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American Exceptionalism as the USA version of nationalism

News Who Rules America Recommended books Recommended Links Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Economic costs of American Exceptionalism American imperialism: the attempt to secure global hegemony
Narcissism as Key American Value Neoliberalism as secular religion, "idolatry of money NeoMcCartyism Russiagate: Special Prosecutor Mueller and his fishing expedition Neoconservatism Antirussian hysteria as a method of suppressing of dissent against neoliberalism and militarism What's the Matter with Kansas
Cultural imperialism Technological imperialism Andrew Bacevich on the American militarism Anti-Americanism Industrial Espionage Edward Snowden as Symbol of Resistance to National Security State Diplomacy by deception
National Security State Corporatism Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization Fighting Russophobia Fifth Column of Globalization Understanding Mayberry Machiavellians (Rovism) The History of Media-Military-Industrial Complex Concept
Big Uncle is Watching You Nation under attack meme Antirussian hysteria as a method of suppressing of dissent against neoliberalism and militarism National Socialism and Military Keysianism Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Authoritarian Corporatism Terrorism as a smokesreen for National Security State implementation
Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite William Browder, MI6, economic rape of Russia, and Magnitsky Act Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? American Exceptionalism as Civil Religion Fighting Neo-Theocracy Inside democratization hypocrisy fair The Unlikely History of American Exceptionalism Walter A. McDougall
Quotes Mark Twain Quotes Niccolo Machiavelli Reinhold Niebuhr Propaganda Quotes Politically Incorrect Humor Etc

Introduction


I call it a tribal phenomena. A tribe can be a religion, a nation, a gender, a race, or any group which is different from the group you identify with. It is not confined to religion.

And it seems to be an inherent trait in the human species that was one aspect of our evolution. Only when we learn that it is better to cooperate with each other rather than kill each other will we be free from this deadly disease which may, in the end, destroy us all.

sheridan44 comment in The Guardian

[American exceptionalism] is a reaction to the inability of people to understand global complexity or important issues like American energy dependency. Therefore, they search for simplistic sources of comfort and clarity. And the people that they are now selecting to be, so to speak, the spokespersons of their anxieties are, in most cases, stunningly ignorant.

Zbigniew Brzezinski

According to George Soros, the events of 9/11 renewed a "distorted view" of American supremacy that "postulates that because we are stronger than others, we must know better and we must have right on our side."  In other words 9/11 was important step to the transformation of the USA in the "National Security State" with the permanent regime of Total surveillance" over the population. The next step were events of 2008, which signified crisis of neoliberalism as an ideology. Neoliberalism now can mostly be propagated by brute force, via military intervention or some form of coup d'état (aka color revolutions) much like Trotskyites planned to propagate socialism to other countries via Permanent Revolution.  With  "Democracy promotion" instead of "liberation of proletariat".

Rise of American exeptionalism is also connected with the reaction to neoliberalism with its redistribution of wealth up by most of US population. Actually this is global phenomenon: neoliberalism gives strong impulse to the rise of neofascism in many countries, not only in the USA. As William I. Robinson noted in his article  Global Capitalism Crisis of Humanity and the Specter of 21st Century Fascism  

Yet another response [ to globalization] is that I term 21st century fascism.5   The ultra-right is an insurgent force in many countries. In broad strokes, this project seeks to fuse reactionary political power with transnational capital and to organise a mass base among historically privileged sectors of the global working class – such as white workers in the North and middle layers in the South – that are now experiencing heightened insecurity and the specter of downward mobility. It involves militarism, extreme masculinisation, homophobia, racism and racist mobilisations, including the search for scapegoats, such as immigrant workers and, in the West, Muslims.

Twenty-first century fascism evokes mystifying ideologies, often involving race/culture supremacy and xenophobia, embracing an idealised and mythical past. Neo-fascist culture normalises and glamorises warfare and social violence, indeed, generates a fascination with domination that is portrayed even as heroic.

American exceptionalism is unique in many ways as it does not include mass mobilization (see Inverted Totalitarism). "Go shopping" famously recommended George W Bush after 9/11. It should probably be more correctly called US-specific version of far right nationalism. The latter is  a milder variant of  one that existed in 30th of the last century in national-socialist countries of Europe, such as Italy and Spain, which does not necessarily employ physical violence against political opponents.  

The sad fact is that the America of today is even more arrogant than the America  in the days of Manifest Destiny and gunboat diplomacy. Indeed, the dissolution of the USSR cemented the national myth of superiority. The establishment of unparalleled industrial might, military victories in two world wars and on both sides of the globe, and the staggering economic defeat of Communism in the Cold War all have combined to cement America’s presumption of  chapters in a long history of escalating national illusions of pre-eminence and blind national egoism. The dominant view about the USA from most countries is that it has a split paranoid personality,  a “Jekyll and Hyde” America, “a democracy inside, an empire outside.” American policy makers, with their pretensions of global superiority after collapse of the USSR and with ever-increasing power of their military machine moved steadily toward making the whole globe a US preserve.  Despite its vulgarity and borderline obsession with pornography (or may be because of that) the US culture made inroad all over the globe, and even in Europe and Russia despite rich cultural traditions of both. While the blatant American imperialism of the turn of the last century is now only a memory, today the nations face policies evidence more insidious brands of imperialism: cultural imperialism, economic imperialism,  the imperialism of neoliberal ideology and forced globalization on the US terms.  All are spread by the same national arrogance, the same cock-sure certainly that we are right.  Many nations fear the United States practices a contemporary brand of “soft imperialism,” enslaving nations with IMF debt meachisms under  the auspice of economic globalization.  Converting  the Third World in debt slaves or simply exploit it. In spite of such fears, and despite the setbacks, Americans remain convinced that eventually all nations are destined to fall into step and adopt “the American way.” All the while, the US politicians decry the rigid fundamentalism of our enemies while we remain utterly blind to our own.

Americans have been, and are today, exposed almost from birth to a particularly virulent strain of nationalism unlike that found in other modern nations. The resulting affliction stems from an unswerving faith in national superiority and uniqueness that is deeply ingrained in the American mind. Historically, these notions of superiority sprang from myths of the visions of chosen-ness, and high destiny; from the myth of frontier self-sufficiency; and finally from the perceived universality of American ideology and dominance of US culture and English language over the globe. While in some of us, nationalist feelings are not that pronounced, few of us are immune, and that is especially visible in times of anger, or fear. In spite of, and perhaps because of, our many strengths, practically all of us as Americans share this particularly prideful, unlovely, and potentially fatal weakness. In one form or another and to some degree or another, we carry national pride across the invisible boundary that separates benign patriotism from malignant far right nationalism. Hillary candidacy demonstrates that this process went too far and became really  malignant:

Still, Americans are sure that they, like Woodrow Wilson, have seen “visions that other nations have not seen,” and that, accordingly, the United States’ mission has always been to become the “light of the world.”28 Indeed, from the very beginning, the American national identity was built on audacious visions of chosen-ness, destiny, and mission. Ronald Reagan was not the first nor the last in a long line of entrenched American visionaries to proclaim American exceptionalism, with its missionary implications of the Puritan “city on the hill,” no longer a stationary beacon, but an active force, the “leader of the free world” directing its forces against “empires of evil.”29

With such visions comes a warning: “the adoption of political and social values … as a framework for national identification is possible only if these values are based on some source of apparent ultimate truth which confers on them absolute validity — if they can claim universality.”30 If Americans unflinchingly believe that theirs is the single principle of Absolute Truth representing the universal interests of humankind, then any opposition will appear either criminal or inhuman.31 As Arthur Schlesinger Jr. puts it, “Those who are convinced that they have a monopoly on Truth always feel that they are saving the world when they slaughter heretics. Their object remains the making of the world over in the image of their dogmatic ideology — their goal is a monolithic world, organized on the principle of the infallibility of a single creed.”32 If Americans are so egotistical as to believe that their nation with its gleaming lamp of Ultimate Truth is the envy of the world, then they will perceive no wrong in trying to make the world over in America’s image, by whatever means. However, the world is a very complex and diverse place, and Ultimate Truth is a highly elusive and unstable substance. Thus, these are not only very arrogant ideas; they are also very dangerous ideas.

The way in which American elite as a whole relates with the rest of the world demonstrates a strong nationalistic (as in cultural nationalism) and chauvinistic point of view. That means that mass media presents events only from the particular  point of view, that militarism is always encouraged and defended. With the considerable part of brainwashed lemmings (aka American public) believing that their nation, or culture, is superior to all others.

This view involves a unique mixture of prejudice, xenophobia and inter-group and in-group violence, with the latter directed at suppression of dissent. Indeed, the United States’ inflated sense of eminence create additional, non-economic stimulus for the country elite to act in  fundamentally ethnocentric ways, and to to strive for unilateral rule of the world using military supremacy as door opener to resources of other nations.  And first of all oil.

The other key support of American exeptionalism are large financial institutions, which depend on the success of the US "financial imperialism". We can view imperialism as ethnocentrism in action. And "financial imperialism" is very similar to "old-style" European imperialism, where  European nations discovered new lands and imposed capitalism, their system of law and culture on the native peoples usually through violence. Like old colonies were forced to abandon their way of life and adopt a “superior” lifestyle and became resource base of metropolia, financial imperialism impose debt on other nations keeping them in a kind of debt slavery with the same result: they also became resource base for metropolia. 

American exceptionalism might also have religious overtones as "citi on the hill" metaphor implies.  It is not thus accidental that the first deep analyses of American exceptionalism was done by Niebuhr from the religious positions in his famous book The Irony of American History. Niebuhr as a theologian came to conclusion that it represents a sin that inevitably lead to the false allure of simple solutions and lack of appreciation of limits of power. In his opinion "Messianic consciousness" which constitute the core of American exceptionalism, was partially inherited form religious dogmas of early religious sects which came to colonize America.  Those views were later enhanced and developed further by Professor Bacevich. See more details exposition of his views on the subject in the page New American Militarism

Any unbiased analysis of the nationalist activities leads to a disappointing conclusion: nationalists can behave as compradors: as enthusiastic servants of a foreign occupier of their own territory. In this case international banking cartel. Ukraine is one example, Serbia and Georgia are other but very similar examples. In the same way the USA can be viewed as a country occupied by financial oligarchy with most of its citizents converted into "debt slaves".

The policy which oppose exceptionalism is often called Noninterventionism

Noninterventionism is a rather clunky and unappealing label for a set of very appealing ideas: that the U.S. should mind its own business, act with restraint, respect other nations, refrain from unnecessary violence, and pursue peace. If future administrations took just a few of these as guiding principles for the conduct of foreign policy, America and the world would both be better off.

There were several important thinkers who contributed to understand of this complex and multifaceted, like any type of nationalism,  phenomena. We will discuss (in breif) just four thinkers that made significant impact in understanding of this very complex concept. Among them: 

  1. Niebuhr
  2. Michael Ignatieff
  3. Anatol Lieven
  4. Andrew Basevich

American neo-conservatism  is a closely related phenomenon. In this case the key point is that the pre-eminence of the USA as the sole superpower needs to be maintained at all costs and with wide use of military force. Among prominent neocons we can name Hillary Clinton and most of republican candidates for the presidency in the 2016 presidential race. That means that American exeptionalism is an establishment view, the view of the US elite, not some anomaly.  

Niebuhr's contribution to understanding of American exeptionalism

In his brilliant foreword to Niebuhr's book The Irony of American History Bacevich noted:

In Niebuhr's view, America's rise to power derived less from divine favor than from good fortune combines with a fierce determination to convert that good fortune in wealth and power. The good fortune cane in the form of vast landscape, rich in resources, ripe for exploitation, and apparently insulated from the bloody cockpit of [European] power politics. The determination found expression in a strategy of commercial and territorial expansionism that proved staggeringly successful, evidence not of superior virtue but of shrewdness punctuated with a considerable capacity for ruthlessness.

In describing America's rise to power Niebuhr does not shrink from using words like "hegemony" and "imperialism". His point is not to tag the United States with responsibility for all the world's evils. Rather, it is to suggest that it does not differ from other great powers as much as Americans may imagine.

...Niebuhr has little patience for those who portray the United States as acting on God's behalf. "All men are naturally inclined to obscure the morally ambiguous element in this political cause by investing it with religious sanctity," he once observed. " This is why religion is more frequently a source of confusion then of light in the political realm.". In the United States, he continued "The tendency to equate our political [goals] with our Christian convictions cause politics to generate idolatry."

Michael Ignatieff contribution to understanding of American exeptionalism

In the introduction to American Exceptionalism and Human Rights Michael Ignatieff identifies three main types of exceptionalism:

I would add to it

The contributors to American Exceptionalism and Human Rights use Ignatieff's essay as a starting point to discuss specific types of exceptionalism -- America's approach to capital punishment and to free speech, for example -- or to explore the social, cultural, and institutional roots of exceptionalism.

Anatol Lieven contribution

The second important contribution to to the studies of American exceptionalism is Anatol Lieven.  He correctly linked American exceptionalism with far right nationalism which Wikipedia defined as

Far-right politics or extreme-right politics are right-wing politics to the right of the mainstream centre right on the traditional left-right spectrum. They often involve a focus on tradition as opposed to policies and customs that are regarded as reflective of modernism. They tend to include disregard or disdain for egalitarianism, if not overt support for social inequality and social hierarchy, elements of social conservatism and opposition to most forms of liberalism and socialism

 "America keeps a fine house," Anatol Lieven writes in his probably best book on the American Exceptionalism (America Right or Wrong An Anatomy of American Nationalism ) "but in its cellar there lives a demon, whose name is nationalism."  In a way US neocons, who commanded key position in Bush II and Barack Obama administrations  are not that different from Israeli Likud Party. 

While neocons definitely played an important role in shaping the US policy immediately after 9/11, the origins of aggressive U.S. foreign policy since 9/11 also reflect controversial character of the US national identity, which according to Anatol Lieven embraces two contradictory features.

Both of those tendencies are much older then 9/11. The first aggressive, expansionist war by the US was the war of 1812. See American Loyalists, The Most Important War You Probably Know Nothing About - By James Traub Foreign Policy

The War of 1812 matters because it was America’s first war of choice. The United States did not have to declare war on Great Britain on June 18, 1812, to survive as a nation and indeed President James Madison did not want to. The newly founded United States was growing westward but the “war hawks” in Congress pressed for a conflict with America’s former colonial masters in the hopes of gaining even more territory to the north. The term “hawk” was coined in the run-up to the War of 1812 and the hawks of U.S. foreign policy have been with us ever since.

The War of 1812 was America’s first neocon war. With an audacity that would become familiar, the war hawks appealed to a combination of personal pride — the British navy was forcibly conscripting Americans — and the prospect of material gain — the absorption of British Canada — wrapped up in love of country. No one said the conquest of Canada would be a “cakewalk,” but the hawks were confident the Americans would be greeted as liberators.

These two mutually-excusive impulses caused wild oscillations of the US foreign policy, especially in the Middle East and influenced the nature of U.S. support for Israel. Due to those oscillations those two contradictory impulses are undermining the U.S. foreign policy credibility in the eyes of the worlds and complicates reaching important national objectives.

Some attribute the term “American Exceptionalism” to Alexis de Tocqueville — though he never penned the phrase. In reality this term originated by German Marxists who were trying to explain weakness of worker movement in the USA. The idiom was popularized by neo-conservative pundits (aka former Trotskyites) soon after WWII.

In reality the term "American Exceptionalism is nothing but a disguised, more "politically correct" reference to America's Janus-faced nationalism. It has some mystical components like long vanished under the hill of financial oligarchy the "American dream" and its German-style refrain "God bless America". What is interesting about "God bless America" is that most founding fathers were Deists, profoundly critical of organized religions and they sought to separate personal -- what many of them described as mythologies -- from government. They were profoundly respectful of personal religious belief, but saw government as necessarily secular if freedom was to prevail. Not until the religious revivals of the 1820s through the 1860s can you find many identifying religion as a component of American exceptionalism.

As Martin Woollacott aptly noted in his review of Anatol Lieven book America, Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism ( Guardian):

He cuts through the conformist political rhetoric of America, the obfuscating special language of the "American dream", or the "American exception", which infects even foreign accounts. Even to use the word "nationalism" to describe an American phenomenon is, as he notes, not normal. Americans are not "nationalist", they are "patriotic". It is a patriotism which too often leaves no room for the patriotism of others, combining a theoretical care for all humanity with, in practice, an "indifference verging on contempt" for the interests and hopes of non-Americans. Nothing could be more distant from "the decent respect to the opinions of mankind" recommended to Americans in the early years of their independent existence

Lieven first paints a picture of an in some ways admirable American "civic nationalism", based on respect for the rule of law, constitutionality, democracy, and social (but not economic) equality, and a desire to spread these values in the world. But because this nationalism unrealistically holds that such "American" values can be exported at will, it blinds Americans to the different nature of other societies, sustaining the mistaken idea that if only particular rulers or classes can be displaced, "democracy" will prevail - a "decapitation" theory which contributed to the decision to attack Saddam. The American campaign to democratize other societies, Lieven says, harshly but fairly, "combines sloppiness of intellect and meanness of spirit". But, while in part mythic and not entirely rational, this side of American nationalism is of some value not only to the United States, but to the world as a whole.

...The result, Lieven argues, is that instead of the mature nationalism of a satisfied and dominant state, American nationalism is more akin to that of late developing and insecure states such as Wilhelmine Germany and Tsarist Russia.

"While America keeps a splendid and welcoming house," Lieven writes in his preface, "it also keeps a family of demons in its cellar.

His book supports Mark Twain quite to the effect that we are blessed with three things in this country, freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and, thirdly, the common sense to practice neither one!

He also points at the very important side effect of Exceptionalism: "America's hypocrisy," (see for example Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair). An outstanding level of hypocrisy in the US foreign policy also is corroborated by other scholars, among them James Hillman in his recent book "A Terrible Love of War" in which he characterizes hypocrisy as quintessentially American (although British are strong competitors). Now after Snowden, Libya, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, etc we might be appear to be entering an new stage on which "The era of easy hypocrisy is over."

The regime of easy hypocrisy means that America position itself as a blessed nation created by God and (here’s the rub) therefore privileged in what actions it can take around the world and the nation that can safely ignore international norms, which are created only for suckers. It is above the international law.

We create our own reality

The source of the term, which implicitly stresses that the USA stands outside international norms and treaties and can act as it please, is a quotation in an October 17, 2004, The New York Times Magazine article by writer Ron Suskind, quoting an unnamed aide to George W. Bush (later attributed to Karl Rove[1]):

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "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."[2]

This is pretty precise definition of the idea of introduced by Nazi idea of “decisionism” in which action is seen as a value in itself. Decisionism is a defining feature of any totalitarian state. By extension if you find decisionism exists in particular state, it is rational to expect other F-features of such states. Umberto Eco has listed fourteen attributes along with two major features: irrationalism and decisionism. Eco has them listed as attributes 2 and 3.

The Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, is seen as the beginning of modern depravity. In this sense Ur-Fascism can be defined as irrationalism.

3. Irrationalism also depends on the cult of action for action's sake.

Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation. Therefore culture is suspect insofar as it is identified with critical attitudes. Distrust of the intellectual world has always been a symptom of Ur-Fascism, from Hermann Goering's fondness for a phrase from a Hanns Johst play ("When I hear the word 'culture' I reach for my gun") to the frequent use of such expressions as "degenerate intellectuals," "eggheads," "effete snobs," and "universities are nests of reds." The official Fascist intellectuals were mainly engaged in attacking modern culture and the liberal intelligentsia for having betrayed traditional values.

Eternal Fascism:
Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt

http://www.themodernword.com/eco/eco_blackshirt.html

Fascism has an irrational element that rejects modern thought because it conflicts with traditional beliefs of the Christian religion and because fascism views communist ideology as a child of the Age of Reason and Jewish intellectuals. The Nazis were well aware that Karl Marx was a German Jew. Evolution is seen as modernist and is rejected in favor of Christian creationism. This debate is repeating itself today in American society with Christian fundamentalism attempting to gain control of state education.

Very closely related to irrationalism is “decisionism” in which action is seen as a value in itself. This is an existential element in fascism that elevates action over thought. Action is a sign of unambiguous power, and thought is associated with weakness and indecision. Carl Schmitt, a Nazi Law constitutional jurist, wrote that a decision is “(an actual historical event) and not within that of a norm (an ahistoric and transcendent idea).” The a priori is overshadowed by the posteriori. Actions over abstract principles, Fact over Idea, Power over pure thought, Certainty over ambiguity are the values and ideological norms that are primary in a totalitarian state.

After fleeing Germany, Marcuse wrote in 1934 a critique of German fascist society and attempted to identify those beliefs and philosophical themes found within fascist ideology. Marcuse believed that the seeds of fascism could be found in the Capitalist Democratic Liberal State, which over time mutate as Monopoly Capitalism gain control of the State as in the case of Germany. The evolution of Capitalism is also the concealed dialectic of Fascism. Those mutated liberal democratic ideas and values are betrayed by a totalitarianism based on action and force.

Using Germany as his example of a fascist society Marcuse writes:

And within the political sphere all relationships are oriented in turn toward the most extreme “crisis,” toward the decision about the “state of emergency,” of war and peace. The true possessor of power is defined as beyond all legality and legitimacy: “Sovereign is he who decides on the state of emergency.” (Carl Schmitt, Politische Theologie,1922).

Sovereignty is founded on the factual power to make this decision (decisionism). The basic political relationship is the “friend-enemy relationship.” Its crisis is war, which proceeds until the enemy has been physically annihilated.

There is no social relationship that does not in a crisis turn into a political relationship. Behind all economic, social, religious, and cultural relations stands total politicization. There is no sphere of private or public life, no legal or rational court of appeal that could oppose it.
Negations, page 36.

From what social idea in Capitalistic Liberalism did this decisionism evolve? It is none other than the economic hero, the free independent entrepreneur of industrial capitalism.The idea of the charismatic, authoritarian leader is already preformed in the liberalist celebration of the gifted economic leader, the “born” executive. Negations, page 18.

The total-authoritarian state is born out of the Liberal state and the former concept of the economic leader is transformed into a Fuhrer. We can see this mutation of the concept of the “born” executive into the leader-state (Fuhrerstaat) in George Bush’s speech and actions.

An uneducated but privileged man, George Bush, has merged the idea of the CEO with that of the State Leader. But society has also made this same concatenation of ideas. He is a president of action and seen as a “strong” president. He is doer and not a thinker and his followers are proud of this persona. His opponents are “feminine” and members of the “reality based community.” Consequently, the Bush administration has attempted to engineer the executive branch to be the strongest in American history by claiming “inherent” presidential powers. It is precisely the concept of “state of emergency” that Bush has used to grab more and more state power in the name of security.

He has instituted the hyper-surveillance of Americas with the Patriot act, which is based on the same justification Nazi Law used to empower the Fuhrer. A Bush lawyer and advisor, John Yoo, wrote, Just two weeks after the September 11 attacks, a secret memo to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales’ office concluded that President Bush had the power to deploy military force “preemptively” against any terrorist groups or countries that supported them—regardless of whether they had any connection to the attacks on the World Trade Towers or the Pentagon. The memo, written by Justice Department lawyer John Yoo, argues that there are effectively “no limits” on the president’s authority to wage war—a sweeping assertion of executive power that some constitutional scholars say goes considerably beyond any that had previously been articulated by the department. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6732484/site/newsweek/

Carl Schmitt, a Nazi Law constitutional jurist in Hitler’s Third Reich, wrote a similar justification of power for the State Leader using the concept of the “exception” in his work “Political Theology,” Hence, the thundering opening of his treatise: 'The sovereign is he who decides on the exception.' It is a disturbingly 'realistic' view of politics, which, in the manner of Hobbes, subordinates de jure authority to de facto power: autoritas, non veritas facit legem. (The law is made by the one who has authority (i.e. power) and not the one who possesses the truth (the legitimate sovereign).)

The problem of the exception, for the constitutional jurist Schmitt, can only be resolved within the framework of a decision (an actual historical event) and not within that of a norm (an ahistoric and transcendent idea). Moreover, the legal act which decides what constitutes an exception is 'a decision in the true sense of the word', because a general norm, an ordinary legal prescription, 'can never encompass a total exception'. If so, then, 'the decision that a real exception exists cannot be derived entirely from this norm.' The problem of the exception, in other words, demarcates the limit of the rule of law and opens up that trans-legal space, that no-man's land of existential exigency, which is bereft of legal authority and where the decision of the sovereign abrogates the anomaly of the legal void. …against the legal positivism of his times, Schmitt seems to be arguing that not law but the sovereign, not the legal text but the political will, is the supreme authority in a state. States are not legal entities but historical polities; they are engaged in a constant battle for survival where any moment of their existence may constitute an exception, it may engender a political crisis that cannot be remedied by the application of the rule of law. From the existential priority of the sovereign over the legitimacy of the norm, it would also follow that according to Schmitt, law is subservient to politics and not autonomous of it. The Sovereignty of the Political Carl Schmitt and the Nemesis of Liberalism http://www.algonet.se/~pmanzoor/CarlSchmitt.htm

When the Bush administration argues that increased presidential power is needed to fight terrorism by suspending or overriding the constitutional protections against search and seizures, they are arguing the principles of Nazi constitutional law. Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday vigorously defended the Bush administration's use of secret domestic spying and efforts to expand presidential powers, saying "it's not an accident that we haven't been hit in four years." Talking to reporters aboard his government plane as he flew from Islamabad, Pakistan to Muscat, Oman on an overseas mission, Cheney said a contraction in the power of the presidency since the Vietnam and Watergate era must be reversed. "I believe in a strong, robust executive authority and I think that the world we live in demands it. And to some extent, that we have an obligation as the administration to pass on the offices we hold to our successors in as good of shape as we found them," he said.

http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/12/20/D8EK28B82.htmlAgainst these ever expanding powers of the State stand the once traditional individual freedoms upheld by the Liberal Democratic State. The theologian and philosopher of the Age of Reason, Immanuel Kant wrote…Human right must be kept sacred, no matter how great the sacrifice it costs the ruling powers. One cannot go only halfway and contrive a pragmatically conditioned right….All politics, rather, must bend the knee before sacred human right…

"Faith-based community" vs. Reality-based community

The same idea from slightly different angle is reflected in term "Faith-based community" vs. Reality-based community ( Wikipedia )

Reality-based community is a popular term among liberal political commentators in the United States. In the fall of 2004, the phrase "proud member of the reality-based community" was first used to suggest the commentator's opinions are based more on observation than on faith, assumption, or ideology. The term has been defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from judicious study of discernible reality." Some commentators have gone as far as to suggest that there is an overarching conflict in society between the reality-based community and the "faith-based community" as a whole. It can be seen as an example of political framing.

The source of the term is a quotation in an October 17, 2004, New York Times Magazine article by writer Ron Suskind, quoting an unnamed aide to George W. Bush:

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "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."[1]

Commentators who use this term generally oppose former President Bush's policies and by using this term imply that Bush's policies (and, by extension, those of the conservative movement generally) were (or are) out of touch with reality. Others use the term to draw a contrast with the perceived arrogance of the Bush Administration's unilateral policies, in accordance with the aide's quote. Its popularity has prompted some conservative commentators to use the term ironically, to accuse the left-leaning "reality-based community" of ignoring reality[2].

Imperial Outreach

The Republican Party — and more particularly the neo-con wing of the party — is particularly susceptible to imperial outreach. This imperial mentality is well exemplified by Fox News reporting.

For example, Matt Lewis, a conservative political Pundit on MSNBC attacked Barack Obama for saying “Any world order that elevates one nation above another will fall flat.” In response Lewis stated:

“I think that goes against the idea of American exceptionalism…most Americans believe that America was gifted by God and is a blessed nation and therefore we are better.”

For any conservative the concept of “American Exceptionalism” is rather bemusing. America is not more democratic, more free, more enterprising, more tolerant, or more anything else be it Canada, New Zealand or for that matter Australia. America is just a bigger country and due to its size, human resources and industrial potential it the leading Western country and the owner of world reserve currency, after Great Britain became financially exhausted after WWII. That means that American Exceptionalism is simply a politically correct work for a combustible mixture of nationalism (with Christian messianism component similar to Crusades with "democracy" instead Jesus) and Jingoism. In a very deep sense this is negation of the idea "all men are created equal" and as such is anti-American ;-).

America is a blessed nation as everybody in the country is an immigrant, the nation that at some point of time was freer and more prosperous than many others, but as a great Nazarene once said, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.”

Bill Moyers Journal . Watch & Listen | PBS

sample:

BILL MOYERS:

Here is one of those neon sentences. Quote,

"The pursuit of freedom, as defined in an age of consumerism, has induced a condition of dependence on imported goods, on imported oil, and on credit. The chief desire of the American people," you write, "is that nothing should disrupt their access to these goods, that oil, and that credit. The chief aim of the U.S. government is to satisfy that desire, which it does in part of through the distribution of largesse here at home, and in part through the pursuit of imperial ambitions abroad."

In other words, you're saying that our foreign policy is the result of a dependence on consumer goods and credit.

ANDREW BACEVICH:

Our foreign policy is not something simply concocted by people in Washington D.C. and imposed on us. Our foreign policy is something that is concocted in Washington D.C., but it reflects the perceptions of our political elite about what we want, we the people want. And what we want, by and large - I mean, one could point to many individual exceptions - but, what we want, by and large is, we want this continuing flow of very cheap consumer goods.

We want to be able to pump gas into our cars regardless of how big they may happen to be, in order to be able to drive wherever we want to be able to drive. And we want to be able to do these things without having to think about whether or not the book's balanced at the end of the month, or the end of the fiscal year. And therefore, we want this unending line of credit.

Anti-Americanism as blowback of American exeptionalism

Quite logically the imperial actions is a source of widespread Anti-Americanism. As Ian Tyrrell noted in What is American exceptionalism

It is also important to realize that there is a “negative” version of exceptionalism, i.e. that the US has been exceptionally bad, racist, violent. While this is less a part of the common myths about American history, the attempt to compensate for American exceptionalism by emphasizing unique American evils is equally distorting. We need to think more about this matter, especially when we deal with racial divisions and gender prejudice. Is the US experience a variant on wider racial and gender patterns? While social history has provided new perspectives on the role of women, African Americans, and ethnics in the making of American history, has that new history discredited or qualified ideas of American exceptionalism?

The actual term “American exceptionalism” was originally coined by German Marxists who wished to explain why the US seemed to have by-passed the rise of socialism and Marxism. (Actually the US had much class conflict, some Marxist parties and theorists, and a lively socialist movement, though the latter was not on the scale of, say, France and Germany.) But exceptionalism is much more than about class conflict.

Some historians prefer the terms “differences” or “uniqueness?” Are these suitable substitutes? Whatever the terminology, the implications of American difference/uniqueness have long been debated. Some have said the difference was temporary, and eventually the US would be like other countries. Others have argued that American “specialness” stems from its political, intellectual, and even religious heritage, and is enduring.

Conclusions

Skeptic view on American Exceptionalism is valuable for different reasons some of which were listed by Stephen M. Walt in his The Myth of American Exceptionalism (Foreign Policy, November 2011)

The only thing wrong with this self-congratulatory portrait of America's global role is that it is mostly a myth. Although the United States possesses certain unique qualities -- from high levels of religiosity to a political culture that privileges individual freedom -- the conduct of U.S. foreign policy has been determined primarily by its relative power and by the inherently competitive nature of international politics. By focusing on their supposedly exceptional qualities, Americans blind themselves to the ways that they are a lot like everyone else.

This unchallenged faith in American exceptionalism makes it harder for Americans to understand why others are less enthusiastic about U.S. dominance, often alarmed by U.S. policies, and frequently irritated by what they see as U.S. hypocrisy, whether the subject is possession of nuclear weapons, conformity with international law, or America's tendency to condemn the conduct of others while ignoring its own failings. Ironically, U.S. foreign policy would probably be more effective if Americans were less convinced of their own unique virtues and less eager to proclaim them.

What we need, in short, is a more realistic and critical assessment of America's true character and contributions. In that spirit, I offer here the Top 5 Myths about American Exceptionalism.

Myth 1: There Is Something Exceptional About American Exceptionalism.

Whenever American leaders refer to the "unique" responsibilities of the United States, they are saying that it is different from other powers and that these differences require them to take on special burdens.

Yet there is nothing unusual about such lofty declarations; indeed, those who make them are treading a well-worn path. Most great powers have considered themselves superior to their rivals and have believed that they were advancing some greater good when they imposed their preferences on others. The British thought they were bearing the "white man's burden," while French colonialists invoked la mission civilisatrice to justify their empire. Portugal, whose imperial activities were hardly distinguished, believed it was promoting a certain missão civilizadora. Even many of the officials of the former Soviet Union genuinely believed they were leading the world toward a socialist utopia despite the many cruelties that communist rule inflicted. Of course, the United States has by far the better claim to virtue than Stalin or his successors, but Obama was right to remind us that all countries prize their own particular qualities.

So when Americans proclaim they are exceptional and indispensable, they are simply the latest nation to sing a familiar old song. Among great powers, thinking you're special is the norm, not the exception.

Myth 2: The United States Behaves Better Than Other Nations Do.

Declarations of American exceptionalism rest on the belief that the United States is a uniquely virtuous nation, one that loves peace, nurtures liberty, respects human rights, and embraces the rule of law. Americans like to think their country behaves much better than other states do, and certainly better than other great powers.

If only it were true. The United States may not have been as brutal as the worst states in world history, but a dispassionate look at the historical record belies most claims about America's moral superiority.

For starters, the United States has been one of the most expansionist powers in modern history. It began as 13 small colonies clinging to the Eastern Seaboard, but eventually expanded across North America, seizing Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California from Mexico in 1846. Along the way, it eliminated most of the native population and confined the survivors to impoverished reservations. By the mid-19th century, it had pushed Britain out of the Pacific Northwest and consolidated its hegemony over the Western Hemisphere.

The United States has fought numerous wars since then -- starting several of them -- and its wartime conduct has hardly been a model of restraint. The 1899-1902 conquest of the Philippines killed some 200,000 to 400,000 Filipinos, most of them civilians, and the United States and its allies did not hesitate to dispatch some 305,000 German and 330,000 Japanese civilians through aerial bombing during World War II, mostly through deliberate campaigns against enemy cities. No wonder Gen. Curtis LeMay, who directed the bombing campaign against Japan, told an aide, "If the U.S. lost the war, we would be prosecuted as war criminals." The United States dropped more than 6 million tons of bombs during the Indochina war, including tons of napalm and lethal defoliants like Agent Orange, and it is directly responsible for the deaths of many of the roughly 1 million civilians who died in that war.

More recently, the U.S.-backed Contra war in Nicaragua killed some 30,000 Nicaraguans, a percentage of their population equivalent to 2 million dead Americans. U.S. military action has led directly or indirectly to the deaths of 250,000 Muslims over the past three decades (and that's a low-end estimate, not counting the deaths resulting from the sanctions against Iraq in the 1990s), including the more than 100,000 people who died following the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. U.S. drones and Special Forces are going after suspected terrorists in at least five countries at present and have killed an unknown number of innocent civilians in the process. Some of these actions may have been necessary to make Americans more prosperous and secure. But while Americans would undoubtedly regard such acts as indefensible if some foreign country were doing them to us, hardly any U.S. politicians have questioned these policies. Instead, Americans still wonder, "Why do they hate us?"

The United States talks a good game on human rights and international law, but it has refused to sign most human rights treaties, is not a party to the International Criminal Court, and has been all too willing to cozy up to dictators -- remember our friend Hosni Mubarak? -- with abysmal human rights records. If that were not enough, the abuses at Abu Ghraib and the George W. Bush administration's reliance on waterboarding, extraordinary rendition, and preventive detention should shake America's belief that it consistently acts in a morally superior fashion. Obama's decision to retain many of these policies suggests they were not a temporary aberration.

The United States never conquered a vast overseas empire or caused millions to die through tyrannical blunders like China's Great Leap Forward or Stalin's forced collectivization. And given the vast power at its disposal for much of the past century, Washington could certainly have done much worse. But the record is clear: U.S. leaders have done what they thought they had to do when confronted by external dangers, and they paid scant attention to moral principles along the way. The idea that the United States is uniquely virtuous may be comforting to Americans; too bad it's not true.

Myth 3: America's Success Is Due to Its Special Genius.

The United States has enjoyed remarkable success, and Americans tend to portray their rise to world power as a direct result of the political foresight of the Founding Fathers, the virtues of the U.S. Constitution, the priority placed on individual liberty, and the creativity and hard work of the American people. In this narrative, the United States enjoys an exceptional global position today because it is, well, exceptional.

There is more than a grain of truth to this version of American history. It's not an accident that immigrants came to America in droves in search of economic opportunity, and the "melting pot" myth facilitated the assimilation of each wave of new Americans. America's scientific and technological achievements are fully deserving of praise and owe something to the openness and vitality of the American political order.

But America's past success is due as much to good luck as to any uniquely American virtues. The new nation was lucky that the continent was lavishly endowed with natural resources and traversed by navigable rivers. It was lucky to have been founded far from the other great powers and even luckier that the native population was less advanced and highly susceptible to European diseases. Americans were fortunate that the European great powers were at war for much of the republic's early history, which greatly facilitated its expansion across the continent, and its global primacy was ensured after the other great powers fought two devastating world wars. This account of America's rise does not deny that the United States did many things right, but it also acknowledges that America's present position owes as much to good fortune as to any special genius or "manifest destiny."

Myth 4: The United States Is Responsible for Most of the Good in the World.

Americans are fond of giving themselves credit for positive international developments. President Bill Clinton believed the United States was "indispensable to the forging of stable political relations," and the late Harvard University political scientist Samuel P. Huntington thought U.S. primacy was central "to the future of freedom, democracy, open economies, and international order in the world." Journalist Michael Hirsh has gone even further, writing in his book At War With Ourselves that America's global role is "the greatest gift the world has received in many, many centuries, possibly all of recorded history." Scholarly works such as Tony Smith's America's Mission and G. John Ikenberry's Liberal Leviathan emphasize America's contribution to the spread of democracy and its promotion of a supposedly liberal world order. Given all the high-fives American leaders have given themselves, it is hardly surprising that most Americans see their country as an overwhelmingly positive force in world affairs.

Once again, there is something to this line of argument, just not enough to make it entirely accurate. The United States has made undeniable contributions to peace and stability in the world over the past century, including the Marshall Plan, the creation and management of the Bretton Woods system, its rhetorical support for the core principles of democracy and human rights, and its mostly stabilizing military presence in Europe and the Far East. But the belief that all good things flow from Washington's wisdom overstates the U.S. contribution by a wide margin.

For starters, though Americans watching Saving Private Ryan or Patton may conclude that the United States played the central role in vanquishing Nazi Germany, most of the fighting was in Eastern Europe and the main burden of defeating Hitler's war machine was borne by the Soviet Union. Similarly, though the Marshall Plan and NATO played important roles in Europe's post-World War II success, Europeans deserve at least as much credit for rebuilding their economies, constructing a novel economic and political union, and moving beyond four centuries of sometimes bitter rivalry. Americans also tend to think they won the Cold War all by themselves, a view that ignores the contributions of other anti-Soviet adversaries and the courageous dissidents whose resistance to communist rule produced the "velvet revolutions" of 1989.

Moreover, as Godfrey Hodgson recently noted in his sympathetic but clear-eyed book, The Myth of American Exceptionalism, the spread of liberal ideals is a global phenomenon with roots in the Enlightenment, and European philosophers and political leaders did much to advance the democratic ideal. Similarly, the abolition of slavery and the long effort to improve the status of women owe more to Britain and other democracies than to the United States, where progress in both areas trailed many other countries. Nor can the United States claim a global leadership role today on gay rights, criminal justice, or economic equality -- Europe's got those areas covered.

Finally, any honest accounting of the past half-century must acknowledge the downside of American primacy. The United States has been the major producer of greenhouse gases for most of the last hundred years and thus a principal cause of the adverse changes that are altering the global environment. The United States stood on the wrong side of the long struggle against apartheid in South Africa and backed plenty of unsavory dictatorships -- including Saddam Hussein's -- when short-term strategic interests dictated. Americans may be justly proud of their role in creating and defending Israel and in combating global anti-Semitism, but its one-sided policies have also prolonged Palestinian statelessness and sustained Israel's brutal occupation.

Bottom line: Americans take too much credit for global progress and accept too little blame for areas where U.S. policy has in fact been counterproductive. Americans are blind to their weak spots, and in ways that have real-world consequences. Remember when Pentagon planners thought U.S. troops would be greeted in Baghdad with flowers and parades? They mostly got RPGs and IEDs instead.

Myth 5: God Is on Our Side.

A crucial component of American exceptionalism is the belief that the United States has a divinely ordained mission to lead the rest of the world. Ronald Reagan told audiences that there was "some divine plan" that had placed America here, and once quoted Pope Pius XII saying, "Into the hands of America God has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind." Bush offered a similar view in 2004, saying, "We have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom." The same idea was expressed, albeit less nobly, in Otto von Bismarck's alleged quip that "God has a special providence for fools, drunks, and the United States."

Confidence is a valuable commodity for any country. But when a nation starts to think it enjoys the mandate of heaven and becomes convinced that it cannot fail or be led astray by scoundrels or incompetents, then reality is likely to deliver a swift rebuke. Ancient Athens, Napoleonic France, imperial Japan, and countless other countries have succumbed to this sort of hubris, and nearly always with catastrophic results.

Despite America's many successes, the country is hardly immune from setbacks, follies, and boneheaded blunders. If you have any doubts about that, just reflect on how a decade of ill-advised tax cuts, two costly and unsuccessful wars, and a financial meltdown driven mostly by greed and corruption have managed to squander the privileged position the United States enjoyed at the end of the 20th century. Instead of assuming that God is on their side, perhaps Americans should heed Abraham Lincoln's admonition that our greatest concern should be "whether we are on God's side."

Given the many challenges Americans now face, from persistent unemployment to the burden of winding down two deadly wars, it's unsurprising that they find the idea of their own exceptionalism comforting -- and that their aspiring political leaders have been proclaiming it with increasing fervor. Such patriotism has its benefits, but not when it leads to a basic misunderstanding of America's role in the world. This is exactly how bad decisions get made.

America has its own special qualities, as all countries do, but it is still a state embedded in a competitive global system. It is far stronger and richer than most, and its geopolitical position is remarkably favorable. These advantages give the United States a wider range of choice in its conduct of foreign affairs, but they don't ensure that its choices will be good ones. Far from being a unique state whose behavior is radically different from that of other great powers, the United States has behaved like all the rest, pursuing its own self-interest first and foremost, seeking to improve its relative position over time, and devoting relatively little blood or treasure to purely idealistic pursuits. Yet, just like past great powers, it has convinced itself that it is different, and better, than everyone else.

International politics is a contact sport, and even powerful states must compromise their political principles for the sake of security and prosperity. Nationalism is also a powerful force, and it inevitably highlights the country's virtues and sugarcoats its less savory aspects.

But if Americans want to be truly exceptional, they might start by viewing the whole idea of "American exceptionalism" with a much more skeptical eye.


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For the list of top articles see Recommended Links section

[Oct 25, 2020] The Trillion-Dollar F-35 Fighter Program Does Not Make Americans Safer

Notable quotes:
"... Overspending on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program does not make America any safer. The president's military spending increase is based on the false premise that more spending equals more security. More spending may even make America less safe by spending us into bankruptcy. ..."
"... One big problem with this massive spending on one defense program is that it gives interventionist politicians the tools of war that they desire. ..."
"... While some support this flawed program no matter how much it costs and actually advocate spending more taxpayer cash on it, Americans want that $1.7 trillion spent at home and not on a transnational defense spending program to defend other nations. ..."
"... The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is not worthy of a massive investment by the taxpayer when it does not make America safer while also being a poorly negotiated government contract that has stuck the taxpayer with a massive bill. ..."
Oct 24, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Norm Singleton via The Mises Institute,

Overspending on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program does not make America any safer. The president's military spending increase is based on the false premise that more spending equals more security. More spending may even make America less safe by spending us into bankruptcy.

The F-35 program is expected to cost well over $1 trillion when it is fully operational and deployed. That massive investment will serve to enrich government contractors while giving interventionist politicians an offensive weapon of war. This program was created as a "too big to fail" scheme where once the government starts the process of making these fighter jets, they will have spent so much money that they can't back away. The F-35 program is a bad deal for the taxpayer while promoting a policy that will make these same taxpayers less safe.

It appears that the massive amount put into the program has purchased a lemon of a jet. The program has been troubled from day one and is currently experiencing some padding of the contract. On September 11, 2020, Bloomberg reported, "the Pentagon's five-year budget plan for the F-35 falls short by as much as $10 billion, the military's independent cost analysis unit has concluded, a new indication that the complex fighter jet may be too costly to operate and maintain." The plan for the F-35 for the next five years was an estimated "$78 billion for research and development, jet procurement, operations and maintenance and military construction dedicated to the F-35 built by Lockheed Martin Corp." This $10 billion mistake is going to fall on the shoulders of an already overtaxed taxpayer.

One big problem with this massive spending on one defense program is that it gives interventionist politicians the tools of war that they desire. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program contains a number of versions of a stealth fighter jet that can engage other aircraft and conduct military strikes. The goal is to use these aircraft as the primary fighter jets for the air force, navy, and marines. These can be used as offensive weapons in the hands of politicians who desire to engage in the endless war policies that have left the United States vulnerable to attack. This is a very expensive program that will not provide $1 trillion in security for American citizens.

Typical with government defense contracting, there have been numerous problems that have shifted significant increased cost onto the Pentagon. Defense News reported recently that the contractor was trying to stick the taxpayer with the cost of spare parts for the F-35. According to Bloomberg , the taxpayer received more bad news: "the F-35's total 'life cycle' cost is estimated at $1.727 trillion in current dollars." That is an insane amount of taxpayer cash and "$1.266 trillion is for operations and support of the advanced plane that's a flying supercomputer." When pressed by Bloomberg , a Pentagon spokesman bragged that a Pentagon "cost analysis office projects that the average procurement cost for an F-35, including its engines, is dropping from a planned $109 million to $101.3 million in 2012 dollars." Only in Washington would a bureaucrat brag about ripping off American citizens by just under $8 million less as a deal for the taxpayer.

While some support this flawed program no matter how much it costs and actually advocate spending more taxpayer cash on it, Americans want that $1.7 trillion spent at home and not on a transnational defense spending program to defend other nations.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is not worthy of a massive investment by the taxpayer when it does not make America safer while also being a poorly negotiated government contract that has stuck the taxpayer with a massive bill.

[Oct 25, 2020] Putin on NGO, color revolutions and "export of democracy"

Notable quotes:
"... We, in Russia, went through a fairly long period where foreign funds were very much the main source for creating and financing non-governmental organisations. Of course, not all of them pursued self-serving or bad goals, or wanted to destabilise the situation in our country, interfere in our domestic affairs, or influence Russia's domestic and, sometimes, foreign policy in their own interests. Of course not. ..."
Oct 25, 2020 | valdaiclub.com

Genuine democracy and civil society cannot be "imported." I have said so many times. They cannot be a product of the activities of foreign "well-wishers," even if they "want the best for us." In theory, this is probably possible. But, frankly, I have not yet seen such a thing and do not believe much in it. We see how such imported democracy models function. They are nothing more than a shell or a front with nothing behind them, even a semblance of sovereignty. People in the countries where such schemes have been implemented were never asked for their opinion, and their respective leaders are mere vassals. As is known, the overlord decides everything for the vassal. To reiterate, only the citizens of a particular country can determine their public interest.

We, in Russia, went through a fairly long period where foreign funds were very much the main source for creating and financing non-governmental organisations. Of course, not all of them pursued self-serving or bad goals, or wanted to destabilise the situation in our country, interfere in our domestic affairs, or influence Russia's domestic and, sometimes, foreign policy in their own interests. Of course not.

There were sincere enthusiasts among independent civic organisations (they do exist), to whom we are undoubtedly grateful. But even so, they mostly remained strangers and ultimately reflected the views and interests of their foreign trustees rather than the Russian citizens. In a word, they were a tool with all the ensuing consequences.

A strong, free and independent civil society is nationally oriented and sovereign by definition. It grows from the depth of people's lives and can take different forms and directions. But it is a cultural phenomenon, a tradition of a particular country, not the product of some abstract "transnational mind" with other people's interests behind it.

[Oct 24, 2020] The World Order: New Rules or a Game Without Rules. So, what is happening now? Regrettably, the game without rules is becoming increasingly horrifying and sometimes seems to be a fait accompli."

Oct 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

gm , Oct 22 2020 19:00 utc | 9

@Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 22 2020 18:19 utc | 6

Re: "...Thus, six years ago, in 2014, we spoke about this issue when we discussed the theme The World Order: New Rules or a Game Without Rules. So, what is happening now? Regrettably, the game without rules is becoming increasingly horrifying and sometimes seems to be a fait accompli."

Putin said this virtually in the same breath directly after his previous paragraph you excerpted where he speaks of the serious ongoing challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

What that says to me is that he is hinting with his trademark subtlety that he thinks the CV pandemic may not be a naturally arising event. In other words, a plandemic.


karlof1 , Oct 22 2020 19:12 utc | 12

gm @9--

Yes, that's the ongoing rhetorical battle between the Collectivist nations who uphold the sanctity of International Law and the Neoliberal Nations controlled by Financial Parasites that can't survive under a functional International Law System. That distinction is constantly becoming clearer particularly to those residing within the Neoliberal nations as they watch their lives being destroyed. IMO, we're on the cusp of entering the most critical decade of this century which will determine humanity's condition when 2101 is reached.

[Oct 23, 2020] Hating Russia is a full time and well paid job

Neocons do not want to fight Russia, they just want to profit from Russophobia while getting nice money from the US MIC.
Oct 23, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Mister Delicious , 7 hours ago

  1. Introduction
  2. The euphemisms
  3. Hostility to Putin's Russia is largely a Jewish phenomenon
  4. The media
  5. A de facto violation of free speech
  6. Shutting down an honest examination of Russian history
  7. The best alt-media journalists are neutered
  8. Much of what is written about Russian relations and history becomes meaningless and deceptive
  9. A lesson in relevance from the Alt-Right
  10. Malice towards none
  11. The problem extends to all areas of public life
  12. We need serious scholarship and analysis
  13. Low expectations from the existing alt-media
  14. A call for articles and support
  15. https://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/hating-russia-is-a-full-time-job/
ebear , 6 hours ago

Has any nation on Earth suffered more destruction and loss of life in the 20th century? And yet, there they still are.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btff8DmOg1k

John Hansen , 7 hours ago

I'd have more hope for Russia if the Russian ruling class weren't so obsessed with the West and didn't send their children to Western (woke) schools, etc.

theallseeinggod , 7 hours ago

They're not doing that well, but they're not repeating many of the west's mistakes.

Normal , 5 hours ago

Now the West has rules only for poor people.

Helg Saracen , 6 hours ago

Advice to Americans (for the sake of experiment): prohibit lobbying in US and the right of citizens with dual citizenship to hold public office in US. I assure - you will be surprised how quickly Russians go from non-kosher to kosher for Americans and how American politicians, the media will convince Americans of this at every intersection. :) Ha ha ha

Nayel , 5 hours ago

If the [Vichy] Left in America weren't so determined to project their own Bolshevik leanings on to a possible great ally that their ideology now fears, Russia would be just that: a great ally that could help America shake the Bolsheviks that have infiltrated the American government and plan the same program their Soviet forefathers once held over Russia...

Arising 2.0 , 1 hour ago

Western zionist controlled propaganda reminds me of Mohamed Ali- he used to talk up the ******** so much before a fight that when the time came to fight the opponent was usually traumatised or confused. Until Ali met with Joe Frazier (Russia) who didn't fall for all the pre-fight BS.

ThePinkHole , 39 minutes ago

Time for a pop quiz! Name the two countries below:

Country A - competency, attention to first principles, planning based on reality, consistency of purpose, and unity of execution.

Country B - incompetency, interfering in everything everywhere, planning based on hubris and sloppy assumptions, confusion, and disunity.

(Source: Adapted from Patrick Armstrong)

foxenburg , 3 hours ago

This one is always good for a laugh....the Daily Telegraph's Con Coughlin explaining in 2015 how Putin will fail in Syria...

https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/6990/russia-failure-syria

Money-Liberty , 6 hours ago

We have all this talk of the 'Ruskies' when in fact it is not the ordinary Russian people but rather a geopolitical power struggle. The ordinary US citizen or European just wants to maintain their liberty and be able to profit from their endeavours. The rich and powerful globalists who hide behind their military are the ones that play these games. I am no friend of Putin but equally I am no friend of our own political establishment that have been captured by Wall Street. I care about Main Street and as the US dollar loses its privilege there will be real pain to share amongst our economies. The last thing we need is for the elites of the Western alliance to profit with cold/hot wars on the backs of ourselves.

Having been behind the iron curtain as a young Merchant Navy Officer I found ordinary citizens fine and even organized football matches with the local communist parties. People have the same desires and aspirations and whether rich or poor we should respect each others cultures and territories. http://www.money-liberty.com/gallery/Predictions-2021.pdf

[Oct 23, 2020] Russia has been a fixture of the US military-industrial complex for a reason: they need more money and threat inflation is possible only with a suitable bogeyman

Oct 23, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

rotorhead1871 , 5 hours ago

..they have always been the reason for the industrial-military complex....but now, who needs them.....we got china to point the finger at. so having 2 useful idiot countries...will keep the weapons boys going for quite some time....

Snaffew , 7 hours ago

...he boogeyman has never been Russia, it resides right here in the US under the guise of government, military, mainstream media, propaganda and sanctions, sanctions, sanctions against anyone that rightfully takes our slice of entitled pie because they built a far better and far cheaper mousetrap.

Oh the horrors of claiming to be a democracy and a capitalist nation when you just can't seem to play by the rules. **** America---we have let the elites take us down the road to ruins. We are as much at fault as they are for believing their nonsensical bs the whole while all the evidence was smoking right in front of our face. Who's more stupid...them or us? I'd tell everyone to take a good long look in the mirror if you are looking for an answer to that question---

[Oct 23, 2020] A stark note from Lavrov about the USA neoliberal elite

In America, Truth is a Foreign Agent and World Peace is a threat to National Security.
Oct 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
kiwiklown , Oct 22 2020 9:05 utc | 7

The Russians ( Putin / Lavrov) say ever so politely that the US is not agreement-capable.

I add that the US ( politicians, Wall Streeters, MSM, think tanks ) are:

What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul? He turns into a ghoul without a soul, says I, a devil without human-ness! How dare they call us deplorables when they are the despicables?

[Oct 21, 2020] How Trump Got Played By The Military-Industrial Complex by Akbar Shahid Ahmed

Highly recommended!
Tramp was essentially the President from military industrial complex and Israel lobby. So he was not played. That's naive. He followed the instructions.
Oct 21, 2020 | www.huffpost.com

On March 20, 2018, President Donald Trump sat beside Saudi crown prince Muhammed bin Salman at the White House and lifted a giant map that said Saudi weapons purchases would support jobs in "key" states -- including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida and Ohio, all of which were crucial to Trump's 2016 election victory .

"Saudi Arabia has been a very great friend and a big purchaser of equipment but if you look, in terms of dollars, $3 billion, $533 million, $525 million -- that's peanuts for you. You should have increased it," Trump said to the prince, who was (and still is) overseeing a military campaign in Yemen that has deployed U.S. weaponry to commit scores of alleged war crimes.

Trump has used his job as commander-in-chief to be America's arms-dealer-in-chief in a way no other president has since Dwight Eisenhower, as he prepared to leave the presidency, warned in early 1961 of the military-industrial complex's political influence. Trump's posture makes sense personally ― this is a man who regularly fantasizes about violence, usually toward foreigners ― and he and his advisers see it as politically useful, too. The president has repeatedly appeared at weapons production facilities in swing states, promoted the head of Lockheed Martin using White House resources, appointed defense industry employees to top government jobs in an unprecedented way and expanded the Pentagon's budget to near-historic highs ― a guarantee of future income for companies like Lockheed and Boeing.

Trump is "on steroids in terms of promoting arms sales for his own political benefit," said William Hartung, a scholar at the Center for International Policy who has tracked the defense industry for decades. "It's a targeted strategy to get benefits from workers in key states."

In courting the billion-dollar industry, Trump has trampled on moral considerations about how buyers like the Saudis misuse American weapons, ethical concerns about conflicts of interest and even part of his own political message, the deceptive claim that he is a peace candidate. He justifies his policy by citing job growth, but data from Hartung , a prominent analyst, shows he exaggerates the impact. And Trump has made clear that a major motivation for his defense strategy is the possible electoral benefit it could have.

Next month's election will show if the bargain was worth it. As of now, it looks like Trump's bet didn't pay off ― for him, at least. Campaign contribution records, analysts in swing states and polls suggest arms dealers have given the president no significant political boost. The defense contractors, meanwhile, are expected to continue getting richer, as they have in a dramatic way under Trump.

Playing Corporate Favorites

Trump has thrice chosen the person who decides how the Defense Department spends its gigantic budget. Each time, he has tapped someone from a business that wants those Pentagon dollars. Mark Esper, the current defense secretary, worked for Raytheon; his predecessor, Pat Shanahan, for Boeing; and Trump's first appointee, Jim Mattis, for General Dynamics, which reappointed him to its board soon after he left the administration.

Of the senior officials serving under Esper, almost half have connections to military contractors, per the Project on Government Oversight. The administration is now rapidly trying to fill more Pentagon jobs under the guidance of a former Trump campaign worker, Foreign Policy magazine recently revealed ― prioritizing political reasons and loyalty to Trump in choosing people who could help craft policy even under a Joe Biden presidency.

Such personnel choices are hugely important for defense companies' profit margins and risk creating corruption or the impression of it. Watchdog groups argue Trump's handling of the hiring process is more evidence that lawmakers and future presidents must institute rules to limit the reach of military contractors and other special interests.

"Given the hundreds of conflicts of interest flouting the rule of law in the Trump administration , certainly these issues have gotten that much more attention and are that much more salient now than they were four years ago," said Aaron Scherb, the director of legislative affairs at Common Cause, a nonpartisan good-government group.

The theoretical dangers of Trump's approach became a reality last year, when a former employee for the weapons producer Raytheon used his job at the State Department to advocate for a rare emergency declaration allowing the Saudis and their partner the United Arab Emirates to buy $8 billion in arms ― including $2 billion in Raytheon products ― despite congressional objections. As other department employees warned that Saudi Arabia was defying U.S. pressure to behave less brutally in Yemen, former lobbyist Charles Faulkner led a unit that urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to give the kingdom more weapons. Pompeo pushed out Faulkner soon afterward, and earlier this year, the State Department's inspector general criticized the process behind the emergency declaration for the arms.

Red Crescent medics walk next to bags containing the bodies of victims of Saudi-linked airstrikes on a Houthi detention cente MOHAMED AL-SAYAGHI / REUTERS
Red Crescent medics walk next to bags containing the bodies of victims of Saudi-linked airstrikes on a Houthi detention center in Yemen on Sept. 1, 2019. The Saudis military campaign in Yemen has relied on U.S. weaponry to commit scores of alleged war crimes.

Even Trump administration officials not clearly connected to the defense industry have shown an interest in moves that benefit it. In 2017, White House economic advisor Peter Navarro pressured Republican lawmakers to permit exports to Saudi Arabia and Jared Kushner, the president's counselor and son-in-law, personally spoke with Lockheed Martin's chief to iron out a sale to the kingdom, The New York Times found.

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When Congress gave the Pentagon $1 billion to develop medical supplies as part of this year's coronavirus relief package, most of the money went to defense contractors for projects like jet engine parts instead, a Washington Post investigation showed .

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"It's a very close relationship and there's no kind of sense that they're supposed to be regulating these people," Hartung said. "It's more like they're allies, standing shoulder to shoulder."

Seeking Payback

In June 2019, Lockheed Martin announced that it would close a facility that manufactures helicopters in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, and employs more than 450 people. Days later, Trump tweeted that he had asked the company's then-chief executive, Marillyn Hewson, to keep the plant open. And by July 10, Lockheed said it would do so ― attributing the decision to Trump.

The president has frequently claimed credit for jobs in the defense industry, highlighting the impact on manufacturing in swing states rather than employees like Washington lobbyists, whose numbers have also grown as he has expanded the Pentagon's budget. Lockheed has helped him in his messaging: In one instance in Wisconsin, Hewson announced she was adding at least 45 new positions at a plant directly after Trump spoke there, saying his tax cuts for corporations made that possible.

Trump is pursuing a strategy that the arms industry uses to insulate itself from political criticism. "They've reached their tentacles into every state and many congressional districts," Scherb of Common Cause said. That makes it hard for elected officials to question their operations or Pentagon spending generally without looking like they are harming their local economy.

Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, a Democrat who represents Coatesville, welcomed Lockheed's change of course, though she warned, "This decision is a temporary reprieve. I am concerned that Lockheed Martin and [its subsidiary] Sikorsky are playing politics with the livelihoods of people in my community."

The political benefit for Trump, though, remains in question, given that as president he has a broad set of responsibilities and is judged in different ways.

"Do I think it's important to keep jobs? Absolutely," said Marcel Groen, a former Pennsylvania Democratic party chair. "And I think we need to thank the congresswoman and thank the president for it. But it doesn't change my views and I don't think it changes most people's in terms of the state of the nation."

With polls showing that Trump's disastrous response to the health pandemic dominates voters' thoughts and Biden sustaining a lead in surveys of most swing states , his argument on defense industry jobs seems like a minor factor in this election.

Hartung of the Center for International Policy drew a parallel to President George H.W. Bush, who during his 1992 reelection campaign promoted plans for Taiwan and Saudi Arabia to purchase fighter jets produced in Missouri and Texas. Bush announced the decisions at events at the General Dynamics facility in Fort Worth, Texas, and the McDonnell Douglas plant in St. Louis that made the planes. That November, as Bill Clinton defeated him, he lost Missouri by the highest margin of any Republican in almost 30 years and won Texas by a slimmer margin than had become the norm for a GOP presidential candidate.

President Donald Trump greets then-Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson at the Derco Aerospace Inc. plant in Milwaukee on July MANDEL NGAN VIA GETTY IMAGES
President Donald Trump greets then-Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson at the Derco Aerospace Inc. plant in Milwaukee on July 12, 2019. Trump does not appear to be winning his political bet that increased defense spending would help his political fortunes.

Checking The Receipts

The defense industry can't control whether voters buy Trump's arguments about his relationship with it. But it could, if it wanted to, try to help him politically in a more direct way: by donating to his reelection campaign and allied efforts.

Yet arms manufacturers aren't reciprocating Trump's affection. A HuffPost review of Federal Election Commission records showed that top figures and groups at major industry organizations like the National Defense Industrial Association and the Aerospace Industries Association and at Lockheed, Trump's favorite defense firm, are donating this cycle much as they normally do: giving to both sides of the political aisle, with a slight preference to the party currently wielding the most power, which for now is Republicans. (The few notable exceptions include the chairman of the NDIA's board, Arnold Punaro, who has given more than $58,000 to Trump and others in the GOP.)

Data from the Center for Responsive Politics shows that's the case for contributions from the next three biggest groups of defense industry donors after Lockheed's employees.

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One smaller defense company, AshBritt Environmental, did donate $500,000 to a political action committee supporting Trump ― prompting a complaint from the Campaign Legal Center, which noted that businesses that take federal dollars are not allowed to make campaign contributions. Its founder told ProPublica he meant to make a personal donation.

For weapons producers, backing both parties makes sense. The military budget will have increased 29% under Trump by the end of the current fiscal year, per the White House Office of Management and Budget. Biden has said he doesn't see cuts as "inevitable" if he is elected, and his circle of advisers includes many from the national security world who have worked closely with ― and in many cases worked for ― the defense industry.

And arms manufacturers are "busy pursuing their own interests" in other ways, like trying to get a piece of additional government stimulus legislation, Hartung said ― an effort that's underway as the Pentagon's inspector general investigates how defense contractors got so much of the first coronavirus relief package.

Meanwhile, defense contractors continue to have an outsize effect on the way policies are designed in Washington through less political means. A recent report from the Center for International Policy found that such companies have given at least $1 billion to the nation's most influential think tanks since 2014 ― potentially spending taxpayer money to influence public opinion. They have also found less obvious ways to maintain support from powerful people, like running the databases that many congressional offices use to connect with constituents, Scherb of Common Cause said.

"This goes into a much bigger systemic issue about big money in politics and the role of corporations versus the role of Americans," Scherb said.

Given its reach, the defense industry has little reason to appear overtly partisan. Instead, it's projecting confidence despite the generally dreary state of the global economy: Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun has said he expects similar approaches from either winner of the election, arguing even greater Democratic control and the rise of less conventional lawmakers isn't a huge concern.

In short, whoever is in the White House, arms dealers tend to do just fine.

[Oct 19, 2020] New report shows more than $1B from war industry and govt. going to top 50 think tanks

Highly recommended!
Oct 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Richard Steven Hack , Oct 17 2020 23:20 utc | 76

New report shows more than $1B from war industry and govt. going to top 50 think tanks
Esper's speech demonstrates a confluence of policies, ideas, and funds that permeate through the system, and are by no means unique to a single service, think tank, or contractor.

First, Esper consistently situated his future expansion plans in a need to adapt to "an era of great power competition." CNAS is one of the think tanks leading the charge in highlighting the threat from Beijing.

They also received at least $8,946,000 from 2014-2019 from the U.S. government and defense contractors, including over $7 million from defense contractors like Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Huntington Ingalls, General Dynamics, and Boeing who would stand to make billions if the 500-ship fleet were enacted.

It's all about the money. Foreign and domestic policy is always all about the money, either directly or indirectly. Of course, the ultimate goal is power - or more precisely, the ultimate goal is relief of the fear of death, which drives every single human's every action, and only power can do that, and in this world only money can give you power (or so the chimpanzees believe.)

[Oct 03, 2020] Top US general rushes to defend Pentagon after Trump accuses it of colluding with weapon manufacturers to fight endless wars

Oct 03, 2020 | www.rt.com

foxenburg 9 September, 2020 9 Sep, 2020 01:48 AM

An interviewer should test this man's integrity with a simple question, such as.. "When you retire, will promise to live off your generous pension....like Eisenhower in his rocking chair....and not go to work for an arms manufacturer or think tank or any other paid position?"
Rocky_Fjord 9 September, 2020 9 Sep, 2020 05:18 AM
John boy McCain just went into apoplexy in hell.

[Oct 01, 2020] Steve's insistence on speaking the truth about Ukraine and US-Russia relations cost him -- but he never gave up by Lev Golinkin

Highly recommended!
I draw your attention to the irrefutable fact that Mr. Cohen said that the Buk missile, which brought down Malaysian Flight 370 over the skies of Donbas, was the Ukraine government "playing with its new toys and made a big mistake." -- and I draw your attention to the irrefutable fact that Mr. Cohen said that the Buk missile, which brought down Malaysian Flight 370 over the skies of Donbas, was the Ukraine government "playing with its new toys and made a big mistake."
He was a real giant in comparison with intellectual scum like Fiona Hill, Michael McFaul and other neocons.
Notable quotes:
"... I tried to explain to American friends what was happening, but quickly realized that ultimately, even friends believe what they read in the newspapers, and the newspapers were pushing the Washington line. Except for Steve Cohen. Steve was the only major figure in America who insisted on remembering the Russian-speaking Ukrainians who, like my family members, distrusted and hated the new Kiev government. He spoke of neo-Nazi paramilitiaries who fought for the US-backed government committing war crimes against civilians in eastern Ukraine. He spoke the truth, regardless of how unwieldy it was. ..."
"... There's a lot to say about Steve. He was extraordinarily kind, never forgetting that in geopolitics, the ones who have the most to lose aren't strategists but everyday individuals impacted by policy. He was a consummate teacher, insisting on giving mentees the skills to navigate the world, a real proponent of the Teach a man to fish philosophy. He had facets and stories and memories; he lived life with empathy and gusto. ..."
"... Steve's insistence on speaking the truth about Ukraine and US-Russia relations drew all sorts of attention. America was hurtling toward a new cold war with Russia, and Steve well, from the perspective of Washington's foreign policy establishment, Steve was fucking up the narrative. Steve talked about inconvenient things, things like US-backed war criminals and America's own meddling in Russian affairs; in the process, he himself had become inconvenient. ..."
"... After all, this wasn't some random blogger. This was one of America's foremost Russia experts, a tenured professor at Princeton and New York University, someone who didn't just write about history but had dinner with it, had briefed US presidents, and was friends with legends like Mikhail Gorbachev. Steve had clout earned from decades of brilliant work; by 2014, he was using that clout to throw a wrench in the think tank world. ..."
"... It was something far colder, more sustained, something that ironically the Soviets did to dissidents: a relentless crusade to render the target untouchable, a leper without a platform. The barrage of articles and diatribes hurled at Steve in the national press painted him as not just a dissenter but a supporter of dictators and murderers. It was a vicious, prolonged assault carried out by think tank toadies, the kind of people who win races by kneecapping the competition. ..."
"... I'd often talk with Steve after a new hatchet job or smear on national television. Of course, the attacks were hurtful -- the only way to not be affected was to not care, and Steve cared. But I also noticed he was remarkably free of bitterness. Every time I thought he'd snap, he'd return the next day to write, discuss, keep fighting. ..."
"... It took me a couple of years to understand that what kept Steve going was faith in his beloved institutions. He believed in academia, in scholarship, in discourse, debate, and civility. He believed in the capacity of everyday people to explore and engage with their world, he believed in Russia, and he always believed in America. He believed in these things far more than he believed in the power of today's warmongers. ..."
"... In 1967 Noam Chomsky wrote an article in the NY Review entitled "the Responsibility of Intellectuals" the first sentence ran like this: "IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY of intellectuals to speak the truth and to expose lies.". Stephen Cohen did precisely that when all the parrots and pundits were lined up against him. ..."
"... Always I was skeptical of prevailing scholarly interpretive trends on the Soviet experience that were echoed by colleagues claiming expertise on the subject. Cohen provided the foundation for my skepticism and invigorated my lectures on American foreign policy. ..."
"... Once Cohen plied his knowledge against the hysterical narrative that culminated in 4 years of frothing neo-McCarthyism (by the freakin' "left," no less), we were no longer gonna see him on the PBS newshour any more likely than we would and will see chris hedges, chomsky, or margaret kimberly. ..."
"... His book War With Russia? was an oasis of counter-narrative when I picked it up. Losing voices like his is immeasurable as we hurtle toward total war with Russia and/or China, both of whom are finally, naturally, and perfectly predictably beginning to draw a line in the sand. ..."
Oct 01, 2020 | www.thenation.com

I first reached out to Stephen Cohen because I was losing my mind.

In the spring of 2014, a war broke out in my homeland of Ukraine. It was a horrific war in a bitterly divided nation, which turned eastern Ukraine into a bombed-out wasteland. But that's not how it was portrayed in America. Because millions of eastern Ukrainians were against the US-backed government, their opinions were inconvenient for the West. Washington needed a clean story about Ukraine fighting the Kremlin; as a result, US media avoided reporting about the "wrong" half of the country. Twenty-plus million people were written out of the narrative, as if they never existed.

I tried to explain to American friends what was happening, but quickly realized that ultimately, even friends believe what they read in the newspapers, and the newspapers were pushing the Washington line. Except for Steve Cohen. Steve was the only major figure in America who insisted on remembering the Russian-speaking Ukrainians who, like my family members, distrusted and hated the new Kiev government. He spoke of neo-Nazi paramilitiaries who fought for the US-backed government committing war crimes against civilians in eastern Ukraine. He spoke the truth, regardless of how unwieldy it was.

And so I e-mailed him, asking for guidance as I began my own writing career. Of course, there were many who clamored for Steve's time, but I had an advantage over others. Steve and I were both night owls, real night owls, the kind who have afternoon tea at three am. It was then, when the east coast was sleeping, that he became my mentor and friend.

There's a lot to say about Steve. He was extraordinarily kind, never forgetting that in geopolitics, the ones who have the most to lose aren't strategists but everyday individuals impacted by policy. He was a consummate teacher, insisting on giving mentees the skills to navigate the world, a real proponent of the Teach a man to fish philosophy. He had facets and stories and memories; he lived life with empathy and gusto.

But one thing Steve taught me is to stick to my strengths, and truth be told, there are others who can describe his life better than I. I'll stick to what I learned during our conversations at three in the morning, which is that, above all else, Stephen F. Cohen was a man of faith.

Steve's insistence on speaking the truth about Ukraine and US-Russia relations drew all sorts of attention. America was hurtling toward a new cold war with Russia, and Steve well, from the perspective of Washington's foreign policy establishment, Steve was fucking up the narrative. Steve talked about inconvenient things, things like US-backed war criminals and America's own meddling in Russian affairs; in the process, he himself had become inconvenient.

After all, this wasn't some random blogger. This was one of America's foremost Russia experts, a tenured professor at Princeton and New York University, someone who didn't just write about history but had dinner with it, had briefed US presidents, and was friends with legends like Mikhail Gorbachev. Steve had clout earned from decades of brilliant work; by 2014, he was using that clout to throw a wrench in the think tank world.

The DC apparatchiks couldn't discredit Steve's credentials or track record -- he'd predicted events in Ukraine and elsewhere years before they occurred. They couldn't intimidate him -- he'd faced far worse threats, like the KGB. Instead, they set out to turn him into an America-hating, Putin-loving pariah.

This went beyond an ad hominem campaign. It was something far colder, more sustained, something that ironically the Soviets did to dissidents: a relentless crusade to render the target untouchable, a leper without a platform. The barrage of articles and diatribes hurled at Steve in the national press painted him as not just a dissenter but a supporter of dictators and murderers. It was a vicious, prolonged assault carried out by think tank toadies, the kind of people who win races by kneecapping the competition.

I'd often talk with Steve after a new hatchet job or smear on national television. Of course, the attacks were hurtful -- the only way to not be affected was to not care, and Steve cared. But I also noticed he was remarkably free of bitterness. Every time I thought he'd snap, he'd return the next day to write, discuss, keep fighting.

It took me a couple of years to understand that what kept Steve going was faith in his beloved institutions. He believed in academia, in scholarship, in discourse, debate, and civility. He believed in the capacity of everyday people to explore and engage with their world, he believed in Russia, and he always believed in America. He believed in these things far more than he believed in the power of today's warmongers.

Steve liked movies and would often end a lecture with a movie reference to drive home the thesis. When I think of him, I think of the ending of The Shawshank Redemption , the line about Andy Dufresne crawling through filth and coming out clean on the other side. Steve didn't live in a movie; I can't claim he emerged unscathed. What he did was come through without bitterness or cynicism. He refused to turn away from the ugliness, but he didn't allow it to blind him to beauty. He walked with grace. And he lost neither his convictions nor his faith.

Lev Golinkin Lev Golinkin is the author of A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka, Amazon's Debut of the Month, a Barnes & Noble's Discover Great New Writers program selection, and winner of the Premio Salerno Libro d'Europa. Golinkin, a graduate of Boston College, came to the US as a child refugee from the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkov (now called Kharkiv) in 1990. His writing on the Ukraine crisis, Russia, the far right, and immigrant and refugee identity has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, The Boston Globe, Politico Europe, and Time (online), among other venues; he has been interviewed by MSNBC, NPR, ABC Radio, WSJ Live and HuffPost Live.


Pierre Guerlain says: October 1, 2020 at 12:42 pm

In 1967 Noam Chomsky wrote an article in the NY Review entitled "the Responsibility of Intellectuals" the first sentence ran like this: "IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY of intellectuals to speak the truth and to expose lies.". Stephen Cohen did precisely that when all the parrots and pundits were lined up against him. He was a Mensch. History will bear him the historian out.

Valera Bochkarev says to Lance Haley: October 1, 2020 at 11:09 am

Hmm, who's the apologist here ?

If the Ukraine is SO sovereign how is it I did not see any outrage in your diatribe against 'Toria, Pyatt and the rest orchestrating the Maidan putsch or the $5Billion US spent on softening up the ukraine for the regime change ?

I believe in numbers, as in the number of military bases any given country has surrounding the ones it wants to subvert, in the amount of money allocated to vilify and eventually bring down the "unwanted" regimes and the quantity and 'quality' of sanctions imposed against those regimes; and the sum of all of the above perpetrated against humanity in the past 75 or so years.

Your vapid drivel, Mr Haley, evaporates almost without a trace once seen with those parameters in mind.

Numbers don't lie.

Michael Batinski says: September 30, 2020 at 5:48 pm

Let me add from the perspective of an American historian who taught for forty years in a midwestern university. From the start I depended on William Appleman Williams to keep perspective and to counter prevailing interpretive trends.

Always I was skeptical of prevailing scholarly interpretive trends on the Soviet experience that were echoed by colleagues claiming expertise on the subject. Cohen provided the foundation for my skepticism and invigorated my lectures on American foreign policy.

I will always be thankful.

Michael Batinski

Tim Ashby says: September 30, 2020 at 2:37 pm

The smothering agitprop in America trumps even Goebbels and co. with its beautifully dressed overton window and first-amendment-free-press bullshit.

Once Cohen plied his knowledge against the hysterical narrative that culminated in 4 years of frothing neo-McCarthyism (by the freakin' "left," no less), we were no longer gonna see him on the PBS newshour any more likely than we would and will see chris hedges, chomsky, or margaret kimberly.

Let's face it, we were lucky to win the editorial fight to even give him space in the Nation.

His book War With Russia? was an oasis of counter-narrative when I picked it up. Losing voices like his is immeasurable as we hurtle toward total war with Russia and/or China, both of whom are finally, naturally, and perfectly predictably beginning to draw a line in the sand.

[Oct 01, 2020] Getting Rid of the Myth of 'Isolationism' -

Notable quotes:
"... The Tragedy of American Diplomacy ..."
Oct 01, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Getting Rid Of The Myth Of 'Isolationism'

'Isolationism' is not real, and never has been. It is an insult thrown at realists by the architects of senseless wars. (By Mike Focus/Shutterstock)

SEPTEMBER 30, 2020

|

12:01 AM

DANIEL LARISON

No one claims to be an isolationist, but foreign policy analysts keep imagining and fearing a "resurgence" of isolationism around every corner. This fear was on display in a recent Atlantic article by Charles Kupchan, who tries to rehabilitate the label in order to oppose the substance of a policy of nonintervention and non-entanglement. Kupchan allows that a policy of avoiding entangling alliances and staying out of European wars was important for the growth and prosperity of the United States, but then rehearses the same old and misleading story about the terrible "isolationist" interwar years that we have heard countless times before. This misrepresents the history of that period and compromises our ability to rethink our foreign policy today.

Kupchan's article is not just an exercise in beating a dead horse, since he fears that the same thing that happened between the world wars is happening again: "If the 19th century was isolationism's finest hour, the interwar era was surely its darkest and most deluded. The conditions that led to this misguided run for cover are making a comeback." Kupchan wants to borrow a little from the people he calls "isolationists" so that the U.S. will remain thoroughly ensnared in most of its global commitments.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13045197114175078?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13045197114175078-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theamericanconservative.com&rid=www.theamericanconservative.com&width=838

At the same time that he warns that "U.S. statecraft has become divorced from popular will," he seems to want to keep it this way by rejecting what he calls the "isolationist temptation." If "a majority of the country favors either America First or global disengagement," as he says, the goal seems to be to ignore what the majority wants in favor of making a few tweaks to the same old strategy of U.S. primacy. Those tweaks aren't going to lessen popular support for a reduced U.S. role in the world, and they will likely make the public even more disillusioned with the remaining costs and demands of U.S. "leadership."

The key thing to remember in all this is that the U.S. has never been isolationist in its foreign relations. The thing that Kupchan calls America's "default setting" is not real. Isolationism is the pejorative term that expansionists and interventionists have used over the last century to ridicule and dismiss opposition to unnecessary wars. Isolationism as U.S. policy in the 1920s and 1930s is a myth , and the myth is deployed whenever there has been a serious challenge to the status quo in post-1945 U.S. foreign policy. Bear Braumoeller summed it up very well in his article , "The Myth of American Isolationism," this way: "the characterization of America as isolationist in the interwar period is simply wrong." We can't learn from the past if we insist on distorting it. As William Appleman Williams put it in The Tragedy of American Diplomacy , "It not only deforms the history of the decade from 1919 to 1930, but it also twists the story of American entry into World War II and warps the record of the cold war." Williams also remarked in a note that the use of the term isolationist "has thus crippled American thought about foreign policy for 50 years." Today we can say that it has done so for a century.

Our government eschewed permanent alliances for most of its history, and it refrained from taking sides in the European Great Power conflicts of the nineteenth century, but it never sought to cut itself from the world and could not have done that even if it had wished to do so. The U.S. was a commercial republic from the start, and it cultivated economic and diplomatic ties with as many states as possible. You can call the steady expansion of the U.S. across North America and into the Pacific and Caribbean "isolationism," but that just shows how misleading and inaccurate the label has always been.

Post-WWI America was a rising power and increasingly involved in the affairs of the world. Its economic and diplomatic engagement with the world increased during these years. If it wasn't involved in the way that later internationalists would have liked, that didn't make the U.S. isolationist. Braumoeller makes this point explicitly: "America was not isolationist in affairs relating to international security in Europe for the bulk of the period: in fact, it was perhaps more internationalist than it had ever been." The U.S. was behaving as a great power, but one that strove to maintain its neutrality. That was neither deluded nor disastrous, and we need to stop pretending that it was if we are ever going to be able to make the needed changes to our foreign policy today.

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Kupchan acknowledges that there has to be an "adjustment" after the last several decades of overreach, but he casts this as a way of preventing more significant retrenchment: "The paramount question is whether that adjustment takes the form of a judicious pullback or a more dangerous retreat." No one objects to the desire for a responsible reduction in U.S. commitments, but one person's "judicious pullback" will often be denounced as a "dangerous retreat" by others. Just consider how many times we have been warned about a U.S. "retreat" from the Middle East over the last 11 years. Even now, the U.S. is still taking part in multiple wars across the region, and the "retreat" we have been told has happened several times never seems to take place. Warning about the perils of an "isolationist comeback" hardly makes it more likely that these withdrawals will ever happen.

He recommends that "judicious retrenchment should entail shedding U.S. entanglements in the periphery, not in the strategic heartlands of Europe and Asia." Certainly, any reduction in unnecessary U.S. commitments is welcome, but a thorough rethinking of U.S. foreign policy has to include every region. Kupchan is right to criticize slapdash, incompetent withdrawals, but one gets the impression that he thinks there shouldn't be any withdrawals except from the Middle East. He cites "Russian and Chinese threats" as the main reasons not to pull back at all in Europe or Asia, but this seems like an uncritical endorsement of the status quo.

It is in East Asia where the U.S. might be fighting a war against a major, nuclear-armed power in the future, and it is also there where the U.S. has some of the wealthiest and most capable allies. If the U.S. can't reduce its exposure to the risk of a major war where that risk is the greatest and its allies are strongest, when will it ever be able to do that? Reducing the U.S. military presence in East Asia will make it easier to manage U.S.-Chinese tensions, and it will give allies an additional incentive to assume more responsibility for their own security.

The U.S. has far more security commitments than it can afford and far more than can possibly be justified by our own security interests. That includes, but is not limited to, our overcommitment to the Middle East. Our foreign entanglements have been allowed to grow and spread to such an extent over the last seventy-five years that modest pruning won't be good enough to put U.S. foreign policy on a sound footing that will have reliable public support. There needs to be a much more comprehensive review of all U.S. commitments to determine which ones are truly necessary for our security and which ones are not. Ruling out the bulk of those commitments as untouchable in advance is a mistake.

There is broad public support for constructive international engagement, but there is remarkably little backing for preserving U.S. hegemony in its current form. In order to have a more sustainable foreign policy, the U.S. needs to scale back its ambitions in most parts of the world, and it needs to shift more of the security burdens for different regions to the countries that have the most at stake. That should be done deliberately and carefully, but it does need to happen if we are to realign our foreign policy with protecting the vital interests of the United States. ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC , where he also keeps a solo blog . He has been published in the New York Times Book Review , Dallas Morning News , World Politics Review , Politico Magazine , Orthodox Life , Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week . He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter .



Gaius Gracchus
19 hours ago

Richard Hofsteder is largely responsible for this falsehood, like he is for making "populist" a by-word, as Thomas Frank points out in his new book.

I prefer the term "non-interventionist" or Washingtonian, myself. I continue to be stuck by the amazing wisdom of Washington's Farewell Address (largely written by Hamilton). It really should be our guide to this day.

Room_237 13 hours ago

The US had an active and fairly successful foreign policy in the 1920s. What hurt our foreign policy activities was the Great Depression.

bournite Room_237 11 hours ago

Try a seance and tell this Augusto Cesar Sandino. Two American brothers who owned a gold mine in his country had another brother at the State Department. That's how FP was "successful." https://en.wikipedia.org/wi...

Disqus10021 bournite 9 hours ago

Europe would have been better off if the US had stayed out of WWI and let major belligerents fight it out until they reached a cease fire on their own. The US entry into the war, tipped the scales in favor of Britain and France and resulted in a very harsh peace treaty being imposed on Germany in 1919. Four years later, Germany's currency collapsed, wiping out the savings of millions of average Germans. The Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1930 made economic conditions for people in central Europe very bad and conrtibuted to the rising popularity of the Nazi party in Germany.

RAF 12 hours ago • edited

The world is so much smaller today than it was when this country was formed and organized by the Founding Fathers. (Mothers were not allowed)

The idea of international associations and cooperation is required with today's world. When some country like China sneezes, the whole world needs a face mask!

The Age of Daniel Boone is dead. America must be fully engaged in world matters. That does not mean going into every country with our military. America needs to continue to give some leadership in world affairs. It would be suicidal to close the windows to the rest of the world.

rayray RAF 4 hours ago

I agree. The world is interconnected, engagement is a necessity. The problem with the US FP at this point is to see every issue as an opportunity to throw around our military weight and call it "engagement". Being fully engaged in the world is a state department issue - smart and educated diplomats working the lines of communication and cooperation with every nation to build a reputation for US leadership, to foment peace, and to build prosperity. Obviously, under Trump and Pompeo this is a waste of breath.

Worth noting, a friend of mine, ex-CIA, has made an absolute fortune off of our military preoccupations. And even he said (perhaps exaggerating) that you could get rid of 90% of the traditional military with little or no loss in actual national security. Most of it is, as he said, corporate welfare and window dressing.

(Of course he then said you should spend what you've saved entirely on cyber-security)

bournite 12 hours ago

Using the 'I' Word for War and Profit
Column by Tim Hartnett, posted on April 03, 2013
in War and Peace
Column by Tim Hartnett.

Exclusive to STR

For about a century now, Humpty-Dumpty has been the go-to man for fans of elaborate American foreign adventures. Unwelcome inquiries are put down with a one word incantation that blesses and immunizes government-funded schemes that are always cash cows for somebody. "Isolationist" means exactly what its users mean it to mean--no more and no less. Every entry on the first page of my online search for the word "isolationism" provided the same definition: "The national policy of abstaining from political or economic relations with other countries." Nobody on the furthest fringes of the political spectrum who gets ink or air time comes close calling for a plan fitting that description.

The word remains in healthy circulation despite the total absence of public figures advocating anything of the kind. Its real linguistic purpose is to obstruct examination of extra-territorial programs that don't work and often do considerable harm.

Most of us first learned of the dreaded I-beast in grade school study of WWI. Back in that good old day, the authorities had sense enough to put these naysayers in prisons after allowing hostile crowds to have at 'em for an hour or so. If the folks at The Weekly Standard, the Heritage Foundation, AEI, Fox News et al get their way, hoosegow entrepreneurs will be back in that market before too long. How could anyone oppose US entry into The Great War, anyway? It's what catapulted us to the top of the economic heap. We are probably only one good war away from reclaiming that title.

The first people to stoke lynch mobs with the "I" word claimed we were fighting a war "to make the world safe for democracy." The Irish, Indians, Algerians, Pacific Islanders, Russian peasants, Filipinos, the Congolese and millions of other Africans were not educated well enough to accept this as readily as freedom-loving Americans did. Without guys like J.P. Morgan, J.D. Rockefeller, Charles Schwab and others who hired PR men to keep the country thinking right thoughts, foreigners are often easily misled. Isolationists are as rare on Wall Street as atheists are in foxholes.

To understand the perfidious way that isolationism works, try and visualize a typical slice of American policy from say 1968. Some experts and officers in a room at the Pentagon decide a spot on the map could use a good bombing, and the order is relayed via satellite to South Vietnam. At five they leave work to fight rush hour traffic and get home in time for a smoke with Walter Cronkite. Some Navy fliers get dispatched, and once the napalm is fixed to the jets, they're airborne. Thirty-five minutes later, the right patch below them, it's bombs away and a U-turn. An undernourished five year old girl foolishly lives nearby and an eight ounce blob of gel burning at 1,800 degrees lands on her back. She is immediately screaming and burns for six minutes until an adult manages to put the incinerating child out.

Meanwhile, the flyboys are on terra firma again with beers, joints, Steppenwolf on the turntable and much lamenting of St. Louis' undeserved defeat at the hands of Detroit. The little girl's screaming still pierces the tropical air. The engineers and the chemists who designed the people-melting device are on the other side of the world asleep in their suburban beds. And the tiny thing can't stop screaming. The next day at Harvard, William Kristol is expounding on communism, the domino theory, social responsibility, moral courage and careful reading. And the 32 lb. waif is still going through an endless agony that no man of oxen strength should ever have to endure in a lifetime. Isolating on these kinds of details misses the "big picture," I've been told. Only communists, terrorists and other abominable -ists focus on this kind of inhumane minutiae.

Forty years later, John McCain was wittily singing the lyrics "bomb Iran" while doubtless a child was on fire somewhere that US ordnance had exploded. The one certain outcome of such events is a profit for weapons manufacturers. Isolationists are oddly skeptical of the many benefits anti-isolationists find in all-purpose bombing campaigns. What's always clear is that people who speak publicly about their love for humanitarian bombing expect to be paid for it.

There are a lot of things that "isolationists" just don't know, and it must be for this ignorance they are so despised by both mainstream media and Wall Street's favorite politicians. They don't know why we have 50,000 soldiers in Germany or another 30,000 in Japan. Why we paid to keep an incorrigible thug like Mubarak in business for 30 years. Why we need missiles in Eastern Europe. Why we helped every bloodthirsty, misanthropic power monger in Central America. Why we needed to help Turkey get Ocalan. Why South Ossetia's nationalistic prerogatives are our business. Why foreign governments should be pressured by our diplomats on Wall Street's behalf. Why our government takes some kind of stand in every foreign war, election, national event or internal matter of almost any kind. How we can indict one country for human rights violations while buddying up to worse offenders like Saudi Arabia regularly. Why our foreign initiatives proceed based on fantastic ideologies in contempt of facts. These are just a few of the quandaries that afflict the minds of people who aren't buying the divine right of American altruist aristocracy to fine tune the rest of the world. They aren't exactly keen on the hyper-interventionist tendencies that keep so many beltway bandits in the chips, either.

What they also don't know is why the elite media, the experts and elected officials, if they truly understand these things, can't be called upon to explain any of them to the rest of us satisfactorily. On March 20, Dana Milbank called Rand Paul an "isolationist" in his column without any explanation. In the future, he might want to right click on Microsoft Word and choose the Look up option before deploying the term.

After American involvement in Vietnam ended, many proponents of the action claimed the death toll there would have been even worse without our presence. Others go so far as to maintain that fighting in such conflicts protects US citizens' privileges, like freedom of speech, here at home. They expect us all to believe that "Isolationists," by any definition, wouldn't get away with spouting their un-American propaganda in public places, or on television if any were allowed there, but for a policy that napalms little girls.

While people smeared with the I-word persistently point out that they are merely against policies that are misguided, immoral and often murderous, their detractors insist that what they really oppose is America. In the "big picture" mindset of the interventionist, you can't have one without the other.

kouroi 9 hours ago

Beat them over the head with a stick, that might do it.

As for the entanglements in east Asia, none of the countries under direct US vassalage have major disputes with China and do not need US protection. And it is likely that without the US Korea would be on a path to reunification. The US is trying to beat everyone in line to show who's the boss... So it seems, this K guy, like all his ilk are presenting things in a very Manichean way: either primacy or "isolationism". There is so much in between these two...

[Sep 29, 2020] Some excellently timed next level trolling of the USA from Putin.

Sep 29, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

ET AL September 27, 2020 at 9:17 am

Neuters via Antiwar.com : Putin Calls For Mutual Ban on Election Meddling With US
https://news.antiwar.com/2020/09/25/putin-calls-for-mutual-ban-on-election-meddling-with-us/

US intel agencies claim Russia, China, and Iran are meddling in 2020 election

On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the US and Russia should sign an agreement promising not to meddle in each other's elections. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-usa-putin/putin-says-russia-and-u-s-should-agree-not-to-meddle-in-each-others-elections-idUSKCN26G1LJ

Putin proposed, "exchanging guarantees of non-interference in each other's internal affairs, including electoral processes, including using information and communication technologies and high-tech methods."..

####

That is some excellently timed next level trolling from Pootie-McPoot-Face.

MARK CHAPMAN September 27, 2020 at 12:19 pm

Of course the USA will never agree to such a proposal, because (a) it does not regard its meddling as 'interference' but as the bringing of the gift of freedom, (b) it stands on its absolute right of judgment as to what is a situation that requires more democracy and what is not, and (c) it probably knows at some level that Russia did not meddle in the US elections, and that it would therefore in that case be constraining its own behavior in exchange for nothing.

But then, when refused – I imagine the US will try to extract something from the offer, such as "A-HA!! So you ADMIT to meddling in our elections!! – Russia can obviously claim, "Well, we tried."

[Sep 28, 2020] I wonder if anybody here have considered a possibility that the neoliberal cabal now in power in the US wants to destroy the standard of living of common people and eliminate all social protections of the New Deal, living in place for the police state and oversized the military

Recruiting for military is much easier if there is no jobs.
Notable quotes:
"... They want to eliminate the EPA, vacate the State Dept and many other Depts, except for a few high-placed cronies, wipe all financial, labour, consumer and environmental regulations off the books; eliminate or reduce to a bare minimum federal health insurance, medicaid, medicare and Social Security, crush public education, privatize everything they can sell, and so on. They are not in power to "govern" but to destroy government. This is all being done with a fairly unified agenda: to free "the market" from any restrictions whatsoever, so that they -- global elites -- can make as much money as possible. It's a cabal of global corporations, militarists, Christian sovereign white supremacists, fossil fuel giants and bankers ..."
Sep 28, 2020 | peterturchin.com

Shaun Bartone February 27, 2017 at 3:47 pm

I wonder if any of the commentators here have considered that the [neoliberal] cabal now in power in the US (not elsewhere) are not in power to "take power" except for a temporary period. They don't want to run the federal government, they want to destroy it, except for the police state and the military.

They want to eliminate the EPA, vacate the State Dept and many other Depts, except for a few high-placed cronies, wipe all financial, labour, consumer and environmental regulations off the books; eliminate or reduce to a bare minimum federal health insurance, medicaid, medicare and Social Security, crush public education, privatize everything they can sell, and so on. They are not in power to "govern" but to destroy government. This is all being done with a fairly unified agenda: to free "the market" from any restrictions whatsoever, so that they -- global elites -- can make as much money as possible. It's a cabal of global corporations, militarists, Christian sovereign white supremacists, fossil fuel giants and bankers , and I think there's a high degree of cooperation for the agenda. The revolution is the cabal run by Trump/Bannon who are more extreme and ideological than any previous faction, who have no tolerance for compromise. They have an apocalyptic vision of grinding it all down to a bare minimum police state.

[Sep 28, 2020] From Conflict to Crisis- The Danger of U.S. Actions by Jeanne M. Haskin

Sep 28, 2020 | www.amazon.com

In the United States, a great deal of study and energy goes into promoting respect for democracy, not just to keep it alive here but also to spread it around the world. It embraces the will of the majority, whether or not its main beneficiaries have more resources than other citizens do, as shown by the election of President Obama, who promised hope and change for the suffering majority, but did not sit long in office before being subjected to an economic vote of no-confidence.

Those who claim we run a plutocracy (government for the rich by the rich) -- or that we're victims of a conspiracy contrived by a shadow government -- are right while being wrong.

Our government is beyond the reach of ordinary American citizens in terms of economic power. However, the creation of a system to keep the majority of the populace at the losing end of a structure which neither promised nor delivered a state of financial equality was a predictable extension of the economic system the U.S. government was formed to protect.

... .... ...

Forty years of Cold War and the ultimate realization that abuse of the communist system and a hierarchy of privilege proved that system to be vulnerable to selfishness -- in common with the triumphant capitalist countries.

Because any desired outcome can be written into an equation to exclude unwanted facts or inputs by holding some things constant while applying chosen variables that may not hold true under every historical circumstance, it's considered "falsifiable" and therefore "scientific." But only if it appeals to the right people and justifies a given political need will it become sacrosanct (until the next round of "progress").

.... .... ...

Abusive Self- Interest

In 1764, twenty- five years before the embrace of Madame Guillotine (when heads rolled literally to put the fear of the mob into politics), contempt for the filth and poverty in which the French commoners lived while the nobility gorged on luxury goods showed how arrogant they were, not just in confidence that their offices of entitlement were beyond reproach and unassailable, but that mockery and insult in the face of deliberate deprivation would be borne with obedience and humility.

It certainly affected Smith's outlook, since he wrote The Wealth of Nations with a focus on self- interest rather than moral sentiments. And while this may be purely pragmatic, based on what

he witnessed, he also wrote about the potential for self- interest to become abusive, both in collusion with individuals and when combined with the power of government. Business interests could form cabals (groups of conspirators, plotting public harm) or monopolies (organizations with exclusive market control) to fix prices at their highest levels. A true laissez- faire economy would provide every incentive to conspire against consumers and attempt to influence budgets and legislation.

Smith's assertion that self- interest leads producers to favor domestic industry must also be understood in the context of the period. While it's true that the Enlightenment was a movement of rational philosophy radically opposed to secrecy, it's important to understand that this had to be done respectfully , insofar as all arguments were intended to impress the monarchy under circumstances where the king believed himself God- appointed and infallible, no matter his past or present policies, and matters were handled with delicacy. Yet, Smith's arguments are clear enough (and certainly courageous enough) to be understood in laymen's terms.

In an era when the very industry he's observing has been fostered by tariffs, monopolies, labor controls, and materials extracted from colonies, he did his best to balance observation with what he thought was best for society. It's not his fault we pick and choose our recipes for what we do and don't believe or where we think Smith might have gone had he been alive today.


The New Double Standard

The only practical way to resolve the contradiction between the existing beneficiaries of state favoritism in this period and Smith's aversion to it is to observe that the means to prevent competition and interference with the transition from one mode of commerce to another that enhances the strength of the favored or provides a new means to grow their wealth is to close the door of government intervention behind them and burn any bridges to it.

In psychological terms, the practice of "negative attribution" is to assume that identical behavior is justifiable for oneself but not another. It may not be inconsistent with a system of economics founded on self- interest, but it naturally begs a justification as to why it rules out everyone else's self- interest. The beauty of this system is that it will always have the same answer.

You may have guessed it.

Progress.

Reallocation of Assets

It was always understood that capitalism produces winners and losers. The art of economizing is to gain maximum benefit for minimum expenditure, which generally translates to asset consolidation and does not necessarily mean there is minimum sacrifice. There's an opportunity cost for everything, whether it's human, financial, environmental, or material. But the most important tenet of free market capitalism is that asset redistribution requires the U. S. government to go to DEFCON 1, unless assets are being reallocated for "higher productivity," in which case the entire universe is saved from the indefensible sin of lost opportunity.

Private property is sacred -- up until an individual decides he can make more productive use of it and appeals to the courts for seizure under eminent domain or until the government decides it will increase national growth if owned by some other person or entity. In like manner, corporations can suffer hostile takeovers, just as deregulation facilitates predatory market behavior and cutthroat competition promotes an efficiency orientation that means fewer jobs and lower incomes, which result in private losses.

In the varying range of causes underlying the loss of assets, the common threat is progress -- the "civilized" justification for depriving some other person or entity of their right to own property, presumably earned by the sweat of their brow, except their sweat doesn't have the same champion as someone who can wring more profit from it. The official explanation is that the government manages the "scarcity" of resources to benefit the world. This is also how we justify war, aggression, and genocide, though we don't always admit to that unless we mean to avoid it.


Perfectly Rational Genocide

History cooperates with the definition of Enlightenment if we imagine that thoughtfulness has something to do with genocide. In the context of American heritage, it has meant that when someone stands in the way of progress, his or her resources are "reallocated" to serve the pursuit of maximum profit, with or without consent. The war against Native Americans was one in which Americans either sought and participated in annihilation efforts or believed this end was inevitable. In the age of rational thought, meditation on the issue could lead from gratitude for the help early settlers received from Native Americans to the observation they didn't enclose their land and had no concept of private property,

to the conviction they were unmotivated by profit and therefore irreconcilable savages. But it takes more than rational thought to mobilize one society to exterminate another.

The belief in manifest destiny -- that God put the settlers in America for preordained and glorious purposes which gave them a right to everything -- turned out to be just the ticket for a free people opposed to persecution and the tyranny of church and state.

Lest the irony elude you, economic freedom requires divorcing the state from religion, but God can be used to whip up the masses, distribute "It's Them or Us" cards, and send people out to die on behalf of intellectuals and investors who've rationalized their chosenness.

CHAPTER TWO: INSTILLING THE ILLUSION OF CHOICE

Selfishness may be exalted as the root and branch of capitalism, but it doesn't make you look good to the party on the receiving end or those whose sympathy he earns. For that, you need a government prepared to do four things, which each have separate dictums based on study, theorization, and experience.

Coercion: Force is illegitimate only if you can't sell it.
Persuasion: How do I market thee? Let me count the ways.
Bargaining: If you won't scratch my back, then how about a piece of the pie?
Indoctrination: Because I said so. (And paid for the semantics.)

Predatory capitalism is the control and expropriation of land, labor, and natural resources by a foreign government via coercion, persuasion, bargaining, and indoctrination.

At the coercive stage, we can expect military and/ or police intervention to repress the subject populace. The persuasive stage will be marked by clientelism, in which a small percentage of the populace will be rewarded for loyalty, often serving as the capitalists' administrators, tax collectors, and enforcers. At the bargaining stage, efforts will be made to include the populace, or a certain percentage of it, in the country's ruling system, and this is usually marked by steps toward democratic (or, more often, autocratic) governance.

At the fourth stage, the populace is educated by capitalists, such that they continue to maintain a relationship of dependency.


The Predatory Debt Link

In many cases, post- colonial states were forced to assume the debts of their colonizers. And where they did not, they were encouraged to become in debt to the West via loans that were issued through international institutions to ensure they did not fall prey to communism or pursue other economic policies that were inimical to the West. Debt is the tie that binds nation states to the geostrategic and economic interests of the West.

As such, the Cold War era was a time of easy credit, luring postcolonial states to undertake the construction of useless monoliths and monuments, and to even expropriate such loans through corruption and despotism, thereby making these independent rulers as predatory as colonizers. While some countries were wiser than others and did use the funds for infrastructural improvements, these were also things that benefited the West and particularly Western contractors. In his controversial work Confessions of an Economic Hit Man , John Perkins reveals that he was a consultant for an American firm (MAIN), whose job was to ensure that states became indebted beyond their means so they would remain loyal to their creditors, buying them votes within United Nations organizations, among other things.

Predatory capitalists demand export- orientations as the means to generate foreign currency with which to pay back debt. In the process, the state must privatize and drastically slash or eliminate any domestic subsidies which are aimed at helping native industry compete in the marketplace. Domestic consumption and imports must be radically contained, as shown by the exchange rate policies recommended by the IMF. The costs of obtaining domestic capital will be pushed beyond the reach of most native producers, while wages must be depressed to an absolute bare minimum. In short, the country's land, labor, and natural resources must be sold at bargain basement prices in order to make these goods competitive, in what one author has called "a spiraling race to the bottom," as countries producing predominantly the same goods engage in cutthroat competition whose benefactor is the West.

Under these circumstances, foreign investment is encouraged, but this, too, represents a loaded situation for countries that open their markets to financial liberalization. Since, in most cases, the

IMF does not allow restrictions on the conditions of capital inflows, it means that financial investors can literally dictate their terms. And since no country is invulnerable to attacks on its currency, which governments must try to keep at a favorable exchange rate, it means financial marauders can force any country to try to prop up its currency using vital reserves of foreign exchange which might have been used to pay their debt.

When such is the case, the IMF comes to the rescue with a socalled "bailout fund," that allows foreign investors to withdraw their funds intact, while the government reels from the effects of an IMF- imposed austerity plan, often resulting in severe recession the offshoot of which is bankruptcies by the thousands and plummeting employment.

In countries that experienced IMF bailouts due to attacks on their currencies, the effect was to reset the market so the only economic survivors were those who remained export- oriented and were strong enough to withstand the upheaval. This means they remained internationally competitive, which translates to low earnings of foreign exchange. At the same time that the country is being bled from the bottom up through mass unemployment, extremely low wages, and the "spiraling race to the bottom," it is in an even more unfavorable position concerning the payment of debt. The position is that debt slavery ensues, as much an engine of extraction as any colonial regime ever managed.


The Role of Indoctrination

The fact that it is sovereign governments overseeing the work of debt repression has much to do with education, which is the final phase of predatory capitalism, concluding in indoctrination. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the lesson to the world was that socialism can't work, nor were there any remaining options for countries that pursued "the third way" other than capitalism. This produced a virulent strain of neoliberalism in which most people were, and are, being educated. The most high- ranking of civil servants have either been educated in the West or directly influenced by its thinking. And this status of acceptance and adherence finally constitutes indoctrination. The system is now self- sustaining, upheld by domestic agents.

While predatory capitalism can proceed along a smooth continuum from coercion to persuasion to bargaining to formal indoctrination, the West can regress to any of these steps at any point in

time, given the perceived need to interfere with varying degrees of force in order to protect its interests.


Trojan Politics

Democracy is about having the power and flexibility to graft our system of government and predatory capitalism onto any target country, regardless of relative strength or conflicting ideologies. An entire productive industry has grown up using the tools of coercion, persuasion, bargaining, and formal indoctrination to maximize their impact in the arena of U. S. politics. Its actors know how to jerk the right strings, push the right buttons, and veer from a soft sell to a hard sell when resistance dictates war, whether it's with planes overhead and tanks on the ground or with massive capital flight that panics the whole world.

When the U. S. political economy goes into warp overdrive, its job proves far more valuable than anything ever made in the strict material sense because there's never been more at stake in terms of what it's trying to gain. It's the American idea machine made up of corporations, lobbyists, think tanks, foundations, universities, and consultants in every known discipline devoted to mass consumerism, and what they sell is illusory opportunity dressed in American principles. They embrace political candidates who'll play by elitist rules to preserve the fiction of choice, and, in this way, they maintain legitimacy, no matter what kind of "reallocation" is on the economic agenda.

The issue is not whether we'll question it, but who we'll applaud for administering it.

In the Information Age, perception management is king.


[Sep 22, 2020] The hypocrisy of Western democracy promotion

Sep 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Sep 20 2020 16:45 utc | 8

How the west lost

What I liked most about this article was the highlighting of impossible-to-counter narratives, the hypocrisy of Western democracy promotion (even as Western governments fellate domestic and foreign economic elites), and the denigration of nationalism from 1990-2016.

Sadly, the author does a disservice in suggesting that such manipulations are past. Instead, the Western power-elite has done what it does best: co-opt a 'winning' narrative (nationalism) and double-down.

Other deficiencies:

  1. Ignores the fact that the US Deep State, caretakers of the Empire, hasn't accepted defeat. Since 2014 they have been actively trying to reverse what they see as a major set-back (not defeat).

    Via economic sanctions, trade wars, propaganda, and military tensions the Empire is waging a hybrid war against what it calls the "revisionist" efforts of Russia and China.

  2. Plays into the propaganda narrative of Trump as populist.
  3. Fails to see the 1990's 'economic shock therapy' as a deliberate attempt to push Russia into total capitulation. This, darker view, was confirmed obliquely by Kissinger in his interview with ft in which he stated that no one could foresee the ability of Russia to absorb pain.
!!

[Sep 21, 2020] Stephen Cohen Has Died. Remember His Urgent Warnings Against The New Cold War by Caitlin Johnstone

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God
"... In a world that is increasingly confusing and awash with propaganda, Cohen's death is a blow to humanity's desperate quest for clarity and understanding. ..."
Sep 19, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org

Stephen F Cohen, the renowned American scholar on Russia and leading authority on US-Russian relations, has died of lung cancer at the age of 81.

As one of the precious few western voices of sanity on the subject of Russia while everyone else has been frantically flushing their brains down the toilet, this is a real loss. I myself have cited Cohen's expert analysis many times in my own work, and his perspective has played a formative role in my understanding of what's really going on with the monolithic cross-partisan manufacturing of consent for increased western aggressions against Moscow.

In a world that is increasingly confusing and awash with propaganda, Cohen's death is a blow to humanity's desperate quest for clarity and understanding.

I don't know how long Cohen had cancer. I don't know how long he was aware that he might not have much time left on this earth. What I do know is he spent much of his energy in his final years urgently trying to warn the world about the rapidly escalating danger of nuclear war, which in our strange new reality he saw as in many ways completely unprecedented.

The last of the many books Cohen authored was 2019's War with Russia? , detailing his ideas on how the complex multi-front nature of the post-2016 cold war escalations against Moscow combines with Russiagate and other factors to make it in some ways more dangerous even than the most dangerous point of the previous cold war.

"You know it's easy to joke about this, except that we're at maybe the most dangerous moment in US-Russian relations in my lifetime, and maybe ever," Cohen told The Young Turks in 2017. "And the reason is that we're in a new cold war, by whatever name. We have three cold war fronts that are fraught with the possibility of hot war, in the Baltic region where NATO is carrying out an unprecedented military buildup on Russia's border, in Ukraine where there is a civil and proxy war between Russia and the west, and of course in Syria, where Russian aircraft and American warplanes are flying in the same territory. Anything could happen."

Cohen repeatedly points to the most likely cause of a future nuclear war: not one that is planned but one which erupts in tense, complex situations where "anything could happen" in the chaos and confusion as a result of misfire, miscommunication or technical malfunction, as nearly happened many times during the last cold war.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/kqQbK_6meM8?feature=oembed

"I think this is the most dangerous moment in American-Russian relations, at least since the Cuban missile crisis," Cohen told Democracy Now in 2017. "And arguably, it's more dangerous, because it's more complex. Therefore, we -- and then, meanwhile, we have in Washington these -- and, in my judgment, factless accusations that Trump has somehow been compromised by the Kremlin. So, at this worst moment in American-Russian relations, we have an American president who's being politically crippled by the worst imaginable -- it's unprecedented. Let's stop and think. No American president has ever been accused, essentially, of treason. This is what we're talking about here, or that his associates have committed treason."

"Imagine, for example, John Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis," Cohen added. "Imagine if Kennedy had been accused of being a secret Soviet Kremlin agent. He would have been crippled. And the only way he could have proved he wasn't was to have launched a war against the Soviet Union. And at that time, the option was nuclear war."

"A recurring theme of my recently published book War with Russia? is that the new Cold War is more dangerous, more fraught with hot war, than the one we survived," Cohen wrote last year . "Histories of the 40-year US-Soviet Cold War tell us that both sides came to understand their mutual responsibility for the conflict, a recognition that created political space for the constant peace-keeping negotiations, including nuclear arms control agreements, often known as détente. But as I also chronicle in the book, today's American Cold Warriors blame only Russia, specifically 'Putin's Russia,' leaving no room or incentive for rethinking any US policy toward post-Soviet Russia since 1991."

"Finally, there continues to be no effective, organized American opposition to the new Cold War," Cohen added. "This too is a major theme of my book and another reason why this Cold War is more dangerous than was its predecessor. In the 1970s and 1980s, advocates of détente were well-organized, well-funded, and well-represented, from grassroots politics and universities to think tanks, mainstream media, Congress, the State Department, and even the White House. Today there is no such opposition anywhere."

"A major factor is, of course, 'Russiagate'," Cohen continued. "As evidenced in the sources I cite above, much of the extreme American Cold War advocacy we witness today is a mindless response to President Trump's pledge to find ways to 'cooperate with Russia' and to the still-unproven allegations generated by it. Certainly, the Democratic Party is not an opposition party in regard to the new Cold War."

"Détente with Russia has always been a fiercely opposed, crisis-ridden policy pursuit, but one manifestly in the interests of the United States and the world," Cohen wrote in another essay last year. "No American president can achieve it without substantial bipartisan support at home, which Trump manifestly lacks. What kind of catastrophe will it take -- in Ukraine, the Baltic region, Syria, or somewhere on Russia's electric grid -- to shock US Democrats and others out of what has been called, not unreasonably, their Trump Derangement Syndrome, particularly in the realm of American national security? Meanwhile, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has recently reset its Doomsday Clock to two minutes before midnight."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/owbMRxC382A?feature=oembed

And now Stephen Cohen is dead, and that clock is inching ever closer to midnight. The Russiagate psyop that he predicted would pressure Trump to advance dangerous cold war escalations with no opposition from the supposed opposition party has indeed done exactly that with nary a peep of criticism from either partisan faction of the political/media class. Cohen has for years been correctly predicting this chilling scenario which now threatens the life of every organism on earth, even while his own life was nearing its end.

And now the complex cold war escalations he kept urgently warning us about have become even more complex with the addition of nuclear-armed China to the multiple fronts the US-centralized empire has been plate-spinning its brinkmanship upon, and it is clear from the ramping up of anti-China propaganda since last year that we are being prepped for those aggressions to continue to increase.

We should heed the dire warnings that Cohen spent his last breaths issuing. We should demand a walk-back of these insane imperialist aggressions which benefit nobody and call for détente with Russia and China. We should begin creating an opposition to this world-threatening flirtation with armageddon before it is too late. Every life on this planet may well depend on our doing so.

Stephen Cohen is dead, and we are marching toward the death of everything. God help us all.

medium.com

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novictim , 55 minutes ago

People are just now starting to realize that possible alternate path. But the Demoncrats in the USA must first be put down, politically euthanized, along with their neocon never-Trump Republican partners. And that cleaning up is on the way. Trump's second term will be the advancement of the USA-Russia initiative that is so long overdue.

PerilouseTimes , 48 minutes ago

Putin won't let western billionaires rape Russia's enormous natural resources and on top of that Putin is against child molesters, that is what this Russia bashing is all about.

awesomepic4u , 1 hour ago

Sad to hear this.

What a good man. It is a real shame that we dont have others to stand up to this crazy pr that is going on right now. Making peace with the world at this point is important. We dont need or want another war and i am sure that both Europe and Russia dont want it on their turf but it seems we keep sticking our finger in their eye. If there is another war it will be the last war. As Einstein said, after the 3rd World War we will be using sticks and stones to fight it.

Clint Liquor , 44 minutes ago

Cohen truly was an island of reason in a sea of insanity. Ironic that those panicked over climate change are unconcerned about the increasing threat of Nuclear War.

thunderchief , 41 minutes ago

One of the very few level headed people on Russia.

All thats left are anti Russia-phobic nut jobs.

Send in the clowns.

Stephen Cohen isn't around to call them what they are anymore.

Eastern Whale , 55 minutes ago

cooperate with Russia

Has the US ever cooperated with anyone?

fucking truth , 3 minutes ago

That is the crux. All or nothing.

Mustafa Kemal , 49 minutes ago

Ive read several of his books. They are essential, imo, if you want to understand modern russian history.

Normal , 1 hour ago

The bankers created the new CCP cold war.

evoila , 19 minutes ago

Max Boot is an effing idiot. Tucker wiped him clean too. It was an insult to Stephen to even put them on the same panel.

RIP Stephen.

Gary Sick is the equivalent to Stephen, except for Iran. He too is of an era of competence which is and will be missed as their voices are drowned out by neocon warmongers

thebigunit , 17 minutes ago

I heard Stephen Cohen a number of time in John Bachelor's podcasts.

He seemed very lucid and made a lot of sense.

He made it very clear that he thought the Democrat's "Trump - Russia collusion schtick" was a bunch of crap.

He didn't sound like a leftie, but I'm sure he never told me the stuff he discussed with his wife who was editor of the left wing "The Nation" magazine.

Boogity , 9 minutes ago

Cohen was a traditional old school anti-war Liberal. They're essentially extinct now with the exception of a few such as Tulsi Gabbard and Dennis Kucinich who have both been ostracized from the Democrat Party and the political system.

[Sep 18, 2020] September 14, 2001- The Day America Became Israel - Antiwar.com Original

Notable quotes:
"... Apocalypse Now- ..."
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... War on the Rocks ..."
"... An Army Like No Other: How the Israel Defense Forces Made a Nation ..."
"... a defense industry with a country ..."
Sep 18, 2020 | original.antiwar.com

September 14, 2001: The Day America Became Israel

by Maj. Danny Sjursen, USA (ret.) Posted on September 18, 2020

This article is dedicated to the memory of an activist, inspiration, and recent friend: Kevin Zeese. Its scope, sweep, and ambition are meant to match that of Kevin's outsized influence. At that, it must inevitably fail – and its shortfalls are mine alone. That said, the piece's attempt at a holistic critique of 19 years worth of war and cultural militarization would, I hope, earn an approving nod from Kevin – if only at the attempt. He will be missed by so many; I count myself lucky to have gotten to know him. – Danny Sjursen

The rubble was still smoldering at Ground Zero when the U.S. House of Representatives voted to essentially transform itself into the Israeli Knesset , or parliament. It was 19 years ago, 11:17pm Washington D.C. time on September 14, 2001 when the People's Chamber approved House Joint Resolution 64, the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) "against those responsible for the recent attacks." Naturally, that was before the precise identities, and full scope, of "those responsible" were yet known – so the resolution's rubber-stamp was obscenely open-ended by necessity, but also by design.

The Senate had passed their own version by roll call vote about 12 hours earlier. The combined congressional tally was 518 to one. Only Representative Barbara Lee of California cast a dissenting vote , and even delivered a brief, prescient speech on the House floor. It's almost hard to watch and listen all these years later as her voice cracks with emotion amidst all that truth-telling :

I am convinced that military action will not prevent further acts of international terrorism against the United States. This is a very complex and complicated matter

However difficult this vote may be, some of us must urge the use of restraint. Our country is in a state of mourning. Some of us must say, let's step back for a moment and think through the implications of our actions today, so that this does not spiral out of control

Now I have agonized over this vote. But I came to grips with opposing this resolution during the very painful, yet very beautiful memorial service. As a member of the clergy so eloquently said, "As we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore."

For her lone stance – itself courageous, even had she not since been vindicated – Rep. Lee suffered insults and death threats so intense that she needed around-the-clock bodyguards for a time. It's hard to be right in a room full of the wrong – especially angry, scared, and jingoistic ones. Yet the tragedy is America has become many of the things we purport to deplore: the US now boasts a one-trick-pony foreign policy and a militarized society to boot.

Endless imperial interventions and perennial policing at home and abroad, counterproductive military adventurism, governance by permanent "emergency" fiat, and an ever more martial-society? We've seen this movie before; in fact it's still playing – in Israel. Without implying that Israel, as an entity, is somehow "evil," theirs was simply not a path the US need or ought to have gone down.

"A Republic, If You Can Keep It"

In the nearly two decades since its passing, the AUMF has been cited at least 41 times in some 17 countries and on the high seas . The specified nations-states included Afghanistan, Cuba (Guantanamo Bay), Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Iraq, Kenya, Libya, Philippines, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Jordan, Turkey, Niger, Cameroon, and the broader African "Sahel Region" – which presumably also covers the unnamed, but real, US troop presence in Nigeria, Chad and Mali. That's a lot of unnecessary digressions – missions that haven't, and couldn't, have been won. All of that aggression abroad predictably boomeranged back home , in the guise of freedoms constrained, privacy surveilled, plus cops and culture militarized.

Inevitably, just a few days ago, every publication, big and small, carried obligatory and ubiquitous 9/11 commemoration pieces. Far fewer will even note the AUMF anniversary. Yet it was the US government's response – not the attacks themselves – which most altered American strategy and society. For in dutifully deciding on immediate military retaliation, a "global war," even, on a tactic ("terror") and a concept ("evil") at that, this republic fell prey to the Founders' great obsession . Unable to agree on much else, they shared fears that the nascent American experiment would suffer Rome's " ancestral curse " of ambition – and its subsequent path to empire. Hence, Benjamin Franklin's supposed retort to a crowd question upon exiting the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, on just what they'd just framed: "A republic, if you can keep it!"

Yet perhaps a modern allegory is the more appropriate one: by signing on to an endless cycle of tit-for-tat terror retaliation on 9/14, We the People's representatives chose the Israeli path. Here was a state forged by the sword that it's consequently lived by ever since, and may well die by – though the cause of death, no doubt, would likely be self-inflicted. The first statutory step towards Washington transforming into Tel Aviv was that AUMF sanction 19 years ago tonight.

No doubt, some militarist fantasies came far closer on the heels of the September 11th suicide strikes: According to notes taken by aides, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld waited a whole five hours after Flight 77 impacted his Pentagon to instruct subordinates to gather the "best info fast. Judge whether good enough to hit [Saddam Hussein] at same time Not only [Osama Bin Laden]." As for the responsive strike plans, "Go massive," the notes quote Rumsfeld as saying. "Sweep it all up. Things related and not."

Nonetheless, it was Congress' dutiful AUMF-acquiescence that made America's Israeli-metamorphosis official. The endgame that ain't even ended yet has been dreadful. It's almost impossible to fathom, in retrospect, but remember that as of September 14, 2001, 7,052 American troops and, very conservatively, at least 800,000 foreigners (335,000 of them civilians) hadn't yet – and need not have – died in the ensuing AUMF-sanctioned worldwide wars.

Now, US forces didn't directly kill all of them, but that's about 112 September 11ths-worth of dead civilians by the very lowest estimates – perishing in wars of (American) choice. That's worth reckoning with; and needn't imply a dismissive attitude to our 9/11 fallen. I, for one, certainly take that date rather seriously.

My 9/11s

There are more than a dozen t-shirts hanging in my closet right now that are each emblazoned with the phrase "Annual Marty Egan 5K Memorial Run/Walk." This event is held back in the old neighborhood, honoring a very close family friend – a New York City fire captain killed in the towers' collapse. As my Uncle Steve's best bud, he was in and out of my grandparents' seemingly communal Midland Beach, Staten Island bungalow – before Hurricane Sandy washed many of them away – throughout my childhood. When I was a teenager, just before leaving for West Point, Marty would tease me for being "too skinny for a soldier" in the local YMCA weight-room and broke-balls about my vague fear of heights as I shakily climbed a ladder in Steve's backyard just weeks before I left for cadet basic training. Always delivered with a smile, of course.

Marty was doing some in-service training on September 11th, and didn't have to head towards the flames, but he hopped on a passing truck and rode to his death anyway. I doubt anyone who knew him would've expected anything less. Mercifully, Marty's body was one of the first – and at the time, only – recovered , just two days after Congress chose war in his, and 2,976 others' name. He was found wearing borrowed gear from engine company he'd jumped in with.

I was a freshman cadet at West Point when I heard all of this news – left feeling so very distant from home, family, neighborhood, though I was just a 90 minute drive north. Frankly, I couldn't wait to get in the fights that followed. It's no excuse, really: but I was at that moment exactly 18 years and 41 days old. And indeed, I'd spend the next 18 training, prepping, and fighting the wars I then wanted – and, ( Apocalypse Now- style ) "for my sins" – "they gave me."

Anyway, Marty's family – and more so his memory – along with the general 9/11 fallout back home, have swirled in and out of my life ever since. In the immediate term, after the attacks my mother turned into a sort of wake&funeral-hopper, attending literally dozens over that first year. As soon as Marty had a headstone in Moravian Cemetery – where my Uncle Steve once dug graves – I draped a pair of my new dog tags over it on a weekend trip home. It was probably a silly and indulgent gesture, but it felt profound at the time. Then, soon enough, the local street signs started changing to honor fallen first responders – including the intersection outside my church, renamed "Martin J. Egan Jr. Corner." (Marty used to joke , after all, that he'd graduated from UCLA – that is, the University, corner of Lincoln Avenue, in the neighborhood.)

Five years later, while I was fighting a war in a country (Iraq) that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks, Marty's mother Pat still worked at the post office from which my own mom shipped me countless care packages. They'd chat; have a few nostalgic laughs; then Pat would wish me well and pass on her regards. When some of my soldiers started getting killed, I remember my mother telling me it was sometimes hard to look Pat in the eye on the post office trips – perhaps she feared an impending kinship of lost sons. But it didn't go that way.

So, suffice it to say, I don't take the 9/11 attacks, or the victims, lightly. That doesn't mean the US responses, and their results, were felicitous or forgivable. They might even dishonor the dead. I don't pretend to precisely know, or speak for, the Egan family's feelings. Still, my own sense is that few among the lost or their loved ones left behind would've imagined or desired their deaths be used to justify all of the madness, futility, and liberties-suppression blowback that's ensued.

Nevertheless, my nineteen Septembers 11th have been experienced in oft-discomfiting ways, and my assessment of the annual commemorations, rather quickly began to change. By the tenth anniversary, a Reuters reporter spent a couple of days on the base I commanded in Afghanistan. At the time the outpost sported a flag gifted by my uncle, which had previously flown above a New York Fire Department house. I suppose headquarters sent the journalist my way because I was the only combat officer from New York City – but the brass got more than they'd bargained for. By then, amidst my second futile war "surge," and three more of the lives and several more of the limbs of my soldiers lost on this deployment, I wasn't feeling particularly sentimental. Besides, I'd already turned – ethically and intellectually – against what seemed to me demonstrably hopeless and counterproductive military exercises.

Much to the chagrin of my career-climbing lieutenant colonel, I waxed a bit (un)poetic on the war I was then fighting – "against farm boys with guns," I not-so-subtly styled it – and my hometown's late suffering that ostensibly justified it. "When I see this place, I don't see the towers," I said, sitting inside my sandbagged operations center near the Taliban's very birthplace in Kandahar province. Then added: "My family sees it more than I do. They see it dead-on, direct. I'm a professional soldier. It's not about writing the firehouse number on the bullet. I'm not one for gimmicks." It was coarse and a bit petulant, sure, but what I meant – what I felt – was that these wars, even this " good " Afghan one (per President Obama), no longer, and may never have, had much to do with 9/11, Marty, or all the other dead.

The global war on terrorism (GWOT, as it was once fashionable to say) was but a reflex for a sick society pre-disposed to violence, symptomatic of a militarist system led by a government absent other ideas or inclinations. Still, I flew that FDNY flag – even skeptical soldiers can be a paradoxical lot.

Origin Myths: Big Lies and Long Cons

Although the final approved AUMF declared that "such acts [as terrorism] continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States," that wasn't then, and isn't now, even true . The toppled towers, pummeled Pentagon, and flying suicide machines of 9/11 were no doubt an absolute horror; and such visions understandably clouded collective judgment. Still, more sober statistics demonstrate, and sensible strategy demands, the prudence of perspective.

From 1995 to 2016, a total of 3,277 Americans have been killed in terrorist acts on US soil. If we subtract the 9/11 anomaly, that's just 300 domestic deaths – or 14 per year. Which raises the impolite question: why don't policymakers talk about terrorism the same way they do shark attacks or lightning strikes? The latter, incidentally, kill an average of 49 Americans annually. Odd, then, that the US hasn't expended $6.4 trillion, or more than 15,000 soldier and contractor lives , responding to bolts from the blue. Nor has it kicked off or catalyzed global wars that have directly killed – by that conservative estimate – 335,000 civilians.

See, that's the thing: for Americans, like the Israelis, some lives matter more than others. We can just about calculate the macabre life-value ratios in each society. Take Israel's 2014 onslaught on the Gaza Strip. In its fifty-day onslaught of Operation Protective Edge, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) killed 2,131 Palestinians – of whom 1,473 were identified as civilians, including 501 children. As for the wildly inaccurate and desperate Hamas rocket strikes that the IDF "edge" ostensibly "protected" against: those killed a whopping four civilians. To review: apparently one Israeli non-combatant is worth 368 Palestinian versions. Now, seeing as everything – including death-dealing is "bigger in Texas" – consider the macro American application. To wit, 3,277 US civilians versus 335,000 foreign innocents equals a cool 102-to-1 quotient of the macabre.

Such formulas become banal realities when one believes the big lies undergirding the entire enterprise. Here, Israel and America share origin myths that frame the long con of forever wars. That is, that acts of terror with stateless origins are best responded to with reflexive and aggressive military force. In my first ever published article – timed for Independence Day 2014 – I argued that America's post-9/11 "original sin" was framing its response as a war in the first place. As a result, I – then a serving US Army captain – concluded, "In place of sound strategy, we've been handed our own set of martyrs: more than 6,500 dead soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines." More than 500 American troopers have died since, along with who knows how many foreign civilians. It's staggering how rare such discussions remain in mainstream discourse.

Within that mainstream, often the conjoined Israeli-American twins even share the same cruelty cheerleaders. Take the man that author Belen Fernandez not inaccurately dubs "Harvard Law School's resident psychopath:" Alan Dershowitz. During Israel's brutal 2006 assault on Lebanon, this armchair-murderer took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal with a column titled " Arithmetic of Pain ."

Dershowitz argued for a collective "reassessment of the laws of war" in light of increasingly blurred distinctions between combatants and civilians. Thus, offering official "scholarly" sanction for the which-lives-matter calculus, he unveiled the concept of a "continuum of 'civilianality." Consider some of his cold and callous language:

Near the most civilian end of this continuum are the pure innocents – babies, hostages at the more combatant end are civilians who willingly harbor terrorists, provide material resources and serve as human shields; in the middle are those who support the terrorists politically, or spiritually.

Got that? Leaving aside Dershowitz's absurd assumption that there are loads of Palestinians just itching to volunteer as "human shields," it's clear that when conflicts are thus framed – all manner of cruelties become permissible.

In Israel, it begins with stated policies of internationally- prohibited collective punishment. For example, during the 2006 Lebanon War that killed exponentially more innocent Lebanese than Israelis, the IDF chief of staff's announced intent was to deliver "a clear message to both greater Beirut and Lebanon that they've swallowed a cancer [Hezbollah] and have to vomit it up, because if they don't their country will pay a very high price." It ends with Tel Aviv's imposition of an abusive calorie-calculus on Palestinians.

In 2008, Israeli authorities actually drew up a document computing the minimum caloric intake necessary for Gaza's residents to suffer (until they yield), but avoid outright starvation. Two years earlier, that wonderful wordsmith Dov Weisglass, senior advisor to then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, explained that Israeli policy was designed "to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger."

Lest that sound beyond the pale for we Americans, recall that it was the first female secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, who ten years earlier said of 500,000 Iraqi children's deaths under crippling U.S. sanctions: "we think, the price is worth it." Furthermore, it's unclear how the Trump administration's current sanctions- clampdown on Syrians unlucky enough to live in President Bashar al Assad-controlled territory is altogether different from the "Palestinian diet."

After all, even one of the Middle East Institute's resident regime-change-enthusiasts, Charles Lister, recently admitted that America's criminally-euphemized "Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act" may induce a "famine." In other words, according to two humanitarian experts writing on the national security website War on the Rocks , "hurting the very civilians it aims to protect while largely failing to affect the Syrian government itself."

It is, and has long been, thus: Israeli prime ministers and American presidents, Bibi and The Donald, Tel Aviv and Washington – are peas in a punishing pod.

Emergencies as Existences

In both Israel and America, frightened populations finagled by their uber-hawkish governments acquiesce to militarized states of "emergencies" as a way of life. In seemingly no time at all, the latest U.S. threshold got so low that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo matter-of-factly declared one to override a congressional-freeze and permit the $8.1 billion sale of munitions to Gulf Arab militaries. When some frustrated lawmakers asked the State Department's inspector general to investigate, the resultant report found that the agency failed to limit [Yemeni] civilian deaths from the sales – most bombed by the Saudi's subsequent arsenal of largesse. (As for the inspector general himself? He was " bullied ," then fired, by Machiavelli Mike).

Per the standard, Israel is the more surface-overt partner. As the IDF-veteran author Haim Bresheeth-Zabner writes in his new book , An Army Like No Other: How the Israel Defense Forces Made a Nation , Israel is the "only country in which Emergency Regulations have been in force for every minute of its existence."

Perhaps more worryingly, such emergency existences boomerang back to militarized Minneapolis and Jerusalem streets alike. It's worth nothing that just five days after the killing of George Floyd, an Israeli police officer gunned down an unarmed, autistic, Palestinian man on his way to a school for the disabled. Even the 19-year-old killer's 21-year-old commander (instructive, that) admitted the cornered victim wasn't a threat. But here's the rub: when the scared and confused Palestinian man ran from approaching police at 6 a.m. , initial officers instinctually reported a potential "terrorist" on the loose.

Talk about global terror coming home to roost on local streets. And why not here in the States? It wasn't but two months back that President Trump labeled peaceful demonstrators in D.C., and nationwide protesters tearing down Confederate statues, as "terrorists." That's more than a tad troubling, since, as noted, almost anything is permissible against terrorists, thus tagged.

In other words, the Israeli-American, post-9/11 (or -9/14) militarized connections go beyond the cosmetic and past sloganeering. Then again, the latter can be instructive. In the wake of the latest Jerusalem police shooting, protesters in Israel's Occupied Territories held up placards declaring solidarity with Black Lives Matter (BLM). One read: "Palestinians support the black intifada." Yet the roots of shared systemic injustices run far deeper.

Though it remains impolitic to say so here in the US, both "BLM and the Palestinian rights movement are [by their own accounts] fighting settler-colonial states and structures of domination and supremacy that value, respectively, white and Jewish lives over black and Palestinian ones." They're hardly wrong. All-but-official apartheid reigns in Occupied Palestine, and a de-facto two-tier system favoring Jewish citizens, prevails within Israel itself. Similarly, the US grapples with chattel slavery's legacy, lingering effects institutional Jim Crow-apartheid, and its persistent system of gross, if unofficial, socio-economic racial disparity.

Though there are hopeful rumblings in post-Floyd America, neither society has much grappled with the immediacy and intransigency of their established and routine devaluation of (internal and external) Arab and African lives. Instead, in another gross similarity, Israelis and Americans prefer to laud any ruling elites who even pretend towards mildly reformist rhetoric (rather than action) as brave peacemakers.

In fact, two have won the Nobel Peace Prize. In America, there was the untested Obama: he the king of drones and free-press-suppression – whose main qualification for the award was not being named George W. Bush. In Israel, the prize went to late Prime Minister Shimon Peres. According to Bresheeth-Zabner, Peres was the "mind behind the military-industrial complex" in Israel, and also architect of the infamous 1996 massacre of 106 people sheltering at a United Nations compound in South Lebanon. In such societies as ours and Israel's, and amidst interminable wars, too often politeness passes for principle.

Military Mirrors

Predictably, social and cultural rot – and strategic delusions – first manifest in a nation's military. Neither Israel's nor America's has a particularly impressive record of late. The IDF won a few important wars in its first 25 years of existence, then came back from a near catastrophic defeat to prevail in the 1973 Yom Kippur War; but since then, it's at best muddled through near-permanent lower-intensity conflicts after invading Southern Lebanon in 1978. In fact, its 22-year continuous counter-guerilla campaign there – against Palestinian resistance groups and then Lebanese Hezbollah – slowly bled the IDF dry in a quagmire often called " Israel's Vietnam ." It was, in fact, proportionally more deadly for its troops than America's Southeast Asian debacle – and ended (in 2000) with an embarrassing unilateral withdrawal.

Additionally, Tel Aviv's perma-military-occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip hasn't just flagrantly violated International law and several UN resolutions – but blown up in the IDF's face. Ever since vast numbers of exasperated and largely abandoned (by Arab armies) Palestinians rose up in the 1987 Intifada – initially peaceful protests – and largely due to the IDF's counterproductively vicious suppression, Israel has been trapped in endless imperial policing and low-to-mid-level counterinsurgency.

None of its major named military operations in the West Bank and/or Gaza Strip – Operations Defensive Shield (2002), Days of Penitence (2004), Summer Rains (2006), Cast Lead (2008-09), Pillar of Defense (2012), Protective Edge (2014), among others – has defeated or removed Hamas, nor have they halted the launch of inaccurate but persistent Katyusha rockets.

In fact, the wildly disproportionate toll on Palestinian civilians in each and every operation, and the intransigence of Israel's ironclad occupation has only earned Tel Aviv increased international condemnation and fresh generations of resistors to combat. The IDF counts minor tactical successes and suffers broader strategic failure. As even a fairly sympathetic Rand report on the Gaza operations noted, "Israel's grand strategy became 'mowing the grass' – accepting its inability to permanently solve the problem and instead repeatedly targeting leadership of Palestinian militant organizations to keep violence manageable."

The American experience has grown increasingly similar over the last three-quarters of a century. Unless one counts modern trumped-up Banana Wars like those in Grenada (1983) and Panama (1989), or the lopsided 100-hour First Persian Gulf ground campaign (1991), the US military, too, hasn't won a meaningful victory since 1945. Korea (1950-53) was a grinding and costly draw; Vietnam (1965-72) a quixotic quagmire; Lebanon (1982-84) an unnecessary and muddled mess ; Somalia (1992-94) a mission-creeping fiasco; Bosnia/Kosovo (1992-) an over-hyped and unsatisfying diversion. Yet matters deteriorated considerably, and the Israeli-parallels grew considerably, after Congress chose endless war on September 14, 2001.

America's longest ever war, in Afghanistan, started as a seeming slam dunk but has turned out to be an intractable operational defeat. That lost cause has been a dead war walking for over a decade. Operations Iraqi Freedom (2003-11) and Inherent Resolve (2014-) may prove, respectively, America's most counterproductive and aimless missions ever. Operation Odyssey Dawn, the 2011 air campaign in pursuit of Libyan regime change, was a debacle – the entire region still grapples with its detritus of jihadi profusion, refugee dispersion, and ongoing proxy war.

US support for the Saudi-led terror war on Yemen hasn't made an iota of strategic sense, but has left America criminally complicit in immense civilian-suffering. Despite the hype, the relatively young US Africa Command (AFRICOM) was never really "about Africans," and its dozen years worth of far-flung campaigns have only further militarized a long-suffering continent and generated more terrorists. Like Israel's post-1973 operations, America's post-2001 combat missions have simply been needless, hopeless, and counterproductive.

Consider a few other regrettable U.S.-Israeli military connections over these last two decades:

The wear and tear from the South Lebanon occupation and from decades of beating up on downtrodden and trapped Palestinians damaged Israel's vaunted military. According to an after-action review, these operations"weakened the IDF's operational capabilities." Thus, when Israel's nose was more than a bit bloodied in the 2006 war with Hezbollah, IDF analysts and retired officers were quick – and not exactly incorrect – to blame the decaying effect of endless low-intensity warfare.

At the time, two general staff members, Major Generals Yishai Bar and Yiftach Ron-Tal, "warned that as a result of the preoccupation with missions in the territories, the IDF had lost its maneuverability and capability to fight in mountainous terrain." Van Creveld added that: "Among the commanders, the great majority can barely remember when they trained for and engaged in anything more dangerous than police-type operations."

Similar voices have sounded the alarm about the post-9/11 American military. Perhaps the loudest has been my fellow West Point History faculty alum, retired Colonel Gian Gentile. This former tank battalion commander and Iraq War vet described "America's deadly embrace of counterinsurgency" as a Wrong Turn . Specifically, he's argued that "counterinsurgency has perverted [the way of] American war," pushed the "defense establishment into fanciful thinking," and thus "atrophying [its] core fighting competencies."

Instructively, Gentile cited "The Israeli Defense Forces' recent [2006] experience in Lebanon There were many reasons for its failure, but one of them, is that its army had done almost nothing but [counterinsurgency] in the Palestinian territories, and its ability to fight against a strident enemy had atrophied." Maybe more salient was Gentile's other rejoinder that, historically, "nation-building operations conducted at gunpoint don't turn out well" and tend to be as (or more) bloody and brutal as other wars.

Fast forward a decade, and B?n Tre's ghost was born again in the matter-of-fact admission of the IDF's then chief of staff, General Mordecai Gur. Asked if, during its 1978 invasion of South Lebanon, Israel had bombed civilians "without discrimination," he fired back : "Since when has the population of South Lebanon been so sacred? They know very well what the terrorists were doing. . . . I had four villages in South Lebanon bombarded without discrimination." When pressed to confirm that he believed "the civilian population should be punished," Gur's retort was "And how!" Should it surprise us then, that 33 years later the concept was rebooted to flatten presumably (though this has been contested) booby-trapped villages in my old stomping grounds of Kandahar, Afghanistan?

In sum, Israel and America are senseless strategy-simpatico. It's a demonstrably disastrous two-way relationship. Our main exports have been guns – $142.3 billion worth since 1949 (significantly more than any other recipient) – and twin umbrellas of air defense and bottomless diplomatic top-cover for Israel's abuses. As to the top-cover export, it's not for nothing that after the U.S. House rubber-stamped – by a vote of 410-8 – a 2006 resolution (written by the Israel Lobby) justifying IDF attacks on Lebanese civilians, the "maverick" Republican Patrick Buchanan labeled the legislative body as " our Knesset ."

Naturally, Tel Aviv responds in kind by shipping America a how-to-guide for societal militarization, a built-in foreign policy script to their benefit, and the unending ire of most people in the Greater Middle East. It's a timeless and treasured trade – but it benefits neither party in the long run.

"Armies With Countries"

It was once said that Frederick the Great's 18th century Prussia, was "not a country with an army, but an army with a country." Israel has long been thus. It's probably still truer of them than us. The Israelis do, after all, have an immersive system of military conscription – whereas Americans leave the fighting, killing, and dying to a microscopic and unrepresentative Praetorian Guard of professionals. Nevertheless, since 9/11 – or, more accurately, 9/14/2001 – US politics, society, and culture have wildly militarized. To say the least, the outcomes have been unsatisfying: American troops haven't "won" a significant war 75 years. Now, the US has set appearances aside once and for all and " jumped the shark " towards the gimmick of full-throated imperialism.

There are, of course, real differences in scale and substance between America and Israel. The latter is the size of Massachusetts, with the population of New York City. Its "Defense Force" requires most of its of-age population to wage its offensive wars and perennial policing of illegally occupied Palestinians. Israeli society is more plainly " prussianized ." Yet in broader and bigger – if less blatant – ways, so is the post-AUMF United States. America-the-exceptional leads the world in legalized gunrunning and overseas military basing . Rather than the globe's self-styled " Arsenal of Democracy ," the US has become little more than the arsenal of arsenals. So, given the sway of the behemoth military-industrial-complex and recent Israelification of its political culture, perhaps it's more accurate to say America is a defense industry with a country – and not the other way around.

As for 17 year-old me, I didn't think I'd signed up for the Israeli Defense Force on that sunny West Point morning of July 2, 2001. And, for the first two months and 12 days of my military career – maybe I hadn't. I sure did serve in its farcical facsimile, though: fighting its wars for an ensuing 17 more years.

Yet everyone who entered the US military after September 14, 2001 signed up for just that. Which is a true tragedy.

This originally appeared at Popular Resistance .

Danny Sjursen is a retired US Army officer and contributing editor at Antiwar.com His work has appeared in the NY Times, LA Times, The Nation, Huff Post, The Hill, Salon, Popular Resistance, and Tom Dispatch, among other publications. He served combat tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at his alma mater, West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge . His forthcoming book, Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War is now available for pre-order . Sjursen was recently selected as a 2019-20 Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Fellow . Follow him on Twitter @SkepticalVet . Visit his professional website for contact info, to schedule speeches or media appearances, and access to his past work.

Copyright 2020 Danny Sjursen

[Sep 18, 2020] Exposing war crimes should always be legal. Committing and hiding them should not by Caitlin Johnstone

Sep 18, 2020 | www.rt.com

By Caitlin Johnstone , an independent journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is here and you can follow her on Twitter @caitoz ...Amid all the pedantic squabbling over when it is and is not legal under US law for a journalist to expose evidence of US war crimes, we must never lose sight of the fact that (A) it should always be legal to expose war crimes, (B) it should always be illegal for governments to hide evidence of their war crimes, (C) war crimes should always be punished, (D) people who start criminal wars should always be punished, (E) governments should not be permitted to have a level of secrecy that allows them to start criminal wars, and (F) power and secrecy should always have an inverse relationship to one another.

The Assange case needs to be fought tooth and claw, but we must keep in mind that it is so very, very many clicks back from where we need to be as a civilization. In an ideal situation, governments should be too afraid of the public to keep secrets from them; instead, here we are begging the most powerful government in the world to please not imprison a journalist because he arguably did not break the rules that that government made for itself.

Do you see how far that point is from where we need to be?

It's important to remember this. It's important to remember that the amount of evil deeds power structures will commit is directly proportional to the amount of information they are permitted to hide from the public. We will not have a healthy world until power and secrecy have an inverse relationship to each other: privacy for rank-and-file individuals, and transparency for governments and their officials.

"But what about military secrets?" one might object. Yes, what about military secrets? What about the fact that virtually all military violence perpetrated by the world's largest power structures is initiated based on lies ? What about the utterly indisputable fact that the more secrecy we allow the war machine, the more wars it deceives the public into allowing it to initiate?

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=RT_com&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1028347374765318144&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rt.com%2Fop-ed%2F501031-caitlin-johnstone-exposing-war-crimes%2F&siteScreenName=RT_com&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px

In a healthy world, the most powerful government on Earth wouldn't be trying to squint at its own laws in such a way that permits the prosecution of a journalist for telling the truth.

In a healthy world, the most powerful government on Earth wouldn't prosecute anyone for telling the truth at all.

In a healthy world, governments would prosecute their own war crimes, instead of those who expose them.

In a healthy world, governments wouldn't commit war crimes at all.

In a healthy world, governments wouldn't start wars at all.

In a healthy world, governments would see truth as something to be desired and actively sought, not something to be repressed and punished.

In a healthy world, governments wouldn't keep secrets from the public, and wouldn't have any cause to want to.

In a healthy world, if governments existed at all, they would exist solely as tools for the people to serve themselves, with full transparency and accountability to those people.

We are obviously a very, very far cry from the kind of healthy world we would all like to one day find ourselves in. But we should always keep in mind what a healthy world will look like, and hold it as our true north for the direction that we are pushing in.

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By Caitlin Johnstone , an independent journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is here and you can follow her on Twitter @caitoz

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.


Reality007 3 hours ago 18 Sep, 2020 10:07 AM

Unfortunately, no criminals that have committed or covered up war crimes, decades ago to present, will ever be indicted. They are all above the law while all innocents that revealed the truths must pay highly. We can only pray and hope for the best for Julian Assange.
Fred Dozer Reality007 1 hour ago 18 Sep, 2020 12:16 PM
I see nothing wrong with robbing banks in criminal controlled countries. These governments, murder, cheat, lie, & steal.
T. Agee Kaye 2 hours ago 18 Sep, 2020 11:10 AM
The right of a people to know what their government is doing, and the potential consequences of those actions on the people, nation, and society, is inalienable. The exposure of war crimes and any corruption is not illegal and cannot be made illegal. The trial of Assange is not about the legality of Assange's actions. It is a display of the influence that criminal interests have over the government and judiciary. It is an attempt to create legitimacy by creating precedent. Murder has plenty of precedent. It will never be legitimate.
Jewel Gyn 3 hours ago 18 Sep, 2020 10:21 AM
Agreed but having said that, we are not living in a perfect world. Bully with big fists exist and the lesser countries just stood by frustrated and sucking their thumbs, silent lest they be targeted for voicing out. And you can see clearly why US is walking away from any form of organised voice eg UN.
Odinsson 2 hours ago 18 Sep, 2020 10:51 AM
What we need in the case of Julian Assange is factual reporting. While the motivation to prosecute Assange is most likely political, there would be no ability to prosecute him were it not for his active support of PFC Manning's hacking of a DOD information system. It is not unlawful to publish classified information which was provided to you, so long as you are not involved in the criminal acts leading to the exfiltration of the data. Had Assange not aided PFC Manning by looking up hash codes in spreadsheets of known password to hash code translations then the grand jury would not have indicted him. FWIW, it is my opinion that the statute of limitations expired long ago and this should be grounds for dismissal of all charges against him.
jholf 1 hour ago 18 Sep, 2020 12:04 PM
These world leaders, claim to be Christians, ... their God 'commands', "Thou shalt not kill." Yet, for more than 6 decades, that is exactly what each of these Christian Commanders in Chief, have done for no reason, other than to fill the pockets of the elite. A man is known by his deeds, Assange gave us truth, while these world leaders gave us war and destructi

[Sep 17, 2020] Military desperados and Mattis "military messiah syndrome" by Scott Ritter

Highly recommended!
I always assumed that Trump was the candidate of MIC in 2016 elections, while Hillary was the candidate of "Intelligence community." But it looks like US military is infected with desperados like Mattis and Trump was unable fully please them despite all his efforts.
But it looks like US military is infected with desperados like Mattis and Trump was unable fully please them despite all his efforts. Military desperados are not interested in how many American they deprived of decent standard of living due to outside military expenses. All they want is to dominate the word and maintain the "Full Spectrum Dominance" whatever it costs.
Sep 16, 2020 | www.rt.com

... ... ...

It is Trump's tortured relationship with the military that stands out the most, especially as told through the eyes of former Secretary of Defense Jim 'Mad Dog' Mattis, a retired marine general. It is clear that Bob Woodward spent hours speaking with Mattis -- the insights, emotions and internal voice captured in the book show a level of intimacy that could only be reached through in-depth interviews, and Woodward has a well-earned reputation for getting people to speak to him.

The book makes it clear that Mattis viewed Trump as a threat to the US' standing as the defender of a rules-based order -- built on the back of decades-old alliances -- that had been in place since the end of the Second World War.

It also makes it clear that Mattis and the military officers he oversaw placed defending this order above implementing the will of the American people, as expressed through the free and fair election that elevated Donald Trump to the position of commander-in-chief. In short, Mattis and his coterie of generals knew best, and when the president dared issue an order or instruction that conflicted with their vision of how the world should work, they would do their best to undermine this order, all the while confirming to the president that it was being followed.

This trend was on display in Woodward's telling of Trump's efforts to forge better relations with North Korea. At every turn, Mattis and his military commanders sought to isolate the president from the reality on the ground, briefing him only on what they thought he needed to know, and keeping him in the dark about what was really going on.

In a telling passage, Woodward takes us into the mind of Jim Mattis as he contemplates the horrors of a nuclear war with North Korea, and the responsibility he believed he shouldered when it came to making the hard decision as to whether nuclear weapons should be used or not. Constitutionally, the decision was the president's alone to make, something Mattis begrudgingly acknowledges. But in Mattis' world, he, as secretary of defense, would be the one who influenced that decision.

Mattis, along with the other general officers described by Woodward, is clearly gripped with what can only be described as the 'Military Messiah Syndrome'.

What defines this 'syndrome' is perhaps best captured in the words of Emma Sky, the female peace activist-turned adviser to General Ray Odierno, the one-time commander of US forces in Iraq. In a frank give-and-take captured by Ms. Sky in her book 'The Unravelling', Odierno spoke of the value he placed on the military's willingness to defend "freedom" anywhere in the world. " There is, " he said, " no one who understands more the importance of liberty and freedom in all its forms than those who travel the world to defend it ."

Ms. Sky responded in typically direct fashion: " One day, I will have you admit that the [Iraq] war was a bad idea, that the administration was led by a radical neocon program, that the US's standing in the world has gone down greatly, and that we are far less safe than we were before 9/11. "

Odierno would have nothing of it. " It will never happen while I'm the commander of soldiers in Iraq ."

" To lead soldiers in battle ," Ms. Sky noted, " a commander had to believe in the cause. " Left unsaid was the obvious: even if the cause was morally and intellectually unsound.

his, more than anything, is the most dangerous thing about the 'Military Messiah Syndrome' as captured by Bob Woodward -- the fact that the military is trapped in an inherited reality divorced from the present, driven by precepts which have nothing to with what is, but rather by what the military commanders believe should be. The unyielding notion that the US military is a force for good becomes little more than meaningless drivel when juxtaposed with the reality that the mission being executed is inherently wrong.

The 'Military Messiah Syndrome' lends itself to dishonesty and, worse, to self-delusion. It is one thing to lie; it is another altogether to believe the lie as truth.

No single general had the courage to tell Trump allegations against Syria were a hoax

The cruise missile attack on Syria in early April 2017 stands out as a case in point. The attack was ordered in response to allegations that Syria had dropped a bomb containing the sarin nerve agent on a town -- Khan Shaykhun -- that was controlled by Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic militants.

Trump was led to believe that the 59 cruise missiles launched against Shayrat Airbase -- where the Su-22 aircraft alleged to have dropped the bombs were based -- destroyed Syria's capability to carry out a similar attack in the future. When shown post-strike imagery in which the runways were clearly untouched, Trump was outraged, lashing out at Secretary of Defense Mattis in a conference call. " I can't believe you didn't destroy the runway !", Woodward reports the president shouting.

" Mr. President ," Mattis responds in the text, " they would rebuild the runway in 24 hours, and it would have little effect on their ability to deploy weapons. We destroyed the capability to deploy weapons " for months, Mattis said.

" That was the mission the president had approved, " Woodward writes, clearly channeling Mattis, " and they had succeeded ."

The problem with this passage is that it is a lie. There is no doubt that Bob Woodward has the audio tape of Jim Mattis saying these things. But none of it is true. Mattis knew it when he spoke to Woodward, and Woodward knew it when he wrote the book.

There was no confirmed use of chemical weapons by Syria at Khan Shaykhun. Indeed, the forensic evidence available about the attack points to the incident being a false flag effort -- a successful one, it turns out -- on the part of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamists to provoke a US military strike against Syria. No targets related to either the production, storage or handling of chemical weapons were hit by the US cruise missiles, if for no other reason than no such targets could exist if Syria did not possess and/or use a chemical weapon against Khan Shaykhun.

Moreover, the US failed to produce a narrative of causality which provided some underlying logic to the targets that were struck at Khan Shaykhun -- "Here is where the chemical weapons were stored, here is where the chemical weapons were filled, here is where the chemical weapons were loaded onto the aircraft." Instead, 59 cruise missiles struck empty aircraft hangars, destroying derelict aircraft, and killing at least four Syrian soldiers and up to nine civilians.

The next morning, the same Su-22 aircraft that were alleged to have bombed Khan Shaykhun were once again taking off from Shayrat Air Base -- less than 24 hours after the US cruise missiles struck that facility. President Trump had every reason to be outraged by the results.

But the President should have been outraged by the processes behind the attack, where military commanders, fully afflicted by 'Military Messiah Syndrome', offered up solutions that solved nothing for problems that did not exist. Not a single general (or admiral) had the courage to tell the president that the allegations against Syria were a hoax, and that a military response was not only not needed, but would be singularly counterproductive.

But that's not how generals and admirals -- or colonels and lieutenant colonels -- are wired. That kind of introspective honesty cannot happen while they are in command.

Bob Woodward knows this truth, but he chose not to give it a voice in his book, because to do so would disrupt the pre-scripted narrative that he had constructed, around which he bent and twisted the words of those he interviewed -- including the president and Jim Mattis. As such, 'Rage' is, in effect, a lie built on a lie. It is one thing for politicians and those in power to manipulate the truth to their advantage. It's something altogether different for journalists to report something as true that they know to be a lie.

On the back cover of 'Rage', the Pulitzer prize-winning historian Robert Caro is quoted from a speech he gave about Bob Woodward. " Bob Woodward ," Caro notes, " a great reporter. What is a great reporter? Someone who never stops trying to get as close to the truth as possible ."

After reading 'Rage', one cannot help but conclude the opposite -- that Bob Woodward has written a volume which pointedly ignores the truth. Instead, he gives voice to a lie of his own construct, predicated on the flawed accounts of sources inflicted with 'Military Messiah Syndrome', whose words embrace a fantasy world populated by military members fulfilling missions far removed from the common good of their fellow citizens -- and often at conflict with the stated intent and instruction of the civilian leadership they ostensibly serve. In doing so, Woodward is as complicit as the generals and former generals he quotes in misleading the American public about issues of fundamental importance.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

Scott Ritter

is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and author of ' SCORPION KING : America's Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump.' He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter

See also:

Whose side are generals on? As Joint Chiefs chairman APOLOGIZES for standing by Trump, Biden confident of military support The military is trapped in an inherited reality divorced from the present

Caitlin Johnstone: Tens of millions of people displaced by the 'War On Terror', the greatest scam ever invented Misleading the American public


Jewel Gyn 21 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 12:23 AM

Whichever construct you want to believe, the fact remains that US has continued to sow instability around the world in the name of defending the liberty and freedom. Which brings to the question how the world can continue to allow a superpower to dictate what's good or bad for a sovereign country.
Johan le Roux Jewel Gyn 18 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 03:42 AM
The answer you seek is not in the US's proclaimed vision of 'democracy' ot 'rescuing populations from the clutches of vile dictators.' They just say that to validate their actions which in reality is using their military as a mercenary force to secure and steal the resources of countries.
Joaquin Montano 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 04:57 PM
Bob Woodward was enshrined as a great, heroic like journalist by the Hollywood propaganda machine, but reality is he is a US Security agent pretending to be a well informed/connected journalist. And indeed, he is well informed/connected, since he was a Naval intelligence man, part responsible of the demise of the Nixon administration when it fell out of grace with the powerful elites, and the Washington Post being well connected with the CIA, the rest is history. And as they say, once a CIA man, always a CIA man.
DukeLeo Joaquin Montano 22 hours ago 16 Sep, 2020 11:36 PM
That is correct. Woodward is a Naval intelligence man. The elite in the US was not happy about Nixon's foreign policy and his detante with the Soviet Union. Watergate was invented, and Nixon had nothing to do with it. However, it brought him down, thank's to Woodward.
NoJustice Joaquin Montano 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:48 PM
But he also exposed Trump's lies about Covid-19.
lectrodectus 17 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 04:45 AM
Another first class article by ....Scott .. The book makes it clear that Mattis viewed Trump as a threat to the Us' standing as the defender of a " rules -based order -built on the back of decades -old alliances-that had been in place since the end of the second World War". It also makes it clear that " Mattis and the Military officials he oversaw placed defending this order above the implementing the will of the American People " These old Military Dinosaurs simply can't let go of the past, unfortunately for the American people / the World I can't see anything ever changing, it will be business as usual ie, war after War after War.
Jonny247364 lectrodectus 5 minutes ago 17 Sep, 2020 09:53 PM
Just because donny signs a dictact it does not equate to the will of the americian people. The americian people did not ask donny to murder Assad.
neeon9 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:56 PM
"a threat to the US’ standing as the defender of a rules-based order –" Who made that a thing? who voted for the US to be the policeman of the planet? and who said their "rules" are right? I sure didn't, nor did anyone I know, even my american friends don't know whose idea it was!
fezzie035fezzm 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:29 PM
It's interesting to note that every president since J.F.K. has got America into a military conflict, or has turned a minor conflict into a major one. Trump is the exception. Trump inherited conflicts (Afghanistan, Syria etc) but has not started a new one, and he has spent his three years ending or winding down the conflicts he had inherited.
NoJustice fezzie035fezzm 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:34 PM
Trump increased military deployment to the Middle East. He increased military spending. He had a foreign general assassinated. He had missiles fired into Syria. He vetoed a bill that would limit his authority to wage war. Trump is not an exception.
T. Agee Kaye 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 05:59 PM
Good op ed. 'Rage is built on a lie' applies to many things.
E_Kaos T. Agee Kaye 7 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 02:46 PM
True, the beginning of a new narrative and the continuation of an old narrative.
PYCb988 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 07:25 PM
Something's amiss here. Mattis was openly telling the press that there was no evidence against Assad. Just Google: Mattis Newsweek Assad.
erniedouglas 12 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 09:14 AM
What was Watergate? Even bet says there were tapes of a private relationship between Nixon and BB Rebozo.
allan Kaplan 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:03 PM
Continuation of a highly organized and tightly controlled disinformation campaign to do one singularly the most significant and historically one of the most illegal act of American betrayal... overthrow American elections at any and all costs to install one of the most deranged, demoralized sold out brain dead Biden and his equally brown nosing Harris only to unseat a legally and democratically elected US president according to our Constitution! Will their evil acts against America work? I doubt it! But at a price that America has never before seen. Let's sit back and watch this Rose Bowl parade of America's dirtiest of the dirty politics!
E_Kaos allan Kaplan 7 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 02:49 PM
"brown nosing harris", how apropos with the play on words.
Bill Spence allan Kaplan 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:29 PM
Both parties and their politicians are totally corrupt. Why would anyone support one side over the other? Is that because you believe the promises and lies?
custos125 17 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 04:35 AM
Is there any evidence that both Mattis and Woodward knew that the allegations of a Syrian use of chemical weapons by plane were not true, a false flag? On the assumption of this use, the capacity to fly such attack and deploy such weapons was destroyed for some time. I recommend reading of Rage, it is quite interesting, even if some people will not like it and try to keep people away from the book.
E_Kaos custos125 7 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 02:58 PM
My observations were: 1 - where were the bomb fragments 2 - why use rusted gas cylinders 3 - how do you attach a rusted gas cylinder to a plane 4 - were the rusted gas cylinders tossed out of a plane 5 - how did the rusted gas cylinders land so close to each other My conclusion - False Flag Incident
neeon9 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:58 PM
The is only one threat to peace in the world, and it's the US/Israeli M.I.C.. War mongering children, who actually believe, against all reason, that they are the most worthy and entitled race on earth! they are not. The US has been responsible for more misery in the world than any other state, which isn't surprising given how many Nazi's were resettled there by the Jews. They are also the only Ppl on the planet who think a nuclear war is winnable! How strange is that!
NoJustice 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:22 PM
So everything is a lie because Woodward didn't mention that there was no evidence found that linked the Syrian government to the chemical attack?
Strongbo50 6 minutes ago 17 Sep, 2020 09:58 PM
The left is firing up the Russian Interference narrative again, how Russia is trying to take the election. The real truth is in plain sight, The main stream media is trying to deliver Biden a win, along with google yahoo msn facebook and twitter. I say, come on Russia, if you can help stem that tide of lies please Mr Putin help. That's a joke but the media is real. And Woodward in his old age wants one more trophy on his mantle.
CuttySark 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 05:41 PM
Trump has become the great white whale. Seems like there are Ahab's everywhere willing to shoot their hearts upon the beast to bring it down whatever the cost. I think it was this kind of rage and attitude that got Adolf off to a good start.
NoJustice CuttySark 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 05:44 PM
He's an easy target because he keeps screwing up.
Gryphon_ 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:59 PM
The Washington Post is owned by Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. Never in my life have I seen a newspaper that lies as much as the post. Bob Woodward works for the post.

[Sep 17, 2020] Why the Blob Needs an Enemy by ARTA MOEINI

Highly recommended!
Crisis of neoliberal undermines the USA supremacy and the US elite hangs by the stras to the Full Specturm Domionanc edoctrine, whih it now can't enforce and which is financially unsustainable for the USA.
Collapse of neoliberalism means the end of the USA supremacy and the whole political existence on the USA was banked on this single card.
Notable quotes:
"... In America, this unfortunate status quo in support of primacy persists even in the Trumpian Age and within debates around the eccentric and unconventional presidency of Donald Trump. In fact, despite all the talk of political polarization in the United States, it appears that when it comes to naming new threats and enemies to "contain," "deter," and deem "existential," bipartisan consensus is found swiftly and quite readily. ..."
"... In a recent speech delivered in Europe, the U.S. defense secretary and former corporate lobbyist for Raytheon, Mark Esper, unified these two faces of the Janus that embodies the North Atlantic foreign policy establishment. Esper referred to both China and Russia as disruptive forces working to unravel the international order, which "we have created together," and called on the international community to preserve that order by countering both powers. As it stands, we are on the path to a series of cold wars throughout this century, if not a hot conflict between rival great powers that could spiral into World War III. Despite increased calls for realism and restraint in foreign policy, primacy is alive and well. ..."
"... There is, however, a more significant psychosociological reason for the blob's remarkable persistence. When it comes to foreign policy, Western policymakers today suffer from a Manichean worldview, a caustic mindset crystalized during a decades-running Cold War with the Soviet Union. ..."
"... Frozen in this Cold War mindset, the Atlanticist blob has internalized the bipolar moment that followed the Second World War, treating it as a permanent fixture and the normal state of the international system. In fact, the bipolar and unipolar periods we have undergone over the past 75 years are nothing but aberrations and historical anomalies. In truth, the reality of the international system tends toward multi-polarity -- and at long last it appears that the system is self-correcting. The North Atlantic establishment came of age during that time of exception, forming its (liberal) identity through the process of "alterity" and in a nemetic opposition to communism. ..."
"... Not surprisingly then, the North Atlantic elites continue to seek adversaries to demonize and "monsters to destroy" in order to justify their moral universalism and presumed ideological superiority, doing so under the garb of a totalizing and absolutist idea of exceptionalism. ..."
Sep 09, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The international order is no longer bipolar, despite the elites' insistence otherwise. Fortunately there is hope for change.

Despite its many failings and high human, social, and economic costs, American foreign policy since the end of the Second World War has shown a remarkable degree of continuity and inflexibility. This rather curious phenomenon is not limited to America alone. The North Atlantic foreign policy establishment from Washington D.C. to London, which some have aptly dubbed the "blob," has doggedly championed the grand strategic framework of "primacy" and armed hegemony, often coated with more docile language such as "global leadership," "American indispensability," and "strengthening the Western alliance."

In America, this unfortunate status quo in support of primacy persists even in the Trumpian Age and within debates around the eccentric and unconventional presidency of Donald Trump. In fact, despite all the talk of political polarization in the United States, it appears that when it comes to naming new threats and enemies to "contain," "deter," and deem "existential," bipartisan consensus is found swiftly and quite readily.

On the Left, and in the wake of President Trump's election, the Democratic establishment began fixating its wrath on Russia–adopting a confrontational stance toward Moscow and fueling fears of a renewed Cold War. On the Right, the realigning GOP has increasingly, if at times inconsistently, singled out China as the greatest threat to U.S. national security, a hostile attitude further exacerbated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Alarmingly, Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, has recently joined the hawkish bandwagon toward China, even attempting to outflank Trump on this issue and attacking the president's China policy as too weak and accommodating of China's rise.

In a recent speech delivered in Europe, the U.S. defense secretary and former corporate lobbyist for Raytheon, Mark Esper, unified these two faces of the Janus that embodies the North Atlantic foreign policy establishment. Esper referred to both China and Russia as disruptive forces working to unravel the international order, which "we have created together," and called on the international community to preserve that order by countering both powers. As it stands, we are on the path to a series of cold wars throughout this century, if not a hot conflict between rival great powers that could spiral into World War III. Despite increased calls for realism and restraint in foreign policy, primacy is alive and well.

Indeed, the dominant tendency among many foreign policy observers is to overprivilege the threat of rising superpowers and to insist on strong containment measures to limit the spheres of influence of the so-called revisionist powers. Such an approach, coupled with the prospect of ascendant powers actively resisting and confronting the United States as the ruling global hegemon, has one eminent International Relations scholar warning of the Thucydides Trap.

There are others, however, who insist that the structural shifts undermining the liberal international order mark the end of U.S. hegemony and its "unipolar moment." In realist terms, what Secretary Esper really means to protect, they would argue, is a conception of "rules-based" global order that was a structural by-product of the Second World War and the ensuing Cold War and whose very rules and institutions were underwritten by U.S. hegemony. This would be an exercise in folly -- not corresponding to the reality of systemic change and the return of great power competition and civilizational contestation.

What's more, the sanctimony of this "liberal" hegemonic order and the logic of democratic peace were both presumably vindicated by the collapse of the Soviet Union and its totalitarian system, a black swan event that for many had heralded the "end of history" and promised the advent of the American century. A great deal of lives, capital, resources, and goodwill were sacrificed by America and her allies toward that crusade for liberty and universality, which was only the most recent iteration of a radically utopian element in American political thought going back to Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine. Alas, as it had eluded earlier generations of idealists, that century never truly arrived, and neither did the empire of liberty and prosperity that it loftily aimed to establish.

Today, the emerging reality of a multipolar world and alternate worldviews championed by the different cultural blocs led by China and Russia appears to have finally burst the bubble of American Triumphalism, proving that the ideas behind it are "not simply obsolete but absurd." This failure should have been expected since the very project the idealists had espoused was built on a pathological "savior complex" and a false truism that reflected the West's own absolutist and distorted sense of ideological and moral superiority. Samuel Huntington might have been right all along to cast doubt on the long-term salience of using ideology and doctrinal universalism as the dividing principle for international relations. His call to focus, instead, on civilizational distinction, the permanent power of culture on human action, and the need to find common ground rings especially true today. Indeed, fostering a spirit of coexistence and open dialogue among the world's great civilizational complexes is a fundamental tenet of a cultural realism.

And yet, despite such permanent shifts in the global order away from universalist dichotomies and global hegemony and toward culturalism and multi-polarity, there exists a profound disjunction between the structural realities of the international system and the often business-as-usual attitude of the North Atlantic foreign policy elites. How could one explain the astonishing levels of rigidity and continuity on the part of the "blob" and the military-industrial-congressional complex regularly pushing for more adventurism and interventionism abroad? Why would the bipartisan primacist establishment, which their allies in the mainstream media endeavor still to mask, justify such illiberal acts of aggression and attempts at empire by weaponizing the moralistic language of human rights, individual liberty, and democracy in a world increasingly awakened to arbitrary ideological framing?

There are, of course, systemic reasons behind the power and perpetuation of the blob and the endurance of primacy. The vast economic incentives of war and its instruments, institutional routinization and intransigence, stupefaction and groupthink of government bureaucracy, and the significant influence of lobbying efforts by foreign governments and other vested interest groups could each partly explain the remarkable continuity of the North Atlantic foreign policy establishment. The endless stream of funding from the defense industry, neoliberal and neoconservative foundations, as well as the government itself keeps the "blob" alive, while the general penchant for bipartisanship around preserving the status quo allows it to thrive. What is more, elite schools produce highly analytic yet narrowly focused and conventional minds that are tamed to be agreeable so as to not undermine elite consensus. This conveyor belt feeds the "blob," supplying it with the army of specialists, experts, and wonks it requires to function as a mind melding hive, while in practice safeguarding employment for the career bureaucrats for decades to come.

There is, however, a more significant psychosociological reason for the blob's remarkable persistence. When it comes to foreign policy, Western policymakers today suffer from a Manichean worldview, a caustic mindset crystalized during a decades-running Cold War with the Soviet Union. The world might have changed fundamentally with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the bipolar structure of the international system might have ended irreversibly, but the personnel -- the Baby Boomer Generation elites conducting foreign policy in the North Atlantic -- did not leave office or retire with the collapse of the USSR. They largely remain in power to this day.

Every generation is forged through a formative crisis, its experiences seen through the prism that all-encompassing ordeal. For the incumbent elites, that generational crisis was the Cold War and the omnipresent threat of nuclear annihilation. The dualistic paradigm of the international system during the U.S.-Soviet rivalry bred an entire generation to see the world through a black-and-white binary. It should come as no surprise that this era elevated the idealist strain of thought and the crusading, neo-Jacobin impulse of U.S. foreign policy (personified by Thomas Jefferson and Woodrow Wilson) to new, ever-expanding heights. Idealism prizes a nemesis and thus revels in a bipolar order.

Frozen in this Cold War mindset, the Atlanticist blob has internalized the bipolar moment that followed the Second World War, treating it as a permanent fixture and the normal state of the international system. In fact, the bipolar and unipolar periods we have undergone over the past 75 years are nothing but aberrations and historical anomalies. In truth, the reality of the international system tends toward multi-polarity -- and at long last it appears that the system is self-correcting. The North Atlantic establishment came of age during that time of exception, forming its (liberal) identity through the process of "alterity" and in a nemetic opposition to communism.

Not surprisingly then, the North Atlantic elites continue to seek adversaries to demonize and "monsters to destroy" in order to justify their moral universalism and presumed ideological superiority, doing so under the garb of a totalizing and absolutist idea of exceptionalism. After all, a nemetic zeitgeist during which ideology reigned supreme and realism was routinely discounted was tailor-made for dogmatic absolutism and moral universalism. In such a zero-sum strategic environment, it was only natural to demand totality and frame the ongoing geopolitical struggle in terms of an existential opposition over Good and Evil that would quite literally split the world in two.

Today, that same kind of Manichean thinking continues to handicap paradigmatic change in foreign policy. A false consciousness, it underpins and promotes belief in the double myths of indispensability and absolute exceptionality, suggesting that the North Atlantic bloc holds a certain monopoly on all that is good and true. It is not by chance that such pathological renderings of "exceptionalism" and "leadership" have been wielded as convenient rationale and intellectual placeholders for the ideology of empire across the North Atlantic. This sense of ingrained moral self-righteousness, coupled with an attitude that celebrates activism, utopianism, and interventionism in foreign policy, has created and reinforced a culture of strategic overextension and imperial overreach.

It is this very culture -- personified and dominated by the Baby Boomers and the blob they birthed -- that has made hawkishness ubiquitous, avoids any real reckoning as to the limits of power, and habitually belittles calls for restraint and moderation as isolationism. In truth, however, what has been the exceptional part in the delusion of absolute exceptionalism is Pax Americana, liberal hegemony, and the hubris that animates them having gone uncontested and unchecked for so long. That confrontation could begin in earnest by directly challenging the Boomer blob itself -- and by propagating a counter-elite offering a starkly different worldview.

Achieving such a genuine paradigm shift demands a generational sea-change, to retire the old blob and make a better one in its place. It is about time for the old establishment to forgo its reign, allowing a new younger cohort from among the Millennial and post-Millennial generations to advance into leadership roles. The Millennials, especially, are now the largest generation of eligible voters (overtaking the Baby Boomers) as well as the first generation not habituated by the Cold War; in fact, many of them grew up during the "unipolar moment" of American hegemony. Hence, their generational identity is not built around a dualistic alterity. Free from obsessive fixation on ideological supremacy, most among them reject total global dominance as both unattainable and undesirable.

Instead, their worldview is shaped by an entirely different set of experiences and disappointments. Their generational crisis was brought on by a series of catastrophic interventions and endless wars around the world -- chief among them the debacles in Afghanistan and Iraq and the toppling of Libya's Gaddafi -- punctuated by repeated onslaughts of financial recessions and domestic strife. The atmosphere of uncertainty, instability, and general chaos has bred discontent, turning many Millennials into pragmatic realists who are disenchanted with the system, critical of the pontificating establishment, and naturally skeptical of lofty ideals and utopian doctrines.

In short, this is not an absolutist and complacent generation of idealists, but one steeped in realism and a certain perspectivism that has internalized the inherent relativity of both power and truth. Most witnessed the dangers of overreach, hubris, and a moralized foreign policy, so they are actively self-reflective, circumspect, and restrained. As a generation, they appear to be less the moralist and the global activist and more prudent, level-headed, and temperamentally conservative -- developing a keen appreciation for realpolitik, sovereignty, and national interest. Their preference for a non-ideological approach in foreign policy suggests that once in power, they will be less antagonistic and more tolerant of rival powers and accepting of pluralism in the international system. That openness to civilizational distinction and global cultural pluralism also implies that future Millennial statesmen will subscribe to a more humble, less grandiose, and narrower definition of interest that focuses on securing core objectives -- i.e., preserving national security and recognizing spheres of influence.

Reforming and rehabilitating the U.S. foreign policy establishment will require more than policy prescriptions and comprehensive reports: it needs generational change. To transform and finally "rein in" North Atlantic foreign policy, our task today must be to facilitate and expedite this shift. Once that occurs, the incoming Millennials should be better positioned to discard the deep-seated and routinized ideology of empire, supplanting it with a greater emphasis on partnership that is driven by mutual interests and a general commitment to sharing the globe with the world's other great cultures.

This new approach calls for America to lead by the power of its example, exhibiting the benefits of liberty and a constitutional republic at home, without forcibly imposing those values abroad. Such an outlook means abandoning the coercive regime change agendas and the corrosive projects of nation-building and democracy promotion. In this new multipolar world, America would be an able, dynamic, and equal participant in ensuring sustainable peace side-by-side the world's other great powers, acting as "a normal country in a normal time." Reflecting the spirit of republican governance authentically is far more pertinent now and salutary for the future of the North Atlantic peoples than is promulgating the utopian image of a shining city on a hill.

Arta Moeini is research director at the Institute for Peace and Diplomacy and a postdoc fellow at the Center for the Study of Statesmanship. Dr. Moeini's latest project advances a theory of cultural realism as a cornerstone to a new understanding of foreign policy.

The Institute for Peace and Diplomacy will be co-sponsoring "The Future of Grand Strategy in the Post-COVID World," with TAC, tonight at 6 p.m. ET. Register for free here .

[Sep 17, 2020] Another illustration of the economy of scale effect

Sep 17, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

William Gruff , Sep 15 2020 18:50 utc | 42

While I agree with the statement, I can, with a degree of certainty, say nothing was intercepted, and this is all face saving. As this article elucidates, no such iron dome, exists, or cannot be overcome.
All empire's bases remain exposed in the region. This is why the empire is high tailing it out of SW Asia. Zarif said so, himself.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/09/14/maintaining-pretence-over-reality-simply-put-iranians-outfoxed-us-defence-systems/

Dr Rubin, the founder and first director of the Israel Missile Defence Organization, which developed the state's first national missile defence shield, wrote in the wake of the 14 September attack on Abqaiq, (the Saudi Armco oil facility) that it was: "A brilliant feat of arms. It was precise, carefully-calibrated, devastating yet bloodless -- a model of a surgical operation the incoming threats [were not] detected by the U.S. air control systems deployed in the area, nor by U.S. satellites

This had nothing to do with flaws in the air and missile defence systems; but with the fact that they were not designed to deal with ground-hugging threats. Simply put, the Iranians outfoxed the defense systems".

William Gruff , Sep 15 2020 19:50 utc | 47
William Gruff , Sep 15 2020 18:50 utc | 42
Katyusha rockets are normally fired in salvos of dozens. Two of them being launched against the American fortress in Baghdad is just gentle prodding.

Another interesting point is that Katyusha rockets (BM-21 Grad) are dirt cheap. Whatever was used to intercept them was several orders of magnitude more expensive. I'm sure the Iraqi militias can keep lobbing Katyushas at the Green Zone for much longer than America can afford to try to shoot them down.

Sakineh Bagoom , Sep 15 2020 19:08 utc | 44
Another interesting point is that Katyusha rockets (BM-21 Grad) are dirt cheap. Whatever was used to intercept them was several orders of magnitude more expensive. I'm sure the Iraqi militias can keep lobbing Katyushas at the Green Zone for much longer than America can afford to try to shoot them down.

[Sep 16, 2020] Fake News About Iran, Russia, China Is U.S. Journalism's Daily Bread

Notable quotes:
"... But CNN has and will continue to repeat the allegations as fact, so it's mission accomplished for the deep state. As another poster said on this board about manufacturing consent: "It is important to discuss the story, not its credibility, the more the discussion, the more the reaction and the more it reinforces the narrative." ..."
"... In the 1920s (or 30s), far-rightist Karl Popper coined the concept of systematic manipulation of "public opinion". This would become a hallmark of Western Civilization in the post-war. The public opinion theory states that the masses don't have an opinion for themselves or, if they have, it is sculpting/flexible. The dominant classes can, therefore, guide the masses like a shepherd, to its will. ..."
"... It is an insult to the noble profession, to call what the mainstream media in the west, especially in the USA do, journalism. In my opinion what they do is propaganda and stenography on behalf of those who are in power. I am not sure who coined the term but "presstitution" is not a bad attempt at describing their profession. ..."
"... While the western corporate media lie on a continuous basis - and that has the predictable effect - what is more insidious is not these acts of commissions ( meaning lies), but their acts of omission (meaning excluding or deemphasizing important contextual information) leading people to make the wrong conclusions. NPR in the US is an excellent example of such presstitution. ..."
"... Why are the US promoting conflict with China, with Russia? Why are they beating Europe, maybe with the intention to destroy it? Why is a new civil war in the US promoted? ..."
"... Normal (geopolitically interested) people would think: against China it is better to come together and unite, at least US & Europe, but eventually Russia included. For instance take the population of these three together: far less than China's. ..."
"... Journalism in the US is so superficial, it is a drop above the uppermost wavy comb. Not worth to pay attention to it. ..."
"... Other than few independent blog site such as this, every media outlet is in the service of its home government or foreign sponsors. Only born-suckers take the corporate media at face value. Modern journalism is nothing but an aggressive propaganda racket. ..."
"... Using lies (bearing false witness) to cause murder and theft are not exactly a new phenomenon. These 'groups of individuals', which are employing these fabricated deceptions, are doing nothing less than trying to commit murder and theft. ..."
"... Everything that was accomplished (albeit incompletely or moderately) through the New Deal and then the abortive Great Society absolutely spooked the oligarchy. Lifting much of the working class out of absolute wage slavery to the point where the next rung on Maslow's ladder was at least visible. And when it all culminated in the late 60's and early 70's with the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, the Surface Mining act, and various labor protection measures, the wealthy owner class decided the proles had gained too much power to influence "their" captive government. ..."
"... What differs, however, is the presentation. Trump is criticized (not praised) for being allegedly soft on Russia and Biden criticized for being allegedly soft on China. This clever trick ensures that just about everybody is onboard the bash-China-and-Russia train. ..."
"... In a violently polarized society, with red-blue antagonism reaching ridiculous heights, people tend to act exclusively in contradiction to the cult figure they hate so much. ..."
"... I've been saying for years here to watch the documentary - Century of the Self. If you want to learn about and understand America, its all here. Government, Corporations, Consumerism, Militarism, Deep State, Psychology, Individual selfishness and mental illness. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJ3RzGoQC4s ..."
Sep 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Every few days U.S. 'intelligence' and 'officials' produce fake claims about this or that 'hostile' country. U.S. media continue to reproduce those claims even if they bare any logic and do not make any sense.

On June 27 the New York Times and the Washington Post published fake news about alleged Russian payments to the Taliban for killing U.S. troops.

The stories ran on the outlets' front pages.

Two week later the story was shown to have no basis :

[T]hat the story was obviously bullshit did not prevent Democrats in Congress, including 'Russiagate' swindler Adam Schiff, to bluster about it and to call for immediate briefings and new sanctions on Russia .

Just a day after it was published the main accusation, that Trump was briefed on the 'intelligence' died. The Director of National Intelligence, the National Security Advisor and the CIA publicly rejected the claim. Then the rest of the story started to crumble. On June 2, just one week after it was launched, the story was declared dead .
...
The NYT buried the above quoted dead corpse of the original story page A-19.

Despite that the Democrats continued to use the fake story for attacks on Donald Trump.

Yesterday the commander of the U.S. forces in the Middle East drove a stake though the heart of the dead corpse of the original story:

Two months after top Pentagon officials vowed to get to the bottom of whether the Russian government bribed the Taliban to kill American service members , the commander of troops in the region says a detailed review of all available intelligence has not been able to corroborate the existence of such a program.

"It just has not been proved to a level of certainty that satisfies me," Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of the U.S. Central Command, told NBC News. McKenzie oversees U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

But as one fake news zombie finally dies others get resurrected. Politico's 'intelligence' stenographer Natasha Bertrand produced this nonsensical claim :

The Iranian government is weighing an assassination attempt against the American ambassador to South Africa, U.S. intelligence reports say, according to a U.S. government official familiar with the issue and another official who has seen the intelligence.

News of the plot comes as Iran continues to seek ways to retaliate for President Donald Trump's decision to kill a powerful Iranian general earlier this year, the officials said. If carried out, it could dramatically ratchet up already serious tensions between the U.S. and Iran and create enormous pressure on Trump to strike back -- possibly in the middle of a tense election season.

U.S. officials have been aware of a general threat against the ambassador, Lana Marks, since the spring, the officials said. But the intelligence about the threat to the ambassador has become more specific in recent weeks. The Iranian Embassy in Pretoria is involved in the plot, the U.S. government official said.

Ambassador Lana Marks is known for selling overpriced handbags and for her donations to Trump's campaign. To Iran she has zero political or symbolic value. There is no way Iran would ever think about an attack on such a target. Accordingly the South African intelligence services do not believe that there is such a threat:

South African Minister of State Security Ayanda Dlodlo said the matter was "receiving the necessary attention" and that the State Security Agency (SSA) was "interacting with all relevant partners both in the country and abroad, to ensure that no harm will be suffered by the US Ambassador, including any other Diplomatic Officials inside the borders of our country."

However, an informed intelligence source told Daily Maverick that although the "matter has been taken seriously as we approach all such threats, specifically, there appears to be, from our perspective, no discernible threat. Least of all from the source that it purports to emanate from.

There was "no evidence or indicator", the source said, so the plot was "not likely to be real". The "associations made are not sustainable on any level but all precautions will be put in place".

The source suggested this was an instance of the "tail wagging the dog", of the Trump administration wielding a "weapon of mass distraction" to divert attention from its failures in the election campaign running up to President Donald Trump's re-election bid on November 3.

The spokesperson for the Iranian ministry of foreign affairs, Saeed Khatibzadeh, strongly denied the allegation in the Politico report which he called "hackneyed and worn-out anti-Iran propaganda".

In January the U.S. assassinated the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad. Soleimani led the external campaigns of the Iranian Quds Forces. He was the one who orchestrated the campaign that defeated the Islamic State. His mythic-symbolic position for Iran and the resistance in the Middle East is beyond that of any U.S. figure.

There is simply no one in the U.S. military or political hierarchy who could be seen as his equal. Iran has therefore announced that it will take other ways to revenge the assassination of Soleimani.

As an immediate response to the assassination of Soleimani Iran had launched a precise missile attack against two U.S. bases in Iraq. It has also announced that it will make sure that the U.S. military will have to leave the Middle East. That program is in full swing now as U.S. bases in Iraq are again coming under daily missile attacks :

More than eight months after a barrage of rockets killed an American contractor and wounded four American service members in Kirkuk, Iraq, militia groups continue to target U.S. military bases in that country, and the frequency of those attacks has increased.

"We have had more indirect fire attacks around and against our bases the first half of this year than we did the first half of last year," Gen. Frank McKenzie, the commander of the U.S. Central Command, said. "Those attacks have been higher."
...
McKenzie's comments came just hours after he announced the United States would be cutting its footprint in Iraq by almost half by the end of September, with about 2,200 troops leaving the country .

Just hours agon two Katyusha rockets were fired against the U.S. embassy in Baghdad's Green Zone. Two British/U.S.convoys also came under attack . U.S. air defense took the missiles down but its anti-missile fire is only further disgruntling the Iraqi population.

These attacks are still limited and designed to not cause any significant casualties. But they will continue to increase over time until the last U.S. soldier is withdrawn from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other Middle East countries. That, and only that, is the punishment Iran promised as revenge for Soleimani's death.

The alleged Iranian thread against the U.S. ambassador to South Africa is just another fake news propaganda story. It is useful only for lame blustering:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump - 3:04 UTC · Sep 15, 2020

According to press reports, Iran may be planning an assassination, or other attack, against the United States in retaliation for the killing of terrorist leader Soleimani, which was carried out for his planning a future attack, murdering U.S. Troops, and the death & suffering...
...caused over so many years. Any attack by Iran, in any form, against the United States will be met with an attack on Iran that will be 1,000 times greater in magnitude!

The danger of such fake stories about Russia or Iran is that they might be used to justify a response in the case of a false flag attack on the alleged targets.

Should something inconvenient happen to Ambassador Lana Marks the Trump administration could use the fake story as an excuse to respond with a limited attack on Iran.

It is well known by now that U.S. President Donald Trump is lying about every time he opens his mouth. Why do U.S. journalists presume that the agencies and anonymous officials who work under him are more truthful in their utterings than the man himself is hard to understand. Why do they swallow their bullshit?

Posted by b on September 15, 2020 at 11:50 UTC | Permalink


jo6pac , Sep 15 2020 12:01 utc | 1

Amerikas propaganda machine never sleeps and sadly to many people believe the BS
Sunny Runny Burger , Sep 15 2020 12:27 utc | 2
US and European journalists are also lying constantly, that's why. Even when they make embarrassing attempts at "being unbiased" or "factual". Do they understand it? Many might not, but some do, perhaps fewer than anyone would think reasonable.

Btw a lot of these "journalists" in Europe in particular openly self-identify to "the left" or even as socialists and communists or "greens". So much for ideology as some kind of solution: entirely worthless and superficial.

Christian J. Chuba , Sep 15 2020 12:44 utc | 3
But CNN has and will continue to repeat the allegations as fact, so it's mission accomplished for the deep state. As another poster said on this board about manufacturing consent: "It is important to discuss the story, not its credibility, the more the discussion, the more the reaction and the more it reinforces the narrative."

Just for laughs, I looked at the reviews of Gordon Chang's book, 'The Coming Economic Collapse of China' to see if I could figure out the reasoning and one of the reviewers said that China weakens because they lack a free press to hold their govt accountable. I had a good laugh at that one.

vk , Sep 15 2020 12:54 utc | 4
There's an objective explanation for that.

In the 1920s (or 30s), far-rightist Karl Popper coined the concept of systematic manipulation of "public opinion". This would become a hallmark of Western Civilization in the post-war. The public opinion theory states that the masses don't have an opinion for themselves or, if they have, it is sculpting/flexible. The dominant classes can, therefore, guide the masses like a shepherd, to its will.

Friedrich von Hayek - a colleague of Popper and father of British neoliberalism (the man behind Thatcher) - then developed on the issue, by proposing the institutionalization of public opinion. He proposed a system of three or four tiers of intellectuals which a capitalist society should have. The first tier is the capitalist class itself, who would govern the entire world anonymously, through secret meetings. These meetings would produce secret reports, whose ideas would be spread to the second tier. The second tier is the academia and the more prominent politicians and other political leaderships. The third tier is the basic education teachers, who would indoctrinate the children. The fourth tier is the MSM, whose job is to transform the ideas and opinions of the first tier into "common sense" ("public opinion").

Therefore, it's not a case where the Western journalists are being fooled. Their job was never to inform the public. When they publish a lie about, say, Iran trying to kill an American ambassador in South Africa, they are not telling a lie in their eyes: they are telling an underlying truth through one thousand lies. The objective here is to convince ("teach") the American masses it is good for the USA if Iran was invaded and destroyed (which is a truth). They are like the modern Christian God, who teach its subjects the Truth through "mysterious ways".

Nathan Mulcahy , Sep 15 2020 12:56 utc | 5
It is an insult to the noble profession, to call what the mainstream media in the west, especially in the USA do, journalism. In my opinion what they do is propaganda and stenography on behalf of those who are in power. I am not sure who coined the term but "presstitution" is not a bad attempt at describing their profession.

Unfortunately they have been amazingly successful in brainwashing people. One current example, from numerous ones that could be cited, is the public's opinion on Julian Assange. .

While the western corporate media lie on a continuous basis - and that has the predictable effect - what is more insidious is not these acts of commissions ( meaning lies), but their acts of omission (meaning excluding or deemphasizing important contextual information) leading people to make the wrong conclusions. NPR in the US is an excellent example of such presstitution.

What I am saying is nothing new to the bar flies here. But I am extremely distressed when I see how poorly informed (propagandized, brainwashed) the vast majority of the people I know are. Let's say a decade ago, ideological polarization was the main reason why it was so difficult to have an open discussion on important issues the US. Today it has become even more difficult because, thanks to the success of the presstitutes, people also have different sets of "facts". And most alarmingly, after successfully creating a readership who believe in alternative "facts", the mainstream presstitutes are moving on to creating a logic-free narrative. Examples include Assad supposedly gassing his people when he was winning (even though that was guaranteed to produce western intervention against him). A more recent example is the Navalny affair. Sadly, very sadly, way too many people are affected.

Gerhard , Sep 15 2020 13:07 utc | 6
Hi, thanks, and sorry, but: why does nobody look behind the curtain?

Why are the US promoting conflict with China, with Russia? Why are they beating Europe, maybe with the intention to destroy it? Why is a new civil war in the US promoted?

Are these random developments of history? Are laws of history behind that?
NO!! Surely not!

Normal (geopolitically interested) people would think: against China it is better to come together and unite, at least US & Europe, but eventually Russia included. For instance take the population of these three together: far less than China's.

If something is going against the common sense, then there should be a reason behind. This reason I recommend You, with due respect, to find - and to uncover the plan.

Journalism in the US is so superficial, it is a drop above the uppermost wavy comb. Not worth to pay attention to it.

The actual demand is to understand and to show the forces playing deep underwater.
And to preview where these forces are determined to strike against.

Kind regards, Gerhard

DG , Sep 15 2020 13:30 utc | 7
They are all Judith Miller now.
morongobill , Sep 15 2020 13:39 utc | 8
Like the famed slogan of septic tank pumpers, the Gray Lady's masthead should read, "Your shit is our bread and butter!"
ptb , Sep 15 2020 13:53 utc | 9
Yep. We're into some pretty overt 1984 territory now... It's really a shame.
Richard Steven Hack , Sep 15 2020 14:37 utc | 10
Gareth Porter's latest on "Russian hacking"...

Dark Web Voter Database Report Casts New Doubts on Russian Election Hack Narrative

A new report showing that US state-level voter databases were publicly available calls into question the narrative that Russian intelligence "targeted" US state election-related websites in 2016.

The problem with these sorts of accusations about "state-sponsored" hacking is they assume that because a target has some connection to a state or some political activity that it means the hackers are "nation-state". In reality, personal identification information (PII) is a commodity on the black market, along with intellectual property - and *any* hacker will target *any* such source of PII. So the mere fact that it is an election year, and that voting organizations are loaded with PII, makes them an obvious target for any and every hacker.

"Oregon's chief information security officer, Lisa Vasa, told the Washington Post in September 2017 that her team blocks 'upwards of 14 million attempts to access our network every day."'

This is the usual ridiculous claim from almost every organization. They treat every Internet packet that hits their firewall as being an "attempt to access" the network (or worse, a "breach" - which it is not.) Which is technically true, but would only be relevant if they had *no* firewall - a setup which no organization runs these days. By definition, 99.99999% of those attempts are random mass scans of a block of IP addresses by either a hacker or some malware on someone else's machine - or even a computer security researcher attempting to find out how many sites are vulnerable.

Hoarsewhisperer , Sep 15 2020 14:52 utc | 11
"It just has not been proved to a level of certainty that satisfies me," Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of the U.S. Central Command, told NBC News. McKenzie oversees U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Barflies should write Gen Frank McKenzie inside the back cover of their diaries, and count the days until we hear of/from him again. I've a feeling he's crossed a line and knows precisely what he's doing and why. Imo, the Swamp has just been put on notice.

Sakineh Bagoom , Sep 15 2020 14:54 utc | 12
Posted by: vk | Sep 15 2020 12:54 utc | 4
In the 1920s (or 30s), far-rightist Karl Popper coined the concept of "public opinion".

vk, I can't find anything regarding this coinage. Could you please provide a link.
Wiki is specially devoid of it and it goes back to 16 century.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_opinion The term public opinion was derived from the French opinion publique which was first used in 1588 by Michel de Montaigne in the second edition of his Essays

juliania , Sep 15 2020 15:12 utc | 13
Thank you, b. In this world of illusion that mainstream press provides it is forgivable that we cannot even convince members of our own families that are dear to us of the underlying truths behind what these masters of deception continue to print. Surely they only do so because livelihoods are threatened, and the public perceptions are reaching a critical point where belief in what they write, read by the diminishing numbers of faithful few, reaches a pinnacle of perception and spills chaotically down into a watershed of realization.

I remember when we were told what happens on the top floor of the New York Times. It opened my eyes. And perhaps here also, b is providing a chink through which we may glimpse what is happening in military circles in fields of operation where facts collide with fiction:

"We have had more indirect fire attacks around and against our bases the first half of this year than we did the first half of last year," Gen. Frank McKenzie, the commander of the U.S. Central Command, said. "Those attacks have been higher."
...
McKenzie's comments came just hours after he announced the United States would be cutting its footprint in Iraq by almost half by the end of September, with about 2,200 troops leaving the country.
vk , Sep 15 2020 15:13 utc | 14
@ Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Sep 15 2020 14:54 utc | 12

On Hayek's "tiering", google "IHS model" ("pyramid of social change") and his book "The Intellectuals and Socialism".

On Popper's conception of "public opinion", see "The Open Society and Its Enemies" (1945). Yes, the term itself is not Popper's invention - he never claimed to have done so. But he gave it a "twist", and we can say nowadays every Western journalist's conception of "public opinion" is essentially Popper's.

Kooshy , Sep 15 2020 15:36 utc | 18
Why do swallow their bullshit?

because on matters related to Iran, China and Russia, they are not independent, there is no real difference between the two camps in US, Biden' foreign policy which is endorsed and supported by NYT and WP is not that different than Trump's, if not more radical. There is no free press in US, as matter of fact, as long as this United Oligarchy of America exist there will be no free press.

Sakineh Bagoom , Sep 15 2020 15:50 utc | 20
OK, I admit it. I read this rag, just because Paul Pillar posts there. And yes, there is an "Iran derangement" syndrome in US, where people go to sleep and dream Iran. They wake up from wet dream of bloody Iranian babies, asking, have we sanctioned Iran today? https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2020/09/14/when-it-comes-to-iran-how-many-failures-is-enough-for-pompeo/
jayc , Sep 15 2020 16:01 utc | 22
As well, this fake news propaganda barrage continues in the context of determined censorship of alternative media and social media - a campaign which has been largely promoted by the liberal intelligentsia in the US, in the name of reducing "fake news." Having to live within an ever-widening swamp of utter BS is wearying and mind-numbing - also to the point, one may assume.
Kooshy , Sep 15 2020 16:19 utc | 23
Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Sep 15 2020 12:56 utc | 5

Yes, I agree, IMO/observation, the US Government, the political parties and their supportive media are rapidly ideologically polarizing their constituencies to two hard entrenched ideological camps (which as you say has become hard shelled impenetrable). Except on one common ideological point, which almost all the population has been and is being brain washed as young as first grade, this common used term, which shield you from needing to investigate or form any other opinion is: US has always been, is and will be a "force for good" by its constitution, no matter what she has done or will do. This sentence when fully believed and carved in one' mind from childhood is very difficult to erase and crack. These two ideologically opposing camps about 70% of the population will not want to hear any fact or not, other than what they are told and believed all their life.

Noirette , Sep 15 2020 16:59 utc | 31
Re. K. Popper and topic above:

"Unlike utopian engineering, piecemeal social engineering must be "small scale," Popper said, meaning that social reform should focus on changing one institution at a time. Also, whereas utopian engineering aims for lofty and abstract goals (for example, perfect justice, true equality, a higher kind of happiness), piecemeal social engineering seeks to address concrete social problems (for example, poverty, violence, unemployment, environmental degradation, income inequality). It does so through the creation of new social institutions or the redesign of existing ones. These new or reconfigured institutions are then tested through implementation and altered accordingly and continually in light of their effects. Institutions thus may undergo gradual improvement overtime and social ills gradually reduced. Popper compared piecemeal social engineering to physical engineering. Just as physical engineers refine machines through a series of small adjustments to existing models, social engineers gradually improve social institutions through "piecemeal tinkering." In this way, "[t]he piecemeal method permits repeated experiments and continuous readjustments" (Open Society Vol 1., 163).

Only such social experiments, Popper said, can yield reliable feedback for social planners. In contrast, as discussed above, social reform that is wide ranging, highly complex and involves multiple institutions will produce social experiments in which it is too difficult to untangle causes..."

from: https://iep.utm.edu/popp-pol/

So Top-Down with a vengeance, but softly, softly, hunting for 'good results', for what and how these are defined is left out entirely, and who exactly runs the process...? (Btw China sorta follows this approach with 'social experiments' gathering data that is analysed etc. to improve governance.)

Biswapriya Purkayast , Sep 15 2020 17:16 utc | 33
Don't forget that the only time the Amerikastani Empire's warmongering imperialist media called Trump "presidential" was when he launched missiles at Syria on false pretences in support of al Qaeda.
David G , Sep 15 2020 17:16 utc | 34
The statement by praetor McKenzie probably won't do much to remove the "Russian bounties" tale from the received Beltway belief structure, where it lodged immediately upon publication, any more than earlier refutations, or its inherent implausibility, did. I see the bounties regularly referred to by Dems and Dem-adjacent media as established fact.

In the same light, it's worthwhile to read the Politico article on the alleged Iranian designs on the purse princess and try to spot other fictions included as supposedly factual background, some qualified as being American assertions, but others presented as undisputed fact, such as:

This new one about the plot to get the ambassador in Pretoria may be too trivial to get sustained attention, but it will show up as background in some future Politico article or the like, joining the rest in the Beltway's version of reality, which at this point is made almost entirely of these falsehoods encrusting on each other, decade after decade, creating the phony geopolitical mindscape these people live in.

Mere factual refutation – even from otherwise establishment-approved sources – won't remove these barnacles. For instance, in February the NY Times itself published a debunking of the initial account that it was an Iran-backed Shia militia, as opposed to Salafist I.S.-affiliated forces, that killed that U.S. contractor last December. But the good (if delayed) reporting is forgotten; the lie persists. The same fate awaits McKenzie's dismissal of the Russian bounties nonsense.

conspiracy-theorist , Sep 15 2020 18:04 utc | 37
The thoughtful reader would at this point stop and ponder. "Fake News About Iran, Russia, China Is U.S. Journalism's Daily Bread". I agree with this statement. But not just U.S. Journalism. Minimally U.K. Journalism is on-board, if not tutoring the Yanks in the art of Journalism. And then there is Europe herself, she too has armies of Journalists and many Journals. They too mostly fake around in general.

Now then, that leave Journalism in "Iran, Russia, China". It is fine trait to root for underdogs but Journalism in these states is also subject to a highly controlled and managed environment. It is disingenuous to ignore these facts.

Given this congregation of "fakers", worldwide, it is very reasonable to question the very "fight" that these "fakers" keep telling us is on between the "adversaries".

vinnieoh , Sep 15 2020 18:24 utc | 40
Good to see so many being able to name the operation of the official narrative. It serves also another purpose, witnessed by one of the most consequential actions of all, the wanton abandonment of international law and accountability - the GWOT and the launching of same in Afghanistan and Iraq. That other purpose is to create cover for those, elected in our name, to avoid responsibility.

"Who knew?" asked the soulless Rumsfeld. And the refrain returned from the hollowed out halls of the Greatest Democracy On Earth (tm) - "We were misled!", "Look it says so right there in the official narrative, REMEMBER?" But the misleaders are never rounded up and never face any consequences, cause truth be told all that voted for the AUMF belong in the pokey. And the congressional class of '02-'03 would do the same thing all over again, 'cause the narrative's got their back.

karlof1 , Sep 15 2020 18:34 utc | 41
Despite the future grimness predicted by 1984 , the ability and effectiveness of Media Structures to openly lie and thus herd the public to embrace the preferred Narrative hasn't turned out quite the way Orwell thought it might. Former authoritarian blocs learned the hard way that it's better to tell their citizens the truth and actively engage them in governance, while the Anglo-Imperial powers have gone in the opposite direction, thus the question why? IMO, the longstanding Narrative related to the mythical Dream has greatly eroded in the face of Reality, while at the same time the Rentier Class and the Duopoly it controls needs to try and obfuscate what it's doing. And thus we've seen the rise of BigLie Media to be used for the purpose of Divide and Rule. There're numerous works detailing how and why; two of the more important are Manufacturing of Consent and J is for Junk Economics . Part of the overall process of dumbing-down populations is the deliberate destruction of the educational process, particularly in the areas of philosophy and political-economy/history, which are essentially connected as one when considering the History of Ideas or a sub-area like the Philosophy of Science.

Such a dumbing-down of a nation's populous can be measured, the USSR and its Warsaw Bloc being the most evident, but also The Inquisition and its affect on the advancement of science within the regions it ruled, and the inward turning of China during the Ming Dynasty which allowed for its subjugation by Western forces beginning in the 16th Century. Most recently, this is evident in China's passing the Outlaw US Empire in terms of geoeconomics and thus overall geopolitical power. An explanation for India's inability to match China's development can be found in its refusal to do away with its semi-feudal caste system and not educate its masses so they can become a similar collective dynamo as in China. At the beginning of his brief tenure, JFK noted the Knowledge Gap that existed between a USSR that was nearing its intellectual heights (although that wasn't known then) and the USA whose educational system effectively excluded @60% of students from having the opportunity to advance. There would never have been a Dot.Com economy without JFK's initiative to improve educational outcomes. There seems to be a notion within the Outlaw US Empire's elite that an well educated populace presents a danger to their rule and they can get by using AI and Robotics to further their future plans. Here I'd refer such thinkers to the lessons provided by the failure of Asimov's Galactic Empire in his Foundation series of books--particular their reliance on AI, robotics, dumbing-down the populace to the point where no one recalls how atomics functioned. The sort of balance sheet being constructed by the Fed cannot repair or replace crumbling infrastructure or train the engineers needed to perform the work.

So, what continual BigLie Media lies tell us is the continued downward spiral of the West's intellectual abilities will continue while an East that values the Truth and Discovery moves on to eclipse it, mainly because the West has stopped trying, thinking it's found a better way based on the continual amassing of Debt, which is seen as wealth on their balance sheets. Ultimately, the West thinks the one person holding all the assets as the winner of its Zero-sum Monopoly Game is a better outcome than having millions of people sharing the winnings of a Win-Win system that promotes the wellbeing of all. I can tell you now which philosophy will triumph, but you all ought to be capable of reasoning that outcome.

Steve , Sep 15 2020 18:59 utc | 43
After a sound and an in-depth analysis, b sometimes confounds me with his credulity. Take this sentence for example: "Why do U.S. journalist presume that the agencies and anonymous officials who work under him are more truthful in their uttering than the man himself is hard to understand. Why do swallow their bullshit?" Of course there is no daylight between the US, and indeed the whole Western governments, and its Press. Other than few independent blog site such as this, every media outlet is in the service of its home government or foreign sponsors. Only born-suckers take the corporate media at face value. Modern journalism is nothing but an aggressive propaganda racket.

Mark2 , Sep 15 2020 19:13 utc | 45

You only have to look at who owns the media and who their close friends are, to understand why the media says what it says or lies what it lies ! It's an industry promoting the elites self-interest, creating fictioous enemy countries to feed the arms industry and create US domestic mass paranoia. The Israeli lobby groups are at the wheel of the whole dam clown car.
chet380 , Sep 15 2020 19:45 utc | 46
Even more admiration for coining 'Vichy Press'.
uncle tungsten , Sep 15 2020 20:39 utc | 49
Biden is outed in his coup machinations by Fort Russ a tale told with a bit of media spin.
Josh , Sep 15 2020 20:40 utc | 50
Using lies (bearing false witness) to cause murder and theft are not exactly a new phenomenon. These 'groups of individuals', which are employing these fabricated deceptions, are doing nothing less than trying to commit murder and theft.
Josh , Sep 15 2020 20:41 utc | 51
These acts happen to constitute real crimes, or at least attempted criminal acts, in reality.
Yeah, Right , Sep 15 2020 22:07 utc | 53
No doubt the two propaganda streams will merge until we will be told that the CIA now believes that Iran will attempt plausible deniability by funnelling the money through Putin, who will offer it to the Taliban by way of a bounty on the Ambassador's head.

The CIA's wet dream: the Taliban does it, Putin arranged it, but it was all Iran's fault, leading to:
A) infinite occupation of the poppy fie.... sorry, Afghanistan
B) even more sanctions on Russia
C) war with Iran

What's not to like?

spindoctor , Sep 15 2020 23:18 utc | 56
Posted by: vk | Sep 15 2020 12:54 utc | 4
In the 1920s (or 30s), far-rightist Karl Popper coined the concept of "public opinion".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystallizing_Public_Opinion published 1923.

spindoctor , Sep 15 2020 23:25 utc | 57
Posted by: vk | Sep 15 2020 12:54 utc | 4

From the link just cited:

'"Public opinion", according to Bernays, is an amorphous group of judgments which are not well elaborated even in the head of a single average individual. He extracts a quotation from Wilfred Trotter, which states that this average man has many strong convictions whose origin he can't explain (Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War, p. 36). People's minds have "logic-proof compartments" which must be approached by means beyond the rational. (pp. 61–68).'

vk , Sep 16 2020 1:12 utc | 58
@ Posted by: spindoctor | Sep 15 2020 23:18 utc | 56

Yes, I forgot to mention this very important book. If I'm not mistaken (and I may be), Popper got the term from Bernays.

Popper, von Hayek... these guys are the fathers of neoliberalism. I'm not mentioning backyard intellectuals here. They shaped the West as we know it today and, if you're a Westerner and wants to understand the civilization you live in, you have to know what they formulated.

Just to clear that off: I don't agree with Popper's (or Bernays, for that matter) conception on "public opinion". The Marxist conception of ideology is much more complete and precise scientifically.

ptb , Sep 16 2020 1:35 utc | 59
@karlof1 41

Speaking of education (although of science/tach, rather than critical thinking)...

Add in the migration of top-level educated individuals. In the US, an underdeveloped primary/secondary school system creates room at the university/grad level to absorb talent from the rest of the world. For many years, this was a source of competitive advantage -- imported human capital is better than home grown, because if you import, you take it away from someone else. Clever!

It was not that big a deal for the US if social mobility of native born lower and middle classes was stifled somewhat. (and I would say it still would not be a big deal if the resources of the country were not so grossly mismanaged/wasted/stolen).

But in the current century, or certainly the decade now ending, China alone can fill every US grad school science/tech program and still have people to spare for itself. Other parts of the world are right up there as well.

And then you have computers. Sometime between 2000 and 2010, computers became pretty much cheap enough that you could give one to a every kid, even in families of limited means. Provided the primary/secondary education system is there to support it, a country could develop as much tech talent as they had population. The first generation of kids whose childhood took place under this condition is now coming out of university - I would think vastly greater in numbers than any amount the US (or Euro) higher educational system can absorb. Should be a pretty serious shifting of gears in how human capital is distributed worldwide.

But none of this is about critical thinking. Few systems of organizing society actually promote that ... it tends to happen in spite of the organizing principles, rather than because of them. Nor are the most educated (regardless of country of origin) any less susceptible to the propaganda - if anything they are more so, due to the design of the message, because it is more important that they receive it. You want a book recommendation that talks about that, check out 'Disciplined Minds' by Jeff Schmidt (though perhaps with an overly pessimistic outlook -- people can recognize the reality he describes and deal with it... it is only the more naive/idealistic types who fall extra hard for the mythology and then find themselves in a conflict they can't handle). There are lots of other avenues to take too... about the psychology of self-discovery, discovery of self-vs-social-organism etc....

uncle tungsten , Sep 16 2020 4:34 utc | 61
Conspiracy-theorist #37

Exactly that and yet we are constantly fed a diet from the bottom of the barrel. NYT? WAPO? They are rags. Gutter press peddling drivel. Surely there are more erudite and critical publications in this world than these USA drivel sheets. I am aware of good journalism in Switzerland and elsewhere but currently separted from a device adequate to translate and quote.

Thank you Conspiracy-theorist it I way past time we escaped the neverending story of BS + HATE.

Greg L , Sep 16 2020 6:12 utc | 62
And this tidbit? Deep state is as deep state does... Trump Claims He Wanted To Assassinate Syrian President Assad, But Mattis Opposed It
vato , Sep 16 2020 7:49 utc | 63
A propos fake news, John Helmer reports on the Navalny saga and was lately on the Gorilla radio podcast with Chris Cook to discuss the newest events. It's a one-hour-talk but very enjoyable listening to Helmer. You can also follow his reports on his blog Dances With Bears .
vinnieoh , Sep 16 2020 12:55 utc | 64
karlof1 | Sep 15 2020 18:34 utc | 41

Try this on for size. This is a conclusion I arrived at several decades ago, wrote about several times, but not recently.

Everything that was accomplished (albeit incompletely or moderately) through the New Deal and then the abortive Great Society absolutely spooked the oligarchy. Lifting much of the working class out of absolute wage slavery to the point where the next rung on Maslow's ladder was at least visible. And when it all culminated in the late 60's and early 70's with the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, the Surface Mining act, and various labor protection measures, the wealthy owner class decided the proles had gained too much power to influence "their" captive government.

The princes and barons of industry and finance were very open about their complaints. The advance of regulation on their ability to pollute and to exploit must stop or they would take their bundles of riches and go elsewhere. It is what Saint Ronny was ALL about. And so all that got fat and filthy rich during the real American Century took their wealth where regulation and labor fairness and justice didn't exist to continue their exorbitant profit taking.

And then they imported those cheap products here to wreak what was left of our industrial base and to impress on all of us that they remain the boss, the real power. Drive down wages, destroy pensions and safety nets and put US proles back into wage slavery. Remember the 80's and 90's when Wal-Mart basically told established and storied US manufacturers "either you produce the goods we want for what our Asian suppliers can make them for, or you're finished." And that is exactly what happened. Wal-Mart was just the vanguard, it is now ubiquitous. Another aspect of this assault was forcing us proles into the stock market through our pensions and retirement funds so as to make us all sympathetic to de-regulation - so as not to hurt OUR bottom line. Many labor unions became just a sick symbiosis with the industries they "served."

Incomplete and observational, I am not erudite or lettered, but I think it is an accurate narrative.

Edward , Sep 16 2020 13:05 utc | 65
There is a curious schizophrenia where the U.S. press will treat presidential claims about foreign affairs as a sacred truth but treat claims denying adultery, such as in the Lewinski affair, as dismissible.
Geoff , Sep 16 2020 13:20 utc | 66
Living in the USA (Steve Miller classic) has always seemed to me about dealing with falsehood and deception. US highschool seemed like he time for me when the formidable pressure to conform became completely nonsensical, perhaps because it was so utterly cruel, but also because it seemed untruthful. You basically were required to accept modes if behavior and thought that seemed alien to human behavior, but were presented as the sine quo non of how to be. How to succeed, how to live. It seems to me that if you were attempting to retain truthfulness, this conformity was rife with logical fallacies of every sort which if you tried to deal with them, or confront them, you were ostracized or at worst outcast.

In the many years since, it seems like everything else, once a person adopts untruthful behavior, it is next to impossible to change course, so you deal with all kinds of people who have doubled down on their personal deceptions. Marriages based on financial success come to mind, and are like any deception, the cause of incredible dis ease and misey.

There is a philosophical concept I came upon called parrhesia that Foucault gives a fantastic series of lectures on which can be found by searching the web, that investigates the perils implicit in telling truth to falsehood, and the many disasters and tragedies that have befallen human kind in the attempts to do so.

I've come to think that humans by nature are basically incapable of avoiding whatever it is that is "truth." Because over and over life seems to present situations that are the unswervingly the same to everyone. Youth and aging, for example, and the end result never varies, like illness, death, and dying. And everyone has their own similar story navigating the human predicaments and facing an inalterable "truth," which might be in this example, death.

My wonder as I observe life as I age, is what is the damage done to those not only who try their honest best to remain truthful, but what is the damage done to those who cannot escape an adopted untruth and refuse to let go of it. I suppose in this moment of history, you need only look at pandemic, wildfires, and conflicts to see how far human beings have digressed from an Eden. But there must be a purpose to it all? Like, trying to cling to any kind of integrity.

Old and Grumpy , Sep 16 2020 13:31 utc | 67
You think international fake news is just a Trump thing? Just off the top of my head we have thins like Tonkin Bay, Kuwait babies being massacred by Iraqi troops, my personal favorite Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and a multiple of mean Assads killing their people with poison. That is just a bipartisan few. We have one political party, who serves the deep state. The deep state serves the interests of Wall Street and more importantly the Rothschild world banking system. Give the spooks a lot of credit they let us have two "choices" while controlling both. Think of it as a neo fascism kinda thing that ironically finances the anti fascists. The press is just a means to an end. Assume everything is an agenda, and read the independents for some actual thought. I may not agree with you all the time, but I do love you MoA. Thank you for all your work.
ptb , Sep 16 2020 14:02 utc | 68
@64 vinnieoh

'spooked oligarchy...reforms..culminated in ..70s'

Yep. When committed Dem's go off on Trump, it's deeply felt but kindof a ritual rant. Bring Ralph Nader into the conversation, just mention him in passing, and the response becomes live! Betrayal, danger of being shown up again!

William Gruff , Sep 16 2020 14:12 utc | 69
Old and Grumpy @67 has a good point. Anyone suggesting that fake news is in any way related to Trump being President are big parts of the problem for why fake news persists in the first place. Suggesting that it is because of Trump, and thus implying that the fake news will go away when Trump does, is either profoundly ignorant, or profoundly deceitful, though probably both. Trump ranting about fake news exposed the problem and forced it into the public discourse. Those rants did not create the problem.
ptb , Sep 16 2020 14:36 utc | 70
Re: @Geoff 66

"You basically were required to accept modes if behavior and thought that seemed alien to human behavior ... ... forced to double down"

I had short but deeply influential conversation right out of college with a recruiter/HR manager from Raytheon, of all places. He talked about exactly what you said. He spoke, in a hypothetical third person, about a mid-career guy with a mortgage and family who finds themselves questioning the defense industry. How that isn't the best place to be in, mentally. I changed my career plans that day, forever thankful for the encounter.

However, regarding people being able to avoid unpleasant realities, he was of the opinion that for most people, it is possible to do so. Even beneficial. (Except of course for the recipients of his company's products. I didn't say that but I think he figured out that I was thinking it). The issue, from the point of view of running an effective organization, is what happens if the doubters and believers start to mix? Part of his assigned task was to simply keep out people curious enough to ask too many questions. That's one of the "benefits" of really polarizing politics too.

William Gruff , Sep 16 2020 15:33 utc | 71
Geoff @66:

"My wonder as I observe life as I age, is what is the damage done to those not only who try their honest best to remain truthful, but what is the damage done to those who cannot escape an adopted untruth and refuse to let go of it."

That's what modern pharmaceuticals are for, and why one in six Americans (officially) are prescribed them. If we include the numbers of Americans who self-medicate with alcohol and/or grey/black market pharmaceuticals, then the proportion would be a bit (quite a bit) larger. People who succeed at being truthful (mostly to themselves) are not confronted with cognitive dissonance mind-quakes; however, such individuals are confronted with experiencing the retch reflex when consuming mass media.

Is being truthful vs embracing the lies then half-dozen of one and six of the other? I find satisfactory peace of mind from being truthful and simply avoiding the primary vector of deception; the mass media. Noble individuals like our host and some of the posters here will slog through that vile cesspool of lies and fish out the little nuggets of truth that leak out. It is selfish of me to leave such dirty work to others, but at least I am not hermetically isolated on a mountain somewhere.

J Swift , Sep 16 2020 16:12 utc | 74
Kooshy @ 23

An interesting thought. I have long had the feeling that a large part of the obviously orchestrated drive to almost define both of the two US parties with really incredibly unimportant issues like bathroom preferences were designed to split the voters as equally as possible, so that to swing elections one had only to control the votes of a very small number of tie breakers. I still think this is likely true, but I do think you make an important point that a lot can be learned about what is truly important to the PTB by reflecting on the topics that aren't being argued over.

Compare the "two" US political parties, and you will note that while they seem to be getting ever more extreme and irreconcilable and quasi-religious in their differences, these differences are always on the periphery. Both parties are being indoctrinated with certain common beliefs they will take for granted because they are never talked about -- because these points are not allowed to be in contention. So while even something like climate change can be a big divider (no worries, there's money to be made on both sides of that issue, and means of control); but you will never hear debate about

1. America is the greatest ever!

2. America is always and unquestionably a force for good, and even it's proven bad things (kidnapping, rendition, and torture programs) are done "for the greater good."

3. Unbridled capitalism is the only way, and the privatization and unwinding of any vestiges of social programs, like education, social security, and even utilities and infrastructure, is always a good thing deserving of priority.

4. Individualism is the best, if not only, way. To be a hero you must strike alone against the bad guys/the system/the government; someone who rallies others, causes forces to be gathered and united, unionized, whatever are discouraged or ignored.

5. "Leadership" in the affairs of others around the world is American right, responsibility, and destiny. Having the largest, almost entirely offensively oriented military on earth is essential; and having it, we must use it to get our money's worth.

6. Omnipresent "intelligence" services equal safety and are absolutely required for life to be normal. I'm sure there are other examples of "universally agreed" doctrines in the US, but these are some that leap out.

Noirette , Sep 16 2020 16:32 utc | 75
These crazy MSM lies Anecdote. Last Sat (Geneva, Switz.) I spoke to 20 ppl whom I know somewhat, all know I like to discuss news etc. I said, weird news this week, making no mention of Navalny. 18/20 believed Putin poisoned Navalny and brought it up spontaneously! There is something so appealing and narratively 'seductive' about spies and 'opponents' (Skripal ) and mysterious poisons used by evil doers etc. that fiction just flows smoothly into fact or whatever is 'real.'

I had to mention Assange myself to most, but there the reaction was very mixed, most thought Assange was being persecuted, or it was 'not right', and took this story seriously in one way or another - 4 ppl claimed not to know the latest news. Here, NGOs, Leftists and Others have made demands for him to be offered asylum in Switz, so he has been front page.

In F.

https://www.lematin.ch/story/l-asile-pour-julian-assange-est-demande-a-la-suisse-327216661898

Besides that (I'm always interested in from-the-ground view-points, experiences, so post some myself) what is going on is monopoly consolidation:

Mega MSM in cahoots with the MIC, Big Pharma, Big Agri, Finance, and so on. Corporations joining up their positions bit by bit while also competing in some ways, bribing and owning the Pols. who are front-men and women tasked with providing a lot of drama, manufactured agitation, etc., which in turn is fodder for the MSM, etc.

Overall, the most important sector to watch is the GAFAM, 1, the reign of the middle men is close at hand (control information, both the channels and the content, and commerce up to a point.) All this leaves out energy considerations, another vital topic left aside.

1. google apple facebook amazon microsoft

karlof1 , Sep 16 2020 17:02 utc | 78
ptb @59--

Thanks for your reply! I've touched on the topic of human capital and its development occasionally here, positing it's the #1 asset of all nations. Those nations who neglect to develop their own human capital are bound to become deficient when it comes to basic comparative advantages with other nations, particularly as political-economy shifts from being materialistic to knowledge-based; thus Pepe Escobar agreeing wholeheartedly with my comment about India. (He added this article to his FB timeline and I posted my comment there.)

From 1999-2003, I was involved in developing distance learning platforms for the rapidly advancing ability to learn outside of a school's four walls. The other educators I worked with and myself had great hopes for the virtual classroom and what it might do to aide both teachers and students. At the time we thought this development would provide a great opportunity for the third member of the educational team--parents--to play a greater role in the process since active parental involvement was proven to generate better student outcomes. But for that to be properly implemented, equitable funding for all school districts became an even greater issue than it was already. This issue highlighted the huge problems related to financing education at a moment when BushCo Privatizers began to seriously threaten what was already in place. And that problem has only worsened, the vast disparities being very evident thanks to COVID-forced distance learning. The primary reason good teachers can't be retained is the entire system's a massive Clusterfuck. And computers aren't substitutes for even poor teachers. And parents are even more aloof from becoming involved in the process than ever before.

The dumbing-down I mention is now entering its third generation. The educational structure needs to be completely refitted nationally, but I wouldn't give that task to any of the fuckwits employed by the past three administrations--Yes, I'm arguing education needs to be a completely federal program instead of the 53 different school systems in states and territories; and yes, I'm aware of the pitfalls and potential corruption that poses, which is a microcosm of all the problems at the federal level of government. This problem is yet another very basic reason why the Duopoly and its backers need to be ousted from government and kept as far away as possible as the structure is torn down and rebuilt--The USA will never be great again until that is done.

jared , Sep 16 2020 17:16 utc | 79
@ J Swift | Sep 16 2020 16:12 utc | 74

I suggest that the reason that the media focus on the ridiculous is to convince the public that there is nothing important happening - except where the MSM wants the participation of the public as in with anti-Russia, anti_China, anti-Socialism, etc. Good to get the public participation directed at harmless targets.

They've got to fill the papers with something. The public must be kept warm, comfortable, semi-comatose, watching cat videos...

Last thing anybody wants is the involvement of the public, they will only screw everything-up or try anyway.

karlof1 , Sep 16 2020 17:40 utc | 80
vinnieoh @64--

Thanks for your reply! Your explanation sadly is correct, but it was put into motion prior to Reagan becoming POTUS. The tools used to undo the New Deal were put into place before FDR became POTUS. And FDR's unwillingness to prosecute those who attempted to overthrow his government provided that faction to infiltrate government and eventually attempt to undo the good that was done prior to WW2. When looked at closely, American society was generally quite Liberal in the positive aspects of that term and during the Depression was becoming ever more Collectivist with the war advancing that even further. At the war's end, it was paramount for the forces taking control of the nation to push the public to the right and away from its collectivist proclivities. Where we find ourselves today thus is not an accident of history but an engineered outcome. You may recall voices on the Right accusing Liberals and their organizations of engaging in Social Engineering. Those accusations were projections since it was actually forces on the Right that were maneuvering society to the Right while assiduously applying the principle of Divide and Rule to create a condition where they would be immune from political challenge, which is where we are now.

A few understand this ugly truth and how we arrived here. What's missing is scholarship that links the changes that began in the 1870s with today's situation. Yes, there're good examinations of various pieces of the overall puzzle. But it appears that only Hudson and those in his small circle have figured it out; yet, they haven't produced a complete history that encapsulates it all. And for us to have a realistic chance to undo what's been done, we need to know how it all transpired.

robin , Sep 16 2020 17:56 utc | 81
Antonym @ 60
"There are big differences between Trump and Biden regarding their foreign policies: Trump is hard on Xi-China and soft on Putin Russia, while Biden is the reverse."

I don't share your view. The current administration's foreign policy is very much aligned with that of past administrations and the diplomatic circus surrounding the Skripal affair alone is evidence that nobody is soft on Russia.

What differs, however, is the presentation. Trump is criticized (not praised) for being allegedly soft on Russia and Biden criticized for being allegedly soft on China. This clever trick ensures that just about everybody is onboard the bash-China-and-Russia train.

In a violently polarized society, with red-blue antagonism reaching ridiculous heights, people tend to act exclusively in contradiction to the cult figure they hate so much.

If a Trump hater hears the criticism that the president is too soft on Russia, he will readily grab the bash-Russia stick hoping to score a few hits on Trump. The same person's reaction to a criticism on Biden will be either indifference or angry denial. In either case, he will not be opposed to the bash-Russia nor the bash-China movement.

The dem hater's reaction is similar. Indifference to the soft-on-Russia claim (ie. no opposition to the bash-Russia movement) and active support for the China-bashing.

Curmudgeon , Sep 16 2020 18:13 utc | 82
The article and subsequent discussion brings to mind Dawkins discussion of Memes and Memetics. Not those pesky internet memes. The propaganda war is fierce, and almost without exception the people here are poking and prodding perhaps without being able to put the finger on the "EZ button". This is war, baby, so one thinks the following link may be useful:

https://www.thefreelibrary.com/Memetic+warfare%3a+the+future+of+war.-a0263040903

Wherein: " Ideally the virus of the mind being targeted will be overwritten with a higher fidelity, fecundity, and longevity memeplex in order to assure long term sustainability. When this is not practical, it is still possible to displace a dangerous memeplex, by creating a more contagious benign meme utilizing certain packaging, replication, and propagation tricks."

The lie is irrelevant, whether true or false, it must be believable, and it must successfully replicate.

J Swift , Sep 16 2020 20:34 utc | 85
karlof1 @ 80

You are right, the early FDR days were, in hindsight, one of the most important in setting the course of the US for the next century, and unfortunately Big Business won, taking us on a long, ugly road to the right. I agree this would be a most fascinating history book if some of those respected, genuinely knowledgeable people you often cite could collaborate on an opus.

Yes, most people do not know that the wide ranging labor laws implemented at that time were actually not meant to empower organized labor, but to limit it. Perhaps FDR thought it was the best he could do for the working class, but I tend to think it was more a case of him thinking that by outlawing general strikes, wildcat strikes, strikes in support of other unions, and setting up an NLRB with a lot of political control by business, the powers who had so recently let it be known they were ready to actively try to overthrow the government might be mollified. I think he feared the US was at the cusp of a revolution, and perhaps it was. Whether or not if would have been better had that been allowed to proceed is the big question.

lulu , Sep 16 2020 20:58 utc | 86
Anti-China activists funded by NED & Co make up all sorts of horrid stories online, which are then picked up by MSM and political NGOs to spoon feed world audiences/viewers. Viola, you have "fact-based" anti-China news!

Here is an example how an Uyghur activist in Canadian continue to her make-up-to-believe "1 million Uyghurs in concentration camp" is caught on Twitter red handed .

This is literally what these overseas Uyghur activists do all day. Putting a random caption on a video they ripped down from a medical worker's tiktok in China. And people believe it. They'd even believe if the follow up rebuttal is that this is a forced labour doctor.

Another one: There's a guy (Arslan Hidayat, Aussie Uighur) on Twitter who takes footage of ordinary people doing ordinary things, sets them in China and invents a fantastical and sinister scenario.

His twitter functions as the aggregator of fake anti-China propaganda from the past few years.

CitizenX , Sep 16 2020 21:11 utc | 87
Ed Bernays (Freuds Nephew)

Glad to see his name mentioned here. I've been saying for years here to watch the documentary - Century of the Self. If you want to learn about and understand America, its all here. Government, Corporations, Consumerism, Militarism, Deep State, Psychology, Individual selfishness and mental illness.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJ3RzGoQC4s

karlof1 , Sep 16 2020 21:34 utc | 88
j Swift @85--

Thanks for your reply! JK Galbraith in his American Capitalism: The Concept of Countervailing Power lamented what you recap in your 2nd paragraph and that there was thus no power capable of offsetting Big Business although one was sorely needed. As I wrote, some very sharp minds have written about small segments of the overall movement toward totalitarianism since the 1870s, Galbraith's 1952 book being one that's still worth reading.

[Sep 16, 2020] Concerns about viability of democracy

Sep 16, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

xrxs , 38 minutes ago

Sen. Chris Murphy said this the other day: "I have a real belief that democracy is unnatural. We don't run anything important in our lives by democratic vote other than our government. Democracy is so unnatural that it's illogical to think it would be permanent. It will fall apart at some point, and maybe that point isn't now, but maybe it is."

[Sep 14, 2020] The Plot Against Libya- An Obama-Biden-Clinton Criminal Conspiracy -

Sep 14, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

The Plot Against Libya: An Obama-Biden-Clinton Criminal Conspiracy


by Tyler Durden Fri, 09/11/2020 - 23:40 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

Authored by Eric Draitser via Counterpunch.org,

The scorching desert sun streams through narrow slats in the tiny window. A mouse scurries across the cracked concrete floor, the scuttling of its tiny feet drowned out by the sound of distant voices speaking in Arabic. Their chatter is in a western Libyan dialect distinctive from the eastern dialect favored in Benghazi. Somewhere off in the distance, beyond the shimmering desert horizon, is Tripoli, the jewel of Africa now reduced to perpetual war.

But here, in this cell in a dank old warehouse in Bani Walid, there are no smugglers, no rapists, no thieves or murderers. There are simply Africans captured by traffickers as they made their way from Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Eritrea, or other disparate parts of the continent seeking a life free of war and poverty, the rotten fruit of Anglo-American and European colonialism. The cattle brands on their faces tell a story more tragic than anything produced by Hollywood.

These are slaves: human beings bought and sold for their labor. Some are bound for construction sites while others for the fields. All face the certainty of forced servitude, a waking nightmare that has become their daily reality.

This is Libya, the real Libya. The Libya that has been constructed from the ashes of the US-NATO war that deposed Muammar Gaddafi and the government of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. The Libya now fractured into warring factions, each backed by a variety of international actors whose interest in the country is anything but humanitarian.

But this Libya was built not by Donald Trump and his gang of degenerate fascist ghouls. No, it was the great humanitarian Barack Obama, along with Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Susan Rice, Samantha Power and their harmonious peace circle of liberal interventionists who wrought this devastation. With bright-eyed speeches about freedom and self-determination, the First Black President, along with his NATO comrades in France and Britain, unleashed the dogs of war on an African nation seen by much of the world as a paragon of economic and social development.

But this is no mere journalistic exercise to document just one of the innumerable crimes carried out in the name of the American people. No, this is us, the antiwar left in the United States, peering through the cracks in the imperial artifice – crumbling as it is from internal rot and political decay – to shine a light through the gloom named Trump and directly into the heart of darkness.

There are truths that must be made plain lest they be buried like so many bodies in the desert sand.

The War on Libya: A Criminal Conspiracy

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To understand the depth of criminality involved in the US-NATO war on Libya, we must unravel a complex story involving actors from both the US and Europe who quite literally conspired to bring about this war, while simultaneously exposing the unconstitutional, imperial presidency as embodied by Mr. Hope and Change himself.

In doing so, a picture emerges that is strikingly at odds with the dominant narrative about good intentions and bad dictators. For although Gaddafi was presented as the villain par excellence in this story told by the Empire's scribes in corporate media, it is in fact Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, former French President Nicholas Sarkozy, French philosopher-cum-neocolonial adventurist Bernard Henri-Levy, and former UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who are the real malevolent forces. It was they, not Gaddafi, who waged a blatantly illegal war on false pretenses and for their own aggrandizement. It was they, not Gaddafi, who conspired to plunge Libya into chaos and civil war from which it is yet to emerge. It was they who beat the war drums while proclaiming peace on earth and good will to men.

The US-NATO war on Libya represents perhaps one of the most egregious examples of US military aggression and lawlessness in recent memory. Of course, the US didn't act alone as a wide cast of characters played a role as the French and British were keen to involve themselves in the reassertion of control over a once lucrative African asset torn from European control by the evil Gaddafi. And this, only a few years after former UK Prime Minister and Iraq war criminal Tony Blair met with Gaddafi to usher in a new era of openness and partnership.

The story begins with Bernard Henri-Lévy, the French philosopher, journalist, and amateur foreign service officer who fancied himself an international spy. Having failed to arrive in Egypt in time to buttress his ego by capitalizing on the uprising against former dictator Hosni Mubarak, he quickly shifted his attention to Libya, where an uprising in the anti-Gaddafi hotbed of Benghazi was underway. As Le Figaro chronicled , Henri-Levy managed to talk his way into a meeting with then head of the National Transition Council (TNC) Mustapha Abdeljalil, a former Gaddafi official who became head of the anti-Gaddafi TNC. But Henri-Levy wasn't there just for an interview to be published in his French paper, he was there to help overthrow Gaddafi and, in so doing, make himself into an international star.

Henri-Levy quickly pressed his contacts and got on the phone with French President Nicholas Sarkozy to ask him, rather bluntly, if he'd agree to meet with Abdeljalil and the leadership of the TNC. Just a few days later, Henri-Levy and his colleagues arrived at the Élysée Palace with TNC leadership at their side. To the utter shock of the Libyans present, Sarkozy tells them that he plans to recognize the TNC as the legitimate government of Libya. Henri-Levy and Sarkozy have now, at least in theory, deposed the Gaddafi government.

But the little problem of Gaddafi's military victories and the very real possibility that he might emerge victorious from the conflict complicated matters as the French public had become aware of the scheme and was rightly lambasting Sarkozy. Henri-Levy, ever the opportunist, stoked the patriotic fervor by announcing that without French intervention, the tricolor flag flying over five-star hotels in Benghazi would be stained with blood. The PR campaign worked as Sarkozy quickly came around to the idea of military intervention.

However, Henri-Levy had a still more critical role to play: bringing the US military juggernaut into the plot. Henri-Levy organized the first of what would be several high-level talks between US officials from the Obama Administration and the Libyans of the TNC. Most importantly, Henri-Levy set up the meeting between Abdeljalil and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. While Clinton was skeptical at the time of the meeting, it would be a matter of months before she and Joe Biden, along with the likes of Susan Rice, Samantha Power, and others would be planning the political, diplomatic, and military route to regime change in Libya.

The Americans Enter the Fray

There would have been no war in Libya were it not for the US political, diplomatic, and military machine. In this sense, despite the relatively meager US military involvement, the war in Libya was an American war. That is to say, it was a war that could not have happened were it not for the active collaboration of the Obama Administration with its French and British counterparts.

As Jo Becker of the NY Times explained in 2016, Hillary Clinton met with Mahmoud Jibril, a prominent Libyan politician who would go on to become the new Prime Minister of post-Gaddafi Libya, and his associates, in order to assess the faction now garnering US support . Clinton's job, according to Becker, was "to take measure of the rebels we supported" – a fancy way of saying that Clinton attended the meeting to determine whether this group of politicians speaking on behalf of a diverse group of anti-Gaddafi voices (ranging from pro-democracy activists to outright terrorists affiliated with global terror networks) should be supported with US money and covert arms.

The answer, ultimately, was a resounding yes.

But of course, as with all America's warmongering misadventures, there was no consensus on military intervention. As Becker reported, some in the Obama Administration were skeptical of the easy victory and post-conflict political calculus. One prominent voice of dissent, at least according to Becker, was former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Himself no dove, Gates was concerned that Clinton and Biden's hawkish attitude toward Libya would ultimately lead to an Iraq-style political nightmare that would undoubtedly end with the US having created and then abandoned a failed state – exactly what happened.

It is important to note that Clinton and Biden were two of the principal voices for aggression and war. Both were supportive of the No-Fly Zone from early on, and both advocated for military intervention. Indeed, the two have been simpatico in nearly every war crime committed by the US in the last 30 years, including perhaps most egregiously in support of Bush's crime against humanity that we call the second Iraq War.

As former Clinton lackey (Deputy Director of Secretary of State Clinton's Policy Planning staff) Derek Chollet explained, "[Libya] seemed like an easy case." Chollet, a principal participant in the American conspiracy to make war on Libya who later went on to serve directly under Obama and at the National Security Council, inadvertently illustrates in stark relief the imperial arrogance of the Obama-Clinton-Biden liberal interventionist camp. In calling Libya an "easy case" he of course means that Libya was a perfect candidate for a regime change operation whose primary benefit would be to boost politically those who supported it.

Chollet, like many strategic planners at the time, saw Libya as a slam dunk opportunity to turn the demonstrations and uprisings of 2010-2011, which quickly became known as the Arab Spring, into political capital from the Democratic camp of the US ruling class. This rapidly became Clinton's position. And soon, the consensus of the entire Obama Administration.

Obama's War Off the Books

One of the more pernicious myths of the US war on Libya was the notion – propagated dutifully by the defense lobbyists-cum-journalists at major corporate media outlets – that the war was a cheap little war that cost the US almost nothing. There were no American lives lost in the war itself (Benghazi is another mythology to be unraveled later), and very little cost in terms of "treasure", to use that despicable imperialist phrase.

But while the total cost of the war paled in comparison to the monumental-scale crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, the means by which it was funded has cost the US far more than dollars; the war on Libya was a criminal and unconstitutional endeavor that has further laid the groundwork for the imperial presidency and unconstrained executive power. As the Washington Post reported at the time:

Noting that Obama had said the mission could be paid for with money already appropriated to the Pentagon, [former House Speaker] Boehner pressed the president on whether supplemental funding would be requested from Congress.

Unforeseen military operations that require expenditures such as those being made for the Libyan effort normally require supplemental appropriations since they are outside the core Pentagon budget. That is why funds for Afghanistan and Iraq are separate from the regular Defense Department budget. The added costs for some of the operations in Libya are minimal But the expenditures for weapons, fuel and lost equipment are something else.

Because the Obama Administration did not seek congressional appropriations to fund the war, there is very little in the way of paper trail to do a proper accounting of the costs of the war. As the cost of each bomb, fighter jet, and logistical support vehicle disappeared into the abyss of Pentagon accounting oblivion, so too did any semblance of constitutional legality. In essence, Obama helped establish a lawless presidency that not only has little respect for constitutionally mandated checks and balances, but completely ignores the rule of law. Indeed, some of the crimes that Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr are guilty of have their direct corollary in the Obama Administration's prosecution of the Libya war.

So where did the money come from and where did it go? It's anybody's guess really, unless you're one of those rubes who likes taking the Pentagon's word for it. As a Pentagon spokesperson told CNN in 2011, "The price tag for U.S. Defense Department operations in Libya as of September 30 [was] $1.1 billion. This included daily military operations, munitions, the drawdown of supplies and humanitarian assistance." However, to illustrate the downright Orwellian impossibility of discerning the truth, Vice President Joe Biden doubled that number when speaking on CNN, suggesting that "NATO alliance worked like it was designed to do, burden-sharing. In total, it cost us $2 billion, no American lives lost."

As is painfully evident, there is no clear way to know how much was spent other than to take the word of those who prosecuted the war. With no congressional oversight, and no clear documentary record, the war on Libya disappears down the memory hole, and with it the idea that there is a separation of powers, Congressional authority to make war, or a functioning Constitution.

America's Dirty War in Libya

While the enduring memory of Libya for most Americans is the political theater that resulted from the attack on the US facility in Benghazi that killed several Americans, including US Ambassador Stevens, it is not nearly the most consequential. Rather, America's use of terrorist groups (and the insurgents who emerged from them) as military proxies may perhaps be the real legacy from a strategic perspective. For while the corporate media presented the narrative of spontaneous protests and uprisings to overthrow Gaddafi, it was in fact a loose network of terror groups that did the dirty work.

While much of this recent history has been buried by bad reporting, establishment mythmaking, and conspiracist muddying of the truth, it was surprisingly well reported at the time. For example, as the New York Times wrote of one of the primary US-backed forces on the ground during the war in 2011:

"The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group was formed in 1995 with the goal of ousting Colonel Qaddafi. Driven into the mountains or exile by Libyan security forces, the group's members were among the first to join the fight against Qaddafi security forces Officially the fighting group does not exist any longer, but the former members are fighting largely under the leadership of Abu Abdullah Sadik [aka Abdelhakim Belhadj]."

Even at the time, there was considerable unease among Washington's strategic planners that the Obama Adminstration's embrace of a terror group with known links to al-Qaeda could prove to be a major blunder. "American, European and Arab intelligence services acknowledge that they are worried about the influence that the former group's members might exert over Libya after Colonel Qaddafi is gone, and they are trying to assess their influence and any lingering links to Al Qaeda," the Times noted.

Of course, those in the know at the various US intelligence agencies already had a pretty good sense of who they were backing, or at least the elements likely to be involved in any US operation. Specifically, the US knew that the areas from which it was drawing anti-Gaddafi opposition forces was a hotbed of criminal and terrorist activity.

In a 2007 study entitled "Al-Qa'ida's Foreign Fighters in Iraq: A First Look at the Sinjar Records" which examined the origins of various criminal and terrorist groups active in Iraq, the Combating Terrorism Center at the US Military Academy at West Point concluded that:

"Almost 19 percent of the fighters in the Sinjar Records came from Libya alone. Furthermore, Libya contributed far more fighters per capita than any other nationality in the Sinjar Records, including Saudi Arabia The apparent surge in Libyan recruits traveling to Iraq may be linked with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group's (LIFG) increasingly cooperative relationship with al-Qa'ida which culminated in the LIFG officially joining al-Qa'ida on November 3, 2007 The most common cities that the fighters called home were Darnah [Derna], Libya and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with 52 and 51 fighters respectively. Darnah [Derna] with a population just over 80,000 compared to Riyadh's 4.3 million, has far and away the largest per capita number of fighters in the Sinjar records."

It was known at the time that the majority of the anti-Gaddafi forces hailed from the region including Derna, Benghazi, and Tobruk – the "Eastern Libya" so often referred to as anti-Gaddafi – and that the likelihood that al-Qaeda and other terror groups were among the ranks of the US recruits was very high. Nevertheless, they persisted.

Take the case of the February 17 Martyrs Brigade, charged by the US with guarding the CIA facility in Benghazi at which Ambassador Stevens was murdered. As the Los Angeles Times reported in 2012:

"Over the last year, while assigned by their militia to help protect the U.S. mission in Benghazi, the pair had been drilled by American security personnel in using their weapons, securing entrances, climbing walls and waging hand-to-hand combat The militiamen flatly deny supporting the assailants but acknowledge that their large, government-allied force, known as the Feb. 17 Martyrs Brigade, could include anti-American elements The Feb. 17 brigade is regarded as one of the more capable militias in eastern Libya."

But it wasn't just LIFG and al-Qaeda affiliated criminal groups entering the fray thanks to Washington rolling out the blood-stained red carpet.

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A longtime asset of the US, General Khalifa Hifter and his so-called Libyan National Army have been on the ground in Libya since 2011, and have emerged as one of the primary forces vying for power in post-war Libya. Hifter has a long and sordid history working for the CIA in its attempts to overthrow Gaddafi in the 1980s before being resettled conveniently near Langley, Virginia. As the New York Times reported in 1991:

The secret paramilitary operation, set in motion in the final months of the Reagan Administration, provided military aid and training to about 600 Libyan soldiers who were among those captured during border fighting between Libya and Chad in 1988 They were trained by American intelligence officials in sabotage and other guerrilla skills, officials said, at a base near Ndjamena, the Chadian capital. The plan to use the exiles fit neatly into the Reagan Administration's eagerness to topple Colonel Qaddafi.

Hifter, leader of these failed efforts, became known as the CIA's "Libya point man," having taken part in numerous regime change efforts, including the aborted attempt to overthrow Gaddafi in 1996. So, his arrival in 2011 at the height of the uprising signaled an escalation of the conflict from an armed uprising to an international operation. Whether Hifter was directly working with US intelligence or simply complimenting US efforts by continuing his decades-long personal war against Gaddafi is somewhat irrelevant. What matters is that Hifter and the Libyan National Army, like LIFG and other groups, became part of the broader destabilization effort which successfully toppled Gaddafi and created the chaotic hellscape that is modern Libya.

Such is the legacy of the US dirty war on Libya.

The Past is Prologue

It is September 2020. Americans are focused on an election between an Orange Fascist criminal and an old-school right-wing Democrat war criminal. Where Donald Trump projects chaos and disorder, Biden projects stability, order, and a return to normalcy. If Trump is the virus, then surely Biden is the cure.

It is September 2020. Libya prepares to enter its eighth year of civil war. Slave markets like the one in Bani Walid are as common as youth literacy centers were in Gaddafi's Libya. Armed gangs and militias wield power even in areas nominally under government control. A warlord regroups in the East as he looks to Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates for support.

It is September 2020 and the US-NATO war on Libya has faded to a distant memory as other issues like Black Lives Matter and police murder of Black youth have captured the public imagination and discourse.

But these issues are, in fact, united by the bond of white supremacy and anti-Blackness. The Libya once known as the "Jewel of Africa," a country that provided refuge for many sub-Saharan African migrant workers while maintaining independence from the US and the former colonial powers of Europe, is no more. In its place is a failed state that now reflects the kind of vicious anti-Black racism forcefully suppressed by the Gaddafi government.

Libya as the global exemplar of the exploitation and disposability of the black body.

Squint a little and you can see President Joe Biden getting the old band back together. Hillary Clinton welcomed into the Oval Office as an influential voice, someone to give words to the demented thoughts of the living corpse serving as Commander-in-Chief. Derek Chollet and Ben Rhodes laughing together as they buy another round at their favorite DC hangout, toasting to the re-establishment of order in Washington. Barack Obama as the éminence grise behind the political resurgence of the liberal-conservative dominant structure.

But in Libya, there is no going back, no fixing the past to escape the present.

Perhaps the same might be true of the United States.

AVmaster , 13 hours ago

Number of wars the boy king and his minions started: 6, that we know of: Ukraine, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan.

(Not withstanding the proxy wars during the "muslim spring" like in egypt)

Number of wars Trump has started: 0

This is NOT including the ongoing wars that trump inherited but has dialed back somewhat, like reduced troop presence in iraq/afghan.

fucking truth , 12 hours ago

Trump hasn't started any but he still feeds the beast, hopefully his next four will see a correction to this behaviour,one can only hope.

ay_arrow 2
GreatUncle , 3 hours ago

Has no choice.

The economic reality is the MIC is a big part of the US domestic economy.

Shut that down and you would go into a full blown depression.

If you build bullets, missile, bombs, F35's etc. they have to be used or you have to start scrapping them.

The issue though is not the MIC as such but the lack of any moral integrity and disregard for human life by those mentioned in the article. Once the country was put into this position by them it is much more difficult to extract.

Now I think those in the article should be prosecuted for not going to Congress to declare a war and fund it correctly as this is supposed to be the check and balance of a rogue president.

play_arrow
Bollixed , 2 hours ago

Regarding the MIC, many of those companies consist of manufacturing entities comprised of engineers, factory infrastructure and logistics infrastructure funded by government spending that could realistically be 'retooled' to produce things that could benefit society instead of piss money away on the tools of destruction. America is in need of a massive infrastructure overhaul from our electric grid to our transportation modes to name just two. Nothing is preventing those MIC giants from refocusing their efforts toward a better America versus the current focus they are paid to undertake. It's a matter of priorities and right now I find their priorities misplaced and vulgar.

The money is available at their current funding rates, the manpower and brain power is there, what is lacking is the will to turn the ship around and start putting humans before profits. There is no need to go into a full blown depression as with the shut down of that capacity if those entities are given a mandate to redirect their output for the good of society and create things of lasting value. In other words, take the retooling mindset that turned refrigerator factories into weapons factories like they did in WW2 and take the weapons factories and turn them into entities for the betterment of society. And then wean them off of the government teat.

DeepStateThrombosis , 3 hours ago

Unused funds from the Pentagon can be redirected to the Wall and other Defense protections not known to the public at this time.

ay_arrow
DaiRR , 1 hour ago

DemoRats and NeoCons will try every way possible to keep the wars going.

The USA is incredibly blessed to have Donald J. Trump in the White House.

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muggeridge , 11 hours ago

To think Americans demonstrated in the millions to stop the Vietnam war exposed as a fraud by Daniel Ellsberg in the PENTAGON PAPERS. Obama did admit that the removal of Ghadaffy was his biggest foreign policy mistake. Clinton also in trouble over Tunisia while Secretary of State with US ambassador killed in 2012. She took responsibility but was found not to have acted improperly by US Congress. However her part in this tragedy remains an open question. Today the only Middle Eastern country still standing IRAN supported by China. Syria supported by Russia. Cold Wars never go away?


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GreatUncle , 3 hours ago

Cold war is an inevitable consequence of a MIC that must continually produce and expend munitions to keep its part of the economy going.
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scaleindependent , 10 hours ago

Final Jeopardy, genius!

What is Syria and Iran?


HIS acts against those countries ARE acts of war.

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muggeridge , 10 hours ago

Regime Change as our modus operandi to serve the cause of military superiority as if pre-set by computer.

How everything became war and the military became everything by Rosa Brooks Tales of the Pentagon.

Something funny happened on the way to the forum; Broadway musical. Hail Caesar?

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CheapBastard , 7 hours ago

Hey, military contractors have to put food on the table also, even if it means murdering millions of innocent people in Yugoslavia (like Clinton did) or in the middle east (like Bush and Obama did).

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GreatUncle , 3 hours ago

Yep some people don't get it.

With all the military contractors now moved into peaceful protests maybe we actually need more war to keep them gainfully employed.

Get the picture?


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SoilMyselfRotten , 3 hours ago

HIS acts against those countries ARE acts of war

Don't forget also blockading Venezuela


No1uNo , 9 hours ago

No Libya story is complete without mentioning David Shayler- the MI6 agent turned whistleblower who was tasked with blowing up Gaddafi in his car - but refused to do so when he was accompanied by his wife and children. (under the Tony Blair govt). -yep.
Shayler later went into a bizarre series of personas -which is understood by many as self preservation tactic - (testimony of mentally unstable is not recognised in court - so no threat).

Then there's the covert ratlines of gathering the ex-Libyan army weapons & shipping them to ISIS Syria via Turkey and White Helmets (see James Corbett) organised by HRC via Benghazi -so no rescue for US Ambassador & team (RIP) HRC prefer'd keep op covert. Carrier 50 miles off coast -HRC killed US Diplomats & support team. -Biden knew.

Also check out the courageous Dilyana Gaytandzhieva who runs armswatch .com and some SM in her name. for laypersons overview of extent of games-within-games & wheels-within-wheels in arms trade/ chem weapons "research". She's currently researching the Beirut bombings - which will be another revelation when it hits.

sauldaddy , 11 hours ago

That awkward moment when you find out the first Black President brought slavery BACK to Africa .....Q- That awkward moment when you find out the first Black President brought slavery BACK to Africa

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. . . _ _ _ . . . , 13 hours ago

Qaddafi kept African migrants out of the Mediterranean and away from Europe's shores.
Sarkozy couldn't allow that knowing what was in store for Europe.
He predicted what would happen to Europe were he to be deposed. He was right. Macron's (and Merkel's) policies are proof.
That and the gold dinar was his undoing.
.
P.S. Don't tell the leftists, but Libya was the only case of a successful socialist state. On second thought, it might be funny to see them publicly defending Qaddafi.

Ms No , 13 hours ago

That may work for a while when you pull black gold out of the ground, for a while. Oil declines and free **** armies breed faster. Then you are Saudi Arabia and we are about to see how that ends up.

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not dead yet , 12 hours ago

Libyan youth unemployment was over 30% because these spoiled kids with their families getting oil checks in the mail every month refused to do menial jobs. Qaddafi kept the black Africans out of the boats by letting them do the work the kids and other Libyans thought was beneath them. A lot of the money the Africans made they sent home which was spent in the local economies which increased jobs there. Libya also invested heavily in Africa which created lots of jobs. These actions kept the number of Africans headed to Europe a trickle. Once Qaddafi was gone so were all the jobs in Libya and the money that flowed into Africa dried up and jobs were lost. A lot of businesses the Libyans created in Africa were confiscated by the local governments and no doubt given to cronies who ran them into the ground.

No1uNo , 9 hours ago

Gaddafi thought wrongly that job description would save him. Also suggested trading oil for €uro's over dollar$, which blew the lid on powder keg. In the end they say it was the oil, though my thinking was DC think tanks didn't want a monied "Mexico" on south coast of Euroland - could make Europe too financially powerful & too difficult to control.

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. . . _ _ _ . . . , 6 hours ago

I had heard about selling oil for Euros in relation to Saddam, but not to Qaddafi. Qaddafi was about the gold Dinar.
??

No1uNo , 6 hours ago

Yep, it's what can happen if I'm not careful when I post and try to watch a documentary at the same time.
Thanks for your vigilance.

In case anyone's interested: ex-mossad agent - 57mins
https://archive.org/details/victor-ostrovsky-1995

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Steverino , 13 hours ago

Find the Libyan gold that dissapeard.... and one likely finds the source of the overthrow....

quanttech , 13 hours ago

try the french treasury...

Bill300 , 12 hours ago

Look no further than Hillary's brother. General Gage, a former Special Forces Colonel, had been hired by Hillary, et al, to assemble a merc army to secure Qaddafi's gold amidst the fog of war and transport it to Haiti to be laundered thru Hugh Rodham's little gold mine. Does anyone really think Obama sold enough books to buy a $12M seaside mansion in Massachusetts and the Washington DC home?

These people are so evil.

Justapleb , 12 hours ago

That's certainly titillating. Do you have a source that puts these things together?

I tried some Google searches, but I already know those searches are censored so it is not an easy thing to find

dark pools of soros , 4 hours ago

you gotta get your hands dirty if you want to know whats in the soil

DaCrustyDad , 13 hours ago

Imagine if some country invaded us and slaughtered about 23.5 million (apples for apples based on the 500k civilians killed out of 7,000,000)? Obama and the Clinton's should be playing basketball at Pelican Bay the rest of their lives at best.

quanttech , 12 hours ago

It's mind boggling.

Trump dropped 7400 bombs on Afghanistan in 2019. That would be like 60,000 bombs dropping on the US one year.

Arch_Stanton , 9 hours ago

Libya was a modern, secular Arab state. A model for the rest of Islam. Who the f@@k decided it was appropriate to reduce Libya to a 19th century sh1thole?

Shifter_X , 9 hours ago

Hillary ******* Clinton

Constitution101 , 6 hours ago

on instruction from the cabalist banksters who never permit a rival currency system.

Qaddafi's gold-backed dinar throughout Nth Africa would have exposed and displace their petrodollar scam in which they infinitely print their cronies untold trillion$.

end the fed, and all central banks.

Best Satan in Town , 6 hours ago

That's the story in a nutsh-ell

desertboy , 10 hours ago

The petrodollar centrality gets monotonously overplayed. For anyone who cares to look, the geopolitics of the West/NATO are the geopolitics of all its central bank owners as an interlinked group, who are keeping all their options open.

Destroying Libya went beyond the petrodollar to the fight for influence in Africa's future, where France's history in Africa has made it the designated hitter. Note the new CFR-type buzz on a "resurgent France" due to this role.

No1uNo , 8 hours ago

I maintained elsewhere on this thread, was advice of DC think tanks he was taken out. Because a well funded, well educated, low cost, labor factory resource state on south coast of eurozone makes europe too competitive to DC tank's interests. (and open Africa's growing economy to cheap - outside eurozone - euro profiting business interests).

Gaddafi was never a threat to Europe, but europe buying his oil and building his economy......different story.

No1uNo , 9 hours ago

B-I-N-G-O !
get your case of beer for that one!

not dead yet , 11 hours ago

Qaddafi would have not met with death if he only wanted to sell oil in the Gold Dinar. Instead he wanted the Gold Dinar as the currency for all of Africa. The system was being set up along with 4 central banks to manage African economic and monetary affairs when Libya was attacked. Libya also invested heavily in Africa creating lots of jobs and enhancing communications. Unlike the IMF and World Bank with their draconian edicts attached to their loans, like no loans for fossil fueled power plants and other eco garbage, almost guaranteeing default the Libyan Development Fund attached no such garbage to their loans making success possible. Europe was charging Africa $500 million a year for use of their satellites. Qaddafi ponied up $300 million of the $400 million needed to put up Africa's first satellite screwing Europe out of $500 million a year. Qaddafi was also the driving force for Africa for Africans and which kept US African command and it's troops out of Africa. Now the US has troops all over Africa. Qaddafi really was bad. Bad for Western exploitation of Africa.

At the time of Qaddafi's demise the Libyan Development Fund had $32 billion in banks around the world. Western governments and media tried to claim it was money stolen by Qaddafi. Last I knew the Libyan's, the rightful owners of that money, haven't seen a penny.

Constitution101 , 6 hours ago

great info.

got a good concise source?

dark pools of soros , 4 hours ago

you have to dig deep to get little nuggets of truth about Libya since so many sides want to tarnish and twist to push their agenda and greed on its riches

SmokeyBlonde , 12 hours ago

America, as a country, deserves whatever happens just for electing and re-electing Obama.

Far too many grifters, Bolsheviks, pedocrats, and sub-moron IQ feral ghetto rats oh-so-pleased with themselves for being so enlightened and bringing chaos to the whole F'n world.

ReflectoMatic , 11 hours ago

The Democrats are working with the globalist at the United Nations & World Economic Forum. The program being run is the destruction of the United States and elimination of humans, per instructions from "The Cult of Rasur", which is located in the jungle at Mount Rasur in Costa Rica but now renamed as the United Nations University For Peace. The university teaches occult and meditation and only graduates 20 students per year, those students then take positions of influence within the UN. The cult was founded by Maurice Strong & Dr Muller, Strong also created the Agenda 21 & World Economic Forum, plus in 1982, the more exclusive secret group of 300 called just "World Forum" which met in Vail Colorado near his hippie commune at the Baca Grande in the San Luis Valley.

The GAIA Theory which was converted into GAIA Religion at the Maurice Strong Hippie Commune in Colorado. David Perkins was there, apparently one of the first hippies to arrive at the commune around 1978. In this podcast we get a rare look into the mindset of the globalist and the creation of Agenda 21.

http://radiomisterioso.com/audio/David_Perkins_6_21_18.mp3

It's not clear if David Perkins & his partner, Chris O'Brian, are aware of Maurice Strong & Klaus Schwab conducting the special and secret World Forum of 300 at Vail in 1982. At that 1982 event the concepts David Perkins describes, combined with concepts gotten by paranormal activities at Mount Rasur in Costa Rica, were passed down to the 300 and thus began the creation that has brought the world to a standstill.

Chris O'Brian has an interesting podcast also, describing the Maurice Strong hippie commune, in this he describes meeting Lawrence Rockefeller at the commune.

https://slvoices.com/2019/12/21/the-mysterious-san-luis-valley-part-1/

I saw it posted here that Amschel Rothschild Said Rothschilds Have Met with Satan met the Devil in Colorado , now we know where in Colorado.

And finally, who the heck is this guy, the one in the middle? MJ-12 captured this photo of him in Hollywood in 1972, he was then usually seen in company of Curtis LeMay, grandson of the General who founded JPL NASA MJ-12, then in 1982 he was at that World Forum in Vail and in charge of covertly poisoning them all with LSD. He was born in Berkley or Alameda in 1951 while his mother was at theater watching "Day The Earth Stood Still". Seems there is a message which needs to be understood.

https://vault.myvzw.com/webcs/7V1ewnG0Xl

David Champaign, night manager at the Christie Lodge in Avon Colorado, can give further description and verification that the ultra-secret World Forum did occur.

If you listened to that podcast, there was mention of the "group of psychics" at the Baca hippie commune. The guy in the photo, the link just above, the photo was taken in the presence of Allen J Funk MJ-12, Funk's only friend took the photo, Bob Custer. Bob shared hotel rooms with the Stones & Monkeys while on concert tour as official photographer. The guy in the photo and Bob were taken one night, in Allen's white Cadillac convertible, to a house in the hills east of JPL Pasadena. There he met Bob's ex, Val, and Val's work associates, the work Val and associates did was some secret psychic project in Central America and perhaps in Colorado, usually Val just came over to Bob's house to visit when Val was not off at those remote locations. Secret about it they were.

Shifter_X , 8 hours ago

These are self-loathing humans. Imagine wanting to destroy the human race.

SMH

bobroonie , 13 hours ago

Obama bombed Libya in defense of Islamic terrorists he sold weapons to. 600 requests for more security from Ambassador Stevens unanswered.. But when defense contractor Osprey Global's Sidney Blumenthal called Clinton gave him special treatment. Lots of money to be made for a defense contractor and the Secretary of State that starts the war.

not dead yet , 12 hours ago

At the time Stevens died, he was not murdered he died of smoke inhalation as the invaders set the place on fire and the safe room wasn't air tight, Benghazi was the most dangerous place on earth for diplomats. Attempted murders and kidnappings of diplomats were so rife that most governments closed their missions and evacuated their people. Stevens was well aware of this and he went to Benghazi, the US Embassy is in Tripoli, anyway with his last meeting running guns with the Turks. By doing so he signed his death warrant. According to many at the time Stevens was begging for more security shortly before he left for Benghazi he was offered a military security detachment that was already in Tripoli and Stevens refused. Seems Stevens and Hillary didn't want the military to know what they were up to.

quanttech , 12 hours ago

the ambassador got what was coming to him. he was a terrorist, plain and simple.

the rest of the Americans were rescued ... by Qadaffi loyalists. the Americans are shy to admit this.

David2923 , 5 hours ago

Facts you probably do not know about Libya under Muammar Gaddafi:

• There are no electricity bills in Libya; electricity is free for all its citizens.

• There is no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans given to all its citizens at 0% interest by law.

• If a Libyan is unable to find employment after graduation, the state pays the average salary of the profession as if he or she is employed until employment is found.

• Should Libyans want to take up a farming career, they receive farm land, a house, equipment, seed and livestock to kick start their farms – all for free.

• Gaddafi carried out the world's largest irrigation project, known as the Great Man-Made River project, to make water readily available throughout the desert country.

• A home considered a human right in Libya. (In Qaddafi's Green Book it states: "The house is a basic need of both the individual and the family, therefore it should not be owned by others.")

• All newlyweds in Libya receive 60,000 Dinar (US$ 50,000 ) by the government to buy their first apartment so to help start a family.

• A portion of Libyan oil sales is credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens.

• A mother who gives birth to a child receives US $5,000.

• When a Libyan buys a car, the government subsidizes 50% of the price.

• The price of petrol in Libya is $0.14 per liter.

• For $ 0.15, a Libyan local can purchase 40 loaves of bread.

• Education and medical treatments are free in Libya. Libya can boast one of the finest health care systems in the Arab and African World. All people have access to doctors, hospitals, clinics and medicines, completely free of charge.

• If Libyans cannot find the education or medical facilities they need in Libya, the government funds them to go abroad for it – not only free but they get US $2,300/month accommodation and car allowance.

• 25% of Libyans have a university degree. Before Gaddafi only 25% of Libyans were literate. Today the figure is 87%.

• Libya has no external debt and its reserves amount to $150 billion – though much of this is now frozen globally.

Here is photo of the man who helped kill the Col shaking hands with the Col. https://news.antiwar.com/2011/03/03/un-postpones-praising-gadhafis-human-rights-record/

Vivekwhu , 5 hours ago

You have explained why Libya was perfectly ripe for looting by the US Evil Empire and its slave states.

dark pools of soros , 5 hours ago

Yes I've been shining a light on this for years. The true history of Libya should red pill EVERYONE that can still think for themselves.

We are destroying George Washington statues while worshiping a black african american president who destroyed the one rare prosperous socialist African nation.. which now has slave trading!!!! all because it didn't share it's water to french/italian bottlers. And of course the Gold Dinar becoming the African currency.

Lokiban , 11 hours ago

Gadhaffi's two mistakes leading to this war.
Threaten to sell his sweet oil in gold dinars

Threaten French president Sarkozy to pull out all of his money out of France and reveal to the public the donations he made to the French presidential campaign of Sarkozy, which we know is illegal because foreigners can't donate money.

That sealed his fate. America needed to stop this gold for oil scheme just like it did in Iraq and French president Sarkozy's presidency was ont he line.

NuYawkFrankie , 12 hours ago

Slick Willy --> War Criminal

Chimp --> War Criminal

Obongo --> War Criminal

Hillarity --> War Criminal

Groper Joe --> War Criminal

Etc... etc... etc...

Are you at least BEGINNING to see a pattern here???

If not, you soon will do as 'the chickens come home to roost' and ZOG focusses it's attention on YOUR a$$!

Apeon , 11 hours ago

Apparently you are not old enough to remember Johnson

NuYawkFrankie , 8 hours ago

I'm holding "Johnson" as we speak... and the most I can accuse him of is being a naughty - sometimes a VERY naughty- boy. Looks like he's due for another spanking!

NAV , 2 hours ago

But in Libya, there is no going back, no fixing the past to escape the present.

Perhaps the same might be true of the United States.

Obama left this country and Libya in rags, what else is there to say.

Yet Obama lives, while Gaddafi is dead, a man who had the good of his people in mind and already was using primary water from which eventually all of Africa could be watered and developed into a paradise for his people, a people who live on a continent rich with more natural resources than any other.

But this could not be allowed by the Devil's Globalists who want to own all the world's resources in order to make beggars of all mankind. Obama was their man. He not only betrayed Africa but all men for a $40,000,000 pot of silver proffered by the world enemy of liberty - the DEEPSTATE.

NAV , 2 hours ago

But in Libya, there is no going back, no fixing the past to escape the present.

Perhaps the same might be true of the United States.

Obama left this country and Libya in rags, what else is there to say.

Yet Obama lives, while Gaddafi is dead, a man who had the good of his people in mind and already was using primary water from which eventually all of Africa could be watered and developed into a paradise for his people, a people who live on a continent rich with more natural resources than any other.

But this could not be allowed by the Devil's Globalists who want to own all the world's resources in order to make beggars of all mankind. Obama was their man. He not only betrayed Africa but all men for a $40,000,000 pot of silver proffered by the world enemy of liberty - the DEEPSTATE.

you know it makes sense , 5 hours ago

Who writes this crap and who believes a word of it ?.

No mention that Gaddafi planned to set up a new gold backed African money to sell his oil rather than the euro or the dollar. 143+ tons of gold and 140 tons of silver went missing.

www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2016/01/06/new-hillary-emails-reveal-true-motive-for-libya-intervention/

truepublica.org.uk/global/hillary-emails-reveal-nato-killed-gaddafi-stop-libyan-creation-gold-backed-currency/

It was because of this lie and NATO's involvement in the destruction of Libya that both Russia and China vowed never again to allow this to happen to another country

taglady , 7 hours ago

Trump: "lock her up" became "she's been through enough." What has she been through exactly? "Make America great again" became we need to bail out Boeing and the rest because of an "invisible enemy." It's invisible alright, because it doesn't exist. The only invisible enemy are the parasites shoveling our money into their own very deep pockets in every conceivable way. Like Biden and his entire family and the Clintons and the Obamas and many others have been doing for many years. Like Bush and Cheney made out so well after 911. That's how Gates and the pharmaceutical industry became so bloated while real Americans have struggled to make ends meet.

taglady , 7 hours ago

Interesting coalition between finance, government and media. Like when Bush announced the necessary, unconstitutional war and changes to our society after 911. We didn't get to vote on these changes. No referendum ever happened. Just an announcement in the media and media spin on public opinion, then preplanned actions by corrupt officials. This alliance was never more obvious than during the cv response. We are censored and silenced while liars and thieves are given the bully pulpit to beat us over the head with their idiocracy to enrich very few parasites, again. Then the public is blamed for the rogue actions of government/ business/media. America is bad. We just keep voting for these dummies. Except our voting system is run by the same corrupt dummies who keep getting re-elected. Hmmm. Just like they did to Kadafi and many others. Suddenly Libya is poor. What happened to all of Kadafi's gold? Probably the same thing that happened to the Pentagon trillions and SS "surplus" and public pensions across America. Taxation without representation leaves us broke, without a voice and broken. What are we going to do about it?

Iconoclast27 , 1 hour ago

The problem is you believe imperialism and colonialism has ended in the African continent when that clearly isn't the case, this Libyan regime change op being the latest example of interference you are claiming no longer exists.

John C Durham , 1 hour ago

Actually the end of colonialism that FDR ("Winston, Colonialism is the Cause of this War. This war is going to end all Colonialism".) wished for is hardly over. We got Democratic Party's Truman, not the great Henry Wallace, remember?

Libya only proves this true.

LEEPERMAX , 5 hours ago

America's "BOTCHED CIA OPERATION OF THE CENTURY" as they funneled GADDAFI WEAPONS from the PORT OF BENGHAZI into SYRIA as OBAMA & CO. completed their agenda to DESTABILIZE THE MIDDLE EAST and eventually ALL OF EUROPE.

NO MORE . . . NO LESS

QABubba , 5 hours ago

This is the very reason I sat out the 2016 election. They say citizens don't vote foreign policy but I did. The "We came, we saw, he died" statement illustrated that our leaders didn't have a clue as to the geopolitical damage we had done. The US supported a "no fly zone" in the UN Security Council. Russia supported it. Gaddafi declared his own, stating that none of his air force would fly. The US and their allies quickly "redefined" it to mean they could destroy his air force on the ground, and once destroyed, any of his antiaircraft guns, and once destroyed, any of his tanks and artillery (which don't fly), and his troop convoys.

Gaddafi's, Russia's, perhaps North Korea's big mistake was believing the US would stand by their agreement in the UN Security Council. This and the Eastward creep of Nato may very well be the deciding factor's in Putin's view that he has no responsible actors in the West to deal with. North Korea was watching. Any dream of getting a denuclearized North Korea just receded by about 50 years.

And of course, our presstitute media had a starring role as always. The average American thinks this was a just war, and knows nothing of the slave markets, and nothing about the flood of African immigrants, who are majority muslim, and have no plans whatsoever to assimilate, into Europe. The leaders of France and supposedly Great Britain have stabbed their citizens in the back, as they will now have to watch European culture destroyed.

Vivekwhu , 6 hours ago

Many thanks are due to Draitser for this excellent report on the vile activities of the US Evil Empire in Libya. The power motives have been laid bare, but the massive greed of the US/EU imperial elites have not been detailed. The greed for Libyan oil by France and Italy is well known but the US also looted Libyan gold, just as they looted Ukrainian gold after the 2014 Maidan coup.

By removing Gaddaffi (and who can forget Clinton's evil words "We came, we saw, he died") and looting the gold they scuppered the plans to create a gold-backed dinar for all of Africa, that would have challenged the use of USD, French-controlled "Franc" and other fiat currencies.

That would have been shocking for the US/EU imperial elite that regards Africa as their private fiefdom to loot at will.

Combined with a lust for power, the US/EU imperial elites have an insatiable greed. After all, what use is an empire if the elites can't gorge themselves at will?

lastugro , 10 hours ago

... and Medvedev led Russia abstained (did not veto the vote) at the UNSC session where the intervention was approved. Russia bears a tacit responsibility.

Michael Norton , 11 hours ago

Obama supplied ISIS with leftover weapons from the Libya operation to take out Bashar Assad in Syria. That didn't work out for him too well, did it? Got an ambassador and some CIA spooks killed in Benghazi.

dogfish , 9 hours ago

And Trump steals the oil, the oil that is desperately needed by the suffering Syrians. Trump is a real humanitarian.

Maghreb2 , 5 hours ago

Obama believed every word he was fed about the R2P Right to Protect fantasy concocted at the U.N. At the same time if you knew how dangerous the man was with his Green Revolution and Desert sorcery you would have had him killed.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/apr/12/barack-obama-says-libya-was-worst-mistake-of-his-presidency

The first step of his plan was the Libyan African Gold Dinar which would have been a commodity backed gold cuerrency. This would have broken Rothschild and most of the colonial banking systems. On its own it was a just move but not even the Chinese could have an African Bloc form that fast with that much growth. Imploding the CFA system would have destroyed France as we know it and made it poorer than Poland.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mandrake/3520920/Now-Nat-Rothschild-hobnobs-with-Gaddafi-jnr.html

https://panamapapers.sueddeutsche.de/articles/573aeac75632a39742ed39a0/

Second factor was his ruthless plans to deal with his Islamic Nationalist and Monarchist "Brothers". Gaddafis Green revolution could have spread across the desert wastes and easily overthrown the Al Sauds and trapped Arab natioanlists in their citites. Not a powerful fighter but understood desert warfare. It was the cost of Soviet equipment and the French adapted technicals that made him weaker. The Wars of the Sahara desert like those of Polisario Front and Libyan Chad War were decided by mobility.

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

Finally there were reports amongst the occultists that the man was obsessed with the Occult and the Djinn. Giving a warlord his own banking system and access to African black Magic was enough even for the Jesuits to view the man as a threat to global peace. Rumours the djinns warned him of advance of air strikes and gave strength to his soldiers in the deserts made him a force to be reckoned with in his borders. The association with Abu Nidal is rumoured to have revealed things about the nature of these desert beings. If he had the innate gift for it his tribe probably would have joined us at some point. Reports he had fallen out with the real Green a man a sage and advisor to the Islamic leaders point to a major rupture with the Islamic creed.

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

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

https://eng-archive.aawsat.com/theaawsat/news-middle-east/colonel-gaddafi-using-african-magic-to-prolong-his-reign-libyan-rebel-officer

Only God can really judge whether his plan to emancipate Africa was his own power grab to free the continent or another mad man trying to join the global elite by enslaving them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hwiCkU73NA

Maghreb2 , 5 hours ago

The Moroccans learnt a lot from that mess. Islamic world lacks something like the Jesuits to keep these things under wraps.

https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-goldman-sachs-libya/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USJCcZGbb7w

SmokeyBlonde , 4 hours ago

It would appear, at this point in time, that regardless of motive of his plan, the US-backed alternative has turned out far worse. The only positive result is more money in the pockets of the MIC and the opportunity to play war games in the desert.

Maghreb2 , 2 hours ago

Like I said he was a dangerous man. It takes one to rock the boat like he did. End of the day the system could have been put in place for the African Gold Standard to start to expand into areas that were tired of the Central African Franc system but it would have destroyed Rothschild and led to hundreds of million of Black Muslims having resources to throw at Israel.

https://www.investigaction.net/fr/macron-libye-la-rothschild-connection/

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjyRchz8PFY

Making Chad, Senegal and Mali into something like Yugoslavia with Chinese and Russian Weaponry was beyond the imaginings of Africom. Would have lowered the birth rates with the development and solved the migration and economic crisis. Having these countries like Sweden would have also created living space for white liberals who were highly educated. Instead all the money vanished with the Kleptokrats. Its only insane Facists who want dead Africans on their doorsteps in Berlin and on the television that agree with this madness.

Euafrica, Eurabia could be avoided by making sure the Africans slow their birth rates through development and saving wealth rather than following it to Europe when the big men run with gold and dollars.

At the same time he was known as a devil to the Arabs and the dissidents. Sort of like Rockefeller with the company towns and corporate face. You ask the bastards to resign and why all these people has vanished and gives you statistics on how many electrical appliances have been handed out and says he was never in charge and you don't know how the system works.

https://www.countercurrents.org/janson170812.htm

Hard to say but he played the game. Robbed Bunker Hunt which was enough for us. Bunker C%nt as we called him when he tried to bring down the Morgue in Texas. Stuff like that is why the Illuminati are feared. Its hard for anyone to gauge what is going on and what the domino effects are. He was trained by the Americans and British and supplied with Socialist apparatus. Gianni Agnelli the suavest yid since Joseph kept NATO off his back. He had ties to the U.S deep State as well but that goes back to Wheelus.

https://www.nytimes.com/1986/09/24/business/libya-s-fiat-stake-sold-for-3-billion.html

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

https://www.nytimes.com/1973/08/09/archives/bp-and-bunker-hunt-sue-coastal-states-on-libya-oil-alternative.html

Like we said about the Occult everyone has a backer but that man had demons watching over him. According to some. Thin line between a Djinn and Shaytan when politics and murder get involved.

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/gaddafis-son-had-fingers-cut-off/news-story/ca6d3416e46441842ac8aca3edb11cb7

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcgNqHnjLK8

freedommusic , 5 hours ago

Failed nation states make a perfect platform for a profitable global criminal enterprise.

voting machine , 6 hours ago

Allen Dulles couldn't have scripted this operation any better.

This is right out of the CIA hand book. Regime change 101

Jackprong , 7 hours ago

As is painfully evident, there is no clear way to know how much was spent other than to take the word of those who prosecuted the war. With no congressional oversight, and no clear documentary record, the war on Libya disappears down the memory hole, and with it the idea that there is a separation of powers, Congressional authority to make war, or a functioning Constitution.

Got an answer for this: CUTBACKS!

bshirley1968 , 3 hours ago

" The story begins with Bernard Henri-Lévy, the French philosopher, journalist, and amateur foreign service officer who fancied himself an international spy. "

"Lévy was born in 1948 in Béni Saf , French Algeria , to an affluent Algerian Jewish family. "

you_do , 6 hours ago

The war against Libya is a crime .

The arguments for it are mostly fake .

The real reason is the threat against the `dollar`.

JeanTrejean , 6 hours ago

It's the Frenchmen Sarkozy and B.H. Levy who are responsible for this agression.

The USA and NATO (outside Europe) were just "dumb followers".

Vivekwhu , 6 hours ago

Nothing dumb about Obomber: why did he loot and murder in Libya (or Yemen, Ukraine, Syria etc)? Because he CAN!!!

Joiningupthedots , 21 minutes ago

Everything The West touches turns to rat ****.

Mercifully Russia recognised its mistake with Libya and stepped in to save Syria from the same fate.

Every country, its military bandits politicians involved in the unprovoked attack and subsequent destruction of Libya can be considered........WAR CRIMINALS.

Hopefully one day they will be stupid enough to attack Russia or China and be completely destroyed for their stupidity.

OTBorder@CA , 1 hour ago

First of all, Gadhafi gave an unconditional surrender that was brokered by international diplomatic channels over a month before our invasion. Obama & his minions ignored it. We knew many pilots that flew "missions" over Libya during this war & were involved in a massive bombing campaign. Don't forget the Wikileaks where France signed onto the war on the condition they got a % of Libya's gold. My wish is that someday history will tell the truth about the bastard Obama. Read the Lost Arab Spring by, Walid Phares to see all of the other Countries Obama tried to overthrow & have radical Islamic Terrorists replace the peaceful governments.

csc61 , 1 hour ago

The author gives these idiots far too much credit. People must come to the understanding that presidents and politicians (on all sides) simply do as they're told. It is the hidden hand, the international financiers, who are ruining the world. Politicians are mere pawns ... minions willing to sell their souls for a few short years of presumed power, only to scurry off afterward to play the role of elder statesmen. Politicians are nothing more than privileged degenerates who proved early in their political lives they could be easily corrupted and compromised. It is not them who do the damage directly - these things would happen no matter who's in charge. No, they're simply the ones pushed out front to sign documents and take blame for the world's ruination ... a small price they are willing to pay to feed their narcissistic appetites.

Mentaliusanything , 7 hours ago

I would caption that image as "Who is going first to the platform and rope... Biden thinks he has won a Prize and is excited , The Kenyan says you first Bro (loser) and the white Privileged woman is laughing as she says , You have nothing on Me... Bitches, I bury mine deep and dead, I do not swing

Scipio Africanuz , 8 hours ago

Fair enough..

Now that we've completed stage 1 of the harvest, perhaps we ought boost the Republic of Liberty, and hopefully, temper the anxious wrath of folks..

Libya was a catastrophic mistake, borne of hubris, vanity, intellectual rigidity, vainglory, and confusion. Hubris on the part of some, Sarkozy comes to mind, vanity on the part of some, Hillary Clinton comes to mind, confusion on the part of some, Obama comes to mind, and Ideological rigidity on the part of some, Biden comes to mind, and vainglorious pride on the part of some, the security establishment and their directors come to mind..

Having cleared that, it's no use crying over spilt milk, what's necessary, if the humility to acknowledge errors is available, is contributing rationally, and pernitently, to fixing the errors, and not by the same thinking that led to the errors, but fresh thinking that ought now understand that..

What's sown, is what's reaped, but MERCY it is, mitigates the harvests of depravity, via the provision of energy to restitute, and make amends..

The caveat however, is that mercy is NEVER deployed without REPENTANCE and RECALIBRATION,
which are the foundational pillars that make MERCY provide the energy to effect RESTITUTION..

Having clarified that, it's pertinent to inform, that Providence is NOT interested, in any way, shape, or form, in the damnation of anyone and why?

Well, which loving father is interested in the damnation of his children, no matter how depraved?

Still, patience ought not be mistaken for coddling and why?

With one, patience, the intent is to provide time for change..

With the other, coddling, the gambit is the turning of blind eyes to depravity..

But seeing as God, the Almighty Father is CONSISTENTLY Just, we can conclude then, that patience is the prerequisite for either Mercy or Damnation and how so?

Because if patience is deployed, and the depraved utilize it to change, then their salvation is self directed..

And if not, utilized that is, then their damnation as well, is self obtained..

And thus is the Justice and Honor of Divine Providence satisfied..

It's that simple..

And on that note VP Biden, we'll no longer refer to you as that, but as Joseph..

That ought awaken in you the grave responsibility on your shoulders, like that of the Biblical Joseph, whose father made for him, a "Coat of MANY colors.."

And if you be perceptive Joseph, you're now about to wear E Pluribus Unum (Coat of many colors..), created as a singular garment (ONE NATION..), for a reason (the glorification of Provident Divinity..
)

And the glorification?

That E Pluribus Unum (coat of many colors created as a singular garment..), ought demonstrate to all who see it worn, the goodness, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, and LOVE of the Provider of the Coat..

And considering Joseph, that in service of the Republic, you've not withheld the fruit of your loins, it's appropriate then, that you ought now demonstrate that love for the Republic, by putting it first, just as you'd put the fruits of your loins first, except above Divine Providence, known to you, as God Almighty..

So then Joseph, as we begin the next stage of the harvest, remember your oath that "you keep your promises..", you'll be judged by that oath..

And Joseph, "a promise is a debt..", it MUST be paid..

And to boost you energetically, here's Parton the Sweet Voiced Nightingale..

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=h7I_9MMcWvk

Good luck and God speed...

[Sep 11, 2020] MSM's attempts to spin Trump's attacks on senseless wars as disrespect for military at large are a dismal distortion of reality -- RT Op-ed

Notable quotes:
"... By Tony Cox , a US journalist who has written or edited for Bloomberg and several major daily newspapers. ..."
"... "Trump has lost the right and authority to be commander in chief," ..."
"... "despicable comments" ..."
"... "Killing generals could get to be a habit with me." ..."
"... "right and authority" ..."
"... "when it's required for national security and a last resort." ..."
"... "pattern of public statements ..."
"... Like this story? Share it with a friend! ..."
Sep 11, 2020 | www.rt.com

MSM's attempts to spin Trump's attacks on senseless wars as disrespect for military at large are a dismal distortion of reality 11 Sep, 2020 12:06 Get short URL © Getty Images / David Dee Delgado 29 Follow RT on RT

By Tony Cox , a US journalist who has written or edited for Bloomberg and several major daily newspapers. The New York Times and CNN are desperate to paint Donald Trump as an enemy of the military, due to his desire not to get involved in pointless wars. But this is simply not true, and Trump has the backing of many soldiers.

Someone should tell the New York Times, CNN and other mainstream media outlets that soldiers don't actually like getting killed or maimed for no good reason. Nor do they like generals and presidents who spill their blood in vain.

Alas, ignorance of these obvious truths probably isn't the issue. This is likely just another case of the biggest names in news pretending to not get the point so they can take the rest of us along for a ride in their confidence game of alternative reality.

The latest example is the New York Times spinning President Donald Trump's critique this week of Pentagon leadership and the military industrial complex as disrespect for the military at large. "Trump has lost the right and authority to be commander in chief," the Times quoted retired US Marines General Anthony Zinni as saying. Zinni cited Trump's alleged "despicable comments" about the nation's war dead – reported last week by The Atlantic , citing anonymous sources – as one of the reasons Trump "must go."

ALSO ON RT.COM After Trump helps crush ISIS, end Korea nuke tests and avoid new wars, Republican haters warn he 'imperiled America's security'

Never mind that Trump and all on-the-record administration sources denied The Atlantic's report. The Times couldn't resist when the pieces seemed to fit so well together for the military's latest propaganda campaign against Trump. First the president disses the troops, calling them "losers" and "suckers," then he has the temerity to say Pentagon leaders want to fight wars to keep defense contractors happy.

Except the pieces don't fit. The many people who occupy so-called boots on the ground don't have the same interests as the few people who send them to war. In fact, combat troops are given reason to hate the generals who send them to die when there's not a legitimate national security reason for the war they're fighting. And the US has fought a long line of wars that didn't serve the nation's national security interests. Even when a war is justified, the interests of top brass and front-line soldiers often clash.

Remember that great 1967 war movie, ' The Dirty Dozen' ? A group of 12 soldiers who were condemned to long prison sentences or execution in military prison for their crimes were sent on a 1944 suicide mission to kill high-ranking German officers at a heavily defended chateau far behind enemy lines. After succeeding in the mission and escaping the Germans, the lone surviving convict, played by tough-guy actor Charles Bronson, told the mission leader, "Killing generals could get to be a habit with me."

ALSO ON RT.COM NATO cannot survive a second Trump term

So no, New York Times, speaking out against ill-advised wars does not equal bashing the military. And sorry, General Zinni, but generals, defense contractors and their media mouthpieces don't get to decide who has the "right and authority" to be commander in chief. The voters decided that already, and they expressed clearly that they don't want senseless and endless wars and foreign interventions.

The Times cited General James McConville, the Army's chief of staff, as saying Pentagon leaders would only recommend sending troops to combat "when it's required for national security and a last resort." And no, it wasn't a comedy skit. What's the last US war or combat intervention that measured up to that standard? Let's just say the late Bronson, who died in 2003 at the age of 81, was a young man the last time that happened.

CNN tried a similar ploy on Sunday, while trying to sell the "losers" and "suckers" story in an interview with US Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie. Host Dana Bash said the allegations fit a "pattern of public statements " by the president because Trump called US Senator John McCain a "loser" in 2015 and said McCain shouldn't be considered a hero for being captured in the Vietnam War. She repeatedly suggested to Wilkie, who didn't take the bait, that Trump's attacks on McCain, who died in 2018, showed disrespect for the troops.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=RT_com&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1302611067995074561&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rt.com%2Fop-ed%2F500455-trump-military-media-lies%2F&siteScreenName=RT_com&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px

Apparently, this follows the same line of propagandist thought which told us that saying there are rapists among the illegal aliens entering the US from Mexico – which is undeniably true – equals saying all Mexicans are rapists. In CNN land, a bad word about McCain is a bad word about all soldiers.

McCain was a warmonger who didn't mind getting US troops killed or backing terrorist groups in Syria. If he had his way , many more GIs would be dead or disabled, because the intervention in Syria would have been escalated and the US might be at war with Iran. Soldiers wouldn't want their lives wasted in such conflicts.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=RT_com&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=339455679800700928&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rt.com%2Fop-ed%2F500455-trump-military-media-lies%2F&siteScreenName=RT_com&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px

All wars are hard on the people who have to fight them, but senseless wars are spirit-crushing. An average of about 17 veterans commit suicide each day in the US, according to Veterans Administration data . Veterans account for 11 percent of the US adult population but more than 18 percent of suicides.

The media's deceiving technique of trying to pretend that ruling-class chieftains and front-line grunts are in the same boat reflects a broader campaign of top-down revolution against populism. The military is just one of several pro-Trump segments of the population that must be turned against the president. Other pro-Trump segments, such as police , are demonized and attacked.

Trump has managed to keep the US out of new wars and has drawn down deployments to Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan – despite Pentagon opposition. His rival, Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden, can be expected to rev up the war machine if he takes charge. His foreign policy adviser, Antony Blinken, lamented in a May interview with CBS News that Trump had given up US "leverage" in Syria.

Trump also has turned around the VA hospital system, ending decades of neglect that left many veterans to die on waiting lists.

Like past campaigns to oust Trump, the notion that he's not sufficiently devoted to the troops might be a tough sell. No matter how good their words may sound, the people who promote endless wars without clear objectives aren't true supporters of the rank and file.

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

[Sep 11, 2020] Evangelists of Democracy - The National Interest

Sep 11, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

Evangelists of Democracy

Mini Teaser: Radicals of the democracy-promotion movement embody the very thing they are fighting against -- a closed-minded conviction that they represent the one true path for all societies and thus possess a monopoly on social, ethical and political truth.

by Author(s): David Rieff

https://7891318a7d7e3d7b445a1b67cd7d0911.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

[Sep 11, 2020] DoD Confirms $10-$20 Billion COVID Bailout For Contractors After Trump Blasted Military-Industrial Complex -

Sep 11, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

DoD Confirms $10-$20 Billion COVID Bailout For Contractors After Trump Blasted Military-Industrial Complex by Tyler Durden Fri, 09/11/2020 - 09:45 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

This is surely the last thing the American people want to hear, but it does confirm President Trump's recent statements saying that top Pentagon brass essentially seeks out constant wars to keep defense contractors "happy": the Department of Defense plans to cut major military contractors a $10 billion to $20 billion COVID bailout check .

Defense One reports : "With lawmakers and the White House unable to come to an agreement on a new coronavirus stimulus package, it's unlikely that money requested to reimburse defense contractors for pandemic-related expenses will reach these companies until at least the second quarter of 2021, according to the Pentagon's top weapons buyer."

Defense undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment, Ellen Lord, in recent statements has indicated the private defense firm stimulus would cover the period from March 15 to Sept. 15 and is estimated at "between $10 and $20 billion."

President Trump at Andrews Air Force Base, via AP.

"Then we want to look at all of the proposals at once," Lord said at a press briefing Wednesday. "It isn't going to be a first in, first out, and we have to rationalize using the rules we've put in place what would be reimbursable and what's not."

And strongly suggesting that it won't be the last of such stimulus for defense firms who have already profited immensely off post 9/11 'wars of choice' launched under Bush and Obama, Lord said , "I would contend that most of the effects of COVID haven't yet been seen."

To recall, here's what Trump said at the start of this week :

"I'm not saying the military's in love with me," Trump added , as he advocated for the removal of U.S. troops from "endless wars" and lambasted NATO allies that he says rip off the U.S. "The soldiers are."

"The top people in the Pentagon probably aren't because they want to do nothing but fight wars so all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy," he added.

"Some people don't like to come home, some people like to continue to spend money," the president said. "One cold-hearted globalist betrayal after another, that's what it was."

The "outrage" that followed included reporters claiming that Trump's words were "unprecedented".

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13084989113709670?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13084989113709670-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com&rid=www.zerohedge.com&width=890

But that's far from the truth, as Glen Greenwald reminded his fellow journalists:

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=true&id=1303109722468429824&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fpolitical%2Fafter-trump-lambasted-endless-wars-enriching-defense-firms-dod-confirms-10-20-billion&siteScreenName=zerohedge&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px NEVER MISS THE NEWS THAT MATTERS MOST

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Well over a half-century ago, Eisenhower warned, "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex . The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."

And further: "We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

[Aug 27, 2020] Rand Paul Delivers Blistering Foreign Policy Attack- -Biden Will Choose War Again- -

Aug 27, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Among the most notable highlights at last night's Republican National Convention, Senator Rand Paul delivered a blistering take down of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's foreign policy, which Paul linked to multiple wars under Democrat administrations spanning decades (going back to Clinton's bombing of Serbia).

"I fear Biden will choose war again," Paul asserted . "He supported war in Serbia, Syria, Libya. Joe Biden will continue to spill our blood and treasure. President Trump will bring our heroes home."

"If you hate war like I hate war, if you want us to quit sending $50 billion every year to Afghanistan to build their roads and bridges instead of building them here at home , you need to support President Trump for another term," said Paul, who has long been a fierce critic of former President Obama's foreign policy, including overt intervention in Libya, and covert action toward destabilizing Syria.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1298426809290285057

He slammed Biden as a hawk who has "consistently called for more war" and with no signs anything would be different.

Interestingly, Sen. Paul has also in the recent past led foreign policy push back against President Trump - especially over the two times Trump has bombed Syria following alleged Assad chemical attacks, which Paul along with other anti-interventionists across the aisle like Tulsi Gabbard questioned to begin with.

But it appears Paul is firmly supportive of Trump's newly released 50-point agenda for his second term outlining the Commander-in-Chief will "stop endless war" and ultimately bring US troops "home." The plan still emphasized, however, the administration will "maintain" US military strength abroad while 'wiping' out global terrorism.

"President Trump is the first president in a generation to seek to end war rather than start one. He intends to end the war in Afghanistan. He is bringing our men and women home. Compare President Trump with the disastrous record of Joe Biden, who has consistently called for more war ," Paul said further.

Back during the primaries in 2016, Paul and Trump sparred intensely over national security questions:

https://twitter.com/i/status/1298422787120361472

He also highlighted Biden's unrepentant yes vote to go to war in Iraq .

"I'm supporting President Trump because he believes as I do that a strong America cannot fight endless wars. We must not continue to leave our blood and treasure in Middle East quagmires," Paul concluded.

Elsewhere in the approximately four-minute speech, Paul said Trump will fight "socialists poisoning our schools and burning our cities."


Cluster_Frak , 7 hours ago

Obama was a warmonger and so is Biden. They love war and doing everything possible for the next war to be on the home ground.

Davidduke2000 , 7 hours ago

Obama had skeletons in his closet, he did what the neocons want, Trump gave them the embassy and other shenanigans.

Izzy Dunne , 2 hours ago

And so is Trump. They are all warmongers, because war is what the US does...

Weihan , 7 hours ago

Paul is right.

Biden knows who butters his bread. At least candidate Trump - in principle - stood for opposition to the deep state's monstrous agenda.

Biden, Clinton, Bush, Obama are despicable warmongers. Their administrations were responsible for the slaughter of tens of thousands in Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and the list would have gone on and on had it not been for Trump.


Remember Biden's 1992 Wall Street Journal article titled:

"How I Learned to Love the New World Order."

JUICE E SMALL IT EMPIRE , 7 hours ago

Rand was the only guy I watched last night and he was on point. I did not disagree with anything he said.

kulkarniravi , 8/26/2020, 2:33:07 PM

You can diss Obama all you want, but he signed a peace accord with Iran and Trump reneged on it. Iran is not the villain, at least not when compared to the likes of Saudi Arabia. And what's the deal with Cuba?

d_7878 , 6 hours ago

Rand on Trump:

"Are we going to fix the country through bombast and empty blather?

"Unless someone points out the emperor has no clothes, they will continue to strut about, and then we'll end up with a reality TV star as our nominee."

"Donald Trump is a delusional narcissist and an orange-faced windbag"

"Have you ever had a speck of dirt fly into your eye?""[It is] annoying, irritating and might even make you cry.

"If the dirt doesn't go away, it will keep scratching your cornea until eventually it blinds you with all its filth. A speck of dirt is way more qualified to be president."

Trump is a "fake conservative."

mike_1010 , 7 hours ago

Trump might be talking peace, but he has increased US military spending significantly more than previous presidents. He also tore up the US peace agreement with Iran and nearly triggered a US war with Iran by assassinating one of their top generals.

If any president is going to start a war with Iran, then it's Trump. And such a war would dwarf any recent wars USA has fought. Because Iran is three times bigger than Iraq in terms of their population, and they've been preparing for a possible US attack for decades.

Perhaps Biden might start a small war here or there. But Trump goes big on anything he does. If he starts a war, then it's going to be either with China or Iran.

So, neither Biden nor Trump is to be trusted, when it comes to war. But I'd say that Trump is the bigger danger compared to Biden. Because if Trump starts a war, then it might end up being a nuclear war.

Airstrip1 , 6 hours ago

Rand Paul needs to ask himself if the pot is blacker than the kettle.

How can he expect people to believe this disingenuous claptrap ?

The USA is an Empire-building Crime Cartel.

Dims or Reps are just frontmen managers for the Mob.

chopsuey , 7 hours ago

Ron and Rand. The dog and pony show. The alternative. They say what you want to hear.

I say

Phuck OFF Ron and Rand. You had many many years to do something (anything) about the endless "wars" and in reality, they are not really wars. They are ruthless invasions of vulnerable countries whereupon natural resources are contained, the culture and its symbolic treasures are destroyed/stolen and thousands to millions are killed in the name of USA. These unwarranted invasions are justified with lies and fraud and deceit.

Washington DC is the military capital of the world doing the dirty work of the elite. And its soldier are your kids and grandkids.

Wake the Phuck UP people. It will not end until they have achieved their objectives. You are fodder for their cannon.

Dragonlord , 7 hours ago

Biden voted for war in Iraq and supported Obama aggression in Libya, Syria, etc and he is disappointed that Trump did not help Kurd to wage war against Turks for their independence.

ConanTheContrarian1 , 7 hours ago

Not sure. Trump has to play ball with established Deep State interests while he tries (I hope) to set things right. So, yes, questions will abound for some time.

takefive , 7 hours ago

whatever the reason, he is now part of the swamp. and that's why he's in a tough re-election battle with a stiff.

Ex-Oligarch , 3 hours ago

You have it exactly wrong. If Trump were really part of the swamp, they wouldn't be fighting so desperately to prevent his re-election. They wouldn't have spent three years on the Russiagate failed coup, they wouldn't have gone through the ridiculous partisan impeachment exercise, they wouldn't have torpedoed the economy over coronavirus, and we wouldn't have organized race riots in all the democrat strongholds.

LaugherNYC , 3 hours ago

Rand Paul is just about the only grown-up in American politics.

How much bettter off would the USA be with a Paul/Gabbard ticket?

But ANYTHING is better than Joe Biden. Literally ANYTHING.

Well...assuming Hillary were dead or incapacitated,

DaVinciCode , 7 hours ago

It's happening. Yugoslavian girl give dire warning to Americans.

This all happened in her country the same way.

PLEASE LISTEN - it is coming to the USA and the West

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

(copied from a fellow :-) thanks)

captain noob , 7 hours ago

No

synthetically derived , 5 hours ago

I agree with the Yugoslav girl's premise that the powers that be have been deceptively employing a divide-and-conquer strategy to get the American people to fight among themselves rather than confront their own corrupt government, but I do not buy into the conclusion drawn that the solution lies in trusting the head of the government (in this case Trump) to do right by the people.

As George Carlin famously said, "it's a big club, and you ain't in it!" The American people are not going to be able to fix the problems now confronting them by voting for one uniparty politician over another any more than the Yugoslav people were

wick7 , 7 hours ago

The Democrats will get their regime change war no matter what. If Biden is elected they'll continue the Syrian war that has cost 800,000 innocent lives so far. If Trump is elected they'll try to have one here to take him down.

yojimbo , 7 hours ago

Afghani GDP - $20bn. US military spending - $50bn.

They must have the best services in the world!

yesnomaybe , 7 hours ago

That video clip from the 2016 GOP debate is classic... as Paul questions Trump attacking personal appearances, Trump flat out denies it, and then proceeds to do just that in his next breath.

In all seriousness, Rand is a stand up guy and would make a great president.

Maghreb2 , 7 hours ago

Ru Paul has as much chance of stopping this war as Rand Paul. If he was a threat to the people starting it he would be getting the **** bashed out of him or shot dead by a mad man. Don't see many people talking about auditing the Fed outside of Texas anymore.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Congressional_baseball_shooting

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/15/us/politics/rand-paul-attack.html

He's got a point. Biden's son is in Ukraine milking it high on crack cocaine like a senators son should in the new Roman Emperor. Ukrainian color revolution and CIA long war strategy means he has set up shop there permanently like a little princeling. Same as princess Kushners wonderful tour of the Middle Eastern courts to meet his boyfriends. Old days they would both have be poisoned to death or strangled as children for disrespecting the senate.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/07/08/will-hunter-biden-jeopardize-his-fathers-campaign

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/08/20/politics/kushner-uae-israel-f-35-fighter-jet/index.html

Real rules of Eastern European politics are Nationalist winding up dead in dust bins behind the American Embassy and Russians threatening to switch of the gas and freeze everyone to death every winter. Footage of hard man dictator Lukashenko showing up at opposition protests with an assault rifle is broadcast to school children. I'd like to see Hunter Biden and Jared Kushner show up to something like that.

https://edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2020/08/24/belarus-protests-lukashenko-rifle-fred-pleitgen-live-nr-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn

Truth is Trump is a ******* liar. the Moment they started to shut down Rammenstein airbase they moved forces close to the Belarus border to pull another color revolution right in front of Putin. Trump and the Republicans are just stooges for the Zionist mafia. They are playing war scare but its too piss take for anyone now. Polish and Baltic States are NATO and have their own prerogative. They just push people closer to war.

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

Rand Paul should worry about the Civil War that should come after the election.

Aint no senators sons for that game....

DEDA CVETKO , 5 hours ago

Thank you, Rand, for remembering the little Serbia -- twice (in both World Wars) America's fiercest and most loyal ally, and now a roadkill of the Clinton Foundation and Madeleine Albright, the new owner of Kosovo.

The nations that sadistically massacre and dismember their friends and allies do not have a future, nor the right to claim any.

Scipio Africanuz , 5 hours ago

Again Senator Paul, we don't do self deception..

In almost four years, how many legions have been repatriated home, or how many of the existing wars have been ended?

All we've observed, is an escalation of hybrid wars, reducing in some, kinetism, and increasing death tolls via other means, and in some, increased covert kinetism..

Your candidate brazenly murdered a top general of a nation not at war with the US..

Imagine Senator Paul, if Iran had murdered Petraeus, would the US not have declared war?

That the Iranians didn't significantly escalate, was NOT due to fear, but back channel advocacy and energetic remonstrations by adult folks..

If you believe Biden is worse than your candidate who's done worse, in terms of brazen law abrogation, then why aren't you a candidate, or is it that you'd prefer partisanship to patriotism?

Look within your party for corollary and accomplice warmongers, and leave Biden alone after all, you do have a rabid warmongering Lindsey Graham and Tom Cotton as party colleagues, no?

Senator Paul, there's principle, character, and integrity and then there's opportunism, partisanship, and betrayal..

Of nobility..

Anyhow, you're sovereign and thus, fully entitled to your choices, we simply point out inconsistencies between what you espouse, and what you support..

Character, Senator Paul, is destiny..

Cheers...

Anthraxed , 4 hours ago

Trump has dropped more bombs than Obama at the same time in his term.

You're in complete denial if you think Trump has stopped any of the wars. And yes, he is expanding the wars to a much larger country.

Trump's first veto was a bill that would have stopped the Yemen war.

Reality is like Cryptonite for Trumptards.

quanttech , 4 hours ago

lol, 10 minutes ago I was being accused of being Antifa, and now I'm a Trumptard. Definitely doing something right.

Yes, Trump is a war criminal extraordinaire. He dropped a MOAB. He removed controls on civilian casualties. He dropped 7400+ bombs on Afghanistan in 2019.... 60% of the casualties were civilians, mostly children.

He also stupidly listened to his generals when they told him to kill Sulemani. BUT... when the Iranians retaliated (and they DID retaliate, injuring dozens of US soldiers) Trump de-escalated. Similarly, when the Iranians downed a drone, the generals wanted to retaliate - Trump asked how many Iranians would die. The generals said 150. Trump said it didn't make sense to kill 150 people for downing a drone.

Trump is a moron who is completely out of it most of the time. But when he pays attention for a moment, he's against a a war with Iran.

Now, if I'm a Trumptard, then you're a Hillaryhead. My question to you is... where would we be if Hillary was president? Answer: at war with Iran. Another question: where will we be if Biden is president?

Dull Care , 3 hours ago

How much authority do you think Trump has over the foreign policy? Not a rhetorical question but I have yet to see an American president run for office advocating a more interventionist foreign policy yet it doesn't change greatly no matter who is in office. Trump often carries a big stick but he's nowhere near as reckless as his predecessors.

The one thing we know is Trump is hostile to the Chinese government and hasn't turned around relations with Russia.

quanttech , 1 hour ago

"... I have this feeling that whoever's elected president when you win, you go into this smoky room with the twelve industrialists capitalists scum-***** who got you in there. And a big guy with a cigar goes: 'Roll the film.' And it's a shot of the Kennedy Assassination from an angle you've never seen before - It looks suspiciously off the grassy knoll. Then the screen comes up, and they go to the new president: 'Any questions?'"
- Bill Hicks, Rant in E-Minor (1993)

Observer 2020 , 5 hours ago

The spiritual, moral, ethical, philosophical, intellectual and cultural bankruptcy of Biden and his fellow death cult reprobates is depthless. One need know nothing more about them that they have become so detached from reality as to regard abortion, partial birth abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, generational genocide, genocide, of the white race, unremitting sociocultural warfare and the balkanization of this nation as being virtues.

Anyone who would even begin to contemplate supporting Biden or any of his fellow Fifth Columnists should be regarded as being too demented or otherwise Bidenesque to be competent to vote.

12Doberman , 5 hours ago

Biden has a record showing him to be a Neocon...and that's why we see the neverTrumpers supporting him.

Musum , 5 hours ago

And Pompeous is 10X worse than Biden. And he serves as Trump's Sec. of State.

chinoslims , 5 hours ago

Hey Trump is self professed king of Israel

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/08/donald-trump-king-of-israel

Musum , 5 hours ago

Of course, he's just a viceroy serving on behalf of the kosher people.

ted41776 , 8 hours ago

it's not what the president chooses

it's what chooses the president

conraddobler , 8 hours ago

This has lost all it's entertainment value.

Hollywood and the Postman was a more realistic view, in that movie I believe the warlord was a former copier either salesman or technician, can't remember but it's more likely a guy like that would have leadership capabilities than these clowns would.

invention13 , 1 hour ago

It saddens me that people can just go about their business in this country without giving a thought about the men and women who are getting injured and coming home stressed out and addicted to painkillers. Also that the real motive for continued military involvement in the ME is that some people are making tons of money off it. We need our own version of Smedley Butler these days.

It is all decadent beyond belief.

mrjinx007 , 1 hour ago

That MF no good SOB war mongering no good neocon SOB Shawn did everything he could to get RP to agree with him that we need to continue with the policy of regime change.

Rand just basically told him to shut the f up and stop blowing the Neo-cons' erections. It was precious. You know how people like this ******* Hannity get their funding from. Deep state, MIC, and all the f'king Rino's like Tommy Cotton.

gm_general , 2 hours ago

Thanks to Hillary and Obama, Libya is a complete mess and black people are being sold as slaves there. Let that sink in.

[Aug 24, 2020] American Exceptionalism by Larry Romanoff

Aug 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

"Welcome to America, the Land of Freedom" , read the signs at Washington, DC's international airport as you line up to have your fingerprints taken and your body cavities searched for mini nuclear devices.

I could have titled this article "Setting the Cat among the Pigeons". In an attempt to forestall the expected avalanche of disagreement, I confirm my awareness of statistics produced by a wide range of individuals and institutions of widely-varying intent and ideology, and which can "prove" almost anything one cares to prove, GINI coefficients being one easy example. The statistics on which this article is based were not selected carelessly and are not invalidated by a reader's disaffection.

The United States Is the Best Only at Being the Worst

The US today has the greatest income inequality of all Western nations [1] [2] , surpassing China and more than a few undeveloped nations as well. From this, it has the lowest social mobility of most nations [3] , meaning that improving one's station in life is becoming increasingly impossible. If your parents are not educated and wealthy, you will never be either, and the American Dream is dead . The US today has the smallest middle class and the largest lower class of all major nations, the middle class having been mostly eviscerated in 2008, that process completing itself today, and will probably never now recover. Americans carry the largest amount of personal debt among all nations [4] , including credit card debt and increasingly unrepayable student loans , and the US now leads the world in personal bankruptcies [5] . Since 2008, according to the US government's own statistics, the US has the lowest percentage of home ownership at 57% [6] , ranked 43rd in the world, far below China at 90% [7] , and America now has a virtual epidemic of homelessness compared to most other nations, with untabulated millions of homeless families with children.

The poverty rate in the US is extraordinary, with official statistics placing this number at 13% but in reality with more than 25% of the population living below the poverty line, in most cases far below [8] . It also has the highest percentage of children living in poverty , and with almost a third of all US citizens dependent on food stamps and other government aid to survive [9] . Unemployment is also extraordinary. According to the government's own statistics, fully 40% of working-age Americans have no job [10] [11] , with many of the rest under-employed , working only part-time. It is only American cities or those in the most impoverished of nations that contain such vast areas of urban decay and desperate slums like those of Detroit and Chicago, where half of the areas are violent crime-ridden wastelands where no one goes.

The US has the highest educational costs , and yet the poorest overall quality of education in the developed world and parts of the rest. Read this article [12] . It will open your eyes. A few good schools or universities in an entire nation do not make it a world leader, the proof residing in the highest level of functional illiteracy of all major nations (25%) and a truly legendary level of ignorance [13] . The US is the only country in the world where, in repeated polls for the past 60 years, a full 75% of the adult and student populations cannot find their own country on a map of the world [14]
. Compared to other nations, the US has the highest health care costs by a factor of two to ten, and yet has a surprisingly poor overall quality as well as the highest percentage of a population without health care [15] . The US has the highest infant mortality rate and the shortest life expectancy at birth of all major nations and far below many others [16] [17] , ranking around 50 in a list of countries. The US has the highest obesity rate of all nations, with nearly half of the population being overweight [18] , one of the highest rates of sexually-transmitted diseases [19] , of anti-depressant drug use that increased by 65% in only 15 years [20] , a national crisis in opioid drug use [21] and of depression . It has the highest teen-age pregnancy and abortion rates of all developed nations [22] , and one of the highest divorce rates [23] [24] . Note that in many international studies US statistics aren't collected because, as observers noted "The authors left out the US because the country is "an extreme outlier." The US also has the largest number of one-person households (about 30%) [25] [26] , and the largest percentage of fatherless children (about 25%) [27] .

America is one of the two most racist countries in the world, where even the random and unprovoked killing of non-whites is not only permissible but usually meets with approval. Americans are gun-crazy, owning more guns than the entire rest of the world combined, and more guns than all the world's police and military. They carry their guns everywhere, and use them everywhere, the US having the highest rates of gun shootings and murders of any nation, with more than 20 small children and more than 200 adults being sent each day to either the hospital or the cemetery. Many small American cities, like the nation's capital of Washington DC with only half a million people, or places like Detroit or Chicago, have more murders each year (by an order of magnitude) than does Shanghai with 25 million people. The overall homicide rate for China is 0.6 and for Shanghai 0.2; that for the US is 4.0. The gun death rate for children in the US is 40 times higher than for any other nation in the world [28] [29] . The US also has the highest number of crimes committed with firearms each year, a staggering total of a minimum confirmed of 500,000 and an estimated 3 million [30] [31] , and the highest number of violent raids on private homes, with more than 80,000 instances per year of SWAT teams kicking in someone's front door in the middle of the night, always terrorising and sometimes killing the occupants, usually without identifying themselves and often attacking the wrong house. [32] [33]

The US has the highest rate of cocaine and meth usage of any nation [34] , thanks in large part to the CIA's very successful war on drugs which permits that agency to import cocaine duty-free. The US has the highest rate of gender inequality [35] among industrialised nations, far exceeding egalitarian nations like China (and formerly Iraq and Libya). The US has the highest number of lawyers and lawsuits in the world, by orders of magnitude, a reflection of both natural belligerence and inborn greed, Americans spending twice as much on lawsuits each year as on new cars [36] . Japan has 14,000 lawyers, China 160,000, the US 1.35 million (11 per 100,000 for Japan and China compared to 300 per 100,000 for the US). Americans surpass the entire world in their amount of useless consumption , having long passed the point where it can be deemed pathological. As one measure, that of shopping mall space per capita, Germany has 2.7 sq ft per person, Japan has 3.9 and the UK has 5. For every American shopper there are 24 sq ft of mall. The US has by far the highest level of carbon emissions on a per-capita basis, thanks in no small part to General Motors who has repeatedly committed genocide on electric automobiles.

Wars and violence are defining adjectives of America. The US as a nation is now, and has always been, intensely militaristic, inherently provocative, combative and violent. The US is by far the largest merchant of death in the world, being responsible for about 70% of total world arms sales . For comparison, Russia is second at 17%, while China is at 3%. If we include everything, the US spends about twice as much on its military each year as the entire rest of the world combined, already well-documented by many authors at well in excess of $1 trillion. It also has the world's largest network of foreign military bases , with more than 1,000 such installations, including many that appear on no map, and the world's largest number of bio-weapons labs , with more than 400 outside the US. America has launched the most wars of aggression in the history of the world and has been at war for 235 of its 243 years as a nation , all those wars unprovoked and unjustified, and none of which were either wars of 'liberation' or 'to make the world safe for democracy', but for colonisation and plunder. The US is also outstanding in that it has assassinated more foreign world leaders and other officials (about 150) [37] than even Israel has done, and also operates the largest network of torture prisons that has ever existed in the history of the world. The US also wins first prize for having some of the most bloodthirsty homicidal mass murderers and pathological killers in the history of the world, far exceeding our former heroes Stalin and Hitler. Kissinger, Albright and Curtis LeMay come immediately to mind, but there are more.

The US has by far the highest incarceration rate of all nations, with more than 25% of the world's prisoners in its jails and with almost 35% of all adult Americans having a criminal record . Alarmingly, the US has by far the highest number of internment camps – prison camps – in the world, all 800 fully-staffed but empty, waiting for Americans to dare launch another Occupy Wall Street or similar protest. The US has the most militarised police forces of any nation, with frighteningly heavy-duty military hardware like MRAPs, APCs, drone aircraft and automatic weapons. The police motto "To protect and serve" that was once plastered on every police car, has been amended. It now reads "To occupy and kill". The US has by far the highest number of civilians killed each year by police (well over 1,000) of any nation in the world, even including rogue states and axis of evil members. Americans have far more to fear from their local police than from terrorists. Police brutality in America is now legendary, so common as to be one of the nation's defining adjectives, with beatings, shootings, harassment, false criminal charges reaching epidemic proportions and increasing.

America is the world's only nation with a website named "Killed by Police.org" to document the epidemic of civilians killed by police, and the only nation where local newspapers have sections devoted to listing the number of daily killings in each neighborhood of the major cities to assist citizens in house purchases. Violent crime rates in the US are at least an order of magnitude above those of China or Japan (and many other nations).

The US also has one of the most corrupt police and judicial systems in the world. No Western country is particularly free of this charge, but America excels. As one example, the US has by far the largest number in the world of citizens falsely convicted by fraudulent testimony , some 40,000 convictions caused by one fraudulent forensics lab alone. And of course, the US has the world's largest espionage network by orders of magnitude, with an ambition to steal every secret and to record and save every communication by every human on the planet.

It is no longer a secret that American-style democracy has a few flaws , with extreme dysfunction and rampant corruption among the more visible, though looting the public trough would run a close second. The US also has the government most totally over-run with puppet-masters and controlled by parasitic aliens, having entirely lost control to its various lobbies and with all its elected officials having sworn allegiance to the Jews and Israel rather than to America. The US has the highest number and percentage of Presidents, Secretaries of State and Defense Secretaries who were certifiable as criminally insane and who should have been given lobotomies and committed to institutions for life. Too many names to list here. America is the one nation that has more or less institutionalised government corruption at virtually every level, extending deeply into the judiciary, the regulatory bodies and Congress, as well as local and state governments. The US is well-known for compiling the most fraudulent economic statistics of all developed and undeveloped nations, including the hugely fictitious 'average income' of $45,000, and is one of the most indebted of all countries in the world today. I strongly suggest everyone read this short article on US economic statistics [38] and cease the rubbish about how China's numbers can't be trusted.

Not to be outdone, the US media are in a class by themselves in terms of dishonesty, bias, censorship, and petty opinion-based journalism. American journalists are mostly cut from the same cloth, displaying more or less the same malignancies.

The US has the most complete immunity for elite white-collar crime , prosecuting only its person-companies but never the persons. Americans boast of their transparent and corruption-free financial system, and the US media enjoys trashing China for what appears to be an occasional corporate fraud. But in the long list of the world's largest corporate bankruptcies due to fraud and corruption , all but one occurred in the US. Ron Unz prepared a list that included Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, Global Crossing, Adelphia, MF Global, Lehman, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Washington Mutual, and Wachovia. The US has also been home to the world's largest Ponzi schemes like those of Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford, that resulted in almost $100 billion in public losses. It is the US, not China, that is the home to corporate fraud and deceit, while all but two of the largest corporate frauds in China in recent decades were committed by American firms, not Chinese.

To end our list of areas in which American Exceptionalism truly shines, the US has for years been deservedly voted the world's most hated nation , is widely reviled as the world's greatest bully , and judged by all peoples – including Americans – as the greatest threat to world peace .

Lest anyone think the above list is unfair or exaggerated, you can do a simple test by applying the items to other countries. Germany, for example, or China or Canada. Certainly every nation has some deaths, crime, divorces, military spending and so on, but none of the items in this list can be applied to Germany, China or Canada, nor to any other nation. The US does have the greatest debt, highest military spending, racism, killings, guns, incarceration, torture prisons, initiated wars, and all the rest. The records for inequality, obesity, consumption, personal debt, poverty, cocaine use, murders, all belong to America, with no other nation even in the running. The claim is as demonstrably true for ignorance and hypocrisy as it is for police brutality. As an accusation or an indictment, the list is 100% accurate, a factual description of America as it is today, seen without the propaganda and rose-colored glasses.

A complete list of areas of American Exceptionalism must include one other item:The most traitors . This unfortunate category exists on several levels, the first being the President and White House staff and the US Congress who, as we already know, have pledged allegiance to Israel rather than America. The second is the foreign-owned US FED , criminally pursuing its own agenda while systematically destroying the economic fabric of America. The cadre of elite owners of most large US banks and multinationals fall into this category as well, pursuing their own private advantage while consciously gutting the economy of their own nation.

But there is a third, more pervasive level, a large cadre of educated Americans who are essentially compradors, traitors to most of their values and to their people , embedded in the system and dependent on it, participating fully in the destruction of their own country by acting as lieutenants for the officials of the secret government. These individuals are vital for the success of the transformation of the US to a fascist state, with the elites dependent upon them to execute their policies, yet they also profit from their positions in terms of attractive salaries and protection from much of the law. These are the people who best know of all the crimes and social injustices, being in fact a willing part of their execution process, but least likely to blow the whistle for fear of damaging their careers. It is the middle level of educated executives, lawyers, accountants and managers in government, criminal corporations, Foundations, think tanks, the media , and so many others, who are directly responsible for knowingly inflicting the vast damage on their own people and nation. Like the CEOs of the banks and multinationals, these compradors seek only their own advantage, discarding their human values and blinding themselves to the harm they do.

The following bulleted list is for your ease in reading.


d dan , says: August 22, 2020 at 5:57 pm GMT

But, but, but they are not ordinary Americans' faults. They are China's faults. Russia's faults, Iran's faults, Israel's faults, Venezuela's faults, Cuba's faults, North Korea's faults, advantage-taking allies' faults, greedy trade partners' faults, UN's faults, WHO's faults, WTO's faults, immigrants' faults, Jews' faults, Muslims' faults, Blacks' faults, Browns' faults, Yellows' faults, Reds' faults, communists' faults, socialists' faults, liberals' faults, conservatives' faults, libertarians' faults, racists' faults, capitalists' faults, globalists' faults, 1 percenter's faults, Bill Gates' faults, Soros' faults, Koch's faults, Trump's faults, Obama's faults, Bushes' faults, Clinton' faults, Reagan's faults, politicians' faults, the other parties' (GOP, democrat) faults, red states' faults, blue states' faults, purple states' faults, States governments' faults, Supreme Court's faults, lobbyists' faults, Pentagon's faults, Military-Industry Complex's faults, Federal Reserve's faults, Wall Street's faults, Silicon Valley's faults, 5G's faults, Hollywood's faults, big media' faults, deep states' faults, Covid-19's faults, climate change's faults, California fire's faults,

The number of "someone else faults" – is this another exceptionalism?

obwandiyag , says: August 22, 2020 at 7:14 pm GMT

Look at the comments. These bozos don't care about inequality. They don't care if the rich are eating their lunch. They don't care about the poverty rate, and think that blacks make up all the poor, when their are actually more poor whites than poor blacks. They think the majority of homeless are black when the majority of homeless are white. (The cross-eyed retards.) They don't care about the wars. NIMBY is the farthest they can see. Horizons are foreshortened for them. They actually think that, say, Nigeria or North Korea is more corrupt than the US....

Cyrano , says: August 22, 2020 at 7:37 pm GMT

What makes US truly exceptional are its elites. Obviously this exceptionalism doesn't extend all the way down to more than half of the population – the so called deplorables – who are thankfully replaceable, which is currently under way – just to show them who are really the exceptional ones.

Luckily, no one is even planning to do any replacement of the exceptionals – which would be treason of course, and probably dealt with accordingly, but not to worry, once the 3rd world deplorables fully replace the domestic deplorables, the replacement of the exceptionals WILL occur, despite the beliefs of the degenerates that they possess some unique qualities that are universally admired – especially by their 3rd world protégés.

You see, the 3rd world deplorables tend to be emotional that way, they don't care about the "unique" qualities of the exceptionals and eventually will come to see the different hue of the skin of the exceptionals, exceptionally offensive to their sensibilities and will do away with the degenerates who see themselves as untouchables – but that's probably few decades down the road and the degenerates definitely don't possess such fair-sightedness to see what's coming to them.

Ultrafart the Brave , says: Website August 23, 2020 at 2:41 am GMT
@obwandiyag

All they care about is race race race.

Seems to me that's the rules of the game in the USA, and the lemmings are more than happy to play it.

Horizons are foreshortened for them.

Exactly. These dynamics are being engineered for the desired long-term result, and the compliant lemmings are the means to the end.

Patagonia Man , says: August 23, 2020 at 6:41 am GMT
@Ultrafart the Brave g in the US have you observed the architecture of the public buildings – Federal and State? Even the Congress and seat of the legislative branch of the federal government, is called The Capitol, after Rome. Coincidence?

So when we see a world body, something like the UN Security Council for instance, expanded to include 5 more countries e.g., Germany, India, Brazil, Japan and another(?) that would give us our 10 "crowns" on one of the 7 heads I've designated above (which one of them is the 7th, IOW has primacy, is open to debate).

It's all there hiding in plain sight , for our eyes to see.

Cheers!

Tono Bungay , says: August 23, 2020 at 8:51 am GMT

Okay, okay. When I hit a sentence like this "even the random and unprovoked killing of non-whites is not only permissible but usually meets with approval," I realize I'm dealing with a chucklehead who swallows everything he hears in the news media. The news media go out of their way to highlight all white-on-black crime while they ignore the reverse. On Americans' general ignorance, though, I think he's unfortunately right.

GreatSocialist , says: August 23, 2020 at 9:57 am GMT

This is trolling but sadly, it is also based on the truth.

Nowadays, all the young people outside America no longer want to go to America to work or study, and the older people, who used to admire or look up to America now look at at it with pity or disgust.

It's very sad what America has now become, esp under the relentless idiocy of the corrupt and incompetent Trump regime.

America has now sadly become like the "shit-hole" countries Trump told those 4 young minority congresswomen to go back home to.

onebornfree , says: Website August 23, 2020 at 12:43 pm GMT
@GreatSocialist

"America has now sadly become like the "shit-hole" countries Trump told those 4 young minority congresswomen to go back home to."

I'm no Trump fan, but honestly, I have to give credit where credits due for that particularly on-target comment of his.

peter mcloughlin , says: August 23, 2020 at 2:17 pm GMT

Every empire in history has believed in its own exceptionalism: and history has always, ultimately, proven it wrong. This delusion is, to quote the last of the author's bullet points – the "greatest threat to world peace".
https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/

Anon [103] Disclaimer , says: August 23, 2020 at 3:16 pm GMT

Mr.. Romanoff: "America is one of the two most racist countries in the world, where even the random and unprovoked killing of non-whites is not only permissible but usually meets with approval."

I stopped reading here. Mr. Romanoff isn't as informed or experienced as I'd thought, but this is outright deception, ignorance or both. He hasn't apologized yet, so I'll guess both.

Realist , says: August 23, 2020 at 4:08 pm GMT

America is one of the two most racist countries in the world, where even the random and unprovoked killing of non-whites is not only permissible but usually meets with approval.

Enough of your fucking shit!

Blacks in America are the luckiest blacks on the planet.

Americans are gun-crazy, owning more guns than the entire rest of the world combined, and more guns than all the world's police and military.

That is patently false it is amazing how full of shit you are.

Justsaying , says: August 24, 2020 at 10:12 am GMT

Another fact goes unmentioned: the US has the largest number of unindicted war criminals in the post-WW II world, a fact that allows for an escalation of war crimes committed. For those here who refuse to accept the racist nature of our country, they need only look at the ethnic makeup of the millions of victims of our unprovoked foreign wars of aggression.

Maowasayali , says: August 24, 2020 at 8:25 am GMT
@Larry Romanoff i Restoration was a Jew operation. Japan, like America, are both 100% ZOG.

Emperor Hirohito was only 5 feet 4 inches tall, but they told him he was 10 feet tall and Japan was (((exceptional))).

Hence the exceptional cruelty with which the Master Race Japs dispensed with their enemies during WW2. They groomed him well for that kosher mass slaughter.

https://www.gettyimages.ca/detail/news-photo/hirohito-the-crown-prince-of-japan-inspects-a-guard-of-news-photo/527737469

GreatSocialist , says: August 24, 2020 at 8:28 am GMT

What Mr.Romanoff has written is obviously true, despite its troll-some flavor.

One point that may have been neglected is how the USA is the greatest money launderer in the world.

It does this by printing money out of the thin air(ie: quantitative easing), and thus creating new money to pay for all that stuff that China makes for the US consumer.

This has allowed the USA to live well beyond its means, and have a bloated and overrated military that is used to attack other small countries that cannot effectively defend themselves and thus create great profits for the military-industrial complex, at the expense of millions of foreign lives and only some thousands of US soldiers.

This sort of regime change operation is actually no more than a stock market pump and dump operation, first you demonize some little country with false accusations, sanction them and provoke them into doing some hostile acts, or pretend that they have made some human rights violation like using poison gas or are committing genocide or incarceration of a minority, then bomb the shit out of them, and then rack in all that weapons used and resupply bucks. Maybe after that, install a puppet govt and steal their resources.

Oh Yeah, Big Daddy Warbucks! Go USA!

Also, by having the US dollar as the reserve currency(past cleverness no longer present), all other countries have to keep a supply of dollars for trading and thus the demand for this imaginary currency and also demand for US Treasuries. Thus countries buy US debt, further funding the USA's bloated military and overspending.

Everybody knows the USA will never pay back that debt, and also the debt will never go down. It will just go up and up until nobody wants to use the US dollar or hold US debt and then the US dollar will crash.

This is the way that the shit-faced USA rapes the world financially, and everybody knows this.

The USA was founded on the genocide of the Red Indians and the stealing of their land. The USA made 200 treaties with the Red Indians and broke every one.

After that, the USA grew fat on the slave labor of innocent Africans, raping their women and "going black" in reverse.

But Trump is even better, with his family descending from primitive savages in the black forest of Germany. Sometimes they caught the wild boars there and reamed them good, sometimes the wild boars caught THEM and reamed them good.

In any case, Trump's grand-daddy fled conscription and came to the USA as a lice-ridden and filthy immigrant, but made good selling liquor and supplying prostitutes to the miners. A pimp.

And Trump's daddy was a KKK member, arrested at a KKK rally after being too slow to run away from the police, and then became a front-man for Nazi business interests in the USA before WW2.

From Drumpf to Trump, but in the end, no change to the clown-like shit-show called the Trump drama series.

Tommy Thompson , says: August 24, 2020 at 9:00 am GMT

Wow. a very precise shot at America's most underlying problem:

These individuals are vital for the success of the transformation of the US to a fascist state, with the elites dependent upon them to execute their policies, yet they also profit from their positions in terms of attractive salaries and protection from much of the law . These are the people who best know of all the crimes and social injustices, being in fact a willing part of their execution process, but least likely to blow the whistle for fear of damaging their careers. It is the middle level of educated executives, lawyers, accountants and managers in government, criminal corporations, Foundations, think tanks, the media, and so many others, who are directly responsible for knowingly inflicting the vast damage on their own people and nation

A very illuminating description of modern day America, no punches pulled by Larry Romanoff.

upro , says: August 24, 2020 at 1:11 pm GMT

Larry is a classic white uncle type. The Japanese rightwing have their own "white guy who is on our side" who spouts their beliefs in english about how the Rape of Nanking never happened, Japan didn't start the war, Tojo dindu nuffin and they love him for it. Larry is the Chinese version. Larry's worldview = China never did anything wrong in its entire history. Tienamen was a myth, Great Leap Foward famine was a myth, forced abortions due to One Child Policy is a myth, China's neighbours hating China's guts is a myth, America bad, America bad, America bad.

Can you name even one negative thing about China's government?

Mefobills , says: August 24, 2020 at 1:15 pm GMT
@Tom Welsh "Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem -- neat, plausible, and wrong".

You will have to explain why America prior to 1965 immigration act, was a scientific and intellectual powerhouse, without peer in the world.

Whites were 89% of the population of the U.S. in 1965, and the amount of northeast asians, and sub-continent Asians was statistically insignificant (1 percent or less). This white co-hort of 89% had the additional drag of a black population that is not known for its engineering and technical prowess.

Tommy Thompson , says: August 24, 2020 at 1:25 pm GMT

This is a fast but excellent piece in placing a mirror on America in the 21st Century. I for one dont understand why there are so many negative replies to LR's conclusions. There are obviously many so called White Nationalists or Patriots (both real and fake) venting rage here, that still believe they are "Exceptional" above the rest of the non-Anglo Saxon world, but as LR says the exceptionalism might be more on the negative side these days. The critics need to grow up and take responsibility for the mess the US is now in, in order to fix things, if that is their real goal.

I find his bullet list of conclusions to be basically in line, but of course there surely exists a similar bullet list of positive achievements to the US experiment as well, but that was obviously not the thrust of this article. As should be well understood, self aggrandizement does not fix anything.

What all Americans should agree on is the US national experiment is being sunk maybe even per plan, from certain elements of the controlling leadership, but not necessarily by us "bottom feeders" as the moneyed elite like to call the rest of us these days.

The cries of outrage and venom being spewed at LR would be better placed into how to fix things in the USA and how the population can come together to put America back on a sane and positive coarse that serves the entire populace, not those who just consider them Chosen of some sort. What we have had the last 40 years, is surely a divide and conquer mission by the two parties.

For me the LR bullet list is a fairly accurate of national examples that demonstrate a societal and governance destruction. My exceptions are :

The most strident nationalism of all nations
Highest level of racism and race-related violence

Other countries can be exemplified here of potentially taking the lead, one being our Most Favored
State, which is a large part of our national problem, suckering our leadership at every turn, and plundering our wealth and ethos.

Realist , says: August 24, 2020 at 2:09 pm GMT
@Tom Welsh

Whooops! And there goes a large percentage of the USA's scientists, engineers, doctors and other highly intelligent professionals.

This country did fine until we started immigration from non white countries this country was built by white Europeans. Your statement is ridiculous.

sonofman , says: August 24, 2020 at 2:56 pm GMT

This should be the title and subtitle of this article:

The Destruction of American Exceptionalism

The consequences of the decisions and policies of selfish, corrupt, traitorous and dishonorable politicians who are the puppets of the international corporate and finance elite

JohnF , says: August 24, 2020 at 3:12 pm GMT

Probably a lot here is true, but let me play Alexander the Great cutting the Gordian Knot with a very simple question: if America is the worst, then why do we have so much immigration?

Half-Jap , says: August 24, 2020 at 3:30 pm GMT
@JohnF

The USA is the best of the worst, and has maybe the worst handle on influx of the miserables.
Compared to Japan, the US cities are almost universally shitholes, or on the way there, where immigrants seem to be draw, though the US plantations can always use their labor.
It's always been a neoliberal project to open borders to destroy the citizen worker who had some rights.

Half-Jap , says: August 24, 2020 at 3:37 pm GMT
@Larry Romanoff

Wherever there is benefit from lies, States lie. UK re Hitler, OZ re Taz, or even China re Japan, US re China today, etc.
My appreciation of Mao was enhanced from facts, while a lot is mythology. Humans aren't perfect, and act under circumstance for the best.
My emperor should offer a post-humous medal to Sun Yatsen, his supporters, and Mao and his collaborators.
Then we should figure out outstanding issues on a non-western idea of territoriality.

[Aug 24, 2020] The country is already a soft military dictatorship, in my opinion, because of all the wars and belligerence plus the undeniable fact that DOD and HUD have stolen $21 Trillion

Aug 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

RoatanBill , says: August 23, 2020 at 8:25 pm GMT

@HarvardSqEddy pinion, because of all the wars and belligerence plus the undeniable fact that DOD and HUD have stolen $21 Trillion ( https://missingmoney.solari.com/ ) in recent decades and there's no recognition of this fact on the evening news and there are no congressional hearings to find out where that currency went. That tells me the figureheads in the visible gov't are just actors and they aren't interested because they were told to ignore it.

What comes out the other end, according to what they want, is a much lower standard of living for the masses, a much reduced population and much more corporate/fascist control. Think North Korea.

[Aug 19, 2020] The Anger Campaign Against China by Larry Romanoff

Aug 19, 2020 | www.unz.com

If 'liberal' dogs can't bark at Jews and Deep State, they bark at Russia.

The Origins of Mass Manipulation of the Public Mind

Many years ago, the American political commentator Walter Lippmann realised that political ideology could be completely fabricated, using the media to control both presentation and conceptualisation, not only to create deeply-ingrained false beliefs in a population, but also to entirely erase undesirable political ideas from the public mind. This was the beginning of not only the American hysteria for freedom, democracy and patriotism, but of all manufactured political opinion, a process that has been operative ever since. Lippmann created these theories of mass persuasion of the public, using totally fabricated "facts" deeply insinuated into the minds of a gullible public, but there is much more to this story. An Austrian Jew named Edward Louis Bernays who was the nephew of Sigmund Freud, was one of Lippmann's most precocious students and it was he who put Lippmann's theories into practice. Bernays is widely known in America as the father of Public Relations, but he would be much more accurately described as the father of American war marketing as well as the father of mass manipulation of the public mind.

Bernays claimed "If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind" it will be possible "to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it". He called this scientific technique of opinion-molding the 'engineering of consent', and to accomplish it he merged theories of crowd psychology with the psychoanalytical ideas of his uncle Sigmund Freud. [10] [11] Bernays regarded society as irrational and dangerous, with a "herd instinct", and that if the multi-party electoral system (which evidence indicates was created by a group of European elites as a population control mechanism) were to survive and continue to serve those elites, massive manipulation of the public mind was necessary. These elites, "invisible people", would have, through their influence on government and their control of the media, a monopoly on the power to shape thoughts, values, and responses of the citizenry. His conviction was that this group should flood the public with misinformation and emotionally-loaded propaganda to "engineer" the acquiescence of the masses and thereby rule over them. According to Bernays, this manufactured consent of the masses, creating conformity of opinion molded by the tool of false propaganda, would be vital for the survival of "democracy". Bernays wrote:

"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. People are governed, their minds molded, their tastes formed, their ideas suggested, largely by men they have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner . In almost every act of our daily lives we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind." [12]

In his main work titled 'Propaganda', [13] which he wrote in 1928, Bernays argued that the manipulation of public opinion was a necessary part of democracy because individuals were inherently dangerous (to the control and looting of the elites) but could be harnessed and channeled by these same elites for their economic benefit. He clearly believed that virtually total control of a population was possible, and perhaps easy to accomplish. He wrote further that:

"No serious sociologist any longer believes that the voice of the people expresses any wise idea. The voice of the people expresses the mind of the people, and that mind is made up for it by those persons who understand the manipulation of public opinion. It is composed of inherited prejudices and symbols and clichés and verbal formulas supplied to them by the leaders. Fortunately, the politician is able, by the instrument of propaganda, to mold and form the will of the people. So vast are the numbers of minds which can be regimented, and so tenacious are they when regimented, that [they produce] an irresistible pressure before which legislators, editors, and teachers are helpless. "

And it wasn't only the public masses that were 'inherently dangerous', but a nation's leaders fit this description as well, therefore also requiring manipulation and control. Bernays realised that if you can influence the leaders of a nation, either with or without their conscious cooperation, you can control the government and the country, and that is precisely where he set his sights. Bernays again:

"In some departments of our daily life, in which we imagine ourselves free agents, we are ruled by dictators exercising great power. There are invisible rulers who control the destinies of millions. It is not generally realized to what extent the words and actions of our most influential public men are dictated by shrewd persons operating behind the scenes. Nor, what is still more important, the extent to which our thoughts and habits are modified by authorities. The invisible government tends to be concentrated in the hands of the few because of the expense of manipulating the social machinery which controls the opinions and habits of the masses."

And in this case, the "few" are the wealthy industrial elites, their even wealthier banker friends, and their brethren who control the media, publishing and entertainment industries.

Until the First World War, these theories of creating an entirely false public opinion based on misinformation, then manipulating this for population control, were still only theories, but the astounding success of propaganda by Bernays and his group during the war laid bare the possibilities of perpetually controlling the public mind on all matters. The "shrewd" designers of Bernays' "invisible government" developed a standard technique for what was essentially propaganda and mind control, or at least opinion control, and infiltrated it throughout the US government, its departments and agencies, and its leaders and politicians. Coincident with this, they practiced infecting the leaders of every identifiable group – fraternal, religious, commercial, patriotic, social – and encouraging these men to likewise infect their supporters.

Many have noted the black and white mentality that pervades America. Much of the blame must be laid on Bernays' propaganda methods. Bernays himself asserted that propaganda could produce rapid and strong emotional responses in the public, but that the range of these responses was limited because the emotional loading inherent in his propaganda would create a kind of binary mentality, eventually forcing the population into a programmed black and white world – which is precisely what we see in the US today. This isn't difficult to understand. When Bernays flooded the public with fabricated tales of Germans shiskababbing babies, the range of potential responses was entirely emotional and would be limited to either abhorrence or perhaps a blocking of the information. In a sense, our emotional switch will be forced into either an 'on' or 'off' position , with no other reasonable choices.

The elite few, as Bernays called them, realised early on the potential for control of governments, and in every subsequent US administration the president and his White House staff, the politicians, the leaders of the military and intelligence agencies, all fell prey to this same disease of shrewd manipulation. Roosevelt's "intense desire for war" in 1939 [14] [15] [16] was the result of this same infection process and, once infected, he of course approved of the infection of the entire American population. Walter Lippmann and Edward Bernays succeeded beyond their wildest expectations.

Bernays – Marketing War

In the discovery of propaganda as a tool of public mind control and in its use for war marketing, it is worthwhile to take a quick look at the historical background of Bernays' war effort. At the time, the European Zionists had made an agreement with England to bring the US into the war against Germany, on the side of England, a favor for which England would grant them the possession of Palestine as a location for a new homeland. [19] Palestine did not 'belong' to England, it was not England's to give, and England had no legal or moral right to make such an agreement, but it was made nevertheless.

US President Wilson was desperate to fulfill his obligations to his handlers by putting the US into the First World War as they wished, but the American population had no interest in the European war and public sentiment was entirely against participating. To facilitate the desired result, Wilson created the Committee on Public Information (The Creel Commission), [20] to propagandise the war by the mass brainwashing of America, but Creel was merely the 'front' of a group that consisted of specially hand-picked men from the media, advertising, the movie industry, and academia, as well as specialists in psychology. The two most important members were Walter Lippman, whom Wilson described as "the most brilliant man of his age", and Bernays who was the group's top mind-control expert, both Jews and both aware of the stakes in this game. Bernays planned to combine his uncle Freud's psychiatric insights with mass psychology blended with modern advertising techniques, and apply them to the task of mass mind control. It was Bernays' vast propaganda schemes and his influence in promoting the patently false idea that US entry to the war was primarily aimed at "bringing democracy to all of Europe", that proved so successful in altering public opinion about the war. Thanks to Edward Bernays, American war marketing was born and would never die.

Note to Readers: Some portion of the immediately following content which details the specifics of the propaganda of Lippman and Bernays for World War I is not my own work. It was extracted some years ago from a longer document for which I cannot now locate the original source. If a reader is able to identify this source, I would be grateful to receive that information so I can properly credit the author for his extensive research.

"Wilson's creation of the CPI was a turning point in world history, the first truly scientific attempt to form, manipulate and control the perceptions and beliefs of an entire population." With Wilson's authority, these men were given almost unlimited scope to work their magic, and in order to ensure the success of their program and guarantee the eventual possession of Palestine, these men and their committee carried out "a program of psychological warfare against the American people on a scale unprecedented in human history and with a degree of success that most propagandists could only dream about".

Having received permission and broad authority from the US President and the White House to "lead the public mind into war" [21] and, with their success threatened by widespread anti-war sentiment among the public, these men determined to engineer what Lippman called "the manufacture of consent" . The committee assumed the task to "examine the different ways that information flowed to the population and to flood these channels with pro-war material". Their effort was unparalleled in its scale and sophistication, since the Committee had the power not only to officially censor news and withhold information from the public, but to manufacture false news and distribute it nationally through all channels. In a very short time, Lippman and Bernays were well enough organised to begin flooding the US with anti-German propaganda consisting of hate literature, movies, songs, media articles and much more.

... ... ...

Everything we have read above about the marketing of war during preparation for the two World Wars, is from a template created by Lippman and Bernays exclusively to support the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine and to promote the agenda of Zionism. That template has been in constant use by the US government (as the Bankers' Private Army) since the Second World War, 'engineering consent and ignorance' in the American and Western populations to mask almost seven decades of atrocities, demonising innocent countries and peoples in preparation for 60 or 70 politically-inspired color revolutions or 'wars of liberation' fought exclusively for the financial and political benefit of a handful of European bankers using the US military as a private army for this purpose, resulting in the deaths and miseries of hundreds of millions of innocent civilians.

... ... ...

We can easily think of George W. Bush's demonisation of Iraq, the sordid tales of mass slaughters, the gassing of hundreds of thousands and burial in mass graves, the nuclear weapons ready to launch within 15 minutes, the responsibility for 9-11, the babies tossed out of incubators, Saddam using wood shredders to eliminate political opponents and dissidents. We can think of the tales of Libyan Viagra, all proven to have been groundless fabrications – typical atrocity propaganda. Vietnam, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran and dozens of other wars and invasions followed this same template to get the public mind onside for an unjustified war launched only for political and commercial objectives.

Fast Forward to 2020

We are at the same place today, with the same people conducting the same "anger campaign" against China in preparation for World War III. John Pilger agrees with me , evidenced in his recent article "Another Hiroshima is coming – unless we stop it now." [43] And so does Gordon Duff . [44] The signs now are everywhere, and the campaign is successful. It is necessary to point out the need for an 'anger campaign' as opposed to a 'hate campaign'. We are not moved to action from hate, but from anger. I may thoroughly despise you, but that in itself will do nothing. It is only if I am moved to anger that I want to punch your lights out. And this, as Lippman and Bernays so clearly noted, requires emotionally-charged atrocity propaganda of the kind used so well against Germany and being so well used against China today. Since we need atrocity propaganda to start a war, there seems to be no shortage.

... ... ...

Then, Mr. Pompeo tells us, "The truth is that our policies . . . resurrected China's failing economy, only to see Beijing bite the international hands that were feeding it." [55] Further, that (due to COVID-19) China "caused an enormous amount of pain, loss of life," and the "Chinese Communist Party will pay a price". [56] Of course, we all know that "China" stole the COVID-19 virus from a lab in Winnipeg, Canada, then released it onto the world – and Pompeo has proof [57] , and even "A Chinese virologist has proof" that "China" engaged in a massive cover-up while contaminating the world [58] and then "fleeing Hong Kong" because "I know how they treat whistle-blowers." [59] And of course, "China needs to be held accountable for Covid-19's destruction" [60] which is why everyone in the US wants to sue "China". "Australia" demands an international criminal investigation of China's role in COVID-19. [61] What a surprise.

And of course we have an almost unlimited number of serious provocations , from Hong Kong, Tibet, Xinjiang, Taiwan, the South China Seas, to Chinese consulates, media reporters, students, researchers, visa restrictions, spying, Huawei, the trade war, all done in the hope of making the Chinese leaders panic and over-react, the easiest way to justify a new war.

The list could continue for several hundred pages. Never in my life have I seen such a continuous, unabating flood of hate propaganda against one nation, surely equivalent to what was done against Germany as described above to prepare for US entry into the First World War. And it's working, doing what it is intended to do. Canada, Australia, the UK, Germany, India, Brazil, are buying into the war-mongering and turning against China. More will follow. The Global Times reported "Mutual trust between Australia and China at all-time low". [62]

"Boycott China" T-shirts and caps are flooding India, Huawei is being increasingly banned from Western nations, Chinese social media APPs like Tik-Tok are being banned, and Bryan Adams recently slammed all Chinese as "Bat-eating, wet-market-animal-selling, virus-making, greedy bastards". [63] [64] In a recent poll (taken because we need to measure the success of our handiwork in the same way Bernays and the Tavistock Institute did as noted earlier), half of all ethnic Chinese in Canada have been threatened and harassed over COVID-19.

About 45% of Chinese in Canada said they had been " threatened or intimidated in some way", fully 50% said they had recently been insulted in public, 30% said they had experienced . . . "some kind of physical altercation", and 60% said the abuse was so bad "they had to reorganise their daily routine to avoid it". One woman in her 60s said a man told her and her daughter "Every day I pray that you people die". [65]

... ... ...

Several years ago, CNN was sued by one of their news anchors for being ordered to lie in the newscasts. CNN won the case. They did not deny ordering the news anchor to lie. Their defense was based simply on the position that American news media have "no obligation to tell the truth". And RT recently reported that nearly 9 out of 10 Americans see a "medium or high" bias in all media coverage, [65] yet, as we can see, most of those same people, and a very large portion of the population of many nations still succumb to the same hate propaganda.

... ... ...

[Aug 03, 2020] How The Billionaires Control American Elections by Eric Zuesse

Notable quotes:
"... Greenwald went on, after that, to discuss other key appointees by Nancy Pelosi who are almost as important as Adam Smith is, in shaping the Government's military budget. They're all corrupt. ..."
"... Numerous polls (for examples, this and this ) show that American voters, except for the minority of them that are Republican, want "bipartisan" government; but the reality in America is that this country actually already does have that: the U.S. Government is actually bipartisanly corrupt, and bipartisan evil. In fact, it's almost unanimous, it is so bipartisan, in reality. ..."
"... That's the way America's Government actually functions, especially in the congressional votes that the 'news'-media don't publicize. However, since it lies so much, and its media (controlled also by its billionaires) do likewise, and since they cover-up instead of expose the deepest rot, the public don't even know this. They don't know the reality. They don't know how corrupt and evil their Government actually is. They just vote and pay taxes. That's the extent to which they actually 'participate' in 'their' Government. They tragically don't know the reality. It's hidden from them. It is censored-out, by the editors, producers, and other management, of the billionaires' 'news'-media. These are the truths that can't pass through those executives' filters. These are the truths that get filtered-out, instead of reported. No democracy can function this way -- and, of course, none does. ..."
"... The very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society , and we are as a people, inherently and historically, opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings . ..."
"... But we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding it's fear of influence, on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections , on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific, and political operations. It's preparations are concealed, not published. It's mistakes are buried, not headlined. It's dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned. No rumor is printed. No secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War in short with a wartime discipline, no democracy would ever hope or wish to match. ..."
Aug 03, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

How The Billionaires Control American Elections


by Tyler Durden Sun, 08/02/2020 - 23:40 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The great investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald gave an hour-long lecture on how America's billionaires control the U.S. Government, and here is an edited summary of its opening twenty minutes, with key quotations and assertions from its opening -- and then its broader context will be discussed briefly:

"How Congress Maintains Endless War – System Update with Glenn Greenwald" - The Intercept, 9 July 2020

https://www.youtube.com/embed/ejqYrzEX14E

2:45 : There is "this huge cleavage between how members of Congress present themselves, their imagery and rhetoric and branding, what they present to the voters, on the one hand, and the reality of what they do in the bowels of Congress and the underbelly of Congressional proceedings, on the other. Most of the constituents back in their home districts have no idea what it is that the people they've voted for have been doing, and this gap between belief and reality is enormous."

Four crucial military-budget amendments were debated in the House just now, as follows:

  1. to block Trump from withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.

  2. to block Trump from withdrawing 10,000 troops from Germany

  3. to limit U.S. assistance to the Sauds' bombing of Yemen

  4. to require Trump to explain why he wants to withdraw from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty

On all four issues, the pro-imperialist position prevailed in nearly unanimous votes - overwhelming in both Parties. Dick Cheney's daughter, Republican Liz Cheney, dominated the debates, though the House of Representatives is now led by Democrats, not Republicans.

Greenwald (citing other investigators) documents that the U.S. news-media are in the business of deceiving the voters to believe that there are fundamental differences between the Parties. "The extent to which they clash is wildly exaggerated" by the press (in order to pump up the percentages of Americans who vote, so as to maintain, both domestically and internationally, the lie that America is a democracy -- actually represents the interests of the voters).

16:00 : The Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee -- which writes the nearly $750B annual Pentagon budget -- is the veteran (23 years) House Democrat Adam Smith of Boeing's Washington State.

"The majority of his district are people of color." He's "clearly a pro-war hawk" a consistent neoconservative, voted to invade Iraq and all the rest.

"This is whom Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats have chosen to head the House Armed Services Committee -- someone with this record."

He is "the single most influential member of Congress when it comes to shaping military spending."

He was primaried by a progressive Democrat, and the "defense industry opened up their coffers" and enabled Adam Smith to defeat the challenger.

That's the opening.

Greenwald went on, after that, to discuss other key appointees by Nancy Pelosi who are almost as important as Adam Smith is, in shaping the Government's military budget. They're all corrupt. And then he went, at further length, to describe the methods of deceiving the voters, such as how these very same Democrats who are actually agents of the billionaires who own the 'defense' contractors and the 'news' media etc., campaign for Democrats' votes by emphasizing how evil the Republican Party is on the issues that Democratic Party voters care far more about than they do about America's destructions of Iraq and Syria and Libya and Honduras and Ukraine, and imposing crushing economic blockades (sanctions) against the residents in Iran, Venezuela and many other lands. Democratic Party voters care lots about the injustices and the sufferings of American Blacks and other minorities, and of poor American women, etc., but are satisfied to vote for Senators and Representatives who actually represent 'defense' contractors and other profoundly corrupt corporations, instead of represent their own voters. This is how the most corrupt people in politics become re-elected, time and again -- by deceived voters. And -- as those nearly unanimous committee votes display -- almost every member of the U.S. Congress is profoundly corrupt.

Furthermore: Adam Smith's opponent in the 2018 Democratic Party primary was Sarah Smith (no relation) and she tried to argue against Adam Smith's neoconservative voting-record, but the press-coverage she received in her congressional district ignored that, in order to keep those voters in the dark about the key reality. Whereas Sarah Smith received some coverage from Greenwald and other reporters at The Intercept who mentioned that "Sarah Smith mounted her challenge largely in opposition to what she cast as his hawkish foreign policy approach," and that she "routinely brought up his hawkish foreign policy views and campaign donations from defense contractors as central issues in the campaign," only very few of the voters in that district followed such national news-media, far less knew that Adam Smith was in the pocket of 'defense' billionaires. And, so, the Pentagon's big weapons-making firms defeated a progressive who would, if elected, have helped to re-orient federal spending away from selling bombs to be used by the Sauds to destroy Yemen, and instead toward providing better education and employment-prospects to Black, brown and other people, and to the poor, and everybody, in that congressional district, and all others. Moreover, since Adam Smith had a fairly good voting-record on the types of issues that Blacks and other minorities consider more important and more relevant than such things as his having voted for Bush to invade Iraq, Sarah Smith really had no other practical option than to criticize him regarding his hawkish voting-record, which that district's voters barely even cared about. The billionaires actually had Sarah Smith trapped (just like, on a national level, they had Bernie Sanders trapped).

Of course, Greenwald's audience is clearly Democratic Party voters, in order to inform them of how deceitful their Party is. However, the Republican Party operates in exactly the same way, though using different deceptions, because Republican Party voters have very different priorities than Democratic Party voters do, and so they ignore other types of deceptions and atrocities.

Numerous polls (for examples, this and this ) show that American voters, except for the minority of them that are Republican, want "bipartisan" government; but the reality in America is that this country actually already does have that: the U.S. Government is actually bipartisanly corrupt, and bipartisan evil. In fact, it's almost unanimous, it is so bipartisan, in reality.

That's the way America's Government actually functions, especially in the congressional votes that the 'news'-media don't publicize. However, since it lies so much, and its media (controlled also by its billionaires) do likewise, and since they cover-up instead of expose the deepest rot, the public don't even know this. They don't know the reality. They don't know how corrupt and evil their Government actually is. They just vote and pay taxes. That's the extent to which they actually 'participate' in 'their' Government. They tragically don't know the reality. It's hidden from them. It is censored-out, by the editors, producers, and other management, of the billionaires' 'news'-media. These are the truths that can't pass through those executives' filters. These are the truths that get filtered-out, instead of reported. No democracy can function this way -- and, of course, none does.

Patmos , 8 hours ago

Eisenhower originally called it the Military Industrial Congressional Complex.

Was probably still when Congress maybe had a few slivers of integrity though.

As McCain's wife said, they all knew about Epstein.

Alice-the-dog , 2 hours ago

And now we suffer the Medical Industrial Complex on top of it.

Question_Mark , 1 hour ago

Klaus Schwab, UN/World Economic Forum - power plant "cyberattack" (advance video to 6:42 to skip intro):
please watch video at least from minute 6:42 at least for a few minutes to get context, consider its contents, and comment:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOvz1Flfrfw


source for UN/WEF partnership:
https://www.weforum.org/press/2019/06/world-economic-forum-and-un-sign-strategic-partnership-framework/

EngageTheRage , 9 hours ago

How jewish billionaires control America.

NewDarwin , 9 hours ago

Vot3 for trump but don't waste too much energy on the elections. All Trump can do is buy us time.

Their plan has been in the works for over a century.

1) financial collapse with central banking.

2) social collapse with cultural marxism

3) government collapse with corrupt pedophile politicians.

EndOfDayExit , 7 hours ago

"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." -Thomas Jefferson

Humans are just not wired for eternal vigilance. Sheeple want to graze and don't want to think.

JGResearch , 8 hours ago

Money is just the tool, it goes much deeper:

The Truth, when you finally chase it down, is almost always far
worse than your darkest visions and fears.'

– Hunter S. Thompson, Kingdom of Fear
'The world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes' *

- Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

This information helps understand the shift to the bias we are witnessing at The PBS Newshour and the MSM. PBS has always taken their marching orders from the Council on Foreign Relations.

Some of the mebers of the CFR:

Joe Biden (47th Vice President of the United States )

Judy Woodruff, and Jim Lehrer (journalist, former anchor for PBS ) is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. John McCain (United States Republican Senator from Arizona , 2008 Republican Party nominee for the Presidency), William F. Buckley, Jr (commentator, publisher, founder of the National Review ), Jeffery E Epstein (financier)

https://www.cfr.org/membership/roster

The Council on Foreign Relations has historical control both the Democratic establishment and the Republican establishment until President Trump came along.

Until then they did not care who won the presidency because they control both parties at the top.

FYI: Hardly one person in 1000 ever heard of the Council on Foreign Relations ( CFR ). Until Trump both Republicans and Democrats control by the Eastern Establishment.There operational front was the Council on Foreign Relations. Historically they did not care who one the election since they controlled both parties from the top.

The CFR has only 3000 members yet they control over three-quarters of the nation's wealth. The CFR runs the State Department and the CIA. The CFR has placed 100 CFR members in every Presidential Administration and cabinet since Woodrow Wilson. They work together to misinform the President to act in the best interest of the CFR not the best interest of the American People.

At least five Presidents (Eisenhower, Ford, Carter, Bush, and Clinton) have been members of the CFR. The CFR has packed every Supreme court with CFR insiders.

Three CFR members (Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Sandra Day O'Connor) sit on the supreme court. The CFR's British Counterpart is the Royal Institute of International Affairs. The members of these groups profit by creating tension and hate. Their targets include British and American citizens.

The CFR/RIIA method of operation is simple -- they control public opinion. They keep the identity of their group secret. They learn the likes and dislikes of influential people. They surround and manipulate them into acting in the best interest of the CFR/RIIA.

KuriousKat , 8 hours ago

there are 550 of them in the US..just boggles the mind they have us at each others throat instead of theirs.

jmNZ , 3 hours ago

This is why America's only hope is to vote for Ron Paul.

x_Maurizio , 2 hours ago

Let me understand how a system, which is already proven being disfunctional, should suddenly produce a positive result. That's craziness: to repeate the same action, with the conviction it will give a different result.

If you would say: "The only hope is NOT TO TAKE PART TO THE FARCE" (so not to vote) I'd understand.
But vot for that, instead of this.... what didn't you understand?

Voice-of-Reason , 6 hours ago

The very fact that we have billionaires who amass so much wealth that they can own our Republic is the problem.

Eastern Whale , 8 hours ago

all the names mentioned in this article is rotten to the core

MartinG , 5 hours ago

Tell me again how democracy is the greatest form of government. What other profession lets clueless idiots decide who runs the business.

Xena fobe , 4 hours ago

It isn't the fault of democracy. It's more the fault of voters.

quikwit , 3 hours ago

I'd pick the "clueless idiots" over an iron-fisted evil genius every time.

_triplesix_ , 8 hours ago

Am I the only one who noticed that Eric Zuesse capitalized the word "black" every time he used it?

F**k you, Eric, you Marxist trash.

BTCtroll , 7 hours ago

Confirmed. Blacks are apparently a proper noun despite being referred to as simply a color. In reality, no one cares. Ask anyone, they don't care expert black lies matter.

freedommusic , 4 hours ago

The very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society , and we are as a people, inherently and historically, opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings .

And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment.

Our way of life is under attack.

But we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding it's fear of influence, on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections , on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific, and political operations. It's preparations are concealed, not published. It's mistakes are buried, not headlined. It's dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned. No rumor is printed. No secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War in short with a wartime discipline, no democracy would ever hope or wish to match.

...I am asking the members of the newspaper profession and the industry in this country to re-examine their own responsibilities, to consider the degree and the nature of the present danger, and to heed the duty of self restraint, which that danger imposes upon us all.

It is the unprecedented nature of this challenge that also gives rise to your second obligation and obligation which I share, and that is our obligation to inform and alert the American people, to make certain that they possess all the facts that they need and understand them as well, the perils, the prospects, the purposes of our program, and the choices that we face.

I am not asking your newspapers to support an administration, but I am asking your help in the tremendous task of informing and alerting the American people, for I have complete confidence in the response and dedication of our citizens, whenever they are fully informed.

... that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment. The only business in America specifically protected by the constitution, not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply give the public what it wants, but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises, and our choices, to lead, mold, educate, and sometimes even anger, public opinion.

-- JFK

[Aug 03, 2020] American exceptionalism fans imperial designs. We must reject it. by CLAES G. RYN

Notable quotes:
"... A striking example of philosophical messiness and confusion is that the conservative movement even incorporated clearly anti-conservative ideas, specifically, the anti-historicism advanced by Leo Strauss and his followers. Strauss championed what he called "natural right," which he saw as sharply opposed to tradition. He called the latter "the ancestral" or "convention." To look to them for guidance was to be guilty of the great offense of "historicism," by which he meant moral relativism or nihilism. History, Strauss insisted, is irrelevant to understanding what is right. Only ahistorical, purely abstract reason is normative. ..."
"... The Jaffaite notion that America rejected the past and was founded on revolutionary, abstract, universal ideas contributed to what this writer has termed "the new Jacobinism." According to this ideology, America is "exceptional" by virtue of its founding principles. Since these principles belong to all humanity, America must help remake societies around the world. "Moral clarity" demands uncompromising adherence to the principles. The forces of good must defeat the forces of evil. Inherently monopolistic and imperial, American principles justify foreign policy hawkishness and interventionism. ..."
"... These contrasting views of America entail wholly different nationalisms. The moralistic universalism of American exceptionalism, with its demand that all respect its dictates runs counter to the American constitutional spirit of compromise, deliberation, and respect for minorities. Exceptionalism does not defuse or restrain the will to power, but feeds it, justifying arrogance, assertiveness, and even belligerence. ..."
"... In a speech in the spring of 2019, Pompeo declared that America is "exceptional." America is, he said, "a place and history apart from normal human experience." It has a mission to oppose evil in the world. America is entitled to "respect." It should dictate terms to "rogue" powers like Iran and confront countries like China and Russia that are "intent on eroding American power." This speech was given and loudly cheered at the 40th anniversary gala of the Claremont Institute in California, whose intellectual founder was -- Harry Jaffa. ..."
"... American exceptionalism is in important ways the opposite of a conservatism or a nationalism that defends the moral and cultural heritage that generated American constitutionalism. Exceptionalism fans imperial designs. ..."
"... the phony opposition between nationalism and American exceptionalism on the one hand, and globalism. Any nationalism is only one step removed from globalism, but the nationalism of small countries is usually fairly harmless because the countries themselves are weak. But American nationalism and exceptionalism is in practice indistinguishable from globalism. It simply makes explicit from which location the globe will be ruled. ..."
"... The original idea behind American Exceptionalism is that we are the "Shining City on the Hill". In other words, we were a good example to others. There was nothing in there about the residents of that Shining City going out and invading its neighbors to force them to follow its good example. ..."
"... Sociopaths respect no limits on their power. ..."
"... Actually, according to Kurt Vonnegut, it was neither nationalism nor liberty - but piracy! One group of pirates trying to break away from another. Then again, perhaps that is what you mean by the heralded "liberty"? ..."
Jul 25, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
A child waves the United States flag from the crown of Liberty Enlightening the World, less formally known as The Statue of Liberty, on Liberty Island in New York Harbor. | Detail of: 'Statue of Liberty' by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi.

Reactions to globalization, the Trump presidency, and the coronavirus pandemic have turned discussions of American conservatism increasingly into discussions of "nationalism." Regrettably, terminological confusion is rampant. Both "conservatism" and "nationalism" are words of many and even contradictory meanings.

The strengths of post-World War II American intellectual conservatism have been widely heralded. As for its weaknesses, one trait stands out that has greatly impeded intellectual stringency: a deep-seated impatience with the supposedly "finer points" of philosophy. Making do with loosely defined terms has made conservatism susceptible to intellectual flabbiness, contradiction, and manipulation.

This deficiency is connected to a virtual obsession with electoral politics. William F. Buckley's path-breaking National Review was an intellectual magazine, but its primary purpose was to prepare the ground for political victories, most of all for capturing the presidency. The desire to forge a political alliance among diverse groups pushed deep intellectual fissures into the background. Having a rather narrowly political understanding of what shapes the future, most conservatives thought that the election and presidency of Ronald Reagan signified the "triumph" of conservatism; but the triumph was hollow. The reason is that in the long run politicians have less power than those who shape our view of reality, our innermost hopes and fears, and our deeper sensibilities. A crucial role is here played by "the culture" -- universities, schools, churches, the arts, media, book publishing, advertising, Hollywood, and the rest of the entertainment industry -- which is why America kept moving leftward.

For post-war so-called "movement" conservatives, conservatism meant chiefly limited government, a free market, anti-communism, and a strong defense. These tenets were all focused on politics, and vastly different motives hid behind each of them. Why were these tenets called "conservatism"? Rather than point to a few policy preferences, should that term not refer to a general attitude to life, a wish to conserve something, the best of a heritage? One thinks of the moral and cultural sources of American liberty and constitutionalism. But, outside of ceremonial occasions, most movement conservatives placed their emphasis elsewhere.

A striking example of philosophical messiness and confusion is that the conservative movement even incorporated clearly anti-conservative ideas, specifically, the anti-historicism advanced by Leo Strauss and his followers. Strauss championed what he called "natural right," which he saw as sharply opposed to tradition. He called the latter "the ancestral" or "convention." To look to them for guidance was to be guilty of the great offense of "historicism," by which he meant moral relativism or nihilism. History, Strauss insisted, is irrelevant to understanding what is right. Only ahistorical, purely abstract reason is normative.

Hampered by a lack of philosophical education, many Straussians have been oblivious to the far-reaching and harmful ramifications of this anti-historicism. By blithely combining it with ideas of very different origin, they have concealed, even from themselves, its animosity to tradition.

One of Strauss's most influential disciples, Harry Jaffa, made the radical implications of Straussian anti-historicism explicit. In his view, America's Founders did not build on a heritage. They deliberately turned their backs on the past. Jaffa wrote: "To celebrate the American Founding is to celebrate revolution." America's revolution belonged among the other modern revolutions. It is mild "as compared with subsequent revolutions in France, Russia, China, Cuba, or elsewhere," he wrote, but "it nonetheless embodied the greatest attempt at innovation that human history had recorded." The U.S. Constitution did not grow out of the achievements of ancestors. On the contrary, radical innovators gave America a fresh start. What is distinctive and noble about America is that, in the name of ahistorical, abstract, universal principles, it broke with the past.

This view flies in the face of overwhelming historical evidence. The reason the Founders were upset with the British government is that it was acting in a radical, arbitrary manner that violated the old British constitution. John Adams spoke of "grievous innovation." John Dickinson protested "dreadful novelty." What the colonists wanted, Adams wrote, was "nothing new," but respect for traditional rights and the common law. The Constitution of the Framers reaffirmed and creatively developed an ancient heritage.

The Jaffaite notion that America rejected the past and was founded on revolutionary, abstract, universal ideas contributed to what this writer has termed "the new Jacobinism." According to this ideology, America is "exceptional" by virtue of its founding principles. Since these principles belong to all humanity, America must help remake societies around the world. "Moral clarity" demands uncompromising adherence to the principles. The forces of good must defeat the forces of evil. Inherently monopolistic and imperial, American principles justify foreign policy hawkishness and interventionism.

Compare this notion of America to what is implied in Benjamin Franklin's famous phrase about what the Constitutional Convention had produced -- "a republic, if you can keep it." To sustain the Constitution, Americans would have to cultivate the moral and cultural traits that had given rise to it in the first place. To be an American is to defend an historically evolved inheritance, to live up to what may be called the "constitutional personality." Only such people are capable of the kind of conduct that the Constitution values and requires. Americans must, first of all, be able to control the will to power, beginning with self. They must respect the law, rise above the passions of the moment, take the long view, deliberate, compromise, and respect minorities. Whether applied to domestic or foreign affairs, the temperament of American constitutionalism is modesty and restraint. There is no place for unilateral dictates.

These contrasting views of America entail wholly different nationalisms. The moralistic universalism of American exceptionalism, with its demand that all respect its dictates runs counter to the American constitutional spirit of compromise, deliberation, and respect for minorities. Exceptionalism does not defuse or restrain the will to power, but feeds it, justifying arrogance, assertiveness, and even belligerence.

During the presidency of Donald Trump many proponents of American exceptionalism who want preferment have recast their anti-historical universalism as "nationalism," showing that the term can mean almost anything. It is now "nationalist" to demand that American principles be everywhere respected. For example, Mike Pompeo, a person of strong appetites and great ambition, has put this belief behind his campaign of assertiveness and "maximum pressure."

In a speech in the spring of 2019, Pompeo declared that America is "exceptional." America is, he said, "a place and history apart from normal human experience." It has a mission to oppose evil in the world. America is entitled to "respect." It should dictate terms to "rogue" powers like Iran and confront countries like China and Russia that are "intent on eroding American power." This speech was given and loudly cheered at the 40th anniversary gala of the Claremont Institute in California, whose intellectual founder was -- Harry Jaffa.

What may seem to political practitioners and political intellectuals to be hair-splitting philosophical distinctions can, on the contrary, have enormous practical significance. American exceptionalism is in important ways the opposite of a conservatism or a nationalism that defends the moral and cultural heritage that generated American constitutionalism. Exceptionalism fans imperial designs. The culture of constitutionalism opposes them.

Claes G. Ryn is professor of politics and founding director of the new Center for the Study of Statesmanship at The Catholic University of America. His many books include America the Virtuous and A Common Human Ground , now in a new paperback edition.

Related: Introducing the TAC Symposium: What Is American Conservatism?

See all the articles published in the symposium, here.

FND10 days ago

Leo Strauss is the father of neoconservatism.

bumbershoot10 days ago
Americans must, first of all, be able to control the will to power, beginning with self. They must respect the law, rise above the passions of the moment, take the long view, deliberate, compromise, and respect minorities.

All lovely ideas. Too bad our "conservative" president is capable of none of these.

kirthigdon10 days ago

Great essay by Professor Ryn in exposing again, as he has done so often before, the phony opposition between nationalism and American exceptionalism on the one hand, and globalism. Any nationalism is only one step removed from globalism, but the nationalism of small countries is usually fairly harmless because the countries themselves are weak. But American nationalism and exceptionalism is in practice indistinguishable from globalism. It simply makes explicit from which location the globe will be ruled.

Feral Finster9 days ago

All true, every word, but the problem with American exceptionalism isn't a matter of semantics or clever arguments but a matter of power.

This is why the definition of exceptionalism keeps shifting, because as a practical matter it means "whatever is in the interests of empire" at this particular moment in this particular case.

TheSnark9 days ago • edited

The original idea behind American Exceptionalism is that we are the "Shining City on the Hill". In other words, we were a good example to others. There was nothing in there about the residents of that Shining City going out and invading its neighbors to force them to follow its good example.

These days we are trying to force others to follow good ideals and high standards that we are ourselves following less and less.

Gaius Gracchus TheSnark9 days ago

Exactly. The author twists words and creates strawmen and red herrings and argues with dead men.

Washington and Hamilton set forth an idea of country separate from all others and different. Yes, America is and was exceptional. Friend to all, ally to none, an example to all the world, based in English heritage and culture. It was founded by conservative revolutionaries, who attempted to claw back freedoms taken away by those in London, who were becoming overlords of an empire. There was "year zero", and early America could draw on all of English history, plus the Enlightenment, the Renaissance, ancient Greece and Rome, as well as religious traditions going back to antiquity.

It was always the Jeffersonian impulse towards revolution that was different. Jefferson loved the Year Zero France. But Jefferson at his core was an idealist.

The problem was that idealists like Jefferson gradually gained power a little over a hundred years ago. Their idealism was used by those who wanted to exploit America's power to further their own goals contrary to the ideals of American exceptionalism and American tradition. Greed and idealism went together and America used the cover of American exceptionalism to create an empire.

As to Buckley, his goal seems more like controlled opposition than anything else. He was a gatekeeper for the powerful, defining acceptable conservatism, keeping conservatism on the plantation. Conservativism Inc continues to try to do so.

Trump is a return to classic American traditionalism and exceptionalism. He is attempting to reshape the world along nationalistic lines, which is why AMLO in Mexico praised him so much. Globalists don't want to lose their power. Oligarchs don't want to give up their exploitation and extraction systems. Pundits don't want to give up their money train and status. Bureaucrats don't want actual democracy.

We will see how it shakes out.

Andrew Gaius Gracchus8 days ago

Not so sure about the traditionalism part, but he at least represents the first real rejection of Wilsonianism in decades.

Disqus10021 L RNY9 days ago

On Wikipedia's list of the 50 cities with the world's highest homicide rates (per 100,000 population), the US has 4, South Africa has 4 and the rest are in Latin America. It hardly makes us the shining city on a hill or exceptional, unless you think a high crime rate is good.

Daniel Baker9 days ago

Mark Twain said, "The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them." Today I would modify Twain a bit; when conservatives adopt some radical idea, the radicals respond by declaring that idea worn out. Exhibit A would be the idea of "American exceptionalism."

The historical fact is that American exceptionalism is a Communist concept, devised by Stalin in 1929 to describe -- and to dismiss -- what his American agents told him about the huge differences between American society and European societies, both of which Soviet-sponsored parties were trying to control. These differences included far lesser class distinctions, greater racial animosities, a labor movement much more concerned with economic bargaining than fielding political candidates, vastly weaker political parties, much more ethnic and religious diversity, and more hostility to centralized government. Today, we would have to add far more imprisonment of criminals, more approval of the death penalty, and a jealous passion for the right to have guns, although those differences weren't nearly as wide in 1929 as now. American exceptionalism exists. You can argue about whether it is good or bad, and certainly some of the differences between America and Europe are better or worse than others, but it's pure pretense to claim that America is an ordinary, unexceptional Western country. And no one on the left made any such pretense, until people on the right started talking about and glorifying (or at least not denigrating) "American exceptionalism," which had previously been solely a term of contempt. The radicals invented the views, then declared them worn out when the conservatives adopted them.

The truth that America is an exceptional country does not, of course, mean that its foreign policy has always been wise, and certainly it does not mean that America's catastrophic blundering in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq were either morally right or good for Americans. It merely means that we can't correct those mistakes by pretending that the country we're trying to rescue is unexceptional, that it is no different from other societies, and thus that foreign policies accepted by European or Asian voters will necessarily be winners here too.

Daniel Baker Guest8 days ago

I don't know why you think any of this is even relevant to my point: that American exceptionalism is real, and that desperately needed foreign policy reforms won't work if we ignore that fact. Worse, the points you raise all distort the real nature of America's differences from other Western countries.

American and European laws on abortion are very little different; in most of Europe, as in America, abortion is legal and accepted, Poland being one of the very few exceptions. We're probably closest to Ireland, where abortion has been recently legalized but remains socially frowned on. Again, whether you or I think that's a good thing or a bad thing doesn't matter; it's simply not one of the major points of difference between America and Europe.

Explaining the difference in imprisonment between Europe and America solely by America's greater black and Hispanic population is wrong in so many ways I hardly know where to begin. First, the difference in imprisonment is very recent, starting in the early 1990s and largely devised by a centrist Democratic US president; America's black and Hispanic population has always been much larger than Europe's, so it can't explain the difference in imprisonment. Second, America imprisons whites as well as blacks much more than Europe does. Third, poor blacks and Hispanics commit crimes at the same rate as poor whites of the same economic status; poor people of whatever race or color choose to commit crimes more often, because they have more incentive to make that choice. The higher black and Hispanic crime rate simply reflects the fact that far more of them are poor. As long ago as the 19th century, the British poor were called by the upper class "the criminal classes," and that reflected the undeniable truth that the British poor, like poor people everywhere, committed more crime than anyone else.

I thank you for the BBC link; I had long suspected that Europe's ban on the death penalty often didn't reflect popular opinion at first, but I didn't have the data proving it. But that doesn't in any way change the fact that considerably more Americans than Europeans support the death penalty, and long have, which is why European elites were able to get away with banning it without losing elections, and American elites have not.

Again, I'm not saying anything about whether any of these differences between America and the rest of the West are good or bad.. My point is that they exist, and it's no good pretending that they don't merely because America's foreign policy isn't working very well.

Scott McLoughlin9 days ago

I'll say it over and over, but GOP is Right Wing Lockean (Maritime Imperialist) "Anything Goes" Liberalism. DNC is Left Wing Lockean (Maritime Imperialist) "Anything Goes" Liberalism. We use these words wrong in our USA. Traditionalist Conservatives have NEVER enjoyed political party representation here. We are to-date completely a-historical and delusionally racist "Novum Organum" conquistadors with English accents. Good News? Better futures lie ahead of us. Start with agrarianism, potable water, and arable land. North America is underpopulated. I worked for State Dept. I witnessed the World Bank's destruction of Ukraine. Ask me a real question. I'll answer honestly. We suffer post-WW2 legacy Daddy and Mommy Warbucks here, writing checks to their own kids. We can, must and will do better. Those without pasts are without futures. To Survive is to Sur Vivre, Live Above. Hold tight. Have faith.

Ray Woodcock9 days ago

There is the wish for what definitions should do in political and religious discussion, and then there is the reality of what they actually do. The wish is that, by using the word "definition," I am referring to something like the definition of a mathematical concept. We can define precisely what addition means. The problem is, we cannot do that with terms like conservatism. Ryn's argument illustrates the failure of that attempt: we have "wholly different nationalisms"; we have something that calls itself conservatism but it's wrong, because Ryn says so.

Definitionism leads to abstruse dispute, as scholars tussle over what is really nationalistic or conservative. The rest of us look on askance. Most people are not interested in a discussion filled with labels, like, "I'm a cisgender vegetarian transsexual white socialistic vegetarian Capricorn with subclinical mental disabilities." For most people, that sort of definition-oriented declaration comes across as hostile to discussion. Like, "I'm here in my castle. I dare you to try to penetrate it." The intrepid soul who attempts to start an actual friendly conversation, in response to that sort of statement, is likely to move away from definitionism. Not "You cannot be white: your skin is brown," but rather, "Really! My sister is a Capricorn!"

Definitionism (in some ways a/k/a labeling) is more likely to destroy dialogue than to create it. "Oh, you're a [fill in the blank]: you can't be good." It is possible to be a Nazi, a Bolshevik, or anything in between -- and still, in various regards, to be smart, friendly, successful, etc. Political dialogue is like dipping a ladle into a soup kettle: you may pull out some beans, some meat, some corn -- but possibly no one knows what else lurks in there. The attempt to define is is not merely a lost cause -- it basically misses the point.

dbriz8 days ago • edited

Ah but the revolution was not based at all on nationalism. It was for liberty. The Articles, as the war, were not based on ideas of nationalism but more libertarian than not. Lest we forget, the convention was called to improve the Articles. That the federalists (nationalists) hijacked the convention required quashing liberty in favor of a cleverly designed campaign masking the future.

Patrick Henry was on to it early:

"When the American spirit was in its youth, the language of America was different: liberty, sir, was then the primary object .But now, sir, the American spirit, assisted by the ropes and chains of consolidation, is about to convert this country into a powerful and mighty empire .Such a government is incompatible with the genius of republicanism. There will be no checks, no real balances, in this government..."

In the end the anti federalists have been proven right.

Feral Finster dbriz8 days ago

Sociopaths respect no limits on their power.

Peekachu dbriz3 days ago

Actually, according to Kurt Vonnegut, it was neither nationalism nor liberty - but piracy! One group of pirates trying to break away from another. Then again, perhaps that is what you mean by the heralded "liberty"?

David Naas4 days ago
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

(John Adams, October 11, 1798.).

Are we still "a moral and religious people"? Well, are we?

Mayhap we are in deep trouble? Well, are we?

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free . . . it expects what never was and never will be"

(Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Colonel Charles Yancey, January 6, 1816.)

No comment.

"I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, that I ought to do. And what I ought to do, By the grace of God, I shall do."

(Edward Everett Hale)

[Jul 27, 2020] Militarism kiiled the remnants of democracy in the USA long ago by William J. Astore

Notable quotes:
"... The reality is that, in the summer of 2020, America faces two deadly viruses. The first is Covid-19. With hard work and some luck, scientists may be able to mass-produce an effective vaccine for it, perhaps by as early as next spring . In the meantime, scientists do have a sense of how to control it, contain it, even neutralize it, as countries from South Korea and New Zealand to Denmark have shown, even if some Americans, encouraged by our president, insist on throwing all caution to the winds in the name of living free. The second virus, however, could prove even more difficult to control, contain, and neutralize: forever war, a pandemic that U.S. military forces, with their global strike missions, continue to spread across the globe. ..."
"... To survive, the human body needs a healthy immune system, so when it goes haywire, becomes wildly inflamed, and ends up attacking and degrading our vital organs, we're in trouble deep. It's a reasonable guess that, in analogous terms, American democracy is already on a ventilator and beginning to feel the effects of multiple organ failure. ..."
"... Unlike a human patient, doctors can't put our democracy into a medically induced coma. But collectively we should be working to suppress our overactive immune system before it kills us. In other words, it's truly time to defund that military machine of ours, as well as the militarized version of the police, and rethink how actual threats can be neutralized without turning every response into an endless war. ..."
Jul 27, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

...as Martin Luther King, Jr., pointed out in 1967 during the Vietnam War, the United States remains the world's greatest purveyor of violence -- and nothing in this century, the one he didn't live to see, has faintly proved him wrong. Considered another way, Washington should be classified as the planet's most committed arsonist, regularly setting or fanning the flames of fires globally from Libya to Iraq, Somalia to Afghanistan, Syria to -- dare I say it -- in some quite imaginable future Iran, even as our leaders invariably boast of having the world's greatest firefighters (also known as the U.S. military ).

Scenarios of perpetual war haunt my thoughts. For a healthy democracy, there should be few things more unthinkable than never-ending conflict, that steady drip-drip of death and destruction that drives militarism , reinforces authoritarianism, and facilitates disaster capitalism . In 1795, James Madison warned Americans that war of that sort would presage the slow death of freedom and representative government. His prediction seems all too relevant in a world in which, year after year, this country continues to engage in needless wars that have nothing to do with national defense.

You Wage War Long, You Wage It Wrong

U.S. helicopters on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Midway (CV-41) during the evacuation of Saigon, April 1975. (DanMS, Wikimedia Commons)

To cite one example of needless war from the last century, consider America's horrendous years of fighting in Vietnam and a critical lesson drawn firsthand from that conflict by reporter Jonathan Schell. "In Vietnam," he noted , "I learned about the capacity of the human mind to build a model of experience that screens out even very dramatic and obvious realities." As a young journalist covering the war, Schell saw that the U.S. was losing, even as its military was destroying startlingly large areas of South Vietnam in the name of saving it from communism. Yet America's leaders, the " best and brightest " of the era, almost to a man refused to see that all of what passed for realism in their world, when it came to that war, was nothing short of a first-class lie.

Why? Because believing is seeing and they desperately wanted to believe that they were the good guys, as well as the most powerful guys on the planet. America was winning, it practically went without saying, because it had to be. They were infected by their own version of an all-American victory culture , blinded by a sense of this country's obvious destiny: to be the most exceptional and exceptionally triumphant nation on this planet.

As it happened, it was far more difficult for grunts on the ground to deny the reality of what was happening -- that they were fighting and dying in a senseless war. As a result, especially after the shock of the enemy's Tet Offensive early in 1968, escalating protests within the military (and among veterans at home) together with massive antiwar demonstrations finally helped put the brakes on that war. Not before, however, more than 58,000 American troops died, along with millions of Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians.

In the end, the war in Indochina was arguably too costly, messy, and futile to continue. But never underestimate the military-industrial complex , especially when it comes to editing or denying reality, while being eternally over-funded for that very reality. It's a trait the complex has shared with politicians of both parties. Don't forget, for instance, the way President Ronald Reagan reedited that disastrous conflict into a " noble cause " in the 1980s. And give him credit! That was no small thing to sell to an American public that had already lived through such a war. By the way, tell me something about that Reaganesque moment doesn't sound vaguely familiar almost four decades later when our very own " wartime president " long ago declared victory in the "war" on Covid-19, even as the death toll from that virus approaches 150,000 in the homeland.

President Donald Trump during briefing on Covid-19 testing capacity May 11, 2020. (White House, Shealah Craighead)

In the meantime, the military-industrial complex has mastered the long con of the no-win forever war in a genuinely impressive fashion. Consider the war in Afghanistan. In 2021 it will enter its third decade without an end in sight. Even when President Donald Trump makes noises about withdrawing troops from that country, Congress approves an amendment to another massive, record-setting military budget with broad bipartisan support that effectively obstructs any efforts to do so (while the Pentagon continues to bargain Trump down on the subject).

The Vietnam War, which was destroying the U.S. military, finally ended in an ignominious withdrawal. Almost two decades later, after the 2001 invasion, the war in Afghanistan can now be -- the dream of the Vietnam era -- fought in a "limited" fashion, at least from the point of view of Congress, the Pentagon, and most Americans (who ignore it), even if not the Afghans. The number of American troops being killed is, at this point, acceptably low , almost imperceptible in fact (even if not to Americans who have lost loved ones over there).

More and more, the U.S. military is relying on air power , unmanned drones, mercenaries, local militias, paramilitaries, and private contractors. Minimizing American casualties is an effective way of minimizing negative media coverage here; so, too, are efforts by the Trump administration to classify nearly everything related to that war while denying or downplaying " collateral damage " -- that is, dead civilians -- from it.

Their efforts boil down to a harsh truth: America just plain lies about its forever wars, so that it can keep on killing in lands far from home.

When we as Americans refuse to take in the destruction we cause, we come to passively accept the belief system of the ruling class that what's still bizarrely called "defense" is a "must have" and that we collectively must spend significantly more than a trillion dollars a year on the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security, and a sprawling network of intelligence agencies, all justified as necessary defenders of America's freedom. Rarely does the public put much thought into the dangers inherent in a sprawling "defense" network that increasingly invades and dominates our lives.

Unmanned MQ-9 Reaper taxis after a mission in Afghanistan, Oct. 1, 2007. (Wikimedia)

Meanwhile, it's clear that low-cost wars , at least in terms of U.S. troops killed and wounded in action, can essentially be prolonged indefinitely, even when they never result in anything faintly like victory or fulfill any faintly useful American goal. The Afghan War remains the case in point. "Progress" is a concept that only ever fits the enemy -- the Taliban continues to gain ground -- yet, in these years, figures like retired general and former CIA Director David Petraeus have continued to call for a " generational " commitment of troops and resources there, akin to U.S. support for South Korea.

Who says the Pentagon leadership learned nothing from Vietnam? They learned how to wage open-ended wars basically forever, which has proved useful indeed when it comes to justifying and sustaining epic military budgets and the political authority that goes with them. But here's the thing: in a democracy, if you wage war long, you wage it wrong. Athens and the historian Thucydides learned this the hard way in the struggle against Sparta more than two millennia ago. Why do we insist on forgetting such an obvious lesson?

'We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us'

Sept. 11, 2001: Firefighters battling fire in portion of the Pentagon damaged by attack. (U.S. Navy/Bob Houlihan)

World War II was arguably the last war Americans truly had to fight. My Uncle Freddie was in the Army and stationed at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked on Dec. 7, 1941. The country then came together and won a global conflict (with lots of help) in 44 months, emerging as the planetary superpower to boot. Now, that superpower is very much on the wane, as Trump recognized in running successfully as a declinist candidate for president in 2016. (Make America Great Again !) And yet, though he ran against this country's forever wars and is now president, we're approaching the third decade of a war on terror that has yielded little, spread radical Islamist terror outfits across an expanse of the planet, and still seemingly has no end.

"Great nations do not fight endless wars," Trump himself claimed only last year. Yet that's exactly what this country has been doing, regardless of which party ruled the roost in Washington. And here's where, to give him credit, Trump actually had a certain insight. America is no longer great precisely because of the endless wars we wage and all the largely hidden but associated costs that go with them, including the recently much publicized militarization of the police here at home. Yet, in promising to make America great again, President Trump has failed to end those wars, even as he's fed the military-industrial complex with even greater piles of cash.

There's a twisted logic to all this. As the leading purveyor of violence and terror, with its leaders committed to fighting Islamist terrorism across the planet until the phenomenon is vanquished, the U.S. inevitably becomes its own opponent, conducting a perpetual war on itself. Of course, in the process, Afghans, Iraqis, Libyans, Syrians, Somalis, and Yemenis, among other peoples on this embattled planet of ours, pay big time, but Americans pay, too. (Have you even noticed that high-speed railroad that's unbuilt , that dam in increasing disrepair , those bridges that need fixing, while money continues to pour into the national security state?) As the cartoon possum Pogo once so classically said , "We have met the enemy and he is us."

Early in the Iraq War, General Petraeus asked a question that was relevant indeed: "Tell me how this [war] ends." The answer, obvious to so many who had protested in the global streets over the invasion to come in 2003, was "not well." Today, another answer should be obvious: never, if the Pentagon and America's political and national security elite have anything to do with it. In thermodynamics class, I learned that a perpetual motion machine is impossible to create due to entropy. The Pentagon never took that in and has instead been hard at work proving that a perpetual military machine is possible until, that is, the empire it feeds off of collapses and takes us with it.

America's Military Complex as a Cytokine Storm

U.S. Air Force basic military graduation on April 16, 2020, on Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. (U.S. Air Force, Johnny Saldivar)

In the era of Covid-19, as cases and deaths from the pandemic continue to soar in America, it's astonishing that military spending is also soaring to record levels despite a medical emergency and a major recession.

The reality is that, in the summer of 2020, America faces two deadly viruses. The first is Covid-19. With hard work and some luck, scientists may be able to mass-produce an effective vaccine for it, perhaps by as early as next spring . In the meantime, scientists do have a sense of how to control it, contain it, even neutralize it, as countries from South Korea and New Zealand to Denmark have shown, even if some Americans, encouraged by our president, insist on throwing all caution to the winds in the name of living free. The second virus, however, could prove even more difficult to control, contain, and neutralize: forever war, a pandemic that U.S. military forces, with their global strike missions, continue to spread across the globe.

Sadly, it's a reasonable bet that in the long run, even with Trump as president, America has a better chance of defeating Covid-19 than the virus of forever war. At least, the first is generally seen as a serious threat (even if not by a president blind to anything but his chances for reelection); the second is, however, still largely seen as evidence of our strength and exceptionalism. Indeed, Americans tend to imagine "our" military not as a dangerous virus but as a set of benevolent antibodies, defending us from global evildoers.

When it comes to America's many wars, perhaps there's something to be learned from the way certain people's immune systems respond to Covid-19. In some cases, the virus sparks an exaggerated immune response that drives the body into a severe inflammatory state known as a cytokine storm . That "storm" can lead to multiple organ failure followed by death, yet it occurs in the cause of defending the body from a viral attack.

In a similar fashion, America's exaggerated response to 19 hijackers on 9/11 and then to perceived threats around the globe, especially the nebulous threat of terror, has led to an analogous (if little noticed) cytokine storm in the American system. Military (and militarized police ) antibodies have been sapping our resources, inflaming our body politic, and slowly strangling the vital organs of democracy. Left unchecked, this "storm" of inflammatory militarism will be the death of democracy in America.

To put this country right, what's needed is not only an effective vaccine for Covid-19 but a way to control the "antibodies" produced by America's forever wars abroad and, as the years have gone by, at home -- and the ways they've attacked and inflamed the collective U.S. political, social, and economic body. Only when we find ways to vaccinate ourselves against the destructive violence of those wars, whether on foreign streets or our own, can we begin to heal as a democratic society.

To survive, the human body needs a healthy immune system, so when it goes haywire, becomes wildly inflamed, and ends up attacking and degrading our vital organs, we're in trouble deep. It's a reasonable guess that, in analogous terms, American democracy is already on a ventilator and beginning to feel the effects of multiple organ failure.

Unlike a human patient, doctors can't put our democracy into a medically induced coma. But collectively we should be working to suppress our overactive immune system before it kills us. In other words, it's truly time to defund that military machine of ours, as well as the militarized version of the police, and rethink how actual threats can be neutralized without turning every response into an endless war.

So many years later, it's time to think the unthinkable. For the U.S. government that means -- gasp! -- peace. Such a peace would start with imperial retrenchment (bring our troops home!), much reduced military (and police) budgets, and complete withdrawal from Afghanistan and any other place associated with that "generational" war on terror. The alternative is a cytokine storm that will, in the end, tear us apart from within.

A retired lieutenant colonel (USAF) and professor of history, William J. Astore is a TomDispatch regular . His personal blog is " Bracing Views ."

This article is from TomDispatch.com .

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.


Richard A. Pelto , July 27, 2020 at 18:00

To understand what enables all the absurdity noted, try identifying what made short shrift of Tulsi Gabbard’s run for the democrat nomination. She clearly was raising the wrong questions about war, and some one like Biden and Hillary were providing the narratives that enable what is happening to continue.

evelync , July 27, 2020 at 17:26

Why do we live a different public from private life?

– The secretive State Dept and Intelligence agencies adopt policies that serve short term financial interests of MICIMATT
NOT the long term public interest.

Trump was elected in part because people are sick of endless regime change wars and reckless financial deregulation and unfair trade.
He made promises (which he lied about) because in spite of his glaring flaws he’s a clever manipulator of peoples’ feelings and he knows what people worry about.

Aaron , July 27, 2020 at 13:48

The war on terror is an Israeli construct, it’s a perpetual war, an impossible kind of war for our military to win in any conventional sense, whereby we could then pack up and go home, which is exactly the way the Zionists want it to be played out. The goal has been to Balkanize all of the countries that Israel feels threatened by and break them apart into ethnic statelets, and thereby hugely weakening their overall power.

Not unlike what happened to the former Yugoslavia. Remember that after the war in Afghanistan started, a person in the Pentagon told Wesley Clark that we were going to war in 7 Middle East countries, and he said he asked the person “Why?” and they didn’t give him an answer other than that was the plan.

Sure, there are always the war profiteers and all that, but the particular mission that our military is serving in that overall region is a Zionist plan.

The American people have bought this for the most part because the Zionist mainstream media has successfully conflated the goals of the state of Israel with our own goals, and that we must equate any and all things Israeli with “The West”, and so whatever antipathy is directed at them, we are to construe that they are attacking America also. And not only have many thousands of American troops been killed, tens of thousands injured, the p.t.s.d. and suicides will go on, as Petraeus seems to imply, for generations. This is a like a terrible, persistent sickness.

Will there be a modern day Alexander to cut this Gordian Knot? The financial, emotional, spiritual, moral toll of this forever war is indeed killing our democracy.

[Jul 26, 2020] Takes much more bravery to go against the dumbass belligerent society you are unfortunately born into

Jul 26, 2020 | www.unz.com

obwandiyag , says: July 23, 2020 at 11:44 pm GMT

@Wade onal murderers, do ya?

You're right about the rich eating our lunch.

But you're wrong about Marines. They kill people for a living. Innocent people. Like Iraqis. And Afghans. Anyone who thinks that murdering Iraqis and Afghans, who never did nothing to Americans, nor Vietnamese, who also did nothing to Americans, or, as Cassius Clay said, "I ain't got nothing against no Vietcong." And he didn't. Because he was an American. So, I thank the service of conscientious objectors, draft dodgers, and deserters. They are the real heroes. Takes much more bravery to go against the dumbass belligerent society you are unfortunately born into. Oh, fuck it, you'll never understand.

Wade , says: July 24, 2020 at 2:24 pm GMT
@obwandiyag ompletely object to our whole response to 911 as it was indeed a false flag.

If so many people were so easily fooled in the US by our "American Pravda" including myself, how can I hold it against an 18 year old or some other kid who hasn't even gone to college that he too cannot see through the dense haze of lies bellowed by those who rule over us? So yes, I admire their bravery but I want desperately for the US military to withdraw from the Middle East (and most everywhere else) and return home to protect us and only us from any real invasion should it ever occur.

We need a) a good military and b) honest leadership. We have the former but not the latter.

[Jul 26, 2020] Not a chance ro stopm militarism in the USA. Too many people's livelihood depends on war. From billionaires to the person who putting bullets in boxes. Anyone who advocate no war will end up in prison for colluding with the Russians.

Jul 26, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Angry Panda , 16 hours ago

Not a chance. Too many people's livelihood depends on war. From billionaires to the person who putting bullets in boxes. Anyone who advocate no war will end up in prison for colluding with the Russians.

monty42 , 16 hours ago

Colluding with the Reds, Terrorists, Chicoms, Covid...pick an enemy. That's how it works. They roll out their psyops and make sure to inform you up front that those who question the narrative are in the enemy column.

uhland62 , 14 hours ago

They've done it with us since 1970.

A_Huxley , 15 hours ago

Contractors like their world travel and over time.

Too many US camps, forts, bases around the world to keep working.

quanttech , 13 hours ago

The single most powerful voice against the wars in the last two years has been Tucker Carlson - and look at what they're doing to him.

optimator , 8 hours ago

A vibrant economy can't tell the difference between manufacturing a submarine or a refrigerator.

monty42 , 16 hours ago

Honor your oath and the wars for empire will stop. A standing army is only viable through the Constitution for a short term defense of the States, not for endless wars of aggression and invasion for the spread of a military empire.

quanttech , 13 hours ago

Correct. Lt. Ehren Watada refused his illegal orders to deploy to Iraq. His case was dismissed, and he was simply discharged. Today he co-owns a restaurant in Vegas.

THERE'S LITERALLY NO PENALTY FOR FOLLOWING THE LAW.

alexcojones , 16 hours ago

As an old veteran, I've spent 50 years atoning some how, some way, myself.

"Vietnam veteran Tim O'Brien wrote: "There should be a law . . . If you support a war, if you think it's worth the price, that's fine, but you have to put your own precious fluids on the line. You have to head for the front and hook up with an infantry unit and help spill the blood." As every old veteran knows, the day that happens is the day warfare ends forever, when bullets are fattening rather than fatal to your health.

Brothers in Arms | Strike-The-Root:

Omni Consumer Product , 14 hours ago

Heinlein's proposal in Starship Troopers - that only combat troops be given the franchise to vote - is a concept with merit

ConanTheContrarian1 , 8 hours ago

I don't know that we have to make atonement. The official government position that we were invited there to help the legitimate government of South VietNam still holds water. The Nguyen and Tranh had been at war with each other for centuries until the French took over, and the war was simply a continuation that the Dogpile Democrats of the day didn't see as anything other than a way to make money. Just because you reject rightwing propaganda, don't fall for the leftwing either.

Atlana99 , 16 hours ago

We need thousands of hardcore street activists to print these fliers out and place them on car windshields all across America:

https://t.me/JohnUbele/75

pocomotion , 16 hours ago

Bring HOME ALL THE MILITARY. Then we will not need a debate!

TBT or not TBT , 16 hours ago

You'd ... still need to convince a few people to do that first, "Bring HOME..." bit.

[Jul 26, 2020] Caitlin Johnstone- I say keep Confederate names on US bases. Add more of them! THAT's more honest for American murder machine -- RT Op-ed

Jul 26, 2020 | www.rt.com

By Caitlin Johnstone , an independent journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is here and you can follow her on Twitter @caitoz Senate has passed a bill calling for the removal of Confederate names from US bases, but it'd be more truthful for them to continue to be named after racists, killers & oppressors, as they embody the values of the US war machine.

"JUST IN: Senate Passes $740 Billion Defense Bill With Provision To Remove Confederate Names Off Military Bases" reads a headline from the digital news site Mediaite , which could also serve as a perfect diagnosis for everything that is sick about mainstream liberal orthodoxy.

The Democrat-led House and Republican-led Senate have now both passed versions of this bill authorizing three-quarters of a trillion dollars for a single year of military spending, both by overwhelming bipartisan majorities, on the condition that the names of Confederate Civil War leaders be removed from military bases.

Unsurprisingly, the Security Policy Reform Institute's Stephen Semler found a direct relationship between how much a House Democrat has been paid by the war industry and how likely they were to have voted for the bloated military budget, which also obstructs any attempts to scale down troop presence in Afghanistan.

This is everything that is horrible about the Democratic Party and the ideological position of mainstream liberals. Their leaders have figured out a way to trade hard objects for empty narrative. To get people to consent to almost limitless amounts of thievery, murder and exploitation in exchange for words and stories.

They'll get rid of Confederate names on bases, but they won't even slightly reduce the vast fortunes they're stealing from an impoverished populace and pouring into global slaughter and oppression. They'll kneel wearing Kente cloth , but they won't even think about dismantling the US police state. They'll say "I hear you, and that's something we're looking at," but they'll never intervene against plutocrats funnelling money away from the needful to add to their unfathomably vast fortunes. They'll call you whatever gender pronoun you like, but they'll never do anything to inconvenience the oligarchs and warmongers.

They'll still make you fight tooth and claw for each empty concession, because otherwise they'd be devaluing the empty, imaginary currency they're trading you in exchange for the concrete things they want. But in the end there is no amount of narrative the powerful won't swap out for actual policy changes of substance, because narrative in and of itself has no value. Manipulators understand this distinction with crystal clear lucidity. Their victims do not.

In reality, it would be a lot more truthful and authentic for bases within the US war machine to continue to bear the names of racists, killers and oppressors, since these embody the values of that war machine far better than anything with a more pleasant ring to it. As long as you're robbing the American people to murder brown-skinned foreigners for corporate interests and geostrategic resource control, you might as well have names which reflect such values on your war machinery.

ALSO ON RT.COM Caitlin Johnstone: In post-Iraq invasion world, it's absolutely insane to blindly believe the US narrative on China

So I say keep the Confederate names on the bases. Hell, add more of them. Add the names of Nazis, genocidal warlords, and serial killers too while you're at it. It'd certainly be a lot more honest and accurate to have a Fort Jeffrey Dahmer as part of America's murder machine than a Fort Colin Kaepernick.

War is the single worst thing in the world. It is the most evil, insane, counter-productive, wasteful, damaging, kleptocratic and unsustainable thing that human beings do, by a very wide margin. If Americans could viscerally experience all of the horrors that are inflicted by the war machine their wealth and resources are being funneled into, with their perception unfiltered by propaganda and government secrecy, they would fall to their knees screaming with abject rage. They would be in the streets immediately forcing an end to this unforgivable savagery. Which is exactly why America has so much government secrecy and propaganda.

If Americans could see with their perceptions unmanipulated, their response to the news that $740 billion is being stolen from the American people by a sociopathic murder machine in exchange for removing the names of Confederate leaders from its bases would not be "Oh good, maybe we'll get a Fort Harriet Tubman!" It would be rage. Unmitigated, unforgiving rage. Which is all the status quo deserves. Which is all the Democratic Party exists to prevent.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

[Jul 26, 2020] Patriotic Dissent- How A Working-Class Soldier Turned Against -Forever Wars- -

Jul 26, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Patriotic Dissent: How A Working-Class Soldier Turned Against "Forever Wars"


by Tyler Durden Sat, 07/25/2020 - 00:05 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

Authored by Steve Early and Suzanne Gordon via Counterpunch.org,

When it comes to debate about US military policy, the 2020 presidential election campaign is so far looking very similar to that of 2016. Joe Biden has pledged to ensure that "we have the strongest military in the world," promising to "make the investments necessary to equip our troops for the challenges of the next century, not the last one."

In the White House, President Trump is repeating the kind of anti-interventionist head feints that won him votes four years ago against a hawkish Hillary Clinton. In his recent graduation address at West Point, Trump re-cycled applause lines from 2016 about "ending an era of endless wars" as well as America's role as "policeman of the world."

In reality, since Trump took office, there's been no reduction in the US military presence abroad, which last year required a Pentagon budget of nearly $740 billion. As military historian and retired career officer Andrew Bacevich notes , "endless wars persist (and in some cases have even intensified ); the nation's various alliances and its empire of overseas bases remain intact; US troops are still present in something like 140 countries ; Pentagon and national security state spending continues to increase astronomically ."

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When the National Defense Authorization Act for the next fiscal year came before Congress this summer, Senator Bernie Sanders proposed a modest 10 percent reduction in military spending so $70 billion could be re-directed to domestic programs. Representative Barbara Lee introduced a House resolution calling for $350 billion worth of DOD cuts. Neither proposal has gained much traction, even among Democrats on Capitol Hill. Instead, the House Armed Services Committee just voted 56 to 0 to spend $740. 5 billion on the Pentagon in the coming year, prefiguring the outcome of upcoming votes by the full House and Senate.

An Appeal to Conscience

Even if Biden beats Trump in November, efforts to curb US military spending will face continuing bi-partisan resistance. In the never-ending work of building a stronger anti-war movement, Pentagon critics, with military credentials, are invaluable allies. Daniel Sjursen, a 37-year old veteran of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan is one such a critic. Inspired in part by the much-published Bacevich, Sjursen has just written a new book called Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War (Heyday Books)

Patriotic Dissent is a short volume, just 141 pages, but it packs the same kind of punch as Howard Zinn's classic 1967 polemic, Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal . Like Zinn, who became a popular historian after his service in World War II, Sjursen skillfully debunks the conventional wisdom of the foreign policy establishment, and the military's own current generation of "yes men for another war power hungry president." His appeal to the conscience of fellow soldiers, veterans, and civilians is rooted in the unusual arc of an eighteen-year military career. His powerful voice, political insights, and painful personal reflections offer a timely reminder of how costly, wasteful, and disastrous our post 9/11 wars have been.

Sjursen has the distinction of being a graduate of West Point, an institution that produces few political dissenters. He grew up in a fire-fighter family on working class Staten Island. Even before enrolling at the Academy at age 17, he was no stranger to what he calls "deep-seated toxically masculine patriotism." As a newly commissioned officer in 2005, he was still a "burgeoning neo-conservative and George W. Bush admirer" and definitely not, he reports, any kind of "defeatist liberal, pacifist, or dissenter."

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Sjursen's initial experience in combat -- vividly described in his first book, Ghost Riders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of The Surge (University Press of New England) -- "occurred at the statistical height of sectarian strife" in Iraq.

"The horror, the futility, the farce of that war was the turning point in my life," Sjursen writes in Patriotic Dissent .

When he returned, at age 24, from his "brutal, ghastly deployment" as a platoon leader, he "knew that the war was built on lies, ill-advised, illegal, and immoral." This "unexpected, undesired realization generated profound doubts about the course and nature of the entire American enterprise in the Greater Middle East -- what was then unapologetically labeled the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT)."

A Professional Soldier

By the time Sjursen landed in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, in early 2011, he had been promoted to captain but "no longer believed in anything we were doing."

He was, he confesses, "simply a professional soldier -- a mercenary, really -- on a mandatory mission I couldn't avoid. Three more of my soldiers died, thirty-plus were wounded, including a triple amputee, and another over-dosed on pain meds after our return."

Despite his disillusionment, Sjursen had long dreamed of returning to West Point to teach history. He applied for and won that highly competitive assignment, which meant the Army had to send him to grad school first. He ended up getting credentialed, while living out of uniform, in the "People's Republic of Lawrence, Kansas, a progressive oasis in an intolerant, militarist sea of Republican red." During his studies at the state university, Sjursen found an intellectual framework for his "own doubts about and opposition to US foreign policy." He completed his first book, Ghost Riders , which combines personal memoir with counter-insurgency critique. Amazingly enough, it was published in 2015, while he was still on active duty, but with "almost no blowback" from superior officers.

Before retiring as a major four years later, Sjursen pushed the envelope further, by writing more than 100 critical articles for TomDispatch and other civilian publications. He was no longer at West Point so that body of work triggered "a grueling, stressful, and scary four-month investigation"by the brass at Fort Leavenworth, during which the author was subjected to "a non-publication order." At risk were his career, military pension, and benefits. He ended up receiving only a verbal admonishment for violating a Pentagon rule against publishing words "contemptuous of the President of the United States." His "PTSD and co-occurring diagnoses" helped him qualify for a medical retirement last year.

Sjursen has now traded his "identity as a soldier -- the only identity I've known in my adult life -- for that of an anti-war, anti-imperialist, social justice crusader," albeit one who did not attend his first protest rally until he was thirty-two years old. With several left-leaning comrades, he started Fortress on A Hill, a lively podcast about military affairs and veterans' issues. He's a frequent, funny, and always well-informed guest on progressive radio and cable-TV shows, as well as a contributing editor at Antiwar.com , and a contributor to a host of mainstream liberal publications. This year, the Lannan Foundation made him a cultural freedom fellow.

In Patriotic Dissent , Sjursen not only recounts his own personal trajectory from military service to peace activism. He shows how that intellectual journey has been informed by reading and thinking about US history, the relationship between civil society and military culture, the meaning of patriotism, and the price of dissent.

One historical figure he admires is Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, the recipient of two Medals of Honor for service between 1898 and 1931. Following his retirement, Butler sided with the poor and working-class veterans who marched on Washington to demand World War I bonus payments. And he wrote a best-selling Depression-era memoir, which famously declared that "war is just a racket" and lamented his own past role as "a high-class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the Bankers."

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Sjursen contrasts Butler's anti-interventionist whistle-blowing, nearly a century ago, with the silence of high-ranking veterans today after "nineteen years of ill-advised, remarkably unsuccessful American wars." Among friends and former West Point classmates, he knows many still serving who "obediently resign themselves to continued combat deployments" because they long ago "stopped asking questions about their own role in perpetuating and enabling a counter-productive, inertia-driven warfare state."

Sjursen looks instead to small left-leaning groups like Veterans for Peace and About Face: Veterans Against the War (formerly Iraq Veterans Against the War), and Bring Our Troops Home. US, a network of veterans influenced by the libertarian right. Each in, its own way, seeks to "reframe dissent, against empire and endless war, as the truest form of patriotism." But actually taming the military-industrial complex will require "big-tent, intersectional action from civilian and soldier alike," on a much larger scale. One obstacle to that, he believes, is the societal divide between the "vast majority of citizens who have chosen not to serve" in the military and the "one percent of their fellow citizens on active duty," who then become part of "an increasingly insular, disconnected, and sometimes sententious post-9/11 veteran community."

Not many on the left favor a return to conscription.

But Sjursen makes it clear there's been a downside to the U.S. replacing "citizen soldiering" with "a tiny professional warrior caste," created in response to draft-driven dissent against the Vietnam War, inside and outside the military. As he observes:

"Nothing so motivates a young adult to follow foreign policy, to weigh the advisability or morality of an ongoing war as the possibility of having to put 'skin in the game.' Without at least the potential requirement to serve in the military and in one of America's now countless wars, an entire generation -- or really two, since President Nixon ended the draft in 1973–has had the luxury of ignoring the ills of U.S. foreign policy, to distance themselves from its reality ."

At a time when the U.S. "desperately needs a massive, public, empowered anti-war and anti-imperial wave" sweeping over the country, we have instead a "civil-military" gap that, Sjursen believes, has "stifled antiwar and anti-imperial dissent and seemingly will continue to do so." That's why his own mission is to find more "socially conscious veterans of these endless, fruitless wars" who are willing to "step up and form a vanguard of sorts for revitalized patriotic dissent." Readers of Sjursen's book, whether new recruits to that vanguard or longtime peace activists, will find Patriotic Dissent to be an invaluable educational tool. It should be required reading in progressive study groups, high school and college history classes, and book clubs across the country . Let's hope that the author's willingness to take personal risks, re-think his view of the world, and then work to change it will inspire many others, in uniform and out.

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Justus_Americans , 59 minutes ago

Do we need to be in 160 countries with our military and can we afford it?

Cat Daddy , 1 hour ago

I am all for bringing the troops home except for this one unnerving truth; nature abhors a vacuum, specifically, when we pull out, China moves in. A world dominated by the CCP will be a dangerous place to be. When we leave, we will need to make sure our bases are safely in the hands of our friends.

dogbert8 , 1 hour ago

War is effectively the way the U.S. has done business since the Spanish American War, our first imperial conquests. War is how we ensure big business has the materials and markets they demand in return for their support of political parties and candidates. War is the only area left with opportunities for growth and profit. Don't think for a minute that TPTB will ever let us stop waging war to get what we (they) want.

TheLastMan , 2 hours ago

If you are new to zh all you need to do is study PNAC and the related nature of all parties to understand the criminality of USA militarization and for whose benefit it serves

Anonymous IX , 2 hours ago

I have written many times on this platform the exact same sentiments.

I am most disheartened by the COVID + Antifa/BLM Riots because of the facts this author presents.

We are distracted with emotional and highly volatile MASSIVELY PROPAGANDIZED stories by MSM (I don't watch) while the real problem in the world is as the author describes above.

We are war-mongering nation who needs to bring our troops home and disband over half of our overseas installations and bases.

We have no right to levy economic sanctions to impoverish, sicken, and weaken the citizens of Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, or anywhere else.

Yet, we run around arguing about masks and who can go into a restaurant or toppling statutes and throwing mortar-type fireworks at federal officers. This is what we do instead of facing a real problem which is that we are war-mongering nation with no moral/ethical conscience. These scraggily bearded white Antifas need to WTFU and realize who their true enemy.

Oh, wait. They work for the true enemy! Get it?

Max21c , 1 hour ago

We have no right to levy economic sanctions to impoverish, sicken, and weaken the citizens of Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, or anywhere else.

I don't agree with the economic sanctions nonsense thing as they seem to be more of a crutch for people that are not any good at planning, strategy, analytical thinking, critical thinking, strategic thinking, and lack much in the way of talent or creativity or intellectual acumen or intellectual skills...I believe there's around just shy of 10k economic sanctions by Washington...

But the USA does have the right to receive or refuse to receive foreign Ambassadors and Consuls and to recognize or not recognize other nations governments thus it does have some degrees of the right to not trade or engage in commerce with other nations to a certain extent... per imports and exports... et cetera... though it's not necessarily an absolute right or power

IronForge , 2 hours ago

Sjursen may admire General Butler; but he doesn't seem to know that several of the General's Descendants Served in the US Military.

Sjursen isn't Butler. The General Prevented a Coup in his Time.

The USA are a Hegemony whose KleptOchlarchs overtook the Original Constitutional Republic.

PetroUSD, MIC, Corporate Expansion-Conquest, AgriGMO, and Pharma Interests Span the Globe.

Wars are Rackets; and Societies to Nation-States have waged them over Real Estate, Natural Resources, Trade Routes, Industrial Capacity, Slavery, Suppresive Spite, Religious/Ideological Zeal, Economic Preservation, and Profiteering Greed.

YET, Militaries are still formed by Nation-States to Survive and for Some - Thrive above such Competitive Existenstential Threats.

*****

The Hegemony are running up against New Shifts in Global Power, Systems, and Influences; and are about to Lose their Unilateral Advantages. The Hegemon themselves may suffer Societal Collapses Within.

Sjursen should read up on Chalmers Johnson. Instead of trying to Coordinate Ineffective Peace Demonstrations, the Entire Voting/Political Contribution/Candidacy Schemes should be Separated from the Oligarchy of Plutocrats and Corporate/Political KleptOchlarchs.

Without Bringing the Votes back to the Collective Hands of Citizenry Interests First and Foremost, the Republic are Forever Conquered; and the Ethical may have to resort to Emigration and/or Secession.

Ink Pusher , 2 hours ago

Nobody rides for free,there's always a cost and those who can't pay in bullion will often pay in bodily fluids of one form or another.

Profiteers that create warfare for profit are simply parasitical criminals and should not be considered a "special breed" when weighed upon the Scales of Justice.

gzorp , 2 hours ago

Read 'Starship Troopers' by Robert A Heinlein (1959) pay especial attention to the "History and Moral Philosophy" courses... that's where his predictions for the future course of 'America's' future appear.... rather accurately. Heinlein was a 1930's graduate of Annapolis (Navy for you dindus and nohabs).....

A DUDE , 2 hours ago

t's not just the war machine but the entire system, the corporatocracy, of which the MIC is a part. And there is no way to change the system from within the system because whatever is anti-establishment becomes absorbed and neutered and part of the system.

So why would anyone vote is my question? 11. Trump and Biden Are Far Right of Center and Running to Offenbach Nearly Every Day

sbin , 2 hours ago

Tulsi Gabbard ran on anti interventionism foreign policy.

Look how fast the DNC disappeared her.

Of course destroying Kamala Harris in a debate and going after the ancient evil Hitlery sealed her fate.

BarkingWolf , 2 hours ago

In reality, since Trump took office, there's been no reduction in the US military presence abroad, which last year required a Pentagon budget of nearly $740 billion. As military historian and retired career officer Andrew Bacevich notes , "endless wars persist (and in some cases have even intensified ); the nation's various alliances and its empire of overseas bases remain intact; US troops are still present in something like 140 countries ; Pentagon and national security state spending continues to increase astronomically ."

Now wait just a minute there mister, that sounds like criticism of the Donald John PBUH PBUH PBUH ... you can't do that ... the cult followers will call you a leftist and a commie if you point out stuff like that even if it is objectively true! That's strike one, punk.

An Appeal to Conscience

Even if Biden beats Trump in November, efforts to curb US military spending will face continuing bi-partisan resistance.

November doesn't have anything to do with anything really. The appeal to conscience is wasted. The appeal would be better spent on removing the political class that is on the AIPAC dole and have dual citizenship in a foreign country in the ME while pretending to serve America while they are members of Congress. That's only the tip of the spear ... and that is a nonstarter from the get go.

Sjursen skillfully debunks the conventional wisdom of the foreign policy establishment, and the military's own current generation of "yes men for another war power hungry president."


I don't think Trump is necessarily a war power hungry president. While it is true that we have not withdrawn from Syria and basically stole their oil as Trump has repeated promised he would do, it is also true that Trump has yet to deliver Israels war with Iran and in fact had called back an invasion of Iran ten minutes before a flotilla of US warships was about to set sail to ignite such an invasion leaving Tel Aviv not only aggrieved, but angry as well.

Sjursen has now traded his "identity as a soldier -- the only identity I've known in my adult life -- for that of an anti-war, anti-imperialist, social justice crusader," albeit one who did not attend his first protest rally until he was thirty-two years old. With several left-leaning comrades ...

Okay, this is where you are starting to lose me .... i't like listening to a concert and suddenly the music is hitting sour notes that are off key, off tempo, and don't seem to fit somehow.

Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, the recipient of two Medals of Honor for service between 1898 and 1931. Following his retirement, Butler sided with the poor and working-class veterans who marched on Washington to demand World War I bonus payments. And he wrote a best-selling Depression-era memoir, which famously declared that "war is just a racket" and lamented his own past role as "a high-class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the Bankers."

"On July 28, 1932, at the command of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, they marched down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capitol to launch an attack on World War I veterans. " https://www.stripes.com/news/us/the-veterans-were-desperate-gen-macarthur-ordered-us-troops-to-attack-them-1.480665

Butler was correct, war especially nowadays, is a racket that makes rich people who never seem to get their hands dirty, even richer. As one grunt put it long ago, "it's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it."

That "somebody" is going to be the kids of the little people (the real high-class muscle-men ) who are hated by their political class overlords even as the political class are worshipped as gods.

Sjursen looks instead to small left-leaning groups like Veterans for Peace and About Face: Veterans Against the War (formerly Iraq Veterans Against the War), and Bring Our Troops Home. US, a network of veterans influenced by the libertarian right.

The problem here is that the so-called "left" brand has always been about war and the capitalism of death.

The Democrat party is really the group that started the American civil war for instance, they are the ones behind legacy of Eugenists like Margaret Sanger who was a card carrying Socialist who founded the child murder mill known today as Planned Parenthood that sadly still exists under Trump but has turned into the industrialized slaughter of children ...even after birth so that their organs can be "harvested" for profit.

Sjursen's affinity for "the left" as saintly purveyors of peace, goodness, love, and life strikes me as rather disingenuous. Then he seems to argue if I read the analysis correctly that conscription will somehow be the panacea for the insatiable appetite for war?

One false flag such as The Gulf of Tonkin or 911 or even Perl Harbor or the Sinking of the Lusitania or the assassination of an Arch Duke ... is all that is really needed to arouse the unbridled hoards to march off to battle with almost erotic enthusiasm -the political class KNOWS IT!

Amendment X , 2 hours ago

And don't forget President Wilson (D) who was re-elected on the platform "He kept us out of the war" only to drag U.S. into the hopeless European Monarchary driven WWI.

11b40 , 1 hour ago

Yo! Low class muscle man here, and I have to agree with bringing back the draft. It should never have been eliminated, and is the root of the golbalists abiity to keep us in Afghanistan, and other parts of the ME, for going on 20 years.

Skin in the game. It means literally everything. As noted we now have 2 generations of men who never had to give much thought at all to what's happening around the world, and how America is involved....and look at the results. It would be a much different situation today if all those 18 year olds had to face the draft board with an unforgiving lottery.

Yes, one false falg can whip up the country to a war time fever pitch, but unless there is a real, serious threat, the fever cannot be maintained. The 1969 draft lottery caught me when I stayed out the first semester of my senior year. Didn't want to go, but accepted my fate and did the best job I could to stay alive and keep those around me as safe as possible. In 1966, I was in favor of the war, and was about to go Green Beret on the buddy system. We were going to grease gooks with all the enthusiasm of John Wayne. My old man, an artillery 1st Sgt at the time in Germany, talked me out of it. More like get your *** on a plane back to the States and into college, befroe i kick it up around your shouders. A WW2 & Korea vet, he told me then it was the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

The point is, when kids are getting drafted, Mom's, Dad's, and everyone else concerned with the safety of their friends & relatives, start paying attention and asking hard questions of politicians. Using Afghanistan as an example, we would have been on the way out by the 2004 election cycle, or at max before the next one in 2008. That was 12 years ago, and we are still there.

I addition, the reason we went would have been more closely examined, and there may have been a real investigtion into 9/11. Plus, I am convinced that serving your country makes for a better all around citizen, and God knows, we need better citizens.

Cassandra.Hermes , 2 hours ago

Trump and Pompeo started new cold war with China, but have no way to back up their threats and win it!! When i was in Kosovo peace corps i heard so many stories from Albanian who were blamed to be Russian or American spy because of double cold war against Albania. Trump and Pompeo just gave excuse to Xi to blame anyone who protest as American spy. BBC were showing China's broadcast of the protests in Oregon to Hong Kong with subtitle "Do you really want American democracy?", LMFAO

Max21c , 2 hours ago

Joe Biden has pledged to ensure that "we have the strongest military in the world," promising to "make the investments necessary to equip our troops for the challenges of the next century, not the last one."

The United States shall continue to have a weak military until it starts to fix its foreign policy and diplomacy. You cannot have the strongest military in the world if you lack a good foreign policy and good diplomacy. Brains are a lot more important than battleships, battalions, bullets, barrels, or bombs. Get a frickin' clue you friggin' Washington morons.

Washington is weak because they are dumb. Blind, deaf, and dumb.

Heroic Couplet , 2 hours ago

Too little, too late. Great ad for a book that will be forgotten in a week. Read Bolton's book. The minute Trump tries to reduce troops, Bolton is right there, saying "No, we can't move troops to the perimeter. No, we can't move troops from barracks to tents at the perimeter." Who needs AI?

Erik Prince wrote 3.5 years ago that 4th gen warfare consists of cyberwarfare and bio-weapons. The US military is fooked. There's probably an interesting book to be researched: How do Republicans feel about contracting COVID-19 after listening to Trump fumble?

ChecksandBalances , 3 hours ago

Blame the voters. Run on a platform to reduce military and police spending. See how many of those lose. Probably all of them. You have to stop feeding the beast. This is a slogan Trump correctly said but as usual didn't actually mean. We should cut all military and police spending by 1/2 and then take the remaining money and build a smarter, more efficient military and police force.

Max21c , 3 hours ago

It's not just the "Deep State." It's Washingtonians overall. It's Deep Crazy. They're all Deep Crazy! They're nuts. And the rare exceptions that may know better and have enough common sense to know its wrong to sick the secret police on innocent American civilians aren't going to say anything or do anything to stop it. The few that know better in foreign policy aren't going to say anything or do anything against the new Cold Wars on the Eastern Front against China or on the Western Front against Russia since they're not willing to go up against the Regime. So the Regimists know they have carte blanche to persecute or terrorize or go after any that stand in their way. This is how tyrannies and police states operate. It's the nature of the beast. At a minimum they brow beat people into submission. People don't want to stick their neck out and risk going up against the Regime and risk losing to the Regime, its secret police, and the powers that be. They shy away from anything that would bring the Regime and its secret police and its radicals, extremists, fanatics, and zealots their way.

nonkjo , 4 hours ago

It's okay to be against "forever war" and still not have to be a progressive douchbag.

Sjursen is an unprincipled ******** artist. He leaves Iraq disillusioned as a lieutenant but sticks around long enough for them to pay for his grad school and give him some sweet "resume building" experiences that he can stand on to sell books? FYI, from commissioning time as a second lieutenant to promotion to captain is 3 years...that means Sjusen was so disillusioned that he decided to stick around for 12 more years which is about 9 years longer than he actually needed to as an Academy grad (he only had to serve 6 unless he elected to go to grad school).

The bottom line is Sjusen capitalizes on people not knowing how the military works. That is, that his own self-interest far outweighs his the principles he espouses. Typical leftist hypoctite.

Max21c , 4 hours ago

...the U.S. "desperately needs a massive, public, empowered anti-war and anti-imperial wave ..."

Perhaps the USA just needs a better foreign policy. Though we all know that's not going to happen with the flaky screwballs of Washington and the flaky screwballs in the Pentagon, CIA, State Department, foreign policy establishment, think tanks et cetera.

Minor technical point: the time for the "anti-imperial wave" was before Washingtonians destroyed much of the world and created their strategic blunders and disastrous foreign policy. You folks all went along with this nonsense and now you have your quagmires, forever wars, and numerous trouble spots that have popped up here and there along the way to boot.

Pottery barn rule: you broke it and you own it and it's yours...Ma'am please pay at the register on the way out...Sorry Ma'am there's no more free gluing...though the gluing specialist may be in on the third Thursday this month though it's usually the second Tuesday each month...

Contemporaneously, in the same vein the American public has been brainwashed into going along with the new Cold Wars on the Western Front against Moscow and the even newer Cold War on the Eastern Front against Beijing. It's like P.T. Barnum said "There's a sucker born every minute," and you fools in the American public just keep buying right in to the brainwashing. They're now successfully indoctrinating you into buying into their new Cold Wars with Russia and China. The Cold War on the Eastern Front versus Peking is more getting more fanciful attentions at the moment and the Cold War on the Western Front has temporarily been relegated to the back burner but they'll move the Western Front Cold War from simmer to boil over whenever it suits their needs. It's just a rendition of the Oceania has always been at war with East Asia and Eurasia is our friend are just gameplays right out of George Orwell's 1984.

Most of the quagmires can be fixed to a certain extent by applying some cement and engineering to the quicksand and many of the trouble spots can become more settled and less unstable if not stable in some instances. Even some of the more serious strategic problems like the South China Sea, North Korean nuclear weapons development, and potential Iranian nuclear weapons development can still be resolved through peaceful strategies and solutions.

In re sum, while I won't disparage a peace movement I do not believe it is either necessary nor proper simply because you will not solve anything through a peace movement. The sine qua non or quintessential element is simply to end one of these wars successfully through a peaceful diplomatic solution or solve one of these serious foreign policy problems through diplomacy which is something that hasn't been the norm since the downfall of the Berlin Wall, is no longer in favor, and which is the necessary element to prove that peace can be achieved through strategy and diplomacy and thereby change the course of the country's future.

In foreign affairs the foreign policy establishment has its pattern of behavior and it is that pattern of behavior that has to be changed. It's the mindset of the Washingtonians & elites that has to be changed. Just taking to the streets won't really change their ways or their beliefs for any significant part of the duration. They may pay lip service to peace & diplomacy but it won't win out in their minds in the long run. They are so warped in their views and beliefs that it'll have little or no effect over the long haul. As soon as the protests dissipate they'll be right back at it, back to their bad ways and bad behavior.

Son of Captain Nemo , 4 hours ago

For the past 19 years... And as Anti-War as you will ever get!...

https://action.ae911truth.org/p/salsa/web/common/public/signup?signup_page_KEY=11418&killorg=True&loggedOut=True

https://www.ae911truth.org/grandjury

P.S.

Remind 0range $hit $tain ( https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/11/14/trump-im-reopening-911-investigation/ ) that if he makes this a campaign pledge and an issue for debate he maybe can avoid a war crimes tribunal given how much has already been spent on the war machine ( https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/944-trillion-reasons-why-fed-quietly-bailing-out-hedge-funds )!

Hatterasjohn , 4 hours ago

Was it George Carlin that said " if voting made a difference they wouldn't let us do it " ? The only way to stop these forever wars is for people to stop joining the military. Parents should teach their children that joining the military and trotting off to some country to fight a war for the elite is not being patriotic . I was in the military from 1964 -1968. When Lyndon Johnson became president he drug out the Vietnam war as long as he could. Oh ! Lady Byrd Johnson bought Decon Company [ rat poison ] when most people never heard of it. Johnson bought this rat poison , government paid for ,at an inflated price . Sent ship loads of it to Vietnam .Never mind all the Americans and so called enemy killed.. Jane Fonda , Hanoi Jane , was really a hero who helped save countless lives by helping to end the war. Tommy and **** Smothers , Smother Brothers , spoke out against the war . Our government had them black balled from TV. Our government is probably as corrupt as any other country.

No-Go zone , 5 hours ago

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-19/top-us-general-says-american-troops-should-be-ready-die-israel

cowboyted , 7 hours ago

A piece of irony, one of our greatest generals was Dwight Eisenhower, the Allied Supreme Commander in WWII and two term president. He kept the peace for almost 10 years and warned Americans to beware of the "military-industrial complex." Most military men never want war, they just make sure they are ready if it comes. We have had the military industrial complex for way too long, it needs to be reduced and we need more generals to run for president, Gen. Flynn maybe? I'll also take Schwartzkoff.

cowboyted , 7 hours ago

The U.S. should only use our military if we are attacked, period. Otherwise, as Jefferson astutely stated, a standing army is a threat to democracy.

captain noob , 7 hours ago

Capitalism has no morals

Profit is the driving force of every single thing

cowboyted , 7 hours ago

The U.S. should only use our military if we are attacked, period. Otherwise, as Jefferson astutely stated, a standing army is a threat to democracy.

Chief Joesph , 7 hours ago

After what General Smedley Butler had to say and warned us about, here we are, 90 years later, doing the very same thing. Goes to show how utterly dumb, unprogressive, sheepish, and Medieval Americans really are. And you thought this is what makes America Great????

cowboyted , 8 hours ago

The U.S. Constitution provides for a "national defense." Yet, the last time we were attacked by a foreign nation was on Dec. 7, 1941 in which, the Congress declared war on Japan. Yet, in the past 100 years our country's leaders have convinced Americans that we can wage war if the issue concerns our "national INTEREST." This is wrong and needs to be deleted and replaced with our Constitution's language. Also, Congress is the ONLY Constitutional authority to declare war, not the executive branch. Too many countries, including the U.S., spend too much money preparing for war on levels of destruction that are unnecessary. We must attain a new paradigm with leading countries to achieve a mutual understanding that the people of the world are better off with jobs, food, families, peace, and a chance at a better life, filled with hope, faith, and flourishing communities. Things have to change.

transcendent_wannabe , 8 hours ago

I have to agree in sentiment with the author, but the reality of humans on earth almost demands constant war, it is the price we pay for the modern city lifestyle. There are various reasons.

1. Ever since WW1, the country has become citified, and the old peaceful country farm life was replaced with the rat race of industrial production. Without war, there is no need for the level of industrial production required to give full employment to the overpopulated cities. People will scream for war and jingoism when they have no city jobs. How do you deal with that? Sure, War is a Racket, but so far a necessary racket.

2. Every 20 years the military needs a real shooting war to battle test its upcoming soldiers and new equipment. Now the battles are against insurgencies... door-to-door in cities and ghettos, and new tactics need to be field tested. If the military goes more than 20 years without a real shooting war, they lose the real men, the sargeant majors, who just become fat pot bellied desk personel without the adrenaline of a real fight.

3. Humans inately like to fight. Even children, boys wrestle, girls taunt one another. There is no way discovered yet to keep people from turning violent in their attempts to steal what others have, or to gain dominance thru physical intimidation. Without war, gangs will form and fight over territorial boundaries. There is no escaping it.

4. Earth is where the battle field is, Battlefield Earth. There is no fighting allowed in heaven, so Earth is where souls come to fight. Nobody on earth likes it, but fighting and war is here to stay, and you should really use this life to find out how to transcend earth and get to a place where war is not needed or allowed, like heaven or Valhalla.

Tortuga , 8 hours ago

So. He thinks the crooked, grifting, regressive hate US murdering dim pustules aren't the warmongering, globalist, hate US, crooked, grifting, murdering republicrats. What a mo ron.

HenryJonesJr , 8 hours ago

Real conservatives were always against foreign intervention. It was the Left that embraced foreign wars (Wilson / Roosevelt / Truman / Johnson).

messystateofaffairs , 8 hours ago

From my perspective being a professional goon to serve the greater glory of international criminals, is, aside from having to avoid the mirror, way too much hard and dangerous work for the money. As a civilian of a society run by criminals on criminal imperialist principles, I have no literal PTSD type of skin in that filthy game, but like most citizens, knowing and unknowing, I do swim in that sewer everyday, doing my best to avoid bumping into the larger turds. My "patriotism" lies where the turds are fewest, anywhere in the world that might be.

bh2 , 8 hours ago

The threat to US interests is not in the ME (apart from Israel). It's in the Pacific.

NATO was never intended to be a defense arrangement perpetually funded by the US. Once stood up and post-war economies in Europe were restored, it was supposed to be a European defense shield with the US as ultimate backup. Not as a sugar-daddy for wealthy nations. Now that Russia is no longer situated to attack through the Fulda Gap, NATO is a grotesque expression of Parkinson's Law writ large.

China is a real threat to US interests. That's obvious simply by consulting a map. Military assets committed to engagement in theaters that no longer seriously matter is feckless and spendthrift. Particularly when Americans are put in harm's way with no prospect of either winning or leaving.

Worse yet is the accelerating prospect of being drawn into conflict in the South China Sea because fewer than decisive US and allied assets are deployed there.

While nations are now responding to that threat (including Japan, who are re-arming), China must realize a successful Taiwan invasion faces steadily diminishing prospects. They must act soon or give up the opportunity. Moreover, the CCP are loosing face with their own people because of multiple calamities wreaking havoc. The danger of a desperate CCP turning to a hot war to save face is an ever-rising threat. (If Three Gorges Dam fails, that could be the final straw.)

FDR deliberately suckered Japan into attacking the US (but apparently never guessed it would be on Pearl Harbor). It appears modern neo warmongers of all stripes would be delighted if China were tempted into yet another senseless war in the Pacific. And more lives lost on all sides.

While the size of US military and (ineptly named) "intelligence" budgets are vastly out of scale, the short-term cost in money is secondary to risk of long-term cost in blood. Surging the budget may make good sense when guns are all pointing in the wrong direction and political donors don't care as long as it pays well.

Defeating that outrageously wasteful spending is the first battle to be won. Disengaging from stupid, distracting, unwinnable conflicts is an imperative to achieve that goal.

The Judge , 8 hours ago

US. is the real threat to US interests.

DeptOfPsyOps-14527776 , 8 hours ago

An important part of this statue quo is propaganda and in particular neo-con propaganda.

Once it was clear that agitating against the Russian federation had failed, they started agitating against the PRC.

FDR administration wasn't that clever, they just had (((support))). They wanted Imperial Japan unable to strengthen itself against the United Kingdom as it was waging a war against the European Axis, did not realize that the Japanese fleet could reach as far as Hawaii and after Pearl Harbor, believed the West Coast could have been attacked as well.

Hovewer, they likely expected the Japanese to intercept their fleet on the way to the Phillipines after a war between Imperial Japan and the Commonwealth had started.

Salzburg1756 , 8 hours ago

"FDR deliberately suckered Japan into attacking the US (but apparently never guessed it would be on Pearl Harbor)." No, we knew the japs were going to attack Pearl Harbor. We had broken their code. That's why we sent our best battle ships away from Hawaii just before the attack. Most of the ships they sank were old and worthless; our good ships were out at sea.

TheLastMan , 4 hours ago

What constitutes "America's interests"?

the us military is the world community welcome wagon for global multi national Corp chamber of commerce

Do us citizens serve corporations or do corporations serve us citizens?

next ?, who owns / controls corporations?

Alice-the-dog , 8 hours ago

There is a reason why suicide is the leading cause of death among active duty military. They come to realize that what they are doing is perfect male bovine fecal matter. That they are guilty of participating in completely unwarranted death and destruction.

847328_3527 , 9 hours ago

Liberals and "progressives" are traditionally against wars. This new "woke" group of Demorats shows they are NOT liberals or progressives since they support the Establishment War Criminals like Obama and his side kick, demented Biden, and Bloodthirsty Clinton.

[Jul 25, 2020] As long suffering is not at your doorsteps, human race as individuals, is as bad as our governments.

Jul 25, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Man , Jul 25 2020 4:09 utc | 84

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 25 2020 0:16 utc | 62

"And USA's propaganda is second to none. That's important because winning a war, whether Cold or Hot, requires a populace that will accept sacrifices. Blaming the other side for the need for such sacrifices is an art as much as a science."

Was causing the death of two million Iraqi's is one of the scarifies you talk about that the populace had to accept?

Sometimes I have a problem to understand the way the so called "western people" behave. I am almost reaching a conclusion that the art of media is to give the populous an excuse to themselves why they appear to be accepting scarifies.

We should stop lying to ourselves that we care about others. As long suffering is not at your doorsteps, human race as individuals, is as bad as our governments.

[Jul 25, 2020] One way to look at the recent voting on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and on Mark Pocan's amendment to the NDAA (that would have reduced military spending by 10 percent)

Jul 25, 2020 | stephensemler.substack.com

The more money a member of Congress accepts from the defense industry, the higher the probability that they'll vote how the defense industry wants them to vote. (So probably what you expected.)

... ... ...

If you order the members of Congress based on the amount each of them accepted from the defense sector (2020 cycle) with their respective votes then break your list down (roughly) into fourths, you'll get something that looks like this:

Amount member accepts from defense
industry Likelihood that member lets us down Less than $3,000 70% $3,000-$9,999 77% $10,000-$29,999 84% More than $30,000 More than 98% Notes

[Jul 24, 2020] Nobel peace price hawk and other stories

Jul 24, 2020 | www.rt.com

Roger Thornhill 2 hours ago If I recall correctly, Obama gave the Russians all of 48 hours to leave their consulate in San Francisco, which had been occupied since the 19th Century. This was around Christmas time in 2016. So I don't find this particularly surprising. Two days to have the diplomats, staff, and families completely out of the country.

[Jul 23, 2020] Opinion - Defund the Pentagon- The Liberal Case - POLITICO

Highly recommended!
Jul 23, 2020 | www.politico.com

Defund the Pentagon: The Liberal Case

Cutting the defense budget by a modest 10 percent could provide billions to combat the pandemic, provide health care and take care of neglected communities.

Capitol Souvenir Company, Inc. via Boston Public Library

By SEN. BERNIE SANDERS

07/16/2020 02:15 PM EDT

Sen. Bernie Sanders is an independent from Vermont.

▶ Click here for the conservative case for reducing defense spending.

Fifty-three years ago Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. challenged all of us to fight against three major evils: "the evil of racism, the evil of poverty and the evil of war." If there was ever a moment in American history when we needed to respond to Dr. King's clarion call for justice and demand a "radical revolution of values," now is that time.

Whether it is fighting against systemic racism and police brutality, defeating the deadliest pandemic in more than a hundred years, or putting an end to the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, now is the time to fundamentally change our national priorities.

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Sadly, instead of responding to any of these unprecedented crises, the Republican Senate is on a two-week vacation. When it comes back, its first order of business will be to pass a military spending authorization that would give the bloated Pentagon $740 billion -- an increase of more than $100 billion since Donald Trump became president.

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Let's be clear: As coronavirus infections , hospitalizations and deaths are surging to record levels in states across America, and the lifeline of unemployment benefits keeping 30 million people afloat expires at the end of the month, the Republican Senate has decided to provide more funding for the Pentagon than the next 11 nations' military budgets combined.

Under this legislation, over half of our discretionary budget would go to the Department of Defense at a time when tens of millions of Americans are food insecure and over a half-million Americans are sleeping out on the street. After adjusting for inflation, this bill would spend more money on the Pentagon than we did during the height of the Vietnam War even as up to 22 million Americans are in danger of being evicted from their homes and health workers are still forced to reuse masks, gloves and gowns.

Moreover, this extraordinary level of military spending comes at a time when the Department of Defense is the only agency of our federal government that has not been able to pass an independent audit, when defense contractors are making enormous profits while paying their CEOs outrageous compensation packages, and when the so-called War on Terror will cost some $6 trillion.

Let us never forget what Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a former four-star general, said in 1953: "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

What Eisenhower said was true 67 years ago, and it is true today.

If the horrific pandemic we are now experiencing has taught us anything it is that national security means a lot more than building bombs, missiles, nuclear warheads and other weapons of mass destruction. National security also means doing everything we can to improve the lives of tens of millions of people living in desperation who have been abandoned by our government decade after decade.

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That is why I have introduced an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act that the Senate will be voting on during the week of July 20th, and the House will follow suit with a companion effort led by Representatives Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). Our amendment would reduce the military budget by 10 percent and use that $74 billion in savings to invest in communities that have been ravaged by extreme poverty, mass incarceration, decades of neglect and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Under this amendment, distressed cities and towns in every state in the country would be able to use these funds to create jobs by building affordable housing, schools, childcare facilities, community health centers, public hospitals, libraries and clean drinking water facilities. These communities would also receive federal funding to hire more public school teachers, provide nutritious meals to children and parents and offer free tuition at public colleges, universities or trade schools.

This amendment gives my Senate colleagues a fundamental choice to make. They can vote to spend more money on endless wars in the Middle East while failing to provide economic security to millions of people in the United States. Or they can vote to spend less money on nuclear weapons and cost overruns, and more to rebuild struggling communities in their home states.

In Dr. King's 1967 speech, he warned that "a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."

He was right. At a time when half of our people are struggling paycheck to paycheck, when over 40 million Americans are living in poverty, and when 87 million lack health insurance or are underinsured, we are approaching spiritual death.

At a time when we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any major country on Earth, and when millions of Americans are in danger of going hungry, we are approaching spiritual death.

At a time when we have no national testing program, no adequate production of protective gear and no commitment to a free vaccine, while remaining the only major country where infections spiral out of control, we are approaching spiritual death.

At a time when over 60,000 Americans die each year because they can't afford to get to a doctor on time, and one out of five Americans can't afford the prescription drugs their doctors prescribe, we are approaching spiritual death.

Now, at this unprecedented moment in American history, it is time to rethink what we value as a society and to fundamentally transform our national priorities. Cutting the military budget by 10 percent and investing that money in human needs is a modest way to begin that process. Let's get it done. MOST READ

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[Jul 23, 2020] Wartime Without End, War Powers Without Check -

Jul 23, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

kouroi 13 days ago

The Congress is serving the interests of the US Oligarchy, at home and abroad. The strategy is simple: keep allies/vassals in obeisance and non-competitive and destroy polities that do not subject themselves to a similar system (which ends up to become subservient to the US interests anyways, in the long run). Thus, all enemies are polities were Oligarchy doesn't run the roster, and are semi-socialist / socialist countries: Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, in the past Iraq.

Fully fledged democracies, that truly enact the will of the people, would not do something like this.

Carlton Meyer 13 days ago

For those too young to remember the horrible American war on Yugoslavia in 1999, or those who have forgot, or were misled with lies about Kosovo, here is a quick summary:

https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fembed%2FUsRkqnFn8DA%3Ffeature%3Doembed&display_name=YouTube&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DUsRkqnFn8DA&image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2FUsRkqnFn8DA%2Fhqdefault.jpg&key=21d07d84db7f4d66a55297735025d6d1&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=youtube

ericsiverson Carlton Meyer 11 days ago

This is a very accurate and honest report what { NATO } the North American Terrorist Organization did to Yugoslavia . If you Americans wish to know what kind of global government you are promoting . You only have to find the actual transcripts of Milosevic's trail . Don't read or listen to any fake news of the trail . You must read the trail transcripts and judge for yourself The butcher of Balkans has kind of been exonerated after his death . The world court is something to be very afraid of not at all a instrument of justice .But the trail transcripts are about 5000 pages so you will have to work to find out the truth .

Ram2017 11 days ago

WW2 and it's depiction in various films and TV programs has had an unexpected effect on the military psyche. The US believes it won the war on it's own and the troops came home as heroes. This is the expectation of the US military even today, unable to accept that it can be defeated. "Thank you for your service" is a given whatever crimes had been committed abroad on the innocent who had done them no harm whatsoever. The ICC is opposed on the theory that US troops cannot commit torture or massacres.

Adriaan de Leeuw Ram2017 11 days ago

The Joke is that the US has not one a war since WWII, except maybe Granada. As for War Crimes, the Current President himself committed a War Crime, He gave a Pardon to a Convicted War Criminal, that is actually breach of the Geneva Conventions, which is US Treaty Law and as such equal to the Constitution itself in importance. Schedule 4 Article 146

The High Contracting Parties undertake to enact any legislation necessary to provide effective penal sanctions for persons committing, or ordering to be committed, any of the grave breaches of the present Convention defined in the following Article.

Each High Contracting Party shall be under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts. It may also, if it prefers, and in accordance with the provisions of its own legislation, hand such persons over for trial to another High Contracting Party concerned, provided such High Contracting Party has made out a prima facie case.

Each High Contracting Party shall take measures necessary for the suppression of all acts contrary to the provisions of the present Convention other than the grave breaches defined in the following Article.

In all circumstances, the accused persons shall benefit by safeguards of proper trial and defense, which shall not be less favorable than those provided by Article 105 and those following of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War of August 12, 1949.

Article 147

Grave breaches to which the preceding Article relates shall be those involving any of the following acts, if committed against persons or property protected by the present Convention: willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected person, compelling a protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile Power, or willfully depriving a protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed in the present Convention, taking of hostages and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.

Article 148

No High Contracting Party shall be allowed to absolve itself or any other High Contracting Party of any liability incurred by itself or by another High Contracting Party in respect of breaches referred to in the preceding Article.

The President has by absolving the Navy Seal of the Liability, Absolved the United States of the War Crime also, Now I understand that we will hear arguments here of the Presidents ability to Pardon, but take this as a given, there is no way that During the Nuremberg Trials the Prosecution of those War Crimes would have accepted the argument that the Head of State of Germany (Hitler) had the blanket Authority to Pardon German War Criminals. as such and this is why this was placed in the Geneva Conventions the very act of Absolving a War Crime is itself a War Crime!

bootin buddin Ram2017 10 days ago

We could care less what the ICC is opposed to. We are not subject to the ICC or international law. We can enforce it if needed but do not have to abide by it.

rayray bootin buddin 10 days ago

The micrograins of ICC jurisdiction and validity require a sharper legal mind than mine to sift through. But the debate is revelatory of something else -

In general, the current domestic ICC debate reveals part of the true nature of the US (helped in no small part by the hamfisted and transparent vulgarity of President Trump): that we are in fact the rogue state that we accuse everyone else in the world of being.

If we are who we say we are we should be straight up supporting the ICC, helping to fund it and increase its reach and investigative power. Far better than any military intervention to deal with the truly bad actors in the world would be a legal intervention. The idea that vicious and violent despots should run scared when they travel or otherwise face arrest and extradition is exactly right.

But we're not. Why? The answer is obvious at this point - because we have powerful players in our midst that would face that arrest. And should face that arrest.

[Jul 23, 2020] Demorats defeat amedment ot cut Defence by 10%

Highly recommended!
Jul 23, 2020 | news.antiwar.com

Amendment to make across-the-board reductions overwhelmingly defeated by members of both parties

Eric Garris Posted on July 21, 2020 Categories News

By a vote of 324-93 , the House of Representatives soundly defeated an amendment to reduce Pentagon authorized spending levels by 10%. The amendment does not specify what to cut, only that Congress make across-the-board reductions. The amendment to the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was offered by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI). No Republicans voted for the amendment. Libertarian Justin Amash supported the amendment.

Earlier, the House defeated an amendment to stop the Pentagon's submission of an unfunded priorities list. Each year, after the Pentagon's budget request is submitted to Congress, the military services send a separate "wish list," termed "unfunded priorities." This list includes requests for programs that the military would like Congress to fund, in case they decide to add more money to the Pentagon's proposed budget.

This article was written while observing the voting on CSPAN. The House Clerk has not yet posted the roll-call vote. Additional information will be added to the article when available.

[Jul 21, 2020] When "not a fan of military spending" for some reason sounds like a military contractor or, worse, MIC lobbyist

Jul 21, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

Tom 07.20.20 at 1:37 pm (
23
)

As a share of GDP, military spending today is half of what it was in 1986. Data here:

https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/MS.MIL.XPND.GD.ZS?locations=US

I am not a fan of military spending – following an excellent post by John about Eisenhower's famous speech (more tanks or more hospitals), I often use it as an example opportunity cost when teaching. One can certainly claim that the budget should be lower but, as a share of overall economic resources, the budget has been cut substantially in the last 30 years.

likbez 07.22.20 at 3:46 am ( 25 )

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

@Tom 07.20.20 at 1:37 pm

Funny, but "not a fan of military spending" for some reason sounds like a military contractor or, worse, MIC lobbyist ;-)

If you are not fun of military spending how do you explain

https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/MS.MIL.XPND.CD?end=2018&locations=US&start=1960&view=chart

[Jul 20, 2020] The US military is defending US global hegemony, and is priced accordingly. What you think of US military spending depends on what you think of the US as a hegemon.

Jul 20, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

Ebenezer Scrooge 07.19.20 at 1:13 pm

US military spending is certainly much higher than it needs to be for US defense needs. But the US military is not primarily defending the US. It is defending Asia from China, NATO from Russia, and a number of countries from Iran, not to speak of Norkland.

IOW, the US military is defending US global hegemony, and is priced accordingly. What you think of US military spending depends on what you think of the US as a hegemon.


Alan White 07.19.20 at 2:15 pm ( 21 )

Thanks John that's very helpful -- I thought those two figures would be much closer together. Reading CT is always instructive in one way or another.

James Wimberley 07.19.20 at 5:02 pm ( 22 )

Long comment on the cross-post, on the cost of the energy transition part of the GND:
https://johnquiggin.com/2020/07/18/a-trillion-here-a-trillion-there-pretty-soon-youre-talking-real-money-creation/#comment-226012

Tom 07.20.20 at 1:37 pm ( 23 )

As a share of GDP, military spending today is half of what it was in 1986. Data here:

https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/MS.MIL.XPND.GD.ZS?locations=US

I am not a fan of military spending – following an excellent post by John about Eisenhower's famous speech (more tanks or more hospitals), I often use it as an example opportunity cost when teaching. One can certainly claim that the budget should be lower but, as a share of overall economic resources, the budget has been cut substantially in the last 30 years.

[Jul 19, 2020] This sacred cow of illusion of American democracy is being threatened from all directions it seems. Democracy is great for whoever owns it, and whoever owns the media owns democracy. A cow well worth milking

Democracy is incompatible with the global neoliberal empire ruled from Washington. And the USA is empire now.
Notable quotes:
"... cancel culture is just fine, as long as it's your side doing the cancelling...or if it's Israel or the national security state doing the cancelling ..."
Jul 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Peter AU1 , Jul 18 2020 20:21 utc | 36

"The forces of illiberalism are gaining strength throughout the world and have a powerful ally in Donald Trump, who represents a real threat to democracy."

This sacred cow of illusion is being threatened from all directions it seems. Democracy is great for whoever owns it, and whoever owns the media owns democracy. A cow well worth milking.

JohnH , Jul 18 2020 21:18 utc | 48

Norman Finkelstein must be laughing out loud at the sight of so many hypocritical liberals opposing cancel. Did anyone in this crowd get 150 people to sign a letter of protest when Finkelstein got cancelled? Or when Phil Donahue got fired for opposing the Iraq war?

IOW, cancel culture is just fine, as long as it's your side doing the cancelling...or if it's Israel or the national security state doing the cancelling . CountrPunch, a victim of blacklisting themselves, has a major takedown of the screaming hypocrisy of some of the signers: https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/07/10/harpers-and-the-great-cancel-culture-panic/

[Jul 19, 2020] A trillion here, a trillion there, pretty soon you're talking real money

Jul 19, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

Alan White 07.19.20 at 1:21 am

John, what say you about US/global military spending, which if cut and reallocated in the low double digits could transform society? Do you think it's just politically untouchable? If the US cut its military budget by say 25% it would still be formidable, especially given its nuclear deterrent. For the life of me I can never understand why military budgets are sacrosanct. Is it just WW2 and Cold War hangover? Couldn't the obvious effects of climate change and the fragility of the economy subject to natural threats like the pandemic change attitudes about overfunding the military (like the debacle of the F-35 program)?

John Quiggin 07.19.20 at 3:50 am ( 15 )

Alan White @13 Military spending is about 3.4 per cent of US GDP, compared to 2 per cent or less most places. So that's a significant and unproductive use of resources that could be redirected to better effect. But the income of the top 1 per cent is around 20 per cent of total income. If that was cut in half, there would be little or no reduction in the productive services supplied by this group. If you want big change, that's where you need to look.

eg 07.19.20 at 4:08 am ( 16 )

@Alan White #13

I think some of the reluctance to cut military spending in the US is the extent to which it acts as a politically unassailable source of fiscal stimulus and "welfare" in a country where such things are otherwise anathema. Well, that and all of the grift it represents for the donor class.

likbez 07.19.20 at 10:18 am ( 17 )

@John Quiggin 07.19.20 at 3:50 am *15)

Alan White @13 Military spending is about 3.4 per cent of US GDP, compared to 2 per cent or less most places.

GDP is a fake metric in general (due to the size of FIRE sector in the US economy) and especially when we are discussing military spending.

Military spending is 53% of discretionary spending which put the USA in the category of the most militarized countries. https://www.nationalpriorities.org/analysis/2020/militarized-budget-2020/

[Jul 19, 2020] The Chinese and Russian Foreign Ministers just jointly agreed in a rare published account of their phone conversation that the Outlaw US Empire " has lost its sense of reason, morality and credibility .

Jul 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jul 18 2020 22:54 utc | 6 4

Does Cancel Culture intersect with Woke? The former's not mentioned in this fascinating essay , but the latter is and appears to deserve some unpacking beyond what Crooke provides.

As for the letter, it's way overdue by 40+ years. I recall reading Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind and Christopher Lasch's Culture of Narcissism where they say much the same.

What's most irksome are the lies that now substitute for discourse--Trump or someone from his admin lies, then the WaPost, NY Times, MSNBC, Fox, and others fire back with their lies. And to top everything off--There's ZERO accountability: people who merit "canceling" continue to lie and commit massive fraud.

The Chinese and Russian Foreign Ministers just jointly agreed in a rare published account of their phone conversation that the Outlaw US Empire " has lost its sense of reason, morality and credibility .

Yes, they were specifically referring to the government, but I'd include the Empire's institutions as well. In the face of that reality, the letter is worse than a joke.

[Jul 17, 2020] The USA foreign policy shows a penchant for amoral deceptiveness of ALL other countries, even best allies, chronically

Jul 17, 2020 | off-guardian.org

voxpox , Jul 16, 2020 9:25 PM

I like this article, it says it all. I have also long harbored a theory that the US intelligence are behind most of the worlds financial cyber-crime, systematically fleecing the world to fund their many many operations around the world. They have the tech with Windows back-doors, the motivation to hide 'off the book' operations and a proven lack of morals as demonstrated during the Iran–Contra affair, many years ago. but what do I know. As Bill Maher says, 'I can't prove it but I know it's true'.

John Ervin , Jul 16, 2020 11:59 PM Reply to voxpox

The USA foreign policy shows a penchant for amoral deceptiveness of ALL other countries, even best allies, chronically.

So that gives heft to Bill Maher's maxim. Perennial treaty busters and oath breakers, why would anyone trust? Fool me once etc.

That's at the core of my take on all USA has said about C-19(84). Been there, done that, with 100 other false flags, always the same tune.

The boy who cried wolf: Uncle Scam. Always proven false after all the marbles are stolen. Or at some point down the road. If not, it shall be, like the JFK fiasco. Like the lone holdout among nations on the Napalm Ban, or sole rogue to drop an A bomb (75th Anniversary of that cowardly Holocaust coming up in a few weeks.)

Lone, lone, lone. A sad little homeboy in the Land of the Lone Gunman. So many, though. Too many, for the world's good .

~~~~~~~~~

Don't take it from me, though, I'm a total patriot, really, compared to Mr. Gonzo, Hunter S. Thompson:

"America just a nation of 200 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms at all about using them on anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable."

Hunter always said it like it is, at least at yhr time he saw it, he rode with the Hell's Angels and wrote the 1st book about them, and wasn't much shy about calling a spade a spade.

And. Like my own old man: another highly assisted apparent suicide.

~~~~~~~~

Old Radio broadcast:

"Who was that masked man?!

Why, it's the Lone Ranger!"

[Jul 16, 2020] In Defense of Restraint by Daniel Larrison

Restraint in foreign policy is impossible until full Spectrum Dominance Doctrine is abolished
Jul 16, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Over the last ten years, foreign policy restraint has emerged as the biggest challenger to the U.S. foreign policy status quo. The persistent failure of policies of endless war and the costly, aggressive pursuit of primacy have left an opening for the alternative strategy that restraint represents.

As a result, it has also become a natural target for criticism from the defenders of U.S. hegemony. Much of this criticism has been of the knee-jerk, dismissive variety that critics of American policies are all too familiar with, but there has been some more serious engagement with the ideas of restrainers as well. Unfortunately, even the more serious engagement with pro-restraint arguments tends to devolve into polemic.

Michael Mazarr recently wrote an essay for the summer issue of The Washington Quarterly in which he identifies what he sees as the failings of the restraint camp. It is probably the fairest response to arguments for restraint so far, but it does not score any significant hits. It is frustrating in that it cites the works of leading restrainers, but fails to reckon fully with what they are saying. Mazarr is familiar with restrainers' arguments, and he makes a number of debaters' points about them, but he doesn't make a persuasive case against restraint.

He identifies what he considers to be restrainers' errors in a few broad categories: 1) a binary definition of the foreign policy debate; 2) caricaturing U.S. foreign policy as an aggressive drive for primacy; 3) overstating the failures of U.S. post-Cold War foreign policy; 4) inconsistency in prescription. The first three of these criticisms don't hold up, and the fourth is not a serious objection to the views of a broad range of writers and analysts.

The first objection is that the restrainers' contrast between primacy/liberal hegemony and restraint is too simplistic. According to Mazarr, this "overlooks a huge, untidy middle ground where the views of most U.S. national security officials reside and where most U.S. policies operate." Here he appeals to the diversity of views among foreign policy professionals to counter restrainers' objections to the current strategy of primacy without actually addressing the pitfalls of primacy that restrainers criticize.

It's not clear that the "huge, untidy middle ground" is as vast or as wild as he suggests. The vast majority of people in that "middle ground" favor the continued maintenance of U.S. primacy or liberal hegemony. The fact that there is a narrow range of views among adherents of the current strategy is not surprising. It also isn't terribly relevant to the objections that restrainers have made against the strategy.

For restrainers, as Mazarr puts it, "the reigning concepts that guide America's role in the world embody a limitless drive for supremacy and power that has produced an infatuation with militarism and a litany of interventions and wars." That is a fair summary as far as it goes, but Mazarr never manages to refute this claim.

Consider each part and ask yourself if it rings true. Is the U.S. government guided by a belief that it should pursue supremacy and power on the world stage? Yes, it is. This is what is euphemistically referred to as American "global leadership." This is as close to an unquestioned assumption in mainstream foreign policy circles as there is. Has this produced an infatuation with militarism? Our massive military budget, militarized foreign policy, and intrusive response to many foreign conflicts bear witness that this is so. Not only is there a bias in favor of action in our debates, but action is almost always defined in terms of military options, and choosing not to use military options is routinely ridiculed as "doing nothing." Has this infatuation with militarism resulted in a litany of interventions and wars? We know it has and continues to do so. Mazarr claims that restrainers are using "extreme and unconditional language" and set up "caricatures and straw people," but, if anything, most pro-restraint arguments are rather mild in their description of the last few decades of unchecked militarism.

Have restrainers oversold the failure of post-Cold War U.S. foreign policy? It's possible, but I don't think it's true. If U.S. "leadership" is judged on the terms set by its own advocates, how can we judge it as anything but a failure over the last thirty years? Has it made the world more stable and secure? On the whole, it has not. The U.S. has been one of the most destabilizing actors in the world for decades with its wars and interference in other nations' affairs. Has it reduced nuclear proliferation? It has not, and its wars for regime change have made it more difficult to convince would-be nuclear weapons states to dismantle their weapons programs.

The biggest effort that the U.S. made in the name of counter-proliferation was a terribly costly blunder and an attack on international law. Has it reduced the incidence of terrorism? On the contrary, the "war on terror" has exacerbated and encouraged the spread of jihadist terrorism in the world. Has the U.S. deterred great power competition? Far from it. Mazarr's defense of this record amounts to saying that it was not as ideological and destructive as it might have been, which is not really much of a defense. Are restrainers too extreme in their indictment of this record of failure? In light of the persistent denial and whitewashing of the disasters unleashed by our policies, I would say that we have been too diplomatic.

Mazarr writes that "[t]he restraint literature downplays the often-powerful reluctance with which successive US administrations have grappled with most decisions to intervene." He mentions Libya as an example of this "hesitancy," but neglects to add that the internal debate over this lasted just a couple weeks before Obama ordered unauthorized military action to help bring down a foreign government. Obama's reluctance could not have been that powerful if he chose to start a war against another government without Congressional approval. When we consider how completely unrelated to U.S. vital interests the conflict in Libya was, the fact that the U.S. did intervene when it had no particular reason to is proof that restrainers' complaints on this score are backed up by the record.

He touts the fact that the U.S. has "shunned" other opportunities for intervention as if the U.S. does not routinely meddle even in those conflicts where it does not directly act. The U.S. didn't "act" in the Great Lakes crises in the late '90s and early 2000s because it had outsourced that crisis to its clients in Uganda and Rwanda, who then proceeded to turn Congo into a charnel house. The U.S. declined to go to WWIII over territorial disputes between Russia and its neighbors, but the escalation of those disputes grew out of an incessant, U.S.-led drive to expand Euro-Atlantic institutions to Russia's doorstep. Each example Mazarr cites as proof that the restrainers are overstating their case just reminds us that not all failures of U.S. foreign policy involve our direct military intervention in a conflict. It doesn't prove that U.S. foreign policy hasn't failed during the last few decades.

In one of the oddest portions of the essay, he informs us that the U.S. has already adopted the restrainers' agenda with respect to North Korea and Iran. That will come as news to us and to those two governments. It is misleading at best to claim that the Agreed Framework and the JCPOA amount to "normalizing" relations with North Korea and ending our "grudge match" with Iran. The idea that strong opposition to these agreements came only from "hawkish factions in two Republican administration" is simply wrong as a matter of fact. The hawkish factions were just the loudest and most vehement of the opponents. Agreements like these might be helpful for laying the groundwork for normal relations in the future, but they are just the start of what many restrainers are calling for.
Having failed to land any serious blows thus far, Mazarr turns to restrainers' prescriptions and points out that there is disagreement about what U.S. policy should be in many places. Since restraint is a strategy that allows for a range of views about specific policies, this is to be expected, especially when advocates of restraint have not yet been in a position to implement policy.

Earlier in the essay Mazarr complains that restrainers' language is too extreme and unconditional, and then later he disapproves of restrainers' use of nuance:

Just which military interventions "do not enhance U.S. security"? Which areas are "of little strategic importance"? What is an "unrealistic"goal, and how big does a defense budget have to become before it is "bloated"? This same adjectival approach to analysis crops up again and again in the restraint literature.

These are not serious questions. Mazarr can easily learn from the scholars he is citing what they mean when they say these things, but instead he quibbles about the reasonable qualifications that they are making. When they make unqualified statements, he condemns them for lacking nuance, and then he accuses them of waffling when they make qualifications. Most restrainers have been very clear that the U.S. has vital interests in Europe and East Asia, and that most other regions are not that important for our security. The military budget's bloat is a function of an overly ambitious strategy that commits the U.S. to defend dozens of countries, most of which do not need protection or could provide for their own defense. Unrealistic goals include, but are not limited to, compelling North Korea to disarm, forcing Iran to abolish its nuclear program, and using sanctions to coerce other states into abandoning their core interests.

Mazarr allows that "[p]roponents of restraint have played and continue to play a critical role in highlighting the risks of overweening ambition," but he does not think the U.S. should significantly scale back its ambitions. He grants that "rethinking of many key assumptions of U.S. national security policy is overdue, and proponents of restraint have delivered important warnings," but he doesn't rethink any key assumptions and proceeds to reject many of these warnings as overwrought. He seems to see restrainers as an occasionally useful check on the excesses of U.S. interventionism, but nothing more than that.

The failures of the last thirty years stem from an excessively ambitious role for the U.S. that no government could competently execute. If we want to have a more successful and peaceful foreign policy than we have had for at least the last thirty years, we need to have a much less ambitious and overreaching one. Restraint is the best answer currently available because it accepts that the U.S. does not have to dominate and shape the world. It is that drive to dominate and dictate terms to other states that has so often led the U.S. and other countries down the road to ruin. It is time to choose a different path.


Tradcona day ago

Excellent piece from Larison, he could not be more correct.

kouroia day ago

Add to all this the US strategic policy of full spectrum dominance and all the economic wars unleashed by the US.

It appears that the US is moving to add North Stream 2 and Turkish Stream going to Europe on CATSAA. How is this not economic aggression! In what universe is this right? USSR has built pipelines to Western Europe in the middle of the cold war. And the State Department insists this is due to strategic considerations, having nothing to do with the US trying to sell LNG to Europe....

It is no wonder such news are not really making the news in the US, because that would really sound weird to any Joe 6 pack...

Fazal Majid19 hours ago

Even describing it as "restraint" shows how skewed the Overton window is towards warmongering as the default.

Feral Finster13 hours ago

You can win all the intellectual arguments you want (and the arguments are easy to win, at least on any terms other than those of a full-blown sociopath who isn't even bothering to hide it) - the people of influence and authority still get the wars they crave.

Unless and until the United States either is utterly humiliated in a major war or faces economic collapse, nothing will change; the people of influence and authority still are in charge.

E.J. Smith Feral Finster12 hours ago

Great comment. Given the 'charlie foxtrot' that has become the Middle East in the wake of Iraq II, Afghanistan and the GWOT and the current economic and political situation in the U.S. in the wake of COVID-19 (whether you accept the MSM version or not), "utter humiliation" has occurred. The problem is that the establishment will never admit this and the salient lesson is never learned. You can use the Vietnam experience as an example.

The lesson of Vietnam, in my humble opinion, is that the U.S. is limited in its ability to project power and to engage in nation building exercises. The narrative changed in the '80s when lack of political will became the primary culprit for U.S. defeat in South East Asia rather than the more complicated array of factors that made the war unwinnable from the beginning. Regardless, in the mid-80s Sec. Def. Caspar Weinberger consolidated the Vietnam lessons into a doctrine that fundamentally advocated restraint. Arguably, the Weinberger doctrine resulted in the U.S. decision to terminate Iraq War I when it did out of recognition that the U.S. was in no position to prosecute a full-blown invasion of Iraq and to administer the country post-Saddam.

Although it was entirely ignored by the neocons and by the author himself, the Powell Doctrine was based upon similar notions of restraint. For example, Point 5 emphasizes that the consequences of military action have been thought out as a precondition to military engagement.

Feral Finster E.J. Smith12 hours ago

Until that humiliation starts to hurt and discredit those in power, it hasn't happened.

The Finster aims to please.

dbriz Feral Finsteran hour ago

And let us note the recent report that our "it's time we end the wars" leader has given those great peacemakers in the CIA operations department the green light to effect cyberwar against Iran. Not hard to imagine who in the neighborhood will happily assist in that.

What could go wrong?

L RNY9 hours ago

Its why Trump is so hated by neocons and neoliberals alike. They both want war....particularly if the democrats are the ones declaring the war and managing it but look at how much the neocons, the neoliberals, the war profiteers, the lobbyists...all work to keep the federal money flowing toward war where it can easily be spent often without tracking and easily used for undocumented bribes and payoffs and inside deals between US politicians like Biden and foreign governments like Ukraine or China.
The US is quite good at military destruction but you cant get new sewars, new water mains, new gas lines, new electrical plants, new mass transit, new airports, new roads, new housing, preservation of wilderness, preservation of wetlands and estuaries, maintenance of canals, and roads and bridges...etc. All the money is being siphoned off to foreign allies, foreign wars and if money is spent domestically then it is spent on politicians skimming money off civilian projects and its spent on democratic constituencies like Black Lives Matters, Planned Parenthood, Diversity, Immigration, Multiculturalism, affirmative action, teachers unions and other govt unions, etc....its not spent on actual physical infrastructure projects.

E.J. Smith L RNY8 hours ago

For example, in Iraq we were good at destroying Saddam's Republican Guard, blowing up cities, and dismantling the Ba'athist infrastructure. We weren't good at convincing Iraqis that the U.S. invasion and western paternalism were truly in their best interest.

It's the same reason that Vietnamization ultimately failed and why the ARVN and RVN government quickly collapsed in a matter of months in 1975 despite the human cost and billions in economic and military aid being poured into the country. It's probably why most believe that an actual American withdrawal from Afghanistan will inevitably result in a return to Taliban control, again despite trillions being poured into the country.

joeo L RNY7 hours ago

So true. Be they Republicans or Democrats neither seems able to end the wars we are in or admit the economic sanctions are not working. Perhaps the elections of Social Democrats will change the arguments.

[Jul 16, 2020] The Vatican may be the most influential element on US foreign policy, even more so than Israel whose interests are not nearly as global

Jul 16, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

PATIENT OBSERVER July 5, 2020 at 12:58 pm

The Vatican may be the most influential element on US foreign policy, even more so than Israel whose interests are not nearly as global. Via the Saker:

https://thesaker.is/with-fire-and-sword-obamas-black-crusaders-and-the-war-in-the-ukraine/

In can be argued that the Vatican's interest simply aligns with the "deep state" or it can be argued that the Vatican is part of the deep state. Indeed the Vatican predates the "deep state" by centuries and may be the first transational empire.

In any case, the Vatican has been the key player in major international operations from Poland to Argentina to S Vietnam. Of course, lets not forget their unforgettable role in WW II and the war against Serbia and the Soviet Union.

The posted article is well worth the long read. The Vatican has gotten a free pass in the West for far too long with their mass rape of children, organizers of genocide, buddy-buddy with organized crime and crooked bingo operations. Their role in Ukraine was particularly eye-opening for me.

I would imagine that the Pope is absolutely fuming about that Russian military cathedral. My take? That cathedral was built, in part, as a message to the Holy See that if they mess with Russia or its church, the response will be swift and final.

[Jul 13, 2020] Michele Flournoy- Queen of the Blob -

Jul 13, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Home / The State Of The Union / Michele Flournoy: Queen Of The Blob Michele Flournoy: Queen Of The Blob

This is how the elite, Ivy League-educated technocrats profit while the nation's real interests take a back seat. Michele Flournoy in 2015 CNAS/Flickr

JULY 7, 2020

|

8:00 PM

KELLEY BEAUCAR VLAHOS

Jonathan Guyer, managing editor of The American Prospect, has an unbelievably well-reported piece on the making of a Washington national security consultancy, starring two high placed Obama-era officials and one of the Imperial City's more successful denizens -- Michele Flournoy.

Flournoy may not be a household name anywhere but the Beltway, but when she met Sergio Aguirre and Nitin Chadda (Chiefs of staff to UN Ambassador Samantha Power and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter respectively) she was already trading lucratively on her stints in two Democratic administrations. In fact, according to Guyer, by 2017 she was pulling nearly a half a million dollars a year a year wearing a number of hats: senior advisor for Boston Consulting Group (where she helped increase their defense contracts to $32 million by 2016), founder and CEO of the Democratic leaning Center for a New American Security, senior fellow at Harvard's Belfer Center, and a member of various corporate boards.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13045197114175078?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13045197114175078-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theamericanconservative.com&rid=thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com&width=838

Hungry to get their own consulting business going after Hillary Clinton's stunning loss in 2016, according to Guyer, Aguirre and Chadda approached Flournoy for her starpower inside the Blob. Flournoy did not want "to have a firm with her name on it alone," so they sought and added Tony Blinken, former Under Secretary of State and "right hand man" to Joe Biden for 20 years. WestExec Advisors, named after the street alongside the West Wing of the White House, was born. "The name WestExec Advisors trades on its founders' recent knowledge of the highest echelons of decision-making," writes Guyer. "It also suggests they'll be walking down WestExec toward 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue someday soon."

Soon the firm was raking in corporate contracts and the high sums that go with it. They weren't lobbying per se (wink, wink) but their names and connections provided the grease on the skids their clients needed to make things happen in Washington. They shrewdly partnered with a private equity group and a Google affiliate. Before long, Guyer says, they did not need to market: CEO's were telling other CEO's to give them a call. More:

The founders told executives they would share their "passion" for helping new companies navigate the complex bureaucracy of winning Pentagon contracts. They told giant defense contractors how to explain cutting-edge technologies to visitors from Congress. Their approach worked, and clients began to sign up.

One was an airline, another a global transportation company, a third a company that makes drones that can almost instantly scan an entire building's interior. WestExec would only divulge that it began working with "Fortune 100 types," including large U.S. tech; financial services, including global-asset managers; aerospace and defense; emerging U.S. tech; and nonprofits.

The Prospect can confirm that one of those clients is the Israeli artificial-intelligence company Windward.

To say that the Flournoy helped WestExec establish itself as one of the most successful of the Beltway's defense and national security consultancies is an understatement. For sure, Flournoy has often been underestimated -- she is not flamboyant, nor glamorous, and is absolutely unrecognizable outside of the Washington market because she doesn't do media (though she is popular on the think tank conference circuit ). She's a technocrat -- smart and efficient and highly bred for Washington's finely tuned managerial class. She is a courtier for sure, but she is no sop. She has staying power, quietly forging relationships with the right people and not trying too hard to make a name or express ideas that might conflict with doctrine. She no doubt learned much in two stints in the Pentagon, which typically chews up the less capable, greedier, more narcissistic neophytes (not to mention idealists). She's not exactly known as a visionary, however, and one has to wonder which hat she is wearing when she expounds on current defense threats, like this piece about beefing up the Pentagon budget to confront China .

But what does it all mean? Flournoy has been at the forefront of strategy and policy in two administrations marked by overseas interventions (Clinton from 1993 to 2000) and Obama (2009 to 2012). All of her aforementioned qualities have helped her to personally succeed and profit -- especially now, no doubt helping weapons contractors get deals on the Hill, as Guyer susses out in his piece, not to mention how well-placed she would be for an incoming Biden Administration. But has it been in the best interest of the country? I think not. For this, she is queen of the Blob.

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https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.394.0_en.html#goog_87831358 00:12 / 00:59 00:00 Next Video × Next Video J.d. Vance Remarks On A New Direction For Pro-worker, Pro-family Conservatism, Tac Gala, 5-2019 Cancel Autoplay is paused

But elite is as elite does. She went from Beverly Hills High School to Harvard to Oxford, and then back to Harvard, before landing a political appointment in the Clinton Administration. In between government perches, she did consulting and started CNAS in hopes of creating a shadow national security council for Hillary Clinton. When Clinton didn't get the nomination, Flournoy and her colleagues supported Obama and helped populate his administration, supporting the military surge in Afghanistan and prolonging the war. She was called the "mastermind" behind Obama's Afghan strategy, which we now know was a failure, an effort at futility and prolonging the inevitable. In fact, we know now that most of the war establishment was lying through its teeth . But that hasn't stopped her from getting clients. They pay for her influence, not her ability to win wars.

Queen of the Blob, Queen of Business as Usual -- a business, as we well know from Guyer's excellent reporting, that pays off bigtime. But it has never paid off for the rest of America. But really, why should she care? She was never really with "us" to begin with.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, executive editor, has been writing for TAC since 2007, focusing on national security, foreign policy, civil liberties and domestic politics. She served for 15 years as a Washington bureau reporter for FoxNews.com, and at WTOP News in Washington from 2013-2017 as a writer, digital editor and social media strategist. She has also worked as a beat reporter at Bridge News financial wire (now part of Reuters) and Homeland Security Today, and as a regular contributor at Antiwar.com. A native Nutmegger, she got her start in Connecticut newspapers, but now resides with her family in Arlington, Va.

email

Tom Sadlowski 6 days ago

I wish that you would cover this equally in both parties; the near entire senior level of the political apparatus (apart from the few individuals truly invested in the best for all Americans) has become corrupted informing the policies, or lack thereof; whether implemented, ignored, or written into law.

Connecticut Farmer Tom Sadlowski 5 days ago

I think that what she wrote actually applies to both parties. One is the same as the other (as Ralph Nader called 'em "The Republicrats").

And neither of 'em give a rat's ass for you, for me,or for the rest of us pilgrims.

State Dept 6 days ago

We really need to get these "Blob" people out of our government. Electing Trump didn't fix the problem, and judging by this article, electing Biden won't either. Half of them people aren't even recognizably American. They're global elites, and they'll continue to use Americans and what's left of America to further their globalist agenda. With someone like Flournoy, selling powerful US technology to known spies and thieves like the Israelis, who take our tech, copy it, and sell it to enemies like China, only scratches the surface of what's going on. She should be in prison after all the damage she's done to America, not looking forward to yet another national security role in which she can get more Americans killed, wreck more foreign countries, and waste and steal more billions of taxpayer money.

Teddy007 6 days ago

Ms. Flournoy is an example of the type of competent high level staffer of which the Trump Administration is devoid. Do you think that Mr. Fluornoy that those who work for her would have had anything overturned at the Supreme Court because they were too lazy to complete the paperwork?

Bostonian Teddy007 4 days ago

"Ms. Flournoy is an example of the type of competent high level staffer of which the Trump Administration is devoid."

I have to agree that Trump's administration is devoid of competent people, but don't forget that it was incompetents like Flournoy that got Trump elected.

Teddy007 Bostonian 4 days ago

If you want to ID the individual most likely for President Trump winning, look up Joel Benenson. He was Hilary Clinton's chief of strategy and was convinced that Trump could not win any of the blue wall states. Ms. Fluornoy had nothing to do with that. Mr. Fluornoy would have been the Secretary of Defense in a Hillary Clinton Administration and probably would have been more competent that the current Secretary of Defense.

Alan Vanneman 6 days ago

You would have done better just to critique her article in Foreign Affairs. As it is, you sound like you're mad at Michele because she makes more money than you do (presumably).

kouroi Alan Vanneman 5 days ago

I think that it is a bit unfair, given the fact that the odds are stack the way they are. Ms. Vlahos has dedicated many years (they are so many she only whispers the number) on issues related with foreign policy. The path she has chosen is the harder path, the ethical, and moral one, which was never going to pay. If Ms. Vlahos is incensed, I bet that it is not because of the money, but because she sees that in Washington DC, only crime and wanton murder pays. She is accusing Ms Flournoy that she is a sellout to the crime syndicate, like a cop that has started herself supporting the drug trafficking.

You should know that people believe in more things than only making money. Ms. Flournoy it seems, has decided that she wants a piece of the cake and to hell with this absurd idea of "arms to plowshares"....

stephen pickard kouroi 5 days ago

Ms. Valhos can speak for herself. No one should project onto others their values. But it does seem that Valhos does make a point that Flournoy does not have any guiding philosophy . Except to be in a position to make a fine living from her contacts.

Could be that Flournoy is more greedy than not. She sure has the resume that would get her into any job which she wanted to interview for. And she paid her dues also.

When one looks at Valhos's resume it likewise is impressive. She too it seems to be proud of her connection to the elites. We should not condem either. We all want our children to excell. Unless Flournoy is an unindicted co conspirator, this article is just a piece of fluff. Too much time on Valhos's hands perhaps?

While I don't have anything else to do, I had hoped to read some good dirt. Alas all I got was one high achieving person carping bout another person of similar achievement. Bless them both.

kouroi stephen pickard 5 days ago

The dirt presented is facilitating arms contracts. By peddling the need of strong military and war. Being a merchant of death, which Ms. Vlahos doesn't seem to be, disqualifies Ms. Flournoy entirely. of anything.

johnhenry stephen pickard 5 days ago • edited

You write like a person in-the-know, but very poorly for all that.

stephen pickard johnhenry 4 days ago

Not sure what you mean " poorly for it". I tend not to get wrapped around the axle . But like it when someone comments on me personally. Lost perspective in old age. Would like to know more what you mean. Unless you just want to be mean

hooly 5 days ago • edited

But really, why should she care? She was never really with "us" to begin with.

That's a bit harsh don't you think? I remember that time on September 11, 2001, I was in the New York area when it happened, I even had a close acquaintance who died in the Twin Towers. I remember when America was united in its blood lust, it its ravenous quest for revenge, ... revenge on anything and anyone. When America's vengeful eye was set on the Taliban government of Afghanistan, it was off to the races. Left and Right, liberal and conservative, Democrat and Republican, ... all were united in avenging 9/11 on the evil Taliban and Afghan tribal peoples for harboring OBL. And I'm sure both you Miss Vlahos and Miss Flournoy were united as well in wanting someone to pay ... am I right? So don't give me this BS about 'us' and 'them' okay? America is a democracy, the American people get the government they vote for, they get the President, Senators and Members of Congress they vote for, that means they also get the flunkies, hangers on and entourages of think tankers and careerists they vote for. Understand? You get what you deserve, you don't get to whine and complain when you're leaders are incompetent and corrupt okay? So don't give me this 'us and them' nonsense and absolve yourself of the blood lust you once had all those years ago on September 11, 2001.

=marco01= hooly 5 days ago

No, liberals were not for taking it out on the Afghan tribal peoples. We were for getting those responsible, and sorry no, we didn't include the Afghan tribal people in on that too, despite any sympathies some of them may have had for AQ.

We had no 'blood lust' and we don't believe in collective punishment.

Bureaucrat =marco01= 7 hours ago

Did you just say liberals "don't believe in collective punishment"? I'm gonna give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're not lock-step in support of the #BLM and Critical Race Theory...

But your other point about liberals being anti-war is also flawed. Just connect the foreign intervention (not just wars, but also funding to foreign opposition groups) with some humanitarian urgency (think of those Afghan women!) and liberals have always advocated for the same foreign policies than neoconservatives.

johnhenry hooly 5 days ago • edited

"...I'm sure both you Miss Vlahos and Miss Flournoy..."

It's been decades since I've seen the word "Miss" used in print - except when I write to my granddaughter. In my profession, I write to women all the time, and although it used to be that unmarried ones were quite accepting of - and indeed expecting to receive - missives from me addressing them as such, I would be embarrassed to use that appellation when addressing adult women today in a professional or unacquainted capacity. Now, I only use it for women who wish it - old women, unmarried Catholic women and irascible old-school lesbians.

Your Time Machine needs a lube job.

Ron Johnson 5 days ago

Ah, yes. Highly educated, multiple degrees, cultivated....and extremely dangerous. All of that wonderful education dedicated to wanton killing and influence peddling. These people, the hidden professionals of pull, are the most difficult to fight because unlike a politician or a bureaucrat they are nearly invisible. She can only be effective if she is not seen. To her, public exposure is toxic. So expose away! Make her name known to everyone.

[Jul 13, 2020] Craig Murray about the glorification of war

Notable quotes:
"... Glorifying war is disturbing but so is the normalization of war. Most do not realize that large standing armies and large police forces were unknown/unusual only a century ago. ..."
"... And very few understand the mentality of the power-elite or how they have secreted themselves and their objectives behind gated communities, political divisiveness, and unaccountable 'national security' bullshit (more like 'war strategy'). ..."
Jul 13, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Jul 13 2020 15:11 utc | 181

Craig Murray writes about the glorification of war:

The BBC World War Two Porn Page
Glorifying war is disturbing but so is the normalization of war. Most do not realize that large standing armies and large police forces were unknown/unusual only a century ago.

And very few understand the mentality of the power-elite or how they have secreted themselves and their objectives behind gated communities, political divisiveness, and unaccountable 'national security' bullshit (more like 'war strategy').

The ideologies of the Empire are: neoConservativism (a form of aristocracy); neoLiberalism (a form of facism); and Zionism (a form of colonialism).

In short, a combination of the worst inclinations in the Western tradition.

!!

[Jul 11, 2020] Yes, to balance China, let's bring Russia in from the cold by MATTHEW DAL SANTO

Images removed...
This neocon thinks that Russia will ever Trust the USA and "collective West". Credibility is gone, probably for decadesto come.
Notable quotes:
"... In the presence of Russia's previously expansive relationship with Europe, a Russian pivot to Asia may have remained largely symbolic. In the presence of Western sanctions, however, it has instead become truly historic: Russia and China are closer today than at any point since the Sino-Soviet split that Nixon's China policy seized advantage of. ..."
"... pax Sinaica ..."
"... Paul Stronski, a former director for Russia and Central Asia on the US National Security Council, identifies the implications better. Given that China "currently receives most of its primary imports through sea lanes from the south", Stronski writes, "the Russian Far East provides not only a diversified source a reliable and rich supply from its northern borders could also function as a hedge against a US Navy blockade". ..."
"... Australia's foreign policy elite is usually quick to talk up its "post-European" credentials. But on Russia they have been content to be guided by an uncritical neo-Atlanticist perspective . While Europe may fear a Russia that is too strong, Asia should fear a Russia that is too weak. ..."
Jul 07, 2020 | www.lowyinstitute.org
Yes, to balance China, let's
bring Russia in from the cold

The West's isolation of Russia has helped Moscow acquiesce in an expanded Chinese presence it would once have resented.

Last month, US President Donald Trump surprised allies by calling for Russia and Australia to be admitted together with India and South Korea to an expanded G-7.

Writing in support of the idea, federal Liberal MP Dave Sharma has cast the argument as a reversal of Nixon's 1972 opening to Mao's China , a "reshuffling of the deck" to balance China's growing shadow in world affairs by peeling off a sanctioned but far from shrunken " global Russia " increasingly closely attached to China's side.

Given China's increasingly agonistic approach to Australia and Indo-Pacific states, such a policy commends itself by its realist credentials. But it would also acknowledge the role Western policies have played in accelerating the Sino-Russian rapprochement.

Certainly, Moscow and Beijing's "axis of convenience" predates the sanctions imposed by the West on Russia in 2014: the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (a forum for military cooperation and intelligence sharing originally focused on counter-terrorism) was founded in 2002; Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Russia's own "