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May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Skepticism and critical thinking is not panacea, but can help to understand the world better
Media's Trump coverage has radicalized me. That's why this set of pages about color revolution against Trump was created despite the fact that I am a programmer, not a reporter. Looking at WaPo and NYT I can only say Wow! That proves the CIA were not joking when their spokesman said: "We shall know we have done our job when everything the public believes is false." It's like the editorial desk of every major MSM has a talking points written personally by Brennan.
|News||NeoMcCartyism||Recommended Links||US and British media are servants of security apparatus||Purple revolution against Trump||Wolff revelations and slander||MadCow desease of neoliberal MSM||Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak||Anti Trump Hysteria|
|Ukraine-gate as Russiagate 2.0||Adam Schiff Witch Hunt||Demonization of Trump and "Trump is insane" meme||Coordinated set of leaks as a color revolution tool||Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite||Do the US intelligence agencies attempt to influence the US Presidential elections ?||Strzok-gate||Steele dossie||DNC and Podesta emails leak: blaming Vladimir Putin|
|The problem of control of intelligence services in democratic societies||Woodward insinuations||Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"||Corporatist Corruption||Media-Military-Industrial Complex||Doublespeak||The Deep State||National Security State||Nation under attack meme|
|NeoMcCartyism||UK Government, MI6 and "Integrity Initiative"||Luke Harding a pathetic author of rehash of Steele Dossier book||MSM as attack dogs of color revolution||US and British media are servants of security apparatus||Was Natalia Veselnitskaya meeting with Trump Jr. a trap||Brennan elections machinations||Fake tale about Smolenkov as "Kremlin spy" who provided info for Steele dossier||Mistressgate: Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal affairs|
|Deception as an art form||The Iron Law of Oligarchy||Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA||Neoliberalism||History of American False Flag Operations||FBI Mayberry Machiavellians||Skeptic Quotations||Humor||Etc|
A Suffolk University poll last month showed Fox News viewers have an unfavorable view of the media by a margin off 64-24. Another survey showed 76 percent of Republicans think the media makes up stories about Trump. And a Quinnipiac poll in November showed 91 percent of Republicans disapproved of how the media covered Trump and just 10 percent trusted the media more than Trump.
"Every president gets pounded by the press," Kurtz wrote. "But no president has ever been subjected to the kind of relentless ridicule, caustic commentary and insulting invective that has been heaped on Trump. I have a name for this half-crazed compulsion to furiously attack one man. It's called Trump Trauma
|One more comment here about Michael Wolff and his claim that everybody in the White House thinks that Trump’s a child,
that he’s a moron, he doesn’t like to read, he’s mentally unbalanced, all this. This is really irresponsibly absurd. And for
this claim to be 100% of the people around Trump, and Wolff is the guy saying that he can’t guarantee everything in his book
is right, and he’s also admitting that he did anything to get his story, including not tell people they were on the record
when he was talking to ’em.
In East Germany, Stasi leader Markus Wolfe took things a step further with the “zersetzung” tactic. The idea was to *induce* a “personal crisis” through clandestine harassment, including at the hands of acquaintances secretly recruited by the Stasi. In other words, ... trying to cause *real* mental illness by relentlessly gaslighting selected individual dissidents until they cracked.
John Grudlos, January 26, 2018 at 9:49 am
The “Resistance” – the loose affiliation of neoliberals and neo-conservatives opposing Donald Trump – is not a grass-roots movement. They don’t speak for the everyman or the poor, or the oppressed. They are stooges of intelligence agencies and financial oligarchy. The latter are closely interconnected; remember that Allen Dulles was a Wall Street lawyer before becoming the top spy; and ;-). The Resistance is the voice of the Deep State – Pro-war, pro-globalisation, pro-Imperialism. It just try to hide its true face behind a mask of “progressive values”.
President Trump accuses his neocon and neoliberal critics and MSM of with hunt. And he is right. It is witch hunt of neoliberal MSM against the President who have the courage (at least during his election campaign) to call things with their proper names and to question neoliberal globalization and redistribution of wealth up, leaving Rust Belt without jobs and without perspectives. But witch hunt is not the whole story. It is just a part of a color Revolution against Trump.
|President Trump accuses critics, the media of with hunt. And he is right. It is witch hunt of neoliberal MSM against the President who have the courage (at least during his election campaign) to call things with their proper names and to question neoliberal globalization and redistribution of wealth up, leaving Rust belt without jobs and without perspectives.|
The Deep State – i.e. the constellation of national security agencies and private actors who have directed and maintained our globalist foreign policy since the end of World War II – would have targeted Trump in any case, due to his hostility to their interventionist foreign policy, Neoliberal presstitutes just follow the orders.
They tell us, in clear voices, who they are and that's why many voters refuse to listen them. There is, of course, certain percentage of totally brainwashed progressives who will side with anyone hitting anti-Trump talking points, spouting the right buzzwords, hashtags, etc. But most people understand that neoliberal MSM play a very dirty game.
Completely crazy, 24/7 promotion of mediocre Wolff book in January 2018 was a typical example of unrelenting campaign to discredit Trump and force him to abandon his position. And look at all those "kid gloves" interviews with Wolff in neoliberal MSM. And there were other similar books in pipeline. Most flopped (only Woodward book generated some buzz)
Media's treatment of Trump is a classic, textbook case of demonization of the elected leader of country, an essential part of preparation by intelligence agencies of a color revolution against him. Paradoxically this American Don_Quixote Trump fought back and managed to shred the neoliberal MSM credibility, especially CNN and MSNBC.
A Suffolk University poll last month showed Fox News viewers have an unfavorable view of the media by a margin off 64-24. Another survey showed 76 percent of Republicans think the media makes up stories about Trump. And a Quinnipiac poll in November showed 91 percent of Republicans disapproved of how the media covered Trump and just 10 percent trusted the media more than Trump.
This new Trump book could do even more damage than Michael Wolff’s. Here’s why., WaPo, Jan 22, 2018
The bottom line is that the intelligence services of the United States, and top officials of the FBI, have indeed launched a regime change operation comparable to the dozens carried out by these very same spooks over the years from Latin America to the Middle East. One telling sign of a color revolution is when the media use too many anonymous sources when detailing what happens behind the scenes at the White House:
Unnamed sources are way overused, especially by major news outlets. People are allowed to take cheap shots without their names attached. They are empowered to engage in political sniping from behind a curtain of anonymity. And top news executives know this.
This abuse of anonymous sources and comaigh of "leaks" from White House hiding under the curtain of anonymity and weak slander laws. Slander law in the USA requires public figure to prove malicious intent to win in court. As this is difficult to do slander using anonymous source became the trademark feature of witch hung against Trump.
The media and Hollywood are fully behind this “Resistance to Trump” smear campaign. This would be rather hilarious, if it was not for all gravitas with which the neoliberal MSM are trying to reverse the last election results (in close cooperation with the intelligence agencies).
Actually the USA media coverage of Trump after elections reminds us once again, that key MSM in the USA used to be controlled by CIA. At the highest level, top FBI and CIA officials deploy the assets available, including MSM to harass, undermine, and betray a sitting President. All for deviation from classic neoliberal party line, especially in the area of neoliberal globalization.
So theoretically we can guess who is behind the curtain and who is paying for all this dirty show. As well as who is organizing this stream of leaks and salacious detail (Steele dossier via FBI contractor Fusion GPS, Mistressgate, attack of Trump business empire, books like Wolff's book (BTW Wolff was Iraq war reporter: look at his interview to Bill Maher Jan 18, 2018 ) or more recent Woodward book. As somebody said about Christopher Steele, the author of Steele dossier "former MI6 agents are never ex." And they are using th full bag of tricks they learned at the agencies.
|If you are the British establishment tabloid press, make Jeremy Corbyn worse than Hitler. Just replace his picture at a recent debate with images of desecrated Jewish cemeteries, while providing a platform for tear-strained Blair-ites to conjure up the coming holocaust under his leadership.
While you are dredging up history to realign it with your own beliefs, why not reincarnate Joe McCarthy to defend liberal establishment plutocrats against Russian oligarchs?
Enlist an elite cadre of lesbians to make the case for endless war and the lovability of war criminals.
Elevate wheezing old apparatchik Josef Bidenevsky to replace the doddering nazi the party’s central committee “elected” while drunk on Grey Goose vodka.
Hybrid warfare, which usually provides cover for the aggressor nation or multinational, allowing it to avoid detection in
the ‘grey zone’ it operates within, is no longer a covert strategy, but an openly waged campaign against humanity itself, with
both the establishment left and the hard right steering its neoliberal course....
Just as the Corporate State tightens its oxygen-depleting chokehold across the globe, destroying all resistance with the speed and force of a flesh-eating superbug pandemic, its media organizations deliberately transmit this particularly deadly strain of the Neoliberalism Virus.
Jennifer Matsui , Nov 29, 2019 CounterPunch
This "war with the reality" of neoliberal MSM, which are ready to defend neoliberalism and globalization against nationalism and isolationalism to the last American, will continue to the last day of Trump presidency. Because the "war with the reality" is the immanent feature of neoliberalism, which can't exist without myths. Which suggest that it is a secular religion.
At the same time this #neverTrump campaign revealed several ugly truths about neoliberal MSM, neoliberal establishment, and its fifth column in intelligence agencies, as well as about neoliberal aversion to the truth.
It is important to understand that neoliberal MSM does not act independently, they are just puppets. So all those leaks and revelation are done under supervision or at least in close cooperation with (and individual journalist often with funding by) intelligence agencies. This is very true about any color revolution, including Russiagate revolution against Trump:
SethPoor -> BennyBoy Jan 22, 2018 9:47 AM Permalink
- Six U.S. agencies created a stealth task force, spearhead by CIA's Brennan, to run domestic surveillance on Trump associates and possibly Trump himself.
- To feign ignorance and to seemingly operate within U.S. laws, the agencies freelanced the wiretapping of Trump associates to the British spy agency GCHQ.
- The decision to insert GCHQ as a back door to eavesdrop was sparked by the denial of two FISA Court warrant applications filed by the FBI to seek wiretaps of Trump associates.
- GCHQ did not work from London or the UK. In fact the spy agency worked from NSA's headquarters in Fort Meade, MD with direct NSA supervision and guidance to conduct sweeping surveillance on Trump associates.
- The illegal wiretaps were initiated months before the controversial Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.
- The Justice Department and FBI set up the meeting at Trump Tower between Trump Jr., Manafort and Kushner with controversial Russian officials to make Trump's associates appear compromised.
- Following the Trump Tower sit down, GCHQ began digitally wiretapping Manafort, Trump Jr., and Kushner.
- After the concocted meeting by the Deep State, the British spy agency could officially justify wiretapping Trump associates as an intelligence front for NSA because the Russian lawyer at the meeting Natalia Veselnitskaya was considered an international security risk and prior to the June sit down was not even allowed entry into the United States or the UK, federal sources said.
- By using GCHQ, the NSA and its intelligence partners had carved out a loophole to wiretap Trump without a warrant. While it is illegal for U.S. agencies to monitor phones and emails of U.S. citizens inside the United States absent a warrant, it is not illegal for British intelligence to do so. Even if the GCHQ was tapping Trump on U.S. soil at Fort Meade.
- The wiretaps, secured through illicit scheming, have been used by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe of alleged Russian collusion in the 2016 election...
For example, now it is known that FBI contractor Fusion GPS paid some journalists to blackmail Trump (redstate.com, Jan 07, 2018):
Why is Fusion GPS fighting so hard to resist the subpoena? Because the redacted records already released showed Fusion GPS paying money to journalists and to media organizations.
We don’t know if these payments were for pushing the totally irrelevant Trump dossier but we can be very sure that we will soon know the names of the journalists and organizations involved.
Being Trotskyism for the rich, neoliberalism not only reuses all Soviet propaganda tricks on a new technological level, it also inevitably creates a new nomenklatura, part of which can be called "national security parasites". Along with fincancial "masters of the universe" or top 0.1%) they controls a leion share of national wealth (redistribution of wealth up is the goal of neoliberalism). so huge military expences feed greedy "national security elite" which in the level of greed does not differ much from the financial elite. This formation of a cast of "national security parasites" is part of parcel of the more general process of the gradual corruption and degeneration of the political elite. Or how it is now called the "Washington swamp." or simple the swamp.
This new role of "national security parasites" -- a deeply entrenched in Washington caste of bureaucrats with exorbitant (for government) salaries who are essentially "enjoying their life" in Washington, DC, while understaffed and underfunded field personnel during all the heavy lifting is a completely new phenomenon. the level of infestation of intelligence agencies is such they they now are capable to influence elections. Worries of this caste were increased by Trump promises to cut Washington bureaucracy and send some of those Washington "fat cats" to field positions. This perspective might be yet another trigger points of the color revolution against him.
In this sense it looks like the US political situation after Trump victory is starting to mirror the Eastern European situation under Communism with the security agencies representing independent and formidable political force.
This is poorly understood but this political change with the intelligence agencies assuming a political role is the key to understanding of the current witch hunt against Trump. It is this development that made launching a color revolution against Trump possible.
And while public stopped trusting neoliberal MSM like CNN and MSNBC, the atmosphere was successfully poisoned.
In this sense that only reliable source of new remain foright sites on Internet (including some maligned by neoliberal MSM) and small web sites, as well as YouTube broadcasts.
They are now a new Samizdat. And this trend clearly worries the establishment (see comments to Are the Clintons Israeli Agents - The Unz Review).
|On another level, this regime-change operation is being waged in the media – or, rather, by the media, since 95% of the “mainstream” news outlets have been turned into anti-Trump propaganda outfits, emitting straight polemics 24/7. It’s no different from what they did in Chile, in 1973, when the CIA overthrew Salvador Allende, using clandestine contacts with the media to target the government with black propaganda, false flag incidents, and a general atmosphere of instability and crisis.|
In both cases it is clear that the majority of the MSM is controlled by intelligence agencies. See US and British media are servants of security apparatus
There are clear analogies here between Trump victory and Brexit and most US voters understand that they need to fight “big banks and hell-bent on neoliberal globalization financial elite” like UK voters did:
...the British politician, who was invited by Mississippi governor Phil Bryant, will draw parallels between what he sees as the inspirational story of Brexit and Trump’s campaign. Farage will describe the Republican’s campaign as a similar crusade by grassroots activists against “big banks and global political insiders” and how those who feel disaffected and disenfranchised can become involved in populist, rightwing politics. With Trump lagging in the polls, just as Brexit did prior to the vote on the referendum, Farage will also hearten supporters by insisting that they can prove pundits and oddsmakers wrong as well.
This message resonates with the Trump campaign’s efforts to reach out to blue collar voters who have become disillusioned with American politics, while also adding a unique flair to Trump’s never staid campaign rallies.
... ... ...
“I am going to say to people in this country that the circumstances, the similarities, the parallels between the people who voted Brexit and the people who could beat Clinton in a few weeks time here in America are uncanny,” Farage told Super Talk Mississippi. “If they want things to change they have get up out of their chairs and go out and fight for it. It can happen. We’ve just proved it.”
“I am being careful,” he added when asked if he supported the controversial Republican nominee. “It’s not for me as a foreign politician to say who you should vote for ... All I will say is that if you vote for Hillary Clinton, then nothing will change. She represents the very politics that we’ve just broken through the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom.”
What they do not understand is that intelligence agencies also have their own elite and it is no less dangerous then the financial elite. They also tent to control MSM competing and allying in this task with the financial elite (CIA was actually created by a Wall Street lawyers, such as Allen Dulles) . A more general question that arise in this context is: "Can any country with powerful intelligence agencies be a republic or a democracy?"
And another related question is "Can MSM in a country with powerful intelligence agencies exist outside of their control?".
Jan 22, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) has filed a lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, accusing the former Secretary of State of defamation for remarks characterizing the Democratic presidential candidate as a Russian asset .Filed on Wednesday in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, Gabbard's attorneys allege that Clinton "smeared" Gabbard's "political and personal reputation," according to The Hill .
Tulsi Gabbard is suing Hillary Clinton and the first page of the filing is WILD AF pic.twitter.com/DXHLPfy016-- Alec Sears (@alec_sears) January 22, 2020
"Tulsi Gabbard is a loyal American civil servant who has also dedicated her life to protecting the safety of all Americans," said Gabbard's attorney Brian Dunne in a statement.
"Rep. Gabbard's presidential campaign continues to gain momentum, but she has seen her political and personal reputation smeared and her candidacy intentionally damaged by Clinton's malicious and demonstrably false remarks."
In a podcast released in October, Clinton said she thought Republicans were "grooming" a Democratic presidential candidate for a third-party bid. She also described the candidate as a favorite of the Russians.
Clinton did not name the candidate but it was clear she was speaking about Gabbard.
"They're also going to do third party. I'm not making any predictions, but I think they've got their eye on somebody who's currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate ," Clinton said.
" She's the favorite of the Russians, they have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far , and that's assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not, because she's also a Russian asset. Yeah, she's a Russian asset, I mean totally. They know they can't win without a third party candidate," Clinton said. - The Hill
Read the filing below:
GotAFriendInBen , 1 hour ago linkUlna P Radius , 2 hours ago link
Go Gabby Go!!
Smack that smirk off that faceMaxamillia , 2 hours ago link
I love Tulsi. She's done more to attack the Democrat globalist neo-Con scumbags than Trump and the GoP put together. What a hero.
Best Wishes. Tulsi. Better Hope You Draw A Sympathetic Judge...
This Black Witch Hillary R Clinton... Has Been Under Satan So Long, His Radar Has Nearly Made Her Untouchable..
Except When It Comes To The Majority of American Voters...
Jan 22, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
pparalegal , 1 hour ago linkBest President Ever , 2 hours ago link
Stay out of Arkansas.RG_Canuck , 1 hour ago link
Nobody likes Hillary even liberals like myself won't vote for her and that is why Trump won. She is the Russian asset.
Please don't insult the Russians like that.
Jan 21, 2020 | www.rt.com
George Galloway was a member of the British Parliament for nearly 30 years. He presents TV and radio shows (including on RT). He is a film-maker, writer and a renowned orator.
Whoever replaces outgoing BBC Director General Tony Hall, be sure that establishment interests will be in safe hands. But multiple scandals the broadcaster has been involved in damaged it quite possibly beyond repair.
... ... ...
Corbyn had to be destroyed at almost ANY cost. Their news and current affairs output (and appointments) over the Corbyn era of 2015-2019 was as crude, and crudely effective, as any screaming, screeching Rupert Murdoch tabloid. Perhaps they were worried the ghost of Sir Alasdair Milne would return to haunt them in the form of his son Seumas Milne, Corbyn's director of communications and strategy and right-hand man. The junior Milne – also Winchester and Oxford – is a considerably harder nut to crack than anyone the BBC had ever had to deal with before
Jan 21, 2020 | www.rt.com
If you were making a documentary on fake news and wanted to get journalists involved behind the scenes, there are a few people you may want to avoid. One of those is CNN host Brian Stelter. The HBO network is rightly being mocked for putting Stelter – the host of a CNN show ironically named 'Reliable Sources' – on the team for an upcoming documentary on fake news.
According to Stelter himself, the documentary will investigate "disinformation and the cost of fake news." The film, for which Stelter was executive producer, will dive into "how post-truth culture has become an increasingly dangerous part of the global information environment," according to WarnerMedia.
HBO just announced something I've been working on for a couple of years: A documentary titled "AFTER TRUTH: DISINFORMATION AND THE COST OF FAKE NEWS." The film will premiere on TV and online this March. Directed by @a_rossi !-- Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 15, 2020
To say Stelter's involvement in the documentary attracted mockery online would be an understatement. "This is like Harvey Weinstein doing a documentary on sexual assault," lawyer and journalist Rogan O'Handley wrote.
"HBO has hired Brian Stelter to do a documentary on Fake News. That's like hiring Bernie Madoff to teach accounting. Like hiring Michael Moore to host a fashion show. Not to mention [Stelter] is the dullest human ever on television," radio host Mark Simone added.
Dec 23, 2019 | www.anti-empire.com
Putin “needs to keep his commie hands” off of the sovereign Independent Baptist church’s affairs
According to sources, local man Clarence Williams has urged his church’s lead pastor as well as local law enforcement to move forward with an investigation into Russian hacking, claiming that there was ample evidence to support the theory that malicious foreign agents infiltrated and influenced the outcome of a vote on the date for next month’s potluck at Second Baptist Church.
... ... ...
The Babylon Bee 23 Dec 19 Society 625 0
Jan 21, 2020 | www.unz.com
Old and grumpy , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 3:48 pm GMTMaybe we should put sanctions on Pompeo. He could use the diet. Maybe raiding his pantry would feed Iraqi for a couple months. He is truly perfect spokesman American empire. Sadistic, bloated, and corrupt.Just passing through , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 4:20 pm GMT@Old and grumpy Trump also needs to have food sanctions placed on him. His body is being oppressed and is crying out for (diet) regime change.
Jan 21, 2020 | off-guardian.org
The idea that Trump's recent actions in the Middle East were part of some incredibly cunning plan to avoid war with Iran, strikes me as somewhat implausible, to put it (very) charitably.
Even Hitler didn't want war. He wanted to achieve his objectives without fighting. When that didn't work, war was Plan B. Trump probably has very little actual control over foreign policy. He is surrounded by people who have been plotting and scheming against him from long before he was elected. He heads a chaotic and dysfunctional administration of billionaires, chancers, grifters, conmen, superannuated generals, religious nut jobs, swamp creatures, halfwits and outright criminals, lurching from one crisis and one fiasco to the next. Some of these people like Bolton were foisted upon him by Adelson and various other backers and wire pullers, but that is not to absolve Trump of personal responsibility.
Competing agencies which are a law unto themselves have been free to pursue their own turf wars at the expense of anything remotely resembling a rational and coherent strategy. So have quite low level bureaucrats, formulating and implementing their own policies with little regard for the White House. In Syria, the Pentagon, the CIA, and the State Department went their own way, each supporting competing and mutually antagonistic factions and terrorist groups. Agreements that were reached with Russia over Syria, for example, were deliberately sabotaged by Ashton Carter in 24 hours. Likewise, Bolton did everything he could to wreck Trump's delicate negotiations with N. Korea.
paul ,Seen in this light, US policy (or the absence of any coherent policy) is more understandable. What passes for US leadership is the worst in its history, even given a very low bar. Arrogant, venal, corrupt, delusional, irredeemably ignorant, and ideologically driven. The only positive thing that can be said is that the alternative (Clinton) would probably have been even worse, if that is possible.
That may also be the key to understanding the current situation. For all his pandering to Israel, Trump is more of a self serving unprincipled opportunist than a true Neocon/ Zionist believer in the mould of Pence, Bolton and Pompeo. For that reason he is not trusted by the Zionist Power Elite. He is too much of a loose cannon. They will take all his Gives, like Jerusalem and the JCPOA, but without any gratitude.
It has taken them a century of plotting, scheming and manoeuvring to achieve their political, financial, and media stranglehold over the US. but America is a wasting asset and they are under time pressure. It is visibly declining and losing its influence. And the parasite will find it difficult to find a similar host. Who else is going to give Israel billions a year in tribute, unlimited free weaponry and diplomatic cover? Russia? Are Chinese troops "happy to die for Israel" asUS ones are (according to their general)?
paul ,And they are way behind schedule. Assad was supposed to be dead by now, and Syria another defenceless failed state, broken up into feuding little cantons, with Israel expanding into the south of the country. The main event, the war with Iran, should have started lond ago.
That is the reason for the impeachment circus. This is not intended to be resolved one way or the other. It is intended to drag on indefinitely, for months and years, to distract and weaken Trump and make it possible to extract what they want. One of the reasons Trump agreed to the murder of Soleimani and his Iraqi opposite number was to appease some Republican senators like Graham whose support is essential to survive impeachment. They were the ones who wanted it, along with Bolton and Netanyahu.
Jan 21, 2020 | off-guardian.org
Charlotte RusseBush, Obama, and Clinton are despicable. In fact, they're particularly disgusting, inasmuch, as they were much more "cognizant" than Trump of how their actions would lead to very specific insidious consequences. In addition, they were more able to cleverly conceal their malevolent deeds from the public. And that's why Trump is now sitting in the Oval Office–he won because of public disgust for lying politicians.
However, Trump is "dangerous" because he's a "misinformed idiot," and as such is extremely malleable. Of course, ignorance is no excuse when the future of humanity is on the line
In any event, Trump is often not aware of the outcome of his actions. And when you're surrounded and misinformed by warmongering neoconservative nutcases, especially ones who donated to your campaign chances are you'll do stupid things. And that's what they're counting on
Jan 21, 2020 | caucus99percent.com
Cassiodorus on Mon, 01/20/2020 - 11:44am Alexandra Petri tells us:
In a break from tradition, I am endorsing all 12 Democratic candidates.
Of course, this is a parody of the NYT's endorsement of Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren , trying to encourage the "who cares about policy we want an identity-politics win" vote. Petri's funniest moment is:
One of two things is wrong with America: Either the entire system is broken or is on the verge of breaking, and we need someone to bring about radical, structural change, or -- we don't need that at all! Which is it? Who can say? Certainly not me, and that is why I am telling you now which candidate to vote for.
Jan 21, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org
When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
– Maya Angelou
"It's amazing," fellow CounterPuncher Eric Draitser recently wrote me, "that people ever thought a Trump administration would be something other than this."
"This" is the demented neofascistic Trump-Pence regime, which openly violates basic constitutional norms and rules while conducting itself in barefacedly racist, sexist, and eco-cidal ways.
The long record of this presidency's transgressions now includes the open dog-wagging assassination – on brazenly false pretexts – of a foreign military commander atop a state (Iran) with which the United States is not at war and without the permission of a government (Iraq) on whose soil the monumental war crime took place.
... ... ...Another person likely unsurprised by Trump's horrifying presidency is New Yorker columnist Adam Gopnik. "Trump," Gopnik wrote in July of 2016, summarizing elementary facts of Trump' life: "is unstable, a liar, narcissistic, contemptuous of the basic norms of political life, and deeply embedded among the most paranoid and irrational of conspiracy theorists. There may indeed be a pathos to his followers' dreams of some populist rescue for their plights. But he did not come to political attention as a 'populist'; he came to politics as a racist, a proponent of birtherism." As Gopnik had explained two months before, the correct description of Trump needed to include the world "fascist" in one way or another:
"There is a simple formula for descriptions of Donald Trump: add together a qualification, a hyphen, and the word "fascist." The sum may be crypto-fascist, neo-fascist, latent fascist, proto-fascist, or American-variety fascist -- one of that kind, all the same. Future political scientists will analyze (let us hope in amused retrospect, rather than in exile in New Zealand or Alberta) the precise elements of Poujadisme, Peronism and Huck Finn's Pap that compound in Trump's 'ideology.' But his personality and his program belong exclusively to the same dark strain of modern politics: an incoherent program of national revenge led by a strongman; a contempt for parliamentary government and procedures; an insistence that the existing, democratically elected government, whether Léon Blum's or Barack Obama's, is in league with evil outsiders and has been secretly trying to undermine the nation; a hysterical militarism designed to no particular end than the sheer spectacle of strength; an equally hysterical sense of beleaguerment and victimization; and a supposed suspicion of big capitalism entirely reconciled to the worship of wealth and "success." It is always alike, and always leads inexorably to the same place: failure, met not by self-correction but by an inflation of the original program of grievances, and so then on to catastrophe. The idea that it can be bounded in by honest conservatives in a Cabinet or restrained by normal constitutional limits is, to put it mildly, unsupported by history (emphasis liberally added) ." [Adam Gopnik, "Going There With Donald Trump," The New Yorker , May 11, 2016].
Paul Street's latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014)
Jan 21, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org
Daniel Lazare January 20, 2020 © Photo: Wikimedia The New York Times caused a mini-commotion last week with a front-page story suggesting that Russian intelligence had hacked a Ukrainian energy firm known as Burisma Holdings in order to get dirt on Joe Biden and help Donald Trump win re-election.
But the article was flimsy even by Russiagate standards, and so certain questions inevitably arise. What was it really about? Who's behind it? Who's the real target?
Here's a quick answer. It was about boosting Joe Biden, and its real target was his chief rival, Bernie Sanders. And poor, inept Bernie walked straight into the trap.
The article was flimsy because rather than saying straight out that Russian intelligence hacked Burisma, the company notorious for hiring Biden's son, Hunter, for $50,000 a month job, reporters Nicole Perlroth and Matthew Rosenberg had to rely on unnamed "security experts" to say it for them. While suggesting that the hackers were looking for dirt, they didn't quite say that as well. Instead, they admitted that "it is not yet clear what the hackers found, or precisely what they were searching for."
So we have no idea what they were up to, if anything at all. But the Times then quoted "experts" to the effect that "the timing and scale of the attacks suggest that the Russians could be searching for potentially embarrassing material on the Bidens – the same kind of information that Mr. Trump wanted from Ukraine when he pressed for an investigation of the Bidens and Burisma, setting off a chain of events that led to his impeachment." Since Trump and the Russians are seeking the same information, they must be in cahoots, which is what Democrats have been saying from the moment Trump took office. Given the lack of evidence, this was meaningless as well.
But then came the kicker: two full paragraphs in which a Biden campaign spokesman was permitted to expound on the notion that the Russians hacked Burisma because Biden is the candidate that they and Trump fear the most.
"Donald Trump tried to coerce Ukraine into lying about Joe Biden and a major bipartisan, international anti-corruption victory because he recognized that he can't beat the vice president," the spokesman, Andrew Bates, said. "Now we know that Vladimir Putin also sees Joe Biden as a threat. Any American president who had not repeatedly encouraged foreign interventions of this kind would immediately condemn this attack on the sovereignty of our elections."
If Biden is the number-one threat, then Sanders is not, presumably because the Times sees him as soft on Moscow. If so, it means that he could be in for the same neo-McCarthyism that antiwar candidate Tulsi Gabbard encountered last October when Hillary Clinton blasted her as "the favorite of the Russians." Gabbard had the good sense to blast her right back.
"Thank you @Hillary Clinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know – it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine ."
If only Sanders did the same. But instead he put out a statement filled with the usual anti-Russian clichés:
"The 2020 election is likely to be the most consequential election in modern American history, and I am alarmed by new reports that Russia recently hacked into the Ukrainian gas company at the center of the impeachment trial, as well as Russia's plans to once again meddle in our elections and in our democracy. After our intelligence agencies unanimously agreed that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, including with thousands of paid ads on Facebook, the New York Times now reports that Russia likely represents the biggest threat of election meddle in 2020, including through disinformation campaigns, promoting hatred, hacking into voting systems, and by exploiting the political divisions sewn [sic] by Donald Trump ."
And so on for another 250 words. Not only did the statement put him in bed with the intelligence agencies, but it makes him party to the big lie that the Kremlin was responsible for putting Trump over the top in 2016.
Let's get one thing straight. Yes, Russian intelligence may have hacked the Democratic National Committee. But cybersecurity was so lax that others may have been rummaging about as well. (CrowdStrike, the company called in to investigate the hack, says it found not one but two cyber-intruders.) Notwithstanding the Mueller report, all the available evidence indicates that Russia did not then pass along thousands of DNC emails that Wikileaks published in July 2016. (Julian Assange's statement six months later that "our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party" remains uncontroverted.) Similarly, there's no evidence that the Kremlin had anything to do with the $45,000 worth of Facebook ads purchased by a St. Petersburg company known as the Internet Research Agency – Robert Mueller's 2018 indictment of the IRA was completely silent on the subject of a Kremlin connection – and no evidence that the ads, which were politically all over the map, had a remotely significant impact on the 2016 election.
All the rest is a classic CIA disinformation campaign aimed at drumming up anti-Russian hysteria and delegitimizing anyone who fails to go along. And now Bernie Sanders is trying to cover his derrière by hopping on board.
It won't work. Sanders will find himself having to take one loyalty oath after another as the anti-Russia campaign flares anew. But it will never be enough, and he'll only wind up looking tired and weak. Voters will opt for the supposedly more formidable Biden, who will end up as a bug splat on the windshield of Donald Trump's speeding election campaign. With impeachment no longer an issue, he'll be free to behave as dictatorially as he wishes as he settles into his second term.
After inveighing against billionaire's wars, he'll find himself ensnared by the same billionaire war machine. The trouble with Sanders is that he thinks he can win by playing by the rules. But he can't because the rules are stacked against him. He'd know that if his outlook was more radical. His problem is not that he's too much of a socialist. Rather, it's that he's not enough.
Jan 20, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
...in what the paper described as a "significant break with convention", the members of its editorial board have selected not one, but two candidates - both of them women.
Its chosen candidates are: Elizabeth Warren, the Republican-turned-progressive who for years posed as a Native American to game America's system of affirmative action - and Amy Klobuchar, the midwestern senator from the great state of Minneapolis with a reputation for being an unhinged dragon-lady boss.
That the NYT selected the two remaining women among the top tier of contenders is hardly a surprise: This is, after all, the same newspaper that kicked off #MeToo by dropping the first expose about Harvey Weinstein's history of abusing, harassing and assaulting women just days before the New Yorker followed up with the first piece from Ronan Farrow.
...After all, if the editors went ahead with their true No. 1 choice, Klobuchar, a candidate who has very little chance of actually capturing the nomination, they would look foolish.
DeePeePDX , 2 hours ago linkGriffin , 2 hours ago link
NYT is like that ex you dumped that won't stop trying to get your attention with increasingly desperate and pathetic acts.Someone Else , 2 hours ago link
Warren is a much better candidate than Biden is in my view.
Warren seems to get into trouble sometimes for all kinds of reasons like most people do, but the problems are usually trivial, more silly than dangerous. There is tendency in her to stick to her guns even when she does not know what she is doing.
When i run into something unexpected or something that seems to be something i don't understand, i usually backtrack and look at the problem from some distance to see what happened and why before trying to correct or fix the problem, rather than just doing something.
Its not a perfect plan, but it seems to work most of the time.
https://9gag.com/gag/ap5AO19TheManj , 3 hours ago link
The tennis shoe I threw away last week is a better candidate than Biden. So that's not saying much.John Hansen , 3 hours ago link
NYT remains a joke. Their endorsement is straight up virtue-signalling.
Here's some reality: Warren's latest antics have cemented her image as dishonest and high-strung. Knoblocker has no charisma and remains practically unknown.pitz , 4 hours ago link
Why are foreign ownedNew York Times allowed to meddle in the election?
Where is the investigation?spam filter , 4 hours ago link
I've personally sat down and talked with Klobuchar. Not a lot of depth of intelligence in her, that's for sure, easily manipulated by lobbyists. Warren, at least, knows what the problem is, although she might have swallowed the proverbial Democratic party "kool aid".SheHunter , 5 hours ago link
Warren is the deep state establishment pick. If you must vote Dem, pick someone that isn't, or one the establishment seems to work against. Better yet, vote Trump, safe bet on gun rights, freedoms.
Here's the link. It is a gd editorial.
Jan 20, 2020 | www.unz.com
John Chuckman , says: Website Show Comment January 18, 2020 at 3:04 pm GMTYes, but we also have this
It is reported this morning (CNN) that Trump bragged about the killing to a crowd at a big fundraising dinner.
Just sick, official state murder for campaign donations.
That's what America is reduced to.
Jan 20, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Bryce Buchanan via The Burning Platform blog,
Many government officials with long entrenched power are unwilling to give up any of that power. In their minds, they have a right to control our lives as they see fit, with complete indifference to our wishes. To avoid rebellion, they need to hide this fact as much as possible. They want the citizens to believe the lie that we are a nation of laws with equal justice under the law. To advance this lie, they have staged many theatrical productions that they call "investigations". They try to give us the impression that they want to expose the facts and punish wrongdoing.
Most of the big 'investigations' in the news in recent years have not been at all what they pretended to be. The sham investigations of Hillary's email, or the Clinton Foundation, or Weiner's laptop, or Uranium One, or Mueller's witch hunt, or Huber's big nothing, or the IG's whitewash, or the Schiff-Pelosi charades, have all been premeditated deceptions.There are three types of investigations that call for different deceptions by the Deep State.
- The first type is the rare honest investigation . Examples would be the attempt to find the truth about Fast and Furious (Obama's gunrunning operation), or the IRS scandal (Obama's weaponizing of government). In response to real investigations, the criminals do two things lie and hide evidence. Key evidence, even if it is under subpoena, just disappears. In the IRS case, Lois Lerner's relevant email and the email of 6 others involved in the scheme was just "lost". The IRS "worked tirelessly" to find the email, but hard drives had been destroyed and back-up drives were missing, so the subpoenaed evidence could not be provided.
For the Deep State, hiding and destroying evidence of guilt is standard operating procedure. They simply report a "glitch" that destroyed the key evidence and that's the end of it. Or, they simply redact the portions of the record that would expose the truth. To my memory, no one ever suffers any consequences for this. Even now, Director Wray and others are tenaciously withholding evidence.
- The second type of 'investigation' is when the Deep State pretends to investigate the Deep State . In these 'investigations' the outcome is known in advance, but the script calls for pretending, sometimes for years, that it an honest investigation is underway.
There was nothing about the Hillary investigations that had anything to do with finding facts. The purpose from the beginning was exoneration. Key witnesses were given immunity and many were allowed to attend each other's interviews. There were no early morning swat team raids to gather evidence. Evidence was destroyed with no consequences.
When Anthony Weiner's laptop was found to contain over 340,000 Hillary emails in a file named "insurance", the FBI did not rejoice about finally getting the 'lost' email. No, they hid the discovery for weeks until a New York agent threatened to go public. Then, quite miraculously, Peter Strzok found a way to very quickly examine 340,000 messages and found that there was nothing at all that was incriminating. No rational person would believe that.
The dirty cops are so comfortable about getting away with lies like this that Huber can announce that he found no corruption, when it is readily apparent that he did not interview key witnesses . He even turned away whistleblowers who wanted to submit evidence. A real investigator, Charles Ortel, could have given Huber a long list of Clinton Foundation crimes . Like the Weiner laptop fake investigation, you don't find crimes if you don't really look for them.
The dirty cops are so confident in their ability to deceive the public that they just announced that the FISA court reforms will be managed by David Kris. Kris has been a defender of FBI misconduct and he attacked Devin Nunes for telling the truth about the FISA court. They don't even care about the appearance of fairness. They do what they want.
IG investigations have proven to be flimsy exonerations of Deep State criminality. Any honest observer can see that there was a carefully organized plan by top officials to control the outcome of the Presidential election. This corrupt plan involved lying to the FISA court, illegal surveillance and unmasking of citizens and conspiring with media partners to make sure lies were widely circulated to voters. The government conspirators and the majority of the media were functioning as nothing more than a branch of Hillary's campaign. That's a lot of power aimed at destroying Trump.
To an IG investigator, this monumental scandal was presented to us as nothing to be very concerned about. Yes, a few minor rules were inadvertently broken and there did appear to be some bias, but there was no reason at all to think that bias effected any actions. If the agencies involved make a training video and set aside a day for a training meeting, then that should satisfy us completely.
- The third type of investigation involves investigating an imaginary crime for political reasons . The Mueller investigation and the impeachment investigation are two examples of this. Probably as a justification for illegal surveillance they were already doing, the conspirators pretended that there was powerful evidence that Trump was colluding with Putin to win the election. Lies about this issue propelled the country into 3 years of stories about nothing stories and investigations about something that never happened. Never in the history of nothing has nothing been so thoroughly covered.
Because there was nothing, and because it was known from the start that, " there is no big there, there ", the Mueller Team used several irrelevant legal actions to prolong the belief that they were closing in on Trump. Mueller arranged for their media partner, CNN, to film the early morning swat team raid on 67 year old Roger Stone's home. It was very dramatic and very un-necessary. Also, some small-time Russian troll farms were indicted so that the word "Russia" could fill the news, prolonging the desired myth. One of the indicted firms did not even exist. The others did not appear to favor any one candidate and much of their activity was after the election .
Mueller led a 40 million dollar investigation looking for a crime. That effort failed at finding any collusion, but it did play a role in the Democrats winning a majority in the House of Representatives. That then enabled another investigation of an imaginary crime for political purposes. A scripted hearsay 'whistleblower' submitted lies that allowed Adam Schiff to continue his own campaign of lies. You know the rest of the story. Trump is being falsely charged for doing what Biden bragged about doing.
The Deep State and the media appear to believe that we are fooled by these fraudulent investigations. We are not fooled. We are tired of the lies and the arrogance.
We are increasingly angry that there is a double standard of justice in this country. There is a protected class of people who are not prosecuted for their crimes. This needs to end.
insanelysane , 9 minutes ago linkDonGenaro , 10 minutes ago link
The sheeple are easily led including the opposition sheeple. Two quick examples:
1. In the email scandal, Hillary was guilty, beyond a shadow of a doubt, of violating the FOIA by conducting all State Department business via a personal email She was guilty. Yet her team, listen up sheeple, her team made it about whether or not classified information was transmitted. This is a gray area which could be defended. She knew she was guilty of the FOIA violation because it was the whole reason the server was set up in the first place. Yet she got away with it because everyone focused on the classifications of emails which was a gray area.
2. In the Weiner / Abedin laptop matter, it is and was illegal for any of these emails to be on a personal computer. Again, guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. Yet again everyone focused on what was in the emails and not the fact that just possessing the emails was illegal. So the FBI was able to say nothing new here and let it drop. If another group such as the US Marshals was in charge of this investigation, Weiner / Abedin would have been fully charged with possessing these emails. They would have been pressured to reveal why it was named Insurance and have been asked to cut a deal.East Indian , 23 minutes ago link
Assange rots in jail, and Maxwell walks free, while Trump is busy pleasuring every Zionist in sighthardmedicine , 38 minutes ago link
A comment in 'The Gateway Pundit':
"Andy McCabe admits lying to the FBI and nothing happens. The FBI lies to Gen. Flynn and he faces jail time. Justice in Deep State America."
- reader ricocat1hoffstetter , 40 minutes ago link
his name was Seth Rich!buckboy , 57 minutes ago link
The purpose of show trials is to fool those that don't pay attention. There are millions of US citizens that get their news from their neighbor or a narrow set of information that is disseminated by media that parrot their providers verbatim without challenge. Such people are quite regularly fooled and some vote.marlin2009 , 1 hour ago link
We, the People are free to bitch and moan.Deep Snorkeler , 1 hour ago link
The double standard justice system in America is appalling and even worse than communists. Americans really don’t have any credit to criticize communist countries. The ruling class is no better than them.
The media and ruling classes have tried decades to brainwashed the mass to believe that the less or even not corrupted.Old Hippie Patriot , 1 hour ago link
Trump University Fraud: Trump paid fine
Trump Taj Mahal Casino Money Laundering: Trump paid fine
Trump Foundation Fraud: Trump paid fine
Trump Campaign Law Violations: pending
Trump Abuse of Power:
Trump...HANGTHEOWL , 1 hour ago link
They could have never pulled off the JFK assassination had the internet existed back in 1963. Time for the Epstein *********** to be posted on the internet. Even the asleep would realize the unimaginable evil that has been controlling this world for millenia.monty42 , 1 hour ago link
I am not sure about that,,we have the net now,,and although there are many of us that pay attention and figure out their crimes and hoax's,,,,they still get away with them,,,,,,NASA still gets 59 million a day to fake the space program,,,HANGTHEOWL , 57 minutes ago link
Why not? They pulled off 9/11. And what do we have? The same as with the JFK murder. People still arguing over how it was done, and ignoring the obvious, historically established now, of who benefited and why. Grassy knoll, 2nd shooter, or directed energy weapons or explosives, internet or not, still chasing the tail.
True, they murdered 3,000 of us on 9-11,,right on TV, using plainly obvious controlled demolitions, and to date they have still gotten away with it...
Jan 15, 2020 | consortiumnews.com
DC_rez , January 16, 2020 at 16:08
Are you insinuating Rachel Maddow is a journalist?
Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Kali , Jan 17 2020 19:26 utc | 7
That Power Elite theory which was written in the 50s by C.W. Mills is incomplete for today because in the 60s there was a split among the power elite between the new "movement conservatives" and the old eastern bank establishment. The conservatives were more focused on the pacific region and containing China, and the liberal establishment were more focused on Europe and containing Russia.
The "movement conservatives" leader was Barry Goldwater who Trump's dad was a big supporter of, and Trump was raised in and among AND represents that faction of elite power. In fact he is the 1st president from that faction of the elites to hold the oval office, many people thought Reagan was, but he was brought under the control of George Bush and the liberal elites after taking office after he was injured by a Bush related person. The different agendas of the the two factions are out in the open today with one being focused on anti-Russia and the other being focused on anti-China. It has been like that since the 1960s.
The anti-China conservative faction which Trump represents (and which unleashed the VietNam War) is screwing up the "rules based order" aka "Liberal International Economic Order" aka Pax Americana which was set up after WWII at Bretton Woods and then altered in the 1970s with the creation of the petrodollar and petrodollar recycling into Treasury Bonds, by destroying the monetary scam they set up to control the world
It needed the cooperation of the elites of Europe and elsewhere, which Trump and his faction doesn't care about -- they only care about short term profits on Wall St.
The LIEO or Rules Based Order is based on being closely allied with European elites against Russia to contain the Middle East and Central Asia (Iran and Afghanistan) based on Zbigniew Brzezinski's Grand Chessboard theory. China trade is important for them, Russia is their main enemy. ( War of the Worlds: The New Class ). Trump and his movement conservative faction is ruining their world order for their own short term gain on Wall St.
VietnamVet , Jan 17 2020 22:34 utc | 44The 1950's triangle of power was superseded by the oligarch's counter revolution that led to supranational trade institutions. Democracies were relegated to a secondary status and run by technocrats for the benefit of oligarchs until Donald Trump. He is a nationalist plutocrat; admittedly a lower level one, a NY casino owner who went bankrupt. Mike Bloomberg represents the other side, a globalist billionaire. Elizabeth Warren is a top level technocrat but no politician.fairleft , Jan 18 2020 1:21 utc | 81
The endless wars are fought to make a profit for the plutocracy and destabilize nations to make foreign corporate exploitation possible. That was why Hunter Biden was in Ukraine. The conflicts are not meant to be won.
Donald Trump is way for over his head and getting old. His competent staff are in jail or fired. Apparently no one told him about the thousands of ballistic missiles that can destroy the Gulf States' oil facilities at will and make the buildup for the invasion of Iran impossible. He makes stupid mistakes. Through the barrage of propaganda, reports of shell shocked troops, destroyed buildings and 11 concussion causalities from Iran's missile attack made it into the news. The military must be pissed. The aura of invincibility is gone.
Donald Trump should be removed by the 25th amendment before he mistakenly triggers the Apocalypse. Except the 1% politician VP, Mike Pence, believes that the End of Time is God's Will and necessary for his Ascension.The power triangle theory is less in line with the facts than a simple duality: Wall Street & the MIC, you have to advance interests of both or you're out.Passer by , Jan 17 2020 22:04 utc | 35
Second, the 'meeting in the Tank' sounds like complete b.s. designed to sell books, with an obvious sales strategy, as b said, of pleasuring both the pro/anti Trump sides of the book-buying bourgeoisie.
And the 'rules-based international order' rings very false as something that would be said with a straight face by real MIC insiders, which those generals are.
Finally, whether Trump ridiculed the generals or not, that's a sideshow to entertain the rubes. Trump's always been on side with the big picture Neocon approach essential to the MIC. Their global dominance or chaos approach is essential to keeping military budgets gigantic until 'forever'. True that Trump whined about endless wars as a 2016 campaign strategy, but he was either b.s.-ing or at the time didn't get that they are part of the overall Neocon approach he backs.A P , Jan 17 2020 19:33 utc | 9
Not a very good analysis by b because this does not explain why 90 % of US corporate media is hostile to Trump. This does not happen without significant elite support.
That Trump is backed by the military faction is something i have been saying often. But there are forces within the government faction that dislike him, for example the CIA.
As for the corporate faction, it is not true that free money made them supportive of Trump. Rather the faction is divided - between the globalist corporate faction, relying on globalisation, including most tech companies, and US nationalist faction, such as local US businesses, big oil, shale gas, etc.
Another point - jews have large influence within the US, and 80 % voted against Trump regardless of his Israeli support. They again voted 80 % Dem in 2018. Having 80 % of US jews against you means encountering significant resistance.
Demographically speaking, most women, jews, muslims, latinos, asians, afroamericans, lgbt people, young people, etc. are strongly against him so i think that he will lose. Unless for some reason they do not vote.
Even if he somehow wins again, this will lead to civil war like situation and extreme polarisation in the US.Walter , Jan 17 2020 23:25 utc | 56
The US military, the various factions within the Deep State, political and corporate cabals has the attitude of a spoiled 3-year-old: If I can't have it, I'll break it so it is of little use to others.
Unfortunately, breaking other countries is just fine for the MIC... arms sales all around and chaos to impede non-military commerce with other major power centers like Russia or China.
Trump is the product of a dysfunctional family, a "greed is good" trust-fund social circle and a sociopathic US bully/gun culture.
The fact "bone spurs" Trump weaseled out of the draft will also not play well with the generals, let alone the grunts who suffer most from endless POTUS idiocy (not limited to Trump, see Prince Bush/Bandar the 2nd)
All the more proof that most Western "democracies" would be better served with a lottery to choose their Congressional and POTUS chair-warmers. Joe Sixpack could do a better job. A 200-lb sack of flour would do better than any POTUS since Kennedy.Likklemore , Jan 17 2020 21:50 utc | 29
@ wagelaborer | Jan 17 2020 19:04 utc | 3
your: "Trump can't start a war without ruling class backing any more than he can end the wars if the rulers veto it."
May be, I think is, true in one sense. But Trump is far from the sole agent capable of starting a war. War, as opposed to simple murder, involve 2 or more parties. Whatever the intentions, the recent murders by drone in Baghdad hav,e it seems, brought Iran to consider war exists now...and they have a nifty MAGA policy. On Press TV today they hosted an expert who called for the execution of several exceptional American leaders...sounds like war to me.
(Make America Go Away)
The system is so screwy and peopled by such uneducated and delusional people that it's quite simple that they would do some stupid that that caused a war. Looks like war to me. I await the horrors.
Decaying empires usually start wars that bring about their rapid ruin. Does it matter how they do this?
The thesis of the triangle of elite factions is fascinating.
Walter recalls that JFK got the reports from Vietnam that said we were winning, while at the same time Johnson got the true story. And also what happened then with the "correction" of 1963 (their words) and the immediate change of war policy. Can't help an old guy from remembering old folly. And noting that history repeats as farce.
The Iran affair is liable to coordinate with NATO. Lavrov spoke to the NATO preparations today @ TASS...
Some say Trumpie screwed up the schedule, which goes hot in April as a showdown with the Roooskies. I take that with a grain of salt. But I think the sources I've seen might be right. They say that if Barbarossa had not been delayed, the nazis woulda won in Russia. Screwups can be very important.
I can't see any way the US won't use atomic bangers. But maybe...psychohistorian , Jan 17 2020 19:52 utc | 11
@ wagelaborer 3
Good points. I endorse. However the USD have been weaponized, is being sidelined and will be shunned U.S. dollar: Russia, China, EU are motivated to shift from
@ juiliana 22
I posted an article by Shedlock essentially saying all it will take is 3 states to flip and Trump loses: Trump will be easily defeated in 2020 perhaps by a landslide.
Not only sick of wars, his mobster approach to foreign policy and allies is an embarrassment to RINO and Independents.
I agree with wagelaborer in comment #3 and worth a repeat of most of it
"Trump can't start a war without ruling class backing any more than he can end the wars if the rulers veto it.
US foreign policy is not run by White House puppets.
The US trash-talked Saddam Hussein and starved Iraqis for 14 years, but didn't actually invade until he started trading oil in Euros.
The US trash-talked Ghaddafi for decades, and even launched missiles which killed his child in the 80s, but didn't destroy Libya until Ghaddafi decided to sell oil in dinars.
The US has trash-talked and sanctioned Iran for decades, but it was the threat of Iran and Saudi Arabia making peace that pushed them to assassinate General Soleimani, as he arrived at the airport on that diplomatic mission.
If Iran and Saudi Arabia make peace, and the Saudis drop the petro-dollar, the US Empire crumbles. It doesn't matter at all who is in the White House at the time, the Empire will never allow that."
Humanity is in a civilization war about public/private finance being fought by proxies and character actors like Trump. Maybe after this war is over, and if we survive, we can all communicate about the social contract directly instead of through proxy fronts. Do you want to live in a sharing/caring world or a selfish/competitive one?....socialism or barbarism?
Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Bubbles , Jan 17 2020 23:23 utc | 55A new book titled 'A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America ' offers some background and perspective on trump's 3 years in the WH and some titillating quotes. An explanation for why Tillerson called him "a f**king moron" is included.
At one point the authors depict an angry trump lashing out at his advisors for the trillions spent in Iraq and he demands to know "where's the fu**king oil"? As in, the share of oil the US should have received for?..attacking Iraq and causing it to descend into complete chaos I suppose.
As one leading Private Security Company Chief was quoted some years later, it's like the Wild West. And that was before the rise of ISIS.
But he didn't stop there, no sir, he went on to rant he would never go to war with people like them. According to the book his choice of words were much more colourful. Said claim does seem a bit confusing given trump's war record as a Cadet at some school for rich kids.
But hey, the far right Zionists seem to find him useful.
Walter , Jan 17 2020 23:25 utc | 56@ wagelaborer | Jan 17 2020 19:04 utc | 3michaelj72 , Jan 17 2020 23:27 utc | 57
your: "Trump can't start a war without ruling class backing any more than he can end the wars if the rulers veto it."
May be, I think is, true in one sense. But Trump is far from the sole agent capable of starting a war. War, as opposed to simple murder, involve 2 or more parties. Whatever the intentions, the recent murders by drone in Baghdad hav,e it seems, brought Iran to consider war exists now...and they have a nifty MAGA policy. On Press TV today they hosted an expert who called for the execution of several exceptional American leaders...sounds like war to me.
(Make America Go Away)
The system is so screwy and peopled by such uneducated and delusional people that it's quite simple that they would do some stupid that that caused a war. Looks like war to me. I await the horrors.
Decaying empires usually start wars that bring about their rapid ruin. Does it matter how they do this?
The thesis of the triangle of elite factions is fascinating.
Walter recalls that JFK got the reports from Vietnam that said we were winning, while at the same time Johnson got the true story. And also what happened then with the "correction" of 1963 (their words) and the immediate change of war policy. Can't help an old guy from remembering old folly. And noting that history repeats as farce.
The Iran affair is liable to coordinate with NATO..Lavrov spoke to the NATO preparations today @ TASS...
Some say Trumpie screwed up the schedule, which goes hot in April as a showdown with the Roooskies. I take that with a grain of salt. But I think the sources I've seen might be right. They say that if Barbarossa had not been delayed, the nazis woulda won in Russia. Screwups can be very important.
I can't see any way the US won't use atomic bangers. But maybe...
"There's an odor of mendacity throughout the Afghanistan issue . . . mendacity and hubris," John F. Sopko said in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
"...What's that smell in this room? Didn't you notice it, Brick? Didn't you notice a powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room?... There ain't nothin' more powerful than the odor of mendacity... You can smell it. It smells like death...."
- Big Daddy, in the film Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), play by Tennessee Williams
Jan 19, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org
Eric Zuesse July 27, 2018 © Photo: Public domain
Neoconservatism started in 1953 with Henry "Scoop" Jackson, the Democratic Party US Senator from the state of Washington (1953-1983), who became known as a 'defense' hawk, and as "the Senator from Boeing," because Boeing practically owned him. The UK's Henry Jackson Society was founded in 2005 in order to carry forward Senator Jackson's unwavering and passionate endorsement of growing the American empire so that the US-UK alliance will control the entire world (and US weapons-makers will dominate in every market).
Later, during the 1990s, neoconservatism became taken over by the Mossad and the lobbyists for Israel and came to be publicly identified as a 'Jewish' ideology, despite its having -- and having long had -- many champions who were 'anti-communist' or 'pro-democracy' or simply even anti-Russian, but who were neither Jewish nor even focused at all on the Middle East. Republicans Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and John McCain; and the Democrat, CIA Director James Woolsey -- the latter of whom was one of the patrons of Britain's Henry Jackson Society -- were especially prominent neoconservatives, who came to prominence even before neocons became called "neoconservatives." What all neocons have always shared in common has been a visceral hatred of Russians. That comes above anything else -- and even above NATO (the main neocon organization).
During recent decades, neocons have been hating Iranians and more generally Shiites -- such as in Syria and in Lebanon, and now also in Yemen -- and not only hating Russians.
When the Israel lobby during the 1990s and after, pumped massive resources into getting the US Government to invade first Iraq and then Iran, neoconservatism got its name, but the ideology itself did not change. However, there are a few neoconservatives today who are too ignorant to know, in any coherent way, what their own underlying beliefs are, or why, and so who are anti-Russians (that's basic for any neocon) who either don't know or else don't particularly care that Iran and Shia Muslims generally, are allied with Russia. Neoconservatives such as this, are simply confused neocons, people whose underlying ideology is self-contradictory, because they've not carefully thought things through.
An example is Vox's Alex Ward, who built his career as an anti-Russia propagandist , and whose recent ten-point tirade against Russia I then exposed as being false on each one of its ten points , each of those points having been based upon mere allegations by US neocons against Russia without any solid evidence whatsoever. Indictments, and other forms of accusations, are not evidence for anything. But a stupid 'journalist' accepts them as if they were evidence, if those accusations come from 'the right side' -- but not if they come from 'the wrong side'. They don't understand even such a simple distinction as that between an indictment, and a conviction. A conviction is at least a verdict (though maybe based on false 'evidence' and thus false itself), but all that an accusation is an accusation -- and all accusations (in the American legal system) are supposed to be disbelieved, unless and until there is at least a verdict that gives the accusation legal force. (This is called "innocent unless proven guilty.")
Earlier, Mr. Ward had headlined as if he were an anti -neocon, when he posted his "America is fueling the war in Yemen. Congress is finally pushing back." What can account for that seemingly incongruous article?
Mr. Ward is a Democrat -- an heir to Senator Jackson's allegedly anti-communist though actually anti-Russian ideology -- but, since Ward isn't as intelligent as the ideology's founder was, Ward becomes anti -neocon when a Republican-led Administration is doing things (such as Ward there criticizes) that are even more-neocon than today's Democratic Party itself is. In other words: 'journalists' (actually, propagandists) such as he, are more partisan in favor of support of Democratic Party billionaires against Republican Party billionaires, than in support of conquering Russia as opposed to cooperating with Russia (and with all other countries). They're unaware that all American billionaires support expansion of the US empire -- including over Yemen (to bring Yemen in, too -- which invasion Ward incongruously opposes). But politicians (unlike their financial backers) need to pretend not to be so bloodthirsty or so beholden to the military-industrial complex. Thus, an American doesn't need to be intelligent in order to build his or her career in 'journalism', on the basis of having previously served as a propagandist writing for non-profits that are mere fronts for NATO and for Israel, and which are fronts actually for America's weapons-manufacturing firms, who need those wars in order to grow their profits. Such PR for front-organizations for US firms such as Lockheed Martin, is excellent preparation for a successful career in American 'journalism'. If a person is stupid, then it's still necessary to be stupid in the right way, in order to succeed; and Ward is, and does.
This, for example, is how it makes sense that Ward had previously been employed at the War on the Rocks website that organized the Republican neoconservative campaign against Donald Trump during the 2016 Republican primaries : the mega-donors to both US Parties are united in favor of America conquering Russia. And that's why War on the Rocks had organized Republican neocons to oppose Trump: it was done in order to increase the chances for Trump's rabidly anti-Russia and pro-Israel competitors such as Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio to win that nomination instead, which would then have produced the billionaires' dream contest, between Hillary Clinton versus an equally neoconservative Republican nominee. A bipartisan neoconservatism controls both of the American political Parties. A 'journalist' who displays that sort of bipartisanship can't fail in America, no matter how incompetent at real journalism he or she might be. (However, they do have to be literate . Stupid, maybe; but literate, definitely.)
The core of America's form of capitalism has come to be the US aristocracy's bipartisan, liberal and conservative, Democratic and Republican, form of capitalism, which isn't merely fascist (which includes privatizing everything that can be privatized) but which is also imperialist (which means favoring the country's perpetration of invasions and coups in order to expand that nation's empire). The United States is now a globe-spanning empire, controlling not merely the aristocracies in a few banana republics such as Guatemala and Honduras, but also the aristocracies in richer countries such as France, Germany and UK, so as to extract from virtually the entire world -- by means mainly of deception but also sometimes public threats and clearly coercive -- unfair advantages for corporations that are within its borders, and against corporations that are headquartered in foreign countries. America's billionaires -- both the Democratic ones and the Republican ones -- are 100% in favor of America's conquering the world: this ideology is entirely bipartisan, in the United States. Though the billionaires succeeded, during the first Cold War -- the one that was nominally against communism -- at fooling the public to think they were aiming ultimately to conquer communism, George Herbert Walker Bush made clear, on the night of 24 February 1990, privately to the leaders of the US aristocracy's foreign allies, that the actual goal was world-conquest, and so the Cold War would now secretly continue on the US side , even after ending on the USS.R. side. When GHW Bush did that, the heritage of US Senator Jackson became no longer the formerly claimed one, of 'anti-communism', but was, clearly now and henceforth, anti-Russian. And that's what it is today -- not only in the Democratic Party, and not only in the Republican Party, and not only in the United States, but throughout the entire US alliance .
And this is what we are seeing today, in all of the US-and-allied propaganda-media. America is always 'the injured party' against 'the aggressors'; and, so, one after another, such as in Iraq, and in Libya, and in Syria, and in Iran, and in Yemen, and in China, all allies (or even merely friends) of Russia are 'the aggressors' and are 'dictatorships' and are 'threats to America', and only the US side represents 'democracy' . It's actually an aristocracy , which has deeply deceived its public, to think it's a democracy. Just as every aristocracy is based on lies and on coercion, this one is, too -- it is no exception; it's only that this particular empire is on a historically unprecedentedly large scale, dominating all continents. Support that, and you're welcomed into the major (i.e., billionaire-backed) 'news' media in America, and in its allied countries. This is America's 'democracy' . (Of course, an article such as this one is not 'journalism' in America and its allied countries; it's merely "blogging." So, it won't be found there though it's being submitted everywhere. It will be accepted and published at only the honest news-sites. A reader may Web-search the headline here in order to find out which ones those are. Not many 'news'media report the institutionalized corruptness of the 'news'media; they just criticize one-another, in the way that the politicians do, which is bipartisan -- the bipartisan dictatorship. But the rot that's actually throughout the 'news'media, is prohibited to be reported about and published, in and by any of them. It is totally suppressed reality. Only the few honest news-sites will publish this information and its documentation, the links here.)
However, actually, the first time that the term either "neoconservatism" or "neo-conservatism" is known to have been used, was in the British magazine, The Contemporary Review , January 1883, by Henry Dunkley, in his "The Conservative Dilemma" where "neo-conservative" appeared 8 times, and was contrasted to traditional "conservatism" because, whereas the traditional type "Toryism" was pro-aristocratic, anti-democratic, and overtly elitist; the new type was pro-democratic, anti-aristocratic, and overtly populist (which no form of conservatism honestly is -- they're all elitist): "What is this new creed of yours? That there must be no class influence in politics? That any half-dozen hinds on my estate are as good as so many dukes? That the will of the people is the supreme political tribunal? That if a majority at the polls bid us abolish the Church and toss the Crown into the gutter we are forthwith to be their most obedient servants?" "No: from whatever point of view we consider the question, it is plain that the attempt to reconstruct the Tory party on a Democratic basis cannot succeed." "The Tories have always been adepts at conservation, but the things they have been most willing to conserve were not our liberties but the restrictions put upon our liberties." "The practical policy of Conservatism would not alter, and could not be altered much, but its pretensions would have to be pitched in a lower key." "Here we seem to get within the smell of soup, the bustle of evening receptions, and the smiles of dowagers. The cares which weigh upon this couple of patriot souls cannot be described as august. It is hardly among such petty anxieties that the upholders of the Empire and the pilots of the State are bred." "The solemn abjuration which is now proposed in the name of Neo-conservatism resembles a charge of dynamite." He viewed neo-conservatives as being let's-pretend populists, whose pretense at being democrats will jeopardize the Empire, not strengthen it. Empire, and its rightness, were so deeply rooted in the rulers' psyche, it went unchallenged. In fact, at that very time, in the 1880s, Sir Cecil Rhodes was busy creating the foundation for the UK-US empire that now controls most of the world .
The modern pro-Israel neoconservatism arose in the 1960s when formerly Marxist Jewish intellectuals in New York City and Washington DC, who were even more anti-communist than anti-nazi, became impassioned with the US empire being extended to the entire world by spreading 'democracy' (and protection of Israel) as if this Israel-protecting empire were a holy crusade not only against the Soviet Union, which was demonized by them, but against Islam, which also was demonized by them (since they were ethnocentric Jews and the people whose land the 'Israelis' had stolen were overwhelmingly Muslims -- and now were very second-class citizens in their own long-ancestral and also birth-land). This was how they distinguished themselves from "paleoconservatism" which wasn't nearly so Messianic, but which was more overtly ethnocentric, though ethnic Christian, instead of ethnic Jewish. The "paleoconservatives" were isolationists, not imperialists. They originated from the opponents of America's entry into WW II against the imperialists of that time, who were the fascists. Those American "isolationists" would have given us a world controlled by Hitler and his Axis allies. All conservatism is absurd, but there are many forms of it, none of which makes intelligent sense.
The roots of neoconservatism are 100% imperialistic, colonialist, supremacist, and blatantly evil. They hate Russia because they still crave to conquer it , and don't know how, short of nuclear annihilation, which would be extremely dangerous, even for themselves. So, they endanger everyone.
Jan 18, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Wezz Gary Sellars • a day ago"Russiagate is a hoax" Where did I hear that before?Antiphon Wezz • a day ago
Oh yes, from Trump about 1000 times... strange that even though he said he was innocent he had to keep telling us every time he opened his mouth... it makes me suspicious for some reason. That and the fact that Trump has been caught lying a few times.I usually assess the validity of such claims on something more substantial than OrangeManBad.Aker Wezz • a day ago • editedYour hatred of Russia is hilarious. Doubly when Amerilards have a history of interference in other country's governments.Aker Aker • 20 hours ago • edited
America is objectively a more violent country than Russia. It isn't Russia that has ridicously high violent crime scores despite its wealth. Invaded Afghanistan, attacked Iraq, provided aid for Islamists who'd go on to build ISIS.
I don't recall Putin's regime achieving a higher bodycount than America under Bush with Obama. Keep pretending Putin's some villain from childish stories like Harry Potter or Black Panther.https://en.wikipedia.org/wi...thelastindependentYankee Aker • 6 hours ago
America's homicide level is Notably higher than West Europe's and Far Eastern lands like Japan. Russia's is only somewhat higher, and is notably less wealthy.The Gulags were resorts I know.Aker thelastindependentYankee • 4 hours agoTell us when you plan to shut down Guantanamo Bay and end your dysfunctional prison system. Also, Murica supported enough regimes.EliteCommInc. Wezz • 21 hours agoIt would be interesting if had as much veracity as a hoax ---Aker Wezz • 20 hours ago
but it lacks even that.https://www.washingtontimes...John Mann Wezz • 12 hours ago
Apologize for American interference in other countries' governments.A stopped clock is right twice a day. Hey, Saddam Hussein turned out to be telling the truth about WMDs.Aker Gary Sellars • 20 hours agoIt's an attempt to assuage a failed presidential candidate and give a target to blame for how society is. If not Trump himself, then Russia.
Jan 18, 2020 | www.unz.com
Swedish Family , says: Show Comment January 3, 2020 at 9:13 pm GMT@Interested Bystander 2020
However, it is hard to miss Trump's style over the past three years, a consistently unconventional approach to problems that often seems illogical and rushed at the first glance, but upon a closer examination, his approaches usually have their own logic and underlying motivation that, on occasions, could be construed as the result of a broader strategic and tactical consideration.
I once believed this, but Michael Wolff's books quickly dispelled that fantasy. Here's what strategy meant during the campaign:
It was during Trump's early intelligence briefings, held soon after he captured the nomination, that alarm signals first went off among his new campaign staff: he seemed to lack the ability to take in third-party information. Or maybe he lacked the interest; whichever, he seemed almost phobic about having formal demands on his attention. He stonewalled every written page and balked at every explanation. "He's a guy who really hated school," said Bannon. "And he's not going to start liking it now."
One of the ways to establish what Trump wanted and where he stood and what his underlying policy intentions were -- or at least the intentions that you could convince him were his -- came to involve an improbably close textual analysis of his largely off-the-cuff speeches, random remarks, and reflexive tweets during the campaign.
Bannon doggedly went through the Trump oeuvre highlighting possible insights and policy proscriptions. Part of Bannon's authority in the new White House was as keeper of the Trump promises, meticulously logged onto the white board in his office. Some of these promises Trump enthusiastically remembered making, others he had little memory of, but was happy to accept that he had said it. Bannon acted as disciple and promoted Trump to guru -- or inscrutable God.
Fire and Fury (Michael Wolff, 2018)
And here's Trump readying himself for the notorious Helsinki summit with Putin back in 2018:
On Friday, July 13, three days before the Helsinki summit, the president and his team arrived late in the day at Trump Turnberry golf resort in Scotland, after passing on their way from the airport cow pastures and cheering citizens -- but no protesters.
Mike Pompeo and John Bolton were carrying copious briefing books. This was meant to be a weekend of preparation interspersed with golf. John Kelly, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Bill Shine, and several other aides had come along, too.
Saturday was sunny and in the mid-seventies, with nothing on the agenda except golf. But by now a few protesters had made their way to Turnberry. "No Trump, No KKK, No Racist USA," shouted a small group of them during the president's afternoon golf game.
Trump, energized by his NATO and UK meetings -- "we roughed them up" -- was in no mood to prepare for his Putin meeting. Even his typical, exceedingly casual level of preparation -- prep masked as gossip -- wasn't happening. Pompeo and Bolton reduced the boxed briefing binders to a one-pager. The president wouldn't focus on it.
He was fine. And why shouldn't he be? He had walked into his meeting with Kim unable to pick out North Korea on a map, but it didn't matter. He was in charge, a strong man making peace.
Don't box me in , he told his advisers. I need to be open , he kept repeating, as though this was a therapeutic process. Pompeo and Bolton urgently pressed him about the basic talking points for the summit, now just hours away -- but nothing doing.
The next morning he played golf, and then it started to rain.
Siege (Michael Wolff, 2019)
Jan 18, 2020 | www.unz.com
Peripatetic Commenter , says: Show Comment January 17, 2020 at 9:43 pm GMTI don't think it will be long before we see Congress in the US calling for invasion of Russia on the grounds of a lack of diversity, lack of respect for LGBTP and so forth.
Jan 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Circe , Jan 15 2020 5:59 utc | 130Trump is a bully and a tyrant and he embodies perfectly what America is and stands for...brute force. For all those who thought he was taking the Empire down; if that were the case, the EU would reply FU to Trump. Instead they're shaking in their boots.
Trump sent over 14,000 more troops to to the ME only since last May! And is he satisfied with that? HELL NO. He wants NATO stationed there too!
And, he has the 2nd in command of Iran murdered and brings everyone to the brink, but he has not an iota of regret and continues thumping his chest and beating the drums of war.
That looks like a bigger footprint to me.
Jan 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
V , Jan 16 2020 4:55 utc | 208Piotr Berman | Jan 16 2020 4:04 utc | 206
Indeed. Escalation is the easy road to hell. De-escalation and working for peace requires skill and intellegence.
Very little of either seemingly emanating from the U.S...
U.S. diplomacy (non-existent) only comes from the barrel of a gun or the drone fired missile...
Jan 15, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Robert Bridge via The Strategic Culture Foundation,
... ... ...
Courtesy of Bloomberg :
"U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials are assessing whether Russia is trying to undermine Joe Biden in its ongoing disinformation efforts with the former vice president still the front-runner in the race to challenge President Donald Trump, according to two officials familiar with the matter
Part of the inquiry is to determine whether Russia is trying to weaken Biden by promoting controversy over his past involvement in U.S. policy toward Ukraine while his son worked for an energy company there."
So how exactly does Russia, in a scene straight out of A Clockwork Orange, tap into the frontal lobe section of the U.S. electorate and cause them to lose all confidence in their political favorites?
"A signature trait of Russian President Vladimir Putin 'is his ability to convince people of outright falsehoods,' William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said in a statement. 'In America, [the Russians are] using social media and many other tools to inflame social divisions, promote conspiracy theories and sow distrust in our democracy and elections.'"
Yes, somehow those dastardly Russians have outsmarted the brightest and best-paid political strategists in Washington, D.C. by brandishing what amounts to some really persuasive memes over social media, and for just rubles on the dollar. The techies at Wired went so far as to call this epic assault on the fragile American cranium, "meme warfare to divide America." By way of evidence, it cited a very creative meme that screamed, "F*CK THE ELECTIONS," which was intended, as the ironclad argument goes, to cause a number of impressionable Americans to throw up their hands in a fit of collective exasperation and say, 'Ok, that's it. I'm staying at home on Election Day.'
Yes, it's really that easy! Imagine all the money the Russians and their radical new political technologies could have saved guys like casino tycoon, Sheldon Adelson, who showered the Trump campaign with $100 million dollars.
Many of those divisive Russian messages wormed their way onto Facebook, purportedly, where God only knows how many voter brains' turned to maggots and mush just staring at them. Yet one individual who actually recalls seeing one or two of these dangerous memes was Rob Goldman, former Vice President for Advertising on Facebook, who revealed via Twitter, another infected social media platform, some interesting information:
"Most of the coverage of Russian meddling involves their attempt to effect the outcome of the 2016 U.S. election. I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal ."
Clearly, Goldman seems to have been under the sway of some folk Russian brainwashing technique, probably passed down from the time of Rasputin. In any case, Donald Trump himself took great satisfaction from that particular revelation, retweeting it to his millions of minions.
Most of the coverage of Russian meddling involves their attempt to effect the outcome of the 2016 US election. I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal.-- Rob Goldman (@robjective) February 17, 2018
Incidentally, it may or may not be relevant, but Goldman retired from Facebook in October 2019 after seven years with the company.Russia, the gift that keeps on giving
Not only have the Democrats been able to use the Russia bogeyman as their excuse for losing the White House in 2016, they are able to summon this distant nuclear power whenever they wish to curb internet freedoms, which is pretty much every day now.
Now, fun-loving memes are under attack and may soon go the way of the DoDo bird ("A small office of Russian trolls could derail 241 years of U.S. political history with a handful of dank memes and an advertising budget that would barely buy you a billboard in Brooklyn," screamed insanely The Guardian ). At the same time, the freedom of speech is getting destroyed by vapid accusations of 'hate speech,' which, unless used to incite violence, is a totally meaningless term used to eliminate any conversation that is undesirable to the elite.
Meanwhile, only the mainstream media these days are permitted to dabble in 'conspiracy theories' even as their own false narratives have contributed to the pulverization of entire nations, as was the case in Iraq, for example, which sustained a full-blown U.S. military invasion in 2003 following debunked claims that Saddam Hussein was harboring weapons of mass destruction. That was the mother of all conspiracy theories that was pushed unchallenged by the mainstream media.
So back to Joe Biden.
Do intelligent Americans really need help from Russia to prove that just maybe the former Vice President is mentally and physically unfit to stand for the White House? Probably not. From whispering sweet nothings into the ears of any female within groping distance, to sucking on his wife's fingertips at a political rally, something just doesn't seem altogether right upstairs with Joe Biden. So what is the real story for dragging Russia, once again, into the internal swamp pit known as Washington, D.C.?
The Bloomberg article provides a big hint: "This time around, the narrative about Biden and Ukraine is well-publicized and being advanced by Trump, his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and the president's Republican allies in Congress."
And that "narrative" has everything to do with not only the Democrats' frozen impeachment proceedings against the U.S. leader, which promises to have major connections to Ukraine, Joe Biden and his son Hunter, and quite possibly dozens of other top Democrats. In other words, the Democrats understand that pushing ahead with impeachment could be their ultimate downfall.
Although few Americans seem to remember that back in May of 2019, Trump granted U.S. Attorney General William Barr "full and complete authority" to investigate exactly how claims that Trump was 'conspiring with the Kremlin' in the 2016 presidential election had originated, the Democrats certainly have not.
Their bogus 'Russian collusion' claim provided the rationale for a four-year-long 'witch hunt' that began when the Democrats, relying on the flimsy findings contained in the so-called 'Steele dossier, managed to get approval from the FISA court to spy on the Trump campaign. Now, some top-ranking Democrats – never imagining Hillary Clinton would actually lose in 2016 – are understandably nervous as to what Barr and his assistant, federal attorney John Durham will divulge to the public in the coming months.
With so much riding on the line in 2020 , is anyone surprised that Bloomberg, the news affiliate owned and operated by Democratic contender Michael Bloomberg, is now reporting "U.S. officials are warning that Russia's election interference in 2020 could be more brazen than in the 2016 presidential race or the 2018 midterm election."
In other words, the racist ploy used by Democrats to explain their monumental defeat in 2016 did not end with the Mueller Report.
The conspiracy theory, promulgated by a media that is in effect just another branch of the Democratic National Committee, is being primed to explain not only possible criminal charges aimed at top Democrats in the coming months, but how Democrats, like Michael Bloomberg, failed once again to beat the seemingly unstoppable incumbent, Donald Trump. Tags Politics
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Jan 06, 2020 | www.unz.com
Dumbo , says: Show Comment January 3, 2020 at 6:46 pm GMT
Donald Trump rode to victory in 2016 on a promise to end the useless wars in the Middle East, but he has now demonstrated very clearly that he is a liar
He also promised a wall. Maybe he meant the Israeli wall?
Jan 15, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Trump and the Mad Negotiator Approach Posted on January 14, 2020 by Yves Smith Trump's numerous character flaws, such as his grandiosity, his lack of interest in the truth, his impulsiveness, his habitual lashing out at critics, have elicited boatloads of disapproving commentary. It's disturbing to see someone so emotional and undisciplined in charge of anything, let alone the United States.
Rather than offer yet more armchair analysis, it might be productive to ask a different question: why hasn't Trump been an abject failure? There are plenty of rich heirs who blow their inheritance or run the family business into the ground pretty quickly and have to knuckle down to a much more modest lifestyle.
Trump's lack of discipline has arguably cost him. The noise regularly made about his business bankruptcies is wildly exaggerated. Most of Trump's bankruptcies were of casinos , and most of those took place in the nasty 1991-1992 recession. He was one of only two major New York City developers not to have to give meaningful equity in some of their properties in that downturn. He even managed to keep Mar-a-Lago and persuaded his lenders to let him keep enough cash to preserve a pretty flashy lifestyle because he was able to persuade them that preserving his brand name was key to the performance of Trump-branded assets.
The idea that Trump couldn't borrow after his early 1990s casino bankruptcies is also false. As Francine McKenna pointed out in 2017 in Donald Trump has had no trouble getting big loans at competitive rates:
The MarketWatch analysis shows a variety of lenders, all big banks or listed specialized finance companies like Ladder Capital, that have provided lots of money to Trump over the years in the forms of short-, medium- and long-term loans and at competitive rates, whether fixed or variable.
"The Treasury yield that matches the term of the loan is the closest starting benchmark for Trump-sized commercial real estate loans," said Robert Thesman, a certified public accountant in Washington state who specializes in real estate tax issues. The 10-year Treasury swap rate is also used and tracks the bonds closely, according to one expert.
Trump's outstanding loans were granted at rates between 2 points over and under the matching Treasury-yield benchmark at inception. That's despite the well-documented record of bankruptcy filings that dot Trump's history of casino investment.
The flip side is that it's not hard to make the case that Trump's self-indulgent style has cost him in monetary terms. His contemporary Steve Ross of The Related Companies who started out in real estate as a tax lawyer putting together Section 8 housing deals, didn't have a big stake like Trump did to start his empire. Ross did have industrialist and philanthropist Max Fisher as his uncle and role model, but there is no evidence that Fisher staked Ross beyond paying for his education . Ross has an estimated net worth of $7.6 billion versus Trump's $3.1 billion.
Despite Trump's heat-seeking-missile affinity for the limelight, we only get snippets of how he has managed his business, like his litigiousness and breaking of labor laws. Yet he's kept his team together and is pretty underleveraged for a real estate owner.
The area where we have a better view of how Trump operates is via his negotiating, where is astonishingly transgressive. He goes out of his way to be inconsistent, unpredictable, and will even trash prior commitments, which is usually toxic, since it telegraphs bad faith. How does this make any sense?
One way to think of it is that Trump is effectively screening for weak negotiating counterparties. Think of his approach as analogous to the Nigerian scam letters and the many variants you get in your inbox. They are so patently fake that one wonders why the fraudsters bother sending them.
But investigators figured that mystery out. From the Atlantic in 2012 :
Everyone knows that Nigerian scam e-mails, with their exaggerated stories of moneys tied up in foreign accounts and collapsed national economies, sound totally absurd, but according to research from Microsoft, that's on purpose .
As a savvy Internet user you probably think you'd never fall for the obvious trickery, but that's the point. Savvy users are not the scammers' target audience, [Cormac] Herley notes. Rather, the creators of these e-mails are targeting people who would believe the sort of tales these scams involve .:
Our analysis suggests that is an advantage to the attacker, not a disadvantage. Since his attack has a low density of victims the Nigerian scammer has an over-riding need to reduce false positives. By sending an email that repels all but the most gullible the scammer gets the most promising marks to self-select, and tilts the true to false positive ratio in his favor.
Who would want to get in a business relationship with a guy who makes clear early on that he might pull the rug out from under you? Most people would steer clear. So Trump's style, even if he adopted it out of deep-seated emotional needs, has the effect of pre-selecting for weak, desperate counterparties. It can also pull in people who think they can out-smart Trump and shysters who identify with him, as well as those who are prepared to deal with the headaches (for instance, the the business relationship is circumscribed and a decent contract will limit the downside).
Mind you, it is more common than you think for businesses to seek out needy business "partners". For instance, back in the day when General Electric was a significant player in venture capital, it would draw out its investment commitment process. The point was to ascertain if the entrepreneurs had any other prospects; they wouldn't tolerate GE's leisurely process if they did. By the time GE was sure it was the only game in town, it would cram down the principals on price and other terms. There are many variants of this playbook, such as how Walmart treats suppliers.
Trump has become so habituated to this mode of operating that he often launches into negotiations determined to establish that he had the dominant position when that is far from clear, witness the ongoing China trade row. Trump did in theory hold a powerful weapon in his ability to impose tariffs on China. But they are a blunt weapon, with significant blowback to the US. Even though China had a glass jaw in terms of damage to its economy (there were signs of stress, such as companies greatly stretching out when they paid their bills), Trump could not tolerate much of a stock market downdraft, nor could he play a long-term game.
Another aspect of Trump's erraticness is making sudden shifts, or what we have called gaslighting. He'll suddenly and radically change his rhetoric, even praise someone he demonized. That if nothing else again is a power play, to try to maintain his position as driving the pacing and content of the negotiations, which again is meant to position his counterparty as in a weaker position, of having to react to his moves, even if that amounts to identifying them as noise. It is a watered-down form of a cult strategy called love bombing (remember that Trump has been described as often being very charming in first meetings, only to cut down the person he met in a matter of days).
Voters have seen another face of Trump's imperative to find or create weakness: that of his uncanny ability to hit opponents' weak spots in ways that get them off balance, such as the way he was able to rope a dope Warren over her Cherokee ancestry claims.
The foregoing isn't to suggest that Trump's approach is optimal. Far from it. But it does "work" in the sense of achieving certain results that are important to Trump, of having him appear to be in charge of the action, getting his business counterparts on the back foot. That means Trump is implicitly seeing these encounters primarily in win-lose terms, rather than win-win. No wonder he has little appetite for international organizations. You have to give in order to get.
PlutoniumKun , January 14, 2020 at 7:08 am
I think this is pretty astute, thanks Yves. One reason I think Trump has been so successful for his limited range of skills is precisely that 'smart' people underestimate him so much. He knows one thing well – how power works. Sometimes that's enough. I've known quite a few intellectually limited people who have built very successful careers based on a very simple set of principles (e.g. 'never disagree with anyone more senior than me').
Anecdotally, I've often had the conversation with people about 'taking Trump seriously', as in, trying to assess what he really wants and how he has been so successful. In my experience, the 'smarter' and more educated the person I'm talking to is, the less willing they are to have that conversation. The random guy in the bar will be happy to talk and have insights. The high paid professional will just mutter about stupid people and racism.
I would also add one more reason for his success – he does appear to be quite good at selecting staff, and knowing who to delegate to.
timotheus , January 14, 2020 at 8:30 am
There is another figure from recent history who displayed similar astuteness about power while manifesting generally low intelligence: Chile's Pinochet. He had near failing grades in school but knew how to consolidate power, dominate the other members of the junta, and weed out the slightest hint of dissidence within the army.
Off The Street , January 14, 2020 at 9:17 am
To the average viewer, Trump's branding extends to the negative brands that he assigns to opponents. Witness Lyin' Ted , Pocahontas and similar sticky names that make their way into coverage. He induces free coverage from Fake News as if they can't resist gawking at a car wreck, even when one of the vehicles is their own. Manipulation has worked quite a lot on people with different world views, especially when they don't conceive of any different approaches.
drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 6:52 pm
Scott Adams touted that as one of Trump's hidden persuasionological weapons . . . that ability to craft a fine head-shot nickname for every opponent.
If Sanders were to be nominated, I suppose Trump would keep saying Crazy Bernie. Sanders will just have to respond in his own true-to-himself way. Maybe he could risk saying something like . . .
" so Trashy Trump is Trashy. This isn't new."
If certain key bunches of voters still have fond memories for Crazy Eddie, perhaps Sanders could have some operatives subtly remind people of that.
Some images of Crazy Eddie, for those who wish to stumble up Nostalgia Alley . . .
curious euro , January 14, 2020 at 9:23 am
I would disagree with the "selecting staff" part. I can't really think of any of his appointees to any office while he is president that was a good pick. One worse than the other basically. Maybe in his private dealings he did better, but in public office it's a continuous horror show. Examples like Pence, Haley, "Mad Dog", Bolton, DeVos, his son in law, Pompeo. The list goes on.
Another indication how bad his delegation skills are is how short his picks stay at their job before they are fired again. Is there any POTUS which had higher staff turnover?
NotTimothyGeithner , January 14, 2020 at 9:45 am
Its a horror show because you don't agree with their values. After the last few Presidents, too much movement to the right would catastrophic, so there isn't much to do. His farm bill is a disaster. The new NAFTA is window dressing. He slashed taxes. He's found a way to make our brutal immigration system even more nefarious. His staff seems to be working out despite it not having many members of the Bush crime family.
Even if these people were as beloved by the press as John McCain, they would still be monsters.
curious euro , January 14, 2020 at 10:43 am
It's not their values that make them a horror show, it's their plain inaptitude and incompetency. E.g. someone like that Exxon CEO is at least somewhat capable, which is why I didn't mention him. Though he was quite ineffective as long as he lasted and probably quite corrupt. Pompeo in the same office on the other hand is simply a moron elevated way beyond his station. Words fail and the Peter principle cannot explain.
The US can paper over this due to their heavy handed application of power for now, but every day he stays in office, friends are abhorred while trying not to show it, and foes rejoice at the utter stupidity of the US how it helps their schemes.
For me as a foreigner who detests the forever wars and most of the US foreign policy, this is a good thing: the more heavy handed, the more brutal, the more cruel, the more stupid the US policy is, the less is the chance for our euro governments to follow the US in today's war or other policy. So while I am sort of happy about the outcome, I don't see the current monsters at the helm worse than the monsters 4 years ago under Obama. In fact I detested them much more since they had the power to drag my governments into their evil schemes.
Evil and clearly despicable is always better than evil and sort of charismatic.
tegnost , January 14, 2020 at 11:29 am
For me as a foreigner who detests the forever wars and most of the US foreign policy, this is a good thing: the more heavy handed, the more brutal, the more cruel, the more stupid the US policy is, the less is the chance for our euro governments to follow the US in today's war or other policy.
Indeed, if you look at the trendline from the '80's to now, trump is, in some ways, the less effective evil.
James O'Keefe , January 14, 2020 at 1:17 pm
They are not inept and incompetent at what they are trying to achieve. The GOP has long sought to privatize government to help the rich get richer and harm anyone who isn't rich by cutting services and making them harder to get. Trumps picks are carrying out that agenda very well.
That he still hasn't filled 170 appointed positions is icing on the cake. See stats at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/trump-administration-appointee-tracker/database/
rosemerry , January 14, 2020 at 4:47 pm
I feel exactly the same. Trump is just a huge crude extension of the usual "exceptional" leaders, much more transparent by not pretending he is any sort of representative of democratic and cooperative values claimed by his predecessors.
PlutoniumKun , January 14, 2020 at 10:05 am
But what I think is noticeable is that his worst high profile staff picks, while horrible people, are generally those who are under his thumb and so he has control of. But in the behind the scenes activities, they've been very effective – as an obvious example, witness how he's put so many conservative Republicans into the judiciary, in contrast with Obamas haplessness.
curious euro , January 14, 2020 at 10:51 am
That is not a Trump thing, getting more judges is a 100% rep party thing and only rep party thing. Sure, he is the one putting his rubber stamp on it, but the picking and everything else is a party thing. They stopped the placement for years under Obama before Trump was ever thought about, and now are filling it as fast as they can. Aren't they having complicit democrats helping them or how can they get their picks beyond congress? Or am I getting something wrong and Obama could have picked his judges but didn't?
The people he chooses to run his administration however are all horrible. Not just horrible people but horrible picks as in incompetent buffoons without a clue. Can you show a evil, horrible or not but actually competent pick of his in his administration?
The only one I can think of is maybe the new FAA chief Dickson. Who is a crisis manager, after the FAA is in its worst crisis ever right now. So right now someone competent must have this post. All the others seem to be chickenhawk blowhards with the IQ of a fruitfly but the bluster of a texan.
fajensen , January 14, 2020 at 11:13 am
Gina Haspel? She is probably equally good with a handgun, an ice pick and a pair of pliers.
curious euro , January 14, 2020 at 11:49 am
Is she effective? What has she done to make her a spy mastermind? She is obviously a torturer, but is that a qualification in any way useful to be a intelligence agency boss?
I have the suspicion Haspel was elevated to their office by threatening "I know where all the bodies are buried (literally) and if you don't make me boss, I will tell". Blackmail can helping a career lots if successful.
Thuto , January 14, 2020 at 11:18 am
The outcomes of incompetence and malicious intent are sometimes indistinguishable from one another. With the people Trump has surrounded himself with, horrible, nasty outcomes are par for the course because these guys are both incompetent and chock full of malicious intent. Instead of draining the swamp, he's gone and filled it with psychotic sociopaths.
drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 7:04 pm
Some time ago I heard Mulvaney answer the criticism about the Trump budget of the day cutting so much money from EPA that EPA would have to fire half of its relevant scientists. He replied that " this is how we drain the swamp".
Citing "corruption" was misdirection. Trump let his supporters believe that the corruption was The Swamp. What the Trump Group ACTually means by "The Swamp" is all the career scientists and researchers and etc. who take seriously the analyzing and restraining of Upper Class Looter misbehavior.
Yves Smith Post author , January 14, 2020 at 12:28 pm
I limited the post to his negotiating approach. One would think someone so erratic would have trouble attracting people. However, Wall Street and a lot of private businesses are full of high maintenance prima donnas at the top. Some of those operations live with a lot of churn in the senior ranks. For others, one way to get them to stay is what amounts to a combat pay premium, they get paid more than they would in other jobs to put up with a difficult boss. I have no idea how much turnover there is in the Trump Organization or how good his key lieutenants are so I can't opine either way on that part.
Regarding his time as POTUS, Trump has a lot of things working against him on top of his difficult personality and his inability to pay civil servants a hardship premium:
1. He got elected over the dead bodies of just about everyone who counts in the Republican Party. He pretty much did a hostile takeover of the GOP. So his ability to draw on seasoned hands was nil. And on top of that, he is temperamentally not the type to seek the counsel of perceived wise men in and hanging around the party. The people he has kept around are cronies like Wilbur Ross and Steve Mnuchin.
The one notably competent person he has attracted and retained is Robert Lightizer, the US Trade Representative
2. Another thing that undermines Trump's effectiveness in running a big bureaucracy is his hatred for its structure. He likes very lean organizations with few layers. He can't impose that on his administration. It's trying to put a round peg in a square hole.
cocomaan , January 14, 2020 at 1:56 pm
I have no idea how much turnover there is in the Trump Organization or how good his key lieutenants are so I can't opine either way on that part.
Is it just me or does nobody know? Does it seem to anyone else like there has been virtually no investigation of his organization or how it was run?
Maybe it's buried in the endless screeds against Trump, but any investigations of his organizations always seem colored by his presidency. I'd love to see one that's strictly historical.
Yves Smith Post author , January 14, 2020 at 2:10 pm
I am simply saying that I have not bothered investigating that issue. There was a NY Times Magazine piece on the Trump Organization before his election. That was where I recall the bit about him hating having a lot of people around him, he regards them as leeches. That piece probably had some info on how long his top people had worked for him.
ObjectiveFunction , January 15, 2020 at 2:30 am
Congratulations Yves, on another fine piece, one of your best. I might recommend you append this comment to it as an update, or else pen a sequel.
While Trump has more in common stylistically with a Borgia prince out of Machiavelli, or a Roman Emperor ( oderint, dum metuant ) than with a Hitler or a Stalin, your note still puts me in mind of an insightful comment I pulled off a history board a while ago, regarding the reductionist essence of Führerprinzip , mass movement or no mass movement. It's mostly out of Shirer:
Hitler ran the Third Reich by a system of parallel competition among bureaucratic empire builders of all stripes. Anyone who showed servile loyalty and mouthed his yahoo ideology got all the resources they liked, for any purpose they proposed. But the moment he encountered any form of independence or pushback, he changed horses at once. He left the old group in place, but gave all their resources to a burgeoning new bureaucracy that did things his way. If a State body resisted his will, he had a Party body do it instead. He was continually reaching down 2-3 levels in the org charts, to find some ambitious firecracker willing to suck up to him, and leapfrog to the top.
This left behind a complete chaos of rival, duplicated functions, under mainly unfit leaders. And fortunately for the world, how well any of these organizations actually did their jobs was an entirely secondary consideration. Loyalty was all.
Hitler sat at the center of all the resource grabbers and played referee. This made everyone dependent on his nod and ensured his continued power. The message was: there are no superiors in the Reich. There is only der Führer, and his favor trumps everything .
As you note, some of these tools (fortunately) aren't available to Cheeto 45 .
I hope this particular invocation of Godwin's avenger is trenchant, and not OT. Although Godwin himself blessed the #Trump=Hitler comparison some time ago, thereby shark-jumping his own meme.
Tomonthebeach , January 14, 2020 at 12:53 pm
It might be as simple as birds of a feather (blackbirds of course) flocking together. Trump seems to have radar for corrupt cronies as we have seen his swamp draining into the federal prison system. The few over-confident generals he picked, except for Flynn, finally caved when they realized staying was an affront to the honor code they swore to back in OCS or their academy.
lyman alpha blob , January 14, 2020 at 2:16 pm
The crooks in the Reagan administration were getting bounced seemingly every other day. Just found this from Brookings (blecchh) which if accurate says Trump has recently surpassed Reagan – https://www.brookings.edu/research/tracking-turnover-in-the-trump-administration/
I don't know how they selected staff in the Reagan years, but lately the POTUS seems to appoint based on who the plutocrats want. As has been noted Bary O took his marching orders from Citigroup if I remember right. I doubt if Trump had even heard of most of the people he appointed prior to becoming president. So at least some of Trump's turnover is due to him firing recommendations from others who didn't turn out how he'd like. That's one reason I didn't get all that upset over the Bolton hiring – I didn't think he'd last a year before Trump canned him.
My recollection of the Reagan years was that he had a lot of staff who left to "spend more time with their families"; in other words they got caught being crooked and we're told to go lest they besmirch the sterling reputation of St. Ronnie.
drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 6:57 pm
He early-on adopted the concept of "dismantle the Administrative State". Some of his appointees are designed to do that from within. He appoints termites to the Department of Lumber Integrity because he wants to leave the lumber all destroyed after he leaves the White House.
His farm bill is only a disaster to those who support Good Farm Bill Governance. His mission is to destroy as much of the knowledge and programs within the USDA as possible. So his farm bill is designed to achieve the destruction he wants to achieve. If it works, it was a good farm bill from his viewpoint. For example.
Ignacio , January 15, 2020 at 5:38 am
I would say that Trump, not acting in an intelligent way is doing very clever things according to his interests. My opinion is that his actions/negotiations with foreign countries are 100% directed for domestic consumptiom. He does not care at all about international relationships, just his populist "make America great again" and he almost certainly play closest attention to the impact of his actions in US opinion.
He calculates the risks and takes measures that show he is a strong man defending US interests (in a very symplistic and populist way) no matter if someone or many are offended, abused or even killed as we have recently seen. Then if it is appreciated that a limit has been reached, and the limit is not set by international reactions but perceived domestic reactions, he may do a setback showing how sensibly magnanimous can a strongman like him be. In the domestic front, IMO, he does not give a damn on centrists of all kinds. Particularly, smart centrists are strictly following Trumps playbook focusing on actions that by no means debilitate his positioning as strongman in foreign issues and divert attention from the real things that would worry Trump. The impeachment is exactly that. Trump must be 100% confident that he would win any contest with any "smart" centrist. Of course he also loves all the noises he generates with, for instance, the Soleimani killing or Huawei banning that distract from his giveaways to the oligarchs and further debilitation of remaining welfare programs and environmental programs. This measures don't pass totally unnoticed but Hate Inc . and public opinions/debates are not paying the attention his domestic measures deserve. Trump's populism feeds on oligarch support and despair and his policies are designed to keep and increase both. Polls on Democrats distract from the most important polls on public opinion about Trum "surprise" actions.
Trump will go for a third term.
Seamus Padraig , January 14, 2020 at 7:18 am
Trump has the rare gift of being able to drive his enemies insane–just witness what's become of the Democrats, a once proud American political party.
Eureka Springs , January 14, 2020 at 9:39 am
Democrats have long been (what, 50 plus yrs. – Phil Ochs – Love Me I'm A Liberal) exuding false pride of not appearing to be or sounding insane. Their place, being the concern troll of the duopoly. All are mad. If the Obama years didn't prove it, the Dems during Bush Cheney certainly did.
curious euro , January 14, 2020 at 10:53 am
Yes, 50 years. Nixon played mad to get his Vietnam politics through, Reagan was certifiable
"My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever." "We begin bombing in five minutes." live on air.
vlade , January 14, 2020 at 7:38 am
I suspect only half of the post was posted? The last para seems to get cut in mid sentence.
I'd add one more thing (which may be in the second half, assuming there's one). Trump's massively insane demands are a good anchoring strategy. Even semi-rational player will not make out-of-this-earth demands – they would be seen as either undermining their rationality, or clearly meant to only anchor so less effective (but surprisingly, even when we know it's only an anchor it apparently works, at least a bit). With irrational Trump, one just doesn't know.
vlade , January 14, 2020 at 7:44 am
Or maybe not (re half posted), now that I re-read it.. More likely it's just me being sleep deprived today :)
GramSci , January 14, 2020 at 7:41 am
Classic predatory behaviors: culling the herd and eating the weak.
David , January 14, 2020 at 8:21 am
I think Trump understands that one of the basic tactics of negotiation (though forgotten by the Left(tm)) is to set out a maximalist position before the negotiation starts, so that you have room to make compromises later. Sometimes this works better than others – I don't know how far you can do it with the Chinese, for example. But then Trump may have inadvertently played, in that case, into the tradition of scripted public utterances combined with behind-the-scenes real negotiation that tends to characterize bargaining in Asia. But in domestic politics, there's no doubt that publicly announcing extreme negotiating positions is a winning tactic. You force the media and other political actors to comment and make counter-proposals, thus dragging the argument more in your direction from the very start. Trump remembers something that his opponents have willfully forgotten: compromise is something you finish with not something you start from . In itself, any given compromise has no particular virtue or value.
Michael Fiorillo , January 14, 2020 at 8:59 am
Yes, Trump does seem to be very good at getting to people to "negotiate against themselves."
chuck roast , January 14, 2020 at 9:52 am
and that is why Trump will eat Biden's lunch.
The Rev Kev , January 14, 2020 at 9:09 am
There is actually two parts to a negotiation I should mention. There is negotiating a deal. And then there is carrying it out. Not only Trump but the US has shown itself incapable of upholding deals but they will break them when they see an advantage or an opportunity. Worse, one part of the government may be fighting another part of the government and will sabotage that deal in sometimes spectacular fashion.
So what is the point of having all these weird and wonderful negotiating strategies if any partners that you have on the international stage have learned that Trump's word is merely a negotiating tactic? And this includes after a deal is signed when he applies some more pressure to change something in an agreement that he just signed off on? If you can't keep a deal, then ultimately negotiating a deal is useless.
curious euro , January 14, 2020 at 9:28 am
The incapability of the US to keep their treaties has been a founding principle of the country. Ask any Indian.
Putin or the russian foreign ministry called the US treaty incapable a few years before Trump, and they were not wrong. Trump didn't help being erratic as he is, but he didn't cancel any treaty on his own: JCPOA, INF, etc. He had pretty broad support for all of these. Only maybe NAFTA was his own idea.
Yves Smith Post author , January 14, 2020 at 12:31 pm
I would put it a bit differently. Trump's erraticness is a strong signal he fits to a pattern the Russians have used to depict the US: "not agreement capable". That's what I meant by he selects for weak partners. His negotiating style signals that he is a bad faith actor. Who would put up with that unless you had to, or you could somehow build that into your price?
barnaby33 , January 14, 2020 at 11:53 pm
Considering I doubt the Russians have ever honored a single deal they made, that's maybe not a good example!
Yves Smith Post author , January 15, 2020 at 12:16 am
I have no idea who your mythical Russians are. I know two people who did business in Russia before things got stupid and they never had problems with getting paid. Did you also miss that "Russians" have bought so much real estate in London that they mainly don't live in that you could drop a neutron bomb in the better parts of Chelsea and South Kensington and not kill anyone? Pray tell, how could they acquire high end property if they are such cheats?
Boomka , January 15, 2020 at 6:38 am
somebody was eating too much US propaganda? how about this for starters:
"It is politically important: Russia has paid off the USSR's debt to a country that no longer exists," said Mr Yuri Yudenkov, a professor at the Russian University of Economics and Public Administration. "This is very important in terms of reputation: the ability to repay on time, the responsibility," he told AFP.
It would have been very easy for Russia to say it cannot be held responsible for USSR's debts, especially in this case where debt is to a non-existent entity.
drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 7:09 pm
In Syria, the Department of Defense was supporting one group of pet jihadis. The CIA was supporting a different group of pet jihadis.
At times the two groups of pet jihadis were actively fighting eachother. I am not sure how the DoD and CIA felt about their respective pet jihadis fighting eachother. However they felt, they kept right on arming and supporting their respective groups of pet jihadis to keep fighting eachother.
timbers , January 14, 2020 at 9:47 am
I'm just not impressed by Trump in any way.
He owes the fact he's President not to any skill he has, but to Democrats being so bad. Many non establishment types could have beaten Hillary.
And Trump owes the fact that he's not DOA in 2020 re-election again because Democrats are so bad. There are a handful of extremely popular social programs Democrats could champion that would win over millions of voters and doom Trump's re-election. But instead, they double down on issues that energize Trump's base, are not off-limits to there donors while ignoring what the broad non corporate/rich majority support. For example impeaching him for being the first recent President not to start a major new war for profit and killing millions and then saying it's really because something he did in Ukraine that 95% of Americans couldn't care less about and won't even bother to understand even if they could.
That leaves the fact he is rather rich and must have done something to become that. I don't know enough about him to evaluate that. But I would never what to know him or have a friend that acts like him. I've avoided people like that in my life.
Yves Smith Post author , January 14, 2020 at 12:36 pm
Did you read the post as positive? Please read again. Saying that Trump's strategy works only to the extent that he winds up selecting for weak partners is not praise. First, it is clinical, and second, it says his strategy has considerable costs.
MyLessThanPrimeBeef , January 14, 2020 at 4:35 pm
Understanding how it works is the first step in dealing with (or countering) it.
Someone above mentions Pinochet as being similar. I can't, just now, think of anyone* from history working the way he does. Can anyone name some?
*Except Shakespeare's Hamlet, or some Kung Fu masters, like Jackie Chan in his 1978 "Drunken Master," or earlier, the not as well-known 1966 film, Come Drink With Me, which was produced by the legendary Run Run Shaw (who lived to be 107, or maybe it was his brother), starring Cheng Pei Pei. The master becomes the master when, or only when, drunk. It reminds of the saying, 'method to the madness.'
And often what we perceive to be chaotic – in weather, nature, space or human affairs – is only so because we don't truly comprehend it. This is not to say it can not be in fact chaotic.
rd , January 14, 2020 at 6:54 pm
I find it interesting that the primary foreign entity who has played Trump like a violin is Kim in North Korea. He has gotten everything he wanted,except sanctions relief over the past couple of years.
However, Trump's style of negotiating with Iran has made it clear to Kim that North Korea would be idiots to give up their nuclear weapons and missiles. Meanwhile, Iran has watched Trump's attitude towards Kim since Kim blew up his first bomb and Trump is forcing them to develop nuclear weapons to be able to negotiate with Trump and the West.
ObjectiveFunction , January 15, 2020 at 1:36 am
But other than the minor matter of US 8th Army (cadre) sitting in the line of fire, the bulk of any risks posed by Li'l Kim are borne by South Korea, Japan and China. So for Trump, it's still down the list a ways, until the Norks can nuke tip a missile and hit Honolulu. So what coup has Kim achieved at Trump's expense, again?
drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 7:13 pm
Today's Democrats want to destroy those social programs you cite. They have wanted to destroy those social programs ever since President Clinton wanted to conspire with "Prime Minister" Gingrich to privatize Social Security. Luckily Monica Lewinsky saved us from that fate.
A nominee Sanders would run on keeping Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid in existence. And he would mean it. A nominee Biden might pretend to say it. But he would conspire with the Republicans to destroy them all.
The ClintoBama Pelosicrats have no standing on which to pretend to support some very popular social programs and hope to be believed any longer. Maybe that is why they feel there is no point in even pretending any more.
Carolinian , January 14, 2020 at 10:08 am
Thanks for the shrewd analysis. The problem is that Trump appears to be morphing from the mad negotiator into someone who really is mad. I think he knows he screwed up with Soleimani and there's no taking it back, only doubling down. You can't talk your way out of some mistakes. Trump is shrewd, but not very smart and like most bullies he's also weak. He gets by being such an obvious bluffer and blowhard but when you start assassinating people and expect to be praised for it it's no longer a game.
False Solace , January 14, 2020 at 1:03 pm
If I were Iran I'd think really hard about scheduling something embarrassing to happen just before the election. Jimmy Carter was seriously damaged by hostages, why not Trump?
drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 7:14 pm
Trump would simply bomb the hostages.
MyLessThanPrimeBeef , January 14, 2020 at 4:52 pm
If you note and believe he tends to start out at the furthest position, the question then becomes, is this his most forceful action.
Is it the general plus collateral damage, and no more/no worse?
Or maybe he doesn't always start out at the far end. Then, people need to respond differently, if the aim is to play the man in this chess game.
Carolinian , January 14, 2020 at 4:59 pm
I'd say the solution is to give Trump the heave ho this November and not play his game of me me me. Indeed the Iranians seem to be biding their time to see what happens.
Trump was always only tolerable as long as he spent his time shooting off his mouth rather than playing the imperial chess master. This reality show has gone on long enough.
MyLessThanPrimeBeef , January 14, 2020 at 5:10 pm
And to give Trump the heave-ho, we have to know how to play the man. (Then, Iran doesn't have to.)
But if we don't fully know – if he is unpredictable in how he starts out at the beginning – it makes the venture harder (but not impossible).
drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 7:22 pm
Bearing in mind the fact that the DemParty would prefer a Trump re-election over a Sanders election, I don't think anyone will be giving Trump any heave ho. The only potential nominee to even have a chance to defeat Trump would be Sanders. And if Sanders doesn't win on ballot number one, Sanders will not be permitted the nomination by an evil Trumpogenic DemParty elite.
Even if Sanders wins the nomination, the evil Trumpogenic Demparty leadership and the millions of Jonestown Clintobamas in the field will conspire against Sanders every way they feel they can get away with. The Clintobamas would prefer Trump Term Two over Sanders Term One. They know it, and the rest of us need to admit it.
If Sanders is nominated, he will begin the election campaign with a permanent deficit of 10-30 million Clintobama voters who will Never! Ever! vote for Sanders. Sanders will have to attract enough New Voters to drown out and wash away the 10-30 million Never Bernie clintobamas.
OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , January 14, 2020 at 7:39 pm
Not sure he "screwed up" with Suleimani. He now has something to point to when Adelson and the Israel Firsters ring up. He has red meat for his base ("look what a tough guy I am"). He can tell the Saudis they now owe him one. He added slightly to the fund of hatred for America in the hearts of Sunnis but that fund is already pretty full. If they respond with a terror attack Trump wins because people will rally around the national leader and partisan differences will be put aside. Notice how fast de-escalation happened, certainly feels alot like pre-orchestrated kayfabe.
Yves Smith Post author , January 14, 2020 at 6:42 pm
Mind you, there's no reason to think that this negotiation approach wasn't an adaptation to Trump's emotional volatility, as in finding a way to make what should have been a weakness a plus. And that he's less able to make that adaptation work well as he's over his head, has less control than as a private businessman, and generally under way more pressure.
marym , January 14, 2020 at 10:23 am
If someone doesn't care who/what they harm or destroy; or if the harm or destruction is the actual goal, it gives them freedom and power not available to someone with even a crumb-dropping neoliberal sense (or façade) of obligation toward anyone else or to anything constructive.
With Democrats being unwilling to scrutinize, it's not clear how much Trump and family are winning as far as personal fortune. In his public capacity he has little to show for his winnings that isn't some form of dismantling, destruction, or harm with no constructive replacement and no material benefits outside the donor class.
xkeyscored , January 14, 2020 at 2:47 pm
Trying to see things from Trump's perspective, while I don't know how his personal fortune is faring, his lifestyle doesn't seem to have suffered too much of a downturn. He still spends much of his time playing golf and hanging out at Mar-a-Lago. In addition, his name is known around the entire world, to a far greater extent than when he was a mere real estate crook or reality TV phenomenon. Which may be of greater importance to him than the precise extent of his wealth, let alone the fate of his country or the planet.
Wondering , January 14, 2020 at 10:48 am
Nice analysis, Yves. A welcome break from the typical centrist hand wringing "What norms has he broken this week?"
Next question: Given that our system allows for bloviating bullies to succeed, is that the kind of system we want to live under?
HH , January 14, 2020 at 11:43 am
I recall reading that Trump's empire would have collapsed during the casino fiasco were it not for lending from his father when credit was not available elsewhere. NYT investigative reporters have turned up evidence of massive financial support from Trump father to son to the tune of hundreds of millions throughout the son's career. So much for the great businessman argument.
carbpow , January 14, 2020 at 11:45 am
Trump is nothing more or less than a reflection of the mind set of the US people.The left wing resorts to the same tactics that Trump uses to gain their ends. Rational thought and reasonable discussion seems to be absent. Everyone is looking for a cause for the country's failing infrastructure, declining life expectancy, and loss of opportunity for their children to have a better life than they were able to achieve They each blame the other side. But there are more than two sides to most folks experience. If ever the USA citizens abolish or just gets fed up with the two party system maybe things will change. In reality most people know there is little difference between the two parties so why even vote?
Thuto , January 14, 2020 at 11:48 am
While it might work in domestic politics, this mad man negotiating tactic erodes trust in international affairs and it will take decades for the US to recover from the harm done by Trump's school yard bully approach. Even the docile Europeans are beginning to tire of this and once they get their balls stitched back on after being castrated for so long, America will have its work cut out crossing the chasm from unreliable and untrustworthy partner to being seen as dependable and worthy of entering into agreements with.
Jeremy Grimm , January 14, 2020 at 12:11 pm
This analysis of Trump reminded me of a story I heard from the founders of a small rural radio station. Both had been in broadcasting for years at a large station in a major market, one as a program director and the other in sales. They competed for a broadcasting license that became available and they won. With the license in-hand they needed to obtain investments to get the station on-air within a year or they would lose the license. Even with their combined savings and as much money as they could obtain from other members of their families and from friends -- they were short what they needed by several hundred thousand dollars. Their collateral was tapped out and banks wouldn't loan on the broadcast license alone without further backing. They had to find private investors. They located and presented to several but their project could find no backers. In many cases prospects told them their project was too small -- needed too little money -- to be of interest. As the deadline for going on-air loomed they were put in touch with a wealthy local farmer.
After a long evening presenting their business case to this farmer in ever greater detail, he sat back and told them he would give them the money they needed to get their station on-air -- but he wanted a larger interest in the business than what they offered him. He wanted a 51% interest -- a controlling interest -- or he would not give them the money, and they both had to agree to work for the new radio station for a year after it went on-air. The two holders of the soon to be lost broadcast license looked at each other and told the farmer he could keep his money and left. The next day the farmer called on the phone and gave them the names and contact information for a few investors, any one of whom should be able and interested in investing the amounts they needed on their terms. He also told them that had they accepted his offer he would have driven them out of the new station before the end of the year it went on-air. He said he wanted to see whether they were 'serious' before putting them in touch with serious investors.
juliania , January 14, 2020 at 12:22 pm
Sorry, assassination doesn't fit into this scenario. That is a bridge too far. Trump has lost his effectiveness by boasting about this. It isn't just unpredictability. It is dangerous unpredictability.
Yves Smith Post author , January 15, 2020 at 5:52 am
I never once said that Trump was studied in how he operates, in fact, I repeatedly pointed out that he's highly emotional and undisciplined. I'm simply describing some implications.
meadows , January 14, 2020 at 12:28 pm
If our corrupt Congress had not ceded their "co-equal" branch of gov't authority over the last 40 years thereby gradually creating the Imperial Presidency that we have now, we might comfortably mitigate much of the mad king antics.
Didn't the Founding Fathers try desperately to escape the terrible wars of Europe brought on by the whims and grievances of inbred kings, generation after generation? Now on a whim w/out so much as a peep to Congress, presidential murder is committed and the CongressCritters bleat fruitlessly for crumbs of info about it.
I see no signs of this top-heavy imperialism diminishing. Every decision will vanish into a black hole marked "classified."
I am profoundly discouraged at 68 who at 18 years old became a conscientious objector, that the same undeclared BS wars and BS lies are used to justify continuous conflct almost nonstop these last 50 years as if engaging in such violence can ever be sucessful in achieving peaceful ends? Unless the maintenance of fear, chaos and blowback are the actual desired result.
Trump's negotiating style is chaos-inducing deliberately, then eventually a "Big Daddy" Trump can fix the mess, spin the mess and those of us still in the thrall of big-daddyism can feel assuaged. It's the relief of the famiy abuser who after the emotional violence establishes a temporary calm and family members briefly experience respite, yet remain wary and afraid.
drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 7:34 pm
The maintenance of fear, chaos and blowback are exACTLY the desired result. Deliberately and on purpose.
Jeff Wells of Rigorous Intuition wrote a post about that years ago, in a different context. Here it is.
Edward , January 14, 2020 at 2:14 pm
In some ways Trump has a very Japanese style; everything is about saving face even if you are saying complete nonsense. You have to divine what his actual agenda is. However his approach to negotiation actually works in the business world, it is a disaster as diplomacy.
In trying to make sense of his foreign policy, though, there are hidden factors; some how deep state interests are able to maneuver presidents into following the same policies. What is happening behind the scenes? This manipulation may be contaminating his negotiations.
ian , January 14, 2020 at 7:12 pm
I saw an interview with someone (can't remember who) who had a great analogy for the relationship between Trump and the press: think of the press as a herd of puppies and Trump is the guy with the tennis ball. He tosses outrageous things out there, they all chase it. One brings it back, he tosses it again.
Why would he do this? My own take is that he invites chaos – he has a fluid style, changing his mind often, dumping people and the like which thrives in a chaotic environment. He likes to shake things up and look for openings.
It also helps him do some things quietly in the background, along with key allies. While everyone was foaming at the mouth over Russian collusion, he and Mitch McConnell were busy getting appellate judges confirmed.
I think it is a mistake to underestimate him – he is an unusual person, but far from stupid.
xkeyscored , January 15, 2020 at 5:42 am
It also helps him do some things quietly in the background
I think you've hit the nail on the head there.
drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 7:29 pm
There is a silver lining to that. If another term of Trump inspires the Europeans to abrogate NATO and put an end to that alliance and create their own NEATO ( North East Atlantic Treaty Organization) withOUT America and withOUT Canada and maybe withOUT some of those no-great-bargain East European countries; then NEATO Europe could reach its own Separate Peace with Russia and lower that tension point.
And America could bring its hundred thousand hostages ( "soldiers") back home from not-NATO-anymore Europe.
KFritz , January 14, 2020 at 10:17 pm
Kim Jong Un uses similar tactics, strategy, perhaps even style. Clinically and intellectually, it's interesting to watch their interaction. Emotionally, given their weaponry, it's terrifying.
Jason , January 15, 2020 at 9:15 am
Great post! The part about selecting for desperate business partners is very insightful, it makes his cozying up to dictators and pariah states much more understandable. He probably thinks/feels that these leaders are so desperate for approval from a country like the US that, when he needs something from them, he will have more leverage and be able to impose what he wants.
Jan 12, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org
Michael Averko January 11, 2020 © Photo: Government.ru There've been ongoing propaganda pieces that skirt over some inconvenient realities, for those seeking to unfairly admonish Russia in the Olympic movement. One case in point is the January 2 Reuters article " Use 1992 Yugoslavia Precedent for Russians in Tokyo – Historian ". With a stated " some Russians ", that article suggestively under-represents the actual number of 2018 Russian Winter Olympians at Pyeongchang, while supporting a hypocritically flawed aspect, having to do with Yugoslavia in 1992.
The downplaying of Russian participation at Pyeongchang, is seemingly done to spin the image of many Russian cheats being kept out. At the suggestion of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the International Olympic Committee (IOC) closely vetted Russians for competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics. In actuality, the 2018 Russian Winter Olympic participation wasn't so off the mark, when compared to past Winter Olympiads – something which (among other things) puts a dent into the faulty notion that Russia should be especially singled out for sports doping.
At the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Russia had its largest ever Winter Olympic contingent of 232 , on account of the host nation being allowed a greater number of participants. The 168 Russian Winter Olympians at Pyeongchang is 9 less than the Russians who competed at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Going back further, Russian Winter Olympic participation in 2006 was at 190 , with its 2002 contingent at 151 , 1998 having 122 and 1994 (Russia's first formal Winter Olympic appearance as Russia) 113 .
The aforementioned Reuters piece references a " historian ", Bill Mallon, who is keen on using the 1992 Summer Olympic banning of Yugoslavia (then consisting of Serbia and Montenegro) as a legitimate basis to ban Russia from the upcoming Summer Olympics. In this instance, Alan Dershowitz's periodic reference to the " if the shoe is on the other foot " test is quite applicable . Regarding Mallon, " historian " is put in quotes because his historically premised advocacy is very much incomplete and overly propagandistic.
For consistency sake and contrary to Mallon, Yugoslavia should've formally participated at the 1992 Summer Olympics. The Olympic banning of Yugoslavia was bogus, given that the IOC and the IOC affiliated sports federations didn't ban the US and USSR for their respective role in wars, which caused a greater number of deaths than what happened in 1990s Bosnia. The Reuters article at issue references a United Nations resolution for sanctions against Yugoslavia, without any second guessing, in support of the preference (at least by some) to keep politics out of sports as much as possible.
Mallon casually notes that Yugoslav team sports were banned from the 1992 Summer Olympics, unlike individual Yugoslav athletes, who participated as independents. At least two of the banned Yugoslav teams were predicted to be lead medal contenders.
Croatia was allowed to compete at the 1992 Summer Olympics, despite that nation's military involvement in the Bosnian Civil War. During the 1992 Summer and Winter Olympics, the former USSR participated in individual and team sports as the Unified Team (with the exception of the three former Soviet Baltic republics, who competed under their respective nation). With all this in mind, the ban on team sports from Yugoslavia at the 1992 Summer Olympics, under a neutral name, appears to be hypocritical and ethically challenged.
BS aside, the reality is that geopolitical clout (in the form of might making right), is what compels the banning of Yugoslavia, unlike superpowers engaged in behavior which isn't less egregious. Although a major world power, contemporary Russia lacks the overall geopolitical influence of the USSR. Historian Stephen Cohen and some others, have noted that post-Soviet Russia doesn't get the same (for lack of a better word) respect accorded to the USSR. This aspect underscores how becoming freer, less militaristic and more market oriented doesn't (by default) bring added goodwill from a good number of Western establishment politicos and the organizations which are greatly influenced by them.
On the subject of banning Russia from the Olympics, Canadian sports legal politico Dick Pound, continues to rehash an inaccurate likening with no critical follow-up. ( An exception being yours truly .) Between 2016 and 2019 , Pound references the Olympic banning of South Africa, as a basis for excluding Russia. South Africa was banned when it had apartheid policies, which prevented that country's Black majority from competing in organized sports. Russia has a vast multiethnic participation in sports and other sectors.
As previously noted , the factual premise to formally ban Russia from the Olympics remains suspect. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is set to review Russia's appeal to have the recommended WADA ban against Russia overturned, as Western mass media at large and sports politicos like Pound continue to push for a CAS decision against Russia.
Jan 11, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Jen , Jan 10 2020 19:30 utc | 1The sheer arrogance and wilful blindness expressed in the US State Department press statement and WaPo staffer Louisa Loveluck's tweets are astounding beyond belief. It's as if the entire capital city of the US has become a mental asylum / Hotel California , where one can enter but never leave spiritually and morally, though one can take many physical trips in and out of the madhouse.
Iraq definitely does need the S-300 missile defense systems. The most pressing issue though is whether the Iraqis will suffer the delays Syria suffered in acquiring those systems even after paying for them.
Time now is of the essence. Iraqi operators need to be trained in those systems. Syria may be able to supply some training but at the risk of letting down its guard in sending some of its operators to Baghdad and exposing them to US drone attacks.
Jan 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.orgRob , Jan 10 2020 17:46 utc | 2There were also clear sightings of a missile to bring down TWA 800. Except it didn't. As an Navy Pilot , flight instructor and 737 captain this does not at 1st or 2nd glance appear to be a missile strike. Catastropic engine failure is my bet. They made most of the turn back to the airport before losing integrity or loss of thrust.
vk , Jan 10 2020 17:52 utc | 3US Claim of Ukrainian Boeing 737 Plane Being Hit by Missile Aims to Manipulate Stock Marketsninel , Jan 10 2020 17:58 utc | 4On Wednesday, Boeing's shares plummeted by 2.3 percent ($3.4bn) after the Ukrainian Boeing 737-800 aircraft crashed in Tehran due to encountering a technical glitch.
On Thursday, the stock rose by 3 percent after unnamed Pentagon officials claimed that the Ukrainian passenger plane was most likely brought down by anti-aircraft missiles, and US President Donald Trump implicitly supported the claim. This has been read by analysists as an attempt to manipulate the stock market; a measure that would both overshadow Trump's failure in Iraq and save Boeing from bankruptcy.
Russia says no grounds to blame Iran for Ukrainian plane crash: TASS
I didn't find the article on TASS. Maybe it was in its Russian version, or in its TV/Radio/Podcast version.
I don't discard a terrorist attack from the inside, or sabotage of the plane by the Ukrainian government. What I think is missile attack can be pretty much discarded: the evidence the Iranians already have through their air control data discard any possibility, by sheer logic alone, that that was the case.
Unless, of course, the Iranians are lying. But then there isn't any cui bono for Iran to lie about it (if it was a mistake they wanted to cover, they could blame a random independent militia so as to give plausible deniability) with the technical malfunction argument, and now Russia's foreign minister Ryabkov is on the boat with it - so I don't see the cui bono for Russia either.A little guide to Iran's modern history.Per/Norway , Jan 10 2020 18:03 utc | 5
Perseus wore a magic cap so that the monsters he hunted down might not see him. Some of you choose to draw the magic cap down over your eyes and ears so as to make-believe that there are no monsters in Iran.Posted by: ninel | Jan 10 2020 17:58 utc | 4PavewayIV , Jan 10 2020 18:10 utc | 6
"Some of you choose to draw the magic cap down over your eyes and ears so as to make-believe that there are no monsters in Iran."
No, it is a lot easier than that.
Most of us dont get paid to post bs about the imperial enemies like you, and most off us still know how to use our brain.
That is it, nothing more nothing less.Rob@2 - What do you make of the loss of ADS-B? Could a catastrophic engine failure take out both power buses? The ADS-B transceiver? I know a the turbine blades turn into little missile blades when they decide to leave the engine, but I have no idea of the way power is transferred when either bus or the standby goes down. I assume automatic? Are the transfer switches anywhere near the engines? Does the APU automatically fire up? I assume the ADS-B box is in the electronics bay, but where is the antenna?karlof1 , Jan 10 2020 18:37 utc | 12
Thanks b! As I commented towards the end of the previous thread on this topic, the mundane evidence has already been shown. IMO, if a missile or bomb was employed, the Iranians would be yelling louder than anyone and the denials would be coming from BigLie Media instead of accusations. And as I answered psychohistorian, the massive coverage by BigLie media serves as narrative distraction from what's being obfuscated--casualties taken by Outlaw US Empire troops and the BDA presented by Iranian Military.
In that regard, The Saker's update sticks to the important facts of the now escalated ongoing war between Iran and the Evil Empire.Jackrabbit , Jan 10 2020 19:11 utc | 17
Sorry, but there's good reasons to suspect foul play - as I and others have explained on the last thread.pleasebeleafme , Jan 10 2020 19:12 utc | 18
1) Occurs as Iran is on brink of war with USA?; 2) Indications of USA using info war tactics; 3) airliner owner by Kolomoisky? 4) No communication with tower? 5) USA and Israel history of duplicity and narrative management (example: MH-17).
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Also: IMO it's dangerous for Iran to invite experts from a group of Western countries. What is likely to happen is that all the Western experts will be pressure to disagree with Iran's findings. CIA knows that people will believe the "group of experts!" over Iran.
!!I don't know how anal Iran is about keeping track of ordinance but they must be pretty certain as to whether they downed the plane or not! Looks like they are being transparent and open. If they come out of this proving engine failure or something else then this could be a great pr coup.Gary , Jan 10 2020 19:17 utc | 19
There would be a lot of egg on many faces trying to explain how the intelligence is wrong yet again. I look forward to watching trudeau walk that back. Hopefully!One explanation is the Boeing was used as a human shield, a military plane hides behind a slow moving plane when detected. The ukrainians did it with the MH17 and the israeli with the russian plane and tried it with the attack on damascus. In both cases there was a lot of dis-info and blaming right away. But the iranian would have known what the target was, and mentioned it, so very unlikely.Walter , Jan 10 2020 19:25 utc | 20
Another question is the possibility a smaller missile only damaged the plane, also very unlikely.
Head of Iran Civil Aviation Organization Ali Abedzadeh exaggerates: "From a scientific viewpoint, it is impossible that a missile hit the Ukrainian plane."
"We can say that the airplane, considering the kind of the crash and the pilot's efforts to return it to Imam Khomeini airport, didn't explode in the air. So, the allegation that it was hit by missiles is totally ruled out," the official noted.Dude, when you're in Wyoming and see critter tracks down by the creek, you would assume it was Martians rather than antelope? Get real. The Ukie blew a crappy GE engine...they have this characteristic...TJ , Jan 10 2020 19:26 utc | 21
Stay real, use Occam's Razor + physical evidence. Otherwise it's distraction and TBS...@11 Ernesto Chekarlitozulu , Jan 10 2020 19:38 utc | 24
Craig Murray has been tracking a propagandist Wikipedia editor called "Philip Cross", here is the main article, but there are others on his site The Philip Cross Affairninel@ #4Piotr , Jan 10 2020 19:39 utc | 25
here is a little reminder of Murica's recent history:From 1945 until today - 20 to 30 million people killed by the USA
so, when you talk about monsters are you talking about yourself? ;)ICAO is in contact with the States involved and will assist them if called upon. Its leadership is stressing the importance of avoiding speculation into the cause of the tragedy pending the outcomes of the investigation ...journey80 , Jan 10 2020 19:50 utc | 26
ICAO may be a worthy organization (some staff changes seem to be warranted), but isn't it a bit too much?! If this is a sincere wish of democratically elected heads of democratic nations that they want to form a harmonious chorus and speculate, then no mundane power can stop them. BTW, what is wrong with Zelensky that he did not join? PTSD after the brutal telephonies calls? I would add it to the list of proven damages to the security of those several states that will be debated in the Senate. [end of snark, "several states" is the entity named in the so-called Constitution of The United States of America].The flight originated in Teheran, bound for Kiev, but where was it before it arrived in Iran? It could have been sabotaged anywhere; then easy, right, to set off an onboard bomb by remote control from the ground? I'm sure Iran is crawling with Mosssad/MI6/CIA spooks.ninel , Jan 10 2020 19:51 utc | 27@karlitozuluSymen Danziger , Jan 10 2020 19:53 utc | 28
So you turn a blind eye to atrocities committed by other countries or peoples because the US government is responsible for the most? Did you even complete your high school education with that sort of reasoning? I never absolved the US or any other country. Simpletons like you seem to live in a black and white world in which one side must be chosen over the other. I feel unfortunate for b or anyone else who frequents this blog who does not view the world in such a profoundly problematic way.
I am far more informed about Iranian politics, history, culture and religion than most people here. Please don't allow your hate for the USA, well justified, to cloud your judgment.NATO has weaponized aircraft accident investigations. Lawfare in combination with state terrorism.Willy2 , Jan 10 2020 20:01 utc | 33
It's time for new rules and regulations. ICAO Annex 13 was drafted in different times. A rule based order is ancient history.
People should be able to chose their destination, route and carrier based on personal preferences like price and comfort, not on factors like the latest or next conflict zone, corruption in the countries along the route, military and political adventurism, etc.
The world has gone crazy.- As said before: I didn't believe for one second that that ukrainian plane was shot down. It would have given the US simply another stick to beat up the iranian government. I assume the iranians are smart enough to know that. They simply don't want to escalate the situation more. Although Iran has now the "moral high ground" it is still (very) vulnerable in a number of ways.William Gruff , Jan 10 2020 20:05 utc | 35
- I think the ukrainian tourists were small traders. I.e. buy stuff e.g. clothing and other "merchandise" in Teheran, bring it into the Ukraine and then sell that "merchandise" in Ukraine with a (big) profit.We have a distinguished professor in our midst! Quite unlike the lowly regular professors or inconsequential adjunct instructors that normally grace these pages. Let me kick back and get a tan from the brilliance pouring out of this one! Us high latitude types have to get our Vitamin D wherever we can.Jen , Jan 10 2020 20:06 utc | 36
As for my lack of criticism of Iran's government, that's the business of the Iranian people and none of my own. The Evil Empire attacking Iran? That, unfortunately, is everyone's business whether they want it to be or not.
Why is it that these wise guys from the West (Americans mostly) feel it is their duty to criticize everyone else's governments and cultures when the examples they are setting themselves are so appallingly bad? Maybe these distinguished critics of other peoples' ways of life feel that it is easier to fix those other peoples' societies than it is to fix their own. After all, they apparently feel that fixing other countries just requires some number of bombs, while fixing their own country... where do they even start? How do you fix perfection?I'd be curious to know whether the flight crew on board Flight PS752 had had sufficient rest. Three hours of resting do not seem like sufficient time but that depends on the journey the plane made to Tehran, the duration of that journey and where it started. Was the plane also checked for signs of wear and tear during the three-hour-plus pause?Walter , Jan 10 2020 20:33 utc | 43
Are UIA's owners (among them Ihor Kolomoisky) working their employees and hardware assets too hard and too cheaply as well?@ Rob | Jan 10 2020 17:46 utc | 2foolisholdman , Jan 10 2020 20:36 utc | 44
Yes. I think so too. Looks like the engine ran at reduced thrust as they turned, and then failed entirely at below minimum control speed, with the expected result, asymmetrical stall, yaw, roll, bang.
There are pictures of severe erosion of what looks like compressor wheel from, presumably, ingestion of foreign material. Crap on the runway probably, and pencil-whipped maintenance, I should imagine.bevin | Jan 10 2020 18:52 utc | 15PavewayIV , Jan 10 2020 21:01 utc | 49
Reuters was bought by Rothschild some years ago.journey80@26 - Kiev is Ukrainian Airlines main hub. The 737 arrived from Kiev earlier that morning and was returning there.Peter AU1 , Jan 10 2020 21:39 utc | 56
Jen@36 - No reason to do anything but a cursory safety check at Tehran. The airline's mechanics are in Kiev - anything beyond a normal pre-flight check involving maintenance would be done there, not Tehran. I doubt the crew was rested. That's not how UAI rolls on it's hub round-trips.
UAI is also bleeding money like crazy. They're nearly bankrupt and stole the money they collect from passengers for the Ukraine Civil Aviation Authority fees. Tens of millions USD. The new CEO promises to fix everything somehow. I guess by overworking crews, skipping maintenance and crappy service. Those are always money-savers for cheap, poorly-run airlines (prior to bankruptcy). Too bad. Supposedly it wasn't that bad of an airline when they first added passenger service to their existing cargo ops a decade ago, but has been going downhill ever since.
"Some real gems you got following your blog b."
So why are you here?Ocams razor... bookies odds... planes fall out o the sky from time to time for all sorts of reasons not related to malicious activity. What are the odds of this occurring in Iran shortly after an Iran strike on a US base.Walter , Jan 10 2020 22:05 utc | 58
The US has and does use terrorist tactics such as shooting down passenger jets. Trump threatened Iran with retribution against cultural sites and so forth (terrorist actions). Fifty two targets of fifty two ways of getting back at Iran.
What are the odds US would down a passenger jet in Iran within hours of Iran's strike against their base.
I have to go with US terrorist actions for that one. Similar to the protests in Iraq. The people had genuine grievances as do all good color revolutions but the were just too advantageous for the US for it not to be a made in the US color revolution style protest. We now know from the Iraq PM that is exactly what it was.The odds are unrelated unless there's agency. No agency has been credibly proposed. You know this is so, as the probability maths in se have been discussed previously @ MoA.dave , Jan 10 2020 22:29 utc | 59
But of course, the US does murder all over the place, so if there is agency, then I tend to agree with the idea that "they" or their cohort in zionishland may be causative. What are the "odds" that the engine shown has severe blade erosion? Again 100% . Engine swallows scrap off the tarmac...a dependent relation, drop junk in engine, blades damaged, run at 100%, 100% "chance" of engine failure.
Repeating the essence of the matter of odds>
"Two events are independent, statistically independent, or stochastically independent if the occurrence of one does not affect the probability of occurrence of the other (equivalently, does not affect the odds). Similarly, two random variables are independent if the realization of one does not affect the probability distribution of the other."
ie without a dependent relationship the odds are whatever the odds are for engine failure and crash. And the other odds don't exist, because those events, the shooting, was not random or accidental. The odds of Iran firing rockets in reprisal was dependent on the US attacks, ie 100%
But if you're building engines at GE, or obsolete defective airplanes in Seattle, then of course the odds are that you devoutly wish it was a rocket up the tailpipe... Pay-day's come Friday, and all of that...@PavewayIVt , Jan 10 2020 22:38 utc | 62
The APU will auto-shutdown for the following reasons:
Low oil pressure
High oil temperature / Fault
http://www.b737.org.uk/apu.htmWould like to see debunk the NYT video: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/09/video/iran-plane-missile.htmlBigben , Jan 10 2020 22:51 utc | 66
Have checked it myself (google earth etc) after being skeptical and the landmarks and sounds do indeed seem to match.This link is worth reading. I can't play the video on my computer, but we will see if this theory gains traction during the next few days.t , Jan 10 2020 23:02 utc | 69
https://www.veteranstoday.com/2020/01/10/video-of-ukrainian-airliner-in-failed-landing-with-burning-engine-makes-trump-a-chump/@Poor,Likklemore , Jan 10 2020 23:39 utc | 74
I know NYT is a sham, and believe me I held my intellectual nose as I went into its site. It's not somewhere I frequent at all.
I did think about the point you made too, but there are 2 issues:
1) In the other 2 videos we see the plane as it's already burning, we don't see it in its "before" state. For me it's reasonable to imagine the hit on the impact caused some initial burning which was extinguished due to wind, and then started back up again a few moments after the NYT video ended and before the other 2 videos began.
2) If the NYT video is indeed doctored (and for me it would be a pretty convincing doctor), why wouldn't the creator simply keep the light going until the end of the vid?Iran to Announce Cause of Ukraine Jet Crash Tomorrow - ReportsA User , Jan 11 2020 1:27 utc | 78Iran will announce the cause of the Ukrainian Boeing 737 crash after the accident investigation commission meeting on Saturday, the Fars News agency reported on Thursday, citing a source familiar with the matter.
"Tomorrow, after the meeting of the civil aviation accident investigation commission, the cause of the crash of the Ukrainian passenger plane will be announced", the source said.
Domestic and foreign parties, whose citizens died in the crash, will take part in the Saturday meeting, the outlet added. They will announce the reason for the accident after reviewing the preliminary report.
Ukraine says Iran cooperating with Boeing crash probe, calls to reduce media speculation[.]Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko asked that the media not spread "unconfirmed" information on Friday, pleading with reporters to "reduce the level of speculation" while the probe continues. The experts are still analyzing evidence, looking at the bodies of the victims and the wreckage in hope of gaining insight into what took down Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752, killing all 176 people on board.[,]If no one had engaged with nine-drongos the thread would not have been disrupted and perhaps a useful dialog about the plane crash could have ensued. Those who did swallow the hook are just as guilty the original whatabouter of making this thread useless - good job. I would say exercise some discipline but that would be a waste of breath given the insecurities about their beliefs too many here apparently have. Letting some arsehole spout uninterrupted is a better indication of your point of view than anger, hysteria or ad hominem. Your stupidity has caused a thread to fail.Red Ryder , Jan 11 2020 1:34 utc | 82The Ukies know how to obliterate a debris field. MH-17 -- They used artillery for months to keep OSCE and Dutch officials away, and despite the locals working to protect the deceased and the debris, body parts have been found years later.Tom , Jan 11 2020 2:03 utc | 83
Patience, folks. The truth will come out.#57 posted by Poor Ramin Mazaheri who works for Press TV and has had many articles published on The Saker. He would describe the Iranian economy as socialist with Iranian charters. The link to the article below is an excellent source for information on Iran's economy.
What comes as a surprise to me is ICAO seems to have some integrity. It seems the US and friends haven't completely taken it over.
You can judge someone by their friends. NATO and the terrorists in Idlib have backed the killing of Soleimani. Who seems to enjoy killing civilians? The US just droned killed 60 civilians in Afghanistan. Information provided by the Iraqi prime minister showed the US is willing to use snipers and paid protesters to tear Iraq apart. They utterly destroyed Mosul and Raqqa without regard for civilians. The Syrian government has tried to avoid civilian deaths, which is why those who want to cause chaos in the region always accuses them of targeting civilians. So the US would have no problem getting MEK to or some other group to shoot the plane down but I'm leaning against that scenario.
The US has been planning to control oil for a long time. In 1975 a feasibility study was prepared for the Special Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on International Relations on "Oil fields as military objectives", better described as bringing Democracy to the Middle East. Well, they did that sorta in Iraq, and now the Iraq government has politely asked the US to leave and the Iranians have demonstrated to them why they should leave. I'm not sure if the Ukrainian plane crashing is the next move the US has made in this great game, but I would put my money on shoddy management of the Ukrainian plane. Why not, the country is barely functioning. I doubt the plane was hit with a missle. More likely the US can't pass up an opportunity for stirring trouble and the MSM has no problem memory holing another lie.
Jan 10, 2020 | www.theguardian.com
This crisis was sparked by Donald Trump. Trump withdrew from the deal that had stopped Iran's nuclear weapons program, leading Iran to restart its nuclear program. Trump ramped up economic pressure and sent more US troops to the region, and tensions grew. Then the US killed Gen Qassem Suleimani , signaling a significant escalation, to which Iran responded with an attack on Iraqi bases where US and Iraqi troops are stationed.
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America is far worse off today towards Iran and in the Middle East than it was when Trump took office
It is up to Congress and the American people to force Trump to adopt a more pragmatic path. For too long Congress has ceded to the executive branch its authority to determine when America goes to war, and the current crisis with Iran is exactly the kind of moment that requires intense coordination between the legislative and executive branches. The president cannot start a war without congressional authorization, and with the erratic Trump in office, Congress must make that clear by cutting off the use of funds for war with Iran.
This is not just about how to de-escalate – it's about recognizing that America fundamentally needs to change its disastrous course. Even if de-escalation of the acute tensions is possible, the risks will remain as long as the United States pursues a reckless policy. America is far worse off today towards Iran and in the Middle East than it was when Trump took office – even worse off than we were on 1 January 2020. Today, Iran is advancing its nuclear program, America has suspended its anti-Isis campaign, Iraq's parliament has voted to evict US troops from the country, and we are in a dangerous military standoff with Iran.
Digging out of this hole will be difficult and this administration is not capable of it. Over the long run, future administrations will need to reorient America's goals and policies. America needs to re-enter the nuclear deal and begin negotiations to strengthen it; work with partners like Iraq – without a large US troop presence – in countering potential threats like a resurgence of Isis; and adopt a broader regional policy that focuses on protecting US interests and standing up for human rights and democracy rather than picking sides in a regional civil war between dictatorships like Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Achieving US goals in the region will not be possible with a mere de-escalation of tensions – we need to find a new path towards Iran and the Middle East.
Jan 06, 2020 | www.esquire.comAmerica's top diplomat does not seem to think his job is to prevent war.
The Washington Post dives deeply into what is laughingly called the administration*'s "process" leading up to the decision to kill Qasem Soleimani with fire last week. In short, all the "imminent threat" palaver was pure moonshine. According to the Post, this particular catastrophe was brewed up for a while amid the stalactites in the mind of Mike Pompeo, a Secretary of State who makes Henry Kissinger look like Gandhi.The secretary also spoke to President Trump multiple times every day last week, culminating in Trump's decision to approve the killing of Iran's top military commander, Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, at the urging of Pompeo and Vice President Pence, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.Pompeo had lost a similar high-stakes deliberation last summer when Trump declined to retaliate militarily against Iran after it downed a U.S. surveillance drone, an outcome that left Pompeo "morose," according to one U.S. official. But recent changes to Trump's national security team and the whims of a president anxious about being viewed as hesitant in the face of Iranian aggression created an opening for Pompeo to press for the kind of action he had been advocating.
Poor Mike was morose. So, in an effort to bring himself out of the dumps, Mike decided to keep feeding the rats in the president*'s head.Trump, too, sought to draw down from the Middle East as he promised from the opening days of his presidential campaign. But that mind-set shifted on Dec. 27 when 30 rockets hit a joint U.S.-Iraqi base outside Kirkuk, killing an American civilian contractor and injuring service members. On Dec. 29, Pompeo, Esper and Milley traveled to the president's private club in Florida, where the two defense officials presented possible responses to Iranian aggression, including the option of killing Soleimani, senior U.S. officials said.
Trump's decision to target Soleimani came as a surprise and a shock to some officials briefed on his decision, given the Pentagon's long-standing concerns about escalation and the president's aversion to using military force against Iran. One significant factor was the "lockstep" coordination for the operation between Pompeo and Esper, both graduates in the same class at the U.S. Military Academy, who deliberated ahead of the briefing with Trump, senior U.S. officials said. Pence also endorsed the decision, but he did not attend the meeting in Florida.
First-in-His-Class Mike Pompeo knows his audience. There's no question that he knows how to get what he wants from a guy who doesn't know anything about anything, and who may have gone, as George V. Higgins once put it, as soft as church music. This, I guess, is a skill. Of course, Pompeo's job is easier because the president* is still a raving maniac on the electric Twitter machine.Related Story Trump Dished Some Bullsh*t on Iran
Respond to this post on the Esquire Politics Facebook page here .Charles P. Pierce Charles P Pierce is the author of four books, most recently Idiot America, and has been a working journalist since 1976.
Jun 25, 2019 | johnhelmer.net
The Russian General Staff has reinforced the air defences for Russians at the Iranian nuclear reactor complex at Bushehr, on the Persian Gulf, according to sources in Moscow. At the same time, Iran has allowed filming of the movement of several of its mobile S-300 air-defence missile batteries to the south, covering the Iranian coastline of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. More secretly, elements of Russian military intelligence, electronic warfare, and command and control advisers for Iran's air defence systems have been mobilized to support Iran against US and allied attacks.
The range of the new surveillance extends well beyond the S-300 strike distance of 200 kilometres, and covers US drone and aircraft bases on the Arabian peninsula, as well as US warships in (and under) the Persian Gulf and off the Gulf of Oman. Early warning of US air and naval-launched attacks has now been cut below the old 4 to 6-minute Iranian threshold. Counter-firing by the Iranian armed forces has been automated from attack warning and target location.
This means that if the US is detected launching a swarm of missiles aimed at Iran's air-defence sites, uranium mines, reactors, and military operations bunkers, Iran will launch its own swarm of missiles at the US firing platforms, as well as at Saudi and other oil production sites, refineries, and pipelines, as well tankers in ports and under way in the Gulf.
"The armed forces of Iran," said a Russian military source requesting anonymity, "have air defence systems capable of hitting air targets at those heights at which drones of the Global Hawk series can fly; this is about 19,000 to 20,000 metres. Iran's means of air defence are both foreign-purchased systems and systems of Iran's own design; among them, in particular, the old Soviet system S-75 and the new Russian S-300. Recently, Iran transported some S-300's to the south, but that happened after the drone was shot down [June 20]. Russian specialists are working at Bushehr now and this means that the S-300's are also for protection of Bushehr."
Flight distance between Bushehr and Bandar Abbas is about 570 kms. From Bandar Abbas southeast to Kuhmobarak, the site of the Iranian missile firing against the US drone, is another 200 kms.
Last Thursday, June 20, just after midnight, a US Global Hawk drone was tracked by Iran from its launch at an airbase in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), south of Dubai. The take-off and initial flight route appear to have been more than 300 kms from Iranian tracking radars. Four hours later, the aircraft was destroyed by an Iranian missile at a point at sea off Kuhmobarak. Follow the route tracking data published by the Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif here .
KEY: blue line=drone flight path; yellow line=Iranian Flight Information Region (FIR); red line=Iranian territorial waters; green line=Iranian internal waters; yellow dots=Iran radio warnings sent; red square=point of impact. Source: Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif: https://twitter.com/ The US claims the point of impact was outside the red line.
Additional tracking data on the US drone operation have been published in a simulation by the Iranian state news agency, Fars. The news agency claims the successful strike was by the Iran-made Khordad missile, an S-300 copy; the altitude has not been reported (design ceiling for the aircraft is 18,000 metres). The Russian military source says there is now active coordination between Russian and Iranian military staffs. "About coordination, of course there is participation of Russia in intelligence-sharing because of Bushehr and ISIS. We have a long and successful partnership with Iran, especially in terms of fighting against international terrorism." Two days after the drone incident, Russian specialist media published Iranian video footage of the movement of S-300's on trailer trucks. This report claims that although the S-300's are wheeled and motorized for rapid position changes, the use of highway transporters was intended to minimize road fatigue on the weapons.
Iranian military sources have told western reporters they have established "a joint operations room to inform all its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan of every step it is adopting in confronting the US in case of all-out war in the Middle East."
Maps published to date in open Russian military sources show the four main anti-air missile defence groups (PVO) on Iranian territory, and the strike range of their missiles. The 3 rd and 4 th PVOs are now being reinforced to oppose US reinforcements at sea and on Saudi and Emirati territory.
Key: yellow=units of the main air-defence (PVO) groups; split blue circles=military bases; blue diamond=nuclear industry sites; red rings=kill range for missiles; solid red=command-and-control operations centres. Source: Anatoly Gavrilov, "Before the storm", National Defence, April 2019
The weaknesses and vulnerabilities of Iranian defences against US air attack are, naturally, state secrets. The open-source discussion by Russian air-defence expert Anatoly Gavrilov can be followed here . According to Gavrilov writing in March, the expected plan of US attack will be the use of precision missiles and bombs at "primary targets plants for the production and processing of nuclear fuel, uranium mines, production for its enrichment, refineries, other industrial centers. But initially [the objective] will be to suppress (completely destroy) the air defense system. The mass use of cruise missiles for various purposes and guided aircraft bombs will disable the control system of Iran's troops and suppress the system of reconnaissance and anti-aircraft missile fire. In this case, the task of the attacking side will be the destruction in the first two or three days of 70% to 80% of the radar, and after that, up to 90% manned aircraft will begin to bomb only after the complete suppression of the air defense system. The West protects its professional pilots, and it does not matter that the civilian population of Iran will also suffer."
The main Iranian vulnerability facing American attack, reports Gavrilov, is less the range, volume and density of firepower with which the Iranians can respond than the relatively slow time they have shown to date for processing incoming attack data, fixing targets, and directing counter-fire. "In today's conditions of organization and conduct of rapid air combat, a high degree of automation of the processes of collection, processing, transmission and exchange of radar information, development of solutions for repelling strikes, and conducting anti-aircraft missile fire is extremely necessary."
RANGE AND ALTITUDE OF MAIN IRANIAN AIR DEFENCE WEAPONS
CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE
Horizontal axis, range in kilometres for each identified weapon; vertical axis, altitude of interception. Source: Anatoly Gavrilov, National Defence , April 2019
Gavrilov does not estimate how far the Iranians have been able to solve by themselves, and with Russian help, the problems of automation and coordination of fire. To offset whatever weakness may remain, he recommends specific technical contributions the Russians can make. These include the technology of electronic countermeasures (ECM) to jam or deflect US targeting signals and ordnance guidance systems.
While Gavrilov believes the Iranian military have already achieved high enough density of fire against incoming weapons, he isn't sure the range and altitude of Iranian radars will be good enough to match the attack risks. To neutralize those, he recommends "Russian-made electronic warfare systems. The complex of EW systems is able to significantly reduce the ability of attack aircraft to search for, detect and defeat ground targets; disrupt the onboard equipment of cruise missiles in the GPS satellite navigation system; distort the readings of radio altimeters of attack aircraft, cruise missiles and UAV's [unmanned aerial vehicle, drone] "
In briefings for sympathetic western reporters, Iranian commanders are emphasizing the Armageddon option; that is, however weak or strong their defences may prove to be under prolonged US attack, the Iranian strategy is not to wait. Their plan, they say, is to counter-attack against Arab as well as American targets as soon as a US missile attack commences; that's to say, at launch, not inflight nor at impact.
Left: Kremlin photograph of the Security Council meeting at the Kremlin on the afternoon of June 21. Source: http://en.kremlin.ru/ Right: Major General Mohammad Baqeri, Iran's armed forces chief of staff.
The day following the US attack and Iranian success, President Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of his regular Security Council members in Moscow. The military were represented by the Defence Minister, Sergei Shoigu. The US attack on Iran was the main issue on the table. "The participants," reported the Kremlin communiqué, "discussed, in particular, the developments in the Persian Gulf. They expressed serious concern over the rising tension and urged the countries involved to show restraint, because unwise actions could have unpredictable consequences in terms of regional and global stability."
Unpredictable consequences in Russian is being translated in Farsi to mean the cessation of the oil trade in the Persian Gulf. "As oil and commodities of other countries are passing through the Strait of Hormuz, ours are also moving through it," Major General Mohammad Baqeri, the Iranian chief of staff, said on April 28. "If our crude is not to pass through the Strait of Hormuz, others' [crude] will not pass either."
Nov 24, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.comLikbez,
It looks like UK and USA are engaged in the contest to see who can come up with the most surreal anti-Russian propaganda psy-ops.
British Government Runs Secret Anti-Russian Smear Campaigns
That shed some light on the common origin of MH17, Russiagate and Scripal propaganda campaigns connecting all three with British government's psy-op operation called The ' Integrity Initiative ' which builds 'cluster' or contact groups of trusted journalists, military personal, academics and lobbyists within foreign countries. These people get alerts via social media to take action when the British center perceives a need.
And among others participants, William Browder is listed too:Members of the Atlantic Council, which has a contract to censor Facebook posts , appear on several cluster lists. The UK core cluster also includes some prominent names like tax fraudster William Browder , the daft Atlantic Council shill Ben Nimmo and the neo-conservative Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum. One person of interest is Andrew Wood who handed the Steele 'dirty dossier' to Senator John McCain to smear Donald Trump over alleged relations with Russia. A separate subcluster of so-called journalists names Deborah Haynes, David Aaronovitch of the London Times, Neil Buckley from the FT and Jonathan Marcus of the BBC.Here is one interesting comment from MoA:
Anya, Nov 24, 2018 11:57:00 AMThe British government has been running a serious meddling into the US affairs:
https://www.zerohedge.com/n..."The UK's Secret Intelligence Service, otherwise known as MI6, has been scrambling to prevent President Trump from publishing classified materials linked to the Russian election meddling investigation. ... much of the espionage performed on the Trump campaign was conducted on UK soilA Steele & Skrupal's anti-Russian / anti-Trump saga: https://spectator.org/big-d...
throughout 2016.""Gregory R. Copley, editor and publisher of Defense & Foreign Affairs, posited that Sergei Skripal is the unnamed Russian intelligence source in the Steele dossier. ... In Skripal's pseudo-country-gentleman retirement, the ex-GRU-MI6 double agent was selling custom-made "Russian intelligence"; he had fabricated "material" that went into the Steele dossier..."For M16 to expose this level of stupidity is stunning.
Jan 09, 2020 | dissidentvoice.org
Iran vs. US: The Murder of General Qassem Suleimani
by Peter Koenig / January 7th, 2020Interestingly, after the US attack on Iraqi Militia fighters on 31 December 2020, and the assassination of General Qassem Suleimani , on 2 January, the first thing President Trump could come up with was bragging that it was him who gave the order to murder the popular military leader.
Sep 18, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com
- You have just several thousand soldiers in Iraq and Syria. These countries have large proxy forces of Iran's allies in the form of Shia militias in Iraq and actual Iranian Quds Force troops in Syria. These forces will be used to attack and kill our soldiers.
- The Iranians have significant numbers of ballistic missiles which they have already said will be used against our forces
- The US Navy has many ships in the Gulf and the Arabian Sea. The Iranian Navy and the IRGC Navy will attack our naval vessels until the Iranian forces are utterly destroyed. In that process the US Navy will loose men and ships.
- In direct air attacks on Iran we are bound to lose aircraft and air crew.
- The IRGC and its Quds Force will carry out terrorist attacks across the world.
Do you really want to be a one term president? Pompeo can talk big now and then go back to Kansas to run for senator. Where will you be able to take refuge? Don't let the neocons like Pompeo sell you on war.
Make the intelligence people show you the evidence in detail. Make your own judgments. pl
Vegetius , 17 September 2019 at 08:37 PMWhatever else he knows, Trump knows that he can't sell a war to the American people.confusedponderer -> Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 03:51 AMVegetius,confusedponderer -> Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 07:28 AM
re " Trump knows that he can't sell a war to the American people "
Are you sure? I am not.
Reflection, self criticism or self restraint are not exactly the big strengths of Trump. He prefers solo acts (Emergency! Emergency!) and dislikes advice (especially if longer than 4 pages) and the advice of the sort " You're sure? If you do that the the shit will fly in your face in an hour, Sir ".
A good number of the so called grownups who gave such advice were (gameshow style) fired, sometimes by twitter.
Trump can order attacks and I don't expect much protest from Mark Esper and it depends on the military (which likely will obey).
These so called grownups have been replaced by (then still) happy Bolton (likely, even after being fired, still war happy) and applauders like Pompeo and his buddy Esper.
Israel could, if politically just a tad more insane, bomb Iran and thus invite the inevitable retaliation. When that happens they'll cry for US aid, weapons and money because they alone ~~~
(a) cannot defeat Iran (short of going nuclear) and ...
(b) Holocaust! We want weapons and money from Germany, too! ...
(c) they know that ...
(d) which does not lead in any way to Netanyahu showing signgs of self restraint or reason.
Netanyahu just - it is (tight) election time - announced, in his sldedge hammer style subtlety, that (he) Israel will annect the palestinian west jordan territory, making the Plaestines an object in his election campaign.
IMO that idea is simply insane and invites more "troubles". But then, I didn't hear anything like, say, Trump gvt protests against that (and why expect that from the dudes who moved the US embassy to Jerusalem).Vegetius,Stueeeeeeee said in reply to Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 08:31 AM
as for Trump and Netanyahu ... policy debate ... I had that here in mind, which pretty speaks for itself. And I thought Trumo is just running for office in the US. Alas, it is a Netanyaho campaign poster from the current election:
As a thank you to Trump calling the Israel occupied Golan a part of Israel Netanyahu called an (iirc also illegal) new Golan settlement "Ramat Trump"
I generously assume that things like that only happen because of the hard and hard
lywork of Kushner on his somewhat elusive but of course GIGANTIC and INCREDIBLE Middle East peace plan.
Kushner is probably getting hard and hard
lysupported by Ivanka who just said that she inherited her moral compass from her father. Well ... congatulations ... I assume.I disagree. Trump maybe the only person who could sell a war with Iran. What he has cultivated is a rabid base that consists of sycophants on one extreme end and desperate nationalists on the other. His base must stick with him...who else do they have?prawnik said in reply to Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 10:36 AM
The Left is indifferent to another war. Further depleting the quality stock of our military will aid there agenda of international integration. A weaker US military will force us to collaborate with the world community and not lead it is their thinking.
The rest of the nation will follow.Need I trot out Goering's statement regarding selling a war once more?turcopolier , 17 September 2019 at 09:31 PM
Göring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.
Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.
Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.jonstMatt said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 12:54 AM
We have been so thoroughly indoctrinated with the idea that Iran and Russia are intrinsically and immutable evil and hostile that the thought of actual two sided diplomacy does not occur. IMO neither of these countries are what we collectively think them. So, we could actually give it a try rather than trying to beggar them and destroy their economies. If all fails than we have to be prepared to defend our forces. DOLI agree with your reply 100%Christian Chuba , 18 September 2019 at 05:22 AM
- Iranophobia goes back to 1979,
- Russophobia goes back to at least 1917 if not further, especially in the UK,
- Sinophobia for the US reaches back to the mid to late 1800's
these phobias are so entrenched now they're a huge obstacle to overcome,
Mark Twain: "It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled."
William Casey: "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false"The 'ivestigations are a formality. The Saudis (with U.S. backing) are already saying that the missiles were Iranian made and according to them, this proves that Iran fired them. The Saudis are using the more judicious phrase 'behind the attack' but Pompeo is running with the fired from Iran narrative.PRC90 said in reply to Christian Chuba... , 18 September 2019 at 10:36 AM
How can we tell the difference between an actual Iranian manufactured missile vs one that was manufactured in Yemen based on Iranian designs? We only have a few pictures Iranian missiles unlike us, the Iranians don't toss them all over the place so we don't have any physical pieces to compare them to.
Perhaps honest investigators could make a determination but even if they do exist they will keep quiet while the bible thumping Pompeo brays and shamelessly lies as he is prone to do.These kinds of munition will leave hundreds of bits scattered all over their targets. I'm waiting for the press conference with the best bits laid out on the tables.Nuff Sed , 18 September 2019 at 07:22 AM
I doubt that there will be any stencils saying 'Product of Iran', unless the paint smells fresh.1. I am still waiting to read some informed discussion concerning the *accuracy* of the projectiles hitting their targets with uncanny precision from hundreds of miles away. What does this say about the achievement of those pesky Eye-rainians? https://www.moonofalabama.org/images9/saudihit2.jpgturcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:07 AM
2. "The US Navy has many ships in the Gulf and the Arabian Sea. The Iranian Navy and the IRGC Navy will attack our naval vessels until the Iranian forces are utterly destroyed.: Ahem, Which forces are utterly destroyed? With respect colonel, you are not thinking straight. An army with supersonic land to sea missiles that are highly accurate will make minced meat of any fool's ship that dare attack it. The lesson of the last few months is that Iran is deadly serious about its position that if they cannot sell their oil, no one else will be able to either. And if the likes of the relatively broadminded colonel have not yet learned that lesson, then this can only mean that the escalation ladder will continue to be climbed, rung by rung. Next rung: deep sea port of Yanbu, or, less likely, Ra's Tanura. That's when the price of oil will really go through the roof and the Chinese (and possibly one or two of the Europoodles) will start crying Uncle Scam. Nuff Sed.nuff SedNuff Sed -> turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 08:18 AM
It sounds like you are getting a little "help" with this. You statement about the result of a naval confrontation in the Gulf reflects the 19th Century conception that "ships can't fight forts." that has been many times exploded. You have never seen the amount of firepower that would be unleashed on Iran from the air and sea. Would the US take casualties? Yes, but you will be destroyed.We will have to agree to disagree. But unless I am quite mistaken, the majority view if not the consensus of informed up to date opinion holds that the surest sign that the US is getting ready to attack Iran is that it is withdrawing all of its naval power out of the Persian Gulf, where they would be sitting ducks.scott s. said in reply to Nuff Sed ... , 18 September 2019 at 11:32 AM
Besides, I don't think it will ever come to that. Not to repeat myself, but taking out either deep sea ports of Ra's Tanura and/ or Yanbu (on the Red Sea side) will render Saudi oil exports null and void for the next six months. The havoc that will play with the price of oil and consequently on oil futures and derivatives will be enough for any president and army to have to worry about. But if the US would still be foolhardy enough to continue to want to wage war (i.e. continue its strangulation of Iran, which it has been doing more or less for the past 40 years), then the Yemeni siege would be broken and there would be a two-pronged attack from the south and the north, whereby al-Qatif, the Shi'a region of Saudi Arabia where all the oil and gas is located, will be liberated from their barbaric treatment at the hands of the takfiri Saudi scum, which of course is completely enabled and only made possible by the War Criminal Uncle Sam.
Go ahead, make my day: roll the dice.AFAIK the only "US naval power" currently is the Abraham Lincoln CSG and I haven't seen any public info that it was in the Persian Gulf. Aside from the actual straits, I'm not sure of your "sitting ducks" assertion. First they wouldn't be sitting, and second you have the problem of a large volume of grey shipping that would complicate the targeting problem. Of course with a reduced time-of-flight, that also reduces target position uncertainty.CK said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 09:55 AMForts are stationary.Nuff Sed , 18 September 2019 at 08:07 AM
Nothing I have read implies that Iran has a lot of investment in stationary forts.
Millennium Challenge 2002, only the game cannot be restarted once the enemy does not behave as one hopes. Unlike in scripted war simulations, Opfor can win.
I remember the amount of devastation that was unleashed on another "backwards nation" Linebackers 1 - 20, battleship salvos chemical defoliants, the Phoenix program, napalm for dessert.
And not to put to fine a point on it, but that benighted nation was oriental; Iran is a Caucasian nation full of Caucasian type peoples.
Nothing about this situation is of any benefit to the USA.
We do not need Saudi oil, we do not need Israel to come to the defense of the USA here in North America, we do not need to stick our dick into the hornet's nest and then wonder why they sting and it hurts. How many times does Dumb have to win?3. Also, I can't imagine this event as being a very welcome one for Israeli military observers, the significance of which is not lost on them, unlike their US counterparts. If Yemen/ Iran can put the Abqaiq processing plant out of commission for a few weeks, then obviusly Hezbollah can do the same for the giant petrochemical complex at Haifa, as well as Dimona, and the control tower at Ben Gurion Airport.turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:08 AM
These are the kinds of issues which are germane: the game has changed. What are the implications?nuff sedturcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:17 AM
I have said repeatedly that Hizbullah can destroy Israel. Nothing about that has changed.Yeah, rightYeah, Right said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 08:38 AM
It was late at night when I wrote this. Yeah, Right. the Iranians could send their massive ground force into Syria where it would be chewed up by US and Israeli air. Alternatively they could invade Saudi arabia.Thank you for the reply but actually I was thinking that an invasion of Afghanistan would be the more sensible ploy.johnf , 18 September 2019 at 08:41 AM
To my mind if the Iranian Army sits on its backside then the USAF and IAF will ignore it to roam the length and breadth of Iran destroying whatever ground targets are on their long-planned target-list.
Or that Iranian Army can launch itself into Afghanistan, at which point all of the USA plans for a methodical aerial pummelling of Iran's infrastructure goes out the window as the USAF scrambles to save the American forces in Afghanistan from being overrun.
Isn't that correct?
So what incentive is there for that Iranian Army to sit around doing nothing?
Iran will do what the USAF isn't expecting it to do, if for no other reason that it upsets the USA's own game-plan.There seems to be a bit of a hiatus in proceedings - not in these columns but on the ground in the ME.turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:51 AM
Everyone seems to be waiting for something.
Could this "something" be the decisive word fron our commander in chief Binyamin Netanyahu?
The thing is he has just pretty much lost an election. Likud might form part of the next government of Israel but most likely not with him at its head.
Does anyone have any ideas on what the future policy of Israel is likely to be under Gantz or whoever? Will it be the same, worse or better?Yeah RightYeah, Right said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 09:29 AM
The correct US move would be to ignore an Iranian invasion of Afghanistan and continue leaving the place. The Iranian Shia can then fight the Sunni jihadi tribesmen.Oh, I completely agree that if the Iranians launch an invasion of Afghanistan then the only sensible strategy would be for the US troops to pack up and get out as fast as possible.turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:53 AM
But that is "cut and run", which many in Washington would view as a humiliation.
Do you really see the beltway warriors agreeing to that?Stueeeturcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:57 AM
A flaw in your otherwise sound argument is that the US military has not been seriously engaged for several years and has been reconstituting itself with the money Trump has given them.Nuff SedLars , 18 September 2019 at 09:53 AM
Re-positioning of forces does not indicate that a presidential decision for war has been made. The navy will not want to fight you in the narrow, shallow waters of the Gulf.I would think that Mr. Trump would have a hard time sell a war with Iran over an attack on Saudi Arabia. The good question about how would that war end will soon be raised and I doubt there are many good answers.turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 10:12 AM
The US should have gotten out of that part of the world a long time ago, just as they should have paid more attention to the warnings in President Eisenhower's farewell address.CKCK said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 10:34 AM
The point was about shore based firepower, not forts. don't be so literal.The Perfumed Fops in the DOD restarted Millennium Challenge 2002,because Gen Van Riper had used 19th and early 20th century tactics and shore based firepower to sink the Blue Teams carrier forces. There was a script, Van Riper did some adlibbing. Does the US DOD think that Iran will follow the US script? In a unipolar world maybe the USA could enforce a script, that world was severely wounded in 1975, took a sucking chest wound during operation Cakewalk in 2003 and died in Syria in 2015. Too many poles too many powers not enough diplomacy. It will not end well.turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 10:16 AMlarsprawnik , 18 September 2019 at 10:32 AM
We would crush Iran at some cost to ourselves but the political cost to the anti-globalist coalition would catastrophic. BTW Trump's "base" isn't big enough to elect him so he cannot afford to alienate independents.Even if Rouhani and the Iranian Parliament personally designed, assembled, targeted and launched the missiles (scarier sounding version of "drones"), then they should be congratulated, for the Saudi tyrant deserves every bad thing that he gets.turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 10:49 AMprawnik (Sid) in this particular situation goering's glittering generalization does not apply. Trump needs a lot of doubting suburbanites to win and a war will not incline them to vote for him.Bill Wade , 18 September 2019 at 10:53 AMLooks like President Trump is walking it back, tweet: I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!PRC90 , 18 September 2019 at 11:34 AMI doubt there will be armed conflict of any kind.Terence Gore , 18 September 2019 at 11:35 AM
Everything Trump does from now (including sacking the Bolton millstone) will be directed at winning 2020, and that will not be aided by entering into some inconclusive low intensity attrition war.
Iran, on the other hand, will be doing everything it can to increase the chance of a Democrat administration, bearing in mind the great deal they got from the last one and the lack of anything they can expect from Trump Term Two.
This may be a useful tool for determining their next move, but the limit of their actions would be when some Democrats begin making the electorally damaging mistake of critising Trump for not retaliating against Iranian provocations.Pros and cons of many options considered against Iran
Jan 08, 2020 | www.cnn.com
Washington (CNN) The increasingly chaotic aftermath of the US strike against Iran has left President Donald Trump's team scrambling to keep up with his unpredictable decisions and inflammatory pronouncements, and suggests dysfunction at the heart of the nation's critical national security process.Top Trump aides are making frantic efforts to justify the killing of Qasem Soleimani , one of Iran's top leaders, and are bracing for a possible reprisal attack as the Islamic Republic moves around military hardware . But they are still refusing to publicly offer Americans details of the "imminent" attacks that they said the top general was planning. A farcical episode on Monday when at one point it seemed the military had announced it was pulling back troops from Iraq -- then said it made a mistake -- painted an unflattering picture of the administration's decision-making process. And t op officials have twice had to rule out Trump's warning that he could strike at "cultural" targets in Iran if it tries to avenge Soleimani's killing. Such action could amount to war crimes. The churn in Washington and growing questions over the rationale for an escalation that some fear could lead the US and Iran closer to war is complicating Trump's hopes of presenting a clean narrative that he acted decisively to eliminate a terrorist mastermind and to save the lives of hundreds of Americans.
Jan 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
David G , Jan 6 2020 19:57 utc | 19b writes:The New York Times reported yesterday that Trump picked the 'wrong' item from a list of possible courses of action that the military had presented him. That sounded like bullshit invented to take blame away from Trump and to put it onto the military.To me it looks more like the opposite: the Times's Pentagon sources pinning it on loose cannon Trump's going with the extreme option that the military hadn't intended him to. But whatever. The U.S. is facing the same harsh new reality regardless.
Patroklos , Jan 6 2020 20:03 utc | 21The Times in London ran with a front page "We Will Kill UK Troops, warns Iran" ( here's the Guardian summary ). Despite initial reports that the UK and EU were distancing themselves from the assassination, the MSM have clearly been given their orders to begin banging the drum for war. The scramble for a casus belli reminds me of WMD, so I think a war of some scope is strongly desired and Boris Johnson has been brought on board. France will stay out and Germany will look first at Russia's position.lgfocus , Jan 6 2020 19:40 utc | 11
It is clear to me after watching that extraordinary video of Trump's ignorance and stupidity that he is the idiot piper leading the West into the abyss. There could be no better epitome of the neoliberal sociopathy that drives our collapsing phase of late-capitalism. Putin's wet dream: a narcissist half-wit driving the western bus.Zanon , Jan 6 2020 19:37 utc | 7
Moqtada Al-Sadr to Trump
"We are demanders of peace if you surrender and war if you fight. Do you threaten us? How dare you"
read from Elijah Magnier's thread on Al-Sadr's letter.Clueless Joe , Jan 6 2020 19:37 utc | 8Trump is probably not stupid enough to launch such a war and certainly not during an election year.
During his campaign Trump said he wanted the U.S. military out of the Middle East. Iran and its allies will help him to keep that promise.
Hasnt Trump proved he is stupid enough by now? How much more evidence is needed to drop him? Trump start wars to get another election win, I think that is obvious? And allies keeping him back? Which allieshave even remotely criticized his threats and murder? People need to realize that there is nothing stopping Trump, he and Israel will keep bombing and unfortunately its not much Iran could do.Dan: The guy fought the Talibans and ISIS, and has always been opposed to them; that's good enough for me, and that's definitely more than any of the coward and treacherous Western leaders that pussy-foot instead of calling out the US for what tantamounts to a declaration of war on both Iraq and Iran.Phryne's frock , Jan 6 2020 19:37 utc | 9
As for trying to put the blame on Pentagon staffers, even if they chose such weird options for Trump to choose, at the end of the day, it's the President himself who chose - as another one said decades ago, "the buck stops here" and the guy in the Oval Office has to bear the full responsibility.
Col. Lang is once again warning that Trump trying to keep the troops in Iraq would be a terrible mistake with bad consequences, and that it's just not realistic. He probably prefers not to say it that way when stating it's a long road from Kuwait to Baghdad, but if shit hits the fan and Iraqis decide to go after the US troops, then those who can't evacuate fast enough will end up in a position similar to that of the British in Kabul, in the very first days of 1842.Aghast at your words, dan. I am an aging homemaker from usa midwest and I have yet to stop weeping for Qassem Soleimani, his poor widow, and the rest of his family. I feel I owe him a personal debt for fighting zionists/terrorists/imperialists, for if they are not defeated once and for all, my captive government will continue in perpetuity to serve their horridmurderousthieving agenda, enslaving my every descendent and robbing humanity of any chance for peace on this pretty garden harbor planet. May justice be done to give peace a chance.Paul Bogdanich , Jan 6 2020 20:25 utc | 30What I wonder is who is the genius in the chain of command who brought this "opportunity" to Trump's attention and who vetted the decision? Trump made a large error when he surrounded himself with neocons (Abrahams, Bolton, Pompeo, Haspel, Esper). Anyway it's a tangle and it's pretty clear he (Trump) is in over his head. When he paniks he talks tough and he's making threats. It's also no wonder he has not received any support on his decision to murder Soleimani. From anywhere. Not even Israel is publicly supporting the decision. I think that surprised him. For 350 years there has been an unwritten rule that you don't go after generals or ambassadors or visiting politicians unless they are actively engaged in a combat zone. Remember the outrage when the barbarian Libyans killed a mere station chief? How outraged we were? Well, Trump overtly and with malice of forethought broke the rule. If I were the Iranian's and I could get to any U.S. generals or high ranking officials (working or visiting overseas) that's what I would do. Create animus within his own military and cabinet departments. Get them at the supermarket, speaking engagements, on vacation, at home, wherever. Doesn't matter. Wherever you can get them. Shitty thing to do no doubt but he started it and something the American and other populations would instinctively understand. Blood for blood retribution. No need to explain it to people.Alpi , Jan 6 2020 20:43 utc | 41......." Trump is probably not stupid enough to launch such a war and certainly not during an election year."Robert Snefjella , Jan 6 2020 21:49 utc | 75
you are assuming that you are dealing with someone with a full deck of cards. If He was stupid enough to kill a sovereign nation's top general, he will be stupid enough to start a war. In fact that is his biggest wish. Elections be damned. Maybe the military would put on the breaks but not this stupid sick man.Few points: (1) Thanks to Trump, Pompeo and Esper every American soldier everywhere now wears a bulls eye;Lurk , Jan 6 2020 22:00 utc | 89
(2) Any soldier -including Americans - might find a great deal to admire in Soliemani, a guy with a humble background who accomplished an extraordinary track record, a legendary strategist';
(3) Has the US military's 'faith' in the sanity and competence of the civilian authority been stretched near to some breaking point?Trump and Pence are dumb and dumber.Antigone , Jan 6 2020 22:02 utc | 91
Pence claimed on twitter that Suleimani assisted the 12 9/11 hijackers, for which he was instantly ridiculed.
Trump wants billions payback for airbases in Iraq that were already fully transferred upon American withdrawal in december 2011.
BTW, the trolls are obvious trolls. Could be from Tel Aviv, but perhaps from London, too (Integrity Initiative) Brits must be banging their heads against the wall over orange utan dropping a monkey wrench into the gears of the imperial machine that they too depend on. You bet that they need to spin this hard."We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that's there. It cost billions of dollars to build. Long before my time. We're not leaving unless they pay us back for it,"Trump said
Paying us back?
Just ask the Iraqis - here is a reminder of what the bitter reality of economic violence looks like:
The Crimes of Neoliberal Rule in Occupied IraqThe clearest statement of intent for the future of the Iraqi economy is contained in Order 39, which permitted full foreign ownership of Iraqi state-owned assets and decreed that over 200 state-owned enterprises, including electricity, telecommunications and the pharmaceuticals industry, could be dismantled. Order 39 also permitted 100 per cent foreign ownership of Iraqi banks, mines and factories; and allowed these firms to move their profits out of Iraq. It has been argued already in the British courts that Order 39 constitutes an act of ILLEGAL OCCUPATION under the terms of the Hague and Geneva treaties : The effect of Article 55 is to outlaw privatization of a country's assets whilst it is under occupation by a hostile military power."The mandate of the CPA was clear: to meet the 'humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people', to meet the costs of 'reconstruction and repair of Iraq's infrastructure', to meet the costs of disarmament and the civil administration of the country and other purposes 'benefiting the people of Iraq'. The terms of UNSCR 1483 are unequivocal in this regard. It was this resolution that established the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI)
• DFI revenue, was available to the CPA immediately, in the form of $100,000 bundles of $100 bills, shrink-wrapped in $1.6 million 'cashpaks'. Pallets of cashpaks were flown into Baghdad direct from the US Federal Reserve Bank in New York. Some of this cash was held by the CPA in the basement of its premises in Baghdad Republican Palace. It has been reported that Paul Bremer controlled a personal slush fund of $600 million (Harriman 2005). One advantage of the use of cash payments and transfers was that the CPA transactions left no paper trail and therefore they remained relatively invisible
• The disbursal of Iraqi oil revenue by the CPA also has had profound implications for the future structure of the Iraqi economy. ..Spending (in excess of $20 billion, partly based upon projected income) had to be underwritten by US government loans .. (which) has effectively deepened the debt that was originally accumulated during the period of UN-enforced sanctions following the 1991 Gulf War (Alexander 2005).
• The right to self-determination and sovereign decision making over economic, social and cultural development is in international law a principle of jus cogens In this regard, the CPA clearly acted beyond its remit in terms of both the spirit and the letter of the international laws of conflict. It is the anti-democratic and pre-emptive nature of Anglo-American economic restructuring that most clearly demonstrates that the CPA regime was in violation of international law.
• Similar violations arise from the CPA's governance of Iraqi oil wealth. Article 49 of the Hague rules notes that 'money contributions' levied in the occupied territory 'shall only be for the needs of the army or of the administration of the territory in question'.The political strategy was characteristically neo-liberal (evasion of 'red tape' and any obstacles that might hinder or limit the reallocation of wealth to the growing armies of private enterprises). This strategy was given momentum by the granting of formal LEGAL IMMUNITY to US personnel for activities related to the reconstruction economy. On the same day that the CPA was created by UNSCR 1483, George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13303, 2 The terms of the exemption provide immunity from prosecution for the theft or embezzlement of oil revenue, or incidentally, from any safety or environmental violations that might be committed in the course of producing Iraqi oil. Executive Order 13303 is therefore a guarantee of IMMUNITY from PROSECUTION for white-collar and corporate crimes that involve Iraqi oil. Two months later, in June 2003, Paul Bremer issued CPA Order 17. Bremer's decree guaranteed that members of the coalition military forces, the CPA, foreign missions and contractors -- and their personnel -- would remain immune from the Iraqi legal process. This carte blanche provision of immunity was extended again in June 2004.
What we are beginning to trace out here is a US government policy of suspending the normal rule of law in the US and Iraq (so much for respecting Iraqi sovereigntx...)
Jan 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Ghost Ship , Jan 6 2020 22:48 utc | 112The three most important things for doing battle are logistics, logistics and logistics, and as Pat lang explains, the US forces in Syria are essentially fucked:
We have around 5,500 people there now spread across the country in little groups engaged in logistics, intelligence and training missions. They are extremely vulnerable. There are something like 150 marines in the embassy. There are also a small number of US combat forces in Syria east and north of the Euphrates river. These include a battalion of US Army National Guard mechanized troops "guarding" Syria's oil from Syria's own army and whatever devilment the Iranians might be able to arrange.Unless it reinvades and reoccupies, the United States will be gone from Syria, probably just after the election in November so Trump can say he stood up to the Iraqis.
4. This is an untenable logistical situation. Supply and other functions require a major airfield close to Baghdad. We have Balad airbase and helicopter supply and air support from there into Baghdad is possible from there but may become hazardous. Iraq is a big country. It is a long and lonely drive from Kuwait for re-supply from there or evacuation through there. The same thing is true of the desert route to Jordan.
Jan 08, 2020 | www.nytimes.com
Trump the Intimidator Fails Again
Because he's just a bully with delusions of grandeur.
International crises often lead, at least initially, to surging support for a country's leadership. And that's clearly happening now. Just weeks ago the nation's leader faced public discontent so intense that his grip on power seemed at risk. Now the assassination of Qassim Suleimani has transformed the situation, generating a wave of patriotism that has greatly bolstered the people in charge.
Unfortunately, this patriotic rallying around the flag is happening not in America, where many are (with good reason) deeply suspicious of Donald Trump's motives, but in Iran .
In other words, Trump's latest attempt to bully another country has backfired -- just like all his previous attempts.
From his first days in office, Trump has acted on the apparent belief that he could easily intimidate foreign governments -- that they would quickly fold and allow themselves to be humiliated. That is, he imagined that he faced a world of Lindsey Grahams, willing to abandon all dignity at the first hint of a challenge.
But this strategy keeps failing; the regimes he threatens are strengthened rather than weakened, and Trump is the one who ends up making humiliating concessions. Paul Krugman's Newsletter Get a better understanding of the economy -- and an even deeper look at what's on Paul's mind. Sign up here.
Remember, for example, when Trump promised " fire and fury " unless North Korea halted its nuclear weapons program? He claimed triumph after a 2018 summit meeting with Kim Jong-un, North Korea's leader. But Kim made no real concessions, and North Korea recently announced that it might resume tests of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.
Or consider the trade war with China, which was supposed to bring the Chinese to their knees. A deal has supposedly been reached, although details remain scarce; what's clear is that it falls far short of U.S. aims, and that Chinese officials are jubilant about their success in facing Trump down.
Why does Trump's international strategy, which might be described as winning through intimidation, keep failing? And why does he keep pursuing it anyway?
One answer, I suspect, is that like all too many Americans, Trump has a hard time grasping the fact that other countries are real -- that is, that we're not the only country whose citizens would rather pay a heavy price, in money and even in blood, than make what they see as humiliating concessions.
Ask yourself, how would Americans have reacted if a foreign power had assassinated Dick Cheney, claiming that he had the blood of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis on his hands? Don't answer that Suleimani was worse. That's beside the point. The point is that we don't accept the right of foreign governments to kill our officials. Why imagine that other countries are different?
Of course, we have many people in the diplomatic corps with a deep knowledge of other nations and their motivations, who understand the limits of intimidation. But anyone with that kind of understanding has been excluded from Trump's inner circle.
Now, it's true that for many years America did have a special leadership position, one that sometimes involved playing a role in reshaping other countries' political systems. But here's where Trump's second error comes in: He has never shown any sign of understanding why America used to be special.
Part of the explanation, of course, was raw economic and military power: America used to be just much bigger than everyone else. That is, however, no longer true. For example, by some key measures China's economy is significantly bigger than that of the United States.
Even more important, however, was the fact that America was something more than a big country throwing its weight around. We always stood for something larger.
That doesn't mean that we were always a force for good; America did many terrible things during its reign as global hegemon. But we clearly stood for global rule of law, for a system that imposed common rules on everyone, ourselves included. The United States may have been the dominant partner in alliances like NATO and bodies like the World Trade Organization, but we always tried to behave as no more than first among equals. Editors' Picks Headless Body in Cave Is Identified as 1916 Ax Murder Suspect Adam Driver Has Put Everything He's Got Onscreen Office Treats Bring Out the Worst of Humanity Advertisement Continue reading the main story
Oh, and because we were committed to enforcing rules, we were also relatively trustworthy; an alliance with America was meaningful, because we weren't the kind of country that would betray an ally for the sake of short-term political convenience.
Trump, however, has turned his back on everything that used to make America great. Under his leadership, we've become nothing more than a big, self-interested bully -- a bully with delusions of grandeur, who isn't nearly as tough as he thinks. We abruptly abandon allies like the Kurds; we honor war criminals ; we slap punitive tariffs on friendly nations like Canada for no good reason. And, of course, after more than 15,000 lies , nothing our leader and his minions say can be trusted.
Trump officials seem taken aback by the uniformly negative consequences of the Suleimani killing: The Iranian regime is empowered, Iraq has turned hostile and nobody has stepped up in our support. But that's what happens when you betray all your friends and squander all your credibility.
Steve LHR 2h ago Times PickIt's finally abundantly clear that the great deal maker is nothing more than an emperor with no clothes. The real shame is the inability of a large part of America to see this for what it is: a failure of leadership from voter on up. Unfortunately, America has lost its moral ability to lead, and more's the pity as the ascendancy of others, like China, will not be as progressive as America was in the past. You'd think that the great deal maker would understand that leaders are not bullies. Sad.Robert AJ, AZ 2h ago Times PickI have been reading a lot of commentary on very little news. One thing that is not generally mentioned is that while Iran is no match for us by itself, they are not without friends, i.e., Russia (is there a mutual defense treaty still in place?) China and North Korea. On the other hand our allies are ... well maybe Israel. We haven't always been the nice guys. Remember the novel 'The Ugly American' the 1956 novel by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer?Lauwenmark Belgium 5h ago Times PickExcellent analysis. I note that the streets of Teheran were crowded by hundred of thousands people, because one of their leaders were killed. The US President's decision put his own country in danger of facing another costly war. Why aren't there hundreds of thousands of people crowding the streets of Washington, New-York or Los Angeles, asking for his removal from office? I keep reading that US citizens are patriots, proud of their country, their values, their constitution. Where are those proud guys? Your streets should be full of protesters, strikes to defend endangered democratic values should happen everywhere, artists should occupy the media space to denounce the abuses of a mad man. The passivity of US population shows that there are more, much more Americans supporting Trump and his ideas than votes show. And it also makes more and more probable than you'll see more Trump and Trump-like presidents in the future.LT Chicago 6h agoDid the assassination of Suleimani objectively make the United States safer and/or advance its interests now or in the future? The answer is meaningless in understanding Trump's decision because the question is meaningless to Trump. If assassinating Suleimani made Trump feel better in the moment, made him feel "strong" than that is more than reason enough. The future is not Trump's problem, if it turns out badly he'll just lie about it and blame someone else safe in the knowledge that his core supporters also prefer feeling strong in the moment than dealing with a messy reality. And his supporters of convenience? The Lindsey Graham's of the world? They are in too deep to turn back now. Like all bubbles, the belief in Trump requires a suspension of a belief in reality. Likr all bubbles it will eventually burst. And this one is going to leave a mess that will take decades to repair. If we are lucky.Jeff M CT 6h agoSuleimani worse than Cheney? Don't think so. A simple body count makes that clear. Plus, it's unclear Suleimani has ever encouraged torture. Any notion that the US was ever a force for good in the world is, well, very strange. Just work your way backwards listing things we've done, I'm not holding my breath until you get to a good one.Lewis Sinclair Baltimore 6h agoWhat's really frightening is this president's completely impulsive behavior. There's no plan, no endgame, just a series of inexplicable tantrums (or inactions). Right now, foreign policy has no more direction than when Gilligan and the Skipper randomly spun the ship's wheel in the opening of "Gilligan's Island."E Chicago, IL 6h agoI'd love to see a column on the financial costs of endless war to us here in the USA. We've apparently spent trillions in Afghanistan alone. How much did we spend in Iraq? How does that compare to our overall budget? What could the money have been spent on instead? How much would a war with Iran cost? I realize that all of those numbers are out there, but I haven't seen them packaged together in a way that really drives home how much money we are wasting. Paul, please write this column!JoeyJ Canada 5h agoI'll never understand why the USA thinks it has to have it's hand in every countries business (other than controlling all the world's natural resources). If the USA had stayed home and minded it's own business, they'd have excellent healthcare, affordable education and a much improved infrastructure. Apparently the military/industrial complex has no interest in that...William Minnesota 6h agoAs bad as Trump's foreign affairs blunders have been, this is no time to gloss over earlier American blunders in foreign affairs. In Iran in 1953, the CIA engineered the removal of their prime minister, Mosaddegh, to be replaced by officials more amenable to British and American oil interests, marking the start of tensions between Iran and America. And then there was George W. Bush's Iraq war, an epic blunder shrouded in lies. Overthrowing governments in South America and replacing them by dictators who gave United Fruit and other corporations what they wanted belongs on this long, ignoble list.Socrates Downtown Verona. NJ 5h agoTrump's not just a weak bully pretending to be a tough guy, which is bad enough, but he's also the nation's leading Dunning–Kruger citizen, with delusions of his own superiority that comes from his inability to recognize his own lack of ability and lack of intelligence. Without any self-awareness, Dunning-Krugerites like Trump can't recognize their own incompetence or ignorance, and instead remain deluded with their 'superior' sense of themselves even though they're incompetent, unqualified and often clueless. "I'm like a smart person" said Trump to a CIA audience the day after he was inaugurated, using a phrase that no smart person would ever use. The University of Pennsylvania's student newspaper reported that Trump never made the Dean's List. Former classmates described him as a lackluster student. You don't have to get A's in school to be smart, but Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen said this about Trump to the House Oversight Committee : "I'm talking about a man who declares himself brilliant, but directed me to threaten his high school, his colleges and the College Board to never release his grades or SAT scores." "I don't think you have to put him on the couch to see that someone who has such a consistent need to build himself up and belittle everyone else must have some problems with self-esteem," said Trump biographer Gwenda Blair. "It's a lifelong theme for him." Or as Charles Darwin wrote: "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge." Sad.Colin Somewhere 4h agoWhether you like it or not, Donald Trump is the (top) representative of the US. What happened is fully the doing of the USA as a country, and not that of Mr. Trump as a person. And this is the face of all Americans, including you, for the rest of the world to see. If you don't like what you see in the mirror, seeking to change it might be a better idea than refusing your part of responsibility, however small.Barry Henson Sydney, Australia 3h agoThe American narrative that we support democracy, human rights, our allies, and freedom, is gone. Trump and his minions have replaced this narrative with 'America first' and accordingly we are a diminished nation with no moral compass. Values mean nothing. Shared history means nothing. Shared sacrifices mean nothing. Today everything is a transaction to win or lose, and we are losing.M.Downey Helena, MT 6h agoIt seems clear that Suleimani was a "Bad Guy". What's more profoundly disturbing is that it appears that this fact was the extent of the calculation that went into the order for his demise. Perhaps the most shocking part of this story is the absence of any apparent strategy or end game in a decision that amounts to an act of war against a major power in a region of the world as deeply unsettled as the Middle East. There are lots of bad guys out there. Depending upon your point of view, many reside in this country. What happens when leaders around the world apply the "Bad Guy" litmus test as their reasoning to justify an act of war? It means that we will soon find ourselves in the midst of a world war. Since the Senate can't muster the courage necessary to perform its constitutional obligation, let's all pray we can vote the madman out of office before it is too late.Alan Shapiro Frankfurt 6h agoExcellent article by Krugman. The entire world is now suffering the cataclysmic consequences of the bizarro worldview of the 46% of American voters who electoral-colleged that world-historic con artist into power in November 2016. It is so interesting and is indeed true that the majority of the Iranian people do not like their regime and are indeed much closer to the values of the West than Saudi Arabia, etc. Iranians I know in both Europe and the US are much more enlightened and secular than people from other Mideast countries. When Trump claimed to be anti-war in October 2016, it was so interesting that he was not able to articulate even one sentence explaining WHY he was anti-war. It was a giveaway that it was fraud. He just said it to get votes. His entire personality and personal culture scream I AM A WARMONGER. No empathy, no respect for human life. It will be interesting to see what the "great" Tulsi Gabbard comes up with now.Charles Skeen New York, NY 6h ago@PATRICK . In another sphere, Democrats have been left to clean up the fiscal mess created by irresponsible Republican tax cuts (by Reagan, GW Bush, and Trump). Despite Republican claims that the "tax cuts would pay for themselves", it never happened. In the wake of the tax cuts, the debt always grew faster than the economy; GDP as a percentage of publicly held debt has grown from about 25% when Reagan got started to 78% now -- and it's headed to 95%, according to the CBO.Mr. Jones Raleigh, NC 4h agoDr. Krugman assumes, incorrectly I think, that Trump is a rational actor with an almost unfailing tendency to misjudge the consequences of his actions. No, for Trump, worrying about consequences is for losers. He is in it for the pure chaos, the utter joy of setting a million things in motion at once with no predictable outcome, and skating clear of the vortex. This is textbook pathological narcissisism.Laurie Raymond Glenwood Springs CO 5h agoFrom my training and practice in mediation and conflict resolution, I know one thing for sure: without empathy, without a reasonably accurate "theory of mind," not only can you not successfully engage in negotiation, you cannot even think strategically. Trump has been called many things, though not, as I would suggest, an actual solipsist. He doesn't believe other countries are real because he doesn't believe any one but himself is real.JoOregon Portland, OR 6h agoThe plot is much thicker. It became obvious when Trump withdrew from the Iran Nuclear Agreement that he was declaring economic war on Iran. He has been pushing, or has been pushed, toward conflict all along. Perhaps the Evangelicals in his administration have been behind this move, as they support every destabilizing move Trump has made in the Middle East. That he is a dupe and proxy for other people's agenda seems apparent by the child-like reasons and responses he twitters. His talking points have been fed to him. Our dear leader. Heaven help us!!Jerry Engelbach Mexico 6h ago@David, Iran is not a third-world fleabag banana republic. It's a first world nation with a strong, committed military and millions more eager to enlist. A war with Iran would cost hundreds of thousands of military lives and at least as many civilians. It's the United States that is the aggressor here, not Iran, and feeling in the US is running strongly against more war.David D. Boston 4h agoAmerica hasn't been trustworthy in a long time. We lost all moral authority in 1953 when we installed the Shah in Iran at the behest of the same oil companies that have been destroying our planet ever since. Less than a decade after coming to the rescue of a world at war, we began shredding the goodwill we'd earned. Trump is just continuing that fine tradition -- as George W. Bush did after 9-11 with his ill-considered invasions. When will we learn?Jmduarte Portugal 6h agoKudos to you, Mr. Krugman. One of the best, and more to the point, articles I've read about this debacle. Particularly regarding America's legitimacy through adherence to laws and respect for alies and partners. That used to be a great part of what made America a reliable superpower. Not any more. And it's sad to see Europeans and other democracies forced to make concessions to dictatorships like China, because America can't be relied upon anymore. This benefits no one, particularly democracies. However, instead of taking lessons from the universal scorn and silence this action has prompted at home and abroad, Trump will only see it as further evidence that he must keep on bullying others into submission -- with increasingly bad results. At some point, America -- even Republicans -- will have to wake up and smell the coffee of what's really at stake here.MG Massachusetts 6h agoI do not think that he really took any serious geo-political considerations into account when he ordered the attack. I believe that to him assassinating the Iran general just looked like an excellent opportunity to distract the nation from the impeachment process, which is getting more and more serious for him, and to regain the upper hand and the center stage. Besides, in an international crisis his position would be reinforced despite the impeachment, because who would undermine the government effectiveness and the authority of the commander in chief in times of national emergency, right? Well, as your column points out, this type of approach is, once again, wrong. Just another outstanding example of incompetence and another immense damage done to the country.Joe Scientist New York 5h agoInteresting that in the last paragraph Dr. Krugman states that "Trump officials seem taken aback by the uniformly negative consequences of the Suleimani killing". From what I saw on Fox news, they were portraying the Suleimani killing as the greatest US foreign policy achievement of the last decade. I fear that those who matter in the Trump administration (i.e. mostly Trump, surrounded by his base) may be unaware of negative consequences of anything he does, including this.stu freeman brooklyn 5h agoTrump's people are now telling us that the U.S. won't cooperate with the Iraqi government's demand that we pull our troops out of that country. Which makes ours an army of occupation, for the first time since Bush and Cheney sent U.S. forces into Iraq. And, by the way, Suleimani was no worse than Cheney who actually DID have the blood of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis on his hands (not to mention American servicemen and women).CS Midwest 3h agoThe years 1945 to 1975 created a distorted image for most Baby Boomers. The United States appeared, and in many ways was, without any viable competitor on the world stage. This image was largely result of the fact that most of the industrialized world had been destroyed by a World War and was still recovering from it. By 1975 that dominance had largely come to an end. Japan, Germany, and other industrialized powers were outpacing the United States in both production and quality. Then OPEC entered the scene and showed how truly vulnerable the United States was. The fall of the Soviet Bloc masked what should have been a harsh realization, but that realization never sunk in. Many, and Trump is a prime example, still believe we live in a world like the 1950s, where U.S. power is undisputed. It is not, and the more we act like it is, only to have it thrown back in our face that it is not, the weaker and less capable we appear. The sooner Trump and his delusional sycophants leave DC, the sooner we can start the years, maybe even generations, that it will take rebuild respect for the United States abroad.Louis Denver, CO 5h agoThe question is not one of Qassim Suleimani's character--there is no question he was responsible for a number of American casualties and civilian casualties as well--but rather one of whether taking him out was the right move. Taking out a high-level military or government official, no matter what the justification might be, is an act of war and will be regarded as such. You don't undertake an action like this unless you've really thought through the consequences and are prepared for a response. President Trump clearly did not think this through and we're all going to have to suffer the consequences as a result.O MD 4h ago@Ronald B. Duke Not everything is tactical. For the Republicans, perhaps, who have long ago shed any vestige of a moral compass and rely solely on tactics - whatever wins, whatever - but for Democrats impeachment wasn't a "gambit", it was a duty that many of them had to be dragged to the table to perform. The fact that they did despite the political risk shows that at least one party still places the welfare of our nation over their personal political fortune. We hardly need sticks to beat up Trump. He does a fine job all by himself. The problem is that he is a human wrecking ball, and he is now that he is pretty much alone in the white house, or anyway surrounded by people deeply unqualified to be there, his wrecking is just getting more dangerous. It would be one thing to "disagree" with US foreign policy - if there was in fact a foreign policy. But there is none left. Trump has wrecked that too. The only thing left for anyone is to vote this president out of office, if only to make the country and world a safer place.Barry Long Australia 4h agoThe US has always used its economic and military power to get what it wants from other countries (enemies and allies alike). Trump has taken this to another level. And in doing so, he has abandoned the responsibilities that comes with that power. Trump's power has gone to his head. He is using sanctions and military might to do whatever he wants. What's to stop him from using these tools to extract assets, wealth and subservience from countries like Australia, the UK, Europe etc. While I have great fear of China's intentions, I am glad that China can serve somewhat as a counterbalance to Trump's greed and aggression. The rest of the world needs to unite and push back against Trump's overblown and growing sense of entitlement. I now regard America as being as big a threat as China to world peace and prosperity.friend New England 2h agoThe first and most fundamental rule of strategy and negotiation--something I teach on the first day and most days of my game theory class-- is "Know your enemy." (Or if you prefer a less confrontational and less pithy version, "Know the person you are dealing with.") Trump fails over and over because he doesn't know, doesn't want to know, and won't be told. He has no idea what is important to them or how they view things. So he imagines them all backing down and doing as he wishes and glorifying him, which is what he wants and needs everyone to do. But most of us know that it doesn't work that way.henri Australia 4h agoLike the Roman period termed Pax Romana and the later Pax Britannica (1815–1914), Pax Americana being promoted as a time of relative peace and stability is built on too many lies to recount here. What America is doing, under Trump, is no different to the 1840's when the US seized half of Mexico. From that time many people believed that the US had a 'manifest destiny' to occupy and settle all the land bounded by Canada, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. That the US is somehow the upholder of universal moral principles is a pill too hard to swallow for anyone who has been or is still under their imperial thumb, or has been 'bombed back to the stone age'. Sometimes the insularity of thinking and learning about the rest of the world astounds me.Ray Haining Hot Springs, AR 5h agoBecause of the enormous power of the United States military at Trump's disposal and because Trump is virtually a madman, this is an extremely dangerous and frightening situation. I've said it before and I'll say it again: if we stumble into World War III under Trump, it will be the world against the United States with Trump the target everyone will be focused on. And the U.S. cannot win a war against the rest of the world. So out will come the nuclear weapons. And then it will be the end of civilization as we know it. And "there ain't no Jesus gonna come from the sky" to set things right.cljuniper denver 6h agoKrugman brilliant as usual. Useful to go back to 1953 and the US-organized coup bringing down an elected Iranian prime minister in collusion with the Shah since he might be too left-wing for US tastes/preferences, and, as US Ambassador Loy Henderson described him, "so lacking in stability and clearly dominated by emotions and prejudices" (hmmm - who does that sound like?) to not be a sufficient "bulwark" against communism (see David Halberstam's book The Fifties). US involvement in regime changes, beginning with Iran, have been disasters, especially in the Middle East including Afghanistan. Yet somehow presidents who say they don't want to be doing that (e.g. W. and Trump) and want to reduce our involvement (Obama - but then supporting the Syrian rebels was a big US mistake destabilizing things) end up worsening our involvement and making a big mess of no-win situations. And as Krugman aptly points out - would we tolerate other nations doing these things to us? Isn't that the basic Christian and other religions' mantra for living a good life? As the 60s peace song goes: "When will they ever learn; when will they, ever learn?"Matt VT 7h ago"Why does Trump's international strategy, which might be described as winning through intimidation, keep failing? And why does he keep pursuing it anyway?" It's simple. Soft power strategies are much more effective in the contemporary international system than hard power strategies; hence the failure. Why does he keep pursuing it? When you lose soft power and the ability to form coalitions, the only thing left is hard power.RjW Chicago 6h ago"Trump the Intimidator Fails Again" Don't underestimate this guy. A normal person would resign. He will not. The senate refuses to save the country, our destiny must have been thus. Our time upon the stage will end. The American spirit will have expired. It's worth a fight to the bitter end so... Write, vote, advocate... do whatever you can to avert this seemingly unavoidable disaster. On Iran, we should drop the sanctions and apologize.Notmypresident Los Altos 6h agoI have always read Dr. Krugman's column with some degree of trust and respect. But this time I must take some exception to what he said. Such as "we weren't the kind of country that would betray an ally for the sake of short-term political convenience". Really? Let's not even talk about the Kurds. Ask the S Koreans after UN authorized the reunification of both N and S Korea. Ask the government of S Vietnam and that is beyond whether or not we had any business being there, not to mention the government (corrupt as it was) of Nationalist China. Also, let the people decide whether or not W's adventure into Iraq ended up being a betrayal - do we really have the right to march in the way we did and left the country in a total wreck? Then Afghanistan - aren't we preparing even as I typed this for yet another betrayal? As to Putin's Donny (certainly not we as Americans) slapping punitive tariffs on friendly nations like Canada for no good reason, maybe there is a good reason after all. Do we really know that is not what Putin wants? Reply 22 Recommend ShareRafael Gonzalez Sanford, Florida 6h agoOn the surface all this criticism of the maniacal chief executive in charge of the federal government in Washington would appear to be harsh. But no, it's by far too tame. And one fact that always transcends all self-criticism seems to be the critical "but" included when comparing our criminal actions across the globe in order to advance the so-called "national interest" with other nations' doings. Never mind that from its very inception this country has always guided itself by its favorite mantra of "manifest destiny" to physically demolish others in its way toward pursuing openly imperialistic and bloody goals. Enough said already.Ed Marth St Charles 6h agoWe see what Edmund Burke called unbounded power with undefined purpose. It is policy which is as feeble as it is violent. The experts who offer presidents choices in actions always list least to best, in defining potential success to match policy objectives to most strident with unknown results. Trump chose the most strident with the most unknown result as if he can bully equally strong-minded people who also talk to god as he talks to himself. Equally bad combinations on each side. If, and it is still a big IF, given Trump's long held belief that experts are not to be believed, that taking out the top commander would be a shot to cower the unhappy masses in Iran, it served instead to unify them in the time honored way of starting wars to unify at home. That might have been Trump's real objective here given all the deserved impeachment activity, but it also served to unify the people smart policy would have worked to divide. The plumb line drops straight from the decision to walk away from the nuclear treaty all be cause Obama negotiated it with international expertise and support. Now, the dogs of war are being unleashed all for pet peeves. Reply 22 Recommend ShareRima Regas Southern California 5h agoThe way to look at what Trump does isn't to measure by what we would deem proper and appropriate but, rather, how it personally benefits him and is perceived by his base. Has his order to assassinate a foreign military leader increased or decreased his popularity with Republicans? Does his base even care that we have an entire intelligence apparatus that is supposed to advise a president and that a functioning NSA would have done all it could to discourage him? The same goes for his generals. They carried out his order. Has anyone quit since the order was carried out? Has James Mattis come out in public and told the public how Trump makes his decisions? No. We need to stop applying our logic and our values to score what Trump does and, instead, analyze what is behind what he does. Who is benefitting the most from Trump's foreign and military policy? Who is benefitting from frayed relations with NATO? In whose hands (seen or unseen) will Syria and Iraq be? If we do end up leaving Iraq, will we do so with matters settled and in order for us and for the people of Iraq whom we've let down? Does Trump care? Trump is repaying his debt to Putin while scoring points for more electoral help and turning our attention away from his impeachment. When's the last time he's tweeted about that. The departments of State and Defense will do as ordered. If Trump thinks there are votes in vaporizing Persepolis, the military will carry out his orders no matter what Esper says. Reply 22 Recommend SharePeter Vander Arend Pasadena, CA 5h agoIn retrospect, it's truly sad a young Donald Trump didn't get the stuffing beat out of him as kid in elementary school or at the NY Military Academy. And that made me think of all those supporters who relish the behavior of narcissist megalomaniac who has demonstrated absolutely NO capacity to do the most important job in the nation, and world. The thug Donald Trump as a youngster has morphed into the adult monster who is about to create chaos on an international scale. If Republicans refuse to act because they cower from Trump's (empty) threats, it's conceivable the world will unite and act against a delusional Imperial Monarch. The American public doesn't have to wait for either option - imagine the consequences of massive peaceful protests which shutdown Washington DC and major metropolitan areas. If Americans can demonstrate their outrage and anger PLUS demand action by their elected officials in the House and Senate, all of this madness will be over shortly. Truly, "We the People" have had enough. Reply 21 Recommend Shareasian observer Narberth, PA 5h agoNothing else needed to be added: "From his first days in office, Trump has acted on the apparent belief that he could easily intimidate foreign governments -- that they would quickly fold and allow themselves to be humiliated. That is, he imagined that he faced a world of LINDSEY GRAHAMS, willing to abandon all dignity at the first hint of a challenge."...TouchéCasual Observer Los Angeles 2h agoThe worst may be yet to come. Countries that consider Iran a a troublemaker and even an adversary who rely upon affordable mid-East oil are unwilling to just watch the flow stop due to conflict. Remember how quiet were the Saudis when their oil processing facilities were attacked by Iranian proxies? Striking back would shut down oil exports for a long time. The big European states are not supporting what we did and are attempting to convince Iran to avoid going to war or setting loose it's proxies. The world is no longer relying upon the U.S. for peace and leadership. Rather the world is trying to find a way to achieve a safe distance from us. The U.S. is becoming the most powerful and wealthy country that nobody trusts, anymore.
Jan 08, 2020 | www.nytimes.com
Hineni47 NYC area 6h ago"Unlike with North Korea, it's difficult to imagine any photo op or exchange of love letters defusing the crisis the president has created. " The only thing that might defuse this crisis would be the Senate convicting Trump and removing him from office. It would be a good idea if the House passes another article of impeachment accusing the president of committing an act of war without Congressional authorization.Sirlar Jersey City 3h ago Times PickThreatening to destroy cultural sites of a country is the sign of a deranged madman. I can't believe a US president would dare say something like that. It goes against all the principles America stands for. Nothing will motivate the people of Iran to fight the US more than the threat of destruction to their cultural sites. If we go to war with Iran, this is a Republican war. They own it. When are decent Republicans going to stand up and do the right thing? If they don't, this could be very, very, bad.PatMurphy77 Michigan 5h agoThe Defense department is already walking back Trump's tweet about bombing Iran culture sites. Unfortunately, it's too late because the damage to our reputation as the "shining light on the hill" has already been destroyed. I'm afraid more than now than I have ever been in my life. Who knows when or where the revenge will occur but I'm fairly certain it will happen and we'll be more isolated than ever before. It's taken centuries to build goodwill and our reputation as a beacon of democracy for the world. We gave the keys to the kingdom to a false prophet and we'll pay for his indiscretions for the rest of my lifetime. God help us all.stan continople brooklyn 3h ago Times PickYou've sure got it right with "rapture-mad", and the most frightening thing is that the religious zealotry of Pompeo, Pence, Mulvaney and Barr, inoculates them against any criticism, because they believe they are serving a "higher"power and any criticism is a testimony to their faith. In fact, by turning themselves into martyrs, they get to advance in line for the Rapture. It seems particularly ironic that Evangelicals who support Israel do so because they see God's plan unfolding there. The Jews, just happen to be sacrificial lambs in the grand scheme. so they must must be preserved until the time is ripe for their rightful annihilation, heralding the Second Coming. So, the problem of Pompeo, et al, is not Iran destroying Israel, it's just that they've determined the timing is off.Eric Ashland 4h ago Times PickAs for the "wag the dog" theory, sure, Trump sees no difference between his personal fortunes and national interests. But worse, the impeachment rests upon evidence that points to a personal criminality on an international scale, which is the landscape where we find ourselves. The president pardons convicts like Gallagher and Arpaio because they are cruel or bloodthirsty. He admires dictators and ignores the law whenever he can, both as a private individual and a president, and has obstructed a legal investigation into his corruption. Now, on the international stage, by bypassing Congress, he is ignoring the sovereignty of the American people, while incoherently threatening war crimes. Trump is fully blossoming into a man like those he admires, an unrestrained, unprincipled, heavy hitting international tyrant. I'm so disgusted with those whose job it is to check this man, and have abdicated their responsibility, because they want to be like him. Reply 230 Recommend ShareAaron San Francisco 4h ago Times PickI was at a friend's house on election night ready to celebrate Clinton's victory. When the networks suddenly announced that Trump had won Florida, a professor of international relations who was with us ominously predicted, "we are going to war with Iran." And here we are.PT Melbourne, FL 4h ago Times PickAmerica has become a living nightmare. A global power perceived mostly as benevolent by the world is now a danger to all, including itself. Already having killed the Paris Agreement, and Iran Nuclear Treaty, not to mention walking away from a nuclear arms treaty with the Russians, Trump is now ready to wreak real havoc on the world - start a war. Boy will they forget about impeachment now!Jonathan Baron Staunton, Virginia 5h agoWe haven't authorized the assassination of a military leader since the daring mission to kill Japanese Admiral Yamamoto in 1943. Although he'd been the architect of the Pearl Harbor attack, and we were at war with Japan, this was a departure so significant that it only proceeded after lengthy deliberation. And now, this. Your article fills in precisely how this was so very much not that. But one party is in so cult-deep into this president now that the lies won't stop. Thousands of Iranian have lost their lives in the past month trying to rid themselves of this regime. Not only were those deaths rendered in vain by the assassination of Suleimani, but the Iranian people are also even more yoked to a government they hate. And wasn't the idea of grassroots-driven change in regime a core strategy behind pulling out of the nuclear deal? And it's not okay because Suleimani is "evil." That's both subjective and never a justification for an assassination of a foreign military leader of a nation we're not at war with. As I noted, it was questionable when it was a military leader of nation we were at war with. But, most important, what did we gain from this? Following yet another disasterous military and foreign policy snap decision it only makes the importance of removing Trump from office more urgent. Come for the Constitutional crime but convict because the defendant is also manifestly unfit for the office. People are dying because of it and more will die if he stays. Reply 186 Recommend ShareJoe Portland, ME 3h ago Times PickWhat, then, for an effective response? Outrage is mere fuel: what is the engine? A full year seems too long. The Senate seems hopeless. What does that leave? Must we take to the streets to stop this disaster of a president? All this time spent wondering how this will end makes me feel like a victim of domestic abuse. What a waste. 1 Reply 180 Recommend ShareAnitaSmith New Jersey 4h ago Times PickThe near silence of the countries frequently referred to as our allies -- before the age of Trump -- is deafening.
Jan 08, 2020 | www.nytimes.com
After three harrowing years, we've reached the point many of us feared from the moment Donald Trump was elected. His decision to kill Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran's second most important official, made at Mar-a-Lago with little discernible deliberation , has brought the United States to the brink of a devastating new conflict in the Middle East.
We don't yet know how Iran will retaliate, or whether all-out war will be averted. But already, NATO has suspended its mission training Iraqi forces to fight ISIS . Iraq's Parliament has voted to expel American troops -- a longtime Iranian objective. (On Monday, U.S. forces sent a letter saying they were withdrawing from Iraq in response, only to then claim that it was a draft released in error .) On Sunday, Iran said it will no longer be bound by the remaining restrictions on its nuclear program in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the deal that Trump abandoned in 2018. Trump has been threatening to commit war crimes by destroying Iran's cultural sites and tried to use Twitter to notify Congress of his intention to respond to any Iranian reprisals with military escalation.
The administration has said that the killing of Suleimani was justified by an imminent threat to American lives, but there is no reason to believe this. One skeptical American official told The New York Times that the new intelligence indicated nothing but "a normal Monday in the Middle East," and Democrats briefed on it were unconvinced by the administration's case. The Washington Post reported that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo -- who last year agreed with a Christian Broadcasting Network interviewer that God might have sent Trump to save Israel from the "Iranian menace" -- has been pushing for a hit on Suleimani for months.
Rather than self-defense, the Suleimani killing seems like the dreadful result of several intersecting dynamics. There's the influence of rapture-mad Iran hawks like Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence. Defense officials who might have stood up to Trump have all left the administration. According to Peter Bergen's book "Trump and His Generals," James Mattis, Trump's former secretary of defense, instructed his subordinates not to provide the president with options for a military showdown with Iran. But with Mattis gone, military officials, The Times reported, presented Trump with the possibility of killing Suleimani as the "most extreme" option on a menu of choices, and were "flabbergasted" when he picked it.
Trump likely had mixed motives. He was reportedly upset over TV images of militia supporters storming the American Embassy in Iraq. According to The Post, he also was frustrated by "negative coverage" of his decision last year to order and then call off strikes on Iran.
Beyond that, Trump, now impeached and facing trial in the Senate, has laid out his rationale over years of tweets. The president is a master of projection, and his accusations against others are a decent guide to how he himself will behave . He told us, over and over again , that he believed Barack Obama would start a war with Iran to "save face" and because his "poll numbers are in a tailspin" and he needed to "get re-elected." To Trump, a wag-the-dog war with Iran evidently seemed like a natural move for a president in trouble.
... ... ...
Even if Iran were to somehow decide not to strike back at the United States, it's still ramping up its nuclear program, and Trump has obliterated the possibility of a return to negotiations. "His maximum pressure policy has failed," Nasr said of Trump. "He has only produced a more dangerous Iran."
... ... ... Michelle Goldberg has been an Opinion columnist since 2017. She is the author of several books about politics, religion and women's rights, and was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize for public service in 2018 for reporting on workplace sexual harassment issues. @michelleinbklyn
Jan 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Bubbles , Jan 8 2020 16:29 utc | 103arby @90
Trump has accomplished 3 things in 3 years.
1. Being Santa Claus to Netanyahu, the far right and the very rich (Generous donors)
2. Doing the impossible, making Hillary look like the better of 2 terrible choices
3. Proving 42% of the American public aren't too swift.
Jan 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
bjd , Jan 7 2020 1:28 utc | 153
Zarif is blocked from addressing the UN Security Council .
The level of lawless, petty, childish, infantile, imbecile behaviour is breathtaking.
Jan 08, 2020 | www.msn.com
...The former reality-TV star has long been ignorant of world history and current events. During a 2015 interview , then-candidate Trump did not even know who Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani was. After prompting, Trump mistakenly identified the Iranian general as a Kurdish commander. Once Trump's ignorance was revealed, the frustrated candidate weakly attacked the interviewer for "throwing around names of people and where they live."
The danger posed by that ignorance is matched daily by the crises created by Trump's own erraticism. His performance as commander in chief has been shaped by a collection of scattered grievances, emotional impulses and random tweets. As the Financial Times's Philip Stephens has said of Trump's foreign policy, "Looking for a framework is like searching for symmetrical patterns in a bowl of spaghetti."
This is, after all, a president who spent last summer withholding military aid from a besieged democratic ally while pressuring its leaders to investigate a political opponent. Then, stepping in front of a bank of White House cameras , he asked the same of China. Trump also declared himself " The Chosen One " while embracing the title of "King of Israel," ordered American companies to leave China , manipulated U.S. markets by lying about phone calls with leaders of that same country and canceled bilateral meetings with a NATO leader because she refused to sell Greenland.
Trump's increasingly erratic behavior received much attention at the time, with the Associated Press's Jonathan Lemire and Zeke Miller noting in July that the United States' foreign policy had become unmoored after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and others were driven from the administration. Jeffrey Goldberg, editor of the Atlantic, followed with an article appropriately titled " He's Getting Worse ," in which he glumly noted that "there is no reason to hope that he will reform. His followers reward his radicalism and his handlers are among the most cynical figures in American political history."
We now find ourselves living through a time when those same administration officials are providing reckless counsel to an ignorant and erratic president. Though he shares MacArthur's sense of infallibility, Trump spends most of his waking hours showing the world just how fallible he is. Critics have long warned of a time when this fatally flawed man would be forced to confront an international crisis.
That time has arrived and it is a crisis of Trump's own making.
Soleimani was a malevolent force on the world stage. But so, too, is Kim Jong Un. Will the North Korean dictator be next on the president's kill list? What of Syria's Bashar al-Assad? He is responsible for more deaths than any Arab leader since Saddam Hussein . And what stabilizing impact did the Iraqi tyrant's death have on the region?
Contrary to the vows of candidate Trump, it is likely that the killing of Soleimani will now only deepen U.S. involvement in a region that has already claimed too many American lives. With Russia firmly ensconced in Syria, Iraqi discontent on the rise and Iran's nuclear program restarted, expect more Americans to die across the Middle East in the coming years. With his audacious attack, Trump has further isolated the United States from its allies, provided a lifeline to Iran's terrorist regime and broken yet another of his campaign promises.
Inchon this is not.
Read more from Joe Scarborough's archive , follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook .
Jan 06, 2020 | www.unz.com
President Trump and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told us the US had to assassinate Maj. Gen. Qassim Soleimani last week because he was planning "Imminent attacks" on US citizens. I don't believe them.
Why not? Because Trump and the neocons – like Pompeo – have been lying about Iran for the past three years in an effort to whip up enough support for a US attack. From the phony justification to get out of the Iran nuclear deal, to blaming Yemen on Iran, to blaming Iran for an attack on Saudi oil facilities, the US Administration has fed us a steady stream of lies for three years because they are obsessed with Iran.
And before Trump's obsession with attacking Iran, the past four US Administrations lied ceaselessly to bring about wars on Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Serbia, Somalia, and the list goes on.
At some point, when we've been lied to constantly and consistently for decades about a "threat" that we must "take out" with a military attack, there comes a time where we must assume they are lying until they provide rock solid, irrefutable proof. Thus far they have provided nothing. So I don't believe them.
President Trump has warned that his administration has already targeted 52 sites important to Iran and Iranian culture and the US will attack them if Iran retaliates for the assassination of Gen. Soleimani. Because Iran has no capacity to attack the United States, Iran's retaliation if it comes will likely come against US troops or US government officials stationed or visiting the Middle East. I have a very easy solution for President Trump that will save the lives of American servicemembers and other US officials: just come home. There is absolutely no reason for US troops to be stationed throughout the Middle East to face increased risk of death for nothing.
In our Ron Paul Liberty Report program last week we observed that the US attack on a senior Iranian military officer on Iraqi soil – over the objection of the Iraq government – would serve to finally unite the Iraqi factions against the United States. And so it has: on Sunday the Iraqi parliament voted to expel US troops from Iraqi soil. It may have been a non-binding resolution, but there is no mistaking the sentiment. US troops are not wanted and they are increasingly in danger. So why not listen to the Iraqi parliament?
Bring our troops home, close the US Embassy in Baghdad – a symbol of our aggression – and let the people of the Middle East solve their own problems. Maintain a strong defense to protect the United States, but end this neocon pipe-dream of ruling the world from the barrel of a gun. It does not work. It makes us poorer and more vulnerable to attack. It makes the elites of Washington rich while leaving working and middle class America with the bill. It engenders hatred and a desire for revenge among those who have fallen victim to US interventionist foreign policy. And it results in millions of innocents being killed overseas.
There is no benefit to the United States to trying to run the world. Such a foreign policy brings only bankruptcy – moral and financial. Tell Congress and the Administration that for America's sake we demand the return of US troops from the Middle East! (Republished from The Ron Paul Institute by permission of author or representative)
Jan 07, 2020 | www.nytimes.com
Hineni47 NYC area 6h ago"Unlike with North Korea, it's difficult to imagine any photo op or exchange of love letters defusing the crisis the president has created. " The only thing that might defuse this crisis would be the Senate convicting Trump and removing him from office. It would be a good idea if the House passes another article of impeachment accusing the president of committing an act of war without Congressional authorization.Sirlar Jersey City 3h ago Times PickThreatening to destroy cultural sites of a country is the sign of a deranged madman. I can't believe a US president would dare say something like that. It goes against all the principles America stands for. Nothing will motivate the people of Iran to fight the US more than the threat of destruction to their cultural sites. If we go to war with Iran, this is a Republican war. They own it. When are decent Republicans going to stand up and do the right thing? If they don't, this could be very, very, bad.PatMurphy77 Michigan 5h agoThe Defense department is already walking back Trump's tweet about bombing Iran culture sites. Unfortunately, it's too late because the damage to our reputation as the "shining light on the hill" has already been destroyed. I'm afraid more than now than I have ever been in my life. Who knows when or where the revenge will occur but I'm fairly certain it will happen and we'll be more isolated than ever before. It's taken centuries to build goodwill and our reputation as a beacon of democracy for the world. We gave the keys to the kingdom to a false prophet and we'll pay for his indiscretions for the rest of my lifetime. God help us all.
Jan 07, 2020 | www.nytimes.com
After three harrowing years, we've reached the point many of us fear