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Demonization of Putin

Reuters/David W Cerny

PseudoScience > Who Rules America > Pathological Russophobia of the US elite

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Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Putin-did-it fiasco: Obama repeat Bush's WMD fiasco Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Trump vs. Deep State
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Europe has manufactured an artificial "Russian enemy"
 in order to create an artificial "European identity"

Guy Mettan

Demonization of Putin is integral part of policy of the US and British elite toward Russia, designed to weaken, and, if possible, dismember the Russian state. It is also an instrument of increasing national unity by creating a demonized external enemy.

Russophobia of the US elite should be understood in the context of Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism as Russia represent an obstacle for complete domination of the globe by the US neoliberal empire. Nothing personal here, just business. Recent statements by Putin made at Valday club in Sochi (October 24, 2014) also do not produce any love to Putin from the global and first of all the USA neoliberal elite as well as London-based financial oligarchy. Not accidentally for both the US and GB elite Putin is a "Great Satan".

Like anti-Semitism, Russophobia is based on standard mechanism of Demonization (Wikipedia):

In colloquial usage, the term demonization is used metaphorically to refer to propaganda directed on delitimization of particular individual or group.

Delegitimization is the psychological process which undermines or marginalizes an individual or entity by presenting value judgments as facts which are construed to devalue legitimacy. The ultimate goal of justifying harm or war.

The concept applies to a wide spectrum of social contexts but generally means categorization of individual or groups into extreme social categories which are ultimately excluded from society. Delegitimization provides the moral and the discursive basis to harm the delegitimized group, even in the most inhumane ways.

It is related to stereotyping in a sense that it leads to prejudice when people emotionally react to the name of the person, ascribe evil intention and characteristic to the person or group without evaluating objective evidence.

As always in such cases three-letter agencies are in the vanguard of such complains (Is the CIA Running a Defamation Campaign Against Putin - Russia Insider)

A major topic in the Russian media is mystification with how Putin is portrayed in the Western media. Wildly popular at home, and seen as a decent, modest, an admirable person, and Russians don't understand how there can be such a disconnect with Western impressions.

Recently, leading Russian commentators and politicians have been suggesting that this can only be explained by a deliberate campaign to defame Putin, by governments or other groups.

Yesterday, at a briefing to foreign journalists, Sergey Ivanov, Putin's chief of staff, arguably the 2nd most powerful man in Russia, spoke of an "information war" consisting of "personal attacks" on Putin.

The western media hit a new low...
>The day before another member of Putin's inner circle, Vyasheslav Volodin, made similar remarks, telling foreign journalists "an attack on Putin is an attack on Russia."

The logic, they argue, is that by defaming the leader of a country, you weaken his power domestically by undermining popular support for him, and internationally, by rallying popular opinion to support policies against that country. The ultimate goal, they argue, is to weaken the country itself. They also talk about regime change.

They argue that if one looks at the facts, that there is evidence of ongoing character assassination which cannot be explained by a vague popular zeitgeist in the West, but is more likely the result of a dedicated effort to introduce this defamation into the news flow.

Newsweek has been one of the most virulent Putin-bashers for years

The issue of manipulation of news by intelligence services has been in the news recently with revelations that the CIA and German Secret Service (GSS) have long-running programs to influence how media executives and top journalists convey and interpret the news, including direct cash payments.

Here are some examples they point to:

RI sat down with The Saker, a leading analyst of Russia in international affairs, and asked him what he thinks:

So, is there any credence to this line of thinking, or is this conspiracy theorists running wild?

There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the US is waging a major psyop war against Russia, although not a shooting war, for now, and that what we are seeing is a targeted campaign to discredit Putin and achieve "regime change" in Russia or, should that fail, at the very least "regime weakening" and "Russia weakening".

And the Economist has been the very worst of them all...

So this is a US government program?

Yes, Putin is absolutely hated by certain factions in the US government two main reasons:

1. He partially, but not fully, restored Russia's sovereignty which under Gorbachev and Yeltsin had been totally lost … Russia then was a US colony like Ukraine is today … and,

2. He dared to openly defy the USA and its civilizational model.

… a free and sovereign Russia is perceived by the US "deep state" as an existential threat which has to be crushed. … this is a full-scale political assault on Russia and Putin personally.

So what the Russians are saying, that the constant personal attacks against Putin in the global media are partly the result of deliberate efforts by US intelligence services, … basically, planted stories…

Yes, absolutely

It seems like “Operation Mockingbird” all over again… Are you aware of other instances aimed at Putin?

(Editors Note: Operation Mockingbird was a CIA program started in the 1950s to influence the US media, which was gradually exposed by investigative journalists starting in the late 60s, culminating in sensational televised congressional hearings in 1975 which shocked the nation, forcing the program’s termination. Critics maintain that the same tactics have continued since, under different programs. Wikipedia)

Yes, of course. Since this defamation has very little traction with the Russian public … Putin's popularity is higher than ever before .., there is an organized campaign to convince them that Putin is "selling out" Novorussia, that he is a puppet of oligarchs who are making deals with Ukrainian oligarchs to back-stab the Novorussian resistance…

… So far, Putin's policies in the Ukraine have enjoyed very strong support from the Russian people who still oppose an overt military intervention…

… but if Kiev attacks Novorussia again - which appears very likely - and if such an attack is successful - which is less likely but always possible - then Putin will be blamed for having given the Ukrainians the time to regroup and reorganize.

Warm and fuzzy...

So you are saying that if the Ukrainian military strengthens its position enough to deliver a serious blow to the East Ukrainians, the US can use this as a method to strike at Putin’s support base…

Yes, that’s right ... there are a lot of "fake patriots" in Russia and abroad who will reject any negotiated solution and who will present any compromise as a "betrayal". They are the "useful idiots" used by western special services to smear and undermine Putin.

Is it limited to government special ops, or are there other groups who might have an interest in doing this?

Yes, well here is something that most people in the west don’t appreciate… there is a major behind-the scenes struggle among Russian elites between what I call the "Eurasian Sovereignists" (basically, those who support Putin) and what I call the "Atlantic Integrationists" (those whom Putin refers to as the "5th column).

The western media talks about this as the struggle between Russian liberals and conservatives, reformers and reactionaries, right?

Well its sort of like that, but not exactly…

The former see Russia's future in the Russian North and East and want to turn Russia towards Asia, Latin America and the rest of the world, while the latter want Russia to become part of the "North Atlantic" power configuration.

The Atlantic Integrationists are now too weak to openly challenge Putin - whose real power base is his immense popular support - but they are quietly sabotaging his efforts to reform Russia while supporting anti-Putin campaigns.

Regarding the revelations of CIA activities in Germany, do you think this is going on in other countries, in the US?

I am sure that this is happening in most countries worldwide. The very nature of the modern corporate media is such that it makes journalists corrupt.

As the French philosopher Alain Soral says "nowadays a reporter is either unemployed or a prostitute". There are, of course, a few exceptions, but by and large this is true.

This is not to say that most journalists are on the take. In the West this is mostly done in a more subtle way - by making it clear which ideas do or do not pass the editorial control, by lavishly rewarding those journalists who 'get it' and by quietly turning away those who don't.

If a journalist or reporter commits the crime of "crimethink" he or she will be sidelined and soon out of work.

There is no real pluralism in the West where the boundaries of what can be said or not are very strictly fixed.

Ok, but is it like what has been revealed in Germany, …similar specific operational programs in France, the UK, Italy, Latin America, etc.

Yes, one has to assume so – it is in their interests to have them and there is no reason for them not to.

As for the CIA, it de-facto controls enough of the corporate media to "set the tone". As somebody who in the past used to read the Soviet press for a living, I can sincerely say that it was far more honest and more pluralistic than the press in the USA or EU today.

Joseph Goebbels or Edward Bernays could not have imagined the degree of sophistication of modern propaganda machines.

If the US is doing it, can't one assume other governments are too? Are the Russians doing it against western leaders?

I think that all governments try to do that kind of stuff. However, what makes the US so unique it a combination of truly phenomenal arrogance and multi-billion dollar budgets.

The US "deep state" owns the western corporate media which is by far the most powerful media on the planet. Most governments can only do that inside their own country ... to smear a political opponent or discredit a public figure, but they simply do not have the resources to mount an international strategic psyop campaign. This is something only the US can do.

So foreign governments are at a great disadvantage in this arena vis-a-vis the US?

Absolutely.

Quotes from Putin speech and answers to the questions at the meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club

 


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[Feb 21, 2017] Red Hysteria Engulfs Washington

Feb 21, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Submitted by Eric Margolis via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

President Dwight Eisenhower's warning about the dangers of the military-industrial complex made half a century ago ring as loud and clear today . The soft coup being mounted against the Trump government by America's 'deep state' reached a new intensity this week as special interests battled for control of Washington.

The newly named national security advisor, Lt Gen Michael Flynn, was ousted by Trump over his chats with Russia's ambassador and what he may or may not have told Vice President Pence. The defenestration of Flynn appeared engineered by our national intelligence agencies in collaboration with the mainstream media and certain Democrats.

Flynn's crime? Talking to the wicked Russians before and after the election. Big, big deal. That's what security advisors are supposed to do: keep an open back channel to other major powers and allies. This is also the job of our intelligence agencies.

There is no good or bad in international affairs. The childish concept of 'good guys' and 'bad guys' comes from the Bush era when simple-minded voters had to be convinced that America was somehow in grave danger from a bunch of angry Mideast goat herds.

The only nations that could threaten America's very existence are nuclear powers Russia, China, India, France, Britain and Israel (and maybe Pakistan) in that order.

Russia has thousands of nuclear warheads targeted on the US mainland. Any real war with Russia would invite doom for both nations. Two near misses are more than enough. Remember the 1962 Cuban missile confrontation and the terrifying 1983 Able Archer scare – near thermonuclear war caused by Ronald Reagan's anti-Russian hysteria and Moscow's panicked response.

Margolis' #1 rule of international relations: make nice and keep on good terms with nations that have nuclear weapons pointed at you. Avoid squabbles over almost all matters. Intelligence agencies play a key role in maintaining the balance of nuclear terror and preventing misunderstandings that can cause war.

Gen. Flynn was a fanatical anti-Islamic wing nut. He was, to use Trumpese, a bigly terrible choice. I'm glad he is gone. But Flynn's sin was being loopy, not talking on the phone to the Russian ambassador. The White House and national intelligence should be talking every day to Moscow, even 'hi Boris, what's new with you guys? 'Nothing much new here either besides the terrible traffic.'

The current hue and cry in the US over Flynn's supposed infraction is entirely a fake political ambush to cripple the Trump administration. Trump caved in much too fast. The deep state is after his scalp: he has threatened to cut the $80 billion per annum intelligence budget – which alone, boys and girls, is larger than Russia's entire defense budget! He's talking about rooting waste out of the Pentagon's almost trillion-dollar budget, spending less on NATO, and ending some of America's imperial wars abroad.

What's to like about Trump if you're a member of the war party and military-industrial-intelligence-Wall Street complex? The complex wants its golden girl Hilary Clinton in charge. She unleashed the current tsunami of anti-Russian hysteria and demonization of Vladimir Putin which shows, sadly, that many Americans have not grown beyond the days of Joe McCarthy.

As a long-time student of Cold War intelligence, my conclusion is that both sides knew pretty much what the other was up to, though KGB and GRU were more professional and skilled than western special services. It would be so much easier and cheaper just to share information on a demand basis. But that would stop the Great Game.

It's sickening watching the arrant hypocrisy and windbaggery in Washington over alleged Russian espionage and manipulation. The US has been buying and manipulating foreign governments since 1945. We even tapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone. This week Wikileaks issued an intercept on CIA spying and manipulation of France's 2012 election. We live in a giant glass house.

The Russians are not our pals. Nor are they the evil empire. We have to normalize our thinking about Russia, grow up and stop using Moscow as a political bogeyman to fight our own internal political battles.

Right now, I'm more worried about the far right crazies in the Trump White House than I am about the Ruskis and Vlad the Bad.

[Feb 21, 2017] The Did-You-Talk-to-Russians Witch Hunt

Notable quotes:
"... Exclusive: Democrats, liberals and media pundits – in their rush to take down President Trump – are pushing a New McCarthyism aimed at Americans who have talked to Russians, risking a new witch hunt. ..."
"... As Democrats compete to become the new War Party – pushing for a dangerous confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia – some constituents are objecting, as Mike Madden did in a letter to Sen. Amy Klobuchar. ..."
Feb 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
RGC : February 20, 2017 at 05:29 AM , 2017 at 05:29 AM
The Did-You-Talk-to-Russians Witch Hunt

February 18, 2017

Exclusive: Democrats, liberals and media pundits – in their rush to take down President Trump – are pushing a New McCarthyism aimed at Americans who have talked to Russians, risking a new witch hunt.

By Robert Parry

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/18/the-did-you-talk-to-russians-witch-hunt/

RGC -> RGC... , February 20, 2017 at 05:35 AM
February 17, 2017

France: Another Ghastly Presidential Election Campaign; the Deep State Rises to the Surface

by Diana Johnstone

As if the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign hadn't been horrendous enough, here comes another one: in France.

The system in France is very different, with multiple candidates in two rounds, most of them highly articulate, who often even discuss real issues. Free television time reduces the influence of big money. The first round on April 23 will select the two finalists for the May 7 runoff, allowing for much greater choice than in the United States.

But monkey see, monkey do, and the mainstream political class wants to mimic the ways of the Empire, even echoing the theme that dominated the 2016 show across the Atlantic: the evil Russians are messing with our wonderful democracy.

The aping of the U.S. system began with "primaries" held by the two main governing parties which obviously aspire to establish themselves as the equivalent of American Democrats and Republicans in a two-party system. The right-wing party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy has already renamed itself Les Républicains and the so-called Socialist Party leaders are just waiting for the proper occasion to call themselves Les Démocrates. But as things are going, neither one of them may come out ahead this time.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/02/17/france-another-ghastly-presidential-election-campaign-the-deep-state-rises-to-the-surface/

RGC -> RGC... , February 20, 2017 at 05:53 AM
Challenging Klobuchar on Ukraine War

February 19, 2017

As Democrats compete to become the new War Party – pushing for a dangerous confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia – some constituents are objecting, as Mike Madden did in a letter to Sen. Amy Klobuchar.


From Mike Madden (of St. Paul, Minnesota)

Dear Senator Klobuchar, I write with concern over statements you have made recently regarding Russia.

These statements have been made both at home and abroad, and they involve two issues; the alleged Russian hack of the presidential election and Russia's actions in the aftermath of the February 22, 2014 coup in Kiev.

U.S. intelligence services allege that President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign to denigrate Hillary Clinton and help elect Donald Trump. The campaign is purported to include the production of fake news, cyber-trolling, and propaganda from Russian state-owned media. It is also alleged that Russia hacked the email accounts of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, subsequently providing the emails to WikiLeaks.

Despite calls from many quarters, the intelligence services have not provided the public with any proof. Instead, Americans are expected to blindly trust these services with a long history of failure. Additionally, the former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, and the former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, have both been known to lie to the public and to Congress, Mr. Clapper doing so under oath.

Meanwhile, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange maintains the emails did not come from Russia (or any other state actor) and his organization has an unblemished record of revealing accurate information in the public interest that would otherwise remain hidden. While responsible journalists continue to use the word 'alleged' to describe the accusations, Republicans with an ax to grind against Russia, and Democrats wishing to distract from their own failings in the campaign, refer to them as fact. Indeed, on the Amy in the News page of your own website, Jordain Carney of The Hill refers to the Russian meddling as "alleged".

A congressional commission to investigate the alleged Russian hacking is not necessary. Even if all the allegations are true, they are altogether common occurrences, and they certainly don't rise to the level of "an act of aggression", "an existential threat to our way of life", or "an attack on the American people" as various Democratic officials have characterized them. Republican Senator John McCain went full monty and called the alleged meddling "an act of war".
Joining War Hawks

It is of concern that you would join Senator McCain and the equally belligerent Senator Lindsey Graham on a tour of Russian provocation through the Baltics, Ukraine, Georgia, and Montenegro. The announcement of your trip (December 28, 2016) on the News Releases page of your website renewed the unproven claim of "Russian interference in our recent election". It also claimed that the countries you were visiting were facing "Russian aggression" and that "Russia illegally annexed Crimea".

It is unfortunate that these claims have become truisms by sheer repetition rather than careful examination of the facts. Russia has not invaded eastern Ukraine. There are no regular units of the Russian military in the breakaway provinces, nor has Russia launched any air strikes from its territory. It has sent weapons and other provisions to the Ukrainian forces seeking autonomy from Kiev, and there are most certainly Russian volunteers operating in Ukraine.

However regrettable, it must be remembered that the unrest was precipitated by the February 22, 2014 overthrow of the democratically elected president Viktor Yanukovych which, speaking of meddling, was assisted by U.S. State Department, other American government agencies, and one Senator John McCain. The subsequent military and paramilitary operations launched by the coup government against the People's Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk were described by President Putin as "uncontrolled crime" spreading into the south and east of the country. In American parlance, both the interim coup government in Kiev and the current government of President Petro Poroshenko have engaged in "killing their own people".

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/19/challenging-klobuchar-on-ukraine-war/

[Feb 20, 2017] Russia contacts insinuations by neocons as a ruse

It was very apt definition. But the reality is that this is not just a trap, this is a multistage covert operation to regain neocon power in Washington...
Feb 17, 2017 | www.merriam-webster.com
Lookups for ruse ("a stratagem or trick usually intended to deceive") spiked after the President of the United States used the word while denying the reports of improper communication between his campaign and Russian intelligence. The FBI is investigating whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian government to affect the outcome of the presidential election.

"Russia is a ruse," Mr. Trump said. "I have nothing to do with Russia, haven't made a phone call to Russia in years."
- cbsnews.com , 16 Feb. 2017

Ruse comes to English from French, in which language it long ago had the meaning of both "trickery" and "a roundabout path taken by fleeing game." The second of these two definitions had a brief period of use in English during the 15th century, but is now quite obsolete.

The word is now little used as a hunting term, and primarily is found to refer to some instance of subterfuge .

[Feb 20, 2017] After Jeffrey Sachs, Larry Summers, the Harvard boys and your neoliberal friends put the former Soviet Union through shock therapy in the early 1990s, Russias GDP shrank by 50 percent

Notable quotes:
"... Give Putin some credit - he ended the Yeltsin crony capitalism that allowed companies like Yukos to be seized by a small group of Yeltsin's buddies. Of course in ending this reign, it is open question who now owns these rights. These article sheds no light on the real question. ..."
"... After Jeffrey Sachs, Larry Summers, the Harvard boys and your neoliberal friends put the former Soviet Union through shock therapy in the early 1990s, Russia's GDP shrank by 50 percent. No wonder they turned to a strong man authoritarian. ..."
"... US spends $5T breaking up Iraq and Afghanistan under the continuum war party and you pick on Putin! There are no differences among politicians when it comes to filling the pentagon trough, except with Trump wanting to back off war with Putin. Putin a dictator yeah but it is not better that the MIC is dictator for life over US spending. ..."
"... Stop finding strawmen to make war on and deal with the damage already done here, by executives peddling F-35 job programs. ..."
Feb 20, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

kthomas : February 20, 2017 at 07:14 AM

For all you Russian cocksuckers:

http://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2017-02-17/vladimir-putin-could-be-worlds-richest-man-with-200-billion-net-worth-report-says?int=news-rec

Tom aka Rusty said in reply to kthomas... , February 20, 2017 at 07:41 AM
totally inappropriate. This is not a Teamsters meeting.
RC AKA Darryl, Ron said in reply to Tom aka Rusty... , February 20, 2017 at 08:37 AM
:<)
pgl -> Tom aka Rusty... , February 20, 2017 at 09:20 AM
Agreed but the article missed the boat:

"After 14 years in power of Russia, and the amount of money that the country has made, and the amount of money that hasn't been spent on schools and roads and hospitals and so on, all that money is in property, bank -- Swiss bank accounts -- shares, hedge funds, managed for Putin and his cronies," he added.

Not that Putin couldn't be worth $200 billion. I bet he is. But how did he get this wealth? Oh yea - those Russian oil companies. That is where Russia's main source of wealth lies.

Give Putin some credit - he ended the Yeltsin crony capitalism that allowed companies like Yukos to be seized by a small group of Yeltsin's buddies. Of course in ending this reign, it is open question who now owns these rights. These article sheds no light on the real question.

Tom aka Rusty said in reply to pgl... , February 20, 2017 at 10:13 AM
I do not have a single shred of respect for Putin. I do not have a single shred of respect for the Chinese leaders. But somehow we have to have diplomatic relationships with both.

And we are tied at the hip with the Chinese economy. And somewhat with the Russians. And we agree some language does not belong here.

Peter K. -> pgl... , February 20, 2017 at 10:15 AM
After Jeffrey Sachs, Larry Summers, the Harvard boys and your neoliberal friends put the former Soviet Union through shock therapy in the early 1990s, Russia's GDP shrank by 50 percent. No wonder they turned to a strong man authoritarian.
RGC -> Peter K.... , February 20, 2017 at 10:29 AM
amen
ilsm -> pgl... , February 20, 2017 at 01:09 PM
US spends $5T breaking up Iraq and Afghanistan under the continuum war party and you pick on Putin! There are no differences among politicians when it comes to filling the pentagon trough, except with Trump wanting to back off war with Putin. Putin a dictator yeah but it is not better that the MIC is dictator for life over US spending.

Stop finding strawmen to make war on and deal with the damage already done here, by executives peddling F-35 job programs.

[Feb 20, 2017] People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage

Notable quotes:
"... Blackmailing Russia can probably be viewed as just an attempt to avoid asking uncomfortable questions (Like who is guilty and who should go to jail ;-) , and to distract the attention from the real problems. As if the return us to the good old Obama days of universal deceit (aka "change we can believe in") , can solve the problems the country faces. ..."
"... As Galbright put it: "People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage." -- John Kenneth Galbraith ..."
"... Neoliberal economists often talk about "flexible labor markets" as desirable but I don't think Krugman ever has. Maybe he has in a roundabout, indirect way. ..."
Feb 20, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
ilsm -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... February 20, 2017 at 06:39 AM
Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS). Spread by neolib propaganda organs claiming to be the "free" press.

More dangerous than Obama's deep state wiretapping republicans and raping the Bill of Rights falsely screaming 'Trump the traitor'!

There is no freedom to lie and to mislead 'we the people'.

New Deal democrat -> ilsm... , February 20, 2017 at 07:34 AM

At risk of being flamed by everybody else with an opinion on this matter, I can see both sides of the issue:

You are correct if Trump is not selling out to Russia.

You are also correct if (1) Trump *is* selling out to Russia, *AND* (2) his voters were aware that he is selling out to Russia, but voted for him with eyes wide open on that issue.

In either of those two cases the Intelligence Community leakers are trying to subvert the democratic will of the people in elected Trump president.

You are wrong if: (1) Trump is selling out to Russia, *AND* (2) his voters did not believe it when they voted for him. In this case the Intelligence Community leakers, in my opinion, are patriotic heroes.

Just because the Intellligence Community is not laying the sources of its intelligence out in the open on the table does not mean that the leakers are wrong. My suspicion is that they are correct (see, e.g., Josh Marshall today. Google is your friend.) The deeper problem is that I suspect Trump's voters simply don't care, even if the Intelligence Community is correct.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> New Deal democrat... , February 20, 2017 at 08:07 AM
No flames from me, Dude. Ya nailed it.
ilsm -> New Deal democrat... , February 20, 2017 at 08:09 AM
I did a mini max regret: More regret with Clinton sold out to neoliberal profiteering war mongers who care only for perpetual war, the max regret I see is unneeded nuclear war over a few hundred thousand Estonians who hate Russia since the Hanseatic league was suppressed by Ivan the Terrible.

Lesser regret with Trump sold out to Russia* that would only bring China I against both US and Russia in about 50 years.

*Trump sold to Russia is Clintonista/Stalinist fantasia sold by the yellow press.

Julio -> New Deal democrat... , February 20, 2017 at 08:25 AM
I disagree. It is not enough that Trump voters were aware of Trump selling out to Russia and didn't care; if there had been conclusive proof of that before the election, other people might have come out to vote against him.

Besides, some of his voters might not care and some might.

In any case, whether the leakers are patriots or traitors does not have to do with subverting "the will of the people". At the most extreme, leaks could lead to, say, impeachment, which is another way to express the will of the people. (Or actually, the will of the plutocrats and their Republican and Democratic running dogs, but that's another discussion).

libezkova -> ilsm... , February 20, 2017 at 11:59 AM
New Deal democrat and couple of other Hillary enthusiasts here used to sing quite a different song as for Hillary bathroom email server ;-).

Russia bogeyman (or "ruse" as Trump aptly defined it) is now used to swipe under the carpet the crisis of neoliberal ideology and the collapse of Democratic Party which is still dominated by Clinton wing of soft neoliberals). Chickhawks like a couple of people here (for example, im1dc), are always want to fight another war, but using some other ("less valuable") peoples bodies as the target of enemy fire.

Democratic Party now is playing an old and very dirty trick called "Catch the thief", when they are the thief.

Why we are not discussing the key issue: how the redistribution of wealth up during the last two decades destabilized the country both economically and politically?

Also it is unclear whether a simple, non-painful way out exists, or this is just something like a pre-collapse stage as happened with Brezhnev socialism in the USSR. The Damocles sword of "peak/plato oil" hangs over neoliberal globalization. That's an undeniable and a very important factor. Another ten (or twenty) years of the "secular stagnation", and then what? Can the current globalized economy function with oil prices above $100 without severe downsizing.

The economic plunder of other countries like the plunder of xUSSR economic space (which helped to save and return to growth the USA economics in 90th, providing half a billion new customers and huge space for "dollarization") is no longer possible as there are no any new USSR that can disintegrate.

Obama achievement of reinstalling neoliberal regimes in Brazil and Argentina ( https://nacla.org/news/2015/10/10/brazil%C2%B4s-sudden-neoliberal-u-turn ) was probably the "last hurrah" of neoliberalism, which is in retreat all over the globe.

And "artificial disintegration" of the countries to open them to neoliberal globalization (aka "controlled chaos") like practiced in Libya and Syria proved to be quite costly and have unforeseen side effects.

The forces that ensured Trump victory are forces that understood at least on intuitive level that huge problems with neoliberalism need something different that kicking the can down the road, and that Hillary might well means the subsequent economic collapse, or WWIII, or both.

Trump might not have a solution, but he was at least courageous enough to ask uncomfortable questions.

Blackmailing Russia can probably be viewed as just an attempt to avoid asking uncomfortable questions (Like who is guilty and who should go to jail ;-) , and to distract the attention from the real problems. As if the return us to the good old Obama days of universal deceit (aka "change we can believe in") , can solve the problems the country faces.

And when neoliberal presstitutes in MSM now blackmail Trump and try to stage "purple" color revolution, this might well be a sign of desperation, not strength.

They have no solution for the country problem, they just want to kick the can down the road and enjoy their privileges while the country burns.

As Galbright put it: "People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage." -- John Kenneth Galbraith

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> JohnH... , February 20, 2017 at 08:16 AM
If you are peddling developed land then you want low interest rates for your customers so that you can get the highest price for your developments. Still there might theoretically be a narrow channel that your deal might slip through if commercial real estate were for some reason assigned a lower risk premium than residential, but ordinarily the opposite is true.

A higher percentage of new businesses fail than new households and if more new households fail then even more new businesses will fail right along with them.

The one possibility for Trump to have it this way would be that he crashes the US economy and all new commercial development would be for Russian tourist to visit America while either deflation and depression or Weimar scale inflation was suppressing prices for US goods in real ruble terms.

JohnH -> New Deal democrat... , February 20, 2017 at 07:31 AM
I expect that if you look at the pre-bellum South, there will be plenty of examples of stagnant wages, low interest rates...

In Mexico, wages never rose regardless of monetary policy.

The point that I've been making for a while: despite a few progressive economists delusions for rapid economic growth to tighten wages, it won't happen for the following reasons.

1) most employers will just say 'no,' probably encouraged centrally by the US Chamber of Commerce and other industry associations. Collusion? You bet.

2) employers will just move jobs abroad, where there's plenty of slack. Flexible labor markets has been one of the big goals of globalization, promoted by the usual suspects including 'librul' economists like Krugman.

3) immigration, which will be temporarily constrained as Trump deports people, but will ultimately be resumed as employers demand cheap, malleable labor.

New Deal democrat -> JohnH... , February 20, 2017 at 07:35 AM
If what we get is easy money, no inflation, and stagnant wages, then that is the Coolidge bubble. We know how that ends.
Peter K. -> JohnH... , February 20, 2017 at 07:36 AM
I disagree. It happened in late 90s. The ideas you mention are factors, including the decline of unions.

What has happened in recent decades is that asset bubbles - like the dot.com and housing bubbles - have popped sending a high pressure economy into a low pressure one with higher unemployment.

Neoliberal economists often talk about "flexible labor markets" as desirable but I don't think Krugman ever has. Maybe he has in a roundabout, indirect way.

JohnH -> Peter K.... , February 20, 2017 at 07:58 AM
Peter K still insists on propagating the myth that the 1990s was a period of easy money that led to increasing wages. Not so:
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/FEDFUNDS

Fed funds rates were consistently about double the rate of inflation.

The fact that the economy boomed and wages increased was due to the tech boom--an unrepeatable anomaly. The Fed and Clinton administration unsuccessfully attempted to stifle it with high rates and budget balancing.

To make sure that wages never rose again, Clinton signed China PNTR, granting China access to WTO, ushering in the great sucking sound of jobs going to China. Krugman cheered.

libezkova -> JohnH... , February 20, 2017 at 12:02 PM
If the neoliberal elite can't part with at least a small part of their privileges, the political destabilization will continue and they might lose everything.

"People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage." -- John Kenneth Galbraith

[Feb 15, 2017] Its Over Folks The Neocons The Deep State Have Neutered The Trump Presidency

Trump wants to tell Russia to do what? ( https://www.rt.com/usa/377346-spicer-russia-return-crimea/ ) ? To return Crimea? Is this what opposition to neocons means in Trumpspeak ???
Notable quotes:
"... "It's Over Folks" The Neocons & The "Deep State" Have Neutered The Trump Presidency ..."
"... For one thing, Flynn dared the unthinkable: he dared to declare that the bloated US intelligence community had to be reformed. Flynn also tried to subordinate the CIA and the Joint Chiefs to the President via the National Security Council. ..."
"... Put differently, Flynn tried to wrestle the ultimate power and authority from the CIA and the Pentagon and subordinate them back to the White House. ..."
"... Ever since Trump made it to the White House, he has taken blow after blow from the Neocon-run Ziomedia, from Congress, from all the Hollywood doubleplusgoodthinking "stars" and even from European politicians. And Trump took each blow without ever fighting back. Nowhere was his famous "you are fired!" to be seen. But I still had hope. I wanted to hope. I felt that it was my duty to hope. ..."
"... It's over, folks, the deep state has won. From now on, Trump will become the proverbial shabbos-goy , the errand boy of the Israel lobby. Hassan Nasrallah was right when he called him 'an idiot '. ..."
"... The Chinese and Iranian will openly laugh. The Russians won't – they will be polite, they will smile, and try to see if some common sense policies can still be salvaged from this disaster. Some might. But any dream of a partnership between Russia and the United States has died tonight. ..."
"... Trump, for all his faults, did favor the US, as a country, over the global Empire. Trump was also acutely aware that 'more of the same' was not an option. He wanted policies commensurate with the actual capabilities of the USA. With Flynn gone and the Neocons back in full control – this is over. Now we are going to be right back to ideology over reality. ..."
"... I am quite sure that nobody today is celebrating in the Kremlin. Putin, Lavrov and the others surely understand exactly what happened. It is as if Khodorkovsy would have succeeded in breaking Putin in 2003. In fact, I have to credit Russian analysts who for several weeks already have been comparing Trump to Yanukovich, who also was elected by a majority of the people and who failed to show the resolve needed to stop the 'color revolution' started against him. But if Trump is the new Yanukovich, will the US become the next Ukraine? ..."
"... Flynn was very much the cornerstone of the hoped-for Trump foreign policy. There was a real chance that he would reign in the huge, bloated and all-powerful three letter agencies and that he would focus US power against the real enemy of the West: the Wahabis. With Flynn gone, this entire conceptual edifice has now come down. We are going to be left with the likes of Mattis and his anti-Iranian statements. Clowns who only impress other clowns. ..."
Feb 14, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
"It's Over Folks" The Neocons & The "Deep State" Have Neutered The Trump Presidency

Submitted and Authored by The Saker

Less than a month ago I warned that a 'color revolution ' was taking place in the USA . My first element of proof was the so-called "investigation" which the CIA, FBI, NSA and others were conducting against President Trump's candidate to become National Security Advisor, General Flynn. Last night, the plot to get rid of Flynn has finally succeeded and General Flynn had to offer his resignation . Trump accepted it.

Now let's immediately get one thing out of the way: Flynn was hardly a saint or a perfect wise man who would single handedly saved the world. That he was not.

However, what Flynn was is the cornerstone of Trump's national security policy . For one thing, Flynn dared the unthinkable: he dared to declare that the bloated US intelligence community had to be reformed. Flynn also tried to subordinate the CIA and the Joint Chiefs to the President via the National Security Council.

Put differently, Flynn tried to wrestle the ultimate power and authority from the CIA and the Pentagon and subordinate them back to the White House. Flynn also wanted to work with Russia. Not because he was a Russia lover, the notion of a Director of the DIA as a Putin-fan is ridiculous, but Flynn was rational, he understood that Russia was no threat to the USA or to Europe and that Russia had the West had common interests. That is another absolutely unforgivable crimethink in Washington DC.

The Neocon run 'deep state' has now forced Flynn to resign under the idiotic pretext that he had a telephone conversation, on an open, insecure and clearly monitored, line with the Russian ambassador.

And Trump accepted this resignation.

Ever since Trump made it to the White House, he has taken blow after blow from the Neocon-run Ziomedia, from Congress, from all the Hollywood doubleplusgoodthinking "stars" and even from European politicians. And Trump took each blow without ever fighting back. Nowhere was his famous "you are fired!" to be seen. But I still had hope. I wanted to hope. I felt that it was my duty to hope.

But now Trump has betrayed us all.

Remember how Obama showed his true face when he hypocritically denounced his friend and pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. ? Today, Trump has shown us his true face. Instead of refusing Flynn's resignation and instead of firing those who dared cook up these ridiculous accusations against Flynn, Trump accepted the resignation. This is not only an act of abject cowardice, it is also an amazingly stupid and self-defeating betrayal because now Trump will be alone, completely alone, facing the likes of Mattis and Pence – hard Cold Warrior types, ideological to the core, folks who want war and simply don't care about reality.

Again, Flynn was not my hero. But he was, by all accounts, Trump's hero. And Trump betrayed him.

The consequences of this will be immense. For one thing, Trump is now clearly broken. It took the 'deep state' only weeks to castrate Trump and to make him bow to the powers that be . Those who would have stood behind Trump will now feel that he will not stand behind them and they will all move back away from him. The Neocons will feel elated by the elimination of their worst enemy and emboldened by this victory they will push on, doubling-down over and over and over again.

It's over, folks, the deep state has won. From now on, Trump will become the proverbial shabbos-goy , the errand boy of the Israel lobby. Hassan Nasrallah was right when he called him 'an idiot '.

The Chinese and Iranian will openly laugh. The Russians won't – they will be polite, they will smile, and try to see if some common sense policies can still be salvaged from this disaster. Some might. But any dream of a partnership between Russia and the United States has died tonight.

The EU leaders will, of course, celebrate. Trump was nowhere the scary bogeyman they feared. Turns out that he is a doormat – very good for the EU.

Where does all this leave us – the millions of anonymous 'deplorables' who try as best we can to resist imperialism, war, violence and injustice?

I think that we were right in our hopes because that is all we had – hopes. No expectations, just hopes. But now we objectively have very little reasons left to hope. For one thing, the Washington 'swamp' will not be drained. If anything, the swamp has triumphed. We can only find some degree of solace in two undeniable facts:

  1. Hillary would have been far worse than any version of a Trump Presidency.
  2. In order to defeat Trump, the US deep state has had to terribly weaken the US and the AngloZionist Empire. Just like Erdogan' purges have left the Turkish military in shambles, the anti-Trump 'color revolution' has inflicted terrible damage on the reputation, authority and even credibility of the USA.

The first one is obvious. So let me clarify the second one. In their hate-filled rage against Trump and the American people (aka "the basket of deplorables") the Neocons have had to show they true face. By their rejection of the outcome of the elections, by their riots, their demonization of Trump, the Neocons have shown two crucial things: first, that the US democracy is a sad joke and that they, the Neocons, are an occupation regime which rules against the will of the American people. In other words, just like Israel, the USA has no legitimacy left. And since, just like Israel, the USA are unable to frighten their enemies, they are basically left with nothing, no legitimacy, no ability to coerce. So yes, the Neocons have won. But their victory is removes the last chance for the US to avoid a collapse.

Trump, for all his faults, did favor the US, as a country, over the global Empire. Trump was also acutely aware that 'more of the same' was not an option. He wanted policies commensurate with the actual capabilities of the USA. With Flynn gone and the Neocons back in full control – this is over. Now we are going to be right back to ideology over reality.

Trump probably could have made America, well, maybe not "great again", but at least stronger, a major world power which could negotiate and use its leverage to get the best deal possible from the others. That's over now. With Trump broken, Russia and China will go right back to their pre-Trump stance: a firm resistance backed by a willingness and capability to confront and defeat the USA at any level.

I am quite sure that nobody today is celebrating in the Kremlin. Putin, Lavrov and the others surely understand exactly what happened. It is as if Khodorkovsy would have succeeded in breaking Putin in 2003. In fact, I have to credit Russian analysts who for several weeks already have been comparing Trump to Yanukovich, who also was elected by a majority of the people and who failed to show the resolve needed to stop the 'color revolution' started against him. But if Trump is the new Yanukovich, will the US become the next Ukraine?

Flynn was very much the cornerstone of the hoped-for Trump foreign policy. There was a real chance that he would reign in the huge, bloated and all-powerful three letter agencies and that he would focus US power against the real enemy of the West: the Wahabis. With Flynn gone, this entire conceptual edifice has now come down. We are going to be left with the likes of Mattis and his anti-Iranian statements. Clowns who only impress other clowns.

Today's Neocon victory is a huge event and it will probably be completely misrepresented by the official media. Ironically, Trump supporters will also try minimize it all. But the reality is that barring a most unlikely last-minute miracle, it's over for Trump and the hopes of millions of people in the USA and the rest of the world who had hoped that the Neocons could be booted out of power by means of a peaceful election. That is clearly not going to happen.

I see very dark clouds on the horizon.

* * *

  • UPDATE1 : Just to stress an important point: the disaster is not so much that Flynn is out but what Trump's caving in to the Neocon tells us about Trump's character (or lack thereof). Ask yourself – after what happened to Flynn, would you stick your neck out for Trump?
  • UPDATE2 : Just as predicted – the Neocons are celebrating and, of course, doubling-down:
  • Son of Captain Nemo , Feb 14, 2017 10:12 PM

    Trump wants to tell Russia to do what? ( https://www.rt.com/usa/377346-spicer-russia-return-crimea/ )

    Here is the REAL United States of America President ( https://www.israelrising.com/bibi-netanyahu-president-trump-see-eye-eye-... ) Booby!!!

    Smell the fetid gas coming out of this "Gluteal Cleft with horns" that owns the U.S. military!

    [Feb 12, 2017] Trump is now assigned to be as designated scapegoat for all blunders of three previous neoliberal administrations by three Deep State wholly-owned subsidiaries: Bloomberg, NYT and Wapo

    Notable quotes:
    "... Bloomberg, like WaPo and NYT, is "a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Deep State" ..."
    "... Thank God they stopped their Putin-did-it nonsense. Now they have found something new along the lines Trump-did-it. Both those attempts to control the narrative are false and dishonest. ..."
    "... I understand that Trump is now assigned to be as designated scapegoat for all blunders of three previous neoliberal administrations. ..."
    Feb 12, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

    im1dc : February 12, 2017 at 07:44 PM

    The Tax stuff is maybe, this is happening now

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-12/america-s-biggest-creditors-dump-treasuries-in-warning-to-trump

    "America's Biggest Creditors Dump Treasuries in Warning to Trump"

    by Brian Chappatta...February 12, 2017...5:00 PM EST

    > Japanese investors cull U.S. government debt by most since '13

    > Currency-hedged returns were worst on record last quarter

    "In the age of Trump, America's biggest foreign creditors are suddenly having second thoughts about financing the U.S. government.

    In Japan, the largest holder of Treasuries, investors culled their stakes in December by the most in almost four years, the Ministry of Finance's most recent figures show. What's striking is the selling has persisted at a time when going abroad has rarely been so attractive. And it's not just the Japanese. Across the world, foreigners are pulling back from U.S. debt like never before.

    From Tokyo to Beijing and London, the consensus is clear: few overseas investors want to step into the $13.9 trillion U.S. Treasury market right now. Whether it's the prospect of bigger deficits and more inflation under President Donald Trump or higher interest rates from the Federal Reserve, the world's safest debt market seems less of a sure thing -- particularly after the upswing in yields since November. And then there is Trump's penchant for saber rattling, which has made staying home that much easier.

    "It may be more difficult than usual for Japanese to invest in Treasuries and the dollar this year because of political uncertainty," said Kenta Inoue, chief strategist for overseas bond investments at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities in Tokyo. "Treasury yields may rise rapidly again in the near future, which will continue to discourage them from buying aggressively."

    Nobody is saying that foreigners will abandon Treasuries altogether. After all, they still hold $5.94 trillion, or roughly 43 percent of the U.S. government debt market. (Though that's down from 56 percent in 2008.) A significant drawdown can harm major holders like Japan and China as much as it does the U.S.

    And, of course, homegrown demand has of late been able to absorb the pickup in overseas selling..."

    libezkova -> im1dc...
    im1dc,

    Here is the link https://www.bloomberg.com/amp/news/articles/2017-02-12/america-s-biggest-creditors-dump-treasuries-in-warning-to-trump )

    Bloomberg, like WaPo and NYT, is "a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Deep State"

    Thank God they stopped their Putin-did-it nonsense. Now they have found something new along the lines Trump-did-it. Both those attempts to control the narrative are false and dishonest.

    I understand that Trump is now assigned to be as designated scapegoat for all blunders of three previous neoliberal administrations.

    But can you please ask yourself two very simple questions:

    1. Who and how accumulated that much debt?
    2. Who did run the wars of neoliberal empire expansion to the tune of five trillion dollars?

    Was it Trump?

    I would greatly appreciated if you can answer them in the reply to this post. Or, even better, make some pause in posting neoliberal propaganda.

    [Feb 12, 2017] America Versus the Deep State - KUNSTLER

    Notable quotes:
    "... Support James Howard Kunstler blog by visiting Jim's Patreon Page ! ..."
    "... The New York Times ..."
    "... Putin Led a Complex Cyberattack Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Finds ..."
    "... Did the Russians make Hillary Clinton look bad? Or did Hillary Clinton manage to do that herself? The NSA propaganda was designed as a smokescreen to conceal the veracity of the Wikileaks releases. Whoever actually rooted out the DNC and Podesta emails for Wikileaks ought to get the Pulitizer Prize for the outstanding public service of disclosing exactly how dishonest the Hillary operation was. ..."
    "... The story may have climaxed with Trump's Friday NSA briefing, the heads of the various top intel agencies all assembled in one room to emphasize the solemn authority of the Deep State's power. ..."
    "... This hulking security apparatus has become a menace to the Republic. ..."
    "... Whether Trump himself is a menace to the Republic remains to be seen. Certainly he is the designated bag-holder for all the economic and financial depravity of several preceding administrations. When the markets blow, do you suppose the Russians will be blamed for that? Did Boris Yeltsin repeal the Glass-Steagall Act? Was Ben Bernanke a puppet of Putin? No, these actions and actors were homegrown American. For more than thirty years, we've been borrowing too much money so we can pretend to afford living in a blue-light-special demolition derby. And now we can't do that anymore. The physics of capital will finally assert itself. ..."
    "... perhaps it's a good thing that the American people for the moment cannot tell exactly what the fuck is going on in this country, because from that dismal place there is nowhere to go but in the direction of clarity. ..."
    Feb 12, 2017 | kunstler.com

    Support James Howard Kunstler blog by visiting Jim's Patreon Page !

    The bamboozlement of the public is nearly complete. The Deep State has persuaded 80 percent of Americans that all news is propaganda, especially the news emanating from the Deep State's own intel department. They're still shooting for 100 percent. The fakest of all "fake news" stories turns out to be "Russia Hacks Election." It was reported conclusively Saturday on the front page of The New York Times , a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Deep State:

    Putin Led a Complex Cyberattack Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Finds

    WASHINGTON - President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia directed a vast cyberattack aimed at denying Hillary Clinton the presidency and installing Donald J. Trump in the Oval Office, the nation's top intelligence agencies said in an extraordinary report they delivered on Friday to Mr. Trump.

    You can be sure that this is now the "official" narrative aimed at the history books, sealing the illegitimacy of Trump's election. It was served up with no direct proof, only the repeated "assertions" that it was so. In fact, it's just this repetition of assertions-without-proof that defines propaganda. It can also be interpreted as a declaration of war against an incoming president. The second civil war now takes shape: It begins inside the groaning overgrown apparatus of the government itself. Perhaps after that it spreads to the WalMart parking lots that have become America's new town square. (WalMart sells pitchforks and patio torches.)

    Did the Russians make Hillary Clinton look bad? Or did Hillary Clinton manage to do that herself? The NSA propaganda was designed as a smokescreen to conceal the veracity of the Wikileaks releases. Whoever actually rooted out the DNC and Podesta emails for Wikileaks ought to get the Pulitizer Prize for the outstanding public service of disclosing exactly how dishonest the Hillary operation was.

    The story may have climaxed with Trump's Friday NSA briefing, the heads of the various top intel agencies all assembled in one room to emphasize the solemn authority of the Deep State's power. Trump worked a nice piece of ju-jitsu afterward, pretending to accept the finding as briefly and hollowly as possible and promising to "look into the matter" after January 20 th - when he can tear a new asshole in the NSA. I hope he does. This hulking security apparatus has become a menace to the Republic.

    Whether Trump himself is a menace to the Republic remains to be seen. Certainly he is the designated bag-holder for all the economic and financial depravity of several preceding administrations. When the markets blow, do you suppose the Russians will be blamed for that? Did Boris Yeltsin repeal the Glass-Steagall Act? Was Ben Bernanke a puppet of Putin? No, these actions and actors were homegrown American. For more than thirty years, we've been borrowing too much money so we can pretend to afford living in a blue-light-special demolition derby. And now we can't do that anymore. The physics of capital will finally assert itself.

    What we're actually seeing in the current ceremonial between the incoming Trump and the outgoing Obama is the smoldering wreckage of the Democratic Party (which I'm still unhappily enrolled in), and flames spreading into the Republican party - as idiots such as Lindsey Graham and John McCain beat their war drums against Russia. The suave Mr. Obama is exiting the scene on a low wave of hysteria and the oafish Trump rolls in on the cloudscape above, tweeting his tweets from on high, and perhaps it's a good thing that the American people for the moment cannot tell exactly what the fuck is going on in this country, because from that dismal place there is nowhere to go but in the direction of clarity.

    ... ... ...

    [Feb 10, 2017] Ilargi The Media – Fake and False and Just Plain Nonsense naked capitalism

    Notable quotes:
    "... By Raúl Ilargi Meijer, editor of Automatic Earth. Originally published at Automatic Earth ..."
    "... British House of Commons Speaker John Bercow can play that game too. He has loudly advertized his refusal to let Trump address UK politicians in the House of Commons and the House of Lords: "An address by a foreign leader to both houses of Parliament is not an automatic right, it is an earned honor.." It's an honor recently gifted to the likes of China President Xi Jinping and the Emir of Kuwait. Fine and upstanding gentlemen in the tradition Britain so likes, nothing like the American President whom he accuses of racism and sexism. ..."
    "... The political/media black hole exists in many other countries too; we are truly entering a whole new phase in both domestic and global affairs. That is what allows for the Trumps and Le Pens of the world to appeal to people; there is nobody else left that people can have any faith in. The system(s) are broken beyond repair, and anyone perceived as belonging to them will be cast aside. Not all at the same time, but all of them nonetheless. ..."
    "... my favorite dump on trump was the times article about the special ops raid in yemen. the obama team planned it, trump pulled the trigger. now we learn the yemen government is against special ops raid. (yemen has a government?) we also learn from the times that obama wouldn't have gone through with the raid because too risky! So saint obama is the good killer, trump the bad killer. it makes you sympathetic to trump. but i think alot of us thought trump would calm down some once in office. calling judiciary names, saying they can't even understand concepts that a "bad high school student" can, is not, what's the word, adult? and you can't ignore the sinister intent behind the muslim ban–it's based on propaganda and fear–it's provenance is neocon. ..."
    "... In complete agreement with you about the dump trump article praising saint obama to the skies because obama allegedly "refused" to OK the special ops raid on Yemen, but Trump did. LIke, THIS time obama "refused" to do it? Why? Speculation is futile, but my speculation is that Obama held off in order to have it fall on Trump. Then Obama could skippity do dah off into the sunset with his burnished halo in tact. ..."
    "... Following Disturbed Voter's comment above – we can usefully distinguish 3 different levels of dishonesty by how hard they are to detect: ..."
    "... Level 1 – the everyday liar/hypocrite whose dishonesty we notice over time by observing that what they do is not consistent with what they say, ..."
    "... Level 2- the regular criminal who hides his honesty from public view, to profit from it, but can be caught by effective law enforcement, and ..."
    "... Level 3- the State Intelligence agency with extreme levels of funding, novel tech. capabilities, secrecy, & ability to ignore or even control law enforcement and large chunks of the public mass media. ..."
    "... It's the Level 3 category that society has become relatively defenseless against. Alternative media carries report after report on how the Iraq War was phony, how the US created al Qaeda and ISIS, how Cheney planned to invade Iraq and 6 other Middle East nations on Sept. 20, 2 ..."
    "... One word that describes our precious country is incompetence. We have gone from being the 'we-can-do-it' nation that put a man on the Moon to the 'hire a Mexican to do it' nation that cannot find its ass with both hands. The fact of our dysfunction and the country's reliance on migrant labor are what gives form to the efforts of Donald Trump. Yet he acts against himself: he is the lazy-man of American politics who requires others to do his heavy lifting. This does not mean physical labor but instead the struggle to become clear in the mind, to craft out of disparate- and contradictory elements a policy outline or philosophy of governing. This is never attempted, it is too difficult, instead there is the recycling of old, bankrupt memes. The candidate's absence of effort leaves a residue of personality: Trump is a blank page upon which others paint in the sketch, an actor who aims to meet (diminished) public expectations and nothing more, sound and fury significant of nothing in particular. ..."
    "... . But our problem is not called Donald Trump. And we need to stop pretending that it is. We are the problem. We allow our governments to tell our armies to bomb and drone innocent people while we watch cooking shows. We have believed, as long as we've been alive, whatever the media feed us, without any critical thought, which we reserve for choosing our next holiday destination ..."
    Feb 10, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    Posted on February 9, 2017 by Yves Smith Yves here. In keeping with the spirit of this post, an Emerson College study found that the American public trusts Trump more than the media . And if I interpret him correctly, Ilargi's post has a small off-key note: a tomato is indeed a fruit.

    By Raúl Ilargi Meijer, editor of Automatic Earth. Originally published at Automatic Earth

    Two and a half weeks after the inauguration, and yes it's only been that long, the media still don't seem to have learned a single thing. They help the Trump campaign on an almost hourly basis by parroting whatever things, invariably judged as crazy, he says. One day it's that negative polls are all fake news, the next it's some list of underreported terror events. All of it gets an avalanche of attention provided by the very people who claim to be against Trump, but greatly help his cause by doing so.

    Not a single thing learned. If Trump tweets tomorrow that tomatoes are really fruits and he's going to have someone draw up a law to make them so, or that Lego should be recognized as an official building material in order to have the Danes, too, pay for the wall, it will be on the front page of every paper and the opening item for every TV news show. The crazier he makes them, the more serious they are taken. The echo chamber is so eager to incessantly repeat to itself and all its inhabitants that he's a crazy dude, it's beyond embarrassing.

    And it takes us ever further away, and rapidly too, from any serious discussion about serious issues, the one very thing that the Trump empire desperately calls for. The press should simply ignore the crazy stuff and focus on what's real, but they can't bring themselves to do so for fear of losing ratings and ad revenues. All Trump needs to do, and that's not a joke, is to fart or burp into their echo chamber and they'll all be happy and giddy and all excited and self-satisfied. A spectacle to behold if ever there was one.

    British House of Commons Speaker John Bercow can play that game too. He has loudly advertized his refusal to let Trump address UK politicians in the House of Commons and the House of Lords: "An address by a foreign leader to both houses of Parliament is not an automatic right, it is an earned honor.." It's an honor recently gifted to the likes of China President Xi Jinping and the Emir of Kuwait. Fine and upstanding gentlemen in the tradition Britain so likes, nothing like the American President whom he accuses of racism and sexism.

    The racism part ostensibly is a reaction to Trump's Muslim ban, which, nutty though it is, is not a Muslim ban because most Muslims are not affected by it, and besides, 'Muslim' is not a race. So maybe Bercow would care to explain the 'racism' bit. Has anyone seen the British press pressuring him to do so? Or, alternatively, has anyone seen a thorough analysis of the British role, though its military and its weapons manufacturers, in the premature deaths in the Middle East and North Africa of many thousands of men, women and children belonging to the Muslim 'race'? Not me.

    The 'sexism' accusation refers to Trump's utterances on for instance the Billy Bush tape(s), and by all means let's get the Donald to comment on that. But this comes from a man who speaks as an official representative of the Queen of a country where child sex abuse is a national sport, from politics to churches to football, where literally thousands of children are trying to speak up and testify, after having been silenced, ignored and ridiculed for years, about the unspeakable experiences in their childhood. Surely someone who because of his job description gets to speak in the name of the Queen can be expected to address the behavior of her own subjects before that of strangers.

    Yeah, that Trump guy is a real terrible person. And he should not be allowed to speak to a chamber full of people directly responsible for the death of huge numbers of children in far away sandboxes, for or the abuse of them at home. After all, we're all good Christians and the good book teaches us about "the beam out of thine own eye". So we're good to go.

    What this really tells you is to what extent the political systems in the US and the UK, along with the media that serve them, have turned into a massive void, a vortex, a black hole from which any reflection, criticism or self-awareness can no longer escape. By endlessly and relentlessly pointing to someone, anyone, outside of their own circle of 'righteousness' and political correctness, they have all managed to implant one view of reality in their voters and viewers, while at the same time engaging in the very behavior they accuse the people of that they point to. For profit.

    Child sex abuse has been a staple of British society for a long time, we're talking at least decades. Only now is it starting, but only starting, to be recognized as the vile problem it is. But still many Britons feel entirely justified in demonizing a man who once talked about touching the genitals of grown women. If that did happen against their will, it's repulsive. But still, there's that beam, guys. Read your bible.

    The political/media black hole exists in many other countries too; we are truly entering a whole new phase in both domestic and global affairs. That is what allows for the Trumps and Le Pens of the world to appeal to people; there is nobody else left that people can have any faith in. The system(s) are broken beyond repair, and anyone perceived as belonging to them will be cast aside. Not all at the same time, but all of them nonetheless.

    Whether you call the menu the people have been fed, fake or false or just plain nonsense, it makes no difference. The British House of Commons Speaker may not be such a bad guy inside, he's probably just another victim of the falsehoods, denials and deceit spread 24/7. The difference between them and ordinary citizens is that Her Majesty's representatives in the political field MUST know. They get paid good salaries to represent the Queen's subjects, and looking the other way as children get assaulted and raped does not fit their job description.

    That goes for representatives of the church (i.e. Jesus) just as much of course, and for the execs at the BBC, but about as many of those people are behind bars as there are bankers. For anyone at all at any of these institutions to now speak with great indignation about Trump's alleged racism and sexism is the very core of all of their problems, the very reason why so many turn their backs on them. It shows that the very core or our societies is rotten, and the rot is spreading.

    We are facing a lot of problems, all of us, in many different ways, financially, politically, morally. But our problem is not called Donald Trump. And we need to stop pretending that it is. We are the problem. We allow our governments to tell our armies to bomb and drone innocent people while we watch cooking shows. We have believed, as long as we've been alive, whatever the media feed us, without any critical thought, which we reserve for choosing our next holiday destination.

    The longer this braindead attitude prevails, the worse things will get, and the more Trumps will surface as leaders of their respective countries. And the longer the attitude prevails, the more anger we will spread in those parts of the world that do not belong to our 'chosen' societies. And for that we will have only ourselves to blame. Not Trump.

    Disturbed Voter , February 9, 2017 at 3:14 am

    Citizens and politicians are in a social compact, so it is said. Both sides may have defaulted on the agreement, something the Enlightenment didn't anticipate. In the modern era of triangulation, opposition parties, that used to keep each other relatively honest, no longer do that. In the modern era of media consolidation, opposition newspapers, that used to keep each other relatively honest, no longer do that. Be are being suffocated by de facto bi-partisanship, that is just a shadow play of its former partisanship. The status quo has gone stale.

    geoffrey gray , February 9, 2017 at 3:37 am

    my favorite dump on trump was the times article about the special ops raid in yemen. the obama team planned it, trump pulled the trigger. now we learn the yemen government is against special ops raid. (yemen has a government?) we also learn from the times that obama wouldn't have gone through with the raid because too risky! So saint obama is the good killer, trump the bad killer. it makes you sympathetic to trump. but i think alot of us thought trump would calm down some once in office. calling judiciary names, saying they can't even understand concepts that a "bad high school student" can, is not, what's the word, adult? and you can't ignore the sinister intent behind the muslim ban–it's based on propaganda and fear–it's provenance is neocon.

    RUKidding , February 9, 2017 at 10:43 am

    In complete agreement with you about the dump trump article praising saint obama to the skies because obama allegedly "refused" to OK the special ops raid on Yemen, but Trump did. LIke, THIS time obama "refused" to do it? Why? Speculation is futile, but my speculation is that Obama held off in order to have it fall on Trump. Then Obama could skippity do dah off into the sunset with his burnished halo in tact.

    Gah.

    Agree with the second part of your comment, too. I wish Trump would behave differently. The comment about the judiciary was incredibly wrong and also very stupid. His fervent fans may well clap and cheer for that, but Trump is painting himself into some corners by behaving that way. The Judiciary and lawyers – a powerful group in this nation, for better or worse – simply aren't going to take that laying down. Although I'm sure the judiciary will (mostly) strive for objective impartiality.

    The stupid media would serve themselves, their Oligarch owners, and the nation better if they ignored the bulk of Trump's dumb tweets and focus more closely on what he and his Admin are doing.

    Josh Stern , February 9, 2017 at 3:39 am

    Following Disturbed Voter's comment above – we can usefully distinguish 3 different levels of dishonesty by how hard they are to detect:

    • Level 1 – the everyday liar/hypocrite whose dishonesty we notice over time by observing that what they do is not consistent with what they say,
    • Level 2- the regular criminal who hides his honesty from public view, to profit from it, but can be caught by effective law enforcement, and
    • Level 3- the State Intelligence agency with extreme levels of funding, novel tech. capabilities, secrecy, & ability to ignore or even control law enforcement and large chunks of the public mass media.

    It's the Level 3 category that society has become relatively defenseless against. Alternative media carries report after report on how the Iraq War was phony, how the US created al Qaeda and ISIS, how Cheney planned to invade Iraq and 6 other Middle East nations on Sept. 20, 2001 – not because of any links to US created al Qaeda – and a big chunk of that plan is still being carried out today, 4 Presidential terms later.

    Disturbed Voter , February 9, 2017 at 7:10 am

    While we don't know much about what the intelligence agencies do, by design, we do know a few things. That in the conditions of the early Cold War, and given the mandate against all enemies foreign and domestic (the oath the military takes) that narrative control is a vital weapon. We know that journalists, clergy and even rock stars have been actual agents, so the number of fellow travelers must be considerable. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, it has been necessary, so it was thought by some, to manufacture new enemies on a Vietnam scale. And the exercise and paranoia against domestic enemies has returned to 1960s levels as well. For the old men nostalgic for the 60s, from the neocon side, these last few decades have been sweet.

    Moneta , February 9, 2017 at 7:37 am

    Actually it's the level 1 that leads to level 3.

    Materially, all we really need is to cover and protect our body from the elements and food. Everything else is gravy.

    Psychologically, we need a lot more than what North American society offers most of us today but for some reasons we keep on lying to ourselves thinking that if we had a little more stuff we'd be happier.

    We all have to lie to ourselves thousands of times a day to keep our routines and lifestyles and all these lies make society.

    Jos Oskam , February 9, 2017 at 3:54 am

    Hey Yves, the tomato question does seem to have something to it: "Nix v. Hedden (1893) was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that, under U.S. customs regulations, the tomato should be classified as a vegetable rather than a fruit". From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nix_v._Hedden .

    Note to Ilargi: re tomatoes, somebody got there before Trump :-)

    Gaylord , February 9, 2017 at 4:24 am

    I think a great number of people in the US and in Europe do not trust the MSM any more, even though they may continue to pay attention as a spectator sport (people do enjoy yelling at their TV sets). Activism is another ball game that is still being played, but in the US it has become nearly futile because of the restrictions and police tactics used to squelch them or shut them down. It can also be impossible to distinguish between genuine protesters, paid participants, and shit-disturbers or agents-provocateurs, which dilutes the message (questionable intent by those who want to promote or discredit the demonstration).

    Having read the comments here and on other independent sites for a long time, I've noticed the tremendous increase in articulate and aware commenters that can see through the tissues of lies from the MSM and take even a lot of the "serious" stuff with a grain of salt, knowing that some things don't change much and people tend to overreact based on shock-value news designed to stir resentment and "us vs. them" divisiveness. This is encouraging because it shows people are wising up, thinking more critically about who is really running the show (it is not Trump by-and-large), and not allowing their views to be manipulated.

    european , February 9, 2017 at 4:57 am

    I think Ukraine was a turning point, as the lying of the media was just way too obvious. That opened a lot of eyes. The reporting on Greece and Merkel/Schäuble's austerity terror was equally bad, but not many people understand that.

    Syria: The Media Coverage on Syria is the Biggest Media Lie of our Time

    KurtisMayfield , February 9, 2017 at 8:10 am

    I believe it was Iraq. When they named the 2003 invasion Operation Iraqi Liberation, or O.I.L. , all the pretense of it being for any legit reason was gone.

    Arizona Slim , February 9, 2017 at 8:35 am

    Ah, yes. The Iraq invasion. Wasn't it supposed to be about our freedom?

    RUKidding , February 9, 2017 at 10:45 am

    We citizens were also supposed to get our Iraqi oil dividend back, which allegedly would pay for that many trillion dollar exercise in futility.

    Guess that got syphoned right up into Dick Cheney's pockets. Ya snooze, ya lose.

    OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , February 9, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Huh? Iraq? Did I miss something?
    I heard about some thingy where we wasted trillions of dollars and killed millions of people. But all of the people who thought THAT was a good idea are gone now, hiding their heads in shame and hoping they don't get summoned to a war crimes tribunal. Right?

    polecat , February 9, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    No. They HAVE NO shame !

    BeliTsair , February 9, 2017 at 11:42 am

    I believe it was the Gnadenhutten massacre. The 96 Moravian Lenape, brained with mallets, by Washington's Virginia Militia were probably too busy clawing through their former frozen fields, looking for corn kernels to feed their children, to pose much of a threat as terrorists?

    VietnamVet , February 9, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    Yes, what got to me was the Western instigated coup in Ukraine. I voted for Barrack Obama twice but could not vote for Hillary Clinton. I rationalized that the Iraq Invasion was an isolated crazy GOP debacle. Denial is powerful defense mechanism. If the media lies, America is a not so innocent killer, and the Cold War 2.0 with Russia has reignited; we are screwed. Austerity, scapegoating Russia and the flood of millions of refugees into Europe are proof that this is the awful truth.

    running dog lackey , February 9, 2017 at 4:31 am

    It's about ratings people. The president of NBC himself said it during the campaign when someone asked why he was televising everything the Insane Clown was saying. You all need to watch Network again. Nothing's changed. Which means they brought him up and now they will take him down.

    Tom , February 9, 2017 at 6:03 am

    Ratings are to broadcast or print media as shareholder value is to corporation - the overriding metric that blots out any reponsibility to the commons.

    Chris G , February 9, 2017 at 5:45 am

    "The Speaker may not be such a bad guy inside". Ah, not so. Check out this Pat Lang post,

    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/02/the-mother-of-all-parliaments.html

    and the long trenchant comment by LondonBob including these paras:

    "The Twitter-cheering for John Bercow, the transformation of him into a Love, Actually-style hero of British middle-class probity against a gruff, migrant-banning Yank, could be the most grotesque political spectacle of the year so far. Not because it's virtue-signalling, as claimed by the handful of brave critics who've raised their heads above the online orgy of brown-nosing to wonder if Bercow is really promoting himself rather than parliamentary decency. No, it's worse than that. It's the lowest species of cant, hypocrisy of epic, eye-watering proportions, an effort to erase Bercow's and Parliament's own bloody responsibility for the calamities in the Middle East that Trump is now merely responding to, albeit very badly.

    "Bercow, you see, this supposed hero of the refugees and Middle Eastern migrants temporarily banned from the US, voted for the bombing of Iraq. He green-lighted that horror that did so much to propel the Middle East into the pit of sorrow and savagery it currently finds itself. As his profile on the They Work For You website puts it, 'John Bercow consistently voted for the Iraq War'. On 18 March 2003, he voted against a motion saying the case for war hadn't been made, even though it hadn't. On the same day he voted for the government to 'use all means necessary' to ensure the destruction of Iraq's WMD.

    "As everyone knows now, and as many of us knew back then, Iraq's WMD capacity had been vastly exaggerated by the black propaganda of the New Labour government, by myth and misinformation cynically whipped up to the end of providing Britain's leaders with the thrill of an overseas moral crusade against evil. Bercow voted in favour of these lies. And he voted for the use of 'all means necessary' to tame Saddam's regime. We know what this involved: Britain joined the bombing campaign and courtesy of an ill-thought-through war by Western allies, Iraq was ripped apart and condemned to more than a decade of bloodshed. And refugee crises. Bercow was one of the authors of this calamity, one of the signatories to the Middle East's death warrant, and now we're going to let him posture and preen against Trump's three-month ban on certain Middle Eastern migrants? What is wrong with us?"

    But kudos to kind-hearted Ilargi for willingness to give the benefit of the doubt to one of these preening monsters!

    jackiebass , February 9, 2017 at 6:19 am

    Trump loves any kind of publicity. The media is playing right into his hand by printing all of the garbage he generates.I know many Trump voters and supporters. They all complain that the media is picking on Trump. None of them look seriously at what he says or does. There universal reaction is give him a chance and quit picking on him.The media would be better off focusing on his and congreses policy decisions and how that effect the average person. Turning he's presidency into a big soap opera is actually helping Trump keep his supporters. I have not heard a single Trump voter say they regret voting for Trump.

    Eustache de Saint Pierre , February 9, 2017 at 6:35 am

    Good to see some focus on Britain's version of the Augean stables. In terms of the so called Westminster paedophile ring – the last I heard on this it was that, Ooops .we appear to have lost a substantial amount of vital evidence. I imagine that MI6 have on record most if not all of the disgusting details, which I also imagine are useful assets that can be used to control certain people.

    In my opinion, this is a good explanation from 2015, of the behaviour of the BBC & the Guardian, from journalist Jonathon Cook.

    http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2015-03-03/hsbc-and-the-sham-of-guardians-scott-trust/

    The Trumpening , February 9, 2017 at 7:54 am

    So far Trump has only really accomplished two things: he shut down the TPP and he inspired Lena Dunham to lose some weight. Everything thing else has been more or less noise.

    I've always thought this first two years of Trump's reign will involve him in bringing to heal the establishment GOP (GOPe) Obviously during the confirmation process, Trump has to be on his best behavior. But I don't like the pattern of Trump issuing useless EO's, and then the Democrats going ballistic, and then Trump supporters being satiated by all the Dem whining. That's a recipe for two years of nothing.

    On the Muslim ban, there are two parts to it. The current NeoCon / NeoLib tag-team play is to kill a million Muslims in their nations and then to offer the survivors the weak reach around of letting a million Muslims emigrate to the West. Trump seems to be offering a different deal. The West stops killing Muslims in Muslim nations and in return Muslims stay in Muslim nations and stop coming to the West. We have yet to see if Trump can hold off the temptation to start slaughtering Muslims in their nations like the NeoCons do.

    I get the feeling from Trump's over-the-top reaction to the courts staying his Muslim ban that he actually doesn't want it reinstated. I read on a pro-Trump legal blog that the Justice Department lawyers were super weak in their arguments before the 9th Circuit court, in what should be a super easy case to argue. Activist judges halting the ban means when the inevitable next terrorist attack comes, Trump can blame it on the judges and make some sort of move to purge their power.

    On Iran, Trump has zero leverage and so I do not see how this is going to end well. The only thing we can hope for is this is a bit of Kabuki being regulated by Putin. In the end a US-Russian alliance, as Trump is proposing, means a closer relationship between the US and Iran. Israel will not be pleased.

    My theory on Trump's relationship to Israel is that he is giving them enough rope for them to hang themselves. In Europe particularly the Israeli brand is getting fatally interwoven with the Trump brand. So far the only thing saving Israel is diaspora Jews being able to shame their local populations away from the BDS movement. But the diaspora is 98% anti-Trump. There is currently a huge increase of oxygen being given to the BDS movement, which means it should soon spring back to life.

    Can Trump be allies with Israel and Russia (and Iran)? The only way I can see this happening is a deal where Iran gets to go nuclear and become fully integrated into the global community in exchange for allowing Hezbollah to be wiped out by Israel.

    Trump is at his anti-NeoLiberal best when he is in deep trouble. I was happy when that Access Hollywood tape came out because I knew he would have to double down on Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller and go full-on butch economic nationalist. And it won him the election. Hopefully the seas will get very rough soon and we can all enjoy the spectacle of full combat between Team Trump and the GOPe.

    OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , February 9, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    I like the "offer the survivors a weak reacharound". Reminds me of Vietnam, where we would napalm a village and then fall over ourselves making sure the burn victims all got Band-Aids

    Fiver , February 9, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    The entire Trump military/security team is wildly anti-Muslim, so the thought they are not going to keep on killing Muslims all over the map is just plain silly.

    Bannon is just plain dangerous. Here's a piece on his favorite books. Not surprisingly, he hates Muslims. Also, he appears to imagine himself a brilliant strategist for the ages who just happens to be the right man for 'The Fourth Turning', one of those ideas and books that purports the existence of an historical pattern based on a cycle of generations, each generation of every group of 4 having its own 'character', taken together claiming to explain a long cycle of great crises and/or turning points of US history. He believes we are now in such a critical period. It's one of those notions that has superficial appeal but quickly falls apart when engaged critically:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/02/07/daily-202-five-books-to-understand-stephen-k-bannon/58991fd7e9b69b1406c75c93/

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/William_Strauss_and_Neil_Howe

    Bannon is now running stuff via Briebart's network that will make your hair stand on end:

    http://townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2017/02/06/the-left-hates-you-act-accordingly-n2281602?utm_source=TopBreakingNewsCarousel&utm_medium=story&utm_campaign=BreakingNewsCarousel

    As for Israel, there is not the remotest chance Trump will do something Israel doesn't like – even if he doesn't appoint Elliot Abrams to #2 at State.

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/06/politics/elliott-abrams-state-department/

    Here's what Ron Paul thought of that idea:

    http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/february/07/elliott-abrams-to-state-dept-you-cant-be-serious/

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/06/politics/elliott-abrams-state-department/

    Abrams would be an absolute disaster.

    TPP? Globalization? I see no evidence whatever that Trump has any intention of rolling back US-dominated corporate globalization, rather, he wants to create trade flows that are even more wildly skewed in favour of US financial/corporate power internationally even while effectively transferring wealth from the periphery to core of Empire to support some minor job creation – of course in the meantime granting outlandish tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy at large.

    I'm sorry, but Trump et al have played millions and millions of well-meaning Americans like a fiddle.

    UnhingedBecauseLucid , February 9, 2017 at 8:44 am

    The best description of the "Trump Situation" ever written was penned by 'Steve from Virginia' author of the blog Economic Undertow:

    One word that describes our precious country is incompetence. We have gone from being the 'we-can-do-it' nation that put a man on the Moon to the 'hire a Mexican to do it' nation that cannot find its ass with both hands. The fact of our dysfunction and the country's reliance on migrant labor are what gives form to the efforts of Donald Trump. Yet he acts against himself: he is the lazy-man of American politics who requires others to do his heavy lifting. This does not mean physical labor but instead the struggle to become clear in the mind, to craft out of disparate- and contradictory elements a policy outline or philosophy of governing. This is never attempted, it is too difficult, instead there is the recycling of old, bankrupt memes. The candidate's absence of effort leaves a residue of personality: Trump is a blank page upon which others paint in the sketch, an actor who aims to meet (diminished) public expectations and nothing more, sound and fury significant of nothing in particular.

    bbrawley , February 9, 2017 at 9:09 am

    I'm surprised no one seems to see a serious side to the reporting of Trump's antics. Is it not important to keep hammering home that the man is unhinged and that this is something pulling at the social frabric, something crying out to be dealt with? I seriously doubt that we'll be able to address the "real issues" adequately until we find ways come to terms with him not as a buffoon but as a deeply flawed human being.

    Donald , February 9, 2017 at 9:37 am

    Another false note–"Muslim is not a race." True, but being Jewish is not a racial characteristic and yet it is obvious that antisemitism is very similar to racism in its irrationality and hatred. Antisemites a hundred years ago would in some cases point to radicals who were Jewish as their excuse, just as Islamophobes would point to Islamic extremism as theirs. Racists I grew around would point to Idi Amin's Uganda ( yes, I am old) and other African countries with horrible human rights records as proof that American blacks should be grateful to be here.

    This "Islam is not a race" is mainly a tiresome distraction used by bigots and not a prelude to a deeper discussion on the wide varieties of human bigotries. Bigots can use almost any category they wish and concoct pseudo- rational propositions to buttress their hatred. We even have lefties hating blue collar white males as a group for Trump support. We don't have to join the people who use nitpicking phrases not to analyze, but to justify their hatreds. I don't think the writer intends to do this, but he is using a standard Muslim blame cannon phrase.

    After all this, I actually liked the rest of this piece, but that part was nails on a chalkboard to me. I am glad the liberal mainstream is siding with Muslims against Trump. There are some liberals ( Maher, Sam Harris etc..) who have been pushing a Muslim bashing agenda. And yes, as usual the mainstream which is so solicitous of Muslim rights cared little when Obama bombed Muslim countries. But I would rather that liberals be right if hypocritical then consistently wrong.

    Optimader , February 9, 2017 at 10:50 am

    As far as the term Racism, i think https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism oretty well captures contemporary common use.

    You forgot to mention Zionist racism directed toward Palestinians. An equally equivalent contemporary application of the term

    On the subject of Trump i believe his executive order is directed toward travelers from seven countries that the previous Potus identified in an anti-terrorist executive order.
    If I have it correctly, Neither Trump or BHO e orders are directed against muslims or any other religion for thats matter.

    Optimader , February 9, 2017 at 10:56 am

    As well do we need to take a deerpath in the woods debate about the legitimacy of the term race?

    Donald , February 9, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    I agree with you on Zionist racism towards Palestinians.

    On the deep path on the definition of racism, it depends. Given the prevalence of Islamophobia in the US, some of it on the left ( including the kneejerk supporters of Israel), I don't think it is helpful to use the "Islam is not a race" phrase as some sort of rebuttal. Islamophobia is a form of bigotry– whether one wants to nitpick about exactly what form should depend on the circumstances.

    Yves Smith Post author , February 9, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    I do not believe in the corruption of language. Confucius said that the beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper names.

    Are you by the same sloppy logic going to cal bias against women and gays "racism"?

    Islamophobia is indeed not racist. Arabs, many American and African blacks, Persians (who are not Arabians) and Indonesians among others are followers of Islam.

    We already have perfectly good works, like "bigotry," "bias," and "discrimination".

    Donald , February 9, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    I probably shouldn't have said anything, since the original poster clearly isn't a bigot, but it set me off because in most cases this "Islam is not a race" phrase is used by Islamophibes and they of course do not follow up by pointing out that it is a form of bigotry, like antisemitism. If the poster here only means we should call it bigotry and not racism, I agree.

    But that meme is used a lot and usually by Islamophobes who won't cop to being bigots either. They aren't trying to have a deep conversation about different forms of bigotry. They are trying to argue that it is rational to fear Muslims because Islam is, in their view, an inherently evil ideology. But in practice Islamophobes are not rational or necessarily even consistent. That's why I wrote my comment, pointing out that bigotry in any form is generally not some carefully thought out logical train of thought, but some pseudo- rational set of propositions often garbled together. This is why a Sikh can get beaten up by Islamophobes. It is also why antisemites are often so confused about whether they hate Jews as a religion, as an alleged race, or as some group of scary communist bankers. It's not like racism itself is usually based on a clear understanding of biology.

    So if we are going to push back on Islamophobia as racism, it should be so people see it as like antisemitism, which is what it most closely resembles.

    I have written enough today, so I am going to stop.

    optimader , February 9, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    Re Confucius, George Orwell had his thoughts along those lines. re: intentional corruption of language.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_and_the_English_Language

    The reality is language evolves, often for the worse making clarity of message a casualty, unless a tedious definition of terms is invoked which can easily end up being a form of deflection from the original point.. ..
    File under :Liberal/Conservative/Neoliberal/Progressive. I find all these Identity Labels can be very loosely applied for reasons other than clarity.

    In the case of the word Race, it is, some would correctly contend, archaic terminology while simultaneously being convenient shorthand for "red meat" identity invectives.

    River , February 9, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Muslim isn't a race. If the ban had been about Arabs not being allowed in you'd have a point. However, a person from Indonesia is allowed in and that country is almost entirely Muslim.

    Plus, complaining about the US exercising boarder control is ridiculous. That is one the jobs of a nation. No one bat an eye when Japan stated we're not allowing anyone in wrt to any refugee problem. Yet when any Western nation does it, the sky falls and the charges of bigotry come out.

    No one has the right to move to another country.

    Donald , February 9, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    People who live in countries that are bombed by the US or its close allies have the moral right to come here. Yemen, for instance, is bombed by the US and much more heavily by the Saudis with our help and keeping refugees from Yemen out is an extreme form of ugly Americanism. If we don't want the refugees, then we should stop causing or contributing to the chaos and death in the countries which produce the refugees.

    Gorgar Laughed , February 9, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    >People who live in countries that are bombed by the US or its close allies have the moral right to come here.

    And where are these rights enumerated? I don't recognize "moral rights" beyond those associated with copyright (and I am not particularly fond of those, either).

    Donald , February 9, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    So the fact that we are bombing civilians and helping the Saudis plunge Yemen into a famine is something you don't question, just the right of our victims to come here?

    Gorgar Laughed , February 9, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    Not fond of herring, either.

    "Our victims"?

    The legacy of Obama's incompetence in foreign policy does not obligate American citizens to accept - or to foist upon their posterity - changes in the demographic make-up of our populace.

    I'm still interested in learning where you discovered this moral right to move here

    Donald , February 9, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Not fond of herring either?

    In other words, morality is a matter of preference and your number one moral value in this context is keeping out refugees, people who suffer precisely because of our foreign policy. Demographic balance is somewhere near the top of your own personal list of flavors. Anyway, my notion of moral right involves the crazy idea that if you help destroy a country you have moral obligations to the victims.

    And by the way, Trump is likely to escalate our support for the Saudi war on Yemen.

    OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , February 9, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    LOL it certainly was a matter of preference for our recently departed Drone-Bomber-In-Chief, and for all of the people who (thought/think) he was a really moral and upstanding kind of guy. Just like our former Secretary of State, who threatened to cut off Sweden if they didn't accept Monsanto poison.
    "You're black!" said the pot to the kettle

    Optimader , February 9, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    "People who live in countries that are bombed by the US or its close allies have the moral right to come here."

    Bullsht.
    The US does have the moral obligation not to bomb countries that have not attacked the US and in that case only in a "just war" context if at all

    Donald , February 9, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    Meaningless. The US frequently bombs innocent people or helps others like the Saudis or the Israelis do so. You say it is wrong, as do I, but apparently there are no consequences allowed in your moral universe which might inconvenience us. We really have no moral obligations at all– we can bomb people and if the survivors wish to come here to escape then we have the right to keep them out according to you. All this boils down to is that we have the strongest military. Your views regarding whether we should bomb someone are nothing more than your own idiosyncratic preference and that is using your own standard. The people who control the military want to use it to bomb other countries, so they do. Might makes Right.

    bob , February 9, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    " Your views regarding whether we should bomb someone are nothing more than your own idiosyncratic preference and that is using your own standard."

    "The US does have the moral obligation not to bomb countries that have not attacked the US and in that case only in a "just war" context if at all"

    Can't read, or don't want to?

    Donald , February 9, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    I read it. So what? If we go ahead and bomb countries anyway, creating refugees, we have no obligation to help them. It is like saying that it was wrong for some Wall Street guys to steal people's money, but if they do, they have no obligation to give it back.

    bob , February 9, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    "I read it. So what? If we go ahead and bomb countries anyway"

    If we go ahead and assume that the earth is flat, why shouldn't "we" all relocate another planet?

    It's just that simple, and your keyboard strawmanning is making all the difference, for "we".

    Ground rules- am I arguing with "Donald" or the Royal We, or a heap of straw that you, pardon We(?), keep producing?

    Donald , February 9, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    The US does bomb countries, so your flat earth analogy doesn't really work here. We aren't discussing hypotheticals. There are real refugees from real policies and Trump is likely to continue them or make them worse. We are directly responsible for the misery of vast numbers of people and the numbers are likely to grow. Set aside the internet squabble we are having, because you are so wrapped up in it you are losing touch with what we are arguing about.

    Anyway, as I just wrote upthread, I have written enough.

    bob , February 9, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    "Anyway, as I just wrote upthread, I have written enough."

    That we'll agree on. Maybe another day you can elucidate on why you bother writing when you could find an airbase and stand on the runway, to stop the bombing.

    Anon , February 9, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    No one has the right to move to another country.

    Even after their homeland has been bombed, invaded, population tortured, social structure crushed?

    River , February 9, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    No they don't have that right. It falls under "that's your problem".

    Now, as harsh as that is I think from a humanitarian view and basic decency another nation should show some compassion and allow them succor. However, nations and the people of those nations are under no obligation to do so.

    Moral rights are meaningless. And yes, I do agree that another nation shouldn't create the refugees to begin with. As I find war to be a tool that is to be used as last resort. What has been occurring in the mid-East has been so far from a last resort that I can't even come up with a decent metaphor or simile.

    But that still doesn't change the fact that people do not have the right to enter another nation if the nation decides to say "No".

    Donald , February 9, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    So if we go ahead and bomb Yemen or help the Saudis bomb Yemen, it really doesn't matter at all. We are responsible for war crimes, but we have zero obligation to help the victims.

    You switch back and forth between talk of morality and the law of the strongest. You say we shouldn't bomb other countries for no good reason, but that is as much a meaningless platitude as you say moral rights are in general. Basically you find it distasteful that we bomb other countries, but what really exercises you is the possibility that some refugees might come here. That will not stand.

    Gorgar Laughed , February 9, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Have you ever heard of the Melian Dialogue?

    There is a nice little re-enactment of it over at the Youtubes

    Donald , February 9, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Yep. The strong do what they can and the weak do what they must. Nihilistic, but certainly a viewpoint I expect would be popular with the powerful.

    Gorgar Laughed , February 9, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    You miss the point. Realism is not nihilism.

    The Athenians had no good reason to suppose that the Gods would not favor them.

    There was nothing in their laws or beliefs to suggest otherwise.

    Similarly, there is nothing in our laws that requires us to accept population transfers because this or that President drops bombs in a far away country on people of whom we know nothing.

    Yves Smith Post author , February 9, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Anon is correct. We can be obligated to bomb other countries by treaty. For instance, we bombed France to oust the Nazis as a result of treaty obligations. It is also correct to say that the US has been flagrantly ignoring what were considered to be international norms (pretty much no one notices here, but Russia has been making a stink on a regular basis in the UN).

    PKMKII , February 9, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Any day since 1/20, you could look at the front page of WaPo, NYT, CNN, etc., and see op-eds about how Trump is very very non-professional, sullying the good name of the office of the President. Denigrating the institution and the very very serious role it plays in American society, nay, the world! And yet the same front page will also cover, in-detail, whatever halfbaked Trump tweet or Spicer's performance-art-as-press-conference has been served up that day. They recognize that it's become a farce, but like someone who can't stop poking the tooth that hurts, they present the farce as being very very important news. The establishment press has become too enamored of the pomp and circumstance, the ceremonial of the White House media operation and their visible, although largely pointless, role in the whole thing. They're too scared of giving that up, lest they lose prominence or, le horror, have to do real reporting. So the Washington press corp prop up their end of the ceremony in the vain hopes of a return to the way things were, in denial of how their function is quickly becoming redundant. If all they're going to do is talk about Trump's latest tweet, we might as well just stop reading their sites and just read his tweets ourselves. Social media can just give us the press releases directly, we don't need the press to act as town criers, screeching out Trump's decree in the town squares.

    flora , February 9, 2017 at 10:24 am

    an aside re Yves intro:

    "Emerson College study found that the American public trusts Trump more than the media. "

    The WaPo's attempt to turn readers away from great sites like NC with their "fake news" story has backfired spectacularly. Thanks to NC and others furious initial pushback, including well crafted letters from NC's atty and the recipients responses published on NC, the term "fake news" has become a joke in the court of public opinion. It's become a subject for comedy skits. This is no small thing. Actually, it's a pretty big thing. McCarthist witch hunts live and die in the court of public opinion, imo. See: Joseph Welch, "Have you no sense of decency sir?"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1eA5bUzVjA

    And with that exchange the court of public opinion turned against McCarthy and the witch hunt. Now where was I going with this ?

    john bougearel , February 9, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Ha! How dare ya attack my favorite cooking shows! LOL

    Gorgar Laughed , February 9, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    >After all, we're all good Christians

    Who's "We" Paleface? Bercow's not a Christian.

    And it looks as though we may finally be seeing the worm turn on the kiddie rape: the Rochdale rape gang is now set to be deported to Pakistan.

    Local MP Simon Danczuk: "Foreign-born criminals should not be able to hide behind human rights laws to avoid deportation."

    I suspect this line of thinking is going to be picked up in other countries on the Continent, and sooner rather than later.

    Once we start seeing child sex investigations target the English ruling class, we will know that we are getting somewhere

    Blurtman , February 9, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Hispanic isn't a race, nor is Latino, but that has not stopped the MSM, bleeding hearts and SJW's from emoting.

    PKMKII , February 9, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    I was a census worker in 2010, and the forms didn't include Hispanic/Latino as a race; rather, it was put as a separate identity category with sub-answers for specific country of ancestral origin. However, 9 times out of 10 Hispanic responds would have me put "Hispanic" in the write-in box for the "Other" race option (the other 10% would have me write-in their ancestral country). The smarties with the degrees can say it's not a race, but if the people say that's their race, who are we to say otherwise?

    Blurtman , February 9, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Ask Rachel Dolezal. Or perhaps Elizabeth Warren, an undocumented Native American (i.e., Indian). And yes, Pew Research would agree that folks who consider themselves to be Latino consider Latino to be a race. But most are Native American.

    But not anyone can be recognized as Native American in the USA unless they are on a tribal register, which is odd, as the USG seems to subject Native American citizens to a higher level of proof than Native Americans from south of the border.

    Anon y Mouse , February 9, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    " . But our problem is not called Donald Trump. And we need to stop pretending that it is. We are the problem. We allow our governments to tell our armies to bomb and drone innocent people while we watch cooking shows. We have believed, as long as we've been alive, whatever the media feed us, without any critical thought, which we reserve for choosing our next holiday destination." .

    Dear Raul,

    Yes, the media creates distortions in our perceptions. Yes, the orange one plays that terrain like a pro. Yes the British MP is hypocritical. I am with you there.

    "We are the problem." This kind of reasoning may be correct on a cosmic scale but it always seems to run to one of two conclusions. 1) Become a Buddhist and try to improve yourself. 2) Humans are too dumb to survive; wait until nature takes its course and humans kill themselves off playing Russian Roulette.

    I am not sure what your are recommending here. Do we let the orange sacred clown run this imperialist project into the ground? (To be replaced by what?) Or in opposing Trump do we clarify what we do want = i.e. a government that does not torture, a government that does not protect gotcha game mortgage lenders, a government that does not arm the world, a government that does not subsidize old suicidal fossil fuels, a government that is not run by a hysterical 3 AM tweeting 16 year old Marie Antoinette, your issue here .

    I don't know the answer here. The orange bull in the china shop is useful in so far as he reveals certain truths = ex: waterboarding is torture, congressmen are for sale, America has killed a lot of people, etc. If he stops the NeoCon project of invading other countries he might even be a benefit to world peace. But he's also likely to get people killed with his impulsive decisions and his ginning up the rubes.

    Irrational , February 9, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Not reporting on tweets would free up a lot of time .

    Jeff N , February 9, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    a tomato is a fruit, but you can't use it in "fruit salad" :D

    Waking Up , February 9, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    What this really tells you is to what extent the political systems in the US and the UK, along with the media that serve them, have turned into a massive void, a vortex, a black hole from which any reflection, criticism or self-awareness can no longer escape. By endlessly and relentlessly pointing to someone, anyone, outside of their own circle of 'righteousness' and political correctness, they have all managed to implant one view of reality in their voters and viewers, while at the same time engaging in the very behavior they accuse the people of that they point to. For profit.

    On a recent interview with Donald Trump, Bill O'Reilly stated in regards to Vladimir Putin "But he's a killer". Donald Trump responds with a truth rarely heard in the media today, "There are a lot of killers. Do you think our country is so innocent?"

    I may not be a fan of Donald Trumps, but, how can we put down that level of honesty? Imagine if we actually had an honest nationwide discussion on what we are doing in the rest of the world .

    [Feb 06, 2017] Crazy propaganda from Fedbook, sorry Facebook about Russia oil transportation and discovery

    Notable quotes:
    "... US and EU sanctions only affect Russian offshore projects in the Arctic and development of Russia's tight oil. If sanctions are lifted, projects with foreign participation in these two areas will be able to produce meaningful quantities of oil not before 2025. But these volumes will not be sufficient to flood the market. ..."
    "... Russia is participating in OPEC-non-OPEC supply cuts and certainly is not interested in flooding the market and exerting a downward pressure on prices. ..."
    "... The only Russia's offshore Arctic project is Prirazlomnoye field developed by Gazpromneft without foreign participation (already producing oil). ..."
    "... In general, even if there were no sanctions, Arctic projects would be developed relatively slowly, due to high costs and environmental issues. Russia's long-term energy program anticipates more or less meaningful volumes of oil production in the Arctic offshore only in the 2030s. ..."
    "... Everything in that stuff you wrote is baloney. Russia's Black Sea exports go through Novorossysk and Tuapse. There isn't an oil pipeline going to Crimea. Furthermore, putting an oil loading port in Crimea is nutty (because the oil comes from the East and it makes much more sense to load as far to the East as possible). There used to be some oil loaded in Odessa, but that was never a big deal. ..."
    "... Regarding the Exxon deal, that's also baloney. But I don't feel like trying to explain the basics to somebody who picks up information from Facebook. ..."
    "... From all that I've read, I would conclude that a "flood of oil" out of Russia is about as likely as a "flood of new fracked oil from shales in the United States, not yet drilled." That is, it's rather low on the probability meter. ..."
    "... Why target Russia? Is it because of an impending Seneca cliff in Saudi Arabia? They were supposed to peak 10 years ago but water and nitrogen injections kept them afloat. Now? ..."
    "... Thus, what the United States is playing at here is trying to install a different "regime" in Russia. That being, one that Vladimir Putin does not control or have any influence over. This is easier said than done and the United States knows this. But the stakes are quite a bit higher than controlling the dwindling oil supply in the Middle East. Russia is obviously in control of most of the world's remaining oil reserves. The United States needs a puppet regime in Russia to have access to that oil without paying the correct market price for it. ..."
    "... At some point, this gambit will fail. Russia is not the Middle East. A war with Russia cannot be won or cease-fired out of. Nor can a United States-backed "regime change" succeed over there. This is not the 1990s Russia of Boris Yeltsin. The United States, however, cannot come clean with the truth to the American people. The reason is because if the American people knew the truth, they'd never sleep nights anymore. The truth is this: Our entire economic system is based on petroleum and low-cost petroleum at that. But the actual nightmare is that our entire agricultural system is based on cheap oil." ..."
    Feb 06, 2017 | peakoilbarrel.com
    Boomer II says: 02/05/2017 at 3:59 pm
    I saw this on Facebook. Can anyone respond?

    "Exxon Mobil, under Rex Tillerson, brokered a deal with Russia in 2013 to lease over 60 million acres of Russian land to pump oil out of (which is five times as much land as they lease in the United States), but all that Russian oil would go through pipelines in the Ukraine, who heavily tax the proceeds, and Ukraine was applying for admission into NATO at the time.

    Putin subsequently invaded Ukraine in 2014, secured the routes to export the oil tax-free by sea, and took control of the port where their Black Sea Naval Fleet is based, by taking the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine by force. This was Hitler style imperialism that broke every international law in the free world.
    After Obama sanctioned Russia for the invasion, Exxon Mobil could only pump oil from approximately 3 of those 60+ million acres. But now Rex Tillerson is soon to be our Secretary of State, and as of today, there's information circulating that Donald Trump will likely unilaterally remove all sanctions against Russia in the coming days or weeks.

    The Russian government's oil company, Rosneft, will make half a trillion (500 Billion) dollars from that much untapped oil, all pumped tax-free through Crimea, stolen from Ukraine, now owned by Russia. Putin may have subverted our government just for this deal to go through."
    ______

    Now, a flood of oil on the market from Russia would likely keep US oil prices down, thus hurting US drillers right?

    If one is conspiracy-minded, could that be part of the deal, too? Russia uses low oil prices to take down US oil production, and then tries assert itself as one of the countries left standing.

    clueless says: 02/05/2017 at 4:53 pm
    In about 1780, Catherine the Great and the Ottoman Empire agreed that the Crimea was a part of Russia. [Yes, there was conflict for years prior (as with any other piece of land in the world).] In 1954, in honor of the 300th Anniversary of the Republic of Ukraine being a part of Russia, Nikita Krushchev "gave" the governance of the Crimea to the Republic of Ukraine. It was not constitutional under the Russian constitution. The UN said nothing about it, nor any other international law body. Krushchev later trumped up an approval without even a quorum.

    So the Republic of Ukraine seceded from Russia and took the Crimea with it. In the US, when states (republics) seceded [having been states for much less than 100 years, let alone over 300 years] the rest of the states killed as many people as they could until they "agreed to rejoin the union." People might not like it, but the vast majority of people living in the Crimea had ties to mother Russia, and they voted to go back to being governed by Russia. So, Putin accepted. And please, let's not get into an argument about the fairness of elections, unless your candidate wins.

    So, what would we do if Obama gave South Carolina to Florida, and then Florida seceded. I guess that the rest of the states would just say "shucks, we lost South Carolina too." Especially if South Carolina had the only warm water port in the US [the Crimea has the only warm water port in Russia]. The rest of the ports are in the North Sea, etc. And, yes, that is a critical military point.

    "This was Hitler style imperialism that broke every international law in the free world." That is a pathetic joke! Okay – let's let the US South secede again, since the Cival War broke every international law in the free world and was exactly the same as Hitler's imperialism.

    AlexS says: 02/05/2017 at 6:12 pm
    clueless, thanks for the answer.

    Just one clarification: the ports in Crimea are not the only warm water ports in Russia.
    Russia has several other ports in the Black Sea and Azov Sea.
    Other ports are in the Baltic Sea, Arctic seas and the Pacific; not in the North Sea

    clueless says: 02/06/2017 at 1:59 am
    Perhaps I am wrong, but are those other ports large enough and deep enough for military use [which I failed to state clearly]? I beleive that Russia still operated their huge military port in the Crimea even after the Ukraine seceded and prior to Russia taking back the Crimea.
    AlexS says: 02/06/2017 at 6:17 am
    Sevastopol, the largest port in Crimea, was founded by Catherine the Great as Russia's main military port in the Black Sea.

    It had special status when Crimea was part of the Soviet Ukraine, and also when Ukraine became independent. Russia had a long-term arrangement with Ukraine for using Sevastopol.

    Russia also has a large military port in Novorossiisk (Russian part of Caucasus); but you are right, Sevastopol is deeper, bigger and more convenient.

    Duncan Idaho says: 02/06/2017 at 9:18 am
    Also, the Russian State originated in the Ukraine.
    See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rurik_dynasty

    Rurik set up rule in Novgorod, giving more provincial towns to his brothers. There is some ambiguity even in the Primary Chronicle about the specifics of the story, "hence their paradoxical statement 'the people of Novgorod are of Varangian stock, for formerly they were Slovenes.'" However, archaeological evidence such as "Frankish swords, a sword chape and a tortoiseshell brooch" in the area suggest that there was, in fact, a Scandinavian population during the tenth century at the latest.[3] The "Rurikid Dynasty DNA Project" of FamilyTreeDNA commercial genetic genealogy company reports that Y-DNA testing of the descendants of Rurikids suggests their non-Slavic origin.

    Kiev was the Capital of Russia when Moscow was still a hunting camp

    AlexS says: 02/05/2017 at 5:38 pm
    Boomer II,

    It's your choice to use Facebook as the main source of information on the oil and gas industry, but please don't repost this BS on the oil-dedicated thread.

    Exxon Mobil didn't lease any land in Russia. It is the operator of the Sakhalin-1 project in Russia' Far East (very far from Ukraine); and oil produced from this project is exported by sea (Pacific ocean).

    Exxon's JV with Rosneft has also found an oil field in Kara Sea (Russian Arctic), but this project was suspended due to the sanctions.

    In the past Russia was exporting a small part of its oil by the "Druzhba" ("Friendship") pipeline through Ukraine and was paying normal transporation fee, not taxes.

    Now all Russian oil is exported via Russian oil terminals near Novorossiisk (Black Sea) and Ust-Luga and Primorsk (on the Baltic Sea). New transporation routes include East-Siberia – Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline linking Russian oil fields in Siberia with the ports on Pacific Ocean and with China's Daking; as well as oil terminals in the Arctic (Varandey).

    If US sanctions on Russia are lifted, Rosneft and Exxon will be able to develop their joint project in the Artcic, but oil found there certainly is not worth "half a trillion (500 Billion) dollars', and cannot seriously change the global supply-demand balance.

    clueless gave you a good answer on Crimea

    BTW, 1) there is no oil terminal in Crimea;
    2) Russian oil is taxed in Russia

    Boomer II says: 02/05/2017 at 5:59 pm
    "It's your choice to use Facebook as the main source of information on the oil and gas industry, but please don't repost this BS on the oil-dedicated thread."

    I never use Facebook as a source of information on the oil and gas industry. The topic never comes up among my Facebook friends or my news sources on Facebook. When I want gas and oil info, I use Google to look at legitimate news sources from industry observers.

    I just wanted some people's thoughts on that. Your reaction actually tells me a lot about how you think about it.

    We've had quite a few discussions here about how politics, both domestic and international, shapes oil production, so I was just inquiring about any insight. I'm rather surprised that you are telling me not to even post a question on the subject. Touchy, maybe?

    The relationship between Trump and Russia has triggered some questions, not just among Democrats, but also the GOP. And some people are wondering if there is some tie in about oil.

    I just asked, that's all.

    AlexS says: 02/05/2017 at 6:31 pm
    "some people are wondering if there is some tie in about oil."

    The only "tie in" is Exxon's frozen investments in the Pobeda (Victory) field in the Kara Sea. But that's no secret; you can find information on this project on Exxon's and Rosneft's websites and in international business media.

    The Sakhalin-1 project is not covered by the sanctions and is being successfully developed.

    Boomer II says: 02/05/2017 at 6:08 pm
    And basically what I was asking is this? Will a flood of Russian oil affect US oil prices?

    If you are playing US politics, do you want to put more foreign oil on the market?

    AlexS says: 02/05/2017 at 6:23 pm
    "Will a flood of Russian oil affect US oil prices?"

    US and EU sanctions only affect Russian offshore projects in the Arctic and development of Russia's tight oil. If sanctions are lifted, projects with foreign participation in these two areas will be able to produce meaningful quantities of oil not before 2025. But these volumes will not be sufficient to flood the market.

    Russia is participating in OPEC-non-OPEC supply cuts and certainly is not interested in flooding the market and exerting a downward pressure on prices.

    Boomer II says: 02/05/2017 at 8:56 pm
    So is it possible that the time frame is so far in the future that it's dead to Exxon even if the sanctions are lifted?
    AlexS says: 02/06/2017 at 6:05 am
    I think Exxon could re-enter the project if the sanctions are lifted. If sanctions are not lifted for several years, Rosneft will likely develop this field independently, but it would take more time as Rosneft lacks experience in offshore projects.

    The only Russia's offshore Arctic project is Prirazlomnoye field developed by Gazpromneft without foreign participation (already producing oil).

    In general, even if there were no sanctions, Arctic projects would be developed relatively slowly, due to high costs and environmental issues. Russia's long-term energy program anticipates more or less meaningful volumes of oil production in the Arctic offshore only in the 2030s.

    Watcher says: 02/05/2017 at 5:53 pm
    Politics aside, it's just factually inaccurate.

    "Exxon Mobil, under Rex Tillerson, brokered a deal with Russia in 2013 to lease over 60 million acres of Russian land to pump oil out of (which is five times as much land as they lease in the United States), but all that Russian oil would go through pipelines in the Ukraine"

    Almost all pipelines through Ukraine are nat gas. Not oil. There is some minor oil flow. "All" is just profoundly absurd.

    Russia's oil output is going to Asia and northern Europe via Transneft lines to Poland and Belarus. Not through Ukraine. Haven't looked for where those Exxon leases are, but I'm pretty sure that's the Rosneft joint venture up around the Arctic.

    Nowhere near Ukraine. This is all just completely wrong.

    Boomer II says: 02/05/2017 at 6:10 pm
    Ok. This response is much more helpful.

    Now back to my question about prices. What happens when the sanctions are lifted?

    Duncan Idaho says: 02/05/2017 at 6:45 pm
    Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
    – Alice in Wonderland
    Survivalist says: 02/06/2017 at 12:56 am
    FedBook, er I mean Facebook, is a ghetto of sentimentality. I suggest deleting from it. I joined Facebook once for a very short time and the only thing I learnt from it was that most of my friends are idiots.
    Fred Magyar says: 02/06/2017 at 2:01 pm
    +10
    Duncan Idaho says: 02/06/2017 at 3:06 pm
    Also +10
    One has to be an idiot to be on Facebook
    Fernando Leanme says: 02/06/2017 at 9:36 am
    Everything in that stuff you wrote is baloney. Russia's Black Sea exports go through Novorossysk and Tuapse. There isn't an oil pipeline going to Crimea. Furthermore, putting an oil loading port in Crimea is nutty (because the oil comes from the East and it makes much more sense to load as far to the East as possible). There used to be some oil loaded in Odessa, but that was never a big deal.

    Regarding the Exxon deal, that's also baloney. But I don't feel like trying to explain the basics to somebody who picks up information from Facebook.

    GreenPeople's Media says: 02/06/2017 at 1:14 am
    From all that I've read, I would conclude that a "flood of oil" out of Russia is about as likely as a "flood of new fracked oil from shales in the United States, not yet drilled." That is, it's rather low on the probability meter.

    Again from what I've read (numerous sources) the Russian oil fields are being extracted just about as heavily as they can be at this time, as are the Saudi fields, again relying on a number of different sources.

    Without getting too "tinfoil-hatty" I'd say most of the stories about the global oil markets which promise big bursts of production from (heretofore undisclosed) big new oil fields are in the category of "fake news." These stories serve to boost U.S. consumer confidence and U.S. automobile and light truck sales, but contradict what people in the industry (such as Art Berman, Tadeusz Patzek et al.) are saying about future supply.

    VK says: 02/06/2017 at 7:20 am
    Why target Russia? Is it because of an impending Seneca cliff in Saudi Arabia? They were supposed to peak 10 years ago but water and nitrogen injections kept them afloat. Now?

    https://www.lewrockwell.com/author/jack-perry/?ptype=article

    "I've gotten a couple emails from people who have asked me what I think the "end game" is in regards to Russia. And, indeed, the government is going into extra innings with this whole Russia vilification project. This is worse than someone who has held on to a grudge for years. The government does that, too, but they haven't done it over ideology (as with Cuba) for quite some time now. What, then, is the motive?

    The motive is perfectly clear: Oil. You see, Russia has already eclipsed Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest oil producer. This means the big Saudi oil fields are drying up. And the government knows that, but they can't tell us this because it'll create a panic. One would think this would motivate the United States to get cozier with Russia. However, what the United States government fears is that if we do that, Russia will twig to the motive for it, and realize it has the United States over a barrel. An oil barrel. At which point the price goes up. Not to mention extracting concessions in the global sphere of influence.

    Thus, what the United States is playing at here is trying to install a different "regime" in Russia. That being, one that Vladimir Putin does not control or have any influence over. This is easier said than done and the United States knows this. But the stakes are quite a bit higher than controlling the dwindling oil supply in the Middle East. Russia is obviously in control of most of the world's remaining oil reserves. The United States needs a puppet regime in Russia to have access to that oil without paying the correct market price for it.

    At some point, this gambit will fail. Russia is not the Middle East. A war with Russia cannot be won or cease-fired out of. Nor can a United States-backed "regime change" succeed over there. This is not the 1990s Russia of Boris Yeltsin. The United States, however, cannot come clean with the truth to the American people. The reason is because if the American people knew the truth, they'd never sleep nights anymore. The truth is this: Our entire economic system is based on petroleum and low-cost petroleum at that. But the actual nightmare is that our entire agricultural system is based on cheap oil."

    George Kaplan says: 02/06/2017 at 2:50 pm
    Saudi has had water injection for much longer than ten years on pretty well all it's fields and I don't think they are using nitrogen injection anywhere, there may be some small CO2 EOR projects though. Their production has been maintained by developing three old, heavy oil fields that were mostly dormant (Manifa, Khurais and Shaybah), by using a lot of in-fill drilling and intelligent wells (where water breakthrough can be controlled) on maturing fields and by extensively redeveloping offshore fields with new wellhead platforms and adding artificial lift. I don't think their fields are anywhere near drying up; they may be hitting some limits in surface facilities – probably to do with water injection or treatment of produced water which means they have to continually choke back so as not to damage the reservoirs.

    [Feb 04, 2017] A color revolution is under way in the United States

    Notable quotes:
    "... Question: why can there be no color revolution in the United States? Answer: because there are no US Embassies in the United States. ..."
    "... US intelligence agencies are now investigating their own boss! Yes, according to recent reports , the FBI, CIA, National Security Agency and Treasury Department are now investigating the telephone conversations between General Flynn and the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyk. ..."
    "... In other words, his security clearance is stratospherically high and he will soon become the boss of all the US intelligence services. And yet, these very same intelligence services are investigating him for his contacts with the Russian Ambassador. That is absolutely amazing. ..."
    "... Even in the bad old Soviet Union, the putatively almighty KGB did not have the right to investigate a member of the Communist Party Central Committee without a special authorization of the Politburo (a big mistake, in my opinion, but never mind that). ..."
    "... But in the case of Flynn, several US security agencies can decide to investigate a man who by all standards ought to be considered at least in the top 5 US officials and who clearly has the trust of the new President. And that does not elicit any outrage, apparently. ..."
    "... By the same logic, the three letter agencies might as well investigate Trump for his telephone conversations with Vladimir Putin. ..."
    "... This is all absolutely crazy because this is evidence that the US intelligence community has gone rogue and is now taking its orders from the Neocons and their deep state and not from the President and that these agencies are now acting against the interests of the new President. ..."
    "... pussyhat revolution ..."
    "... pussyhat revolution ..."
    "... Make no mistake, such protests are no more spontaneous than the ones in the Ukraine. Somebody is paying for all this, somebody is organizing it all. And they are using their full bag of tricks. One more example: ..."
    "... Remember the pretty face of Nayirah , the Kuwaiti nurse who told Congress that she had witnessed Iraqi soldiers tossing our babies from Kuwaiti incubators (and who later turned out to be the daughter of Saud Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States)? Do you remember the pretty face of Neda , who " died on TV " in Iran? Well, let me introduce you to Bana Alabe, who wrote a letter to President Trump and, of course, the media got hold of the latter and now she is the "face of the Syrian children". ..."
    "... Okay, click here and take a look at a sampling of anti-Trump caricatures and cartoons compiled by the excellent Colonel Cassad. Some of them are quite remarkable ..."
    "... My purpose in listing all the examples above is to suggest the following: far from having accepted defeat, the Neocons and the US deep state have decided, as they always do, to double-down and they are now embarking on a full-scale "color revolution" which will only end with the impeachment, overthrowal or death of Donald Trump. ..."
    "... One of the most amazing features of this color revolution against Trump is the fact that those behind it don't give a damn about the damage that their war against Trump does to the institution of the President of the United States and, really, to the United States as a whole. That damage is, indeed, immense and the bottom line is this: President Trump is in immense danger of being overthrown and his only hope for survival is to strike back hard and fast. ..."
    "... The other amazing thing is the ugly role Britain plays in this process: all the worst filth against Trump is always eventually traced back right to the UK. How come? Simple. Do you recall how, formally at least, the CIA and NSA did not have the right to spy on US nationals and the British MI6 and GCHQ had no right to spy on British nationals. Both sides found an easy way out: they simply traded services: the CIA and NSA spied on Brits, the MI6 and GCHQ spied on Americans, and then they simply traded the data between "partners" (it appears that since Obama came to power all these measures have now become outdated and everybody is free to spy on whomever the hell they want, including their own nationals). The US Neocons and the US deep state are now using the British special services to produce a stream of filth against Trump which they then report as "intelligence" and which then can be used by Congress as a basis for an investigation. Nice, simple and effective. ..."
    "... 9/11 was a collective crime par excellence . A few men actually executed it, but then thousands, possibly tens of thousands, have used their position to execute the cover-up and to prevent any real investigation. They are ALL guilty of obstruction of justice. By opening a new investigation into 911, but one run by the Justice Department and NOT by Congress, Trump could literally place a "political handgun" next to the head of each politician and threaten to pull the trigger if he does not immediately give up on trying to overthrow Trump. What Trump needs for that is a 100% trusted and 100% faithful man as the director of the FBI, a man with " clean hands, a cool head and a burning heart " (to use the expression of the founder of the Soviet Secret Police, Felix Dzerzhinsky). This man will immediately find himself in physical danger so he will have to be a man of great personal courage and determination. And, of course, this "man" could be a woman (a US equivalent of the Russian prosecutor, Natalia Poklonskaia). ..."
    "... First, at the very least, the Trump Presidency itself: the Neocons and the US deep state will not let Trump implement his campaign promises and program. Instead they will sabotage, ridicule and misrepresent everything he does, even if this is a big success. ..."
    "... Second, it appears that Congress now has the pretext to open several different congressional investigations into Donald Trump. If that is the case, it will be easy for Congress to blackmail Trump and constantly threaten him with political retaliation if he does not "get with the program". ..."
    "... Third, the rabid persecution of Trump by the Neocons and the deep state is weakening the institution of the Presidency. For example, the latest crazy notion floated by some politicians is to " prohibit the President of the United States from using nuclear weapons without congressional authorization except when the United States is under nuclear attack ." From a technical point of view, this is nonsense, but what it does is send the following signal to the rest of the planet: "we, in Congress, believe that our Commander in Chief cannot be trusted with nuclear weapons." Never mind that they would trust Hillary with the same nukes and never mind that Trump could use only conventional weapons to trigger a global nuclear war anyway (by, for example, a conventional attack on the Kremlin), what they are saying is that the US President is a lunatic that cannot be trusted. How can they then expect him to be take seriously on any topic? ..."
    "... Fourth, can you just imagine what will happen if the anti-Trump forces are successful?! Not only will democracy be totally and terminally crushed inside the USA, but the risks of war, including nuclear, will simply go through the roof. ..."
    "... will Trump have the intelligence to realize the fact that he is under attack and will he have the courage to strike back hard enough ..."
    Feb 04, 2017 | www.unz.com

    A Russian joke goes like this: " Question: why can there be no color revolution in the United States? Answer: because there are no US Embassies in the United States. "

    Funny, maybe, but factually wrong: I believe that a color revolution is being attempted in the USA right now.

    Politico seems to feel the same way. See their recent cover :

    While I did predict that " The USA is about to face the worst crisis of its history " as far back as October of last year, a month before the elections, I have to admit that I am surprised and amazed at the magnitude of the struggle which we see taking place before our eyes. It is now clear that the Neocons did declare war on Trump and some, like Paul Craig Roberts, believe that Trump has now returned them the favor . I sure hope that he is right.

    Let's look at one telling example:

    US intelligence agencies are now investigating their own boss! Yes, according to recent reports , the FBI, CIA, National Security Agency and Treasury Department are now investigating the telephone conversations between General Flynn and the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyk.

    According to Wikipedia, General Flynn is the former

    Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Joint Functional Component Command for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Chair of the Military Intelligence Board Assistant Director of National Intelligence Senior intelligence officer for the Joint Special Operations Command.

    He is also Trump's National Security Advisor. In other words, his security clearance is stratospherically high and he will soon become the boss of all the US intelligence services. And yet, these very same intelligence services are investigating him for his contacts with the Russian Ambassador. That is absolutely amazing.

    Even in the bad old Soviet Union, the putatively almighty KGB did not have the right to investigate a member of the Communist Party Central Committee without a special authorization of the Politburo (a big mistake, in my opinion, but never mind that).

    That roughly means that the top 500 members of the Soviet state could not be investigated by the KGB at all. Furthermore, such was the subordination of the KGB to the Party that for common criminal matters the KGB was barred from investigating any member of the entire Soviet Nomenklatura , roughly 3 million people (and even bigger mistake!).

    But in the case of Flynn, several US security agencies can decide to investigate a man who by all standards ought to be considered at least in the top 5 US officials and who clearly has the trust of the new President. And that does not elicit any outrage, apparently.

    By the same logic, the three letter agencies might as well investigate Trump for his telephone conversations with Vladimir Putin.

    Which, come to think of it, they might well do it soon

    This is all absolutely crazy because this is evidence that the US intelligence community has gone rogue and is now taking its orders from the Neocons and their deep state and not from the President and that these agencies are now acting against the interests of the new President.

    In the meantime, the Soros crowd has already chosen a color: pink. We now are witnessing the " pussyhat revolution " as explained on this website. And if you think that this is just a small fringe of lunatic feminists, you would be quite wrong. For the truly lunatic feminists the "subtle" hint about their " pussyhat revolution " is too subtle, so they prefer making their statement less ambiguous as the image on the right shows.

    This would all be rather funny, in a nauseating way I suppose, if it wasn't for the fact that the media, Congress and Hollywood are fully behind this "100 days of Resistance to Trump" which began by a, quote, "queer dance party" at Mike Pence's house.

    This would be rather hilarious, if it was not for all gravitas with which the corporate media is treating these otherwise rather pathetic "protests".

    Watch how MCNBS's talking head blissfully reporting this event:

    Listen carefully to what Moore says at 2:00. He says that they will "celebrate the fact that Obama is still the President of the United States" and the presstitute replies to him, "yes he is" not once, but twice.

    What are they talking about?! The fact that Obama is still the President?!

    How is it that Homeland Security and the FBI are not investigating MCNBC and Moore for rebellion and sedition ?

    So far, the protests have not been too large, but they did occur in various US cities and they were well covered by the media:

    Make no mistake, such protests are no more spontaneous than the ones in the Ukraine. Somebody is paying for all this, somebody is organizing it all. And they are using their full bag of tricks. One more example:

    Remember the pretty face of Nayirah , the Kuwaiti nurse who told Congress that she had witnessed Iraqi soldiers tossing our babies from Kuwaiti incubators (and who later turned out to be the daughter of Saud Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States)? Do you remember the pretty face of Neda , who " died on TV " in Iran? Well, let me introduce you to Bana Alabe, who wrote a letter to President Trump and, of course, the media got hold of the latter and now she is the "face of the Syrian children".

    Want even more proof?

    Okay, click here and take a look at a sampling of anti-Trump caricatures and cartoons compiled by the excellent Colonel Cassad. Some of them are quite remarkable. From this nauseating collection, I will select just two:

    The first one clearly accuses Trump of being in the hands of Putin. The second one make Trump the heir to Adolf Hitler and strongly suggests that Trump might want to restart Auschwitz. Translated into plain English this sends a double message: Trump is not the legitimate President of the USA and Trump is the ultimate Evil.

    This goes far beyond the kind of satire previous Presidents have ever been subjected to.

    My purpose in listing all the examples above is to suggest the following: far from having accepted defeat, the Neocons and the US deep state have decided, as they always do, to double-down and they are now embarking on a full-scale "color revolution" which will only end with the impeachment, overthrowal or death of Donald Trump.

    One of the most amazing features of this color revolution against Trump is the fact that those behind it don't give a damn about the damage that their war against Trump does to the institution of the President of the United States and, really, to the United States as a whole. That damage is, indeed, immense and the bottom line is this: President Trump is in immense danger of being overthrown and his only hope for survival is to strike back hard and fast.

    The other amazing thing is the ugly role Britain plays in this process: all the worst filth against Trump is always eventually traced back right to the UK. How come? Simple. Do you recall how, formally at least, the CIA and NSA did not have the right to spy on US nationals and the British MI6 and GCHQ had no right to spy on British nationals. Both sides found an easy way out: they simply traded services: the CIA and NSA spied on Brits, the MI6 and GCHQ spied on Americans, and then they simply traded the data between "partners" (it appears that since Obama came to power all these measures have now become outdated and everybody is free to spy on whomever the hell they want, including their own nationals). The US Neocons and the US deep state are now using the British special services to produce a stream of filth against Trump which they then report as "intelligence" and which then can be used by Congress as a basis for an investigation. Nice, simple and effective.

    The bottom line is this: President Trump is in immense danger of being overthrown and his only hope for survival is to strike back hard and fast.

    Can he do that?

    Until now I have suggested several times that Trump deal with the US Neocons the way Putin dealt with the oligarchs in Russia: get them on charges of tax evasion, corruption, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, etc. All that good stuff which the US deep state has been doing for years. The Pentagon and the Three Letter Agencies are probably the most corrupt entities on the planet and since they have never been challenged, never mind punished, for their corruption, they must have become fantastically complacent about how they were doing things, essentially counting on the White House to bail them out in case of problems. The main weapons used by these circles are the numerous secrecy laws which protect them from public and Congressional scrutiny. But here Trump can use his most powerful card: General Flynn who, as former director of the DIA and current National Security Advisor to the President will have total access. And if he doesn't – he can create it, if needed by sending special forces to ensure "collaboration".

    However, I am now beginning to think that this might not be enough. Trump has a much more powerful weapon he can unleash against the Neocon: 9/11.

    Whether Trump knew about it before or not, he is now advised by people like Flynn who must have known for years that 9/11 was in inside job. And if the actual number of people directly implicated in the 9/11 operation itself was relatively small, the number of people which put their full moral and political credibility behind the 9/11 official narrative is immense. Let me put it this way: while 9/11 was a US "deep state" operation (probably subcontracted for execution to the Israelis), the entire Washington "swamp" has been since "9/11 accomplice after the fact" by helping to maintain the cover-up. If this is brought into light, then thousands of political careers are going to crash and burn into the scandal.

    9/11 was a collective crime par excellence . A few men actually executed it, but then thousands, possibly tens of thousands, have used their position to execute the cover-up and to prevent any real investigation. They are ALL guilty of obstruction of justice. By opening a new investigation into 911, but one run by the Justice Department and NOT by Congress, Trump could literally place a "political handgun" next to the head of each politician and threaten to pull the trigger if he does not immediately give up on trying to overthrow Trump. What Trump needs for that is a 100% trusted and 100% faithful man as the director of the FBI, a man with " clean hands, a cool head and a burning heart " (to use the expression of the founder of the Soviet Secret Police, Felix Dzerzhinsky). This man will immediately find himself in physical danger so he will have to be a man of great personal courage and determination. And, of course, this "man" could be a woman (a US equivalent of the Russian prosecutor, Natalia Poklonskaia).

    I fully understand that danger of what I am suggesting as any use of the "9/11 weapon" will, of course, result in an immense counter-attack by the Neocons and the deep state. But here is the deal: the latter are already dead set in impeaching, overthrowing or murdering Donald Trump. And, as Putin once said in an interview, "if you know that a fight is inevitable, then strike first!".

    You think that all is this over the top? Consider what is at stake.

    1. First, at the very least, the Trump Presidency itself: the Neocons and the US deep state will not let Trump implement his campaign promises and program. Instead they will sabotage, ridicule and misrepresent everything he does, even if this is a big success.
    2. Second, it appears that Congress now has the pretext to open several different congressional investigations into Donald Trump. If that is the case, it will be easy for Congress to blackmail Trump and constantly threaten him with political retaliation if he does not "get with the program".
    3. Third, the rabid persecution of Trump by the Neocons and the deep state is weakening the institution of the Presidency. For example, the latest crazy notion floated by some politicians is to " prohibit the President of the United States from using nuclear weapons without congressional authorization except when the United States is under nuclear attack ." From a technical point of view, this is nonsense, but what it does is send the following signal to the rest of the planet: "we, in Congress, believe that our Commander in Chief cannot be trusted with nuclear weapons." Never mind that they would trust Hillary with the same nukes and never mind that Trump could use only conventional weapons to trigger a global nuclear war anyway (by, for example, a conventional attack on the Kremlin), what they are saying is that the US President is a lunatic that cannot be trusted. How can they then expect him to be take seriously on any topic?
    4. Fourth, can you just imagine what will happen if the anti-Trump forces are successful?! Not only will democracy be totally and terminally crushed inside the USA, but the risks of war, including nuclear, will simply go through the roof.

    There is much more at stake here than just petty US politics.

    Every time I think of Trump and every time I look at the news I always come back to the same anguished thought: will Trump have the intelligence to realize the fact that he is under attack and will he have the courage to strike back hard enough ?

    I don't know.

    I have a great deal of hopes for General Flynn. I am confident that he understands the picture perfectly and knows exactly what is going on. But I am not sure that he has enough pull with the rest of the armed forces to keep them on the right side should a crisis happen. Generally, "regular" military types don't like intelligence people. My hope is that Flynn has loyal allies at SOCOM and JSOC as, at the end of the day, they will have the last say as to who occupies the White House. The good news here is that unlike regular military types, special forces and intelligence people are usually very close and used to work together (regular military types also dislike special forces). SOCOM and JSOC will also know how to make sure that the CIA doesn't go rogue.

    Last but not least, my biggest hope is that Trump will use the same weapon Putin used against the Russian elites: the support of the people. But for that task, Twitter is simply not good enough. Trump needs to go the "RT route" and open his own TV channel. Of course, this will be very hard and time consuming, and he might have to begin with an Internet-based only channel, but as long as there is enough money there, he can make it happen. And, just like RT, it needs to be multi-national, politically diverse (including anti-Empire figures who do not support Trump) and include celebrities.

    One of the many mistakes made by Yanukovich in the Ukraine was that he did not dare to fully use the legal instruments of power to stop the neo-Nazis. And to the degree that he used them, it was a disaster (like when the riot cops beat up student demonstrators). After listening to a few interviews of Yanukovich and of people near him during those crucial hours, it appears that Yanukovich simply did not feel that he had a moral right to use violence to suppress the street. We will never now if what truly held him back are moral principles of basic cowardice, but what is certain is that he betrayed his people and his country when he refused to defend real democracy and let the "street" take over replacing democracy with ochlocracy (mob rule). Of course, real ochlocracy does not exists, all mobs are always controlled by behind-the-scenes forces who unleash them just long enough to achieve their goals.

    The forces which are currently trying to impeach, overthrow or murder President Trump are a clear and present danger to the United States as a country and to the US Federal Republic. They are, to use a Russian word, a type of "non-system" opposition which does not want to accept the outcome of the elections and which by rejecting this outcome essentially oppose the entire political system.

    I am not a US citizen (I could, but I refuse that citizenship on principle because I refuse to take the required oath of allegiance) and the only loyalty I owe the USA is the one of a guest: never to deliberately harm it in any way and to obey its laws. And yet it turns my stomach to see how easy it has been to turn millions of Americans against their own country. I write a lot about russophobia on this blog, but I also see a deep-seated "Americanophobia" or "USophobia" in the words and actions who today say that Trump is not their President. To them, they micro-identity as a "liberal" or as a "gay" or as "African-American" means more than the very basic fundamental principles upon which this country has been built. When I see these crowds of Trump-bashers I see pure, seething hatred not of the AngloZionist Empire, or of a plutocracy masquerading as a democracy, but a hatred of what I would call the "simple America" or the "daily America" – the simple people amongst whom I have now lived for many years and learned to respect and appreciate and whom the Clinton-bots only think of as "deplorables

    It amazes me to see that the US pseudo-elites have as much hatred, contempt and fear of the American masses as the Russian pseudo-elites have hatred, contempt and fear of the Russian masses (the Russian equivalent or Hillary's "deplorables" would be a hard to pronounce for English speakers word " быдло ", roughly "cattle", "lumpen" or "rabble"). It amazes me to see that the very same people which have demonized Putin for years are now demonizing Trump using exactly the same methods. And if their own country has to go down in their struggle against the common people – so be it! These self-declared elites will have no compunction whatsoever to destroy the nation their have been parasitizing and exploiting for their own class interest. They did just that to Russia exactly 100 years ago, in 1917. I sure hope that they will not get away with that again in 2017.

    [Jan 28, 2017] Putin said for over two centuries Russia has supported the United States, was its ally during the two world wars, and now sees the United States as a major partner in fighting international terrorism.

    Notable quotes:
    "... "Both sides demonstrated a mood for active, joint work on stabilizing and developing Russian-American cooperation," the Kremlin said in a statement, saying Putin and Trump had agreed to work on finding a possible time and place for a meeting. ..."
    "... The Kremlin said the US President asked his Russian counterpart "to wish the Russian people happiness and prosperity" on his behalf, adding Americans "have warm feelings towards Russia and its citizens." Putin said the feeling was "mutual," stressing that historically, the Russians and the Americans were close allies on more than one occasion. ..."
    "... Putin said "for over two centuries Russia has supported the United States, was its ally during the two world wars, and now sees the United States as a major partner in fighting international terrorism." ..."
    "... Moscow, for its part, has repeatedly suggested fostering closer cooperation between the Russian and US Air Forces in Syria, but blamed the previous Obama administration for failing to adequately respond to its entreaties. Relations between the two countries have been marred in recent years over various issues, including divisions on the Syrian crisis and allegations of Russian meddling into the US elections in November of 2016. US sanctions against Russia - imposed over the crisis in Ukraine - was one of the issues expected to be on the agenda of the Trump-Putin exchange. However, the issue was not mentioned in the Kremlin's statement summarizing the conversation. ..."
    "... Russia has been cautious about the prospects for a potential "reset" with the US under the new administration. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said the country has no "naive expectations" and is under no "illusions." ..."
    Jan 28, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    Fred C. Dobbs January 28, 2017 at 01:06 PM

    Putin, Trump, in 'Positive' Call, Say Want to Cooperate in Syria: Kremlin https://nyti.ms/2jIzuKa
    NYT - REUTERS - January 28, 2017

    MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump said in a "positive" phone call on Saturday they favored their two countries cooperating in Syria to defeat Islamic State, the Kremlin said in a statement.

    In an eagerly awaited phone call, the first since Trump's inauguration, the two men stressed the importance of restoring economic ties between the two countries and of stabilizing relations, the Kremlin said.

    U.S.-Russia relations had hit a post-Cold War low under Barack Obama and Trump has made clear he wants a rapprochement with Moscow if he can get along with Putin.

    "Both sides demonstrated a mood for active, joint work on stabilizing and developing Russian-American cooperation," the Kremlin said in a statement, saying Putin and Trump had agreed to work on finding a possible time and place for a meeting.

    There was no mention in the statement that the possibility of Trump easing sanctions on Moscow imposed over the Ukraine conflict had been mentioned, a subject widely expected to be raised.

    The Kremlin said Trump and Putin had agreed to establish "partner-like cooperation" when it came to global issues such as Ukraine, Iran's nuclear program, tensions on the Korean peninsula and the Israeli-Arab conflict.

    Trump's stance on Russia has been under intense scrutiny from critics who say he was elected with help from Russian intelligence, an allegation he denies. His detractors have also accused him of being too eager to make an ally of Putin.

    For Putin, an easing of Western sanctions would be a major coup ahead of next year's presidential election as it would help the economy recover.

    libezkova -> Fred C. Dobbs... , January 28, 2017 at 03:58 PM

    Compare the coverage with

    https://www.rt.com/news/375416-putin-trump-telephone-call/

    == quote ==

    In their first phone conversation that lasted nearly an hour, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the new US President Donald Trump have outlined their intent to cooperate on issues ranging from defeating Islamic State to mending bilateral economic ties.

    "Both sides expressed their readiness to make active joint efforts to stabilize and develop Russia-US cooperation on a constructive, equitable and mutually beneficial basis," as well as "build up partner cooperation" on a wide range of international issues, according to a Kremlin statement following their discussion.

    The White House said that the "positive" conversation was "a significant start to improving the relationship between the United States and Russia that is in need of repair."

    "Both President Trump and President Putin are hopeful that after today's call the two sides can move quickly to tackle terrorism and other important issues of mutual concern," the White House statement added.

    After speaking with Chancellor Merkel for 45 minutes @POTUS is now onto his 3rd of 5 head of government calls, speaking w Russian Pres Putin pic.twitter.com/RPAWIgcO2C
    - Sean Spicer (@PressSec) January 28, 2017Q

    "The Presidents have spoken in favor of establishing a real coordination between the US and Russian actions in order to defeat ISIS and other terrorist organizations in Syria," the Kremlin statement said.

    The two leaders also discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as Iran's nuclear program. "Major aspects of the Ukrainian crisis have been also touched upon," the Kremlin announced.

    The leaders of Russia and the US have noted a need to restore economic ties "to stimulate" further development of the relationship between the nations. Putin and Trump also agreed to initiate a process to "work out possible dates and venue of their personal meeting."

    Telephone conversation with US President Donald Trump https://t.co/mjp9Tta1sE
    - President of Russia (@KremlinRussia_E) 28 января 2017 г.Q
    During the conversation the Presidents also expressed their desire to "maintain regular personal contacts," the Kremlin statement said.

    The Kremlin said the US President asked his Russian counterpart "to wish the Russian people happiness and prosperity" on his behalf, adding Americans "have warm feelings towards Russia and its citizens." Putin said the feeling was "mutual," stressing that historically, the Russians and the Americans were close allies on more than one occasion.

    Putin said "for over two centuries Russia has supported the United States, was its ally during the two world wars, and now sees the United States as a major partner in fighting international terrorism."

    U.S. President Donald Trump © Mark MakelaTrump hopes to get along with Russia, 'knock the hell out of ISIS together'

    On Friday, speaking at a joint briefing with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump said he hoped he would have a "fantastic relationship" with Russia's president, but understands that might not happen. Trump has said previously that he would welcome Moscow's involvement in a joint effort to battle Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

    "I don't know Putin, but if we can get along with Russia that's a great thing. It's good for Russia; it's good for us; we go out together and knock the hell out of ISIS, because that's a real sickness," he said in an interview with Fox News.

    Moscow, for its part, has repeatedly suggested fostering closer cooperation between the Russian and US Air Forces in Syria, but blamed the previous Obama administration for failing to adequately respond to its entreaties. Relations between the two countries have been marred in recent years over various issues, including divisions on the Syrian crisis and allegations of Russian meddling into the US elections in November of 2016. US sanctions against Russia - imposed over the crisis in Ukraine - was one of the issues expected to be on the agenda of the Trump-Putin exchange. However, the issue was not mentioned in the Kremlin's statement summarizing the conversation.

    Citing an unnamed source in the White House, a researcher at the Atlantic Council analytical center, Fabrice Pothier, wrote in a Twitter post on Thursday that the Trump administration "has an executive order ready" to lift the restrictions on Moscow, but Trump said on Friday that it is "very early to be talking about that."

    U.S. House of Representatives in Washington © Gary Cameron Top Dem to propose bill to hamstring Trump in relaxing sanctions on Russia with GOP wingmen

    However, earlier in January, Trump said that he would consider lifting restrictions if Moscow cooperates with Washington on certain issues, such as nuclear arms reduction.

    "They have sanctions on Russia - let's see if we can make some good deals with Russia. For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially, that's part of it," Trump was quoted as saying by the Times.

    Trump also said in one of his Tweets that "having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing," warning only "fools" would think otherwise. However, several US Senators proposed a bill last week that would make it impossible for the US President to lift restrictions without congressional approval.

    Russia has been cautious about the prospects for a potential "reset" with the US under the new administration. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said the country has no "naive expectations" and is under no "illusions."

    [Jan 23, 2017] Karl Roves Prophecy

    Notable quotes:
    "... "that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ..."
    "... "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." ..."
    "... Financial Times ..."
    "... Rush To Judgment ..."
    Jan 23, 2017 | www.unz.com
    by Karel van Wolferen Karl Rove. Credit: Jay Godwin/Wikimedia Commons [We're very pleased to run this provocative new piece by Karel van Wolferen , who has spent decades as one of Holland's most distinguished international journalists.]

    In a famous exchange between a high official at the court of George W. Bush and journalist Ron Suskind, the official – later acknowledged to have been Karl Rove – takes the journalist to task for working in "the reality-based community." He defined that as believing "that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." Rove then asserted that this was no longer the way in which the world worked:

    "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." (Ron Suskind, NYTimes Magazine, Oct. 17, 2004).

    This declaration became popular as an illustration of the hubris of the Bush-Cheney government. But we could also see it as fulfilled prophecy. Fulfilled in a manner that no journalist at that time would have deemed possible. Yes, the neoconservatives brought disrepute upon themselves because of the disaster in Iraq. Sure, opposition to the reality Rove had helped create in that devastated country became a first rung on the ladder that could lead to the presidency, as it did for Barack Obama. But the neocons stayed put in the State Department and other positions closely linked to the Obama White House, where they became allies with the liberal hawks in continuing 'spreading democracy' by overthrowing regimes. America's mainstream news and opinion purveyors, without demurring, accommodated the architects of reality production overseen by Dick Cheney.

    This did not end when Obama became president, but in fact with seemingly ever greater eagerness they gradually made the CIA/neocon-neoliberal created reality appear unshakably substantial in the minds of most newspaper readers and among TV audiences in the Atlantic basin. This was most obvious when attention moved to an imagined existential threat posed by Russia supposedly aimed at the political and 'Enlightenment' achievements of the West. Neoconservatives and liberal hawks bent America's foreign-policy entirely to their ultimate purpose of eliminating a Vladimir Putin who had decided not to dance to Washington's tune so that he might save the Russian state, which had been disintegrating under his predecessor and Wall Street's robber barons.

    With President Obama as a mere spectator, the neocon/liberals could – without being ridiculed – pass off as a popular revolution the coup d'état they fomented in the Ukraine. And because of an unquestioned Atlanticist faith, which holds that without the policies of the United States the world cannot be safe for people of the Atlantic basin, the European elites that determine policy or comment on it joined their American counterparts in endorsing that reality.

    As blind vassals the Europeans have adopted Washington's enemies as their own. Hence the ease with which the European Union member states could be roped into a system of baseless economic sanctions against Russia, much to the detriment of their own economic interests. Layers upon layers of anti-Russian propaganda have piled up to bamboozle a largely unsuspecting public on both sides of the Ocean.

    In the Netherlands, from where I have been watching all this, Putin was held personally responsible in much of the media for the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner flying over the Ukraine, which killed 298 people. No serious investigation was undertaken. The presentation of 'almost definitive' findings by the joint investigation team under Dutch leadership has neither included clues supplied by jet fighter cannon holes in the wrecked fuselage nor eyewitness stories, which would make the government in Kiev the prime suspect. Moscow's challenging the integrity of the investigation, whose agreed-upon rules included publication of findings only if Kiev agreed with them, were met with great indignation by the Dutch Foreign and Prime Ministers.

    As the fighting in Syria reached a phase when contradictions in the official Washington/NATO story demanded a stepping back for a fresh look, editors were forced into contortions to make sure that the baddies stayed bad, and that no matter how cruel and murderously they went about their occupation in Aleppo and elsewhere, the jihadi groups fighting to overthrow the secular Assad government in Damascus remained strictly labeled as moderate dissidents worthy of Western support, and the Russians as violators of Western values. Architects of an official reality that diverges widely from the facts you thought you knew must rely on faits accompli they achieve through military or police violence and intimidation, in combination with a fitting interpretation or a news blackout delivered by mainstream media.

    These conditions have been widely obtained in the Atlantic basin through a gradual loss of political accountability at top levels, and through government agencies protected by venerated secrecy that are allowed to live lives of their own. As a result American and European populations have been dropped into a fantasy world, one under constant threat from terrorists and an evil dictator in Moscow. For Americans the never ending war waged by their own government, which leaves them with no choice but to condone mass murder, is supposedly necessary to keep them safe. For Europeans, at least those in the northern half, the numerous NATO tanks rolling up to the border of the Russian Federation and the massing of troops in that area are an extra guarantee, on top of the missiles that were already there, that Vladimir Putin will restrain his urges to grab a European country or two. On a smaller scale, when every May 4th the 1940-45 war dead are remembered in the Netherlands, we must now include the fallen in Afghanistan as if they were a sacrifice to defend us against the Taliban threat from behind the Hindu Kush.

    Ever since the start of this millennium there has been a chain of realities as prophesied by Karl Rove, enhanced by terrorist attacks, which may or may not have been the work of actual terrorists, but whose reality is not questioned without risking one's reputation. The geopolitical picture that they have helped build in most minds appears fairly consistent if one can keep one's curiosity on a leash and one's sense of contradiction sufficiently blunt. After all, the details of the official reality are filled in and smoothed out all the time by crafty campaigns produced in the PR world, with assistance from think tanks and academia.

    But the question does reappear in one's thoughts: do the politically prominent and the well-positioned editors, especially those known for having once possessed skeptical minds, actually believe it all? Do those members of the cabinet or parliament, who can get hot under their collar as they decry the latest revelation about one or other outrage committed by Putin, take seriously what they're saying? Not all of them are believers, I know that from off the record conversations. But there appears to be a marked difference between the elite in government, in the media, in prominent social positions, and ordinary people who in these recent times of anguish about populism are sometimes referred to as uneducated. Quite a few among the latter appear to think that something fishy is going on. This could be because in my experience the alert ones have educated themselves, something that is not generally understood by commentators who have made their way through the bureaucracy of standard higher education.

    A disadvantage of being part of the elite is that you must stick to the accepted story. If you deviate from it, and have your thoughts run rather far away from it, which is quite inevitable once you begin with your deviation, you can no longer be trusted by those around you. If you are a journalist and depend for your income on a mainstream newspaper or are hired by a TV company, you run the risk of losing your job if you do not engage in self-censorship.

    Consequently, publications that used to be rightly known as quality newspapers have turned into unreadable rags. The newspaper that was my employer for a couple of decades used to be edited on the premise that its correspondents rather than authorities were always correct in what they were saying. Today greater loyalty to the reality created in Washington and Langley cannot be imagined. For much of northern Europe the official story that originates in the United States is amplified by the BBC and other once reliable purveyors of news and opinion like the Guardian , the Financial Times and the (always less reliable) Economist .

    Repetition lends an ever greater aura of truth to the nonsense that is relentlessly repeated on the pages of once serious publications. Detailed analyses of developments understood through strings of false clues give the fictions ever more weight in learned heads and debates in parliament. At the time of writing, the grave concern spread across the opinion pages on my side of the Atlantic is about how Putin's meddling in upcoming European elections can be prevented.

    The realities Rove predicted have infantilized parliamentary debates, current affairs discussion and lecture events, and anything of a supposedly serious nature on TV. These now conform to comic book simplicities of evil, heroes and baddies. They have produced a multitude of editorials with facts upside-down. They force even those who advise against provoking Moscow to include a remark or two about Putin being a murderer or tyrant, lest they could be mistaken for traitors to Enlightenment values or even as Russian puppets, as I have been. Layers of unreality have incapacitated learned and serious people to think clearly about the world and how it came to be that way.

    How could Rove's predictions so totally materialize? There's a simple answer: 'they' got away with momentous lies at an early stage. The more authorities lie successfully the more they are likely to lie again in a big way to serve the purposes of earlier lies. The 'they' stands for those individuals and groups in the power system who operate beyond legal limits as a hydra-headed entity, whose coordination depends on the project, campaign, mission, or operation at hand. Those with much power got away with excessive extralegal use of it since the beginning of this century because systems of holding the powerful to account have crumbled on both sides of the Atlantic. Hence, potential opposition to what the reality architects were doing dwindled to almost nothing. At the same time, people whose job or personal inclination leads them to ferret out truth were made to feel guilty for pursuing it.

    The best way, I think, to make sense of how this works is to study it as a type of intimidation. Sticking to the official story because you have to may not be quite as bad as forced religious conversion with a gun pointed at your head, but it belongs to the same category. It begins with the triggering of odd feelings of guilt. At least that is how I remember it. Living in Tokyo, I had just read Mark Lane's Rush To Judgment , the first major demolishing in book form of the Warren Report on the murder of John F. Kennedy, when I became aware that I had begun to belong to an undesirable category of people who were taking the existence of conspiracies seriously. We all owe thanks to writers of Internet-based samizdat literature who've recently reminded us that the pejorative use of the conspiracy label stems from one of the greatest misinformation successes of the CIA begun in 1967.

    So the campaign to make journalists feel guilty for their embarrassing questions dates from before Dick Cheney and Rove and Bush. But it has only reached a heavy duty phase after the moment that I see as having triggered the triumph of political untruth.

    We have experienced massive systemic intimidation since 9/11. For the wider public we have the absurdities of airport security – initially evidenced by mountains of nail-clippers – reminding everyone of the arbitrary coercive potential that rests with the authorities. Every time people are made to take off their belts and shoes – to stick only to the least inane instances – they are reminded: yes, we can do this to you! Half of Boston or all of France can be placed under undeclared martial law to tell people: yes, we have you under full control! For journalists unexamined guilt feelings still play a major role. The serious ones feel guilty for wanting to ask disturbing questions, and so they reaffirm that they still belong to 'sane' humanity rather than the segment with extraterrestrials in flying saucers in its belief system. But there is a confused interaction with another guilty feeling of not having pursued unanswered questions. Its remedy appears to be a doubling down on the official story. Why throw in fairly common lines like "I have no time for truthers" unless you feel that this is where the shoe pinches?

    You will have noticed a fairly common response when the 9/11 massacre enters a discussion. Smart people will say that they "will not go there", which brings to mind the "here be dragons" warning on uncharted bits of medieval maps. That response is not stupid. It hints at an understanding that there is no way back once you enter that realm. There is simply no denying that if you accept the essential conclusions of the official 9/11 report you must also concede that laws of nature stopped working on that particular day. And, true enough, if you do go there and bear witness publicly to what you see, you may well be devoured; your career in many government positions, the media and even academia is likely to come to an end.

    So, for the time being we are stuck with a considerable chunk of terra incognita relating to recognized political knowledge; which is an indispensable knowledge if you want to get current world affairs and the American role in it into proper perspective.

    Mapping the motives of those who decide "not to go there" may be a way to begin breaking through this disastrous deadlock. Holding onto your job is an honorable motivation when you have a family to maintain. The career motivation is not something to scorn. There is also an entirely reasonable expectation that once you go there you lose your voice publicly to address very important social abuse and political misdeeds. I think it is not difficult to detect authors active on internet samizdat sites who have that foremost in mind. Another possible reason for not going there is the more familiar one, akin to the denial that one has a dreadful disease. Also possible is an honorable position of wishing to preserve social order in the face of a prospect of very dramatic political upheaval caused by revelations about a crime so huge that hardly anything in America's history can be compared to it. Where could such a thing end – civil war? Martial law?

    What I find more difficult to stomach is the position of someone who is worshiped by what used to be the left, and who has been guiding that class of politically interested Americans as to where they can and cannot go. Noam Chomsky does not merely keep quiet about it, but mocks students who raise logical questions prompted by their curiosity, thereby discouraging a whole generation studying at universities and active in civil rights causes. One can only hope that this overrated analyst of the establishment, who helps keep the most embarrassing questions out of the public sphere, trips over the contradictions and preposterousness of his own judgments and crumples in full view of his audience.

    The triumph of political untruth has brought into being a vast system of political intimidation. Remember then that the intimidater does not really care what you believe or not, but impresses you with the fact that you have no choice. That is the essence of the exercise of brute power. With false flag events the circumstantial evidence sometimes appears quite transparently false and, indeed could be interpreted as having been purposeful. Consider the finding of passports or identity papers accidentally left by terrorists, or their almost always having been known to and suspected by the police? What of their death through police shooting before they can be interrogated? Could these be taunting signals of ultimate power to a doubting public: Now you! Dare contradict us! Are the persons killed by the police the same who committed the crime? Follow-up questions once considered perfectly normal and necessary by news media editors are conspicuous by their absence.

    How can anyone quarrel with Rove's prophecy. He told Suskind that we will forever be studying newly created realities. This is what the mainstream media continue to do. His words made it very clear: you have no choice!

    A question that will be in the minds of perhaps many as they consider the newly sworn in president of the United States, who like John F. Kennedy appears to have understood that "Intelligence" leads a dangerously uncontrolled life of its own: At what point will he give in to the powers of an invisible government, as he is made to reckon that he also has no choice?

    Karel van Wolferen is a Dutch journalist and retired professor at the University of Amsterdam. Since 1969, he has published over twenty books on public policy issues, which have been translated into eleven languages and sold over a million copies worldwide. As a foreign correspondent for NRC Handelsblad , one of Holland's leading newspapers, he received the highest Dutch award for journalism, and over the years his articles have appeared in The New York Times , The Washington Post , The New Republic , The National Interest , Le Monde , and numerous other newspapers and magazines.

    [Jan 22, 2017] Trumps inaugural speech – promises, hopes and opportunities

    Am nteresting thought (replace imperialism with neoliberalism) : "I think that it is possible that Trump has come to the conclusion that imperialism has stopped working for the USA, that far from being the solution to the contradictions of capitalism, imperialism might well have become its most self-defeating feature. "
    Revival of far right in Europe also is connected with the crisis of neoliberalism.
    Notable quotes:
    "... This might be something crucial: I cannot imagine Trump trying to simply do "more of the same" like his predecessors did or trying to blindly double-down like the Neocons always try to. ..."
    "... I am willing to bet that Trump really and sincerely believes that the USA is in a deep crisis and that a new, different, sets of policies must be urgently implemented. ..."
    "... I think that it is possible that Trump has come to the conclusion that imperialism has stopped working for the USA, that far from being the solution to the contradictions of capitalism, imperialism might well have become its most self-defeating feature. ..."
    "... Is it possible for an ideological system to dump one of its core component after learning from past mistakes? I think it is, and a good example of that is 21 st Century Socialism , which has completely dumped the kind of militant atheism which was so central to the 20 th century Socialist movement. In fact, modern "21st Century Socialism" is very pro-Christian. Could 21 st century capitalism dump imperialism? Maybe. ..."
    "... Furthermore, the Trump inaugural speech did, according to RT commentators, sound in many aspects like the kind of speech Bernie Sanders could have made. And I think that they are right. Trump did sound like a paleo-liberal ..."
    "... Today, when Trump pronounced the followings words " We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world – but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first " he told the Russians exactly what they wanted to hear: Trump does not pretend to be a "friend" of Russia and Trump openly and unapologetically promises to care about his own people first, and that is exactly what Putin has been saying and doing since he came to power in Russia: caring for the Russian people first. After all, caring for your own first hardly implies being hostile or even indifferent to others. ..."
    "... All it means is that your loyalty and your service is first and foremost to those who elected you to office. This refreshing patriotic honesty, combined with the prospect of friendship and goodwill will sound like music to the Russian ears. ..."
    Jan 22, 2017 | www.unz.com
    Just hours ago Donald Trump was finally sworn in as the President of the United States. Considering all the threats hanging over this event, this is good news because at least for the time being, the Neocons have lost their control over the Executive Branch and Trump is now finally in a position to take action. The other good news is Trump's inauguration speech which included this historical promise " We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow ". Could that really mean that the USA has given up its role of World Hegemon? The mere fact of asking the question is already an immensely positive development as nobody would have asked it had Hillary Clinton been elected.

    The other interesting feature of Trump's speech is that it centered heavily on people power and on social justice. Again, the contrast with the ideological garbage from Clinton could not be greater. Still, this begs a much more puzzling question: how much can a multi-billionaire capitalist be trusted when he speaks of people power and social justice – not exactly what capitalists are known for, at least not amongst educated people. Furthermore, a Marxist reader would also remind us that " imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism " and that it makes no sense to expect a capitalist to suddenly renounce imperialism.

    But what was generally true in 1916 is not necessarily true in 2017.

    For one thing, let's begin by stressing that the Trump Presidency was only made possible by the immense financial, economic, political, military and social crisis facing the USA today. Eight years of Clinton, followed by eight years of Bush Jr and eight years of Obama have seen a massive and full-spectrum decline in the strength of the United States which were sacrificed for the sake of the AngloZionist Empire. This crisis is as much internal as it is external and the election of Trump is a direct consequence of this crisis. In fact, Trump is the first one to admit that it is the terrible situation in which the USA find themselves today that brought him to power with a mandate of the regular American people (Hillary's "deplorables") to "drain the DC swamp" and "make America", as opposed to the American plutocracy, "great again". This might be something crucial: I cannot imagine Trump trying to simply do "more of the same" like his predecessors did or trying to blindly double-down like the Neocons always try to.

    I am willing to bet that Trump really and sincerely believes that the USA is in a deep crisis and that a new, different, sets of policies must be urgently implemented. If that assumption of mine proves to be correct, then this is by definition very good news for the entire planet because whatever Trump ends up doing (or not doing), he will at least not push his country into a nuclear confrontation with Russia. And yes, I think that it is possible that Trump has come to the conclusion that imperialism has stopped working for the USA, that far from being the solution to the contradictions of capitalism, imperialism might well have become its most self-defeating feature.

    Is it possible for an ideological system to dump one of its core component after learning from past mistakes? I think it is, and a good example of that is 21 st Century Socialism , which has completely dumped the kind of militant atheism which was so central to the 20 th century Socialist movement. In fact, modern "21st Century Socialism" is very pro-Christian. Could 21 st century capitalism dump imperialism? Maybe.

    Furthermore, the Trump inaugural speech did, according to RT commentators, sound in many aspects like the kind of speech Bernie Sanders could have made. And I think that they are right. Trump did sound like a paleo-liberal, something which we did not hear from him during the campaign. You could also say that Trump sounded very much like Putin. The question is will he now also act like Putin too?

    There will be a great deal of expectations in Russia about how Trump will go about fulfilling his campaign promises to deal with other countries. Today, when Trump pronounced the followings words " We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world – but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first " he told the Russians exactly what they wanted to hear: Trump does not pretend to be a "friend" of Russia and Trump openly and unapologetically promises to care about his own people first, and that is exactly what Putin has been saying and doing since he came to power in Russia: caring for the Russian people first. After all, caring for your own first hardly implies being hostile or even indifferent to others.

    All it means is that your loyalty and your service is first and foremost to those who elected you to office. This refreshing patriotic honesty, combined with the prospect of friendship and goodwill will sound like music to the Russian ears.

    Then there are Trump's words about " forming new alliances " and uniting " the civilized world against Radical Islamic Terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth ". They will also be received with a great deal of hope by the Russian people. If the USA is finally serious about fighting terrorism and if they really wants to eradicate the likes of Daesh, then Russia will offer her full support to this effort, including her military, intelligence, police and diplomatic resources. After all, Russia has been advocating for " completely eradicating Radical Islamic Terrorism from the face of the Earth " for decades.

    There is no doubt in my mind at all that an alliance between Russia and the USA, even if limited only to specific areas of converging or mutual interests, would be immensely beneficial for the entire planet, and not for just these two countries: right now all the worst international crises are a direct result from the "tepid war" the USA and Russia have been waging against each other. And just like any other war, this war has been a fantastic waste of resources. Of course, this war was started by the USA and it was maintained and fed by the Neocon's messianic ideology. Now that a realist like Trump has come to power, we can finally hope for this dangerous and wasteful dynamic to be stopped.

    The good news is that neither Trump nor Putin can afford to fail. Trump, because he has made an alliance with Russia the cornerstone of his foreign policy during his campaign, and Putin because he realizes that it is in the objective interests of Russia for Trump to succeed, lest the Neocon crazies crawl back out from their basement. So both sides will enter into negotiations with a strong desire to get things done and a willingness to make compromises as long as they do not affect crucial national security objectives. I think that the number of issues on which the USA and Russia can agree upon is much, much longer than the number of issues were irreconcilable differences remain.

    So yes, today I am hopeful. More than anything else, I want to hope that Trump is "for real", and that he will have the wisdom and courage to take strong action against his internal enemies. Because from now on, this is one other thing which Putin and Trump will have in common: their internal enemies are far more dangerous than any external foe. When I see rabid maniacs like David Horowitz declaring himself a supporter of Donald Trump , I get very, very concerned and I ask myself "what does Horowitz know which I am missing?". What is certain is that in the near future one of us will soon become very disappointed. I just hope that this shall not be me.

    Mao Cheng Ji , January 21, 2017 at 10:15 am GMT \n

    100 Words

    Could that really mean that the USA has given up its role of World Hegemon?

    Well, another author here, David Chibo, seems to think that the intent is exactly the opposite: for the US (the nation) to become World Hegemon. As opposed to what we have today, to multinational capital being World Hegemon

    Anonymous , January 21, 2017 at 2:17 pm GMT \n
    100 Words

    When I see rabid maniacs like David Horowitz declaring himself a supporter of Donald Trump

    Saying someone's a "rabid maniac" without giving any reason for one's statement is so mainstream media like.
    So far as I know, the mature-age Horowitz has written some interesting books: I can recommend Hating Whitey , One party classrooms , Left illusion . His autobiography ( A point in time ot something like that) is a good book too.

    He is also a very active anti-crazy left activist, and runs a site with a list of leftist anti-white hate groups.

    I hope I said enough for you to understand why I am surprised and not particularly pleased by seeing him called a "rabid maniac".

    alexander , January 21, 2017 at 4:10 pm GMT \n
    300 Words

    Yes Saker,

    The United States is in a deep crisis which nobody except Trump had the courage to discuss.

    The United States Government has been overspending what is has been taking in by an average of 875 billion dollars, per year, for last decade and a half.

    Our national debt has ballooned to a hair under 20 trillion dollars in 16 years. from 5.7 trillion in 2000.

    Our Gross Domestic Product, on the other hand, is only 18.7 trillion having merely doubled from 9.3 trillion in 2000.

    A general crisis point for the solvency of a nation is when its national debt eclipses its GDP, which happened to us two years ago .and the spread is growing, not tightening.

    If this continues at its present course, the world will no longer wish to purchase our debt and begin selling off our treasury bonds. The credit worthiness of the United States will be in serious jeopardy and the US dollar may be sacrificed as the worlds currency.

    I am not sure how President Trump wishes to tackle this but it will be his number one job to save the United States from its ruinous policies of perpetual war and insolvency and chart a new course , hopefully one of peace and prosperity.

    There will be no more wars of choice because we simply cannot afford them.

    So one can be optimistic, the era of reckless war and obscene war spending is over but its really almost ten years to late for this.

    Do not lose heart, however, there are many ways we can pay down our debt,quickly, without raising income taxes.

    And if we can GROW the economy at a healthy pace,without generating too much inflation, we should be able to dodge the bullet.

    I hope The Donald , and his cabinet, put their thinking caps on, and undertake policies which are highly successful.

    It is so important to us all.

    bluedog , January 21, 2017 at 6:08 pm GMT \n
    200 Words @alexander Yes Saker,


    The United States is in a deep crisis which nobody except Trump had the courage to discuss.

    The United States Government has been overspending what is has been taking in by an average of 875 billion dollars, per year, for last decade and a half.

    Our national debt has ballooned to a hair under 20 trillion dollars in 16 years. from 5.7 trillion in 2000.

    Our Gross Domestic Product, on the other hand, is only 18.7 trillion having merely doubled from 9.3 trillion in 2000.

    A general crisis point for the solvency of a nation is when its national debt eclipses its GDP, which happened to us two years ago....and the spread is growing, not tightening.

    If this continues at its present course, the world will no longer wish to purchase our debt and begin selling off our treasury bonds. The credit worthiness of the United States will be in serious jeopardy...and the US dollar may be sacrificed as the worlds currency.


    I am not sure how President Trump wishes to tackle this but it will be his number one job to save the United States from its ruinous policies of perpetual war and insolvency ...and chart a new course , hopefully one of peace and prosperity.

    There will be no more wars of choice because we simply cannot afford them.

    So one can be optimistic, the era of reckless war and obscene war spending is over...but its really almost ten years to late for this.

    Do not lose heart, however, there are many ways we can pay down our debt,quickly, without raising income taxes.

    And if we can GROW the economy at a healthy pace,without generating too much inflation, we should be able to dodge the bullet.


    I hope The Donald , and his cabinet, put their thinking caps on, and undertake policies which are highly successful.

    It is so important to us all.

    Guess you didn't watch the debate where Trump said there is a very large bubble over wall street, and its bigger than the housing bubble (my words not Trumps) and our GDP the figures the government puts out as David Stockman Reagan budget director said is very suspect to say the least, for I have seen it stated anywhere from $16 trillion to $18 trillion and change much like the BLS report I suspect.
    Not much wiggle room for Trump a crashing bubble on wall street almost 100,000,000 un-employed per the Lay-Off-List, no that fails to jibe with the figure the government puts out, much like the GDP I suspect, and there should be no doubt in anyone's mind that the debt will grow under Trump as he re-builds the military, as more tax dollars are flushed down the drain to keep company with the trillions already there.
    Chalmers Johnson was right in his excellent books from Blowback to The Sorrows of Empire Militarism,Secrecy,and the End of the Republic and our 900+ bases around the globe, can Trump change that close at least half of those bases that cost us billions of dollars we don't have or will it be the status quo I suspect it will be the later

    Dan Hayes , January 21, 2017 at 8:08 pm GMT \n
    100 Words @Anonymous
    When I see rabid maniacs like David Horowitz declaring himself a supporter of Donald Trump
    Saying someone's a "rabid maniac" without giving any reason for one's statement is so... mainstream media like.
    So far as I know, the mature-age Horowitz has written some interesting books: I can recommend Hating Whitey , One party classrooms , Left illusion . His autobiography ( A point in time ot something like that) is a good book too.

    He is also a very active anti-crazy left activist, and runs a site with a list of leftist anti-white hate groups.

    I hope I said enough for you to understand why I am surprised and not particularly pleased by seeing him called a "rabid maniac".

    Anonymous:

    I can back up Horowitz being termed "a rapid maniac". Some time ago I met him at one of his book signings. At that time I would be regarded as one of his disciples, i.e. his camp followers. That changed once I actually met him. His eyes were those of a crazed man. Enough said!

    Mao Cheng Ji , January 21, 2017 at 8:40 pm GMT \n

    Fuck Horowitz, he certainly is a rabid maniac and a scumbag.

    As for the main topic, there's also this, the Masters of the Universe vs. the deep state:

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/heres-how-the-trump-presidency-will-play-out/5570021

    Anon , January 22, 2017 at 2:29 am GMT \n
    100 Words

    "After all, caring for your own first hardly implies being hostile or even indifferent to others. All it means is that your loyalty and your service is first and foremost to those who elected you to office. This refreshing patriotic honesty, combined with the prospect of friendship and goodwill will sound like music to the Russian ears."

    But it could mean NOT putting Zionist-Globalist interest first.
    And that's what it's all about.

    Gentiles don't mind each nation putting its interest first. But that means gentiles putting their national interests above Jewish elitist interest.
    Since nationalism favors gentile interests, Jews have pushed globalism and Zionism. That way, all gentile nations are to favor globalism(that favors Jewish worldwide networking) over nationalism and favor Zionism(Jewish nationalism) over any gentile nationalism.

    Beckow , January 22, 2017 at 8:11 am GMT \n
    100 Words

    The problem is that the issues between Russia and US are not that easy to resolve. For example, will US keep the "anti-Iran" missile defense systems in East Europe? Will they continue to state that Ukraine and Georgia will be in NATO? Will the recent NATO troops in Poland, Baltic states and Romania stay? There are a few others, like the Ukraine problem – Crimea, Donbass, economic collapse.

    None of those issues are suitable for a deal. A deal requires things that either side can let go. We don't have that here. Most likely the tensions will recede, some summits will be held, a few common policies will be attempted (e.g. Middle East), but none of the really big issues (missiles, NATO expansion, Crimea, Ukraine) will be addressed. US has gone too far down that road to backtrack now – it is all logistics at this point. And logistics don't change short of something like a war.

    So we are stuck. But at least we are no longer heading towards a catastrophe.

    Miro23 , January 22, 2017 at 8:41 am GMT \n
    200 Words @alexander Yes Saker,


    The United States is in a deep crisis which nobody except Trump had the courage to discuss.

    The United States Government has been overspending what is has been taking in by an average of 875 billion dollars, per year, for last decade and a half.

    Our national debt has ballooned to a hair under 20 trillion dollars in 16 years. from 5.7 trillion in 2000.

    Our Gross Domestic Product, on the other hand, is only 18.7 trillion having merely doubled from 9.3 trillion in 2000.

    A general crisis point for the solvency of a nation is when its national debt eclipses its GDP, which happened to us two years ago....and the spread is growing, not tightening.

    If this continues at its present course, the world will no longer wish to purchase our debt and begin selling off our treasury bonds. The credit worthiness of the United States will be in serious jeopardy...and the US dollar may be sacrificed as the worlds currency.


    I am not sure how President Trump wishes to tackle this but it will be his number one job to save the United States from its ruinous policies of perpetual war and insolvency ...and chart a new course , hopefully one of peace and prosperity.

    There will be no more wars of choice because we simply cannot afford them.

    So one can be optimistic, the era of reckless war and obscene war spending is over...but its really almost ten years to late for this.

    Do not lose heart, however, there are many ways we can pay down our debt,quickly, without raising income taxes.

    And if we can GROW the economy at a healthy pace,without generating too much inflation, we should be able to dodge the bullet.


    I hope The Donald , and his cabinet, put their thinking caps on, and undertake policies which are highly successful.

    It is so important to us all.

    I am not sure how President Trump wishes to tackle this but it will be his number one job to save the United States from its ruinous policies of perpetual war and insolvency and chart a new course , hopefully one of peace and prosperity.

    There will be no more wars of choice because we simply cannot afford them.

    That's an interesting point, the US does have creditors and it has reached its credit limit, and hasn't exactly been making good investments with the money that was borrowed.

    The real issues seem to be making spending efficient (for example US healthcare that costs about 2x the Canadian rate per person for the same result), and rebasing production in the US (more US taxpayers).

    The Socialist UK government was in a similar position in the early 1970′s with a "welfare state" that it couldn't afford, general industrial strife and a "class war". When the UK's creditors saw that things weren't going to change they sold off government bonds and the country got the "Sterling Crisis" with Sterling losing what was left of its Reserve Currency status.

    At least Trump is indicating a political will for change, but he needs to act quickly.

    Realist , January 22, 2017 at 9:07 am GMT \n
    @Anonymous
    When I see rabid maniacs like David Horowitz declaring himself a supporter of Donald Trump
    Saying someone's a "rabid maniac" without giving any reason for one's statement is so... mainstream media like.
    So far as I know, the mature-age Horowitz has written some interesting books: I can recommend Hating Whitey , One party classrooms , Left illusion . His autobiography ( A point in time ot something like that) is a good book too.

    He is also a very active anti-crazy left activist, and runs a site with a list of leftist anti-white hate groups.

    I hope I said enough for you to understand why I am surprised and not particularly pleased by seeing him called a "rabid maniac".

    For one thing Horowitz is a goofy ass russophobe.

    Timur The Lame , January 22, 2017 at 1:26 pm GMT \n
    100 Words

    I listened to Trump's speech live on headphones while power walking on a country road. Something about that scenario allowed me to give it a focus that I may not have had if I was watching it on the idiot box or reading a transcript.

    If I'm not mistaken, he literally called most of his esteemed guests ( ex-presidents especially) corrupt criminals, frauds and traitors. An unbelievable moment where the mob was reminded that politicians are not to be fawned over. They work for the people.

    The rest of the speech of course was lyrics for a remake of the song 'Dream the Impossible Dream'. But still, if the population wasn't attention deficit affected, that part of his speech could have been right up there with Ike's MIC moment.

    Anatoly Karlin , Website January 22, 2017 at 3:26 pm GMT \n
    200 Words NEW!

    This is a very good article. I agree with it almost entirely.

    Is it possible for an ideological system to dump one of its core component after learning from past mistakes? Could 21st century capitalism dump imperialism? Maybe.

    When would it be possible for the anti-imperialist ideological system to dump its core belief that, Lenin's demented (and unoriginal) ramblings to the contrary, capitalism has intrinsically zilch to do with imperialism?

    Because from now on, this is one other thing which Putin and Trump will have in common: their internal enemies are far more dangerous than any external foe. When I see rabid maniacs like David Horowitz declaring himself a supporter of Donald Trump, I get very, very concerned and I ask myself "what does Horowitz know which I am missing?".

    David Horowitz merely demonstrated that, unlike " renegade Jews " such as the Kristols and the Krauthammers, he is a patriot of his own country (the USA) first and a Jewish nationalist second. I consider that perfectly fine and worthy of respect.

    Seamus Padraig , January 22, 2017 at 3:28 pm GMT \n
    100 Words

    @Chet Roman "drain the DC swamp" and "make America", as opposed to the American plutocracy, "great again"

    While I am hopeful and will give Trump the chance to prove himself. Unfortunately, he like Obama before him, has appointed most the same plutocrats/neoliberal parasites in his administration that are part of what the Saker calls the "AngloZionist Empire". Will they, like the patrician FDR, promote policies against their own class interests? Time will tell but, after the same betrayal by "Hope and Change" Obama I would not bet on it.

    Not that I'm very sanguine about all the Goldman Sachs people in Trump's cabinet either, but if you're looking for reasons for optimism: At least Trump–unlike Clinton, Bush and Obama–hasn't appointed any retreads; i.e., people who've served in previous cabinets. That may indicate that some change is in the offing. Let's hope it's a change for the best.

    alexander , January 22, 2017 at 9:53 pm GMT \n
    400 Words

    Annamaria,

    The key to US solvency and credit worthiness is the "ratio" of Debt to GDP ..Our GDP should ALWAYS be in the plus column, and when its not . it's bad news.

    Like today, it is bad news (Debt 19.9 T / GDP 18.7 T) it is such bad news our big media has refused to discuss it ..The only person to bring it up , ever, was the Donald.

    The big media does not want to say the wars they lied us into bankrupted our nation because it makes them accountable.

    The scaly truth is that they "are" accountable.

    Ironically,Donald Trump (who knows this too) now has the power as President to generate over two trillion dollars in revenues, literally overnight, and move our Debt to GDP ratio right back in the plus column.

    Do you want to know how ?

    He goes on record that the Iraq War "lies" constituted a defrauding of the American people , our country, and the brave men and women who fought and died there .and he has chosen to recognize this "defrauding " as a supreme terrorist act against the wellbeing of our nation ,our citizenry and the values that make us who we are ..

    He goes on to say that ALL the perpetrators will be held accountable for this despicable act of deception , so that it may never happen again.

    Then he proceeds with operation "Clean Sweep" and takes down all the back room billionaire oligarchs who jockeyed for the war and profited from it .

    Lets say by the time he is done he has arrested 700 belligerent oligarchs and media moguls and seizes all their assets .If they are each worth, on average, 4 billion dollars .

    then 700 x 4 billion = 2.8 trillion dollars

    If this 2.8 trillion goes to paying down the national debt .then "bingo" our Debt to GDP ratio is right back in the" plus column" .

    Our National debt is reduced by 2.8 T and the GDP stays the same ..the new ratio is 17.1 T Debt/ 18.7 T GDP.

    Our credit worthiness, as a nation, is now out of the" danger zone".

    Whatever assets the criminal oligarchs had, are auctioned off and redistributed to all the good people who would never "lie us into war".

    This sends an enormously reassuring message throughout the world that we are able to take care of business at home, and clean house when necessary.

    This would also serve as a much needed tonic within the entire "establishment" community, as they would be intensely fearful of ever defrauding the American people again.

    Would you do it ? ..If you were President, Anna, would you demand accountability ?

    Skeptikal , January 22, 2017 at 11:37 pm GMT \n
    300 Words @Anon "After all, caring for your own first hardly implies being hostile or even indifferent to others. All it means is that your loyalty and your service is first and foremost to those who elected you to office. This refreshing patriotic honesty, combined with the prospect of friendship and goodwill will sound like music to the Russian ears."

    But it could mean NOT putting Zionist-Globalist interest first.
    And that's what it's all about.

    Gentiles don't mind each nation putting its interest first. But that means gentiles putting their national interests above Jewish elitist interest.
    Since nationalism favors gentile interests, Jews have pushed globalism and Zionism. That way, all gentile nations are to favor globalism(that favors Jewish worldwide networking) over nationalism and favor Zionism(Jewish nationalism) over any gentile nationalism.

    "Gentiles don't mind each nation putting its interest first. But that means gentiles putting their national interests above Jewish elitist interest.
    Since nationalism favors gentile interests, Jews have pushed globalism and Zionism. That way, all gentile nations are to favor globalism(that favors Jewish worldwide networking) over nationalism and favor Zionism(Jewish nationalism) over any gentile nationalism."

    That seems to be true.
    I was shocked to read a letter in the current London Review of Books, actually a rebuttal to another letter, by Adam Tooze. Tooze had written a review of a book by Wolfgang Streeck. In his rebuttal Tooze attacked Streeck as an anti-Semite because Streeck had *dared* to write a book that presents arguments for the primacy of the nation-state as opposed to globalist forces. Tooze's argument basically came down to: nation-state = chauvinism = anti-Semitism, where globalization = "Semitism," I suppose, and Tooze actually more or less accused Streeck of anti-Semitism on this basis: that you cannot defend the idea of the nation-state without being in effectively anti-Semitic. He didn't show any other evidence but just this supposed syllogism, all of it theoretical. Interestingly Tooze was the one making the equation of globalism and Jews-not Streeck! But still, Streeck was the guilty one. Tooze spent a lot of breath on the word "Volk" for "people." Of coure, Streeck in German, and that is the German word for "people." Any other overtones "Volk" has acquired in English are the fault of the English, as English has its own second word, "folk," which German does not, and so English speakers didn't have to take over the German word and demonize it. They could have demonized their own word . . . Tooze's pedantry and intellectual sloppiness were quite startling. I look forward to seeing a rebuttal and maybe counterattack from Streeck in the next LRB . . .

    SmoothieX12 , Website January 22, 2017 at 11:40 pm GMT \n
    100 Words

    Like today, it is bad news (Debt 19.9 T / GDP 18.7 T)

    These are bad news, but the news which are even worse is the fact that of these 18.7 Trillion of nominal GDP, probably third (most likely more) is a virtual GDP–the result of cooking of books and of financial and real estate machinations. Trump knows this, I am almost 99% positive, even 99.9%, on that.

    Skeptikal , January 22, 2017 at 11:42 pm GMT \n
    @Anatoly Karlin

    This is a very good article. I agree with it almost entirely.

    Is it possible for an ideological system to dump one of its core component after learning from past mistakes?... Could 21st century capitalism dump imperialism? Maybe.
    When would it be possible for the anti-imperialist ideological system to dump its core belief that, Lenin's demented (and unoriginal) ramblings to the contrary, capitalism has intrinsically zilch to do with imperialism?
    Because from now on, this is one other thing which Putin and Trump will have in common: their internal enemies are far more dangerous than any external foe. When I see rabid maniacs like David Horowitz declaring himself a supporter of Donald Trump, I get very, very concerned and I ask myself "what does Horowitz know which I am missing?".
    David Horowitz merely demonstrated that, unlike " renegade Jews " such as the Kristols and the Krauthammers, he is a patriot of his own country (the USA) first and a Jewish nationalist second. I consider that perfectly fine and worthy of respect.

    " one other thing which Putin and Trump will have in common: their internal enemies are far more dangerous than any external foe. "

    True also of Kennedy and Khrushchev.

    Seraphim , January 23, 2017 at 12:39 am GMT \n
    100 Words @Diogenes

    "Make America Great Again"- is just an empty political slogan like bait on a fishing hook that only dumb fish would be attracted to.

    I suggest readers look at an article by Andrew Levine, a very insightful Jewish American political commentator and regular contributor to Counterpunch.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/01/20/when-was-america-great/

    "the civilized world against Radical Islamic Terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth".

    What has ISIS done to America or Trump that he should want to totally obliterate them? Before you denounce or pronounce me as dumb heretical dissenter, read on.

    Sunni Arabs in the Middle East have been exploited and controlled by racially arrogant European interlopers and colonists since the fall of the Ottomans. They have been especially mistreated and ravaged by vengeful Americans since 2001. They also facilitated a revival of Shia-Sunni sectarian conflict in Syria and Iraq. Now the displaced and persecuted Sunni minority want to form their own state, free from foreign interference to practice their chosen religion and way of life. I grant you that they are also vengeful and violent to those who persecuted them by using terrorist methods and that they practiced "ethnic cleansing" but that does not make them "uncivilized", the civilized Americans and Europeans did the same when conquering their settler colonies. So why not let them have their own land, just like the Jewish Europeans were given and make peace with time provided they renounce their goal of spreading Wahhabi Muslim empire by force?

    The Arab states which emerged after the dissolution of the Ottoman Caliphate were not meant to be replaced by an Arab Caliphate. The fight of the Sunnis is not the fight of a 'persecuted' minority, but of the former dominant minority for the re-establishment of their dominant position in the frame of the Caliphate, with wet dreams of world domination. ISIS is but the tip of the iceberg. Their eradication would cool down the overheated minds of the Caliphate dreamers.

    Cloak And Dagger , January 23, 2017 at 1:19 am GMT \n
    400 Words @alexander Annamaria,

    The key to US solvency and credit worthiness is the "ratio" of Debt to GDP.....Our GDP should ALWAYS be in the plus column, and when its not.... it's bad news.

    Like today, it is bad news (Debt 19.9 T / GDP 18.7 T)...it is such bad news our big media has refused to discuss it .....The only person to bring it up , ever, was the Donald.

    The big media does not want to say the wars they lied us into bankrupted our nation because it makes them accountable.

    The scaly truth is that they "are" accountable.


    Ironically,Donald Trump (who knows this too) now has the power as President to generate over two trillion dollars in revenues, literally overnight, and move our Debt to GDP ratio right back in the plus column.

    Do you want to know how ?


    He goes on record that the Iraq War "lies" constituted a defrauding of the American people , our country, and the brave men and women who fought and died there....and he has chosen to recognize this "defrauding " as a supreme terrorist act against the wellbeing of our nation ,our citizenry and the values that make us who we are.....

    He goes on to say that ALL the perpetrators will be held accountable for this despicable act of deception , so that it may never happen again.

    Then he proceeds with operation "Clean Sweep" and takes down all the back room billionaire oligarchs who jockeyed for the war and profited from it .

    Lets say by the time he is done he has arrested 700 belligerent oligarchs and media moguls and seizes all their assets....If they are each worth, on average, 4 billion dollars .......

    then 700 x 4 billion = 2.8 trillion dollars

    If this 2.8 trillion goes to paying down the national debt....then "bingo" our Debt to GDP ratio is right back in the" plus column" ....

    Our National debt is reduced by 2.8 T and the GDP stays the same .....the new ratio is 17.1 T Debt/ 18.7 T GDP.

    Our credit worthiness, as a nation, is now out of the" danger zone".

    Whatever assets the criminal oligarchs had, are auctioned off and redistributed to all the good people who would never "lie us into war".

    This sends an enormously reassuring message throughout the world that we are able to take care of business at home, and clean house when necessary.

    This would also serve as a much needed tonic within the entire "establishment" community, as they would be intensely fearful of ever defrauding the American people again.


    Would you do it ?.....If you were President, Anna, would you demand accountability ?

    Would you do it ? ..If you were President, Anna, would you demand accountability

    Not to speak for Anna, but maybe I would – if blessed with balls of titanium, or perhaps by underestimating the capacity of the deep state to slice them off. Being human, one can only hope that Trump will do what I cannot, or could not in his shoes.

    One thing he cannot do is feign ignorance or pretend to be unaware of the critters festering in the swamp – after all, he campaigned on the promise of draining it. Where hope falters is in seeing the cabinet he is building with characters unlikely to do much in the swamp-draining department. Without a strong cadre of testicular fortitude surrounding him in his cabinet, his most sincere attempts at swamp-drainage will be quixotic at best.

    So, where does one place hope lest one becomes a blathering cynic or a nattering nabob of negativity?

    Ego ! That is where my chips are stacked. Nothing defines or motivates Trump more than his self-perception. I believe that it is much more than showmanship that propels his self-promotion, and nothing would be more devastating to the man than to be ridiculed or perceived as a failure. I doubt that Netanyahu could do to him what he did to Obama and survive the retaliatory deluge that would follow. I think Trump's hidden strength is his desire for vengeance against those that wrong him (I expect there to be tribulations in HRC's future). If the deep state doesn't do him in first, there is the strong possibility of damage on the deep state – one that they may never recover from in this world of instant information that wilts night-flowers.

    He may redefine victory on occasion for outcomes that are too difficult for him to accept, but in the end, he will "Make Trump Great Again," and if fortune favors us, help the US benefit in the process, if not the rest of the world.

    That does not rule out that his naiveté may cause him to stumble and fall, perhaps more than once, and he has not always succeeded in business, but it seems that he does build on his failures, and is unlikely to make the same mistake twice.

    Doesn't appear like a lot to cling to, but in this dystopic world, it is the best we have. Is it enough?

    [Jan 22, 2017] The policy of imperialism threatens to change the temper of our people, and to put us into a permanent attitude of arrogance, testiness, and defiance towards other nations

    Notable quotes:
    "... Alarmed by the spread of anti-imperialist ideas, Lodge invited his closest friend, Governor Theodore Roosevelt of New York, to join him in Boston to launch a counterattack. On Oct. 31, 1899, both spoke to the Republican Club of Massachusetts at the cavernous Music Hall on Winter Street. "We have got to put down the insurrection!" Roosevelt cried. "If we are men, we can't do otherwise!" Lodge portrayed anti-imperialists as not only defeatist, but complicit in the killing of American soldiers. ..."
    "... Tides ran in favor of the expansionist idea. Prominent anti-imperialists lost elections. War in the Philippines slowly reached its bloody end. Americans began focusing on other problems. The United States had leaped from continental empire to overseas empire. ..."
    "... That war - which is actually a war against war - has never ended. The debate over American intervention abroad, which began at Faneuil Hall in 1898, is still raging. It will shape the new administration in Washington and, through it, the world. ..."
    Jan 22, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    Fred C. Dobbs :

    How (When?) Boston fought the empire
    http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2017/01/22/how-boston-fought-empire/mWNyIXXDIdogeh9guKDnzN/story.html?event=event25
    via @BostonGlobe - Stephen Kinzer - January 22, 2017

    Where better to launch a patriotic uprising than Faneuil Hall in Boston? It is a lodestone of American liberty, a cathedral for freedom fighters. That is why a handful of eminent Bostonians chose it as the place to begin a new rebellion on the sunny afternoon of June 15, 1898.

    Like all Americans, they had been dizzied by the astonishing events of recent weeks. Their country had suddenly burst beyond its natural borders. American troops had landed in Cuba. American warships had bombarded Puerto Rico. An American expeditionary force was steaming toward the distant Philippine Islands. Hawaii seemed about to fall to American power. President William McKinley had called for 200,000 volunteers to fight in foreign wars. Fervor for the new idea of overseas expansion gripped the United States.

    This prospect thrilled some Americans. It horrified others. Their debate gripped the nation. The country's best-known political and intellectual leaders took sides. In the history of US foreign policy, this is truly the mother of all debates.

    When we argue over whether we should depose a government in Iraq or Syria or Libya, whether we should wage war in Afghanistan, whether we should encourage the bombing of Yemen, or whether we should seek to bend Russia to our will, we are arguing the same question that was at the center of this original debate. Every argument about foreign intervention that we make today - on both sides - was first made in the period around 1898. Today's debates are amazingly precise repetitions of that first one. The central question is the same: Should the United States project power into faraway lands? Yes, to guarantee our prosperity, save innocent lives, liberate the oppressed, and confront danger before it reaches our shores! No, intervention brings suffering and creates enemies!

    Boston was the epicenter of that original debate. Bostonians played such a large role in the national debate that one California newspaper called anti-imperialists "the kicking Bostonese." Several hundred of them turned out for the Faneuil Hall meeting. One speaker, the Rev. Charles Ames, a theologian and Unitarian pastor, warned that the moment the United States seized a foreign land, it would "sacrifice the principles on which the Republic was founded."

    The policy of imperialism threatens to change the temper of our people, and to put us into a permanent attitude of arrogance, testiness, and defiance towards other nations. ... Once we enter the field of international conflict as a great military and naval power, we shall be one more bully among bullies. We shall only add one more to the list of oppressors of mankind.

    At the end of that afternoon, one of the meeting's organizers came to the podium and read a resolution. "Resolved, that the mission of the United States is to help the world by an example of successful self-government, and that to abandon the principles and the policy under which we have prospered, and embrace the doctrine and practices now called imperial, is to enter the path which, with other great republics, has ended in the downfall of free institutions," it declared. "Resolved, that our first duty is to cure the evils in our own country." The resolution was adopted by acclamation.

    At the very moment these words were shaking Faneuil Hall, debate on the same question - overseas expansion - was reaching a climax in Congress. It is a marvelous coincidence: The first anti-imperialist rally in American history was held on the same day that Congress voted, also for the first time, on whether the United States should take an overseas colony. The colony in question was Hawaii, but all understood that the real question was immensely greater. It was nothing less than the future of the Republic: whether or not the United States should become a global military power and seek to shape the fate of faraway lands.

    On that day, as expected, the House of Representatives voted to annex Hawaii. Yet the great debate had only begun. Working from offices in Boston, anti-imperialists spent the summer and fall of 1898 writing letters to potential sympathizers across the country.

    Their work came to fruition on Nov. 18, when an eager crowd packed a law office on Milk Street to witness the founding of the Anti-Imperialist League. George Boutwell, who had been a passionate abolitionist as well as a congressman, US senator, and governor of Massachusetts, was chosen by acclimation as the league's first president. In his mind, every abolitionist was a natural anti-imperialist, since anyone who opposed keeping human beings as slaves must also oppose ruling other peoples against their will.

    At the end of 1898, American negotiators forced the defeated Spanish to sign the Treaty of Paris, in which they surrendered Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. On Jan. 4, 1899, President McKinley submitted the treaty for Senate ratification. That set off a monthlong debate over what one senator called "the greatest question that has ever been presented to the American people." The dominant figure on each side was a brilliantly articulate Republican senator from Massachusetts.

    George Frisbie Hoar of Worcester led the anti-imperialist charge. The United States, he insisted, must not "rush madly upon this new career," lest it become "a cheap-jack country raking after the cart for the leavings of European tyranny." He ended his speech in a crescendo: "The poor Malay, the poor African, the downtrodden workman of Europe will exclaim, as he reads this new doctrine: 'Good God! Is there not one place left on earth where, in right of my manhood, I can stand up and be a man?' "

    Hoar's sharpest opponent was Henry Cabot Lodge of Beacon Hill and Nahant. Lodge told the Senate that since many foreign peoples were unequipped to govern themselves wisely, they should submit to American guidance and trust "the American people, who have never failed in any great duty or feared to face any responsibility, to deal with them in that spirit of justice, humanity, and liberty which has made us all that we are today or can ever hope to be."

    From their bustling office on Kilby Street, leaders of the Anti-Imperialist League fed information to friendly senators and heavily lobbied the handful who remained undecided. The league also published a stream of pamphlets, called Liberty Tracts, aimed at bringing its arguments to a larger audience. Often their titles were questions. "Which shall it be, nation or empire?" asked one. Another: "Is it right for this country to kill the natives of a foreign land because they wish to govern themselves?"

    On Feb. 6, 1899, despite these intense efforts, senators ratified the Treaty of Paris - by just one vote more than the required two-thirds majority. Armed rebellion broke out immediately in the Philippines. Tens of thousands of American troops were sent to suppress it. President McKinley faced a difficult task: explain to a divided nation why taking foreign lands was no betrayal of the American idea. He decided to deliver a speech in Boston, home of the Anti-Imperialist League and thus the heart of enemy territory. To assure himself a friendly audience, however, he chose as his platform the Home Market Club, one of the country's most potent agglomerations of corporate power.

    A crowd led by Mayor Josiah Quincy cheered as McKinley emerged from South Station around midday on Feb. 15, 1899. The next night, nearly two thousand guests packed Mechanics Hall for the largest banquet ever staged in the United States. In his speech, McKinley asserted that the essential goodness of the American people is the supreme and sole necessary justification of whatever the United States chooses to do in the world. This goodness, he acknowledged, might not be clear to the "misguided Filipino," but soon the islands would prosper under the rule "not of their American masters, but of their American emancipators."

    "Did we need their consent to perform a great act for humanity?" he asked. "We had it in every aspiration of their minds, in every hope of their hearts."

    These words disgusted the philosopher William James. In an anguished letter to Boston newspapers, he called McKinley's speech a "shamefully evasive" attempt to obscure the central truth of the age: "We are cold-bloodedly, wantonly, and abominably destroying the soul of a people who never did us an atom of harm in their lives. It is bald, brutal piracy."

    Alarmed by the spread of anti-imperialist ideas, Lodge invited his closest friend, Governor Theodore Roosevelt of New York, to join him in Boston to launch a counterattack. On Oct. 31, 1899, both spoke to the Republican Club of Massachusetts at the cavernous Music Hall on Winter Street. "We have got to put down the insurrection!" Roosevelt cried. "If we are men, we can't do otherwise!" Lodge portrayed anti-imperialists as not only defeatist, but complicit in the killing of American soldiers.

    "I vote with the army that wears the uniform and carries the flag of my country," he said. "When the enemy has yielded and the war is over, we can discuss other matters!"

    Tides ran in favor of the expansionist idea. Prominent anti-imperialists lost elections. War in the Philippines slowly reached its bloody end. Americans began focusing on other problems. The United States had leaped from continental empire to overseas empire.

    "Well, we are defeated for the time," admitted the Cambridge anti-imperialist Charles Eliot Norton. "But the war is not ended, and we are enlisted for the war."

    That war - which is actually a war against war - has never ended. The debate over American intervention abroad, which began at Faneuil Hall in 1898, is still raging. It will shape the new administration in Washington and, through it, the world.

    ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , January 22, 2017 at 07:23 AM
    Few want Manifest Destiny to stop short of an American world.
    anne -> Fred C. Dobbs... , -1
    Splendid essay.

    [Jan 22, 2017] Stephen Cohen about Fake News, Neo-McCarthyism, Aleppo, CIA hacking allegations and Rex Tillerson

    As Stephen Cohen noted Kremlin bating was adopted by Hillary campaign -- they wanted to fight again Trump and Putin, instead Trump and Pence. That did not them any good.
    Notable quotes:
    "... 2016 was the year of collapse of western mainstream media. No decent people must now on trust on our western mainstream media. ..."
    "... You have to dig the truth from independent sources. I found this thing much before Iraq War. Even Vietnam War was run by similar lies of media and ruling class (Tonkin Gulf plot). ..."
    www.youtube.com

    DieFlabbergast

    Whether you have a favorable or unfavorable view of Putin, or of Russia in general, it is people like Stephen Cohen - who has studied Russia all his life and actually knows what he's talking about - to whom you should listen. Compared to the media men who have Cohen on their shows, he is like an adult talking to children.

    I hate modern football

    As a Finn i have been forced to learn the history of Russia in perspective of Finland (and Sweden).

    And my conclusion has become more stable that Finland is for Russia nothing more than buffer: a country causing no problems but lots of good things IF THERE ARE NO MILITARY FORCES OF ENEMY GREAT POWER.

    After that basic geopolitical fact it's clear why Finland is not NATO country and hope will never come even there are lots of Finnish media pundits suggesting it.

    Pfirtzer -> I hate modern football

    Well older people have still the idea America liberated them and other uninformed people find Russia to bo the enemy because of MH17 plain that was shot down above Ukraine.

    But in fairness there are many dutch people who want to have a good relation with Russia and having trade with Russia, because it's good to trade, and talk , war is just good for the Rothschilds, Rockefeller, Bushes and co

    Look a booklet https://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html War Is a Racket google it, your eyes will open what is going on in the world!

    Jason Roggasch

    No proof no facts JUST assertions from one of the most destructive forces the world has ever known THE CIA.

    Patricia Leary

    "It's CLEAR that Russia is meddling in our election" Dude! Clarity without ANY facts? Zero evidence? Seriously??

    Here's what IS crystal clear and is backed by COPIOUS undisputed evidence, and nary a word from corporate neocon Obama or his MSM lapdogs - Hillary Clinton, the DNC, and the Superdelegates criminal, corrupt election fraud, defiling our election integrity, during the primaries, backed by huge corporate interests to ensure that an anti-corporatist like Bernie Sanders, DID NOT gain the nomination.

    Had Sanders been nominated, he would have won the presidency hands down! They knew that! The corporate billionaires ruling the world COULD NOT and WOULD NOT HAVE THAT! Yes. There was meddling but it wasn't a foreign entity. It was the United States of Corporations!

    Susan Joy Worker

    why should anyone believe Clinton and the Globalist-controlled media? They lie about everything.

    The Leaks have revealed extensive crimes - we now need a Full investigation of ALL of those crimes.

    Then Mrs Clinton can explain herself at a fair trial. If that leads to jail or execute, so be it.

    Let us move the discussion on to her crimes, and who conspired with her in those crimes.

    I am tired of the distractions

    Alex Trefall

    As a Polish national I have no great love for Russia. But in recent years I recognized that what I consider "my version of history" may not be the same for someone else.

    Meaning: history is not facts but rather its mostly political fiction mixed with some facts. I don't claim to know who has the proverbial answer, or who is right.

    All I see is that in the last 15 years, if not longer it's the US that invaded more countries and caused countless deaths in the name of their own self interest ( democracy - freedom/slavery to consume whatever we like in whatever quantity ).

    Trying to blame Russia for everything just seems pathetic regardless how good or bad Putin really is.

    B M

    USA governments have been in the pocket of the Globalist Arms Manufacturers because it is worth trillions of dollars to them.Its all about $$$$$$.People are expendable.

    We now have a chance for peace but Trump is in danger for attempting to break this evil establishment.

    ameighable

    Julian Assange has said that the leaks were not from state operatives and definitely not Russsia. A former UK ambassador says that he personally few to DC to personally receive the WikiLeaks material. Julian Assange suggested in an interview with Dutch TV that Seth Rich, a DNC employee who was murdered not long after the leaks, was the leaker.

    Furthermore, the ambassador said that all published information was legally obtained by disgruntled insiders.

    Vlasta Molak

    There are 4 totalitarian, supremacist, apartheid and imperialistic IDEOLOGIES, which had threatened advances of the Western civilization: Communism, Fascism, Nazism and Islam, of which Islam is the most current and dangerous, as it is worst than Nazism. Communism fell under its own weight, Fascism and Nazism were defeated in WWII (although it exists in small enclaves) but Islam is invading the West with the help of treasonous Western politicians, such as b. Hussein Obama, Angela Merkel, EC and even Pope.

    Trump recognizes this and his choice for Secretary of State, Rex Tillleson is a great one, as Mr. Tillerson is a problem solver, just as Trump is, who listens to everybody, including those who opposed him and defamed him. this is a characteristic of a GREAT leader. Putin has a PhD in Economics who lived in Dresden while working for KGB and Putin is aware of the danger of Islam to Western civilization.

    Vlasta Molak

    Wahbis RULE Saudi Arabia, the center of Islam in Mecca and therefore are just like the war lord Mohamed role models for ALL Muslim men who have to come for Hajj at least once in a lifetime. It is the IDEOLOGY of Islam that is the ROOT cause of terrorism and violence nowadays.

    444suse

    2016 was the year of collapse of western mainstream media. No decent people must now on trust on our western mainstream media.

    You have to dig the truth from independent sources. I found this thing much before Iraq War. Even Vietnam War was run by similar lies of media and ruling class (Tonkin Gulf plot).

    Russia Good

    World Disorder in the New Year, By Stephen F. Cohen https://player.fm/series/the-john-batchelor-show/1-year-ago-world-disorder-in-the-new-year-stephen-f-cohen-nyu-princeton-eastwestaccordcom

    Susan Joy Worker

    Brian on NYT: "There are other points of view, including the point of view of Donald Trump, that do get on their pages."
    LOL, This made me laugh aloud. "On their pages" - to be misreported and ridiculed. The NY Times is definitely part of the problem and is a key part of the spin machine. I was happy to hear that they will let enough employees go to free up 8 floors. May the shrinking continue in 2017. It will save the "good guys" from nuking the place and all who work there.


    [Jan 22, 2017] Obama Admits Gap in Russian Hack Case – Consortiumnews

    Notable quotes:
    "... Oops. Did President Barack Obama acknowledge that the extraordinary propaganda campaign to blame Russia for helping Donald Trump become president has a very big hole in it, i.e., that the U.S. intelligence community has no idea how the Democratic emails reached WikiLeaks? For weeks, eloquent obfuscation – expressed with "high confidence" – has been the name of the game, but inadvertent admissions now are dispelling some of the clouds. ..."
    "... "the conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to whether WikiLeaks was witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the DNC e-mails that were leaked ..."
    "... He offered a similarly designed comment at a Dec. 16, 2016 press conference when he said: "based on uniform intelligence assessments, the Russians were responsible for hacking the DNC. the information was in the hands of WikiLeaks." ..."
    "... Obama does not bridge the gap because to do so would represent a bald-faced lie, which some honest intelligence officer might call him on. So, he simply presents the two sides of the chasm – implies a connection – but leaves it to the listener to make the leap. ..."
    "... Former U.K. Ambassador Craig Murray, a close associate of Assange, has made clear that the two separate batches of Democratic emails – one from the DNC and the other from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta – also were leaks from insiders, not hacks from outsiders. ..."
    "... "In his final press conference, beginning around 8 minutes 30 seconds in, Obama admits that they have no evidence of how WikiLeaks got the DNC material. This undermines the stream of completely evidence-free nonsense that has been emerging from the US intelligence services this last two months, in which a series of suppositions have been strung together to make unfounded assertions that have been repeated again and again in the mainstream media. ..."
    "... "Most crucially of all Obama refers to 'The DNC emails that were leaked.' Note 'leaked' and not 'hacked.' I have been repeating that this was a leak, not a hack, until I am blue in the face. William Binney, former Technical Director of the NSA, has asserted that were it a hack the NSA would be able to give the precise details down to the second it occurred, and it is plain from the reports released they have no such information. Yet the media has persisted with this nonsense 'Russian hacking' story." ..."
    "... For whatever reason Obama finally decided to steer clear of the moronic "Russia Connection" BS. At least for the final record. ..."
    "... Very true. The stories of risks from other great powers are based upon absolutely nothing, absolutely nothing, and the subsidy of wars of aggression for Israel and Saudi Arabia is insanity and corruption to the point of treason. The US has no interest in war at all except bribery from MIC/Israel/KSA. The warmongers should all be in Club Fed Guantanamo for good. ..."
    "... Perjury .Any president of the USA is continuously under oath from day one The only thing is USA citizens are cowards. They allow the elite money changers to sway the law ..."
    "... The oath thing is effectively a Hitlerian Big Lie. Presidents (and most people, good and bad) lie as naturally as breathing. ..."
    "... In his final press conference, beginning around 8 minutes 30 seconds in, Obama admits that they have no evidence of how WikiLeaks got the DNC material. ..."
    "... Obama has used his speaking skills to take us all down the long garden path, beginning as a campaigner who was apparently anti-war and becoming one of the worst of the pro-war presidents. He can claim he never promised he was anti-war during his 2008 campaign because is is "so rhetorically eloquent at . obfuscation" and he very carefully creates "his oratorical constructs." ..."
    "... Well, Donald Trump is our president. It is hard to imagine how he will rid the world of the Cold War and it's hard to miss his shift from talking about it directly to the war against Muslim extremism. While we hope it would, working with Russia on ISIS does not mean that the taunting by our Generals or by NATO will disappear. The President has bridled at the behavior of the CIA but will he be able to reduce its power. Ditto the military that he praises as all presidents do and speaks of making it even bigger. ..."
    "... His positions on trade will run up against the power of investors who want to freely move their money where the profits are. Arguments like the second world war was a result of our protectionists policies after the Depression hit will surface and the public will be reminded that advanced countries simply don't behave the way he proposes. ..."
    "... The choice of one word by Obama is not a strong argument, nor is there a case that "almost certainly" Russia hacked the DNC email, versus China or the US or a private hacker. The US certainly did so, as it has far greater resources and is known to have the ability. So the most likely government hacking source is a US agency like NSA. And the most likely source is the disaffected, resigned, and murdered DNC staffer Mr. Rich. ..."
    "... The issue s/n/b "who" leaked "what", it s/b =>why, should information<= about "salaried, elected 527 actor [and appointee] activities" be allowed any privilege of privacy or secrecy. Obviously, those who need to be best informed in a democracy, about the activities and exploits of those in or near to power, are those furtherest from the seats of power, the members of the voting public. Privilege of secret or privacy belongs to those furtherest from the seats of power. Seat occupants possess no privilege or secret to any aspect of their activities and exploits. ..."
    "... Hillary Clinton was not trusted. She was a weak candidate whose allegiance was to a tiny sliver of powerful wealthy people. everybody knew that. She cost herself the election. The argument her defenders are using trying to blame the Russians, the FBI, blah blah blah is that if only the truth could have been kept from the voters their candidate would have won. That is a very weak position and does not help their credibility. They play a dangerous game trying to inflame passions against Russia instead of cleaning their own house. ..."
    "... Sorry folks, this smacks of W. Bush maintaining "we have no direct evidence that Osama Bin Laden attacked the World Trade Center on 9/11" fully knowing that the majority of Americans had already been successfully programmed to the contrary. The big admission Obama is lacking here is the admission that the whole "Putin hacked" scenario was scripted in the bowels of the American security state otherwise known as the fourth branch of our government. ..."
    "... Thank Obama for "dispelling . . . obfuscation"? Obama called for a thorough investigation back in December then almost immediately made statements to the effect that "nothing much happens without Putin knowing it" and "the Russians are capable of doing this" (the essence of his remarks). Massaging the hysteria nicely, wasn't he? Now he states "conclusions are not conclusive." Once again here he is the spinmaster on his silver toe defending his ego. Too kind, Ray, much too kind and generous for this kind of behavior. ..."
    "... The NYT will preserve it's reputation as the "toilet paper of record" a remarkably accurate quip from that, All American, Gerald Celente of Trends Research. ..."
    "... The apocalyptic visions of George Orwell's warnings "Big Brother is Watching You," have now come to pass. Let us re-examine the classic works of that master of propaganda, Edward Bernays and his modern day student, Philip D. Zelikow. ..."
    Jan 20, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

    The hole in the U.S. intelligence community's "high confidence" about Russia "hacking" Democratic emails has always been who gave the material to WikiLeaks, as President Obama admitted, notes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

    Oops. Did President Barack Obama acknowledge that the extraordinary propaganda campaign to blame Russia for helping Donald Trump become president has a very big hole in it, i.e., that the U.S. intelligence community has no idea how the Democratic emails reached WikiLeaks? For weeks, eloquent obfuscation – expressed with "high confidence" – has been the name of the game, but inadvertent admissions now are dispelling some of the clouds.

    Does the Russian government hack, as many other governments do? Of course. Did it hack the emails of the Democratic National Committee? Almost certainly, though it was likely not alone in doing so. In the Internet age, hacking is the bread and butter of intelligence agencies. If Russian intelligence did not do so, this would constitute gross misfeasance, especially since the DNC was such easy pickings and the possibility of gaining important insights into the U.S. government was so high. But that is not the question.

    It was WikiLeaks that published the very damaging information, for example, on the DNC's dirty tricks that marginalized Sen. Bernie Sanders and ensured that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would win the Democratic nomination. What remains to be demonstrated is that it was "the Russians" who gave those emails to WikiLeaks. And that is what the U.S. intelligence community doesn't know.

    At President Obama's Jan. 18 press conference, he admitted as much: "the conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to whether WikiLeaks was witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the DNC e-mails that were leaked ." [Emphasis added}

    It is necessary to carefully parse Obama's words since he prides himself in his oratorical constructs. He offered a similarly designed comment at a Dec. 16, 2016 press conference when he said: "based on uniform intelligence assessments, the Russians were responsible for hacking the DNC. the information was in the hands of WikiLeaks."

    Note the disconnect between the confidence about hacking and the stark declarative sentence about the information ending up at WikiLeaks. Obama does not bridge the gap because to do so would represent a bald-faced lie, which some honest intelligence officer might call him on. So, he simply presents the two sides of the chasm – implies a connection – but leaves it to the listener to make the leap.

    WikiLeaks Account

    As I suggested to RT viewers right after the last press conference, the reason WikiLeaks might have been "not witting" could be that it was quite sure it was not a "conduit" for "hacking" by the Russians or anyone else. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has stated that the Russian government was not the source and it's significant that President Obama stopped short of contradicting him. It is also clear that WikiLeaks, in the past, has obtained LEAKED information from U.S. whistleblowers, such as Chelsea Manning.

    Former U.K. Ambassador Craig Murray, a close associate of Assange, has made clear that the two separate batches of Democratic emails – one from the DNC and the other from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta – also were leaks from insiders, not hacks from outsiders.

    After the Jan. 18 press conference - what Murray called the "Stunning Admission from Obama on Wikileaks" - Murray wrote:

    "In his final press conference, beginning around 8 minutes 30 seconds in, Obama admits that they have no evidence of how WikiLeaks got the DNC material. This undermines the stream of completely evidence-free nonsense that has been emerging from the US intelligence services this last two months, in which a series of suppositions have been strung together to make unfounded assertions that have been repeated again and again in the mainstream media.

    "Most crucially of all Obama refers to 'The DNC emails that were leaked.' Note 'leaked' and not 'hacked.' I have been repeating that this was a leak, not a hack, until I am blue in the face. William Binney, former Technical Director of the NSA, has asserted that were it a hack the NSA would be able to give the precise details down to the second it occurred, and it is plain from the reports released they have no such information. Yet the media has persisted with this nonsense 'Russian hacking' story."

    So I suppose we should thank Barack Obama for dispelling at least some of the obfuscation at which he is so rhetorically eloquent, while our lame "mainstream" media take steno and regurgitate ad nauseam .

    Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and CIA analyst for a total of 30 years and now servers on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

    Sally Snyder , January 20, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    Here is an interesting look at an essay written by Barack Obama when he was a student at Columbia University:

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2017/01/a-young-barack-obama-and-his-ironic.html

    It is so ironic that he is now the only POTUS to serve his full term in a state of war, yet another inconsistency in his persona.

    Bob Van Noy , January 20, 2017 at 8:05 pm

    Thanks for the link Sally Snyder. They can't be the same person. Can they?

    Zachary Smith , January 20, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    "So I suppose we should thank Barack Obama for dispelling at least some of the obfuscation at which he is so rhetorically eloquent, while our lame "mainstream" media take steno and regurgitate ad nauseam."

    Not me. In my opinion Obama has been "playing nice" for his final few days and hours in the hope citizens and historians will make that "leap" and conclude he was a nice guy at heart after all.

    The Moon of Alabama site had this viewpoint:

    The DNC emails "that were leaked" – not "hacked" or "stolen" but "leaked".

    One wonders if this is a parting shot is primarily aimed at the involved Intelligence Agencies led by James Clapper and John Brennan. Or is dissing Hillary Clinton and her narrative the main purpose?

    That blogger could be right and I might be wrong. For whatever reason Obama finally decided to steer clear of the moronic "Russia Connection" BS. At least for the final record.

    Robert E. Moran , January 20, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    William Binney was right. A leak, not a hacked was done to the DNC.

    Bob Van Noy , January 20, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    Thank you Ray McGovern and The VIPS for keeping us informed about this most important event. It has the potential to expose much wrongdoing affecting our fragile democracy. Watching it being "played out" in real time is a great asset of this remarkable site where truth and decent conversation are carried out on a daily basis

    backwardsevolution , January 20, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    Ray McGovern – another great article! Keep up the good work. Can't wait to find out what Trump says to the CIA tomorrow. Maybe Trump needs to take along Craig Murray.

    Bob Van Noy , January 21, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    backwardsevolution, please see my comment below about Craig Murray.

    Arby , January 21, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    That would be awesome! It won't happen of course. But it would be awesome.

    Dr. Ibrahim Soudy , January 20, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    what i find truly fascinating is that nobody is giving any attention to the FACT that the DNC cheated to make Hillary the nominee in the general elections!! That is not hacking or leaking, it is CHEATING which should be treated accordingly ..even B.S. himself, should have raised hell about that but he lined up like a sheep dog behind Hillary go figure

    Joe Tedesky , January 21, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Ah Doctor now you are talking. The hacking, leaking , and anything else along those line keep us from talking about the real problem. That problem being Hillary's cheating. Good that you brought it up.

    Arby , January 21, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    The question then, is, Did those fools kill two birds with one stone? Or did they flub twice and have the contents of two eggs on each of their faces? They thought that they could count on the foundation of the doctrinal system, and people's having been marinated in it's bullcrap, when they tossed out the 'Putin did it line'. They did all the evil that Wikileaks revealed and only added to it with that nonsense that much (most?) of the public now disbelieves.

    Arby , January 21, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    I have not had the time to look into this the way I want to and I regret that. It's not just that I haven't had the time to examine something important and interesting. I have been misled by Craig Murray's own account, not intentionally I'm sure. Neverthless. I took from one of his blog posts the idea that he met the leaker, full stop. Then, as I perused comments by others (Off Guardian I believe), I realized that it wasn't that simple. Craig met someone acting as a courier for the leaker or leakers, apparently. The difference is not unimportant. Craig can say that he knows that the info that Wikileaks obtained here was not 'hacked', based on his having received it from the leaker or his or her courier. That's fair. But if that's how it went down, then I don't want to say that Murray 'met' the leaker. I wish people would be honest. It's important.

    Yes, l know all about the other stuff. William Binney's explanations for why it wasn't a hack etc.. That's all good. But it's not my focus here. I was misled and then I misled others and my credibility could be impacted by something like this. If my efforts to educate others is important, then that credibility problem is important.

    bob , January 20, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    It appears to me Barack and Hillary simply conspired to destroy Bernie's candidacy and populism. It is and always forever shall be about cash.

    Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia infinitum.

    Our military is an ocean of unaccounted, bloody cash. One Nation Under God. I can tell you this.

    I guarded B-52's, F-4 Phantoms, C-5 A's, the secret Black Sheep Squadron of C-130's with no external insignias jammed with electronics to spy on European nations etcetera. No one in their right mind can send these gigantic machines to bomb defenseless little girls who can't even see them they fly so high and be sane. Toys for the insatiably insane. Absolute lunacy and we glorify it because we're trained like rats.

    Sam F , January 21, 2017 at 7:33 am

    Very true. The stories of risks from other great powers are based upon absolutely nothing, absolutely nothing, and the subsidy of wars of aggression for Israel and Saudi Arabia is insanity and corruption to the point of treason. The US has no interest in war at all except bribery from MIC/Israel/KSA. The warmongers should all be in Club Fed Guantanamo for good.

    Aristotle warned of these tyrants over democracy, causing foreign wars to create fear and to demand power as false protectors, and to accuse their opponents of disloyalty. Our Constitutional Convention failed to protect the tools of democracy, mass media and elections, from the economic concentrations that did not then exist. The US needs constitutional amendments to restrict funding of mass media and elections to limited registered individual contributions, and to improve checks and balances.

    John , January 20, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    Perjury .Any president of the USA is continuously under oath from day one The only thing is USA citizens are cowards. They allow the elite money changers to sway the law

    Arby , January 21, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    The oath thing is effectively a Hitlerian Big Lie. Presidents (and most people, good and bad) lie as naturally as breathing.

    Presidents' lies definitely do more damage than little people's lies, not to excuse any of it. (I don't lie, big or white)

    To get an idea how much of liar Barack Obama is (which was known early on; See the book "Hopeless – Barack Obama And The Politics Of Illusion" edited by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank) just give Seymour Hersh's book "The Killing Of Osama bin Laden" a read.

    The book is unbalanced, in that it's as much about Syria (and the lies told, and not told, about that) as it is about bin Laden. But it's very good, although Hersh, who isn't as independent of the establishment as some believe him to be, unfathomably believes that Obamacare was a plus for Obama's legacy.

    Bill , January 20, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    So you're almost certain that the Russian government hacked the DNC? Based on what, a guess? The whole story has had a bad smell to it from the beginning. Assumptions don't cut it, we need proof.

    Bill Bodden , January 20, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    In his final press conference, beginning around 8 minutes 30 seconds in, Obama admits that they have no evidence of how WikiLeaks got the DNC material.

    If "they" had practiced a daily habit of reading Consortium News "they" would have known how Wikileaks got the information.

    Call A Spade , January 21, 2017 at 4:11 am

    No US citizen would have taken that into account they are emotive they do not vote on evidence otherwise there would have been two different choices.

    Tom , January 20, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    Eh idk about this. There have been reports that the intel community already identified the russians who gave wikileaks the data. It just hasnt been disclosed in the unclassified reports. And what obama said there has to be looked at carefully. I dont think he's disspelling the narrative, i think he's just saying that Wikileaks might not have known they were being used by Russia as a conduit and means of getting the data published. Who knows though

    Charlie M. , January 20, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    Bro. Ray, thank you for giving us clarity. We will need more of it. Keep up the Good Fight.

    paul , January 21, 2017 at 12:47 am

    hi, the hack is easy to figure. mr. PODESTA used a soft easy password so that anyone could hack it. he wanted people to find the clinton email with DEPLORABLES in it. so that it would go viral. he regarded it as having racial tones & he was pissed off at hillary about it. sanders voters were blacks gays & hispanics etc. OBAMA & all the democrats know this but they wont mention it because it reflects on them. i-e therefor /ergo russia the scapegoat bogeyman.or the truth would make them look foolish.–beware the TALENT ACT /circa january 2017 .

    BART GRUZALSKI PROF. EMERITUS , January 21, 2017 at 1:34 am

    Great piece, Ray. What I especially appreciated were your comments on Obama's understated great skill in using language.

    For example, you write:

    "It is necessary to carefully parse Obama's words since he prides himself in his oratorical constructs."

    and later:

    "the obfuscation at which he is so rhetorically eloquent."

    Obama has used his speaking skills to take us all down the long garden path, beginning as a campaigner who was apparently anti-war and becoming one of the worst of the pro-war presidents. He can claim he never promised he was anti-war during his 2008 campaign because is is "so rhetorically eloquent at . obfuscation" and he very carefully creates "his oratorical constructs."

    Great job, Ray. Showing that Obama not only was screwing around with innuendo on the issue of Russian hacking, but that Obama's been screwing around with our minds beginning with his statements as a Senator and continuing right until his most recent statements as POTUS.

    Joe , January 21, 2017 at 3:28 am

    Thank god the election is over and it's time to change wall-hangings and furniture. Civilians also get a change in themes that have preoccupied journalists, such as the Democrats' acute case of McCarthyism.

    But now that there is a Republican in the WH, what are you guys going to write about? It's been getting a little old .

    Call A Spade , January 21, 2017 at 4:05 am

    How would the 2017 Australia of the year possibly be involved isn't he under house arrest in London?

    Herman , January 21, 2017 at 4:07 am

    Well, Donald Trump is our president. It is hard to imagine how he will rid the world of the Cold War and it's hard to miss his shift from talking about it directly to the war against Muslim extremism. While we hope it would, working with Russia on ISIS does not mean that the taunting by our Generals or by NATO will disappear. The President has bridled at the behavior of the CIA but will he be able to reduce its power. Ditto the military that he praises as all presidents do and speaks of making it even bigger.

    His positions on trade will run up against the power of investors who want to freely move their money where the profits are. Arguments like the second world war was a result of our protectionists policies after the Depression hit will surface and the public will be reminded that advanced countries simply don't behave the way he proposes.

    On education reform he will find himself pilloried for trying to destroy public education, and suggesting that parents should have choices will be derided as a violation of our Constitution and its freedom of religion First Amendment and other charges piled upon those.

    Touching preferential treatment because of race will be shouted out of the room.

    In addition to those barriers to getting anything done there is the calls for America first, which is fine except it must include a willingness to deal constructively with world problems. For example, it is disappointing when talking about borders and immigrants, he did not connect our role in the destruction of Middle East countries with the mass exodus from the region. Why not point to Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, even on the borders of Russia and China as places where such extremism exists and changing our own behavior is important to combat it.

    On health care, good luck. Obama gave us something which setting the move toward universal coverage back years by creating a monster which helped those who see universal care as a threat to their profits and power. Announcing a plan for universal coverage is far removed from the vision Trump creates for our country of greater "freedom" and unleashing the constructive power of free enterprise. Universal health coverage and opening up the health system to innovation could work together but doubtful that Trump would have the power to make it happen even if he saw it as helping the people.

    So Trump, already pilloried, marginalized and boxed in, will have a hard time getting anything done, and the interests that oppose anything progressive will not hesitate to unite, scratching each others' back and help each other defeat whatever Trump proposes.

    Trump the maverick, Trump the reformer. Would it be so.

    Anon , January 21, 2017 at 7:20 am

    The choice of one word by Obama is not a strong argument, nor is there a case that "almost certainly" Russia hacked the DNC email, versus China or the US or a private hacker. The US certainly did so, as it has far greater resources and is known to have the ability. So the most likely government hacking source is a US agency like NSA. And the most likely source is the disaffected, resigned, and murdered DNC staffer Mr. Rich.

    Let's refuse to play the corrupt DNC game of distraction from the email contents. The story here is that the DNC is controlled by big money and foreign powers Israel and KSA.

    There is no other story on this subject, and this constant harping on the distraction story suggests complicity in the diversion of public attention from the DNC corruption.

    fudmier , January 21, 2017 at 9:56 am

    The issue s/n/b "who" leaked "what", it s/b =>why, should information<= about "salaried, elected 527 actor [and appointee] activities" be allowed any privilege of privacy or secrecy. Obviously, those who need to be best informed in a democracy, about the activities and exploits of those in or near to power, are those furtherest from the seats of power, the members of the voting public. Privilege of secret or privacy belongs to those furtherest from the seats of power. Seat occupants possess no privilege or secret to any aspect of their activities and exploits.

    Democracy demands an inverse relationship between government actors closet to "centralized power" and the "privilege" of secrecy or privacy.

    evelync , January 21, 2017 at 10:46 am

    you're absolutely correct, fudmier. Bernie was trusted by Dems, Independents and Republicans because he spoke the plain truth about our sorry state of affairs. He would've won.

    The DNC, corrupt, dishonest, did not serve the large majority of people in their own party.

    They conspired to disrupt Bernie's candidacy from the beginning starting with the first primary in the Southeast when they tried to discredit Bernie with that letter from the DNC chairs of the southern block.

    It is important for VIPS to demand the proof of the so called hack.

    Hillary Clinton was not trusted. She was a weak candidate whose allegiance was to a tiny sliver of powerful wealthy people. everybody knew that. She cost herself the election. The argument her defenders are using trying to blame the Russians, the FBI, blah blah blah is that if only the truth could have been kept from the voters their candidate would have won. That is a very weak position and does not help their credibility. They play a dangerous game trying to inflame passions against Russia instead of cleaning their own house.

    Joel Kabakov , January 21, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Sorry folks, this smacks of W. Bush maintaining "we have no direct evidence that Osama Bin Laden attacked the World Trade Center on 9/11" fully knowing that the majority of Americans had already been successfully programmed to the contrary. The big admission Obama is lacking here is the admission that the whole "Putin hacked" scenario was scripted in the bowels of the American security state otherwise known as the fourth branch of our government.

    D5-5 , January 21, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Thank Obama for "dispelling . . . obfuscation"? Obama called for a thorough investigation back in December then almost immediately made statements to the effect that "nothing much happens without Putin knowing it" and "the Russians are capable of doing this" (the essence of his remarks). Massaging the hysteria nicely, wasn't he? Now he states "conclusions are not conclusive." Once again here he is the spinmaster on his silver toe defending his ego. Too kind, Ray, much too kind and generous for this kind of behavior.

    Mark Thomason , January 21, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Thank you. Good points well expressed. This has been buried by those who know better, as partisanship has overtaken truth.

    Trump bashing is an expression of the shock of 9:00 pm Election Night returns that were "impossible." It is the political expression of Hillary's drunken ravings that night.

    We see Stages of Grief in place of intelligence reports.

    Bob Van Noy , January 21, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    backwardsevolution, (Responding on Saturday). I thought you'd appreciate what Craig Murray had to say about President Trump today and note the commentary because it's primarily European

    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk

    Bill Bodden , January 21, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    Thank you, Bob, for that excellent link.

    evelync , January 21, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Yes, thank you Bob!

    Craig Murray's solid piece is very welcome!!
    So glad that there are well informed and honest writers determined to reveal the difference between our words and our actions as a country.

    elmerfudzie , January 21, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Ray, the media propaganda that signaled another world war has now passed? I'd love to think so FDR was quoted as saying "you can fool some of the people some of the time but you can't fool all the people all the time" and IKE's, now famous or rather infamous (he did nothing to stop the momentum) warning about the size and growth of our military industrial congressional complex.

    Yet, politicians and citizen proles alike seem to dismiss these words of wisdom. Humanity continues to be dragged towards an inevitable disaster.

    Trump announced that he will INCREASE military spending while rebuilding our infrastructure?-already he's BS-ing us.

    The NYT will preserve it's reputation as the "toilet paper of record" a remarkably accurate quip from that, All American, Gerald Celente of Trends Research.

    The apocalyptic visions of George Orwell's warnings "Big Brother is Watching You," have now come to pass. Let us re-examine the classic works of that master of propaganda, Edward Bernays and his modern day student, Philip D. Zelikow.

    It is here we will find the current societal Mission of George Orwell's, Ministry of Truth(s), that is, all three branches of our federal government.

    Information gatekeepers of the new Ministry of Propaganda have assumed the shape of, and taken full control of, most of the Western Occident cable and newsprint media. These facts serve to amplify my WW III fears and warnings. In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote: "The art of propaganda consists precisely in being able to awaken the imagination of the public through an appeal to their feelings, in finding the appropriate psychological form that will arrest the attention and appeal to the hearts of the national masses." This same oratory is the "new" yet at the same time, terribly old, politic of the new POTUS.

    [Jan 22, 2017] CIA to be a single organization. It is more like a loose association, conglomerate of several feuding groups each with its own agenda and political goals, which drive the US foreign policy

    Jan 22, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    A Boy Named Sue : , January 21, 2017 at 12:50 AM
    >Under Obama the US has been at war for his entire presidency.

    FFS, grow up. I take back my positive comments about you.

    Do you think he asked for it?

    Plus he tried normalize our relationships with Iran and Cuba.

    ilsm -> A Boy Named Sue... , January 21, 2017 at 04:23 AM
    Yes, the day he became CinC he should have given the order: "mobilize the transports, evacuate the forces".

    That was too hard, it would have reduced the plunder his backers take. It was against his hidden neocon!

    Obama is responsible for as much evil, fraud, waste and murder as W and immensely more than Bill Clinton.

    The Old Testament warning: "Let them stand the judgement".

    libezkova -> A Boy Named Sue... , January 21, 2017 at 09:43 PM
    "Plus he tried normalize our relationships with Iran and Cuba."

    You are trying to change the subject. While in relations with Iran and Cube Obama did achieve some progress, this not the whole story and this is not a major story. The major story is as following: in relations with Russia Obama was a very dangerous neocon warmonger, who actually put even more dangerous warmonger Hillary in charge of his foreign policy for a long four years period. And who has a track record in Ukraine and Syria which is the track record of a typical neocon.

    Both Russia and the USA nuclear forces are now on high alert, while you typing your staff. That means that if something happens (and the sophistication of modern computers chances are higher then before) leaders of the country have less then 20 min to prevent nuclear war. Less for Russia as the USA got way too close and literally encircled Russia. Do you see the problem ? This Nobel Peace Price winner does not give Russia enough time for measured response. Is not his a warmonger with a typical neoconservative ambitions?

    This is what recently Professor Steven Cohen told us. He think that this the current situation is close or even worse then the Cuban Nuclear Crisis.

    He also told a very interesting thing: it is wrong to consider CIA to be a single organization. It is more like a loose association, conglomerate of several feuding groups each with its own agenda and political goals, which can be even in fight with each other and with Pentagon and FBI.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Op6Qr7uuMy8

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

    And they are really ready to put the world on fire for their narrow goals (such as neocon goal of world dominance; or deposing Assad in Syria).

    [Jan 21, 2017] The most dangerous moment in the US-Russia relations

    Interesting thought: there is no intelligence community, there is not CIA, there are different groups within CIA unbrella with different, often conflicting interests and political agenda.
    Notable quotes:
    "... This business that, Russia is the number one existential threat has been unfolding this false drama at the expense of US national security, maybe for a decade, but it certainly intensified under the Obama administration. ..."
    "... In the intelligence community, there are groups of different political impulses, different vested interest in these organizations, and often, they've been at war among themselves within, say the CIA. We're seeing that now with the hacking allegations. And, all likelihood, later we will discover, this was a war within the CIA itself. The FBI tried not to get involved. ..."
    Jan 21, 2017 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr

    The most dangerous moment in the US-Russia relations Leading scholar on US-Russia relations addresses the claim being trumpeted by politicians and media on both sides of the political spectrum that Russia is now the "number one" threat to the United States. Given the proxy wars in Syria and Ukraine, Dr. Stephen Cohen, Professor Emeritus at Princeton University and New York University, tells host of 'The Empire Files', Abby Martin, that the real alarming danger today is "a new, multi-front Cuban missile crisis."

    This business that, Russia is the number one existential threat has been unfolding this false drama at the expense of US national security, maybe for a decade, but it certainly intensified under the Obama administration.

    Meanwhile, Russia was of course in the person of Putin, repeatedly, almost begging the US to join it in an alliance against terrorism, not only in Syria, but in a kind of global war. I don't know if the global war against terrorism is possible as a separate issue, but Russia wanted to partner with the US. Obama was inclined very briefly in Sep. 2016, but that was killed by the US department of defence when they attacked those Syrian troops.

    In the intelligence community, there are groups of different political impulses, different vested interest in these organizations, and often, they've been at war among themselves within, say the CIA. We're seeing that now with the hacking allegations. And, all likelihood, later we will discover, this was a war within the CIA itself. The FBI tried not to get involved.

    There are very different views about Washington's policy toward Russia, inside the intelligence community. This may be the single most dangerous moment in American-Russian relations.

    The Cuban missile crisis is always said to have been the turning point in our awareness of how dangerous the Cold War was. And that, after we avoided nuclear Armageddon, both sides became wise, and the Cold War continued, but there was a code of contact. Everybody understood where the danger lines were. There was a code of conduct between the Soviet Union and the United States. It doesn't exist today. After the Cuban missile crisis in '62, the two sides began to develop interactive cooperation, student exchanges, scientific exchanges, hot lines, constant talks about nuclear weapons, nuclear reductions, trade agreements. That has come to an end along with communication.

    There are now three fronts in the new Cold War that are fought with the possibility of actual war. There's the Baltic region and Poland, where NATO unwisely building up its military presence. There is, of course, Ukraine which could exploded any moment, and, of course, there is Syria, where you got Russian and American aircraft. So, you got a multi-front potential Cuban missile crisis.

    Meanwhile, in the United States, this hysterical reaction to alleged - because there is no proof been produced - that somehow Putin put Trump in the White House, this combination of demented public discourse, engrave danger abroad, at least comparable to the Cuban missile crisis.

    It's been said that the European Union offered Ukraine a very benign economic relationship. That wasn't a benign agreement, about a thousand pages long. There is a section called 'military security issues' and it's very clear, that any country that signs this so-called eastern partnership agreement with the EU, is obliged to adhere to NATO security policies. By signing that, you become a de facto member of NATO. And this was just more of the attempt by Washington to get Ukraine in the NATO, if not openly, through the back door, and they're still at it.

    The decision to expand NATO, all the way, including Ukraine and Georgia, has created a situation in which none of us is safe. And they call that 'national security'?

    Full interview: watch-v=Op6Qr7uuMy8

    [Jan 21, 2017] The most dangerous moment in the US-Russia relations

    Interesting thought: there is no intelligence community, there is not CIA, there are different groups within CIA umbrella with different, often conflicting interests and political agenda.
    Notable quotes:
    "... This business that, Russia is the number one existential threat has been unfolding this false drama at the expense of US national security, maybe for a decade, but it certainly intensified under the Obama administration. ..."
    "... In the intelligence community, there are groups of different political impulses, different vested interest in these organizations, and often, they've been at war among themselves within, say the CIA. We're seeing that now with the hacking allegations. And, all likelihood, later we will discover, this was a war within the CIA itself. The FBI tried not to get involved. ..."
    Jan 21, 2017 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr

    The most dangerous moment in the US-Russia relations Leading scholar on US-Russia relations addresses the claim being trumpeted by politicians and media on both sides of the political spectrum that Russia is now the "number one" threat to the United States. Given the proxy wars in Syria and Ukraine, Dr. Stephen Cohen, Professor Emeritus at Princeton University and New York University, tells host of 'The Empire Files', Abby Martin, that the real alarming danger today is "a new, multi-front Cuban missile crisis."

    This business that, Russia is the number one existential threat has been unfolding this false drama at the expense of US national security, maybe for a decade, but it certainly intensified under the Obama administration.

    Meanwhile, Russia was of course in the person of Putin, repeatedly, almost begging the US to join it in an alliance against terrorism, not only in Syria, but in a kind of global war. I don't know if the global war against terrorism is possible as a separate issue, but Russia wanted to partner with the US. Obama was inclined very briefly in Sep. 2016, but that was killed by the US department of defence when they attacked those Syrian troops.

    In the intelligence community, there are groups of different political impulses, different vested interest in these organizations, and often, they've been at war among themselves within, say the CIA. We're seeing that now with the hacking allegations. And, all likelihood, later we will discover, this was a war within the CIA itself. The FBI tried not to get involved.

    There are very different views about Washington's policy toward Russia, inside the intelligence community. This may be the single most dangerous moment in American-Russian relations.

    The Cuban missile crisis is always said to have been the turning point in our awareness of how dangerous the Cold War was. And that, after we avoided nuclear Armageddon, both sides became wise, and the Cold War continued, but there was a code of contact. Everybody understood where the danger lines were. There was a code of conduct between the Soviet Union and the United States. It doesn't exist today. After the Cuban missile crisis in '62, the two sides began to develop interactive cooperation, student exchanges, scientific exchanges, hot lines, constant talks about nuclear weapons, nuclear reductions, trade agreements. That has come to an end along with communication.

    There are now three fronts in the new Cold War that are fought with the possibility of actual war. There's the Baltic region and Poland, where NATO unwisely building up its military presence. There is, of course, Ukraine which could exploded any moment, and, of course, there is Syria, where you got Russian and American aircraft. So, you got a multi-front potential Cuban missile crisis.

    Meanwhile, in the United States, this hysterical reaction to alleged - because there is no proof been produced - that somehow Putin put Trump in the White House, this combination of demented public discourse, engrave danger abroad, at least comparable to the Cuban missile crisis.

    It's been said that the European Union offered Ukraine a very benign economic relationship. That wasn't a benign agreement, about a thousand pages long. There is a section called 'military security issues' and it's very clear, that any country that signs this so-called eastern partnership agreement with the EU, is obliged to adhere to NATO security policies. By signing that, you become a de facto member of NATO. And this was just more of the attempt by Washington to get Ukraine in the NATO, if not openly, through the back door, and they're still at it.

    The decision to expand NATO, all the way, including Ukraine and Georgia, has created a situation in which none of us is safe. And they call that 'national security'?

    Full interview: watch-v=Op6Qr7uuMy8

    [Jan 21, 2017] Truthdig - Chris Hedges on How the 'Deep State' Will Influence the Trump Presidency

    Notable quotes:
    "... "It's about shutting down the voices of the dissidents," Hedges says. He explains that America always needs an enemy and that Russian President Vladimir Putin is "easier to demonize" than someone like FBI Director James Comey, who was initially seen as the enemy when Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election. ..."
    Jan 21, 2017 | www.truthdig.com

    Chris Hedges on How the 'Deep State' Will Influence the Trump Presidency

    http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/chris_hedges_the_deep_state_will_influence_the_trump_presidency_20170117/

    Posted on Jan 17, 2017


    By Chris Hedges

    In a new episode of his RT show "Redacted Tonight (https://www.rt.com/shows/redacted-tonight-summary/373661-deep-state-trump-presidency/) ," host Lee Camp sits down with Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges (https://www.truthdig.com/staff/chris_hedges) to discuss the "collapse of the mainstream media and the continued rise of [the] deep state."

    The two examine recent headlines over alleged Russian hacks (http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/experts_arent_convinced_by_fbi_and_homeland_security_20161230) during the 2016 election. Hedges condemns the mainstream media for "hyperventilating" over the alleged hacks, adding that the media fervor about Russia has "insidious" roots.

    "It's about shutting down the voices of the dissidents," Hedges says. He explains that America always needs an enemy and that Russian President Vladimir Putin is "easier to demonize" than someone like FBI Director James Comey, who was initially seen as the enemy when Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election.

    Hedges notes that there are also economic factors at play. The "war machine," he says, needs to "demonize Russia" because it "is earning billions of dollars in Eastern Europe with the expansion of NATO."

    Camp asks how Donald Trump, who presented himself as a political outsider, will handle these economic and political forces when he becomes president. Hedges responds:


    I'm not sure Trump has any fixed beliefs. And it's clear that the deep state-the security and surveillance apparatus, the war machine-all sectors of the deep state, Democrat and Republican, are going to put the screws on him to ratchet up or continue this aggressive posture towards Russia. Partly because there are large sections of the U.S. economy, i.e., the defense industry, for whom this is a huge profit-making venture.

    The two also discuss how dissidents will be handled by the Trump administration and whether American society has anything to hope for.

    Watch the full video below.

    [Jan 21, 2017] For the first time in the lives of just about all of you we are all less likely to see the most powerful nation on earth overthrow another government in the Middle East.

    Notable quotes:
    "... A farce wherein a capitalist aristocracy is dressed in the torn and soiled fabric of democracy, proclaiming its will to represent the people. ..."
    "... I don't like farce. It's pointlessly cruel to the characters; that's not stuff I usually find amusing. ..."
    "... For the first time in the lives of just about all of you we are all less likely to see the most powerful nation on earth overthrow another government in the Middle East. From 1991 to 2016 the United States has been bombing nations in the Middle East as part of US foreign policy. Americans love bombing other countries – dropping bombs on people in the Middle East is one of America's favorite methods of bringing peace to the world. ..."
    "... I reject all war. We are all extremely fortunate that Hillary Clinton will not be taking office this weekend. Had Hillary been elected we would be facing a crisis over Syria. Hillary wants to overthrow the Assad government by threatening to shoot down airplanes over Syria. Putin supports Assad. The only airplanes flying over Syria are Russian, or Syrian. Do any of you want a war with Russia? Does shooting down Russian airplanes sound like a good plan to you? ..."
    "... Americans helped overthrow the elected government of the Ukraine. Americans have been bombing countries in the Middle East for decades. Under Obama the US has been at war for his entire presidency. We don't know what will happen, but for the first time in a very long time Americans elected a president who wants to trade with everyone. He wants to do deals with Kim, with Putin, with China. ..."
    Jan 21, 2017 | crookedtimber.org

    b9n10nt 01.20.17 at 8:47 pm

    Nah, Reagan was tragedy, this one is farce. A farce wherein a capitalist aristocracy is dressed in the torn and soiled fabric of democracy, proclaiming its will to represent the people.
    Layman 01.20.17 at 9:24 pm ( 17 )

    Has anyone noticed the creepy banner CNN is using for their coverage? Two general's stars on a red ribbon? I was struck by it, so I went to CNN's archive to see what they did for the last two inaugurations. I couldn't find anything like it.

    And of course there is the story that his team wanted a military vehicle parade, e.g. Tanks, mobile missile launchers, etc. How long before the Don dons a uniform?

    Collin Street 01.20.17 at 11:51 pm ( 20 )
    Actually, second time as farce.

    I don't like farce. It's pointlessly cruel to the characters; that's not stuff I usually find amusing.

    kidneystones 01.21.17 at 12:23 am
    What I told my own first-year students yesterday:

    For the first time in the lives of just about all of you we are all less likely to see the most powerful nation on earth overthrow another government in the Middle East. From 1991 to 2016 the United States has been bombing nations in the Middle East as part of US foreign policy. Americans love bombing other countries – dropping bombs on people in the Middle East is one of America's favorite methods of bringing peace to the world.

    I reject all war. We are all extremely fortunate that Hillary Clinton will not be taking office this weekend. Had Hillary been elected we would be facing a crisis over Syria. Hillary wants to overthrow the Assad government by threatening to shoot down airplanes over Syria. Putin supports Assad. The only airplanes flying over Syria are Russian, or Syrian. Do any of you want a war with Russia? Does shooting down Russian airplanes sound like a good plan to you?

    Americans helped overthrow the elected government of the Ukraine. Americans have been bombing countries in the Middle East for decades. Under Obama the US has been at war for his entire presidency. We don't know what will happen, but for the first time in a very long time Americans elected a president who wants to trade with everyone. He wants to do deals with Kim, with Putin, with China.

    He's not interested in what goes on in other people's countries. He wants to mind his own business. He wants to get rich and become as famous as possible. We don't know what will happen, but for the first time in a very long time Americans have elected a president who does not want to attack other countries.

    We are not looking at a new US war in the Middle East for the first time in a very long time. That doesn't mean the war won't happen. Americans love bombing people. But I'm immensely pleased Hillary Clinton is not fighting more wars in the Middle East, and that for the first time in a very long time Americans seem to have decided to leave the rest of us live our lives in peace.

    God bless everyone.

    [Jan 18, 2017] The Insanity of a New Cold War: A Top Russian Scholar Sounds the Alarm

    Jan 18, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    RenoDino , January 15, 2017 at 9:16 am

    The Insanity of a New Cold War: A Top Russian Scholar Sounds the Alarm Truthdig

    At the conclusion of the article, the Russian Scholar disavows any fondness for Putin.
    "By the way, I've never voted for Putin as a Russian, and I'm not a Putin supporter."

    For those of you playing the home game, this is now a required loyalty oath for anyone opposed to nuclear war. More points are awarded for those willing to categorically state that "Putin is a War Criminal" and "I want to punch Putin in the face when I see him."

    MyLessThanPrimeBeef , January 15, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    "I have never read War and Peace. I don't like those people at all."

    "Yeah, but you tried, only failing to read it because of its length."

    "No, seriously. I did not even get to page 1."

    Susan C , January 15, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Really – taking out Tolstoy? Such broad strokes. That is the best book I ever read.

    witters , January 15, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    And Anna Karenina is the best novel ever written. Ever.

    [Jan 17, 2017] US F-16 Photographed In Mock Dogfight With Russian Su-27 Above Area 51

    Jan 17, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

    King Tut , Jan 17, 2017 9:56 PM

    After the fall of the Soviet Union all kinds of their military hardware went "missing" - "Lord of War" (a great movie) showed the sleazier side of the international arms trade.

    [Jan 17, 2017] Lavrov US diplomats frequently took part in Russian opposition rallies - RT News

    Notable quotes:
    "... If we talk about recruitment techniques, we did not publicize the full statistics on that. But most recently, in the past few years, especially during the second term of Obama's administration, that unfriendly activity towards our diplomats has been growing in scale ..."
    "... In addition to spying, US Embassy diplomats have repeatedly been seen taking part in the rallies of opposition, anti-government forces, unauthorized rallies, including times when they wore disguise. Do the math yourselves ..."
    "... absolutely the opposite ..."
    "... They [the US diplomats] go to Kaliningrad, Leningrad, Murmansk, Voronezh regions. They were seen repeatedly in Novorossiysk, in the Chechen Republic, along the border with Donbas [Eastern Ukraine], traveled literally up and down the country, ..."
    "... We've curbed intelligence activities of US officials who were working under diplomatic cover. There was the famous episode when a disguised diplomat wearing a wig and false eyebrows penetrated the building of the US embassy, refusing to present identification to the security officer and hitting the officer," ..."
    "... "All these have been traced, ..."
    "... "agents of American security services. ..."
    "... We contacted the US State Department at once, ..."
    "... "When [Secretary] John Kerry learned about it, they were terrified. It was a frame-up of the State Department! ..."
    "... time was lost" ..."
    "... This information has not yet been made public ... It is not customary to do so, but if there is such an aggressive, unfriendly rhetoric from the outgoing US administration, of course, it would not be superfluous to remind the public that such incidents have occurred repeatedly – attempts to pressure our diplomats and attempts to recruit them for different reasons and in different situations," ..."
    "... this indicates that Russian missions abroad really are under constant pressure, that there is constant work to gather intelligence [against us], and often conducted very aggressively. ..."
    "... This shows quite a hostile line towards Russia. We regret that Washington resorted to such methods, and we hope that in our bilateral relations in the future we will still be able to establish a higher level of mutual trust and mutual respect," ..."
    Jan 17, 2017 | www.rt.com

    US intelligence agencies have been actively trying to recruit senior Russian diplomats over the past several years, according to Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who also said that US diplomats in Russia have engaged in espionage and took part in opposition rallies. " If we talk about recruitment techniques, we did not publicize the full statistics on that. But most recently, in the past few years, especially during the second term of Obama's administration, that unfriendly activity towards our diplomats has been growing in scale ," Lavrov said at a news conference on Tuesday.

    #Lavrov : US has increased efforts to recruit Russian diplomats in recent years - LIVE NOW https://t.co/cOq6cPjwfB https://t.co/SPlTpHqxKY pic.twitter.com/nJoM5XGpep

    - RT (@RT_com) January 17, 2017

    According to the minister, US diplomats have also engaged in espionage in Russia and actively participated in the rallies staged by Russian opposition forces.

    " In addition to spying, US Embassy diplomats have repeatedly been seen taking part in the rallies of opposition, anti-government forces, unauthorized rallies, including times when they wore disguise. Do the math yourselves ," Lavrov stated.

    Lavrov dismissed allegations made by the Obama administration, which complained that the US Embassy in Russia was forced to work under allegedly intolerable conditions, with the US Ambassador " cut off " from all contacts, saying that evidence shows the situation was " absolutely the opposite " – that the diplomats' movements were never restricted.

    " They [the US diplomats] go to Kaliningrad, Leningrad, Murmansk, Voronezh regions. They were seen repeatedly in Novorossiysk, in the Chechen Republic, along the border with Donbas [Eastern Ukraine], traveled literally up and down the country, " he said.

    Lavrov also said that the authorities have been able to thwart US diplomats trying to spy on Russia on a number of occasions.

    Read more US intel may have contributed to Russian ex-Foreign Minister Primakov's death – Zakharova

    " We've curbed intelligence activities of US officials who were working under diplomatic cover. There was the famous episode when a disguised diplomat wearing a wig and false eyebrows penetrated the building of the US embassy, refusing to present identification to the security officer and hitting the officer," Lavrov noted, while mentioning several other episodes involving US diplomats wearing disguises, including some when men dressed as women.

    "All these have been traced, " the minister stressed.

    To illustrate the damage that can be caused by the spy-wars being waged by the US intelligence community, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova revealed a scandal that took place in 2015 which may have been among the causes of death of legendary Russian statesman Evgeny Primakov. In an interview with Rossiya 1 TV on Sunday, Zakharova described an alleged attempt by US intelligence services to recruit a Russian diplomat that resulted in a delay in the delivery of a rare American medicine needed for Primakov's treatment.

    According to Zakharova, as a favor to its former chief, the Russian Foreign Ministry organized the purchase of the drug through a practicing US doctor. An embassy employee was supposed to pick up the package and deliver it to Moscow through diplomatic channels. However, he was stopped by people whom Zakharova described as "agents of American security services. " The diplomat was detained, and then eventually let go, but the drug was confiscated. When the unnamed intelligence agency didn't even repay the cost of the drug, which was about $10,000, the Foreign Ministry decided to complain to US authorities.

    " We contacted the US State Department at once, " Zakharova said. "When [Secretary] John Kerry learned about it, they were terrified. It was a frame-up of the State Department! "

    Zakharova said that, although Primakov lived for some time following the incident, precious " time was lost" due to the gaffe.

    The spokeswoman said the story shows the disarray in the Obama administration, while noting that she believes the American security services have been deliberately trying to undermine all diplomatic ties between the US and Russia.

    According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the unfriendly rhetoric of the outgoing US authorities is to blame for Tuesday's disclosure of US pressure techniques on Russian diplomats.

    " This information has not yet been made public ... It is not customary to do so, but if there is such an aggressive, unfriendly rhetoric from the outgoing US administration, of course, it would not be superfluous to remind the public that such incidents have occurred repeatedly – attempts to pressure our diplomats and attempts to recruit them for different reasons and in different situations," Peskov told the press.

    He added that " this indicates that Russian missions abroad really are under constant pressure, that there is constant work to gather intelligence [against us], and often conducted very aggressively.

    " This shows quite a hostile line towards Russia. We regret that Washington resorted to such methods, and we hope that in our bilateral relations in the future we will still be able to establish a higher level of mutual trust and mutual respect," Peskov stated.

    [Jan 17, 2017] Is Politically Correct or Jingoistic Reporting Fake News - The Unz Review

    Jan 17, 2017 | www.unz.com
    What Russia's crime consisted of, by the most damaging interpretation, was hacking into a private server belonging to a political party and possibly allowing the admittedly factual but embarrassing material obtained to make its way into the media. Excuse me, but that is what intelligence agencies do routinely to justify their multiple billion dollar budgets. The United States is the world leader in such activity as revealed by Jim Bamford's books on the subject and also through the revelations obtained in the Snowden papers. Now Russia is being condemned for possibly doing some of the same, though no evidence is being provided, and the story is being framed as if we are by definition the good guys and Vladimir Putin is the devil incarnate.

    What I am saying is that the United States mainstream media is the primary source of fake news due to its inbuilt biases on what is acceptable and what is not. It actually hurts black people by its attempts to be protective and its unwillingness to consider a news story through the eyes of the other party for chauvinistic reasons means that Americans are particularly uninformed about what is going on in the world. To suggest that all of this is particularly dangerous, both in terms of domestic tranquility and possible foreign threats, would be an understatement.

    [Jan 16, 2017] If DNI Clapper is telling the truth, then the ICA was prepared in a manner that violated the very tradecraft regarding the preparation of intelligence community analytical products

    Notable quotes:
    "... The implication inherent in DNI Clapper's revelation is that the classified information relied upon by the Intelligence Community was so specific as to its nature, and so critical and central to the judgments made in the ICA, that it could not be worked around to the extent necessary to shield its specific source from the analysts in the INR. ..."
    "... If DNI Clapper is telling the truth, then the ICA was prepared in a manner that violated the very tradecraft regarding the preparation of intelligence community analytical products he proudly cited to underpin the credibility of the ICA. It also implies that the intelligence community was comfortable with excluding from one of the most important assessments of Russian intent in modern times the very agency, the Department of State, that deals with the Russians on a broad spectrum of issues on a daily basis, and as such would be ideally positioned to weigh in on issues such as Russian intent – especially that of its leader, Vladimir Putin. ..."
    Jan 16, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    fresno dan , January 15, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Exposing The Man Behind The Curtain Scott Ritter, Huffington Post (Fiver). Important.

    "We have 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin, and they are designed to influence our election." This statement was false when it was made by Hillary Clinton, on October 9, 2016, referring to the aforementioned October 7 joint statement by DHS and the ODNI; as was the case for the Russian ICA, the joint statement drew upon only three of the 16 agencies (the 17th is the ODNI, which is a coordinating body, not a separate intelligence agency), the only intelligence agencies involved in crafting the underlying assessments and judgments were the FBI, CIA and NSA.

    When one dissects the nuts and bolts that hold the Russian ICA together, the framework is actually quite weak. The FBI, the sole agency responsible for intelligence derived from a domestic source (i.e., the DNC server and John Podesta) has acknowledged that it has had no direct access to the servers involved, and was compelled to carry out its investigation based upon the technical report of a private cyber security company, Crowdstrike, brought in by the DNC in April 2016***.
    ..
    It was interesting to note that DNI Clapper told the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, in open session on January 10, 2016, that the State Department, in particular its Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) was excluded from participating in the preparation of the classified ICA because of "sensitivity of sources." This seems to be a unique circumstance, as the Senator who asked the question noted; INR analysts possess the highest level of security clearances that grant them access to a broad range of highly classified sources of intelligence.

    The implication inherent in DNI Clapper's revelation is that the classified information relied upon by the Intelligence Community was so specific as to its nature, and so critical and central to the judgments made in the ICA, that it could not be worked around to the extent necessary to shield its specific source from the analysts in the INR.

    This exclusion, however, would cut across the entire intelligence community, given the "need to know" caveats attached to most, if not all, sensitive information of this nature. If this was, indeed, the standard applied, then it would also exclude from participation in preparation of the ICA many of the CIA's own analysts, and most, if not all, of the academics recruited to fill positions within the National Intelligence Council, the arm of the ODNI responsible for overseeing the production of multi-agency assessments like the ICA on Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

    If DNI Clapper is telling the truth, then the ICA was prepared in a manner that violated the very tradecraft regarding the preparation of intelligence community analytical products he proudly cited to underpin the credibility of the ICA. It also implies that the intelligence community was comfortable with excluding from one of the most important assessments of Russian intent in modern times the very agency, the Department of State, that deals with the Russians on a broad spectrum of issues on a daily basis, and as such would be ideally positioned to weigh in on issues such as Russian intent – especially that of its leader, Vladimir Putin.

    ==================================================================
    It may seem like a small lie, 3 bureaucracies instead of 17, but it is is an innate characteristic of these institutions and individuals. They spread a lot of disinformation. And than of course, the lying by omission.

    Its a complete and thorough "assessment" .except for the fact that all those cynics, skeptics, and anyone with the expertise to refute the dubious assumptions and obvious biases of the CIA were excluded.

    So, the CIA says "WE ALL AGREE" – does anyone know of a MSM that has pointed out that the "intelligence report" is a consensus ONLY because anybody who disagreed was left off???

    ***
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/russian-government-hackers-penetrated-dnc-stole-opposition-research-on-trump/2016/06/14/cf006cb4-316e-11e6-8ff7-7b6c1998b7a0_story.html?utm_term=.c9e570cc61fc

    One group, which CrowdStrike had dubbed Cozy Bear, had gained access last summer and was monitoring the DNC's email and chat communications, Alperovitch said.

    The other, which the firm had named Fancy Bear, broke into the network in late April and targeted the opposition research files. It was this breach that set off the alarm. The hackers stole two files, Henry said. And they had access to the computers of the entire research staff - an average of about several dozen on any given day.

    The computers contained research going back years on TRUMP. "It's a huge job" to dig into the dealings of somebody who has never run for office before, Dacey said.

    CrowdStrike is not sure how the hackers got in. The firm suspects they may have targeted DNC employees with "spearphishing" emails. These are communications that appear legitimate - often made to look like they came from a colleague or someone trusted - but that contain links or attachments that when clicked on deploy malicious software that enables a hacker to gain access to a computer. "But WE DON'T HAVE HARD EVIDENCE," Alperovitch said.

    ===================================
    Soooo .the DNC is mad that Russia got all their Trump Opo dirt for free?

    HBE , January 15, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Great detailed piece, and on huffpo no less.

    Then I checked the comments (only 12 in 3 days), of which all were of the "OMG Russians" or "the IC must be trusted" variety.

    It appears huffpo buried this affront to it's general narrative somewhere deep, so as not risk a distortion to it's well manicured bubble.

    Not that they needed to, as the few comments on the buried piece illustrate the bubble has become self sustaining.

    WJ , January 15, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Ritter's piece is unfortunately too detailed and informative–too accurate, in a word–for the vast majority of the screen-reading populace, the credentialed among whom are much dumber and less cultured than their working-class forebears. It's much less taxing to read Jeff Bezos's Blog while ordering your no-whip vanilla latte than trying to work through the far-reaching implications of Ritter's analysis.

    fresno dan , January 15, 2017 at 11:51 am

    WJ
    January 15, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Poor Ritter – doomed to be this era's Cassandra. Or maybe poor us (poor "US" as in USA) – doomed to ignore the truthful and listen to the liars ..

    and the population all composed of Hamilton Burgers*

    *Hamilton Burger was the rather obtuse District Attorney who charged the clients of Perry Mason with crimes, when week after ween, month after month, year after year the clients would be exonerated*** Most people would have long ago figured out not to charge people Perry Mason was defending, but this DA never learned .

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perry_Mason_(TV_series)
    ***When asked by a fan why Perry Mason won every case, Burr told her, "But madam, you see only the cases I try on Saturday."[61]:590
    Mason is known to have lost, in some form or manner, three cases-"The Case of the Terrified Typist", "The Case of the Witless Witness", and "The Case of the Deadly Verdict".[72]

    polecat , January 15, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Why read Ritter . when you can just 'turn on' to Mara liasson ,or lachml Singh, or any of the assorted stenographic heathers on N P R ..,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    I don't see Scott tossing out tote bags to the rabble

    Montanamaven , January 15, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    Yeh, but Ritter also inserts this into the piece.

    These failures are furthered when one incorporates the shortcomings of American intelligence analysis behind the failure to accurately predict the Russian actions against Georgia in 2008, the annexation of the Crimea in 2014, and the intervention in Syria in 2015 – in short, the track record of the very intelligence community that produced the ICA addressing allegations of a Russian influence campaign targeting the 2016 US Presidential election is not impressive.

    lyman alpha blob , January 15, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    I took that to mean that the IC was too stupid to figure out that Russia would not just sit back and do nothing while the US interfered in their sphere of influence, not necessarily that Russia was the instigator.

    susan the other , January 15, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Why hasn't anybody demanded to see CrowdStrike's pedigree beyond its vague vetting (?) by the DNC? A private company that has remained anonymous except for its name – well that makes no sense. Or rather, it makes the DNC look even worse.

    Pat , January 15, 2017 at 11:13 am

    Not to mention that one thing that no one seems to be disputing is that DNC cyber security was terrible to non-existent, so their judgment in this area can be considered weak at best.

    Katniss Everdeen , January 15, 2017 at 11:30 am

    That would be the function of a "principled press," the position of which can be summarized as "Trump and Putin sittin' in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G."

    Still, I can't help but wonder if the "principled" press and the "intelligence" community have not painted themselves into a corner. With Trump and Putin portrayed as locked in a loving embrace and isis seemingly dropped off the face of the earth, should Trump meet with a tragic "accident," whom will the public blame?

    craazyboy , January 15, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Because Alperovitch is also on the Atlantic Council(neocons-NATO) and also has very close ties to Ukraine Nationals? Reaching across the aisle and bi-partisian support, methinks.

    craazyboy , January 15, 2017 at 11:18 am

    CrowdStrike is fullokrap

    "spearphishing" – See Podesta dump for screenshots of phishing site asking for Podesta to enter his id and password.

    The so called "unique" Russian exploit techniques are old, and can be done by many other reasonably competent hackers.

    Surprising to me is that no one yet has mentioned that a real state hacker would hide her IP behind probably multiple large VPN networks. There might be some way of setting up "spoof servers" too, but I'm nowhere competent enough in this subject to say anything with much certainty. Other than CrowdStrike is full of crap.

    Katniss Everdeen , January 15, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Maybe "crowdstrike" is the hacking version of "correct" the record.

    Arizona Slim , January 15, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Spearphishing? Welcome to my e-mail in box!

    If I'm not getting e-mails urging me to update some password or the other, I'm getting tales of woe regarding package delivery or something going wrong with an account of a bank I've never used.

    Do I respond? Nope. Do I click on the links or open the attachments in these e-mails? Uh-uh.

    So, am I now in the running for a position at the DNC?

    craazyboy , January 15, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    Possibly a DNC IT guru?

    Oregoncharles , January 15, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    No, you're specifically disqualified.

    How else are they going to lose to Trump, of all people, next time?

    cnchal , January 15, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Here is the damning part, economics unwise.

    Errors have been made by the Intelligence Community in the past and, given the punishing reality of a fair and open society, and the scrutiny of a free press contained within, these failures have been exposed – sometimes ruthlessly so – for all the world to see. From the reversal of the Intelligence Community's stance on the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program, underestimating the scope and reach of the threat of the Islamic State, and the exaggeration of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, the shortcomings of the intelligence assessments and estimates conducted by the IC over the past two decades – the period spanning the careers of those who continue to provide the analysis that underpinned these highlighted erroneous conclusions and findings – the public history of the failures of the judgment of the American intelligence community is extensive and uncomplimentary.

    This represents massive overhead that can't even be ditched as sunk costs. Keeping this "intelligence" enterprise going is embedded in the government's budget, and the results of these massive errors have caused thousands of untold lives to be destroyed, even the ones still alive, and wasted trillions of dollars, which is ongoing. Meanwhile the rest of the country crumbles.

    "You're fired", directed at upper management of the "intelligence" community can't come fast enough from President Trump's mouth.

    John Parks , January 15, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    "the shortcomings of the intelligence assessments and estimates conducted by the IC over the past two decades"

    This article comes awfully close to equating "assessment" with "wild ass guess" but doesn't quite go that far. (probably deemed unprofessional)
    The misplaced dedication shown by our IC goes further back ..probably even further back than when the FBI spent two years studying the lyrics of "Louie, Louie"

    Goyo Marquez , January 15, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    So the chain of evidence for Trump oppo is:
    DNC>Russians>MI6>John McCain>CIA>Buzzfeed?
    Wow well played.

    LT , January 15, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    Thinking back, the Democrats and Beltway insiders were still believing their computers' predictions of a Hillary at the time the "Russians are coming" mantra began.
    Something tells me this was expected to be the pretext for a Clinton administration led conflict with Russia they just didn't want to let Trump winning stop their plans.
    So it's coming off very clumsily. Lots lost in the improvisation.

    NotTimothyGeithner , January 15, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    Campaign internals. The appearance schedule, reports of polls asking about opinions of Michelle, and Obama hitting the campaign trail when he would ideally like to make a grand gesture such as fraudulent peace talks was a sign the campaign was in trouble.

    There is a good chance the vaunted "data" people noticed the Republicans they expected to win weren't abandoning Trump and registration efforts over the Summer didn't pan out due to lack of effort.

    Russia is the new Nader, war President, and how Bush out spent Kerry on ads excuses from previous campaigns to excuse the same old Clinton ideas and people leading to the usual disaster. I believe the Green Party moved to recount mode so swiftly to blunt being turned into the villain.

    allan , January 15, 2017 at 8:31 am

    To ruin your Sunday morning, listen (if you have the stomach) to Council on Foreign Relations head Richard Haas
    on the Tavis Smiley show
    . Doubling down on the Washington consensus, and clearly trying to talk up
    an intervention in Venezuela. Because R2P can not fail – it can only be failed.

    Pat , January 15, 2017 at 9:50 am

    True believer, or cynic who knows it is hard to sell a book to people telling them their ideas and goals are bull, you decide.

    I realoy don't know anymore who is just delusional, and who wants their slice of other people's pie regardless of who they have to damage.

    fresno dan , January 15, 2017 at 8:42 am

    The Russian Dossier Reminds Me of the Row Over Saddam's WMDs Counterpunch

    "Speaking to a trusted compatriot in June 2016 sources A and B, a senior Russian Foreign Ministry and a former top level Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin respectively, [said that] the Russian authorities had been cultivating and supporting US Republican presidential candidate, Donald TRUMP, for at least FIVE YEARS."

    ==========================================================
    Dang those guys are prescience .I wanna ask them what stocks to buy (Hot Octopuss? are masturbatoriums the coming thing???), or better yet, what lottery numbers to pick ..

    MyLessThanPrimeBeef , January 15, 2017 at 11:22 am

    FIVE YEARS?

    Those Euro-Asians are patience and they think long term.

    In the 1963 movie, Bye Bye Birdie, Dick Van Dyke played Al Peterson, whose song, The Last Kiss, to by sung by the just-drafted Conrad (or was it Comrade) Birdie, on the Ed Sullivan Show, was going to make him rich enough to take care of his mother and marry his girl friend. The plan was spoiled by those scheming Russian ballet dancers whose number was going to run too long that Ed Sullivan had to eliminate the song. So, the attack on American freedom went way, way back.

    Moreover, Van Dyke, being a Ph.D. in biochemistry, had invented a pill to 'speed up' animals and humans as well. The girl friend, posing as a photo-journalist, was able to slip a speed-up pill into the conductor Borov's milk, in order to 'speed up' their show, and restore Birde's lost minutes. While this successful patriotic plan was unfolding, you can see a mad Russkie official clutching a shoe, as if he was ready to hit something with it.

    That, there, was the subliminal message to all future shoe-throwers who are now plaguing our world these days.

    And, comrades, that's long-range planning five years is nothing.

    craazyboy , January 15, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    Initially, the devious rooskies were grooming Trump to take down Vince McMahon and totally flatten the Rosie Threat. When they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams is when things went to their heads and they got too big for their britches.

    Now they're coming after our super stars. Those rooskies need to be taken down a notch or two.

    integer , January 15, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Although I was aware of Schumer's recent comment to Maddow ("You take on the intelligence community? They have six ways from Sunday of getting back at you") I did not get around to watching the exchange until today.

    What struck me when watching it was that Schumer is saying, on the record, that establshment politicians are subservient to the intelligence agencies because it is considered an accepted fact that their careers will be at risk if they do not give these agencies the freedom to act however they see fit. That is an incredibly dangerous dynamic, and what's worse is that it has been normalized and accepted by cowardly and/or corrupt politicians who purport to serve their constituents.

    I for one am grateful that Trump has enough spine to stand firm wrt putting these agencies back in their place (especially the CIA ), which is, after all, to serve and protect the citizens of the US.

    fresno dan , January 15, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    integer
    January 15, 2017 at 8:59 am

    the fact that it did not elicit a firestorm tells you all you need to know about how the US government is really run .

    Nechaev , January 15, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    "their careers" – or given not-so-recent-yet-not-so-ancient USian history – indeed even their lives could/ would be at risk
    the schumer-maddow exchange can certainly be –chillingly– interpreted in a number of ways.

    MyLessThanPrimeBeef , January 15, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    That's Schumer's "My Struggle" moment – foretelling what is and what will be happening.

    It's all there, years before it becomes reality.

    "It's impossible. All of them? Too big to imagine. Too big to fail, check that, too big to apprehend. They don't dare."

    alex morfesis , January 15, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    The blob is all powerful ?? or people like Schumer are afraid of their own shadow sadly methinx it is the later The blob is able to function since characters sit in the seats of power instead of real men ( & not enough women).

    In much like how the mafia slowly brings someone to the dark side by having them do small indiscretions and crimes over a period of time until the victim becomes the victimizer, the blob will attempt to reel one in by burping out national security or just dumping natsec "non disclosures" or luring in someone close to you or finding someone close to you who they already have in their pockets

    If one resists too much, then the existing wimps in charge make sure you get stuck in some subcommittees handling bipartisan egg rolls on the whitehouse lawn

    Get along or get along now(scoot)

    It is getting near the end of the movie and toto has pulled back the curtain .

    shall we ignore the little men behind the curtain

    polecat , January 15, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    I guess this means Chucky won't be calling any .. uh .. 'plumbing contractors' .. to his house anytime soon, unless they're members of Conniving .. Instigators .. Associates !

    OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , January 15, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    Schumer is no lightweight, if he says/believes this then we have a whole lot to be worried about. Thank goodness for Trump.
    (For the record, I voted McGovern, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton, Gore, Kerry, and Obama)

    EndOfTheWorld , January 15, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Schumer has never been accused of being overly intelligent. He is still miffed because HRC went down in flames. She was supposed to be his partner in crime for eight years.

    NotTimothyGeithner , January 15, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    And he was supposed to be Senate Majority Leader and get a really cool office instead of the crummy basement one. Given the seats up for reelection in 2018, he will have to wait until January 2021.

    Susan C , January 15, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    When I watched that exchange the other evening in real time, it seemed ominous to me, very dark. I think he was trying to instill real fear into the heart of Trump. I wonder if someone like a Trump has ever felt fear. It makes you wonder. Or if Trump has ever dealt with anyone more powerful than he believes himself to be.

    neo-realist , January 15, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    What struck me when watching it was that Schumer is saying, on the record, that establshment politicians are subservient to the intelligence agencies because it is considered an accepted fact that their careers will be at risk if they do not give these agencies the freedom to act however they see fit. That is an incredibly dangerous dynamic, and what's worse is that it has been normalized and accepted by cowardly and/or corrupt politicians who purport to serve their constituents

    Well hasn't this been pretty much the case since the incident in Dallas 50 plus years ago?

    mad as hell. , January 15, 2017 at 9:38 am

    I hope Booker wears that pharmaceutical vote around his neck for the rest of his life or at least until 2020.

    Annotherone , January 15, 2017 at 10:29 am

    Yes, indeed! It'll go well with the mantle he appears to be taking over as the "more effective evil".

    craazyboy , January 15, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    Leaked tapes from DNC Strategy Room meeting.

    DNC Chair – But Black worked?

    DNC Political Strategist – Yes

    DCN Chair – But Women failed

    DNC Political Strategist – As a strategy, Yes

    DCN Chair – So Black then?

    DNC Political Strategist – We could conclude that, yes

    Haiku politics

    John Wright , January 15, 2017 at 11:08 am

    I'm somewhat surprised Booker did not pull a Nancy Pelosi type vote on this bill.

    From what I remember, on the TPP Fast Track, Pelosi worked behind the scenes to get Fast Track through, and then, with enough votes to assure it would pass without her vote, voted against the very action she had promoted.

    Of course, Pelosi's constituents were opposed to the TPP and she "supported" them.

    Booker could have quietly, privately, assured his big Pharma funders he was in the tank for them while still voting in support of the drug importation bill, because if his vote had moved to the supporting side, the count would have been 47-51 and the bill would still fall the way the big Pharma wanted.

    Maybe other senators in the 46 "supporters" were playing the cynical Pelosi optics type of game and Booker had to fall on his sword to show both his loyalty to big Pharma and give them cover?

    Possibly Booker also priced in that there are about 4 years before the next presidential election and this vote could fall into the dustbin of history.

    NotTimothyGeithner , January 15, 2017 at 11:19 am

    Dems have gotten away with a lot, hiding behind Obama or Hillary and using the rotating villain strategy, and now they don't have a leader to protect them. Booker doesn't have the cult of personality Obama had, and there won't be an echo chamber to shut down dissent. I don't believe Democrats have a handle on their status.

    mad as hell. , January 15, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    No it was Russia's fault. Now we must circle the wagons and destroy Russia. Ya better be with me cause we are soon going to war to protect democracy and if you ain't with me you are a ( fill in the blank). The Democratic party does not make mistakes. The rag tag voters make mistakes! Now send us some money so we can stop Trump!

    Will this b******t ever end. It is driving me nuts.

    uncle tungsten , January 15, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    Me too MaH. The imitation democracy that is the USA is just a pathetic sideshow and brutally overpriced.

    The only interesting aspect right now is how Trump responds to the unintelligence community for their transparent insubordination and abuse of power. Time will tell.

    Pat , January 15, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    Dems have had the delusional idea since they caught the car bumper and had both Houses of Congress and the Presidency that just one of those is good, and preferably the Presidency. Hence their lack of panic as they lost the House, the Senate and most of the state legislatures and Governorships in the nation.

    Having now lost the one thing they were determined to win, they are going to slowly find out that there is no place to hide when their constituents are going to expect them to use all the same levers the Republicans did to obstruct all that stuff Obama wanted to do. They can't do the rotating villain thing, they can't NOT block things AND when that doesn't work the myth that Obama was hamstrung by Republicans is going to fall apart. Oops.

    Mind you the Republicans are going to have the problem of needing to pass the things they promised and living with those consequences.

    It is going to be interesting. And terrifying especially with the IC and MIC having tantrums that would do two year olds proud.

    John Wright , January 15, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    One fear of the Democrats might be they could be now be viewed as a useless appendage to the political process and unworthy of financial support by TPTB.

    That could hit them hard as Democratic think tanks lose funding and the NPV of the future lobbying potential of a current Democratic politician drops off dramatically.

    The Dems might actually feel a personal recession as they lose the ability to place their friends and relatives in well-paid politically related jobs.

    TPTB can simply support a handful of Blue-dog Democrats to buy a voting cushion on legislation that matters to them.

    Why pay more than necessary for Democratic support when it is largely irrelevant?

    OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , January 15, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    And the Dem reaction, of course, will be to suck up even harder to their money masters they've already concluded from the election that they weren't far enough to the right, this should mesh quite nicely. We've had one party in the country for decades, Obama's populist words (while pushing neo-con corporo-fascist actions) bamboozled for two terms, now we will get absolute unity in pushing the 1% agenda. Then we can do 1776 redux and take back our country.

    Pat , January 15, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    People really are loathe to admit that Obama has been an utter freakin' disaster. I was telling someone about how close the ALEC owned state houses were to getting their Constitutional convention and blamed Obama. I was lectured about how he came into a mess and that he was obviously not the problem it was people like Wasserman Schultz. I had to explain about the President and the DNC and that both Kaine and DWS were Obama's hand picked heads, that he moved grass roots organizing to OFA AND that over the course of his leadership of the party they had gone from having the Presidency, the House, the Senate, a majority of Governorships and an almost equal number of state legislative houses to exactly the opposite. Suffice it to say I left them speechless.

    And none of that should have been all that revelatory to a supposed political junkie. But to recognize that he wasn't interested in Democrats winning who were not named Obama is to understand he didn't care that he would not be in a position to get anything Democratic voters want

    NotTimothyGeithner , January 15, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    In one sense, Obama's failure was not in our stars but in ourselves, not me personally. If the Obots who cared so much for Obama and politics had torn themselves away from the latest insipid episode of X and called their Congressman or Senator instead of "liking" a cool meme about Obama, he might have been under enough pressure to not be completely terrible. Obama's evolution on gay rights only came after public outrage.

    The Obama followers have to understand this and simply don't want to admit their own complicity preferring to blame their plumber who may or may not have voted.

    HotFlash , January 15, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    Obama's evolution on gay rights only came after public outrage gay big-dollar donors slammed their wallets shut.

    Fixed it for ya.

    NotTimothyGeithner , January 15, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Example 1: Krugthullu's recent craziness.
    Example 2: Greta Van Susteren and noted racist, Megan Kelly both scored gigs at NBC. Were no Dems available? Or at least someone who didn't have a meltdown over a black Santa?
    Example 3: the CGI shutting down despite all the good they do (snark)

    Pat , January 15, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    Well that may be their strategy going ahead, but if you looked at the last couple of elections, they just were not interested in winning elections. Money was thrown at people who didn't really need it, token amounts to others. People were chosen to run who had lost in the past, or the usual suspects owed. There was little or no recruitment, the former Republicans they supported pretty much fell in their laps.
    No they are going to have to seriously attempt to win even on a limited manner, and I don't think they have clue how anymore.

    Pat , January 15, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Both Schumer and Gillibrand voted against this the first two times it came up. They voted for it this time. Works for the rotating villain theory

    marym , January 15, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Same for Durbin 2009 (N) 2012 (N) 2017 (Y)

    polecat , January 15, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Who knows .. Maybe the Donald with bring about a presidential decree, thereby forcing our reps & senators to don 'advertizing' as per Nascar race cars !

    Then it would be apparent to all as to whose loyalties they actually cater to .

    Carla , January 15, 2017 at 10:58 am

    Don't hold your breath. They're Democrats.

    Arizona Slim , January 15, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    This Zonie was amazed to learn that Senators McCain and Flake voted FOR this bill.

    NotTimothyGeithner , January 15, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    Flake's on the ballot in November, and McCain does do his rotating hero strategy, he's on the side of good when it doesn't matter. He does have a huge senior population who like that desert air.

    Vatch , January 15, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    There are two Senators scheduled to be at this event: Booker and Menendez, and they both voted against the Klobuchar/Sanders amendment to allow Americans to buy medicine from Canada! Clearly this event was scheduled before the vote occurred. I wonder what kinds of discussions about this have been occurring behind the scenes?

    Rhondda , January 15, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    Speaking of Amy Klobuchar - I saw in the noooze that she was one of McCain's compatriots on that holiday jaunt to Ukraine

    Klobuchar, McCain, Graham in Ukraine, Baltic States, and Georgia to
    http://www.klobuchar.senate.gov/ /klobuchar-mccain-graham-in-ukraine-baltic-states-and-.. .
    Dec 28, 2016 – WASHINGTON, DC – This week, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar is in Ukraine, the Baltic states, and Georgia to reinforce support for the North
    Minnesota Sen. Klobuchar Spends New Year's Eve in Ukraine – Amy
    http://www.klobuchar.senate.gov/ /minnesota-sen-klobuchar-spends-new-year-s-eve-in-uk.. .
    Dec 31, 2016 – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar spent New Year's Eve day with the president of Ukraine and marines fighting Russian aggression in that country.

    Did you know that there is a Senate Ukraine Caucus? News to me.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senate_Ukraine_Caucus
    The Senate Ukraine Caucus is a bipartisan caucus of the United States Senate that was Ron Johnson (R-WI); Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); Mark Kirk (R-IL); James Inhofe (R-OK); Chris Murphy (D-CT). Gary Peters (D-MI); Rob Portman (R-OH)

    OIFVet , January 15, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    It's OK when Ukraine manipulates US politics. The US has always found nazis to be useful in its anti-Russian efforts, from Reinhard Behlen to Wernher von Braun, with a few Ukie Banderites thrown in for the truly dirty work.

    UserFriendly , January 15, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    She's always been about as far right as she can get away with in this state.

    [Jan 16, 2017] Mainstream Medias Russian Bogeymen

    DHS security honchos want to justify their existence. There is not greater danger to national security then careerists in position of security professionals. Lying and exaggerating the treats to get this dollars is is what many security professionals do for living. They are essentially charlatans.
    Notable quotes:
    "... In the middle of a major domestic crisis over the U.S. charge that Russia had interfered with the US election, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) triggered a brief national media hysteria by creating and spreading a bogus story of Russian hacking into US power infrastructure. ..."
    "... Even more shocking, however, DHS had previously circulated a similar bogus story of Russian hacking of a Springfield, Illinois water pump in November 2011. ..."
    "... Beginning in late March 2016, DHS and FBI conducted a series of 12 unclassified briefings for electric power infrastructure companies in eight cities titled, "Ukraine Cyber Attack: implications for US stakeholders." The DHS declared publicly, "These events represent one of the first known physical impacts to critical infrastructure which resulted from cyber-attack." ..."
    "... That statement conveniently avoided mentioning that the first cases of such destruction of national infrastructure from cyber-attacks were not against the United States, but were inflicted on Iran by the Obama administration and Israel in 2009 and 2012. ..."
    "... Beginning in October 2016, the DHS emerged as one of the two most important players – along with the CIA-in the political drama over the alleged Russian effort to tilt the 2016 election toward Donald Trump. Then on Dec. 29, DHS and FBI distributed a "Joint Analysis Report" to US power utilities across the country with what it claimed were "indicators" of a Russian intelligence effort to penetrate and compromise US computer networks, including networks related to the presidential election, that it called "GRIZZLY STEPPE." ..."
    "... according to Robert M. Lee, the founder and CEO of the cyber-security company Dragos, who had developed one of the earliest US government programs for defense against cyber-attacks on US infrastructure systems, the report was certain to mislead the recipients. ..."
    "... "Anyone who uses it would think they were being impacted by Russian operations," said Lee. "We ran through the indicators in the report and found that a high percentage were false positives." ..."
    "... The Intercept discovered, in fact, that 42 percent of the 876 IP addresses listed in the report as having been used by Russian hackers were exit nodes for the Tor Project, a system that allows bloggers, journalists and others – including some military entities – to keep their Internet communications private. ..."
    "... Instead, a DHS official called The Washington Post and passed on word that one of the indicators of Russian hacking of the DNC had been found on the Burlington utility's computer network. The Post failed to follow the most basic rule of journalism, relying on its DHS source instead of checking with the Burlington Electric Department first. The result was the Post's sensational Dec. 30 story under the headline "Russian hackers penetrated US electricity grid through a utility in Vermont, US officials say." ..."
    "... DHS official evidently had allowed the Post to infer that the Russians hack had penetrated the grid without actually saying so. The Post story said the Russians "had not actively used the code to disrupt operations of the utility, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss a security matter," but then added, and that "the penetration of the nation's electrical grid is significant because it represents a potentially serious vulnerability." ..."
    "... The electric company quickly issued a firm denial that the computer in question was connected to the power grid. The Post was forced to retract, in effect, its claim that the electricity grid had been hacked by the Russians. But it stuck by its story that the utility had been the victim of a Russian hack for another three days before admitting that no such evidence of a hack existed. ..."
    "... Only days later did the DHS reveal those crucial facts to the Post. And the DHS was still defending its joint report to the Post, according to Lee, who got part of the story from Post sources. The DHS official was arguing that it had "led to a discovery," he said. "The second is, 'See, this is encouraging people to run indicators.'" ..."
    "... The false Burlington Electric hack scare is reminiscent of an earlier story of Russian hacking of a utility for which the DHS was responsible as well. In November 2011, it reported an "intrusion" into a Springfield, Illinois water district computer that similarly turned out to be a fabrication. ..."
    "... The contractor whose name was on the log next to the IP address later told Wired magazine that one phone call to him would have laid the matter to rest. But the DHS, which was the lead in putting the report out, had not bothered to make even that one obvious phone call before opining that it must have been a Russian hack. ..."
    Jan 16, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

    The mainstream hysteria over Russia has led to dubious or downright false stories that have deepened the New Cold War

    In the middle of a major domestic crisis over the U.S. charge that Russia had interfered with the US election, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) triggered a brief national media hysteria by creating and spreading a bogus story of Russian hacking into US power infrastructure.

    DHS had initiated the now-discredited tale of a hacked computer at the Burlington, Vermont Electricity Department by sending the utility's managers misleading and alarming information, then leaked a story they certainly knew to be false and continued to put out a misleading line to the media.

    Even more shocking, however, DHS had previously circulated a similar bogus story of Russian hacking of a Springfield, Illinois water pump in November 2011.

    The story of how DHS twice circulated false stories of Russian efforts to sabotage US "critical infrastructure" is a cautionary tale of how senior leaders in a bureaucracy-on-the-make take advantage of every major political development to advance its own interests, with scant regard for the truth.

    The DHS had carried out a major public campaign to focus on an alleged Russian threat to US power infrastructure in early 2016. The campaign took advantage of a US accusation of a Russian cyber-attack against the Ukrainian power infrastructure in December 2015 to promote one of the agency's major functions - guarding against cyber-attacks on America's infrastructure.

    Beginning in late March 2016, DHS and FBI conducted a series of 12 unclassified briefings for electric power infrastructure companies in eight cities titled, "Ukraine Cyber Attack: implications for US stakeholders." The DHS declared publicly, "These events represent one of the first known physical impacts to critical infrastructure which resulted from cyber-attack."

    That statement conveniently avoided mentioning that the first cases of such destruction of national infrastructure from cyber-attacks were not against the United States, but were inflicted on Iran by the Obama administration and Israel in 2009 and 2012.

    Beginning in October 2016, the DHS emerged as one of the two most important players – along with the CIA-in the political drama over the alleged Russian effort to tilt the 2016 election toward Donald Trump. Then on Dec. 29, DHS and FBI distributed a "Joint Analysis Report" to US power utilities across the country with what it claimed were "indicators" of a Russian intelligence effort to penetrate and compromise US computer networks, including networks related to the presidential election, that it called "GRIZZLY STEPPE."

    The report clearly conveyed to the utilities that the "tools and infrastructure" it said had been used by Russian intelligence agencies to affect the election were a direct threat to them as well. However, according to Robert M. Lee, the founder and CEO of the cyber-security company Dragos, who had developed one of the earliest US government programs for defense against cyber-attacks on US infrastructure systems, the report was certain to mislead the recipients.

    "Anyone who uses it would think they were being impacted by Russian operations," said Lee. "We ran through the indicators in the report and found that a high percentage were false positives."

    Lee and his staff found only two of a long list of malware files that could be linked to Russian hackers without more specific data about timing. Similarly a large proportion of IP addresses listed could be linked to "GRIZZLY STEPPE" only for certain specific dates, which were not provided.

    The Intercept discovered, in fact, that 42 percent of the 876 IP addresses listed in the report as having been used by Russian hackers were exit nodes for the Tor Project, a system that allows bloggers, journalists and others – including some military entities – to keep their Internet communications private.

    Lee said the DHS staff that worked on the technical information in the report is highly competent, but the document was rendered useless when officials classified and deleted some key parts of the report and added other material that shouldn't have been in it. He believes the DHS issued the report "for a political purpose," which was to "show that the DHS is protecting you."

    Planting the Story, Keeping it Alive

    Upon receiving the DHS-FBI report the Burlington Electric Company network security team immediately ran searches of its computer logs using the lists of IP addresses it had been provided. When one of IP addresses cited in the report as an indicator of Russian hacking was found on the logs, the utility immediately called DHS to inform it as it had been instructed to do by DHS.

    In fact, the IP address on the Burlington Electric Company's computer was simply the Yahoo e-mail server, according to Lee, so it could not have been a legitimate indicator of an attempted cyber-intrusion. That should have been the end of the story. But the utility did not track down the IP address before reporting it to DHS. It did, however, expect DHS to treat the matter confidentially until it had thoroughly investigated and resolved the issue.

    "DHS wasn't supposed to release the details," said Lee. "Everybody was supposed to keep their mouth shut."

    Instead, a DHS official called The Washington Post and passed on word that one of the indicators of Russian hacking of the DNC had been found on the Burlington utility's computer network. The Post failed to follow the most basic rule of journalism, relying on its DHS source instead of checking with the Burlington Electric Department first. The result was the Post's sensational Dec. 30 story under the headline "Russian hackers penetrated US electricity grid through a utility in Vermont, US officials say."

    DHS official evidently had allowed the Post to infer that the Russians hack had penetrated the grid without actually saying so. The Post story said the Russians "had not actively used the code to disrupt operations of the utility, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss a security matter," but then added, and that "the penetration of the nation's electrical grid is significant because it represents a potentially serious vulnerability."

    The electric company quickly issued a firm denial that the computer in question was connected to the power grid. The Post was forced to retract, in effect, its claim that the electricity grid had been hacked by the Russians. But it stuck by its story that the utility had been the victim of a Russian hack for another three days before admitting that no such evidence of a hack existed.

    The day after the story was published, the DHS leadership continued to imply, without saying so explicitly, that the Burlington utility had been hacked by Russians. Assistant Secretary for Pubic Affairs J. Todd Breasseale gave CNN a statement that the "indicators" from the malicious software found on the computer at Burlington Electric were a "match" for those on the DNC computers.

    As soon as DHS checked the IP address, however, it knew that it was a Yahoo cloud server and therefore not an indicator that the same team that allegedly hacked the DNC had gotten into the Burlington utility's laptop. DHS also learned from the utility that the laptop in question had been infected by malware called "neutrino," which had never been used in "GRIZZLY STEPPE."

    Only days later did the DHS reveal those crucial facts to the Post. And the DHS was still defending its joint report to the Post, according to Lee, who got part of the story from Post sources. The DHS official was arguing that it had "led to a discovery," he said. "The second is, 'See, this is encouraging people to run indicators.'"

    Original DHS False Hacking Story

    The false Burlington Electric hack scare is reminiscent of an earlier story of Russian hacking of a utility for which the DHS was responsible as well. In November 2011, it reported an "intrusion" into a Springfield, Illinois water district computer that similarly turned out to be a fabrication.

    Like the Burlington fiasco, the false report was preceded by a DHS claim that US infrastructure systems were already under attack. In October 2011, acting DHS deputy undersecretary Greg Schaffer was quoted by The Washington Post as warning that "our adversaries" are "knocking on the doors of these systems." And Schaffer added, "In some cases, there have been intrusions." He did not specify when, where or by whom, and no such prior intrusions have ever been documented.

    On Nov. 8, 2011, a water pump belonging to the Curran-Gardner township water district near Springfield, Illinois, burned out after sputtering several times in previous months. The repair team brought in to fix it found a Russian IP address on its log from five months earlier. That IP address was actually from a cell phone call from the contractor who had set up the control system for the pump and who was vacationing in Russia with his family, so his name was in the log by the address.

    Without investigating the IP address itself, the utility reported the IP address and the breakdown of the water pump to the Environmental Protection Agency, which in turn passed it on to the Illinois Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center, also called a fusion center composed of Illinois State Police and representatives from the FBI, DHS and other government agencies.

    On Nov. 10 – just two days after the initial report to EPA – the fusion center produced a report titled "Public Water District Cyber Intrusion" suggesting a Russian hacker had stolen the identity of someone authorized to use the computer and had hacked into the control system causing the water pump to fail.

    The contractor whose name was on the log next to the IP address later told Wired magazine that one phone call to him would have laid the matter to rest. But the DHS, which was the lead in putting the report out, had not bothered to make even that one obvious phone call before opining that it must have been a Russian hack.

    The fusion center "intelligence report," circulated by DHS Office of Intelligence and Research, was picked up by a cyber-security blogger, who called The Washington Post and read the item to a reporter. Thus the Post published the first sensational story of a Russian hack into a US infrastructure on Nov. 18, 2011.

    After the real story came out, DHS disclaimed responsibility for the report, saying that it was the fusion center's responsibility. But a Senate subcommittee investigation revealed in a report a year later that even after the initial report had been discredited, DHS had not issued any retraction or correction to the report, nor had it notified the recipients about the truth.

    DHS officials responsible for the false report told Senate investigators such reports weren't intended to be "finished intelligence," implying that the bar for accuracy of the information didn't have to be very high. They even claimed that report was a "success" because it had done what "what it's supposed to do – generate interest."

    Both the Burlington and Curran-Gardner episodes underline a central reality of the political game of national security in the New Cold War era: major bureaucratic players like DHS have a huge political stake in public perceptions of a Russian threat, and whenever the opportunity arises to do so, they will exploit it.

    Gareth Porter, an investigative historian and journalist specializing in US national security policy, received the UK-based Gellhorn Prize for journalism for 2011 for articles on the U.S. war in Afghanistan. His new book is Manufactured Crisis: the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare . He can be contacted at porter.gareth50@gmail.com .

    Reprinted from Consortium News with the author's permission.

    [Jan 16, 2017] Putin undermines the myth of inevitability that has always been the chief psychological weapon of necons and neoliberals.

    Notable quotes:
    "... By exposing their corruption and incompetence, Trump has raised the stakes, which were already cosmic. The US Intelligence Community, a hermetic and self-governing authority in its own right, has decades of expertise in fomenting revolution, engineering regime change, and assassinating its opposition. They have taken down foreign leaders with some regularity. It is likely that they have done the same in our own country. ..."
    "... They see Putin's Russia as an existential threat to their interests, not because of his imagined persecution of "journalists" (who are really just enemy combatants and subversives in the employ of the occult world order). Not because of his natural territorial ambitions in Russia's traditional sphere of influence. Not because of "Muhleppo." And certainly not because of his alleged "hacking" of the DNC. Putin is an existential threat because he is living proof that the world could be ordered in a different way. He undermines what Michael Hoffman in his book Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare described as the "myth of inevitability" that has always been the chief psychological weapon of progressives and globalists. ..."
    "... Obama's owners are trying to lay as many landmines in front of Trump as possible. ..."
    "... I think the "myth of inevitability" is a key component for Progressives. Take this away, and see that other choices are available, and soon enough people will realize that they do not like the Progressive choice at all. ..."
    "... Removal of the neocons comes next, part of which will be getting rid of the idea that a preemptive nuclear first srtike is a viable option and reverting to a "no first strike" policy. That will already make the world a much safer place. NATO and nuclear reductions can all come later. ..."
    "... Putin will dig in his heels but won't budge to retaliate at any provocation. He knows there's a lot at stake for Russia as well as the world at large. And he can stand on his head for 5 days, if necessary, until the Big O is firmly out. Mr. Obama has now finally sealed his legacy as a warmonger. ..."
    "... In 2013, the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) - one of the nine organizational units that make up the Unified Combatant Command - had special operations forces (SOFs) in 134 countries , where they were either involved in combat, special missions, or advising and training foreign forces. Russia? Aggressive? Read a book ..."
    "... For many years now I've felt that the "President" is merely a face for the sheep to identify with. ..."
    "... The sheep don't/can't understand that it's the MIC, big pharma, big oil, too big to fail banks, lobbyists that call the shots. Money rules. ..."
    "... One last move on the chess board before he leaves. Hoping to force his replacement into carrying on the theme by limiting his gameplay going forward. ..."
    Jan 16, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

    Lame duck presidents are not supposed to make risky moves like this once a new president has been elected. On Thursday, we learned that U.S. troops have been permanently deployed to Poland for the very first time

    American soldiers rolled into Poland on Thursday, fulfilling a dream some Poles have had since the fall of communism in 1989 to have U.S. troops on their soil as a deterrent against Russia.

    Some people waved and held up American flags as U.S. troops in tanks and other vehicles crossed into southwestern Poland from Germany and headed toward the town of Zagan, where they will be based. Poland's prime minister and defense minister will welcome them in an official ceremony Saturday.

    Poland was once a key member of the Warsaw Pact alliance, and the Russians are quite alarmed that U.S. troops will now be stationed so close to the Russian heartland. The following comes from ABC News

    Laddie -> Truther , Jan 15, 2017 7:53 PM

    I tend to think that Obama is merely a "showpiece" a puppet. The real POWER are NOT happy with The Donald: The Golden Shower and the Golden Bough

    I don't know whether Trump's #GoldenShowerGate presser was the "moneychanger moment" or not, but it had the feel of a major escalation in the contest. Certainly, his enemies believed that this was a potential decapitation stroke. That it failed-as all of their previous efforts have failed-will only serve to strengthen their resolve.

    By exposing their corruption and incompetence, Trump has raised the stakes, which were already cosmic. The US Intelligence Community, a hermetic and self-governing authority in its own right, has decades of expertise in fomenting revolution, engineering regime change, and assassinating its opposition. They have taken down foreign leaders with some regularity. It is likely that they have done the same in our own country.

    They see Putin's Russia as an existential threat to their interests, not because of his imagined persecution of "journalists" (who are really just enemy combatants and subversives in the employ of the occult world order). Not because of his natural territorial ambitions in Russia's traditional sphere of influence. Not because of "Muhleppo." And certainly not because of his alleged "hacking" of the DNC. Putin is an existential threat because he is living proof that the world could be ordered in a different way. He undermines what Michael Hoffman in his book Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare described as the "myth of inevitability" that has always been the chief psychological weapon of progressives and globalists.

    MalteseFalcon -> Jeffersonian Liberal , Jan 15, 2017 9:42 PM

    " A new Cold War has begun, and the stakes are incredibly high "

    The "new cold war" will be noted in the history books as the 30 day cold war, because it will all be over by then.

    Obama's owners are trying to lay as many landmines in front of Trump as possible.

    They want this to be Trump's Bay of Pigs. It won't be, because Trump is wise to the game and he is not alone.

    IntercoursetheEU -> Laddie , Jan 15, 2017 8:05 PM

    'Pussygate' was an illegal broadcast of a private conversation, carried out to manipulate the election. It's still having an effect. Where are no charges being filed? (yet)

    Cynicles -> Laddie , Jan 15, 2017 8:22 PM

    That's what presidents have been for a very long time.

    Russia stands as the "principal threat" to the United States's security . He said this is because of its actions and efforts to "intimidate" other countries.

    "intimidate" other countries?

    who, the US?

    techpriest -> Laddie , Jan 15, 2017 10:13 PM

    He undermines what Michael Hoffman in his book Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare described as the "myth of inevitability" that has always been the chief psychological weapon of progressives and globalists.

    I think the "myth of inevitability" is a key component for Progressives. Take this away, and see that other choices are available, and soon enough people will realize that they do not like the Progressive choice at all.

    philipat -> Truther , Jan 15, 2017 7:59 PM

    Right now, we are literally living from day to day only 10 minutes away from the complete nuclear obliteration of Western "civilization". And mistakes can happen. Trump's first order of business with Putin should be to get the alert levels pushed back down to lower levels so as to allow consultation and dialogue before anyone gets an itchy trigger finger.

    Removal of the neocons comes next, part of which will be getting rid of the idea that a preemptive nuclear first srtike is a viable option and reverting to a "no first strike" policy. That will already make the world a much safer place. NATO and nuclear reductions can all come later.

    bh2 -> billwilson2 , Jan 15, 2017 8:29 PM

    Putin will dig in his heels but won't budge to retaliate at any provocation. He knows there's a lot at stake for Russia as well as the world at large. And he can stand on his head for 5 days, if necessary, until the Big O is firmly out. Mr. Obama has now finally sealed his legacy as a warmonger.

    buckstopshere , Jan 15, 2017 7:50 PM

    I suspect that the Pentagon thought it would be best to demonstrate a show of force and solidarity with NATO members during the transition of power. This is to deter Russia from considering any aggressive moves during this time of relative weakness.

    shovelhead -> buckstopshere , Jan 15, 2017 8:24 PM

    Like walking around in their own country? Those BASTARDS.

    Vic Odd -> buckstopshere , Jan 16, 2017 12:01 AM

    In 2013, the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) - one of the nine organizational units that make up the Unified Combatant Command - had special operations forces (SOFs) in 134 countries , where they were either involved in combat, special missions, or advising and training foreign forces. Russia? Aggressive? Read a book

    DirtySanchez •Jan 15, 2017 8:05 PM

    1)The Polish are not stupid. They really don't want to start WWIII on their front yard.

    2)The Russians are not going to get outsmarted by anyfuckingbody in the current obama administration.

    3)POTUS Trump needs to put his boot down on the neocon/neoliberal/nato/un/globalists bankster/mic/establishment maniacs that want more war, up to and including WWIII.

    4)No One takes bozo,his cia apparatchik,brennan, or his state department seriously.

    5)Five more days, and the long national nightmare of clintonbushobama is over.

    Shed Boy -> DarkPurpleHaze •Jan 15, 2017 9:52 PM

    I agree. In fact, I believe Obama was never in charge. For many years now I've felt that the "President" is merely a face for the sheep to identify with.

    The sheep don't/can't understand that it's the MIC, big pharma, big oil, too big to fail banks, lobbyists that call the shots. Money rules.

    The "president" is just an empty suit placed before the people to give them something easy to identify with.

    techpriest -> Shed Boy •Jan 15, 2017 10:36 PM

    I remember learning about lobbying years ago, and got to interview a Congressman about the legislating process.

    The gem that's relevant to this thread, is that he admitted freely that it's not possible for Congressmen to know enough about every area you are legislating on. Einstein couldn't know enough - you know have to know everything about everything.

    So, industry-supplied (read: lobbyist-supplied) "experts" teach them what they need to know.

    StreetObserver •Jan 15, 2017 9:57 PM

    Thanks for wasting billions of dollars, mr. presidunce. You are a mediocrity. A shill and a sham serving various masters while you fool some of the people with your well earned skin color. I can't believe I worked my ass off for you in your first campaign against McCaine.

    I hope that human life can suvive your clumsy attemps at doing something big while trying to hand an Obama Sandwich to President Elect Trump.

    JPMorgan •Jan 16, 2017 12:09 AM

    One last move on the chess board before he leaves. Hoping to force his replacement into carrying on the theme by limiting his gameplay going forward.

    [Jan 15, 2017] United States sends 4000 troops to Poland, a fraction of a brigade. It is what some call a tripwire, in case of war a forlorn hope! When that forlorn hope is snuffed the nukes come out!

    Jan 15, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    anne : January 14, 2017 at 04:22 PM
    https://twitter.com/vijayprashad/status/819954419735334912

    Vijay Prashad‏ @vijayprashad

    United States sends troops to Poland. This is of course not to threaten Russia......imagine Russian troops being deployed to Mexico?

    9:09 AM - 13 Jan 2017

    im1dc -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 05:16 PM
    Vijay Prashad, that is an Apples-Oranges comparison with no validity, not to mention sans geopolitical reality and treaty obligations to USA Allies in Europe.
    ilsm -> im1dc... , January 14, 2017 at 07:22 PM
    The radical right wing runs Poland.......

    Actually 4000 troop is a fraction of a brigade. It is what some call a tripwire, in case of war a forlorn hope! When that forlorn hope is snuffed the nukes come out!

    anne : , January 14, 2017 at 04:23 PM
    https://twitter.com/vijayprashad/status/820360129572913153

    Vijay Prashad‏ @vijayprashad

    US, which sent 4k troops to the Russian border, now sends the Vinson Carrier Group into the South China Sea.

    12:01 PM - 14 Jan 2017

    ilsm -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 07:23 PM
    Dr. King would be raging!

    The money should make Flint's water good.

    [Jan 14, 2017] Trump Versus the Deep State

    Notable quotes:
    "... ...Trump has suggested he may reduce the bloated CIA and 16 other US intelligence agencies that spend over $70 billion annually ..."
    "... The vast military industrial complex is after Trump, fearing he may cut the $1 trillion annual military budget and efforts to dominate the globe. Members of Congress under orders from the pro-war neocons are trying to undermine Trump. ..."
    "... They are all using Russia as a tool to beat Trump. The hysteria and hypocrisy over alleged Russian hacking is unbelievable and infantile. Sen. John McCain actually called it a grave threat to American democracy, thus joining the Soviet old fools club. Of course Russia's spooks probe US electronic communications. That's their job, not playing chess. The US hacks into everyone's communications, including leaders of allied states. It's called electronic intelligence (ELINT). ..."
    "... It's not Russian TV (for whom I occasionally comment) that is undermining America's democracy, it's the nation's neocon-dominated media pumping out untruths and disinformation. Ironically, Russian TV has become one of the few dissenting voices in North America's media landscape. Sure it puts out government propaganda. So does CNN, MSNBC and Fox. At least RT offers a fresher version. ..."
    "... "Trump is now under attack by religious fundamentalists in Congress for his sensible attitude to Russia " I see no evidence that Evangelicals are doing this en bloc. Over 80% of Evangelicals voted for Trump and I've never heard any I've met say a bad word about Putin and his religious policies. ..."
    "... Not a flattering comparison. Gorby is a fool who destroyed the country ..."
    "... Meanwhile, Caucasus was already burning. Now, in the hindsight, look how much "happiness" Gorbachev's incompetent "reforms" brought Russian people. ..."
    "... No wonder this marked (on his head) imbecile spends more time in London or elsewhere than in Russia ..."
    "... There is another "Western" cliche' that Gorbachev (and later Yeltsin) "reforms" were "peaceful" -- nothing could be further from the truth, including ethnic cleansing of Russians (and others) from very many places, which today, in view of lack of those cleansed Russians, can barely, if at all, run their own infrastructure, let alone built a serious new one. ..."
    Jan 14, 2017 | www.unz.com
    ...Trump has suggested he may reduce the bloated CIA and 16 other US intelligence agencies that spend over $70 billion annually, not including 'black' programs, on who knows what? Tapping communications and assassinating assorted Muslims from the air no doubt.

    Trump has called for an 'even-handed' approach to the question of Palestine, enraging neocons who fear Israel's headlock on Congress and the White House may be loosened. The neocon press, like the Wall Street Journal, NY Times and Washington Post, have been baying for Trump's blood. Not since World War II has the media so dramatically dropped its mask of faux impartiality to reveal it true political agenda.

    Adding to his list of foes, Trump is now under attack by religious fundamentalists in Congress for his sensible attitude to Russia. The vast military industrial complex is after Trump, fearing he may cut the $1 trillion annual military budget and efforts to dominate the globe. Members of Congress under orders from the pro-war neocons are trying to undermine Trump.

    They are all using Russia as a tool to beat Trump. The hysteria and hypocrisy over alleged Russian hacking is unbelievable and infantile. Sen. John McCain actually called it a grave threat to American democracy, thus joining the Soviet old fools club. Of course Russia's spooks probe US electronic communications. That's their job, not playing chess. The US hacks into everyone's communications, including leaders of allied states. It's called electronic intelligence (ELINT).

    But don't blame the wicked Moscovites for revealing how Hillary Clinton's Democratic National Committee rigged the primaries in her favor against Sen. Bernie Sanders. That cat was well out of the bag already.

    It's not Russian TV (for whom I occasionally comment) that is undermining America's democracy, it's the nation's neocon-dominated media pumping out untruths and disinformation. Ironically, Russian TV has become one of the few dissenting voices in North America's media landscape. Sure it puts out government propaganda. So does CNN, MSNBC and Fox. At least RT offers a fresher version.

    Watching our intelligence chiefs and Sen. McCain trying to blacken Trump's name by means of a sleazy, unverified report about golden showers in a Moscow hotel, is particularly ignoble.

    It's also a laugh. Every one who went to Moscow during the Cold War knew about the bugged hotel rooms, and KGB temptresses (known as 'swallows' -after the birds) who would knock on your door at night and give you the old Lenin love mambo while hidden camera whirled away. I asked for 8×10 glossies to be sent to my friends. But sadly for me, the swallows never came though I did meet some lovely long-legged creatures at the Bolshoi Ballet. So-called honey traps were part of the fun of the cold war.

    Humor aside, it's dismaying to hear senior US intelligence officials who faked 'evidence' that led to the invasion of Iraq and used torture and assassination attacking Donald Trump. Of course their jobs are at risk. They should be. The CIA, in particular, has evolved from a pure intelligence gathering agency into a state-sanctioned Murder Inc that liquidates real and imagined enemies abroad. The KGB used to do the same thing – but more efficiently.

    Our intelligence agencies are a vital component of national security – which has become our new state religion. But in true bureaucratic form (see Parkinson's Laws) they have become bloated, redundant and self-perpetuating. They need a tough Trump diet and to be booted out of politics. This past week's display of the deep state's grab for power – a sort of re-run of one of my favorite films, 'Seven Days in May' – should remind all thinking Americans that the monster police state apparatus created by President George W. Bush is the greatest threat to our Republic.

    (Reprinted from EricMargolis.com by permission of author or representative)

    Verymuchalive , January 13, 2017 at 6:37 pm GMT • 100 Words

    "Trump is now under attack by religious fundamentalists in Congress for his sensible attitude to Russia "

    I see no evidence that Evangelicals are doing this en bloc. Over 80% of Evangelicals voted for Trump and I've never heard any I've met say a bad word about Putin and his religious policies.

    If there are some like Cruz who are doing this, they are not representative of Evangelicals and their motives do not spring from support of Evangelicalism.

    Mao Cheng Ji , January 13, 2017 at 6:54 pm GMT

    Not a flattering comparison. Gorby is a fool who destroyed the country (and btw, what "brutal policies"?), creating chaos, disaster. When what needed was reforms, gradual careful reforms. Look at China; that's what the USSR should've done in the 1980s.

    SmoothieX12 , • Website January 13, 2017 at 8:06 pm GMT • 300 Words

    a much better analogy: Moscow in August, 1991

    Not even close, actually. Totally different impetuses. This set of cliches below:

    These policies enraged Moscow's security agencies, its hardline Communist elite ('nomenklatura') and vast military industrial complex. Gorby's proposed budget cuts would have put many of them out of business. So they decided to overthrow Mikhail Gorbachev to save their own skins. The coup utterly failed and its drunken, bungling leaders jailed.

    Betrays lack of understanding of what was going on in USSR since 1988, including the vast majority of Soviet population voting for preservation of USSR later, on referendum. Even Gorbachev himself admitted in 1988 or 1989 in one of his interviews on Soviet TV that he knows that he is being portrayed as wearing a food coupons, instead of medals, on his suit.

    Meanwhile, Caucasus was already burning. Now, in the hindsight, look how much "happiness" Gorbachev's incompetent "reforms" brought Russian people.

    No wonder this marked (on his head) imbecile spends more time in London or elsewhere than in Russia.

    There is another "Western" cliche' that Gorbachev (and later Yeltsin) "reforms" were "peaceful" -- nothing could be further from the truth, including ethnic cleansing of Russians (and others) from very many places, which today, in view of lack of those cleansed Russians, can barely, if at all, run their own infrastructure, let alone built a serious new one.

    There is no denial the fact that Soviet Party nomenclature degenerated but the so called "coup" was not really a coup. It is a very long conversation but most of today's oligarchs as well as ideologues, such as swine-looking late Gaidar, are from party, komsomol and security apparatus. Make your own conclusions.

    @Dan Hayes
    SmoothieX12:

    And lest we forget, Gorbachev was, or perhaps still is, ensconced part of the year at the Presidio in San Francisco Bay!

    [Jan 12, 2017] Kahn is completely clueless as for origin of rumors

    What a completely naive, completely pseudoscientific nonsense. The guy is completely clueless about driving forces of rumors.: it is the distrust to the official channels that drives them
    Notable quotes:
    "... Think of headlines such as "Elvis is Alive". This is an old example of fake news. ..."
    "... "Fake News" has no social consequences in cases #1 or case #4. Case #3 will feature no strategic element. This is just Tiebout sorting in ideological space. For example, climate change deniers say the world isn't warming and climate deniers go to this website and read this and the echo continues. ..."
    "... What is it about the demanders that they don't recognize the "fake news" when they read it? Are they dumb? Are they eager to see stories that confirm their prior worldview? What is the source of this heterogeneity parameter related to their "susceptibility" to be infected? ..."
    "... Most of the time what people believes is not truth. Fake news is pervasive. ..."
    "... I choose to believe the fake news from WikiLeaks before I believe the fake news from Langley. It is all fake. Through the Looking Glass! Who are the traitors? ..."
    "... Though it's impossible for an average U.S. citizen to know precisely what the U.S. intelligence community may have in its secret files, some former NSA officials who are familiar with the agency's eavesdropping capabilities say Washington's lack of certainty suggests that the NSA does not possess such evidence. ..."
    "... For instance, that's the view of William Binney, who retired as NSA's technical director of world military and geopolitical analysis and who created many of the collection systems still used by NSA. ..."
    "... Binney, in an article co-written with former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, said, "With respect to the alleged interference by Russia and WikiLeaks in the U.S. election, it is a major mystery why U.S. intelligence feels it must rely on 'circumstantial evidence,' when it has NSA's vacuum cleaner sucking up hard evidence galore. What we know of NSA's capabilities shows that the email disclosures were from leaking, not hacking." ..."
    "... However, Clapper's own credibility is suspect in a more relevant way. In 2013, he gave false testimony to Congress regarding the extent of the NSA's collection of data on Americans. Clapper's deception was revealed only when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked details of the NSA program to the press, causing Clapper to apologize for his "clearly erroneous" testimony. ..."
    "... "Clapper's own credibility is suspect". Fool me once shame on you...fool me twice shame on me. How long did the national security state really think it could get away with their BS? ..."
    "... Well, they've owned every president since Reagan; they own all the think tanks; they own 90% of congress; they own all the major media; they endow all the "elite" private universities - why shouldn't they think they could get away with it? ..."
    "... Kahn is completely clueless. The main driving force behind the spread of rumors (which now are called "fake news") is the distrust of the official channels. Yes, it is a sign of sickness of the social organism, but only in a sense that fish rots from the top. And actually the same forces that facilitate spread of rumors push people to alternative news channels: official channels are viewed too compromised. So nobody believe anything published in them, even if they publish truth. libezkova -> libezkova... January 08, 2017 at 06:59 AM Tamotsu Shibutani viewed rumors as a process of collective problem-solving in ambiguous situations. His old book "Improvised News: A Sociological Study of Rumor"(1966) had received some press in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and it should be studied now too. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0672511487 It is a much deeper study than incoherent thoughts of Professor Kahn on the topic. You might be surprised by the relevance of his work to current neoliberal MSM crusade against rumors. They feel that they lost trust and now are losing relevance; and they are adamant to do something to reverse this process. But they are barking to the wrong tree. ilsm -> libezkova... Truth is a rare commodity. The "press" in the US has always been owned. In the 1830's it was owned by slave holders in one section and factory owners in another. One opposed to tariffs and the central government growing strong from manufactures. The other for tariffs and weakening the slave economy which funded the anti tariff regime. It is rarely 'news' it is indoctrination. ..."
    "... The press in the usa was always "owned" but at one time it was far more socialized/regulated than it was today: (1) Our government stopped trust-busting media conglomerates. (2) The fairness doctrine was gutted and repealed. (3) Right wing political appointees were placed in leadership roles at the CPB (PBS and NPR) and opened them to funding by large corporations. ..."
    "... Obvious propaganda and distortion should be illegal in much the same way financial fraud is (should be) illegal. ..."
    "... "Normal people" in a neoliberal society, like "normal people" in the USSR are those who are adapted to life in official "fake news" aquarium, created by neoliberal MSM. And resigned to this, because they value the society they live in and can't image any alternative. Remember Matrix. ..."
    "... Yurchak's Master-idea is that the Soviet system was an example of how a state can prepare its own demise in an invisible way. It happened in Russia through unraveling of authoritative discourse by Gorbachev's naive but well-meaning shillyshallying undermining the Soviet system and the master signifiers with which the Soviet society was "quilted" and held together. ..."
    "... This could a cautionary tale for America as well because the Soviet Union shared more features with American modernity than the Americans themselves are willing to admit. ..."
    "... The Soviet Union wasn't "evil" in late stages 1950-1980s. The most people were decent. The Soviet system, despite its flaws, offered a set of collective values. There were many moral and ethical aspects to Soviet socialism, and even though those values have been betrayed by the state, they were still very important to people themselves in their lives. ..."
    "... These values were: solidarity, community, altruism, education, creativity, friendship and safety. Perhaps they were incommensurable with the "Western values" such as the rule of law and freedom, but for Russians they were the most important. ..."
    "... Yurchak demolishes the view that the only choices available to late Soviet citizens were either blind support (though his accounts of those figures who chose this path are deeply chilling) or active resistance, while at the same time showing how many of the purported values of Soviet socialism (equality, education, friendship, community, etc) were in fact deeply held by many in the population. ..."
    "... his basic thesis is that, for most Soviet people, the attitude toward the authorities was "They pretend to make statements that corresponded to reality, and we pretend to believe them." ..."
    "... People were expected to perform these rituals, but they developed "a complexly differentiating relationship to the ideological meanings, norms, and values" of the Soviet state. "Depending on the context, they might reject a certain meaning, norm or value, be apathetic about another, continue actively subscribing to a third, creatively reinterpret a fourth, and so on." (28-29) ..."
    "... The result was that, as the discourse of the late Soviet period ossified into completely formalist incantations (a process that Yurchak demonstrates was increasingly routinized from the 1950s onwards), Soviet citizens participated in these more for ritualistic reasons than because of fervent belief, which in turn allowed citizens to fill their lives with other sources of identity and meaning. ..."
    "... All of which is to say that the book consists of a dramatic refutation of the "totalitarianism" thesis, demonstrating that despite the totalitarian ambitions of the regime, citizens were continually able to carve out zones of autonomy and identification that transcended the ambitions of the Authoritative discourse. ..."
    "... "And it will require us to think in new ways about the notions of just war and the imperatives of a just peace." ..."
    "... Then review Orwell. See who decides what is "justice"! The US became prosecutor, lawyer, jury and executioner anywhere it pleased, to anybody who could not fight back. ..."
    "... Yes exactly, from the ashes into the fire. As bad as the official channels sometimes can be, the unofficial are much worse. The 30 years of Faux news and "think tanks" has done a lot more long-term harm to society than most people realize. ..."
    "... Just like trying to determine the lesser of two evils in political campaigns. Oh, I forgot! Most politicians' official positions are just lies anyway...as we know from Obama's 2008 campaign and his subsequent behavior. ..."
    Jan 08, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

    The Economics of Fake News Environmental and Urban Economics

    I see that Paul Krugman is talking abou t the consequences of Fake News so I will enter this market and supply some thoughts. I will define fake news as stories that are "juicy" but not true.

    Think of headlines such as "Elvis is Alive". This is an old example of fake news.

    ... ... ...

    There are four cases to consider.

    "Fake News" has no social consequences in cases #1 or case #4. Case #3 will feature no strategic element. This is just Tiebout sorting in ideological space. For example, climate change deniers say the world isn't warming and climate deniers go to this website and read this and the echo continues.

    I believe that Dr. K is mainly concerned with Case #2. What % of all suspect stories fall into this category? Dr. K has a cynical model in mind in which sophisticated agents (think of Trump and Putin) manipulate the gullible public with messages and then the Facebook and Internet accelerate this information throughout the system as it infects billions and influences real events.

    Case #2 raises some deep issues, I will state them as questions;

    1. What is it about the demanders that they don't recognize the "fake news" when they read it? Are they dumb? Are they eager to see stories that confirm their prior worldview? What is the source of this heterogeneity parameter related to their "susceptibility" to be infected?

    2. In public health, we quarantine those who may spread contagion. Is Dr. K. calling for a messaging quarantine of the "susceptible people" or is he proposing ending free speech for those who spread the contagion?

    3. If there is objective reality, do those who are susceptible to "fake news" update their beliefs as this reality changes over time?

    4. In a world featuring heterogeneous news consumers, and profit maximizing news sellers what are pareto improving government interventions? When I taught at the Fletcher School, one student suggested that there should be a constitutional amendment requiring people to watch the PBS News Hour each night.

    5. In a world featuring heterogeneous news consumers, and Russian propagandist news suppliers, what are pareto improving government interventions for the nations that Russia is targeting with this news? So, the U.S is fighting a war on terror ---- will we now open up a "second front" as we start a "war on foreign propaganda"?

    6. Why has "fake news" become an issue now? What is it about 2016? Has Facebook made communication "too cheap"? Has Russia recognized this opportunity and increased its supply of fake news? In the old days, Pravda was filled with such news.

    ... ... ...

    ilsm : January 08, 2017 at 04:30 AM

    On Kahn's analysis of fake news.

    Most of the time what people believes is not truth. Fake news is pervasive.

    ilsm -> ilsm... , January 08, 2017 at 04:54 AM
    On Assange:

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/wikileaks-criticizes-obama-administration-in-rather-ironic-way-173523707.html

    The guys who leak documents for a living pointing out the establish leaks them to sway opinion!

    I choose to believe the fake news from WikiLeaks before I believe the fake news from Langley. It is all fake. Through the Looking Glass! Who are the traitors?

    RGC -> ilsm... , January 08, 2017 at 06:03 AM
    US Report Still Lacks Proof on Russia 'Hack' , January 7, 2017
    ................
    Though it's impossible for an average U.S. citizen to know precisely what the U.S. intelligence community may have in its secret files, some former NSA officials who are familiar with the agency's eavesdropping capabilities say Washington's lack of certainty suggests that the NSA does not possess such evidence.

    For instance, that's the view of William Binney, who retired as NSA's technical director of world military and geopolitical analysis and who created many of the collection systems still used by NSA.

    Binney, in an article co-written with former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, said, "With respect to the alleged interference by Russia and WikiLeaks in the U.S. election, it is a major mystery why U.S. intelligence feels it must rely on 'circumstantial evidence,' when it has NSA's vacuum cleaner sucking up hard evidence galore. What we know of NSA's capabilities shows that the email disclosures were from leaking, not hacking."

    There is also the fact that both WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and one of his associates, former British Ambassador Craig Murray, have denied that the purloined emails came from the Russian government. Going further, Murray has suggested that there were two separate sources, the DNC material coming from a disgruntled Democrat and the Podesta emails coming from possibly a U.S. intelligence source, since the Podesta Group represents Saudi Arabia and other foreign governments.

    In response, Clapper and other U.S. government officials have sought to disparage Assange's credibility, including Clapper's Senate testimony on Thursday gratuitously alluding to sexual assault allegations against Assange in Sweden.

    However, Clapper's own credibility is suspect in a more relevant way. In 2013, he gave false testimony to Congress regarding the extent of the NSA's collection of data on Americans. Clapper's deception was revealed only when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked details of the NSA program to the press, causing Clapper to apologize for his "clearly erroneous" testimony.
    ....................
    https://consortiumnews.com/2017/01/07/us-report-still-lacks-proof-on-russia-hack/

    JohnH -> RGC...
    "Clapper's own credibility is suspect". Fool me once shame on you...fool me twice shame on me. How long did the national security state really think it could get away with their BS?

    Well, they've owned every president since Reagan; they own all the think tanks; they own 90% of congress; they own all the major media; they endow all the "elite" private universities - why shouldn't they think they could get away with it?

    libezkova -> ilsm... , January 08, 2017 at 06:20 AM

    Kahn is completely clueless. The main driving force behind the spread of rumors (which now are called "fake news") is the distrust of the official channels.

    Yes, it is a sign of sickness of the social organism, but only in a sense that fish rots from the top.

    And actually the same forces that facilitate spread of rumors push people to alternative news channels: official channels are viewed too compromised. So nobody believe anything published in them, even if they publish truth.

    libezkova -> libezkova... January 08, 2017 at 06:59 AM

    Tamotsu Shibutani viewed rumors as a process of collective problem-solving in ambiguous situations.

    His old book "Improvised News: A Sociological Study of Rumor"(1966) had received some press in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and it should be studied now too.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0672511487

    It is a much deeper study than incoherent thoughts of Professor Kahn on the topic.

    You might be surprised by the relevance of his work to current neoliberal MSM crusade against rumors. They feel that they lost trust and now are losing relevance; and they are adamant to do something to reverse this process. But they are barking to the wrong tree.

    ilsm -> libezkova...
    Truth is a rare commodity. The "press" in the US has always been owned. In the 1830's it was owned by slave holders in one section and factory owners in another. One opposed to tariffs and the central government growing strong from manufactures. The other for tariffs and weakening the slave economy which funded the anti tariff regime. It is rarely 'news' it is indoctrination.

    Peace and freedom are not valued in the US or many other places.

    yuan -> ilsm.. .
    The press in the usa was always "owned" but at one time it was far more socialized/regulated than it was today: (1) Our government stopped trust-busting media conglomerates. (2) The fairness doctrine was gutted and repealed. (3) Right wing political appointees were placed in leadership roles at the CPB (PBS and NPR) and opened them to funding by large corporations.

    Obvious propaganda and distortion should be illegal in much the same way financial fraud is (should be) illegal.

    libezkova -> ilsm... January 08, 2017 at 11:09 AM
    "It is rarely 'news' it is indoctrination."

    Exactly. That's why those people who question MSM coverage, and who try to get the "second opinion" on the current events from blogs, and other alternative channels are considered to be traitors.

    Neoliberal MSMs are major producer of fake news as in foreign coverage they are guided by State Department talking points. What they are adamantly against is "somebody else" fake news. They want full monopoly on coverage.

    What they trying to tell us during this McCarthyism compaign is the following: "Unapproved, rogue fake news of questionable origin are evil, only State Department approved fakes are OK".

    This is another, slightly more interesting, variant of "political correctness" enforcement in a given society.

    "Normal people" in a neoliberal society, like "normal people" in the USSR are those who are adapted to life in official "fake news" aquarium, created by neoliberal MSM. And resigned to this, because they value the society they live in and can't image any alternative. Remember Matrix.

    There is a special term for the psychological condition of the large part of the USSR population who adapted to live such an "artificial, fake reality" and even may protest if they are provided with a more objective picture as this created a cognitive dissonance. It is Stockholm Syndrome. The condition common among the members of "high demand" cults.

    The same happened in the USA. This neoliberal ideological captivity with its own set of myths and falsehood reminds me USSR Bolshevism ideology, which was an official, dominant ideology for Soviet people. Indoctrination was obligatory.

    The net results was the same as now in the USA -- the dead ideology burdens, like a nightmare, the minds of the living.

    As Marx noted: "history repeats itself, the first as tragedy, then as farce"

    Alexei Yurchak's 2006 book "Everything was Forever, Until it was No More: The Last Soviet Generation" called this condition of ideological Stockholm syndrome "hypernormalization"

    https://www.amazon.com/Everything-Forever-Until-More-Formation/dp/0691121176

    He argues that during the last 20 or so years of the Soviet Union, everyone in the USSR knew the system wasn't working, but as no one has real alternative and both politicians and citizens were resigned to pretending that the can should be kicked down the road. A typical attitude of Hillary supporters.

    This "constant pretending" was accepted as normal behavior and the fake reality thus created was accepted as necessary evil, nessesary for normal functining of the society. The whole society reminded me large "high demand" cult from which members can't escape.

    While Yurchak called this effect "hypernormalisation." in reality this probably should be called "ideological Stockholm syndrome". Stockholm syndrome is a psychological condition that causes hostages to develop sympathetic sentiments towards their captors, often sharing their opinions and acquiring romantic feelings for them as a survival strategy during captivity.

    Looking at events over the past few years, one would notice that the neoliberal society is experiencing the same psychological condition.

    Here are a couple of insightful reviews of the book

    == quote ==

    Igor Biryukov on November 1, 2012

    A cautionary tale

    In America there was once a popular but simplistic image of the Soviet Russia as the Evil Empire destined to fall, precisely because it was unfree and therefore evil. Ronald Reagan who advocated it also once said that the Russian people do not have a word for "freedom". Not so fast -- says Alexei Yurchak.

    He was born in the Soviet Union and became a cultural anthropologist in California. He employs linguistic structural analysis in very interesting ways. For him, the Soviet Union was once a stable, entrenched, conservative state and the majority of Russian people -- actually myself included -- thought it would last forever. But the way people employ language and read ideologies can change. That change can be undetectable at first, and then unstoppable.

    Yurchak's Master-idea is that the Soviet system was an example of how a state can prepare its own demise in an invisible way. It happened in Russia through unraveling of authoritative discourse by Gorbachev's naive but well-meaning shillyshallying undermining the Soviet system and the master signifiers with which the Soviet society was "quilted" and held together.

    According to Yurchak "In its first three or four years, perestroika was not much more than a deconstruction of Soviet authoritative discourse".

    This could a cautionary tale for America as well because the Soviet Union shared more features with American modernity than the Americans themselves are willing to admit.

    The demise of the Soviet Union was not caused by anti-modernity or backwardness of Russian people.

    The Soviet experiment was a cousin of Western modernity and shared many features with the Western democracies, in particular its roots in the Enlightenment project.

    The Soviet Union wasn't "evil" in late stages 1950-1980s. The most people were decent. The Soviet system, despite its flaws, offered a set of collective values. There were many moral and ethical aspects to Soviet socialism, and even though those values have been betrayed by the state, they were still very important to people themselves in their lives.

    These values were: solidarity, community, altruism, education, creativity, friendship and safety. Perhaps they were incommensurable with the "Western values" such as the rule of law and freedom, but for Russians they were the most important.

    For many "socialism" was a system of human values and everyday realities which wasn't necessarily equivalent of the official interpretation provided by the state rhetoric.

    Yurchak starts with a general paradox within the ideology of modernity: the split between ideological enunciation, which reflects the theoretical ideals of the Enlightenment, and ideological rule, which are the practical concerns of the modern state's political authority. In Soviet Union the paradox was "solved" by means of dogmatic political closure and elevation of Master signifier [Lenin, Stalin, Party] but it doesn't mean the Western democracies are immune to totalitarian temptation to which the Soviet Union had succumbed.

    The vast governmental bureaucracy and Quango-state are waiting in the shadows here as well, may be ready to appropriate discourse.

    It is hard to agree with everything in his book. But it is an interesting perspective.

    ... ... ...

    Nils Gilmanon April 23, 2014

    A brilliant account of the interior meaning of everyday life for ordinary soviet citizens

    Just loved this -- a brilliant study of how everyday citizens (as opposed to active supporters or dissidents) cope with living in a decadent dictatorship, through strategies of ignoring the powerful, focusing on hyperlocal socialities, treating ritualized support for the regime as little more than an annoying chore, and withdrawal into subcultures.

    Yurchak demolishes the view that the only choices available to late Soviet citizens were either blind support (though his accounts of those figures who chose this path are deeply chilling) or active resistance, while at the same time showing how many of the purported values of Soviet socialism (equality, education, friendship, community, etc) were in fact deeply held by many in the population.

    While his entire account is a tacit meditation on the manifold unpleasantnesses of living under the Soviet system, Yurchak also makes clear that it was not all unpleasantness and that indeed for some people (such as theoretical physicists) life under Soviet socialism was in some ways freer than for their peers in the West. All of which makes the book function (sotto voce) as an explanation for the nostalgia that many in Russia today feel for Soviet times - something inexplicable to those who claim that Communism was simply and nothing but an evil.

    The theoretical vehicle for Yurchak's investigation is the divergence between the performative rather than the constative dimensions of the "authoritative discourse" of the late Soviet regime. One might say that his basic thesis is that, for most Soviet people, the attitude toward the authorities was "They pretend to make statements that corresponded to reality, and we pretend to believe them."

    Yurchak rightly observes that one can neither interpret the decision to vote in favor of an official resolution or to display a pro-government slogan at a rally as being an unambiguous statement of regime support, nor assume that these actions were directly coerced. People were expected to perform these rituals, but they developed "a complexly differentiating relationship to the ideological meanings, norms, and values" of the Soviet state. "Depending on the context, they might reject a certain meaning, norm or value, be apathetic about another, continue actively subscribing to a third, creatively reinterpret a fourth, and so on." (28-29)

    The result was that, as the discourse of the late Soviet period ossified into completely formalist incantations (a process that Yurchak demonstrates was increasingly routinized from the 1950s onwards), Soviet citizens participated in these more for ritualistic reasons than because of fervent belief, which in turn allowed citizens to fill their lives with other sources of identity and meaning.

    Soviet citizens would go to cafes and talk about music and literature, join a rock band or art collective, take silly jobs that required little effort and thus left room for them to pursue their "interests." The very drabness of the standardizations of Soviet life therefore created new sorts of (admittedly constrained) spaces within which people could define themselves and their (inter)subjective meanings. All of which is to say that the book consists of a dramatic refutation of the "totalitarianism" thesis, demonstrating that despite the totalitarian ambitions of the regime, citizens were continually able to carve out zones of autonomy and identification that transcended the ambitions of the Authoritative discourse.

    ilsm -> libezkova ... Sunday, January 08, 2017 at 12:20 PM

    You should read the whole of Obama's Nobel peace prize lecture:

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-acceptance-nobel-peace-prize

    "And it will require us to think in new ways about the notions of just war and the imperatives of a just peace."

    Then review Orwell. See who decides what is "justice"! The US became prosecutor, lawyer, jury and executioner anywhere it pleased, to anybody who could not fight back.

    JohnH -> yuan... January 08, 2017 at 12:08 PM

    yuan never had the pleasure of watching the mainstream media promote the official Kool-Aid during the Vietnam War...until the lies finally became untenable.

    DeDude -> libezkova... January 08, 2017 at 11:38 AM

    "the same forces that facilitate spread of rumors push people to alternative news channels: official channels are viewed too compromised"

    Yes exactly, from the ashes into the fire. As bad as the official channels sometimes can be, the unofficial are much worse. The 30 years of Faux news and "think tanks" has done a lot more long-term harm to society than most people realize.

    Being a knowledgeable person who spend half a lifetime studying a subject, seems to be worse than being a regular ignorant guy confidently pulling stuff out of his ass. We are living in interesting times.

    JohnH -> DeDude...

    "As bad as the official channels sometimes can be, the unofficial are much worse." Wow! Trying to judge the more credible liar.

    Just like trying to determine the lesser of two evils in political campaigns. Oh, I forgot! Most politicians' official positions are just lies anyway...as we know from Obama's 2008 campaign and his subsequent behavior.

    [Jan 12, 2017] I know a lot of people who dislike Trump, and none of them seem to believe the buzzfeed story

    The document reads like "the gang that couldn't shoot straight." It's a joke.
    Notable quotes:
    "... People who already dislike Trump will believe the allegations while people who like Trump will hate the press and intelligence agencies (?) even more for attacking him unfairly in their minds. ..."
    "... People are making jokes about it, the puns are just too easy, but nobody seems to actually believe it. ..."
    "... People don't talk about it like "did you hear trump did X" "oh yea" "yea there was a story". Its like "there was a very dubious story that trump did x" "". The way people talk about a Saturday Night Live sketch about Trump. ..."
    "... "This is a huge embarrassment to Democrats, the mainstream media and those intelligence officials who have all been piling on Trump. It hurts their credibility, which can ill afford to take yet another hit." ..."
    "... It's just partisan warfare. ..."
    "... "Today Clapper denounced media leaks..." Is that the same Clapper who lied to Congress about how the NSA was spying on law-abiding citizens en mass? Yeah he's trustworthy. ..."
    "... CNN was the first to report what Buzzfeed revealed. Trump was mad at them. Who else? ..."
    "... Glenn Greenwald explains the whole vendetta against Trump based on sham data. https://theintercept.com/2017/01/11/the-deep-state-goes-to-war-with-president-elect-using-unverified-claims-as-dems-cheer/ ..."
    "... With release of the buzz feed data, they overplayed their hand, destroyed their narrative, embarrassed themselves, and ultimately strengthened Trump. ..."
    "... "they damn well better have the goods...and the goods need to PO the deplorables." nothing will change their minds. They just see it as cynical attacks on their man. ..."
    "... The long knives will come out during the next recession ..."
    "... This reminds me of how the Bush campaign got Dan Rather to release some bogus information about Bush43 as a draft dodger. ..."
    "... In that case, I think the narrative of Bush as a draft dodger was correct, but its usefulness for Democrats got destroyed the moment Rather's source was revealed as bogus. ..."
    "... In this case, Hillary's assertions of Trump as a Putin stooge have been highly suspect, though she made a big deal of them in her campaign. Now that narrative has been crippled by the buzz feed overreach. ..."
    "... Exactly! "Democrats don't want to do a post-mortem about why they lost. It may prove that Bernie Sanders was right. They'd rather change the subject," which is where the 'everything is Putin's fault' narrative comes in. ..."
    "... Reminds me of the 'everything is Republicans fault' narrative that Democrats used to justify Obama's failure to jail bankers, his austerity, and his proposals to cut Social Security. ..."
    "... Democrats are masters of denial and victimization...just like Republicans. It's all very sick. ..."
    "... There is, and always was, a better Putin narrative. Trump is an FSB mole is both too far and too specific. ..."
    "... the election should never been about Putin. It should have been about swing state voters' economic anxieties, something that Hillary could never wrap here head around. ..."
    "... Now it looks like the Trump-Putin narrative is blowing up in their faces---purveyors of fake news should not accuse others of purveying fake news. ..."
    Jan 12, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    Peter K. -> JohnH... , January 12, 2017 at 06:57 AM
    The thing about Trump is that people can imagine he's the kind of guy who would enjoy being urinated on by Russian prostitutes, even if the allegations are untrue. He is so into gold and into women.

    People who already dislike Trump will believe the allegations while people who like Trump will hate the press and intelligence agencies (?) even more for attacking him unfairly in their minds.

    jeff fisher -> Peter K.... , January 12, 2017 at 10:10 AM
    I know a lot of people who dislike Trump, and none of them seem to believe the buzzfeed story. People are making jokes about it, the puns are just too easy, but nobody seems to actually believe it.

    People don't talk about it like "did you hear trump did X" "oh yea" "yea there was a story". Its like "there was a very dubious story that trump did x" "". The way people talk about a Saturday Night Live sketch about Trump.

    Peter K. -> JohnH... , January 12, 2017 at 06:59 AM
    "This is a huge embarrassment to Democrats, the mainstream media and those intelligence officials who have all been piling on Trump. It hurts their credibility, which can ill afford to take yet another hit."

    Kind of like Comey was a huge embarrassment to Republicans? I don't think so. It's just partisan warfare.

    Peter K. -> JohnH... , January 12, 2017 at 07:01 AM
    So leaks are good when Wikileaks do them but bad when intelligence officials do them?

    We know Trump will never be consistent, but you can try to have single standards.

    Peter K. -> JohnH... , January 12, 2017 at 07:06 AM
    "Today Clapper denounced media leaks..." Is that the same Clapper who lied to Congress about how the NSA was spying on law-abiding citizens en mass? Yeah he's trustworthy.
    Peter K. -> JohnH... , January 12, 2017 at 07:28 AM
    "This is a huge embarrassment to Democrats, the mainstream media and those intelligence officials who have all been piling on Trump. It hurts their credibility, which can ill afford to take yet another hit."

    CNN was the first to report what Buzzfeed revealed. Trump was mad at them. Who else?

    JohnH -> Peter K.... , January 12, 2017 at 07:44 AM
    Glenn Greenwald explains the whole vendetta against Trump based on sham data.
    https://theintercept.com/2017/01/11/the-deep-state-goes-to-war-with-president-elect-using-unverified-claims-as-dems-cheer/

    With release of the buzz feed data, they overplayed their hand, destroyed their narrative, embarrassed themselves, and ultimately strengthened Trump.

    Peter K. -> JohnH... , January 12, 2017 at 07:50 AM
    Like Trump doesn't use "sham data" and innuendo. Who cares? Poetic justice. Trump is just going to waste his time pursuing vendettas against those who sullied his good name.

    Maybe that drama will "crowd out" some of his plans to enact Paul Ryan's agenda. Maybe it will cause a backlash among those Americans interested in a free press and democratic norms.

    Like I said some of your ideas are good, but they are tarnished by some of the really stupid things you say by association.

    JohnH -> Peter K.... , January 12, 2017 at 08:21 AM
    We already know that Trump has a Teflon shield. If the establishment is going to get him, they damn well better have the goods...and the goods need to PO the deplorables. Trumped up charges won't cut it.
    Peter K. -> JohnH... , January 12, 2017 at 08:32 AM
    "We already know that Trump has a Teflon shield."

    via DeLong:

    http://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/01/should-read-josh-marshall-_what-you-didnt-see_-what-may-be-the-most-significant-news-of-the-day-barely-made-a-ri.html#more

    Should-Read: Josh Marshall: What You Didn't See: "What may be the most significant news of the day barely made a ripple...

    ...Donald Trump, ten days from becoming President, has an approval rating of 37%. Most presidents seldom get so low. Some never do. For ten days away from inauguration it's totally unprecedented.... Each of the last three presidents had approval ratings of at least 65% during their presidential transitions.... Curiously absent from press coverage [has been that] Trump, his agenda and his party are deeply unpopular... [and have] gotten steadily more unpopular over the last four weeks..."

    Peter K. -> JohnH... , January 12, 2017 at 08:34 AM
    "they damn well better have the goods...and the goods need to PO the deplorables." nothing will change their minds. They just see it as cynical attacks on their man.
    JohnH -> Peter K.... , January 12, 2017 at 09:39 AM
    The long knives will come out during the next recession, when Trump will have proven his incompetence. Pretense for impeachment is unknowable, but it better be good!
    JohnH -> Peter K.... , January 12, 2017 at 07:56 AM
    This reminds me of how the Bush campaign got Dan Rather to release some bogus information about Bush43 as a draft dodger.

    In that case, I think the narrative of Bush as a draft dodger was correct, but its usefulness for Democrats got destroyed the moment Rather's source was revealed as bogus.

    In this case, Hillary's assertions of Trump as a Putin stooge have been highly suspect, though she made a big deal of them in her campaign. Now that narrative has been crippled by the buzz feed overreach.

    Democrats should have focused on voters' economic concerns, not the Trump-Putin narrative.

    Peter K. -> JohnH... , January 12, 2017 at 08:08 AM
    There was an interesting movie about the Rather case staring Robert Redford and Cate Blanchette. Trump is engaging in the same thuggish behavior as Republicans used against Rather and his producer in that case. Or course CBS folded because they had regulatory changes about affiliate ownership before the Bush administration.

    We can expect the same cowardice from our corporate media regarding the Trump administration.

    JohnH -> Peter K.... , January 12, 2017 at 08:19 AM
    It would be interesting to know if Trump had something to do with release of the buzz feed report. It would make Trump smarter than I think he really is. My understanding is that John McCain, who hates Trump, was behind circulation of the report before buzz feed released it.
    Peter K. -> JohnH... , January 12, 2017 at 08:40 AM
    "My understanding is that John McCain, who hates Trump, was behind circulation of the report before buzz feed released it." A lot of people knew about it. The eight leading congress people on the intelligence committees knew about it. David Corn reported about it in October in Mother Jones.
    Peter K. -> JohnH... , January 12, 2017 at 08:27 AM
    "Democrats should have focused on voters' economic concerns, not the Trump-Putin narrative."

    I'll agree with you on this. Obama went more positive in 2008 and 2012 than Hillary did in 2016 and was successful at the polls. Negative campaigning works but seems like too much of it depresses turnout.

    Part of it is that establishment Democrats don't want to do a post-mortem about why they lost. It may prove that Bernie Sanders was right. They'd rather change the subject.

    JohnH -> Peter K.... , January 12, 2017 at 09:06 AM
    Exactly! "Democrats don't want to do a post-mortem about why they lost. It may prove that Bernie Sanders was right. They'd rather change the subject," which is where the 'everything is Putin's fault' narrative comes in.

    Reminds me of the 'everything is Republicans fault' narrative that Democrats used to justify Obama's failure to jail bankers, his austerity, and his proposals to cut Social Security.

    Democrats are masters of denial and victimization...just like Republicans. It's all very sick.

    jeff fisher -> JohnH... , January 12, 2017 at 10:35 AM
    There is, and always was, a better Putin narrative. Trump is an FSB mole is both too far and too specific.

    The Republican's policy ideas are awful. Trump will be a terrible president. Putin wants us weak, and the Republican party will deliver just as it did during the Bush presidency.

    We will make little progress on our important problems, and make massive blunders that cost us for decades.

    Global warming will continue to improve the Russian Climate. Progress on renewable energy will be slowed, improving the market for Russian oil and gas. The US will worsen its healthcare problems. The US will exacerbate its inequality. The toxic republican attitude toward the institutions of democracy will come from all three branches of the federal government, and most state governments.

    Peter K. -> jeff fisher... , January 12, 2017 at 10:42 AM
    Putin doesn't like Hillary. At the time, she said Putin's election was rigged. And they were pushing Russia on all fronts. Trump is an isolationist who doesn't care about human rights or freedom of the press.

    Simple as that.

    jeff fisher -> Peter K.... , January 12, 2017 at 11:02 AM
    That's too specific. Not a good campaign narrative. It is reasonably true.

    But remember, Putin is supporting awful right wing parties in various nations. It wasn't just Clinton.

    JohnH -> jeff fisher... , January 12, 2017 at 12:08 PM
    Agreed. There were probably better Putin narratives, and the election should never been about Putin. It should have been about swing state voters' economic anxieties, something that Hillary could never wrap here head around.

    Now it looks like the Trump-Putin narrative is blowing up in their faces---purveyors of fake news should not accuse others of purveying fake news.

    [Jan 12, 2017] And now bottom feeders from BBC join the chorus

    This Paul Wood. is very funny "I understand the CIA believes it is credible..." The document reads like "the gang that couldn't shoot straight." It's a joke. But despite this Paul wood provided a good (albeit very dirty) hatchet job. Looks like neocons declared the open war on Trump. And as they are just a flavor of Trotskyites they are are capable of everything as they preach " the end justifies the means"... with their global neoliberal revolution under threat they can do as low as gangsters. Fake evidence is OK form in the best the "end justified the means" way.
    Notable quotes:
    "... Claims about a Russian blackmail tape were made in one of a series of reports written by a former British intelligence agent, understood to be Christopher Steele ..."
    "... As a member of MI6, he had been posted to the UK's embassy in Moscow and now runs a consultancy giving advice on doing business in Russia. He spoke to a number of his old contacts in the FSB, the successor to the KGB, paying some of them for information. ..."
    "... Mr Trump's supporters say this is a politically motivated attack. The president-elect himself, outraged, tweeted this morning: "Are we living in Nazi Germany?" ..."
    "... He said the memo was written by "sick people [who] put that crap together". ..."
    "... The opposition research firm that commissioned the report had worked first for an anti-Trump superpac - political action committee - during the Republican primaries. ..."
    "... Then during the general election, it was funded by an anonymous Democratic Party supporter. ..."
    "... At his news conference, Mr Trump said he warned his staff when they travelled: "Be very careful, because in your hotel rooms and no matter where you go you're going to probably have cameras." ..."
    Jan 12, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    im1dc : January 12, 2017 at 09:06 AM , 2017 at 09:06 AM
    Adding the BBC's reporting on the compromising of Donald Trump to the above posts that got off-track, imo, from the issue

    "Theatre of the absurd"

    Took my breath away...

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38589427

    "Trump 'compromising' claims: How and why did we get here?"

    By Paul Wood...BBC News...Washington...1-12-2017...47 minutes ago

    "Donald Trump has described as "fake news" allegations published in some media that his election team colluded with Russia - and that Russia held compromising material about his private life. The BBC's Paul Wood saw the allegations before the election, and reports on the fallout now they have come to light.

    The significance of these allegations is that, if true, the president-elect of the United States would be vulnerable to blackmail by the Russians.

    I understand the CIA believes it is credible that the Kremlin has such kompromat - or compromising material - on the next US commander in chief. At the same time a joint taskforce, which includes the CIA and the FBI, has been investigating allegations that the Russians may have sent money to Mr Trump's organisation or his election campaign.

    Claims about a Russian blackmail tape were made in one of a series of reports written by a former British intelligence agent, understood to be Christopher Steele.

    As a member of MI6, he had been posted to the UK's embassy in Moscow and now runs a consultancy giving advice on doing business in Russia. He spoke to a number of his old contacts in the FSB, the successor to the KGB, paying some of them for information.

    They told him that Mr Trump had been filmed with a group of prostitutes in the presidential suite of Moscow's Ritz-Carlton hotel. I know this because the Washington political research company that commissioned his report showed it to me during the final week of the election campaign.

    The BBC decided not to use it then, for the very good reason that without seeing the tape - if it exists - we could not know if the claims were true. The detail of the allegations were certainly lurid. The entire series of reports has now been posted by BuzzFeed.

    [Image of Trump's Tweet]

    Mr Trump's supporters say this is a politically motivated attack. The president-elect himself, outraged, tweeted this morning: "Are we living in Nazi Germany?" Later, at his much-awaited news conference, he was unrestrained. "A thing like that should have never been written," he said, "and certainly should never have been released."

    He said the memo was written by "sick people [who] put that crap together".

    The opposition research firm that commissioned the report had worked first for an anti-Trump superpac - political action committee - during the Republican primaries.

    Then during the general election, it was funded by an anonymous Democratic Party supporter. But these are not political hacks - their usual line of work is country analysis and commercial risk assessment, similar to the former MI6 agent's consultancy. He, apparently, gave his dossier to the FBI against the firm's advice.

    [Photo of Trump in Moscow, 2013 w/beauty contestants]

    And the former MI6 agent is not the only source for the claim about Russian kompromat on the president-elect. Back in August, a retired spy told me he had been informed of its existence by "the head of an East European intelligence agency".

    Later, I used an intermediary to pass some questions to active duty CIA officers dealing with the case file - they would not speak to me directly. I got a message back that there was "more than one tape", "audio and video", on "more than one date", in "more than one place" - in the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow and also in St Petersburg - and that the material was "of a sexual nature".

    'Be very careful'

    The claims of Russian kompromat on Mr Trump were "credible", the CIA believed. That is why - according to the New York Times and Washington Post - these claims ended up on President Barack Obama's desk last week, a briefing document also given to Congressional leaders and to Mr Trump himself.

    Mr Trump did visit Moscow in November 2013, the date the main tape is supposed to have been made. There is TV footage of him at the Miss Universe contest. Any visitor to a grand hotel in Moscow would be wise to assume that their room comes equipped with hidden cameras and microphones as well as a mini-bar.

    At his news conference, Mr Trump said he warned his staff when they travelled: "Be very careful, because in your hotel rooms and no matter where you go you're going to probably have cameras." So the Russian security services have made obtaining kompromat an art form.

    One Russian specialist told me that Vladimir Putin himself sometimes says there is kompromat on him - though perhaps he is joking. The specialist went on to tell me that FSB officers are prone to boasting about having tapes on public figures, and to be careful of any statements they might make.

    A former CIA officer told me he had spoken by phone to a serving FSB officer who talked about the tapes. He concluded: "It's hokey as hell."

    Mr Trump and his supporters are right to point out that these are unsubstantiated allegations.

    But it is not just sex, it is money too. The former MI6 agent's report detailed alleged attempts by the Kremlin to offer Mr Trump lucrative "sweetheart deals" in Russia that would buy his loyalty.

    Mr Trump turned these down, and indeed has done little real business in Russia. But a joint intelligence and law enforcement taskforce has been looking at allegations that the Kremlin paid money to his campaign through his associates.

    Legal applications

    On 15 October, the US secret intelligence court issued a warrant to investigate two Russian banks. This news was given to me by several sources and corroborated by someone I will identify only as a senior member of the US intelligence community. He would never volunteer anything - giving up classified information would be illegal - but he would confirm or deny what I had heard from other sources.

    "I'm going to write a story that says " I would say. "I don't have a problem with that," he would reply, if my information was accurate. He confirmed the sequence of events below.

    Last April, the CIA director was shown intelligence that worried him. It was - allegedly - a tape recording of a conversation about money from the Kremlin going into the US presidential campaign.

    It was passed to the US by an intelligence agency of one of the Baltic States. The CIA cannot act domestically against American citizens so a joint counter-intelligence taskforce was created.

    The taskforce included six agencies or departments of government. Dealing with the domestic, US, side of the inquiry, were the FBI, the Department of the Treasury, and the Department of Justice. For the foreign and intelligence aspects of the investigation, there were another three agencies: the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Security Agency, responsible for electronic spying.

    Lawyers from the National Security Division in the Department of Justice then drew up an application. They took it to the secret US court that deals with intelligence, the Fisa court, named after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They wanted permission to intercept the electronic records from two Russian banks.

    Their first application, in June, was rejected outright by the judge. They returned with a more narrowly drawn order in July and were rejected again. Finally, before a new judge, the order was granted, on 15 October, three weeks before election day.

    Neither Mr Trump nor his associates are named in the Fisa order, which would only cover foreign citizens or foreign entities - in this case the Russian banks. But ultimately, the investigation is looking for transfers of money from Russia to the United States, each one, if proved, a felony offence.

    A lawyer- outside the Department of Justice but familiar with the case - told me that three of Mr Trump's associates were the subject of the inquiry. "But it's clear this is about Trump," he said.

    I spoke to all three of those identified by this source. All of them emphatically denied any wrongdoing. "Hogwash," said one. "Bullshit," said another. Of the two Russian banks, one denied any wrongdoing, while the other did not respond to a request for comment.

    The investigation was active going into the election. During that period, the leader of the Democrats in the Senate, Harry Reid, wrote to the director of the FBI, accusing him of holding back "explosive information" about Mr Trump.

    Mr Reid sent his letter after getting an intelligence briefing, along with other senior figures in Congress. Only eight people were present: the chairs and ranking minority members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, and the leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties in Congress, the "gang of eight" as they are sometimes called. Normally, senior staff attend "gang of eight" intelligence briefings, but not this time. The Congressional leaders were not even allowed to take notes.

    'Puppet'

    In the letter to the FBI director, James Comey, Mr Reid said: "In my communications with you and other top officials in the national security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and co-ordination between Donald Trump, his top advisers, and the Russian government - a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States, which Mr Trump praises at every opportunity.

    "The public has a right to know this information. I wrote to you months ago calling for this information to be released to the public. There is no danger to American interests from releasing it. And yet, you continue to resist calls to inform the public of this critical information."

    The CIA, FBI, Justice and Treasury all refused to comment when I approached them after hearing about the Fisa warrant.

    It is not clear what will happen to the inter-agency investigation under President Trump - or even if the taskforce is continuing its work now. The Russians have denied any attempt to influence the president-elect - with either money or a blackmail tape.

    If a tape exists, the Russians would hardly give it up, though some hope to encourage a disloyal FSB officer who might want to make some serious money. Before the election, Larry Flynt, publisher of the pornographic magazine Hustler, put up a million dollars for incriminating tape of Mr Trump. Penthouse has now followed with its own offer of a million dollars for the Ritz-Carlton tape (if it exists).

    It is an extraordinary situation, 10 days before Mr Trump is sworn into office, but it was foreshadowed during the campaign.

    During the final presidential debate, Hillary Clinton called Donald Trump a "puppet" of Russia's leader, Vladimir Putin. "No puppet. No puppet," Mr Trump interjected, talking over Mrs Clinton. "You're the puppet. No, you're the puppet."

    In a New York Times op-ed in August, the former director of the CIA, Michael Morell, wrote: "In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr Putin had recruited Mr Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation."

    Agent; puppet - both terms imply some measure of influence or control by Moscow.

    Michael Hayden, former head of both the CIA and the NSA, simply called Mr Trump a "polezni durak" - a useful fool.

    The background to those statements was information held - at the time - within the intelligence community. Now all Americans have heard the claims. Little more than a week before his inauguration, they will have to decide if their president-elect really was being blackmailed by Moscow."

    [Jan 11, 2017] Masha Gessen on the new McCarthyism

    Notable quotes:
    "... Agree that is the real reason they don't want to take responsibility. It would mean that the Establishment would be discredited. ..."
    "... It is easy to read the report and understand how the CIA concluded that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction – you start with what you want to conclude and than you can find evidence. Likewise for Russian hacking . ..."
    "... If you like, see this link to Mish – a blogger sometimes in the NC links. Mish does the thought experiment of whether Israel undermined Hillary (and a whole lot more) – but it shows that Israel is just as plausible as Russia if you apply CIA type reasoning . ..."
    "... Masha Gessen is deeply antiputinitic. So if she finds the "Putin diddit" narrative unconvincing, it must be weak indeed. ..."
    Jan 11, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    Masha Gessen hardly can be called a sympasizer of Putin;-). Actually the reverse is very true.
    The New McCarthyism

    "Russia, Trump & Flawed Intelligence" [Masha Gessen, New York Review of Books ]. "On Friday, when the report appeared, the major newspapers came out with virtually identical headlines highlighting the agencies' finding that Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered an "influence campaign" to help Donald Trump win the presidency-a finding the agencies say they hold 'with high confidence.'

    A close reading of the report shows that it barely supports such a conclusion. Indeed, it barely supports any conclusion."

    And: "That is the entirety of the evidence the report offers to support its estimation of Putin's motives for allegedly working to elect Trump: conjecture based on other politicians in other periods, on other continents-and also on misreported or mistranslated public statements." A massive takedown, from the heart of the Manhattan intelligentsia.

    Class Warfare

    [A study published late last month by the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA)] released Dec. 20, said the jobs of between 1.34 million and 1.67 million truck drivers would be at risk due to the growing utilization of heavy-duty vehicles operated via artificial intelligence. That would equal 80 to 100 percent of all driver jobs listed in the CEA report, which is based on May 2015 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a unit of the Department of Labor. There are about 3.4 million commercial truck drivers currently operating in the U.S., according to various estimates" [DC Velocity]. "The Council emphasized that its calculations excluded the number or types of new jobs that may be created as a result of this potential transition. It added that any changes could take years or decades to materialize because of a broad lag between what it called "technological possibility" and widespread adoption."

    Altandmain , January 10, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    The report on Friday in regards to the Russian hack:

    https://www.extremetech.com/internet/242370-governments-public-evidence-falls-short-proving-russian-involvement-dnc-hack

    The government has failed to provide the solid proof that is necessary to make such a bold accusation.

    For those who haven't read it, here's the Intercept's take as well (also in the article linked from ET):
    https://theintercept.com/2017/01/06/underwhelming-intel-report-shows-need-for-congressional-investigation-of-dnc-hack/

    What I'm disappointed in the DNC and the Party as a whole is rather than admit their failings, they want to conjure up Russia as a distraction. I'm not saying that Putin's a great guy (he seems to be an oligarch), but the Democrats need to take responsibility for 2016.

    If not, 2020 might end up like 2016 again. If they think Trump will fail no matter what, take a hard look at what happened to Kerry in 2004. Stop underestimating Trump. He's got a base and the Democrats screwed up big time.

    NotTimothyGeithner , January 10, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    If Democrats take "responsibility" for 2016, the courtesan class will be wiped out, and many elected Dems who dream of a spot on the ticket in 2020 will have to accept they are going no where. Andy Cuomo sees himself in 2020 running. He's like Hillary without the charisma.

    Altandmain , January 10, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    Agree that is the real reason they don't want to take responsibility. It would mean that the Establishment would be discredited.

    One question though, Clinton had charisma? Are we talking about the same candidate here? I though that Clinton was a wooden stump. You could tell that what she said was forced. Apparently one of the Wikileaks leaks said that she hated the American people.

    PottedFrog , January 10, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    http://ibankcoin.com/flyblog/2016/10/11/wikileaks-reveals-hillary-hates-everyday-americans/

    fresno dan , January 10, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    Altandmain
    January 10, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    It is easy to read the report and understand how the CIA concluded that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction – you start with what you want to conclude and than you can find evidence. Likewise for Russian hacking .

    If you like, see this link to Mish – a blogger sometimes in the NC links. Mish does the thought experiment of whether Israel undermined Hillary (and a whole lot more) – but it shows that Israel is just as plausible as Russia if you apply CIA type reasoning .

    Waldenpond , January 10, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    The new McCarthyism . when the IC report came out it was noted the numbers on the RT/CNN comparison report were inaccurate. Someone looked and it turned out the numbers were from several years ago . and the person criticized the report for including a 4 to 5 year old criticism of RT to pad the length of the report.

    Rosario , January 10, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    I wonder how long the mainstream media (see CNN above) can sustain the left's jouissance WRT Bernie until it blows up in their face? It seems like the elite liberal class is finding his "voice" a far more useful resistance to Trump compared to the overly simplified identity narrative or pathetic "foreign" threat narrative, but how long can they play with that fire. The fact is, Bernie really does talk about issues and policy, in a concrete way, in a demonstrable way. Those perspectives with class consciousness, and a dash of populist passions and you have political nitro far more threatening to the establishment than anything Trump can dish out. I'm all for it though I am very suspicious. I'm wondering what they (liberal elites) are cooking up.

    different clue , January 10, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Masha Gessen is deeply antiputinitic. So if she finds the "Putin diddit" narrative unconvincing, it must be weak indeed.

    3.14e-9 , January 10, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    Re: Obama's extraordinary, aimless presidency [The Week]

    Nope, it was Putin's fault. Although, in fairness, Linker doesn't claim it was Obama's fault, only that he "helped prepare the way for the anti-establishment, populist wave " Master propagandist Putin knows a good opportunity when he sees one:

    Moscow is pushing populist movements to bring 'real security threats to Europe,' new report says [McClatchy]

    "Moscow is encouraging a wave of populism that extends from the election of President-elect Donald Trump through Brexit and rise of nationalist politics in France and Germany to bring about 'real security threats to Europe,' " according to a report in a new NATO journal."

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/article125396679.html

    MyLessThanPrimeBeef , January 10, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    Populists are just proletarians in different clothing.

    alex morfesis , January 10, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    Don trumpioni and his capos are gonna woyk on keepyn the nayburhood nice again kapeesh ??

    As to the new McCarthyism, despite the capacity of fartspace and garggle to have algorithms filter certain "thoughts", the problems for the death spiral media are not going away and the death of myspace is a perfect example of the capacity of the blob to choke on its own vomit same for the rise and fall of the aol reich it was everywhere and then it was nothing

    Some self stylized masters of the universe imagine their luck as genius Cuban andreesson

    when all they are good at(which is good for their own pocket) is selling as soon as the griddle gets hot and the sound of the searing begins

    The internet of no-things and self krashing kars are well designed pitches but the details

    getting a virus or giving a virus to your over inquisitive refrigerator should deal with the all seeing pinkman brigade

    last I checked, customer service was not exactly the top issue concerning wall street

    Money isnt being spent on the infrastructure that exists today all this big blobber nonsense will require a tenfold increase in maintenance

    or are the folks who could not or would not program a vcr to reset the time automaticaly when there was a power outage suddenly all qualify to be mensa members

    [Jan 11, 2017] Intelligence Agencies Ask Americans to "Trust, Don't Verify" in New Cold War

    Jan 11, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    anne : , January 10, 2017 at 05:50 AM
    http://cepr.net/publications/op-eds-columns/intelligence-agencies-ask-americans-to-trust-don-t-verify-in-new-cold-war

    January 9, 2017

    Intelligence Agencies Ask Americans to "Trust, Don't Verify" in New Cold War
    By Mark Weisbrot

    Just as the first casualty of war is said to be the truth, the first casualty of the New Cold War is irony. Our most prominent journalists seem to have missed the Orwellian irony of Senator John McCain asking Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper at Friday's Senate hearings if Julian Assange has any credibility. Assange has maintained that the hacked or leaked emails of Democratic Party officials did not come from the Russian government, or any other government.

    As is well known, Clapper lied to Congress about a serious violation of the constitutional rights of tens of millions of Americans. This lie is a crime for which he actually could have been prosecuted.

    In March 2013, Clapper falsely answered, "No, sir" to the question, "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions, or hundreds of millions of Americans?" He later admitted that his answer was untrue.

    Clapper lied again in Friday's testimony, saying that Assange was "under indictment" for "a sexual crime." In fact, Assange has not been indicted for anything, and the government of Sweden has never even charged him with a crime. In reality, he is a political prisoner, and the United Nations Working Group on arbitrary detention has found that he has been arbitrarily detained since 2010 by the UK and Sweden, and ordered his release and compensation. He has offered from the beginning of his political persecution to co-operate with the Swedish authorities in any investigation, and to be interviewed at any time in London. He could not safely return to Sweden without guarantees that he would not be sent to the US, where he currently faces a high likelihood of imprisonment (even before any trial) for having published leaked documents that exposed US war crimes and other embarrassments. For years, neither Sweden nor the UK would agree to that because, it appears, their foreign ministries are collaborating with the US government to keep him imprisoned.

    For anyone on a jury who had to weigh the testimony of Clapper against that of Assange, it would be a no-brainer. Not only is Clapper a proven and serial liar, but in 10 years of WikiLeaks revelations, Assange has never been shown to have lied about anything.

    That said, it is entirely possible the Russian government was involved in the hacking of emails here, and that Assange and WikiLeaks would not necessarily be able to identify the original source of the leaks, which is very difficult to do. However, We the People have yet to be presented with evidence that Russian hacking is what actually happened.

    But the media has become so distracted with the festivities at America's new 1950's theme party, hating on Putin and Russia like there's no tomorrow, that the lack of evidence has become almost irrelevant to the big media conversation. The DNI report released on Friday, supposedly to provide the public with evidence that the Russian government had indeed hacked emails in order to influence the US elections, contained no actual evidence that they did so. There was a lot of evidence that Trump was the preferred candidate of Putin and his government. But we didn't need evidence for this; pure logic would have sufficed. What government wouldn't favor a candidate who promises better relations with them?

    About half of the report was littered with a long rant against Russian-sponsored media, including the television station Russia Today. Here is another deep irony: the media that swung the election for Trump was not Russian but American, despite the fact that most of these journalists and editors found the candidate repellent. Trump's huge advantage in free publicity not only won him the primary, but continued into the general election. It was the US media that made the Comey letter so important, because the broadcast media used it to displace Trump's scandals, including the allegations of sexual assaults, in the crucial last 11 days when millions of voters made up their minds.

    Another irony: The US has been hacking elections (and toppling governments) around the world for more than a century. How many hundreds of millions of people, from Indonesia to Chile and dozens of countries in between, wish that all the United States did to their elections was what Russia is accused of doing here in 2016? Of course that is no justification for any foreign intervention here, but it is part of the current story if we want to understand it. Washington's intervention in Ukraine, for example, helped push that country into a civil war that became the main cause of the current state of Cold War between the US and Russia....

    Fred C. Dobbs -> anne... , January 10, 2017 at 07:01 AM
    'The US has been hacking elections (and toppling governments) around the world for more than a century. How many hundreds of millions of people, from Indonesia to Chile and dozens of countries in between, wish that all the United States did to their elections was what Russia is accused of doing here in 2016?'

    Indeed. However, we may insist (feebly) that
    this is NOT something which Great Powers do
    to one another.

    JohnH -> Fred C. Dobbs... , January 10, 2017 at 08:10 AM
    Russia is very familiar with foreign meddling in their elections: "President Bill Clinton meddled in Russian affairs in the 1990s and helped Boris Yeltsin get elected to a second term, political analyst Dick Morris told Newsmax TV."
    http://www.newsmax.com/Newsmax-Tv/bill-clinton-advise-boris-yeltsin-dick-morris/2016/09/08/id/747327/

    I don't like Dick Morris. But he was a top Clinton advisor at the time...he was an eye witness, so he is an excellent source.

    Payback is a bitch!

    kthomas -> JohnH... , January 10, 2017 at 08:21 AM
    Pink hands.
    Peter K. -> JohnH... , January 10, 2017 at 08:21 AM
    The US once invaded Russia, which our goo-goo liberals seem to forget.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allied_intervention_in_the_Russian_Civil_War

    "The Allied intervention was a multi-national military expedition launched during the Russian Civil War in 1918. The initial goals were to help the Czechoslovak Legion, secure supplies of munitions and armaments in Russian ports, and re-establish the Eastern Front. After winning World War I, the Allies militarily backed the anti-Bolshevik White forces in Russia. Allied efforts were hampered by divided objectives, war-weariness after they just finished greater conflict, and a lack of domestic support. These factors, together with the evacuation of the Czechoslovak Legion, compelled the Allies to withdraw from North Russia and Siberia in 1920, though Japanese forces occupied parts of Siberia until 1922 and the northern half of Sakhalin until 1925.[3]"

    [Jan 11, 2017] Washington Invented Hacking and Interfering in Elections

    Jan 11, 2017 | www.unz.com

    Weaponized hacking all began with Stuxnet

    Is the United States the victim of an unprovoked cyber and media attack by Russia and China or are the chickens coming home to roost after Washington's own promotion of such activity worldwide? On Thursday Director of National Intelligence James Clapper asserted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that while no foreign government had been able to interfere with actual voting machines, "U.S. agencies are more confident than ever that Russia interfered in America's recent presidential election. And he called the former Cold War foe an 'existential threat' to the nation." Pressed by Senator John McCain whether the "attack" constituted an "act of war," Clapper demurred, saying that it would be a "very heavy policy call" to say so. He also said that he could not judge if the election outcome had been changed due to the claimed outside interference.

    Clapper also claimed that the Russian effort included including the creation and dissemination of fake stories, explaining that " While there has been a lot of focus on the hacking, this is actually part of a multifaceted campaign that the Russians mounted." Clapper singled out Russian state funded TV channel RT, previously called Russia Today. "Of course RT was very, very active in promoting a particular point of view, disparaging our system." [Full disclosure: I have been on RT numerous times.]

    Apart from the nonsense about foreign broadcasters being part of a conspiracy to "disparage our system" and destroy our democracy, I confess that I was willing to be convinced by what seemed to be the near-unanimous intelligence and law enforcement agency verdict but, any such expectations disappeared when the 17 page report on the hack was actually released on Friday. Entitled Declassified Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections , the report is an exercise in speculation minus evidence indicting alleged Russian interference in the recent election. It even came with a significant caveat, "Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact."

    So I am still waiting to see the actual evidence for the Russian direct involvement and have to suspect that there is little to show, or possibly even nothing. Saying that Russian government agents were employed in passing the stolen emails from the DNC server to WikiLeaks raises more questions than it answers, particularly as it is now clear from media leaks that the parties involved were using what is referred to as cut-outs to break the chain of custody of the material being passed. Does the intelligence community actually know exactly who passed what to whom and when or is it engaged in reconstructing what it think happened? Does it really believe that intercepted unencrypted phone calls among Russian officials expressing pleasure over the election result equate to an actual a priori conspiracy to determine the outcome? And based on what evidence do they know that conspiracy was "ordered" by President Vladimir Putin as is now being alleged? Or are the only assuming that it must have been him because he is head of state?

    ... ... ...

    When I was in Europe with CIA the U.S. government regularly interfered with elections, particularly in Italy, Spain, France and Portugal, all of which had active communist parties. The Agency would fund opposition parties directly or indirectly and would manage media coverage of the relevant issues to favor the non-communists. The end result was that the communists were indeed in most cases kept out of government but the resulting democracy was frequently corrupted by the process. Italy in particular suffers from that corruption to this day.

    The United States has directly interfered in Russia, using proxies, IMF loans and a media controlled by the oligarchs to run the utterly incompetent Boris Yeltsin's successful campaign in 1996 and then continuing with more aggressive "democracy promotion" projects until Putin expelled many of the NGOs responsible in 2015. More recently there have been the pastel revolutions in Eastern Europe and the upheaval in Ukraine, which came about in part due to a $5 billion investment by the United States government in "democracy building" supplemented by regular visits from John McCain and the State Department's activist Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland.

    [Jan 09, 2017] Russian Interference in the Election is A Media Hoax

    Notable quotes:
    "... Referring to Putin and the Russian hackers, Washington Post columnist Robert J. Samuelson contends: "Their hacking - as interpreted by both the CIA and the FBI - qualifies as state-sponsored aggression. It does jeopardize our way of life. It undermines the integrity of our political institutions and popular faith in them. More than this, it warns us that our physical safety and security are at risk. Hostile hackers can hijack power grids, communication networks, transportation systems and much more." [17] Even criticizing the position of the CIA-an institution American liberals, not too long ago, looked upon as a force for evil–is now considered a threat to American democracy. As establishment liberal E. J. Dionne of the Washington Post pontificates: "That Trump would happily trash our own CIA to get Putin off the hook is disturbing enough . . . . That he would ignore the risks our intelligence agents take on so many fronts to protect us is outrageous ..."
    "... The Washington Post was enraged when, in 2015, Russia shut down the U.S. government-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED), relying on a law that "bans groups from abroad who are deemed a 'threat to the foundations of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation, its defense capabilities and its national security.'" The Washington Post wrote: "The charge against the NED is patently ridiculous. The NED's grantees in Russia last year ran the gamut of civil society. They advocated transparency in public affairs, fought corruption and promoted human rights, freedom of information and freedom of association, among other things. All these activities make for a healthy democracy but are seen as threatening from the Kremlin's ramparts." [20] Presumably, such things as "transparency in public affairs," fighting corruption, and "freedom of information," are vital for creating a "healthy democracy" in Russia when promoted by a foreign organization but are a grave danger to democracy if a foreign entity should try to do the same thing in the United States. ..."
    "... The mainstream media has acted as if Russian efforts to influence American policy are something novel, that this had never happened to the U.S. before. And "policy" is used here rather than "election" because affecting policy is apparently Putin's motive, not simply putting Trump in the White House with U.S. policy toward Russian unchanged. It is quite understandable that Putin would view Trump as a better President from the standpoint of Russian interests than Hillary Clinton since Trump advocated improving relations with Russia while Clinton was oriented toward exacerbating them. ..."
    "... In making major foreign policy decisions, Obama's modus operandi has often been one of reacting to pressure-usually, but not always, from elite opinion-which has caused him to take positions contrary to his own, often more non-interventionist and pacific, inclination. This seems to have been the case regarding Obama's policy toward Libya, Syria, Israel (his obeisance to the Israel Lobby until the very end of his presidency), and even Russia, where he initially sought a "reset" to achieve friendlier relations. ..."
    "... By penalizing Russia, Obama makes it difficult for President Trump to establish a more cordial relationship with Russia. There is extensive support in Congress from both Democrats and Republicans for taking strong action against Russia. As the title of an article in Roll Call, which focuses on the activities of the U.S. Congress , puts it: "Obama's Russia Sanctions Put Trump, Hill GOP on Collision Course." The author of this article, John T. Bennett, opines that Trump's opposition to Obama's retaliation against Russia "will immediately pit him against the hawkish wing of the Republican party." [29] ..."
    "... While Trump could overturn Obama's anti-Russian measures, which are based on an executive order, his doing so would almost certainly be countered by legislation put forth by Democrats and some Republicans-the latter led by McCain and Graham, who have already said that they will introduce Russian sanction legislation. ..."
    "... To conclude, the Russian interference narrative did not serve to prevent Trump from becoming president but it does seem that it will cause serious problems for his presidency and for American foreign relations as well, as America will drift further into Cold War II, which is something that Trump, if not facing obstruction, could have possibly prevented. ..."
    "... CNN Caught Using Video Game Image In Fake Russian Hacking Story ..."
    "... It looks like CNN Has tried to pull the wool over our eyes once again. This time, they used a screenshot from the Fallout 4 Video game to paint the picture of Russian Hacking. To bad that's not what a real hacking screen looks like. And an image you will only find in the video game! Nice Try Clinton News Network! ..."
    "... Obama's petty and stupid response to the current unproven allegations against Russia will haunt his legacy and Hillary's bizarre contention that Putin personally "had it in for her" is yet another sign of her mental instability. ..."
    Jan 09, 2017 | www.unz.com
    The mainstream media's narrative that the Russian government interfered with the United States election, and that this interference invalidated, or at least tainted, Trump's election has culminated in President Obama taking a series of measures against Russia, which consist of: imposing sanctions on the GRU and the FSB (the two major Russian intelligence organizations), four officers of the GRU, and two Russian individuals who allegedly used "cyber-enabled means to cause misappropriation of funds and personal identifying information;" expelling 35 diplomats and intelligence officials; and closing two Russian compounds in Maryland's Eastern Shore and Long Island, New York. These actions were said to have been taken not only because of Russian interference in the election but for a number of other instances of Russian malfeasance that go back in time and are unrelated to alleged election interference. And there was no evidence provided that showed, or even claimed to show, that the particular individuals and entities covered by these measures had anything to do with the alleged election interference. [1]

    Like other common memes-such as anti-Semitism, racism, and sexism-used to silence debate, the exact meaning of Russian interference in the election is unclear-and Obama's inclusion of a number of extraneous issues in his explanation for taking retaliatory action against Russia muddles the issue even more. The reference to Russian interference in the election includes a composite of alleged Russian misdeeds-"fake news," computer hacking, and manipulating voting machines [2] –which are usually lumped together but are actually quite different and should be analyzed separately since the combination approach only serves to obfuscate the issue. Of course-and this probably would not be shocking to most readers of this essay-many of those who promote the idea of Russian culpability are not really concerned about pursuing a Socratic search for truth but instead want to anathematize Putin's Russia and/or delegitimize Trump's election victory.

    First, let me take care of the most extreme claim-that Russian hackers manipulated election results to make Trump president. This would be a nearly impossible task since voting machines are not attached to the Internet, and it was never pointed out how the Russians could do this on any significant scale. [3] Nonetheless, Hillary Clinton was urged by "a group of prominent computer scientists and election lawyers" to demand a recount in three states-Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania-in which Clinton seemed to be slightly ahead in pre-election polls but which were won by Trump by narrow margins. The group claimed to have statistical evidence that the vote had been altered. [4] The basis of this claim, however, was quite flimsy since it simply rested on an analysis that showed that in Wisconsin counties with electronic voting machines, Clinton received 7 percent fewer votes than in counties with paper ballots or optical scanners. It was then assumed that the same thing could have occurred in Michigan and Pennsylvania.

    There was a recount in Wisconsin in which Trump increased his victory margin by 131 votes; a total of 2.976 million ballots were cast. The recount was requested by Green Party candidate Jill Stein who covered the estimated $3.5 million cost of the endeavor. [5] Similar efforts by Stein to get recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania were blocked in the state courts because of her lack of standing by the laws of those states-not having any chance of winning herself, she could not be considered an "aggrieved party." Hillary Clinton's campaign did not make official efforts to get recounts in any states. With Trump's victory in Wisconsin surviving the recount, he had garnered a majority of the electoral votes, which would make him President unless there were a far higher number of faithless electors than turned out to be the case. Nonetheless, half of Clinton's voters still think Russia hacked the election day voting. [6]

    Now to consider the ramifications of Russia's hacking the emails of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and of Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta, and the reception and release to the public of this Russian-hacked information by WikiLeaks. While this is assumed to be incontestably true by the mainstream media, neither one of these allegations is rock solid at the moment. The alleged consensus of U.S. intelligence agencies is that there is sufficient evidence that Russia hacked the aforementioned emails, but the evidence for this has not been made available to the public nor is there proof that WikiLeaks relied on emails derived from Russian hacks. Given the fact that America's intelligence agencies are not noted for being honest with the public, one would think that the mainstream media would give some attention to the critics of the dominant narrative.

    Reacting to these allegations, WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, claims that his organization did not release any information provided to it by Russia or a Russian proxy. And Assange does have a vested interest in being truthful in order to maintain WikiLeaks' credibility, which has so far been impeccable. Confirming Assange's contention is Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and a close associate of Assange, though not an official member of the WikiLeaks staff. Murray stated: "As Julian Assange has made crystal clear, the leaks did not come from the Russians. As I have explained countless times, they are not hacks, they are insider leaks." He goes on to claim: "Now both Julian Assange and I have stated definitively the leak does not come from Russia. Do we credibly have access? Yes, very obviously. Very, very few people can be said to definitely have access to the source of the leak. The people saying it is not Russia are those who do have access. After access, you consider truthfulness. Do Julian Assange and I have a reputation for truthfulness? Well in 10 years not one of the tens of thousands of documents WikiLeaks has released has had its authenticity successfully challenged. As for me, I have a reputation for inconvenient truth telling." Murray alleges that the two sets of emails-from the DNC and from Podesta–came from American insiders but from different sources. [7]

    Obviously, the security agencies should provide the public with detailed evidence and describe the actual sources. As Pat Buchanan suggests: "The CIA director and his deputies should be made to testify under oath, not only as to what they know about Russia's role in the WikiLeaks email dumps but also about who inside the agency is behind the leaks to The Washington Post designed to put a cloud over the Trump presidency before it begins." [8]

    Now it should be pointed out that the actual content of the emails released by WikiLeaks, which the U.S. claims to have been obtained by Russian hacking, has not been falsified. The information harmful to Hillary Clinton included the DNC's behind-the-scenes support for her over Bernie Sanders (which included then DNC chair Donna Brazile's feeding answers to Clinton before the latter's debate with Bernie Sanders); Clinton's unpublicized paid speeches-on foreign policy and the economy– to wealthy business executives and bankers revealing views diametrically opposed to her campaign positions; the collusion of mainstream media reporters with the DNC. For example, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank requested and got the DNC to do the research for a negative column he wrote about Trump.

    ORDER IT NOW

    If the WikiLeaks information were completely fallacious, it would not have been derived from hacking or even from leaks, but simply fabricated. Nonetheless, this defense is being made. The logical form of this argument is that hacking took place but that the released emails were doctored to make them damaging. But this is based on the fact that it is possible to doctor emails, rather than any evidence that the WikiLeaks' emails were altered. The assumption being made was that Russia was capable of doctoring the emails, therefore, the emails must be doctored. For example, Jamie Winterton, director of strategy for Arizona State University's Global Security Initiative, was quoted as saying: "I would be shocked if the emails weren't altered," and went on to say that Russia was well-known to have used this technique in the past. ix Similarly, Clinton spokesman Glen Caplin asserted: "We are not going to confirm the authenticity of stolen documents released by Julian Assange, who has made no secret of his desire to damage Hillary Clinton." He referred to doctored emails that supposedly appeared on websites linked to Russian intelligence as proof that "documents can be faked as part of a sophisticated Russian misinformation campaign," although Caplin did not say that the emails concerning Clinton's speeches had been faked. x According to James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the spreading of false information by intelligence services "is a technique that goes back to Tsarist times." Among his examples, he referred to the Soviet-spread rumor that the U.S. government developed the AIDS virus. Needless to say, this, too, had nothing to do with WikiLeaks much less the emails it released on Clinton and the DNC. [11]

    MSNBC's terrorist analyst and a former intelligence officer, Malcolm Nance, tweeted a message, shortly after WikiLeaks' October release of some of Podesta's emails, that these emails were "riddled with obvious forgeries," without ever providing evidence. [12] If any emails released by WikiLeaks were "obvious forgeries," it would seem quite easy for U.S. intelligence agencies to point this out without using any secret, super-high tech methods, and thus substantiate the case being made.

    Interestingly, Nance was also quoted as taking the opposite position: "We have no way of knowing whether this is real or not unless Hillary Clinton goes through everything they've said and comes out and says it cross-correlates and this is true." [13] Here, Nance seems to be saying that WikiLeaks' could only be considered accurate if Hillary would show this to be the case. Since Hillary is not going to indict herself, this is not going to happen. However, the burden of proof should be on those who claim that the emails were altered to point out the discrepancies between the emails released by WikiLeaks and the DNC's and Podesta's actual emails. It would not be necessary to go through the whole tranche but simply focus on the detrimental emails. If this is not done, then claims that the WikiLeaks provides specious information should be dropped. So far, however, there seems to be little effort to show that the damaging information was untrue. [14]

    Actually, it seems that much of the hostility to the WikiLeaks' information has little to do with it being false but rather that the emails were pilfered and made public. Adam Schiff, a Democratic congressman from California, who serves as the ranking member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Jane Harman, who is currently the president of the Wilson Center and a former ranking Democratic member of the same House committee state: "Russia's theft and strategic leaking of emails and documents from the Democratic Party and other officials present a challenge to the U.S. political system unlike anything we've experienced." [15] Note that these writers charge Russia not only with illicitly obtaining the emails but also of "strategic leaking," which was obviously the work of WikiLeaks, and for which no evidence whatsoever exists that Russia determined when the materials would be leaked.

    The New York Times Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman writes that "[t]he pro-Putin tilt of Mr. Trump and his advisers was obvious months before the election . . . . By midsummer the close relationship between WikiLeaks and Russian intelligence was also obvious, as was the site's growing alignment with white nationalists." Krugman goes on to blame the mainstream media for giving attention to WikiLeaks. "Leaked emails, which everyone knew were probably the product of Russian hacking, were breathlessly reported as shocking revelations, even when they mostly revealed nothing more than the fact that Democrats are people." [16] However, if nothing harmful was revealed, it is hard to maintain that Russian hacking had a significant effect on the election. If harm were done to the Democrats, it was presumably caused by the media, which falsely implied that serious revelations were being made by WikiLeaks.

    Referring to Putin and the Russian hackers, Washington Post columnist Robert J. Samuelson contends: "Their hacking - as interpreted by both the CIA and the FBI - qualifies as state-sponsored aggression. It does jeopardize our way of life. It undermines the integrity of our political institutions and popular faith in them. More than this, it warns us that our physical safety and security are at risk. Hostile hackers can hijack power grids, communication networks, transportation systems and much more." [17] Even criticizing the position of the CIA-an institution American liberals, not too long ago, looked upon as a force for evil–is now considered a threat to American democracy. As establishment liberal E. J. Dionne of the Washington Post pontificates: "That Trump would happily trash our own CIA to get Putin off the hook is disturbing enough . . . . That he would ignore the risks our intelligence agents take on so many fronts to protect us is outrageous . [18]

    Michael Daly of the liberal millennials–oriented "Daily Beast" writes: "Russians went from simply gathering our secrets to then making them public in such a way as to influence American public opinion and therefore the course of our democracy. Putin must marvel at the fervently patriotic, flag-waving Americans who shrug at the near certainty that a foreign power had subverted the electoral process that is at the heart of America's true greatness." [19]

    It is not apparent how receiving accurate information regarding political issues-which is what WikiLeaks seems to have provided-could really have a negative impact on American democracy; rather it would seem that it would actually improve democracy. The purpose of Voice of America is supposed to be to provide such information to foreign countries and especially to those where the governments prevent the facts from reaching their inhabitants. The idea is that people in foreign countries should know the truth about their own government and about other governments, as well.

    The Washington Post was enraged when, in 2015, Russia shut down the U.S. government-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED), relying on a law that "bans groups from abroad who are deemed a 'threat to the foundations of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation, its defense capabilities and its national security.'" The Washington Post wrote: "The charge against the NED is patently ridiculous. The NED's grantees in Russia last year ran the gamut of civil society. They advocated transparency in public affairs, fought corruption and promoted human rights, freedom of information and freedom of association, among other things. All these activities make for a healthy democracy but are seen as threatening from the Kremlin's ramparts." [20] Presumably, such things as "transparency in public affairs," fighting corruption, and "freedom of information," are vital for creating a "healthy democracy" in Russia when promoted by a foreign organization but are a grave danger to democracy if a foreign entity should try to do the same thing in the United States.

    The mainstream media has acted as if Russian efforts to influence American policy are something novel, that this had never happened to the U.S. before. And "policy" is used here rather than "election" because affecting policy is apparently Putin's motive, not simply putting Trump in the White House with U.S. policy toward Russian unchanged. It is quite understandable that Putin would view Trump as a better President from the standpoint of Russian interests than Hillary Clinton since Trump advocated improving relations with Russia while Clinton was oriented toward exacerbating them.

    While the mainstream media implies that what Russia was allegedly attempting to do had never happened before, foreign countries had actually tried to shape American policies since the George Washington administration [21] when the ambassador from revolutionary France, popularly known as Citizen Genet, came to the United States in 1793 and sought to generate popular support to get the United States to modify its strict neutrality policy to one that would be helpful to France in its war with Great Britain. Genet even commissioned privateers to attack British shipping. Ultimately, however, President Washington and his Cabinet, angered by Genet's activities that violated American sovereignty, demanded his recall. Genet simultaneously fell from favor in France as more radical Jacobins led by Robespierre took power and fearing he might face the guillotine if he returned to France, Genet requested and received asylum in the United States.

    In 1867-1868, the Russian ambassador to the U.S. resorted to bribing lobbyists, newspapers, and members of Congress in order to make sure that the U.S. Congress would provide the funds for the treaty already signed by Secretary of State Seward (and approved by the Senate) to purchase Alaska.

    In World War I both Germany and England were relying heavily on propaganda in the U.S.-the British goal to get the U.S. into the war o