Softpanorama

Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Skepticism and critical thinking is not panacea, but can help to understand the world better

Neoconservatism

Neocons are attack dogs of neoliberalism and lobbyists for MIC:  "national security parasites".

"Being  a neoconservative should receive at least as much vitriolic societal rejection as being a Ku Klux Klan member or a child molester" Caitlin Johnstone

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

News American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism Recommended Links Wolfowitz Doctrine American Exceptionalism Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA
Blob attacks Trump: Viper nest of neocons in state department fuels Ukraingate Adam Schiff Witch Hunt Nancy Pelosi impeachment gambit Was Eric Ciaramella a part of Obama/Brennan "Trump Task force" ? Alexander Vindman role in Ukrainegate House Democrats attempt to backstab Barr and derail his investigation into the origin of Russiagate
New American Militarism "F*ck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Demonization of Putin Anti Trump Hysteria Anti-Russian hysteria
The Great Democratic Party Betrayal: Pro-War Democrats as Vichy Left War is Racket Predator state Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Obama: a yet another Neocon National Socialism and Military Keysianism
James Burnham -- renegade Trotskyite and American Machiavelli Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Noble Lie Neocons Credibility Scam Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Nation under attack meme
Ciaramella as potential fake whistleblower, the sacrificial pawn for Brennan Blob attackes Trum: Viper nest of neocons in state department fuels Ukraingate Robert Kagan Bill Kristol Samantha Power Susan Rice
Eastern European Diaspora influence on the USA foreign policy Max Boot Madeleine Albright Alexander Vindman role in Ukrainegate Alexandra Chalupa role in fueling Russiagate  
Media-Military-Industrial Complex National Security State / Surveillance State Senator McCain Conservatives Without Conscience  Gangster Capitalism: The United States and the Globalization of Organized Crime Merkel as Soft Cop in Neocon Offensive on Eastern Europe and Russia
Neoliberalism as a New form of Corporatism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement Machiavellism Mayberry Machiavellians Power abroad rests on justice and decency at home
Leo Strauss and the Neocons Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Two Party System as polyarchy Neoliberal Propaganda: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few Krauthammer
Color revolutions Neoliberal Compradors and lumpenelite From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss Russian White Revolution of 2011-2012 PNAC  
The Deep State War is a Racket - Incredible Essay by General Smedley Butler Media domination strategy Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition Bureaucratic avoidance of responsibility Bureaucratic Collectivism
Fighting Russophobia Neo-fascism Anti-Americanism Torture Politically Incorrect Humor Etc

Due to the size an introduction was converted to a separate page Neoconservatism, an introduction

Years ago, whilst this reactionary putsch was still in it's infancy,
 my mom would listen to the "news" on the local CBS affiliate,
and many times I heard her gasp and say, referring to the "reporters"
jabbering, "My God, they're a bunch of dopes!"

The dopes areascendant; stupid, scared, violent-minded, and very well-paid.

Comment from Veteran NBC-MSNBC Journalist Blasts Network in Resignation

Neoconservatives, which like Bolsheviks in the past are mostly Jewish intellectuals, are frequently described as ideologues with pro-Israel and anti-Russian bent, but the truth is that they are far more interested in gaining access to money and power. Most of them are useless smacks with degree in journalism or history and they would starve if not fed by military industrial complex. Being a lobbyist of military industrial complex is the only job they can get. Add to that that most of them are personal cowards and chicken hawks and you get the picture: they are just bottom-feeders. "National security parasites" is a very apt definition for this category of people.

The ideology of Neoconservatism was explicitly formulated in Wolfowitz Doctrine which contains the key postulates of Neoconservatism in foreign policy. They can be summarized as "America has, and intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenge". That partially explains unprecedented level of military expenses of the USA since 1991 (after the dissolution of the USSR) when, effectively, the USA has not external enemies and those money can be used to improve well being of common people in the USA. But neoliberal elite engage in building global neoliberal empire rules from Washington and that empire needed the dominant military force to protect and  expand it .  From other  point of view that was an attempt of the US MIC to preserve its position acquired during the Cold War, if necessary by inventing or creating a new threats.  Neocons just happen perfectly suit the role of lobbyists of MIC interest in Washington  and thus were financially and politically supported by MIC.

Large part of neocons consist of so-called "elite-wannabes," often well-educated and highly capable, who has been denied access to elite positions and who decided to use warmongering backdoor to get there.

Proselytizing their own brand of global regime change is just a mean to sustain the access to funds and political power.  They know perfectly well which side of the bread is buttered and by whom.   We can suspect that for many of them (Max Boot is a good example here) access to money from MIC and Israel lobby is the primary driving force. Often they are viewed as Likud lobby in the USA:  "The definition of a neocon is somebody who has great difficulty distinguishing between the strategic interests of Israel, on the one hand, and the strategic interests of the United States on the other. Israel wants bedlam in Syria, and they’ve got it." ( Israel lobby in the United States - Wikipedia ):

The formal component of the Israel lobby consists of organized lobby groups, political action committees (PACs), think tanks and media watchdog groups. The Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks all lobbies and PACs, describes the ‘background’ of those ‘Pro-Israel’ as, “A nationwide network of local political action committees, generally named after the region their donors come from, supplies much of the pro-Israel money in US politics. Additional funds also come from individuals who bundle contributions to candidates favored by the PACs. The donors' unified goal is to build stronger US-Israel relations and to support Israel in its negotiations and armed conflicts with its Arab neighbors.”[24]

According to Mitchell Bard, there are, three key formal lobbying groups:

... ... ...

A summary of pro-Israel campaign donations for the period of 1990–2008 collected by Center for Responsive Politics indicates current totals and a general increase in proportional donations to the US Republican party since 1996.[46] The Center for Responsive Politics' 1990–2006 data shows that "pro-Israel interests have contributed $56.8 million in individual, group and soft money donations to federal candidates and party committees since 1990."[47] In contrast, Arab-Americans and Muslim PACs contributed slightly less than $800,000 during the same (1990–2006) period.[48] In 2006, 60% of the Democratic Party’s fundraising and 25% of that for the Republican Party's fundraising came from Jewish-funded PACs. According to a Washington Post estimate, Democratic presidential candidates depend on Jewish sources for as much as 60% of money raised from private sources.[49]

... ... ...

AIPAC does not give donations directly to candidates, but those who donate to AIPAC are often important political contributors in their own right. In addition, AIPAC helps connect donors with candidates, especially to the network of pro-Israel political action committees. AIPAC president Howard Friedman says “AIPAC meets with every candidate running for Congress. These candidates receive in-depth briefings to help them completely understand the complexities of Israel’s predicament and that of the Middle East as a whole. We even ask each candidate to author a ‘position paper’ on their views of the US-Israel relationship – so it’s clear where they stand on the subject.”[43]

.... ... ...

Mearsheimer and Walt state that “pro-Israel figures have established a commanding presence at the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for Security Policy, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Hudson Institute, the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). These think tanks are all decidedly pro-Israel and include few, if any, critics of US support for the Jewish state.”[50]

When strategic interests of Israeli (for example remaking of the Middle East so that Israel can exercise dominant power in this region; which includes fragmentation of several existing states) deviate from the strategic interests of the USA (which mostly are interested in uninterruptable supply of cheap oil) neocons do betray the USA national interests with ease. The US-Israel relationship significantly damages the relationship between the United States and the Arab world. They also were serving as propagandists and influencers for all recent Middle East military adventures and regime change efforts.  Recently that was the case in Syria: in no way Assad government represented a threat to the USA interests. Still the pressure of "likudniks" was such that the USA engaged in the "regime change" efforts.

But in reality they should be viewed more like lobbing group of MIC then lobbing group of Israel. As well as transnational corporations interested in opening new markets. But recently facts that Israel spend large sums on money on trying to influence the USA politicians came to light and to this extent one gets impression that the tail is wagging the dog. 

They should probably be viewed as the lobbying and propaganda arm of military industrial complex. Is both Republican and Democratic Party position themselves as a "War Party" they represent an important political force on the USA political landscape.  The fact that some of staunch neocons  such  as Max Boot recently defected to Democratic Party just confirm the fact that in forign policy there is only one party in the usa -- the neocon party. 

And there is not much conservative in neocon ideology -- it is basically a revamped Trotskyism, if not neo-fascism. Just look at Nuland's fraternization with Ukrainian far right nationalists despite her Jewish roots (and despite the fact that this movement was hell-bent on killing Jewish people during WWII and served as capos in concentration camps). This was not accidental; this was a conscious political choice -- they are birds of the feather.

Ideologically they are a more militant flavor of neoliberals ("neoliberals with the gun", so to speak). They also are more openly statist, then a typical neoliberal. But their neo-Trotskyites roots are mostly demonstrated in foreign policy (they do not have a coherent domestic policy; but generally their views in this area are more aligned with the  Democratic Party than Republican Party views). 

All-in-all, we will essentially view them as lobbyists of MIC, "neoliberals with a gun".


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

Home 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003

For the list of top articles see Recommended Links section

[Apr 04, 2020] There are over one hundred Hassid groups, some of which started recently in America

Apr 04, 2020 | www.unz.com

ploni almoni , says: Show Comment April 3, 2020 at 3:20 pm GMT

@Wizard of Oz There are over one hundred Hassid groups, some of which started recently in America. Hassidism is one of the direct results of the Shabbatai Zvi movement. Shabbatai Zevi was a Satanic Messiah born in 1626 died 1676. He was a Spanish Jew born in Izmir Turkey, and out of him came the Donmeh who ran the Turkish government in the 20th century. Why Satanic? He said that what was prescribed by law is is now prohibited by him and what is forbidden is made permissible by him. Mainly this means orgies, and "a doing a-what comes naturally." Shabbatianism and Hassidism are based on Kabbalah, materialist antinomial Satanism. The Hassid Rebbi is considered, for all practical intents and purposes to be God Himself. This is understood only by the elect. For the Lubavitchers this was diluted down -- for the fringe -- to the idea that Schneersohn is Moshiach, and of course half the Lubavitchers are not sure. The founding Rebbi results in a dynasty of his descendants or the group is taken over by a successor in a power struggle. Only the Rumanian-Hungarian Satmar group claims to be anti-Zionist on paper, because of a pet idea of Teitelbaum's. The Satmar march "in protest" against the Salute to Israel day Parade under special protection of the New York Police. But their opposition to Israel is only on paper and they go to Israel like everyone else. They also show solidarity to the Iranians and show up in Teheran as guests of the government.

Another development out of Shabbatai Zevi are the Frankists. Jacob Frank said, besides orgies and promiscuity, it is perfectly safe to convert: Lightning will not strike you. These Frankists include Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin (*his grandfather and great grandfather), Benjamin Disraeli, Heinrich Heine, and thousands, thousands, perhaps millions more. As Shabbatai Zevi said the forbidden is permitted, Jacob Frank applied this in particular to conversion to the religion of convenience as the path to success. Frank converted in 1759 with the Polish King as his godfather. 26,000 Polish and Ukrainian Jews followed and received Polish nobility, and money. The process is still going on. And this must be why Poland and Ukraine are so screwed up. Frank died calling himself the "Baron of Offenbach."

Frankists who did not convert include Sigmund Freud who started his own religion, and Louis Brandeis who had a trinity of Zvi, Frank, and Frank's daughter Eva. I think it is correct to say that Hollywood, where Jews married Shiksas and had Christmas trees, was a Frankist development. (Irving Berlin and Samuel Goldwyn come to mind. Remember the MGM lion of Judah lying on a torah?) Frankism Lite is the Reform Judaism of Temple Emmanuel and the Society for Ethical Culture. Read. There is a lot to learn about the world around you.

[Apr 04, 2020] Flavours of Orthodox Judaism

Apr 04, 2020 | www.unz.com

Fran Taubman , says: Show Comment April 3, 2020 at 3:02 pm GMT

@Gilad Atzmon Gilad I am shocked you can not give a better answer then this.

Judaism from the time of the Temple destruction through out Medieval Europe, and the ME was Orthodox Judaism and Hassidic dynasties (each having their own customs.) The same for Mizrahi, Separdic and Ashkenazim Jews.

It's center was the Vilna Goan in Lithuania, not sure about the ME. Jews wore fringes, had beards and women covered their heads (shaytl, tichal). It was not called Orthodox since those customs and rules were universal. You were either a practicing Jew or not. The basic rules were as follows:

Orthodox Judaism:
-Keeping the sabbath
-Keeping Kosher
-Family ritual purity
-Women covering their heads.
-Men covering their heads.

After the enlightenment other sub divisions occurred.

-Reform Judaism
-Conservative Judasim
Modern Orthodox Judaism.

Modern Orthodox Judaism (I was raised), included keeping the sabbath, keeping kosher, family purity was optional. Women do not cover their heads and men usually do not cover their heads outside of the Synagogue or at home. The main difference between Orthodox and Conservative is in the Synagogue. In Orthodox Synagogue men sit separately from women divided by a high barrier.

Today those differences are defined by Orthodox (modern) , and Ultra Orthodox (traditional from the middle ages) ,

Then you have the various Hassidic sects which are family dynasties, the most prominent being the Lubavitcher Hassids which run the Chabad movement and all the Kabbalah centers.

[Apr 04, 2020] A theory of natural selection in action

Apr 04, 2020 | www.unz.com

AnonFromTN , says: Show Comment April 3, 2020 at 3:19 pm GMT

The orthodox community's complete dismissal of modern medical advice and its negligence in social distancing and modern hygiene are a health catastrophe in the making.

Well, there is a theory of natural selection, which Orthodox Jews reject. Yet it is natural selection that is likely to cull those unfit to live in human society.

[Apr 04, 2020] This Anti-Semitic newspaper should be banned.

Apr 04, 2020 | www.unz.com

Hippopotamusdrome , says: Show Comment April 3, 2020 at 7:18 am GMT

"Israel's ultra-Orthodox endanger the public" was the headline of yesterday's Jerusalem Post opinion piece. The article points to the ultra orthodox community as a menace both to the general society and itself.

This Anti-Semitic newspaper should be banned. When are the ADL and Antifa going to get on this?

[Apr 04, 2020] It doesn't seem to matter how much the US hoses the EU they'll still fall in lockstep when Trump says "jump"

Apr 04, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Tobi , Apr 4 2020 0:26 utc | 103

Posted by: Likklemore | 94

It doesn't seem to matter how much the US hoses the EU they'll still fall in lockstep when Trump says "jump".

Russian declaration aimed at stopping sanctions amid coronavirus crisis REJECTED at UN General Assembly

A User , Apr 4 2020 1:22 utc | 108

I realise few will since amerikans are 100% exceptionalist right up to their last breath but please read the best article by far on masks & respirators cleaning issues esp such ones as 'steam' cleaning are on this link I posted earlier.

It is written by Dr John Campbell who has been writing on this virus for several months. My brother the retired journo recommended him to me in early February, so naturally I have been assiduous in ignoring the bloke for that reason, combined with the fact Campbell is an englander, but he has put together an excellent piece on masks & respirators, one which uses y'know those pesky fact things to support his statements about assorted items efficacy, longevity and ability to be cleaned. With respirators 95% & above he recommends having several and rotating them so that they cop 4-5 days down time which should be enough time for the virus to kark it of its own accord.

I don't believe for a moment that will stop the continual spouting of uninformed claptrap, but I tried.

[Apr 03, 2020] Orthodox Judaism as supremacist ideology

Apr 03, 2020 | www.unz.com

NPleeze , says: Show Comment April 3, 2020 at 6:13 am GMT

@Fran Taubman

The religious community is luminous in its spirituality, and you feel it when you are there.

Orthodox Judaism is bar none the most filthy, evil, disgusting supremacist hate ideology the world has ever known – nothing whatsoever about it is "spiritual". All you have to do is read the deplorable Torah and especially the satanic beast this community "worships".

You are obviously also a worshiper of this dark "prince", the Synagogue of Satan (*as Jesus aptly described it). That makes you a Jew supremacist, and not just in a symbolic way, but by dint of real action: it is the duty of Jews, in the Torah (and of course also the Talmud), to conquer the planet and enslave humanity, except in Greater Israel, where all non-Jews are to be slaughtered.

It's all stated, most succinctly, in 20 Deut. 10-18. And again in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which is just a repeat of 20 Deut. 10-18.

As Karl Marx said, the only way for Jews to escape their satanic life is to assimilate, i.e., reject Jewish supremacism. Of course someone like you is incapable of that. To you, the most wretched evil is "spiritual".

ExRabbi , says: Show Comment April 3, 2020 at 9:32 am GMT
@Fran Taubman Dear Fellow Jewish people,

I will be blunt. I think it's definitely time for us Jews to recognize our sacred religion for what it really is – a supermacist cult and to denounce it. The Mosaic Covenant must be broken. The oh-so awaited promised Moschiah hasn't come for thousands of years and we have only up until the year 6000 for him to show up and to elevate us as the ultimate leaders of the World. Fortunately or not, this is not going to happen. All our efforts to prove otherwise will only reveal the fallacious and highly irrational essence of Judaism to the critical thinker, a cult that emerged from Ancient Canaanite worship. I am aware that blind and irrational belief in our traditional religion is what is required from us, but inquiring one's deepest and most sacred beliefs is what makes one human and not a robot.

Ann Nonny Mouse , says: Show Comment April 3, 2020 at 10:53 am GMT
@ExRabbi " the fallacious and highly irrational essence of Judaism".

Thanks, ExRabbi. Well put. And it has terrible side-effects. Because it's fallacious and highly irrational, Jews in denial of that must resort to lying and deception, so lying and deception become the mark of the Jew. Simply abandon all Jewish ritual and be proud that, having abandoned it, you are not a Jew.

geokat62 , says: Show Comment April 3, 2020 at 11:11 am GMT

Every perplexing narrative about Jewish history (including the birth of Zionism and the initial rejection of Diaspora/Religious identity) is resolved by this 6 second clip https://t.co/WvmGrZduji

-- Gilad Atzmon (@GiladAtzmon) April 3, 2020

[Apr 02, 2020] Bloomberg spent north of $500 millions to become president with zero results, and you want me to believe that Russians spent 1% of that and got better results

Highly recommended!
Apr 02, 2020 | hub.jhu.edu

PBO kenformerlyfromRI8 days ago ,

There is no conspiracy, they didn't make up false documents to start a Russian investigation, oh wait they did.. I just read that Bloomberg spent north of $500,000,000.00 to become president and you want me to believe the Russians spent 1% of that and got better results.. You have to be a special kind of stupid.

[Apr 01, 2020] One Of The Worst Coverups In Human History MSM Attention Turns To Chinese Biolab Near COVID-19 Ground Zero

Apr 01, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

In late January we asked whether a prolific Chinese scientist who was experimenting with bat coronavirus at a level-4 biolab in Wuhan China was responsible for the current outbreak of a virus which is 96% genetically identical - and which saw an explosion in cases at a wet market located just down the street .

For suggesting this, we were kicked off Twitter and had the pleasure of several articles written by MSM hacks regarding our 'conspiracy theory' - none of which addressed the plethora of hard evidence linked in the post. These are the same people, mind you, who pushed the outlandish and evidence-free Trump-Russia conspiracy theory for years .

Whether or not the virus was engineered (scientists swear it wasn't) - it shouldn't take Perry Mason to conclude that a virulent coronavirus outbreak which started near a biolab that was experimenting with -- coronavirus -- bears scrutiny . Could a lab worker have accidentally infected themselves - then gone shopping for meat at the market over several days, during the long, asymptomatic incubation period?

In February, researchers Botao Xial and Lei Xiao published a quickly-retracted paper titled "The possible origins of 2019-nCoV coronavirus" - which speculated that the virus came from the Wuhan biolab.

Now, mainstream outlets are catching on - or at least have become brave enough to similarly connect the dots.

Earlier this week, Fox News ' Tucker Carlson suggested that COVID-19 may have originated in a lab.

Tucker Carlson is currently citing a report that he openly admits he can't confirm is true to question if coronavirus was made in a lab pic.twitter.com/CTxrJtw0Sh

-- Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) April 1, 2020

And now, the Washington Times is out with a report titled "Chinese researchers isolated deadly bat coronaviruses near Wuhan animal market."

Chinese government researchers isolated more than 2,000 new viruses, including deadly bat coronaviruses, and carried out scientific work on them just three miles from a wild animal market identified as the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several Chinese state media outlets in recent months touted the virus research and lionized in particular a key researcher in Wuhan , Tian Junhua , as a leader in bat virus work.

The coronavirus strain now infecting hundreds of thousands of people globally mutated from bats believed to have infected animals and people at a wild animal market in Wuhan . The exact origin of the virus, however, remains a mystery. - Washington Times

"This is one of the worst cover-ups in human history, and now the world is facing a global pandemic," said Texas GOP Rep. Michael T. McFoul - a ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee . McFoul believes China should be held accountable for the outbreak.

Meanwhile, a video from December funded by the Chinese government shows Tian collecting samples from captured bats and storing them in vials.

"I am not a doctor, but I work to cure and save people," said Tian, adding "I am not a soldier, but I work to safeguard an invisible national defense line."

The mainstream theory behind the virus is that it crossed over to humans after first infecting an intermediary species - such as a pangolin.

Read the rest of the report here .

[Apr 01, 2020] For just $27K USD you can see John Bolton's relatives in natural environment

Apr 01, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Piotr Berman , Mar 31 2020 17:22 utc | 151

Given some time and currency, I guess Morocco would offer more value for money if you want some exotic customs and landscapes. If you have more money, you could spend them on a carbon-free cruise with stunning vistas and off-the-beaten route: North Pole on board of nuclear-powered ice breaker! It is wise to have swimming costume (a pool is on board, heated, I presume) and sensible apparel -- enough for normal winter (in Moscow). The number of places is below 150, with a little hospital on board too. In the latest ads I read about discounts, but the deal was that you can pay in rubbles with prices below the rubble plunged by 25%, still, for 27 k USD you can see John Bolton's relatives in natural environment (like mommy walrus taking care of youngsters), polar bears, seals, and landscapes of Franz Josef Land. Helicopter rides included. You can also take a plunge into the arctic water -- with safety precautions .

[Mar 31, 2020] The Covid-19 pandemic is the physical manifestation of a deeper disease plaguing the West: Class Warfare

The US government was caught without pants. No supply of masks. Can you imagine that for a country with trillion military budget.
Notable quotes:
"... Take a look around: Unemployment may reach 30%. The poor are starting to protest–actually strike! GM, Amazon, Chicago Teacher's Union, GE, Instacart ..."
"... As jobs were outsourced to slave labor camps in China and elsewhere, the rich and privileged smiled as their portfolios grew, as CEO raked in the cash and then buried it in off-shore accounts. ..."
"... When the working class complained about jobs being lost, factories being closed, it was told to get a better education, to make itself valuable to the bosses. What a joke! ..."
"... The DNC always plays footsie with the rich as does the GOP–equal plunderers. Universal Health Care is just too expensive! Their all monsters, crafty grifters. ..."
"... The mass media, now firmly serve the DNC and the GOP, studiously ignore this rot. A rotten building will fall. Times up. Game is Over. ..."
Mar 31, 2020 | angrybearblog.com
The Covid-19 pandemic is the physical manifestation of a deeper disease plaguing the West: Class Warfare. The veil has been lifted. Social distancing, a legitimate response to Covid-19, predominately affects the working class.

Fortunately, Covid-19 is an equal opportunity plague: As the rich and powerful congratulated each other, as they moved among the rightfully adoring crowds oops, I think I caught something! Just hazards of the games they play. Certainly, it was never contracted on the factory floor.

Suddenly the rich and privileged claim they are in the same boat. Really? Mega-yachts are handy get-aways, as are well-protected island boltholes.

And who is supposed to do the nasty work, who has little opportunity to run and hide, who must do the the work that makes actual existence possible? Not the rich.

Who can work from home and not lose his or her job?

Rich and powerful women now have to cut their own nails! Oh, the shame of it. They have to dye their own hair–coif themselves! What no colorist?

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics-news/friends-cant-get-nails-done-coronavirus-fox-news-973716/

The rich and powerful want the poor to go back to work. Who else will make them money? Who else will save the Stock Market? Meanwhile, the poor are losing their jobs; they do not have fall-back pensions or able to take advantage of Capital Gains. How will they pay their rent? Their bills? Their healthcare? Their debts?

Take a look around: Unemployment may reach 30%. The poor are starting to protest–actually strike! GM, Amazon, Chicago Teacher's Union, GE, Instacart

As jobs were outsourced to slave labor camps in China and elsewhere, the rich and privileged smiled as their portfolios grew, as CEO raked in the cash and then buried it in off-shore accounts.

When the working class complained about jobs being lost, factories being closed, it was told to get a better education, to make itself valuable to the bosses. What a joke!

When many tried to get an education, they were faced with absurd college costs, incredible debt, and thanks to those in control an inability to declare bankruptcy! Thanks, Joe.

And now, ever thoughtful Nancy Pelosi wants to reward the rich and privileged with ta ta!.., a lifting of the Salt Cap.

The DNC always plays footsie with the rich as does the GOP–equal plunderers. Universal Health Care is just too expensive! Their all monsters, crafty grifters.

Meanwhile, economists sang the praises of Free Trade. The GOP loved it; the DNC loved it. Neo-liberalism: the goose that always lays the golden eggs.

The mass media, now firmly serve the DNC and the GOP, studiously ignore this rot. A rotten building will fall. Times up. Game is Over.

likbez , March 31, 2020 9:27 pm

Thank you Stormy,

A very good analysis. A lot of emotions too ;-)

When the working class complained about jobs being lost, factories being closed, it was told to get a better education, to make itself valuable to the bosses. What a joke!

Neoliberalism is an ideology make on a set of myths. In other words this is a secular religion.

The DNC always plays footsie with the rich as does the GOP–equal plunderers. Universal Health Care is just too expensive! Their all monsters, crafty grifters.

No question they are. That's by design. The key role of DNC is to squash political forces to the left of Clinton faction, and to neutralize/coopt politicians which do not support the neoliberal/neocon consensus.

Meanwhile, economists sang the praises of Free Trade. The GOP loved it; the DNC loved it. Neo-liberalism: the goose that always lays the golden eggs.

Neoliberal revolution which culminated in the election of Reagan (which started under Carter) was a coup d'état by financial oligarchy. It signified that the New Deal consensus was broken and countervailing forces were weakened enough to ensure the success of the coup.

One thing with which I respectfully disagree:

The mass media, now firmly serve the DNC and the GOP, studiously ignore this rot. A rotten building will fall. Times up. Game is Over.

Not sure the game is over. I do not see powerful enough social forces that can oppose financial oligarchy. The anger does built up, but it is powerless. And their control of the state is absolute (which also means the control of intelligence agencies).

The population is brainwashed and disunited via identity politics.

In modern USA society that means that any attempt to build such a coalition with be squashed by the national security state.

[Mar 31, 2020] Putin's was delivered on 25 March

Mar 31, 2020 | en.kremlin.ru

, Trump gave his speech on 11 March . It should come as no surprise that Putin's speech framing and proposals were far superior to Trump's, who employed the Big Lie at the top of his speech:

"Because of the economic policies that we have put into place over the last three years, we have the greatest economy anywhere in the world, by far.

"Our banks and financial institutions are fully capitalized and incredibly strong. Our unemployment is at a historic low. This vast economic prosperity gives us flexibility, reserves, and resources to handle any threat that comes our way.

"This is not a financial crisis, this is just a temporary moment of time that we will overcome together as a nation and as a world."

Absolutely nothing he said above is true and in many cases he was immediately proved wrong. In stark contrast, Putin chose the following to begin his speech:

"By taking precautionary measures, we have been largely able to prevent the infection from rapidly spreading and limit the incidence rate. However, we have to understand that Russia cannot insulate itself from this threat, simply considering its geography. There are countries along our borders that have already been seriously affected by the epidemic, which means that in all objectivity it is impossible to stop it from spilling over into Russia.

"That said, being professional, well organised and proactive is what we can do and are already doing. The lives and health of our citizens is our top priority .

"We have mobilised all the capabilities and resources for deploying a system of timely prevention and treatment. I would like to specially address doctors, paramedics, nurses, staff at hospitals, outpatient clinics, rural paramedic centres, ambulance services, and researchers: you are at the forefront of dealing with this situation. My heartfelt gratitude to you for your dedicated efforts." [My Emphasis]

We must also consider the numerous gaffs Trump committed prior to his speech, his earlier gleeful gloating over China's troubles in January, and his politicizing of the crisis along with that of Pompeo. Then there's his escalation of the illegal attacks on Iran and Venezuela specifically, which are crimes against humanity. Yes, I readily admit my anti-Trump bias, but I'm not blinded like those who applaud him. Putin had immediate proposals for aid to his people that they can count on, while Trump did next to nothing by comparison. But do please read them both and make your own determination as to which nation and leader you'd rather have during this sort of crisis.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 31 2020 16:07 utc | 141

[Mar 30, 2020] Pompeo as a sign of more serious problem with the US military

Mar 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Bemildred , Mar 29 2020 18:13 utc | 23

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 29 2020 17:09 utc | 13

I think you have the main danger (some nitwit using a "small nuke") to try to make a point about right.

Other than that, the impression I get from Pompeo and his ilk is that the main thing is having someone to threaten and abuse to show "leadership" and "manhood", at least one shitty little country we can still throw up against the wall and slap around to show we mean business. Dangerous times for Nicaragua.

Neither he nor his other West Point friends seems to have much clue about military affairs either, which is strange. I mean we've always had our George Armstrong Custers, but they didn't run things. Now they seem to have some sort of cult mentality. One is reminded of the French before WWI: "De L'audace, Encore De L'audace, Et Toujours De L'audace ..." and we know how that worked out.

[Mar 30, 2020] As a Russian I don't approve of this aid that Putin sent to Italy. That's Soviet-slyle showmanship, when our country objectively cannot afford it.

Mar 30, 2020 | www.unz.com

Felix Keverich , says: Show Comment March 26, 2020 at 1:22 pm GMT

As a Russian I don't approve of this aid that Putin sent to Italy. That's Soviet-slyle showmanship, when our country objectively cannot afford it. Stalin was sending grain to East Germany, when Russia was starving. Now Putin is doing something similar.

At the very least he should have extracted some payment for it – Italy is a rich country, has bigger GDP than Russia, and can totally pay.

Cyrano , says: Show Comment March 26, 2020 at 8:28 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich I would have to disagree with you on this, my friend. Italy is famous for being one of the most communist friendly countries in the western world. During "communism" Italy's Fiat gave the license to build their cars to many Eastern block countries: Poland, Yugoslavia, and yes USSR.

The original Lada was nothing else but Fiat 124 model. As a sign of gratitude the Russians even renamed the city where the Lada was being made into Togliatti – after an Italian communist. I think the friendship and respect between Italy and Russia goes way back, and now the Russians are just trying to continue that tradition by helping as much as they can Italy in these difficult times.

NoseytheDuke , says: Show Comment March 27, 2020 at 1:38 am GMT
@Felix Keverich Soft power is much. much cheaper than hard power. Russia has been constantly demonised in the West and a show of compassion of this magnitude reveals the lies for what they are. It will be much more difficult to garner support for harsh measures against Russians when people everywhere see them as being "just like us". This is especially true of Europe whose support is very much needed by the US and it's minions like the UK, Poland and the usual flunkies.

Why did you label Cyrano's response to you to be trolling? It was polite and sincere, I thought.

csucsu , says: Show Comment March 27, 2020 at 4:46 am GMT
@Felix Keverich If a Russian military gaining experience against an unknown enemy , isn't
that a form of payment ?
I am not a Russian , but I am sure your president knows what he is doing.
yurivku , says: Show Comment March 27, 2020 at 10:57 am GMT
@Cyrano As a Russian I do support this action, despite it obviously will have no positive changes in Italy's policy.
Not all Russians are like Felix (if he's really Russian, which I'm not sure).

[Mar 29, 2020] United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had a slip of the tongue while addressing the American people from the White House when he stated that COVID-19 is a live military exercise.

Mar 29, 2020 | twitter.com

"This is not about retribution," Pompeo explained. "This matter is going forward -- we are in a live exercise here to get this right."

@realDonaldTrump is mad that the deep state took control through Continuity of Government, there has been a coup? pic.twitter.com/GcrjNNvVsc #Covid_19 #CoronavirusPandemic #MartialLaw

-- Shepard Ambellas (@ShepardAmbellas) March 21, 2020

With a disgusted look on his face, President Trump replied: "You should have let us know."

Military Exercise meaning (from Wikipedia): "A military exercise or war game is the employment of military resources in training for military operations, either exploring the effects of warfare or testing strategies without actual combat. This also serves the purpose of ensuring the combat readiness of garrisoned or deployable forces prior to deployment from a home base."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/3Qscuw_3aUk

What is actually going on here? Does the White House care to explain?

*Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Featured image is from Gage Skidmore CC BY 2.0

[Mar 29, 2020] The essence of Trump's psychology is that he likes to dominate people. He accomplishes this by hiring incompetent psychopaths

Mar 29, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Timothy Hagios , Mar 28 2020 18:14 utc | 44

The essence of Trump's psychology is that he likes to dominate people. He accomplishes this by hiring incompetent psychopaths who make him legitimately look good by comparison. This is why he's constantly overruling their worst plans. But once every so often, his incompetent underlings convince him to do something exceptionally stupid. This is because occasionally going along with them allows him to feel like a wise, discerning ruler who occasionally follows his advisors' guidance and occasionally overrules them.

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

Mar 28, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Andrew Bacevich via TomDispatch.com,

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

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

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

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

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

ORIGINS OF A COLOSSUS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE REAL THREAT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mar 26, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
|

12:01 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For what would this cash tsunami be used?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Amicus Brevis 2 days ago • edited

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feral Finster Rkramden66 a day ago
Found on internet:

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

https://www.nakedcapitalism...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Side note:

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Mar 26, 2020] Pompeo is on record having said that our government "lies, cheats, and steals" in order to accomplish its anti-Christian objectives.

Mar 26, 2020 | www.unz.com

Sokrates , says: Show Comment March 25, 2020 at 11:54 am GMT

@37 Yesterday I went to Home Depot to buy some water tubing for my ice-maker.

I noticed all doors were blocked with a tape, except one with at least 25 people waiting to get in and a female employee holding a sign "the line starts here".

I ask the lady what was all about and she said because of the virus etc.

I said to her "You must be kidding" and I start going back to my car.

Some old lady from the line waiting to get in she scream to me something about "we protect ourselves" and similar nonsense.

I turn around and I said to her: Quit watching TV you idiot. They rob your money on broad daylight and send your kids to die fighting israels enemies.

RichardTaylor , says: Show Comment March 25, 2020 at 12:01 pm GMT
The overreaction to the virus makes no sense. Is something being hidden from us? The freak out over this virus – to the tune of $trillions – is all out of proportion.

2.8 million Americans die every year. Why the obsession with this one virus which may kill in the thousands?

Something is off. But Trump should have known early if there was some other hidden danger. If there is some hidden suspicion by the people obsessing over this, please share it!

[Mar 26, 2020] The face of Trump in foreign policy is Pompeo and it is wicked, ungly face of a gangster

Yet another Gofgather
Notable quotes:
"... The more I watch these moves by Pompeo the more sympathetic I become to the most sinister theories about COVID-19, its origins and its launch around the world. Read Pepe Escobar's latest to get an idea of how dark and twisted this tale could be . ..."
March 24, 2020 < Older
No Respite for the Wicked, Pompeo Unleashed Written by Tom Luongo Tuesday

There are few things in this life that make me more sick to my stomach than watching Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talking. He truly is one of the evilest men I've ever had the displeasure of covering.

Into the insanity of the over-reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak, Pompeo wasted no time ramping up sanctions on firms doing any business with Iran, one of the countries worse-hit by this virus to date.

It's a seemingly endless refrain, everyday, more sanctions on Chinese, Swiss and South African firms for having the temerity in these deflating times to buy oil from someone Pompeo and his gang of heartless psychopaths disapprove of.

This goes far beyond just the oil industry. Even though I'm well aware that Russia's crashing the price of oil was itself a hybrid war attack on US capital markets. One that has had, to date, devastating effect.

While Pompeo mouths the words publicly that humanitarian aid is exempted from sanctions on Iran, the US is pursuing immense pressure on companies to not do so anyway while the State Dept. bureaucracy takes its sweet time processing waiver applications.

Pompeo and his ilk only think in terms of civilizational warfare. They have become so subsumed by their big war for the moral high ground to prove American exceptionalism that they have lost any shred of humanity they may have ever had.

Because for Pompeo in times like these to stick to his talking points and for his office to continue excising Iran from the global economy when we're supposed to be coming together to fight a global pandemic is the height of soullessness.

And it speaks to the much bigger problem that infects all of our political thinking. There comes a moment when politics and gaining political advantage have to take a back seat to doing the right thing.

I've actually seen moments of that impulse from the Democratic leadership in the US Will wonders never cease?!

Thinking only in Manichean terms of good vs. evil and dehumanizing your opponents is actually costlier than reversing course right now. Because honey is always better at attracting flies than vinegar.

But, unfortunately, that is not the character of the Trump administration.

It can only think in terms of direct leverage and opportunity to hold onto what they think they've achieved. So, until President Trump is no longer consumed with coordinating efforts to control COVID-19 Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper are in charge of foreign policy. They will continue the playbook that has been well established.

Maximum pressure on Iran, hurt China any way they can, hold onto what they have in Syria, stay in Iraq.

To that end Iraqi President Barham Salei nominated Pompeo's best choice to replace Prime Minister Adil Abdel Mahdi to throw Iraq's future into complete turmoil. According to Elijah Magnier, Adnan al-Zarfi is a US asset through and through .

And this looks like Pompeo's Hail Mary to retain US legal presence in Iraq after the Iraqi parliament adopted a measure to demand withdrawal of US troops from the country. Airstrikes against US bases in Iraq continue on a near daily basis and there have been reports of US base closures and redeployments at the same time.

This move looks like desperation by Pompeo et.al. to finally separate the Hashd al-Shaabi from Iraq's official military. So that airstrikes against them can be carried out under the definition of 'fighting Iranian terrorism.'

As Magnier points out in the article above if al-Zarfi puts a government together the war in Iraq will expand just as the US is losing further control in Syria after Turkish President Erdogan's disastrous attempt to remake the front in Idlib. That ended with his effective surrender to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The more I watch these moves by Pompeo the more sympathetic I become to the most sinister theories about COVID-19, its origins and its launch around the world. Read Pepe Escobar's latest to get an idea of how dark and twisted this tale could be .

It is sad that, to me, I see no reason to doubt Pompeo and his ilk in the US government wouldn't do something like that to spark political and social upheaval in those places most targeted by US hybrid war tactics.

But, at the same time, I can see the other side of it, a vicious strike back by China against its tormentors. And China's government does itself, in my mind, no favors threatening to withhold drug precursors and having officials run their mouths giving Americans the excuse they need to validate Trump and Pompeo's divisive rhetoric.

Remaining on the fence about this issue isn't my normal style. But everyone is dirty here and the reality may well be this is a natural event terrible people on both sides are exploiting.

And I can only go by what people do rather than what they say to assess the situation. Trump tries to buy exclusive right to a potential COVID-19 vaccine from a German firm and his administration slow-walks aid to Iran.

China sends aid to Iran and Italy by the container full. Is that to salve their conscience over its initial suppression of information about the virus? Good question. But no one covers themselves in glory by using the confusion and distraction to attempt further regime change and step up war-footing during a public health crisis, manufactured or otherwise.

While Pompeo unctuously talks the talk of compassion and charity, he cannot bring himself to actually walk the walk. Because he is a despicable, bile-filled man of uncommon depravity. His prosecuting a hybrid war during a public health crisis speaks to no other conclusion about him.

It's clear to me that nothing has changed at the top of Trump's administration. I expect COVID-19 will not be a disaster for Trump and the US. It can handle this. But the lack of humanity shown by its diplomatic corps ensures that in the long run the US will be left to fend for itself when the next crisis hits.

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation .


Related

[Mar 24, 2020] This weaponizing of random indignation is a classic tool of the Western propaganda

Highly recommended!
Mar 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Dacian Julien Soros , says: Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 2:54 pm GMT

This weaponizing of random indignation is a classic tool of the Western propaganda. In Romania, we heard for a decade how the national-populists masquerading as socialists are to blame for the lack of highways. It's been a few years since idiot Romanians gather in random cities to complain that their city is not yet hooked to the Austro-Hungarian highway system, despite the lack of traffic between their city and Austro-Hungary.

It is my understanding that, once highway construction will start, there will be protests about natural or archeological treasures presumably endangered by the construction. It has been decently working in Russia, with that Khimki forest.

Anything that can be thrown at a government threatening to leave the NWO will be used. It's even worse for governments that are already one foot out, like Russia / China, or completely out, like Iran / North Korea. Putin will be blamed for epidemics, earthquakes, tsunamis, and even eclipses. If an earthquake would kill only a few, we will hear about "failure to respond". If the earthquake doesn't kill anybody. we will be told that Putin exploited it for propaganda.

One of the ways that CIA and Soros use, in order to weaponize Romania's presumed lack of highways, is to pay some useful idiots, who call themselves "The Association for the Betterment of Highways", "The Pro-Infrastructura Brigade", and so on. Most of these NGOs consist of a single person, who posts videos of them ranting next to a construction site. Using the model that BoJo used for the upcoming marriage (three men and one dog), the more Soros/CIA-resistant types call them "The One-Incel-And-His-Drone Association".

By that same standard, I suspect we call this Doctors' Alliance "Vasilievna-and-her-thermometer Association". Whatever she says about Moscow hospitals is probably informed by her thermometer anyway. I doubt you can tell how things are in a 10-million city, especially if you are a marginal clown.

Is she an ophthalmologist, like The Part-Time Virologist Martyr of Wuhan? Dentist, perhaps?

[Mar 24, 2020] Western vs Russian propaganda

Mar 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Ms Karlin-Gerard , says: Show Comment March 23, 2020 at 12:32 am GMT

@Dmitry Can you show me even ONE article or report from Izvestiya, life, kp. Vz, RBK, vesti, Channel 1 etc that is stupid about the west? I can't because most of them are extremely well written.
The inverse situation? . I have just read 3 cretinous western lie reports about Russia/coronavirus in the last half an hour! Each one born out of jealousy or CIA psyops There is no comparison to make at all. You are doing false equivalence.

Gayropa DOES exist. It is a thing, an ideology

Your premise is absurd-50 % because Russian journalists are a lot more intellectual than their western counterparts . and the other 50 % is quite naturally because millions of Russians have closely admired or studied or been influenced by western practises and popular culture in the last 30 years .. than vice versa.

Kiselyov has had an American wife, speaks English, family in Germany and has done many excellent reports on western countries.

Brilyev speaks perfect English and is a British citizen.

Solovyov knows Italy and the US very well and on his talk shows he has done many objective, constructive/positive comments about American business climate and bureaucracy, for instance.

Can you compare any of those guys to their dumb as f ** k western counterparts trying to do a report on Russia?

Different matter if you are talking about RT – that is lowest of the low, anti-russian, garbage.

who cares? Half of Russian articles are 10 times more stupid than US ones

Who cares ? Because the culmination of these deceitful idiot scumbag stories is what creates the momentum to ban Russia from the Olympics based on "collective" not individual punishment , pull Ukraine away from Russia, make a friend of mine be too scared to come to Russia on holiday because "the police will arrest you there for no reason" BS.,dissuade investors from billions in investment because of PR, not practical reasons. create the conditions so that self-discrediting freaks like Browder and Rodchenkov can say any BS as a pretext to sanction russia with zero chance of getting refuted because of the "they will get killed" by Russian agents if they go into the public (whilst going to the public) theory- a hypothesis based on other lie reporting.

Russian media will make clear that its a disgrace the number of people the US police shoot dead each year- but they won't say or imply that Russian tourists will get shot by US police or dissuade them from going on holiday there.

[Mar 22, 2020] Intelligence agencies and the virus

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

kiwiklown , Mar 22 2020 10:11 utc | 128

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

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

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

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

kiwiklown , Mar 22 2020 10:36 utc | 132

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Mar 21, 2020] Tulsi Gabbard says insider traders should be 'investigated prosecuted,' as Left and Right team up on profiteering senator

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "better prepared than ever ..."
"... "akin to the 1918 pandemic." ..."
"... "Congress/staff who dumped stocks after private briefings on impending coronavirus epidemic should be investigated and prosecuted for insider trading," ..."
"... "Members of Congress should not be allowed to own stocks." ..."
"... "stomach churning," ..."
"... "For a public servant it's pretty hard to imagine many things more immoral than doing this," ..."
"... "Richard Burr had critical information that might have helped the people he is sworn to protect. But he hid that information and helped only himself." ..."
"... "If you find out about a nation-threatening pandemic and your first move is to adjust your stock portfolio you should probably not be in a job that serves the public interest," ..."
"... "calling for immediate investigations" ..."
"... "for possible violations of the STOCK Act and insider trading laws." ..."
"... Think your friends would be interested? Share this story! ..."
Mar 21, 2020 | www.rt.com

In a rare moment of bipartisanship, commenters from all sides have demanded swift punishment for US senators who dumped stock after classified Covid-19 briefings. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has called for criminal prosecution. As chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) has received daily briefings on the threat posed by Covid-19 since January. Burr insisted to the public that America was ready to handle the virus, but sold up to $1.5 million in stocks on February 13, less than a week before the stock market nosedived, according to Senate filings . Immediately before the sale, Burr wrote an op-ed assuring Americans that their government is "better prepared than ever " to handle the virus.

Also on rt.com Liberal icon Sean Penn wants a 'compassionate' army deployment to fight Covid-19

After the sale, NPR reported that he told a closed-door meeting of North Carolina business leaders that the virus actually posed a threat "akin to the 1918 pandemic." Burr does not dispute the NPR report.

In a tweet on Saturday, former 2020 presidential candidate and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard called for criminal investigations. "Congress/staff who dumped stocks after private briefings on impending coronavirus epidemic should be investigated and prosecuted for insider trading," she wrote.

"Members of Congress should not be allowed to own stocks."

Congress/staff who dumped stocks after private briefings on impending coronavirus epidemic should be investigated & prosecuted for insider trading (the STOCK Act). It is illegal & abuse of power. Members of Congress should not be allowed to own stocks. https://t.co/rbVfJxrk3r

-- Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) March 21, 2020

Burr was not the only lawmaker on Capitol Hill to take precautions, it was reported. Fellow Intelligence Committee member Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and her husband sold off more than a million dollars of shares in a biotech company five days later, while Oklahoma's Jim Inhofe (R) made a smaller sale around the same time. Both say their sales were routine.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Georgia) attended a Senate Health Committee briefing on the outbreak on January 24. The very same day, she began offloading stock, dropping between $1.2 and $3.1 million in shares over the following weeks. The companies whose stock she sold included airlines, retail outlets, and Chinese tech firm Tencent.

She did, however, invest in cloud technology company Oracle, and Citrix, a teleworking company whose value has increased by nearly a third last week, as social distancing measures forced more and more Americans to work from home. All of Loeffler's transactions were made with her husband, Jeff Sprecher, CEO of the New York Stock Exchange.

Meanwhile, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York) and Ilhan Omar (Minnesota) have joined the clamor of voices demanding punishment. Ocasio-Cortez described the sales as "stomach churning," while Omar reached across the aisle to side with Fox News' Tucker Carlson in calling for Burr's resignation.

I am 💯 with him on this 😱 https://t.co/Gbi3i2BagY

-- Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 20, 2020

"For a public servant it's pretty hard to imagine many things more immoral than doing this," Carlson said during a Friday night monolog. "Richard Burr had critical information that might have helped the people he is sworn to protect. But he hid that information and helped only himself."

As of Saturday, there are nearly 25,000 cases of Covid-19 in the US, with the death toll heading towards 300. Now both sides of the political aisle seem united in disgust at the apparent profiteering of Burr, Loeffler, and Feinstein.

Right-wing news outlet Breitbart savaged Burr for voting against the STOCK Act in 2012, a piece of legislation that would have barred members of Congress from using non-public information to profit on the stock market. At the same time, a host of Democratic figures - including former presidential candidates Andrew Yang and Kirsten Gillibrand - weighed in with their own criticism too.

"If you find out about a nation-threatening pandemic and your first move is to adjust your stock portfolio you should probably not be in a job that serves the public interest," Yang tweeted on Friday.

If you find out about a nation-threatening pandemic and your first move is to adjust your stock portfolio you should probably not be in a job that serves the public interest.

-- Andrew Yang🧢 (@AndrewYang) March 20, 2020

Watchdog group Common Cause has filed complaints with the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Senate Ethics Committee "calling for immediate investigations" of Burr, Loeffler, Feinstein and Inhofe "for possible violations of the STOCK Act and insider trading laws."

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

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

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

Dick | Mar 22 2020 0:48 utc | 66

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Mar 21, 2020] Tucker Senator Burr sold shares after virus briefing - YouTube

Highly recommended!
Mar 21, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Bowhead31 , 5 hours ago

The problem is these people no longer see themselves as public servants.

Maria Summers , 6 hours ago

The Georgia Senator is just as guilty as the rest of them, regarding "Insider Trading".

shane passey , 3 hours ago

She's a crook just like the rest of the politicians. They say they be there for the people. But they're really there to make themselves rich

[Mar 20, 2020] On 9/11, readers may enjoy

Mar 20, 2020 | www.unz.com

John Chuckman , says: Website Show Comment March 19, 2020 at 10:55 pm GMT

@anon8383892 On 9/11, readers may enjoy:

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2016/09/11/john-chuckman-comment-a-survivor-says-even-the-simplest-questions-around-911-have-not-been-answered-by-government-yes-and-some-disturbing-truths-around-those-events-the-saudi-arabian-nonsense/

Iris , says: Show Comment March 19, 2020 at 10:15 pm GMT
@Greg Bacon

The Israeli masterminded 9/11 false flag has been almost consecrated–like the holocaust–and anyone who dares to question the official lies, stands to lose their jobs, stature and be endlessly vilified for asking historical questions. Punitive measures that Mr. Barrett has first-hand knowledge of.

Good to remember that Dr Barrett is unambiguously proven to be right by the immutable laws of Physics and Engineering:

– A September 2019 University of Alaska PhD thesis, using state-of-the-art civil engineering design software, proved that WTC7 could have only been destroyed by controlled demolition.

– Due to the witnesses around, it would have been impossible to bring and install explosives into WTC7 during the time window after the collapse of the Twin Towers.

– Hence the explosives used to blow up WTC7 were already in place before the alleged WTC "plane attack" onto the Twin Towers took place.

– Hence the perpetrators are those who had control the WTC7 and were represented by Larry "Pull It" Silverstein.

[Mar 20, 2020] Pompeo myth that USA and the West were unprepared because China withheld information about the virus.

Mar 20, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

occupatio , Mar 19 2020 20:16 utc | 161

@b Another myth to add to your collection ...

... that USA and the West were unprepared because China withheld information about the virus.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 19 2020 18:20 utc | 106

The "Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19" states that China transparently reported the identification of virus to the WHO and the international community on January 3rd, and a WHO investigative team was invited to Wuhan a week after that.

From January 3rd, 2020, information on COVID-19 cases has been reported to WHO daily.

On January 7th, full genome sequences of the new virus were shared with WHO and the international community immediately after the pathogen was identified.

On January 10th, an expert group involving Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwanese technical experts and a World Health Organization team was invited to visit Wuhan.

From page 31 of:
https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/who-china-joint-mission-on-covid-19-final-report.pdf

[Mar 20, 2020] Tucker Carlson and China bashing

Mar 20, 2020 | www.unz.com

Minnesota Mary , says: Show Comment March 19, 2020 at 11:37 pm GMT

@FB I, too, have been disappointed in Tucker Carlson's China bashing. I have thought that he was the best on FOX News, but now he is getting to be as bad as Sean Hannity.

We may never know the origin of the coronavirus. It is foolish to try and assign blame at this point.

[Mar 20, 2020] On the psychology of Full Spectrum Dominance

Mar 20, 2020 | www.unz.com

Richard B says: Show Comment March 20, 2020 at 2:06 am GMT 700 Words @Kevin Barrett Does anyone ever really win a trade war?

I don't mean Argentina vs China, or anything like that.

I mean where both sides have a lot of money, or power, or both.

Today's coronavirus black swan, like 9/11, has all the characteristics of a trauma-based mass-mind-control op.

Not only do I agree, but I think it's so obvious that it's exasperating that, after all we've been through, it even needs to be pointed out. But it does.

It has already been used to demonize China in the same way 9/11 was used to demonize Islam: Just as we were supposed to hate the crazy suicidal Muslims yearning for harems of afterlife virgins, we are now supposed to feel disgust for Chinese slurpers of bat soup.

Here I respectfully disagree.

What Jewish Supremacy Inc. did after September 11th was,

1. Blame Islam
2. Shame Americans* for Blaming Islam

A better example of control through crazy-making would be impossible to imagine.

And it's exactly what they're doing now.

1. Blame China
2. Shame Americans for Blaming China

*or anyone else who refused or refuses to bow before the alter of Politically Correct Identity Politics (two tools essential to Full Spectrum Dominance).

As we have already seen, the consequences are immense.

Because if that kind of crazy-making is effective it's totally demoralizing. As learned helplessness sets in people won't even defend themselves. As happened in Italy, and not just Italy.

But there are other discernible patterns well worth pointing out.

1. Destroy The Evidence
2. Control The Narrative
3. Enforce The Law (on anyone looking for evidence to question the narrative)

Victimize – Blame Victim – Play Victim

Demonize Dissent and Pathologize Opposition

And all ending in what I've come to call the Supremacist Waltz

What makes a supremacist is not just making claims ("Our Superiority Is Absolute", or "We are the Chosen") or demands. No. It's that they have the power to effectuate the demands that support their claims.

And what are the demands they have the power to effectuate?

1. to be placed above criticism
2. loved unconditionally
3. blindly obeyed

It's The Rule of Man over The Rule of Law

It's a Culture of Blind Obedience over a Culture of Individual Conscience

It's Tyranny over Freedom

Hence The Great Replacement, accompanied by chants and taunts like "We Will Replace You!"

In other words, Full Spectrum Dominance.

But, there's a snake in this garden.

The kind of power they're interested in is fundamentally destablizing.

All top down authoritarian power destablizes social-institutions.

From the point of view of cultural history this is exactly why cultures emerged in the Western world that promoted democratic forms of governance. Because authoritarians cultures are ultimately so extraordinarily destructive and unsustainable. Like this one is. Isn't it obvious?

And, from the point of view of the bottom line, prolonged and profound social instability disrupts and even halts economic activity.

When that happens there's no alternative.

This is why civilization itself was created. Because any civilization's primary objective is and must be the circumnavigation of the use of force.

This is why what we're really witnessing is nothing less than

The Pyrrhic Victory of Jewish Supremacy Inc.

Because JSI's rise to power has been in direct proportion to the collapse of the very social-institutions that power controls. Pride Before The Fall, indeed.

And the reason is easy to see and devoid of any complexity or glamour.

JSI is no good at social-management.

And make no mistake about it, social-management is at its core an adaptational strategy, as are our social-institutions.

So, if we blow this, we're in no position to laugh at the dinosaurs for getting themselves extinct.

After all, they lasted a lot longer than we have so far.

Assuming the human race has a chance (in itself rather doubtful) perhaps its time to turn their words against them and say,

Treason Against Jewish Supremacy Inc. Is Loyalty To Humanity

Do we really need to ask them for permission to care about our children's future?

[Mar 20, 2020] That "beyond dispute" phrase is what retards like Mike Pompeo use to try to shut down a discussion in which he's getting his fat ass kicked.

Mar 20, 2020 | www.unz.com

Twodees Partain , says: Show Comment March 20, 2020 at 3:02 am GMT

@SBaker "It's beyond dispute that the novel coronavirus officially known as COVID-19originated in Wuhan, China."

No, it's being disputed every day. That "beyond dispute" phrase is what retards like Mike Pompeo use to try to shut down a discussion in which he's getting his fat ass kicked.

[Mar 20, 2020] How NGO get funding, how they influence policies and priorities, the money flow, and billions in taxpayer dollars.

Mar 20, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mao , Mar 20 2020 0:15 utc | 239

How do NGOs rule the world, while bleeding us dry? This is a comprehensive breakdown on who runs the healthcare industry (and other industries), how they do it, how they get funding, how they influence policies and priorities, the money flow, and billions in taxpayer dollars.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsCCz3MBjK4

[Mar 17, 2020] Russia Strikes Back Where It Hurts American Oil by Scott Ritter

Mar 17, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

R ussia and Saudi Arabia are engaged in an oil price war that has sent shockwaves around the world, causing the price of oil to tumble and threatening the financial stability, and even viability, of major international oil companies.

On the surface, this conflict appears to be a fight between two of the world's largest producers of oil over market share. This may, in fact, be the motive driving Saudi Arabia, which reacted to Russia's refusal to reduce its level of oil production by slashing the price it charged per barrel of oil and threatening to increase its oil production, thereby flooding the global market with cheap oil in an effort to attract customers away from competitors.

Russia's motives appear to be far different -- its target isn't Saudi Arabia, but rather American shale oil. After absorbing American sanctions that targeted the Russian energy sector, and working with global partners (including Saudi Arabia) to keep oil prices stable by reducing oil production even as the United States increased the amount of shale oil it sold on the world market, Russia had had enough. The advent of the Coronavirus global pandemic had significantly reduced the demand for oil around the world, stressing the American shale producers. Russia had been preparing for the eventuality of oil-based economic warfare with the United States. With U.S. shale producers knocked back on their heels, Russia viewed the time as being ripe to strike back. Russia's goal is simple: to make American shale oil producers " share the pain ".

The United States has been slapping sanctions on Russia for more than six years, ever since Russia took control (and later annexed) the Crimean Peninsula and threw its weight behind Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The first sanctions were issued on March 6, 2014, through Executive Order 13660 , targeting "persons who have asserted governmental authority in the Crimean region without the authorization of the Government of Ukraine that undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets."

The most recent round of sanctions was announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on February 18, 2020, by sanctioning Rosneft Trading S.A., a Swiss-incorporated, Russian-owned oil brokerage firm, for operating in Venezuela's oil sector. The U.S. also recently targeted the Russian Nord Stream 2 and Turk Stream gas pipeline projects.

Russia had been signaling its displeasure over U.S. sanctions from the very beginning. In July 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that U.S. sanctions were "driving into a corner" relations between the two countries, threatening the "the long-term national interests of the U.S. government and people." Russia opted to ride out U.S. sanctions, in hopes that there might be a change of administrations following the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections. Russian President Vladimir Putin made it clear that he hoped the U.S. might elect someone whose policies would be more friendly toward Russia, and that once the field of candidates narrowed down to a choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Putin favored Trump .

"Yes, I did," Putin remarked after the election, during a joint press conference with President Trump following a summit in Helsinki in July 2018. "Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal."

Putin's comments only reinforced the opinions of those who embraced allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election as fact and concluded that Putin had some sort of hold over Trump. Trump's continuous praise of Putin's leadership style only reinforced these concerns.

Even before he was inaugurated, Trump singled out Putin's refusal to respond in kind to President Obama's levying of sanctions based upon the assessment of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia had interfered in the election. "Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!" Trump Tweeted . Trump viewed the Obama sanctions as an effort to sabotage any chance of a Trump administration repairing relations with Russia, and interpreted Putin's refusal to engage, despite being pressured to do so by the Russian Parliament and Foreign Ministry, as a recognition of the same.

This sense of providing political space in the face of domestic pressure worked both ways. In January 2018, Putin tried to shield his relationship with President Trump by calling the release of a list containing some 200 names of persons close to the Russian government by the U.S. Treasury Department as a hostile and "stupid" move .

"Ordinary Russian citizens, employees and entire industries are behind each of those people and companies," Putin remarked. "So all 146 million people have essentially been put on this list. What is the point of this? I don't understand."

From the Russian perspective, the list highlighted the reality that the U.S. viewed the entire Russian government as an enemy and is a byproduct of the "political paranoia" on the part of U.S. lawmakers. The consequences of this, senior Russian officials warned, "will be toxic and undermine prospects for cooperation for years ahead."

While President Trump entered office fully intending to " get along with Russia ," including the possibility of relaxing the Obama-era sanctions , the reality of U.S.-Russian relations, especially as viewed from Congress, has been the strengthening of the Obama sanctions regime. These sanctions, strengthened over time by new measures signed off by Trump, have had a negative impact on the Russian economy, slowing growth and driving away foreign investment .

While Putin continued to show constraint in the face of these mounting sanctions, the recent targeting of Russia's energy sector represented a bridge too far. When Saudi pressure to cut oil production rates coincided with a global reduction in the demand for oil brought on by the Coronavirus crisis, Russia struck.

The timing of the Russian action is curious, especially given the amount of speculation that there was some sort of personal relationship between Trump and Putin that the Russian leader sought to preserve and carry over into a potential second term. But Putin had, for some time now, been signaling that his patience with Trump had run its course. When speaking to the press in June 2019 about the state of U.S.-Russian relations, Putin noted that "They (our relations) are going downhill, they are getting worse and worse," adding that "The current [i.e., Trump] administration has approved, in my opinion, several dozen decisions on sanctions against Russia in recent years."

By launching an oil price war on the eve of the American Presidential campaign season, Putin has sent as strong a signal as possible that he no longer views Trump as an asset, if in fact he ever did. Putin had hoped Trump could usher in positive change in the trajectory of relations between the two nations; this clearly had not happened. Instead, in the words of close Putin ally Igor Sechin , the chief executive of Russian oil giant Rosneft, the U.S. was using its considerable energy resources as a political weapon, ushering in an era of "power colonialism" that sought to expand U.S. oil production and market share at the expense of other nations.

From Russia's perspective, the growth in U.S. oil production -- which doubled in output from 2011 until 2019 -- and the emergence of the U.S. as a net exporter of oil, was directly linked to the suppression of oil export capability in nations such as Venezuela and Iran through the imposition of sanctions. While this could be tolerated when the target was a third party, once the U.S. set its sanctioning practices on Russian energy, the die was cast.

If the goal of the Russian-driven price war is to make U.S. shale companies "share the pain," they have already succeeded. A similar price war, initiated by Saudi Arabia in 2014 for the express purpose of suppressing U.S. shale oil production, failed, but only because investors were willing to prop up the stricken shale producers with massive loans and infusion of capital. For shale oil producers, who use an expensive methodology of extraction known as "fracking," to be economically viable, the breakeven price of oil per barrel needs to be between $40 and $60 dollars. This was the price range the Saudi's were hoping to sustain when they proposed the cuts in oil production that Russia rejected.

The U.S. shale oil producers, saddled by massive debt and high operational expenses, will suffer greatly in any sustained oil price war. Already, with the price of oil down to below $35 per barrel, there is talk of bankruptcy and massive job layoffs -- none of which bode well for Trump in the coming election.

It's clear that Russia has no intention of backing off anytime soon. According to the Russian Finance Ministry , said on Russia could weather oil prices of $25-30 per barrel for between six and ten years. One thing is for certain -- U.S. shale oil companies cannot.

In a sign that the Trump administration might be waking up to the reality of the predicament it faces, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin quietly met with Russia's Ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov. According to a read out from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two discussed economic sanctions, the Venezuelan economy, and the potential for "trade and investment." Mnuchin, the Russians noted, emphasized the "importance of orderly energy markets."

Russia is unlikely to fold anytime soon. As Admiral Josh Painter, a character in Tom Clancy's "The Hunt for Red October," famously said , "Russians don't take a dump without a plan."

Russia didn't enter its current course of action on a whim. Its goals are clearly stated -- to defeat U.S. shale oil -- and the costs of this effort, both economically and politically (up to and including having Trump lose the 2020 Presidential election) have all been calculated and considered in advance. The Russian Bear can only be toyed with for so long without generating a response. We now know what that response is; when the Empire strikes back, it hits hard.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of several books, including his forthcoming, Scorpion King: America's Embrace of Nuclear Weapons From FDR to Trump (2020).

[Mar 15, 2020] US seeking to carve out Sunni state as its influence in Iraq wanes: Wehrmacht occupying Ukraine vs US occupying Iraq.

Mar 15, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kali , Mar 14 2020 18:26 utc | 18

The neocons trying to control Trump are going to have a hard time this year because of the election. Trump knows his people voted for him because of his promises to get the troops back home. Of course the neocons want to build up more and more troops in Iraq or even split Iraq into 3 different countries. The Iraqi and Iranian leaders with the Syrians to a lesser degree will try to take advantage of Trump's dilemma. The Kurds are involved also. This is all explored by Pam Ho How Much Do You Suck (To lose a popularity contest with Saddam Hussein)

Willy2 , Mar 14 2020 18:32 utc | 19

- The US knows it "influence" is waning and tries to "carve out" a sunni "rump state" in North-West Iraq. First the US fights ISIS in that same area/region from the year 2014 onwards and now they are supposed to fight in FAVOUR of the sunnis/ISIS ?

"US seeking to carve out Sunni state as its influence in Iraq wanes"

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/us-seeking-carve-out-sunni-state-its-influence-iraq-wanes

- Some politicians are recognizing that the killing of Qassam Sulemani has weakened the US position in the Middle East.

"Killing Soleimani made US 'weaker' in Middle East, US senator says".

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/killing-soleimani-made-us-weaker-middle-east-us-senator-says

arata , Mar 14 2020 19:37 utc | 29
General McKenzie said they have bombed a civilian air port in Karbala was a right decision, Iraqi police force who were killed, they shouldn't be there!
See the video 13:00 onward.
Peter AU1 , Mar 14 2020 19:50 utc | 32
arata 29
Rueters had a piece on it which I linked in the last Iraq thread. Total yank arrogance and exceptionalism.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-security-usa-iran-retaliation-mi/iraq-condemns-u-s-air-strikes-warns-of-consequences-idUSKBN2101AD?il=0
""These locations that we struck are clear locations of terrorist bases," said Marine General Kenneth McKenzie, head of the U.S. military's Central Command.

"If Iraqis were there and if Iraqi military forces were there, I would say it's probably not a good idea to position yourself with Kataib Hezbollah in the wake of a strike that killed Americans and coalition members," he told a Pentagon news briefing."

dltravers , Mar 14 2020 21:40 utc | 40
Despite Trump the Iraq policy transcends his administration and will continue in some form in the future. There will be a continued presence in some form and in some part of the country. Our beloved ally in the region demands our presence.

They smartly keep the presence small with no draft remembering that is what took them out of Nam. An angry draft worthy populace, a counter culture disillusioned with the murder of their liberal anti war leadership by the state, and ample media coverage of the war carnage.

All of that is long gone, and even with the age of internet reporting the populace has been bought off with entertainment, amazon, porn, and bullshit.

Abe , Mar 15 2020 0:39 utc | 54
@43

Parallel is IMO very interesting, Wehrmacht occupying Ukraine and US occupying Iraq. In both cases there was minority that welcomed occupier with open arms, wanting to oppress majority of own country folks due to earlier grievances. In both cases, invader didn't want to bother with using that minority to own goals, as they saw them all as inferior race. And invader was in both cases more interested in conquering more powerful neighbor to the east.

Irony is that, if Nazi Germany/US didn't look at Ukraine/Iraq people as inferior race they could use them for own goal to fight Russia/Iran. But, dumb as they are, they stuck all those Ukrainians into camps(lot of them sympathizers to Germany/rabidly against Russia)/ disbanding ex. Saddam's army and made kernel of future anti US force into region, not to mention Kurdish question.


Peter AU1 , Mar 15 2020 0:39 utc | 55
53 Snake put up a link back up the thread.
https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/03/14/620858/Iraq-military-demands-foreign-forces-swiftly-withdraw-following-US-air-raids
"Iraqi lawmakers unanimously approved a bill on January 5, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces..."

"Later on January 9, former Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi called on the United States to dispatch a delegation to Baghdad tasked with formulating a mechanism for the move.

According to a statement released by his office at the time, Abdul-Mahdi "requested that delegates be sent to Iraq to set the mechanisms to implement the parliament's decision for the secure withdrawal of (foreign) forces from Iraq" in a phone call with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo."

US in response moved to a few bases they intended to occupy and give the two finger salute to Iraq. Trump threatened sanctions and theft of Iraq's oil money which is in the US. Pentagon now moving patriots in.

Jackrabbit , Mar 15 2020 2:43 utc | 69
Question to b @53: ... it was a non-binding resolution.

It's "non-binding" on USA only because the Prime Minister conducts foreign policy and there's no current written basing agreement between Iraq and USA that can be terminated. The resolution demands that the Prime Minister arrange for the departure of US troops.

The resolution is binding on the Prime Minister because it was a valid vote in accordance with Iraqi Parliamentary procedure.

USA refused to discuss leaving Iraq and claimed that the Parliamentary vote was "non-binding" because it was unrepresentative (USA got their Sunni and Kurd sympathizers to boycott the vote). But Parliament still had a quorum, so the vote is legal and binding.

<> <> <> <> <> <>

Is it enforceable?

USA/NATO are very unlikely to leaving willingly. We are seeing the start of a civil war in Iraq because most Sunnis and Kurds support USA/NATO remaining while Shia want USA/NATO to leave.

!!

james , Mar 15 2020 2:36 utc | 67
just start with the first lie and go from their... usa / uk lied the world into going to war on iraq... and from their the lies just keep on getting stacked.. if you can't acknowledge the first lie, you probably are incapable of recognizing all the other lies that have been thrown on the same bullshit pile... one big pile of lies and bullshite - a specialty of the exceptional country..
james , Mar 15 2020 2:25 utc | 65
@ 63 question.. you like this usa style bullshit that buys politicians in iraq and when that doesn't work, they go on to the next attempt at installing a politician willing to agree to their bullshite? interesting bullshit concept of democracy if you ask me... everything has a price tag and honour is something you can pick up at the grocery store... right..

[Mar 13, 2020] Daffy Duck. cartoon was made in 1953 and like many Looney Tune cartoon's, they are an extreme parody of life. It dawned on me that this cartoon is an almost perfect description of US Military policy and action.

Highly recommended!
Mar 13, 2020 | thesaker.is

Vaughan on March 12, 2020 , · at 7:43 pm EST/EDT

Recently, I was watching the old Looney Tunes Cartoons with my Grandchild and we were watching, "Duck Dodges in the 21st and a Half Century"
I don't know if you've watched this cartoon starring Daffy Duck. You can view it here
https://vimeo.com/76668594

This cartoon was made in 1953 and like many Looney Tune cartoon's, they are an extreme parody of life. But while watching this cartoon, it dawned on me that this cartoon is an almost perfect description of US Military policy and action.
I could write an article on this but I think we'll leave it as a note with a snide laugh to be had by all.

Patricia Ormsby on March 12, 2020 , · at 8:16 pm EST/EDT
Laughter is one of the best medicines. Thank you for this!

[Mar 12, 2020] How 'Bernie Bros' Were Invented, Then Smeared as Sexist, Racist and unAmerican as Borscht by Jonathan Cook

Looks like DNC run a pretty sophisticated smear campaign against Sanders ...
Notable quotes:
"... It really isn't about who the candidates are – hurtful as that may sound to some in our identity-saturated times. It is about what the candidate might try to do once in office. In truth, the very fact that nowadays we are allowed to focus on identity to our heart's content should be warning enough that the establishment is only too keen for us to exhaust our energies in promoting divisions based on those identities ..."
"... The Republican and Democratic leaderships are there to ensure that, before a candidate gets selected to compete in the parties' name, he or she has proven they are power-friendly. Two candidates, each vetted for obedience to power. ..."
Mar 12, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

The Democratic presidential nomination race is a fascinating case study in how power works – not least, because the Democratic party leaders are visibly contriving to impose one candidate, Joe Biden, as the party's nominee, even as it becomes clear that he is no longer mentally equipped to run a local table tennis club let alone the world's most powerful nation.

Biden's campaign is a reminder that power is indivisible. Donald Trump or Joe Biden for president – it doesn't matter to the power-establishment. An egomaniacal man-child (Trump), representing the billionaires, or an elder suffering rapid neurological degeneration (Biden), representing the billionaires, are equally useful to power. A woman will do too, or a person of colour. The establishment is no longer worried about who stands on stage – so long as that person is not a Bernie Sanders in the US, or a Jeremy Corbyn in the UK.

It really isn't about who the candidates are – hurtful as that may sound to some in our identity-saturated times. It is about what the candidate might try to do once in office. In truth, the very fact that nowadays we are allowed to focus on identity to our heart's content should be warning enough that the establishment is only too keen for us to exhaust our energies in promoting divisions based on those identities. What concerns it far more is that we might overcome those divisions and unify against it, withdrawing our consent from an establishment committed to endless asset-stripping of our societies and the planet.

Neither Biden nor Trump will obstruct the establishment, because they are at its very heart. The Republican and Democratic leaderships are there to ensure that, before a candidate gets selected to compete in the parties' name, he or she has proven they are power-friendly. Two candidates, each vetted for obedience to power.

Although a pretty face or a way with words are desirable, incapacity and incompetence are no barrier to qualifying, as the two white men groomed by their respective parties demonstrate. Both have proved they will favour the establishment, both will pursue near-enough the same policies , both are committed to the status quo, both have demonstrated their indifference to the future of life on Earth. What separates the candidates is not real substance, but presentation styles – the creation of the appearance of difference, of choice.

Policing the debate

The subtle dynamics of how the Democratic nomination race is being rigged are interesting. Especially revealing are the ways the Democratic leadership protects establishment power by policing the terms of debate: what can be said, and what can be thought; who gets to speak and whose voices are misrepresented or demonised. Manipulation of language is key.

As I pointed out in my previous post , the establishment's power derives from its invisibility. Scrutiny is kryptonite to power.

The only way we can interrogate power is through language, and the only way we can communicate our conclusions to others is through words – as I am doing right now. And therefore our strength – our ability to awaken ourselves from the trance of power – must be subverted by the establishment, transformed into our Achilles' heel, a weakness.

The treatment of Bernie Sanders and his supporters by the Democratic establishment – and those who eagerly repeat its talking points – neatly illustrates how this can be done in manifold ways.

Remember this all started back in 2016, when Sanders committed the unforgivable sin of challenging the Democratic leadership's right simply to anoint Hillary Clinton as the party's presidential candidate. In those days, the fault line was obvious and neat: Bernie was a man, Clinton a woman. She would be the first woman president. The only party members who might wish to deny her that historic moment, and back Sanders instead, had to be misogynist men. They were supposedly venting their anti-women grudge against Clinton, who in turn was presented to women as a symbol of their oppression by men.

And so was born a meme: the "Bernie Bros". It rapidly became shorthand for suggesting – contrary to all evidence – that Sanders' candidacy appealed chiefly to angry, entitled white men. In fact, as Sanders' 2020 run has amply demonstrated, support for him has been more diverse than for the many other Democratic candidates who sought the nomination.

So important what @ewarren is saying to @maddow about the dangerous, threatening, ugly faction among the Bernie supporters. Sanders either cannot or will not control them. pic.twitter.com/LYDXlLJ7bi

-- Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) March 6, 2020

How contrived the 2016 identity-fuelled contest was should have been clear, had anyone been allowed to point that fact out. This wasn't really about the Democratic leadership respecting Clinton's identity as a woman. It was about them paying lip service to her identity as a woman, while actually promoting her because she was a reliable warmonger and Wall Street functionary . She was useful to power.

If the debate had really been driven by identity politics, Sanders had a winning card too: he is Jewish. That meant he could be the United States' first Jewish president. In a fair identity fight, it would have been a draw between the two. The decision about who should represent the Democratic party would then have had to be decided based on policies, not identity. But party leaders did not want Clinton's actual policies, or her political history, being put under the microscope for very obvious reasons.

Weaponisation of identity

The weaponisation of identity politics is even more transparent in 2020. Sanders is still Jewish, but his main opponent, Joe Biden, really is simply a privileged white man. Were the Clinton format to be followed again by Democratic officials, Sanders would enjoy an identity politics trump card. And yet Sanders is still being presented as just another white male candidate , no different from Biden.

(We could take this argument even further and note that the other candidate who no one, least of all the Democratic leadership, ever mentions as still in the race is Tulsi Gabbard, a woman of colour. The Democratic party has worked hard to make her as invisible as possible in the primaries because, of all the candidates, she is the most vocal and articulate opponent of foreign wars. That has deprived her of the chance to raise funds and win delegates.)

. @DanaPerino I'm not quite sure why you're telling FOX viewers that Elizabeth Warren is the last female candidate in the Dem primary. Is it because you believe a fake indigenous woman of color is "real" and the real indigenous woman of color in this race is fake? pic.twitter.com/VKCxy2JzFe

-- Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) March 3, 2020

Sanders' Jewish identity isn't celebrated because he isn't useful to the power-establishment. What's far more important to them – and should be to us too – are his policies, which might limit their power to wage war, exploit workers and trash the planet.

But it is not just that Democratic Party leaders are ignoring Sanders' Jewish identity. They are also again actively using identity politics against him, and in many different ways.

The 'black' establishment?

Bernie Sanders' supporters have been complaining for some time – based on mounting evidence – that the Democratic leadership is far from neutral between Sanders and Biden. Because it has a vested interest in the outcome, and because it is the part of the power-establishment, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is exercising its influence in favour of Biden. And because power prefers darkness, the DNC is doing its best to exercise that power behind the scenes, out of sight – at least, unseen by those who still rely on the "mainstream" corporate media, which is also part of the power-establishment. As should be clear to anyone watching, the nomination proceedings are being controlled to give Biden every advantage and to obstruct Sanders.

But the Democratic leadership is not only dismissing out of hand these very justified complaints from Bernie Sanders' supporters but also turning these complaints against them, as further evidence of their – and his – illegitimacy. A new way of doing this emerged in the immediate wake of Biden winning South Carolina on the back of strong support from older black voters – Biden's first state win and a launchpad for his Super Tuesday bid a few days later.

It was given perfect expression from Symone Sanders, who despite her surname is actually a senior adviser to Biden's campaign. She is also black. This is what she wrote: "People who keep referring to Black voters as 'the establishment' are tone deaf and have obviously learned nothing."

People who keep referring to Black voters as "the establishment" are tone deaf and have obviously learned nothing.

-- Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) March 3, 2020

Her reference to generic "people" was understood precisely by both sides of the debate as code for those "Bernie Bros". Now, it seems, Bernie Sanders' supporters are not simply misogynists, they are potential recruits to the Ku Klux Klan.

The tweet went viral, even though in the fiercely contested back-and-forth below her tweet no one could produce a single example of anyone actually saying anything like the sentiment ascribed by Symone Sanders to "Bernie Bros". But then, tackling bigotry was not her real goal. This wasn't meant to be a reflection on a real-world talking-point by Bernie supporters. It was high-level gaslighting by a senior Democratic party official of the party's own voters.

Survival of the fittest smear

What Symone Sanders was really trying to do was conceal power – the fact that the DNC is seeking to impose its chosen candidate on party members. As occurred during the confected women-men, Clinton vs "Bernie Bros" confrontation, Symone Sanders was field-testing a similar narrative management tool as part of the establishment's efforts to hone it for improved effect. The establishment has learnt – through a kind of survival of the fittest smear – that divide-and-rule identity politics is the perfect way to shield its influence as it favours a status-quo candidate (Biden or Clinton) over a candidate seen as a threat to its power (Sanders).

In her tweet, Symone Sanders showed exactly how the power elite seeks to obscure its toxic role in our societies. She neatly conflated "the establishment" – of which she is a very small, but well-paid component – with ordinary "black voters". Her message is this: should you try to criticise the establishment (which has inordinate power to damage lives and destroy the planet) we will demonise you, making it seem that you are really attacking black people (who in the vast majority of cases – though Symone Sanders is a notable exception – wield no power at all).

Symone Sanders has recruited her own blackness and South Carolina's "black voters" as a ring of steel to protect the establishment. Cynically, she has turned poor black people, as well as the tens of thousands of people (presumably black and white) who liked her tweet, into human shields for the establishment.

It sounds a lot uglier put like that. But it has rapidly become a Biden talking-point, as we can see here:

NEW: @JoeBiden responds to @berniesanders saying the "establishment" is trying to defeat him.

"The establishment are all those hardworking, middle class people, those African Americans they are the establishment!" @CBSNews pic.twitter.com/43Q2Nci5sS

-- Bo Erickson CBS (@BoKnowsNews) March 4, 2020

The DNC's wider strategy is to confer on Biden exclusive rights to speak for black voters (despite his inglorious record on civil rights issues) and, further, to strip Sanders and his senior black advisers of any right to do so. When Sanders protests about this, or about racist behaviour from the Biden camp, Biden's supporters come out in force and often abusively, though of course no one is upbraiding them for their ugly, violent language. Here is the famous former tennis player Martina Navratilova showing that maybe we should be talking about "Biden Bros":

Sanders is starting to really piss me off. Just shut this kind of crap down and debate the issues. This is not it.

-- Martina Navratilova (@Martina) March 6, 2020

Being unkind to billionaires

This kind of special pleading by the establishment for the establishment – using those sections of it, such as Symone Sanders, that can tap into the identity politics zeitgeist – is far more common than you might imagine. The approach is being constantly refined, often using social media as the ultimate focus group. Symone Sanders' successful conflation of the establishment with "black voters" follows earlier, clumsier efforts by the establishment to protect its interests against Sanders that proved far less effective.

Billionaires should not exist. https://t.co/hgR6CeFvLa

-- Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) September 24, 2019

Remember how last autumn the billionaire-owned corporate media tried to tell us that it was unkind to criticise billionaires – that they had feelings too and that speaking harshly about them was "dehumanising". Again it was aimed at Sanders, who had just commented that in a properly ordered world billionaires simply wouldn't exist. It was an obvious point: allowing a handful of people to control almost all the planet's wealth was not only depriving the rest of us of that wealth (and harming the planet) but it gave those few billionaires way too much power. They could buy all the media, our channels of communication, and most of the politicians to ringfence their financial interests, gradually eroding even the most minimal democratic protections.

That campaign died a quick death because few of us are actually brainwashed enough to accept the idea that a handful of billionaires share an identity that needs protecting – from us! Most of us are still connected enough to the real world to understand that billionaires are more than capable of looking out for their own interests, without our helping them by imposing on ourselves a vow of silence.

But one cannot fault the power-establishment for being constantly inventive in the search for new ways to stifle our criticisms of the way it unilaterally exercises its power. The Democratic nomination race is testing such ingenuity to the limits. Here's a new rule against "hateful conduct" on Twitter, where Biden's neurological deficit is being subjected to much critical scrutiny through the sharing of dozens of videos of embarrassing Biden "senior moments".

Twitter expanding its hateful conduct rules "to include language that dehumanizes on the basis of age, disability or disease." https://t.co/KmWGaNAG9Z

-- Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) March 5, 2020

Yes, disability and age are identities too. And so, on the pretext of protecting and respecting those identities, social media can now be scrubbed of anything and anyone trying to highlight the mental deficiencies of an old man who might soon be given the nuclear codes and would be responsible for waging wars in the name of Americans. Twitter is full of comments denouncing as "ableist" anyone who tries to highlight how the Democratic leadership is foisting a cognitively challenged Biden on to the party.

Maybe the Dem insiders are all wrong, but it's true that they are saying it. Some are saying it out loud, including Castro at the debate and Booker here: https://t.co/0lbi7RFRqG

-- Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) March 6, 2020

Russian 'agents' and 'assets'

None of this is to overlook the fact that another variation of identity politics has been weaponised against Sanders: that of failing to be an "American" patriot. Again illustrating how closely the Democratic and Republican leaderships' interests align, the question of who is a patriot – and who is really working for the "Russians" – has been at the heart of both parties' campaigns, though for different reasons.

Trump has been subjected to endless, evidence-free claims that he is a secret "Russian agent" in a concerted effort to control his original isolationist foreign policy impulses that might have stripped the establishment – and its military-industrial wing – of the right to wage wars of aggression, and revive the Cold War, wherever it believes a profit can be made under cover of "humanitarian intervention". Trump partly inoculated himself against these criticisms, at least among supporters, with his "Make America Great Again" slogan, and partly by learning – painfully for such an egotist – that his presidential role was to rubber-stamp decisions made elsewhere about waging wars and projecting US power.

I'm just amazed by this tweet, which has been tweeted plenty. Did @_nalexander and all the people liking this not know that Mueller laid out in the indictments of a number of Russians and in his report their help on social media to Sanders and Trump. Help Sanders has acknowledged https://t.co/vuc0lmvvKP

-- Neera Tanden (@neeratanden) December 8, 2019

Bernie Sanders has faced similar smear efforts by the establishment, including by the DNC's last failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton – in his case, painting him as a "Russian asset". ("Asset" is a way to suggest collusion with the Kremlin based on even more flimsy evidence than is needed to accuse someone of being an agent.) In fact, in a world where identity politics wasn't simply a tool to be weaponised by the establishment, there would be real trepidation about engaging in this kind of invective against a Jewish socialist.

One of the far-right's favourite antisemitic tropes – promoted ever since the publication of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion more than 100 years ago – is that Jewish "Bolsheviks" are involved in an international conspiracy to subvert the countries they live in. We have reached the point now that the corporate media are happy to recycle evidence-free claims, cited by the Washington Post, from anonymous "US officials" and US intelligence agencies reinventing a US version of the Protocols against Sanders. And these smears have elicited not a word of criticism from the Democratic leadership nor from the usual antisemitism watchdogs that are so ready to let rip over the slightest signs of what they claim to be antisemitism on the left.

But the urgency of dealing with Sanders may be the reason normal conventions have been discarded. Sanders isn't a loud-mouth egotist like Trump. A vote for Trump is a vote for the establishment, if for one of its number who pretends to be against the establishment. Trump has been largely tamed in time for a second term. By contrast, Sanders, like Corbyn in the UK, is more dangerous because he may resist the efforts to domesticate him, and because if he is allowed any significant measure of political success – such as becoming a candidate for president – it may inspire others to follow in his footsteps. The system might start to throw up more anomalies, more AOCs and more Ilhan Omars.

So Sanders is now being cast, like Trump, as a puppet of the Kremlin, not a true American. And because he made the serious mistake of indulging the "Russiagate" smears when they were used against Trump, Sanders now has little defence against their redeployment against him. And given that, by the impoverished standards of US political culture, he is considered an extreme leftist, it has been easy to conflate his democratic socialism with Communism, and then conflate his supposed Communism with acting on behalf of the Kremlin (which, of course, ignores the fact that Russia long ago abandoned Communism).

Sen. Bernie Sanders: "Let me tell this to Putin -- the American people, whether Republicans, Democrats, independents are sick and tired of seeing Russia and other countries interfering in our elections." pic.twitter.com/ejcP7YVFlt

-- The Hill (@thehill) February 21, 2020

Antisemitism smear at the ready

There is a final use of weaponised identity politics that the Democratic establishment would dearly love to use against Sanders, if they need to and can get away with it. It is the most toxic brand – and therefore the most effective – of the identity-based smears, and it has been extensively field-tested in the UK against Jeremy Corbyn to great success. The DNC would like to denounce Sanders as an antisemite.

In fact, only one thing has held them back till now: the fact that Sanders is Jewish. That may not prove an insuperable obstacle, but it does make it much harder to make the accusation look credible. The other identity-based smears had been a second-best, a make-do until a way could be found to unleash the antisemitism smear.

The establishment has been testing the waters with implied accusations of antisemitism against Sanders for a while, but their chances were given a fillip recently when Sanders refused to participate in the annual jamboree of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a prominent lobby group whose primary mission is to ringfence Israel from criticism in the US. Both the Republican and Democratic establishments turn out in force to the AIPAC conference, and in the past the event has attracted keynote speeches from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

But Sanders has refused to attend for decades and maintained that stance this month, even though he is a candidate for the Democratic nomination. In the last primaries debate, Sanders justified his decision by rightly calling Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu a "racist" and by describing AIPAC as providing a platform "for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights".

Trump's Vice-President, Mike Pence, responded that Sanders supported "Israel's enemies" and, if elected, would be the "most anti-Israel president in the history of this nation" – all coded suggestions that Sanders is antisemitic.

But that's Mike Pence. More useful criticism came from billionaire Mike Bloomberg, who is himself Jewish and was until last week posing as a Democrat to try to win the party's nomination. Bloomberg accused Sanders of using dehumanising language against a bunch of inclusive identities that, he improbably suggested, AIPAC represents. He claimed :

"This is a gathering of 20,000 Israel supporters of every religious denomination, ethnicity, faith, color, sexual identity and political party. Calling it a racist platform is an attempt to discredit those voices, intimidate people from coming here, and weaken the US-Israel relationship."

Where might this head? At the AIPAC conference last week we were given a foretaste. Ephraim Mirvis, the chief rabbi of the UK and a friend to Conservative government leader Boris Johnson, was warmly greeted by delegates, including leading members of the Democratic establishment. He boasted that he and other Jewish leaders in the UK had managed to damage Jeremy Corbyn's electoral chances by suggesting that he was an antisemite over his support, like Sanders, for Palestinian rights.

His own treatment of Corbyn, he argued, offered a model for US Jewish organisations to replicate against any leadership contender who might pose similar trouble for Israel, leaving it for his audience to pick up the not-so-subtle hint about who needed to be subjected to character assassination.

WATCH: "Today I issue a call to the Jews of America, please take a leaf out of our book and please speak with one voice."

The Chief Rabbi speaking to the 18,000 delegates gathered at the @AIPAC General Session at their Policy Conference in Washington DC pic.twitter.com/BOkan9RA2O

-- Chief Rabbi Mirvis (@chiefrabbi) March 3, 2020

Establishment playbook

For anyone who isn't wilfully blind, the last few months have exposed the establishment playbook: it will use identity politics to divide those who might otherwise find a united voice and a common cause.

There is nothing wrong with celebrating one's identity, especially if it is under threat, maligned or marginalised. But having an attachment to an identity is no excuse for allowing it to be coopted by billionaires, by the powerful, by nuclear-armed states oppressing other people, by political parties or by the corporate media, so that they can weaponise it to prevent the weak, the poor, the marginalised from being represented.

It is time for us to wake up to the tricks, the deceptions, the manipulations of the strong that exploit our weaknesses – and make us yet weaker still. It's time to stop being a patsy for the establishment. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Jonathan Cook

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are " Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and " Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair " (Zed Books). His website is http://www.jonathan-cook.net/

[Mar 12, 2020] Americans are told every day that Russians are interfering in our politics. We've been interfering in Russia's for a century. -

Notable quotes:
"... Nonetheless much of this Cold War rivalry played out within a set of rules. Since 1990, when the Soviet Union collapsed, those rules have largely evaporated. The end of the Cold War marked the beginning of a new American effort to bring Russia into the Western fold -- to make it, in Washington-speak, a "responsible partner in the rules-based international order." We sought a cooperative Russian leader -- one who would play the pro-Western role once envisioned for Admiral Kolchak. ..."
"... In 1996 President Boris Yeltsin, who had presided over an epic collapse of living standards in Russia, seemed headed for electoral defeat. That threatened America's influence over Russia. President Bill Clinton told his advisers, " I want this guy to win so bad it hurts ." A team of American political consultants flew to Russia, took over Yeltsin's campaign and, using media techniques not previously seen there, steered him to an improbable victory. This direct intervention in Russian politics was hardly clandestine. Time magazine published a gleeful account soon afterward, with a drawing of Yeltsin on the cover waving an American flag over the headline " Yanks to the Rescue ." ..."
Mar 12, 2020 | www.bostonglobe.com

Shots rang out beside a frozen Siberian river one century ago, and a famous commander fell dead. Members of the firing squad dumped his body through a hole in the ice. With that, the Russian civil war took a decisive turn. Communists consolidated power and set in motion events that still shape Russia.

Observing the anniversary of this fateful execution helps explain why Russia today feels besieged by the United States. The victim, Admiral Alexander Kolchak, was recognized by Western powers as the legitimate ruler of Russia. He and his White Army were waging an epic war to overthrow Lenin and the Reds. In 1919 President Woodrow Wilson, horrified at the rise of Bolshevik power, sent 13,000 American soldiers to Russia.

Although Americans have largely forgotten this episode, Russians have not. They know from their history books that the United States and other powers sent a potent army on an ill-fated mission deep inside their country. Many see that intervention as the beginning of a century during which the United States has relentlessly interfered in Russia's internal affairs. This has created a narrative of encirclement -- a view that the West relentlessly threatens Russia and does whatever possible to destabilize and weaken it.

Americans are told every day that Russia is interfering in our internal politics. This is said to be an effort to erode American society and weaken our democracy. Portrayals of Russia in the American press are unfailingly negative, President Vladimir Putin is presented as demonic, and any politician who advocates better relations with Moscow risks being accused of treason. Presidential candidates compete to be more virulently anti-Russian than their rivals, as if this is a measure of patriotism. Tensions between the two countries are in some ways higher than during the worst days of the Cold War.

The American and Russian governments have adopted startlingly similar views of each other. Each believes that the other is systematically and malignantly intervening in its internal politics. This feeds a spiral of mistrust and anger. We have not yet returned to the extreme of 1919, when the United States sent combat troops to Russia in an attempt to preserve Western influence there. Yet Russians have reason to suspect that the United States is still trying to guide the course of their history. We lost Admiral Kolchak 100 years ago but haven't given up.

Kolchak was a celebrated scientist and polar explorer who rose to high positions in the Russian Navy. He visited the United States in 1917, and upon his return began marshalling forces to fight the Bolsheviks. Despite receiving troves of weaponry from the British, his forces could not win. He fell into Bolshevik hands and, at dawn on February 7, 1920, was marched toward a tributary of the Angara River. Ever the gentleman, he refused a blindfold and asked the commander of the firing squad to send a final message of love to his wife and son. The commander replied, "I will if I don't forget."

With Kolchak gone, the White Army weakened and finally succumbed. Russia remained Communist for seven decades. During that entire period, with the notable exception of their alliance against Nazi power in World War II, Moscow and Washington were intense global rivals. Americans overlaid the worst qualities of our World War II enemies onto Russia: since the Japanese had attacked us without warning, the Russians probably would too, and since the Nazis had invaded other countries and brutalized their people, Russians were likely to do the same.

Nonetheless much of this Cold War rivalry played out within a set of rules. Since 1990, when the Soviet Union collapsed, those rules have largely evaporated. The end of the Cold War marked the beginning of a new American effort to bring Russia into the Western fold -- to make it, in Washington-speak, a "responsible partner in the rules-based international order." We sought a cooperative Russian leader -- one who would play the pro-Western role once envisioned for Admiral Kolchak.

In 1996 President Boris Yeltsin, who had presided over an epic collapse of living standards in Russia, seemed headed for electoral defeat. That threatened America's influence over Russia. President Bill Clinton told his advisers, " I want this guy to win so bad it hurts ." A team of American political consultants flew to Russia, took over Yeltsin's campaign and, using media techniques not previously seen there, steered him to an improbable victory. This direct intervention in Russian politics was hardly clandestine. Time magazine published a gleeful account soon afterward, with a drawing of Yeltsin on the cover waving an American flag over the headline " Yanks to the Rescue ."

In the years since Putin's emergence, the United States has returned to its default view of Russia as a bloodthirsty enemy. We have imposed a maze of sanctions on Russian individuals and corporations. Our military surrounds Russia just as Russians would surround us if they had bases across Canada and Mexico. We have renounced treaties that once restrained our rivalry. Depending on one's point of view, these steps are either aggressive provocations or simply measured responses to Russian threats and misdeeds. Either way, Russians may be forgiven for believing that the United States wishes their country neither prosperity nor stability. Admiral Kolchak's execution one hundred years ago this winter marked an epochal failure of Western efforts to bend Russia to our will. We're still trying.

[Mar 12, 2020] Levada poll is financed by the USA in violation of Russian laws

Mar 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU1 , Mar 11 2020 7:43 utc | 84

Helmer prefers Levada poll.
https://tass.com/politics/898199
A Justice Ministry source told TASS that a random check carried out by the ministry's Moscow branch had established that the Levada Center was financed by foreign sources and was involved in political activities in the territory of Russia in the interests of its foreign sponsors. The center prepares and distributes by means of modern information technologies their opinion on decisions passed by Russian bodies of state power and their policy and forms socio-political views and convictions.

"The inspection revealed that the Analytical Center of Yuri Levada had received a large part of its funds from the United States, including a grant from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, which is curated by the U.S. Department of Defense," the source said.

On things Russian, I think a Russian funded poll might be more accurate than a US government funded NGO.

uncle tungsten , Mar 11 2020 9:11 utc | 85

Peter AU1 #83

On things Russian and USA funding I just discovered this piece at Unz Review in regard to Kevin Rothrock.

Apart from the direct links to State Department and Soros funds, I thought of Integrity Initiative and is jolly band of stenographers at large.

[Mar 11, 2020] Levada poll is financed by the USA in violation of Russian laws

Mar 11, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU1 , Mar 11 2020 7:43 utc | 84

Helmer prefers Levada poll.
https://tass.com/politics/898199
A Justice Ministry source told TASS that a random check carried out by the ministry's Moscow branch had established that the Levada Center was financed by foreign sources and was involved in political activities in the territory of Russia in the interests of its foreign sponsors. The center prepares and distributes by means of modern information technologies their opinion on decisions passed by Russian bodies of state power and their policy and forms socio-political views and convictions.

"The inspection revealed that the Analytical Center of Yuri Levada had received a large part of its funds from the United States, including a grant from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, which is curated by the U.S. Department of Defense," the source said.

On things Russian, I think a Russian funded poll might be more accurate than a US government funded NGO.

uncle tungsten , Mar 11 2020 9:11 utc | 85

Peter AU1 #83

On things Russian and USA funding I just discovered this piece at Unz Review in regard to Kevin Rothrock.

Apart from the direct links to State Department and Soros funds, I thought of Integrity Initiative and is jolly band of stenographers at large.

[Mar 10, 2020] The American conference in Bratislava in the Slovak Republic in April 2000 made the American goal for Europe clear: An Iron Curtain between the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea, with hopefully Russia be eventually divided or broken up into smaller states

Mar 10, 2020 | www.unz.com

Malbrough , says: Show Comment March 10, 2020 at 2:50 am GMT

In an op-ed in the Financial Times on March 4th, he [Soros] urged that "Europe must stand with Turkey over Putin's war crimes in Syria," an astonishing misreading of the situation in the region as Turkey is the aggressor while Russia is fighting to eliminate the last major terrorist enclave in Idlibt.

" Defender 2020" is a "maneuvre of shame"
by Willy Wimmer
former State Secretary at the German Ministry of Defence

"The German Chancellor, Dr Angela Merkel, is breaking a taboo by allowing German soldiers to participate in the biggest NATO manoeuvre since the end of the Cold War against Russia .

It is therefore no wonder that the German Federal Government in May 2019 did not commemorate the "Versailles" of one hundred years ago, nor did the German President do so in a commemoration ceremony for which he can be held accountable. Versailles does not only mean "the demon of revenge", but also a deliberate inability to strive for peace.

This way of thinking is expressed once again in the NATO major manoeuvre, deliberately planned for the 9 May, the day the war ended in 1945. As if the fact had needed further proof that the "NATO West" cannot make peace, it can only make war, be that war cold or hot.

The American conference in Bratislava in the Slovak Republic in April 2000 made the American goal for Europe clear: An Iron Curtain between the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea, Russia can stay anywhichwhere, and be divided or broken up into smaller states. The NATO manoeuvre called "Defender 2020" is a "manoeuvre of shame" that only serves the warmongers . "

[Mar 10, 2020] Trump's Second Term? Not Worth Freaking Out About by Ted Rall

Looks like Trump is already lame duck President. And this will not change with the elections
Notable quotes:
"... I'm not suggesting that President Trump deserves a second term. He didn't deserve a first one. He's a terrible person and an awful president. What I'm saying is that it is more likely than not that he has already done most of the damage that he can do. ..."
"... An achievement-filled second term would be a major reversal of recent historical precedent. Things may get worse under four more years of this idiot, but not much worse as the Democratic doomsday cult warns. ..."
"... I hope Obama enjoyed all those trips to Martha's Vineyard because that's pretty much all he has to show for term number two. ..."
"... George W. Bush screwed up one thing after another during his second four years in office, which was bookended by his hapless non-response to the destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina and his role in the ineffective and wasteful bailout of Wall Street megabanks during the subprime mortgage financial crisis. What began as an illegal war of aggression against Iraq became, after reelection, a catastrophic quagmire that destroyed America's international reputation. ..."
"... Reagan was both senile and bogged down in Iran Contra. ..."
"... "If Trump wins a second term this November," James Pethokoukis writes in The Week, Trump "might propose more tax cuts, but they are more likely to be payroll tax cuts geared toward middle-class workers instead of income tax cuts for rich people and corporations. ..."
Mar 06, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

You've heard it so often that you may well believe it's true: Trump's second term would be a disaster. For the Democratic Party. For the United States. For democracy itself. "The reelection of Donald Trump," warns Nancy Pelosi, "would do irreparable damage to the United States."

But would it really?

Exceptions are a normal part of history but the record suggests that Trump would not be one of the few presidents who get much done during their second terms. There are three reasons for the sophomore slump:

By definition, political honeymoons expire (well) before the end of a president's first term. Elections have consequences in the form of policy changes that make good on campaign promises. But turning a pledge into reality comes at a cost. Capital gets spent, promises are broken, alliances shatter. Oftentimes, those changes prove disappointing. Recent example: Obamacare. Voters often express their displeasure by punishing the party that controls the White House with losses in Congress in midterm elections.

The permanent campaign fed by the 24-7 news cycle makes lame ducks gimpier than ever. Before a president gets to take his or her second oath of office, news media and future hopefuls are already looking four years ahead.

Scandals come usually home to roost during second terms. It's tough to push laws through a Congress that is dragging your top officials through one investigation after another.

I'm not suggesting that President Trump deserves a second term. He didn't deserve a first one. He's a terrible person and an awful president. What I'm saying is that it is more likely than not that he has already done most of the damage that he can do.

Pundits and Democratic politicians have been pushing a self-serving narrative that implies that everything Trump has done so far was merely a warm-up for the main event, that he would want and be able to go even further if given the chance if November 2020 goes his way.

That doesn't make sense. Who in their right mind thinks Trump has been holding anything back? Which president has failed to go big within a year or two?

An achievement-filled second term would be a major reversal of recent historical precedent. Things may get worse under four more years of this idiot, but not much worse as the Democratic doomsday cult warns.

President Obama didn't get much done during his second term, which began with the bungled rollout of the federal and state "health exchanges." He signed the Paris climate accord, renewed diplomatic relations with Cuba and negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran. But the ease with which his successor canceled those achievements showcased both the ephemerality of policies pushed through without thorough public propaganda and a general sense that second-term laws and treaties are easy to annul. I hope Obama enjoyed all those trips to Martha's Vineyard because that's pretty much all he has to show for term number two.

George W. Bush screwed up one thing after another during his second four years in office, which was bookended by his hapless non-response to the destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina and his role in the ineffective and wasteful bailout of Wall Street megabanks during the subprime mortgage financial crisis. What began as an illegal war of aggression against Iraq became, after reelection, a catastrophic quagmire that destroyed America's international reputation.

Whatever the merits of Bill Clinton's legislative and policy agenda -- welfare reform, NAFTA and bombing Kosovo would all have happened under a Republican president -- having anything substantial or positive to point to was well in the rearview mirror by his second term, when he found himself embroiled in the Monica Lewinsky affair and impeachment.

Reagan was both senile and bogged down in Iran Contra.

Even the most productive and prolific president of the 20th century had little to show for his second term. FDR's legacy would be nearly as impressive today if he'd only served four years.

Anything could happen. Donald Trump may use his second term to push dramatic changes. If there were another terrorist attack, for example, he would probably try to exploit national shock and fear to the political advantage of the right. Another Supreme Court justice could pass away. On the other hand, Trump is old, clinically obese and out of shape. He might die. It's doubtful that Mike Pence, a veep chosen for his lack of charisma, would be able to carry on the Trump tradition as more than the head of a caretaker government.

Analysts differ on what Trump 2.0 might look like. Regardless of their perspective, however, no one expects anything big.

"If Trump wins a second term this November," James Pethokoukis writes in The Week, Trump "might propose more tax cuts, but they are more likely to be payroll tax cuts geared toward middle-class workers instead of income tax cuts for rich people and corporations. He'll look for a new Federal Reserve chair less worried about inflation than current boss Jerome Powell, who deserves at least partial credit for the surging stock market and continuing expansion. Trump will let the national debt soar rather than trimming projected Medicare and Social Security benefits. And there will be more protectionism, although it may be called 'industrial policy.'"

"The early outlines of the [second-term] agenda are starting to emerge," Andrew Restuccia reports in The Wall Street Journal. "Among the issues under consideration: continuing the administration's efforts to lower prescription drug prices, pushing for a broad infrastructure bill and taking another crack at reforming the country's immigration system, [White House] officials said." They also want to reduce the deficit.

Under Trump, immigration reform is never a good thing. But it's hard to imagine anything major happening without Democratic cooperation.

Internationally, many observers expect Trump to continue to nurture his isolationist tendencies. But President Bernie Sanders would probably have similar impulses to focus on America First.

By all means, vote against Trump. But don't freak out at the thought of a second term.

Mourn what happened under the first one instead -- and work to reverse it.

[Mar 10, 2020] Once sheep dog, always sheep dog

9 March 2020
Notable quotes:
"... The consolidation of the Democratic Party behind Biden is a damning exposure, not merely of the politically reactionary character of this organization, but of the contemptible falsification on which the Sanders campaign has been based: that it is possible to transform the Democratic Party, the oldest American capitalist party, into the spearhead of a "political revolution" that will bring about fundamental social change. ..."
"... It is evident that the Democratic Party leadership in Congress, as well as the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee, aims to run the 2020 campaign on the exact model of Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2016: portraying Trump as personally unqualified to be president and as a Russian stooge, while opposing any significant social reform and delivering constant reassurances to the ruling financial aristocracy that a restored Democratic administration will follow in the footsteps of Obama, showering trillions on Wall Street and doing the bidding of the military-intelligence apparatus. ..."
"... One could ask of the nine ex-candidates who have now endorsed Biden, why they were candidates in the first place? Why did they bother to run against the former vice president, clearly the preferred candidate of the party establishment? None of them voices any significant political differences with Biden. All of them hail the right-wing political record of the Obama-Biden administration, even though that administration produced the social and economic devastation that made possible the election of Donald Trump. ..."
"... African American Democratic Party leaders, including Representative James Clyburn in South Carolina and hundreds of others, represent one of the most right-wing and politically corrupt sections of the party. ..."
"... The thinking of this layer was summed up in a column Saturday in the Washington Post ..."
"... What the Washington Post ..."
"... the entire black Democratic Party establishment has lined up behind Biden -- including, most recently, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Senator Kamala Harris. ..."
"... Sanders seeks to counter this all-out Democratic Party campaign for Biden by seeking to woo sections of the trade union bureaucracy with appeals to economic nationalism. ..."
"... More than 13 million people, mainly workers and youth, voted for Sanders in 2016 in the Democratic primaries and caucuses. Millions more continue to support him this year, with the same result. Sanders will wrap up his campaign by embracing the right-wing nominee of the Democratic Party and telling his supporters that this is the only alternative to the election, and now re-election of Trump. ..."
Mar 10, 2020 | www.wsws.org

The campaign of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is making a last-ditch stand in the Michigan primary Tuesday, amid mounting indications that the Democratic Party as a whole has moved decisively into the camp of his main rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. Sanders cancelled rallies in Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois -- all states where he trails Biden in the polls -- in order to concentrate all his efforts in Michigan, where he won an upset victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016.

On Sunday, Senator Kamala Harris endorsed Biden, the latest of nine former presidential contenders to announce their support for their one-time rival, joining Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Michael Bloomberg, Beto O'Rourke, John Delaney, Seth Moulton, Tim Ryan, and Deval Patrick. Harris is to join Biden for a campaign rally in Detroit Monday.

The consolidation of the Democratic Party behind Biden is a damning exposure, not merely of the politically reactionary character of this organization, but of the contemptible falsification on which the Sanders campaign has been based: that it is possible to transform the Democratic Party, the oldest American capitalist party, into the spearhead of a "political revolution" that will bring about fundamental social change.

Former Vice President Biden is the personification of the decrepit and right-wing character of the Democratic Party. In the past 10 days alone, Biden has declared himself a candidate for the US Senate, rather than president, confused his wife and his sister as they stood on either side of him, called himself an "Obiden Bama Democrat," and declared that 150 million Americans died in gun violence over the past decade. This is not just a matter of Biden's declining mental state: it is the Democratic Party, not just its presidential frontrunner, that is verging on political senility.

It is evident that the Democratic Party leadership in Congress, as well as the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee, aims to run the 2020 campaign on the exact model of Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2016: portraying Trump as personally unqualified to be president and as a Russian stooge, while opposing any significant social reform and delivering constant reassurances to the ruling financial aristocracy that a restored Democratic administration will follow in the footsteps of Obama, showering trillions on Wall Street and doing the bidding of the military-intelligence apparatus.

One could ask of the nine ex-candidates who have now endorsed Biden, why they were candidates in the first place? Why did they bother to run against the former vice president, clearly the preferred candidate of the party establishment? None of them voices any significant political differences with Biden. All of them hail the right-wing political record of the Obama-Biden administration, even though that administration produced the social and economic devastation that made possible the election of Donald Trump.

Even more revolting, if that is possible, is the embrace of Biden by the black Democratic politicians. The former senator from Delaware is identified with some of the most repugnant episodes in the history of race relations in America: the abusive treatment of Anita Hill, when she testified against the nomination of Clarence Thomas, before Biden's Judiciary Committee; an alliance with segregationist James Eastland on school integration in the early 1970s, highlighted at a debate by Kamala Harris, eight months before she endorsed Biden; and the passage of a series of "law-and-order" bills that disproportionately jailed hundreds of thousands of African Americans, all of them pushed through the Senate by Biden.

How did a politician who boasted of his close relationships with Eastland and Strom Thurmond become the beneficiary of a virtual racial bloc vote by African Americans in the Southern states? Because African American Democratic Party leaders, including Representative James Clyburn in South Carolina and hundreds of others, represent one of the most right-wing and politically corrupt sections of the party.

The thinking of this layer was summed up in a column Saturday in the Washington Post by Colbert King, a former State Department official and local banker, a prominent member of the African American elite in the nation's capital, who wrote in outrage, "America's black billionaires have no place in a Bernie Sanders world."

King denounced the suggestion that black CEOs and billionaires are "greedy, corrupt threats to America's working families or the cause of economic disparities and human misery." Voicing the fears of his class, he continued, "I know there are those out there who buy the notion that America consists of a small class of privileged, rapacious super-rich lording over throngs of oppressed, capitalist-exploited workers. You can see it in poll numbers showing the share of Americans who prefer socialism to capitalism inching upward."

What the Washington Post columnist reveals is what Bernie Sanders has done his best to cover up: the Democratic Party is a party of the capitalist class. It can no more be converted to socialism than the CIA can become an instrument of the struggle against American imperialism.

True, Sanders can dredge up Jesse Jackson for a last-minute endorsement, proof that demagogues engaged in diverting mass left-wing sentiment into the graveyard of the Democratic Party recognize and embrace each other across the decades. But with that exception, the entire black Democratic Party establishment has lined up behind Biden -- including, most recently, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Senator Kamala Harris.

Harris's statement is worth quoting. "I have decided that I am with great enthusiasm going to endorse Joe Biden for president of the United States," she said. "I believe in Joe. I really believe in him, and I have known him for a long time." The senator was no doubt responding to the incentives dangled in front of her by Biden after she left the race last December, when he gushed, "She is solid. She can be president someday herself. She can be the vice president. She can go on to be a Supreme Court justice. She can be an attorney general."

Sanders seeks to counter this all-out Democratic Party campaign for Biden by seeking to woo sections of the trade union bureaucracy with appeals to economic nationalism. New Sanders television ads in Michigan feature a United Auto Workers member declaring that his state "has been decimated by trade deals," while Sanders declares that Biden backed NAFTA, drawing the conclusion, "With a record like that, we can't trust him to protect American jobs or defeat Donald Trump." The Vermont senator will find that very few auto workers follow the political lead of the corrupt gangsters who head the UAW.

More than 13 million people, mainly workers and youth, voted for Sanders in 2016 in the Democratic primaries and caucuses. Millions more continue to support him this year, with the same result. Sanders will wrap up his campaign by embracing the right-wing nominee of the Democratic Party and telling his supporters that this is the only alternative to the election, and now re-election of Trump.

Indeed, in appearances on several Sunday television interview programs, Sanders went out of his way to repeat, as he said on Fox News, "Joe Biden is a friend of mine. Joe Biden is a decent guy. What Joe has said is if I win the nomination, he'll be there for me, and I have said if he wins the nomination, I'll be there for him "

[Mar 10, 2020] The Long Roots of Our Russophobia by Jeremy Kuzmarov

Notable quotes:
"... Creating Russophobia: From the Great Religious Schism to Anti-Putin Hysteria ..."
"... Mettan defines Russophobia as the promotion of negative stereotypes about Russia that associate the country with despotism, treachery, expansion, oppression and other negative character traits. In his view, it is "not linked to specific historical events" but "exists first in the head of the one who looks, not in the victim's alleged behavior or characteristics." ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... Russophobia in the United States has been advanced most insidiously by the nation's foreign policy elite who have envisioned themselves as grand chess-masters seeking to checkmate their Russian adversary in order to control the Eurasian heartland. ..."
"... This view is little different than European colonial strategists who had learned of the importance of molding public opinion through disinformation campaigns that depicted the Russian bear as a menace to Western civilization. ..."
Mar 06, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org
For the last five years, the American media has been filled with scurrilous articles demonizing Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin has been accused of every crime imaginable, from shooting down airplanes, to assassinating opponents, to invading neighboring countries, to stealing money to manipulating the U.S. president and helping to rig the 2016 election.

Few of the accusations directed against Putin have ever been substantiated and the quality of journalism has been at the level of "yellow journalism."

In a desperate attempt to sustain their political careers, centrist Democrats like Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton accused their adversaries of being Russian agents – again without proof.

And even the progressive hero Bernie Sanders – himself a victim of red-baiting – has engaged in Russia bashing and unsubstantiated accusations for which he offers no proof.

Guy Mettan's book, Creating Russophobia: From the Great Religious Schism to Anti-Putin Hysteria (Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2017) provides needed historical context for our current political moment, showing how anti-Russian hysteria has long proliferated as a means of justifying Western imperialism.

Mettan is a Swiss journalist and member of parliament who learned about the corruption of the media business when his reporting on the world anticommunist league rankled his newspapers' shareholders, and when he realized that he was serving as a paid stenographer for the Bosnian Islamist leader Alija Izetbegovic in the early 1990s.

Mettan defines Russophobia as the promotion of negative stereotypes about Russia that associate the country with despotism, treachery, expansion, oppression and other negative character traits. In his view, it is "not linked to specific historical events" but "exists first in the head of the one who looks, not in the victim's alleged behavior or characteristics."

Like anti-semitism, Mettan writes, "Russophobia is a way of turning specific pseudo-facts into essential one-dimensional values, barbarity, despotism, and expansionism in the Russian case in order to justify stigmatization and ostracism."

The origins of Russophobic discourse date back to a schism in the Church during the Middle Ages when Charlemagne was crowned emperor of the Roman empire and modified the Christian liturgy to introduce reforms execrated by the Eastern Orthodox Churches of the Byzantine empire.

Mettan writes that "the Europe of Charlemagne and of the year 1000 was in need of a foil in the East to rebuild herself, just as the Europe of the 2000s needs Russia to consolidate her union."

Before the schism, European rulers had no negative opinions of Russia. When Capetian King Henri I found himself a widower, he turned towards the prestigious Kiev kingdom two thousand miles away and married Vladimir's granddaughter, Princess Ann.

A main goal of the new liturgy adopted by Charlemagne was to undermine any Byzantine influence in Italy and Western Europe.

Over the next century, the schism evolved from a religious into a political one.

The Pope and the top Roman administration made documents disappear and truncated others in order to blame the Easterners.

Byzantium and Russia were in turn rebuked for their "caesaropapism," or "Oriental style despotism," which could be contrasted which the supposedly enlightened, democratic governing system in the West.

Russia was particularly hated because it had defied efforts of Western European countries to submit to their authority and impose Catholicism.

In the 1760s, French diplomats working with a variety of Ukrainian, Hungarian and Polish political figures produced a forged testament of Peter 1 ["The Great"] purporting to reveal Russia's 'grand design' to conquer most of Europe.

This document was still taken seriously by governments during the Napoleanic wars; and as late as the Cold War, President Harry Truman found it helpful in explaining Stalin.

In Britain, the Whigs, who represented the liberal bourgeois opposition to the Tory government and its program of free-trade imperialism, were the most virulent Russophobes, much like today's Democrats in the United States.

The British media also enflamed public opinion by taking hysterical positions against Russia – often on the eve of major military expeditions.

The London Times during the 1820s Greek Independence war editorialized that no "sane person" could "look with satisfaction at the immense and rapid overgrowth of Russian power." The same thing was being written in The New York Times in the 2010s.

A great example of the Orientalist stereotype was Bram Stoker's novel Dracula , whose main character was modeled after Russian ruler, Ivan the Terrible. As if no English ruler in history was cruel either.

The Nazis took Russo-phobic discourse to new heights during the 1930s and 1940s, combining it with a virulent anti-bolshevism and anti-semitism.

A survey of German high school texts in the 1960s found little change in the image of Russia. The Russians were still depicted as "primitive, simple, very violent, cruel, mean, inhuman, cupid and very stubborn."

The same stereotypes were displayed in many Hollywood films during the Cold War, where KGB figures were particularly maligned. No wonder that when a former KGB agent, Vladimir Putin, took power, people went insane. Russophobia in the United States has been advanced most insidiously by the nation's foreign policy elite who have envisioned themselves as grand chess-masters seeking to checkmate their Russian adversary in order to control the Eurasian heartland.

This view is little different than European colonial strategists who had learned of the importance of molding public opinion through disinformation campaigns that depicted the Russian bear as a menace to Western civilization.

Guy Mettan has written a thought-provoking book that provides badly needed historical context for the anti-Russian delirium gripping our society.

Breaking the taboo on Russophobia is of vital importance in laying the groundwork for a more peaceful world order and genuinely progressive movement in the United States. Unfortunately, recent developments don't inspire much confidence that history will be transcended. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Jeremy Kuzmarov Jeremy Kuzmarov is the author of The Russians are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce (Monthly Review Press, 2018) and Obama's Unending Wars: Fronting for the Foreign Policy of the Permanent Warfare State (Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2019).

[Mar 09, 2020] COVID-19 burst the asset price bubble. In a new low, Pompeo passes buck to Beijing

Mar 09, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

CitizenX , Mar 9 2020 2:58 utc | 57

"Perhaps this will finally burst the out-of-control asset price bubble and drop-kick the Outlaw US Empire's economy into the sewer as the much lower price will rapidly slow the recycling of what remains of the petrodollar. Looks like Trump's reelection push just fell into a massive sinkhole as the economy will tank."

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 9 2020 1:29 utc | 49
....

Call me crazy- but this Virus provides great cover as to why the economy plummets, the Murikan sheeple will eat it up. Prepare for the double media blitz on the virus AND the economy tanking as its result.

Don't worry...just continue to go shopping and take those selfies.


vk , Mar 9 2020 3:37 utc | 60

Pompeo accuses China of giving "imperfect data" on COVID-19, blame it for US failure in containing the virus:

In new low, Pompeo passes buck to Beijing

It will be hard for the American people to swallow that one. From day 1 I've read a lot of "articles" and "papers" from know-it-all Western doctors and researchers from commenters here in this blog, all of them claiming to have very precise and definitive data on what was happening. A lot of bombastic conclusions I've read here (including one that claimed R0 was through the roof - it's funny how the R0 is being played down after it begun to infect the West; suddenly, it's all just a stronger cold...).

And that's just here, in MoA's comment section. Imagine what was being published in the Western MSM. I wouldn't be surprised there was a lot of rednecks popping their beers celebrating the fall of China already.

--//--

China to back global virus fight with production boost

Since China allegedly had a lot of idle industrial capacity - that is, if we take the Western MSM theories seriously (including the fabled "ghost towns" stories) - then boosting production wouldn't be a problem to China.

Disclaimer: it's normal for any kind of economy - socialist or capitalist - to have a certain percentage of idle capacity. That's necessary in order to insure the economy against unexpected oscillations in demand and to give space of maneuvre for future technological progress. Indeed, that was one of the USSR's mistakes with its economy: they instinctly thought unemployment should be zero, and waste should also be zero, so they planned in a way all the factories always sought to operate at 100% capacity. That became a problem when better machines and better methods were invented, since the factory manager wouldn't want to stop production so that his factory would fall behind the other factories in the five-year plan's goals. So, yes, China indeed has idle capacity - but it is mainly proposital, not a failure of its socialist planning.

--//--

... ... ...

vk , Mar 9 2020 3:56 utc | 61
This is important. The only reason I didn't comment about it is I hadn't the data:

Follow the money: Understanding China's battle against COVID-19

By the latest count, in addition to yuan loans worth 113 billion U.S. dollars granted by financial institutions and more than 70 billion U.S. dollars paid out by insurance companies, the Chinese government has allocated about 13 billion U.S. dollars to counter fallout from the outbreak.

The numbers could look abstract. However, breaking the data down reveals how the money is being carefully targeted. The government is allocating the money based on a thorough evaluation of the system's strengths.

...

Local governments are equipped with more local knowledge that allows them to surgically support key manufacturers or producers that are struggling.

Together, they have borne the bulk of the financial responsibility with an allocation of equivalently more than nine billion U.S. dollars. It is carefully targeted, divided into hundreds of thousands of individual grants that are tailor-made by and for each county, town, city and business.

This is the mark of a socialist system.

The affected capitalist countries will simply use monetary devices (so the private sector can offset the losses) and burn their own reserves with non-profitable palliatives such as masks, tests, other quarantine infrastructure etc.

Pft , Mar 9 2020 4:44 utc | 64
Sounds like US socialism. Basically corporate socialism. Loans are just dollars created out of thin air, same as in US. Insurance payouts come from premiums, nothing socialist about that, pure capitalism. Government hand outs to provinces, cities, state owned corporations,well all of these are run by the party elite, its called pork. US handed out a lot of pork during the last financial crisis. None of it trickled down to the little people. I doubt it does in China either.

All crisis are opportunities for the elite to get richer. Those Biolake firms in Wuhan will make out like bandits. Chinese firms will double the price of API's sold to India and US. China will knock out the small farmer in the wake of concurrent chicken and swine flu so the big enterprises take over, a mimicry of the US practice over the last century. China tech firms will double up on surveillance apps, censoring tools, surveillance and toughen up social credit restrictions. 5G will allow China to experiment with nanobots to monitor citizens health from afar (thanks to Harvards Dr Leiber).

Oh yes, socialism with Chinese characteristics is a technocratic capitalists dream. Thats why the West has never imposed sanctions on China since welcoming them to the global elites club. Sanctions are reserved for those with true socialism, especially those who preach equality and god forbid, democracy.

uncle tungsten , Mar 9 2020 8:35 utc | 83

CitizenX #57

Call me crazy- but this Virus provides great cover as to why the economy plummets, the Murikan sheeple will eat it up. Prepare for the double media blitz on the virus AND the economy tanking as its result.


Don't forget the Russians.. They have to be to blame. See they just kept the price of oil low so now the rest of the world gets gas cheaper than the USA. The USA motorist now has to bail out the dopey frackers and shale oil ponzis.

Global envy will eat murica. Maybe they will just pull out all their troops and go home. ;)

[Mar 09, 2020] Defender of Europe 2020: a Dangerous Provocation on Russia's Border

Mar 09, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org
by Ellen Taylor At this very moment thousands of US soldiers are disembarking from troop transports in six European countries and rushing toward prepositioned munitions around Europe, to deploy weapons as swiftly as possible.

This excitement marks the beginning of "Defender Europe 2020", the largest military exercises to be staged in Europe in over 25 years. Strategists will record how swiftly our forces can reach the Russian border, and test our NATO allies.

There has already been a massive US build-up in the countries bordering Russia.

In the words of Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, "The last 18 years of conflict built muscle memory in counterinsurgency, but with this came atrophy in other areas. We are now engaging these other muscle groups."

General Tod Wolters, Commander of US forces in Europe and of NATO, has stated, "I'm in favor of a flexible first-use (nuclear weapon) policy."

The US has withdrawn from the INF treaty.

Most diabolical and chilling of all: the exercises will come to a climax in June, which is the 75 th anniversary of Operation Barbarossa, Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, which killed 27 million people. Russians born in 1930 turn 90 this year. They remember. The heart and soul of Russia remembers as well.

Russian Chief General Gerasimov is convinced the US is preparing for war. All it would take for an attack is one false-flag operation.

The people of the world lie in helpless ignorance. And the Doomsday clock moves 20 seconds closer to midnight.

[Mar 09, 2020] Tucker Carlson was correct when pointed out that Biden Super Tuesday victory was cruel and unusual punishment of Dem voters on the part of the DNC

DNC installing a man with obvious cognitive impairment is a staggering display of arrogance. While Bush and Obama were empty suits this is completly another level.
In way I think Stupor Tuesday was a huge win for Trump.
Mar 09, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Vegetius , 07 March 2020 at 03:48 PM

The oldest organized political party on the planet is advancing a senile globalist meatpuppet (with a son known to be a philandering crackhead) to handle nuclear launch codes.
Mathias Alexander , 08 March 2020 at 04:37 AM
Choosing Biden hands the election to Trump and that's a deal that has already been made. The DNC don't like Sanders because they are adraid he might win, not because they are afraid he might loose.
Jack , 07 March 2020 at 03:56 PM

I agree with you that it is not going to be a slam dunk for Trump. Just like Trump wasn't damaged by the Access Hollywood tapes, Biden's not going to be damaged by his senility, gaffes and his prior plagiarism, Wall St cronyism and corruption. The vote for the "lesser evil" mindset will consolidate along traditional lines. The Obama machine will run Biden's campaign and consolidate the Democrat support. The election will hinge on a few states in particular Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

.... ... ...

[Mar 08, 2020] Times changed and FoxNews changed with them: the most highly rated show on Fox, Tucker Carlson is vehemently anti-imperialist and consistently hurls insults at neocons such as Lindsey Graham

Mar 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

NemesisCalling , Mar 7 2020 0:11 utc | 56

Furthermore, the most highly rated show on Fox, Tucker Carlson is vehemently anti-imperialist and consistently hurls insults at gay assholes such as Lindsey Graham

What you are hearing is the last vestiges of neocon and neolibs grasping at straws and trying to drag China through the mud. No one is listening, just as no one really cares about CNN or MSNBC (ironic, though, that Foxnews is now indeed the most "fair and balanced" of the major networks) or any political trifles.

... ... ...

[Mar 07, 2020] The neoliberal establishment does firmly control 2020 elections. The regular voters just does not matter

Identity groups are user proved to be powerful forces to derail undesirable candidates.
Mar 07, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

tempestteacup , March 6, 2020 at 2:40 pm

I'm going to take my chance while I have it and before having to say "I hate to be that old Marxist but "

I am 36 years old and therefore the same age as most of those speaking for millenials in the DSA, writing for Jacobin, and organising for Bernie or those of his satellites on their respective fool's errands in opposition to the entrenched Democratic Party panjandrums.

Half American and half British, I have also experienced some similar issues with the Corbyn/Momentum movement and its recent car crash with ruling class reality.

Just as an intro because of course I am going to say, "I hate to say this but "

The DSA and the semi-organised American left are selling their increasingly, justifiably radical followers a pig in a poke. In a sense, I except Bernie from that condemnation – running for President, it is what it is. But those who are supposed to be to his left are performing an invidious game by preventing further political education or raising consciousness in favour of peddling the myth of reforming the Democratic Party from within that have been tried, and have failed, so many times in the last 120 years.

The fact that these same groups are doing the same thing when it comes to labour struggles, endlessly shepherding wildcat momentum behind union leadership and justifying sell-out deals instead of fostering a realistic preparation for the struggles ahead, suggests that this is not an accident.

The cognitive dissonance is almost as horrible as that on offer when technocrats like Obama and Clinton accept the facts of climate change while endlessly sandbagging real responses to it. Which shouldn't be surprising, since the American and British new left is engaged in an infernal slow dance with their liberal or corporate beefcakes.

If I sound flippant, I apologise – I don't mean to. I also don't necessarily disbelieve in the potential for at least some change within existing conditions – but historically such changes have been won because there was a more radical extra-electoral/parliamentary movement of workers leveraging their strength, not because it was all within one cosy political bubble.

And that only happens when workers and students are educated about the struggles involved in forcing changes in the teeth of ruling class interests, institutions and political heft. Peddling illusions about the all-encompassing power of the electoral process, or complaining endlessly about the the latest example of back-stabbing from whichever corporate liberal stooge last wielded the shank, is increasingly not just useless but something worse – an expected part of the system itself as it reproduces its frozen dialectics of power and exploitation.

This is not (at least not entirely) a call for revolution. But I am increasingly certain that change is impossible without first preparing a broad swathe of people to fight, fight, fight instead of entrusting the struggle to this or that figurehead (Bernie, AOC), let alone their clarion-callers in an increasingly cosy upper middle class den of pseudo-leftists.

Lambert Strether Post author , March 6, 2020 at 2:52 pm

You might read that Politico article on the DSA. I found it rather encouraging but you might differ. If so, I'd like to know your opinion of the concrete details.

> peddling the myth of reforming the Democratic Party from within

If the ultimate outcome were to split the Democrats, would you change your mind?

tempestteacup , March 6, 2020 at 3:20 pm

Reading the Politico article now. You're right – it is encouraging, at least in the sense that it features articulate, radicalised individuals and their early attempts to organise. It chronicles absolutely necessary early steps in the process. I am very encouraged with the justified, even pragmatic, way they look beyond presidential politics in a dialectical way – both the wider context and the more local, direct implications.

So far, so good.

But there are problems. The sudden, total collapse of the International Socialist Organization is an example of what can happen to a seemingly lively left(ish) group when it grows on shaky ground. You have chronicled some of the contortions of the DSA in their regional elections and controversies. Growing pains – or something more fundamental?

What I'm trying to say is what are they about and how do they reconcile disparate forces and interests without tearing themselves apart? The DSA has its own particular history in the wider context of the American left and its sudden expansion doesn't make that go away. Without adequate theory your praxis will tend to fall apart when it collides with reality.

To give a concrete example that is suggested in the Politico piece, I'm not sure how they are discussing and understanding the identity politics education of the (upper)middle class students drawn to the movement with the different perspectives of the labour movement or, beyond that, the exciting, potentially revolutionary hinterland of the actual working class(!!!)

Lenin didn't know what identity politics was but he described it in a different context: haggling for privileges. I don't want to make this a diatribe on one subject or to suggest that I'm not sensitive to the discrete forms of oppression facing different groups but – and I know you write about this brilliantly – without some kind of radical reckoning with these issues, groups like the DSA are liable to sectarian disasters of exactly the kind envisioned (I suspect) by those who have most insidiously articulated identity over class as the most significant feature of our social relations.

I would say similar things about Extinction Rebellion. I have friends who are deeply involved in it and they are brilliantly committed to its cause. But they struggle when it comes to connecting the realities they rightly identify with the material pathologies that produce them. They are not interested in why, for example, the ER leaders ban socialist sub-groups as "political" while welcoming those for bosses or landlords(?!)

These are, to me, fundamental problems. If you cannot identify your enemy you cannot plan your campaign. And I worry that the DSA, or ER, dine out on identifying symptoms while studiously avoiding an uncomfortable meeting with their cause. And that doesn't mean, either, a schematic link of every social ill with capitalism, nor a demand that everyone be schooled in the dialectic. Just a plan to educate, to find other forms of solidarity, and gird ourselves for the struggle to come.

But that's probably more than enough! In answer to your last question -- - I think a serious split with the Democratic Party is an absolute necessity for anything that follows. It will come one way or another – even if Bernie wins the nomination, then the presidency, I fully expect he will be sandbagged by Democrats at every turn. At some point, it will be necessary to realise that the Democratic Party is not called the graveyard of social movements for nothing – and that American duopoly is the greatest impediment to democracy, no different really from the Congress of All-Russian Soviets in its day.

Billy , March 6, 2020 at 4:06 pm

Forget splitting the Democrats. I like the idea I first saw here, of turning to and leveraging the Republicans as the party of progressive change. Let the Democrat donors hold their bag of defeated candidates while harnessing progressive populists, like Tucker Carlson, or Josh Hawley, as an example, to change the country for the better. My vote in November is for Bernie if he's on the ballot. If not, Tulsi.

Lambert Strether Post author , March 7, 2020 at 2:37 am

> Forget splitting the Democrats

The Democrat Establishment may not split (though as I think Taibbi pointed out, Sanders might have been able to peel off some opportunists with a Texas win).

However, the Democrat base may split. Taking "Bernie Bro" and "He's not a real Democrat" as a proxies, the Democrat gerontocracy (to use the term for the Breshnev era) is systematically and openly alienating the Latin vote, youth generally, young blacks, and younger women. As for the working class, they are not even a mental category for liberals. That reduces their base to older Blacks and the PMC, especially PMC women. As 2016 showed, and as the (PMC women) Warren campaign showed, that's barely enough to win an election, and its certainly not enough to rule.

At some point, the contradictions have to break out into the open, as it becomes obvious the Democrats have failed to represent -- indeed, have disenfranchised -- too many people. As Lincoln wrote to Lyman Trumbull in 1860..

Stand firm. The tug has to come, & better now, than any time hereafter.

The Iron Law of Institutions is looking better every day.

Left in Wisconsin , March 6, 2020 at 4:15 pm

Look, no one knows the future and everyone is always flying by the seat of their pants. This is always true, only more apparent now. I would speculate that at least half of the newly motivated DSA membership couldn't really articulate a vision of socialism if you asked them to. In the future that might be a problem but it is certainly not a problem now. I am much more skeptical of those people now claiming to have "fundamental" answers.

Most of us have a clear if general sense of the enemy (capitalists) and their henchmen (politicians, "policy advocates," etc.). On the other hand, as Stoller points out, we are really bereft of people who actually understand production. I would argue that is our biggest problem, not lack of ideological clarity. Because once we gain power we need to know how to wield it.

tempestteacup , March 6, 2020 at 4:29 pm

Fair enough but I'm not really talking about ideological clarity or sectarian strife. I think we agree – I also mean a thorough understanding of how the world works. But that also means rigorous critique of where things might go wrong – and, for example when it concerns identity politics (a phrase I hate and apologise for using!) I think we have a good example. That doesn't mean class above all, by the way – just not ceding intellectual ground to liberal formulations of who we are and why we are that way!

(I didn't really mean to harp on about identity stuff but I think of it when I think of, for example, the DSA, and some of the divisive disputes that have bedevilled them)

Lost in OR , March 6, 2020 at 7:34 pm

I attended one DSA meeting. The order of business was something like this:
Each person declared how they chose to be identified.
The group overruled those who didn't want to do anything until some minorities could be recruited.
Some movers and shakers volunteer to draw up the chapter charter. As they were all men, they would recuse themselves from further action so the chapter wouldn't be dominated by men. The group was about 90% men.
The Patriarchy was soundly denounced.

I haven't been back.

Carey , March 6, 2020 at 8:43 pm

Similar experience with DSA in Central CA: so much talk about preffered pronouns and the like that I felt not getting to the point *was* the point..

divide 'n' rule is working really, really well.

Lambert Strether Post author , March 7, 2020 at 2:42 am

> divide 'n' rule is working really, really well.

Yes. I don't see this as malevolent; the impulses are good-hearted (which is exactly what makes "intersectionality" so dangerous). Kimberle Crenshaw endorsed Warren, by the way. OTOH, one of the Combahee River Collective founders endorsed Sanders. Of course, Crenshaw's a lawyer. PMC class solidarity is an impressive thing .

dearieme , March 6, 2020 at 4:55 pm

Look, no one knows the future

Marxists always did – or so they claimed.

tempestteacup , March 6, 2020 at 5:30 pm

Playing the long game -- so ask me what happens to the price of nectarines next week!

Lambert Strether Post author , March 7, 2020 at 3:02 am

> Marxists always did – or so they claimed.

What with a billionaire openly purchasing a large portion of the political class, I'd say The Bearded One is looking pretty good right now.

Deplorado , March 6, 2020 at 4:28 pm

You write forcefully and lucidly; if you write or post anywhere online, please share – I want to read it and follow it!

Also if you speak as you write, you will be a formidable leader.

Lambert Strether Post author , March 7, 2020 at 3:06 am

> Lenin didn't know what identity politics was but he described it in a different context: haggling for privileges . I don't want to make this a diatribe on one subject or to suggest that I'm not sensitive to the discrete forms of oppression facing different groups but – and I know you write about this brilliantly – without some kind of radical reckoning with these issues, groups like the DSA are liable to sectarian disasters of exactly the kind envisioned (I suspect) by those who have most insidiously articulated identity over class as the most significant feature of our social relations.

"Brilliant" [lambert blushes modestly]. Back at ya for "haggling for privileges."

> At some point, it will be necessary to realise that the Democratic Party is not called the graveyard of social movements for nothing

History is a hard teacher. And where its lesson has been sadly confined to a small group of cadres, as it were, this lesson is now going to be taught to millions by the Democrat Establishment, and with whacks to the knuckles and expulsions, too. That's why I put up that link to Mike Duncan on the Russian Revolution of 1905 the other day .

a different chris , March 6, 2020 at 3:25 pm

And when you answer that, can you make clear which context you are steeped in? I don't know which side of the pond you live on, but our hallowed Constitution, in hindsight, pretty much leads us here. It just ratchets everything rightward.

The claim is – and I am not sophisticated enough to either support or deny it, but others I respect have made it – that our political structure via said Constitution will only support more than two parties for only an election cycle or two. Lincoln introduced himself as a Whig, but had to run as a Republican.

Yes, it goes that far back. Given today's sophisticated hold on the media levers by our Elites, I think an effective third party is less likely than ever. Sure there's things called the Working Families Party and stuff here and there, but their job is basically wrenching Dem primaries.

PS: I actually am registered Green. It's my attempt to signal where my vote is. Little good that seems to have done me.

inode_buddha , March 6, 2020 at 3:12 pm

In America at least, it's easy to be leftist when your personal well-being is not at stake -- the left in the US has always had an upper-class tint and co-opted by the professional-managerial class. BUT their well being does not depend on the outcome like it does for the working classes. The UK and other countries have stronger social safety nets and that does make a difference in people's politics.

As an older worker ( I could be your father) I know how these fights go -- it takes decades of sheer intransigence to get anywhere. In a zillion little ways, every day, for years. I don't know if Millenials understand this, its not a dress rehearsal. It's real. I do believe the movement needs solid organizers and figureheads though -- most likely AOC will be next, I hope. There needs to be a clear method of succession, among people who do *not* compromise. A single stated set of goals, for a decade. And those who get out and volunteer and vote.

Titus , March 6, 2020 at 4:12 pm

+10

tempestteacup , March 6, 2020 at 4:25 pm

I agree with some of what you write but I have yet to see any really adequate figureheads of the sort you suggest as necessary. AOC, after her praise for John McCain is not one of them.

I know this makes me sound intransigent and sectarian but it is and has always been a problem in the left to fight beyond just nation-based working class interests. I'm not saying AOC does that but she, like so many before her, have definitely sacrificed critique of imperialism for a certain amount of mainstream coverage as far as her social democratic advocacy goes.

AOC praised John McCain, Bernie has played up to Russiagate and the enduring myths about Castro's Cuba despite making an obvious, uncontroversial point in the first place. This is how it goes. And that's what I mean – it is a standard thing for Western politicians to throw foreign affairs over the side when they are pressed – especially because the Borg is most concerned with matters of Empire and therefore will attack on that above all else (knowing, too, that the voting public cares much less about such issues than, say, Medicare for All). Corbyn did the same thing when it came to Trident renewal, then Iraq, and finally Israel.

(By the way, such capitulation got him nowhere – he was still slandered as an anti-semite and I just finished an awful book about Oleg Gordievsky in which it is suggested he was a useful idiot for the Czech intelligence services, along with Michael Foot!)

Socialism does not exist without a critique of imperialist/capitalist wars is what I mean.

But I'm sorry, I know this isn't what you were talking about. The reason I brought it up, however, is to illustrate the insidious ways in which freshly elected, occasionally 'radical' politicians are institutionalised. It doesn't happen with bread and butter domestic issues but rather foreign affairs, those distant concerns of experts and spooks.

And yet bringing this up gives a kind of window of opportunity and hope. There is no group with better understanding of the real-world consequences of Empire than the urban and rural working class. They are the ones providing sons and daughters for endless wars. The overextension of empire is always going to provide its weakest points.

Sorry, I've rambled – these are just some thoughts as I try and get to grips with what is to be done!

inode_buddha , March 6, 2020 at 5:04 pm

Well, no, actually its a good thing that you rambled -- I completely agree but from a different angle perhaps.

The fact that socialism is even in contention in the US I think is a referendum on imperialism and capitalism.
And the US way has certainly opened itself to criticism.

Frankly it amazes me that it is even happening at all, being that the Overton window has been dragged so far to the Right in my lifetime.

I remember watching Nixon on TV, stating that he was not a crook. Today, he would be considered to be an unelectable liberal, too far left.

I am not completely happy with the way that AOC and Sanders have had to toe the line with the Establishment regarding foreign policy and etc. (and I don't think McCain was any kind of saint). But I do believe that AOC and Sanders are trying to please multiple Masters. If they don't do the whole "red-baiting" routine then they lose credibility with the system they are part of -- and thereby lose influence. The voters are a different issue -- foreign affairs are just not on the radar at all for most of the working class. The sole exception is those who have family in the armed services. And yet without those voters, they wouldn't have any influence to lose.

So basically, its a chess game. Washington DC has never ran on the truth. I'm pretty sure AOC was just mouthing the words so she can accomplish some of her own left-wing goals. And maybe Sanders is too --

Grachguy , March 6, 2020 at 6:49 pm

If I might inject my two cents into this very interesting discussion, I believe tempestteacup's ultimate point still stands: the Blob/industrialists/parties will suffer no contest to their claims on power. Sure, they allow the occasional voice in the wilderness – to do otherwise would lead to more radical activity I imagine – but the power structures themselves seem quite robust to disturbances from the likes of Sanders and AOC. While I agree that they are likely mouthing the words (Sanders once discussed abolishing the CIA and one does not simply reconsider that view once one has reached that point ideologically), I question whether it even matters It seems to me that a realistic vision of socialism must be brought about independently of the existing state. After all, the social groups that dominate the state also control the media, the military, the educational institutions, and just about every other organ of power. In this framework, hijacking the state as it exists is a tall order and actually reforming it within the rules of the game is even more difficult. Isn't it worth considering the idea that left energy is better devoted to forming alternative institutions and power structures?

The circle of wagons we are seeing around Biden's husk shows that they will fight tooth and nail to keep from implementing even the most benign and basic social democratic reforms. I can only see someone like Bernie or AOC winning real power in the face of a massive economic meltdown and even then, they can win the social democratic reforms (which are desirable) but why couldn't that same opportunity + working class radicalism be channeled into actual systemic change; ie destroying the state as it currently exists and replacing it with a people's democracy? (not the Chinese type please). This would require decades of hard work, but so would replacing the democratic party with our version of Labour (and look where they are).

inode_buddha , March 6, 2020 at 10:36 pm

Isn't it worth considering the idea that left energy is better devoted to forming alternative institutions and power structures?

Very much agree -- I don't think I'm disagreeing with tempestteacup so much as looking from a different angle.

For any of it to work, I think we will have to establish parallel institutions on a far greater scale than Sander's campaign. One favorite of mine is worker co-ops, particularly in the Rust Belt and Midwest.

I dream of being able to unite and organize existing co-ops and strengthen them to the point that they could replace the old Sears Roebuck. Effectively workers would have to work two jobs and participate in two different economies, to the extent that they were able -- but having a fallback via co-op would certainly give them far more autonomy and power than any existing structure.

The only reason the existing structures have any power at all, is due to their death grip on the economy, and directly on peoples lives via economic means. Breaking that grip will also require economic means I think.

Grachguy , March 7, 2020 at 1:32 pm

I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said!

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

Mar 06, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

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

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

Jason Paladino

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Retirement and a Reward

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Revolving Door Spins On

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loading Boards with Political Influence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Mar 07, 2020] The Surprising and Sobering Science of How We Gain and Lose Influence

Mar 07, 2020 | getpocket.com

Stories to fuel your mind. "We rise in power and make a difference in the world due to what is best about human nature, but we fall from power due to what is worst." Brain Pickings |

Art by Shaun Tan for a special edition of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales .

Thoreau wrote as he contemplated how silence ennobles speech . In the century and a half since, we have created a culture that equates loudness with leadership, abrasiveness with authority. We mistake shouting for powerful speech much as we mistake force for power itself. And yet the real measure of power is more in the realm of Thoreau's "fine things."

So argues UC Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner in The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence ( public library ) -- the culmination of twenty years of research exploring what power is, what confers it upon an individual, and how it shapes the structure of a collective, a community, and a culture. Drawing on a wealth of social science studies and insights from successful teams ranging from companies like Pixar and Google to restorative justice programs in San Quentin State Prison, he demonstrates "the surprising and lasting influence of soft power (culture, ideas, art, and institutions) as compared to hard power (military might, invasion, and economic sanctions)."

Keltner writes:

Life is made up of patterns. Patterns of eating, thirst, sleep, and fight-or-flight are crucial to our individual survival; patterns of courtship, sex, attachment, conflict, play, creativity, family life, and collaboration are crucial to our collective survival. Wisdom is our ability to perceive these patterns and to shape them into coherent chapters within the longer narrative of our lives.

Power dynamics, Keltner notes, are among the central patterns that shape our experience of life, from our romantic relationships to the workplace. But at the heart of power is a troubling paradox -- a malignant feature of human psychology responsible for John Dalberg-Acton's oft-cited insight that "power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Keltner explains the psychological machinery of this malfunction and considers our recourse for resisting its workings:

The power paradox is this: we rise in power and make a difference in the world due to what is best about human nature, but we fall from power due to what is worst. We gain a capacity to make a difference in the world by enhancing the lives of others, but the very experience of having power and privilege leads us to behave, in our worst moments, like impulsive, out-of-control sociopaths.

How we handle the power paradox guides our personal and work lives and determines, ultimately, how happy we and the people we care about will be. It determines our empathy, generosity, civility, innovation, intellectual rigor, and the collaborative strength of our communities and social networks. Its ripple effects shape the patterns that make up our families, neighborhoods, and workplaces, as well as the broader patterns of social organization that define societies and our current political struggles.

[...]

Much of what is most unsettling about human nature -- stigma, greed, arrogance, racial and sexual violence, and the nonrandom distribution of depression and bad health to the poor -- follows from how we handle the power paradox.

Art by Olivier Tallec from Louis I, King of the Sheep, an illustrated parable of how power changes us .

What causes us to mishandle the power paradox, Keltner argues, is our culture's traditional understanding of power -- a sort of time-capsule that no longer serves us. Predicated on force, ruthlessness, and strategic coercion, it was shaped by Niccolò Machiavelli's sixteenth-century book The Prince -- but it is as antiquated today as the geocentric model of the universe that dominated Machiavelli's day. What governs the modern world, Keltner demonstrates through two decades of revelatory studies, is a different kind of power -- softer, more relational, predicated on reputation rather than force, measured by one's ability to affect the lives of others positively and shift the course of the world, however slightly, toward the common good. He writes:

Perhaps most critically, thinking of power as coercive force and fraud blinds us to its pervasiveness in our daily lives and the fact that it shapes our every interaction, from those between parents and children to those between work colleagues.

[...]

Power defines the waking life of every human being. It is found not only in extraordinary acts but also in quotidian acts, indeed in every interaction and every relationship, be it an attempt to get a two-year-old to eat green vegetables or to inspire a stubborn colleague to do her best work. It lies in providing an opportunity to someone, or asking a friend the right question to stir creative thought, or calming a colleague's rattled nerves, or directing resources to a young person trying to make it in society. Power dynamics, patterns of mutual influence, define the ongoing interactions between fetus and mother, infant and parent, between romantic partners, childhood friends, teens, people at work, and groups in conflict. Power is the medium through which we relate to one another. Power is about making a difference in the world by influencing others.

In a sentiment that parallels Thoreau's wisdom on silence and shouting, Keltner adds:

A new wave of thinking about power reveals that it is given to us by others rather than grabbed. We gain power by acting in ways that improve the lives of other people in our social networks.

One key consequence of the fact that power is given to us by others is its reputational nature -- an insight both disquieting to the ego and comforting to the soul, for we are inescapably social creatures. Keltner observes:

Our influence, the lasting difference that we make in the world, is ultimately only as good as what others think of us. Having enduring power is a privilege that depends on other people continuing to give it to us.

"Enduring" is an operative word in Keltner's premise. The "power paradox" is paradoxical precisely because those who manage to wrest power forcibly by the Machiavellian model may have power, or perceived power, for a certain amount of time, but that amount is finite. Its finitude springs from the attrition of the person's reputation. But the most troubling aspect of the power paradox is that even if a person rises to power by counter-Machiavellian means -- kindness, generosity, concern with the common good -- power itself will eventually warp her priorities and render her less kind, less generous, less concerned with the common good, which will in turn erode her power as her reputation for these counter-qualities grows.

Keltner cites a number of studies demonstrating these tendencies empirically -- poor people give to charity a greater portion of their income than rich people, those in positions of power exhibit more entitled behaviors, people who drive expensive cars are significantly crueler to pedestrians at crosswalks, and so forth.

But in reading these alarmingly consistent studies, I had to wonder about one crucial confound that remains unaddressed: People in positions of power also tend to be busier -- that is, they tend to have greater demands on their time. We know from the now-iconic 1970s Good Samaritan study that the single greatest predictor of uncaring, unkind, and uncompassionate behavior, even among people who have devoted their lives to the welfare of others, is a perceived lack of time -- a feeling of being rushed. The sense of urgency seems to consume all of our other concerns -- it is the razor's blade that severs our connection to anything outside ourselves, anything beyond the task at hand, and turns our laser-sharp focus of concern onto the the immediacy of the self alone.

Art from Anne Sexton's little-known children's book .

We know this empirically, and we know its anecdotal truth intimately -- I doubt I'm alone in the awareness that despite a deep commitment to kindness, I find myself most likely to, say, be impatient with a fellow cyclist when I feel pressed for time, when I know I'm running late. Even Keltner's famous and tragicomical study, which found that drivers of expensive cars are most inconsiderate to pedestrians, might suffer from the same confound -- those who can afford expensive cars are typically people we would deem "successful," who also typically have far greater demands on their time. So could it be that a scarcity of time -- that inescapable hum of consciousness -- rather than an excess of power is the true corrupting agent of the psyche?

And so another paradox lives inside the power paradox -- the more powerful a person becomes, the busier and more rushed she is, which cuts her off from the very qualities that define the truly powerful. What would the studies Keltner cites look like if we controlled not only for power, but for time -- for the perception of being rushed and demand-strained beyond capacity? (Kierkegaard condemned the corrosive effect of busyness nearly two centuries ago.)

Still, Keltner's central point -- that power in the modern world is "gained and maintained through a focus on others" -- remains valid and important. He considers the conscious considerations we can make in order to bypass the perils of the power paradox:

Handling the power paradox depends on finding a balance between the gratification of your own desires and your focus on other people. As the most social of species, we evolved several other-focused, universal social practices that bring out the good in others and that make for strong social collectives. A thoughtful practitioner of these practices will not be misled by the rush of the experience of power down the path of self-gratification and abuse, but will choose instead to enjoy the deeper delights of making a lasting difference in the world. These social practices are fourfold: empathizing, giving, expressing gratitude, and telling stories. All four of these practices dignify and delight others. They constitute the basis of strong, mutually empowered ties. You can lean on them to enhance your power at any moment of the day by stirring others to effective action.

But "power" is one of those words -- like "love" and "happiness" -- to have become grab-bag terms for a constellation of behaviors, states, emotions, and phenomena. Noting that "a critical task of science is to provide clear nomenclature -- precise terms that sharpen our understanding of patterned phenomena in the outside world and inside the mind," Keltner offers elegant and necessary definitions of the distinct notions comprising the constellation of power in modern society:

POWER your capacity to make a difference in the world by influencing the states of other people.

STATUS the respect that you enjoy from other people in your social network; the esteem they direct to you. Status goes with power often but not always.

CONTROL your capacity to determine the outcomes in your life. You can have complete control over your life -- think of the reclusive hermit -- but have no power.

SOCIAL CLASS the mixture of family wealth, educational achievement, and occupational prestige that you enjoy; alternatively, the subjective sense you have of where you stand on a class ladder in society, high, middle, or low. Both forms of social class are societal forms of power.

In the remainder of The Power Paradox , Keltner goes on to examine, through a robust body of research bridged with intelligent insight, what we can do both as individuals and as a society to cultivate the qualities that empower us by empowering others and counter those that feed the most selfish and small-spirited tendencies of human nature. Complement it with Blaise Pascal's timeless 17th-century wisdom on the art of persuasion and philosopher Martha Nussbaum on human dignity and the nuanced relationship between agency and victimhood .

HT Shankar Vedantam / Hidden Brain

[Mar 07, 2020] Note of Trump deals: they are not worth paper they are printed on

Mar 07, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

False Solace , March 6, 2020 at 5:04 pm

Well they signed the agreement with the Taliban and two days later the DOD was bombing them again so who knows what happens there.

Trump has declared all sorts of deals that ultimately turned into puffs of smoke -- the non-deal with North Korea comes to mind. I consider pulling out of the TPP and tariffs against China more indicative of bucking the consensus, but those can be reversed by Trump or any other president whenever they feel like it.

[Mar 07, 2020] Dr. Drew Pinsky Threat Of Coronavirus An Overblown Press-Created Hysteria Video

Notable quotes:
"... We have in the United States 24 million cases of flu-like illness, 180,000 hospitalizations, 16,000 dead from influenza. ..."
Mar 07, 2020 | www.realclearpolitics.com

After a community transmitted case of coronavirus was reported in California,

Dr. Drew Pinsky talks about the coronavirus:

PINSKY: I don't know what they're talking about. We used to point at the way Indiana responded to the opiate and the HIV epidemic as the model for the country. I don't know what they're talking about. The only reason I felt comfortable with Pence as Vice President was I was aware of his track record in Indiana in handling these serious problems, and they handled them better than most states did, almost any other state. So, I don't know what the hell people are talking about. That is fake news...

We have in the United States 24 million cases of flu-like illness, 180,000 hospitalizations, 16,000 dead from influenza. We have zero deaths from coronavirus. We have almost no cases. There are people walking around out there with the virus that don't even know they have it, it's so mild.

So it's going to be much more widespread than we knew. It's going to be much milder than we knew. The 1.7% fatality rate is going to fall. Where was the press during the Mediterranean Corona outbreak, where the fatality rate was 41%? Why didn't they get crazed about MERS or SARS?

This is an overblown press-created hysteria. This thing is well in hand. President Trump is absolutely correct.

[Mar 06, 2020] Paul Singer vulture fund, has reportedly snapped up a four percent ($1 billion) stake in Twitter, nominating four directors to its board as the start of a bid to oust Dorsey.

Mar 06, 2020 | www.rt.com

by Helen Buyniski , RT A notorious hedge-funder who's left a trail of broken companies (and countries) in his wake has set his sights on ousting Twitter's Jack Dorsey. Users complaining about new features should know the platform may never be the same. Elliott Management, euphemistically called an "activist investor" by timid media who fear its legendary founder Paul Singer, has reportedly snapped up a four percent ($1 billion) stake in Twitter, nominating four directors to its board as the start of a bid to oust Dorsey. The hedge fund supposedly resents the CEO dividing his attentions between Twitter, Square, and a six-month move to Africa, believing Twitter is capable of churning out bigger profits. Like any good hedge fund – so the narrative goes – they just want the value of the company to increase (stock jumped seven percent on the news).

What this coverage leaves out – and what makes Twitter's plight more than the usual business scrap – is Singer's history. A major Republican donor and huge booster for Israel, he's also a notoriously ruthless businessman who embodies "vulture capitalism," leaving a trail of asset-stripped companies and even a few economically-ruined countries in his wake over his insanely profitable career. Media coverage of Singer's interest in Twitter has gone to great lengths to present his interest in the platform as " strictly business-related ," however, and some conservatives have even gotten excited by the thought that the neocon Singer will end the ideologically-motivated censorship they claim to experience on the platform – but nothing could be further from reality.

Here come the vultures

Fox News' Tucker Carlson profiled Elliott Management's strategy in December thus: "Buy a distressed company, outsource the jobs, liquidate the valuable assets, fire middle management, and once the smoke has cleared, dump what remains to the highest bidder, often in Asia." Amid the financial crash of 2008, Elliott, with other hedge funds, acquired distressed US auto parts supplier Delphi, took billions in bailout money from the Obama government (a transaction the president's "auto-czar" compared to "extortion" ), then offloaded so many jobs overseas that 25 factories were forced to close, putting tens of thousands of union and white-collar workers out on the street, as well as slashing pensions. Elliott Management made over $1 billion from the deal .

Also on rt.com Laid-off IT workers plan to sue UC San Francisco as jobs outsourced to India

When Singer's fund sinks its teeth into its prey, it does not let go, and most victims have learned to give up and hope for a quick death. When Elliott bought an 11 percent stake in outdoors retailer Cabela's, it began pushing for a sale of what was then a profitable company. The management so feared Singer that it sold within a year, sending stock prices through the roof but putting almost 2,000 people out of their jobs, setting off a downward spiral that, Carlson says, "destroyed" Cabela's hometown of Sidney, Nebraska, whose residents feared to even speak about the hedge funder on camera four years later. AT&T similarly ran for its life when Singer's fund bit off a $3.2 billion stake of the company in September, acquiescing to several demands within a month (and there's still time for the rest).

Those who don't acquiesce are guaranteed to suffer. After Elliott Management bought up a chunk of its debt, the country of Argentina defaulted, holding out for 15 years on Singer's attempts to collect. A 13-year legal battle ensued, during which Singer's fund seized an Argentine naval ship to prove they were serious about getting paid. Then-president Cristina Fernandez denounced the "Vulture Lord," but her replacement, Mauricio Macri, finally agreed in 2016 to pay up – just in time for the threat of another debt default .

Also on rt.com Argentina not negotiating multimillion debt, say holdout creditors

Peru and Congo have similarly felt the sting of Elliott Management's tactics, having their distressed debt snapped up and then weaponized against them in court. And even when Singer doesn't win, his opponents lose. Korean electronics giant Samsung was able to fight off his takeover efforts when he tried to block a move by the Lee family to consolidate their holdings, but the bitter battle ended in a five-year prison sentence for company head Jay Y. Lee on bribery charges and the impeachment of South Korean president Park Geun-hye.

the ideologically-motivated vultures, that is

Singer's corporate interests overseas don't stop at outsourcing to cut costs, however. He founded an organization called Start-Up Nation Central to facilitate the transfer of huge chunks of the US tech industry to Israel. The initiative seeks to counter the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement by making Israel essentially boycott-proof, and Singer has accordingly used his billions to push American tech firms into Israel – Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple all have research and development centers there as of 2016. If he gets control of Twitter, the company's US employees may be surprised to find their replacements speaking Hebrew, not Chinese.

As for the conservatives who think Singer will defend them from Twitter censorship? Singer was a hardcore anti-Trumper in 2015, backing Florida Senator Marco Rubio and funding the prototype of the notorious Steele dossier. Former Trump campaign strategist Steve Bannon " declared war " on the billionaire in 2017 upon learning of his involvement. While Singer financially backs Trump now, journalist Philip Weiss and others have suggested the hedge funder "cut a deal with Trump on Israel," offering his support in exchange for Trump going all-in on "protecting" the Jewish State.

Singer is the second-largest donor to the bloodthirsty think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies and also supports JINSA and the American Enterprise Institute – all dyed-in-the-wool neocon groups cheerleading for war with Iran as they did in Iraq. If Trump's "America-first" base thinks Singer is going to fight for their free speech on Twitter, they're about to get a rude awakening. Anti-war voices on both sides of the spectrum will likely find the censorship intensified to the point where they long for the days of mere shadow banning.

Battle of the billionaires

Dorsey is prepared to stand and fight – for now. He announced on Thursday he'd put his plans to live in Africa for six months on hold, supposedly due to the coronavirus epidemic. Meanwhile, Dorsey's fellow tech tycoon Elon Musk has pledged to help him fight the takeover, tweeting his support on Monday, and Twitter employees pledged their support with the #webackjack hashtag.

Also on rt.com 'NO ONE asked for this': Twitter testing self-destructing post feature as users beg for 'edit' button instead

Twitter users complaining about the "Snapchatization" of their beloved platform should realize they're looking at something quite a bit more serious than the rollout of an unpopular feature. Twitter, despite its numerous flaws, remains a vital communication channel for many. Whatever lies ahead for the platform – a stripped-down MySpace-esque husk, a megaphone for the never-Trump wing of the GOP, another addition to Israel's Silicon Wadi – only one thing can be certain: it will be profitable for Elliott Management.

Subscribe to RT newsletter to get stories the mainstream media won't tell you.

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

Contact the author: joe@thedrive.com

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

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

96 Comments

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

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In a Tough Spot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mission accomplished.

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


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

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

Kim Dixon , February 24, 2020 at 04:31

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

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

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

SteveK9 , February 24, 2020 at 20:18

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

J Gray , February 25, 2020 at 02:55

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

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

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

Tony Kevin , February 23, 2020 at 21:49

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

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

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

Tony Kevin , February 23, 2020 at 21:32

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

jack , February 24, 2020 at 15:25

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

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

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

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

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

Dfnslblty , February 23, 2020 at 09:07

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

JohnDoe , February 23, 2020 at 03:43

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

delia ruhe , February 23, 2020 at 00:14

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

Deniz , February 22, 2020 at 22:44

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

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

SteveK9 , February 24, 2020 at 20:21

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

Deniz , February 25, 2020 at 00:49

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

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

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

Marko , February 22, 2020 at 20:24

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

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

JWalters , February 22, 2020 at 19:06

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

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

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

elmerfudzie , February 22, 2020 at 13:25

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

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

Jeff Harrison , February 22, 2020 at 12:36

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

Alan Ross , February 22, 2020 at 10:37

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

Skip Scott , February 22, 2020 at 09:51

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

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

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

Jacquelynn Booth , February 22, 2020 at 09:19

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

Jim Hartz , February 23, 2020 at 12:04

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

So much for our being a HIGHER life form.

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

Tony , February 22, 2020 at 07:40

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

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

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

Sounds right to me.

Sam F , February 22, 2020 at 07:24

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

michael , February 22, 2020 at 07:03

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

Realist , February 24, 2020 at 00:22

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

Ma Laoshi , February 22, 2020 at 06:04

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

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

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

aNanyMouse , February 22, 2020 at 13:29

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

GMCasey , February 21, 2020 at 22:33

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

Sam F , February 23, 2020 at 09:18

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

Jim Hartz , February 23, 2020 at 12:37

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

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

Sam F , February 21, 2020 at 22:10

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

Eddie S , February 21, 2020 at 21:55

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

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

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

Daniel , February 22, 2020 at 10:45

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

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

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

John Drake , February 21, 2020 at 21:33

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

Fred Dean , February 23, 2020 at 03:52

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

OlyaPola , February 23, 2020 at 08:08

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

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

KiwiAntz , February 21, 2020 at 21:26

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

Ian , February 22, 2020 at 02:47

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

Broompilot , February 22, 2020 at 03:50

Kiwi you may have a point.

ML , February 22, 2020 at 09:19

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

Daniel , February 22, 2020 at 11:09

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Mar 05, 2020] Who needs the Russians to meddle in the US elections when the DNC is much better at undermining the democratic process?

NY Times is citing "people familiar with the situation." How the mighty have fallen. What about Shadow, and the Iowa caucuses, and Buttigieg? That was real. This is absolute horseshit.
Mar 05, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

jmg , February 22, 2020 at 11:32

> Apparent US Intel Meddling in US Election With 'Report' Russia is Aiding Sanders

It looks like the CIA is short of ideas on how to meddle in the elections. Trump had a very similar briefing on January 6, 2017 -- with Brennan, Clapper, Rogers, and Comey -- on Russia allegedly aiding his campaign. As well without any evidence.

Charlene Richards , February 22, 2020 at 14:47

Russia couldn't possibly do the damage to Sanders that the DNC and Democrat Establishment elites are doing out in the open every day with the MSM as their prime propagandists.

As they say in wrestling, it's all "a work".

richard baker , February 22, 2020 at 10:55

Bart Hansen , February 22, 2020 at 18:27

Looking at the comments at the Post and Times, I'd say you are on target. Oh, for the Kool Aid contract at those organs of misinformation and omission.

[Mar 05, 2020] The real threats to our democracy are our unaccountable surveillance state and the neoliberal politicians in Washington

Notable quotes:
"... the parties are two arguing heads on the same rapacious beast. or in the case of the primaries, a multi-headed beast. ..."
Mar 05, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

Jeff Harrison , February 22, 2020 at 12:36

The real threats to our democracy are our unaccountable surveillance state and the craven politicians in Washington, DC.

And, no, Ben, we can't keep our republic because we don't have a sufficient mass of critical thinkers to run it. If we did, this kind of BS, having been shot full of holes once, wouldn't get any air.

Ground Owl Eats Fox , February 22, 2020 at 21:49

I don't think the Democrats have been very coordinated, and they (the establishment in general) is growing more desperate. They're acting less and less rationally.

My hunch is that Sanders is going to be assassinated. Even if a low chance per industry (5% for MIC; 5% for Wall Street; 5% for Hillary Clinton, etc ) the sheer number of powerful enemies and tens of trillions of dollars (and power) potentially at stake IMO makes it likely that this'll happen, whether coordinated or not. I'm guessing before the convention, if his lead is looking formidable.

He needs to pick a safety VP to make killing him less attractive, and also needs to wear a vest, ride around in a Popemobile-style vehicle, and have trustworthy chemists and doctors to check his food and umbrellas and everything else. And lots of documenters with cameras so if they do kill him in a violent hit maybe they won't get away with it.

tim ashby , February 22, 2020 at 10:38

how on earth could any entity, foreign or domestic, create any outcome in our burlesque electoral process that's worse than any other? the parties are two arguing heads on the same rapacious beast. or in the case of the primaries, a multi-headed beast.

the political circus can be likened to condi rice's concept of "constructive chaos" in the middle east. instead of nonfunctional endless war to render malleable a target for exploitation, we have endless functionless nitpicking blather to render popular leadership impossible.

[Mar 04, 2020] Russiagate should be viewed as classic, textbook case of gaslighting and projecting election interference

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I tried to sorta warm people on other sites that while they were looking for Russians at the front door, the gop was coming in the bad door for some rather nasty election interference. ..."
"... Of course what we are seeing now is democrats cheating other democrats. But that reality will never be acknowledged because, hey, it never happened before. Just unintentional mistakes like in Iowa (farm folk cheating -- no way) or Brooklyn. ..."
Mar 04, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

MrWebster on Wed, 03/04/2020 - 1:00pm

What you describe is probably why Russiagate spread so easily to so many people. Nothing happened in previous elections? Everything you describe never happened as you point out. The American electoral system was and is pristine and virginal.

Until the Russians came and destroyed American democracy through social media themes, memes, and retweets.

The American electoral system was never brutally corrupted by rigged votes, voter suppression on the scale of hundreds of thousands, deliberately miscounted votes, voter fraud, etc. Americans never did to each other anything as bad as what the Russians did to Americans.

Of course, for me never worked as I worked in primaries of a democratic machine dominated city. I tried to sorta warm people on other sites that while they were looking for Russians at the front door, the gop was coming in the bad door for some rather nasty election interference.

Of course what we are seeing now is democrats cheating other democrats. But that reality will never be acknowledged because, hey, it never happened before. Just unintentional mistakes like in Iowa (farm folk cheating -- no way) or Brooklyn.

[Mar 04, 2020] The Quincy Institute Off to a Decent Start

Mar 04, 2020 | libertarianinstitute.org

Non-interventionists are not used to having a seat at the power table. Lacking any amount of institutional influence, believers in the anti-war cause are used to spending careers tinkering at the margins of the conversation, living from hand to mouth off of minimal fundraising. No one ever got rich towing the line for "Big Peace."

This unfortunate situation has, over decades, left a cynicism for anything located in the beltway of Washington D.C. That's where principles go to die, and good people go to sell out, don't you know?

This characterization is far from unfounded. There is an endless list of grifters, double-crossers, and Fausts who have sold their soul for a couple zeros added to their paychecks. But should past betrayals define our attitudes to the possibilities of the future?

In the past week, the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft held its first event since its inaugural launch in December. Named after former secretary of state John Quincy Adams and founded through big money donations from billionaires Charles Koch and George Soros (among others), the think tank was established, in the words of Chairwoman Suzanne DiMaggio, "to bring about a fundamental reorientation in U.S. foreign policy."

The event , titled "A New Vision for America in the World," was pilloried before it even occurred. Criticism revolved around the speaker's list, which included individuals who had spent years advocating, defending, and even participating in military adventurism overseas. This is where a dose of context is important.

The event was pitched as a forum between the Quincy Institute and Foreign Policy , whose conception of its eponymous topic is decidedly status quo hegemony. Registration, the speaker's list, and the day's schedule were available exclusively on Foreign Policy 's website. Quincy was discernably the junior partner in the conversation.

Each side chose its champion. Foreign Policy originated the idea to host disgraced former Major General David Petraeus, who commanded U.S. forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Since his conviction for sharing state secrets with his mistress as Director of the CIA, Petraeus has spent years attempting to rehabilitate his image and spread the gospel of counterinsurgency that failed American forces in the Middle East.

In opposition stood Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna of California. A self-described "progressive capitalist," since his election in 2016 Khanna has made a name for himself as a voice for military restraint in Washington. He's done more legwork to stop American support for the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen than any other member of congress.

The event's original conception was to have a debate between Petraeus and Khanna on stage, where the two could challenge each other directly. Petraeus refused to countenance this option, a Quincy insider revealed to the Libertarian Institute. So instead each man sat down, back-to-back, with their respective interlocutors; Petraeus with Foreign Policy Editor-In-Chief Jonathan Tepperman, and Khanna with the Charles Koch Institute's Vice President for Research and Policy Will Ruger.

Tepperman opened his segment with a joke that fell on deaf ears. "Our next guest will be immediately recognizable to all of you, I'm sure, unless you've been living under a rock for the last twenty years," he smiled. "That's 'under a rock,' not 'living in Iraq,' in which case you would definitely recognize him." Try telling that one-liner to the Iraqi teenagers who have gone their entire lives without clean drinking water, or the Iraqi men who continue to live without arms or legs, or the Iraqi mothers who gave birth to babies with abominable birth defects because of America's use of depleted uranium ammunition. Yes, I'm sure they'd definitely recognize David Petraeus.

The proceeding twenty-four minutes of dialogue was the same insipid pablum that Petraeus has used to justify his speaking fees for a decade. The United States must remain stationed in Afghanistan to keep an Al-Qaeda sanctuary from being reestablished, he argued. "There is some affinity they have for Eastern Afghanistan," the former general said, even though the reasoning "was lost on me."

Would Petraeus be open to a reassessment of U.S. strategic interests; the kind of retrenchment advocated by the Quincy Institute? "I think, to be perfectly honest, the debate here -- should we be more restrained -- of course we should be more restrained," he answered coyly. "Until we shouldn't."

When Congressman Khanna began his segment afterwards, he wasted no time in cutting Petraeus down to size. "I thought the title of this conference is 'A New Vision for American Foreign Policy,'" Khanna said, "and I was wondering when he was going to say something new that we haven't heard for the last twenty years."

"If I understood General Petraeus, he's basically saying we need to have a permanent troop presence around the world, in any place that's a failed state. I mean I thought we were a republic. I thought that was totally counter to what our founder's envisioned," explained Khanna.

While he displayed a depth of knowledge on U.S. conduct overseas far exceeding the average representative, it was Khanna's conception of America's metaphysical place in the world that stood out most prominently. When foreigners think of the United States, he hopes their first thoughts are "our culture, our art, our technology, our writings [that] reflect those values."

"I don't want the first thing when they think about the United States [to be] our military or bombs," he said resolutely. This sentiment brought to mind that cataloger of American localism, Bill Kauffman, who lambasted the "sham patriotism" of "the chickenhawk who loves little of his country beyond its military might."

Ro Khanna holds to that older notion of America, of a republic on a human scale that focuses on its own betterment, not the siren song of empire. "I think every member of congress should read John Quincy Adams. He's more eloquent than all of us put together," he counseled.

Unfortunately, Petraeus had already departed out the side door before he could be infected with anyone else's perspective. He had a better exit strategy from the conference than he ever did in Iraq or Afghanistan.

So lopsided was the "exchange" that after Khanna concluded Tepperman felt the need to defend his interviewee. "There was a big mismatch between Petraeus and Khanna. In the sense that, Ro Khanna is a politician. David Petraeus is not a politician," he said, eliciting an eyeroll from Ruger. The absurdity to claim that Petraeus, who earned the antagonism of his fellow commanders by being one of the most outwardly political generals in modern American history, obliged Tepperman to admit moments later that, "Petraeus is a better politician than most."

Outside the main attraction, the conference also included a discussion between two other House members, and three theater-focused foreign policy panels. Each panel's membership was split between people selected by Quincy and those selected by Foreign Policy, allowing a more open exchange of ideas than usually seen in the beltway. The Quincy Institute's staff, particularly Managing Director for Research and Policy Sarah Leah Whitson, ably articulated the concepts of realism and drawing back from our seemingly endless wars.

Some purists will still complain that the Quincy Institute soiled itself by cohosting its first conference with Foreign Policy , and for allowing the likes of Petraeus to speak. But the fact is, Quincy created a space where a sitting congressman could publicly clown the man who lost America's two twenty-first century invasions. It created a space where renowned Pentagon reporter Mark Perry could rile the audience into a frenzy like a Rockstar performing a set of his greatest hits. And it created a space where Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin could be cheered by a crowd for interrogating a panelist about his financial connections to Saudi Arabia.

This new, freer environment is something to be celebrated. The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft might have started the forum as the unofficial junior partner to Foreign Policy , but it closed it by punching above its weight class.

[Mar 04, 2020] The Syria Deception by Mark Taliano

Mar 04, 2020 | www.globalresearch.ca

What is the Syria war about?

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

Nor is the Syria war a religious war, for Syria was and still is one of the most secular countries in the region, and the Syrian army – like its direct opponents – is itself mainly composed of Sunnis.

But the Syria war is also not a pipeline war, as some critics suspected, because the allegedly competing gas pipeline projects never existed to begin with, as even the Syrian president confirmed .

Instead, the Syria war is a war of conquest and regime change , which developed into a geopolitical proxy war between NATO states on one side – especially the US, Great Britain and France – and Russia, Iran, and China on the other side.

In fact, already since the 1940s the US has repeatedly attempted to install a pro-Western government in Syria, such as in 1949, 1956, 1957, after 1980 and after 2003, but without success so far. This makes Syria – since the fall of Libya – the last Mediterranean country independent of NATO.

Thus, in the course of the „Arab Spring" of 2011, NATO and its allies, especially Israel and the Gulf States, decided to try again. To this end, politically and economically motivated protests in Syria were used and were quickly escalated into an armed conflict.

NATO's original strategy of 2011 was based on the Afghanistan war of the 1980s and aimed at conquering Syria mainly through positively portrayed Islamist militias (so-called „rebels"). This did not succeed, however, because the militias lacked an air force and anti-aircraft missiles.

Hence from 2013 onwards, various poison gas attacks were staged in order to be able to deploy the NATO air force as part of a „humanitarian intervention" similar to the earlier wars against Libya and Yugoslavia. But this did not succeed either, mainly because Russia and China blocked a UN mandate.

As of 2014, therefore, additional but negatively portrayed Islamist militias („terrorists") were covertly established in Syria and Iraq via NATO partners Turkey and Jordan, secretly supplied with weapons and vehicles and indirectly financed by oil exports via the Turkish Ceyhan terminal.

ISIS: Supply and export routes through NATO partners Turkey and Jordan (ISW / Atlantic, 2015)

Media-effective atrocity propaganda and mysterious „terrorist attacks" in Europe and the US then offered the opportunity to intervene in Syria using the NATO air force even without a UN mandate – ostensibly to fight the „terrorists", but in reality still to conquer Syria and topple its government.

This plan failed again, however, as Russia also used the presence of the „terrorists" in autumn 2015 as a justification for direct military intervention and was now able to attack both the „terrorists" and parts of NATO's „rebels" while simultaneously securing the Syrian airspace to a large extent.

By the end of 2016, the Syrian army thus succeeded in recapturing the city of Aleppo.

From 2016 onwards, NATO therefore switched back to positively portrayed but now Kurdish-led militias (the SDF) in order to still have unassailable ground forces available and to conquer the Syrian territory held by the previously established „terrorists" before Syria and Russia could do so themselves.

This led to a kind of „race" to conquer cities such as Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor in 2017 and to a temporary division of Syria along the Euphrates river into a (largely) Syrian-controlled West and a Kurdish (or rather American) controlled East (see map below).

This move, however, brought NATO into conflict with its key member Turkey, because Turkey did not accept a Kurdish-controlled territory on its southern border. As a result, the NATO alliance became increasingly divided from 2018 onwards.

Turkey now fought the Kurds in northern Syria and at the same time supported the remaining Islamists in the north-western province of Idlib against the Syrian army, while the Americans eventually withdrew to the eastern Syrian oil fields in order to retain a political bargaining chip.

While Turkey supported Islamists in northern Syria, Israel more or less covertly supplied Islamists in southern Syria and at the same time fought Iranian and Lebanese (Hezbollah) units with air strikes, though without lasting success: the militias in southern Syria had to surrender in 2018.

Ultimately, some NATO members tried to use a confrontation between the Turkish and Syrian armies in the province of Idlib as a last option to escalate the war. In addition to the situation in Idlib, the issues of the occupied territories in the north and east of Syria remain to be resolved, too.

Russia, for its part, has tried to draw Turkey out of the NATO alliance and onto its own side as far as possible. Modern Turkey, however, is pursuing a rather far-reaching geopolitical strategy of its own, which is also increasingly clashing with Russian interests in the Middle East and Central Asia.

As part of this geopolitical strategy, Turkey in 2015 and 2020 even used the so-called "weapon of mass migration" , which may serve to destabilize both Syria (so-called strategic depopulation ) and Europe, as well as to extort financial, political or military support from the European Union.

Syria: The situation in February 2020

What role did the Western media play in this war?

The task of NATO-compliant media was to portray the war against Syria as a „civil war", the Islamist „rebels" positively, the Islamist „terrorists" and the Syrian government negatively, the alleged „poison gas attacks" credibly and the NATO intervention consequently as legitimate.

An important tool for this media strategy were the numerous Western-sponsored „media centres" , „activist groups" , „Twitter girls" , „human rights observatories" and the like, which provided Western news agencies and media with the desired images and information.

Since 2019, NATO-compliant media moreover had to conceal or discredit various leaks and whistleblowers that began to prove the covert Western arms deliveries to the Islamist „rebels" and „terrorists" as well as the staged „poison gas attacks" .

But if even the „terrorists" in Syria were demonstrably established and equipped by NATO states, what role then did the mysterious „caliph of terror" Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi play? He possibly played a similar role as his direct predecessor , Omar al-Baghdadi – who was a phantom .

Thanks to new communication technologies and on-site sources, the Syria war was also the first war about which independent media could report almost in real-time and thus for the first time significantly influenced the public perception of events – a potentially historic change.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

All images in this article are from SPR


Order Mark Taliano's Book "Voices from Syria" directly from Global Research.

Mark Taliano combines years of research with on-the-ground observations to present an informed and well-documented analysis that refutes the mainstream media narratives on Syria.

[Mar 04, 2020] In Defense of Elitism Why I'm Better Than You and You are Better Than Someone Who Didn't Buy Thi

This guy does not understand (or do not what to understand) what neoliberalism is. Do not buy this book. It is junk. Look at the idiotic quite beloe. Tha guy is unable to think coherently. When Hillary called her opponents "deplorable" she clearly means thos who oppose neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization and who suffered from outsourcing and financialization craziness, that destroyed the USA manufacturing. She means those who do not belong to the neoliberal elite, independent of their IQ.
Notable quotes:
"... The tragic flaw of elites is that they fail to see the hypocrisy in their own cries for tolerance and equality. ..."
"... It was the "deplorables" moment that opened my eyes to the current trajectory of America. I fear that intellectual elites, of which I am admittedly one, have not learned from this unfortunate blunder. And time is running out for us. Perhaps all we elites need to start toting Reader's Digest crosses. ..."
Mar 04, 2020 | www.amazon.com

The populist revolution succeeded tonight for the same reason it did nearly two centuries ago. The main reason Trump won wasn't economic anxiety. It wasn't sexism. It wasn't racism. It was that he was anti-elitist. Hillary Clinton represented Wall Street, academics, policy papers, Davos, international treaties, and peo- ple who think they're better than you. People like me. Trump represented something far more appealing, which is beating up people like me. A poll taken a month before the 2016 election showed that only 24 percent of voters disagreed with the statement "The real struggle for America is not between Democrats and Republicans but between mainstream America and the ruling political elites."

People are foolish to get rid of us. Elites are people who think; populists are people who believe. Elites de- fer to experts; populists listen to their own guts. Elites value cooperation; populists are tribal. Elites arc masters at delayed gratification, long-range planning, and
controlling our emotions...

...We can t afford that. Populists believe our complex society is so secure that disaster is near impossible no matter who is in charge. Elites know it's not. Most of our work is calculating risk and planning for contingencies. We invented reinsurance, and if you give us a few years, we'll come up with rereinsurance. The myth that the elite are selfishly rigging the system while do- ing nothing useful conveniently ignores the fact that the system we've built is great. If this were a book about any other group of people besides the elite, this would be the part where I list all the amazing contributions we've made throughout history. I do not need to do that because elites created everything that ever existed...

4.0 out of 5 stars Hamartia of Elitism Exposed Reviewed in the United States on December 27, 2019 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase With In Defense of Elitism, Joel Stein goes where few elites would dare step foot, intellectually or literally - to the panhandle, bible-thumping, gun-toting town of Miami, Texas.

At this first stop on his tour of populist and elite hotspots of America, Stein elucidates a no-brainer: nobody is always right all the time about everybody else. That includes we elites.

What is my takeaway from this marvelous book, besides the fact that Stein is completely hilarious? That elites need a crash course in tolerance. Populists could use a big dose of it too, but at least when they do not demonstrate this virtue, they don't pretend to possess it. The tragic flaw of elites is that they fail to see the hypocrisy in their own cries for tolerance and equality.

It was the "deplorables" moment that opened my eyes to the current trajectory of America. I fear that intellectual elites, of which I am admittedly one, have not learned from this unfortunate blunder. And time is running out for us. Perhaps all we elites need to start toting Reader's Digest crosses.

>

Bonnie Cobert Millender , Reviewed in the United States on December 4, 2019

Important Message Delivered with Humor and Insight!

Joel Stein's new book is both engaging and enlightening. He begins by immersing himself in the small town culture of rural Miami, Texas, where he mingles with the locals and tries to understand their customs. He enjoys their hospitality but examines their values with a critical eye. The rest of the book is mostly a comparison of "elitism" with the ethos of Miami. He distinguishes between two kinds of elitism: "boat elitism" which worships money and power, and "intellectual elitism" which elevates reason and intelligence. Stein obviously champions intellectual elitism which he feels is imperative for a successful democracy: "Democracy is a government of the nerds, by the nerds and for the nerds. And the Boat Elite do not respect nerds." Ultimately, Stein concludes, "The elite, with our pesky qualifiers and annoying exceptions, are the thin line between democracy and tyranny." The great charm of this excellent book is that these very valid truths are presented with so much humor and insight that the reader cannot help but agree with Joel Stein's illuminating conclusions.

Chele Hipp , Reviewed in the United States on November 10, 2019
If This Book Were a High School Debate, Mr. Stein Would Lose

If this book was evaluated like an elite high school debate held on the Stanford campus each year, Mr. Stein would be winning the debate handily in each round and scoring exceedingly high speaker points. But, in the end, while he would still get the Top Speaker Award, he would not win the tournament trophy because he gave up his argument in his closing statement. This book is written five parts, four of which are hilarious and compelling arguments for finding connection with every type of elite and populist one can come across. Those four parts make equally compelling arguments for why having experts and intellectual elites run the world does the greatest good for society as a whole. Mr. Stein is winning the debate with compassion, good humor, and style. I'm rooting for him to win the debate! My debate judge objectivity has flown out the window. And then part five happens. His closing argument. Oh no! Mr. Stein decides to withdraw from the battle for expert and intellectual elite leadership. He says it's not our time. It's time to wait out the populists. That we can do that. That we must do that. And then he says that the need for human connection is greater than anything - that humility is the job elites need to pursue. Wait. What? You just contradicted your entire case. You surrendered your position. Your conclusion is the opposite of your thesis! That's it. You lose on technical failure. Victory awarded to your opponent. If this book were a research project using the scientific method, it would be entirely possible to have a conclusion that did not match the hypothesis. But the title of the book, "In Defense of Elitism" is suggestive of a debate or an argument. And, in such case, the conclusion must necessarily match the opening statement. If I were to recommend this book to a friend, which I still may very likely do, I would recommend that my friend read only parts one through four. Or, maybe read all five parts with very low expectations for intellectual follow-through on part five. Mr. Stein still has my utmost respect and admiration for both his efforts and his humor. I almost wonder if his editor insisted on a soft landing for the book and the conclusion was a negotiated settlement.

Flying Scot , Reviewed in the United States on November 10, 2019
Elite People Make Superior Choices

The thing I most admire about intellectual elites is how skillfully they choose their parents.

José Sotolongo , Reviewed in the United States on February 7, 2020
A Sly Sociological Study

In self-deprecating, often hilarious language, Joel Stein gives us a study of the gulf between the bicoastal United States and the heartland. The socially and politically conservative, religious citizens of Miami, Texas, vastly different from the author in values, religion, and background, are profiled with humor and affection. By establishing common ground with these citizens and shedding light on their beliefs, Stein lets us understand them despite the different, even foreign ideas compared to those of us who are "elites." By "elites" the author means reasonably educated, anti-racist, not-very-religious-if-at-all folks who tend to vote for progressive candidates. The middle of the book puts us back in California, where Stein lives, and his gimlet eye skewers the elites that surround him, again with humor and insight. I am somewhat surprised that this impressive work, which has so much to say about the present divisions and polarization in our country, has not been better promoted by the publisher. A search in the New York Times fails to find a review or even mention of it, and a full web search renders scant results. Highly recommended.

Reginald H. Henderson , Reviewed in the United States on November 2, 2019
Elite by cheating your way to wealth, versus an elite level of intelligence

Being anti-elite can make sense if you're against the elite due to wealth gained by taking advantage of people (Stein refers to as the "boat elite"), but being against elite by intelligence doesn't make sense (the "intellectual elite"). Stein talks with anit-elite Scott Adams (Dilbert creator) who talks about a medical issue for which he had to go to the most elite doctor there was to be cured, and Scott somehow concludes that this is why doctors are useless and he knows better than them. Stein points out Sarah Palin bragging that she will never claim to know more than anyone else, instead of trying to study and learn more. You read about people striving to make a difference, and somehow Republican America rejecting intelligent elite and embracing wealthy elite (which is the opposite of what a democratic government should do, it should reign in those that gain all the power through wealth). The jokes make this serious and passionate subject fun to read.

Reviewer Dr. Beth , Reviewed in the United States on December 30, 2019
Make America elite again

How can one be both self-deprecating and aggrandizing at the same time? Somehow author Joel Stein manages this. A long-time humorist writer for TIME (who was eventually fired, as he points out), Stein offers a book that is as insightful as it is funny. Stein's humor ranges from cheap to clever, and yet is unfailingly smart and on the mark. The premise of this book has already been thoroughly covered. Stein seeks to explain the backlash against so-called elites which led to the election of Trump. He starts by visiting the county in the US which had the highest percentage of Trump voters in the 2016 election. He finds many things that he expected to find (religion, guns) and many things he did not. Does he leave Miami, Texas thinking that the Trump voters were right? No. But he leaves with a better appreciation of people different from him and less of an us versus them mindset. After spending time with the populists, Stein visits with his own group, the elites, providing a short and somewhat mocking look at our country's most privileged...living in ivory towers, maybe, but also doing great work. Next come the populist elites, a group which includes Stein's "boat elites," or people like Trump. The section on elite populists is the shortest in the book; obviously elites generally aren't wining any popularity contests. Finally, in "Saving the Elite," Stein attempts to figure out how elites can re-emerge on top, where they belong. Solutions include fighting back, which many liberals seem to be doing to little or no avail; taking the high road, which appeals to the self-satisfied nature of elitists but which tends to be ultimately frustrating; and moving towards change, perhaps through greater humility, kindness, and--dare we say it?--love. Stein himself admits both that he is smug...and also that his smugness is his downfall. We cannot dismiss those with whom we do not agree. Stein makes this point in a way that is intelligent, compelling, moving...and also very, very funny.

Ryan Mease , Reviewed in the United States on December 19, 2019
Fun Tour of (Right-Wing) Populism in America

This is a sometimes-humorous, sometimes-serious review of different populist voices in the Trump era. Klein scored a number of perfect interviews with figureheads in / critics of the populist movement -- Tucker Carlson, the Dilbert guy and Bill Kristol. It's a shame he couldn't get Steve Bannon. He's very effective at interviewing opponents. I actually walked away from the Tucker chapter feeling less confused about Tucker's position on race and immigration. I can see his journey and his current rhetorical postures seem wrong, but reasonable. He has a point of view that's well-reasoned. The Dilbert guy is another story. I'm not even sure if he belongs in this book; he's just a sophist like Ann Coulter or Milo. I'm trying to use that term precisely, in the elitist Plato's dialogue sense of the term. If you read the book or listen to an interview with him, you'll understand what I mean. He's a bad faith relativist who enjoys attention. There's a lot more to this book! I didn't even mention the long opening section where the author travels to Texas to interview Trump supporters while living with them for an extended period. There are moments in the book where we're allowed to see how we might heal our national wounds. The major flaw here is the lack of depth concerning left-wing populism. The author points to Bernie Sanders and the populist left without really interviewing anyone or considering those voices too carefully. That's a shame, because they would have made an excellent companion chapter to the content on Tucker. The author ends up luring elite readers to a place where they feel comfortable receiving criticism. It would have been nice to hear that critique from each side. This was a fun read. Definitely recommended.

plubius tullius , Reviewed in the United States on February 22, 2020
Less about elite, more about [neoliberal] aristocracy

I listened to this as an audiobook, read by Joel Stein himself. Even as read by the author, I can't tell if this book is a joke or supposed to be taken seriously. An honest discussion of experts vs non-experts would be useful. This is not it. Stein picks points that back his views up, which extend well beyond expertise, and into entitlement, connection, and general condescension to the "great unwashed." For example, he interviews cartoonist Scott Adams... why not Nassim Nicholas Taleb - on the fallacy of expertise. Of course, lots and lots of name dropping in this book. Figures - thats how those insecure in their elitist claims attempt to establish their membership.

[Mar 04, 2020] US national politics is gang warfare. The Crips vs. the Bloods. Two criminal enterprises with roughly the same aims and tactics, fighting for turf

Notable quotes:
"... US national politics is gang warfare. The Crips vs. the Bloods. Two criminal enterprises with roughly the same aims and tactics, fighting for turf. With minor differences of style. Trump upsets the leadership of the Bloods in 2016, but it turns out that, outrageous as he is, he is good for business, so all the Bloods but the wimps with a weak stomach fall in behind him. ..."
"... But let's just suppose that the old Crips are not quite as pathetic as they look. Let's imagine that they actually learned something in 2016. It was supposed to be easy for them in 2016, and they were surprised. So they have had four years to hone their election-stealing skills. And most of the traditional election stealing organizations in this country seem largely to hate Trump. ..."
"... So let's posit that the FBI & CIA, or whoever it is manages to prop up Biden, and succeed in stealing the election for him. Who would object to that? ..."
"... Not two gangs but one Deep State political mafia with two families running a protection racket (MIC), prostitution (media propaganda, psyops), drugs (industry incentives), and gambling (overseas adventurism) ..."
Mar 04, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Eric in Kansas , Mar 4 2020 5:00 utc | 122

Okay, here's a little speculative fiction.

The setup: US national politics is gang warfare. The Crips vs. the Bloods. Two criminal enterprises with roughly the same aims and tactics, fighting for turf. With minor differences of style. Trump upsets the leadership of the Bloods in 2016, but it turns out that, outrageous as he is, he is good for business, so all the Bloods but the wimps with a weak stomach fall in behind him.

The Crips are bloated and in decline. A bunch of naïve, starry eyed nobodies mount a campaign to take the Crips legit. The old Crips are irritated that they have to take time out from grifting so as to squash the upstart pests.

That is where I see us today. But let's just suppose that the old Crips are not quite as pathetic as they look. Let's imagine that they actually learned something in 2016. It was supposed to be easy for them in 2016, and they were surprised. So they have had four years to hone their election-stealing skills. And most of the traditional election stealing organizations in this country seem largely to hate Trump.

So let's posit that the FBI & CIA, or whoever it is manages to prop up Biden, and succeed in stealing the election for him. Who would object to that?

Yes, exactly – all the Trump die-hards, and 'tribal' gang bangers would object. It could get really nasty.

And so far, I have not seen any evidence that any of the characters that would be willing to play such a gambit have any inclination to give a shit for the consequences for us little people.

Jackrabbit , Mar 4 2020 5:23 utc | 125

Eric in Kansas @121: gang warfare

Not two gangs but one Deep State political mafia with two families running a protection racket (MIC), prostitution (media propaganda, psyops), drugs (industry incentives), and gambling (overseas adventurism)...

... aka "Tammany on the Potomac."

Wikipedia describes Tammany as :

The Tammany Society emerged as the center for Democratic-Republican Party politics in the city in the early 19th century. After 1854, the Society expanded its political control even further by earning the loyalty of the city's rapidly expanding immigrant community, which functioned as its base of political capital. The business community appreciated its readiness, at moderate cost, to cut through red tape and legislative mazes to facilitate rapid economic growth... Tammany Hall also served as an engine for graft and political corruption, perhaps most infamously under William M. "Boss" Tweed in the mid-19th century....

[Tweed's biographer wrote:]

It's hard not to admire the skill behind Tweed's system ... The Tweed ring at its height was an engineering marvel, strong and solid, strategically deployed to control key power points: the courts, the legislature, the treasury and the ballot box. Its frauds had a grandeur of scale and an elegance of structure: money-laundering, profit sharing and organization.

!!

kiwiklown , Mar 4 2020 8:32 utc | 141
trailertrash @6 --- Americans have been railroaded into endless squabbling about voting and democracy instead of demanding good governance. How does choosing between two similarly corrupt parties deliver good governance?

Voting in the lesser evil is still choosing evil.

What does it profit a nation to have voting every 4 years when excrement covers her sidewalks? and vets suicide themselves daily? and soldiers get raped daily by fellow soldiers?

[Mar 04, 2020] Why Are We Being Charged? Surprise Bills From Coronavirus Testing Spark Calls for Government to Cover All Costs by Jake Johnson

Highly recommended!
Notes of disaster capitalism in action...
Notable quotes:
"... The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is not billing patients for coronavirus testing, according to Business Insider . "But there are other charges you might have to pay, depending on your insurance plan, or lack thereof," Business Insider noted. "A hospital stay in itself could be costly and you would likely have to pay for tests for other viruses or conditions." ..."
"... Congress needs to immediately pass a bill appropriating funding to cover 100% of the cost of all coronavirus testing & care within the United States. We will not have a chance at containing it otherwise. @tedlieu - as my rep, can you please ensure this is brought up? ..."
"... In the case of the Wucinskis, Kliff reported that "the ambulance company that transported [them] charged the family $2,598 for taking them to the hospital." ..."
"... Last week, the Miami Herald reported that Osmel Martinez Azcue "received a notice from his insurance company about a claim for $3,270" after he visited a local hospital fearing that he contracted coronavirus during a work trip to China. ..."
"... Did anyone expect the unconscionable greed of capitalism to cease when a public health crisis emerges? This is just testing for the virus, wait until a vaccine has been developed so expensive that the majority of the US populace can not afford it at all and people are dropping like flies. Wall Street, never-the-less, will continue to have its heydays ..."
"... The very idea that the defense and "Homeland" security budgets are bloated and additional funding approved year after year but the citizens of this country are not afforded 100% health coverage In a time of global health crisis that could become a pandemic. ..."
Mar 03, 2020 | www.commondreams.org

"Huge surprise medical bills [are] going to make sure people with symptoms don't get tested. That is bad for everyone." by Jake Johnson, staff writer Public health advocates, experts, and others are demanding that the federal government cover coronavirus testing and all related costs after several reports detailed how Americans in recent weeks have been saddled with exorbitant bills following medical evaluations.

Sarah Kliff of the New York Times reported Saturday that Pennsylvania native Frank Wucinski "found a pile of medical bills" totaling $3,918 waiting for him and his three-year-old daughter after they were released from government-mandated quarantine at Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, California.

"My question is why are we being charged for these stays, if they were mandatory and we had no choice in the matter?" asked Wucinski, who was evacuated by the U.S. government last month from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

"I assumed it was all being paid for," Wucinski told the Times . "We didn't have a choice. When the bills showed up, it was just a pit in my stomach, like, 'How do I pay for this?'"

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is not billing patients for coronavirus testing, according to Business Insider . "But there are other charges you might have to pay, depending on your insurance plan, or lack thereof," Business Insider noted. "A hospital stay in itself could be costly and you would likely have to pay for tests for other viruses or conditions."

Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University, told the Times that

"the most important rule of public health is to gain the cooperation of the population."

"There are legal, moral, and public health reasons not to charge the patients,"

Gostin said.

Congress needs to immediately pass a bill appropriating funding to cover 100% of the cost of all coronavirus testing & care within the United States. We will not have a chance at containing it otherwise. @tedlieu - as my rep, can you please ensure this is brought up?

-- William LeGate (@williamlegate) March 2, 2020

In the case of the Wucinskis, Kliff reported that "the ambulance company that transported [them] charged the family $2,598 for taking them to the hospital."

"An additional $90 in charges came from radiologists who read the patients' X-ray scans and do not work for the hospital," Kliff noted.

The CDC declined to respond when Kliff asked whether the federal government would cover the costs for patients like the Wucinskis.

The Intercept 's Robert Mackey wrote last Friday that the Wucinskis' situation spotlights "how the American government's response to a public health emergency, like trying to contain a potential coronavirus epidemic, could be handicapped by relying on a system built around private hospitals and for-profit health insurance providers."

We should be doing everything we can to encourage people with #COVIDー19 symptoms to come forward. Huge surprise medical bills is going to make sure people with symptoms don't get tested. That is bad for everyone, regardless of if you are insured. https://t.co/KOUKTSFVzD

-- Saikat Chakrabarti (@saikatc) March 1, 2020

Play this tape to the end and you find people not going to the hospital even if they're really sick. The federal government needs to announce that they'll pay for all of these bills https://t.co/HfyBFBXhja

Last week, the Miami Herald reported that Osmel Martinez Azcue "received a notice from his insurance company about a claim for $3,270" after he visited a local hospital fearing that he contracted coronavirus during a work trip to China.

"He went to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he said he was placed in a closed-off room," according to the Herald . "Nurses in protective white suits sprayed some kind of disinfectant smoke under the door before entering, Azcue said. Then hospital staff members told him he'd need a CT scan to screen for coronavirus, but Azcue said he asked for a flu test first."

Azcue tested positive for the flu and was discharged. "Azcue's experience shows the potential cost of testing for a disease that epidemiologists fear may develop into a public health crisis in the U.S.," the Herald noted.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, highlighted Azcue's case in a tweet last Friday.

"The coronavirus reminds us that we are all in this together," Sanders wrote. "We cannot allow Americans to skip doctor's visits over outrageous bills. Everyone should get the medical care they need without opening their wallet -- as a matter of justice and public health."

Last week, as Common Dreams reported , Sanders argued that the coronavirus outbreak demonstrates the urgent need for Medicare for All.

The coronavirus reminds us that we are all in this together. We cannot allow Americans to skip doctor's visits over outrageous bills.

Everyone should get the medical care they need without opening their wallet -- as a matter of justice and public health. https://t.co/c4WQMDESHU

-- Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) February 28, 2020

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. surged by more than two dozen over the weekend, bringing the total to 89 as the Trump administration continues to publicly downplay the severity of the outbreak.

Dr. Matt McCarthy, a staff physician at NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital, said in an appearance on CNBC 's "Squawk Box" Monday morning that testing for the coronavirus is still not widely available.

"Before I came here this morning, I was in the emergency room seeing patients," McCarthy said. "I still do not have a rapid diagnostic test available to me."

"I'm here to tell you, right now, at one of the busiest hospitals in the country, I don't have it at my finger tips," added McCarthy. "I still have to make my case, plead to test people. This is not good. We know that there are 88 cases in the United States. There are going to be hundreds by middle of week. There's going to be thousands by next week. And this is a testing issue."

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.


Harry_Pjotr 13h

Did anyone expect the unconscionable greed of capitalism to cease when a public health crisis emerges? This is just testing for the virus, wait until a vaccine has been developed so expensive that the majority of the US populace can not afford it at all and people are dropping like flies. Wall Street, never-the-less, will continue to have its heydays

Smerl fern 12h

A wall street bank or private predator may own your emergency room. A surprise bill may await your emergency treatment above insurance payments or in some instances all of the bill.

An effort was made recently in congress to stop surprise billings but enough dems joined repubs to kill it. More important to keep campaign dollars flowing than keep people alive. fern Smerl 12h I know emergency rooms are being purchased by organizations like Tenet (because they are some of the most expensive levels of care) and M.D.s provided by large agencies. I'm not as up on this as I should be but a friend of mine tells me that some of this is illegal. I have received bills that were later discharged by challenge. This is worth investigating further. Atlas oldie 11h Hmmmm A virus that overwhelmingly kills the elderly and/or those with pre-exisitng conditions.

Sounds like a medical insurance companies wet dream. As well as .gov social security/medicare wet dream.

Just sayin'

Ticki 11h

The very idea that the defense and "Homeland" security budgets are bloated and additional funding approved year after year but the citizens of this country are not afforded 100% health coverage In a time of global health crisis that could become a pandemic. And as has been stated, the unconscionable idea suggested that a possible vaccine (a long way away or perhaps not developed at all) might not be affordable to the workers who pay the taxes that fund the government? That's insane.

leftonadoorstep 11h

Another example of "American Exceptionalism." China doesn't charge its coronavirus patients, neither does South Korea. I guess they are simply backward countries.

Barton 11h

I own my own home after years of hard work paying it off. It's the only thing of value, besides my old truck, that I have. If I get the virus, I will stay home and try to treat it the best I can. I can't afford to go to the hospital and pay thousands in medical bills, with the chance that they'll come after my possessions. America, the land of the _______. Fill in the blank. (Hint: it's no longer free).

fern 1 Barton 11h

There are other ways to protect your home. Homesteading or living trust. I'm not good at this but I know there are ways to do it. Hopefully, it would never come to that but outcomes are not certain even with treatment in this case.

Giovanna-Lepore oldie 11h

As someone who lost a mother at 5 years old I can sympathize with your grief in losing a daughter-in-law and especially seeing her four children orphaned. However, I think you miss the point here: This is about we becoming a society invested in each others welfare and not a company town that commodifies everything including the health and well being of us all.

fern 1 Giovanna-Lepore 11h

I'm going by: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/1129/text

As a revision it is better but flawed. It is a cost containment bill based on the same research as the republican plan with global budgets and block grants.

Edited: I encourage you to read this:
-ttps://www.rand.org/blog/2018/10/misconceptions-about-medicare-for-all.html Giovanna-Lepore 10h oldie:

Part D

Higher education is not free but they do need to become free for the students and payed by us as a society.

Part D is a scam, a Republican scam also supported by corporate democrats because of its profit motive and its privatization

Medicare only covers 80% and does not cover eye and dental care and older folks especially need these services. Medicaid helps but there are limits and one cannot necessarily use it where one needs to go. Expanded, Improved Medicare For All is a vast improvement. because it covers everyone in one big pool and, therefore, much more dignified than the rob Paul to pay peter system we have.

Social Security too can be improved. Why should it simply be based on the income of the person which means that a person working in a low paying job in a capitalist system gone wild with greed will often work until they die.

Pell grants can be eliminated when we have what the French have: publicly supported education for everyone.

The demise of unions certainly did not help but it was part of the long strategy of the Right to privatize everything to the enrichment of the few.

Yunzer SuspiraDeProfundis 10h

Thank goodness for the "/s". Poe's Law you know

The overall competence that Canada is handling this outbreak, compared to the USA, is stark. First world (Canada) versus third-world (USA). Testing is practically available for free, to any suspect person, sick or not, as Toronto alone can run 1000 tests a day and have results in 4 hours. That is far more than all the US's capacity for 330 million people.

I wonder how long before Canada closes its borders to USAns? Me and my wife (both in a vulnerable age/medical group) should seriously consider fleeing to my brother's place in Toronto as the first announced cases in Pittsburgh are probably only days away. What about our poor cat though? We could try to smuggle her across the border, but she is a loud and talkative kitty

Greenwich 10h

Don't want to discourage anyone from any protective measures – but the "low down" from my veggie store today was that a lot of health professionals shop there and they think it's being hyped by media. Did get this from my NJ Sen. Menendez –

Center for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC)

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, everyday preventive actions can help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • For more information : htps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html
  • How it spreads : The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. [Read more.]
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html )
  • Symptoms : For confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. Symptoms can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
Seeker 9h Greenwich:

Don't want to discourage anyone from any protective measures – but the "low down" from my veggie store today was that a lot of health professionals shop there and they think it's being hyped by media.

I agree it is being hyped by the media to the point of being fear mongering. At the same time it is being ignored by the administration to such an extent that really little almost nothing is being done. At some point the two together will create an even bigger problem.

It is like the old adage: "Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you." Each over/under reach in considering the reality of the situation has its own problem, which multiply when combined. Every morning when I wake up I say a little atheistic prayer to myself before I get out of bed: "Another day and for better or worse...".

Seeker 8h

Well, two reported here in Florida tonight. One in my county, one in the county next door. And more of the "we already knew, but told you late". One person checked into the hospital on Wednesday. We hear it Monday night. Both were ignored far a long time it seems, and 84 in particular are being watched (roommates, friends, hospital workers not alerted for several days, the usual). But no one knows every place they had been since becoming infected.

Oh, and they have tested a handful of people. No worry?

I can't see anyway that this level of incompetency is an accident. Spring break is just starting usually a 100's of thousand tourist bonanza.

So the question is do they want to kill us, or just keep us in fear?

I think the later. But the end result is a crap shoot. So once again, it is a gamble with our lives.

Archie1954 7h

The business of America is business. Sometimes that can go too far and this is one of those times. Making money from the loss, distress, harm and suffering of others is perverse beyond belief.

[Mar 04, 2020] One of the tensions between globalism and populism, is that the latter often nationalistic and anti-globalization

Mar 04, 2020 | www.unz.com

All the talk today is of the tensions between globalism and populism, the latter often nationalistic. The globalists have generally been too optimistic in their rhetoric, wishfully thinking that the time of nations and states is simply over. In fact, the nation-state remains an irreducible reality in politics everywhere, even as this entity is undeniably in decline.

The "national" is in decline in two distinct ways. Firstly, Western nations are disintegrating everywhere, their respective core ethnies losing ground to rapidly-expanding Hispanic, Asian, African, and Islamic settlements, notably in the large cities and, in the United States, across all the southernmost states from west to east.

Many of the major cities are simply lost. London can no longer be said to be part of the English nation in any meaningful sense. Indeed, London's government under Sadiq Khan has been at pains to emphasize this fact, arguing that, I quote, "London is anyone, London is everyone." In the same way, Paris is no longer really part of the French nation, nor can Los Angeles and New York City be said to be part of the same nation as the American Midwest.

Secondly, Western elites are more and more apatride – nationless – psychologically. The residents of these same "global cities" simply no longer identify with the core of their historic nations and, indeed, are possessed by various degrees of fear and loathing for the rural folk who have the audacity to vote for the (more-or-less insipid) right-wing parties and not be in tune with the metropolitan classes' latest ideological fashions. Thus, these elites feel no need to defend the economic, cultural, and demographic interests of their own citizens – which is at best considered selfish and at worst "racism," the gravest of sins. Today, many left-wing parties show open contempt for the very idea of borders and nationhood, let alone national solidarity.

The phenomenon of an apatride elite is part of the reason why many have come to believe the "statal" part of "nation-state" is also in decline today. But this is quite inaccurate. The state shows no signs of decline and indeed has become all-encompassing and outright obese. If the state does not take action today in the face of the winds of globalization – on immigration, on economics – it is not because it no longer has the means, but simply because the elites have lost the desire to defend their constituents.

There is no point getting worked into an impotent rage regarding these trends. Rather, we should reflect on why the nation-state arose and why it is declining.

I think we need to consider the basic facts of human life, namely our psychology, which is more or less fixed, at least in broad makeup, and our technology, which has enabled spectacular changes in day-to-day human life over the past thousands of years.

Psychologically, the key issue seems to me to be that of identification. Ethnic identification appears to be a hard-wired human impulse, much akin to children's aptitude for adopting languages. This is evident in the fact that even infants instinctively identify different races and accents , and show a preference for the race and accent of their parents. If we look at modern history, we find that again and again societies fail to consolidate into a common ethno-national identity because of the lack of a common language (Austria-Hungary, Canada, Belgium, the Soviet Union . . .) and/or race (United States of America, Brazil, South Africa, Malaysia . . .). Of course, additional cultural and religious factors can further subdivide people into further ethnies but, as a rule, it seems shared language and continental ancestry are the two basic ingredients for forming an ethnicity.

Identification seems to stem in large part from socialization. An infant, assuming he or she is of the same continental race as their parents, will come to identify ethnically with them through constant contact, seeing their features, and hearing their voices. By contrast, transracial adoptees – a black child raised by white parents or vice versa – is likely to develop highly conflicted feelings and not feel wholly part of his adoptive ethnicity. This can even be the case for multiracial children, such as one Barack Obama , who despite being exactly half-white and half-black, felt no affinity for Europe. As he explained in his memoirs: "And by the end of the first week or so [in Europe], I realized that I'd made a mistake. It wasn't that Europe wasn't beautiful; everything was just as I'd imagined it. It just wasn't mine."

The family – especially if the two parents are of the same ethnicity – seems to be a powerful driver of ethnic identity creation. All across Europe, the society may speak one language, the state may prescribe another, but if enough families speak another language at home, then we have an autonomous ethnic group and resulting ethnic tensions. See: Catalonia, Flanders, and indeed most of the Balkans.

Family is obviously one of the chief ways people socialize. But there are others: the street, school, the workplace, church, as well as through mediating technologies, namely books, newspapers, radio, television, and the Internet.

It seems to me that the expression and potency of ethnic and religious identity has fluctuated throughout human history through the emergence of these technologies.

In very ancient times, people seemed to have chiefly identified with their tribe, each one having their own gods, prescribing loyalty only to their own blood.

With the invention of writing, it became possible to create long-lasting and homogeneous imperial and religious bureaucracies that went beyond the individual tribe. Hence, in time the purely particularistic identification of the Greeks and other ancient nations came to be replaced by the "dual citizenship" of the Roman Empire. Cicero is emblematic in expressing both the local patriotism of his hometown and imperial Roman patriotism.

Empires and religions (and languages, for that matter) spread much more easily than did peoples, who tend to be very "viscous" as soon as there is any significant population density. Great emperors like Constantine and Ashoka appear to have seized upon Christianity and Buddhism, in part, as means of giving a common identity to their otherwise very diverse subjects. Throughout the Middle Ages, people had various local identities and a common Christian identity. Publications were chiefly in Latin rather than the local language, also encouraging a Christian identity among intellectuals.

Conditions have dramatically changed since the Middle Ages, notably in Europe, with the steady spread of literacy and of local vernaculars, suddenly promoted to national languages. National identity is evident among the intellectuals as early as the Renaissance (if not earlier in some cases, as in the eleventh-century Song of Roland ). Machiavelli's notorious The Prince concludes with a rousing call to unite Italy and expel the (French and Spanish) barbarians; Luther exhorted the German nobility in German to free themselves from the yoke of a decadent Papacy; and Montaigne in his cheeky Essays is already speaking in stereotyped terms of Frenchmen's Gaulish ancestors.

Thus, from the fifteenth to the twentieth centuries, we observe the steady rise of national identity as more and more people were socialized in linguistically-discrete memetic networks: the printing press, mass literacy, newspapers, national schooling . . . The nation marks the entry of the masses into society and we are not surprised if war, by 1914, reaches a hysterical nationalistic pitch.

The nation had become everything by then. One's family, one's society, one's state, one's newspaper, one's books, one's school, one's territory . . . everything was dominated by the national fact, working in harmony and reinforcing one another, dominating every facet of one's existence. Thus, when a Frenchman crossed the border to Italy or landed in England, he could feel to be entering a really different world with wholly different rules. This is certainly no longer the case today.

The nation was an existential fact within which one lived and died, and potentially flourished and . . . transcended one's individuality. Thus we cannot be surprised if so many great men invested their participation and sacrifice for their nation in existential terms. Hence, Charles de Gaulle felt France was "like a princess in the fairy tales or the madonna of the frescoes, fated for an eminent and exceptional destiny" while the Romanian Petre Țuțea – with the same exhilarating and empowering pathos – explained that "the Balkans are the ass of Europe." Solzhenitsyn, Hitler, etc, etc.

Only religion and business escaped this rule. Yet religion often wrapped itself in the national flag and business had to adapt to local conditions.

Sociologically, the peak of the nation-state really was achieved in the postwar era: 1950s America, 1960s France. This was the moment in which our educational and other bureaucracies became ends in themselves, excuses for wasting time and distributing money. It was the time of television. This era saw the inception of globalism, which was adopted by elites, thus there was a French globalism, an American globalism, etc. There was as of yet no unified globalist class as such.

Today, people spend a greater and greater part of their daily life in front of screens. Notwithstanding the restrictions of copyright and national ecosystems (Iran, China, Russia), in the West Internet use is basically deterritorialized. I could be writing these lines from Paris, Dubai, or Timbuktu. An American in Paris can work in an English-speaking company, inform himself through American media, and basically live in an Anglo expat bubble. An Arabic immigrant can similarly live in his own Arabo-Islamic online sphere, wherever he happens to live, besides frequenting the local Saudi-funding Wahhabite mosque.

These screens enable deterritorialized work – and thus big companies, research institutes, prestigious – are increasingly detaching from their nations.

The proposed Spencerian Ethnostate, a kind of Transatlantic Roman Empire, seems outlandish today. However, once the Germans become as functionally Anglophone as the Dutch and the Nordics – which is perhaps a matter of only 20 years – there will certainly be no linguistic barriers to Occidental unity.

Why should "champagne" – quality bubbly wine – only be produced in the geographical region of Champagne? By what law would it be impossible to make good ramen outside of the territory of Japan?

Thus, we will inevitably see a steady denationalization of our societies, both from below through Third-World immigration, and from above through "Anglo-globalization." The small, rootless international clique has given rise to a rather large and growing Expat Class . The chief problem is our effeminate lifestyle. People spend their entire amidst the omnipresent fakery of the "education" system, office make-work, and screens. It also means a pure and simple biological weakening – witness the decline in testosterone levels – as our comfortable lives make us less and less capable of bearing pain, discomfort, or sustained effort. This makes us unable to recognize painful truths – and lord knows how many truths are painful – let alone affirm them and live by them.

To deny these trends, which are in large part technologically determined, is simply wishful thinking.

[Mar 04, 2020] The Myth of Moderate Nuclear War

Mar 04, 2020 | ronpaulinstitute.org

There are many influential supporters of nuclear war, and some of these contend that the use of "low-yield" and/or short-range weapons is practicable without the possibility of escalation to all-out Armageddon. In a way their argument is comparable to that of the band of starry-eyed optimists who thought, apparently seriously, that there could be such a beast as a "moderate rebel."

In October 2013 the Washington Post reported that "The CIA is expanding a clandestine effort to train opposition fighters in Syria amid concern that moderate, US-backed militias are rapidly losing ground in the country's civil war," and the US Congress gave approval to then President Barack Obama's plan for training and arming moderate Syrian rebels to fight against Islamic State extremists. The belief that there could be any grouping of insurgents that could be described as "moderate rebels" is bizarre and it would be fascinating to know how Washington's planners classify such people. It obviously didn't dawn on them that any person who uses weapons illegally in a rebellion could not be defined as being moderate. And how moderate is moderate? Perhaps a moderate rebel could be equipped with US weapons that kill only extremists? Or are they allowed to kill only five children a month? The entire notion was absurd, and predictably the scheme collapsed, after expenditure of vast amounts of US taxpayers' money.

And even vaster amounts of money are being spent on developing and producing what might be classed as moderate nuclear weapons, in that they don't have the zillion-bang punch of most of its existing 4,000 plus warheads. It is apparently widely believed in Washington that if a nuclear weapon is (comparatively) small, then it's less dangerous than a big nuclear weapon.

In January 2019 the Guardian reported that "the Trump administration has argued the development of a low-yield weapon would make nuclear war less likely, by giving the US a more flexible deterrent. It would counter any enemy (particularly Russian) perception that the US would balk at using its own fearsome arsenal in response to a limited nuclear attack because its missiles were all in the hundreds of kilotons range and 'too big to use', because they would cause untold civilian casualties."

In fact, the nuclear war envisaged in that scenario would be a global catastrophe -- as would all nuclear wars, because there's no way, no means whatever, of limiting escalation. Once a nuclear weapon has exploded and killed people, the nuclear-armed nation to which these people belonged is going to take massive action. There is no alternative, because no government is just going to sit there and try to start talking with an enemy that has taken the ultimate leap in warfare.

It is widely imagined -- by many nuclear planners in the sub-continent, for example -- that use of a tactical, a battlefield-deployed, nuclear weapon will in some fashion persuade the opponent (India or Pakistan) that there is no need to employ higher-capability weapons, or, in other words, longer range missiles delivering massive warheads. These people think that the other side will evaluate the situation calmly and dispassionately and come to the conclusion that at most it should itself reply with a similar weapon. But such a scenario supposes that there is good intelligence about the effects of the weapon that has exploded, most probably within the opponent's sovereign territory. This is verging on the impossible.

War is confusing in the extreme, and tactical planning can be extremely complex. But there is no precedent for nuclear war, and nobody -- nobody -- knows for certain what reactions will be to such a situation in or near any nation. The US 2018 Nuclear Posture Review stated that low-yield weapons "help ensure that potential adversaries perceive no possible advantage in limited nuclear escalation, making nuclear employment less likely." But do the possible opponents of the United States agree with that? How could they do so?

The reaction by any nuclear-armed state to what is confirmed as a nuclear attack will have to be swift. It cannot be guaranteed, for example, that the first attack will not represent a series. It will, by definition, be decisive, because the world will then be a tiny step from doomsday. The US nuclear review is optimistic that "flexibility" will by some means limit a nuclear exchange, or even persuade the nuked-nation that there should be no riposte, which is an intriguing hypothesis.

As pointed out by Lawfare :

...the review calls for modification to 'a small number of existing submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) warheads' to provide a low-yield option.

It also calls for further exploration of low-yield options, arguing that expanding these options will 'help ensure that potential adversaries perceive no possible advantage in limited nuclear escalation, making nuclear employment less likely.' This is intended to address the argument that adversaries might think the United States, out of concern for collateral damage, would hesitate to employ a high-yield nuclear weapon in response to a 'lower level' conflict, in which an adversary used a low-yield nuclear device. The review argues that expanding low-yield options is 'important for the preservation of credible deterrence,' especially when it comes to smaller-scale regional conflicts.

"Credible deterrence" is a favourite catch-phrase of the believers in limited nuclear war, but its credibility is suspect. Former US defence secretary William Perry said last year that he wasn't so much worried about the vast number of warheads in the world as he was by open proposals that these weapons are "usable". It's right back to the Cold War and he emphasises that "The belief that there might be tactical advantage using nuclear weapons – which I haven't heard being openly discussed in the United States or in Russia for a good many years – is happening now in those countries which I think is extremely distressing." But the perturbing thing is that while it is certainly being discussed in Moscow, it's verging on doctrine in Washington.

In late February US Defence Secretary Esper was reported as having taken part in a "classified military drill in which Russia and the United States traded nuclear strikes." The Pentagon stated that "The scenario included a European contingency where you're conducting a war with Russia and Russia decides to use a low-yield, limited nuclear weapon against a site on NATO territory." The US response was to fire back with what was called a "limited response."

First of all, the notion that Russia would take the first step to nuclear war is completely baseless, and there is no evidence that this could ever be contemplated. But ever if it were to be so, it cannot be imagined for an instant that Washington would indulge in moderate nuclear warfare in riposte. These self-justifying wargames are dangerous. And they bring Armageddon ever closer.

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation .

[Mar 03, 2020] The "Russian meddling" fraud: Tulsi Gabbard denounces election interference by US intelligence agencies by Patrick Martin

Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Washington Post, ..."
"... World Socialist Web Site ..."
"... The author also recommends: ..."
Mar 03, 2020 | www.wsws.org

In a remarkable statement that has gone virtually unreported in the American media, Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, publicly denounced US intelligence agencies for interfering in the presidential contest and attempting to sabotage the campaign of Democratic frontrunner Bernie Sanders.

In an opinion column published February 27 by the Hill , Gabbard attacked the article published by the Washington Post on February 21, the eve of the Nevada caucuses, which claimed that Russia was intervening in the US election to support Sanders. She also criticized the decision of billionaire Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, to repeat the anti-Russia slander against Sanders during the February 25 Democratic presidential debate in South Carolina.

Gabbard is a military officer in a National Guard medical unit who has been deployed to Iraq and Kuwait and has continuing and close contact with the Pentagon. She is obviously familiar with the machinations of the US military-intelligence apparatus and knows whereof she speaks. Her harsh and uncompromising language is that much more significant.

She wrote:

Enough is enough. I am calling on all presidential candidates to stop playing these dangerous political games and immediately condemn any interference in our elections by out-of-control intelligence agencies. A "news article" published last week in the Washington Post, which set off yet another manufactured media firestorm, alleges that the goal of Russia is to trick people into criticizing establishment Democrats. This is a laughably obvious ploy to stifle legitimate criticism and cast aspersions on Americans who are rightly skeptical of the powerful forces exerting control over the primary election process.

We are told the aim of Russia is to "sow division," but the aim of corporate media and self-serving politicians pushing this narrative is clearly to sow division of their own -- by generating baseless suspicion against the Sanders campaign. It's extremely disingenuous for "journalists" and rival candidates to publicize a news article that merely asserts, without presenting any evidence, that Russia is "helping" Bernie Sanders -- but provides no information as to what that "help" allegedly consists of.

Gabbard continued:

If the CIA, FBI or any other intelligence agency is going to tell voters that "Russians" are interfering in this election to help certain candidates -- or simply "sow discord" -- then it needs to immediately provide us with the details of what exactly it's alleging.

After pointing out that the Democratic Party establishment and the corporate media have had little interest in measures to actually improve election security, such as requiring paper ballots or some other form of permanent record of how people vote, Gabbard demanded:

The FBI, CIA or any other intelligence agency should immediately stop smearing presidential candidates with innuendo and vague, evidence-free assertions. That is antithetical to the role those agencies play in a free democracy. The American people cannot have faith in our intelligence agencies if they are pushing an agenda to harm candidates they dislike.

As socialists, we do not share Gabbard's belief that the intelligence agencies have a positive role to play or that the American people need to have faith in them. As her military career demonstrates, she is a supporter of American imperialism and of the capitalist state. However, her opposition to the "dirty tricks" campaign against Sanders is entirely legitimate and puts the spotlight on a deeply anti-democratic operation by the military-intelligence apparatus.

Gabbard denounces this "new McCarthyism" and calls on her fellow candidate to rebuff the CIA smears and "defend the freedoms enshrined in our Constitution." Not a single one of the remaining candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination -- including Sanders himself -- has responded to her appeal.

Her statement concludes that the goal of the "mainstream corporate media and the warmongering political establishment" was either to block Sanders from winning the nomination, or, if he does become the nominee, to "force him to engage in inflammatory anti-Russia rhetoric and perpetuate the new Cold War and nuclear arms race, which are existential threats to our country and the world."

Despite Gabbard's appeal for the Democratic candidates not to be "manipulated and forced into a corner by overreaching intelligence agencies," the Democratic Party establishment has been working in lockstep with the intelligence agencies in the anti-Russia campaign against Trump, which began even before election day in 2016, metastasized into the Mueller investigation and then the effort to impeach Trump over his delay in the dispatch of military aid to Ukraine for its war with Russian-backed separatist forces.

Her comments are a complete vindication of what the World Socialist Web Site has written about the anti-Russia campaign and impeachment: these were efforts by the Democratic Party, acting as the representative of the military-intelligence apparatus, to block the emergence of genuine left-wing popular opposition to Trump, and to channel popular hostility to this administration in a right-wing and pro-imperialist direction.

Gabbard herself was the only House Democrat to abstain on impeachment, although she did not voice any principled grounds for her vote, such as opposition to the intelligence agencies. She has based her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination largely on an appeal to antiwar sentiment, particularly opposing US intervention in Syria. She has also said that if elected, she would drop all charges against Julian Assange and pardon Edward Snowden.

These views led to a vicious attack by Hillary Clinton, the defeated Democratic presidential candidate in 2016, who last October called Gabbard "a Russian asset," claiming that she was being groomed by Russia to serve as a third-party candidate in 2020 who would take votes away from the Democratic nominee and help re-elect President Trump. "She's the favorite of the Russians," Clinton claimed.

Since Clinton's attack, the Democratic National Committee has excluded Gabbard from its monthly debates, manipulating the eligibility requirements so that billionaire Michael Bloomberg would qualify even for debates held in states where he was not on the ballot but Gabbard was, such as Nevada and South Carolina.

The author also recommends:

Democratic Party deploys Russian meddling smear against Sanders
[24 February 2020]

US intelligence agencies meddle in Nevada primary to sabotage Sanders
[22 February 2020]

Hillary Clinton slanders Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Green Party candidate Jill Stein as Russian spies

[Mar 03, 2020] The Democratic Party oligarchy are the world champions at every sort of electoral malfeasance

Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

bevin , Mar 3 2020 18:04 utc | 25

The thing to watch today will be the vote stealing by the Democrat oligarchy. They are the world champions at every sort of electoral malfeasance. Remember in 2016 how Bernie almost won New York until Brooklyn, his hometown, was counted and more than 20,000 voters disappeared? Then there was California where millions of votes went uncounted and Hillary was called the winner.


The Democrats are not really a political party in the sense that europeans understand the term, more like an agglomeration of electoral machines, controlled by politicians owned by vested interests, making up the rules as they go along.

With both Biden and Warren desperate for anything that can be portrayed as momentum expect the unexpected: repeats of the sort of nonsense we saw in Iowa and local precincts in which 110% of the electorate give unanimous support to the candidate most likely to take away their social security and wave 'bye-bye' as they die untreated of diseases. Or malnutrition.
A
nd the cherry on top of the electoral sundae in today's primaries will be the near unanimity with which the most glaring irregularities are ignored by the media, and anyone suggesting that 2+2= anything as predictable as 4 will be called a conspiracy theorist, working for Putin and the KGB.

[Mar 03, 2020] Let s Talk About Your Alleged #Resistance by Joe Giambrone

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Clinton also lied to the country about "Weapons of Mass Destruction" in Iraq and voted for that obviously illegal war. This after 8 years of her husband's genocidal sanctions killed a minimum of 500,000 innocent Iraqi children . ..."
"... What Bernie Sanders suffered and endured in 2016 was outrageous. Yet, he persisted and to this day attempts to help common Americans as much as he can. He does what he believes to be the right thing. His integrity and his record of fighting for working Americans are not the points of contention in this race. ..."
"... Today, however, Senator Bernie Sanders is the only Democrat who beats Trump in poll after poll . The only one. This is no small matter. Trump needs to be beaten in the tangled Electoral College, where a simple numerical victory isn't enough. ..."
"... Bernie is the best choice, but it is interesting that you brought up the genocidal sanctions on Iraq. Bernie supported those sanctions. He also supported the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 which reaffirmed US support for the sanctions even after 500,000 children had been killed. ..."
"... Well, the BBC is bigging up Joe Biden right now, yet another of its ridiculous pieces of propaganda utterly devoid of its duty to serve its license payors, who are the British people, not the neoconservative banking elite. ..."
"... How interesting, it's Obama who gave the "cue" for Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Beto, Rice, and the entire slippery gang to circle the wagons in support of the most reactionary warmongering candidate running. The same Obama who released drones every Tuesday morning killing brown and blacks throughout the Middle East and Africa– the majority of slaughtered were innocent women and children. ..."
"... The desperation of the national security state is reflected by The DNC's Shenanigans. The security state would rather promote a crooked, warmongering, lying, racist who barely can put together two logical thoughts then accept a candidate who represents a hopeful future for the next generation. ..."
"... The DNC's message is very clear– they're a "private party" and the working-class are NOT invited. ..."
"... But this by far is the most frightening thought, Biden, does not have all his marbles–it's obvious–we can only guess it's some type of dementia. So if Biden, slides through deploying a multitude of underhanded machinations and becomes the nominee, Trump, will make mincemeat of him during the debates. ..."
"... I'm not in the Orange Baboon's Fan Club, but I find it sad and a little bit pathetic the way people still invest their hopes and put their faith in figures like Bernie, Tulsi or Jezza. Bernie got shafted in 2016 and just saluted smartly and fell into line behind Crooked Hillary. When she lost, he started singing from the approved hymn sheet. The evil Putin stole the election for Kremlin Agent Trump. He has been parroting the same nonsense for the past 4 years. ..."
"... Jeez people get a clue. How many times do you need to fall for the "this candidate is so much better and will solve everything" ruse? Remember Obama? The exact same bullshit was going around back then. ..."
"... We have hope😁 . We have change😁 . We have hope and change you can believe in😁 . Well, yeah, we all know what happened during Obombers 8 years. The entire thing is nothing but Kabuki theatre. For all those still believing the United States is a democracy. ..."
"... 'In the democratic system, the necessary illusions cannot be imposed by force. Rather, they must be instilled in the public mind by more subtle means. A totalitarian state can be satisfied with lesser degrees of allegiance to required truths. It is sufficient that people obey; what they think is a secondary concern. But in a democratic political order, there is always the danger that independent thought might be translated into political action, so it is important to eliminate the threat at its root. ..."
"... Debate cannot be stilled, and indeed, in a properly functioning system of propaganda, it should not be, because it has a system-reinforcing character if constrained within proper bounds. What is essential is to set the bounds firmly. Controversy may rage as long as it adheres to the presuppositions that define the consensus of elites, and it should furthermore be encouraged within these bounds, thus helping to establish these doctrines as the very condition of thinkable thought while reinforcing the belief that freedom reigns ..."
"... Every opportunity to push back Neo liberalism should be taken. ..."
"... Once again, Mark Twain sums up my feeling: "If voting made any difference, they wouldn't let us do it." ..."
"... Where's yours? That's impertinent. Our voting process was programmed, close to 100% by two guys, at one point not many years ago, with the same last name, the brothers Urosevich. The machine owners claim that, as it is their proprietary software, the public is excluded from the vote-counting. ..."
Mar 03, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Editor Joe Giambrone

In 2016, Hillary Clinton deserved to lose, and she did. Her deception, her cheating in the primary elections , was well-documented, despicable, dishonest, untrustworthy. Her money-laundering scheme at DNC should have been prosecuted under campaign finance laws.

Her record of warmongering and gleefully gloating over death and destruction was also well established. On national TV she bragged about the mutilation of Moammar Qaddafi: "We came, we saw, he died!"

Clinton also lied to the country about "Weapons of Mass Destruction" in Iraq and voted for that obviously illegal war. This after 8 years of her husband's genocidal sanctions killed a minimum of 500,000 innocent Iraqi children .

This person was undeserving of anyone's support.

What Bernie Sanders suffered and endured in 2016 was outrageous. Yet, he persisted and to this day attempts to help common Americans as much as he can. He does what he believes to be the right thing. His integrity and his record of fighting for working Americans are not the points of contention in this race.

His opponents have instead opted for every nonsensical conspiracy theory and McCarthyite smear they can concoct, including the most ridiculous of all: the Putin theory , without a single shred of evidence to support it.

Today, however, Senator Bernie Sanders is the only Democrat who beats Trump in poll after poll . The only one. This is no small matter. Trump needs to be beaten in the tangled Electoral College, where a simple numerical victory isn't enough.

Bernie wins, and he has the best overall shot of changing the course of history, steering America away from plutocracy and fascism.

That crucial race is happening right now in the primaries . If Bernie Sanders doesn't secure 50% of all delegates, then DNC insiders have already signaled that they will steal the nomination and give it to someone else -- who will lose to Trump. The real election for the future of America is on Super Tuesday.

It's either Trump or Bernie. That's your choice. Your only choice.

Where is your so-called "#Resistance" now?


Ben Barbour ,

Bernie is the best choice, but it is interesting that you brought up the genocidal sanctions on Iraq. Bernie supported those sanctions. He also supported the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 which reaffirmed US support for the sanctions even after 500,000 children had been killed.

Bernie also voted for Clinton's 1999 bombing campaign on Kosovo.

All that said, yes, Bernie is the best option.

Rhys Jaggar ,

Well, the BBC is bigging up Joe Biden right now, yet another of its ridiculous pieces of propaganda utterly devoid of its duty to serve its license payors, who are the British people, not the neoconservative banking elite.

When they spout bullshit that 20% of UK workers could miss work 'due to coronavirus', when we have had precisely 36 deaths in a population of 65 million plus, you know that like climate change, they spout the 1% probability as the mainstream narrative .

It just shows what folks are up against when media is so cravenly serving those who do not pay them.

Charlotte Russe ,

"If Bernie Sanders doesn't secure 50% of all delegates, then DNC insiders have already signaled that they will steal the nomination and give it to someone else -- who will lose to Trump. The real election for the future of America is on Super Tuesday."

While Bernie spent more than three decades advocating for economic social justice Biden spent those same three decades promoting social repression."

"The 1990s saw Biden take aim at civil liberties, authoring anti-terror bills that, among other things, "gutted the federal writ of habeas corpus," as one legal scholar later reflected. It was this earlier legislation that led Biden to brag to anyone listening that he was effectively the author of the Bush-era PATRIOT ACT, which, in his view, didn't go far enough. He inserted a provision into the bill that allowed for the militarization of local law enforcement and again suggested deploying the military within US borders."

How interesting, it's Obama who gave the "cue" for Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Beto, Rice, and the entire slippery gang to circle the wagons in support of the most reactionary warmongering candidate running. The same Obama who released drones every Tuesday morning killing brown and blacks throughout the Middle East and Africa– the majority of slaughtered were innocent women and children.

The desperation of the national security state is reflected by The DNC's Shenanigans. The security state would rather promote a crooked, warmongering, lying, racist who barely can put together two logical thoughts then accept a candidate who represents a hopeful future for the next generation.

The DNC's message is very clear– they're a "private party" and the working-class are NOT invited. In fact, they're saying more than that–if uninvited workers and the marginalized dare to enter they'll be tossed out on their arse

In plain sight the mainstream media news is telling millions that NO one can stop the military/security/surveillance/corporate state from their stranglehold over the corrupt political duopoly.

I say fight and don't give-up! Be prepared–organize a million people march and head to Milwaukee– the future of the next generation is on the line.

But this by far is the most frightening thought, Biden, does not have all his marbles–it's obvious–we can only guess it's some type of dementia. So if Biden, slides through deploying a multitude of underhanded machinations and becomes the nominee, Trump, will make mincemeat of him during the debates.

But if Biden, makes it to the Oval Office he'll be "less" than a figurehead. Biden, will be as mentally acute as the early bird diner in a Florida assisted living facility after a recent stroke. The national security state will seize control– handing the "taxidermied Biden" a pen to idiotically sign off on their highly insidious agenda ..

Ken Kenn ,

Pretty straightforward for me ( I don't know about Bernie? ) but if the Super delegates and the DNC hierarchy decide to hand the nomination over to Biden then Bernie should stand as an independent. At least even in defeat a left marker would be placed on the US political table away from the Corporate owners and the shills that hack for them in the media and elsewhere. At least ordinary US people would know that someone is on their side.

Corbyn in the UK was described as a ' Marxist' by the Tories and the unquestioning media. Despite all that ' Marxist ' Labour got 33% of the vote. People will vote for a ' socialist '

Charlotte Ruse ,

Unfortunately, Bernie won't abandon the Democratic Party. However, there's a ton of Bernie supporters who will vote Third Party if Bernie doesn't get the nomination.

paul ,

I'm not in the Orange Baboon's Fan Club, but I find it sad and a little bit pathetic the way people still invest their hopes and put their faith in figures like Bernie, Tulsi or Jezza. Bernie got shafted in 2016 and just saluted smartly and fell into line behind Crooked Hillary. When she lost, he started singing from the approved hymn sheet. The evil Putin stole the election for Kremlin Agent Trump. He has been parroting the same nonsense for the past 4 years.

That's when he hasn't been shilling for regime change wars in Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia and elsewhere against "communist dictators."

Bernie will get shafted again shortly and fall into line behind Epstein's and Weinstein's best mate Bloomberg or Creepy Joe, or Pocahontas, or whoever.

If by some miracle they can't quite rig it this time and Bernie gets the nomination, the DNC will just fail to support him, and allow Trump to win. They would rather see Trump than Bernie in the White House.

Just like Starmer, Thornberry, Phillips and all the Blairite Backstabber Friends of Israel were more terrified of seeing Jezza in Number Ten than any Tory.
Dr. Johnson said that getting remarried represented the triumph of hope over experience.

The same applies to people expecting any positive change from people like Bernie, Tulsi, or Jezza.

The system just doesn't allow it.

pete ,

Jeez people get a clue. How many times do you need to fall for the "this candidate is so much better and will solve everything" ruse? Remember Obama? The exact same bullshit was going around back then.

Gezzah Potts ,

We have hope😁 . We have change😁 . We have hope and change you can believe in😁 . Well, yeah, we all know what happened during Obombers 8 years. The entire thing is nothing but Kabuki theatre. For all those still believing the United States is a democracy.

clickkid ,

"The real election for the future of America is on Super Tuesday." Sorry Joe, but where have you been for the last 50 years" Elections are irrelevant. Events change the world – not elections. The only important aspect of an election is the turnout. If you vote in an election, then at some level you still believe in the system.

Willem ,

Sometimes Chomsky can be useful

'In the democratic system, the necessary illusions cannot be imposed by force. Rather, they must be instilled in the public mind by more subtle means. A totalitarian state can be satisfied with lesser degrees of allegiance to required truths. It is sufficient that people obey; what they think is a secondary concern. But in a democratic political order, there is always the danger that independent thought might be translated into political action, so it is important to eliminate the threat at its root.

Debate cannot be stilled, and indeed, in a properly functioning system of propaganda, it should not be, because it has a system-reinforcing character if constrained within proper bounds. What is essential is to set the bounds firmly. Controversy may rage as long as it adheres to the presuppositions that define the consensus of elites, and it should furthermore be encouraged within these bounds, thus helping to establish these doctrines as the very condition of thinkable thought while reinforcing the belief that freedom reigns.'

If true, the question is, what are we not allowed to say? Or is Chomsky wrong, and are we allowed to say anything we like since TPTB know that words cannot, ever, change political action as for that you need power and brutal force, which we do not have and which, btw Chomsky advocates to its readers not to try to use against the nation state?

So maybe Chomsky is not so useful after all, or only useful for the status quo.

Chomsky's latest book, sold in book stores and at airports, where, apparantly, opinions of dissident writers whose opinions go beyond the bounds of the consensus of elites, are sold in large amounts to marginalize those opinions out of society, is called 'Optimism over despair', a title stolen from Gramsci who said: 'pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.'

But every time I follow Chomsky's reasoning, I end in dead end roads of which it is quite hard to find your way out. So perhaps I should change that title into 'nihilism over despair'. If you follow Chomsky's reasoning

clickkid ,

Your Chomsky Quote: "'In the democratic system, the necessary illusions cannot be imposed by force. .. " Tell that to the Yellow Vests.

ajbsm ,

Despite the deep state stranglehold .on the whole world there seems to be a 'wind' blowing (ref Lenin) of more and more people turning backs on the secret service candidates – not just in America. Power, money and bullying will carry on succeeding eventually the edifice is blown away – this will probably happen, it will be ugly and what emerges might not even be better(!) But the current controllers seem to have a sell by date.

Ken Kenn ,

I'm not convinced of the theory that the more poor/whipped/ spat upon people become the more likely they are to revolt. A revolution can only come about when the Bourgeoisie can no longer continue to govern in the old way. In other words it becomes more than a want – more of a necessity of change to the ordinary person.

We have to remember that in general ( it's a bit of a guess but just to illustrate a point ) that a small majority of people in any western nation are reasonably content – to an extent. They are not going to rock the boat that Kennedy tried to make the tide rise for or that Thatcher and her mates copied with home owner ship and the right to get into serious debt. This depends on whether you had/have a boat in the first place. If not you've always been drowning in the slowly rising tide.

Sanders as I've said before is not Castro. He has many faults but in a highly parameterised p Neo liberal economic loving political and media world he is the best hope. Not great stuff on offer but a significant move away from the 1% and the 3% who work for them ( including Presidents and Prime Misister ) so even that slight shift is plus for the most powerful country on planet earth.

I have in the past worked alongside various religious groups as an atheist as long as they were on the right( or should that be left?) side on an issue.

Now is not the time for the American left to play the Prolier than though card.

Every opportunity to push back Neo liberalism should be taken.

wardropper ,

I'm not convinced of the theory that the more poor/whipped/ spat upon people become the more likely they are to revolt. But didn't the Storming of the Bastille happen for that very reason? I think people are waiting for just one spark to ignite their simmering fury – just one more straw to break the patient camel's back. Understandably, the "elite" (which used to mean exalted above the general level) are in some trepidation about this, but, like all bullies their addiction to the rush of power goes all the way to the bitter end – the bitter end being the point at which their target stands up and gives them a black eye. It's almost comical how the bully then becomes the wailing victim himself, and we have all seen often enough the successfully-resisted dictatorial figure of authority resorting to the claim that he is now being bullied himself. But this is a situation of his own making, and our sympathy for him is limited by our memory of that fact.

Ken Kenn ,

Where's the simmering fury in the West. U.S. turnout is pathetically low. Even in the UK the turnout in the most important election since the First World War was 67%. I see the result of the " simmering fury " giving rise to the right not the left. Just that one phrase or paragraph of provocative words will spark the revolution?

... ... ...

wardropper ,

My point, which I thought I made clearly enough, was that the fury is simmering , and waiting for a catalyst. I also think an important reason for turnout being low is simply that people don't respond well to being treated like idiots by an utterly corrupt establishment. They just don't want to participate in the farce.

Once again, Mark Twain sums up my feeling: "If voting made any difference, they wouldn't let us do it."

I'm not trying to be argumentative, and, like you, I am quite happy to back Sanders as by far the best of a pretty rotten bunch. Perhaps China is indeed leading in many respects right now, but becoming Chinese doesn't seem like a real option for most of us at the moment . . . Incidentally I have been to China and I found the people there as interesting as people anywhere else, although I particularly enjoyed the many things which are completely different from our western cultural roots.

Rhisiart Gwilym ,

Speaking of the Clintons' death toll, didn't Sanders too back all USAmerica's mass-murdering, armed-robbery aggressions against helpless small countries in recent times? And anyway, why are we wasting time discussing the minutiae of the shadow-boxing in this ridiculous circus of a pretend-democratic 'election'? Watching a coffin warp would be a more useful occupation.

I go with Dmitry Orlov's reckoning of the matter: It doesn't matter who becomes president of the US, since the rule of the deep state continues unbroken, enacting its own policies, which ignore the wishes of the common citizens, and only follow the requirements of the mostly hyper-rich gics (gangsters-in-charge) in the controlling positions of this spavined, failing empire. (My paraphrase of Dmitry.)

USPresidents do what their deep-state handlers want; or they get impeached, or assassinated like the Kennedy brothers. And they all know this. Bill Hick's famous joke about men in a smoke-filled room showing the newly-'elected' POTUS that piece of film of Kennedy driving by the grassy knoll in Dealy Plaza, Dallas, is almost literally true. All POTUSes understand that perfectly well before they even take office.

Voting for the policies you prefer, in a genuinely democratic republic, and actually getting them realised, will only happen for USAmericans when they've risen up and taken genuine popular control of their state-machine; at last!

Meanwhile, of what interest is this ridiculous charade to us in Britain (on another continent entirely; we never see this degree of attention given to Russian politics, though it has a much greater bearing on our future)? Our business here is to get Britain out of it's current shameful status, as one of the most grovelling of all the Anglozionist empire's provinces. We have a traitorous-comprador class of our own to turn out of power. Waste no time on the continuous three-ring distraction-circus in the US – where we in Britain don't even have a vote.

wardropper ,

The upvotes here would seem to show what thinking people appreciate most. Seeing through the advertising bezazz, the cheerleaders and the ownership of the media is obviously a top priority, and I suspect a large percentage of people who don't even know about the OffG would agree.

John Ervin ,

Where's yours? That's impertinent. Our voting process was programmed, close to 100% by two guys, at one point not many years ago, with the same last name, the brothers Urosevich. The machine owners claim that, as it is their proprietary software, the public is excluded from the vote-counting. And that much still holds true. Game. Set. Match. Any questions?

Antonym ,

What Bernie Sanders suffered and endured in 2016 was outrageous.

US deep state ate him for breakfast in 2016: they would love him to become string puppet POTUS in 2020. Trump is more difficult to control so they hate him.

John Ervin ,

Just one more Conspiracy Realist, eh! When will we ever learn? "The deep state ate him for breakfast in 2016 ." That gives some sense of the ease with which they pull strings, nicely put. One variation on the theme of your metaphor: "They savored him as one might consume a cocktail olive at an exclusive or entitled soirée."

It is painfully clear by any real connection of dots that he is simply one of their stalking horses for other game. And that Homeland game (still) doesn't know whether a horse has four, or six, legs.

*****

"Puppet Masters, or master puppets?"

Antonym ,

It is painfully clear that US Deep state hates Trump simply by looking at the Russiagate they cooked him up.

Fair dinkum ,

The US voters have surrounded themselves with a sewer, now they have to swim in it.

[Mar 03, 2020] It is shocking to see such a disgusting piece of human garbage like Joe Biden get so many working class voters to vote for him. Biden has never missed a chance to stab the working class in the back in service to his wealthy patrons.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It's astonishing that so many people will just blindly accept what they are told, that Biden is. "moderate." Biden is so far to the right, he makes Nixon look like Trotsky. ..."
Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

TG , Mar 3 2020 22:02 utc | 56

Yet another circus. The proles get to scream and holler, and when all is done, the oligarchy gets the policies it wants, the public be damned. Our sham 'democracy' is a con to privatize power and socialize responsibility.

Although it is shocking to see such a disgusting piece of human garbage like Joe Biden get substantial numbers of people to vote for him. Biden has never missed a chance to stab the working class in the back in service to his wealthy patrons.

The issue is not (for me) his creepiness (I wouldn't much mind if he was on my side), nor even his Alzheimer's, but his established track record of betrayal and corruption.

From wiping out the ability of regular folks to declare bankruptcy (something supported by our founding fathers who were NOT socialists), to shipping our industrial base to communist China (which in less enlightened days would have been termed treason), to spending tens of trillions of dollars bailing out and subsiding the big banks (that's not a misprint), to supporting "surprise medical billing," to opening the borders to massive third-world immigration so that wages can be driven down and reset and profits up (As 2015 Bernie Sanders pointed out), Backstabbing Joe Biden is neoliberal scum pure and simple.

It's astonishing that so many people will just blindly accept what they are told, that Biden is. "moderate." Biden is so far to the right, he makes Nixon look like Trotsky. Heck, he makes Calvin Coolidge look like Trotsky.

Mao , Mar 3 2020 22:01 utc | 55

Ian56:

Joe Biden is a crook and a con man.

He has been lying his whole life.

Claimed in his 1988 Campaign to have got 3 degrees at college and finished in top half of his class.

Actually only got 1 degree & finished 76th out of 85 in his class.

[VIDEO]

https://twitter.com/Ian56789/status/1234914227963518977

[Mar 03, 2020] Americans "must remain aware that foreign actors continue to try to influence public sentiment and shape voter perceptions

Is not this a direct attempt of intelligence agencies to influence election by delegitimizing Sanders and Tulsi ?
Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Mao , Mar 3 2020 22:20 utc | 57
NBC News:

JUST IN: State Dept., DOJ, FBI and others issue joint statement ahead of #SuperTuesday:

Americans "must remain aware that foreign actors continue to try to influence public sentiment and shape voter perceptions."

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/ESImtGRWoAYJyus.jpg

[Mar 03, 2020] Russia hysteria re-purposed by the neoliberal establishment to attack the left of the center politicians like Sanders

Mar 03, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Originally from: Dems Converge Around Dementia-Addled Warmonger Ahead Of Super Tuesday Zero Hedge

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

Back in January, well before the Democratic primary race had taken on its current composition, independent journalist Ruth Ann Oskolkoff reported that a source had heard from high-level Democratic Party insiders that they were planning to install Joe Biden as the party's nominee, and to smear Bernie Sanders as a Russian asset.

"On January 20, 2020 at 8:20 p.m. PDT I received a communication from a reliable source," Oskolkoff wrote.

"This person had interactions earlier that evening with high level party members and associates of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) who said that they have now selected Biden as the Democratic Party nominee, with Warren as the VP. They also said the plan is to smear Bernie as a Russian asset."

Now, immediately before Super Tuesday, we are seeing establishment candidates Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar drop out of the race, both of whom, along with former candidate Beto O'Rourke , are now suddenly endorsing Biden. Elizabeth Warren, the only top-level candidate besides Sanders who could be labeled vaguely "left" by any stretch of the imagination, has meanwhile outraged progressives by remaining in the race, to the Vermont senator's detriment.

The day before Super Tuesday also saw The Daily Beast , whose corporate owner IAC has Chelsea Clinton on its board of directors , publishing an article titled " Kremlin Media Still Like Bernie, 'Cause They Love Trump " which aggressively smears Sanders as a tool of the Kremlin.

Prior to the South Carolina primary, Russian state media were touting Bernie Sanders as the most likely Democratic nominee, and it won't be surprising if they do the same after Super Tuesday https://t.co/mH98PVmcjr

-- The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) March 2, 2020

This latter development is becoming a conspicuously common line of attack against Sanders and, while we're on the subject, also tracks with a prediction made by journalist Max Blumenthal back in July of 2017. Blumenthal told Fox's Tucker Carlson that "this Russia hysteria will be re-purposed by the political establishment to attack the left and anyone on the left -- a Bernie Sanders-like politician who steps out of line on the issues of permanent war or corporate free trade, things like that -- will be painted as Russia puppets. So this is very dangerous, and people who are progressive who are falling into it need to know what the long-term consequences of this cynical narrative are."

So we're seeing things unfold exactly as some have predicted. We're seeing the clear frontrunner smeared as a tool of Vladimir Putin, accompanied by a deluge of op-eds and think pieces from all the usual warmongering mass media narrative managers calling on so-called "moderates" to rally around the former Vice President on Super Tuesday.

Sanders has not been pulling in anywhere near the numbers he'd need to pull to prevent a contested convention. This means that even if he gets more votes than any of his primary opponents, party leaders can still overrule those votes and appoint Biden as their nominee to run against Trump. Establishment spinmeisters as well as all Sanders' primary opponents have been working to normalize this ahead of time.

"Whatever the case for either Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren...neither is going to be the nominee. And...it's not going to be Mike Bloomberg either. So it's Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden." Tomorrow, if you live in one of 14 states, you can choose Biden. https://t.co/btuPbGtWxG

-- Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) March 2, 2020

And the prediction markets have seen a massive surge for Biden and plunge for Bernie...

With Biden now surging into the lead

The only problem? Biden's brain is turning into sauerkraut.

There are two new clips of video footage making the rounds today, one featuring Biden at a rally telling his supporters that tomorrow is "Super Thursday" , and another featuring the former VP saying (and this is a direct quote ), "We hold these truths to be self-evident. All men and women created -- by the -- you know, you know the thing."

I've written about Biden's recent struggles to form coherent sentences before, and it seems to be getting worse. There's simply no comparing the befuddled, fuzz-brained man we see before us today with the sharp, lucid speaker we were seeing even a few years ago . The man's brain does not work.

And yeah, it's unpleasant to have to keep pointing this out. I'm not loving it myself. I resent Biden's handlers and the Democratic Party establishment for making it necessary to continually point out an old man's obvious symptoms of cognitive decline. But it does need to be pointed to, and it's creepy and weird that they're continuing to prop up this crumbling husk of a man while pretending that everything's fine.

Imagine putting all your eggs in the Joe Biden basket. https://t.co/nRPX4gqol5

-- Krystal Ball (@krystalball) March 3, 2020

Not that Biden would be an acceptable leader of the most powerful government on earth even with a working brain; he's a horrible war hawk with an inexcusable track record of advancing right-wing policies. But even rank-and-file Americans who don't pay attention to that stuff would plainly see a man on the debate stage opposite Trump who shouldn't be permitted near heavy machinery, much less the nuclear codes. And Trump will happily point that out.

It's been obvious since 2016 that the Dems were going to once again sabotage the only candidate with a chance of beating Trump in favor of a scandalously inappropriate candidate, but wheeling out an actual, literal dementia patient for the role is something not even I would have imagined.

2020 is weird, folks. And it's going to get a whole lot weirder . Buckle up.

[Mar 03, 2020] "Predatory capitalism", which clearly describes what neoliberalism is.

Highly recommended!
Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

chu teh , Mar 4 2020 0:50 utc | 80

Tonymike | Mar 3 2020 18:08 utc | 26

re ... Your house foreclosed upon by shady bank: naked capitalism, .0001% paid on interest savings: naked capitalism, poor wages: naked capitalism, dangerous workplace: naked capitalism, etc. ...

"naked capitalism" is not a clear description. Consider using "predatory capitalism", which clearly describes what it is.

Here's the Wiki dictionary definition:

Predatory--

1. relating to or denoting an animal or animals preying naturally on others.
synonyms: predacious, carnivorous, hunting, raptorial, ravening;
Example: "predatory birds".

2. seeking to exploit or oppress others.
synonyms: exploitative, wolfish, rapacious, greedy, acquisitive, avaricious
Example: "I could see a predatory gleam in his eyes"

Note where the word comes from:
The Latin "praedator", in English meaning "plunderer".

And "plunderer" helps the reader understand and perhaps recognize what is happening.

Every plunderer understands.

[Mar 03, 2020] Hillary Clinton regarding the primaries: "Let's follow the rules"

Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

librul , Mar 3 2020 15:06 utc | 2

Quote of the Day
or
Quote of the Millennia?

Hillary Clinton regarding the primaries:

"Let's follow the rules"

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/485646-hillary-clinton-responds-to-sanders-on-delegates-lets-follow-the-rules


Trailer Trash , Mar 3 2020 15:49 utc | 6

Is there any other nation state that has 50 separate official elections, mostly run and paid for by the public, just so a private club masquerading as a political party can select its leader? To the rest of the world, this must look completely insane, but few people anywhere even seem to notice how ridiculous it all looks.
Nathan Mulcahy , Mar 3 2020 22:54 utc | 62
Stop calling it USA. It is USO (United States of Oligarchs).

[Mar 03, 2020] All politicians should serve two terms. One in office and one in prison

Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Posted by: Shadow | Mar 3 2020 19:39 utc | 41

[Mar 03, 2020] Neoliberals curse

Mar 03, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

It took a rabid nationalist like Donald Trump to end the war in Afghanistan , whereas faithful neoliberal Barack Obama kept the war around because it provided "markets" for weapons corporations.

[Mar 03, 2020] Whacking Rich is a reminder to Sanders what the party establishmen is capable of

Highly recommended!
Mar 03, 2020 | www.unz.com

An alternative view that has been circulating for several years suggests that it was not a hack at all, that it was a deliberate whistleblower-style leak of information carried out by an as yet unknown party, possibly Rich, that may have been provided to WikiLeaks for possible political reasons, i.e. to express disgust with the DNC manipulation of the nominating process to damage Bernie Sanders and favor Hillary Clinton.

There are, of course, still other equally non-mainstream explanations for how the bundle of information got from point A to point B, including that the intrusion into the DNC server was carried out by the CIA which then made it look like it had been the Russians as perpetrators. And then there is the hybrid point of view, which is essentially that the Russians or a surrogate did indeed intrude into the DNC computers but it was all part of normal intelligence agency probing and did not lead to anything. Meanwhile and independently, someone else who had access to the server was downloading the information, which in some fashion made its way from there to WikiLeaks.

Both the hack vs. leak viewpoints have marshaled considerable technical analysis in the media to bolster their arguments, but the analysis suffers from the decidedly strange fact that the FBI never even examined the DNC servers that may have been involved. The hack school of thought has stressed that Russia had both the ability and motive to interfere in the election by exposing the stolen material while the leakers have recently asserted that the sheer volume of material downloaded indicates that something like a higher speed thumb drive was used, meaning that it had to be done by someone with actual physical direct access to the DNC system. Someone like Seth Rich.

... ... ...

Given all of that back story, it would be odd to find Trump making an offer that focuses only on one issue and does not actually refute the broader claims of Russian interference, which are based on a number of pieces of admittedly often dubious evidence, not just the Clinton and Podesta emails.

Which brings the tale back to Seth Rich. If Rich was indeed responsible for the theft of the information and was possibly killed for his treachery, it most materially impacts on the Democratic Party as it reminds everyone of what the Clintons and their allies are capable of.

It will also serve as a warning of what might be coming at the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee in July as the party establishment uses fair means or foul to stop Bernie Sanders. How this will all play out is anyone's guess, but many of those who pause to observe the process will be thinking of Seth Rich.


plantman , says: Show Comment February 29, 2020 at 9:35 pm GMT

Excellent roundup.

I don't ascribe to the idea that the intel agencies kill American citizens without a great deal of thought, but in Rich's case, they probably felt like they had no choice. Think about it: The DNC had already rigged the primary against Bernie, the Podesta emails had already been sent to Wikileaks, and if Rich's cover was blown, then he would publicly identify himself as the culprit (which would undermine the Russiagate narrative) which would split the Democratic party in two leaving Hillary with no chance to win the election.

I can imagine Hillary and her intel connections looking for an alternative to whacking Rich but eventually realizing that there was no other way to deflect responsibility for the emails while paving the way for an election victory.

If Seth Rich went public, then Hillary would certainly lose.

I imagine this is what they were thinking when they decided there was really only one option.

james charles , says: Show Comment February 29, 2020 at 11:14 pm GMT
"I have watched incredulous as the CIA's blatant lie has grown and grown as a media story – blatant because the CIA has made no attempt whatsoever to substantiate it. There is no Russian involvement in the leaks of emails showing Clinton's corruption."
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/12/cias-absence-conviction/

"The FBI Has Been Lying About Seth Rich"
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/

niteranger , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 12:08 am GMT
@plantman It's more than Hillary losing. It would have been easy to connect the dots of the entire plot to get Trump. Furthermore, it would have linked Obama and his cohorts in ways that the country might have exploded. This was the beginning of a Coup De'tat that would have shown the American political process is a complete joke.

... ... ...

Carlton Meyer , says: Website Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 1:04 am GMT
To understand why the DNC mobsters and the Deep State hate him, watch this great 2016 interview where Assange calmly explains the massive corruption that patriotic FBI agents refer to as the "Clinton Crime Family." This gang is so powerful that it ordered federal agents to spy on the Trump political campaign, and indicted and imprisoned some participants in an attempt to pressure President Trump to step down. It seems Trump still fears this gang, otherwise he would order his attorney general to drop this bogus charge against Assange, then pardon him forever and invite him to speak at White House press conferences.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/_sbT3_9dJY4?feature=oembed

Ron Unz , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 3:18 am GMT
Well, here was my own take on the controversy a couple of years ago, and I really haven't seen anything to change my mind:

Well, DC is still a pretty dangerous city, but how many middle-class whites were randomly murdered there that year while innocently walking the streets? I wouldn't be surprised if Seth Rich was just about the only one.

Julian Assange has strongly implied that Seth Rich was the source of the DNC emails that cost Hillary Clinton the presidency. So if Seth Rich died in a totally random street killing not long afterward, isn't that just the most astonishing coincidence in all of American history?

Consider that the leaks effectively nullified the investment of the $2 billion or so that her donors had provided, and foreclosed the flood of good jobs and appointments to her camp-followers, not to mention the oceans of future graft. Seems to me that's a pretty good motive for murder.

Here's my own plausible speculation from a couple of months ago:

Incidentally, I'd guess that DC is a very easy place to arrange a killing, given that until the heavy gentrification of the last dozen years or so, it was one of America's street-murder capitals. It seems perfectly plausible that some junior DNC staffer was at dinner somewhere, endlessly cursing Seth Rich for having betrayed his party and endangered Hillary's election, when one of his friends said he knew somebody who'd be willing to "take care of the problem" for a thousand bucks

https://www.unz.com/announcement/new-software-releaseopen-thread/#comment-1959442

https://www.unz.com/isteve/was-seth-rich-murdered-by-the-russians-the-democratic-elite-or-the-democratic-base/#comment-2069185

Let's say a couple of hundred thousand middle-class whites lived in DC around then, and Seth Rich was about the only one that year who died in a random street-killing, occurring not long after the leak.

Wouldn't that seem like a pretty unlikely coincidence?

Mustapha Mond , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 3:45 am GMT
"If Rich was indeed responsible for the theft of the information and was possibly killed for his treachery ."

Heroism is the proper term for what Seth Rich did. He saw the real treachery, against Bernie Sanders and the democratic faithful who expect at least a modicum of integrity from their Party leaders (even if that expectation is utterly fanciful, wishful thinking), and he decided to act. He paid for it with his life. A young, noble life.

In every picture I've seen of him, he looks like a nice guy, a guy who cared. And now he's dead. And the assholes at the DNC simply gave him a small plaque over a bike rack, as I understand it.

Seth Rich: American Hero. A Truth-Teller who paid the ultimate price.

Great reporting, Phil. Another home run.

(And thanks to Ron for chiming in. Couldn't agree more. As a Truth-Teller extraordinaire, please watch your back, Bro. And Phil, too. You both know what these murderous scum are capable of.)

Biff , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 3:46 am GMT
When the FBI doesn't fully investigate a crime(DNC-emails/9-11/JFK-murder) the only conclusion is " coverup ".
John Chuckman , says: Website Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 7:31 am GMT
I suppose American security services could have been involved.

That would explain the poor police investigation and lack of information and questions answered.

But Hillary and her dirty associates were quite capable of hiring a hit.

That would also explain the lack of information, since DC, unlike any other city, is literally controlled by the Federal government.

This is a very vicious woman despite her clownishly made-up face.

Her words after Gaddafi's murder were chilling.

She is said to have been responsible too for pressuring for the final push to get Waco out of the headlines. 80 folks incinerated.

She also joked about Assange, "can't we just drone him or something?"

And there was the dirty business at Benghazi.

She is indeed a woman capable of anything. A contemporary Borgia.

Daniel Rich , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 9:33 am GMT
Because the {real} killers of JFK, MLK and RFK were never detained and jailed/hanged, why would one expect a lesser known, more ordinary individual's murder [Seth] to be solved?
hobo , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 10:27 am GMT
Seymour Hersh, in a taped phone conversation, claimed to have access to an FBI report on the murder. According to Hersh, the report indicated tha FBI Cyber Unit examined Rich's computer and found he had contacted Wikileaks with the intention of selling the emails.

Seymour Hersh discussing Wikileaks DNC leaks Seth Rich & FBI report ( 7 min)

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

Antiwar7 , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 10:33 am GMT
Another reason Assange may not want to reveal it, if Seth Rich was a source for Wikileaks, could be that Seth Rich didn't act alone, and revealing Seth's involvement would compromise the other(s).

Or it could simply be that Wikileaks has promised to never reveal a source, even after that source's death, as a promise to future potential sources, who may never want their identities revealed, to avoid the thought of embarrassment or repercussions to their associates or families.

Incidentally, they only started really going after Assange after the Vault 7 leaks of the CIA's active bag of software tricks. I think, for Assange's sake, they should instead have held on to that, and made it the payload of a dead man's switch.

Chet Roman , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 11:05 am GMT
I'm not sure how credible the source is but Ellen Ratner, the sister of Assange's former lawyer and a journalist, told Ed Butowsky that Assange told her that it was Seth Rich. She asked Butowsky to contact Rich's parents. She confirms the Assange meeting in an interview, link below. Butowsky does not seem to be a credible source but Ratner does. If it was Seth Rich then I have no doubt that his brother knows the details and the family does not want to lose another son.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/_YyuWpjTbg0?feature=oembed

The story has gone nowhere.

Chet Roman , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 11:42 am GMT
"According to Assange's lawyers, Rohrabacher offered a pardon from President Trump if Assange were to provide information that would attribute the theft or hack of the Democratic National Committee emails to someone other than the Russians."

Not to quibble on semantics but Rohrabacher met with Assange to ask if he would be willing to reveal the source of the emails then Rohrabacher would contact Trump and try to make deal for Assange's freedom. Rohrabacher clarified that he never talked to Trump or that he was authorized by Trump to make any offer.

The MSM has been using the "amnesty if you say it was not the Russians" narrative to hint at a coverup by Russian agent Trump. Normal for the biased MSM.

Giraldi's link "Assange did not take the offer" has nothing to do with Rohrabacher's contact. It's just a general piece on Assange acting as a journalist should act.

https://www.rohrabacher.com/news/my-meeting-with-julian-assange

Alfred , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 12:01 pm GMT
@plantman I can imagine Hillary and her intel connections looking for an alternative to whacking Rich

Have you never had to deal with a psychopath? That is not the way they reason.

She would have done it in the "national interest"

DaveE , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 2:21 pm GMT
I'm of the opinion Ron Unz seems to share, that Rich was not a particularly "big hitter" in the DNC hierarchy and that his murder was more likely the result of a very nasty inter-party squabble. I seem to recall a LOT of very nasty talk between the Jewish neocons in the Bush era and the decent, traditional "small-government" style Republicans who greatly resented the neocons' hijacking of the GOP for their demonic zionist agenda.

Common sense would suggest that the zionist types who have (obviously) hijacked the DNC are at least as nasty and ruthless as the neocons who destroyed any decency or fair-play within the GOP. It's not exactly hard to believe that these Murder, Inc. types (also lefties of their era) wouldn't hesitate to whack someone like Rich for merely uttering a criticism of Israel, for example.

Hell, Meyer Lansky ordered the hit-job on Bugsy Seigel for forgetting to bring bagels to a sit-down ! There was a great web-site by a mobster of that era, long since taken down, who described the story in detail. I forget the names .. but I'll see if I can't find a copy of some of the pieces posted at least a decade ago .

It's not exactly hard to imagine some very nasty words being exchanged between the Rahm Emmanuel types and decent Chicago citizens, for example, who genuinely cared for their city and weren't afraid of The Big Jew and his mobster cronies . to their detriment I'm sure.

We're talking about organized crime, here, folks. The zionists make the so-called (mostly fictitious) Sicilian Mafia look like newborn puppies. They wouldn't hesitate to whack a guy like Rich for taking their favorite space in the bicycle rack.

Rev. Spooner , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 3:27 pm GMT
@John Chuckman A long time ago I read in the London Guardian ( before it's reputation was in tatters) that the witch kept a list of all who pissed her off and updated it every night.
A quick search and here it is https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jan/14/hillary-clinton-hitlist-spreadsheet-grudge
Altai , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 3:33 pm GMT
My only trouble with the Seth Rich thing is, it seems a bit extreme, they seem quite callous in murdering foreigners but US citizens in the US who are their staffers? If they really were prepared to go out and kill in this way, they're be a lot more suspicious deaths.

What makes the case most compelling is the very quick investigation by police that looks like they were told by somebody concerned about how the whole thing looked to close up the case nice and quickly. That and the fact that he was shot in the back, which doesn't make sense for an attempted robbery turned murder.

However, it may also be that as in so many cities in the US, murder clearance rates for street shootings (Little forensic evidence, can only go by witness accounts or through poor alibis from usual suspects and their associates. In this case there is also no connection between Rich and any possible shooter with no witnesses.) are just so very low that DC police don't bother and Seth Rich's death just happened to be one such case that attracted some scrutiny.

But then maybe for the reasons above a place like DC is perfect to just murder somebody on the street and that's why they were so brazen about it.

Ron Unz , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 3:47 pm GMT
@Altai

Seth Rich's death just happened to be one such case that attracted some scrutiny.

Well, upthread someone posted a recording of a Seymour Hersh phone call that confirmed Seth Rich was the fellow who leaked the DNC emails to Wikileaks, thereby possibly swinging the presidential election to Trump and overcoming $2 billion of Democratic campaign advertising.

Shortly afterwards, he probably became about the only middle-class white in DC who died in a "random street killing" that year. If you doubt this, see if you can find any other such cases that year.

I think it is *extraordinarily* unlikely that these two elements are unconnected and merely happened together by chance.

[Mar 03, 2020] The USA policy is to destroy Iran for the crime of existence.

Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Trailer Trash , Mar 2 2020 17:53 utc | 97

>Bernie Sanders will also restore the JCPOA

This is like a new gangster who takes control of a neighborhood and reduces the required weekly protection payment. Hurray For Less Extortion!

Hey Bernie, how about throw away the JCPOA, restore normal diplomatic and commercial relations, and apologize for 40 years of economic warfare?

But that will never happen, because the Dummycrat policy is to destroy Iran for the crime of existence. How is it the Bernie people don't notice that Bernie always caucuses with the Dummycrats in Congress and is running on the Dummycrat ticket? We are supposed to believe that someone elected on the Dummycrat ticket won't follow Dummycrat party polices?


Russ , Mar 2 2020 17:59 utc | 99

"Bernie Sanders will also restore the JCPOA"

He must think the Iranians are really stupid if he thinks he can get them to fall for that one again.

fnord , Mar 2 2020 18:18 utc | 101
@Trailer Trash, 97
We are supposed to believe that someone elected on the Dummycrat ticket won't follow Dummycrat party polices?

The way American electoral politics works, Sanders doesn't really have a choice except to try and steal the Democratic party's ballot line. An independent bid would split the left vote and make it impossible to win the general election, which is winner take all.

At least that's what his supporters say. I think there's a grain of truth there. If Bernie wants to win, and not merely be a protest candidate, he has to take the ballot line of the party with the most left-wing voters, and that's not the Republican party.

[Mar 02, 2020] Last Ditch Effort to Stop Sanders

Mar 02, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

Rick Wilson has a plan for Obama to help snatch the White House away from Trump

.. GOP strategist and avid Never Trumper Rick Wilson said ... Obama needs to throw his full weight behind Biden before Super Tuesday in a way that will shake up the race ... Obama can transform this race in a hot second. ... It's now or never ... Biden beat Sanders like a rented mule. The exit polls told the tale; it was a crushing defeat across almost every demographic group ...

Gotta love these Republicans who have our best interests at heart.

Last week in Nevada it was Sanders who beat Biden like a rented mule, inflicting a crushing defeat across almost every demographic group. But that was then, this is now, and a Republican stratigist says "It's now or never" to defeat Sanders Trump.

Super Tuesday is ... Tuesday. Biden, as I noted yesterday, hasn't visited any Super Tuesday state in a month, has almost no money, is not on the air, has little or no ground game. Early voting is already in progress in several states. What can be done in one day to turn things around?

Realistically, nothing. Yes, a big endorsement by Obama could have an impact, but how many voters would even hear about it before voting? Biden will definitely get a bounce from his win in SC, but how big will it be? How much did Sanders' win in Nevada help him in SC?

Then there's this:

Why Biden still needs Klobuchar and Warren in the race

Team Biden believes having Klobuchar in the race through Super Tuesday is incredibly helpful to them.
Why? It blocks Bernie Sanders in the Minnesota primary on Tuesday.
"If Amy gets out, that gives Minnesota to Bernie,"
...
Four years ago, Sanders crushed Hillary Clinton in Minnesota, winning 62% to 38% ...
The Biden campaign wants Warren to be in the race through Super Tuesday, when Massachusetts voters weigh in.

Not to win. Not to hoard delegates for a convention fight. But just taking every opportunity to slow Bernie down.

Finally, and I only saw one tweet about this and can't find any confirmation, that Bloomberg hasn't made any ad buys beyond Super Tuesday. Anyone know anything about this?

Steyer has spent $200 million, got nothing for it, and has dropped out. I'm hoping that's what we see for Bloomberg as well. Is Bloomberg trying to win? Or just to stop Bernie? Super Tuesday will tell the tale.


laurel on Sun, 03/01/2020 - 2:18pm

It's interesting how each of them

@WoodsDweller -- Biden, Bloomberg, Warren, Klobuchar -- is stepping in to do his or her part for the overall goal of stopping Bernie. They are 100% loyal to the Dem establishment which is 100% loyal to the neocon, neoliberal, oligarchic, globalist Deep State. They know the Dem establishment will reward them -- and you can practically smell the certainty of that knowledge on Liz. She'll do and say whatever they ask of her.

Anja Geitz on Sun, 03/01/2020 - 10:42am
Frankly, I never believed Bernie's candidacy was going to be met

with anything but a full on assault by the DNC, the media, and their respective surrogates. What I didn't expect, especially from dubious "progressives" like Warren, was to hear non-viable candidates openly talking about blunting Bernie's momentum with their only goal being to collect delegates into the convention. Yes, most of us anticipated this was going to turn into a contested convention by design, but I don't know how many of us believed they'd tip their hand so blatantly and so soon into the process. Now that they have, it gives Bernie time to prepare his own strategy for meeting their threat at the convention. Maybe someone could refresh his memory on how effective the bus loads of people that GWB arranged were in shaping the media narrative of "civil disruption vs. accurate counting" in Florida? Taking a page out of that playbook, Bernie's people really need to start thinking about organizing an army of supporters in strength that rivals his numbers at his rallys, and descend onto Wisconsin. And maybe as an added bonus, conjure up the image of the 1968 convention Buttigieg seems to believe Bernie is so nostalgic about resurrecting. If the Establishment is going to twart the will of the people, let the will of the people be heard.

doh1304 on Sun, 03/01/2020 - 2:03pm
There are threee possible scenarios

for how the pre primary polls were so far off:

First, a wild methodological error. Bernie actually received more votes yesterday than in 2016. Perhaps only people who voted in 2016 were polled.

Second, everyone knows that Bernie is the person most likely to defeat Trump and Biden is the worst possible candidate. Perhaps thousands of Trump supporters came out pretending to be Democrats to vote for Biden. This has supposedly happened before.

Third, the quisling Democrats have given up all pretense of being honest and are blatantly stealing the nomination from Bernie. This is the most likely.

FreeSociety on Sun, 03/01/2020 - 3:18pm
2016 Deja Vu

.
In many ways, this race is now the same exact contest that was fought back in 2016. It has come down to Joe Biden -- The Establishment choice -- despite his obvious Ukraine corruption, family payoffs, obstruction of justice and abuse of office, etc. -- and despite Biden being 100% wrong on every issue from the Iraq War to NAFTA to the TPP to Syria (more Regime Change) to Libya to saying China is not an economic threat , etc. -- and despite him being a bumbling buffoon and gaffe machine who doesn't even know what State he is in, and constantly mangles sentences, and arrogantly yells at or insults prospective voters -- and despite him on multiple occasions caught sniffing the hair and fondling young girls in public.

How is this different from Hillary Clinton .. just without the Cackle ?

Bernie Sanders, as in 2016, is the only other option now that has a multi-state Campaign support structure. While Mike Bloomberg can buy million dollar Ads and saturate them everywhere across TV and the Internet .. he has no real voter base, a phony message, and no charisma.

So it is Sanders .vs. Biden , which is essentially a rematch between Sanders and Clinton -- or -- essentially a rematch between Sanders and the DNC Establishment (who also control the rules of the game).

My question is, who in earth would ever want to vote for the doddering and incoherent Joe Biden under any circumstance? Clearly, Biden just represents the anti-Sanders vote here, and The Establishment, with Bloomberg, Buttiburger, and Klobachar all failing, has closed ranks to consolidate around the one dog-faced, pony soldier left standing in the race: Quid Pro Joe.

Come on man! Get down and do some pushups Jack. I don't want your vote.

Polls and Votes and super delegates and Media narratives will all now be fixed around Biden from this point on (if they weren't already). So expect a whole lot of Malarkey upcoming, and this means that Sanders will have to win by big margins, and win a whole lot more States than he did in 2016, in order to survive.

--

[Mar 02, 2020] Truthdig

Mar 02, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

Feb 24, 2020 Print Bookmark Opinion | TD originals The Zionist Colonization of Palestine comments

Mr. Fish / Truthdig
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the product of ancient ethnic hatreds. It is the tragic clash between two peoples with claims to the same land. It is a manufactured conflict, the outcome of a 100-year-old colonial occupation by Zionists and later Israel, backed by the British, the United States and other major imperial powers. This project is about the ongoing seizure of Palestinian land by the colonizers. It is about the rendering of the Palestinians as non-people, writing them out of the historical narrative as if they never existed and denying them basic human rights. Yet to state these incontrovertible facts of Jewish colonization -- supported by innumerable official reports and public and private communiques and statements, along with historical records and events -- sees Israel's defenders level charges of anti-Semitism and racism.

Rashid Khalidi , the Edward Said professor of modern Arab studies at Columbia University, in his book " The Hundred Years' War on Palestine : A History of Settler Colonization and Resistance, 1917-2017" has meticulously documented this long project of colonization of Palestine. His exhaustive research, which includes internal, private communications between the early Zionists and Israeli leadership, leaves no doubt that the Jewish colonizers were acutely aware from the start that the Palestinian people had to be subjugated and removed to create the Jewish state. The Jewish leadership was also acutely aware that its intentions had to be masked behind euphemisms, the patina of biblical legitimacy by Jews to a land that had been Muslim since the seventh century, platitudes about human and democratic rights, the supposed benefits of colonization to the colonized and a mendacious call for democracy and peaceful co-existence with those targeted for destruction.

"This is a unique colonialism that we've been subjected to where they have no use for us," Khalidi quotes Said as having written. "The best Palestinian for them," Said wrote, "is either dead or gone. It's not that they want to exploit us, or that they need to keep us there in the way of Algeria or South Africa as a subclass."

Zionism was birthed from the evils of anti-Semitism. It was a response to the discrimination and violence inflicted on Jews, especially during the savage pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe in the late 19th century and early 20th century that left thousands dead. The Zionist leader Theodor Herzl in 1896 published "Der Judenstaat," or "The Jewish State," in which he warned that Jews were not safe in Europe, a warning that within a few decades proved terrifyingly prescient with the rise of German fascism.

Britain's support of a Jewish homeland was always colored by anti-Semitism. The 1917 decision by the British Cabinet, as stated in the Balfour Declaration , to support "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people" was a principal part of a misguided endeavor based on anti-Semitic tropes. It was undertaken by the ruling British elites to unite "international Jewry" -- including officials of Jewish descent in senior positions in the new Bolshevik state in Russia -- behind Britain's flagging military campaign in World War I. The British leaders were convinced that Jews secretly controlled the U.S. financial system. American Jews, once promised a homeland in Palestine, would, they thought, bring the United States into the war and help finance the war effort. To add to these bizarre anti-Semitic canards, the British believed that Jews and Dönmes -- or "crypto-Jews" whose ancestors had converted to Christianity but who continued to practice the rituals of Judaism in secret -- controlled the Turkish government. If the Zionists were given a homeland in Palestine, the British believed, the Jews and Dönmes would turn on the Turkish regime, which was allied with Germany in the war, and the Turkish government would collapse. World Jewry, the British were convinced, was the key to winning the war.

"With 'Great Jewry' against us," warned Britain's Sir Mark Sykes , who with the French diplomat François Georges-Picot created the secret treaty that carved up the Ottoman Empire between Britain and France, there would be no possibility of victory. Zionism, Sykes said, was a powerful global subterranean force that was "atmospheric, international, cosmopolitan, subconscious and unwritten, nay often unspoken."

The British elites, including Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour , also believed that Jews could never be assimilated in British society and it was better for them to emigrate. It is telling that the only Jewish member of Prime Minister David Lloyd George's government, Edwin Montagu, vehemently opposed the Balfour Declaration. He argued that it would encourage states to expel its Jews. "Palestine will become the world's ghetto," he warned.

This turned out to be the case after World War II when hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees, many rendered stateless, had nowhere to go but Palestine. Often, their communities had been destroyed during the war or their homes and land had been confiscated. Those Jews who returned to countries like Poland found they had nowhere to live and were often victims of discrimination as well as postwar anti-Semitic attacks and even massacres.

The European powers dealt with the Jewish refugee crisis by shipping victims of the Holocaust to the Middle East. So, while leading Zionists understood that they had to uproot and displace Arabs to establish a homeland, they were also acutely aware that they were not wanted in the countries from which they had fled or been expelled. The Zionists and their supporters may have mouthed slogans such as "a land without a people for a people without a land" in speaking of Palestine, but, as the political philosopher Hannah Arendt observed, European powers were attempting to deal with the crime carried out against Jews in Europe by committing another crime, one against Palestinians. It was a recipe for endless conflict, especially since giving the Palestinians under occupation full democratic rights would risk loss of control of Israel by the Jews.

Ze'ev Jabotinsky, the godfather of the right-wing ideology that has dominated Israel since 1977, an ideology openly embraced by Prime Ministers Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert and Benjamin Netanyahu, wrote bluntly in 1923: "Every native population in the world resists colonists as long as it has the slightest hope of being able to rid itself of the danger of being colonized. That is what the Arabs in Palestine are doing, and what they will persist in doing as long as there remains a solitary spark of hope that they will be able to prevent the transformation of 'Palestine' into the 'Land of Israel.' "

This kind of public honesty, Khalidi notes, was rare among leading Zionists. Most of the Zionist leaders "protested the innocent purity of their aims and deceived their Western listeners, and perhaps themselves, with fairy tales about their benign intentions toward the Arab inhabitants of Palestine," he writes. The Zionists -- in a situation similar to that of today's supporters of Israel -- were aware it would be fatal to acknowledge that the creation of a Jewish homeland required the expulsion of the Arab majority. Such an admission would cause the colonizers to lose the world's sympathy. But among themselves the Zionists clearly understood that the use of armed force against the Arab majority was essential for the colonial project to succeed. "Zionist colonization can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population -- behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach," Jabotinsky wrote.

The Jewish colonizers knew they needed an imperial patron to succeed and survive. Their first patron was Britain, which sent 100,000 troops to crush the Palestinian revolt of the 1930s and armed and trained Jewish militias known as the Haganah. The savage repression of that revolt included wholesale executions and aerial bombardment and left 10% of the adult male Arab population killed, wounded, imprisoned or exiled. The Zionists' second patron became the United States, which now, generations later, provides more than $3 billion a year to Israel. Israel, despite the myth of self-reliance it peddles about itself, would not be able to maintain its Palestinian colonies but for its imperial benefactors. This is why the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement frightens Israel. It is also why I support the BDS movement.

The early Zionists bought up huge tracts of fertile Palestinian land and drove out the indigenous inhabitants. They subsidized European Jewish settlers sent to Palestine, where 94% of the inhabitants were Arabs. They created organizations such as the Jewish Colonization Association, later called the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association, to administer the Zionist project.

But, as Khalidi writes, "once colonialism took on a bad odor in the post-World War II era of decolonization, the colonial origins and practice of Zionism and Israel were whitewashed and conveniently forgotten in Israel and the West. In fact, Zionism -- for two decades the coddled step-child of British colonialism -- rebranded itself as an anticolonial movement."

"Today, the conflict that was engendered by this classic nineteenth-century European colonial venture in a non-European land, supported from 1917 onward by the greatest Western imperial power of its age, is rarely described in such unvarnished terms," Khalidi writes. "Indeed, those who analyze not only Israeli settlement efforts in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, but the entire Zionist enterprise from the perspective of its colonial settler origins and nature are often vilified. Many cannot accept the contradiction inherent in the idea that although Zionism undoubtedly succeeded in creating a thriving national entity in Israel, its roots are as a colonial settler project (as are those of other modern countries: the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand). Nor can they accept that it would not have succeeded but for the support of the great imperial powers, Britain and later the United States. Zionism, therefore, could be and was both a national and a colonial settler movement at one and the same time."

One of the central tenets of the Zionist and Israeli colonization is the denial of an authentic, independent Palestinian identity. During the British control of Palestine, the population was officially divided between Jews and "non-Jews." "There were no such thing as Palestinians they did not exist," onetime Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir quipped. This erasure, which requires an egregious act of historical amnesia, is what the Israeli sociologist Baruch Kimmerling called the "politicide" of the Palestinian people. Khalidi writes, "The surest way to eradicate a people's right to their land is to deny their historical connection to it."

The creation of the state of Israel on May 15, 1948, was achieved by the Haganah and other Jewish groups through the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and massacres that spread terror among the Palestinian population. The Haganah, trained and armed by the British, swiftly seized most of Palestine. It emptied West Jerusalem and cities such as Haifa and Jaffa, along with numerous towns and villages, of their Arab inhabitants. Palestinians call this moment in their history the Nakba, or the Catastrophe.

"By the summer of 1949, the Palestinian polity had been devastated and most of its society uprooted," Khalidi writes. "Some 80 percent of the Arab population of the territory that at war's end became the new state of Israel had been forced from their homes and lost their lands and property. At least 720,000 of the 1.3 million Palestinians were made refugees. Thanks to this violent transformation, Israel controlled 78 percent of the territory of former Mandatory Palestine, and now ruled over the 160,000 Palestinian Arabs who had been able to remain, barely one-fifth of the prewar Arab population."

Since 1948, Palestinians have heroically mounted one resistance effort after another, all unleashing disproportionate Israeli reprisals and a demonization of the Palestinians as terrorists. But this resistance has also forced the world to recognize the presence of Palestinians, despite the feverish efforts of Israel, the United States and many Arab regimes to remove them from historical consciousness. The repeated revolts, as Said noted, gave the Palestinians the right to tell their own story, the "permission to narrate."

The colonial project has poisoned Israel, as feared by its most prescient leaders, including Moshe Dayan and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated by a right-wing Jewish extremist in 1995. Israel is an apartheid state that rivals and often surpasses the onetime savagery and racism of apartheid South Africa. Its democracy -- which was always exclusively for Jews -- has been hijacked by extremists, including current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who have implemented racial laws that were once championed mainly by marginalized fanatics such as Meir Kahane . The Israeli public is infected with racism. "Death to Arabs" is a popular chant at Israeli soccer matches. Jewish mobs and vigilantes, including thugs from right-wing youth groups such as Im Tirtzu, carry out indiscriminate acts of vandalism and violence against dissidents, Palestinians, Israeli Arabs and the hapless African immigrants who live crammed into the slums of Tel Aviv. Israel has promulgated a series of discriminatory laws against non-Jews that eerily resemble the racist Nuremberg Laws that disenfranchised Jews in Nazi Germany. The Communities Acceptance Law permits exclusively Jewish towns in Israel's Galilee region to bar applicants for residency on the basis of "suitability to the community's fundamental outlook." The late Uri Avnery, a left-wing politician and journalist, wrote that "Israel's very existence is threatened by fascism."

In recent years, up to 1 million Israelis have left to live in the United States , many of them among Israel's most enlightened and educated citizens. Within Israel, human rights campaigners, intellectuals and journalists -- Israeli and Palestinian -- have found themselves vilified as traitors in government-sponsored smear campaigns, placed under state surveillance and subjected to arbitrary arrests. The Israeli educational system, starting in primary school, is an indoctrination machine for the military. The Israeli army periodically unleashes massive assaults with its air force, artillery and mechanized units on the largely defenseless 1.85 million Palestinians in Gaza, resulting in thousands of Palestinian dead and wounded. Israel runs the Saharonim detention camp in the Negev Desert, one of the largest detention centers in the world, where African immigrants can be held for up to three years without trial.

The great Jewish scholar Yeshayahu Leibowitz, whom Isaiah Berlin called "the conscience of Israel," saw the mortal danger to Israel of its colonial project. He warned that if Israel did not separate church and state and end its colonial occupation of the Palestinians it would give rise to a corrupt rabbinate that would warp Judaism into a fascistic cult. "Religious nationalism is to religion what National Socialism was to socialism," said Leibowitz, who died in 1994. He saw that the blind veneration of the military, especially after the 1967 war in which Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem, would result in the degeneration of the Jewish society and the death of democracy.

"Our situation will deteriorate to that of a second Vietnam [a reference to the war waged by the United States in the 1970s], to a war in constant escalation without prospect of ultimate resolution," Leibowitz wrote. He foresaw that "the Arabs would be the working people and the Jews the administrators, inspectors, officials, and police -- mainly secret police. A state ruling a hostile population of 1.5 million to 2 million foreigners would necessarily become a secret-police state, with all that this implies for education, free speech and democratic institutions. The corruption characteristic of every colonial regime would also prevail in the State of Israel. The administration would have to suppress Arab insurgency on the one hand and acquire Arab Quislings on the other. There is also good reason to fear that the Israel Defense Force, which has been until now a people's army, would, as a result of being transformed into an army of occupation, degenerate, and its commanders, who will have become military governors, resemble their colleagues in other nations."

The Zionists could never have colonized the Palestinians without the backing of Western imperial powers whose motives were tainted by anti-Semitism. Many of the Jews who fled to Israel would not have done so but for the virulent European anti-Semitism that by the end of World War II saw 6 million Jews murdered. Israel was all that many impoverished and stateless survivors, robbed of their national rights, communities, homes and often most of their relatives, had left. It became the tragic fate of the Palestinians, who had no role in the European pogroms or the Holocaust, to be sacrificed on the altar of hate.

[Mar 02, 2020] It appears the US-Taliban interim peace arrangement has hit a snag:

Mar 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Likklemore , Mar 1 2020 20:58 utc | 30

appears the US-Taliban interim peace arrangement has hit a snag:

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani rejects Taliban prisoner release under U.S deal


Afghan President Ashraf Ghani rejected on Sunday a Taliban demand for the release of 5,000 prisoners as a condition for talks with Afghanistan's government and civilians – included in a deal between the United States and the Islamist militants.

"The government of Afghanistan has made no commitment to free 5,000 Taliban prisoners," Ghani told reporters in Kabul, a day after the deal was signed in Qatar to start a political settlement aimed at ending the United States' longest war.[.]

was the Afghan government not a party to the negotiations? Strange!

[Mar 02, 2020] The myth of the mujaheddin victory over the Soviets

It was a stalemate, in which Afghan government held power over central towns and mujahidins over part of provinces. Neither can defeat each other. This stalemate was ruptured by the collapse of the USSR.
Mar 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Ghost Ship , Mar 1 2020 18:54 utc | 17
Afghanistan
Now that the Americans have been defeated in Afghanistan perhaps they'll go back with a more critical eye to look at what happened in the Afghan-Soviet war against the mujaheddin. The Soviet Union decided to withdraw because it had reached a stalemate but the communist government managed to soldier on for three more years, and it was the collapse of the Soviet Union for financial reasons that resulted in funds being cutoff to the communist government that in turn led to the collapse of the government, so the Soviet Union was not brought down/defeated by the mujaheddin.
Will coronavirus lead to the collapse of the Washington establishment? I don't know if it will but the descendants of the mujaheddin will no doubt claim responsibility for the defeat of the United States if it occurs.
Yet again, Washington demonstrates that it doesn't really understand war.

[Mar 02, 2020] China Is Prepared to Reap the Strategic Rewards of Its Relationship With Russia The National Interest

Mar 02, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

China Is Prepared to Reap the Strategic Rewards of Its Relationship With Russia

February 29, 2020 Topic: Security Region: Eurasia Tags: China Russia Military Weapons War China Is Prepared to Reap the Strategic Rewards of Its Relationship With Russia

Moscow has transferred more than five hundred aircraft -- large military transports, early warning aircraft, refueling aircraft, attack jets, and fighter interceptors -- to Beijing since 1990.

by Lyle J. Goldstein ,

Chinese air power these days is something to behold. In the course of just about thirty years, Beijing's aerial inventory has gone from quite obsolete to cutting edge. It's worth noting, moreover, that Chinese airpower is but one tool that Beijing can wield in the skies. If its massive missile forces perform as expected, destroying adversary runways, then there will be few enemy aircraft getting into the air to contest the supremacy of China's fighters and bombers -- or at least very few of them will be able to gain access to much of the western Pacific.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/12130885885741670?pubid=ld-12130885885741670-935&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fnationalinterest.org&rid=eastwestaccord.com&width=550

[Mar 01, 2020] Sanders defeat will be the next step indelitimization of the US corrupt regime

Mar 01, 2020 | off-guardian.org

paul ,

Sanders was shafted in 2016 by the corrupt DNC machine, and he is being shafted again.He will probably be sidelined in favour of some third rate hack like Buttplug, or some other synthetic, manufactured nonentity.

If he isn't, and by some miracle does secure the nomination, they will fail to support him and just allow him to be defeated by Trump. It doesn't matter.

There are millions of decent people who have long been persuaded to play the game of Lesser Evils. They will be as disenchanted as was Trump's Base by a transparently corrupt, rigged system, and finally withdraw their support. This has to be seen as a positive development.

They can no longer paper over the cracks.

[Mar 01, 2020] That the whistleblower works for the CIA is a matter of public record, not some conspiracy theory

Notable quotes:
"... The Democrats did not want Adam Schiff to have to answer questions about the whistleblower, and they don't want the whistleblower's identity to be officially revealed. Such things do not contribute to the greatest cause of our time, the destruction of Donald Trump. ..."
"... The whole point of having the House impeachment investigation proceed from the House Intelligence Committee, headed by Adam Schiff, was to send the signal that Trump is unacceptable to the nefarious powers that make up the Deep State, especially the intelligence agencies, especially the CIA. ..."
"... What a world, then, when OP Democrats are cheering on John Bolton, hoping again for a savior to their sacred resistance cause, and meanwhile they aren't too excited about Rand Paul's intervention. For sure, it is a sign that a "resistance" isn't real when it needs a savior; it's not as if the French Resistance sat back waiting for Gen. de Gaulle. In any case, in the procession of horrible reactionary figures that Democrats have embraced, Bolton is probably the worst, and that's saying quite a lot. ..."
"... People are even talking about "getting used to accepting the help of the CIA with the impeachment," and the like. (I realize I'm being repetitious here, but this stuff blows my mind, it is so disturbing.) At least they are recognizing the reality -- at least partially; that's something. But then what they do with this recognition is something that requires epic levels of TDS -- and, somehow, a great deal of the Left is going down this path. ..."
"... The USA Deep State is a Five Eyes partner and as such Trump must be given the proverbial boot for being an uneducated boor lacking political gravitas & business gravitas with his narcissistic Smoot-Hawley II 2019 trade wars. Screw the confidence man-in-chief. He is a liability for the USA and global business. Trump is not an asset. ..."
"... Almost as a by product of his 2016 victory, Trump showed up the MSM hacks for what they were, lying, partisan shills utterly lacking in any integrity and credibility. The same applies to the intrigues and corruption of the Dirty Cops and Spookocracy. They had to come out from behind the curtain and reveal themselves as the dirty, lying, seditious, treasonous, rabid criminal scum they are. The true nature of the State standing in the spotlight for all the world to see. This cannot be undone. ..."
Mar 01, 2020 | off-guardian.org

First , the whistleblower was ruled out as a possible witness -- this was essentially done behind the scenes, and in reality can be called a Deep State operation, though one exposed to some extent by Rand Paul. This has nothing to do with protecting the whistleblower or upholding the whistleblower statute, but instead with the fact that the whistleblower was a CIA plant in the White House.

That the whistleblower works for the CIA is a matter of public record, not some conspiracy theory. Furthermore, for some time before the impeachment proceedings began, the whistleblower had been coordinating his efforts to undermine Trump with the head of the House Intelligence Committee, who happens to be Adam Schiff. It is possible that the connections with Schiff go even further or deeper. Obviously the Democrats do not want these things exposed.

... ... ...

In this regard, there was a very special moment on January 29, when Chief Justice John Roberts refused to allow the reading of a question from Sen. Rand Paul that identified the alleged whistleblower. Paul then held a press conference in which he read his question.

The question was directed at Adam Schiff, who claims not to have communicated with the whistleblower, despite much evidence to the contrary. (Further details can be read at here .) A propos of what I was just saying, Paul is described in the Politico article as "a longtime antagonist of Republican leaders." Excellent, good on you, Rand Paul.

Whether this was a case of unintended consequences or not, one could say that this episode fed into the case against calling witnesses -- certainly the Democrats should not have been allowed to call witnesses if the Republicans could not call the whistleblower. But clearly this point is completely lost on those working in terms of the moving line of bullshit.

One would think that Democrats would be happy with a Republican Senator who antagonizes leaders of his own party, but of course Rand Paul's effort only led to further "outrage" on the part of Democratic leaders in the House and Senate.

The Democrats did not want Adam Schiff to have to answer questions about the whistleblower, and they don't want the whistleblower's identity to be officially revealed. Such things do not contribute to the greatest cause of our time, the destruction of Donald Trump.

However, you see, there is a complementary purpose at work here, too. The whole point of having the House impeachment investigation proceed from the House Intelligence Committee, headed by Adam Schiff, was to send the signal that Trump is unacceptable to the nefarious powers that make up the Deep State, especially the intelligence agencies, especially the CIA.

The only way these machinations can be combatted is to pull the curtain back further -- but the Republicans do not want this any more than the Democrats do, with a few possible exceptions such as Rand Paul. (As the Politico article states, Paul was chastised publicly by McConnell for submitting his question in the first place, and for criticizing Roberts in the press conference.)

What a world, then, when OP Democrats are cheering on John Bolton, hoping again for a savior to their sacred resistance cause, and meanwhile they aren't too excited about Rand Paul's intervention. For sure, it is a sign that a "resistance" isn't real when it needs a savior; it's not as if the French Resistance sat back waiting for Gen. de Gaulle. In any case, in the procession of horrible reactionary figures that Democrats have embraced, Bolton is probably the worst, and that's saying quite a lot.

... ... ...

Now we are at a moment when "the Left" is recognizing the role that the CIA and the rest of the "intelligence community" is played in the impeachment nonsense. This "Left" was already on board for the "impeachment process" itself, perhaps at moments with caveats about "not leaving everything up to the Democrats," "not just relying on the Democrats," but still accepting their assigned role as cheerleaders and self-important internet commentators. (And, sure, maybe that's all I am, too -- but the inability to distinguish form from content is one of the main problems of the existing Left.)

Now, though, people on the Left are trying to get comfortable with, and trying to explain to themselves how they can get comfortable with, the obvious role of the "intelligence community" (with, in my view, the CIA in the leading role, but of course I'm not privy to the inner workings of this scene) in the impeachment process and other efforts to take down Trump's presidency.

People are even talking about "getting used to accepting the help of the CIA with the impeachment," and the like. (I realize I'm being repetitious here, but this stuff blows my mind, it is so disturbing.) At least they are recognizing the reality -- at least partially; that's something. But then what they do with this recognition is something that requires epic levels of TDS -- and, somehow, a great deal of the Left is going down this path.

They might think about the "help" that the CIA gave to the military in Bolivia to remove Evo Morales from office. They might think about the picture of Donald Trump that they find necessary to paint to justify what they are willing to swallow to remove him from office. They might think about the fact that ordinary Democrats are fine with this role for the CIA, and that Adam Schiff and others routinely offer the criticism/condemnation of Donald Trump that he doesn't accept the findings of the CIA or the rest of the intelligence agencies at face value.

The moment for the Left, what calls itself and thinks of itself as that, to break with this lunacy has passed some time ago, but let us take this moment, of "accepting the help of the CIA, because Trump," as truly marking a point of no return.

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

The USA Deep State is a Five Eyes partner and as such Trump must be given the proverbial boot for being an uneducated boor lacking political gravitas & business gravitas with his narcissistic Smoot-Hawley II 2019 trade wars. Screw the confidence man-in-chief. He is a liability for the USA and global business. Trump is not an asset.

paul ,

Trump, Sanders and Corbyn were all in their own way agents of creative destruction. Trump tapped into the popular discontent of millions of Americans who realised that the system no longer even pretended to work in their interests, and were not prepared to be diverted down the Identity Politics Rabbit Hole.

The Deep State was outraged that he had disrupted their programme by stealing Clinton's seat in the game of Musical Chairs. Being the most corrupt, dishonest and mendacious political candidate in all US history (despite some pretty stiff opposition) was supposed to be outweighed by her having a vagina. The Deplorables failed to sign up for the programme.

Almost as a by product of his 2016 victory, Trump showed up the MSM hacks for what they were, lying, partisan shills utterly lacking in any integrity and credibility. The same applies to the intrigues and corruption of the Dirty Cops and Spookocracy. They had to come out from behind the curtain and reveal themselves as the dirty, lying, seditious, treasonous, rabid criminal scum they are. The true nature of the State standing in the spotlight for all the world to see. This cannot be undone.

For all his pandering to Adelson and the Zionist Mafia, for all his Gives to Netanyahu, Trump has failed to deliver on the Big Ticket Items. Syria was supposed to have been invaded by now, with Hillary cackling demonically over Assad's death as she did over Gaddafi, and rapidly moving on to the main event with Iran. They will not forgive him for this.

They realise they are under severe time pressure. It took them a century to gain their stranglehold over America, and this is a wasting asset. America is in terminal decline, and may soon be unable to fulfil its ordained role as dumb goy muscle serving Zionist interests. And the parasite will find it difficult to find a replacement host.

George Mc ,

Haven't you just agreed with him here?

He thinks the left died in the 1960s, over a half century ago. It's pretty simple to identify a leftist: anti-imperialist/ anti-capitalist. The Democrats are imperialists. People who vote for the Democrats and Republicans are imperialists. This article is a confused mess, that's my whole point;)

If the Democrats and Republicans (and those who vote for them) are imperialists (which they are) then the left are indeed dead – at least as far as political representation goes.

Koba ,

He's sent more troops to Iraq and Afghanistan he staged several coups in Latin America and wanted to take out the dprk and thier nukes and wants to bomb Iran! Winding down?!

sharon marlowe ,

First, an attempted assassination-by-drone on President Maduro of Venezuela happened. Then Trump dropped the largest conventional bomb on Afghanistan, with a mile-wide radius. Then Trump named Juan Guido as the new President of Venezuela in an overt coup. Then he bombed Syria over a fake chemical weapons claim. He bombed it before even an investigation was launched. Then the Trump regime orchestrated a military coup in Bolivia. Then he claimed that he was pulling out of Syria, but instead sent U.S. troops to take over Syrian oil fields. trump then assassinated Gen. Solemeni. Then he claimed that he will leave Iraq at the request of the Iraqi government, the Iraqi government asked the U.S. to leave, and Trump rejected the request. The Trump regime has tried orchestrating a coup in Iran, and a coup in Hong Kong. He expelled Russian diplomats en masse for the Skripal incident in England, before an investigation. He has sanctioned Russia, Iran, North Korea, China, and Venezuela. He has bombed Yemen, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Those are the things I'm aware of, but what else Trump has done in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and South America you can research if you wish. And now, the claim of leaving Afghanistan is as ridiculous as when he claimed to be leaving Syria and Iraq.

Dungroanin ,

Yeah yeah and 'he' gave Maduro 7 days to let their kid takeover in Venezuela! And built a wall. And got rid of obamacare and started a nuke war with Rocketman and and and ...

sharon marlowe ,

There were at least nine people killed when Trump bombed Douma.

Only a psychopath would kill people because one of its spy drones was shot down. You don't get points for considering killing people for it and then changing your mind.

People should get over Hillary and pay attention to what Trump has been doing. Why even mention what Hillary would have done in Syria, then proceed to be an apologist for what Trump has done around the world in just three years? Trump has been quite a prolific imperialist in such a short time. A second term could well put him above Bush and Obama as the 21st century's most horrible leaders on earth.

Dungroanin ,

...If you think that the potus is the omnipotent ruler of everything he certainly seems to be having some problems with his minions in the CIA, NSA, FBI..State Dept etc.

Savorywill ,

Yes, what you say is right. However, he did warn both the Syrian and Russian military of the attack in the first instance, so no casualties, and in the second attack, he announced that the missiles had been launched before they hit the target, again resulting in no casualties. When the US drone was shot down by an Iranian missile, he considered retaliation. But, when advised of likely casualties, he called it off saying that human lives are more valuable than the cost of the drone. Yes, he did authorize the assassination of the Iranian general, and that was very bad. His claims that the general had organized the placement of roadside bombs that had killed US soldiers rings rather hollow, considering those shouldn't have been in Iraq in the first place.

I am definitely not stating that he is perfect and doesn't do objectionable things. And he has authorized US forces to control the oil wells, which is against international law, but at least US soldiers are not actively engaged in fighting the Syrian government, something Hillary set in motion. However, the military does comprise a huge percentage of the US economy and there have to be reasons, and enemies, to justify its existence, so his situation as president must be very difficult, not a job I would want, that is for sure.

The potus is best described (by Assad actually) as a CEO of a board of directors appointed by the shareholders who collectively determine their OWN interests.

Your gaslighting ain't succeeding round here – Regime! So desperate, so so sad 🤣

[Mar 01, 2020] Countering Nationalist Oligarchy by Ganesh Sitaraman

Highly recommended!
The article is mostly junk. But it contains some important insights into the rise of Trympism (aka "national neoliberalism") -- nationalist oligarchy. Including the following " the governments that have emerged from the new populist moment are, to date, not actually pursuing policies that are economically populist."
The real threat to liberal democracy isn't authoritarianism -- it's nationalist oligarchy. Here's how American foreign policy should change. The real threat to liberal democracy isn't authoritarianism -- it's nationalist oligarchy. Here's how American foreign policy should change.
Notable quotes:
"... Fascism: A Warning ..."
"... Can it Happen Here? Authoritarianism in America ..."
"... the governments that have emerged from the new populist moment are, to date, not actually pursuing policies that are economically populist. ..."
"... The better and more useful way to view these regimes -- and the threat to democracy emerging at home and abroad because of them -- is as nationalist oligarchies. Oligarchy means rule by a small number of rich people. In an oligarchy, wealthy elites seek to preserve and extend their wealth and power. In his definitive book titled Oligarchy ..."
"... Oligarchies remain in power through two strategies: first, using divide-and-conquer tactics to ensure that a majority doesn't coalesce, and second, by rigging the political system to make it harder for any emerging majority to overthrow them. ..."
"... Rigging the system is, in some ways, a more obvious tactic. It means changing the legal rules of the game or shaping the political marketplace to preserve power. Voting restrictions and suppression, gerrymandering, and manipulation of the media are examples. The common theme is that they insulate the minority in power from democracy; they prevent the population from kicking the rulers out through ordinary political means. ..."
"... Classical Greek Oligarchy ..."
"... Framing today's threat as nationalist oligarchy not only clarifies the challenge but also makes clear how democracy is different -- and what democracy requires. Democracy means more than elections, an independent judiciary, a free press, and various constitutional norms. For democracy to persist, there must also be relative economic equality. If society is deeply unequal economically, the wealthy will dominate politics and transform democracy into an oligarchy. And there must be some degree of social solidarity because, as Lincoln put it, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." ..."
"... We see a number of disturbing signs the United States is breaking down along these dimensions. ..."
"... The view that money is speech under the First Amendment has unleashed wealthy individuals and corporations to spend as much as they want to influence politics. The "doom loop of oligarchy," as Ezra Klein has called it, is an obvious consequence: The wealthy use their money to influence politics and rig policy to increase their wealth, which in turn increases their capacity to influence politics. Meanwhile, we're increasingly divided into like-minded enclaves, and the result is an ever-more toxic degree of partisanship. ..."
"... The Counterinsurgent's Constitution: Law in the Age of Small Wars ..."
"... The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens our Republic ..."
Dec 31, 2019 | democracyjournal.org
from Winter 2019, No. 51 – 31 MIN READ

Tagged Authoritarianism Democracy Foreign Policy Government nationalism oligarchy

Ever since the 2016 election, foreign policy commentators and practitioners have been engaged in a series of soul-searching exercises to understand the great transformations taking place in the world -- and to articulate a framework appropriate to the challenges of our time. Some have looked backwards, arguing that the liberal international order is collapsing, while others question whether it ever existed. Another group seems to hope the current messiness is simply a blip and that foreign policy will return to normalcy after it passes. Perhaps the most prominent group has identified today's great threat as the rise of authoritarianism, autocracy, and illiberal democracy. They fear that constitutional democracy is receding as norms are broken and institutions are under siege.

Unfortunately, this approach misunderstands the nature of the current crisis. The challenge we face today is not one of authoritarianism, as so many seem inclined to believe, but of nationalist oligarchy. This form of government feeds populism to the people, delivers special privileges to the rich and well-connected, and rigs politics to sustain its regime.

... ... ..

Authoritarianism or What?

Across the political spectrum, commentators and scholars have identified -- and warned of -- the global rise of autocracies and authoritarian governments. They cite Russia, Hungary, the Philippines, and Turkey, among others. Distinguished commentators are increasingly worried. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright recently published a book called Fascism: A Warning . Cass Sunstein gathered a variety of scholars for a collection titled, Can it Happen Here? Authoritarianism in America .

The authoritarian lens is familiar from the heroic narrative of democracy defeating autocracies in the twentieth century. But as a framework for understanding today's central geopolitical challenges, it is far too narrow. This is mainly because those who are worried about the rise of authoritarianism and the crisis of democracy are insufficiently focused on economics. Their emphasis is almost exclusively political and constitutional -- free speech, voting rights, equal treatment for minorities, independent courts, and the like. But politics and economics cannot be dissociated from each other, and neither are autonomous from social and cultural factors. Statesmen and philosophers used to call this "political economy." Political economy looks at economic and political relationships in concert, and it is attentive to how power is exercised. If authoritarianism is the future, there must be a story of its political economy -- how it uses politics and economics to gain and hold power. Yet the rise-of-authoritarianism theorists have less to say about these dynamics.

To be sure, many commentators have discussed populist movements throughout Europe and America, and there has been no shortage of debate on the extent to which a generation of widening economic inequality has been a contributing factor in their rise. But whatever the causes of popular discontent, the policy preferences of the people, and the bloviating rhetoric of leaders, the governments that have emerged from the new populist moment are, to date, not actually pursuing policies that are economically populist.

The better and more useful way to view these regimes -- and the threat to democracy emerging at home and abroad because of them -- is as nationalist oligarchies. Oligarchy means rule by a small number of rich people. In an oligarchy, wealthy elites seek to preserve and extend their wealth and power. In his definitive book titled Oligarchy , Jeffrey Winters calls it "wealth defense." Elites engage in "property defense," protecting what they already have, and "income defense," preserving and extending their ability to hoard more. Importantly, oligarchy as a governing strategy accounts for both politics and economics. Oligarchs use economic power to gain and hold political power and, in turn, use politics to expand their economic power.

Those who worry about the rise of authoritarianism and fear the crisis of democracy are insufficiently focused on economics.

The trouble for oligarchs is that their regime involves rule by a small number of wealthy elites. In even a nominally democratic society, and most countries around the world today are at least that, it should be possible for the much larger majority to overthrow the oligarchy with either the ballot or the bullet. So how can oligarchy persist? This is where both nationalism and authoritarianism come into play. Oligarchies remain in power through two strategies: first, using divide-and-conquer tactics to ensure that a majority doesn't coalesce, and second, by rigging the political system to make it harder for any emerging majority to overthrow them.

The divide-and-conquer strategy is an old one, and it works through a combination of coercion and co-optation. Nationalism -- whether statist, ethnic, religious, or racial -- serves both functions. It aligns a portion of ordinary people with the ruling oligarchy, mobilizing them to support the regime and sacrifice for it. At the same time, it divides society, ensuring that the nationalism-inspired will not join forces with everyone else to overthrow the oligarchs. We thus see fearmongering about minorities and immigrants, and claims that the country belongs only to its "true" people, whom the leaders represent. Activating these emotional, cultural, and political identities makes it harder for citizens in the country to unite across these divides and challenge the regime.

Rigging the system is, in some ways, a more obvious tactic. It means changing the legal rules of the game or shaping the political marketplace to preserve power. Voting restrictions and suppression, gerrymandering, and manipulation of the media are examples. The common theme is that they insulate the minority in power from democracy; they prevent the population from kicking the rulers out through ordinary political means. Tactics like these are not new. They have existed, as Matthew Simonton shows in his book Classical Greek Oligarchy , since at least the time of Pericles and Plato. The consequence, then as now, is that nationalist oligarchies can continue to deliver economic policies to benefit the wealthy and well-connected.

It is worth noting that even the generation that waged war against fascism in Europe understood that the challenge to democracy in their time was not just political, but economic and social as well. They believed that the rise of Nazism was tied to the concentration of economic power in Germany, and that cartels and monopolies not only cooperated with and served the Nazi state, but helped its rise and later sustained it. As New York Congressman Emanuel Celler, one of the authors of the Anti-Merger Act of 1950, said, quoting a report filed by Secretary of War Kenneth Royall, "Germany under the Nazi set-up built up a great series of industrial monopolies in steel, rubber, coal and other materials. The monopolies soon got control of Germany, brought Hitler to power, and forced virtually the whole world into war." After World War II, Marshall Plan experts not only rebuilt Europe but also exported aggressive American antitrust and competition laws to the continent because they believed political democracy was impossible without economic democracy.

Framing today's threat as nationalist oligarchy not only clarifies the challenge but also makes clear how democracy is different -- and what democracy requires. Democracy means more than elections, an independent judiciary, a free press, and various constitutional norms. For democracy to persist, there must also be relative economic equality. If society is deeply unequal economically, the wealthy will dominate politics and transform democracy into an oligarchy. And there must be some degree of social solidarity because, as Lincoln put it, "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

We see a number of disturbing signs the United States is breaking down along these dimensions. Electoral losers in places like North Carolina seek to entrench their power rather than accept defeat. The view that money is speech under the First Amendment has unleashed wealthy individuals and corporations to spend as much as they want to influence politics. The "doom loop of oligarchy," as Ezra Klein has called it, is an obvious consequence: The wealthy use their money to influence politics and rig policy to increase their wealth, which in turn increases their capacity to influence politics. Meanwhile, we're increasingly divided into like-minded enclaves, and the result is an ever-more toxic degree of partisanship.

Addressing our domestic economic and social crises is critical to defending democracy, and a grand strategy for America's future must incorporate both domestic and foreign policy. But while many have recognized that reviving America's middle class and re-stitching our social fabric are essential to saving democracy, less attention has been paid to how American foreign policy should be reformed in order to defend democracy from the threat of nationalist oligarchy.

The Varieties of Nationalist Oligarchy

Just as there are many variations on liberal democracy -- the Swedish model, the French model, the American model -- there are many varieties of nationalist oligarchy. The story is different in every country, but the elements of nationalist oligarchy are trending all over the world.

... ... ...

... the European Union funds Hungary's oligarchy, as Orbán draws on EU money to fund about 60 percent of the state projects that support "the new Fidesz-linked business elite." Nor do Orbán and his allies do much to hide the country's crony capitalist model. András Lánczi, president of a Fidesz-affiliated think tank, has boldly stated that "if something is done in the national interest, then it is not corruption." "The new capitalist ruling class," one Hungarian banker comments, "make their money from the government."

The commentator Jan-Werner Müller captures Orbán's Hungary this way: "Power is secured through wide-ranging control of the judiciary and the media; behind much talk of protecting hard-pressed families from multinational corporations, there is crony capitalism, in which one has to be on the right side politically to get ahead economically."

Crony capitalism, coupled with resurgent nationalism and central government control, is also an issue in China. While some commentators have emphasized "state capitalism" -- when government has a significant ownership stake in companies -- this phenomenon is not to be confused with crony capitalism. Some countries with state capitalism, like Norway, are widely seen as extremely non-corrupt and, indeed, are often held up as models of democracy. State capitalism itself is thus not necessarily a problem. Crony capitalism, in contrast, is an "instrumental union between capitalists and politicians designed to allow the former to acquire wealth, legally or otherwise, and the latter to seek and retain power." This is the key difference between state capitalism and oligarchy.

... ... ...

Ganesh Sitaraman is a professor of law and Chancellor's faculty fellow at Vanderbilt Law School, and the author of The Counterinsurgent's Constitution: Law in the Age of Small Wars and The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens our Republic .

[Mar 01, 2020] Hollywood Goes Full Blacklist and Fails to Grasp the Irony by Larry C Johnson

Notable quotes:
"... It is especially galling to see how the Hollywood Community has embraced the era of red-baiting Joseph McCarthy as the new standard for what is acceptable. There was a time that a few brave souls in Hollywood (I am thinking Lucille Ball, Kirk Douglas and Gregory Peck), spoke out against the blacklisting of actors, writers and directors for their past political ties to the Soviet Union. ..."
"... This was an ugly, awful and evil time in America. It was a period of time fed by fear and ignorance. While it is true that there were Americans who identified as Communists and embraced the politics of the Soviet Union, we scared ourselves into believing that communist subversion was everywhere and that America was teetering on the brink of being submerged in a red tide. ..."
"... Hillary Clinton's crazy rant accusing U.S. Army Major and Member of Congress, Tulsi Gabbard, as a Kremlin puppet is not a deviation from the norm. Clinton exemplifies the terrifying norm of the political and cultural elite in this country. Accusing political opponents of being controlled by foreign enemies, real or imagined, is an old political tactic. Makes me wonder what Edward R. Murrow or Dalton Trumbo would say if we could bring them back from the dead. ..."
"... "Hillary Clinton's crazy rant accusing U.S. Army Major and Member of Congress, Tulsi Gabbard, as a Kremlin puppet is not a deviation from the norm." ..."
"... Ms. President is the closest facsimile to Lady Macbeth that American politics has been able to produce. She'd have murdered her own husband if she had thought succession would have fallen to her. As it was, the only thing that kept him alive was that she needed him for the run she had in mind for herself. The debris that this woman has left in her wake boggles the mind. That she came within a whisker of the job where she would perhaps have left the country in that debris field is a sobering thought to think about what American presidential politics has become in the 21st c. Alas, what passes for her failure and the Country's good fortune, her loved ones in the Arts are still not over. And so they are left commiserating and caterwauling over the Donald this, and the Donald that, while all this good material and their celebrity goes down the tube. Good riddance to them both. ..."
"... Trump campaigned on Drain the Swamp in 2016. The Swamp attempted to take him down with the Russia Collusion hoax that included Spygate and the Mueller special counsel investigation. ..."
Feb 14, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

In the wake of the latest Hollywood buffoonery displayed at the Oscars, I think it is time for the American public to denounce in the strongest possible terms the rampant hypocrisy of sanctimonious cretins who make their living pretending to be someone other than themselves. Brad Pitt, Joaquin Phoenix and Barbara Streisand pop to mind as representative examples. All three are eager to lecture the American public on the need for equality and non-discrimination. Yet, not one of the recipients of the Oscar gift bags worth $225,000 spoke out against that extraordinary excess nor demanded that the money spent purchasing these "gifts" be used to benefit the poor and the homeless. Nope, take the money and run.

It is especially galling to see how the Hollywood Community has embraced the era of red-baiting Joseph McCarthy as the new standard for what is acceptable. There was a time that a few brave souls in Hollywood (I am thinking Lucille Ball, Kirk Douglas and Gregory Peck), spoke out against the blacklisting of actors, writers and directors for their past political ties to the Soviet Union.

Now I have lived long enough to see the so-called liberals in Hollywood rail against Donald Trump and his supporters as "agents of Russia." Many in Hollywood, who weep crocodile tears over the abuses of the Hollywood Blacklist, are now doing the same damn thing without a hint of irony.

If you are a film buff (and I consider myself one) you should be familiar with these great movies that remind the viewer of the horrors visited upon actors, writers and directors during the Hollywood Blacklist:

This was an ugly, awful and evil time in America. It was a period of time fed by fear and ignorance. While it is true that there were Americans who identified as Communists and embraced the politics of the Soviet Union, we scared ourselves into believing that communist subversion was everywhere and that America was teetering on the brink of being submerged in a red tide.

Thirty years ago I reflected on this era and wondered how such mass hysteria could happen. Now I know. We have lived with the same kind of madness since Donald Trump was tagged as a Russian agent in the summer of 2016. And the irony is extraordinary. The very same Hollywood elite that heaped opprobrium on Director Elia Kazan for naming names in Hollywood in front of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, are now leading the charge in labeling anyone who dares speak out against the failed coup as "stooges" of the Kremlin or Putin.

Hillary Clinton's crazy rant accusing U.S. Army Major and Member of Congress, Tulsi Gabbard, as a Kremlin puppet is not a deviation from the norm. Clinton exemplifies the terrifying norm of the political and cultural elite in this country. Accusing political opponents of being controlled by foreign enemies, real or imagined, is an old political tactic. Makes me wonder what Edward R. Murrow or Dalton Trumbo would say if we could bring them back from the dead.


Bill H , 11 February 2020 at 10:20 AM

Very well said. And I would extend the same opprobrium to those who label as "racist" anyone who does not agree with their open border policies. Etc.
plantman , 11 February 2020 at 10:32 AM
Trump Derangement Syndrome is a vast understatement. You never could have convinced me 4 years ago that virtually all of my liberal friends would have completely lost touch with reality due to their visceral hatred of one man.

It no longer matters if you agree with people on social policy, entitlements, student loans, homelessness, drug addiction or even wealth distribution.

If you do not share their irrational hatred of Trump, you're going to be lambasted, shunned and treated like a pariah.

I've never seen anything like it. It's whacko!

Jim Henely , 11 February 2020 at 10:34 AM
Hillary Clinton has become the poster child for the corruption that has captured and paralyzed our political parties and government institutions. Why is she above prosecution? Is the corruption complete? Can we look to any individual or group to restore our Republic? Wake me when the prosecutions begin.
Flavius , 11 February 2020 at 11:35 AM
"Hillary Clinton's crazy rant accusing U.S. Army Major and Member of Congress, Tulsi Gabbard, as a Kremlin puppet is not a deviation from the norm."

Ms. President is the closest facsimile to Lady Macbeth that American politics has been able to produce. She'd have murdered her own husband if she had thought succession would have fallen to her. As it was, the only thing that kept him alive was that she needed him for the run she had in mind for herself. The debris that this woman has left in her wake boggles the mind. That she came within a whisker of the job where she would perhaps have left the country in that debris field is a sobering thought to think about what American presidential politics has become in the 21st c. Alas, what passes for her failure and the Country's good fortune, her loved ones in the Arts are still not over. And so they are left commiserating and caterwauling over the Donald this, and the Donald that, while all this good material and their celebrity goes down the tube. Good riddance to them both.

Dave Schuler , 11 February 2020 at 12:32 PM
I agree that HUAC's conduct was excessive but you really ought to show the other side of the coin as well.
  1. Communism was genuinely awful. To this day we don't know how many people died, murdered by their own governments, in Soviet Russia and Communist China.
  2. The U. S. government was infiltrated at the very pinnacle of government (as in presidential advisors) by Soviet agents. We know this from Kremlin documents.
  3. We now know (based on Kremlin documents) that the American Communist Party was run by knowing Soviet agents and was funded by the Soviet Union.
  4. The motion picture industry had been heavily infiltrated by Communists including some actual Soviet agents (while Reagan was head of SAG he rooted them out).

We resolved those issues the wrong way but they desperately needed to be resolved.

Vegetius , 11 February 2020 at 02:04 PM
>This was an ugly, awful and evil time in America

This is self-righteous baby boomer nonsense. It was a brief and slightly uncomfortable time for a handful of people in Hollywood, after which the subversion of American culture and institutions chugged along merrily along to the present day.

But this episode has been re-purposed and often reduced to caricature as part of a long ideological project aimed at convincing generations of otherwise intelligent white people that their past is a shameful parade of villains.

They don't call it 'programming' for nothing.

optimax , 11 February 2020 at 03:53 PM
Kirk Douglas bravely defied the blacklist by giving Dalton Trumbo credit on Spartacus under his real name, effectively breaking the blacklist.

I saw part of the Academy Awards and all I heard over and over again were the words race and gender, no female directors nominated.

On a side note, this being Black History month, teevee is usually filled with the appropriate programing. But because it is the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Aushwitz the Jews are stealing the Blacks thunder by hogging the programming. When the oppressed collide.

Fred , 11 February 2020 at 04:02 PM
Just how big is the carbon footprint on a $225,000 swag bag? So nice to see Hollywood integrity in action. I wonder what the Bernie Tax will be on them in 2021?
bjd , 11 February 2020 at 04:16 PM
Chills run down my spine that you start your list with 'The Front'.

Woody Allen's 'The Front', a 'film noir' about the beast and about courage in trying to slay it, is an absolute masterpiece, its end is unmeasurably spectacular and encouraging, and... somehow the movie never got the acclaim it deserves, and lives as one of those quiet orphans.

But it is highly actual, and that is why you must have come to place it first.

Thank you for naming it. Extremely recommended.

blue peacock , 11 February 2020 at 07:26 PM
Trump campaigned on Drain the Swamp in 2016. The Swamp attempted to take him down with the Russia Collusion hoax that included Spygate and the Mueller special counsel investigation.

Rep. Devin Nunes uncovered many of the shenanigans while he investigated the claims of Russian interference in the 2016 election. He implored Trump to use his prerogative as POTUS to declassify many documents and communications. Trump instead took the advice of Rod Rosenstein acting as AG who initiated the Mueller investigation and did not declassify. He then passed the buck to AG Barr, who has yet to declassify.

The question that needs to be asked in light of this: Is Trump a conman who has duped the electorate with Drain the Swamp as he has not used his exclusive powers of classification to present to the voter all the documents and communications about the actions of law enforcement and intelligence agencies relating to claims about Russian influence operations during the 2016 election?

Fred , 11 February 2020 at 08:13 PM
Blue,

Maybe Trump conned the swamp into outing themselves, which hasn't proven that hard since they have even bigger ego's than he.

D , 11 February 2020 at 09:39 PM
Blue Peacock, the question that needs to be asked is do you blow your wad all at once on one play. Or do you drip, drip, drip it out strategically. I suggest the latter in this endless game of gotcha politics. Yes, Trump is a con man. That is how he made his billions - selling sizzle. One quality that does translate well into the political arena. No one is surprised - his life has been on the front pages for decades.

The only newly revealed quality that I find remarkable is his remarkable staying power - the most welcome quality of all. It takes ego maniacs to play this game. Surprised anyone still thinks politics is an avocation for normal people. It isn't. And we the people are the ones that demand this to be the case.

Sol Invictus , 11 February 2020 at 10:30 PM
I left the american sh*thole a long time ago and my choice never felt better. I look forward to seeing 50% of americans trying to slaughter the other 50% over socialism. Here we're doing just fine with socialist medecine, and social programs for just about everyting. The Commons are still viable where common sense resides... Oligarchs love cartels, socialism and piratization: it's all about privatizing the gains and socializing the losses to the hoi polloi.
james , 12 February 2020 at 12:35 AM
blue peacock... does an alligator want to drain the swamp? the answer is no... that is just a lot of hokum for the naive or illiterate...
james , 12 February 2020 at 12:36 AM
@ sol... your first sentence is pretty harsh and more of a reflection on you then anything else..
anon , 12 February 2020 at 02:26 AM
Great movie "the front". As to draining the swamp, well trump has to finish the job and here lies the problem. Once done what do you put in its place.

Bernie of course.

Diana Croissant , 12 February 2020 at 10:11 AM
I wonder if Hollywood knows how small some of the audiences in actual movie theaters are now. It's always surprising to me that I am sitting in almost empty theaters now when I decide I want actual movie theater popcorn and so will pay to watch a movie that I have read about and heard about from friends who have already seen the movie. I don't attend unless I've heard good things from my friends about the movie.


I am constantly surprised that some people even consider watching the Oscars now. I feel the same about professional sports.

You would be surprised at how good high school plays are and how good high school bands, orchestras, choirs are. The tickets are cheap, and a person actually gets to greet the performers.

I feel the same about my local university (my Alma Mater). It's Performing Arts departments are excellent. As a student long ago, my student pass allowed me to attend wonderful performances.

The Glory Days of Hollywood are no more. The actors and directors need to be humbled by having to go to towns across the country to see how sparse the audience in a movie theater is now. It's not at all as I remember as a child when there were long lines at the ticket window.

[Feb 29, 2020] Threat Inflation: Going after hapless countries by Edward S. Herman

Mar 01, 2003 | Z magazine

One of the most striking features of the working of the U.S. imperial system and media is the regular inflation of the threat posed by imperial targets-an inflation process that very often attains the ludicrous and incredible. When the imperial managers want to go after some hapless small country-Guatemala, Nicaragua, Yugoslavia, Iraq-that for one reason or another has been put on the U.S. hit list, the managers issue fearsome warnings of the dire threat posed by the prospective victim. The media quickly get on this bandwagon and suddenly give enormous attention to a country previously completely ignored. Critical analyses of the reality of the "threat" are minimal, and the gullibility quotient of the media escalates in view of the alleged seriousness of the threat and need for everybody to be "on the team." As soon as the small target is smashed-with great ease, despite the prior claims of its capability-and as official attention moves elsewhere, the media drop the subject and allow the target to return to black hole attention.

A closely related feature of the threat inflation process has been the unwillingness of the media to allow that the United States poses any threat to the imminent victim. U. S. officials may even have announced an intention to displace a government, they may have organized a proxy army to invade, and positioned their own forces in the vicinity, but any actions of the target to prepare to defend itself are considered sinister and further proof of their menacing character. In the Cold War era, when targets reached out to the Soviet bloc to get arms, this added to the proof of a threat, demonstrating that they were part of the larger Soviet threat. That they sought weapons from the Soviet bloc because they were prevented from buying them from the United States and its allies, and that forcing them to do this was part of a strategy making their threat more credible, was outside the orbit of media thought.

Thus, in the official and therefore media view, threats were and remain unidirectional-democratic Guatemala (1945 -54), Sandinista Nicaragua (1980-90), Iraq today have allegedly posed threats to the United States, but they themselves are not threatened by it. This results in part from the media's ideological and patriotic subservience. Just as in a totalitarian society, the media here take it as a premise that their leaders are good and pursue decent ends, so that invidious words like "threat" or "aggression" cannot be applied to their language and behavior. This is helped along by the fact that the targeted leaders are quickly demonized, so that any apparent threats from our end are a response to evil and quest for justice (as well as countering a real threat). This exquisitely and comically biased perspective has helped make it possible to find that no actions by the targets constitute "self defense," and in effect they do not have any right of self-defense.

Guatemala

Guatemala in the late 1940s and early 1950s offers a model case. Guatemala's democratic leaders had aroused suspicion by granting labor the right to form unions back in 1947, and when in 1952 president Jacopo Arbenz proposed taking over idle United Fruit land (with compensation) in the interest of landless peasants, United Fruit Company and U.S. government officials escalated the charges of a dire Communist threat. The media, which had previously rarely mentioned Guatemala, increasingly focused on the official target. The Communists never took over" Guatemala (see Stephen Schlesinger and Stephen Kinzer, Bitter Fruit), but United Fruit, the U.S. government, and the media claimed that they had, and the media became frenetic and hysterical on the subject. This was a completely fraudulent threat to U. S. national security.

On the other hand, the United States posed a genuine security threat to Guatemala, openly menacing it with hostile words and organizing a "contra" army in Nicaragua to invade Guatemala. The United States also refused to sell arms to Guatemala and got its allies to do the same. When Guatemala imported a small quantity of arms from Czechoslovakia in 1953 this caused a media frenzy, and demonstrated for the media the aggressive intent of the U.S. target. In the U.S. media the notion that Guatemala was threatened and might be acting in self defense in acquiring arms was outside the realm of permissible thought. After all, could the United States be planning a proxy aggression against Guatemala? Not for the amazing U.S. media-the tiny target threatened us.

None of the non-dictatorships in Latin America considered Guatemala a threat, although they were closer to the U.S. target and less capable of defending themselves from it if the threat were valid. But they were bribed and bullied by John Foster Dulles into condemning "international communism" in the hemisphere and the need to confront it. Did the U.S. officials believe the malarkey about a threat? The NSC Policy Statement on "United States Policy in the Event of Guatemalan Aggression in Latin America" (May 28, 1954) conveys the impression of official panic over the Guatemala menace, declaring Guatemala to be increasingly [an] instrument of Soviet aggression in this hemisphere." This was about a virtually disarmed tiny country that had not moved one inch outside its borders, in which the Soviet Union had invested nothing and with which Guatemala didn't even maintain diplomatic relations (out of fear of U.S. reaction), whose democratic government was shortly to be overthrown by a rag-tag proxy army, with much U.S. assistance.

After the overthrow of the Guatemalan democracy in 1954 the media once again allowed Guatemala to disappear from their sights. A very similar process took place following the victory of the Sandinistas over the authoritarian Somoza regime in Nicaragua in 1980. Here again it was the democratic government that quickly became a "threat" to the United States, after the United States had supported dictatorship for 45 years. Here again it organized a contra army to harass and invade the democracy. Once again it imposed an economic and arms embargo on the target, forcing it to acquire arms from the Soviet bloc, and then using this to demonstrate that it was an instrument of that bloc. Once again the nearby small countries were not frightened by the new menace, and much of their effort was spent trying to settle the conflict-in opposition to the Reagan administration's preference for the use of force.

Nicaragua, Soviet Threat, etc., etc.

Here again, also, after the Sandinista government was ousted, following a decade of boycott and U. S. -sponsored international terrorism, the media were enthused over this triumph of democracy and U.S. "patience" in using means other than a direct invasion to end social democracy in Nicaragua. Once this "threat" was terminated, the media once again moved away from Nicaragua to focus on other good deeds by their leaders coping with other threats. As with Guatemala, and later in the case of NATO-occupied Kosovo, the media carefully averted their eyes from the results, which were not in keeping with the alleged war aims and claims that beneficial effects would follow the removal of the threat.

The big threat featured in the Cold War years was that posed by the Soviet Union, which at least referred to the challenge of a serious rival on the global scene. But even here, the threat was misread and hugely inflated. The Soviet Union was always a conservative and defensive-minded regional power, its reach beyond its near neighbors tentative, reactive, and weak. It never posed a threat to the United States and constantly sought accommodation with the real (U.S.) superpower-its real threat was that it offered an alternative development model and supported resistance to the global thrust of U. S. imperialism.

On the other hand, World War II was hardly over when the United States was funding groups trying to destabilize the Soviet Union and in NSC 68 (1950) U.S. officials laid out an agenda for destabilization and "regime change" in the Soviet Union as basic U.S. policy. The United States never accepted the legitimacy of the Soviet Union and from the invasions in 1917 to the final important assist given Yeltsin and his apparatchiks, its aim has been regime change.

But in the U.S. propaganda system it was an ideological premise that the Soviet Union was trying to conquer the world and we were on the defensive, "containing" it. This was confirmed when Khrushchev said, "We are going to bury you," a blustering statement that was hardly on a par with the neglected NSC 68 policy pronouncement of an intent to bury the Soviet Union. A prime fact of Cold War history was that the Soviet Union provided a limit to U.S. expansionism-and it was the end of that real containment that has allowed the United States to go on its current rampage.

It should be noted that throughout the Cold War U.S. officials proclaimed Soviet advances and "gaps" that invariably proved to be disinformation, but which the New York Times and its colleagues invariably passed along as truth. Equally important, when it turned out that the "missile gap," "warhead gap," or "window of vulnerability" was a lie, the media kept

this under the rug, along with the fact that they had been propaganda and disinformation agents. In his classic, The Myth of Soviet Military Supremacy (Harper & Row, 1986), Tom Gervasi showed how the media passed along Reagan administration claims of Soviet superiority in weapons systems that were refutable from the Pentagon's own information releases, but which the New York Times and company were too lazy or too complicit with their leaders to examine and challenge, saying merely that figures "were difficult to pin down" (NYT), which was false. As Gervasi said, "The frequent assertions of editors...that they must strive for 'balance' and 'objectivity,' were simply an effort to hide the lack of attempt at either, to justify wholly uncritical acceptance of official views, and to deny that a great deal of information was missing from public view.

Iraq

In the buildup to the first Persian Gulf War in 1990-1991, U.S. officials and the media conveyed the impression that Iraq was a mighty power and huge military challenge to the United States and its "allies," when in fact Iraq was a Third World country exhausted by its brutal conflict with Iran and hardly able to put up token resistance to the "allied" assault. It was overwhelmed within a week and forced into de facto surrender. Ironically, Iraq didn't dare to use any weapons of mass destruction it possessed, but the "allies" blew up a number of Iraq weapons caches, spewing forth chemicals on allied soldiers and Iraqi civilians. The United States also used depleted uranium "dirty" munitions, thus making the Persian Gulf war a low level nuclear war, as it was later to do in Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. Once again, following the war-or more properly, slaughter-the media failed to reflect on either the evidence that the threat had been inflated or the costs of the war in terms of "friendly fire"_or rather "friendly use of depleted uranium and release of enemy chemicals"-on both allied soldiers and Iraqi civilians.

In the buildup to the prospective 2003 attack on Iraq, once again there has been a multi-pronged threat inflation that the mainstream media pass along in their now standard propaganda agency role.

Most important, there is the pretense that if Iraq possessed WMD it would pose a serious threat of using them offensively and against the United States in particular. To make this plausible the officials-media phalanx stress what a bad person Saddam is and the fact that he used WMD in the 1980s. What the phalanx avoids discussing are: (1) that Saddam only used those weapons when supplied and supported by the United States and Britain-he did not use them in the Persian Gulf War; (2) that the sanctions and inspections regime has made him far weaker now than in 1991 when he failed to use such weapons; (3) that his use of them offensively against either the United States or any U.S. client state would be suicidal; and (4) that it follows that if he possessed them they would only be serviceable for defensive purposes.

The idea that he poses a serious threat to the United States, claimed by President George Bush and his associates, is therefore absurd. But it is reported in the media as real and is essentially unchallenged. It is certainly never called absurd, as it is. Saddam does pose a possible threat to U.S. forces if attacked, but only then. We get back to the fact, however, that a target of U.S. enmity, from Vietnam to the Sandinista government of Nicaragua to Iraq has no right of self-defense in the media propaganda system.

Further arrows in the war-makers quiver are the facts that Saddam is a cruel dictator and that he has been less than completely cooperative with the inspections process designed to assure the elimination of his WMD. The former is true but irrelevant and its use is hypocritical. The United States and Britain supported this dictator when he served their interests and it continues to support others who are amenable, as Saddam appeared to be in the 1980s. International law and the UN Charter do not allow "regime change" of dictatorships by military intervention and actions with such design constitute straightforward aggression. "Helping" people by warring on them is also profoundly hypocritical and there is every reason to doubt any humanitarian end in Bush administration war planning.

It is also true that Saddam has not been fully cooperative with the inspections system, but why should he be when the United States has repeatedly admitted that inspections are a cover for an intent to dislodge him from power and have been used in the past to locate war targets? (The same motive of regime change underlies the genocidal sanctions regime that has killed over a million Iraqi civilians.) Furthermore, the inspections regime is a U.S.-British imposition that reflects their domination of the Security Council and their political agenda, it has nothing to do with justice. Israel is allowed to have WMD and ignore UN Security Council rulings because it is a Western ally and client, but Israel not only threatens its neighbors, it has repeatedly invaded Lebanon and is currently carrying out a ruthless program of repression and ethnic cleansing in occupied Palestine, in violation of UN rulings and the Fourth Geneva Convention. But the U.S. mainstream media ignore this, and have gotten on the bandwagon, proclaiming that

Iraq's lack of full cooperation with the inspections regime is intolerable.

A number of critical writers have stressed that while Iraq poses no threat to the United States, the attack on Iraq will create a threat in a feedback process. Thus Dan Ellsberg points out that: (1) "the number of recruits for suicide bombing against the U.S. and its allies...will increase a hundred-fold;" (2) "regimes with sizeable Muslim populations (including Indonesia, the Philippines, France and Germany...) will find it politically almost impossible to be seen collaborating with the US on the anti- terrorism intelligence and police operations that are essential to lessening the terrorist threat..."; (3) Iraq under attack, and possibly even segments of the Pakistani army, may finally share WMD with Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups (Dan Ellsberg on Iraq, Weblog Entry, Jan. 23, 2003, www.ellsberg. net/weblog/ 1_23_03. htm).

Once again the mainstream media have cooperated in a ludicrous threat inflation, which has prepared the ground for their country to wage a war of aggression. That war will not reduce a threat from Iraq, which was negligible, but it will produce serious threats as a consequence of the attack. However, this may well be what some of Bush's advisers want, as it will justify further U.S. militarization and warfare, intensified repression at home, and provide a cover for further Bush service to his business constituency here and for Sharon's accelerated ethnic cleansing and transfer in Palestine.

Edward S. Herman is an economist, author, media analyst, and a regular contributor to Z since 1988.

[Feb 29, 2020] How Threat Inflation Warps Public Opinion

Notable quotes:
"... Looking at the responses to the North Korea question over the decades, it is striking how little support there used to be for defending South Korea even during the Cold War. Over the last forty years, there has been a huge increase across the oldest three cohorts in a willingness to fight another war in Korea: ..."
"... Some of this increase might be explained by the demise of the USSR, but it cannot account for the dramatic increase in the last twenty years. There have been double digit increases in support for using U.S. forces to respond to a North Korean invasion since 2002, and in some of the cohorts the increase has been huge. 33% of Gen X respondents favored using U.S. troops in this scenario 18 years ago, and now 56% do. ..."
Feb 29, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

... there has been an increase since the start of the century. The story is much the same with the Gen X cohort: in 1998, only 49% agreed with the "active role" option, and today the number stands at 69%. All of these cohorts tend to become more supportive of an "active role" as time goes by regardless of how much damage U.S. activist foreign policy does.

The most troubling result is the broad public support for military action to "stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons":

It is remarkable that there is less support for coming to the defense of a treaty ally when it is invaded than there is for attacking Iran in an illegal, preventive war. The good news is that Iran is not seeking nuclear weapons, so this scenario is not likely to happen, but it is very worrisome that there is such an unthinking consensus in favor of an unjustified and aggressive military option. When the cohort that is least supportive of military action still favors launching an illegal attack on another country by two-to-one, that shows just how much public opinion has been warped by constant fear-mongering and threat inflation about Iran.

Looking at the responses to the North Korea question over the decades, it is striking how little support there used to be for defending South Korea even during the Cold War. Over the last forty years, there has been a huge increase across the oldest three cohorts in a willingness to fight another war in Korea:

Some of this increase might be explained by the demise of the USSR, but it cannot account for the dramatic increase in the last twenty years. There have been double digit increases in support for using U.S. forces to respond to a North Korean invasion since 2002, and in some of the cohorts the increase has been huge. 33% of Gen X respondents favored using U.S. troops in this scenario 18 years ago, and now 56% do.

34% of Silent generation respondents gave this response in 2002, and it is now 76%. 38% of Boomers gave this answer at the start of the century, and now 65% back using U.S. troops in a new Korean war. The sharpest increases seem to be related to North Korea's acquisition of nuclear weapons. This is strange, since one wold think that North Korea's possession of nuclear weapons would make Americans less likely to want to get involved in a war on the Peninsula. Once again, it looks like public opinion on this question has been driven by the steady drumbeat of fear-mongering about a manageable, deterrable threat from the DPRK. It is interesting that the generation that has grown up with the most threat inflation about Iran and North Korea is also the generation least inclined to use force against them. It may be that the generation that came of age with 9/11 and the Iraq war are understandably more skeptical of official claims and more likely to discount alarmism about foreign threats. Whatever the reason, it is encouraging that younger Americans are less supportive of military options, and if they stick with these views that bodes well for the prospects of a more restrained and peaceful foreign policy in the decades to come.

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

[Feb 29, 2020] Rand Paul says he will oppose John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani for Secretary of State

Notable quotes:
"... "Bolton is a longtime member of the failed Washington elite that Trump vowed to oppose, hell-bent on repeating virtually every foreign policy mistake the U.S. has made in the last 15 years - particularly those Trump promised to avoid as president," ..."
"... "It's important that someone who was an unrepentant advocate for the Iraq War, who didn't learn the lessons of the Iraq War, shouldn't be the secretary of state for a president who says Iraq was ..."
Nov 20, 2016 | rare.us

Senator Rand Paul said Tuesday in an op-ed for Rare that he would oppose President-elect Donald Trump's rumored selection of former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton as Secretary of State.

"Bolton is a longtime member of the failed Washington elite that Trump vowed to oppose, hell-bent on repeating virtually every foreign policy mistake the U.S. has made in the last 15 years - particularly those Trump promised to avoid as president,"

Paul wrote citing U.S. interventions in Iraq and Libya that Trump has criticized but that Bolton strongly advocated.

Reports since have indicated that former New York City mayor and loyal Trump ally, Rudy Giuliani is being considered for the post.

The Washington Post's David Weigel reports , "Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a newly reelected member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said this morning that he was inclined to oppose either former U.N. ambassador John Bolton or former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani if they were nominated for secretary of state."

"It's important that someone who was an unrepentant advocate for the Iraq War, who didn't learn the lessons of the Iraq War, shouldn't be the secretary of state for a president who says Iraq was a big lesson," Paul told the Post. "Trump said that a thousand times. It would be a huge mistake for him to give over his foreign policy to someone who [supported the war]. I mean, you could not find more unrepentant advocates of regime change."

Related: Rand Paul: Will Donald Trump betray voters by hiring John Bolton?

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

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

Authored by Cynthia Chung via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

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

– William Shakespeare

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

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

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

An Internal Shifting of Chess Pieces in the Shadows

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

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

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

In Col. Prouty's book he states,

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

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

An Inheritance of Secret Wars

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

– Sun Tzu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kennedy had them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Through the Looking Glass

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tags Politics War Conflict


ThomasChase1776 , 3 minutes ago link

General Smedley Butler had an answer. Read his book.

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

Is-Be , 8 minutes ago link

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

All his countrymen?

Element , 15 minutes ago link

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

Donald Trump, you stupid time-wasting twat .

ThomasChase1776 , 5 minutes ago link

LOL. That's a good one.

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

Who really runs our government?

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 1 hour ago link

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

ThomasChase1776 , 4 minutes ago link

Is that supposed to be an excuse?

GRDguy , 1 hour ago link

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

ThomasChase1776 , 4 minutes ago link

and Mossad

Slaytheist , 1 hour ago link

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

oneno , 1 hour ago link

She knows ...

SRV , 1 hour ago link

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

JFK fought that team...

cynicalskeptic , 1 hour ago link

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

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

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

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 43 minutes ago link

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

Spiritual Anunnaki , 2 hours ago link

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

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

Haboob , 2 hours ago link

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

That's life.

Benito_Camela , 1 hour ago link

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

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 38 minutes ago link

Unfortunately it is a winning racket.

Art_Vandelay , 2 hours ago link

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

Benito_Camela , 1 hour ago link

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

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 36 minutes ago link

The British crown

Kan , 2 hours ago link

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

TeethVillage88s , 1 hour ago link

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

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

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

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

....

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

likbez , February 29, 2020 7:38 pm

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

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

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

Published on Feb 24, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

He is the author of several books including the most recent

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

[Feb 28, 2020] Chas Freeman America in Distress The Challenges of Disadvantageous Change

Highly recommended!
I think everybody should listen the initial 47 minutes
Notable quotes:
"... Wanted to add that the malaise that is gripping the U.S. institutions is completely visible, it is not the opaque and obsequies portrait drawn by the punditry, news organizations, and elites. Seems most obvious to those of us outside the beltway that can clearly delineate between the failure of DC and the projections and marketing to the population that passes as wonky prose. Stupidity lacks the clarity, but brings the temerity making the facade not so subtle. ..."
"... Literally the only endorsement I've heard of Tulsi Gabbard - and a strikingly convincing one ..."
"... Isn't it just a question of the profits in the military business? ..."
Feb 24, 2020 | www.youtube.com

https://youtu.be/mvILLCbOFo4

In the United States and other democracies, political and economic systems still work in theory, but not in practice. Meanwhile, the American-led takedown of the post-World War II international system has shattered long-standing rules and norms of behavior. The combination of disorder at home and abroad is spawning changes that are increasingly disadvantageous to the United States. With Congress having essentially walked off the job, there is a need for America's universities to provide the information and analysis of international best practices that the political system does not.

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

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

Chas Freeman studied at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and in Taiwan, and earned an AB magna cum laude from Yale University as well as a JD from the Harvard Law School. He chairs Projects International, Inc., a Washington-based firm that for more than three decades has helped its American and foreign clients create ventures across borders, facilitating their establishment of new businesses through the design, negotiation, capitalization, and implementation of greenfield investments, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, franchises, one-off transactions, sales and agencies in other countries.


Trade Prosper , 3 days ago (edited)

Well worth the watch and hope more see it, especially the presentation in the initial 47 minutes. We Americans take our deficits and the $ as the reserve currency far too lightly.

strezztechnoid , 2 days ago

Wanted to add that the malaise that is gripping the U.S. institutions is completely visible, it is not the opaque and obsequies portrait drawn by the punditry, news organizations, and elites. Seems most obvious to those of us outside the beltway that can clearly delineate between the failure of DC and the projections and marketing to the population that passes as wonky prose. Stupidity lacks the clarity, but brings the temerity making the facade not so subtle.

yes it's me , 3 days ago

Literally the only endorsement I've heard of Tulsi Gabbard - and a strikingly convincing one

Bob Trajkoski , 3 days ago

Way the US is Warmongering state and threat to humanity, on the planet.? Nukes in the hand's of gangsters

strezztechnoid , 2 days ago (edited)

No, not mercenaries, this is a protection racket. The U.N. address in late 2018 by the President (the laughter spoke volumes) was about as insightful as a "goodfellas" scene where the shakedown of the little guy is highlighted. It was the speeches by other countries at the meeting that was most informative.

A definitive pullback from U.S. hegemony was palpable, real, and un-moderated. Large and small countries all expressed an unwillingness to be held under the thumb of the global bully. This is the result of having an over abundance of a particle within D.C.; not the electron, photon, or neutron...but the moron.

Frank , 3 days ago

Aura of imperial purpose.

Dan Good , 7 hours ago

Isn't it just a question of the profits in the military business?

[Feb 28, 2020] Russia s Relationship With China Is Growing Despite Setbacks by Lyle J. Goldstein ,

Highly recommended!
Feb 23, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

Russia has closed major border crossings with China across the Far East due to the rapid spread of coronavirus. That constitutes a significant blow to a trading relationship that had only just begun to fully blossom. The closures come just as new auto and rail bridges spanning the Amur River are finally reaching completion.

The primary line of debate among Russia-China relations analysts is whether the "rapprochement" is robust and tending toward even a genuine alliance or whether it is weak and has little to show for decades of cooperation other than a few rhetorical flourishes. After all, the skeptics note, if this bilateral relationship is so robust, then why did it take so long to get those bridges built?

The China-Russia trading relationship does indeed remain underdeveloped and will evidently face additional headwinds in the near future (along with all of China's trading relationships, so it seems). But the importance of security ties can hardly be disputed, especially if one takes the long view. Could China have fought the United States to a stalemate in the Korean War without Soviet military assistance? Not a chance. More recently, Russia's sale of high-tech air and naval weaponry during the 1990s and 2000s created a solid foundation for today's muscle-bound dragon with both claws (DF-26) and sharp fangs (e.g. YJ-18). But will it go further?

A tantalizing hint was offered by Russian president Vladimir Putin at the Valdai Conference in early October 2019. During his remarks, he dropped the following bombshell: "I probably won't open a big secret. It'll become clear anyhow. We are now helping our Chinese partners to create a missile attack warning system. This is a very serious thing, which will increase the defense capability of the People's Republic of China in a fundamental way. Because now only the USA and Russia have such a system [Большой тайны, наверно, не открою. Все равно это станет ясно. Мы сейчас помогаем нашим китайским партнерам создать систему СПРН – систему предупреждения о ракетном нападении. Это очень серьезная вещь, которая капитальным, кардинальным образом повысит обороноспособность Китайской Народной Республики. Потому что сейчас такую систему имеют только США и Россия]." This seemingly major step forward in Russia-China military cooperation demands greater scrutiny. It also provides an interesting opportunity to gauge opinion among Russian strategists regarding the long-term viability of a close military partnership with the Middle Kingdom.

One impressively comprehensive Russian appraisal begins by stating that "Russia had to look for various options for answering Washington's actions" to withdraw from the INF Treaty. The same article notes somewhat ominously that the United States is preparing in case of "accidental nuclear war with Russia." Employing the Russian acronym "SPRN" literally "warning systems against rocket attack [системы предупреждения о ракетном нападении]" for early warning system, this assessment also makes the important point that Russia's SPRN has only recently completed a long process of upgrades meant to fill "gaps [разрывы]" caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union, when key facilities for early warning were located in non-Russian parts of the USSR.

The article quotes one Moscow defense expert, Igor Korotchenko [Игор Коротченко], as offering the following assessment: "This is really a huge contribution of Russia to strategic stability, since China receives a powerful tool in order not to become a victim of the first disarming blow from the United States." Another Russian expert, Konstantin Sivkov [Константин Сивков], maintained that this move would enhance "global stability" but also articulated some concern with respect to Russia's long-term interests. "When China has at its disposal all the technologies that Russia has at its disposal, or creates similar ones, it will cease to need Russia as a defender," Sivkov said. "And this could adversely affect Russian-Chinese relations." Korotchenko, however, is more bullish on the long-term prospects for the defense relationship with Beijing. He underlined the commercial prospects for Russian companies, and added that the early warning initiative will "contribute to the further rapprochement of Russia and China, building a common security policy [поспособствует дальнейшему сближению России и Китая, выстраиванию общей политики в области безопасности]."

That's an interesting disagreement among Russian security specialists, for sure, but another rather significant observation regarding these developments was offered in this same article by the former deputy commander of Russia's air defense command, Alexander Luzan [Александр Лузан]. He contends that Russia will benefit from the enhanced cooperation with Beijing on an early warning. Luzan explains that the ground components of Russia's SPRN are comprised of []long range "Voronezh" [Воронеж] radars that can see out four thousand to six thousand kilometers to detect ICBM launches. Short-range "Sunflower [Подсолнухи]" radars are more suitable for warning of short-range launches, but also offer ship-detection capabilities. Directly reflecting on operational advantages for the Russian military, Luzan observes: "Vladivostok and Primorye are protected here, but there is nothing 'in depth.' We once tried to deploy our facilities in Mongolia, but it didn't work out very well. Therefore, if the Chinese close this 'tongue,' it will be very important for Russia [Владивосток и Приморье у нас защищены, а 'в глубину' там ничего нет. Мы когда-то в Монголии пытались разместить свои комплексы, но не очень получилось. Потому если китайцы этот 'язычок' закроют, то для России это будет очень важно]." Again citing this Russian general, the article states that "a unified information space is created and data is exchanged with Chinese radars, [and therefore] 'the security of our country from the east will be even better.'"

Such interpretations are generally in accord with the analysis of Vladimir Petrovsky [Владимир Петровский,], a senior fellow and military specialist at Moscow's Institute of the Far East of the Russian Academy of Sciences. This analyst writes that many believe that Putin's announcement of this strategic cooperation initiative at Valdai signals that "the military alliance between Russia and China . . . has finally become real." Petrovsky also notes that other specialists have begun to speculate on the meaning of a "retaliatory strike" under such circumstances, wherein the early warning is relayed by a third country. He quotes the Russian president (speaking at Valdai) further on the matter of motives for new missile deployments in the Asia-Pacific region: "we suddenly heard from the American military that the first step in this direction would be taken just in Asia. But that step also impacts on us, because we need to understand: where in Asia, will Russian territory be endangered or not? By the way, it's immediately clear what was the root cause of the exit: not Russia and not mythical violations of the [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces] Treaty by us. If they are going to put [U.S. missiles] in Asia, then Asia is the primary reason for withdrawing from this Treaty [вдруг услышали от американских военных, что первый шаг в этом направлении будет сделан как раз в Азии. Но он и нас затрагивает, потому что надо понять: где в Азии, будет доставать это российскую территорию или нет? Кстати говоря, сразу понятно, что было первопричиной выхода: не Россия и не мифические нарушения нами Договора. Если они собираются ставить в Азии, то Азия и является первопричиной выхода из этого Договора]." In other words, Putin's announcement of this initiative to accelerate military cooperation with China is intended, in part, as a response to the United States' move to exit the INF accord.

Strongly hinting that Beijing might well gain access to Russian early-warning radars based in the Arctic, Petrovsky observes, "Taking into account geography, it is quite possible to develop protocols for the exchange of data between national SPRN." He further contends that this early warning cooperation will be "mutually beneficial and not without compensation [эта помощь -- взаимовыгодная и небезвозмездная]." This military expert explains that China still can learn from Russian radar proficiency, but also implies that the Russian side may gain some advantages from China's evident prowess in microelectronics, for example. Moreover, he suggests, "a possible Chinese satellite constellation could be a good addition to Russian orbital facilities." Still, Petrovsky concludes that Russia and China "are not creating a military-political alliance. It is rather a matter of coordinating the military policies." Playing down the significance of this new initiative, this specialist also notes that Russia and China have been holding annual ballistic missile defense command and staff exercises for about a decade already.

[Feb 27, 2020] An interesting view on Russian "intelligencia" by the scientist and writer Zinoviev expressed during "perestroika" in 1991

Highly recommended!
Feb 27, 2020 | en.wikipedia.org

If intellectuals replace the current professional politicians as the leaders of society the situation would become much worse. Because they have neither the sense of reality, nor common sense. For them, the words and speeches are more important than the actual social laws and the dominant trends, the dominant social dynamics of the society. The psychological principle of the intellectuals is that we could organize everything much better, but we are not allowed to do it.

But the actual situation is as following: they could organize the life of society as they wish and plan, in the way they view is the best only if under conditions that are not present now are not feasible in the future. Therefore they are not able to act even at the level of current leaders of the society, which they despise. The actual leaders are influenced by social pressures, by the current social situation, but at least they doing something. Intellectuals are unhappy that the real stream of life they are living in. They consider it wrong. that makes them very dangerous, because they look really smart, while in reality being sophisticated professional idiots.

[Feb 26, 2020] Elections as a form of class war

Highly recommended!
Feb 26, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Cynthia , Feb 26 2020 22:23 utc | 55

karlof1 @49

You are right about it being a class war. It is this class war that the neoliberal establishment does not want us to see, hence creating other divisions such as racial, gender/trans, religious, etc. so we fight one another instead of uniting and fighting them.

When the many shades of surveillance are added in to your establishment existential threat, the Matrix feels really close at hand.

My guess is that your understanding stems from years of paying attention. Do you have any recommendations for sites that have helped?

I take it that your support of Bernie, with his imperfections, is due to you seeing him as a possible shift in the neoliberal order. My concern is that his imperfections are also baggage that is keeping people from supporting him - the woke agenda, panicky human-caused climate change agenda, supporting most of the MIC agenda. The first two are areas in which debate has been/is being shut down, which is a real red flag.

Thank you for any reply, or none. I always appreciate the big picture.

karlof1 , Feb 26 2020 23:04 utc | 60

Cynthia @55--

I'm a historian by training focusing on the Outlaw US Empire and everything related, which is a very wide field of inquiry. Yes, I started out paying attention as an adolescent during the 1960s with 1968 being a very important year for me. I'd read the Warren Commission Report a year earlier and thus began my real education. I passed out flyers for RFK in 1968 prior to the California Primary and watched again as the cities burned earlier that Spring. I pursued a career and tried to find love, but after 20 years I returned to college. Aside from college libraries, various alt-websites have served well over the years--Z-net, CommonDreams, The Oil Drum, MoA--along with a mixture of news sites that are nowadays all based in Russia or China. The one person I've learned more from online is Dr. Michael Hudson, whose Super Imperialism I bought and read after it was published during my senior high school year. And Noam Chomsky, not so much from his prose but from all the sources he consulted. Yes, I'm an end note and bibliography junkie. Solitude and time to study were also important assets. Knowing I was being lied to by Media and politicos was also helpful and thus made me seek out an objective historical narrative whereby I discovered I wasn't alone in my quest. Currently, Hudson's historical big picture is the one in which I believe the most merit lies--4,000+ years of Class War between creditors and debtors frames the West's existence, including its religions, which are its longest lasting institutions. And I highly value genuine discourse with associates.

[Feb 26, 2020] A serious US politician has to demonstrate a large capacity for betrayal.

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

Levtraro , says: Show Comment February 25, 2020 at 6:52 pm GMT

I suspect his open-borders advocacy and Russia-bashing too are lies; these are lines of defence against internal forces. It makes sense for him to take those positions while he seeks the nomination. If he gets it, he can betray those positions. A serious politician has to demonstrate a large capacity for betrayal. At the end of the day, he is a hardened politician like the rest.

[Feb 25, 2020] The Democrats' Quandary In a Struggle Between Oligarchy and Democracy, Something Must Give by Michael Hudson

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is "and forgive them their debts": Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year ..."
"... Until Nevada, all the presidential candidates except for Bernie Sanders were playing for a brokered convention. The party's candidates seemed likely to be chosen by the Donor Class, the One Percent and its proxies, not the voting class (the 99 Percent). If, as Mayor Bloomberg has assumed, the DNC will sell the presidency to the highest bidder, this poses the great question: Can the myth that the Democrats represent the working/middle class survive? Or, will the Donor Class trump the voting class? ..."
"... This could be thought of as "election interference" – not from Russia but from the DNC on behalf of its Donor Class. That scenario would make the Democrats' slogan for 2020 "No Hope or Change." That is, no from today's economic trends that are sweeping wealth up to the One Percent. ..."
"... But in the wake of Sanders' landslide victory in Nevada, a brokered convention would mean the end of the Democrat Party pretense to represent the 99 Percent. The American voting system would be seen to be as oligarchic as that of Rome on the eve of the infighting that ended with Augustus becoming Emperor in 27 BC. ..."
"... Today's pro-One Percent media – CNN, MSNBC and The New York Times ..."
"... History of Rome ..."
"... History of Rome ..."
"... Some on Resistance Twitter claim that if Sanders is the nominee, Trump will win a 48 sweep. Possible, but very unlikely. But if it did happen, the MSM would once again dismiss his program as being completely unacceptable to the voting class, and Sanders would trudge back to Vermont never to be heard from again. ..."
"... So if his program requires a decade long follow through, what are the least bad outcomes? If the D's deprive him of the nomination at the convention, even though he has far and away more pledged delegates, the MSM cannot dismiss his program as it would in the two previous scenarios, and his program would live to fight another day. ..."
"... Trump may or may not win. But if he does, the best he can hope for is a skin-of-his-teeth victory. Seriously, he lost the popular vote by a ton to Hillary freaking Clinton. ..."
"... And stuff is beginning to crumble around him on the Right. The Dow drops. Oops Richie Rich gets uneasy. ..."
"... I was more than a little honked when Sanders appeared to roll over and support HRC in 2016 in spite of the obvious fraud perpetrated on him and his supporters, not to mention the subsequent treatment they received at the hands of the DNC and Tom Perez. ..."
"... I find myself wondering if it wouldn't be a good idea for Sanders and his supporters to make it absolutely clear their attempts to work within 'the system' are finished if they are robbed again; maybe even starting work immediately on establishing a party not controlled by Wall Street lickspittle or knuckle-dragging no-nothings? ..."
Feb 25, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is "and forgive them their debts": Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year

To hear the candidates debate, you would think that their fight was over who could best beat Trump. But when Trump's billionaire twin Mike Bloomberg throws a quarter-billion dollars into an ad campaign to bypass the candidates actually running for votes in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, it's obvious that what really is at issue is the future of the Democrat Party. Bloomberg is banking on a brokered convention held by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in which money votes. (If "corporations are people," so is money in today's political world.)

Until Nevada, all the presidential candidates except for Bernie Sanders were playing for a brokered convention. The party's candidates seemed likely to be chosen by the Donor Class, the One Percent and its proxies, not the voting class (the 99 Percent). If, as Mayor Bloomberg has assumed, the DNC will sell the presidency to the highest bidder, this poses the great question: Can the myth that the Democrats represent the working/middle class survive? Or, will the Donor Class trump the voting class?

This could be thought of as "election interference" – not from Russia but from the DNC on behalf of its Donor Class. That scenario would make the Democrats' slogan for 2020 "No Hope or Change." That is, no from today's economic trends that are sweeping wealth up to the One Percent.

All this sounds like Rome at the end of the Republic in the 1st century BC. The way Rome's constitution was set up, candidates for the position of consul had to pay their way through a series of offices. The process started by going deeply into debt to get elected to the position of aedile, in charge of staging public games and entertainments. Rome's neoliberal fiscal policy did not tax or spend, and there was little public administrative bureaucracy, so all such spending had to be made out of the pockets of the oligarchy. That was a way of keeping decisions about how to spend out of the hands of democratic politics. Julius Caesar and others borrowed from the richest Bloomberg of their day, Crassus, to pay for staging games that would demonstrate their public spirit to voters (and also demonstrate their financial liability to their backers among Rome's One Percent). Keeping election financing private enabled the leading oligarchs to select who would be able to run as viable candidates. That was Rome's version of Citizens United.

But in the wake of Sanders' landslide victory in Nevada, a brokered convention would mean the end of the Democrat Party pretense to represent the 99 Percent. The American voting system would be seen to be as oligarchic as that of Rome on the eve of the infighting that ended with Augustus becoming Emperor in 27 BC.

Today's pro-One Percent media – CNN, MSNBC and The New York Times have been busy spreading their venom against Sanders. On Sunday, February 23, CNN ran a slot, "Bloomberg needs to take down Sanders, immediately."[1]Given Sanders' heavy national lead, CNN warned, the race suddenly is almost beyond the vote-fixers' ability to fiddle with the election returns. That means that challengers to Sanders should focus their attack on him; they will have a chance to deal with Bloomberg later (by which CNN means, when it is too late to stop him).

The party's Clinton-Obama recipients of Donor Class largesse pretend to believe that Sanders is not electable against Donald Trump. This tactic seeks to attack him at his strongest point. Recent polls show that he is the only candidate who actually would defeat Trump – as they showed that he would have done in 2016.

The DNC knew that, but preferred to lose to Trump than to win with Bernie. Will history repeat itself? Or to put it another way, will this year's July convention become a replay of Chicago in 1968?

A quandary, not a problem . Last year I was asked to write a scenario for what might happen with a renewed DNC theft of the election's nomination process. To be technical, I realize, it's not called theft when it's legal. In the aftermath of suits over the 2016 power grab, the courts ruled that the Democrat Party is indeed controlled by the DNC members, not by the voters. When it comes to party machinations and decision-making, voters are subsidiary to the superdelegates in their proverbial smoke-filled room (now replaced by dollar-filled foundation contracts).

I could not come up with a solution that does not involve dismantling and restructuring the existing party system. We have passed beyond the point of having a solvable "problem" with the Democratic National Committee (DNC). That is what a quandary is. A problem has a solution – by definition. A quandary does not have a solution. There is no way out. The conflict of interest between the Donor Class and the Voting Class has become too large to contain within a single party. It must split.

A second-ballot super-delegate scenario would mean that we are once again in for a second Trump term. That option was supported by five of the six presidential contenders on stage in Nevada on Wednesday, February 20. When Chuck Todd asked whether Michael Bloomberg, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar would support the candidate who received the most votes in the primaries (now obviously Bernie Sanders), or throw the nomination to the super-delegates held over from the Obama-Clinton neoliberals (75 of whom already are said to have pledged their support to Bloomberg), each advocated "letting the process play out." That was a euphemism for leaving the choice to the Tony-Blair style leadership that have made the Democrats the servants' entrance to the Republican Party. Like the British Labour Party behind Blair and Gordon Brown, its role is to block any left-wing alternative to the Republican program on behalf of the One Percent.

This problem would not exist if the United States had a European-style parliamentary system that would enable a third party to obtain space on the ballots in all 50 states. If this were Europe, the new party of Bernie Sanders, AOC et al. would exceed 50 percent of the votes, leaving the Wall Street democrats with about the same 8 percent share that similar neoliberal democratic parties have in Europe ( e.g ., Germany's hapless neoliberalized Social Democrats), that is, Klobocop territory as voters moved to the left. The "voting Democrats," the 99 Percent, would win a majority leaving the Old Neoliberal Democrats in the dust.

The DNC's role is to prevent any such challenge. The United States has an effective political duopoly, as both parties have created such burdensome third-party access to the ballot box in state after state that Bernie Sanders decided long ago that he had little alternative but to run as a Democrat.

The problem is that the Democrat Party does not seem to be reformable. That means that voters still may simply abandon it – but that will simply re-elect the Democrats' de facto 2020 candidate, Donald Trump. The only hope would be to shrink the party into a shell, enabling the old guard to go way so that the party could be rebuilt from the ground up.

But the two parties have created a legal duopoly reinforced with so many technical barriers that a repeat of Ross Perot's third party (not to mention the old Socialist Party, or the Whigs in 1854) would take more than one election cycle to put in place. For the time being, we may expect another few months of dirty political tricks to rival those of 2016 as Obama appointee Tom Perez is simply the most recent version of Florida fixer Debbie Schultz-Wasserman (who gave a new meaning to the Wasserman Test).

So we are in for another four years of Donald Trump. But by 2024, how tightly will the U.S. economy find itself tied in knots?

The Democrats' Vocabulary of Deception

How I would explain Bernie's program. Every economy is a mixed economy. But to hear Michael Bloomberg and his fellow rivals to Bernie Sanders explain the coming presidential election, one would think that an economy must be either capitalist or, as Bloomberg put it, Communist. There is no middle ground, no recognition that capitalist economies have a government sector, which typically is called the "socialist" sector – Social Security, Medicare, public schooling, roads, anti-monopoly regulation, and public infrastructure as an alternative to privatized monopolies extracting economic rent.

What Mr. Bloomberg means by insisting that it's either capitalism or communism is an absence of government social spending and regulation. In practice this means oligarchic financial control, because every economy is planned by some sector. The key is, who will do the planning? If government refrains from taking the lead in shaping markets, then Wall Street takes over – or the City in London, Frankfurt in Germany, and the Bourse in France.

Most of all, the aim of the One Percent is to distract attention from the fact that the economy is polarizing – and is doing so at an accelerating rate. National income statistics are rigged to show that "the economy" is expanding. The pretense is that everyone is getting richer and living better, not more strapped. But the reality is that all the growth in GDP has accrued to the wealthiest 5 Percent since the Obama Recession began in 2008. Obama bailed out the banks instead of the 10 million victimized junk-mortgage holders. The 95 Percent's share of GDP has shrunk.

The GDP statistics do not show is that "capital gains" – the market price of stocks, bonds and real estate owned mainly by the One to Five Percent – has soared, thanks to Obama's $4.6 trillion Quantitative Easing pumped into the financial markets instead of into the "real" economy in which wage-earners produce goods and services.

How does one "stay the course" in an economy that is polarizing? Staying the course means continuing the existing trends that are concentrating more and more wealth in the hands of the One Percent, that is, the Donor Class – while loading down the 99 Percent with more debt, paid to the One Percent (euphemized as the economy's "savers"). All "saving" is at the top of the pyramid. The 99 Percent can't afford to save much after paying their monthly "nut" to the One Percent.

If this economic polarization is impoverishing most of the population while sucking wealth and income and political power up to the One Percent, then to be a centrist is to be the candidate of oligarchy. It means not challenging the economy's structure.

Language is being crafted to confuse voters into imagining that their interest is the same as that of the Donor Class of rentiers , creditors and financialized corporate businesses and rent-extracting monopolies. The aim is to divert attention from voters' their own economic interest as wage-earners, debtors and consumers. It is to confuse voters not to recognize that without structural reform, today's "business as usual" leaves the One Percent in control.

So to call oneself a "centrist" is simply a euphemism for acting as a lobbyist for siphoning up income and wealth to the One Percent. In an economy that is polarizing, the choice is either to favor them instead of the 99 Percent.

That certainly is not the same thing as stability. Centrism sustains the polarizing dynamic of financialization, private equity, and the Biden-sponsored bankruptcy "reform" written by his backers of the credit-card companies and other financial entities incorporated in his state of Delaware. He was the senator for the that state's Credit Card industry, much as former Democratic VP candidate Joe Lieberman was the senator from Connecticut's Insurance Industry.

A related centrist demand is that of Buttigieg's and Biden's aim to balance the federal budget. This turns out to be a euphemism for cutting back Social Security, Medicare and relate social spending ("socialism") to pay for America's increasing militarization, subsidies and tax cuts for the One Percent. Sanders rightly calls this "socialism for the rich." The usual word for this is oligarchy . That seems to be a missing word in today's mainstream vocabulary.

The alternative to democracy is oligarchy. As Aristotle noted already in the 4 th

Confusion over the word "socialism" may be cleared up by recognizing that every economy is mixed, and every economy is planned – by someone. If not the government in the public interest, then by Wall Street and other financial centers in their interest. They fought against an expanding government sector in every economy today, calling it socialism – without acknowledging that the alternative, as Rosa Luxemburg put it, is barbarism.

I think that Sanders is using the red-letter word "socialism" and calling himself a "democratic socialist" to throw down the ideological gauntlet and plug himself into the long and powerful tradition of socialist politics. Paul Krugman would like him to call himself a social democrat. But the European parties of this name have discredited this label as being centrist and neoliberal. Sanders wants to emphasize that a quantum leap, a phase change is in order.

If he can be criticized for waving a needlessly red flag, it is his repeated statement that his program is designed for the "working class." What he means are wage-earners and this includes the middle class. Even those who make over $100,000 a year are still wage earners, and typically are being squeezed by a predatory financial sector, a predatory medical insurance sector, drug companies and other monopolies.

The danger in this terminology is that most workers like to think of themselves as middle class, because that is what they would like to rise into. That is especially he case for workers who own their own home (even if mortgage represents most of the value, so that most of the home's rental value is paid to banks, not to themselves as part of the "landlord class"), and have an education (even if most of their added income is paid out as student debt service), and their own car to get to work (involving automobile debt).

The fact is that even $100,000 executives have difficulty living within the limits of their paycheck, after paying their monthly nut of home mortgage or rent, medical care, student loan debt, credit-card debt and automobile debt, not to mention 15% FICA paycheck withholding and state and local tax withholding.

Of course, Sanders' terminology is much more readily accepted by wage-earners as the voters whom Hillary called "Deplorables" and Obama called "the mob with pitchforks," from whom he was protecting his Wall Street donors whom he invited to the White House in 2009. But I think there is a much more appropriate term: the 99 Percent, made popular by Occupy Wall Street. That is Bernie's natural constituency. It serves to throw down the gauntlet between democracy and oligarchy, and between socialism and barbarism, by juxtaposing the 99 Percent to the One Percent.

The Democratic presidential debate on February 25 will set the stage for Super Tuesday's "beauty contest" to gauge what voters want. The degree of Sanders' win will help determine whether the byzantine Democrat party apparatus that actually will be able to decide on the Party's candidate. The expected strong Sanders win is will make the choice stark: either to accept who the voters choose – namely, Bernie Sanders – or to pick a candidate whom voters already have rejected, and is certain to lose to Donald Trump in November.

If that occurs, the Democrat Party will evaporate as its old Clinton-Obama guard is no longer able to protect its donor class on Wall Street and corporate America. Too many Sanders voters would stay home or vote for the Greens. That would enable the Republicans to maintain control of the Senate and perhaps even grab back the House of Representatives.

But it would be dangerous to assume that the DNC will be reasonable. Once again, Roman history provides a "business as usual" scenario. The liberal German politician Theodor Mommsen published his History of Rome in 1854-56, warning against letting an aristocracy block reform by controlling the upper house of government (Rome's Senate, or Britain House of Lords). The leading families who overthrew the last king in 509 BC created a Senate chronically prone to being stifled by its leaders' "narrowness of mind and short-sightedness that are the proper and inalienable privileges of all genuine patricianism."[2]

These qualities also are the distinguishing features of the DNC. Sanders had better win big!

________________

[1] https://edition.cnn.com/2020/02/22/opinions/bloomberg-needs-to-take-down-sanders-lockhart/index.html . Joe Lockhart, opinion. For the MSNBC travesty see from February 23, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/02/23/msnbc-full-blown-freakout-mode-bernie-sanders-cements-status-democratic-frontrunner, by Jake Johnson.

[2]Mommsen, History of Rome , 1911: 268.


divadab , February 25, 2020 at 7:55 am

I wonder how much of the rot at the top of the Dem party is simple dementia. By the age of 70, half of people have some level of dementia. Consider Joe Biden – is anyone in the public sphere going to state the obvious – that he has dementia and as such is unfit for office?

Fred1 , February 25, 2020 at 8:32 am

First, my priors. I voted for Sanders in 2016, will vote for him in 2020, and expect him to be elected president. Further I believe that where we find ourselves today is the result of at least 40 years of intentional bi-partisan policies. Both parties are responsible.

If Sanders, upon being elected, were able to snap his fingers and call into existence his entire program, it would immediately face a bi-partisan opposition that would be funded by billions of dollars, which would be willing to take as long as necessary, even decades, to roll it back.

Just electing Sanders is only the first step. There must be a committed, determined follow through that must be willing to last decades as well for his program to stick. And there will be defeats along the way.

Several observations. If Hillary had beaten Trump, Sanders would have trudged back to Vermont and would never have been heard from again. The MSM would have dismissed his program as being completely unacceptable to the voting class. But she didn't, so here we are, which is fantastic.

Some on Resistance Twitter claim that if Sanders is the nominee, Trump will win a 48 sweep. Possible, but very unlikely. But if it did happen, the MSM would once again dismiss his program as being completely unacceptable to the voting class, and Sanders would trudge back to Vermont never to be heard from again.

So if his program requires a decade long follow through, what are the least bad outcomes? If the D's deprive him of the nomination at the convention, even though he has far and away more pledged delegates, the MSM cannot dismiss his program as it would in the two previous scenarios, and his program would live to fight another day.

If he loses to Trump, but closely, which can mean a lot of different things, his program would live to fight another day. Moreover, if the D's are seen to actively collude with Trump, this less bad outcome would be even better.

I am an old geezer and don't expect to live long enough to see how all of this plays out. But I am very optimistic about his program's long term prospects. There is only one bad outcome, a Trump 48 state sweep, which I consider very unlikely. But most importantly, the best outcome, his election, and the two least bad outcomes, the D's stealing the nomination from him or his losing a close general election, all still will require a decades long commitment to make his program permanent.

I wish I were younger.

a different chris , February 25, 2020 at 8:55 am

>a Trump 48 state sweep

Where do people get this? Take a deep breath. Trump may or may not win. But if he does, the best he can hope for is a skin-of-his-teeth victory. Seriously, he lost the popular vote by a ton to Hillary freaking Clinton.

And stuff is beginning to crumble around him on the Right. The Dow drops. Oops Richie Rich gets uneasy.

Hammered by a 5 star general. The Deplorables kids were raised to look up to generals, not New Yawk dandys. How does this affect them? And it's still February.

Sailor Bud , February 25, 2020 at 8:34 am

Just an FYI: The five-volume Mommsen "History of Rome" referenced in the text is available in English on Project Gutenberg, free and legal to download. Probably everyone here knows this, but just in case

Dan , February 25, 2020 at 8:44 am

How about Bernie call himself "Roosevelt Democrat" instead of "Democratic Socialist". It would give all those in the senior demographic a better understanding of what Sander's policies mean to them as opposed to the scary prospect of the "Socialist" label.

Oxley Creek Boy , February 25, 2020 at 10:12 am

The Democrats should have been slowly disarming the word "socialist" for at least the last decade. In principle, it's not difficult – as Michael Hudson says – "Every economy is a mixed economy" – and in a very real sense everyone's a socialist (even if only unconsciously). I'm not saying that bit of rhetorical jujitsu would magically turn conservative voters progressive but you'll never get to the point where you can defend socialist programs on the merits if you always dodge that fight. It's just a shame that Bernie Sanders has to do it all in a single election cycle and I don't think choosing a different label now would help him much.

flora , February 25, 2020 at 11:37 am

He could even compare himself to the earlier Roosevelt: Teddy Roosevelt.

By 1900 the old bourbon Dem party was deeply split between its old, big business and banking wing – the bourbons – and the rising progressive/populist wing. It was GOP pres Roosevelt who first pushed through progressive programs like breaking up railroad and commodity monopolies, investigating and regulating meat packing and fraudulent patent medicines, etc. Imagine that.

lyman alpha blob , February 25, 2020 at 1:30 pm

I just finished Stoller's book Goliath and according to him, Teddy wasn't quite as progressive as we are often led to believe. He wasn't so much opposed to those with enormous wealth – he just wanted them to answer to him. He did do the things you mentioned, but after sending the message to the oligarchs, he then became friendly with them once he felt he'd brought them to heel. He developed quite the soft spot for JP Morgan, according to Stoller.

TR wanted to be the Boss, the center of attention with everyone looking up to him. As one of his relatives said, he wanted to be the baby at every christening and the corpse at every funeral.

I find Bernie to be a lot more humble.

Balakirev , February 25, 2020 at 12:51 pm

I have a sense that changing his party affiliation label at any point in time since Sanders began running for president in 2016 would be a godsend to his enemies in both hands of the Duopoly. They'd tar him loudly as a hypocrite without an ounce of integrity, using personal politics to distract from the issues.

Meanwhile, we can expect to see the Socialist (and Communist, and Russia-Russia-Russia) nonsense reiterated as long as Sanders has strong visibility. He's extremely dangerous to both parties and their owners. I don't' believe the DNC will let him take the convention, but if he does, I'll bet the Dems give him minimal support and hope he fails–better the devil you know, etc.

political economist , February 25, 2020 at 9:56 am

It's time to put your money in reality futures by putting all that you can into supporting Bernie, AOC, etc. and all your local candidates that support at least democratic socialism and ourrevolution the DSA Justice Dems or other groups that have people but need money. I was having a conversation with a friend who was complaining that he was getting too many emails from Bernie asking for money after he had given the campaign a "modest amount". My suggestion was in honor of his children and grandchildren he should instead GIVE 'TIL IT FEELS GOOD. My spouse and I, I told him, gave the max to Bernie and now we don't give upset when he asks for more. There will likely never be a moment like this in history and there may not be much of a history if things go the wrong way now. He agreed.

Debra D. , February 25, 2020 at 10:11 am

Exactly right. I gave Bernie the max in 2019 and will keep giving throughout 2020. This campaign is about not just me, but all of us. It's now. We must fight for this change as has always been the historical precedent.

BillC , February 25, 2020 at 11:55 am

OK, you two gave me the push I needed to max out my contributions to Bernie too. Let's hope Bernie's (oops OUR) bandwagon keeps gathering steam!

Arizona Slim , February 25, 2020 at 12:41 pm

Another 2019 Bernie maxer here.

I feel blessed to have been able to give at this level. And I believe that I did this for a lot of people who aren't able to donate at all.

steven , February 25, 2020 at 11:13 am

I was more than a little honked when Sanders appeared to roll over and support HRC in 2016 in spite of the obvious fraud perpetrated on him and his supporters, not to mention the subsequent treatment they received at the hands of the DNC and Tom Perez.

I am coming to understand that might have been necessary within the context of one last desperate attempt to work with the Democratic party. But now I find myself wondering if it wouldn't be a good idea for Sanders and his supporters to make it absolutely clear their attempts to work within 'the system' are finished if they are robbed again; maybe even starting work immediately on establishing a party not controlled by Wall Street lickspittle or knuckle-dragging no-nothings?

Little as it has been the answer has a lot to do with my willingness to pour more money into repetitively self-defeating behavior.

HotFlash , February 25, 2020 at 12:49 pm

Bernie is a long-distance runner and strategizes like one. First work on finishing your races. Then worry about where you place.

Debra R. , February 25, 2020 at 11:28 am

I am a somewhat old geezer, too, who caucused for Bernie in 2016 and 2020. This article is very good and helps me understand why I feel the way I do. I was disappointed in Obama, who didn't follow through on the things I cared about, and I was devastated when Clinton was crowned the Democratic nominee well before the Convention, all the while holding onto a smidgen of hope that somehow Bernie would pull through as the nominee.

I was ecstatic when Bernie announced his candidacy for 2020. He is our only hope, and now we have a second chance. But now I am spending half my time screaming at people on tv and online who can't even hear me, and even if they could, they don't give a s–t what I think. It's Clinton 2.0–same thing all over again, four years later. Just who do these people (DNC, MSM, and others with a voice) think they are, to decide for the Democratic voters which candidate will be the nominee, who won't be the nominee, without regard to what the voters want? They are a bunch of pompous as–s who have some other motive that I am not savvy enough to understand. Is it about money in their pockets or what?

It should be as simple as this–Bernie is leading in the polls, if they are to be believed, and good people of all demographics want him to be our next President. He is a serious contender for the nomination. Show the man some much-earned respect and put people on MSM and publish articles by writers who help us understand what the anti-Bernie panic is about and why we shouldn't panic. Help us to explain his plans if he hasn't explained it thoroughly enough instead of calling him crazy. But to dismiss him as if he has the plague is not furthering the truth, and it is a serious injustice to the voting public. Naked Capitalism can't do it alone.

HotFlash , February 25, 2020 at 12:58 pm

There is a lot of good analysis out there, mainly on Youtube. I particularly like The Hill's Rising. A young progressive Democrat and a young progressive Republican (who even knew there was such a thing!) 'splain a lot of the antipathy. Another good source is Nomiki Konst, who is working on reforming the Dem party from within. Here she talks to RJ Eskow about how the DNC is structured and how she hopes to provide tools for rank-and-file Dems to wrest the levers of power from the establishment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZ7wm6DCPV4

notabanktoadie , February 25, 2020 at 12:32 pm

Private sector cannot operate without same. Harrold

The problem is that the population, including FDR in his time, have been duped into believing that the private sector REQUIRES government privileges for private depository institutions, aka "the banks."

So currently we have no truly private sector to speak of but businesses and industry using the public's credit but for private gain.

Susan the other , February 25, 2020 at 12:16 pm

Last night's Democracy Now was interest