatically negative in nature, and views political violence, war, and imperialism as means that can achieve national rejuvenation.[8][9][10][11] Fascists advocate a mixed economy, with the principal goal of achieving autarky through protectionist and interventionist economic policies.[12]

Since the end of World War II in 1945, few parties have openly described themselves as fascist, and the term is instead now usually used pejoratively by political opponents. The descriptions neo-fascist or post-fascist are sometimes applied more formally to describe parties of the far right with ideologies similar to, or rooted in, 20th century fascist movements.[13]

Paradoxically intelligence agencies and Pentagon can't live peacefully with each other and struggle for power. That why intelligence  agencies launched a color revolution against Trump, who can in some ways be viewed as the Presidential Candidate of Pentagon (especially if we view neocons as Pentagon lobbyists and Israel as a state-lobbyist for Pentagon; that might explain pro-Israeli stance of Trump).

After coming to power Trump introduced several new measures which in some way signify a new stage of the development of neoliberalism and can be  "national neoliberalism". He explicitly rejects old model of neolioberal globalization on the base of multinational treaties (which was neoliberalism Modus operandi since its inception)  and wants to use the power of the US to bully all nations  "one-to-one" basis.  Creating "exclusive" trading blocks. Those who behave against the USA wishes have sanctions imposed, cut from US dominated financial system and are threatened with war.  Iran is the latest example here. 

In this mutation of  neoliberalism as a social system US intelligence apparatus and military establishment are raised to the level above and beyond civilian control and become a somewhat autonomous system, a hidden government of the USA. The Deep state as it is now called. For example, intelligence agencies now strive and de facto achieved the role of king maker for the most top positions in the USA government. And, if necessary, can act as a king remover (JFK assassination is a nice example here; CIA fingerprints are all over the place, but nobody from CIA went to jail for this: "mission accomplished"; Nixon removal is another although less visible one).

The colossal budget with  juicy cost-plus contracts of affiliated private companies gives intelligence agencies and Pentagon not only tremendous power, but also create vested ideological and financial interests of the whole caste of "imperial servants", the well being of which depends of their continuation.  Wars became necessary for maintaining the level of those budgets. Existence of the "country-scapegoat" is important too for projecting on it all evil that happens within the USA under neoliberalism and blowbacks from neoliberal foreign policy.

Existence of the "country-scapegoat" is important too for projecting on it all evil that happens within the USA under neoliberalism and blowbacks from neoliberal foreign policy.

It is important to understand that the USA intelligence agencies are probably closer connected to Wall Street and military contractors then the federal government and often serve as enforcers of specific interests. They are able to work against particular administration officially proclaimed policies, for example in organizing the foreign coup d'état.  For example, for the moment of its creation, due to Allen Dulles background CIA was aligned with the interests of Wall Street.

There no real overseeing of three letter agencies from neither executive branch, not from the Congress, nor from the Justice Department. But the reverse is not true: the intelligence agencies have appointees in all mentioned above branches of government. The natural line of development of intelligence agencies  since its inception and toward acquiring more power and securing higher budget. With time, the tail start wagging the dog.  This phenomenon is not limited to the USA. Actually the term the "Deep State" originated in Turkey.  The same hijacking of executive, parliamentarian and judicial braches of govern happened in other countries. A very interesting example provides the USSR: it was actually betrayal of KGB brass (under Andropov, who was instrumental in installing Gorbachov into power), who switched side and decided to privatize the country, that was the key factor that led to the dissolution of the USSR.

The key "three letter agencies" (CIA, DOD, NSA, FBI) were established by the National Security Act of 1947, signed in September 18, 1947 by President Harry S. Truman. This year can be considered as the year when National Security State was born and probably should be celebrated accordingly instead of old-fashioned Independence Day.  Very little was preserved from the "old republic" after this transformation of the USA. 

It is prudent to view National Security State as a modern form of corporatism, closely related to concepts of neo-fascism and Inverted Totalitarism. As ellatynemouth noted in the comment to the Guardian article Internet privacy as important as human rights, says UN's Navi Pillay (Dec 26, 2013):

The surveillance state is the ruling class's key hole through which they monitor us and our potential dissent. It's now an integral part of capitalism and can't be removed.

The game has changed. It's now about convincing us as much as possible that they will stop snooping on us. They won't though. It will just become more heavily hidden.

Surveillance state was made possible with the advent of computers, Internet and wireless communication. In some features it is close to neo-fascism and Latin-American far right authoritarian regimes, but there are important difference. Instead of organized violence against opponents it achieved its goals without relentless physical repression/elimination of opponents. It's key feature is mass surveillance, discreditation and blackmailing of opponents (like in German Democratic Republic there are dossier for every member of society and skeletons from the closet can be revealed for any politician or activist)  as well as control and manipulation of media, not mass repression of opponents. Like neofascist regimes of the past (such as Pinochet regime in Chile) and authoritarian "communist" regimes of the past and present, it make organized opposition to the government virtually impossible. Of the 20 characteristic traits of neo-fascist regimes probably around a half are applicable to the national security state.

After 9/11, Bush government's behavior and especially appeals to public clearly resonate with the proto-fascist "... uber alles" ideas ("America is an exceptional nation"). As an amazing example of doublespeak Bushists managed to integrate American exceptionalism into the framework of globalist neoliberal regime (as the command-and-control center for neoliberal world empire, no less).

Bush government inspired post-9/11 paranoia doesn’t come cheaply, though. Costs were staggering: the military ($682 billion), Homeland Security (about $60 billion), and 15 intelligence agencies (official figure of combined budget is perhaps $75 billion; but in reality more then that). The total is probably over a trillion.  Add to this several trillion dollars wasted on war in Afghanistan and occupation of Iraq. The Congressional Research Service estimate for 2001-2016 is 1.6 trillion; Brown university estimate is 3.6 trillion; some estimates are as high as six trillions (PolitiFact).  Only future medical care and disability benefits for veterans of these war is near $1 trillion (Center for Strategic and International Studies )

Nothing changed under President Obama, which suggests that he is just a figurehead and the  "deep state" is actually in charge. In most areas the Obama administration was more like Bush II administration, with "change we can believe in" as a smokescreen for nefarious actions. Obama launched more wars then Bush II too.  In this sense this was the most blatant and the most successful  "bait and switch" in the recent  political history of the USA.  Later is lightly different form repeated with Trump, who  also during election campaign proposed reasonable steps of improving standard of living of the US population and finishing forign wars, but instance switched sides after election pushing neoliberal policies at home, and continuing all Bush-Obama wars foreign wars abroad.  He also appointed open war hawks into his administration. The list of neocons in Trumps administration is as long as in Bush II administration and includes people in key positions such as Haley, Bolton, and Pompeo.

This is the view of Professor Michel Greenon, who in his book advocated the view that tradition troika of powers in the USA became by and large ceremonial and that real actors, at least in area of national security are not non-elected executives of super-powerful and well financed three-letter agencies. Here is a brief overview taken from review published by Reason (National Security State - Reason.com):

Though Glennon doesn't describe his thesis in terms of public choice theory, it echoes that discipline's insight that institutions are run for the benefit of the people who run the institutions. For the Trumanites, Glennon explains, "benefits take the form of enlarged budgets, personnel, missions; costs take the form of retrenchments in each." Witness the vast archipelago of intelligence facilities-nearly three Pentagons' worth of office space-that have been erected in greater Washington, D.C., since 9/11.

The national security state is becoming an autonomous, self-perpetuating entity, Glennon warns. It sets the table for elected officials' choices and increasingly dictates terms to them. The permanent bureaucracy basks in the "glow" of Madisonian institutions, drawing legitimacy from the illusion that elected officials are in charge. But while the buck may stop with the president, the real power resides with the Trumanites.

This explanation is strongest in the realm of state surveillance, which serves as Glennon's central case study. Recall the embarrassing revelation, in the summer of 2013, that the NSA was tapping German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone. What did the president know, and when did he know it? If you believe top administration officials, Obama was almost as surprised as Merkel. Glennon quotes Secretary of State John Kerry to the effect that the Merkel wiretap, like a lot of NSA programs, occurred "on autopilot."

On one hand, that's what you'd expect them to say. On the other hand, the claim is entirely plausible, and it is consistent with the earlier history of NSA abuses uncovered by the Church Committee in the 1970s. Under Project SHAMROCK, for example, the NSA collected the content of virtually all cable traffic entering or leaving the United States for three decades-150,000 messages a month at its height. It was, the committee's final report concluded, "probably the largest governmental interception program affecting Americans ever undertaken." And yet it's not clear that any president ordered, approved, or was even aware of SHAMROCK. When the program's existence was exposed in the mid-'70s, Louis Tordella, longtime deputy director of the NSA, admitted that he didn't know whether any president or attorney general had ever been briefed on it.

The picture grows somewhat more complicated when we look at the modern practice of presidential war making. From the Truman administration onward, the president has accumulated enormous unchecked authority, despite James Madison's conviction that, since the executive department was "most distinguished by its propensity to war," it is "the practice of all states, in proportion as they are free, to disarm this propensity of its influence."

When it comes to picking the wars we wage, it's not clear that the Trumanites are fully in charge. Take four major war-powers decisions during the Obama administration: the Afghan surge, the escalation of drone attacks, the Libya intervention, and the current war against ISIS. I put the Trumanite win-loss record at roughly .500 here. The military and national security bureaucracy fought hard for the surge and the drone escalation, and got them. They generally opposed the Libyan action, and some prominent Trumanites-such as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs -appear to have been reluctant to endorse our latest war in the Middle East.

In the case of this most recent war, domestic politics seems a better explanation: The president yielded to the near-irresistible demand that he "do something" about the beheading of Americans and the implosion of the Iraqi state. Bombing ISIS is something, so we're doing it.

The Obama experience suggests we get the wars the Trumanites want -- and also some they don't. But this is hardly fatal to Glennon's thesis. He stresses that "a good theory of institutional behavior can predict, at best, only tendency over time"; his "predicts only that national security policy will change little from one administration to the next." So far, that theory is holding up rather well.

Even so, I've always been partial to one version of the "government politics" explanation. A few years ago, I wrote a book arguing that "Americans' unconfined conception of presidential responsibility is the source of much of our political woe and some of the gravest threats to our liberties." If the political reality is such that the president will be held personally accountable for any domestic terror attack, don't be surprised when he seeks powers nearly as vast as the expectations put upon him.

Glennon acknowledges it's not either-or; "explanations overlap," he writes. Dumb wars and security-state overreach are the result of political choices and the bureaucratic imperative. Policy continuity is depressingly overdetermined.

Real-time histories of key national security decisions in the Obama years tend to underscore this point. In Kill or Capture, reporter Daniel Klaidman describes the enormous political pressure the Obama administration was under after the failed "underwear bomber" attack on December 25, 2009. "For the White House," Klaidman writes, "the psychic toll of Christmas Day was profound. Obama realized that if a failed terror attempt could suck up so much political oxygen, a successful attack would absolutely devastate his presidency. And much as he liked to talk about returning to first principles, Obama also had a powerful instinct for self-correction-as well as self-preservation."

The psychic aftershock of Christmas 2009 helped shape a lot of what followed: from body scanners at airports to ramped-up drone strikes to the lethal targeting of an American citizen.

But to Glennon's point, the administration was under pressure from the Trumanites well before that. In the 2012 book, The Obamians: The Struggle Inside the White House to Redefine American Power, James Mann describes a concerted effort by then-CIA director Michael Hayden and other senior intelligence officials to preserve business as usual by scaring the hell out of the incoming Obama team. Their private name for this scheme was the "Aw, Shit! Campaign."

The scare tactics worked. Klaidman reports that both Harold Koh, legal advisor at the State Department, and Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon's general counsel, used the same metaphor to describe the military pressure for more targeted killings: a runaway train. It was like "a massive freight train hurling down the tracks" Koh said. "You would have to throw yourself on the tracks to try to stop it," said Johnson.

All this helps shed light

 
e border="2" width="90%" bgcolor="#FFFF00">   ;s strange and disorienting May 2013 "drone speech" at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., in which the president seemed to be speaking not as commander in chief, but as his own loyal opposition.

In the speech, Obama said things like "Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don't need to fight, or continue to grant Presidents unbound powers." And: "The very precision of drone strikes can also lead a president and his team to view [them] as a cure-all for terrorism." I remember thinking: "A president"? Which one? Anyone in particular? Who's in charge here, anyway?

National Security and Double Government suggests that the answer to that last question isn't quite so obvious, that the "most powerful man in the world" isn't nearly as powerful as he might appear.

It remains the case that Obama had the formal authority to say no to mass surveillance and perpetual war. But saying no would require resisting enormous bureaucratic and political pressure. And anybody willing to do what it takes to become president is unlikely to transform himself into a self-denying Cincinnatus once in office. Political survivors don't jump in front of trains.

While US government spent around $3.67 trillion in 2013, the revenue was just $2.77 trillion. Of that amount over one trillion went to three-letter agencies and DOD. Now you understand to whom real power belongs.  Moreover the government has to borrow about $900 billion in order to maintain national security state programs intact. And there are 5 million (yes million) people in the USA with security clearance and around 3 million with top security clearance. In other words "Welcome to the USSR." or even Third Reich (actually republican senators opposed Truman initiative due to fear that he replicated institution of the Third Reich in the USA and only support of powerful Democrats allowed the president to push the act through the Congress.

But even if it was close to the Third Reich in political effects and its essence, this type of political structure is different, because it does not rely on mass mobilization. Instead it relied on the power of "deep state" and mass surveillance as well as passivity of most electorate. 

As Paxton describes it (Tracking Fascism) fascism as just hypertrophied and misguided nationalism, a specific flavor of far right nationalism. The central emotions in fascism and nationalism are identical. In other words at the core of fascist emotional mobilization always lies far right nationalism and that is important distinction with national security state and neoliberalism which are globalist and  "imperial" and does not stress particular nationality as long of the person/group serves empire interests:

...Feelings propel fascism more than thought does. We might call them mobilizing passions, since they function in fascist movements to recruit followers and in fascist regimes to "weld" the fascist "tribe" to its leader. The following mobilizing passions are present in fascisms, though they may sometimes be articulated only implicitly:
  1. The primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether universal or individual.
  2. The belief that one's group is a victim, a sentiment which justifies any action against the group's enemies, internal as well as external.
  3. Dread of the group's decadence under the corrosive effect of individualistic and cosmopolitan liberalism.
  4. Closer integration of the community within a brotherhood (fascio) whose unity and purity are forged by common conviction, if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary.
  5. An enhanced sense of identity and belonging, in which the grandeur of the group reinforces individual self-esteem.
  6. Authority of natural leaders (always male) throughout society, culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of incarnating the group's destiny.
  7. The beauty of violence and of will, when they are devoted to the group's success in a Darwinian struggle.

Post 9/11  "passions" in the USA were definitely skillfully used by Bush administration to push the nation into the Iraq war and the attacks on dissenters that occurred during it were pretty vicious, really in traditions of Third Reich ("you are either with us, or with our enemies"). 

But public was not really central in this whole issue. Americans were extras at best, patsies at worst,  Essentially all major decisions were made "behind the curtain" by deep state structures and public was just brainwashed into approval of those action. That's an important different between national security state and classical fascist regimes. In classic fascist state the leading fascist party would be central to unleashing such a war.  Here it was bust a bunch of highly placed bureaucrats in Bush II administration (so called neocons, which is an ideological group allied with the military industrial complex, but not an organized party as such).

Here is a more extended treatment of this issue (cited from Rush, Newspeak and Fascism An exegesis IV Tracking Fascism):

1. [Group primacy]: See, again, the Bush Doctrine. An extension of this sentiment is at play among those jingoes who argue that Americans may need to sacrifice some of their civil rights -- say, free speech -- during wartime.
2. [Victim mentality]: This meme is clearly present in all the appeals to the victims of Sept. 11 as justifications for the war. It is present at nearly all levels of the debate: from the White House, from the media, even from the jingoist entertainment industry (see, e.g., the lyric of Darryl Worley's extraordinarily popular country-western hit, "Have You Forgotten?": "Some say this country's just out looking for a fight / Well after 9/11 man I'd have to say that's right.").
3. [Dread of liberal decadence]: This meme has been stock in trade of the talk-radio crowd since at least 1994 -- at one time it focused primarily on the person of Bill Clinton -- and has reached ferocious levels during the runup to the war and after it, during which antiwar leftists have regularly and remorselessly been accused of treason.
4. [Group integration] and 5. [Group identity as personal validation] are, of course, among the primary purposes of the campaign to demonize liberals -- to simultaneously build a cohesive brotherhood of like-minded "conservatives" who might not agree on the details but are united in their loathing of all things liberal. It plays out in such localized manifestations as the KVI Radio 570th On-Air Cavalry, which has made a habit of deliberately invading antiwar protests with the express purpose of disrupting them and breaking them up. Sometimes, as they did recently in Bellingham, this is done with caravans of big trucks blaring their horns; and they are also accompanied by threatening rhetoric and acts of physical intimidation. They haven't yet bonded in violence -- someone did phone in a threat to sniper-shoot protesters -- but they are rapidly headed in that direction.
6. [Authority of leaders]: This needs hardly any further explanation, except to note that George W. Bush is actually surprisingly uncharismatic for someone who inspires as much rabid loyalty as he does. But then, that is part of the purpose of Bush's PR campaign stressing that he receives "divine guidance" -- it assures in his supporters' mind the notion that he is carrying out God's destiny for the nation, and for the conservative movement in particular.
7. [An aesthetic of violence]: One again needs only turn to the voluminous jingoes of Fox News or the jubilant warbloggers to find abundant examples of celebrations of the virtues -- many of them evidently aesthetic -- of the evidently just-completed war.

I would like to stress that similar processes occurred in different states after WWII as well (Latin America military dictatorships are one example). And with new force and on the new level after the dissolution of the USSR in Russia.  Of course the USSR was a National Security Surveillance State even before WWII, being one of the "pioneers" of this form of state along with Italy and Germany. But it was a rather "primitive" form of national security state  in a sense that it did not rely on computers, collecting "envelope" of all Internet communication, emails headers and other "meta-data" as well as systematic interception of SMS-based communications as well interception of wireless communication and financial operations via computerized banking (especially credit card transactions)  for surveillance.

Rule of Trumanites as the essence of the US National security state -- Boston Globe review of Michael Glennon book

Mickey Edwards, who served in Congress from 1977 to 1993, and is the author of “The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats Into Americans.” published a very penetrating review of the book in  The Boston Globe. In which he stated:

It has long been the province of conspiracy theorists to claim that the real power of government is not wielded by the obvious practitioners of statecraft — presidents, members of Congress, the judiciary — but by secret or semi-secret entities, real wizards whose hidden machinations send us to war, sell us out to enemies, siphon public treasure into private hands. Depending on your talk show or paranoia of choice, these are the bankers, oil barons, one-worlders, war profiteers, Bilderbergers, Masons, Catholics, Jews, or Trilateralists. Our formal institutions, in this scenario, are stage sets, Potemkin villages; our officials are puppets; we are an unsuspecting audience.

Michael Glennon, a respected academic (Tufts’s FLETCHER SCHOOL) and author of a book brought to us by an equally respected publisher (Oxford University Press), is hardly the sort to indulge in such fantasies. And that makes the picture he paints in “National Security and Double Government” all the more arresting. Considering Barack Obama’s harsh pre-election criticisms of his predecessor’s surveillance policies, for example, Glennon notes that many of those same policies — and more of the same kind — were continued after Obama took office. “Why,” he asks, “does national security policy remain constant even when one President is replaced by another, who as a candidate repeatedly, forcefully, and eloquently promised fundamental changes in that policy?”

The answer Glennon places before us is not reassuring: “a bifurcated system — a structure of double government — in which even the President now exercises little substantive control over the overall direction of US national security policy.” The result, he writes, is a system of dual institutions that have evolved “toward greater centralization, less accountability, and emergent autocracy.”

If this were a movie, it would soon become clear that some evil force, bent on consolidating power and undermining democratic governance, has surreptitiously tunneled into the under-structure of the nation. Not so. In fact, Glennon observes, this hyper-secret and difficult-to-control network arose in part as an attempt to head off just such an outcome. In the aftermath of World War II, with the Soviet Union a serious threat from abroad and a growing domestic concern about weakened civilian control over the military (in 1949, the Hoover Commission had warned that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had become “virtually a law unto themselves”), President Truman set out to create a separate national security structure.

By 2011, according to The Washington Post, there were 46 separate federal departments and agencies and 2,000 private companies engaged in classified national security operations with millions of employees and spending of roughly a trillion dollars a year. As Glennon points out, presidents get to name fewer than 250 political appointees among the Defense Department’s nearly 700,000 civilian employees, with hundreds more drawn from a national security bureaucracy that comprise “America’s Trumanite network” — in effect, on matters of national security, a second government.

Glennon’s book is not a breezy read: It’s thick with fact and not unappreciative of conundrum (“The government is seen increasingly by elements of the public as hiding what they ought to know, criminalizing what they ought to be able to do, and spying upon what ought to be private. The people are seen increasingly by the government as unable to comprehend the gravity of security threats.”). Nor is he glib with proposed solutions: to adequately respond to the threats posed by a below-the-radar second government will require “a general public possessed of civic virtue,” which prompts Glennon to cite retired Supreme Court justice David Souter’s bemoaning of a “pervasive civic ignorance.” Not all of the problem can be laid at Truman’s feet. And if we ourselves are part of the zeitgeist that allows invisible governments to flourish, repair will be difficult. As Glennon puts it, “the term Orwellian will have little meaning to a people who have never known anything different, who have scant knowledge of history, civics, or public affairs, and who in any event have never heard of George Orwell.”

This is no secret conspiracy nor a plot to deprive Americans of their civil liberties. It is the unintended consequence of a thoughtful attempt to head off the very threats that those attempts have inadvertently created. But if Glennon’s book is enlightening it is also scary. And it’s not fiction.

Why National Security State needs provocations -- pseudo terrorist attacks (false flag attacks)

There are multiple reasons such as to instill fear, and to demonstrate competence (Big Brother’s Liberal Friends — Crooked Timber)

Dr. Hilarius, 10.27.14 at 11:44 pm
An excellent analysis and summation.

Any defense of the national security state requires the proponent to show, at a minimum, that the present apparatus is competent at its task. Having lived through Vietnam, the Gulf Wars, Iraq and Afghanistan (not to mention many smaller governmental adventures) I see no evidence of competence. Instead, it’s repetitive failures of analysis and imagination no matter how much raw intelligence is gathered.

Nor is there any evidence that existing oversight mechanisms function as intended. Recent revelations about the CIA spying on the Senate should be enough to dispel the idea that leakers have no role to play.

Kinsley is particularly loathsome. His position is little more than “your betters know best” and that the state’s critics are guttersnipes needing to be kicked to the curb. Kinsley doesn’t need a coherent position, his goal is to be a spokesman for the better sorts, nothing more...

Tremendous push (or acceleration of pre-existing tendencies) toward National Security State occurred after 9/11 under the banner of fighting terrorism. At the point technological capabilities of mass surveillance using computers and the ability to have a dossier for everybody were in place, while mass deployment of PC, credit cards and cell phones provides constant stream of information to those dossiers, not that different from "gum shoes" reports. On November, 2001 the phone records of most Americans begin flowing to the N.S.A. After 9/11, President Bush authorizes the N.S.A. to collect phone and Internet content and metadata without a warrant. Within weeks, under the so-called President’s Surveillance Program (P.S.P.), the major telephone companies voluntarily hand over the data. The N.S.A. creates a twenty-four-hour “Metadata Analysis Center” (MAC) to search the phone records. In October 26, 2001: The Patriot Act is passed. Section 215 allows the government to seize “any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.”

At this point the process started with adoption of Truman doctrine came to a logical end: national surveillance state became a reality. Formally Truman Doctrine was created "to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures." but in reality their function was more questionable and after 9/11 (some people date this event as early as 1963 -- JFK assassination) those activities created what is called "The State Within a State" similar to the USSR KGB role (see The State Within a State by Yevgenia Albats and Catherine A. Fitzpatrick). Here is one review of the book:

A Customer

passionate albeit muddled, August 24, 1999

I have problems with the author's obvious hatred of the Russian Revolution and Stalin and the way she claims there is an unbroken chain of horror going all the way back to 1917. Obviously things are better today -- hence her book! She says 66.7 million people died under "Chekist" rule since the Russian Revolution -- and then cites the Guiness Book of Records as her source!? No one could ever prove such a figure, I think its one of things that's repeated 'til it becomes fact.

I also find the author's lack of knowledge about our own CIA kind of disheartening. This fine organization has spread as much death and terror in the Third World (Indonesia, Guatemala,Chile, Argentina, Brazil etc. etc. ) as the KGB ever did anywhere, yet she seems to make them out to be benevolent compared to the KGB (which if you read this book are responsible for everything wrong with the world today).

After reading this book I still don't understand why she thinks the KGB or its incarnations are as bad today as they were at the height of the Terror in 1937. Its not really explained in the book. I still am not convinced that the KGB was the NKVD, and definitely convinced that either was the SS. Research I have done casually has never come up with hard, convincing figures for a Nazi style genocide in the USSR, and this anecdotal, unconvincing book didn't change my historical views.

See Michael J. Hogan, A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State, 1945-1954. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998; which "explains the transformative process that ended in the ultimate demise of the New Deal state with its emphasis on social spending and ushered in the militarist National Security State." From Amazon review:

Hogan, a specialist in American diplomatic and national security studies, has written a complex but interesting work on the emergence of the national security state. To create this state, it was necessary to merge the armed forces, the Defense Department, and scientists into a single unit to enhance the military's capabilities. To a large extent, this unification was accomplished in the 1950s. The driving forces were James Forrestal, Dean Acheson, and powerful members of Congress such as Carl Vinson (D-GA), who chaired the Committee on Naval Affairs, along with presidents Truman and Eisenhower.

Hogan presents a compelling case but overemphasizes the importance of Truman and Eisenhower while downplaying the role of Vinson and others in the security state's creation. In fact, both Truman and Eisenhower often seemed opposed to it but succumbed to pressure from Congress and key figures like Acheson. This extremely complex study, which deals with a subject few other books handle, is designed for scholars and informed lay readers interested in the creation of the "military-industrial complex." by Richard P. Hedlund, Ashland Community Coll., KY

Former CIA officer Victor Marchetti in his book "Propaganda and Disinformation: How the CIA Manufactures History" noted:

"As I pointed out in the preface to The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence in 1974, democratic governments fighting totalitarian enemies run the risk of imitating their methods and thereby destroying democracy. By suppressing historical fact, and by manufacturing historical fiction, the CIA, with its obsessive secrecy and its vast resources, has posed a particular threat to the right of Americans to be informed for the present and future by an objective knowledge of the past.

As long as the CIA continues to manipulate history, historians of its activities must be Revisionist if we are to know the truth about the agency's activities, past and present."

Attempts to curtain the surveillance proved to by fruitless.  Church Committee was probably the most important "after JFK assassination" attempt to somewhat tame three latter agencies and especially CIA, but it ended in nothing.

Later NSA overtook CIA in many areas of intelligence gathering activities. Which create internal frictions between two agencies. State Department also "infringed" in CIA role in foreign countries and, for example, in organization of neoliberal color revolutions in oil rich or strategically important countries it is difficult to tell when clandestine actions of State Department ends and clandestine actions of CIA stars and vice versa. 

In is interesting to note that even Senators feel threatened by this total surveillance system. In December 14, 2005 Senators Barack Obama, Chuck Hagel, John Kerry, Richard Durbin, and several colleagues sign a letter warning that Section 215 “would allow the government to obtain library, medical and gun records and other sensitive personal information” that “would allow government fishing expeditions targeting innocent Americans.” They demand that the records requested should “have some connection to a suspected terrorist or spy,” a requirement that would

protect innocent Americans from unnecessary surveillance and ensure that government scrutiny is based on individualized suspicion, a fundamental principle of our legal system.

In March, 2006, the Patriot Act is reauthorized without the changes sought by Obama and others.

In his October 19, 2012 review of the book Saman Mohammadi (The Excavator) wrote:

The case could be made that the creation of the CIA and the National Security State in 1947 was necessary. But after sixty years of human rights abuses, systematic attacks on the constitution, false flag terror events, assassinations of political reformers, and other horrible crimes against humanity, should not the CIA be reformed?

Let's put the question of morality aside. What are the "national security" reasons that legitimize the existence of the CIA? Once you learn that Al-Qaeda is a CIA creation and proxy insurgent army and that 9/11 was a massive false flag operation, you come to the natural conclusion that the CIA does not perform a national security role.

The CIA plays a much dirtier role: engineering the American mind. It is not denied that the shadow CIA has major influence in the mainstream media, especially amongst top newspapers such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. Michael S. Rozeff speculates that the New York Times is entirely run by the CIA.

We can't know for certain if that is true because of the lack of historical documentation in the public domain, but there is a mountain of observable evidence that proves the CIA has many of its spooks working for the New York Times. Go here for just one example.

Until the American people demand that the U.S. government commit to radical transparency and the principles enshrined in the U.S. constitution, the shadow CIA and the mainstream media can twist history and manage public perceptions of reality as much as they like.

The shadow CIA's greatest power comes from its command of the American public mind as well as its ability to create a fictional version of history. The false flag September 11 events was the shadow CIA's biggest media operation to date. It was their Mona Lisa. They painted the canvas of reality with the brush of myth, and worked day and night to shape the collective memory of the American people while the horror of the tragic attacks was still fresh in the nation's mind.

Although the shadow CIA doesn't have a total command of the American mind and of history, as proven by the rise of the global 9/11 truth and justice movement, it possesses enough media power to mold world public opinion and dictate government policy for the United States with ease. There is no question that its power is totalitarian in nature and its aims are evil. It does not serve the interests of the American people; that much is clear.

How can there be freedom when CIA officials in television studios, newspaper offices, and publishing companies drive the public conversation and form the national narrative on every issue of significance. The global alternative media is the only global civil society actor that is putting limits on the CIA's power to make up history and suppress the truth about historical events like 9/11 and the occult sacrifice of JFK.

In the past, the shadow CIA was presented with roadblocks in the Congress. But 9/11 fixed that problem. The laws and the politics changed. In "The Big Chill," author Dan Froomkin says the absence of Congressional leadership in the post-9/11 political universe has strengthened executive power. Here is an excerpt his article:

After past periods of executive excess, the Fourth Estate was certainly more robust and arguably more persistent, but it also found natural allies in the other branches of government—particularly Congress. By contrast, over the summer of 2012, the publication of a minimal amount of new information regarding drones, cyberwarfare and targeted killings incited bipartisan agreement on Capitol Hill—not to conduct hearings into what had been revealed, but to demand criminal investigations into the leaking.

That's how Congress has been ever since the terrorist attacks 11 years ago. "We never got our post 9/11 Church Committee," said Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists's Project on Government Secrecy, referring to a special investigative Senate committee that held hearings on widespread intelligence abuses after the Watergate scandal. "What we've got instead is the intelligence oversight committee drafting legislation to penalize leaks."

Since the Congress is not willing to stand up for the rights of the American people, the truth, human rights, and the U.S. Constitution, then the American people and global civil society must stand up. Congress has no real power. According to a recent Rasmussen survey, Congress only has an eight percent approval rating. There are underground, neo-Nazi groups in Europe that are more popular than the Congress.

The mainstream media is no better. It is content with its role as a propaganda arm of the shadow CIA, and that is a tragedy. American newspapers have the power to improve their nation and change the world for the better, but instead they choose to cover up independent investigations of shady events like 9/11 that shed light on how the U.S. government really operates.

Alternative media outlets like Infowars.com, Veterans Today, Lew Rockwell.com, Washington's Blog, The Corbett Report, and countless others are doing the best they can to educate the American people and wake up humanity.

The last thing the shadow CIA wants to see is an informed and awakened America. It is waging a silent war on human consciousness because it is scared of an enlightened world. A world that is awake and aware of its crimes against humanity is its greatest nightmare.

If the shadow CIA has its way, it will continue inventing stories and passing it off as history with total immunity. But the global alternative media is telling the shadow CIA: Enough is enough, stop lying to the American people and the world.

The CIA's reckless disregard of U.S. traditions and laws made former President Harry Truman rethink his decision to create the CIA in the first place. On December 22, 1963, Truman wrote in The Washington Post:

For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas. I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations.

On August 17, 1975 Senator Frank Church stated on NBC's Meet the Press without mentioning the name of the NSA about this agency (Wikipedia):

In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.[11]

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer list of features of National security state

In his book "Brave New World Order" (Orbis Books, 1992, paper), Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer argues that the Bush I war in Iraq (as well as Bush II invasion and occupation of the country) was an action of the military industrial complex usurping the "peace dividend". Iraq was attractive target as it has oil and far enough away to prove a good vehicle for eating up contract cash. He views the rise of the National Security Defense State as a consequence of "the threat of peace" for military industrial complex and identifies seven characteristics of a such a state:

  1. The military is the highest authority. In a National Security State the military not only guarantees the security of the state against all internal and external enemies, it has enough power to determine the overall direction of the society. In a National Security State the military exerts important influence over political, economic, as well as military affairs.
  2. Political democracy and democratic elections are viewed with suspicion, contempt, or in terms of political expediency. National Security States often maintain an appearance of democracy. However, ultimate power rests with the military or within a broader National Security Establishment.
  3. The military and related sectors wield substantial political and economic power. They do so in the context of an ideology which stresses that 'freedom" and "development" are possible only when capital is concentrated in the hands of elites.
  4. Obsession with enemies. There are enemies of the state everywhere. Defending against external and/or internal enemies becomes a leading preoccupation of the state, a distorting factor in the economy, and a major source of national identity and purpose.
  5. The working assumption is that the enemies of the state are cunning and ruthless. Therefore, any means used to destroy or control these enemies is justified.
  6. It restricts public debate and limits popular participation through secrecy or intimidation. Authentic democracy depends on participation of the people. National Security States limit such participation in a number of ways: They sow fear and thereby narrow the range of public debate; they restrict and distort information; and they define policies in secret and implement those policies through covert channels and clandestine activities. The state justifies such actions through rhetorical pleas of "higher purpose" and vague appeals to "national security."
  7. The church is expected to mobilize its financial, ideological, and theological resources in service to the National Security State.
Now we can add one additional feature
  1. Total surveillance

Compare that definition of the National Security State with the definition of Inverted Totalitarism. Most countries now have features of both.

The debate about National Security State reemerged in June 2008 due to revelations make about existence of the Prism program and similar program by British security services. For example, Jacob Augstein used the term "Obama's Soft Totalitarianism" in his article Europe Must Stand Up to American Cyber-Snooping published by SPIEGEL.

Here is an interesting comment of user MelFarrellSr in The Guardian discussion of the article NSA analysts 'willfully violated' surveillance systems, agency admits (August 24, 2013):

Here's the thing about the NSA, the GCHQ, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, et al...

We all have to stop commenting as if the NSA and the GCHQ are in this thing on their own; the reality is that no one was supposed to know one iota about any of these programs; the NSA and the GCHQ began and put in place the structure that would allow all internet service providers, and indeed all corporations using the net, the ability to track and profile each and every user on the planet, whether they be using the net, texting, cell, and landline.

We all now know that Google, Yahoo, and the rest, likely including major retailers, and perhaps not so major retailers, are all getting paid by the United States government, hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, our money, to profile 24/7 each and every one of us..., they know how we think, our desires, our sexual preferences, our religious persuasion, what we spend, etc.; make no mistake about it, they know it all, and what they don’t currently have, they will very soon…

These agencies and indeed all those who are paid by them, will be engaged over the next few weeks in a unified program of "perception management" meaning that they will together come up with an all-encompassing plan that will include the release of all manner of statements attesting to the enforcement of several different disciplinary actions against whomever for "illegal" breaches of policy...

They may even bring criminal actions against a few poor unfortunate souls who had no idea they would be sacrificed as one part of the "perception management" game.

Has anyone wondered why, to date, no one in power has really come out and suggested that the program must be curtailed to limit its application to terrorism and terrorist types?

Here’s why; I was fortunate recently to have given an education on how networks such as Prism, really work, aside from the rudimentary details given in many publications. They cannot, and will not, stop monitoring even one individuals activity, because to do so will eventually cause loss of the ability to effectively monitor as many as 2.5 Million individuals.

Remember the “Two to Three Hop” scenario, which the idiot in one of the hearings inadvertently spoke of; therein lies the answer. If the average person called 40 unique people, three-hop analysis would allow the government to mine the records of 2.5 million Americans Do the math; Internet usage in the United States as of June 30, 2012 reached a total of over 245,000,000 million…

The following link shows how connected the world is… http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats2.htm

We should never forget how the Internet began, and who developed it, the United States Armed Forces; initially it was known as Arpanet, see excerpt and link below…

"The Internet may fairly be regarded as a never-ending worldwide conversation." - Supreme Court Judge statement on considering first amendment rights for Internet users.

"On a cold war kind of day, in swinging 1969, work began on the ARPAnet, grandfather to the Internet. Designed as a computer version of the nuclear bomb shelter, ARPAnet protected the flow of information between military installations by creating a network of geographically separated computers that could exchange information via a newly developed protocol (rule for how computers interact) called NCP (Network Control Protocol).”

http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa091598.htm

There is no government anywhere on the planet that will give up any part of the program…, not without one hell of a fight...

Incidentally, they do hope and believe that everyone will come to the same conclusion; they will keep all of us at bay for however long it takes; they have the money, they have the time, and they economically control all of us...

Pretty good bet they win...

Whether the United States stands within the order of international law or outside it ?

The book American Exceptionalism and Human Rights (edited by Ignatieff) raised an important and probably the most controversial question in world politics: whether the United States stands within the order of international law or outside it.

Following are based on the article by Laurence W. Britt published in Free Inquiry magazine

To a secular humanist, the principles of international law seems logical, right, and crucial. Yet, there is one archetypal political philosophy that is anathema to almost all of these principles. It is fascism. And fascism’s principles are wafting in the air today, surreptitiously masquerading as something else, challenging everything we stand for. The cliché that people and nations learn from history is not only overused, but also overestimated; often we fail to learn from history, or draw the wrong conclusions. Sadly, historical amnesia is the norm.

We are two-and-a-half generations removed from the horrors of Nazi Germany, although constant reminders jog the consciousness. German and Italian fascism form the historical models that define this twisted political worldview. Although they no longer exist, this worldview and the characteristics of these models have been imitated by protofascist regimes at various times in the twentieth century. Both the original German and Italian models and the later protofascist regimes show remarkably similar characteristics. Although many scholars question any direct connection among these regimes, few can dispute their visual similarities.

Beyond the visual, even a cursory study of these fascist and protofascist regimes reveals the absolutely striking convergence of their modus operandi. This, of course, is not a revelation to the informed political observer, but it is sometimes useful in the interests of perspective to restate obvious facts and in so doing shed needed light on current circumstances.

The following regimes can be studies in this respect: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal, Papadopoulos’s Greece, Pinochet’s Chile, and Suharto’s Indonesia. They constitute a mixed bag of national identities, cultures, developmental levels, and history. But they all followed the fascist or protofascist model in obtaining, expanding, and maintaining power. Further, all these regimes have been overthrown, so a more or less complete picture of their basic characteristics and abuses is possible. Analysis of these seven regimes reveals fourteen common threads that link them in recognizable patterns of national behavior and abuse of power. These basic characteristics are more prevalent and intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share at least some level of similarity.

One can wonder how many of those are applicable to Bush/McCain. What do you think ?
  1. Propaganda of nationalism and Exceptionalism ("shining city on the hill", beckon of democracy, etc). Prominent displays of flags and ubiquitous lapel pins. The fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy. Pride in the military, and demands for unity are way of expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a level of suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia (French fries - Freedom fries).

  2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. Despite "freedom rhetorics" the party views human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious and truth about gulags is out, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.

  3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice—relentless propaganda and disinformation—were usually effective. Often the parties would incite “spontaneous” acts against the target scapegoats, such as Muslims, communists/socialists/liberals, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and “terrorists.” Opponents of these party were inevitably labeled as terrorists stooges and dealt with accordingly.

  4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites identified closely with the military. A disproportionate share of national budget is allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an ultimate expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.

  5. Sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, the party covertly views women as second-class citizens. Often are both anti-abortion and homophobic with the cover of religious values. For propaganda reasons those attitudes were masterfully blended into strong support of the fundamentalist religious sects, thus lending the party some legitimacy to cover for its abuses.

  6. A controlled mass media. The mass media could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Control can be indirect and subtle with formal adoption of slogan about "free media". Methods included the control of licensing, access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders and owners of the mass media are part of the power elite. The result is rampant brainwashing, which usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the party's excesses.

  7. Obsession with national security. A national security apparatus is bend to come under direct control of the ruling elite. It is used to bypass laws as a direct instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting “national security,” and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.

  8. Abuse of religion. The party attaches itself to the dominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of religious values. The fact that the ruling elite’s behavior was incompatible with those values is swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents are “godless.” A perception was manufactured that opposing the party is tantamount to an attack on religion.

  9. Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of “have-not” citizens.

  10. Power of organized labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Being poor was considered akin to a vice.

  11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these party. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities professors come under close scrutiny; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or scientific theories, especially economic, are strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed.

  12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police is often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. Criminal charges sometimes are used against political opponents. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or “traitors” was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.

  13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.

  14. Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of two candidates representing the same power elite are usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, suppressing responsibilities for legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.

Does any of this ring alarm bells? Of course not. After all, this is America, officially a democracy with the rule of law, a constitution, a free press, honest elections, and a well-informed public constantly being put on guard against evils. Historical comparisons like these are just exercises in verbal gymnastics. Maybe, maybe not.

Edward Snowden quotes about National Security State

The most recent debate about the legitimacy of national security state as exists in the USA was sparked by Edward Snowden revelations. The following are 27 quotes from Edward Snowden about National Security State modus operandi  might send a chill up your spine...


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[Apr 04, 2020] America, We Have To End The Wars Now by Scott Horton

Apr 03, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Scott Horton via The Libertarian Institute,

Can anyone think what our society might have spent six and a half trillion dollars on instead of 20 years of war in the Middle East for nothing? How about the trillion dollars per year we keep spending on the military on top of that?

Invading, dominating and remaking the Arab world to serve the interests of the American empire and the state of Greater Israel sounds downright quaint at this point. Iraq War II, as Senator Bernie Sanders said in the debate a few weeks ago, while letting Joe Biden, one of its primary proponents , off the hook for it, was "a long time ago." Actually, Senator, we still have troops there fighting Iraq War III 1/2 against what's left of the ISIS insurgency, and our current government continues to threaten the launch of Iraq War IV against the very parties we fought the last two wars for . This would almost certainly then lead to war with Iran.

The U.S.A. still has soldiers, marines and CIA spies in Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Mali, Tunisia, Niger, Nigeria, Chad and only God and Nick Turse know where else.

Worst of all , America under President Donald Trump is still "leading from behind" in the war in Yemen Barack Obama started in conspiracy with Saudi then-Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman back in 2015. This war is nothing less than a deliberate genocide .

It is a medieval-style siege campaign against the civilian population of the country. The war has killed more than a quarter of a million innocent people in the last five years, including at least 85,000 children under five years old. And, almost unbelievably, this war is being fought on behalf of the American people's enemies, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula ( AQAP ).

These are the same guys that bombed the USS Cole in the port of Aden in 2000, helped to coordinate the September 11th attack , tried to blow up a plane over Detroit with the underpants bomb on Christmas Day 2009, tried to blow up another plane with a package bomb and launched the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, France since then. In fact, CENTCOM was helping the Houthi regime in the capital of Sana'a target and kill AQAP as late as January 2015, just two months before Obama stabbed them in the back and took al Qaeda's side against them. So the war is genocide and treason .

As Senator Rand Paul once explained to Neil Cavuto on Fox News back before he decided to become virtually silent on the matter, if the U.S.-Saudi-UAE alliance were to succeed in driving the Houthi regime from power in the capital city, they could end up being replaced by AQAP or the local Muslim Brotherhood group, al-Islah. There is zero chance that the stated goal of the war, the re-installation of former dictator Mansur Hadi on the throne, could ever succeed. And yet the war rages on. President Trump says he's doing it for the money . That's right . And he's just recently sent the Marines to intervene in the war on behalf of our enemy-allies too.

We still have troops in Germany in the name of keeping Russia out 30 years after the end of the Cold War and dissolution of the Soviet Empire, even though Germany is clearly not afraid of Russia at all, and are instead more worried that the U.S. and its newer allies are going to get them into a fight they do not want. The Germans prefer to "get along with Russia," and buy natural gas from them, while Trump's government does everything in its power to prevent it .

America has expanded our NATO military alliance right up to Russia's western border and continues to threaten to include Ukraine and former-Soviet Georgia in the pact right up to the present day. As the world's worst hawks and Russiagate Hoax accusers have admitted , Trump has been by far the worst anti-Russia president since the end of the last Cold War.

Obama may have hired a bunch of Hitler-loving Nazis to overthrow the government of Ukraine for him back in 2014, but at least he was too afraid to send them weapons, something Trump has done enthusiastically , even though he was actually impeached by the Democrats for moving a little too slowly on one of the shipments.

We still have troops in South Korea to protect against the North, even though in economic and conventional terms the South overmatches the North by orders of magnitude . Communism really doesn't work . And the only reason the North even decided to make nukes is because George W. Bush put a gun to their head and essentially made them do it . But as Cato's Doug Bandow says , we don't even need a new deal. The U.S. could just forget about North Korea and it wouldn't make any difference to our security at all.

And now China. Does anyone outside of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps really care whether the entire Pacific Ocean is an American lake or only 95% of it ? The "threat" of Chinese dominance in their own part of the world exists only in the heads of hawkish American policy wonks and the Taiwanese, who should have been told a long time ago that they are on their own and that there's no way in the world the American people or government are willing to trade Los Angeles and San Francisco for Taipei.

Perhaps without the U.S. superpower standing behind them, Taiwanese leaders would be more inclined to seek a peaceful settlement with Beijing. If not, that's their problem. Not one American in a million is willing to sacrifice their own home town in a nuclear war with China over an island that means nothing to them. Nor should they. Nor should our government even dream they have the authority to hand out such dangerous war guarantees to any other country in such a reckless fashion.

And that's it. There are no other powers anywhere in the world. Certainly there are none who threaten the American people. Our government claims they are keeping the peace, but there are approximately two million Arabs and Pashtuns who would disagree except that they've already been killed in our recent wars and so are unavailable for comment.

The George W. Bush and Barack Obama eras are long over. We near the end, or half-way point , of the Trump years, and yet our former leaders' wars rage on .

Enough already. It is time to end the war on terrorism and end the rest of the American empire as well . As our dear recently departed friend Jon Basil Utley learned from his professor Carroll Quigley , World Empire is the last stage of a civilization before it dies . That is the tragedy. The hope is that we can learn from history and preserve what's left of our republic and the freedom that made it great in the first place, by abandoning our overseas "commitments" and husbanding our resources so that we may pass down a legacy of liberty to our children.

The danger to humanity represented by the Coronavirus plague has, by stark relief, exposed just how unnecessary and therefore criminal this entire imperial project has been . We could have quit the empire 30 years ago when the Cold War ended, if not long before.

We could have a perfectly normal and peaceful relationship with Iraq, Iran, Syria, Korea, Russia, China, Yemen and any of the other nations our government likes to pretend threaten us. And when it comes to our differences, we would then be in the position to kill them with kindness and generosity, leading the world to liberty the only way we truly can, voluntarily, on the global free market of ideas and results .

That is what the world needs and the legacy the American people deserve.

[Apr 01, 2020] This is the problem with the Democrats: people are more interested in class issues, and economic equality then identity politics by Rod Dreher

Notable quotes:
"... This is the problem with the Democrats. You might be interested in class issues, and economic equality, and not at all interested in wokeness. But what you're going to get is wokeness, because that is what the power-holding class in the Democratic Party really cares about. As James Lindsay, the left-liberal professor who does heroic work fighting wokeness, told me in our recent interview: ..."
"... Of course [Social Justice Warriors] going to find ways to use this crisis to their advantage. They go around inventing problems or dramatically exaggerating or misinterpreting small problems to push their agenda; why wouldn't they do the same in a situation where there's so much chaos and thus so much going wrong. My experience so far is that people are really underestimating how much of this there will be and how much of it will be institutionalized while we're busy doing other things like tending to the sick and dying and trying not to lose our livelihoods and/or join them ourselves. ..."
"... It's very important to understand that "Critical Social Justice" isn't just activism and some academic theories about things. It's a way of thinking about the world, and that way is rooted in critical theory as it has been applied mostly to identity groups and identity politics ..."
Mar 31, 2020 | The American Conservative
George Scialabba has a wonderful essay about Orwell in Commonweal . Though Scialabba writes in it about Orwell's criticism of the right, this passage jumped out:

Might Orwell's sensitive nose have detected a whiff of cant anywhere on the contemporary left? I suspect he would have cast a baleful eye on identity politics. He would, I think, be dubious about "diversity." Why do every college and corporation in America have a fleet of "diversity" officers? What is gained by ensuring -- at enormous expense -- that every student or employee is proud of his/her culture and that every other student or employee respects it? According to Walter Benn Michaels in The Trouble with Diversity, what is gained is the avoidance of class conflict. "The commitment to diversity is at best a distraction and at worst an essentially reactionary position . We would much rather celebrate cultural diversity than seek to establish economic equality."

Orwell was moderately obsessed with class. He would probably have noted that the explosive growth of inequality in the United States over the past four decades has closely paralleled the explosive growth of the diversity industry, and would have drawn some conclusions. He might have asked: If there were two societies with the same Gini coefficient, but in one of them, the proportion of billionaires by race and gender matched that of the general population, would that society be morally better than the other? Or: If the ratio of CEO to median employee earnings was the same in two societies, but in one of them the proportion of CEOs by race and gender matched that of the general population, would that society be morally better than the other? I'm pretty sure that most diversity bureaucrats would answer "yes" to both questions, and that Orwell would have answered "no."

Orwell was fearless, so a tribute to him shouldn't pull any punches. I think he would suggest that there was something irrational about the way we enforce our most sensitive taboo: the N-word. From the wholesale banning of Huckleberry Finn to the many times teachers and civil servants have been censured, and in one case fired, for using the word "niggardly" (which has no etymological relation to the N-word) to the resignation under pressure recently of a Cambridge, Massachusetts, school committeewoman for using the N-word in a discussion of a proposed high-school course about the N-word, we have often made fools of ourselves and done disadvantaged African Americans no good. As the school superintendent summarized the Cambridge case: the committeewoman "made a point about racist language and used the full N-word instead of the common substitute, 'N-word.' Although said in the context of a classroom discussion, and not directed to any student or adult present, the full pronunciation of the word was upsetting to a number of students and adults who were present or who have since heard about the incident." No one, however, as far as I am aware, has publicly expressed hurt feelings over the fact that the average net worth of African Americans in the Boston area is $8. (Eight, no zeros.) As Benn Michaels observes: "As long as the left continues to worry about [respect], the right won't have to worry about inequality."

Read it all.

I wrote earlier today about actually existing conservatism being more of a "folk libertarianism" than anything resembling philosophical conservatism. But what about actually existing liberalism?

The surprising triumph of Joe Biden, the most normie Democrat in America, tells us something about actually existing liberalism. Illiberal progressivism dominates in academia, the media, and in corporate America's human resources departments. A reader sends in this abstract from a paper published by a Penn professor at the Ivy League university's Wharton School of Business (Trump's alma mater!) in which she argues that the state should

forbid identity-based discrimination but permit refusals of service for projects that foster hate toward protected groups, even where the hate-based project is intimately linked to a protected characteristic (as with religious groups that mandate white supremacy). Far from perpetuating discrimination, these refusals instead promote anti-discrimination norms, and they help realize the vision of the morally inflected marketplace that the Article defends.

You could say that Biden's (not yet assured) victory in the Democratic primaries shows that actually existing liberalism is much less interested in wokeness than in bread-and-butter issues. After all, the more self-consciously woke candidates in the Democratic race didn't get anywhere. I would like to read it that way. But would Biden actually stand up to any wokeness? After all, this is the man who tweeted:

Let's be clear: Transgender equality is the civil rights issue of our time. There is no room for compromise when it comes to basic human rights.

-- Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 25, 2020

This is the problem with the Democrats. You might be interested in class issues, and economic equality, and not at all interested in wokeness. But what you're going to get is wokeness, because that is what the power-holding class in the Democratic Party really cares about. As James Lindsay, the left-liberal professor who does heroic work fighting wokeness, told me in our recent interview:

Of course [Social Justice Warriors] going to find ways to use this crisis to their advantage. They go around inventing problems or dramatically exaggerating or misinterpreting small problems to push their agenda; why wouldn't they do the same in a situation where there's so much chaos and thus so much going wrong. My experience so far is that people are really underestimating how much of this there will be and how much of it will be institutionalized while we're busy doing other things like tending to the sick and dying and trying not to lose our livelihoods and/or join them ourselves.

It's very important to understand that "Critical Social Justice" isn't just activism and some academic theories about things. It's a way of thinking about the world, and that way is rooted in critical theory as it has been applied mostly to identity groups and identity politics. Thus, not only do they think about almost nothing except ways that "systemic power" and "dominant groups" are creating all the problems around us, they've more or less forgotten how to think about problems in any other way. The underlying assumption of their Theory–and that's intentionally capitalized because it means a very specific thing–is that the very fabric of society is built out of unjust systemic power dynamics, and it is their job (as "critical theorists") to find those, "make them visible," and then to move on to doing it with the next thing, ideally while teaching other people to do it too. This crisis will be full of opportunities to do that, and they will do it relentlessly. So, it's not so much a matter of them "finding a way" to use this crisis to their advantage as it is that they don't really do anything else.

To be honest, I don't have a lot of confidence in predictions about what valence wokeness (or right-wing culture war themes) will have in this fall's election, given the economic destruction upon us now. I do have confidence, though, that if the left gets into power, this professional class of woke activists will march triumphantly through the institutions of government, and implement their identity-politics utopianism. Do I think that most Democratic voters do, or would, favor that? No, probably not. I imagine they would be voting Democratic primarily to oust Trump, and secondarily because they are more interested in income inequality...

If Orwell were alive today and writing with his superlative critical pen about them, he would struggle to find publication in one of our major liberal journals.

UPDATE: Just now:

I'm sure Critical Social Justice isn't quietly reorganizing things that might matter because of the pandemic Or so I keep being told. https://t.co/LEzvjqbu2B

-- James Lindsay, staying home (@ConceptualJames) March 31, 2020

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative . He has written and edited for the New York Post , The Dallas Morning News , National Review , the South Florida Sun-Sentinel , the Washington Times , and the Baton Rouge Advocate . Rod's commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal , Commentary , the Weekly Standard , Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming , Crunchy Cons , How Dante Can Save Your Life , and The Benedict Option

[Mar 28, 2020] NYT bad habit of falling for falling for frauds and making them famous

Highly recommended!
Mar 26, 2020 | www.unz.com

Stephen Paul Foster , says: Website Show Comment March 25, 2020 at 11:17 am GMT

@niteranger "For example, New York Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof on Sunday reported the disheartening analysis of Dr. Neil Ferguson of Britain, one of the world's leading epidemiologists."

Nicholas Kristoff has the bad habit of falling for falling for frauds and making them famous. "Three cups of tea" for starters. He's got a long track record of peddling fake stuff.

[Mar 28, 2020] This Pandemic Is Exposing The Futility Of The National Security State by Andrew Bacevich

Mar 28, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Andrew Bacevich via TomDispatch.com,

Americans are facing "A Spring Unlike Any Before." So warned a front-page headline in the March 13th New York Times .

That headline, however hyperbolic, was all too apt. The coming of spring has always promised relief from the discomforts of winter. Yet, far too often, it also brings its own calamities and afflictions.

According to the poet T.S. Eliot, "April is the cruelest month." Yet while April has certainly delivered its share of cataclysms , March and May haven't lagged far behind. In fact, cruelty has seldom been a respecter of seasons. The infamous influenza epidemic of 1918 , frequently cited as a possible analogue to our current crisis, began in the spring of that year, but lasted well into 1919.

That said, something about the coronavirus pandemic does seem to set this particular spring apart. At one level, that something is the collective panic now sweeping virtually the entire country. President Trump's grotesque ineptitude and tone-deafness have only fed that panic. And in their eagerness to hold Trump himself responsible for the pandemic, as if he were the bat that first transmitted the disease to a human being, his critics magnify further a growing sense of events spinning out of control.

Yet to heap the blame for this crisis on Trump alone (though he certainly deserves plenty of blame) is to miss its deeper significance. Deferred for far too long, Judgment Day may at long last have arrived for the national security state.

ORIGINS OF A COLOSSUS

That state within a state's origins date from the early days of the Cold War. Its ostensible purpose has been to keep Americans safe and so, by extension, to guarantee our freedoms. From the 1950s through the 1980s, keeping us safe provided a seemingly adequate justification for maintaining a sprawling military establishment along with a panoply of "intelligence" agencies -- the CIA, the DIA, the NRO, the NSA -- all engaged in secret activities hidden from public view. From time to time, the scope, prerogatives, and actions of that conglomeration of agencies attracted brief critical attention -- the Cuban Bay of Pigs fiasco in 1961, the Vietnam War of the 1960s and early 1970s, and the Iran-Contra affair during the presidency of Ronald Reagan being prime examples. Yet at no time did such failures come anywhere close to jeopardizing its existence.

Indeed, even when the implosion of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War removed the original justification for its creation, the entire apparatus persisted. With the Soviet Empire gone, Russia in a state of disarray, and communism having lost its appeal as an alternative to democratic capitalism, the managers of the national security state wasted no time in identifying new threats and new missions.

The new threats included autocrats like Panama's Manuel Noriega and Iraq's Saddam Hussein, once deemed valuable American assets, but now, their usefulness gone, classified as dangers to be eliminated. Prominent among the new missions was a sudden urge to repair broken places like the Balkans, Haiti, and Somalia, with American power deployed under the aegis of "humanitarian intervention" and pursuant to a "responsibility to protect." In this way, in the first decade of the post-Cold War era, the national security state kept itself busy. While the results achieved, to put it politely, were mixed at best, the costs incurred appeared tolerable. In sum, the entire apparatus remained impervious to serious scrutiny.

During that decade, however, both the organs of national security and the American public began taking increased notice of what was called "anti-American terrorism" -- and not without reason. In 1993, Islamic fundamentalists detonated a bomb in a parking garage of New York's World Trade Center . In 1996, terrorists obliterated an apartment building used to house US military personnel in Saudi Arabia. Two years later, the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were blown up and, in 2000, suicide bombers nearly sank the USS Cole , a Navy destroyer making a port call in Aden at the tip of the Arabian peninsula. To each of these increasingly brazen attacks, all occurring during the administration of President Bill Clinton, the national security state responded ineffectually .

Then, of course, came September 11, 2001. Orchestrated by Osama bin Laden and carried out by 19 suicidal al-Qaeda operatives, this act of mass murder inflicted incalculable harm on the United States. In its wake, it became common to say that "9/11 changed everything."

In fact, however, remarkably little changed. Despite its 17 intelligence agencies, the national security state failed utterly to anticipate and thwart that devastating attack on the nation's political and financial capitals. Yet apart from minor adjustments -- primarily expanding surveillance efforts at home and abroad -- those outfits mostly kept doing what they had been doing, even as their leaders evaded accountability. After Pearl Harbor, at least, one admiral and one general were fired . After 9/11, no one lost his or her job. At the upper echelons of the national security state, the wagons were circled and a consensus quickly formed: No one had screwed up.

Once President George W. Bush identified an " Axis of Evil " (Iraq, Iran, and North Korea), three nations that had had nothing whatsoever to do with the 9/11 attacks, as the primary target for his administration's "Global War on Terrorism," it became clear that no wholesale reevaluation of national security policy was going to occur. The Pentagon and the Intelligence Community, along with their sprawling support network of profit-minded contractors, could breathe easy. All of them would get ever more money. That went without saying. Meanwhile, the underlying premise of US policy since the immediate aftermath of World War II -- that projecting hard power globally would keep Americans safe -- remained sacrosanct.

Viewed from this perspective, the sequence of events that followed was probably overdetermined. In late 2001, US forces invaded Afghanistan, overthrew the Taliban regime, and set out to install a political order more agreeable to Washington. In early 2003, with the mission in Afghanistan still anything but complete, US forces set out to do the same in Iraq. Both of those undertakings have dragged on, in one fashion or another, without coming remotely close to success. Today, the military undertaking launched in 2001 continues, even if it no longer has a name or an agreed-upon purpose.

Nonetheless, at the upper echelons of the national security state, the consensus forged after 9/11 remains firmly in place: No one screws up. In Washington, the conviction that projecting hard power keeps Americans safe likewise remains sacrosanct.

In the nearly two decades since 9/11, willingness to challenge this paradigm has rarely extended beyond non-conforming publications like TomDispatch . Until Donald Trump came along, rare was the ambitious politician of either political party who dared say aloud what Trump himself has repeatedly said -- that, as he calls them, the " ridiculous endless wars " launched in response to 9/11 represent the height of folly.

Astonishingly enough, within the political establishment that point has still not sunk in. So, in 2020, as in 2016, the likely Democratic nominee for president will be someone who vigorously supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Imagine, if you will, Democrats in 1880 nominating not a former union general (as they did) but a former confederate who, 20 years before, had advocated secession. Back then, some sins were unforgivable. Today, politicians of both parties practice self-absolution and get away with it.

THE REAL THREAT

Note, however, the parallel narrative that has unfolded alongside those post-9/11 wars. Taken seriously, that narrative exposes the utter irrelevance of the national security state as currently constituted. The coronavirus pandemic will doubtless prove to be a significant learning experience. Here is one lesson that Americans cannot afford to overlook.

Presidents now routinely request and Congress routinely appropriates more than a trillion dollars annually to satisfy the national security state's supposed needs. Even so, Americans today do not feel safe and, to a degree without precedent, they are being denied the exercise of basic everyday freedoms. Judged by this standard, the apparatus created to keep them safe and free has failed. In the face of a pandemic, nature's version of an act of true terror, that failure, the consequences of which Americans will suffer through for months to come, should be seen as definitive.

But wait, some will object: Don't we find ourselves in uncharted waters? Is this really the moment to rush to judgment? In fact, judgment is long overdue.

While the menace posed by the coronavirus may differ in scope, it does not differ substantively from the myriad other perils that Americans have endured since the national security state wandered off on its quixotic quest to pacify Afghanistan and Iraq and purge the planet of terrorists. Since 9/11, a partial roster of those perils would include: Hurricane Katrina (2005), Hurricane Sandy (2012), Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria (2017), and massive wildfires that have devastated vast stretches of the West Coast on virtually an annual basis. The cumulative cost of such events exceeds a half-trillion dollars. Together, they have taken the lives of several thousand more people than were lost in the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Earlier generations might have written all of these off as acts of God. Today, we know better. As with blaming Trump, blaming God won't do. Human activities, ranging from the hubristic reengineering of rivers like the Mississippi to the effects of climate change stemming from the use of fossil fuels, have substantially exacerbated such "natural" catastrophes.

And unlike faraway autocrats or terrorist organizations, such phenomena, from extreme-weather events to pandemics, directly and immediately threaten the safety and wellbeing of the American people. Don't tell the Central Intelligence Agency or the Joint Chiefs of Staff but the principal threats to our collective wellbeing are right here where we live.

Apart from modest belated efforts at mitigation, the existing national security state is about as pertinent to addressing such threats as President Trump's cheery expectations that the coronavirus will simply evaporate once warmer weather appears. Terror has indeed arrived on our shores and it has nothing to do with al-Qaeda or ISIS or Iranian-backed militias. Americans are terrorized because it has now become apparent that our government, whether out of negligence or stupidity, has left them exposed to dangers that truly put life and liberty at risk. As it happens, all these years in which the national security state has been preoccupied with projecting hard power abroad have left us naked and vulnerable right here at home.

Protecting Americans where they live ought to be the national security priority of our time. The existing national security state is incapable of fulfilling that imperative, while its leaders, fixated on waging distant wars, have yet to even accept that they have a responsibility to do so.

Worst of all, even in this election year, no one on the national political scene appears to recognize the danger now fully at hand.

[Mar 27, 2020] Now's the Time to Become a Truly 'America First' Military by Doug Bandow

Mar 26, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
|

12:01 am

Congress is preparing to vote to spend trillions of dollars Washington doesn't have to keep afloat an economy staggering under the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Even before Uncle Sam was hopelessly overdrawn, expecting to run an annual trillion dollar deficit well into the future.

Yet the bipartisan war lobby continues to promote confrontation and conflict with nations as diverse as Venezuela, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, and China. Even in good economic times it was increasingly difficult to underwrite Washington's attempt to run the world. Today the effort is pure folly.

Last year the Congressional Budget Office published The 2019 Long-Term Budget Outlook . Among the conclusions of this profoundly depressing read:

Uncle Sam's fiscal collapse has been swift. Noted CBO, at the end of 2007 federal debt was but 35 percent of GDP (not counting intra-government borrowing tied to Social Security). However, "By the end of 2012, debt as a share of GDP had doubled, reaching 70 percent. The upward trajectory has generally continued since then, and debt is projected to be 78 percent of GDP by the end of this year -- a very high level by historical standards." The average over the last half century was just 42 percent.

Washington's spendthrift ways when economic growth was strong make more difficult responding to the latest economic crisis. The long-term prognosis is dismal. The better case, suggested CBO, was to "Increase the likelihood of less abrupt, but still significant, negative economic and financial effects, such as expectations of higher rates of inflation and more difficulty financing public and private activity to international markets."

Worse, however, federal improvidence could "Increase the risk of a fiscal crisis -- that is, a situation in which the interest rate on federal debt rises abruptly because investors have lost confidence in the U.S. government's fiscal position." That is increasingly likely. Already, figures economic Laurence Kotlikoff at Boston University, the federal government has unfunded liabilities, or a "fiscal gap," of $239 trillion -- promises made with no money to meet them.

There is no easy solution. Revenues already are projected to rise as a share of GDP and above the average over the last half century. Washington is spending ever faster than it is taxing.

To cut, presidents and Congresses typically focus on domestic discretionary spending, but that only makes up about 15 percent of federal outlays. Eliminate it -- stop paying federal employees, close the Washington monument, end all federal grants, and slash everything else -- the deficit remains. Five program areas make up the rest of the budget: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, interest, and the military.

America's growing elderly population is unlikely to sacrifice benefits seniors believe they have paid for. There is no cheap way to fund health care for the poor. Only repudiating the national debt can lower interest payments by fiat. Draconian cuts are unlikely in any let alone all of them.

Which leaves military outlays. Much of current spending has nothing to do with "defense." Today America is constantly at war, but usually to attack rather than defend. Even when "defense" is theoretically the objective, Washington is protecting other nations, mostly prosperous, populous allies, rather than the U.S.

The result is extraordinarily high expenditures, since it costs far more to project power to the far reaches of the globe than to prevent other nations from harming America. Indeed, the Pentagon budget should be seen as the price of Washington's highly interventionist foreign policy, which sees every other nations' problems as America's own.

Last year the president requested $718 billion for the military in 2020, a two percent real, inflation-adjusted increase. Although the administration projected no real rise through 2024, the real growth rate between 2017 and 2020 had been 3.5 percent. Moreover, observed CBO, "the cost of DOD's plans would increase by 13 percent from 2024 to 2034, after adjusting for inflation." Based on historical experience, the agency figured that actual spending likely "could be about two higher than DOD estimates and about four percent higher from 2020 to 2034."

That likely is the floor. The bipartisan war lobby is constantly pushing to do and spend more. In 2018 the congressionally mandated National Defense Strategy Commission urged real increases of between three and five percent annually. Reported CBO, the consequences of such a hike, "starting from the 2017 budget request, would result in a defense budget of between $822 billion and $958 billion (in 2020 dollars) by 2025, and between $1.1 trillion and $1.5 trillion (in 2020 dollars) by 2034."

For what would this cash tsunami be used?

The Constitution sets the "common defense" as a core federal responsibility. That actually is rather easy today. The U.S. is geographically secure, with large oceans east and west and weak, peaceful neighbors south and north.

The only other state with an equal nuclear force capable of destroying America is Russia, which has no reason to do so and a good reason not to, since it would be destroyed in response. No hostile power might is going to dominate Eurasia. Moscow can't. Anyway, its security objectives appear to be much more mundane, ensuring that the West takes its interests into account. Europe can't and couldn't imagine doing so.

Which leaves the People's Republic of China. It might become America's military peer, but even then it won't be able to conquer or cow nuclear-armed Russia or more distant, economically advanced Europe. Beijing's Asian neighbors are well able to deter aggression, especially if, someday, they develop nuclear weapons. China's "threat" to the U.S., if it should be called that, is that the PRC might gain the sort of dominant influence in its neighborhood that America enjoys in the Western hemisphere. Discomfiting for Washington, yes. Existential threat to the U.S., no. And probably not worth fighting a largescale conventional and possibly nuclear war over.

The Middle East has lost its strategic significance as the oil market has diversified. Israel is able to deter attack, eliminating a heretofore major political issue in Washington. Africa holds economic promise and raises humanitarian concerns, but rests at the bottom of America's security list. Latin America will always gain U.S. attention but little that happens there will matter much to North America's global colossus.

Yet the supposedly isolationist-leaning Trump administration is anything but. The U.S. recently verged on war with Iran as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other administration hawks pushed to retaliate against Tehran for attacks by pro-Iran militias in Iraq, which Washington continues to occupy. The U.S. underwrites Saudi Arabia's brutal, aggressive war against Yemen and has sent troops to act as the royal family's bodyguards against Iran. The U.S. has steadily increased its force presence and fiscal outlays to confront Russia in Europe.

Despite his professed desire to leave Syria, the president ordered the illegal occupation of Syrian oil fields; his officials hope to use that presence to confront the Damascus government as well as Iran and Russia. This week Pompeo flew to Afghanistan to revive a "peace" agreement that, after nearly two decades of combat, can be effectively enforced only with a continued U.S. military presence.

Under congressional pressure, the administration has temporized over Pentagon proposals to withdraw forces from numerous conflicts across Africa. Venezuela remains in crisis but in opposition to America, with military intervention oft proposed as the remedy. Before talking with North Korea the president threatened "fire and fury." The administration is taking an increasingly hard line against China, raising military as well as economic and diplomatic tensions.

Required is a truly America First defense. The U.S. should focus on preventing hostile threats to this hemisphere, while being ready to sustain critical allies if they face threats from hegemonic powers potentially dangerous to America. Washington has other interests, but advancing them normally would be matters of choice, rarely, if ever, warranting military action.

Washington would reduce its force structure and military outlays accordingly. The biggest cuts would be made in the army, while placing greater emphasis on the Reserves. The U.S. would become something much closer to a "normal country."

Today America is following an imperial policy without an empire's resources. Alas, the federal government is essentially bankrupt, facing nothing but red ink in coming years and decades. Ultimately domestic outlays must be curbed. But military spending which does not advance the "common defense" also should be slashed. The U.S. no longer can afford to play-act as global gendarme.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. He is a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan and author of several books, including Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire .


Amicus Brevis 2 days ago • edited

Even before Uncle Sam was hopelessly overdrawn, expecting to run an annual trillion dollar deficit well into the future.

Donald Trump has been mimicking the Reagan economic policy of "borrow and spend"
Now we are faced with another crash and we have no choice - but we never paid off any of the debt or closed the budget deficit. I cannot imagine that anyone believes that "Borrow when things are good and borrow more when they are bad!", is sustainable.

Gutbomb Amicus Brevis a day ago • edited
Yes. That has been the economic elephant in the room for decades, especially in the last twenty years. With every crisis we are less prepared to spend our way out of it than the last time. We were in a smoking hot economy with a mature bull market and yet running higher deficits than ever (with continuously low interest rates), while essentially ignoring our core problems at home (infrastructure, health care) and spending shocking amounts of money in wars that do us no good. Now things are exponentially worse. It's inexcusable. Every bit of it.
Amicus Brevis Gutbomb a day ago
Yes, the wars and continual low level conflicts represent the absolute worst of our irresponsible spending. In my view, that is indisputable and therefore ripe for calling out as you do. And not even the hyper-partisans of either side can find a flaw in your argument. I would just like to add that the contribution of low level conflicts to the problem is greatly underrated. They amount to trillions over decades.
Feral Finster Gutbomb a day ago
Notice how the crises seem to be happening more and more frequently, even though the emergency measures from the last crisis never get fully phased out? What are we on now, QE 4.0 or is it 5.0?
Gutbomb Feral Finster a day ago
Two trillion here, three trillion there. The numbers stop meaning anything, especially since we're putting the debt on the national credit card and our children and grandchildren will be the ones to suffer under its weight, while we carry on unawares. This ruse can continue until the creditors turn off the spigot. By then, I suppose our elites will have wired out their cash, packed up their things, and schlepped off to foreign lands leaving the dehydrated shell of this nation behind.
Feral Finster Amicus Brevis a day ago
Keynesian "save during good times to spend during bad times" actually makes sense, if you have a treasury with the discipline to stick to it.

After all, we already have socialism in the United States right now. Just it's socialism for the rich.

Astral Traveller a day ago
1 trillion for "shovel ready" and now 2.5 trillion for the horrible COV19 infection at the Kennedy center and NPR. What's to worry about?
kalendjay Astral Traveller a day ago
These fat college endowments, which do nothing to reduce tuition or increase admissions, they can't pay for Kennedy Center?
Tom Sadlowski a day ago • edited
Taxes? No where in the article does it recommend the obvious: return to the prior rate of taxation that existed even two decades ago, let alone three or four. Perhaps having Amazon pay taxes would be a step in the right direction? Then, mandating that all employers have to pay for health insurance and benefits for their employees, rather than skirting the issue by limiting their hours (Walmart, Amazon, Home Depot, Lowes, McDonalds, CVS, etc), while raising the minimum hourly wage to a level where a family could live off of. Add in taxing the wealthy back to prior levels, and restoring the inheritance tax. Put a cap on executive pay and benefits. Restrict stock market selling, eliminating short selling and other modern inventions which creates a more volatile market, as well as companies grossly manipulated and over-valued. Then stop socializing risks, and privatizing profits; either choose true socialism or true capitalism, or perhaps inverse the concerns for once. Stop letting private companies mine American assets for their private profit. Support small businesses as the foundation of our economy, which will instill innovation. Eliminate incentives to private companies without any return (NY state gave Tesla over $1 Billion to build a largely automated factory, where is the incentive for the state?). -- The root of this issue requires transformative change, with a paradigm shift of how American culture conducts itself. What nation do we wish to be?
Feral Finster Tom Sadlowski a day ago
but but but making companies pay taxes is communism! /sarc/
Feral Finster a day ago
Look at government debt as a percentage of GDP and US trade deficits from 2008-2020.

That's the "amazing Obama recovery!" (for Team D cultists) and the "Astounding Trump economy!" (for Team R cultists) right there.

Rkramden66 Feral Finster a day ago
Why begin at 2008? let's look at 2000-2020. Afghan and Iraq wars plus the Great Big Cheney Tax Cuts and the Cheney TARP bailout were significant contributors. Got the ball rolling, as it were.

Obama was a big disappointment to me, especially with how quickly he folded to the MIC, but standing next to Bush/Cheney and Trump, he was a pillar of financial and personal rectitude, IMO. At least he occasionally addressed average Americans as though he thought some of us might be adults,

Now, standing expectantly in line, we see Joe Biden. It is enough to make me want to drink heavily, or worse...

Feral Finster Rkramden66 a day ago
No argument there regarding economics. For that matter, we could go back to 1980 if you like. Or even 1965, when LBJ started running bigger deficits to pay for the War on Vietnam and The Great Society simultaneously.

I chose 2008 because that was when the purported Great Recovery began, and because the recovery accelerated the trends we have been seeing since before I was born, throwing them into even sharper relief.

Feral Finster Rkramden66 a day ago
Found on internet:

"I remember when the dems had control of the house, senate, and presidency under Obama. I remember Obama choosing to fill his cabinet with people not tied in with wall street. I remember how hard dems fought to get single payer health care and to protect SS, Medicare, Medicaid, and workers' rights. I remember how they bailed out the people first and then gave a little help to wall street. I remember how Obama saved 10 million families from foreclosure and losing their homes and kept small businesses afloat with interest-free loans. I remember how Obama and Biden put on their comfortable shoes and walked the picket lines with the teachers in Wisconsin. I remember how obama's justice dept. prosecuted the wall street gang responsible for the great recession. I remember how Obama protected whistleblowers like Ed Snowden and Chelsea Manning. I remember that when democrats ran into obstruction by the republicans, they stood firm on their principles and fought for the american people. {{{alarm clock}}} Wait, what? (wipes eyes) I had a dream ."

https://www.nakedcapitalism...

Rkramden66 Feral Finster 20 hours ago • edited
Well, I guess that counts as one person's opinion, doesn't it? But is it supposed to prove something?

I'm sure I could find plenty of unsympathetic interpretations of Obama, if I took a few hours to do it. Lord knows I've read many, and I even said he was a disappointment to me. I'm not even going to comb the internet to prove or disprove any, let alone all, of those loaded assertions from that website.

Sure, it was very telling that they didn't jail any of the Wall Street bandits.But I must say, "...walked the picket lines with the teachers in Wisconsin..." is really a howler. Jesus Christ, what president ever would have done anything like that?! Plus that was in 2011. i don't know who nakedcapitalism.com is, but that point would get laughed out of a junior high school debate. I have no doubt, though, that the writer really hates Obama.

If you're trying to intimate that both parties are the same as to sharing an overwhelming commitment to global capitalism and the primacy of the military-indiustrial complex as a vehicle for world hegemony, then I agree with you. If you're making the point that Obama was the same breed of cat as Bush/Cheney and Trump, I'm sorry, but I must demur.

Those guys are provable, life-long hustlers, scumbags and underachievers. Obama was a wide-eyed, idealistic (relatively) guy who found out that winning an election didn't really make him all that powerful.

If the Obama presidency changed my mind about anything, it was that. That is, at this point, changing the power structure is beyond the reach of any president. It's a big system, made up of gangs of very powerful people, many of whose names we don't even know. We're not going to get out of this until the whole system crashes, which could happen sooner, than anyone thinks.

This pandemic has shown that no one in the world cares what the U,S. does or thinks anymore. No one looks to us for "leadership." That's an enormous change from just a few short years ago, in my opinion...and that's all it is...my opinion.

Tecumseh1768 Rkramden66 9 hours ago
The difference between Obama and Bush is Barry didn't come up on the WASP country club circuit. Still, the closest he ever came to real work was his time spent slacking at Baskin Robbins.
Feral Finster Rkramden66 5 hours ago
1. It was Obama that claimed that he'd put on his comfortable shoes and walk that picket line. Foolish to take him seriously.

2. Nobody is arguing in favor of Bush/Cheney here. Nor is anyone suggesting that Trump is a paragon of leadership. He simply says the quiet parts out loud.

Although, considering the evils that US leadership has wrought since 1991 or so, Team R and Team D, the world could do with a little less such "leadership".

Feral Finster Rkramden66 5 hours ago
BTW, contrary to the "poor little Obama" narrative, he fought hard for the things he actually wanted.

Like the renewal and extension of the "Patriot Act". There was something of a rebellion in Congress until the administration snuffed that one out.

Kent a day ago
Sorry Mr. Bandow. Conservatives can't play the "deficits bad" card anymore. That ship sailed with Reagan.
Gutbomb Kent a day ago
So anybody that self-identifies (or is otherwise identified) as a conservative can't argue for financial and fiscal responsibility? Let's put our impulse to label things "conservative" or "liberal" in the dust bin.
Rkramden66 a day ago
Dream on. Military, intelligence and domestic police budgets will be the last to go.
Disqus10021 a day ago
When Bill Clinton left the White House, the Federal government was actually running a small annual surplus (at least by government accounting standards). For a very short time, economists wondered how the Fed would conduct monetary policy if all of the Treasury debt were retired in the coming decade. They need not have worried. Bush 43 reversed that fiscal improvement with his tax cuts and his very expensive Middle East wars. Even before the coronavirus pushed the presidential race off of the front page of newspapers and web sites, the country was wallowing in debt. The latest crisis will make matters that much worse.
We need to stop thinking of ourselves as exceptional and we certainly cannot afford to continue playing the role of policeman of the world. Westchester County, NY which is home to some of the wealthiest people in the country, now has more virus cases than all of Canada, with the former's population being only about 1/35th of our northern neighbor. The county's property taxes are among the highest in the country. I don't know how New York state will cope with this fiscal disaster without driving out even more businesses and high income residents.
kalendjay Disqus10021 a day ago
This state among others will face a fiscal crisis no later than 2022 and will reorganize at the point of a gun, because it does not have enough cred in DC to get a bailout, and its establishment is now viewed as a barrier to any reform.
kouroi a day ago
Change the name of DoD to the Department of War. There is nothing defensive in DoD and in US general Foreign policy. The National Security issue that drives US Foreign Policy is to be the No 1 and the Hegemon and extract obedience and profits from every other economy of the world. Just a protection racket that Russians, Chinese, Iranians, etc. do not want to pay.
Osse a day ago
I don't agree with Cato guys on economics, but on foreign policy they are usually dead right from what I have seen. Defending our country does not mean engaging in endless destructive and failing interventions overseas.

And I hope everyone realizes at this point that we can't even agree on how to run our own country, so why would anyone think we could successfully remake another very different society even if we had the right to do so?

Not that I think our intentions are actually all that noble. But even if they were, there is no reason to trust our competence.

Barry_D a day ago
Yup, people are expecting Trump to lose in November, and laying that groundwork for the 'Dems must cut the deficit above all else' phase of the cycle.
Feral Finster a day ago
End the stupid wars? America First®?

Don't make me laff. The virus is a great distraction while the administration ramps up the stupid wars.

john anderson a day ago
Sound advice but there is a powerful propaganda machine screaming over the top of you. Strange thing is that many voters will agree with the idea of reeling in military adventurism until they get a dose of spin about the next adventure in 'protecting our freedoms'. One problem is that both America First and the idea of being the worlds policeman have been anointed with the red white and blue. Also agree with Tom Sadlowski!
Doug Wallis a day ago
I do agree that the US no longer has the money for the vast network of military bases all over the world nor do we have the money for endless fruitless proxy wars for (so called) allies. The US must focus strategically on what areas of the world we have a real interest, we have real allies and where we have real threats. Trump has already started to draw that map with his trade deals but even Trump can be swayed by the neocons and the lobbyists and the military industrial complex...and where Trump cannot be swayed the Congress and Senate can!

However the US must also face the cold hard fact that even a prudent examination of our defense and homeland security spending will not make much of a dent in our deficits. THE US MUST TACKLE LYNDON BAYNES JOHNSON'S GREAT SOCIETY AND THAT INCLUDES THE 1965 IMMIGRATION ACT. I STRONGLY OPPOSE AN ACROSS THE BOARD CUT IS SOCIAL SECURITY OR DISABILITY OR MEDICARE BENEFITS BECAUSE IT IS NOT FAIR FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE PAID INTO THE SYSTEM THEIR ENTIRE LIVES TO BE RATIONED BENEFITS BECAUSE THE PROGRAMS HAVE BEEN STUFFED TO THE GILLS WITH IMMIGRANTS. THESE PROGRAMS NEED TO BE PAIRED BACK TO COVER WHAT THEY WERE INTENDED TO COVER AND NOT EVERY IMMIGRANT WHO MANAGED TO GET CITIZENSHIP. FURTHER IMMIGRATION LOTTERY, E1B, H1B VISAS FOR EDUCATION AND WORK, REFUGEE, ASYLUM, BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP, ETC AND ALL THE GOVT PROGRAMS FROM WELFARE TO FOOD STAMPS TO MEDICAID NEED TO BE ELIMINATED. THE US WILL NEVER TACKLE ENTITLEMENT REFORM WITHOUT STANDING UP TO THE BUSINESS LOBBY THAT WANTS CHEAP IMMIGRANT FOREIGN LABOR. ONE WAY THE US COULD STAND UP TO THE BUSINESS LOBBY IS TO TAX EACH EMPLOYER OF A FOREIGN WORKER $100,000 FOR THE COST OF IMMIGRANT SOCIAL SERVICES.

THE SAME SHOULD BE SAID FOR PLANNED PARENTHOOD, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, GOVT GUARANTEED STUDENT LOANS AND GRANTS WHICH INDENTURE STUDENTS WITH WORTHLESS GARBAGE DEGREES WHILE ENRICHING COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES. ITS THESE WORTHLESS GARBAGE DEGREES THAT ARE CREATING THE STUDENT FINANCIAL LOAN CRISIS AND JOBLESS RADICAL ANTI-AMERICAN ANARCHISTS.

kalendjay a day ago
Trade with China only feeds Maoist militarists, and fuels the arms race. And who supplies Xi with submarines, jet engines and space technology? Why Putin of course. Ending his oil stranglehold would be the most positive short term measure I could think of to reduce the MIC.
Rossbach 20 hours ago
Maybe we should change our national motto from "E pluribus unum" to "Après moi le déluge".
joeo 8 hours ago
What might help is lifting the cap on FICA contributions and limiting tax exempt status to truly religious activities. No more "religious" theme parks. This would mean Liberal and Conservatives would see the value of limiting government expenditures since all would be paying taxes.
Personan0ngrata 7 hours ago
Five program areas make up the rest of the budget: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, interest, and the military.

America's growing elderly population is unlikely to sacrifice benefits seniors believe they have paid for.

Side note:

Americans pay for these programs with a direct tax on their labor/earnings.

Social security taxes are 6.2% from employee earnings with a matching 6.2% from employer.

Medicare taxes are 1.45% from employee earnings with a matching 1.45% from employer.

https://www.thebalancesmb.c...

These programs are not gifts nor entitlements from the US government. They are the fruits of a persons lifetime of labor which are extracted via threats of implied coercion without the ability for a person to say no thank you and opt-out.

Disqus10021 Personan0ngrata 6 hours ago
A lot of people paid little or nothing in FICA taxes, especially stay at home spouses whether they had children or not. Single people are also subject to Medicare premium surcharges and the Obamacare tax on investment income at much lower income levels than married couple filing a joint return.
peter mcloughlin 7 hours ago
Russia insists the "West takes its interests into account". And a power ignores the core interests of an opponent at its own peril. Removing existential threat – or the conditions that might lead to it – is the ultimate aim of any state: but history warns that foreign policy can create the very dénouement the nation is aiming to avoid.
https://www.ghostsofhistory...

[Mar 24, 2020] Coronovirus and Yevgeny Zamyatin dystopian novel We

See We (novel) - Wikipedia
Mar 24, 2020 | off-guardian.org

We is set in the future. D-503, a spacecraft engineer, lives in the One State,[3] an urban nation constructed almost entirely of glass, which assists mass surveillance. The structure of the state is Panopticon-like, and life is scientifically managed F. W. Taylor-style. People march in step with each other and are uniformed. There is no way of referring to people except by their given numbers. The society is run strictly by logic or reason as the primary justification for the laws or the construct of the society.[4][5] The individual's behaviour is based on logic by way of formulas and equations outlined by the One State.[6]

Francis Lee ,

Sounds very much like Yevgeny Zamyatin – We . But we never thought it would happen!

[Mar 23, 2020] Dystopian books and coronavirus

Mar 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jay , Mar 23 2020 18:34 utc | 14

In the case of "Brave New World", the establishment knows how to cure pretty much any conventional disease. Then if you're in approved society you die around age 60 because of everything that's kept you alive and looking like 40.

I just read the book last month for the first time in 30+ years. It does belong on that diagram. And "1984" doesn't either, since it really doesn't deal with anything like infectious diseases--reread that about 2 years ago.


I've not read the other 2 outer books ever, but the movie of "Fahrenheit 451", which I just watched and Bradbury certainly had a hand in writing, has nothing to do with infectious disease.

There might be something in Camus' "The Plague" though. Haven't read that since the 1980s.

There aren't food shortages so not sure about the "Soylent Green" reference, yet at least. "Long's Run" is about killing people off at age 35, which I guess overlaps with "kill 80% of the poor workers", something the likes of Charles Koch certainly supports. So indirectly there could be a "Logan's Run" connection.

Gattica is just about favored people with the right genes, so an update of "Brave New World", without the highly literate "savage" as the main character.

I don't see how "The Matrix" relates, that's more about the material world's completeness being an illusion.

"Clockwork Orange?" A thug suppressed with mind control?

Haven't read "Lord of the Flies", but don't the kids worship a god of the island, and justify the horrors they commit based on that conception of god or a god?

[Mar 22, 2020] Intelligence agencies and the virus

Highly recommended!
Mar 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

kiwiklown , Mar 22 2020 10:11 utc | 128

@Jackrabbit | Mar 21 2020 22:32 utc | 50

"These officials "failed us" in the same way that our media "fails us": they serve the interests of the EMPIRE-FIRST Deep State."

Yuppp. Our error is to assume all 17 intelligence agencies; the presstitudes; and US "leadership" exist to serve the American people. And so, yes, they "fail" the people. But, from the point of view of the controllers of those agencies and of those "leaders", they hardly ever fail !!!

While the people argue over virulent minutae, they are once again helping themselves to the US Treasury.... Trillions of USDs.... LOL

kiwiklown , Mar 22 2020 10:36 utc | 132

@Jackrabbit | Mar 21 2020 23:10 utc | 54

"Caitlin Johnstone also sees the response being manipulated to focus hate on China...."

Yuppp, blaming China, hating on China achieves several objectives:

Just look at how US leadership has been hating on Russia for the last 100 years, waiting to whack them with a sneak attack if feasible.

kiwiklown , Mar 22 2020 11:25 utc | 137
@Jackrabbit | Mar 22 2020 2:45 utc | 79

".... was then told to STOP TESTING...... A medical person would not try to suppress testing. That would be a "management decision" and its the Nation Security Council that was running the show (and which had classified all discussions related to virus preparations)...."

Thanks for reminding us of Dr Chu's story. What if the US leadership:

[Mar 21, 2020] When reading any article concerning current events (ie. Ukraine, Syria, Iran, Venezuela, or Coronavirus) consider how the The Seven Principles of Propaganda may apply

Highly recommended!
Mar 22, 2020 | https://www.moonofalabama.org

Dick | Mar 22 2020 0:48 utc | 66

When reading any article concerning current events (ie. Ukraine, Syria, Iran, Venezuela, or Coronavirus) consider how the The Seven Principles of Propaganda may apply. (repost):

  1. Avoid abstract ideas - appeal to the emotions. When we think emotionally, we are more prone to be irrational and less critical in our thinking. I can remember several instances where this has been employed by the US to prepare the public with a justification of their actions. Here are four examples:

    The Invasion of Grenada during the Reagan administration was said to be necessary to rescue American students being held hostage by Grenadian coup authorities after a coup that overthrew the government. I had a friend in the 82nd airborne division that participated in the rescue. He told me the students said they were hiding in the school to avoid the fighting by the US military, and had never been threatened by any Grenadian authority and were only hiding in the school to avoid all the fighting. Film of the actual rescue broadcast on the mainstream media was taken out of context; the students were never in danger.

    The invasion of Panama in the late 80's was supposedly to capture the dictator Manual Noriega for international crimes related to drugs and weapons. I remember a headline covered by all the media where a Navy lieutenant and his wife were detained by the police. His wife was sexually assaulted while in custody, according to the story. Unfortunately, it never happened. It was intended to get the public emotionally involved to support the action.

    The invasion of Iraq in the early 90's was preceded by a speech by a girl describing the Iraqi army throwing babies out of incubators so the equipment could be transferred to Iraq. It turns out the girl was the daughter of one of the Kuwait's ruling sheiks and the event never occurred. However, it served its purpose by getting the American public involved emotionally supporting the war.

    During the build up to the bombing campaign by NATO against Libya, a woman entered a hotel where reporters were staying claiming she was raped by several police officers of the Gaddafi security services. The report was carried by most media outlets as representative of the brutality of the Gaddafi regime. I was not able to verify if this story was true or not, but it fits the usual method employed to gain public support through propaganda for military interventions.

    The greatest emotion in us is fear and fear is used extensively to make us think irrationally. I remember growing up during the cold war having the fear of nuclear war or 'The Russians are coming!' After the cold war without an obvious enemy, it was Al Qaeda even before 911, so we had 'Al Qaeda is coming!' Now we have 'ISIS is coming!' with media blasting us with terrorist fears. Whenever I hear a government promoting an emotional issue or fear mongering, I ignore them knowing there is a hidden Truth behind the issue.

  2. Constantly repeat just a few ideas. Use stereotyped phrases. This could be stated more plainly as 'Keep it simple, stupid!' The most notorious use of this technique recently was the Bush administration. Everyone can remember 'We must fight them over there rather than over here' or my favourite 'They hate us for our freedoms'. Neither of these phrases made any rational sense despite 911. The last thing Muslims in the Middle East care about is American's freedoms, maybe it was all the bombs the US was dropping on them.
  3. Give only one side of the argument and obscure history. Watching mainstream media in the US, you can see all the news is biased to the American view as an example. This is prevalent within Australian commercial media and newspapers giving only a western view, but fortunately, we have the SBS and the ABC that are very good, certainly not perfect, at providing both sides of a story. In addition, any historical perspective is ignored keeping the citizenry focused on the here and now. Can any of you remember any news organisation giving an in depth history of Ukraine or Palestine? I cannot.
  4. Demonize the enemy or pick out one special "enemy" for special vilification. This is obvious in politics where politicians continuously criticise their opponents. Of course, demonization is more productively applied to international figures or nations such as Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Gaddafi in Libya, Assad in Syria, the Taliban and just recently Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine, Crimea and Syria. It establishes a negative emotional view of either a nation (i.e. Iran) or a known figure (i.e. Putin) making us again think emotionally, rather than rationally, making it easier to promote evil acts upon a nation or a known figure. Certainly some of these groups or individuals were less than benign, but not necessarily demons as depicted in the west.
  5. Appear humanitarian in work and motivations. The US has used this technique often to validate foreign interventions or ongoing conflicts where the term 'Right to Protect' is used for justification. Everyone should remember the many stories about the abuse of women in Afghanistan or Saddam Hussein's supposed brutality toward his people. The recent attack on Syria by the US, UK, and France was depicted as an Humanitarian intervention by the UK Government, which was far from the truth. One thing that always amazes me is when the US sends humanitarian aid to a country it is accompanied by the US military. In Haiti some years back, the US sent troops with no other country doing so. The recent Ebola outbreak in Africa saw US troops sent to the area. How are troops going to fight a medical outbreak? No doubt, they are there for other reasons.

  6. Obscure one's economic interests. Who believes the invasion of Iraq was for weapons of mass destruction? Or the constant threats against Iran are for their nuclear program? Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and no one has presented firm evidence Iran intends to produce nuclear weapons. The West has been interfering in the Middle East since the British in the late 19th century. It is all about oil and the control over the resources. In fact, if one researches the cause of wars over the last hundred years, you will always find economics was a major component driving the rush to war for most of them.

  7. Monopolize the flow of information. This is the most important principle and mainly entails setting the narrative by which all subsequent events can be based upon or interpreted in such a way as to reinforce the narrative. The narrative does not need to be true; in fact, it can be anything that suits the monopoliser as long as it is based loosely on some event. It is critical to have at least majority control of media and the ability to control the message so the flow of information is consistent with the narrative. This has been played out on mainstream media concerning the Ukrainian conflict, Syrian conflict, and the Skirpal affair. Just over the last couple of years, we have all been subjected to propaganda in one form or another. Remember the US wanting to bomb Syria because of the sarin gas attack, it was later determined to be false (see Seymour Hersh 'Whose Sarin'). The shoot down of MH17 was immediately blamed on Russia by the west without any convincing proof (setting the narrative). It amazes me just how fast the story died after the initial saturation in the media. When I awoke that morning in July, I heard on the news PM Tony Abbot blaming Russia for the incident only hours afterward. How could he know Russia shot down the plane? The investigation into the incident had not even begun, so I suspect he was singing from the West's hymnbook in a standard setting the narrative scenario.

[Mar 21, 2020] The New Dark Age

Notable quotes:
"... Voltaire Network ..."
"... the Iranian population is the world's most lung-weakest. Almost all men over the age of sixty suffer from the after-effects of the US combat gases used by the Iraqi army during the First Gulf War (1980-88), as did the Germans and the French after the First World War. Any traveller to Iran has been struck by the number of serious lung ailments. ..."
"... The Diamond Princess is an Israeli-American ship, owned by Micky Arison, brother of Shari Arison, the richest woman in Israel. The Arisons are turning this incident into a public relations operation. The Trump administration and several other countries airlifted their nationals to be quarantined at home. The international press devoted its headlines to this story. Referring to the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918-1919, it asserts that the epidemic could spread throughout the world and potentially threaten the human species with extinction [ 2 ]. This apocalyptic hypothesis, not based on any facts, will nevertheless become the word of the Gospel. ..."
"... It is not known at this time whether tycoons deliberately spread panic about Covid-19, making this vulgar epidemic seem like the "end of the world". However, one distortion after another, governments have become involved. Of course, it is no longer a question of selling advertising screens by frightening people, but of dominating populations by exploiting this fear. ..."
"... Let us remember that never in history has the confinement of a healthy population been used to fight a disease. Above all, let us remember that this epidemic will have no significant consequences in terms of mortality. ..."
"... The two governments panic their populations by distributing unnecessary instructions disavowed by infectious diseases doctors: they encourage people to wear gloves and masks in all circumstances and to keep at least one metre away from any other human being. ..."
"... It is too early to say what real goal the Conte and Macron governments are pursuing. The only thing that is certain is that it is not a question of fighting Covid-19. ..."
Mar 21, 2020 | williambowles.info

Covid-19: propaganda and manipulation by Thierry Meyssan March 21, 2020 21 March 2020 -- Voltaire Network

Returning to the Covid-19 epidemic and the way governments are reacting to it, Thierry Meyssan stresses that the authoritarian decisions of Italy and France have no medical justification. They contradict the observations of the best infectiologists and the instructions of the World Health Organization.

The Chinese Prime Minister, Li Keqiang, came to lead the operations in Wuhan and restore the "celestial mandate" on January 27, 2020.

On November 17, 2019, the first case of a person infected with Covid-19 was diagnosed in Hubei Province, China. Initially, doctors tried to communicate the seriousness of the disease, but clashed with regional authorities. It was only when the number of cases increased and the population saw the seriousness of the disease that the central government intervened.

This epidemic is not statistically significant. It kills very few people, although those it does kill experience terrible respiratory distress.

Since ancient times, in Chinese culture, Heaven has given a mandate to the Emperor to govern his subjects [ 1 ]. When he withdraws it, a disaster strikes the country: epidemic, earthquake, etc. Although we are in modern times, President XI felt threatened by the mismanagement of the Hubei regional government. The Council of State therefore took matters into its own hands. It forced the population of Hubei's capital, Wuhan, to remain confined to their homes. Within days, it built hospitals; sent teams to each house to take the temperature of each inhabitant; took all potentially infected people to hospitals for testing; treated those infected with chloroquine phosphate and sent others home; and treated the critically ill with recombinant interferon Alfa 2B (IFNrec) for resuscitation. This vast operation had no public health necessity, other than to prove that the Communist Party still has the heavenly mandate.

During a press conference on Covid-19, the Iranian Deputy Minister of Health, Iraj Harirchi, appeared contaminated.

Propagation in Iran

The epidemic spreads from China to Iran in mid-February 2020. These two countries have been closely linked since ancient times. They share many common cultural elements. However, the Iranian population is the world's most lung-weakest. Almost all men over the age of sixty suffer from the after-effects of the US combat gases used by the Iraqi army during the First Gulf War (1980-88), as did the Germans and the French after the First World War. Any traveller to Iran has been struck by the number of serious lung ailments.

When air pollution in Tehran increased beyond what they could bear, schools and government offices were closed and half of the families moved to the countryside with their grandparents. This has been happening several times a year for thirty-five years and seems normal.

The government and parliament are almost exclusively composed of veterans of the Iraq-Iran war, that is, people who are extremely fragile in relation to Covid-19. So when these groups were infected, many personalities developed the disease.

In view of the US sanctions, no Western bank covers the transport of medicines. Iran found itself unable to treat the infected and care for the sick until the UAE broke the embargo and sent two planes of medical equipment.

People who would not suffer in the other country died from the first coughs due to the wounds in their lungs. As usual, the government closed schools. In addition, it deprogrammed several cultural and sporting events, but did not ban pilgrimages. Some areas have closed hotels to prevent the movement of sick people who can no longer find hospitals close to their homes.

Quarantine in Japan

On February 4, 2020, a passenger on the US cruise ship Diamond Princess was diagnosed ill from the Covid-19 and ten passengers were infected. The Japanese Minister of Health, Katsunobu Kato, then imposed a two-week quarantine on the ship in Yokohama in order to prevent the contagion from spreading to his country. In the end, out of the 3,711 people on board, the vast majority of whom are over 70 years old, there would be 7 deaths.

The Diamond Princess is an Israeli-American ship, owned by Micky Arison, brother of Shari Arison, the richest woman in Israel. The Arisons are turning this incident into a public relations operation. The Trump administration and several other countries airlifted their nationals to be quarantined at home. The international press devoted its headlines to this story. Referring to the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918-1919, it asserts that the epidemic could spread throughout the world and potentially threaten the human species with extinction [ 2 ]. This apocalyptic hypothesis, not based on any facts, will nevertheless become the word of the Gospel.

We remember that in 1898, William Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, in order to increase the sales of their daily newspapers, published false information in order to deliberately provoke a war between the United States and the Spanish colony of Cuba. This was the beginning of "yellow journalism" (publishing anything to make money). Today it is called "fake news".

It is not known at this time whether tycoons deliberately spread panic about Covid-19, making this vulgar epidemic seem like the "end of the world". However, one distortion after another, governments have become involved. Of course, it is no longer a question of selling advertising screens by frightening people, but of dominating populations by exploiting this fear.

For the WHO Director, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, China and South Korea have set an example by generalising screening tests; a way of saying that the Italian and French methods are medical nonsense.

WHO intervention

The World Health Organization (WHO), which monitored the entire operation, noted the spread of the disease outside China. On February 11th and 12th, it organized a global forum on research and innovation on the epidemic in Geneva. At the forum, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called in very measured terms for global collaboration [ 3 ].

In all of its messages, the WHO stressed : the low demographic impact of the epidemic; the futility of border closures; the ineffectiveness of wearing gloves, masks (except for health care workers) and certain "barrier measures" (for example, the distance of one metre only makes sense with infected people, but not with healthy people); the need to raise the level of hygiene, including hand washing, water disinfection and increased ventilation of confined spaces. Finally, use disposable tissues or, failing that, sneeze into your elbow.

However, the WHO is not a medical organization, but a United Nations agency dealing with health issues. Its officials, even if they are doctors, are also and above all politicians. It cannot therefore denounce the abuses of certain states. Furthermore, since the controversy over the H1N1 epidemic, the WHO must publicly justify all its recommendations. In 2009, it was accused of having let itself be swayed by the interests of big pharmaceutical companies and of having hastily sounded the alarm in a disproportionate manner [ 4 ]. This time it used the word "pandemic" only as a last resort, on March 12th, four months later.

At the Franco-Italian summit in Naples on February 27, the French and Italian presidents, Giuseppe Conte and Emmanuel Macron, announced that they would react together to the pandemic.

Instrumentation in Italy and France

Modern propaganda should not be limited to the publication of false news as the United Kingdom did to convince its people to enter the First World War, but should also be used in the same way as Germany did to convince its people to fight in the Second World War. The recipe is always the same: to exert psychological pressure to induce subjects to voluntarily practice acts that they know are useless, but which will lead them to lie [ 5 ]. For example, in 2001, it was common knowledge that those accused of hijacking planes on 9/11 were not on the passenger boarding lists. Yet, in shock, most accepted without question the inane accusations made by FBI Director Robert Muller against "19 hijackers". Or, as is well known, President Hussein's Iraq had only old Soviet Scud launchers with a range of up to 700 kilometers, but many Americans caulked the windows and doors of their homes to protect themselves from the deadly gases with which the evil dictator was going to attack America. This time, in the case of the Covid-19, it is the voluntary confinement in the home that forces the person who accepts it to convince himself of the veracity of the threat.

Let us remember that never in history has the confinement of a healthy population been used to fight a disease. Above all, let us remember that this epidemic will have no significant consequences in terms of mortality.

In Italy, the first step was to isolate the contaminated regions according to the principle of quarantine, and then to isolate all citizens from each other, which follows a different logic.

According to the President of the Italian Council, Giuseppe Conte, and the French President, Emmanuel Macron, the aim of confining the entire population at home is not to overcome the epidemic, but to spread it out over time so that the sick do not arrive at the same time in hospitals and saturate them. In other words, it is not a medical measure, but an exclusively administrative one. It will not reduce the number of infected people, but will postpone it in time.

In order to convince the Italians and the French of the merits of their decision, Presidents Conte and Macron first enlisted the support of committees of scientific experts. While these committees had no objection to people staying at home, they had no objection to people going about their business. Then Chairs Conte and Macron made it mandatory to have an official form to go for a walk. This document on the letterheads of the respective ministries of the interior is drawn up on honour and is not subject to any checks or sanctions.

The two governments panic their populations by distributing unnecessary instructions disavowed by infectious diseases doctors: they encourage people to wear gloves and masks in all circumstances and to keep at least one metre away from any other human being.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/8L6ehRif-v8?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

The French "reference daily" (sic) Le Monde, Facebook France and the French Ministry of Health undertook to censor a video of Professor Didier Raoult, one of the world's most renowned infectiologists, because by announcing the existence of a proven drug in China against Covid-19, he highlighted the lack of a medical basis for the measures taken by President Macron [ 6 ].

https://www.youtube.com/embed/n4J8kydOvbc?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

It is too early to say what real goal the Conte and Macron governments are pursuing. The only thing that is certain is that it is not a question of fighting Covid-19.

Thierry Meyssan

Translation

Pete Kimberley

[ 1 ] The Mandate of Heaven and The Great Ming Code, Jiang Yonglin, University of Washington Press (2011).

[ 2 ] Human Extinction and the Pandemic Imaginary, Christos Lynteris, Routledge (2020).

[ 3 ] " Nouveau coronavirus : solidarité, collaboration et mesures d'urgence au niveau mondial s'imposent ", Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Organisation mondiale de la Santé, 11 février 2020.

[ 4 ] Pandemics, Science and Policy. H1N1 and the World Health Organization, Sudeepa Abeysinghe, Plagrave Macmillan (2015).

[ 5 ] " The techniques of modern military propaganda ", by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 18 May 2016.

[ 6 ] " "La chloroquine guérit le Covid-19" : Didier Raoult, l'infectiologue qui aurait le remède au coronavirus ", Étienne Campion, Marianne, 19 mars 2020.

[Mar 18, 2020] 1984 the second edition

Mar 18, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

Obvious cognitive decline is a stutter.

Massive exit poll discrepancies are normal.

An ex-president installing his right-hand man as his successor is democracy.

Facts are Kremlin talking points.

Journalism is a crime.

War is peace.

Freedom is slavery.

Ignorance is strength.

link

[Mar 12, 2020] The Democratic Party Surrenders to Nostalgia by Bill Blum

Highly recommended!
Trump does not have a party with the program that at least pretends to pursue "socialism for a given ethnic group". He is more far right nationalist then national socialist. But to the extent neoliberalism can be viewed as neofascism Trump is neo-fascist, he definitly can be called a "national neoliberal."
Notable quotes:
"... I am nothing if not a realist. The idea that Sanders might have become the Democratic candidate was always a fantasy, not unlike my youthful dreams of one day becoming an NFL quarterback. Even after Sanders' triumph in the Nevada caucuses, I never thought the party establishment would ever allow a socialist -- even a mild social democratic one, such as Sanders -- to head its ticket. ..."
"... Of the two campaigns, Trump's will be decidedly more toxic. The "Make America Great Again" slogan that propelled Trump to victory in 2016 and the "Keep America Great" slogan he will try to sell this time around are neo-fascist in nature, designed to invoke an imaginary and false state of mythical past national glory ..."
"... The fascist designation is not a label I apply to Trump cavalierly. I use it, as I have before in this column , because Trump meets many of the standard and widely respected definitions of the term. ..."
"... Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion. ..."
"... An appeal to a frustrated middle class that is suffering from an economic crisis of humiliation and fear of the pressure exerted by lower social groups. ..."
"... Joe Biden is not a fascist. He is, instead, a standard-bearer of neoliberalism. As with fascism, there are different definitions of neoliberalism, prompting some exceptionally smug mainstream commentators like New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait to claim that the concept is little more than a left-wing insult. In truth, however, the concept describes an all-too-real set of governing principles. ..."
"... Neoliberalism , by contrast, deemphasizes federal economic intervention in favor of initiatives calling for deregulation, corporate tax cuts, private-public partnerships, and international trade agreements that augment the free flow of capital while undermining the power and influence of trade unions. ..."
"... Until the arrival of Trump and his brand of neo-fascism, both major parties since Reagan had embraced this ideology. And while neoliberals remain more benign on issues of race and gender than Trump and Trumpism ever will be, neoliberalism offers little to challenge hierarchies based on social class. Indeed, income inequality accelerated during the Obama years and today rivals that of the Gilded Age . ..."
Mar 11, 2020 | www.truthdig.com
Now that the Michigan Democratic primary is over and Joe Biden has been declared the winner , it's time to read the handwriting on the political wall: Biden will be the Democratic nominee for president, and Bernie Sanders will be the runner-up once again come the party's convention in July. Sanders might influence the party's platform, but platforms are never binding for the nominee. Sanders has lost, and so have his many progressive supporters, myself included.

I am nothing if not a realist. The idea that Sanders might have become the Democratic candidate was always a fantasy, not unlike my youthful dreams of one day becoming an NFL quarterback. Even after Sanders' triumph in the Nevada caucuses, I never thought the party establishment would ever allow a socialist -- even a mild social democratic one, such as Sanders -- to head its ticket.

Funded by wealthy donors, run by Beltway insiders and aided and abetted by a corporate media dedicated to promoting the notion that Sanders was " unelectable ," the Democratic Party never welcomed Sanders as a legitimate contender. Not in 2016 and not in 2020. In several instances, it even resorted to some good old-fashioned red-baiting to frighten voters; the party is, after all, a capitalist institution. Working and middle-class families support the Democrats largely because they have no other place to go on Election Day besides the completely corrupt and craven GOP.

Now we are left with Donald Trump and Biden to duke it out in the fall. Yes, it has come to that.

In terms of campaign rhetoric and party policies, the general election campaign will be a battle for America's past far more than it will be a contest for its future. The battle will be fueled on both sides by narratives and visions that are illusory, regressive and, in important respects, downright dangerous.

Of the two campaigns, Trump's will be decidedly more toxic. The "Make America Great Again" slogan that propelled Trump to victory in 2016 and the "Keep America Great" slogan he will try to sell this time around are neo-fascist in nature, designed to invoke an imaginary and false state of mythical past national glory that ignores our deeply entrenched history of patriarchal white supremacy and brutal class domination.

The fascist designation is not a label I apply to Trump cavalierly. I use it, as I have before in this column , because Trump meets many of the standard and widely respected definitions of the term.

As the celebrated Marxist playwright Bertolt Brecht wrote in 1935 , fascism "is a historic phase of capitalism the nakedest, most shameless, most oppressive and most treacherous form of capitalism." Trumpism, along with its international analogs in Brazil, India and Western Europe, neatly accords with Brecht's theory.

Trumpism similarly meets the definition of fascism offered by Robert Paxton in his classic 2004 study, " The Anatomy of Fascism ":

Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.

Trump and Trumpism similarly embody the 14 common factors of fascism identified by the great writer Umberto Eco in his 1995 essay, Ur Fascism :

Joe Biden is not a fascist. He is, instead, a standard-bearer of neoliberalism. As with fascism, there are different definitions of neoliberalism, prompting some exceptionally smug mainstream commentators like New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait to claim that the concept is little more than a left-wing insult. In truth, however, the concept describes an all-too-real set of governing principles.

To grasp what neoliberalism means, it's necessary to understand that it does not refer to a revival of the liberalism of the New Deal and New Society programs of the 1930s and 1960s. That brand of liberalism advocated the active intervention of the federal government in the economy to mitigate the harshest effects of private enterprise through such programs as Social Security, the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, Medicare, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That brand of liberalism imposed high taxes on the wealthy and significantly mitigated income inequality in America.

Neoliberalism , by contrast, deemphasizes federal economic intervention in favor of initiatives calling for deregulation, corporate tax cuts, private-public partnerships, and international trade agreements that augment the free flow of capital while undermining the power and influence of trade unions.

Until the arrival of Trump and his brand of neo-fascism, both major parties since Reagan had embraced this ideology. And while neoliberals remain more benign on issues of race and gender than Trump and Trumpism ever will be, neoliberalism offers little to challenge hierarchies based on social class. Indeed, income inequality accelerated during the Obama years and today rivals that of the Gilded Age .

As transformational a politician as Barack Obama was in terms of race, he too pursued a predominantly neoliberal agenda. The Affordable Care Act, Obama's singular domestic legislative achievement, is a perfect example of neoliberal private-public collaboration that left intact a health industry dominated by for-profit drug manufacturers and rapacious insurance companies, rather than setting the stage for Medicare for All, as championed by Sanders.

Biden never tires of reminding any audience willing to put up with his gaffes, verbal ticks and miscues that he served as Obama's vice president. Those ties are likely to remain the centerpiece of his campaign, as he promises a return to the civility of the Obama era and a restoration of America's standing in the world.

History, however, only moves forward. As charming and comforting as Biden's imagery of the past may be, it is, like Trump's darker outlook, a mirage. If Trump has taught us anything worthwhile, it is that the past cannot be replicated, no matter how much we might wish otherwise.

[Mar 12, 2020] The Democratic Party Surrenders to Nostalgia by Bill Blum

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion. ..."
Mar 12, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

Mar 11, 2020

Now that the Michigan Democratic primary is over and Joe Biden has been declared the winner , it's time to read the handwriting on the political wall: Biden will be the Democratic nominee for president, and Bernie Sanders will be the runner-up once again come the party's convention in July. Sanders might influence the party's platform, but platforms are never binding for the nominee. Sanders has lost, and so have his many progressive supporters, myself included.

I am nothing if not a realist. The idea that Sanders might have become the Democratic candidate was always a fantasy, not unlike my youthful dreams of one day becoming an NFL quarterback. Even after Sanders' triumph in the Nevada caucuses, I never thought the party establishment would ever allow a socialist -- even a mild social democratic one, such as Sanders -- to head its ticket.

Funded by wealthy donors, run by Beltway insiders and aided and abetted by a corporate media dedicated to promoting the notion that Sanders was " unelectable ," the Democratic Party never welcomed Sanders as a legitimate contender. Not in 2016 and not in 2020. In several instances, it even resorted to some good old-fashioned red-baiting to frighten voters; the party is, after all, a capitalist institution. Working and middle-class families support the Democrats largely because they have no other place to go on Election Day besides the completely corrupt and craven GOP.

Now we are left with Donald Trump and Biden to duke it out in the fall. Yes, it has come to that.

In terms of campaign rhetoric and party policies, the general election campaign will be a battle for America's past far more than it will be a contest for its future. The battle will be fueled on both sides by narratives and visions that are illusory, regressive and, in important respects, downright dangerous.

Of the two campaigns, Trump's will be decidedly more toxic. The "Make America Great Again" slogan that propelled Trump to victory in 2016 and the "Keep America Great" slogan he will try to sell this time around are neo-fascist in nature, designed to invoke an imaginary and false state of mythical past national glory that ignores our deeply entrenched history of patriarchal white supremacy and brutal class domination.

The fascist designation is not a label I apply to Trump cavalierly. I use it, as I have before in this column , because Trump meets many of the standard and widely respected definitions of the term.

As the celebrated Marxist playwright Bertolt Brecht wrote in 1935 , fascism "is a historic phase of capitalism the nakedest, most shameless, most oppressive and most treacherous form of capitalism." Trumpism, along with its international analogs in Brazil, India and Western Europe, neatly accords with Brecht's theory.

Trumpism similarly meets the definition of fascism offered by Robert Paxton in his classic 2004 study, " The Anatomy of Fascism ":

Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.

Trump and Trumpism similarly embody the 14 common factors of fascism identified by the great writer Umberto Eco in his 1995 essay, Ur Fascism :

Joe Biden is not a fascist. He is, instead, a standard-bearer of neoliberalism. As with fascism, there are different definitions of neoliberalism, prompting some exceptionally smug mainstream commentators like New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait to claim that the concept is little more than a left-wing insult. In truth, however, the concept describes an all-too-real set of governing principles.

To grasp what neoliberalism means, it's necessary to understand that it does not refer to a revival of the liberalism of the New Deal and New Society programs of the 1930s and 1960s. That brand of liberalism advocated the active intervention of the federal government in the economy to mitigate the harshest effects of private enterprise through such programs as Social Security, the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, Medicare, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That brand of liberalism imposed high taxes on the wealthy and significantly mitigated income inequality in America.

Neoliberalism , by contrast, deemphasizes federal economic intervention in favor of initiatives calling for deregulation, corporate tax cuts, private-public partnerships, and international trade agreements that augment the free flow of capital while undermining the power and influence of trade unions.

Until the arrival of Trump and his brand of neo-fascism, both major parties since Reagan had embraced this ideology. And while neoliberals remain more benign on issues of race and gender than Trump and Trumpism ever will be, neoliberalism offers little to challenge hierarchies based on social class. Indeed, income inequality accelerated during the Obama years and today rivals that of the Gilded Age .

As transformational a politician as Barack Obama was in terms of race, he too pursued a predominantly neoliberal agenda. The Affordable Care Act, Obama's singular domestic legislative achievement, is a perfect example of neoliberal private-public collaboration that left intact a health industry dominated by for-profit drug manufacturers and rapacious insurance companies, rather than setting the stage for Medicare for All, as championed by Sanders.

Biden never tires of reminding any audience willing to put up with his gaffes, verbal ticks and miscues that he served as Obama's vice president. Those ties are likely to remain the centerpiece of his campaign, as he promises a return to the civility of the Obama era and a restoration of America's standing in the world.

History, however, only moves forward. As charming and comforting as Biden's imagery of the past may be, it is, like Trump's darker outlook, a mirage. If Trump has taught us anything worthwhile, it is that the past cannot be replicated, no matter how much we might wish otherwise.

[Mar 10, 2020] Facebook and idiocy of population

Notable quotes:
"... Nothing speaks more loudly of the dumbed down, idiotic, Fakebook groupthink of the age than the current rush to buy toilet roll as a response to the Coronavirus crisis. ..."
Mar 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Richard , Mar 10 2020 16:40 utc | 150

No need to worry about the corona virus - it'll all be okay as long as you buy enough toilet roll...

Nothing speaks more loudly of the dumbed down, idiotic, Fakebook groupthink of the age than the current rush to buy toilet roll as a response to the Coronavirus crisis.

You've seen it on the tele and (un)social media – supermarket shelves denuded of bog roll and fat birds beating seven shades of sh*t out of each other over the last bag of ass wipe.

I mean, what the hell!? Is this how stupid and pathetic we've become? Someone sees a post on Fakebook that says its a good idea to respond to a potentially fatal virus by buying lots of bog roll and within 5 minutes there's a massive rush on the stuff – after all, you gotta buy it, right, COS IT SAYS SO ON FAKEBOOK...

https://richardhennerley.com/2020/03/10/of-coronavirus-toilet-roll-and-idiocy/

[Mar 09, 2020] Cookie Monster: the Nuts and Bolts of Online Tracking by Rob Larson

Mar 09, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org
Big Tech has become notorious for its hoarding of its users' personal data, collected with great breadth and down to minute details. Billions have been paid by online platforms to settle legal charges over their invasive and reckless privacy follies. Facebook in particular is associated with this, especially after a series of major scandals involving leaks or hacks of personal data. But Google is inarguably the greediest of these companies in its data collection, to an extent that can surprise even jaded users. This makes sense economically, since the collection of data is a key part of the network effect of online search -- more searches and click data mean algorithms that deliver more accurate searches, attracting more users and searches, in the familiar positive feedback cycle of what economists call "network effects."

From early days, Google held onto all the data it could get its hands on -- who searched for what, what kind of results were likely desired, where searches came from, and so on. A major step in this was the release of Google's email service, Gmail. It caused a large stir itself as users learned the free, high-storage email service served ads on-screen that were targeted to the user by scanning the text of their emails. The scanning was conducted automatically by software algorithms similar to those used to filter out spam from inboxes, but the company was completely unprepared for the backlash, not realizing that their huge scale and power made such moves feel creepier. However the service had a crucial ancillary benefit for the company -- it required a login. With that, Google could cross-reference people's email data with their search history on Google and their YouTube platform (which also required login to post video), along with precise location data from Maps and GPS data from phones running Android -- the beginning of its program to synthesize its data into comprehensive individual profiles.

But the real turning point was the acquisition of the major display ad agency DoubleClick, which brought pivotal changes to the company's "cookies." Cookies are pieces of software planted on your computer or phone by sites as you browse the Web, recording where you've been for the purpose of presenting ads you're likely to be interested in. Cookies are now stupendously widespread -- visiting a typical websites like CNN or dictionary.com can put dozens of them on your PC or phone.

Google's AdSense system had always used these cookies, but the escalation was dramatic, as Wired 's pro-industry reporter Steven Levy wrote covered in his book In the Plex . He reported that the company gained "an omniscient cookie that no other company could match." As a user browses, the cookie:

develops into a rather lengthy log that provides a fully fleshed out profile of the user's interests virtually all of it compiled by stealth. Though savvy and motivated consumers could block or delete the cookies, very few knew about this possibility and even fewer took advantage of it. The information in the DoubleClick cookie was limited, however. It logged visits only to sites that ran DoubleClick's display ads, typically large commercial websites. Many sites on the Internet were smaller ones that didn't use big ad networks Millions of those smaller sites, however, did use an advertising network: Google's AdSense. AdSense had its own cookie, but it was not as snoopy as DoubleClick's. Only when the user actually clicked on an ad would the AdSense cookie log the presence of the user on the site. This 'cookie on click' process was lauded by privacy experts Google now owned an ad network whose business hinged on a cookie that peered over the shoulder of users as it viewed their ads and logged their travels on much of the web. This was no longer a third-party cookie; DoubleClick was Google. Google became the only company with the ability to pull together user data on both the fat head and the long tail of the Internet. The question was, would Google aggregate that data to track the complete activity of Internet users? The answer was yes after FTC regulators approved the DoubleClick purchase, Google quietly made the change that created the most powerful cookie on the Internet. It did away with the AdSense cookie entirely and instead arranged to drop the DoubleClick cookie when someone visited a site with an AdSense ad Now Google would record users' presence when they visited those sites. And it would combine that information with all the other data in the DoubleClick cookie. That single cookie, unique to Google, could track a user to every corner of the Internet.

Amazingly, Google co-founder Sergei Brin dismissed fears about this mega-cookie as "more of the Big Brother type," meaning exaggerated. But even that might be putting a positive gloss on today's data hoarding -- Lawrence Lessig, who has defended the company in areas like its book scanning, noted that in Orwell's book 1984 where Big Brother was introduced, at least the characters "knew where the telescreen was In the Internet, you have no idea who is being watched by whom. In a world where everything is surveilled, how to protect privacy?"

And in 2016, Google went even further by changing its terms of service, asking users to activate new functions that would give them more control over their data, and let Google serve more relevant ads. But what the change did was merge its tracking data with your search history and the personal information in your Gmail/YouTube/Google + accounts, into "super-profiles." And Google wasn't done -- beside using the mega-cookie to record our browsing history, combined with our search logs and Gmail contents, Google "Now Tracks Your Credit Card Purchases and Connects Them to Its Online Profile of You," as a recent MIT Technology Review headline indicates. By contracting with third party data firms that track 70% of all credit and debit card purchases, Google can now offer advertisers further confirmation of which ads are working, not just to the point of clicking but to the point of sale.

With its new TOS, Google does let users view some of the data it holds on them, but it takes "an esoteric process of clicks," as Ken Auletta put it in his book Googled , and again most users are unaware of these issues in the first place, and since we're opted in, most fail to view their data files. Additionally, each Google service has its own privacy terms and settings, and they change without warning, so we have to be constantly vigilant for their changes and subtleties. And Google joins the tech community in its use of "dark patterns," repetitive tactics that wear down users into allowing data access. And finally, even opting-out of customization doesn't end the data collection, just the use of it to target ads to you -- your movements, browsing, searching, emailing and credit card buying are all still compiled. In time Google announced it would soon stop the unpopular scanning of Gmail text to place ads -- the catch was that the company had enough data on users from its super-profiles that it could personalize them without the scanning.

And for all its hoarding, the pile isn't secure -- Google had allowed software developers to design applications like games for Google +, the company's unsuccessful attempt to compete with Facebook in social media. But a glitch in the software allowed developers access to private portions of Google + user profiles over a three-year period before its discovery, including full names, email, gender, pictures, locations, occupation and marital status. An internal memo indicates that as with Facebook's own developer data leaks, there's no way to know if the data was misused in any way. But most important, Google learned of the issue in spring 2018 but refused to announce or disclose it, fearing "reputational damage" to itself.

Whatever this company is, it rhymes with "shmevil."

Rob Larson is a professor of economics at Tacoma Community College and author of Capitalism vs. Freedom: The Toll Road to Serfdom

[Mar 07, 2020] Joint Chiefs Chair Retires, Immediately Becomes Paid F-35 Cheerleader

Mar 06, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Joint Chiefs Chair Retires, Immediately Becomes Paid F-35 Cheerleader

Dunford defended the troubled plane and was rewarded with a Lockheed position within months of leaving the Pentagon. Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Joseph Dunford. Credit: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Flickr

Jason Paladino

In 2015, things weren't looking great for the Marine Corps' F-35B fighter jet. Reports from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Department of Defense inspector general had found dozens of problems with the aircraft. Engine failures, software bugs, supply chain issues, and fundamental design flaws were making headlines. The program was becoming synonymous in the press with "boondoggle."

Lockheed Martin, the program's lead contractor, desperately needed a win.

Luckily for Lockheed, it had a powerful ally in the commandant of the Marine Corps, General Joseph Dunford . Five years later, Dunford would be out of the service and ready to collect his first Lockheed Martin paycheck as a member of its board of directors.

Back in 2015, the F-35 program, already years behind schedule, faced a key program milestone. The goal was to have the F-35B ready for a planned July initial operational capability (IOC) declaration, a major step for the program, greenlighting the plane to be used in combat. The declaration is a sign that the aircraft is nearly ready for full deployment, that things are going well, that the contract, awarded in 2006, was finally producing a usable product. The ultimate decision was in Dunford's hands.

About a week before the declaration, some in the Pentagon expressed serious doubts about the aircraft. The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) obtained a memo from the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation that called foul on the test that was meant to demonstrate the ability of the F-35B to operate in realistic conditions.

Dunford, however, said he had " full confidence " in the aircraft's ability to support Marines in combat, despite the testing office's report stating that if the aircraft encountered enemies, it would need to " avoid threat engagement " -- in other words, to flee at the first sign of an enemy.

Ignoring the issues raised internally, Dunford signed off on the initial operational capability. Lockheed Martin was thrilled . "Fifty years from now, historians will look back on the success of the F-35 Program and point to Marine Corps IOC as the milestone that ushered in a new era in military aviation," the company said in a statement.

Lockheed's CEO was apparently elated, declaring it "send a strong message to everyone that this program is on track."

But problems continued to plague the "combat ready" aircraft in the months afterwards. And Dunford downplayed cost overruns and sang the aircraft's praises at a press event in 2017. When the moderator asked routine questions submitted by the audience (Will the aircraft continue as a program? Is it too expensive to maintain?), Dunford responded by calling the questions loaded and accusing the audience member of having an "agenda."

Retirement and a Reward

On September 30, 2019, Dunford, the military's highest ranked official, stepped down from his position as chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He had served in the Marine Corps since 1977, working his way up to the highest tier of the armed services over 42 years.

Just four months and 11 days later, he joined the Pentagon's top contractor, Lockheed Martin, as a director on the board.

In announcing Dunford's hire, a January press release from Lockheed Martin quotes CEO Marillyn Hewson: "General Dunford's service to the nation at the highest levels of military leadership will bring valuable insight to our board."

Dunford's consistent cheerleading of the F-35 and his subsequent hiring at its manufacturer create the perception of a conflict of interest and raised the eyebrows of at least one former senior military official.

"Here he is having been an advocate for it, having pressed it, having pushed for it and now he's going to work for the company that makes the aircraft, that just, to me, stinks to high heavens," retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as special assistant to Colin Powell when he led the Joint Chiefs, told POGO.

Dunford's Rolodex of Pentagon decision-makers is valuable to defense contractors, and with just over four months to "cool off," many of those relationships will likely be intact.

Lockheed Martin was the top recipient of Department of Defense dollars in fiscal year 2019, taking in over $48 billion , according to government data. The company spent over $13 million lobbying the federal government in 2019, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The Revolving Door Spins On

"I think anybody that gives out these big contracts should never ever, during their lifetime, be allowed to work for a defense company, for a company that makes that product," then-President-elect Donald Trump said in a December 2016 rally in Louisiana. "I don't know, it makes sense to me."

Fast forward more than three years and the revolving door is spinning right along, defense stocks are surging , and Lockheed Martin has arecord backlogof unfulfilled contracts . While Trump did issue an ethics executive order for his appointees, it did not include a lifetime ban on lobbying for contractors.

A POGO analysis of the post-government employment of retired chairs of the Joint Chiefs found that only four of the 19 people who previously held the position went immediately to work for a major defense contractor within two years after leaving the government. In addition to Dunford, Admiral William J. Crowe joined General Dynamics , General John Shalikashvili joined the boards of Boeing and L-3, and General Richard Myers joined the boards of Northrop Grumman and United Technologies Corp.

Former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs have many lucrative career opportunities that don't create conflicts, actual or implied. Retired General Martin Dempsey, who held the position before Dunford, went on to teach at Duke University and was elected chairman of USA Basketball. Admiral Michael Mullen, who preceded Dempsey, joined the board of General Motors and later telecom giant Sprint.

According to Wilkerson, then-Chairman Powell was conscious of the appearance of conflicts of interest and instilled in his employees a sensitivity.

Wilkerson recalled a conversation he had with Powell right after his retirement. "What's next, boss?" Wilkerson asked Powell. "Well, it'll not be some defense contractor or some beltway bandit. That practice is pernicious," he responded. Powell spoke to various members of Congress about their responsibility to rein in the practice, and tried to raise awareness of how widespread it was becoming, according to Wilkerson.

Current ethics laws include cooling off periods that limit a former government employee's job options. But a POGO study of the revolving door in 2018 found that current ethics regulations are insufficient, rely on self-reporting, and are full of loopholes. These cooling off periods range from a few years to a lifetime, depending on how much an individual was personally involved in the decisions to award contracts. This means top officials actually have fewer restrictions than contracting officers that were directly involved in the awards, even though they have more influence and likely more valuable connections. And the restrictions mostly prevent former officials from taking positions that involve representing or lobbying for a contractor, which is why there was no restriction on Dunford joining Lockheed's board.

The Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told POGO that Dunford "has certain post-government employment restrictions," but wouldn't go into more detail. Dunford "at all times complied with his ethics obligations related to post-government employment," according to the emailed statement. POGO has filed Freedom of Information Act Requests to learn more about Dunford's ethical restrictions.

Additionally, enforcement of the regulations is rare, with only four former Pentagon employees prosecuted for violations in the past 16 years. It is impossible to know if the low frequency of prosecutions in the current system is due to inadequate enforcement or high compliance with lax laws.

Loading Boards with Political Influence

Since 2008, POGO found 42 senior defense officials "revolved" into Lockheed within two years of leaving the government.

The boards of the top five defense contractors all have at least two sitting former high-ranking military officials. General Dynamics and Raytheon had four each, Lockheed, Boeing and Northrop Grumman had two each.

The full number of revolvers is difficult to determine. POGO's database currently contains 408 individuals who either went to work directly with defense contractors that were awarded over $10 million that year or went to work with lobbying firms that list defense industry clients. The POGO database relies on open source information. Another study found that between 2009 and 2011, 70% of three and four-star generals and admirals who retired took gigs with defense contractors or consultancies.

A GAO study found that in 2006, about 86,000 military and civilian personnel who had left service since 2001 were employed by 52 major defense contractors. The study also found that 1,581 former senior officials were employed by just seven contractors. The office estimated that 422 former officials could have worked on contracts related to their former agencies.

From 25 Hearings in One Year, to None in 60 Years

This issue is far from new. In a 1959 alone, there were 25 hearings before the House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee for Special Investigations on the topic of the revolving door and its malign influences. President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his famous farewell address warning of the military-industrial complex just two years later.

An analysis by POGO did not find a congressional hearing explicitly on the issue of the Pentagon revolving door in over 60 years.

There is some hope that the law will soon start to catch up. In May of last year, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA) introduced legislation that would impose a four-year ban on contactors hiring senior officials who managed that company's contracts, and extend existing bans. It would also require contractors to submit annual reports on the employment of former senior officials and would ban senior officials from owning stock in major defense contractors. Another bill , passed by the House in March 2019, would broaden ethics rules and expands prohibitions on former officials receiving compensation from contractors. It is sitting on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's desk.

The American public should be able to be confident that our top military officials are making decisions in the interest of national security, not to secure a cushy board position.

Jason Paladino is the National Security Investigative Reporter for the Straus Military Reform Project at the Project on Government Oversight (POGO).

[Mar 07, 2020] Intel security flaw

Mar 07, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

WobblyTelomeres , March 6, 2020 at 3:00 pm

Re Intel security flaw

Interviewed there in the 90s. Hiring manager picked me up at the hotel, took me out to dinner and told me, flat out, that he was NSA. I doubt it has changed much.

(I said, to myself, "f*ck this", flagged the waiter and ordered the most expensive cab on the menu, then another)

Lambert Strether Post author , March 7, 2020 at 3:27 am

> told me, flat out, that he was NSA.

Ha ha! I posted this only this morning:

Uncovering The CIA's Audacious Operation That Gave Them Access To State Secrets (interview) WaPo. "So we end up with ostensibly private company that is secretly owned by two intelligence services." That company is probably just an outlier , even though this operation is presented as incredibly successful.

I've helpfully underlined the irony. I should add Surveillance Valley to my reading list, I suppose

[Mar 06, 2020] The Swiss Propaganda Research Group (SPR) on syria war

Mar 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Ashino Wolf Sushanti , Mar 6 2020 13:34 utc | 56

The Swiss Propaganda Research Group (SPR)
https://swprs.org/

Understanding the geopolitical and psychological war against Syria.
Published: March 2020; Languages: DE, EN, NO

The Syria Deception -- a position paper by the Swiss Propaganda Research group
https://swprs.org/the-syria-deception/
or
https://www.greanvillepost.com/2020/03/04/the-syria-deception-a-position

-paper-by-the-swiss-propaganda-research-group/


Contrary to the depiction in Western media, the Syria war is not a civil war. This is because the initiators, financiers and a large part of the anti-government fighters come from abroad.


Nor is the Syria war a religious war, for Syria was and still is one of the most

secular countries in the region, and the Syrian army, like its direct opponents,
is itself mainly composed of Sunnis.

But the Syria war is also not a pipeline war, as some critics suspected, because

the allegedly competing gas pipeline projects never existed to begin with, as even the Syrian president confirmed.

Instead, the Syria war is a war of conquest and regime change, which developed

into a geopolitical proxy war between NATO states on one side – especially the

US, Great Britain and France – and Russia, Iran, and China on the other side.

[Mar 05, 2020] Here Is What Each Of The Pentagon's Air-Launched Missiles And Bombs Actually Cost by Joseph Trevithick

Notable quotes:
"... Contact the author: joe@thedrive.com ..."
Feb 18, 2020 | www.thedrive.com

... ... ...

What follows are the unit prices, rounded to the nearest dollar, that the various branches of the U.S. military expect to pay for various air-launched weapons in the 2021 Fiscal Year as they appear in the official budget documents. Air-to-Air Missiles: Air-to-Surface Missiles: Precision-Guided Bombs:

It's important to note that a number of air-launched munitions that are in active service across the U.S. military, such as the AGM-65E Maverick laser-guided missiles, AGM-154 Joint Stand Off Weapon (JSOW) glide bombs, AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship cruise missiles, and Paveway laser and multi-mode guidance kits for various types of bombs, are not mentioned above. This is because the services are not planning to buy new stocks of them in the 2021 Fiscal Year or they are included include broader sections of the budget where their exact unit cost is not readily apparent. There are requests for funds for sustainment of many of those weapons, as well as modifications and upgrades, too. The Navy is notably expecting to begin purchasing a powered derivative of the AGM-154, known as the JSOW-Extended Range (JSOW-ER), in the 2022 Fiscal Year.

Regardless, now, the next time you see a U.S. military combat aircraft, drone or helicopter, you'll have a head start figuring out just how much its loadout of bombs and missiles actually cost.

Contact the author: joe@thedrive.com

[Mar 05, 2020] Swamp russsiagators at work again: Apparent US Intel Meddling in US Election, With 'Report' Russia is Aiding Sanders Consortiumnews

Looks like Putin have always been eating CIA homework...
Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... Consortium News ..."
Feb 21, 2020 | consortiumnews.com
Apparent US Intel Meddling in US Election, With 'Report' Russia is Aiding Sanders

96 Comments

Without any proof, The New York Times and Washington Post run "Russia helping Sanders" stories, and Sanders responds by bashing Russia, writes Joe Lauria.

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

W ith Democratic frontrunner Bernie Sanders spooking the Democratic establishment, The Washington Post Friday reported damaging information from intelligence sources against Sanders by saying that Russia is trying to help his campaign.

If the story is true and if intelligence agencies are truly committed to protecting U.S. citizens, the Sanders campaign would have been quietly informed and shown evidence to back up the claims.

Instead the story wound up on the front page of the Post , "according to people familiar with the matter." Zero evidence was produced to back up the intelligence agencies' assertion.

"It is not clear what form that Russian assistance has taken," the Post reported. That would tell any traditional news editor that there was no story until it is known.

Instead major U.S. media are again playing the role of laundering totally unverified "information" just because it comes from an intelligence source. Reporting such assertions without proof amounts to an abdication of journalistic responsibility. It shows total trust in U.S. intelligence despite decades of deception and skullduggery from these agencies.

Centrist Democratic Party leaders have expressed extreme unease with Sanders leading the Democratic pack. Politico reported Friday that former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg's entry into the race is explicitly to stop Sanders from winning on the first ballot at the party convention.

A day after The New York Times reported , also without evidence, that Russia is again trying to help Donald Trump win in November, the Post reports Moscow is trying to help Sanders too, again without substance. Both candidates whom the establishment loathes were smeared on successive days.

In a Tough Spot

The Times followed the Post report Friday by making it appear that Sanders himself had chosen to make public the intelligence assessment about "Russian interference" in his campaign.

But Sanders had known for a month about this assessment and only issued a statement after the Post asked him for comment before publishing its uncorroborated story based on anonymous sources.

Sanders was put in a difficult spot. If he said, "Show me the proof that Russia is trying to help me," he ran the risk of being attacked for disbelieving (even disloyalty to) U.S. intelligence, and, by default, defending the Kremlin.

So politician that he is, and one who is trying to win the White House, Sanders told the Post :

"I don't care, frankly, who Putin wants to be president. My message to Putin is clear: Stay out of American elections, and as president I will make sure that you do. In 2016, Russia used Internet propaganda to sow division in our country, and my understanding is that they are doing it again in 2020."

The Times quoted Sanders as calling Russian President Vladimir Putin an "autocratic thug." The paper reported Sanders saying in a statement: "Let's be clear, the Russians want to undermine American democracy by dividing us up and, unlike the current president, I stand firmly against their efforts and any other foreign power that wants to interfere in our election."

Responding to a cacophony of criticism that Sanders' supporters are especially vicious online, as opposed to the millions of other vicious people online, Sanders attempted to use Russia as a scapegoat, the way the Clinton campaign did in 2016. He said: "Some of the ugly stuff on the Internet attributed to our campaign may well not be coming from real supporters."

But no matter how strong Sander's denunciations of Russia, his opponents will now target him as being a tool of the Kremlin.

Mission accomplished.

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former correspondent for T he Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe , Sunday Times of London and numerous other newspapers. He can be reached at joelauria@consortiumnews.com and followed on Twitter @unjoe .


Juan M Escobedo , February 24, 2020 at 10:55

Let`s face it,even though Bernie is a moderate Social Democrat,at best.He`s the only one capable of beating "the Orange"version of Hitler.But he sounds as if the DNC,big wigs,decide to deny him the nomination;he`d go along with it.Just like before;when he even campaigned for the"Crooked One(Hillary).I guess we`ll see.

Kim Dixon , February 24, 2020 at 04:31

The most-important element missed in this piece is this: Sanders is helping the DNC and the MIC gin up fear of, and hatred for, the only other nuclear superpower on earth.

If you were around during the McCarthy years, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the '73 Arab/Israeli war, and all the other almost-Armageddon crises of Cold War One, you know that nothing could be stupider and more-dangerous than that. The missiles still sit in their silos, waiting for the next early-warning misunderstanding or proxy-war miscalculation to send them flying.

Sanders lived through it all. He's supposed to be the furthest-Left pol in Congress. So how can he possibly advocate for anything but detente and disarmament?

SteveK9 , February 24, 2020 at 20:18

I would really like to support Bernie, but statements like this make me shake my head. It's more a reflection of America today I guess. Politicians believe to a man (or woman) that they must put the hate on Putin and Russia or they have no chance. It doesn't matter that the Russia garbage is 100% false. And, I don't mean they 'interfered' only a little there was nothing, nothing at all. Even Trump has to go along with this propaganda. I don't know how anyone can believe this idiotic (and incredibly dangerous, as you point out) rubbish at this point. But you can't call your friends blanking morons.

J Gray , February 25, 2020 at 02:55

I think he successfully dodged a bullet but set himself up to offer comprehensive election reform if he pulls out a victory .

or it is an early sign that he, the DNC & MIC are coming to terms. It doesn't have that ring to it to me, like when Trump called for regime-change war in Venezuela & defunding schools to build a space army. That was a clear on-the-record sell-out & got him off the Impeachment hook the next day. Similar to when the Clinton signed the Telecom Act to get off his.

They are still coming after Sanders too hard w/their McCarthiast attacks to feel like he is siding with them. I think he has to do this because they are bundling his movement, Venezuela and Russia into the new Red Scare.

Tony Kevin , February 23, 2020 at 21:49

"#JoeLauria's piece in #ConsortiumNews is excellent. He calmly sets out #Sanders' political dilemma. The latest line from US intelligence agency stenographer media like #NYTimes is that #Russians are helping both #Trump and Sanders because they simply want to sow discord and cynicism about US democracy , they do not care who wins. #CaitlinJohnstone neatly satirises this by writing a spoof article claiming that US intelligence agencies have discovered #Bloomberg is being helped by Russians because he has two Russian grandfathers.

It has reached the point , as Lauria shows, where any criticism of such US MSM nonsense leaves the speaker open to the allegation that he is soft on/ naive about/complicit in Russian election meddling. Without being a Trump supporter, one can understand Trump's rage and contempt for what is going on .

Justin Glyn. Consortium News. Joe Lauria. Tony Kevin"

Tony Kevin , February 23, 2020 at 21:32

Sanders and Trump will survive this Deep State manipulation and attempted blackmail . They will see off the Clintonistas and Deep State moles, and will go on to fight a tough but fair election. Americans are sick of Russophobia.

jack , February 24, 2020 at 15:25

agreed – the Russiagate psyop is past its shelf life – BUT Deep State will carry on – it's a global entity and they're into literally everything – no idea how any known, normal governing structure can deal with it

Susan J Leslie , February 23, 2020 at 10:40

Enough with the "Russia" BS already! It is clear to me the wealthy corporate Dems and the MSM are behind all of the smear tactics against Bernie and anyone else who serves the people

Susan J Leslie , February 23, 2020 at 10:40

Enough with the "Russia" BS already! It is clear to me the wealthy corporate Dems and the MSM are behind all of the smear tactics against Bernie and anyone else who serves the people

Dfnslblty , February 23, 2020 at 09:07

Front page drama plus zero evidence began long ago with 'anonymous sources said "!
Complete lack of accountability on the part of the sources and on the part of the reporters.
Thus we receive a "reality teevee " potus , and we are pleased to be hypnotised and titillated.
A true revolution would demand CN-quality reportage and reject msm pablum.

JohnDoe , February 23, 2020 at 03:43

It's enough to look at the news on mainstream media to understand who's, as usual, meddling in the elections. In the latest period for the first time I saw a lot of enthusiastic comments and articles about Bernie Sanders. It's clear they are pushing him. But why those who isolated him in during the primaries against Clinton are now supporting him? It's obvious, that they want to get rid of Elizabeth Warren, first push ahead the weaker candidates, then they'll switch their support towards another candidate, probably Bloomberg.

delia ruhe , February 23, 2020 at 00:14

Well, thank you Joe Lauria! I am in trouble in several comment threads for suggesting that the intel community is at it again, trying to ruin two campaigns by identifying the candidates with Putin and the Kremlin. Now I can quote you. Excellent piece, as usual.

Deniz , February 22, 2020 at 22:44

Imagine Sanders and Trump, putting their differences aside and declaring war on the deep state during a debate. They have the same enemies.

The same people who planted Steele's dirty dosier are going to try to steal Sanders election from him. It wont be Trump and the Republicans who rigs the election against Sanders.

SteveK9 , February 24, 2020 at 20:21

Trump actually seemed to want to help Bernie a bit (well, he keeps calling him 'Crazy Bernie as well). He put out some tweet calling this latest rubbish, Hoax #7. But Bernie would rather say something stupid, like 'I'm not a friend of Putin he is' talk about 5-year olds.

Deniz , February 25, 2020 at 00:49

Its disappointing. Sanders heart seems to be in the right place, but when it comes time to face the sinister forces that run the country for their own benefit, he will be absolutely crushed.

Linda Jean Doucett , February 22, 2020 at 21:32

This will never end.
No president will ever change anything.
The deep state tentacles will eventually kill us all.
I am going to go and enjoy what's left.

Marko , February 22, 2020 at 20:24

" But Sanders had known for a month about this assessment and only issued a statement after the Post asked him for comment before publishing its uncorroborated story based on anonymous sources Sanders was put in a difficult spot. If he said, "Show me the proof that Russia is trying to help me," he ran the risk of being attacked for disbelieving (even disloyalty to) U.S. intelligence, and, by default, defending the Kremlin. "

I suspect that Sanders was given a classified briefing a month ago , which he couldn't disclose to the public. If so , and given that he didn't make this clear immediately after being accused of withholding this information , he has only himself to blame for the resulting "bad look".

JWalters , February 22, 2020 at 19:06

The corporate media has revealed itself to be a monopoly behind the scenes, working in unison to trash Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard. Even though Gabbard is only at a few percent in the polls, her message is potentially devastating to the war profiteers who own America's Vichy MSM.

"Congressman Oscar Callaway lost his Congressional election for opposing US entry into WW 1. Before he left office, he demanded investigation into JP Morgan & Co for purchasing control over America's leading 25 newspapers in order to propagandize US public opinion in favor of his corporate and banking interests, including profits from US participation in the war."
war * profiteerstory. * blogspot. * com/p/war-profiteers-and-israels-bank.html

Thankfully, there is still a free American press, of which Consortium News is a stellar example.

elmerfudzie , February 22, 2020 at 13:25

The CIA and DIA (it has about a dozen agencies under it and is much larger than any other Intel agency) are supposed to monitor threats to our national security, that originate abroad. Aside from a few closed door sessions with a select group of congresspersons, our Intel agencies have practically no real democratic oversight and remain, for all intents and purposes, a parallel government(s) well hidden from public view. In particular how they are financed and what their actual annual budgets really are. How these agencies every managed to seep into any electioneering process what so ever, is beyond me, since they are all intentionally very surreptitious- by design. We ask questions and these Intel agencies are quick to tout the usual phrase; that subject area is secret and needs to be addressed in closed session, blah, blah, blah. Of course "secrecy" translates into, we do what we want when we want and use information any way we want because our parallel governments represent the best example(s) of a perpetual motion machine that does not require outside monitoring. The origins of these "parallel entities" can be traced to the Rockefeller brothers and their associated international corporations. There's the rub folks. Our citizens at large will never overtake for the purposes of real monitoring, this empire and elephant in the room, directly. However we do have one avenue left and it requires a rank and file demand from the people to their state representatives demanding two long standing issues, they remain unresolved and until a solution is found, will permit dark powers to side step every level of democratic governments-anywhere.

The first is true campaign finance reform and the second is assigning, or rather, removing the status of person-hood to corporate entities. The Rockefeller's used their corporate power and wealth to influence legislative, judicial and executive bodies. They cannot help but do as the puppet master commands! Be it some form of, corporatism, fascism, feudalism, monarchy, oligarchy, even bankster-ism or any other "ism We as citizens at large must make every effort to again, obtain true campaign finance reform and remove the lobbying presence inside the beltway. Today, the corporate entity has risen to a level that completely overtakes and smothers any authentic democratic representation, of and by the people. Originally (circa the early1800's) American corporations were permitted to exist and papers were drawn based on the specific duties they were about to perform, this for the benefit of the local community for example, building a bridge. Once the job was completed, the incorporation was either liquidated or remanded over to the relevant governing body for the purposes of reevaluating the necessity of re-certifying the original incorporation papers. Old man Rockefeller changed the governance and oversight privilege by forcing and promulgating legislation(s) such as limited liability clauses, strategies to oppose competition, tax evasion schemes and (eventually) assigning person-hood to corporate entities, thus creating a parallel government within the government. It all began in Delaware and until we clear our heads and assign names to the actual problems, as I've itemized here, our citizenry will never experience the freedom to fashion our destiny. Please visit TUC radio's two part expose' by Richard Grossman. It will help CONSORTIUMNEWS readers to understand just what a monumental task is ahead for all of us. Work for a fair and equitable future in America, demand campaign finance reform and kick the hustling lobbyists out of our government. Voters being choked to death with senseless debates and useless candidates.

Jeff Harrison , February 22, 2020 at 12:36

The real threats to our democracy are our unaccountable surveillance state and the craven politicians in Washington, DC. And, no, Ben, we can't keep our republic because we don't have a sufficient mass of critical thinkers to run it. If we did, this kind of BS, having been shot full of holes once, wouldn't get any air.

Alan Ross , February 22, 2020 at 10:37

Sanders may win the nomination and the election but he cannot get a break from some purists on the left. His reaction may have been quite astute. When Sanders says that we should station troops on the borders of Russia or arm the Ukrainians, then you can say he really is anti-Russian. I have not heard all that he has said, but what I have heard sounds so much like hot air put out by a left politician trying to deal with the ages-old establishment and right wing smear that he is a pawn of the commies, a fellow traveler, a pinko, and now an agent of a foreign power, a Russian asset and so on. There is real criticism of Sanders, but his statements about Putin and Russia do not add up to much.

Skip Scott , February 22, 2020 at 09:51

Anyone who is still under the influence of the MSM hypnosis of RussiaGate, led by Rachel Madcow, needs to think long and hard about this latest propaganda campaign. The real message here is unless you support corporate sponsored warmonger from column A or B, you are a tool of the "evil Rooskies". And the funny thing is, Sanders is "weak tea" when it comes to issues of war and peace, and the feeding of the war machine at the government trough with no limits.

The purpose of this BIG LIE of the "Intelligence" agencies is to make it impossible for someone to be against the Forever War without being tarred as a "Foreign Agent", or at least a "useful idiot", of the "EVIL ROOSKIES". To simply want peaceful coexistence on its own merits is impossible.

Imagine if Sanders dared to mention that Putin enjoys substantial majority support inside Russia, and seeks peaceful coexistence in a multi-polar world, instead of calling him an "autocratic thug". Often for politicians, speaking the truth is a "bridge too far". I wonder if Sanders (like Hillary) finds it necessary to hold "private" positions that differ from his "public" positions? Or does he really believe his own BS?

Jacquelynn Booth , February 22, 2020 at 09:19

I had not seen Mr Joe Lauria's article when I commented on Mr Ben Norton's story, but my reply could fit here as well.
The idiot American public dismays me. To them, the "MSM news" and "celebrity gossip reports" are equal and both to be wholeheartedly believed.
There is no point in trying to educate a resistant public in the differences between data and gossip -- public doesn't care.
I weep for what we have lost -- a Constitution, a nation of free thinkers. My heart breaks for the world's people, and what my country tries to do to them, with only a few resistant other countries confronting and challenging America.
It is so difficult to know the truth of a situation and yet to know that almost no one (statistically speaking) believes you.

Jim Hartz , February 23, 2020 at 12:04

A better distinction might be, concerning the intelligence of the American public, the one Chomsky has used, rooted in Ancient Greek culture, that between KNOWLEDGE and OPINION. Americans, of course, have OPINIONS about everything, but little KNOWLEDGE about much of anything. And it seems their idea of FREEDOM is related to, bound up with, their having OPINIONS about virtually EVERYTHING.

So much for our being a HIGHER life form.

We're in the process of destroying EVERYTHING, not just HIGHER LIFE FORMS [us], but all flora and fauna, water and air on the planet–as I said, EVERYTHING. To paraphrase from memory a citation by Perry Anderson from the work of heterodox Italian Marxist, Sebastiano Timpanaro, "What we are witnessing is not the triumph of man over history, but the victory of nature over man."

Tony , February 22, 2020 at 07:40

The Trump administration has pulled out of the INF missile treaty citing totally unproven claims of Russian violations.
It also looks like allowing the START treaty on strategic nuclear missiles to lapse if we do not stop it.

And so, in what sense would Putin want Trump to get re-elected?

Van Jones of CNN once described the original allegations of Russian meddling in US elections as a 'great big nothing burger'.

Sounds right to me.

Sam F , February 22, 2020 at 07:24

When the secret agencies and mass media stop manipulating public opinion, despite their oligarchy masters' ability to control election results anyway, we will know that they no longer need deception to control the People. Simple force will do the job, with a few marketing claims to assist in hiring goons to suppress any popular movement. Democracy is completely lost, and the pretense of democracy will soon follow.

michael , February 22, 2020 at 07:03

Another foray into domestic politics by the CIA, with anonymous sources and no evidence shown (as no evidence exists). Perhaps the CIA (which probably works for Putin, or Bloomberg, or anyone who pays them best, but they are loyal to the US dollar only; and maybe heroin?) is even now making up another Chris Steele/ Fusion GPS/ CrowdStrike dossier, getting that Russian caterer to the Kremlin to pump out clickbait and sink both Trump and Sanders. Because RUSSIANS!!! are "genetically driven" to interfere in American democracy. Next we'll have the DNC (CIA) pushing Superpredator tropes such as "this enormous cohort of black and Latino males" who "don't know how to behave in the workplace" and "don't have any prospects." With this Clintonian (and Biden and Bloomberg) mindset, America will be increasing incarceration once again. That $500,000 bribe the Clintons took from Putin in 2010 when Hillary was Secretary of State probably plays a role.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon and Defense Secretary Mark Esper have surprisingly noted that China, not Russia, is America's #1 concern: "America's concerns about Beijing's commercial and military expansion should be your concerns as well." Since Bill Clinton's Chinagate fiasco in 1996, Communist China, for a measly $million or so in illegal campaign donations, gained permanent trade status, took millions of American jobs, and suddenly were allowed access to advanced, even military technologies. This was the impetus for China's rise to be the strongest nation in the world. There are no doubt statues of the Clintons all over China, and soon to Hunter Biden, if his Chinese backed hedge funds do well. There are some rumors that Bloomberg has transacted business with China, although doubtful he tried to build a hotel in Beijing or Moscow, or the CIA would be all over it (for a cut)!

Realist , February 24, 2020 at 00:22

Esper is a dangerously deranged man who seems, at least to me, to be telegraphing his intent, and certainly his desire, to get into a kinetic war with both Russia and China (Washington already has most of the hybrid war tactics already fully operational), unless English usage has changed so drastically that insults, overt threats and unrestrained bombast are now part of calm, rational cordial diplomacy. I would not be surprised if neocon mouthpieces like Esper are not secretly honing their rhetorical style to emulate the exaggerated volume and enunciation of der ursprüngliche Führer.

Ma Laoshi , February 22, 2020 at 06:04

"So politician that he is" -- isn't this already on the slippery slope towards double standards, that is, would say Hillary get a similar pass for making McCarthyite statements like this? Isn't a dispassionate reading of the situation that Bernie is an inveterate liar , and moreover specializing in the particular brand of lies that could get us all into nuclear war? Whether it's character or merely age, haven't we seen enough to conclude that Mr. Sanders would be much weaker still vis-a-vis the Deep State than Donald Trump turned out to be?

For those without a dog in this fight, shouldn't it cause great merriment if the various RussiaGaters devour each other? Mr. Sanders has seen for years that the "muh Putin" hoax will be turned against him whenever needed. If he nonetheless persists, doesn't that show his resignation that his role in this election circus is a very temporary one, like in '16? How was that definition of insanity again?

If you want to fix America, then the Empire and Zionism are your enemies; so is the Dem party that is inextricably wedded to these forces. Play along with them and–well what can you expect.

aNanyMouse , February 22, 2020 at 13:29

Yeah, and Bernie sucked up to the Dem brass on the impeachment crap, even tho Tulsi had the stones to at least abstain. How sad.

GMCasey , February 21, 2020 at 22:33

Dear DNC:
KNOCK IT OFF! The only person I am voting for President is the only one who is capable -- and that is Bernie Sanders.
And really, with NATO breaking the agreement where they agreed to NOT go up to Russia's border : it is getting very sad and embarrassing to be an American because the elected ones make agreements and yet break so many. What with Turkey and Israel and Saudi Arabia trying to disrupt the area, I am sure that Russia is too busy to bother disrupting America . Lately America seems to disrupt itself for many ridiculous reasons. I am sorry that the gossip rags, which used to be important newspapers have failed in supporting their First Amendment right of Free speech . I just finished reading "ALL the Presidents Men. " What has happened to you, Washington Post, because as a newspaper, you really used to be somebody. Please review your past and become what you once were, a real genuine news source.

Sam F , February 23, 2020 at 09:18

Wikipedia: "In October 2013, the paper's longtime controlling family, the Graham family, sold the newspaper to Nash Holdings, a holding company established by Jeff Bezos, for $250 million in cash."

Jim Hartz , February 23, 2020 at 12:37

One of the craziest ongoing media phenomena, prevalent in the Impeachment Hearings, is the repeated claim that RUSSIA IS AT WAR WITH UKRAINE.

What kind of "Higher Life Form" enthusiastically EATS IT'S OWN SHIT?

Sam F , February 21, 2020 at 22:10

Mass media denouncing politicians based upon "information" from secret agencies are propaganda operations, and should be sued for proof of their claims. But of course the judiciary are tools of oligarchy as much as the mass media. No one has constitutional rights in the US under our utterly corrupt judiciary, only paid party privileges.

Eddie S , February 21, 2020 at 21:55

Hmmm.. so those oh-so-clever Russkies (I mean they MUST-BE if they were able to outwit ALL the US politicos -- who are immersed in the US political culture 24/7 as well as having grown-up in this country and having billions of $ to spend -- in 2016 with a mere $100k of Facebook ads) messed-up this time! They're supporting OPPOSING candidates, effectively canceling-out their efforts ? Kinda strange, unless that whole 'Russia meddling' thing was a vastly exaggerated distraction by a losing hawkish candidate and her party, further inflated by a sensationalistic media and a predictably antagonistic military & intelligence community??

dale t hood , February 21, 2020 at 22:42

There is NO "intel"; plenty of un-intel, shameless mendacity from these info=dictators zionazi NYT and Wapoop drivel; hopefully the insouciant public is starting to see what a sham these rats are. Hearst outdistanced.

Daniel , February 22, 2020 at 10:45

"Kinda strange, unless that whole 'Russia meddling' thing was a vastly exaggerated distraction by a losing hawkish candidate and her party, further inflated by a sensationalistic media and a predictably antagonistic military & intelligence community??"

Exactly. Shame on Hillary Clinton and all who view the electorate with such disdain as to have pushed this propaganda on us for the last three years, and continue to do so, obviously. If either Hillary Clinton or the "sensationalistic media and a predictably antagonistic military & intelligence community" had any integrity at all, they would have beaten Trump handily in 2016, just as they condescendingly told us they would. They did not, though, and have been outraged to have been exposed as the frauds they are ever since.

When your political party is nothing more than a marketing scheme designed to fool the population, that population will turn on you. Imagine that. And no amount of Russia-gating will save you. Shame on all who would continue this charade.

John Drake , February 21, 2020 at 21:33

Gosh I wish those so called intel people could make up their mind about whom the big bad Ruskies are trying to help. One week its Trump, the next it is Sanders. Frankly on the face, it sounds like bad intel to me.
But fortunately I am a regular reader of this site and Ray McGovern; and know it's all, to put it politely , disinformation; or less politely a pile of diarrhea invented by Hillarybots after a really really bad election day three years ago.
The only thing that disturbs me is the way Bernie buys into this Russiagate thing himself. Maybe you all could send him a trove of articles debunking the whole mess, especially Ray and Bill's forensics.

Fred Dean , February 23, 2020 at 03:52

When Durham starts indicting people and the story of the Deep State coup against the President becomes common knowledge, Bernie's statements on Russiagate will be a liability. Trump's people are digging up whatever videos they can of Bernie talking smack about Trump/Russia. It is a crack in Bernie's armor and we can expect Trump to exploit. Bernie has been such a toadie to the DNC. He cowers to the Democratic establishment because he fears they will pull his credentials to run as a Democrat.

OlyaPola , February 23, 2020 at 08:08

"Gosh I wish those so called intel people could make up their mind about whom the big bad Ruskies are trying to help."

Output is a function of framing and consequently the intelligence community/opponents are helping others including the Russians who encourage such help by doing nothing.

KiwiAntz , February 21, 2020 at 21:26

What a shambolic mess of a Nation that America is! Nothing more than a Billionaire's Banana Republic? A International laughingstock ruled by a Oligarchy, masquerading as a Democracy? And if all else fails to get rid of Bernie Saunders by vote rigging or gerrymandering or other nefarious acts of sabotage with Superdelegates stealing the nominations then resurrect the bogus Russiagate Conspiracy, a ridiculous failed & faked experiment to gaslight, spook & confuse the population again? Wouldn't it be delicious if Russiagate was actually TRUE, it would be payback for the USA, a Nation that meddles in the affairs & politics of every other Country on Earth, overthrowing & regime changing everyone who doesn't "bend the knee" to America, the most corrupt & evil Nation on Earth since Nazi Germany! I've never seen a more propagandised or mindf**ked People on Earth than the American people! It must be soul destroying to live in this Country & have to put up with this nonsense, day in, day out?

Ian , February 22, 2020 at 02:47

Yes, it is. Living with the infuriating unreality and militaristic worldview that is so cultivated here takes a personal emotional and intellectual toll. No place is perfect, but when I travel to Europe I feel a weight lifted.

Broompilot , February 22, 2020 at 03:50

Kiwi you may have a point.

ML , February 22, 2020 at 09:19

Yep. But for those of us with our critical thinking skills intact, we won't let it be soul destroying, Kiwi. Still, the daily crapload of bs we are fed in the "legacy" press is aggravating beyond the beyonds. Cheers, fellow Earthling.

Daniel , February 22, 2020 at 11:09

I hear you, KiwiAntz. It IS soul destroying to withstand this onslaught of disinformation each and every day. There is a rhythm to it that is undeniable, too. One can almost predict when the next propaganda hit will come, as here – after their latest would-be savior, Mike Bloomberg, imploded on live TV, and with Bernie looking more and more inevitable.

Our reality in the US today is that we have to fight against our own media to approach anything resembling a reasonable discussion about what is important to vast majorities (mean tweets and fake memes aren't it) or to champion candidates who display even the slightest integrity. But, of course, it is not 'our' media. It is 'theirs.' And they will continue to abuse us with it until we reject it completely.

robert e williamson jr , February 23, 2020 at 20:31

I see things pretty clearly for what they are and the billionaire democrats are heading for a train wreck and I hate to admit I cannot look away.

Trump is just another self serving U.S. president leaving a stain in America's underwear adding to the humongous pile of America's dirty laundry.

When the demographics finally dictate it change will come and likely not before. On that note I wold like to reach out here. Justin King, who goes as Beau on the net runs a site called the Fifth Column News and does a ton of informative and educational videos on many various topics. .

If you go to youtube, search and watch each of the videos I'm about to list here you stand to learn quite a lot about how Americans got screwed by the two party system without really realizing it. Plenty of blame to go around , no doubt though. You will also learn of the changing demographics in American politics. Many of the poor, minorities and youth of the country are coming into politics for they stand to lose everything if they don't change the status quo.

Feb 11 2020 runs 6:21 minutes and seconds- Search terms, Beau Lets talk about the parties switching and the party of trump

Feb 15 2020 runs 4:11 Search terms, Beau Lets talk about dancing left and dancing right

Feb 20 2020 runs 10:44 Search terms, Beau Lets talk about misunderstanding Bernie's supporters

This last video is a long video by Justin's standards. Most of his videos are under 7 minutes.

Much thanks to CN this site and the Fifth Column New site give me strength and bolster my courage by allowing me to know that there are those of us who know what gong on and know things must change.

[Feb 29, 2020] Secret Wars, Forgotten Betrayals, Global Tyranny. Who s Really In Charge Of The US Military by Cynthia Chung

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Thus, it should be no surprise to anyone in the world at this point in history, that the CIA holds no allegiance to any country. And it can be hardly expected that a President, who is actively under attack from all sides within his own country, is in a position to hold the CIA accountable for its past and future crimes ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Cynthia Chung via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

"There is a kind of character in thy life, That to the observer doth thy history, fully unfold."

– William Shakespeare

Once again we find ourselves in a situation of crisis, where the entire world holds its breath all at once and can only wait to see whether this volatile black cloud floating amongst us will breakout into a thunderstorm of nuclear war or harmlessly pass us by. The majority in the world seem to have the impression that this destructive fate totters back and forth at the whim of one man. It is only normal then, that during such times of crisis, we find ourselves trying to analyze and predict the thoughts and motives of just this one person. The assassination of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, a true hero for his fellow countrymen and undeniably an essential key figure in combating terrorism in Southwest Asia, was a terrible crime, an abhorrently repugnant provocation. It was meant to cause an apoplectic fervour, it was meant to make us who desire peace, lose our minds in indignation. And therefore, that is exactly what we should not do.

In order to assess such situations, we cannot lose sight of the whole picture, and righteous indignation unfortunately causes the opposite to occur. Our focus becomes narrower and narrower to the point where we can only see or react moment to moment with what is right in front of our face. We are reduced to an obsession of twitter feeds, news blips and the doublespeak of 'official government statements'.

Thus, before we may find firm ground to stand on regarding the situation of today, we must first have an understanding as to what caused the United States to enter into an endless campaign of regime-change warfare after WWII, or as former Chief of Special Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff Col. Prouty stated, three decades of the Indochina war.

An Internal Shifting of Chess Pieces in the Shadows

It is interesting timing that on Sept 2, 1945, the very day that WWII ended, Ho Chi Minh would announce the independence of Indochina. That on the very day that one of the most destructive wars to ever occur in history ended, another long war was declared at its doorstep. Churchill would announce his "Iron Curtain" against communism on March 5th, 1946, and there was no turning back at that point. The world had a mere 6 months to recover before it would be embroiled in another terrible war, except for the French, who would go to war against the Viet Minh opponents in French Indochina only days after WWII was over.

In a previous paper I wrote titled "On Churchill's Sinews of Peace" , I went over a major re-organisation of the American government and its foreign intelligence bureau on the onset of Truman's de facto presidency. Recall that there was an attempted military coup d'état, which was exposed by General Butler in a public address in 1933, against the Presidency of FDR who was only inaugurated that year. One could say that there was a very marked disapproval from shadowy corners for how Roosevelt would organise the government.

One key element to this reorganisation under Truman was the dismantling of the previously existing foreign intelligence bureau that was formed by FDR, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) on Sept 20, 1945 only two weeks after WWII was officially declared over. The OSS would be replaced by the CIA officially on Sept 18, 1947, with two years of an American intelligence purge and the internal shifting of chess pieces in the shadows. In addition, de-facto President Truman would also found the United States National Security Council on Sept 18, 1947, the same day he founded the CIA. The NSC was a council whose intended function was to serve as the President's principal arm for coordinating national security, foreign policies and policies among various government agencies.

In Col. Prouty's book he states,

" In 1955, I was designated to establish an office of special operations in compliance with National Security Council (NSC) Directive #5412 of March 15, 1954. This NSC Directive for the first time in the history of the United States defined covert operations and assigned that role to the Central Intelligence Agency to perform such missions , provided they had been directed to do so by the NSC, and further ordered active-duty Armed Forces personnel to avoid such operations. At the same time, the Armed Forces were directed to "provide the military support of the clandestine operations of the CIA" as an official function . "

What this meant, was that there was to be an intermarriage of the foreign intelligence bureau with the military, and that the foreign intelligence bureau would act as top dog in the relationship, only taking orders from the NSC. Though the NSC includes the President, as we will see, the President is very far from being in the position of determining the NSC's policies.

An Inheritance of Secret Wars

" There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare. "

– Sun Tzu

On January 20th, 1961, John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as President of the United States. Along with inheriting the responsibility of the welfare of the country and its people, he was to also inherit a secret war with communist Cuba run by the CIA.

JFK was disliked from the onset by the CIA and certain corridors of the Pentagon, they knew where he stood on foreign matters and that it would be in direct conflict for what they had been working towards for nearly 15 years. Kennedy would inherit the CIA secret operation against Cuba, which Prouty confirms in his book, was quietly upgraded by the CIA from the Eisenhower administration's March 1960 approval of a modest Cuban-exile support program (which included small air drop and over-the-beach operations) to a 3,000 man invasion brigade just before Kennedy entered office.

This was a massive change in plans that was determined by neither President Eisenhower, who warned at the end of his term of the military industrial complex as a loose cannon, nor President Kennedy, but rather the foreign intelligence bureau who has never been subject to election or judgement by the people. It shows the level of hostility that Kennedy encountered as soon as he entered office, and the limitations of a President's power when he does not hold support from these intelligence and military quarters.

Within three months into JFK's term, Operation Bay of Pigs (April 17th to 20th 1961) was scheduled. As the popular revisionist history goes; JFK refused to provide air cover for the exiled Cuban brigade and the land invasion was a calamitous failure and a decisive victory for Castro's Cuba. It was indeed an embarrassment for President Kennedy who had to take public responsibility for the failure, however, it was not an embarrassment because of his questionable competence as a leader. It was an embarrassment because, had he not taken public responsibility, he would have had to explain the real reason why it failed. That the CIA and military were against him and that he did not have control over them. If Kennedy were to admit such a thing, he would have lost all credibility as a President in his own country and internationally, and would have put the people of the United States in immediate danger amidst a Cold War.

What really occurred was that there was a cancellation of the essential pre-dawn airstrike, by the Cuban Exile Brigade bombers from Nicaragua, to destroy Castro's last three combat jets. This airstrike was ordered by Kennedy himself. Kennedy was always against an American invasion of Cuba, and striking Castro's last jets by the Cuban Exile Brigade would have limited Castro's threat, without the U.S. directly supporting a regime change operation within Cuba. This went fully against the CIA's plan for Cuba.

Kennedy's order for the airstrike on Castro's jets would be cancelled by Special Assistant for National Security Affairs McGeorge Bundy, four hours before the Exile Brigade's B-26s were to take off from Nicaragua, Kennedy was not brought into this decision. In addition, the Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles, the man in charge of the Bay of Pigs operation was unbelievably out of the country on the day of the landings.

Col. Prouty, who was Chief of Special Operations during this time, elaborates on this situation:

" Everyone connected with the planning of the Bay of Pigs invasion knew that the policy dictated by NSC 5412, positively prohibited the utilization of active-duty military personnel in covert operations. At no time was an "air cover" position written into the official invasion plan The "air cover" story that has been created is incorrect. "

As a result, JFK who well understood the source of this fiasco, set up a Cuban Study Group the day after and charged it with the responsibility of determining the cause for the failure of the operation. The study group, consisting of Allen Dulles, Gen. Maxwell Taylor, Adm. Arleigh Burke and Attorney General Robert Kennedy (the only member JFK could trust), concluded that the failure was due to Bundy's telephone call to General Cabell (who was also CIA Deputy Director) that cancelled the President's air strike order.

Kennedy had them.

Humiliatingly, CIA Director Allen Dulles was part of formulating the conclusion that the Bay of Pigs op was a failure because of the CIA's intervention into the President's orders. This allowed for Kennedy to issue the National Security Action Memorandum #55 on June 28th, 1961, which began the process of changing the responsibility from the CIA to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As Prouty states,

" When fully implemented, as Kennedy had planned, after his reelection in 1964, it would have taken the CIA out of the covert operation business. This proved to be one of the first nails in John F. Kennedy's coffin. "

If this was not enough of a slap in the face to the CIA, Kennedy forced the resignation of CIA Director Allen Dulles, CIA Deputy Director for Plans Richard M. Bissell Jr. and CIA Deputy Director Charles Cabell.

In Oct 1962, Kennedy was informed that Cuba had offensive Soviet missiles 90 miles from American shores. Soviet ships with more missiles were on their way towards Cuba but ended up turning around last minute. Rumours started to abound that JFK had cut a secret deal with Russian Premier Khrushchev, which was that the U.S. would not invade Cuba if the Soviets withdrew their missiles. Criticisms of JFK being soft on communism began to stir.

NSAM #263, closely overseen by Kennedy, was released on Oct 11th, 1963, and outlined a policy decision " to withdraw 1,000 military personnel [from Vietnam] by the end of 1963 " and further stated that " It should be possible to withdraw the bulk of U.S. personnel [including the CIA and military] by 1965. " The Armed Forces newspaper Stars and Stripes had the headline U.S. TROOPS SEEN OUT OF VIET BY '65. Kennedy was winning the game and the American people.

This was to be the final nail in Kennedy's coffin.

Kennedy was brutally shot down only one month later, on Nov, 22nd 1963. His death should not just be seen as a tragic loss but, more importantly, it should be recognised for the successful military coup d'état that it was and is . The CIA showed what lengths it was ready to go to if a President stood in its way. (For more information on this coup refer to District Attorney of New Orleans at the time, Jim Garrison's book . And the excellently researched Oliver Stone movie "JFK")

Through the Looking Glass

On Nov. 26th 1963, a full four days after Kennedy's murder, de facto President Johnson signed NSAM #273 to begin the change of Kennedy's policy under #263. And on March 4th, 1964, Johnson signed NSAM #288 that marked the full escalation of the Vietnam War and involved 2,709,918 Americans directly serving in Vietnam, with 9,087,000 serving with the U.S. Armed Forces during this period.

The Vietnam War, or more accurately the Indochina War, would continue for another 12 years after Kennedy's death, lasting a total of 20 years for Americans.

Scattered black ops wars continued, but the next large scale-never ending war that would involve the world would begin full force on Sept 11, 2001 under the laughable title War on Terror, which is basically another Iron Curtain, a continuation of a 74 year Cold War. A war that is not meant to end until the ultimate regime changes are accomplished and the world sees the toppling of Russia and China. Iraq was destined for invasion long before the vague Gulf War of 1990 and even before Saddam Hussein was being backed by the Americans in the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s. Iran already suffered a CIA backed regime change in 1979.

It had been understood far in advance by the CIA and US military that the toppling of sovereignty in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Iran needed to occur before Russia and China could be taken over. Such war tactics were formulaic after 3 decades of counterinsurgency against the CIA fueled "communist-insurgency" of Indochina. This is how today's terrorist-inspired insurgency functions, as a perfect CIA formula for an endless bloodbath.

Former CIA Deputy Director (2010-2013) Michael Morell, who was supporting Hillary Clinton during the presidential election campaign and vehemently against the election of Trump, whom he claimed was being manipulated by Putin, said in a 2016 interview with Charlie Rose that Russians and Iranians in Syria should be killed covertly to 'pay the price' .

Therefore, when a drone stroke occurs assassinating an Iranian Maj. Gen., even if the U.S. President takes onus on it, I would not be so quick as to believe that that is necessarily the case, or the full story. Just as I would not take the statements of President Rouhani accepting responsibility for the Iranian military shooting down 'by accident' the Boeing 737-800 plane which contained 176 civilians, who were mostly Iranian, as something that can be relegated to criminal negligence, but rather that there is very likely something else going on here.

I would also not be quick to dismiss the timely release, or better described as leaked, draft letter from the US Command in Baghdad to the Iraqi government that suggests a removal of American forces from the country. Its timing certainly puts the President in a compromised situation. Though the decision to keep the American forces within Iraq or not is hardly a simple matter that the President alone can determine. In fact there is no reason why, after reviewing the case of JFK, we should think such a thing.

One could speculate that the President was set up, with the official designation of the IRGC as "terrorist" occurring in April 2019 by the US State Department, a decision that was strongly supported by both Bolton and Pompeo, who were both members of the NSC at the time. This made it legal for a US military drone strike to occur against Soleimani under the 2001 AUMF, where the US military can attack any armed group deemed to be a terrorist threat. Both Bolton and Pompeo made no secret that they were overjoyed by Soleimani's assassination and Bolton went so far as to tweet "Hope this is the first step to regime change in Tehran." Bolton has also made it no secret that he is eager to testify against Trump in his possible impeachment trial.

Former CIA Director Mike Pompeo was recorded at an unknown conference recently, but judging from the gross laughter of the audience it consists of wannabe CIA agents, where he admits that though West Points' cadet motto is "You will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do.", his training under the CIA was the very opposite, stating " I was the CIA Director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. It was like we had entire training courses. (long pause) It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment. "

Thus, it should be no surprise to anyone in the world at this point in history, that the CIA holds no allegiance to any country. And it can be hardly expected that a President, who is actively under attack from all sides within his own country, is in a position to hold the CIA accountable for its past and future crimes .

Tags Politics War Conflict


ThomasChase1776 , 3 minutes ago link

General Smedley Butler had an answer. Read his book.

https://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/portraits/major-general-smedley-butler

Is-Be , 8 minutes ago link

Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, a true hero for his fellow countrymen

All his countrymen?

Element , 15 minutes ago link

Who's Really In Charge Of The US Military? - Cynthia Chung via The Strategic Culture Foundation

Donald Trump, you stupid time-wasting twat .

ThomasChase1776 , 5 minutes ago link

LOL. That's a good one.

Assuming Trump is doing what he said he would, why isn't our military guarding our border?
Why hasn't our military left the middle east already?

Who really runs our government?

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 1 hour ago link

As much as I hate the CIA, mi6 had more of hand in overthrowing iran than Langley did

ThomasChase1776 , 4 minutes ago link

Is that supposed to be an excuse?

GRDguy , 1 hour ago link

". . . the CIA holds no allegiance to any country." But they sure kiss the *** of the financial sociopaths who write their paychecks and finance the black ops.

ThomasChase1776 , 4 minutes ago link

and Mossad

Slaytheist , 1 hour ago link

Does this bitch not know that the CIA is the currency mafia police....ffs, that's a **** ton of words.

oneno , 1 hour ago link

She knows ...

SRV , 1 hour ago link

Fletcher Prouty's book The Secret Team is a must read... he was on the inside and watched the formation of the permanent team established in the late 50s that assumed the power of the president.

JFK fought that team...

cynicalskeptic , 1 hour ago link

Look at who the OSS recruited - Ivy League Skull and Bones types from rich families that made their fortunes in often questionable ventures.

If you're the patriarch of some super wealthy family wouldn't you be thrilled to have younger family members working for the nation's intelligence agencies? Sort of the ultimate in 'inside information'. Plus these families had experience in things like drug smuggling, human trafficking and anything else you can imagine..... While the Brits started the opium trade with China, Americans jumped right in bringing opium from Turkey.

Didn't take long before the now CIA became owned by the families whose members staffed it.

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 43 minutes ago link

Again ignoring the British influence. The CIA does not have a monopoly on intelligence

Spiritual Anunnaki , 2 hours ago link

One major aspect pertaining American involvment in Veitnam was something like 90% of the rubber produced Globally came from the region.

It is more diverse now, being 3rd, with the association revealing that in 2017, Vietnam earned US$2.3 billion from export of 1.4 million tonnes of natural rubber, up 36% in value and 11.4% in volume year on year.

Haboob , 2 hours ago link

Fighting for rubber monopoly in Vietnam,fighting for oil monopoly in the middle east.

That's life.

Benito_Camela , 1 hour ago link

Gunboat diplomacy is nothing new. War is and always has been a racket.

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 38 minutes ago link

Unfortunately it is a winning racket.

Art_Vandelay , 2 hours ago link

Betrayals, secrets, tyranny? Who's in charge? **** Cheney & Co.

Benito_Camela , 1 hour ago link

Mike Pimpeo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPt-zXn05ac

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 36 minutes ago link

The British crown

Kan , 2 hours ago link

Rockfellers formed the OSS then the CIA which is the brute force for the CFR which they also run and own. The bankers run y our country and bought and blackmailed all your politicians... Only buttplug and pedo's get to be in charge now folks.... and some 9th circle witches of course...

TeethVillage88s , 1 hour ago link

OSS & CIA were formed from Ivy League Schools/Uni's... who turned out to be Traitors to England & USSR... Same today I

[Feb 29, 2020] Learning Nothing From the Ghost of Congress Past by Andrew J. Bacevich

The USA is an imperial country. And wars is how empire is sustained and expanded. Bacevich does not even mention this fact.
Notable quotes:
"... While perfunctory congressional hearings may yet occur, a meaningful response -- one that would demand accountability, for example -- is about as likely as a bipartisan resolution to the impeachment crisis. ..."
"... This implicit willingness to write off a costly, unwinnable, and arguably unnecessary war should itself prompt sober reflection. What we have here is a demonstration of how pervasive and deeply rooted American militarism has become. ..."
"... we have become a nation given to misusing military power, abusing American soldiers, and averting our gaze from the results. ..."
"... The impeachment hearings were probably the reason the WaPo published when it did. After all, the article tells us little that any semi-sentient observer hasn't known for over a decade now. ..."
"... Then, today, we have another American trooper killed in Afghanistan, with many Afghans. Then, we have Trump, jutting his jaw out, as usual, to show how tough he is and...by golly, how tough America is. How patriotic! Damn it! Rah rah. He pardons and receives a war criminal at the white house, one of those Seals that murdered Afghans. ..."
"... By military standards, there is supposed to be rules of engagement and punishment for outright breaking of such rules. But no, Trump is one ignorant, cold dude and the misery in numerous US invaded nations means nothing to this bum with a title and money ..."
"... Were our senior government leaders more familiar with military service, especially as front line soldiers, they might have been less inclined to dawdle in these matters, agree with obfuscated results for political reasons, and waste so much effort. ..."
Dec 23, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Afghanistan Papers could have been the start of redemption, but it's all been subsumed by impeachment and an uninterested public.

....

While perfunctory congressional hearings may yet occur, a meaningful response -- one that would demand accountability, for example -- is about as likely as a bipartisan resolution to the impeachment crisis.

This implicit willingness to write off a costly, unwinnable, and arguably unnecessary war should itself prompt sober reflection. What we have here is a demonstration of how pervasive and deeply rooted American militarism has become.

Take seriously the speechifying heard on the floor of the House of Representatives in recent days and you'll be reassured that the United States remains a nation of laws, with Democrats and Republicans alike affirming their determination to defend our democracy and preserve the Constitution, even while disagreeing on what that might require at present.

Take seriously the contents of the Afghanistan Papers and you'll reach a different conclusion: we have become a nation given to misusing military power, abusing American soldiers, and averting our gaze from the results. U.S. military expenditures and the Pentagon's array of foreign bases far exceed those of any other nation on the planet. In our willingness to use force, we (along with Israel) lead the pack. Putative adversaries such as China and Russia are models of self-restraint by comparison. And when it comes to cumulative body count, the United States is in a league of its own.

Yet since the end of the Cold War and especially since 9/11, U.S. forces have rarely accomplished the purposes for which they are committed, the Pentagon concealing failure by downsizing its purposes. Afghanistan offers a good example. What began as Operation Enduring Freedom has become in all but name Operation Decent Interval, the aim being to disengage in a manner that will appear responsible, if only for a few years until the bottom falls out.

So the real significance of the Post 's Afghanistan Papers is this: t hey invite Americans to contemplate a particularly vivid example what our misplaced infatuation with military power produces. Sadly, it appears evident that we will refuse the invitation. Don't blame Trump for this particular example of Washington's egregious irresponsibility.

Andrew Bacevich is president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. His new book, The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory , will be published next month.


Sid Finster a day ago
The impeachment hearings were probably the reason the WaPo published when it did. After all, the article tells us little that any semi-sentient observer hasn't known for over a decade now.

Anyway, nobody likes a bipartisan fiasco that cannot be neatly blamed on Team R (or Team D).

John Achterhof Sid Finster 12 hours ago
Just give credit where it is due: the Post's reporting on the Afghanistan Papers is journalism at its very best.
Fayez Abedaziz 21 hours ago
Then, today, we have another American trooper killed in Afghanistan, with many Afghans. Then, we have Trump, jutting his jaw out, as usual, to show how tough he is and...by golly, how tough America is. How patriotic! Damn it! Rah rah. He pardons and receives a war criminal at the white house, one of those Seals that murdered Afghans.

By military standards, there is supposed to be rules of engagement and punishment for outright breaking of such rules. But no, Trump is one ignorant, cold dude and the misery in numerous US invaded nations means nothing to this bum with a title and money. What a joke this nations foreign policy is and the ignorant, don't care American people have become. Like never before. There were years when people actually talked about subjects. Not now, if you mention the weather they cower and look pained. The old days really were better.

One example aside from the above: compare President Kennedy to Trump. What a riot...

polistra24 21 hours ago
Well, these documents are highly unsurprising. Everybody has known the facts for a long time. Everybody also knows that the US "government" will not change its ways. Its sole purpose and mission is to obliterate everything except Israel, and these documents are evidence of massive SUCCESS in its mission, not evidence of failure.
Richard 13 hours ago
When the troops start to mutiny, the war will end.
Marcus 9 hours ago
Were our senior government leaders more familiar with military service, especially as front line soldiers, they might have been less inclined to dawdle in these matters, agree with obfuscated results for political reasons, and waste so much effort.

This is also to say that misleading documents and briefings from the military about progress in Afghanistan, while contemptible, did not cause the strategic failure. Contemporary reports from the press and other agencies indicated the effort was not working out plainly to anyone who wanted to pay attention. Our political leaders chose to ignore the truth for political gain.

A more realistic temperament chastened by experience would have been more inclined to criticize and make corrections, and summon the courage to cut our losses rather than crow ignominiously about "cutting and running." Few such temperaments, it seems at least, make it to the top thee days.

[Feb 29, 2020] A very interesting and though provoking presentation by Ambassador Chas Freeman "America in Distress: The Challenges of Disadvantageous Change"

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... the American-led takedown of the post-World War II international system has shattered long-standing rules and norms of behavior. ..."
"... The combination of disorder at home and abroad is spawning changes that are increasingly disadvantageous to the United States. With Congress having essentially walked off the job, there is a need for America's universities to provide the information and analysis of international best practices that the political system does not. ..."
Feb 29, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

likbez , February 29, 2020 7:38 pm

A very interesting and though provoking presentation by Ambassador Chas Freeman "America in Distress: The Challenges of Disadvantageous Change"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvILLCbOFo4

I think this would be very informative for anybody seriously interested in the USA foreign policy. Listening to him is so sad to realize that instead of person of his caliber we have Pompous Pompeo, who forever is frozen on the level of a tank repair mechanical engineer, as the Secretary of State.

Published on Feb 24, 2020

In the United States and other democracies, political and economic systems still work in theory, but not in practice. Meanwhile, the American-led takedown of the post-World War II international system has shattered long-standing rules and norms of behavior.

The combination of disorder at home and abroad is spawning changes that are increasingly disadvantageous to the United States. With Congress having essentially walked off the job, there is a need for America's universities to provide the information and analysis of international best practices that the political system does not.

Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. is a senior fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense, ambassador to Saudi Arabia (during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm), acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and Chargé d'affaires at both Bangkok and Beijing. He began his diplomatic career in India but specialized in Chinese affairs. (He was the principal American interpreter during President Nixon's visit to Beijing in 1972.)

Ambassador Freeman is a much sought-after public speaker (see http://chasfreeman.net ) and the author of several well-received books on statecraft and diplomacy. His most recent book, America's Continuing Misadventures in the Middle East was published in May 2016. Interesting Times: China, America, and the Shifting Balance of Prestige, appeared in March 2013. America's Misadventures in the Middle East came out in 2010, as did the most recent revision of The Diplomat's Dictionary, the companion volume to Arts of Power: Statecraft and Diplomacy. He was the editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica entry on "diplomacy."

Chas Freeman studied at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and in Taiwan, and earned an AB magna cum laude from Yale University as well as a JD from the Harvard Law School.

He chairs Projects International, Inc., a Washington-based firm that for more than three decades has helped its American and foreign clients create ventures across borders, facilitating their establishment of new businesses through the design, negotiation, capitalization, and implementation of greenfield investments, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, franchises, one-off transactions, sales and agencies in other countries.

He is the author of several books including the most recent

Interesting times: China, America, and the shifting balance of prestige (2013)

[Feb 28, 2020] Media s Deafening Silence On Latest WikiLeaks Drops Is Its Own Scandal by Caitlin Johnstone

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Yet the mass media, freakishly, has had absolutely nothing to say about this extremely newsworthy story. ..."
"... The mass media's stone-dead silence on the OPCW scandal is becoming its own scandal, of equal or perhaps even greater significance than the OPCW scandal itself. It opens up a whole litany of questions which have tremendous importance for every citizen of the western world; questions like, how are people supposed to participate in democracy if all the outlets they normally turn to to make informed voting decisions adamantly refuse to tell them about the existence of massive news stories like the OPCW scandal? How are people meant to address such conspiracies of silence when there is no mechanism in place to hold the entire mass media to account for its complicity in it? And by what mechanism are all these outlets unifying in that conspiracy of silence? ..."
"... This is the FOURTH leak showing how the OPCW fabricated a report on a supposed Syrian 'chemical' attack," tweeted journalist Ben Norton. "And mainstream Western corporate media outlets are still silent, showing how authoritarian these 'democracies' are and how tightly they control info." "Media silence on this story is its own scandal," "Media silence on this story is its own scandal," "Media silence on this story is its own scandal," tweeted journalist Aaron Maté. ..."
Dec 28, 2019 | caitlinjohnstone.com

This is getting really, really, really weird. WikiLeaks has WikiLeaks has published yet another set of leaked internal documents from within the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) adding even more material to the mountain of evidence that we've been lied to about an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria last year which resulted in airstrikes upon that nation from the US, UK and France.

... ... ...

[Feb 28, 2020] Stephen Kinzer The Brothers Book Talk at the Watson Institute November 4, 2013 - YouTube

Feb 28, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Knight Alexius , 3 weeks ago

Maybe, the Dulles Brothers had a deeper understanding of the logic of the US-Empire then Kinzer with their conviction that they could not allow third-world-countries to be independent.

Ronbo710 , 4 years ago

Eisenhower AND Kennedy were both fervent supporters of U.S. covert action.

[Feb 25, 2020] Russiagate II: Return of the Low Intelligence Zombies

Notable quotes:
"... CNN concluded that "America's Russia nightmare is back." Maddow was ecstatic, bleating "Here we go again," recycling her failed conspiracy theories whole. Everybody quoted Adam Schiff firing off that Trump was "again jeopardizing our efforts to stop foreign meddling." Tying it all to the failed impeachment efforts, another writer said , "'Let the Voters Decide' doesn't work if Trump fires his national security staff so Russia can help him again." The NYT fretted , "Trump is intensifying his efforts to undermine the nation's intelligence agencies." John Brennan (after leaking for a while, most boils dry up and go away) said , "we are now in a full-blown national security crisis." The undead Hillary Clinton tweeted , "Putin's Puppet is at it again." ..."
"... But it's still a miss on Bernie. He did well in Nevada despite the leaks, though Russiagate II has a long way to go. Bernie himself assured us of that. Instead of pooh-poohing the idea that the Russians might be working for him, he instead gave it cred, saying , "Some of the ugly stuff on the internet attributed to our campaign may well not be coming from real supporters." ..."
"... The world's greatest intelligence team can't seem to come up with anything more specific than "interfering" and "meddling," as if pesky Aunt Vladimir is gossiping at the general store again. CBS reports that House members pressed the ODNI for evidence, such as phone intercepts, to back up claims that Russia is trying to help Trump, but briefers had none to offer. Even Jake Tapper , a Deep State loyalty card holder, raised some doubts. WaPo , which hosted one of the leaks, had to admit "It is not clear what form that Russian assistance has taken." ..."
"... Yes, yes, they have to protect sources and methods, but of course the quickest way to stop Russian influence is to expose it. Instead the ODNI dropped the turd in the punchbowl and walked away. Why not tell the public what media is being bought, which outlets are working, willingly or not, with Putin? Did the Reds implant a radio chip in Biden's skull? Will we be left hanging with the info-free claim "something something social media" again? ..."
"... Because the intel community learned its lesson in Russiagate I. Details can be investigated. That's where the old story fell apart. The dossier wasn't true. Michael Cohen never met the Russians in Prague. The a-ha discovery was that voters don't read much anyway, so just make claims. You'll never really prosecute or impeach anyone, so why bother with evidence (see everything Ukraine)? Just throw out accusations and let the media fill it all in for you. ..."
"... The intel community crossed a line in 2016, albeit clumsily (what was all that with Comey and Hillary?), to play an overt role in the electoral process. When that didn't work out and Trump was elected, they pivoted and drove us to the brink of all hell breaking loose with Russiagate I. The media welcomed and supported them. The Dems welcomed and supported them. Far too many Americans welcomed and supported them in some elaborate version of the ends justifying the means. ..."
"... The good news from 2016 was that the Deep State turned out to be less competent than we originally feared. ..."
Feb 25, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Russians are back, alongside the American intelligence agencies playing deep inside our elections. Who should we fear more? Hint: not the Russians.

On February 13, the election security czar in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) briefed the House Intelligence Committee that the Russians were meddling again and that they favored Donald Trump. A few weeks earlier, the ODNI briefed Bernie Sanders that the Russians were also meddling in the Democratic primaries, this time in his favor. Both briefings remained secret until this past week, when the former was leaked to the New York Times in time to smear Trump for replacing his DNI, and the latter leaked to the Washington Post ahead of the Nevada caucuses to try and damage Sanders.

Russiagate is back, baby. Everyone welcome Russiagate II.

You didn't think after 2016 the bad boys of the intel "community" (which makes it sound like they all live together down in Florida somewhere) weren't going to play their games again, and that they wouldn't learn from their mistakes? Those errors were in retrospect amateurish. A salacious dossier built around a pee tape? Nefarious academics befriending minor Trump campaign staffers who would tell all to an Aussie ambassador trolling London's pubs looking for young, fit Americans? Falsified FISA applications when it was all too obvious even Trumpkin greenhorns weren't dumb enough to sleep with FBI honeypots? You'd think after influencing 85 elections across the globe since World War II, they'd be better at it. But you also knew that after failing to whomp a bumpkin like Trump once, they would keep trying.

Like any good intel op, you start with a tickle, make it seem like the targets are figuring it out for themselves. Get it out there that Trump offered Wikileaks' Julian Assange a pardon if he would state publicly that Russia wasn't involved in the 2016 DNC leaks. The story was all garbage, not the least of which because Assange has been clear for years that it wasn't the Russians. And there was no offer of a pardon from the White House. And conveniently Assange is locked in a foreign prison and can't comment.

Whatever. Just make sure you time the Assange story to hit the day after Trump pardoned numerous high-profile, white-collar criminals, so even the casual reader had Trump = bad, with a side of Russian conspiracy, on their minds. You could almost imagine an announcer's voice: "Previously, on Russiagate I "

Then, only a day after the Assange story (why be subtle?), the sequel hit the theaters with timed leaks to the NYT and WaPo . The mainstream media went Code Red (the CIA has a long history of working with the media to influence elections).

CNN concluded that "America's Russia nightmare is back." Maddow was ecstatic, bleating "Here we go again," recycling her failed conspiracy theories whole. Everybody quoted Adam Schiff firing off that Trump was "again jeopardizing our efforts to stop foreign meddling." Tying it all to the failed impeachment efforts, another writer said , "'Let the Voters Decide' doesn't work if Trump fires his national security staff so Russia can help him again." The NYT fretted , "Trump is intensifying his efforts to undermine the nation's intelligence agencies." John Brennan (after leaking for a while, most boils dry up and go away) said , "we are now in a full-blown national security crisis." The undead Hillary Clinton tweeted , "Putin's Puppet is at it again."

It is clear we'll be hearing breaking and developing reports about this from sources believed to be close to others through November. Despite the sense of desperation in the recycled memes and the way the media rose on command to the bait, it's intel community 1, Trump 0.

But it's still a miss on Bernie. He did well in Nevada despite the leaks, though Russiagate II has a long way to go. Bernie himself assured us of that. Instead of pooh-poohing the idea that the Russians might be working for him, he instead gave it cred, saying , "Some of the ugly stuff on the internet attributed to our campaign may well not be coming from real supporters."

Sanders handed Russiagate II legs, signaling that he'll use it as cover for the Bros' online shenanigans, which were called out at the last debate. That's playing with fire: it'll be too easy later on to invoke all this with "Komrade Bernie" memes in the already wary purple states. "Putin and Trump are picking their opponent," opined Rahm Emanuel to get that ball rolling.

Summary to date: everyone is certain the Russians are working to influence the election (adopts cartoon Russian accent) but who is the cat and who is the mouse?

Is Putin helping Trump get re-elected to remain his asset in place? Or is Putin helping Bernie "I Honeymooned in the Soviet Union" Sanders to make him look like an asset to help Trump? Or are the Russkies really all in because Bernie is a True Socialist sleeper agent, the Emma Goldman of his time (Bernie's old enough to have taken Emma to high school prom)? Or is it not the Russians but the American intel community helping Bernie to make it look like Putin is helping Bernie to help Trump? Or is it the Deep State saying the Reds are helping Bernie to hurt Bernie to help their man Bloomberg? Are Russian spies tripping over American spies in caucus hallways trying to get to the front of the room? Who can tell what is really afoot?

See, the devil is in the details, which is why we don't have any.

The world's greatest intelligence team can't seem to come up with anything more specific than "interfering" and "meddling," as if pesky Aunt Vladimir is gossiping at the general store again. CBS reports that House members pressed the ODNI for evidence, such as phone intercepts, to back up claims that Russia is trying to help Trump, but briefers had none to offer. Even Jake Tapper , a Deep State loyalty card holder, raised some doubts. WaPo , which hosted one of the leaks, had to admit "It is not clear what form that Russian assistance has taken."

Yes, yes, they have to protect sources and methods, but of course the quickest way to stop Russian influence is to expose it. Instead the ODNI dropped the turd in the punchbowl and walked away. Why not tell the public what media is being bought, which outlets are working, willingly or not, with Putin? Did the Reds implant a radio chip in Biden's skull? Will we be left hanging with the info-free claim "something something social media" again?

If you're going to scream that communist zombies with MAGA hats are inside the house , you're obligated to provide a little bit more information. Why is it when specifics are required, the response is always something like "Well, the Russians are sowing distrust and turning Americans against themselves in a way that weakens national unity" as if we're all not eating enough green vegetables? Why leave us exposed to Russian influence for even a second when it could all be shut down in an instant?

Because the intel community learned its lesson in Russiagate I. Details can be investigated. That's where the old story fell apart. The dossier wasn't true. Michael Cohen never met the Russians in Prague. The a-ha discovery was that voters don't read much anyway, so just make claims. You'll never really prosecute or impeach anyone, so why bother with evidence (see everything Ukraine)? Just throw out accusations and let the media fill it all in for you. After all, they managed to convince a large number of Americans Trump's primary purpose in running for president was to fill vacant hotel rooms at his properties. Let the nature of the source -- the brave lads of the intelligence agencies -- legitimize the accusations this time, not facts.

It will take a while to figure out who is playing whom. Is the goal to help Trump, help Bernie, or defeat both of them to support Bloomberg? But don't let the challenge of seeing the whole picture obscure the obvious: the American intelligence agencies are once again inside our election.

The intel community crossed a line in 2016, albeit clumsily (what was all that with Comey and Hillary?), to play an overt role in the electoral process. When that didn't work out and Trump was elected, they pivoted and drove us to the brink of all hell breaking loose with Russiagate I. The media welcomed and supported them. The Dems welcomed and supported them. Far too many Americans welcomed and supported them in some elaborate version of the ends justifying the means.

The good news from 2016 was that the Deep State turned out to be less competent than we originally feared. But they have learned much from those mistakes, particularly how deft a tool a compliant MSM is. This election will be a historian's marker for how a decent nation, fully warned in 2016, fooled itself in 2020 into self-harm. Forget about foreigners influencing our elections from the outside; the zombies are already inside the house.

Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People , Hooper's War: A Novel of WWII Japan , and Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99 Percent .

[Feb 24, 2020] Creating the Corporate Coup

Notable quotes:
"... Although corporations are legally a person (see history below), they are in fact an entity. The sole goal of that entity is profit. There is no corporate conscience. ..."
"... Perhaps it would be useful to look at the nature of our global expansion. The global expanse of US military bases is well-known, but its actual territorial empire is largely hidden. The true map of America is not taught in our schools. Abby Martin interviews history Professor Daniel Immerwahr about his new book, ' How To Hide An Empire ,' where he documents the story of our "Greater United States." This is worth the 40 minute watch...I learned several new things. One more long clip. However this one is fine to just listen to as you do things. This is a wonderful interview with Noam Chomsky. The man exudes wisdom. ..."
"... The oligarchy has been with us since perhaps the tribal origins of our species, but the corporation is a newer phenomenon. A faceless, soulless profit machine. Ironically it is the 14th amendment which is used to justify corporate person-hood. ..."
"... Corporations aren't specifically mentioned in the 14th Amendment, or anywhere else in the Constitution. But going back to the earliest years of the republic, when the Bank of the United States brought the first corporate rights case before the Supreme Court, U.S. corporations have sought many of the same rights guaranteed to individuals, including the rights to own property, enter into contracts, and to sue and be sued just like individuals. ..."
"... But it wasn't until the 1886 case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Rail Road that the Court appeared to grant a corporation the same rights as an individual under the 14th Amendment ..."
"... The United States is home to five of the world's 10 largest defense contractors, and American companies account for 57 percent of total arms sales by the world's 100 largest defense contractors, based on SIPRI data. Maryland-based Lockheed Martin, the largest defense contractor in the world, is estimated to have had $44.9 billion in arms sales in 2017 through deals with governments all over the world. The company drew public scrutiny after a bomb it sold to Saudi Arabia was dropped on a school bus in Yemen, killing 40 boys and 11 adults. Lockheed's revenue from the U.S. government alone is well more than the total annual budgets of the IRS and the Environmental Protection Agency, combined. ..."
"... http://news.nidokidos.org/military-spending-20-companies-profiting-the-m... For a list of the 20 companies profiting most off war... https://themindunleashed.com/2019/03/20-companies-profiting-war.html ..."
"... Capitalism, militarism and imperialism are disastrously intertwined ..."
"... Corporations are Religions Yes they are. They have ethics, goals, and priests. They have a god who determines everything "The Invisible Hand". They believe themselves to be superior to the state. They have cult garb, or are we not going to pretend that there's corporate dress codes, right down to the things you can wear on special days of the week. They determine what you can eat, drink and read. If you say something wrong, they feel within their rights to punish you because they OWN the medium that you used to spread ideas. OF course they don't own your thoughts... those belong to the OTHER god. ..."
Dec 09, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

Chris Hedges often says "The corporate coup is complete". Sadly I think he is correct. So this week I thought it might be interesting to explore the techniques which are used here at home and abroad. The oligarchs' corporate control is global, but different strategies are employed in various scenarios. Just thinking about the recent regime changes promoted by the US in this hemisphere...

The US doesn't even lie about past coups. They recently released a report about the 1953 CIA led coup against Iran detailing the strategies. Here at home it is a compliant media and a new array of corporate laws designed to protect and further enrich that spell the corporate capture of our culture and society. So let's begin by looking at the nature of corporations...

The following 2.5 hour documentary from 2004 features commentary from Chris, Noam, Naomi, and many others you know. It has some great old footage. It is best watched on a television so you have a bigger screen. (This clip is on the encore+ youtube channel and does have commercials which you can skip after 5 seconds)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpQYsk-8dWg

Based on Joel Bakan's bestseller The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power , this 26-award-winning documentary explores a corporation's inner workings, curious history, controversial impacts and possible futures.

One hundred and fifty years ago, a corporation was a relatively insignificant entity. Today, it is a vivid, dramatic, and pervasive presence in all our lives. Like the Church, the Monarchy and the Communist Party in other times and places, a corporation is today's dominant institution.

Charting the rise of such an institution aimed at achieving specific economic goals, the documentary also recounts victories against this apparently invincible force.

Although corporations are legally a person (see history below), they are in fact an entity. The sole goal of that entity is profit. There is no corporate conscience. Some of the CEO's in the film discuss how all the people in the corporations are against pollution and so on, but by law stockholder profit must be the objective. Now these entities are global operations with no loyalty to their country of origin.

Perhaps it would be useful to look at the nature of our global expansion. The global expanse of US military bases is well-known, but its actual territorial empire is largely hidden. The true map of America is not taught in our schools. Abby Martin interviews history Professor Daniel Immerwahr about his new book, ' How To Hide An Empire ,' where he documents the story of our "Greater United States." This is worth the 40 minute watch...I learned several new things. One more long clip. However this one is fine to just listen to as you do things. This is a wonderful interview with Noam Chomsky. The man exudes wisdom.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuVqfKYbGvE (2 hour 5 min)

So much of this conversation touches on today's topic of our corporate capture. Amy interviewed Ed Snowden this week... (video or text)

This is a system, the first system in history, that bore witness to everything. Every border you crossed, every purchase you make, every call you dial, every cell phone tower you pass, friends you keep, article you write, site you visit and subject line you type was now in the hands of a system whose reach is unlimited but whose safeguards were not. And I felt, despite what the law said, that this was something that the public ought to know.

https://www.democracynow.org/2019/12/5/edward_snowden_amy_goodman_interv...

The oligarchy has been with us since perhaps the tribal origins of our species, but the corporation is a newer phenomenon. A faceless, soulless profit machine. Ironically it is the 14th amendment which is used to justify corporate person-hood.

Corporations aren't specifically mentioned in the 14th Amendment, or anywhere else in the Constitution. But going back to the earliest years of the republic, when the Bank of the United States brought the first corporate rights case before the Supreme Court, U.S. corporations have sought many of the same rights guaranteed to individuals, including the rights to own property, enter into contracts, and to sue and be sued just like individuals.

But it wasn't until the 1886 case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Rail Road that the Court appeared to grant a corporation the same rights as an individual under the 14th Amendment

https://www.history.com/news/14th-amendment-corporate-personhood-made-co...

More recently in 2010 (Citizens United v. FEC): In the run up to the 2008 election, the Federal Elections Commission blocked the conservative nonprofit Citizens United from airing a film about Hillary Clinton based on a law barring companies from using their funds for "electioneering communications" within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election. The organization sued, arguing that, because people's campaign donations are a protected form of speech (see Buckley v. Valeo) and corporations and people enjoy the same legal rights, the government can't limit a corporation's independent political donations. The Supreme Court agreed. The Citizens United ruling may be the most sweeping expansion of corporate personhood to date.
https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/07/how-supreme-court-turned-co...

Do they really believe this is how we think?

More than just using the courts, corporations are knee deep in creating favorable laws, not just by lobbying, but by actually writing legislation to feed the politicians that they own and control, especially at the state level.

Through ALEC, Global Corporations Are Scheming to Rewrite YOUR Rights and Boost THEIR Revenue. Through the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, global corporations and state politicians vote behind closed doors to try to rewrite state laws that govern your rights. These so-called "model bills" reach into almost every area of American life and often directly benefit huge corporations.

In ALEC's own words, corporations have "a VOICE and a VOTE" on specific changes to the law that are then proposed in your state. DO YOU? Numerous resources to help us expose ALEC are provided below. We have also created links to detailed discussions of key issues...

https://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed

Here's an attempt by a local station to tell the story of a Georgia session of legislators and ALEC lobbyists. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3yIbxydlHY (6 min)

There is very little effort to hide the blatant corruption. People seem to accept this behavior as business as usual, after all it is.

Part of the current ALEC legislative agenda involves stifling protests.

I think it started in Texas...

A bill making its way through the Texas legislature would make protesting pipelines a third-degree felony, the same as attempted murder.
H.B. 3557, which is under consideration in the state Senate after passing the state House earlier this month, ups penalties for interfering in energy infrastructure construction by making the protests a felony. Sentences would range from two to 10 years.

https://www.ecowatch.com/texas-bill-pipeline-protests-felony-2637605986....
It is now law. Other states are following suit...

Lawmakers in Wisconsin introduced a bill on September 5 designed to chill protests around oil and gas pipelines and other energy infrastructure in the state by imposing harsh criminal penalties for trespassing on or damaging the property of a broad range of "energy providers."

Senate Bill 386 echoes similar "critical infrastructure protection" model bills pushed out by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Council of State Governments over the last two years to prevent future protests like the one against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

https://www.exposedbycmd.org/2019/09/16/wisconsin-legislators-seek-crimi...

These activities are taking place in most states...especially red ones like mine.

When TPTB use government to play chess with the countries of the world havoc ensues...

Abby and Mike were on Chris' show yesterday talking about Gaza and the US/Israeli effort at genocide. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcsEYRt_jGY (28 min)

And Chris was on the evening RT news this week discussing how the US empire is striking back against leaders who help their own people rather than our global corporations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1P5G9S8flnY (6.5 min)

Lee Camp and Ben Norton also discussed how the US wants to own South America. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLETst107M0 (1st 22 min)

This excellent article tells the story well...

Financially, the cost of these wars is immense: more than $6 trillion dollars. The cost of these wars is just one element of the $1.2 trillion the US government spends annually on wars and war making. Half of each dollar paid in federal income tax goes towards some form or consequence of war . While the results of such spending are not hard to foresee or understand: a cyclical and dependent relationship between the Pentagon, weapons industry and Congress, the creation of a whole new class of worker and wealth distribution is not so understood or noticed, but exists and is especially malignant.

This is a ghastly redistribution of wealth, perhaps unlike any known in modern human history, certainly not in American history. As taxpayers send trillions to Washington. DC, that money flows to the men and women that remotely oversee, manage and staff the wars that kill and destroy millions of lives overseas and at home. Hundreds of thousands of federal employees and civilian contractors servicing the wars take home six figure annual salaries allowing them second homes, luxury cars and plastic surgery, while veterans put guns in their mouths, refugees die in capsized boats and as many as four million nameless souls scream silently in death.

These AUMFs (Authorization for Use of Military Force) and the wars have provided tens of thousands of recruits to international terror groups; mass profits to the weapons industry and those that service it; promotions to generals and admirals, with corporate board seats upon retirement ; and a perpetual and endless supply of bloody shirts for politicians to wave via an unquestioning and obsequious corporate media to stoke compliant anger and malleable fear. What is hard to imagine, impossible even, is anyone else who has benefited from these wars.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/12/06/authorizations-for-madness-the-e...

The United States is home to five of the world's 10 largest defense contractors, and American companies account for 57 percent of total arms sales by the world's 100 largest defense contractors, based on SIPRI data. Maryland-based Lockheed Martin, the largest defense contractor in the world, is estimated to have had $44.9 billion in arms sales in 2017 through deals with governments all over the world. The company drew public scrutiny after a bomb it sold to Saudi Arabia was dropped on a school bus in Yemen, killing 40 boys and 11 adults. Lockheed's revenue from the U.S. government alone is well more than the total annual budgets of the IRS and the Environmental Protection Agency, combined.

http://news.nidokidos.org/military-spending-20-companies-profiting-the-m... For a list of the 20 companies profiting most off war... https://themindunleashed.com/2019/03/20-companies-profiting-war.html

The obvious industry which was not included nor considered is the fossil fuel industry. Here's another example of mutual corporate interests.

"Capitalism, militarism and imperialism are disastrously intertwined with the fossil fuel economy .A globalized economy predicated on growth at any social or environmental costs, carbon dependent international trade, the limitless extraction of natural resources, and a view of citizens as nothing more than consumers cannot be the basis for tackling climate change .Little wonder then that the elites have nothing to offer beyond continued militarisation and trust in techno-fixes."

-- Nick Buxton and Ben Hayes
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/07/05/doubling-down-the-military-big-b...

The US military is one of the largest consumers and emitters of carbon-dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in history, according to an independent analysis of global fuel-buying practices of a "virtually unresearched" government agency.
If the US military were its own country, it would rank 47th between Peru and Portugal in terms of annual fuel purchases, totaling almost 270,000 barrels of oil bought every day in 2017. In particular, the Air Force is the largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions and bought $4.9 billion of fuel in 2017 – nearly double that of the Navy ($2.8 billion).

https://www.iflscience.com/environment/us-military-ranks-higher-in-green...

The fossil fuel giants even try to control the climate talks...

Oil and gas groups were accused Saturday of seeking to influence climate talks in Madrid by paying millions in sponsorship and sending dozens of lobbyists to delay what scientists say is a necessary and rapid cut in fossil fuel use.

https://www.rawstory.com/2019/12/fossil-fuel-groups-destroying-climate-t...

The corporations are so entwined that it is difficult to tell where they begin and end. There's the unity of private prisons and the war machine. And it's a global scheme...this example from the UK.

One thing is clear: the prison industrial complex and the global war machine are intimately connected. This summer's prison strike that began in the United States and spread to other countries was the largest in history. It shows more than ever that prisoners are resisting this penal regime, often at great risk to themselves. The battle to end prison slavery continues.

https://corporatewatch.org/poppies-prison-labour-and-the-war-machine/

Then there was the corporate tax give away...

The 2017 tax bill cut taxes for most Americans, including the middle class, but it heavily benefits the wealthy and corporations . It slashed the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, and its treatment of "pass-through" entities -- companies organized as sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, or S corporations -- will translate to an estimated $17 billion in tax savings for millionaires this year. American corporations are showering their shareholders with stock buybacks, thanks in part to their tax savings.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/12/18/18146253/tax-cuts-and...

Even Robert Jackson Jr., commissioner at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Appointed to the SEC in 2017 by President Donald Trump. Confirmed in January 2018 sees the corporate cuts as absurd.

"We have been to the movie of tax cuts and buybacks before, in the Republican administration during the George W. Bush era. We enacted a quite substantial tax cut during that period. And studies after that showed very clearly that most corporations use the funds from that tax cut for buybacks. And here's the kicker. That particular tax cut actually required that companies deploy the capital for capital expenditures, wage increases and investments in their people. Yet studies showed that, in fact, the companies use them for buybacks. So we've been to this movie before. And what you're describing to me, that corporations turned around and took the Trump tax cut and didn't use it in investing in their people or in infrastructure, but instead for other purposes, shouldn't surprise anybody at all."

https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2019/11/18/corporations-stock-buybacks-sec-...

So the corporations grow larger, wealthier, more powerful, buying evermore legislative influence along the way. They have crept into almost every aspect of our lives. Some doctors are beginning to see the influence of big pharma and other corporate interests are effecting the current practice of medicine.

Gary Fettke is a doctor from Tasmania who has been targeted for promoting a high fat low carb diet...threatened with losing his medical qualifications. He doesn't pull punches in this presentation discussing the corporate control of big ag/food and big pharma on medical practice and education. (27 min)

Comments

detroitmechworks on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 8:28am

Corporations are Religions Yes they are. They have ethics, goals, and priests. They have a god who determines everything "The Invisible Hand". They believe themselves to be superior to the state. They have cult garb, or are we not going to pretend that there's corporate dress codes, right down to the things you can wear on special days of the week. They determine what you can eat, drink and read. If you say something wrong, they feel within their rights to punish you because they OWN the medium that you used to spread ideas. OF course they don't own your thoughts... those belong to the OTHER god.

At least the crazy made up gods that I listen to don't usually fuck over other human beings for a goddamn percentage. ON the other hand, if a corporation can make a profit, it's REQUIRED to fuck you over. To do otherwise would be against it's morals. Which it does have, trust us... OH, and corporations get to make fun of your beliefs, but you CANNOT make fun of theirs. Because that would be heresy against logic and reason.

www.youtube.com/embed/uGDA0Hecw1k?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 8:37am
yes indeed, they are superior to the state...

@detroitmechworks

In the film Secret State they (fossil fuel) admit it. Here's the trailer...(1.5 min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCYjbux_dCM

You can watch the series if anyone has an interest. Start here...there are about 6 episodes.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aeZT6IXCUg (42 min)

Good spy thriller.

Nice to see you around the site again. Thanks for visiting this piece.

QMS on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 8:39am
A recent front page item

In a local newspaper showed a couple coming out of a Wal-Mart with their carts piled high with big boxed foreign junk, then shown cramming their SUV full of said junk. The headline read "Crazy Busy". It pretty much summed up what is wrong with the American consumer culture. The next day's big headline spotlighted our senator's picture affixed to a LARGE headline boasting "$22 Billion Submarine Contract Awarded". A good example of of what is wrong with the american war economy.

Thank you for your compilation Lookout! If we can get beyond the headlines, working at grass root and local solutions, maybe even underground revolution, there may be hope for us. Barter for a better future.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:06am
Let's hope we trade up for something better

@QMS

My buddies always say about their mayor..."There's no way we will trade down after this election...but then we do." Perhaps it is true for more than just their town.

The line running in my head is..."What if they gave a war and nobody came". I want to expand it to..."What if they made cheap junk no one really wanted and nobody bought it". Or substitute junk food for cheap junk, or...

My point in today's conclusion is much as I try to walk away from corporate culture/control, I really can't totally escape...but at least I spend most of my time in the open, breathing clean air, surrounded by forest. We do what we can.

Onward through the fog...

Raggedy Ann on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 8:58am
Good Sunday morning, Lookout ~~

Consumerism in our society is a plague, a disease perpetrated upon us by our corporate lords. It has taken over everything about being an American.

I think the youth are catching on, as they are thrifting more, but they don't understand about food, and that's the rub. Our youth will be more unhealthy until they understand what corporations are doing to us through food addictions.

We're expecting rain today for most of the day and actually it's just started. The person who will drill our well came by yesterday and figured out some details. We are behind two other wells, so it will probably be the holiday week when it happens - we'll see. I can wait til January and hope we do.

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone!

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:10am
best of luck with your well!

@Raggedy Ann

That's an exciting project. Keep us posted. I hope y'all have a great holiday break. Enjoy your time....the most valuable thing we have!

davidgmillsatty on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:09am
The main reason I am not enamored with Sander's economic

Ideas is that new deal of FDR's day had corporate opponents far different than those of today. Sanders does not seem to understand that the corporations of yesterday, and what worked against them, will not work against the corporations of today. In the early part of the 20th century, corporations were still primarily domestic and local often with charters from the state where they conducted their primary business, many times all of their business.

Regulation and unions were reasonable anti-dotes to the abuses of these local and domestic corporations. The state still had some semblance of control over them.

But today corporations are global. They have no allegiance to, or concern for the domestic economy or local people. They do not fear of any anti-dotes that worked for years against domestic or local corporations. Global corporations just leave and go elsewhere if they don't like the domestic or local situation if they have not managed to completely take over the government.

There is only one reason to incorporate in the first place. That is for the owner(s) of the business to avoid personal liability or responsibility. The majority of people never understand this idea. Corporate owners are the people who are the genuine personal responsibility avoiders. Not the poor. The only antidote to corporations these days is the total demise of the corporation and its similar business entities that dodge personal responsibility. And the state must refuse to allow any such entities to do business. It is the only way forward. Otherwise nation states will give way to corporate states. Corporate governance is the new feudalism from which the old feudalism morphed.

Sanders isn't going to advocate doing away with corporate entities or other similar business entities. Nor will any of the Democratic contenders. They all require corporations to rail against as the basis for their political policy.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:19am
corporate power is formative

@davidgmillsatty

...and I've always wondered just how Bernie would dismantle them. However like the impotence of the impeachment, is the impotence of the primary process.

When the DNC was sued after 2016, they were exonerated based on the ruling they were a private entity entitled to make rules as the wanted. The primary is so obviously rigged I can almost guarantee Bernie will not be allowed the nomination, so the question to how he would change corporate control is really moot.

Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

davidgmillsatty on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 10:56am
Sanders Winning the Nomination

@Lookout I probably could get on board with a Sanders campaign if he would run as an Independent. But it is really hard to get on board with him as a Democrat. If he loses the nomination, he will probably not run as an Independent once again. Once he bailed on an Independent run last time, I and many others bailed on him. I would support his Independent candidacy just to screw with the Electoral College. I thought last time an independent candidacy might have thrown the election to the House of Representatives. I could see a Democratically controlled House voting for him over Trump in a three way EC split if the Democratic candidate took low EC numbers.

But he is so afraid of being tarred with the Nader moniker.

What I said many times on websites last election is that an EC vote is very similar to a Parliamentary Election. And that would be an interesting change for sure. It would also be a means of having the popular vote winner restored if there is a big enough margin in the House. And what would be equally cool is that the Senate picks the VP. So you could have President and VP from different parties.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 10:32am
in some alternate universe...

@davidgmillsatty

if Bernie got the nomination, I would vote for him, especially in this imaginary world, if Tulsi was his running mate. Then there the question about your vote being counted? We'll just have to see what we see and make judgements based on outcomes, IMO.

#4.1 I probably could get on board with a Sanders campaign if he would run as an Independent. But it is really hard to get on board with him as a Democrat. If he loses the nomination, he will probably not run as an Independent once again. Once he bailed on an Independent run last time, I and many others bailed on him. I would support his Independent candidacy just to screw with the Electoral College. I thought last time an independent candidacy might have thrown the election to the House of Representatives. I could see a Democratically controlled House voting for him over Trump in a three way EC split if the Democratic candidate took low EC numbers.

But he is so afraid of being tarred with the Nader moniker.

What I said many times on websites last election is that an EC vote is very similar to a Parliamentary Election. And that would be an interesting change for sure. It would also be a means of having the popular vote winner restored if there is a big enough margin in the House. And what would be equally cool is that the Senate picks the VP. So you could have President and VP from different parties.

davidgmillsatty on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 11:01am
The more I think about this

@Lookout The only way the Democrats might beat Trump is to have Sanders run as an Independent and prevent Trump from reaching 270. That is a far better way to beat Trump than impeachment. Would the house vote for the Democrat or an Independent? I guess it would depend on how Sanders did in the popular vote and EC against his Democratic rival.

#4.1.1
if Bernie got the nomination, I would vote for him, especially in this imaginary world, if Tulsi was his running mate. Then there the question about your vote being counted? We'll just have to see what we see and make judgements based on outcomes, IMO.

TheOtherMaven on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 2:06pm
And who that rival was!

@davidgmillsatty @davidgmillsatty

If it was Hillary "Dewey Cheatem & Howe" Clinton, all bets are off.

#4.1.1.1 The only way the Democrats might beat Trump is to have Sanders run as an Independent and prevent Trump from reaching 270. That is a far better way to beat Trump than impeachment. Would the house vote for the Democrat or an Independent? I guess it would depend on how Sanders did in the popular vote and EC against his Democratic rival.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 2:48pm
The $hill was on Howard Stern this week...

@TheOtherMaven

//www.youtube.com/embed/LhxMvmX9WlA?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 3:18pm
Howard effin Stern indeed

@Lookout

Good lord.that she did that is unbelievable. Great point. Boycott Fox News, but go on Stern's show. It's going to be fun to watch how much lower she falls.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 3:30pm
The depth of her corruption is unfathomable

@snoopydawg

AE maybe be correct that they will pull her from behind the curtain and anoint her to run again. But I sure hope not!

snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 3:31pm
More lying about Bernie not supporting Hillary

@Lookout

MSNBC invited on two former Hillary Clinton aides to criticize Bernie Sanders for taking a "long time to get out of the race" and that he didn't do "enough" campaigning for her in 2016. pic.twitter.com/6Vsqo0DKZI

-- Ibrahim (@ibrahimpols) December 8, 2019

Come on Bernie call this crap out.

davidgmillsatty on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 6:08pm
The Way that would work in the House of Reps

@TheOtherMaven They have to choose from actual EC vote getters. So if she is not the candidate she could not win.

Having Sanders run as an Independent and Warren or Biden run as a Democrat would be a much better strategy to ensure a Trump loss in the House. Of course it might take some coordination as in asking the voters to vote for the candidate who has the best chance of beating Trump in certain states. But voters could probably figure that out.

Or a candidate could just withdraw from a state in which the other candidate had a better chance of beating Trump.

QMS on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:27am
Dig it

@irishking @irishking
What to do?Dance in the streets! //www.youtube.com/embed/9KhbM2mqhCQ

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:27am
Do you think the bear went over the mountain...

@irishking

refers to RUSSIA!!! (Just joking) Thanks for the song. Here's one from 1929 back atcha! Thanks for the visit. //www.youtube.com/embed/pDOwDi2jlk0

jakkalbessie on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 10:15am
So much to think about

Lookout as usual you have done an excellent job of giving me a lot of articles to read and think about this next week.

Of course I need to be loading my car and shutting this place down as I head to the Texas hill country. Will look for an article about Kinder Morgan and small communities that are fighting the pipeline through their towns. The read was a little hopeful.

Watching the weather and it looks like sunshine and clear skies as I travel. Thanks for all your work in putting this together.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 10:27am
My buddy JU Lee wrote a song...

@jakkalbessie

I like to travel on the old roads.

There's not a youtube, but the chorus goes:

I like to travel on the old roads
I like the way it makes me feel
No destination just the old roads
Somehow it helps the heart to heal.

I hope your road trip is a good one. The less busy tracks are almost meditative....soaking in scenery as the world passes by.

Have fun and be careful.

Lookout as usual you have done an excellent job of giving me a lot of articles to read and think about this next week.

Of course I need to be loading my car and shutting this place down as I head to the Texas hill country. Will look for an article about Kinder Morgan and small communities that are fighting the pipeline through their towns. The read was a little hopeful.

Watching the weather and it looks like sunshine and clear skies as I travel. Thanks for all your work in putting this together.

ggersh on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 11:06am
Nice work Lookout

Here are a couple of links to how free markets help in the corporate takeover. Amazon a corp that has only made a profit by never paying taxes and accounting fraud. It became a trillion dollar corp through the use of monopoly money(stock) it's nothing but the perfect example of todays "unicorn" corp, i.e. worth what it is w/out ever making a penny

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 11:26am
The free market created the private prison industry too

@ggersh

Not so free really is it? Amazon is certainly a monster...now hosting the CIA/MIC cloud as well as owning the WaPo.

Snode on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 11:45am
Corporations are not people

Corporations can live far beyond a persons lifespan. Corporations can commit homicide and escape execution and justice. Unfortunately, unions are just as likely to be on the corporations side to get jobs and wages, and bust heads if anything interferes with that.

If we protest we've seen the police ready to use deadly force at the drop of a hat, and get away with it. We get to vote on candidates that some political club chose for us, and have little incentive to work for the 99%. The gov. has amassed so much information on us we can't even fathom its depth. We have nowhere left, no unexplored lands out of reach of the government. We think we own things, but if you think you own a home, see how long it is before the gov. confiscates it if you don't pay your property taxes.

If I were younger, or a young person asked what to do, I would say.... learn some skill that would make you attractive for emigrating to another country, because the US looks like it's over. It's people are only here to be exploited. And if Bernie were to become president I hope he gets a food taster.

Lily O Lady on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 1:27pm
Corporations are worldwide entities now. No where to

@Snode

run to. No where to hide. As in the U.K., corporations are seeking to to dismantle the NHS and turn it into a for-profit system like ours. Even as the gilllet-jaune protesters risk life and limb, Macron seeks to install true neoliberalism in France. And the beat goes on.

snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 5:41pm
Yep you nailed it

@Snode

Corporations can live far beyond a persons lifespan. Corporations can commit homicide and escape execution and justice.

Look at what chevron did to people in Borapol. I'm sure I spelled this wrong but hopefully people will know what I'm talking about. They killed lots of people and poisoned their land for decades and the fight over it is still going on. How many decades more will chevron get to skirt justice? Banks continue to commit fraud and they only get little fines that don't do jack to keep them from doing it again. Even cities are screwing people. Owe a few dollars on your property taxes and they will take your home and sell it for pennies on the dollar. How in hell can it be legal to charge people over 600% interest? What happened to usury rules if that's the correct term.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 5:51pm
They've done it all over the world...

@snoopydawg

The International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled last week that a prior ruling by an Ecuadorean court that fined Chevron $9.5 billion in 2011 should be upheld, according to teleSUR, a Latin American news agency. Texaco, which is currently a part of Chevron, is responsible for what is considered one of the world's largest environmental disasters while it drilled for oil in the Ecuadorian rainforest from 1964 to 1990.
https://www.ecowatch.com/will-chevron-and-exxon-ever-be-held-responsible...

snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 7:13pm
It's just unbelievable that they can still dodge responsibilit

@Lookout

for decades of polluting and killing.

The legal battle has been tied up in the courts for years. Ecuador's highest court finally upheld the ruling in January 2014, but Chevron refused to pay.

This is another thing that corporations get away with. Contaminating land and then just walking away from it. How many superfund sites have we had to pay for instead of the ones who created the mess. Just declared bankruptcy and walked away. Corporations are people? Fine then they should be held as accountable as the people in the lower classes. Fat chance though right?

Lily O Lady on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 6:01pm
Union Carbide India was responsible for the Bopal disaster.
snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 7:16pm
Thanks for the save

@Lily O Lady

Weren't people killed by a gas cloud released from the plant? I read something recently that said the case is still going through the courts. How much money have they spent trying not to spend more?

snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 12:27pm
7 year old concerned about the Uighers

//www.youtube.com/embed/wGq0xVh6UJw?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 12:36pm
The comments are supportive of Tulsi

@snoopydawg

....and no I had not seen that clip. Tulsi impresses me in many ways and the manner in which she treats this child is an example.

Especially as compared to Joe ByeDone's adolescent behavior...

//www.youtube.com/embed/mKV0oAPENdg?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 1:09pm
Ugh

@Lookout @Lookout

Byedone just needs to pack it in and drop out already. Today he was defending the republican party after someone said something about them needing to go away. Joe said that we need another party so one does not get more power than the other. Yeah right, Joe. It's not like the Pubs are already weilding power they don't have and them dems cowering and supporting them.

Newsweek reporter quit after being censored on the OPCW story.

I have collected evidence of how they suppressed the story in addition to evidence from another case where info inconvenient to US govt was removed, though it was factually correct.

-- Tareq Haddad (@Tareq_Haddad) December 7, 2019

ANd great news for Max Bluementhal!!

BREAKING: The US government has DROPPED ITS BOGUS CASE against me and @NotConq .

I was hauled out of my house by a team of cops, jailed for two days, and maliciously defamed due to the lies of the US-backed Venezuelan opposition.

I plan to seek justice. https://t.co/Wm7Yl8cL2T

-- Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) December 7, 2019

Thanks for the wound up, LO. Lots of great stuff here to go back and digest.

#9

....and no I had not seen that clip. Tulsi impresses me in many ways and the manner in which she treats this child is an example.

Especially as compared to Joe ByeDone's adolescent behavior...

data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 1:22pm
Glad to see Max vindicated

@snoopydawg

...thanks for the news.

Caity had a nice piece on Consortiumnews on the newsweek story...
https://consortiumnews.com/2019/12/08/journalist-newsweek-suppressed-opc...

Lily O Lady on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 1:44pm
Bipartisanship is big now. It's how politicians hide their dirty dealings.

@snoopydawg

First frustrate us with gridlock. Then pass bills benefiting the corporate overlords. Then leading up to elections pass bills like the one against animal cruelty (who doesn't love kitties and puppies?), or propose a bill to consider regulating cosmetics. This second bipartisan effort is glaringly cynical since no one apparently knows what is in beauty products. Sanders must have politicians worried for them to attempt something which has managed to go unregulated for so long.

All this bipartisanship is not even up to the level of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. It's more like wiping at them with a dirty rag while the ship of state continues to sink. While animal cruelty and cosmetic safety are important issues, they pale in comparison to the systemic ills America suffers. Our fearless leaders will continue to scratch the surface while corruption and business as usual continue to fester. These bipartisan laws may look good on a politician's resume, but they won't really help the 99%.

CB on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 5:35pm
Looks like the PTB are starting to crank up

@snoopydawg
the propaganda to give NATO a raison d'être for a pivot to China. This will be doomed to complete failure just as the Russian pivot has.

But Putin and Xi Jinping are both much too skilled and intelligent to defeat. American WWE trash talkers are completely outclassed by an 8th dan in judo paired with a Sun Tzu scholar.

Tomoe nage - use your opponent's weight and aggression against him.

"If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected ."
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Thank you Barack and Hillary...

CB on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:39pm
Neither Russia nor China want the US or US$ to collapse too quickly. It would be devastating for the entire world if it happened suddenly.

@Lookout
What they want is a controlled collapse. If they can get the US to continue to overspend on war mongering rather than programs of social uplift the country will rot from the inside.

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Meanwhile, back in the Motherland: //www.youtube.com/embed/acPgB_rhdfA

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 3:25pm
corporate corruption is low fanging fruit

@Pluto's Republic

So much more to say really. Had to stop somewhere but as you know the corruption runs deep and is intermixed with the CIA/FBI/MIC corporate government under which we live.

On we go as best we can!

There is great dignity in the objective truth. Perhaps because it never flows through the contaminated minds of the unworthy.

smiley7 on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 7:43pm
Excellent Watch, Lookout,

Corporate charters were initially meant to be for the public good if i'm not mistaken in recall, it was a trade-off for their privilege to exist. Maybe a movement political leader could highlight this and move the pendulum back to accountability.

Had a conversation with good friend today, a 3M rep, and he was griping about his competitor's shady marketing product practices apparently lying to manufacturers about the grades and contents of their competing products.

smiley7 on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 7:53pm
A timely piece to go with your conversation of today:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/dec/07/kochland-review-koch-bro...

Battle of Blair... on Mon, 12/09/2019 - 8:37am
I want that flag.

Where can I buy that flag? I will raise it and sing the corporate anthem

"God bless Generica.
Land that is owned.
By the wealthy, unhealthy
As that might be for those being pwnd.

From the Walmart to McDonalds to the corner Dominooooos.
God Bless Generica
My high rent home.

[Feb 23, 2020] Welcome to the American Regime

Highly recommended!
Feb 23, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

4 hours ago

Is America a 'regime'?

In the language of the American Oligarchy and it's tame and owned presstitutes on the MSM, any country targeted for destabilisation, destruction and rape – either because it doesn't do what America tells it do (Russia), because it has rich natural resources or has a 'socialist' state (Venezuela) or because lunatic neo-cons and even more lunatic Christian Evangelicals (hoping to provoke The End Times ) want it to happen (Syria and Iran) – is first labelled as a 'regime'.

That's because the word 'regime' is associated with dictatorships and human rights abuses and establishing a non-compliant country as a 'regime' is the US government's and MSM's first step at manufacturing public consent for that country's destruction.

Unfortunately if you sit back and talk a cool-headed, factual look at actions and attitudes that we're told constitute a regime then you have to conclude that America itself is 'a regime'.

So, here's why America is a regime:

4 hours ago

America's Military is Killing – Americans!

In 2018, Republicans (AND Democrats) voted to cut $23 billion dollars from the budget for food stamps (42 million Americans currently receive them).

Fats forward to 21 December 2019 and Donald Trump signed off on a US defense budget of a mind boggling $738 billion dollars.

To put that in context  --  the annual US government Education budget is sround $68 billion dollars.

Did you get that  --  $738 billion on defense, $68 billion on education?

That means the government spends more than ten times on preparations to kill people than it does on preparing children for life in the adult world.

Wow!

How ******* psychotic and death-affirming is that? It gets even worse when you consider that that $716 billion dollars is only the headline figure – it doesn't include whatever the Deep State siphons away into black-ops and kick backs. And .America's military isn't even very good – it's hasn't 'won' a conflict since the second world war, it's proud (and horrifically expensive) aircraft carriers have been rendered obsolete by Chinese and Russian hypersonic missiles and its 'cutting edge' weapons are so good (not) that everyone wants to buy the cheaper and better Russian versions: classic example – the F-35 jet program will screw $1.5 TRILLION (yes, TRILLION) dollars out of US taxpayers but but it's a piece of **** plane that doesn't work properly which the Russians laughingly refer to as 'a flying piano'.

In contrast to America's free money for the military industrial complex defense budget, China spends $165 billion and Russia spends $61 billion on defense and I don't see anyone attacking them (well, except America, that is be it only by proxy for now).

Or, put things another way. The United Kingdom spent £110 billion on it's National Health Service in 2017. That means, if you get sick in England, you can see a doctor for free. If you need drugs you pay a prescription charge of around $11.50(nothing, if unemployed, a child or elderly), whatever the market price of the drugs. If you need to see a consultant or medical specialist, you'll see one for free. If you need an operation, you'll get one for free. If you need on-going care for a chronic illness, you'll get it for free.

Fully socialised, free at the point of access, healthcare for all. How good is that?

US citizens could have that, too.

Allowing for the US's larger population, the UK National Health Service transplanted to America could cost about $650 billion a year. That would still leave $66 billion dollars left over from the proposed defense budget of $716 billion to finance weapons of death and destruction   --  more than those 'evil Ruskies' spend.

The US has now been at war, somewhere in the world (i.e in someone elses' country where the US doesn't have any business being) continuously for 28 years. Those 28 years have coincided with (for the 'ordinary people', anyway) declining living standards, declining real wages, increased police violence, more repression and surveillance, declining lifespans, declining educational and health outcomes, more every day misery in other words, America's military is killing Americans. Oh, and millions of people in far away countries (although, obviously, those deaths are in far away countries and they are of brown-skinned people so they don't really count, do they?).

Time for a change, perhaps?

[Feb 23, 2020] Where Have You Gone, Smedley Butler The Last General To Criticize US Imperialism by Danny Sjursen

Here's a link to a free online copy of War is a Racket if anyone wants to read it. It's a short read. Pretty good too. https://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html
From comments (Is the USA government now a "regime"): In 2018, Republicans (AND Democrats) voted to cut $23 billion dollars from the budget for food stamps (42 million Americans currently receive them). Regimes disobey international law. Like America's habit of blowing up wedding parties with drones or the illegal presence of its troops in Syria, Iraq and God knows where else. Regimes carry out illegal assassination programs – I need say no more here than Qasem Soleimani. Regimes use their economic power to bully and impose their will – sanctioning countries even when they know those sanctions will, for example, be responsible for the death of 500,000 Iraqi children (the 'price worth paying', remember?). Regimes renege on international treaties – like Iran nuclear treaty, for example. Regimes imprison and hound whistle-blowers – like Chelsea manning and Julian Assange. Regimes imprison people. America is the world leader in incarceration. It has 2.2 million people in its prisons (more than China which has 5 times the US's population), that's 25% of the world's prison population for 5% of the world's population, Why does America need so many prisoners? Because it has a massive, prison-based, slave labour business that is hugely profitable for the oligarchy.
Regimes censor free speech. Just recently, we've seen numerous non-narrative following journalists and organisations kicked off numerous social media platforms. I didn't see lots of US senators standing up and saying 'I disagree completely with what you say but I will fight to the death to preserve your right to say it'. Did you?
Regimes are ruled by cliques. I don't need to tell you that America is kakistocratic Oligarchy ruled by a tiny group of evil, rich, Old Men, do I?
Regimes keep bad company. Their allies are other 'regimes', and they're often lumped together by using another favourite presstitute term – 'axis of evil'. America has its own little axis of evil. It's two main allies are Saudi Arabia – a homophobic, women hating, head chopping, terrorist financing state currently engaged in a war of genocide (assisted by the US) in Yemen – and the racist, genocidal undeclared nuclear power state of Israel.
Regimes commit human rights abuses. Here we could talk about…ooh…let's think. Last year's treatment of child refugees from Latin America, the execution of African Americans for 'walking whilst black' by America's militarized, criminal police force or the millions of dollars in cash and property seized from entirely innocent Americans by that same police force under 'civil forfeiture' laws or maybe we could mention huge American corporations getting tax refunds whilst ordinary Americans can't afford decent, effective healthcare.
Regimes finance terrorism. Mmmm….just like America financed terrorists to help destroy Syria and Libya and invested $5 billion dollars to install another regime – the one of anti-Semites and Nazis in Ukraine…
Highly recommended!
Some comments edited for clarity...
Notable quotes:
"... But after retirement, Smedley Butler changed his tune. ..."
"... "I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service... And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the Bankers." ..."
"... Smedley Butler's Marine Corps and the military of his day was, in certain ways, a different sort of organization than today's highly professionalized armed forces. History rarely repeats itself, not in a literal sense anyway. Still, there are some disturbing similarities between the careers of Butler and today's generation of forever-war fighters. All of them served repeated tours of duty in (mostly) unsanctioned wars around the world. Butler's conflicts may have stretched west from Haiti across the oceans to China, whereas today's generals mostly lead missions from West Africa east to Central Asia, but both sets of conflicts seemed perpetual in their day and were motivated by barely concealed economic and imperial interests. ..."
"... When Smedley Butler retired in 1931, he was one of three Marine Corps major generals holding a rank just below that of only the Marine commandant and the Army chief of staff. Today, with about 900 generals and admirals currently serving on active duty, including 24 major generals in the Marine Corps alone, and with scores of flag officers retiring annually, not a single one has offered genuine public opposition to almost 19 years worth of ill-advised, remarkably unsuccessful American wars . As for the most senior officers, the 40 four-star generals and admirals whose vocal antimilitarism might make the biggest splash, there are more of them today than there were even at the height of the Vietnam War, although the active military is now about half the size it was then. Adulated as many of them may be, however, not one qualifies as a public critic of today's failing wars. ..."
"... The big three are Secretary of State Colin Powell's former chief of staff, retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson ; Vietnam veteran and onetime West Point history instructor, retired Colonel Andrew Bacevich ; and Iraq veteran and Afghan War whistleblower , retired Lieutenant Colonel Danny Davis . All three have proven to be genuine public servants, poignant voices, and -- on some level -- cherished personal mentors. For better or worse, however, none carry the potential clout of a retired senior theater commander or prominent four-star general offering the same critiques. ..."
"... Consider it an irony of sorts that this system first received criticism in our era of forever wars when General David Petraeus, then commanding the highly publicized " surge " in Iraq, had to leave that theater of war in 2007 to serve as the chair of that selection committee. The reason: he wanted to ensure that a twice passed-over colonel, a protégé of his -- future Trump National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster -- earned his star. ..."
"... At the roots of this system lay the obsession of the American officer corps with " professionalization " after the Vietnam War debacle. This first manifested itself in a decision to ditch the citizen-soldier tradition, end the draft, and create an "all-volunteer force." The elimination of conscription, as predicted by critics at the time, created an ever-growing civil-military divide, even as it increased public apathy regarding America's wars by erasing whatever " skin in the game " most citizens had. ..."
"... One group of generals, however, reportedly now does have it out for President Trump -- but not because they're opposed to endless war. Rather, they reportedly think that The Donald doesn't "listen enough to military advice" on, you know, how to wage war forever and a day. ..."
"... That beast, first identified by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, is now on steroids as American commanders in retirement regularly move directly from the military onto the boards of the giant defense contractors, a reality which only contributes to the dearth of Butlers in the military retiree community. For all the corruption of his time, the Pentagon didn't yet exist and the path from the military to, say, United Fruit Company, Standard Oil, or other typical corporate giants of that moment had yet to be normalized for retiring generals and admirals. Imagine what Butler would have had to say about the modern phenomenon of the " revolving door " in Washington. ..."
"... Today, generals don't seem to have a thought of their own even in retirement. And more's the pity... ..."
"... Am I the only one to notice that Hollywood and it's film distributors have gone full bore on "war" productions, glorifying these historical events while using poetic license to rewrite history. Prepping the numbheads. ..."
"... Forget rank. As Mr Sjursen implies, dissidents are no longer allowed in the higher ranks. "They" made sure to fix this as Mr Butler had too much of a mind of his own (US education system also programmed against creative, charismatic thinkers, btw). ..."
"... Today, the "Masters of the Permawars" refer to the international extortion, MIC, racket as "Defending American Interests"! .....With never any explanation to the public/American taxpayer just what "American Interests" the incredible expenditures of American lives, blood, and treasure are being defended! ..."
"... "The Americans follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous." - Jospeh Goebbels ..."
"... The greatest anti-imperialist of our times is Michael Parenti: ..."
"... The obvious types of American fascists are dealt with on the air and in the press. These demagogues and stooges are fronts for others. Dangerous as these people may be, they are not so significant as thousands of other people who have never been mentioned. The really dangerous American fascists are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power. ..."
"... If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. Most American fascists are enthusiastically supporting the war effort. ..."
Feb 23, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Danny Sjursen via TomDispatch.com,

There once lived an odd little man - five feet nine inches tall and barely 140 pounds sopping wet - who rocked the lecture circuit and the nation itself. For all but a few activist insiders and scholars, U.S. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Darlington Butler is now lost to history. Yet more than a century ago, this strange contradiction of a man would become a national war hero, celebrated in pulp adventure novels, and then, 30 years later, as one of this country's most prominent antiwar and anti-imperialist dissidents.

Raised in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and educated in Quaker (pacifist) schools, the son of an influential congressman, he would end up serving in nearly all of America's " Banana Wars " from 1898 to 1931. Wounded in combat and a rare recipient of two Congressional Medals of Honor, he would retire as the youngest, most decorated major general in the Marines.

A teenage officer and a certified hero during an international intervention in the Chinese Boxer Rebellion of 1900, he would later become a constabulary leader of the Haitian gendarme, the police chief of Philadelphia (while on an approved absence from the military), and a proponent of Marine Corps football. In more standard fashion, he would serve in battle as well as in what might today be labeled peacekeeping , counterinsurgency , and advise-and-assist missions in Cuba, China, the Philippines, Panama, Nicaragua, Mexico, Haiti, France, and China (again). While he showed early signs of skepticism about some of those imperial campaigns or, as they were sardonically called by critics at the time, " Dollar Diplomacy " operations -- that is, military campaigns waged on behalf of U.S. corporate business interests -- until he retired he remained the prototypical loyal Marine.

But after retirement, Smedley Butler changed his tune. He began to blast the imperialist foreign policy and interventionist bullying in which he'd only recently played such a prominent part. Eventually, in 1935 during the Great Depression, in what became a classic passage in his memoir, which he titled "War Is a Racket," he wrote:

"I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service... And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the Bankers."

Seemingly overnight, the famous war hero transformed himself into an equally acclaimed antiwar speaker and activist in a politically turbulent era. Those were, admittedly, uncommonly anti-interventionist years, in which veterans and politicians alike promoted what (for America, at least) had been fringe ideas. This was, after all, the height of what later pro-war interventionists would pejoratively label American " isolationism ."

Nonetheless, Butler was unique (for that moment and certainly for our own) in his unapologetic amenability to left-wing domestic politics and materialist critiques of American militarism. In the last years of his life, he would face increasing criticism from his former admirer, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the military establishment, and the interventionist press. This was particularly true after Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany invaded Poland and later France. Given the severity of the Nazi threat to mankind, hindsight undoubtedly proved Butler's virulent opposition to U.S. intervention in World War II wrong.

Nevertheless, the long-term erasure of his decade of antiwar and anti-imperialist activism and the assumption that all his assertions were irrelevant has proven historically deeply misguided. In the wake of America's brief but bloody entry into the First World War, the skepticism of Butler (and a significant part of an entire generation of veterans) about intervention in a new European bloodbath should have been understandable. Above all, however, his critique of American militarism of an earlier imperial era in the Pacific and in Latin America remains prescient and all too timely today, especially coming as it did from one of the most decorated and high-ranking general officers of his time. (In the era of the never-ending war on terror, such a phenomenon is quite literally inconceivable.)

Smedley Butler's Marine Corps and the military of his day was, in certain ways, a different sort of organization than today's highly professionalized armed forces. History rarely repeats itself, not in a literal sense anyway. Still, there are some disturbing similarities between the careers of Butler and today's generation of forever-war fighters. All of them served repeated tours of duty in (mostly) unsanctioned wars around the world. Butler's conflicts may have stretched west from Haiti across the oceans to China, whereas today's generals mostly lead missions from West Africa east to Central Asia, but both sets of conflicts seemed perpetual in their day and were motivated by barely concealed economic and imperial interests.

Nonetheless, whereas this country's imperial campaigns of the first third of the twentieth century generated a Smedley Butler, the hyper-interventionism of the first decades of this century hasn't produced a single even faintly comparable figure. Not one. Zero. Zilch. Why that is matters and illustrates much about the U.S. military establishment and contemporary national culture, none of it particularly encouraging.

Why No Antiwar Generals

When Smedley Butler retired in 1931, he was one of three Marine Corps major generals holding a rank just below that of only the Marine commandant and the Army chief of staff. Today, with about 900 generals and admirals currently serving on active duty, including 24 major generals in the Marine Corps alone, and with scores of flag officers retiring annually, not a single one has offered genuine public opposition to almost 19 years worth of ill-advised, remarkably unsuccessful American wars . As for the most senior officers, the 40 four-star generals and admirals whose vocal antimilitarism might make the biggest splash, there are more of them today than there were even at the height of the Vietnam War, although the active military is now about half the size it was then. Adulated as many of them may be, however, not one qualifies as a public critic of today's failing wars.

Instead, the principal patriotic dissent against those terror wars has come from retired colonels, lieutenant colonels, and occasionally more junior officers (like me), as well as enlisted service members. Not that there are many of us to speak of either. I consider it disturbing (and so should you) that I personally know just about every one of the retired military figures who has spoken out against America's forever wars.

The big three are Secretary of State Colin Powell's former chief of staff, retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson ; Vietnam veteran and onetime West Point history instructor, retired Colonel Andrew Bacevich ; and Iraq veteran and Afghan War whistleblower , retired Lieutenant Colonel Danny Davis . All three have proven to be genuine public servants, poignant voices, and -- on some level -- cherished personal mentors. For better or worse, however, none carry the potential clout of a retired senior theater commander or prominent four-star general offering the same critiques.

Something must account for veteran dissenters topping out at the level of colonel. Obviously, there are personal reasons why individual officers chose early retirement or didn't make general or admiral. Still, the system for selecting flag officers should raise at least a few questions when it comes to the lack of antiwar voices among retired commanders. In fact, a selection committee of top generals and admirals is appointed each year to choose the next colonels to earn their first star. And perhaps you won't be surprised to learn that, according to numerous reports , "the members of this board are inclined, if not explicitly motivated, to seek candidates in their own image -- officers whose careers look like theirs." At a minimal level, such a system is hardly built to foster free thinkers, no less breed potential dissidents.

Consider it an irony of sorts that this system first received criticism in our era of forever wars when General David Petraeus, then commanding the highly publicized " surge " in Iraq, had to leave that theater of war in 2007 to serve as the chair of that selection committee. The reason: he wanted to ensure that a twice passed-over colonel, a protégé of his -- future Trump National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster -- earned his star.

Mainstream national security analysts reported on this affair at the time as if it were a major scandal, since most of them were convinced that Petraeus and his vaunted counterinsurgency or " COINdinista " protégés and their " new " war-fighting doctrine had the magic touch that would turn around the failing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, Petraeus tried to apply those very tactics twice -- once in each country -- as did acolytes of his later, and you know the results of that.

But here's the point: it took an eleventh-hour intervention by America's most acclaimed general of that moment to get new stars handed out to prominent colonels who had, until then, been stonewalled by Cold War-bred flag officers because they were promoting different (but also strangely familiar) tactics in this country's wars. Imagine, then, how likely it would be for such a leadership system to produce genuine dissenters with stars of any serious sort, no less a crew of future Smedley Butlers.

At the roots of this system lay the obsession of the American officer corps with " professionalization " after the Vietnam War debacle. This first manifested itself in a decision to ditch the citizen-soldier tradition, end the draft, and create an "all-volunteer force." The elimination of conscription, as predicted by critics at the time, created an ever-growing civil-military divide, even as it increased public apathy regarding America's wars by erasing whatever " skin in the game " most citizens had.

More than just helping to squelch civilian antiwar activism, though, the professionalization of the military, and of the officer corps in particular, ensured that any future Smedley Butlers would be left in the dust (or in retirement at the level of lieutenant colonel or colonel) by a system geared to producing faux warrior-monks. Typical of such figures is current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Mark Milley. He may speak gruffly and look like a man with a head of his own, but typically he's turned out to be just another yes-man for another war-power -hungry president.

One group of generals, however, reportedly now does have it out for President Trump -- but not because they're opposed to endless war. Rather, they reportedly think that The Donald doesn't "listen enough to military advice" on, you know, how to wage war forever and a day.

What Would Smedley Butler Think Today?

In his years of retirement, Smedley Butler regularly focused on the economic component of America's imperial war policies. He saw clearly that the conflicts he had fought in, the elections he had helped rig, the coups he had supported, and the constabularies he had formed and empowered in faraway lands had all served the interests of U.S. corporate investors. Though less overtly the case today, this still remains a reality in America's post-9/11 conflicts, even on occasion embarrassingly so (as when the Iraqi ministry of oil was essentially the only public building protected by American troops as looters tore apart the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, in the post-invasion chaos of April 2003). Mostly, however, such influence plays out far more subtly than that, both abroad and here at home where those wars help maintain the record profits of the top weapons makers of the military-industrial complex.

That beast, first identified by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, is now on steroids as American commanders in retirement regularly move directly from the military onto the boards of the giant defense contractors, a reality which only contributes to the dearth of Butlers in the military retiree community. For all the corruption of his time, the Pentagon didn't yet exist and the path from the military to, say, United Fruit Company, Standard Oil, or other typical corporate giants of that moment had yet to be normalized for retiring generals and admirals. Imagine what Butler would have had to say about the modern phenomenon of the " revolving door " in Washington.

Of course, he served in a very different moment, one in which military funding and troop levels were still contested in Congress. As a longtime critic of capitalist excesses who wrote for leftist publications and supported the Socialist Party candidate in the 1936 presidential elections, Butler would have found today's nearly trillion-dollar annual defense budgets beyond belief. What the grizzled former Marine long ago identified as a treacherous nexus between warfare and capital "in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives" seems to have reached its natural end point in the twenty-first century. Case in point: the record (and still rising ) "defense" spending of the present moment, including -- to please a president -- the creation of a whole new military service aimed at the full-scale militarization of space .

Sadly enough, in the age of Trump, as numerous polls demonstrate, the U.S. military is the only public institution Americans still truly trust. Under the circumstances, how useful it would be to have a high-ranking, highly decorated, charismatic retired general in the Butler mold galvanize an apathetic public around those forever wars of ours. Unfortunately, the likelihood of that is practically nil, given the military system of our moment.

Of course, Butler didn't exactly end his life triumphantly. In late May 1940, having lost 25 pounds due to illness and exhaustion -- and demonized as a leftist, isolationist crank but still maintaining a whirlwind speaking schedule -- he checked himself into the Philadelphia Navy Yard Hospital for a "rest." He died there, probably of some sort of cancer, four weeks later. Working himself to death in his 10-year retirement and second career as a born-again antiwar activist, however, might just have constituted the very best service that the two-time Medal of Honor winner could have given the nation he loved to the very end.

Someone of his credibility, character, and candor is needed more than ever today. Unfortunately, this military generation is unlikely to produce such a figure. In retirement, Butler himself boldly confessed that, "like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical..."

Today, generals don't seem to have a thought of their own even in retirement. And more's the pity...

2 minutes ago
Am I the only one to notice that Hollywood and it's film distributors have gone full bore on "war" productions, glorifying these historical events while using poetic license to rewrite history. Prepping the numbheads.
14 minutes ago
TULSI GABBARD.

Forget rank. As Mr Sjursen implies, dissidents are no longer allowed in the higher ranks. "They" made sure to fix this as Mr Butler had too much of a mind of his own (US education system also programmed against creative, charismatic thinkers, btw).

The US Space Force has been created as part of a plan to disclose the deep state's Secret Space Program (SSP), which has been active for decades, and which has utilized, and repressed, advanced technologies that would provide free, unlimited renewable energy, and thus eliminate hunger and poverty on a planetary scale.

14 minutes ago
14 minutes ago

ALL wars are EVIL. Period .

29 minutes ago

Sadly enough, in the age of Trump, as numerous polls demonstrate, the U.S. military is the only public institution Americans still truly trust. Under the circumstances, how useful it would be to have a high-ranking, highly decorated, charismatic retired general in the Butler mold galvanize an apathetic public around those forever wars of ours. Unfortunately, the likelihood of that is practically nil, given the military system of our moment.

This is why I feel an oath keeping constitutionally oriented American general is what we need in power, clear out all 545 criminals in office now, review their finances (and most of them will roll over on the others) and punish accordingly, then the lobbyist, how many of them worked against the country? You know what we do with those.

And then, finally, Hollywood, oh yes I long to see that **** hole burn with everyone in it.

30 minutes ago
Republicrat: the two faces of the moar war whore.
32 minutes ago

Given the severity of the Nazi threat to mankind

Do tell, from what I've read the Nazis were really only a threat to a few groups, the rest of us didn't need to worry.

35 minutes ago
Today, the "Masters of the Permawars" refer to the international extortion, MIC, racket as "Defending American Interests"! .....With never any explanation to the public/American taxpayer just what "American Interests" the incredible expenditures of American lives, blood, and treasure are being defended!

Why are we sending our children out into the hellholes of the world to be maimed and killed in the fauxjew banksters' quest for world domination.

How stupid can we be!

41 minutes ago
(Edited) "Smedley Butler"... The last time the UCMJ was actually used before being permanently turned into a "door stop"!
49 minutes ago
He was correct about our staying out of WWII. Which, BTW, would have never happened if we had stayed out of WWI.
22 minutes ago
(Edited) Both wars were about the international fauxjew imposition of debt-money central bankstering.

Both wars were promulgated by the Financial oligarchyof New York. The communist Red Army of Russia was funded and supplied by the Financial oligarchyof New York. It was American Financial oligarchythat built the Russian Red Army that vexed the world and created the Cold War. How many hundreds of millions of goyim were sacrificed to create both the Russian and the Chinese Satanic behemoths.......and the communist horror that is now embedded in American academia, publishing, American politics, so-called news, entertainment, The worldwide Catholic religion, the Pentagon, and the American deep state.......and more!

How stupid can we be. Every generation has the be dragged, kicking and screaming, out of the eternal maw of historical ignorance to avoid falling back into the myriad dark hellholes of history. As we all should know, people who forget their own history are doomed to repeat it.

53 minutes ago
Today's General is a robot with with a DNA.
54 minutes ago
All the General Staff is a bunch of #asskissinglittlechickenshits
57 minutes ago
want to stop senseless Empire wars>>well do this

War = jobs and profit..we get work "THEY" get the profit.. If we taxed all war related profit at 99% how many wars would our rulers start? 1 hour ago

Here is a simple straightforward trading maxim that might apply here: if it works or is working keep doing it, but if it doesn't work or stops working, then STOP doing it. There are plenty of people, now poorer, for not adhering to that simple principle. Where is the Taxpayer's return on investment from the Combat taking place on their behalf around the globe? 'Nuff said - it isn't working. It is making a microscopic few richer & all others poorer so STOP doing it. 36 seconds ago We don't have to look far to figure out who they are that are getting rich off the fauxjew permawars.

How can we be so stupid???

1 hour ago

See also:

TULSI GABBARD

1 hour ago

The main reason you don't see the generals criticizing is that the current crop have not been in actual long term direct combat with the enemy and have mostly been bureaucratic paper pushers.

Take the Marine Major General who is the current commander of CENTCOM. By the time he got into the Iraq/Afghanistan war he was already a Lieutenant Colonel and far removed from direct action.

He was only there on and off for a few years. Here are some of his other career highlights aft as they appear on his official bio:

In short, these top guys aren't warriors they're bureaucrats so why would we expect them to be honest brokers of the truth?

51 minutes ago

are U saying Chesty Puller he's NOT? 1 hour ago
(Edited) The purpose of war is to ensure that the Federal Reserve Note remains the world reserve paper currency of choice by keeping it relevant and in demand across the globe by forcing pesky energy producing nations to trade with it exclusively.

It is a 49 year old policy created by the private owners of quasi public institutions called central banks to ensure they remain the Wizards of Oz doing gods work conjuring magic paper into existence with a secret spell known as issuing credit.

How else is a technologically advanced society of billions of people supposed to function w/out this divinely inspired paper?

1 hour ago

Goebbels in "Churchill's Lie Factory" where he said: "The Americans follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous." - Jospeh Goebbels, "Aus Churchills Lügenfabrik," 12. january 1941, Die Zeit ohne Beispiel

1 hour ago

The greatest anti-imperialist of our times is Michael Parenti:

Imperialism has been the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries, carving up whole continents while oppressing indigenous peoples and obliterating entire civilizations. Yet, it is seldom accorded any serious attention by our academics, media commentators, and political leaders. When not ignored outright, the subject of imperialism has been sanitized, so that empires become "commonwealths," and colonies become "territories" or "dominions" (or, as in the case of Puerto Rico, "commonwealths" too). Imperialist military interventions become matters of "national defense," "national security," and maintaining "stability" in one or another region. In this book I want to look at imperialism for what it really is.

https://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/imperialism.html

49 minutes ago
"Imperialism has been the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries, carving up whole continents while oppressing indigenous peoples and obliterating entire civilizations. Yet, it is seldom accorded any serious attention by our academics, media commentators, and political leaders."

Why would it when they who control academia, media and most of our politicians are our enemies.

1 hour ago

"The big three are Secretary of State Colin Powell's former chief of staff, retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson ; ..."

Yep, Wilkerson, who leaked Valerie Plame's name, not that it was a leak, to Novak, and then stood by to watch the grand jury fry Scooter Libby. Wilkerson, that paragon of moral rectitude. Wilkerson the silent, that *******.

sheesh,

1 hour ago
(Edited)

" A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people."

James Madison Friday June 29, 1787

https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/debates_629.asp

"What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty.... Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins." (Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment [I Annals of Congress at 750, August 17, 1789])

http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/amendIIs6.html

1 hour ago

A particularly pernicious example of intra-European imperialism was the Nazi aggression during World War II, which gave the German business cartels and the Nazi state an opportunity to plunder the resources and exploit the labor of occupied Europe, including the slave labor of concentration camps. - M. PARENTI, Against empire

See Alexander Parvus

1 hour ago

Collapse is the cure. It's too far gone.

1 hour ago

Russia Wants to 'Jam' F-22 and F-35s in the Middle East: Report

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/russia-wants-jam-f-22-and-f-35s-middle-east-report-121041

1 hour ago

ZH retards think that the American mic is bad and all other mics are good or don't exist. That's the power of brainwashing. Humans understand that war in general is bad, but humans are becoming increasingly rare in this world.

1 hour ago

The obvious types of American fascists are dealt with on the air and in the press. These demagogues and stooges are fronts for others. Dangerous as these people may be, they are not so significant as thousands of other people who have never been mentioned. The really dangerous American fascists are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.

If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. Most American fascists are enthusiastically supporting the war effort.

https://truthout.org/articles/the-dangers-of-american-fascism/

2 hours ago
The swamp is bigger than the military alone. Substitute Bureaucrat, Statesman, or Beltway Bandit for General and Colonel in your writing above and you've got a whole new article to post that is just as true.
2 hours ago
(Edited) War = jobs and profit..we get work "THEY" get the profit..If we taxed all war related profit at 99% how many wars would our rulers start?
2 hours ago [edited for clarity]
War is a racket. And nobody loves a racket more than Financial oligarchy. Americans come close though, that's why Financial oligarchy use them to project their own rackets and provide protection reprisals.

[Feb 07, 2020] How They Sold the Iraq War by Jeffrey St. Clair

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Americans were the victims of an elaborate con job, pelted with a daily barrage of threat inflation, distortions, deceptions and lies, not about tactics or strategy or war plans, but about justifications for war. The lies were aimed not at confusing Saddam's regime, but the American people. By the start of the war, 66 per cent of Americans thought Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 and 79 per cent thought he was close to having a nuclear weapon. ..."
"... This charade wouldn't have worked without a gullible or a complicit press corps. Victoria Clarke, who developed the Pentagon plan for embedded reports, put it succinctly a few weeks before the war began: "Media coverage of any future operation will to a large extent shape public perception." ..."
"... During the Vietnam War, TV images of maimed GIs and napalmed villages suburbanized opposition to the war and helped hasten the U.S. withdrawal. The Bush gang meant to turn the Vietnam phenomenon on its head by using TV as a force to propel the U.S.A. into a war that no one really wanted. ..."
"... When the Pentagon needed a heroic story, the press obliged. Jessica Lynch became the war's first instant celebrity. Here was a neo-gothic tale of a steely young woman wounded in a fierce battle, captured and tortured by ruthless enemies, and dramatically saved from certain death by a team of selfless rescuers, knights in camo and night-vision goggles. ..."
"... Back in 1988, the Post felt much differently about Saddam and his weapons of mass destruction. When reports trickled out about the gassing of Iranian troops, the Washington Post's editorial page shrugged off the massacres, calling the mass poisonings "a quirk of war." ..."
"... The Bush team displayed a similar amnesia. When Iraq used chemical weapons in grisly attacks on Iran, the U.S. government not only didn't object, it encouraged Saddam. ..."
"... Nothing sums up this unctuous approach more brazenly than MSNBC's firing of liberal talk show host Phil Donahue on the eve of the war. The network replaced the Donahue Show with a running segment called Countdown: Iraq, featuring the usual nightly coterie of retired generals, security flacks, and other cheerleaders for invasion. ..."
Mar 20, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

The war on Iraq won't be remembered for how it was waged so much as for how it was sold. It was a propaganda war, a war of perception management, where loaded phrases, such as "weapons of mass destruction" and "rogue state" were hurled like precision weapons at the target audience: us.

To understand the Iraq war you don't need to consult generals, but the spin doctors and PR flacks who stage-managed the countdown to war from the murky corridors of Washington where politics, corporate spin and psy-ops spooks cohabit.

Consider the picaresque journey of Tony Blair's plagiarized dossier on Iraq, from a grad student's website to a cut-and-paste job in the prime minister's bombastic speech to the House of Commons. Blair, stubborn and verbose, paid a price for his grandiose puffery. Bush, who looted whole passages from Blair's speech for his own clumsy presentations, has skated freely through the tempest. Why?

Unlike Blair, the Bush team never wanted to present a legal case for war. They had no interest in making any of their allegations about Iraq hold up to a standard of proof. The real effort was aimed at amping up the mood for war by using the psychology of fear.

Facts were never important to the Bush team. They were disposable nuggets that could be discarded at will and replaced by whatever new rationale that played favorably with their polls and focus groups. The war was about weapons of mass destruction one week, al-Qaeda the next. When neither allegation could be substantiated on the ground, the fall back position became the mass graves (many from the Iran/Iraq war where the U.S.A. backed Iraq) proving that Saddam was an evil thug who deserved to be toppled. The motto of the Bush PR machine was: Move on. Don't explain. Say anything to conceal the perfidy behind the real motives for war. Never look back. Accuse the questioners of harboring unpatriotic sensibilities. Eventually, even the cagey Wolfowitz admitted that the official case for war was made mainly to make the invasion palatable, not to justify it.

The Bush claque of neocon hawks viewed the Iraq war as a product and, just like a new pair of Nikes, it required a roll-out campaign to soften up the consumers. The same techniques (and often the same PR gurus) that have been used to hawk cigarettes, SUVs and nuclear waste dumps were deployed to retail the Iraq war. To peddle the invasion, Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell and company recruited public relations gurus into top-level jobs at the Pentagon and the State Department. These spinmeisters soon had more say over how the rationale for war on Iraq should be presented than intelligence agencies and career diplomats. If the intelligence didn't fit the script, it was shaded, retooled or junked.

Take Charlotte Beers whom Powell picked as undersecretary of state in the post-9/11 world. Beers wasn't a diplomat. She wasn't even a politician. She was a grand diva of spin, known on the business and gossip pages as "the queen of Madison Avenue." On the strength of two advertising campaigns, one for Uncle Ben's Rice and another for Head and Shoulder's dandruff shampoo, Beers rocketed to the top of the heap in the PR world, heading two giant PR houses: Ogilvy and Mathers as well as J. Walter Thompson.

At the State Department Beers, who had met Powell in 1995 when they both served on the board of Gulf Airstream, worked at, in Powell's words, "the branding of U.S. foreign policy." She extracted more than $500 million from Congress for her Brand America campaign, which largely focused on beaming U.S. propaganda into the Muslim world, much of it directed at teens.

"Public diplomacy is a vital new arm in what will combat terrorism over time," said Beers. "All of a sudden we are in this position of redefining who America is, not only for ourselves, but for the outside world." Note the rapt attention Beers pays to the manipulation of perception, as opposed, say, to alterations of U.S. policy.

Old-fashioned diplomacy involves direct communication between representatives of nations, a conversational give and take, often fraught with deception (see April Glaspie), but an exchange nonetheless. Public diplomacy, as defined by Beers, is something else entirely. It's a one-way street, a unilateral broadcast of American propaganda directly to the public, domestic and international, a kind of informational carpet-bombing.

The themes of her campaigns were as simplistic and flimsy as a Bush press conference. The American incursions into Afghanistan and Iraq were all about bringing the balm of "freedom" to oppressed peoples. Hence, the title of the U.S. war: Operation Iraqi Freedom, where cruise missiles were depicted as instruments of liberation. Bush himself distilled the Beers equation to its bizarre essence: "This war is about peace."

Beers quietly resigned her post a few weeks before the first volley of tomahawk missiles battered Baghdad. From her point of view, the war itself was already won, the fireworks of shock and awe were all after play.

Over at the Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld drafted Victoria "Torie" Clarke as his director of public affairs. Clarke knew the ropes inside the Beltway. Before becoming Rumsfeld's mouthpiece, she had commanded one of the world's great parlors for powerbrokers: Hill and Knowlton's D.C. office.

Almost immediately upon taking up her new gig, Clarke convened regular meetings with a select group of Washington's top private PR specialists and lobbyists to develop a marketing plan for the Pentagon's forthcoming terror wars. The group was filled with heavy-hitters and was strikingly bipartisan in composition. She called it the Rumsfeld Group and it included PR executive Sheila Tate, columnist Rich Lowry, and Republican political consultant Rich Galen.

The brain trust also boasted top Democratic fixer Tommy Boggs, brother of NPR's Cokie Roberts and son of the late Congressman Hale Boggs of Louisiana. At the very time Boggs was conferring with top Pentagon brass on how to frame the war on terror, he was also working feverishly for the royal family of Saudi Arabia. In 2002 alone, the Saudis paid his Qorvis PR firm $20.2 million to protect its interests in Washington. In the wake of hostile press coverage following the exposure of Saudi links to the 9/11 hijackers, the royal family needed all the well-placed help it could buy. They seem to have gotten their money's worth. Boggs' felicitous influence-peddling may help to explain why the references to Saudi funding of al-Qaeda were dropped from the recent congressional report on the investigation into intelligence failures and 9/11.

According to the trade publication PR Week, the Rumsfeld Group sent "messaging advice" to the Pentagon. The group told Clarke and Rumsfeld that in order to get the American public to buy into the war on terrorism, they needed to suggest a link to nation states, not just nebulous groups such as al-Qaeda. In other words, there needed to be a fixed target for the military campaigns, some distant place to drop cruise missiles and cluster bombs. They suggested the notion (already embedded in Rumsfeld's mind) of playing up the notion of so-called rogue states as the real masters of terrorism. Thus was born the Axis of Evil, which, of course, wasn't an "axis" at all, since two of the states, Iran and Iraq, hated each other, and neither had anything at all to do with the third, North Korea.

Tens of millions in federal money were poured into private public relations and media firms working to craft and broadcast the Bush dictat that Saddam had to be taken out before the Iraqi dictator blew up the world by dropping chemical and nuclear bombs from long-range drones. Many of these PR executives and image consultants were old friends of the high priests in the Bush inner sanctum. Indeed, they were veterans, like Cheney and Powell, of the previous war against Iraq, another engagement that was more spin than combat .

At the top of the list was John Rendon, head of the D.C. firm, the Rendon Group. Rendon is one of Washington's heaviest hitters, a Beltway fixer who never let political affiliation stand in the way of an assignment. Rendon served as a media consultant for Michael Dukakis and Jimmy Carter, as well as Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Whenever the Pentagon wanted to go to war, he offered his services at a price. During Desert Storm, Rendon pulled in $100,000 a month from the Kuwaiti royal family. He followed this up with a $23 million contract from the CIA to produce anti-Saddam propaganda in the region.

As part of this CIA project, Rendon created and named the Iraqi National Congress and tapped his friend Ahmed Chalabi, the shady financier, to head the organization.

Shortly after 9/11, the Pentagon handed the Rendon Group another big assignment: public relations for the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan. Rendon was also deeply involved in the planning and public relations for the pre-emptive war on Iraq, though both Rendon and the Pentagon refuse to disclose the details of the group's work there.

But it's not hard to detect the manipulative hand of Rendon behind many of the Iraq war's signature events, including the toppling of the Saddam statue (by U.S. troops and Chalabi associates) and videotape of jubilant Iraqis waving American flags as the Third Infantry rolled by them. Rendon had pulled off the same stunt in the first Gulf War, handing out American flags to Kuwaitis and herding the media to the orchestrated demonstration. "Where do you think they got those American flags?" clucked Rendon in 1991. "That was my assignment."

The Rendon Group may also have had played a role in pushing the phony intelligence that has now come back to haunt the Bush administration. In December of 2002, Robert Dreyfuss reported that the inner circle of the Bush White House preferred the intelligence coming from Chalabi and his associates to that being proffered by analysts at the CIA.

So Rendon and his circle represented a new kind of off-the-shelf PSYOPs , the privatization of official propaganda. "I am not a national security strategist or a military tactician," said Rendon. "I am a politician, and a person who uses communication to meet public policy or corporate policy objectives. In fact, I am an information warrior and a perception manager."

What exactly, is perception management? The Pentagon defines it this way: "actions to convey and/or deny selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives and objective reasoning." In other words, lying about the intentions of the U.S. government. In a rare display of public frankness, the Pentagon actually let slip its plan (developed by Rendon) to establish a high-level den inside the Department Defense for perception management. They called it the Office of Strategic Influence and among its many missions was to plant false stories in the press.

Nothing stirs the corporate media into outbursts of pious outrage like an official government memo bragging about how the media are manipulated for political objectives. So the New York Times and Washington Post threw indignant fits about the Office of Strategic Influence; the Pentagon shut down the operation, and the press gloated with satisfaction on its victory. Yet, Rumsfeld told the Pentagon press corps that while he was killing the office, the same devious work would continue. "You can have the corpse," said Rumsfeld. "You can have the name. But I'm going to keep doing every single thing that needs to be done. And I have."

At a diplomatic level, despite the hired guns and the planted stories, this image war was lost. It failed to convince even America's most fervent allies and dependent client states that Iraq posed much of a threat. It failed to win the blessing of the U.N. and even NATO, a wholly owned subsidiary of Washington. At the end of the day, the vaunted coalition of the willing consisted of Britain, Spain, Italy, Australia, and a cohort of former Soviet bloc nations. Even so, the citizens of the nations that cast their lot with the U.S.A. overwhelmingly opposed the war.

Domestically, it was a different story. A population traumatized by terror threats and shattered economy became easy prey for the saturation bombing of the Bush message that Iraq was a terrorist state linked to al-Qaeda that was only minutes away from launching attacks on America with weapons of mass destruction.

Americans were the victims of an elaborate con job, pelted with a daily barrage of threat inflation, distortions, deceptions and lies, not about tactics or strategy or war plans, but about justifications for war. The lies were aimed not at confusing Saddam's regime, but the American people. By the start of the war, 66 per cent of Americans thought Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 and 79 per cent thought he was close to having a nuclear weapon.

Of course, the closest Saddam came to possessing a nuke was a rusting gas centrifuge buried for 13 years in the garden of Mahdi Obeidi, a retired Iraqi scientist. Iraq didn't have any functional chemical or biological weapons. In fact, it didn't even possess any SCUD missiles, despite erroneous reports fed by Pentagon PR flacks alleging that it had fired SCUDs into Kuwait.

This charade wouldn't have worked without a gullible or a complicit press corps. Victoria Clarke, who developed the Pentagon plan for embedded reports, put it succinctly a few weeks before the war began: "Media coverage of any future operation will to a large extent shape public perception."

During the Vietnam War, TV images of maimed GIs and napalmed villages suburbanized opposition to the war and helped hasten the U.S. withdrawal. The Bush gang meant to turn the Vietnam phenomenon on its head by using TV as a force to propel the U.S.A. into a war that no one really wanted.

What the Pentagon sought was a new kind of living room war, where instead of photos of mangled soldiers and dead Iraqi kids, they could control the images Americans viewed and to a large extent the content of the stories. By embedding reporters inside selected divisions, Clarke believed the Pentagon could count on the reporters to build relationships with the troops and to feel dependent on them for their own safety. It worked, naturally. One reporter for a national network trembled on camera that the U.S. Army functioned as "our protectors." The late David Bloom of NBC confessed on the air that he was willing to do "anything and everything they can ask of us."

When the Pentagon needed a heroic story, the press obliged. Jessica Lynch became the war's first instant celebrity. Here was a neo-gothic tale of a steely young woman wounded in a fierce battle, captured and tortured by ruthless enemies, and dramatically saved from certain death by a team of selfless rescuers, knights in camo and night-vision goggles. Of course, nearly every detail of her heroic adventure proved to be as fictive and maudlin as any made-for-TV-movie. But the ordeal of Private Lynch, which dominated the news for more than a week, served its purpose: to distract attention from a stalled campaign that was beginning to look at lot riskier than the American public had been hoodwinked into believing.

The Lynch story was fed to the eager press by a Pentagon operation called Combat Camera, the Army network of photographers, videographers and editors that sends 800 photos and 25 video clips a day to the media. The editors at Combat Camera carefully culled the footage to present the Pentagon's montage of the war, eliding such unsettling images as collateral damage, cluster bombs, dead children and U.S. soldiers, napalm strikes and disgruntled troops.

"A lot of our imagery will have a big impact on world opinion," predicted Lt. Jane Larogue, director of Combat Camera in Iraq. She was right. But as the hot war turned into an even hotter occupation, the Pentagon, despite airy rhetoric from occupation supremo Paul Bremer about installing democratic institutions such as a free press, moved to tighten its monopoly on the flow images out of Iraq. First, it tried to shut down Al Jazeera, the Arab news channel. Then the Pentagon intimated that it would like to see all foreign TV news crews banished from Baghdad.

Few newspapers fanned the hysteria about the threat posed by Saddam's weapons of mass destruction as sedulously as did the Washington Post. In the months leading up to the war, the Post's pro-war op-eds outnumbered the anti-war columns by a 3-to-1 margin.

Back in 1988, the Post felt much differently about Saddam and his weapons of mass destruction. When reports trickled out about the gassing of Iranian troops, the Washington Post's editorial page shrugged off the massacres, calling the mass poisonings "a quirk of war."

The Bush team displayed a similar amnesia. When Iraq used chemical weapons in grisly attacks on Iran, the U.S. government not only didn't object, it encouraged Saddam. Anything to punish Iran was the message coming from the White House. Donald Rumsfeld himself was sent as President Ronald Reagan's personal envoy to Baghdad. Rumsfeld conveyed the bold message than an Iraq defeat would be viewed as a "strategic setback for the United States." This sleazy alliance was sealed with a handshake caught on videotape. When CNN reporter Jamie McIntyre replayed the footage for Rumsfeld in the spring of 2003, the secretary of defense snapped, "Where'd you get that? Iraqi television?"

The current crop of Iraq hawks also saw Saddam much differently then. Take the writer Laura Mylroie, sometime colleague of the New York Times' Judy Miller, who persists in peddling the ludicrous conspiracy that Iraq was behind the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

How times have changed! In 1987, Mylroie felt downright cuddly toward Saddam. She wrote an article for the New Republic titled "Back Iraq: Time for a U.S. Tilt in the Mideast," arguing that the U.S. should publicly embrace Saddam's secular regime as a bulwark against the Islamic fundamentalists in Iran. The co-author of this mesmerizing weave of wonkery was none other than Daniel Pipes, perhaps the nation's most bellicose Islamophobe. "The American weapons that Iraq could make good use of include remotely scatterable and anti-personnel mines and counterartillery radar," wrote Mylroie and Pipes. "The United States might also consider upgrading intelligence it is supplying Baghdad."

In the rollout for the war, Mylroie seemed to be everywhere hawking the invasion of Iraq. She would often appear on two or three different networks in the same day. How did the reporter manage this feat? She had help in the form of Eleana Benador, the media placement guru who runs Benador Associates. Born in Peru, Benador parlayed her skills as a linguist into a lucrative career as media relations whiz for the Washington foreign policy elite. She also oversees the Middle East Forum, a fanatically pro-Zionist white paper mill. Her clients include some of the nation's most fervid hawks, including Michael Ledeen, Charles Krauthammer, Al Haig, Max Boot, Daniel Pipes, Richard Perle, and Judy Miller. During the Iraq war, Benador's assignment was to embed this squadron of pro-war zealots into the national media, on talk shows, and op-ed pages.

Benador not only got them the gigs, she also crafted the theme and made sure they all stayed on message. "There are some things, you just have to state them in a different way, in a slightly different way," said Benador. "If not, people get scared." Scared of intentions of their own government.

It could have been different. All of the holes in the Bush administration's gossamer case for war were right there for the mainstream press to expose. Instead, the U.S. press, just like the oil companies, sought to commercialize the Iraq war and profit from the invasions. They didn't want to deal with uncomfortable facts or present voices of dissent.

Nothing sums up this unctuous approach more brazenly than MSNBC's firing of liberal talk show host Phil Donahue on the eve of the war. The network replaced the Donahue Show with a running segment called Countdown: Iraq, featuring the usual nightly coterie of retired generals, security flacks, and other cheerleaders for invasion. The network's executives blamed the cancellation on sagging ratings. In fact, during its run Donahue's show attracted more viewers than any other program on the network. The real reason for the pre-emptive strike on Donahue was spelled out in an internal memo from anxious executives at NBC. Donahue, the memo said, offered "a difficult face for NBC in a time of war. He seems to delight in presenting guests who are anti-war, anti-Bush and skeptical of the administration's motives."

The memo warned that Donahue's show risked tarring MSNBC as an unpatriotic network, "a home for liberal anti-war agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity." So, with scarcely a second thought, the honchos at MSNBC gave Donahue the boot and hoisted the battle flag.

It's war that sells.

There's a helluva caveat, of course. Once you buy it, the merchants of war accept no returns.

This essay is adapted from Grand Theft Pentagon.

[Feb 07, 2020] Sanders Called JPMorgan's CEO America's 'Biggest Corporate Socialist' Here's Why He Has a Point

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It is purely extractive ..."
"... By Paul Adler, Professor of Management and Organization, Sociology and Environmental Studies, University of Southern California. Originally published at The Conversation ..."
Feb 07, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. I wish Sanders would use even more pointed messaging, like "socialism for the rich". But for those who complain about Sanders not going after important targets, this slap back at Dimon, who criticized Sanders and socialism at Davos, shows that the Vermont Senator is landing punches, but choosing his fights carefully.

And banks are much bigger welfare queens than the public realizes. They get all sorts of subsidies, from underpriced deposit insurance to Federal guaranteed for most home mortgages to the Fed operating and backstopping the essential Fedwire system. These subsidies are so great that banks should not be considered to be private sector entities, yet we let them privatize their profits and socialize their train wrecks. As we wrote in 2010 :

More support comes from Andrew Haldane of the Bank of England, who in a March 2010 paper compared the banking industry to the auto industry, in that they both produced pollutants: for cars, exhaust fumes; for bank, systemic risk. While economists were claiming that the losses to the US government on various rescues would be $100 billion (ahem, must have left out Freddie and Fannie in that tally), it ignores the broader costs (unemployment, business failures, reduced government services, particularly at the state and municipal level). His calculation of the world wide costs:

.these losses are multiples of the static costs, lying anywhere between one and five times annual GDP. Put in money terms, that is an output loss equivalent to between $60 trillion and $200 trillion for the world economy and between £1.8 trillion and £7.4 trillion for the UK. As Nobel-prize winning physicist Richard Feynman observed, to call these numbers "astronomical" would be to do astronomy a disservice: there are only hundreds of billions of stars in the galaxy. "Economical" might be a better description.

It is clear that banks would not have deep enough pockets to foot this bill. Assuming that a crisis occurs every 20 years, the systemic levy needed to recoup these crisis costs would be in excess of $1.5 trillion per year. The total market capitalisation of the largest global banks is currently only around $1.2 trillion. Fully internalising the output costs of financial crises would risk putting banks on the same trajectory as the dinosaurs, with the levy playing the role of the meteorite.

Yves here. So a banking industry that creates global crises is negative value added from a societal standpoint. It is purely extractive . Even though we have described its activities as looting (as in paying themselves so much that they bankrupt the business), the wider consequences are vastly worse than in textbook looting.

Back to the current post. As to JP Morgan's socialism versus the old USSR's planned economy, one recent study which I cannot readily find due to the sorry state of Google offered an important correction to conventional wisdom.

Recall that Soviet Russia initially did perform extremely well, freaking out the capitalist world by industrializing in a generation. There was ample hand-wringing as to whether a less disciplined free enterprise system could compete with a command and control economy. Economists got a seat at the policy table out of the concern that capitalist economies needed expert guidance to assure that they could produce both guns and butter.

The study concluded that central planning had worked well in Soviet Russia initially, until the lower-level apparatchiks started gaming the system by feeding bad information so as to make their performance look better (for instance, setting way too forgiving production targets, or demanding more resources than they needed). The paper contended that the increasingly poor information about what was actually happening on the ground considerably undermined the central planning process. That is not to say there weren't also likely problems with motivation and overly rigid bureaucracies. But the evolution of modern corporations, of devaluing and ignoring worker input and treating them like machines that are scored against narrow metrics, looks as demotivating as the stereotypical Soviet factory.

Finally, this post conflates socialism, which includes New Deal-ish European style social democracy, with capitalist systems alongside strong social safety nets, which the public ownership and provision of goods and services. It should be noted that public ownership has regularly provided services like utilities very effectively.

By Paul Adler, Professor of Management and Organization, Sociology and Environmental Studies, University of Southern California. Originally published at The Conversation

Sen. Bernie Sanders called JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon the " biggest corporate socialist in America today " in a recent ad.

He may have a point – beyond what he intended.

With his Dimon ad, Sanders is referring specifically to the bailouts JPMorgan and other banks took from the government during the 2008 financial crisis. But accepting government bailouts and corporate welfare is not the only way I believe American companies behave like closet socialists despite their professed love of free markets.

In reality, most big U.S. companies operate internally in ways Karl Marx would applaud as remarkably close to socialist-style central planning. Not only that, corporate America has arguably become a laboratory of innovation in socialist governance, as I show in my own research .

Closet Socialists

In public, CEOs like Dimon attack socialist planning while defending free markets.

But inside JPMorgan and most other big corporations, market competition is subordinated to planning. These big companies often contain dozens of business units and sometimes thousands. Instead of letting these units compete among themselves, CEOs typically direct a strategic planning process to ensure they cooperate to achieve the best outcomes for the corporation as a whole .

This is just how a socialist economy is intended to operate. The government would conduct economy-wide planning and set goals for each industry and enterprise, aiming to achieve the best outcome for society as a whole.

And just as companies rely internally on planned cooperation to meet goals and overcome challenges, the U.S. economy could use this harmony to overcome the existential crisis of our age – climate change. It's a challenge so massive and urgent that it will require every part of the economy to work together with government in order to address it.

Overcoming Socialism's Past Problems

But, of course, socialism doesn't have a good track record.

One of the reasons socialist planning failed in the old Soviet Union, for example, was that it was so top-down that it lacked the kind of popular legitimacy that democracy grants a government. As a result, bureaucrats overseeing the planning process could not get reliable information about the real opportunities and challenges experienced by enterprises or citizens.

Moreover, enterprises had little incentive to strive to meet their assigned objectives, especially when they had so little involvement in formulating them.

A second reason the USSR didn't survive was that its authoritarian system failed to motivate either workers or entrepreneurs. As a result, even though the government funded basic science generously, Soviet industry was a laggard in innovation .

Ironically, corporations – those singular products of capitalism – are showing how these and other problems of socialist planning can be surmounted.

Take the problem of democratic legitimacy. Some companies, such as General Electric , Kaiser Permanente and General Motors , have developed innovative ways to avoid the dysfunctions of autocratic planning by using techniques that enable lower-level personnel to participate actively in the strategy process.

Although profit pressures often force top managers to short-circuit the promised participation, when successfully integrated it not only provides top management with more reliable bottom-up input for strategic planning but also makes all employees more reliable partners in carrying it out.

So here we have centralization – not in the more familiar, autocratic model, but rather in a form I call "participative centralization." In a socialist system, this approach could be adopted, adapted and scaled up to support economy-wide planning, ensuring that it was both democratic and effective.

As for motivating innovation, America's big businesses face a challenge similar to that of socialism. They need employees to be collectivist, so they willingly comply with policies and procedures. But they need them to be simultaneously individualistic, to fuel divergent thinking and creativity.

One common solution in much of corporate America, as in the old Soviet Union, is to specialize those roles , with most people relegated to routine tasks while the privileged few work on innovation tasks. That approach, however, overlooks the creative capacities of the vast majority and leads to widespread employee disengagement and sub-par business performance.

Smarter businesses have found ways to overcome this dilemma by creating cultures and reward systems that support a synthesis of individualism and collectivism that I call "interdependent individualism." In my research, I have found this kind of motivation in settings as diverse as Kaiser Permanent physicians , assembly-line workers at Toyota's NUMMI plant and software developers at Computer Sciences Corp . These companies do this, in part, by rewarding both individual contributions to the organization's goals as well as collaboration in achieving them.

While socialists have often recoiled against the idea individual performance-based rewards, these more sophisticated policies could be scaled up to the entire economy to help meet socialism's innovation and motivation challenge.

Big Problems Require Big Government

The idea of such a socialist transformation in the U.S. may seem remote today.

But this can change, particularly as more Americans, especially young ones, embrace socialism . One reason they are doing so is because the current capitalist system has so manifestly failed to deal with climate change.

Looking inside these companies suggests a better way forward – and hope for society's ability to avert catastrophe.


Colonel Smithers , February 7, 2020 at 5:21 am

Thank you, Yves.

Just to add, as a former bank and buy side lobbyist, the industry is not always opposed to regulation. It's a barrier to entry.

This post is on the money. Banksters and their clients love corporate welfare and socialism for the rich, especially when so much of, for example, UK QE "leaked" into asset bubbles in emerging markets, commodities and real estate.

You are right to say that Sanders should use more pointed language. Like Nina Turner, he should call out oligarchs. That term is used for Russians and Ukrainians, but never for the likes of Zuckerberg, Musk, Dimon, Blankfein, Schmidt, Branson, Dyson, Arnault et al. The term regime should also be used. If it's good enough to delegitimise certain governments, it's good enough to describe the Trump and Johnson administrations. After all, William Hague in talks with the US government called the British government the Brown regime.

Feynman and Haldane are mentioned above. It emerged this week that Dominic Cummings, Johnson's main adviser, is an admirer of both, regarding them as free thinkers and technicians of substance, and championed Haldane's candidacy to be Bank of England governor. Johnson sided with Chancellor Sajid Javid.

Ignacio , February 7, 2020 at 6:21 am

Sanders should use more pointed language or may be not for the moment. May be after the Super Tuesday. He is being careful and that is good IMO. He doesn't want to give excuses for easy attacks. I would say, instead of "socialism for the rich", "socialism for the 1%" or the 0,1% even better. Sounds more neutral. A comment yesterday linked an article comparing Sanders with Gandhi and others and I think it was well pointed. The quiet and careful revolution!

skippy , February 7, 2020 at 6:30 am

Attack the economics and not the strawmen.

pretzelattack , February 7, 2020 at 7:02 am

what do you think of american democracy? i think it would be a good idea.

ObjectiveFunction , February 7, 2020 at 11:04 am

Sanders understands (as does Trump), that the 2020 battle is *not* for the 35-40% whose minds are basically made up at each end. Trying to win those over in any numbers (especially by shrieking invective at them) is a pathetic waste of time and effort.

The winning message must move the 20-30% of voters who either:

(a) voted Obama (hope, for something more than soothing patter) and then Trump (a giant stubby middle finger to the establishment).
(b) voted Obama in 2008 but have stayed at home since (what's the point? they're all lying scum)

Sanders simply doesn't bring socialism to America, because he doesn't have a New Deal (i.e. SocDem) party. That kind of movement will take time (and the upcoming global climatolo-economic crisis) to build up, under savage attack from the propertied unterests and continuously subverted by credentialed PMC weasels and Idpol misleadership grifters.

What Sanders the man *does* bring, today, is:

(1) unimpeachable integrity, steadfastness and sorely missed absence of smug BS and double talk;
(2) hardheaded enforcement of the existing laws of the land;
(3) delivery of universal Concrete Material Benefits© to the broad citizenry (not more 'GDP' gravy for the oligarchs) in finite time, freeing them to rejuvenate themselves, and over time, the Republic.

This last is vitally important, but must also be approached prudently lest the entire movement lose focus, overextend and fall prey to the next Trump .

IMHO, it must focus ruthlessly on delivering:

(a) single payer health care, to starve (if not incinerate) the bloated ticks gorging on the US health/elder 'care' . cesspool, I can't bring myself to call it a 'system'. This above all: without it, Americans simply can't compete in any world, walls and tariffs or not.

(b) *real* infrastructure, for the 80%. That's water and sewerage, cross-class public housing, and busways and light rail to coax Americans out of their cars and suburbs. It's not 5G, vanity EVs and high speed Acelas. And sorry Keynesians, shovel ready is a side benefit, not the primary purpose. There's a lot to do.

(c) an overhaul of American higher education (still rooted in 17th century divinity schools). Teaching (and medicine) must again become honored occupations in the country; administrators must give way to front line practitioners.

. Only then can Bernie move on to the more deeply embedded and multinational targets:

(a) big finance,
(b) extractive industries
(c) the MIC

These behemoths can really only be attacked during a time of crisis. Or they will simply crush their opponents like insects, or buy them off.

In the case of the MIC, Berniecrats will likely need to be content with strong reassertion of Federal oversight (more stick, less carrot), and disengagement from doing our 'allies' dirty work (Trump is already on that road, with one huge Ixception .)

Total dismantlement sounds very nice, but consider: whatever's left of US industrial power is concentrated in the MIC. America doesn't need to 'buy prosperity down at the armoury', but like FDR, Bernie and (Tulsi) will also need to have the keels laid down against whatever whirlwind we have reaped. Baring our breast and saying 'we deserve destruction for our sins' is a fatuous open invitation to fascism. FDR knew better.

[/rant]

Harry Shearer , February 7, 2020 at 11:28 am

Anybody citing Kaiser Permanente as a good example of anything has never known a person subjected to their distinctive form of "care".

David J. , February 7, 2020 at 7:32 am

Sanders was pretty direct last night at the CNN Town Hall. Flat out calls Trump a socialist. (youtube link to the question.)

Also, stick around for his answer to Cooper's followup question. Gloves are off.

LowellHighlander , February 7, 2020 at 7:43 am

Paul Adler's post here reminds me of John Kenneth Galbraith's New Industrial State, except Professor Adler was referring to the financial (i.e. parasitical) sector of the economy. Am I off the mark in thinking this?

Mel , February 7, 2020 at 11:13 am

You're right on. Galbraith showed that planning comes naturally from very large projects. Soviets went to planning because they couldn't bet the entire national economy on some gut feeling -- they needed to know what would happen. Ditto the gigantic industries in what JKG called the Planning Sector in the west. Projects spending millions or billions of dollars over many years couldn't be left to chance. Eliminating chance meant imposing control, which the gigantic industries could try to do, helped by their access to gigantic capital, and which the Soviets had done with State power.

IMHO the modern FIRE sector arose from the old Planning Sector. They eliminated the uncertainties that complicated their planning; they cut their ties with physical processes that brought those uncertainties; they dumped physical industries onto throwaway economies overseas (that could be abandoned if they failed); they finally became pure businesses that dealt only with nice, clean contracts. No muss, no fuss, no bother.

Dirk77 , February 7, 2020 at 12:41 pm

So planning is a tool of any organization, yet is required more the larger it becomes? While planning may make sense for a company with a single product such as automobiles, does it make sense for a conglomerate? I mean I think the purpose of a conglomerate is to contain many diverse product sectors to reduce risk of the conglomerate as a whole to any one sector. In that way each sector does its own planning, but the conglomerate as a whole does not, apart from choosing which companies to buy and sell, which can be considered a different type of planning? In that way are the goals of society planning are different from the goals of conglomerate planning or that of smaller single product sector companies? Yet in spite of these differences the techniques of planning are the same? Is that the main point of Alder's article? Can someone explain please.

DSB , February 7, 2020 at 8:44 am

Dimon – billionaire bank manager.

chuck roast , February 7, 2020 at 8:46 am

If you surf around a bit you can find links to Bernie's views and support of worker co-ops. There is nothing on his website. In light the burgeoning Socialist smear tsunami, it is probably not something he wants to emphasize right now. Imagine someone getting up at a CNN Town Hall and asking him about his attitude towards worker cooperatives. (corporate heads explode on golf-courses all over America)

Stadist , February 7, 2020 at 10:03 am

Modern theses about leadership, expertise and management underline agile learning and self leadership to everyone himself and within team and then within larger entities. While I'm somewhat pessimistic about these corporate trends they still look like they would work much better with worker co-ops than in traditional top down owned corporations. Basically they are asking higher dedication from workers, but this only works really well if the profits are shared with workers in somewhat equitable manner in my opinion.

Also it seems common nowadays that many coding/programming companies, especially the highly productive ones seem to act more akin to co-ops than monolithically led traditional companies. The programmers are often engaged more to the company by giving or selling them shares, and if this happens in large scale the company ownership structure can skew more towards worker owned 'co-op'-like entity than more hierarchical traditional company, where owners and workers are usually clearly separated.

The Rev Kev , February 7, 2020 at 9:57 am

Be nice if one could have posted the Forbes 400 but, listed next to each entry, is the amount of money that they receive from the Federal government both directly and indirectly.

inode_buddha , February 7, 2020 at 12:38 pm

You might want to have a look at Open Secrets

https://www.opensecrets.org/

They conveniently list which money went where, and how the respective legislator voted.

notabanktoadie , February 7, 2020 at 10:23 am

Yves here. So a banking industry that creates global crises is negative value added from a societal standpoint. It is purely extractive. [bold in the original]

Which leads to this obvious question: Why should banks be privileged, explicitly or implicitly, in any way then?

E.g. why should we have only a SINGLE payment system (besides grubby physical fiat, paper bills and coins) that recklessly combines what should be inherently risk-free deposits with the inherently at-risk deposits the banks themselves create? I.e. why should a government privileged usury cartel hold the entire economy hostage?

a different chris , February 7, 2020 at 12:14 pm

If you mean "why" in the moral sense, which I believe you do, there is no answer.

If you mean why in the technical sense, examine this sentence:

>why should a government privileged usury cartel

It's not "government privileged", it owns the government. Anything the government is allowed to do outside of making Jamie Dimon et al richer are considered the actual privileges by this group, and can, will and have been retracted at will.

notabanktoadie , February 7, 2020 at 1:46 pm

If the banks cognitively "own" the government, it's because almost everyone believes TINA to government privileges for them.

This is disgracefully true of the big names of MMT, who should be working on HOW to abolish those privileges, not ignore or, in the case of Warren Mosler at least, INCREASE* them.

*e.g. unlimited, unsecured loans from the Central Bank to banks at ZERO percent.

Dirk77 , February 7, 2020 at 11:03 am

That neither extreme, capitalism or socialism, works, and that what is best for human society is some middle ground between the two is a very important message. So I'm very glad for this post. I realize that a black and white way of perceiving the world is an easy one. Yet as Alder points out, humans are both individuals and social beings. If people in this world could get back to thinking more like Ancient Greece in its appreciation for the golden mean, we would have a much better chance of surviving. Dispensing with all these useless socialism vs capitalism discussions would be a great time saver. I realize most people believe in some middle ground, yet making it explicit would simplify things quite a bit. As for the rest of the article, I need to think about it more. The corporate socialism idea does tie in with the link yesterday about limited liability.

a different chris , February 7, 2020 at 12:19 pm

>That neither extreme, capitalism or socialism, works,

Exactly! Because: There. Is. No. Economic. Equilibrium. Never was, never will be, anywhere and everywhere. Heck for billions of years, before humans existed let alone learned to talk, the world changed. Things developed, other things went extinct (although not in the heart-wrenching way of the Anthropocene, I personally am happy never to have met a T. Rex in truth), the way the world works even without us is continual change.

So adjust as necessary. Our healthcare system sucks, bring full bore socialism on it. Our corporate overlords suck, bring full bore free markets (kill patents to start) on them.

monday1929 , February 7, 2020 at 2:51 pm

You might want to re-think the "kill patents" idea. Our Founders liked them. I just had a patent "killed" by an examiner who "killed" 42 of 43 patents he examined. It was for a device which could be saving Corona/Flu victims Right Now. I am going to try to Donate the idea to Society, but preventing people from profiting from valid Novel ideas is not the solution. I realize Corporations abuse the Patent System, like every other thing they touch. But I am a low level individual who is trying to "innovate" and reduce illness. My main motivation was not monetary but it is always a factor.
I believe you have the wrong target on this issue.
My first rejection on a related patent was just received 2.5 years after initial filing. It took this long because the Govt. takes money from USPTO (which runs a surplus) and sends it to the General Fund. USA innovation friendly? Not the way I see it.

NoBrick , February 7, 2020 at 11:20 am

"But for those who complain about Sanders not going after important targets "

Consider the wisdom of Susan Webber:
"Wisdom of the CEO is comprimised work. These CEOs "know" that too much candor,
either individually or institutionally, is not a pro-survival strategy."

Diogenes , February 7, 2020 at 11:53 am

I think the comparison of banks to welfare queens is quite unfair.

To welfare queens, that is.

Assuming they exist outside of the sweaty PR fantasies of those of a certain political stripe, presumably even a welfare queen is not living 100% off of the munificence of the state, whereas the implied value of the "Too Big To Fail" guaranty subsidy was determined to be very nearly in the same amount as the annual profits of the recipient banks. In other words, they're complete wards of the state. Doesn't get much more socialistic than that.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2013-02-20/why-should-taxpayers-give-big-banks-83-billion-a-year-

In other words: "Socialism for me, markets for thee."

Susan the other , February 7, 2020 at 12:17 pm

Thank you, Yves for this post. Alder has very logical and accessible ideas. "Interdependent Individualism" is a good way to begin. When he says "socialists recoil against individual performance-based rewards" I can't help but think the rewards should be gifted from the workers to the bosses. Because that would be very change-promoting. Top down has a tendency to stagnate motivation – even offensively – like tossing them a few crumbs to keep them quiet. imo. This also really does sound Japanese. I'm not sure I can relate to the way they cooperate; from them there is not so much as a polite argument; certainly no sarcastic barbs. Americans are the exact opposite – we cooperate competitively in a sense. But Climate Change will dictate our direction regardless of decorum. My own sense of our dilemma is that "free market" corporations make their profits by extracting from labor and the exploitation of the environment, and by externalizing costs to society. Big disconnect. Huge, in fact. This is why "capitalism" has failed to address climate change. Anybody else notice that China has forbidden short selling as we speak? Just like the Fed did in 2009 with QE, etc. That's probably because if the economy crashes (regardless of how illogical it has become) it will take way too long to put back together. And there's work to be done. I remember Randy Wray dryly responding to Jacobin's criticism (of MMT) that the ideological socialists would rather see a bloody Marxist uprising than a peaceful evolution. I do think Wray is right on ideological blinders on both sides. One quibble I have with this very wise post is that it assumes (I think) that we cannot change our ways fast enough to mobilize adequately to address climate change. I think we've been doing it pretty aggressively since 2009. Literally a world war to control oil and maintain financial supremacy; serious consideration of our options by the political class (turning to MMT, etc.); slamming the breaks on trade and manufacturing; subsidizing essential industries. I'm sure there are other things going on under the radar. So I wouldn't discount our ability to mobilize – just our inability to admit it. Clearly we want to do things selectively.

a different chris , February 7, 2020 at 12:25 pm

>the Vermont Senator is landing punches, but choosing his fights carefully.

Yes, as Objective Function laid out nicely (funny word for this mess, but whatever) above – this isn't gonna be easy. If you hope to beat Mike Tyson in his prime, you don't start by trading heavy blows. Defeat him with small but continuous cuts from multiple directions.

twonine , February 7, 2020 at 12:30 pm

Speaking of Davos and Dimon, shouldn't that be "Biggest Corporate Criminals" ?

" senior leaders of three of the largest and most elite U.S. banks were serial criminals whose frauds are (we pray) without equal." -- William K. Black

monday1929 , February 7, 2020 at 2:34 pm

Wallstreet on parade website does great job laying out JPM's crime spree. They (JPM) just came off parole(?) in January on some Felony charges. Someone (Eliz. Warren?) might start a movement to prohibit public pensions / State and local Govts. from conducting business with any banks convicted of felonies or entering plea agreements more than, let's say, ten per year.
A convicted felon can not get a job at a bank run by a 22 times loser- Jamie Dimon, a fellow felon who should have some empathy.
Wallstreet on parade is one of few sites who discuss Citi's crimes, and the fact that the Federal Reserve tried to cover up (and succeeded until about 2012) the secret 2.5 TRILLIION in revolving loans provided to a bankrupt Citibank around 2009. This in addition to the hundreds of billions we did know about.
I do tend to harp on this because the felon Robert Rubin cost me about 500K in expired Put options on shittybank because of his blatant, felonious (per FCIC) lies right before the implosion. His referral for prosecution by the Financial Crises Inquiry Commission mysteriously withered away

[Feb 04, 2020] The FBI is the secret police force of the authoritarian (aching to be totalitarian) govt hidden behind "Truth, Justice the American Way"

Highly recommended!
Feb 04, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Jack_Garbo ,

OK, baby steps. The FBI is the secret police force of the authoritarian (aching to be totalitarian) govt hidden behind "Truth, Justice & the American Way". The "democratic" facade of the US politics is, in fact, close to the Greek original: A cabal of oligarchs who decide distribution of power without daggers, and naturally exclude slaves (workers), landless peons (minorities), women (grudgingly later included, once indoctrinated) to maintain the status quo.

The "vote" the oligarchs advertise as proof of their democratic credentials in allowing the hoi polloi to have a say is insultingly quaint and blatantly futile. All elections are rigged. Of course! The outcome is preordained. Would you let some naive do-gooder wreck your decades of building an empire? Never!

If a "ringer" sneaks through the gauntlet of oligarchic vetting and slips the leash, he (always HE) is put down and the Electoral College is invoked to re-establish the status quo with an acceptable front man.

Foreign policy? Long ago decided and continued regardless of who inhabits the White House this season. He follows the script, is handsomely paid and retires famous and breathing. Go off-script and doom is certain, the funeral subdued.

In closing the class, we can conclude that the FBI is not rogue; it is functioning as intended and professionally considering the gangly amateurs it has to herd along path.

Tea break.

[Jan 24, 2020] How Are Iran and the "Axis of the Resistance" Affected by the US Assassination of Soleimani by Elijah J. Magnier

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The US President Donald Trump assassinated the commander of the "Axis of the Resistance", the (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) IRGC – Quds Brigade Major General Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport with little consideration of the consequences of this targeted killing. It is not to be excluded that the US administration considered the assassination would reflect positively on its Middle Eastern policy. Or perhaps the US officials believed the killing of Sardar Soleimani would weaken the "Axis of the Resistance": once deprived of their leader, Iran's partners' capabilities in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen would be reduced. Is this assessment accurate? ..."
Jan 22, 2020 | www.globalresearch.ca

The US President Donald Trump assassinated the commander of the "Axis of the Resistance", the (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) IRGC – Quds Brigade Major General Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport with little consideration of the consequences of this targeted killing. It is not to be excluded that the US administration considered the assassination would reflect positively on its Middle Eastern policy. Or perhaps the US officials believed the killing of Sardar Soleimani would weaken the "Axis of the Resistance": once deprived of their leader, Iran's partners' capabilities in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen would be reduced. Is this assessment accurate?

A high-ranking source within this "Axis of the Resistance" said " Sardar Soleimani was the direct and fast track link between the partners of Iran and the Leader of the Revolution Sayyed Ali Khamenei. However, the command on the ground belonged to the national leaders in every single separate country. These leaders have their leadership and practices, but common strategic objectives to fight against the US hegemony, stand up to the oppressors and to resist illegitimate foreign intervention in their affairs. These objectives have been in place for many years and will remain, with or without Sardar Soleimani".

"In Lebanon, Hezbollah's Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah leads Lebanon and is the one with a direct link to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He supports Gaza, Syria, Iraq and Yemen and has a heavy involvement in these fronts. However, he leads a large number of advisors and officers in charge of running all military, social and relationship affairs domestically and regionally. Many Iranian IRGC officers are also present on many of these fronts to support the needs of the "Axis of the Resistance" members in logistics, training and finance," said the source.

In Syria, IRGC officers coordinate with Russia, the Syrian Army, the Syrian political leadership and all Iran's allies fighting for the liberation of the country and for the defeat of the jihadists who flocked to Syria from all continents via Turkey, Iraq and Jordan. These officers have worked side by side with Iraqi, Lebanese, Syrian and other nationals who are part of the "Axis of the Resistance". They have offered the Syrian government the needed support to defeat the "Islamic State" (ISIS/IS/ISIL) and al-Qaeda and other jihadists or those of similar ideologies in most of the country – with the exception of north-east Syria, which is under US occupation forces. These IRGC officers have their objectives and the means to achieve a target already agreed and in place for years. The absence of Sardar Soleimani will hardly affect these forces and their plans.

In Iraq, over 100 Iranian IRGC officers have been operating in the country at the official request of the Iraqi government, to defeat ISIS. They served jointly with the Iraqi forces and were involved in supplying the country with weapons, intelligence and training after the fall of a third of Iraq into the hands of ISIS in mid-2014. It was striking and shocking to see the Iraqi Army, armed and trained by US forces for over ten years, abandoning its positions and fleeing the northern Iraqi cities. Iranian support with its robust ideology (with one of its allies, motivating them to fight ISIS) was efficient in Syria; thus, it was necessary to transmit this to the Iraqis so they could stand, fight, and defeat ISIS.

The Lebanese Hezbollah is present in Syria and Yemen, and also in Iraq. The Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki asked Sayyed Nasrallah to provide his country with officers to stand against ISIS. Dozens of Hezbollah officers operate in Iraq and will be ready to support the Iraqis if the US forces refuse to leave the country. They will abide by and enforce the decision of the Parliament that the US must leave by end January 2021. Hezbollah's long warfare experience has resulted in painful experiences with the US forces in Lebanon and Iraq throughout several decades and has not been forgotten.

Sayyed Nasrallah, in his latest speech, revealed the presence in mid-2014 of Hezbollah officials in Kurdistan to support the Iraqi Kurds against ISIS. This was when the same Kurdish Leader Masoud Barzani announced that it was due to Iran that the Kurds received weapons to defend themselves when the US refused to help Iraq for many months after ISIS expanded its control in northern Iraq.

The Hezbollah leaders did not disclose the continuous visits of Kurdish representatives to Lebanon to meet Hezbollah officials. In fact, Iraqi Sunni and Shia officials, ministers and political leaders regularly visit Lebanon to meet Hezbollah officials and its leader. Hezbollah, like Iran, plays an essential role in easing the dialogue between Iraqis when these find it difficult to overcome their differences together.

The reason why Sayyed Nasrallah revealed the presence of his officers in Kurdistan when meeting Masoud Barzani is a clear message to the world that the "Axis of the Resistance" doesn't depend on one single person. Indeed, Sayyed Nasrallah is showing the unity which reigns among this front, with or without Sardar Soleimani. Barzani is part of Iraq, and Kurdistan expressed its readiness to abide by the decision of the Iraqi Parliament to seek the US forces' departure from the country because the Kurds are not detached from the central government but part of it.

Prior to his assassination, Sardar Soleimani prepared the ground to be followed (if killed on the battlefield, for example) and asked Iranian officials to nominate General Ismail Qaani as his replacement. The Leader of the revolution Sayyed Ali Khamenei ordered Soleimani's wish to be fulfilled and to keep the plans and objectives already in place as they were. Sayyed Khamenei, according to the source, ordered an "increase in support for the Palestinians and, in particular, to all allies where US forces are present."

Sardar Soleimani was looking for his death by his enemies and got what he wished for. He was aware that the "Axis of the Resistance" is highly aware of its objectives. Those among the "Axis of the Resistance" who have a robust internal front are well-established and on track. The problem was mainly in Iraq. But it seems the actions of the US have managed to bring Iraqi factions together- by assassinating the two commanders. Sardar Soleimani could have never expected a rapid achievement of this kind. Anti-US Iraqis are preparing this coming Friday to express their rejection of the US forces present in their country.

Sayyed Ali Khamenei , in his Friday prayers last week, the first for eight years, set up a road map for the "Axis of the Resistance": push the US forces out of the Middle East and support Palestine.

All Palestinian groups, including Hamas, were present at Sardar Soleimani's funeral in Iran and met with General Qaani who promised, "not only to continue support but to increase it according to Sayyed Khamenei's request," said the source. Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas Leader, said from Tehran: "Soleimani is the martyr of Jerusalem".

Many Iraqi commanders were present at the meeting with General Qaani. Most of these have a long record of hostility towards US forces in Iraq during the occupation period (2003-2011). Their commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes, was assassinated with Sardar Soleimani and they are seeking revenge. Those leaders have enough motivation to attack the US forces, who have violated the Iraq-US training, cultural and armament agreement. At no time was the US administration given a license to kill in Iraq by the government of Baghdad.

The Iraqi Parliament has spoken: and the assassination of Sardar Soleimani has indeed fallen within the ultimate objectives of the "Axis of the Resistance". The Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister has officially informed all members of the Coalition Forces in Iraq that "their presence, including that of NATO, is now no longer required in Iraq". They have one year to leave. But that absolutely does not exclude the Iraqi need to avenge their commanders.

Palestine constitutes the second objective, as quoted by Sayyed Khamenei. We cannot exclude a considerable boost of support for the Palestinians, much more than the actually existing one. Iran is determined to support the Sunni Palestinians in their objective to have a state of their own in Palestine. The man – Soleimani – is gone and is replaceable like any other man: but the level of commitment to goals has increased. It is hard to imagine the "Axis of the Resistance" remaining idle without engaging themselves somehow in the US Presidential campaign. So, the remainder of 2020 is expected to be hot.

*

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[Jan 24, 2020] Lawrence Wilkerson Lambasts 'the Beast of the National Security State' by Adam Dick

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Wilkerson provided a harsh critique of US foreign policy over the last two decades. Wilkerson states: ..."
"... America exists today to make war. How else do we interpret 19 straight years of war and no end in sight? It's part of who we are. It's part of what the American Empire is. ..."
"... We are going to lie, cheat and steal, as [US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo] is doing right now, as [President Donald Trump] is doing right now, as [Secretary of Defense Mark Esper] is doing right now, as [Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)] is doing right now, as [Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)] is doing right now, and a host of other members of my political party -- the Republicans -- are doing right now. We are going to cheat and steal to do whatever it is we have to do to continue this war complex. That's the truth of it, and that's the agony of it. ..."
"... That base voted for Donald Trump because he promised to end these endless wars, he promised to drain the swamp. Well, as I said, an alligator from that swamp jumped out and bit him. And, when he ordered the killing of Qassim Suleimani, he was a member of the national security state in good standing, and all that state knows how to do is make war. ..."
Jan 13, 2020 | ronpaulinstitute.org

Lawrence Wilkerson, a College of William & Mary professor who was chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powel in the George W. Bush administration, powerfully summed up the vile nature of the US national security state in a recent interview with host Amy Goodman at Democracy Now.

Asked by Goodman about the escalation of US conflict with Iran and how it compares with the prior run-up to the Iraq War, Wilkerson provided a harsh critique of US foreign policy over the last two decades. Wilkerson states:

Ever since 9/11, the beast of the national security state, the beast of endless wars, the beast of the alligator that came out of the swamp, for example, and bit Donald Trump just a few days ago, is alive and well.

America exists today to make war. How else do we interpret 19 straight years of war and no end in sight? It's part of who we are. It's part of what the American Empire is.

We are going to lie, cheat and steal, as [US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo] is doing right now, as [President Donald Trump] is doing right now, as [Secretary of Defense Mark Esper] is doing right now, as [Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)] is doing right now, as [Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)] is doing right now, and a host of other members of my political party -- the Republicans -- are doing right now. We are going to cheat and steal to do whatever it is we have to do to continue this war complex. That's the truth of it, and that's the agony of it.

What we saw President Trump do was not in President Trump's character, really. Those boys and girls who were getting on those planes at Fort Bragg to augment forces in Iraq, if you looked at their faces, and, even more importantly, if you looked at the faces of the families assembled along the line that they were traversing to get onto the airplanes, you saw a lot of Donald Trump's base. That base voted for Donald Trump because he promised to end these endless wars, he promised to drain the swamp. Well, as I said, an alligator from that swamp jumped out and bit him. And, when he ordered the killing of Qassim Suleimani, he was a member of the national security state in good standing, and all that state knows how to do is make war.

Wilkerson, over the remainder of the two-part interview provides many more insightful comments regarding US foreign policy, including recent developments concerning Iran. Watch Wilkerson's interview here:

Wilkerson is an Academic Board member for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.


Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
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[Jan 21, 2020] WaPo columnist endorses all twelve candidates

Highly recommended!
Are WaPo and NYT both encouraging their readerships to split the 'Anybody But Bernie' vote six ways from Super Tuesday? Fantastic!
Jan 21, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

Cassiodorus on Mon, 01/20/2020 - 11:44am Alexandra Petri tells us:

In a break from tradition, I am endorsing all 12 Democratic candidates.

Of course, this is a parody of the NYT's endorsement of Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren , trying to encourage the "who cares about policy we want an identity-politics win" vote. Petri's funniest moment is:

One of two things is wrong with America: Either the entire system is broken or is on the verge of breaking, and we need someone to bring about radical, structural change, or -- we don't need that at all! Which is it? Who can say? Certainly not me, and that is why I am telling you now which candidate to vote for.

[Jan 18, 2020] The joke is on us: Without the USSR the USA oligarchy resorted to cannibalism and devour the American people

Highly recommended!
Jan 18, 2020 | www.theguardian.com

In another sense, however, the passing of the cold war could not have been more disorienting. In 1987, Georgi Arbatov, a senior adviser to the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev , had warned: "We are going to do a terrible thing to you – we are going to deprive you of an enemy."

...Winning the cold war brought Americans face-to-face with a predicament comparable to that confronting the lucky person who wins the lottery: hidden within a windfall is the potential for monumental disaster.

[Jan 12, 2020] MIC along with Wall Street controls the government and the country

Highly recommended!
Jan 12, 2020 | angrybearblog.com
  1. likbez , January 12, 2020 5:30 pm

    Everyone keeps dancing around it: Iraqi PM Abdul-Mahdi has reported that Soleimani was on the way to see him with a reply to a Saudi peace proposal. Who profits from Peace? Who does not?

    The killing of Soleimani, while a tragic even with far reaching consequences, is just an illustration of the general rule: MIC does not profit from peace. And MIC dominates any national security state, into which the USA was transformed by the technological revolution on computers and communications, as well as the events of 9/11.

    The USA government can be viewed as just a public relations center for MIC. That's why Trump/Pompeo/Esper/Pence gang position themselves as rabid neocons, which means MIC lobbyists in order to hold their respective positions. There is no way out of this situation. This is a classic Catch 22 trap.

    The fact that a couple of them are also "Rapture" obsessed religious bigots means that the principle of separation of church and state does no matter when MIC interests are involved.

    The health of MIC requires maintaining an inflated defense budget at all costs. Which, in turn, drives foreign wars and the drive to capture other nations' resources to compensate for MIC appetite. The drive which is of course closely allied with Wall Street interests (disaster capitalism.)

    In such conditions fake "imminent threat" assassinations necessarily start happening. Although the personality of Pompeo and the fact that he is a big friend of the current head of Mossad probably played some role.

    It's really funny that Trump (probably with the help of his "reference group," which includes Adelson and Kushner), managed to appoint as the top US diplomat a person who was trained as a mechanic engineer and specialized as a tank repair mechanic. And who was a long-time military contractor. So it is quite natural that he represents interests of MIC.

    IMHO under Trump/Pompeo/Esper trio some kind of additional skirmishes with Iran are a real possibility: they are necessary to maintain the current inflated level of defense spending.

    State of the US infrastructure, the actual level of unemployment (U6 is ~7% which some neolibs call full employment ;-), and the level of poverty of the bottom 33% of the USA population be damned. Essentially the bottom 33% is the third world country within the USA.

    "If you make more than $15,000 (roughly the annual salary of a minimum-wage employee working 40 hours per week), you earn more than 32.2% of Americans

    The 894 people that earn more than $20 million make more than 99.99989% of Americans, and are compensated a cumulative $37,009,979,568 per year. "

    ( https://www.huffpost.com/entry/income-inequality-crisis_n_4221012 )

[Jan 12, 2020] US has been preaching human rights while mounting wars and lying.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Over $7 trillion spent while homelessness is rampant. Healthcare is unaffordable for the 99% of the population. ..."
Jan 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Likklemore , Jan 11 2020 17:48 utc | 201

At 2016, here is the long bombing list of the 32 countries by the late William Blum. Did I mention sanctions is an Act of War?

Little u.s. has been preaching human rights while mounting wars and lying. Albright thought the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children were worth it. !!! it was worth killings and maiming.

Over $7 trillion spent while homelessness is rampant. Healthcare is unaffordable for the 99% of the population.

The u.s. will leave Iraq and Syria aka Saigon 1975 or horizontal. It's over.

2020: u.s. Stands Alone.

Searching for friends. Now, after Russiagate here is little pompous: "we want to be friends with Russia." Sanctions much excepting we need RD180 engines, seizure of diplomatic properties. Who are you kidding?

"we seek a constructive and productive relationship with the Russian Federation".

What a bunch of hypocrites? How dare you criticize commenters who see little u.s. in the light of day, not a shining beacon on the hill..

[Jan 06, 2020] The threat of General Soleimani - TTG

Highly recommended!
Below are some idea from Below are some idea from OffGuardian that clrify TT post...
The Saker took a look yesterday at The Soleimani murder – what could happen next . He thinks, as he has said before, that Trump is regarded as a disposable asset by his Deep State handlers and is being used as a front man for risky policy actions that he can be scapegoated for if/when they go wrong.
war with Iran has been the auto-erotic fixation for the hardcore war nuts in Washington for years, and imminent confrontation has been predicted regularly since at least 2005
Trump administration from the very beginning has been ramping up the tensions (Adelson money at work): Trump teared up the nuclear deal, re-imposed sanctions, making provocations, making threats. But this has all been within the familiar framework that always just stops short of actual conflict. The murder of Soleimani is orders of magnitude beyond anything they have ever risked before. the US and Israel now have carte blanche to stage as much false flag 'terrorism' as they want and blame it on Iranian 'revenge'. Whatever else happens, we can almost certainly look forward to some of that. The murder of Soleimani is orders of magnitude beyond anything they have ever risked before. the US and Israel now have carte blanche to stage as much false flag 'terrorism' as they want and blame it on Iranian 'revenge'. Whatever else happens, we can almost certainly look forward to some of that. The murder of Soleimani is orders of magnitude beyond anything they have ever risked before. the US and Israel now have carte blanche to stage as much false flag 'terrorism' as they want and blame it on Iranian 'revenge'. Whatever else happens, we can almost certainly look forward to some of that.
The major question really though is – will this backtracking and odd claims of wanting de-escalation actually do anything to de-escalate? Will it persuade Iran not to seek retaliation, supposing this is now what Pompeo et al want?
It's become a commonplace to describe Trump foreign policy as 'insane', and it's an apposite description. But the murder of Soleimani takes the evident insanity to new and self-defeating levels.
Notable quotes:
"... Eric, the embassy attack hurt little more than our pride. Yes, an entrance lobby and it's contents were burned and destroyed but no American was injured or even roughed up. It was the Iraqi government that let the demonstrators approach the embassy walls, not Soleimani. The unarmed PMU soldiers dispersed as soon as the Iraqi government said their point was made. If we are so thin skinned that rude graffiti and gestures induce us to committing assassinations, we deserve to be labeled as international pariahs. ..."
"... Yes, I see Soleimani as a threat, but he was a threat to the jihadis and the continued US dreams of regional hegemony. ..."
"... According to published pictures of the rockets recovered after the K-1 attack, they were the same powerful new weapons that Turkish troops recovered from a YPG ammo depot in Afrin last year: 'Iranian' 107mm rockets Manufactured 2016 Lot 570. I know matching lots isn't proof of anything, but what are the chances? ..."
"... This "imminent" threat of Gen. Soleimani attacking US forces seems eerily reminiscent of the "mushroom cloud" imminent threat that Bush, Cheney and Blair peddled. Now we even have Pence claiming that Soleimani provided support to the Saudi 9/11 terrorists. Laughable if it wasn't so tragic. But of course at one time the talking point was Saddam orchestrated 9/11 and was in cahoots with Osama bin Laden. ..."
"... After the Iraq WMD, Gadhaffi threat and Assad the butcher and the incorrigible terrorist loving Taliban posing such imminent threats that we must use our awesome military to bomb, invade, occupy, while spending trillions of dollars borrowed from future generations, and our soldiers on the ground serving multiple tours, and our fellow citizens buy into the latest rationale for killing an Iranian & Iraqi general, without an ounce of skepticism, says a lot! ..."
"... IMO, Craig Murray is pointing in the right direction around the word 'immanent,' by pointing out that it is referring to the legally dubious Bethlehem Doctrine of Self Defense, the Israeli, UK and US standard for assassination, in which immanent is defined as widely as, 'we think they were thinking about it.' The USG managed to run afoul of even these overly permissive guidelines, which are meant only against non-state actors. ..."
Jan 06, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com
The threat of General Soleimani - TTG W7kf87eV

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States had "clear, unambiguous" intelligence that a top Iranian general was planning a significant campaign of violence against the United States when it decided to strike him, the top U.S. general said on Friday, warning Soleimani's plots "might still happen."

Army General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a small group of reporters "we fully comprehend the strategic consequences" associated with the strike against Qassem Soleimani, Tehran's most prominent military commander.

But he said the risk of inaction exceeded the risk that killing him might dramatically escalate tensions with Tehran. "Is there risk? Damn right, there's risk. But we're working to mitigate it," Milley said from his Pentagon office. (Reuters)

-- -- -- -- --

This is pretty much in line with Trump's pronouncement that our assassination of Soleimani along with Iraqi General Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was carried out to prevent a war not start one. Whatever information was presented to Trump painted a picture of imminent danger in his mind. What did the Pentagon see that was so imminent?

Well first let's look at the mindset of the Pentagon concerning our presence in Iraq and Syria. These two recent quotes from Brett McGurk sums up that mindset.

"If we leave Iraq, that will just increase further the running room for Iran and Shia militia groups and also the vacuum that will see groups like ISIS fill and we'll be right back to where we were. So that would be a disaster."

"It's always been Soleimani's strategic game... to get us out of the Middle East. He wants to see us leave Syria, he wants to see us leave Iraq... I think if we leave Iraq after this, that would just be a real disastrous outcome..."

McGurk played a visible role in US policy in Iraq and Syria under Bush, Obama and Trump. Now he's an NBC talking head and a lecturer at Stanford. He could be the poster boy for what many see as a neocon deep state. He's definitely not alone in thinking this way.

So back to the question of what was the imminent threat. Reuters offers an elaborate story of a secret meeting of PMU commanders with Soleimani on a rooftop terrace on the Tigris with a grand view of the US Embassy on the far side of the river.

-- -- -- -- --

"In mid-October, Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani met with his Iraqi Shi'ite militia allies at a villa on the banks of the Tigris River, looking across at the U.S. embassy complex in Baghdad, and instructed them to step up attacks on U.S. targets in the country"

"Two militia commanders and two security sources briefed on the gathering told Reuters that Soleimani instructed his top ally in Iraq, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and other powerful militia leaders to step up attacks on US targets using sophisticated new weapons provided by Iran."

"Soleimani's plans to attack US forces aimed to provoke a military response that would redirect Iraqis' anger towards Iran to the US, according to the sources briefed on the gathering, Iraqi Shi'ite politicians and government officials close to Iraq PM Adel Abdul Mahdi."

"At the Baghdad villa, Soleimani told the assembled commanders to form a new militia group of low-profile paramilitaries - unknown to the United States - who could carry out rocket attacks on Americans housed at Iraqi military bases." (Reuters)

-- -- -- -- --

And what were those sophisticated new weapons provided by Iran? They were 1960s Chinese designed 107mm multiple rocket launcher technology. These simple but effective rocket launchers were mass produced by the Soviet Union, Iran, Turkey and Sudan in addition to China. They've been used in every conflict since then. The one captured outside of the K1 military base seems to be locally fabricated, but used Iranian manufactured rockets.

Since when does the PMU have to form another low profile militia unit? The PMU is already composed of so many militia units it's difficult to keep track of them. There's also nothing low profile about the Kata'ib Hizbollah, the rumored perpetrators of the K1 rocket attack. They're as high profile as they come.

Perhaps there's something to this Reuters story, but to me it sounds like another shithouse rumor. It would make a great scene in a James Bond movie, but it still sounds like a rumor.

There's another story put out by The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Although it also sounds like a scene form a James Bond movie, I think it sounds more convincing than the Reuters story.

-- -- -- -- --

Delegation of Arab tribes met with "Soleimani" at the invitation of "Tehran" to carry out attacks against U.S. Forces east Euphrates

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights learned that a delegation of the Arab tribes met on the 26th of December 2019, with the goal of directing and uniting forces against U.S. Forces, and according to the Syrian Observatory's sources, that meeting took place with the commander of the al-Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Qassim Soleimani, who was assassinated this morning in a U.S. raid on his convoy in Iraq. the sources reported that: "the invitation came at the official invitation of Tehran, where Iran invited Faisal al-al-Aazil, one of the elders of al-Ma'amra clan, in addition to the representative of al-Bo Asi clan the commander of NDF headquarters in Qamishli Khatib al-Tieb, and the Sheikh of al-Sharayin, Nawaf al-Bashar, the Sheikh of Harb clan, Mahmoud Mansour al-Akoub, " adding that: "the meeting discussed carrying out attacks against the American forces and the Syria Democratic Forces."

Earlier, the head of the Syrian National Security Bureau, Ali Mamlouk, met with the security committee and about 20 Arab tribal elders and Sheikhs in al-Hasakah, at Qamishli Airport Hall on the 5th of December 2019, where he demanded the Arab tribes to withdraw their sons from the ranks of the Syria Democratic Forces. (SOHR)

-- -- -- -- --

I certainly don't automatically give credence to anything Rami sends out of his house in Coventry. I give this story more credibility only because that is exactly what I would do if Syria east of the the Euphrates was my UWOA (unconventional warfare operational area). This is exactly how I would go about ridding the area of the "Great Satan" invaders and making Syria whole again. The story also includes a lot of named individuals. This can be checked. This morning Colonel Lang told me some tribes in that region have a Shia history. Perhaps he can elaborate on that. I've read in several places that Qassim Soleimani knew the tribes in Syria and Iraq like the back of his hand. This SOHR story makes sense. If Soleimani was working with the tribes of eastern Syria like he worked with the tribes and militias of Iraq to create the al-Ḥashd ash-Shaʿbi, it no doubt scared the bejeezus out of the Pentagon and endangered their designs for Iraq and Syria.

So, Qassim Soleimani, the Iranian soldier, the competent and patient Iranian soldier, was a threat to the Pentagon's designs a serious threat. But he was a long term threat, not an imminent threat. And he was just one soldier.The threat is systemic and remains. The question of why, in the minds of Trump and his generals, Soleimani had to die this week is something I will leave for my next post.

A side note on Milley: Whenever I see a photo of him, I am reminded of my old Brigade Commander in the 25th Infantry Division, Colonel Nathan Vail. They both have the countenance of a snapping turtle. One of the rehab transfers in my rifle platoon once referred to him as "that J. Edgar Hoover looking mutha fuka." I had to bite my tongue to keep from breaking out in laughter. It would have been unseemly for a second lieutenant to openly enjoy such disrespect by a PV2 and a troublemaking PV2 at that. God bless PV2 Webster, where ever you are.

TTG


John Merryman , 04 January 2020 at 06:33 PM

Wondering how much more intense the security will be around Trump's campaign rallies during the election.
The Twisted Genius , 04 January 2020 at 06:46 PM
Eric, the embassy attack hurt little more than our pride. Yes, an entrance lobby and it's contents were burned and destroyed but no American was injured or even roughed up. It was the Iraqi government that let the demonstrators approach the embassy walls, not Soleimani. The unarmed PMU soldiers dispersed as soon as the Iraqi government said their point was made. If we are so thin skinned that rude graffiti and gestures induce us to committing assassinations, we deserve to be labeled as international pariahs.

Yes, I see Soleimani as a threat, but he was a threat to the jihadis and the continued US dreams of regional hegemony. I was glad we went back into Iraq to take on the threat of IS and cheered our initial move into Syria to do the same. That was the Sunni-Shia war you worry about. More accurately, it was a Salafist jihadist-all others war. Unfortunately, we overstayed the need and our welcome. It's a character flaw that we cannot loosen our grasp on empire no matter how much it costs us.

Jack -> The Twisted Genius ... , 04 January 2020 at 08:16 PM
TTG,

Thanks for your post. What it says I buy. We are in the Middle East and have been for a while to impose regional hegemony. What that has bought us is nebulous at best. Clearly we have spent trillions and destabilized the region. Millions have been displaced and hundreds of thousands have been killed and maimed, including thousands of our soldiers. Are we better off from our invasion of Iraq, toppling Ghaddafi, and attempting to topple Assad using jihadists? Guys like McGurk, Bolton, Pompeo will say yes. Others like me will say no.

The oil is a canard. We produce more oil than we ever have and it is a fungible commodity. Will it impact Israel if we pull out our forces? Sure. But it may have a salutary effect that it may force them to sue for peace. Will the Al Sauds continue to fund jihadi mayhem? Likely yes, but they'll have to come to some accommodation with the Iranian Shia and recognize their regional strength.

Our choice is straightforward. Continue down the path of more conflict sinking ever more trillions that we don't have expecting a different outcome or cut our losses and get out and let the natural forces of the region assert themselves. I know which path I'll take.

JamesT -> The Twisted Genius ... , 04 January 2020 at 09:48 PM
TTG,

With all due respect, I think you are wrong. I think the protesters swarming the embassy was exactly the same kind of tactic that US backed protesters used in Ukraine (and are currently using in Hong Kong) to great effect. The Persians are unique in that they are capable of studying our methodologies and tactics and appropriating them.

When the US backed protesters took over Maidan square and started taking over various government building in Kiev, Viktor Yanukovych had two choices - either start shooting protesters or watch while his authority collapsed. It was and is a difficult choice.

In my humble opinion, there are few things the stewards of US hegemony fear more than the IRGC becoming the worlds number one disciple of Gene Sharp.

PavewayIV , 04 January 2020 at 06:46 PM
TTG - "And what were those sophisticated new weapons provided by Iran?"

According to published pictures of the rockets recovered after the K-1 attack, they were the same powerful new weapons that Turkish troops recovered from a YPG ammo depot in Afrin last year: 'Iranian' 107mm rockets Manufactured 2016 Lot 570. I know matching lots isn't proof of anything, but what are the chances?

If the U.S. only had a Dilyana Gaytandzhieva to bird-dog out the rat line. Wait... the MSM would have fired her by now for weaponizing journalism against the neocons [sigh].

Factotum , 04 January 2020 at 07:21 PM
If a goal is to get the heck out of the Middle East since it is an intractable cess pit and stat protecting our own borders and internal security, will we be better off with Soleimani out of the picture or left in place.

Knowing of course, more just like him will sprout quickly, like dragon's teeth, in the sands of the desert.ME is a tar baby. Fracking our own tar sands is the preferable alternative.

Real war war would be a direct attack on Israel. Then they get our full frontal assault. But this pissy stuff around the edges is an exercise in futility. 2020 was Trump's to lose.Incapacity to handle asymmetirc warfare is ours to lose.

Jane , 04 January 2020 at 07:35 PM
There is no necessary link between the Iranian support for the Assad regime, to include its operations in tribal areas of Syria. The Iranian-backed militias and Iranian government officials have been operating in that area for a long time, supporting the efforts of Security/Intel Ali Mamlouk. That Suleimani knew the tribes so well is a mark of his professional competence. Everyone is courting the Syrian tribes, some sides more adeptly than others. It is also worth noting that in putting together manpower for their various locally formed Syrian militias, the Iranians took on unemployed Sunnis.

That said, there are small Ismaili communities in Syria and there are apparently a couple of villages in Deir ez Zor that did convert to Shiism, but no mass religious change. The Iranians are sensitive to the fact that they could cause a backlash if they tried hard to promote "an alien culture."

Elora Danan , 04 January 2020 at 07:40 PM
Well, The Donald has turned to Twitter menacing iran with wiping out all of its World Heritage Sites....which is declared intention to commit a war crime...

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1213593975732527112

For what it seems Iran must sawllow the assasination of its beloved and highjly regarded general...or else...

Do you really think there is any explanation for this, whatever Soleimani´s history ( he was doing his duty in his country and neighboring zone...you are...well...everywhere...) or that we can follow this way with you escalating your threats and crimes ever and that everybody must leave it at that without response or you menace coming with more ?

That somebody or some news agency has any explanation for this is precisely the sign of our times and our disgrace. That there is a bunch of greedy people who is willing to do whatever is needed to prevail and keep being obscenely rich...

BTW, would be interesting to know who are the main holders of shares at Reuters...

Elora Danan , 04 January 2020 at 08:09 PM
Board of Directors of Reuters

The same monopolizing almost each and every MSM and news agency at every palce in the world, big bank, big pharma, big business, big capital ( insurances companies nad hedge funds ) big real state, and US think tanks...

Elora Danan , 04 January 2020 at 08:33 PM
In Elora´s opinion, Bret MacGurk is making revanche from Soleimani for the predictable fact that a humble and pious man bred in the region, who worked as bricklayer to help pay his father´s debt during his youth, and moreover has an innate irresistible charisma, managed to connect better with the savage tribes of the ME than such exceptionalist posh theoric bred at such an exceptionalist as well as far away country like the US.

But...what did you expect, that MacGurk would become Lawrence of Arabia versus Soleimani in his simpleness?

May be because of that that he deserved being dismembered by a misile...

As Pence blamed shamefully and stonefacelly Soleimani for 9/11, MacGurk blames him too for having fallen from the heights he was...

It seems that Pence was in the team of four who assesed Trump on this hit...along with Pompeo...

A good response would be that someone would leak the real truth on 9/11 so as to debunk Pence´s mega-lie...

Factotum , 04 January 2020 at 08:48 PM
Two years ago, the public protest theme for Basel's winter carnival Fashnach was the imminent threat nuclear war as NK and US were sabre rattling, and NK was lobbing missles across Japan with sights on West Coast US cities.

Then almost the following week, NK and US planned to meet F2F in Singapore. And we could all breathe again. In the very early spring of 2018.

blue peacock , 04 January 2020 at 09:54 PM
TTG

This "imminent" threat of Gen. Soleimani attacking US forces seems eerily reminiscent of the "mushroom cloud" imminent threat that Bush, Cheney and Blair peddled. Now we even have Pence claiming that Soleimani provided support to the Saudi 9/11 terrorists. Laughable if it wasn't so tragic. But of course at one time the talking point was Saddam orchestrated 9/11 and was in cahoots with Osama bin Laden.

I find it fascinating watching the media spin and how easily so many Americans buy into the spin du jour.

After the Iraq WMD, Gadhaffi threat and Assad the butcher and the incorrigible terrorist loving Taliban posing such imminent threats that we must use our awesome military to bomb, invade, occupy, while spending trillions of dollars borrowed from future generations, and our soldiers on the ground serving multiple tours, and our fellow citizens buy into the latest rationale for killing an Iranian & Iraqi general, without an ounce of skepticism, says a lot!

Yeah, it will be interesting to see how Trump's re-election will go when we are engaged in a full scale military conflagration in the Middle East? It sure will give Tulsi & Bernie an excellent environment to promote their anti-neocon message. You can see it in Trump's ambivalent tweets. On the one hand, I ordered the assassination of Soleimani to prevent a war (like we needed to burn the village to save it), while on the other hand, we have 52 sites locked & loaded if you retaliate. Hmmm!! IMO, he has seriously jeapordized his re-election by falling into the neocon Deep State trap. They never liked him. The coup by law enforcement & CIA & DNI failed. The impeachment is on its last legs. Voila! Incite him into another Middle Eastern quagmire against what he campaigned on and won an election.

I would think that Khamanei has no choice but to retaliate. How is anyone's guess? I doubt he'll order the sinking of a naval vessel patrolling the Gulf or fire missiles into the US base in Qatar. But assassination....especially in some far off location in Europe or South America? A targeted bombing here or there? A cyber attack at a critical point. I mean not indiscriminate acts like the jihadists but highly calculated targets. All seem extremely feasible in our highly vulnerable and relatively open societies. And they have both the experience and skills to accomplish them.

If ever you have the inclination, a speculative post on how the escalation ladder could potentially be climbed would be a fascinating read.

Jack -> blue peacock... , 05 January 2020 at 12:01 AM
"I find it fascinating watching the media spin and how easily so many Americans buy into the spin du jour."

BP,

Yes, indeed. It is a testament to our susceptibility that there is such limited scepticism by so many people on the pronouncements of our government. Especially considering the decades long continuous streams of lies and propaganda. The extent and brazenness of the lies have just gotten worse through my lifetime.

I feel for my grand-children and great-grand children as they now live in society that has no value for honor. It's all expedience in the search for immediate personal gain.

I am and have been in the minority for decades now. I've always opposed our military adventurism overseas from Korea to today. I never bought into the domino theory even at the heights of the Cold War. And I don't buy into the current global hegemony destiny to bring light to the savages. I've also opposed the build up of the national security surveillance state as the antithesis of our founding. I am also opposed to the increasing concentration of market power across every major market segment. It will be the destruction of our entrepreneurial economy. The partisan duopoly is well past it's sell date. But right now the majority are still caught up in rancorous battles on the side of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

Something To Think About , 04 January 2020 at 10:19 PM
A question to the committee: what is the source for the claim that Soleimani bears direct responsibility for the death of over 600 US military personnel?

Craig Murray points to this article:
https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2019/04/04/iran-killed-more-us-troops-in-iraq-than-previously-known-pentagon-says/

If that is the case (and it appears to be) then the US govt's claim is nonsense, as it clearly says " 'During Operation Iraqi Freedom, DoD assessed that at least 603 U.S. personnel deaths in Iraq were the result of Iran-backed militants,' Navy Cmdr. Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman, said in an email."

So those figures represent casualties suffered during the US-led military invasion of Iraq i.e. casualties suffered during a shooting-war.

If Soleimani is a legitimate target for assassination because of the success of his forces on the battlefield then wouldn't that make Tommy Franks an equally-legitimate target?

Jack , 04 January 2020 at 10:33 PM
Pulitzer Prize winning author of Caliphate, Romanian-American, Rukmini Callimachi, on the intelligence on Soleimani "imminent threat" being razor-thin.

https://twitter.com/rcallimachi/status/1213421769777909761?s=21

PavewayIV said in reply to Jack... , 04 January 2020 at 11:01 PM
You just beat me to her thread, Jack. For the Twitter shy, this is the first of a series of 17 tweets as a teaser:
1. I've had a chance to check in with sources, including two US officials who had intelligence briefings after the strike on Suleimani. Here is what I've learned. According to them, the evidence suggesting there was to be an imminent attack on American targets is "razor thin".

Summary: [Too shameful to type]

Roy G , 04 January 2020 at 11:59 PM
IMO, Craig Murray is pointing in the right direction around the word 'immanent,' by pointing out that it is referring to the legally dubious Bethlehem Doctrine of Self Defense, the Israeli, UK and US standard for assassination, in which immanent is defined as widely as, 'we think they were thinking about it.' The USG managed to run afoul of even these overly permissive guidelines, which are meant only against non-state actors.

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/01/lies-the-bethlehem-doctrine-and-the-illegal-murder-of-soleimani/

[Jan 04, 2020] Critical thinking is anathema to the neoliberal establishment. That s why they need to corrupt the language, to make the resistance more difficult and requiring higher level of IQ

Highly recommended!
Manipulation of the language is one of the most powerful Propaganda tool. See the original Orwell essay at George Orwell Politics and the English Language. among other things he stated "But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought."
Notable quotes:
"... we were set a writing task as a follow-up, reporting on the same story using the same facts, from completely opposing points of view, using euphemism and mind-numbing cliches. Teach children to do this themselves and they can see how language can be skewed and facts distorted and misrepresented without technically lying. ..."
"... It might be taught in Media Studies, I suppose - but gosh, don't the right really hate that particular subject! Critical thinking is anathema to them. ..."
Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

BluebellWood -> Supermassive , 29 Nov 2018 12:41

Yep - education is the key.

I remember at school we read Orwell's essay Politics and the English Language in an English class and then we were set a writing task as a follow-up, reporting on the same story using the same facts, from completely opposing points of view, using euphemism and mind-numbing cliches. Teach children to do this themselves and they can see how language can be skewed and facts distorted and misrepresented without technically lying.

How many children in schools are taught such critical thinking these days, I wonder? It might be taught in Media Studies, I suppose - but gosh, don't the right really hate that particular subject! Critical thinking is anathema to them.

[Dec 28, 2019] Senior OPCW Official Busted Leaked Email Exposes Orders To Delete All Traces Of Dissent On Douma

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Imagine millions of government employees paid for by America's tax payer class, involved in covert operations undermining nation states for the benefit of war mongering shadow overlords counting on more never ending chaos feeding their hunger for power. ..."
"... This isn't Orwell's 1984, this Team America on opioids. ..."
"... Senior OPCW official had orders from US/ the Donald. Remember that the Donald bombed Syria based on this fake report , after a false flag done by Al Qaeda's artistic branch, the White Helmets. ..."
"... Pray, do tell where are the consequences for these literal demons that engaged in war crimes? It is quite clear: as long as you are a member of the establishment, you can do whatever the f*ck you want. ..."
"... Third rate script, third rate actors and crooked investigators. TPTB seem to have a plan worked out. Their problem now is that we, the hoi-polloi, have seen it all before, many times, and we can now recognise ******** when it's used to try to influence us. ..."
"... If this is not lamentable enough, the OPCW – whose final report came to more than a hundred pages and which even issued an easy-to-read precis version for journalists – now slams shut its steel doors in the hope of preventing even more information reaching the press. ..."
"... Instead of these pieces concentrating on the whistleblower how about putting a little heat on the 50 lying bastards who initiated the coverup? ..."
"... The destruction of the countries of the Middle East for the sake of a dwarf with giant ambitions is the most stupid thing the United States has done over the past 30 years in its foreign policy. And yes, all the wars in the Middle East were grounded in lies. And the Americans paid for it all from start to finish. When Americans realize that they need to defend their national interests, and not other people's national interests, maybe something in the Middle East will change for the better. True, I am afraid that with the hight level of stupidity and shortsightedness that is common among Americans, the United States is more likely to be destroyed faster. No offense. ..."
"... And I propose to remember the Syrian Christians who were destroyed by the Saudi Wahhabis, hired by the CIA with the money of American taxpayers and at the request of Israel. Until the Americans begin to investigate the activities of the CIA (and this activity causes the United States only harm), the responsibility for this genocide (you heard right) will be on the American nation. It turns out that in the Middle East you are primarily destroying Christians. How interesting, why such zeal. ..."
"... According to whistleblower testimony and leaked documents, OPCW officials raised alarm about the suppression of critical findings that undermine the allegation that the Syrian government committed a chemical weapons attack in the city of Douma in April 2018. Haddad's editors at Newsweek rejected his attempts to cover the story. "If I don't find another position in journalism because of this, I'm perfectly happy to accept that consequence," Haddad says. "It's not desirable. But there is no way I could have continued in that job knowing that I couldn't report something like this." ..."
"... New leaks continue to expose a cover-up by the OPCW – the world's top chemical weapons watchdog – over a critical event in Syria. Documents, emails, and testimony from OPCW officials have raised major doubts about the allegation that the Syrian government committed a chemical weapons attack in the city of Douma in April 2018. The leaked OPCW information has been released in pieces by Wikileaks. The latest documents contain a number of significant revelations – including that that about 20 OPCW officials voiced concerns that their scientific findings and on-the-ground evidence was suppressed and excluded. ..."
Dec 28, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Senior OPCW Official Busted: Leaked Email Exposes Orders To "Delete All Traces" Of Dissent On Douma by Tyler Durden Sat, 12/28/2019 - 10:30 0 SHARES

Via AlMasdarNews.com,

Wikileaks has released their fourth set of leaks from the OPCW's Douma investigation, revealing new details about the alleged deletion of important information regarding the fact-finding mission.

RELEASE: OPCW-Douma Docs 4. Four leaked documents from the OPCW reveal that toxicologists ruled out deaths from chlorine exposure and a senior official ordered the deletion of the dissenting engineering report from OPCW's internal repository of documents. https://t.co/ndK4sRikNk

-- WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) December 27, 2019

"One of the documents is an e-mail exchange dated 27 and 28 February between members of the fact finding mission (FFM) deployed to Douma and the senior officials of the OPCW. It includes an e-mail from Sebastien Braha, Chief of Cabinet at the OPCW , where he instructs that an engineering report from Ian Henderson should be removed from the secure registry of the organisation," WikiLeaks writes. Included in the email is the following directive:

" Please get this document out of DRA [Documents Registry Archive] And please remove all traces, if any, of its delivery/storage/whatever in DRA.'"

According to Wikileaks, the main finding of Henderson, who inspected the sites in Douma, was that two of the cylinders were most likely manually placed at the site, rather than dropped.

"The main finding of Henderson, who inspected the sites in Douma and two cylinders that were found on the site of the alleged attack, was that they were more likely manually placed there than dropped from a plane or helicopter from considerable heights. His findings were omitted from the official final OPCW report on the Douma incident," the Wikileaks report said.

It must be remembered that the U.S. launched an attack on Damascus, Syria on April 14, 2018 over alleged chemical weapons usage by pro-Assad forces at Douma.

AP file image.

Another document released Friday is minutes from a meeting on 6 June 2018 where four staff members of the OPCW had discussions with "three Toxicologists/Clinical pharmacologists, one bioanalytical and toxicological chemist" (all specialists in chemical weapons, according to the minutes).

Minutes from an OPCW meeting with toxicologists specialized in chemical weapons: "the experts were conclusive in their statements that there was
no correlation between symptoms and chlorine exposure". https://t.co/j5Jgjiz8UY pic.twitter.com/vgPaTtsdQN

-- WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) December 27, 2019

The purpose of this meeting was two-fold. The first objective was "to solicit expert advice on the value of exhuming suspected victims of the alleged chemical attack in Douma on 7 April 2018". According to the minutes, the OPCW team was advised by the experts that there would be little use in conducting exhumations. The second point was "To elicit expert opinions from the forensic toxicologists regarding the observed and reported symptoms of the alleged victims."

More specifically, " whether the symptoms observed in victims were consistent with exposure to chlorine or other reactive chlorine gas."

According to the minutes leaked Friday: "With respect to the consistency of the observed and reported symptoms of the alleged victims with possible exposure to chlorine gas or similar, the experts were conclusive in their statements that there was no correlation between symptoms and chlorine exposure ."

The OPCW team members wrote that the key "take-away message" from the meeting was "that the symptoms observed were inconsistent with exposure to chlorine and no other obvious candidate chemical causing the symptoms could be identified".

* * *

See full details at Wikileaks.org


JohnFrodo , 28 minutes ago link

pity the human pawns at the center of this mess.

africoman , 38 minutes ago link

There has been a Newsweek reporter who quite over editorial block of this OPCW case here also another interview by Grayzone

https://youtu.be/qqK8KgxuCPI

The isisrahell have such long hand to pull the plug any stories implicating their crime in progress otherwise they can put out some bs spins as bombshell reporting about US lies in Afghanistan war on their wapo for public for those who read it was nothing important revealed except being a misdirected na

ponyboy99 , 40 minutes ago link

If you want to pay off that student loan you're going to print what they tell you to print. You're going to inject kids with what they tell you to inject them with. You're going to think what they tell you to think or you're going to spend your days in a Prole bar drinking Blatz.

ponyboy99 , 47 minutes ago link

If you go thru life assuming every single thing is a farce and a lie (Roddy Piper) these events can not only be explained, they can be predicted.

Ace006 , 57 minutes ago link

SOMEbody's got to ensure the intergrity of the Documents Registry Archive

Weihan , 58 minutes ago link

The globalist deep-state's reach is legendary.

Nothing , 1 hour ago link

yes, an attack was launched, 50 missiles I believe, after loud warnings that it was coming, and none of them actually hit anything significant ... this is the way the game is played .... the good news is that the missiles cost $50 million, and now they will have to be replaced, by the Pentagon, first borrowing the money through the US Treasury offerings, and then paying for them from new money printed by the Federal Reserve. capische?

Greed is King , 36 minutes ago link

That`s the way it`s always been, it`s the eternal war of good against evil.

And when one evil enemy is defeated, it`s necessary to create a new evil enemy, how else can the Establishment Elite make money from war, death and destruction.

africoman , 16 minutes ago link

It's really very awkward & telling how ***** these bunch of western nations are looking tough on taking out poor defenceless country like Syria on ******** & at the satried to ease real kickass Russian as you described when they launch the attacks

I kind wish the US & their Zionist clown launch such huge attacks on Iran based on false flag

I really wanted these evil aggressive powers to taste what it is like to get bombed back even one they used to throw on multiple weaker nations freely with nothing to fear as retribution etc

Thordoom , 1 hour ago link

This organisations are all set up in Europe and US run by the filthiest filth on earth who still think they have God given right to imperial rule over the world.

British elite is the worst of all.

DCFusor , 1 hour ago link

Your military-industrial-intelligence complex at work, creating justification for more funding, like always - and who cares if people die as a result? Like Soros said, if they didn't do it, someone else would. (do I need /sarc?).

They don't like to be shown to be in charge, just to be in charge. And if you think this is a function of the current admin, you've been slow in the head and deaf and blind for quite some time.

I've watched since Eisenhower, and "it's always something". Doesn't matter what color the clown in chief's tie is.

St. TwinkleToes , 1 hour ago link

Imagine millions of government employees paid for by America's tax payer class, involved in covert operations undermining nation states for the benefit of war mongering shadow overlords counting on more never ending chaos feeding their hunger for power.

This isn't Orwell's 1984, this Team America on opioids.

veritas semper vinces , 2 hours ago link

Senior OPCW official had orders from US/ the Donald. Remember that the Donald bombed Syria based on this fake report , after a false flag done by Al Qaeda's artistic branch, the White Helmets.

holgerdanske , 1 hour ago link

It was May that insisted on this attack. Remember the "poison" attack and the evil Russians?

lwilland1012 , 3 hours ago link

Pray, do tell where are the consequences for these literal demons that engaged in war crimes? It is quite clear: as long as you are a member of the establishment, you can do whatever the f*ck you want. Why do we even follow the law, then? Given the precedent that is being set, we might as well not have any.

ken , 1 hour ago link

Well, they are looking forward to using all those Israeli weapons, er, uh, products, that local law enforcement has purchased...so watch out for Co-Intel Pro elicitation going forward....?

WorkingClassMan , 3 hours ago link

Everybody knows the Golem (USA) does Isn'treal's bidding in Syria and elsewhere in the Near East. Hopefully they keep hammering in the fact that this "gas attack" was an obvious set-up to use as a pretext (flimsy itself on the face of it) to brutalize Assad and Syria on behalf of Isn'treal.

The whole thing is built on ******* lies. Worst part about it is, nothing will happen.

turkey george palmer , 3 hours ago link

Only official news is to believed. You see it and it is a lie. they tell you to believe it. A lot of people casually believe whatever is spoken on TV. They become teachers and are taught in college what is right and wrong. We only have a few years before all the brain dead are in charge and robotically following the message like zombies with no brain

adonisdemilo , 3 hours ago link

Third rate script, third rate actors and crooked investigators. TPTB seem to have a plan worked out. Their problem now is that we, the hoi-polloi, have seen it all before, many times, and we can now recognise ******** when it's used to try to influence us.

johnnycanuck , 3 hours ago link

It is difficult to underestimate the seriousness of this manipulative act by the OPCW. In a response to the conservative author Peter Hitchens, who also writes for the Mail on Sunday – he is of course the brother of the late Christopher Hitchens – the OPCW admits that its so-called technical secretariat "is conducting an internal investigation about the unauthorised [sic] release of the document".

Then it adds: "At this time, there is no further public information on this matter and the OPCW is unable to accommodate [sic] requests for interviews". It's a tactic that until now seems to have worked: not a single news media which reported the OPCW's official conclusions has followed up the story of the report which the OPCW suppressed.

And you bet the OPCW is not going to "accommodate" interviews. For here is an institution investigating a war crime in a conflict which has cost hundreds of thousands of lives – yet its only response to an enquiry about the engineers' "secret" assessment is to concentrate on its own witch-hunt for the source of the document it wished to keep secret from the world.

If this is not lamentable enough, the OPCW – whose final report came to more than a hundred pages and which even issued an easy-to-read precis version for journalists – now slams shut its steel doors in the hope of preventing even more information reaching the press.

https://johnmenadue.com/robert-fisk-the-evidence-we-were-never-meant-to-see-about-the-douma-gas-attack-counterpunch-27-may-2019/

5fingerdiscount , 3 hours ago link

Instead of these pieces concentrating on the whistleblower how about putting a little heat on the 50 lying bastards who initiated the coverup?

Helg Saracen , 3 hours ago link

The destruction of the countries of the Middle East for the sake of a dwarf with giant ambitions is the most stupid thing the United States has done over the past 30 years in its foreign policy. And yes, all the wars in the Middle East were grounded in lies. And the Americans paid for it all from start to finish. When Americans realize that they need to defend their national interests, and not other people's national interests, maybe something in the Middle East will change for the better. True, I am afraid that with the hight level of stupidity and shortsightedness that is common among Americans, the United States is more likely to be destroyed faster. No offense.

And I propose to remember the Syrian Christians who were destroyed by the Saudi Wahhabis, hired by the CIA with the money of American taxpayers and at the request of Israel. Until the Americans begin to investigate the activities of the CIA (and this activity causes the United States only harm), the responsibility for this genocide (you heard right) will be on the American nation. It turns out that in the Middle East you are primarily destroying Christians. How interesting, why such zeal.

carbonmutant , 4 hours ago link

You gotta wonder how much the deep state has deleted about their interference in Trump's administration...

dogbert8 , 4 hours ago link

Pretty much everyone with a brain realizes this all was a lie; only the M5M and the DC swamp continue to pretend it wasn't.

Joiningupthedots , 4 hours ago link

Who really made the order though?

ClickNLook , 3 hours ago link

Sebastien Braha, Chief of Cabinet at the OPCW needs to be interrogated to find out.

Condor_0000 , 4 hours ago link

Newsweek Reporter Quits After Editors Block Coverage of OPCW Syria Scandal

December 19, 2019

Aaron Mate

https://thegrayzone.com/2019/12/19/newsweek-reporter-quits-after-editors-block-coverage-of-opcw-syria-scandal/

According to whistleblower testimony and leaked documents, OPCW officials raised alarm about the suppression of critical findings that undermine the allegation that the Syrian government committed a chemical weapons attack in the city of Douma in April 2018. Haddad's editors at Newsweek rejected his attempts to cover the story. "If I don't find another position in journalism because of this, I'm perfectly happy to accept that consequence," Haddad says. "It's not desirable. But there is no way I could have continued in that job knowing that I couldn't report something like this."

New leaks continue to expose a cover-up by the OPCW – the world's top chemical weapons watchdog – over a critical event in Syria. Documents, emails, and testimony from OPCW officials have raised major doubts about the allegation that the Syrian government committed a chemical weapons attack in the city of Douma in April 2018. The leaked OPCW information has been released in pieces by Wikileaks. The latest documents contain a number of significant revelations – including that that about 20 OPCW officials voiced concerns that their scientific findings and on-the-ground evidence was suppressed and excluded.

This is, without a doubt, a major global scandal: the OPCW, under reported US pressure, suppressing vital evidence about allegations of chemical weapons. But that very fact exposes another global scandal: with the exception of small outlets like The Grayzone, the mass media has widely ignored or whitewashed this story. And this widespread censorship of the OPCW scandal has just led one journalist to resign. Up until recently, Tareq Haddad was a reporter at Newsweek. But in early December, Tareq announced that he had quit his position after Newsweek refused to publish his story about the OPCW cover up over Syria.

[Dec 20, 2019] Did John Brennan's CIA Create Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks by Larry C Johnson

Highly recommended!
Gossufer2.0 and CrowdStrike are the weakest links in this sordid story. CrowdStrike was nothing but FBI/CIA contractor.
So the hypothesis that CrowdStrike employees implanted malware to implicate Russians and created fake Gussifer 2.0 personality is pretty logical.
Notable quotes:
"... Not one piece of corroborating intelligence. It is all based on opinion and strong belief. There was no human source report or electronic intercept pointing to a relationship between the GRU and the two alleged creations of the GRU--Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com. Now consider the spin that Robert Mueller put on this opinion in his report on possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Mueller bluffs the unsuspecting reader into believing that it is a proven fact that Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks were Russian assets. But he is relying on a mere opinion from a handpicked group of intel analysts working under the direction of then CIA Director John Brennan ..."
"... In October 2015 John Brennan reorganized the CIA . As part of that reorganization he created a new directorate--DIRECTORATE OF DIGITAL INNOVATION. Its mission was to "manipulate digital footprints." In other words, this was the Directorate that did the work of creating Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks. One of their specialties, creating Digital Dust. ..."
"... We also know, thanks to Wikileaks, that the CIA was using software specifically designed to mask CIA activity and make it appear like it was done by a foreign entity. Wikipedia describes the Vault 7 documents : ..."
"... Exhibit A in the case is this document created and later edited in the ubiquitous Microsoft Word format. Metadata left inside the file shows it was last edited by someone using the computer name "Феликс Эдмундович." That means the computer was configured to use the Russian language and that it was connected to a Russian-language keyboard. More intriguing still, "Феликс Эдмундович" is the colloquial name that translates to Felix Dzerzhinsky, the 20th Century Russian statesman who is best known for founding the Soviet secret police. (The metadata also shows that the purported DNC strategy memo was originally created by someone named Warren Flood, which happens to be the name of a LinkedIn user claiming to provide strategy and data analytics services to Democratic candidates.) ..."
"... Why would the CIA do this? The CIA knew that Podesta's emails had been hacked and were circulating on the internet. But they had no evidence about the identity of the culprit. If they had such evidence, they would have cited it in the 2017 ICA. ..."
"... The U.S. intelligence community became aware around May 26, 2016 that someone with access to the DNC network was offering those emails to Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Julian Assange and people who spoke to him indicate that the person was Seth Rich. Whether or not it was Seth, the Trump Task Force at CIA was aware that the emails, which would be embarrassing to the Clinton campaign, would be released at some time in the future. Hence the motive to create Guccifer 2.0 and pin the blame on Russia. ..."
"... The only source for the claim that Russia hacked the DNC is a private cyber security firm, CrowdStrike. ..."
"... Time for the common sense standard again. Crowdstrike detected the Russians on the 6th of May, according to CEO Dimitri Alperovitch, but took no steps to shutdown the network, eliminate the malware and clean the computers until 34 days later, i.e., the 10th of June. That is 34 days of inexcusable inaction. ..."
"... The actions attributed to DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 should be priority investigative targets for U.S. Attorney John Durham's team of investigators. This potential use of a known CIA tool, developed under Brennan with the sole purpose to obfuscate the source of intrusions, pointing to another nation, as a false flag operation, is one of the actions and issues that U.S. Attorney John Durham should be looking into as a potential act of "Seditious conspiracy. It needs to be done. To quote the CIA, I strongly assess that the only intelligence agency that evidence indicates was meddling via cyber attacks in the 2016 Presidential election was the CIA, not the GRU. ..."
"... LJ bottom line: "The only intelligence agency that evidence indicates was meddling via cyber attacks in the 2016 Presidential election was the CIA, not the GRU." ..."
"... ICA which seemed to have been framed to allow journalists or the unwary to link the ICA with more rigorous standards used by more authentic assessments? ..."
"... With the Russians not having the advantages that the NSA does (back doors in all US-designed network hardware/software and taps all over the internet), would Russia reveal anything unless it involved an immediate major national security threat. I doubt that would cover Trump. ..."
Dec 20, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report insists that Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks were created by Russia's military intelligence organization, the GRU, as part of a Russian plot to meddle in the U.S. 2016 Presidential Election. But this is a lie. Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks were created by Brennan's CIA and this action by the CIA should be a target of U.S. Attorney John Durham's investigation. Let me explain why.

Let us start with the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment aka ICA. Only three agencies of the 17 in the U.S. intelligence community contributed to and coordinated on the ICA--the FBI, the CIA and NSA. In the preamble to the ICA, you can read the following explanation about methodology:

When Intelligence Community analysts use words such as "we assess" or "we judge," they are conveying an analytic assessment or judgment

To be clear, the phrase,"We assess", is intel community jargon for "opinion". If there was actual evidence or source material for a judgment the writer of the assessment would state, "According to a reliable source" or "knowledgeable source" or "documentary evidence."

Pay close attention to what the analysts writing the ICA stated about the GRU and Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks:

We assess with high confidence that the GRU used the Guccifer 2.0 persona, DCLeaks.com, and WikiLeaks to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets.

We assess with high confidence that the GRU relayed material it acquired from the DNC and senior Democratic officials to WikiLeaks. Moscow most likely chose WikiLeaks because of its self-proclaimed reputation for authenticity. Disclosures through WikiLeaks did not contain any evident forgeries.

Not one piece of corroborating intelligence. It is all based on opinion and strong belief. There was no human source report or electronic intercept pointing to a relationship between the GRU and the two alleged creations of the GRU--Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com. Now consider the spin that Robert Mueller put on this opinion in his report on possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Mueller bluffs the unsuspecting reader into believing that it is a proven fact that Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks were Russian assets. But he is relying on a mere opinion from a handpicked group of intel analysts working under the direction of then CIA Director John Brennan.

Here's Mueller's take (I apologize for the lengthy quote but it is important that you read how the Mueller team presents this):

DCLeaks

"The GRU began planning the releases at least as early as April 19, 2016, when Unit 26165 registered the domain dcleaks.com through a service that anonymized the registrant.137 Unit 26165 paid for the registration using a pool of bitcoin that it had mined.138 The dcleaks.com landing page pointed to different tranches of stolen documents, arranged by victim or subject matter. Other dcleaks.com pages contained indexes of the stolen emails that were being released (bearing the sender, recipient, and date of the email). To control access and the timing of releases, pages were sometimes password-protected for a period of time and later made unrestricted to the public.


Starting in June 2016, the GRU posted stolen documents onto the website dcleaks.com, including documents stolen from a number of individuals associated with the Clinton Campaign. These documents appeared to have originated from personal email accounts (in particular, Google and Microsoft accounts), rather than the DNC and DCCC computer networks. DCLeaks victims included an advisor to the Clinton Campaign, a former DNC employee and Clinton Campaign employee, and four other campaign volunteers.139 The GRU released through dcleaks.com thousands of documents, including personal identifying and financial information, internal correspondence related to the"Clinton Campaign and prior political jobs, and fundraising files and information.140


GRU officers operated a Facebook page under the DCLeaks moniker, which they primarily used to promote releases of materials.141 The Facebook page was administered through a small number of preexisting GRU-controlled Facebook accounts.142


GRU officers also used the DCLeaks Facebook account, the Twitter account @dcleaks__, and the email account dcleaksproject@gmail.com to communicate privately with reporters and other U.S. persons. GRU officers using the DCLeaks persona gave certain reporters early access to archives of leaked files by sending them links and passwords to pages on the dcleaks.com website that had not yet become public. For example, on July 14, 2016, GRU officers operating under the DCLeaks persona sent a link and password for a non-public DCLeaks webpage to a U.S. reporter via the Facebook account.143 Similarly, on September 14, 2016, GRU officers sent reporters Twitter direct messages from @dcleaks_, with a password to another non-public part of the dcleaks.com website.144


The dcleaks.com website remained operational and public until March 2017."

Guccifer 2.0

On June 14, 2016, the DNC and its cyber-response team announced the breach of the DNC network and suspected theft of DNC documents. In the statements, the cyber-response team alleged that Russian state-sponsored actors (which they referred to as "Fancy Bear") were responsible for the breach.145 Apparently in response to that announcement, on June 15, 2016, GRU officers using the persona Guccifer 2.0 created a WordPress blog. In the hours leading up to the launch of that WordPress blog, GRU officers logged into a Moscow-based server used and managed by Unit 74455 and searched for a number of specific words and phrases in English, including "some hundred sheets," "illuminati," and "worldwide known." Approximately two hours after the last of those searches, Guccifer 2.0 published its first post, attributing the DNC server hack to a lone Romanian hacker and using several of the unique English words and phrases that the GRU officers had searched for that day.146

That same day, June 15, 2016, the GRU also used the Guccifer 2.0 WordPress blog to begin releasing to the public documents stolen from the DNC and DCCC computer networks.

The Guccifer 2.0 persona ultimately released thousands of documents stolen from the DNC and DCCC in a series of blog posts between June 15, 2016 and October 18, 2016.147 Released documents included opposition research performed by the DNC (including a memorandum analyzing potential criticisms of candidate Trump), internal policy documents (such as recommendations on how to address politically sensitive issues), analyses of specific congressional races, and fundraising documents. Releases were organized around thematic issues, such as specific states (e.g., Florida and Pennsylvania) that were perceived as competitive in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Beginning in late June 2016, the GRU also used the Guccifer 2.0 persona to release documents directly to reporters and other interested individuals. Specifically, on June 27, 2016, Guccifer 2.0 sent an email to the news outlet The Smoking Gun offering to provide "exclusive access to some leaked emails linked [to] Hillary Clinton's staff."148 The GRU later sent the reporter a password and link to a locked portion of the dcleaks.com website that contained an archive of emails stolen by Unit 26165 from a Clinton Campaign volunteer in March 2016.149 "That the Guccifer 2.0 persona provided reporters access to a restricted portion of the DCLeaks website tends to indicate that both personas were operated by the same or a closely-related group of people.150

The GRU continued its release efforts through Guccifer 2.0 into August 2016. For example, on August 15, 2016, the Guccifer 2.0 persona sent a candidate for the U.S. Congress documents related to the candidate's opponent.151 On August 22, 2016, the Guccifer 2.0 persona transferred approximately 2.5 gigabytes of Florida-related data stolen from the DCCC to a U.S. blogger covering Florida politics.152 On August 22, 2016, the Guccifer 2.0 persona sent a U.S. reporter documents stolen from the DCCC pertaining to the Black Lives Matter movement.153"

Wow. Sounds pretty convincing. The documents referencing communications by DCLeaks or Guccifer 2.0 with Wikileaks are real. What is not true is that these entities were GRU assets.

In October 2015 John Brennan reorganized the CIA . As part of that reorganization he created a new directorate--DIRECTORATE OF DIGITAL INNOVATION. Its mission was to "manipulate digital footprints." In other words, this was the Directorate that did the work of creating Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks. One of their specialties, creating Digital Dust.

We also know, thanks to Wikileaks, that the CIA was using software specifically designed to mask CIA activity and make it appear like it was done by a foreign entity. Wikipedia describes the Vault 7 documents :

Vault 7 is a series of documents that WikiLeaks began to publish on 7 March 2017, that detail activities and capabilities of the United States' Central Intelligence Agency to perform electronic surveillance and cyber warfare. The files, dated from 2013–2016, include details on the agency's software capabilities, such as the ability to compromise cars, smart TVs,[1] web browsers (including Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera Software ASA),[2][3][4] and the operating systems of most smartphones (including Apple's iOS and Google's Android), as well as other operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Linux[5][6

One of the tools in Vault 7 carries the innocuous name, MARBLE. Hackernews explains the purpose and function of MARBLE:

Dubbed "Marble," the part 3 of CIA files contains 676 source code files of a secret anti-forensic Marble Framework, which is basically an obfuscator or a packer used to hide the true source of CIA malware.
The CIA's Marble Framework tool includes a variety of different algorithm with foreign language text intentionally inserted into the malware source code to fool security analysts and falsely attribute attacks to the wrong nation.

Marble is used to hamper[ing] forensic investigators and anti-virus companies from attributing viruses, trojans and hacking attacks to the CIA," says the whistleblowing site.

"...for example by pretending that the spoken language of the malware creator was not American English, but Chinese, but then showing attempts to conceal the use of Chinese, drawing forensic investigators even more strongly to the wrong conclusion," WikiLeaks explains.

So guess what gullible techies "discovered" in mid-June 2016? The meta data in the Guccifer 2.0 communications had "Russian fingerprints."

We still don't know who he is or whether he works for the Russian government, but one thing is for sure: Guccifer 2.0 -- the nom de guerre of the person claiming he hacked the Democratic National Committee and published hundreds of pages that appeared to prove it -- left behind fingerprints implicating a Russian-speaking person with a nostalgia for the country's lost Soviet era.

Exhibit A in the case is this document created and later edited in the ubiquitous Microsoft Word format. Metadata left inside the file shows it was last edited by someone using the computer name "Феликс Эдмундович." That means the computer was configured to use the Russian language and that it was connected to a Russian-language keyboard. More intriguing still, "Феликс Эдмундович" is the colloquial name that translates to Felix Dzerzhinsky, the 20th Century Russian statesman who is best known for founding the Soviet secret police. (The metadata also shows that the purported DNC strategy memo was originally created by someone named Warren Flood, which happens to be the name of a LinkedIn user claiming to provide strategy and data analytics services to Democratic candidates.)

Just use your common sense. If the Russians were really trying to carry out a covert cyberattack, do you really think they are so sloppy and incompetent to insert the name of the creator of the Soviet secret police in the metadata? No. The Russians are not clowns. This was a clumsy attempt to frame the Russians.

Why would the CIA do this? The CIA knew that Podesta's emails had been hacked and were circulating on the internet. But they had no evidence about the identity of the culprit. If they had such evidence, they would have cited it in the 2017 ICA.

The U.S. intelligence community became aware around May 26, 2016 that someone with access to the DNC network was offering those emails to Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Julian Assange and people who spoke to him indicate that the person was Seth Rich. Whether or not it was Seth, the Trump Task Force at CIA was aware that the emails, which would be embarrassing to the Clinton campaign, would be released at some time in the future. Hence the motive to create Guccifer 2.0 and pin the blame on Russia.

It is essential to recall the timeline of the alleged Russian intrusion into the DNC network. The only source for the claim that Russia hacked the DNC is a private cyber security firm, CrowdStrike. Here is the timeline for the DNC "hack."

Here are the facts on the public record. They are at odds with the claims of the Intelligence Community:

  1. It was 29 April 2016 , when the DNC claims it became aware its servers had been penetrated. No claim yet about who was responsible. And no claim that there had been a prior warning by the FBI of a penetration of the DNC by Russian military intelligence.
  2. According to CrowdStrike founder , Dimitri Alperovitch, his company first supposedly detected the Russians mucking around inside the DNC server on 6 May 2016. A CrowdStrike intelligence analyst reportedly told Alperovitch that:
    • Falcon had identified not one but two Russian intruders: Cozy Bear, a group CrowdStrike's experts believed was affiliated with the FSB, Russia's answer to the CIA; and Fancy Bear, which they had linked to the GRU, Russian military intelligence.
  3. The Wikileaks data shows that the last message copied from the DNC network is dated Wed, 25 May 2016 08:48:35.
  4. 10 June 2016 --CrowdStrike waited until 10 June 2016 to take concrete steps to clean up the DNC network. Alperovitch told Esquire's Vicky Ward that: 'Ultimately, the teams decided it was necessary to replace the software on every computer at the DNC. Until the network was clean, secrecy was vital. On the afternoon of Friday, June 10, all DNC employees were instructed to leave their laptops in the office."
  5. On June 14, 2016 , Ellen Nakamura, a Washington Post reporter who had been briefed by computer security company hired by the DNC -- Crowdstrike--, wrote:
    • Russian government hackers penetrated the computer network of the Democratic National Committee and gained access to the entire database of opposition research on GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, according to committee officials and security experts who responded to the breach.
    • The intruders so thoroughly compromised the DNC's system that they also were able to read all email and chat traffic, said DNC officials and the security experts.
    • The intrusion into the DNC was one of several targeting American political organizations. The networks of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were also targeted by Russian spies, as were the computers of some Republican political action committees, U.S. officials said. But details on those cases were not available.
  6. 15 June, 2016 , an internet "personality" self-described as Guccifer 2.0 surfaces and claims to be responsible for the hacks but denies being Russian. The people/entity behind Guccifer 2.0:

The only thing that the Guccifer 2.0 character did not do to declare its Russian heritage was to take out full page ads in the New York Times and Washington Post. But the "forensic" fingerprints that Guccifer 2.0 was leaving behind is not the only inexplicable event.

Time for the common sense standard again. Crowdstrike detected the Russians on the 6th of May, according to CEO Dimitri Alperovitch, but took no steps to shutdown the network, eliminate the malware and clean the computers until 34 days later, i.e., the 10th of June. That is 34 days of inexcusable inaction.

It is only AFTER Julian Assange announces on 12 June 2016 that WikiLeaks has emails relating to Hillary Clinton that DCLeaks or Guccifer 2.0 try to contact Assange.

The actions attributed to DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 should be priority investigative targets for U.S. Attorney John Durham's team of investigators. This potential use of a known CIA tool, developed under Brennan with the sole purpose to obfuscate the source of intrusions, pointing to another nation, as a false flag operation, is one of the actions and issues that U.S. Attorney John Durham should be looking into as a potential act of "Seditious conspiracy. It needs to be done. To quote the CIA, I strongly assess that the only intelligence agency that evidence indicates was meddling via cyber attacks in the 2016 Presidential election was the CIA, not the GRU.

Posted at 02:13 PM in Larry Johnson , Russiagate | Permalink


Factotum , 20 December 2019 at 02:45 PM

LJ bottom line: "The only intelligence agency that evidence indicates was meddling via cyber attacks in the 2016 Presidential election was the CIA, not the GRU."
Paul Damascene , 20 December 2019 at 02:54 PM
Larry, thanks -- vital clarifications and reminders. In your earlier presentation of this material did you not also distinguish between the way actually interagency assessments are titled, and ICA which seemed to have been framed to allow journalists or the unwary to link the ICA with more rigorous standards used by more authentic assessments?
walrus , 20 December 2019 at 03:51 PM
Thank you Larry. You have discovered one more vital key to the conspiracy. We now need the evidence of Julian Assange. He is kept incommunicado and He is being tortured by the British in jail and will be murdered by the American judicial system if he lasts long enough to be extradited.

You can be sure he will be "Epsteined" before he appears in open court because he knows the source of what Wikileaks published. Once he is gone, mother Clinton is in the clear.

Ghost Ship , 20 December 2019 at 04:04 PM
I can understand the GRU or SVR hacking the DNC and other e-mail servers because as intelligence services that is their job, but can anyone think of any examples of Russia (or the Soviet Union) using such information to take overt action?

With the Russians not having the advantages that the NSA does (back doors in all US-designed network hardware/software and taps all over the internet), would Russia reveal anything unless it involved an immediate major national security threat. I doubt that would cover Trump.

[Dec 20, 2019] Intelligence community has become a self licking ice cream cone

Highly recommended!
Dec 20, 2019 | off-guardian.org

J_Garbo ,

I suspected that Deep State has at least two opposing factions. The Realistists want him to break up the empire, turn back into a republic; the Delusionals want to extend the empire, continue to exploit and destroy the world. If so, the contradictions, reversals, incoherence make sense. IMO as I said.

Gary Weglarz ,

I predict that all Western MSM will begin to accurately and vocally cover Mr. Binney's findings about this odious and treasonous U.S. government psyop at just about the exact time that -- "hell freezes over" -- as they say.

Jen ,

They don't need to, they have Tony Blair's fellow Brit psycho Boris Johnson to go on autopilot and blame the Russians the moment something happens and just before London Met start their investigations.

[Dec 19, 2019] MIC lobbyism (which often is presented as patriotism) is the last refuge of scoundrels

Highly recommended!
Dec 19, 2019 | angrybearblog.com

likbez, December 19, 2019 6:58 pm

Afghan war demonstrated that the USA got into the trap, the Catch 22 situation: it can't stop following an expensive and self-destructive positive feedback loop of threat inflation and larger and large expenditures on MIC, because there is no countervailing force for the MIC since WWII ended. Financial oligarchy is aligned with MIC.

This is the same suicidal grip of MIC on the country that was one of the key factors in the collapse of the USSR means that in this key area the USA does not have two party system, It is a Uniparty: a singe War party with two superficially different factions.

Feeding and care MIC is No.1 task for both. Ordinary Americans wellbeing does matter much for either party. New generation of Americans is punished with crushing debt and low paying jobs. They do not care that people over 50 who lost their jobs are essentially thrown out like a garbage.

"41 Million people in the US suffer from hunger and lack of food security"–US Dept. of Agriculture. FDR addressed the needs of this faction of the population when he delivered his One-Third of a Nation speech for his 2nd Inaugural. About four years later, FDR expanded on that issue in his Four Freedoms speech: 1.Freedom of speech; 2.Freedom of worship; 3.Freedom from want; 4.Freedom from fear.

Items 3 and 4 are probably unachievable under neoliberalism. And fear is artificially instilled to unite the nation against the external scapegoat much like in Orwell 1984. Currently this is Russia, later probably will be China. With regular minutes of hate replaced by Rachel Maddow show ;-)

Derailing Tulsi had shown that in the USA any politician, who try to challenge MIC, will be instantly attacked by MIC lapdogs in MSM and neutered in no time.

One interesting tidbit from Fiona Hill testimony is that neocons who dominate the USA foreign policy establishment make their living off threat inflation. They literally are bought by MIC, which indirectly finance Brookings institution, Atlantic Council and similar think tanks. And this isn't cheap cynicism. It is simply a fact. Rephrasing Samuel Johnson's famous quote, we can say, "MIC lobbyism (which often is presented as patriotism) is the last refuge of scoundrels."

[Dec 19, 2019] A the core of color revolution against Trump is Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Ukrainegate is preemptive political tactics. ..."
Dec 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Lk , Dec 18 2019 22:19 utc | 26

The House impeachment is driven by several factors:
  1. After Russiagate, when Trump began to investigate its fraudulent origins, the Dems feared the exposure of Obama-era corruption if not high crimes. Hence Ukrainegate is preemptive political tactics.
  2. The investigation into Russiagate led right to Ukraine, and thus to Biden. In the context of Sanders' campaign, Ukrainegate became an imperative for the factions of the capitalist class that dominates the DNC. If Biden falls on Ukraine issues, then Sanders is inevitable; an anathema to Wall Street and Big Tech DNC donors.
  3. 3. While 1 and 2 dominate DNC machinations, foreign policy is also a factor. The foreign policy establishment is absolutely against any hesitation with respect to confronting Russia as part of a regional and global strategy for primacy. Trump's limited prevarications on Russia might threaten the long established strategy to expand Nato to Ukraine and thereby to encircle Russia and maintain US dominance over Europe. So, even though Trump names great power rivalry as the name of the game today, his inclination for making nice with Putin threatens to weaken the US hold over Europe, which Trump wants to label as an economic competitor.

    It is with these points that the strategic differences become apparent: Trump is raising a realist, neo-mercantalist strategy against ALL potential competitors; the DNC and the deep state hold a strategy of liberal hegemony: globalization and US primacy through dominating regional alliances, and impregnating US hegemony INSIDE the vassal States of the empire.

All of this, however, is bound to fail for the DNC, and down the road for Trump himself.

The contradictions of US empire and global capitalism cannot be mitigated by either more liberal strategies or realist ones.

[Dec 19, 2019] Historically the ability of unelected, unaccountable, secretive bureaucracies (aka the "Deep State") to exercise their own policy without regard for the public or elected officials, often in defiance of these, has always been the hallmark of the destruction of democracy and incipient tyranny.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Today's Deep State most resembles the colonial administrations during the heyday of European imperialism. These too worked to run their own secret foreign policy, and to bring their power to bear on domestic policy as well. ..."
"... Impeachment, and the pro-bureaucracy anti-democracy campaign related to it, besides its more petty purposes (distraction from real social problems; forestalling Sanders), is the culmination of technocracy's attempted coup against a president who, even though he agrees with this cabal on all policy matters, is considered too unreliable, too undisciplined, too damn honest about the evil of the US empire. If they can take him down, they think they can restore the full business-as-usual status quo including the compliance of the rest of the world. ..."
Dec 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Russ , Dec 18 2019 22:00 utc | 19

Historically the ability of unelected, unaccountable, secretive bureaucracies (aka the "Deep State") to exercise their own policy without regard for the public or elected officials, often in defiance of these, has always been the hallmark of the destruction of democracy and incipient tyranny.

Today's Deep State most resembles the colonial administrations during the heyday of European imperialism. These too worked to run their own secret foreign policy, and to bring their power to bear on domestic policy as well.

Although both halves of the One-Party really want the effective tyranny of state and corporate bureaucracies, it's not surprising that it's the Democrats (along with the MSM) taking the lead in openly defending the tyrannical proposition that the CIA should be running its own foreign (and implicitly domestic) policy, and that the president should be just a figurehead which follows orders. That goes with the Democrats' more avowedly technocratic style, and it goes with the ratchet effect whereby it's usually Democrats which push the policy envelope toward ever greater inequality, ecocide and tyranny.

Now is a time of rising irredentism and the decline of all the ideas of globalization and technocracy, though the reality is likely to hang on for awhile. The whole Deep State-Zionist-Russia-Deranged-Trump-Deranged-MSM-social media censorship campaign is globalization trying to maintain its monopoly of ideas by force, since it knows it can never win in a free clash of ideas.

Impeachment, and the pro-bureaucracy anti-democracy campaign related to it, besides its more petty purposes (distraction from real social problems; forestalling Sanders), is the culmination of technocracy's attempted coup against a president who, even though he agrees with this cabal on all policy matters, is considered too unreliable, too undisciplined, too damn honest about the evil of the US empire. If they can take him down, they think they can restore the full business-as-usual status quo including the compliance of the rest of the world.

Since impeachment's going to fail, we can expect the system to try other ways.

james , Dec 19 2019 1:51 utc | 57

hey b... i like your title - "How The Deep State Sunk The Democratic Party" ... could change it to" How the Deep State Sunk the USA" could work just as well...

Seven of the 11 security state representatives who had joined the Democrats in 2018 gave the impulse for impeachment.

is this intentional?? it sort of looks like it...

good quote from @ 26 lk - "The contradictions of US empire and global capitalism cannot be mitigated by either more liberal strategies or realist ones."

ptb , Dec 19 2019 2:07 utc | 62
@babyl-on 35
yes that is about right. The top power networks are all a tight mix of names from govt, MIC, and private equity (incl. top 2-3 investment banks). With the latter group naturally paying the salaries of the whole policy making ecosystem, and holding the positions that select future generations who will eventually take their place.

They want the security of knowing noone in the world will mess with them. This necessitates that noone in the world *can* mess with them. Pretty straightforward from there.

[Dec 10, 2019] The level of Neo-McCarthyism and the number of lunitics this NYT forums is just astonishing: When it comes to Donald Trump and Russia, everything is connected.

Highly recommended!
The tread is reproduced as is. And out 100 posts available in NYT "all view mode 90% can be classified as plain vanilla Neo-McCarthyism
If they are representative sample of the country, the country is crazy.
This editorial can also be classified as lunatic. But in reality it is much worse: the paper became completely subservant to intelligence agencies. Should probably be renamed the Voice of the CIA. .
Dec 10, 2019 | www.nytimes.com
Opinion With Trump, All Roads Lead to Moscow

Monday's congressional hearing and the inspector general's report tell a similar story.

By Jesse Wegman Mr. Wegman is a member of the editorial board.

When it comes to Donald Trump and Russia, everything is connected.

That's the most important lesson from the two big events that played out Monday on Capitol Hill -- the House Judiciary Committee's hearings on President Trump's impeachment and the release of the report on the origins of the F.B.I.'s investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

One of these involved the 2016 election. The other involves the 2020 election. Both tell versions of the same story: Mr. Trump depends on, and welcomes, Russian interference to help him win the presidency. That was bad enough when he did it in 2016, openly calling for Russia to hack into his opponent's emails -- which Russians tried to do that same day . But he was only a candidate then. Now that Mr. Trump is president, he is wielding the immense powers of his office to achieve the same end.

That is precisely the type of abuse of power that the founders were most concerned about when they created the impeachment power, and it's why Democratic leaders in the House are pressing ahead with such urgency on their inquiry. They are trying to ensure that the 2020 election, now less than a year away, is not corrupted by the president of the United States, acting in league with a foreign power. "The integrity of our next election is at stake," said Representative Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. "Nothing could be more urgent."

On Monday morning, lawyers for the Democrats on the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees presented the clearest and most comprehensive narrative yet of President Trump's monthslong shakedown of the new Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, for Mr. Trump's personal political benefit. They explained in methodical detail how the president withheld a White House meeting and hundreds of millions of dollars in crucial, congressionally authorized military aid to Ukraine, all in an effort to get Mr. Zelensky to announce two investigations -- one into Mr. Trump's political rival, Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter, and another into Ukraine's supposed interference in the 2016 election.

David Leonhardt helps you make sense of the news -- and offers reading suggestions from around the web -- with commentary every weekday morning.

Who would benefit from these announcements? Mr. Trump, who believes his re-election prospects are threatened most by Mr. Biden, and Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, who has been working for years to make Ukraine the fall guy for his own interference in the 2016 election. Mr. Putin has not fooled serious people, like those in the American intelligence community who determined that his government alone was responsible for meddling on Mr. Trump's behalf . But he has fooled Republicans in Congress, who have degraded themselves and their offices by faithfully parroting Mr. Putin's propaganda in the mainstream press.

... ... ...


sdavidc9 Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut 12m ago

Republicans are in lawyer mode, advocating for Trump as if he were their client. Lawyers make the best case they can for their clients. It helps if they believe in the case, but it also helps to know the case's weaknesses so they can avoid them. The best lawyers can do both at the same time. Republicans are called on by the Constitution to exit lawyer mode and enter juror mode (which is, or should be, similar to why-did-this-aircraft-crash mode). So far, they are not heeding this call. From all appearances, they are mouthing the words of the Constitution while avoiding or refusing to hear or understand them. They took an oath to support the Constitution, but they are deaf to its call, or have moved to a place beyond understanding it.
Mark Larsen Cambria, CA 26m ago
The issue of whether to impeach was made by the President when he engaged in an abuse of his office for personal gain and then obstructed Congress' oversight function. We all understand the political downside arising from an acquittal in the Senate but that interest needs to be secondary to doing the right thing. On these facts, the decision representatives must make of whether to impeach really is no decision at all. Just do the right thing.
Twg NV 26m ago
When Senator John McCain died, he scripted his own funeral as a full bore defense against Trumpian Nationalism, and as an admonishment against a GOP too willing to sell the soul of our nation out to a cultist repudiation of objective fact, truth, and Constitutional order. McCain was a controversial maverick –a person I both admired and disliked in equal proportion. But there is one thing I will always admire him for: his final letter to the nation. It was a warning! He blew a golden bugle to sound the alarm against those entities both within and without our nation who wish to do our democratic republic harm. McCain, whether you agreed with the premise of the Vietnam war or not, was an American hero who served his country and his fellow soldiers with incontrovertible valor and love. President Donald Trump has no concept of what that dedication and sacrifice entails – and sadly, neither do many of the GOP members who continue to lie and make excuses for a president who is clearly abusing his office for personal gain. McCain characterized Trump's actions in Helsinki as an unfathomable 'abasement of the U.S. presidency.' All I can say is the GOP sure ain't the party of my father who fought in WWII against fascism and autocracy. It aggrieves me to no end to witness what too many members of Congress have become: tyrants toward the very meaning of American democracy. God save us from our own duplicity.
Jagmont Rousel Fresburg, Ca. 12m ago
@Twg Well said, and though I sometimes did not agree with McCain on matters of policy, I wish he were still with us, hopefully to show his fellow republicans what integrity looks like, and what America is supposed to be about. The Republican party I have known and respected is alas, like Senator McCain, no longer with us.
Consiglieri NYC 34m ago
Americans have to realize that the whole world is mocking us, and that doesn't necesarily inspire respect. That cold be dangerous. Many medical professionals have noticed a decay in the mental abilities of the president, and certain abnormalities. It would be wise to suggest to the family that maybe the best way forward, with minimal losses would be to motivate a retirement. That would be face saving for them, and save the country from a bitter impeachment spectacle that would not be positive for the USA.
Jennifer Francois Holland, Michigan 1h ago
I'm waiting for Trump's financial info to be released. There's something in there he doesn't even want his base to know . I think the logical conclusion is that whatever financials DJT has hidden do indeed lead to Moscow. Actually, all of this is very, very alarming. Does Putin have a political asset planted here? Y or N I wish the answer was no and that we had a different President. Can we as a nation hold things together when our leader wants to tear us apart?
AL NY 1h ago
All roads lead to the highest bidder(s). 21st century America in the era of Citizens United. Market pricing and the government is open for transactional business domestic and international. Alternate realities per GRU/FOX/GOP misinformation. Combine foreign money carefully grooming an in-need Trump, and a party worshipping money and you have a perfect storm removing any sense of civic duty. Hundreds of years to build and unwound in a few decades, the breathtaking and tragic fall of greatness and hope in our lifetime. It's not fiction, and every day I have to check if it's really happening, and shockingly it is.
DO5 Minneapolis 1h ago
There was no Russian meddling, only Ukraine who meddled in 2016 and they are still at it. Listening to the Judiciary Committee hearings, it seems that the Russians have hacked into the Republican Party servers and are sending talking points to Republicans who are defending the indefensible president.
We'll always have Paris Sydney, Australia 1h ago
At some point, Republicans have to ask themselves which is better for their party and the country. Slavish devotion to Trump, or losing an election and leaving Democrats a mess to clean up, as in 1932 and 2008?
Mike S. Eugene, OR 2h ago
Block witnesses from testifying, then say that the hearing is incomplete. Romney told America at the Republican Convention in 2012 that Russia was our biggest enemy, DJT wanted them to help Republicans win in 2016, said he believed Putin in 2018, and wants to convince us that it was really the Ukraine in 2019. The House has to impeach, even if politically it may be a bad move, because it is the right thing to do; indeed, the very actions I've seen in the past several weeks has given me glimmers of hope for the country.
Federalist California 2h ago
Trump will be reelected for the reason that the Russian intelligence agencies are still able to hack our election results, because Trump has blocked fixing the weaknesses. That is what happens when a Manchurian candidate is elected and then allowed to obstruct justice. It is not clear the US will survive Trump. One key thing he did was arrange to have the teams at DHS that watch for smuggled nuclear bombs were stood down and disbanded. See the report in the LA Times last July "Trump administration has gutted programs aimed at detecting weapons of mass destruction".
David Rochester 2h ago
I don't suppose a constructed transcript of Trump's meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov tomorrow will be offered up as a token of our leader's transparency.
Markymark San Francisco 2h ago
It's clear now that AG William Barr isn't interested in enforcing the rule of law with fellow republicans, and especially the president. How can there be no recourse when an attorney general completely sells out to a criminal president? Can the employees of the Justice Dept hold a vote of no confidence in the AG? Can 10,000 attorneys nationwide express the same? The prospect of Trump and Barr running roughshod over the rule of law for another year is truly frightening.
Aluetian Contemplation 2h ago
65,845,063 voters knew clearly who this man was from the beginning and voted for what would have been a better now and future. It was never any secret. 62,980,160 voters also knew clearly who this man was and voted for him anyway. If the Democrats can ensure that we have a fair election in 2020. I'm confident they will win the majority in the house and senate and retake the White House and the end game for Trump will be jail. The problem is, he might not be the only one who's crimes come to light and I suspect a good lot of the GOP are threatening and blackmailing each other to hold the line. If there's any good men or women left in the GOP, your country and history are calling you.
Edwin a physician, scientist and realist 2h ago
It has easy to predict Trump's next move for the last 3 years. Just ask, "What would both benefit Trump, and benefit Putin?" Trump supporters = Putin supporters.
Kevin CO 2h ago
Do you know the American people are fed up with the discourse of all politicians. The republicans are fed up with any decency for the republic. The democrats are fed up with the republicans not facing the common sense of a exec not capable of being the President of the United states. I as a person am fed up with a political system that is not working for all people, just a select few. It's time too have term limits for all positions in gov't. That means all people that serve the people whether it be judges, senators or congressmen/women. It's time to find common sense again in our society as a whole society. We on this earth are all HUMAN.
Eben Spinoza 2h ago
Unfortunately their are serious problems with term limits. Just consider yourself in the role of a Congressional Representative limited to 4 terms. You know that in 8 years, you'll be be back on the job market. You can selflessly work for the public and damage your ability to get a job or tend to people who can hire you after you leave office. You're rational. Which future would you pick?
REBCO FORT LAUDERDALE FL 2h ago
Trump needs to keep Putin happy lest he unleash with all the damaging info he has collected on Trump and his financial crooked deals with Russians over decades. THe Russian mob reports to Putin as a former KGB agent he knows how to collect compromat on a politician and how to use it to get Trump to break into a giddy smile when he sees Putin his master it's obvious to most keen observers.
M. Barsoum Philadelphia 2h ago
Folks it is simple. Can we hear what Trump and Putin said to each other a few months ago. It is recored and on a server it should not be on. I am not sure why nobody is talking about these transcripts.
Nelly Half Moon Bay 2h ago
Finally! We get someone stating the obvious fact of Trump/Putin. Why are the Dems not talking about this all the time? Why are Congressmen and women not asking the witnesses about this? This is the ONE thing the Republicans are afraid of, so it is the one thing Democrats should do. I have been disappointed that the Russian asset thing hasn't been brought up....It's as if it is purposely bold. Trump is a Russian asset, either witting or unwitting. I doubt if there is one upper Intelligence Official that wouldn't say this. So find the right one and have them sit as a witness for this inquiry. And now the Russian big wig Diplomat and KGb spy, Lavarov, is visiting tomorrow. Good grief! Everyone is thinking this, so get out and say it Dems! Dr. Fiona Hill tried to lead into this direction but still the Dem Committee would take it up and aske her what she thought. Say it: All of Trump's Roads Lead to Russia.
Ro Laren Santa Monica 2h ago
Any American adult who has made an effort to educate himself or herself about Mr. Mueller's investigation or these impeachment proceedings understands that yes, with Trump all roads lead to Russia. Now if the poll numbers mean anything, Trump's crimes and Russia's involvement only matter to about 60% of us. As Trump's poll numbers remain steady, some 40% of Americans don't care what lawbreaking he is involved with or whether other nations now control our elections. Stop and think about this for a minute. Trump supporters know but literally do not care that Russia is tampering with our elections (2016 and 2020). Their cult-like support for Trump is why the Republican Senate will not remove him. There is no other reason Trump will remain in office. Trump has mesmerized his supporters like a modern day Rasputin. They will do literally anything for him, and Senate Republicans know this. Trump voters do not mind that Putin controls our nation at the highest levels of decision making. Again - think about this - they know he does, and they do not care. So I ask the rest of us. Is this the America we want to live in? To raise our families in? Where a large, rabid minority is in thrall to a lunatic puppet whose strings are firmly in Putin's hands? Because this is very much the America we live in now. The time will come, though, when we, the majority, will no longer tolerate the Trump/Putin regime. But the longer we wait, the harder it will be oust these tyrants.
Tracy Washington DC 2h ago
In 2008, Donald Trump Jr. said Russia was an important source of funding for the Trump businesses. American banks wouldn't lend him money. Saudi Arabia likely bailed out Jared's disastrous real estate investment in NYC. Follow. The. Money.
Huge Grizzly Seattle 2h ago
You say that Mr. Putin "has fooled Republicans in Congress, who have degraded themselves and their offices by faithfully parroting Mr. Putin's propaganda in the mainstream press." You are correct on all counts, except that the Republicans have not been fooled by Putin. They have gone along, headlong and absolutely willingly, in a complete sellout of personal and national principle and integrity. They should not be forgiven for this conduct, any more than Mr. Trump should be forgiven for his sellout of America.
Look Ahead WA 2h ago
For Republicans who believe so fervently in their counterfactual narrative, there is an immediate remedy. Bring facts and evidence to the Committees and testify under oath. Without witnesses and evidence presented under oath, all of the GOP antics simply look foolish and very much like they are defending the guilty. It is unfortunate that there is no penalty for elected officials who share unfounded conspiracy theories, engage in innuendo and obstruct process in official Committee hearings. It is also regretable that this President is not held accountable for trying to intimidate witnesses in real time during testimony. And it is a sad reality that one of the most corrupt rulers in the world, who rules a hostile power, has managed to entirely win over one of our major parties.
Gerard PA 2h ago
The strangest defense advanced today was the idea that the alleged state of the economy was reason not to impeach the President: the Republicans assert that America, the Constitution, the principle of our government are for sale to be bought by the rising stock market and a plethora of low-wage jobs. We are Faust, and the smell of sulphur is nauseating.
richard wiesner oregon 2h ago
If the IG's report on the 2016 Russia investigation had found the only problem was that two of the agents involved had horrible hangnails, Barr and Trump would have condemned it.
Asian Philosopher Germany 2h ago
Whatever Trump is doing, he always care about his main benefactors, Putin and MBS. This is the first time I have witnessed in history that an American president became a Russian puppet with all his Republican followers at the Congress and Senate. American constitutional crisis happening right in front of the world. I heard the cries of James Madison, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin from their graves.
trudds sierra madre, CA 2h ago Times Pick
Sir, do you honestly think that House Republicans have been "fooled" by Mr. Putin? On the contrary, it's pretty obvious they understand and believe the conclusions from our Intel community. These are instead willful lies for political gain. And while some Americans may actually be misled by the theater presented as rebuttal to the impeachment, it's hard to imagine for most it's once again, not conviction but convenience that places such "patriots" solidly in Russia's back pocket.
Michele Seattle 2h ago Times Pick
The pattern of behavior is clear and compelling: Trump is selling out this country, its national security, its integrity and sovereignty, in order to keep power and avoid his own prosecution, and protect his financial interests. We must get the truth about his relationships and indebtedness to Putin, the Saudis, and Erdogan. Our country has been hijacked and Trump will continue to corrupt the US and turn it into an autocracy if he is not stopped and held accountable under the law.
Linus Internet 2h ago
The country voted for this President knowing he is a flawed man in many ways. I don't think anything changes here - the Senate will speedily acquit him and the voters in the swing states will have to decide if they want to give Mr. Trump a second chance while the rest of the country impotently watches.
David CT 2h ago
If one looks at all of his actions as "How could this benefit Russia?" most of it makes sense. Why start a trade war with China and Western allies? Why withdraw from Syria? Why try to polarize the American public? Effectively showing this to the public is critical.
Mark New York 2h ago
Excellent piece. We all know Trump, Inc. turned to Russian oligarchs after '08 for condo sales. It just so happened that those same oligarchs (read as kleptocrats) were laundering money through Deutsche Bank, who was the only bank willing to lend to Trump. Trump's loan officer amazingly was SC Justice Anthony Kennedy's son. Trump was and is a desperate man in need of cash/ Putin is a desperate man who knows that the geyser of oil money that funds his national budget, and has done so since the 1920's, is coming to an end. Russia has no large material economic exports other than oil and gas, but it does still have a large military, hence the military incursions into Moldova, Ossetia, Georgia, Ukraine and Syria. Desperate men do desperate things, and desperately try to project power with weak hands.
turbot philadelphia 2h ago
The Republicans in Congress were not fooled by the Russians. They believe in Trump no matter what the Russians do. The bottom line is - What does Putin have on Trump
stan continople brooklyn 2h ago
I don't understand why there hasn't been more of a pushback by the military. They went heavily for Trump in 20116, with many bases in the South and many recruits from economically devastated areas, but in the interim, they have seen his reckless, lurching foreign policy, worship of Putin, and clear evidence that somehow everything he does benefits Russia. A commander's first obligation is to their troops, so knowing the man in charge considers their lives subject to both Trump's whims, and Putin's whispers should provoke some reaction. No?
Steven Auckland 3h ago
Unfortunately - to put it mildly - impeachment will have no effect on the conduct of the 2020 election. The wheels are already turning, everyone knows their part, and only a massive commitment by an honest intelligence apparatus (if there is one) can stop it. One can only hope that, in 2020, the American people make a statement so overwhelming that there can be no doubt as to their intent, despite whatever meddling there may have been. It is entirely possible that there will never be a truly credible election again as long as there are bad actors who are power hungry or bent on destabilizing democratic governments. And make no mistake, these threats are coming from right wing autocracies, and they are in the ascendancy all over the world. American centrists and liberals are the only force that can change that. Are those stakes big enough for you?
Michael Kittle Vaison la Romaine, France 3h ago
We may finally have the answer as to why Trump is so accommodating to Putin. Trump has so many investments in Russia dependent on Putin's support. Trump financial reports will reveal this collusion between Trump and Putin. This should not come as a surprise to attentive Americans. Think of the worst an American president can do and that will bring you close to understanding Trump.
Ray Haining Hot Springs, AR 3h ago
Nobody's saying how Trump withholding military aid to Ukraine would benefit Putin and Russia in their WAR against Ukraine. It was, indeed, MILITARY aid he was withholding, was it not? I understand that this is not the impeachable offense of attempting to enlist a foreign government to win an election, but I believe this aspect of the situation should be brought out.
Socrates Downtown Verona. NJ 3h ago
The Republican Party has been officially reduced to a giant miasma of fraud, fiction, fantasy, conspiracy theory, deflection, misdirection and prevarication. After tax cuts for rich people and rich corporations...the GOP has no other public policy ideas (except for bankrupting the government). A civilized country needs little things like infrastructure, education, technology, voting rights, law and order, regulations, fair taxation and facts to move forward. But none of those things are ever mentioned by the Republican Party; conspiracy-mongering and tax cuts are now the official governing planks of the Grand Old Propaganda/Grand One Percent party. This is no way to manage a nation anywhere except into the ground. Americans need to hit the Trump-GOP eject button before these Lord of the Fly Republicans take us over a very steep right-wing cliff of insanity.
Bob Hudson Valley 3h ago
The Republican Party is now Trump's party and the Republicans know it and are acting accordingly. You could call them opportunists following the way the political winds are blowing. The Constitution is based on members of Congress caring about the Constitution and searching for the truth. Since this is now not the case when if comes to the Republicans the Constitution has no remedy for this situation. The only remedy is an election and if Trump can manipulate elections to his advantage using foreign powers then there is no remedy and the system of government set up by the founders will be no more. The new system replacing it will be controlled by Trump. Putin figured out how to control Russian elections so he always wins and it is likely that Trump has a goal of imitating Putin. Ultimately this would mean taking over the press as Putin did. Trump cannot declare total victory as long as the there is a free press which he has labeled the enemy of the people.
DAWGPOUND HAR NYC 3h ago
From an acute perspective ..indeed shocking to say the least of the nature of this peculiar relationship. But looking at the big picture as evidence by all that has occurred in his or during this eye opening period for all the world to see....not so much so...For me, this dynamic is much expected.
James Ricciardi Panama, Panama 3h ago
"The witness has used language which impugns the motives of the president and suggests he's disloyal to his country, and those words should be stricken from the record and taken down," Mr. Johnson said. The Johnson rule effectively reads the impeachment power out of the constitution. How can you impeach a president if no one can say anything bad about him/her?
Bruce Rozenblit Kansas City, MO 3h ago
We have yet to plow the most fertile road yet. What does Trump care about over all else? Trump. How does Trump gauge his progress? His money. Where does his money come from? Good question. We all know he has filed for bankruptcy 6 times. We all know that because of those bankruptcies, American banks will not loan him any money. We all know he has significant financial dealings with Deutsche Bank. Now, who put the money in Deutsche Bank that ended up financing Trump's business.? That is the two billion dollar question. We also know that Russian oligarchs deal in billions of dollars. We also know that Trump has close relations with Russian business interests. We also know that Trump kowtows to Putin like Pence kowtows to him. We also know that Trump is doing everything possible to conceal his financial dealings from everyone and everything. So, we know that one billion plus one billion equals two billion. But does it also equal Trump? This money road is one we should take a ride on. Will it also take us to Putin?
Mark New York 2h ago
@Bruce Rozenblit No, but it will take us to those who are surrogates for him. Those whose wealth only continues because of Vova's "good will."
Gluscabi Dartmouth, MA 3h ago
The first Democratic candidate who labels Trump a "Russian agent" will own the simplest and most effective tag line going into the general election, provided of course that that candidate does his best to channel his inner Trump by never backing down but instead doubling down every chance he or she gets. Is Trump a Russian agent, paid for and accounted for? Not easy to say without some doubt, but that doesn't really matter because he sure as shoottin' acts like one. And when have the facts ever stopped Trump from going on the attack? The more Trump denies the label, the more he'll be digging his own grave. The real crime here is not so much the strong arming of Zelenskyy for a Biden investigation. That's small potatoes compared to Trump's withholding congressionally designated US military aid from a country engaged in a hot war with Russia, the same cast of characters who starved anywhere from one to eleven million Ukrainians during the 1930's. The Russian agent must go.
Alan Columbus OH 3h ago
I would not say Trump's lying "is effective", I would say it "has been effective". At some point, the public and his party may have had it with the thuggery and we do not know when that breaking point is.
abigail49 georgia 3h ago
For the sake of protecting our 2020 elections from Russian hackers and disinformation, the House is justified in moving forward fast, over the process howls of Republicans, with the compelling evidence they have surrounding Ukraine. But they need to continue investigating his business and financial ties to Russia and any other autocratic governments and their oligarchs, e.g. Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Especially if he is not convicted and removed by the Senate and stands for re-election, Americans need to know what conflicts of interest he has in making foreign policy and military decisions because American soldiers' lives are at stake. The Mueller investigation did not go down that road. Any businessman with global interests is automatically compromised, even more than a vice president whose son sits on a foreign corporation's board of director. Trump's own children continue to do business in foreign countries and we have no idea what Ivanka and Jared, sitting in the White House with top security clearances, are doing. In short, Ukraine should not be the only concern of congressional oversight committees. There's a lot more.
Peter Portland OR 3h ago
Trump must believe that Russian help in 2016 did help him to win. He must feel that fake evidence presented by an "independent" investigator such as a foreign government appears to carry more weight that the same fake evidence from a partisan investigator. Otherwise why would he be taking such chances to duplicate via Ukraine what he got from the Russians in 2016. But now that the Russian connection is outed, he can't go back to that well.
NA Wilson Massachusetts 3h ago
I worry it's all for naught. Dems in the House vote to impeach, GOP in the Senate vote to acquit. Trump remains highly competitive in 2020 election, Russia and other adversaries interfere, Trump stays put. Then what?
Rafael SC 3h ago
@NA Wilson Think of this situation differently. To have all possible scope to defeat him, we must support everything we can to undermine him. Lack of impeachment would have been business as usual. At some point his finances will get out and then all bets are off.
Tracy Washington DC 2h ago
@NA Wilson: It's all Hands on deck to save the country. Don't just vote, donate what money you can, work for candidates, knock doors, make calls. It's the only way out of this nightmare.
N. Smith New York City 3h ago
The Impeachment hearings weren't really necessary to prove what most everyone who's been paying attention knows. With Trump, all roads lead to Moscow. In fact, he's already acting very Putin-esque in his own way by forbidding anyone in the White House to respond to subpoena, by installing the fear of God in those who do, by punishing anyone who dares to think or act on their own, and then there's the act of holding a foreign country ransom until they agree to do his bidding -- not to mention inviting outside interference in our presidential elections. All the signs are not only there but they are ominous. By holding himself above the U.S. Constitution, Trump has declared war on this country and all the laws that govern it. And while entertainment-starved Americans laugh and cheer at his rallies, he and the Republicans drain our right to vote, and with it our Democracy. Today wasn't an epiphany. It was a warning.
bl rochester 3h ago
There seems to be no discussion of the financial backing trump received after '08-09 from sources inside Russia and how these actors would have expressed their support (or conditions for their silence) to the trump campaign during '15-16. Did the FBI not identify and investigate the funders behind trump and their interactions with the campaign during 2016? Would this not have been reasonable for an investigation to look into when its entire raison d'etre was to detect sources of Russian influence?
Jim TX 3h ago
I wonder if Mr. Wegman believes that this editorial will change anyone's mind or influence how anyone votes in the upcoming presidential election. Basically, this is classic preaching to the choir and sadly mostly a wasted effort. I would like to read articles with proven ideas that worked to change the minds of Republicans and other like them. Such articles might give me some better ideas to convince my pro-Trump friends and neighbors to Vote for America next November.
Kingfish52 Rocky Mountains 3h ago
"When it comes to Donald Trump and Russia, everything is connected." This! This is the central fact of all the things Trump has done (so far), and yet, the Democrats have failed to make this the central focus of the case against him. Instead, they've focused on one incident, and not even the most egregious one, to justify impeachment and removal from office. This was a terrible miscalculation. No, there is no doubt that Trump attempted to coerce Ukraine into helping with his re-election by announcing a bogus investigation of the Bidens. Nor any doubt that this constituted "high crimes and misdemeanors". But this was not the highest of crimes he's committed, nor have the Dems been able to convince any Republicans, or many independents, that this deserves Trump's removal. Moreover, they failed to produce the "smoking gun" of one witness or document in Trump's own words directing the quid pro quo. They gave plenty of room for the Republican attack machine to cast enough doubt and confusion that all but ensures Trump's acquittal in the Senate. Instead of focusing only on this one incident, the Democrats should have built their case around the theme that "with Trump, all roads lead to Russia". That is a crime that even the most skeptical doubter can grasp, and when linked together, all of his crimes can be shown to be of a pattern of serving Putin, and not the people of the United States. All roads lead to Putin, but the Democrats chose to follow a dead end.
DW Philly 2h ago
@Kingfish52 I completely agree with you and truly don't understand why the Democrats have not been shouting this from the rooftops. For mercy's sake! The problem is not just that the president solicited help from a foreign power for his own personal gain! That's bad enough, but isn't the point that he did this because he is beholden to Russia? Russia. is. not. our. friend. Why aren't the Democrats explaining this clearly to the American people? Trump is Putin's puppet and it could not be more obvious! Don't people understand that it doesn't just happen to be Ukraine that Trump took a notion to squeeze for his "personal gain"? He doesn't just want to win because it is so nice to win elections. He has to do what Putin tells him. Obviously, every last Republican in Congress understands this clearly. Why can't the Democrats explain it to the American people clearly?
Mike Republic Of Texas 4h ago
Obama did not provide lethal aid to Ukraine, after the Russians invaded Crimea. Obama did not Russia prevent the Iranian nuclear deal. Trump cancelled the Iranian nuclear deal, then provided lethal aid to Ukraine. Now I get it. Trump is working for Putin.
Mick Montclair 3h ago
By March 2015, the US had committed more than $120 million in security assistance for Ukraine and had pledged an additional $75 million worth of equipment including UAVs, counter-mortar radars, night vision devices and medical supplies, according to the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency. That assistance also included some 230 armored Humvee vehicles. Trump appears to be echoing a critique leveled at the Obama administration by the late Republican Sen. John McCain. "The Ukrainians are being slaughtered and we're sending blankets and meals," McCain said in 2015. "Blankets don't do well against Russian tanks." While it never provided lethal aid, many of the items that the Obama administration did provide were seen as critical to Ukraine's military. Part of the $250 million assistance package that the Trump administration announced (then froze and later unfroze) included many of the same items that were provided under Obama, including medical equipment, night vision gear and counter-artillery radar. The Trump administration did approve the provision of arms to Ukraine, including sniper rifles, rocket launchers and Javelin anti-tank missiles, something long sought by Kiev.
Ivan Memphis, TN 2h ago
@Mike Trump was not the one providing lethal aid to Ukraine. It was the house and senate that proposed and forced this aid into an appropriation bill - against the wishes of the Trump administration. After Trump realized he could not block this funding he did the second best thing - he used it to blackmail the Ukraine government to provide him with dirt on Biden and support for Putin's favorite narrative (that it was Ukraine not Russia that interfered in the 2016 election).
Mark New York 2h ago
@Mike It also took two acts of Congress to get the aid to Ukraine. Trump had nothing to do with it. Only the Impound Inclusion Act for foreign aid allows the President to time the release of the funds, which Trump did not follow. The Act was created because Nixon, like Trump, was playing fast and loose with our tax dollars. Who was the last President who asked for help from a foreign intelligence agency? Which President favored foregn intelligence agencies over his own? Answer no one other than Trump. If that doesn't show he's in someone's pocket, nothing does.

[Dec 04, 2019] The central question of Ukrainegate is whether CrowdStrike actions on DNC leak were a false flag operation designed to open Russiagate and what was the level of participation of Poroshenko government and Ukrainian Security services in this false flag operation by Factotum

Highly recommended!
Highly recommended !
Republicans are afraid to raise this key question. Democrats are afraid of even mentioning CrowdStrike in Ukrainegate hearings. The Deep State wants to suppress this matter entirely.
Alperovisch connections to Ukraine and his Russophobia are well known. Did Alperovich people played the role of "Fancy Bear"? Or Ukrainian SBU was engaged? George Eliason clams that "I have already clearly shown the Fancy Bear hackers are Ukrainian Intelligence Operators." ... "Since there is so much crap surrounding the supposed hack such as law enforcement teams never examining the DNC server or maintaining control of it as evidence, could the hacks have been a cover-up?"
Notable quotes:
"... So far at least I cannot rule out the possibility that that this could have involved an actual 'false flag' hack. A possible calculation would have been that this could have made it easier for Alperovitch and 'CrowdStrike', if more people had asked serious questions about the evidence they claimed supported the 'narrative' of GRU responsibility. ..."
"... What she suggested was that the FBI had found evidence, after his death, of a hack of Rich's laptop, designed as part of a 'false flag' operation. ..."
"... On this, see his 8 October, 'Motion for Discovery and Motion to Accept Supplemental Evidence' in Clevenger's own case against the DOJ, document 44 on the relevant 'Courtlistener' pages, and his 'Unopposed Motion for Stay', document 48. Both are short, and available without a 'PACER' subscription, and should be compulsory reading for anyone seriously interested in ascertaining the truth about 'Russiagate.' (See https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6775665/clevenger-v-us-department-of-justice/ .) ..."
"... And here, is is also material that he may have had more than one laptop, that 'hard drives' can be changed, and that the level of computer skills that can be found throughout the former Soviet Union is very high. Another matter of some importance is that Ed Butowsky's 'Debunking Rod Wheeler's Claims' site is back up online. (See http://debunkingrodwheelersclaims.net ) ..."
"... The question of whether the 'timeline' produced by Hersh's FBI informant was accurate, or a deliberate attempt to disguise the fact that all kinds of people were well aware of Rich's involvement before his murder, and well aware of the fact of a leak before he was identified as its source, is absolutely central to how one interprets 'Russiagate.' ..."
"... Why did Crowdstrike conclude it was a "Russian breach", when other evidence does show it was an internal download. What was Crowdstrike's method and motivation to reach the "Russian" conclusion instead. Why has that methodology been sealed? ..."
"... Why did Mueller wholly accept the Crowdstrike Russian conclusion, with no further or independent investigation and prominently put this Crowdstrike generated conclusion in his Russiagate report? Which also included the conclusion the "Russians" wanted to help Trump and harm Clinton. Heavy stuff, based upon a DNC proprietary investigation of their own and unavailable computers. ..."
"... What were the relationships between Crowdstrike, DNC, FBI and the Mueller team that conspired to reach this Russian conclusion. ..."
"... Why did the Roger Stone judge, who just sent Stone away for life, refuse Stone's evidentiary demand to ascertain how exactly Crowdstrike reached its Russsian hacking conclusion, that the court then linked to Stone allegedly lying about this Russian link ..."
"... Indeed, let's set out with full transparency the Ukraine -- Crowsdtrike player links and loyalties to see if there are any smoking guns yet undisclosed. Trump was asking for more information about Crowdstrike like a good lawyer - never ask a question when you don't already know the right answer. Crowdstrike is owned by a Ukrainian by birth ..."
"... Among the 12 engineers assigned to writing a PGP backdoor was the son of a KGB officer named Dmitri Alperovich who would go on to be the CTO at a company involved in the DNC Hacking scandal - Crowdstrike. ..."
"... In addition to writing a back door for PGP, Alperovich also ported PGP to the blackberry platform to provide encrypted communications for covert action operatives. ..."
"... His role in what we may define as "converting DNC leak into DNC hack" (I would agree with you that this probably was a false flag operation), which was supposedly designed to implicated Russians, and possibly involved Ukrainian security services, is very suspicious indeed. ..."
"... Mueller treatment of Crowdstrike with "kid gloves" may suggest that Alperovich actions were part of a larger scheme. After all Crowdstike was a FBI contactor at the time. ..."
Dec 04, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Originally from: The Intelligence Whistleblower protection Act did not apply to the phone call ... Reposted - Sic Semper Tyrannis


Factotum , 20 November 2019 at 01:02 PM

The favor was for Ukraine to investigate Crowdstrike and the 2016 DNC computer breach.

Reliance on Crowdstrike to investigate the DNC computer, and not an independent FBI investigation, was tied very closely to the years long anti-Trump Russiagate hoax and waste of US taxpayer time and money.

Why is this issue ignored by both the media and the Democrats. The ladies doth protest far too much.

vig -> Factotum... , 21 November 2019 at 11:00 AM
what exactly, to the extend I recall, could the Ukraine contribute the the DNC's server/"fake malware" troubles? Beyond, that I seem to vaguely recall, the supposed malware was distributed via an Ukrainan address.

On the other hand, there seems to be the (consensus here?) argument there was no malware breach at all, simply an insider copying files on a USB stick.

It seems to either or. No?

What basics am I missing?

David Habakkuk -> vig... , 21 November 2019 at 12:53 PM
vig,

There is no reason why it should be 'either/or'.

If people discovered there had been a leak, it would perfectly natural that in order to give 'resilience' to their cover-up strategies, they could have organised a planting of evidence on the servers, in conjunction with elements in Ukraine.

So far at least I cannot rule out the possibility that that this could have involved an actual 'false flag' hack. A possible calculation would have been that this could have made it easier for Alperovitch and 'CrowdStrike', if more people had asked serious questions about the evidence they claimed supported the 'narrative' of GRU responsibility.

The issues involved become all the more important, in the light of the progress of Ty Clevenger's attempts to exploit the clear contradiction between the claims by the FBI, in response to FOIA requests, to have no evidence relating to Seth Rich, and the remarks by Ms. Deborah Sines quoted by Michael Isikoff.

What she suggested was that the FBI had found evidence, after his death, of a hack of Rich's laptop, designed as part of a 'false flag' operation.

On this, see his 8 October, 'Motion for Discovery and Motion to Accept Supplemental Evidence' in Clevenger's own case against the DOJ, document 44 on the relevant 'Courtlistener' pages, and his 'Unopposed Motion for Stay', document 48. Both are short, and available without a 'PACER' subscription, and should be compulsory reading for anyone seriously interested in ascertaining the truth about 'Russiagate.' (See https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6775665/clevenger-v-us-department-of-justice/ .)

It is eminently possible that Ms. Hines has simply made an 'unforced error.'

However, I do not – yet – feel able totally to discount the possibility that what is actually at issue is a 'ruse', produced as a contingency plan to ensure that if it becomes impossible to maintain the cover-up over Rich's involvement in its original form, his laptop shows 'evidence' compatible with the 'Russiagate' narrative.

And here, is is also material that he may have had more than one laptop, that 'hard drives' can be changed, and that the level of computer skills that can be found throughout the former Soviet Union is very high. Another matter of some importance is that Ed Butowsky's 'Debunking Rod Wheeler's Claims' site is back up online. (See http://debunkingrodwheelersclaims.net )

Looking at it from the perspective of an old television current affairs hack, I do think that, while it is very helpful to have some key material available in a single place, it would useful if more attention was paid to presentation.

In particular, it would be a most helpful 'teaching aid', if a full and accurate transcript was made of the conversation with Seymour Hersh which Ed Butowsky covertly recorded. What seems clear is that both these figures ended up in very difficult positions, and that the latter clearly engaged in 'sleight of hand' in relation to his dealings with the former. That said, the fact that Butowsky's claims about his grounds for believing that Hersh's FBI informant was Andrew McCabe are clearly disingenuous does not justify the conclusion that he is wrong.

It is absolutely clear to me – despite what 'TTG', following that 'Grub Street' hack Folkenflik, claimed – that when Hersh talked to Butowsky, he believed he had been given accurate information. Indeed, I have difficulty seeing how anyone whose eyes were not hopelessly blinded by prejudice, a\nd possibly fear of where a quest for the truth might lead, could not see that, in this conversation, both men were telling the truth, as they saw it.

However, all of us, including the finest and most honourable of journalists can, from time to time, fall for disinformation. (If anyone says they can always spot when they are being played, all I can say is, if you're right, you're clearly Superman, but it is more likely that you are a fool or knave, if not both.)

The question of whether the 'timeline' produced by Hersh's FBI informant was accurate, or a deliberate attempt to disguise the fact that all kinds of people were well aware of Rich's involvement before his murder, and well aware of the fact of a leak before he was identified as its source, is absolutely central to how one interprets 'Russiagate.'

Factotum -> vig... , 21 November 2019 at 01:45 PM
Several loose end issues about Crowdstrike:

1. Why did Crowdstrike conclude it was a "Russian breach", when other evidence does show it was an internal download. What was Crowdstrike's method and motivation to reach the "Russian" conclusion instead. Why has that methodology been sealed?

2. Why did Mueller wholly accept the Crowdstrike Russian conclusion, with no further or independent investigation and prominently put this Crowdstrike generated conclusion in his Russiagate report? Which also included the conclusion the "Russians" wanted to help Trump and harm Clinton. Heavy stuff, based upon a DNC proprietary investigation of their own and unavailable computers.

3. What were the relationships between Crowdstrike, DNC, FBI and the Mueller team that conspired to reach this Russian conclusion.

4. Why did the Roger Stone judge, who just sent Stone away for life, refuse Stone's evidentiary demand to ascertain how exactly Crowdstrike reached its Russsian hacking conclusion, that the court then linked to Stone allegedly lying about this Russian link .

5. Indeed, let's set out with full transparency the Ukraine -- Crowsdtrike player links and loyalties to see if there are any smoking guns yet undisclosed. Trump was asking for more information about Crowdstrike like a good lawyer - never ask a question when you don't already know the right answer. Crowdstrike is owned by a Ukrainian by birth .

likbez said in reply to Factotum... , 04 December 2019 at 01:29 AM

Hi Factotum,
Why did Mueller wholly accept the Crowdstrike Russian conclusion, with no further or independent investigation and prominently put this Crowdstrike generated conclusion in his Russiagate report? Which also included the conclusion the "Russians" wanted to help Trump and harm Clinton. Heavy stuff, based upon a DNC proprietary investigation of their own and unavailable computers.

Alperovich is really a very suspicious figure. Rumors are that he was involved in compromising PGP while in MacAfee( June 2nd, 2018 Alperovich's DNC Cover Stories Soon To Match With His Hacking Teams - YouTube ):

Investigative Journalist George Webb worked at MacAfee and Network Solutions in 2000 when the CEO Bill Larsen bought a small, Moscow based, hacking and virus writing company to move to Silicon Valley.

MacAfee also purchased PGP, an open source encryption software developed by privacy advocate to reduce NSA spying on the public.
The two simultaneous purchase of PGP and the Moscow hacking team by Metwork Solutions was sponsored by the CIA and FBI in order to crack encrypted communications to write a back door for law enforcement.

Among the 12 engineers assigned to writing a PGP backdoor was the son of a KGB officer named Dmitri Alperovich who would go on to be the CTO at a company involved in the DNC Hacking scandal - Crowdstrike.

In addition to writing a back door for PGP, Alperovich also ported PGP to the blackberry platform to provide encrypted communications for covert action operatives.

His role in what we may define as "converting DNC leak into DNC hack" (I would agree with you that this probably was a false flag operation), which was supposedly designed to implicated Russians, and possibly involved Ukrainian security services, is very suspicious indeed.

Mueller treatment of Crowdstrike with "kid gloves" may suggest that Alperovich actions were part of a larger scheme. After all Crowdstike was a FBI contactor at the time.

While all this DNC hack saga is completely unclear due to lack of facts and the access to the evidence, there are some stories on Internet that indirectly somewhat strengthen your hypothesis:

Enjoy and Happy Cyber Week shopping :-)

[Dec 04, 2019] Common Funding Themes Link 'Whistleblower' Complaint and CrowdStrike Firm Certifying DNC Russia 'Hack' by Aaron Klein

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Alperovitch is a nonresident senior fellow of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council, which takes a hawkish approach toward Russia. The Council in turn is financed by Google Inc. ..."
"... In a perhaps unexpected development, another Atlantic Council funder is Burisma, the natural gas company at the center of allegations regarding Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Those allegations were the subject of Trump's inquiry with Zelemsky related to Biden. The Biden allegations concern significant questions about Biden's role in Ukraine policy under the Obama administration. This took place during a period when Hunter Biden received $50,000 a month from Burisma. ..."
"... Google, Soros's Open Society Foundations, the Rockefeller Fund and an agency of the State Department each also finance a self-described investigative journalism organization repeatedly referenced as a source of information in the so-called whistleblower's complaint alleging Trump was "using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country" in the 2020 presidential race. ..."
"... Another listed OCCRP funder is the Omidyar Network, which is the nonprofit for liberal billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. ..."
"... Together with Soros's Open Society, Omidyar also funds the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, which hosts the International Fact-Checking Network that partnered with Facebook to help determine whether news stories are "disputed." ..."
Sep 28, 2019 | www.breitbart.com

There are common threads that run through an organization repeatedly relied upon in the so-called whistleblower's complaint about President Donald Trump and CrowdStrike, the outside firm utilized to conclude that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee's servers since the DNC would not allow the U.S. government to inspect the servers.

One of several themes is financing tied to Google, whose Google Capital led a $100 million funding drive that financed Crowdstrike. Google Capital, which now goes by the name of CapitalG, is an arm of Alphabet Inc., Google's parent company. Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Alphabet, has been a staunch and active supporter of Hillary Clinton and is a longtime donor to the Democratic Party.

CrowdStrike was mentioned by Trump in his call with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Perkins Coie, the law firm that represented the DNC and Hillary Clinton's campaign, reportedly helped draft CrowdStrike to aid with the DNC's allegedly hacked server.

On behalf of the DNC and Clinton's campaign, Perkins Coie also paid the controversial Fusion GPS firm to produce the infamous, largely-discredited anti-Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.

CrowdStrike is a California-based cybersecurity technology company co-founded by Dmitri Alperovitch.

Alperovitch is a nonresident senior fellow of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council, which takes a hawkish approach toward Russia. The Council in turn is financed by Google Inc.

In a perhaps unexpected development, another Atlantic Council funder is Burisma, the natural gas company at the center of allegations regarding Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Those allegations were the subject of Trump's inquiry with Zelemsky related to Biden. The Biden allegations concern significant questions about Biden's role in Ukraine policy under the Obama administration. This took place during a period when Hunter Biden received $50,000 a month from Burisma.

Besides Google and Burisma funding, the Council is also financed by billionaire activist George Soros's Open Society Foundations as well as the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Inc. and the U.S. State Department.

Google, Soros's Open Society Foundations, the Rockefeller Fund and an agency of the State Department each also finance a self-described investigative journalism organization repeatedly referenced as a source of information in the so-called whistleblower's complaint alleging Trump was "using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country" in the 2020 presidential race.

The charges in the July 22 report referenced in the whistleblower's document and released by the Google and Soros-funded organization, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), seem to be the public precursors for a lot of the so-called whistleblower's own claims, as Breitbart News documented .

One key section of the so-called whistleblower's document claims that "multiple U.S. officials told me that Mr. Giuliani had reportedly privately reached out to a variety of other Zelensky advisers, including Chief of Staff Andriy Bohdan and Acting Chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine Ivan Bakanov."

This was allegedly to follow up on Trump's call with Zelensky in order to discuss the "cases" mentioned in that call, according to the so-called whistleblower's narrative. The complainer was clearly referencing Trump's request for Ukraine to investigate the Biden corruption allegations.

Even though the statement was written in first person – "multiple U.S. officials told me" – it contains a footnote referencing a report by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).

That footnote reads:

In a report published by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) on 22 July, two associates of Mr. Giuliani reportedly traveled to Kyiv in May 2019 and met with Mr. Bakanov and another close Zelensky adviser, Mr. Serhiy Shefir.

The so-called whistleblower's account goes on to rely upon that same OCCRP report on three more occasions. It does so to:

Write that Ukraine's Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko "also stated that he wished to communicate directly with Attorney General Barr on these matters." Document that Trump adviser Rudi Giuliani "had spoken in late 2018 to former Prosecutor General Shokin, in a Skype call arranged by two associates of Mr. Giuliani." Bolster the charge that, "I also learned from a U.S. official that 'associates' of Mr. Giuliani were trying to make contact with the incoming Zelenskyy team." The so-called whistleblower then relates in another footnote, "I do not know whether these associates of Mr. Giuliani were the same individuals named in the 22 July report by OCCRP, referenced above."

The OCCRP report repeatedly referenced is actually a "joint investigation by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and BuzzFeed News, based on interviews and court and business records in the United States and Ukraine."

BuzzFeed infamously also first published the full anti-Trump dossier alleging unsubstantiated collusion between Trump's presidential campaign and Russia. The dossier was paid for by Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee and was produced by the Fusion GPS opposition dirt outfit.

The OCCRP and BuzzFeed "joint investigation" resulted in both OCCRP and BuzzFeed publishing similar lengthy pieces on July 22 claiming that Giuliani was attempting to use connections to have Ukraine investigate Trump's political rivals.

The so-called whistleblower's document, however, only mentions the largely unknown OCCRP and does not reference BuzzFeed, which has faced scrutiny over its reporting on the Russia collusion claims.

Another listed OCCRP funder is the Omidyar Network, which is the nonprofit for liberal billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.

Together with Soros's Open Society, Omidyar also funds the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, which hosts the International Fact-Checking Network that partnered with Facebook to help determine whether news stories are "disputed."

Like OCCRP, the Poynter Institute's so-called news fact-checking project is openly funded by not only Soros' Open Society Foundations but also Google and the National Endowment for Democracy.

CrowdStrike and DNC servers

CrowdStrike, meanwhile, was brought up by Trump in his phone call with Zelensky. According to the transcript, Trump told Zelensky, "I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say CrowdStrike I guess you have one of your wealthy people The server, they say Ukraine has it."

In his extensive report , Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller notes that his investigative team did not "obtain or examine" the servers of the DNC in determining whether those servers were hacked by Russia.

The DNC famously refused to allow the FBI to access its servers to verify the allegation that Russia carried out a hack during the 2016 presidential campaign. Instead, the DNC reached an arrangement with the FBI in which CrowdStrike conducted forensics on the server and shared details with the FBI.

In testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee in January 2017, then-FBI Director James Comey confirmed that the FBI registered "multiple requests at different levels," to review the DNC's hacked servers. Ultimately, the DNC and FBI came to an agreement in which a "highly respected private company" -- a reference to CrowdStrike -- would carry out forensics on the servers and share any information that it discovered with the FBI, Comey testified.

A senior law enforcement official stressed the importance of the FBI gaining direct access to the servers, a request that was denied by the DNC.

"The FBI repeatedly stressed to DNC officials the necessity of obtaining direct access to servers and data, only to be rebuffed until well after the initial compromise had been mitigated," the official was quoted by the news media as saying.

"This left the FBI no choice but to rely upon a third party for information. These actions caused significant delays and inhibited the FBI from addressing the intrusion earlier," the official continued.

... ... ...

Aaron Klein is Breitbart's Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, " Aaron Klein Investigative Radio ." Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

Joshua Klein contributed research to this article.

[Dec 04, 2019] DNC Russian Hackers Found! You Won't Believe Who They Really Work For by the Anonymous Patriots

Highly recommended!
Jan 01, 2017 | themillenniumreport.com

"If someone steals your keys to encrypt the data, it doesn't matter how secure the algorithms are."

Dmitri Alperovitch, founder of CrowdStrike.

By the Anonymous Patriots
SOTN Exclusive

Russians did not hack the DNC system, a Russian named Dmitri Alperovitch is the hacker and he works for President Obama. In the last five years the Obama administration has turned exclusively to one Russian to solve every major cyber-attack in America, whether the attack was on the U.S. government or a corporation. Only one "super-hero cyber-warrior" seems to "have the codes" to figure out "if" a system was hacked and by "whom."

Dmitri's company, CrowdStrike has been called in by Obama to solve mysterious attacks on many high level government agencies and American corporations, including: German Bundestag, Democratic National Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the White House, the State Department, SONY, and many others.

CrowdStrike's philosophy is: "You don't have a malware problem; you have an adversary problem."

CrowdStrike has played a critical role in the development of America's cyber-defense policy. Dmitri Alperovitch and George Kurtz, a former head of the FBI cyberwarfare unit founded CrowdStrike. Shawn Henry, former executive assistant director at the FBI is now CrowdStrike's president of services. The company is crawling with former U.S. intelligence agents.

Before Alperovitch founded CrowdStrike in 2011, he was working in Atlanta as the chief threat officer at the antivirus software firm McAfee, owned by Intel (a DARPA company). During that time, he "discovered" the Chinese had compromised at least seventy-one companies and organizations, including thirteen defense contractors, three electronics firms, and the International Olympic Committee. He was the only person to notice the biggest cyberattack in history! Nothing suspicious about that.

Alperovitch and the DNC

After CrowdStrike was hired as an independent "vendor" by the DNC to investigate a possible cyberattack on their system, Alperovitch sent the DNC a proprietary software package called Falcon that monitors the networks of its clients in real time. According to Alperovitch, Falcon "lit up," within ten seconds of being installed at the DNC. Alperovitch had his "proof" in TEN SECONDS that Russia was in the network. This "alleged" evidence of Russian hacking has yet to be shared with anyone.

As Donald Trump has pointed out, the FBI, the agency that should have been immediately involved in hacking that effects "National Security," has yet to even examine the DNC system to begin an investigation. Instead, the FBI and 16 other U.S. "intelligence" agencies simply "agree" with Obama's most trusted "cyberwarfare" expert Dmitri Alperovitch's "TEN SECOND" assessment that produced no evidence to support the claim.

Also remember that it is only Alperovitch and CrowdStrike that claim to have evidence that it was Russian hackers . In fact, only two hackers were found to have been in the system and were both identified by Alperovitch as Russian FSB (CIA) and the Russian GRU (DoD). It is only Alperovitch who claims that he knows that it is Putin behind these two hackers.

Alperovitch failed to mention in his conclusive "TEN SECOND" assessment that Guccifer 2.0 had already hacked the DNC and made available to the public the documents he hacked – before Alperovitch did his ten second assessment. Alperovitch reported that no other hackers were found, ignoring the fact that Guccifer 2.0 had already hacked and released DNC documents to the public. Alperovitch's assessment also goes directly against Julian Assange's repeated statements that the DNC leaks did not come from the Russians.

The ridiculously fake cyber-attack assessment done by Alperovitch and CrowdStrike naïvely flies in the face of the fact that a DNC insider admitted that he had released the DNC documents. Julian Assange implied in an interview that the murdered Democratic National Committee staffer, Seth Rich, was the source of a trove of damaging emails the website posted just days before the party's convention. Seth was on his way to testify about the DNC leaks to the FBI when he was shot dead in the street.

It is also absurd to hear Alperovitch state that the Russian FSB (equivalent to the CIA) had been monitoring the DNC site for over a year and had done nothing. No attack, no theft, and no harm was done to the system by this "false-flag cyber-attack" on the DNC – or at least, Alperovitch "reported" there was an attack. The second hacker, the supposed Russian military (GRU – like the U.S. DoD) hacker, had just entered the system two weeks before and also had done "nothing" but observe.

It is only Alperovitch's word that reports that the Russian FSB was "looking for files on Donald Trump."

It is only this false claim that spuriously ties Trump to the "alleged" attack. It is also only Alperovitch who believes that this hack that was supposedly "looking for Trump files" was an attempt to "influence" the election. No files were found about Trump by the second hacker, as we know from Wikileaks and Guccifer 2.0's leaks. To confabulate that "Russian's hacked the DNC to influence the elections" is the claim of one well-known Russian spy. Then, 17 U.S. intelligence agencies unanimously confirm that Alperovitch is correct – even though there is no evidence and no investigation was ever conducted .

How does Dmitri Alperovitch have such power? Why did Obama again and again use Alperovitch's company, CrowdStrike, when they have miserably failed to stop further cyber-attacks on the systems they were hired to protect? Why should anyone believe CrowdStrikes false-flag report?

After documents from the DNC continued to leak, and Guccifer 2.0 and Wikileaks made CrowdStrike's report look foolish, Alperovitch decided the situation was far worse than he had reported. He single-handedly concluded that the Russians were conducting an "influence operation" to help win the election for Trump . This false assertion had absolutely no evidence to back it up.

On July 22, three days before the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, WikiLeaks dumped a massive cache of emails that had been "stolen" (not hacked) from the DNC. Reporters soon found emails suggesting that the DNC leadership had favored Hillary Clinton in her primary race against Bernie Sanders, which led Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC chair, along with three other officials, to resign.

Just days later, it was discovered that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) had been hacked. CrowdStrike was called in again and once again, Alperovitch immediately "believed" that Russia was responsible. A lawyer for the DCCC gave Alperovitch permission to confirm the leak and to name Russia as the suspected author. Two weeks later, files from the DCCC began to appear on Guccifer 2.0's website. This time Guccifer released information about Democratic congressional candidates who were running close races in Florida, Ohio, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. On August 12, Guccifer went further, publishing a spreadsheet that included the personal email addresses and phone numbers of nearly two hundred Democratic members of Congress.

Once again, Guccifer 2.0 proved Alperovitch and CrowdStrike's claims to be grossly incorrect about the hack originating from Russia, with Putin masterminding it all. Nancy Pelosi offered members of Congress Alperovitch's suggestion of installing Falcon , the system that failed to stop cyberattacks at the DNC, on all congressional laptops.

Key Point: Once Falcon was installed on the computers of members of the U.S. Congress, CrowdStrike had even further full access into U.S. government accounts.

Alperovitch's "Unbelievable" History

Dmitri was born in 1980 in Moscow where his father, Michael, was a nuclear physicist, (so Dmitri claims). Dmitri's father was supposedly involved at the highest levels of Russian nuclear science. He also claims that his father taught him to write code as a child.

In 1990, his father was sent to Maryland as part of a nuclear-safety training program for scientists. In 1994, Michael Alperovitch was granted a visa to Canada, and a year later the family moved to Chattanooga, where Michael took a job with the Tennessee Valley Authority.

While Dmitri Alperovitch was still in high school, he and his father started an encryption-technology business. Dmitri studied computer science at Georgia Tech and went on to work at an antispam software firm. It was at this time that he realized that cyber-defense was more about psychology than it was about technology. A very odd thing to conclude.

Dmitri Alperovitch posed as a "Russian gangster" on spam discussion forums which brought his illegal activity to the attention of the FBI – as a criminal. In 2005, Dmitri flew to Pittsburgh to meet an FBI agent named Keith Mularski, who had been asked to lead an undercover operation against a vast Russian credit-card-theft syndicate. Alperovitch worked closely with Mularski's sting operation which took two years, but it ultimately brought about fifty-six arrests. Dmitri Alperovitch then became a pawn of the FBI and CIA.

In 2010, while he was at McAfee, the head of cybersecurity at Google told Dmitri that Gmail accounts belonging to human-rights activists in China had been breached. Google suspected the Chinese government. Alperovitch found that the breach was unprecedented in scale; it affected more than a dozen of McAfee's clients and involved the Chinese government. Three days after his supposed discovery, Alperovitch was on a plane to Washington where he had been asked to vet a paragraph in a speech by the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.

2014, Sony called in CrowdStrike to investigate a breach of its network. Alperovitch needed just "two hours" to identify North Korea as the adversary. Executives at Sony asked Alperovitch to go public with the information immediately, but it took the FBI another three weeks before it confirmed the attribution.

Alperovitch then developed a list of "usual suspects" who were well-known hackers who had identifiable malware that they commonly used. Many people use the same malware and Alperovitch's obsession with believing he has the only accurate list of hackers in the world is plain idiocy exacerbated by the U.S. government's belief in his nonsense. Alperovitch even speaks like a "nut-case" in his personal Twitters, which generally have absolutely no references to the technology he is supposedly the best at in the entire world.

Dmitri – Front Man for His Father's Russian Espionage Mission

After taking a close look at the disinformation around Dmitri and his father, it is clear to see that Michael Alperovitch became a CIA operative during his first visit to America. Upon his return to Russia, he stole the best Russian encryption codes that were used to protect the top-secret work of nuclear physics in which his father is alleged to have been a major player. Upon surrendering the codes to the CIA when he returned to Canada, the CIA made it possible for a Russian nuclear scientist to become an American citizen overnight and gain a top-secret security clearance to work at the Oakridge plant, one of the most secure and protected nuclear facilities in America . Only the CIA can transform a Russian into an American with a top-secret clearance overnight.

We can see on Michael Alperovitch's Linked In page that he went from one fantastically top-secret job to the next without a break from the time he entered America. He seemed to be on a career path to work in every major U.S. agency in America. In every job he was hired as the top expert in the field and the leader of the company. All of these jobs after the first one were in cryptology, not nuclear physics. As a matter of fact, Michael became the top expert in America overnight and has stayed the top expert to this day.

Most of the work of cyber-security is creating secure interactions on a non-secure system like the Internet. The cryptologist who assigns the encryption codes controls the system from that point on .

Key Point: Cryptologists are well known for leaving a "back-door" in the base-code so that they can always have over-riding control.

Michael Alperovitch essentially has the "codes" for all Department of Defense sites, the Treasury, the State Department, cell-phones, satellites, and public media . There is hardly any powerful agency or company that he has not written the "codes" for. One might ask, why do American companies and the U.S. government use his particular codes? What are so special about Michael's codes?

Stolen Russian Codes

In December, Obama ordered the U.S. military to conduct cyberattacks against Russia in retaliation for the alleged DNC hacks. All of the attempts to attack Russia's military and intelligence agencies failed miserably. Russia laughed at Obama's attempts to hack their systems. Even the Russian companies targeted by the attacks were not harmed by Obama's cyber-attacks. Hardly any news of these massive and embarrassing failed cyber-attacks were reported by the Main Stream Media. The internet has been scrubbed clean of the reports that said Russia's cyber-defenses were impenetrable due to the sophistication of their encryption codes.

Michael Alperovitch was in possession of those impenetrable codes when he was a top scientist in Russia. It was these very codes that he shared with the CIA on his first trip to America . These codes got him spirited into America and "turned into" the best cryptologist in the world. Michael is simply using the effective codes of Russia to design his codes for the many systems he has created in America for the CIA .

KEY POINT: It is crucial to understand at this junction that the CIA is not solely working for America . The CIA works for itself and there are three branches to the CIA – two of which are hostile to American national interests and support globalism.

Michael and Dmitri Alperovitch work for the CIA (and international intelligence corporations) who support globalism . They, and the globalists for whom they work, are not friends of America or Russia. It is highly likely that the criminal activities of Dmitri, which were supported and sponsored by the FBI, created the very hackers who he often claims are responsible for cyberattacks. None of these supposed "attackers" have ever been found or arrested; they simply exist in the files of CrowdStrike and are used as the "usual culprits" when the FBI or CIA calls in Dmitri to give the one and only opinion that counts. Only Dmitri's "suspicions" are offered as evidence and yet 17 U.S. intelligence agencies stand behind the CrowdStrike report and Dmitri's suspicions.

Michael Alperovitch – Russian Spy with the Crypto-Keys

Essentially, Michael Alperovitch flies under the false-flag of being a cryptologist who works with PKI. A public key infrastructure (PKI) is a system for the creation, storage, and distribution of digital certificates which are used to verify that a particular public key belongs to a certain entity. The PKI creates digital certificates which map public keys to entities, securely stores these certificates in a central repository and revokes them if needed. Public key cryptography is a cryptographic technique that enables entities to securely communicate on an insecure public network (the Internet), and reliably verify the identity of an entity via digital signatures . Digital signatures use Certificate Authorities to digitally sign and publish the public key bound to a given user. This is done using the CIA's own private key, so that trust in the user key relies on one's trust in the validity of the CIA's key. Michael Alperovitch is considered to be the number one expert in America on PKI and essentially controls the market .

Michael's past is clouded in confusion and lies. Dmitri states that his father was a nuclear physicist and that he came to America the first time in a nuclear based shared program between America and Russia. But if we look at his current personal Linked In page, Michael claims he has a Master Degree in Applied Mathematics from Gorky State University. From 1932 to 1956, its name was State University of Gorky. Now it is known as Lobachevsky State University of Nizhni Novgorod – National Research University (UNN), also known as Lobachevsky University. Does Michael not even know the name of the University he graduated from? And when does a person with a Master's Degree become a leading nuclear physicist who comes to "visit" America. In Michael's Linked In page there is a long list of his skills and there is no mention of nuclear physics.

Also on Michael Alperovitch's Linked In page we find some of his illustrious history that paints a picture of either the most brilliant mind in computer security, encryption, and cyberwarfare, or a CIA/FBI backed Russian spy. Imagine that out of all the people in the world to put in charge of the encryption keys for the Department of Defense, the U.S. Treasury, U.S. military satellites, the flow of network news, cell phone encryption, the Pathfire (media control) Program, the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Global Information Grid, and TriCipher Armored Credential System among many others, the government hires a Russian spy . Go figure.

Michael Alperovitch's Linked In Page

Education:

Gorky State University, Russia, MS in Applied Mathematics

Work History:

Sr. Security Architect

VT IDirect -2014 – Designing security architecture for satellite communications including cryptographic protocols, authentication.

Principal SME (Contractor)

DISA -Defense Information Systems Agency (Manager of the Global Information Grid) – 2012-2014 – Worked on PKI and identity management projects for DISA utilizing Elliptic Curve Cryptography. Performed application security and penetration testing.

Technical Lead (Contractor)

U.S. Department of the Treasury – 2011 – Designed enterprise validation service architecture for PKI certificate credentials with Single Sign On authentication.

Principal Software Engineer

Comtech Mobile Datacom – 2007-2010 – Subject matter expert on latest information security practices, including authentication, encryption and key management.

Sr. Software Engineer

TriCipher – 2006-2007 – Designed and developed security architecture for TriCipher Armored Credential Authentication System.

Lead Software Engineer

BellSouth – 2003-2006 – Designed and built server-side Jabber-based messaging platform with Single Sign On authentication.

Principal Software Research Engineer

Pathfire – 2001-2002 – Designed and developed Digital Rights Management Server for Video on Demand and content distribution applications. Pathfire provides digital media distribution and management solutions to the television, media, and entertainment industries. The company offers Digital Media Gateway, a digital IP store-and-forward platform, delivering news stories, syndicated programming, advertising spots, and video news releases to broadcasters. It provides solutions for content providers and broadcasters, as well as station solutions.

Obama – No Friend of America

Obama is no friend of America in the war against cyber-attacks. The very agencies and departments being defended by Michael Alperovitch's "singular and most brilliant" ability to write encryption codes have all been successfully attacked and compromised since Michael set up the codes. But we shouldn't worry, because if there is a cyberattack in the Obama administration, Michael's son Dmitri is called in to "prove" that it isn't the fault of his father's codes. It was the "damn Russians", or even "Putin himself" who attacked American networks.

Not one of the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies is capable of figuring out a successful cyberattack against America without Michael and Dmitri's help. Those same 17 U.S. intelligence agencies were not able to effectively launch a successful cyberattack against Russia. It seems like the Russian's have strong codes and America has weak codes. We can thank Michael and Dmitri Alperovitch for that.

It is clear that there was no DNC hack beyond Guccifer 2.0. Dmitri Alperovitch is a "frontman" for his father's encryption espionage mission.

Is it any wonder that Trump says that he has "his own people" to deliver his intelligence to him that is outside of the infiltrated U.S. government intelligence agencies and the Obama administration ? Isn't any wonder that citizens have to go anywhere BUT the MSM to find real news or that the new administration has to go to independent news to get good intel?

It is hard to say anything more damnable than to again quote Dmitri on these very issues:
"If someone steals your keys to encrypt the data, it doesn't matter how secure the algorithms are." Dmitri Alperovitch, founder of CrowdStrike

Originally posted at: http://stateofthenation2012.com/?p=62536

[Dec 04, 2019] June 4th, 2017 Crowdstrike Was at the DNC Six Weeks by George Webb

Highly recommended!
A short YouTube with the handwritten timeline
Nov 27, 2019 |