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Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism
and Alliance of Transnational Elites

Neoliberalism is inseparable from imperialism and globalization

Who Rules America > Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism

News American Imperialism Recommended Links Predator state Neoliberalism as a New form of Corporatism Neoconservatism as a US version of Neoliberalism IMF as a key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement
Debt enslavement Greece debt enslavement Ukraine debt enslavement Provisional government as an instrument for Ukraine's debt enslavement "Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia Looting pays dividends to empire
Antiamericanism as a Blowback to American Empire Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Globalization of Financial Flows Divide and conquer strategy Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few The Deep State Why did we get the collapse of the USSR so wrong ?
American Exceptionalism Anatol Leiven on American Messianism The Grand Chessboard New American Militarism Media-Military-Industrial Complex The Iron Law of Oligarchy Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult
Fifth Column of Globalization Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair "Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries US Department of Imperial Expansion Diplomacy by deception Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources American imperialism: the attempt to secure global hegemony
Victoria Nuland’s ‘Ukraine-gate’ Color revolutions Compradors NGOs as braintrust of color revolutions EuroMaidan The Far Right Forces in Ukraine as Trojan horse of neoliberalism Narcissism as Key American Value
Resurgence of ideology of neo-fascism Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Machiavellism Right to protect Big Uncle is Watching You Industrial Espionage
Media domination strategy Media as a weapon of mass deception Developing Countries Hit Hardest by Brain Drain Republics are usually warlike and unscrupulous Politically Incorrect Political Humor American Imperialism Bookshelf Etc

Introduction

All U.S. schoolchildren should be taught, as part of their basic civics education, by conscientious elementary, middle school and high school teachers, that they live in an imperialist country. The term itself ought to be popularized. This is what politicians like Obama actually refer to, elliptically, when they call the U.S. “exceptional.

Gary Leupp, The U.S. Versus ISIS

Looks like the USA successfully managed to recreate Imperial Rome on a new level, neoliberalism level. See Empires Then and Now - PaulCraig

The idea financial imperialism is simple. Instead of old-fashion military occupation of the country, take over the countries in crisis, if necessary remove their democratically elected governments from power by claiming that election are falsified and the government is authoritarian (unlike the puppets they want to install), and use extraordinary powers to mandate austerity, burden them with debt most of which will be stolen and repatriated to the West. But neoliberals take this old idea to a new level -- the crisis can be manufactured. The scheme looks like the following (see IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement discussion of Greece for more information):

After installation of a puppet government, it is relatively easy to use Fifth column based government to protect foreign financial interest. Now you can recoup the costs and enjoy the profits. Much cheaper and more humane then bombing the country and killing a couple of hundred thousand people to achieve the same goals (Iraq variant).

A classic recent examples were Yeltsin's government in Russia, Yushchenko regime in Ukraine,  Poroshenko-Yatsenyuk duo in Ukraine and sequence of neoliberal governments in Greece. 

In other words neoliberalism is inseparable from imperialism and globalization (Neoliberalism A Critical Reader Alfredo Saad-Filho, Deborah Johnston, p. 2)

In the conventional (or mainstream) discourse,imperialism is either absent or, more recently, proudly presented as the ‘AmericanBurden': to civilise the world and bring to all the benediction of the Holy Trinity, the green-faced Lord Dollar and its deputies and occasional rivals. Holy Euro and Saint Yen. New converts win a refurbished international airport, one brand-new branch of McDonald’s, two luxury hotels, 3,000 NGOs and one US military base.

This offer cannot be refused - or else.2 In turn, globalisation is generally presented as an inescapable, inexorable and benevolent process leading to greater competition, welfare improvements and the spread of democracy around the world. In reality, however, the so-called process of globalisation - to the extent that it actually exists (see Saad-Rlho 2003) - is merely the international face of neoliberalism: a world-wide strategy of accumulation and social discipline that doubles up as tin imperial-ist project, spearheaded by the alliance between the US ruling class and locally dominant capitalist coalitions. This ambitious power project centred on neoliberalism at home and imperial globalism abroad is implemented by diverse social and economic political alliances in each country, but the interests of local finance and the US ruling class, itself dominated by finance, are normally hegemonic.

...the United States, the United Kingdom and east and south-east Asia respectively, neoliberalism is a particular organisation of capitalism, which has evolved to protect capital(ism) and to reduce the power of labour. This is achieved by means of social, economic and political transformations imposed by internal forces as well as external pressure. The internal forces include the coalition between financial interests, leading industrialists, traders and exporters, media barons, big landowners, local political chieftains, the
top echelons of the civil service and the military, and their intellectual and political proxies. These groups are closely connected with ‘global’ ideologies emanating from the centre, and they tend to adapt swiftly to the demands beamed from the metropolis. Their efforts have led to a significant worldwide shift in powerrelations away from the majority. Corporate power has increased, while finance hits acquired unrivalled influence, and the political spectrum has shifted towards the right. Left parties and mass organisations have imploded, while trade unions have been muzzled or disabled by unemployment. Forms of external pressure have included the diffusion of Western culture and ideology, foreign support for state and civil society institutions peddling neolibcral values, the shameless use of foreign aid, debt relief and balance of payments support to promote the neoliberal programme, and diplomatic pressure, political unrest and military intervention when necessary.

...the ruling economic and political forces in the European Union have instrumentalised the process of integration to ensure the hegemony of neoliberalism. This account is complemented by the segmentation of Eastern Europe into countries that are being drawn into a Western European-style neoliberalism and others that are following Russia’s business oligarchy model. In sum, neoliberalism is everywhere both the outcome and the arena of social conflicts. It sets the political and economic agenoa. limits the possibie outcomes, biases expectations, and imposes urgent tasks on those challenging its assumptions, methods and consequences.

In the meantime, neoliberal theory has not remained static. In order to deal with the most powerful criticisms leveled against neoliberalism, that it has increased poverty and social dislocation around the world, neoliberal theory has attempted to present the ogre in a more favorable light. In spite of the substantial resources invested in this ideologically inspired make-over, these amendments have remained unconvincing, not least because the heart of the neoliberal project has remained unchanged. This is discussed in Chapter 15 for poverty and distribution, while Chapter 21 unpicks the agenda of the ‘Third Way', viewed by many as ‘neoliberalism with a human face’.

Neoliberalism offered a finance-friendly solution to the problems of capital accumulation at the end of a relatively long cycle of prosperity. Chapters 1. 22 and 30 show that neoliberalism imposed discipline upon a restless working class through contractionary fiscal and monetary policies and wide-ranging initiatives to curtail social rights, under the guise of anti-inflation and productivity-enhancing measures. Neoliberalism also rationalised the transfer of state capacity to allocate resources inter-temporally (the balance between investment and consumption) and inter-sectorally (the distribution of investment, employment and output) towards an increasingly internationally integrated (and US-led) financial sector. In doing so, neoliberalism facilitated a gigantic transfer of resources to the local rich and the United States, as is shown by Chapters 11 and 15.

The “elephant in the room” is peak oil (plato oil to be more correct) and the plato of food production. Without "cheap oil" extraction growing, it is more difficult to sustain both  population growth and rising standard of living simultaneously. It became the situation of iether/or, So the future it does not look pretty. As soon as "cheap oil" is close to the the plato,  financial system gets into trouble: private banks based fractional reserve banking requires economy expansion for survival.  And they add positive feedback loop to the economy, greatly increasing the instability. So some, less important, banks will implode and strategically important need to be saved by government at a great expense for taxpayers. The western elite is well aware of this possibility and will steal, loot and pillage as fast as they can to prolong the agony...  Neoliberal expansion and conversion of other countries into debt slaves can serve as a substitute for growth.

What actually is devalued in austerity programs imposed on indebted nations via currency depreciation is the price of local labor (along with standard of living of the most population). So austerity programs caused a huge drop in the standard of living of population. Drop of standard of living of Ukraine to the level of the most poor countries of Africa  (less then $2 a day for the majority of population) is pretty instructive here.   That is the main domestic cost, as long as there as there is a common world price for fuels and minerals, consumer goods, food and even credit. As wages are sticky and it is difficult to reduced then directly (via high unemployment, leading to falling wages), currency depreciation can do the same trick even more effectively. for example since February 22 coup d'état, grivna, the Ukrainian currency depreciated from 8 to 24 grivna to dollar or approximately 300%.

This is how war of creditors against debtor countries turns into a class war. But to impose such neoliberal reforms, foreign pressure is necessary to bypass domestic, democratically elected Parliaments. Not every country’s voters can be expected to be as passive in acting against their own interests as those of Latvia and Ireland. The financial capital objective is to bypass parliament by demanding a “consensus” to put foreign creditors first, above the national economy.

Buying natural monopolies in transportation, communications, and the land from the public domain for pennies on the dollar is called "rescue package", not the road to debt peonage and a financial neo-feudalism that looms as a grim reality. Let me state it very simply : "the borrower [debtor] is SERVANT to the lender".

"the borrower [debtor] is SERVANT to the lender".

The whole point of creating debtors is to gain control of and rule over them. Prof. Hudson's article Replacing Economic Democracy with Financial Oligarchy (2011) illustrates this admirably.

At the same time then comes to bailing out bankers who overplayed with derivatives, rules are ignored – in order to serve the “higher justice” of saving banks and their high-finance counterparties from taking a loss. This is quite a contrast compared to IMF policy toward labor and “taxpayers.” The class war is back in business – with a vengeance, and bankers are the winners this time around.

Classic, textbook example of neocolonialism was rape of Russia in 1991-1999. See Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia

Henry C K Liu Views

One of the most interesting analysis of this new phenomena was provided by Henry C K Liu in his series of articles SUPER CAPITALISM, SUPER IMPERIALISM


PART 1: A Structural Link

Robert B Reich, former US Secretary of Labor and resident neo-liberal in the Clinton administration from 1993 to 1997, wrote in the September 14, 2007 edition of The Wall Street Journal an opinion piece, "CEOs Deserve Their Pay", as part of an orchestrated campaign to promote his new book: Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life (Afred A Knopf).

Reich is a former Harvard professor and the former Maurice B Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. He is currently a professor at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California (Berkley) and a regular liberal gadfly in the unabashed supply-side Larry Kudlow TV show that celebrates the merits of capitalism.

Reich's Supercapitalism brings to mind Michael Hudson's Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (1972-2003). While Reich, a liberal turned neo-liberal, sees "supercapitalism" as the natural evolution of insatiable shareholder appetite for gain, a polite euphemism for greed, that cannot or should not be reined in by regulation, Hudson, a Marxist heterodox economist, sees "super imperialism" as the structural outcome of post-World War II superpower geopolitics, with state interests overwhelming free market forces, making regulation irrelevant. While Hudson is critical of "super imperialism" and thinks that it should be resisted by the weaker trading partners of the US, Reich gives the impression of being ambivalent about the inevitability, if not the benignity, of "supercapitalism".

The structural link between capitalism and imperialism was first observed by John Atkinson Hobson (1858-1940), an English economist, who wrote in 1902 an insightful analysis of the economic basis of imperialism. Hobson provided a humanist critique of neoclassical economics, rejecting exclusively materialistic definitions of value. With Albert Frederick Mummery (1855-1895), the great British mountaineer who was killed in 1895 by an avalanche while reconnoitering Nanga Parbat, an 8,000-meter Himalayan peak, Hobson wrote The Physiology of Industry (1889), which argued that an industrial economy requires government intervention to maintain stability, and developed the theory of over-saving that was given a glowing tribute by John Maynard Keynes three decades later.

The need for governmental intervention to stabilize an expanding national industrial economy was the rationale for political imperialism. On the other side of the coin, protectionism was a governmental counter-intervention on the part of weak trading partners for resisting imperialist expansion of the dominant power. Historically, the processes of globalization have always been the result of active state policy and action, as opposed to the mere passive surrender of state sovereignty to market forces. Market forces cannot operate in a vacuum. They are governed by man-made rules. Globalized markets require the acceptance by local authorities of established rules of the dominant economy. Currency monopoly of course is the most fundamental trade restraint by one single dominant government.

Adam Smith published Wealth of Nations in 1776, the year of US independence. By the time the constitution was framed 11 years later, the US founding fathers were deeply influenced by Smith's ideas, which constituted a reasoned abhorrence of trade monopoly and government policy in restricting trade. What Smith abhorred most was a policy known as mercantilism, which was practiced by all the major powers of the time. It is necessary to bear in mind that Smith's notion of the limitation of government action was exclusively related to mercantilist issues of trade restraint. Smith never advocated government tolerance of trade restraint, whether by big business monopolies or by other governments in the name of open markets.

A central aim of mercantilism was to ensure that a nation's exports remained higher in value than its imports, the surplus in that era being paid only in specie money (gold-backed as opposed to fiat money). This trade surplus in gold permitted the surplus country, such as England, to invest in more factories at home to manufacture more for export, thus bringing home more gold. The importing regions, such as the American colonies, not only found the gold reserves backing their currency depleted, causing free-fall devaluation (not unlike that faced today by many emerging-economy currencies), but also wanting in surplus capital for building factories to produce for domestic consumption and export. So despite plentiful iron ore in America, only pig iron was exported to England in return for English finished iron goods. The situation was similar to today's oil producing countries where despite plentiful crude oil, refined petrochemical products such as gasoline and heating oil have to be imported.

In 1795, when the newly independent Americans began finally to wake up to their disadvantaged trade relationship and began to raise European (mostly French and Dutch) capital to start a manufacturing industry, England decreed the Iron Act, forbidding the manufacture of iron goods in its American colonies, which caused great dissatisfaction among the prospering colonials.

Smith favored an opposite government policy toward promoting domestic economic production and free foreign trade for the weaker traders, a policy that came to be known as "laissez faire" (because the English, having nothing to do with such heretical ideas, refuse to give it an English name). Laissez faire, notwithstanding its literal meaning of "leave alone", meant nothing of the sort. It meant an activist government policy to counteract mercantilism. Neo-liberal free-market economists are just bad historians, among their other defective characteristics, when they propagandize "laissez faire" as no government interference in trade affairs.

Friedrich List, in his National System of Political Economy (1841), asserts that political economy as espoused in England, far from being a valid science universally, was merely British national opinion, suited only to English historical conditions. List's institutional school of economics asserts that the doctrine of free trade was devised to keep England rich and powerful at the expense of its trading partners and it must be fought with protective tariffs and other protective devices of economic nationalism by the weaker countries.

Henry Clay's "American system" was a national system of political economy. US neo-imperialism in the post WWII period disingenuously promotes neo-liberal free-trade against governmental protectionism to keep the US rich and powerful at the expense of its trading partners. Before the October Revolution of 1917, many national liberation movements in European colonies and semi-colonies around the world were influenced by List's economic nationalism. The 1911 Nationalist Revolution in China, led by Sun Yat-sen, was heavily influenced by Lincoln's political ideas - government of the people, by the people and for the people - and the economic nationalism of List, until after the October Revolution when Sun realized that the Soviet model was the correct path to national revival.

Hobson's magnum opus, Imperialism, (1902), argues that imperialistic expansion is driven not by state hubris, known in US history as "manifest destiny", but by an innate quest for new markets and investment opportunities overseas for excess capital formed by over-saving at home for the benefit of the home state. Over-saving during the industrial age came from Richardo's theory of the iron law of wages, according to which wages were kept perpetually at subsistence levels as a result of uneven market power between capital and labor. Today, job outsourcing that returns as low-price imports contributes to the iron law of wages in the US domestic economy. (See my article Organization of Labor Exporting Countries [OLEC]).

Hobson's analysis of the phenology (study of life cycles) of capitalism was drawn upon by Lenin to formulate a theory of imperialism as an advanced stage of capitalism: "Imperialism is capitalism at that stage of development at which the dominance of monopolies and finance capitalism is established; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun, in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed." (Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, 1916, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Chapter 7).

Lenin was also influenced by Rosa Luxemberg, who three year earlier had written her major work, The Accumulation of Capital: A Contribution to an Economic Explanation of Imperialism (Die Akkumulation des Kapitals: Ein Beitrag zur ökonomischen Erklärung des Imperialismus), 1913). Luxemberg, together with Karl Liebknecht a founding leader of the Spartacist League (Spartakusbund), a radical Marxist revolutionary movement that later renamed itself the Communist Party of Germany (Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands, or KPD), was murdered on January 15, 1919 by members of the Freikorps, rightwing militarists who were the forerunners of the Nazi Sturmabteilung (SA) led by Ernst Rohm.

The congenital association between capitalism and imperialism requires practically all truly anti-imperialist movements the world over to be also anti-capitalist. To this day, most nationalist capitalists in emerging economies are unwitting neo-compradors for super imperialism. Neo-liberalism, in its attempts to break down all national boundaries to facilitate global trade denominated in fiat dollars, is the ideology of super imperialism.

Hudson, the American heterodox economist, historian of ancient economies and post-WW II international balance-of-payments specialist, advanced in his 1972 book the notion of 20th century super imperialism. Hudson updated Hobson's idea of 19th century imperialism of state industrial policy seeking new markets to invest home-grown excess capital. To Hudson, super imperialism is a state financial strategy to export debt denominated in the state's fiat currency as capital to the new financial colonies to finance the global expansion of a superpower empire. No necessity, or even intention, was entertained by the superpower of ever having to pay off these paper debts after the US dollar was taken off gold in 1971.

Monetary Imperialism and Dollar Hegemony

Super imperialism transformed into monetary imperialism after the 1973 Middle East oil crisis with the creation of the petrodollar and two decades later emerged as dollar hegemony through financial globalization after 1993. As described in my 2002 AToL article, Dollar hegemony has to go, a geopolitical phenomenon emerged after the 1973 oil crisis in which the US dollar, a fiat currency since 1971, continues to serve as the primary reserve currency for  international trade because oil continues to be denominated in fiat dollars as a result of superpower geopolitics, leading to dollar hegemony in 1993 with the globalization of deregulated financial markets.

Three causal developments allowed dollar hegemony to emerge over a span of two decades after 1973 and finally take hold in 1993. US fiscal deficits from overseas spending since the 1950s caused a massive drain in US gold holdings, forcing the US in 1971 to abandon the 1945 Bretton Woods regime of fixed exchange rate based on a gold-backed dollar. Under that international financial architecture, cross-border flow of funds was not considered necessary or desirable for promoting international trade or domestic development. The collapse of the 1945 Bretton Woods regime in 1971 was the initial development toward dollar hegemony.

The second development was the denomination of oil in dollars after the 1973 Middle East oil crisis. The emergence of petrodollars was the price the US, still only one of two contending superpowers in 1973, extracted from defenseless oil-producing nations for allowing them to nationalize the Western-owned oil industry on their soil. As long as oil transactions are denominated in fiat dollars, the US essentially controls all the oil in the world financially regardless of specific ownership, reducing all oil producing nations to the status of commodity agents of dollar hegemony.

The third development was the global deregulation of financial markets after the Cold War, making cross-border flow of funds routine, and a general relaxation of capital and foreign exchange control by most governments involved in international trade. This neo-liberal trade regime brought into existence a foreign exchange market in which free-floating exchange rates made computerized speculative attacks on weak currencies a regular occurrence. These three developments permitted the emergence of dollar hegemony after 1994 and helped the US win the Cold War with financial power derived from fiat money.

Dollar hegemony advanced super imperialism one stage further from the financial to the monetary front. Industrial imperialism sought to achieve a trade surplus by exporting manufactured good to the colonies for gold to fund investment for more productive plants at home. Super imperialism sought to extract real wealth from the colonies by paying for it with fiat dollars to sustain a balance of payments out of an imbalance in the exchange of commodities. Monetary imperialism under dollar hegemony exports debt denominated in fiat dollars through a permissive trade deficit with the new colonies, only to re-import the debt back to the US as capital account surplus to finance the US debt bubble.

The circular recycling of dollar-denominated debt was made operative by the dollar, a fiat currency that only the US can print at will, continuing as the world's prime reserve currency for international trade and finance, backed by US geopolitical superpower. Dollars are accepted universally because oil is denominated in dollars and everyone needs oil and thus needs dollars to buy oil. Any nation that seeks to denominate key commodities, such as oil, in currencies other than the dollar will soon find itself invaded by the sole superpower. Thus the war on Iraq is not about oil, as former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan suggested recently. It is about keeping oil denominated in dollars to protect dollar hegemony. The difference is subtle but of essential importance.

Since 1993, central banks of all trading nations around the world, with the exception of the US Federal Reserve, have been forced to hold more dollar reserves than they otherwise need to ward off the potential of sudden speculative attacks on their currencies in unregulated global financial markets. Thus "dollar hegemony" prevents the exporting nations, such as the Asian Tigers, from spending domestically the dollars they earn from the US trade deficit and forces them to fund the US capital account surplus, shipping real wealth to the US in exchange for the privilege of financing further growth of the US debt economy.

Not only do these exporting nations have to compete by keeping their domestic wages down and by prostituting their environment, the dollars that they earn cannot be spent at home without causing a monetary crisis in their own currencies because the dollars they earn have to be exchanged into local currencies before they can be spent domestically, causing an excessive rise in their domestic money supply which in turn causes domestic inflation-pushed bubbles. While the trade-surplus nations are forced to lend their export earnings back to the US, these same nations are starved for capital, as global capital denominated in dollars will only invest in their export sectors to earn more dollars. The domestic sector with local currency earnings remains of little interest to global capital denominated in dollars. As a result, domestic development stagnates for lack of capital.

Dollar hegemony permits the US to transform itself from a competitor in world markets to earn hard money, to a fiat-money-making monopoly with fiat dollars that only it can print at will. Every other trading nation has to exchange low-wage goods for dollars that the US alone can print freely and that can be spent only in the dollar economy without monetary penalty.

The victimization of Japan and China

Japan is a classic victim of monetary imperialism. In 1990, as a result of Japanese export prowess, the Industrial Bank of Japan was the largest bank in the world, with a market capitalization of $57 billion. The top nine of the 10 largest banks then were all Japanese, trailed by Canadian Alliance in 10th place. No US bank made the top-10 list. By 2001, the effects of dollar hegemony have pushed Citigroup into first place with a market capitalization of $260 billion. Seven of the top 10 largest financial institutions in the world in 2001 were US-based, with descending ranking in market capitalization: Citigroup ($260 billion), AIG ($209 billion), HSBC (British-$110 billion), Berkshire Hathaway ($100 billion), Bank of America ($99 billion), Fanny Mae ($80 billion), Wells Fargo ($74 billion), JP Morgan Chase ($72 billion), RBS (British-$70 billion) and UBS (Swiss-$67 billion). No Japanese bank survived on the list.

China is a neoclassic case of dollar hegemony victimization even though its domestic financial markets are still not open and the yuan is still not freely convertible. With over $1.4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves earned at a previously lower fixed exchange rate of 8.2 to a dollar set in 1985, now growing at the rate of $1 billion a day at a narrow-range floating exchange rate of around 7.5 since July 2005, China cannot spend much of it dollar holdings on domestic development without domestic inflation caused by excessive expansion of its yuan money supply. The Chinese economy is overheating because the bulk of its surplus revenue is in dollars from exports that cannot be spent inside China without monetary penalty. Chinese wages are too low to absorb sudden expansion of yuan money supply to develop the domestic economy. And with over $1.4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, equal to its annual GDP, China cannot even divest from the dollar without having the market effect of a falling dollar moving against its remaining holdings.

The People's Bank of China announced on July 20, 2005 that effective immediately the yuan exchange rate would go up by 2.1% to 8.11 yuan to the US dollar and that China would drop the dollar peg to its currency. In its place, China would move to a "managed float" of the yuan, pegging the currency's exchange value to an undisclosed basket of currencies linked to its global trade. In an effort to limit the amount of volatility, China would not allow the currency to fluctuate by more than 0.3% in any one trading day. Linking the yuan to a basket of currencies means China's currency is relatively free from market forces acting on the dollar, shifting to market forces acting on a basket of currencies of China's key trading partners. The basket is composed of the euro, yen and other Asian currencies as well as the dollar. Though the precise composition of the basket was not disclosed, it can nevertheless be deduced by China's trade volume with key trading partners and by mathematical calculation from the set-daily exchange rate.

Thus China is trapped in a trade regime operating on an international monetary architecture in which it must continue to export real wealth in the form of underpaid labor and polluted environment in exchange for dollars that it must reinvest in the US. Ironically, the recent rise of anti-trade sentiment in US domestic politics offers China a convenient, opportune escape from dollar hegemony to reduce its dependence on export to concentrate on domestic development. Chinese domestic special interest groups in the export sector would otherwise oppose any policy to slow the growth in export if not for the rise of US protectionism which causes shot-term pain for China but long-term benefit in China's need to restructure its economy toward domestic development. Further trade surplus denominated in dollar is of no advantage to China.

Emerging markets are new colonies of monetary imperialism

Even as the domestic US economy declined after the onset of globalization in the early 1990s, US dominance in global finance has continued to this day on account of dollar hegemony. It should not be surprising that the nation that can print at will the world's reserve currency for international trade should come up on top in deregulated global financial markets. The so-called emerging markets around the world are the new colonies of monetary imperialism in a global neo-liberal trading regime operating under dollar hegemony geopolitically dominated by the US as the world's sole remaining superpower.

Denial of corporate social responsibility

In Supercapitalism, Reich identifies corporate social responsibility as a diversion from economic efficiency and an un-capitalistic illusion. Of course the late Milton Friedman had asserted that the only social responsibility of corporations is to maximize profit, rather than to generate economic well-being and balanced growth through fair profits. There is ample evidence to suggest that a single-minded quest for maximizing global corporate profit can lead to domestic economic decline in even the world's sole remaining superpower. The US public is encouraged to blame such decline on the misbehaving trading partners of the US rather than US trade policy that permits US transnational corporation to exploit workers in all trading nations, including those in the US. It is a policy that devalues work by over-rewarding financial manipulation.

Yet to Reich, the US corporate income tax is regressive and inequitable and should be abolished so that after-tax corporate profit can be even further enhanced. This pro-profit position is at odds with even rising US Republican sentiment against transnational corporations and their global trade strategies. Reich also thinks the concept of corporate criminal liability is based on an "anthropomorphic fallacy" that ends up hurting innocent people. Reich sees as inevitable an evolutionary path towards an allegedly perfect new world of a super-energetic capitalism responding to the dictate of all-powerful consumer preference through market democracy.

Reich argues that corporations cannot be expected to be more "socially responsible" than their shareholders or even their consumers, and he implies that consumer preference and behavior are the proper and effective police forces that supersede the need for market regulation. He sees corporations, while viewed by law as "legal persons", as merely value-neutral institutional respondents of consumer preferences in global markets. Reich claims that corporate policies, strategies and behavior in market capitalism are effectively governed by consumer preferences and need no regulation by government. This is essentially the ideology of neo-liberalism.

Yet US transnational corporations derive profit from global operations serving global consumers to maximize return on global capital. These transnational corporations will seek to shift production to where labor is cheapest and environmental standards are lowest and to market their products where prices are highest and consumer purchasing power the strongest. Often, these corporations find it more profitable to sell products they themselves do not make, controlling only design and marketing, leaving the dirty side of manufacturing to others with underdeveloped market power. This means if the US wants a trade surplus under the current terms of trade, it must lower it wages. The decoupling of consumers from producers weakens the conventional effects of market pressure on corporate social responsibility. Transnational corporations have no home community loyalty. Consumers generally do not care about sweat shop conditions overseas while overseas workers do not care about product safety on goods they produce but cannot afford to buy. Products may be made in China, but they are not made by China, but by US transnational corporations which are responsible for the quality and safety of their products.

Further, it is well recognized that corporations routinely and effectively manipulate consumer preference and market acceptance often through if not false, at least misleading advertising, not for the benefit of consumers, but to maximize return on faceless capital raised from global capital markets. The subliminal emphasis by the corporate culture on addictive acquisition of material things, coupled with a structural deprivation of adequate income to satisfy the manipulated desires, has made consumers less satisfied than in previous times of less material abundance. Corporations have been allowed to imbed consumption-urging messages into every aspect of modern life. The result is a disposable culture with packaged waste, an obesity crisis for all age groups, skyrocketing consumer debt, the privatization of public utilities that demand the same fee for basic services from rich and poor alike, causing a sharp disparity in affordability. It is a phenomenon described by Karl Marx as "Fetishism of Commodities".

Marx's concept of Fetishism of Commodities

Marx wrote in Das Kapital:[1]

The relation of the producers to the sum total of their own labor is presented to them as a social relation, existing not between themselves, but between the products of their labor. This is the reason why the products of labor become commodities, social things whose qualities are at the same time perceptible and imperceptible by the senses … The existence of the things qua commodities, and the value relation between the products of labor which stamps them as commodities, have absolutely no connection with their physical properties and with the material relations arising therefrom. It is a definite social relation between men that assumes, in their eyes, the fantastic form of a relation between things. In order, therefore, to find an analogy, we must have recourse to the mist-enveloped regions of the religious world. In that world, the productions of the human brain appear as independent beings endowed with life, and entering into relation both with one another and the human race. So it is in the world of commodities with the products of men's hands. This I call the Fetishism which attaches itself to the products of labor, as soon as they are produced as commodities, and which is therefore inseparable from the production of commodities. This Fetishism of Commodities has its origin … in the peculiar social character of the labor that produces them.
Marx asserts that "the mystical character of commodities does not originate in their use-value" (Section 1, p 71). Market value is derived from social relations, not from use-value which is a material phenomenon. Thus Marx critiques the Marginal Utility Theory by pointing out that market value is affected by social relationships. For example, the marginal utility of door locks is a function of the burglary rate in a neighborhood which in turn is a function of the unemployment rate. Unregulated free markets are a regime of uninhibited price gouging by monopolies and cartels.

Thus the nature of money cannot be adequately explained even in terms of the material-technical properties of gold, but only in terms of the factors behind man's desire and need for gold. Similarly, it is not possible to fully understand the price of capital from the technical nature of the means of production, but only from the social institution of private ownership and the terms of exchange imposed by uneven market power. Market capitalism is a social institution based on the fetishism of commodities.

Democracy threatened by the corporate state

While Reich is on target in warning about the danger to democracy posed by the corporate state, and in claiming that only people can be citizens, and only citizens should participate in democratic decision making, he misses the point that transnational corporations have transcended national boundaries. Yet in each community that these transnational corporations operate, they have the congenital incentive, the financial means and the legal mandate to manipulate the fetishism of commodities even in distant lands.

Moreover, representative democracy as practiced in the US is increasingly manipulated by corporate lobbying funded from high-profit-driven corporate financial resources derived from foreign sources controlled by management. Corporate governance is notoriously abusive of minority shareholder rights on the part of management. Notwithstanding Reich's rationalization of excessive CEO compensation, CEOs as a class are the most vocal proponents of corporate statehood. Modern corporations are securely insulated from any serious threats from consumer revolt. Inter-corporate competition presents only superficial and trivial choices for consumers. Motorists have never been offered any real choice on gasoline by oil companies or alternatives on the gasoline-guzzling internal combustion engine by car-makers.

High pay for CEOs

Reich asserts in his Wall Street Journal piece that modern CEOs in finance capitalism nowadays deserve their high pay because they have to be superstars, unlike their bureaucrat-like predecessors during industrial capitalism. Notwithstanding that one would expect a former labor secretary to argue that workers deserve higher pay, the challenge to corporate leadership in market capitalism has always been and will always remain management's ruthless pursuit of market leadership power, a euphemism for monopoly, by skirting the rule of law and regulations, framing legislative regimes through political lobbying, pushing down wages and worker benefits, increasing productivity by downsizing in an expanding market and manipulating consumer attitude through advertising. At the end of the day, the bottom line for corporate profit is a factor of lowering wage and benefit levels.

Reich seems to have forgotten that the captains of industry of 19th century free-wheeling capitalism were all superstars who evoked public admiration by manipulating the awed public into accepting the Horatio Alger myth of success through hard work, honesty and fairness. The derogatory term "robber barons" was first coined by protest pamphlets circulated by victimized Kansas farmers against ruthless railroad tycoons during the Great Depression.

The manipulation of the public will by moneyed interests is the most problematic vulnerability of US economic and political democracy. In an era when class warfare has taken on new sophistication, the accusation of resorting to class warfare argument is widely used to silence legitimate socio-economic protests. The US media is essentially owned by the moneyed interests. The decline of unionism in the US has been largely the result of anti-labor propaganda campaigns funded by corporations and government policies influenced by corporate lobbyists. The infiltration of organized crime was exploited to fan public anti-union sentiments while widespread corporate white collar crimes were dismissed as mere anomalies. (See Capitalism's bad apples: It's the barrel that's rotten)

Superman capitalism

As promoted by his permissive opinion piece, a more apt title for Reich's new book would be Superman Capitalism, in praise of the super-heroic qualities of successful corporate CEOs who deserve superstar pay. This view goes beyond even fascist superman ideology. The compensation of corporate CEOs in Nazi Germany never reached such obscene levels as those in US corporate land today.

Reich argues that CEOs deserve their super-high compensation, which has increased 600% in two decades, because corporate profits have also risen 600% in the same period. The former secretary of labor did not point out that wages rose only 30% in the same period. The profit/wage disparity is a growing cancer in the US-dominated global economy, causing over-production resulting from stagnant demand caused by inadequate wages. A true spokesman for labor would point out that enlightened modern management recognizes that the performance of a corporation is the sum total of effective team work between management and labor.

System analysis has long shown that collective effort on the part of the entire work force is indispensable to success in any complex organism. Further, a healthy consumer market depends on a balance between corporate earnings and worker earnings. Reich's point would be valid if US wages had risen by the same multiple as CEO pay and corporate profit, but he apparently thought that it would be poor etiquette to raise embarrassing issues as a guest writer in an innately anti-labor journal of Wall Street. Even then, unless real growth also rose 600% in two decades, the rise in corporate earning may be just an inflation bubble.

An introduction to economic populism

To be fair, Reich did address the income gap issue eight months earlier in another article, "An Introduction to Economic Populism" in the Jan-Feb, 2007 issue of The American Prospect, a magazine that bills itself as devoted to "liberal ideas". In that article, Reich relates a "philosophical" discussion he had with fellow neo-liberal cabinet member Robert Rubin, then treasury secretary under Bill Clinton, on two "simple questions".

The first question was: Suppose a proposed policy will increase the incomes of some people without decreasing the incomes of any others. Of course Reich must know that it is a question of welfare economics long ago answered by the "pareto optimum", which asserts that resources are optimally distributed when an individual cannot move into a better position without putting someone else into a worse position. In an unjust society, the pareto optimum will perpetuate injustice in the name of optimum resource allocation. "Should it be implemented? Bob and I agreed it should," writes Reich. Not exactly an earth-shaking liberal position. Rather, it is a classic neo-liberal posture.

And the second question: But suppose the people whose incomes will rise are already wealthier than everyone else. Although no one will lose ground, inequality will widen. Should it still be implemented? "I won't tell you where he and I came out on that second question," writes Reich without explaining why. He allows that "we agreed that people who don't share in such gains feel relatively poorer. Widening inequality also further tips the balance of political power in favor of the wealthy."

Of course, clear thinking would have left the second question mute because it would have invalidated the first question, as the real income of those whose nominal income has not fallen has indeed fallen relative to those whose nominal income has risen. In a macro monetary sense, it is not possible to raise the nominal income of some without lowering the real income of others. All incomes must rise together proportionally or inequality in after-inflation real income will increase.

Inequality only a new worry?

But for the sake of argument, let's go along with Reich's parable on welfare economics and financial equality. That conversation occurred a decade ago. Reich says in his January 2007 article that "inequality is far more worrisome now", as if it had not been or that the policies he and his colleagues in the Clinton administration, as evidenced by their answer to their own first question, did not cause the now "more worrisome" inequality. "The incomes of the bottom 90% of Americans have increased about 2% in real terms since then, while that of the top 1% has increased over 50%," Reich wrote in the matter of fact tone of an innocent bystander.

It is surprising that a former labor secretary would err even on the record on worker income. The US Internal Revenue Service reports that while incomes have been rising since 2002, the average income in 2005 was $55,238, nearly 1% less than in 2000 after adjusting for inflation. Hourly wage costs (including mandatory welfare contributions and benefits) grew more slowly than hourly productivity from 1993 to late 1997, the years of Reich's tenure as labor secretary. Corporate profit rose until 1997 before declining, meaning what should have gone to workers from productivity improvements went instead to corporate profits. And corporate profit declined after 1997 because of the Asian financial crisis, which reduced offshore income for all transnational companies, while domestic purchasing power remained weak because of sub-par worker income growth.

The break in trends in wages occurred when the unemployment rate sank to 5%, below the 6% threshold of NAIRU (non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment) as job creation was robust from 1993 onwards. The "reserve army of labor" in the war against inflation disappeared after the 1997 Asian crisis when the Federal Reserve injected liquidity into the US banking system to launch the debt bubble. According to NAIRU, when more than 94% of the labor force is employed, the war on wage-pushed inflation will be on the defensive. Yet while US inflation was held down by low-price imports from low-wage economies, US domestic wages fell behind productivity growth from 1993 onward. US wages could have risen without inflationary effects but did not because of the threat of further outsourcing of US jobs overseas. This caused corporate profit to rise at the expense of labor income during the low-inflation debt bubble years.

Income inequality in the US today has reached extremes not seen since the 1920s, but the trend started three decades earlier. More than $1 trillion a year in relative income is now being shifted annually from roughly 90,000,000 middle and working class families to the wealthiest households and corporations via corporate profits earned from low-wage workers overseas. This is why nearly 60% of Republicans polled support more taxes on the rich.

Carter the granddaddy of deregulation

The policies and practices responsible for today's widening income gap date back to the 1977-1981 period of the Carter administration which is justly known as the administration of deregulation. Carter's deregulation was done in the name of populism but the results were largely anti-populist. Starting with Carter, policies and practices by both corporations and government underwent a fundamental shift to restructure the US economy with an overhaul of job markets. This was achieved through widespread de-unionization, breakup of industry-wide collective bargaining which enabled management to exploit a new international division of labor at the expense of domestic workers.

The frontal assault on worker collective bargaining power was accompanied by a realigning of the progressive federal tax structure to cut taxes on the rich, a brutal neo-liberal global free-trade offensive by transnational corporations and anti-labor government trade policies. The cost shifting of health care and pension plans from corporations to workers was condoned by government policy. A wave of government-assisted compression of wages and overtime pay narrowed the wage gap between the lowest and highest paid workers (which will occur when lower-paid workers receive a relatively larger wage increase than the higher-paid workers with all workers receiving lower pay increases than managers). There was a recurring diversion of inflation-driven social security fund surpluses to the US fiscal budget to offset recurring inflation-adjusted federal deficits. This was accompanied by wholesale anti-trust deregulation and privatization of public sectors; and most egregious of all, financial market deregulation.

Carter deregulated the US oil industry four years after the 1973 oil crisis in the name of national security. His Democratic challenger, Senator Ted Kennedy, advocated outright nationalization. The Carter administration also deregulated the airlines, favoring profitable hub traffic at the expense of traffic to smaller cities. Air fares fell but service fell further. Delays became routine, frequently tripling door-to-door travel time. What consumers save in airfare, they pay dearly in time lost in delay and in in-flight discomfort. The Carter administration also deregulated trucking, which caused the Teamsters Union to support Ronald Reagan in exchange for a promise to delay trucking deregulation.

Railroads were also deregulated by Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 which eased regulations on rates, line abandonment, and mergers to allow the industry to compete with truck and barge transportation that had caused a financial and physical deterioration of the national rail network railroads. Four years later, Congress followed up with the Staggers Rail Act of 1980 which provided the railroads with greater pricing freedom, streamlined merger timetables, expedited the line abandonment process, and allowed confidential contracts with shippers. Although railroads, like other modes of transportation, must purchase and maintain their own rolling stock and locomotives, they must also, unlike competing modes, construct and maintain their own roadbed, tracks, terminals, and related facilities. Highway construction and maintenance are paid for by gasoline taxes. In the regulated environment, recovering these fixed costs hindered profitability for the rail industry.

After deregulation, the railroads sought to enhance their financial situation and improve their operational efficiency with a mix of strategies to reduce cost and maximize profit, rather than providing needed service to passengers around the nation. These strategies included network rationalization by shedding unprofitable capacity, raising equipment and operational efficiencies by new work rules that reduced safety margins and union power, using differential pricing to favor big shippers, and pursuing consolidation, reducing the number of rail companies from 65 to 5 today. The consequence was a significant increase of market power for the merged rail companies, decreasing transportation options for consumers and increasing rates for remote, less dense areas.

In the agricultural sector, rail network rationalization has forced shippers to truck their bulk commodity products greater distances to mainline elevators, resulting in greater pressure on and damage to rural road systems. For inter-modal shippers, profit-based network rationalization has meant reduced access - physically and economically - to Container on Flat Car (COFC) and Trailer on Flat Car (TOFC) facilities and services. Rail deregulation, as is true with most transportation and communication deregulation, produces sector sub-optimization with dubious benefits for the national economy by distorting distributional balance, causing congestion and inefficient use of land, network and lines.

Carter's Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) approach to radio and television regulation began in the mid-1970s as a search for relatively minor "regulatory underbrush" that could be cleared away for more efficient and cost-effective administration of the important rules that would remain. Congress largely went along with this updating trend, and initiated a few deregulatory moves of its own to make regulation more effective and responsive to contemporary conditions.

Reagan's anti-government fixation

The Reagan administration under Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Mark Fowler in 1981 shifted deregulation to a fundamental and ideologically-driven reappraisal of regulations away from long-held principles central to national broadcasting policy appropriate for a democratic society. The result was removal of many longstanding rules to permit an overall reduction in FCC oversight of station ownership concentration and network operations. Congress grew increasingly wary of the pace of deregulation, however, and began to slow the pace of FCC deregulation by the late 1980s.

Specific deregulatory moves included (a) extending television licenses to five years from three in 1981; (b) expanding the number of television stations any single entity could own from seven in 1981 to 12 in 1985, with further changes in 1995; (c) abolishing guidelines for minimal amounts of non-entertainment programming in 1985; (d) elimination of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987; (e) dropping, in 1985, FCC license guidelines for how much advertising could be carried; (f) leaving technical standards increasingly in the hands of licensees rather than FCC mandates; and (g) deregulation of television's competition, especially cable which went through several regulatory changes in the decade after 1983.

The 1996 Telecommunications Act eliminated the 40-station ownership cap on radio stations. Since then, the radio industry has experienced unprecedented consolidation. In June 2003, the FCC voted to overhaul limits on media ownership. Despite having held only one hearing on the complex issue of media consolidation over a 20-month review period, the FCC, in a party-line vote, voted 3-2 to overhaul limits on media concentration. The rule would (1) increase the aggregate television ownership cap to enable one company to own stations reaching 45% of our nation's homes (from 35%), (2) lift the ban on newspaper-television cross-ownership, and (3) allow a single company to own three television stations in large media markets and two in medium ones. In the largest markets, the rule would allow a single company to own up to three television stations, eight radio stations, the cable television system, cable television stations, and a daily newspaper. A wide range of public-interest groups filed an appeal with the Third Circuit, which stayed the effective date of the new rules.

According to a BIA Financial Network report released in July 2006, a total of 88 television stations had been sold in the first six months of 2006, generating a transaction value of $15.7 billion. In 2005, the same period saw the sale of just 21 stations at a value of $244 million, with total year transactions of $2.86 billion.

Congress passed a law in 2004 that forbids any network to own a group of stations that reaches more than 39% of the national television audience. That is lower than the 45% limit set in 2003, but more than the original cap of 35% set in 1996 under the Clinton administration - leading public interest groups to argue that the proposed limits lead to a stifling of local voices.

Newspaper-television cross-ownership remains a contentious issue. Currently prohibited, it refers to the "common ownership of a full-service broadcast station and a daily newspaper when the broadcast station's area of coverage (or "contour") encompasses the newspaper's city of publication".

Capping of local radio and television ownership is another issue. While the original rule prohibited it, currently a company can own at least one television and one radio station in a market. In larger markets, "a single entity may own additional radio stations depending on the number of other independently owned media outlets in the market".

Most broadcasters and newspaper publishers are lobbying to ease or end restrictions on cross-ownership; they say it has to be the future of the news business. It allows newsgathering costs to be spread across platforms, and delivers multiple revenue streams in turn. Their argument is also tied to a rapidly changing media consumption market, and to the diversity of opinions available to the consumer with the rise of the Internet and other digital platforms.

The arguments against relaxing media ownership regulations are put forth by consumer unions and other interest groups on the ground that consolidation in any form inevitably leads to a lack of diversity of opinion. Cross-ownership limits the choices for consumers, inhibits localism and gives excessive media power to one entity.

Professional and workers' guilds of the communication industry (the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of TV and Radio Artists among others) would like the FCC to keep in mind the independent voice, and want a quarter of all prime-time programming to come from independent producers. The Children's Media Policy Coalition suggested that the FCC limit local broadcasters to a single license per market, so that there is enough original programming for children. Other interest groups like the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters are worried about what impact the rules might have on station ownership by minorities.

Deregulatory proponents see station licensees not as "public trustees" of the public airwaves requiring the provision of a wide variety of services to many different listening groups. Instead, broadcasting has been increasingly seen as just another business operating in a commercial marketplace which did not need its management decisions questioned by government overseers, even though they are granted permission to use public airways. Opponents argue that deregulation violates a key mandate of the Communications Act of 1934 which requires licensees to operate in the public interest. Deregulation allows broadcasters to seek profits with little public service programming.

Clinton and telecommunications deregulation

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was the first major overhaul of US telecommunications law in nearly 62 years, amending the Communications Act of 1934, and leading to media consolidation. It was approved by Congress on January 3, 1996 and signed into law on February 8, 1996 by President Clinton, a Democrat whom some have labeled as the best president the Republicans ever had. The act claimed to foster competition, but instead it continued the historic industry consolidation begun by Reagan, whose actions reduced the number of major media companies from around 50 in 1983 to 10 in 1996 and 6 in 2005.

Regulation Q

The Carter administration increased the power of the Federal Reserve through the Depository Institutions and Monetary Control Act (DIDMCA) of 1980 which was a necessary first step in ending the New Deal restrictions placed upon financial institutions, such as Regulation Q put in place by the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 and other restrictions on banks and financial institutions. The populist Regulation Q imposed limits and ceilings on bank and savings-and-loan (S&L) interest rates to provide funds for low-risk home mortgages. But with financial market deregulation, Regulation Q created incentives for US banks to do business outside the reach of US law, launching finance globalization. London came to dominate this offshore dollar business.

The populist Regulation Q, which regulated for several decades limits and ceilings on bank and S&L interest to serve the home mortgage sector, was phased out completely in March 1986. Banks were allowed to pay interest on checking account - the NOW accounts - to lure depositors back from the money markets. The traditional interest-rate advantage of the S&Ls was removed, to provide a "level playing field", forcing them to take the same risks as commercial banks to survive. Congress also lifted restrictions on S&Ls' commercial lending, which promptly got the whole industry into trouble that would soon required an unprecedented government bailout of depositors, with tax money. But the developers who made billions from easy credit were allowed to keep their profits. State usury laws were unilaterally suspended by an act of Congress in a flagrant intrusion on state rights. Carter, the well-intentioned populist, left a legacy of anti-populist policies. To this day, Greenspan continues to argue disingenuously that subprime mortgages helped the poor toward home ownership, instead of generating obscene profit for the debt securitization industry.

The party of Lincoln taken over by corporate interests

During the Reagan administration, corporate lobbying and electoral strategies allowed the corporate elite to wrest control of the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln, from conservative populists. In the late 1980s, supply-side economics was promoted to allow corporate interests to dominate US politics at the expense of labor by arguing that the only way labor can prosper is to let capital achieve high returns, notwithstanding the contradiction that high returns on capital must come from low wages.

New legislation and laws, executive orders, federal government rule-making, federal agency decisions, and think-tank propaganda, etc, subsequently followed the new political landscape, assisting the implementation of new corporate policies and practices emerging from corporate headquarters rather than from the shop floor. Economists and analysts who challenged this voodoo theory were largely shut out of the media. Workers by the million were persuaded to abandon their institutional collective defender to fend for themselves individually in the name of freedom. It was a freedom to see their job security eroded and wages and benefits fall with no recourse.

Note
1. Das Kapital, Volume One, Part I: Commodities and Money, Chapter One: Commodities, Section I.

Next: PART 2: Global war on labor

Henry C K Liu is chairman of a New York-based private investment group. His website is at http://www.henryckliu.com.

Copyright 2007, Henry C K Liu

Super Imperialism - New Edition: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance [Paperback]

William Podmore (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Hudson is a Wall Street economist who used to work at the Chase Manhattan Bank.

In Part One, he describes the rise of the American empire.

Part Two describes its institutions: the US-controlled World Bank, the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund, which all benefit the USA. The US has the sole veto power in all three.

Part Three describes what Herman Kahn called `the greatest rip-off ever achieved', the way the US's ruling class levies us all to pay for its aggressive wars, just as the Roman Empire levied tribute to pay for its constant wars. Similarly Britain, Germany and Japan all pay for the US's military bases in their countries.

In 1945, as in 1918, Britain led Europe's capitulation to the USA's debt demands. The British ruling class chose dependency on the US ruling class. The USA insisted that Britain ended the sterling bloc, accepted IMF controls, did not impose exchange controls, and did not devalue. As Hudson writes, "The Anglo-American Loan Agreement spelled the end of Britain as a Great Power."

The 1945-51 Labour government's huge spending on unnecessary imperial, counter-revolutionary wars robbed our industry of investment. This excessive military spending meant that we had constantly to borrow from the IMF, increasing our dependence on the USA. Now Britain is the USA's Trojan horse in Europe, against Britain's interests.

Hudson immodestly claims that his analysis supersedes Lenin. He says that the US national government's interests, not the private interests of the capitalist class, drive the system. He claims that the US government subordinates `the interests of its national bourgeoisie to the autonomous interests of the national government'. But is the US government really independent of the capitalist class? How `autonomous' are these interests?...

Joshua Malle (Seattle, WA USA)

Difficult and rewarding, Hudson is the real deal, May 24, 2006

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This review is from: Super Imperialism - New Edition: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominanc (Paperback)

Super-Imperialism is better viewed as a radical alternative to common undergraduate textbooks such as Joan Edelman Spero's, "The Politics of International Economic Relations" than as an update to the theories of Lenin or Hobson. (His background and prose style are similar to Spero's and his book covers similar ground.)

It has three sections, each which could have been a separate book.

The 2003 Edition has a new introduction and two new chapters at the end. The rest of the book has occasional new material, but does not appear to have been extensively re-written.

It's a difficult and rewarding book. The difficulty lies partly in the subject matter itself, partly in Hudson's convoluted prose and partly in the numerous typographical errors that mar the 2003 Pluto Press edition.

The book is rewarding because it's honest. Readers educated in the U.S. will initially regard Hudson's account with some skepticism. We can't help it; We've been systematically miseducated by pro-U.S. polemics presented in an "objective" tone.

In contrast Hudson is a strident critic of the U.S. management of the global economy. But so is any reasonably objective person who is apprized of the facts. I much prefer an author who honestly tells you the real story as he understands it to one who conceals the awful truth behind an ostensibly impartial facade. But a "revisionist" has to work twice as hard to make his case, and that is why the book contains the detailed explication of what reviewer Myers calls the "intricacies of events and negotiations that gave rise to the present order."

I think an open-minded reader will be won over by Hudson's thoughtful use of contemporaneous sources (e.g. government publications and articles in the business press) and also biographical sources to illuminate how key decision makers understood the alternatives, and their motives for pursuing the policies that they did when forging the post-war economic order. As he places these choices in context it quickly becomes evident that the motives on the U.S. side have been consistently aggressive and that U.S. policy makers have all along viewed multilateral economic institutions as instruments of national policy--to the world's detriment.

Hudson also has a keen sense of the painfully narrow horizon of human foresight. The historical sections sometimes read like a conspiracy theory in which the conspirators are not very smart. E.g., Franklin Roosevelt's stubborn insistence that World War I debts be repaid prolonged the Great Depression; When J. M. Keynes was negotiating Bretton Woods for the newly elected Labour government, he got them a terrible deal; The U.S. transition to "super-imperialism" which is the main story of the book (chapters 11 through 14) was originally an unintended consequence of the huge budget and trade deficits caused by the Vietnam War.

If you are interested in "globalization" this book is an important piece of the puzzle, but it really only covers up through 1973, and it spends more time on the relationship between the U.S. and Europe than on "North-South" relations. Having said that, Ch. 8 "The Imperialism of U.S. Foreign Aid" is very good, esp. how foreign aid benefits the U.S. balance of payments and the harmful effects of U.S. agricultural exports. China is hardly mentioned.

If you are an economics student and you sense that they aren't telling you the whole story, or just a thoughtful citizen who wants to sharpen your conceptual tools for understanding and resisting the strategies of U.S. imperialism, this book is for you.

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Salty Saltillo (from the road, USA)

An awkward argument with moments of brilliance, November 3, 2004

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Hudson's historical argument in this book is both brilliant and sometimes a bit rough.

Hudson has always had a great talent for interpreting and sketching out for weaker minds like us what the US government's abandonment of the gold-standard really means. When Hudson came forward with his thesis in the mid 1970's, his thesis was outrageous among orthodox economists: to suggest that the US should be worried about the long-term consequences of running balance of payments deficits year after year, decade after decade was crazy leftist nonsense in the 1970s. As long as people continue to need the US markets more than the US needs any other one country's markets (and people still have faith in the good credit of the US government) there is no reason US could not run balance of payment deficits forever, according to the conventional wisdom.

What amazes me is that now, after having done exactly what Hudson warned the US government not to do in the 1970s, many otherwise relatively orthodox economists are beginning to worry about this. Hudson may be on the more "sky-is-falling" end of things, but his analysis was right on the nail in 1972 and is still there today: worst case scenario - massive recession and massive devaluation of the dollar (by massive I mean, unprecedented). Former US Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin was quoted in March 16, 2006 WSJ as saying that "The probabilities are extremely high that if we don't address these imbalances, then at some point, and it could be years down the road, we'll pay a very big price." We are in a limbo world where no one really knows how this problem is going to play out, but Hudson should be credited for being one of the first, and longest-running, advocates for addressing this problem. Too bad it has taken so many decades for people to recognize what he has been telling us all along about balance of payments deficits.

The rest of the argument Hudson makes in this book is a bit tough to follow, though. Essentially, Hudson attempts to show how the US has, during this century but especially since WWII, systematically sought to manipulate all of the great economic institution-building opportunities following WWII to advance the interests of the US over other countries. Coming off the gold standard and running up a balance of payments deficit was just one of many ways in which this occurred. The US largely succeeded. The GATT (now WTO), World Bank, IMF, all bear American "fingerprints".

I agree that the mega-institutions of the contemporary world economic and political machine are largely the unilateral creation of the US, imposed on the other great nations at a time when the other nations were particularly vulnerable to US force of will and not particular inclined to be heterodox visionaries. I also agree that the US in general has probably used as much leverage as it could in negotiating all of the defining institutions in which it had any hand in constructing.

And yet, how could it have been any different? National governments pursue their self-interest and the interest of their citizens, often at the expense of other national governments and their citizens. The nation-state system is set up to work that way. But is the problem really one of US bad behavior, as Hudson suggests? Isn't the problem really structural? In the nation-state world, wherein the world is divided up into pseudo-autonomous political monopolies, each individually endowed with particular strengths and weaknesses, and all pitted against each other in a laissez-faire system where the only things that keep nation-states from raping and killing each other to oblivion are, good faith and the fact that the balance of power among the nation-states is enough to keep each monopoly contained in its behavior towards the other monopolies, what sort of behavior could we have expected from the US, a nation-state that, at a series of pivotal moments in 20th century history, found itself with "golden opportunities" to take advantage of other nations' weaknesses and advance its own power? Would the French, or the Brits, or the Japanese, or the Italians, or the Germans, or the Russians have behaved any different if they found themselves holding all the cards in 1945 instead of the US?

My point is, the facts Hudson lays out are correct -- there clearly is a problem in the way in which our current world order has been put together and the US is at the middle of that problem. The conclusions Hudson draws from those facts do not go deep enough in understanding what those facts mean, however.

It isn't that the Americans behave or behaved "bad" by the standard of good behavior implicit in the nation-state system, it is that the nation-state system itself to a certain extent reflects 19th century laissez-faire values of autonomy and individuality that pit nation-states against each other in a world where each is out to improve its lot through trade and, when possible and tolerable, violence.

The system itself breaks down when one player becomes too powerful. To blame the US for the systemic problem of massive power imbalances between nation states is simply pushing any hope for correction in the wrong direction.

Samuel Brittan: The wrong kind of Third Way

FT.com / Columnists / Samuel Brittan - The wrong kind of Third Way: When a book entitled Supercapitalism: the Battle for Democracy in an Age of Big Business (Icon Books) landed on my desk I took it for just another of the many anti-capitalist diatribes so beloved by publishers. Its author was Robert Reich, a former US secretary of labour who parted company from the Clinton administration on the grounds that it was not interventionist enough. But I was glad I persevered. For it turned out to be one of the most interesting books on political economy to appear for a long time.

During the postwar decades up to the early 1970s, the Bretton Woods system of semi-fixed exchange rates worked, after a fashion; and countries seemed able to combine full employment with low inflation and historically rapid growth and diminishing income differences. Reich calls them a "not quite golden age". It was "not quite" because of the treatment of women and minorities and the prevailing conformist and authoritarian atmosphere.

It has been succeeded by what Reich calls supercapitalism, in which the cult of the bottom line has replaced the cosy oligopolies of postwar decades, once-dominant companies shrink or disappear, new ones spring up overnight and the financial sector is (or was until recently) in the driving seat. He rightly dismisses many of the popular scapegoats – or heroes – of the process. The changeover began well before Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher could influence anything. Free-market economists have been preaching essentially the same message since the 18th century. It is extremely unlikely that there has been a radical change in the psychology or morality of business operators. His own candidate is the technologies that have empowered consumers and investors to get ever better deals.

Unfortunately, many of these same consumers have lost in their capacity as citizens. He cites the failure of the political process even to attempt to correct the increasing skewness of US income distribution. In later pronouncements he has attributed the subprime loan disaster in part to the failure of supercapitalism to raise the incomes of the mass of wage earners who have been impelled to resort to borrowing as a substitute. Moreover, Congress has performed abysmally in correcting market failures in environmental and other areas. He has a non-partisan explanation: the staggering increase in business lobbying expenditures affecting Democrats as well as Republicans, as a result of which the political process, far from correcting the distortions of unbridled capitalism, has made them worse.

But for me the novel point of the book is his utter dismissal of the prevailing idea of appealing to the "social responsibility" of business to improve matters. This is a notion that particularly appeals to soft centre politicians such as David Cameron's Conservatives in Britain as a new kind of Third Way. Reich argues that it is the job of the democratic political process by laws, taxes and other interventions to harmonise the pursuit of money-making with the public good. "The job of the businessman is to make profits." He is completely unabashed by the charge that he sounds like Milton Friedman and indeed quotes the late Chicago professor approvingly several times. He argues that the so-called stakeholders who insist on being consulted before legislation is drafted are increasingly companies whose interests might be affected. One result is the "corruption of knowledge". We should beware of claims that a company is doing something for the public good. Corporate executives may donate some of their shareholders' money to a genuinely good cause or forbear from polluting the atmosphere to forestall a greater legal or fiscal burden. But in that case such actions are likely to be limited and temporary, "extending only insofar as the conditions that made such voluntary action pay off continue".

Similarly we should beware of a politician who blames a company for doing something that is legal. Such words are all too often a cover "for taking no action to change the rules of the game". Above all, "corporations are not people. They are legal fictions, nothing more than bundles of contractual agreements ... A company cannot know right from wrong ... Only people know right from wrong and only people act." One example of the "anthropomorphic fallacy" is when companies are held criminally liable for the misdeeds of their executives. Not only are the genuinely guilty let off too lightly but many innocent people get hurt. For instance, "the vast majority of Andersen employees had nothing to do with Enron but lost their jobs nonetheless".

I have two reservations. One is that I cannot share Reich's confidence that a revived and effective "democracy" would be a cure-all. You only have to see where democratic pressures are driving US energy policy. Second, there is a danger that the Friedman-Reich position could inadvertently give sustenance to the "I was only doing my job" defence for evil actions. You do not have to hold shares in a company selling arms to Saudi Arabia, or work for it. But do not deceive yourself that such individual gestures can be a substitute for a change in policy.

Supercapitalism The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life by Robert B. Reich

Amazon.com

The Balance of Capitalism and Democracy, September 17, 2007

By Izaak VanGaalen (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER) (REAL NAME)

This review is from: Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life (Hardcover)

According to Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, there was a time when capitalism and democracy where almost perfectly balanced. This was the period of 1945 to 1975, which he calls the "Not Quite Golden Age." During this period there was a three-way social contract among big business, big labor, and big government. Each made sure that they as well as the other two received a fair share of the pie. Unions recieved their wages and benefits, business their profits, and regulatory agencies had their power. It was also a time when the gap between the rich and the poor was the narrowest in our history. It was not quite the golden age because women and minorities were still second class citizens, but at least there was hope.

Fast forward to 2007, capitalism is thriving and democracy is sputtering. Why has capitlism become supercapitalism and democracy become enfeebled? Reich explains that it was a combination of things: deregulation, globe spanning computer networks, better transportation, etc. The changes were mainly a result of technological breakthroughs; unlike many leftists, he is not conspiratorial thinker. The winner of this great transformation was the consumer/investor and the loser was the citizen/wage earner. The consumer has more choices than ever before and at reasonable prices. The investor has unprecedented opportunities to make profits. The citzen, however, is not doing well. The average citizen does not have much voice - other than voting - in the body politic. And on the wage earner has been stagnating for many years. The most salient illustration of this trend is Walmart. Walmart delivers the goods at low prices, but the trade-off is low wages for their employees. We justify this dilemma, as Reich nicely puts it, because "The awkward truth is that most of us are of two minds."

As a left-leaning author, Reich makes some startling pronouncements. One, stop treating corporations as human beings. They are neither moral or immoral, they are merely "bundles of contracts." I couldn't agree more. Stop expecting corporations to be socially responsible, see them for what they are: profit-seeking organizations. Any socially responsible action is a ruse to bolster the bottom line anyway. Don't even encourage them to be socially responsible because it will wrongly lead us to believe that they are solving problems when they are not. Corporations play by the rules that they are given and it is up to citizens and their elected representatives to change the rules.

This is no easy task in the age of supercapitalism. There are currently 38,000 registered lobbyists in Washington DC in a virtual arms race of spending with each other to buy favors from our so-called representatives. The only way citizens can compete with this is not by hiring more lobbyists but advocating through new media outlets such as the internet and cable tv. This, according to Reich, is currently to most effective way to make government more responsive.

The question that remains, after reading this book, is will consumers be willing to sacrifice their low prices to achieve their goals as citizens. If the answer is yes, we can possibly rebalance the equation between democracy and capitalism; if not, we are left to the not so tender mercies of supercapitalism.

Robert Reich makes a compelling argument that supercapitalism has robbed democracy of much of its power. Supercapitalism by the definition presented in the book is simple--the consumer is king and prices ALWAYS go down. What Reich looks at is the cost of low prices to companies, society, the individual and its impact on the workings of democracy. So how is democracy compromised? Reich also points out that the rise of different lobbying groups, the cost of politics and globalization as contributing to this process. This isn't a surprise. It has just become more pronounced with time.

It's not due to some large conspiracy or any hidden political agenda as much as it is driven by consumption. Ultimately Reich argues that it robs the common citizen of any control over democracy. It's not surprising that this is a highly charged issue because the economics of what benefits society (or "the common good" as Reich calls it)often gets tangled up in the web of politics. Reich also points out that the cost of supercompetitiveness, constantly falling prices is a loss to the economic and social health of America. Reich points out that everyone wants to get the lowest price possible but he also suggests that we must balance that with our desire to have decent wages and benefits. He also points out that the move towards regulation was initiated by government and that corporations went along because it kept out competition and guaranteed a top and bottom for prices allowing companies to get a profit without fear of cutting prices so low that it would put them out of business.

I should point out that this is an oversimplification of Reich's points but it does capture some of the concepts. He also makes some suggestions that would help keep the free market afloat without undermining democracy and allowing consumers to still benefit from competitive pricing. Since this is economics we are discussing politics is mixed in and might color whether or not you agree with his points.

Reich's style is breezy for a book that looks at economics, democracy and the erosion of wages, benefits. Reich comes across as fair balanced and thoughtful even as he sells his take on what is undermining American society. Ultimately it's a worthwhile book to read simply because it opens up dialogue on the social cost of constantly lowering prices and how it impacts those who live next door to us

Aftershock The Next Economy and America's Future by Robert B. Reich

Amazon.com

Every middle class American should read this book. Many observations about income disparities have been written up lately but Reich pulls the important points together in a powerful and accessible way.

Reich's main thesis is that the current transition the US economy is under is misunderstood. Many of the policy elite (Geithner, Volcker) have repeated the familiar claim that Americans are living beyond their means. Personally I don't discount that completely but Reich's insight goes much deeper and rings truer:

"The problem was not that American spent beyond their means but that their means had not kept up with what the larger economy could and should have been able to provide them."

"We cannot have a sustained recovery until we address it. ... Until this transformation is made, our economy will continue to experience phantom recoveries and speculative bubbles, each more distressing than the one before."

Anyone looking at the unemployment data since WWII has to wonder why the unemployment component of the last three recessions is so prolonged. Instead of a sharp trend up, there are long slopes of delayed returns to peak employment. (Google "calculated risk blog" and look at Dec. 2010 articles.) I believe Reich has demonstrated the main culprit this. To be clear, he is not describing the detailed mechanics of what triggered the Great Recession. (Nouriel Roubini has a good book that I would recommend for more on the financial fraud, leverage and credit risks involved - Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance. ) But Reich is taking a long term view and exposes a dysfunctional trait of the US economy that no one can afford to ignore. It is this weakness that will delay the current recovery and continue to create greater risks in the future.

Reich draws the parallels between the Great Depression and the Great Recession, particularly the imbalance of wealth concentrated in fewer hands and middle class workers with less income to convert into consumer demand. One of the fascinating devices he found to do this was the writings of Marriner Eccles (Fed chair between '34 to '48):

"As mass production has to be accompanied by mass consumption, mass consumption, in turn, implies a distribution of wealth - not of existing wealth, but of wealth as it is currently produced - to provide men with buying power equal to the amount of goods and services offered by the nation's economic machinery. Instead of achieving that kind of distribution, a giant suction pump had by 1929-1930 drawn into a few hands an increasing portion of currently produced wealth. This served them as capital accumulations. But by taking purchasing power out of the hands of mass consumers, the savers denied to themselves the kind of effective demand for their products that would justify a reinvestment of their capital accumulations in new plants. In consequence as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When their credit ran out, the game stopped."

Reich also shares a couple of powerful and disturbing graphs that show how the middle class has been squeezed and also how since the late 70s, hourly wages have not only not kept up with the rise in productivity but have remained essentially flat.

Another driving theme Reich presents is the "basic bargain" and he evokes Henry Ford, the man that took mass production to new heights and paid his workers well:

"[Henry] Ford understood the basic economic bargain that lay at the heart of a modern, highly productive economy. Workers are also consumers. Their earnings are continuously recycled to buy the goods and services other workers produce. But if earnings are inadequate and this basic bargain is broken, an economy produces more goods and services than its people are capable of purchasing."

I was concerned early in the book that Reich would leave out some of the important complexities of the topic but he covered related finances, politics and even consumer/voter psychology in a succinct yet informative way. His summary of changes to the labor market in the last 30+ years was very good.

His ideas for correcting this were interesting if perhaps difficult to implement politically. My take away however was that this is a strong indicator of how bad he thinks the situation really is. Many Americans may be yearning to return to "normal". Reich is the first to thoroughly convince me that it is not going to happen.

This is a very quick read of 144 pages and is well worth the time.

Finance is a form of imperial warfare

As Michael Hudson aptly noted in Replacing Economic Democracy with Financial Oligarchy (2011)

Finance is a form of warfare. Like military conquest, its aim is to gain control of land, public infrastructure, and to impose tribute. This involves dictating laws to its subjects, and concentrating social as well as economic planning in centralized hands. This is what now is being done by financial means, without the cost to the aggressor of fielding an army. But the economies under attacked may be devastated as deeply by financial stringency as by military attack when it comes to demographic shrinkage, shortened life spans, emigration and capital flight.

This attack is being mounted not by nation states as such, but by a cosmopolitan financial class. Finance always has been cosmopolitan more than nationalistic – and always has sought to impose its priorities and lawmaking power over those of parliamentary democracies.

Like any monopoly or vested interest, the financial strategy seeks to block government power to regulate or tax it. From the financial vantage point, the ideal function of government is to enhance and protect finance capital and "the miracle of compound interest" that keeps fortunes multiplying exponentially, faster than the economy can grow, until they eat into the economic substance and do to the economy what predatory creditors and rentiers did to the Roman Empire.

Simon Johnson, former IMF Chief Economist, is coming out in May's 2009 edition of The Atlantic with a fascinating, highly provocative piece, on the collusion between the US' "financial oligarchy" and the US government and how its persistence will contribute to prolonging the economic crisis. Here is the summary (hat tip to Global Conditions):

One thing you learn rather quickly when working at the International Monetary Fund is that no one is ever very happy to see you (…)

The reason, of course, is that the IMF specializes in telling its clients what they don't want to hear.(…)

No, the real concern of the fund's senior staff, and the biggest obstacle to recovery, is almost invariably the politics of countries in crisis. (…)

Typically, these countries are in a desperate economic situation for one simple reason-the powerful elites within them overreached in good times and took too many risks. Emerging-market governments and their private-sector allies commonly form a tight-knit-and, most of the time, genteel-oligarchy, running the country rather like a profit-seeking company in which they are the controlling shareholders (…)

Many IMF programs "go off track" (a euphemism) precisely because the government can't stay tough on erstwhile cronies, and the consequences are massive inflation or other disasters. A program "goes back on track" once the government prevails or powerful oligarchs sort out among themselves who will govern-and thus win or lose-under the IMF-supported plan. (…)

In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (…).

(…) elite business interests-financiers, in the case of the U.S.-played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.

Top investment bankers and government officials like to lay the blame for the current crisis on the lowering of U.S. interest rates after the dotcom bust or, even better-in a "buck stops somewhere else" sort of way-on the flow of savings out of China. Some on the right like to complain about Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or even about longer-standing efforts to promote broader homeownership. And, of course, it is axiomatic to everyone that the regulators responsible for "safety and soundness" were fast asleep at the wheel.

But these various policies-lightweight regulation, cheap money, the unwritten Chinese-American economic alliance, the promotion of homeownership-had something in common. Even though some are traditionally associated with Democrats and some with Republicans, they all benefited the financial sector. Policy changes that might have forestalled the crisis but would have limited the financial sector's profits-such as Brooksley Born's now-famous attempts to regulate credit-default swaps at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in 1998-were ignored or swept aside.

The financial industry has not always enjoyed such favored treatment. But for the past 25 years or so, finance has boomed, becoming ever more powerful. The boom began with the Reagan years, and it only gained strength with the deregulatory policies of the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

(…) the American financial industry gained political power by amassing a kind of cultural capital-a belief system. Once, perhaps, what was good for General Motors was good for the country. Over the past decade, the attitude took hold that what was good for Wall Street was good for the country. (…)

One channel of influence was, of course, the flow of individuals between Wall Street and Washington. Robert Rubin, once the co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, served in Washington as Treasury secretary under Clinton, and later became chairman of Citigroup's executive committee. Henry Paulson, CEO of Goldman Sachs during the long boom, became Treasury secretary under George W.Bush. John Snow, Paulson's predecessor, left to become chairman of Cerberus Capital Management, a large private-equity firm that also counts Dan Quayle among its executives. Alan Greenspan, after leaving the Federal Reserve, became a consultant to Pimco, perhaps the biggest player in international bond markets.

A whole generation of policy makers has been mesmerized by Wall Street, always and utterly convinced that whatever the banks said was true (…).

By now, the princes of the financial world have of course been stripped naked as leaders and strategists-at least in the eyes of most Americans. But as the months have rolled by, financial elites have continued to assume that their position as the economy's favored children is safe, despite the wreckage they have caused (…)

Throughout the crisis, the government has taken extreme care not to upset the interests of the financial institutions, or to question the basic outlines of the system that got us here. In September 2008, Henry Paulson asked Congress for $700 billion to buy toxic assets from banks, with no strings attached and no judicial review of his purchase decisions. Many observers suspected that the purpose was to overpay for those assets and thereby take the problem off the banks' hands-indeed, that is the only way that buying toxic assets would have helped anything. Perhaps because there was no way to make such a blatant subsidy politically acceptable, that plan was shelved.

Instead, the money was used to recapitalize banks, buying shares in them on terms that were grossly favorable to the banks themselves. As the crisis has deepened and financial institutions have needed more help, the government has gotten more and more creative in figuring out ways to provide banks with subsidies that are too complex for the general public to understand (…)

The challenges the United States faces are familiar territory to the people at the IMF. If you hid the name of the country and just showed them the numbers, there is no doubt what old IMF hands would say: nationalize troubled banks and break them up as necessary (…)

In some ways, of course, the government has already taken control of the banking system. It has essentially guaranteed the liabilities of the biggest banks, and it is their only plausible source of capital today.

Ideally, big banks should be sold in medium-size pieces, divided regionally or by type of business. Where this proves impractical-since we'll want to sell the banks quickly-they could be sold whole, but with the requirement of being broken up within a short time. Banks that remain in private hands should also be subject to size limitations.

This may seem like a crude and arbitrary step, but it is the best way to limit the power of individual institutions in a sector that is essential to the economy as a whole. Of course, some people will complain about the "efficiency costs" of a more fragmented banking system, and these costs are real. But so are the costs when a bank that is too big to fail-a financial weapon of mass self-destruction-explodes. Anything that is too big to fail is too big to exist.

To ensure systematic bank breakup, and to prevent the eventual reemergence of dangerous behemoths, we also need to overhaul our antitrust legislation (…)

Caps on executive compensation, while redolent of populism, might help restore the political balance of power and deter the emergence of a new oligarchy. (…)

(…) Over time, though, the largest part may involve more transparency and competition, which would bring financial-industry fees down. To those who say this would drive financial activities to other countries, we can now safely say: fine".

The nature of financial oligarchy is such that the government's capacity to take control of an entire financial system, and to clean, slice it up and re-privatize it impartially is almost non-existent. Instead we have growing, potentially corrupt, collusion between financial elites and government officials which is hall mark of corporatism in this more modern form on neoliberalism.

The Great Deception

In 1998 Mark Curtis wrote The Great Deception: Anglo-American Power and World Order, a work whose stated goal was to shed light on various myths of Anglo-American power in the post-Cold War era.

Curtis attempts to demonstrate how the United Kingdom remained a key partner of the United States' effort to enforce their hegemony in the world. He analyzes what he refers to as a special relationship between the two countries and concludes that quite serious consequences exist for both states.

Trade for life

Trade for Life: Making Trade Work for Poor People is a work published in 2001. It is a strong critique of the function of international organizations, especially the World Trade Organization (WTO). Curtis analyzes the decisions taken by the WTO in developing states and concludes that these decisions were seldom without bias against the poor countries; he claims that certain of these decisions, notably certain structural adjustments, caused their intended benefactors more harm than good. Further, Curtis regrets that some rules are lacking when their need is called for, noting the relative lack of regulation checking the growth of power of multinational companies. A partner of Christian Aid in Zimbabwe has said that "the manner in which the WTO functions, is like placing an adult against a child in a boxing ring, like Manchester United against a local Zimbabwean team.

The WTO judges all countries on the same level, while they are not the same. The WTO must help create a situation where countries are more equal." This is a quotation that Mark Curtis recycles throughout his book.

Curtis concludes by saying that market forces can be used in a different, more egalitarian, manner than the one currently employed by the WTO. He believes that it could benefit developing nations if this goal was pursued.

His book was edited by ChristianAid while Mark Curtis was "Policy and Politics" Director and is freely available.

Web of Deceit

In 2003 Mark Curtis published Web of Deceit: Britain's Real Role in the World. This book has been his most successful to date. It offers a new academic approach to the role of the United Kingdom in the post 1945 world until the current the War on Terrorism. It further criticizes the foreign policy of Tony Blair. Curtis, defending the idea that Britain is a rogue state, describes various relations the United Kingdom undertook with repressive regimes and how he thinks these actions made the world less just.

Moreover, the book analyzes various recent actions of the British Army in the world, describing not only what he characterizes as the immorality of the War in Iraq, but also of the War in Afghanistan, and the Kosovo War. Curtis denounces equally strongly Britain's alliances with states he categorizes as repressive, such as Israel, Russia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. Additionally, he details and criticizes the non-intervention of Britain in the Rwandan Genocide.

Curtis draws most of his research from recently declassified documents by the British secret service. He notably claims to demonstrate the role and complicity of the British in the massacre of millions of Indonesians in 1965, the toppling of the governments of Iran and British Guyana, and what he describes as repressive colonial policies in the former colonies of Kenya, Oman, and Malaysia.

Unpeople

In 2004, Mark Curtis published Unpeople: Britain's Secret Human Rights Abuses. This book followed a similar line of thought begun in Web of Deceit. Unpeople is based on various declassified documents from the British secret service.

Among the declassified secret service reports, Curtis asserts that the United Kingdom had given aid to Saddam Hussein in 1963 in order that he rised to power in Iraq; he further posits that the Western Powers, notably the UK, performed various arms deals with the Iraqi government while the Iraqi government was involved in the brutal aggression against the Kurdish community. Curtis asserts that these documents further indict the British government in their role played in the Vietnam War, the coup d'État against Idi Amin in 1971, the coup d'État against Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973, and coups in Indonesia and Guyana.

Mark Curtis estimates that approximately ten million deaths throughout the world since 1945 have been caused by the United Kingdom's foreign policy.

Alliance of transnational elites

From Amazon review of Blowback The Costs and Consequences of American Empire Chalmers Johnson

But Johnson is relying on the idea that "America" is a unitary entity, so that the hollowing out of industry hurts "America", not specific social groups within the country. In reality, US foreign policymakers work to advance the interests not of "America", but of those same business elites that have benefited from turning Asia into the world's sweatshop and undermining the unions that built their strength on American industry. American economic imperialism is not a failed conspiracy against the people of Asia, but an alliance between American elites and their Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, and Chinese counterparts - against the potential power of the working majority in all those countries.

But it's more complex than that, too, since the US seeks to prevent the emergence of an independent military challenge (especially China, but also Japan) to its Asia hegemony while seeking to expand the power of American commercial interests in the region, even as it tries to keep Asian elites happy enough with the status quo to prevent their rebellion against it.

In other words, the US system in Asia is more complicated than Johnson conveys, and defending America's mythical "national interests" will never address its fundamental injustices.

While Johnson seems to have abundant sympathy for the people of Asia, his nationalist framework prevents his from proposing the only real challenge to American hegemony: a popular anti-imperialist movement that crosses the barriers of nation-states.

Imperialism 101 by Micjael Parenti

Imperialism 101 By Michael Parenti

By Michael Parenti

24 June, 2011
Michaelparenti.org

Imperialism has been the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries, carving up whole continents while oppressing indigenous peoples and obliterating entire civilizations. Yet, it is seldom accorded any serious attention by our academics, media commentators, and political leaders. When not ignored outright, the subject of imperialism has been sanitized, so that empires become "commonwealths," and colonies become "territories" or "dominions" (or, as in the case of Puerto Rico, "commonwealths" too). Imperialist military interventions become matters of "national defense," "national security," and maintaining "stability" in one or another region. In this book I want to look at imperialism for what it really is.

Across the Entire Globe

By "imperialism" I mean the process whereby the dominant politico-economic interests of one nation expropriate for their own enrichment the land, labor, raw materials, and markets of another people.The earliest victims of Western European imperialism were other Europeans. Some 800 years ago, Ireland became the first colony of what later became known as the British empire. A part of Ireland still remains under British occupation. Other early Caucasian victims included the Eastern Europeans. The people Charlemagne worked to death in his mines in the early part of the ninth century were Slavs. So frequent and prolonged was the enslavement of Eastern Europeans that "Slav" became synonymous with servitude. Indeed, the word "slave" derives from "Slav." Eastern Europe was an early source of capital accumulation, having become wholly dependent upon Western manufactures by the seventeenth century.

A particularly pernicious example of intra-European imperialism was the Nazi aggression during World War II, which gave the German business cartels and the Nazi state an opportunity to plunder the resources and exploit the labor of occupied Europe, including the slave labor of concentration camps.

The preponderant thrust of the European, North American, and Japanese imperial powers has been directed against Africa, Asia, and Latin America. By the nineteenth century, they saw the Third World as not only a source of raw materials and slaves but a market for manufactured goods. By the twentieth century, the industrial nations were exporting not only goods but capital, in the form of machinery, technology, investments, and loans. To say that we have entered the stage of capital export and investment is not to imply that the plunder of natural resources has ceased. If anything, the despoliation has accelerated.

Of the various notions about imperialism circulating today in the United States, the dominant view is that it does not exist. Imperialism is not recognized as a legitimate concept, certainly not in regard to the United States. One may speak of "Soviet imperialism" or "nineteenth-century British imperialism" but not of U.S. imperialism. A graduate student in political science at most universities in this country would not be granted the opportunity to research U.S. imperialism, on the grounds that such an undertaking would not be scholarly. While many people throughout the world charge the United States with being an imperialist power, in this country persons who talk of U.S. imperialism are usually judged to be mouthing ideological blather.

The Dynamic of Capital Expansion

Imperialism is older than capitalism. The Persian, Macedonian, Roman, and Mongol empires all existed centuries before the Rothschilds and Rockefellers. Emperors and conquistadors were interested mostly in plunder and tribute, gold and glory. Capitalist imperialism differs from these earlier forms in the way it systematically accumulates capital through the organized exploitation of labor and the penetration of overseas markets. Capitalist imperialism invests in other countries, transforming and dominating their economies, cultures, and political life, integrating their financial and productive structures into an international system of capital accumulation.A central imperative of capitalism is expansion. Investors will not put their money into business ventures unless they can extract more than they invest. Increased earnings come only with a growth in the enterprise. The capitalist ceaselessly searches for ways of making more money in order to make still more money. One must always invest to realize profits, gathering as much strength as possible in the face of competing forces and unpredictable markets.

Given its expansionist nature, capitalism has little inclination to stay home. Almost 150 years ago, Marx and Engels described a bourgeoisie that "chases over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere. . . . It creates a world after its own image." The expansionists destroy whole societies. Self-sufficient peoples are forcibly transformed into disfranchised wage workers. Indigenous communities and folk cultures are replaced by mass-market, mass-media, consumer societies. Cooperative lands are supplanted by agribusiness factory farms, villages by desolate shanty towns, autonomous regions by centralized autocracies.

Consider one of a thousand such instances. A few years ago the Los Angeles Times carried a special report on the rainforests of Borneo in the South Pacific. By their own testimony, the people there lived contented lives. They hunted, fished, and raised food in their jungle orchards and groves. But their entire way of life was ruthlessly wiped out by a few giant companies that destroyed the rainforest in order to harvest the hardwood for quick profits. Their lands were turned into ecological disaster areas and they themselves were transformed into disfranchised shantytown dwellers, forced to work for subsistence wages-when fortunate enough to find employment.

North American and European corporations have acquired control of more than three-fourths of the known mineral resources of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. But the pursuit of natural resources is not the only reason for capitalist overseas expansion. There is the additional need to cut production costs and maximize profits by investing in countries with cheaper labor markets. U.S. corporate foreign investment grew 84 percent from 1985 to 1990, the most dramatic increase being in cheap-labor countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Spain, and Singapore.

Because of low wages, low taxes, nonexistent work benefits, weak labor unions, and nonexistent occupational and environmental protections, U.S. corporate profit rates in the Third World are 50 percent greater than in developed countries. Citibank, one of the largest U.S. firms, earns about 75 percent of its profits from overseas operations. While profit margins at home sometimes have had a sluggish growth, earnings abroad have continued to rise dramatically, fostering the development of what has become known as the multinational or transnational corporation. Today some four hundred transnational companies control about 80 percent of the capital assets of the global free market and are extending their grasp into the ex-communist countries of Eastern Europe.

Transnationals have developed a global production line. General Motors has factories that produce cars, trucks and a wide range of auto components in Canada, Brazil, Venezuela, Spain, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Nigeria, Singapore, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea and a dozen other countries. Such "multiple sourcing" enables GM to ride out strikes in one country by stepping up production in another, playing workers of various nations against each other in order to discourage wage and benefit demands and undermine labor union strategies.

Not Necessary, Just Compelling

Some writers question whether imperialism is a necessary condition for capitalism, pointing out that most Western capital is invested in Western nations, not in the Third World. If corporations lost all their Third World investments, they argue, many of them could still survive on their European and North American markets. In response, one should note that capitalism might be able to survive without imperialism-but it shows no inclination to do so. It manifests no desire to discard its enormously profitable Third World enterprises. Imperialism may not be a necessary condition for investor survival but it seems to be an inherent tendency and a natural outgrowth of advanced capitalism. Imperial relations may not be the only way to pursue profits, but they are the most lucrative way.Whether imperialism is necessary for capitalism is really not the question. Many things that are not absolutely necessary are still highly desirable, therefore strongly preferred and vigorously pursued. Overseas investors find the Third World's cheap labor, vital natural resources, and various other highly profitable conditions to be compellingly attractive. Superprofits may not be necessary for capitalism's survival but survival is not all that capitalists are interested in. Superprofits are strongly preferred to more modest earnings. That there may be no necessity between capitalism and imperialism does not mean there is no compelling linkage.

The same is true of other social dynamics. For instance, wealth does not necessarily have to lead to luxurious living. A higher portion of an owning class's riches could be used for investment rather personal consumption. The very wealthy could survive on more modest sums but that is not how most of them prefer to live. Throughout history, wealthy classes generally have shown a preference for getting the best of everything. After all, the whole purpose of getting rich off other people's labor is to live well, avoiding all forms of thankless toil and drudgery, enjoying superior opportunities for lavish life-styles, medical care, education, travel, recreation, security, leisure, and opportunities for power and prestige. While none of these things are really "necessary," they are fervently clung to by those who possess them-as witnessed by the violent measures endorsed by advantaged classes whenever they feel the threat of an equalizing or leveling democratic force.

Myths of Underdevelopment

The impoverished lands of Asia, Africa, and Latin America are known to us as the "Third World," to distinguish them from the "First World" of industrialized Europe and North America and the now largely defunct "Second World" of communist states. Third World poverty, called "underdevelopment," is treated by most Western observers as an original historic condition. We are asked to believe that it always existed, that poor countries are poor because their lands have always been infertile or their people unproductive. In fact, the lands of Asia, Africa, and Latin America have long produced great treasures of foods, minerals and other natural resources. That is why the Europeans went through all the trouble to steal and plunder them. One does not go to poor places for self-enrichment. The Third World is rich. Only its people are poor-and it is because of the pillage they have endured.

The process of expropriating the natural resources of the Third World began centuries ago and continues to this day. First, the colonizers extracted gold, silver, furs, silks, and spices, then flax, hemp, timber, molasses, sugar, rum, rubber, tobacco, calico, cocoa, coffee, cotton, copper, coal, palm oil, tin, iron, ivory, ebony, and later on, oil, zinc, manganese, mercury, platinum, cobalt, bauxite, aluminum, and uranium. Not to be overlooked is that most hellish of all expropriations: the abduction of millions of human beings into slave labor.

Through the centuries of colonization, many self-serving imperialist theories have been spun. I was taught in school that people in tropical lands are slothful and do not work as hard as we denizens of the temperate zone. In fact, the inhabitants of warm climates have performed remarkably productive feats, building magnificent civilizations well before Europe emerged from the Dark Ages. And today they often work long, hard hours for meager sums. Yet the early stereotype of the "lazy native" is still with us. In every capitalist society, the poor-both domestic and overseas-regularly are blamed for their own condition.

We hear that Third World peoples are culturally retarded in their attitudes, customs, and technical abilities. It is a convenient notion embraced by those who want to depict Western investments as a rescue operation designed to help backward peoples help themselves. This myth of "cultural backwardness" goes back to ancient times, when conquerors used it to justify enslaving indigenous peoples. It was used by European colonizers over the last five centuries for the same purpose.

What cultural supremacy could by claimed by the Europeans of yore? From the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries Europe was "ahead" in a variety of things, such as the number of hangings, murders, and other violent crimes; instances of venereal disease, smallpox, typhoid, tuberculosis, plagues, and other bodily afflictions; social inequality and poverty (both urban and rural); mistreatment of women and children; and frequency of famines, slavery, prostitution, piracy, religious massacres, and inquisitional torture. Those who claim the West has been the most advanced civilization should keep such "achievements" in mind.

More seriously, we might note that Europe enjoyed a telling advantage in navigation and armaments. Muskets and cannon, Gatling guns and gunboats, and today missiles, helicopter gunships, and fighter bombers have been the deciding factors when West meets East and North meets South. Superior firepower, not superior culture, has brought the Europeans and Euro-North Americans to positions of supremacy that today are still maintained by force, though not by force alone.

It was said that colonized peoples were biologically backward and less evolved than their colonizers. Their "savagery" and "lower" level of cultural evolution were emblematic of their inferior genetic evolution. But were they culturally inferior? In many parts of what is now considered the Third World, people developed impressive skills in architecture, horticulture, crafts, hunting, fishing, midwifery, medicine, and other such things. Their social customs were often far more gracious and humane and less autocratic and repressive than anything found in Europe at that time. Of course we must not romanticize these indigenous societies, some of which had a number of cruel and unusual practices of their own. But generally, their peoples enjoyed healthier, happier lives, with more leisure time, than did most of Europe's inhabitants.

Other theories enjoy wide currency. We hear that Third World poverty is due to overpopulation, too many people having too many children to feed. Actually, over the last several centuries, many Third World lands have been less densely populated than certain parts of Europe. India has fewer people per acre-but more poverty-than Holland, Wales, England, Japan, Italy, and a few other industrial countries. Furthermore, it is the industrialized nations of the First World, not the poor ones of the Third, that devour some 80 percent of the world's resources and pose the greatest threat to the planet's ecology.

This is not to deny that overpopulation is a real problem for the planet's ecosphere. Limiting population growth in all nations would help the global environment but it would not solve the problems of the poor-because overpopulation in itself is not the cause of poverty but one of its effects. The poor tend to have large families because children are a source of family labor and income and a support during old age.

Frances Moore Lappe and Rachel Schurman found that of seventy Third World countries, there were six-China, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Chile, Burma, and Cuba-and the state of Kerala in India that had managed to lower their birth rates by one third. They enjoyed neither dramatic industrial expansion nor high per capita incomes nor extensive family planning programs. The factors they had in common were public education and health care, a reduction of economic inequality, improvements in women's rights, food subsidies, and in some cases land reform. In other words, fertility rates were lowered not by capitalist investments and economic growth as such but by socio-economic betterment, even of a modest scale, accompanied by the emergence of women's rights.

Artificially Converted to Poverty

What is called "underdevelopment" is a set of social relations that has been forcefully imposed on countries. With the advent of the Western colonizers, the peoples of the Third World were actually set back in their development sometimes for centuries. British imperialism in India provides an instructive example. In 1810, India was exporting more textiles to England than England was exporting to India. By 1830, the trade flow was reversed. The British had put up prohibitive tariff barriers to shut out Indian finished goods and were dumping their commodities in India, a practice backed by British gunboats and military force. Within a matter of years, the great textile centers of Dacca and Madras were turned into ghost towns. The Indians were sent back to the land to raise the cotton used in British textile factories. In effect, India was reduced to being a cow milked by British financiers. By 1850, India's debt had grown to 53 million pounds. From 1850 to 1900, its per capita income dropped by almost two-thirds. The value of the raw materials and commodities the Indians were obliged to send to Britain during most of the nineteenth century amounted yearly to more than the total income of the sixty million Indian agricultural and industrial workers. The massive poverty we associate with India was not that country's original historical condition. British imperialism did two things: first, it ended India's development, then it forcibly underdeveloped that country.

Similar bleeding processes occurred throughout the Third World. The enormous wealth extracted should remind us that there originally were few really poor nations. Countries like Brazil, Indonesia, Chile, Bolivia, Zaire, Mexico, Malaysia, and the Philippines were and sometimes still are rich in resources. Some lands have been so thoroughly plundered as to be desolate in all respects. However, most of the Third World is not "underdeveloped" but overexploited. Western colonization and investments have created a lower rather than a higher living standard.

Referring to what the English colonizers did to the Irish, Frederick Engels wrote in 1856: "How often have the Irish started out to achieve something, and every time they have been crushed politically and industrially. By consistent oppression they have been artificially converted into an utterly impoverished nation." So with most of the Third World. The Mayan Indians in Guatemala had a more nutritious and varied diet and better conditions of health in the early 16th century before the Europeans arrived than they have today. They had more craftspeople, architects, artisans, and horticulturists than today. What is called underdevelopment is not an original historical condition but a product of imperialism's superexploitation. Underdevelopment is itself a development.

Imperialism has created what I have termed "maldevelopment": modern office buildings and luxury hotels in the capital city instead of housing for the poor, cosmetic surgery clinics for the affluent instead of hospitals for workers, cash export crops for agribusiness instead of food for local markets, highways that go from the mines and latifundios to the refineries and ports instead of roads in the back country for those who might hope to see a doctor or a teacher.

Wealth is transferred from Third World peoples to the economic elites of Europe and North America (and more recently Japan) by direct plunder, by the expropriation of natural resources, the imposition of ruinous taxes and land rents, the payment of poverty wages, and the forced importation of finished goods at highly inflated prices. The colonized country is denied the freedom of trade and the opportunity to develop its own natural resources, markets, and industrial capacity. Self-sustenance and self-employment gives way to wage labor. From 1970 to 1980, the number of wage workers in the Third World grew from 72 million to 120 million, and the rate is accelerating.

Hundreds of millions of Third World peoples now live in destitution in remote villages and congested urban slums, suffering hunger, disease, and illiteracy, often because the land they once tilled is now controlled by agribusiness firms who use it for mining or for commercial export crops such as coffee, sugar, and beef, instead of growing beans, rice, and corn for home consumption. A study of twenty of the poorest countries, compiled from official statistics, found that the number of people living in what is called "absolute poverty" or rockbottom destitution, the poorest of the poor, is rising 70,000 a day and should reach 1.5 billion by the year 2000 (San Francisco Examiner, June 8, 1994).

Imperialism forces millions of children around the world to live nightmarish lives, their mental and physical health severely damaged by endless exploitation. A documentary film on the Discovery Channel (April 24, 1994) reported that in countries like Russia, Thailand, and the Philippines, large numbers of minors are sold into prostitution to help their desperate families survive. In countries like Mexico, India, Colombia, and Egypt, children are dragooned into health-shattering, dawn-to-dusk labor on farms and in factories and mines for pennies an hour, with no opportunity for play, schooling, or medical care.

In India, 55 million children are pressed into the work force. Tens of thousands labor in glass factories in temperatures as high as 100 degrees. In one plant, four-year-olds toil from 5 o'clock in the morning until the dead of night, inhaling fumes and contracting emphysema, tuberculosis, and other respiratory diseases. In the Philippines and Malaysia corporations have lobbied to drop age restrictions for labor recruitment. The pursuit of profit becomes a pursuit of evil.

Development Theory

When we say a country is "underdeveloped," we are implying that it is backward and retarded in some way, that its people have shown little capacity to achieve and evolve. The negative connotations of "underdeveloped" has caused the United Nations, the Wall Street Journal, and parties of various political persuasion to refer to Third World countries as "developing" nations, a term somewhat less insulting than "underdeveloped" but equally misleading. I prefer to use "Third World" because "developing" seems to be just a euphemistic way of saying "underdeveloped but belatedly starting to do something about it." It still implies that poverty was an original historic condition and not something imposed by the imperialists. It also falsely suggests that these countries are developing when actually their economic conditions are usually worsening.The dominant theory of the last half century, enunciated repeatedly by writers like Barbara Ward and W. W. Rostow and afforded wide currency in the United States and other parts of the Western world, maintains that it is up to the rich nations of the North to help uplift the "backward" nations of the South, bringing them technology and teaching them proper work habits. This is an updated version of "the White man's burden," a favorite imperialist fantasy.

According to the development scenario, with the introduction of Western investments, the backward economic sectors of the poor nations will release their workers, who then will find more productive employment in the modern sector at higher wages. As capital accumulates, business will reinvest its profits, thus creating still more products, jobs, buying power, and markets. Eventually a more prosperous economy evolves.

This "development theory" or "modernization theory," as it is sometimes called, bears little relation to reality. What has emerged in the Third World is an intensely exploitive form of dependent capitalism. Economic conditions have worsened drastically with the growth of transnational corporate investment. The problem is not poor lands or unproductive populations but foreign exploitation and class inequality. Investors go into a country not to uplift it but to enrich themselves.

People in these countries do not need to be taught how to farm. They need the land and the implements to farm. They do not need to be taught how to fish. They need the boats and the nets and access to shore frontage, bays, and oceans. They need industrial plants to cease dumping toxic effusions into the waters. They do not need to be convinced that they should use hygienic standards. They do not need a Peace Corps Volunteer to tell them to boil their water, especially when they cannot afford fuel or have no access to firewood. They need the conditions that will allow them to have clean drinking water and clean clothes and homes. They do not need advice about balanced diets from North Americans. They usually know what foods best serve their nutritional requirements. They need to be given back their land and labor so that they might work for themselves and grow food for their own consumption.

The legacy of imperial domination is not only misery and strife, but an economic structure dominated by a network of international corporations which themselves are beholden to parent companies based in North America, Europe and Japan. If there is any harmonization or integration, it occurs among the global investor classes, not among the indigenous economies of these countries. Third World economies remain fragmented and unintegrated both between each other and within themselves, both in the flow of capital and goods and in technology and organization. In sum, what we have is a world economy that has little to do with the economic needs of the world's people.

Neoimperialism: Skimming the Cream

Sometimes imperial domination is explained as arising from an innate desire for domination and expansion, a "territorial imperative." In fact, territorial imperialism is no longer the prevailing mode. Compared to the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when the European powers carved up the world among themselves, today there is almost no colonial dominion left. Colonel Blimp is dead and buried, replaced by men in business suits. Rather than being directly colonized by the imperial power, the weaker countries have been granted the trappings of sovereignty-while Western finance capital retains control of the lion's share of their profitable resources. This relationship has gone under various names: "informal empire," "colonialism without colonies," "neocolonialism," and "neoimperialism. "U.S. political and business leaders were among the earliest practitioners of this new kind of empire, most notably in Cuba at the beginning of the twentieth century. Having forcibly wrested the island from Spain in the war of 1898, they eventually gave Cuba its formal independence. The Cubans now had their own government, constitution, flag, currency, and security force. But major foreign policy decisions remained in U.S. hands as did the island's wealth, including its sugar, tobacco, and tourist industries, and major imports and exports.

Historically U.S. capitalist interests have been less interested in acquiring more colonies than in acquiring more wealth, preferring to make off with the treasure of other nations without bothering to own and administer the nations themselves. Under neoimperialism, the flag stays home, while the dollar goes everywhere - frequently assisted by the sword.

After World War II, European powers like Britain and France adopted a strategy of neoimperialism. Left financially depleted by years of warfare, and facing intensified popular resistance from within the Third World itself, they reluctantly decided that indirect economic hegemony was less costly and politically more expedient than outright colonial rule. They discovered that the removal of a conspicuously intrusive colonial rule made it more difficult for nationalist elements within the previously colonized countries to mobilize anti-imperialist sentiments.

Though the newly established government might be far from completely independent, it usually enjoyed more legitimacy in the eyes of its populace than a colonial administration controlled by the imperial power. Furthermore, under neoimperialism the native government takes up the costs of administering the country while the imperialist interests are free to concentrate on accumulating capital-which is all they really want to do.

After years of colonialism, the Third World country finds it extremely difficult to extricate itself from the unequal relationship with its former colonizer and impossible to depart from the global capitalist sphere. Those countries that try to make a break are subjected to punishing economic and military treatment by one or another major power, nowadays usually the United States.

The leaders of the new nations may voice revolutionary slogans, yet they find themselves locked into the global capitalist orbit, cooperating perforce with the First World nations for investment, trade, and aid. So we witnessed the curious phenomenon of leaders of newly independent Third World nations denouncing imperialism as the source of their countries' ills, while dissidents in these countries denounced these same leaders as collaborators of imperialism.

In many instances a comprador class emerged or was installed as a first condition for independence. A comprador class is one that cooperates in turning its own country into a client state for foreign interests. A client state is one that is open to investments on terms that are decidedly favorable to the foreign investors. In a client state, corporate investors enjoy direct subsidies and land grants, access to raw materials and cheap labor, light or nonexistent taxes, few effective labor unions, no minimum wage or child labor or occupational safety laws, and no consumer or environmental protections to speak of. The protective laws that do exist go largely unenforced.

In all, the Third World is something of a capitalist paradise, offering life as it was in Europe and the United States during the nineteenth century, with a rate of profit vastly higher than what might be earned today in a country with strong economic regulations. The comprador class is well recompensed for its cooperation. Its leaders enjoy opportunities to line their pockets with the foreign aid sent by the U.S. government. Stability is assured with the establishment of security forces, armed and trained by the United States in the latest technologies of terror and repression. Still, neoimperialism carries risks. The achievement of de jure independence eventually fosters expectations of de facto independence. The forms of self rule incite a desire for the fruits of self rule. Sometimes a national leader emerges who is a patriot and reformer rather than a comprador collaborator. Therefore, the changeover from colonialism to neocolonialism is not without risks for the imperialists and represents a net gain for popular forces in the world.

Chapter 1 of Against Empire by Michael Parenti

Michael Parenti is an internationally known award-winning author and lecturer. He is one of the nation's leading progressive political analysts. His highly informative and entertaining books and talks have reached a wide range of audiences in North America and abroad. http://www.michaelparenti.org/


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[Jan 21, 2018] Poeoshenko failed to imagine the situation a Russia in which Putin was no longer around and the hawks, with plenty of stored up grievances, were in power. The Russians have their neocons too and if they came out on top we'd be worse off than now. Failing to resolve the Donbass crisis now might create much worse situation in the future

Notable quotes:
"... Imagine a Russia in which Putin was no longer around and the hawks, with plenty of stored up grievances, were in power. The Russians have their neocons too and if they came out on top we'd be worse off than now ..."
"... The European elites wish to see Europe as a world power. Unrealistic, perhaps, but say that entity did become a dominant force. They complain about the lack of democratic control in the States, but that's nothing to the lack of democratic control in Europe. And we've already seen what the Europeans, including us, are capable of when it comes to predatory foreign intervention. Give the Europeans enough things that go bang and we could be yearning for the good old days. ..."
Jan 21, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

English Outsider -> Babak Makkinejad... 21 January 2018 at 11:18 AM


Babak - "The only sensible thing to do is to cut and run; in my opinion. Just work through the implications as US cuts and run in the Levant, in the Persian Gulf, in South Korea."

As you point out, that could have unexpected effects. We saw what happened when a previous dominant power - Great Britain, though by no means as overwhelmingly dominant and not at all so at the end - effectively cut and ran after the Second World War. It ended up more of a mess than it started out as.

Even in an ideal world, a world in which the current style of Great Power politics was universally abandoned, the sudden withdrawal of the US would cause instability and chaos. The disengagement would have to be gradual.

But there is no such ideal world as that and there will not be. Therefore the sudden withdrawal of the US would leave a power vacuum that others would fill.

What others? Imagine a Russia in which Putin was no longer around and the hawks, with plenty of stored up grievances, were in power. The Russians have their neocons too and if they came out on top we'd be worse off than now .

The European elites wish to see Europe as a world power. Unrealistic, perhaps, but say that entity did become a dominant force. They complain about the lack of democratic control in the States, but that's nothing to the lack of democratic control in Europe. And we've already seen what the Europeans, including us, are capable of when it comes to predatory foreign intervention. Give the Europeans enough things that go bang and we could be yearning for the good old days.

I'm one of those that still hope that the non-interventionist policy that was voted for in America in 2016 will be carried through. But if that is indeed Trump's intention then there is more in his way than local political or administrative difficulties. To engineer such a transition would require great care. It's no good if the US just steps back and worse comes forward to take its place.

It's not overly idealistic, or even that unrealistic, to hope for a world in which defense forces (AND defensive alliances) are used for the proper purpose of defence and not for expensive and destructive enterprises dreamed up by some bubble elite. That's part of what Trump 2016 was about. But getting to such a world would require a considerably more careful transition than we've seen in similar circumstances in the past.

[Jan 21, 2018] Syria - Turks Attack Afrin, U.S. Strategy Fails, Kurds Again Chose The Losing Side

There are some analogies here with the recent Poroshenko government desire to take Donbass area back by military force.
Notable quotes:
"... How will this breakup of Syrian national territory affect the situation between the Donbass region and the Ukraine junta? ..."
"... True and very sad. The Syrians have been caught in the crossfire since the beginning. We have theorized over the various causes of the war, but, in the end, when the superpowers are hanging around, Syrians are the first row of pieces to be sacrificed. ..."
"... The Afrin war plays several roles. It will demonize and demoralize further the 'independentist' Kurds, awake the nationalist Turkish feeling by displaying military power that has been damaged by the coup, boost the Islamist flame among the rural Turks so the Turks can forget about their grudge over the EU and the declining buying power. ..."
"... All the actors are tributaries flowing into the main river, and all moving in the same general direction, because the river is actually the tide of history. All players are advancing to meet their inevitable destinie ..."
Jan 21, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

BRF , Jan 21, 2018 10:28:49 AM | 17

Let me see if I understand all this? The Erdogan Turks fully back the terrorists in Syria aiming to dislodge the Assad Syrian government. The USA et al fully backs the same.

The USA also backs the PKK/YPG Kurd faction in Syria as a means to at least break up Syrian national territory, as originally in their plans, even if they do remove the Assad government as originally planned.

Erdogan has wanted to expand Turkey's national boundaries at the expense of Syria's. This latest encroachment, as with Euphrates Shield, accomplishes this goal especially if they can subsume their terrorist proxies occupied areas in Idlib Province as the USA has by using their newest Kurd proxies in eastern Syria. Erdogan need only create some new proxy (Turkmen?) and go after the terrorists and Kurds in western Syria. No doubt with American help.

Erdogan and the USA disagree only on what future the Kurdish people will play in the eastern territories of Syria and Turkey. So what will be the necessary accommodation between them?

If a Kurdish state is declared and backed by NATO and a UN resolution what if anything can Syria and her allies do about it as war is simply out of the question.

How will this breakup of Syrian national territory affect the situation between the Donbass region and the Ukraine junta?

NemesisCalling , Jan 21, 2018 1:41:54 PM | 37
This would not be some devious plot by Turks/US to prolong the war in Syria and give cover to send more troops in ... troops that never leave? The whole thing seems a bit too ... convenient.

Posted by: GoraDiva | Jan 21, 2018 1:22:57 PM | 35

@35 E

True and very sad. The Syrians have been caught in the crossfire since the beginning. We have theorized over the various causes of the war, but, in the end, when the superpowers are hanging around, Syrians are the first row of pieces to be sacrificed.

And I would never put my faith in any international community ruling after Syria. We are in uncharted territory, I believe. Dance with the one you came with and if you have to stand on Putin's toes to keep up, then hold him close.

"Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must." -- Thucydides

Can we got off this stupid ride, yet?

William Rood , Jan 21, 2018 2:03:05 PM | 41
"These oilfields seem to be the big prize and one of the main reasons the US wants to hold onto this corner of Syria."

Posted by: financial matters | Jan 21, 2018 10:37:30 AM | 18

The goal of the MIC and Deep State is just to keep the chaos going as long as possible to sell arms and benefit careers. However, Trump has been enticed to go along with it by the promise that the US will "take their oil."

Don Wiscacho , Jan 21, 2018 3:21:35 PM | 47

@ William Rood re: Kurds who can't speak Arabic

You may be correct that those Kurds aren't Syrian, but not necessarily so. The areas of Syria that have actually had Kurdish, or for instance Armenian, majorities have enjoyed a large measure of de facto autonomy, which has only increased in the last 20 years. So while nominally required to use Arabic in schools, if the school is staffed with Kurdish teachers and administrators with Kurdish students, there is little to stop them from simply teaching in Kurdish. Or Armenian, or Aramaic, etc.

Frank , Jan 21, 2018 5:13:08 PM | 56
We had wrongly predicted that Turkish threats against the Kurdish held north-west area of Afrin were empty:
Maybe not. Maybe your first analysis was correct. If the Kurdish militias do fight, it will take many weeks, and lead to substantial Turkish losses. So it is really too early to say that Erdogan will attempt to conquer Afrin no matter the cost, and too early to say that the US will not put effective pressure on Erdogan, or offer him some sort of deal.

So far, Erdogan has upped the ante, but he hasn't gone all in.

virgile , Jan 21, 2018 6:03:49 PM | 60
Erdogan is obsessed by keeping power and winning his re election in 2018 or 2019 . To get that, he needs to neutralize the Turkish Kurds who don't vote for him. Sunni conservative Kurds worship Erdogan for his promotion of Sunni Islam. For them Islam is the unifying factor of Turks especially Sunni Islam. They all vote for the AKP.

Erdogan has emasculated the burgeoning liberal Kurdish party, the HDP, by demonizing the liberal Kurds and throwing its leader in prison just to get more votes in the previous parliamentary election that he reran to win with a very small margin.

For the next election, he is very worried about the growth of other centrist parties, the weakness of his ally the MHP, a nationalist party archi-enemy of the Kurds and about the insatisfaction of the Turks with the deteriorating relation with the EU and the fall of the lira.

The Afrin war plays several roles. It will demonize and demoralize further the 'independentist' Kurds, awake the nationalist Turkish feeling by displaying military power that has been damaged by the coup, boost the Islamist flame among the rural Turks so the Turks can forget about their grudge over the EU and the declining buying power.

The question is will he win fast enough not to create the impression of failure and a quagmire that would reflect negatively on his voters? And what will be the aftermath of Afrin? early elections?

Grieved , Jan 21, 2018 6:52:02 PM | 66
I agree with everyone!

It's a multiple win-win, a great demonstration of congruent interests all doing their own thing. Lots of things remain to play out. But there are no downsides to this situation, no matter who holds what piece of Syrian territory for what temporary short time.

All the actors are tributaries flowing into the main river, and all moving in the same general direction, because the river is actually the tide of history. All players are advancing to meet their inevitable destinies: Turkey moves closer to Russia, and closer, despite much bad blood, to restoring the friendship between itself and Syria (over time); the Kurds get their final lesson about the perfidious US and settle into their lands in Syria, as Syrians; Dr. Assad gets his entire country back for his people (over time); terrorists die; the US is further marginalized and its generals scream mayhem, in words only.

Great update, b - thanks!

[Jan 21, 2018] MoA - Sundry - Shutdown, Ukraine, Omidyar And Syria

Jan 21, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

The Ukrainian Parliament has practically declared the Minsk agreements null and void and decided to militarily "liberate" Donetsk, Lugansk and Crimea from the will of the people living there. Just in time the neo-nazi fanatics of the Azov Battalion received a U.S. military delegation and U.S. arms.

The 2015 Minsk II agreement ( full text ) demanded that the Ukraine creates a new law for the administration of these regions:

Without delays, but no later than 30 days from the date of signing of this document, a resolution has to be approved by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, indicating the territory which falls under the special regime in accordance with the law "On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts," based in the line set up by the Minsk Memorandum as of Sept. 19, 2014.

Russia is not a party of the agreement. But when the resolution by the Ukrainian parliament was not forthcoming western propaganda falsely blamed Russia for "not fulfilling the Minsk agreement" and the west has since bound the sanctions on Russia to this fake conclusion.

The National Bank of Ukraine announced that an independent accountant found that PrivatBank, then owned by the coup financier and billionaire Ihor Kolomoyskiy , was plundered of $5.5 billion shortly before it went bankrupt and nationalized by the coup government. In connection with that an IMF loan of $1.8 billion to the Ukraine allegedly went directly into Kolomoyskiy's pockets. How much of this stolen money was paid to U.S. politicians?

While the anti-Trump politicians and media still fret about "Russian influence" on U.S. social media everyone seems to have forgotten that in early 2016 the Ukraine set up a massive troll farm and a Ministry of Truth. Back then even the U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine disliked that . If every troll tweeting in Russian or with Cyrillic letters in its name is under the direct command of Vladimir Putin where then are those Ukrainians trolls?

les7 , Jan 20, 2018 1:57:19 PM | 18

@15
You ask "How much more is there to come...?"

The last round in Ukraine erupted while the winter games finished in Sochi. I see the empire positioning things to repeat the treatment during FIFA. Ukraine is being primed and the clock is set to create incidents that will force Russia's hand.

This potential very public shaming of Russia is what is restraining Russia from responding to many of the US and Israeli (and Turkish?) provocations in Syria. Perhaps they are hoping their present silence will gain them some grace for that showcase event.

Personally, I doubt it.

And should some incidents happen during the FIFA world cup events, we will see the real Putin - which might be for the best in the long run.

frances , Jan 20, 2018 6:11:22 PM | 42
re:?The Ukrainian Parliament has practically declared the Minsk agreements null and void and decided to militarily "liberate" Donetsk, Lugansk and Crimea from the will of the people living there. Just in time the neo-nazi fanatics of the Azov Battalion received a U.S. military delegation..."
And also just in time Russia is voting on legalizing militias in Africa and elsewhere; just in time for Spring in the Ukraine?
http://russiafeed.com/russia-legalize-private-military-contractors-get-leg-africa/
Eugene , Jan 20, 2018 5:20:49 PM | 39
I'm curious about Ukraine & its neo-nazi's. How do the Israelis who work there, knowing the past-present? After all, mention the word nazi in their presence, and they go out of their collective minds attacking the source. Or maybe there's some sort of collusion taking place?

[Jan 20, 2018] Tanker With Russian Gas for Boston Makes Mid-Atlantic U-Turn by Elena Mazneva & Anna Shiryaevskaya

Jan 19, 2016 | www.bloomberg.com

LNG tanker Gaselys was scheduled to arrive in Boston Saturday. Vessel reversed course to Spain after almost 21 days en route

... ... ...

While unusual, it's not unheard of for LNG cargoes that aren't tied into a contract with fixed destination to change course en route as cargo owners seek the highest price and the best market. Companies with access to wide global supplies can also swap shipments between regions. What's more, the tanker may still make it to Boston with a delay, as was the case with deliveries earlier this month, according to Kpler SAS, a cargo-tracking company.

"We have still not canceled the Everett port call for Gaselys," Madeleine Overgaard, an LNG market analyst at Kpler, said by email. "Her course is currently not very different from the average delivery at Everett in 2017, she is probably just diverting to delay arrival."

Engie SA's North American unit bought the spot cargo for delivery to the U.S. from Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional Bhd. to supplement its contracted volumes from Trinidad and Tobago into its Everett terminal near Boston, it said last week. Engie declined to comment on the tanker's movement on Friday.

The Yamal LNG project, co-owned by Russia's Novatek PJSC, Total SA, China Natural Petroleum Corp. and China's Silk Road Fund, started production in December despite U.S. financial sanctions imposed in 2014 because of Russia's involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. It plans to deliver 14 spot cargoes by April, when long-term contracts kick in.

[Jan 20, 2018] Ukraine President given power to wage war in the separatist republics and Crimea.

Jan 20, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Posted by: CarlD | Jan 19, 2018 11:49:05 AM | 57

addwnsum to 56

https://www.rt.com/news/416305-ukraine-donbass-law-war-moscow/

Ukraine President given power to wage war in the separatist republics and Crimea.

[Jan 20, 2018] As of today, Gen. Mathis exposing the new Us Defense Strategy warned that: The US will counter any threat to America s democracy experiment in the world, if necessary with military force

Jan 20, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

CarlD | Jan 19, 2018 11:38:25 AM | 56

I am afraid, if one is to believe Mathis words, that the Syrian, Ukrainian and Korean potential confrontations will lead to exchanges that will force us into wars on several theaters in the very near future.

As of today, Gen. Mathis exposing the sew Us Defense Strategy warned that: The US will counter any "threat to America's democracy experiment" in the world, if necessary with military force, the Pentagon chief threatened.

He singled out Russia and China as "adversaries", a far cry form the "partners" designation used by Russia in designing the USA. He vowed: the US will respond with lethal force.

So the stage is set for escalation of escalation in several theaters. How long will the bear be poked and the dragon provoked before retaliation ensues?

I am afraid that war looks more and more certain in 2018.

james , Jan 19, 2018 12:49:13 PM | 62

@40 b... thanks for that... the place was getting out of hand.. you are becoming too popular..

@56 carl... it is an outrageous statement from mattis, any way you read it!

"The US will counter any threat to America's democracy experiment in the world..."

usa as country that gets to dictate its agenda anywhere in the world.. it would explain why they want to circumvent any international body that they don't already control too, like the un.. america's democracy experiment is imposing the us$ as world currency under the threat of their military.. it is already starting to fall apart on all accounts which explains mattis's anxiousness in representing these same undemocratic structures and institutions he refers to as 'america's ''democracy'' experiment'... he needs to get a gig in hollywood at comedy central.. he never found his true calling..

harrylaw , Jan 19, 2018 1:16:21 PM | 63
"We will modernize key capabilities," Mattis said. "Investments in space and cyberspace, nuclear deterrent forces, missile defense, advanced autonomous systems and resilient and agile logistics will provide our high-quality troops what they need to win." [Sputnik News]
Just two quotes from 'Mad dog' Mattis which prove he needs to be put in an asylum.
"I come in peace. I didn't bring artillery. But I'm pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I'll kill you all".
"Find the enemy that wants to end this experiment (in American democracy) and kill every one of them until they're so sick of the killing that they leave us and our freedoms intact."
Temporarily Sane , Jan 19, 2018 1:52:11 PM | 64
@56 CarlD
He singled out Russia and China as "adversaries", a far cry form the "partners"
designation used by Russia in designing the USA. He vowed: the US will
respond with lethal force.

Actions speak louder than words. The US is scared of two things: 1) a military conflict where its troops get slaughtered wholesale, and 2) going up against any army or regular military force it can't destroy from the air. Whatever happens in the near future we can rest assured Uncle Scam won't be engaging in direct hostilities with China or Russia.

dh , Jan 19, 2018 2:03:17 PM | 66
@63 "Investments in space and cyberspace, nuclear deterrent forces, missile defense, advanced autonomous systems and resilient and agile logistics will provide our high-quality troops what they need to win."

Nice for the high-quality troops. Sounds like they should be totally risk-free. But I don't share Mad Dog's faith in technology. Looks like an accident waiting to happen.

karlof1 , Jan 19, 2018 3:37:08 PM | 72
Mattis opens his mouth and reveals his level of ignorance when it comes to understanding the Outlaw US Empire's history--it's certainly not a "democracy experiment," nor has it ever tried to install a democracy anywhere on the planet. I'd bet he's just as ignorant when it comes to military history, too. He reminds me of the ignorant brute Sgt. Snorkel from the Beatle Bailey comic strip. The so-called "new" "defense posture" is no more than a tidied-up version of the two that preceded it: What we say goes; either you're with us or against us.

By way of rebuttal, I highly recommend reading this interview of Hassan Nasrallah from 3 Jan 2018, particularly his remarks about differences in the quality of soldiers from The Resistance versus those of the enemy--IDF, NATO, USA, Daesh--and why they exist.

Contrary to all the hype about the Empire being a new energy exporting colossus, it needed to import LNG to keep its East Coast dwellings warm, but the cargo seems to have found a better price elsewhere. Just how will it displace Russian gas from the market when it can't provide enough domestic supply?

Meanwhile, Tillerson pulls an Albright : "Signs of starvation and death in North Korea indicate that US diplomatic strategy works fine, says the secretary of state." Is he being two-faced? You bet! From last year : "We're not your enemy, we're not your threat..."

Ignorant, lying, immoral are just a few of the important behavioral traits of those leading faces of the Outlaw US Empire. And my historical investigations prove such traits have been in the forefront since its inception. Guess we can thank its tutor, the British Empire.

virgile , Jan 19, 2018 5:14:33 PM | 79
January 19, 2018 at 10:10 pm GMT • 100 Words

The US administration either is very smart in bluffing to temporarily reassure its panicking regional allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia or it is living in the la-la land of an incompetence close to stupidity.

Do they really believe that the Russians will allow the USA to rob their victory in Syria over ISIS? Or that the Turks will stay idle while the USA is building a Kurdish military entity on their border? Or that Iran and Syria will allow the partitioning of Syria and the US illegal long term presence in the region?
The USA administration is posed for dramatic blowbacks and reshuffling of alliances in the region.Maybe that is why it is running like a headless hen!

Ghost Ship , Jan 19, 2018 6:52:28 PM | 88
This will damage Trump with his base. Reducing the involvement of the United States military abroad was one of the more important commitments he made to his base and now he has broken that commitment and quite a few of his base are disappointed. Even if it's just a couple of hundred thousand of them, there goes the next presidential election for Trump and the Republicans. By forgetting about Russia-gate, focusing on his foreign military involvements, and provided the Democratic candidate is not a Clinton, the presidency is for there for taking by the Democrats. Having Tulsi Gabbard on the ticket would help.
The only reservation I have is if Trump is stiffing the generals in the White House and sometime in the future pulls the plug on all those interventions then he'll remain in the White House for another four years.
Mike K. , Jan 19, 2018 7:08:43 PM | 90
Tillerson could have been speaking for Trump, or Obama, or Bush - under whose regime the Likudnik/neocons/Zionists were able to foment a policy coup while using the OSP to concoct lies for Israel's long-desired war.

https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/trump-isnt-another-hitler-he-s-another-obama-51ea7db498b4

https://www.activistpost.com/2018/01/new-trump-admin-policy-on-syria-is-the-same-as-obamas-and-hillary-clintons.html


While there are generally multiple motives for entry into wars, only one is whitewashed. As Phil Giraldi put it:

""Why doesn't anyone ever speak honestly about the six-hundred-pound gorilla in the room? Nobody has mentioned Israel in this conference and we all know it's American Jews with all their money and power who are supporting every war in the Middle East for Netanyahu? Shouldn't we start calling them out and not letting them get away with it?"

https://www.veteransnewsnow.com/2017/09/21/1015592-americas-jews-are-driving-americas-wars/

They have also very heavily figured, neocon and neoliberal Jews both, in promoting the #Russiahoax in media and on the hill.

http://russia-insider.com/en/its-time-drop-jew-taboo/ri22186


Here's where we are, as the same cabal cheerlead for war on Iran (Lebanon must be first) a you are either committed to stopping the drive to war by all cognizable social and pitical forces, or you are not.

The time for letting cries of 'anti-Semite' preclude FAIR dis ussuon of the role of Jews and the Israel Lobby is over.

Those who censor this necessary component of analysis should be deemed confederates of the bankers, MIC, transnationals, and Zionist Jews who have been driving wars for decades.

With millions dead, playtime is over. Those censoring the truth side with the warmongers.

[Jan 19, 2018] No Foreign Bases Challenging the Footprint of US Empire by Kevin B. Zeese and Margaret Flowers

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers co-direct ..."
"... Popular Resistance ..."
"... . This article first appeared as the ..."
"... weekly newsletter ..."
"... of the organization. ..."
Jan 18, 2018 | original.antiwar.com

The United States cannot be a moral or ethical country until it faces up to the realities of US empire and the destruction it causes around the world. The US undermines governments (including democracies), kills millions of people, causes mass migrations of people fleeing their homes, communities and countries and produces vast environmental damage.

A new coalition, The Coalition Against US Foreign Military Bases , held its inaugural event January 12-14, 2018 at the University of Baltimore in Maryland. The meeting was framed by a Unity Statement that brought together numerous peace and justice organizations. The basis for unity was:

"U.S. foreign military bases are the principal instruments of imperial global domination and environmental damage through wars of aggression and occupation, and that the closure of US foreign military bases is one of the first necessary steps toward a just, peaceful and sustainable world."

You can endorse the statement here .

... ... ... (image deleted)
US foreign military bases as of 2015. Source BaseNation.us

Responsibility to End Global Empire of Bases

Ajamu Baraka of the Black Alliance for Peace and the vice presidential candidate for the Green Party in 2016 opened the conference, describing the responsibility of the people of the United States (USians) to protect the world from US aggression. He argued :

"The only logical, principled and strategic response to this question is citizens of the empire must reject their imperial privileges and join in opposing ruling elites exploiting labor and plundering the Earth. To do that, however, requires breaking with the intoxicating allure of cross-class, bi-partisan 'white identity politics.'"

This reality conflicts with one of the excuses the US uses to engage in war – so-called 'humanitarian wars', which are based on the dubious legal claim that the US has a "responsibility to protect." The United States is viewed as "the greatest threat to peace in the world today" by people around the world. Thus, USians need to organize to protect the world from the United States.

US empire is not only a threat to world peace and stability but also a threat to the United States. Chalmers Johnson , who wrote a series of books on empire, warned in his 2004 book, " The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic ," that there were four "sorrows" the United States would suffer. In the 14 years since they have all come true:

"If present trends continue, four sorrows, it seems to me, are certain to be visited on the United States. Their cumulative impact guarantees that the United States will cease to bear any resemblance to the country once outlined in our Constitution. First, there will be a state of perpetual war, leading to more terrorism against Americans wherever they may be and a growing reliance on weapons of mass destruction among smaller nations as they try to ward off the imperial juggernaut. Second, there will be a loss of democracy and constitutional rights as the presidency fully eclipses Congress and is itself transformed from an "executive branch" of government into something more like a Pentagonized presidency. Third, an already well-shredded principle of truthfulness will increasingly be replaced by a system of propaganda, disinformation, and glorification of war, power, and the military legions. Lastly, there will be bankruptcy, as we pour our economic resources into ever more grandiose military projects and shortchange the education, health, and safety of our fellow citizens."

The footprint of US empire are what Chalmers Johnson called an "empire of bases." David Vine, the author of Base Nation, put US empire in context by describing 800 US bases in 80 countries and US military personnel in more than 170 countries. Bases range from so-called Lily Pad Bases of hundreds of troops to town-sized bases of tens of thousands of troops and their families. He noted many bases have schools and they do not need to worry about heating or air conditioning, unlike schools in Baltimore where parents bought space heaters to keep children warm and where schools were closed due to lack of heat.

The contrast between Baltimore schools and military base schools is one example of many of the heavy price USians pay for the military. Vine reported that $150 billion is spent annually to keep US troops on bases abroad and that even a Lily Pad base could cost $1 billion. More is spent on foreign military bases than on any agency of the federal government, other than the Pentagon and Veterans Administration.

The Pentagon is not transparent about the number of US foreign bases it manages or their cost. They usually publish a Base Structure Report but have not done so in several years. The Pentagon only reports 701 bases, but researchers have found many, even significant bases, not included in their list of bases.

According to the No Foreign Bases Coalition:

"95% of all foreign military bases in the world are US bases. In addition, [there are] 19 Naval air carriers (and 15 more planned), each as part of a Carrier Strike Group, composed of roughly 7,500 personnel, and a carrier air wing of 65 to 70 aircraft – each of which can be considered a floating military base."

The military footprint of the United States shows it is the largest empire in world history. In our interview with historian Alfred McCoy , author of In The Shadows of the American Century , he describes how some of the key characteristics of US empire are secrecy and covert actions. This are some of the reasons why it is rare to ever hear US empire discussed in the corporate media or by politicians. McCoy told us this was true for some other empires too, and that it is often not until the empire begins to falter that their existence becomes part of the political dialogue.

Strategies for Closing US Foreign Military Bases

David Vine described an unprecedented opportunity to close bases abroad, to do so we need to build a bigger movement. We also need to elevate the national dialogue about US Empire and develop a national consensus to end it.

Vine pointed to Donald Trump's campaign rhetoric about pulling back from US involvement abroad and focusing on the necessities at home as indicative of the mood of the country. In fact, a recent survey found that "78 percent of Democrats, 64.5 percent of Republicans, and 68.8 percent of independents supported restraining military action overseas."

McCoy argued that after the globalization of President Barack Obama, which included the Asian Pivot and efforts to pass major trade agreements, in particular the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), created a backlash desire to focus on "America First." Both trade agreements, the TPP and TTIP, failed as a result of a political shift in the country, in part created by grassroots movements.

McCoy describes Obama as one of three "Grandmasters of the Great Game" (the other two being Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's National Security Adviser, and Elihu Root, former Secretary of War and Secretary of State at the beginning of the 20th Century) who excelled in being strategic on behalf of US empire. In addition to trade agreements and the Asian Pivot, Obama built on the intelligence apparatus of the George W. Bush era. Even though Obama was a "grandmaster," he did not slow the weakening of US empire. McCoy sees the inability to account for the unpredictable complexities of US and global political developments as a common weakness of empire strategists.

The conference was divided into regions of the world (with the exception of one session on the impact of military bases on the environment and health). There will be reports and videos published on each section of the conference on the No Foreign Bases webpage . One common denominator around the world is opposition to US military bases. According to the Unity Statement of the coalition:

"Many individual national coalitions – for example, Okinawa, Italy, Jeju Island Korea, Diego Garcia, Cyprus, Greece, and Germany – are demanding closure of bases on their territory. The base that the US has illegally occupied the longest, for over a century, is Guantánamo Bay, whose existence constitutes an imposition of the empire and a violation of International Law. Since 1959 the government and people of Cuba have demanded that the government of the US return the Guantánamo territory to Cuba."

One important strategy for success is for US activists to work in cooperation with people around the world who want US military bases to be closed and for the US military to leave their country. Attendees at the conference had traveled to South Korea, Okinawa and other places to protest in solidarity with US activists.

Another strategy that many in the conference urged was the need for education about US imperialism and to tie US militarism abroad with militarized police at home. Similarly, the reality of the US military focusing on black and brown countries abroad highlights a white supremacy philosophy that infects foreign policy and domestic policy. Members of the No US Foreign Bases coalition also engage in domestic efforts for racial and environmental justice.

Further, the no bases coalition highlights the environmental and health damage caused by foreign and domestic military bases. As the Unity Statement notes, "military bases are the largest users of fossil fuel in the world, heavily contributing to environmental degradation." Pat Elder and David Swanson described the degradation in and around the Potomac River, writing:

"The Pentagon's impact on the river on whose bank it sits is not simply the diffuse impact of global warming and rising oceans contributed to by the US military's massive oil consumption. The US military also directly poisons the Potomac River in more ways than almost anyone would imagine."

People can find information about the environmental damage being done by the military in their community on the Bombs in Your Backward webpage . World Beyond War held a conference on War and the Environment in 2017. You can view video and summaries from the conference on their site .

Next Steps

The conference attendees decided on some next steps. A national day of action against foreign military bases is being planned for February 23, the anniversary of the US seizing Guantanamo Bay, Cuba through a "perpetual lease" that began in 1903. Activists are encouraged to plan local actions. If you plan an event, contact info@popularresistance.org and we'll post it on the events page. The demands will include closing the base and prison in Guantanamo, returning the land to Cuba and ending the US blockade.

The conference also decided to hold a conference outside of the United States in one of the countries where the US has a foreign military base within the next year. People from some countries were not allowed to attend the inaugural conference this weekend.

And, the coordinating committee will reach out to other peace and justice groups to select a date and place for a national mass action against US wars. This will be organized as quickly as possible because the threat of more wars is high.

This is a key moment for the antiwar movement in the US to make itself more visible and to demand the closure of US foreign bases. In this report on living in a post-primacy world , even the Pentagon recognizes what many commentators are seeing – the US empire is fading. One great risk as the empire ends is more wars as the US tries to hang on to global hegemony. We must oppose war and work for the least damaging end of empire.

Indeed, if the US becomes a cooperative member of the global community, rather than being a dominator, it would be a positive transition. Imagine how much better it would be for everyone in the world if the US collaborated on addressing the climate crisis in a serious way, obeyed international law and invested in positive programs to solve the many crises we face at home and abroad.

During the Baltimore conference, World Beyond War sponsored a billboard nearby that read, "3% of US military spending could end starvation on earth." Imagine what a peace budget could look like. The US could invest in domestic necessities including rebuilding infrastructure, a cleaner and safer public transportation system, education, housing and health care. The US could provide aid to other countries to repair the damage it has caused. Members of the US military could transition into a civilian jobs program that applies their expertise to programs of social uplift.

It is imperative that as the US Empire falls, we organize for a smooth transition to a world that is better for everyone. The work of the new coalition to end US foreign military bases is a strong start.

Homeless encampment in the foreground of a Baltimore, MD billboard that read, "3% of US military spending could end starvation on earth." Source World Beyond War.

Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers co-direct Popular Resistance . This article first appeared as the weekly newsletter of the organization.

Read more by Kevin B. Zeese

[Jan 17, 2018] What was behind the false missile attack alarm in Hawaii yesterday

Jan 17, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

What was behind the false missile attack alarm in Hawaii yesterday. Poynter has some context:

One of the big stories in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Saturday morning was that military "brass" updated island officials on how the military would respond to a nuclear attack from North Korea . Military authorities warned there was a "real" threat.

At 8:07 a.m. Saturday, Hawaiian residents saw a terrifying alert message on their phones.

It took 38 minutes to correct the "mistake". A missile from North Korea would take 32-35 minutes from launch to impact in Hawaii.

But of interest is the newspaper report hyping the "threat" followed by the false alarm. Coincidence? And the " leaking " of the Draft Nuclear Posture Review this week, in which the military demands hundreds of new "small" nuclear weapons to fight North Korea and Russia, is also just a coincidence? Or is all of this part of a public relation campaign designed to increase the acceptance of new nuclear weapons and "limited" nuclear warfare? A preparation for war on North Korea? (Related: Deconstructing the North Korean 'Threat' and Identifying America's Strategic Alternatives

What was behind the false missile attack alarm in Hawaii yesterday. Poynter has some context:

One of the big stories in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Saturday morning was that military "brass" updated island officials on how the military would respond to a nuclear attack from North Korea . Military authorities warned there was a "real" threat.

At 8:07 a.m. Saturday, Hawaiian residents saw a terrifying alert message on their phones.

It took 38 minutes to correct the "mistake". A missile from North Korea would take 32-35 minutes from launch to impact in Hawaii.

But of interest is the newspaper report hyping the "threat" followed by the false alarm. Coincidence? And the " leaking " of the Draft Nuclear Posture Review this week, in which the military demands hundreds of new "small" nuclear weapons to fight North Korea and Russia, is also just a coincidence? Or is all of this part of a public relation campaign designed to increase the acceptance of new nuclear weapons and "limited" nuclear warfare? A preparation for war on North Korea? (Related: Deconstructing the North Korean 'Threat' and Identifying America's Strategic Alternatives (pdf))

Grieved , Jan 14, 2018 2:30:45 PM | 20
Scott Creighton has been working up collateral to his theory that the Hawaii false alert was part of a test to sell the Aegis radar system to Japan. Aegis controls the alert system in Hawaii. The sales contract is $2 billion. Japanese and Pentagon officials were in the area last Thursday as part of an ongoing demonstration of the system. This is his written post (he has a later post in a 20-minute video for those who prefer):

Hawaiian False Alarm, the Aegis Ashore System and a Pending $2 Billion Dollar Contract: Shall We Play a Game?

So, while it could be a false flag test of some kind, and while it could be tied to the talks between the two Koreas, I can see it could just as easily be corrupt MIC business as usual. It seems unlikely this alert was sent in error. But could it have been sent so the Japanese could see the warning system in action? And US officials reason, well, it's only Korea and Hawaii's closest, so we have a plausible scenario and neither area has any clout to complain? And that's as far as their thinking needed to go, because at that point it all looks perfectly explainable?

nhs , Jan 14, 2018 12:03:49 PM | 4
CIA had an agent at a newspaper in every world capital at least since 1977
Don Bacon , Jan 14, 2018 12:11:47 PM | 5
Re: Hawaii and nukes. This behavior is to be expected when generals are placed in charge of foreign affairs because generals are: > ignorant of anything besides warfare. > taught to believe that they are always right and their detractors are always wrong. >of the belief that only wars, properly conduced with maximum force, solve problems.

A couple of President Harry Truman quotes: "It's the fellows who go to West Point and are trained to think they're gods in uniform that I plan to take apart". . ."I didn't fire him [General MacArthur] because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that's not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three quarters of them would be in jail."

Don Bacon , Jan 14, 2018 12:28:15 PM | 6
The Pentagon apparently will investigate the "leaked amateur non-professional" video of the truck driver assault, not the assault itself, and the people connected with the video will be punished, not the shooter. Memories of Chelsea Manning and the video of the helicopter-shooting of the Iraqi Journalists, resulting in Manning's court-martial and imprisonment.
Military investigating shooting in newly leaked Afghan combat video

U.S. commanders have launched an investigation into video footage that appears to show an American service member firing into the cab of a civilian truck as the two vehicles pass on a road in Afghanistan, an action that could have violated the military's rules of engagement and may hamper the alliance with the Afghan government. The shooting briefly appears during a gritty montage of combat footage allegedly recorded by U.S. troops battling the Islamic State's Afghan affiliate. An anonymous user recently uploaded the video to YouTube under the title "Happy Few Ordnance Symphony," then quickly removed it. "The amateur video posted on a public website gives us serious concern," the U.S. Central Command told POLITICO in a statement. "The video in question is not official, not authorized and does not represent the professionalism of the service members of U.S. Central Command. "We are conducting an investigation into this video, and will take appropriate actions as a result of this investigation," it added. . . here

nottheonly1 , Jan 14, 2018 6:23:13 PM | 36
Regarding Hawai'i Missiles Attack:

The best treat today is to listen to all those that experienced yesterday's 'nuclear attack'.

Many of us did not receive a missile attack message at all. This was not due to lack of cell phone reception. Their phones worked, but they were not alerted. They also use the same provider. Then, alert messages were different. Some said that the ballistic missile threat would expire at 6pm. Right.

Here are my own experiences. You be the judge:

Driving towards Pahoa and reaching the High School intersection, I saw cops coming from the Kalapana direction with lights and sirens on. They stopped at every pulled over vehicle to talk to the driver. Then they turned into Pahoa road and I also pulled to the side of the road, thinking whom they are after this time.

I had just turned down the radio, where HPR had started the news. That was at 8:01 AM.

The cop told me (both of his windows were rolled down): "The guy in North Korea has fired three missiles at us. You should go home and stay with your family." He drove off to Paul's gas station to talk to other drivers. His co-cop did the same at the propane place.

My first thought was "That's bullshit." Cops driving around talking to folks individually while the ICBM's are homing in. It would take those things 20 minutes to hit their target.

Fuck that shit, I am going to have breakfast as intended. Should that be true, I had at least a last break fast.

At the store the news had already created panic among those who are easily manipulated. The hysteria was quite impressive and my reassuring them that things are okay went in the one ear and out the other.

Mind you that I know these people for years and I am well known for being level headed.

I get my breakfast and sit outside. A few other guys are rolling in. Then, at 8:07 AM, the emergency alert appears on our phones. Those who knew, were all filled in by the cops BEFORE the alert.

The alert caused the store to close. I did my best to calm people down. Explaining to them that they should listen to their body, instead to anything the government says. George Carlin's made that clear a long time ago.

But people are now so disconnected from the 'Here and Now' have been so propagandized and brainwashed, that they are incapable to keep cool and THINK.

IF that would have been the real McCoy, we would have had twenty minutes left from the time the cops 'informed' people.

Then, when it became apparent that it was bullshit, the cops drove around and appeared to be taking license plates of those who did not panic, but have breakfast instead.

Around 8:30 AM, Tulsi Gabbard's tweets had made it around enough for people to calm down somewhat.

The alert cancellation came at 8:45 AM.

Here are some questions.

Who will be the first to become aware of a ballistic missile taking off?

Whom would they inform about that?

Why were cops driving around and telling people personally about the impending attack?

Flight time is approximately 20 minutes, which means that there were only ten minutes left from the emergency alert counted from when I was told.

Likely less than ten minutes from 8:07 AM down to impact.

The excuses and explanations that followed made it even more clear that this was an intentionally triggered false alarm.

That in turn is the dictionary definition of a TERROR ATTACK. To create fear, to terrorize the population. This was not Kim Jong UN terrorizing Hawai'i, this was the US regime creating a false flag Emergency Alert to terrorize the Hawai'ian people.

Who would be the first to be informed about an actually and factually happening attack?

The so called "Commander in Chief"?

Or Bill Maher?

Hopefully, of the flood of people having inundated the islands - especially the Big Island - most will go back where they came from. Ask anybody that lives here, or was born here "WHY?".

fast freddy , Jan 14, 2018 6:57:51 PM | 38
Can they stage another 9/11 and get away with it?

Yes, they can. Manifest Destiny, WW1, WW2, State of Israel, Coup in Iran, Korean War, JFK. Gulf OF Tonkin, Viet Nam, Oil Shortages, Oil Wars, Persian Gulf War, 911 and so on....

CarlD , Jan 14, 2018 7:16:05 PM | 43
Tulsi GAbbard's declarations after the false alarm point to the fact that she is one of the few the very few U.S. representatives witha spine and a real understanding of the Korean issue.

She wants talks without preconditions and give and take to reach the point where Kim no longer feels he needs nuclear clout.

mauisurfer , Jan 14, 2018 7:18:14 PM | 44
here's what actually happened to cause the false alarm quote Emergency Management Agency Administrator Vern Miyagi said that the employee who made the mistake felt terrible for triggering the alarm.

Miyagi apologized for the "trouble" and "heartbreak" caused by alert. "I accept the responsibility for this," he said. "This is my team. We made a mistake."

But Miyagi also used the opportunity to highlight the fact that if the missile threat were real, Hawaii residents would only have 12 to 15 minutes to react and find shelter.

"I regret what happened this morning," Miyagi said. "But it brings us up to speed again about what to expect and what to do."

Miyagi explained that the mistake happened during a drill that occurred around a shift change at the agency. He said an employee, was using a computer program as part of the drill, and clicked on the wrong button, which sent out the mass alert.

"It's human error," Miyagi said. "There is a screen that says, 'Are you sure you want to do this?'"

According to Miyagi, the employee clicked through the warning prompt, which resulted in thousands of residents receiving an alert that a missile was headed toward the islands. It's unclear how many people actually received the warning.

Miyagi said he was uncertain why some emergency sirens around the state also went off.

Ige said that testing of the alert system will be suspended for now. He also said that two people will now have to approve an alert before it goes public.

The testing on Saturday was part of Hawaii's efforts to upgrade its alert system to provide earlier warning to residents in case of a missile attack.

Ige and Miyagi acknowledged that the state's emergency agency did not have a process in place to cancel a false warning. Furthermore, the agency didn't realize until several minutes later that it had accidentally sent out the warning to the public, Miyagi said.

"We didn't have a message scripted that said this is a false alarm," Ige said. "We were not prepared for that."

"So we have built that now," he added.

While state officials could instantaneously send out the erroneous alert, they required approvals from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to send out the corrected alert -- and that process contributed to the 38-minute delay, officials said.

"We have to clear that to make sure that we can get that out," Miyagi said. On Saturday morning, information technology staff with the emergency agency scrambled to get those approvals "as fast as they could," he added. Civil Defense head Verne Miyagi apologizes to our community/public via media during press conference held at the Diamond Head Emergency Operations Center.

http://www.civilbeat.org/2018/01/false-missile-threat-mistakenly-triggered-as-part-of-internal-drill/

Ian , Jan 14, 2018 8:11:14 PM | 45
@44:

Typical government incompetence. Having a dialog box " Are you sure? Y/N " doesn't cut it anymore, as people have been conditioned for years to click on the OK button without reading the prompt, to get to what they want. Waiting for a request of federal funding to upgrade their systems. I can only imagine on what the price tag will be. I suppose the silver lining is that the Japanese government observing the drill, now knows what not to do regarding issuing public alerts.

Interesting comment about the police taking note of non-responders.

Hoarsewhisperer , Jan 14, 2018 8:25:52 PM | 46
... It took 38 minutes to correct the "mistake". A missile from North Korea would take 32-35 minutes from launch to impact in Hawaii. ...

Wow! Good catch, And a nice piece of sleuthing, b... Oz's reptilian MSM didn't bother acquainting its 'consumers' with that vital snippet of relevance. So, was the alert a mistake or was it just another big chunk of pre-emptive Yankee Arseholery from The Swamp?

V. Arnold , Jan 14, 2018 9:41:14 PM | 48
I'll not waste time on whether or not the warning was legitimate; but rather, on the expressed behavior of the people; it's a sure sign they're scared; which translates to; the U.S. propaganda campaign has been very effective. This is truly frightening and a marker of the true mental state of the populace. I must add; I'm very concerned; it exceeds my vision/perception of today's reality. IMO; we've really crossed the Rubicon I'll re-adjust my perception meter immediately to extreme.
PavewayIV , Jan 15, 2018 2:06:13 AM | 50
mauisurfer@44

"...Emergency Management Agency Administrator Vern Miyagi said that the employee who made the mistake felt terrible for triggering the alarm..."

Miyagi should feel worse about remaining on his job despite his lack of management skills and complete absence of system controls. He should also feel bad about having a pre-programmed missile alert message that can be sent without any such alert from Pacific Command and requires nothing more than a few clicks by a low-level employee.

"...But Miyagi also used the opportunity to highlight the fact that if the missile threat were real, Hawaii residents would only have 12 to 15 minutes to react and find shelter. "I regret what happened this morning," Miyagi said. "But it brings us up to speed again about what to expect and what to do..."

Bad, bad time to look for a teachable moment here, Miyagi. I have to doubt the sincerity of his earlier apology if he immediately morphs into a psychopathic, patronizing Homeland Security bureaucrat and takes the opportunity to dispense a few words of government wisdom to the little people since he has their attention. Jesus - I would have punched him in the face at this point.

"...Miyagi explained that the mistake happened during a drill that occurred around a shift change at the agency. He said an employee, was using a computer program as part of the drill, and clicked on the wrong button, which sent out the mass alert..."

There is no such 'drill' or test performed anywhere else in the US that sends anything but the canned test message to the Integrated Public Alert Warning System (IPAWS) on a weekly or monthly schedule.

"It's human error," Miyagi said. "There is a screen that says, 'Are you sure you want to do this?'"

The error is using the damn live IPAWS console for your 'drill'. No home-brew drill or test should ever involve any access to the live IPAWS console for this exact reason. I'm glad Miyagi never crewed a nuclear missile silo - we would all be dead by now.

"...According to Miyagi, the employee clicked through the warning prompt, which resulted in thousands of residents receiving an alert that a missile was headed toward the islands. It's unclear how many people actually received the warning..."

Another reason for Miyagi's immediate dismissal. When you punch in an alert on the IPAWS console, it goes directly to the FEMA IPAWS server, where it is then disseminated to all your other client messaging systems. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) is one of those systems. WEA feeds every cell phone provider in the area (all of Hawaii in this case). Any modern smartphone that's turned on and using a Hawaiian network will automatically display the message with some obnoxious audio alert. 1.5 million people and he thinks this message only reached 'thousands'? He's either a horrible liar or he's a complete idiot.

"...Miyagi said he was uncertain why some emergency sirens around the state also went off..."

Well, that was because his agency programmed IPAWS to fire the sirens for Civil Emergency-type messages. Mostly because that's how you're suppose to activate them if you're using IPAWS. That's what it's for. Didn't he just start testing the 'nuclear attack' sirens last year? Don't tell me this message set off the Tsunami warning horns instead. And why only some of them? Does this HEMA terrorist understand how to make any of his DHS/FEMA junk in Hawaii work properly?

"...Furthermore, the agency didn't realize until several minutes later that it had accidentally sent out the warning to the public, Miyagi said..."

What, NONE of these guys had a cellphone? Everyone in the building with one should have seen/heard the alert within tens of seconds. That's how WEA works. They knew right away - that's why they sent out FB and Twitter messages minutes later.

"We didn't have a message scripted that said this is a false alarm," Ige said. "We were not prepared for that."

Doesn't he know anything about IPAWS? You don't NEED a pre-approved, scripted message. There may be a specific message to deactivate WEA rebroadcasts, but there's nothing that should have prevented them from sending a simple update for everyone to disregard the earlier warning. This is done all the time in IPAWS - they must really be confused or just not know how to use it at all. One would think they would take the trouble to learn since they're inexplicably using the live console for testing.

"...While state officials could instantaneously send out the erroneous alert, they required approvals from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to send out the corrected alert -- and that process contributed to the 38-minute delay, officials said..."

More painfully-obvious made-up BS to cover their butts. HEMA *is* the messaging authority there, period. FEMA has nothing to do with approving any messages for them. The other US operators must be shaking their heads in disbelief.

"...information technology staff with the emergency agency scrambled to get those approvals "as fast as they could," he added..."

Oh, I get it now. Contract IT that had no clue. They had to call FEMA to figure out what to do, since they were apparently as unfamiliar with the system as the HEMA guys and couldn't get it to work either. Good thing they didn't call the overseas help desk - unplugging it for ten seconds wouldn't have fixed much.

What really worries me is how the Pacific Command in Hawaii reacted when all their cellphones suddenly alerted them that THEY had 'detected an incoming ballistic missile'. That's not the kind of erroneous alert I want my nuclear-armed military to see - ever.

nottheonly1 , Jan 15, 2018 2:40:22 AM | 52
In regards to the 'official story':

According to Miyagi, the employee clicked through the warning prompt, which resulted in thousands of residents receiving an alert that a missile was headed toward the islands."

@Mauisurfer

How come, that cops were driving around telling everybody to go home and stay with their families, because "the guy in North Korea" had fired three missiles? Plenty of people can attest to that. If the error was with "this employee", than that would mean that there could have been no prior knowledge of the cops about this ballistic missile threat. How did the cops know before the employee made "a mistake"? That is not possible. The employee made 'the mistake' at 8:07 AM. We here in Pahoa we're warned before 8:07 AM.

There is obviously much more to this than meets the eyes and ears.

The ballistic missile threat was not created by 'this employee'.

Please take the time to read this excellent written review of Daniel Ellsberg's new book about the "Doomsday Machine". It should further the under standing about the scope of the Doomsday Machine that would have responded to any ballistic missile fired at Guam, Hawai'i, or the mainland. https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/01/09/rational-insanity-a the-mad-logic-of-americas-nuclear-doomsday-machine/

Harry , Jan 15, 2018 2:52:37 AM | 53
@ mauisurfer | 44
here's what actually happened to cause the false alarm

Its not what happened, you just quoted fake BS rationalization of US deliberate terrorising of Hawaii, as clearly explained by nottheonly1 | 36.

The only question is - why? Preparation of public for yet another war?

nottheonly1 , Jan 15, 2018 3:08:06 AM | 54
@paveway #50

Thank You so much. While I am not familiar with
the intricacies of the IPAWS warning system, I
have experienced a number of tsunami and hurricane
alerts through this system. The cancellation was
always as immediate as the website would report.
(PTWC / CPHC respectively).

I get must be impeached and with all lower level
employees be prosecuted and terminated.

This 'event' has caused PTSD among a number of
people, especially the countless mother's with
infant babies.

This was not an accident, but it shall serve as
a wake up call to dismantle the nuclear Doomsday
machine.
North Korea aquired ICBM's to protect itself from
the people that almost entirely exterminated it
by the likes of Curtis LeMay.

The country with the most nukes must start unilaterally
to abolish its Doomsday Machine. Others will follow.

The threat by North Korea is a psychological projection
by the only people to ever have dropped nuclear bombs.

Hoarsewhisperer , Jan 15, 2018 6:33:15 AM | 62
...
In that case North Korea would have lots of targets to chose from.
Posted by: somebody | Jan 15, 2018 5:43:22 AM | 60

Yes, interesting point reinforced, somewhat, by this extract from SST's January 13 post about domestic US Military base closures...

"What's more, at the same time that the domestic base closings are proceeding, the U.S. military footprint abroad is expanding. According to American University professor David Vine, there are presently 800 American military bases abroad, in 70 countries, with an annual cost of $160-200 billion, including American theaters of combat--Iraq and Afghanistan. Recent Pentagon studies of the need to devise a "third offset strategy" to address the increased vulnerabilities of American military bases around the globe raise further questions about the viability of the current military posture."

Unfortunately for the Yankees, Kim (correctly) regards the US Homeland as the top priority target for NK retaliation to US Military violence inflicted on North Korea. Why Nuke Hawaii, or some other island outpost, when he can Nuke Washington, New York, Boston, plus the 5 biggest US freight ports and airports - at the same time on the same day? He only has to convince the Yankees that it's "do-able" and NK will be AmeriKKKa-proof.
And let's not forget that China has said that if NK is attacked, China will respond on NK's behalf.

Hoarsewhisperer , Jan 15, 2018 6:33:15 AM | 62 Heros , Jan 15, 2018 6:58:12 AM | 63
@54 nottheonly1
"The threat by North Korea is a psychological projection by the only people to ever have dropped nuclear bombs."

This reminds me of a famous expression out of 16th century Poland:

"The jew cries out in pain as he strikes you"

The evidence here clearly indicates that by signalling this alarm, which automatically sent it out to IPAWS/HEMA/FEMA/PACCOM/NORAD/[who knows else where], someone was trying to provoke a missile exchange and start a war.

Some miracle or god prevented this war that the MIC is so horny for from getting started and the US nuking North Korea. It must be the same god that in 1967 prevented the Zionists from sinking the Liberty after 2 hours of bombs and torpedoes, which would have directly pulled the US into Israel's war against her Arab neighbors.

somebody , Jan 15, 2018 7:04:12 AM | 64
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 15, 2018 6:33:15 AM | 62

NK has been America-proof since the last war. The difference being that they have convinced the US now that they can act on their own - without Chinese or Russian support. That means the US will have to talk to North Korea directly.


somebody , Jan 15, 2018 7:20:05 AM | 65
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/north-korea-diplomacy-message-trump-white-house-1.4484793">Meeting in Canada on North Korea
"Rex Tillerson has been advocating for a diplomatic approach to this crisis, that is a point of view that Canada shares, and so the purpose of this meeting is to talk about economic and diplomatic ways of getting North Korea to the table," Paris said.

"I think it's the main purpose of this meeting," said Shin Maeng-ho, South Korea's Ambassador to Canada, who is attending the meeting.

During an interview on CBC's The House with guest host Alison Crawford, Shin added: "I think diplomacy is the only option left to us. War on the Korean peninsula means death of millions of people."

"All foreign ministers in Vancouver will seek all the ways and means for diplomatic solution," Shin said.

[Jan 17, 2018] DPRK can't be attacked unless Americans from Camp Humphreys which is 57 miles from the DMZ are evacuated first

Notable quotes:
"... Regarding North Korean US military targets, the Guardian failed to include what might its primary target. Camp Humphreys which is 57 miles from the DMZ, in DPRK 300mm rocket range, and currently houses 12,000 Americans and is growing. So DPRK can't be attacked unless those Americans are evacuated first, and that won't happen. The host country would no permit it, and go crazy if they did. It would be mass mayhem. ..."
"... In fact the whole concept of forward basing actually puts a damper on any Pentagon aggression. Another example is the 40,000 Americans at various bases in the western Persian Gulf, well within Iran rocket and missile range. That means no attack against Iran. ..."
"... Finally, these bases are financially supported by host countries. In South Korea the current Camp Humphreys $10 billion expansion is reportedly being funded by ROK. ..."
Jan 17, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Don Bacon | Jan 15, 2018 10:08:20 AM | 76

@somebody 60

> Regarding North Korean US military targets, the Guardian failed to include what might its primary target. Camp Humphreys which is 57 miles from the DMZ, in DPRK 300mm rocket range, and currently houses 12,000 Americans and is growing. So DPRK can't be attacked unless those Americans are evacuated first, and that won't happen. The host country would no permit it, and go crazy if they did. It would be mass mayhem.

> In fact the whole concept of forward basing actually puts a damper on any Pentagon aggression. Another example is the 40,000 Americans at various bases in the western Persian Gulf, well within Iran rocket and missile range. That means no attack against Iran.

> Finally, these bases are financially supported by host countries. In South Korea the current Camp Humphreys $10 billion expansion is reportedly being funded by ROK.

test , Jan 15, 2018 11:42:36 AM | 83

Dangerous Idiot Category: "It's Time to Bomb North Korea" says neocon writer.

https://www.themaven.net/mishtalk/politics/dangerous-idiot-category-it-s-time-to-bomb-north-korea-jBx4D34-cEKzezJxQn16MA

[Jan 16, 2018] MoA - Weekly Review And Open Thread 2018-02

Jan 16, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

/div>

What was behind the false missile attack alarm in Hawaii yesterday. Poynter has some context:

One of the big stories in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Saturday morning was that military "brass" updated island officials on how the military would respond to a nuclear attack from North Korea . Military authorities warned there was a "real" threat.

At 8:07 a.m. Saturday, Hawaiian residents saw a terrifying alert message on their phones.

It took 38 minutes to correct the "mistake". A missile from North Korea would take 32-35 minutes from launch to impact in Hawaii.

But of interest is the newspaper report hyping the "threat" followed by the false alarm. Coincidence? And the " leaking " of the Draft Nuclear Posture Review this week, in which the military demands hundreds of new "small" nuclear weapons to fight North Korea and Russia, is also just a coincidence? Or is all of this part of a public relation campaign designed to increase the acceptance of new nuclear weapons and "limited" nuclear warfare? A preparation for war on North Korea? (Related: Deconstructing the North Korean 'Threat' and Identifying America's Strategic Alternatives

What was behind the false missile attack alarm in Hawaii yesterday. Poynter has some context:

One of the big stories in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Saturday morning was that military "brass" updated island officials on how the military would respond to a nuclear attack from North Korea . Military authorities warned there was a "real" threat.

At 8:07 a.m. Saturday, Hawaiian residents saw a terrifying alert message on their phones.

It took 38 minutes to correct the "mistake". A missile from North Korea would take 32-35 minutes from launch to impact in Hawaii.

But of interest is the newspaper report hyping the "threat" followed by the false alarm. Coincidence? And the " leaking " of the Draft Nuclear Posture Review this week, in which the military demands hundreds of new "small" nuclear weapons to fight North Korea and Russia, is also just a coincidence? Or is all of this part of a public relation campaign designed to increase the acceptance of new nuclear weapons and "limited" nuclear warfare? A preparation for war on North Korea? (Related: Deconstructing the North Korean 'Threat' and Identifying America's Strategic Alternatives (pdf))

div

Grieved , Jan 14, 2018 2:30:45 PM | 20
Scott Creighton has been working up collateral to his theory that the Hawaii false alert was part of a test to sell the Aegis radar system to Japan. Aegis controls the alert system in Hawaii. The sales contract is $2 billion. Japanese and Pentagon officials were in the area last Thursday as part of an ongoing demonstration of the system. This is his written post (he has a later post in a 20-minute video for those who prefer):

Hawaiian False Alarm, the Aegis Ashore System and a Pending $2 Billion Dollar Contract: Shall We Play a Game?

So, while it could be a false flag test of some kind, and while it could be tied to the talks between the two Koreas, I can see it could just as easily be corrupt MIC business as usual. It seems unlikely this alert was sent in error. But could it have been sent so the Japanese could see the warning system in action? And US officials reason, well, it's only Korea and Hawaii's closest, so we have a plausible scenario and neither area has any clout to complain? And that's as far as their thinking needed to go, because at that point it all looks perfectly explainable?

nhs , Jan 14, 2018 12:03:49 PM | 4
CIA had an agent at a newspaper in every world capital at least since 1977
Don Bacon , Jan 14, 2018 12:11:47 PM | 5
Re: Hawaii and nukes.
This behavior is to be expected when generals are placed in charge of foreign affairs because generals are:
> ignorant of anything besides warfare.
> taught to believe that they are always right and their detractors are always wrong.
>of the belief that only wars, properly conduced with maximum force, solve problems.

A couple of President Harry Truman quotes: "It's the fellows who go to West Point and are trained to think they're gods in uniform that I plan to take apart". . ."I didn't fire him [General MacArthur] because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that's not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three quarters of them would be in jail."

Don Bacon , Jan 14, 2018 12:28:15 PM | 6
The Pentagon apparently will investigate the "leaked amateur non-professional" video of the truck driver assault, not the assault itself, and the people connected with the video will be punished, not the shooter. Memories of Chelsea Manning and the video of the helicopter-shooting of the Iraqi Journalists, resulting in Manning's court-martial and imprisonment.
Military investigating shooting in newly leaked Afghan combat video

U.S. commanders have launched an investigation into video footage that appears to show an American service member firing into the cab of a civilian truck as the two vehicles pass on a road in Afghanistan, an action that could have violated the military's rules of engagement and may hamper the alliance with the Afghan government.
The shooting briefly appears during a gritty montage of combat footage allegedly recorded by U.S. troops battling the Islamic State's Afghan affiliate. An anonymous user recently uploaded the video to YouTube under the title "Happy Few Ordnance Symphony," then quickly removed it.
"The amateur video posted on a public website gives us serious concern," the U.S. Central Command told POLITICO in a statement. "The video in question is not official, not authorized and does not represent the professionalism of the service members of U.S. Central Command.
"We are conducting an investigation into this video, and will take appropriate actions as a result of this investigation," it added. . . here

nottheonly1 , Jan 14, 2018 6:23:13 PM | 36
Regarding Hawai'i Missiles Attack:

The best treat today is to listen to all
those that experienced yesterday's 'nuclear
attack'.

Many of us did not receive a missile attack
message at all. This was not due to lack of
cell phone reception. Their phones worked,
but they were not alerted. They also use
the same provider.
Then, alert messages were different. Some
said that the ballistic missile threat
would expire at 6pm. Right.

Here are my own experiences. You be the
judge:

Driving towards Pahoa and reaching the
High School intersection, I saw cops
coming from the Kalapana direction with
lights and sirens on. They stopped at
every pulled over vehicle to talk to
the driver.
Then they turned into Pahoa road and
I also pulled to the side of the road,
thinking whom they are after this time.

I had just turned down the radio, where
HPR had started the news. That was at
8:01 AM.

The cop told me (both of his windows were
rolled down):
"The guy in North Korea has fired three
missiles at us. You should go home and
stay with your family."
He drove off to Paul's gas station to
talk to other drivers. His co-cop did
the same at the propane place.

My first thought was "That's bullshit."
Cops driving around talking to folks
individually while the ICBM's are
homing in. It would take those things
20 minutes to hit their target.

Fuck that shit, I am going to have
breakfast as intended. Should that
be true, I had at least a last break fast.

At the store the news had already created
panic among those who are easily manipulated.
The hysteria was quite impressive and my
reassuring them that things are okay went
in the one ear and out the other.

Mind you that I know these people for years
and I am well known for being level headed.

I get my breakfast and sit outside. A few
other guys are rolling in. Then, at 8:07 AM,
the emergency alert appears on our phones.
Those who knew, were all filled in by the
cops BEFORE the alert.

The alert caused the store to close. I did
my best to calm people down. Explaining to
them that they should listen to their body,
instead to anything the government says.
George Carlin's made that clear a long time
ago.

But people are now so disconnected from the
'Here and Now' have been so propagandized
and brainwashed, that they are incapable
to keep cool and THINK.

IF that would have been the real McCoy,
we would have had twenty minutes left
from the time the cops 'informed' people.

Then, when it became apparent that it was
bullshit, the cops drove around and appeared
to be taking license plates of those who did
not panic, but have breakfast instead.

Around 8:30 AM, Tulsi Gabbard's tweets had
made it around enough for people to calm
down somewhat.

The alert cancellation came at 8:45 AM.

Here are some questions.

Who will be the first to become aware of a
ballistic missile taking off?

Whom would they inform about that?

Why were cops driving around and telling
people personally about the impending
attack?

Flight time is approximately 20 minutes,
which means that there were only ten minutes
left from the emergency alert counted from
when I was told.

Likely less than ten minutes from 8:07 AM down
to impact.

The excuses and explanations that followed
made it even more clear that this was an
intentionally triggered false alarm.

That in turn is the dictionary definition
of a TERROR ATTACK. To create fear, to
terrorize the population. This was not
Kim Jong UN terrorizing Hawai'i, this
was the US regime creating a false flag
Emergency Alert to terrorize the Hawai'ian
people.

Who would be the first to be informed about
an actually and factually happening attack?

The so called "Commander in Chief"?

Or Bill Maher?

Hopefully, of the flood of people having
inundated the islands - especially the
Big Island - most will go back where they
came from. Ask anybody that lives here, or
was born here
"WHY?".

fast freddy , Jan 14, 2018 6:57:51 PM | 38
Can they stage another 9/11 and get away with it?

Yes, they can. Manifest Destiny, WW1, WW2, State of Israel, Coup in Iran, Korean War, JFK. Gulf OF Tonkin, Viet Nam, Oil Shortages, Oil Wars, Persian Gulf War, 911 and so on....

CarlD , Jan 14, 2018 7:16:05 PM | 43
Tulsi GAbbard's declarations after the false alarm point to the fact that she is one of the few
the very few U.S. representatives witha spine and a real understanding of the Korean issue.

She wants talks without preconditions and give and take to reach the point where Kim
no longer feels he needs nuclear clout.

[Jan 16, 2018] DPRK can't be attacked unless Americans from Camp Humphreys which is 57 miles from the DMZ are evacuated first

Jan 16, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

@somebody 60
> Regarding North Korean US military targets, the Guardian failed to include what might its primary target. Camp Humphreys which is 57 miles from the DMZ, in DPRK 300mm rocket range, and currently houses 12,000 Americans and is growing. So DPRK can't be attacked unless those Americans are evacuated first, and that won't happen. The host country would no permit it, and go crazy if they did. It would be mass mayhem.
> In fact the whole concept of forward basing actually puts a damper on any Pentagon aggression. Another example is the 40,000 Americans at various bases in the western Persian Gulf, well within Iran rocket and missile range. That means no attack against Iran.
> Finally, these bases are financially supported by host countries. In South Korea the current Camp Humphreys $10 billion expansion is reportedly being funded by ROK.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 15, 2018 10:08:20 AM | 76

[Jan 16, 2018] Drive by shooting in Afghanistan of truck, full video over 3 minutes

Jan 16, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Christian Chuba | Jan 16, 2018 8:48:12 AM | 101

https://southfront.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/1-2.mp4?_=1
https://southfront.org/leaked-afghan-combat-video-shows-us-special-forces-firing-at-driver-of-civilian-truck/

Okay, the segment with the shooting through the truck window is still only 5 seconds but I'd argue that the fact that it is part of a 3 minute montage 'our guys are kicking ass in Afghanistan' actually gives it a much worse context. If this was some innocent procedural, 'we had to reluctantly do it' incident, no one in their right mind would have popped it into such a sequence.

[Jan 14, 2018] Trump Stumped As Bannon-Backed Roy Moore Wins Alabama Republican Primary By Landslide

Bannon backed candidate later lost. So much for this Bannon "success".
This idea of Trump playing 6 dimensional chess is a joke. It's the same explanation that was pushed for Obama disastrous neocon foreign policy. Here is one very apt quote: "What Trump has done are disasters, and equates to treason. Selling billions of dollars of weapons the our enemies the terrorists/Saudis, killing innocent people in Syria, and Yemen, sending more troops to Afghanistan..." What 6-dimetional chess?
According to Occam razor principle the simplest explanation of Trump behaviour is probably the most correct. He does not control foright policy, outsourcing it to "generals" and be does not pursue domestic policy of creating jobs as he promised his electorate. In other words, both in foreign policy and domestic policy, he became a turncoat, betraying his electorate, much like Obama. kind of Republican Obama.
And as time goes by, Trump looks more and more like Hillary II or Republican Obama. So he might have problems with the candidates he supports in midterm elections. His isolationism, if it ever existed, is gone. Promise of jobs is gone. Detente with Russia is gone. What's left?
Note the level disappointment of what used to be Trump base in this site comment section...
Notable quotes:
"... In a serious rebuke for President Trump (and perhaps moreso for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell), ousted judge and alt-right favorite Roy Moore has won the Alabama Republican Primary by a landslide ..."
"... The Steve Bannon-backed candidate, who defied court orders to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom and refused to recognize gay marriage after the Supreme Court's June 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, is leading by 9.6 points with 92% of the votes counted... ..."
"... These attacks on Bannon were one of the most prominent news stories in the first week following Trump's election victory. It didn't take long, however, for a counter-attack to emerge - from the right-wing elements of the Jewish community. ..."
"... Bannon is a true fucking patriot trying to pull this once great country from the sinkhole. ..."
"... I think the reality is that this was a message to McConnell much more than Trump. That message is simple: I'm coming to kill your career. Bannon went out of his way to say he fully supports Trump (despite backing the opposite candidate). And, let's face it, if Bannon buries McConnell, he's doing everyone a service, Trump included. ..."
"... The echo chamber media "is so surprised" that in Germany and the US we are seeing a rising tide of pissed off people, well imagine fucking that? Leaving the echo chamber and not intellectually trying to understand the anger, but living the anger. ..."
"... Well, we can only hope that Trump gets the message. He was elected to be President of the USA, not Emperor of the World. Quote from that Monty Python film: "He's not the Messiah; he's a very naughty boy!" ..."
"... A cursory background reading on Roy Moore tells me that he is one of the worst types for public office. And he might just turn out to be like Trump -- act like an anti-swarm cowboy and promise a path to heaven, then show his real colors as an Establishment puppet once the braindead voters put him in office. ..."
"... When Trump won the Republican nomination, and then the Presidency it was because people were rebelling against the establishment rulers. There is considerable disgust with these big government rulers that are working for themselves and their corporate cronies, but not for the US population. ..."
"... Trump seems to have been compromised at this point, and his support of the establishment favourite, Luther Strange is evidence that he isn't really the outsider he claimed to be. Moore's victory in Alabama says the rebellion still has wheels, so there is some hope. ..."
"... In Missouri where I live, the anti-establishment Republican contender for the upcoming US Senatorial 2018 race is Austin Peterson. It will be interesting to see how he, and his counterparts in other states do in the primaries. Both of the current Missouri Senators are worthless. ..."
"... I remember well the last "3-Dimensional Chess master" Obama while he too was always out maneuvering his apponents, per the media reports... ..."
"... Every now and then Trump tends to make huge blunders, and sometimes betrayals without knowing what he is doing. "Champions"- (great leaders) do not do that. ..."
"... What Trump has done are disasters, and equates to treason. Selling billions of dollars of weapons the our enemies the terrorists/Saudis, killing innocent people in Syria, and Yemen, sending more troops to Afghanistan... ..."
"... It is epitome of self-delusion to see people twisting themselves into pretzels, trying to justify/rationalize Trump's continuing display of disloyalty to America ..."
"... YOU CAN'T BE A ZIONIST AND AN AMERICAN FIRSTER, IT IS ONE OR THE OTHER. ..."
Sep 27, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Congratulations to Roy Moore on his Republican Primary win in Alabama. Luther Strange started way back & ran a good race. Roy, WIN in Dec!

In a serious rebuke for President Trump (and perhaps moreso for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell), ousted judge and alt-right favorite Roy Moore has won the Alabama Republican Primary by a landslide

The Steve Bannon-backed candidate, who defied court orders to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom and refused to recognize gay marriage after the Supreme Court's June 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, is leading by 9.6 points with 92% of the votes counted...

... ... ...

However, as Politco reported this evening, President Donald Trump began distancing himself from a Luther Strange loss before ballots were even cast, telling conservative activists Monday night the candidate he's backing in Alabama's GOP Senate primary was likely to lose ! and suggesting he'd done everything he could do given the circumstances.

Trump told conservative activists who visited the White House for dinner on Monday night that he'd underestimated the political power of Roy Moore, the firebrand populist and former judge who's supported by Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon, according to three people who were there.

And Trump gave a less-than full-throated endorsement during Friday's rally.

While he called Strange "a real fighter and a real good guy," he also mused on stage about whether he made a "mistake" by backing Strange and committed to campaign "like hell" for Moore if he won.

Trump was encouraged to pick Strange before the August primary by son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner as well as other aides, White House officials said. He was never going to endorse Alabama Republican Rep. Mo Brooks, who has at times opposed Trump's agenda, and knew little about Moore, officials said.

... ... ...

Déjà view -> Sanity Bear •Sep 26, 2017 11:19 PM

AIPAC HAS ALL BASES COVERED...MIGA !

On Sept. 11, the Alabama Daughters for Zion organization circulated a statement on Israel by Moore, which started by saying the U.S. and Israel "share not only a common Biblical heritage but also institutions of representative government and respect for religious freedom." He traced Israel's origin to God's promise to Abram and the 1948 creation of modern Israel as "a fulfillment of the Scriptures that foretold the regathering of the Jewish people to Israel."

Moore's statement includes five policy positions, including support for U.S. military assistance to Israel, protecting Israel from "Iranian aggression," opposing boycotts of Israel, supporting Israel at the United Nations, and supporting direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations without outside pressure. He added, "as long as Hamas and the Palestinian Authority wrongly refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist, such negotiations have scant chance of success."

While those views would give Moore common ground with much of the Jewish community regarding Israel, most of the state's Jewish community has been at odds with Moore over church-state issues, such as his displays of the Ten Commandments in courthouses, and his outspoken stance against homosexuality, both of which led to him being ousted as chief justice.

http://www.sjlmag.com/2017/09/alabama-senate-candidates-express.html?m=1

justa minute -> Déjà view •Sep 27, 2017 2:53 AM

moore misreads the Bible as most socalled christians do. they have been deceived, they have confused the Israel of God( those who have been given belief in Christ) with israel of the flesh. They cant hear Christs own words, woe is unto them. they are living in their own selfrighteousness, not good. they are going to have a big surprise for not following the Word of God instead following the tradition of men.

They were warned over and over in the Bible but they cant hear.

I Claudius -> VinceFostersGhost •Sep 27, 2017 6:27 AM

Forgive? Maybe. Forget? NEVER!! He tried to sell "US" out on this one. We now need to focus on bringing "Moore" candidates to the podium to run against the RINO's and take out McConnell and Ryan. It's time for Jared and Ivanka to go back to NYC so Jared can shore up his family's failing empire. However, if his business acumen is as accurate as his political then it's no wonder the family needed taxpayer funded visas to sell the property. Then on to ridding the White House of Gen Kelly and McMaster - two holdover generals from the Obama administration - after Obama forced out the real ones.

Clashfan -> Mycroft Holmes IV •Sep 26, 2017 11:33 PM

Rump has hoodwinked his supoprt base and turned on them almost immediately. Some refuse to acknowledge this.

"Ha! Your vote went to the Israel first swamp!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Gdw_MVY1Vo

Déjà view -> Clashfan •Sep 27, 2017 1:00 AM

MIGA !

These attacks on Bannon were one of the most prominent news stories in the first week following Trump's election victory. It didn't take long, however, for a counter-attack to emerge - from the right-wing elements of the Jewish community. The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) came to Bannon's defense and accused the ADL of a "character assassination" against Bannon.

http://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-1.807776

The Wizard -> Oh regional Indian •Sep 26, 2017 10:12 PM

Trump should figure out the Deep State elites he has surrounded himself with, don't have control of the states Trump won. Trump thought he had to negotiate with these guys and his ego got the best of him. Bannon was trying to convince him he should have stayed the course and not give in.


Theosebes Goodfellow -> Oh regional Indian •Sep 26, 2017 10:35 PM

~"American politics gets moore strange by the day..."~

Technically speaking OhRI, with Moore's win politics became less Strange, or "Strange less", or "Sans Luther", depending on how one chose to phrase it [SMIRK]

Adullam -> Gaius Frakkin' Baltar •Sep 26, 2017 11:05 PM

Trump needs to fire Jared! Some news outlets are saying that it was his son in law who advised him to back Strange. He has to quit listening to those who want to destroy him or ... they will.

overbet -> Killtruck •Sep 26, 2017 9:41 PM

Bannon is a true fucking patriot trying to pull this once great country from the sinkhole.

Juggernaut x2 -> overbet •Sep 26, 2017 10:07 PM

Trump better pull his head out of his ass and quit being a wishy-washy populist on BS like Iran- the farther right he goes the greater his odds of reelection because he has pissed off a lot of the far-righters that put him in- getting rid of Kushner, Cohn and his daughter and negotiating w/Assad and distancing us from Israhell would be a huge help.

opport.knocks -> Juggernaut x2 •Sep 26, 2017 11:19 PM

Distancing us from Israel... LOLOLOLOL

https://youtu.be/tm5Je73bYOY

The whole Russiagate ploy was a diversion from (((them)))

NoDebt -> Killtruck •Sep 26, 2017 9:42 PM

I think the reality is that this was a message to McConnell much more than Trump. That message is simple: I'm coming to kill your career. Bannon went out of his way to say he fully supports Trump (despite backing the opposite candidate). And, let's face it, if Bannon buries McConnell, he's doing everyone a service, Trump included.

Oldwood -> NoDebt •Sep 26, 2017 10:08 PM

I think it was a setup.

Bannon would not oppose Trump that directly unless there was a wink and a nod involved.

Trump is still walking a tightrope, trying to appease his base AND keep as many establishment republicans at his side (even for only optics). By Trump supporting Strange while knowing he was an underdog AND completely apposed by Bannon/his base he was able to LOOK like he was supporting the establishment, while NOT really. Trump seldom backs losers which makes me think it was deliberate. Strange never made sense anyway.

But what do I know?

Urahara -> NoDebt •Sep 27, 2017 12:20 AM

Bannon is hardcore Isreal first. Why are you supporting the zionist? It's an obvious play.

general ambivalent -> Urahara •Sep 27, 2017 2:23 AM

People are desperate to rationalise their failure into a victory. They cannot give up on Hope so they have to use hyperbole in everything and pretend this is all leading to something great in 2020 or 2024.

None of these fools learned a damn thing and they are desperate to make the same mistake again. The swamp is full, so full that it has breached the banks and taken over all of society. Trump is a swamp monster, and you simply cannot reform the swamp when both sides are monsters. In other words, the inside is not an option, so it has to be done the hard way. But people would prefer to keep voting in the swamp.

Al Gophilia -> NoDebt •Sep 27, 2017 3:58 AM

Bannon as president would really have those swamp creatures squirming. There wouldn't be this Trump crap about surrounding himself with likeminded friends, such as Goldman Sachs turnstile workers and his good pals in the MIC.

Don't tell me he didn't choose them because if he didn't, then they were placed. That means he doesn't have the clout he pretends to have or control of the agenda that the people asked him to deliver. His backing of Stange is telling.

Lanka -> LindseyNarratesWordress •Sep 26, 2017 11:07 PM

McMaster and Kelly have Trump under house arrest.

Bobbyrib -> LindseyNarratesWordress •Sep 27, 2017 5:38 AM

He will not fire Kushner or Ivanka who have become part of the swamp. I'm so sick of these 'Trump is a genius and planned this all along.'

To me Trump is a Mr. Bean type character that has been very fortunate and just goes with the flow. He has nearly no diplomacy, or strategic skills.

NoWayJose •Sep 26, 2017 10:35 PM

Dear President Trump - if you like your job, listen to these voters. Borders, Walls, limited immigrants (including all those that Ryan and McConnell are sneaking through under your very nose), trade agreements to keep American jobs, and respect for our flag, our country, and the unborn!

nevertheless -> loveyajimbo •Sep 26, 2017 11:19 PM

I had hope for Trump, but as someone who reads ZH often, and does not suffer from amnesia (like much of America), I knew he was way too good to be true.

We all know his back tracking, his flip flops...and while the media and many paid bloggers like to spin it as "not his fault", it actually is.

His sending DACA to Congress was the last straw. Obama enacted DACA with a stroke of his pen, but Trump "needed to send it to Congress so they could "get it right". The only thing Congress does with immigration is try and get amnesty passed.

Of course while Trump sends DACA to Congress, he does not mind using the military without Congress, which he actually should do.

Why is it when it's something American's want, it has to go through the "correct channels", but when its something the Zionists want, he does it with the wave of his pen? We saw the same bull shit games with Obama...

Dilluminati •Sep 26, 2017 11:02 PM

Anybody surprised by this is pretending the civility at the workplace isn't masking anger at corporate America and Government. I'll go in and put in the 8 hours, I'm an adult that is part of the job. However I'm actually fed up with allot of the stupid shit and want the establishment to work, problem is that we are witnessing failed nations, failed schools, failed healthcare, even failed employment contracts, conditions, and wages.

The echo chamber media "is so surprised" that in Germany and the US we are seeing a rising tide of pissed off people, well imagine fucking that? Leaving the echo chamber and not intellectually trying to understand the anger, but living the anger.

You haven't seen anything yet in Catalonia/Spain etc, Brexit, or so..

This is what failure looks like: That moment the Romanovs and Louis XVI looked around the room seeking an understanding eye, there was none.

Pascal1967 •Sep 26, 2017 11:19 PM

Dear Trump:

Quit listening to your moron son-in-law, swamp creature, Goldman Sachs douchebag son-in-law Kushner. HE SUCKS!! If you truly had BALLS, you would FIRE his fucking ass. HE is The Swamp, He Is Nepotism! THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HATE HIM.

MAGA! LISTEN TO BANNON, DONALD.

DO NOT FUCK THIS UP!

ROY MOORE, 100%!!!!

You lost, Trump ... get your shit together before it is too late!

ElTerco •Sep 26, 2017 11:28 PM

Bannon was always the smarts behind the whole operation. Now we are just left with a complete idiot in office.

Also, unlike Trump, Bannon actually gives a shit about what happens to the American people rather than the American tax system. At the end of the day, all Trump really cares about is himself.

samsara •Sep 26, 2017 11:25 PM
I think most people get it backwards about Trump and the Deplorables.

I believed in pulling troops a from all the war zones and Trump said he felt the same

I believed in Legal immigration, sending people back if here illegal especially if involved in crime, Trump said he felt the same.

I believed in America first in negotiating treaties, Trump said he felt the same.

I didn't 'vote' for Trump per se, he was the proxy.

We didn't leave Him, He left us.

BarnacleBill •Sep 26, 2017 11:31 PM

Well, we can only hope that Trump gets the message. He was elected to be President of the USA, not Emperor of the World. Quote from that Monty Python film: "He's not the Messiah; he's a very naughty boy!" It's high time he turned back to the job he promised to do, and drain that swamp.

napper •Sep 26, 2017 11:47 PM

A cursory background reading on Roy Moore tells me that he is one of the worst types for public office. And he might just turn out to be like Trump -- act like an anti-swarm cowboy and promise a path to heaven, then show his real colors as an Establishment puppet once the braindead voters put him in office.

America is doomed from top (the swarm) to bottom (the brainless voters).

Sid Davis •Sep 27, 2017 1:40 AM

When Trump won the Republican nomination, and then the Presidency it was because people were rebelling against the establishment rulers. There is considerable disgust with these big government rulers that are working for themselves and their corporate cronies, but not for the US population.

Trump seems to have been compromised at this point, and his support of the establishment favourite, Luther Strange is evidence that he isn't really the outsider he claimed to be. Moore's victory in Alabama says the rebellion still has wheels, so there is some hope.

In Missouri where I live, the anti-establishment Republican contender for the upcoming US Senatorial 2018 race is Austin Peterson. It will be interesting to see how he, and his counterparts in other states do in the primaries. Both of the current Missouri Senators are worthless.

nevertheless -> pfwed •Sep 27, 2017 7:33 AM

I remember well the last "3-Dimensional Chess master" Obama while he too was always out maneuvering his apponents, per the media reports...

LoveTruth •Sep 27, 2017 2:56 AM

Every now and then Trump tends to make huge blunders, and sometimes betrayals without knowing what he is doing. "Champions"- (great leaders) do not do that.

nevertheless -> LoveTruth •Sep 27, 2017 7:16 AM

What Trump has done are disasters, and equates to treason. Selling billions of dollars of weapons the our enemies the terrorists/Saudis, killing innocent people in Syria, and Yemen, sending more troops to Afghanistan...

But most treasonous of all was his sending DACA to "get it right", really? Congress has only one goal with immigration, amnesty, and Chump knows dam well they will send him legislation that will clearly or covertly grant amnesty for millions and millions of illegals, dressed up as "security".

Obama enacted DACA with the stroke of a pen, and while TRUMP promised to end it, he did NOT. Why is it when it's something Americans want, it has to be "Constitutional", but when it comes form his banker pals, like starting a war, he can do that unilaterally.

archie bird -> nevertheless •Sep 27, 2017 7:45 AM

Bernie wants to cut aid to Israel https://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2017/09/25/bernie-sanders-yeah-i...

nevertheless •Sep 27, 2017 8:04 AM

It is epitome of self-delusion to see people twisting themselves into pretzels, trying to justify/rationalize Trump's continuing display of disloyalty to America, and loyalty to Zionism.

Trump should always have been seen as a likely Zionist shill. He comes form Jew York City, owes everything he is to Zionist Jewish bankers, is a self proclaimed Zionist...

YOU CAN'T BE A ZIONIST AND AN AMERICAN FIRSTER, IT IS ONE OR THE OTHER.

Either Zero Hedge is over run with Zionist hasbara, giving cover to their boy Chump, or Americans on the "right" have become as gullible as those who supported Obama on the "left".

[Jan 13, 2018] Surging Russian-Chinese Trade Pressures Petrodollar

Jan 13, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

With the opening of the new ESPO oil pipeline connecting Siberia to China doubling the amount of oil China can import to 600,000 barrels per day we'll see those numbers continue to accelerate.

And that's the key. Remember, the massive $400 billion gas deal China made with Gazprom in 2014 hasn't begun delivering gas. The first Power of Siberia pipeline isn't due to be completed until 2019. The second Power of Siberia pipeline is on the table after this one.

And the two countries just agreed to a third pipeline to bring gas in from Russia's far east last month.

So, despite back-biting from western media about the profitability of these projects, they are going forward and the two countries continue to strengthen fundamental ties to one another.

... ... ...

The important takeaway is that China has created the first unassailable and above-ground challenge to the petro-dollar oil trade. To break the world's use of the dollar as the sole settlement currency for oil required the right contract issued by a country the U.S. can't immediately invade and conduct a regime change operation in – like in Iraq and Libya.

Russia wins here because now there is a path for its Urals grade to become an international benchmark like WTI and Brent. And since Gazprom prefers to price its long-term gas contracts based on underlying oil prices rather than the more volatile natural gas price, this is also a win in the long run for them.

Gold convertibility is a means to deepen China's sovereign debt markets by making it less risky to hold Chinese bonds. The lack of true yuan convertibility is the big impediment to people holding them. So, gold convertibility creates a viable exit route.

WTFUD -> BobEore Jan 13, 2018 7:53 PM Permalink

Bob, when you control 40% of the World's Oil & Gas Reserves and can turn the tap on and off then you can hardly be considered POOR, especially when you make up 20% of the world's Land Mass ( am also thinking Fresh Water ).

Vichy DC's Sanctions on Russia are in Essence, Sanctions on Exxon & the Majors (who soon won't be Majors at this rate ) and the EUROPEAN UNION.

However, i understand your thought processes.

coast1 Jan 13, 2018 7:43 PM Permalink

get real zerohedge...archaic news..you are so far behind the times...

http://www.thedailyeconomist.com/2018/01/all-eyes-may-be-fixed-on-jan-1

messystateofaffairs Jan 13, 2018 7:59 PM Permalink

The vice tightens inexorably and US foreign policy thrashes about in response to the pressure. What will the parasitic Jewish overlords do to save their declining host?

[Jan 13, 2018] RIP Marc Raskin, Who Connected the Dots Between Inequality and War

Notable quotes:
"... Four Freedoms Under Siege ..."
"... Sarah Anderson directs the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies and is a co-editor of Inequality.org. ..."
Jan 13, 2018 | fpif.org

Institute for Policy Studies Co-founder Marcus Raskin will be remembered, among many other noteworthy achievements, for coining the term "national security state." In congressional testimony in 1967, he used the phrase to describe the complex web of war institutions he feared would drive continuous conflict abroad while turning the United States into a "garrison and launching pad for nuclear war."

Raskin died on December 24, 2017, at age 83 -- just as the current president of the United States was about to make nuclear threats via Twitter. And as for his fears about the country becoming a garrison, Raskin wasn't far off. Over the five decades after Raskin's testimony, the number of inmates in U.S. state and federal prisons grew from 188,000 to 1.5 million , with the vast majority of them poor and people of color.

While progressive activists have tended to treat these issues separately, Raskin consistently connected the dots between America's military adventures overseas and economic and racial injustice at home.

In a 2008 book with Robert Spero, for example, he used President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "four essential human freedoms" as a clever frame for exposing the extent to which the national security state had accelerated poverty and inequality while undermining other basic rights.

Roosevelt laid out these four freedoms in his 1941 State of the Union address. They included freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. FDR's notion of "freedom from want" built on this famous line from his 1937 inaugural address: "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."

Institute for Policy Studies Co-founder Marcus Raskin will be remembered, among many other noteworthy achievements, for coining the term "national security state." In congressional testimony in 1967, he used the phrase to describe the complex web of war institutions he feared would drive continuous conflict abroad while turning the United States into a "garrison and launching pad for nuclear war."

Raskin died on December 24, 2017, at age 83 -- just as the current President of the United States was about to make nuclear threats via Twitter. And as for his fears about the country becoming a garrison, Raskin wasn't far off. Over the five decades after Raskin's testimony, the number of inmates in U.S. state and federal prisons grew from 188,000 to 1.5 million , with the vast majority of them poor and people of color.

While progressive activists have tended to treat these issues separately, Raskin consistently connected the dots between America's military adventures overseas and economic and racial injustice at home.

In a 2008 book with Robert Spero, for example, he used President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "four essential human freedoms" as a clever frame for exposing the extent to which the national security state had accelerated poverty and inequality while undermining other basic rights.

Roosevelt laid out these four freedoms in his 1941 State of the Union address. They included freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. FDR's notion of "freedom from want" built on this famous line from his 1937 inaugural address: "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."

In Four Freedoms Under Siege , Raskin and Spero concede that the Cold War superpower rivalry did contribute to some progress towards Roosevelt's dream of freedom from want. Raskin was a young aide in Kennedy's National Security Council during a period of high tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union that were playing out with deadly consequences in Cuba, Vietnam, and elsewhere.

And while he was horrified by the existential threat posed by the superpower standoff, Raskin later recognized that the competition with the Soviet Union did give a boost to the U.S. labor unions and other forces that were pushing for progressive economic reforms.

The elites, Raskin and Spero explained, feared that movements for "social and economic justice, from rhetoric to out-and-out radicalism, would transform the power structure in such a way as to open up the society to democracy that displaces overlapping economic oligarchies. The right, especially big business, also feared that this would be just the prelude to the redistribution of resources, or at least access to them."

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Raskin and Spero point out, "people at the top no longer had to concern themselves with the people at the bottom." And the permanence of the national security state obliterated any hope of a post-Cold War "peace dividend" that could've helped realize FDR's dream of freedom from want.

Raskin and Spero wrote their book during the militarily aggressive administration of President George W. Bush. As Halliburton and other private military contractors lined up to feed at the Iraq War trough, the period perfectly illustrated the danger of a war economy without end.

"This kind of 'let 'er rip' corruption policy did not originate with Bush II conservatives," Raskin and Spero wrote, "but they pushed the idea of a corporate controlled state to the limit as a partner to military expansion."

In his final weeks, Marc Raskin was excited to learn about plans for a Poor People's Campaign that, like his own work, will take on the inter-connected problems of the War Economy, poverty, racism, and ecological devastation.

The campaign will mark the 50th anniversary of a similar effort led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other leaders who saw the need to build on the civil rights cause by tackling the militarism that had led to the Vietnam War and the poverty that plagued too many Americans of all races. Back then in 1968, Institute for Policy Studies staff included leaders of both the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements. Raskin himself was indicted that year for conspiracy to aid resistance to the draft.

The new Poor People's Campaign, led by two prominent faith leaders -- the Rev. Liz Theoharis and the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II -- held a kick-off event in Washington on December 4. The Institute for Policy Studies prepared a report for the launch that includes data on each of the campaign's focus areas. Theoharis and Barber announced plans for a historic 40-day wave of civil disobedience across the country in the spring of 2018, culminating in a mass demonstration in the capital in June.

At a December 12 follow-up meeting at the Institute for Policy Studies, Raskin asked one of the lead organizers of the new Poor People's Campaign who they expect to be their strongest opponents. From his six decades of experience in Washington, he had a keen sense of the challenges ahead. Sarah Anderson directs the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies and is a co-editor of Inequality.org.

[Jan 12, 2018] How the BBC shapes the news.

Jan 12, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

English Outsider | Jan 10, 2018 1:41:48 PM | 30

I'm in the UK as well and now find it quite alarming how the BBC shapes the news.

Recently on Radio 4 I listened to the BBC talking of a terrorist group related to or derived from Al Qaeda merely as "rebels", and giving the impression that their actions were part of a legitimate insurgency. That's not how 9/11 was described.

It's all too like the BBC's Ukraine reporting, in which the neo-Nazi component was played down and the indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas in Donetsk and Lugansk spoken of as legitimate warfare.

Crazy. And not only the PR. All those journalists and expensive editors and more admin staff than you can shake a stick at, and there's more fact to be got on some one man and a dog Russian news outlet. I heard recently of an old BBC hand describing the way the BBC changed after David Kelly. What with that and what with the material we now see put out by the BBC, I reckon that as far as foreign news goes we've got ourselves our very own Pravda on the Thames.

[Jan 09, 2018] Kushner's Israel Business Ties Raise Concern

Jan 09, 2018 | www.newser.com

Jared Kushner's family real estate firm has continued to extend its business ties to Israel despite his role leading the administration's peace efforts in the Middle East, raising concerns that he may be breaking the spirit -- though not the letter -- of conflict-of-interest laws. The New York Times reports that shortly before President Trump's son-in-law departed on a diplomatic trip to Israel last year, Kushner Companies received a $30 million investment from Israeli insurer Menora Mivtachim; that investment went to Maryland apartment complexes that Kushner still has a stake in despite stepping down from the company after accepting a White House job last year. The company has also taken out large loans from Israeli banks.

With Kushner playing such a big role in the peace process, "I think it's reasonable for people to ask whether his business interests are somehow affecting his judgment," government ethics expert Matthew Sanderson, a lawyer who advised Rand Paul's campaign, tells the Times. Kushner's lawyers and White House officials, however, stress that he is in full compliance with ethics rules. We have "tremendous confidence in the job Jared is doing leading our peace efforts, and he takes the ethics rules very seriously and would never compromise himself or the administration," White House spokesman Raj Shah tells the Jerusalem Post.

[Jan 08, 2018] Lindsey Graham If Trump 'Doesn't Call Himself a Genius, Nobody Else Will' - Breitbart

Notable quotes:
"... GRAHAM: The first thing I want to tell you he beat me like a drum. He ran against 17 Republicans and crushed us all. He ran against a Clinton machine and won. So all I can say is you can say anything you want to say about the guy. I said he was xenophobic race-baiting religious bigot. I ran out of things to say. He won. Guess what he's our president. ..."
"... GRAHAM: In my view he is my president and doing a good job on multiple fronts. Again I'll tell you why. I went into this thing not voting. I didn't vote for the guy. ..."
Jan 08, 2018 | www.breitbart.com

Monday on ABC's "The View," when asked about President Donald Trump's tweet saying he was a "stable genius," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that if Trump didn't call himself a genius, "nobody else will."

.to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius .and a very stable genius at that!

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2018

Partial transcript as follows:

BEHAR: Saturday Trump called himself quote "like really smart" and a stable genius. Do you think he's like really smart and a stable genius?

GRAHAM: I think this, if he doesn't call himself a genius, nobody else will.

NAVARRO: That was funny.

GRAHAM: The first thing I want to tell you he beat me like a drum. He ran against 17 Republicans and crushed us all. He ran against a Clinton machine and won. So all I can say is you can say anything you want to say about the guy. I said he was xenophobic race-baiting religious bigot. I ran out of things to say. He won. Guess what he's our president.

BEHAR: You're calling him a xenophobic religious bigot?

GRAHAM: I did during the campaign.

BEHAR: Yeah you did.

NAVARRO: Is he still all those things?

GRAHAM: In my view he is my president and doing a good job on multiple fronts. Again I'll tell you why. I went into this thing not voting. I didn't vote for the guy.

[Jan 08, 2018] Trump s Failed Coup in Iran by Eric Margolis

Jan 06, 2018 | www.unz.com

Listen to the state-'guided' US media this past week and you'd believe a series of spontaneous anti-government protests broke out across Iran. The protests, according to President Donald Trump and his Israeli allies, were caused by `anger over Iran's spending billions on wars in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon and helping the Palestinian movement Hamas.' Trump tweeted that Iranians were finally rising up against what he called their hated, brutal regime.

Talk about manufactured news. Most Iranians were elated and proud of their nation's role in thwarting US plans to occupy much of Syria and overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad. By contrast, the other side in this long proxy war – the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Britain – was smarting with defeat and seeking ways to exact revenge on the hateful trio, Syria, Iran and Russia.

Interestingly, the so-called news of protests over Iran's military spending did not apparently originate in Iran but rather in Washington which spread it far and wide to our state-guided media. This was clumsy, but the US and Israel were so eager to get this piece of made-up good news out that they forget the basics of propaganda management: wait for the event before you proclaim it.

What in fact was going on in Iran where more than 21 demonstrators have died violent deaths? As a very long-time Iran watcher allow me to explain.

Restive minority groups in Iran's Kurdish, Azeri and Sunni Arab regions, most far from the big cities, have been demonstrating and protesting severe economic problems. Iran is a big, resource-rich nation of 80 million people that should be booming. But it has been under economic siege warfare by the US and its allies ever since a popular uprising in 1979 overthrew the US-British backed monarchy that was raping the nation and keeping it a vassal of the western powers.

Iran's new Islamic Republic was deemed a dire threat to Western and Israeli strategic and military interests (think Saudi Arabia). The very idea that the Islamic Republic would follow the tenets of Islam and share oil wealth with the needy was anathema to London and Washington. Israel's intelligence agency, Mossad, ran Iran's dreaded, brutal secret police, Savak. The crooked royal family looted the nation and stored their swag in California.

The West's first act was to induce Saddam Hussein's Iraq to invade Iran, in Sept 1980. The West (including the Gulf Arabs) armed, financed and supplied Iraq. As I discovered in Baghdad, Britain and the US supplied Iraq with poison gas and germ warfare toxins. After eight years, 250,000 Iraqis were killed and nearly one million Iranians died.

Ever since the Islamic Revolution, the US, Britain, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arabs have been trying to overthrow the Tehran government and mount a counter-revolution. CIA and Britain's MI6 has ample practice: in 1953, the CIA and MI6 mounted an elaborate operation to overthrow Iran's democratically-elected leader, Mohammed Mossadegh who sought to nationalize Iran's British-owned oil company. Mobs of specially trained anti-Mossadegh plotters poured into Tehran's streets. Bombs went off. Army commanders were suborned, lavish bribes handed out.

The 1953 coup went perfectly. Mossadegh was ousted with backing from the Army and Savak. Iran's oil remained safe in western hands. The successful Iran uprising became the template for future 'color revolutions' in Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Russia, Poland, and Romania.

But in 2009 a US-engineered 'color revolution' in Iran went badly wrong even though it used all the latest arts of social media to whip up protestors and deploy them in the streets. Something similar happened in Iran this past weekend where mobs of 20-somethings, agitated by US and British covert social media, poured into the streets of dingy provincial towns.

As of now, this medium-sized uprising in Iran looks to be over, though it could re-ignite at any time. Young Iranians, at least 40% of the population, suffer due to 50% unemployment. Iran's $1 trillion economy is extremely fragile and in some cases barely functioning after decades of US-engineered economic warfare and boycotts. High unemployment is a result of US economic warfare and bullying other nations not to do business with Iran, producing 13% overall unemployment and a 40% inflation rate. The latter and wide-scale corruption were the spark that ignited the latest riots.

In two more weeks, President Trump, who makes no secret of his hatred and contempt for Muslims, must decide whether to reaffirm the multilateral nuclear energy deal with Iran or heed Israel's demands and refuse to certify it. His cutoff this week of US military aid to Muslim Pakistan bodes ill for Iran.

Many Iranians observing the current US-North Korea nuclear standoff will wonder if their nation was not better off continuing its nuclear program and holding the Saudi oil fields at risk to deter a US attack. Trump's wild, inconsistent and often infantile responses on this issue are making matters murkier and ever more dangerous.

KA , January 6, 2018 at 5:51 pm GMT

"Iran is secretly forging ties with al-Qaida elements and Sunni Arab militias in Iraq in preparation for a summer showdown with coalition forces intended to tip a wavering US Congress into voting for full military withdrawal, US officials say.

"Iran is fighting a proxy war in Iraq and it's a very dangerous course for them to be following. They are already committing daily acts of war against US and British forces,"

The official said US commanders were bracing for a nationwide, Iranian-orchestrated summer offensive, linking al-Qaida and Sunni insurgents to Tehran's Shia militia allies, that Iran hoped would trigger a political mutiny in Washington and a US retreat.

The administration official also claimed that notwithstanding recent US and British overtures, Syria was still collaborating closely with Iran's strategy in Iraq." May 2007 Simon Tisdall

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/may/22/iraq.topstories3

You see the lies that bind the newspaper columnist and USA's warlords!!

Vety soon after this write-up , USA liberated ISIS from prison and from foreign lands ,gathered them together from the disparate mixture of foreign fighters who populated the roster of Al Qaida and unleashed them on
Shia.

But per the narrative Al Qaida and Shia were plotting to topple American the warlords from the Board Of Director of the company known as Freedom Democracy Liberty .
Iran is learning so has Russia and EU . Hope they extend the learning to the underlying philosophies that govern USA's behaviors.

1

RealAmericanValuesCirca1776Not1965 , January 6, 2018 at 8:54 pm GMT
@KA

underlying philosophies that govern USA's behaviors.

Translation: Israel gets what Israel wants.

edgeslider , January 6, 2018 at 11:15 pm GMT
US is screwing with Iran. Good deal I say. Why all this constant moaning here in defense of the Persian-Shia supremacists? Those fellows are at war with us, starting with the act of war of occupying our embassy in 1976. The supreme leaders there proclaim "Death to America" every chance they get . We have been too lenient. They should have been reduced to the level of Somalia by now.
anony-mouse , January 7, 2018 at 12:51 am GMT
So the CIA and Mossad have agents all over Iran, including Qom, something that the Iranian authorities are, of course, oblivious to.

And are the reports that Ahmadinejad's been arrested true?

He's certainly stopped tweeting at least in English:

https://twitter.com/ahmadinejad1956?lang=en

Chris Mallory , January 7, 2018 at 1:17 am GMT
@edgeslider

Are the Iranians chanting "Death to America" any different than you and your Israel First buddies that chant "Death to Iran"? Other than that you do your chanting on the internet?

Did you not read about the attack by the CIA on the Iranian people in 1953?

The best thing we could do is to being all our troops home from the Middle East, end all aid to every other nation, let Israel sleep in the bed it has made, and mind our own business. Nothing in the Middle East is any responsibility of the American people.

Andy Zeist , January 7, 2018 at 2:03 am GMT
Right on top, Chris. You are so right!

Peace

Johnny Smoggins , January 7, 2018 at 5:38 am GMT
Iran poses no threat to the US whatsoever.

"Allies" Israel and Saudi Arabia are nothing but.

Realist , January 7, 2018 at 9:05 am GMT
@Chris Mallory

Excellent points.

CalDre , January 7, 2018 at 9:35 am GMT

US is screwing with Iran. Good deal I say. Why all this constant moaning here in defense of the Persian-Shia supremacists?

Persian-Shia supremacists? LOL, the only true supremacists in the ME are the Jews. You don't see the Persians ethnically cleansing other groups and occupying their lands. You don't see the Persians lobbying and infiltrating Washington to get the US puppets to destroy their neighbors.

Those fellows are at war with us, starting with the act of war of occupying our embassy in 1976.

The acts of war occurred in 1953 when the US overthrew Iran's government and installed a savage dictatorship. The US embassy staff were an occupying force. Iran had every right to arrest every single person in the embassy as an illegal occupying force, which was intimately involved in the crimes the Shah committed against the Iranian people. Those embassy personnel were murderers, torturers, kidnappers and thugs. They got off easy.

The supreme leaders there proclaim "Death to America" every chance they get .

Actually they don't, and they certainly don't chant "Death to America". Given your general stupidity, you obviously don't speak a foreign language. Translations are wide open to abuse, and no more so, than when someone's enemy does the translation. What they are really chanting is "Down with America", using the proper translation, and what they really mean is "Down with American Imperialism and Interference in Iranian Affairs". Of which there has been a lot (US being the successor to British imperialism / occupation / war crimes in the region).

We have been too lenient. They should have been reduced to the level of Somalia by now.

Would make me much happier if your home and family were destroyed instead. For you are a truly evil war-mongering criminal. Though even that, I don't wish for, as I am nowhere near the deep realms of hatred, supremacism and evil as you.

[Jan 07, 2018] Trump's Failed Coup in Iran, by Eric Margolis - The Unz Review

Jan 07, 2018 | www.unz.com

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Listen to the state-'guided' US media this past week and you'd believe a series of spontaneous anti-government protests broke out across Iran. The protests, according to President Donald Trump and his Israeli allies, were caused by `anger over Iran's spending billions on wars in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon and helping the Palestinian movement Hamas.' Trump tweeted that Iranians were finally rising up against what he called their hated, brutal regime.

Talk about manufactured news. Most Iranians were elated and proud of their nation's role in thwarting US plans to occupy much of Syria and overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad. By contrast, the other side in this long proxy war – the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Britain – was smarting with defeat and seeking ways to exact revenge on the hateful trio, Syria, Iran and Russia.

Interestingly, the so-called news of protests over Iran's military spending did not apparently originate in Iran but rather in Washington which spread it far and wide to our state-guided media. This was clumsy, but the US and Israel were so eager to get this piece of made-up good news out that they forget the basics of propaganda management: wait for the event before you proclaim it.

What in fact was going on in Iran where more than 21 demonstrators have died violent deaths? As a very long-time Iran watcher allow me to explain.

Restive minority groups in Iran's Kurdish, Azeri and Sunni Arab regions, most far from the big cities, have been demonstrating and protesting severe economic problems. Iran is a big, resource-rich nation of 80 million people that should be booming. But it has been under economic siege warfare by the US and its allies ever since a popular uprising in 1979 overthrew the US-British backed monarchy that was raping the nation and keeping it a vassal of the western powers.

Iran's new Islamic Republic was deemed a dire threat to Western and Israeli strategic and military interests (think Saudi Arabia). The very idea that the Islamic Republic would follow the tenets of Islam and share oil wealth with the needy was anathema to London and Washington. Israel's intelligence agency, Mossad, ran Iran's dreaded, brutal secret police, Savak. The crooked royal family looted the nation and stored their swag in California.

The West's first act was to induce Saddam Hussein's Iraq to invade Iran, in Sept 1980. The West (including the Gulf Arabs) armed, financed and supplied Iraq. As I discovered in Baghdad, Britain and the US supplied Iraq with poison gas and germ warfare toxins. After eight years, 250,000 Iraqis were killed and nearly one million Iranians died.

Ever since the Islamic Revolution, the US, Britain, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arabs have been trying to overthrow the Tehran government and mount a counter-revolution. CIA and Britain's MI6 has ample practice: in 1953, the CIA and MI6 mounted an elaborate operation to overthrow Iran's democratically-elected leader, Mohammed Mossadegh who sought to nationalize Iran's British-owned oil company. Mobs of specially trained anti-Mossadegh plotters poured into Tehran's streets. Bombs went off. Army commanders were suborned, lavish bribes handed out.

The 1953 coup went perfectly. Mossadegh was ousted with backing from the Army and Savak. Iran's oil remained safe in western hands. The successful Iran uprising became the template for future 'color revolutions' in Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Russia, Poland, and Romania.

But in 2009 a US-engineered 'color revolution' in Iran went badly wrong even though it used all the latest arts of social media to whip up protestors and deploy them in the streets. Something similar happened in Iran this past weekend where mobs of 20-somethings, agitated by US and British covert social media, poured into the streets of dingy provincial towns.

As of now, this medium-sized uprising in Iran looks to be over, though it could re-ignite at any time. Young Iranians, at least 40% of the population, suffer due to 50% unemployment. Iran's $1 trillion economy is extremely fragile and in some cases barely functioning after decades of US-engineered economic warfare and boycotts. High unemployment is a result of US economic warfare and bullying other nations not to do business with Iran, producing 13% overall unemployment and a 40% inflation rate. The latter and wide-scale corruption were the spark that ignited the latest riots.

In two more weeks, President Trump, who makes no secret of his hatred and contempt for Muslims, must decide whether to reaffirm the multilateral nuclear energy deal with Iran or heed Israel's demands and refuse to certify it. His cutoff this week of US military aid to Muslim Pakistan bodes ill for Iran.

Many Iranians observing the current US-North Korea nuclear standoff will wonder if their nation was not better off continuing its nuclear program and holding the Saudi oil fields at risk to deter a US attack. Trump's wild, inconsistent and often infantile responses on this issue are making matters murkier and ever more dangerous.

KA , January 6, 2018 at 5:51 pm GMT

"Iran is secretly forging ties with al-Qaida elements and Sunni Arab militias in Iraq in preparation for a summer showdown with coalition forces intended to tip a wavering US Congress into voting for full military withdrawal, US officials say.

"Iran is fighting a proxy war in Iraq and it's a very dangerous course for them to be following. They are already committing daily acts of war against US and British forces,"

The official said US commanders were bracing for a nationwide, Iranian-orchestrated summer offensive, linking al-Qaida and Sunni insurgents to Tehran's Shia militia allies, that Iran hoped would trigger a political mutiny in Washington and a US retreat.

The administration official also claimed that notwithstanding recent US and British overtures, Syria was still collaborating closely with Iran's strategy in Iraq." May 2007 Simon Tisdall

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/may/22/iraq.topstories3

You see the lies that bind the newspaper columnist and USA's warlords!!

Vety soon after this write-up , USA liberated ISIS from prison and from foreign lands ,gathered them together from the disparate mixture of foreign fighters who populated the roster of Al Qaida and unleashed them on
Shia.

But per the narrative Al Qaida and Shia were plotting to topple American the warlords from the Board Of Director of the company known as Freedom Democracy Liberty .
Iran is learning so has Russia and EU . Hope they extend the learning to the underlying philosophies that govern USA's behaviors.

1

RealAmericanValuesCirca1776Not1965 , January 6, 2018 at 8:54 pm GMT
@KA

underlying philosophies that govern USA's behaviors.

Translation: Israel gets what Israel wants.

edgeslider , January 6, 2018 at 11:15 pm GMT
US is screwing with Iran. Good deal I say. Why all this constant moaning here in defense of the Persian-Shia supremacists? Those fellows are at war with us, starting with the act of war of occupying our embassy in 1976. The supreme leaders there proclaim "Death to America" every chance they get . We have been too lenient. They should have been reduced to the level of Somalia by now.
anony-mouse , January 7, 2018 at 12:51 am GMT
So the CIA and Mossad have agents all over Iran, including Qom, something that the Iranian authorities are, of course, oblivious to.

And are the reports that Ahmadinejad's been arrested true?

He's certainly stopped tweeting at least in English:

https://twitter.com/ahmadinejad1956?lang=en

Chris Mallory , January 7, 2018 at 1:17 am GMT
@edgeslider

Are the Iranians chanting "Death to America" any different than you and your Israel First buddies that chant "Death to Iran"? Other than that you do your chanting on the internet?

Did you not read about the attack by the CIA on the Iranian people in 1953?

The best thing we could do is to being all our troops home from the Middle East, end all aid to every other nation, let Israel sleep in the bed it has made, and mind our own business. Nothing in the Middle East is any responsibility of the American people.

Andy Zeist , January 7, 2018 at 2:03 am GMT
Right on top, Chris. You are so right!

Peace

Johnny Smoggins , January 7, 2018 at 5:38 am GMT
Iran poses no threat to the US whatsoever.

"Allies" Israel and Saudi Arabia are nothing but.

Realist , January 7, 2018 at 9:05 am GMT
@Chris Mallory

Excellent points.

CalDre , January 7, 2018 at 9:35 am GMT

US is screwing with Iran. Good deal I say. Why all this constant moaning here in defense of the Persian-Shia supremacists?

Persian-Shia supremacists? LOL, the only true supremacists in the ME are the Jews. You don't see the Persians ethnically cleansing other groups and occupying their lands. You don't see the Persians lobbying and infiltrating Washington to get the US puppets to destroy their neighbors.

Those fellows are at war with us, starting with the act of war of occupying our embassy in 1976.

The acts of war occurred in 1953 when the US overthrew Iran's government and installed a savage dictatorship. The US embassy staff were an occupying force. Iran had every right to arrest every single person in the embassy as an illegal occupying force, which was intimately involved in the crimes the Shah committed against the Iranian people. Those embassy personnel were murderers, torturers, kidnappers and thugs. They got off easy.

The supreme leaders there proclaim "Death to America" every chance they get .

Actually they don't, and they certainly don't chant "Death to America". Given your general stupidity, you obviously don't speak a foreign language. Translations are wide open to abuse, and no more so, than when someone's enemy does the translation. What they are really chanting is "Down with America", using the proper translation, and what they really mean is "Down with American Imperialism and Interference in Iranian Affairs". Of which there has been a lot (US being the successor to British imperialism / occupation / war crimes in the region).

We have been too lenient. They should have been reduced to the level of Somalia by now.

Would make me much happier if your home and family were destroyed instead. For you are a truly evil war-mongering criminal. Though even that, I don't wish for, as I am nowhere near the deep realms of hatred, supremacism and evil as you.

[Jan 06, 2018] Bannon Versus Trump

Feb 16, 2017 | www.nytimes.com

John C Massachussets January 10, 2017

"Once there was a collection of Judeo-Christian nation-states, Bannon argued, that practiced a humane form of biblical capitalism and fostered culturally coherent communities."

The history of 18th and 19th century capitalism is rife with open Anti-Semitism. Jews were tolerated (barely) and periodically subjected to everything from mild prejudicial social-shunning to exclusion from certain fields of endeavor to ...progroms. "Judeo-Christian" is mythological revisionism that is currently advantageous politically to the Right Wing since it features a pro-Israel, anti-Muslim, and radical Christian "End-of-Days" cultism that relies on the "rise of Israel" fulfillment of prophecy.

As for the "humane form of biblical capitalism" that relied on slavery as an economic engine, famine as an expedient solution (India during WW II) and other depredations such as intolerable working conditions and starvation wages--how is that better than Davos-style Globalism?

Bannon is a proto-fascist opportunist -- dangerous, big-league. The day he gets Trump distracted from Meryl Streep and has Trumps attention for that minute will be the first of many disasters. You can pine for the boiler-plate Paul Ryan version of predictable and consistent management of Capitalism.

We must have better.

Paulo Austin January 10, 2017

Judeo-Christian forces vs Islamofascism -- there's a faint whiff of Crusade in that juxtaposition, but don't be naive- the real Crusade has already begun, besieging the fundamental values of honesty, decency, and humanism.

Duane McPherson Groveland, NY January 10, 2017

Dugin's contempt for human rights is consistent with his belief in a social order based on religion (likeiwse Bannon). Trump could hardly care less about that, he's more of a libertine.

What Trump, Bannon, Dugin, and Putin can all agree on is consolidation of national government and corporate interests, a kind of corporatism, similar to Fascism under Mussolini. Which had also a strong element of "Make Italy Great Again", with the Roman Empire as its nostalgic anchor.

The uncertain economic and social times we are in make some people yearn for a strong leader. A large minority of Americans seems to see that in Trump. What I see coming forward is not at all chaos, but rather the systematic and organized looting of our economy under a government that puts corporate interests above all else.

Terence Gaffney Jamaica Plain January 10, 2017

A very perceptive column. This makes the mission of the Christian left very clear. Globalism at its best is the attempt to harness the creative energy of humanity to build a world which is just, in harmony with itself, and advancing its understanding of the natural world and human behavior for the benefit of all. The Christian left must provide the spiritual vision to energize this effort, covering all of our efforts with compassion. Otherwise, Bannon's perception of a vacuum at the heart of what we are doing will be proved true.

J. Raven Michigan January 10, 2017

The suggestion that once in office, Trump and his acolytes will simply abandon their closely held philosophical and actual prejudices and fall lovingly into the arms of more traditional, establishment advisors is ridiculous. There is nothing in the history of either Trump or his fire-breathing true believers to indicate that compromise is a notion that comes easily, if at all, to them. More likely, the gridlock disease that has long plagued Congress may be transmitted to the White House, where we'll then find that an emotional and experientially ill-equipped president reaches into his resentment-filled gut to make a decision that reflects not considered judgment, but his very own biases that can be communicated in a 140 character tweet.

Bruce Abbott Marin County, CA January 10, 2017

Where we agree we can move forward where we disagree is the work we need to do. To move forward with disagreement leads to anger, violence and ultimately war.

Michael McCune Pittsburgh January 10, 2017

What's important to remember about Trump, as Brooks points out here, is that he is "basically uninterested in anything but his own status at the moment." In 10 days, Trump's status at the moment will be subject to the opinions of all Americans. If things turn south--and most times in a presidency things eventually turn south--who will Trump listen to in order to improve his "status at the moment'? Remember, it was Steve Bannon who he turned to when his campaign was on the rocks, not General Mattis.

A problem for Trump the campaigner (though it may in fact have been a strength among his most ardent supporters) was his willingness to say/do seemingly anything in order to get elected, i.e. jail his opponent, extra-constitutional surveillance of Muslims, mock a disabled reporter, retweet white supremacists, etc.

To me, the question is, once in power, will Trump be willing to do anything in order to maintain or improve his "status at the moment." For thin-skinned, needy leaders like Trump, when people at home turn on him, finding enemies abroad is usually the answer. It's troubling to imagine who will have his ear then.

Sabre Melbourne, FL January 10, 2017

Bannon mentioning Christianity makes me wonder what he really thinks about Christ and his teachings. The same goes with his boss, Donald Trump. I fail to see anything at all in their behavior that reflects what Jesus taught. All this makes me question what supposedly Christian conservative Trump supporters think about their faith and how it matches up with the behavior of Bannon and Trump.

LA Reader Los Angeles, CA January 10, 2017

How is globalism de-spiritualized? What about loving your neighbor as yourself? That is a fundamental teaching of Christianity, and it doesn't stop at our borders.

I don't know how Mr. Bannon considers historical capitalism to have been humane. Child labor? Oppression of local workers across the globe? Extreme pollution to the point of rivers burning (Cuyahoga River in Cincinnati) or choking smog (London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Delhi)? His version is history written by the victors.

[Jan 06, 2018] Washington Is Out to Get Steve Bannon

Looks like Bannon self-immolated himself by his cooperation with Wolff
Notable quotes:
"... Bannon is almost universally loathed by the Washington press corps, and not just for his politics. When he was the CEO of the pro-Trump Breitbart website, he competed with traditional media outlets, and he has often mercilessly attacked and ridiculed them. ..."
"... The animosity towards Bannon reached new heights last month, when he incautiously told the New York Times that "the media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while." He also said the media was "the opposition party" to the Trump administration. To the Washington media, those are truly fighting words. ..."
"... Bannon's comments were outrageous, but they are hardly new. In 2009, President Obama's White House communications director, Anita Dunn, sought to restrict Fox News' access to the White House. She even said, "We're going to treat them the way we would treat an opponent." The media's outrage over that remark was restrained, to say the least. ..."
"... Reporters and pundits are also stepping up the effort to portray Bannon as the puppet master in the White House. Last week, MSNBC's Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski said, "Legitimate media are getting word that Steve Bannon is the last guy in the room, in the evening especially, and he's pulling the strings." Her co-host, Joe Scarborough, agreed that Bannon's role should be "investigated." ..."
"... I'm all for figuring out who the powers behind the curtain are in the White House, but we saw precious little interest in that during the Obama administration. ..."
"... Liberal writer Steven Brill wrote a 2015 book, America's Bitter Pill , in which he slammed "incompetence in the White House" for the catastrophic launch of Obamacare. "Never [has there] been a group of people who more incompetently launched something," he told NPR's Terry Gross, who interviewed him about the book. He laid much of the blame at Jarrett's doorstep. "The people in the administration who knew it was going wrong went to the president directly with memos, in person, to his chief of staff," he said. "The president was protected, mostly by Valerie Jarrett, from doing anything. . . . He didn't know what was going on in the single most important initiative of his administration." How important was Jarrett inside the Obama White House? Brill interviewed the president about the struggles of Obamacare and reported Obama's conclusion: "At this point, I am not so interested in Monday-morning quarterbacking the past." ..."
"... five of the highest-ranking Obama officials had told him that "as a practical matter . . . Jarrett was the real chief of staff on any issues that she wanted to weigh in on, and she jealously protected that position by making sure the president never gave anyone else too much power." When Brill asked the president about these aides' assessment of Jarrett, Obama "declined comment," Brill wrote in his book. That, in and of itself, was an answer. Would that Jarrett had received as much media scrutiny of her role in eight years under Obama as Bannon has in less than four weeks. ..."
"... I've had my disagreements with Bannon, whose apocalyptic views on some issues I don't share. Ronald Reagan once said that if someone in Washington agrees with you 80 percent of the time, he is an ally, not an enemy. I'd guess Bannon wouldn't agree with that sentiment. ..."
Feb 15, 2017 | www.unz.com
... ... ..

Bannon is almost universally loathed by the Washington press corps, and not just for his politics. When he was the CEO of the pro-Trump Breitbart website, he competed with traditional media outlets, and he has often mercilessly attacked and ridiculed them.

The animosity towards Bannon reached new heights last month, when he incautiously told the New York Times that "the media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while." He also said the media was "the opposition party" to the Trump administration. To the Washington media, those are truly fighting words.

Joel Simon, of the Committee to Protect Journalists, told CNN that "this kind of speech not [only] undermines the work of the media in this country, it emboldens autocratic leaders around the world." Jacob Weisberg, the head of the Slate Group, tweeted that Bannon's comment was terrifying and "tyrannical."

Bannon's comments were outrageous, but they are hardly new. In 2009, President Obama's White House communications director, Anita Dunn, sought to restrict Fox News' access to the White House. She even said, "We're going to treat them the way we would treat an opponent." The media's outrage over that remark was restrained, to say the least.

Ever since Bannon's outburst, you can hear the media gears meshing in the effort to undermine him. In TV green rooms and at Washington parties, I've heard journalists say outright that it's time to get him. Time magazine put a sinister-looking Bannon on its cover, describing him as "The Great Manipulator." Walter Isaacson, a former managing editor of Time , boasted to MSNBC that the image was in keeping with a tradition of controversial covers that put leaders in their place. "Likewise, putting [former White House aide] Mike Deaver on the cover, the brains behind Ronald Reagan, that ended up bringing down Reagan," he told the hosts of Morning Joe . "So you've got to have these checks and balances, whether it's the judiciary or the press."

Reporters and pundits are also stepping up the effort to portray Bannon as the puppet master in the White House. Last week, MSNBC's Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski said, "Legitimate media are getting word that Steve Bannon is the last guy in the room, in the evening especially, and he's pulling the strings." Her co-host, Joe Scarborough, agreed that Bannon's role should be "investigated."

I'm all for figuring out who the powers behind the curtain are in the White House, but we saw precious little interest in that during the Obama administration.

It wasn't until four years after the passage of Obamacare that a journalist reported on just how powerful White House counselor Valerie Jarrett had been in its flawed implementation. Liberal writer Steven Brill wrote a 2015 book, America's Bitter Pill , in which he slammed "incompetence in the White House" for the catastrophic launch of Obamacare. "Never [has there] been a group of people who more incompetently launched something," he told NPR's Terry Gross, who interviewed him about the book. He laid much of the blame at Jarrett's doorstep. "The people in the administration who knew it was going wrong went to the president directly with memos, in person, to his chief of staff," he said. "The president was protected, mostly by Valerie Jarrett, from doing anything. . . . He didn't know what was going on in the single most important initiative of his administration." How important was Jarrett inside the Obama White House? Brill interviewed the president about the struggles of Obamacare and reported Obama's conclusion: "At this point, I am not so interested in Monday-morning quarterbacking the past."

Brill then bluntly told the president that five of the highest-ranking Obama officials had told him that "as a practical matter . . . Jarrett was the real chief of staff on any issues that she wanted to weigh in on, and she jealously protected that position by making sure the president never gave anyone else too much power." When Brill asked the president about these aides' assessment of Jarrett, Obama "declined comment," Brill wrote in his book. That, in and of itself, was an answer. Would that Jarrett had received as much media scrutiny of her role in eight years under Obama as Bannon has in less than four weeks.

I've had my disagreements with Bannon, whose apocalyptic views on some issues I don't share. Ronald Reagan once said that if someone in Washington agrees with you 80 percent of the time, he is an ally, not an enemy. I'd guess Bannon wouldn't agree with that sentiment.

But the media's effort to turn Bannon into an enemy of the people is veering into hysterical character assassination. The Sunday print edition of the New York Times ran an astonishing 1,500-word story headlined: "Fascists Too Lax for a Philosopher Cited by Bannon." (The online headline now reads, "Steve Bannon Cited Italian Thinker Who Inspired Fascists.") The Times based this headline on what it admits was "a passing reference" in a speech by Bannon at a Vatican conference in 2014 . In that speech, Bannon made a single mention of Julius Evola, an obscure Italian philosopher who opposed modernity and cozied up to Mussolini's Italian Fascists.

- John Fund is NRO's national-affairs correspondent . https://twitter.com/@JohnFund

[Jan 06, 2018] Mapping a World From Hell by Tom Engelhardt

Notable quotes:
"... No Good Men Among the Living ..."
"... America's war on terror across the globe (from the Costs of War Project). Click on the map to see a larger version. ..."
Jan 06, 2018 | www.unz.com

Think of this as but the latest episode in an upside down geopolitical fairy tale, a grim, rather than Grimm, story for our age that might begin: Once upon a time -- in October 2001, to be exact -- Washington launched its war on terror. There was then just one country targeted, the very one where, a little more than a decade earlier, the U.S. had ended a long proxy war against the Soviet Union during which it had financed, armed, or backed an extreme set of Islamic fundamentalist groups, including a rich young Saudi by the name of Osama bin Laden.

By 2001, in the wake of that war, which helped send the Soviet Union down the path to implosion, Afghanistan was largely (but not completely) ruled by the Taliban. Osama bin Laden was there, too, with a relatively modest crew of cohorts. By early 2002, he had fled to Pakistan, leaving many of his companions dead and his organization, al-Qaeda, in a state of disarray. The Taliban, defeated, were pleading to be allowed to put down their arms and go back to their villages, an abortive process that Anand Gopal vividly described in his book, No Good Men Among the Living .

It was, it seemed, all over but the cheering and, of course, the planning for yet greater exploits across the region. The top officials in the administration of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were geopolitical dreamers of the first order who couldn't have had more expansive ideas about how to extend such success to -- as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld indicated only days after the 9/11 attacks -- terror or insurgent groups in more than 60 countries. It was a point President Bush would reemphasize nine months later in a triumphalist graduation speech at West Point. At that moment, the struggle they had quickly, if immodestly, dubbed the Global War on Terror was still a one-country affair. They were, however, already deep into preparations to extend it in ways more radical and devastating than they could ever have imagined with the invasion and occupation of Saddam Hussein's Iraq and the domination of the oil heartlands of the planet that they were sure would follow. (In a comment that caught the moment exactly, Newsweek quoted a British official "close to the Bush team" as saying, "Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran.")

So many years later, perhaps it won't surprise you -- as it probably wouldn't have surprised the hundreds of thousands of protesters who turned out in the streets of American cities and towns in early 2003 to oppose the invasion of Iraq -- that this was one of those stories to which the adage "be careful what you wish for" applies.

Seeing War

And it's a tale that's not over yet. Not by a long shot. As a start, in the Trump era, the longest war in American history, the one in Afghanistan, is only getting longer. There are those U.S. troop levels on the rise ; those air strikes ramping up ; the Taliban in control of significant sections of the country; an Islamic State-branded terror group spreading ever more successfully in its eastern regions; and, according to the latest report from the Pentagon, "more than 20 terrorist or insurgent groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan."

Think about that: 20 groups. In other words, so many years later, the war on terror should be seen as an endless exercise in the use of multiplication tables -- and not just in Afghanistan either. More than a decade and a half after an American president spoke of 60 or more countries as potential targets, thanks to the invaluable work of a single dedicated group, the Costs of War Project at Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, we finally have a visual representation of the true extent of the war on terror. That we've had to wait so long should tell us something about the nature of this era of permanent war.

America's war on terror across the globe (from the Costs of War Project). Click on the map to see a larger version.

The Costs of War Project has produced not just a map of the war on terror, 2015-2017 (released at TomDispatch with this article), but the first map of its kind ever. It offers an astounding vision of Washington's counterterror wars across the globe: their spread, the deployment of U.S. forces, the expanding missions to train foreign counterterror forces, the American bases that make them possible, the drone and other air strikes that are essential to them, and the U.S. combat troops helping to fight them. (Terror groups have, of course, morphed and expanded riotously as part and parcel of the same process.)

A glance at the map tells you that the war on terror, an increasingly complex set of intertwined conflicts, is now a remarkably global phenomenon. It stretches from the Philippines (with its own ISIS-branded group that just fought an almost five-month-long campaign that devastated Marawi, a city of 300,000) through South Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and deep into West Africa where, only recently, four Green Berets died in an ambush in Niger.

No less stunning are the number of countries Washington's war on terror has touched in some fashion. Once, of course, there was only one (or, if you want to include the United States, two). Now, the Costs of War Project identifies no less than 76 countries, 39% of those on the planet, as involved in that global conflict. That means places like Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya where U.S. drone or other air strikes are the norm and U.S. ground troops (often Special Operations forces ) have been either directly or indirectly engaged in combat. It also means countries where U.S. advisers are training local militaries or even militias in counterterror tactics and those with bases crucial to this expanding set of conflicts. As the map makes clear, these categories often overlap.

Who could be surprised that such a "war" has been eating American taxpayer dollars at a rate that should stagger the imagination in a country whose infrastructure is now visibly crumbling ? In a separate study , released in November, the Costs of War Project estimated that the price tag on the war on terror (with some future expenses included) had already reached an astronomical $5.6 trillion. Only recently, however, President Trump, now escalating those conflicts, tweeted an even more staggering figure: "After having foolishly spent $7 trillion in the Middle East, it is time to start rebuilding our country!" (This figure, too, seems to have come in some fashion from the Costs of War estimate that "future interest payments on borrowing for the wars will likely add more than $7.9 trillion to the national debt" by mid-century .)

It couldn't have been a rarer comment from an American politician, as in these years assessments of both the monetary and human costs of war have largely been left to small groups of scholars and activists. The war on terror has, in fact, spread in the fashion today's map lays out with almost no serious debate in this country about its costs or results. If the document produced by the Costs of War project is, in fact, a map from hell, it is also, I believe, the first full-scale map of this war ever produced.

Think about that for a moment. For the last 16 years, we, the American people, funding this complex set of conflicts to the tune of trillions of dollars, have lacked a single map of the war Washington has been fighting. Not one. Yes, parts of that morphing, spreading set of conflicts have been somewhere in the news regularly, though seldom (except when there were "lone wolf" terror attacks in the United States or Western Europe) in the headlines. In all those years, however, no American could see an image of this strange, perpetual conflict whose end is nowhere in sight.

Part of this can be explained by the nature of that "war." There are no fronts, no armies advancing on Berlin, no armadas bearing down on the Japanese homeland. There hasn't been, as in Korea in the early 1950s, even a parallel to cross or fight your way back to. In this war, there have been no obvious retreats and, after the triumphal entry into Baghdad in 2003, few advances either.

It was hard even to map its component parts and when you did -- as in an August New York Times map of territories controlled by the Taliban in Afghanistan -- the imagery was complex and of limited impact. Generally, however, we, the people, have been demobilized in almost every imaginable way in these years, even when it comes to simply following the endless set of wars and conflicts that go under the rubric of the war on terror.

Mapping 2018 and Beyond

Let me repeat this mantra: once, almost seventeen years ago, there was one; now, the count is 76 and rising. Meanwhile, great cities have been turned into rubble ; tens of millions of human beings have been displaced from their homes; refugees by the millions continue to cross borders, unsettling ever more lands; terror groups have become brand names across significant parts of the planet; and our American world continues to be militarized .

This should be thought of as an entirely new kind of perpetual global war. So take one more look at that map. Click on it and then enlarge it to consider the map in full-screen mode. It's important to try to imagine what's been happening visually, since we're facing a new kind of disaster, a planetary militarization of a sort we've never truly seen before. No matter the "successes" in Washington's war, ranging from that invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 to the taking of Baghdad in 2003 to the recent destruction of the Islamic State's "caliphate" in Syria and Iraq (or most of it anyway, since at this moment American planes are still dropping bombs and firing missiles in parts of Syria), the conflicts only seem to morph and tumble on.

We are now in an era in which the U.S. military is the leading edge -- often the only edge -- of what used to be called American "foreign policy" and the State Department is being radically downsized . American Special Operations forces were deployed to 149 countries in 2017 alone and the U.S. has so many troops on so many bases in so many places on Earth that the Pentagon can't even account for the whereabouts of 44,000 of them. There may, in fact, be no way to truly map all of this, though the Costs of War Project's illustration is a triumph of what can be seen.

Looking into the future, let's pray for one thing: that the folks at that project have plenty of stamina, since it's a given that, in the Trump years (and possibly well beyond), the costs of war will only rise. The first Pentagon budget of the Trump era, passed with bipartisan unanimity by Congress and signed by the president, is a staggering $700 billion . Meanwhile, America's leading military men and the president, while escalating the country's conflicts from Niger to Yemen , Somalia to Afghanistan, seem eternally in search of yet more wars to launch.

Pointing to Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, for instance, Marine Corps Commandant General Robert Neller recently told U.S. troops in Norway to expect a "bigass fight" in the future, adding, "I hope I'm wrong, but there's a war coming." In December, National Security Adviser Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster similarly suggested that the possibility of a war (conceivably nuclear in nature) with Kim Jong-un's North Korea was "increasing every day." Meanwhile, in an administration packed with Iranophobes, President Trump seems to be preparing to tear up the Iran nuclear deal, possibly as early as this month.

In other words, in 2018 and beyond, maps of many creative kinds may be needed simply to begin to take in the latest in America's wars. Consider, for instance, a recent report in the New York Times that about 2,000 employees of the Department of Homeland Security are already "deployed to more than 70 countries around the world," largely to prevent terror attacks. And so it goes in the twenty-first century.

So welcome to 2018, another year of unending war, and while we're on the subject, a small warning to our leaders: given the last 16 years, be careful what you wish for.

Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of The United States of Fear as well as a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture . He is a fellow of the Nation Institute and runs TomDispatch.com . His latest book is Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World . The map in this piece was produced by the Costs of War Project at Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. (Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)

[Jan 06, 2018] Trump Cuts The Gordian Knot Of Foreign Entanglements

Looks like false analysis to me. IMHO Trump betrayed his election platform with ease, especially in foreign policy.
It is kind of wishful thinking that is used by some to justify voting for Trump and hide the sense of great betrayal.
The fact that Trump won is nothing special. I think Sanders would win too, if given a change. The level of disappointment with the establishment was way too high.
Jan 06, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
dangerously incompetent ", unqualified , mentally ill man beat the " most qualified presidential candidate in history ". No wonder so many of them believe that only cunning Putin could have made it happen – even if they don't know how. But the punditocracy is as befuddled about him today as it was last year and the year before. ( Scott Adams, who got it right, reminds us just how clueless they were .) The very fact that Trump won despite the opposition of practically every established constituency in the United States shows that there is more to him than readers of the NYT and WaPo or watchers of CNN and MSNBC (can) understand.

What follows is an attempt to divine Trump's foreign policy. It proceeds from the assumption that he does know what he's doing (as he did when he decided to run in the first place) and that he does have a destination in mind. It proceeds with the understanding that his foreign policy intentions have been greatly retarded by the (completely false) allegations of Russia connections and Russian interference. There was no Russian state interference in the election (the likelihood is that Moscow would have preferred known Clinton) and, as I have written here , the story doesn't even make sense. I expect when the Department of Justice Inspector General completes his report that the Russiagate farrago will be revealed as a conspiracy inside the US security organs. We do not have a date yet, but mid-January is suggested. Readers who want to follow the story are recommended to these websites: Dystopiausa , CTH and Zerohedge .

We start with four remarks Trump often made while campaigning. Everyone would be better off had President Bush taken a day at the beach rather than invade Iraq . The " six trillion dollars" spent in the Middle East would have been better spent on infrastructure in the USA. NATO is obsolete and the USA pays a disproportionate share . It would better to get along with Russia than not .

To the neocon and humanitarian intervention crowd, who have been driving US foreign policy for most of the century, these four points, when properly understood (as, at some level, they do understand them), are a fatal challenge. Trump is saying that

  1. The post 911 military interventions did nothing for the country's security;
  2. Foreign interventions impoverish the country;
  3. The alliance system is neither useful nor a good deal for the country;
  4. Russia is not the once and future enemy.

A Chinese leader might call these the Three Noes (no regime change wars, no overseas adventures, no entangling alliances) and the One Yes (cooperation with Russia and other powers).

Which brings us to his slogan of Make America Great Again. We notice his campaign themes of job loss, opiates, lawlessness, infrastructure, illegal immigration, the stranglehold of regulations, the "swamp", the indifference of the mighty, the death of the "American Dream". None of these can be made better by overseas interventions, carrier battle groups or foreign bases. But they can be made worse by them. There is every reason to expect that by MAGA he means internal prosperity and not external might.

Trump has little interest in the obsessions of the neocon and humanitarian intervention crowd. " We need a leader that can bring back our jobs, can bring back our manufacturing, can bring back our military – can take care of our vets... The fact is, the American Dream is dead ." No foreign adventures there. So, in summary, Trump's foreign policy of Three Noes and One Yes is a necessary part of making America "great" again.

If I am correct in this and this is indeed his aim, how can he do it?

There is a powerful opposition in the United States to the Three Noes and One Yes. And it's not just from the neocon/humanitarian interventionists: most Americans have been conditioned to believe that the USA must be the world's policeman, arbiter, referee, example. Perhaps it's rooted in the City on a Hill exceptionalism of the early dissenter settlers, perhaps it's a legacy of the reality of 1945, perhaps it's just the effect of unremitting propaganda, but most Americans believe that the USA has an obligation to lead. Gallup informs us that, in this century, well over half of the population has agreed that the USA should play the leading or a major role in the world . The percentage in the punditocracy believing the USA must lead would be even higher.

Interventionists are becoming aware that they do not have a soulmate in the White House and they're wagging their rhetorical fingers. " The fact is, though, that there is no alternative great power willing and able to step in ". "If nations in the South China Sea lose confidence in the United States to serve as the principal regional security guarantor, they could embark on costly and potentially destabilizing arms buildups to compensate or, alternatively, become more accommodating to the demands of a powerful China" warns the intervention-friendly Council on Foreign Relations . The US has an obligation to lead in North Korea . It must lead for " Middle East progress ". A former NATO GenSek proclaims the US must lead . " US should be the great force for peace and justice globally ". " The absence of American leadership has certainly not caused all the instability, but it has encouraged and exacerbated it. " The ur-neocon tells us that America must lead . Chaos is the alternative . Must resume (resume??!!) its imperial role (which apparently means even more military expenditure lest its military lead be lost ). Innumerable more examples calling on the US to lead something/somewhere everything/everywhere can easily be found: it would be much more difficult to find one pundit advising the US to keep out of a problem somewhere than find twenty urging it to lead.

If I have understood him right, what would Trump see if he read this stuff? Lead, lead, lead... everything everywhere. The South China Sea, the Middle East and North Korea specifically but everywhere else too. More infrastructure repairs foregone so as to ensure what?... That ships carrying goods to and from China safely transit the South China Sea? "Friendly" governments installed in " Kyrzbekistan "? Soldiers killed in countries not even lawmakers knew they were in? 40,000 troops out there somewhere ? Trying to double the Soviet record for being stuck in Afghanistan? How many bridges, factories or lives is that worth? Trump sees more entanglements but he sees no benefit. He's a businessman: he can see the expense but where's the profit?

How to get out of these entanglements? It's too late to hope to persuade the legions bleating that "America must lead" and, even if they could be persuaded, there isn't enough time to do so: they salivate when the bell rings. President Trump can avoid new entanglements but he has inherited so many and they are, all of them, growing denser and thicker by the minute. Consider the famous story of the Gordian Knot: rather than trying to untie the fabulously complicated knot, Alexander drew his sword and cut it. How can Trump cut The Gordian Knot of American imperial entanglements?

By getting others to untie it.

He walks out of the Paris Agreement (" a watershed moment when it comes to debating America's role in the world "). And the TPP (" opened the door toward greater Chinese influence, and won't benefit the U.S. economy in the slightest "). His blustering on Iran caused the German Foreign Minister to express doubts about American leadership . He brusquely tells NATO allies to pay their own way (" America's NATO allies may be on their own after November if Russia attacks them "). By announcing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel he unites practically everybody against Washington and then uses that excuse to cut money to the UN. His trash talk on North Korea has actually started the first debate about the utility of military force we've seen for fifteen years. He pulls out of Syria (quietly and too slowly but watch what he doesn't talk about ). One last try in Afghanistan and then out. Re-negotiate all the trade deals to US benefit or walk away. Be disrespectful of all sorts of conventions and do your best to alienate allies so they start to cut the ties themselves (his tweet on the UK was especially effective ). Attack the media which is part of the machinery of entanglement. Confiscate assets . It's a species of tough love – rudely and brusquely delivered. He (presumably) glories in opinion polls that show respect for the USA as a world leader slipping. He doesn't care whether they like him or not – America first and leave the others to it.

The Three Noes and One Yes policy will be achieved by others: others who realise that the USA is no longer going to lead and they will have to lead themselves. Or not. Perhaps, as the neocons love to say, US leadership was necessary in the immediate postwar situation, perhaps NATO served a stabilising purpose then but there has been nothing stabilising about US leadership in this century. Endless wars and destruction and chaos and loss. Thus abroad and – the part that Trump cares about – so at home. It's not incompetence , as the people who fail Adams' test tell themselves; it's a strategy.

(All real theories must be falsifiable; let's see in a year's time whether the US is more entangled or less entangled. It should be pretty apparent by then and, by the end of Trump's first term, obvious to all.)

Bes Jan 5, 2018 10:26 PM

long MENA wars

long Israel

real fucking long

stacking12321 -> bobcatz Jan 5, 2018 11:12 PM

Foreign interventions haven't been for military security!

Theyve been for financial security (petro dollar empire)

america has enjoyed exorbitant privilege, and it's about to come to an end.

like someone who's maxed out his credit cards, the sooner he ends deial and admits to the truth, the better.

Antifaschistische -> stacking12321 Jan 5, 2018 11:53 PM

well, if your income, assets, and investments are denominated in US dollars, you better hope the "denial" and privilege continues as long as possible.

Maybe if the petro dollar collapses there will be people who "get what they deserve"...and I'm not all sure who those people are. As for me, when I'm paying $11 a gallon for gasoline and a $1,000 per/month utility bill, I'm not going to be praising the fall of the petro dollar, and I'd be willing to be the other ZH petro-dollar bashers won't be liking that too much either.

PS...I'm in Houston, and would actually benefit from $11 gasoline.

BobEore -> Troll Magnet Jan 6, 2018 12:03 AM

Just when you thought that the intravenous feed of fake news/phony psyopin/double down b.s. into the veins of TARDNATION couldn't get any

tackier... we get

Not a professional politician begging for funds but a rich man who spent his own money and raised money on his own name: he arrived in office unencumbered with obligations. Free from a history in politics, he owes nothing to anyone.

Hello? That the Drumpster raised pon the knee of daddy FRED "hump the HUD' Drumpf, and mentored by Roy "hump the rumps - o boyz" Cohn.. to stick his small hands in every orifice when the sun don't shine but the leprachauns hide their shiny sinful loot -

that POTUS with the mostest debt burden ever... to luabvitcher usurers of the usual dual passport type....

has 'nothin to hide... and is ha ha ha... 'free of obligations' ... and 'owes nuthin to no one...

signals that today... we reach PEAK PROPAGANDA of previously unimaginable proportions... and that the desperation of tards to be told SOME KINDA GOOD NEWS... in the shitstorm of trouble that the maggots of the MAGA kind find themselves in

is not just INSANITY BY DEFINITION... but the CAPITULATION we have awaited in eager anticipation... showing that these retards are finally on empty... and can soon be lowered into their shallow graves to be gradually turned into some kind of useful topsoil material.

whatswhat1@yahoo.com -> Tallest Skil Jan 5, 2018 11:15 PM

" mentally ill man beat the " most qualified presidential candidate in history "

Mentally ill...OK. Most qualified candidate in history...give me a fucking break!

What many do not realize, including this author, is if there was a viable third party, and their candidate was Satan, they would have won the presidency.

dirty fingernails -> whatswhat1@yahoo.com Jan 5, 2018 11:24 PM

The voter turn out says a lot. If Trump and Clinton (and those they ran against!) were the best leaders the US had to offer up we are so fucked. Fucked with a big ball of rusty barbed wire coated in shit.

stacking12321 -> takeaction Jan 5, 2018 11:27 PM

Zh has declined last few years, for sure.

overrun by spammers and neonazi trash.

and Tyler is speeding that process along by posting articles that pander to racial divides, man with longest penis, and other rubbish, which only attracts more of the lowlifes.

this used to be a terrific site back in 2011 when we joined, was a real education in finance back then.

but, as the USA continues its decline, more people will want someone to blame instead of taking responsibility - as a nation, Americans have been asleep at the wheel, they've abdicated responsibility for government spending run amuck, for the social security Ponzi scheme, for American military adventurism, for the Clinton and bush crime families, for the fed bleeding the country dry like a nightmarish vampire.

its hard to admit that, yes, we behaved stupidly and evilly, we squandered vast fortunes and ruined other nations that never attacked us, we accepted a criminally corrupt "leadership" who claimed to rule in the interest of the public but served their own secret agendas.

much easier to blame the Jews (or other group of choice) because, you know we're the good guys, the situation couldn't possibly be our fault.

Gardentoolnumber5 -> Bes Jan 5, 2018 11:15 PM

"Tax cuts are swell, Mr. President, but non-killed soldier-children are endlessly better."

http://non-intervention.com/3095/president-trump-face-facts-only-non-in

HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Jan 5, 2018 10:31 PM

Is anyone else watching the "The Trump-Russia Investigation" one-and-half hour special report on CNN? Fuck this is yellow journalism at its dirtiest. Because, if it is on CNN it must be true. Fucking swine.

steve2241 Jan 5, 2018 10:42 PM

I don't know if the U.S. will be more or less entangled in one years time. I do know that after one year of Trump, deportations of illegal immigrants are down, being less in 2017 than they were in 2016!

https://www.ice.gov/removal-statistics/2016

https://www.ice.gov/removal-statistics/2017

khnum -> steve2241 Jan 5, 2018 10:48 PM

Hes cut off the Palestinians and the Pakistani's,the Afghan situation is worsening,there's no cutting losses and running in Syria,Mogadishu,Nigeria,the US is arming Ukrainians,building up with Nato in the Baltics and Eastern Europe,actively talking about nuclear war in North Korea,pissing the Chinese off,Iran,Venezuela etc etc....have a guess he is not cleaning up he's making a bloody great mess.

dirty fingernails -> khnum Jan 5, 2018 11:36 PM

Yep, it's a huge mess, mostly because they are trying very, very hard to start a war and nobody wants to play. So, like playing chess with a pigeon, we knock over the pieces, strut around, shit everywhere and think we are awesome. Trump and the gang's complete lack of diplomatic skills (USA is #1 andthe world will kiss our asses or face consequences (excepting Israel)) is isolating us and not by their choice. Isolation means no petro-dollar which means seriously hard times at home. No wall. No MAGA. No freedom.

Savvy Jan 5, 2018 10:58 PM

One by one countries are turning their backs on the US. Trump thinks he's CEO of the world. In reality, nothing better could happen to the world that Trump with hold ALL foreign aid, pull troops and bases out of every country they're in, concentrate on lowering debt and rebuilding infrastructure and stop being such a fucking bomb dropping bully. That would be good for the planet.

But it's not what the banks and the MIC want. He's beginning to make oblahblah look good which may be his biggest accomplishment yet.

historian40 Jan 5, 2018 10:58 PM

Where does the Executive get the authority to maintain a personal military empire, to launch wars unilaterally without a declaration of war by the Legislature, to build bases on another nation's property, to wage terrorism against other nations, etc? Trump is still doing these things, just like his predecessors. They all go to the "wailing wall", put on the yarmulke, and carry out a ritual to antichrist.

historian40 -> Cabreado Jan 5, 2018 11:15 PM

Congress may be informed after the war begins is the mentality of the regime. Meanwhile, the Constitution the men and women who volunteer as mercenaries swear to uphold and defend, requires a declaration of war by the Legislature before the President may act as Commander in Chief. There is no authority for an army for him to command without the declaration. So, what gives? Those "soldiers" are violating their oath by even volunteering to serve the regime violating the Constitution. They are ultimately the ones enabling and empowering the illegal regime.

historian40 -> YourAverageJoe Jan 6, 2018 12:06 AM

He is still doing them. Not only that, but he has expanded, increased involvement in the attack on Yemen, occupying and building bases illegally on Syrian soil, etc. If someone tells me they're trying to lose weight, while they're spooning down a gallon of ice cream, I'll call them a liar to their face. Stop making excuses.

historian40 -> YourAverageJoe Jan 6, 2018 12:17 AM

Open another tab, put in US troops Yemen. You'll see there has been no drawback under Trump, but rather an increase in support for attacks in Yemen, as well as for Saudi Arabia.

Pull up US forces remain in Syria while you're at it. They're not going anywhere. They're building bases. Trump rails about illegals coming into the US while he oversees illegal invasion of other nations.

Do I need to post the links, or can you operate a search engine?

Conscious Reviver Jan 5, 2018 11:05 PM

Huh! Israel is not a foreign entanglement extraordinaire?? What is it then the 51st state or the new capital district?

johnnycanuck Jan 5, 2018 11:48 PM

" he arrived in office unencumbered with obligations. Free from a history in politics, he owes nothing to anyone. "

Ha ha ha, surely you jest! Adelson and AIPAC own his wrinkled old butt.

herbivore Jan 6, 2018 12:12 AM

Trump believes in the importance of projecting toughness- the image that he is tough and not to be trifled with. That means at least some military engagement, from time to time, regardless of whether or not it makes geostrategic sense. In his mind, projecting toughness is in and of itself a geostrategically sensible thing to do. Show the enemy what you're capable of, both in terms of resolve and hardware. I don't think he sees an imminent danger to the planet. He seems comfortable with MAD. He also appears to place a lot of faith in the judgments of his generals. If they say we need to keep throwing good money after bad (Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria) he'll follow their orders...err, I mean suggestions. In my opinion, the Trump of 20 years ago was a more sensible, realpolitik person than the Trump of today.

historian40 -> herbivore Jan 6, 2018 12:19 AM

So, the US regime is a bully that needs to make sure to knock someone down in front of the crowd from time to time, to keep the fear and intimidation factor fresh in their minds.

CultiVader Jan 6, 2018 12:54 AM

It's a nationalist economic, yes fascist, group of policies. The projection of foreign policy only exists to make our own economics stronger in terms of sum. Less incentives to multinationals to screw us by taking advantage of cucked and sellout trade agreements. Less incentives for aliens to come and suck the taxpayer tit. It's economic pragmatism, much like you would run your own small business. More cream for us, less cream for them.

uhland62 -> CultiVader Jan 6, 2018 1:10 AM

For us in Australia it looks very much like the global bloodsucker corporations are in Delaware with accounts in the Cayman Islands. They take our money and don't give anything in return, except a few lowly paid hours in the gig economy.

God is The Son Jan 6, 2018 1:00 AM

Trump is a sell out, took his 30 Silver Shekels Long ago.

uhland62 Jan 6, 2018 1:07 AM

The non-payment to Pakistan and reduction of US cooperation re Afghanistan may well lead to that mission finally being abandoned!!

[Jan 06, 2018] Iran - Europe Rejects U.S. Drive To War

Notable quotes:
"... The violence against public property by some young rioters has alienated the original legitimate protesters who have ample economic reasons to reject the neo-liberal policies of the current Iranian government. The instigating of violence from the outside of Iran, likely due to CIA machinations, has robbed them of their voice. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Occupy Wall Street ..."
"... Stephen Kinzer points out that U.S. animosity against Iran and its government lacks any strategic reasoning: ..."
"... Kinzer is right on the lack of a strategic argument. But he neglects the influence of the Zionist lobby and its interest to keep the U.S. involved in smashing any potential adversary to its colonial endeavor. Genuine interest of the people of the United States is not what drives U.S. policy and has not been for some time (if ever). ..."
"... The former senior intelligence official I spoke with seconded the NBC report that the Israelis were working with the M.E.K., adding that the operations benefitted from American intelligence. He said that the targets were not "Einsteins"; "The goal is to affect Iranian psychology and morale," he said, and to "demoralize the whole system -- nuclear delivery vehicles, nuclear enrichment facilities, power plants." ..."
"... Meanwhile in Syria's Idlib, SAA Tiger Forces are rolling up village after village and captured the key transport node of Sinjar. It's also been announced that Iran will get a large proportion of the reconstruction contracts which will certainly help Iran's economic condition. I can't help feeling the Shock Doctrine's boomeranged on The Outlaw US Empire and its regime change partners. ..."
"... The double standard isn't new. In 1981, Ronald Reagan's defense secretary, Caspar Weinberger, vowed not to allow "a hopelessly repressive, medieval government, such as has taken over in Iran, to take over in Saudi Arabia" -- somehow overlooking that the Saudis already had their own repressive, medieval government. ..."
Jan 06, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

The reaction to the minor protests in Iran drive another wedge between the U.S. and Europe. It exposes the belligerence of the Zionist lobby and its influence in the U.S. media and politics. The issue shows the growing divergence between genuine U.S. interests and the interests of Israel.

Some anti-government demonstration and attacks on public institutions continue in Iran. But, as the graph shows, such protests and riots continue to decrease. Yesterday's events took place in only 15 places while, since December 28, a total of 75 towns and cities had seen some form of protest or incidents. Additional to these several pro-government marches took place yesterday each of which was by far bigger than the anti-government events.


by M. Ali Kadivar - bigger

The violence against public property by some young rioters has alienated the original legitimate protesters who have ample economic reasons to reject the neo-liberal policies of the current Iranian government. The instigating of violence from the outside of Iran, likely due to CIA machinations, has robbed them of their voice.

I had earlier asked :

Why is the U.S. doing this?

The plan may well be not to immediately overthrow the Iranian government, but to instigate a sharp reaction by the Iranian government against the militant operations in its country. ... That reaction can then be used to implement wider and stricter sanctions against Iran especially from Europe . These would be another building block of a larger plan to suffocate the country and as an additional step on a larger escalation ladder.

and :

The administration just called for a UN emergency session about the situation. That is a laughable move ...

Laughable indeed. Other members of the Security Council and the UN Human Rights council have rejected the U.S. plans. It is not the UN's business to insert itself into internal affairs of any country. But even for those who believe that the UN has a right to intervene, the protests in Iran, estimated at no more than 15,000 people at any time and maybe 45,000 in cumulation, are way too insignificant to justify any UN reaction.

The European Union, main target of U.S. plans to again push for sanctions on Iran, has officially rejected any such attempts. The Swedish Foreign Minister said that these are "unacceptable" and that the situation does not qualify for any such move. The French President Macron warned (French) that breaking relations with Iran would lead to war. He was quite explicit (machine translation) about the actors behind such moves:

France has firm relations with the Iranian authorities but wants to keep this link "because what is being done otherwise is that it is surreptitiously rebuilding an 'axis of evil'," said the president.
.,..
"We can clearly see the official speech that is made by the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia , which are our allies in many ways, it is almost speech that will lead us to the war in Iran ." he added, pointing out without further details that it was a "deliberate strategy of some".

Russia's Foreign Minister warned the U.S. against any interference in Iran's internal affairs. Meanwhile a Saudi flagship paper, Al Arabiya , is challenging The Onion as it asserts that Iran has called up Hizbullah, Iraqi units and Afghan mercenary to quell the protests. In a Washington Post op-ed Vice President Pence rants about the Obama administration's alleged lack of reaction to protests in Iran, but announces no reaction by the Trump administration. The Washington Post editors add several op-eds by pro-Zionist lobbyists bashing Iran and blaming Europe for not following Trump's line.

The anti-Iranian Foundation for Defense of Democracies which is financed by an extreme Zionist speculator, is given plenty of space in U.S. papers:

Adam H. Johnson @adamjohnsonNYC - 4:04 AM - 3 Jan 2018
in past 72 hrs radical pro-regime change outfit FDD has had op-eds in NYTimes, Washington Post, NYPost, Politico and WSJ on Iran, repeating in each one the same tired, pro-intervention talking points.
Adam H. Johnson @adamjohnsonNYC - 6:14 PM - 3 Jan 2018
having used up their designated slots in respectable WSJ, WaPo, Politico, and NYTimes for this week, FDD slumming it in Washington Times today. Sad!

The supposedly "centrist" Lawfare blog published a call for handing improvised mines with "Explosive Formed Penetrators" to Iranian protesters. (During the U.S. invasion of Iraq the local resistance made and used such EFPs against the U.S. occupiers. The U.S. military falsely claimed that the EFPs were coming from Iran.) The editor of Lawfare , the notorious Benjamin Wittes, seems to agree with the piece. He, the editor, writes that he never edits anything that is published on his site. His only complain about the piece is that the call to arm rioters in Iran lacks a professed legal reasoning. (One wonders how the Lawfare writers will react when China delivers anti-tank weapons to the next Occupy Wall Street incarnation.)

It is a big campaign in the U.S. that is accompanying rather small events in Iran. The campaign is designed to create the atmosphere for a war on that country. The media give it ample room. But the U.S. is very lonely in these attempts. Saudi Arabia is a paper tiger that does not count and Israel can not move against Iran. The axis of resistance is ready for a great war, says Hizbullah leader Nasrallah . He explains that such a war would be waged deep within Israel.

Stephen Kinzer points out that U.S. animosity against Iran and its government lacks any strategic reasoning:

History decrees that any Iranian government must be strongly nationalist and a vigilant defender of Shiite Muslims everywhere, so the idea that "regime change" would produce a more pro-American Iran is a fantasy. The security of the United States will not be seriously affected by the course of Iran's domestic politics.
...
In 1980 President Carter proclaimed that any challenge to American dominance of the Persian Gulf would be considered "an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America." He was driven by the global imperatives of his era. Much of America's oil came through the Persian Gulf, and the West could not risk losing it to Soviet power.

Today there is no Soviet Union, and we no longer rely on Middle East oil. Yet although the basis for our policy has evaporated, the policy itself remains unchanged, a relic from a bygone age.

Kinzer is right on the lack of a strategic argument. But he neglects the influence of the Zionist lobby and its interest to keep the U.S. involved in smashing any potential adversary to its colonial endeavor. Genuine interest of the people of the United States is not what drives U.S. policy and has not been for some time (if ever).


c1ue , Jan 4, 2018 3:07:04 PM | 1

It isn't just the Zionist lobby. The billionaires who own 60% of the pistachio market share in the US - entirely as a result of the imposition of the original Iran sanctions in the 1970s, stands to lose tens of millions per year just from this one industry. The Sinclairs also front Fiji water, Pom fruit juice and own the largest water bank in the entire US, if not the world in the California central valley.
psychohistorian , Jan 4, 2018 3:20:41 PM | 3
Thanks again b for telling this story.

A multipolar world is emerging, or at least trying very hard. What is multipolar going to mean? I hope it means that war will stop being the centerpiece of the world economies. That of course means that energy will be focused elsewhere and hopefully in a positive way.

I expect the the UK will be the last to stop, if they ever do, supporting the Western Way of the US/Israel

somebody , Jan 4, 2018 3:35:12 PM | 4
Should things get out of hand with the "axis of evil" eight million Israelis don't have a chance in assymetric warfare.

But I guess the people constructing the "axis of evil" don't give a damn.

Kooshy , Jan 4, 2018 3:36:49 PM | 5
@1

They also employ more illegal aliens then any other entity in US

james , Jan 4, 2018 3:38:40 PM | 6
thanks b... your ongoing coverage is appreciated.. i want to reitterate your last line as it is so true.."Genuine interest of the people of the United States is not what drives U.S. policy and has not been for some time (if ever)."

@1 c1ue.. thanks for that.. how very interesting.. another example of economics driving the actions of some to the point of complete moral depravity..

SlapHappy , Jan 4, 2018 3:51:24 PM | 7
The US is an occupied country, and 9/11 was the solidifying event which put the Zionist menace firmly in control of the levers of power. Resistance to their rule has been purged, they created and dominate the Department of Homeland Security, and their consolidated control over media, finance, and industrial power is going to make them very hard to unseat.

But they will be unseated.

Jen , Jan 4, 2018 3:58:28 PM | 8
Plod @ 2: "The Onion" is a satirical newspaper in the US.

Emmanuel Macron's nickname is Micron.

WorldBLee , Jan 4, 2018 4:00:27 PM | 9
The US's highly skewed view on Iran is similar to their unrealistic view of Russia. "The Iranian government, which is entirely in line with the prevailing view in Iran, is an unlawful dictatorship!"

Similarly, they say, "Vladimir Putin, who has the support of 80% of the people and would be replaced by harder line nationalist should he ever lose an election, is a DICTATOR who doesn't represent the Russian people!"

Piotr Berman , Jan 4, 2018 4:07:56 PM | 10
I like that one paragraph alludes to an "axis of evil", and another lists "USA, Israel and KSA". Is there some European biotech with a new spine regeneration product? Or those are reflexes analogous to phantom pain, feelings felt in lost parts of the body (before amputation, European countries actually had independent policies). Such feelings do not translate into action.

About the role of Zionist billionaires, this is the sad situation in the axis that grandiose ideas of billionaires and princes can run rampant under the umbrella of the only (momentarily) superpower.

Christian Chuba , Jan 4, 2018 4:20:51 PM | 11
This shows how lawless the U.S. has become. Why should these protests have any bearing on whether or not the U.S. honors its commitment for the JCPOA?

A. Because we perceive that sanctions would impact the internal affairs of another country. I'm a bit old fashioned but I thought that agreements should be based on mutual compliance.

Oh, and the very nature of these sanctions amount to a virtual blockade which is by nature an act of war. The U.S. does indeed have the right to engage in commerce with any country of its choosing but once we coerce other countries in how they conduct commerce, it crosses the line into a blockade.

Ghost Ship , Jan 4, 2018 4:22:00 PM | 12
>>>> Plod | Jan 4, 2018 3:14:53 PM | 2

As Jen ' 8 says The Onion is a satirical newspaper in the US but the stories are all made up and ridiculous but with a grain of truth to draw people in. so "challenging The Onion" means that the Saudi story is made up and ridiculous, There are other legitimate newspapers that make stories up but few involve such ridiculous claims.

Meanwhile, OT, The Washington Post seems to have had an unexpected outburst of honesty . Perhaps the owner was out of the country long enough over the holidays for some-one to sneak something into the paper.

Jen , Jan 4, 2018 4:27:27 PM | 13
Deebo @ 177 (previous MoA post): Yours was one of the better comments I read in the comments forum - thanks for the effort. So don't worry that you don't comment much.

I've just read Alex Mercouris' second article on the protests in Iran and what he says in some parts jibes with what you said about protesters in cities and towns around Iran: that most of the protesters now are less educated young men from poor backgrounds.
http://theduran.com/protests-in-iran-coming-to-an-end/

You mentioned that you've been to Iran. Did people there say anything about Afghan refugees living in Iran? I've heard there's a large Afghan refugee population in the country. From the very little I know - I don't personally know any Iranians and have never been to the country - the Afghans there experience a lot of prejudice and discrimination from Iranians and have problems in finding work. They may be an easy target for foreign intel to work on.

The best source of information on Afghan refugees in Iran I can find is at this link for anyone who's interested:
http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/afghanistan-xiv-afghan-refugees-in-iran-2

stonebird , Jan 4, 2018 4:38:11 PM | 14
However b, there may be a reason for the deep state to be interested in stirring up trouble in Iran. That is that Tehran is a central node in the Chinese One Road (OBOR), both for rail and Road transport. Adam Garrie has a very interesting map on his site - which I hope I have linked to correctly. It shows the correlation between protests and projected routes. China-Tehran, India-Tehran, Tehran-Vienna and Tehran-Moscow. (Apologies to the originator of the map without giving him/her credit - as I do not know in which alphabet his/her name is written.) https://twitter.com/adamgarriereal. You will probably need to scroll down to find the map/graphic - Jan 2.

The Chinese are about to roll out the petro-Yuan and have also forbidden comment in China about the troubles in Iran.
ZH link https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-01-04/china-orders-media-stop-reporting-iran-unrest-desires-stability-massive-investments

Have the Europeans finally found out that they are the ones paying for US aggression? France in particular had multiple contacts and business contacts in Iran before sanctions were increased out of spite by the US/Israel and now Saudi Arabia (the three "we-evils").

somebody , Jan 4, 2018 5:21:18 PM | 19
Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 4, 2018 4:07:56 PM | 10

Macron got caught up in French contradictory foreign and business policy. France was heavily invested in Obama's Muslim Brotherhood strategy in Syria, and more invested in Qatar than Saudi Arabia, basically keeping up French colonial contacts in Syria and Lebanon. French business has jumped at the opportunity after sanctions were lifted. At the same time they host the leadership of MEK near Paris - maybe simply due to French liberal laws concerning political refugees, after all they hosted Khomeini.

Anyway, they have some explaining to do after this "Iranian revolution". Basically he is is trying to get his foot into a closed door .

Macron said the international community should "not give ground to certain powers which think that just a few, recognising one part of the opposition from the outside, will be able to find a stable and lasting solution for the situation in Syria," he said.

"In this context, the United Nations, regional powers, Europe and the United States have a great responsibility, and I will fully commit... to succeeding in building the peace in Syria," he told the diplomatic corps in Paris.

Macron is due to meet Friday with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who backs the rebels fighting Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, while Moscow and Teheran have thrown their support behind Damascus.

The French leader also said that peace in Syria and neighbouring Iraq is urgently required in order to avoid any resurgence in jihadist attacks once the Islamic State was defeated "militarily".

France will focus its efforts on ensuring free and secure elections in Iraq this spring, and appeared to target Iran by calling for "vigilance" over "any destabilisation linked to foreign powers," said Macron.

This presumably means support for Kurdistan .

I don't think anyone in the Middle East takes him seriously. But yes, he is definitively not an ally of Donald Trump.


Ian , Jan 4, 2018 5:35:31 PM | 20
Regarding @14 about Adam Garrie, here is the picture that stonebird was talking about. I believe the picture was created by a Russian called Парс Ка.
John Gilberts , Jan 4, 2018 6:08:12 PM | 21
A view from Canada...

The Uprising in Iran: 'This is What Revolution Looks Like'
http://www.macleans.ca/news/world/the-uprising-in-iran-this-is-what-revolution-looks-like/

"I think you're beginning to see the initial kernel of a revolution forming right now. If this thing is sustained over a period of time and the government tries to clamp down, but the numbers of protesters grows, I think at that point you've got a revolution on your hands,' Kaveh Sharooz, a Toronto lawyer, human rights activist and former senior policy adviser to Global Affairs Canada, told me over the weekend..."

somebody , Jan 4, 2018 6:12:04 PM | 22
20
It is where Iranians live . Not all of the country is populated.

But yes, Trump came out against Pakistan the same time he "supported Iranian protests". Of course this is against China.

There is not much reality behind it. Iran claims Saudi paid for all of it. China is Saudi's largest trading partner.

ben , Jan 4, 2018 6:25:57 PM | 23
From TRNN on Iran:

http://therealnews.com/t2/story:20847:Trump%27s-Call-for-Regime-Change-Could-Sabotage-Iran-Protests

Krollchem , Jan 4, 2018 6:28:41 PM | 24
Geopolitical viewpoint on the AngloZionist attack on Iran covered by Global Warfare. Preparing for World War III, Targeting Iran
By Prof Michel Chossudovsky
https://www.globalresearch.ca/preparing-for-world-war-iii-targeting-iran/20403

Justin Raimondo reminds us that "economic uncertainty due to Trump's threats to cancel the Iran deal. This, we are told, caused Iranian banks to refrain from investing in vast new projects, and so the standard of living hasn't met rising expectations."
http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2018/01/03/iranian-rebellion-everybodys-wrong/

Jen@13 was kind enough to remind us of the Afghan refugee stress brought on by the Anglozionist+Saudi wars in Afghanistan. Added to this is the CIA brown sugar Heroin trade route from Afghanistan through Iran and Turkey to the US protectorate of Kosovo where it is refined for consumption in Western Europe. From what I have read Iran is fighting a major drug war with the smugglers losinf thousands of troops in the fight
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/25351006/ns/world_news-mideast_n_africa/t/drug-war-may-suffer-under-eus-iran-sanctions/#.Wk63h0uIZt8
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/12/world/middleeast/iran-fights-drug-smuggling-at-borders.html
https://www.rferl.org/a/1093127.html

Yes the death penalty for drug smuggling is harsh:
https://globalvoices.org/2016/09/23/iran-executes-hundreds-of-people-each-year-in-its-un-funded-war-on-drugs/
However, the Western troops are the ones allowing the drugs to be grown and transported into Iran

ben , Jan 4, 2018 6:36:06 PM | 25
@17: LOL!
NemesisCalling , Jan 4, 2018 6:37:31 PM | 26
@18 hausmeister

I suppose it wasn't in good taste. Hopefully, b can look past it. Stirring the pot, instead of smoking the bees, is just no good right now. In fact, it is very suspicious.

karlof1 , Jan 4, 2018 6:44:46 PM | 27
Must second the Mercouris article Jen linked at 13. He also has an OT item about the Manafort Lawsuit , that will hand the Deep State another defeat. Pepe Escobar also tells us "why there won't be a revolution in Iran."
Toxik , Jan 4, 2018 6:53:18 PM | 28
once we demonize a country, it becomes more easier for the US to destroy that country.
gut bugs galore , Jan 4, 2018 7:31:36 PM | 29
Yes but despite everything Daniel 8 will be choreographed and puppet walked to terminus. Every integer must be manifested. They plan megacide, because it is written.

c
?
b

Ian , Jan 4, 2018 7:33:03 PM | 30
Toxik @28:

Perhaps in the past, but no longer. People are slowly waking up to reality. Look at the latest failed attempt by the US to get the UNSC to meet on Iran.

fast freddy , Jan 4, 2018 7:36:53 PM | 31
The UN has historically sided with the USUKIS nexus. It hasn't met a regime change it didn't support (Afghanistan and Iraq). Venezuela, Honduras,Libya and Ukraine also. No? It came around against apartheid Africa very late and it ignores apartheid Israel. Like the pope, it makes a few noises but does nothing to stop the genocide in Yemen. It assisted in the Syria Regime Change. Did it not?

It seems to be at odds with Trump and he with it.

This is perhaps one of Trump's few redeeming qualities. And a reason perhaps for the incessant attacks against him by the globalists/NWO/media complex.

Pnyx , Jan 4, 2018 8:04:18 PM | 32
As in most occasions I agree, but in this case would have waited till tomorrow friday when everybody in Iran isn't busy to assess further developments.
somebody , Jan 4, 2018 8:13:52 PM | 33
Posted by: Ian | Jan 4, 2018 7:33:03 PM | 30

They are going to discuss on Friday, the 5th .

It is meaningless.

Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kuwait, Peru, Poland and the Netherlands began their stint at the Security Council on January 1.

The council is not expected to issue a statement on the unrest in Iran, which would have to be agreed by all 15 members, diplomats said.

somebody , Jan 4, 2018 8:15:05 PM | 34
Posted by: fast freddy | Jan 4, 2018 7:36:53 PM | 31

In which alternative universe did Trump not attack Iran by tweet or immigration ban?

Grieved , Jan 4, 2018 8:28:34 PM | 35
Ramin Mazaheri has another article at the Saker. Can't link to it from here, but it's called:
WSWS on Iran protests: Another missed chance to support a working socialist country

He's a great fan of the World Socialist Web Site, but takes it to task for its inherent Trotskyist nature and also for its untrue badmouthing of the conditions of workers in Iran.

His article is really trying to get the dedicated communists to climb down from their haughty goals of worker paradise and join in with the actual world that exists, but along the way he describes Iran from the inside, and in a few lines manages to explain the mixture of socialism and neo-liberalism in the country, in a perfectly comprehensible way. I've already said he has a way of connecting concepts to everyday experience, and this article is quite beautiful in this regard.

He describes Iran's position in the world and in current history as very much a nation feeling its way to the best for all. He illustrates in passing how much good Iran negotiated for itself in the nuclear deal - inbound technology transfer rather than simple resource selloff.

Oddly, in an article aimed largely at discussion between socialist points of view, he managed to explain more to me about Iran than I had been able to gather in the last week. Maybe others will enjoy it too - it's quite short.

Peter AU 1 , Jan 4, 2018 8:55:28 PM | 36
Interesting report here from AMN.
https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/security-forces-destroy-foreign-anti-revolutionary-terrorist-group-northwest-iran/
...."An armed anti-revolutionary team which had recently penetrated Iran with the mission to conduct blasts and kill people in false flag operations to heighten anti-establishment sentiments for continued unrests was identified by the intelligence forces in Piranshahr ...

Piranshahr is here
https://www.google.com.au/maps/@36.6995933,45.1583242,12z

Retrained ISIS from al Hasakah, through Kurd Iraq, and across a somewhat porous border in the Kurdish area into Iran?
I think it was commenter somebody on the last thread said that Iran had tightened up it border security over the last few years. Seems like they cleaned up this lot no problems.

psychohistorian , Jan 4, 2018 9:53:17 PM | 37
@ Grieved with the Saker article referral.....Thanks!

A nicely contextualized discussion of the protests in Iran.

William Rood , Jan 4, 2018 10:38:18 PM | 38
Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 4, 2018 8:55:28 PM | 36

After reading the last thread and comments and other sites' speculations about the original instigation of the protests in Mashhad, it occurs to me this could have been an elaborate trap by the hard liners to both weaken Rouhani and roll up some Western intelligence assets.

It's clear the Telegram channels were set up well in advance, and quite likely that Iranian intelligence was aware of them. Thus, it was entirely predictable that any spark would activate the plan. I am guessing as well that the Western assets were infiltrated and the Iranians knew exactly who the traitors were. The protests were precipitated at precisely the moment Iranian intelligence was best prepared to deal with them, and they now have a quite legal basis for rounding these people up and sentencing any perpetrators or planners of violence to heavy prison terms or in some cases execution, without them being labeled "political prisoners" because of their actual involvement in criminality.

Rouhani will have to deal with legitimate economic grievances. He and other reformers have been shown that currying favor with the West through neo-liberal policies will only result in turmoil and their potential overthrow, and the public has been shown that the only current alternative to the overall system is criminal gangs. All shores up support for the system, while allowing the legitimate roll-up of an enemy 5th column.

The pleasant surprise the hard liners may not have expected is the European reaction to all this. Always present your enemy with an opportunity to make a mistake if he is prone to do so.

Peter AU 1 , Jan 4, 2018 11:27:18 PM | 39
William Rood 38
Thinking about your comment, with Russia and Iran working together in Syria there is a good chance that the combined intelligence forces of Iran, Russia and Syria have been at work on uncovering this latest US/Israeli scheme. These types of takedowns/traps are something the Russian leadership excels in.
Peter AU 1 , Jan 4, 2018 11:34:17 PM | 40
Russia has put in a lot of study on the US colour revolutions. How to identify the provocateurs and the terrorists that are often shipped in for the hardcore violence, and take them out without alienating or attacking the genuine protesters.
guidoamm , Jan 5, 2018 12:27:20 AM | 41
"Kinzer is right on the lack of a strategic argument. But he neglects the influence of the Zionist lobby and its interest to keep the U.S. involved in smashing any potential adversary [...]"

... and the requirement of this monetary system to perpetually expand credit markets...

If credit market expansion stalls or, ye gods, reverses, many balance sheets of the great and the good would become as many albatrosses around their necks.

Credit markets must expand and nothing expands credit markets more than instability and crisis thus enabling ever greater transfers of wealth towards to sponsors of the monetary system

Grieved , Jan 5, 2018 12:49:20 AM | 42
@38 William Rood

If it was an elaborate trap, the elaboration came largely from the enemy. Iran's Public Prosecutor, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, said that the plot was of 4 years duration:
Iran public prosecutor unveils plots behind street unrests

Iran knew the plot's name and even the names of the alternative models proposed, as well as the ("former") CIA and current Mossad officer, who together were the main plotters. They planned to bring re-purposed Daesh fighters into Iran as part of the plan. It's not clear to me how advanced this part was, but Montazeri says that they activated the plan ahead of schedule, dues to Iran's "special circumstances" - I don't know what that means.

I would really like to know what triggered the activation of this plan, and whether it pre-empted the full Daesh force's arrival in the country. The enemy planned, but did Iran pull the trigger?

Either way, when I read your scenario, the word "cauldron" came to mind. Perhaps it really is the case that Iran let these players walk into their cauldron and, as you suggest, scooped them up. Khamenei has said that he knows much more about this that he will share with the people later.

~~

I would like to exculpate Rouhani somewhat from all this, however. To my very limited understanding, Rouhani chose a certain path in order to get the nuclear deal, and it involved a measure of neo-liberalization in return. Khamenei (hat tip to Lozion in the last thread for the link) said privately to Rouhani to "try his luck" with the west but never forget for one moment that they were always and unremittingly the enemy.

So Rouhani did try his luck, and it worked. And Ramin Mazaheri, in the article at the Saker that I cited at #35 here, describes what the Iranian negotiators actually achieved in that deal, and it was a large net benefit, a great achievement that Iran is justly proud of.

So, Rouhani is still caught in the bargain he made, but the economy is rising more than falling, and Rouhani knows neo-liberal policies don't work, as at least one other commenter in the previous thread illustrated. One can assume that Iran will amend this course as soon as the way is clear to do so. Perhaps these protests will even form the rationale for doing so, which would be wonderful.

paul , Jan 5, 2018 12:55:19 AM | 43
Earlier today I read a headline saying that the UNSC was refusing to have a meeting on Iran - rightly. Now I read that they are going to have one after all. I don't know exactly how the UNSC works, but it sounds very much like the usual is happening, as in once again the Hegemon is to be appeased and some country that resists the Hegemon's will is to be brought to its knees.

It's pointless to ask why a meeting isn't called over Honduras then, to cite just one example that points to stunning US hypocrisy, also UNSC hypocrisy. No the Hegemon must be appeased by its vassals, Russia and China. Sure they'll often ay the right thing outside the UN, but when the US snaps its fingers, they snap to.

Grieved , Jan 5, 2018 1:01:38 AM | 44
@42 - hmm, that link to Lozion's comment didn't work. It was #166 in the last thread, but principally it was a link to Magnier's analysis, with the Khamenei quote at the end:
Who is behind the manifestations in Iran and who benefits?
arbetet , Jan 5, 2018 1:23:17 AM | 45
@42 Grieved
I would really like to know what triggered the activation of this plan, and whether it pre-empted the full Daesh force's arrival in the country. The enemy planned, but did Iran pull the trigger?

Here's a thought:

Iran's air defense system operational by March 2018

http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/09/03/533862/Iran-Farzad-Esmaili


Peter AU 1 , Jan 5, 2018 2:34:58 AM | 46
Grieved 44/42
Magnier also has a string of interesting comments on the start of the genuine protest, its cause and so forth, from the last day or so at his twitter account. These would add to his article.
https://twitter.com/ejmalrai
lysander , Jan 5, 2018 3:17:43 AM | 47
@43, I wouldn't worry to much about the unsc meeting. My guess it's a "give Nikki Haley enough rope" moment, courtesy of Russia and China. Let her make a fool of herself by droning nonstop about how she is very concerned about freedom in Iran (but oddly, only in Iran and nowhere else, except maybe Binomo) and then let them veto whatever bogus resolution she will try to pass. Assuming they even have to. It might actually be outvoted by majority.
lysander , Jan 5, 2018 3:23:15 AM | 48
Ok, perhaps not outvoted. It seems only Bolivia, Kazakhstan and Peru are the likely no votes. Most of the others will be a yes, but I suspect there can be a surprise where even a vassal state might abstain. We shall soon see, anyway.
Peter AU 1 , Jan 5, 2018 3:27:32 AM | 49
An interesting article Grieved linked to @42.
If the plot has been four years in the making, then this goes back to the time, or just before, ISIS burst onto the big screen in a blaze of MSM publicity and promotion.

The plot put on ahead of schedule? The involvement of Russia destroyed ISIS in Syria to the point the US had to publicly take the remnants of ISIS under its wing to save them. US occupation in Syria is tenuous, if they hang around too long in Syria they will start shipping back US boots in body bags. Perhaps a reason for setting the plan off early?

Peter AU 1 , Jan 5, 2018 3:45:57 AM | 50
With Obama admin's ambitions in Syria unachievable after Russia's entry, Trump with his hatred of Iran installed as CEO to cut the losses, gather the assets and turn the focus onto the last in Wesley Clark's list, Iran?
Peter AU 1 , Jan 5, 2018 3:55:01 AM | 51
Another thought. Who wrote Clark's list? CIA or Pentagon? Trump backed by the military, so I am guessing pentagon wrote the list.
stonebird , Jan 5, 2018 4:11:07 AM | 52
@Lysander 48
Kazakstan; The US will probably use financial pressure, as JP Morgan "froze" some 42% of their financial reserves to cover a small debt question (Belgian - Danish if my memeory serves me right) of about 800 million. ie. They froze about 23 billion of their sovereign wealth fund.
If Kazakstan does the "right thing" it might get some of that back. maybe.....
Stryker , Jan 5, 2018 4:45:21 AM | 53
I would resist the urge to read too much into it now since we're early in the development. Add it to MbS move to charge 'corruption' in KSA and it looks like a push to force Wahhabists out into the open.
This four year old article speaks to the separation of church and state:
Wahhabism to ISIS: how Saudi Arabia exported the main source of global terrorism
During the 18th century, revivalist movements sprang up in many parts of the Islamic world as the Muslim imperial powers began to lose control of peripheral territories. In the west at this time, we were beginning to separate church from state, but this secular ideal was a radical innovation: as revolutionary as the commercial economy that Europe was concurrently devising. No other culture regarded religion as a purely private activity, separate from such worldly pursuits as politics, so for Muslims the political fragmentation of their society was also a religious problem. Because the Quran had given them a sacred mission – to build a just economy in which everybody was treated with equity and respect – the political well-being of the umma ("community") was always a matter of sacred import. If the poor were oppressed, the vulnerable exploited or state institutions corrupt, Muslims were obliged to make every effort to put society back on track.
VK , Jan 5, 2018 5:52:28 AM | 54
In 1980 President Carter proclaimed that any challenge to American dominance of the Persian Gulf would be considered "an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America." He was driven by the global imperatives of his era. Much of America's oil came through the Persian Gulf, and the West could not risk losing it to Soviet power.
Today there is no Soviet Union, and we no longer rely on Middle East oil. Yet although the basis for our policy has evaporated, the policy itself remains unchanged, a relic from a bygone age.

The Soviet Union may not exist anymore, but China does, and most of its oil still comes from the Persian Gulf (which still comes by sea, hence the Chinese necessity of the OBOR), whose route can still be easily blocked by the US Navy both in the Hormuz and the Malacca.

Besides, this shale oil bonanza may be ephemeral. See http://shalebubble.org/

somebody , Jan 5, 2018 5:53:50 AM | 55
Posted by: William Rood | Jan 4, 2018 10:38:18 PM | 38

Trump is working for the hardliners, Europe prefers Rouhani.

somebody , Jan 5, 2018 6:23:25 AM | 56
Posted by: VK | Jan 5, 2018 5:52:28 AM | 54

Economy is global. Blocking the Persian Gulf would make prices go up everywhere. If China is hit the US are hit .

U.S. goods and services trade with China totaled an estimated $648.2 billion in 2016. Exports were $169.3 billion; imports were $478.9 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with China was $309.6 billion in 2016.

Nationalist policies are impossible in this context but people's brains are firmly tribally wired, so politicians try to score points playing to national sentiment ie. Trump.

Most of the military is useless as there are no enemies left just "competitors" according to the Trump doctrine - but these competitors are tied to each other closely.

But people have been indoctrinated to be good and fight "evil" for a long time and the military wants budget increases so enemies - ISIS, Muslims, Iran, whoever, are produced.

Anonymous , Jan 5, 2018 8:03:59 AM | 57
Ian @20

The map reflects little more than geography. The south and east of Iran is sparesely populated desert, the west and north are not.

Don Bacon , Jan 5, 2018 10:27:01 AM | 58
@ somebody 56
"Most of the military is useless as there are no enemies left just "competitors" according to the Trump doctrine - but these competitors are tied to each other closely."
The US problem with China goes beyond competition, as the US charges China with upsetting the global norms that have long been dictated by the US.
somebody , Jan 5, 2018 10:32:19 AM | 59
Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 5, 2018 10:27:01 AM | 58

Which norms?

ken , Jan 5, 2018 10:36:55 AM | 60
"It is not the UN's business to insert itself into internal affairs of any country."

Agreed!

Except North Korea of course. Starving 25 million persons doesn't seem to bother many in the enlightened assembly.

somebody , Jan 5, 2018 10:52:34 AM | 61
Turkey seems to have joined the resistance axis for good .

For some reason they blame UAE not Saudi Arabia.

xLemming , Jan 5, 2018 10:58:31 AM | 62
SH @7

That about sums it up... succinct & to the point... thank you

Don Bacon , Jan 5, 2018 11:10:32 AM | 63
@somebody 58
"Which norms?"
The basic norms are that the US controls the world politically, economically and militarily, and those controls are being threatened. Iran won't do what we tell it to do, China has an unshakable economic advantage under state control and contests US rule of the seas, Russia is designing weapons far in advance of US ones, North Korea wants nukes for defense just like the big guys,...the list goes on.

from the National Security Strategy

China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity. They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence. At the same time, the dictatorships of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran are determined to destabilize regions, threaten Americans and our allies, and brutalize their own people... . here
somebody , Jan 5, 2018 11:57:07 AM | 64
62
I would call this constructing enemies and threats. It is absurd when you consider the economic codependency of China and the US.

From Merriam Webster - definition of norms


1 : an authoritative standard : model
2 : a principle of right action binding upon the members of a group and serving to guide, control, or regulate proper and acceptable behavior

No society lacks norms governing conduct. -- Robert K. Merton


I repeat - what norms?
stonebird , Jan 5, 2018 12:16:50 PM | 65
Anonymous @57
However it does show up that Iran is a central node for the rail and road links to OBOR. Most maps place the lines of transit either north of the caspian or via sea links along the Persian gulf.
Admittedly, it can be argued that naturally protests happened only in the urban areas, and there are more of those in the North rather than the South. The map does not show the pipeline explosion in southern Baluchistan either.

One other thing it does not show is the Pakistan connections to OBOR. (Northwards) (ps. and Pakistan is in the "bad-books" of the US for not allowing unlimited drone killing in the tribal areas)
But I found it interesting none the less.

somebody , Jan 5, 2018 12:28:26 PM | 66
64 Iran's geopolitical position is superb. What you see today is the shrunk mountainous part of the Persian empire that used to bridge Asia, Europe and Africa . The "Iranian aggression" the US hate so much is the cultural sphere left by history.
bevin , Jan 5, 2018 12:33:01 PM | 67
@43
"No the Hegemon must be appeased by its vassals, Russia and China. Sure they'll often say the right thing outside the UN, but when the US snaps its fingers, they snap to."

Syria?
Things have changed in the past few years. And the change has been of tectonic plate significance. China and Russia are no longer afraid of US power, whether it be of the military, economic or cultural sort. US threats no longer impress those who have seen the idiocy at work in Iraq, Libya and Syria. The US petro dollar and SWIFT are being reduced, daily, in their abilities to do mischief.
And, perhaps most significant of all, US culture is now seen to be utterly corrupt, its news media-from the NY Times and Guardian downwards, prostituted and propagandistic; its legal system, exemplified by Guantanamo, an insult to kangaroos. Nobody believes either threats, promises or even passing observations datelined Washington, New York, Hollywood or London.

Noirette , Jan 5, 2018 1:24:11 PM | 68
There will be no attack on Iran.

I'm parotting myself, apologies. -- That judgment depends partly on how one reads the history of Iran. (E.g. Victory for islamist / muslim brothers / the like, in 1979, perhaps, *loved* or instrumentalised by the US.)

Israel and KSA might wish such. Neither will attempt anything alone nor together (together is risky for both of them) they merely prod the USA, they are used to influecing the hegemon they think hope pray so it be.

The US will not attack Iran, too risky, complex. The balance of power has shifted marginally but noticeably in favor of the opponents of the US, Iran in first place, after the defeat in Syria (partly because of US actions in the region, which perpetually end up re-inforcing Iran.. go figure, long story..) with a now resurgent Russia openly defending its interests to prevent more chaos (in their terms) and take-over while still very hesitant back-benchers.

The entire world hailed the Kerry-Obama initiative to lift sanctions > Iran for business, economic reasons (energy, big corps, varous infrastr., import export, profits, etc. etc. ) as well as more 'personal' ones, travel, small biz, family, ordinary contacts (which btw the US allowed in some measure as they knew it would be bad PR to forbid) such as chess championships, photo shoots for various contests like sports, mathematicians meets, thousands of 'student exchanges,' love marriages, and on and on.

As b points out, the EU is furious, why, after all this struggle, cannot we, trade normally with this country? Plus Trump as prez. is easily denigrated and opposed. Once more, it is blatant that the US cannot be trusted, ever, ever.

Rev. Spooner , Jan 5, 2018 1:48:11 PM | 69
First I would like to first give "Three cheers for our queer old dean!"
USA "Rah Rah Rah" is old and will not happen.
Iran is not going to be invaded, just as attack on N.Korea is not going to happen. All this is not going to happen.
It's done and over. USA is finished. It's a new year. Be happy.
Peter AU 1 , Jan 5, 2018 1:59:38 PM | 70
I see in a recent Reuters article US oil production has risen to just under ten thousand barrels a day, which is close to coving half of US demand. From what I have read, a lot of wells have been drilled then capped, waiting for prices to rise. Trump just opened up large areas of the US continental shelf for exploration and drilling.
The US is no longer reliant on oil imports from Saudi Arabia, and as Russia is now a rival to KSA in oil production and many other countries exporting oil, Saudi's selling oil in US dollars no longer guarantees that the world must use US dollars in trade.
A limited war with Iran, perhaps cutting supplies from the area would boost oil prices, kick start the US oil industry and hurt China.
Piotr Berman , Jan 5, 2018 2:30:27 PM | 71
About democracy or despotism in Iran: there are four to five nominally democratic governments in West Asia, in Israel, Lebanon, Turkey and Iran, and all fit into rubric "imperfect democracies". It is a bit moot to ponder which one is less imperfect and which is "better" because you can always latch on characteristics that you view as "important".

All absolute monarchies are our friends, while the attitude to "imperfect democracies" is mixed, suggesting a preference for clear-cut despotism, and more reliably, very low actual interest in democracy.

elsi , Jan 5, 2018 3:00:52 PM | 72
@Stryker | Jan 5, 2018 4:45:21 AM | 53
Because the Quran had given them a sacred mission – to build a just economy in which everybody was treated with equity and respect – the political well-being of the umma ("community") was always a matter of sacred import. If the poor were oppressed, the vulnerable exploited or state institutions corrupt, Muslims were obliged to make every effort to put society back on track.

And that, I fear, is the original and authentic definition of jihad , at least in Shia Islam, as I have understood in some books I was doned while visiting Nasarieh Madrassa in Isfahan, for to protect the poor and vulnerable from oppression and exploitation by corrupted states or institutions. It was precisely while doing that the so venerated by these muslims, Imam Ali (AS), was killed in martyrdom. Also he was recommending avoiding use of violence whenever was not necessary....

This is the man, the way I saw they represented him in Iran::

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/1b6grY4WPwE/maxresdefault.jpg

And these are some of his quotes ( sorry for the long links, but this can not be reduced to a few words...I hope this do not provoke any damage ), I post them here for you to know the kind of thinking of this wise man, which most probably will help you understanding Iran and Shia world....

https://quotefancy.com/media/wallpaper/3840x2160/1695693-Imam-Ali-Quote-Work-for-a-Better-Life-as-if-you-live-forever-And.jpg

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/48/a3/a1/48a3a104d7805aa5b925448d9e3d0018--imam-ali-quotes-elegant.jpg

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTcxLTd2lNjzgJqJiBhuDs-YzTBgUYJfLhDIO_9XwVdUmfQLSgU

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/eb/8f/5d/eb8f5d38f5b022ed5263d3e6b168cf4e--mola-ali-imam-ali-quotes.jpg

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-iZ50ZdEcDmg/VUi5BSF-SMI/AAAAAAAAKws/DKkquAQ7bWk/s1600/Hazrat%2BAli%2BQuotes%2B7%2Bislmicupdate786.blogspot.com.jpg

https://data.whicdn.com/images/275043935/superthumb.jpg

http://i4m032imkie3gak4u536h719-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/ha12.jpg

https://i.pinimg.com/474x/f3/ce/3d/f3ce3d05c9f8fde6a799bd41603f1920--mola-ali-imam-ali-quotes.jpg

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/12/f9/01/12f9011eae07ab679fc5dea55934f1ff--imam-ali-quotes-hazrat-ali.jpg

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTyn1Y3MBNrjeiMOZZOb3lT7JqFVxvEvjPYoqtSWkWnutW3ZgvJ

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/63/c1/d8/63c1d83dbd4614426df9dd418c1faf7d--imam-ali-quotes-imam-hussain.jpg

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/59/d8/40/59d84022aaa7e21a3c22d68985b57fc3---friends-imam-ali-quotes.jpg

https://i.pinimg.com/236x/fc/33/dc/fc33dcf7e9b8febfb89aec225c129c39--imam-ali-quotes-muslim-quotes.jpg

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/08/8e/e9/088ee96469b10ac32f54a33b7a1cbf49--safety-tips-imam-ali.jpg

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DEsOpPWXkAAATPL.jpg

http://timothykurek.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/best-25-imam-ali-quotes-ideas-on-pinterest-islamic-quotes-on-on-hazrat-ali-quotes-in-english-about-education-1.jpg

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8wL78ZNL8cY/VEVF9ZKzKgI/AAAAAAAABio/mTPLtaUU3qc/s1600/tumblr_mlfgygix1D1s5flgxo1_1280.png

http://quotesparadise.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/ali-quote.jpg

http://www.motivationalquotesabout.com/images/quotes/if-you-tell-the-truth-imam-ali.jpg
https://i.pinimg.com/736x/3b/23/a2/3b23a2fa1535afc1680367a87be6e163--imam-ali-quotes-hazrat-ali.jpg

The same way, you can conclude that what terrorists groups like IS, AL Nusra, Al Qaeda and so on....perform is anything except jihad , since working for the oppressors against the oppressed and moreover employing gratuitous violence in massive killings in the most macabre ways and destruction of basic infrastructures needed for preserving people´s way of life, cultural and historical heritage and the likes we are so accustomed today.
That is not jihad but common psychopathic thuggery teached by their psychopathic masters.

Finally, after reading and considering all this, in case you lost it, I will post here the speech of Mr.Rouhani at the last UNGA, for you to compare with that of his main opponents, and then you take your conclusions on who is demonized by whom and who is the real evil:

FULL: President Hassan Rouhani Speech at UN (9-20-17) | Sep 20, 2017

Jen , Jan 5, 2018 3:04:52 PM | 73
Peter AU 1 @ 51: Wesley Clark's hit list probably came from the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) think tank, several of whose authors were neocons with dual citizenship loyalties. (Robert Kagan aka Mr Victoria Nuland comes to mind.) Some signatories - Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz - wound up in George W Bush's administration. PNAC was mothballed in 2006 but its ideology and aims still survive in Washington DC.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Century#People_associated_with_the_PNAC
xLemming , Jan 5, 2018 3:09:19 PM | 74
@38 WH, et al... great analysis!

Always worth the price of admission here... next round on me
Danke b

somebody , Jan 5, 2018 3:24:09 PM | 75
Posted by: elsi | Jan 5, 2018 3:00:52 PM | 72

I have not noticed that this quote about the camel and the eye of the needle did do anything for the Christian poor.

I would also suggest that a living income is a human right, not charity.

fastfreddy , Jan 5, 2018 3:41:29 PM | 76
PNAC never goes away. It just changes its name. It used to be called Manifest Destiny. The USA still demands Full Spectrum Dominance which requires acquiesence, subjugation and obedience from its "allies & partners" while it bombs the hell out of its perceived enemies (but only the defenseless ones).

There must be some benefit to the partners of a mad and paranoid dominator, but I can't see the attraction.

somebody , Jan 5, 2018 3:44:38 PM | 77
Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 5, 2018 1:59:38 PM | 70

It would help Russia, would it not?

Apart from that, it would hit the consumer who in the end will have to pay the price of oil and - with bad luck - it will be the beginning of world wide recession - leading to lower oil price.

Some people would profit but these are the people who profit from anything, crises included.

ben , Jan 5, 2018 4:03:00 PM | 78
Don B @ 63 said:"The basic norms are that the US controls the world politically, economically and militarily, and those controls are being threatened. Iran won't do what we tell it to do, China has an unshakable economic advantage under state control and contests US rule of the seas, Russia is designing weapons far in advance of US ones, North Korea wants nukes for defense just like the big guys,...the list goes on."

IMO, as of now, correct, although slowly changing. Hurry up please, a multi-polar world. The health of the world depends on that happening...

elsi , Jan 5, 2018 4:07:27 PM | 79
@somebody | Jan 5, 2018 3:24:09 PM | 75

Indeed, and I agree with you and those are some of the reasons, amongst many, why I left the Catholic church in which I was baptized and educated, although I never regreted my education at a Catholic school and the values transmitted at home, being my mother a very religious person in the past. Those two aspects you cite here are those most probably invented by religious ( in association with non religious ) hierarchies so that people resigns itself to its destiny determined by birth or fatality, for not to mention the ethernal Catholic church allignement with fascist dictators instead of with the oppressed....

But if you read, at least the quotes I have selected, they make a lot of sense, and they are like a guide or advice by a good and wise friend or protector, I can not find in Imam Ali´s quotes and sayings anything resembling surrender or avoiding fighting for a better destinty, a better world or a more dignified situation. Also you notice what he said about women....Then you have the misinterpretations by people in Islam with spurious interests according to their own personal background...

Anyway, what I was trying to do is trying to demosntrate what kind of influences could have Iranian people in their way of behavior and way of life, nothing to do with promoting Islam or Shia Islam in any way, although I must confess a bit keen on Imam Ali, although still I do not get to celebrate Ashura ....But...who knows...

Iranians have also other influences, as well, and, as Rouhani pointed out in his speech, those influences came from so distant times as those of Zoroastro, whose religion´s main directives could be summarized in three main principles, say "To talk well, think well, behave well" , passing through the times of their many tolerant and intelligent dirigents who always protected, liberated and even hosted oppressed minorities along history, not to mention their love and promotion of culture, sciences, technology and knowledge in general.
It has been through absorbing all this knowledge and influences what has come to conform what is today a very hospitable, educated, respectfull, and kindhearted society.

Don Bacon , Jan 5, 2018 4:08:51 PM | 80
@Noirette 68
One large factor keeping the US from attacking Iran (and North Korea) is the US strategy of forward basing. The US has half a dozen installations and 40,000 troops, also civilians, on the western side of the Gulf within easy rocket & missile range from Iran. Korea is similar, with the US Osan Air Base and Camp Humphreys, including civilians and dependents, within range of DPRK rockets. Any planned attack would have to be preceded by an evacuation, which is impractical.
Don Bacon , Jan 5, 2018 4:13:10 PM | 81
@somebody 64
. . . the economic codependency of China and the US.
from Bloomberg--
China's Global Ambitions Could Split the World Economy
Globalization -- China wants to control it. Instead of integrating China into the existing world order, it is creating a separate economic bloc, with different dominant companies and technologies, and covered by rules, institutions, and trade patterns dictated by Beijing.. . here
Peter AU 1 , Jan 5, 2018 4:17:33 PM | 82
somebody 77
After posting my thoughts on the US forces in Syria pivot on Iran, I started thinking about Trump tweeting support for the protesters. A sure means of stopping any genuine domestic protest in Iran in its tracks. Why? Trump laid a trap for someone? Was the exercise to create tension and drive oil prices up? It could be just because Trump foolishly thought it would help the protesters, but I feel he may have had other reasons for doing so.
mauisurfer , Jan 5, 2018 4:21:12 PM | 83
Seymour Hersh, 2012, wrote:

Five Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated since 2007. M.E.K. spokesmen have denied any involvement in the killings, but early last month NBC News quoted two senior Obama Administration officials as confirming that the attacks were carried out by M.E.K. units that were financed and trained by Mossad, the Israeli secret service. NBC further quoted the Administration officials as denying any American involvement in the M.E.K. activities.

The former senior intelligence official I spoke with seconded the NBC report that the Israelis were working with the M.E.K., adding that the operations benefitted from American intelligence. He said that the targets were not "Einsteins"; "The goal is to affect Iranian psychology and morale," he said, and to "demoralize the whole system -- nuclear delivery vehicles, nuclear enrichment facilities, power plants."

Attacks have also been carried out on pipelines. He added that the operations are "primarily being done by M.E.K. through liaison with the Israelis, but the United States is now providing the intelligence." An adviser to the special-operations community told me that the links between the United States and M.E.K. activities inside Iran had been long-standing. "Everything being done inside Iran now is being done with surrogates," he said.

The sources I spoke to were unable to say whether the people trained in Nevada were now involved in operations in Iran or elsewhere. But they pointed to the general benefit of American support. "The M.E.K. was a total joke," the senior Pentagon consultant said, "and now it's a real network inside Iran. How did the M.E.K. get so much more efficient?" he asked rhetorically. "Part of it is the training in Nevada. Part of it is logistical support in Kurdistan, and part of it is inside Iran. M.E.K. now has a capacity for efficient operations that it never had before."

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/our-men-in-iran

elsi , Jan 5, 2018 4:28:10 PM | 84
The south and east of Iran is sparesely populated desert, the west and north are not.

Not so, provinces like Isfahan or Kerman, located in the center or in the South are amongst the most populated and are also main industrial nods:

Population of Iran by Province

somebody , Jan 5, 2018 4:31:05 PM | 85
Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 5, 2018 4:17:33 PM | 82

I think they tried to panic the Tehran "regime" to a clampdown and at the same time tried to ensure "protesters" inside Iran that they would get support from the US. Trump and the Jerusalem Post (plus probably Al-Arabya) were the first to have heard of the protests. BBC Persian seems to have been involved in collecting the videos from the start. I guess, when the money is paid for something like this everyone continues to work even though everyone knows it will be a failure.

Nikki Haley is just getting a severe beating by the countries on the UN security council. Lots of ambassadors bring up the unsolved two state solution in Palestine.

karlof1 , Jan 5, 2018 5:18:43 PM | 86
Amongst the many still photos and videos of the numerous pro-government marches posted here , I see no placards written in English; all are in Farsi, which isn't the case with the previous small protests. If audible volume could express the differences, it would be deafening!

It seems the Big News of the day is the fallout between the Outlaw US Empire and its troublesome vassal Pakistan. Imran Khan was very outspoken in an interview with CNN that Pakistan could do very well without any further US "aid" and welcomed the cooling of relations: "Yet another attack on Pakistan's sovereignty today! Donald Trump & his threat; how low can one stoop? Are we so greedy and in-need of US AID? We fought their war and lost our people. We fought their war and lost our integrity. We fought their war and lost our dignity!!!" He conducted a news conference today that can be viewed at Tehreek-e-Insaf"s Twitter site , unfortunately broken into small snippets and only in Urdu. Now, if India and Pakistan would end their many years of bombastic behavior toward each other that only serves the Outlaw US Empire's purposes, an opportunity for great progress exists that didn't just a few days ago.

nottheonly1 , Jan 5, 2018 5:44:53 PM | 87
Commenting via phone is painful. But the occasion warrants it. Something large is looming over the West's destruction of numerous Nations beginning in 2001. In all the reasoning about the imperialistic stance of the West towards its global play ground, one aspect is most often overlooked. 'Money'.

While the notion stands "follow the money", it is seldom elevated to its real importance. After all, politics and especially global politics appear to remain within the boundaries of Nationalism. The so called 'unipolar" world is not different from a 'multipolar' world subdued to monetary interests. Iran is not even a new target in this regard. The immense amounts of money that are to be had via the control of the Iranian territory are second to no other Middle Eastern Nation.

It is therefore that I like to point towards 'money' as being the underlying motivation for the destruction of Middle Eastern and North African Nations. This sentiment was enforced today when I read the latest essay by Eric Zuesse about "Who will pay for the reconstruction of Syria". Due to the problematic of writing on a phone, I shall be forgiven the insertion of this link without formatting it. Please take the time and read it, since it opens up a box, that makes Pandora's appear like a matchbox.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/01/05/who-will-pay-250-billion-reconstruction-cost-syria.html

augusto , Jan 5, 2018 5:59:28 PM | 88
Slowly but constantly the good old europeans are discovering they can stand against who fooled them so long in the name of ''protection''. And how stupid they have behaved. A second hint wishfully the street guys in europe find out that has been their own elites´game only... We latin americans cannot understand such a yesmanship, such a long and deep hibernation from those white savvy post christian self sufficient europs. Perhaps they are seeing light that comes from beijing.
better late than never.
karlof1 , Jan 5, 2018 6:09:34 PM | 89
Its plan foiled within Iran, the Outlaw US Empire sends its paid goons to throw stones at Iranian Embassies, the Netherlands's certainly, and total defeat and humiliation pilled-on at the UNSC. And an interesting thought item from Brasco_Aad's Twitter : Beste [sic] quote this week came from Henry Kissinger (what do you know, right?)

"There is a HUGE war going on within the White House between the Jews and the Non-Jews at the moment.

"Between the Jews and the Non-Jews.

"Let that sink in for a minute."

Meanwhile in Syria's Idlib, SAA Tiger Forces are rolling up village after village and captured the key transport node of Sinjar. It's also been announced that Iran will get a large proportion of the reconstruction contracts which will certainly help Iran's economic condition. I can't help feeling the Shock Doctrine's boomeranged on The Outlaw US Empire and its regime change partners.

karlof1 , Jan 5, 2018 6:31:59 PM | 90
Sputnik provides an excellent recap of today's UNSC proceedings.
Piotr Berman , Jan 5, 2018 6:41:00 PM | 91
Paris does not follow Washington tune, and, apparently, neither does Chicago . Nice quote:

The double standard isn't new. In 1981, Ronald Reagan's defense secretary, Caspar Weinberger, vowed not to allow "a hopelessly repressive, medieval government, such as has taken over in Iran, to take over in Saudi Arabia" -- somehow overlooking that the Saudis already had their own repressive, medieval government.

Piotr Berman , Jan 5, 2018 7:21:56 PM | 92
Meanwhile in Syria's Idlib, SAA Tiger Forces are rolling up village after village and captured the key transport node of Sinjar. It's also been announced that Iran will get a large proportion of the reconstruction contracts which will certainly help Iran's economic condition. I can't help feeling the Shock Doctrine's boomeranged on The Outlaw US Empire and its regime change partners.

Not exactly, all current maps show the line of control 3 km (2 miles) south of Sinjar, and the latest advance of Tigers was expanding their salient to east and west, securing the flanks. In the meantime, multiple rebel brigades (rebel brigade is like a platoon in a regular army) reinforced the defense of Sinjar area. The trademark Tiger tactic is to abruptly change the direction of advance rather than trying to crush the most fortified positions. But they got to their targets on many occasions.

Perhaps the strategic goal is to punch through a new supply line to Aleppo that would be several times more economical than the current Khanasser route: the railroad from Hama to Aleppo. The economy of the Aleppo, the largest center of population and industry before the civil war, would get a huge boost, and "Idlibstan" would be reduced in size by one third once the isolated eastern part would be mopped out. We can see it before the Spring.

A big unnown is what Erdogan, ever mercurial, will be doing. Suddenly he have returned to his past slogan about Assad being the largest criminal etc., does it mean renewal of supplies of heavy weapons to idlib rebels? I guess it is already happening, but the situation is convoluted. Erdogan was making moves against Afrin Kurds, and probably he got Syrian/Russian red light, but if he will insist too much, Kurds will get Russian weapons from Syrians. But Erdogan's card are weapons for Idlib. Such escalation would bleed both Syrians and Turks, to nobody's advantage, except Erdogan's "almost Trumpian" thirst for importance.

Christian Chuba , Jan 5, 2018 7:27:38 PM | 93
ninel, I have more talking points for you ... [Iran]The Norm Is NOT Democracy -- the Norm Is Extinction https://pjmedia.com/spengler/norm-not-democracy-norm-extinction/
"Before we wax too eloquent about the democratic aspirations of the great Iranian people, we should keep in the mind that the most probable scenario for Iran under any likely regime is a sickening spiral into poverty and depopulation. Iran has the fastest-aging population of any country in the world, indeed, the fast-aging population of any country in history. It has the highest rate of venereal disease infection and the highest rate of infertility of any country in the world. It has a youth unemployment rate of 35% (adjusted for warehousing young people in state-run diploma mills). And worst of all, it has run out of water."
  1. Fastest aging population in the world in history.
  2. Highest rate of infertility and VD in the world .
  3. Diploma mills and NO WATER .

Ninel, if you are an Iranian why didn't you tell us about this hell hole but instead wax eloquent about the problem of 'child brides'? If PJ media is correct it looks like Iran needs more, not less child brides.

I believe David Goldman, he's published on the Internet, he would never lie or exaggerate about Iran, never. I try to ignore these things but ... that does sound like a Yiddish name to me which is fine but if is okay to learn about Iran from Jews and Israelis to learn about Iran, should we go to Iran to learn about Israel or are both ideas pretty much insane?

Nick , Jan 5, 2018 7:37:49 PM | 94
There are a lot of motives why the US wants to destroy the Iran. But this is a lot interesting: 'New India-Russia/EU route offers Suez alternative' https://www.joc.com/rail-intermodal/international-rail/officials-new-india-russia-eu-route-slashes-transport-costs_20171221.html
Krollchem , Jan 5, 2018 8:52:53 PM | 95
Christian Chuba@93

Thanks for the fun "facts" by David Goldman. Interesting how much bullshit is being flinged about Iran. Sadly, ideological drones eat it up.

Here is the CIA source book for a reality check.
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ir.html

Don Bacon , Jan 5, 2018 10:07:49 PM | 96
Eric Edelman, a fossil of the establishment, put it all into perspective in recent testimony to the US Senate Armed Services Committee recently: (extracts)
. .However tempting a strategy of disengagement might be, we should bear in mind that it would reverse a strong bipartisan consensus over the past 60 years that the maintenance of a stable regional balance and prevention of any external or regional power from dominating the Middle East is vital to the nation's security.

Since 2009 the United States has pursued a policy of retrenchment and limited liability in the region that has raised questions about its role as the Middle East's security guarantor. This was first made clear during the Obama Administration, which expressed through policy statements its desire to unburden America of the region altogether and "pivot" to East Asia. As a result, the United States withdrew from Iraq at the end of 2011, it failed to uphold its own redline against Assad's use of chemical weapons in Syria in 2013, and President Obama expressed a desire for Saudi Arabia and Iran to "share the neighborhood and institute some sort of cold peace."

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran's nuclear program removed some limits on Iran's power projection capabilities by freeing up resources that Tehran subsequently redirected to its weapons programs and support for proxies. The agreement was seen by many Sunni Arab allies in the region as undermining U.S. pledges to constrain Tehran's revisionist ambitions in the region.

President Trump's policies in the region to this point, although couched in very different rhetoric, have broadly continued the policies of his predecessor, perhaps reflecting the views of the Middle East he put forth during the campaign. He called it "one big, fat quagmire" and welcomed Russian intervention in Syria. Whether or not he will put into place a different strategy remains an open question.... here

james , Jan 5, 2018 10:14:40 PM | 97
@93 christian.. shhh... don't wake him up.. he's sleeping..
Grieved , Jan 5, 2018 10:58:29 PM | 98
@90 karlof1

Thanks for the Sputnik report on the UNSC session. Now the US has been rebuffed at the UN twice in two weeks (with the Jerusalem vote being the first). Actions become habits, as we all know. Perhaps the world could get used to this groove of rebuffing the US.

Finally, the US is losing its global influence. This was all that was left to fear.

~~

The UNSC has handed the US its hat, and rejected the US effort to examine the internal affairs of Iran, as exceeding its charter and wholly inappropriate. Both France and UK have spoken in full support of keeping the nuclear deal going - which makes 4 out of 5 of the veto-holding, permanent members of the Security Council, with the US being the odd one out.

We now enter a time of seeing exactly what economic power the US wields when the world doesn't agree with it. When the world does agree, no question but the US is to be feared in the realm of sanctions, contracts and money movements. But it appears that the fearsome power of sanctions is something that the US will have to act alone to levy against Iran.

And what is the power of sanctions when the world begins to re-route around them? Why stay in the US Dollar when the cost and effort involved outweighs the costs of alternatives?

I don't know what these relative answers are, only that we now get to watch them being weighed, over the next, perhaps 12-18 months.

~~

We've seen that the US military cannot or will not fight. We've long suspected that its intelligence gathering is hugely defective. We've seen that its economic heft resides not so much in its own transactions as in its power to compel others to make or forego their own transactions in a prescribed way. And now we're seeing that its ability to forge agreement for its policies is slipping. As this consensus tears, the propaganda cannot hold. There's nothing left.

So let's hope the US continues to come out with these half-assed initiatives that both fail to succeed and fail to impress others.

Piotr Berman , Jan 5, 2018 11:11:51 PM | 99
Editor's Note

By Benjamin Wittes Wednesday, January 3, 2018, 6:52 PM

Earlier today, Lawfare published an article that was significantly beneath its editorial standards. I take full responsibility for this decision and, on behalf of myself and Lawfare's board of directors, wish to explain the circumstances of the decision to publish it and the steps we are taking to ensure that such a lapse does not happen again.

This is indeed weird note. The plan of providing protesters with improvised explosive devices lacked legal analysis, so perhaps a more proper venue would be Unlawfare or Soldier of Misfortune, because try as I might, I do not see how such a plan could fit in any legal framework (or even a plan for a successful rebellion). But somehow good mister Wittes does not write it directly.

Indeed, it reminds me a discussion that requires a bit of cut and paste to refresh our memory:

[item] On January 2, 2016, armed militants seized the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon, United States and continued to occupy it until law enforcement made a final arrest on February 11, 2016. Their leader was Ammon Bundy, who participated in the 2014 Bundy standoff at his ...

[item] Ammon Bundy, 6 others acquitted in Oregon standoff trial - CNN
Oct 28, 2016 - Seven people who were among the armed occupiers of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon earlier this year were acquitted Thursday of charges related to the 41-day standoff.

The point we "debated" or joked about is how that failed protest would gain if moderate elements were supplied with more advanced weapons, anti-vehicle and anti-aircraft missiles, and perhaps those improvised land mines too? Apart from jokes, they would be annihilated using high altitude precision bombing, and few American would shed tears. Instead, they became cheap martyrs, acquitted by a sympathetic jury and without a doubt, we can expect to see them again at another fun-filled protest. In other words, their cause lives and they keep marching on.

psychohistorian , Jan 5, 2018 11:33:25 PM | 100
If not conventional war then economic war is just around the corner.

Until and unless countries switch to alternative international currency exchange and transaction processing services that are not controlled by the private finance cabal, those countries will be susceptible to manipulated currency valuations and erratic or halted electronic transaction processing.....war by other means. A controlled crash of the US economy can cow the mightiest naysayers when they need more IMF/World Bank juice for their countries response to the coming economic pneumonia.

I expect that late term actions like this will be accompanied by more communication manipulation and control such as outages.....blamed on terrorists/Russia of course.

What is Hollywood going to do with the reality we see unfolding in front of us? Can they get out in front of the energy forming and turn it into a parade of their propaganda tunes? It is not looking like same old, same old this time....but I have been too optimistic before.

[Jan 06, 2018] Russia Says U.S. Media Will Be Banned From Parliament

Notable quotes:
"... Similarly, the Federation Council, the upper chamber of Russian Parliament, will ban U.S. journalists, but, due to procedural issues, the ban will be enacted later, on December 12, Igor Morozov, a member of the Federation Council's international affairs committee, told RBC. ..."
Dec 01, 2017 | www.hollywoodreporter.com

Reporters representing U.S. media outlets will be banned from Russian Parliament, in a response for Russia's Kremlin-funded international TV news channel RT having its Congressional press accreditation stripped earlier this week.

A ban on attending sessions of the State Duma, the lower chamber of Russian Parliament, will be introduced "for all U.S. media," Olga Savastyanova, head of the Duma's committee on regulations and control, was quoted as saying by RBC news.

According to Savostyanova, the measure is Russia's "reciprocal response to the U.S. Congress' decision" regarding RT. The restriction is expected to begin Dec. 6, after being formally adopted by the Duma council and a plenary meeting.

Similarly, the Federation Council, the upper chamber of Russian Parliament, will ban U.S. journalists, but, due to procedural issues, the ban will be enacted later, on December 12, Igor Morozov, a member of the Federation Council's international affairs committee, told RBC.

[Jan 06, 2018] Hollywood's Top Three Challenges to Doing Business in Russia in 2018

Jan 06, 2018 | www.hollywoodreporter.com

Many expected the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president in November 2016 to lead to improved ties between Russia and the United States. That didn't happen.

Relations between Washington and Moscow are now at a nadir, not helped by Trump's recent speech lumping in Russia with China as "rival powers" to the U.S. and the primary threats to America's economic dominance in the world.

For Hollywood, which has relied on Russia as a significant market for its films and TV series, 2018 is likely to bring more bad news and more challenges to doing business.

Kremlin watchers will be focused on March 18, the date of Russia's presidential election. While the result is not in doubt -- Vladimir Putin is certain to secure another six-year term -- it is anyone's guess how far President Putin will go in his "Russia First" policies of economic nationalism.

After the 2012 election, for example, Putin took a sharply anti-Western stance, imposing new restrictions on foreign companies working in Russia and cracking down on his country's mostly pro-Western liberal opposition. Most observers expect this trend to continue in 2018.

The question is: How far will Putin go? Here is THR's look at three key challenges for Hollywood in Russia that will be in focus next year.

New Taxes

Moscow's Russia First policy -- which Russia's government calls "import substitution" -- has looked to the tax code as a way to protect the local film industry at the expense of Hollywood and other foreign imports.

Russia backed down from a radical idea to hike the exhibition license fee for theatrical releases in the country -- the fee, which is mandatory for a theatrical release in Russia, was set to jump from 3,500 rubles ($60) to 5 million rubles ($85,000) -- but the ministry is still adamant about taxing foreign releases in one way or another.

Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky, an ardent Russia First advocate keen to protect homegrown films against the Hollywood invasion, is expected to lose his position in the new cabinet, but his replacement will likely be drawn from the same conservative and anti-Western contingent.

A proposal, introduced mid-December, would implement a 3 percent tax hike on all foreign theatrical releases. Expect that to pass easily and go into law in early 2018.

[Jan 06, 2018] Selling Out Argentina's Future -- Again by lan Cibils

Notable quotes:
"... desendeudamiento ..."
"... desendedudamiento ..."
"... Source: Ministry of Finance, Argentina. ..."
"... World Economic Outlook ..."
"... The grand history of Latin America: borrow billions of $$$ from U.S. banks, hand the money to the wealthy who immediately deposit it right back in American banks, and let the poor pay back the principal and interest. Hmmm . seems more and more the way this country is going. ..."
"... The fixed exchange rate under Kirchner was totally unsustainable. One difference between Macri's neoliberalism and his predecessors is Macri is allowing much more of a floating currency than in the pre 2001 time period (We can debate how much it is actually is floating and clearly a lot of this debt issuance is for currency stabilization that I personally don't approve of). ..."
"... Brazil's recent neoliberal turn was frustrating for a variety of reasons, but being a big, diverse economy, they've got more sovereignty than their neighbors. However, the business and political elites in Brazil decided to hammer through austerity (spending cuts and interest rate hikes) because they WANTED to, not because external forces made them do it. ..."
Jan 05, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

by lan Cibils and Mariano Arana, Political Economy Department, Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Originally published at Triple Crisis

In Argentina's 2015 presidential run-off election, the neoliberal right-wing coalition "Cambiemos" (literally, "lets change"), headed by Mauricio Macri, defeated the populist Kirchnerista candidate by just two percentage points. Macri's triumph heralded a return to the neoliberal policies of the 1990s and ended twelve years of heterodox economic policies that prioritized income redistribution and the internal market. The ruling coalition also performed well in the October 2017 mid-term elections and has since begun implementing a draconian set of fiscal, labor, and social security reforms.

One of the hallmarks of the Cambiemos government so far has been a fast and furious return to international credit markets and a very substantial increase in new public debt. Indeed, since Macri came to power in 2015, Argentina has issued debt worth more than $100 billion. This marks a clear contrast to the Kirchner administrations, during which the emphasis was debt reduction.

The Kirchner Years: Debt Reduction?

Both Néstor and Cristina Kirchner pointed to desendeudamiento -- debt reduction -- as one of the great successes of their administrations. To what extent was debt reduced during the twelve years of Kirchnerismo?

Figure 1 shows the evolution of Argentina's public debt stock and the debt/GDP ratio between 2004-2017. One can see that there was a substantial reduction in the debt to GDP ratio between 2004-2011 -- the first two Kirchner terms -- due primarily to: a) the 2005 and 2010 debt restructuring offers, b) a deliberate policy of desendedudamiento (debt cancellation), and c) high growth rates. Indeed, debt/GDP dropped from 118.1% in 2004 to 38.9% in 2011. One can also see that the actual stock of public debt fell after the 2005 debt restructuring process, and then remained relatively stable until 2010. In 2011, it began a slow upward trend, due to the re-appearance of the foreign exchange constraint once the commodity bubble burst and capital flight increased.

Figure 1: Public Debt Stock (millions of dollars) and Debt/GDP ratio

Source: Ministry of Finance, Argentina.

An additional, fundamental change occurred during the first two Kirchner administrations: the change in currency composition of Argentina's public debt. Indeed, as Figure 2 shows, peso-denominated public debt reached 41% of total debt after the 2005 debt-restructuring process. Between 2005 and 2012 it remained relatively stable, and then, after 2012, dollar-denominated public debt began to grow again although never reaching pre-2005 debt-restructuring levels. The currency composition change is key, since it reduces considerably the pressure on the external accounts.

Figure 2: Currency Composition of Argentina's Public Debt (as a % GDP)

Source: Ministry of Finance, Argentina.

Fast and Furious

Since Macri became president in December 2015, there has been a dramatic change in official public debt strategy, radically reversing the process of debt reduction of the previous decade. As shown in Figure 1, there was a substantial jump in the stock of public debt in 2016, and it has continued to grow in 2017.The result to date has been a substantial increase in the stock of Argentina's dollar-denominated public debt, as well as an increase of the debt service to GDP ratio. New debt has been used to cover the trade deficit, pay off the vulture funds, finance capital flight, and meet debt service payments. All of this has resulted in growing concerns about Argentina's future economic sustainability, not to mention any possibility of promoting economic development objectives.

Upon taking office, the Macri Administration rapidly implemented a series of policies to liberalize financial flows and imports, and a 40% devaluation of the Argentine peso. [1] In this context, it also went on a debt rampage, increasing dollar denominated debt considerably. Between December 2015 and September 2017, Argentina's new debt amounts to the equivalent of $103.59 billion. [2] This includes new debt issued by the Treasury (80%), provincial governments (11%), and the private sector (9%). While Argentina's debt had been increasing slowly since 2011, the jump experienced in 2016 was unlike any other in Argentina's history.

If the increase in debt is alarming, the destination of those funds is also cause of concern. Data from Argentina's Central Bank (Banco Central de la República Argentina or BCRA) show that during the first eight months of 2017, net foreign asset accumulation of the private non-banking sector totaled $13.32 million, 33% more than all of 2016, which itself was 17% more than all of 2015. This means that since December 2015, Argentina has dollarized assets by approximately $25.29 billion.

According to the BCRA, during the same period there was a net outflow of capital due to debt interest payments, profits and dividends of $8.231 billion. Additionally, the net outflow due to tourism and travel is calculated at roughly $13.43 billion between December 2015 and August 2017.

In sum, the dramatic increase in dollar-denominated debt during the two first Macri years served to finance capital flight, tourism, profit remittances, and debt service, all to the tune of roughly $50 billion.

Where is This Headed?

Argentina's experience since the 1976 military coup until the crash of 2001 has shown how damaging is the combination of unfavorable external conditions and the destruction of the local productive structure. The post-crisis policies of the successive Kirchner administrations reversed the debt-dependent and deindustrializing policies of the preceding decades. However, since Macri took office in December 2015, Argentina has once again turned to debt-dependent framework of the 1990s. Not only has public debt grown in absolute terms, but the weight of dollar-denominated debt in total debt has also increased. Despite significant doubts regarding the sustainability of the current situation, the government has expressed intentions of continuing to issue new debt until 2020.

What are the main factors that call debt-sustainability into question? First, capital flight, which, as we have said above, is increasing, is compensated with new dollar-denominated public debt. Second, Argentina's trade balance turned negative in 2015 and has remained so since, with a total accumulated trade deficit between 2015 and the second quarter of 2017 of $6.53 billion. Import dynamics proved impervious to the 2016 recession, therefore it is expected that the deficit will either persist as is or increase if there are no drastic changes. Furthermore, in the 2018 national budget bill sent to Congress, Treasury Secretary Nicolás Dujovne projects that the growth rate of imports will exceed that of exports until at least 2021, increasing the current trade deficit by 68%.

Finally, according to the IMF's World Economic Outlook (October 2017), growth rate projections for industrialized countries increase prospects of a US Federal Reserve interest rate increase. This would make Argentina's new debt issues more expensive, increasing the burden of future debt service and increasing capital flight from Argentina (in what is generally referred to as the "flight to safety").

The factors outlined above generate credible and troublesome doubts about the sustainability of the economic policies implemented by the Macri administration. While there are no signs of a major crisis in the short term (that is, before the 2019 presidential elections), there are good reasons to doubt that the current level of debt accumulation can be sustained to the end of a potential second Macri term (2023). In other words, there are good reasons to believe that Argentines will once again have to exercise their well-developed ability to navigate through yet another profound debt crisis. This is not solely the authors' opinion. In early November 2017 Standard & Poor's placed Argentina in a list of the five most fragile economies. [3] It looks like, once again, storm clouds are on the horizon.

Jim Haygood , January 5, 2018 at 11:02 am

'What are the main factors that call debt sustainability into question? First, capital flight.'

Capital flees Argentina whenever the opportunity arises because successive governments -- whether leftist or conservative -- refuse to control inflation and maintain a stable currency.

Since 2001, the Argentine peso has slid from one-to-one with the US dollar to about 19 to the dollar today. With Argentine inflation running in the low to mid twenties (according to INDEC and Price Stats), the peso can be expected to carry on weakening against the dollar indefinitely.

A hundred years during which the peso has lopped off thirteen (13) zeros owing to chronic inflation shows that Argentina is politically and culturally incapable of responsibly managing its own currency.

Argentines know this. Unfortunately, only the richer ones have assets they can move to safety outside the country. The hand-to-mouth poor will continue being ravaged by inflation, not to mention the large quantities of counterfeit pesos in circulation.

Letting Argentines play with fiat currency is like handing out loaded pistols to rowdy 5-year-olds. In both these sad cases, adult supervision is urgently needed.

Jon S , January 5, 2018 at 11:21 am

The grand history of Latin America: borrow billions of $$$ from U.S. banks, hand the money to the wealthy who immediately deposit it right back in American banks, and let the poor pay back the principal and interest. Hmmm . seems more and more the way this country is going.

Tim Smyth , January 5, 2018 at 11:53 am

The fixed exchange rate under Kirchner was totally unsustainable. One difference between Macri's neoliberalism and his predecessors is Macri is allowing much more of a floating currency than in the pre 2001 time period (We can debate how much it is actually is floating and clearly a lot of this debt issuance is for currency stabilization that I personally don't approve of).

Anonimo2 , January 5, 2018 at 1:05 pm

And who are the adults? Let me guess, bankers and bondholders?

Joel , January 5, 2018 at 2:12 pm

I'm not an expert in this at all, but in Peru, you could hold bank accounts in either national currency or dollars. The national currency accounts spared you currency exchange fees and also had higher interest rates. Most people who could hedged their bets by putting money in both accounts.

It seems like a happy medium between abandoning national currencies and letting savers get ravaged? No?

Wukchumni , January 5, 2018 at 11:14 am

While not as spectacular of a return as Bitcoin, but impressive nonetheless, the escape route for an Argentinean @ the turn of the century was the golden rule, an ounce of all that glitters was 300 pesos then and now around 25,000 pesos, a most excellent 'troy' horse.

MisterMr , January 5, 2018 at 11:31 am

So, is austerity good or is austerity bad? And in what conditions?

I'm for expansionary government expense (and direct government ownership of some industries, such as with an NHS) balanced by taxes on high incomes.

So in my view the problem happens when the government lowers taxes on the rich, as seems likely in this case.
On the other hand taxes on the rich are likely to cause capital flight.

a different chris , January 5, 2018 at 12:41 pm

So why did Macri get elected to do this? Yeah he didn't win by much, but he won.

>The hand-to-mouth poor will continue being ravaged by inflation

Which is freaking weird. Argentina has cropland. They have energy sources (and I won't bore everybody ok, I will with the observation that the Industrial Age is generously a 300/8000 year ratio part of human history).

And doesn't the below need some unpacking?:

>only the richer ones have assets they can move to safety outside the country

What are these assets? Why are said assets mobile? How did they come to "own" them? What percentage of the population is encompassed by "the richer ones" phrasing?

nonsense factory , January 5, 2018 at 5:07 pm

Question: why doesn't MMT thinking work for countries like Argentina?

As wikipedia notes:

"The key insight of MMT is that "monetarily sovereign government is the monopoly supplier of its currency and can issue currency of any denomination in physical or non-physical forms. As such the government has an unlimited capacity to pay for the things it wishes to purchase and to fulfill promised future payments, and has an unlimited ability to provide funds to the other sectors. Thus, insolvency and bankruptcy of this government is not possible. It can always pay."

Is this a general flaw in MMT? Does MMT only apply to dominant nation-states like the U.S., who can use foreign military and financial pressures to protect the currency, aka the petrodollar? Is the petrodollar a true 'fiat currency' or is it somehow based on control of commodities (especially oil)? Is there something peculiar about Argentina and other countries facing currency devaluation that MMT doesn't handle well? Any ideas on this?

JohnnyGL , January 5, 2018 at 6:21 pm

That wikipedia write up isn't wrong, but it could be better. Probably need to hammer home the point that the sovereign can always pay IN THE CURRENCY THAT IT ISSUES.

Most of the MMT related conversations on this site, and the posts that are written up on the subject are mostly about explaining how there are constraints that many people THINK exist in the USA, but don't actually exist, at least in economic terms (political constraints notwithstanding). A country cannot be forced to default on a currency it issues. If the USA had significant debts in EUR or JPY, then it'd be a very different conversation.

External constraints are a big deal for most countries, especially developing countries that depend on exports of primary commodities. Chile, for instance, is constrained by balance of payments problems when the price of copper declines. Also, developed countries that are relatively smaller have much more limited sovereignty. The Swiss Central Bank has to follow what the ECB does, to a large degree.

On the other hand, there's episodes where some countries have found room for maneuver when they give up their sovereign currency. I didn't expect that Ecuador's economy would perform quite as well as it has in recent years. But, they've shown that you can find ways to get creative to compensate for loss of monetary sovereignty. Of course, the fiscal constraints are real since Ecuador can't print USD.

Brazil's recent neoliberal turn was frustrating for a variety of reasons, but being a big, diverse economy, they've got more sovereignty than their neighbors. However, the business and political elites in Brazil decided to hammer through austerity (spending cuts and interest rate hikes) because they WANTED to, not because external forces made them do it.

No doubt an MMT prescription for Argentina would advice them to lay off the $ denominated debt and stick to pesos as much as possible. I'd imagine Stephanie Kelton or any of the UMKC crew would advise curtailing imports or doing some import substitution in order to take pressure off balance of payments issues. They'd also take a look at what was driving inflation domestically and try to find ways to relieve it with a targeted approach, instead of risking recession and unemployment. Neoliberal/Washington Consensus type economists would say hike interest rates, cut government spending in order to curtail demand. They'd argue that the private sector will make the best decisions about where to reign in spending to reduce inflation.

[Jan 05, 2018] Corruption and inequality fuelling protests in Iran, by Patrick Cockburn

Jan 05, 2018 | www.unz.com

Iran is seeing its most widespread protest demonstrations since 2009. They are still gaining momentum and some 15 people are reported to have been killed, though the circumstances in which they died remains unclear. The motive for the protests is primarily economic, but many slogans are political and some directly attack clerical rule in Iran which was introduced with the overthrow of the Shah in 1979.

The demonstrations began with one against rising prices on Thursday in Mashhad, Iran's second largest city and the site of its most holy shrine, a place which is traditionally seen as a stronghold for clerical hardliners. It may be that these conservatives initiated or tolerated the protests as a way of undermining President Hassan Rouhani, seen as a political moderate, who was re-elected by a landslide last year. If so, the protests have swiftly spiralled out of the control of the conservatives and are erupting all over Iran, strong evidence of a high level of discontent everywhere in the country and possibly a sign of covert organisation by anti-government groups.

Donald Trump threatened last year to support domestic anti-government resistance in Iran, though this does not necessarily mean that his administration has done anything about this as yet. His latest tweet accuses Iran's leaders of turning the country "into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos". The US and Saudi Arabia may also be tempted to fund ethnic groups like the Iranian Kurds who are already alienated from the central government.

Belligerent rhetoric like Mr Trump's will be used to discredit protesters as the pawns of foreign powers.

Iran has been divided politically since the fall of the Shah, but the most immediate cause of unrest over the past five days is economic and social discontent. In many respects, grievances are similar to those in other oil states where there is long-suppressed anger against corruption and inequality. Youth unemployment was 28.8 per cent last year. The nuclear deal with the US and other major powers in 2015 reduced sanctions, but has not produced the benefits that many expected. A 50 per cent increase in the price of fuel was announced in the budget in December. Egg and poultry prices recently rose by 40 per cent.

[Jan 05, 2018] Kissinger reportedly working on a deal with Russia: Crimea for East Ukraine.

Jan 05, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kissinger reportedly working on a deal with Russia: Crimea for East Ukraine.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/henry-kissinger-russia-trump-crimea-advises-latest-ukraine-a7497646.html

You think Russia loses the E. Ukraine as a buffer.

[Jan 05, 2018] How President Trump Normalized Neoconservatism by Ilana Mercer

Notable quotes:
"... that doesn't know Shiite from Shinola ..."
"... The upshot? It's quite acceptable, on the Left and the pseudo-Right, to casually quip about troops in Niger and Norway . "We have soldiers in Niger and Norway? Of course we do. We need them." With neoconservatism normalized, there is no debate, disagreement or daylight between our dangerously united political factions. ..."
"... How exactly did the president normalize neoconservatism: In 2016, liberals accused candidate Trump of isolationism. Neoconservatives -- aka Conservatism Inc. -- did the same. ..."
"... Having consistently complained of his isolationism ..."
"... interventionism ..."
"... has been writing a paleolibertarian ..."
"... since 1999, and is the author of " ..."
"... (June, 2016) & " ..."
"... (2011). Follow her on ..."
"... No one should be surprised by Trump promoting Israeli interests über alles. For decades he was so involved in Israel events in New York I debated whether he was actually Jewish or not. Bannon said the embassy move to Jerusalem was at the behest of Adelson, Trump's old casino buddy. In the campaign Trump got a lot of support from NY Jewish billionaires (Icahn, Feinberg, Paulson, et al.). They know him and how he operates. ..."
"... But being pro-Israel doesn't necessarily equate to neocon. The neocons are the dumb Jews with serious inadequacy issues who could never make it in business and instead went into politics and journalism. The latter are still staunchly opposed to Trump even after a lot of pro-Israel moves. They might warm up to Trump's bellicosity towards a lot of Israel's enemies (a long list with degrees of separation), but so far they've simply moved left. ..."
"... I'm a little more sanguine about a Zionist President who approaches problems from a business and deal-making position than from one who comes a neocon political position (e.g., Hillary, every other GOP candidate except Rand Paul). The former are pragmatic and will avoid conflict, especially stupid conflict, at all costs. While the latter believe they are virtuous in going to war and/or attacking countries. Did you hear Hillary threaten to shoot down Russian planes in Syria during the campaign (WTF??!). ..."
"... Lastly, I like to think Trump surrounded himself with neocons (McMaster, Haley, et al.) to placate the GOP establishment because he knows he has to play the game. ..."
"... People are inclined to believe that any activity -- in this instance, voting for the red/blue puppets in Washington -- in which their participation is patronized must be legitimate and effectual. Many duped in November 2016, even those who now feel betrayed by that farce, were still around here a few weeks ago acting like a Senator Moore in Alabama would be pivotal to reform, his defeat devastating. That's how Ms. Mercer and her pundit ilk (Buchanan, Napolitano, etc.) thrive -- supporting the Empire by never questioning its legitimacy, just taking sides within the Establishment. And they'll be buying into the 2018 congressional contests, ad nauseum. ..."
"... Of course, what is done to us, and to others in our name and with our money, never changes to any meaningful degree. Americans might realize this if they thought critically about it, so they don't. Instead, they lap up the BS and vote for who tells them the lie they like to hear. When there are identity politics involved, the delusion seems even deeper. There are self-styled "progressives" who used to advocate single-payer, nationalized health care who are elated over the retention of so-called "Obamacare," the legislation for which was written by and for the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. ..."
"... Far from all Neocons are Jews. However, virtually all Neocons are militantly pro-Israel to the point of making Israel's foreign policy desires central to their assessment of what America needs in foreign policy. ..."
"... Pres Trump is a situational leader. It's a rare style, for good reason. However, he is openly situational. That was clear during the campaign season. however, ..."
"... I thought his positions were sincere. I don't think that this was any kind of slight of hand, "watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat". His positions on Israel, same sex behavior, marijuana, healthcare remain what they were going in. His foreign policy and immigration positions have been buffered and he seems incapable of standing where he came in. ..."
"... It was no secret he intended an assertive military. However, he seems easily convinced that strong means aggressive, and that needlessly aggressive policy is a substitute for a strong US -- that is a mistake. Syria cruise strike was the first sign that he was giving in to the men whom he chose as advisers. As it it turns out winning the election has been easier than governing. I assumed he had a much stronger backbone, than he has been willing to exhibit in office. ..."
"... Pardon the earlier tag. I thought that you just had to be joking. Nikki Haley was inflicted upon the world at large because Trump doesn't actually know anybody in this new world he fell into once he was inaugurated. ..."
"... Trump is so arrogant about his cluelessness that we'll be lucky to avoid a nuclear war caused by his bumbling. As in the final line of an old proverb: "He who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool. Shun him. ..."
Jan 05, 2018 | www.unz.com

It's fact: Neoconservatives are pleased with President Trump's foreign policy.

A couple of months back, Bloomberg's Eli Lake let it know he was in neoconservative nirvana:

" for Venezuela, [Donald Trump] came very close to calling for regime change. 'The United States has taken important steps to hold the regime accountable,' Trump said. 'We are prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule on the Venezuelan people.'"

... ... ...

No one would deny the largely neoconservative nature of Trump's National Security Strategy . Tucked in there somewhere is the Trumpian theme of "sovereignty," but in watered-down words. The promised Wall has given way to "multilayered technology"; to the "deployment of additional personnel," and to the tried-and-tested (not!) "vetting of prospective immigrants, refugees, and other foreign visitors."

These are mouthfuls Barack Obama and Genghis Bush would hardly oppose.

"It's often said that the Trump administration is 'isolationist,'" wrote historian Andrew J. Bacevich, in the UK Spectator. Untrue. "In fact, we are now witnessing a dramatic escalation in the militarization of US foreign policy in the Middle East, Africa and Afghanistan. This has not been announced, but it is happening, and much of it without any debate in Congress or the media."

Indeed, while outlining his "new" Afghanistan plan, POTUS had conceded that "the American people are weary of war without victory." (Make that war, full-stop.) Depressingly, the president went on to promise an increase in American presence in Afghanistan. By sending 4000 additional soldiers there, President Trump alleged he was fighting terrorism, yet not undertaking nation building.

This is tantamount to talking out of both sides of one's mouth.

Teasing apart these two elements is near-impossible. Send "4,000 additional soldiers to add to the 8,400 now deployed in Afghanistan," and you've done what Obama and Bush before you did in that blighted and benighted region: muddle along; kill some civilians mixed in with some bad guys; break bread with tribal leaders (who hate your guts); mediate and bribe.

Above all, spend billions not your own to perfect the credo of a global fighting force that doesn't know Shiite from Shinola .

The upshot? It's quite acceptable, on the Left and the pseudo-Right, to casually quip about troops in Niger and Norway . "We have soldiers in Niger and Norway? Of course we do. We need them." With neoconservatism normalized, there is no debate, disagreement or daylight between our dangerously united political factions.

This is the gift President Trump has given mainstream neoconservatives -- who now comfortably include neoliberals and all Conservatism Inc., with the exceptions of Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter and Tucker Carlson.

How exactly did the president normalize neoconservatism: In 2016, liberals accused candidate Trump of isolationism. Neoconservatives -- aka Conservatism Inc. -- did the same.

Having consistently complained of his isolationism , the Left and the phony Right cannot but sanction President Trump's interventionism . The other option is to admit that we of the callused Old Right, who rejoiced at the prospects and promise of non-interventionism, were always right. Not going to happen. To some, the normalizing of neoconservatism by a president who ran against it is a stroke of genius; of a piece with Bill Clinton's triangulation tactics. To others, it's a cynical sleight of hand.

Ilana Mercer has been writing a paleolibertarian column since 1999, and is the author of " The Trump Revolution: The Donald's Creative Destruction Deconstructed " (June, 2016) & " Into the Cannibal's Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa " (2011). Follow her on Twitter , Facebook , Gab & YouTube .

Archimedes , January 5, 2018 at 5:15 am GMT

I think Bannon's ouster and his subsequently being attacked by Trump is just further evidence of Trump the Neocon. McConnell and the establishment are piling on with glee. Welcome to the swamp.
J.Ross , Website January 5, 2018 at 5:24 am GMT
Trump isn't a neoconservative or a turncoat, but he was not nearly aggressive enough in purging the unelected bureaucracy or in preparing replacements. By the end of his first term I expect it will be different. He has appointed many federal judges and sent consistent signals to law enforcement agencies. Also, sending Nikki Haley to the UN was a prank. Kushner's indefensible though.
J.Ross , Website January 5, 2018 at 5:27 am GMT
@Archimedes

"Trump attacking Bannon" was Trump reacting hastily and badly to a misreported non-story from half a year ago. Bannon has now irritated the Mercers and will go through some sort of hair shirt thing.
> establishment gleefully piling
When have they ever done anything else? Do you expect them to admit they were wrong? Remember when Trump could not possibly be the nominee?

utu , January 5, 2018 at 5:57 am GMT

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

But you can fool the whole country all the time in American bi-partisan system. ,Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump each were brought to power by fooling their electorate.

Biff , January 5, 2018 at 9:02 am GMT
So Trump did morph into Hillary.
Actually, it was something I was afraid of once I got the good news of Hillary losing, but expected, considering that I view presidents as empty suits, and the National Security State calling the shots.

I'm waiting for another one of those "Trump's Truth in Action" moments when describes the real political atmosphere in Washington.
Trump was asked about something he said in a previous interview: "When you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do."

"You'd better believe it," Trump said. "If I ask them, if I need them, you know, most of the people on this stage I've given to, just so you understand, a lot of money."

EliteCommInc. , January 5, 2018 at 9:11 am GMT
I think its time to dump the label "neoconservative". The appropriate term is "interventionists without a cause" (IWAC or IWC) or some other descriptor.

The real problem that Pres Trump has and I remain a Pres Trump supporter is two fold:

  1. He seems to have forgotten he won the election.
  2. He seems to have forgotten what he was elected to do.

And nearly everyone of these issues on foreign policy the answer rests in respecting sovereignty – that of others and our own.

I didn't need to read,"Adios, America" to comprehend the deep state damage our careless immigration policy has on the country. I don't need to reread, "Adios, America" to grasp that our policies of intervening in the affairs of other states undermines our own ability to make the same case at home.

If I weren't already trying to plow my way through several other books, documentaries and relapsing to old school programming such as The Twilight Zone, Star Trek, and now the Dick Van Dyke show, i would reread, "Adios , America."

In Col. Bacevich's book, Washington Rules, he posits a distressing scenario that the foreign policy web is so tangled and entrenched, the executive branch is simply out his league. The expectation was that Pres trump had the will to turn the matter. I hold out hope, but maybe not. There's time.

I agree, at least build the darn wall.

Lincoln Blockface Squarebeard III , January 5, 2018 at 10:01 am GMT
@J.Ross

The Trump holdouts that maintain his turncoat buffoonery is actually 5d chess are the 2018 equivalent of the 2009 hopey changey Obots and can't accept their big daddy is a liar and a spineless turncoat. The system is broken and cannot be fixed from within.

anonymous , Disclaimer January 5, 2018 at 11:03 am GMT
Told you so. Cf., "The Winning Trump Ticket & Cabinet (Part I)," published here February 6, 2016. (Ms. Mercer never got to Part II.)

Elections at the USG level allow the ruled to harmlessly let off steam.

Anonymous , Disclaimer January 5, 2018 at 1:17 pm GMT
@Anonymous

Jews and the Jewish Media normalized Jewish NeoCons by guaranteeing that they always have a voice and airtime in American culture and media. Never called out by the WashingtonPost and NY Times for their previous blunders, they continue to shape American foreign policy. And, of course, the end game here is Israel and the Israeli agenda at all costs, you Jews are one issue folk. And You definitely do your part, with the subtle subterfuge at work in the articles that you write.

No one should be surprised by Trump promoting Israeli interests über alles. For decades he was so involved in Israel events in New York I debated whether he was actually Jewish or not. Bannon said the embassy move to Jerusalem was at the behest of Adelson, Trump's old casino buddy. In the campaign Trump got a lot of support from NY Jewish billionaires (Icahn, Feinberg, Paulson, et al.). They know him and how he operates.

But being pro-Israel doesn't necessarily equate to neocon. The neocons are the dumb Jews with serious inadequacy issues who could never make it in business and instead went into politics and journalism. The latter are still staunchly opposed to Trump even after a lot of pro-Israel moves. They might warm up to Trump's bellicosity towards a lot of Israel's enemies (a long list with degrees of separation), but so far they've simply moved left.

I'm a little more sanguine about a Zionist President who approaches problems from a business and deal-making position than from one who comes a neocon political position (e.g., Hillary, every other GOP candidate except Rand Paul). The former are pragmatic and will avoid conflict, especially stupid conflict, at all costs. While the latter believe they are virtuous in going to war and/or attacking countries. Did you hear Hillary threaten to shoot down Russian planes in Syria during the campaign (WTF??!).

Lastly, I like to think Trump surrounded himself with neocons (McMaster, Haley, et al.) to placate the GOP establishment because he knows he has to play the game.

wayfarer , January 5, 2018 at 1:32 pm GMT
AIPAC 501(c) non-profit owner's of the U.S. government. Managing the counterfeit fiat wealth of America's richest 1%
source: https://www.aipac.org/

AIPAC is the "Swamp"

US and AIPAC – the Unbreakable Bond

Sean , January 5, 2018 at 1:41 pm GMT
Classical Liberalism may be very principled, but Trump was not elected promising to halt intervention. Make America Great said nothing about the morality of the means he would be employing.
anonymous , Disclaimer January 5, 2018 at 1:42 pm GMT
@Lincoln Blockface Squarebeard III

Very well put.

People are inclined to believe that any activity -- in this instance, voting for the red/blue puppets in Washington -- in which their participation is patronized must be legitimate and effectual. Many duped in November 2016, even those who now feel betrayed by that farce, were still around here a few weeks ago acting like a Senator Moore in Alabama would be pivotal to reform, his defeat devastating. That's how Ms. Mercer and her pundit ilk (Buchanan, Napolitano, etc.) thrive -- supporting the Empire by never questioning its legitimacy, just taking sides within the Establishment. And they'll be buying into the 2018 congressional contests, ad nauseum.

Of course, what is done to us, and to others in our name and with our money, never changes to any meaningful degree. Americans might realize this if they thought critically about it, so they don't. Instead, they lap up the BS and vote for who tells them the lie they like to hear. When there are identity politics involved, the delusion seems even deeper. There are self-styled "progressives" who used to advocate single-payer, nationalized health care who are elated over the retention of so-called "Obamacare," the legislation for which was written by and for the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

Me? I cope by boycotting national elections and mass media, participating in forums like this, and hoping that when the tottering tower of debt and gore tips over, as few innocents and as many guilty as practicable are among those crushed.

DESERT FOX , January 5, 2018 at 1:49 pm GMT
The Zionist neocons and Israel did 911 and got away with it and everyone in the U.S. gov knows it and they tried to sink the USS LIBERTY and got away with it and so normal is an Orwellian society where Zionists can kill Americans and destroy the Mideast and nobody does jack shit about it.

The neocons are Satanists warmongers and will destroy America.

WorkingClass , Website January 5, 2018 at 1:51 pm GMT
Neocons are Zionists. Trump, Bannon and Kushner are Zionists. Israel continues to wag the dog.
neutral , January 5, 2018 at 2:23 pm GMT
@Peter Akuleyev

You will come across articles likes this:

http://dailysignal.com/2017/12/10/immigration-arrests-increase-trump-unaccompanied-minors-border-crossings/

Basically the illegal immigrants are coming in ever larger numbers because they know that there will be no crackdown on them. Likewise deportations are declining.

TheOldOne , January 5, 2018 at 2:34 pm GMT
WorkingClass: That's correct.
Jake , January 5, 2018 at 2:48 pm GMT
Neocons are about as evil as proudly proclaimed Leftists, and they are obviously more duplicitous.

Either Neocons will be refuted and publicly rebuked and rejected, or Neocons will eventually destroy the country. Their long term fruits are destruction of that which they have used to destroy so many others.

Jake , January 5, 2018 at 2:56 pm GMT
@anonymous

Far from all Neocons are Jews. However, virtually all Neocons are militantly pro-Israel to the point of making Israel's foreign policy desires central to their assessment of what America needs in foreign policy.

And the source is Anglo-Saxon Puritanism, which was a Judaizing heresy. Judaizing heresy necessarily produces pro-Jewish culture. WASP culture is inherently pro-Jewish, as much as it is anti-Catholic and anti-French and and anti-Spanish and anti-Irish, etc.

And all that means that WASP is opposed to the best interests of the vast majority of white Christians while being pro-Jewish.

Jews did not cause any of that. Anglo-Saxon Puritan heretics did.

ElitecommInc. , January 5, 2018 at 4:22 pm GMT
@neutral

Pres Trump is a situational leader. It's a rare style, for good reason. However, he is openly situational. That was clear during the campaign season. however,

I thought his positions were sincere. I don't think that this was any kind of slight of hand, "watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat". His positions on Israel, same sex behavior, marijuana, healthcare remain what they were going in. His foreign policy and immigration positions have been buffered and he seems incapable of standing where he came in.

It was no secret he intended an assertive military. However, he seems easily convinced that strong means aggressive, and that needlessly aggressive policy is a substitute for a strong US -- that is a mistake. Syria cruise strike was the first sign that he was giving in to the men whom he chose as advisers. As it it turns out winning the election has been easier than governing. I assumed he had a much stronger backbone, than he has been willing to exhibit in office.

Twodees Partain , January 5, 2018 at 5:52 pm GMT
@J.Ross

Pardon the earlier tag. I thought that you just had to be joking. Nikki Haley was inflicted upon the world at large because Trump doesn't actually know anybody in this new world he fell into once he was inaugurated.

Trump is so arrogant about his cluelessness that we'll be lucky to avoid a nuclear war caused by his bumbling. As in the final line of an old proverb: "He who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool. Shun him."

Prank, my ass.

anonymous , Disclaimer January 5, 2018 at 6:29 pm GMT

Iranians have killed zero Americans in terrorist attacks in the US between 1975-2015; Saudi Arabians murdered 2369!

Given that this juden woman's kind were clearly aware of the impending murder of 2369 people, the correct statement would be; Saudi Arabians and IsraHellis murdered 2369!

Alden , January 5, 2018 at 7:09 pm GMT
@Jake

The Israeli/AIPAC bribery of American bible thumper preachers, especially in the fundamentalist southern American states has more to do with it than the reformation. The preachers get huge donations to pay for their churches and TV shows. They get free trips to Israel for themselves and their families all the time.

On their Israel trips they pay more attention to the OT Jewish and holocaust sites than the Christian ones. It's true that the reformation was a return to Judaism and a rejection of Christianity, but that was 500 years ago. What's important now is the vast amounts of money the Israeli government and the lobby funnels into those fundamentalist churches. If the southern fundamentalists only knew what Jews think of them. I really got an earful of Jewish scorn and hate for southerners and fundamentalists during the recent Roy Moore election.

Read Jewish publications if you want to learn what they think of southern fundamentalists

Johnson , January 5, 2018 at 9:28 pm GMT
Trump has become the swamp

[Jan 03, 2018] Is fracking gas production in the USA is sustainable, or this is yet another "subprime" bubble?

Jan 03, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

likbez , January 3, 2018 at 5:10 pm

Are companies which produce it profitable or they survive by generating a parallel stream of junk bonds and evergreen loans?

Most of them are also shale oil producers and might well depend on revenue from shale oil to produce gas. Shale oil proved to unsustainable at prices below, say $65-$75 per barrel or even higher, excluding few "sweet spots". Also a lot of liquids the shale well produce are "subprime oil" that refiners shun.

They are not only much lighter but also they have fewer hydrocarbons necessary for producing kerosene and diesel fuel. Mixing it with heavy oil proved to be double edged sword and still inferior to "natural" oil. So right now the USA imports "quality" oil and sells its own" subprime oil" at discount to refineries that are capable of dealing with such a mix. Say, buying a barrel for $60 and selling a barrel of "subprime oil" at $30.

And without revenue from oil and liquids it can well be that natural gas production might be uneconomical.

I wonder what percentage of the total US oil production now is subprime oil.

Modern multistage shale well now cost around $7-10 million. And that's only beginning as its exploitation also costs money (fuel, maintenance, pumping back highly salinated and often toxic water the well produces, etc). So neither oil nor gas from such wells can be very cheap.

Generally such a well is highly productive only the first couple of years. After that you need to drill more.

Also there is a damage to environment including such dangerous thing as pollution of drinking water in the area,

[Jan 03, 2018] I think the only appetite for US LNG comes from the more anti-Russian eastern European countries such as Poland, which hates dependency on Russian gas.

Jan 03, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

PlutoniumKun , January 3, 2018 at 9:39 am

From what I can tell, in Europe there was a policy of encouraging LNG terminals in order to provide leverage against Russian supply. But there seems to have been a significant slowdown in construction – quite simply, LNG is too expensive relative to Russian and domestic (Norwegian, Dutch, UK, Mediteranean) supplies. It makes much more sense for Europe to broaden out its pipeline network. So I think the only appetite for US LNG comes from the more anti-Russian eastern European countries such as Poland, which hates dependency on Russian gas.

likbez , January 3, 2018 at 5:19 pm
Poland would suffer without revenue from pipelines that transport Russian natural gas to Western Europe. That's why they adamantly oppose North Stream II.

Not as much as Ukraine, for which it might mean the economic collapse, but still.

[Jan 03, 2018] Momentous Change in US Natural Gas, with Global Impact

Notable quotes:
"... By Wolf Richter, a San Francisco based executive, entrepreneur, start up specialist, and author, with extensive international work experience. Originally published at Wolf Street ..."
"... Exports to Mexico via pipeline have been rising for years as more pipelines have entered service and as Mexican power generators are switching from burning oil that could be sold in the global markets to burning cheap US natural gas. The US imports no natural gas from Mexico. ..."
"... This is just the Sabine Pass export terminal. In addition, there are five other LNG export terminals under construction, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), with a combined capacity of 7.5 Bcf/d. This brings total LNG export capacity to over 11 Bcf/d over the next few years and will make the US the third largest LNG exporter globally, behind Australia and Qatar. ..."
"... According to the Institute of Energy Research, global LNG demand is currently around 37 Bcf per day. This is expected to grow substantially as China is shifting part of its power generation capacity from coal to natural gas. And US LNG exports to China have surged from nothing two years ago to 25.6 billion cubic feet in October (for the month, not per day): ..."
"... US natural gas production has been booming since 2009 as fracking in prolific shale plays took off, and the price has collapsed – it currently is below $3 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) at the NYMEX, despite tthe majestic cold wave that is gripping a big part of the country. ..."
"... This caused some immense price differences between the US market -- where a gas "glut" crushed prices, pushing them from time to time even below $2/mmBtu -- and, for example, the Japanese LNG import market, with prices that were in the $16-$17/mmBtu range in 2013 and 2014. Even the average spot price contracted in November 2017, the most recent data made available by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry , was $9/mmBtu. US LNG exporters hope to arbitrage these price differentials. ..."
"... Meanwhile, US producers are hoping that this overseas demand will mop up the glut in the US and allow them to finally boost prices, including the prices LNG exporters pay. But funding continues pouring into the oil and gas sector to pump up production, and prices have remained low, and drillers continue to bleed. ..."
"... Poland may have one built but think about this – the Ukraine may be happy to pay for American coal which is twice as expensive as what they could buy from the Donbass regions but will Europe be happy to pay double or more for LNG from the US just to spite the Russians? ..."
Jan 03, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Wolf Richter, a San Francisco based executive, entrepreneur, start up specialist, and author, with extensive international work experience. Originally published at Wolf Street

Even China is Buying U.S. LNG

In 2017, the US became a net exporter of natural gas for the first time. It started small in February, when the US exported 1 billion cubic feet more than it imported. By October, the last month for which data from the Energy Department's EIA is available, net exports surged to 45 billion cubic feet. For the first 10 months of 2017, the US exported 86 billion cubic feet more than it imported. And this is just the beginning.

Exports to Mexico via pipeline have been rising for years as more pipelines have entered service and as Mexican power generators are switching from burning oil that could be sold in the global markets to burning cheap US natural gas. The US imports no natural gas from Mexico.

Imports from and exports to Canada have both declined since 2007, with the US continuing to import more natural gas from Canada than it exports to Canada.

What is new is the surging export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by sea to other parts of the world.

This chart shows net imports (imports minus exports) of US natural gas. Negative "net imports" (red) mean that the US exports more than it imports:

The first major LNG export terminal in the Lower 48 – Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass terminal in Cameron Parish, Louisiana – began commercial deliveries in early 2016 when the liquefaction unit "Train 1" entered service. Trains 2 and 3 followed. The three trains have a capacity of just over 2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). In October 2017, the company announced that Train 4, with a capacity of 0.7 Bcf/d, was substantially completed and is likely to begin commercial deliveries in March 2018. Train 5 is under construction and is expected to be completed in August 2019. The company is now lining up contracts and financing for Train 6. All six trains combined will have a capacity of 4.2 Bcf/d.

This is just the Sabine Pass export terminal. In addition, there are five other LNG export terminals under construction, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), with a combined capacity of 7.5 Bcf/d. This brings total LNG export capacity to over 11 Bcf/d over the next few years and will make the US the third largest LNG exporter globally, behind Australia and Qatar.

In addition, there are several other export terminals that FERC has approved but construction has not yet started. And other projects are in the works but have not yet been approved.

According to the Institute of Energy Research, global LNG demand is currently around 37 Bcf per day. This is expected to grow substantially as China is shifting part of its power generation capacity from coal to natural gas. And US LNG exports to China have surged from nothing two years ago to 25.6 billion cubic feet in October (for the month, not per day):

US natural gas production has been booming since 2009 as fracking in prolific shale plays took off, and the price has collapsed – it currently is below $3 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) at the NYMEX, despite tthe majestic cold wave that is gripping a big part of the country.

Exporting large quantities of LNG is a momentous shift for the US because it connects previously landlocked US production to the rest of the world. Unlike oil, the US natural gas market has largely been isolated from global pricing.

This caused some immense price differences between the US market -- where a gas "glut" crushed prices, pushing them from time to time even below $2/mmBtu -- and, for example, the Japanese LNG import market, with prices that were in the $16-$17/mmBtu range in 2013 and 2014. Even the average spot price contracted in November 2017, the most recent data made available by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry , was $9/mmBtu. US LNG exporters hope to arbitrage these price differentials.

Meanwhile, US producers are hoping that this overseas demand will mop up the glut in the US and allow them to finally boost prices, including the prices LNG exporters pay. But funding continues pouring into the oil and gas sector to pump up production, and prices have remained low, and drillers continue to bleed.

And there are already global consequences – including in Europe, where large regions, including Germany, increasingly depend on natural gas from Russia as production in Europe is declining. The new competition from the US – though it really hasn't started in earnest yet since most of US LNG goes to places other than Europe at the moment – is already reverberating through the Europe-Russia natural gas trade.

Read Russia's grip on European gas markets is tightening

The Rev Kev , January 3, 2018 at 8:48 am

The first major LNG export terminal in the Lower 48 began commercial deliveries in early 2016

Hmmm, is this a case of build it and they will come? Somebody has to sink the capital in to build a fleet of LNG containers which will take a decade to come online. Somebody also has the build the LNG terminals as well as the infrastructure to go along with it.

Poland may have one built but think about this – the Ukraine may be happy to pay for American coal which is twice as expensive as what they could buy from the Donbass regions but will Europe be happy to pay double or more for LNG from the US just to spite the Russians?

Consider this as well. That LNG terminal is in Louisiana. Which is in the Gulf. Which has all those annual hurricanes. Which is getting worse through climate change. Would the Europeans want to risk depending on American deliveries under these conditions? I will reword that.

Will the Europeans want to risk their economies over this? Last year they shut down the place for a month for repairs. What if Hurricane Harvey had slammed into the place. How will the Europeans be able to trust that a future Trump doesn't shut down LNG deliveries in winter time to get them to commit to some American policy? Too many variables with no net gain and all loss – on their part.

rjs , January 3, 2018 at 8:51 am

they started a buildout of the container ship fleet a half dozen years ago..

[Jan 03, 2018] Reviewing Trump's 2017 Foreign Policy Record by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... The first year of the Trump administration saw much more than the continuity in U.S. foreign policy that many of us expected. Trump's candidacy and then his election were greeted with alarm by almost everyone in the foreign policy establishment, with an overwhelming consensus that he stood for a so-called "isolationist" withdrawal from international affairs. This interpretation was a serious misreading of Trump's rhetoric and led to the usual knee-jerk reflex to define anything that differed from post-Cold War foreign policy as an outright rejection of all international engagement. ..."
"... Trump is not interested in disentangling the United States from foreign conflicts. Instead, he continues and expands them, as well as stoking new crises that could erupt into conflict. Trump is easily persuaded to accept conventional foreign policy positions so long as they are the more aggressive alternatives available. When he does break from consensus views, he does so in a unilateral and nationalist fashion that repudiates diplomatic compromises, rejects the legacy of his predecessor, and panders to some of his core constituencies at home. ..."
"... As 2018 begins, America is now even more deeply involved in the multiple wars that Trump inherited from Obama. There are a growing number of U.S. forces in Syria, more American soldiers have been sent to Afghanistan to continue our longest war, and U.S. backing for the Saudi-led war on Yemen has ratcheted up as well. In each case, Trump has signed off on increased U.S. involvement. ..."
"... Tensions with Iran and North Korea have both increased over the last year, and in both cases the Trump administration is to blame. Between the travel ban, the decertification of the nuclear deal, bombing Syrian government forces in the spring, belligerent speeches at the U.N. and elsewhere, and an overall regional policy defined by unremitting hostility towards Iran, Trump has mishandled relations with Tehran about as badly as a new president can. ..."
"... Considering how poorly Trump has managed issues related to Iran, it is remarkable that his handling of a much more sensitive and potentially explosive situation in the Korean Peninsula has been even worse. ..."
Jan 03, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The first year of the Trump administration saw much more than the continuity in U.S. foreign policy that many of us expected. Trump's candidacy and then his election were greeted with alarm by almost everyone in the foreign policy establishment, with an overwhelming consensus that he stood for a so-called "isolationist" withdrawal from international affairs. This interpretation was a serious misreading of Trump's rhetoric and led to the usual knee-jerk reflex to define anything that differed from post-Cold War foreign policy as an outright rejection of all international engagement. As Trump's policies have shown, he is open to a kind of international engagement, but it is one that is heavily militarized and defined by zero-sum contests with adversaries and allies alike.

Trump is not interested in disentangling the United States from foreign conflicts. Instead, he continues and expands them, as well as stoking new crises that could erupt into conflict. Trump is easily persuaded to accept conventional foreign policy positions so long as they are the more aggressive alternatives available. When he does break from consensus views, he does so in a unilateral and nationalist fashion that repudiates diplomatic compromises, rejects the legacy of his predecessor, and panders to some of his core constituencies at home.

As 2018 begins, America is now even more deeply involved in the multiple wars that Trump inherited from Obama. There are a growing number of U.S. forces in Syria, more American soldiers have been sent to Afghanistan to continue our longest war, and U.S. backing for the Saudi-led war on Yemen has ratcheted up as well. In each case, Trump has signed off on increased U.S. involvement. There is evidence that the number of Americans fighting in Afghanistan will increase in the coming year, and U.S. forces operating in Syria are set to remain there indefinitely. U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition is even greater than it was under Obama, and there is no sign that it will be reduced anytime soon. Unfortunately, the one thing Trump refuses to abandon are the wars that Obama bequeathed to him.

Tensions with Iran and North Korea have both increased over the last year, and in both cases the Trump administration is to blame. Between the travel ban, the decertification of the nuclear deal, bombing Syrian government forces in the spring, belligerent speeches at the U.N. and elsewhere, and an overall regional policy defined by unremitting hostility towards Iran, Trump has mishandled relations with Tehran about as badly as a new president can. If he next reneges on U.S. commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Trump will risk creating a new crisis over Iran's nuclear program. If the nuclear deal does fall apart, the risk of war with Iran would significantly increase.

Considering how poorly Trump has managed issues related to Iran, it is remarkable that his handling of a much more sensitive and potentially explosive situation in the Korean Peninsula has been even worse. For most of the last year, Trump has answered North Korean provocations with bellicose rhetoric and reckless threats, and repeatedly dismissed the possibility of entering into talks with Pyongyang to reduce tensions. He and his national security advisor, H.R. McMaster, have been talking down the possibility of deterring North Korea and instead insisting on an impossible goal of denuclearization. Senior members of the Trump administration bizarrely seem to believe they can take military action against North Korea without it escalating into a major war. On this issue, the one where Trump most needs to be reined in by his advisors, it appears he's instead being egged on by them. There is a much greater chance of war with North Korea today than there has been in decades. The current administration has helped bring this about, and alarmingly it doesn't seem to have sunk in with members of Congress or the public.

As we look ahead to 2018, the picture is not at all encouraging for those interested in peace and restraint. The danger that the U.S. may foolishly plunge into at least one new avoidable war is greater than it has been perhaps since the period leading up to the Iraq invasion in 2002. It will be up to members of Congress and the public to keep the administration from committing such a monumental blunder.

Daniel Larison is a senior writer at The American Conservative. Follow his blog and at Twitter @DanielLarison .

milsaps January 3, 2018 at 1:34 pm

None of us who voted for him did so because we wanted him to start new wars.

We didn't want any new wars for Israel or Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, and we didn't want new wars against Russia, China, or North Korea.

We wanted him to crush ISIS and then bring our troops home to protect our own borders. Instead he's digging in to the Middle East and letting illegal and legal immigrants flood into America.

The way he's going, he could be worse than Clinton, Bush II, and Obama COMBINED. And I think we may have made a terrible mistake.

[Jan 03, 2018] Book Donald Trump Mocked Key Early White House Staff, Thought 'Jared and Ivanka Should Never Have Come to Washington' - Breitb

Jan 03, 2018 | www.breitbart.com

In phone conversations with friends, Trump would share his frustrations concerning members of his staff and the internal chaos that drove the White House.

Wolff reports:

When he got on the phone after dinner, he'd speculate on the flaws and weaknesses of each member of his staff. Bannon was disloyal (not to mention he always looks like shit). Priebus was weak (not to mention he was short -- a midget). Kushner was a suck-up. Sean Spicer was stupid (and looks terrible too). Conway was a crybaby. Jared and Ivanka should never have come to Washington.

Wolff reveals that the small group of friends did not keep details of Trump's calls to them confidential.

... ... ...

Trump fired Priebus and brought Gen. John Kelly in to serve as the White House chief of staff. Bannon left the White House soon after, and Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are serving a more diminished role in the White House. Sean Spicer also quit, and Kellyanne Conway remains a counselor to the president.

[Jan 03, 2018] WP is certainly exaggerating when it claims 'tens of thousands' of people have protested in Iran. Most of the pictures in this WaPo article are pictures of pro-government rallies.

Notable quotes:
"... Well so far I have to say that 2018 is starting off nicely. The Pakistanis are totally pissed off with Trump. The Iranians have now shown the real Grass Roots by their massive demonstrations against the violence of the color revolutionaries - this is the grass roots discussed by Mazaheri in karlof1's link @36. And the UN has dismissed the US attempt to convene a Security Council emergency session over Iran. ..."
"... What's next for the US? Financial terrorism? Go on, do it. Push the multi-polar world into the Yuan as currency of choice, and gold as the hedge of choice, with the Russian alternative to SWIFT as the clearing system of choice. ..."
"... Wonderful. It looks like the 'Streisand effect' is kicking in. While NPR is continuing to spread misinformation, I hope the same effect will make listeners that still trust this propaganda outlet drop this pathetic CIA tool. ..."
"... There's a struggle going on within the country between various factions of the ruling class. The Mashhad protests were initiated by opponents of Rouhani (Raisi's father in law). This struggle is in large part connected to the issue of succession of the Supreme Leader (rumours have been spread about Khameini's health, possibly by foreign forces or other actors with a stake in the system). ..."
"... "To sum it up, this is a plot against the moderates by two unlikely allies, in DC and in Mashhad. Rouhani would either be completely defeated as a capable leader, or he'd manage to manipulate the force of the threat against its instigators, like a jujitsu master." ..."
Jan 03, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

ninel , Jan 3, 2018 11:52:11 AM | 101

Well, the WP is certainly exaggerating when it claims 'tens of thousands' of people have protested in Iran.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/01/03/tens-of-thousands-of-people-protested-in-iran-this-week-heres-why

"One commentator at least clarified the issue by writing:

Most of the pictures in this article are pictures of pro-government rallies.

The handful of pictures of the anti-government "protests" have been circulated over and over in the Western Media in the last few days to push an agenda.

Give it a rest Western Media! these anti-government protests are small and unpopular even by the people who want change in Iran.

They couldn't have come at a worse time (trump is just looking for any excuse to nix the Nuclear Deal), and serve no purpose than to destabilize the country at the moment which is not good for anyone with any political view living in Iran."


Haaretz published an article with a similar claim:

Analysis What Israeli Intel Really Thinks About the Iran Protests
Tens of thousands of Iranians breached barriers of fear and have taken to the streets, but the regime hasn't yet responded in full force

The telegraph published an article with the opposite 'Tens of thousands in Iran take to streets in pro-government protests'

Ditto The Express: Iran news: Tens of thousands take to the streets in SUPPORT of regime in latest protests

Quentin , Jan 3, 2018 12:01:21 PM | 102
Is the US REGIME intimidating and destabilising the Iranian GOVERNMENT?
Virgile , Jan 3, 2018 12:05:56 PM | 103
Iranians profoundly detest violence. These demonstrations turning violent and manipulated by Nikki, Bibi and her likes will create more cohesion against the USA and will allow Rohani to stand firmer in front of Trump's threats.

Obviously the USA and Israel do not realize how hated they are and how any move they make only re-inforce that hatred.

Go on Nikki and Bibi stir the pot! The burning oil will get into your face!

Rev. Spooner , Jan 3, 2018 12:22:03 PM | 104
Folks who come to Moon of Alabama tend to be much more informative. And the site (MoA) and the content posted here is reflective of this. I bounce around a few sites to get my true news and MoA is one. What I would like is to have all you good and informed people to visit a few more sites that are similar.

I have been reading MoA for about 5 years but rarely posted since its more a church of the believers and I'm one. I'm also a fan of Zero Hedge and Tom Feeley's Information clearing house. Another good site is the 'Sakers' and some more.

The reason I mention this is that we need to make our presence felt more by posting comments.

For 9 years I was a comment moderator and I know how this free for all makes the wind blow. We all should try to prevent war mongers, racists, and societies built on pillage of the weak from controlling the narrative.

Rev. Spooner , Jan 3, 2018 12:28:33 PM | 105
Since this is a site that I love and the comments are usually what I agree with, I forgot to emphasize in my previous post, that it's in our interest to post comments on all the sites we visit. Duh! Stating the obvious but do it .
b , Jan 3, 2018 12:36:06 PM | 106
https://twitter.com/mo_hashemi/status/948531713394737152
Mohammad Hashemi @mo_hashemi

#IRGC chief: Sepah forces only had limited presence and were deployed in Isfahan, Hamedan & Lorestan provinces after latest riots.

The biggest gathering was held with only 1500 people and in total no more than 15,000 people joined riots at their peaks.

---
The total number of 15,000 total protesters/rioters which the IRGC chief gives sounds reasonable to me. All videos I watched showed only a few dozen during riots and a few hundred during protest marches. Tiny when one knows that Iran has 80 million people. The G20 protests last year in Hamburg were way bigger (and the rioting smaller).

Christian Chuba , Jan 3, 2018 12:58:44 PM | 107
The great Trumpolution

The funny thing is that even if the demonstrations completely fade, the FOX news crowd will still hail this as a victory for Trump's new approach.

Perception vs. reality list:

1. Obama missed a chance to change the Iranian regime by being quiet during protest.
Trump did the exact opposite and the result ???, FOX hails non-accomplishment.

2. Bill Clinton appeases N. Korea; obtaining an 8yr freeze on their Plutonium production.
Trump threatens N. Korea continuously as they develop a two stage miniaturized, thermonuclear weapon and an ICBM within 1yr.
Sean Hannity is ecstatic with Trump's handling of situation; no more appeasement.

3. Obama has ineffective air campaign against ISIS (I'll grant that one).
Trump takes off the gloves and gives the Generals full license in Afghanistan, they drop MOAB on ISIS, MSM has collective orgasm for weeks, war over, or maybe not, ISIS presence grows in Afghanistan.

Christian Chuba , Jan 3, 2018 1:04:54 PM | 108
Regarding other websites, which websites have you written off as hopeless where it is impossible to even post a contrary opinion?

1. Newsmax - totally unbearable.
2. Politico - forgettaboutit.
3. HuffPo - used to be okay until they became Russophobic Maximus.

Oddly enough, National Review, facebook section stream is bearable. The people there are at least civil, perhaps posting under your own name contributes to that. They might ignore you but tend not to insult.

Grieved , Jan 3, 2018 1:15:24 PM | 109
Well so far I have to say that 2018 is starting off nicely. The Pakistanis are totally pissed off with Trump. The Iranians have now shown the real Grass Roots by their massive demonstrations against the violence of the color revolutionaries - this is the grass roots discussed by Mazaheri in karlof1's link @36. And the UN has dismissed the US attempt to convene a Security Council emergency session over Iran.

It's all over except the empty words and false images. And it never had much substance to begin with. A few provocateurs, relative to the numbers of the real people.

THIS is the strength of the US today? And Israel? And Saudi Arabia? And France?

Now I look forward to the forensic analysis. Oh, for a smoking gun.

What's next for the US? Financial terrorism? Go on, do it. Push the multi-polar world into the Yuan as currency of choice, and gold as the hedge of choice, with the Russian alternative to SWIFT as the clearing system of choice.

2018. The year of choice.

nottheonly1 , Jan 3, 2018 1:18:22 PM | 110
Wonderful. It looks like the 'Streisand effect' is kicking in. While NPR is continuing to spread misinformation, I hope the same effect will make listeners that still trust this propaganda outlet drop this pathetic CIA tool.

Who would have thought that Faux news will essentially become the propaganda office for Agent Orange?

ninel , Jan 3, 2018 1:47:58 PM | 111
@ 97 somebody

There's a struggle going on within the country between various factions of the ruling class. The Mashhad protests were initiated by opponents of Rouhani (Raisi's father in law). This struggle is in large part connected to the issue of succession of the Supreme Leader (rumours have been spread about Khameini's health, possibly by foreign forces or other actors with a stake in the system).

According to Hossein Derakhshan Rouhani may wish to succeed Khameini and Ali Larijiani who is speaker of parliament and who Rouhani has worked closely with to implement the nuclear deal may wish to become the next president. But the hardliners are obviously opposed to this. And obviously foreign powers and agents are trying to take advantage of the situation. Derakshan writes:

"To sum it up, this is a plot against the moderates by two unlikely allies, in DC and in Mashhad. Rouhani would either be completely defeated as a capable leader, or he'd manage to manipulate the force of the threat against its instigators, like a jujitsu master."

https://twitter.com/h0d3r/status/947665068421996544

Elsewhere on his twitter page, an IRGC commander is quoted as saying "a formal official who nowadays uses language opposing principles and values of the Islamic Republic" is under investigation for involvement in the protests." This suggests that former president Ahmadinejad is being implicated

somebody , Jan 3, 2018 2:20:38 PM | 113
111

Viral video of Iranians voicing their grievances over the economy was likely produced by the IRGC

:-))

William Manning , Jan 3, 2018 2:28:39 PM | 114
M.K. Bahadrakumar over at Indian Punchline writes insightfully about this issue.

"The current unrest is doomed to fizzle out. The absence of middle class (which is in the vanguard of all revolutions in history) guarantees it. Again, the lack of leadership among protestors would mean that "fatigue" would set in sooner or later. The wretched of the earth do not have the luxury to protest till eternity instead of eking out their daily livelihood to keep body and soul together."

http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2018/01/03/irans-regime-faces-moment-of-truth/

Christian Chuba , Jan 3, 2018 2:39:09 PM | 115
Fizzling out?

Not to worry, Trump will write some more inspiring tweets reminding the Iranians that they are on the travel ban because they are all terrorists and that we have renamed that famous body of water, the 'Arab Gulf' , the Iranians love that.

Trump can follow that up with more sanctions, freezing assets, and strong arming the EU into cancelling whatever civilian projects on in the queue, we could even stiff them on the Boeing deal, anything to show our solidarity with the Iranian people.

maningi , Jan 3, 2018 2:54:33 PM | 116
Great article as always here at MOOA.

Anyone interested in US policy toward Iran may consider to have a look at this strategy paper from the Brookings Institution (Saban center)
Link here: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/06_iran_strategy.pdf

They put all options on the table, from velvet revolution, military coup to full scale invasion and so on.
170 pages of "crazy" stuff. There are some serious sociopaths running around ...

james , Jan 3, 2018 2:59:14 PM | 117
@115 christian.. that is funny, but i like this one better.. btw - so many of those media outlets are complete trash.. oh well..

Is the US REGIME intimidating and destabilising the Iranian GOVERNMENT?

Posted by: Quentin | Jan 3, 2018 12:01:21 PM | 102

Hausmeister , Jan 3, 2018 3:07:19 PM | 118
Anybody here able to give more details about how the Rohani camp leaked/published details about the real payments to religious institutions etc.? If publishing it was first no wonder that the other side took that as an attack on the fundaments of their power.
somebody , Jan 3, 2018 3:31:26 PM | 119
118

He did not leak the budget, he published it in the name of transparency

Hausmeister , Jan 3, 2018 3:43:52 PM | 120
@ somebody | Jan 3, 2018 3:31:26 PM | 119

Thank you! Doesn't this mean that Rohani started the fight. I do not believe that he is so naive not to realize what most likely would happen. As of now it seems to work. Wrong?

Jackrabbit , Jan 3, 2018 3:46:25 PM | 121
Shakesvshav @99:
Thanks to ninel . . . Ludicrous to describe such a commenter as a troll
There's good reason to believe that he is a troll - just a well informed one.

Firstly, readers of MOA are already aware of economic and civil right problems in places like Russia, Iran, and China. But we also know that USA and it's allies have taken advantage of these to push regime change. Such action undermines those who seek positive change and lead instead to turmoil and war. The lesson (still unlearned) is that those who would lead the world must act morally.

One hallmark of trolls is the focus one a single issue or cause. ninel is very loquacious and claims to be a reader of MoA for years but shows up only now as USA-Israel-KSA push hard to turn small protests (as described by b @106) into something more.

In addition, there are other clues:

>> his non responsiveness to valid criticism;

>> his urging us to prioritize anti-Iranian regime over all else and his associated stories of suffering - as though there is no suffering anywhere else;

>> his evident use of second handle (ArioBarzan);t

>> his pushing hard on the story of Neda only to dismiss her later as insignificant when JS describes the real story, saying "As for poor Neda, she is only one casualty." (@145 in 'Iran - Early U.S Support For Rioters Hints At A Larger Plan');

>> his attempt to make it personal -if you don't see it his way - he considers you to be against the Iranian people.

somebody , Jan 3, 2018 4:01:43 PM | 122
Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 3, 2018 3:43:52 PM | 120

You mean for Rohani? Not really, as the US has been siding with the protests of his opponents, puts pressure on Europe, and his middle class base depends on him getting Iran out of isolation. I guess, he could not avoid the fight.

He does not necessarily seem to have Khamenei's back .

As I understand Iran's clerical system, Khamenei is checked by the clerical establishment whose power in the end depends on their respective followers who chose their leaders.

Plus the military establishment involved in economic enterprise probably have a life of their own.

Iranian clerics are highly literate . They know that they need the buy in of the youth.

If these demonstrations convinced them that young people under 25 cannot be coopted by personal freedom but need economic security, and there is no way of economic agreement with the west, Rouhani's attempts at neoliberal reforms designed to open the country for western investment are doomed.

Not that I know anything, really. Just reading stuff and applying logic.

somebody , Jan 3, 2018 4:04:20 PM | 123
add to 122

It seems to have worked for Iranian security services who let this run to arrest some 1000 people according to reports, plus probably the existing inside network of Iranian royalists and MEK.

somebody , Jan 3, 2018 4:22:41 PM | 124
add to 123


Reza Derakhshi
‏ @RDerakhshi

Unusual characteristics of #IranProtests:
No widespread calls in advance
Lack of specific root/demand
Lack of reformers' support
Reaches Tehran from smaller cities
Less violent reax by security forces
High number of deaths in a short time
No comments from the victims' families

james , Jan 3, 2018 5:13:47 PM | 125
@121 jackrabbit.. i basically agree with you.. thanks for saying all that.

@122 somebody.. here is my quick take on iran's situation.. on the one hand the usa-israel-ksa want to isolate and make war on them while claiming they are a terrorist state - the opposite to me seems the case), while iran itself struggles to be in the everyday internet world that has become standard thinking in the west.. whether iran wants to open itself up to neo-liberal, corporate agenda world or not is only a part of it.. the other part is the religious rule that seems to dictate a particular code of behaviour, although no where near as bad was what the usa and west happily accept with saudi arabia.. so, dealing with these double standards, while under threat is a challenge and makes the west appear very hypocritical, especially at this moment in time.

at some point khamenei is going to have to pass the baton to someone else.. they need to have the support of the youth, as someone else mentioned here... if the religious leadership of iran is anything like the corruption that we know takes place in the vatican - they could hang in their for a long time and keep what they have going.. i can see iran being accepted into the community, however if the west continues to have control over the financial system that is ruling things at present, it is going to remain a challenge. perhaps after saudi arabia bites the dust and the usa is in full acknowledgement of a multi polar world, it will be different.. that seems like a good 10 to 100 years out from here. in the meantime i suspect the west will come up with some shitty reason to make war on iran, while life for iran will remain a challenge.. i would like to see iran succeed.. russia and china can help and i think they probably are.. too bad the usa is such a shitty actor on the world stage at this point.

Jen , Jan 3, 2018 5:16:41 PM | 126
Somebody @ 122, 123,124: Thanks for the information on Khamenei and the updates. From what you cite from Reza Derakhshi's Twitter account @ 124, the number of dead looks to be exaggerated, perhaps deliberately so.
stonebird , Jan 3, 2018 5:17:45 PM | 127
A somewhat OT addition to @122 somebody.
The "unusual" part is the suddeness of the "protests" at the beginning and the lack of any build-up of momentum so far. Even the US and others seemed to think that it would fail - so why do it ? ( I am assuming that there is a definite "foreign" influence)

It has been an excellent distraction from the personal troubles of Netanyahu, MbS and Trump/Mueller/Clinton . It has had the secondary effect of "questioning" publicly the Iranian Governement/society. (Note I said Clinton rather than Trump - deliberately, as it is she that was about to be exposed - I am NOT going to discuss why on this thread, much too far OT for the moment).

However, the sudden protests during christmas, seem more a desperate attempt by the "weevil" three (US-Israel-Saudi) to change the course of MSM revelations from their own internal problems by using an external "threat" or pole of interest.

Mmmmm... still, I have learnt a lot about Iran on MoA recently. Thanks all.

[Jan 03, 2018] Iran - Few Protests - Some Riots - U.S. Prepares The Next Phase

"Rent a mob" export from the USA ?
Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
"... We have the memes with women without hijab, we have all the usual tired guff about freedom and democracy. As if Iraq Syria and Lybia and Ukraine disasters never happened ..."
"... One astounding aspect of this "color revolution" is its banal and repetitive nature. The tactics used by the rent-a-mob protesters of hijacking and exploiting legitimate protests as cover to attack and kill police, and burn cars and buildings are the same as those carried out in Dar'aa in Syria in 2011 that led to the war there, and in Kiev in 2014 that led to the overthrow of the Yanukovych government. Not surprisingly, John McCain supported those events and visited the people involved on a number of occasions. ..."
Jan 03, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Iran - Few Protests - Some Riots - U.S. Prepares The Next Phase

Updated below:
---

The riots and protests in Iran continue for a 6th day. While "western" media claim that the protests are growing I see no evidence for that in the various videos that appear online. The legitimate protests over price rises, failing private banks and against the new neoliberal austerity budget of President Rohani were hijacked early on by rioting gangs. These are obviously coordinated from the outside of the country through various internet applications, especially Telegram and Instagram :

Amad News, a channel on Telegram, appears to have played a pivotal role in the wave of protests. Reportedly administered by exiled journalist Rohollah Zam -- a son of a senior Reformist cleric said to have escaped the country after being accused of having links with foreign intelligence agencies ...

Blocking the specific control channels proved to be insufficient :

Special software used to circumvent the government filters could still be downloaded easily. And on Monday, as on other days, there were calls for protests online and on foreign-based Persian-language satellite channels.

The blockage of the internet applications was lifted today.

The original protests over economic issues seem to have died down after President Rouhani confirmed the right to protest, conceded economic problems and promised to take them on. Indeed there are only few new videos of genuine protest marches but an avalanche of videos of rioting, arson and tussling with police forces. The size of the protests are in a few hundred people or less . Counter demonstrations , expressing loyalty for the republic (not noted in "western" media), are bigger in size than the anti-government protests. Since December 28 protests and riots have occurred in a total of 66 cities by now, but only about 30 have been taking place each night. This might point to some planning behind the events. A daily switching of venues might be intended to prevent police preparations.

The groups of rioters are between 30 and 80 people in size with a some bystanders milling around. They seem to follow a flash mob strategy appearing here and there and to vanish again when police appears in force. In some cities rioters attacked police stations , military posts and were even stealing firetrucks . Some of the rioters are evidently trying to get their hands on weapons.

Altogether only a few thousand people, overwhelmingly male youth, seem to be involved. Thousands protest in Israel each week against the corruption of Prime Minister Netanyahoo. On New-Years-Eve more than 1,000 cars in France were set alight by arsonists. None of this is front page news but a few dozen riots in Iran get elevated to a "revolution".

The total death toll of the "peaceful protests" is now some 21 of which (by my count) at least five were policemen killed in attacks by "protesters" and two unrelated civilians who were run over and killed by rioters driving a stolen firetruck. Six rioters were killed when they tried to attack a police station in the town of Qahderijan. The governor there claimed that the attackers were armed with guns.

The same faking of pictures of large demonstrations and "evidence" of government brutality that we have seen with regard to the war on Syria is taking place with Iran. Videos of demonstrations from Argentine and Bahrain are used to claim large demonstrations in Iran. A tweet with the Bahrain video by a "journalist" who claimed it was in Iran has received more than 17,000 re-tweets. Videos from Spain or even movie scenes are purported to show police violence in Iran. A video of a man lying on his back and being cared for is once claimed to show that he has been shot by police while at the same time another propagandists claims that the man had a cardiac arrest after police used a taser on him. There are no signs of wounds or other trauma. The dude probably just passed out.

The terrorist group MEK (NCRI, MKO) " leaked " fake protocols of an alleged government meeting which it claims shows panic over the protests. Allegedly the government fears the leader of the MEK, Marjam Rajavi. The MEK has paid large sums to get support from politicians, including John McCain in Washington and elsewhere. During the Iraq-Iran war it fought against Iran on the side of Iraq. After the U.S. invaded Iraq the MEK was held in special camps under U.S. control. According to a 2012 Seymour Hersh report the U.S. military trained MEK fighters in the U.S. in sabotage and insurgency technics. These people are deeply hated in Iran but feared they are not. Their early engagement in the "protests" via their website and propaganda ops in Iran may point to deeper role in the riots.

The usual neoconservatives in the U.S. media are arguing for "more help" for the "Iranian people". The help they want to offer is designed to worsen their economic situation.

I earlier argued that the larger plan of the instigators of these riots is not aimed at winning a violent "regime change" conflict, but at causing a reaction by the Iranian government which can then be used to press especially Europeans to again isolate Iran. This plan is now confirmed by an op-ed in the Washington Post . Michael Singh of the Zionist lobby in Washington writes :

If the regime resorts to violence anyway, the international response should focus on diplomatic isolation. European and Asian states should reduce their diplomatic ties with Iran and downgrade Iran's participation in international forums. Sanctions may also have a role ...

Unsurprisingly the neoconned WaPo editors are fully in sync with the lobby:

European leaders, who have been far more cautious, should speak up. ... On Sunday [President Rohani of Iran] recognized that the demonstrators had legitimate grievances and nominally accepted their right to protest. The Trump administration and other Western governments should aim to hold him to those words through diplomacy and the threat of sanctions in the event of more bloodshed.

The rioting at the current level is in no way endangering the Iranian republic. Should some rioters acquire weapons the intensity might change a bit. But unless they receive material and personal support from the outside, like it happened in Syria, the situation will soon calm down. The people of Iran are against such violence and the government has yet to use its manifold capabilities.

I had documented in earlier posts that the Trump administration, in tight co-operations with Israel, long prepared for an intensification of a conflict with Iran. Half a year ago the CIA set up a special office with a high level Iran hawk leading the charge. Last month Trump named another Iran hawk to lead the State Department Middle East section.

Since the Iranian people successfully achieved "regime change" in 1979 the U.S. and Britain have had an adversarial policy against Iran. It has ebbed and flowed in intensity but never changed. Under Trump we will see a rapid increase of hostile actions. The administration just called for a UN emergency session about the situation. That is a laughable move when one considers the size of daily murder the U.S. and its allies commit in Yemen, Syria and Palestine. But the operation that unfolds now is likely just a small part of a larger anti-Iran strategy that has yet to become visible.

Update (Jan 3, 01:00am EST)

I just checked various internet resources for two hours to find new videos of protests/riots of January 2 to 3. There were just a handful and none of them was remarkable. Some short clips of loud screaming of small crowds and light bashing with riot police. The protests and riots are obviously dying down.

This map is by HRA_news a Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) . It says "There were protests in at least 11 cities in #Iran on the sixth day".


bigger

Eleven cities is less than half than the thirty cities with protests/riots that were counted yesterday.

Posted by b on January 2, 2018 at 02:15 PM | Permalink


James , Jan 2, 2018 2:44:16 PM | 1

With Yemen under reported and daily deaths of women and children - they want a UN meeting about Iran?
They are playing there regime change hand in a very heavy way.

Netanyahu made a speech, Trump, Hillary, McCain - IRan just needs to put these people on TV and let them broad cast to the nation!!

Social media also is being used to manipulate the uniformed - many of the many American alt/right commentators are in the vanguard of this anti Iran social media campaign.

We have the memes with women without hijab, we have all the usual tired guff about freedom and democracy. As if Iraq Syria and Lybia and Ukraine disasters never happened

Blue Dot , Jan 2, 2018 2:52:31 PM | 3
Russia and China need to make the UN meeting about US, UK and Israeli support of terrorism in Iran (MEK, et al.) Turn the tables.
Jen , Jan 2, 2018 2:53:37 PM | 4
One astounding aspect of this "color revolution" is its banal and repetitive nature. The tactics used by the rent-a-mob protesters of hijacking and exploiting legitimate protests as cover to attack and kill police, and burn cars and buildings are the same as those carried out in Dar'aa in Syria in 2011 that led to the war there, and in Kiev in 2014 that led to the overthrow of the Yanukovych government. Not surprisingly, John McCain supported those events and visited the people involved on a number of occasions.

The sloppiness of the reporting is amazing as well. It's as if the MSM simply doesn't care any more that astute members of the public can see that material from past news reports or even movies is being used as "evidence" of supposed genuine protest or police repression.

The most worrying thing all these "cplor revolution" activities, wherever they occur, point to is how deeply insulated from the real world The Powers That (Should Not) Be are.

Oui , Jan 2, 2018 3:07:34 PM | 5
@b - was that a rogue blogger who had put up the first post? Hijacking a legitimate Greek name Αυτοκαθορισμός and put up some trash statement?
James , Jan 2, 2018 3:08:01 PM | 6
@2 apologies to your Lynda! I did indeed mean poor destroyed Libya
james , Jan 2, 2018 3:21:57 PM | 7
thanks b.. the western propaganda version of the syrian white helmets continues on with the latest dispatches from iran.. the usa-uk and some others are in no position to speak with any authenticity in any of it.. i like what you said here because it highlights the selectivity of the western press :

"Thousands protest in Israel each week against the corruption of Prime Minister Netanyahoo. On New-Years-Eve more than 1,000 cars in France were set alight by arsonists. None of this is front page news but a few dozen riots in Iran get elevated to a "revolution"."

it explains the role western msm is willing to play in accommodating this ongoing anti-iran agenda..

Peter AU 1 , Jan 2, 2018 3:26:06 PM | 8
I'll put a few dollars on US air or missile strikes on Iran for 2018. Until now, Trump admin attacks on Iran have been verbal. Looks like whatever they have been cooking up for the past eleven months has now been set in motion.
Red Ryder , Jan 2, 2018 3:28:35 PM | 9
b, exactly--"But the operation that unfolds now is likely just a small part of a larger anti-Iran strategy that has yet to become visible."

The CIA, US Military, UK and Israel have many operations ongoing against Iran.
This is a long-shot, these protests.

What is more likely is a 'civil war', like Syria, with 'moderates' armed and a flow of terrorists from Afghanistan into the East (where much of this uprising has occurred.)

The template is for a destabilizing of Iran and a nice four-six year war on the eastern front would be likely.

The airport at Herat is a base of operations for ISFA/NATO. The CENTCOM war of choice has been Afghanistan because everyone knows it is un-winnable, but "must" be fought. It creates huge issues for China and now Pakistan, too. So, using it to direct arms and trainers against Iran is predictable and relatively easy, logistically.

The Shia Crescent will be pounded at both ends--Lebanon-Syria and Iran's eastern region.

Part of the not yet visible.

fudmier , Jan 2, 2018 3:30:08 PM | 10
I think it would be useful to analyze which news agencies, internet companies, browser providers and search engine providers are actively involved in the disinformation campaigns ..
are users dealing only with media providers, or does the disinformation involve the information transport technology providers as well?
If so that suggest this is a corporate war, not a nation state war?

Classification of information tampering by type:
information blocking campaign
disinformation promoting campaign

and assigning to each type the parties..
might produce some real useful data?
Nodes at nation state boundaries are either transparent or filtered.
Tracking nation state behaviors at these boundaries by media provider.
One instance of disinformation came to light in discussions over the weekend where in one country.. the same provider delivered three very different messages that covered the same event from the same media source.. one party said the client side browsers had key directives which determined which of the media stories about the same event to allow into the browswer.. So the webservers answering the get request would or could differentiate between users and decide which content a particular user is allowed to have. I have not been able to confirm this yet.

I think it is not the event, where ever the event takes place but what the viewer is informed about the event that counts..

Seems the disinformation filter system capable to advise different folks differently about the same events. HUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!
Explains maybe why when Iran had its Earthquake a few weeks back, the same news agency said the quake happened in three different Iranian towns, but it turned out the origin of the quake was in a Iraq town.

I am not sure the reporting variance is sloppy.. more I would say deceptive.

paul , Jan 2, 2018 3:58:50 PM | 11
The US has called a UNSC meeting. Watch Russia throw Iran under the bus at the UNSC, as it has done before and as it not long ago did to North Korea. Russia is a two faced vassal state to the hegemon. But go ahead and prove me wrong Vlad.
Christian Chuba , Jan 2, 2018 4:28:19 PM | 12
If there were very large crowds, satellite imagery would be able to pick that up even with govt censorship. The lack of such verification is telling.

I'm not going to comment on the 'sociological' element, not qualified but I don't trust a word that's reported in my country regarding Iran.

james , Jan 2, 2018 4:31:44 PM | 13
@11 paul.. you have been proven wrong every other time.. why should this time be an exception?
Laguerre , Jan 2, 2018 4:34:22 PM | 14
I haven't followed all the discussion so far, as I've been away for Xmas.

As the demonstrations are in the provinces, it means something much more serious than the 2009 demonstrations in Tehran. If it were US running it, this route would not have been chosen, indeed impossible, although they want to profit from opportunities.

The obvious reason is that the US failed to carry out its side of the nuclear agreement, and did not lift sanctions. So the economic recovery promised did not occur. And Iranians are understandably unhappy that what they expected did not happen. Disappointment of expectation is what led to revolt.

psychohistorian , Jan 2, 2018 4:50:50 PM | 15
Thanks for the reporting b

I want to repeat one of your statements for emphasis
"
Altogether only a few thousand people, overwhelmingly male youth, seem to be involved. Thousands protest in Israel each week against the corruption of Prime Minister Netanyahoo. On New-Years-Eve more than 1,000 cars in France were set alight by arsonists. None of this is front page news but a few dozen riots in Iran get elevated to a "revolution".
"
This is the issue that needs to be brought up in the UN meeting.

Eric , Jan 2, 2018 4:54:50 PM | 16
@11

While I'm equally disgusted by Russia's and China's imposing genocidal sanctions on North Korea, there are very good reasons to expect they won't have the same attitude toward Iran in the coming meeting of the UNSC.

1. Iran is not in violation of Security Council resolutions the way North Korea is with its nuclear and ballistic missile tests. On the contrary, US hostility and aggression toward Iran is in the context of perfect alignment with the JCPOA on the part of Iran while the United States grabs every opportunity to renege on its obligations.
2. Russia and China have massive geopolitical, energy and economic interests in Iran and deep, active strategic partnership with Iran, unlike the case of North Korea. Russian/Chinese investments run in the tens of billions of dollars, including in oil/gas extraction, pipelines and nuclear energy, and Iran is an essential node in the Belt and Road Initiative.
3. The current protests follow the exact same color revolution script successfully used in the Ukraine, Georgia, Libya, Syria etc., along with similar and inspired opposition protests in Russia and Hong Kong. Russia and China would destroy any credibility with regard to past and potential future events in Ukraine and Hong Kong if they follow the US line on Iran in the UNSC, and encourage the usage of the same tactics eventually in Russia and China themselves.

On a side note, does anyone know whether this UNSC meeting is now actually a given because of the US request, and if so when it is likely to be held?

WorldBLee , Jan 2, 2018 4:56:59 PM | 17
As I've said before, if these western-sponsored (apparently) riots turn the Rouhani government less neoliberal it could end up all to the better for the people of Iran. The bloviating of the US and Israel will be hard to listen to but as long as it's just words Iran can take it.
Laguerre , Jan 2, 2018 5:02:39 PM | 18
As I've said before, if these western-sponsored (apparently) riots turn the Rouhani government less neoliberal it could end up all to the better for the people of Iran.
Oh yeah. They're calling for the return of the Shah, = absolute dictator.
Piotr Berman , Jan 2, 2018 5:03:31 PM | 19
Some speculation: why economic discontent in Iran now?

Based on very few data points, I think that Iran may experience some "prosperity symptoms": during severe sanctions, Iran developed import substitution industries as foreign currency was scarce and rationed, and various industries were relatively well distributed over the territory of Iran. With more oil revenue imports are easier. On one hand, government may afford more for services like schools and healthcare, perhaps some social spending, priming the demand side of the economy, on the other, many parts of import substitution sector may experience drop in profits and even outright unprofitability, hence factories that do not pay workers.

If this is the case, the government has the resources to placate the working class protesters, and security apparatus will take care of the remainder. Hypersalivation in USA and Israel will energize "the base". However, there is a gap between having resources and using them, because importing and import-substitution sectors have interests that may be hard to reconcile.

Laguerre , Jan 2, 2018 5:18:44 PM | 20
Some speculation: why economic discontent in Iran now?
It's obvious, isn't it? The US agreed to lift sanctions in exchange for the nuclear agreement, but they didn't do what they agreed. Not surprising that the Iranians are unhappy.
gnome chumski , Jan 2, 2018 5:22:43 PM | 21
i have met many iranian who where very happy and prosperous under the original 1913 anglo persian oil agreement contracts the shah indeed was along with menechem begin and golda meir one of the greats.
why not indeed help the innocents b free let domocracy prevails?
bp uk, dutch shell, france chevron and exxon really mobile good all help to stabilise iran supplies once persia is brookings and chatham house converted into libya 2.
please do not underestimate the value of open air slave trading.
with the closing off of the live human organ traffic flows from syria to turkey then onto tel aviv then haiti new markets need to be opened.
the simple fact was yemen and syria iraqi had way to much history.
iranian persia has to be year zero for the new bbc simon scharma ashkanazi revised history of the middle and near easts.
oded yinon moves on
history must be dustified for the official chabad kosher seal
waterloo , Jan 2, 2018 5:24:29 PM | 22
Rohollah Zam is a Mossad agent.
Leaked phone conversation:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlbT8flaKa4
Jen , Jan 2, 2018 5:29:46 PM | 23
Lagueere @ 14, 20: Are Iranians in the countryside really all that concerned about US lifting sanctions against Iran over its nuclear energy program
?
james , Jan 2, 2018 5:30:10 PM | 24
@21 gnome / charles.. now that was funny!
Partisan , Jan 2, 2018 5:32:59 PM | 25
@ Piotr Berman | Jan 2, 2018 5:03:31 PM | 19

Wrong! Yet you appear to be grossly misinformed.

A true is that the Gov. of both countries are bitter enemies from geo-political reasons as well as the historical one. However, when one look at economic policy of the Iranian Gov. he/she can see identical set of austerity measures, i.e. the same oppressive economic policies that benefit only and Just only ruling elites of both countries.

But more about that here: https://ismaelhossein-zadeh.com/2016/08/22/1472/

Laguerre , Jan 2, 2018 5:33:26 PM | 26
why not indeed help the innocents b free let domocracy prevails?
More hasbara. israel wouldn't like it if there were democracy in Iran, but confusion, that would be great.
Laguerre , Jan 2, 2018 5:50:26 PM | 27
re jen 23
Are Iranians in the countryside really all that concerned about US lifting sanctions against Iran over its nuclear energy program
They're affected by the US failure to lift sanctions. Access to the money market, for example.
gnome chumski , Jan 2, 2018 5:54:01 PM | 28
26

a simple central bank
tired to the nazi swiss bank of international settling munts
compensation to the uk,usa and israel for the breach of contracts relating to anglo persian oil companies stolen oil and gas supplies over countless decades.

a gold ingot return aggreement
kinder transport style epic journey return of the gold from tehran to bis where it can be placed into bonded very safe uk,israel usa accounts for safe keeping.

during times of instability is it not better that chosen professionals look after vitals such treasure

Ghost Ship , Jan 2, 2018 6:05:38 PM | 29
>>>> Laguerre | Jan 2, 2018 5:33:26 PM | 26

It's satire of a reasonable quality for once. Either that or "gnome" is dumber that Nikki Haley.

Jack , Jan 2, 2018 6:12:12 PM | 30
Zam the Iranian Chalabi.
Fake photos and American collusion and all.
An attempt at interfering in Irans Election.
gut bugs galore , Jan 2, 2018 6:14:36 PM | 31
Russia and China have not imposed genocide sanctions on NKR. NKR is well prepared. They can survive for a year or two in their stockpiles. The effect therefore of the current sanctions are in large part some distance into the future. China and Russia feeding a bit of blood to the vampire US whilst at the same time punching out gazillions of garlic spiked silver arrows seems like a reasonable economy to me. In effect Russia and China have agreed to meet the US on the field of battle about the time these sanctions actually do/would take devastating effect. They have said...ok have your year or so of tantrums...suck on that.
james , Jan 2, 2018 6:14:39 PM | 32
@26 laguerre.. that is our resident hasbara troll, but sometimes he is funny...

laguerre, i would be curious for your view on this outline from a twitter account that lozion left on another thread yesterday..
https://twitter.com/h0d3r/status/947665068421996544

Bianca , Jan 2, 2018 6:21:06 PM | 33
Based on a simple formula that is always used without fail, every act of munificence on US part assumes a major concession. Europe did not get a spine in Iran's case, as Obama gave a wink and a nod to his fellow globalist-Zionist oligarchy, to "pressure" US to sign a nuclear deal. The deal was cut with Rouhani, a known "reformer", who was to introduce neoliberal economy, and let US and Europe in. Did not happen. Instead, in response to the growing anti-Shia Saudi cult ISIS and others, Iran opted to support Iraq and Syria. US not happy. Rouhani not happy. Iran firmly tied now to Russia for defence and China for the long range development. US not happy to the extreme. We were thus toooo generous, so all the promises are off, one more Indian treaty. Like the Clinton one with North Korea.

So, do not count on Europe keeping its spine, as the ruling oligarchy/media scribes are the same. Slowly, "reluctantly" they will have to "pressure" Iran on human rights, etc. etc. Deal will be off. When it comes to US, the economic losses for us are potential great. Who knows what is happening to Boeing sales, etc. But this is peanuts compared to the salivating of Zionist crowd -- being able to get their Iranian agenda back on track!

But I need to think some of this through. It is getting murky out there. Why is South Korea running to Moscow, and declaring Russia a reliable negotiating partner. Why are both Russia and China ignoring many sanctions on North Korea? Why is Erdogan running to Riyadh, and then announcing the deal with Sudan on restoring an old port city, abandoned after Port Sudan was built. And using the port for military base. So close to Saudi city of Jeddah, across the hot Red Sea pond. Presumably, Saudis are unhappy. Presumably Egypt is unhappy. Presumably they -- like all inferior beings, in our view of the world -- do not talk to each other. So, many inconsistencies are afoot, many confusing and contradicting moves -- what does it all mean? For one, it may mean that US practices are linear and predictable, while the Asian and Mid East regions are opaque.

And Turkey becoming dependent on Russian air defence, nuclear energy, and oil and gas pipelines, as well as Chinese infrastructure, both physical and internet -- will not make moves without consulting them both. So, what is afoot? We do not know. But we do know that following Egypt's intervention, Qatar "conditions" were redefined as "principles, while the trade, and air traffic has increased from Qatar to Iran and Turkey. Given that Iraq has over 60% Shia population, Kuwait, 40%, Bahrain 80%, with large populations in Syria, Lebanon, and even Turkey. Almost entire North Yemen, is Shia. And the somewhat different religion of Oman, I would say, Oman is not too keen on letting Saudi Arabia spread Sunni caliphates. And given how US occasionally berates the new Crown Prince, while heaping regular abuse on his father, the King, I would say something is not quite kosher in this bromance. China opened a base in Djibouti. Egypt and Russia working on Libya mess. Pakistan put US on notice that it will shoot down any US flying object, as the days of drone attacks on Pakistan are over.

So, linear vs. opaque. I do not think we see or understand many other events, as they are not getting much coverage. We need to assume some asymmetrical events coming.

Curtis , Jan 2, 2018 6:26:13 PM | 34
Legit peaceful protests enjoined by violent rioters. We've heard this story before but I doubt the US will pull a fake no-fly on Iran the way Hillary/Obama did for Libya. Supporting the terrorists like the US did in Syria is probable and may be going on now. Good of you to point this out, b.

And in the list of articles Google News threw up was one that suggested Iran's govt is "teetering" on collapse. Doubtful. The govt/regime has too much power and support to collapse anytime soon.

somebody , Jan 2, 2018 6:42:54 PM | 35
Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 2, 2018 5:18:44 PM | 20

As I understand it Rouhani tried to cut subsidies or convert subsidies to charity for the poor. That would endanger the subsistence of a lot of people and be reason enough to demonstrate. It is also the type of neoliberal remedy investors love. On top of that Rouhani seems to have started an anti-corruption drive against his political enemies which usually creates trouble.
Iran also closed the border to Iraqi Kurdistan which interrupted all kinds of business transactions there. They have reopened the border in the last few days.

Iran needs neither US nor European investment as China has most of the money to spend , Trump is basically forcing Iran into economic dependence from China. He attacked Pakistan by tweet as well, so part of this marks the US losing Iran and Pakistan to China. How NATO can remain in Afghanistan or Iraq after this is anybody's guess. General Mattis might have a say in this.

In the end this "regime change light" might prove how impotent the US/Britain/Saudi have become to influence developments.

Everything in Iran seems to be done via Telegram messenger/Instagram including BBC Persian .

I can't see Iranian security asleep on how to control that. This here is from 2016 .

SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Iranian hackers have compromised more than a dozen accounts on the Telegram instant messaging service and identified the phone numbers of 15 million Iranian users, the largest known breach of the encrypted communications system, cyber researchers told Reuters.

They will have discovered most networks by now.

karlof1 , Jan 2, 2018 6:43:57 PM | 36
I've yet to see anyone reference Ramin Mazaheri's excellent article written for The Saker blog. Fortunately, it's been mostly republished here so I can link it directly. Being an Iranian journalist posted to Paris, he provides a greatly needed balance to the many lies of Big Lie Media and educates those willing to read about the nature of Iran. I wanted to provide an excerpt, but the essay's structure makes that difficult, so I'll just leave this:

'A final point: Why are democratic protests for policy reform a "sign of a vibrant and healthy democracy" when they occur in the West but "an indicator people want to bring down the system" whenever they occur in non-Western countries? Ultimately, these protests will be heeded and, like all genuine protests, will make Iranian democracy stronger and the country better.'

ben , Jan 2, 2018 6:47:17 PM | 37
About time for the snipers on the rooftops to show up. Then, it's on for real. With both sides taking causalities, and the Govt. getting the blame. Then, we'll see the position Russia takes.


Same old "color revolution" BS me thinks..

somebody , Jan 2, 2018 6:47:37 PM | 38
More on the security of Telegram messenger

Why you should stop using Telegram just now

ben , Jan 2, 2018 6:50:30 PM | 39
"What Is Happening in Iran? Is Another "Color Revolution" Underway?"

From Global Research:

https://www.globalresearch.ca/what-is-happening-in-iran-is-another-color-revolution-underway/5624505

Lozion , Jan 2, 2018 7:04:47 PM | 40
@37 indeed, " watch for snipers ", but I dont think it will happen this time, Iranians are smart and the IRGC and Basij are on the watch no doubt. Rouhani will address some issues and while the internal struggle between hardliners and reformists for Khameini´s replacement will go on, this will hopefully fizzle out soon..
Jen , Jan 2, 2018 7:13:51 PM | 41
Laguerre @ 27: I asked only because the news I have seen so far here at MoA and at The Duran is that the protesters were complaining about the increase in the prices of eggs and poultry. Some time ago there had been a bird flu epidemic in Iran which has affected the supply of chickens and eggs. It would seem very peculiar for ordinary people outside the main cities to demonstrate against continuing US sanctions against Iran due to Iran's continued nuclear energy program.

If demonstrations are taking place outside Tehran at the same time, that fact in itself could still be evidence of US infiltration. Mashhad in Iran's northeast is a large city (the second largest) and close to Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Borders could be quite porous for all we know.

There are many Western tourists visiting Iran now and the major tourist trails are in the south-central (Yazd, Isfahan, Shiraz) and south-west (Choqa Zanbil) parts of the country. Urban populations in these areas could have elements antagonistic towards the national government. Baha'i followers in particular would be hostile towards the government as theirs is a much persecuted religion. Sections of the US government would be aware of and targeting these groups because historically in most cultures, minority groups (and persecuted minority groups) are focii for social and political change. Plus such groups have diaspora populations in the US and beyond and communications among the homeland and the diaspora most certainly would be monitored closely by US intel agencies.

dh , Jan 2, 2018 7:22:16 PM | 42
I suspect a few of those young men are protesting the absence of bars and discotheques.
somebody , Jan 2, 2018 7:50:24 PM | 43
Posted by: ben | Jan 2, 2018 6:47:17 PM | 37

The interesting thing is that this time violence is not the issue. The EU calls for "all sides to refrain from violence". Trump threatens that "the US is watching".

Iran has been fighting PJAK, Jundullah and MEK for quite a while. It is unlikely there will be any surprises.

Ghost Ship , Jan 2, 2018 8:01:24 PM | 44
To demonstrate how informed Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch is, the Angry Arab tweeted this . Rephrasing the Angry Arab, I can't for the life of me understand why Kenneth Roth subsequently deleted his tweet.
ben , Jan 2, 2018 8:16:30 PM | 45
I hope all the folks that think no real violence will occur are right. My thought process is a bit jaded because of the empire's sordid history of regime change..
Grieved , Jan 2, 2018 8:32:32 PM | 46
@36 karlof1

I posted Mazaheri's article on an earlier thread - glad you supplied the Greanville link for it. I have really enjoyed Mazaheri's writing over the last several months at Saker. And this is an excellent view of the grass roots heart of Iran I think. His article rambles a bit, he broke his vacation to write it in a hurry, but he made his points.

Reviewing the snippet I excerpted I still like it so I'll reprint it here:

Exactly like in Venezuela this year – there is a hardcore, GRASSROOTS system of citizen supporters who will defend the Iranian Revolution with their lives because they feel the Iranian Revolution (like Chavismo) has benefited the average citizen so very much. That's why Venezuelan democracy didn't fall – it was due to the common person attending a counter-protest, maybe even wielding a garden tool. This is what preserved Venezuelan democracy – not state military action – and this is also what happened in Iran in 2009.

[...]

What must also be remembered is that Iran already had their "NATO intervention" – it was called the Iran-Iraq War. For 8 horrible years the West foisted Iraq on Iran, supplied Iraq with weapons, turned a blind eye to the worst chemical weapons atrocities since World War One, and did all they could to create, prolong and influence the deadliest war in the last quarter of the 20th century.

And it was still not enough.


Peter AU 1 , Jan 2, 2018 8:32:39 PM | 47
Afghan on one side with US/ISIS coalition, Iraq Kurd/US border other side. US have been flying ISIS into Afghanistan (a number of reports some months ago with even official Russia questioning who the US was flying into ISIS controlled areas).
US airlifting ISIS out of west Syria to Hasaka for retraining, perhaps as peaceful Iranian demonstrators, from where they have free movement through to the Kurd majority area of the Iraq/Iran border.
Grieved , Jan 2, 2018 8:40:49 PM | 48
I gather about 450 protesters have been arrested so far. They are predominantly under 25 years old. I believe the government will be tough on them. Their story will emerge eventually. Perhaps there will be documented smoking guns. The forensic study of these events will obviously take time but it's clear that Iran never for one moment misunderstood what was happening to it. Ayatollah Khamenei has called it out as a foreign intervention by the usual countries.

The dynamic seems practically like a de-escalation zone now: the government has affirmed the right to protest, and condemned the act of violence. So that's how the authorities will tell the innocent from the guilty.

As b states, everything has been handled by the police thus far. The government's "manifold capabilities" have yet to become visible. They will become visible, one assumes, at every turn as the anglo-zionists attempt to escalate, and as each move is met and destroyed by the authentic national power.

In all, while it is sad to see the destruction and the dead innocents, including those yet to come, it will be supremely satisfying to watch as Iran - I predict - shows the world exactly how to deal with this attack by the west.

Lozion , Jan 2, 2018 8:43:14 PM | 49
@44 Ghost Ship, that was sarcasm right? Look again at the protesters signs, oh the irony..
Temporarily Sane , Jan 2, 2018 8:49:14 PM | 50
Good piece. The only thing I would add is that the genuine protesters (to the extent that they exist) who are unhappy about the sluggish Iranian economy are a result of the economic sanctions the US placed on Iran. Making life hard for ordinary people is intended to stir up anti-government sentiment among them.

Trump's tweets about his "concern" for the Iranian people and "human rights" are particularly hypocritical and vile. What a piece of shit. Apparently he didn't see the leaked memo that reveals how Rex Tillerson, who may have been naive enough to believe the guff about the US upholding human rights abroad, was put in his place in no uncertain terms by the DoS.

somebody , Jan 2, 2018 9:02:51 PM | 51
47
Iran has been working on border security for a long time
Grieved , Jan 2, 2018 9:05:51 PM | 52
Sharmine Narwani tweeted a response to anglo-zionist media hack Josh Rogin's drivel about how Syria started the same way as Iran, when "...peaceful protesters were attacked by their tyrannical government."

She replied :

"Peaceful protestors" in #Syria were not so peaceful. They killed 88 soldiers in the first month

In her tweet she links to her own important article, a seminal work that details exactly how the color uprising in Syria began, and once again how it was the violence that surprised everyone: Syria: The Hidden Massacre

If you haven't read it, I earnestly recommend it for a clear and exact picture of what is being ventured in Iran right now.

Peter AU 1 , Jan 2, 2018 9:39:37 PM | 53
@ somebody
I hope they do have their borders covered, but I believe in the Kurdish area, the border will be somewhat porous, plus re-uniformed/re-named ISIS from all directions will have the assistance of US intel.
Peter AU 1 , Jan 2, 2018 9:53:48 PM | 54
The more I look at the Trump/US establishment fight in the US, the more this seems a fight over a re-direction of the empire than anything else. Obama's soft talk/lead from behind/snake in the grass style failed miserably. Trumps job is to turn the US focus from Russia Syria ect onto China whos economy is the main threat facing the empire, and Iran which is the strong point in the resistance against Israel.
Seems to be a lot of cold war warriors still in the US establishment wanting to re-live their glory days, plus generations of soviet block/east European so called dissidents carrying inherited hate for Russia that have to be overcome for US to fully focus on the new direction.
Early on in the Trump admin, there were a number of meetings between Trump/Kissinger and Putin/Kissinger. Apart from Trump perhaps carrying no grudge against Russia, the re-direction would require separating Russia from the target countries, China and Iran.
Jen , Jan 2, 2018 10:09:51 PM | 55
Grieved @ 48: First, the govt should ask the protesters if they're being paid to protest and who's paying them.

As they say, follow the money...

fefe , Jan 2, 2018 10:13:54 PM | 56
@22 Yes would be very interesting to know more about this Rohollah Zambia whose new telegram channel Sedaie Mardom of more than 1.2 M user now (and main cause behind Telegram filtrage).... Is really suspect. Just have a look on whatis posted inside and you will understand a lot.
Is there an English translation of your video?
nottheonly1 , Jan 2, 2018 10:20:53 PM | 57
Just a few thoughts:

Is there a chance that those other, rather impotent members of the UNSC call in an emergency meeting about the number of innocent young unarmed African American being shot with impunity by 'law' enforcement?
Will there be a session about the rampant homeless in the U.S.? About the mass incarcerations? About the use of prison inmates in the California wild fires without protective gear? About the opiod pandemic? About the treatment of innocent protesters in Dakota and elsewhere?
The propaganda emanating from air waves is unbearable to those with both common sense and critical thinking skills.
This is psychological projection par excellence. The preposterous displays of Haley speaking for the U.S. surpasses what goes for "the pot calling the kettle black".
IF the protests in Iran would have anything to do with legitimate calls for redress, what does that say about the U.S. population? Compared to the shortcomings in Iran, the present conditions in the U.S. should be sufficient to get tens of millions of people into the streets.
Why is that not happening? National Billionaires' Radio bemoans conditions in Iran that are are worse in the U.S. These script readers ask for money for their "high quality" journalism?
Is all this just acid satire? Bill Maher talking about getting a phone call from the corrupt Nutanyahoo asking for advice in regards to the regime change plans regarding Iran?

Are we there yet?

Dwayne Weyrich , Jan 2, 2018 10:36:51 PM | 58
Hmmm... protest here in the USSA can be just as violent and destructive. Wish the international community would sanction this growing police state. But then again, I foresee the US imploding economically soon so it'll be a moot point once the zombie tax livestock see all they know evaporate. Nature abhors that which is contrary to Itself and eventually corrects.
jrh , Jan 3, 2018 12:46:28 AM | 59
I watched similar scenarios in Syria and Libya in early 2011. In Syria, the government arrested some teenagers in Da'ar for writing anti-government graffiti. The parents and others protested the arrests. Some who joined the protests began shooting from within the crowd of parents and others at police, killing 7. Some police shot back and the Western Media reported that Assad was killing his own people. In Libya, some gangs tried to storm army barracks. The soldiers defended. themselves and the same media said Qaddafi was killing his own people. I hope we have learned from these examples and from Iran in 2009. The situation is serious and will require great strength and wisdom on the side of the Iran government and the great mass of Iranian people, but I do not expect Iran to become another Libya.
Grieved , Jan 3, 2018 12:53:16 AM | 60
@33 Bianca - "Pakistan put US on notice that it will shoot down any US flying object, as the days of drone attacks on Pakistan are over. "

Here's a fun tweet from Brasco Aad, who has been reliable on Syria, but this story is not sourced anywhere, so it may be no more than fun:

Question: Why is #Trump so angry at #Pakistan and why did he cut of financial support to Islamabad?

Answer: Pakistan refused to let #US (#CIA)/#Israeli/#Saudi-backed Salafi Jihadi terrorists stage terror attacks on #Iran from its territory

Sourced or not, it fits the current reality. The multi polar world steps daily more clearly into focus.

Penelope , Jan 3, 2018 1:08:15 AM | 61
Partisan @25, that was an interesting link. Do you think that Rohani & his "moderates" have sold out, then? Should we expect to see their govt-owned central bank become an "independent" bank? That is, a bank that's joined the international cabal & is insulated from its own govt or the needs of its own people.

Since Rohani has moved TOWARD the globalists in trade & monetary ("austerity") policy, you wdn't expect Western-induced protests. Maybe it's pressure to make him move faster.

karlof1 , Jan 3, 2018 1:32:59 AM | 62
Grieved @60 et al--

Thanks much for your comments, links and excerpts. What we are witnessing is how The Outlaw US Empire manifests Terror through its stated policy of establishing full spectrum dominance of the planet and its people--virtually everyone is targeted, yet most remain ignorant of that which threatens them most.

Lozion , Jan 3, 2018 1:34:34 AM | 63
@60 Grieved, are you familiar with Lebanese professor Amal Saad? Here she links to translated video excerpts from protesters and their demands a la vox populi.

https://twitter.com/amalsaad_lb/status/948324393029074944

james , Jan 3, 2018 1:56:54 AM | 64
@49 lozion.. definitely sarcasm on ghost ships part.. kenneth roth is an idiot... i don't know if he even looked at the pic, which would explain how some folks tweet first and think later..

and after a week or more off, the usa daily press briefing was on tap today right on cue... read the link here for more info.. i have quoted some of it below..

amazing how important social media is to the usa! more important then removing any of the financial sanctions that cause hardship.. hey - who cares about eating? but, one must not have their social media removed!

"QUESTION: When you say that you're watching it very closely, monitoring, as everyone knows quite well, the U.S. doesn't have an embassy in Iran, it doesn't have any – at least no publicly known presence there. So how exactly are you following the situation? News, social media?

MS NAUERT: Well, Matt, this would go back to how we watch many nations when things are going on, especially when we don't have a presence there. We get our information from a variety of sources. Some of that can come from NGOs. Some of that can come from media reports. Obviously, that's a little more difficult right now because the government has clapped – clamped down not only on media but, as we've seen, social media too. We expect and we certainly hope that people will be able to access social media and speak freely there, just like we've seen them speak on the streets.

QUESTION: Right. Last --

MS NAUERT: So we'll get that from a variety of sources. Some of that will include intelligence, our partners on the ground, and many other nations as well.

QUESTION: Last one. So you are, in fact, calling on the Government of Iran to restore any social media that has been – that may have been blocked?

MS NAUERT: Well, I think that would certainly be an important thing for them to do. We support a freedom of the press here in the United States. We support the right of voices to be heard. And when a nation clamps down on social media or websites or Google or news sites, we ask the question, "What are you afraid of?" What are you afraid of? We support the Iranian people and we support their voices being heard.

QUESTION: And are you considering sanctions?

MS NAUERT: We don't get ahead of sanctions, but that is one toolkit, a couple things that we have in a very broad and wide toolkit. It's – there are a range of options that we certainly have going forward. And that's why I say we are watching reports very carefully of any potential human rights abuses of these protesters who are protesting peacefully.

Okay. Hi, Andrea. Nice to see you.

QUESTION: Hi, Happy New Year to you.

MS NAUERT: Thank you.

QUESTION: Is there – first of all, is there anything that the U.S. can do to help restore access to social media to the Iranian people?

MS NAUERT: Not that I'm aware of. I mean look, I'm not a tech expert. There are lots of ways that people can get information through different sources and different apps and all of that, but I'm not aware of anything particularly that we as a government are able to do. But we're watching it carefully." what bullshite..

james , Jan 3, 2018 1:59:37 AM | 65
like social media is the great revolution tool when in fact it's the great manipulative tool which nsa monitors 24/7 thanks the police state the usa has become..
ArioBarzan , Jan 3, 2018 2:12:17 AM | 66
Im an avid reader of MOA, ZeroHedge etc... and a strong supporter of movement towards a multi polar world and agree with much of what the axis of resistance stands for, but as a young Iranian Im very disappointed in this analysis and the following comments, perhaps this is understandable though since non of you guys seem to be aware of the extent of oppression and hypocrisy that exists in Iran under the Islamic republic.
So here I will try to give a narrative of why these protests are happening as a voice (out of many) for the Iranian youth,

What is happening these days in Iran doesnt resemble a color revolution to me as much as it does the constitutional revolution of 1906-1909 ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persian_Constitutional_Revolution);
for more than a 100 years we have called for Freedom, Independence and independent judiciary, and what have we got?

A state which has crafted its own upper class clerical and related oligarchy that openly claim majority of the resources and sole right of final decision making for themselves,
A state whose own president admitted 2 days ago that he has no control over 200,000 Billion Tumans of its budget out of a total budget of 360,000 Billion Tumans, due to special interest groups that he can not challenge,
A state in which "Centre for supporting clerical students" receives about $200 million a year while the whole of the very earthquake prone country's emergency services receive $50 million a year,
A state in which the office of the representative of the supreme leader in universities receive more than $40 million a year while fund for helping university students with financial difficulty receives less than $10 million a year,

Over a hundred years ago our forefathers marched in the streets asking for an independent judiciary and what have we got?

An openly political judiciary whose head is an anoitee of the unelected supreme leader and whose former head (Mr.Shahroudi) called it a ruin,
A Judiciary which doesnt even reject that its current head has 63 personal bank accounts in his own name and receives over $7 million a month of interest from those accounts (because of "certain considerations") while his own deputy and head of prison services admits that the prisons dont have the budget to feed prisoners 3 times a day.
A Judiciary where the Head openly interferes with domestic and international politics of the country and even goes as far as personally ordering the cancellation governmentally approved concerts by Shiite ISIS while rejecting to even consider corruption cases againstg his brothers with video proof.

My dear Multi polar world supporters, we are rebelling because we are oppressed, for too long we've been oppressed economically, Politically and socially,
We are sick and tired of the IR's Hypocrisy,
we are sick and tired of seeing our troops and wealth fighting and dying in Syria, yemen etc (rightly in my opinion) in defense Alevites and Houthis and other groups while if in Iran these same groups would have been badly prosecuted as proved by the IR's treatment of the Yaresan, Ahl el Haq and various sufi and dervish denominations in Iran,
We are sick and tired of our troops fighting and dying in Syria, for President Assad and Putin to say cheers in Sochi, while we would be lashed for the same cup of wine.
We are sick and tired of seeing our beloved religion hijacked by a few and used as a tool of oppression with the sole purpose of enriching a few.

The children of Sattarkhan,Sardar Assad Bakhtiari and Sepahsalar Tonekaboni have risen in the 4 corners of Iran against a clerical oligarchy that sucks the blood of the country dry, a clerical establishment that has amassed in 40 years an amount of wealth comparable to the Catholic church while our beloved Iran is going trough environmental and social disaster.

I have no doubt the enemies of Iran (US, Israel, saudi or other) will do their best to use these protests in their favor, but to call whats happening a color revolution is not only closing your eyes towards all the legitimate demands of the people protesting, but also bringing into question the sole achievement that IR has been claiming these past few years domestically as the providers of national security for Iran. If IR has failed to stop foreign infiltrators to cause unrest in 20+ of the small towns that are protesting all around Iran today, as well as failing Iran, economically, socially and politically, Isnt it the peoples right to call for a referendum that gives them a way out of this broken, corrupt system?

If you dont want this to turn into a color revolution then dont let it become one, dont let the vulture's of the uni polar world to dominate the dialogue about the events in Iran, heed people's legitimate concerns and ask your Governments (specially Brics countries) to engage IR and convince it of holding a referendum under international(specially brics) supervision, this way the one can ensure which ever side wins in this referendum will see Brics as partners not enemies, and after all if IR is as popular as you claim it to be, it shouldn't have any fears of getting a second stamp of approval from the Iranian people 40 years on by holding a referendum.
Thank you for reading through my long comment, I hope you found it useful;
MOA if you believe in freedom of expression Tag-post this comment as a rebuttal to your analysis.

Ariane Grazioli , Jan 3, 2018 2:15:24 AM | 67
Attention to the videos on the net, many of which are false... western propaganda against Iran. http://www.20minutes.fr/monde/2195291-20180102-manifestations-iran-attention-images-videos-detournees
james , Jan 3, 2018 2:25:56 AM | 68
ariobarzan - there was another poster recently on another thread called ninel.. your post reminds me of theirs..

"but to call whats happening a color revolution is not only closing your eyes towards all the legitimate demands of the people protesting".. no actually.. it is not... the 2 go together like butter and jam.. you can't have the one without the other..

"MOA if you believe in freedom of expression Tag-post this comment as a rebuttal to your analysis." that isn't the way it works in the free world.. you can start your own website though..

Peter AU 1 , Jan 3, 2018 2:57:32 AM | 69
@ ArioBarzan
Very few countries have managed to stand against the US empire. China and Russia are powers in their own right who cannot be attacked by the US without the US being destroyed itself.
Of the smaller countries, it is only those with ideological or religious fanaticism that have stood against the US empire. Makes it a really shitty world. It is Iran's (or a good section of Iran) religious fanaticism that has enabled it to kick the US out and stand against them. It would be much better if the world did not have to function in this way.
Perhaps in the coming multi-polar world..
Peter AU 1 , Jan 3, 2018 3:52:06 AM | 70
to add to 69

There will be opposition to both religious authority, and economic problems (economic problems brought on by us Sanctions), same as any country. US empire will identify this, use this, insert a few provocateurs, snipers, fake media ect.

Ian , Jan 3, 2018 4:01:52 AM | 71
Peter AU 1 @54:

It's unlikely that there will be another Sino-Russian split. Both Beijing and Moscow will be polite and listen to what Washington has to say, but they'll ignore them. I agree that Trump is trying to shift focus away from Russia and towards China and Iran. IMO, the problem for Washington is that they can only go after one, China or Iran. It's anybody guess on who will win in the fight between the Zionists and Nationalists.

Den Lille Abe , Jan 3, 2018 4:03:50 AM | 72
Iran is not Syria. Iran is not an arab country.It appears that the US do not understand this fact. They further do not understand that the Iran - Iraq war, while horribly stunting development of Iran, cemented the idea of a national belonging and national spirit, regardless of religious issues. That was never present in Syria.
Israel on the other hand, however vile it acts, clearly understands these facts, and indeed did cooperate with the Islamic state in the beginning. But Israel fears Iran, because Iran is the only state in the region that is in earnest capable of opposing Israels ambitions. Iran as such , imo, has only the ambition of countering the Wahabis, not Sunni or any other religion. Other religions are absolutely tolerated in Iran, although proselyting is frowned upon. Try proselyting in SA! Head goes off!
I doubt that the subversion of the protests will work at all.
Den Lille Abe , Jan 3, 2018 4:15:04 AM | 73
This talk about China - Russia splits, Russia throwing Syria, Iran, Turkey under the bus, are wet dreams of our own Western press. Sensational journalism, when worst. The case of NK is much different as NK in fact is in breach of UN conventions and agreements. But as we have seen sanctions can be broken readily. The US itself is a master of disregarding international Law, the UN and any agreement that they suddenly feel inhibit their aspirations.
The Silk road is all too important for all involved, including the EU. EU is already heavily engaged in Iran, with Iranians welcoming it. The EU sees the Silk Road as tremendous opportunity for developing new markets in the world.
And please dont forget the EU is supremely the worlds largest economic power. Having good trade relations with the EU is far, far more important than with the US.
The US is a has been. Spent, it industries off shored, like Britain, done by corporations only driven by greed.
somebody , Jan 3, 2018 4:34:37 AM | 74
Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 3, 2018 2:57:32 AM | 69

Vietnam did, Cuba did. Both countries are now keen on economic relations with the US. To see the world as with / against the US is a strange prism. Both - China and Russia - cooperate and have cooperated with the US in lots of ways.

It makes more sense to analyze what is going on as a fight over who secures/controls trade routes, who takes or pays levy. History has not progressed much from the Middle Ages. Religion/ideology is used to cover warfare and crime on all sides.

The New York Times now has proclaimed the Iranian "revolution" as internal economic conflict, whilst Iran presumably has prove of what has been going on. This here is the Washington Post:

The Latest: No Schedule yet for US sought UN meeting in Iran

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says an exiled opposition group is inciting violence in Iran, where anti-government protests have been held in a number of cities in recent days.

In a phone call with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, Rouhani called on France to stop hosting the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq group, known as the MEK. Several of the group's leaders are based in Paris.

I have full sympathy with most Iranian emigrants but they are irrelevant for what is going on in Iran. There are now official demonstrations in support of the Iranian government and they are massive. Yes people are probably bussed in government employees but there seem a lot of them and all they needed to do to protest would be simply not to go.

Peter AU 1 , Jan 3, 2018 5:00:09 AM | 75
@ Ian, I agree that another Sino/Russian split is unlikely. Highly unlikely.
China or Iran is interesting. Will keep an eye on that. Perhaps Iran first then China is the plan?
blues , Jan 3, 2018 5:13:34 AM | 76
Wait a minute here! I am supposed to actually worry about protests in Iran? Really? Not one of my protests in the USSA has been news.

What a freaking load!

x , Jan 3, 2018 5:25:50 AM | 77
@74 -- "There are now official demonstrations in support of the Iranian government and they are massive."

All likely part of a 'Reality TV' strategy. Controlled opposition and opportunism to distract and misdirect the MSM narrative and even draw out the 'official' response from the Swamp.

No doubt vectors are moving and assets positioning in respect to Iran and NK. However, Trump's comic 'art of bullying' is a dangerous clown gambit with Netanyahu behind him pushing.

True, in 2018 "something must be done" to save the US economy (and indeed, Assad just won't go...), but starting WW3 and/or losing huge amounts of 'face' are likely even worse scenarios for most players.

I suspect Persia's long history provides many case studies and opportunities to slice the diplomatic 'polony' as thin as it gets.

Trump's getting frustrated with international affairs and he now appears to have the Clinton gang in his sights. So, perhaps we should expect more US domestic orientated scenes in the 2018 reality-tv circus?

Jen , Jan 3, 2018 5:57:46 AM | 78
Methinks that ArioBarzan @ 66 has revealed his/her trolling nature by claiming that Iranians are sick and tired of seeing their troops fighting ISIS in Syria and assisting the Houthis in Yemen: for suggesting that foreigners should pressure the Iranian government to hold a referendum in which Iranians can vote for the government of their choice (and if in that referendum most Iranians choose the devil they know over the devil they don't know, ArioBarzan is going to have a lot of egg on his/her face); and for demanding that MoA privilege his/her comment above everyone else's.

Never mind that assisting Syria in its war against ISIS and its foreign supporters is in Iran's interests as well; that there is as yet no evidence of Iranian assistance to the Houthis, what with Saudi Arabia enforcing a blockade of Yemen; and that there are extremely few if any Alevis in Yemen (but plenty in Turkey).

Ian , Jan 3, 2018 6:01:40 AM | 79
Peter AU 1 @75:

The AAZ Empire have enough life left for one more military adventurism. There isn't any viable way to take on China without risking an exchange of nukes where the best case scenario is the loss of an ally, South Korea (because they'd be all dead). Invade Taiwan? That'll piss off the Chinese on both the mainland and among the diaspora. Thus, inviting a security nightmare, unless he brings back internment camps which will bring about another nightmare. The PLA would invade and fight the US which will turn Taiwan into another Syria. I highly doubt Taipei would want such devastation. Japan stated that they'll come to the aid of Taipei but then Beijing would green light an attack from North Korea and you can kiss those nuclear power plants goodbye. No American would be motivated to fight in East Asia due to a lack of cultural connectivity. The best Trump can do against China is wage an economic war.

My money is on Iran because of the Israeli-Saudi lobbyists which have infiltrated every aspect of US life. People like Sheldon Adelson and the Evangelical Christians, would make Trump's life a living hell if Israel's core interest is sacrificed. Trump have no choice.

Harry , Jan 3, 2018 6:08:27 AM | 80
@ ArioBarzan aka zio-Lenin from previous thread. Go away with your trolling and shilling for shekels. Their point of view just happen to be inline with US, Israel and MEK, what a coincidence! :)

Considering how much zionists invests in mass and social media, its quite surprising they send just one or two guys to derail threads here, it must be they dont consider MoA that popular... Their mistake.

ArioBarzan , Jan 3, 2018 6:14:44 AM | 81
@78
Me thinks Jen is an uninformed person who doesnt know what is he/she talking about and only engages in name calling without actually answering any of the points I made,
I clearly stated that I support Iranian involvement in both Syria and Yemen ( to what ever extent it exists or used to exist) exactly because I think its in Iran's as well as the former countries interest,
what I hate is the double standard of the Islamic republic in supporting these groups externally while oppressing very similar faiths and denominations internally.
Also yes there is no Alevis in Yemen and actually not many in Syria the one's in Syria are called Alawites and the houthi's in Yemen are Zaidi Shias, to see how any of these groups would have been treated if they had been in Iran just look at the Islamic republic's treatment of any non twelver denomination,
B Logical , Jan 3, 2018 6:17:14 AM | 82
Again, humble apologies to b for my having believed that the Q "Storm" phenomenon was Trump fighting the deep state starting with the purge in S.A. Apparently the Iran regime change nonsense is his "Storm".
BB8 , Jan 3, 2018 6:28:32 AM | 83
Fellow Iranian here. I can not agree at least with half of what @Ariobarzan is talking about. To me it seems he just want to highlight the points that is important for him or his opposition! yet forgets to mentions where is the source of all these issues and corruptions !
But hey my 2cents, do you know what was/is the difference between Iran under Pahlavi and nowadays Iran? both of them are same shit, dictatorship in different ways! the only difference was under Pahlavi there was no sanctions! there was no demonising, Iran was part of hegemony! Now its not, so it has to pay for being against it and not part of it!
somebody , Jan 3, 2018 6:45:06 AM | 84
Posted by: BB8 | Jan 3, 2018 6:28:32 AM | 83

I guess Iran would have (had) to pay either way - being part of hegemony or being against it. Look at Pakistan - which used to be part of hegemony. Or look at Turkey - which used to be part of hegemony.

ArioBarzan , Jan 3, 2018 6:47:01 AM | 85
@BB8
Can you please tell me which points dont you agree with,
also im not sure if I understand you correctly but are you claiming that the reason for internal corruption and oppression pointed out is the sanctions and demonising ?
Not that I agree with sanctions and demonisation, not only they cause many problems for the Iranian people but also they are used as a tool by the regime to justify the internal oppression,
As we say in Iran we are stuck between چکش و سندان or the rock and a hard place in english.
BB8 , Jan 3, 2018 7:17:33 AM | 86
@Ariobarzan
As I said I did no agree with what you said earlier just because I can easily smell "Saltanat Talab" out of it! Using words like Shiite ISIS, like seriously? or mentioning someone like Sepahsalar Tonekaboni can clearly show from what opposition you are talking!

I do however agree with the fact the we should be allowed to protest and ask for changing ask for reforming but don't fool yourself for a moment if you think any change in Iran will lead to transferring power to peoples hand. Though I think you know changing regime in Iran will transfer power to whom.

And if you want to know more how I do not agree with you just read @Jen @Ian @harry @Peter AU 1's posts and the others, I do agree with them!

somebody , Jan 3, 2018 7:31:22 AM | 87
Anyway, the Islamist revolution seems to be over: It is back to nationalism now .
somebody , Jan 3, 2018 7:34:53 AM | 88
add to 87
Link is meant to go to the images of this tweet
https://twitter.com/SaeedKD/status/948467527931351040
ArioBarzan , Jan 3, 2018 7:40:10 AM | 89
@BB8 86
Again the name calling ! Im not "Saltant Talab" or monarchist and I only mentioned SepahSalar Tonekaboni within the context of the Constitutional revolution and also mentioned Sardar Assad Bakhtiari who was murdered by the monarchy later on,
Im sure if I was a Monarchist and wanted to come up with an example I could have came up with someone much more recent than Tonekaboni...
Anyways whether Im a monarchist or not shouldn't even matter; Attacking the messenger rather than the message is clear logical fallacy, Answer the points I have made non of the people you mentioned (besides @peter au to some extent) has even engaged with what ive said,
Dont attack me based on who you assume I am, You dont know who am I and I dont know who you are,
yes I do refer to the " Gorooh Feshars " and the Mesbah types as Shia ISIS, Not all of the Iranian Regime.
Thanks
somebody , Jan 3, 2018 7:45:02 AM | 90
This French - Iranian phone call must have been awkward and there are different versions.
On the sixth day of protests that have cost 21 lives, according to official figures, Macron told Rouhani that he was worried about the number of victims and insisted that "fundamental liberties, especially freedom of expression and demonstration, must be respected".

He called on Rouhani to exercise "restraint and appeasement".
...
Iranian state television reported that Rouhani called on Macron to take action against the Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), an exiled opposition group that is currently based in Auvers-sur-Oise, north of Paris.

The Iranian government describes the organisation as a "terrorist group" and it was on the European Union's terrorist list until 2009.

Tehran claims that it has stirred up the current demonstrations on the orders of Saudi Arabia and "certain European countries".
...
French companies have increased trade with Iran since the lifting of sanctions over its nuclear programme, although US President Donald Trump has threatened to pull out of the deal.

Loyal , Jan 3, 2018 8:03:52 AM | 91
As expected this new so called revolution was faded out quick. US, Israel, Saudi and their lackeys Monarchist & MKO . failed again.
This was not the first nor the last violent attempt but they will fail every time against IRI.
dadooronron , Jan 3, 2018 8:22:26 AM | 92
Laguerre wrote: "As I understand it Rouhani tried to cut subsidies or convert subsidies to charity for the poor. That would endanger the subsistence of a lot of people and be reason enough to demonstrate. It is also the type of neoliberal remedy investors love."

I agree. Most of the commentators here are not giving much weight to economic issues. And, I see no one referring to the leak of the budget by Rouhani, a leak that shows religious institutions getting fat while subsidies are being cut and youth unemployment is above 35%. It's a certainty that Iran's external enemies are trying to fan the flames, but the regime has created plenty of embers. Sure, check out the satellite photos of demos, but also take a look at the leaked budget.

somebody , Jan 3, 2018 8:22:33 AM | 93
91 - They are pretty good. German radio at present describes today's demonstration as "in support of the conservative clerical rule". Judging from the photos above (88) they did not fall into this trap.
somebody , Jan 3, 2018 10:43:45 AM | 94
Posted by: dadooronron | Jan 3, 2018 8:22:26 AM | 92

I think we got the plot of this tragicomedy now.

1. Rouhani publishes the budget to highlight large unaccounted spending on the religious institutions of his opponents.

2. His opponents fight back by highlighting the cut of subsidies and handouts making the poor depend on charity.

3. Iranians get upsite sharing their discontent via Telegram messenger.

4. Telegram's Dubai developers hand the data over to a secret service center used for coordinating the enemies of Iran. The latest highly sophisticated software used to evaluate the mood of populations declares the situation to be revolutionary. Population centers where most dissatisfaction is registered are identified. For some reason these centers are in the provinces.

5. Popular Iranian messenger channels inform people in the localities identified on simultaneous dates for demonstrations.

6. MEK and Royalist networks activate their sleeper cells to be there.

7. Somewhere in Tehran a counterinsurgency center with similar software to the one used in Dubai evaluates what is going on in the notoriously unsafe Telegram messenger. Iranian secret service cannot believe their luck - the enemy does a sting operation for them.

5. The Iranian Islamic Department for Soft Warfare (IIDSW) begins to plan the look and feel of the final unity demonstrations.

kooshy , Jan 3, 2018 10:45:00 AM | 95
ArioBar(HAM)zan: "yes I do refer to the " Gorooh Feshars " and the Mesbah types as Shia ISIS, Not all of the Iranian Regime.'

Iranian Regime? sounds like US' UN Nikki Babe' label for governments she/Israel doesn't like . don't you think so? IMO, Ziocan hasbra didn't get far this time,

ninel , Jan 3, 2018 10:59:53 AM | 96
@ BB8 83

There are things the IRI could do to improve its image inside and outside the country. Do you take any position regarding the following issues:

a) child marriages

According to the Islamic Republic civil code, the legal age of marriage in Iran is 13 for girls and 15 for boys. UNICEF estimates approximately 17% of girls in Iran are married before the age of 18. The population is close to 80 million, do the math (!) The IRI does not keep proper records of child marriages inside the country. But in 2012, the Iranian Parliament sought to lower girl's legal marriage age to 9. See Vivian Tsai's 'Child bride practice rising in Iran'.

b) torture, executions and public hangings

c) bonyads are religious charitable trusts in Iran that receive billions of dollars. Rouhani who has been trying to improve the economy, create jobs and allocate proper funds to various sectors, recently disclosed details of the new budget, in particular the allocation of billions of dollars of funds to bonyads, as a way to provoke popular resentment, which worked as many Iranians were outraged

d) repression of trade unions and of the right to organize, to collectively bargain and to strike.

e) compulsory dress code for women (and men)

f) corruption and mismanagement

g) prohibition of alcohol

By addressing these issues, which I don't think would threaten the IRI in any fundamental way, other than perhaps ideologically or financially in the case of corruption, the government would help protect itself from criticisms and threats, both from within and outside of the country. Can you think of any good reason why the IRI doesn't 'update' its laws?


@ Ariobarzan 85 wrote in response to BB8:

"but are you claiming that the reason for internal corruption and oppression pointed out is the sanctions and demonising ? Not that I agree with sanctions and demonisation, not only they cause many problems for the Iranian people but also they are used as a tool by the regime to justify the internal oppression,"

Yes, I wholeheartedly agree and I have heard the same from many Iranians. The excuses must end. Even Rouhani and other government officials have sought to address the issue of corruption!

In Iran, there was a great revolutionary figure who mysteriously died in 1979, he was more popular than Khomeini, and in fact helped promote Khomeini's image in the country when the latter was living in exile by copying recorded tapes of his lectures and distributing them to his countrymen. This man spent over a decade in prison and was even tortured by SAVAK agent. He was called the Red Mullah because of his association with various socialist groups in Iran back in the 60s and 70s. He even wrote a piece on private property in Islam. This man's name was Ayatollah Taleqani, who has much respect in the country, even among the non-religious. There is a famous story of him which I would like to share: immediately after the revolution, when many Islamic revolutionaries had rushed into government buildings and in Parliament with the intention of occupying and securing for themselves seats in the newly established government, Taleqani who feared that a new dictatorship would replace the old one, famously did not take a seat in the parliament building, instead he sat on the floor, in protest at what he perceived to be a lust for power and corruption. He warned against a 'return to despotism' decades before. Here is the picture:

https://www.isna.ir/news/95061812117/%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%AA%D9%81%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%B1-%D9%82%D8%B1%D8%A2%D9%86-%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%AD%D9%88%D9%85-%D8%B7%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%86%DB%8C-%D8%B9%D9%82%D9%84-%DA%AF%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C%DB%8C-%D8%AD%D8%B1%D9%81-%D8%A7%D9%88%D9%84-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D9%85%DB%8C-%D8%B2%D9%86%D8%AF


Noirette , Jan 3, 2018 11:15:23 AM | 97
Leaving Syria aside for now and going for the greatest contrast, Ukraine, the 'color' revolution 'Maidan' - with the snipers / deaths, worked because of many particular local conditions. Note is was a *second* attempt after the Orange Revolution, 2004-5, which fizzled out, with Yanukovitch, Party of Regions, elected.

The Ukr. 'opposition' gathered all kinds of 'refusniks' together: the strongest were the Nazis, they were joined by deluded or 'paid' young ppl, ppl from the countryside, political opponents, splinter interests, etc.

In a country that traditionally is, was split in two, supposedly ethnically - culturally/linguistically - (pale distinctions, basically, the Donbass is the stronghold of the uncivilized, thugs, Russia lovers, etc.) and rife with internal strife. Already losing population - suitcase protest - since the middle 90's, from 52 m down to maybe less than 45 m. today. With a super-weak totally oligarchic Gvmt. In Ukraine, the ugly dark murderous chaos might be wonderful from a US pov, heh yet oohlaa Crimea was lost to Russia.

None of these detrimental and negative characteristics (one could add many others) apply to Iran.

Nothing will happen. These manifestations of 'protests' engineered by various and blown up by the MSM are like the application of a tired, outdated script, the last dance, the small eruptions that finally fizzle or bubble out.

I hope I'm right.

John , Jan 3, 2018 11:46:19 AM | 98
It would seem that the Trump administration and its allies in deep state are exporting Fake News and rent a mobs. Are these exports increasing our GDP, Pres Trump?

Why don't you just get busy on your pledged agenda like cleaning the stinkin swamp, re-building infrastructure and creating term limits in congress?

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss...

Shakesvshav , Jan 3, 2018 11:48:42 AM | 99
Thanks to ninel for his cogent account of the odiousness of the regime. Ludicrous to describe such a commenter as a troll.
somebody , Jan 3, 2018 11:49:55 AM | 100
97
The rift in the elites seems to be serious enough if you believe the Guardian .
The president, who increased his mandate by 5m votes when he won his second term, fired back this week by saying that the political legitimacy of a religious leader is determined by the "people's will and invitation" – comments that supporters of Khamenei, whose position as supreme leader is a lifelong appointment, have received with disdain.

Clerics sympathetic to Khamenei argue that the legitimacy of the leader, or the rule of the Islamic jurist (Velayat-e-Faghih) is divine.

This here is the Financial Times - Iran cracks down on Revolutionary Guards business network

Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps is being forced to shrink its sprawling business empire and some of its senior members have been arrested as part of President Hassan Rouhani's attempts to curb the elite force's role in the economy.

[Jan 03, 2018] When Putin Talks on Ukraine, It Is Worth Listening

Notable quotes:
"... Originally from: ..."
"... Ukraine. Putin's remarks on the state of affairs in Ukraine are, of course, wholly at odds with what Washington puts out on the subject. But they are not at odds with reality: Washington is. ..."
"... Those terms remain Putin's point of reference. They appear to remain the European Union's, too. Washington, which the Europeans and Russia excluded from the Minsk talks for the wisest of reasons, does not seem to have a point of reference, busy as it is pretending there is progress on the corruption front and that Kiev is not dependent on a frightening collection of militias, many of them led by neo–Nazi fanatics. ..."
"... These groups still present the threat of a massacre in the eastern provinces, as Putin reminded his audience. He spoke with notable ease of Russian assistance in those regions, suggesting this can end when they are capable of self-defense. ..."
Jan 03, 2018 | russia-insider.com
Originally from: When Putin Talks, It Is Worth Listening

Ukraine. Putin's remarks on the state of affairs in Ukraine are, of course, wholly at odds with what Washington puts out on the subject. But they are not at odds with reality: Washington is. As Putin calmly noted, the number-one obstacle to a settlement in Ukraine is, as it has been for three years come next February, the profoundly corrupt government installed in Kiev after the American-cultivated coup in 2014.

I say three years next February because it was then the settlement framework known as Minsk II (for the city where it was negotiated and signed) was put in place.

Those terms remain Putin's point of reference. They appear to remain the European Union's, too. Washington, which the Europeans and Russia excluded from the Minsk talks for the wisest of reasons, does not seem to have a point of reference, busy as it is pretending there is progress on the corruption front and that Kiev is not dependent on a frightening collection of militias, many of them led by neo–Nazi fanatics.

These groups still present the threat of a massacre in the eastern provinces, as Putin reminded his audience. He spoke with notable ease of Russian assistance in those regions, suggesting this can end when they are capable of self-defense.

We would do well to understand where the force of inertia lies in Ukraine. This was Putin's topic. A settlement in Ukraine remains possible via the framework fixed three years ago. Let us not forget this. Moscow has not deviated from Minsk II -- another point worth noting. The spoilers are in Kiev, and behind them are those in Washington, which continues to encourage the irresponsible behavior of the Poroshenko government and other Ukrainian elites.

[Jan 02, 2018] Meet Ezra Cohen-Watnick, Secret Source In Trump Probe – The Forward

Notable quotes:
"... Contact Nathan Guttman at guttman@forward.com or on Twitter, @nathanguttman ..."
"... Contact Nathan Guttman at guttman@forward.com or on Twitter, @nathanguttman ..."
Jan 02, 2018 | forward.com

ho is Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the 30-year-old White House aide who could be a key player in the blockbuster investigation into Russian ties to President Trump and his campaign?

Cohen-Watnick, 30, who The New York Times reports provided key information in the probe, is a once fast-rising protege of ousted Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn with deep roots in suburban Washington's Jewish community.

The paper identified him as one of two staffers who explosively gave information on intelligence gathering in the Russia probe to Republican House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, a move that potentially compromised the lawmaker's role in the bombshell probe.

Share

Cohen-Watnick grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland, just outside the nation's capital, and attended the nearby Conservative synagogue Ohr Kodesh. Last November he celebrated his engagement to Rebecca Miller at the synagogue.

He attended the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 2008. Cohen-Watnick began working as an intelligence analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency after college. At the DIA, Cohen-Watnick met Flynn, the then-director who was later removed from his position during the Obama administration.

me title=

After Trump won the November election, Flynn brought Cohen-Watnick from the DIA to the Trump transition team, where the young staffer, according to The Washington Post, was among the few Trump advisers to hold a top security clearance. He participated in high-level intelligence briefings and briefed Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and their team on national security issues.

When Flynn was appointed to lead the National Security Council, he hired Cohen-Watnick to work with him there. But Flynn served as national security adviser for less than a month before being asked to leave following revelations that he had maintained ties with Russia during the campaign.

Flynn's successor, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, sought to remove Cohen-Watnick from the team, following input from the CIA director who pointed to problems intelligence officers had when dealing with Cohen-Watnick. Questions were raised about his ability to carry out the position of senior NSC director for intelligence programs, who oversees ties with intelligence agencies and vets information that should reach the president's desk.

me scrolling=

But Cohen-Watnick was spared when Trump personally intervened, reportedly after top White House aides Sphen Bannon and Jared Kushner stepped in. Cohen-Watnick still serves as senior director at the NSC.

Cohen-Watnick is known for holding hawkish views on national security issues and of being a proponent of an American tough line toward Iran.

The Times said that Cohen-Watnick became swept up in the Russia probe this month, shortly after Trump wrote on Twitter about unsubstantiated claims of being wiretapped on the orders of the former president Barack Obama.

Cohen-Watnick apparently was reviewing highly classified reports detailing the intercepted communications of foreign officials that consisted primarily of ambassadors and other foreign officials talking about how they were trying to curry favor with Trump's family and inner circle in advance of his inauguration.

He and another aide, identified as Michael Ellis, came across information that Trump aides may have been inadvertently caught on some of the surveillance.

Nunes says he went to the White House to meet with the aides, whom he has refused to identify. Nunes wolud not share the information with his colleagues on the committee but did brief Trump, raising major questions about his independence.

Contact Nathan Guttman at guttman@forward.com or on Twitter, @nathanguttman

Read more: https://forward.com/news/367690/meet-ezra-cohen-watnick-the-secret-source-at-the-center-of-trump-russia-pro/ ho is Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the 30-year-old White House aide who could be a key player in the blockbuster investigation into Russian ties to President Trump and his campaign?

Cohen-Watnick, 30, who The New York Times reports provided key information in the probe, is a once fast-rising protege of ousted Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn with deep roots in suburban Washington's Jewish community.

The paper identified him as one of two staffers who explosively gave information on intelligence gathering in the Russia probe to Republican House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, a move that potentially compromised the lawmaker's role in the bombshell probe.

Share

Cohen-Watnick grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland, just outside the nation's capital, and attended the nearby Conservative synagogue Ohr Kodesh. Last November he celebrated his engagement to Rebecca Miller at the synagogue.

He attended the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 2008. Cohen-Watnick began working as an intelligence analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency after college. At the DIA, Cohen-Watnick met Flynn, the then-director who was later removed from his position during the Obama administration.

me title=

After Trump won the November election, Flynn brought Cohen-Watnick from the DIA to the Trump transition team, where the young staffer, according to The Washington Post, was among the few Trump advisers to hold a top security clearance. He participated in high-level intelligence briefings and briefed Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and their team on national security issues.

When Flynn was appointed to lead the National Security Council, he hired Cohen-Watnick to work with him there. But Flynn served as national security adviser for less than a month before being asked to leave following revelations that he had maintained ties with Russia during the campaign.

Flynn's successor, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, sought to remove Cohen-Watnick from the team, following input from the CIA director who pointed to problems intelligence officers had when dealing with Cohen-Watnick. Questions were raised about his ability to carry out the position of senior NSC director for intelligence programs, who oversees ties with intelligence agencies and vets information that should reach the president's desk.

me scrolling=

But Cohen-Watnick was spared when Trump personally intervened, reportedly after top White House aides Sphen Bannon and Jared Kushner stepped in. Cohen-Watnick still serves as senior director at the NSC.

Cohen-Watnick is known for holding hawkish views on national security issues and of being a proponent of an American tough line toward Iran.

The Times said that Cohen-Watnick became swept up in the Russia probe this month, shortly after Trump wrote on Twitter about unsubstantiated claims of being wiretapped on the orders of the former president Barack Obama.

Cohen-Watnick apparently was reviewing highly classified reports detailing the intercepted communications of foreign officials that consisted primarily of ambassadors and other foreign officials talking about how they were trying to curry favor with Trump's family and inner circle in advance of his inauguration.

He and another aide, identified as Michael Ellis, came across information that Trump aides may have been inadvertently caught on some of the surveillance.

Nunes says he went to the White House to meet with the aides, whom he has refused to identify. Nunes wolud not share the information with his colleagues on the committee but did brief Trump, raising major questions about his independence.

Contact Nathan Guttman at guttman@forward.com or on Twitter, @nathanguttman

Read more: https://forward.com/news/367690/meet-ezra-cohen-watnick-the-secret-source-at-the-center-of-trump-russia-pro/

[Jan 02, 2018] Haley and the Trump Administration's Contempt for Diplomacy

Notable quotes:
"... Haley's remarks are consistent with the Trump administration's hopeless North Korea policy. She is insisting that North Korea do something it has said it will never do, and she says that it will have to do this before the U.S. begins to "take seriously" any negotiations North Korea enters into. Setting preconditions for talks is bad enough, but here Haley is setting absurd, deal-breaking preconditions that even she has to know will never be accepted. ..."
"... Certainly she is looking down the road, when she knows she will need the moneyed interests of those groups who support using the American military to further their goals.. She has the cover of being the thug without the responsibility of using force.. ..."
"... I know I'm a broken record on this, but is there really no one left in the realm of American foreign policy who understands the saying, "Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way"? ..."
Jan 02, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Our ambassador to the U.N. doesn't understand anything about diplomacy:

Nikki Haley on reports South Korea is proposing talks with North Korea: "We will not take any of the talk seriously if they don't do something to ban all nuclear weapons in North Korea." https://t.co/RaGT9E3dRt pic.twitter.com/pVyCc9VxzD

-- CBS News (@CBSNews) January 2, 2018

Haley's remarks are consistent with the Trump administration's hopeless North Korea policy. She is insisting that North Korea do something it has said it will never do, and she says that it will have to do this before the U.S. begins to "take seriously" any negotiations North Korea enters into. Setting preconditions for talks is bad enough, but here Haley is setting absurd, deal-breaking preconditions that even she has to know will never be accepted.

There is no more obvious non-starter than demanding that the other side surrender before negotiations even begin. By dismissing all talks that precede denuclearization, Haley is restating the administration's complete refusal to compromise and its utter contempt for diplomacy as a tool of statecraft. It is an exceptionally obtuse and unreasonable position to take when there is an opportunity to open negotiations with Pyongyang, and I expect that our regional allies will be as baffled as they are disturbed by it.

Christian Chuba January 2, 2018 at 4:08 pm

This is standard operating procedure as far as the U.S. goes.

1. 2008 – U.S. insists that Iran has to dismantle their entire nuclear infrastructure as a precondition of 'negotiations'. HRC cackles that the additional sanctions she put in place 'brought Iran back to the negotiating table'. Obama, to his credit, accepts Iran's original claim to their right to enrich uranium to produce their own fuel but the myth that sanctions brought 'them' to the negotiating table lives on.

2. The U.S. torpedoes Geneva peace plan in 2012 (Obama's bad moment) by making it a requirement that Assad (and his cronies) have to resign and be barred from new elections in Syria. End result, civil war continues for another 5yrs, Saudi backed rebels are still demanding that Assad has to step down even after getting whipped on the battlefield.

So as bad as Nikki Haley is, sadly, she is not uncommon but rather she is the pinnacle of what passes in the U.S. for diplomacy.

Dee , says: January 2, 2018 at 4:17 pm
Certainly she is looking down the road, when she knows she will need the moneyed interests of those groups who support using the American military to further their goals.. She has the cover of being the thug without the responsibility of using force..

Like most everyone still involved with trump at this point, they are trying to maximize whatever window they have to benefit themselves..

After citizens united they just might get away with it, but they have no feelings of responsibility to our country, IMO..

Just Dropping By , says: January 2, 2018 at 4:28 pm
I know I'm a broken record on this, but is there really no one left in the realm of American foreign policy who understands the saying, "Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way"?
Lane Reeder , says: January 2, 2018 at 4:55 pm
Maybe South Korea will take its rightful place and carry out its own policy toward North Korea. Then the Trump administration will get angry and threaten to pull out all of our troops. South Korea will be courageous and continue its own policy. Then our troops will leave. The best result for South Korea and North Korea. And best for us, since we will no longer be wasting time and money there, as well as placing our troops in danger for no valid purpose.
Lefty , says: January 2, 2018 at 5:02 pm
Trump and Haley don't give a damn about our allies. All they care about are the yahoos whooping it up whenever they bully anyone else.
Disgusting.

[Jan 02, 2018] We need demonstrations against NATO, against war, against false flag terrorism, against using terrorists as secret armies, against war propaganda!

Jan 02, 2018 | www.unz.com

Wizard of Oz ,