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Non-Interventionism

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. – Issac Asimov
"War is the health of the State." -- Randolph Bourne

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Noninterventionism: A Primer

America's alternative to war and empire is not "isolationism."

By Daniel Larison June 11, 2014

Americans have grown understandably weary of foreign entanglements over the last 12 years of open-ended warfare, and they are now more receptive to a noninterventionist message than they have been in decades. According to a recent Pew survey, 52 percent of Americans now prefer that the U.S. “mind its own business in international affairs,” which represents the most support for a restrained and modest foreign policy in the last 50 years. That presents a challenge and an opportunity for noninterventionists to articulate a coherent and positive case for what a foreign policy of peace and prudence would mean in practice. As useful and necessary as critiquing dangerous ideas may be, noninterventionism will remain a marginal, dissenting position in policymaking unless its advocates explain in detail how their alternative foreign policy would be conducted.

A noninterventionist foreign policy would first of all require a moratorium on new foreign entanglements and commitments for the foreseeable future. A careful reevaluation of where the U.S. has vital interests at stake would follow. There are relatively few places where the U.S. has truly vital concerns that directly affect our security and prosperity, and the ambition and scale of our foreign policy should reflect that. A noninterventionist U.S. would conduct itself like a normal country without pretensions to global “leadership” or the temptation of a proselytizing mission. This is a foreign policy more in line with what the American people will accept and less likely to provoke violent resentment from overseas, and it is therefore more sustainable and affordable over the long term.

When a conflict or dispute erupts somewhere, unless it directly threatens the security of America or our treaty allies, the assumption should be that it is not the business of the U.S. government to take a leading role in resolving it. If a government requests aid in the event of a natural disaster or humanitarian crisis (e.g., famine, disease), as Haiti did following its devastating earthquake in 2010, the U.S. can and should lend assistance—but as a general rule the U.S. should not seek to interfere in other nations’ domestic circumstances.

LarisonIf parties to a dispute request outside arbitration, the U.S. should be in a position to act as a neutral mediator—which presupposes that the U.S. is not actively backing one side against another. We have seen the futility and absurdity of trying to act as an “honest broker” while providing lopsided support to one side in a conflict, and this should have no place in a noninterventionist foreign policy. There could be a potentially large and active role for U.S. diplomats abroad, but not one in which the U.S. was attempting to dictate terms or to promote a particular cause. International engagement could not and would not cease in a noninterventionist foreign policy, but it would be of a very different kind.

One of the priorities of a noninterventionist agenda would be the scaling back of America’s numerous commitments overseas. This would be accomplished mainly by shifting burdens gradually to current allies and regional powers: ceding regional influence in Central Asia to India and Russia, for example, and encouraging a more independent foreign policy for allies such as Japan and Germany. In general, the states that have the most at stake in maintaining regional stability should be given the responsibility for securing it. U.S. commitments have been building up over decades, so it is neither realistic nor desirable to end them suddenly. Nonetheless, there are also far more commitments than the U.S. can afford, and many of them are relics of the struggle with the Soviet Union or the remains of a “War on Terror” that has expanded beyond anything that most Americans imagined when it began a decade ago. Cutting back security entanglements is a long-delayed and necessary adjustment that the U.S. should have been making for the last 20 years. But it will not be sufficient simply to return to status quo ante at the start of the 21st century. The U.S. was already overcommitted around the world before the Bush era and will still be so after the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Ideally, the U.S. would reduce its overseas military presence in the Near East to at most what it was in the years before Desert Storm in 1991, and continue to reduce its presence in Europe as European governments bear more of the costs of their own defense. To date, wealthy allies have been able to skimp on their military spending, on the safe assumption that the U.S. would be ready and willing to make up the difference, but this arrangement is neither sustainable nor in our best interests. It not only creates an unhealthy dependence that ends up dragging unwilling Europeans into U.S. wars of choice, but as we saw in Libya, it perversely pulls the U.S. into European wars of choice because Europe’s governments cannot fight them on their own.

NATO is outdated and unnecessary, but provided that it functions purely as a defensive alliance it wouldn’t necessarily have to be dissolved. If the alliance continued to exist, the U.S. should not use it or permit it to be used as cover for members’ wars of choice and “out of area” missions. It should go without saying that there would be no further NATO expansion, which does nothing except antagonize Russia to the detriment of regional stability. If the alliance’s security guarantees to current members are to mean anything, they shouldn’t be extended to countries that the U.S. and other member nations are not actually willing to defend. To that end, U.S. and NATO officials should stop giving false encouragement to would-be member states that will never be admitted.

A noninterventionist U.S. would keep the major treaty allies it has for the time being but would also review its relationships with the many client states that neither act like nor deserve the name of ally. Clients that expose the U.S. to unnecessary conflicts or create dangerous tensions with other major powers are liabilities, and the U.S. should alter relations with them accordingly. That doesn’t require the U.S. to have poor relations with those states, but it does mean that they would stop receiving support and indulgence when their interests and ours clearly diverge. Many client state relationships would need to be downgraded as a result, and U.S. aid to them would be correspondingly reduced or eliminated.

In keeping with President Washington’s exhortation in his Farewell Address, the U.S. would seek to “observe good faith and justice toward all nations” and to “cultivate peace and harmony with all.” That means that a noninterventionist U.S. would work to maintain normal and full diplomatic relations with as many states as possible, and it would restrict or cut off trade with other states only in the most extreme cases. A noninterventionist foreign policy would very rarely rely on sanctions as a tool, and then only when they are targeted specifically against regime officials rather than the civilian population. In general, an America following Washington’s advice would promote both trade and diplomatic engagement rather than employing the tactics of embargo and isolation.

The U.S. would also refuse to take sides in the internal quarrels of other countries. The sovereignty of other states would be respected much more consistently than in past decades. The U.S. would refrain from destabilizing foreign governments or aiding in their overthrow, and it would not make a habit of siding with whichever protest movement happened to be in the streets of a foreign capital. Likewise, it would refrain from propping up and subsidizing abusive and dictatorial regimes and would condition U.S. aid on how a government treats its people. While there may be a need to cooperate with authoritarian states on certain issues, governments that torture or violently suppress peaceful protests, including the current Egyptian government, shouldn’t be supported in any way by American taxpayers.

War might be necessary at some point, but if so it would be waged only in self-defense or the defense of a treaty ally. A noninterventionist U.S. would never wage a preventive war— which is contrary both to international law and morality—and would generally be wary of using force even when it could be justified. The U.S. should always avoid giving allies and clients the impression that they have a blank check from Washington, since that will tend to make them more combative and unreasonable in disputes with their neighbors. Allies and clients that wanted to pursue reckless and provocative courses of action would be actively discouraged, and it would be the responsibility of the U.S. to pull these states back from avoidable conflicts. A noninterventionist U.S. would manage relations with other major powers by seeking to cooperate on matters of common interest and by avoiding unnecessary disagreements on those issues where the U.S. has relatively little at stake. The U.S. and other major powers are bound to have conflicting interests from time to time, but these unavoidable disagreements shouldn’t be compounded by picking fights over every issue where we differ. As long as the U.S. has allies on the borders of other major powers, there will always be a certain degree of mistrust and tension in our relations. However, the U.S. shouldn’t make this worse by seeking to enlarge our alliances or increase our influence in countries that have historically been in the orbit of another major power. The goal here should be to keep tensions with other major powers at a tolerable minimum and to reduce the possibility of renewed great power conflict in the new century.

As George Washington also said: “In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated.” For that reason, a noninterventionist U.S. would be one that doesn’t seek to demagogue or exaggerate foreign threats, nor would it cultivate either hostility towards or adoration of any other country. Above all, it won’t seek to make the U.S. the champion of any other country’s interests at our expense.

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

Senior editor Daniel Larison blogs at TheAmericanConservative.com/Larison.

Opposition to New American Militarism

Libertarians (along will less numerous and less influential paleoconservatives) are the only more or less influential faction of the US society that oppose what Basevich called New American Militarism. The foreign policy of the USA since the dissolution of the USSR was and is "open militarism". Recently  John Quiggin  tried to define militarism is came to the following definition (crookedtimber.org):

100 years after the Battle of the Somme, it's hard to see that much has been learned from the catastrophe of the Great War and the decades of slaughter that followed it. Rather than get bogged down (yet again) in specifics that invariably decline into arguments about who know more of the historical detail, I'm going to try a different approach, looking at the militarist ideology that gave us the War, and trying to articulate an anti-militarist alternative. Wikipedia offers a definition of militarism which, with the deletion of a single weasel word, seems to be entirely satisfactory and also seems to describe the dominant view of the political class, and much of the population in nearly every country in the world.

Militarism is the belief or desire of a government or people that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively[^1] to defend or promote national interests

This new epidemic of the US militarism which started after Cold War ended was well analyzed by Professor Bacevich (who is former colonel of the US army) who called it New American Militarism. Bacevich's book  Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War  describe the "sacred trinity" of global military presence, global power projection, global interventionism is used to achieve those ends. 

Professor Bacevich had shown that the main driver of the US militarism is neocons domination of the US foreign policy, and, especially, neocons domination in State Department regardless of whether Republicans or Democrats are in power.  They profess that the US that we are uniquely qualified to take on the worldwide foes of peace and democracy, forgetting, revising, or ignoring the painful lessons of World War II, Vietnam, and beyond that might have taken the USA into periods of unprecedented peace, instead of numerous conflicts:

Bacevich scores a direct hit on the foundations of the American national security state with this scathing critique, and demolishes the unspoken assumptions that he believes have led the United States into a senseless, wasteful, and counter-productive posture of nearly perpetual war. These assumptions take the form of the "credo" -- which holds that the United States has the unique responsibility to intervene wherever it wants, for whatever purpose it wants, by whatever means it wants -- and the supporting "trinity" of requirements for the U.S. to maintain a global military presence, to configure its military forces for global power projection, and to counter threats by relying on a policy of global interventionism.

In other words they advocate permanent war for permanent peace. Lessons that the author shows President Obama is clearly in the midst of learning, using a modified sacred trinity. Written in engaging prose, his book Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War is an excellent peace of research with sections that some may find very troubling. Here is the summary:

UFPPC (www.ufppc.org) Digging Deeper CXXXVII: September 27, 2010, 7:00 p.m. 

Andrew J. Bacevich, Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War (New York: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Company, August 2010).

Thesis

The Washington consensus on national security policy that constitutes convention wisdom in American foreign policy began with the Cold War and survived, remarkably, the Vietnam War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, no longer serves American interests, but the failure of the Obama administration to alter it shows that change can only come from the American people.

Introduction: Slow Learner

The author's faith in orthodoxy began to crumble when visiting the BrandenburgGate in Berlin in the winter of 1990-1991(1-4). In October 1990 a visit to Jenarevealed the backwardness of EastGermany (4-6). During his years in the Army, Bacevich had kept down doubts; after the end of the Cold War he retired, and his loss of status freed him to educate himself (6-10).

"George W.Bush's decision to launch Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 pushed me fully into opposition" (10). "This book aims to take stock of conventional wisdom" (11). The past 60 years of American history shows continuity: a symbiotic "credo" (formulated by Henry Luce in 1941 as the "American Century") and a "sacred trinity" ("the minimum essentials of international peace and order require the United States to maintain a global military presence, to configure its forces for global power projection, and to counter existing or anticipated threats by relying on a policy of  global interventionism") together define "the rules to which Washington adheres" (11-15).

In this book, "Washington" refers to the upper echelons of the three branches of government, the main agencies of the national security state, select think tanks and interest groups, "big banks and other financial institutions, defense contractors and major corporations, television networks and elite publications like the New York Times, even quasi-academic entities like the Council on Foreign Relations and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government" (15).

This book aspires to

(1) trace the history of the Washington rules;

(2) show who wins, who loses, and who pays under them;

(3) explain how itis perpetuated;

(4) show that the rules have lost what utility they might once have had;

and (5) re-legitimate "disreputable (or 'radical') views to our national security debates" (16).

The American Century is ending, and it "has become essential" to devise an "alternative to the reining national security paradigm" (16-18).

Ch. 1: The Advent of Semiwar.

As president, Barack Obama's efforts to change the U.S.'s exercise of power "have seldom risen above the cosmetic"(20). He made clear he subscribes to the "catechism of American statecraft," viz. that 1) the world must be organized, 2)only the U.S. can do it, 3) this includes dictating principles, and 4) not to accept this is to be a rogue or a recalcitrant (20-21).

It follows that the U.S. need not conform to the norms it sets for others and that it should maintain a worldwide network of bases (22-23).

Imagine if China acted in a comparable manner (23-25). The extraordinary American military posture in the world (25-27). To call this into question puts one beyond the pale(27). James Forrestal called this a permanent condition of semiwar, requiring high levels of military spending(27-28).

American citizens are not supposed to concern themselves with it (29-30). As to how this came about, the "standard story line" presents as the result of the decisions of a "succession of presidential administrations," though this conceals as much as it reveals (30-32).

Eisenhower's 1961 Farewell Address on the "military-industrial complex" was a rare exception (32-34). More important than presidents were Allen Dulles [1893-1969] and Curtis Lemay [1906-1990] (34-36).

Bacevich attributes the vision for an American-dominated post-World War II world with the CIA playing an active role to the patrician Dulles (36-43). The development of the U.S. military into a force capable of dominating the world, especially in the area of strategic weapons, he attributes to the hard-bitten Curtis LeMay, organizer of the StrategicAir Command (SAC) (43-52). Dulles and LeMay shared devotion to country, ruthlessness, a certain recklessness (52-55). They exploited American anxieties and insecurities in yin (Dulles's CIA) yang(LeMay's SAC) fashion, leaving the mainstay of American military power, the U.S. Army, in a relatively weak position(55-58).

Ch. 2: Illusions of Flexibility and Control

Kennedy kept Dulles and LeMay to signal continuity, but there was a behind-the-scenes struggle led by Gen. Maxwell Taylor to reassert the role of the U.S. Army by expanding and modernizing conventional forces that was "simultaneously masked by, and captured in, the phrase flexible response " (60; 59-63).

This agenda purported to aim at "resisting aggression" but really created new options for limited aggressive warfare by the U.S. (63-66).

McNamara engaged in a struggle with LeMay to control U.S. policy on nuclear weapons, but he embraced the need for redundancy based on a land-sea-air attack "triad" and LeMay et al. "got most of what they wanted" (66-72).

In the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs, Kennedy instituted the morally and legally "indefensible" Operation Mongoose," in effect, a program of state-sponsored terrorism" against Cuba (80; 72-82 [but Bacevich is silent on its wilder elements, like Operation Northwoods]).

U.S. recklessness caused the Cuban Missile Crisis, and to his credit Kennedy acknowledged this (albeit privately) and "suspended the tradition" in defusing the crisis (82-87).

Bacevich rejects as a romantic delusion the view that in the aftermath of this crisis Kennedy turned against the military-industrial complex and the incipient Vietnam war and shows no interest in Kennedy's assassination itself (87-92).

He sees a parallel between escalation in Vietnam and post-9/11 aggression as "fought to sustain the Washington consensus" (107; 92-107).

Ch. 3: The Credo Restored.

William Fulbright's The Arrogance of Power (1966) urged a rethinking of the Washington rules (109-15). A radicalized David Shoup, a Medal of Honor winner and former commandant of the MarineCorps, argued in "The New American Militarism" (Atlantic, April 1969) that the U.S. had become "a militaristic and aggressive nation" (120; 115-21). The 1960s Zeitgeist shift made LeMay "an embarrassment, mocked and vilified rather than venerated," which showed that the Washington rules had incurred serious damage in Vietnam; the Army was in dire shape (122; 121-27).

Yet astonishingly, in the subsequent decade the "sacred trinity" (cf. 11-15) was "fully restored" (127). As in post-1918 Germany, élites looked for scapegoats and worked to reverse "the war's apparent verdict" (128). The Council on Foreign Relations 1976 volume entitled The Vietnam Legacy: The War, American Society, and the Future of American Foreign Policy is an expression of élite consensus that the Vietnam war was insignificant, an anomaly (129-34).

By 1980, Democrats and Republicans were again on the same page (134-36).Reagan's election "sealed the triumph of Vietnam revisionism" (136; 136-38). Andthe end of the Cold War posed no challenge to the Washington rules, as Madeleine Albright's pretentious arrogance exemplifies (138-45).

Ch. 4: Reconstituting the Trinity

 The period from 1980 to 2000 saw "not retrenchment but reconfiguration" (147). The 

Except from Macmillan

Introduction: Slow Learner Worldly ambition inhibits true learning. Ask me. I know. A young man in a hurry is nearly uneducable: He knows what he wants and where he's headed; when it comes to looking back or entertaining heretical thoughts, he has neither the time nor the inclination. All that counts is that he is going somewhere. Only as ambition wanes does education become a possibility.

My own education did not commence until I had reached middle age. I can fix its start date with precision: For me, education began in Berlin, on a winter's evening, at the Brandenburg Gate, not long after the Berlin Wall had fallen. As an officer in the U.S. Army I had spent considerable time in Germany. Until that moment, however, my family and I had never had occasion to visit this most famous of German cities, still littered with artifacts of a deeply repellent history. At the end of a long day of exploration, we found ourselves in what had, until just months before, been the communist East. It was late and we were hungry, but I insisted on walking the length of the Unter den Linden, from the River Spree to the gate itself. A cold rain was falling and the pavement glistened. The buildings lining the avenue, dating from the era of Prussian kings, were dark, dirty, and pitted. Few people were about. It was hardly a night for sightseeing. For as long as I could remember, the Brandenburg Gate had been the preeminent symbol of the age and Berlin the epicenter of contemporary history. 

Yet by the time I made it to the once and future German capital, history was already moving on. The Cold War had abruptly ended. A divided city and a divided nation had re united. For Americans who had known Berlin only from a distance, the city existed primarily as a metaphor. Pick a date— 1933, 1942, 1945, 1948, 1961, 1989—and Berlin becomes an instructive symbol of power, depravity, tragedy, defiance, endurance, or vindication. For those inclined to view the past as a chronicle of parables, the modern history of Berlin offered an abundance of material. The greatest of those parables emerged from the events of 1933 to 1945, an epic tale of evil ascendant, belatedly confronted, then heroically overthrown.

A second narrative, woven from events during the intense period immediately following World War II, saw hopes for peace dashed, yielding bitter antagonism but also great resolve. The ensuing stand-off—the "long twilight struggle," in John Kennedy's memorable phrase— formed the centerpiece of the third parable, its central theme stubborn courage in the face of looming peril. Finally came the exhilarating events of 1989, with freedom ultimately prevailing, not only in Berlin, but throughout Eastern Europe.

.... ... ...

Although commonly depicted as the most advanced and successful component of the Soviet Empire, East Germany more closely resembled part of the undeveloped world.

... ... ...

Briquettes of soft coal used for home heating made the air all but unbreathable and coated everything with soot. In the German cities we knew, pastels predominated—houses and apartment blocks painted pale green, muted salmon, and soft yellow. Here everything was brown and gray

... ... ...

Bit by bit, my worldview started to crumble. That worldview had derived from this conviction: that American power manifested a commitment to global leadership, and that both together expressed and affirmed the nation's enduring devotion to its founding ideals. That American power, policies, and purpose were bound together in a neat, internally consistent package, each element drawing strength from and reinforcing the others, was something I took as a given. That, during my adult life, a penchant for interventionism had become a signature of U.S. policy did not—to me, at least—in any way contradict America's aspirations for peace. Instead, a willingness to expend lives and treasure in distant places testified to the seriousness of those aspirations. That, during this same period, the United States had amassed an arsenal of over thirty-one thousand nuclear weapons, some small number of them assigned to units in which I had served, was not at odds with our belief in the inalienable right to life and liberty; rather, threats to life and liberty had compelled the United States to acquire such an arsenal and maintain it in readiness for instant use.2 I was not so naíve as to believe that the American record had been without flaws. Yet I assured myself that any errors or misjudgments had been committed in good faith. Furthermore, circumstances permitted little real choice. In Southeast Asia as in Western Europe, in the Persian Gulf as in the Western Hemisphere, the United States had simply done what needed doing. Viable alternatives did not exist. To consent to any dilution of American power would be to forfeit global leadership, thereby putting at risk safety, prosperity, and freedom, not only our own but also that of our friends and allies.

The choices seemed clear enough. On one side was the status quo: the commitments, customs, and habits that defined American globalism, implemented by the national security apparatus within which I functioned as a small cog. On the other side was the prospect of appeasement, isolationism, and catastrophe. The only responsible course was the one to which every president since Harry Truman had adhered. For me, the Cold War had played a crucial role in sustaining that worldview.

Given my age, upbringing, and professional background, it could hardly have been otherwise. Although the great rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union had contained moments of considerable anxiety — I remember my father, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, stocking our basement with water and canned goods — it served primarily to clarify, not to frighten.

The Cold War provided a framework that organized and made sense of contemporary history. It offered a lineup and a scorecard. That there existed bad Germans and good Germans, their Germans and our Germans, totalitarian Germans and Germans who, like Americans, passionately loved freedom was, for example, a proposition I accepted as dogma. Seeing the Cold War as a struggle between good and evil answered many questions, consigned others to the periphery, and rendered still others irrelevant.

Back in the 1960s, during the Vietnam War, more than a few members of my generation had rejected the conception of the Cold War as a Manichean struggle. Here too, I was admittedly a slow learner. Yet having kept the faith long after others had lost theirs, the doubts that eventually assailed me were all the more disorienting. Granted, occasional suspicions had appeared long before Jena and Berlin

My own Vietnam experience had generated its share, which I had done my best to suppress. I was, after all, a serving soldier. Except in the narrowest of terms, the military profession, in those days at least, did not look kindly on nonconformity. Climbing the ladder of career success required curbing maverick tendencies. To get ahead, you needed to be a team player. Later, when studying the history of U.S. foreign relations in graduate school, I was pelted with challenges to orthodoxy, which I vigorously deflected. When it came to education, graduate school proved a complete waste of time — a period of intense study devoted to the further accumulation of facts, while I exerted myself to ensuring that they remained inert.

Now, however, my personal circumstances were changing. Shortly after the passing of the Cold War, my military career ended. Education thereby became not only a possibility, but also a necessity. In measured doses, mortification cleanses the soul. It's the perfect antidote for excessive self-regard. After twenty-three years spent inside the U.S. Army seemingly going somewhere, I now found myself on the outside going nowhere in particular. In the self-contained and cloistered universe of regimental life, I had briefly risen to the status of minor spear carrier. The instant I took off my uniform, that status vanished. I soon came to a proper appreciation of my own insignificance, a salutary lesson that I ought to have absorbed many years earlier. As I set out on what eventually became a crablike journey toward a new calling as a teacher and writer—a pilgrimage of sorts—ambition in the commonly accepted meaning of the term ebbed. This did not happen all at once. Yet gradually, trying to grab one of life's shiny brass rings ceased being a major preoccupation.

Wealth, power, and celebrity became not aspirations but subjects for critical analysis.

History—especially the familiar narrative of the Cold War—no longer offered answers; instead, it posed perplexing riddles. Easily the most nagging was this one: How could I have so profoundly misjudged the reality of what lay on the far side of the Iron Curtain? Had I been insufficiently attentive? Or was it possible that I had been snookered all along? Contemplating such questions, while simultaneously witnessing the unfolding of the "long 1990s"— the period bookended by two wars with Iraq when American vainglory reached impressive new heights—prompted the realization that I had grossly misinterpreted the threat posed by America's adversaries. Yet that was the lesser half of the problem. Far worse than misperceiving "them" was the fact that I had misperceived "us." What I thought I knew best I actually understood least. Here, the need for education appeared especially acute.

George W. Bush's decision to launch Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 pushed me fully into opposition. Claims that once seemed elementary—above all, claims relating to the essentially benign purposes of American power— now appeared preposterous. The contradictions that found an ostensibly peace-loving nation committing itself to a doctrine of preventive war became too great to ignore. The folly and hubris of the policy makers who heedlessly thrust the nation into an ill-defined and open-ended "global war on terror" without the foggiest notion of what victory would look like, how it would be won, and what it might cost approached standards hitherto achieved only by slightly mad German warlords. During the era of containment, the United States had at least maintained the pretense of a principled strategy; now, the last vestiges of principle gave way to fantasy and opportunism. With that, the worldview to which I had adhered as a young adult and carried into middle age dissolved completely. *

What should stand in the place of such discarded convictions? Simply inverting the conventional wisdom, substituting a new Manichean paradigm for the old discredited version—the United States taking the place of the Soviet Union as the source of the world's evil—would not suffice. Yet arriving at even an approximation of truth would entail subjecting conventional wisdom, both present and past, to sustained and searching scrutiny. Cautiously at first but with growing confidence, this I vowed to do. Doing so meant shedding habits of conformity acquired over decades. All of my adult life I had been a company man, only dimly aware of the extent to which institutional loyalties induce myopia. Asserting independence required first recognizing the extent to which I had been socialized to accept certain things as unimpeachable. Here then were the preliminary steps essential to making education accessible. Over a period of years, a considerable store of debris had piled up. Now, it all had to go. Belatedly, I learned that more often than not what passes for conventional wisdom is simply wrong. Adopting fashionable attitudes to demonstrate one's trustworthiness—the world of politics is flush with such people hoping thereby to qualify for inclusion in some inner circle—is akin to engaging in prostitution in exchange for promissory notes. It's not only demeaning but downright foolhardy. This book aims to take stock of conventional wisdom in its most influential and enduring form, namely the package of assumptions, habits, and precepts that have defined the tradition of statecraft to which the United States has adhered since the end of World War II— the era of global dominance now drawing to a close. This postwar tradition combines two components, each one so deeply embedded in the American collective consciousness as to have all but disappeared from view.

The first component specifies norms according to which the international order ought to work and charges the United States with responsibility for enforcing those norms. Call this the American credo. In the simplest terms, the credo summons the United States—and the United States alone—to lead, save, liberate, and ultimately transform the world. In a celebrated manifesto issued at the dawn of what he termed "The American Century," Henry R. Luce made the case for this spacious conception of global leadership. Writing in Life magazine in early 1941, the influential publisher exhorted his fellow citizens to "accept wholeheartedly our duty to exert upon the world the full impact of our influence for such purposes as we see fit and by such means as we see fit." Luce thereby captured what remains even today the credo's essence.3 Luce's concept of an American Century, an age of unquestioned American global primacy, resonated, especially in Washington. His evocative phrase found a permanent place in the lexicon of national politics. (Recall that the neoconservatives who, in the 1990s, lobbied for more militant U.S. policies named their enterprise the Project for a New American Century.) So, too, did Luce's expansive claim of prerogatives to be exercised by the United States.

Even today, whenever public figures allude to America's responsibility to lead, they signal their fidelity to this creed. Along with respectful allusions to God and "the troops," adherence to Luce's credo has become a de facto prerequisite for high office. Question its claims and your prospects of being heard in the hubbub of national politics become nil. Note, however, that the duty Luce ascribed to Americans has two components. It is not only up to Americans, he wrote, to choose the purposes for which they would bring their influence to bear, but to choose the means as well. Here we confront the second component of the postwar tradition of American statecraft. With regard to means, that tradition has emphasized activism over example, hard power over soft, and coercion (often styled "negotiating from a position of strength") over suasion. Above all, the exercise of global leadership as prescribed by the credo obliges the United States to maintain military capabilities staggeringly in excess of those required for self-defense. Prior to World War II, Americans by and large viewed military power and institutions with skepticism, if not outright hostility. In the wake of World War II, that changed. An affinity for military might emerged as central to the American identity. By the midpoint of the twentieth century, "the Pentagon" had ceased to be merely a gigantic five-sided building.

Like "Wall Street" at the end of the nineteenth century, it had become Leviathan, its actions veiled in secrecy, its reach extending around the world. Yet while the concentration of power in Wall Street had once evoked deep fear and suspicion, Americans by and large saw the concentration of power in the Pentagon as benign. Most found it reassuring. A people who had long seen standing armies as a threat to liberty now came to believe that the preservation of liberty required them to lavish resources on the armed forces. During the Cold War, Americans worried ceaselessly about falling behind the Russians, even though the Pentagon consistently maintained a position of overall primacy. Once the Soviet threat disappeared, mere primacy no longer sufficed. With barely a whisper of national debate, unambiguous and perpetual global military supremacy emerged as an essential predicate to global leadership. Every great military power has its distinctive signature. For Napoleonic France, it was the levée en masse— the people in arms animated by the ideals of the Revolution. For Great Britain in the heyday of empire, it was command of the seas, sustained by a dominant fleet and a network of far-flung outposts from Gibraltar and the Cape of Good Hope to Singapore and Hong Kong. Germany from the 1860s to the 1940s (and Israel from 1948 to 1973) took another approach, relying on a potent blend of tactical flexibility and operational audacity to achieve battlefield superiority.

The abiding signature of American military power since World War II has been of a different order altogether. The United States has not specialized in any particular type of war. It has not adhered to a fixed tactical style. No single service or weapon has enjoyed consistent favor. At times, the armed forces have relied on citizen-soldiers to fill their ranks; at other times, long-service professionals. Yet an examination of the past sixty years of U.S. military policy and practice does reveal important elements of continuity. Call them the sacred trinity: an abiding conviction that the minimum essentials of international peace and order require the United States to maintain a global military presence, to configure its forces for global power projection, and to counter existing or anticipated threats by relying on a policy of global interventionism. Together, credo and trinity—the one defining purpose, the other practice—constitute the essence of the way that Washington has attempted to govern and police the American Century. The relationship between the two is symbiotic. The trinity lends plausibility to the credo's vast claims. For its part, the credo justifies the trinity's vast requirements and exertions.

Together they provide the basis for an enduring consensus that imparts a consistency to U.S. policy regardless of which political party may hold the upper hand or who may be occupying the White House. From the era of Harry Truman to the age of Barack Obama, that consensus has remained intact. It defines the rules to which Washington adheres; it determines the precepts by which Washington rules. As used here, Washington is less a geographic expression than a set of interlocking institutions headed by people who, whether acting officially or unofficially, are able to put a thumb on the helm of state. Washington, in this sense, includes the upper echelons of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the federal government. It encompasses the principal components of the national security state— the departments of Defense, State, and, more recently, Homeland Security, along with various agencies comprising the intelligence and federal law enforcement communities. Its ranks extend to select think tanks and interest groups. Lawyers, lobbyists, fixers, former officials, and retired military officers who still enjoy access are members in good standing. Yet Washington also reaches beyond the Beltway to include big banks and other financial institutions, defense contractors and major corporations, television networks and elite publications like the New York Times, even quasi-academic entities like the Council on Foreign Relations and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

With rare exceptions, acceptance of the Washington rules forms a prerequisite for entry into this world. My purpose in writing this book is fivefold: first, to trace the origins and evolution of the Washington rules—both the credo that inspires consensus and the trinity in which it finds expression; second, to subject the resulting consensus to critical inspection, showing who wins and who loses and also who foots the bill; third, to explain how the Washington rules are perpetuated, with certain views privileged while others are declared disreputable; fourth, to demonstrate that the rules themselves have lost whatever utility they may once have possessed, with their implications increasingly pernicious and their costs increasingly unaffordable; and finally, to argue for readmitting disreputable (or "radical") views to our national security debate, in effect legitimating alternatives to the status quo. In effect, my aim is to invite readers to share in the process of education on which I embarked two decades ago in Berlin. The Washington rules were forged at a moment when American influence and power were approaching their acme. That moment has now passed. The United States has drawn down the stores of authority and goodwill it had acquired by 1945. Words uttered in Washington command less respect than once was the case. Americans can ill afford to indulge any longer in dreams of saving the world, much less remaking it in our own image. The curtain is now falling on the American Century. Similarly, the United States no longer possesses sufficient wherewithal to sustain a national security strategy that relies on global military presence and global power projection to underwrite a policy of global interventionism. Touted as essential to peace, adherence to that strategy has propelled the United States into a condition approximating perpetual war, as the military misadventures of the past decade have demonstrated.

To anyone with eyes to see, the shortcomings inherent in the Washington rules have become plainly evident. Although those most deeply invested in perpetuating its conventions will insist otherwise, the tradition to which Washington remains devoted has begun to unravel. Attempting to prolong its existence might serve Washington's interests, but it will not serve the interests of the American people.

Devising an alternative to the reigning national security paradigm will pose a daunting challenge—especially if Americans look to "Washington" for fresh thinking. Yet doing so has become essential. In one sense, the national security policies to which Washington so insistently adheres express what has long been the preferred American approach to engaging the world beyond our borders. That approach plays to America's presumed strong suit—since World War II, and especially since the end of the Cold War, thought to be military power. In another sense, this reliance on military might creates excuses for the United States to avoid serious engagement: Confidence in American arms has made it unnecessary to attend to what others might think or to consider how their aspirations might differ from our own.

In this way, the Washington rules reinforce American provincialism—a national trait for which the United States continues to pay dearly. The persistence of these rules has also provided an excuse to avoid serious self-engagement. From this perspective, confidence that the credo and the trinity will oblige others to accommodate themselves to America's needs or desires — whether for cheap oil, cheap credit, or cheap consumer goods—has allowed Washington to postpone or ignore problems demanding attention here at home.

Fixing Iraq or Afghanistan ends up taking precedence over fixing Cleveland and Detroit. Purporting to support the troops in their crusade to free the world obviates any obligation to assess the implications of how Americans themselves choose to exercise freedom. When Americans demonstrate a willingness to engage seriously with others, combined with the courage to engage seriously with themselves, then real education just might begin.


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[Jun 23, 2019] Iran Goes for Maximum Counter-Pressure by Pepe Escobar

Derivatives exposure is Achilles spot of the USA in this conflict
Jun 23, 2019 | www.unz.com
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Sooner or later the US "maximum pressure" on Iran would inevitably be met by "maximum counter-pressure". Sparks are ominously bound to fly.

For the past few days, intelligence circles across Eurasia had been prodding Tehran to consider a quite straightforward scenario. There would be no need to shut down the Strait of Hormuz if Quds Force commander, General Qasem Soleimani, the ultimate Pentagon bête noire, explained in detail, on global media, that Washington simply does not have the military capacity to keep the Strait open.

As I previously reported , shutting down the Strait of Hormuz

would destroy the American economy by detonating the $1.2 quadrillion derivatives market; and that would collapse the world banking system, crushing the world's $80 trillion GDP and causing an unprecedented depression.

Soleimani should also state bluntly that Iran may in fact shut down the Strait of Hormuz if the nation is prevented from exporting essential two million barrels of oil a day, mostly to Asia. Exports, which before illegal US sanctions and de facto blockade would normally reach 2.5 million barrels a day, now may be down to only 400,000.

Soleimani's intervention would align with consistent signs already coming from the IRGC. The Persian Gulf is being described as an imminent "shooting gallery." Brigadier General Hossein Salami stressed that Iran's ballistic missiles are capable of hitting "carriers in the sea" with pinpoint precision. The whole northern border of the Persian Gulf, on Iranian territory, is lined up with anti-ship missiles – as I confirmed with IRGC-related sources.

We'll let you know when it's closed

Then, it happened.

Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Major General Mohammad Baqeri, went straight to the point ; "If the Islamic Republic of Iran were determined to prevent export of oil from the Persian Gulf, that determination would be realized in full and announced in public, in view of the power of the country and its Armed Forces."

The facts are stark. Tehran simply won't accept all-out economic war lying down – prevented to export the oil that protects its economic survival. The Strait of Hormuz question has been officially addressed. Now it's time for the derivatives.

Presenting detailed derivatives analysis plus military analysis to global media would force the media pack, mostly Western, to go to Warren Buffett to see if it is true. And it is true. Soleimani, according to this scenario, should say as much and recommend that the media go talk to Warren Buffett.

The extent of a possible derivatives crisis is an uber-taboo theme for the Washington consensus institutions. According to one of my American banking sources, the most accurate figure – $1.2 quadrillion – comes from a Swiss banker, off the record. He should know; the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) – the central bank of central banks – is in Basle.

The key point is it doesn't matter how the Strait of Hormuz is blocked.

It could be a false flag. Or it could be because the Iranian government feels it's going to be attacked and then sinks a cargo ship or two. What matters is the final result; any blocking of the energy flow will lead the price of oil to reach $200 a barrel, $500 or even, according to some Goldman Sachs projections, $1,000.

Another US banking source explains; "The key in the analysis is what is called notional. They are so far out of the money that they are said to mean nothing. But in a crisis the notional can become real. For example, if I buy a call for a million barrels of oil at $300 a barrel, my cost will not be very great as it is thought to be inconceivable that the price will go that high. That is notional. But if the Strait is closed, that can become a stupendous figure."

BIS will only commit, officially, to indicate the total notional amount outstanding for contracts in derivatives markers is an estimated $542.4 trillion. But this is just an estimate.

The banking source adds, "Even here it is the notional that has meaning. Huge amounts are interest rate derivatives. Most are notional but if oil goes to a thousand dollars a barrel, then this will affect interest rates if 45% of the world's GDP is oil. This is what is called in business a contingent liability."

Goldman Sachs has projected a feasible, possible $1,000 a barrel a few weeks after the Strait of Hormuz being shut down. This figure, times 100 million barrels of oil produced per day, leads us to 45% of the $80 trillion global GDP. It's self-evident the world economy would collapse based on just that alone.

War dogs barking mad

As much as 30% of the world's oil supply transits the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. Wily Persian Gulf traders – who know better – are virtually unanimous; if Tehran was really responsible for the Gulf of Oman tanker incident, oil prices would be going through the roof by now. They aren't.

Iran's territorial waters in the Strait of Hormuz amount to 12 nautical miles (22 km). Since 1959, Iran recognizes only non-military naval transit.

Since 1972, Oman's territorial waters in the Strait of Hormuz also amount to 12 nautical miles. At its narrowest, the width of the Strait is 21 nautical miles (39 km). That means, crucially, that half of the Strait of Hormuz is in Iranian territorial waters, and the other half in Oman's. There are no "international waters".

And that adds to Tehran now openly saying that Iran may decide to close the Strait of Hormuz publicly – and not by stealth.

Iran's indirect, asymmetric warfare response to any US adventure will be very painful. Prof. Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran once again reconfirmed, "even a limited strike will be met by a major and disproportionate response." And that means gloves off, big time; anything from really blowing up tankers to, in Marandi's words, "Saudi and UAE oil facilities in flames".

Hezbollah will launch tens of thousands of missiles against Israel. As

Hezbollah's secretary-general Hasan Nasrallah has been stressing in his speeches, "war on Iran will not remain within that country's borders, rather it will mean that the entire [Middle East] region will be set ablaze. All of the American forces and interests in the region will be wiped out, and with them the conspirators, first among them Israel and the Saudi ruling family."

It's quite enlightening to pay close attention to what this Israel intel op is saying . The dogs of war though are barking mad .

Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo jetted to CENTCOM in Tampa to discuss "regional security concerns and ongoing operations" with – skeptical – generals, a euphemism for "maxim pressure" eventually leading to war on Iran.

Iranian diplomacy, discreetly, has already informed the EU – and the Swiss – about their ability to crash the entire world economy. But still that was not enough to remove US sanctions.

War zone in effect

As it stands in Trumpland, former CIA Mike "We lied, We cheated, We stole" Pompeo – America's "top diplomat" – is virtually running the Pentagon. "Acting" secretary Shanahan performed self-immolation. Pompeo continues to actively sell the notion the "intelligence community is convinced" Iran is responsible for the Gulf of Oman tanker incident. Washington is ablaze with rumors of an ominous double bill in the near future; Pompeo as head of the Pentagon and Psycho John Bolton as Secretary of State. That would spell out War.

Yet even before sparks start to fly, Iran could declare that the Persian Gulf is in a state of war; declare that the Strait of Hormuz is a war zone; and then ban all "hostile" military and civilian traffic in its half of the Strait. Without firing a single shot, no shipping company on the planet would have oil tankers transiting the Persian Gulf.


Justsaying , says: June 23, 2019 at 5:23 am GMT

American government arrogance under the control of sickos has not shied away from the belief that destroying countries that do not cave in to Washington's demand of "surrender or perish" -- an ultimatum made in Israel. Indeed it regards that despicable policy as an entitlement – to protect the "international community". Iran may well be the nation that will do away with the nations of turbaned lapdogs and absolute monarchs who have been kept in power by the dozens of US military bases in the area. Maybe a serious jolt of the global economy is long overdue, to bring the Washington dogs of perpetual war to come to their senses.

Was Iran succumbing to the JCPOA provisions and abiding by them not sufficient capitulation for the insane leaders in Washington?

Realist , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:55 am GMT
@joeshittheragman

I hope we don't go into another stupid war. Bring all our troops home from all around the world. Just protect this Republic. We're not the policemen of the world.

The Deep State would never allow that to happen.

alexander , says: June 23, 2019 at 10:56 am GMT
@joeshittheragman It astonishes me that people are still using the phrase "policemen of the world" to define US behavior.

The last time I recall The US even remotely acting as the "worlds's policeman" was in 1991, when we pushed Saddam out of Kuwait.

The Iraq 2003 "debacle", the Libya"shit show" and the Syria" fiasco" have all proven, over time, to be acts of wanton carnage and illegal aggression, . not "police work".

The United States, under Neocon tutelage , is no "policeman" .not by any stretch

It is more like a humongous version of "Bernie Madoff meets Son of Sam."

We have become a grotesque, misshapen empire .of lies fraud .,illegal war, .mass murder ..and heinous f#cking debt.

Policeman ?!? Hahaha.ha ..

RoatanBill , says: June 23, 2019 at 12:32 pm GMT
You have to hand it to the Iranians for basically announcing their intentions to destroy the US economy via the derivatives market that the US financial industry largely produced. Kill them with their own weapon.

A show down between the US and some entity is inevitable. Be it Iran, China or Russia, the US will be over extended and their very expensive weaponry will, I believe, come up wanting on all counts. The MIC has been scamming the country for decades. The military brass is just bluster. When it comes down to an actual confrontation, the US military will come up short as BS won't cut it.

Yes, they will destroy lots of stuff and kill lots of people but then their toys will run out and then what? Missiles will take out the aircraft carriers and the world will see that the emperor is naked.

Sean , says: June 23, 2019 at 12:39 pm GMT
@Parisian Guy America is backed by brute military force. That is why India has stopped buying Iranian oil, and sent ships to the Gulf to back America

http://www.aei.org/publication/iran-the-contrast-between-sovereignty-and-moral-legitimacy/

In June of 2014, as the forces of the Islamic State swept toward Baghdad, President Barack Obama began to recommit American military forces to Iraq. He also observed that "Iran can play a constructive role, if it sends the same message to the Iraqi government that we're sending, which is that Iraq only holds together if it is inclusive." In an instantly famous article by Atlantic magazine correspondent and White House amanuensis Jeffrey Goldberg, Obama indicated that Saudi Arabia and other Arab states had to learn to "share" the Middle East with Iran.

In imagining a kind of strategic partnership with Tehran, Obama is recycling a deeply held belief of late-Cold War "realists" like former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft. "For U.S. strategy, Iran should be viewed as a potential natural partner in the region, as it was until 1979," when Shah Reza Pahlavi was toppled in the Khomeini revolution." "Envisioning 2030: U.S. Strategy for a Post-Western World," foresaw that "a post-Mullah dominated government shedding Shia political ideology could easily return to being a net contributor to stability by 2030

https://en.mehrnews.com/news/143606/Mearsheimer-S-Arabia-a-threat-not-Iran
"The truth is that it is the United States that is a direct threat to Iran, not the other way around. The Trump administration, with much prompting from Israel and Saudi Arabia, has its gunsights on Iran. The aim is regime change.

America does not seem to think the Iranian regieme can do anything except bluster as they are slowly smothered.

eah , says: June 23, 2019 at 1:07 pm GMT
@Parisian Guy I can't buy the derivatives stuff.

Famous last words -- review what Bernanke said just before subprime exploded: 2007 -- Bernanke: Subprime Mortgage Woes Won't Seriously Hurt Economy -- that said, I have no idea what will happen if Iran decides to interfere with shipping in the straits -- or how likely that is.

The biggest long-term threat to the US is the end of the petrodollar scheme -- due to its unmatched worldwide political and military hegemony, and 'safe haven' status, the dollar has largely been insulated from the consequences of what are in reality staggering, almost structural (at this point) US deficits -- but that can't and won't go on forever.

Jason Liu , says: June 23, 2019 at 1:13 pm GMT
Russia and China need to set up global deterrence against interventionism by western democracies.
eah , says: June 23, 2019 at 1:37 pm GMT
In 2018, U.S. net imports (imports minus exports) of petroleum from foreign countries averaged about 2.34 million barrels per day, equal to about 11% of U.S. petroleum consumption. This was the lowest percentage since 1957.

In reality, the US is today far less dependent on imported oil than most people probably imagine, and therefore far less vulnerable to any import supply issue.

DESERT FOX , says: June 23, 2019 at 2:07 pm GMT
Israel and the zio/US has interfered in Iran since the 1953 CIA/Mossad coup and at intervals ever since then and have brought this problem on by the zio/US and Israeli meddling in the affairs of Iran and an all out war via illegal sanctions which in fact are a form of war.

Iran has not started a war in over 300 years and is not the problem , the problem is the warmongers in the zio/US and Israel and will not end as long as the warmongers remain in power.

A good start to ending these problems would be to abolish the CIA!

Mike P , says: June 23, 2019 at 3:05 pm GMT
@MLK Yes, the sanctions on Iran are having an effect, and the recent Iranian actions acknowledge this; but that does not mean Iran is weak. Iran is telling the U.S. that it is NOT Venezuela or North Korea. Kim is all bark, but no bite; Trump was quite right to call him "little rocket man." Even he, with his singular lack of style and grace, is not doing this to the Iranian leadership.

The economic sanctions against Iran already constitute acts of war. The Iranians have just demonstrated that they can disrupt oil flow from the Middle East in retaliation, and not just in the Street of Hormuz. In addition, they have now shown that they can take down American aircraft, stealth or not, with precision. This means Iran is able and willing to strike back and escalate as it sees fit, both economically and militarily. If the U.S. don't relent, Iran WILL send the oil prices through the roof, and it will humiliate the U.S. on the world stage if they are stupid enough to go to war over it.

The Iranian messages are simple, clear, and consistent. Compare this to the confused cacophony that emerges from the clown troupe in Washington, and you can easily tell which side has been caught unawares by recent events.

This is a watershed moment for Trump – he will either assert himself, return to reason, and keep the peace; or he will stay aboard the sinking ship. No good options for him personally, of course; his choices are impeachment, assassination, or staying in office while presiding over the final act of the U.S. empire.

Johnny Walker Read , says: June 23, 2019 at 4:06 pm GMT
@Zumbuddi Let us never forget the "babies thrown from incubators" propaganda to help get it all started.

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

Andrei Martyanov , says: Website June 23, 2019 at 4:40 pm GMT
@Agent76

The US is committed to conflict not only most obviously against Iran, but also with Russia.

US, or rather a bunch of lunatics infesting Trump's Admin, might be committed, but it absolutely doesn't mean that the US has resources for that. In fact, US doesn't have resources to fight Iran, let alone Russia. By now most of it is nothing more than chest-thumping and posturing. Today Bolton's statement is a further proof of that.

denk , says: June 23, 2019 at 4:47 pm GMT

Instead, Bush saw that situation, within the unique moment of US no longer constrained by a rival superpower, as an opportunity to exert US global dominance.

The much derided Chomsky

There were once two gangsters in town, the USA and USSR, there's relative peace cuz each was constrained by the rival's threat.
NOW that the USSR is gone, the remaining gangster
is running amok with total impunity.

Now I dunno if the USSR was a 'gangster' ,
as for uncle scam, .. needs no introduction I presume ?

anon [356] Disclaimer , says: June 23, 2019 at 7:34 pm GMT
@peterAUS More to this downing .

"Iran's ability to target and destroy the high-altitude American drone, which was developed to evade the very surface-to-air missiles used to bring it down, surprised some Defense Department officials, who interpreted it as a show of how difficult Tehran can make things for the United States as it deploys more troops and steps up surveillance in the region.– "

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/20/world/middleeast/iran-us-drone.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

The Alarmist , says: June 23, 2019 at 8:49 pm GMT
@Wally It's all cashflow and OPM, on the hope of hitting the big-time when prices spike. A giant house of cards waiting to implode, and that is before one takes into account all the hugely negative externalities associated with fracking that give it any hope of profitability, which would vapourise if the costs of the externalities were charged to the operators.

https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/will-fracking-industry-debts-set-off-financial-tremors/

https://energypolicy.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/CGEPReserveBaseLendingAndTheO

anon [770] Disclaimer , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:04 pm GMT
@Curmudgeon Fact:

According to preliminary data for 2018, oil demand surpassed 20 mmb/d for the first time since 2007 and will be just shy of the 2005 peak (20,524 mb/d versus 20,802 mb/d in 2005).

U.S. Oil Demand Recovers | CSIS | January 29, 2019
https://www.csis.org/analysis/us-oil-demand-recovers

Fact:


Source: https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/report/global_oil.php

Cyrano , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:25 pm GMT
It's really tragic to see two brotherly ideologies Capitalism and Islam (both want to rule the world) go at each other throats in this manner. After all, they have fought shoulder to shoulder a holly jihad against socialism in such far flung places as Afghanistan, Iraq and now Syria.

I think that based on this latest conflict, people can see what a principled country US is. People used to think that US hates only socialist revolutions. Until Iran's Islamic revolution came along – and US was against it too. So, it's safe to say that US are against ANY revolutions – be they Socialist or Islamic. I guess we can call them contra-revolutionaries.

Simply Simon , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:38 pm GMT
At least 95% of the American people do not want war with Iran. For that matter the same percentage did not want war with Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam or Korea. But the powers that be do not ask the American people if they want to go to war, they just do it based on the authority they assume is theirs. Meanwhile, our elected representatives who do have the authority to start or prevent wars turn a deaf ear to their constituents because the voices they hear in protest are weak or muted. Let's face it, the wars since WWII have affected only a relatively minor segment of our population. A hell of a lot more people die in traffic accidents than on the battlefield so what's to get excited about. Keeping a large standing army, navy and air force is good for the economy, the troops have to be provided the latest best of everything and as for the troops themselves for many it's not a bad way to make a living with a retirement and health care system better than many jobs in the civilian sector. So my message to the American people is if you really do not want war with Iran you had better speak up louder than you are now.
anon [356] Disclaimer , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:40 pm GMT
CAN IRAN ENTER ITO NEGOTIATION WITH IRAN? IT CANT. BECAUSE ISRAEL WITH NO FOOT IN THE DOOR OF THE HELL IS WAGING THE WAR AND GETTING US PUNISHED .

UC Berkeley journalism professor Sandy Tolan, Los Angeles Times, December 1, 2002– [Richard] Perle, in the same 1998 article, told Forward that a coalition of pro-Israeli groups was 'at the forefront with the legislation with regard to Iran. One can only speculate what it might accomplish if it decided to focus its attention on Saddam Hussein.' Now, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has joined the call against Tehran, arguing in a November interview with the Times of London that the U.S. should shift its focus to Iran 'the day after' the Iraq war ends

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They want to foment revolution in Iran and use that to isolate and possibly attack Syria in [Lebanon's] Bekaa Valley, and force Syria out," says former Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Edward S. Walker, now president of the Middle East Institute. http://prospect.org/article/just-beginning
03/14/03
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in 2003 Morris Amitay and fellow neocon Michael Ledeen founded the Coalition for Democracy in Iran, an advocacy group pushing for regime change in Iran . According to the website, it will be un-American,immoral and unproductive to engage with any segment of the regime .
During a may 2003 conference at the AEI on the future of Iran,Amitay sharply criticized the U.S State Department's efforts to engage the Islamic Republic ,claimed the criticism of Newt Gingrich did not go far enough . Amiaty was introduced by M Ledeen as the "Godfather" of AIPAC Amitay admitted that direct action against Iran would be difficult before 2004 election.

Nostalgia for the last shah's son, Reza Pahlavi ? has again risen," says Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA officer who, like Ledeen and Perle, is ensconced at the AEI. "We must be prepared, however, to take the battle more directly to the mullahs," says Gerecht, adding that the United States must consider strikes at both Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and allies in Lebanon. "In fact, we have only two meaningful options: Confront clerical Iran and its proxies militarily or ring it with an oil embargo." http://prospect.org/article/just-beginning March 14,2003

"Neoconservatives in the Bush Administration have long targeted Iran. Richard Perle, former Defense Policy Board member, and David Frum, of the neo-com Weekly Standard, co-authored "An End to Evil," which calls for the overthrow of the "terrorist mullahs of Iran." Michael Ladeen of the influential American Enterprise Institute argues that "Tehran is a city just waiting for us." http://www.counterpunch.org/2004/05/26/the-oil-connection/

According to the 2016 documentary Zero Days by director Alex Gibney, Israel's incessant public threats to attack Iran coupled with intense secret demands for cyber warfare targeting Iran were the catalyst for massive new US black budget spending

NSA Director (1999-2005) and CIA Director (2006-2009) Michael Hayden claimed in Zero Days that the goal of any Israeli air attack against Iran's nuclear facilities would be to drag the United States into war.
"Our belief was that if they [Israel] went on their own, knowing the limitations No, they're a very good air force, alright? But it's small and the distances are great, and the targets dispersed and hardened, alright? If they would have attempted a raid on a military plane, we would have been assuming that they were assuming we would finish that which they started. In other words, there would be many of us in government thinking that the purpose of the raid wasn't to destroy the Iranian nuclear system, but the purpose of the raid was to put us [the United States] at war with Iran." https://original.antiwar.com/smith-grant/2018/11/06/israel-and-the-trillion-dollar-2005-2018-us-intelligence-budget

KA , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:47 pm GMT
Emergence of ISIS is linked to US efforts to weaken Iran

-In "The Redirection", written in 2008(!) – years before the 2011 uprising, Seymour Hersh wrote of plans to use extremists in Syria.
Excerpts:
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia's government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
Nasr compared the current situation to the period in which Al Qaeda first emerged. In the nineteen-eighties and the early nineties, the Saudi government offered to subsidize the covert American C.I.A. proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Hundreds of young Saudis were sent into the border areas of Pakistan, where they set up religious schools, training bases, and recruiting facilities. Then, as now, many of the operatives who were paid with Saudi money were Salafis. Among them, of course, were Osama bin Laden and his associates, who founded Al Qaeda, in 1988.
This time, "

Monty Ahwazi , says: June 23, 2019 at 10:00 pm GMT
@Simply Simon In the old days, the orders for the US government were coming down from the Tri-Lateral Commission and the 6-7 major companies. Rockefeller took the TLC underground ground with himself. The oil companies continue asking the US government for protecting the ME/NA resources. Then Neocons replaced the TLC which their focus was twofold.
1. Destabilize the regions for protecting Israel
2. Control the resources militarily
3. Keep the Chinese out and cut their access to the resources
Guess what, Chinese have penetrated the regions constructively and quietly. America with its unjustified fucking wars is being hated even more than 1953.
Monty Ahwazi , says: June 23, 2019 at 10:26 pm GMT
@KA Very true! Unfortunately the presidents were misinformed or uninformed about the proxies created by the CIA. The first created to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan manned and financed by the Saudis, recruited by Mossad and intelligence was provided by the CIA. Sound really really good to the Americans since it was free of charge with no loss of life! Then during the Iraq war its neighbor Syria was getting destabilized so the CIA replicated Al-Qaeda and formed a new gang which called themselves ISIS. The function of ISIS was to overthrow Al-Bashar of Syria. The secondary mission for both groups was to bug Iran from its western and eastern front.
Manning both of these groups with Sunnis was the biggest mistake that KSA, Mossad and the CIA made. See the Sunnis are not fighters without sophisticated weapons from the West. On the other Shiites can fight with a sword and empty handed if they have to. They remind me of VC's in Vietnam. The Shiites decimated the ISIS and most of AlQaeda now the US is trying to get credit for that but they know better now. So my recommendation to the US is please don't aggravate the Shiites otherwise they will embarrass us just the VC's
Avery , says: June 23, 2019 at 10:48 pm GMT
@Monty Ahwazi { All insurance companies will drop their coverage of the oil tankers immediately.}

During the Iran-Iraq war, US re-flagged Kuwaiti tankers and ran them under US flag and protection through the straight.
Same thing can be done again.

And if insurance companies drop coverage, US Treasury will provide the coverage: some US insurance company will be "convinced" by US Gov to provide the coverage and US Treasury will guarantee _any_ losses incurred by the insurance company or companies.
US can always add to the national debt ( .i.e. print more dollars).

So, no: declaration won't do.
Only destroying stuff works.

{You guys sitting here and making up these nonsensical policies}

Nobody is making policy here: we are not a government.
We are exchanging opinions.

btw: where are you sitting?
Are your personal opinions considered 'policy', because you are ..what?

RobinG , says: June 23, 2019 at 11:01 pm GMT
@anon That was buried deep in the article. (Thanks for posting link.) Next lines, the NYT is skeptical of US claims. Too bad this isn't first pararaphs!)

Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, the Air Force commander for the Central Command region in the Middle East, said the attack could have endangered "innocent civilians," even though officials at Central Command continued to assert that the drone was over international waters. He said that the closest that the drone got to the Iranian coast was 21 miles.

Late Thursday, the Defense Department released additional imagery in an email to support its case that the drone never entered Iranian airspace. But the department incorrectly called the flight path of the drone the location of the shooting down and offered little context for an image that appeared to be the drone exploding in midair.

It was the latest attempt by the Pentagon to try to prove that Iran has been the aggressor in a series of international incidents.

RobinG , says: June 23, 2019 at 11:16 pm GMT
@Zumbuddi Thank you. If the US were a real [HONEST] policeman, they would have stopped Kuwait from stealing Iraqi oil. But no, Bush was a dirty cop, on the take.
Robjil , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:09 am GMT
@dearieme Read "JFK and the Unspeakable" by James W. Douglass. JFK was getting us out of Vietnam. In his time, there was not massive amounts of US troops in Vietnam, only advisors. JFK planned to get all the troops out after he was re-elected.

It was during Johnson's presidency that the Vietnam war became a huge war for the US. Johnson set up the Gulf of Tonkin false flag on August 2 1964. This started the huge draft of young men for Vietnam war that dragged on till the early 1970s.

Johnson also allowed Israel to do a false flag on the US on June 8 1967. Israel attacked the USS Liberty. 34 servicemen killed and 174 injured. Israel wanted to kill them all and blame it on Egypt, so US would nuke Egypt. Lovely nation is little Israel. The song " Love is all you need" by the Beatles was released on June 7 1967. Summer of Love, Hippies in San Francisco, all planned to get Americans into drugs and forget about what Israel is doing in the Middle East. It worked, nobody noticed what Israel did since we have a "free" 500 Zion BC press in the US in 1967 and we still do these days.

Pft , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:12 am GMT
Iran is pretty self sufficient with minimal foreign debt. Their Central Bank is under their control and works for the people. They should just hunker down and hope Trumps crew is out of a job after the elections next year

If the US strikes they can block the straits. However, the US would probably knock out the refineries so that will hurt

They shot down the drone because it was collecting intelligence on targets the US plans to strike. Thats defensive not provocative

If the US wants to go at Iran they will manufacture something. People are so dumbed down they can made to believe anything, as events 18 years ago and since have proven

Hopefully this is just distraction to cover up some nefarious plan to loot the working class some more. Or maybe getting the straits closed is part of the plan. Who knows?

renfro , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:46 am GMT
this might be the real story

https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2019/06/22/why-trump-didnt-bomb-iran-449575

THE TICK TOCKS WHY TRUMP DIDN'T BOMB IRAN NYT'S PETER BAKER, MAGGIE HABERMAN and THOMAS GIBBONS-NEFF:

"Urged to Launch an Attack, Trump Listened to the Skeptics Who Said It Would Be a Costly Mistake": "He heard from his generals and his diplomats. Lawmakers weighed in and so did his advisers. But among the voices that rang powerfully for President Trump was that of one of his favorite Fox News hosts: Tucker Carlson.
"While national security advisers were urging a military strike against Iran, Mr. Carlson in recent days had told Mr. Trump that responding to Tehran's provocations with force was crazy. The hawks did not have the president's best interests at heart, he said. And if Mr. Trump got into a war with Iran, he could kiss his chances of re-election goodbye.

"The 150-dead casualty estimate came not from a general but from a lawyer, according to the official. The estimate was developed by Pentagon lawyers drafting worst-case scenarios that, the official said, did not account for whether the strike was carried out during daytime, when more people might be present at the targets, or in the dark hours before sunrise, as the military planned.
"That estimate was passed to the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, without being cleared with [Patrick] Shanahan or General [Joseph] Dunford. It was then conveyed to the president by the White House lawyers, at which point Mr. Trump changed his mind and called off the strike." NYT NYT A1
"That estimate was passed to the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, without being cleared with [Patrick] Shanahan or General [Joseph] Dunford. It was then conveyed to the president by the White House lawyers, at which point Mr. Trump changed his mind and called off the strike." NYT NYT A1

Iris , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:48 am GMT

Saddam was given plenty of time, and plenty of resolutions to pack up his troops and go home

.

Saddam was given the assurance by US ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie, that the USA supported his retaliatory action against Kuwait. Same usual trap and deliberate provocation; all the rest is obfuscation.

Thorfinnsson , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:52 am GMT
@AnonFromTN The loss of two American aircraft carriers appears to be the assumption you are making to guarantee an Iranian victory.

Such a loss is by no means assured.

The idea that American willpower will collapse in the event of the loss of two capital ships is your second assumption, and it's both a fanciful and dangerous assumption.

I'm not myself terribly impressed by American military power, but comparing naval combat to counterinsurgency operations is absurd.

Your economic assumptions appear to come from the permabear school. Actual economies and governments don't work that way. A major reduction in global supplies will result in compulsory conservation, rationing, price controls, etc. This was done in recent memory in the 1970s in both North America and Western Europe, when you were still behind the Iron Curtain and perhaps not aware.

Thorfinnsson , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:53 am GMT
@peterAUS Do you have any actual numbers?

Does anyone?

anon [284] Disclaimer , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:57 am GMT
@alexander Saddam was given plenty of time, and plenty of resolutions to pack up his troops and go home."

Efforts by Egypt to arrive an Arab initiated solution was ignored and dismissed by USA

Initial Saudi effort to find a face saving exit by Saddam was met with resistance and then a manufactured satellite image of Saddam massing his soldiers for invasion of Saudi was widely disseminated by US.

Saddam crimes was no less or more egregious than what Israel was enjoying with US dollars and with US support and with impunity ( It was still occupying Pastien and Parts of Syria and Lebanon )

It was Levy the Israeli FM who threatened that his country would attack Iraq if US did not.

War against Saddam was orchestrated by Jewish members of Thatcher and by Democrats of USA ) Solarz – NY Senator was one of the guys and the AIPAC whose president Mr. Dine confessed the crimes )

neprof , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:06 am GMT
@Robjil

Read "JFK and the Unspeakable" by James W. Douglass.

Should be required reading by all Americans.

anon [284] Disclaimer , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:08 am GMT
@alexander UN has been abused by USA taking the advantage of the collapse of Soviet . (This is what Wolf0owitz told Wesley Clarke in 1992 in Feb : This was the time we can and we should take care of these countries Iran Iraq Syria Libya and Yemen while Russia is still weakened and unable to help its erstwhile vassals states) .

USA had no right to ask Saddam to leave . Subsequent behaviors of USA has proved it.
Israel also in addition has no right to exist .

If correction had to come from Iran Hezbollah and Syria- then so be it. That news would be best thing that would happen to humanity within last 200 yrs .

KA , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:11 am GMT
@Robjil Wolfowitz has been trying to kill Saddam and dismember Iraq from 1979.

The rat got his hand the Cookie jar after Soviet collapsed.

( Ref- Sunshine Warrior NYT )

John Noughty , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:14 am GMT
@Jim Christian I hope you're right.
RobinG , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:16 am GMT
@alexander You're begging for a big "So What?"

There are UN resolutions about all kinds of things. Israel comes first to mind, of course. UN resolutions do not obligate military action.

anon [400] Disclaimer , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:20 am GMT
@Iris but -- but -- but (sputters Alexander the otherwise sage commenter), The UN -- that's the U-nited Nations!! fer pete's ache, Agreed!! ( Agreed is Diplomatese for: "Please stop twisting my arm; Please stop bankrupting my country; Please stop threatening to tell my wife -- ).

in other words, the UN is a toy and a ploy for someone like G H W Bush salivating at the once in a lifetime opportunity to exert world dominance -- 'scuse me: "Create a New World Order" -- in the context of a power vacuum / dissolution of the Soviet Empire, previously the only counterbalance to US superpower status.

No doubt the UN was got on board. It acted like the paid-for- judge and show-trial in a case the prosecutor had already rigged.
imho, what is more significant, and what it takes years to unearth, is the decision making and back-room dealing that came BEFORE the UN was induced to stamp its imprimatur.

Tony Blair endorsed Bush the Lesser's war on Iraq. Does that grant it legitimacy, or in any way explain why US waged that war?

peterAUS , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:23 am GMT
@Thorfinnsson

Do you have any actual numbers?

I don't care about numbers.
50 (proper) sea mines backed up by 20 air/land-sea missiles do the job. Block the Hormuz.
I am sure the regime in Tehran has that number.

Does anyone?

Don't think so.
Mines in particular.
While missiles could be tricky to produce even smart sea mines are not.
A lot of explosive-check.
A couple of sensors (acoustic/magnetic)-check.
A couple of hardened micro controller boards-check.
That's it.

In this very game there are, really, only two elements that interest me:
Tactical nukes.
Selective draft.

What hehe really interests me is the escalation from "tactical" to "strategic".

AnonFromTN , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:32 am GMT
@Thorfinnsson Let me make this clear: there won't be Iranian victory. Iran will pay a hefty price. There will be the defeat of the Empire, though, a major climb down. The worst (for the Empire) part would be that the whole world would see that the king has no clothes. Then the backlash against the Empire (hated by 6/7th of the Earth population) starts, and that would be extremely painful for everyone in the US, guilty and innocent alike (myself included).

Compulsory rationing and price controls were possible when the governments actually governed. When the whole governments and legislatures are full of corporations' marionettes, as is the case now in the US and EU, these measures are impossible. Profiteers will have their day. They will crush Western economies and therefore themselves, but never underestimate the blinding force of greed. The same greedy bastards are supplying the US military with airplanes that have trouble flying and with ships costing untold billions that break down in the Panama canal, of all places. The same greedy scum destroyed the US industry and moved all production to China, in effect spelling the doom of the only country that could have protected their loot from other thieves. That's the problem with greed: it makes people incredibly shortsighted.

Sergey Krieger , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:39 am GMT
@joeshittheragman You are parasites on the world neck. That's why your troops are all over the place.
anon [356] Disclaimer , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:48 am GMT
@alexander Is it true . possibly but so what ?

So what? That nice lessons are being imparted slowly to the Israeli slave USA.

USA does what other countries are accused of before invading . USA throws out any qualms any morality any legality . It uses UN . Right now it is illegally supplying arms to Saudi to Israel and to the rebels in Syria. These are the reasons US have gone to wars against other countries for. Now some countries are standing up and saying – those days are gone , you can't attack any country anymore just because someone has been raped or someone has been distributing Viagra.

alexander , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:48 am GMT
@RobinG I think you are right.

And so did George Bush Senior.

As a matter of fact, the whole world began to ask, you are willing to launch your military to eject Saddam from Kuwait Bravo! ..Now what are willing to do about Israels illegal seizure of Palestinian territory in the West bank .It is more or less the exact same crime, Isn't it?

George Bush Senior was the last US President in American History to withhold all loans to Israel, until it ceased and desisted from illegal settlement activity in the Palestinian Territories.

Many believe it was his willingness to hold Israel to the same standard as everyone else, which cost him his second term.

What do you think , Robin?

By-tor , says: June 24, 2019 at 2:02 am GMT
@Thorfinnsson Iran shot down a US Navy RQ-4A intel drone that cost $250: A model that is marketed as being hard to shoot down since it has an 11 mile high altitude ceiling and a long operational range. That a coastal AA missile battery knocked it down with one shot answers several questions.

[Jun 23, 2019] Argentina s Economic Misery Could Bring Populism Back to the Country by Peter S. Goodman

Notable quotes:
"... Mr. Macri has slashed subsidies for electricity, fuel and transportation, causing prices to skyrocket, and recently prompting Ms. Genovesi, 48, to cut off her gas service, rendering her stove lifeless. Like most of her neighbors, she illegally taps into the power lines that run along the rutted dirt streets. ..."
"... "It's a neoliberal government," she says. "It's a government that does not favor the people." ..."
"... The tribulations playing out under the disintegrating roofs of the poor are a predictable dimension of Mr. Macri's turn away from left-wing populism. He vowed to shrink Argentina's monumental deficits by diminishing the largess of the state. The trouble is that Argentines have yet to collect on the other element the president promised: the economic revival that was supposed to follow the pain. ..."
"... But as Mr. Macri seeks re-election this year, Argentines increasingly lament that they are absorbing all strife and no progress. Even businesses that have benefited from his reforms complain that he has botched the execution, leaving the nation to confront the same concoction of misery that has plagued it for decades. The economy is contracting. Inflation is running above 50 percent, and joblessness is stuck above 9 percent ..."
"... Poverty afflicts a third of the population, and the figure is climbing. ..."
"... Mr. Macri sold his administration as an evolved form of governance for these times, a crucial dose of market forces tempered by social programs. ..."
"... In the most generous reading, the medicine has yet to take effect. But in the view of beleaguered Argentines, the country has merely slipped back into the rut that has framed national life for as long as most people can remember. ..."
"... "We live patching things up," said Roberto Nicoli, 62, who runs a silverware company outside the capital, Buenos Aires. "We never fix things. I always say, 'Whenever we start doing better, I will start getting ready for the next crisis.'" ..."
"... "When our president Cristina was here, they sent people to help us," she says. "Now, if there's problems, nobody helps us. Poor people feel abandoned." ..."
May 10, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

On the ragged streets of the shantytown across the road, where stinking outhouses sit alongside shacks fashioned from rusted sheets of tin, families have surrendered hopes that sewage lines will ever reach them.

They do not struggle to fashion an explanation for their declining fortunes: Since taking office more than three years ago, President Mauricio Macri has broken with the budget-busting populism that has dominated Argentina for much of the past century, embracing the grim arithmetic of economic orthodoxy.

Mr. Macri has slashed subsidies for electricity, fuel and transportation, causing prices to skyrocket, and recently prompting Ms. Genovesi, 48, to cut off her gas service, rendering her stove lifeless. Like most of her neighbors, she illegally taps into the power lines that run along the rutted dirt streets.

"It's a neoliberal government," she says. "It's a government that does not favor the people."

The tribulations playing out under the disintegrating roofs of the poor are a predictable dimension of Mr. Macri's turn away from left-wing populism. He vowed to shrink Argentina's monumental deficits by diminishing the largess of the state. The trouble is that Argentines have yet to collect on the other element the president promised: the economic revival that was supposed to follow the pain.

Mr. Macri's supporters heralded his 2015 election as a miraculous outbreak of normalcy in a country with a well-earned reputation for histrionics. He would cease the reckless spending that had brought Argentina infamy for defaulting on its debts eight times. Sober-minded austerity would win the trust of international financiers, bringing investment that would yield jobs and fresh opportunities.

But as Mr. Macri seeks re-election this year, Argentines increasingly lament that they are absorbing all strife and no progress. Even businesses that have benefited from his reforms complain that he has botched the execution, leaving the nation to confront the same concoction of misery that has plagued it for decades. The economy is contracting. Inflation is running above 50 percent, and joblessness is stuck above 9 percent.

Poverty afflicts a third of the population, and the figure is climbing.

Far beyond this country of 44 million people, Mr. Macri's tenure is testing ideas that will shape economic policy in an age of recrimination over widening inequality. His presidency was supposed to offer an escape from the wreckage of profligate spending while laying down an alternative path for countries grappling with the worldwide rise of populism. Now, his presidency threatens to become a gateway back to populism. The Argentine economy is contracting. Inflation is running above 50 percent, and joblessness is stuck above 9 percent. Poverty afflicts a third of the population. Credit Sarah Pabst for The New York Times

Image
The Argentine economy is contracting. Inflation is running above 50 percent, and joblessness is stuck above 9 percent. Poverty afflicts a third of the population. Credit Sarah Pabst for The New York Times

As the October election approaches, Mr. Macri is contending with the growing prospect of a challenge from the president he succeeded, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who faces a series of criminal indictments for corruption . Her unbridled spending helped deliver the crisis that Mr. Macri inherited. Her return would resonate as a rebuke of his market-oriented reforms while potentially yanking Argentina back to its accustomed preserve: left-wing populism, in uncomfortable proximity to insolvency.

The Argentine peso lost half of its value against the dollar last year, prompting the central bank to lift interest rates to a commerce-suffocating level above 60 percent. Argentina was forced to secure a $57 billion rescue from the International Monetary Fund , a profound indignity given that the fund is widely despised here for the austerity it imposed in the late 1990s, turning an economic downturn into a depression.

For Mr. Macri, time does not appear to be in abundant supply. The spending cuts he delivered hit the populace immediately. The promised benefits of his reforms -- a stable currency, tamer inflation, fresh investment and jobs -- could take years to materialize, leaving Argentines angry and yearning for the past.

In much of South America, left-wing governments have taken power in recent decades as an angry corrective to dogmatic prescriptions from Washington, where the Treasury and the I.M.F. have focused on the confidence of global investors as the key to development.

Left-wing populism has aimed to redistribute the gains from the wealthy to everyone else. It has aided the poor, while generating its own woes -- corruption and depression in Brazil , runaway inflation and financial ruin in Argentina. In Venezuela, uninhibited spending has turned the country with the world's largest proven oil reserves into a land where children starve .

Mr. Macri sold his administration as an evolved form of governance for these times, a crucial dose of market forces tempered by social programs.

In the most generous reading, the medicine has yet to take effect. But in the view of beleaguered Argentines, the country has merely slipped back into the rut that has framed national life for as long as most people can remember.

"We live patching things up," said Roberto Nicoli, 62, who runs a silverware company outside the capital, Buenos Aires. "We never fix things. I always say, 'Whenever we start doing better, I will start getting ready for the next crisis.'"

Cultivating wealth

... ... ...

In the beginning, there was Juan Domingo Perón, the charismatic Army general who was president from 1946 to 1955, and then again from 1973 to 1974. He employed an authoritarian hand and muscular state power to champion the poor. He and his wife, Eva Duarte -- widely known by her nickname, Evita -- would dominate political life long after they died, inspiring politicians across the ideological spectrum to claim their mantle.

Among the most ardent Peronists were Néstor Kirchner, the president from 2003 to 2007, and his wife, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who took office in 2007, remaining until Mr. Macri was elected in 2015.

Their version of Peronism -- what became known as Kirchnerism -- was decidedly left-wing, disdaining global trade as a malevolent force. They expanded cash grants to the poor and imposed taxes on farm exports in a bid to keep Argentine food prices low.

As the country's farmers tell it, Kirchnerism is just a fancy term for the confiscation of their wealth and the scattering of the spoils to the unproductive masses. They point to Ms. Kirchner's 35 percent tax on soybean exports.

"We had a saying," Mr. Tropini says. "'For every three trucks that went to the port, one was for Cristina Kirchner.'"

reduction in export taxes.

"You could breathe finally," Mr. Tropini, the farmer, says.

He was free of the Kirchners, yet stuck with nature. Floods in 2016 wiped out more than half of his crops. A drought last year wreaked even more havoc.

"This harvest, this year," he says, "is a gift from God."

But if the heavens are now cooperating, and if the people running Buenos Aires represent change, Mr. Tropini is critical of Mr. Macri's failure to overcome the economic crisis.

A weaker currency makes Argentine soybeans more competitive, but it also increases the cost of the diesel fuel Mr. Tropini needs to run his machinery. High interest rates make it impossible for him to buy another combine, which would allow him to expand his farm.

In September, faced with a plunge in government revenues, Mr. Macri reinstated some export taxes .

... ... ...

What went wrong?

... ... ...

In the first years of Mr. Macri's administration, the government lifted controls on the value of the peso while relaxing export taxes. The masters of international finance delivered a surge of investment. The economy expanded by nearly 3 percent in 2017, and then accelerated in the first months of last year.

But as investors grew wary of Argentina's deficits, they fled, sending the peso plunging and inflation soaring. As the rout continued last year, the central bank mounted a futile effort to support the currency, selling its stash of dollars to try to halt the peso's descent. As the reserves dwindled, investors absorbed the spectacle of a government failing to restore order. The exodus of money intensified, and another potential default loomed, leading a chastened Mr. Macri to accept a rescue from the dreaded IMF.

Administration officials described the unraveling as akin to a natural disaster: unforeseeable and unavoidable. The drought hurt agriculture. Money was flowing out of developing countries as the Federal Reserve continued to lift interest rates in the United States, making the American dollar a more attractive investment.

But the impact of the Fed's tightening had been widely anticipated. Economists fault the government for mishaps and complacency that left the country especially vulnerable.

.... ... ...

Among the most consequential errors was the government's decision to include Argentina's central bank in a December 2017 announcement that it was raising its inflation target. The markets took that as a signal that the government was surrendering its war on inflation while opting for a traditional gambit: printing money rather than cutting spending.

... ... ...

The government insists that better days are ahead. The spending cuts have dropped the budget deficit to a manageable 3 percent of annual economic output. Argentina is again integrated into the global economy.

"We haven't improved, but the foundations of the economy and society are much healthier," said Miguel Braun, secretary of economic policy at the Treasury Ministry. "Argentina is in a better place to generate a couple of decades of growth."

... ... ...

Their television flashes dire warnings, like "Danger of Hyper Inflation." Throughout the neighborhood, people decry the sense that they have been forsaken by the government.

Trucks used to come to castrate male dogs to control the packs of feral animals running loose. Not anymore. Health programs for children are less accessible than they were before, they said.

Daisy Quiroz, 71, a retired maid, lives in a house that regularly floods in the rainy season.

"When our president Cristina was here, they sent people to help us," she says. "Now, if there's problems, nobody helps us. Poor people feel abandoned."

... ... ...

Daniel Politi contributed reporting from Buenos Aires. Peter S. Goodman is a London-based European economics correspondent. He was previously a national economic correspondent in New York. He has also worked at The Washington Post as a China correspondent, and was global editor in chief of the International Business Times. @ petersgoodman

[Jun 23, 2019] Iranian UN envoy condemns unlawful destabilizing measures by US

Jun 20, 2019 | www.rt.com

Iran's envoy to the United Nations has called on the international community to end "unlawful destabilizing measures" by the US, declaring that while Iran does not seek war, it "reserves the right to counter any hostile act."

Iranian envoy to the UN Majid Takht Ravanchi has condemned continuing US provocations that culminated Thursday morning in the downing of an American surveillance drone by the Iranian air force over Hormozgan province.

The drone "had turned off its identification equipment and [was] engaged in a clear spying operation," Ravanchi confirmed in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, adding that the aircraft had ignored "repeated radio warnings" in order to enter Iranian airspace near the Strait of Hormuz.

[Jun 22, 2019] Chuck Schumer 'The American People Deserve A President Who Can More Credibly Justify War With Iran'

Highly recommended!
Jun 20, 2019 | politics.theonion.com

In a pointed critique of President Trump's foreign policy leadership, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer stated to members of the press Thursday that "the American people deserve a president who can more credibly justify war with Iran."

"What the American people need is a president who can make a much more convincing case for going to war with Iran," said Schumer (D-NY), adding that the Trump administration's corruption and dishonesty have "proven time and time again" that it lacks the conviction necessary to act as an effective cheerleader for the conflict.

"Donald Trump is completely unfit to assume the mantle of telling the American people what they need to hear in order to convince them a war with Iran is a good idea.

One of the key duties of the president is to gain the trust of the people so that they feel comfortable going along with whatever he says. President Trump's failure to serve as a credible advocate for this war is yet another instance in which he has disappointed not only his colleagues in Washington, but also the entire nation."

Schumer later concluded his statement with a vow that he and his fellow Democrats will continue working toward a more palatable case in favor of bombing Iran.

[Jun 22, 2019] Bolton Calls For Forceful Iranian Response To Continuing US Aggression

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "Iran cannot sit idly by as the American imperialist machine encroaches on their territory, threatens their sovereignty, and endangers their very way of life," said Bolton, warning that America's fanatical leadership, steadfast devotion to flexing their muscles in the region, and alleged access to nuclear weapons necessitated that Iran strike back with a vigorous show of force as soon -- and as hard -- as possible. ..."
"... "The only thing these Westerners understand is violence, so it's imperative that Iran sends a clear message that they won't be walked over. Let's not forget, the U.S. defied a diplomatically negotiated treaty for seemingly no reason at all -- these are dangerous radicals that cannot be reasoned with. ..."
Jun 22, 2019 | politics.theonion.com

Demanding that the Middle Eastern nation retaliate immediately in self-defense against the existential threat posed by America's military operations, National Security Adviser John Bolton called for a forceful Iranian response Friday to continuing United States aggression.

"Iran cannot sit idly by as the American imperialist machine encroaches on their territory, threatens their sovereignty, and endangers their very way of life," said Bolton, warning that America's fanatical leadership, steadfast devotion to flexing their muscles in the region, and alleged access to nuclear weapons necessitated that Iran strike back with a vigorous show of force as soon -- and as hard -- as possible.

"The only thing these Westerners understand is violence, so it's imperative that Iran sends a clear message that they won't be walked over. Let's not forget, the U.S. defied a diplomatically negotiated treaty for seemingly no reason at all -- these are dangerous radicals that cannot be reasoned with.

They've been given every opportunity to back down, but their goal is total domination of the region, and Iran won't stand for that."

At press time, Bolton said that the only option left on the table was for Iran to launch a full-fledged military strike against the Great Satan.

[Jun 22, 2019] US Department of State officials claimed Thursday that one of their drones was minding its own business on its way to church when Iran attacked it

Jun 22, 2019 | www.unz.com

RobinG , says: June 22, 2019 at 5:54 am GMT

@lavoisier https://politics.theonion.com/u-s-claims-drone-was-minding-own-business-on-its-way-t-1835695562

WASHINGTON -- Maintaining that the unmanned aerial vehicle was simply going about its day without posing a threat to anyone, U.S. Department of State officials claimed Thursday that one of their drones was minding its own business on its way to church when Iran attacked it out of nowhere. "This was an outrageous, unprovoked attack by the Islamic Republic of Iran on an innocent drone who merely wanted to attend mass in peace," said acting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, emphasizing the drone's upstanding moral character by pointing out its history of donating to charity, volunteering at soup kitchens, and making homemade cookies for school bake sales. "We're talking about a drone that sings in the church choir and coaches little league baseball games on the weekends -- an absolute pillar of the community. This is an upstanding family drone who did nothing to deserve any sort of attack. What kind of world do we live in where an innocent drone can't fly through Iranian air space on its way to church?" At press time, Department of Defense officials confirmed that their request for Iran to return the drone's body back to the U.S. for a proper burial had gone unanswered.

[Jun 22, 2019] Americans hardly care who dies wherever as long as they can find themselves shoping goods they do not need with the money they do not have

Jun 21, 2019 | www.unz.com

Amused , says: June 19, 2019 at 2:50 pm GMT

It is a very lightly written article but it touches on a very sensitive nerve rather hard. I liked the entire premise of this story and have ome to agree with the writer that Americans hardly care who dies wherever as long as they can find themselves shoping goods they dont need with the money they don't have and stuffing their mouth with food they don't deserve.

[Jun 22, 2019] Trump on Iran threat now and then

Oct 22, 2012 | www.unz.com

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

Don't let Obama play the Iran card in order to start a war in order to get elected--be careful Republicans!

11:43 AM 22 Oct 12 Twitter Web Client

[Jun 22, 2019] Why The Empire Is Failing The Horrid Hubris Of The Albright Doctrine by Doug Bandow

Highly recommended!
Bolton is just Albright of different sex. The same aggressive stupidity.
Notable quotes:
"... Albright typifies the arrogance and hawkishness of Washington blob... ..."
"... How to describe US foreign policy over the last couple of decades? Disastrous comes to mind. Arrogant and murderous also seem appropriate. ..."
"... Washington and Beijing appear to be a collision course on far more than trade. Yet the current administration appears convinced that doing more of the same will achieve different results, the best definition of insanity. ..."
"... Despite his sometimes abusive and incendiary rhetoric, the president has departed little from his predecessors' policies. For instance, American forces remain deployed in Afghanistan and Syria. Moreover, the Trump administration has increased its military and materiel deployments to Europe. Also, Washington has intensified economic sanctions on Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Russia, and even penalized additional countries, namely Venezuela. ..."
"... "If we have to use force, it is because we are America: we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us." ..."
"... Even then her claim was implausible. America blundered into the Korean War and barely achieved a passable outcome. The Johnson administration infused Vietnam with dramatically outsize importance. For decades, Washington foolishly refused to engage the People's Republic of China. Washington-backed dictators in Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran, and elsewhere fell ingloriously. An economic embargo against Cuba that continues today helped turn Fidel Castro into a global folk hero. Washington veered dangerously close to nuclear war with Moscow during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 and again two decades later during military exercises in Europe. ..."
"... Perhaps the worst failing of U.S. foreign policy was ignoring the inevitable impact of foreign intervention. Americans would never passively accept another nation bombing, invading, and occupying their nation, or interfering in their political system. Even if outgunned, they would resist. Yet Washington has undertaken all of these practices, with little consideration of the impact on those most affected -- hence the rise of terrorism against the United States. Terrorism, horrid and awful though it is, became the weapon of choice of weaker peoples against intervention by the world's industrialized national states. ..."
"... Albright's assumption that members of The Blob were far-seeing was matched by her belief that the same people were entitled to make life-and-death decisions for the entire planet. ..."
"... The willingness to so callously sacrifice so many helps explain why "they" often hate us, usually meaning the U.S. government. This is also because "they" believe average Americans hate them. Understandably, it too often turns out, given the impact of the full range of American interventions -- imposing economic sanctions, bombing, invading, and occupying other nations, unleashing drone campaigns, underwriting tyrannical regimes, supporting governments which occupy and oppress other peoples, displaying ostentatious hypocrisy and bias, and more. ..."
"... At the 1999 Rambouillet conference Albright made demands of Yugoslavia that no independent, sovereign state could accept: that, for instance, it act like defeated and occupied territory by allowing the free transit of NATO forces. Washington expected the inevitable refusal, which was calculated to provide justification for launching an unprovoked, aggressive war against the Serb-dominated remnant of Yugoslavia. ..."
"... Alas, members of the Blob view Americans with little more respect. The ignorant masses should do what they are told. (Former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster recently complained of public war-weariness from fighting in Afghanistan for no good reason for more than seventeen years.) Even more so, believed Albright, members of the military should cheerfully patrol the quasi-empire being established by Washington's far-sighted leaders. ..."
"... When asked in 2003 about the incident, she said "what I thought was that we had -- we were in a kind of a mode of thinking that we were never going to be able to use our military effectively again." ..."
"... For Albright, war is just another foreign policy tool. One could send a diplomatic note, impose economic sanctions, or unleash murder and mayhem. No reason to treat the latter as anything special. Joining the U.S. military means putting your life at the disposal of Albright and her peers in The Blob. ..."
Jun 18, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Doug Bandow via National Interest,

Albright typifies the arrogance and hawkishness of Washington blob...

How to describe US foreign policy over the last couple of decades? Disastrous comes to mind. Arrogant and murderous also seem appropriate.

Since 9/11, Washington has been extraordinarily active militarily -- invading two nations, bombing and droning several others, deploying special operations forces in yet more countries, and applying sanctions against many. Tragically, the threat of Islamist violence and terrorism only have metastasized. Although Al Qaeda lost its effectiveness in directly plotting attacks, it continues to inspire national offshoots. Moreover, while losing its physical "caliphate" the Islamic State added further terrorism to its portfolio.

Three successive administrations have ever more deeply ensnared the United States in the Middle East. War with Iran appears to be frighteningly possible. Ever-wealthier allies are ever-more dependent on America. Russia is actively hostile to the United States and Europe. Washington and Beijing appear to be a collision course on far more than trade. Yet the current administration appears convinced that doing more of the same will achieve different results, the best definition of insanity.

Despite his sometimes abusive and incendiary rhetoric, the president has departed little from his predecessors' policies. For instance, American forces remain deployed in Afghanistan and Syria. Moreover, the Trump administration has increased its military and materiel deployments to Europe. Also, Washington has intensified economic sanctions on Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Russia, and even penalized additional countries, namely Venezuela.

U.S. foreign policy suffers from systematic flaws in the thinking of the informal policy collective which former Obama aide Ben Rhodes dismissed as "The Blob." Perhaps no official better articulated The Blob's defective precepts than Madeleine Albright, United Nations ambassador and Secretary of State.

First is overweening hubris. In 1998 Secretary of State Albright declared that

"If we have to use force, it is because we are America: we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us."

Even then her claim was implausible. America blundered into the Korean War and barely achieved a passable outcome. The Johnson administration infused Vietnam with dramatically outsize importance. For decades, Washington foolishly refused to engage the People's Republic of China. Washington-backed dictators in Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran, and elsewhere fell ingloriously. An economic embargo against Cuba that continues today helped turn Fidel Castro into a global folk hero. Washington veered dangerously close to nuclear war with Moscow during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 and again two decades later during military exercises in Europe.

U.S. officials rarely were prepared for events that occurred in the next week or month, let alone years later. Americans did no better than the French in Vietnam. Americans managed events in Africa no better than the British, French, and Portuguese colonial overlords. Washington made more than its share of bad, even awful decisions in dealing with other nations around the globe.

Perhaps the worst failing of U.S. foreign policy was ignoring the inevitable impact of foreign intervention. Americans would never passively accept another nation bombing, invading, and occupying their nation, or interfering in their political system. Even if outgunned, they would resist. Yet Washington has undertaken all of these practices, with little consideration of the impact on those most affected -- hence the rise of terrorism against the United States. Terrorism, horrid and awful though it is, became the weapon of choice of weaker peoples against intervention by the world's industrialized national states.

The U.S. record since September 11 has been uniquely counterproductive. Rather than minimize hostility toward America, Washington adopted a policy -- highlighted by launching new wars, killing more civilians, and ravaging additional societies -- guaranteed to create enemies, exacerbate radicalism, and spread terrorism. Blowback is everywhere. Among the worst examples: Iraqi insurgents mutated into ISIS, which wreaked military havoc throughout the Middle East and turned to terrorism.

Albright's assumption that members of The Blob were far-seeing was matched by her belief that the same people were entitled to make life-and-death decisions for the entire planet. When queried 1996 about her justification for sanctions against Iraq which had killed a half million babies -- notably, she did not dispute the accuracy of that estimate -- she responded that "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it." Exactly who "we" were she did not say. Most likely she meant those Americans admitted to the foreign policy priesthood, empowered to make foreign policy and take the practical steps necessary to enforce it. (She later stated of her reply: "I never should have made it. It was stupid." It was, but it reflected her mindset.)

In any normal country, such a claim would be shocking -- a few people sitting in another capital deciding who lived and died. Foreign elites, a world away from the hardship that they imposed, deciding the value of those dying versus the purported interests being promoted. Those paying the price had no voice in the decision, no way to hold their persecutors accountable.

The willingness to so callously sacrifice so many helps explain why "they" often hate us, usually meaning the U.S. government. This is also because "they" believe average Americans hate them. Understandably, it too often turns out, given the impact of the full range of American interventions -- imposing economic sanctions, bombing, invading, and occupying other nations, unleashing drone campaigns, underwriting tyrannical regimes, supporting governments which occupy and oppress other peoples, displaying ostentatious hypocrisy and bias, and more.

This mindset is reinforced by contempt toward even those being aided by Washington. Although American diplomats had termed the Kosovo Liberation Army as "terrorist," the Clinton Administration decided to use the growing insurgency as an opportunity to expand Washington's influence. At the 1999 Rambouillet conference Albright made demands of Yugoslavia that no independent, sovereign state could accept: that, for instance, it act like defeated and occupied territory by allowing the free transit of NATO forces. Washington expected the inevitable refusal, which was calculated to provide justification for launching an unprovoked, aggressive war against the Serb-dominated remnant of Yugoslavia.

However, initially the KLA, determined on independence, refused to sign Albright's agreement. She exploded. One of her officials anonymously complained: "Here is the greatest nation on earth pleading with some nothingballs to do something entirely in their own interest -- which is to say yes to an interim agreement -- and they stiff us." Someone described as "a close associate" observed: "She is so stung by what happened. She's angry at everyone -- the Serbs, the Albanians and NATO." For Albright, the determination of others to achieve their own goals, even at risk to their lives, was an insult to America and her.

Alas, members of the Blob view Americans with little more respect. The ignorant masses should do what they are told. (Former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster recently complained of public war-weariness from fighting in Afghanistan for no good reason for more than seventeen years.) Even more so, believed Albright, members of the military should cheerfully patrol the quasi-empire being established by Washington's far-sighted leaders.

As Albright famously asked Colin Powell in 1992:

"What's the use of having this superb military you're always talking about if we can't use it?" To her, American military personnel apparently were but gambit pawns in a global chess game, to be sacrificed for the interest and convenience of those playing. No wonder then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell's reaction stated in his autobiography was: "I thought I would have an aneurysm."

When asked in 2003 about the incident, she said "what I thought was that we had -- we were in a kind of a mode of thinking that we were never going to be able to use our military effectively again." Although sixty-five years had passed, she admitted that "my mindset is Munich," a unique circumstance and threat without even plausible parallel today.

Such a philosophy explains a 1997 comment by a cabinet member, likely Albright, to General Hugh Shelton, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: "Hugh, I know I shouldn't even be asking you this, but what we really need in order to go in and take out Saddam is a precipitous event -- something that would make us look good in the eyes of the world. Could you have one of our U-2s fly low enough -- and slow enough -- so as to guarantee that Saddam could shoot it down?" He responded sure, as soon as she qualified to fly the plane.

For Albright, war is just another foreign policy tool. One could send a diplomatic note, impose economic sanctions, or unleash murder and mayhem. No reason to treat the latter as anything special. Joining the U.S. military means putting your life at the disposal of Albright and her peers in The Blob.

Anyone of these comments could be dismissed as a careless aside. Taken together, however, they reflect an attitude dangerous for Americans and foreigners alike. Unfortunately, the vagaries of U.S. foreign policy suggest that this mindset is not limited to any one person. Any president serious about taking a new foreign-policy direction must do more than drain the swamp. He or she must sideline The Blob.

* * *

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

[Jun 22, 2019] The Myopia of Interventionists by Daniel Lariso

Feb 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Andrew Bacevich recalls Madeleine Albright's infamous statement about American indispensability, and notes how poorly it has held up over the last twenty-one years:

Back then, it was Albright's claim to American indispensability that stuck in my craw. Yet as a testimony to ruling class hubris, the assertion of indispensability pales in comparison to Albright's insistence that "we see further into the future."

In fact, from February 1998 down to the present, events have time and again caught Albright's "we" napping.

Albright's statement is even more damning for her and her fellow interventionists when we consider that the context of her remarks was a discussion of the supposed threat from Iraq. The full sentence went like this: "We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us." Albright was making a general claim about our supposed superiority to other nations when it came to looking into the future, but she was also specifically warning against a "danger" from Iraq that she claimed threatened "all of us." She answered one of Matt Lauer's questions with this assertion:

I think that we know what we have to do, and that is help enforce the UN Security Council resolutions, which demand that Saddam Hussein abide by those resolutions, and get rid of his weapons of mass destruction, and allow the inspectors to have unfettered and unconditional access.

Albright's rhetoric from 1998 is a grim reminder that policymakers from both parties accepted the existence of Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction" as a given and never seriously questioned a policy aimed at eliminating something that did not exist. American hawks couldn't see further in the future. They weren't even perceiving the present correctly, and tens of thousands of Americans and millions of Iraqis would suffer because they insisted that they saw something that wasn't there.

A little more than five years after she uttered these words, the same wild threat inflation that Albright was engaged in led to the invasion of Iraq, the greatest blunder and one of the worst crimes in the history of modern U.S. foreign policy . Not only did Albright and other later war supporters not see what was coming, but their deluded belief in being able to anticipate future threats caused them to buy into and promote a bogus case for a war that was completely unnecessary and should never have been fought.

[Jun 22, 2019] http://www.unz.com/tsaker/trump-claims-he-canceled-an-airstrike-against-iran-at-the-very-last-minute/

Jun 22, 2019 | www.unz.com

The first thing to say here is that we have no means to know what really happened. At the very least, there are two possible hypotheses which could explain what took place:

1) a US provocation: it is quite possible that somebody in the US chain of command decided that Iran should be put under pressure and that having US UAV fly right next to, or even just inside, the international border of Iran would be a great way to show Iran that the US is ready to attack. If that is the case, this was a semi-success (the Iranians had to switch on their radars and attack the UAV which is very good for US intelligence gathering) and a semi-failure (since the Iranians were clearly unimpressed by the US show of resolve).

2) an Iranian provocation: yup, that is a theoretical possibility which cannot reject prima facie : in this scenario it was indeed the Iranians who blew up the two tankers last week and they also deliberately shot down the US UAV over international waters. The goal? Simple: to show that the Iranians are willing and ready to escalate and that they are confident that they will prevail.

Now, in the real world, there are many more options, including even mixes of various options. What matters is now not this, as much as Trump's reaction:

Now, whether this was a US provocation or an Iranian one – Trump's reaction was the only correct one. Why? Because the risks involved in any US "more than symbolic strike" would be so great as to void any rationale for such a strike in the first place. Think of it: we can be very confident that the Iranian military installations along the Persian Gulf and the southern border of Iran are highly redundant and that no matter how successful any limited US missile strike would have been, the actual military capabilities of Iran would not have been affected. The only way for the US to effectively degrade Iranian capabilities would be to have a sustained, multi-day, attack on the entire southern periphery of Iran. In other words, a real war. Anything short of that would simply be meaningless. The consequences of such an attack, however, would be, in Putin's words "catastrophic" for the entire region.

If this was an Iranian provocation, then it was one designed to impress upon the Empire that Iran is also very much "locked, cocked and ready to rock". But if that is the case, there is zero change that any limited strike would achieve anything. In fact, any symbolic US attack would only signal to the Iranians that the US has cold feet and that all the US sabre-rattling is totally useless.

I have not said such a thing in many months, but in this case I can only admit that Trump did the right thing. No limited attack also makes sense even if we assume that the Empire has made the decision to attack Iran and is just waiting for the perfect time. Why? Because the longer the Iranian feel that an attack is possible, the more time, energy and money they need to spend remaining on very high alert.

The basic theory of attack and defense clearly states that the attacking side can gain as a major advantage if it can leave the other side in the dark about its plans and if the costs of being ready for a surprise attack are lower than the costs of being on high alert (those interested in the role and importance of surprise attack in the theory of deterrence can read Richard Betts' excellent book "


peterAUS says: June 21, 2019 at 8:30 pm GMT 100 Words

the longer the Iranian feel that an attack is possible, the more time, energy and money they need to spend remaining on very high alert.

Yep.
Men and material getting tired.
Tired men and material make mistakes.

Smart.

As I've said plenty of times before, the "beauty" of the setup is that TPTBs simply create a climate for a mistake resulting in loss of life of American personnel.
BANG.

Or, you put two combat forces next to each other and ramp up the tension.
Just a matter of time.

I am currently very slightly optimistic (48-52%) that the US will not attack Iran in the short term.
In the long term, however, I consider that an AngloZionist attack is a quasi certainty.

Yep.
Short term being 3 months (related to the first paragraph).

War for Blair Mountain , says: June 21, 2019 at 8:49 pm GMT

Sean Hannity lives in the largest Mansion in Lloyd Neck I have driven past his Mansion to get a look as to just how big it is IT'S HUGE ..Lloyd Neck has the most expensive zip code in the US ..Hannity the Chicken-Hawk thinks he is even tougher Chicken-Hawk War Hawk now that he studies MMA Serra Brazilian Ji-jitsu on Jericho Turnpike ..Yesterday Sean Hannity"My philosophy is you hit me .I hit you back ten times harder" .of course, Sean will be hiding in his mega-Mansion in Lloyd Neck .as the US Cargo Planes land in Virginia with a 100 stainless steel coffins containing the bodies headless bodies of Native Born White American Working Class Young Men Donald and Melania step inside the cargo bay to view the stainless steel coffins ..

... ... ...

A123 , says: June 21, 2019 at 8:50 pm GMT

Military action needs to support the underlying political goals. And, the political goal is to stop the Iranian regime from threatening and destabilizing the region. Would killing 150+ Iranians help dislodge the violent regime? No. Thus, the proposed strike did not align with the political goal. Trump was right to cancel it.

Think of it as the Putin Playbook. Did Putin go for mass casualties when Turkey shot down one of its fighters in 2015? No. Both Putin and Trump show similar strength. Restraint against precipitous, ill conceived, and overly bloody actions.

_____

Trump realizes that the Iranian people are the victims of sociopath Kahmeni. There will be a response with minimal bloodshed. Instead it will focus on the regime. Deepening the divide between the Iranian people and their despotic leaders prepares the path for internal forces to replace those leaders.

Oil storage is a likely choice. The tanks are large and spilled oil is highly visible. It would demonstrate the inability of the regime to stop the U.S. Storage facilities are visible to the public, so the government would have trouble denying or misrepresenting the event. Port facilities would also be a good choice, although that would be harder to time for few to no casualties.

PEACE

El Dato , says: June 21, 2019 at 8:57 pm GMT

very slightly optimistic (48-52%)

That's going overboard on precision though. And what's with the oil refinery in Pennsylvania going up into balls of flame. I hope this won't get dragooned into an "Iranian sleeper cell attack".

2stateshmustate , says: June 21, 2019 at 9:12 pm GMT
@A123

Another Israeli telling Americans they will be welcomed in Iran with flower covered streets. This guy doesn't give a shit about the US.

Fran Macadam , says: June 21, 2019 at 9:26 pm GMT
The provocations have to be such that domestic acquiescence in elite war profit taking will not be disturbed. That requires a series of propaganda events ramping up for domestic consumption.
El Dato , says: June 21, 2019 at 9:46 pm GMT
https://news.antiwar.com/2019/06/21/trump-called-off-attack-on-iran-with-10-minutes-to-spare/

10 minutes from striking is worryingly close, and Trump's disclosures on the matter are troubling. Apparently it was only at this late hour that Trump came around to asking for specifics on how many Iranians his order would kill. The generals told him approximately 150.

This was the game-changer, and Trump was nominally ordering this attack over the shoot down of a single US surveillance drone, and he rightly noticed that killing 150 people was not very proportionate to that, fortunately, he called the attack off before the first missiles were fired.

Trump went on to issue a flurry of Tweets saying Iran would never be allowed to have nuclear weapons, which of course this entire almost-attack had not a thing to do with. He also bragged about how much damage the US sanctions have done to Iran and how weakened Iran already is.

Troublingly though, administration hawks were still able to get Trump to sign off on the attack earlier on Thursday, and his assurances on Twitter suggest that the loss of the single drone really didn't enter into it as a big issue for him. This raises ongoing concerns that having called off the Thursday attack, Trump might be sold on a lesser attack at any time, or at least something nominally different that gets carried out before he gets around to asking about the casualties.

HONK! HONK!

restless94110 , says: June 21, 2019 at 9:48 pm GMT
@A123

Why would you end your mis-analysis where you justify war with the word PEACE? Spelling it out in all CAPS? You are seriously proposing that the US has the right to judge the government of another country and to deliberately destabilize that country in order to oerturn its governemtn?

Do you realize that economic sanctions are considered to be acts of war? In other words, you support acts of war and think that is PEACE? Are you insane?

El Dato , says: June 21, 2019 at 9:51 pm GMT
@A123

Military action needs to support the underlying political goals. And, the political goal is to stop the Iranian regime from threatening and destabilizing the region.

Yeah. Makes total sense from an Israeli/Saudi perspective. When bullshit is all there is, Hollywood logic can be used to explain the world!

Trump realizes that the Iranian people are the victims of sociopath Kahmeni.

I hope you have been given a sheet with talking points, otherwise I pity you.

PEACE

Top Ironik.

El Dato , says: June 21, 2019 at 9:59 pm GMT
The Deep State never rests. Dual treason sandwich via Reuters for Mr. Trump. It's really like living in a Nazi regime, with Heydrich walking the corridors, blackmailing and manipulating and "disposing of" problem factors.

Iran's top national security official has denied a Reuters report claiming that Tehran had received a low-key message via Oman from the US warning of an imminent attack on the Islamic Republic.

"The US didn't send any message," Keyvan Khosravi, spokesman for the National Security Council, told Iranian television.

The comment dismissed a previous report by Reuters, which cited unnamed Iranian officials as saying that Donald Trump had warned Tehran of a military strike and also gave a time to respond. The message was reportedly delivered via Oman and followed the downing of a US spy UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) earlier in the week.

HEREDOT , says: June 21, 2019 at 10:06 pm GMT
A handful of psychopaths determine our destiny. What makes us different from animals?
Priss Factor , says: June 21, 2019 at 10:23 pm GMT
A political coitus interruptus. DR. STRANGELOVE lite.
kerdasi amaq , says: June 22, 2019 at 12:35 am GMT
Hmm, so they shot down a drone; would they be able to shoot down every American plane that entered their airspace? A good reason to call off the strike; if the Iranians had a missile lock on every American plane. Having all their planes shot down would be an even worse defeat for the United States than just calling off an attack. Putin checks Trump.
lavoisier , says: Website June 22, 2019 at 12:52 am GMT
@War for Blair Mountain

Sean Hannity is a PUSSY AND A FAGGOT!!!

Mostly just an idiot and a Zionist whore.

TheJester , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:10 am GMT
The Iranians might be deciding to stand firm against US sanctions and other provocations as de facto acts of war before the sanctions do materially impact the Iranian economy and its military capability.

Recall the chicanery through which the United States surreptitiously provoked Japan into attacking the United States at Pearl Harbor so that FDR, a committed Anglophile, could enter the European war through the back door to save his British friends.

1. Via economic sanctions, the United States and its European colonial allies systematically denied Japan the resources it needed to sustain its population and its industrial economy.

2. Japan decided that it would have to act to obtain those resources or, accept its eventual demise as a nation state.

3. FDR hinted to the Dutch that the newly-positioned naval resources at Pearl Harbor would attack and cut the Japanese lines-of-communication per chance Japan struck south to obtain oil, rubber, and other resources in Southeast Asia. This was intentionally leaked to the Japanese.

4. The United States monitored the locations and progress of the Japanese fleet en route to Pearl Harbor to protect its exposed flank per the above. Japanese naval resources were under a communications blackout. However, the Japanese merchant marine supporting those forces were not. The US monitored their locations as a proxy for the location of the Japanese fleet. The rest is history

The Iranians are in a similar position: either fight now at the peak of their military power or, fight for survival later at a significant economic and military disadvantage. Like the Japanese, the Iranians would be wise to do the former. This strategy optimizes their chances for national survival.

MarkinLA , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:32 am GMT
@kerdasi amaq

The first thing in is missiles that target air defense batteries. I doubt the US is worried about Iran shooting down every plane. The drone probably was flying a steady even course and took no evasive maneuvers unlike an attacking aircraft. The success rate of surface to air missiles is not very high.

MarkinLA , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:36 am GMT
@TheJester 1. Via economic sanctions, the United States and its European colonial allies systematically denied Japan the resources it needed to sustain its population and its industrial economy.

BS. The embargo was because Japan continued to occupy part of China. All they had to do was go back home. Did FDR do it to get us into the war? Maybe, but Hitler was under no obligation to declare war on the US since Japan did not declare war on the USSR when Hitler attacked the USSR.

Biff , says: June 22, 2019 at 3:03 am GMT

No limited attack also makes sense even if we assume that the Empire has made the decision to attack Iran and is just waiting for the perfect time. Why? Because the longer the Iranian feel that an attack is possible, the more time, energy and money they need to spend remaining on very high alert.

Then

this might also be a strategic PSYOP destined to lull the Iranians into a false sense of security. If that is the plan, it will fail: the Iranians have lived with a AngloZionist bullseye painted on their heads ever since 1979 and they are used to live under constant threat of war.

Make up your mind.

BengaliCanadianDude , says: June 22, 2019 at 3:32 am GMT
@A123

Tell your masters in Haifa that they really are not churning out the good ones. We see right through you.

Talha , says: June 22, 2019 at 5:11 am GMT

Trump Claims He Canceled an Airstrike Against Iran at the Very Last Minute

I one hundred percent support letting The Orange One continue on with his awesome cowboy delusions as long as it keeps a war from starting.

My reaction: "Wow, sir! You have such self-control! Those Iranians don't know how close they were to you just kicking them back to the Stone Age! It's great that the better (wiser and more patient) side of you won out in the end – you are awesome!"

Peace.

Ilya G Poimandres , says: June 22, 2019 at 5:34 am GMT
@A123

Iran – no aggressive use of force for over 200 years. Sorry, you're choosing the wrong people for your propaganda.

RobinG , says: June 22, 2019 at 5:44 am GMT
TUCKER CARLSON IS A HERO: Tucker: US came within minutes of war with Iran

https://www.youtube.com/embed/-c0jMsspE7Y?feature=oembed

RobinG , says: June 22, 2019 at 5:54 am GMT
@lavoisier https://politics.theonion.com/u-s-claims-drone-was-minding-own-business-on-its-way-t-1835695562

WASHINGTON -- Maintaining that the unmanned aerial vehicle was simply going about its day without posing a threat to anyone, U.S. Department of State officials claimed Thursday that one of their drones was minding its own business on its way to church when Iran attacked it out of nowhere. "This was an outrageous, unprovoked attack by the Islamic Republic of Iran on an innocent drone who merely wanted to attend mass in peace," said acting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, emphasizing the drone's upstanding moral character by pointing out its history of donating to charity, volunteering at soup kitchens, and making homemade cookies for school bake sales. "We're talking about a drone that sings in the church choir and coaches little league baseball games on the weekends -- an absolute pillar of the community. This is an upstanding family drone who did nothing to deserve any sort of attack. What kind of world do we live in where an innocent drone can't fly through Iranian air space on its way to church?" At press time, Department of Defense officials confirmed that their request for Iran to return the drone's body back to the U.S. for a proper burial had gone unanswered.

Miggle , says: June 22, 2019 at 6:08 am GMT
@MarkinLA Read Frazier Hunt, The Untold Story of Douglas MacArthur.

TheJester is right.

Yes, China was under Japanese occupation. The Chinese Communists were fighting the Japs. The USA was supporting the side that was not fighting the Japs but the Communists, being, the USA, fanatically anti-communist.

My guess is that the USA forced Japan into war because of the economic potential of China, i.e. they wanted to take Japan's place.

And the USA didn't side with Hitler but with the other side because they didn't know Indian independence would come immediately after the War. So they sided with the Brits because of the apparent economic potential of the British Empire. If India had gained independence just before the war the USA would have sided with Hitler, because then, without India, German Europe would have had a greater economic potential than the British Empire.

Alfred , says: June 22, 2019 at 6:18 am GMT
The Iranians claim that a manned spy plane was next to the drone (i.e. that it also was in their territory) but that they chose not to shoot it down since 35 soldiers were on board.

"Along with the American drone was an American P8 aircraft with 35 on board, and it was also violating our airspace and we could have downed it too," he said, adding, "But we did not do [shoot down] it, because our aim was to warn the terrorist forces of the US."

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980331000471

To me, a total cynic, it looks like the Americans attempted a repeat of the incident when they deliberately misled their sailors so that they sailed into Iranian territorial waters. I guess they messed up the GPS for them.

"Iran releases video of captured American sailor crying "

https://nypost.com/2016/02/10/iran-releases-video-of-captured-american-sailor-crying/

I too would cry if I realised that my superiors had set me up as a sacrificial lamb.

Let's not forget the attempt to sink the USS Liberty. That was a joint operation between the US Deep State and Israel to try and get the US to attack Egypt.

"'But Sir, It's an American Ship.' 'Never Mind, Hit Her!' When Israel Attacked USS Liberty"

https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/but-sir-its-an-american-ship-never-mind-hit-her-1.5492908

Popeye , says: June 22, 2019 at 6:19 am GMT
@TheJester But why were sanctions imposed on Japan? Because Japan was acting in violation of international law? Well yes due to Japanese imperial aggression against China. In 1935-40 Japan was no angelic virgin. It committed unprovoked aggression against China, committed massive war crimes and crimes against humanity. Yes FDR likely wanted to have USA enter the Pacific war to enable war against Hitler but the crippling sanctions against Japan had a legitimate basis. To punish Japan for aggression in China
Alfred , says: June 22, 2019 at 6:21 am GMT
It looks like the Americans are having a false flag feast.

The positions in Iraq – whether directly or indirectly connected to the US interests in Iraq – for example Baghdad, Basra and al-Taji base to Northwest of Baghdad and Nineveh operations command headquarters in Northern Iraq have come under Katyusha missile attacks in recent day, the Al-Akhbar newspaper reported.

The paper reiterated that the missile attacks have taken place as a result of recent regional tensions, and said that the US officials are trying to portray the attacks as messages by Iran after al-Fujaira and the Sea of Oman mishaps.

It noted that no group has claimed responsibility for the recent missile attacks on Iraqi cities.

Sources close to Hashd al-Sha'abi Commander Abu Mohandes al-Mahdi, meantime, categorically dismissed any accusations against the Iraqi popular and resistance forces, and said that the Americans themselves are most probably behind some of these attacks because some of the missiles are made in the US.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980331000382

anonymous [340] Disclaimer , says: June 22, 2019 at 6:58 am GMT
Has there been any mention of ahem the need for a Congressional declaration before the President can act as Commander-In-Chief?

Further evidence that the Constitution is dead.

Greg Bacon , says: Website June 22, 2019 at 8:19 am GMT
@HEREDOT Mr. Saker left out the inconvenient fact that while that drone was indeed flying over Iranian air space, a much larger target, the Poseidon P8 was flying nearby. The P8 is a converted Boeing 737, making for a much larger radar profile for that missile. The P8 has many ASW capabilities, and also can control drones.

It's usual crew numbers nine, but this one had 35 sacrificial lambs packed onboard, to be murdered by the (((Deep State))) to push Trump into the corner, with the (((MSM))) screaming that it was Iran's fault, no proof needed or lies fabricated–just like the illegal invasion of Iraq–to give Israel what it's demanding that its American colony do: Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.

My guess is that the American thugs behind this latest FF attempt were hoping the Iranian surface-to-air missile would of shifted its initial target–the drone– and went for the much larger P8.

That Butcher Boy Bolton and his fellow homicidal maniacs failed means that more Americans are being lined up in their cross-hairs, ready to be sacrificed for the glory of Apartheid Israel.

If that is the plan, it will fail: the Iranians have lived with a AngloZionist bullseye painted on their heads ever since 1979 and they are used to live under constant threat of war.

Wrong, Saker, the Iranians have been getting attacked by America and the Brits since we overthrew their democratically elected prez in 1953, because he had the audacity to think and say that the majority of Iran's oil revenues should be going to Iranians, not Wall Street .

Greg Bacon , says: June 22, 2019 at 8:23 am GMT
@BengaliCanadianDude Agreed. If Israel want to attack Iran, go ahead, but they won't, because they know they'd get their asses kicked unless Uncle Sucker was leading the way.

Or maybe Israel could send in its fearsome DIAPER BRIGADES to wreak havoc in Tehran?

The diaper reference is not a joke, it's fact that the IDF has issued combat nappies to their troops, who let loose their bladder anytime they engage REAL men with guns who shoot back. But let's give credit where its due, when it comes to shooting Palestinian kids with slingshots or medics, Israel is #1.

Rabbitnexus , says: June 22, 2019 at 8:25 am GMT
@peterAUS Iran has been living with the same threat since 1979. The result is a hugely popular military and IRGC which is one of the best career choices in the country. It's a way of life for the nation to be under siege by now and for Shia Muslims the idea of being ready to fight to the death always hovers due to the history of Islam with respect to the Sunni/Shia divide. This disagreement is extreme, to be a Muslim and understand it is to feel horror! ; and despair at the idea any reconciliation is even possible between the two sects and a shared history does not make for a shared point of view. Shias have always been outnumbered and it was us who were targeted for extreme violence in the end (or the begginning) when a dispute over leadership turned bitter. Successive Islamic powers have attempted to exterminate Shias and the latest incarnation of the Salafis begginning with Wahhabism (nurtured by the Rothschild controlled British SS at the end of the Ottoman Empire) and lately morphed into Takfirism which is Daesh and their ilk, have always sought out Shias first and foremost for attack.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is firstly an Islamic Republic in full revolutionary mode, (as opposed to 'fundamentalist') it is also in a close second the "Capital" of Shia Islam and what I have described is the history of Iran and the times the Persian state was not an Islamic one are no less a part of the historical memory of the nation. Even those times (which invariably ended in defeat for Persia) reinforce the idea that it is as an Islamic state Iran stands best chance of survival and the confidence that if they remain true to these principles they will prevail is backed by an unbroken history of successful defense as a righteous Islamic state. This may be beyond many of the younger generation and ignored by the wealthy older generation Iranians but it must be ingrained in the political and social cosnciousness of the political and religious and intellectual elite.

Iran is ready. They have always been ready in one sense. Saddan Hussein who attacked them when they were at their weakest and still lived to regret it could attest to that if he was still around to talk. That war in which the USA gave full and unconditional support to their protege Saddam who only became their enemy when he became a better man and leader later on in time, was a wake up call to Iranian leadership and the nation as one. They knew that they needed missiles and a very strong defensive posture and that is what they have. F^ck with them at your peril I say.

I doubt myself the USA will attack Iran, at least as long as they have ships and troops within 1000 miles of Iran. That includes towing their static aircraft carrier "Israel" out of range as well.

sally , says: June 22, 2019 at 8:34 am GMT
@2stateshmustate agree, the comment that "the USA is taking the events to the UN is loaded with false something or other..

Iran initiated the UN hearing AFAIK and IRAN says it will present evidence that it was the USA's intention.. to do the deeds ..<=personally, my feeling is neither Russia nor China will veto .. anything about these deeds.. the only veto will come from Article II of the COUS , present leader [one Mr. Trumpy]. who is elected not by popular vote of the govern people in America but instead by the hidden behind the scene, state to state vote of the electoral college.. .. <== you mean all that to-do every four years to elect a president: democrats vs republicans beating each other up, newspapers collecting billions in contribution dollars to publish fake I hate you slogans, and he saids, you saids: dey all be fake news, propaganda erotic ? yep.. sure enough is. dem guys dat rites dem Konstitutions ain't no dummies deys knows vat ve good fore dem. Read Article II, sections 2 and 3.. you see..
Popular vote elects the Article I folks ( 525 in all: 425 members of the house of congressional districts (Art. 1, Section 2), and 100 Senators (amendment 17, proposed 1912, approved 1913federal reserve(act of congress), income tax (amendment 16) both also 1913 ),

=>but Article I (section 2 and amendment 17 ) folks have no power to act.. as powerless buffoons ..they are authorized only to approve a few things, try cases of Treason, and make the laws, fund the actions, wants and needs demanded by Article II persons. It takes 2/3 of each a divided Senate and 2/3 of a divided House [Art. I, sec 7[2,3] to over-power the Art II privilege of veto.. and

==get this=> Article II persons are charged to enforce the law( Art II, section 2 [3] he[the President} shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed. Where is Hillary? I see no words making such duty to enforce the law optional (so does the AG have an option that the President does not, .) ?

misguided Saker ?

Zumbuddi , says: June 22, 2019 at 8:38 am GMT
@Fran Macadam . . . Timed to force Congress to vote on a declaration of war just before elections.
Zumbuddi , says: June 22, 2019 at 8:42 am GMT
@HEREDOT Have you ever seen an obese deer?
Rabbitnexus , says: June 22, 2019 at 8:53 am GMT
I am in full agreement with the author about who was most likely behind the attacks on the ships and how the two separate attacks were done. Even down to accepting the possibility Iran was behind some or all of this as provocation for the reasons given. If so it would mean they are hurting badly and need to bring things to a head fast. This does not fit with my observations of Iranian leadership which has always demonstrated a very long term and patient, typically oriental approach to logjams in diplomacy and nothing has happened to suggest they are suddenly feeling extremely more pain than previously. In short it is possible but I doubt it.

To my mind the things which speak against the Iranians having attacked the tankers the second time at least are substantial: Both ships were Japanese owned. This attack as such was against Japanese interests WHILST the Japanese PM (Japanese death cult and mafia associations and all) was making a historical visit to Tehran! What sort of dung for brains clowns would invite someone for dinner and then send the kids out to set fire to their car whilst they dined? Of course Washington would do something like this (shooting missiles at Syria whilst enjoying a lovely piece of cake with their Chinese ally ffs ) but Iran? Give me a break.

Secondly if Iran was guilty, how come the USA is lying like a cheap rug from the get go? The video the US Navy quickly produced is PROOF they are lying. The black and white imagery does NOT hide the distinctly different paint jobs on the ship depicted and the actual one involved. Whatever that video is, it is NOT a video of either of the ships involved in the second incident. So if Iran was guilty why is the USA using fabricated evidence to assert it?

The claim that the Iranians tried unsuccesfully to shoot down a Reaper drone which was according to the USA monitoring the ship BEFORE IT WAS ATTACKED was what stuck in my craw from the start. What the hell was a REAPER Drone doing monitoring that particular ship at that particular time? Is this a common practice? Reaper drones are NOT recon drones they carry hellfire missiles and kill things! When you consider the reports by the crew, as relayed by the Japanese company owner about a flying object just before the explosion and the pictures of the damage which clearly show fairly small holes about half way between the gunwale and waterline the conclusion these were small missiles is hard to avoid. Indeed HELLFIRE missiles would fit the bill nicely.

As for attacking Iran I do not believe that the USA will dare start anything, especially now, so long as they have troops and ships within range of Iranian missiles. Iranian missiles power is immense and an unknown because they do not know where it all is, and they do know much of it is very, very well hardened against attack. IF they do start a war with Iran whilst they have assets in the region, invluding "Israel" then they have completely lost their minds and I'd say the war will end very fast and hard for them. Not even going nuclear will do it. They are deluded if they think so. Nukes are not magic, they are just big bombs and even the radiation component is not a big deal these days. (few realise it but modern nukes are quite 'clean') Iran is a vast country and well dug in over millenia. However unleashing a full nuclear war against a non nuclear state will end the USA forever as a world citizen in every way. There is no solution for the USA except to make peace or back off. They can plan and scheme all they like but Allah is the best of planners.

Rabbitnexus , says: June 22, 2019 at 9:00 am GMT
@Fran Macadam Well if that line of turkeys pecking at the crumbs of provocations unfolding which purport to involve Iran keep on gobbling on cue they are going to realise too late they just walked into the slaughter house. Iran will send home many thousands of their boys and girls in body bags and sink their ships but the real hurt will be the end of the US economy. They'll be missing even allegorical crumbs when they only have dirt to eat.
El Dato , says: June 22, 2019 at 9:05 am GMT
@MarkinLA Japan continued to occupy part of China (and viciously so, clearly stamping on the foot of white-colonial interests with their homegrown late-comer colonialism) but i mainly started to challenge US power in the Pacific, and with strong determination.

Explainer:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/FTupV8o3mW4?start=7391&feature=oembed

China nowadays has this role. This is why the US is interested in a "first strike" nuclear posture. This is gonna be fun.

Sean , says: June 22, 2019 at 9:15 am GMT
Iran's War for higher Oil prices

Israel does not have the ability to deceive the US, and why would it need to with Trump in power? American fracking technology has greatly limited Iranian ability to cause trouble. If it was the Iranians that did the limpet mine attack on international shipping then what would their objective have been? Clearly they don't want more any real war or even more sanctions. What they do want is create demand for their oil and sell it at a good price. The price of oil is already up from the mere tension over the limpet mine and shootdown and had there been US military action oil prices would have gone much higher. I see this whole affair as a sign that the Iranian regieme is getting desperate, because America's slow smothering strategy is working. Iran wants to breack out of its current situation and Trump is walking them into that.

Israel will do nothing, the partisan supporters of Israel in the US can be kept quiet on the immigration Issue by throwing them a bone (as Trump has been doing). Iran want to rase oil prices and create demand for its oil, that is all. Hitting Iran, but quite lightly, is the best option for Trump if he wants to win reelection. And so he will hit Iran at a time of his choosing, which will probabally be closer to the election. The armed forces of America or any other country are not for enforcing international law or notions of fair play, but rather for defending that country's interests. Iran and Trump's agendas converge on a clash well short of all out war in the very near future.

The Alarmist , says: June 22, 2019 at 9:16 am GMT
Occam's Razor suggests Trump got news that the drone was indeed inside Iranian airspace and decided for once to call BS.

Besides, in the great scheme of things, one lost drone doesn't make up for the USS Vincennes killing 290 people on Iran Air 655 by shooting it down in Iranian Airspace. When the Empire warned that civil aircraft were not safe in the airspace, it wasn't the Iranian forces they were warning about.

El Dato , says: June 22, 2019 at 9:17 am GMT
@El Dato Pearl Harbor explained:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/FTupV8o3mW4?start=8008&feature=oembed

Miggle , says: June 22, 2019 at 9:19 am GMT
@Miggle Sorry, "My guess" covers all that follows. It's only my guess that the USA would have sided with Hitler if they'd known India would not be part of the British Empire.
Miggle , says: June 22, 2019 at 9:55 am GMT
@Colin Wright So, not insane, inzine.

Is there a difference?

Art , says: June 22, 2019 at 10:12 am GMT
Our hero Donald J Trump – a courageous man who saved 150 lives and avoided a war, will ride those lives into 2020.

There will be no war against Iran started by Trump.

Think Peace -- Art

EoinW , says: June 22, 2019 at 10:21 am GMT
@TheJester But it wasn't wise for the Japanese as they were completely defeated.

The key difference between Japan and Iran is that the Japanese Empire was an aggressor, endlessly invading its neighbours. Iran has not fought an offensive war in 40 years.

Also have to question you on the time element. Time is on the side of the Asian countries. It's countries, like Israel, who see this as peak time for military action. Iran has survived 40 years of sanctions and can certainly survive this time, especially with the support of Russia and China. Yet they still must react to military planes threatening their air space. Plus they have no control over oil tankers being targeted by third parties.

Amon , says: June 22, 2019 at 10:56 am GMT
The more I see of this, the more convinced I am that the US as a society is clinically insane.

Its borders are under attack by what can only be described as an invasion is taking place with millions off illegal immigrants pour across the border to commit crime, steal jobs or mooch of the welfare programs.

Its cities are decaying with armies of homeless, shit and drugs flooding the streets in ever greater numbers while the working class people flee in great waves.

Masked and armed criminals roam the streets of major US cities, attack anyone they deem to be a wrong thinker when not busy rioting, stealing and chanting for the deaths of others.

Its economy is in a bi-polar mood. On one hand the GDP is as high as ever with tons of new jobs getting created, on the other hand the physical economy is shrinking as stores closes and houses go unsold due to half the nation being unable to buy anything but food and clothes.

In the face of all of these problems, the US Government has decided to put its full attention on overthrowing the government of Venezuela and starting a war with Iran because somehow, those two nations who posed no danger to the US have been declared high priority targets that requires the full spectrum attention and political intervention by the US.

joeshittheragman , says: June 22, 2019 at 11:13 am GMT
@HEREDOT We can killed much more efficiently.
RVBlake , says: June 22, 2019 at 11:30 am GMT
@A123 "There will be a response with minimal bloodshed." Yes, we are noted for the delicate, nearly bloodless nature of our military reactions, merely focusing on regimes with the full-throated applause of the grateful populaces. It would be a cake-walk, to quote our valiant SecDef Rumsfeld prior to our 2003 Iraqi minimally bloody response.

And speaking of armchair generalship, I wonder where Trump's multi-starred consultant got the figure "150" in answer to the question of civilian casualties. This is the kind of clear-sighted strategic vision that has a U. S. victory in Afghanistan just around the corner, to quote our junior Clausewitz's.

SteveM , says: June 22, 2019 at 11:34 am GMT

But it is also plausible (if by no means certain) that at least two groups could have opposed such a strike:

1) The planners at CENTCOM and/or the Pentagon.

Yes, it's reported that the Pentagon advised Trump not to retaliate militarily for the drone shoot down.

Given advanced missile technologies, surface warships of any stripe are sitting ducks. I'm guessing that Iran has a plethora of missile batteries up and down its coast. If Iran launched a barrage of missiles simultaneously (10? 20? 30?) at a single surface warship in the Persian Gulf, what would be the probability that the ship's self-defense systems could neutralize them all?

If a single multi-billion dollar warship were sunk, the credibility of U.S. naval "power projection" would evaporate. In that context, the Pentagon's reluctance may be because they'd rather not establish that their hyper-expensive blue-water surface Navy is an anachronism.

alexander , says: June 22, 2019 at 11:49 am GMT
There is a very simple solution to all this, and the sooner it happens the better.

Everyone who conspired to defraud the US taxpayer into illegal wars (dating back to 2002), should be forced to pay for the cost of the wars they lied us into.

All the assets of these "deceivers" should be "seized" .to pay down the 22 trillion war debt their lies created.

If there is anything left over , it should be placed in an " Iran War Escrow Account ".

This would ensure that the burden of the war costs falls directly on "their" shoulders and NOT the US taxpayers.

This seems like a just and fair solution for everybody ., doesn't it ?

Justsaying , says: June 22, 2019 at 11:51 am GMT
@A123 If this is not proof of what some of these Washington criminals have on their agenda:

https://www.newsweek.com/mike-pompeo-says-iran-must-listen-us-if-they-want-their-people-eat-1208465

An authentic act of war before even before firing the first bullet. First, make the economy scream in the tradition of yet another thug masquerading as head of state (Nixon). Second, starve them into submission. Does the first Iraq war resulting in the death of an estimated half a million children denied essential medicines ring a bell? Venezuela is similarly being starved into surrender. Meanwhile Guaido is embezzling the humanitarian aid intended for his needy countrymen.

All said, the history of our country's lies and deception going back a long ways, more than speaks for itself.

anon [210] Disclaimer , says: June 22, 2019 at 12:10 pm GMT
@War for Blair Mountain Remember, the Holy Hook states that Working Class Native Born White Christian American Male Canon Fodder " owe it to the Jews ."
Zero , says: June 22, 2019 at 12:29 pm GMT
@Justsaying Of course, starvation is a favorite tactic of OUR international Communist overlords. They've used it for decades and killed hundreds of millions of people using it. It's cheap and easy.
Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 12:42 pm GMT

Trump Claims He Canceled an Airstrike Against Iran at the Very Last Minute

That is just bullshit.

Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 12:47 pm GMT
@lavoisier

Mostly just an idiot and a Zionist whore.

Yes, and there are plenty of them.

sarz , says: June 22, 2019 at 12:47 pm GMT
Saker, it would be good to see you spell out where you differ from Bernhard of Moon of Alabama's assumptions.

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/06/white-house-pushes-trump-pulled-back-story-he-likely-never-approved-to-strike-iran.html

War for Blair Mountain , says: June 22, 2019 at 12:55 pm GMT
On direct orders from Donald Trump ..the US Military is illegally occupying the sovereign Nation of Syria .and Trump took a direct order from JEW ONLY ISRAEL to do this think about it

A case can be made that the US strategy is not to go to war with Iran .but rather, use the boogey man of Iran to justify a 100 year illegal US Military occupation of Syria on behalf of JEW ONLY ISRAEL .

The late Fat Cockroach Christopher Hitchens justified murdering thousands of Iraqis because it would be good for the Kurds Well, here is what I say:THE CRYPTO JEW KURDS WERE NEVER WORTH IT .Kurdish autonomy in northern Iraq always meant an IDF presence in Northern Iraq

Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 12:58 pm GMT
@2stateshmustate Yep, A123 is as full of shit as you can get
Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:03 pm GMT
@restless94110

Why would you end your mis-analysis where you justify war with the word PEACE?

Spelling it out in all CAPS?

Because he's a really, really dumbass.

Do you realize that economic sanctions are considered to be acts of war?

He doesn't realize what planet he's on.

Are you insane?

He's just really low IQ.

Biff , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:09 pm GMT
@Anonymous

learn the difference between tactics and strategy.

Hey Bill Clinton, is that you?

Dictionary.com gives almost identical definitions for those terms, so tell us oh wise one – what's the difference?

Jacques Sheete , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:11 pm GMT
@A123

And, the political goal is to stop the Iranian regime from threatening and destabilizing the region.

Oh, really! Tsk tsk.

Johnny Walker Read , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:14 pm GMT
The best analysis of the 225 million dollar MQ-4C drone(more expensive than the F-35) shoot down in my opinion is that of Jim Stone:
"The drone shot down was an MQ-4C, which is basically a more advanced clone of the Global Hawk. A better score for Iran than a Global Hawk. ADDITIONALLY IMPORTANT: Iran was the one that recovered the debris, the U.S. navy did not, which means Iran was telling the truth about where it was flying to begin with. If they got it, it fell on their turf. It is really blown to smithereens, a direct hit. That's good for Iran because it proves their missile systems can do it, but it is bad because they don't have any big pieces. Additionally, there was an American P-8 spy plane accompanying the drone, Iran was able to differentiate between the two, and hit the drone. The P-8 was a much easier target. Iran obviously opted not to hit it because killing it's crew would have meant war."

What everyone needs to be aware of here is "stealth" technology is a total farce, and can be defeated with long wave radar, basically the same system used by England during WWII. The drone shot down was considered a Max Stealth aircraft, same as the F-35. The F-35 and F-22 are basically "hanger queens"(many hours of maintenance required for every hour of flying time), and with their stealth capabilities being defeatable, they are pretty much worthless. Trump did not pull the trigger on this because he figured out the whole thing could go real bad real quick.

I urge all to read Jim Stones take on this mess: http://82.221.129.208/.wh7.html

Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:15 pm GMT
@alexander

Everyone who conspired to defraud the US taxpayer into illegal wars (dating back to 2002), should be forced to pay for the cost of the wars they lied us into.

Everyone who conspired to defraud the US taxpayer into illegal wars, their heirs and all who profited from (dating back to 1812), should be forced to pay for the cost of the wars they lied us into.

FIFY

Jacques Sheete , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:16 pm GMT
@Justsaying You are correct. This is economic and siege warfare. Flying bullets, etc., add to the drama and consequences, but the war on Iran began many years ago. The vicious clowns are up to the same old tricks, but bullshitting only the willing gulls.
Jacques Sheete , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:18 pm GMT
@Zero

Of course, starvation is a favorite tactic of OUR international Communist overlords.

Yup. It's what empires do, and they don't even give a flip if their own people have to go without either.

Jacques Sheete , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:23 pm GMT
@El Dato

It's really like living in a Nazi regime

No, it's not. Clearly the Nazis were on the defensive . Lying Abe Lincoln was, in fact, much worse than the Nazis ever thought of being; in a totally different category even.

DESERT FOX , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:25 pm GMT
Iran has not started a war in over 300 years and is not a terrorist nation and does not export terrorism, that title belongs the the unholy trinity of the zio/US and Israel and Britain, the creators and funders and suppliers of AL CIADA aka ISIS and all the various off shoots thereof.

This war on Iran is a zionist project of the zionists who control the governments of the zio/US and zio/Britain as has been the case in every war in Iraq and Libya and Syria and Yemen and Lebanon , Israel has been the agent provocateur in every one of these wars!

The zionists have a goal of a satanic zionist NWO and are hell bent to get there if they have to kill off all the goyim and muslims to accomplish it and they are well on their way!

Read the book Blood In The Water by Joan Mellen on the zio/US and Israeli attack on the USS Liberty for a look at how these two terrorist nations operate!

Jacques Sheete , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:25 pm GMT
@HEREDOT

A handful of psychopaths determine our destiny. What makes us different from animals?

I don't think other animals have psychopaths of the same species ruling over them nor do they have hasbara clowns spouting sewage and doing worse 24/7, such as the alphanumeric zero, above.

Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:28 pm GMT
@Greg Bacon

Mr. Saker left out the inconvenient fact that while that drone was indeed flying over Iranian air space, a much larger target, the Poseidon P8 was flying nearby. The P8 is a converted Boeing 737, making for a much larger radar profile for that missile. The P8 has many ASW capabilities, and also can control drones.

If this is true the stupid bastards in control of this country better take note. If the missile, that Iran says they developed, is cabable of distinguishing between a P8 and a drone the US may have a big problem.

Johnny Walker Read , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:30 pm GMT
@SteveM Yup, Trump called this off because he knew America could pay dearly for an attack on Iran.
Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:30 pm GMT
@joeshittheragman Excellent answer.
Johnny Walker Read , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:33 pm GMT
This is what our Air Force would look like if it was based on war fighting and not making all in the MIC extremely rich.
https://www.nationalreview.com/2017/03/f-35-replacement-f-45-mustang-ii-fighter-simple-lightweight/
Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:39 pm GMT
@MarkinLA

The embargo was because Japan continued to occupy part of China.

True, but China has been occupied by both the British and US in the past .and not too distant past.

Fool's Paradise , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:43 pm GMT
More likely, Trump and his Neocons knew that Iran had proof that the spy drone was shot down over Iran's territory, that the truth would come out after the U.S. strike, earning the world's condemnation and making Trump et al look like warmongering fools. That's what they are, of course, but it gave Trump the chance to pose as a big humanitarian, stopping the strike because, since it was only a plane, with no Americans on board, he didn't want to "disproportionately" kill anybody. Yeah. Just wait until the Israeli puppets send another plane with Americans on board, it'll give Israel and our traitorous Neocons the war they've been lusting after for a decade or more.
Realist , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:45 pm GMT
@Art LOL
Jacques Sheete , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:50 pm GMT
@MarkinLA

All they had to do was go back home.

Proof?

In fact it's my understanding that the Japanese were bending over backwards in an attempt to avoid war with the US but the Wall Street Commie catamite FDR and his henchmen foiled and insulted them at every turn. The story of how they were repeatedly humiliated would raise the hackles of the least sensitive among us.

The big picture is that the Wall Street and London Commies were aiming for world hegemony even at their own populations' expense, of course, and Japan and Germany had to be castrated even if populated and run by angels and innocent choir boys to ensure that they could be turned into industrial slave states. It's apparent that the scum of the Earth won't rest until they've accomplished their goals as we can clearly see here.

Nancy Pelosi's Latina Maid , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:55 pm GMT
@War for Blair Mountain

Sean Hannity lives in the largest Mansion in Lloyd Neck I have driven past his Mansion to get a look as to just how big it is IT'S HUGE ..Lloyd Neck has the most expensive zip code in the US

A simple Google search reveals Hannity sold his Lloyd Neck home in 2014, and has lived in Oyster Bay for several years. Also, Lloyd Neck isn't even in Forbes' Top 50 Most Expensive Zip Codes; the list is headed by four communities in California and one in Florida.

I'm not saying Sean isn't a pussy and a faggot, but your facts are suspect.

Jacques Sheete , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:58 pm GMT
@Popeye Dear Sir,

This is the 21st century. Why do you persist in parroting nearly century-old war propaganda?

Current Commenter

[Jun 21, 2019] Forget Trump's 'deal of the century'. Israel was always on course to annexation by Jonathan Cook

Israel is just another 'settlers" country. It might be successful or it might fail like South Africa and Rhodesia. The survival of Israel as the settler country hinges on the USA unconditional support as yet another (stealth) USA state, and the continuation of the role of the USA as the world hegemon and the center of the global neoliberal empire. . The USA position as for Israel might eventually change with the collapse of neoliberalism.
One problem that creates negative attitude to Israel around the world (according to BBC data only the USA and a couple of African countries having the majority of population that views Israel positively) is, as one commenter observed, the situation in which "The Children of the Holocaust survivors, born into Israel, have now become the "Holocaust-ers of Palestine"
Jun 21, 2019 | www.unz.com

When Israeli prime ministers are in trouble, facing difficult elections or a corruption scandal, the temptation has typically been for them to unleash a military operation to bolster their standing. In recent years, Gaza has served as a favourite punching bag.

Benjamin Netanyahu is confronting both difficulties at once: a second round of elections in September that he may struggle to win; and an attorney general who is widely expected to indict him on corruption charges shortly afterwards.

Netanyahu is in an unusually tight spot, even by the standards of an often chaotic and fractious Israeli political system. After a decade in power, his electoral magic may be deserting him. There are already rumblings of discontent among his allies on the far right.

Given his desperate straits, some observers fear that he may need to pull a new kind of rabbit out of the hat.

In the past two elections, Netanyahu rode to success after issuing dramatic last-minute statements. In 2015, he agitated against the fifth of Israel's citizens who are Palestinian asserting their democratic rights, warning that they were "coming out in droves to vote".

Back in April, he declared his intention to annex large chunks of the occupied West Bank, in violation of international law, during the next parliament.

Amos Harel, a veteran military analyst with Haaretz newspaper, observed last week that Netanyahu may decide words are no longer enough to win. Action is needed, possibly in the form of an announcement on the eve of September's ballot that as much as two-thirds of the West Bank is to be annexed.

Washington does not look like it will stand in his way.

Shortly before April's election, the Trump administration offered Netanyahu a campaign fillip by recognising Israel's illegal annexation of the Golan Heights, territory Israel seized from Syria in 1967.

This month David Friedman, US ambassador to Israel and one of the chief architects of Donald Trump's long-delayed "deal of the century" peace plan, appeared to offer a similar, early election boost.

In interviews, he claimed Israel was "on the side of God" – unlike, or so it was implied, the Palestinians. He further argued that Israel had the "right to retain" much of the West Bank.

Both statements suggest that the Trump administration will not object to any Israeli moves towards annexation, especially if it ensures their favoured candidate returns to power.

Whatever Friedman suggests, it is not God who has intervened on Israel's behalf. The hands that have carefully cleared a path over many decades to the West Bank's annexation are all too human.

Israeli officials have been preparing for this moment for more than half a century, since the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza were seized back in 1967.

That point is underscored by an innovative interactive map of the occupied territories. This valuable new resource is a joint project of the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem and Forensic Architecture, a London-based team that uses new technology to visualise and map political violence and environmental destruction.

Titled Conquer and Divide , it reveals in detail how Israel has "torn apart Palestinian space, divided the Palestinian population into dozens of disconnected enclaves and unravelled its social, cultural and economic fabric".

The map proves beyond doubt that Israel's colonisation of the West Bank was never accidental, defensive or reluctant. It was coldly calculated and intricately planned, with one goal in mind – and the moment to realise that goal is fast approaching.

Annexation is not a right-wing project that has hijacked the benign intentions of Israel's founding generation. Annexation was on the cards from the occupation's very beginnings in 1967, when the so-called centre-left – now presented as a peace-loving alternative to Netanyahu – ran the government.

The map shows how Israeli military planners created a complex web of pretexts to seize Palestinian land: closed military zones today cover a third of the West Bank; firing ranges impact 38 Palestinian communities; nature reserves are located on 6 per cent of the territory; nearly a quarter has been declared Israeli "state" land; some 250 settlements have been established; dozens of permanent checkpoints severely limit movement; and hundreds of kilometres of walls and fences have been completed.

These interlocking land seizures seamlessly carved up the territory, establishing the walls of dozens of tightly contained prisons for Palestinians in their own homeland.

Two Nasa satellite images of the region separated by 30 years – from 1987 and 2017 – reveal how Israel's settlements and transport infrastructure have gradually scarred the West Bank's landscape, clearing away natural vegetation and replacing it with concrete.

The land grabs were not simply about acquisition of territory. They were a weapon, along with increasingly draconian movement restrictions, to force the native Palestinian population to submit, to recognise its defeat, to give up hope.

In the immediate wake of the West Bank's occupation, defence minister Moshe Dayan, Israel's hero of the hour and one of the architects of the settlement project, observed that Palestinians should be made "to live like dogs, and whoever wants to can leave – and we shall see where this process leads".

Although Israel has concentrated Palestinians in 165 disconnected areas across the West Bank, its actions effectively won the international community's seal of approval in 1995. The Oslo accords cemented Israel's absolute control over 62 per cent of the West Bank, containing the Palestinians' key agricultural land and water sources, which was classified as Area C.

Occupations are intended to be temporary – and the Oslo accords promised the same. Gradually, the Palestinians would be allowed to take back more of their territory to build a state. But Israel made sure both the occupation and the land thefts sanctioned by Oslo continued.

The new map reveals more than just the methods Israel used to commandeer the West Bank. Decades of land seizures highlight a trajectory, plotting a course that indicates the project is still not complete.

ORDER IT NOW

If Netanyahu partially annexes the West Bank – Area C – it will be simply another stage in Israel's tireless efforts to immiserate the Palestinian population and bully them into leaving. This is a war of attrition – what Israelis have long understood as "creeping annexation", carried out by stealth to avoid a backlash from the international community.

Ultimately, Israel wants the Palestinians gone entirely, squeezed out into neighbouring Arab states, such as Egypt and Jordan. That next chapter is likely to begin in earnest if Trump ever gets the chance to unveil his "deal of the century".

A version of this article first appeared in the National, Abu Dhabi.


Sally Snyder , says: June 20, 2019 at 11:54 am GMT

Here is an article that clearly explains the pro-Israel bias in America's mainstream media:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/04/the-pro-israel-skew-in-american.html

This study shows us that the pro-Israel narrative has become so firmly entrenched in the American mainstream media that it is almost impossible for news consumers to discern the truth about the situation in Israel and Palestine. This has greatly benefitted Washington which has made it abundantly clear that it sides with Israel in this fifty year-old conflict.

Bardon Kaldian , says: June 21, 2019 at 10:19 am GMT

If Netanyahu partially annexes the West Bank – Area C – it will be simply another stage in Israel's tireless efforts to immiserate the Palestinian population and bully them into leaving. This is a war of attrition – what Israelis have long understood as "creeping annexation", carried out by stealth to avoid a backlash from the international community.

Ultimately, Israel wants the Palestinians gone entirely, squeezed out into neighbouring Arab states, such as Egypt and Jordan. That next chapter is likely to begin in earnest if Trump ever gets the chance to unveil his "deal of the century".

This is probably true-and? I don't see Palestinians as a real people; they're just a bunch of Arabs & it is absolutely irrelevant whether they are in Syria, Egypt or Arabia. They themselves say they're not a "real" people:

https://youtu.be/FBPd28WYPFQ

On the other hand, real peoples like Uyghurs & Tibetans are swamped by the Chinese, which is a real tragedy & only, huh, Richard Gere complains.

So, what the big deal with "Palestinians"? Why would they have a "right to exist"on some shitty piece o land Jews seem to be obsessively addicted to in past 2 millennia?

And then, what with Amazonian Indians, Eskimos, Ostyaks, Okinawans, ..? What about expulsion of 13 million Germans in what are now parts of Poland, Czechia, Russia .?

Israelis should have expelled all of them in 1967. & there would be peace.

UncommonGround , says: June 21, 2019 at 10:20 am GMT
There is one point in the article that is not completely accurate. J. Cook writes: "Israeli officials have been preparing for this moment for more than half a century, since the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza were seized back in 1967."

In fact, Ilan Pappe shows in his book "The biggest Prison on Earth" (2017) that plans to occupy the whole land were much older. The plans weren't made because Israel took Palestinian lands in 1967. Israel took lands in 1967 because of the plans to colonize it. Those plans were older.

So, Pappe says in a more general way in his book that " . since 1948 and even more since 1956, Israel's military and political elites was looking for the right historical moment to occupy the West Bank." (p. XIV). He also says more specifically: "The strategy was presented by the CoGS to the army on 1 May 1963 and was meant to prepare the army for controlling the West Bank as an occupied military area" (p. XIII).

All talk about "peace", about "coexistence", about a "two state solution" are (and were) made in bad faith. About Pappe's book: I don't want to reccomend it for a casual reading. It may be valuable historically because it deals with historical material from archives. But it's basically a book about the Israeli burocracy, about laws, rules which would make sure that Israel controls the conquested territory which it never thought of giving back. It's a dry book. He has other books that which are much more agreeable to read like his short book "Ten Myths About Israel".

[Jun 21, 2019] My own analysis is that the choice of Iran is more or less incidental.

Jun 21, 2019 | www.unz.com

Colin Wright , says: Website June 19, 2019 at 7:03 pm GMT

My own analysis is that the choice of Iran is more or less incidental.

For reasons I won't repeat, Israel always has to have an enemy. Between one thing and another, Iran is the most attractive target at the moment.

Should she be reduced to quivering submission or blood-soaked anarchy, Israel will just pick another victim for us to attack. My guess is that it would be Turkey, but first things first.

On to Teheran.

MK Ultra MJ 12 , says: June 19, 2019 at 8:29 pm GMT
"7 Countries in 5 years" and the first Arab Spring dress rehearsal designed to culminate in an Iranian overthrow. Wayback time machine for warnings of what was and was to come:
http://www.arkofcrisis.com/id51.html
Haxo Angmark , says: Website June 19, 2019 at 11:27 pm GMT
@Colin Wright no the Iran War will not be "incidental":

1) as it'll likely set the rest of the Middle East on fire, the Iran War will greatly facilitate the Greater Israel Project; esp. as cover for a Final Solution of Israhell's Palestinian Arab Problem.

2) Iran no longer takes 'Murkan debtbucks for oil. That must be put down, as international demand for the 'Murkan debtbuck-that-buys-oil is what prevents the domestic debtbuck from going to hyperinflationary collapse. Oil-producing Iraq dropped the 'Murkan debtbuck and so did Libya. See what happened to them?

& expect Drumpf to announce his "great discovery about 9/11" any day now:

"Iran did it!" and as Linh D. says, the MAGA-idiots will believe it.

Colin Wright , says: Website June 20, 2019 at 12:42 am GMT
@Haxo Angmark 'no the Iran War will not be "incidental" '

My point is that what's at the heart of this is Israel's need for an enemy. Iran could vanish tomorrow; it'd just mean Israel would have to start the work up on someone else.

Anonymous [205] Disclaimer , says: June 20, 2019 at 3:03 am GMT

Since we're in the endless war era, another war for Israel is on the horizon, but hardly anyone seems alarmed, least of all Americans, for they've come to see themselves, quite casually and indifferently, as only asskicking agents of war, and never its victims.

Please, don't be stupid. The "white man" goyim are not your enemies. We're all in this together.

If we were that bad, we'd end everyone else tomorrow.

jeff stryker , says: June 20, 2019 at 5:28 am GMT
@Escher If all it takes are some cocaine-addicted pedophiles who molested child actors like Corey Faim to make some cheesy films for Americans to be brainwashed, perhaps they DESERVE this.

Definitely Jews themselves are not brainwashed.

Nor are Hindus in America. You won't see many Indian-Americans running out to die in Iran because of the latest film about Nazis.

Muslims-and I worked in a Muslim country-won't care. Emirate Arabs will continue making money.

Asian-Americans will not care, though clearly our author might be the exception.

Hispanics won't care.

So tell me, why do whites care? What meaning is missing in their lives that can only be filled by stupid Hollywood films.

Ghali , says: June 20, 2019 at 6:51 am GMT
I am not sure why is the author left Iraq out. The criminal aggression on Iraq was an open war for Jews and Israel.
9/11 Inside job , says: June 20, 2019 at 12:52 pm GMT
Trump's foreign policy is that of the neocons and Israel , the B-52's are fuelled and armed just waiting for the false flag/pretext to bomb Iran back into the stone age , there will be no invasion as the costs will be too high . There is speculation that the US is waiting for Boris Johnson to become Prime Minister as unlike Theresa May he will come out strongly in favor of military action against Iran .
PeterMX , says: June 20, 2019 at 1:56 pm GMT
@Linh

"Above, I named Jews as the instigators of war against Iran, which made some readers cringe" Try not to let it bother you. It's pretty obvious that most of the people that read this website are learning and having a lifetime of indoctrination undone. Many are scared out of their wits at even having a negative thought about Jews in private. I know the feeling. I felt similarly growing up.

Growing up I was I was bombarded with non-stop anti-German hatred in the media and everywhere else. This probably would not have bothered me except that both my parents grew up in Germany during the war. That meant that like 99% of the other Germans, they were patriotic. Both of them experienced some harassment when they came to the US, but my mother liked the USA until we noticed a change around 1970. My father had a more difficult time at work, but he survived and did very well, but he too noticed a change around that time. That is the time period Norman Finkelstein identifies as the beginning of the "Holocaust Industry". Finkelstein explains, that after Israel's victory in the 1967 war, Israel was considered a valuable ally to the US when they defeated the Soviet backed Arabs. The Jews in the US became more bold and the word "Holocaust" was abducted by them and was redefined to refer to what supposedly happened to them during the war. There was an explosion of holocaust movies, newspaper and magazine articles, everywhere you were bombarded with this propaganda. In school too. On top of that, we lived in New York, which the Jews openly dominated by the 1970's. My parents also noticed how some Jews mocked Christianity and how Christianity was being torn down. I think Europeans are more alert than Americans in regards to some things. When I think about how Christianity has been destroyed in the west I can credit my parents with seeing it coming.

My parents hardly noticed Jews until they began this full blown propaganda campaign that went on for decades and I don't think it ever really ended. If it bothered you, it bothered you less as the years passed by. I asked my mom, and during the National Socialist period, she knew some Jews but they were a small minority so she had little interaction with them and their was very little discussion of them. So, in other words, my parents growing up didn't have negative thoughts about Jews, certainly not strong ones. That changed when the Holocaust Industry took off and the Jews showed their hatred for the Germans everywhere, and as I said, it never really stopped. Back then, while having some feelings for my parents homeland, I was often arguing with them and going against them and Germany. And like the frightened readers on this website, I knew better than to say, or even think a negative thought about Jews. I always knew there were many things wrong with the WW II narrative but I think I really became aware of the lies when I wrote an email to David Irving and he replied in 2007. With the advent of the internet and reading some important books, you have to be a coward or liar to deny the hatred and lies that many powerful Jews peddle and how they shove these lies down everyone else's throats. I'm not as timid as I used to be.

DESERT FOX , says: June 20, 2019 at 2:03 pm GMT
Not only are we fighting Israels wars in the mideast, but the zionists who control the US can attack and kill 34 and wound 174 Americans on the USS Liberty and got away with it and then Israel and the zionist controlled deep state attacked the WTC on 911 and killed some 3000 Americans and got away with that also, and plunged America into 18 years and counting of unending war!

In regards to the USS Liberty see the book Blood In The Water by Joan Mellen, can be had on amazon.

[Jun 21, 2019] Trump Barters For Borders -- And Wins, Big Time by Ilana Mercer

Notable quotes:
"... Trump issued an executive order, according to which a schedule of tariffs will be implemented unless Mexico polices its borders and ups its dismal rate of deportation, currently at 10 to 20 percent. ..."
"... Beginning on June 10, " a 5 percent tariff was placed on all imports from Mexico, to be increased by five percentage points each month until it hits 25 percent in October." ..."
"... Lo and behold, Mexico quickly promised to arrest Central American migrants headed north. Agreements may soon materialize with Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, to which Trump has already cut off foreign aid, in March ..."
"... How free and fair is trade anyway? Are unfettered markets at work when Canada, for instance, taxes purchases of American goods starting at $20, while America starts taxing Canadian goods at $1000? Hardly. ..."
"... There needs to be a huge turnaround in the number of illegals crossing the border if Trump wants to avoid being a one term president. It's hard to see the republicans staying relevant as well if the current numbers continue. They might hold the Senate for a little while but the presidency and a majority in Congress will be out of reach forever. ..."
"... In 2018, there were 70 million refugees, seeking safety from the world's conflict zone. One person was forced to flee their home because of war and violence every two seconds. ..."
"... Trump should have made reducing LEGAL immigration (and building the Wall to stop illegals) his #1 priority as soon as he was inaugurated. Instead, he dithered with personnel issues, then Obmacare (betrayed by rot-in-hell you bastard McCain), then tax cuts, Kavanaugh, loss of House, the End. ..."
Jun 21, 2019 | www.unz.com

If President Trump doesn't waver, his border deal with Mexico will be a victory. The Mexicans have agreed to quit serving as conduits to hundreds of thousands of central Americans headed for the U.S.A.

Despite protests from Democrats, stateside -- Mexico has agreed to significantly increase enforcement on its borders.

At first, Mexico was as defiant as the Democrats -- and some Republicans.

Democrats certainly can be counted on to argue for the other side -- any side other than the so-called sovereign people they swore to represent.

In fairness to the Democrats, Republicans are only notionally committed to the tough policing of the border. And certainly not if policing the porous border entails threatening trade tariffs against our neighborly narco-state. Some Republican senators even considered a vote to block the tariffs.

Nevertheless, to the hooting and hollering of the cretins in Congress and media, Trump went ahead and threatened Mexico with tariffs .

More than that. The president didn't just tweet out "strong words" and taunts.

Since Mexico, the party duopoly, and his own courts have forced his hand, the president proceeded to "retrieve from his arsenal a time bomb of ruinous proportions."

Or, so the Economist hyperventilated.

Trump issued an executive order, according to which a schedule of tariffs will be implemented unless Mexico polices its borders and ups its dismal rate of deportation, currently at 10 to 20 percent.

Beginning on June 10, " a 5 percent tariff was placed on all imports from Mexico, to be increased by five percentage points each month until it hits 25 percent in October."

Lo and behold, Mexico quickly promised to arrest Central American migrants headed north. Agreements may soon materialize with Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, to which Trump has already cut off foreign aid, in March

It remains for Trump to stick with tough love for Mexico and the rest. If the torrent of grifters from Central America does not let up, neither should the tariffs be lifted or aid restored.

Trump's trade and tariff tactics are about winning negotiations for Americans; they're not aimed at flouting the putative free-market.

How free and fair is trade anyway? Are unfettered markets at work when Canada, for instance, taxes purchases of American goods starting at $20, while America starts taxing Canadian goods at $1000? Hardly.

Free trade is an unknown ideal, to echo Ayn Rand's observations. What goes for "free trade," rather, is trade managed by bureaucratic juggernauts -- national and international -- central planners concerned with regulating, not freeing, trade; whose goal it is to harmonize labor, health, and environmental laws throughout the developed world. The undeveloped and developing worlds generally exploit labor, despoil land and kill off critters as they please.

The American market economy is massive. Trump knows its might. The difference between the president and his detractors is that Trump is prepared to harness the power of American markets to benefit the American people.

But what of the "billions of dollars in imports from Mexico" that are at stake, as one media shill shrieked .

Give me a break. The truth about what Fake News call a major trading partner, Mexico, is that it's a trade pygmy -- a fact known all too well to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard.

The reason these leaders were quick to the negotiating table once a schedule of tariffs had been decided upon by the president is this. Via the Economist :

"Only about 15 percent of the United States' exports go to Mexico, but a whopping 80 percent of Mexico's exports head the other way. 'There is nothing we have in our arsenal that is equivalent to what the United States can do to us,' says Andrés Rozental, a Mexican former diplomat and minister."

Next, President Trump must compel Mexico to accept "safe third-country status." Translated, this means that the U.S. can expel any and all "asylum seekers" if they pass through Mexico, as Mexico becomes their lawful, first port-of-call.

Thinking people should realize that Trump's victory here is a Pyrrhic one. For what the president has had to do is convince the Mexican president to deploy his national guards to do the work American immigration police is not allowed to do.

The U.S. must turn to Mexico to police its border because the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has, to all intents and purposes, outlawed immigration laws.

Congressional quislings, for their part, have sat back and grumbled about the need for new laws. But as Daniel Horowitz argues convincingly, this is "a separation of powers problem." Unless the Trump administration understands that the problem lies with the lower-court judges [exceeding their constitutional authority] and not the law -- there will be no fix.

For President Trump, the executive order serves as a way around the courts' violation of the constitutionally enshrined federal scheme, within which the role -- nay, the obligation -- of the commander in chief -- is to defend the country.

Although they're temporary fixes, executive orders can serve to nullify unjust laws. As I argued in my 2016 book, "The Trump Revolution: The Donald's Creative Destruction Reconstructed," executive orders are Trump's political power tool -- justice's Jaws of Life, if you will -- to be used by the Executive to pry the people free from judicial oppression.

Understand: The right of a nation to stop The World from flooding its communities amounts to upholding a negative right. In other words, by stopping trespassers at their borders, Americans are not robbing invaders of the trinity of life, liberty and property.

All Americans are asserting is their right to be left alone. What we are saying to The World is what we tell our disobedient toddlers every day, "No. You can't go there."

That's all.

Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She is the author of Into the Cannibal's Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & The Trump Revolution: The Donald's Creative Destruction Deconstructed " (June, 2016). She's on Twitter , Facebook , Gab & YouTube


Nehlen , says: June 21, 2019 at 4:29 am GMT

If you believe Mexico is going to squelch the flow of humans into America -- the same humans who are wiring $25BILLION per year back to family members in Mexico -- I've got a fleet of taco trucks with square tires to sell you.
SeekerofthePresence , says: June 21, 2019 at 4:56 am GMT
Do you really believe this "deal" will have a substantial effect? It is like holding up an umbrella to Noah's flood of migrants.
Whitewolf , says: June 21, 2019 at 5:18 am GMT
There needs to be a huge turnaround in the number of illegals crossing the border if Trump wants to avoid being a one term president. It's hard to see the republicans staying relevant as well if the current numbers continue. They might hold the Senate for a little while but the presidency and a majority in Congress will be out of reach forever.
Honor is Loyalty , says: June 21, 2019 at 6:26 am GMT
The more this nonsense carries on, the more I empathize with Stalin. Sometimes you gotta bulldoze your way through. Democracy produces nothing but obstacles. Time to put the keys into the caterpillar.
sarz , says: June 21, 2019 at 6:33 am GMT
I'd love to see what Ann Coulter would say on this and on Trump's total score on immigration.
Leon Haller , says: June 21, 2019 at 7:58 am GMT
I applaud this move by Trump, and will of course vote for him in 2020 (for a patriot, what is the alternative?). But unless we end the LEGAL immigration invasion, all this is for nought, and Trump will likely be the last non-leftist Republican President.

I have fought immigration for 40 years without success, except for CA Prop 187 in 1994, quickly overturned by a dirty Muslim immigrant Federal judge. Immigration of racial and cultural and (now it's clear to everyone, as I knew by the 80s in CA) ideological aliens is simple invasion, imperialism by non-military means. We needed Pat Buchanan in the 90s; instead, the stupid Christianists, with whom I used to argue in the 80s-90s-00s endlessly wrt their insane priorities, worried more about abortion and queers (how'd that work out, morons?) than alien conquest – with the obvious result that "globohomo" is stronger than ever – AND we have another 50+ MILLION race aliens voting 8-1 Democrat.

Sadly, Trump and the all-GOP 2017-18 Congress were America's very last chance to stop the invasion and save our (and the GOP's) future. Trump blew it, utterly. Now the USA as a unitary, Occidental, Constitutional, capitalist nation-state cannot be salvaged and/or restored. The only hope for American patriots is White conservative territorial ingathering and eventual racial secession and new sovereignty.

Bardon Kaldian , says: June 21, 2019 at 8:16 am GMT

Unless the Trump administration understands that the problem lies with the lower-court judges [exceeding their constitutional authority] and not the law -- there will be no fix.

This is the crux. And this is true, too..

Free trade is an unknown ideal, to echo Ayn Rand's observations. What goes for "free trade," rather, is trade managed by bureaucratic juggernauts -- national and international -- central planners concerned with regulating, not freeing, trade; whose goal it is to harmonize labor, health, and environmental laws throughout the developed world. The undeveloped and developing worlds generally exploit labor, despoil land and kill off critters as they please.

Renoman , says: June 21, 2019 at 8:22 am GMT
There are many times when a punch in the face is far more effective than diplomacy, this was one. Good for Donny, good for America.
Gracchus Babeuf , says: June 21, 2019 at 9:03 am GMT
In 2018, there were 70 million refugees, seeking safety from the world's conflict zone. One person was forced to flee their home because of war and violence every two seconds.
Greg Bacon , says: Website June 21, 2019 at 9:28 am GMT
"And I'll huff and puff and bow your house down," said the Big, Bad Wolf.

When stories about the record number of illegals flooding in stop hitting the news cycle, and we no longer get possibly Ebola infected Congolese with wads of $100 bills, I might believe your assumptions.

Africans Coming Across The Southern Border Have "Rolls Of $100 Bills"

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-06-17/africans-coming-across-southern-border-have-rolls-100-bills

Has Herr Trump huffed and puffed the same hot air towards the Congo?

Greg Bacon , says: June 21, 2019 at 9:42 am GMT
One more thought: Remember that hot air the Big, Bad Orange wolf blew that ICE was going to start rounding up millions of illegals on Tuesday? Here it is Friday and no action.

How many times will people fall for Trump's BS promises where nothing gets done or he backtracks?

Madame Mercer, I suspect the real reason behind your story is that Trump is the best POTUS for Israel since the traitor LBJ and that a certain group wants to keep Tubby the Grifter in the WH so he can keep acting as Israel's de facto real estate agent.

Realist , says: June 21, 2019 at 10:09 am GMT

Trump Barters for Borders -- and Wins, Big Time

Trump was won nothing big time. Including his election. His wins are miniscule. You are becoming an insufferable sycophant.

wesmouch , says: June 21, 2019 at 10:11 am GMT
The simpleton Mercer misses what is really going on. The re-election push is on and Trump will roll out "plans" to deal with immigration. They will never come into fruition as they are mere "boob bait for bubba". The drug cartels run Mexico and people trafficking is a bigger business than drug trafficking. If you think they are going to stop, you are as delusional as Ms Mercer. By the way the politicians work for the drug cartels in Mexico. Of course the advice that Mercer gave to South Africa led to the current situation where the ANC runs the country and whites are disenfranchised. But what else would you expect from a Jew who sell the goyim down the river every chance they get.
Leon Haller , says: June 21, 2019 at 10:26 am GMT
@sarz Grade: D+ (every other President since Kennedy: F)

Trump should have made reducing LEGAL immigration (and building the Wall to stop illegals) his #1 priority as soon as he was inaugurated. Instead, he dithered with personnel issues, then Obmacare (betrayed by rot-in-hell you bastard McCain), then tax cuts, Kavanaugh, loss of House, the End.

America is gone as not only a White nation, but within 25 years, even a semi-civilized and First World one. Diversity is what destroyed us. We could have integrated (more or less) the blacks, but the sheer numbers of mostly clannish nonwhite colonizers since 1968 has doomed us. America was its White, Christian, Anglo-Nordic majority. Without that majority, American dies.

On to the Ethnostate!

vinteuil , says: June 21, 2019 at 10:36 am GMT
@Gracchus Babeuf

I guess it's ok to bomb the crap out of other countries, but when those people try and get away from the hell created, that's supposed to be wrong.

Has the U.S. been bombing Central America, lately? I must have missed that.

[Jun 21, 2019] Book Review Andrew Yang - The War on Normal People by Anatoly Karlin

Yong is a typical neoliberal candidate, a creature of Silicon Valley. His cult of entrepreneurship looks silly, because this is neoliberal myth which is destructive for the society (a lot of Silicon Valley startup are useless or harmful). Politically he is tend to lean libertarian.
He own success look pretty accidental. He is a despicable venture capitalist himself. His NGO is essentially trying to compensate for the neoliberalism flaws: they want fully trains candidate for the jobs and do not want tot "train on the job" candidates, who has potential to be more productive in a long run.
Notable quotes:
"... After graduation, he worked as a corporate lawyer; as a Silicon Valley businessman; as the CEO of a GMAT prep company; and lastly, as the director of Venture for America, an NGO that provided training and seed money for aspiring entrepreneurs. ..."
"... Moore's Law basically already came to an end. While, there are possibly new architectures to explore, i don't see how AI will continue to advance without sharp increases in processing power. ..."
"... I believe it is also immoral to brain drain countries. ..."
"... Considering the fact that 99% of the U.S. government is appointed(by the deciders), and the rest is pre-approved for voting so you can play 'democracy' on special Tuesdays, it doesn't look too good for populism or populists like Andrew or Tulsi. They want another Obama – another shit eating grin to sell a load of false claims and empty promises. ..."
"... Even a big name like Kamala Harris, who has lots of money, a strong organization, tons of endorsements and close to double digit poll numbers, will have to drop out after Iowa and New Hampshire if she doesn't secure, at minimum, no less than third place in either state. Without the momentum a strong finish in these two states provide, campaigns wither and die. The money stops flowing. Volunteers quit. The press pool shrinks. ..."
"... Andrew Yang isn't even polling at 1% in either Iowa or New Hampshire (or anywhere else). He has no ground game. He has no organization. He hasn't raised much money. He has no fired up volunteers willing to make countless phone calls and trudge through the snow to knock on doors. Basically, he has nothing. ..."
"... Moreover, UBI is a terrible idea if it is proposed as a replacement for current social welfare programs, which provide a great deal more value to recipients than $1000 a month. A strict libertarian interpretation of the UBI concept would, in exchange for $1k a month, get rid of food stamps, section 8 housing, AFDC, cash welfare benefits, Medicaid, Medicare, the earned income tax credit and even mortgage interest deductions. There are more moderate proposals. But, ultimately, UBI has to be paid for somehow, either by raising taxes or eliminating much of the welfare state. ..."
"... The narcissistic, self-congratulatory rambling about the superior traits of people who live in coastal cities sounds very much like that Zuckerberg guy, or Chelsea Clinton – in other words, a "progressive" type who want to set up re-education camps for the masses of unwashed, reactionary "white people" – for their own good, of course. ..."
"... The war on terror is a self induced psychosis that is eating away at the moral core of america. Opiods, underage sex, porn are merely diversions. Blessed are the blessed. ..."
"... $12k a year isn't going to free anybody, it's just going to accelerate white genocide (more money for heroin and opiate pills and alcohol). In a world of $1500 a month apartments you're still living on the street with $12k income. ..."
"... Yang says he is against the income tax in principle because you shouldn't tax what you want more of (work) and rich people find loop holes around it anyway. ..."
"... Well, who else offers a better solution? Trump who is to busy being a legendary Isreali president ..."
"... A vomit-inducing brew of Establishment globalists, SJW-appeasing identity politicians, bland corporate stooges, Russiagate conspiracy theorists, and "liberal interventionists" who call Christians "Easter worshippers." ..."
"... America is being continually being deindustrialised by outsourcing every thing to China and Mexico etc. ..."
Apr 27, 2019 | www.unz.com

Andrew Yang – THE WAR ON NORMAL PEOPLE ( 2018 )
Rating: 5 /5

You can access all of my latest book, film, and video game reviews at this link , as well as an ordered, categorized list of all my book reviews and ratings here: https://akarlin.com/books

I

I don't normally read the vapid hagiographies that characterize most political manifestoes. The two exceptions are Trump's ART OF THE DEAL , and Putin's FROM THE FIRST PERSON . The former was a genuinely well-written book that provided many insights into real estate development, and really explained the logic behind Trump's showman "style" of politics (see Scott Alexander's great review ). Though it wasn't a Trump manifesto as such, having been written three decades ago by a guy who now actually hates The Donald, it was probably the closest thing to one amidst the meme wars of 2016. The Putin book was a relatively dull series of interviews, though it still accounts for a significant percentage of what we know about Putin's career before the Presidency and remains required reading for any serious Russia watcher. That said, I imagine the vast majority of such books hew to the pattern of Hillary Clinton's HARD CHOICES , which was apparently so bad that Amazon was forced to mass delete one star reviews to avoid embarrassing their favored candidate.

So why did I make an exception for Andrew Yang's THE WAR ON NORMAL PEOPLE ? Well, part of it is that he is my favorite candidate to date (as a proponent of Universal Basic Income (UBI) since 2015 , there is nothing particularly illogical or contradictory about that). His rational, common sense positions on a bewildering amount of issues help. But what really impressed me is a Twitter post that highlighted his familiarity with the work of Peter Turchin:

At this point, it was obvious that reading the rest of THE WAR ON NORMAL PEOPLE would not be a waste of time, even if Yang's campaign was to otherwise pete out (ha-ha). And good thing I did. While I consider myself relatively well read, especially on "futurist" topics, I was nonetheless continuously regaled with all manner of original insights and things that I didn't know before.

II

The Yang bio only takes up one chapter. This is a good thing. I don't feel people should be writing about themselves unless they're over 60, or have done something pretty impressive, or participated in a war or something. Quite the welcome contrast to Obama, who wrote an entire memoir on the subject at the age of 34.

Yang is highly intelligent. Both of his parents went to grad school, and his father made 69 patents over the course of his career. His brother is a professor. "Good genes, very good genes." He got admitted to Stanford and Brown. He is obviously well read, and the literature he reads is K-selected. Apart from Turchin's book, he also cites Yuval Hari (HOMO DEUS) and Martin Ford (RISE OF THE ROBOTS). After graduation, he worked as a corporate lawyer; as a Silicon Valley businessman; as the CEO of a GMAT prep company; and lastly, as the director of Venture for America, an NGO that provided training and seed money for aspiring entrepreneurs.

One curious, endearingly personal note is that it seems he was bullied at school:

"Hey, Yang, what's it like having such a small dick? Everyone knows Chinese guys have small dicks. Do you need tweezers to masturbate?" Most of this was in middle school. I had a few natural responses: I became quite self-conscious. I started wondering if I did indeed have a small dick. Last, I became very, very angry.

I admit I chuckled a bit at the idea that there is perhaps a 6% chance (today's odds on PredictIt) that high school taunts about anatomy might end up playing a role in creating America's next President. Many of these bullied Asian-Americans tend to become bitter and withdraw into communities such as the SJWs at /r/azidentity or the Chinese nationalists at /r/Sino . Yang didn't go down that path. That said, as someone raised in an Asian-American family, bused tables at a Chinese restaurant as a teen, and who has maintained strong ties to the wider Asian-American community, those ideological currents must have influenced him to at least some extent.

His father immigrated from Taiwan. Geopolitics regardless, many Taiwanese-Americans are very proud of Chinese progress. The early base of Yang's support was predominantly Asian-American, and I was told that many of his earliest foreign fans were Chinese. I have a friend who was slightly acquainted with Yang before he became famous, and he confirmed my impressions – based on the exclusively positive mentions of China on his Twitter, and his website – that Yang is a strong Sinophile. As we saw with Trump and Russia – or for that matter, with Gabbard and Syria – being unseemingly friendly with or even just objective towards countries that have been declared strategic competitors, rivals, or enemies of the US isn't all that great for your political capital. You heard it here first: If Yang somehow wins the Dem nomination, the possibility of a "Chinagate" cannot be excluded. III

As Yang recounts it, his travels throughout America opened his eyes to the yawning gap between the flourishing coasts and its depressed hinterlands. From the chapter "Life in the Bubble":

We joked at Venture for America that "smart" people in the United States will do one of six things in six places: finance, consulting, law, technology, medicine, or academia in New York, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, or Washington, DC.

Other parts of the book consist of depressive travelogues about cities in the Rustbelt, with their abandoned malls, dilapidated infrastructure, brain drain, opioid epidemics, and casinos filled with people who probably shouldn't be gambling.

So he is quite aware of the distinction in outcomes between the "Belmont" and "Fishtown" of Charles Murray's COMING APART (for a summary, see " Trump's America " in The Wall Street Journal).

Moreover, I am reasonably sure that Yang is more or less directly familiar with Murray's thesis:

Think of your five best friends. The odds of them all being college graduates if you took a random sampling of Americans would be about one-third of 1 percent, or 0.0036. The likelihood of four or more of them being college graduates would be only about 4 percent. If that described you, you're among the educated class (even without necessarily knowing it; in your context, you're perfectly normal).

This argument that America is developing into a meritocratic caste system is directly lifted from COMING APART, as is the "bubble" metaphor used to describe its Brahmins. E.g., see Charles Murray's Bubble Quiz .

Today, thanks to assortative mating in a handful of cities, intellect, attractiveness, education, and wealth are all converging in the same families and neighborhoods. I look at my friends' children, and many of them resemble unicorns: brilliant, beautiful, socially precocious creatures who have gotten the best of all possible resources since the day they were born.

I imagine them in 10 or 15 years traveling to other parts of the country, and I know that they are going to feel like, and be received as, strangers in a strange land. They will have thriving online lives and not even remember a car that didn't drive itself.

They may feel they have nothing in common with the people before them. Their ties to the greater national fabric will be minimal. Their empathy and desire to subsidize and address the distress of the general public will likely be lower and lower.

That pretty much cinches it. "Assortative mating" isn't the sort of term that everyone throws around; although it is a biological term, its popularization in sociology was led by Murray and other "HBD realists." While I understand and sympathize that these people are generally "unhandshakeworthy", and hence uncitable by someone running for the Dem nomination, I think it is legitimate to think of THE WAR ON NORMAL PEOPLE as the solutions set to the problems posed by COMING APART.

IV

Here are some of the main problems and challenges that Yang talks about:

1. Automation . I won't go on here at length, as this has already been widely covered in the media. I recommend Martin Ford's book RISE OF THE ROBOTS, or at least this 15 minute video , for a full treatment. But the basic thing to take away is that automation is coming for many jobs, and it won't just be manufacturing ones this time round. Some things that struck me as noteworthy:

There are now less than 400 NYSE floor traders, down from 5,500. Legal review: Humans have 60% accuracy, AI already at 85%. Friend of Yang's who works in a ride-sharing company says that according to internal projections, half of all rides will accrue to autonomous vehicles by 2022.

This will eliminate jobs in truck driving, the ride-sharing sector (Uber, Lyft, etc.), and more and more repetitive cognitive white-collar work.

2. Unsatisfactory jobs . There will be jobs to take the place of automated ones, but these will be low productivity jobs with lower salaries (which will further incentivize companies to automate them away). Perhaps uniquely for a politician, Yang is sympathetic to people who can no longer be bothered to pull themselves up by the bootstraps, as conservative orthodoxy dictates.

Imagine a 21-year-old college dropout who is not excited to make sandwiches at Jimmy John's and prefers his gaming community. You could say to him, "Hey, this Jimmy John's job could go places. Sure you make $8 an hour now. But maybe if you stick with it for a few years you could become a manager. Eventually, you could make $35,000 or so if you really excel and are willing to work long and hard hours, including waking up at 5 a.m. to slice up tomatoes and cucumbers every morning, and commit to it." The above is possibly true. Or, the retail district around his Jimmy John's could shrink and a management job might never open up. Or Jimmy John's could bring in an automated system that gets rid of cashiers and front-of-house staff two years from now. Or his manager could just choose someone else.

3. Video games . This explains why NEETs like the above have turned to video games; young men without college degrees now spend 75% of the time they used to spend working with gaming. This is easy, because the marginal cost of video games is near zero; as Yang sagely points out, they are an "inferior good" in economic terms. However, he also notes – as a onetime gamer – that while playing games for hours on end might seem "sad", their satisfaction level is high, especially relative to their low social status and high rates of unemployment.

4. Disability . More and more people, especially discouraged workers, are entering the disability rolls. This is an understandable reaction to the loss of good jobs. However, since most disability applications are more or less fake – rates have been soaring, even as the rate of workplace accidents plummets – this encourages a culture of dishonesty, and disincentivizes people from rejoining the workforce since they would then lose their disability "basic income." There are no solid ways to disprove some common ailments, so getting a note from a doctor is relatively easy. This is a way of life for many depressed rustbelt communities.

5. Other social maladies . These include:

Abandoned malls creating derelict no-go zones. The poverty of communities left behind by falling manufacturing employment, soon to be repeated on an even bigger scale as automation takes off. Rising white middle-aged mortality, in which he cites Case & Deaton's research . He is woke to the opioid crisis: " Many of the deaths are from opiate overdoses. Approximately 59,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2016, up 19 percent from the then-record 52,404 reported in 2015. For the first time, drug overdoses have surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. " I assume he's likelier to make progress on it than Kushner . " An army of drug dealers in suits marketed addictive opioids to doctors, getting paid hundreds of thousands to do it. "
V

In the final "problems"-related chapter, he mentions the work of Russian-American biologist/historian Peter Turchin, one of the founders of cliodynamics, a new multidiscplinary field that aims to mathematize the cycles of history*.

In his book Ages of Discord, the scholar Peter Turchin proposes a structural-demographic theory of political instability based on societies throughout history. He suggests that there are three main preconditions to revolution:

(1) elite oversupply and disunity,

(2) popular misery based on falling living standards, and

(3) a state in fiscal crisis.

Most of the variables that he measures began trending negatively between 1965 and 1980 and are now reaching near-crisis levels. By his analysis, "the US right now has much in common with the Antebellum 1850s [before the Civil War] and, more surprisingly, with France on the eve of the French Revolution." He projects increased turmoil through 2020 and warns that "we are rapidly approaching a historical cusp at which American society will be particularly vulnerable to violent upheaval."

Turchin isn't one of those "doomers" who have predicted all ten of America's past zero collapses since he began predicting.

But he did predict the rise of Islamic State in Iraq back in 2005 :

Western intrusion will eventually generate a counter-response, possibly in the form of a new theocratic Caliphate (War and Peace and War, Penguin, 2005).

And he predicted that populism and social instability in the US would increase through to the 2020s. This was well before either Trump or Sanders came on the radar.

So given this impressive predictive record, it's certainly worth listening to what Turchin has to say.

In addition to Turchin's analysis, Yang also mentions that there will be racial ressentiments:

A highly disproportionate number of the people at the top will be educated whites, Jews, and Asians. America is projected to become majority minority by 2045. African Americans and Latinos will almost certainly make up a disproportionate number of the less privileged in the wake of automation, as they currently enjoy lower levels of wealth and education.

and suggests that SJW policing of speech will complicate frank discussions of these problems:

Contributing to the discord will be a climate that equates opposing ideas or speech to violence and hate. Righteousness can fuel abhorrent behavior, and many react with a shocking level of vitriol and contempt for conflicting viewpoints and the people who hold them. Hatred is easy, as is condemnation.

This could set the stage for RACE WAR NOW as economic dislocations produced by automation further turbocharge preexisting trends towards inequality and polarization:

After the riots, things continue to deteriorate. Hundreds of thousands stop paying taxes because they refuse to support a government that "killed the working man." A man in a bunker surrounded by dozens of guns releases a video saying, "Come and get your taxes, IRS man!" that goes viral. Anti-Semitic violence breaks out targeting those who "own the robots." A white nationalist party arises that openly advocates "returning America to its roots" and "traditional gender roles" and wins several state races in the South.

Incidentally, I would say that this explains the context behind Yang's "whites will shoot up Asian-Americans in another generation" video .

VI

Yang's signature issue is UBI, so it makes sense that he devotes two entire chapters to the topic. Despite its current association with libertarians, crypto evangelists, NEETS, gamers, digital nomads, and various other eccentrics who have only begun spawning on a reasonably large scale these past 1-2 decades, it was once much more mainstream**.

It's hard to fathom now, but the idea of a guaranteed annual income was mainstream political wisdom in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Medicare and Medicaid had just been passed in 1965, and the country had an appetite for solutions for social problems. In May 1968, over 1,000 university economists signed a letter supporting a guaranteed annual income. In 1969, President Nixon proposed the Family Assistance Plan, which would provide cash benefits of about $10,000 per family and serve as a guaranteed annual income with some eligibility requirements; this bill was supported by 79 percent of respondents polled at the time. The Family Assistance Plan passed the House of Representatives by a wide margin -- 243 to 155 -- but then stalled in the Senate due to, of all things, Democrats who wanted an even more robust plan.

But then the Reagan Revolution rolled out, economists produced (now discredited) studies that UBI depressed work hours and increased the divorce rate, and the general public lost interest.

The literature that Yang has amassed tells a different story. He mentions a study by Evelyn Forget (2005) in Canada, who found the effect on work to be "minimal." The only groups of people that worked substantially less were new mothers and teens, which seems to be a perfectly fine outcome. There was also a rise in high school graduation rates, a reduction in hospital visits, less domestic violence, and fewer cases of mental illness. Another study by Akee on Native Americans who got basic income from casino earnings found that children became more conscientious and agreeable.

I was genuinely surprised to learn that there is one major country that has already adopted UBI: Iran. During the 2011 reforms, it eliminated inefficient food and gas subsidies, and replaced them with basic income of $16,000 per year. ( Strictly speaking, this is not quite accurate on Yang's part; this is far too much for a middle-income country like Iran, and as I subsequently confirmed, $16,000 is their basic income NORMED to US standards, i.e. what Americans would get under a scheme that drew on a similar share of the national income ). But in any case, there was apparently no reduction in hours worked. I don't know what effect it had on Iranian economic productivity, and Yang doesn't go into it. I would imagine that doing such analyses on the Iranian economy would be complicated by the relative opacity of its national accounts, as well as by the (much larger) economic shocks created by US sanctions over this past decade.

Either way, the general picture – so far as we can say based on the limited UBI experiments to date – is that they don't have much effect either way on employment or GDP, but they do increase happiness and general welfare. But in any case, when the current President thinks it is very normal to mark Easter with an economic growth update

perhaps it is time to stop worshipping the latest quarterly GDP figures, as was suggested by Simon Kuznets in 1934, the inventor of the GDP:

economic welfare cannot be adequately measured unless the personal distribution of income is known. And no income measurement undertakes to estimate the reverse side of income, that is, the intensity and unpleasantness of effort going into the earning of income. The welfare of a nation can, therefore, scarcely be inferred from a measurement of national income as defined above.

In Yang's vision, the size of American UBI – the "Freedom Dividend", as he calls it – will be $12,000 for each American aged 18-64, subsequently indexed to inflation. This is just above the current poverty line of $11,700.

But will it be affordable?

An analysis by the Roosevelt Institute of this $12,000 per year per adult proposal found that adopting it would permanently grow the economy by 12.56 to 13.10 percent -- or about $2.5 trillion by 2025 -- and it would increase the labor force by 4.5 to 4.7 million people. Putting money into people's hands and keeping it there would be a perpetual boost and support to job growth and the economy. The cost would be about an additional $1.3 trillion per year on top of existing welfare programs, most of which would be folded into the plan, as well as increased taxable revenue and cost savings.

The cost of $1.3 trillion seems like an awful lot. For reference, the federal budget is about $4 trillion and the entire U.S. economy about $19 trillion. But there are myriad ways to pay for it. The most sensible way to pay for it in my view would be with a value-added tax (VAT) -- a consumption tax -- that would generate income from the people and businesses that benefit from society the most.

A VAT would result in slightly higher prices. But technological advancement would continue to drive down the cost of most things. And with the backdrop of a universal basic income of $12,000, the only way a VAT of 10 percent makes you worse off is if you consume more than $120,000 in goods and services per year, which means you're doing fine and are likely at the top of the income distribution.

This counters one of the central "leftist" arguments against UBI – that it is regressive, and falls disproportionately on the poor. Sure, they'll be paying 10% more for most goods and services. But their income will also increase by at least 50%, and by around 100% if they work part-time. It will be rich consumers who lose out.

For people who consider this farcical, consider the bailouts that took place during the financial crisis. You may not recall that the U.S. government printed over $4 trillion in new money for its quantitative easing program following the 2008 financial collapse. This money went to the balance sheets of the banks and depressed interest rates. It punished savers and retirees. There was little to no inflation.

This one is for the inflation bears.

VII

While UBI is the mainstay of Yang's policy platform, he has many other excellent ideas, which he elucidates in the three final chapters.

1. Raise government worker retirement packages, with President getting $4 million per year . This is to be coupled with a lifetime prohibition on making money from their office through speeches, etc.

I very strongly agree with this, and have proposed this on many occasions in the past as well. Admittedly, I was talking about Russia, but it really applies to any country. Politicians and bureaucrats get less money than businessmen, even though they are often just as talented. This is a truism nigh well everywhere. This makes them resentful. Many of them want to close the gap. In the more corrupt countries, they do that directly, from pressuring companies to "contribute" to their family's accounts (at best) to directly "raiding" successful companies and stealing from government accounts. In less corrupt countries, they tend to be slaves to lobbyist interests, on the unspoken understanding that they would be rewarded for their service once out of office (this describes the US). I suppose that in a few countries they might genuine "servants of the people" but the number of such countries isn't all that high.

As it is, the only country that I am aware of that runs similar policies is Singapore, where Ministers get close to $1 million per year. As a high IQ authoritarian state, it is able to resist populist demotism.

2. Stop corporate welfare . This one, I wager, would play well with both Bernie and Trump supporters:

Here's an idea for a dramatic rule -- for every $100 million a company is fined by the Department of Justice or bailed out by the federal government, both its CEO and its largest individual shareholder will spend one month in jail. Call the new law the Public Protection against Market Abuse Act. If it's a foreign company, this would apply to the head of the U.S. operation and the largest American shareholder. There would be a legal tribunal and due process in each case. The president would have the ability to pardon, suspend, shorten, or otherwise modify the period or sentence. The president would also have the ability to claw back the assets of any such individual to repay the public.

3. Education realism . He notes that while tertiary enrollment is rising, its efficiency is falling.

That is, only 59 percent of students who started college in 2009 had completed a bachelor's degree by 2015, and this level has been more or less consistent the past number of years. For those who attended private, selective colleges, this number will seem jarringly low; the same number at selective schools is 88 percent. Among schools with open admissions policies the rate is only 32 percent, and among for-profit universities the six-year graduation rate is 23 percent.

This is inevitable. Only 25% of students can benefit from a university education, as there is only so much space on the right hand side of the IQ bell curve. Only choice is to fail more and more students, to lower standards, or to abandon the fiction that everyone is suited for university.

While Yang can't exactly couch it in such terms, he is – unlike the increasing number of Democrats agitating for free college – obviously woke to the Education Question:

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

(a) Administrative staff at US universities is blooming, and they are passing on the costs to the captive student market. Meanwhile, they use their tax exempt status to run hedge funds.

One way to change this would be a law stipulating that any private university with an endowment over $5 billion will lose its tax-exempt status unless it spends its full endowment income from the previous year on direct educational expenses, student support, or domestic expansion. This would spur Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, MIT, Penn, Northwestern, and others to spend billions each year directly on their students and expansion within the United States. There could be a Harvard center in Ohio or Michigan as well as the new one they just opened in Shanghai.

Incidentally, describing the Ivy League colleges as hedge funds with a university attached is something that Ron Unz has also done, though his solution was to suggest forcing Harvard to eliminate its fees .

(b) He talks of the need for more vocational training and apprenticeships.

(c) Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are largely ineffective. While I wasn't expecting miracles, I was still surprised to learn that Udacity's course completion rate is only around 4%. They are not a panacea.

(d) He is especially hard on government "retraining" programs for displaced workers:

The reality is more often displaced workers spending government funds or racking up debt at the University of Phoenix or another for-profit institution in desperate bids to stay relevant and marketable.

In particular, he agrees that "learn to code" is useless advice for the vast majority of these people. They would be better off with a UBI.

4. Mandate "serenity" settings for smartphones and social media . Currently it's a pain to get notifications settings down to a manageable level. Would be good to have an all-in-one option.

5. Social credits . No, this is not the quasi-totalitarian Chinese scheme to coercively promote good behavior. This is similar to a thing called "time banking", which are already exisiting voluntary associations in the US where people get credits within communities by performing useful tasks, e.g. minor home repairs, walking dogs, etc. The idea is to have the government allocate these credits towards solving some major problem, e.g. "100 million DSCs to reduce obesity levels in Mississippi", and let normal people sort out the details in a more efficient way than bureaucrats could dictate. Apart from the direct benefits, it should also help people feel more useful and enhance life satisfactino. I am not fully convinced having the government being involved in this is such a good idea, but I will reserve judgment until I learn more about it.

6. Primary care doctors helped by AI in healthcare . This will also help keep costs down, and lessen the strain on overworked doctors.

Martin Ford, the author of Rise of the Robots, suggests that we create a new class of health care provider armed with AI -- college graduates or master's students unburdened by additional years of costly specialization, who would nonetheless be equipped to head out to rural areas. They could help people monitor chronic conditions like obesity and diabetes and refer particularly hairy problems to more experienced doctors. Call them primary care specialists. AI will soon be at a point where technology, in conjunction with a non-doctor, could offer the same quality of care as a doctor in the vast majority of cases. In one study, IBM's Watson made the same recommendation as human doctors did in 99 percent of 1,000 medical cases and made suggestions human doctors missed in 30 percent of them. AI can reference more cases than the most experienced physician while keeping up to date with the latest journals and studies.

In return for a less hectic pace and greater freedom to focus on patients as opposed to paperwork, doctors will need to take a salary hit:

What's required is an honest conversation in which we say to people who are interested in becoming doctors, "If you become a doctor, you'll be respected, admired, and heal people each day. You will live a comfortable life. But medicine will not be a path to riches. On the bright side, we're not going to burn you out by forcing you to see a million patients a day and fill out paperwork all the time. We're going to supplement you with an army of empathetic people equipped with AI who will handle most routine cases. We'll only call you when the case genuinely requires distincthuman judgment or empathy. We want you to become the best and most human version of yourself, not Dr. Speed Demon who can bang out a nine-minute appointment. Let's leave that to Watson."

VIII

It should be blindingly obvious, but yes, Yang is really the only US Presidential candidate that interests me at this point in time. I consider his policies to be head and shoulders above those of any other candidate. Note that many of his other great ideas, such as banning robocalls, regulating social media as a public utility, and promoting nuclear power are not even in this book. The one mostly blank spot on his policy agenda – admittedly, a very big one – is his stance on foreign policy.

However, the early signs are encouraging. His official policy is seemingly non-interventionist , and he has spoken out against sanctions on Venezuela.

In my view, Yang correctly identifies that a war is being waged on "normal people." And he has a battlefield strategy – a mixture of paternalistic technocracy and capitalism with a human face – that has at least some chance of turning the tables.

I mean look, here is the situation come 2020:

1. An orange man turned POTATUS whose foreign policy agenda is set by neocons and AIPAC, and who has gone from calling for a Wall to calling for millions of LEGAL immigrants to work in factories that will soon be swept away by automation. Yang, at least, will favor cognitively elitist immigration, i.e. which actually creates tons of value and will continue to be viable in the age of automation.

2. A vomit-inducing brew of Establishment globalists, SJW-appeasing identity politicians, bland corporate stooges, Russiagate conspiracy theorists, and "liberal interventionists" who call Christians " Easter worshippers ." Sure, there's one other decent candidate there, but she doesn't seem to have policies between foreign policy and has a <1% chance of getting elected, while Yang has at least a distant shot at it.

3. While I like people such as Tucker Carlson, the problem is that he is not running. It doesn't seem that there will be any challenger to Trump from the Dissident Right. Fortunately, there is no great contradiction, as Yang and Carlson also seem to like each other. Furthermore, while both Yang and Carlson are concerned with automation, the Freedom Dividend is clearly a better and more adaptive policy than the latter's Neo-Luddism.

Most likely, Yang will not win the Dem nomination, and will fade from the scene by this time next year. (Just like Audacious Epigone, I bet on Kamala Harris on PredictIt). This does not mean he will fade from history. Automation isn't going anywhere, and pressure for UBI will continue to build up (and not just in the US). It is reasonable to posit that Yang will continue to serve as a figurehead for it within the US. However, at the rate that "contradictions" are piling up in US society, it is unclear if it will come about in time to prevent mayhem.

The choice is essentially to cut and run or to stand and fight. We must convert from a mindset of scarcity to a mindset of abundance. The revolution will happen either before or after the breakdown of society. We must choose before.

On the off chance that Yang actually makes it, I hope this book review will convince at least a few people into helping bring that about and launch fully automated luxury cyborg space human capitalism.

***

* Note that I reviewed Turchin's most important book, WAR AND PEACE AND WAR .

** I also learned that Thomas Paine was a fan, writing in 1796: Out of a collected fund from landowners, "there shall be paid to every person, when arrived at the age of twenty-one years, the sum of fifteen pounds sterling, as a compensation in part, for the loss of his or her natural inheritance, to every person, rich or poor."


E. Harding , says: April 26, 2019 at 10:54 pm GMT
"More and more people, especially discouraged workers, are entering the disability rolls."

Not since September 2014:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/19/business/economy/social-security-applications.html

Karlin, how do you reconcile your support for UBI with your equally strong support for the Putin entitlement reform?

"But the basic thing to take away is that automation is coming for many jobs, and it won't just be manufacturing ones this time round."

Stagnant productivity for eight years and counting. This is not just a problem unique to Russia, Brazil, Italy, etc.

"is clearly a better and more adaptive policy than the latter's Neo-Luddism"

I actually find Tucker much more Woke than UBI advocates. The central challenges of our generation are basically not about GDP, though more is helpful. Like Ron Unz, I support free college, though obviously for a small minority.

notanon , says: April 26, 2019 at 11:00 pm GMT
i don't dislike the guy and in a better world i could more easily vote for a left-liberal Ron Paul than a right-libertarian one but the western world's root problem is it has a hostile elite (banking mafia) and Yang would be a sedative when (imo) we need acceleration.

automation

all the arguments about automation apply to immigration

a meritocratic caste system

quibbling but a genuinely meritocratic system would block high IQ sociopaths from the ruling class and promote stewardship instead.

Bob007 , says: April 26, 2019 at 11:17 pm GMT
As long as the economy still goes well, Yang has no chance.
Anatoly Karlin , says: Website April 26, 2019 at 11:29 pm GMT
@E. Harding

how do you reconcile your support for UBI with your equally strong support for the Putin entitlement reform?

Pensions privilege older generations. This is perfectly fine, since people should be able to enjoy their twilight years in moderate comfort. But a retirement age of 60M/55W becomes absurd once life expectancy approaches 80 years by 2030 (i.e. the date at which this reform will end). I would note that further note that the increase in the pensions age was also paired with general pensions increases, which further mitigated its welfare impact. Apart from that, I don't really see how a 55 year old woman *absolutely needs* a basic income more than a 30 year old working couple trying to pay for an apartment, kids, etc.

I actually find Tucker much more Woke than UBI advocates.

How is banning robots going to help?

Like Ron Unz, I support free college, though obviously for a small minority.

It's a subsidy to people who are generally already very well off (though also brighter than average, so I am not opposed for eugenic reasons). However, it seems that the much bigger problem is spiraling costs. Putting taxpayers on the hook for infinity administrators and Gender Studies departments doesn't seem like a good idea.

Hail , says: Website April 27, 2019 at 12:46 am GMT
Yang polling (by date conducted):

– Apr 17–23: 1% (poll includes 21% Undecideds; if omitted Yang up to 2% ?)
– Apr 15–21: 2% (huge sample size; margin of error +/1%, implying Yang at 1-3% ).
– Apr 12–15: 3% without Biden in poll; 2% with Biden in poll
– Apr 11–15: 1% without Biden in poll; <1% with Biden in poll (poll includes 20% Undecideds when Biden not included and 14% Undecideds when Biden included)
– Apr 11–14: 3%
– Apr 8–14: 2% without Biden in poll; 1% with Biden in poll
– Apr 1–7: 1%

These 1-3% numbers are right where Buttigieg's were in March (<1% to 4% across 17 polls), before the media began promoting him in the first week of April.

Buttigieg's last four national poll results: 7%, 9%, 17%/21%, 8%/11% (latter two are "with Biden / without Biden"), conducted April 11 to April 23.

Digital Samizdat , says: April 27, 2019 at 12:47 am GMT
Maybe I'm a little slow on the uptake, but I still don't see how a UBI won't just cause inflation or rising rents. Even so, I'm glad at least one candidate in the race is now discussing the problems of AI and robotics. Within 10 years, a majority of people in the country may well be unemployed and probably unemployable, too. It's high time we started talking about this looming problem, so I'm grateful to Yang for that.
Alexander Turok , says: April 27, 2019 at 12:48 am GMT
I used to be more convinced of the automation argument, but now I'm not so sure. Think about Robin Hanson's experience with prediction markets. They work well, so he puzzled over why they aren't used more. Why, for instance, will a company not want to set up a prediction market on whether a project will meet a deadline? He says it's because they say they would like to know in advance if the deadline will be met, but don't really want this because if they are saying one thing and the prediction market is saying another they will look like fools. I think there's a similar phenomenon with employers. Employers say they want two things, to make profit and for their workers to be well-off. What if those conflict? It's natural to think that the former will always dominate in their decision making process. So they should want to replace their workers with machines. But what do they really want? If the "employer" is just a guy who wants an Uber ride he really does want the whole thing to go as efficiently as possible. In those kinds of areas automation will be most welcomed. But what of the manager at a large company? He says he wants the company to make a profit, but his main concern is keeping his job and being promoted. The workers are his job, replacing them could end up replacing him. Reducing their numbers could make his position seem less important. So if presented with the opportunity to automate their workforce he's going to clap and say "great demonstration, but I'm worried the robot will fail for edge case X, Y, and Z so come back when you can fix them."
fnn , says: April 27, 2019 at 1:40 am GMT
War on Normal People-POC version:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Rt9KCIRPfI4?feature=oembed

songbird , says: April 27, 2019 at 1:52 am GMT
@Digital Samizdat I agree – it would probably cause a lot of inflation. There would obviously be groups of people adopting it as a reproductive strategy too, living together like sardines and pooling their resources.

I'd rather have real money – money that holds it value. I think that would be a killer foreign policy. No aid, just real money that people can use to save.

I think the only remote chance for something like UBI to work would be to totally gut the government and fire all bureaucrats, but that is beyond the power a president. While Congress might conceivably vote for something like UBI, they would not vote to end these systems of patronage.

songbird , says: April 27, 2019 at 1:57 am GMT
@Alexander Turok There's an expectation that we are on the course to the singularity, but Moore's Law basically already came to an end. While, there are possibly new architectures to explore, i don't see how AI will continue to advance without sharp increases in processing power.
songbird , says: April 27, 2019 at 2:20 am GMT
I think it is interesting that he used the term "assortative mating", but many of his policy positions seem blank-slatist. Is it just camouflage?

For instance, the idea that Puerto Rico should become a state (though not unique to him, and probably going to happen anyway.)

Or the idea that all foreign undergrads should stay (or was it only in STEM?) One might be able to delude oneself that having smart foreign overlords would be a sound economic policy, but an undergrad degree doesn't actually have much validity as a cognitive separator, anymore. Many Africans get them. I think by now, it might mean like an average IQ of 100, which certainly isn't worth the cost of increasing diversity and rootlessness. America is full of degree mills. I believe it is also immoral to brain drain countries.

Biff , says: April 27, 2019 at 4:54 am GMT
Considering the fact that 99% of the U.S. government is appointed(by the deciders), and the rest is pre-approved for voting so you can play 'democracy' on special Tuesdays, it doesn't look too good for populism or populists like Andrew or Tulsi. They want another Obama – another shit eating grin to sell a load of false claims and empty promises.
Mr. XYZ , says: April 27, 2019 at 6:04 am GMT
Excellent book review and analysis, Anatoly!

That said, though, what exactly is your beef with Bernie Sanders? Is it that he's allegedly sucking up to neoliberalism.txt? Or is it something else?

I could very well be willing to vote for Yang if it looks like he has a realistic shot at the Democratic presidential nomination. If he doesn't, though, then I would probably feel compelled to choose among the candidates who actually do have a realistic shot at this.

The one thing that I have an issue with in Yang's platform is making the US President's pension four million dollars per year. I mean, with a 25-year retirement, that would equal to 100 million dollars. Based on the success of the Clintons in giving speeches and publishing and selling books, one would think that politicians -- or at least prominent politicians -- in the US already have enough means to become extremely wealthy after they leave office. Maybe less prominent US politicians (such as Congressmen and Senators) should be given a nicer retirement package, though.

Is having a much nicer retirement package actually going to stop Republican advocacy of policies such as tax cuts for the rich? Or are Republicans simply going to be even more motivated to push for this if their own incomes and pensions are going to become much larger?

I haven't heard of politicians in the US resorting to stealing money or taking bribes from businesses–though maybe I am missing something here. Trump could certainly benefit from his Presidency, but that's because he's a businessman and still kept his businesses within his family.

Alfa158 , says: April 27, 2019 at 6:17 am GMT
@songbird Nomorobo does help, especially for business phones where you need to answer unrecognized numbers in case they might be a business prospect.

For private phones get rid of your land line and use only a mobile smart phone. Those provide a do not disturb mode in which the phone only rings if the call is coming from someone in your contact list, otherwise the call goes straight to voice mail. A real caller will leave a message. Problem pretty much solved.

Anarcho-Supremacist , says: April 27, 2019 at 6:40 am GMT
Tawian Nationalism is not really in the interest of the US but Yang may be a hardcore Taiwanese Nationalist for all we know.
Oleaginous Outrager , says: April 27, 2019 at 6:52 am GMT

Politicians and bureaucrats get less money than businessmen, even though they are often just as talented.

Every article you write has to have at least one bit of unmitigated bullshit. This is that piece. Politics and bureaucracy are the grimy sump of both societies and economies, filled with hucksters, malingerers, has-beens, never-weres, and, in the bureaucracy especially, the clueless and useless. The notion that their already budget shredding pensions are too low is utterly farcical.

It's almost as farcical as the "justification" for such a notion, that the cure for the insatiable greed of those in public employ is to give them even more of other people's hard-earned.

"You will hear everlastingly that the rich man cannot be bribed. The fact is, of course, that the rich man is bribed; he has been bribed already. That is why he is a rich man." -- G.K Chesterton

Curious Person , says: April 27, 2019 at 6:56 am GMT
@songbird

America is full of degree mills.

It will be even more so if getting a degree means you get to stay in the US.

On both literacy and computer operations, foreign-educated immigrants with a college or advanced degree perform so poorly that they score at the level of natives who have only a high school diploma.

On numeracy, foreign-educated immigrants with a college or advanced degree perform closer to the level of natives who have some college education, but not a bachelor's.

Despite their reputation for specializing in STEM fields, about one in six foreign-degree holders score "below basic" in numeracy.
The skill gap between foreign and U.S. degree holders persists even among immigrants who have had at least five years in the United States to learn English.

https://www.amren.com/news/2019/02/foreign-educated-immigrants-are-less-skilled-than-u-s-degree-holders/

prime noticer , says: April 27, 2019 at 7:30 am GMT
how did you arrive at the figure of 7%? he has a 0% chance of winning, and that should be obvious. this is a non-trivial difference.

see, normally, as long as you have a chance in something, it can't be 0%. but the democrat primary is rigged. it's not a fair contest. so his chances are not even 1%. they are literally 0%.

of course i'm being pedantic, and one could say that yang raises important issues that could be discussed, so he's worth talking about either way. but anatoly prides himself on accuracy in his posts, and that 7% figure is bogus, bro.

setting aside the mechanics of the democrat superdelegate system, which will eliminate any guy like him on purpose, his popularity polling will never be more than like 2% against a field of other democrats. nobody is interested in a Chinese guy. plus they have no charisma. that's important, guys. hard to understand yet again, how the political analysis is so wrong here.

Ron Paul had a much better chance, and he didn't have much chance. and that was in the republican party, where an insurgent can, once in a blue moon, have a real shot.

Ross Perot had a better chance. he was actually in an election. and 100% of every political analyst correctly said he had zero chance. which was accurate.

Vojkan , says: April 27, 2019 at 7:42 am GMT
The infatuation with AI makes people overlook three AI's built-in glitches.
1) AI is software. Software bugs. Software doesn't autocorrect bugs. Men correct bugs. A bugging self-driving car leads its passengers to death. A man driving a car can steer away from death.
2) Humans love to behave in erratic ways, it is just impossible to program AI to respond to all possible erratic human behaviour. Therefore, instead of adapting AI to humans, humans will be forced to adapt to AI, and relinquish a lot of their liberty as humans.
3) Humans have moral qualms (not everybody is Hillary Clinton), AI being strictly utilitarian, will necessarily be "psychopathic".

In short AI is the promise of communism raised by several orders of magnitude. Welcome to the "Brave New World".

R. , says: April 27, 2019 at 7:43 am GMT
Yang, to me, purely on his ideas / writings seems to be the best ever candidate.
But ideas and actually implementing them are a world apart.

Shame he's not a good looking mulatto; then he'd have a solid chance of having to die in a tragic weight-lifting or freak traffic accident.

Germanicus , says: April 27, 2019 at 7:53 am GMT
@Vojkan

1) AI is software. Software bugs. Software doesn't autocorrect bugs. Men correct bugs. A bugging self-driving car leads its passengers to death. A man driving a car can steer away from death.

Agreed, but it is much worse. The newer Ai program themselves, and the creators don't understand it.

reiner Tor , says: April 27, 2019 at 8:13 am GMT
@Mr. XYZ

Based on the success of the Clintons in giving speeches and publishing and selling books, one would think that politicians–or at least prominent politicians–in the US already have enough means to become extremely wealthy after they leave office.

Yes, but the point is that the route to this wealth is a certain set of policies favoring those who are likely to pay for those speeches. It's basically a kind of delayed corruption.

reiner Tor , says: April 27, 2019 at 8:20 am GMT
@prime noticer They removed the superdelegates' influence:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/aug/25/democrats-rules-superdelegates-sanders

Okechukwu , says: April 27, 2019 at 8:21 am GMT
More Karlin nonsense.

I don't care what you read on Five Thirty Eight. Andrew Yang is running a mock candidacy. He's basically comic relief.

Do you even understand how the American caucus and primary systems work? Even a big name like Kamala Harris, who has lots of money, a strong organization, tons of endorsements and close to double digit poll numbers, will have to drop out after Iowa and New Hampshire if she doesn't secure, at minimum, no less than third place in either state. Without the momentum a strong finish in these two states provide, campaigns wither and die. The money stops flowing. Volunteers quit. The press pool shrinks.

Harris is strong in her home state of California and also in South Carolina where she has a network of sorority sisters who are helping her get out the black vote. But it will all be for naught if she doesn't do well in Iowa or New Hampshire.

Andrew Yang isn't even polling at 1% in either Iowa or New Hampshire (or anywhere else). He has no ground game. He has no organization. He hasn't raised much money. He has no fired up volunteers willing to make countless phone calls and trudge through the snow to knock on doors. Basically, he has nothing.

Moreover, UBI is a terrible idea if it is proposed as a replacement for current social welfare programs, which provide a great deal more value to recipients than $1000 a month. A strict libertarian interpretation of the UBI concept would, in exchange for $1k a month, get rid of food stamps, section 8 housing, AFDC, cash welfare benefits, Medicaid, Medicare, the earned income tax credit and even mortgage interest deductions. There are more moderate proposals. But, ultimately, UBI has to be paid for somehow, either by raising taxes or eliminating much of the welfare state.

animalogic , says: April 27, 2019 at 8:30 am GMT
@Digital Samizdat I suspect the inflation objection against UBI is probably exaggerated – although I would agree that in the short term there may be some price gouging.

It's about time the US got State & Federal consumer protection, with real teeth. It's not socialism but pragmatics & justice. Private actors should not be allowed to exploit their market position at the expense of the Nation & it's citizens.

I have no fundamental objections to ubi. However, it should be roled out in the context of some kind of jobs guarentee. Many people want to work. Meaningful work helps provide meaningful lives. The US has a great need of public infrastructure. These should be real needs, not bridges to nowhere.
Such jobs are not inflationary. Nor does the government need to borrow $$ to fund it. Like president Lincoln, they can print the money. If the government spends a dollar to buy a dollar's worth of (real) labour or production it is not inflationary. It is, on the contrary, a stimulus.

SafeNow , says: April 27, 2019 at 8:39 am GMT
The book review says that Yang states that drug overdose has replaced auto accidents as the leading cause of accidental deaths. However, 60,000 annual drug deaths is only 1/4 the number who die annually as a result of medical negligence. (2016 Hopkins study). Yang is smart enough to know this 250,000 finding. He should acknowledge the 250,000 number, attribute it to overworked doctors, and propose policies to dramatically increase the number of physicians .let's say, double the number. This would take 7 years to kick-in, but still, could well get him elected. Voters care about medical access. Short of banning leafblowers, this would be the most popular election policy conceivable.
animalogic , says: April 27, 2019 at 8:44 am GMT
@Robert Dolan "No .actually ..if UBI were instituted whites would no doubt be excluded."
Oh, yes, no doubt !
There's a racialist answer to all/any question/s. Like astrology, racialism it's unfalseafiable.
reiner Tor , says: April 27, 2019 at 8:48 am GMT
@Germanicus I've seen horrible examples of computer bugs sitting there for decades (!) undetected, and then finally blowing up. I think it's inevitable, but I'm definitely not looking forward to this.
animalogic , says: April 27, 2019 at 8:50 am GMT
@songbird "I believe it is also immoral to brain drain countries."
I agree. Immoral to the foreign country & immoral to one's own country.
It's also selfish & short-sighted.
reiner Tor , says: April 27, 2019 at 8:53 am GMT
@Okechukwu

UBI has to be paid for somehow, either by raising taxes or eliminating much of the welfare state.

And the young white memesters with low income but receiving little if any welfare care for either because..?

Germanicus , says: April 27, 2019 at 8:59 am GMT
@animalogic

It's also selfish & short-sighted.

If we deported all "Syrian refugees", Syria would suddenly triple its population at least. Many black dudes from the African bushes would be suddenly Syrian, because according to the media, these are all "Syrian refugees".

Icy Blast , says: April 27, 2019 at 9:09 am GMT
I find it hard to believe there are intelligent people at large who could come up with more than 5,000 words about Andrew Yang.

The narcissistic, self-congratulatory rambling about the superior traits of people who live in coastal cities sounds very much like that Zuckerberg guy, or Chelsea Clinton – in other words, a "progressive" type who want to set up re-education camps for the masses of unwashed, reactionary "white people" – for their own good, of course.

Finally, hand-wringing concern over the economic damage soon be done to the troglodytes by automation, and by technical progress in general, is very tiresome. Some of this article sounds like the lyrics to a Bruce Springsteen song from the 80's.

TelfoedJohn , says: April 27, 2019 at 9:28 am GMT
The links for ART OF THE DEAL, HARD CHOICES and THE WAR ON NORMAL PEOPLE are blocked in the UK "by the High Court".
jim jones , says: April 27, 2019 at 9:36 am GMT
@TelfoedJohn They all work for me because I took the trouble to pay for a VPN.
for-the-record , says: April 27, 2019 at 9:50 am GMT
@Okechukwu Kamala Harris, who has lots of money, a strong organization, tons of endorsements and close to double digit poll numbers, will have to drop out after Iowa and New Hampshire if she doesn't secure, at minimum, no less than third place in either state.

Perhaps not surprisingly, California has moved up its primary from June to March (Super Tuesday):

So I don't think Kamal Harris will be dropping out before 3 March, no matter how poorly she does in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Anatoly Karlin , says: Website April 27, 2019 at 10:05 am GMT
@Mr. XYZ

That said, though, what exactly is your beef with Bernie Sanders? Is it that he's allegedly sucking up to neoliberalism.txt?

I am fine with Bernie Sanders. I will have my remaining student loan (~$10,000) written off, it's a minor issue but I wouldn't mind having an extra $200 per month. He will probably be non-interventionist, and he is not a Russia hawk by US standards. He will (if he follows his program) preside over some of the biggest capital misallocations in US history, which I imagine will have a sad ending, but if that is what American voters want, that's perfectly ok by me.

Based on the success of the Clintons in giving speeches and publishing and selling books, one would think that politicians–or at least prominent politicians–in the US already have enough means to become extremely wealthy after they leave office.

It's coupled with a lifetime prohibition on making money from their office through speeches, etc. I should add that.

Anatoly Karlin , says: Website April 27, 2019 at 10:13 am GMT
@Okechukwu

1. The nice thing about betting sites and predictions markets is that they do the thinking for me.

5% on https://electionbettingodds.com/ , 10% on Predictit https://www.predictit.org/markets/detail/3633/Who-will-win-the-2020-Democratic-presidential-nomination

2. Incorrect. He is polling in a range from 1%-4%. About same as Buttigieg before MSM started amplifying him in early April.

3. Correct, most of the welfare state as concerns 18-64 year olds – the people eligible for UBI – will be eliminated. That's one major cost saving. The other is the 10% VAT (typical rate in Europe being 20%).

Anatoly Karlin , says: Website April 27, 2019 at 10:21 am GMT
@SafeNow

He should acknowledge the 250,000 number, attribute it to overworked doctors, and propose policies to dramatically increase the number of physicians

Actually he does do all that.

(1) He suggests training many more primary care doctors, without the costly specializations that massively inflate their costs in the US.

Intermediate level doctor + Dr. Watson AI = solutions to 99% of health problems (this is literally the percentage of cases in which Dr. Watson agreed with human doctors; in a remaining 30% of cases, the AI made suggestions that humans missed). The most qualified specialists can then deal with only the most complicated cases.

(2) As it happens, he has ideas on overworked doctors as well:

The best approach is what they do at the Cleveland Clinic -- doctors simply get paid flat salaries. When doctors aren't worried about billing, they can focus on patients. Dr. Delos Cosgrove, the CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, said, "I think you have to recognize that people do what you pay them to do. If you pay doctors to do more of something, then that's what they'll do. If you put the emphasis on looking after patients, they'll do that." The Cleveland Clinic is consistently ranked among the top hospitals in the country. And physician turnover is only 3.5 percent per year, much lower than normal. The Cleveland Clinic has achieved financial success in part by universalizing a sense of cost control. They put price tags on things so everyone knows how much it costs to, say, open up a new set of sutures. They don't allow redundant tests. They include doctors in purchasing decisions. Everyone is interested in the company's financial sustainability because they feel a sense of ownership and mission. Plus, if the hospital does well, you're more likely to get a raise.

What's required is an honest conversation in which we say to people who are interested in becoming doctors, "If you become a doctor, you'll be respected, admired, and heal people each day. You will live a comfortable life. But medicine will not be a path to riches. On the bright side, we're not going to burn you out by forcing you to see a million patients a day and fill out paperwork all the time. We're going to supplement you with an army of empathetic people equipped with AI who will handle most routine cases. We'll only call you when the case genuinely requires distincthuman judgment or empathy. We want you to become the best and most human version of yourself, not Dr. Speed Demon who can bang out a nine-minute appointment. Let's leave that to Watson."

I'm sure that many doctors would enjoy this shift in role and embrace becoming better, more empathetic clinicians. Changing their incentives would change everything.

Anatoly Karlin , says: Website April 27, 2019 at 10:24 am GMT
@animalogic While I am not a huge fan either , it is far better for the host country than massive illegal immigration (Merkel's Boner) or massive legal migration (POTATUS). Which seem to be the only choices on offer atm in developed white countries.
songbird , says: April 27, 2019 at 10:47 am GMT
VAT is a very European and very un-American idea. Having said that, it is probably only a matter of time before one is instituted in America.
mcohen , says: April 27, 2019 at 10:48 am GMT
The whole show is off.

The war on terror is a self induced psychosis that is eating away at the moral core of america. Opiods, underage sex, porn are merely diversions. Blessed are the blessed.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-04-26/essence-evil-sex-children-has-become-big-business-america

iffen , says: April 27, 2019 at 10:57 am GMT
Yang has ideological appeal for a considerable number of people who will not be voting in the Democratic primary. In most states (all except California?), if you want to vote for Republican candidates in the down ballot races you will not be able to vote for Yang.
EliteCommInc. , says: April 27, 2019 at 10:57 am GMT
The more accurate solution to healthcare is the financially incentivizing those in med school to focus on general practice with by way ending their educational debt. It is the hyper focus on specialization for illness that could be prevented by more general practitioners.

The GDP question requires over hauling GDP valuation from potential sales to actual sales. You want to get a look at the real economy stop counting what's on the shelf as goods sold (my abbreviated version of the current method).

Stop importing people and train the one's you have – period.

Anon y Mous , says: April 27, 2019 at 11:20 am GMT
$12k a year isn't going to free anybody, it's just going to accelerate white genocide (more money for heroin and opiate pills and alcohol). In a world of $1500 a month apartments you're still living on the street with $12k income.

As for the big "Medicare for everybody!" scam, using your Medicare at all will eat up that $12k fast! I have Medicare, and just walking into my local health providers for a checkup means I'm going to be facing up to $2k in co-pays ($800 co-pay for a standard blood test, $100 to have an assistant check your blood pressure, $100 to see the doctor, repeat co-pays to come back and get the results of standard blood tests, and what I call the sodomy charge: an additional $500 "for choosing _____"(enter name of our local monopolistic health provider).

I would prefer getting a one-time check of say $3,000 and using it to get out of the country.

Digital Samizdat , says: April 27, 2019 at 11:55 am GMT
@reiner Tor Not exactly. The new rules simply prevent the superdelegates from voting if any given candidate already has at least 51% or more of the normal primary delegates at the start of the convention. But if no one does, then the superdelegates get to vote. Many have speculated that that's precisely why they're flooding the Democrat primaries with so many candidates this year: to prevent Bernie Sanders (or somebody else objectionable to the oligarchy) from winning on the first ballot, so that the superdelegates can still pick the nominee. Pretty sneaky!
Digital Samizdat , says: April 27, 2019 at 12:02 pm GMT
@Okechukwu

Moreover, UBI is a terrible idea if it is proposed as a replacement for current social welfare programs, which provide a great deal more value to recipients than $1000 a month. A strict libertarian interpretation of the UBI concept would, in exchange for $1k a month, get rid of food stamps, section 8 housing, AFDC, cash welfare benefits, Medicaid, Medicare, the earned income tax credit and even mortgage interest deductions.

That's another good point. If UBI simply replaces stuff like Medicare, then it could just become another subsidy for the big corporations–another form of privatization by stealth.

anon [310] Disclaimer , says: April 27, 2019 at 12:06 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack Phone companies make too much money off bothersome telephone calls, and they fly jets to D.C. to lobby for what they want. We poor schmucks who answer the calls don't have jets to fly to D.C. to schmooze with the lobbyists.

The problem is easily solvable, outlaw "spoofing of caller IDs" and actually enforce the law on robocalls.

Arclight , says: April 27, 2019 at 12:08 pm GMT
Yang is clearly the most intelligent and sensible candidate, even if I am not 100% sold on some of his ideas and/or politics. That said, I feel like his slate of policy proposals are what you propose when you don't really want actual democracy (at least at the federal level) in the future – for his stuff to stick, we'd need a Congress that mostly confined itself to taxes and spending, rather than the endless investigations, pandering, and outrage that animates it today, while a technocratic elite really runs things.

In reality though, even if he could get some of this enacted, you'd have the Democrats constantly proposing jacking up the benefits and/or increasing them for favored groups, and Republicans trying to strangle it by undoing any taxes levied on corporations to help fund it. Neither party can resist "doing something" and reverting to type.

Anonymous [392] Disclaimer , says: April 27, 2019 at 12:15 pm GMT
Well Yang won me over in his interview with Ben Shappiro. On the show they talked about the income tax and Yang says he is against the income tax in principle because you shouldn't tax what you want more of (work) and rich people find loop holes around it anyway.

... ... ...

Johnny Rico , says: April 27, 2019 at 12:19 pm GMT
@for-the-record What percentage of the vote in South Carolina and California do the polls say Harris is getting now?
Anonymous [392] Disclaimer , says: April 27, 2019 at 12:19 pm GMT
@Arclight

Well, who else offers a better solution? Trump who is to busy being a legendary Isreali president or Bernie who is a literal socialist? I am skeptical about a lot of things, but I'm not going to be such a nihilist that I get stuck in the what if loophole.

iffen , says: April 27, 2019 at 12:27 pm GMT
@Digital Samizdat I believe that you are incorrect with regard to the rules for superdelegate voting. Superdelegates cannot vote in the 1st round. If no candidate get 50% plus one in the 1st round, then they can start voting beginning in the 2nd round. Which is when it will hit the fan.
Fuerchtegott , says: April 27, 2019 at 12:46 pm GMT
How could UBI not end in a price dictate?
Germany basically has it already.
1/3 of it gives you 40m² living space.
1/3 of it gives you about 75.000 Calories / month.
1/3 for all the rest of costs.
The Contrarian , says: April 27, 2019 at 12:58 pm GMT
UBI is bait and switch. Eventually it will be genocide. They will reduce you to starvation wages. It is the endgame of the masters of mankind Fools will hand over everything they have and close their own cell doors, rub their hands waiting for three square meals a day. Trust these people? Nimrod himself tried the control dynamic of UBI before, didn't end well in Babel, wont end well for the globe either. Take heart though, being monitored and his majesty will end the evil plot. It is more endgame than those elitist, eugenecist elect, of society than they know.
KenH , says: April 27, 2019 at 1:04 pm GMT
Not sure which racial group bullied Yang. It's possible it was white kids but blacks treat Asians far worse than whites to the point of regular physical assaults. Whites kids might occasionally taunt Asians and other non-white kids but it almost never escalates to physical assault.

So many Asians share a similar racial worldview to white liberals since they have little experience with feral ghetto blacks (not the mythical TV negro), so they tend to romanticize them.

I'm not against UBI, especially for struggling whites, but I believe Yang said this would be financed with a VAT tax which to me defeats the whole purpose. Whites have been shouldering the crushing tax burden for decades and it's gone to subsidizing black and brown welfare parasites and wars for Israel. They shouldn't have to pay additional taxes to receive UBI.

Hail , says: Website April 27, 2019 at 1:05 pm GMT
@reiner Tor I doubt it.
Anatoly Karlin , says: Website April 27, 2019 at 1:15 pm GMT
@KenH You'd need to buy about $120,000 worth of shit per year before your losses from a 10% VAT exceed your gains from UBI.

Do you know many such people of any race?

Virgildoc , says: April 27, 2019 at 1:18 pm GMT
@German_reader So you cannot vote for him and further degrade our country
KenH , says: April 27, 2019 at 1:31 pm GMT
@Anatoly Karlin Yang hasn't told us what the VAT rate would be but based on others who've proposed it previously then I assume 15-17%. And you wouldn't need to buy 120K worth of shit per year for your losses to exceed your gains. At 10% you'd be paying 12K in VAT taxes and getting 1K in benefits, so I'd say that's upside down. But if you meant 1% you might be correct.

Even if working poor people spend a VAT taxable amount of 3K per year that would amount to $300.00 at a 10% rate, so their true net gain from Yang's UBI program would be a measly $700.00 which is better than nothing but won't lift them out of poverty or a hand to mouth existence.

Hail , says: Website April 27, 2019 at 1:52 pm GMT
@Johnny Rico Don't expect Blacks to pay attention till about Dec. 2019 or Jan. 2020 at the earliest.

(My recollection is it wasn't until late 2007 that Blacks began to seriously line up behind Obama, and only really consolidated by Jan./Feb. 2008. And yet, by about May/June 2008, Blacks had secured Obama the nomination thru racial block-voting especially in the South. You can still find articles and data from throughout 2007, including late 2007, that show Black ambivalence towards Obama -- which is I think where Harris is now. It's a little different because Obama was this overtly strange-seeming, foreign-name-having person whereas Harris is a more recognizable personality [just not a pleasant one] with a US-seeming name; a viable Stacy Abrams candidacy would have Black enthusiasm a lot better, sooner.)

California Primary [March 3, 2020] ( link )
Poll conducted April 6-9, 2019 (n=2,003):
– Sanders 22%
– Biden 21%
– Harris 19%
– O'Rourke 10%
– Buttigieg 9%
– Warren 8%
– Booker 3%
– Castro 2%
– Yang 1%
– Others 5%

South Carolina Primary [Feb. 29, 2020] ( link )
Four polls conducted between beginning of Feb. and end of April, all mid sample size (n=300 to n=750); of which the averages are :
– Biden 35%
– Sanders 14%
– Harris 11%
– Booker 7.5%
– O'Rourke 6%
– Warren 6%
– Buttigeg 2% (mathematically; 0% in three pre-April polls; then the media began promoting him in early April, after which he scored 7%)
– Yang 1%
– Others 10%

The three things that stand out to me:

In California, support for Sanders, Harris, and Buttigieg are all higher. Harris has home-state recognition, Buttigieg is the Gay Candidate with the flamboyant surname (as of the time of polling, he had been recently promoted by the media; may fade by summer), and Sanders does not sell well to Blacks (Clinton took 75% of SC's delegates in Feb. 2016 despite Sanders' momentum at the time and big New Hampshire win; Clinton's final, convention delegate count was 60%, meaning she hugely outperformed in South Carolina).

Miro23 , says: April 27, 2019 at 1:53 pm GMT

Their empathy and desire to subsidize and address the distress of the general public will likely be lower and lower.

It looks like a new aristocracy inbreeding and looking down on the "Deplorables".

Perhaps uniquely for a politician, Yang is sympathetic to people who can no longer be bothered to pull themselves up by the bootstraps, as conservative orthodoxy dictates.

True enough – elite sympathy with the deplorables is minimal to non-existent.

2. A vomit-inducing brew of Establishment globalists, SJW-appeasing identity politicians, bland corporate stooges, Russiagate conspiracy theorists, and "liberal interventionists" who call Christians "Easter worshippers."

There's a good Telegraph article on PC gymnastics to avoid the word "Christian".

https://premium.telegraph.co.uk/newsletter/article0/calling-the-sri-lanka-bombing-victims-easter-worshippers-shows-just-how-afraid-we-are-to-admit-that-christians-are-under-attack/?WT.mc_id=e_DM997467&WT.tsrc=email&etype=Edi_Edi_New_Reg&utm_source=email&utm_medium=Edi_Edi_New_Reg_2019_04_25&utm_campaign=DM997467

Compare and contrast the reaction of Hillary Clinton to the two tragedies. On Sunday, she tweeted, "I'm praying for everyone affected by today's horrific attacks on Easter worshippers and travelers in Sri Lanka." Easter worshippers? That's a clunking new euphemism for Christians. When the mosques in Christchurch were targeted, did Clinton talk of Ramadan worshippers? No, she wrote, "My heart breaks for New Zealand and the global Muslim community."

Fuerchtegott , says: April 27, 2019 at 2:05 pm GMT
UBI helps the fertile / primitive. That's the lesson from Europe
AP , says: April 27, 2019 at 2:11 pm GMT
OK, I am now leaning towards registering as a Democrat so I can vote for this guy in the primary.
DESERT FOX , says: April 27, 2019 at 2:36 pm GMT
The zio/US government lies about everything, unemployment is around 22% and America is being continually being deindustrialised by outsourcing every thing to China and Mexico etc., and America is being destroyed via the illegal immigration hordes that are crossing the southern border, and all of this is going according to plan as laid out in The Protocols of Zion!

The middle class is being destroyed and the satanic zionists are in the saddle on the gray horse of death and are ridding down the normal American people and turning America into Orwell Oceania!

To top it all off the zionists have their judas goat Trump leading the naive Americans to destruction!

[Jun 21, 2019] Guilty or Not, Iran's Fate Is in Trump's Hands

Jun 21, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

From the standpoint of Information Warfare, it is very critical when a new event happens to put forward one's version of the "truth" first before any other possible competing theories can arise. This could be why Pompeo or someone like him would chose to immediately come out with accusations thrown around as facts with no evidence to support them and no respect for the great Western concepts of "innocence until proven guilty" or the "right to a fair trial".

Pompeo's objective here is not the truth but to take that virgin intellectual territory regarding the interpretation of this issue before anyone else can, because once a concept has become normalized in the minds of the masses it is very difficult to change it and many people in Washington cannot risk blowing the chance to waste thousands of American lives invading Iran based on an ultimately false but widely accepted/believed narrative.

Not surprisingly foreign and especially Russian media has quickly attempted to counter the "Iran obviously did it" narrative before it becomes an accepted fact. Shockingly Slavic infowarriors actually decided to speak to the captain of a tanker that was hit to get his opinion rather than simply assert that Iran didn't do it because they are a long time buddy of Moscow. The captain's testimony of what happened strongly contradicts the version of reality that Washington is pushing. And over all Russia as usual takes the reasonable position of "let's gather the evidence and then see who did it", which is good PR for itself as a nation beyond this single issue.

In terms of finding the actual guilty party the media on both sides has thus far ignored the simple fact that if Iran wanted to sink a tanker it would be sunk. No civilian vessel is going to withstand an attack from a 21st century navy by having a particularly thick hull and the idea that the Iranians need to physically attach bombs to boats is mental. Physically planting bombs is for goofball inept terrorists, not a professional military. After all, even the West acknowledges that the Iranians use the best Russian goodies that they can afford and Russian 21 st century arms will sink civilian ship guaranteed. The Iranians have everything they need to smoke any civilian vessel on the planet guaranteed from much farther away than 3 feet.

If Iran's goal was to scare or intimidate the tanker they could have just shot at it with rifles or done something else to spook the crew and get a media response. When looked at from the standpoint of military logic, these "attacks" seem baffling as Iran could have just destroyed the boats or directly tried to terrorize them to make a statement.

[Jun 20, 2019] US gives military assistance to 70% of world dictoris whether they re using their free time to kill thousands of innocent people or to harmonize their rock garden.

Notable quotes:
"... If one does even a cursory check of what dictators around the world are up to recently, you'll find that the U.S. doesn't care in the slightest whether they are bad or good, whether they're using their free time to kill thousands of innocent people or to harmonize their rock garden. ..."
Jun 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

We now know that the invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction. We now know that the crushing of Libya had nothing to do with "stopping a bad man."

If one does even a cursory check of what dictators around the world are up to recently, you'll find that the U.S. doesn't care in the slightest whether they are bad or good, whether they're using their free time to kill thousands of innocent people or to harmonize their rock garden.

In fact, the U.S. gives military aid to 70 percent of the world's dictators . (One would hope that's only around the holidays though.)

[Jun 20, 2019] Bias, Lies Videotape Doubts Dog Confirmed Syria Chemical Attacks

Jun 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Bias, Lies & Videotape: Doubts Dog 'Confirmed' Syria Chemical Attacks Disturbing new evidence suggests 2018 incident might've been staged, putting everything else, including U.S. retaliation, into question. By Scott Ritter June 20, 2019

(By Mikhail Semenov /Shutterstock) Thanks to an explosive internal memo, there is no reason to believe the claims put forward by the Syrian opposition that President Bashar al-Assad's government used chemical weapons against innocent civilians in Douma back in April. This is a scenario I have questioned from the beginning.

It also calls into question all the other conclusions and reports by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) , which was assigned in 2014 "to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic."

As you recall, the Trump administration initiated a coordinated bombing of Syrian government facilities with the UK and France within days of the Douma incident and before a full investigation of the scene could be completed, charging Assad with the "barbaric act" of using "banned chemical weapons" to kill dozens of people on the scene. Bomb first, ask questions later.

The OPCW began their investigation days after the strikes . The group drew on witness testimonies, environmental and biomedical sample analysis results, and additional digital information from witnesses (i.e. video and still photography), as well as toxicological and ballistic analyses. In July 2018, the OPCW released an interim report on Douma that said "no organophosphorus nerve agents or their degradation products were detected, either in the environmental samples or in plasma samples from the alleged casualties," but that chlorine, which is not a banned chemical weapon, was detected there.

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The report cited ballistic tests that indicated that the canisters found at two locations on the scene were dropped from the air (witnesses blamed Assad's forces), but investigations were ongoing. The final report in March reiterated the ballistics data, and the conclusions were just as underwhelming, saying that all of the evidence gathered there provides "reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon took place," due in part to traces of chlorine and explosives at the impact sites.

Now, the leaked internal report apparently suppressed by the OPCW says there is a "high probability" that a pair of chlorine gas cylinders that had been claimed as the source of the toxic chemical had been planted there by hand and not dropped by aircraft. This was based on extensive engineering assessments and computer modeling as well as all of the evidence previously afforded to the OPCW.

What does this mean? To my mind, the canisters were planted by the opposition in an effort to frame the Syrian government.

The OPCW has confirmed with the validity of this shocking document and has offered statements to reporters, including Peter Hitchens, who published the organization's response to him on May 16.

The ramifications of this turn of events extend far beyond simply disproving the allegations concerning the events in April 2018. The credibility of the OPCW itself and every report and conclusion it has released concerning allegations of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government are now suspect. The extent to which the OPCW has, almost exclusively, relied upon the same Syrian opposition sources who are now suspected of fabricating the Douma events raises serious questions about both the methodology and motivation of an organization that had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for "its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons."

In a response to Agence France-Presse (AFP) , OPCW director general Fernando Arias acknowledged there is an internal probe into the memo leak but that he continues to "stand by the impartial and professional conclusions" of the group's original report. He played down the role of the memo's author, Ian Henderson, and said his alternative hypotheses were not included in the final OPCW report because they "pointed at possible attribution" and were therefore outside the scope of the OPCW's fact finding mission in Syria.

Self-produced videos and witness statements provided by the pro-opposition Violations Documentation Center, Syrian Civil Defense (also known as the White Helmets), and the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) , a non-profit organization that operates hospitals in opposition-controlled Syria, represented the heart and soul of the case against the Syrian government regarding the events in Douma. To my mind, the internal memo now suggests that these actors were engaging in a systemic effort to disseminate disinformation that would facilitate Western military intervention with the goal of removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power.

This theory has been advanced by pro-Assad forces and their Russian partners for some time. But independent reporting on the ground since the Douma incident has sussed out many of the same concerns. From James Harkin, director of the Center for Investigative Journalism and a fellow at Harvard University's Shorenstein Center, who traveled to the site of the attacks and reported for The Intercept in February of this year:

The imperative to grab the fleeting attention of an international audience certainly seems to have influenced the presentation of the evidence. In the videos and photos that appeared that evening, most analysts and observers agree that there were some signs that the bodies and gas canisters had been moved or tampered with after the event for maximum impact. The Syrian media activists who'd arrived at the apartment block with the dead people weren't the first to arrive on the scene; they'd heard about the deaths from White Helmet workers and doctors at the hospital.

The relationship between the OPCW and the Syrian opposition can be traced back to 2013. That was when the OPCW was given the responsibility of eliminating Syria's declared arsenal of chemical weapons; this task was largely completed by 2014. However, the Syrian opposition began making persistent allegations of chemical weapon attacks by the Syrian government in which chlorine, a substance not covered by Syria's obligation to be disarmed of chemical weapons, was used. In response, the OPCW established the Fact Finding Mission (FFM) in 2014 "to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic."

The priority of effort for the FFM early on was to investigate allegations of the use of chlorine as a weapon. Since, according to its May 2014 summary, "all reported incidents took place at locations that the Syrian Government considers to be outside its effective control," the FFM determined that the success of its mission was contingent upon "identification of key actors, such as local authorities and/or representatives of armed opposition groups in charge of the territories in which these locations are situated; the establishment of contacts with these groups in an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence that allows the mandate and objectives of the FFM to be communicated."

So from its very inception, the FFM had to rely on the anti-Assad opposition and its supporters for nearly everything. The document that governed the conduct of the FFM's work in Syria was premised on the fact that the mission would be dependent in part upon "opposition representatives" to coordinate, along with the United Nations, the "security, logistical and operational aspects of the OPCW FFM," including liaising "for the purposes of making available persons for interviews."

One could sense the bias resulting from such an arrangement when, acting on information provided to it by the opposition regarding an "alleged attack with chlorine" on the towns of Kafr Zeyta and Al-Lataminah, the FFM changed its original plans to investigate an alleged chlorine attack on the town of Harasta. This decision, the FFM reported, "was welcomed by the opposition." When the FFM attempted to inspect Kafr Zeyta, however, it was attacked by opposition forces, with one of its vehicles destroyed by a roadside bomb, one inspector wounded, and several inspectors detained by opposition fighters.

The inability to go to Kafr Zeyta precluded the group from "presenting definitive conclusions," according to the report. But that did not stop the FFM from saying that the information given to them from these opposition sources, "including treating physicians with whom the FFM was able to establish contact," and public domain material, "lends credence to the view that toxic chemicals, most likely pulmonary irritating agents such as chlorine, have been used in a systematic manner in a number of attacks" against Kafr Zeyta.

So the conclusion/non-conclusion was based not on any onsite investigation, but rather videos produced by the opposition and subsequently released via social media and interviews also likely set up by opposition groups (White Helmets, SAMS, etc.), which we know, according to their own documents, served as the key liaisons for the FFM on the ground.

All of this is worrisome. It is unclear at this point how many Syrian chemical attacks have been truly confirmed since the start of the war. In February of this year, the Global Policy Institute released a report saying there were 336 such reports, but they were broken down into "confirmed," "credibly substantiated," and "comprehensively confirmed." Out of the total, 111 were given the rigorous "comprehensively confirmed" tag, which, according to the group, meant the incidents were "were investigated and confirmed by competent international bodies or backed up by at least three highly reliable independent sources of evidence."

They do not go into further detail about those bodies and sources, but are sure to thank the White Helmets and their "implementing partner" Mayday Rescue and Violations Documentation Center, among other groups, as "friends and partners" in the study. So it becomes clear, looking at the Kafr Zeytan inspection and beyond, that the same opposition sources that are informing the now-dubious OPCW reports are also delivering data and "assistance" to outside groups reaching international audiences, too.

The role of the OPCW in sustaining the claims made by the obviously biased Syrian opposition sources cannot be understated -- by confirming the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma, the OPCW lent credibility to claims that otherwise should not -- and indeed would not -- have been granted, and in doing so violated the very operating procedures that had been put in place by the OPCW to protect the credibility of the organization and its findings.

There is an old prosecutorial rule -- one lie, all lies -- that comes into play in this case. With the leaked internal report out there, suggesting that the sources in the Douma investigation were agenda-driven and dishonest, all information ever provided to the OPCW by the White Helmets, SAMS, and other Syrian opposition groups must now, in my mind, be viewed as tainted and therefore unusable.

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.

JPH 8 hours ago

The OPCW reaction clearly considering the investigation into the leak instead of apologizing for not publishing this report is revealing its bias.

There has been a push from 'the West' to have the OPCW also attributing responsibility. Given the bias already on display this will further politicize the OPCW.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk...

As soon as such organizations become propaganda tools their credibility goes into the wind.

Given what we know of the Skripal hoax and the Tories attitude to the truth with their government funded 'Integrity Initiative' through the Institute of Statecraft' that exactly what the British Intelligence intended.

https://medium.com/@tomseck...

One may note the specific personal links through Orbis/Steele/Miller between the 'Integrity Initiative' and the fake 'Trump Dossier' and one ought to be alarmed by 'services' of a British intelligence out of control, but given the FBI/CIA involvement and exploitation of that fake 'Trump Dossier' it looks that the US has a quite similar problem.

john 11 hours ago
Our government lied to start a war! When has that always happened.

[Jun 19, 2019] Bias bias the inclination to accuse people of bias by James Thompson

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Early in any psychology course, students are taught to be very cautious about accepting people's reports. A simple trick is to stage some sort of interruption to the lecture by confederates, and later ask the students to write down what they witnessed. Typically, they will misremember the events, sequences and even the number of people who staged the tableaux. Don't trust witnesses, is the message. ..."
"... The three assumptions -- lack of rationality, stubbornness, and costs -- imply that there is slim chance that people can ever learn or be educated out of their biases; ..."
"... So, are we as hopeless as some psychologists claim we are? In fact, probably not. Not all the initial claims have been substantiated. For example, it seems we are not as loss averse as previously claimed. Does our susceptibility to printed visual illusions show that we lack judgement in real life? ..."
"... Well the sad fact is that there's nobody in the position to protect "governments" from their own biases, and "scientists" from theirs ..."
"... Long ago a lawyer acquaintance, referring to a specific judge, told me that the judge seemed to "make shit up as he was going along". I have long held psychiatry fits that statement very well. ..."
"... Here we have a real scientist fighting the nonsense spreading from (neoclassical) economics into other realms of science/academia. ..."
"... Behavioral economics is a sideline by-product of neoclassical micro-economic theory. It tries to cope with experimental data that is inconsistent with that theory. ..."
"... Everything in neoclassical economics is a travesty. "Rational choice theory" and its application in "micro economics" is false from the ground up. It basically assumes that people are gobbling up resources without plan, meaning or relevant circumstances. Neoclassical micro economic theory is so false and illogical that I would not know where to start in a comment, so I should like to refer to a whole book about it: Keen, Steve: "Debunking economics". ..."
"... As the theory is totally wrong it is really not surprising that countless experiments show that people do not behave the way neoclassical theory predicts. How do economists react to this? Of course they assume that people are "irrational" because they do not behave according to their studied theory. (Why would you ever change your basic theory because of some tedious facts?) ..."
"... The title of the 1st ed. of Keen's book was "Debunking Economics: The Naked Emperor of the Social Sciences" which was simply a perfect title. ..."
Jun 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

Early in any psychology course, students are taught to be very cautious about accepting people's reports. A simple trick is to stage some sort of interruption to the lecture by confederates, and later ask the students to write down what they witnessed. Typically, they will misremember the events, sequences and even the number of people who staged the tableaux. Don't trust witnesses, is the message.

Another approach is to show visual illusions, such as getting estimates of line lengths in the Muller-Lyer illusion, or studying simple line lengths under social pressure, as in the Asch experiment, or trying to solve the Peter Wason logic problems, or the puzzles set by Kahneman and Tversky. All these appear to show severe limitations of human judgment. Psychology is full of cautionary tales about the foibles of common folk.

As a consequence of this softening up, psychology students come to regard themselves and most people as fallible, malleable, unreliable, biased and generally irrational. No wonder psychologists feel superior to the average citizen, since they understand human limitations and, with their superior training, hope to rise above such lowly superstitions.

However, society still functions, people overcome errors and many things work well most of the time. Have psychologists, for one reason or another, misunderstood people, and been too quick to assume that they are incapable of rational thought?

Gerd Gigerenzer thinks so.

https://www.nowpublishers.com/article/OpenAccessDownload/RBE-0092

He is particularly interested in the economic consequences of apparent irrationality, and whether our presumed biases really result in us making bad economic decisions. If so, some argue we need a benign force, say a government, to protect us from our lack of capacity. Perhaps we need a tattoo on our forehead: Diminished Responsibility.

The argument leading from cognitive biases to governmental paternalism -- in short, the irrationality argument -- consists of three assumptions and one conclusion:

1. Lack of rationality. Experiments have shown that people's intuitions are systematically biased.

2. Stubbornness. Like visual illusions, biases are persistent and hardly corrigible by education.

3. Substantial costs. Biases may incur substantial welfare-relevant costs such as lower wealth, health, or happiness.

4. Biases justify governmental paternalism. To protect people from theirbiases, governments should "nudge" the public toward better behavior.

The three assumptions -- lack of rationality, stubbornness, and costs -- imply that there is slim chance that people can ever learn or be educated out of their biases; instead governments need to step in with a policy called libertarian paternalism (Thaler and Sunstein, 2003).

So, are we as hopeless as some psychologists claim we are? In fact, probably not. Not all the initial claims have been substantiated. For example, it seems we are not as loss averse as previously claimed. Does our susceptibility to printed visual illusions show that we lack judgement in real life?

In Shepard's (1990) words, "to fool a visual system that has a full binocular and freely mobile view of a well-illuminated scene is next to impossible" (p. 122). Thus, in psychology, the visual system is seen more as a genius than a fool in making intelligent inferences, and inferences, after all, are necessary for making sense of the images on the retina.

Most crucially, can people make probability judgements? Let us see. Try solving this one:

A disease has a base rate of .1, and a test is performed that has a hit rate of .9 (the conditional probability of a positive test given disease) and a false positive rate of .1 (the conditional probability of a positive test given no disease). What is the probability that a random person with a positive test result actually has the disease?

Most people fail this test, including 79% of gynaecologists giving breast screening tests. Some researchers have drawn the conclusion that people are fundamentally unable to deal with conditional probabilities. On the contrary, there is a way of laying out the problem such that most people have no difficulty with it. Watch what it looks like when presented as natural frequencies:

Among every 100 people, 10 are expected to have a disease. Among those 10, nine are expected to correctly test positive. Among the 90 people without the disease, nine are expected to falsely test positive. What proportion of those who test positive actually have the disease?

In this format the positive test result gives us 9 people with the disease and 9 people without the disease, so the chance that a positive test result shows a real disease is 50/50. Only 13% of gynaecologists fail this presentation.

Summing up the virtues of natural frequencies, Gigerenzer says:

When college students were given a 2-hour course in natural frequencies, the number of correct Bayesian inferences increased from 10% to 90%; most important, this 90% rate was maintained 3 months after training (Sedlmeier and Gigerenzer, 2001). Meta-analyses have also documented the "de-biasing" effect, and natural frequencies are now a technical term in evidence-based medicine (Akiet al., 2011; McDowell and Jacobs, 2017). These results are consistent with a long literature on techniques for successfully teaching statistical reasoning (e.g., Fonget al., 1986). In sum, humans can learn Bayesian inference quickly if the information is presented in natural frequencies.

If the problem is set out in a simple format, almost all of us can all do conditional probabilities.

I taught my medical students about the base rate screening problem in the late 1970s, based on: Robyn Dawes (1962) "A note on base rates and psychometric efficiency". Decades later, alarmed by the positive scan detection of an unexplained mass, I confided my fears to a psychiatrist friend. He did a quick differential diagnosis on bowel cancer, showing I had no relevant symptoms, and reminded me I had lectured him as a student on base rates decades before, so I ought to relax. Indeed, it was false positive.

Here are the relevant figures, set out in terms of natural frequencies

Every test has a false positive rate (every step is being taken to reduce these), and when screening is used for entire populations many patients have to undergo further investigations, sometimes including surgery.

Setting out frequencies in a logical sequence can often prevent misunderstandings. Say a man on trial for having murdered his spouse has previously physically abused her. Should his previous history of abuse not be raised in Court because only 1 woman in 2500 cases of abuse is murdered by her abuser? Of course, whatever a defence lawyer may argue and a Court may accept, this is back to front. OJ Simpson was not on trial for spousal abuse, but for the murder of his former partner. The relevant question is: what is the probability that a man murdered his partner, given that she has been murdered and that he previously battered her.

Accepting the figures used by the defence lawyer, if 1 in 2500 women are murdered every year by their abusive male partners, how many women are murdered by men who did not previously abuse them? Using government figures that 5 women in 100,000 are murdered every year then putting everything onto the same 100,000 population, the frequencies look like this:

So, 40 to 5, it is 8 times more probable that abused women are murdered by their abuser. A relevant issue to raise in Court about the past history of an accused man.

Are people's presumed biases costly, in the sense of making them vulnerable to exploitation, such that they can be turned into a money pump, or is it a case of "once bitten, twice shy"? In fact, there is no evidence that these apparently persistent logical errors actually result in people continually making costly errors. That presumption turns out to be a bias bias.

Gigerenzer goes on to show that people are in fact correct in their understanding of the randomness of short sequences of coin tosses, and Kahneman and Tversky wrong. Elegantly, he also shows that the "hot hand" of successful players in basketball is a real phenomenon, and not a stubborn illusion as claimed.

With equal elegance he disposes of a result I had depended upon since Slovic (1982), which is that people over-estimate the frequency of rare risks and under-estimate the frequency of common risks. This finding has led to the belief that people are no good at estimating risk. Who could doubt that a TV series about Chernobyl will lead citizens to have an exaggerated fear of nuclear power stations?

The original Slovic study was based on 39 college students, not exactly a fair sample of humanity. The conceit of psychologists knows no bounds. Gigerenzer looks at the data and shows that it is yet another example of regression to the mean. This is an apparent effect which arises whenever the predictor is less than perfect (the most common case), an unsystematic error effect, which is already evident when you calculate the correlation coefficient. Parental height and their children's heights are positively but not perfectly correlated at about r = 0.5. Predictions made in either direction will under-predict in either direction, simply because they are not perfect, and do not capture all the variation. Try drawing out the correlation as an ellipse to see the effect of regression, compared to the perfect case of the straight line of r= 1.0

What diminishes in the presence of noise is the variability of the estimates, both the estimates of the height of the sons based on that of their fathers, and vice versa. Regression toward the mean is a result of unsystematic, not systematic error (Stigler,1999).

Gigerenzer also looks at the supposed finding that people are over-confidence in predictions, and finds that it is another regression to the mean problem.

Gigerenzer then goes on to consider that old favourite, that most people think they are better than average, which supposedly cannot be the case, because average people are average.

Consider the finding that most drivers think they drive better than average. If better driving is interpreted as meaning fewer accidents, then most drivers' beliefs are actually true. The number of accidents per person has a skewed distribution, and an analysis of U.S. accident statistics showed that some 80% of drivers have fewer accidents than the average number of accidents (Mousavi and Gigerenzer, 2011)

Then he looks at the classical demonstration of framing, that is to say, the way people appear to be easily swayed by how the same facts are "framed" or presented to the person who has to make a decision.

A patient suffering from a serious heart disease considers high-risk surgery and asks a doctor about its prospects.

The doctor can frame the answer in two ways:

Positive Frame: Five years after surgery, 90% of patients are alive.
Negative Frame: Five years after surgery, 10% of patients are dead.

Should the patient listen to how the doctor frames the answer? Behavioral economists say no because both frames are logically equivalent (Kahneman, 2011). Nevertheless, people do listen. More are willing to agree to a medical procedure if the doctor uses positive framing (90% alive) than if negative framing is used (10% dead) (Moxeyet al., 2003). Framing effects challenge the assumption of stable preferences, leading to preference reversals. Thaler and Sunstein (2008) who presented the above surgery problem, concluded that "framing works because people tend to be somewhat mindless, passive decisionmakers" (p. 40)

Gigerenzer points out that in this particular example, subjects are having to make their judgements without knowing a key fact: how many survive without surgery. If you know that you have a datum which is more influential. These are the sorts of questions patients will often ask about, and discuss with other patients, or with several doctors. Furthermore, you don't have to spin a statistic. You could simply say: "Five years after surgery, 90% of patients are alive and 10% are dead".

Gigerenzer gives an explanation which is very relevant to current discussions about the meaning of intelligence, and about the power of intelligence tests:

In sum, the principle of logical equivalence or "description invariance" is a poor guide to understanding how human intelligence deals with an uncertain world where not everything is stated explicitly. It misses the very nature of intelligence, the ability to go beyond the information given (Bruner, 1973)

The key is to take uncertainty seriously, take heuristics seriously, and beware of the bias bias.

One important conclusion I draw from this entire paper is that the logical puzzles enjoyed by Kahneman, Tversky, Stanovich and others are rightly rejected by psychometricians as usually being poor indicators of real ability. They fail because they are designed to lead people up the garden path, and depend on idiosyncratic interpretations.

For more detail: http://www.unz.com/jthompson/the-tricky-question-of-rationality/

Critics of examinations of either intellectual ability or scholastic attainment are fond of claiming that the items are "arbitrary". Not really. Scholastic tests have to be close to the curriculum in question, but still need to a have question forms which are simple to understand so that the stress lies in how students formulate the answer, not in how they decipher the structure of the question.

Intellectual tests have to avoid particular curricula and restrict themselves to the common ground of what most people in a community understand. Questions have to be super-simple, so that the correct answer follows easily from the question, with minimal ambiguity. Furthermore, in the case of national scholastic tests, and particularly in the case of intelligence tests, legal authorities will pore over the test, looking at each item for suspected biases of a sexual, racial or socio-economic nature. Designing an intelligence test is a difficult and expensive matter. Many putative new tests of intelligence never even get to the legal hurdle, because they flounder on matters of reliability and validity, and reveal themselves to be little better than the current range of assessments.

In conclusion, both in psychology and behavioural economics, some researchers have probably been too keen to allege bias in cases where there are unsystematic errors, or no errors at all. The corrective is to learn about base rates, and to use natural frequencies as a guide to good decision-making.

Don't bother boosting your IQ. Boost your understanding of natural frequencies.


res , says: June 17, 2019 at 3:29 pm GMT

Good concrete advice. Perhaps even more useful for those who need to explain things like this to others than for those seeking to understand for themselves.
ThreeCranes , says: June 17, 2019 at 3:34 pm GMT
"intelligence deals with an uncertain world where not everything is stated explicitly. It misses the very nature of intelligence, the ability to go beyond the information given (Bruner, 1973)"

"The key is to take uncertainty seriously, take heuristics seriously, and beware of the bias bias."

Why I come to Unz.

Tom Welsh , says: June 18, 2019 at 8:36 am GMT
@Cortes Sounds fishy to me.

Actually I think this is an example of an increasingly common genre of malapropism, where the writer gropes for the right word, finds one that is similar, and settles for that. The worst of it is that readers intuitively understand what was intended, and then adopt the marginally incorrect usage themselves. That's perhaps how the world and his dog came to say "literally" when they mean "figuratively". Maybe a topic for a future article?

Biff , says: June 18, 2019 at 10:16 am GMT
In 2009 Google finished engineering a reverse search engine to find out what kind of searches people did most often. Seth Davidowitz and Steven Pinker wrote a very fascinating/entertaining book using the tool called Everybody Lies

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28512671-everybody-lies

Everybody Lies offers fascinating, surprising, and sometimes laugh-out-loud insights into everything from economics to ethics to sports to race to sex, gender, and more, all drawn from the world of big data. What percentage of white voters didn't vote for Barack Obama because he's black? Does where you go to school effect how successful you are in life? Do parents secretly favor boy children over girls? Do violent films affect the crime rate? Can you beat the stock market? How regularly do we lie about our sex lives, and who's more self-conscious about sex, men or women?

Investigating these questions and a host of others, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz offers revelations that can help us understand ourselves and our lives better. Drawing on studies and experiments on how we really live and think, he demonstrates in fascinating and often funny ways the extent to which all the world is indeed a lab. With conclusions ranging from strange-but-true to thought-provoking to disturbing, he explores the power of this digital truth serum and its deeper potential – revealing biases deeply embedded within us, information we can use to change our culture, and the questions we're afraid to ask that might be essential to our health – both emotional and physical. All of us are touched by big data every day, and its influence is multiplying. Everybody Lies challenges us to think differently about how we see it and the world.

dearieme , says: June 18, 2019 at 11:25 am GMT
I shall treat this posting (for which many thanks, doc) as an invitation to sing a much-loved song: everybody should read Gigerenzer's Reckoning with Risk. With great clarity it teaches what everyone ought to know about probability.

(It could also serve as a model for writing in English about technical subjects. Americans and Britons should study the English of this German – he knows how, you know.)

Inspired by "The original Slovic study was based on 39 college students" I shall also sing another favorite song. Much of Psychology is based on what small numbers of American undergraduates report they think they think.

Anon [410] • Disclaimer , says: June 18, 2019 at 3:47 pm GMT
" Gigerenzer points out that in this particular example, subjects are having to make their judgements without knowing a key fact: how many survive without surgery. "

This one reminds of the false dichotomy. The patient has additional options! Like changing diet, and behaviours such as exercise, elimination of occupational stress , etc.

The statistical outcomes for a person change when the person changes their circumstances/conditions.

Cortes , says: June 18, 2019 at 4:14 pm GMT
@Tom Welsh A disposition (conveyance) of an awkwardly shaped chunk out of a vast estate contained reference to "the slither of ground bounded on or towards the north east and extending two hundred and twenty four meters or thereby along a chain link fence " Not poor clients (either side) nor cheap lawyers. And who never erred?

Better than deliberately inserting "errors" to guarantee a stream of tidy up work (not unknown in the "professional" world) in future.

Tom Fix , says: June 18, 2019 at 4:25 pm GMT
Good article. 79% of gynaecologists fail a simple conditional probability test?! Many if not most medical research papers use advanced statistics. Medical doctors must read these papers to fully understand their field. So, if medical doctors don't fully understand them, they are not properly doing their job. Those papers use mathematical expressions, not English. Converting them to another form of English, instead of using the mathematical expressions isn't a solution.
SafeNow , says: June 18, 2019 at 5:49 pm GMT
Regarding witnesses: When that jet crashed into Rockaway several years ago, a high percentage of witnesses said that they saw smoke before the crash. But there was actually no smoke. The witnesses were adjusting what they saw to conform to their past experience of seeing movie and newsreel footage of planes smoking in the air before a crash. Children actually make very good witnesses.

Regarding the chart. Missing, up there in the vicinity of cancer and heart disease. The third-leading cause of death. 250,000 per year, according to a 2016 Hopkins study. Medical negligence.

Anon [724] • Disclaimer , says: June 18, 2019 at 9:48 pm GMT

1. Lack of rationality. Experiments have shown that people's intuitions are systematically biased.

2. Stubbornness. Like visual illusions, biases are persistent and hardly corrigible by education.

3. Substantial costs. Biases may incur substantial welfare-relevant costs such as lower wealth, health, or happiness.

4. Biases justify governmental paternalism. To protect people from theirbiases, governments should "nudge" the public toward better behavior.

Well the sad fact is that there's nobody in the position to protect "governments" from their own biases, and "scientists" from theirs.

So, behind the smoke of all words and rationalisations, the law is unchanged: everyone strives to gain and exert as much power as possible over as many others as possible. Most do that without writing papers to say it is right, others write papers, others books. Anyway, the fundamental law would stay as it is even if all this writing labour was spared, wouldn't it? But then another fundamental law, the law of framing all one's drives as moral and beneffective comes into play the papers and the books are useful, after all.

Curmudgeon , says: June 19, 2019 at 1:42 am GMT
An interesting article. However, I think that the only thing we have to know about how illogical psychiatry is this:

In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) asked all members attending its convention to vote on whether they believed homosexuality to be a mental disorder. 5,854 psychiatrists voted to remove homosexuality from the DSM, and 3,810 to retain it.

The APA then compromised, removing homosexuality from the DSM but replacing it, in effect, with "sexual orientation disturbance" for people "in conflict with" their sexual orientation. Not until 1987 did homosexuality completely fall out of the DSM.

(source https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/hide-and-seek/201509/when-homosexuality-stopped-being-mental-disorder )

The article makes no mention of the fact that no "new science" was brought to support the resolution.

It appears that the psychiatrists were voting based on feelings rather than science. Since that time, the now 50+ genders have been accepted as "normal" by the APA. My family has had members in multiple generations suffering from mental illness. None were "cured". I know others with the same circumstances.

How does one conclude that being repulsed by the prime directive of every living organism – reproduce yourself – is "normal"? That is not to say these people are horrible or evil, just not normal. How can someone, who thinks (s)he is a cat be mentally ill, but a grown man thinking he is a female child is not?

Long ago a lawyer acquaintance, referring to a specific judge, told me that the judge seemed to "make shit up as he was going along". I have long held psychiatry fits that statement very well.

Paul2 , says: June 19, 2019 at 8:08 am GMT
Thank you for this article. I find the information about the interpretation of statistical data very interesting. My take on the background of the article is this:

Here we have a real scientist fighting the nonsense spreading from (neoclassical) economics into other realms of science/academia.

Behavioral economics is a sideline by-product of neoclassical micro-economic theory. It tries to cope with experimental data that is inconsistent with that theory.

Everything in neoclassical economics is a travesty. "Rational choice theory" and its application in "micro economics" is false from the ground up. It basically assumes that people are gobbling up resources without plan, meaning or relevant circumstances. Neoclassical micro economic theory is so false and illogical that I would not know where to start in a comment, so I should like to refer to a whole book about it:
Keen, Steve: "Debunking economics".

As the theory is totally wrong it is really not surprising that countless experiments show that people do not behave the way neoclassical theory predicts. How do economists react to this? Of course they assume that people are "irrational" because they do not behave according to their studied theory. (Why would you ever change your basic theory because of some tedious facts?)

We live in a strange world in which such people have control over university faculties, journals, famous prizes. But at least we have some scientists who defend their area of knowledge against the spreading nonsense produced by economists.

The title of the 1st ed. of Keen's book was "Debunking Economics: The Naked Emperor of the Social Sciences" which was simply a perfect title.

Dieter Kief , says: June 19, 2019 at 8:22 am GMT
@Curmudgeon Could it be that you expect psychiatrists in the past to be as rational as you are now?

Would the result have been any different, if members of a 1973 convention of physicists or surgeons would have been asked?

[Jun 19, 2019] A Proactive Russia and China Could Prevent US War with Iran by Paul Craig Roberts

Jun 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

There is so much disinformation that it is difficult to judge the Israeli news report below that the US is planning a military attack on Iran. Israel wants the US to attack Iran and the report could be an attempt to push events in that direction.

There is no valid reason for Washington to serve Israeli interests.

It would be extremely irresponsible for Washington to risk starting another war.

As Russian and Chinese interests could be threatened by a US war with Iran, the situation could become uncontrollable.

If there is a real prospect of a US attack on Iran, it would be a responsible action for Russia and China to block it in advance by taking a firm position.

U.N. officials: U.S. planning a 'tactical assault' in Iran

By SHLOMO SHAMIR/MAARIV ONLINE

06/17/2019

The military action under consideration would be an aerial bombardment of an Iranian facility linked to its nuclear program, the officials further claimed.

Is the US going to attack Iran soon?

Diplomatic sources at the UN headquarters in New York revealed to Maariv that they are assessing the United States' plans to carry out a tactical assault on Iran in response to the tanker attack in the Persian Gulf on Thursday.

According to the officials, since Friday, the White House has been holding incessant discussions involving senior military commanders, Pentagon representatives and advisers to President Donald Trump.

The military action under consideration would be an aerial bombardment of an Iranian facility linked to its nuclear program, the officials further claimed.

"The bombing will be massive but will be limited to a specific target," said a Western diplomat.

[Jun 19, 2019] The Advent of Truth-Destroying Technology by Paul Craig Roberts

Notable quotes:
"... Tyler Durden on Zero Hedge reports that the ability to falsify reality is growing by leaps and bounds. Thoughtless geeks have now developed technology that makes fake reality indistinguishable from real reality ..."
"... This new artificial intelligence capability allows competent programmers to create audio and video of anyone, saying absolutely anything. ..."
"... The creations are called “deepfakes” and however outrageous they may be, they’re virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. No sooner had we adjusted to a world where our reality seemed fake, then things that are fake became our reality. ..."
"... “We’re outgunned,” said a UC Berkeley digital-forensics expert, “The number of people now working on video-synthesis outnumber those working on detecting deepfakes by 100-1.” . . . Already two-thirds of Americans say altered images and videos have become a major problem for understanding the basic facts of current events. ..."
"... Misinformation researchers warn of growing “reality apathy” whereby it takes so much effort to distinguish between what’s real and fake that we simply give up and rely on our base instincts, tribal biases, impulses. Immersed in our leader’s deceits, we come to believe in nothing. Two oil tankers burst into flames, billowing smoke. ..."
"... Without truth there is no liberty, no freedom, no independent thought, and no awareness. There is only The Matrix. ..."
"... The most difficult thing in the world today is to ascertain the truth. It is what I attempt to do for readers. Those who rely on this website should support it. This site has very loyal supporters, which is why it exists. But it has far more users than supporters. The cavalier attitude toward truth on the part of so many readers is not encouraging of the survival of truth. ..."
Jun 18, 2019 | www.unz.com

Tyler Durden on Zero Hedge reports that the ability to falsify reality is growing by leaps and bounds. Thoughtless geeks have now developed technology that makes fake reality indistinguishable from real reality :

"I don't think we're well prepared at all. And I don't think the public is aware of what's coming," said the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He was discussing the rapid advance of synthesis technology. This new artificial intelligence capability allows competent programmers to create audio and video of anyone, saying absolutely anything.

The creations are called “deepfakes” and however outrageous they may be, they’re virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. No sooner had we adjusted to a world where our reality seemed fake, then things that are fake became our reality.

“We’re outgunned,” said a UC Berkeley digital-forensics expert, “The number of people now working on video-synthesis outnumber those working on detecting deepfakes by 100-1.” . . . Already two-thirds of Americans say altered images and videos have become a major problem for understanding the basic facts of current events.

Misinformation researchers warn of growing “reality apathy” whereby it takes so much effort to distinguish between what’s real and fake that we simply give up and rely on our base instincts, tribal biases, impulses. Immersed in our leader’s deceits, we come to believe in nothing. Two oil tankers burst into flames, billowing smoke.

On cue, a suspicious Iranian Revolutionary Guard boat appeared on grainy video. Viral images flooded earth’s nine billion screens. Each side told a different story. No one quite knew who to trust. Conspiracy theories filled the void, as we each clung to what we most want to believe.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-06-16/hedge-fund-cio-i-dont-think-public-aware-whats-coming

Why is it that tech geeks take pride in developing technology that makes truth even harder to find? What is wrong with their character as humans that they create methods of destroying the ability to know truth? How is this different from releasing an undetectable substance into the air that wipes out life?

The only use of this technology is to allow the police state complete control. It is now possible to put words and deeds into the mouths and actions of anyone and use the faked evidence to convict them of the simulated crime.

Without truth there is no liberty, no freedom, no independent thought, and no awareness. There is only The Matrix.

How has America so lost the way that corporations, investors, and scientists are motivated to develop truth-destroying technology? Aren’t these mindless idiots our real enemies?

The most difficult thing in the world today is to ascertain the truth. It is what I attempt to do for readers. Those who rely on this website should support it. This site has very loyal supporters, which is why it exists. But it has far more users than supporters. The cavalier attitude toward truth on the part of so many readers is not encouraging of the survival of truth.

[Jun 19, 2019] Trump Can't Defend Our Border, So He Should Attack Iran! Wait -- What by James Kirkpatrick

So where is Trump Wall Mr. President?
Notable quotes:
"... Trump lays out non-interventionist U.S. military policy ..."
Jun 17, 2019 | www.unz.com

... ... ...

The border situation is so outrageous it appears like something out of a black comedy. "We are in a full blown emergency," said acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner John Sanders, "and I cannot say this stronger: the system is broken". [ 32% increase in migrants encountered or arrested at the southern border in May , by Priscilla Alvarez, CNN, June 5, 2019] Why is this happening? Migrants all over the world from Guatemala to Angola know the loopholes in immigration border enforcement imposed by a treasonous Leftist kritarchy , especially the claim of " credible fear " potentially qualifying people for asylum.

[ While everyone sleeps, the courts are abolishing all immigration enforcement , by Daniel Horowitz, Conservative Review, March 11, 2019] Thus, most migrants are not sneaking across the border: they are eagerly turning themselves in at ports of entry, knowing they will soon be released into the country on the promise, which they intend to break, that they will show up for adjudication.

These invaders are being dumped on local communities, seemingly randomly. Without notice, 350 Congolese were sent to San Antonio recently , leaving the city scrambling for interpreters. Mayors throughout Texas, even the Democrat mayor of Del Rio, are furious because dealing with invading migrants prevents local governments from spending money on streets, schools, and infrastructure. [ Democrat border mayor goes ballistic over 'dumping' of illegal aliens in his town , by Daniel Horowitz, ConservativeReview, June 17, 2019] But the same MSM that wants social media regulated in the name of banning anti-vaccine propaganda is silent about diseases brought by these new arrivals .

The Department of Homeland Security is actually facilitating the invasion, dropping off illegals by bus in communities in the Southwest. [ Five Years Later: Murrietta Residents That Blocked DHS Buses With Illegals Prepare For Round Two , by Beth Baumann, Townhall, May 21, 2019] Even alleged cartel members are claiming asylum right after their gunfights. [ Sinaloa cartel shootout in Agua Prieta leaves nearly a dozen people dead , by Lupita Murillo, KVOA4, June 11, 2019]

Remember, President Trump has the authority to solve this problem without Congress. The Supreme Court has already ruled that the president can impose a travel ban on certain countries . Conservative Review's Daniel Horowitz argues the president has inherent powers under Article II to exclude asylum applicants from entering the country, authority that has been reaffirmed by Congress and repeatedly sanctioned by the Supreme Court. [ No judge has jurisdiction to erase our border , ConservativeReview, November 26, 2018]

He also, as we have repeatedly outlined at VDARE.com, has inherent powers to build border defenses that would not require Congress .

But Trump won't do it -- partially because he has inexplicably surrounded himself with political foes who won't back strong action . Instead, he's blaming the Democrats for not undertaking the "simple" measure of closing the "loopholes."

Yet he has to know (at least I hope he does) that Democrats, who have radically shifted left on immigration in recent years, won't help. Besides, the Democrats' plan to simply import a new electorate is working -- for them.

The most optimistic explanation: Trump intends to use immigration as an election issue in 2020. Yet his fecklessness in office will be as unappealing to many voters as the Democrats' extremism. [ Trump Is Vulnerable to Biden on Immigration , by Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, June 11, 2019] After all, Trump began his campaign vowing to solve the immigration problem almost exactly four years ago -- but essentially nothing has been done.

Instead, the president has been reduced to asking Mexico to solve our problem for us. He supposedly cut a deal with the Mexican government after threatening tariffs , but even that is in dispute. [ Mexico denies Trump's claim of secret concessions in deal , by Jill Colvin, Colleen Long, and Maria Verza, Associated Press, June 10, 2019] The president left powerful negotiating tools on the side, including, most importantly, a remittance tax . As in his dealings with Congress, the president insists on negotiating from weakness in his dealings with Mexico.

In contrast, in the Middle East the president has been extraordinarily bellicose. In April, the Administration revoked waivers that allowed certain countries to buy oil from Iran without violating U.S. sanctions [ U.S. Won't Renew Sanction Exemptions For Countries Buying Iran's Oil , by Bill Chappell, NPR, April 22, 2019]. In early May, the president imposed new sanctions on Iranian metals, a direct threat to the regime's economic viability. [ Trump sanctions Iranian metals, Tehran's largest non-petroleum-related sources of export revenue , by Amanda Macias, CNBC, May 8, 2019] Later that month, the president said a fight would mean "the official end of Iran" [ Trump threatens Iran With 'Official End' by Kenneth Walsh, US News and World Report, May 20, 2019].

The "maximum pressure campaign," as it has been called, puts Iran in the position of either accepting a humiliating surrender or striking out where it can [ Maximum pressure on Iran Means Maximum Risk of War , by Ilan Goldenberg, Foreign Policy, June 14, 2019].

... ... ...

There is also a deeper fundamental question. Our country is crumbling. The border is non-existent; entire communities are being overrun. There’s something perverse about even entertaining a dangerous and costly military intervention halfway around the world. It’s akin to a Roman emperor declaring he will conquer India while barbarians are crossing the Rhine.

President Trump ran on a policy of non-intervention and promised it even after being elected. [ Trump lays out non-interventionist U.S. military policy , by Steve Holland, Reuters, December 6, 2016] He repeatedly pushed back against efforts to get more deeply involved in Syria. He must now resist efforts to get involved in Iran, especially from those who may hint it will win him re-election.

[Jun 18, 2019] Can the US launch a war without a Secratary of Defence in place? W>ell, they are not exactly planning to defend themselves.

Jun 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Norwegian , Jun 18, 2019 3:52:24 PM | 14

Purely euphemistic of course, though it actually did used to be called the Department of War.

Norwegian , Jun 18, 2019 3:52:24 PM | 15

It is unlikely that the U.S. would launch a war without a Secretary of Defense in place.

Well, they are not exactly planning to defend themselves.

[Jun 18, 2019] Washington s Dark Secret The Real Truth about Terrorism and Islamic Extremism by John Maszka

Notable quotes:
"... "A century after World War I, the great war for oil is still raging, with many of the same fronts as before and also a few new ones. Throughout it all -- whether waged by realists, neoliberals, or neocons -- war has been extremely good for business" (225). ..."
Jun 08, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Anna Faktorovich , December 17, 2018

The War for Oil and the New Holocaust

The premise of this book is to say what most of the world's public has probably been thinking since the War on Terror began, or that it is a "war for natural resources -- and that terrorism has little to do with it. Once the military became mechanized, oil quickly became the most sought-after commodity on the planet, and the race for energy was eventually framed as a matter of national security."

John Maszka argues that the "oil conglomerates" are the real "threats to national security". Demonizing "an entire religion" is a repercussion of this policy. My own research in Rebellion as Genre a few years ago also attempted to point out the misuse of the term terrorism in its current application, or as a weapon against one's enemies rather than as a reference to a type of attacks intended to terrorize. Governments that accuse others of terrorism while legitimizing their own "acts of violence" as "retributive" are clearly breaking human rights agreements and their stated commitments to freedom.

Maszka's perspective is of particular interest because he teaches this subject at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Abu Dhabi, and has published widely his criticisms of the War on Terror, including Terrorism and the Bush Doctrine.

Many of the books I have read on terrorism from American supporters of this pro-War on Terror doctrine are troubling in their references to spreading Christianity and other similarly questionable ideologies, so it is refreshing to hear from somebody with a fresh perspective that is more likely to bring about world peace. The preface acknowledges that this book contrasts with the bulk of other books in this field. It also explains that it focuses primarily on two "Islamic militant organizations -- al-Qaeda and the Islamic State".

He explains that perception has a lot to do with who a country is willing to commit violence against, giving the example of Nazis being able to commit violence on Jews in the Holocaust because of this blindness. Thus, violence against Muslims by the West in the past two decade is shown as possibly a new Holocaust where the militaries are carrying out orders because Muslims have been demonized.

Terrorism has historically been the work of a few extremists, or terms like "war" or "revolution" is employed to describe large groups of such fighters; so it is strange that the West has entered the War on Terror with entire Muslim-majority countries, killing so many civilians that it is not a stretch to call these Holocaust-like.

The Islamic State targets Muslims as well, also showing dehumanized traits that are even harder to explain (x-xi). The preface also acknowledges that the author will be using "contractions and anecdotal digressions" as "intentional literary devices", shooing the standard scholarly style (this is troubling for me personally, as I'm allergic to digressions, but at least he tells readers what to expect).

As promised, Chapter One begins with a poet's story about the Tree of Life, then discusses the Boston Marathon bombings from the perspective of the author as he worked in Kyrgyzstan, and goes off on other tangents before reaching this conclusion -- the marathon's bombers were not terrorists: "They had no political aspirations. They weren't attempting to obtain concessions from the government or provoke a reaction. They simply believed that they were 'wave sheaves' -- first fruits of God -- and that they would be instrumental in ushering in the apocalypse" (5).

This conclusion explains the relationship between all of the digressions across this section, so these digressions were necessary to prove this point, and thus are suitable for a scholarly book. And this is exactly the type of logical reasoning that is missing in most of the oratory on terrorism. The entire book similarly uses specific acts of supposed terrorism to explain what really happened and working to understand th motivations of the actors.

Since the author's digressions into his own life are typically very relevant to the subject, they are definitely helpful: "I was stationed in Riyadh at an American military base that was attacked by an al-Qaeda suicide bomber" (135).

It would actually be unethical if Maszka did not explain that he has been personally affected by al-Qaeda in this context; and since he has seen this War as a civilian living in the affected countries and as a member of the military that is attaching these "terrorists", his opinions should be trustworthy for both sides. Given how emotional writing this book with detachment and carefully crafted research must have been for somebody who has been bombed, it is only fitting that the final chapter is called, "The Definition of Insanity."

And here is the final chapter:

"A century after World War I, the great war for oil is still raging, with many of the same fronts as before and also a few new ones. Throughout it all -- whether waged by realists, neoliberals, or neocons -- war has been extremely good for business" (225).

Very powerful words that are justly supported. I would strongly recommend that everybody in the West's militaries who is responsible for making decisions in the War on Terror read this book before they make their next decision. Who are they shooting at? Why? Who is benefiting? Who is dying? Are they committing war crimes as serious as the Nazis? If there is any chance these allegations are true what kind of a military leader can proceed without understanding the explanations that Maszka offers here? This would probably also work well in an advanced graduate class, despite its digressions, it will probably help students write better dissertations on related topics.

Pennsylvania Literary Journal: Fall 2018

[Jun 18, 2019] Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) confirmed to Jewish Insider a July trip to Israel to work out details for a U.S.-Israel defense treaty to counter the Iranian threat

Essentially Sen. Graham is treating Israel as yet another US state. If we make this assumption, then the USA policy toward Israel at least looks more logical.
Jun 18, 2019 | www.unz.com

renfro , says: June 18, 2019 at 3:00 am GMT

"The two generals were referring to the fact that the U.S. already has airmen stationed permanently at Israel's Mashabim Air Base in spite of the fact that the two countries have no defense agreement of any kind. The Americans, though few in number, would serve as a trip wire to guarantee that Washington would become involved in any war that Israel chooses to start"

Israel will soon get their long sought US-Israel Defense Treaty if Lindsey Graham can pull it off and congress I am sure will be all for it. There aren't words to describe what such a treaty would do to the US -- -it's signing up any and all wars Israel wants to create ..it will be the end of the US.

HEARD YESTERDAY -- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) confirmed to Jewish Insider a July trip to Israel to work out details for a U.S.-Israel defense treaty to counter the Iranian threat. He later elaborated on his plans during a speech at the Endowment for Middle East Truth in Washington D.C. on Wednesday night.
"So, here's the next thing, here's our marching orders. I'm going to Israel in July. We're going to sit down and we're going to talk about what a security agreement would look like," he said. "But I think it's important to send a signal in the 21st century. If you're intending to destroy Israel, you have to go through us. And it will not turn out well for you."

[Jun 18, 2019] The American Cult of Bombing and Endless War

Notable quotes:
"... Its political benefit: minimizing the number of U.S. "boots on the ground" and so American casualties in the never-ending war on terror, as well as any public outcry about Washington's many conflicts. ..."
"... Its economic benefit: plenty of high-profit business for weapons makers for whom the president can now declare a national security emergency whenever he likes and so sell their warplanes and munitions to preferred dictatorships in the Middle East (no congressional approval required). ..."
"... Think of all this as a cult of bombing on a global scale. America's wars are increasingly waged from the air, not on the ground, a reality that makes the prospect of ending them ever more daunting. The question is: What's driving this process? ..."
"... In a bizarre fashion, you might even say that, in the twenty-first century, the bomb and missile count replaced the Vietnam-era body count as a metric of (false) progress . Using data supplied by the U.S. military, the Council on Foreign Relations estimated that the U.S. dropped at least 26,172 bombs in seven countries in 2016, the bulk of them in Iraq and Syria. Against Raqqa alone, ISIS's "capital," the U.S. and its allies dropped more than 20,000 bombs in 2017, reducing that provincial Syrian city to literal rubble . Combined with artillery fire, the bombing of Raqqa killed more than 1,600 civilians, according to Amnesty International . ..."
"... U.S. air campaigns today, deadly as they are, pale in comparison to past ones like the Tokyo firebombing of 1945, which killed more than 100,000 civilians; the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki later that year (roughly 250,000); the death toll against German civilians in World War II (at least 600,000); or civilians in the Vietnam War. (Estimates vary, but when napalm and the long-term effects of cluster munitions and defoliants like Agent Orange are added to conventional high-explosive bombs, the death toll in Southeast Asia may well have exceeded one million.) ..."
"... the U.S. may control the air, but that dominance simply hasn't led to ultimate success. In the case of Afghanistan, weapons like the Mother of All Bombs, or MOAB (the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. military's arsenal), have been celebrated as game changers even when they change nothing. (Indeed, the Taliban only continues to grow stronger , as does the branch of the Islamic State in Afghanistan.) As is often the case when it comes to U.S. air power, such destruction leads neither to victory, nor closure of any sort; only to yet more destruction. ..."
"... Just because U.S. warplanes and drones can strike almost anywhere on the globe with relative impunity doesn't mean that they should. Given the history of air power since World War II, ease of access should never be mistaken for efficacious results. ..."
"... Bombing alone will never be the key to victory. If that were true, the U.S. would have easily won in Korea and Vietnam, as well as in Afghanistan and Iraq. ..."
"... Despite total air supremacy, the recent Iraq War was a disaster even as the Afghan War staggers on into its 18th catastrophic year. ..."
"... No matter how much it's advertised as "precise," "discriminate," and "measured," bombing (or using missiles like the Tomahawk ) rarely is. The deaths of innocents are guaranteed. Air power and those deaths are joined at the hip, while such killings only generate anger and blowback, thereby prolonging the wars they are meant to end. ..."
"... A paradox emerges from almost 18 years of the war on terror: the imprecision of air power only leads to repetitious cycles of violence and, even when air strikes prove precise, there always turn out to be fresh targets, fresh terrorists, fresh insurgents to strike. ..."
"... Using air power to send political messages about resolve or seriousness rarely works. If it did, the U.S. would have swept to victory in Vietnam. In Lyndon Johnson's presidency, for instance, Operation Rolling Thunder (1965-1968), a graduated campaign of bombing, was meant to, but didn't, convince the North Vietnamese to give up their goal of expelling the foreign invaders -- us -- from South Vietnam. ..."
"... Air power is enormously expensive. Spending on aircraft, helicopters, and their munitions accounted for roughly half the cost of the Vietnam War. ..."
"... Aerial surveillance (as with drones), while useful, can also be misleading. Command of the high ground is not synonymous with god-like "total situational awareness ." ..."
"... Air power is inherently offensive. That means it's more consistent with imperial power projection than with national defense ..."
"... Despite the fantasies of those sending out the planes, air power often lengthens wars rather than shortening them. ..."
"... Air power, even of the shock-and-awe variety, loses its impact over time. The enemy, lacking it, nonetheless learns to adapt by developing countermeasures -- both active (like missiles) and passive (like camouflage and dispersion), even as those being bombed become more resilient and resolute. ..."
"... Pounding peasants from two miles up is not exactly an ideal way to occupy the moral high ground in war. ..."
"... all the happy talk about the techno-wonders of modern air power obscures its darker facets, especially its ability to lock America into what are effectively one-way wars with dead-end results. ..."
"... War's inherent nature -- its unpredictability, horrors, and tendency to outlast its original causes and goals -- isn't changed when the bombs and missiles are guided by GPS. Washington's enemies in its war on terror, moreover, have learned to adapt to air power in a grimly Darwinian fashion and have the advantage of fighting on their own turf. ..."
Jun 18, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by William Astore via TomDispatch.com,

The American Cult of Bombing and Endless War

From Syria to Yemen in the Middle East, Libya to Somalia in Africa, Afghanistan to Pakistan in South Asia, an American aerial curtain has descended across a huge swath of the planet. Its stated purpose: combatting terrorism. Its primary method: constant surveillance and bombing -- and yet more bombing.

Its political benefit: minimizing the number of U.S. "boots on the ground" and so American casualties in the never-ending war on terror, as well as any public outcry about Washington's many conflicts.

Its economic benefit: plenty of high-profit business for weapons makers for whom the president can now declare a national security emergency whenever he likes and so sell their warplanes and munitions to preferred dictatorships in the Middle East (no congressional approval required).

Its reality for various foreign peoples: a steady diet of " Made in USA " bombs and missiles bursting here, there, and everywhere.

Think of all this as a cult of bombing on a global scale. America's wars are increasingly waged from the air, not on the ground, a reality that makes the prospect of ending them ever more daunting. The question is: What's driving this process?

For many of America's decision-makers, air power has clearly become something of an abstraction. After all, except for the 9/11 attacks by those four hijacked commercial airliners, Americans haven't been the target of such strikes since World War II. On Washington's battlefields across the Greater Middle East and northern Africa, air power is always almost literally a one-way affair. There are no enemy air forces or significant air defenses. The skies are the exclusive property of the U.S. Air Force (and allied air forces), which means that we're no longer talking about "war" in the normal sense. No wonder Washington policymakers and military officials see it as our strong suit, our asymmetrical advantage , our way of settling scores with evildoers, real and imagined.

Bombs away!

In a bizarre fashion, you might even say that, in the twenty-first century, the bomb and missile count replaced the Vietnam-era body count as a metric of (false) progress . Using data supplied by the U.S. military, the Council on Foreign Relations estimated that the U.S. dropped at least 26,172 bombs in seven countries in 2016, the bulk of them in Iraq and Syria. Against Raqqa alone, ISIS's "capital," the U.S. and its allies dropped more than 20,000 bombs in 2017, reducing that provincial Syrian city to literal rubble . Combined with artillery fire, the bombing of Raqqa killed more than 1,600 civilians, according to Amnesty International .

Meanwhile, since Donald Trump has become president, after claiming that he would get us out of our various never-ending wars, U.S. bombing has surged, not only against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq but in Afghanistan as well. It has driven up the civilian death toll there even as "friendly" Afghan forces are sometimes mistaken for the enemy and killed , too. Air strikes from Somalia to Yemen have also been on the rise under Trump, while civilian casualties due to U.S. bombing continue to be underreported in the American media and downplayed by the Trump administration.

U.S. air campaigns today, deadly as they are, pale in comparison to past ones like the Tokyo firebombing of 1945, which killed more than 100,000 civilians; the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki later that year (roughly 250,000); the death toll against German civilians in World War II (at least 600,000); or civilians in the Vietnam War. (Estimates vary, but when napalm and the long-term effects of cluster munitions and defoliants like Agent Orange are added to conventional high-explosive bombs, the death toll in Southeast Asia may well have exceeded one million.) Today's air strikes are more limited than in those past campaigns and may be more accurate, but never confuse a 500-pound bomb with a surgeon's scalpel, even rhetorically. When " surgical " is applied to bombing in today's age of lasers, GPS, and other precision-guidance technologies, it only obscures the very real human carnage being produced by all these American-made bombs and missiles.

This country's propensity for believing that its ability to rain hellfire from the sky provides a winning methodology for its wars has proven to be a fantasy of our age. Whether in Korea in the early 1950s, Vietnam in the 1960s, or more recently in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, the U.S. may control the air, but that dominance simply hasn't led to ultimate success. In the case of Afghanistan, weapons like the Mother of All Bombs, or MOAB (the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. military's arsenal), have been celebrated as game changers even when they change nothing. (Indeed, the Taliban only continues to grow stronger , as does the branch of the Islamic State in Afghanistan.) As is often the case when it comes to U.S. air power, such destruction leads neither to victory, nor closure of any sort; only to yet more destruction.

Such results are contrary to the rationale for air power that I absorbed in a career spent in the U.S. Air Force. (I retired in 2005.) The fundamental tenets of air power that I learned, which are still taught today, speak of decisiveness. They promise that air power, defined as "flexible and versatile," will have "synergistic effects" with other military operations. When bombing is "concentrated," "persistent," and "executed" properly (meaning not micro-managed by know-nothing politicians), air power should be fundamental to ultimate victory. As we used to insist, putting bombs on target is really what it's all about. End of story -- and of thought.

Given the banality and vacuity of those official Air Force tenets, given the twenty-first-century history of air power gone to hell and back, and based on my own experience teaching such history and strategy in and outside the military, I'd like to offer some air power tenets of my own. These are the ones the Air Force didn't teach me, but that our leaders might consider before launching their next "decisive" air campaign.

Ten Cautionary Tenets About Air Power

1. Just because U.S. warplanes and drones can strike almost anywhere on the globe with relative impunity doesn't mean that they should. Given the history of air power since World War II, ease of access should never be mistaken for efficacious results.

2. Bombing alone will never be the key to victory. If that were true, the U.S. would have easily won in Korea and Vietnam, as well as in Afghanistan and Iraq. American air power pulverized both North Korea and Vietnam (not to speak of neighboring Laos and Cambodia ), yet the Korean War ended in a stalemate and the Vietnam War in defeat. (It tells you the world about such thinking that air power enthusiasts, reconsidering the Vietnam debacle, tend to argue the U.S. should have bombed even more -- lots more .) Despite total air supremacy, the recent Iraq War was a disaster even as the Afghan War staggers on into its 18th catastrophic year.

3. No matter how much it's advertised as "precise," "discriminate," and "measured," bombing (or using missiles like the Tomahawk ) rarely is. The deaths of innocents are guaranteed. Air power and those deaths are joined at the hip, while such killings only generate anger and blowback, thereby prolonging the wars they are meant to end.

Consider, for instance, the "decapitation" strikes launched against Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein and his top officials in the opening moments of the Bush administration's invasion of 2003. Despite the hype about that being the beginning of the most precise air campaign in all of history, 50 of those attacks, supposedly based on the best intelligence around, failed to take out Saddam or a single one of his targeted officials. They did, however, cause "dozens" of civilian deaths. Think of it as a monstrous repeat of the precision air attacks launched on Belgrade in 1999 against Slobodan Milosevic and his regime that hit the Chinese embassy instead, killing three journalists.

Here, then, is the question of the day: Why is it that, despite all the "precision" talk about it, air power so regularly proves at best a blunt instrument of destruction? As a start, intelligence is often faulty. Then bombs and missiles, even "smart" ones, do go astray. And even when U.S. forces actually kill high-value targets (HVTs), there are always more HVTs out there. A paradox emerges from almost 18 years of the war on terror: the imprecision of air power only leads to repetitious cycles of violence and, even when air strikes prove precise, there always turn out to be fresh targets, fresh terrorists, fresh insurgents to strike.

4. Using air power to send political messages about resolve or seriousness rarely works. If it did, the U.S. would have swept to victory in Vietnam. In Lyndon Johnson's presidency, for instance, Operation Rolling Thunder (1965-1968), a graduated campaign of bombing, was meant to, but didn't, convince the North Vietnamese to give up their goal of expelling the foreign invaders -- us -- from South Vietnam. Fast-forward to our era and consider recent signals sent to North Korea and Iran by the Trump administration via B-52 bomber deployments, among other military "messages." There's no evidence that either country modified its behavior significantly in the face of the menace of those baby-boomer-era airplanes.

5. Air power is enormously expensive. Spending on aircraft, helicopters, and their munitions accounted for roughly half the cost of the Vietnam War. Similarly, in the present moment, making operational and then maintaining Lockheed Martin's boondoggle of a jet fighter, the F-35, is expected to cost at least $1.45 trillion over its lifetime. The new B-21 stealth bomber will cost more than $100 billion simply to buy. Naval air wings on aircraft carriers cost billions each year to maintain and operate. These days, when the sky's the limit for the Pentagon budget, such costs may be (barely) tolerable. When the money finally begins to run out, however, the military will likely suffer a serious hangover from its wildly extravagant spending on air power.

6. Aerial surveillance (as with drones), while useful, can also be misleading. Command of the high ground is not synonymous with god-like "total situational awareness ." It can instead prove to be a kind of delusion, while war practiced in its spirit often becomes little more than an exercise in destruction. You simply can't negotiate a truce or take prisoners or foster other options when you're high above a potential battlefield and your main recourse is blowing up people and things.

7. Air power is inherently offensive. That means it's more consistent with imperial power projection than with national defense . As such, it fuels imperial ventures, while fostering the kind of " global reach, global power " thinking that has in these years had Air Force generals in its grip.

8. Despite the fantasies of those sending out the planes, air power often lengthens wars rather than shortening them. Consider Vietnam again. In the early 1960s, the Air Force argued that it alone could resolve that conflict at the lowest cost (mainly in American bodies). With enough bombs, napalm, and defoliants, victory was a sure thing and U.S. ground troops a kind of afterthought. (Initially, they were sent in mainly to protect the airfields from which those planes took off.) But bombing solved nothing and then the Army and the Marines decided that, if the Air Force couldn't win, they sure as hell could. The result was escalation and disaster that left in the dust the original vision of a war won quickly and on the cheap due to American air supremacy.

9. Air power, even of the shock-and-awe variety, loses its impact over time. The enemy, lacking it, nonetheless learns to adapt by developing countermeasures -- both active (like missiles) and passive (like camouflage and dispersion), even as those being bombed become more resilient and resolute.

10. Pounding peasants from two miles up is not exactly an ideal way to occupy the moral high ground in war.

The Road to Perdition

If I had to reduce these tenets to a single maxim, it would be this: all the happy talk about the techno-wonders of modern air power obscures its darker facets, especially its ability to lock America into what are effectively one-way wars with dead-end results.

For this reason, precision warfare is truly an oxymoron. War isn't precise. It's nasty, bloody, and murderous. War's inherent nature -- its unpredictability, horrors, and tendency to outlast its original causes and goals -- isn't changed when the bombs and missiles are guided by GPS. Washington's enemies in its war on terror, moreover, have learned to adapt to air power in a grimly Darwinian fashion and have the advantage of fighting on their own turf.

Who doesn't know the old riddle: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Here's a twenty-first-century air power variant on it: If foreign children die from American bombs but no U.S. media outlets report their deaths, will anyone grieve? Far too often, the answer here in the U.S. is no and so our wars go on into an endless future of global destruction.

In reality, this country might do better to simply ground its many fighter planes, bombers, and drones. Paradoxically, instead of gaining the high ground, they are keeping us on a low road to perdition.


Joiningupthedots , 11 minutes ago link

All off that may be true BUT.......

The myth of Tomahawk has already been dispelled

Countries with reasonable to excellent A2D2 are seriously avoided.

The solution is for Russia to sell equipment and training packages of A2D2 to any country that wants then at BE prices.

Thousands of decoys with spoof emitters and......

Planes take like 3 years to build and pilots take at least 5-6 years to train.

Do the math!

107cicero , 17 minutes ago link

From a marketing/profit perspective , BOMBS are the perfect product.

Insanely expensive, used once.

Rinse and repeat.

Theedrich , 1 hour ago link

In December of 2017, Daniel Ellsberg published a book, "The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner" . Among many other things, he revealed the actual Strangelovian nature of our military establishment. Most enlightening is his revelation that many in the high command of our nuclear triggers do not trust, or even have contempt for, civilian oversight and control of the military. They covertly regard the presidential leadership as naïve and inept, though it would be professional suicide to admit such an attitude openly.

Comes now 𝕿𝖍𝖊 𝕹𝖊𝖜 𝖄𝖔𝖗𝖐 𝕿𝖎𝖒𝖊𝖘 with the revelation that the Pentagon's Cyber Command has attacked Russia's power grid with software "implants" designed to destroy that grid the instant a mouse click is given, thereby possibly initiating global war. Most alarmingly, the details of this secret action were kept from the President, lest he countermand the operation or leak it to the Russians.

So now we have a general staff that is conducting critical international military operations on its own, with no civilian input, permission or hindrances of any kind. A formula for national suicide, executed by a tiny junta of unelected officers who decide to play nuclear Russian roulette.

We seem to be ineluctably and irreversibly trapped in a state of national dementia.

He–Mene Mox Mox , 2 hours ago link

Just remember this: The U.S. had the technological advantage in Viet Nam, and blasted that country, along with Cambodia, and Laos, with 7.5 million tons of bombs, (more than the entire WWII campaign of 2.25 million tons), and the Vietnamese were still able to kick our *** out of the country by 1975.

Uskatex , 2 hours ago link

There is a 11th tenet: air force operations need airports or aircraft carriers, and these are very vulnerable to modern, high precision missiles. If the enemy has plenty of missiles, your fighters and bombers can be impeded to take off and land, or even be destroyed. Modern aircrafts need very sophisticated and working infrastructures to be operational.

In the case of a full war with Iran, I see all hostile bases and airports destroyed or damaged by Iranian, Hezbollah and Syrian missiles. They have tens of thousand of them - it is 30 years they have been accumulating missiles in prevision of a possible forthcoming war.

Groundround , 44 minutes ago link

You are right. Also, there are many nations with subs and probably more countries have acquired nukes than are willing to admit. I strongly suspect Iran already has nukes. If North Korea has them, I see no reason that Iran wouldn't be even further ahead. They have been under threat of US attacks for my entire lifetime. Anyway, I would not put it past some other countries to hit US coastal cities and then deny any knowledge about who did it. There are many capable and many people have been made enemies by our foreign policy. Surely these people have treaties to help each other should be attack. And why would they make these treaties public and antagonize the US military further. I'm sure there are many well kept secrets out there. We must evolve, or the US and Israel could find it is us against the world.

Wantoknow , 3 hours ago link

War is hell. It has always been so. The failure here is that since World War II all US wars have been fatuously political. Actions have not been taken to win but to posture about moral greatness and the ability to force the enemy to deal without destroying his capacity to resist.

How can you say the US lost in Vietnam when the entire country could have been removed from the face of the Earth? Yes the price of such removal would have been very high but it could have been done. Do such considerations mean that if one withdraws one has lost?

The US won the war in the Pacific but it is now considered an excessive use of force that the US used nuclear weapons to conclude the war. Perhaps the US did not use enough force then to successfully conclude the Vietnam war? Perhaps, it failed to field the right kind of force?

The definition of lost is an interesting one. The practical answer is that the US did lose in many places because it was unwilling to pay the price of victory as publicly expressed. Yet it could have won if it paid the price.

So an interesting question for military types is to ask how to lower the price. What kind of weapons would have been needed to quickly sweep the enemy into oblivion in Vietnam let us say, given the limits of the war? Could the war have been won without ground troops and choppers but with half a million computer controlled drones armed with machine guns and grenades flying in swarms close to the ground?

The factories to produce those weapons could have been located in Thailand or Taiwan or Japan and the product shipped to Vietnam. Since only machines would be destroyed and the drones are obviously meant to substitute for ground troops then how about a million or two million of the drones in place of the half a million ground troops? Could the US, with anachronistic technology to be sure, have won the war for a price that would have been acceptable to the US?

The idea here is that one constructs an army, robot or otherwise, than can destroy the enemy it is going to fight at a price which is acceptable. This is actually a form of asymmetric warfare which requires a thorough understanding of the enemy and his capabilities. The US did not enter Vietnam with such an army but with one not meant to serve in Vietnam and whose losses would be deeply resented at home. The price of victory was too high.

But this does not mean that the US cannot win. It only means that the commitment to win in a poorly thought out war must be great enough to pay the price of victory. This may be a stupid thing to do but it does not mean that it cannot be done. One cannot assume that the US will never again show sufficient commitment to win.

wildfry , 5 hours ago link

Victory means you get to write your own ******** version of history.The most devastating civilian bombing campaign in human history is not even mentioned in this article. The US fire bombing of 30 major cities in Korea with the death toll estimated at between 1.2 million and 1.6 million. I bet most US citizens aren't even aware of this atrocity or that the military requested Truman to authorize the use of nuclear warheads which he, thankfully, declined to do.

herbivore , 5 hours ago link

What does the word "victory" mean? It means whatever the rulers want it to mean. In this case, "victory" is synonymous with prolongation and expansion of warmaking around the world. Victory does not mean an end to combat. In fact, victory, in the classic sense, means defeat, at least from the standpoint of those who profit from war. If someone were to come up with a cure for cancer, it would mean a huge defeat for the cancer industry. Millions would lose their jobs. CEO's would lose their fat pay packages. Therefore, we need to be clearheaded about this, and recognize that victory is not what you think it is.

sonoftx , 5 hours ago link

Talked with a guy recently. He is a pilot. He flies planes over Afghanistan. He is a private contractor.

The program began under the Air Force. It then was taken over by the Army. It is now a private contractor.

There are approx 400 pilots in country at a time with 3 rotations. He told me what he gets paid. $200,000 and up.

They go up with a NSA agent running the equipment in back. He state that the dumbass really does not know what the plane is capable of. They collect all video, audio, infrared, and more? (You have to sense when to stop asking questions)

I just wanted to know the logistics of the info gathered.

So, the info is gathered. The NSA officer then gets with the CIA and the State Dept to see what they can release to the end user. The end user is the SOCOM. After it has been through review then the info is released to SOCOM.

So with all of this info on "goatherders" we still cannot pinpoint and defeat the "enemy"? No. Too many avenues of profit and deceit and infighting. It will always be. May justice here and abroad win in the end.

Concentrate on the true enemies. It is not your black, or Jewish, or brown, or Muslim neighbor. It is the owners of the Fed, Dow chemical, the Rockefellers, McDonnel Douglas and on and on and on and on and on and on..............

ardent , 6 hours ago link

The ROAD to perdition passes through APARTHEID Israhell.

"It does not take a genius to figure out that the United States... has no vital interests at stake in places like Syria, Libya, Iran and Iraq. Who is driving the process and benefiting? Israel is clearly the intended beneficiary... " – Philip Giraldi, Former CIA officer.

Boogity , 6 hours ago link

As Dubya famously said they hate us for our freedoms not because we've been dropping bombs on 'em for a couple of decades.

HideTheWeenie , 6 hours ago link

Bombing and war tech looks pretty cool in movies and controlled demonstrations. On reality, it doesn't get you too far. Never has.

Boots on the ground is what wins wars and all the generals know that. So do our enemy combatants.

On the ground, your chances of dying are 5-10% of your chances of getting maimed or permanently disabled, which are pretty high.

Maybe that's why we're letting in all the illegals, so they can fight our next war(s).

[Jun 15, 2019] US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, UK...who is behind the false flag in Gulf of Oman by Richard Galustian

Jun 14, 2019 | www.unz.com

First let me be clear; I greatly admired the principles that Americans used to espouse, in my lifetime; I am very fond of the majority of the people; I've spent in total some of years living there, in different States; it is I suppose mostly the silent majority, the 'middle Americans' that I am most fond of certainly not the 'elite', the super rich 1% 'ters it has as a Country dramatically changed since 9/11 .and sadly the Catch 22 that defines America today is best summed up thus:

"The United States is exceptional, just like every country is. But it has problems just like every other country has. It ought to be able to learn from other countries but it refuses, because it believes it's exceptional "

The above is a recent quote by eighty one year old Jared Mason Diamond, an American historian.

Let's talk specifics.

According to a Middle Eastern English language newspaper of 12 June, "the US appears confident that boosting its military presence in the Gulf is having an impact on Iran's behaviour in the region but insisted that the end goal is still to bring Tehran to the negotiating table".

What does it mean when the US, at its most arrogant, says, "it is having an impact on Iran"? What bullshit. Iran, ancient Persia (the second oldest civilisation on the planet after China) doesn't give a damn what America says or does; never did since its 1979 revolution. Nor does China for that matter.

Who is threatening who?

In the case of Iran, is Iran in the Gulf of Mexico with its Navy or is the huge American Navy in the Persian Gulf supported by numerous US Military Bases in the region threatening Iran?

Now yesterday new very serious news, a lie, was confirmed by Pompeo: "It is the assessment of the United States that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks."on the two oil tankers the other side of the Strait of Hormuz, in the Gulf of Oman.

Why would Iran?

Without any doubt this is a false flag operation to blame Iran in order to create circumstances for Neocons like Pompeo and 'President Bolton' to start a war with Iran.

Where and what is President Trump? Does he really know what's going on?

Let American madmen Neocon Zionists have their wish (as dictated by Netanyahu); let the US attack Iran .and then see what happens!

While the US attempts to start yet a new war also ask yourself why there are upwards of nearly a thousand US Military bases around the world?

There is no doubt that US, with Israel, are the two most dangerous terrorist States that exist today in the world and that they both threaten world peace, even nuclear Armageddon, more than any countries on earth. Yet anyone who says the truth is labelled 'a conspiracy theorist ' or 'a Russian sympathiser'. I am neither.

America is today like a wounded animal as it faces its gradual decline as an Empire, much like the Roman, Ottoman and British Empires did.

But let's forget at this time Iran (also Syria and Venezuela et al and regime changing), how about talking of this US Administration's threat to British democracy?

The Guardian reported on the 9th June: "Labour has accused Donald Trump's top official, Mike Pompeo, of trying to stop Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister, after he was caught on tape telling Jewish leaders that he would "push back" against the party's leadership. In a recording leaked to the Washington Post, the US secretary of state was asked what he would do if Corbyn were to be elected as prime minister, after sustained criticism over Labour's handling of accusations of antisemitism within the party."

Pompeo added "It could be that Mr Corbyn manages to run the gauntlet and get elected," he said on the recording. "It's possible. You should know, we won't wait for him to do those things to begin to push back. We will do our level best. It's too risky and too important and too hard once it's already happened."

Is this not the most serious threat ever to the world's oldest parliamentary democracy, that has been in existence from the early 13th century. America as an independent country has been around since only the latter part of the 18th Century!

That said, America is today singularly the most powerful State on earth with a military bigger than the rest of the world's countries combined; She spends trillions of dollars a year on defence, security and wars; with a global state surveillance reach that can see and hear anyone with a phone and a laptop at any time, and we Brits, our precious BBC in particular, remain silent despite the US's top diplomat implying that the US will act to undermine a potential democratically elected leader of the UK if needs be.

If needs be for who?

What happened to British reporters and media? Why is this not front page news? Why are their few protestations?


HEREDOT , says: June 14, 2019 at 8:25 pm GMT

The crimes of the United States have been recorded in history. Abd is the empire of persecution, He will be tried by history. History and god will not forgive.
MarkU , says: June 15, 2019 at 9:04 am GMT

US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, UK Who Is Behind the False Flag in Gulf of Oman

They all are. Even if they weren't directly operationally involved in the actual attacks, they are all clearly involved in the propaganda. It is impossible that anyone with functioning critical faculties can honestly claim to be convinced that the Iranians did the attack.

animalogic , says: June 15, 2019 at 9:53 am GMT
As chief diplomat Pompeo's comments on Corbyn don't particularly surprise me -- monumental arrogance, hypocracy & contempt, just another day . That Zionists are behind it all? Big fucking surprise. That their (the UK Zionists') behaviour amounts to some kind of constructive treason, but will remain invisible is also no surprise.
What does surprise me a little (it shouldn't but I suffer bouts of irrational optimism ) is the muted British response. This should go way beyond Party politics. It is a national insult, a display of casual disdain & utter contempt for the sovereignty of another nation -- & this nation is said to be the US's greatest ally!
The UK should be frothing at the mouth with anger!
The UK has sold it's collective soul .

[Jun 15, 2019] Overfill Crowds in NYC for Tulsi Town Halls

Notable quotes:
"... Well I saw/heard Tulsi on Joe Rogan too and was very impressed, her heart is in the right place and she is anti war. However what worries me most is that Israel is only waiting for one more surgical strike on it's enemies per Israel's shopping list revealed by Gen. Wesley Clark and we all know that is Iran. The US will probably have to sacrifice a warship to Mossad in October to kick this one off. ..."
Jun 15, 2019 | www.unz.com

Fabius , says: June 14, 2019 at 9:52 pm GMT

Overfill Crowds in NYC for Tulsi Town Halls

youtube.com

Well I saw/heard Tulsi on Joe Rogan too and was very impressed, her heart is in the right place and she is anti war. However what worries me most is that Israel is only waiting for one more surgical strike on it's enemies per Israel's shopping list revealed by Gen. Wesley Clark and we all know that is Iran. The US will probably have to sacrifice a warship to Mossad in October to kick this one off.

Tulsi in all liklihood will be swept away by events and I have a sneaky suspicion she is the 'wildcard candidate' insurance for the 'kingmakers' after all she has kissed the AIPAC arse is member of CFR etc – she was after all on the fast track before she cried 'foul'.

She is far more honest than most but sadly is still compromised and there is no getting around that one. She owes them and they never forget. My 'outside choice' is the formidably 'loose cannon' Robert David Steele and his partnering with Cynthia McKinney.

The Zionists are in open war with them both. If they can wake up the black voters en masse to who runs America now it could cause the biggest shock to the US system since the McCarthy purge. Steele is appealing to 'Truthers', independents, and Alt Right Constitutionalists and McKinney to the working class and Black vote.

Trump is trying to exploit the same groups but next time around they will be wiser. The problem now is the Evangelist 'Christian Zionist' rump. Kushner/Trump and Netanyahu have got them all at fever pitch for the 2nd coming.

[Jun 15, 2019] The Democrats engineered another win for Trump. Now why is that?

Notable quotes:
"... This is why it wouldn't matter even if we got Sanders/Gabbard by some miracle. If we got a Sanders/Gabbard presidency, you can be sure congress would start doing everything they can to make sure absolutely nothing happened to change the status quo. It would be like what the Rs did to Obama, but it would be both Ds and Rs pushing back and nothing would change. ..."
Jun 15, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

Yep @Pluto's Republic

The Democrats engineered another win for Trump. Now why is that?

The why is because the democrats are not really against the things he is doing. Oh sure they will give some speeches about how they don't like what he is doing, but so far enough democrats have voted with republicans on almost every bill that has come up. The only one that they didn't vote for was to rescind the ACA. Deregulation of the banks? Yup. More unconstitutional spying on us? Yup. The military budget? Yup. Confirming his horrible cabinet picks? Yup again except for DeVos. Warren voted for Ben Carson. Why? She said that she was afraid that Trump would pick someone worse. How about just keep voting no until he chose someone qualified? His horrible right wing judges? Yup. Schumer continues to make deals with McConnell to get them done. DiFi and of course Manchin and other blue dawgs are right there voting with them. I don't remember which democrat told McConnell that he should have let all of congress in on the tax bill because he could have gotten 70 or more votes on it.

This after McConnell refused to let Obama's judges get a vote and then there's Garland and the kabuki confirmation hearing for Kavanaugh.

Democrats are passing bills to keep Trump from pulling the troops out of Afghanistan and Syria and we saw what happened when he tried to pull them out of Syria. And made nice with Kim and Vlad.

So yeah if ByeDone or Warren doesn't get the nod then they will be just fine with Trump again. And since ByeDone's latest gaffes they are now pushing Warren as coming from behind. I think Harris was supposed to be the nominee, but she isn't going anywhere.

This is their world, after all. They're fighting for the future, and they have more of it to fight for.

At the same time, I've noticed a flurry of anti-centrist and Biden-warning articles coming from all directions.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/06/08/joe-biden-democratic-n...

What I know for sure, is that at this point Trump is set to win in 2020 and the backlash from the Russia Hoax is just getting started. I don't think it matters which way Barr decides to play it. The establishment is going to take the hit. There is an army of potential voters out there who will not vote for more of the same, and that includes Trump. Nor will they waste their votes on the established third party slush pile. Only a bold vision from an uncompromising candidate will bring this army forward, and many voters will join them. There are only a few candidates who can bring it. But they all pretended to fall for the Russia Hoax. Or, maybe they are just that dumb.

There are enough Millennial votes to carry the win, and the Left will provide back-up. Who knows with the so-called Progressives? In Congress, they'll vote for anything with a back-end pay-off that keeps them in DC. On the street, they may be genuine and will vote with the uncompromised. Tulsi Gabbard can carry this off. She is the first Millennial presidential candidate -- if she can get past the media black-out.

Bottom line: The Democrats engineered another win for Trump. Now why is that?

up 32 users have voted. --

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery


Pluto's Republic on Tue, 06/11/2019 - 12:35am

Watching them run around with the goalposts

@snoopydawg

...eliminating candidates will be very instructive.

But it's a sad and pathetic state of affairs. Very sad.

Jen on Tue, 06/11/2019 - 9:34am
No way out

@snoopydawg

Democrats are passing bills to keep Trump from pulling the troops out of Afghanistan and Syria and we saw what happened when he tried to pull them out of Syria.

This is why it wouldn't matter even if we got Sanders/Gabbard by some miracle. If we got a Sanders/Gabbard presidency, you can be sure congress would start doing everything they can to make sure absolutely nothing happened to change the status quo. It would be like what the Rs did to Obama, but it would be both Ds and Rs pushing back and nothing would change.

Pluto's Republic on Tue, 06/11/2019 - 4:19pm
She has walked the razor's edge

@wendy davis

...which she must. She's been smeared for being a skeptic, on one hand.

And smeared for buying into RussiaGate.

https://twitter.com/tulsigabbard/status/918167316654903297

I give her and the Left a pass on that grey area. Tulsi has never embraced the Russia Hoax to the extent that Sanders and Warren have -- and still do. One thing I don't need is a purity pledge from members of the Left who try to climb on the political stage with the American duopoly, who in turn throw every lie and ugly smear they can at them.

The Russia Hoax is falling apart on its own. The Democrats have been deeply stained by it. Americans grow increasingly shocked and disgusted with the media monopolies. They have all lost the trust of the American people. The candidates are trying to evolve as fast as they can on this issue. It will come up in the debates. Answer wrong and watch out, but that will change week by week as the public begins to realize what happened in 2016.

wendy davis on Tue, 06/11/2019 - 4:25pm
i appreciate your

@Pluto's Republic

bringing the evidence, but my stars, the hundreds of subtweeters gave her an education. okay, it's a grey area for you, as likely is her voting to sanction russia for stealing crimea, sanctioning north korea for...whatever.

wokkamile on Tue, 06/11/2019 - 7:49pm
One of the fiercest critics of

@Pluto's Republic Russiagate from early on, Prof Stephen Cohen, is a backer and contributor to Tulsi Gabbard. If she's good enough for the Prof on this issue, she's good enough for me.

She might be alone among candidates in calling for a substantial pullback in the hostility directed at Russia by the US, a thawing of the new cold war. And how many of the Ds running for prez have explicitly called out the undue influence of the MIC?

I see her overall as a young pol, still in her 30s, evolving in the right direction in a number of areas. I wish she had been perfect on this issue from the get go, but I must take my candidate with all her flaws.

[Jun 15, 2019] Trump's Trade Threats are really Cold War 2.0 by Michael Hudson

Notable quotes:
"... Threats are cheap, but Mr. Trump can't really follow through without turning farmers, Wall Street and the stock market, Walmart and much of the IT sector against him at election time if his tariffs on China increase the cost of living and doing business. His diplomatic threat is really that the US will cut its own economic throat, imposing sanctions on its own importers and investors if China does not acquiesce. ..."
"... China has a great sweetener that I think President Xi Jinping should offer: It can nominate Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. We know that he wants what his predecessor Barack Obama got. And doesn't he deserve it more? After all, he is helping to bring Eurasia together, driving China and Russia into an alliance with neighboring counties, reaching out to Europe. ..."
Jun 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

President Trump has threatened China's President Xi that if they don't meet and talk at the upcoming G20 meetings in Japan, June 29-30, the United States will not soften its tariff war and economic sanctions against Chinese exports and technology.

Some meeting between Chinese and U.S. leaders will indeed take place, but it cannot be anything like a real negotiation. Such meetings normally are planned in advance, by specialized officials working together to prepare an agreement to be announced by their heads of state. No such preparation has taken place, or can take place. Mr. Trump doesn't delegate authority.

He opens negotiations with a threat. That costs nothing, and you never know (or at least, he never knows) whether he can get a freebee. His threat is that the U.S. can hurt its adversary unless that country agrees to abide by America's wish-list. But in this case the list is so unrealistic that the media are embarrassed to talk about it. The US is making impossible demands for economic surrender – that no country could accept. What appears on the surface to be only a trade war is really a full-fledged Cold War 2.0.

America's wish list: other countries' neoliberal subservience

At stake is whether China will agree to do what Russia did in the 1990s: put a Yeltsin-like puppet of neoliberal planners in place to shift control of its economy from its government to the U.S. financial sector and its planners. So the fight really is over what kind of planning China and the rest of the world should have: by governments to raise prosperity, or by the financial sector to extract revenue and impose austerity.

U.S. diplomacy aims to make other countries dependent on its agricultural exports, its oil (or oil in countries that U.S. majors and allies control), information and military technology. This trade dependency will enable U.S. strategists to impose sanctions that would deprive economies of basic food, energy, communications and replacement parts if they resist U.S. demands.

The objective is to gain financial control of global resources and make trade "partners" pay interest, licensing fees and high prices for products in which the United States enjoys monopoly pricing "rights" for intellectual property. A trade war thus aims to make other countries dependent on U.S.-controlled food, oil, banking and finance, or high-technology goods whose disruption will cause austerity and suffering until the trade "partner" surrenders.

China's willingness to give Trump a "win"

Threats are cheap, but Mr. Trump can't really follow through without turning farmers, Wall Street and the stock market, Walmart and much of the IT sector against him at election time if his tariffs on China increase the cost of living and doing business. His diplomatic threat is really that the US will cut its own economic throat, imposing sanctions on its own importers and investors if China does not acquiesce.

It is easy to see what China's answer will be. It will stand aside and let the US self-destruct. Its negotiators are quite happy to "offer" whatever China has planned to do anyway, and let Trump brag that this is a "concession" he has won.

China has a great sweetener that I think President Xi Jinping should offer: It can nominate Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. We know that he wants what his predecessor Barack Obama got. And doesn't he deserve it more? After all, he is helping to bring Eurasia together, driving China and Russia into an alliance with neighboring counties, reaching out to Europe.

Trump may be too narcissistic to realize the irony here. Catalyzing Asian and European trade independence, financial independence, food independence and IT independence from the threat of U.S. sanctions will leave the U.S. isolated in the emerging multilateralism.

America's wish for a neoliberal Chinese Yeltsin (and another Russian Yeltsin for that matter)

A good diplomat does not make demands to which the only answer can be "No." There is no way that China will dismantle its mixed economy and turn it over to U.S. and other global investors. It is no secret that the United States achieved world industrial supremacy in the late 19 th and early 20 th century by heavy public-sector subsidy of education, roads, communication and other basic infrastructure. Today's privatized, financialized and "Thatcherized" economies are high-cost and inefficient.

Yet U.S. officials persist in their dream of promoting some neoliberal Chinese leader or "free market" party to wreak the damage that Yeltsin and his American advisors wrought on Russia. The U.S. idea of a "win-win" agreement is one in which China will be "permitted" to grow as long as it agrees to become a U.S. financial and trade satellite, not an independent competitor.

Trump's trade tantrum is that other countries are simply following the same economic strategy that once made America great, but which neoliberals have destroyed here and in much of Europe. U.S. negotiators are unwilling to acknowledge that the United States has lost its competitive industrial advantage and become a high-cost rentier economy. Its GDP is "empty," consisting mainly of the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) rents, profits and capital gains while the nation's infrastructure decays and its labor is reduced to a prat-time "gig" economy. Under these conditions the effect of trade threats can only be to speed up the drive by other countries to become economically self-reliant.


nsa , says: June 14, 2019 at 5:04 am GMT

The crux of the "trade" dispute is never discussed: the Chinese refusal to allow the international financial services sector to penetrate the Chinese economy and operate freely. Get it? The Chinese won't let the Jews in to loot the place and the Jews are pissed. Trumpstein, the cryto Jew, has promised his sponsors to rectify the situation. The Chinese witnessed what happened when Yeltsin allowed the IMF to parachute Jeffrey Sachs and his Jew Boys into Russia in 1991 Jews looted the place mercilessly, calling it democracy and capitalism, and Russia is still recovering. The Chinese have a bright future, as long as they keep the Jews out.
sally , says: June 14, 2019 at 5:35 am GMT
I agree.
I am afraid spokes person Trump and those he is speaking for have it wrong. They believe external trade is interfering with the La-Zi-Faire fat cat monopoly powered corporations the CPI (congress, president and Israeli governance represent.
Few western companies can compete because only monopoly endowed Global corporations are allowed or licensed to compete. Individual ability, the creative mind of the lone rangers with highly disruptive inventions and ideas, are not allowed access to the knowledge or money to play. Making people pay for sleazy operating systems when better ones are free, allowing big corporations to hack the data of everyone, and on and on.

Even when a person finds a way to play and actually produces a product or concept, the financial condition of the inventor is so weak or the barriers to promote his product is so strong that as soon as the idea or product is patented or copyrighted it somehow absorbed into one of the monopoly powered giants; in other words, competition is only allowed if the competitor gives the profits to one of the monopoly powered giants. China should be complaining, at least their competitors can produce, in the USA governed America unlicensed competition is denied.

Copyright, patents, standardized testing and licensing every breath have terminated competition in America.
America still competes with Americans as long as the business does not compete with the global corporations.

The problem Trump thinks he can solve, is not sourced in India, China, Iran, Russia, or any other nation. The problem is at home, in government policy, laws that turn capitalistic competition into monopolistic fat-cat wealth storing private domain havens. Education by degree and license by examination and standardization of performance are used to restrict competition. Education, is a bureaucracy and no matter its efficiency; a degree cannot provide competitive performance. The USA governance over America has served only the interest of monopoly endowed corporations and their oligarch owners and investors. Trump is trying to overcome foreign competition, by threat and blocking maneuvers, to deny foreigners the fruits of their competitive successes I do not believe he can be successful. Already the Russian and Chinese have developed a new currency and banking system to circumvent the Trump block. Work around-s are in progress everywhere.. Soon even the USA will not be allowed to compete I fear.
It is not a matter of where the competition comes from, its that the monopoly powers have used the behavior enforcing rule making capacity of the USA to deny native American creativity; creativity that America needs to be competitive. USA policy continues to be to enrich a few by channeling and encapsulating all effort within the confines of the monopoly holders instead of encouraging every back yard to be a new competitor. It will be many years before Americans will be able to compete..

Trade is not the issue, competition is!

schrub , says: June 14, 2019 at 6:15 am GMT
What Trump is now demanding reminds me of the brutally efficient system that Trump grew up in: New York City business. (Author Tom Wolfe has a great line in his book The Bonfire Of The Vanities that the strange, unrelenting background droning sound one hears in NYC is that of "people constantly braying for money").

New York City real estate in particular is an area of business that is so brutally competitive, unscrupulous , and backstabbing that it is best described as war under another name. It is a business arena where a close friend one day can turn into a staunch enemy the next. Trust is rare.

New York real estate, in fact, brings to mind the old saying about sausage making: You would never eat it if you saw it being made. Yet deals are made. In fact, a lot of them. This is the milieu Trump comes from.

Trump isn't one of those more genteel, old-time American negotiators of prior years the author of this article speaks fondly of. These are the very same people who so readily agreed to disasters like NAFTA or allowed, for instance, Or allowed Japan to levy two hundred percent duties on things like American made Harley Davidson motorcycles while the USA was pressured (or bribed) to apply few if any comparable duties on Japanese motorcycles or automobiles (or virtually anything else Japan sold in the USA). These toothless. genteel types also stood back for decades and allowed Japan to use red tape (like obscure safety regulations for instance) to make it almost impossibly difficult to sell American products like automobiles in Japan.

These very same US negotiators, politicians, and bureaucrats have more recently stood back and allowed China to absolutely devastate American manufacturing.

Screw China, It's now payback time. The Chinese are shaking in their boots because the previously hoodwinked and comatose Americans are finally waking up. No more wimpy Obama or Bush looking out for our interests. It is now Truly Scary Trump instead.

Wait until the negotiations are concluded to see if they are successful. The sausage that comes out of them might be very appealing for the first time in many, many decades.

Sam J. , says: June 14, 2019 at 6:38 am GMT
" His diplomatic threat is really that the US will cut its own economic throat, imposing sanctions on its own importers and investors if China does not acquiesce "

I get that the US financial system is up to no good with their positions on China but the criticisms Trump made of China are correct. They have lots of tariffs on finished goods from the US. They require technology transfer to do business there. Their government and industry are tied at the hip and they are manipulating their currency. All these things are true and if we keep trading with them with the same terms we have been we would lose ALL our industrial infrastructure. Now we hear over and over how we can't build anything but the Chinese went from being dirt farmers to the largest industrial power in a fairly short period of time. Could we not do the same at least for our own countries market? Certainly global trade destruction between countries is not a good thing but we'd be fools to keep on as we are now. At some point when you dig a hole you have to stop to get yourself out.

I don't think we have a choice if we wish to continue to be an industrialized country. All those that say China will do fine without us are not taking into account how all the other countries who are being handled the exact same way as we are, are going to handle China's trade with them. Will they keep allowing China to have large tariffs on their products while they Chinese ship whatever they wish into theirs? I'm not so sure they will. If the US starts refusing the Chinese free entry without reciprocal trade then I can easily see others following our lead.

We should have stopped this many years ago but as bad as the situation is now it will only get worse if we don't act.

Let them remove their tariffs. We should take every single anti-trade act and tariff they have on us, weigh them on China and "then" negotiate. If they don't wish to it's their country they can do what they please and so can we.

animalogic , says: June 14, 2019 at 6:39 am GMT
"The crux of the "trade" dispute is never discussed: the Chinese refusal to allow the international financial services sector to penetrate the Chinese economy and operate freely. Get it? "
Absolutely. Like inviting a handful of worms into your apple -- economy hollowed out in an eye blink.
However, there is another side to this "trade dispute" coin.
FIRE want to economicly destroy China. The neocon', MIC, security sector wants to destroy China's 2025 plan to become high-tech world leaders. 5G, AI, semi conductors etc are some of the areas that China's public/private sectors are voraciously pushing. Hence, the (wonderfully "free market") US attacks on Heiwai.
These short term US gambles are more than likely to pay off by the medium-long term undermining of US hegemony via Eurasian integration led by China & Russia.
And all the time we are left wondering whether the US will choose the "Samson Option" rather than accept reduced status. (Insane with power lust, the US can't even accept "first among equals")
Justsaying , says: June 14, 2019 at 9:54 am GMT

The US is making impossible demands for economic surrender – that no country could accept. What appears on the surface to be only a trade war is really a full-fledged Cold War 2.0

.

Typical mobster protection racket threats. Now the US has moved from waging military wars on behalf of their Jewish owners to aggressively push their neoliberal economic warfare for them. The facade for promoting democracy and human rights is no longer required.

And to call attempts at starving the population and murdering children by denying them essential medicines as has happened in Iraq and now is going on in Iran and Venezuela, a Cold War 2.0 is a gross understatement. It is a flagrant act of war. America is launching a war of attrition on the world and who better to spearhead that war than an idiot manipulated by Zionist Jews? The fact that many countries remain silent is testament to their surrender. But China may prove to be a different proposition.

PeterMX , says: June 14, 2019 at 10:51 am GMT
"the United States achieved world industrial supremacy in the late 19th and early 20th century" That is a myth. The US may have had the highest GDP because it was the leader in manufacturing, as China is now, but Europe and in particular Germany was far ahead of the US in technology and science. If you compare China to the US today the situation is very similar to comparing the US to Germany before 1939. Germany was far ahead of the US in the number of Nobel Prizes received thru 1945 and very few of the Americans that did receive the Nobel Prize were native born. The US received a few Nobel Prizes starting in the 1940's because some recent European immigrants that became US citizens received it for work they had done in Europe. The three biggest technological breakthroughs of WW II were the jet, the rocket and the atomic bomb. Germany invented the jet, built the first modern rockets and the German scientist Otto Hahn split the atom in 1939 (for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1944) kicking off the USA's atomic bomb project and Germany's limited attempt. The people that eventually achieved success in the US were almost all recent European immigrants (Bethe, Teller, etc.), many being Jewish.

I basically agree with the rest of the article. I believe Trump's tactics make sense. The problem is it's too late. The US economy can't be fixed by anyone. The US has 22 trillion dollars in debt and will never be able to pay it back. The dollar is going to take a deep dive within the next few years and it will lose its status as the reserve currency. I believe this based upon what people like Peter Schiff, Paul Craig Roberts, David Stockman and Ron Paul say.

I think the two biggest events of the last 75 years were WW II, completely changing the countries that run the world and the emergence of a backwards and dirt poor China to become an economic powerhouse and I think they will get stronger.

Sean , says: June 14, 2019 at 11:02 am GMT

The US is making impossible demands for economic surrender – that no country could accept.

Yes country. If the world was one big free trade area, it there were no bloks or even no countries in the sense we understand them then the population of the would be wealthier, on average. But countries are not primarily economic units, even if one can look at them as such.

Nation states exist and have the emergent quality that they to survive against other nation states and the best way to do that is to gain extra power relative to other states, or at least maintain their position. Why would America agree to terms of trade that do not maintain its position relative to China.

U.S. negotiators are unwilling to acknowledge that the United States has lost its competitive industrial advantage

There is no absolute standards by which such an advantage could be judged. The terms of trade that are finally settled on will be a compromise and reflect the interests of both, and the total balance of forces between the two.

Sally Snyder , says: June 14, 2019 at 11:48 am GMT
As shown in this article, both Russia and China have plans in place to work around American sanctions:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/06/putin-and-xi-defeating-american.html

The combination of both nations will make it extremely difficult for Washington to impose its hegemonic agenda without serious repercussions as two of the world's leading military forces seek to increase the level of co-operation between their nations.

Incitatus , says: June 14, 2019 at 11:50 am GMT
Trump's Trade Tariff Theatre 2018 results:
Country/Trade Balance/2018 vs. 2017

Mexico: trade DEFICIT -$81.5 billion; up 14.9% from 2017;
Canada: trade DEFICIT -$19.8 billion; up 15.8% from 2017;
China: trade DEFICIT -$375.6 billion; up 11.6% from 2017;
South Korea: trade DEFICIT -$17.9 billion; down 22.4% from 2017;
Japan: trade DEFICIT -$67.7 billion; down 1.8% from 2017
Germany: trade DEFICIT -$68.3 billion; up 7.2% from 2017;
France: trade DEFICIT -$16.2 billion; up 5.8% from 2017;
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: trade DEFICIT -$10.5 billion; up 313.3% from 2017;
Russia: trade DEFICIT -$14.1 billion; up 40.9% from 2017;

Asia: trade DEFICIT -$622.2 billion; up 8.8% from 2017;
Europe: trade DEFICIT -$202.4 billion; up 16.6% from 2017;
World: trade DEFICIT -$795.7 billion; up 10.4% from 2017

https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/index.html

'Art of the Deal'?

rafael martorell , says: June 14, 2019 at 11:57 am GMT
To all of the "free traders", the media ,and academia ,i have this simple question:
why i cant purchase a Toyota work van(the best and must popular of the world),neither here in the USA nor abroad and bring it in?
how come that even in Cuba there are more of those Toyota work van than here in all continental USA.
In 25 year i has to purchase more than 6 work vans,and like Penelope i have been waiting for the Toyota ,and still waiting.
They ,the free traders,did not has allowed not even one.
DESERT FOX , says: June 14, 2019 at 12:27 pm GMT
The problem with the zio/US is the control of the US by the zionists and this control is derived via the zionist privately owned FED and IRS that they got installed in 1913 and then came the debt and wars and the hijacking of the foreign policy by the satanic zionists and the US gov was started on a down hill slide pushed started by the zionists!

The trade policy of the zio/US has turned Russia into the largest grain exporter in the world and turned Russia into an agriculture miracle , this can be shown by watch videos of Russian agriculture on youtube. Germany is also in Russia building cars and other industrial products for Russia thus bypassing the zio/US trade sanctions and last but not least Russia is trading in non dollars in trade with more and more countries such as China thus effectively rendering the dollar non and void in international trade.

So the people of the zio/US can thank their zionist masters for the demise of America and true to form the zionist parasites are killing their American host

Agent76 , says: June 14, 2019 at 1:08 pm GMT
May 14, 2019 Trade Wars: The Truth About Tariffs

Join Mike Maloney as he examines the latest moves in the US/China trade war, and visits some compelling arguments from the Foundation for Economic Education.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/c1r7uO0D-R0?feature=oembed

Aug 26, 2015 How the West Re-colonized China

The "Chinese dragon" of the last two decades may be faltering but it is still hailed by many as an economic miracle. Far from a great advance for Chinese workers, however, it is the direct result of a consolidation of power in the hands of a small clique of powerful families, families that have actively collaborated with Western financial oligarchs.

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

Realist , says: June 14, 2019 at 1:15 pm GMT
@Thinking Out Loud Plus E-verify.
George , says: June 14, 2019 at 1:20 pm GMT
"Threats are cheap, but Mr. Trump can't really follow through without turning farmers, Wall Street and the stock market, Walmart and much of the IT sector against him at election time if his tariffs on China increase the cost of living and doing business. "

Tariffs are taxes and both governments like collecting taxes.

Farmers. Farmers sell a commodity so if they cannot sell to China one result is they will sell to other customers while China buys more from other producers.

Cost of living. DC does not care. There is a solid inflation lobby in the fed that supports increasing the cost of living.

"Walmart and much of the IT sector against him." I am not buying it.

Rogue , says: June 14, 2019 at 2:20 pm GMT
@PeterMX

Germany invented the jet

Well, more accurate to say that Germany and Britain invented the jet engine independently of each other. Just as they both invented radar independently of each other as well.

As it is, the post-war jet engine was based primarily on the British design of Frank Whittle, though some of the German ideas were also later incorporated.

But, overall, the British design was superior.

Miggle , says: June 14, 2019 at 2:26 pm GMT
@schrub It wasn't the Chinese who hoodwinked the Americans, it was American financiers who hoodwinked the Americans.

[Jun 14, 2019] Sen. Mike Gravel (@MikeGravel) Twitter

Notable quotes:
"... They lie. They lie to pour money to military contractors. They lie to enforce American hegemony. They lie to send children to the slaughter. They lie for their relection campaign. They lie, they lie, they lie. https:// twitter.com/thedailybeast/ status/1139481358139559936 ..."
"... This campaign is just heating up and with the looming threat of war with Iran, a new cold war with China, and the terrifying emptiness that is Joe Biden's candidacy, we need Mike on stage more than ever to speak truth to power. ..."
"... The elite class of this country has no qualms about shipping you off to Afghanistan or watching your house submerged in order to make sure their investments aren't taxed and they can still buy a third home. Don't believe them when they tell you they care. They don't. ..."
"... For so many, opposition to Trump is centered on a dislike of his aesthetic. Obviously Trump is gauche and tasteless. But who cares? Care about his policies, his racism, his appointees. You're not going to sway anyone, or save any lives, by pointing out his typos. ..."
"... The elite class has no loyalty to common people -- they're only interested in "justice" so long as it doesn't affect their pocketbooks. It's either win this idiot's money or earn the votes of the poor and voiceless. https:// twitter.com/IbrahimAS97/st atus/1137145949606879232 ..."
"... Joe Biden's a bum. A right-wing chauvinist, good time prick, arrogant bastard creep who thinks that because he's got a $3,000 suit and the cachet of a lifetime sinecure in the Senate we should bow down to his beaming smile. A real racist piece of work. https:// twitter.com/WalkerBragman/ status/1125121786021019654 ..."
"... The most consistent through line of Biden's career is his lack of respect for a woman's autonomy. Not only does he pet and paw at women publicly, but he refuses to work to make abortion easier by supporting the monstrous Hyde Amendment. https:// twitter.com/NARAL/status/1 136272132231577606 ..."
"... Why is it that after Democrats' experiment with centrism -- which gave us mass incarceration, financial deregulation, and the destruction of our working class -- so many candidates are eager to return to the halcyon days of Bill Clinton's triangulations? It's all about the Benjamins. ..."
"... If international law was applied as written, George W. Bush and Donald Trump would be charged with crimes against humanity. Let's build a world where they have to. http:// bit.ly/Gravelanche ..."
"... Joe Biden voted to send your kids to Iraq and Afghanistan, to let the big banks grow bigger, to let the credit card companies squeeze you, to ship your job overseas. What makes you think he's in your corner now? ..."
"... Mike Gravel: "It hurts to be part of the leadership of a nation and a citizen of a nation that is killing innocent human beings. That hurts so much we should all cry over it." Joe Biden: "I voted to go into Iraq, and I'd vote to do it again." ..."
"... The strategy of those who own the world and want to keep it is simple, captured well in a memo on Cuba written by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs in 1960: 1) Starve them out. 2) Feign concern. 3) Make war. 4) Make MONEY. https:// buff.ly/2EGKtAq pic.twitter.com/qZqv0tNSn8 ..."
"... American money and arms have supported bloodshed everywhere from Angola to Yemen. We've propped up dictators, instigated civil wars, and funded death squads. Isn't it time we just gave peace a chance? http:// bit.ly/Gravelanche ..."
"... On this Memorial Day, we should remember not only the fallen American soldiers but indeed the fallen of every side in every war. War is the most destructive force known to man, and Memorial Day should serve as a reminder: we must say "never again" to its death and destruction. ..."
"... The essential moral crisis of this country is this: we spend billions in Afghanistan and then act like we can't afford a good education for our children or decent healthcare for all. Our leaders are lying to us, and they know it. ..."
"... When Republicans are in power, Democrats call them warmongers. When Democrats are in power, Republicans call them warmongers. The truth is: they're both right. Send someone to the debate stage to speak that truth. http:// bit.ly/Gravelanche ..."
Jun 14, 2019 | twitter.com

Jimmy Dore ‏ 12:43 PM - 14 Jun 2019

Join us for a livestream at 1pm Pacific Time. We'll be interviewing @ Faradayspeaks and @ MikeGravel . Watch via youtube: https:// youtu.be/bEEcY34a4n4

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 11:24 AM - 14 Jun 2019

Though we didn't qualify for June (we didn't expect to) we're more than on track to qualify for the July debates. Donations are surging and we expect to hit 65,000 by the end of the month or earlier. Our strategy will be shared with supporters soon! Find the press release here. pic.twitter.com/KEMt2qFfuN

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 8:55 AM - 14 Jun 2019

We're going to be doing a tour of the Midwest (Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan) later this month. Mike is probably going to do a speech in Iowa as well. Do you have ideas for what we should do? Are you willing to host an event? Email us at midwest@mikegravel.org!

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 7:12 AM - 14 Jun 2019

When the hell is this arrogant thoughtless bastard going to cut it out? https:// twitter.com/lizcgoodwin/st atus/1138817493064138752

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 6:28 AM - 14 Jun 2019

They lie. They lie to pour money to military contractors. They lie to enforce American hegemony. They lie to send children to the slaughter. They lie for their relection campaign. They lie, they lie, they lie. https:// twitter.com/thedailybeast/ status/1139481358139559936

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 5:48 PM - 13 Jun 2019

http:// SendHenryKissingerToTheHague.com

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 3:42 PM - 13 Jun 2019

This campaign is just heating up and with the looming threat of war with Iran, a new cold war with China, and the terrifying emptiness that is Joe Biden's candidacy, we need Mike on stage more than ever to speak truth to power. Your dollar gets him there. https:// secure.actblue.com/donate/mikegra vel2020?refcode=campaignupdate&amount=1

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 11:56 AM - 13 Jun 2019

No war with Iran!

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 7:30 AM - 13 Jun 2019

Campaign HQ: [story about John Bolton on the news] Mike: [chanting] hague, hague- Teens: hague, HAGUE Twitter: [shaking their fists] HAGUE, HAGUE, HAGUE!

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 6:30 AM - 13 Jun 2019

We were really sorry to hear that @ JohnDelaney , @ ericswalwell , @ Hickenlooper , @ BilldeBlasio , and @ MichaelBennet polled below us in the national Change Research poll after spending millions on their campaigns. Hopefully your families still love you

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 6:55 PM - 12 Jun 2019

Oh wow didn't know they leaked Joe Biden's top donors already! https:// twitter.com/JStein_WaPo/st atus/1138967445505490944?s=19

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 5:19 PM - 12 Jun 2019

"...don't you dare say a bad word about my good friend Strom Thurmond" pic.twitter.com/BfgiFhV2VB

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 4:16 PM - 12 Jun 2019

We're facing a global wave of right-wing authoritarianism, bankrolled by legions of elites desperate to retain their wealth and power. If your answer to this threat is "the power of hope" instead of transformative policy, you're a worthless shill named Beto O'Rourke.

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 1:18 PM - 12 Jun 2019

The # Gravelanche meets our big red boy ( @ carterforva ) pic.twitter.com/cIX2IwMUHu

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 8:33 AM - 12 Jun 2019

Sex work is work. If the Democrats want to be the party of workers, they must acknowledge that simple truth and start fighting for the lives, livelihood, and rights of sex workers - if they stand by bills like SESTA/FOSTA, the blood is on their hands. https://www. nbcnews.com/news/us-news/n ew-york-state-lawmakers-introduce-bill-decriminalize-sex-work-n1015891

Current Affairs ‏ 11:38 AM - 11 Jun 2019

if just 1/3 of our twitter followers donate $1 to @ MikeGravel today, our man gets to be on the debate stage and hold the democratic candidates accountable! https:// secure.actblue.com/donate/mikegra vel2020 https:// twitter.com/mikegravel/sta tus/1137842432081571840

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 10:02 AM - 11 Jun 2019

Pack of four Mike Gravel 2020 buttons - available at the low price of $3.75 until midnight June 12! Buy now and help us qualify for the July debates! https:// secure.actblue.com/donate/mikegra velbuttons

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 8:47 AM - 11 Jun 2019

If you live in Virginia House of Delegates District 50 make sure to get out today to vote! National fights matter but more important than that is supporting progressive candidates like @ carterforva at every level of our government, the people taking politics into our hands. https:// twitter.com/carterforva/st atus/1138378422634369024

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 5:55 PM - 10 Jun 2019

Get ready for our official campaign buttons to become available tomorrow! pic.twitter.com/YxSZ0xaP4S

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 4:45 PM - 10 Jun 2019

You can't recognize Pride Month and also support sending tens of billions of dollars in weapons to a kingdom that beheads gay people.

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 3:20 PM - 10 Jun 2019

Wall Street didn't welcome the New Deal, it didn't welcome the Great Society, it didn't welcome Obamacare. Of course shills will tell you the logical next steps forward -- like Medicare for All -- are "impractical" or "political suicide." They'll fight you every inch of the way.

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 12:40 PM - 10 Jun 2019

The elite class of this country has no qualms about shipping you off to Afghanistan or watching your house submerged in order to make sure their investments aren't taxed and they can still buy a third home. Don't believe them when they tell you they care. They don't.

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 10:45 AM - 10 Jun 2019

Just as you can't control whether one is born rich or poor, you can't control whether you're strong or intelligent. A comfortable life shouldn't depend on that. As Rawls wrote: having a certain trait doesn't entitle you to live well. EVERYONE has a right to live well.

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 5:20 AM - 10 Jun 2019

For so many, opposition to Trump is centered on a dislike of his aesthetic. Obviously Trump is gauche and tasteless. But who cares? Care about his policies, his racism, his appointees. You're not going to sway anyone, or save any lives, by pointing out his typos.

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 5:00 AM - 10 Jun 2019

We're currently preparing our Pentagon Rolling Papers for shipping! Our apologies for the wait. Picture below! pic.twitter.com/TnKv6TjbpJ

Cenk Uygur ‏ 12:57 PM - 9 Jun 2019

Third candidate to sign # ProgressivePledge - @ MikeGravel ! http:// tyt.com/pledge

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 10:24 AM - 9 Jun 2019

In a time when the global fight is between progressivism and fascism, history will not look kindly on those who declared themselves "moderates."

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 8:14 AM - 9 Jun 2019

The elite class has no loyalty to common people -- they're only interested in "justice" so long as it doesn't affect their pocketbooks. It's either win this idiot's money or earn the votes of the poor and voiceless. https:// twitter.com/IbrahimAS97/st atus/1137145949606879232

Marianne Williamson ‏ 6:33 AM - 8 Jun 2019

The DNC should be helping all the candidates to get our word out to the voters, not just its handpicked choices. We shouldn't have to fight our way in. Yang and I got into the debates; now let's help Gravel. https:// twitter.com/tipping6103746 8/status/1137350407339032576

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 2:10 PM - 7 Jun 2019

Millions of Americans are living day to day scared to death they'll get sick and be robbed blind by heartless crooks like these. It makes ME sick. It's an abomination. https:// twitter.com/Gizmodo/status /1136585123900604416

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 9:30 AM - 7 Jun 2019

The Mike Gravel campaign is proud to announce that we've been endorsed by @ muntazer_zaidi , most famous for throwing his shoes at George W. Bush. Thank you, Muntadher! https:// twitter.com/adamkelsey/sta tus/1137028519396032512

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 8:31 AM - 7 Jun 2019

George W. Bush: 1) shouldn't be getting any "lifetime achievement awards." 2) should be sent to The Hague. https:// news.yale.edu/2019/06/03/yal e-undergrads-present-george-w-bush-lifetime-achievement-award

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 5:30 PM - 5 Jun 2019

Joe Biden's a bum. A right-wing chauvinist, good time prick, arrogant bastard creep who thinks that because he's got a $3,000 suit and the cachet of a lifetime sinecure in the Senate we should bow down to his beaming smile. A real racist piece of work. https:// twitter.com/WalkerBragman/ status/1125121786021019654

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 2:52 PM - 5 Jun 2019

The legacy of U.S. imperialism is dictatorship, massacres, and genocide. We need to face up to our legacy abroad -- and that means reparations for the Global South and worldwide military withdrawal. The U.S. must become a moral international actor. Anything else is suicide. https:// twitter.com/means_tv/statu s/1125717447380803584

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 1:45 PM - 5 Jun 2019

The most consistent through line of Biden's career is his lack of respect for a woman's autonomy. Not only does he pet and paw at women publicly, but he refuses to work to make abortion easier by supporting the monstrous Hyde Amendment. https:// twitter.com/NARAL/status/1 136272132231577606

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 8:40 AM - 5 Jun 2019

Why is it that after Democrats' experiment with centrism -- which gave us mass incarceration, financial deregulation, and the destruction of our working class -- so many candidates are eager to return to the halcyon days of Bill Clinton's triangulations? It's all about the Benjamins.

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 7:20 AM - 5 Jun 2019

Savage capitalism has devastated our communities, treating social relations as commodities and reducing everything to an item to be bartered and sold. We need politicians willing to admit that, to constrain the market and restore decimated towns riven by opioids and joblessness.

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 5:30 AM - 5 Jun 2019

The idea that America doesn't have a radical history is a lie forced on us by a dishonest and venal establishment -- erasing figures like Hubert Harrison, pretending the American Dream always meant radical individualism. The truth: Americans have always strived for radical equality.

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 4:00 PM - 4 Jun 2019

Mike will not be on Fox News tonight. Don't worry, they canceled to cover something something very newsworthy and vital: Trump's pomp & circumstance state visit to the Queen in jolly old England. Chip in a buck to help get Mike on the debate stage! https:// buff.ly/2KF3mcd

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 1:32 PM - 4 Jun 2019

Lee Zeldin is a disgrace who spends his time harassing his female Muslim colleagues and once defended Trump by calling President Obama a racist. Teaming up with him is one rung above teaming up with Steve King, and @ DWStweets and @ RepLawrence should be ashamed. https:// twitter.com/AJCGlobal/stat us/1135637608283934720

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 11:14 AM - 4 Jun 2019

But all of that lies in the future. Today, we wish American Muslims and Muslims around the world a day of peace and tranquility. # EidMubarak

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 11:14 AM - 4 Jun 2019

We need a foreign policy that sees Jews and Muslims as equal citizens in Israel, and is willing to find a path to peace without condoning land grabs by Netanyahu. We need to stop funding the slaughter of Muslims in Yemen. And we need to end FBI domestic surveillance of Muslims.

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 11:14 AM - 4 Jun 2019

We need to protect the right to free speech by refusing to discriminate against those who support BDS. We need to end Trump's Muslim and refugee bans. And we need a national office in the White House to address the surge in hate crimes, especially against Muslims.

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 11:14 AM - 4 Jun 2019

Sen. Gravel wants to wish every Muslim a wonderful Eid al-Fitr. American Muslims ought to be valued members of our American community: but for too long we have pursued an Islamophobic path here and abroad. We need to build a nation that embraces all who live within it.

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 4:30 AM - 4 Jun 2019

Our authoritarian policies are self-perpetuating: they create problems that justify more authoritarian policies. If we hadn't deposed Central American leaders, worked with drug cartels, and supported the Contras, Central Americans wouldn't need to come to America.

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 12:44 PM - 3 Jun 2019

ICE, the American Gestapo, should be dismantled and abolished on Day 1 of any Democratic presidency. It has done nothing but fill immigrants' lives with terror and, when it does detain immigrants, treat them so poorly that some die. A criminal investigation is needed. https:// twitter.com/kenklippenstei n/status/1135579639617851394

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 11:20 AM - 3 Jun 2019

No matter who the Democrats nominate, Republicans will attack them as radical and socialist. That's a given. The only real choice Democrats have is whether or not to inspire people in the process with policies that improve people's lives.

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 10:16 AM - 3 Jun 2019

The idea of apolitical institutions within politics, like the Supreme Court, is a fantasy that Republicans use to dupe Democrats. Appointing "apolitical justices" (as if any constitutional question can be apolitical), as Buttigieg suggests, is idiotic.

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 9:39 AM - 2 Jun 2019

In a moral country, when a politician admitted to participating in the murder of hundreds of people, they'd immediately be removed from office and tried for war crimes. But we don't live in a moral country. https://www. kpbs.org/news/2019/may/ 30/congressman-hunter-says-he-probably-killed-hundred/

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 7:37 AM - 2 Jun 2019

Our punitive, militaristic approach to drugs has destabilized Latin America, criminalized our own neighborhoods, and enabled the police to grossly abuse their power. It has done nothing but harm to our communities. The War on Drugs must end immediately.

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 8:08 PM - 1 Jun 2019

While the GOP stole one Supreme Court seat, placed a rapist on another, rigged the Census, implemented power-grabs in WI and NC, and passed voter ID laws, Democratic "opposition" has meant Pelosi asking Melania and Pence to step in. It's pathetic. Take the fight to Trump.

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 11:15 AM - 1 Jun 2019

A bit late on this, but we're proud to announce that we've exceeded 40,000 donors! We need just 25,000 more to qualify for the July debates. Help Mike climb the mountain by getting your loved one to donate! Just $1 will do (though $4.20 is preferred)! http:// bit.ly/Gravelanche pic.twitter.com/OCjOEXk5ea

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 5:00 PM - 31 May 2019

Our condolences to @ ericswalwell , @ SenGillibrand , @ sethmoulton , and @ amyklobuchar (all fake progressives and stooges for corporate power) for polling below us in the new Harvard/Harris poll. There's always next time!

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 2:20 PM - 31 May 2019

If international law was applied as written, George W. Bush and Donald Trump would be charged with crimes against humanity. Let's build a world where they have to. http:// bit.ly/Gravelanche

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 10:34 AM - 31 May 2019

U.S. out of Afghanistan. U.S. out of Iraq. U.S. out of Berlin. U.S. out of Okinawa. U.S. out of Niger. U.S. out of Syria. U.S. out of Cameroon. U.S. out of South Korea. This list isn't close to complete. Get Mike in the debates. Get the U.S. out. https:// buff.ly/2KF3mcd

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 10:20 AM - 31 May 2019

Joe Biden voted to send your kids to Iraq and Afghanistan, to let the big banks grow bigger, to let the credit card companies squeeze you, to ship your job overseas. What makes you think he's in your corner now?

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 9:10 AM - 31 May 2019

Mike Gravel: "It hurts to be part of the leadership of a nation and a citizen of a nation that is killing innocent human beings. That hurts so much we should all cry over it." Joe Biden: "I voted to go into Iraq, and I'd vote to do it again."

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 6:30 AM - 31 May 2019

Ours is a country led by hollow men like Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg, "leaders" who think of nothing but their own egos, who will do nothing as we're drowned by floods, starved by drought, choked by poisoned air. That is the way the world ends.

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 10:41 AM - 30 May 2019

Jacobin Magazine has an excellent, comprehensive piece on Mike's political history. From highs to lows, this piece is an exhaustive look at his time in the Senate: the courageous stands he took and the compromises he made. And the conclusion is clear: help get Mike on the stage. https:// twitter.com/jacobinmag/sta tus/1133931536082882560

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 8:47 AM - 30 May 2019

We're proud to be endorsed by the inimitable Mick Wallace, Teachta Dála for Wexford and (most likely) an MEP-elect for Ireland South. Mick is a proud fighter against imperialism and for progressive causes, and we're honored to have his support. https:// twitter.com/wallacemick/st atus/1133989813772857345

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 5:33 AM - 30 May 2019

Dick Cheney should spend the rest of his life in prison.

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 2:11 PM - 29 May 2019

The strategy of those who own the world and want to keep it is simple, captured well in a memo on Cuba written by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs in 1960: 1) Starve them out. 2) Feign concern. 3) Make war. 4) Make MONEY. https:// buff.ly/2EGKtAq pic.twitter.com/qZqv0tNSn8

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 2:10 PM - 29 May 2019

The embargo against Cuba has always had one goal: to cripple vital sectors of its economy and then step back to claim their system cannot work. It's an ideological project, the consequences for ordinary people, Cuban and American, be damned. https:// buff.ly/30SBzsX

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 10:34 AM - 29 May 2019

Russian internet trolls aren't the reason we have a racist authoritarian as president. Blaming other countries for our own diseased national consciousness is straight from our foreign policy playbook -- a posture that has materialized into drone strikes, sanctions, and invasions.

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 10:00 AM - 29 May 2019

When was the last time nominating a boring establishment candidate with no enthusiastic support, a huge amount of baggage, and several past scandals backfired for the Democratic Party?

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 8:30 AM - 29 May 2019

Joe Biden Donald Trump creepy around women racist history "tough on crime" brash no policies authoritarian

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 7:20 AM - 29 May 2019

So much of the reason people like Joe Biden is because he "acts like a normal president." What have normal presidents given us? A country in such turmoil that nearly half of voters supported Donald Trump. It's insane to try the same thing and expect better results.

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 5:20 AM - 29 May 2019

Not only is Joe Biden's creepiness around young girls not something to be dismissed lightly, his refusal to fully apologize and change his ways is indicative of how little he cares about sexual assault. We deserve a meaningful improvement over Donald Trump: Joe ain't it.

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 8:28 PM - 28 May 2019

Joseph "not again" Biden https:// twitter.com/feliciasonmez/ status/1133505331416453121

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 4:13 PM - 28 May 2019

Mike is proud to join other Democratic presidential candidates in signing the @ commondefense pledge to # EndForeverWar . We've lost trillions of dollars and countless lives fighting against imagined enemies abroad. These wars have only made our lives less free and more dangerous. https:// twitter.com/commondefense/ status/1133429165968039937

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 10:40 AM - 28 May 2019

Our wars abroad have only made us less safe: they've killed foreign civilians, diminished the perception of America in the world, and tightened the stranglehold of the military-industrial complex. Donate so Mike can say that on the debate stage. http:// bit.ly/Gravelanche

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 9:14 AM - 28 May 2019

if you want a vision of the future under Cory Booker, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever. and every once in a while it stops for an inspirational lecture on how we should never stop dreaming

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 7:12 AM - 28 May 2019

There's no Hail Mary pass that saves the day from fascism - it doesn't turn around at the last second. The world is walking down a path it has trodden before; the result last time was war and the death of a hundred million. Waiting around isn't going to stop it, action will.

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 7:00 PM - 27 May 2019

American money and arms have supported bloodshed everywhere from Angola to Yemen. We've propped up dictators, instigated civil wars, and funded death squads. Isn't it time we just gave peace a chance? http:// bit.ly/Gravelanche

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 5:30 PM - 27 May 2019

McDonald's workers, like workers all over the world, are tired of being paid less they produce and being harassed. I urge everyone to join them in their struggle and remind you to never cross a picket line. Raise the minimum wage, end workplace harassment at work. # fightfor15

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 4:30 PM - 27 May 2019

How can there be justice in a country where Bill Kristol has a net worth of $5 million while 20 percent of people have less than nothing?

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 3:00 PM - 27 May 2019

On this Memorial Day, we should remember not only the fallen American soldiers but indeed the fallen of every side in every war. War is the most destructive force known to man, and Memorial Day should serve as a reminder: we must say "never again" to its death and destruction.

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 1:30 PM - 27 May 2019

The essential moral crisis of this country is this: we spend billions in Afghanistan and then act like we can't afford a good education for our children or decent healthcare for all. Our leaders are lying to us, and they know it.

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 11:00 AM - 27 May 2019

Six migrant children have died under the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol since December. This growing trail of death is caused by our authoritarian, racist border policy, and the blame lies with Donald Trump, Stephen Miller, and other racists. Humane immigration reform now!

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 8:30 AM - 27 May 2019

When Republicans are in power, Democrats call them warmongers. When Democrats are in power, Republicans call them warmongers. The truth is: they're both right. Send someone to the debate stage to speak that truth. http:// bit.ly/Gravelanche

Sen. Mike Gravel ‏ 7:00 AM - 27 May 2019

Congratulations on a wonderful victory yesterday for a few allies in Europe, like @ catarina_mart and @ mmatias_ . The results show that the fascist tide is being beaten back and left-wing populism is on the rise -- a welcome development.