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Skepticism and critical thinking is not panacea, but can help to understand the world better

Deception as an art form

News Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Recommended Links Diplomacy by deception Neoliberal war on reality or the importance of controlling the narrative Bait and Switch
 Very Serious People Leo Straus as the godfather of neocons Mayberry Machiavellians Machiavellism False flag operations as an important part of demonization of the enemy strategy Noble Lie
Pollyanna creep Machiavellians Manipulators Tricks Love bombing Groupthink Belief-coercion in high demand cults Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair
"Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Corruption of Regulators Cognitive Regulatory Capture Revolving Doors as Corruption
Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Lesser evil trick of legitimizing a disastrous, corrupt neoliberal politicians in US elections Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Pluralism as a myth  Terrorism as a smokesreen for National Security State implementation Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers
In Foreign Events Coverage Guardian Presstitutes Slip Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment Luke Harding: a pathetic author of book that rehash Steele Dossier Freedom of speech played by Western MSM as three card monte MSM as fake news industry Bullshit as MSM communication method  
American Exceptionalism as Civil Religion Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Anatol Leiven on American Messianism New American Militarism Humor Etc

WAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

1984

"Hollywood no longer depicts reporters
in ruthless pursuit of criminals, high and low.
Now they are the criminals."

Frank Rich So Much for ’The Front Page’
NYT, November 2, 2003

"Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one."
--A. J. Liebling, writer (1904 - 1963)

Truth is the most precious thing. That's why we should ration it.
Vladimir Lenin

“Gentlemen, I am ready for the questions to my answers.”

- Charles de Gaulle,
at the beginning of the press conference,
wryly alluding to the staged nature of such events.

"The truth is that the newspaper is not a place for information to be given,
 rather it is just hollow content, or more than that, a provoker of content.
If it prints lies about atrocities, real atrocities are the result."

Karl Kraus, 1914

“You can fool some of the people all of the time
and those are the ones you want to concentrate on.”

George W. Bush, joking at a Gridiron Club dinner,
 Washington, D.C., March 2001

Lately I’ve been amazed at the extent to which our entire public discourse now rests on disinformation and lies. First of all the concept of "bread and circuses" is now used more widely then in Rome:

“What’s necessary for the state is the illusion of normality, of regularity,” America’s best-known political prisoner, Mumia Abu-Jamal, told me last week by phone from the prison where he is incarcerated in Frackville, Pa. “… In Rome, what the emperors needed was bread and circuses. In America, what we need is ‘Housewives of Atlanta.’ We need sports. The moral stories of good cops and evil people. Because you have that …. there is no critical thinking in America during this period...

... ... ...

Trump, an acute embarrassment to the corporate state and the organs of internal security, may be removed from the presidency, but such a palace coup would only further consolidate the power of the deep state and intensify internal measures of repression.

When "bread and  circuses" no longer work and people start asking themselves unpleasant question like "What is the deep state?", "Why we are finding all those wars in Me?"  heavy artillery of propaganda comes into play.

It starts with setting the proper narrative. The facts don't matter once the narrative is set.  In typical large scale disinformation cases like "Russian hacking" story (aka Russiagate), half of the country will go on thinking there's no way the story is totally made up, if MSM report if: there is no smoke without fire. Chris Hedges assumes that this idea of "injective proper narrative" started during Nixon's presidency with his idea of silent majority (Trump Is the Symptom, Not the Disease), but in reality it predates JFK assassination:

It began when big money was employed by political operatives such as Roger Stone, a close Trump adviser, to create negative political advertisements and false narratives to deceive the public, turning political debate into burlesque.

Dialectics suggest that each notion develops into its opposite. It might already happened with the US MSM. they are now all fake news  distribution ("fake news" are officially sanctioned rumors) XXI century can probably be called "the age of disinformation", although the process started long ago with the first totalitarian regimes in Russia, Italy and Germany. In this sense cold war was won by the USSR, because one of the most despicable features of the regime -- totalitarian control of media -- is now almost completely replicated in western countries.  As Daniel Schorr  aptly observed in his csmonitor article A spin cycle out of control

Washington these days feels a little like Moscow in Soviet times when the government routinely dispensed information to the public and the public routinely didn't believe it. The two main newspapers were the Communist Party organ, Pravda, (Truth) and the Soviet government organ, Izvestiya (News). People used to say, "There is no Izvestiya in Pravda and no Pravda in Izvestiya." 

Only a complete idiot now can believe mainstream press. Moreover at least Communists were honest about it and accepted it as a necessary evil, a byproduct of a one-party state surrounded by hostile capitalist states, which resort to all kind of dirty tricks to undermine it.

Under neoliberalism the net result is the same, but the dealing with media is based not of Party diktat (journalists are fighters of the Party"), but more subtle bets on greed, corruption and population stupidity and passivity. And communists view of "capitalist press" was simple, straightforward and is rather attractive, while in general being false, as many other communist ideas  --  all professional journalists should be considered to be a special kind of prostitutes  aka presstitutes :-). Anyway, even if you rightly think that communist's approach is too extreme or simplistic or both,  it still make perfect sense always ask who stands to profit and try to find and compare information form the opposition be it internal opposition press of other states. 

It is extremely naive to assume that free flow of information can exist in a any advanced Western state. But if you take several states then this assumption looks a little bit more realistic. Contradictions between state facilitates the flow of information, that would be suppressed by domestic press. that's why British press is generally preferable source of information about the US events ;-) Which they follow very closely. Of course, the level of disinformation is highly dependent on the importance of the event and generally reaches maximum in the atmosphere of McCarthyism-style witch hunt of war  hysteria ("Truth is the first casualty of war").  As Stephen Gowans wrote in Media Monitors Network

Every war proceeds along this path. Those who stand to be killed, dismembered, and dispossessed, are demonized, turned into the hobgoblins the American journalist H.L. Menken accused practical politicians of using to menace the population into consenting to what would otherwise not be consented to. Few are going to consent to the killing of innocents. So you turn the innocent into the guilty. Butchers. Murderers. Genocidists. Only later are the stories revealed to be gross exaggerations, often outright fabrications. 

That's why English is so important. It is the only language that has critical mass of foreign press (most countries provide English language periodicals and Web sites)  and as such English (along with Internet) is the main bastion of democracy in a modern world. Of course pro-state bias is also more pronounced in coverage of international events as foreign correspondents, who while not always are on a direct payroll of three letter agencies are often directly or indirectly influenced by them. If you are already thinking along this path you might also enjoy a book by John Ralston Saul called "Unconscious Civilization." Another his book that is worth reading (and written along the same lines) is "Voltaire's Bastards" in which he examines the appropriation of our government/corporations by an unaccountable elite which has co-opted the real power in our society (skip the Canadian identity-related staff) http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/events/readings/ejohn.htm

While in most cases Canadian and UK newspapers give more truthful picture of events in the USA, this is not true for foreign policy US and the USA are often in the same bed as for foreign policy and British press repeats (often in a slightly more sophisticated form  then the USA counterparts ;-) the State Department talking points. The same is true for Russian press about Ukraine.

Traditionally UK press was the standard of independent thinking. This clearly now belongs to the past (with Times controlled by Murdock family and Guardian being a neoliberal mouthpiece ) by still, in my experience, there are some remnants of this honorable tradition. You can more often to fight insightful articles in Guardian then iether in NYT or WaPo. But you need to be aware of those few brave soils, dinosaurs journalists who still try to inform public, not to misinform it. Another important factor is the level of monopolization of the press. In any case in British press discussions are always worth reading and typically this is were real information can be uncovered. 

This symbiosis of press and government is nothing new. It existed in the USSR and now exists in the West. Famous economist John Kenneth Galbraith in  his latest book The Economics of Innocent Fraud noted that  politicians and the media moguls actually form shadow "Ministry of Truth" in best Orwellian traditions, propagating, for example myth about:

..a benign "market" that big business always knows best, that minimal intervention stimulates the economy, that obscene pay gaps and unrestrained self-enrichment are an inevitable by-product of the system.

The other typical Soviet phenomena is blatant twisting of the language. For example the word "democracy" now usually means "our bastards" (as in famous quote “he may be a bastard, but he’s our bastard" ;-). And what is really sad, is that in case of war,  or major terrorist events, extreme, Soviet style disinformation is not limited to channels like Fox or Rupert Murdock controlled newspapers. It can be found all over the political spectrum. For example the level of distortion of wars in Kosovo and Beslan tragedy was actually greater in left press.  BBS and NYT, Newsweek, Guardian, Independent, etc really managed to outdid Fox in the art of disinformation in those cases. After that you feel nothing but disgust reading them.

And it is so called "left press" (or more correctly soft neoliberal press) which supported and continue to mix Wahhabi fanatics with freedom fighters. Like Talleyrand used to say "It is worse than a crime, -- it is a blunder" as Wahhabism is a direct threat to the civilized world. Moreover the story of Osama Bin Laden (Osama is essentially a byproduct of the Saudi regime, in particular the hardliners in the regime, and the CIA; Soviet invasion of Afghanistan provided the necessary but not sufficient condition for the creation of this movement; two other important components were Saudis and CIA) had shown quite convincingly that due to the internal logic of the movement they always turn against  the very people who were providing them money and PR support. As MSNBC author By Michael Moran stated in his Aug. 24, 1998 article "Bin Laden comes home to roost":

At the CIA, it happens often enough to have a code name: Blowback. Simply defined, this is the term that describes an agent, an operative or an operation that has turned on its creators. Osama bin Laden, our new public enemy Number 1, is the personification of blowback. And the fact that he is viewed as a hero by millions in the Islamic world proves again the old adage: Reap what you sow.

In case of important events, nobody now generally expects the government to tell the truth rather than to resort to propaganda.  So in a way we all live in post-USSR world.  But there is some level in which quantity turns into quality. And "war time coverage" now is gradually extended to less and less important cases that should not involve "war time" restrictions and mobilization priorities.  So the situation is gradually sliding to the level of Orvell's dystopian novell 1984.  If powerful interests are involved, then trying to tell the truth is a direct threat to the employment of the particular journalist (and in some countries even life); in the case of the broadcasters can lead to direct or subtle forms of censorship (removal from the air) and/or economic retribution.  That means that for most journalists the loyalty to one's boss (and by extension his handlers) overwhelmingly took precedent over personal honesty and integrity. Also journalists, especially in national capitals, are regularly bribed by the establishment. Some of the are connected with the establishment by family and other ties.

For that reason, we, as citizens, have to learn to recognize propaganda and media disinformation and within our limited means fight it. The ability to withstand massive "brainwashing" now become an important dimension of non-conformism.  Those skills are especially important due to an extremely dangerous development in mass communication -- complete loss of independence (sovietization) of mass media, the phenomenon that is also connected with the creation of  military-media-industrial complex (MMIC). Here is a relevant quote from The 50, 26, 20... Corporations That Own Our Media

Of the 1,700 daily papers, 98 percent are local monopolies and fewer than 15 corporations control most of the country's daily circulation. A handful of firms have most of the magazine business, with Time, Inc. alone accounting for about 40 percent of that industry's revenues.

Actually this kind of control of media by powerful interests (connected with the state, but necessary directly manipulated by the state) is the essence of  the totalitarian state.  This is a bad thing. I think, that in such circumstances anybody who has IQ to speak about, should not blindly believe any newspaper or TV station. Any news coverage should be considered more like a question than like an answer. This is especially true for international events. Only by comparing sources from different countries (for example Australian coverage, Asian coverage, GB and Canada coverage) one can get some idea about what's really is going on.  In this sense Internet is really the last citadel of democracy. In addition to the internet there is still a couple of good things:

The history the media cowardice, prejudice and gross over-simplification needs to be studied much more completely and materials presented below are far from being such a study. And while I would like to repeat it again: Internet is last bastion of democracy, media conglomerates actually controls a large part of Internet too, so crossing the national borders is extremely important. Portals like Yahoo are just puppets in a big game. Just ask yourself who provides news  for Yahoo and similar portals. One should always ask the question, "Who and why put this here?". 

Another problem is that it's rather difficult to counter disinformation especially if the message falls within the bounds of your cultural belief systems. That's true for both light and left propaganda. The Internet offers certain advantages in conveying false information because the well known issues of conformity, persuasion and self-justification are amplified by the Net.   Here are some relevant quotes:

What the mainstream media is doing with facts is often wrong. Sometimes it's plain, undisguised lie. And they don't really care if I know it, or you know it, or if  millions know it. Again, they don't care -- they are doing their paid job of manipulation of public opinion in the interests of powerful groups.  It is definitely not anything like what it is supposed to be, which is a reliable and independent information helping us to understand this complex world. Let's face it: political commentators are often a special kind of trained crocodiles, they are just animals trained to maim the prey. The art of disinformation now reached such level that you can suspect anything including the direct transmission from the place of the event to be staged, sanitized  or outright manipulated:

If you're reading this, we trust that you're painfully aware of the stranglehold that corporations have on the flow of "news" the world over. In this self-referential hyper-aware media-saturated environment, it's hardly incendiary or revolutionary at this point to imply that most news these days is manipulative moronic crap manufactured to simultaneously subdue and incite The Masses into their ongoing cycle of complacent apathy and egomaniacal patriotism. Or is it?

We won't insult your intelligence by waxing poetic about the self-preserving, dull-witted conspiracy of fools that we conveniently categorize as The Media Elite. You know the ones we're talking about. And in case you're not familiar with exactly how influenced the information that filters down to your front door, car radio or boob tube by The Military Entertainment Complex, have a looksie at who owns what. Yeah, that's right. Show us the money.

And while Internet is the last bastion of democracy, it is extremely important to be aware of the nature of the Internet. Information exists on the Net outside of existing scholarly structures. Sometimes respectable Internet sites are using all the dirty  tricks of  of yellow press journalism. See Open Directory - Science Social Sciences Psychology Persuasion and Social Influence. Here is an relevant quote from the paper: In Seattle's Aftermath Linux, Independent Media, and the Survival of Democracy:

Why Mainstream Media Won't Tell You the Truth

You don't have to be a genius or a conspiracy theorist to figure this one out. A few global media giants dominate the market; they have huge and growing holdings in virtually every means by which information is disseminated--films, books, TV channels, radio stations, newspapers, and magazines (Herman and McChesney, 1998). And they pressure, whether overtly or not, authors and reporters to put a slant on the news--specifically, a centrist to right-wing slant that favors the interests of the media's corporate owners. That's the reason you hear, over and over, why development matters more than preserving the environment, why free trade matters more than worker's rights, and why the U.S. has the right to impose its military power wherever it pleases.

Apart from the general pressure to slant the news to the center and right, industry associations overtly pressure media outlets to censor certain types of news reporting by threatening to withdraw advertising. For example, thanks to pressure from restaurant associations, newspapers are reluctant to specify local restaurants which violate health department regulations. Even so, overt pressure isn't often needed. When you're in the media business, you know darned well you'd better not run stories that businesses won't like. You tone it down. You run it by them. And if they're not comfortable and you're not comfortable, you don't run it.

In sum, you don't hear the truth because corporations don't want you to hear it and mainstream media are too cowardly to report it. Had you known the truth about Seattle (including substantive discussion of the specific issues concerning WTO policies), you might have thought more deeply about what's at stake. But that doesn't sell beer; why ask why, after all, when doing so is virtually unmarketable? Instead of providing the tools needed to think seriously about national policies, the media would much prefer to socialize viewers into becoming "neurotic in their need to buy advertised commodities", generating "mass spending on goods such as cosmetics, cigarettes, beer, soft drinks, and patent medicines completely out of proportion to the rational use of national income..." and diverting attention from "society's central needs, including public education, health care, [and] democratic economics" (Bagdikian, 1996:10).

At the same time for a thinking person Internet provides a unique possibility to resist this brain-washing campaign by comparing several sources. With some training you can read between the lines in mainstream media reports (people from former "socialist" countries usually have high score in those skills ;-):

The Internet is "dangerous" because it is a medium for the instantaneous and uncontrolled transmission of ideas.

We think of free speech as being a given--almost an absolute--in the United States and much of the Western world. Though everyone knows that certain kinds of speech, such as pornography, are against the law, most of us don't think about the web of social, nongovernmental constraints on legal but disfavored speech.

Unpopular ideas are marginalized in our society, restricted to the fringes of public discourse even without the need for any governmental action. Broadcast television and radio, cable, newsmagazines and book publishers all are--or are owned by--large conglomerates. Many rely on advertising, or own other businesses that do, or are simply owned or controlled by people whose personal involvement in the social web of contacts and constraints guarantees moderation in ideas. No idea sees the light of day until it has been turned over, examined from every angle, and pronounced fit for human consumption. Editors approve articles and books, and are managed by publishers who sometimes intervene in content. Committees decide what news stories to cover and which to ignore.

Let's don't miss this possibility, while it's still exists !!!

"To successfully uncover the lies of someone you first must know how to lie yourself. Now, some people just don't know how to lie because they've never been around someone who was good at it. I'm going to give you some pointers — never ever exaggerate within the lie. Details are key and remembering those details is what will keep the lie alive."

"One of the ways that deal with co-workers who I think have lied to me is to ask them the most obvious question: 'Did you lie to me when…?'"

"In a group of people, ask the person the question you need answered and when they lie to you, I just say — 'You lying &*#^, you never said that in your whole life.' Everybody breaks up laughing and the person obviously is caught. We all make a joke of it and it is much harder for them to be dishonest the next time."

"When it is obvious that someone's story has little connection to reality, I say 'Oh my gosh, almost the exact same thing happened to me.' This achieves the objective of 1) pointing out to the tall tale teller that you are on to him; and 2) makes everyone else realize how ridiculous this co-worker's stories are getting, and forces everyone to evaluate the veracity of all future tall tales.

"When trying to detect a liar, I act absent-minded and pause with unfinished sentences. The liar tends to fill these spaces. I have caught liars this way."

"I give them my biggest smile and usually say something like, 'Come on Pinocchio, your nose is growing.' Then I laugh gently. If they seem embarrassed or avoid eye contact and smile and say nothing, then I have confirmation that they have lied. They know it and I know it. Reading their body language is extremely important. Once word gets around that you are not a fool who will believe anything, most people won't try it with you."

"If you must interact with this person, try to have a third party present to be a neutral witness to any conversation that takes place. Also, if possible, interact via e-mail and be professional. We all know e-mails are a nice time-stamped paper trail of the facts."

"There are different ways to deal with lies, depending on the reason and the frequency. The solutions range from ignoring the lies, to training, to confrontation, to verbal and written warnings, and perhaps, as a last resort if the damage by the lies is substantial, termination."

"Of course he is lying. Everyone is lying. It's part of the human condition. Bosses lie all the time. Workers give them lies in reply and to each other."

Recommended Reading

The Understanding Stupidity

This systematic distortion of information makes human societies characteristically self-deceptive, with people disposed to believe they are living up to their ideals, particularly when they are not. The existing schematic dissonance is usually subconscious, due to the misleading nature of words, so society stumbles smugly along while at odds with itself, its environment and its equally stupid neighbors. In fact, the only really effective control of development comes not from inside but from physical limitations (what cannot be done) and competition with other groups which are also out of touch with themselves.

In general, internal criticism is of limited value as a control mechanism for growth and development of a social system. There usually tend to be few, if any, effective critics within any organization. When not dismissed out of hand as a crank or an outsider, anyone with valid criticism is made an outsider, as ostracism is a common reward for honesty, accuracy and integrity. Thus, criticism without power is largely wasted, producing little but woe for the bewildered critic himself.

Perhaps there are so few effective critics because anyone with any brains at all quickly finds that most human organizations just are not set up for effective criticism. The basic working assumption is that everything is just fine. Outside criticism is deflected and internal feedback is supposed to be positive reinforcement from "Yes men" promoting their careers by corrupting the mighty. At best, criticism has a place on the fringe, where cranks and comics can be tolerated as amusing diversions.

Can Truth Be Told When Using Selective Information

"The trap of the permanent campaign is that you diminish statesmanship," Professor Gergen said. "Statesmen rise above the daily concern and look to the long haul."

Business marketing and politics often overlap in election campaigns. Someone vying for office is essentially trying to sell himself to voters. "When you are campaigning, you're like the businessman who has a limited responsibility, a limited set of people to whom you owe something," said Alan Wolfe, director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College and author of "Moral Freedom: The Search for Virtue in a World of Choice" (W. W. Norton).

But, increasingly, because of the fund-raising involved in running for national office, "you have to be in an almost permanent campaign mode," said David Gergen, now a professor of public service at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, who was an adviser to four presidents. "In politics, you fall into the trap of short-termism. You do whatever it takes to keep the headlines up today." This short-term thinking is not dissimilar to what causes some businesses to make poor decisions in trying to bolster stock prices or earnings reports.

"The trap of the permanent campaign is that you diminish statesmanship," Professor Gergen said. "Statesmen rise above the daily concern and look to the long haul."

BUT it's difficult to affect the long haul if you find yourself voted out of office. For that reason, Dick Morris, a former adviser to Mr. Clinton and the author of "Off with Their Heads: Traitors, Crooks and Obstructionists in American Politics, Media and Business" (Regan Books, 2003), said he thinks that "using polling and all of the tools of an election to help you govern is a good thing."

"It gets the president to be very aggressive in figuring out what he can do in an active way really to help the country," he added. "The motivation is to govern well so he can get elected."

Even if President Bush has to campaign constantly and, as a result, selectively uses information to sell his message, we still expect him to tell the truth. "If they decided to lie to make the case stronger that's simply unethical," said Mr. Gilman, who was a senior official at the United States Office of Government Ethics from 1988 to 2001. Mr. Gilman said he hopes that the president "got one bad piece of intelligence and the rest was correct."

Some political analysts say President Bush crossed a line in selectively using information by pointing to British intelligence to make an argument, when American intelligence doubted the claim. "As in all marketing, when you go too far, it creates a small cloud over you about credibility," Professor Gergen said.

There's more at stake when President Bush selectively uses information than when a business executive tries to move a product. The president's role clearly distinguishes his unique moral responsibility. As an executive, you don't order young men and women to give up their lives for a cause.


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NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

"It tends to be all accurate,
but not in an over-all context."

Donald Rumsfeld

2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001

[Aug 20, 2019] Trump Promised Massive Infrastructure Projects -- Instead We ve Gotten Nothing>

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... So far, that wager has netted Americans nothing. No money. No deal. No bridges, roads or leadless water pipes. And there's nothing on the horizon since Trump stormed out of the most recent meeting. That was a three-minute session in May with Democratic leaders at which Trump was supposed to discuss the $2 trillion he had proposed earlier to spend on infrastructure. In a press conference immediately afterward, Trump said if the Democrats continued to investigate him, he would refuse to keep his promises to the American people to repair the nation's infrastructure. ..."
"... Candidate Donald Trump knew it was no joke. On the campaign trail, he said U.S. infrastructure was "a mess" and no better than that of a "third-world country. " When an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia in 2015, killing eight and injuring about 200 , he tweeted , "Our roads, airports, tunnels, bridges, electric grid -- all falling apart." Later, he tweeted , "The only one to fix the infrastructure of our country is me." ..."
"... Donald Trump promised to make America great again. And that wouldn't be possible if America's rail system, locks, dams and pipelines -- that is, its vital organs -- were "a mess." Trump signed what he described as a contract with American voters to deliver an infrastructure plan within the first 100 days of his administration. ..."
"... He mocked his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton's proposal to spend $275 billion. "Her number is a fraction of what we're talking about. We need much more money to rebuild our infrastructure," he told Fox News in 2016 . "I would say at least double her numbers, and you're going to really need a lot more than that." ..."
"... In August of 2016, he promised , "We will build the next generation of roads, bridges, railways, tunnels, seaports and airports that our country deserves. American cars will travel the roads, American planes will connect our cities, and American ships will patrol the seas. American steel will send new skyscrapers soaring. We will put new American metal into the spine of this nation." ..."
"... That contract Trump signed with American voters to produce an infrastructure plan in the first 100 days: worthless. It never happened. He gave Americans an Infrastructure Week in June of 2017, though, and at just about the 100-day mark, predicted infrastructure spending would "take off like a rocket ship." Two more Infrastructure Weeks followed in the next two years, but no money. ..."
"... This year, by which time the words Infrastructure Week had become a synonym for promises not kept, Trump met on April 30 with top Democratic leaders and recommended a $2 trillion infrastructure investment. Democrats praised Trump afterward for taking the challenge seriously and for agreeing to find the money. ..."
"... Almost immediately, Trump began complaining that Democrats were trying to hoodwink him into raising taxes to pay for the $2 trillion he had offered to spend. ..."
"... Trump and the Republicans relinquished one way to pay for infrastructure when they passed a tax cut for the rich and corporations in December of 2017. As a result, the rich and corporations pocketed hundreds of billions -- $1 trillion over 10 years -- and Trump doesn't have that money to invest in infrastructure. Corporations spent their tax break money on stock buybacks, further enriching the already rich. They didn't invest in American manufacturing or worker training or wage increases. ..."
"... I have seen this movie before. A State builds a highway, it then leases that highway to a corporation for a bucket of cash which it uses to bribe the electorate to win the next election or two. The corporation shoves brand new toll booths on the highway charging sky high rates which puts a crimp in local economic activity. After the lease is up after twenty years, the State gets to take over the highway again to find that the corporation cut back on maintenance so that the whole highway has to be rebuilt again. Rinse and repeat. ..."
"... Promises by any narcissist mean nothing. You cannot hang your hat on any word that Trump speaks, because it's not about you or anyone else, but about him and only him. ..."
"... Here is a heads up. If any infrastructure is done it will be airports. The elite fly and couldn't give a crap about the suspension and wheel destroying potholes we have to slalom around every day. They also don't care that the great unwashed waste thousands of hours stuck in traffic when a bridge is closed or collapses. ..."
Jul 26, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves here. In a bit of synchronicity, when a reader was graciously driving me to the Department of Motor Vehicles (a schlepp in the wilds of Shelby County), she mentioned she'd heard local media reports that trucks had had their weight limits lowered due to concern that some overpasses might not be able to handle the loads. Of course, a big reason infrastructure spending has plunged in the US is that it's become an excuse for "public-private partnerships," aka looting, when those deals take longer to get done and produce bad results so often that locals can sometimes block them.

By Tom Conway, the international president of the United Steelworkers Union (USW) . Produced by the Independent Media Institute

Bad news about infrastructure is as ubiquitous as potholes. Failures in a 108-year-old railroad bridge and tunnel cost New York commuters thousands of hours in delays. Illinois doesn't regularly inspect , let alone fix, decaying bridges. Flooding in Nebraska caused nearly half a billion dollars in road and bridge damage -- just this year.

No problem, though. President Donald Trump promised to fix all this. The great dealmaker, the builder of eponymous buildings, the star of "The Apprentice," Donald Trump, during his campaign, urged Americans to bet on him because he'd double what his opponent would spend on infrastructure. Double, he pledged!

So far, that wager has netted Americans nothing. No money. No deal. No bridges, roads or leadless water pipes. And there's nothing on the horizon since Trump stormed out of the most recent meeting. That was a three-minute session in May with Democratic leaders at which Trump was supposed to discuss the $2 trillion he had proposed earlier to spend on infrastructure. In a press conference immediately afterward, Trump said if the Democrats continued to investigate him, he would refuse to keep his promises to the American people to repair the nation's infrastructure.

The comedian Stephen Colbert described the situation best, saying Trump told the Democrats: "It's my way or no highways."

The situation, however, is no joke. Just ask the New York rail commuters held up for more than 2,000 hours over the past four years by bridge and tunnel breakdowns. Just ask the American Society of Civil Engineers , which gave the nation a D+ grade for infrastructure and estimated that if more than $1 trillion is not added to currently anticipated spending on infrastructure, "the economy is expected to lose almost $4 trillion in GDP , resulting in a loss of 2.5 million jobs in 2025."

Candidate Donald Trump knew it was no joke. On the campaign trail, he said U.S. infrastructure was "a mess" and no better than that of a "third-world country. " When an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia in 2015, killing eight and injuring about 200 , he tweeted , "Our roads, airports, tunnels, bridges, electric grid -- all falling apart." Later, he tweeted , "The only one to fix the infrastructure of our country is me."

Donald Trump promised to make America great again. And that wouldn't be possible if America's rail system, locks, dams and pipelines -- that is, its vital organs -- were "a mess." Trump signed what he described as a contract with American voters to deliver an infrastructure plan within the first 100 days of his administration.

He mocked his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton's proposal to spend $275 billion. "Her number is a fraction of what we're talking about. We need much more money to rebuild our infrastructure," he told Fox News in 2016 . "I would say at least double her numbers, and you're going to really need a lot more than that."

In August of 2016, he promised , "We will build the next generation of roads, bridges, railways, tunnels, seaports and airports that our country deserves. American cars will travel the roads, American planes will connect our cities, and American ships will patrol the seas. American steel will send new skyscrapers soaring. We will put new American metal into the spine of this nation."

In his victory speech and both of his State of the Union addresses, he pledged again to be the master of infrastructure. "We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, school, hospitals. And we will put millions of our people to work," he said the night he won.

That sounds excellent. That's exactly what 75 percent of respondents to a Gallup poll said they wanted. That would create millions of family-supporting jobs making the steel, aluminum, concrete, pipes and construction vehicles necessary to accomplish infrastructure repair. That would stimulate the economy in ways that benefit the middle class and those who are struggling.

That contract Trump signed with American voters to produce an infrastructure plan in the first 100 days: worthless. It never happened. He gave Americans an Infrastructure Week in June of 2017, though, and at just about the 100-day mark, predicted infrastructure spending would "take off like a rocket ship." Two more Infrastructure Weeks followed in the next two years, but no money.

Trump finally announced a plan in February of 2018 , at a little over the 365-day mark, to spend $1.5 trillion on infrastructure. It went nowhere because it managed to annoy both Democrats and Republicans.

It was to be funded by only $200 billion in federal dollars -- less than what Hillary Clinton proposed. The rest was to come from state and local governments and from foreign money interests and the private sector. Basically, the idea was to hand over to hedge fund managers the roads and bridges and pipelines originally built, owned and maintained by Americans. The fat cats at the hedge funds would pay for repairs but then toll the assets in perpetuity. Nobody liked it.

That was last year. This year, by which time the words Infrastructure Week had become a synonym for promises not kept, Trump met on April 30 with top Democratic leaders and recommended a $2 trillion infrastructure investment. Democrats praised Trump afterward for taking the challenge seriously and for agreeing to find the money.

"It couldn't have gone any better," Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal , D-Mass., told the Washington Post, even though Neal was investigating Trump for possible tax fraud.

Almost immediately, Trump began complaining that Democrats were trying to hoodwink him into raising taxes to pay for the $2 trillion he had offered to spend.

Trump and the Republicans relinquished one way to pay for infrastructure when they passed a tax cut for the rich and corporations in December of 2017. As a result, the rich and corporations pocketed hundreds of billions -- $1 trillion over 10 years -- and Trump doesn't have that money to invest in infrastructure. Corporations spent their tax break money on stock buybacks, further enriching the already rich. They didn't invest in American manufacturing or worker training or wage increases.

Three weeks after the April 30 meeting, Trump snubbed Democrats who returned to the White House hoping the president had found a way to keep his promise to raise $2 trillion for infrastructure. Trump dismissed them like naughty schoolchildren. He told them he wouldn't countenance Democrats simultaneously investigating him and bargaining with him -- even though Democrats were investigating him at the time of the April meeting and one of the investigators -- Neal -- had attended.

Promise not kept again.

Trump's reelection motto, Keep America Great, doesn't work for infrastructure. It's still a mess. It's the third year of his presidency, and he has done nothing about it. Apparently, he's saving this pledge for his next term.

In May, he promised Louisianans a new bridge over Interstate 10 -- only if he is reelected. He said the administration would have it ready to go on "day one, right after the election." Just like he said he'd produce an infrastructure plan within the first 100 days of his first term.

He's doubling down on the infrastructure promises. His win would mean Americans get nothing again.

Arizona Slim , July 26, 2019 at 6:26 am

Paging Bernie Sanders: You need to be all over this Trump-fail. And sooner, rather than later.

The Rev Kev , July 26, 2019 at 6:40 am

The whole thing seems so stupid. The desperate need is there, the people are there to do the work, the money spent into the infrastructure would give a major boost to the real economy, the completed infrastructure would give the real economy a boost for years & decades to come – it is win-win right across the board. But the whole thing is stalled because the whole deal can't be rigged to give a bunch of hedge fund managers control of that infrastructure afterwards. If it did, the constant rents that Americans would have to pay to use this infrastructure would bleed the economy for decades to come.

I have seen this movie before. A State builds a highway, it then leases that highway to a corporation for a bucket of cash which it uses to bribe the electorate to win the next election or two. The corporation shoves brand new toll booths on the highway charging sky high rates which puts a crimp in local economic activity. After the lease is up after twenty years, the State gets to take over the highway again to find that the corporation cut back on maintenance so that the whole highway has to be rebuilt again. Rinse and repeat.

When President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal Aid Highway Act in 1956, can you imagine how history would have gone if they had been handed over to a bunch of corporations who would have built toll booths over the whole network? Would have done wonders for the American economy I bet.

Wukchumni , July 26, 2019 at 6:48 am

One of the things discussed at our town hall meeting the other night, was a much needed $481k public bathroom, and that was the low bid.

It has to be ADA compliant with ramps, etc.

$48,100 seems like it'd be plenty to get 'r done, as you can build a house with a couple of bathrooms, and a few bedrooms, a kitchen and living room for maybe $200k.

Ignacio , July 26, 2019 at 8:58 am

And if toll revenues don't come as high as expected, mother state will come to the rescue of those poor fund managers. I find it amazing that Trump uses the stupid Russia, Russia, Russia! fixation of democrats as an excuse to do nothing about infrastructure. Does this work with his electorate?

cnchal , July 26, 2019 at 7:09 am

Tom, grow up.

Promises by any narcissist mean nothing. You cannot hang your hat on any word that Trump speaks, because it's not about you or anyone else, but about him and only him.

Here is a heads up. If any infrastructure is done it will be airports. The elite fly and couldn't give a crap about the suspension and wheel destroying potholes we have to slalom around every day. They also don't care that the great unwashed waste thousands of hours stuck in traffic when a bridge is closed or collapses.

Carla , July 26, 2019 at 7:47 am

Well, fix the airports and you've still got Boeing, self-destructing as fast as it can. And Airbus can't fill all the orders no matter how hard it tries. Guess everybody will just have to . stay home.

WheresOurTeddy , July 26, 2019 at 7:16 am

Are all the coal jobs back? How about the manufacturing? NAFTA been repealed and replaced with something better yet? How's the wall coming and has Mexico sent the check yet? Soldiers back from Afghanistan/Iraq/Syria yet?

Got that tax cut for rich people and a ton of conservative judges through though, didn't he?

Katniss Everdeen , July 26, 2019 at 8:17 am

"It couldn't have gone any better," Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal, D-Mass., told the Washington Post, even though Neal was investigating Trump for possible tax fraud.

What a surprise. It's simply "amazing" that the insane status quo jihad that has been waged against Trump since he announced his candidacy had real consequences for the country. Who would have thought that calling ANY president ignorant, ugly, fat, a liar, a traitor, a cheater, an agent of Putin, a racist, a misogynist, a xenophobe, a bigot, an isolationist and an illegitimate occupant of the White House 24/7 since he or she won the election would make actual accomplishment nearly impossible.

The mere mention of his name on college campuses has even been legitimized as a fear-inducing, "safety"-threatening "microagression."

It's just so rich that having determined to prevent Trump from doing absolutely anything he promised during the campaign by any and all means, regardless of what the promise was or how beneficial it may have been, his numerous, bilious "critics" now have the gonads to accuse him of not getting anything done.

With all due respect to the author of this piece, the result he laments was exactly the point of this relentless nightmare of Trump derangement to which the nation has been subjected for three years. I tend to think that the specific promise most targeted for destruction was his criticism of NATO and "infrastructure" was collateral damage, but that's neither here nor there.

The washington status quo has succeeded in its mission to cripple a president it could not defeat electorally, and now tries to blame him for their success. Cutting off your nose to spite your face has always been a counterproductive strategy.

[Aug 18, 2019] Trump's Nationalist Report Card A Solid C

Aug 18, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Donald Trump will win reelection, or not, based primarily on his performance in office. The voters will ask, in their collective judgment, such questions as: has he scored at least one major accomplishment in domestic policy? Has he maintained strong economic growth? Has he avoided major foreign policy failures? Has he presided over a major foreign policy victory? Is he scarred by scandal? Are Americans better off than they were before his inauguration? Is the country better positioned in the world?

Looking at the Trump presidency through the prism of such questions, it is possible to produce a kind of preliminary report card. Recognizing that the voters won't render their own grades for more than a year, we can still compile a general overview of the president's likely standing when the votes are counted. This overview suggests that he resides upon a knife's edge of political fate. Events between now and November of next year could easily push him into defeat, though he could also squeak through to victory. But defeat is more likely.

Before we get to the report card, two general points need to be made. First, irrespective of Trump's fate next year, he is and will remain a significant figure in American political history. He transformed the national debate by exposing the chasm in political sensibilities between the elites of the coasts and angry Americans in the heartland. In spite of his crude and often distasteful ways (and sometimes because of them), he created a tight knot of political sentiment that stands antagonistic toward the elite vision of globalism, diversity, open borders, overseas dominance, and free trade -- most of it enforced with the cudgel of political correctness.

The heartland ethos, by contrast, includes an end to illegal immigration, a more restrictionist legal immigration system to foster the absorption of those already here, a trade system attuned to industrial America, realism and restraint in foreign policy, respect for the country's cultural heritage, and a hostility to the insidious impact of identity politics.

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This is a huge chasm, yet when the 2016 campaign began, hardly a politician on the scene perceived it or understood its ramifications. Trump did, and that got him (barely) elected. The result now is that we all now know about the chasm, and it will be America's defining political pivot for years to come.

But if this political sagacity got Trump elected, it won't help him much in 2020. Challengers can win on talk if it resonates sufficiently with the electorate; incumbents can only win on performance.

The second point is that, while the president enjoys the solid support of a highly loyal and unwavering contingent of Americans, he has proven incapable of building a governing coalition. Throughout his presidency, his approval rating, based on the aggregate numbers pulled together by the political web site FiveThirtyEight, has hovered between 39 percent and 43 percent. This doesn't mean he can't get up to the 50 percent or so needed for reelection. Ronald Reagan's rating was just 45 percent at this point in his presidency, and he went on to a landslide reelection win. But Trump's level of approval has been so consistent that it is difficult to see how he might rise above it during his final months in office.

Further, state-by-state poll numbers indicate that the president has lost considerable ground in key states needed for reelection. According to surveys conducted by the online polling firm Civiqs, his approval rating is in negative numbers in 10 states he carried in 2016, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Texas. None of the states carried by Hillary Clinton seem poised to flip to the president.

This reflects Trump's general standing with the American people, and it means that he doesn't have sufficient political juice to dominate the national debate on major issues and get Congress to take action. Trump supporters no doubt will blame the Democrats, as presidential loyalists always do when their man can't get the job done. But in our presidential system, chief executives don't get a pass by pointing fingers at the opposition.

Richard Nixon, a 43 percent victor in 1968, had to contend with a hostile Democratic majority in both houses of Congress, and still amassed a record that buoyed him to a massive reelection victory in 1972. Reagan had a hostile House Democratic majority and yet managed to galvanize the American people to such an extent that the House leadership lost control of its own chamber, as frightened Democrats crossed over to Reagan's positions on major issues, particularly fiscal ones.

How do presidents manage to overcome a hostile opposition? By shrewdly selecting issues to be pursued; by presenting brilliant and coherent narrations on what those issues mean; and by deftly negotiating at the end to bring along just enough of the opposition to carry the day. After his Democratic Party lost both houses of Congress in 1994, Bill Clinton embarked on his brilliant "triangulation" strategy. Trump hasn't demonstrated any such capacity.

Which brings us to the report card:

Health care: Trump failed all three of the tests for political success on this issue. He chose it before it was ripe for serious legislative action (GOP lawmakers wanted to repeal and replace Obamacare but didn't have anything approaching a viable replacement); he didn't explain it well because it wasn't well joined and because he didn't seem to understand it; and he didn't seek any compromise with opposition members. Grade: D.

Immigration: A massive Trump failure. He was the first president in decades who had enough credibility with restrictionists to fashion a grand bargain that might have included legal status for the so-called Dreamers (and perhaps their immediate families; not cousins and uncles). He might have also taken serious action on other illegals in the country, on stemming the inward flow through every means possible, and on overhauling current immigration policies, including ending family-based migration and the lottery, instituting a merit-based system, and curbing the inflow enough to get the percentage of foreign-born people in America returned to more historical levels.

Was this even remotely possible? Perhaps not. But Trump campaigned as a man who would address the country's festering immigration problem. That required that the issue be presented with sensitivity and clarity as to the harm that decades of neglect have done to America. Nobody wants the United States to be a heartless country, but polls also indicate that Democrats have come too close to open borders for the comfort of most. Therein was the opportunity.

But Trump didn't even talk to the American people about the issue; he communicated only to his base, thus ensuring that the immigration chasm would continue with no end in sight. Grade: D.

Economic growth: We can't issue a final grade here until the end of the semester, but prospects are good for solid marks, even if an A doesn't appear likely. If growth continues through the third quarter of next year, Trump will merit a solid B; if it slows, perhaps a B-; if it picks up, a B+. But an A would require the kind of growth seen in Reagan's last six years in office (including annual percentages of 7.9, 5.6, 4.2, 4.5, and 3.8) or Clinton's second term (4.4, 4.5, 4.9, 4.8). That isn't likely. Further, if the economy slips into recession, all bets are off. This is a wait-and-see category. Grade: B, based on midterms, though the final exam will determine the outcome.

Trade: Trump has taken a riverboat gamble on his trade dispute with China, which has been a commerce thug for years -- stealing intellectual property, forcing U.S. companies in China to transfer technology, dumping goods into U.S. markets, subsidizing state-owned companies, and manipulating its currency. White House aide Peter Navarro says these "deadly sins" have destroyed some 70,000 factories in America and five million manufacturing jobs. China has been bilking the United States in part to cadge vast sums of money to finance its geopolitical ambitions in Asia. There's a strong argument that something had to be done, and only Trump among recent presidents had the fortitude to join the issue.

In doing so, Trump has emphasized a central reality of American geopolitics, which his critics refuse to accept -- namely that China, and not Russia, represents America's greatest long-term threat. But will the American people and Congress accept the sacrifices that will likely be necessary to force China to change its ways? That may be difficult for the president to pull off, given his less-than-robust standing with the American people. He's doing the right thing in demanding reciprocal trade behavior from the Chinese, but his inability to forge a national consensus may retard his prospects for success. Grade: Incomplete.

Foreign Policy: Trump has not presided over any serious foreign policy failures, such as George W. Bush's Iraq fiasco or Barack Obama's Libyan misadventure. Indeed, he has not led the country into any serious foreign wars at all, which may be a significant accomplishment in comparison to his three predecessors. At the same time, he has kept U.S. troops in Syria and Afghanistan beyond any worthwhile rationale. And he has not scored any significant foreign policy successes -- nothing approaching Nixon's outreach to China or Jimmy Carter's Camp David Accords or Reagan's Cold War breakthrough. The problem has been that he doesn't seem to possess any kind of coherent view of the world in our time. He seems to have an instinctive understanding that the old global order is crumbling. But he doesn't have any idea of what could or should replace this fading status quo or how America should operate in a changing world.

And Trump's decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement and seek to bring Iran to its knees economically through "maximum pressure" could destabilize the entire Middle East even beyond George W. Bush's mindless Iraq invasion. If so, the combustion likely won't occur until after Trump's current term, under whomever is president at the time. But the burden of responsibility for any untoward developments emanating from that questionable policy will rest firmly upon Trump. Grade: C-.

Scandal: Any serious scandal that attaches to the upper reaches of an administration becomes a net negative in the next election. It's difficult to assess the full political impact of the Russian scandal that has roiled the nation since even before Trump was sworn in. On the one hand, the allegation of electoral "collusion" has been exposed as a fraud. On the other, opponents have continued assaulting Trump for supposedly seeking to obstruct the investigation. Their arguments are largely specious, but politics unfolds on the margin, and the marginal impact of all this is likely to redound to Trump's detriment at reelection time. Besides, Trump doesn't seem to care much about how he is perceived or about the old-style niceties of political discourse. That provides an opening for opposition arguments about his loose ethics. Grade: C+.

General national welfare: On those questions regarding whether Americans are better off today than they were four years ago and whether America stands taller in the world, it's a bit of a mixed bag. The economic statistics (growth, unemployment, job market participation, productivity, inflation, the stock market) are solid, stemming largely from Trump's tax and regulatory policies. If they continue, the president will get general kudos from the electorate on this crucial area of performance.

The voters' view of America's global standing is more difficult to assess. No doubt Trump's base is comfortable with his performance on the world stage, but has he conducted himself in a way that will capture those swing voters who will be crucial to his reelection prospects? It doesn't seem likely.

And that's reflective of the overall Trump presidency. This utterly unconventional politician who got elected in utterly unconventional ways had an opportunity to fashion an unconventional brand of conservative politics -- wary of big business and the nexus between government and big finance; hostile to coastal elites; protective of working class Americans who have been abandoned and slandered by the Democratic Party; concerned about economic inequality; suspicious of vehement libertarianism; opposed to promiscuous foreign policy adventurism; anti-globalist; nationalist; and enthusiastic about the looming epic task of forging a new political order at home and a new geopolitical order in the world.

Trump has demonstrated a vague sense of this opportunity, but he never seemed to grasp its complexities and nuances or show any ability to forge a coherent strategy to make it a reality. The result: an overall grade of C. It would be a gentleman's C if Trump were a gentleman. The question is whether the voters will grade on a curve.

Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington journalist and publishing executive, is the author most recently of President McKinley: Architect of the American Century . We were unable to load Disqus. If you are a moderator please see our troubleshooting guide .


JeffK from PA • 3 days ago
"Trump has demonstrated a vague sense of this opportunity, but he never
seemed to grasp its complexities and nuances or show any ability to
forge a coherent strategy to make it a reality."

That pretty much sums it up.

Sid Finster JeffK from PA • 2 days ago
I don't think any national politician today, not Trump, not Bernie, not anyone, really grasps just how seething with rage the public is right now.

Wanna know why we have mass shootings? Think of those people that snap as a sort of warning sign of the public mood. Expect to see a lot more of them, no matter who is in office.

For that matter, the election of Trump is a similar indicator. Think of Trump as the " Roll the dice, we've got nothing to lose! " candidate, compared to the establishment darling HRC.

Of course, long after Trump is gone from office, the forces that gave rise to Trump will still be there. That said, the establishment will tar every populist for years to come with Trump's weakness, stupidity, recklessness and incompetence. " Remember what happened the last time you didn't vote as instructed? "

Already, Trump has proven the best campaign ad the European establishment could ask for. He prevented the election of Le Pen in France, and prevented the German establishment parties from complete meltdown. The campaign slogan goes something like this: " Vote for us, unless you want a buffoon like *him* in office! "

JeffK from PA Sid Finster • 7 hours ago
I agree. For the first time in my life I am seriously concerned about the future of this country. We are one serious financial or foreign policy calamity away from serious social breakdown.
EdMan Sid Finster • 6 hours ago
That's a point Ross Douthat made recently - Trump losing re-election means Trumpism will eventually return.
Bankotsu • 3 days ago • edited
Wow, even Robert Merry is playing the sinophobic China card now.

Patrick Buchanan is a long time China hater, so I can understand his sinophobia, but now even Robert Merry!

Times are really changing in U.S. politics.

A new yellow peril is upon America! lol.

Hispanophobia, sinophobia, islamophobia, russophobia, all of them are coming out with full force to America.

Sid Finster Bankotsu • 2 days ago
Signs of an empire in serious decline.
jijjkl Bankotsu • 2 days ago
More like Anglophobia.
Bankotsu jijjkl • 2 days ago • edited
Can't be, I support Trump. Loads of chinese support Trump.
nah-uh-uh Bankotsu • a day ago
Eventually, people like Pamela Geller and/or Steven Bannon will become the principal UN figures
Yay!
Thomas Sharpe • 3 days ago
Play Hide
Rick Steven D. • 2 days ago
Robert: Thank you this very sober, very reasonable assessment. I hate Trump's stinking rotten guts with the white hot fury of a thousand suns, and I disagree strongly with some of the points you are making here, but this is a terrific piece.
EdMan Rick Steven D. • 6 hours ago
Well thank goodness for gentlemen like Robert Merry, then!
jijjkl • 2 days ago
He gets a "C" in foreign policy, but everything domestic is so bad that he may as well not even call himself right wing at all. The illegal and legal immigration problems have exacerbated under Trump (look up the numbers). Of course he has deported very few and now advocates for increased legal immigration.That is not what anyone voted for. He incessantly proclaims how much he has done for demographics that will never vote for him, while even openly making fun of the struggles that working class white men (his base) face in society. He has now come out in support of red flag laws as well because of one event presumably. He even gave us a "criminal justice reform bill" to let out criminals to be even more of a plague on society. Why?

"fashion a grand bargain that might have included legal status for the so-called Dreamers (and perhaps their immediate families; not cousins and uncles)." --> This is not acceptable. This is not reform, but merely a concession of the inability of our country to have laws or moral legitimacy.

Sid Finster • 2 days ago
A solid F. Trump's weakness has failed to lead to any major policy successes, even when he had majorities in both houses of Congress. Trump's incompetence has given the establishment loads of ammunition and recruits that they didn't have a few years ago.

Hell, Trump has made even doofus Uncle Joe Biden look like a viable alternative. Sad!

CharlesL • 2 days ago
One major problem with the author's analysis of the Trump Administration's scandals is that it is limited entirely to the Russia scandal. Ignored are a host of acts of corruption that have marked the Administration of the man who constantly bragged that he would appoint "only the best people." So let's examine just a few of them. His National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was convicted of felonies and sent to prison. His Secretary of HHS Tom Price resigned in the wake of insider trading investigations. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke left the Trump administration amid mounting federal investigations into his travel, political activity and potential conflicts of interest. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was facing more than a dozen investigations into his taxpayer-funded travel, questionable spending decisions, use of aides to conduct personal errands and other matters when he resigned. Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigned over his scandalous granting of a sweetheart plea deal to Jeffrey Epstein. I could go on to the other members of Trump's inner circle who are in prison or who have been forced to resign under a cloud of scandal. I could point to New York State shutting down the Trump Foundation as a fraudulent charity that scammed people out of their denotations. I could note the Trump University scam whose victims received a $25 Million dollar payment from Trump after he was elected. The author gives Trump a grade of C+ on scandals? An F would be more accurate.
JeffK from PA CharlesL • 7 hours ago
Even grading on the curve, a C+ is a gift.
IanDakar • 2 days ago
Healthcare: I actually don't blame Trump on this one. All he really did was trust his party when they said they had plans and just needed the power to do them. It would've been great if HE had a plan himself but in the end that's Congress' job more than anything. So he gave them that power, said "DO IT!" and they failed him. He should've struck at immigration first but as far as healthcare itself.

So I give him a B for effort. Republicans get an F.

Immigration: "A massive Trump failure. He was the first president in decades who had enough credibility with restrictionists to fashion a grand bargain that might have included legal status for the so-called Dreamers (and perhaps their immediate families; not cousins and uncles). He might have also taken serious action on other illegals in the country, on stemming the inward flow through every means possible, and on overhauling current immigration policies, including ending family-based migration and the lottery, instituting a merit-based system, and curbing the inflow enough to get the percentage of foreign-born people in America returned to more historical levels."

Remotely not possible? Legal Status for Dreamers, push for more efficient deportations, merit based systems, and curbing the visa system?

That is VERY much possible to get all of most of that. The first is what the opposition is wanting and most of his side wouldn't scream against. He didn't even provide it as a bargaining chip (at best a "we'll revisit it later" delay).

Higher deportations would bring it to Obama levels. It just becomes hard to do when you open the debate with blasting all latinos as criminals sparking off the PC bee hive. Though that's moot since he could've, instead of a symbolic wall he could've asked for more funding for more centers and more judges to speed up the deportation trials (since isn't the point to actually DEPORT them, not lock them up for months under the pay of taxpayers). he used up his capital to maintain a marketing gimmick. By the time we got serious, he had moderates so pissed they tune the whole thing out and the left so angry they'll contemplate decriminalizing the whole thing just to snub him.

A merit based system WOULD'VE been a decent sell before all that mess or simply done when republicans had Congress. It also requires snubbing the "merit=europe" peanut gallery. Now no one is even listening.

The visa issue would've been an easy sell to both sides. It brings in a mass of non-citizens specifically to fill up job slots and then leaves them to be abused by their employers under threat of deportation if they don't comply. I can throw that exact line up in almost any forum and get a mob of support from the radical left to the far right.

There's insanely difficult topics about immigration. Most of your wish list was low hanging fruit in 2015. Trump turned it into the third rail. He didn't spark debate or open anything up. He got everyone so angry they aren't even discussing it properly anymore.

Lastly, if he wanted a wall that badly, he should've tried it in the first two years of his election. Trying it RIGHT AFTER it became impossible reeks of wanting to LOOK like he wanted it, sort of like if I waited until someone filled a box with cement then tried to lift it and said "I'll try HARD to make this happen."

Pure F.

I agree with you on Economics. On Trade I'm not as "China BAD" as you but overall I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one, though I'm not a farmer.

Foreign Policy, There's no really any further places to GO to spark a war other than Iran itself. And as you said he's not doing well there. That said it's probably close to what you said, though I'd put him a D+ as we're not in war with Iran just yet (sadly that is an accomplishment) but I can't see any way to really fix what we ruined at this point. At BEST they'll go the way of North Korea.

Scandal: If this is on how he's handled scandal I'd give him a B-. He know how to handle angry people and keep them barking with no bite. It would've been a B+ but I think the current racial ones was a big overreach especially since it's causing his party to throw their feet into their mouths 2008 style and further souring immigration issues.

Overall: Trump's big advantage is that he touched on an area that Americans desperately needed but everyone wanted to ignore. Republicans wanted to go back to Bush. Democrats forgot that they won on "Change" not on "more of the same".

His disadvantage is that he doesn't have much to actually offer to fix it. He touched on immigration but sparks the fears of racism from the left and focuses on a symbolic, but less effective, wall. He touches on poor workers but taxes rarely affect them and the corporate elite is still tightening their grip just as effectively. He spoke of wars but his biggest accomplishment is that we've run out of places to invade-except Iran which we're 1 misfire from entering.

All he has is an economy that was rising before he joined in and is slowing down 1-2 years after his main policies have taken effect. Thankfully that's the most important. Not thankfully, presidents have the least amount of control over it.

Which means he's mostly banking on a car that was built without a steering wheel and hoping it doesn't slam into a tree.

Meanwhile I glance at the whiplash the size of a tornado that's to my left and wonder just how insane things get when they grab the reigns again.

JeffK from PA IanDakar • 2 days ago
Very, very good analysis. I am a former Republican that now votes Democrat since the lunatics are running the Republican asylum. I was the only one, of all my progressive friends, that said maybe Trump can actually get something done. He owed the Republicans nothing. Nada. Zip. He beat them all, without the help of the Republican machine.

Trump could have formed a center right coalition. Starting with infrastructure that wasn't a wall. Then he could have gone after Big Pharma and the Medical Industrial Complex.

But no..... He immediately jumped as far right as possible. He went after every right wing wet dream he could. He was like a drunken 4 year old that was thrilled to break every toy of his sandbox rival (Obama). Now everything that he says that might be somewhat reasonable is drowned out and eclipsed by his insanity, narcissism, and general idiocy.

The Republicans are going to really, really hate 2020. Can't say it happened to a more deserving bunch of folk though. Bless their little hearts.

marqueemoons JeffK from PA • a day ago
This is a good point; the only Republican who could have actually broken the consensus within the Republican Party and suggested that a) healthcare should be improved for everyone b) the rich could be taxed more, and the poor less and c) foreign wars of aggression are a bad thing got in to office and cut taxes massively for the rich, tried to simply repeal the only step forward in healthcare for decades, and antagonised everyone abroad (Israel and Saudi excepted)
muzan-e IanDakar • a day ago
"The first [Dreamers] is what the opposition is wanting and most of his side wouldn't scream against."

I cannot echo this loudly enough. I live right in the middle of what has become red-meat hard-right Republican land -- but you can still find support for the Dreamers here. They're not desperate for those kids (illegal spouses of immigrants currently in military service dominate that conversation), but they're absolutely willing to keep them -- at least as legal, lifelong residents. And particularly if their families receive no similar benefit.

If you can swing that here, from people who're beginning to lean somewhat xenophobic and feel strongly that illegal immigration is hurting them -- then man, you have a powerful foundation from which to build.

NelsonLaw • 2 days ago
Immigration is a massive Trump failure? Where was the GOP when he got elected? They have said for years if they got the House, Senate, and White House they would build the wall and fix immigration. They did nothing. Zero.
NelsonLaw • 2 days ago
Obama/Hillary "misadventure" in Libya? Wow....talk about putting a sugar coating on a disaster. They put 1 million plus "refugees" into Europe and created a thriving slave market in Libya. Way to go!
NelsonLaw • 2 days ago
No foreign policy success? How about calling out various NATO members for being dead beats? Especially Germany. How about getting out of that fraud "Paris Accord?". Out of the Iran Nuke Deal? Getting NK to Singapore? Taking on the failed NAFTA "deal?" Dumping TPP? ...And the big one...defeating ISIS!!!....Something the "glory boy", Obama could not accomplish.
Josep NelsonLaw • 16 hours ago
How about calling out various NATO members for being dead beats? Especially Germany.

A NATO that has been obsolete for 28 years? That one?

JeffK from PA NelsonLaw • 7 hours ago
He broke all the toys in the sandbox. Great job.
NelsonLaw • 2 days ago
Russian scandal? No, Coup attempt by members of Deep State, i.e. Justice Dept., Intelligence agencies and the MSM. Trump failed in not having midnight SWAT team raids on hundreds of coup plotters.
NelsonLaw • 2 days ago
Trump is not a "unconvential politcan". He is a civilian. He is exactly what we should have seen being elected into the White House for decades.
Dixie_Pixie • 19 hours ago
As far as I know, President Trump is the first person elected to the Presidency with little to no support in any national political Party or organization.
Nor any experience in any form of government at all.
The only President that comes close is General Eisenhower.

Frankly, When I voted for him in 2016.
I did not expect him to last this long. Two years max was my guess.
As Hillary Clinton was far, far worst than any alternative.
So I am surprised he is far better that what I was lead to believe.

I will be voting for President Trump in 2020.
Because he has no support in any of the current major political parties.
But has been relatively successful despite that political situation.

As both major political parties have proven themselves not to be working in the interests of the American People. And have longstanding histories of working against the American Middle-Class. And exploiting their political positions for their political and monetary gain. At the public's expense.

Its Donald Trump or the Asteroid Strike as old the joke goes.
President Trump will do if I can not get two Asteroids striking Washington DC and New York City simultaneously.

EdMan • 6 hours ago
Trump's presidency is a failure and you don't have to be a Democrat to see that. In many ways, Trump was a man ahead of his time, but a major part of his failures is his inability to personally invest any of his time into the issues. Take Afghanistan - he keeps saying he wanted out from the moment he took office, yet here we are, over two years later, with still no end in sight. The fact is, Trump's an empty vessel. I've never gotten the sense he's a true believer and, even if he were, he's become more worried about re-election, which means he's become just another politician.

I'd never vote for a Democrat, with the possible exception of Andrew Yang, in 2020. But it's time to face the music - Trump's going to lose re-election. And maybe that's a good thing, for it's not the establishment that needs to be broken up yet, it's the American right. We need to replace the Mitch McConnells and Lindsay Grahams with the Matt Gaetz and Josh Hawleys. The greatest thing Trump will ever have done is kickstart this nationalist moment, but he won't be able to sustain it. That's up to the people willing and able to do the work we expected him to do as president.

[Aug 17, 2019] Since Trump has been president, I think he's been ineffective in regard to pursuing detente with Russia for a couple of reasons. I think that the people who invented Russiagate were the enemies of detente, and they piled on

Trump proved to be Hillary in disguses "very much a hawk." I would say reckless hawk. Stephen Cohen characterization of Hillary is fully applicable to him now if you substitute Russia for China "Mrs. Clinton, on the other hand, was very much a hawk. When she said publicly that Vladimir Putin has no soul, you could not commit or utter a more supreme statement of ant i-diplomacy, and particularly addressing the Russians, who put a lot of stock in soul. "
Notable quotes:
"... Mrs. Clinton, on the other hand, was very much a hawk. When she said publicly that Vladimir Putin has no soul, you could not commit or utter a more supreme statement of anti-diplomacy, and particularly addressing the Russians, who put a lot of stock in soul. ..."
Apr 19, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

PAUL JAY: Well, my question is, I think when you are saying positive things about Trump diminishing tensions with Russia, which I think is correct, but I think you need to add this guy does not have peaceful intentions, he's very dangerous.

STEPHEN COHEN: I live in a social realm–to the extent that I have any social life at all anymore– where people get very angry if I say, or anybody says, anything positive about Donald Trump. When Trump was campaigning in 2016, he said, "I think it would be great to cooperate with Russia." All of my adult life, my advocacy in American foreign policy–I've known presidents, the first George Bush invited me to Camp David to consult with him before he went to the Malta Summit. I've known presidential candidates, Senators and the rest, and I've always said the same thing. American national security runs through Moscow, period. Nothing's changed.

In the era of weapons of mass destruction, not only nuclear, but primarily nuclear, ever more sophisticated, the Russians now have a new generation of nuclear weapons–Putin announced them on March 1, they were dismissed here, but they're real–that can elude any missile defense. We spent trillions on missile defense to acquire a first strike capability against Russia. We said it was against or Iran, but nobody believed it. Russia has now thwarted us; they now have missile defense-evading nuclear weapons from submarines, to aircraft, to missiles. And Putin has said, "It's time to negotiate an end to this new arms race," and he's 100 percent right. So when I heard Trump say, in 2016, we have to cooperate with Russia, I had already become convinced–and I spell this out in my new book, War with Russia?–that we were in a new cold war, but a new cold war more dangerous than the preceding one for reasons I gave in the book, one of them being these new nuclear weapons.

So I began to speak positively about Trump at that moment–that would have been probably around the summer of 2016–just on this one point, because none of the other candidates were advocating cooperation with Russia. And as I told you before, Paul, all my life I've been a detente guy. Detente means cooperate with Russia. I saw in Trump the one candidate who said this is necessary, in his own funny language. Mrs. Clinton, on the other hand, was very much a hawk. When she said publicly that Vladimir Putin has no soul, you could not commit or utter a more supreme statement of anti-diplomacy, and particularly addressing the Russians, who put a lot of stock in soul. To say somebody has no soul and then go on to equate him with Hitler, I found that so irresponsible. I didn't vote for Trump, but I did begin to write and broadcast that this was of vital importance that we have this discussion, that we needed a new detente because of the new and more dangerous Cold War.

Since he's been president, I think he's been ineffective in regard to pursuing detente with Russia for a couple of reasons. I think that the people who invented Russiagate were the enemies of detente, and they piled on. So they've now demonized Russia, they've crippled Trump. Anything he does diplomatically with Putin is called collusion. No matter what Mueller says, it's collusion. This is anti-democracy, and detente is pursued through democracy. So whatever he really wants to do–it's hard to say–he's been thwarted. I think it's also one of the reasons why he put anti-detente people around him.

[Aug 17, 2019] An Anti-Trump Landslide is quite possible by Rod Dreher

Notable quotes:
"... The real concern is the US Senate. Currently, the GOP holds a six-seat majority (if you count the two Independent senators, who caucus with Democrats, as Democrats). Thirty-four seats are up in 2020. According to this analysis , at this point, 18 of them are in play, and four of those 18 are toss-ups ..."
"... An anti-Trump landslide at the top of the ticket could wash the GOP Senate majority away. We would then have a Democratic president and Congress -- and they would be in a score-settling mood. ..."
"... a recession, which is growing more likely by the day, would be something extremely hard for Trump to overcome. The new Fox poll has Trump at 56 percent unfavorable, with only 42 percent favorable -- and this is in good economic times. ..."
"... UPDATE: Douthat speculates today on what a recession would mean for the country , starting with the presidency: ..."
"... First, the easy part: Donald Trump loses re-election . It will be ugly and flailing and desperate and -- depending on recession-era geopolitics -- potentially quite dangerous, but there is no way a president so widely disliked survives the evaporation of his boom. ..."
"... But, as Douthat points out, getting rid of Trump doesn't do much to address the factors that led to his rise in the first place. ..."
"... The real truth is that the Republicans have a problem their rich globalist donors have abandoned them for Democrats blue Dog Dems as they are called, while their base will support them if they lead. Leading means angering their mega donors. ..."
"... Normally Republican Funder Hedge fund billionaire Seth Klarman said Democrats need to regain control of Congress "for the good of the country". His money has had found its way to 56 Democrats running for House seats and 22 Democrats running for the U.S. Senate. This is millions. His reason was a tax cut he neither needed nor wanted, Huh? ..."
"... if it is business as usual they will lose the Senate and not gain the house. ..."
Aug 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

( PBS News Hour screenshot ) Anything could happen between now and November 2020, but this new Fox News poll is not good news for the president. If the vote were held today, Joe Biden would clobber him, which is no surprise. But also, a geriatric New England socialist would beat the stuffing out of Trump. So would a preachy Harvard professor and a militantly progressive black woman from the San Francisco Bay Area:

Again, anything could happen, but you know what's probably going to happen between now and Election Day? A recession. That's hard for any incumbent president to overcome, but this one will already be starting out in a deep hole, and I think most of us can agree that in the event of an economic downturn, is unlikely to dazzle with his scintillating competence. New from the AP:

The financial markets signaled the possibility of a U.S. recession this week, sending a jolt of anxiety to investors, companies and consumers. That's on top of concerns over Trump's plans to impose punishing tariffs on goods from China and word from the United Kingdom and Germany that their economies are shrinking.

Though a pre-election recession here is far from certain, a downturn would be a devastating blow to the president, who has made a strong economy his central argument for a second term. Trump advisers fear a weakened economy would hurt him with moderate Republican and independent voters who have been willing to give him a pass on some his incendiary policies and rhetoric. And White House economic advisers see few options for reversing course should the economy start to slip.

Trump has taken to blaming others for the recession fears, mostly the Federal Reserve, which he is pushing for further interest rate cuts. Yet much of the uncertainty in the markets stems from his own escalation of a trade war with China, as well as weakened economies in key countries around the world.

If the economy goes into recession, what's the compelling argument for voting Trump? I know what the argument is for social and religious conservatives: judges. But only a minority of American voters care so strongly about judges.

The real concern is the US Senate. Currently, the GOP holds a six-seat majority (if you count the two Independent senators, who caucus with Democrats, as Democrats). Thirty-four seats are up in 2020. According to this analysis , at this point, 18 of them are in play, and four of those 18 are toss-ups. Only one of those four toss-ups -- Doug Jones in Alabama -- is a Democrat. Jones will probably lose no matter what -- Alabama went for Trump by 30 points, and Jones only won because his GOP opponent was creepy Roy Moore.

An anti-Trump landslide at the top of the ticket could wash the GOP Senate majority away. We would then have a Democratic president and Congress -- and they would be in a score-settling mood.

One more time: anything could happen between now and Election Day 2020. But a recession, which is growing more likely by the day, would be something extremely hard for Trump to overcome. The new Fox poll has Trump at 56 percent unfavorable, with only 42 percent favorable -- and this is in good economic times.

UPDATE: Douthat speculates today on what a recession would mean for the country , starting with the presidency:

First, the easy part: Donald Trump loses re-election . It will be ugly and flailing and desperate and -- depending on recession-era geopolitics -- potentially quite dangerous, but there is no way a president so widely disliked survives the evaporation of his boom. The rules of politics have changed, but they haven't been suspended. Polarization will keep Trump from being defeated in a landslide, but not from being beaten handily, and in a recession the Democrats can nominate any of their candidates and expect to evict the president with ease.

Read the whole thing to see why he concludes:

Having guaranteed Trump's removal from office, in other words, the recession would also set the stage for Trumpism's eventual return.

I see a number of pro-Trump commenters below are pointing out that the pundits didn't see Trump coming, so their forecasts of Trump's defeat in 2020 shouldn't be taken seriously. Sure, that's true -- but Trump in 2016 was elected in a booming economy. Had the economy not been in good shape, Trump might have been elected anyway, riding high on economic anxiety. Neither of these factors will be present should Trump have to run for re-election in a recessionary economy. And, Trump was running against a candidate representing the incumbent White House party. Now, he is a member of the incumbent White House party.

But, as Douthat points out, getting rid of Trump doesn't do much to address the factors that led to his rise in the first place.

Let me point out for the hundred-eleventieth time: anything can happen between now and November 2020. Polls aren't worth much now. But they do remind us that Trump is extremely unpopular, and will have trouble getting re-elected even if the economy is in good shape next year. If it's not, what, exactly, will he run on?


Jefferson Smith • 18 hours ago • edited

Trump has had historically awful numbers since about a month after he was inaugurated. The Fox News poll is coming as a wake-up call because for a long time, the liberal media were too busy hanging out in Rust Belt diners interviewing Trump voters -- the alleged "Real Americans" -- to pay much mind to the fact that much of the actual country detests the guy. Not saying he can't win in '20, but recessions aside, one thing he won't have going for him this time is the element of surprise: Everyone will know that it's obviously possible for him to win, and that if your main goal is to prevent that then you simply have to vote for the Democrat -- no staying home, no Jill Stein or Evan McMullin-type nonsense, at least not if you're in a state whose outcome is remotely in doubt. Eight years of Obama had made too many voters complacent, and Trump has helpfully focused people's minds.
Delta Jefferson Smith • 10 hours ago
I will gladly vote for the Democratic nominee, regardless of who it is. (Unless he/she is worse than Trump, which is probably impossible, since Genghis Khan is not available.) I would vote for the toad in my back garden if he/she gets the nomination. Everyone reading this knows why. Some people are able to overlook the obvious, but I find that I can't.

Unhappily I am in California, so it really doesn't matter who I vote for.

Greg Delta • 6 hours ago
I live in Oregon now (from CA originally), but yes, our vote really doesn't matter!
Hector_St_Clare Jefferson Smith • 7 hours ago
Yea, I think part of the reason Trump won in 2016 was because he took everyone by surprise. Few people thought he could win (except Nate Silver and the LA Times, I guess, and a few of the commenters here): even he didn't think he was going to win until the Michigan results started coming in.
Richard Parker • 18 hours ago
Polls this far out are meaningless. What happened to Bush Seniors second term?
BWreSlippySlope • 17 hours ago
Another weak story board based on polls that already in question. Fox is not above the fold to skew polls to keep stories going. The left and the media has made a pseudo state of fear of even wearing a MAGA hat in public. This pseudo state has armed low information and low IQ Americans willing to attack Senators while they are mowing their lawn, or enabling professors swinging bike locks at rallies against Trump supporters.

The Senate and the House will loose not on the coattails of Trump, but based on their own silence and failures, and business as usual. Again and Again these articles throw up the importance of saving the Republican party, but before Trump the party was over. The party knew that as they went after rigging of the polls rather than winning the votes through addressing problems.

The real truth is that the Republicans have a problem their rich globalist donors have abandoned them for Democrats blue Dog Dems as they are called, while their base will support them if they lead. Leading means angering their mega donors. Trump has 65 percent individual donors, far above any of the Dems, even combined. Tom Steyer is paying millions to get thousands that are from individual donors.

Normally Republican Funder Hedge fund billionaire Seth Klarman said Democrats need to regain control of Congress "for the good of the country". His money has had found its way to 56 Democrats running for House seats and 22 Democrats running for the U.S. Senate. This is millions. His reason was a tax cut he neither needed nor wanted, Huh?

Uihlein gave $2.5 million to Ives in a single week this past January -- essentially bankrolling her campaign to defeat Rauner in a Republican primary on Tuesday.

Koch Brothers also followed the same suit. I could go naming more and more that switch sides, but also tried to finance Trump Inauguration where things were more laxed and flooded in, and tried to line up on his door step. Instead he closed the door.

Trump showed that Campaign funds don't really matter if you have heart and the desire to win, having a bad candidate to run against doesn't hurt either, but the Dems have tons of bad candidates.

With Harvesting Vote laws California is lost, but the rest of the country is in play. If they lead and lead for the people they will win, if it is business as usual they will lose the Senate and not gain the house.

[Aug 16, 2019] Trump's Great Gamble by Pat Buchanan

Aug 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

KenH , says: August 16, 2019 at 1:28 am GMT

At this point who cares? Tweets aside Trump has turned into the corporate/donor class Republican he ran against in 2016 and in some cases even worse with his recent about face on the second amendment which I've been predicting since he banned bump stocks. He's now bought the lie that as long as the U.S. enjoys sustained economic growth the multiracial madhouse that is contemporary murica won't ever derail.

Trump the candidate promised:
* A strong economy which he's partially delivered on
* A wall on our Southern border
* A drastic reduction in H1B and other work visas that allow American elites to displace Americans from the work force
* Decreases in legal immigration
* Unwavering support for the 2nd amendment
* Law and order

Trump the president has given us:
* More moral, material and financial support to Israel than ever
* Moved the embassy to Jerusalem
* Forcing foreign nations to decriminalize homosexual sodomy
* Letting Antifa and other assorted left wing crazies run wild and attack people in the streets while prosecuting his right of center supporters for fighting back
* Early prison release for violent black and other felons
* Potentially the largest influx of legal immigrants and illegal aliens in U.S. history coupled with the lowest number of deportations
* No wall (yet)
* Formally condemned white nationalism and so called white supremacy but not black and brown supremacy or left wing terrorism
* Potentially infringing upon the 2nd amendment even more than Bill Clinton and far more than Barack Obama

At this rate Trump will probably give us the green new deal, black slave reparations, a white privilege tax and deny "anti-semites" first and second amendment rights should he win a second term. History has shown that the radical left makes some of its greatest political gains under Republican presidents and Trump has done nothing to buck that trend.

JasonT , says: August 16, 2019 at 1:50 am GMT
America was and is looted by wealthy Americans looking for a quick buck. Globalization and offshoring in the 19080's was all about greedy wealthy Westerners, especially Americans, wanting to make more money. To blame the looting in others just demonstrates Buchanan's stupidity.
anonymous [340] Disclaimer , says: August 16, 2019 at 1:54 am GMT
@Hanrahan Notice the continued exclusion of Representative Gabbard and her criticism of the destructive Empire -- despite focusing on Beltway politics, he hasn't typed her name since June 28. He wants the "Elizabeth Warren-Bernie Sanders-AOC Democrats" to go even kookier because this website's "Mr. Paleoconservative" has become a Beltway fixture, cheerleading for Team Red in the next Most Important Election Ever.
swamped , says: August 16, 2019 at 8:20 am GMT
"the Great Arsenal of Democracy was looted by" the military-industrial complex Arsenal & it's unending wars & nothing short of nuclear annihilation is going to change that. There is no Democrat who is willing to bet their chance at the presidency on pulling it down. And the American public, by and large, is put to sleep by lengthy discussions of the intricacies of trade policy. The election will be waged, like the primaries, around race-baiting. Biden will be the first victim. The other white candidates are running scared & becoming more shrill in their denunciations of whites in general by the hour. There's no telling where it all may lead but it's becoming clearer day by day that the hostility will outlast the primaries & the general election will be a very ugly affair. There's no turning back to the soothing center now, it will be an us-vs.-them type election & hopefully, Pat Buchanan, still America's shrewdest pundit, will keep us fully apprised.
animalogic , says: August 16, 2019 at 10:58 am GMT
@Charles Pewitt Basically I agree with Erebus's comment.
What you don't seem to get is that the China situation is of the US's own making. US Co's in the 90's & naughtier literally salivated at getting there production into China (or Mexico) Then -- they were happy to accept Chinese conditions, as was the US government.
So, your ridiculous, punitive tariffs are going to HURT the thousands of US companies who happily moved production to China. Nor will US Co's move home (unless the government acts aggressively) -- they'll move to Vietnam or where ever.
Of course such punitive tarrifs will justify the Chinese into further devaluing their currency.
Would be interesting to see the affects on US inflation were your program followed.
Implied in your comment is the apparent fact that you do not understand this US/China issue.(which is OK, because Trump & CO certainly don't understand the imperatives here)
You seem to think it's about trade. Actually it about China's sovereignty. The US position is that China NOT become a leading economy such as the US, Japan & Germany are. The US demands China cease it's drive to lead in high tech'. The Chinese simply can not give-in. US demands amount to China becoming a second rate power, essentially a US vassal.
How could any country, let alone China with its humiliating history of being a victim of western imperialism, do anything else but fight?
Anonymous [141] Disclaimer , says: August 16, 2019 at 10:59 am GMT

President Donald Trump's reelection hopes hinge on two things: the state of the economy in 2020 and the identity of the Democratic nominee.

That's the first sentence and that's where I should have stopped reading. This is the kind of out of touch political insider horse trading irradiated bullshittery that no one should waste their time on anymore.

Trump's is finished if he doesn't fulfil his US immigration promises from 2016. He's also finished if he doesn't stop channelling his Jewish handlers with embarrassingly stupid anti-white rhetoric. That's it. That's where "reelection hopes" should focus on.

[Aug 15, 2019] Trump's most obvious failed promise is not putting the deep state under constitutional control, after the Obama/Clinton escapades.

Aug 15, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

ilsm -> kurt... , August 14, 2019 at 10:15 AM

Trump's most obvious failed promise is not putting the deep state under constitutional control, after the Obama/Clinton escapades.

"Justice, FBI and ICE are turning into partisan organizations."

Wrong! The deep state is in the DNC's pocket. Barr is fixing the extent Obama attempted to coup the 2016 election using the DNC' deep state.

BTW your Leninist DNC armed appendage aka antifa is now responsible for 4 attacks on IC offices. The latest a gun shot through a window of an ICE office in San Antonio, Tx.

That the deep state has not closed them is deep state obeisance to the DNC.

[Aug 07, 2019] Initially Trump has rational ideas about the origin of 9/11, But like other rational ideas they quickly disappeared.

Aug 07, 2019 | www.unz.com

Pietro , says: August 5, 2019 at 7:11 pm GMT

President Donald Trump saw the same day that bombs must have been used on the WTC towers on 9/11/2001.

From his experience building steel sky scrapers, he knew they were built to be strong, even against a jet. He stated to the reporter that bombs must also have been involved.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Rt-ldMj9y9w?feature=oembed

Note: This was an audio-only interview by reporters at Channel 9.
Rolland Smith, Alan Marcus

The photo in the thumb nail is actually from another interview by a German reporter on 9/11/2001, who looks similar to Alan.

Original same day news interview:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tI1yX&#8230 ;
http://bcove.me/iq0pk0nz

c matt , says: August 5, 2019 at 8:24 pm GMT
What I have yet to see satisfactorily explained is how a huge (or even yuuuge) skyscraper can fall – within its footprint – when subjected to asymmetrical forces.

Put aside whether the jets had enough fuel, burned hot or long enough, etc. Taking the footage at face value, the buildings were SLAMMED from one direction. There is no way that could have caused symmetrical damage. Any structural component closer to impact received orders of magnitude of force more than those on the opposite side, resulting in unequal weakening. Yet what everyone saw was a symmetrical collapse within footprint, as though all structural components were equally and simultaneously weakened.

Who you gonna believe, the gubmint, or your own lying eyes?

[Aug 03, 2019] Obama s election and betrayal was probably the last successful bait and switch maneuver by Clinton wing of Democratic Party before it disintegrated in 2016

Notable quotes:
"... The establishment's "Democracy Works!" propaganda seeks to stifle such Movements, directing attention to establishment candidates voice those concerns. But those candidates invariably prove to be ineffective because they can never get enough support to win and their efforts largely end with the election. ..."
Aug 03, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Aug 3 2019 15:24 utc | 99

oglalla @85

Yes!

Bemildred @87:

Well you don't trust any of them, but you vote for the ones pushing policy you want to see happen, and you vote for the ones that try to make that happen, and you abandon them immediately if they renege.

Obama's election and betrayal proved that this strategy doesn't work.

Tulsi is not anti-war', she's anti- dumb wars . Just as Colin Powell was ('Powell Doctrine' LOL). Just as Obama was ("don't do stupid stuff"). Just as Trump is (amid howls of "isolationist!" LOL).

The fact is, every candidate will salute the flag as soon as the requisite false flag outrage occurs.

Furthermore, even if you ardently support Tulsi because she voices something that appears to be anti-war, you have to contend with passionate supporters of other candidates: those who want a candidate of color, those who want an older more experienced candidate, those who want a women candidate; those who want a socialist candidate, etc. In this way the electorate is played against each other and in the end the establishment's favored candidate emerges naturally as the "democratic choice" (with the help of establishment money and media support) .

Relying on voting for change is not enough . There has to be independent Movements for each fundamental change: Democracy, Anti-war; Economic fairness. Like the Yellow Vest Movement.

The establishment's "Democracy Works!" propaganda seeks to stifle such Movements, directing attention to establishment candidates voice those concerns. But those candidates invariably prove to be ineffective because they can never get enough support to win and their efforts largely end with the election.

Welcome to the rabbit hole.

[Aug 02, 2019] Trump Pretends to Like Union Members -- But He Really Likes the Fat Cats

Aug 02, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Donald Trump: billionaire of the people. When he ran for office, he said , "The American worker will finally have a president who will protect them and fight for them."

And how's that working out for the American worker? Not very well, actually, not very well. When it comes down to picking sides -- standing up for workers' rights or lining the pockets of CEOs and shareholders -- Trump aligned himself and his policies with the fat cats. This cost workers money and safety. The truth is that American corporations got a president who protected them and fought for them

[Aug 02, 2019] In 2008, Obama was touted as a political outsider who will hose away all of the rot and bloody criminality of the Bush years. He turned out to be a deft move by our ruling class

Aug 02, 2019 | www.unz.com

anonymous [340] Disclaimer , says: July 30, 2019 at 1:16 pm GMT

@Miro23 No, some saw this well in advance:

"In 2008, Obama was touted as a political outsider who will hose away all of the rot and bloody criminality of the Bush years. He turned out to be a deft move by our ruling class. Though fools still refuse to see it, Obama is a perfect servant of our military banking complex. Now, Trump is being trumpeted as another political outsider.

A Trump presidency will temporarily appease restless, lower class whites, while serving as a magnet for liberal anger. This will buy our ruling class time as they continue to wage war abroad while impoverishing Americans back home. Like Obama, Trump won't fulfill any of his election promises, and this, too, will be blamed on bipartisan politics."

Linh Dinh, "Orlando Shooting Means Trump for President," @ The Unz Review (June 12, 2016).

anonymous [239] Disclaimer , says: July 30, 2019 at 2:01 pm GMT
Note how the 'free press' of the US has been not only complicit in all this every step of the way but is coordinated with it, staying silent about things in front of its nose and launching propaganda campaigns on cue. Obviously the media is in close cooperation with elements of the political establishment. Oh, but we have the freest media in the world. I know so because I read it in the newspaper.

[Aug 02, 2019] Trump Pretends to Like Union Members -- But He Really Likes the Fat Cats by Tom Conway

Notable quotes:
"... This isn't a glitch. It's a pattern. Although Trump is fond of surrounding himself with union members and asserting that they love him, he doesn't really like unions, especially ones that challenge him or dare to question his lies. Remember how he personally attacked Steelworker Chuck Jones who exposed Trump and Pence for claiming to save 1,100 jobs at Carrier when they really preserved only about half that many -- and then only after a grant of $7 million from the taxpayers of Indiana? ..."
"... A president who supported organized labor would oppose freeriders who won't pay their fair share but still want all the benefits of union membership. A president who supported unions would not issue executive orders crippling unions representing federal workers. A president who supported unions would not delay or eliminate health and safety regulations designed to protect workers from sickness and death. ..."
"... That's not Donald Trump. He supported Mark Janus, an Illinois government employee who wanted everything for nothing. Janus was fine with collecting the higher wages that the labor union representing him secured for workers, but Janus didn't want to contribute one red cent for that representation. ..."
"... So with right-wing corporate billionaires picking up the tab for him, Janus took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ordered unions to provide workers like Janus with essentially a free lunch. That is, the court said unions must represent freeloaders like him, but those workers don't have to pay anything for all they get -- no dues, no fees, nothing. ..."
"... And then there are his labor secretary choices. First he wanted Andy Puzder, CEO of the restaurant corporation that owns Hardee's and Carl's Jr., an opponent of raising the minimum wage who said he preferred machines to humans. Puzder withdrew, and Alexander Acosta took over until he was forced to resign last month as a result of the unconscionable plea deal he gave an accused molester a decade ago when Acosta was a federal prosecutor. ..."
"... Now the interim secretary is Patrick Pizzella, who lobbied for years to prevent Congress from extending minimum wage requirements to the Northern Mariana Islands , a commonwealth of the United States, where workers were paid as little as $1 an hour but the corporate bosses got to mark the merchandise produced there as Made in America. I guess that's how you Make America Great Again, huh? ..."
"... Now, Trump has picked Scalia, son of the late, anti-worker Supreme Court justice. This is the guy who killed a proposed ergonomics rule to protect workers against injuries from repetitive motions, denigrating the research as "junk science" and "quackery." ..."
"... This is the guy who stopped the fiduciary rule that would have required brokers to act in clients' best interest rather than brokers' personal financial benefit by forbidding brokers from recommending investments that paid brokers big commissions but provided clients with low returns. This corrupt practice costs workers and retirees about $17 billion a year . ..."
"... Scalia is a corporate shill. And he'd be reporting to Trump, whose slavish support of corporate bosses over working Americans has revealed he's nothing more than a poser in a red MAGA baseball cap. ..."
"... The decline of the unions has been 50 years in the making under Democrats and Republicans. Blaming Trump is a convenient scapegoat and pinata for the left, but just the icing on the cake for decades of bad DC policies. Trump didn't create the Rust Belt or sign NAFTA. ..."
"... The strange thing is that with the Trump administration attacking all of the American friends/allies, no one is willing to step in and help America with curtailing Chinese trade abuses. ..."
"... I think the point they're making is by no means that this started with Trump, or that the Democrats have been all that great. Merely that he's been significantly worse (and many of the examples are egregiously anti-labor actions that would not have been done under a Clinton ((or a Bush or Romney for that matter)) and that the preposterousness of his thin pretence at being a friend of labor is an order of magnitude greater even than Biden's. ..."
Aug 02, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Tom Conway, the international president of the United Steelworkers Union (USW) . Produced by the Independent Media Institute

Donald Trump: billionaire of the people. When he ran for office, he said , "The American worker will finally have a president who will protect them and fight for them."

And how's that working out for the American worker? Not very well, actually, not very well. When it comes down to picking sides -- standing up for workers' rights or lining the pockets of CEOs and shareholders -- Trump aligned himself and his policies with the fat cats. This cost workers money and safety. The truth is that American corporations got a president who protected them and fought for them.

The proof is in Trump'slegislation, regulation and secretary selections. The most recent example is Trump's Twitter appointment of Eugene Scalia as Secretary of Labor. This is the department specifically designated to "foster, promote, and develop the welfare of wage earners, job seekers, and retirees." Scalia, though, has made his fortune over decades by fighting to ensure that the big guys -- corporations -- don't, in fact, have to abide by regulations intended to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the little guys -- wage earners, job seekers, and retirees.

That is who Trump chose to protect wage earners -- a corporatist so egregious that when former President George W. Bush wanted Scalia as Labor Department solicitor, Bush had to give him a recess appointment because Republicans in the Senate balked at approving him.

This isn't a glitch. It's a pattern. Although Trump is fond of surrounding himself with union members and asserting that they love him, he doesn't really like unions, especially ones that challenge him or dare to question his lies. Remember how he personally attacked Steelworker Chuck Jones who exposed Trump and Pence for claiming to save 1,100 jobs at Carrier when they really preserved only about half that many -- and then only after a grant of $7 million from the taxpayers of Indiana?

A president who supported organized labor would oppose freeriders who won't pay their fair share but still want all the benefits of union membership. A president who supported unions would not issue executive orders crippling unions representing federal workers. A president who supported unions would not delay or eliminate health and safety regulations designed to protect workers from sickness and death.

That's not Donald Trump. He supported Mark Janus, an Illinois government employee who wanted everything for nothing. Janus was fine with collecting the higher wages that the labor union representing him secured for workers, but Janus didn't want to contribute one red cent for that representation.

So with right-wing corporate billionaires picking up the tab for him, Janus took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ordered unions to provide workers like Janus with essentially a free lunch. That is, the court said unions must represent freeloaders like him, but those workers don't have to pay anything for all they get -- no dues, no fees, nothing.

Of course, there is no such thing as a free lunch. The whole point of Janus' and the billionaires' court crusade was to bankrupt and try to kill unions. And Trump was on their side.

If Trump really were the billionaire of the people, he'd have stood with the union. That's who Trump promised that he would protect, the organization of average people trying to earn an honest living and standing up to big government and big corporations.

But he didn't.

That was in June of last year. Just last week , Trump went to court seeking enforcement of his executive orders restricting unions representing federal workers and enabling him to quickly fire workers. The unions contend Trump does not have this authority. This is not settled in court yet, but Trump is asking a judge to let him impose the orders before it is.

That sounds like a president using all of the power of big government to step on the tens of thousands of little guys who do the grueling work, day after day, to ensure the federal government serves the American people reasonably well.

There's even more. So much more.

Trump slow-walked implementation of silica and beryllium exposure safeguards intended to save workers' lives and delayed a rule requiring mine operators to identify potential hazards before workers begin their shifts. He helped thwart an attempt to extend overtime pay to 4 million workers . Trump blocked a rule that would have made it harder for corporations that violate labor laws to get federal contracts. Trump lifted not one finger to help those crushed by a starvation $7.25 minimum wage not raised in a decade .

And then there are his labor secretary choices. First he wanted Andy Puzder, CEO of the restaurant corporation that owns Hardee's and Carl's Jr., an opponent of raising the minimum wage who said he preferred machines to humans. Puzder withdrew, and Alexander Acosta took over until he was forced to resign last month as a result of the unconscionable plea deal he gave an accused molester a decade ago when Acosta was a federal prosecutor.

Now the interim secretary is Patrick Pizzella, who lobbied for years to prevent Congress from extending minimum wage requirements to the Northern Mariana Islands , a commonwealth of the United States, where workers were paid as little as $1 an hour but the corporate bosses got to mark the merchandise produced there as Made in America. I guess that's how you Make America Great Again, huh?

Now, Trump has picked Scalia, son of the late, anti-worker Supreme Court justice. This is the guy who killed a proposed ergonomics rule to protect workers against injuries from repetitive motions, denigrating the research as "junk science" and "quackery."

This is the guy who argued that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an agency of the Labor Department, had no authority to regulate worker safety at SeaWorld after a 12,300-poundorca that had killed twice before attacked and drowned a trainer in front of hundreds of horrified children.

This is the guy who stopped the fiduciary rule that would have required brokers to act in clients' best interest rather than brokers' personal financial benefit by forbidding brokers from recommending investments that paid brokers big commissions but provided clients with low returns. This corrupt practice costs workers and retirees about $17 billion a year .

This is the guy who persuaded an appeals court to force card dealers in Las Vegas to split the tips they earn with their supervisors.

This guy is among the lawyers representing a petroleum producers' trade association that is suing to overturn a California regulation calling for worker participation to improve refinery safety. The state passed the legislation after a refinery fire in Richmond, California, sent 15,000 nearby residents to hospitals and doctor's offices for treatment, mostly for breathing problems. The lawsuit was filed in July, just days before an explosion and fire at an Exxon Mobil refinery in Texas that injured 37 people.

Scalia is a corporate shill. And he'd be reporting to Trump, whose slavish support of corporate bosses over working Americans has revealed he's nothing more than a poser in a red MAGA baseball cap.



Partyless Poster , , August 2, 2019 at 4:22 pm

So this is whats exasperating, if the Democrats actually hammered on these issues the would have so much support, instead its Russia Russia Russia all the time. "Inauthentic opposition" its like they don't want to win.

John Beech , , August 2, 2019 at 4:24 pm

Come on, nobody likes dealing with unions, not even Bernie. I suspect he's been hoist by his own petard because he's now on the horns of the pay dilemma of private enterprise due to his campaign workers unionizing and making pay demands.

Dealing with a labor union presents me with a conundrum. While I agree with the philosophy of a labor union, and for them having a voice because they 'should', I break with them in favor of management's view of union labor. Why? It's because the union members aren't good team players.

Sadly – and proving my pay grade doesn't extend high enough to have all the answers – I also break with one of management practices. This because I feel management are also poor team players because they pay themselves so darned much it seems unfair.

Basically I feel like one for all and all for one works for Musketeers and teams, the spirit falls apart with private capital. And that Marx business of, "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need" is a proven loser.

I theorize each time it's because labor and management aren't really working for one team. How is Southwest's vaunted employee owned doing? Everybody happy? I doubt it. I almost wish there were privately held companies where there's an owner and employees, and employee-owned only. And publicly held must be accountable to government oversight to prevent abuses.

Why? I suspect if 'all' shares of Southwest were owned by the employees 'only' then the collectively 'they' would be rich in fact because only they owned the means of production (moving people and cargo via air for lucre).

Anyway, the key part everybody forgets about Marx is he prefaced the above in part with . . ."after labor has become not only a means of life but life's prime want."

This is an important point being overlooked because it presupposes people 'want' to go to work. Don't know about you but I don't really know many who want to work. Most would rather sip margaritas on the beach instead of going into work. Thus, as long as this is the case, the Marxist dream is just that, a pipe dream because most folks are 'lazy' – or put another way – don't want to exist only to work. Don't really blame them.

Anyway, if we recognize the truth of this (that many don't especially want to work), then it follows we also receive less productive work from some vs. others, then paying everybody the same is inherently unfair. And by extension, setting a minimum pay means everybody at that level is worth the same, and we know this isn't true!

So if you here are are forced to accept the validity of some of this, e.g. some who will show up and be a warm body – but – won't be a team player and give their heart to doing the best job, and others won't show up for a paycheck at all if not forced by want, then everybody isn't worth the same wage! In fact, is it unreasonable to presuppose some simply aren't worth a minimum amount of pay? Further to the point, forcing a minimum pay becomes in some terms, almost immoral and the antithesis of freedom because we don't receive some fair bit of labor in exchange from some.

Could this be why so many, especially amongst the working poor, are simply against Socialism/Communism/Marxism even if they can't put the 'why they're against it' into words? Yes, I know they're not the same but they'll be tarred with the same brush by Capitalist forces so the answers needs must.

Anyway, circling back, I am delighted with Bernie's newfound union involvement from management's perspective. Why? It's because I very much look forward to see how his views evolve.

skippy , , August 2, 2019 at 5:16 pm

I think the American neoliberal matrix has shifted social perspectives during its decadal tenure E.g. there is only the Market where one can become a Kardashian, Entertainment, IT, YouTube Vloger, et al and Brand Name Commodity for sale . individual needs and wants expressed in a manner Marx never envisioned.

The financial elites are already on Mars for all intents and purposes .

YankeeFrank , , August 2, 2019 at 7:32 pm

Oh please, all this team player talk and some people don't deserve a minimum wage do you have any idea how massively the US employee is exploited and trashed by the "team players" in management?

Everyone, even those who don't want to work, deserve to live. You have apparently imbibed the capitalist mantra that work defines moral value so fully that anyone who can't or won't work should starve.

The fact is our society produces so much surplus value it could (and does) afford to support a substantial number who don't work for various reasons (mainly disability due to working physically demanding jobs for decades that ruin their bodies). Work doesn't equal morality. Try to dig yourself out of the neoliberal mindset, its inhumane and morally hollow.

jrs , , August 2, 2019 at 7:51 pm

+1000 even those who don't want to work, deserve to live.

Besides the fact that I suspect there are actually VERY FEW who don't want to do any work. The beef isn't actually with this tiny minority but that they don't work to some capitalists definition of optimum (explotation). When a medieval peasant spent less time working than we do. So maybe they are working like medieval peasants which should actually be MORE THAN possible, if technology has done anything, but oddly since all the wealth funneled to the top, it's not.

Left in Wisconsin , , August 2, 2019 at 7:36 pm

Anyway, if we recognize the truth of this (that many don't especially want to work), then it follows we also receive less productive work from some vs. others, then paying everybody the same is inherently unfair. And by extension, setting a minimum pay means everybody at that level is worth the same, and we know this isn't true!

No doubt some workers do more and/or better work than others but, for almost all jobs, it is a myth that there is an economically fair way to pay workers based on their productivity. Because outside of a few truly solo occupations, all output is collective output – there is no way to distinguish each individual worker's contribution to that output. So pay is always a socio-economic outcome, based as much on social convention and bargaining power as any putative economic contribution. At one time, this was well and truly understood. But economists have massively obfuscated this common-sense point.

The fairest pay for production workers (regardless of what industry they work in or what goods or services they produce) is the pay that those workers, via their union, determine to be most fair. The reason why unions always push for equal pay for the same job is because they view favoritism as a more serious offense against fairness than someone not as talented getting the same pay as someone more talented.

Darthbobber , , August 2, 2019 at 7:58 pm

I recommend William Morris's excellent essay, "Useful Work versus Useless Toil." Conveys very well the problems with most employment.

Morris was quite good, BTW, at presenting his understanding of Marc's central points in an empirical English fashion.

Andy Raushner , , August 2, 2019 at 4:53 pm

Considering a producer led recession is starting, Trump has problems.

John Beech , , August 2, 2019 at 6:32 pm

Well, defacto, President Trump doesn't actually have a problem with such a recession because he's on Mars with the rest of the elites. It's 'we the people' who have the problem because we're the ones who actually suffer in a recession.

Louis Fyne , , August 2, 2019 at 5:23 pm

" Not very well, actually, not very well. When it comes down to picking sides -- standing up for workers' rights or lining the pockets of CEOs and shareholders -- Trump aligned himself and his policies with the fat cats . "

Oh, if only Democrats were in complete control of the White House, Senate and House at some point within the past 10 years!

The decline of the unions has been 50 years in the making under Democrats and Republicans. Blaming Trump is a convenient scapegoat and pinata for the left, but just the icing on the cake for decades of bad DC policies. Trump didn't create the Rust Belt or sign NAFTA.

just saying.

The Rage , , August 2, 2019 at 5:51 pm

NAFTA is a big nothing. It helped boost capital flows which capital needs for production. US growth is running above shrinking supply, which rejects your point.

The post-war era is the only time in is history, workers made such gains. Pretty clear why.

Just Saying ..

Noel Nospamington , , August 2, 2019 at 6:17 pm

The USA has had trade surpluses with Canada under NAFTA:

The United States has a $12.5 billion trade surplus with Canada in 2016. Canada has historically held a trade deficit with the United States in every year since 1985 in net trade of goods, excluding services. The trade relationship between the two countries crosses all industries and is vitally important to both nations' success as each country is one of the largest trade partners of the other.

And yet Trump blackmailed Canada into the USMCA which is far worse than NAFTA for both countries, and provides more benefits to large multi-national corporations.

Lets hope that the American congress kills USMCA, and leaves NAFTA in place.

The strange thing is that with the Trump administration attacking all of the American friends/allies, no one is willing to step in and help America with curtailing Chinese trade abuses.

Darthbobber , , August 2, 2019 at 8:04 pm

I think the point they're making is by no means that this started with Trump, or that the Democrats have been all that great. Merely that he's been significantly worse (and many of the examples are egregiously anti-labor actions that would not have been done under a Clinton ((or a Bush or Romney for that matter)) and that the preposterousness of his thin pretence at being a friend of labor is an order of magnitude greater even than Biden's.

[Jul 06, 2019] This election will spawn losers all over the place; the most tragic losers will be those that voted a supposed maverick into the high office in order to fight the 'liberal' or whatever establishment hoping to bring jobs back to the people.

Notable quotes:
"... you cannot fight the establishment with the establishment and Trump -who is a billionaire FFS- is another one who represents that. If he didn't he would not have been allowed to run. ..."
"... It is strange and telling that the discourse within the American public over the last 40 years or so allowed themselves to discuss and tackle to various levels of success issues like sexism, racism, institutional racism, misogyny, xenophobia, even sexuality and yes, even gun laws but one thing that is an absolute no-no in discourse is the economical and subsequentially political system. ..."
"... As long as people believe the American Dream is within reach to them, just like they believe it was for individuals like Trump, the economic system will remain its status quo and that is: riches for a few, struggles for many. ..."
"... You correctly state that you cannot fight the establishment with Trump. But I suggest he is the best choice. You assume a choice has been made to get that single person to help them. I suggest a choice has been made to plant a suicide bomber in the establishment. ..."
"... With Trump in that position, the entire credibility of the establishment has been destroyed. Trump is a clown. An idiot. Every time he spouting something misogynistic or racist he became a better weapon for the public to use to against the establishments structures. No better place for him than to have him as the Icon of the establishment. The (now) unacceptable face. ..."
"... As you say, the power is with the people. But they first must be angry and disgusted at the establishment. Clinton was not distasteful enough to rally the lefts anger. Trump is perfect. ..."
"... Trump will not stop the wars. All anyone had to do was look at the voting records of the republicans in office( that were reelected) that voted for more war equipment. They also wanted TTIP. Until the public realizes we have to change our state representatives nothing will change. ..."
Nov 10, 2016 | discussion.theguardian.com

CaptainSpaulding, 10 Nov 2016 10:42

This election will spawn losers all over the place; the most tragic losers will be those that voted a supposed maverick into the high office in order to fight the 'liberal' or whatever establishment hoping to bring jobs back to the people.

However, you cannot fight the establishment with the establishment and Trump -who is a billionaire FFS- is another one who represents that. If he didn't he would not have been allowed to run.

Just for the same reason that Bernie was squeezed out, not that I think he is a real socialist but one who would have come too close to do some real change. To quote Rosa Luxemburg: If an election would mean real change it would have been abolished

It is strange and telling that the discourse within the American public over the last 40 years or so allowed themselves to discuss and tackle to various levels of success issues like sexism, racism, institutional racism, misogyny, xenophobia, even sexuality and yes, even gun laws but one thing that is an absolute no-no in discourse is the economical and subsequentially political system.

As long as people believe the American Dream is within reach to them, just like they believe it was for individuals like Trump, the economic system will remain its status quo and that is: riches for a few, struggles for many.

The establishment will see for that and always find ways to maintain. One thing that has always worked perfectly fine is to find scapegoats like foreigners, immigrants, people on welfare, coloured people , minorities and so on. Can't even say this is typically American, it has worked most recently in the UK within the brexit discussion and in Germany and other places.

The power is with people, I remain optimistic; an election, though, will not change anything

SocTrap -> CaptainSpaulding 0 1

You correctly state that you cannot fight the establishment with Trump. But I suggest he is the best choice. You assume a choice has been made to get that single person to help them. I suggest a choice has been made to plant a suicide bomber in the establishment.

The problem has been that Obama has put an empathetic, intelligent and articulate face on the front of a deeply corrupted system. To attack the system one appears to be attacking him and that can be awkward.

With Trump in that position, the entire credibility of the establishment has been destroyed. Trump is a clown. An idiot. Every time he spouting something misogynistic or racist he became a better weapon for the public to use to against the establishments structures. No better place for him than to have him as the Icon of the establishment. The (now) unacceptable face.

As you say, the power is with the people. But they first must be angry and disgusted at the establishment. Clinton was not distasteful enough to rally the lefts anger. Trump is perfect.

BizaaroLand , 10 Nov 2016 10:42

One thing particular about Killery: I believe she was meant to deliver more war for her Davos employers. I've had enough of 'Mericuh's wars for profit, and to protect the Bankers fortunes. At this point I'm ready to vote for Idi Amin, if it stops the banker wars being waged for them by their proxy the United States.

boilingriver -> BizaaroLand 0 1

Trump will not stop the wars. All anyone had to do was look at the voting records of the republicans in office( that were reelected) that voted for more war equipment. They also wanted TTIP. Until the public realizes we have to change our state representatives nothing will change.

[Jul 06, 2019] Same old, same old, same old, same old. Prospective candidates spewing out the same tired old hot air about how, this time, it really, really, really, really will be different.

Notable quotes:
"... Just like Dubya. Just like Obomber. Just like the Orange Baboon. Whilst simultaneously begging for shekels from Adelson, Saban, Singer, Marcus. ..."
Jul 06, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

mark , July 3, 2019 at 00:17

Same old, same old, same old, same old. Prospective candidates spewing out the same tired old hot air about how, this time, it really, really, really, really will be different.

There won't be any more crazy multitrillion wars for Israel. Honest.

Just like Dubya. Just like Obomber. Just like the Orange Baboon. Whilst simultaneously begging for shekels from Adelson, Saban, Singer, Marcus.

... ... ...

[Jul 05, 2019] They bet on you do nothing and dependent on the fake elections.

Jul 05, 2019 | www.unz.com

J. Gutierrez says: July 2, 2019 at 6:30 pm GMT 200 Words @gsjackson

You guys don't need a peace candidate you need a War Consigliere like the Godfather had! You people are being attacked from all angles and you are evaluating which Dem or Rep is going to fix the problems you face. Remember Bush Senior, (Iraq, Granada, Panama and CIA drug trafficking), Clinton, (Oklahoma City, Waco, Yugoslavia, Mena, AR Drug Money Laundering), Bush Junior, (9-11, Iraq, Afghanistan), Obama (Syria, Libya and Fast & Furious), Trump (Yet to be seen).

What does that tell you people? They are all the same! ...

They tell you what they are going to do, (conspiracy theories, movies and fake news). They bet on you do nothing and dependent on the fake elections.

AnonFromTN , says: July 2, 2019 at 6:57 pm GMT

Tulsi was the only participant who said something sensible. Which means that she won't be a presidential candidate from any of the two main parties. Deep State won't let it happen.

Harold Smith , says: July 2, 2019 at 7:31 pm GMT
@J. Gutierrez

"They are all the same!"

Was LBJ the same as JFK? Was Nixon the same as Carter? Was Bush II the same as Reagan? Was Bush I the same as Gerald Ford?

No.

Why did Obama go through all the trouble of the JCPOA with Iran only to have orange clown trash it?
Why didn't Obama deliver Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine? Why didn't the Jerusalem Boys Choir sing praises to Obama?

I'll tell you why: Because they're NOT all the same. And as we get closer and closer to planetary extinction, those differences become very significant.

[Jul 02, 2019] A lot of wanderers in the US political desert recognize that all the two party duopoly can offer is a choice of mirages

Jan 02, 2019 | caucus99percent.co

--

A lot of wanderers in the U.S. political desert recognize that all the duopoly has to offer is a choice of mirages.

Come, let us trudge towards empty expanse of sand #1, littered with the bleached bones of Deaniacs and Hope and Changers.

-- lotlizard

[Jun 30, 2019] Aggressive US Lies and Misleads to Justify War on Iran by William Boardman

Notable quotes:
"... The secretary of state delivered this appallingly Orwellian official assessment of the US government within hours of the five explosions on two tankers, well before any credible investigation establishing more than minimal facts could be carried out. As is his habit, Mike Pompeo flatly lied about whatever might be real in the Gulf of Oman, and most American media ran with the lies as if they were or might be true. There is almost no chance that Mike Pompeo and the US government are telling the truth about this event, as widespread domestic and international skepticism attests. ..."
"... Pompeo's official assessment was false even in its staging. For most of his four-minute appearance, Pompeo stood framed by two pictures behind him, each showing a tanker with a fire amidships. This was a deliberate visual lie. The two pictures showed the same tanker, the Norwegian-owned Front Altair , from different angles. The other tanker, Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous , did not catch fire and was not shown. ..."
"... Pompeo did not identify the unnamed intelligence entities, if any, within the government who made this assessment. He offered no evidence to support the assessment. He did offer something of an argument that began: ..."
"... He didn't say what intelligence. He didn't say whose intelligence. American intelligence assets and technology are all over the region generating reams of intelligence day in, day out. Then there are the intelligence agencies of the Arab police states bordering the Persian Gulf. They, too, are busy collecting intelligence 24/7, although they are sometimes loath to share. Pompeo didn't mention it, but according to CNN an unnamed US official admitted that the US had a Reaper Drone in the air near the two tankers before they were attacked. He also claimed that Iran had fired a missile at the drone, but missed. As CNN inanely spins it, "it is the first claim that the US has information of Iranian movements prior to the attack." As if the US doesn't have information on Iranian movements all the time . More accurately, this is the first admission that the US had operational weaponry in the area prior to the attack. ..."
"... Pompeo did not name a single weapon used. Early reporting claimed the attackers used torpedoes or mines, a claim that became inoperative as it became clear that all the damage to the tankers was well above the waterline. There is little reason to believe Pompeo had any actual knowledge of what weapons were used, unless one was a Reaper Drone. ..."
"... There are NO confirmed "recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping," and even if there were, they would prove nothing. Pompeo's embarrassingly irrelevant list that follows includes six examples, only one of which involved a shipping attack ..."
"... Instead of "recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping," Pompeo offers Iran's decades-old threat to close the Strait of Hormuz (which it's never done), together with three attacks by the Houthis on Saudi Arabia, an unattributed rocket attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad, and an unattributed car bomb in Afghanistan. Seriously, if that's all he's got, he's got nothing. But he's not done with the disinformation exercise: ..."
"... The US is stumbling down a path toward war with no justification ..."
Jun 26, 2019 | dissidentvoice.org

It is the assessment of the United States Government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today. This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.

This is only the latest in a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests, and they should be understood in the context of 40 years of unprovoked aggression against freedom-loving nations.

-- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announcement , June 13, 2013

The secretary of state delivered this appallingly Orwellian official assessment of the US government within hours of the five explosions on two tankers, well before any credible investigation establishing more than minimal facts could be carried out. As is his habit, Mike Pompeo flatly lied about whatever might be real in the Gulf of Oman, and most American media ran with the lies as if they were or might be true. There is almost no chance that Mike Pompeo and the US government are telling the truth about this event, as widespread domestic and international skepticism attests.

Pompeo's official assessment was false even in its staging. For most of his four-minute appearance, Pompeo stood framed by two pictures behind him, each showing a tanker with a fire amidships. This was a deliberate visual lie. The two pictures showed the same tanker, the Norwegian-owned Front Altair , from different angles. The other tanker, Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous , did not catch fire and was not shown.

First, what actually happened, as best we can tell five days later? In the early morning of June 13, two unrelated tankers were heading south out of the Strait of Hormuz, sailing in open water in the Gulf of Oman, roughly 20 miles off the south coast of Iran. The tankers were most likely outside Iran's territorial waters, but within Iran's contiguous zone as defined by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea . At different times, some 30 miles apart, the two tankers were attacked by weapons unknown, launched by parties unknown, for reasons unknown. The first reported distress call was 6:12 a.m. local time. No one has yet claimed responsibility for either attack. The crew of each tanker abandoned ship soon after the explosions and were rescued by ships in the area, including Iranian naval vessels, who took the Front Altair crew to an Iranian port.

Even this much was not certain in the early afternoon of June 13 when Mike Pompeo came to the lectern at the State Department to deliver his verdict:

It is the assessment of the United States Government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today.

Pompeo did not identify the unnamed intelligence entities, if any, within the government who made this assessment. He offered no evidence to support the assessment. He did offer something of an argument that began:

This assessment is based on intelligence .

He didn't say what intelligence. He didn't say whose intelligence. American intelligence assets and technology are all over the region generating reams of intelligence day in, day out. Then there are the intelligence agencies of the Arab police states bordering the Persian Gulf. They, too, are busy collecting intelligence 24/7, although they are sometimes loath to share. Pompeo didn't mention it, but according to CNN an unnamed US official admitted that the US had a Reaper Drone in the air near the two tankers before they were attacked. He also claimed that Iran had fired a missile at the drone, but missed. As CNN inanely spins it, "it is the first claim that the US has information of Iranian movements prior to the attack." As if the US doesn't have information on Iranian movements all the time . More accurately, this is the first admission that the US had operational weaponry in the area prior to the attack. After intelligence, Pompeo continued:

This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used .

Pompeo did not name a single weapon used. Early reporting claimed the attackers used torpedoes or mines, a claim that became inoperative as it became clear that all the damage to the tankers was well above the waterline. There is little reason to believe Pompeo had any actual knowledge of what weapons were used, unless one was a Reaper Drone. He went on:

This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation

The "level of expertise needed" to carry out these attacks on a pair of sitting duck tankers does not appear to be that great. Yes, the Iranian military probably has the expertise, as do the militaries of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Israel, or others with a stake in provoking a crisis in the region. And those who lack the expertise still have the money with which to hire expert surrogates. The number of credible suspects, known and unknown, with an interest in doing harm to Iran is easily in double figures. Leading any serious list should be the US. That's perfectly logical, so Pompeo tried to divert attention from the obvious:

This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping .

There are NO confirmed "recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping," and even if there were, they would prove nothing. Pompeo's embarrassingly irrelevant list that follows includes six examples, only one of which involved a shipping attack. The one example was the May 12, 2019, attack on four ships at anchor in the deep water port of Fujairah. Even the multinational investigation organized by the UAE could not determine who did it. The UAE reported to the UN Security Council that the perpetrator was likely some unnamed "state actor." The logical suspects and their surrogates are the same as those for the most recent attack.

Instead of "recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping," Pompeo offers Iran's decades-old threat to close the Strait of Hormuz (which it's never done), together with three attacks by the Houthis on Saudi Arabia, an unattributed rocket attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad, and an unattributed car bomb in Afghanistan. Seriously, if that's all he's got, he's got nothing. But he's not done with the disinformation exercise:

This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.

The whole proxy group thing is redundant, covered by "the level of expertise needed" mentioned earlier. Pompeo doesn't name any proxy group here, he doesn't explain how he could know there's no proxy group that could carry out such an attack, and he just throws word garbage at the wall and hopes something sticks that will make you believe – no evidence necessary – that Iran is evil beyond redemption:

Taken as a whole, these unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation, and an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran.

The attacks in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Afghanistan have all been provoked by the US and its allies. The US has long been a clear threat to international peace and security, except when the US was actually trashing peace and security, as it did in Iraq, as it seems to want to do in Iran. There is, indeed, "an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension," but it's a campaign by the US. The current phase began when the Trump administration pulled out of the multinational nuclear deal with Iran. The US wages economic warfare on Iran even though Iran continues to abide by the Trump-trashed treaty. All the other signatories and inspectors confirm that Iran has abided by the agreement. But Iran is approaching a point of violation, which it has been warning about for some time. The other signatories allow the US to bully them into enforcing US sanctions at their own cost against a country in compliance with its promises. China, Russia, France, GB, Germany, and the EU are all craven in the face of US threats. That's what the US wants from Iran.

Lately, Trump and Pompeo and their ilk have been whining about not wanting war and claiming they want to negotiate, while doing nothing to make negotiation more possible. Iran has observed US actions and has rejected negotiating with an imperial power with a decades-long record of bad faith. Lacking any serious act of good faith by the US, does Iran have any other rational choice? Pompeo makes absolutely clear just how irrational, how dishonest, how implacable and untrustworthy the US is when he accuses Iran of:

40 years of unprovoked aggression against freedom-loving nations.

This is Big Lie country. Forty years ago, the Iranians committed their original sin – they overthrew one of the world's most brutal dictatorships, imposed on them by the US. Then they took Americans hostage, and the US has been playing the victim ever since, out of all proportion to reality or justice. But the Pompeos of this world still milk it for all it's worth. What about "unprovoked aggression," who does that? The US list is long and criminal, including its support of Saddam Hussein's war of aggression against Iran. Iran's list of "unprovoked aggressions" is pretty much zero, unless you go back to the Persian Empire. No wonder Pompeo took no question on his statement. The Big Lie is supposed to be enough.

The US is stumbling down a path toward war with no justification. Democrats should have objected forcefully and continuously long since. Democrats in the House should have put peace with Iran on the table as soon as they came into the majority. They should do it now. Democratic presidential candidates should join Tulsi Gabbard and Elizabeth Warren in forthrightly opposing war with Iran. Leading a huge public outcry may not keep the president from lying us into war with Iran any more than it kept the president from lying us into war with Iraq. But an absence of outcry will just make it easier for this rogue nation to commit a whole new set of war crimes.

Intellectually, the case for normal relations with Iran is easy. There is literally no good reason to maintain hostility, not even the possibility, remote as it is, of an Iranian nuclear weapon (especially now that Trump is helping the Saudis go nuclear). But politically, the case for normal relations with Iran is hard, especially because forty years of propaganda demonizing Iran has deep roots. To make a sane case on Iran takes real courage: one has to speak truth to a nation that believes its lies to itself.

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. This article was first published in Reader Supported News . Read other articles by William .

[Jun 27, 2019] Western News Agencies Mistranslate Iran's President Speech - It Is Not The First Time Such 'Error' Happens

Highly recommended!
Jun 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Western News Agencies Mistranslate Iran's President Speech - It Is Not The First Time Such 'Error' Happens JOHN CHUCKMAN , Jun 26, 2019 2:10:12 PM | 23

Yesterday the news agencies Associated Press and Reuters mistranslated a speech by Iran's President Hassan Rouhani. They made it sound as if Rouhani insulted U.S. President Donald Trump as 'mentally retarded'. Rouhani never said that.

The agencies previously made a similar 'mistake'.

A 2005 speech by then President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmedinejad was famously misquoted. Israel should be wiped off map, says Iran's president headlined the Guardian at that time. Others used similar headlines. The New York Times wrote :

Iran's conservative new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said Wednesday that Israel must be "wiped off the map" and that attacks by Palestinians would destroy it, the ISNA press agency reported.
...
Referring to comments by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic revolution, Ahmadinejad said, "As the imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map."

The statement was used by the G.W. Bush administration and others to whip up hostility against Iran :

Ever since he spoke at an anti-Zionism conference in Tehran last October, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has been known for one statement above all. As translated by news agencies at the time, it was that Israel "should be wiped off the map." Iran's nuclear program and sponsorship of militant Muslim groups are rarely mentioned without reference to the infamous map remark.

Here, for example, is R. Nicholas Burns, the under secretary of state for political affairs, recently: "Given the radical nature of Iran under Ahmadinejad and its stated wish to wipe Israel off the map of the world, it is entirely unconvincing that we could or should live with a nuclear Iran."

However Ahmedinejad never used those words :

"Ahmadinejad did not say he was going to wipe Israel off the map because no such idiom exists in Persian," remarked Juan Cole, a Middle East specialist at the University of Michigan and critic of American policy who has argued that the Iranian president was misquoted. "He did say he hoped its regime, i.e., a Jewish-Zionist state occupying Jerusalem, would collapse." Since Iran has not "attacked another country aggressively for over a century," he said in an e-mail exchange, "I smell the whiff of war propaganda."

Jonathan Steele, a columnist for the left-leaning Guardian newspaper in London, recently laid out the case this way: "The Iranian president was quoting an ancient statement by Iran's first Islamist leader, the late Ayatollah Khomeini, that 'this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time,' just as the Shah's regime in Iran had vanished. He was not making a military threat. He was calling for an end to the occupation of Jerusalem at some point in the future. The 'page of time' phrase suggests he did not expect it to happen soon."

Despite the above and other explanations the false "wipe Israel off the map" translation never died. Years later it still reappeared in Guardian pieces which required it to issue multiple corrections and clarifications.

Now, as the Trump administration is pushing for war on Iran, a similar mistranslation miraculously happened. It were again 'western' news agencies who lightened the fire:

The Associated Press @AP - 7:52 utc - 25 Jun 2019

BREAKING: Iran's President Rouhani mocks President Trump, says the White House is "afflicted by mental retardation."

Farsi speakers pointed out that the Rouhani never used the Farsi word for "retarded":

Sina Toossi @SinaToossi - 13:49 utc - 25 Jun 2019

A lot of Western media is reporting that Iranian President Rouhani called Trump "mentally retarded." This is inaccurate.
Regarding Trump, he just said "no wise person would take such an action [the new sanctions imposed]."

Reza H. Akbari @rezahakbari - 15:58 utc - 25 Jun 2019

Absolutely incorrect. There is a word for "retarded" in Persian & Rouhani didn't use it. Prior to him saying "mental disability" he even prefaced his comment by saying "mental weakness." Those who speak Persian can listen & judge for themselves. Here is a video clip of Rouhani's comment: link

But the damage was already done:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump - 14:42 utc - 25 Jun 2019

Iran leadership doesn't understand the words "nice" or "compassion," they never have. Sadly, the thing they do understand is Strength and Power, and the USA is by far the most powerful Military Force in the world, with 1.5 Trillion Dollars invested over the last two years alone..

....The wonderful Iranian people are suffering, and for no reason at all. Their leadership spends all of its money on Terror, and little on anything else. The U.S. has not forgotten Iran's use of IED's & EFP's (bombs), which killed 2000 Americans, and wounded many more...

.... Iran's very ignorant and insulting statement , put out today, only shows that they do not understand reality. Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration. No more John Kerry & Obama!

Reuters , which also peddled the mistranslation, gleefully connected the dots :

Cont. reading: Western News Agencies Mistranslate Iran's President Speech - It Is Not The First Time Such 'Error' Happens

Excellent summary of how malevolence works in many subtle ways.

Jonathan Gillispie , Jun 26, 2019 1:11:48 PM | 4

Trump was right more than he realizes that the press is the enemy of the people. They goad nations into unnecessary and bloody war.

Don Wiscacho , Jun 26, 2019 1:32:54 PM | 13
This follows in the footsteps of a rich history of mistranslating and obfuscating which is rarely, if ever, corrected by our Guardians of Truth. I will not hold my breath for AP to pull its tweet out issue any sort of correction. The war machine is revving up, truth be damned.

To add a few obfuscations to the list of mistranslations: the Palestinian intifada. Sounds scary, no? Violence against the benevolent Israelis. Because what does intifada actually mean? Uprising, which by its nature suggests oppression, something which just 'can't' be happening in Palestine, hence the need for intifada.
Or take jihad, 'a pillor' of Islam. Again, very scary, as jihad 'means' suicide bombs and killing infidels. What the Guardians of Truth never mention is that jihad in Islam is a very, very broad term that includes such things as helping the poor or less fortunate, educating oneself, quiet reflection, and prayer. Jihad as meaning 'holy war' was a sense meaning derived much later than the founding of the religion, as a reaction to very real threats to believers of the time, the Crusades and Mongol invasions. That this specific sense meaning was essentially confined to history afterward, only to be revived by Wahhabists and takfiris, and one not believed in by the vast majority of Muslims, is never explained. 'Cause all them crazy Muslims believe in jihad!

In all cases where the boogeyman of the day needs concocting, rest assured the 'mainstream' press, with AP in the lead, will be there to build a gleaming edifice mistruths, omissions, and lies.

Uncle Jon , Jun 26, 2019 1:36:27 PM | 14
Ahmadinejad's true and correct translation reads: "Zionism should be wiped from the pages of history."

Now who can argue with that.

jared , Jun 26, 2019 1:43:18 PM | 17
In approximately 17 months, the american public can make strides to fix this mess.
I guess that is a long time for the iranians, but still maybe best option.
dh , Jun 26, 2019 1:51:03 PM | 18
Just in case there is any doubt in American minds here is the Israeli Ambassador to the UN. He thinks the sanctions are working well. Iran is panicking.

Good job guys. Keep squeezing.

https://www.foxnews.com/world/israeli-ambassador-iran-panicking-increased-us-sanctions

wagelaborer , Jun 26, 2019 2:43:01 PM | 31
They mistranslate Trump all the time, or they spin what he says. It is amazing to watch.

For instance, at the Helsinki meeting, where he met with Putin and they discussed multiple topics, but the press ignored any topic but demanding that Trump denounce Putin and "admit" that Putin helped him steal the election, and that he was therefore not the legitimate president.

Obviously, Trump was not going to say that, so he said that he was the legitimate president, and the mockingbird media spun that into "the president is a traitor to America because he said that 17 national intelligence agencies are lying".

michaelj72 , Jun 26, 2019 4:02:36 PM | 40
.....The ministers lie, the professors lie, the television lies,
the priests lie .
These lies mean that the country wants to die.
Lie after lie starts out into the prairie grass,
like enormous caravans of Conestoga wagons .

And a long desire for death flows out, guiding the
enormous caravans from beneath,
stringing together the vague and foolish words.
It is a desire to eat death,
to gobble it down,
to rush on it like a cobra with mouth open
It's a desire to take death inside,
to feel it burning inside, pushing out velvety hairs,
like a clothes brush in the intestines --
This is the thrill that leads the President on to lie....


Robert Bly, The Teeth Mother Naked at Last, originally published by City Lights books 1970

Virgile , Jun 26, 2019 5:10:59 PM | 48
Maybe the translation is inacurate but the message had the expected reaction from Trump: Tweet furor.
It is good that Trump realizes that he does not have the monopole of insulting leaders.
The USA is a country that since WWII has never won any war. How could it give a lesson to Iran who won a 8 years war against Iraq despite the support that the USA, the Gulf countries and Western countries gave to Iraq.
Loud noise and indecisive actions: The disaster of the USA foreign policy
Abx , Jun 26, 2019 5:20:42 PM | 49
I remember watching CNN translate Khamenei's "Nuclear Power" to "Nuclear Weapons" right on live TV in 2013. This is not new.
/div> Virgile "The USA is a country that since WWII has never won any war". The US won a war against Grenada [population 95,000] I would go so far as to say they whupped ass. True there were only 64 Cuban soldiers there [security guards] All members of the US armed forces were involved and 5,000 medals were given out. Ra Ra USA.

Posted by: Harry Law , Jun 26, 2019 5:29:37 PM | 50

Virgile "The USA is a country that since WWII has never won any war". The US won a war against Grenada [population 95,000] I would go so far as to say they whupped ass. True there were only 64 Cuban soldiers there [security guards] All members of the US armed forces were involved and 5,000 medals were given out. Ra Ra USA.

Posted by: Harry Law | Jun 26, 2019 5:29:37 PM | 50

Kooshy , Jun 26, 2019 5:45:20 PM | 53
b-
I am a Persian speaker and is true that president Rouhani never said Trump is retarded, we now have way passed the point that insults can matte. Nevertheless it was better if President Rouhani would have called Trump and the rest of the ruling US regime like what the whole world has now come to understand, a true and unique collection of retards on a shining hill.
0use4msm , Jun 26, 2019 6:24:08 PM | 57
Reminds me of when Nikita Khruschev attempted to explain in 1956 his view that that capitalism would destroy itself from within by quoting Marx: "What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers." This was notoriously mistranslated into English as "We will bury you", as if the Soviets were out to kill all westerners themselves. Of course this mistranslated was quoted time and time again in western media, fueling Cold War paranoia for years to come.
juandonjuan , Jun 26, 2019 6:31:20 PM | 59
blue @ 19 The news media are wedded to the state which is wedded to the banking system which are all subsidiaries of global capitalism. They don't need to correct themselves. They may have the occasional family feud, but they're all on the same team. They will admit to "mistakes" being made, but only long after it makes no difference.
We have a FREE PRESS in America-Pravda on the Potomac, Izvestia on the Hudson.
Have a look sometime at the Venn Diagrams that portray the overlapping/interlocking memberships of the regulatory/financial/corporate leadership class.
But more than that, whatever the idea of a free press once meant, with the rise of digital corporate networking "platforms", not subject to any accountability, the barriers to entry of any competing narratives to the mainstream discourse are nearly insurmountable. Except maybe through subversion?
What is missing is a true public 'Marketplace of Ideas'
ADKC , Jun 26, 2019 7:00:39 PM | 63
The deliberate mis-translations of non-english speaking "adversaries" of the US is common in the msm. Putin is frequently and deliberately mis-translated to make him appear dictatorial and aggressive.
pj , Jun 26, 2019 7:11:03 PM | 65
I listened to Rohani's speech. He said that if JCPOA is bad, it is bad for all parties; and if it is good, it is good for all parties. They cannot expect for JCPOA to be bad for them and good for us. They withdrew from the JCPOA and expect us to stay with the agreement. This is what he meant when he said: White house has been affected by mental inability and mental disability.
Peter AU 1 , Jun 26, 2019 7:26:38 PM | 72
ADKC
Iran is at war. US and gang are trying to destroy Iran as a nation. The biggest asset in times of war is deception. Used by both the attacker and the attacked.
karlof1 , Jun 26, 2019 7:39:51 PM | 75
Khamenei has Tweeted a series of tweets, and his scribe has posted what he tweeted along with other words at his website in English so there's no mistranslation. Here's one of the series of 6:

"The graceful Iranian nation has been accused & insulted by world's most vicious regime, the U.S., which is a source of wars, conflicts & plunder. Iranian nation won't give up over such insults. Iranians have been wronged by oppressive sanctions but not weakened & remain powerful."

They were made 14+ hours ago, yet I'm the first to post notice of them here?!

goldhoarder , Jun 26, 2019 8:39:33 PM | 80
The USA government excels at propaganda. It always has. Doesn't matter if it babies and incubators, mistranslated leaders of targeted countries, or supposed mass graves. BTW... what ever happened to all those mass graves in Iraq? HRW was going to dig them all up and document them. Hundreds of thousands. Most Americans I talk to still believe in this. Was it true? Saddam himself had claimed it wasn't true. That it was Kurdish propaganda to gain sympathy. He claimed the Anfal campaign was only to push the Kurds off the border so he could control arms smuggling and that casualties were minimal. Looking into the search. They are graves with a few hundred here and there but where are the rest of the bodies? If you google Iraq mass graves there are more articles about ISIS mass graves than the Anfal campaign. There were people killed in the South during the Shia uprising after the first gulf war than there was for the Anfal campaign. Was that a lie too? Nearly every American believes it still.

PM admits graves claim 'untrue'
Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor

Sat 17 Jul 2004 19.35 EDT First published on Sat 17 Jul 2004 19.35 EDT
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2004/jul/18/iraq.iraq1

Downing Street has admitted to The Observer that repeated claims by Tony Blair that '400,000 bodies had been found in Iraqi mass graves' is untrue, and only about 5,000 corpses have so far been uncovered.
The claims by Blair in November and December of last year, were given widespread credence, quoted by MPs and widely published, including in the introduction to a US government pamphlet on Iraq's mass graves.

In that publication - Iraq's Legacy of Terror: Mass Graves produced by USAID, the US government aid distribution agency, Blair is quoted from 20 November last year: 'We've already discovered, just so far, the remains of 400,000 people in mass graves.'

Arata , Jun 26, 2019 10:40:53 PM | 98
Anyone who can undestand Farsi ( Persian language) can litsen Rouhani's speech. He did not name "Trump", he said " White House".
I have been watching CNN news channel who said that Rouhani made a personal attack on Trump! That was not true.

There was no personal attack on Rouhani's speech.
Importantly, the context of the speech and conclusion is diffent from western media reports and western translations.

I would like give few links of some Iranian news agencies, reporting Rouhani's speech for International use, as reference here:

1) FrasNews Agency

Rouhani said:

"These days, we see the White House in confusion and we are witnessing undue and ridiculous words and adoption of a scandalous policy,"

..."The US sanctions are crime against humanity. The US recent measures indicate their ultimate failure. The new US measures are the result of their frustration and confusion over Iran. The White House has mental disability,"


http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980405000859

2) ISNA English

"They are having mental problems and today, the White House has become mentally paralysed and don't know what to do".
https://en.isna.ir/news/98040402431/Sanctioning-Supreme-leader-of-Iran-ridiculous-President-Rouhani

ISAN French

Le président iranien, affirmant que les États-Unis, malgré de nombreuses tentatives de pression exercées par divers leviers sur l'Iran, ont échoué dans leurs objectifs, a poursuivi : "Une étrange frustration et une grande confusion règnent au sein du Corps dirigeant de la Maison Blanche. Ils se sentent déçus car ils n'ont obtenu aucun résultat, ils s'attendaient à voir l'Iran brisé dans l'espace de quelques mois, mais ils ont fini par constater que les Iraniens agissent de plus en plus fermement, de manière plus créative que jamais ".

https://fr.isna.ir/news/98040402385/Les-actions-américaines-sont-inhumaines-Rohani

3) TasnimNews

The president also decried the new US sanctions against Iran, saying the White House has been thrown into confusion as its officials are making "inappropriate and ridiculous" comments and adopting the policy of disgrace.

https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2019/06/26/2041386/iran-urges-us-europe-to-return-to-jcpoa

Paora , Jun 26, 2019 11:18:41 PM | 101
0use4msm @54

Wow that's amazing! Probably the best known Khrushchev 'quote', presented as evidence of his boorish nature, is an intentional mistranslation. And the Marx quote is not exactly obscure, it's from Chapter 1 of the Communist Manifesto for eff sake! At least it makes a change from the 'lets just make things up' cottage industry of Lenin & Stalin 'quotes'.

Hoarsewhisperer , Jun 26, 2019 11:23:51 PM | 102
"A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes."
Mark Twain (or some other student of wisdom)
...
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/26/books/famous-misquotations.html
Apr 26, 2017 - Mark Twain is one of many who gets credit for famous quotations he never wrote or said. ... credited with saying "a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes" ... Proverbial wisdom, in which a quotation is elevated to the status of a proverb because its source is unknown;.
Circe , Jun 27, 2019 10:19:52 AM | 136 Noirette , Jun 27, 2019 10:50:17 AM | 137
Mistranslations are a classical cheap n easy way to sway opinion.

Interesting that the examples b quotes, and most of those promoted currently by the US-uk-eu, afaik, understand, are intended to project into the voice of Iranians, Russians, Syrians, utterances, declarations, to be labelled insults, slander, threats, impropriety, even rage, coming from these parties, as

there is nothing much else to display!

(Spanish is too comprehensible > does not apply to Mexico, Cuba, S. America.)

Often cultural matters play a role, but are ignored. Ahmadinejad was endlessly vilified and mocked by the W-MSM for saying what was translated as there are no homosexuals in Iran (no idea what the original formulation was) - which 'obviously' can't be 'true.'

Besides homosexuality being unacceptable in conservative rule-books, Iran is, or was (to 2010) above (or with) Thailand the no. 1. practitioner / destination for sex change operations. Iran had super educated docs, great hospitals, etc.

Ahmadinejad was relying on a kind of fundamentalist principle where the 'soul' or the 'essential quality' of a person is what is tantamount, what counts above all. The physical manifestation, here the human body, can be transformed to be in harmony with the deep-felt or 'innately' ascribed orientation or 'spirit.' So, no homosexuals in Iran, or only a few who are in 'transition.' (Not denying real suffering of gays in Iran, other story.)

The W, in first place the US, is doing precisely the same with its 'gender change' promotion, as applied to children and young teens. Here too, 'feelings' and 'identity' override 'nature' : the physical can be overturned, overcome, fixed.

Such cultural issues play a role in mis-translations, deliberate or not. It may appear that I wandered far off topic, I just picked a topical comprehensible ex. Sharia law is more complex..

[Jun 27, 2019] Consistency in the US Presidents betrayal of their voters is simply remarable

Trump is the same "betrayer in chief" as Obama was. They both are variations of Bush II
Jun 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Josh , Jun 26, 2019 1:54:18 PM | 19
This dude (Trump) has spent more than two years, and a ton of money, trying to pull the undercurrent of dissent in the American population into his camp and under his wing.

In all of his 'fighting with the establishment' he has managed to change exactly nothing and bring exactly nobody to justice. He has gathered the entirety of the Bush/Rumsfeld faction directly into his tent, while miraculously failing to so much as arrest a single member of the Clinton faction. And to top it off he just ordered an armed attack on an independent nation (which failed in spectacular fashion as thr first targeting drone was vaporized while he was watching the livestream). Come on dude.

[Jun 26, 2019] The first rule of political hypocrisy: Justify your actions by the need to protect the weak and vulnerable

Highly recommended!
Jun 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

...If you bomb Syria, do not admit you did it to install your puppet regime or to lay a pipeline. Say you did it to save the Aleppo kids gassed by Assad the Butcher. If you occupy Afghanistan, do not admit you make a handsome profit smuggling heroin; say you came to protect the women. If you want to put your people under total surveillance, say you did it to prevent hate groups target the powerless and diverse.

Remember: you do not need to ask children, women or immigrants whether they want your protection. If pushed, you can always find a few suitable profiles to look at the cameras and repeat a short text. With all my dislike for R2P (Responsibility to Protect) hypocrisy, I can't possibly blame the allegedly protected for the disaster caused by the unwanted protectors.

[Jun 23, 2019] Is Democratic system theoretically sustainable?

Notable quotes:
"... "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy" - Alexis de Toqueville ..."
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

bonefisher -> Livemike , 6 Mar 2012 06:52

Great post

The problem is that as De Toqueville realises (his quote below) most of the people commenting here are simply living a parasitic existence benefiting from state largesse - sucking the teat of a bloated and overburdened state caring not whether their sustenance is remotely sustainable and just voting for ever more

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy" - Alexis de Toqueville

[Jun 23, 2019] Rands followers are selfish greedy, most likely insane, jackles who have destroyed and plundered the American and world economy for thier own ends.

Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

sct2112 , 5 Mar 2012 23:22

Imagine being stuck in a fall out shelter or an underground bunker during some apocalypse with a devoted Ayn Rand follower or followers. Gurantee they would be killed and eaten with in the first few hours.

Rand followers remind me of my little neices and nephews when they fight over candy and toys. You tell them they have to share and they say no mine mine it's all mine. Now imagine a grown man or woman doing the same exact thing except they run a major corporation or worse are an elected official. They have tried to make money off of every crisis in the past thirty years.

Rands followers are selfish greedy, most likely insane, jackles who have destroyed and plundered the American and world economy for thier own ends. Usually so they can have the most toys like cars, houses, hot tubs, private jets, viagra and wild sex parties Mind you they most likely have to pay people to have sex with them. I have nothing against capitalism but they need to reeled in at some point. Sadly goverment does not do it's job by looking after the public but after their own wallets. The people who view her has a sage and goddess are seriously out of touch with reality.

Honestly her idea's are failures, the west is in debt up to it's eyeballs, Asia is rising and Latin America is telling America and Europe to collectively go and screw ourselves. I am not happy about this but apart of me is a bit amused by it.

[Jun 23, 2019] The intellectual antecedents of the new right go back to Leo Strauss and the University of Chicago

Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Rozina -> tom1832 , 5 Mar 2012 22:15

The intellectual antecedents of the new right go back to Leo Strauss and the University of Chicago among others. Canadian academic Shadia Drury wrote two books critical of Straussian philosophy: "Leo Strauss and the American Right" (1999) and "The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss" (first published 1988, revised 2005). Counterpunch.org carries a number of articles by Gary Leupp, Francis Boyle and others also castigating the influence of Leo Strauss and his followers on US foreign policy. Seymour Hersch also took a blowtorch to Strauss in an article for The New Yorker many years ago when George W Bush was US President (link: http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2003/05/12/030512fa_fact?currentPage=4#ixzz1437Z8MNs).
truebluetah -> Callaig , 5 Mar 2012 17:57
SEP provides a decent summary of Rand's reasoning.

[Jun 22, 2019] Use of science by the US politicians

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "the administrator uses social science the way the drunk uses a lamppost, for support rather than illumination." Scholars' disinclination to be used in this way helps explain more of the distance. ..."
Jun 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The evidence suggests that foreign policymakers do not seek insight from scholars, but rather support for what they already want to do.

As Desch quotes a World War II U.S. Navy anthropologist, "the administrator uses social science the way the drunk uses a lamppost, for support rather than illumination." Scholars' disinclination to be used in this way helps explain more of the distance.

[Jun 20, 2019] The difference between old and new schools of jounalism: old-school journalism was like being assigned the task of finding out what "1+1 =?" and the task was to report the answer was "1." Now the task would be to report that "Some say it is 1, some say it is 2, some say it is 3."

Highly recommended!
Jun 20, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

A way to capture this change was thinking in terms of the traditional task of journalists to interview or consult a variety of sources to determine was is truth or true. The shift gradually became one of now interviewing or consulting various sources and reporting those opinions.

Old-school journalism was like being assigned the task of finding out what "1+1 =?" and the task was to report the answer was "1."

Now the task would be to report that "Some say it is 1, some say it is 2, some say it is 3."

[Jun 16, 2019] When false information is specifically political in nature, part of our political identity, it becomes almost impossible to correct lies.

Jun 16, 2019 | www.politico.com

Leda Cosmides at the University of California, Santa Barbara, points to her work with her colleague John Tooby on the use of outrage to mobilize people: "The campaign was more about outrage than about policies," she says. And when a politician can create a sense of moral outrage, truth ceases to matter. People will go along with the emotion, support the cause and retrench into their own core group identities. The actual substance stops being of any relevance.

Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Dartmouth University who studies false beliefs, has found that when false information is specifically political in nature, part of our political identity, it becomes almost impossible to correct lies.

... ... ...

As the 19th-century Scottish philosopher Alexander Bain put it, “The great master fallacy of the human mind is believing too much.” False beliefs, once established, are incredibly tricky to correct. A leader who lies constantly creates a new landscape, and a citizenry whose sense of reality may end up swaying far more than they think possible.

[Jun 16, 2019] Cover-Ups and Truth Tellers

Notable quotes:
"... Of course, being cover-ups by the government may make them appear acceptable, at least to a naive public. Many of them are rationalized as necessary for the sake of national "security." And, of course, everyone wants to be "secure," accepting the notion that "people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." ..."
Jun 16, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

In a May, 22, 2019 appearance in the White House Rose Garden, President Donald Trump declared that "I don't do cover-ups ." Various news outlets immediately started to enumerate a long list of bona fide cover-ups associated with the president.

... ... ...

Unfortunately, Trump's behavior is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cover-ups. One can surmise that just by virtue of being the head of the U.S. government, the president -- any president -- must be directly or indirectly associated with hundreds of such evasions. That is because, it can be argued without much paranoia, that every major division of the government is hiding something -- particularly when it comes to foreign activities.

Of course, being cover-ups by the government may make them appear acceptable, at least to a naive public. Many of them are rationalized as necessary for the sake of national "security." And, of course, everyone wants to be "secure," accepting the notion that "people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

The fact that much of this violence is done to other innocent people trying to get a peaceful night's rest is "classified" information. So woe be it to the truth tellers who defy these rationalizations and sound off. For they shall be cast out of our democratic heaven into one of the pits of hell that pass for a U.S. prison -- or, if they are fleet-footed, chased into exile.

[Jun 16, 2019] Trump s Lies vs. Your Brain by Maria Konnikova

Notable quotes:
"... But Donald Trump is in a different category. The sheer frequency, spontaneity and seeming irrelevance of his lies have no precedent. ..."
"... Those who have followed Trump's career say his lying isn't just a tactic, but an ingrained habit. ..."
"... Our brains are particularly ill-equipped to deal with lies when they come not singly but in a constant stream ..."
"... In politics, false information has a special power. If false information comports with preexisting beliefs -- something that is often true in partisan arguments -- attempts to refute it can actually backfire , planting it even more firmly in a person's mind. ..."
"... Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Dartmouth University who studies false beliefs, has found that when false information is specifically political in nature, part of our political identity, it becomes almost impossible to correct lies. ..."
Jun 16, 2019 | www.politico.com

Maria Konnikova is a contributing writer at the New Yorker and author, most recently, of The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It Every Time .

All presidents lie. Richard Nixon said he was not a crook, yet he orchestrated the most shamelessly crooked act in the modern presidency. Ronald Reagan said he wasn't aware of the Iran-Contra deal; there's evidence he was. Bill Clinton said he did not have sex with that woman; he did, or close enough. Lying in politics transcends political party and era. It is, in some ways, an inherent part of the profession of politicking.

But Donald Trump is in a different category. The sheer frequency, spontaneity and seeming irrelevance of his lies have no precedent. Nixon, Reagan and Clinton were protecting their reputations; Trump seems to lie for the pure joy of it. A whopping 70 percent of Trump's statements that PolitiFact checked during the campaign were false, while only 4 percent were completely true, and 11 percent mostly true. (Compare that to the politician Trump dubbed "crooked," Hillary Clinton: Just 26 percent of her statements were deemed false.)

Those who have followed Trump's career say his lying isn't just a tactic, but an ingrained habit. New York tabloid writers who covered Trump as a mogul on the rise in the 1980s and '90s found him categorically different from the other self-promoting celebrities in just how often, and pointlessly, he would lie to them. In his own autobiography, Trump used the phrase "truthful hyperbole," a term coined by his ghostwriter referring to the flagrant truth-stretching that Trump employed, over and over, to help close sales. Trump apparently loved the wording, and went on to adopt it as his own.

On January 20, Trump's truthful hyperboles will no longer be relegated to the world of dealmaking or campaigning. Donald Trump will become the chief executive of the most powerful nation in the world, the man charged with representing that nation globally -- and, most importantly, telling the story of America back to Americans. He has the megaphone of the White House press office, his popular Twitter account and a loyal new right-wing media army that will not just parrot his version of the truth but actively argue against attempts to knock it down with verifiable facts. Unless Trump dramatically transforms himself, Americans are going to start living in a new reality, one in which their leader is a manifestly unreliable source.

What does this mean for the country -- and for the Americans on the receiving end of Trump's constantly twisting version of reality? It's both a cultural question and a psychological one. For decades, researchers have been wrestling with the nature of falsehood: How does it arise? How does it affect our brains? Can we choose to combat it? The answers aren't encouraging for those who worry about the national impact of a reign of untruth over the next four, or eight, years. Lies are exhausting to fight, pernicious in their effects and, perhaps worst of all, almost impossible to correct if their content resonates strongly enough with people's sense of themselves, which Trump's clearly do.

***

What happens when a lie hits your brain? The now-standard model was first proposed by Harvard University psychologist Daniel Gilbert more than 20 years ago. Gilbert argues that people see the world in two steps. First, even just briefly, we hold the lie as true: We must accept something in order to understand it. For instance, if someone were to tell us -- hypothetically, of course -- that there had been serious voter fraud in Virginia during the presidential election, we must for a fraction of a second accept that fraud did, in fact, take place. Only then do we take the second step, either completing the mental certification process (yes, fraud!) or rejecting it (what? no way). Unfortunately, while the first step is a natural part of thinking -- it happens automatically and effortlessly -- the second step can be easily disrupted. It takes work: We must actively choose to accept or reject each statement we hear. In certain circumstances, that verification simply fails to take place.

As Gilbert writes, human minds, "when faced with shortages of time, energy, or conclusive evidence, may fail to unaccept the ideas that they involuntarily accept during comprehension."

When we are overwhelmed with false, or potentially false, statements, our brains pretty quickly become so overworked that we stop trying to sift through everything.

Our brains are particularly ill-equipped to deal with lies when they come not singly but in a constant stream...

... ... ...

In politics, false information has a special power. If false information comports with preexisting beliefs -- something that is often true in partisan arguments -- attempts to refute it can actually backfire , planting it even more firmly in a person's mind. Trump won over Republican voters, as well as alienated Democrats, by declaring himself opposed to "Washington," "the establishment" and "political correctness," and by stoking fears about the Islamic State, immigrants and crime. Leda Cosmides at the University of California, Santa Barbara, points to her work with her colleague John Tooby on the use of outrage to mobilize people:

"The campaign was more about outrage than about policies," she says. And when a politician can create a sense of moral outrage, truth ceases to matter. People will go along with the emotion, support the cause and retrench into their own core group identities. The actual substance stops being of any relevance.

Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Dartmouth University who studies false beliefs, has found that when false information is specifically political in nature, part of our political identity, it becomes almost impossible to correct lies. When people read an article beginning with George W. Bush's assertion that Iraq may pass weapons to terrorist networks, which later contained the fact that Iraq didn't actually possess any WMDs at the time of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the initial misperception persisted among Republicans -- and, indeed, was frequently strengthened.

In the face of a seeming assault on their identity, they didn't change their minds to conform with the truth: Instead, amazingly, they doubled down on the exact views that were explained to be wrong.

It's easy enough to correct minor false facts if they aren't crucial to your sense of self. Alas, nothing political fits into that bucket.

With regard to Trump specifically, Nyhan points out that claims related to ethno-nationalism -- Trump's declaration early in the campaign that Mexico was sending "rapists" across the border, for instance -- get at the very core of who we are as humans, which "may make people less willing or able to evaluate the statement empirically." If you already believe immigrants put your job at risk, who's to say the chastity of your daughters isn't in danger, too? Or as Harvard University psychologist Steven Pinker puts it, once Trump makes that emotional connection, "He could say what he wants, and they'll follow him."

... ... ...

[Jun 16, 2019] Cult of the Irrelevant -- National Security Eggheads Academics

Jun 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

It also explains the rise of think tanks, which are more pliant than academics but provide similar marketing support. As Benjamin Friedman and I wrote in a 2015 article on the subject, think tanks undertake research with an operational mindset: that is, "the approach of a passenger riding shotgun who studies the map to find the ideal route, adjusts the engine if need be, and always accepts the destination without protest."

As former senator Olympia Snowe once put it, "you can find a think tank to buttress any view or position, and then you give it the aura of legitimacy and credibility by referring to their report." Or consider the view of Rory Stewart, now a member of parliament in the UK, but once an expert on Afghanistan who was consulted on the Afghan surge but opposed it:

It's like they're coming in and saying to you, "I'm going to drive my car off a cliff. Should I or should I not wear a seatbelt?" And you say, "I don't think you should drive your car off the cliff." And they say, "No, no, that bit's already been decided -- the question is whether to wear a seatbelt." And you say, "Well, you might as well wear a seatbelt." And then they say, "We've consulted with policy expert Rory Stewart, and he says "

Or look at how policymakers themselves define relevance. Stephen Krasner, an academic who became a policymaker, lamented the uselessness of much academic security studies literature because "[e]ven the most convincing empirical findings may be of no practical use because they do not include factors that policy makers can manipulate."

The explicit claim here is that for scholarship to be of any practical use, it must include factors that policymakers can manipulate. This reflects a strong bias toward action, even in relatively restrained presidencies.

To take two recent examples, the Obama administration blew past voluminous academic literature suggesting the Libya intervention was likely to disappoint. President Barack Obama himself asked the CIA to analyze success in arming insurgencies before making a decision over what to do in Syria. The CIA replied with a study showing that arming and financing insurgencies rarely works. Shortly thereafter, Obama launched a billion-dollar effort to arm and finance insurgents in Syria.

♦♦♦

As Desch tracks the influence of scholars on foreign policy across the 20th century, a pattern becomes clear: where scholars agree with policy, they are relevant. Where they do not, they are not.

In several of the cases Desch identifies where scholars disagreed with policy, they were right and the policymakers were tragically, awfully wrong. In the instances where scholars differed with policy at high levels, Desch blames their "unrealistic expectations" for causing "wartime social scientists to overlook the more modest, but real, contribution they actually made" to policy. But why would we want scholars to trim their sails in this way? And why should social scientists want to be junior partners in doomed enterprises?

Social scientists have produced reams of qualitative and historically focused research with direct relevance to policy. They publish blog posts, tweets, excerpts, op-eds, and video encapsulations of their work. The only thing left for them to do is to convey their findings via interpretive dance, and a plan for doing that is probably in the works already. In the meantime, it should be simultaneously heartening and discouraging for policy-inclined scholars to realize that It's Not Us, It's Them.

In a country as powerful and secure as the United States, elites can make policy built on shaky foundations. Eventually, the whole thing may collapse. Scholars should focus on pointing out these fundamental flaws -- and thinking about how they might help rebuild.

Justin Logan is director of programs and a research associate at the Center for the Study of Statesmanship at Catholic University.


Oleg Gark June 11, 2019 at 9:03 pm

[Karl Rove] said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' [ ] 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do'.

Experts, shmexperts! Who needs realism when you're creating your own reality.

EliteCommInc. , says: June 12, 2019 at 3:56 am
I was thinking -- the academics involved in policy are in think tanks and then

"It also explains the rise of think tanks, which are more pliant than academics but provide similar marketing support."

but what I found intriguing is the assessment concerning most of the research being faulty or dead wrong in various ways.

Given that and the real world success of the think tank players who develop foreign policy Dr. Desch should consider the matter a wash --

Those on the field aren't scoring any big points. in fact they seem intend on handing the ball over to the opposing team repeatedly.

trying to predict and then replicate human behavior is a very dicey proposition.

enjoyed the reference to the ongoing debate quantative analysis verses qualitative.

EliteCommInc. , says: June 12, 2019 at 4:05 am
Sadly when the numbers quantative research ruled they could really be abusive in stating what the data meant.

Nowhere is this more evident than with crime stats.

polistra , says: June 12, 2019 at 8:23 am
Excellent article.

Another question occurs to me: Who are the executives or politicians trying to impress when they bring in captive consultants or scholars? Ordinary people (customers or voters) don't care. Customers just want a good product, and voters just want sane policies.

Competing leaders know the game and don't bother to listen.

So who's the audience for the "thinkers"?

JohnT , says: June 12, 2019 at 9:01 am
In so much of the world's leadership today it is not science that is being ignored and corrupted so much as rational thought and a personal insight mature enough to find indisputable the need for the opinion of others.
But, to this post's point, I once had a statistician with a doctorate in his profession casually state their numbers predicted Stalin would fail. In response, my thought was when in the history of the known galaxy did putting a soulless person in charge ever not fail? Compassion alone would predict that outcome.
Taras 77 , says: June 12, 2019 at 12:14 pm
The absolute most corrupting influence in current foreign policy discussion is the growth of the mis-named growth of "think" tanks. One can discern immediately the message when determining author and organization.

Moar war, russia, iran, et al are threats, moar military spending, support israel at all costs, etc, etc.

These 'think' tanks are extremely well funded by oligarchs and foreign money so the bottom line is directed towards pre-selected objectives. Even the state dept is getting into the act to atk pro-Iran activists.

Where is the level playing field?

Kouros , says: June 12, 2019 at 3:20 pm
While the academics might be deemed irrelevant when views differ, the government in-house analysts might even loose their jobs if their positions differ from those of the decision makers. I know I lost mine, and it wasn't even in foreign policy or national security
Christian J Chuba , says: June 13, 2019 at 7:13 am
It's the mentality of forever war that considers diversity subversive.

The purpose of Think Tanks and foreign policy experts (misnamed) is to rally the troops against our enemies list, not to improve our interaction with the rest of the world but to defeat them. To them, it is always WW2. Yemen must die because we can connect them to Iran; they are Dresden.

BTW I know the author was talking about actual experts. They have all been purged and dismissed as Arabist or enemy sympathizers. Track records don't matter, to them we are at war and will always be so.

C. L. H. Daniels , says: June 13, 2019 at 1:26 pm
President Barack Obama himself asked the CIA to analyze success in arming insurgencies before making a decision over what to do in Syria. The CIA replied with a study showing that arming and financing insurgencies rarely works. Shortly thereafter, Obama launched a billion-dollar effort to arm and finance insurgents in Syria.

*Silently screams in frustration*

And this is why I ended up ultimately disappointed with Obama. The man was utterly incapable of standing up to what passes for conventional wisdom inside the Beltway. "Hope and change," my butt. The hoped for change never did arrive in the end.

Say what you will about Trump, he surely doesn't give a flying fart about wisdom, conventional or otherwise. Instead of driving the car off a cliff, he just sets it on fire from the get go to save on gas.

Dr. Diprospan , says: June 14, 2019 at 4:06 pm
I liked the article.
A good reminder that if people did not heed the divine warning in Paradise,
but chose the disastrous advice of the serpent, then what can we expect
from modern politicians? Wrong, dangerous behavior seems to be inherent
in the human mentality, otherwise who would smelt metals, descend into mines,
discover America, study radiation?
Cult of the Irrelevant reminds me of the 80 and 20 statistical, empirical principle,
where out of 100 things, articles, words, recommendations, 20% are useful,
80% are useless. However for 20 useful percent to form, you need a statistical
pressure of 80 useless.
"Practice is the criterion of truth." Having eaten the forbidden apple, people were driven out of paradise, but instead they learned to distinguish between good and evil.
Without this property, it would be impossible to recognize "the effective treatments"significantly exaggerated by dishonest pharmacologists..

[Jun 07, 2019] The power of neoliberal brainwashing by Jason Holland

Jun 01, 2019 | dissidentvoice.org

If man were wise, he would gauge the true worth of anything by its usefulness and appropriateness to his life.

-- Michel de Montaigne, Complete Book of Essays , Book 11, Essay 12, Page 543

For your consideration, the modern idiot in a habitat of prime viral fecundity; after centuries of western civilization spreading toxic oppressive imperialism through contrived financial schemes and brutish warfare the dream of global neoliberalism has come to full fruition where all personal responsibility for actions of selfish business interests has been discretely removed from the profiteers and accountability placed upon all powerful implacable nation states. As a result what has been set into motion is the perfect bewildering breeding ground for the whims of the idiot mind to thrive. Complexity is artificially created in financial systems, legalese, and bureaucratic nomenclature to obfuscate the deceptions and allow the idiots in charge to more deftly carry out their scams on the general public..

What is before us now are the death throes of capitalism, which is oddly enough also capitalism at its apogee with a precipitous descent ahead due to its profound unsustainability. A common analogy of our times is referencing going off a cliff of some kind to describe the present trajectory of this idiot society, e.g. an unstoppable train with no brakes going over a cliff, or Wile E. Coyote having already gone over the cliff and simply hasn't bothered to look down yet to notice he's run out of terra-firma. Whatever variation of the analogy chosen, the point is that we know the cliff is there, but the collective state of our idiocy doesn't seem to care too much. It has other idiot priorities it deems more necessary to care about, so it plows ahead despite knowing it has run out of track.

This state of being has of course been intentionally manufactured by the idiots in charge. The direct derivation of widespread capitalist ideology creates faux democracies run by political stooges who are sycophantic to corporate power amounting to an orchestrated production of bureaucratic theater where everyone affected by the reach of this system catches the virus of idiocy and finds themselves at various stages of recovery. Each person inculcated into the cult of the idiot via institutional systems is ensnared by the traps set by boardroom bandits who conspire to break the will of the people by attempting to normalize that which isn't normal, and comport the natural better intentions of the masses to enrich the loosely formed global capitalist state.

Their scheme is simplistic yet highly effective; engineer a society based on a need for money issued from a central source and then see to it that money is always in scarce supply for all but an elite class. The effect on the common person is a state of perpetual fear and desperation which allows for the masses to be easily controlled, always servile to the money. The idiotic mind is then molded by saturating the senses in a simulacrum overlay of reality which obscures our real values, uses our love against us, and reforms us into the idiot that the idiots in charge wish us to be so we may be easily exploited once the will is broken, hence the average human animal won't put up much resistance when they are asked to do the cruel and often ecologically ruinous labor for an elite class. After the institutional indoctrination the hope for a better world becomes a futile prospect with the specter of our own conscious/cognitive deficiencies looming large over our collective actions. And certainly any would-be paradise or substantially better world for all, which theoretically could come into being, will never emerge so long as the agenda of the idiot prevails over higher wisdom.

A melancholic realization of our predicament is to understand we are trapped in a death spiral under idiotic reign where some horrific form of collapse is nearly inevitable due to our own inability to change the compulsory-destructive- unsustainable-status quo. We are damned to this present state because the idiots learned long ago that all it takes to control a herd of humans to create a self reinforcing system of subservience. This system is instantiated by fostering dependency in a hierarchical social system where a cadre of idiots seize control and installs safeguards to protect their system making it intractable with feedback loops of rewards and punishments, and each time the people begin to wise up to the plots of the idiots in charge they are slapped back into depraved imbecility unless they want to endure more of the whip which power will see to it is all that lies before them if they attempt to stray too much from the desired course of the idiots in charge.

The idiot is inherently an idiot because they are motivated by idiotic whims. At the core of the idiot are misplaced values leading to misplaced priorities that lead them to take up activities and belief systems which are antithetical to their own contentment, and typically not only are these types of activities a path to nowhere for them but also have added externalities which make their actions corrosive to all life as well. Inevitably their facile search for greater pleasure, status, and legacy damns not only them to their own personal hell, but has the potential to damn all others impacted by their decisions chasing after shallow endeavors.

The idiot mind argues their positions with a barrage of overlapping nested logical fallacies couched in reductionism and baked down to simplistic one liners which buries the truth so far down it takes an hour to fully unpack a single sentence. "Everything is a cycle", "Communism has killed 100 million people", "Capitalism has led to the greatest increase in quality of life", "Guns don't kill people, people do" – twisted distractive arguments ignoring a compendium of logical antecedents all purposed to defend capitalist propaganda people have either conveniently or unwittingly absorbed and requires time and a calm dialectical conversation to break apart the conflated lies. However the conditioned idiot mind isn't really interested in hearing the counterarguments to these claims. They only want a simple reassurance that their previously held positions are correct because admitting one is wrong is painful and requires a degree of humility, a virtue which the idiot has in short supply. And if one attempts to fully explain the full breadth of the argument the more hardened idiots will proclaim that if one cannot manufacture the counterargument in an equally terse and trite statement it must be wrong. The idiot mind will ultimately dismiss the opposing arguments with laconic stupidity and they'll quickly come to rest on the premise that we can "agree to disagree", or they'll claim on any point in which they might potentially be wrong is simply that the truth may be in the middle somewhere, or they'll suddenly become spurious epistemological philosophers and question what can truly ever be known?

To be glib and facile is a common feature of the idiot and entails not thinking about arguments in proper scope or with valid supporting warrants, or to casually perhaps conveniently misattribute the root of a problem which in fact may be be a product of a deeper problem(s). The idiot sees before them only what they desire, and their desire so often blinds them. The idiot is jealous, competitive and desires material stuff and power while sometimes not even questioning why they want what they believe they want. Like why do idiots care so much about immigrants? If they had their border wall built and actually were able to keep out 100% of illegal immigration their lives would not appreciable improve in any manner, there would be no sudden spike in their pay or offering of jobs. There's a long line of issues people think they care about that if corrected would not make much of a difference, and some of them being symptoms of deeper problems.

A rich entitled idiot will spend countless hours trying to think of ways to make more money and for what? More sexual partners? A new boat? Bigger house? A private jet? What exactly is gained and why is that worthwhile? And a war-mongering bureaucrat like Trump's national security advisor John Bolton, does anyone think he actually cares so much about the security of the US that he feels it necessary to try to attack Iran and Venezuela, and what would be accomplished when they are toppled? Even if he admitted the true reason he wants to attack these countries, for economic neoliberal expansion and to plunder their resources, what is gained even then? What is the end game there? Why do any of these folk who already are much wealthier than the common person and also nearing the end of their lives feel it so absolutely necessary to impose their will violently on others? The results will only end like every military conflict does, with throngs of innocent people dead and the world no more peaceful or better off than it was when they started the conflict.

And what exactly is gained if an already wealthy US gains more wealth? What happens? Who is happier? Who is better off? Almost nobody. Why they do what they do is an insanity and spreads discord throughout the world, as Hans Koning stated in his book Columbus: His Enterprise regarding the Spanish empire's plundering of the Americas:

For all the gold and silver stolen and shipped to Spain did not make the Spanish people richer. It gave their kings an edge in the balance of power for a time, a chance to hire more mercenary soldiers for their wars. They ended up losing those wars anyway, and all that was left was a deadly inflation, a starving population, the rich richer, the poor poorer, and a ruined peasant class.

This is the typical result of imperialism. Always has been. Thus the elites imposing their selfish will on others doesn't do anything of value and never has. This realization doesn't stop the present idiots in charge from doing their nefarious deeds or cause a hint self introspection, the idiot mind is a busied mind supremely confident they are correct. And once they have a head of steam in a direction they will most always barrel on forward out of nothing more than foolish pride reassuring themselves that whatever minor gains they may receive from any heinous act they take up is worth it, while often taking the shortest, most brutish path, to acquire more of what they desire but don't need in any conceivable way. They don't bother to think of the ramifications or the pain they cause; they just do because they feel they have the power to do so, consequences be damned.

And the facile machinations of the modern idiot in western countries doesn't seem to want to stop doing even the most frivolous of activities in order to stop the bleeding of mother Gaia. Any capitalist desire is of utmost importance to be maintained to the idiots in charge. They feel like it's their right in their ostensibly free market to use their money to engage in whatever spectacle or peculiarity they wish no matter the consequence and won't budge or go without one less triviality, not one less light buzzing over Times Square. Not a single casino can be sacrificed. It would be a tragedy if there was one less assault rifle rolling off an assembly line. An impossibility to go with one less cruise ship, or one less all you can eat buffet, not one less computer server warehouse storing useless surveillance information, not one less gaming console, or Hollywood car crash scene, or all night convenience store or fast food restaurant Not a thing they will do to impede what their idiot facile minds believe is freedom. To the idiot it's somehow all a worthwhile endeavor despite if it means inducing abrupt climate change or killing off the majority of the flora and fauna on the planet. The idiots simply won't stop being idiots until some force greater than them makes them.

And to diminish the rapid onset of climate change the idiot mind speaks of the money needed to do so. As if human will was solely reliant on convincing the idiots in charge to create more currency for the most pressing issue humans have perhaps ever faced. The idiot ignores history of Native Americans who primarily used a gift economy for likely thousands of years in comparative peace and were more advanced than most modern idiots give them credit, certainly leaps and bounds more advanced socially. But in modernity and throughout the history of western civilization money has been a tool of power and created through loans and enslaving people into debt in the billions of dollars everyday for the most absurd reasons. But debate in the public sphere continually revolves around the idea of how can we afford to maintain our highly destructive system in the face of anthropogenic Armageddon. They insist it's an impossibility that a bunch of corrupt bankers can't create the money as they do all the time and an equally impossible idea that perhaps we free ourselves entirely from these shackles and abandon the concept of money altogether to do what is necessary through the bonds of trust and lessen the damage to our environment so we have a habitat to live in while also freeing ourselves from cycle of imperial idiocy created through the use of currency. Truly the reasons for which we are destroying this planet are idiotic, and the things that are stopping the people from fully revolting against the idiots in charge are also idiotic considering what is on the line.

Our cultural heritage in western civilization is rooted in idiocy, driven by elite idiots in charge with an agenda to make the inability to discern the difference between a higher truth and an outright lie a widespread epidemic so they can convince the masses to do the stupid things the idiots in charge desire. Through tyranny and manipulation the idiot powers that be have manufactured a world which has planted seeds of doubt in otherwise unassailable truths. And perhaps this is why so many people in the west have sought out wisdom within eastern philosophy and shamanistic societies. They seek to find truth that is shunned by the modern western mind, and to understand truth one must disengage from this toxic culture so they can remember once again what the truth looks like.

The idiocy is compounded by an ironic competitive pride in their intellectual abilities where one idiot proclaims to be smarter and more qualified than another based on idiotic criteria. Like the spurious intelligence in being able to out maneuver another capitalist through underhanded means, or exhibiting the callousness to exploit employees more than their competitors. Or the supposed craftiness in brown-nosing up to one's superiors in a place of work and appearing more subservient than coworkers as to be awarded a promotion. These are not acts of intelligence but acts of one who is making an obsequious race to the bottom and proclaiming themselves champions for their willingness to sink to lower levels of deception to achieve their so called success. However there is no success when the entire ecology of our world is recklessly destroyed so their ideas of success can be had. There is no success when needless wars and mass human suffering are imposed so their ill conceived goals can be achieved. The idiot's idea of success is in actuality grand treachery.

Examples of the idiot's falsely contrived ideas of success are everywhere. The unemployment rate is seemingly quite low at 3.6%, but what does this mean when so many are excluded out of the equation once they haven't had any employment for a long enough amount of time, and further, what is considered employment in many cases doesn't provide the ability to afford a roof over your head. And who cares if the unemployment number is low when the end product of these jobs also makes species extinction and climate change worse. What good are these jobs when they create so much human misery that lives have little value to all those who are stuck in the labor. And who cares if a metric like the GDP goes up if it is achieved through barbarous imperialism, or grossly overcharging for medical care/housing/education, or by creating slave like conditions for people thousands of miles away so corporations can glean more profits? This is again is not success, it is but the apex of disdainful human treachery.

The idiot is constantly seeking validation externally from others and never generates their own validation through self acceptance. Thus they are ravenous attention seekers, and will inevitably sniff out all things that garner attention for them so they create awards shows, diplomas with haughty ceremonies, important sounding titles of all sorts to manufacture the facade of their worth. If an action is harmful to others in their trek for external validation it's not of any great importance to the idiot, the worthiness of action is again determined by if it's beneficial to them and exclusionary society comprised of other idiots so it compliments their high sense of themselves which their ego assures them is valid.

The idiot believes all things are impossible except what currently exists. They are exceptional at meeting the criteria for the definition for insanity. They do the same thing over and over and expect different results. The idiot does not understand history even when they read it since cultural and self reinforced myopia has rotted away the plasticity of thought in their minds so what they take away from the reading of history is only what is convenient to their present system of thought. The idiot believes in social systems like representative democracies, centralized government in nation states, courts, and prisons that cannot cure the simplest of society's ailments over thousands of years of use, but to the idiot just one more election is going to make all the difference. One more go around the installed idiotic system with idiotic desires at the root is going to change course and suddenly become wise. They believe by just replacing the current idiots in charge they will be able to cause the change that is so desperately needed, but like a hiker refusing to admit they are lost and continuing down the trail out of hubris they are only further compounding the problem by insisting they aren't lost. And our society is most certainly lost, and it's a long way back to the trail that leads to redemption and a place we actually want to be, which we get further away from each day we stay on our present course.

And after all our idiotic overcomplicated plots and schemes, they are but to mask simple truths the idiot facade tries so desperately to avoid; the inner torments of being afraid of not being good enough, not measuring up to our peers, not meeting arbitrary expectations we either accept from others or set for ourselves, or quite simply feeling like we are not worthy of love. So we play these pointless high stakes games which have a rewards as meaningless and worthless as a plastic trophy just to prove our worth. The idiot is a temporal state of being, although many are finer long term examples of displaying the behaviors of the idiot; however none of us are the perfect idiot. To avoid the affectations of being in an idiotic state it takes conscious effort to live our lives moment to moment with authenticity, to be in a state of awareness of our actions, to always be willing to suffer for something worthwhile and to be consistently well reasoned examiners of what constitutes something worthwhile.

Jason Holland is a writer and a proponent of peaceful revolution. He can be reached at jason.holland@reasonbowl.com or follow him on twitter @ReasonBowl. Youtube content at Reason Bowl Radio. Read other articles by Jason , or visit Jason's website .

This article was posted on Saturday, June 1st, 2019 at 10:13pm and is filed under Capitalism , Classism , Imperialism , Neoliberalism .

[May 31, 2019] Comments on Official Response by OPCW to the Engineering Assessment on Douma

OPSW proved to be a gang of a despicable, completely bought by the USA bottomfeeders. Looks like they are now a part of "Intergity Initiative"
At this point credibility of the USA and UK experts on the topic is not zero, it is negative: they systematically generate false flags.
Truth be told after Skripals affair the level of credibility of the UK government and expects is far below zero in any case. This is just a gang of despicable warmongers.
Notable quotes:
"... If SST readers are confused by OPCW's constantly shifting explanations for why the Final Report on the Douma incident excluded the Engineering Assessment, they're not the only ones. ..."
"... Unfortunately for whoever thought up this defence, it is explicitly contradicted by both the Interim Report (published last July) and the Final Report, which state that the objective of the engineering studies was to evaluate how the cylinders arrived in position. ..."
May 29, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Comments on official response to the release of the Engineering Assessment of the Douma cylinders Paul McKeigue, David Miller, Jake Mason, Piers Robinson

Members of Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media 1 Introduction

This post comments on the response to our release of the Executive Summary of the Engineering Assessment of the Douma cylinders on 13 May 2018. All emphases in quoted passages are added by us. After OPCW had confirmed the document to be genuine, the story was covered extensively by Russian media.

An informed commentary by Professor Hiroyuki Aoyama in Tokyo has been published on Yahoo News's Japanese site. The only coverage in western corporate media has been by Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday , Robert Fisk in the Independent and Tucker Carlson on Fox .

Other journalists who have been in touch with us have told us that their stories were spiked by editors. As expected, the story has reached much larger numbers through websites and videos that have disseminated it.

2 OPCW's response to the release of the document

2.1 Official response

In an email dated 11 May and shown to us, Deepti Choubey, the head of OPCW Public Affairs, wrote:

Thank you for reaching out to us. It is exclusively through the Fact-Finding Mission, set up in 2014, that the OPCW establishes facts surrounding allegations of use of toxic chemicals for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic. On 1 March 2019, the OPCW has issued its final and only valid official report, signed by the Director-General, regarding the incident that took place in Douma, Syrian Arab Republic, on 7 April 2018. The document you shared with us is not part of any of the material produced by the FFM. The individual mentioned in the document has never been a member of the FFM .

A subsequent email on 16 May stated:

The OPCW establishes facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic through the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM), which was set up in 2014. The OPCW Technical Secretariat reaffirms that the FFM complies with established methodologies and practices to ensure the integrity of its findings. The FFM takes into account all available, relevant, and reliable information and analysis within the scope of its mandate to determine its findings. Per standard practice, the FFM draws expertise from different divisions across the Technical Secretariat as needed. All information was taken into account, deliberated, and weighed when formulating the final report regarding the incident in Douma, Syrian Arab Republic, on 7 April 2018. On 1 March 2019, the OPCW issued its final report on this incident, signed by the Director-General.

Per OPCW rules and regulations, and in order to ensure the privacy, safety, and security of personnel, the OPCW does not provide information about individual staff members of the Technical Secretariat. Pursuant to its established policies and practices, the OPCW Technical Secretariat is conducting an internal investigation about the unauthorised release of the document in question. At this time, there is no further public information on this matter and the OPCW is unable to accommodate requests for interviews.

This was taken as confirmation that the document was genuine.

2.2 Unofficial briefings

Following OPCW's confirmation on 16 May that the document we had released was genuine, two individuals in the UK whose communications have supported UK government policy on Syria favoring regime change – Professor Scott Lucas of Birmingham University, and the former Guardian journalist Brian Whitaker – began reporting that they had inside information on how the Engineering Assessment had been excluded from the Final Report.

2.2.1 Lucas

On 16 May Lucas reported that:

Henderson was writing what was, in effect, a dissenting assessment from that of most of the OPCW's team and consultant experts. His findings were considered but were a minority opinion as final report was written.

He followed this with a remarkably indiscreet tweet asserting that "I know how OPCW review process was conducted and what place Henderson's assessment had in it." When challenged to explain his connection to OPCW, Lucas did not answer. Hitchens reported on 24 May that OPCW Public Affairs had refused to comment on whether Lucas was receiving authorised briefings from OPCW.

2.2.2 Whitaker

Whitaker was at first more circumspect about his sources, reporting on 16 May that:

One story circulating in the chemical weapons community (though not confirmed) is that Henderson had wanted to join the FFM and got rebuffed but was then given permission to do some investigating on the sidelines of the FFM.

Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat extended Whitaker's version with:

This reporting by @Brian_Whit on the leaked Douma report that the conspiracy theorists and chemical weapon denialists are so excited about is consistent with what I'm hearing . Looks like they all got played by a disgruntled OPCW employee.

In an article posted on 24 May, Whitaker was more explicit in reporting the spin of "an informed source" on the Engineering Assessment.

an informed source has now shed some light on it. The key point here is the FFM's terms of reference. Its basic role was to establish facts about the alleged attack, and it was not allowed to apportion blame -- that is the job of the OPCW's newly-created Investigation and Identification Team (IIT). Although the FFM determined that the cylinders were probably dropped from the air, the published report (in line with its mandate) omitted any mention of the obvious implication that they had been dropped by regime aircraft. According to the informed source, when Henderson's assessment was reviewed there were concerns that it came too close to attributing responsibility, and thus fell outside the scope of the FFM's mandate. Whether or not that was the right decision, there was no doubt that Henderson's assessment did fall within the mandate of the new Investigation and Identification Team. For that reason, according to the source, he was advised to pass it to the IIT instead -- and he did so.

Unless this account was entirely fabricated, it could only have come from someone with close knowledge of how the Final Report had been prepared. A subsequent tweet from Whitaker on 25 May, presumably channelling the same source, confirmed that "Henderson and others" had been in Douma:

Henderson and others did go to Douma to provide temporary support to the FFM, but they were not official members of the FFM.

2.3 What the channelling of off-the-record briefings tells us

It is likely that (at least on this occasion) Lucas and Whitaker are telling the truth, and that they have been briefed by someone with close knowledge of how the FFM Final Report was prepared. If these briefings had not been authorised, OPCW Public Affairs could easily have responded to Hitchens's question with a standard statement reiterating that "there is no further public information on this matter" and that this extended to off-the-record briefings. We would expect OPCW press officers to be reluctant to issue further statements that could subsequently be shown to be false.

Like cellular biologists who perturb a complex system and measure its outputs, we can infer from these observations the existence of a pathway. This pathway connects the production of OPCW reports on alleged chemical attacks in Syria with a network of communicators in the UK who in different ways have promoted the cause of regime change in Syria since 2012. It is evident that Lucas and Whitaker are output nodes of this pathway. From August 2012, Whitaker as the Guardian's Middle East editor promoted Higgins from obscure beginnings as a blogger to become a widely-cited source on the Syrian conflict. Whitaker was the first journalist to devote an article to attacking the Working Group, in February 2018 when its only collective output had been a brief blog post.

It is of course possible that OPCW management for some procedural reason was unable to provide further information on the record, and sought to disseminate an accurate version of events via off-the-record briefings. But the choice of such highly partisan commentators as Lucas and Whitaker as channels inevitably calls into question the good faith of whoever provided these briefings, and undermines any remaining pretence to impartiality on the part of OPCW management.

2.4 Discrepancies between versions of OPCW's response

An established method in investigative journalism is to compare official versions and to infer from discrepancies what they are trying to hide. On 11 May OPCW Public Affairs stated that "The document you shared with us is not part of any of the material produced by the FFM. The individual mentioned in the document has never been a member of the FFM". After we pointed out that these two statements were provably false – the external collaboration on the engineering assessment of the Douma cylinders must have been authorised by OPCW, and Henderson could hardly have been in Damascus on a tourist visa – they were not repeated on the record. By 16 May OPCW Public Affairs had formulated a new policy: "Per OPCW rules and regulations the OPCW does not provide information about individual staff members of the Technical Secretariat." A more subtle version of Henderson's role was then channelled through Lucas and Whitaker: "minority opinion", "on the sidelines" and elaborated by Higgins as "disgruntled OPCW employee"'. Between 16 May and 25 May the story channelled through Whitaker changed from "Henderson had wanted to join the FFM and got rebuffed but was then given permission to do some investigating on the sidelines of the FFM." to admitting that "Henderson and others" were in Douma "to provide temporary support to the FFM".

On 24 May Whitaker's informed source admits that "Henderson's assessment was reviewed" for the Final Report, no longer attempting to maintain that the Engineering Assessment was not part of the FFM's process. If we strip away the flannel from this latest story, it appears to be accurate. The "informed source" tells us that the Engineering Assessment was excluded from the Final Report not because its technical analysis had been rebutted, but because the conclusion that the cylinders had been placed in position rather than dropped from the air would necessarily have attributed responsibility for the incident to the opposition .

The argument that the mandate of the FFM prevented it from endorsing the Engineering Assessment's conclusion is easily refuted as a matter of logic. Announcing the release of the Final Report, OPCW stated that "The FFM's mandate is to determine whether chemical weapons or toxic chemicals as weapons have been used in Syria." In Douma this could be reduced to deciding between two alternatives: (1) the gas cylinders were dropped from the air, implying that they were used as chemical weapons; (2) the cylinders were placed in position, implying that the incident was staged and that no chemical attack had occurred. Although to conclude that alternative (2) was correct would implicate the opposition, this would not be attribution of blame for a chemical attack but rather a determination that chemical weapons had not been used.

Clearly a verdict that the alleged chemical attack had been staged would have been unacceptable to the French government, which had joined in the US-led missile attack on 14 April 2018. We can surmise that the Chief of Cabinet of OPCW, Sébastien Braha, who (according to his Linkedin profile ) is still in post as a French diplomat, would have been in a difficult position if he had allowed the FFM to release a report that reached this conclusion. He would be in an even more difficult position if he were to allow the newly-established Investigation and Identification Team (IIT), which also reports to him, to overturn the conclusions of the Final Report and report that the alleged chemical attack was staged. Even if Braha's failure to update his online profile with the date of leaving his diplomatic post is an oversight, this would still be a conflict of interest based on the OECD definition of what "a reasonable person, knowing the relevant facts, would conclude". As we have noted, OPCW appears to have no arrangements for managing conflicts of interest. Until the governance and working practices of OPCW are radically reformed, it is hard to see how neutral observers can have confidence in the impartiality of the FFM or the IIT.

3 Government responses to an alleged chlorine attack on 19 May 3.1 Reports of the alleged attack

Possible allusions to the release of the Engineering Assessment on 13 May can be discerned in government responses to a report of an alleged chlorine attack in Idlib on 19 May. The earliest report , mentioning three missiles or shells loaded with chlorine was from an Arabic-language website named ebaa.news at 11.01 am Syrian time. The location was given as Kubina Hill in Kabbana village, on the border with Lattakia. At 12.46 am Syrian time Hamish de Bretton-Gordon (HdBG) tweeted

Appears to be a chlorine attack from Regime artillery shells in Jose Al Shugour village - 4 casualties being evacuated for treatment

"Jose Al Shugour village" is presumably the town of Jisr Al-Shughour. Rami Abdulrahman's Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on 22 May that four fighters were treated in hospital after they "suffocated in the intense and violent shelling by the regime forces, within caves and trenches" but did not endorse the claims of a chlorine attack, noting that the source of this story was "the Media platform of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham". The story was elaborated in a Fox News report on 23 May that quoted a "Dr Ahmad" from Idlib, who reported that he had treated the casualties. Fox News also quoted Nidal Shikhani of the Chemical Violations Documentation Centre Syria (CVDCS).

A possible match for the identity of "Dr Ahmad" is Dr Ahmad al-Dbis, quoted by Reuters on 4 May 2019 as Safety and Security Manager for the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations (UOSSM), describing airstrikes on Idlib and northern Hama. Since 2016 both HdBG and the CBRN Task Force that he set up in 2013 have been affiliated to UOSSM. A report from 2014 quotes a "Dr Ahmad" described as a medic trained by HdBG for the CBRN Task Force. CVDCS is an NGO that has worked closely with the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission since 2015 to provide purported eyewitnesses for interview in Syria, originally established in 2012 as the Office of Documentation of the Chemical File in Syria , and later registered in Brussels as a non-profit company named Same Justice. This company never complied with the legal requirement to file accounts, and went into liquidation on 27 February 2019.

The ebaa.news site appears to be closely linked to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), frequently quoting HTS spokesmen and sometimes reporting exclusive stories obtained from HTS. On 31 May 2018 HTS was designated by the US Department of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. The Coordinator for Counterterrorism noted that this designation "serves notice that the United States is not fooled by this al-Qa'ida affiliate's attempt to rebrand itself." In conclusion, the provenance of this story of a chemical attack on 19 May is dubious, and the extent to which the sources are independent of one another is not clear.

3.2 UK response

On 22 May John Woodcock MP asked at Prime Minister's Questions :

British experts are this morning investigating a suspected chlorine attack by al-Assad in Idlib. If it is proved, will she lead the international response against the return of this indiscriminate evil?

As expected, the Prime Minister gave a bellicose answer, but made no reference to OPCW.

We of course acted in Syria, with France and the United States, when we saw chemical weapons being used there. We are in close contact with the United States and are monitoring the situation closely, and if any use of chemical weapons is confirmed, we will respond appropriately.

Woodcock's "British experts" appear to have included HdBG, who had suggested in a tweet the day before that Woodcock should ask the Prime Minister about Idlib, though not about a chemical attack. In a subsequent tweet Woodcock stated that his experts were "on the ground in Syria".

3.3 French response

The daily press from the French foreign ministry on 22 May responded to a question on the alleged chemical attack on 19 May with:

We have noted with concern these allegations which must be investigated. We have full confidence in the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons .

3.4 US response

A press statement from State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus on 21 May dealt with the alleged chemical attack two days earlier:

Unfortunately, we continue to see signs that the Assad regime may be renewing its use of chemical weapons, including an alleged chlorine attack in northwest Syria on the morning of May 19, 2019. We are still gathering information on this incident, but we repeat our warning that if the Assad regime uses chemical weapons, the United States and our allies will respond quickly and appropriately.

She mentioned a " continuing disinformation campaign " to "create the false narrative that others are to blame for chemical weapons attacks that the Assad regime itself is conducting". The following day Mr James Jeffrey, the State Department's special representative to Syria, testified to the House Foreign Affairs Committee that "So far we cannot confirm [the reports of chemical weapons use] but we're watching it". The New York Times reported this to be a "carefully worded recalibration" of the announcement by Morgan Ortagus the day before, and that American military officials had "expressed surprise over the State Department's strong statement". 4 Comparison of the Engineering Assessment with the published Final Report

A comparison of the Engineering Assessment and the Final Report have been reported in outline form by McIntyre . As Larson has noted , there are indications in the Final Report that whoever drafted it had access to an earlier version of the Engineering Assessment (the released version dated 27 February 2019 is marked Rev 1) and was attempting to rebut it without overtly mentioning it. For instance the Engineering Assessment lists five points supporting the opinion of experts that the crater at location 2 had been created by a the explosion of a mortar round or artillery rocket rather than an impact from a falling object. These points included:

"an (unusually elevated, but possible) fragmentation pattern on upper walls"

"(whilst it was observed that a fire had been created in the corner of the room) black scorching on the crater underside and ceiling."

The Final Report states falsely that a fragmentation pattern, visible in open-source images, was absent:

The FFM analysed the damage on the rooftop terrace and below the crater in order to determine if it had been created by an explosive device. However, this hypothesis is unlikely given the absence of primary and secondary fragmentation characteristic of an explosion that may have created the crater and the damage surrounding it.

This is followed by a paragraph that notes the blackening of the ceiling and attributes it to the fire set in the room. The Final Report's allusion to the possibility of an explosive device, with mention of fragmentation pattern and the setting of a fire in the room appears to be an attempt to explain away the argument made in the Engineering Assessment.

We note that several of the key findings of the Engineering Assessment are based only on examination of the cylinders. For instance the Engineering Assessment reports that the cylinder at Location 2 bears no markings that would be consistent with the frame with fins (lying on the balcony) ever having been attached to it, let alone the markings that would be expected if the frame had been stripped off by impact. The Final Report records that the Syrian government insisted on retaining custody of the cylinders for criminal investigation purposes. Accordingly:

On 4 June, FFM team members tagged and sealed the cylinders from Locations 2 and 4, and documented the procedure.

A useful way to take forward the investigation of the Douma incident would now be for the Syrian government to invite an international team of neutral experts to examine the cylinders, to assess whether the observations support the findings of the Engineering Assessment or the conclusions of the published FFM Final Report, and to publish their findings in a form that allows peer review and reproducibility of results from data. The next step would be a criminal investigation of this incident, focusing on where, how and by whom were the 35 victims seen in images at Location 2 killed.

Posted at 02:37 AM in government , History , Syria , The Military Art , weapons | Permalink

Castellio , 29 May 2019 at 12:05 PM

Thank you for pursuing this issue in depth and with rigour.

Paul McKeigue , 29 May 2019 at 12:05 PM

If SST readers are confused by OPCW's constantly shifting explanations for why the Final Report on the Douma incident excluded the Engineering Assessment, they're not the only ones.

Yesterday OPCW released its official response (dated 21 May) to Russian criticisms (dated 26 April) of the Final Report of the Fact-Finding Mission on the Douma incident. In this response OPCW made, officially and on the record, the same argument as that made by Whitaker's "informed source: that to assess how the cylinders arrived in their positions was outside the mandate of the FFM.

Unfortunately for whoever thought up this defence, it is explicitly contradicted by both the Interim Report (published last July) and the Final Report, which state that the objective of the engineering studies was to evaluate how the cylinders arrived in position.

Peter Hitchens is on the case, and has listed these contradictions and requested an explanation from OPCW.

https://t.co/siF2D4yita

[May 20, 2019] "Us" Versus "Them"

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... There are differences between the parties, but they are mainly centered around social issues and disputes with little or no consequence to the long-term path of the country. The real ruling oligarchs essentially allow controlled opposition within each party to make it appear you have a legitimate choice at the ballot box. Nothing could be further from the truth. ..."
"... There has been an unwritten agreement between the parties for decades where the Democrats pretend to be against war and the Republicans pretend to be against welfare. Meanwhile, spending on war and welfare relentlessly grows into the trillions, with no effort whatsoever from either party to even slow the rate of growth, let alone cut spending. The proliferation of the military industrial complex like a poisonous weed has been inexorable, as the corporate arms dealers place their facilities of death in the congressional districts of Democrats and Republicans. In addition, these corporate manufacturers of murder dole out "legal" payoffs to corrupt politicians of both parties in the form of political contributions. The Deep State knows bribes and well-paying jobs ensure no spineless congressman will ever vote against a defense spending increase. ..."
"... Of course, the warfare/welfare state couldn't grow to its immense size without financing from the Wall Street cabal and their feckless academic puppets at the Federal Reserve. The Too Big to Trust Wall Street banks, whose willful control fraud nearly wrecked the global economy in 2008, were rewarded by their Deep State patrons by getting bigger and more powerful as people on Main Street and senior citizen savers were thrown under the bus. ..."
"... When these criminal bankers have their reckless bets blow up in their faces they are bailed out by the American taxpayers, but when the Fed rigs the system so they are guaranteed billions in risk free profits, they reward themselves with massive bonuses and lobby for a huge tax cut used to buy back their stock. With bank branches in every congressional district in every state, and bankers spreading protection money to greedy politicians across the land, no legislation damaging to the banking cartel is ever passed. ..."
"... I voted for Trump because he wasn't Hillary. ..."
"... If the Chinese refuse to yield for fear of losing face, and the tariff war accelerates, a global recession is a certainty. ..."
"... These sociopaths are not liberal or conservative. They are not Democrats or Republicans. They are not beholden to a country or community. They care not for their fellow man. They don't care about future generations. They care about their own power, wealth and control over others. They have no conscience. They have no empathy. Right and wrong are meaningless in their unquenchable thirst for more. They will lie, steal and kill to achieve their goal of controlling everything and everyone in this world. This precisely describes virtually every politician in Washington DC, Wall Street banker, mega-corporation CEO, government agency head, MSM talking head, church leader, billionaire activist, and blood sucking advisor to the president. ..."
"... The problem is we have gone too far. The "American Dream" has become a grotesque nightmare because people by the millions sit around and dream about being a Kardashian. Makes me want to puke. ..."
May 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog,

"I'll show you politics in America. Here it is, right here. "I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs." "I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking." "Hey, wait a minute, there's one guy holding out both puppets!"" – Bill Hicks

Anyone who frequents Twitter, Facebook, political blogs, economic blogs, or fake-news mainstream media channels knows our world is driven by the "Us versus Them" narrative. It's almost as if "they" are forcing us to choose sides and believe the other side is evil. Bill Hicks died in 1994, but his above quote is truer today then it was then. As the American Empire continues its long-term decline, the proles are manipulated through Bernaysian propaganda techniques, honed over the course of decades by the ruling oligarchs, to root for their assigned puppets.

Most people can't discern they are being manipulated and duped by the Deep State controllers. The most terrifying outcome for these Deep State controllers would be for the masses to realize it is us versus them. But they don't believe there is a chance in hell of this happening. Their arrogance is palatable.

Their hubris has reached astronomical levels as they blew up the world economy in 2008 and successfully managed to have the innocent victims bail them out to the tune of $700 billion, pillaged the wealth of the nation through their capture of the Federal Reserve (QE, ZIRP), rigged the financial markets in their favor through collusion, used the hundreds of billions in corporate tax cuts to buy back their stock and further pump the stock market, all while their corporate media mouthpieces mislead and misinform the proles.

There are differences between the parties, but they are mainly centered around social issues and disputes with little or no consequence to the long-term path of the country. The real ruling oligarchs essentially allow controlled opposition within each party to make it appear you have a legitimate choice at the ballot box. Nothing could be further from the truth.

There has been an unwritten agreement between the parties for decades where the Democrats pretend to be against war and the Republicans pretend to be against welfare. Meanwhile, spending on war and welfare relentlessly grows into the trillions, with no effort whatsoever from either party to even slow the rate of growth, let alone cut spending. The proliferation of the military industrial complex like a poisonous weed has been inexorable, as the corporate arms dealers place their facilities of death in the congressional districts of Democrats and Republicans. In addition, these corporate manufacturers of murder dole out "legal" payoffs to corrupt politicians of both parties in the form of political contributions. The Deep State knows bribes and well-paying jobs ensure no spineless congressman will ever vote against a defense spending increase.

Of course, the warfare/welfare state couldn't grow to its immense size without financing from the Wall Street cabal and their feckless academic puppets at the Federal Reserve. The Too Big to Trust Wall Street banks, whose willful control fraud nearly wrecked the global economy in 2008, were rewarded by their Deep State patrons by getting bigger and more powerful as people on Main Street and senior citizen savers were thrown under the bus.

When these criminal bankers have their reckless bets blow up in their faces they are bailed out by the American taxpayers, but when the Fed rigs the system so they are guaranteed billions in risk free profits, they reward themselves with massive bonuses and lobby for a huge tax cut used to buy back their stock. With bank branches in every congressional district in every state, and bankers spreading protection money to greedy politicians across the land, no legislation damaging to the banking cartel is ever passed.

I've never been big on joining a group. I tend to believe Groucho Marx and his cynical line, "I don't care to belong to any club that will have me as a member". The "Us vs. Them" narrative doesn't connect with my view of the world. As a realistic libertarian I know libertarian ideals will never proliferate in a society of government dependency, willful ignorance of the masses, thousands of laws, and a weak-kneed populace afraid of freedom and liberty. The only true libertarian politician, Ron Paul, was only able to connect with about 5% of the voting public. There is no chance a candidate with a libertarian platform will ever win a national election. This country cannot be fixed through the ballot box. Bill Hicks somewhat foreshadowed the last election by referencing another famous cynic.

"I ascribe to Mark Twain's theory that the last person who should be President is the one who wants it the most. The one who should be picked is the one who should be dragged kicking and screaming into the White House." ― Bill Hicks

Hillary Clinton wanted to be president so badly, she colluded with Barack Obama, Jim Comey, John Brennan, James Clapper, Loretta Lynch and numerous other Deep State sycophants to ensure her victory, by attempting to entrap Donald Trump in a concocted Russian collusion plot and subsequent post-election coup to cover for their traitorous plot. I wouldn't say Donald Trump was dragged kicking and screaming into the White House, but when he ascended on the escalator at Trump Tower in June of 2015, I'm not convinced he believed he could win the presidency.

As the greatest self-promoter of our time, I think he believed a presidential run would be good for his brand, more revenue for his properties and more interest in his reality TV ventures. He was despised by the establishment within the Republican and Democrat parties. The vested interests controlling the media and levers of power in society scorned and ridiculed this brash uncouth outsider. In an upset for the ages, Trump tapped into a vein of rage and disgruntlement in flyover country and pockets within swing states, to win the presidency over Crooked Hillary and her Deep State backers.

I voted for Trump because he wasn't Hillary. I hadn't voted for a Republican since 2000, casting protest votes for Libertarian and Constitutional Party candidates along the way. I despise the establishment, so their hatred of Trump made me vote for him. His campaign stances against foreign wars and Federal Reserve reckless bubble blowing appealed to me. I don't worship at the altar of the cult of personality. I judge men by their actions and not their words.

Trump's first two years have been endlessly entertaining as he waged war against fake news CNN, establishment Republicans, the Deep State coup attempt, and Obama loving globalists. The Twitter in Chief has bypassed the fake news media and tweets relentlessly to his followers. He provokes outrage in his enemies and enthralls his worshipers. With millions in each camp it is difficult to find an unbiased assessment of narrative versus real accomplishments.

I'm happy he has been able to stop the relentless leftward progression of our Federal judiciary. Cutting regulations and rolling back environmental mandates has been a positive. Exiting the Paris Climate Agreement and TPP, forcing NATO members to pay their fair share, and renegotiating NAFTA were all needed. Ending the war on coal and approving pipelines will keep energy costs lower. His attempts to vet Muslims entering the country have been the right thing to do. Building a wall on our southern border is the right thing to do, but he should have gotten it done when he controlled both houses.

The use of tariffs to force China to renegotiate one sided trade deals as a negotiating tactic is a high-risk, high reward gamble. If his game of chicken is successful and he gets better terms from the Chicoms, while reversing the tariffs, it would be a huge win. If the Chinese refuse to yield for fear of losing face, and the tariff war accelerates, a global recession is a certainty. Who has the upper hand? Xi is essentially a dictator for life and doesn't have to worry about elections or popularity polls. Dissent is crushed. A global recession and stock market crash would make Trump's re-election in 2020 problematic.

I'm a big supporter of lower taxes. The Trump tax cuts were sold as beneficial to the middle class. That is a false narrative. The vast majority of the tax cut benefits went to mega-corporations and rich people. Middle class home owning families with children received little or no tax relief, as exemptions were eliminated and tax deductions capped. In many cases, taxes rose for working class Americans.

With corporate profits at all time highs, massive tax cuts put billions more into their coffers. They didn't repatriate their overseas profits to a great extent. They didn't go on a massive hiring spree. They didn't invest in new facilities. They did buy back their own stock to help drive the stock market to stratospheric heights. So corporate executives gave themselves billions in bonuses, which were taxed at a much lower rate. This is considered winning in present day America.

The "Us vs. Them" issue rears its ugly head whenever Trump is held accountable for promises unkept, blatant failures, and his own version of fake news. Holding Trump to the same standards as Obama is considered traitorous by those who only root for their home team. Their standard response is that you are a Hillary sycophant or a turncoat to the home team. If you agree with a particular viewpoint or position of a liberal then you are a bad person and accused of being a lefty by Trump fanboys. Facts don't matter to cheerleaders. Competing narratives rule the day. Truthfulness not required.

The refusal to distinguish between positive actions and negative actions when assessing the performance of what passes for our political leadership by the masses is why cynicism has become my standard response to everything I see, hear or he read. The incessant level of lies permeating our society and its acceptance as the norm has led to moral decay and rampant criminality from the White House, to the halls of Congress, to corporate boardrooms, to corporate newsrooms, to government run classrooms, to the Vatican, and to households across the land. It's interesting that one of our founding fathers reflected upon this detestable human trait over two hundred years ago.

"It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime." – Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine's description of how moral mischief can ruin a society was written when less than 3 million people inhabited America. Consider his accurate assessment of humanity when over 300 million occupy these lands. The staggering number of corrupt prostituted sociopaths occupying positions of power within the government, corporations, media, military, churches, and academia has created a morally bankrupt empire of debt.

These sociopaths are not liberal or conservative. They are not Democrats or Republicans. They are not beholden to a country or community. They care not for their fellow man. They don't care about future generations. They care about their own power, wealth and control over others. They have no conscience. They have no empathy. Right and wrong are meaningless in their unquenchable thirst for more. They will lie, steal and kill to achieve their goal of controlling everything and everyone in this world. This precisely describes virtually every politician in Washington DC, Wall Street banker, mega-corporation CEO, government agency head, MSM talking head, church leader, billionaire activist, and blood sucking advisor to the president.

The question pondered every day on blogs, social media, news channels, and in households around the country is whether Trump is one of Us or one of Them. The answer to that question will strongly impact the direction and intensity of the climactic years of this Fourth Turning. What I've noticed is the shunning of those who don't take an all or nothing position regarding Trump. If you disagree with a decision, policy, or hiring decision by the man, you are accused by the pro-Trump team of being one of them (aka liberals, lefties, Hillary lovers).

If you don't agree with everything Trump does or says, you are dead to the Trumpeteers. I don't want to be Us or Them. I just want to be me. I will judge everyone by their actions and their results. I can agree with Trump on many issues, while also agreeing with Tulsi Gabbard, Rand Paul, Glenn Greenwald or Matt Taibbi on other issues. I don't prescribe to the cult of personality school of thought. I didn't believe the false narratives during the Bush or Obama years, and I won't worship at the altar of the Trump narrative now.

In Part II of this article I'll assess Trump's progress thus far and try to determine whether he can defeat the Deep State.


TerryThomas , 32 minutes ago link

"The scientific and industrial revolution of modern times represents the next giant step in the mastery over nature; and here, too, an enormous increase in man's power over nature is followed by an apocalyptic drive to subjugate man and reduce human nature to the status of nature. Even where enslavement is employed in a mighty effort to tame nature, one has the feeling that the effort is but a tactic to legitimize total subjugation. Thus, despite its spectacular achievements in science and technology, the twentieth century will probably be seen in retrospect as a century mainly preoccupied with the mastery and manipulation of men. Nationalism, socialism, communism, fascism, and militarism, cartelization and unionization, propaganda and advertising are all aspects of a general relentless drive to manipulate men and neutralize the unpredictability of human nature. Here, too, the atmosphere is heavy-laden with coercion and magic." --Eric Hoffer

666D Chess , 11 minutes ago link

Divide and conquer, not a very novel idea... but very effective.

Kafir Goyim , 32 minutes ago link

If you don't agree with everything Trump does or says, you are dead to the Trumpeteers

That's not true. When Trump kisses Israeli ***, most "Trumpeteers" are outraged. That does not mean they're going to vote for Joe "I'm a Zionist" Biden, or Honest Hillary because of it, but they're still pissed.

Rich Monk , 33 minutes ago link

These predators (((them))) need to fear the Victims, us! That is what the 2ND Amendment is for. It's coming, slowly for now, but eventually it speeds up.

yellowsub , 42 minutes ago link

Ya'll a dumb fool if you think gov't as your best interests first.

legalize , 46 minutes ago link

Citation needed.

Any piece like this better be littered with footnotes and cited sources before I'm swallowing it.

I'll say it again: this is the internet, people. There's no "shortage of column space" to include links back to primary sources for your assertions. Otherwise, how am I supposed to distinguish you from another "psy op" or "paid opposition hit piece"?

bshirley1968 , 51 minutes ago link

"The question pondered every day on blogs, social media, news channels, and in households around the country is whether Trump is one of Us or one of Them."

If you still ponder this question, then you are pretty frickin' thick. It is obvious at this point, that he betrayed everything he campaigned on. You don't do that and call yourself one of "us".......damn sure aren't one of "me".

If I couldn't keep my word and wouldn't do what it takes to do what is right.....then I would resign. But I would not go on playing politics in a world that needs some real leadership and not another political hack.

The real battle is between Truth and Lie. No matter the name of your "team" or the "side" you support. Truth is truth and lies are lies. We don't stand for political parties, we stand for truth. We don't stand for national pride, we take pride in a nation that is truthful and trustworthy. The minute a "side" or "team" starts lying.....and justifying it.....that is the minute they become them and not one of us.

Any thinking person in this country today knows we are being lied to by the entire complex. Until someone starts telling the truth.....we are on our own. But I be damned before I am going to support any of these lying sons of bitches......and that includes Trump.

Fish Gone Bad , 37 minutes ago link

Dark comedy. All the elections have been **** choices until the last one. Take a look at Arkancide.com and start counting the bodies.

Anyone remember the news telling us how North Korea promised to turn the US into a sea of fire?? Trump absolutely went to bat for every single American to de-escalate that situation.

bshirley1968 , 31 minutes ago link

Don't tell me about Arkancide or the Clintons. I grew up in Arkansas with that sack of **** as my governor for 12 years.

NK was never a real threat to anyone. Trump didn't do ****. NK is back to building and shooting off missiles and will be teaming up with the Russians and Chinese. You are a duped bafoon.

Kafir Goyim , 28 minutes ago link

I don't think anybody thought NK was an existential threat to the US. It has still been nice making progress on bringing them back into the world and making them less of a threat to Japan and S. Korea. Trump did that.

Giant Meteor , 9 minutes ago link

Dennis Rodman did that, or that is to say, Trump an extension thereof ..

Great theater..

Look, i thought it was great that Trump went Kim Unning. I mean after all, i had talked with a few elderly folks that get their news directly from the mainstream of mainstream, vanilla news reportage. Propaganda central casting. I remember them being extremely concerned, outright petrified about that evil menace, kim gonna launch nukes any minute now. If the news would have been announced a major troop mobilization, bombing campaigns, to begin immediately they would have been completely onboard, waving the flag.

Frankly, it is only a matter of time, and folks can speculate on the country of interest, but it is coming soon to a theater near you. So many being in the crosshairs. Iran i suspect .. that's the big prize, that makes these sociopaths cream in their panties.

Probably. In the second term .. and so far, if ones honestly evaluates the "brain trust" / current crop of dimwit opposition, and in light of their past 2 plus years of moronic posturing with their hair on fire, trump will get his second term ..

666D Chess , 15 minutes ago link

Until the last one? You are retarded, the last election was a masterpiece of Rothschilds Productions. The Illuminati was watching you at their private cinema when you were voting for Trump and they were laughing their asses off.

HoodRatKing , 55 minutes ago link

The author does not realize that everyone in America, except Native American Indians, were immigrants drawn towards the false promise of hope that is the American Dream, turned nightmare..

Owning your own home, car, & raising a family in this country is so damn expensive & risky, that you'd have be on drugs or an idiot to even fall for the lies.

I don't see an us vs them, I see the #FakeMoney printers monetized every facet of life, own everything, & it truly is RENT-A-LIFE USSA, complete with bills galore, taxes galore, laws galore, jails & prisons galore, & the worst fkn country anyone would want to live in poverty & homelessness in.

At least in many 3rd world nations there is land to live off of & joblessness does not = a financial death sentence.

bshirley1968 , 39 minutes ago link

Sure. Lets all go back to living in huts.....off the land....no cars.....no electricity.....no running water......no roads....

There is a price to pay for things and it is not always in the form of money. We have given up some of our freedom for the ease and conveniences we want.

The problem is we have gone too far. The "American Dream" has become a grotesque nightmare because people by the millions sit around and dream about being a Kardashian. Makes me want to puke.

There is a balance. Don't take the other extreme or we never find balance.

911bodysnatchers322 , 56 minutes ago link

This article is moronic. One can easily prove that Trump is not like all the others in the poster. Has this author been living under a rock for the last 2.5 yrs? The past 5 presidents represent a group that has been literally trying to assassinate Trump, ruin his family, his reputation, his buisness and his future, for the audacity to be an ousider to the power network and steal (win) the presidency from under their noses. He's kept us OUT of war. He's dissolved the treachery that was keeping us in the middle east through gaslighitng and a proxy fake war that is ISIS, the globalists' / nato / fiveys / uk's fake mercenary army

Giant Meteor , 25 minutes ago link

And yet, I'll never forget all the smiling faces at the gala wedding affair.

Happier times ..

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/30/us/politics/ex-ally-donald-trump-now-heaps-scorn-on-bill-clinton.html

And yes, thanks in advance for noting the link is from New York slime, but i believe the picture in this case anyway, was not photo shopped.

She is, (hillary) after all, good people, a real fighter ..

**** .. mission accomplished ..

ExPat2018 , 1 hour ago link

The greatest threat to the USA is its own dumbed down drugged up citizens who cannot compete with anyone. America is a big military powerhouse but that doens't make successful countries

You must have intelligent people

America doesn't have that anymore.

JuliaS , 1 hour ago link

Notice how modern narrative is getting manipulated. What is being reported and referenced is completely different from how things are. And knowing that we can assume that the entire history is a fabricated lie, written by the ruling class to support its status in the minds of obedient citizens.

911bodysnatchers322 , 54 minutes ago link

This article is garbage propaganda that proves that they think we aren't keeping score or paying attention. The gaslighting won't work when it relies on so much counterthink, willful ignorance, counterfacts and weaponized omissions

istt , 1 hour ago link

The reality is the de-escalation of wars, the stability of our currency and our economy, and the moral re-grounding of our culture does not occur until we do what over 100 countries have done over the centuries, beginning in Carthage in 250AD.

fersur , 1 hour ago link

There's an old saying; "Congress does 2 things well Nothing and Protest" said by Pence Live-Streamed 4 hours ago at USMCA America First speech !

Good, Bad and Ugly

The Good is President Trump works extreme daily hours trying his best !

The Bad is Haters miss every bit of whatever their President Trump does that is good !

The Ugly is Hater Reporters ignoring World events, scared of possibly shining President Trump fairly !

SHsparx , 1 hour ago link

You really are making it a bit too obvious, bro.

911bodysnatchers322 , 52 minutes ago link

The congress are statusquotarians. If they solved the problems they say they would,they'd be out of a job. and that job is sitting there acting like a naddler or toxic post turtle leprechaun with a charisma and skill level of zero. Their staff do all the work, half of them barely read, though they probably can

SHsparx , 1 hour ago link

I still think 1st and 2nd ammedment is predicated on which party rules the house. If a Dem gets into the WH, we're fucked. Kiss those Iast two dying amendments goodbye for good.

Zeusky Babarusky , 1 hour ago link

If we rely on any party to preserve the 1st or 2nd Amendments, we are already fucked. What should preserve the 1st and 2nd Amendments is the absolute fear of anyone in government even mentioning suppressing or removing them. When the very thought of doing anything to lessen the rights advocated in these two amendments, causes a politician to piss in their pants, liberty will be preserved. As it is now citizens fear the government, and as a result tyranny continues to grow and fester as a cancer.

Zoomorph , 1 hour ago link

In other words, those amendments are already lost... we're just waiting for the final dictate to come down.

Zeusky Babarusky , 1 hour ago link

You may very well be right. I still hold out hope, but upon seeing what our society is quickly morphing into, that hope seems to fade more each and every day.

SHsparx , 49 minutes ago link

@ Zeusky Babarusky

I couldn't agree with you more.

Unfortunately, it is what it is, which is why I used the word "dying."

Those two amendments are on their deathbed, and if a Dem gets in the house, that'll be the nail in the coffin.

bshirley1968 , 1 hour ago link

If you think the 1st and 2nd amendments are reliant on who is in office, then you are already done. Why don't you try growing a pair and being an American for once in your life.

I will always have a 1st and 2nd "amendment" for as long as I live. Life is meaningless without them.....as far as I am concerned. Good thing the founders didn't wait for king George to give them what they "felt" was theirs.....by the laws of Nature and Nature's God.

I hope the democrats get the power......and I hope they come for the guns......maybe then pussies like you will finally have to **** or get off the pot......for once in your life. There are worse things than dying.

Nephilim , 1 hour ago link

THEHAZELFLOCKOFCRANES

BRINDLED FOOT,

AUSTRALIAN.

caveofgoldcaveofold

Zoomorph , 1 hour ago link

"Why do we have wars?"

"Because life is war: fighting for survival, resources, and what is best in the world."

"Why do people say war is bad?"

"Because they are useful idiots who have been tricked by religion and/or weak degenerates who are too weary to participate."

delta0ne , 1 hour ago link

This country cannot be fixed through the ballot box. Unless we get rid of *** influencing from abroad and domestically. Getting rid of English King few hundred years ago was a joke! this would be a challenge because dual-citizens masquerading as locals.

blind_understanding , 1 hour ago link

Last revolution (1776) we targeted the WRONG ENEMY.

We targeted King George III instead of the private bankers who owned of the Bank of England and the issued of the British-pound currency.

George III was himself up to his ears in debt to them by 1776, when the bankers installed George Washington to replace George III as their middleman in the American colonies, by way of the phony revolution.

Phony because ownership of the central bank and currency (Federal-Reserve Banks, Federal-Reserve notes) we use, remains in the same banking families' hands to this day. The same parasite remains within our government.

djrichard , 1 hour ago link

https://www.ribbonfarm.com/2013/05/16/the-gervais-principle-vi-children-of-an-absent-god/

It is this strangely incomplete calculus that creates the shifting Loser world of rifts and alliances. By operating with a more complete calculus, Sociopaths are able to manipulate this world through the divide-and-conquer mechanisms. The result is that the Losers end up blaming each other for their losses, seek collective emotional resolution, and fail to adequately address the balance sheet of material rewards and losses.

To succeed, this strategy requires that Losers not look too closely at the non-emotional books. This is why, as we saw last time, divide-and-conquer is the most effective means for dealing with them, since it naturally creates emotional drama that keeps them busy while they are being manipulated.

[May 07, 2019] The Neoliberal Record Of Kamala Harris, The Democrat's Rising Star by Roqayah Chamseddine

Highly recommended!
Aug 16, 2017 | www.mintpressnews.com

... ... ...

In 2014, lawyers for Kamala Harris argued in court that if minimum-custody inmates were released early, the state of California would "lose an important labor pool." These inmates included firefighters, who are paid $1 an hour to confront some of the deadliest blazes in California history. Harris later argued that she was unaware her own office argued in favor of keeping parolees in jail so they could serve as the state's on-call cheap labor.

A breakthrough profile in the New York Times referred to Harris as a "top cop" prosecutor who, according to critics, "failed to take on prosecutorial misconduct." The profile noted in 2015 her office was called out for "defending convictions obtained by local prosecutors who inserted a false confession into the transcript of a police interrogation, lied under oath, and withheld crucial evidence from the defense."

Police crimes were largely ignored by Harris. Oakland police officer Miguel Masso shot and killed Alan Blueford in 2012. Multiple witnesses said Blueford had no weapon, did not pose a threat to the officer, and was running away from the officer.

The Justice For Alan Blueford Coalition wrote a letter to Harris and demanded she do her job by bringing charges against Masso. Supporters engaged in civil disobedience in 2014, after she refused to meet with them. They were arrested (and police even swept up their legal observer in the arrests).

Harris' book "Smart On Crime," published in 2009, was a testament to a deeply capitalist, dystopian political ideology shared by even the most "progressive" Democrats.

The public is often referred to as "consumers" (examples: "consumers of safety," "consumer education"). They are urged to support a crime policy which relentlessly focuses on violent crime, "and the prosecution of violent criminals."

"The opportunity before us encourages transformation and empowerment of communities: rather than people feeling like helpless victims of crimes, they can become educated consumers of safety."

Harris characterizes policing as a "service" and suggests:

[W]e can find and are finding more effective ways to reduce the sheer volume of nonviolent crime and recidivism, so that those nonviolent offenders don't escalate their behavior and become so enmeshed in the crime cycle that we end up having to pay attention to them -- and frankly pay for them -- for the rest of their lives. The money we save can be used to put more police officers on the street, solve more crimes, attack more high-tech and identity-theft crimes with better technology, and provide services to victims. [emphasis added]

In 2010, Harris pushed a heavy-handed truancy initiative that went into effect in 2011. This anti-truancy bill -- SB 1317 -- made it so that parents of truant children who miss more than 10 percent of their classes can be charged with a misdemeanor and given a $2,000 fine or a year in prison "if, after being offered state support and counseling, their kids still fail to improve their attendance."

This wasn't Harris' first dance with anti-truancy measures, by any means. In 2009, Harris wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle that she had already prosecuted 20 parents for truancy, thereby introducing, or reintroducing, children and their families to a criminal justice system that is already stacked against them.

During her 2010 campaign, Harris touted a record of what she described as tough, affirmative crime prevention. Her official campaign page bragged that her felony conviction rate surpassed the years before -- "from 52 percent in 2003 to 67 percent in 2006, the highest in a decade."

Harris played a role in the wider United States drug war, increasing convictions for drug dealers from 56 percent to 74 percent in just three years.

Despite forming the first Mortgage and Investment Fraud Unit in the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, Harris refused to go after "foreclosure king" Steven Mnuchin, a decision she defended as recently as January. Mnuchin, who oversaw some 36,000 foreclosures between 2009 to 2015, violated numerous state foreclosure laws, and yet Harris refused to concede that his record should keep him from serving as President Donald Trump's Treasury Secretary.

Harris' record with police departments and the California prison industry is not simply a result of her job as attorney general. She played a key role in expanding the horizon of state violence.

Now, rather than diversifying the ranks of state actors responsible for oppression, it is critical to force Senator Kamala Harris to reckon with her neoliberal record, regardless of how her "K-Hive" may respond to such efforts.

Published in partnership with Shadowproof .

[May 06, 2019] Trump is a Symptom of 40 years of NeoLiberalism and the Corporate Capture of the US government.

Notable quotes:
"... Railing against Trump only sets up the next smooth-talking stooge who will start a fresh new con. ..."
"... Dore traces the problem primarily to Democratic Party's turning to identity politics instead of representing the working class. They sold us out. Clinton and Obama are just "Republican light" aka "Centrist" "Third Way" Democrats. "Centrist" = establishment-serving con artists. ..."
"... "Managed democracy" or "guided democracy" : is a formally democratic government that functions as a de facto autocracy. Such governments are legitimized by elections that are free and fair, but do not change the state's policies, motives, and goals. ..."
May 06, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , May 5, 2019 4:00:01 PM | 1 2 ">link

< james @6>

Jimmy Dore has a short video that describes the problem: Trump Is A Symptom Of A Larger Problem .

Dore makes the same point I have: "Trump is a Symptom of 40 years of NeoLiberalism and the Corporate Capture of the U.S. government." Railing against Trump only sets up the next smooth-talking stooge who will start a fresh new con.

Dore traces the problem primarily to Democratic Party's turning to identity politics instead of representing the working class. They sold us out. Clinton and Obama are just "Republican light" aka "Centrist" "Third Way" Democrats. "Centrist" = establishment-serving con artists.

"Managed democracy" or "guided democracy" : is a formally democratic government that functions as a de facto autocracy. Such governments are legitimized by elections that are free and fair, but do not change the state's policies, motives, and goals.

In other words, the government controls elections so that the people can exercise all their rights without truly changing public policy. While they follow basic democratic principles, there can be major deviations towards authoritarianism. Under managed democracy, the state's continuous use of propaganda techniques prevents the electorate from having a significant impact on policy.

The concept of a "guided democracy" was developed in the 20th century by Walter Lippmann in his seminal work Public Opinion (1922) and by Edward Bernays in his work Crystallizing Public Opinion.

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

RT has a good video on Yellow Vest protestors (on rt.com homepage). It's kind long for the info that it provides. I suggest skipping some parts.

[Apr 28, 2019] People take this repetition as a substitute for proof due to a glitch in human psychology known as the illusory truth effect, a phenomenon which causes our brains to tend to interpret things we've heard before as known truths

Notable quotes:
"... The #resistence seems to fulfill people who have never accepted any religions whole-heartedly; there is something in the human psyche which demands an intuitive evidence-free, faith-based acceptance of beliefs which go beyond facts and evidence. This is a powerful dream world where their illusions are more powerful than reality. ..."
"... Their comments have moved away from ad hominem "You are a Putin stooge!" arguments to appeals to Authority fallacies: "All our Intelligence Agencies Know that Assange worked with Russians to embarrass Hillary and cost her the Election". Religiosity is largely Authority-driven, and avoids the angst of critical thinking and putting facts together that (thanks to our Intelligence Agencies!) don't fit together. ..."
Apr 28, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

michael , April 22, 2019 at 07:06

"People take this repetition as a substitute for proof due to a glitch in human psychology known as the illusory truth effect, a phenomenon which causes our brains to tend to interpret things we've heard before as known truths." I think it is a deeper phenomenon than repetition of lies (which have been legal since 2014 with the 'modernization' of Smith-Mundt, our anti-propaganda law).

The #resistence seems to fulfill people who have never accepted any religions whole-heartedly; there is something in the human psyche which demands an intuitive evidence-free, faith-based acceptance of beliefs which go beyond facts and evidence. This is a powerful dream world where their illusions are more powerful than reality.

There is an inability to accept the fact that people in DC and NYC and Boston and San Francisco and other Financial/ MIC-driven areas were doing well relative to the bulk of Americans and life was wonderful until the 2016 Election. For these people "America Has Never Stopped Being Great!" (Similar to the "I've got mine, Jack! " attitude of Great Britain, as their labor unions lost unity with rest of the working class.)

Their comments have moved away from ad hominem "You are a Putin stooge!" arguments to appeals to Authority fallacies: "All our Intelligence Agencies Know that Assange worked with Russians to embarrass Hillary and cost her the Election". Religiosity is largely Authority-driven, and avoids the angst of critical thinking and putting facts together that (thanks to our Intelligence Agencies!) don't fit together.

[Apr 26, 2019] More on Trump betrayal if his foreign policy campaign promises and his alliance with Israel

Notable quotes:
"... To be perfectly honest with you PL, when Trump was elected I thought to myself, WoW! for the first time since JFK or LBJ ..."
"... I thought he was going to be the first non-neoconservative president, possibly a crude 2016 resurgence of paleoconservatism, hence his intense focus on immigration, culture wars and identity politics mixed with authentic economic nationalism and non-interventionism (hence his lively attacks on the very ideology of neoconservatism) but obviously his admin is significantly more hawkish than the old Vulcans(!) back in the Bush days. ..."
"... One could even argue that from 2006 to 2008, Bush somewhat learned the ropes and distanced itself from the crazy Vulcans and more toward Realism, hence Condi Rice's handling of the 33-day war between Israel and Lebanon, as well dismissing the like of Perle, Wolfowitz, and others later on. But with Trump, given his knack for indifference to what is right and wrong and his method of shilling for whoever is willing to chip in the most, any progression toward common sense inside Donald Trump is highly unlikely to happen. ..."
Apr 26, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

E Publius said in reply to turcopolier ... , 25 April 2019 at 04:33 PM

To be perfectly honest with you PL, when Trump was elected I thought to myself, WoW! for the first time since JFK or LBJ (possibly as far back as Truman) someone "new" has become president of the U.S. who does not come from the Washington elite circle/Borg/Blob. I remember watching the debates and the way he politically neutralized the likes of Bush, Rubio, and Ted Cruz and on top of that, Hilary Clinton.

I thought he was going to be the first non-neoconservative president, possibly a crude 2016 resurgence of paleoconservatism, hence his intense focus on immigration, culture wars and identity politics mixed with authentic economic nationalism and non-interventionism (hence his lively attacks on the very ideology of neoconservatism) but obviously his admin is significantly more hawkish than the old Vulcans(!) back in the Bush days.

One could even argue that from 2006 to 2008, Bush somewhat learned the ropes and distanced itself from the crazy Vulcans and more toward Realism, hence Condi Rice's handling of the 33-day war between Israel and Lebanon, as well dismissing the like of Perle, Wolfowitz, and others later on. But with Trump, given his knack for indifference to what is right and wrong and his method of shilling for whoever is willing to chip in the most, any progression toward common sense inside Donald Trump is highly unlikely to happen.

In terms of the admin's policy in the ME, I think the immediate focus of the U.S-Israel policy in the region is "Lebanon" and Trump's ME policies among other things is deeply attached to Lebanon and that specific patch of land. Even Hassan Nasrallah has sounded the alarm and in his recent TV speech during which he warned the Lebanese people of a possible incoming war in the Summer with Israel that would be devastating to the people in the region.

Regarding Russia, in the past 1+ years it has become clear that Russia is going to play a stronger role in the ME, possibly even replacing the U.S. there, especially given the warm relations between Putin and Netanyahu where the former has not raised any objection against the latter's constant illegal bombings in Syria and Iraq among other things.

The false impression was that Putin is going to stand up to Netanyahu and form some sort of diplomatic and even military resistance to its aggression in the ME, but that is clearly not the case. Andrew Korybko of Eurasiafuture has written extensively on this interesting and unfolding new dynamic between the two. All in all I hope a shred of common sense prevails inside the head of these Hard Neocons and Trump himself and stop its belligerence against Iran and other ME countries. Nobody wants war and nobody needs war

P.S. I am an avid reader of your valuable analyses and I would like to offer my deepest thanks to you for this great website.

[Apr 24, 2019] The new narrative is they got him, Watergate 2.0

Apr 24, 2019 | www.unz.com

notanon , says: April 23, 2019 at 3:36 pm GMT

@MarkU

The new narrative is that of an embattled president trying against the odds to do the right thing

the new narrative is they got him, Watergate 2.0

*if* that is correct the changes to expect are
– media going easier on him
– corporate dems going easier on him (while smirking a lot)
– more war
– more corporate donors as they might prefer a controlled Trump to a Sanders
– they might throw him a symbolic bone on immigration to help him win in 2020

Realist , says: April 23, 2019 at 6:22 pm GMT
@notanon

– more corporate donors as they might prefer a controlled Trump to a Sanders
– they might throw him a symbolic bone on immigration to help him win in 2020

The Deep State will never allow an uncontrolled candidate to win.

[Apr 24, 2019] The analysis of possible reasons of Trump betrayal

Apr 24, 2019 | www.unz.com

Adrian E. , says: April 23, 2019 at 3:49 pm GMT

I see that there are mainly two opposing explanations:

a) Donald Trump really wanted to break with the neocons, but he is under such enormous pressure that he had to give in to them (at least temporarily, maybe, according to that interpretation, there is still hope)

b) Donald Trump wanted to behave this way from the start, and if there is a conspiracy, he is a part of it. He just said some things about not involving the US in conflicts that are not in its interest because that was popular in order to get elected, but he never had any intentions of going through with it.

I think there are problems with both explanations.

The main problem with a):
Even if Trump had to make concessions because he was under such enormous pressure, it is hardly plausible that there really was a need to surround himself with neocons to such a degree and go much further with neoconservative policies in some areas than many mainstream Republicans would probably have gone.

The main problem with b):
If Trump really belongs to the inner circle, it does not seem very plausible that intelligence services and establishment politicians would go to such lengths constructing a conspiracy theory (setting up meetings of Papadopoulos with Mifsud and Downer, the Steele dossier, campaign surveillance), which is not only a lot of effort, but also lays bare some elements of the "deep state" they would normally prefer to keep hidden.

How one might attempt to save a):
While the neocons are generally very influential in the US, they normally operate in the background. They don't have full control over lawmakers. However, some members of Congress are very close to neocons, and many of them (in both parties) were among the strictest anti-Trumpers. The most concrete danger of impeachment for Trump was that some Republicans closely connected with neocons would unite with Democrats against him. Appointing lots of neocons and increasing their influence might have been the best option of placating these neoconservative Republican anti-Trumpers (or even to make these Republican neocons stop being anti-Trumpers).

How one might attempt to save b):
While the whole Russiagate conspiracy theory is somewhat risky for the (overt and deep) establishment, it is also a great distraction. Furthermore, I think Russiagate was not primarily directed against Trump, but more against Russia and in favor of increasing military spending from which many in the establishment profit. Generally, Democrats used to be somewhat less hawkish than Republicans, and since they already hate Trump fervently (but mostly didn't care much about Russia), Russiagate was a great opportunity for making Democrats even more ardent supporters of the new cold war, the intelligence services, and the security state. One could hardly invent such an efficient means for making Democrats hate Russia and support the surveillance state except by associating their boogeyman with Russia. Many Republicans would go along with the new cold war, anyway, winning over Democrats for the CIA, anti-Russian hatred and military spending was particularly valuable.

So, I think both a) and b) are probably partially true.

I don't think Trump was really a part of an inner circle. As someone from the outside, some of the bipartisan neoconservative dogmas were probably alien to him. There are some leaks (e.g. in the book by Bob Woodward) that show that Trump questioned the large number of expensive military bases around the world. He probably looked at it from a business perspective, and it seems hard to justify such enormous expenses. Furthermore, he had some ideas about the rivalry with China, and the idea of alienating and antagonizing Russia, China, and some medium-sized countries (and to some degree even Western Europe, though it mostly still follows the US) all at once, which pushes them into closer collaboration probably seems odd to someone from the outside who has not been surrounded by people from neoconservative think tanks for most of his life. On the other hand, I don't think there were any deep convictions behind the things Trump said in his campaign. He just said things that a) seemed to be popular and b) he probably mostly agreed with himself, but when it became clear to him that it was more convenient for him to do something very different from what he had said during the campaign, he hardly hesitated.

I think that for the (both overt and deep) establishment someone "naïve" from the outside was seen as a threat. On the other hand, they probably also understood that Trump hardly has strong convictions and therefore would give in relatively easily under pressure. So, the Russiagate conspiracy theory was probably a good idea from the perspective of the (overt and deep) establishment for bringing Trump into line.

Then, I would also distinguish some things. Trump probably was very pro-Israeli from the start. But being pro-Israeli does not have to mean being anti-Russian, after all the Israeli and Russian government have relatively good relations, even though their interests diverge in many areas.

Harold Smith , says: April 23, 2019 at 3:52 pm GMT
@Bragadocious

"Your analysis fails to account for the fact that Trump essentially ran as a third party candidate."

Deep state sleeper agent Trump ran as an "outsider" opposed to everything that deep state agent Hillary Clinton stood for. His candidacy was a carefully calculated bait and switch fraud which leveraged his non-career-politician status.

"His original agenda of sealing up the border and ending Bush-Obama regime change ran counter to both parties."

Since his campaign strategy was to present himself as an outsider, of course he had to pretend to take positions that ran counter to both parties. It's now painfully obvious that his "original agenda" was nothing but disingenuous BS.

"There's been no one more hostile to Trump since Jan. 2017 than Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, both Republicans."

Talk is cheap.

"As Darren Beattie said, McConnell's tactic with Trump all along has been to block him on everything except for federal judges. And McConnell's winning."

Everything, or just the things that Trump pretends to want but doesn't really want? Funny that nobody's been able to deter him from his war crimes and his provocations and his apparent drive to start WW3.

"Now you'll probably say, it's all theater, they're all in on it together, wake up & smell the coffee."

How will smelling coffee change the fact that it is all political theater?

"I don't believe it."

LOL! You think Trump is honest? Seriously?

"Trump could have run as a Jeb Bush Republican and done just fine, but he didn't."

Or so you barely assert; and so you barely assert without explaining how Jeb Bush lost the primary to Trump.

"He took a huge risk saying the stuff he did, and won."

He won because agent Obama, agent Clinton and their deep state handlers helped him win. Or do you think it was just a coincidence that Obama attacked the Syrian army at Deir Ezzor in Sept. 2016, for example, which greatly escalated tensions with Russia just as the election was coming into the home stretch?

[Apr 24, 2019] Is Trump a part of the Deep State?

Apr 24, 2019 | www.unz.com

Realist , says: April 22, 2019 at 11:28 pm GMT

The Deep State plot to undermine the president

The President is part of the Deep State.

To understand what the Deep State will and will not tolerate answer these questions.

What do both parties agree on? If they appear to disagree, look to see if anything changes when one party has the power to cause change or does the party in power make excuses to avoid change? Those things that the populus is against but never change or get worse are what the Deep State wants

The Deep State wants a constant state of tension with 'hostile' countries (Iran, Russia, Venezuela, China, Syria and others). This scares the crap out of ignorant Americans and allows unjustifiable spending on war matériel.

The Deep State wants a steady supply of cheap foreign labor to provide wealth to the supporters of the Deep State.

The Deep State wants our financial institutions to never fail (FED 2009) even at the expense of 90% of Americans. The Deep State wants financial institutions to provide financial products to the wealthy which cripples the vast majority of Americans.

The silly internecine squabbles within the Deep State are a ruse to misdirect the public from important issues like constant war, legal and illegal immigrants taking jobs from Americans and the increased transfer of wealth for the 90% to the supper weathy.

There will never be a wall and illegal immigration will continue to be a problem.

All the investigations into Trump, the DNC, Hillary and all the rest will never come to justice.

The wealth transfer will not stop

Until Americans realize these diversions for what they are and put an end to it through what ever means necessary

renfro , says: April 23, 2019 at 4:28 am GMT

it was successful as Trump was likely forced to turn his back on his better angels and subsequently hired Pompeo, Bolton and Abrams.

Oh plezzze .you sound like you've been drugged.
Trump never had any better angels as any reporter and journalist whoever interviewed or investigated him would tell you.

And come on! .You know damn well Adelson sent Bolton and you should also know damn well why the Orange Boy staffed his adm with Zio Jews. .no one in NY except Jews would associate with Trump.

.

notanon , says: April 23, 2019 at 4:35 am GMT
i think some of the conspiracy was about controlling Trump's foreign policy going forward but i also think some of it was people like Brennan worried CIA collusion with Saudi funded jihadist groups since 9/11 (and possibly before) might come out.
Hiram of Tyre , says: April 23, 2019 at 4:41 am GMT
Right.

A plot to undermine another POTUS who does exactly what the previous ones did: bend over to Israel, continues wars, etc.

Trump is only controlled opposition.

notanon , says: Next New Comment April 23, 2019 at 4:52 am GMT
@renfro if that was true why did they invent the Russia hoax so they could bug him?
renfro , says: Next New Comment April 23, 2019 at 4:53 am GMT
Trump biggest regret is going to be that he ever ran for President. Impeached or not impeached all his dirty laundry is going to be exposed. Even if he secured a second term there is no statute of limitations on what he could be prosecuted for .so the minute he steps down from the WH he's going to have to spend everything he's got on lawyers fighting the charges the SDNY is going to bring against him.

David Cay Johnston: What Is Trump Hiding in His Tax Returns?

The Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter explains what's likely in Trump's returns.

By Jon WienerTwitter

David Cay Johnston is a Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter who previously worked at The New York Times. He's the founder and editor of DCReport.org.

Jon Wiener: The chair of the House Ways and Means Committee formally requested six years of Trump's personal and business tax returns earlier this month. Trump, of course, refused to comply, and said the law is "100 percent" on his side. Does the IRS have to hand over Trump's tax returns to the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee?

David Cay Johnston: If they follow the law, they absolutely have to hand them over. Under a 1924 anti-corruption law that was passed because of Teapot Dome, a Harding-administration scandal, Congress can look at anybody's tax return at any time. In the 85-year history of this law, the IRS has always responded appropriately to the request and turned over everything that was requested.

[Hide MORE]
JW: What are the exceptions to this law?

DCJ: There aren't any. It says, "Congress shall provide upon written request." That's it. Well, they have a written request, it's a specific request, and therefore they shall provide. The statement by Donald Trump that the law is 100 percent on his side is just classic Trumpian lying: Take something that is true, and state the exact opposite.

JW: Does the IRS commissioner have any alternative to handing over Trump's tax returns? What happens if he doesn't comply?

DCJ: There's another section of the tax code which says that any federal employee dealing with any aspects of the tax code who either does not comply, or who fails to act -- covering both sins of omission and commission -- "shall be removed from office, and is subject to prosecution and upon conviction, five years in prison and a $10,000 fine."

JW: Who enforces this law? It's not just up to Attorney General William Barr -- is that right?

DCJ: That's correct. First of all, a US Attorney's office could enforce the action, although that seems unlikely in this administration. But the next administration, if it chooses, could go back, and even if the IRS commissioner has left, prosecute him for failure to turn over the documents. Of course, Congress can hold the commissioner in contempt, and Congress can also go to federal court to enforce its orders. It can. And has in the distant past even tried people itself.

JW: The IRS commissioner is a man named Charles Rettig, and he's a Trump appointee. Tell us a little about Charles Rettig.

DCJ: At DCReport we call him "Donald Trump's man at the IRS." Almost every IRS commissioner has been a tax lawyer, but Charles Rettig is not like most of those other tax lawyers. He isn't in the business of tax planning. He's in the business of representing tax cheats who get caught, and his specialty is keeping them from being indicted. As we put it, "He's one of the foxes who is not just in charge of the hen house. He's in a position to redesign the hen house."

JW: Trump's personal lawyer last week urged the Treasury Department not to hand over Trump's tax returns. He said that to comply with their request would turn the IRS into a political weapon of the radical Democrats. Is that a good legal argument?

DCJ: No. It may be a good political argument with Trump's base, but as a legal matter, if my students at Syracuse Law were to bring that up, I would have to work hard not to laugh at them -- because it's a ridiculous argument. There is no limit in Section 6103 that says you can only ask for a tax return if you're a Republican, or if you hew to certain political views. It simply says, "Upon written request, the return shall be provided." It could not be more clear.

JW: The boss of the IRS commissioner is the treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin. He said sort of the opposite of what Trump's personal lawyer said. He said, "Our intent is to follow the law." How do you explain the difference between the legal positions of Trump's personal lawyer and Trump's treasury secretary?

DCJ: This is exactly what got me onto this story. I noticed that Trump, his lawyers, and the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, were making these wild, reckless, lawless statements. But Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, and Rettig, the IRS commissioner, both made nuanced statements, and carefully avoided refusing to comply, and instead said, "We're trying to understand how to comply with law. It is our intent to comply with the law, but we need more time to learn what the law says." It should take you literally about 10 seconds to learn what the law says. That's when I thought, "What's going on here?" It's what got me on to the section of the tax code that says, in effect, that any federal employee who interferes, obstructs, or fails to act, is subject to removal, prosecution, and fine. I think what Mnuchin is trying to do here is thread a needle. He wants to continue to show his loyalty to Trump. Not to our Constitution, as his oath of office requires, but to Trump. He's trying to evade the law that says there must be compliance with the request, without going to jail.

JW: The New York Times news story on this reported that "The fight over Mr. Trump's tax returns is expected to turn into a protracted legal battle that will likely make its way to the Supreme Court." Do you think that's right, and does the Republican majority on the court have a way to rule in Trump's favor?

DCJ: It may lead to a protracted fight. It's also possible that this will get fast-tracked and get right to our Supreme Court. As someone who reads Supreme Court decisions, I don't particularly care for the jurisprudence of John Roberts, the Chief Justice of the United States, but nothing in his opinions suggests that he would sell the soul and the integrity of the court to favor Donald Trump. Every indication is that he would uphold the law. I would not be surprised if you got a 7-2 or 9-0 decision from the Supreme Court that the IRS has to turn over the documents.

JW: The really interesting question is, what do you think is in Trump's tax returns? Why do you think he's trying so hard to keep them secret?

DCJ: There are at least three reasons here. Number one, Trump's tax returns will show that he is not anywhere near as wealthy as he claimed. Remember during the campaign he kept saying he was worth more than $10 billion. But after he became president, he signed under oath his financial disclosure statement, and 90 percent of his wealth vanished. Even that statement, which I've analyzed, overstates his wealth. There's never been a scintilla of verifiable evidence that Trump is a billionaire. And I'm the guy who revealed, back in 1990 when he said he was worth $3 billion, that he wasn't a billionaire. We eventually found that he had negative net worth of about $295 million -- minus $295 million.

Secondly, Donald Trump is a tax cheat. He had two civil trials for income tax fraud, one by the State of New York and the other by the City of New York. In both cases he lost. In one of those trials, his own long-time tax attorney and accountant, Jack Mitnick, testified against him. Mitnick was shown the filed tax return, which was a photocopy, and testified, "That's my signature on the return, but neither I nor my firm prepared that tax return." That's as good a badge of fraud as you're ever going to find. It indicates that Donald Trump took the tax return that was prepared, changed it, and then with a photocopy machine put the signature of Jack Mitnick on it. Donald Trump is also a confessed sales tax cheat. Mayor Ed Koch of New York said he should have served 15 days in jail for his crime. Trump has a long history of hiding records from auditors, cheating governments, using two sets of numbers. So his tax returns are highly likely to show tax cheating.

Finally, the returns may well establish how much money he has been getting from Russians, Saudis, people from the Emirates, and elsewhere. They may show whether he has been engaged in money laundering for these people through real estate transactions and other actions that make no business sense, but, when closely examined, show exactly what we see when there's money laundering. I think the record is pretty clear that he has been doing that.

JW: A technical question: Where do you report payments from Russian oligarchs on your tax return?

DCJ: Trump has over 500 business entities, and the tax return is the beginning point for an audit. You then would examine the books and records that are behind it. Now, Trump has a long history of destroying or claiming he destroyed business records to thwart auditors. This happened particularly with the City of New York when he tried to cheat the city out of about $2.9 million. But there may actually be transactions reported right in the tax return that would tell you where money came from–because it may list entities to which he is obligated, or is in partnership with, or received money from, or shared profits with. The request by Chairman Neal of the House Ways and Means Committee was very targeted. It cited six specific Trump businesses -- out of over 500 businesses. That suggests to me that they know what they were looking for .

JW: What do you think the political effect would be if voters learned from Trump's tax return that he has been a tax cheat? As I recall, this was a huge issue in the final downfall of Richard Nixon.

DCJ: That's right. This was a big scandal in 1974. Nixon was pardoned, so nothing happened to him, but his tax lawyer went to prison. By the way, the very law that exposed Nixon as a tax cheat is the same law that the Trump people are now trying to resist. I frankly think that among people who are strong Trump supporters, this will have little impact. The impact that would matter is on people on the margin. People who have been with Trump but are uneasy with him because of all of his other behavior. And if he has committed federal tax crimes, then he has committed New York State tax crimes, because New York State tax law hews very closely to federal law. ".

[Apr 24, 2019] Germanicus

Apr 24, 2019 | www.unz.com

says: April 23, 2019 at 10:24 am GMT 100 Words

how do you explain his hiring so many Deep State denizens Bolton, Pompeo et al.?

I would suggest, they have "great guy" Epstein dirt on Trump. Seems so obvious to me, the entire swamp is either bought or blackmailed with this kind of dirt.

If the masses would find out about this kind of dirt, there was probably a violent purge taking place, a lynching of the entire swamp.
Btw, you are right, Us political circus works like WWE.

TomSchmidt , says: April 23, 2019 at 2:22 pm GMT

@Germanicus That's a good theory. Trump may not have urinated on beds in Russia, but there have to be some things on film somewhere.

[Apr 24, 2019] Trump has been giving the finger to his "base" from the outset, and his ego-driven government shutdown was probably the last straw. There are always going to be a few knuckleheads who will love him forever, and my estimate of that group would be on the order of 25%. Unless the Democrats put up a candidate who is even worse, the man is a goner in political terms.

Apr 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Zachary Smith , Apr 24, 2019 4:22:20 PM | link

"...Will Hurt Trump's Voter Support

It's just an opinion, but mine is that boat has already sailed. Trump has been giving the finger to his "base" from the outset, and his ego-driven government shutdown was probably the last straw. There are always going to be a few knuckleheads who will love him forever, and my estimate of that group would be on the order of 25%. Unless the Democrats put up a candidate who is even worse, the man is a goner in political terms.

This means Pompeo has to move quickly. If the fat slug picked up anything at West Point, he understands that to mobilize the US requires the other side to shoot first. In the case of his nominal boss, you can put that in neon lights. Trump is a gullible old man, and Pompeo needs to be able to point to something 'drastic' so as to galvanize Trump into action.

The CIA torture woman found faked pictures of dead ducks (!) and sick children worked.

Pompeo would find a sizable number of US military men or women in body bags extremely useful in his desperate efforts to suck up to the pissant apartheid state and hopefully pull the ripcord of The Second Coming.

On the other side of this, Iran needs to avoid starting the shooting, no matter what! The Confederates attacked a US fort to start the Civil War. It was about the most stupid thing possible for them to have done. Japan attacked Pearl Harbor - again the dumbest thing imaginable. I'd expect Iran has been consulting with India and China about its options. China probably has every storage tank in the country topped off, and will be immune to an "oil shock" for a long time.

In any event, it can afford to outbid everybody else is things came to that. Just off the top of my head, Iran mining the Strait of Hormuz, then making a public announcement about it looks like a workable plan. The US mine-sweeping capability is beyond-belief awful - and why that is I don't understand. Any mines there which are found and destroyed can be easily and quickly be replaced by small boats, submarines, or aircraft dropping them.

[Apr 24, 2019] Obama bait and switch maneuver

Apr 24, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

arcseconds 04.23.19 at 6:49 am 77

@Faustusnotes #68:

For anyone of a social democratic (or lefter) persuasion, and/or see war as something that should only be used as an absolute last resort (due to it invariably being a moral horror), then the Democrats have indeed been the lesser of two evils, and Republican-lite.

Take Obama for instance. He ran a cleverly ambiguous campaign where he sounded to many as being progessive and left, a breath of fresh air, something finally that would put a stop to limitless capitalism and unwind the Bush era. But in fact he's a 'centrist', which really means thoroughly neoliberal. He's prepared to file some of the sharp edges off capitalism, but he neither promised nor offered a genuine alternative to a lightly regulated free market.

I mean, look at his most famous legacy: the health care reforms. This is a thoroughly market-based solution that leaves the marketplace largely as it was. Nationalization was nowhere in sight. And the policy was based on one his elecotoral opponent enacted when he was governing Massachusetts! It is literally the case that voting in Democrats at the national level gets you the policy of Republican presidential candidates.

Also, he's quite happy to unilaterally blow up stuff, including innocent people, in other countries, in order to crush his enemies and to look good domestically. We have no problems in calling this 'evil' when our enemies do anything like this.

Brian 04.21.19 at 2:43 pm (no link)

I think the real question is not whether Trump is successful or not. That question is a red herring in American politics today. The real question is whether or not the Democratic "leadership" can allow nomination of a candidate that the Democrat rank and file want. Bernie Sanders should have won the nomination last time. But the superdelegate system gives a literal handful of mandarins the ability to fake the primary process. (I say that as someone who has significant issues with some of Sanders positions.)

Trump won because Hillary was a horrific candidate. Voters stayed home, disgusted. Trump won because the Obama administration didn't deliver hope nor change. He delivered a government of the corporate criminal bankers for them. Middle and working class America got screwed. Black people got screwed worst. Trump won because the utter corruption at the heart of the DNC was exposed for all to see in the emails. Trump win because of the Obama administration making a trade deal top secret classified and trying to force a vote through congress. Not seeing any point in voting, Democrats didnt.

All the evidence since shows the DNC leadership didn't learn anything. They are just as contemptuous of voters, just as manipulative with their window dressing as ever. The Democratic party is the party of endless war even more than the Republicans. It's a party that stopped every effort by Trump to wind down or end war posture with Russia and North Korea. There's now 2 parties in Netanyahu's pocket implementing Likuds insane middle east ideas.

Put some solar energy and LGBTQ butter on it with a side of women's rights bullshit and it's "Democrat". But the politicians are just as venal. The legislature just as wildly right wing war mongering.

The 1960's is long over. The Democratic party hasn't seen a new idea since and has converted to govern to the right of Nixon. Way to Nixon's right. The Democratic party is the tool of the Uber-ization of not just America, but the whole world. Flour and break the law to pauperize the working class, and suck money to a few in the SF Bay Area. That's policy now.

You can see it already. Sanders is ahead. But Buttigieg is being anointed. He's the perfect candidate. He's gay! He's out of the closet! And he's a corporate tool who can talk smoothly without speaking a clear word. Best of all, he has ZERO foreign policy experience or positions. So he'll be putty in the hands of the corporations that want endless war for profits. Wall Street wants him. And the street owns the Democratic party. Will he give a flying f*@k about the middle and working class? Will he be anything but another neo-liberal who can be differentiated from a neo-conservative only by mild difference in racism? (Overt vs.covert)

At least Buttigieg isn't Beto O'Rourke, the most completely empty skin in Congress. There's that.

All the evidence I see is no. The Democrat "leadership" don't understand. I predict a Trump win, or else a squeaker election that barely scrapes by with a win.

No matter what, the idiot Democrats won't get it. Pelosi will do her best to cast the Republicans anti-tax anti-government (federal) government culture war in concrete with balanced budget horse manure. The Democrats will continue to force a new cold war on Russia. They will keep backing companies that steal from the middle and working class. (Yes, Uber and Lyft are massive theft operations. They implemented taxi service without licenses. Those licenses cost a lot of money to those who bought them. They put the public at risk causing multiple deaths and assaults from unlicensed taxi drivers.)

Trump's appeal is that he at least talks a game of "f*@k you". Domestically it's all lies on all sides. He lies to everyone. But at least he doesn't lie smoothly like the "good Democrat" candidates do.

[Apr 21, 2019] Even if we got a candidate against the War Party the Party of Davos, would it matter? Trump betayal his voters, surrounded himself with neocons, continues to do Bibi's bidding, and ratcheting up tensions in Latin America, Middle East and with Russia. What's changed even with a candidate that the Swamp disliked and attempted to take down?

Highly recommended!
Here we need to look at the candidate political history, their actions before the election. "Trump scam" like "Obama scam" was based on the fact that they do not have political history, they were what Romans called "Tabula rasa". A "clean state" politician into which voters can project their wishes about domestic and foreign policy. That was a dirty. but very effective trick.
But the most important factor in Trump win was the he was competing against despicable warmonger Hillary Clinton, the establishment candidate who wanted to kick the neoliberal globalization can down the road. So the "lesser evilism" card was also in play consciously or unconscionably as well. So with Hillary as the opposition candidate it was a kind of implementation of the USSR style elections on a new level. but with the same with zero choice. Effectively the US electorate was disenfranchised when FBI has thrown Sander under the bus by exonerating Hillary. In a way FBI was the kingmaker in 2016 elections.
And please note that the Deep State launched a color revolution against Trump to keep him in check. Only later it became evident that he from the very beginning was a pro-Israel neoconservative, probably fully controlled by pro-Israel forces. That Trump electorate bought MIGA instead of MAGA from the day one.
Notable quotes:
"... The question is even if we got a candidate against the War Party & the Party of Davos, would it matter? Trump, the candidate who campaigned on the wasteful expenditures in our endless wars has surrounded himself with neocons and continues to do Bibi's bidding ratcheting up tensions in Latin America, Middle East and with Russia. What's changed even with a candidate that the Swamp disliked and attempted to take down? ..."
Apr 21, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

blue peacock -> turcopolier ... , 21 April 2019 at 12:36 PM

Col. Lang,

In a recent call from Trump requesting his opinion on China, Jimmy Carter noted that China has not spent a dime on war since 1979, whereas we've spent trillions & continue to spend even more.

China invested trillions in their infrastructure while ours crumbles. They've invested in building the world's manufacturing capacity while we dismantled ours. We spend twice per capita on healthcare compared to any other western country, yet chronic diseases like diabetes keeps growing. We spend more on our military than the next 10 countries combined yet how superior is our weaponry compared to the Russians who spend one-tenth of what we spend? We've financialized our economy and socialized speculative losses of Wall St mavens but when some politicians talk about spending on the commons then socialism is labeled bad.

https://www.epsilontheory.com/this-is-water/

The question is even if we got a candidate against the War Party & the Party of Davos, would it matter? Trump, the candidate who campaigned on the wasteful expenditures in our endless wars has surrounded himself with neocons and continues to do Bibi's bidding ratcheting up tensions in Latin America, Middle East and with Russia. What's changed even with a candidate that the Swamp disliked and attempted to take down?

[Apr 21, 2019] John Brennan's Police State USA

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Sadly, Brennan's propaganda coup only works on what the Bell Curve crowd up there would call the dumbest and most technologically helpless 1.2σ. Here is how people with half a brain interpret the latest CIA whoppers. ..."
"... Convincing Americans in Russia's influence or Russia collusion with Trump was only a tool that would create pressure on Trump that together with the fear of paralysis of his administration and impeachment would push Trump into the corner from which the only thing he could do was to worsen relations with Russia. What American people believe or not is really secondary. With firing of Gen. Flynn Trump acted exactly as they wanted him to act. This was the beginning of downward slope. ..."
"... Anyway, the mission was accomplished and the relations with Russia are worse now than during Obama administration. Trump can concentrate on Iran in which he will be supported by all sides and factions including the media. Even Larry David will approve not only the zionist harpies like Pam Geller, Rita Katz and Ilana Mercer. ..."
"... The only part that is absurd is that Russia posed a bona fide threat to the US. I'm fine with the idea that he ruined Brennen's plans in Syria. But thats just ego we shouldn't have been there anyway. ..."
"... No one really cares about Ukraine. And the European/Russian trade zone? No one cares. The Eurozone has its hands full with Greece and the rest of the old EU. I have a feeling they have already gone way too far and are more likely to shrink than expand in any meaningful way ..."
"... " ..factions within the state whose interests do not coincide with those of the American people." ..."
"... All the more powerfully put because of its recognisably comical. understatement. Thank you Mr Whitney. Brilliant article that would be all over the mainstream media were the US MSM an instrument of American rather than globalist interests. ..."
"... A sad story, how the USA always was a police state, where the two percent rich manipulated the 98% poor, to stay rich. When there were insurrections federal troops restored order. Also FDR put down strikes with troops. ..."
"... The elephant in the room is Israel and the neocons , this is the force that controls America and Americas foreign policy , Brennan and the 17 intel agencies are puppets of the mossad and Israel, that is the brutal fact of the matter. ..."
"... "The absence of evidence suggests that Russia hacking narrative is a sloppy and unprofessional disinformation campaign that was hastily slapped together by over confident Intelligence officials who believed that saturating the public airwaves with one absurd story after another would achieve the desired result " ..."
"... But it DID achieve the desired result! Trump folded under the pressure, and went full out neoliberal. Starting with his missile attack on Syria, he is now OK with spending trillions fighting pointless endless foreign wars on the other side of the world. ..."
"... I think maybe half the US population does believe the Russian hacking thing, but that's not really the issue. I think that the pre-Syrian attack media blitz was more a statement of brute power to Trump: WE are in charge here, and WE can take you down and impeach you, and facts don't matter! ..."
"... Sometimes propaganda is about persuading people. And sometimes, I think, it is about intimidating them. ..."
"... The Brit secret service, in effect, created and trained not merely the CIA but also the Mossad and Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence Presidency. All four are defined by endless lies, endless acts of utterly amoral savagery. All 4 are at least as bad as the KGB ever was, and that means as bad as Hell itself. ..."
"... Traditional triumphalist American narrative history, as taught in schools up through the 60s or so, portrayed America as "wart-free." Since then, with Zinn's book playing a major role, it has increasingly been portrayed as "warts-only," which is of course at least equally flawed. I would say more so. ..."
"... Anyway, the mission was accomplished and the relations with Russia are worse now than during Obama administration. ..."
"... That pre-9/11 "cooperation" nearly destroyed Russia. Nobody in Russia (except, perhaps, for Pussy Riot) wants a return to the Yeltsin era. ..."
"... The CIA is the world largest criminal and terrorist organization. With Brennan the worst has come to the worst. The whole Russian meddling affair was initiated by the Obama/Clinton gang in cooperation with 95 percent of the media. Nothing will come out of it. ..."
"... [The key figures who had primary influence on both Trump's and Bush's Iran policies held views close to those of Israel's right-wing Likud Party. The main conduit for the Likudist line in the Trump White House is Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, primary foreign policy advisor, and longtime friend and supporter of Netanyahu. Kushner's parents are also long-time supporters of Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank. ..."
"... Another figure to whom the Trump White House has turned is John Bolton, undersecretary of state and a key policymaker on Iran in the Bush administration. Although Bolton was not appointed Trump's secretary of state, as he'd hoped, he suddenly reemerged as a player on Iran policy thanks to his relationship with Kushner. Politico reports that Bolton met with Kushner a few days before the final policy statement was released and urged a complete withdrawal from the deal in favor of his own plan for containing Iran. ..."
"... Putin's dream of Greater Europe is the death knell for the unipolar world order. It means the economic center of the world will shift to Central Asia where abundant resources and cheap labor of the east will be linked to the technological advances and the Capital the of the west eliminating the need to trade in dollars or recycle profits into US debt. The US economy will slip into irreversible decline, and the global hegemon will steadily lose its grip on power. That's why it is imperative for the US prevail in Ukraine– a critical land bridge connecting the two continents– and to topple Assad in Syria in order to control vital resources and pipeline corridors. Washington must be in a position where it can continue to force its trading partners to denominate their resources in dollars and recycle the proceeds into US Treasuries if it is to maintain its global primacy. The main problem is that Russia is blocking Uncle Sam's path to success which is roiling the political establishment in Washington. ..."
"... Second, Zakharova confirms that the western media is not an independent news gathering organization, but a propaganda organ for the foreign policy establishment who dictates what they can and can't say. ..."
"... Such a truthful portrait of reality ! The ruling elite is indeed massively corrupt, compromised, and controlled by dark forces. And the police state is already here. For most people, so far, in the form of massive collection of personal data and increasing number of mandatory regulations. But just one or two big false-flags away from progressing into something much worse. ..."
"... Clearly the CIA was making war on Syria. Is secret coercive covert action against sovereign nations Ok? Is it legal? When was the CIA designated a war making entity – what part of the constitution OK's that? Isn't the congress obliged by constitutional law to declare war? (These are NOT six month actions – they go on and on.) ..."
"... Syria is only one of many nations that the CIA is attacking – how many countries are we attacking with drones? Where is congress? ..."
"... Close the CIA – give the spying to the 16 other agencies. ..."
Oct 22, 2017 | www.unz.com

Fran Macadam , October 20, 2017 at 3:08 pm GMT

A credible reading of the diverse facts, Mike.
Kirk Elarbee , October 20, 2017 at 8:27 pm GMT
Sadly, Brennan's propaganda coup only works on what the Bell Curve crowd up there would call the dumbest and most technologically helpless 1.2σ. Here is how people with half a brain interpret the latest CIA whoppers.

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/10/everyone-hacked-everyone-hacked-everyone-spy-spin-fuels-anti-kaspersky-campaign.html

utu , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:18 am GMT
Again Mike Whitney does not get it. Though in the first part of the article I thought he would. He was almost getting there. The objective was to push new administration into the corner from which it could not improve relations with Russia as Trump indicated that he wanted to during the campaign.

Convincing Americans in Russia's influence or Russia collusion with Trump was only a tool that would create pressure on Trump that together with the fear of paralysis of his administration and impeachment would push Trump into the corner from which the only thing he could do was to worsen relations with Russia. What American people believe or not is really secondary. With firing of Gen. Flynn Trump acted exactly as they wanted him to act. This was the beginning of downward slope.

Anyway, the mission was accomplished and the relations with Russia are worse now than during Obama administration. Trump can concentrate on Iran in which he will be supported by all sides and factions including the media. Even Larry David will approve not only the zionist harpies like Pam Geller, Rita Katz and Ilana Mercer.

Pamela Geller: Thank You, Larry David

http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2017/10/19/pamela-geller-thank-larry-david/

anon , Disclaimer Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:54 am GMT
OK.

The only part that is absurd is that Russia posed a bona fide threat to the US. I'm fine with the idea that he ruined Brennen's plans in Syria. But thats just ego we shouldn't have been there anyway.

No one really cares about Ukraine. And the European/Russian trade zone? No one cares. The Eurozone has its hands full with Greece and the rest of the old EU. I have a feeling they have already gone way too far and are more likely to shrink than expand in any meaningful way

The one thing I am not positive about. If the elite really believe that Russia is a threat, then Americans have done psych ops on themselves.

The US was only interested in Ukraine because it was there. Next in line on a map. The rather shocking disinterest in investing money -- on both sides -- is inexplicable if it was really important. Most of it would be a waste -- but still. The US stupidly spent $5 billion on something -- getting duped by politicians and got theoretical regime change, but it was hell to pry even $1 billion for real economic aid.

ThereisaGod , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 6:37 am GMT
" ..factions within the state whose interests do not coincide with those of the American people."

All the more powerfully put because of its recognisably comical. understatement. Thank you Mr Whitney. Brilliant article that would be all over the mainstream media were the US MSM an instrument of American rather than globalist interests.

jilles dykstra , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 6:46 am GMT
I am reading Howard Zinn, A Peoples History of the USA, 1492 to the Present. A sad story, how the USA always was a police state, where the two percent rich manipulated the 98% poor, to stay rich. When there were insurrections federal troops restored order. Also FDR put down strikes with troops.
Logan , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 11:16 am GMT
@jilles dykstra

You should be aware that Zinn's book is not, IMO, an honest attempt at writing history. It is conscious propaganda intended to make Americans believe exactly what you are taking from it.

DESERT FOX , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 1:30 pm GMT
The elephant in the room is Israel and the neocons , this is the force that controls America and Americas foreign policy , Brennan and the 17 intel agencies are puppets of the mossad and Israel, that is the brutal fact of the matter.

Until that fact changes Americans will continue to fight and die for Israel.

TG , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 2:03 pm GMT
"The absence of evidence suggests that Russia hacking narrative is a sloppy and unprofessional disinformation campaign that was hastily slapped together by over confident Intelligence officials who believed that saturating the public airwaves with one absurd story after another would achieve the desired result "

But it DID achieve the desired result! Trump folded under the pressure, and went full out neoliberal. Starting with his missile attack on Syria, he is now OK with spending trillions fighting pointless endless foreign wars on the other side of the world.

I think maybe half the US population does believe the Russian hacking thing, but that's not really the issue. I think that the pre-Syrian attack media blitz was more a statement of brute power to Trump: WE are in charge here, and WE can take you down and impeach you, and facts don't matter!

Sometimes propaganda is about persuading people. And sometimes, I think, it is about intimidating them.

Anonymous , Disclaimer Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 2:05 pm GMT
Whitney is another author who declares the "Russians did it" narrative a psyop. He then devotes entire columns to the psyop, "naww Russia didn't do it". There could be plenty to write about – recent laws that do undercut liberty, but no, the Washington Post needs fake opposition to its fake news so you have guys like Whitney in the less-mainstream fake news media.

So Brennan wanted revenge? Well that's simple enough to understand, without being too stupid. But Whitney's whopper of a lie is what you're supposed to unquestionably believe. The US has "rival political parties". Did you miss it?

Jake , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 2:32 pm GMT
The US is doing nothing more than acting as the British Empire 2.0. WASP culture was born of a Judaizing heresy: Anglo-Saxon Puritanism. That meant that the WASP Elites of every are pro-Jewish, especially in order to wage war, physical and/or cultural, against the vast majority of white Christians they rule.

By the early 19th century, The Brit Empire's Elites also had a strong, and growing, dose of pro-Arabic/pro-Islamic philoSemitism. Most of that group became ardently pro-Sunni, and most of the pro-Sunni ones eventually coalescing around promotion of the House of Saud, which means being pro-Wahhabi and permanently desirous of killing or enslaving virtually all Shiite Mohammedans.

So, by the time of Victoria's high reign, the Brit WASP Elites were a strange brew of hardcoree pro-Jewish and hardcore pro-Arabic/islamic. The US foreign policy of today is an attempt to put those two together and force it on everyone and make it work.

The Brit secret service, in effect, created and trained not merely the CIA but also the Mossad and Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence Presidency. All four are defined by endless lies, endless acts of utterly amoral savagery. All 4 are at least as bad as the KGB ever was, and that means as bad as Hell itself.

Logan , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:04 pm GMT
@Grandpa Charlie

Fair enough. I didn't know that about the foreword. If accurate, that's a reasonable approach for a book.

Here's the problem.

Back when O. Cromwell was the dictator of England, he retained an artist to paint him. The custom of the time was for artists to "clean up" their subjects, in a primitive form of photoshopping.

OC being a religious fanatic, he informed the artist he wished to be portrayed as God had made him, "warts and all." (Ollie had a bunch of unattractive facial warts.) Or the artist wouldn't be paid.

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/nov/08/cromwell-portraitist-samuel-cooper-exhibition

Traditional triumphalist American narrative history, as taught in schools up through the 60s or so, portrayed America as "wart-free." Since then, with Zinn's book playing a major role, it has increasingly been portrayed as "warts-only," which is of course at least equally flawed. I would say more so.

All I am asking is that American (and other) history be written "warts and all." The triumphalist version is true, largely, and so is the Zinn version. Gone With the Wind and Roots both portray certain aspects of the pre-war south fairly accurately..

America has been, and is, both evil and good. As is/was true of every human institution and government in history. Personally, I believe America, net/net, has been one of the greatest forces for human good ever. But nobody will realize that if only the negative side of American history is taught.

Wally , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:16 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

Hasbarist 'Kenny', you said:

"There must be something really dirty in Russigate that hasn't yet come out to generate this level of panic."

You continue to claim what you cannot prove.

But then you are a Jews First Zionist.

Russia-Gate Jumps the Shark
Russia-gate has jumped the shark with laughable new claims about a tiny number of "Russia-linked" social media ads, but the US mainstream media is determined to keep a straight face

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/10/robert-parry/jumping-the-shark/

Yet Another Major Russia Story Falls Apart. Is Skepticism Permissible Yet?

https://theintercept.com/2017/09/28/yet-another-major-russia-story-falls-apart-is-skepticism-permissible-yet/

+ review of other frauds

Logan , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:20 pm GMT
@Jake

Most of that group became ardently pro-Sunni, and most of the pro-Sunni ones eventually coalescing around promotion of the House of Saud, which means being pro-Wahhabi and permanently desirous of killing or enslaving virtually all Shiite Mohammedans.

Thanks for the laugh. During the 19th century, the Sauds were toothless, dirt-poor hicks from the deep desert of zero importance on the world stage.

The Brits were not Saudi proponents, in fact promoting the Husseins of Hejaz, the guys Lawrence of Arabia worked with. The Husseins, the Sharifs of Mecca and rulers of Hejaz, were the hereditary enemies of the Sauds of Nejd.

After WWI, the Brits installed Husseins as rulers of both Transjordan and Iraq, which with the Hejaz meant the Sauds were pretty much surrounded. The Sauds conquered the Hejaz in 1924, despite lukewarm British support for the Hejaz.

Nobody in the world cared much about the Saudis one way or another until massive oil fields were discovered, by Americans not Brits, starting in 1938. There was no reason they should. Prior to that Saudi prominence in world affairs was about equal to that of Chad today, and for much the same reason. Chad (and Saudi Arabia) had nothing anybody else wanted.

Grandpa Charlie , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:25 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

'Putin stopped talking about the "Lisbon to Vladivostok" free trade area long ago" -- Michael Kenney

Putin was simply trying to sell Russia's application for EU membership with the catch-phrase "Lisbon to Vladivostok". He continued that until the issue was triply mooted (1) by implosion of EU growth and boosterism, (2) by NATO's aggressive stance, in effect taken by NATO in Ukraine events and in the Baltics, and, (3) Russia's alliance with China.

It is surely still true that Russians think of themselves, categorically, as Europeans. OTOH, we can easily imagine that Russians in Vladivostok look at things differently than do Russians in St. Petersburg. Then again, Vladivostok only goes back about a century and a half.

Seamus Padraig , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:39 pm GMT
@utu

Anyway, the mission was accomplished and the relations with Russia are worse now than during Obama administration.

I generally agree with your comment, but that part strikes me as a bit of an exaggeration. While relations with Russia certainly haven't improved, how have they really worsened? The second round of sanctions that Trump reluctantly approved have yet to be implemented by Europe, which was the goal. And apart from that, what of substance has changed?

Seamus Padraig , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:45 pm GMT
@Grandpa Charlie

That pre-9/11 "cooperation" nearly destroyed Russia. Nobody in Russia (except, perhaps, for Pussy Riot) wants a return to the Yeltsin era.

Ludwig Watzal , Website Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:46 pm GMT
It's not surprising that 57 percent of the American people believe in Russian meddling. Didn't two-thirds of the same crowd believe that Saddam was behind 9/11, too? The American public is being brainwashed 24 hours a day all year long.

The CIA is the world largest criminal and terrorist organization. With Brennan the worst has come to the worst. The whole Russian meddling affair was initiated by the Obama/Clinton gang in cooperation with 95 percent of the media. Nothing will come out of it.

This disinformation campaign might be the prelude to an upcoming war.
Right now, the US is run by jerks and idiots. Watch the video.

anonymous , Disclaimer Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:50 pm GMT
Only dumb people does not know that TRUMP IS NETANYAHU'S PUPPET.

The fifth column zionist jews are running the albino stooge and foreign policy in the Middle East to expand Israel's interest against American interest that is TREASON. One of these FIFTH COLUMNISTS is Jared Kushner. He should be arrested.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/donald-trumps-likudist-campaign-against-iran/5614264

[The key figures who had primary influence on both Trump's and Bush's Iran policies held views close to those of Israel's right-wing Likud Party. The main conduit for the Likudist line in the Trump White House is Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, primary foreign policy advisor, and longtime friend and supporter of Netanyahu. Kushner's parents are also long-time supporters of Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank.

Another figure to whom the Trump White House has turned is John Bolton, undersecretary of state and a key policymaker on Iran in the Bush administration. Although Bolton was not appointed Trump's secretary of state, as he'd hoped, he suddenly reemerged as a player on Iran policy thanks to his relationship with Kushner. Politico reports that Bolton met with Kushner a few days before the final policy statement was released and urged a complete withdrawal from the deal in favor of his own plan for containing Iran.

Bolton spoke with Trump by phone on Thursday about the paragraph in the deal that vowed it would be "terminated" if there was any renegotiation, according to Politico. He was calling Trump from Las Vegas, where he'd been meeting with casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, the third major figure behind Trump's shift towards Israeli issues. Adelson is a Likud supporter who has long been a close friend of Netanyahu's and has used his Israeli tabloid newspaper Israel Hayomto support Netanyahu's campaigns. He was Trump's main campaign contributor in 2016, donating $100 million. Adelson's real interest has been in supporting Israel's interests in Washington -- especially with regard to Iran.]

Miro23 , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 4:56 pm GMT
A great article with some excellent points:

Putin's dream of Greater Europe is the death knell for the unipolar world order. It means the economic center of the world will shift to Central Asia where abundant resources and cheap labor of the east will be linked to the technological advances and the Capital the of the west eliminating the need to trade in dollars or recycle profits into US debt. The US economy will slip into irreversible decline, and the global hegemon will steadily lose its grip on power. That's why it is imperative for the US prevail in Ukraine– a critical land bridge connecting the two continents– and to topple Assad in Syria in order to control vital resources and pipeline corridors. Washington must be in a position where it can continue to force its trading partners to denominate their resources in dollars and recycle the proceeds into US Treasuries if it is to maintain its global primacy. The main problem is that Russia is blocking Uncle Sam's path to success which is roiling the political establishment in Washington.

American dominance is very much tied to the dollar's role as the world's reserve currency, and the rest of the world no longer want to fund this bankrupt, warlike state – particularly the Chinese.

First, it confirms that the US did not want to see the jihadist extremists defeated by Russia. These mainly-Sunni militias served as Washington's proxy-army conducting an ambitious regime change operation which coincided with US strategic ambitions.

The CIA run US/Israeli/ISIS alliance.

Second, Zakharova confirms that the western media is not an independent news gathering organization, but a propaganda organ for the foreign policy establishment who dictates what they can and can't say.

They are given the political line and they broadcast it.

The loosening of rules governing the dissemination of domestic propaganda coupled with the extraordinary advances in surveillance technology, create the perfect conditions for the full implementation of an American police state. But what is more concerning, is that the primary levers of state power are no longer controlled by elected officials but by factions within the state whose interests do not coincide with those of the American people. That can only lead to trouble.

At some point Americans are going to get a "War on Domestic Terror" cheered along by the media. More or less the arrest and incarceration of any opposition following the Soviet Bolshevik model.

CanSpeccy , Website Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:11 pm GMT
@utu

On the plus side, everyone now knows that the Anglo-US media from the NY Times to the Economist, from WaPo to the Gruniard, and from the BBC to CNN, the CBC and Weinstein's Hollywood are a worthless bunch of depraved lying bastards.

Thales the Milesian , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:53 pm GMT
Brennan did this, CIA did that .

So what are you going to do about all this?

Continue to whine?

Continue to keep your head stuck in your ass?

So then continue with your blah, blah, blah, and eat sh*t.

You, disgusting self-elected democratic people/institutions!!!

AB_Anonymous , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:59 pm GMT
Such a truthful portrait of reality ! The ruling elite is indeed massively corrupt, compromised, and controlled by dark forces. And the police state is already here. For most people, so far, in the form of massive collection of personal data and increasing number of mandatory regulations. But just one or two big false-flags away from progressing into something much worse.

The thing is, no matter how thick the mental cages are, and how carefully they are maintained by the daily massive injections of "certified" truth (via MSM), along with neutralizing or compromising of "troublemakers", the presence of multiple alternative sources in the age of Internet makes people to slip out of these cages one by one, and as the last events show – with acceleration.

It means that there's a fast approaching tipping point after which it'd be impossible for those in power both to keep a nice "civilized" face and to control the "cage-free" population. So, no matter how the next war will be called, it will be the war against the free Internet and free people. That's probably why N. Korean leader has no fear to start one.

Art , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 6:18 pm GMT
An aside:

All government secrecy is a curse on mankind. Trump is releasing the JFK murder files to the public. Kudos! Let us hope he will follow up with a full 9/11 investigation.

Think Peace -- Art

Mr. Anon , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 7:07 pm GMT
@utu

The objective was to push new administration into the corner from which it could not improve relations with Russia as Trump indicated that he wanted to during the campaign.

Good point. That was probably one of the objectives (and from the point of view of the deep-state, perhaps the most important objective) of the "Russia hacked our democracy" narrative, in addition to the general deligitimization of the Trump administration.

Art , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 7:11 pm GMT
And, keep in mind, Washington's Sunni proxies were not a division of the Pentagon; they were entirely a CIA confection: CIA recruited, CIA-armed, CIA-funded and CIA-trained.

Clearly the CIA was making war on Syria. Is secret coercive covert action against sovereign nations Ok? Is it legal? When was the CIA designated a war making entity – what part of the constitution OK's that? Isn't the congress obliged by constitutional law to declare war? (These are NOT six month actions – they go on and on.)

Are committees of six congressman and six senators, who meet in secret, just avoiding the grave constitutional questions of war? We the People cannot even interrogate these politicians. (These politicians make big money in the secrecy swamp when they leave office.)

Syria is only one of many nations that the CIA is attacking – how many countries are we attacking with drones? Where is congress?

Spying is one thing – covert action is another – covert is wrong – it goes against world order. Every year after 9/11 they say things are worse – give them more money more power and they will make things safe. That is BS!

9/11 has opened the flood gates to the US government attacking at will, the various peoples of this Earth. That is NOT our prerogative.

We are being exceptionally arrogant.

Close the CIA – give the spying to the 16 other agencies.

Think Peace -- Art

Rurik , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 7:12 pm GMT
@Ben10

right at 1:47

when he says 'we can't move on as a country'

his butt hurt is so ruefully obvious, that I couldn't help notice a wry smile on my face

that bitch spent millions on the war sow, and now all that mullah won't even wipe his butt hurt

when I see ((guys)) like this raging their inner crybaby angst, I feel really, really good about President Trump

MAGA bitches!

Mr. Anon , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 7:15 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra

I am reading Howard Zinn, A Peoples History of the USA

A Peoples History of the USA? Which Peoples?

Tradecraft46 , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 8:04 pm GMT
I am SAIS 70 so know the drill and the article is on point.

Here is the dealio. Most reporters are dim and have no experience, and it is real easy to lead them by the nose with promises of better in the future.

[Apr 20, 2019] As Trump is just a marionette of neocons and Israel lobby: Russia has only expect harsher and harsher sanctions

Apr 20, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

STEPHEN COHEN: But the point here is that Russia has been torn between East and the West forever. Its best policy, in its own best interest, is to straddle East and West, not to be of the East or the West, but it's impossible in this world today. And U.S.-led Western policy since the end of the Soviet Union, and particularly since Putin came to power in 2000, has persuaded the Russian ruling elite that Russia can not count any longer, economically, politically, militarily, on being part of the West. It has to go elsewhere. So all this talk about wanting to win Russia to an American position that's anti-Iranian and anti-Chinese is conceived in disaster and will end in disaster. They should think of some other foreign policy.

False Solace , April 19, 2019 at 12:36 pm

...Haven't these people learned anything from the implosion of their pathetic Russiagate hysteria? The Russophobes won't be happy until we're at war with a nuclear power and the nukes are about to land.

Here are things Trump has actually done, as opposed to red-limned fantasies drawn from the fever-dreams of Putin haters:

Unilaterally abandoned 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty
Expelled 60 diplomats and closed 3 Russian diplomatic annexes
Bombed Syria, a Russian ally, with Russian troops in country
Sold arms to Ukraine, which is actively at war with Russia
Threatened Germany to cancel a new Russian pipeline through the Baltic (effort failed)
Even more sanctions against Russia and Russian nationals
Stationed missile defense systems on the Russian border in violation of arms treaties
Massive military exercises in Europe on the Russian border
Stationed troops in Poland
Negotiating with Poland to build a permanent US military base in Poland

All this has certainly made the world safer. /s

[Apr 20, 2019] Trump has certainly made the world safer

Highly recommended!
Apr 20, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

False Solace , April 19, 2019 at 12:36 pm

Yet another delusional remark at odds with reality. Haven't these people learned anything from the implosion of their pathetic Russiagate hysteria? The Russophobes won't be happy until we're at war with a nuclear power and the nukes are about to land.

Here are things Trump has actually done, as opposed to red-limned fantasies drawn from the fever-dreams of Putin haters:

  1. Unilaterally abandoned 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty
  2. Expelled 60 diplomats and closed 3 Russian diplomatic annexes
  3. Bombed Syria, a Russian ally, with Russian troops in country
  4. Sold arms to Ukraine, which is actively at war with Russia
  5. Threatened Germany to cancel a new Russian pipeline through the Baltic (effort failed)
  6. Even more sanctions against Russia and Russian nationals
  7. Stationed missile defense systems on the Russian border in violation of arms treaties
  8. Massive military exercises in Europe on the Russian border
  9. Stationed troops in Poland
  10. Negotiating with Poland to build a permanent US military base in Poland

All this has certainly made the world safer. /s

[Apr 19, 2019] You need to judge only by his actions and not his words

Apr 19, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Interrogator , 3 hours ago link

TALK is cheap. Trump could have and should have fired Rosenstein & Mueller and put in a constitutional attorney a long time ago. But he didn't.

He could be using the military to build the wall, as they build plenty of bases overseas with their unlimited budgets! But he hasn't and won't.

You need to judge only by his actions and not his words.

[Apr 19, 2019] Trump and General Flynn

Apr 19, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Jack , 19 April 2019 at 01:57 PM

I don't know about others on SST but while he may not have been a good DIA man or the best NSA, Gen. Flynn was thrown under the bus by Trump and Pence and railroaded by Mueller. Shameful!

https://twitter.com/JosephJFlynn1/status/1119199323823198208

[Apr 19, 2019] Behind the Omar Outrage Suppressed History of 9-11: Trump's demagogic ploy with the freshman lawmaker raises the more serious question of who and what led to the "Day of Planes

Trump previously also voiced doubts about official narrative of 9/11. Now he emerged as an avid supporter of the official narrative. Nice metamorphose.
No matter where you personally stand on 9/11 events Trump is double dealer.
Notable quotes:
"... Today, some of their names – Zbigniew Brzezinski, Ronald Reagan, H.W. Bush – are prominently engraved on airports, federal offices, and library halls around the country. Others became the subject of rowdy bestsellers such as "Charlie Wilson's War," or saw their exploits dramatized in Cold War kitsch productions like "Rambo III." And then there were those who waged America's dirty wars from the shadows, and whose names will scarcely ever be known. ..."
"... Today, as Rep. Tulsi Gabbard – the lone foreign policy dissenter within the Democratic presidential field – pointed out , they are doing it all over again through their protection of the world's largest Al Qaeda franchise in Syria's Idlib province, which came into being thanks in large part to U.S. intervention in the country. ..."
"... These people were so hellbent on smashing the Soviet Union that they made common cause with the Islamist dictatorship of Pakistan's Zia-ul-Haq and the House of Saud. With direct assistance from the intelligence services of these U.S. allies, Osama bin Laden, the scion of Saudi wealth, set up his Services Bureau on the Afghan border as a waystation for foreign Islamist fighters. ..."
"... These people were in the CIA, USAID, and the National Security Council. Others, with names like Charlie Wilson, Jesse Helms, Jack Murtha, and Joe Biden, held seats on both sides of the aisle in Congress. ..."
"... "Can you imagine what the world would be like today if there was still a Soviet Union?" remarked Zbigniew Bzezinski, the former NSC director who sold President Jimmy Carter on the Afghan proxy war. "So yes, compared to the Soviet Union, and to its collapse, the Taliban were unimportant." ..."
Apr 19, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

A s Donald Trump sharpens his re-election messaging, he has sought to make a foil out of freshman Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar, homing in on her identity as a black Muslim immigrant and her brazen defiance of what was once a bipartisan pro-Israel consensus. Trump's most recent attack was the most inflammatory to date, implying through a characteristically dishonest Twitter video that Omar had played some role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Trump was referencing comments Omar made this month during a banquet of the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR): "CAIR was founded after 9/11, because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties," Omar said during a 20-minute-long denunciation of public bullying and violent attacks against Muslims living in the West. (CAIR was founded in 1994, contrary to Omar's claim).

As innocuous as Omar's comments might have seemed, they were easily spun by a right-wing bigot-sphere seeking to portray her as not merely insensitive to the deep wound Americans suffered on 9/11, but as a possible terror-sympathizer. As Bernard Kerik, the disgraced former NYPD commissioner and convicted felon , said of Omar on Fox News, "she's infatuated with Al Qaeda, with Hamas, with Hezbollah."

For Trump, the manufactured outrage offered yet another opportunity to advance his rebranded version of the Southern Strategy, painting Omar as the face of a Democratic Party overrun by socialists, Muslims, MS13 and trans radicals – as a clear and present danger to the reactionary white exurbanites commonly referred to in mainstream media as "swing voters."

Amid an onslaught of menacing condemnations and online death threats triggered by Trump's tweet, prominent Democrats mobilized to defend Omar. However, many were too timid to mention her by name, apparently fearing that doing so would play into Trump's cynical strategy. Some refused to defend her at all. And among those willing to speak up, most felt compelled to lead their defense by reinforcing the quasi-theological understanding of 9/11 that leaves anti-Muslim narratives unchallenged. "The memory of 9/11 is sacred ground, and any discussion of it must be done with reverence," insisted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In Washington, 9/11 is understood as an act of inexplicable evil that materialized out of a clear blue sky. "They hate us because we're free," Americans are still told in a semi-official drone, conveniently excising the attacks that took place on 9/11 from their historical context. This ruthlessly enforced interpretation has had the effect of displacing blame from those who bear direct or indirect responsibility for the attacks onto much more convenient scapegoats like the Islamic faith and its diverse mass of adherents.

In my new book, " The Management of Savagery ," I explain which people did what things to lay the groundwork for the worst terror attack on U.S. soil. Not all of those people were Muslim, and few have faced the kind of scrutiny Omar has for her seemingly benign comment about 9/11. As I illustrate, many of them maintained lustrous reputations well after the ash was cleared from Ground Zero. Today, some of their names – Zbigniew Brzezinski, Ronald Reagan, H.W. Bush – are prominently engraved on airports, federal offices, and library halls around the country. Others became the subject of rowdy bestsellers such as "Charlie Wilson's War," or saw their exploits dramatized in Cold War kitsch productions like "Rambo III." And then there were those who waged America's dirty wars from the shadows, and whose names will scarcely ever be known.

While these figures lay claim to the mantle of "national security," their true legacy was the callous abandonment of that concept in order to advance imperial objectives. During the Cold War, they forged partnerships with theocratic monarchies and armed Islamist militants, even distributing jihadist textbooks to children in the name of defeating the Soviet scourge. Today, as Rep. Tulsi Gabbard – the lone foreign policy dissenter within the Democratic presidential field – pointed out , they are doing it all over again through their protection of the world's largest Al Qaeda franchise in Syria's Idlib province, which came into being thanks in large part to U.S. intervention in the country.

To effectively puncture Trump's demagogic ploys, the discussion of 9/11 must move beyond a superficial defense of Omar and into an exploration of a critical history that has been suppressed. This history begins at least 20 years before the attacks occurred, when "some people did something." Many of those people served at the highest levels of U.S. government, and the things they did led to the establishment of Al Qaeda as an international network – and ultimately, to 9/11 itself.

Back in 1979, some people initiated a multi-billion-dollar covert operation to trap the Red Army in Afghanistan and bleed the Soviet Union at its soft underbelly. They put heavy weapons in the hands of Islamist warlords such as Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, dispatched Salafi clerics such as "Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdel Rahman to the battlefield, and printed millions of dollars worth of textbooks for Afghan children that contained math equations encouraging them to commit acts of violent martyrdom against Soviet soldiers. They did anything they could to wreak havoc on the Soviet-backed government in Kabul.

These people were so hellbent on smashing the Soviet Union that they made common cause with the Islamist dictatorship of Pakistan's Zia-ul-Haq and the House of Saud. With direct assistance from the intelligence services of these U.S. allies, Osama bin Laden, the scion of Saudi wealth, set up his Services Bureau on the Afghan border as a waystation for foreign Islamist fighters.

These people even channeled funding to bin Laden so he could build training camps along the Afghan-Pakistan border for the so-called freedom fighters of the mujahideen. And they kept watch over a ratline that shepherded young Muslim men from the West to the front lines of the Afghan proxy war, using them as cannon fodder for a cold-blooded, imperial operation marketed by the Wahhabi clergy in Saudi Arabia as a holy obligation.

These people were in the CIA, USAID, and the National Security Council. Others, with names like Charlie Wilson, Jesse Helms, Jack Murtha, and Joe Biden, held seats on both sides of the aisle in Congress.

When they finally got what they wanted, dislodging a secular government that had provided Afghan women with unprecedented access to education, their proxies plunged Afghanistan into a war of the warlords that saw half of Kabul turned to rubble, paving the way for the rise of the Taliban. And these people remained totally unrepentant about the monster they had created.

"Can you imagine what the world would be like today if there was still a Soviet Union?" remarked Zbigniew Bzezinski, the former NSC director who sold President Jimmy Carter on the Afghan proxy war. "So yes, compared to the Soviet Union, and to its collapse, the Taliban were unimportant."

... ... ...

[Apr 19, 2019] Behind the Omar Outrage is the suppressed history of 9-11: Trump's demagogic ploy with the freshman lawmaker raises the more serious question of who and what led to the "Day of Planes

Trump previously also voiced doubts about official narrative of 9/11. Now he emerged as an avid supporter of the official narrative. Nice metamorphose.
No matter where you personally stand on 9/11 events Trump is double dealer.
Notable quotes:
"... Today, some of their names – Zbigniew Brzezinski, Ronald Reagan, H.W. Bush – are prominently engraved on airports, federal offices, and library halls around the country. Others became the subject of rowdy bestsellers such as "Charlie Wilson's War," or saw their exploits dramatized in Cold War kitsch productions like "Rambo III." And then there were those who waged America's dirty wars from the shadows, and whose names will scarcely ever be known. ..."
"... Today, as Rep. Tulsi Gabbard – the lone foreign policy dissenter within the Democratic presidential field – pointed out , they are doing it all over again through their protection of the world's largest Al Qaeda franchise in Syria's Idlib province, which came into being thanks in large part to U.S. intervention in the country. ..."
"... These people were so hellbent on smashing the Soviet Union that they made common cause with the Islamist dictatorship of Pakistan's Zia-ul-Haq and the House of Saud. With direct assistance from the intelligence services of these U.S. allies, Osama bin Laden, the scion of Saudi wealth, set up his Services Bureau on the Afghan border as a waystation for foreign Islamist fighters. ..."
"... These people were in the CIA, USAID, and the National Security Council. Others, with names like Charlie Wilson, Jesse Helms, Jack Murtha, and Joe Biden, held seats on both sides of the aisle in Congress. ..."
"... "Can you imagine what the world would be like today if there was still a Soviet Union?" remarked Zbigniew Bzezinski, the former NSC director who sold President Jimmy Carter on the Afghan proxy war. "So yes, compared to the Soviet Union, and to its collapse, the Taliban were unimportant." ..."
Apr 19, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

A s Donald Trump sharpens his re-election messaging, he has sought to make a foil out of freshman Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar, homing in on her identity as a black Muslim immigrant and her brazen defiance of what was once a bipartisan pro-Israel consensus. Trump's most recent attack was the most inflammatory to date, implying through a characteristically dishonest Twitter video that Omar had played some role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Trump was referencing comments Omar made this month during a banquet of the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR): "CAIR was founded after 9/11, because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties," Omar said during a 20-minute-long denunciation of public bullying and violent attacks against Muslims living in the West. (CAIR was founded in 1994, contrary to Omar's claim).

As innocuous as Omar's comments might have seemed, they were easily spun by a right-wing bigot-sphere seeking to portray her as not merely insensitive to the deep wound Americans suffered on 9/11, but as a possible terror-sympathizer. As Bernard Kerik, the disgraced former NYPD commissioner and convicted felon , said of Omar on Fox News, "she's infatuated with Al Qaeda, with Hamas, with Hezbollah."

For Trump, the manufactured outrage offered yet another opportunity to advance his rebranded version of the Southern Strategy, painting Omar as the face of a Democratic Party overrun by socialists, Muslims, MS13 and trans radicals – as a clear and present danger to the reactionary white exurbanites commonly referred to in mainstream media as "swing voters."

Amid an onslaught of menacing condemnations and online death threats triggered by Trump's tweet, prominent Democrats mobilized to defend Omar. However, many were too timid to mention her by name, apparently fearing that doing so would play into Trump's cynical strategy. Some refused to defend her at all. And among those willing to speak up, most felt compelled to lead their defense by reinforcing the quasi-theological understanding of 9/11 that leaves anti-Muslim narratives unchallenged. "The memory of 9/11 is sacred ground, and any discussion of it must be done with reverence," insisted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In Washington, 9/11 is understood as an act of inexplicable evil that materialized out of a clear blue sky. "They hate us because we're free," Americans are still told in a semi-official drone, conveniently excising the attacks that took place on 9/11 from their historical context. This ruthlessly enforced interpretation has had the effect of displacing blame from those who bear direct or indirect responsibility for the attacks onto much more convenient scapegoats like the Islamic faith and its diverse mass of adherents.

In my new book, " The Management of Savagery ," I explain which people did what things to lay the groundwork for the worst terror attack on U.S. soil. Not all of those people were Muslim, and few have faced the kind of scrutiny Omar has for her seemingly benign comment about 9/11. As I illustrate, many of them maintained lustrous reputations well after the ash was cleared from Ground Zero. Today, some of their names – Zbigniew Brzezinski, Ronald Reagan, H.W. Bush – are prominently engraved on airports, federal offices, and library halls around the country. Others became the subject of rowdy bestsellers such as "Charlie Wilson's War," or saw their exploits dramatized in Cold War kitsch productions like "Rambo III." And then there were those who waged America's dirty wars from the shadows, and whose names will scarcely ever be known.

While these figures lay claim to the mantle of "national security," their true legacy was the callous abandonment of that concept in order to advance imperial objectives. During the Cold War, they forged partnerships with theocratic monarchies and armed Islamist militants, even distributing jihadist textbooks to children in the name of defeating the Soviet scourge. Today, as Rep. Tulsi Gabbard – the lone foreign policy dissenter within the Democratic presidential field – pointed out , they are doing it all over again through their protection of the world's largest Al Qaeda franchise in Syria's Idlib province, which came into being thanks in large part to U.S. intervention in the country.

To effectively puncture Trump's demagogic ploys, the discussion of 9/11 must move beyond a superficial defense of Omar and into an exploration of a critical history that has been suppressed. This history begins at least 20 years before the attacks occurred, when "some people did something." Many of those people served at the highest levels of U.S. government, and the things they did led to the establishment of Al Qaeda as an international network – and ultimately, to 9/11 itself.

Back in 1979, some people initiated a multi-billion-dollar covert operation to trap the Red Army in Afghanistan and bleed the Soviet Union at its soft underbelly. They put heavy weapons in the hands of Islamist warlords such as Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, dispatched Salafi clerics such as "Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdel Rahman to the battlefield, and printed millions of dollars worth of textbooks for Afghan children that contained math equations encouraging them to commit acts of violent martyrdom against Soviet soldiers. They did anything they could to wreak havoc on the Soviet-backed government in Kabul.

These people were so hellbent on smashing the Soviet Union that they made common cause with the Islamist dictatorship of Pakistan's Zia-ul-Haq and the House of Saud. With direct assistance from the intelligence services of these U.S. allies, Osama bin Laden, the scion of Saudi wealth, set up his Services Bureau on the Afghan border as a waystation for foreign Islamist fighters.

These people even channeled funding to bin Laden so he could build training camps along the Afghan-Pakistan border for the so-called freedom fighters of the mujahideen. And they kept watch over a ratline that shepherded young Muslim men from the West to the front lines of the Afghan proxy war, using them as cannon fodder for a cold-blooded, imperial operation marketed by the Wahhabi clergy in Saudi Arabia as a holy obligation.

These people were in the CIA, USAID, and the National Security Council. Others, with names like Charlie Wilson, Jesse Helms, Jack Murtha, and Joe Biden, held seats on both sides of the aisle in Congress.

When they finally got what they wanted, dislodging a secular government that had provided Afghan women with unprecedented access to education, their proxies plunged Afghanistan into a war of the warlords that saw half of Kabul turned to rubble, paving the way for the rise of the Taliban. And these people remained totally unrepentant about the monster they had created.

"Can you imagine what the world would be like today if there was still a Soviet Union?" remarked Zbigniew Bzezinski, the former NSC director who sold President Jimmy Carter on the Afghan proxy war. "So yes, compared to the Soviet Union, and to its collapse, the Taliban were unimportant."

... ... ...

[Apr 19, 2019] Donald Trump, the Impulsive Demagogue in the White House by John Cassidy

Trump essentially rules as Bush III with Bush II coterie of neocons in his administrations and an unusual level of pandering to Isreal. All he election promises were fake.
Jan 20, 2017 | www.newyorker.com

People in other countries, meanwhile, will be looking on with awe and anxiety. For seventy years, the United States has led a global order based on mutual interest, enhanced trade, and, ultimately, America's role as the global hegemon (co-hegemon until 1989). Rhetorically, at least, Trump's accession to power marks a break with this order. Describing himself as an America Firster, he has talked scathingly about many of the institutions that have girded the Pax Americana, including NATO , the European Union, and the World Trade Organization. He has criticized American military interventions -- sometimes, it must be said, with good cause. And he has pledged to renegotiate trade deals, and, if he deems it necessary, to slap heavy tariffs on goods from Mexico, China, and other countries

Surveying Trump's victory and the rise of xenophobic populism in many other Western countries, Martin Wolf, the Financial Times' senior economics commentator, recently pronounced , "We are, in short, at the end of both an economic period -- that of western-led globalisation -- and a geopolitical one -- the post-cold war 'unipolar moment' of a US-led global order."

That judgment could still turn out to be premature. The world economy is so closely integrated these days that it would take huge shocks, or policy changes, to turn the clock back. American multinational companies, like Apple and Facebook and General Motors, are some of globalization's biggest beneficiaries and supporters. To his Cabinet, Trump has appointed both Rex Tillerson, the former head of ExxonMobil, the world's biggest oil company, and Gary Cohn, the former president of Goldman Sachs, the world's leading investment bank. Trump himself claims to favor trade, but what he terms "fair trade."

In his Inaugural Address, however, Trump made clear that he will at least try to tilt globalization in favor of American manufacturing workers. Reverting to the populist rhetoric that had propelled his campaign, he said, "The wealth of the middle class has been ripped from their homes and redistributed across the world," adding, "From this day forward, it's going to be only America first, America first. Every decision will be made to protect American workers and American families."

On the geopolitical front, it is far less clear what Trump will do, and that's the greatest concern for many people, here and around the world. Despite his claims that America's armed services have been run down, the United States remains by far the world's biggest military power, the only country able to project its will anywhere on the globe. But how will Trump live up to this responsibility? In his speech, he pledged to "reinforce old alliances and form new ones" and to "eradicate" Islamic terrorism "completely from the face of the earth." But he also sounded some of the neo-isolationist themes that he put forward during the campaign, saying that America had "subsidized the armies of other countries" and "defended other nations' borders while refusing to defend our own." His language and tone suggested that the days when America viewed itself as the benevolent global leader, willing to make sacrifices to the mutual benefit of all countries, were coming to an end.

[Apr 19, 2019] Tulsi Gabbard: People get into a lot of conversations about political strategies I might get in trouble for saying this, but what does it matter if we beat Donald Trump, if we end up with someone who will perpetuate the very same crony capitalist policies, corporate policies, and waging more of these costly wars?

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "This is not a joke. This is not about me. This about all of us. This is about our future. About making sure we have one." ..."
Apr 19, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Al Pinto , April 18, 2019 at 13:25

Thank you Max, it's a great summary of what is wrong with the foreign policy and why racism is so rampant.

There are candidates for 2020, who understand and probably share your views. Take for example Tulsi Gabbard in her recent twonhall meeting video:

https://www.reddit.com/r/tulsi/comments/bbsg8q/reupload_tulsis_most_inspiring_and_controversial/

Quote from her replies

"People get into a lot of conversations about political strategies I might get in trouble for saying this, but what does it matter if we beat Donald Trump, if we end up with someone who will perpetuate the very same crony capitalist policies, corporate policies, and waging more of these costly wars?"

And just to drive home this point, quote:

"This is not a joke. This is not about me. This about all of us. This is about our future. About making sure we have one."

Tulsi did get in to trouble. A day after the video posted on Twitter, it had been deleted by Twitter without explanation

Mark Dierking , April 18, 2019 at 15:53

Thanks to you any everyone that has responded for the thoughtful comments. If you are able to edit yours, a more accessible link for the Safari browser is:

https://www.reddit.com/r/tulsi/comments/bbsg8q/reupload_tulsis_most_inspiring_and_controversial/

[Apr 18, 2019] Note of those who believe that Trump betrayal of voters and allies is some kind of four dimensional chess

Apr 18, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

VanWinkle , 8 hours ago link

you ever hear of playing the long game?

e.g. Be strategic, don't blow your waad at once.

Betrayed , 5 hours ago link

I didn't realize Hopium was so addicting.

How long is the long game. When he's one and done?

[Apr 18, 2019] Trump

Apr 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

snake , Apr 18, 2019 3:00:45 PM | link

IRT B's request not to waste effort on challenges likely not to make a difference. I observe no Trumpy program yet, promises to improve America nor reverse the ever declining quality of life Americans are experiencing (As wages double, costs triple as federal grants increase, the corporations are getting wealthier). Make the USA Oligarchs Wealthier programs all expose Americans to more risk and greater loss of wealth. Fracking, 5g energies, wars, better internal surveillance tailored to capture the most minute behaviors of every American, and foreign management of Americans via the USA as a conduct.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/04/12/g-is-about-get-big-boost-trump-fcc/?utm_term=.c9e453858d1a&noredirect=on

and this https://www.globalresearch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-17-at-8.43.10-PM.png

[Apr 16, 2019] Trump reveals himself as a typical neocon -- a lobbyist for MIC and Isreal

Apr 16, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Trump Issues His Second Veto, Blocking Congressional Resolution To End US Support For Saudi-Led War In Yemen

In a statement to the Senate released by the White House, Trump called the joint resolution "unnecessary", warned it represents a "dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities" and argued it would negatively affect U.S. foreign policy. What he really meant is that the US military-industrial complex stood to lose billions in potential revenue from the biggest US weapons client. As a result countless innocent civilians will continue to die for an unknown period of time but at least the stock price of Boeing, Lockheed-Martin and Raytheon will not be put in jeopardy.

... ... ...

As a reminder, last month the Senate voted 54-46 to pass a resolution requiring the president to withdraw any troops in or "affecting" Yemen within 30 days unless they are fighting al Qaeda. The House passed the measure earlier this month with a 248-177 vote. Neither was enough to override Trump's veto.


Boing_Snap , 1 minute ago link

Hey a veto to block an end to a war?

I guess peace is bad for business.

When the hell is candidate Trump going to appear?

Noktirnal , 59 seconds ago link

That ended early 2017.

FBaggins , 5 minutes ago link

He is absolutley an oil company and Zionist shill.

SickDollar , 4 minutes ago link

well said and a baby killer

frank further , 5 minutes ago link

It's difficult to imagine the size of the disaster that is D.C.

If Chump wins a second term, that means nearly 6 more years of non-government, except for buttressing the MIC. If the Dims win, it's much worse.

WTF? What's the matter with everyone? Including ZH,of course.

Noktirnal , 2 minutes ago link

Divide and conquer, baby.

frank further , 1 minute ago link

What will be left to conquer after all that?

DivisionBell , 7 minutes ago link

What is the legal basis for the use of United States Armed Forces in any capacity in Saudi Arabia or Yemen?

Haboob , 5 minutes ago link

War on terror.

frank further , 3 minutes ago link

U forgot /s

Haboob , 1 minute ago link

Haha everyone should on the inside joke by now.

SickDollar , 3 minutes ago link

Oil and MIC And Israel

SickDollar , 7 minutes ago link

Here we go the man is officially the bitch of The MIC and Israel

he does not work for us and he now has officially blood on his hands

[Apr 16, 2019] Trump as a useful idiot of the Deep State

Apr 16, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Anunnaki , 11 hours ago link

If Trump pardoned Assange, I would consider that draining the swamp. But Orange Jewlius is a Deep State **** socket, so the swamp has grown to a lagoon

Anunnaki , 11 hours ago link

Jimmy Dore and Tucker Carlson nail it

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SnwC_1Pf9VQ

rtb61 , 12 hours ago link

Clearly the US government has zero respect for Australia, Australian Law or Australian citizens. The case is shite, else they would allow Assange to be deported to Australia and the extradition hearing to be heard there. They refuse because they know their case is shite and they would have to prove it in Australia before they could get extradition.

The USA is not an ally of Australia because it does not respect Australian law, not in the least. Prove US respect of Australians by deporting Assange to Australia and holding the extradition hearings there, else look as guilty as shite and never ever to be trusted by Australians.

OZZIDOWNUNDER , 9 hours ago link

The US Govt respects NOBODY but its own Interests. It's the Australian Govt that's complicit in this travesty of Nil justice. The Gutless Australian Govt has NO interest in helping Julian Assange because they were persuaded NOT to by their American masters. It hurts that your own Govt are total A$$holes & follow USA into Crimes with out question. The Australian Govt has a History of lip service only when assistance Overseas is required. **** them !

NYC80 , 13 hours ago link

Assange probably is a narcissist. So what? All the people criticizing him are, too. At least he's an honest narcissist. In everything he's published, not a single item has even been allegedly false. Can any of these other so-called "journalists" demonstrate that level of accuracy?

Ms No , 14 hours ago link

Here is a good article on Assange. Explains the cat. Things were okay for him under the real elected president of Ecuador, except no sunlight thanks to US spooks.

https://www.sott.net/article/411173-My-friend-Julian-Assange-Alicia-Castro-former-ambassador-for-Argentina

[Apr 16, 2019] No One Can Trust Trump

That's from ZeroHedge, the bastion of Trumpism ;-)
Apr 16, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Deep Snorkeler , 1 hour ago link

No One Can Trust Trump erratic and dysfunctional, absurd and incongruous, fantastic and ludicrous - he rules from an immoral crevasse:

he sustains massive corporate profits and upper caste power.

Fantasy Free Economics , 1 hour ago link

It is normal that others see weakness in the U.S. before we do. The notion in the United States is that what we want to be true is true. Fantasy is a comforting mechanism but it sure is painful when everything falls apart. Our reality gap has not slammed shut but it will.

http://quillian.net/blog/victims-of-fascism/

Cosmicserpent , 10 minutes ago link

It's official. Trump is a cum guzzling **** for Israel's Bentoveryahoo, and the US MIC. He wishes he was Putin's bitch.

†FreeThought† , 11 minutes ago link

What happened to "Nationalism, not globalism will be our credo"...? I voted for Trump and I got Trumpstein instead.

Empire's Frontiers , 18 minutes ago link

An exceptionally good goy, this Trump guy.

Shalom! And get back to work.

Dr. Acula , 7 minutes ago link

It's X-dimensional chess, where the value of X increases each day.

SHsparx , 30 minutes ago link

I'm starting to get the feeling that maybe Trump won't run again? And so now he feels he doesn't even have to pretend anymore.

R19 , 29 minutes ago link

Which President has been the best weapons salesman? I vote:

Trump

Obama

ThomasEdmonds , 28 minutes ago link

Like a guided missile: sure of its target.

KekistanisUnite , 28 minutes ago link

Disappointing but not surprising. I do hope at some point his mind will be changed. Give full credit to the 16 Republicans in the House and 7 Republican Senators for supporting this resolution.

warsev , 37 minutes ago link

I guess we now know fully where President Trump stands on reining in executive warmongering.

evoila , 30 minutes ago link

Better buy your call options on Tulsi Gabbard. She is going to surprise da **** out of these idiots same way Trump surprised in 2016.

jimfcarroll , 28 minutes ago link

Never voted for a democrat in my life. She might be the first. I wont vote for Trump again after this.

[Apr 16, 2019] Trump suddenly dropping any love for Wikileaks after enthusiastically stating his approval of them over 100 times during the last election is going to cause a lot of damage to his chances of being reelected

Apr 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

akka , says: April 13, 2019 at 12:52 am GMT

It is possible, now that Assange has been arrested, that the American charge against him is relatively minor only in order to encourage the UK to extradite him. Once he is in American custody those charges may well change.

btw Trump suddenly dropping any love for Wikileaks after enthusiastically stating his approval of them over 100 times during the last election is going to cause a lot of damage to his chances of being reelected.

Wikileaks is probably already putting him under the microscope, and there are all the Wikileaks fans to contend with as well.

Bad move Donald, you just sacrificed a bishop to no advantage and placed yourself in danger of checkmate. More people are starting to see your 'veracity' as the facade it is.

[Apr 16, 2019] Trump excessive love of children: 400 children killed since January 2019 in Yemen and 85,000 have died from malnutrition in the past 3 and a half years and Trump vetoes resolution to end U.S. involvement.

Notable quotes:
"... Is the NYT promoting Gina Haspel as someone who deserves a more influential position than the nation's top torturer? She wouldn't be the first such criminal being subtly encouraged to try for DJT's job in the future. ..."
"... And there was a video of him bringing her to the microphone on the subject of 5G which amazed me: Trump Invites Ivanka To Talk About 5G Deployment In The U.S. I think Trump truly believes Ivanka is presidential material! ..."
"... Tinfoil-hat opinion time: if you have a credible threat against Ivanka, you control Trump. If you want to gain a different kind of leverage - like to talk him into quitting in 2020 - promise him you'll work hard to put her in the White House. ..."
"... Still tin-foiling, but I think a version of this happened in 1992. Iran Contra was closing in, and the Democrats had the goods on Bush Senior. I buy into the conspiracy notion Bush Sr. was offered a deal where the matter would be dropped if he left office, and with a "sweetener" that one of his boys would be advanced to the White House. This didn't hurt the Powers That Be, for the chosen democrat was a rare Pro-Choice Republican posing as a democrat. ..."
"... Bill Clinton was a warmongering neocon nut who governed domestically as a Republican. ..."
"... The problem lies with people in generation after generation being fooled by the same or similar ruses used before, which is why The Who exhorted people to not let themselves "get fooled again." ..."
"... The UK & EU both face crises caused by their adherence to Neoliberal economics, but Neoliberal governments hold sway in almost every EU nation and UK despite the damage they've caused. ..."
"... Here's a link for anyone who still doesn't believe Trump is on the dark side: Trump vetoes resolution ending U.S. involvement in Yemen ..."
"... Looks like Trump is only a compassionate humanitarian on behalf of Syrian kids. With 14 school children killed in Yemen a week ago, not so much. ..."
"... Ms. Haspel showed pictures the British government had supplied her of young children hospitalized after being sickened by the Novichok nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals. She then showed a photograph of ducks that British officials said were inadvertently killed by the sloppy work of the Russian operatives. ..."
"... The Brits were lying, Haspel was lying, and either Trump believed her or pretended to. ..."
Apr 16, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jen , Apr 16, 2019 8:13:24 PM | link

Karlof1 @ 36:

By "meaningful intellectual activity", Craig Murray is referring to critical thinking skills, having an open mind and being able to consider all options and possibilities. We can agree that Theresa May and the people who make up her Cabinet and government, and a sizeable proportion of the Tories, may well be deficient in these activities.

I have read something of how David Cameron worked his way up to leadership of the British Conservatives years ago. Coming from a wealthy family (his father was a stockbroker who enjoyed posthumous notoriety when his name surfaced in the Panama Papers), Cameron went to the "right" schools (which count Prince Andrew and Prince Edward as former students, btw), Eton College and then Oxford University where he enrolled in the politics / economics course that prepares students for careers in politics - it's popularly called "PPE". After university he went to work for the Conservative Party.

You could say Cameron's path had already been mapped out for him and the decision was not his to deviate from it. Probably the same can be said of some other people in Theresa May's Cabinet.

And what can be said of a UK Defence Secretary of whom the love of his life is a pet Mexican tarantula?

Kiza , Apr 16, 2019 8:14:28 PM | link

@ lysias 49

You are being sarcastic, tongue in cheek, correct? I also wonder who could have done such a thing?

But seriously, the value of Solzhenitsyn is not in the quality of his prose, which is very difficult to read, then in the relevance of his topics. He did document how power over others and ultimately totalitarianism manifest themselves in the fallible human nature. Humans cannot rule themselves properly, but usually psychopaths must rule (use & abuse) others. A whole system can be created on top of psychopathy of a few individuals (does this ring a bell?). Of course, the claim that Solzhenitsyn was a critic of Communism is equivalent to the claim that Animal Farm is a description of Communism. Both are good social critique turned into yet another political/brainwashing tool. It is art because it describes human nature across artificial boundaries, especially the ideological one: left versus right.

On another matter, I have started skipping comments where Trump is being bashed. In addition to being leftist TDS, this is a perfect indication that the commenter has got no clue what is really going on, so how could he/she explain anything to others?

Zachary Smith , Apr 16, 2019 8:34:23 PM | link
@ Jen #59
Is the NYT promoting Gina Haspel as someone who deserves a more influential position than the nation's top torturer? She wouldn't be the first such criminal being subtly encouraged to try for DJT's job in the future.

If an idea like that ever gets into Trump's head, Haspel is a goner. Have you noticed how he said he considered Ivanka for the World bank?

"Donald Trump reveals he considered making Ivanka head of World Bank because she's 'good with numbers'"

And there was a video of him bringing her to the microphone on the subject of 5G which amazed me: Trump Invites Ivanka To Talk About 5G Deployment In The U.S. I think Trump truly believes Ivanka is presidential material!

Tinfoil-hat opinion time: if you have a credible threat against Ivanka, you control Trump. If you want to gain a different kind of leverage - like to talk him into quitting in 2020 - promise him you'll work hard to put her in the White House.

Still tin-foiling, but I think a version of this happened in 1992. Iran Contra was closing in, and the Democrats had the goods on Bush Senior. I buy into the conspiracy notion Bush Sr. was offered a deal where the matter would be dropped if he left office, and with a "sweetener" that one of his boys would be advanced to the White House. This didn't hurt the Powers That Be, for the chosen democrat was a rare Pro-Choice Republican posing as a democrat.

Bill Clinton was a warmongering neocon nut who governed domestically as a Republican.

As it turns out, the "smart one" (Jeb) lost his first step by not immediately getting to be Governor of Florida. That left the Codpiece Commander, and all his sins were airbrushed away, the Supreme Court intervened, and he entered the White House. Good deal for Pappy Bush, BTW. Him and Reagan got to keep their gold shine, and President Dumbya did all which was expected of him.

karlof1 , Apr 16, 2019 8:59:37 PM | link
Thanks Jen & Piotr for your comments regarding my take on Murray's missive.

The problem lies with people in generation after generation being fooled by the same or similar ruses used before, which is why The Who exhorted people to not let themselves "get fooled again."

The UK & EU both face crises caused by their adherence to Neoliberal economics, but Neoliberal governments hold sway in almost every EU nation and UK despite the damage they've caused.

It's certainly a muddle. Trump vetoing the legislation to cease supporting Saudi in Yemen will further help the turn to the East. And tomorrow will bring something else.

Circe , Apr 16, 2019 9:13:41 PM | link
@66 karlof1

Here's a link for anyone who still doesn't believe Trump is on the dark side: Trump vetoes resolution ending U.S. involvement in Yemen

donkeytale , Apr 16, 2019 9:15:37 PM | link
Newsflash: Trump vetoes Congressional resolution to end military support for the war in Yemen.

Any of the Trump Dick Suckers care to comment? Babble-on @14? Your take please. Never enough dissembling wrt Trump.

Circe , Apr 16, 2019 9:48:08 PM | link
@61Jackrabbit

Looks like Trump is only a compassionate humanitarian on behalf of Syrian kids. With 14 school children killed in Yemen a week ago, not so much.

https://twitter.com/UNICEF_Yemen/status/1115531708063940608

400 children killed since January 2019 in Yemen and 85,000 have died from malnutrition in the past 3 and a half years and Trump vetoes resolution to end U.S. involvement.

Trump whitewashers have a lot of work to do.

S , Apr 16, 2019 11:17:30 PM | link
@Mataman #9:
The story veers into complete fiction when it claims that pictures of dead ducks had any effect on Trump. He doesn't like, nor care about animals.

Perhaps Donald Trump has a soft spot for ducks because of Donald Duck?

Jackrabbit , Apr 16, 2019 11:26:59 PM | link
Now Haspel can boast that she grabbed him by the duckie .
Zachary Smith , Apr 16, 2019 11:40:11 PM | link
@ Bart Hansen #69

So far as I understand your question, the Neocon York Times link from above had this about the kids and the ducks:

Ms. Haspel showed pictures the British government had supplied her of young children hospitalized after being sickened by the Novichok nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals. She then showed a photograph of ducks that British officials said were inadvertently killed by the sloppy work of the Russian operatives.

The Brits were lying, Haspel was lying, and either Trump believed her or pretended to.

[Apr 16, 2019] Trump was transparently chosen to be the fake "agent of change" for the other half of the US population, just as Obama before

Notable quotes:
"... Therefore, both individuals were both an admission that the change in the system is needed and that the ruling regime is into life-extension by means of "whatever it takes". Once the "change" potential is exhausted, repression must take over as the principal life extension mechanism; clearly, these methods do not have a sharp start-over points in time - they overlap. ..."
"... It is an interesting connection of dots that Bloody Gina is Brennan's protégée and thus that Trump has truly stacked up his administration with former i.e. current enemies, But this only shows that Trump works for the same masters as his political enemies. Again, nothing new. ..."
Apr 16, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kiza , Apr 16, 2019 5:33:36 PM | link

Trump is like a voodoo doll into which every sh**bag sticks pins. Firstly, it is irrelevant whether he was a swamp creature before election or was coopted into it after.

Secondly, Trump was transparently chosen to be the "agent of change" for the other half of the US population, just as Obama before.

Therefore, both individuals were both an admission that the change in the system is needed and that the ruling regime is into life-extension by means of "whatever it takes". Once the "change" potential is exhausted, repression must take over as the principal life extension mechanism; clearly, these methods do not have a sharp start-over points in time - they overlap.

This is where we are now, Assange was the most prominent member of the real opposition to the regime, where they try to confuse with plenty of faux opposition. Therefore, the Assange's head had to be chopped off publicly and his slowly rotting corpse will now be on display through "courts of justice" for the next couple of years as a warning to the consumers of alternative media. Go back to reading the approved "journalism" or ... To understand better one just needs to read/re-read Solzhenitsyn.

The other major ongoing life-extension activity, overlapping with repression, is the confiscation of guns from the last remaining armed Western population (lots of leftist oxen pulling that cart). Having too many guns amongst the population is bad for resolving personal conflicts peacefully, but it is even worse for the abusive, exploitative regime. Thus, taking the guns away is doing the right thing for a totally wrong reason.

It is an interesting connection of dots that Bloody Gina is Brennan's protégée and thus that Trump has truly stacked up his administration with former i.e. current enemies, But this only shows that Trump works for the same masters as his political enemies. Again, nothing new.

Therefore, where is a Western Solzhenitsyn to document artistically what transpires in a society deeply in debt and in social & moral decline?

[Apr 16, 2019] Trump doesn't strike me as someone with principles or opinions of his own. He will say and do whatever his base of "deplorables" likes to hear and whatever helps him get what he wants.

Apr 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

Escher , says: April 13, 2019 at 1:01 pm GMT

@The Alarmist Trump doesn't strike me as someone with principles or opinions of his own. He will say and do whatever his base of "deplorables" likes to hear and whatever helps him get what he wants.

[Apr 15, 2019] A letter to the> President Trump from former voter

Apr 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Dude-dude , 20 minutes ago link

Dear President Trump:

Tears came to my eyes - happy tears - when you were elected! A seemingly impossible feat was accomplished that day in November.

I understood when you faced tremendous resistance in your first 200 days from Demorats. It seemed you were unphased and determined - all was good.

Good night, and good luck.

Good night, and good luck.

[Apr 15, 2019] Do you need to be stupid to support Trump in 2020, even if you voted for him as lesser evil in 2016

Highly recommended!
Please note that unz.com used be forum of stalwart Trump supporters. Times change.
Notable quotes:
"... This will at least wake up those morons at places like Breitbart that Trump is nothing more than a neocon swine. I mean how much more evidence do they need to see that he is invite the world, invade the world. ..."
"... One doesn't have to be stupid to support Trump but it helps. The same can be said for his prominent enemies though. To unconditionally and faithfully support Trump, Hillary Clinton, or Nancy Pelosi, one would have to be stupid or totally controlled by one's emotions. ..."
"... You and I are voting right now just by publicly engaging in politics. Voting on election day is worth it in the same way posting comments online is worth it. ..."
"... Wouldn't a smart person recognize that falling for a grifter who cares not about Heritage America and who dances to Bibi's tune is never a good option? ..."
"... Yes. But during the election, Trump was the least bad option who sometimes seemed like a good option. That's still true today. ..."
Apr 15, 2019 | www.unz.com

neutral , says: April 11, 2019 at 11:37 am GMT

This will at least wake up those morons at places like Breitbart that Trump is nothing more than a neocon swine. I mean how much more evidence do they need to see that he is invite the world, invade the world.

On top of that mass censorship being unleashed under Trump, how can anyone still be conned into supporting him.

Colin Wright , says: Website April 13, 2019 at 5:18 am GMT
@neutral 'On top of that mass censorship being unleashed under Trump, how can anyone still be conned into supporting him '

We'll be 'conned' the same way as always; what's the alternative?

Liberty Mike , says: April 13, 2019 at 1:56 pm GMT
@Colin Wright For one, its not reposing any confidence, faith, and trust in DJT. He is a charlatan who appeals to low IQ whites.

Why do so many intelligent people delude themselves into rationalizing their support and vote for Trump upon the basis of the lesser of two evils loser mindset?

Cagey Beast , says: April 13, 2019 at 2:17 pm GMT
@Liberty Mike

One doesn't have to be stupid to support Trump but it helps. The same can be said for his prominent enemies though. To unconditionally and faithfully support Trump, Hillary Clinton, or Nancy Pelosi, one would have to be stupid or totally controlled by one's emotions.

That being said, a smart person could still support Trump. A smart person could recognize Trump finishing his term as the least bad option. In 2020, this same smart person might recognize that, amazingly, a Trump second term had become the least bad option. People can scream and throw around insults or they can present an alternative to Trump.

Liberty Mike , says: April 15, 2019 at 1:36 pm GMT
@Cagey Beast

Wouldn't a smart person recognize that his vote does not matter?

Wouldn't a smart person recognize that Stalin's maxim, "its not who votes that counts, its who counts the votes" controls?

Wouldn't a smart person recognize that falling for a grifter who cares not about Heritage America and who dances to Bibi's tune is never a good option?

Cagey Beast , says: April 15, 2019 at 2:14 pm GMT

@Liberty Mike Wouldn't a smart person recognize that his vote does not matter?

You and I are voting right now just by publicly engaging in politics. Voting on election day is worth it in the same way posting comments online is worth it.

Wouldn't a smart person recognize that falling for a grifter who cares not about Heritage America and who dances to Bibi's tune is never a good option?

Yes. But during the election, Trump was the least bad option who sometimes seemed like a good option. That's still true today.

[Apr 13, 2019] Trump and Assange

Apr 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

neutral , says: April 11, 2019 at 11:37 am GMT

This will at least wake up those morons at places like Breitbart that Trump is nothing more than a neocon swine. I mean how much more evidence do they need to see that he is invite the world, invade the world. On top of that mass censorship being unleashed under Trump, how can anyone still be conned into supporting him.
John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan , says: April 11, 2019 at 12:45 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

This is why Anglo-Saxon propaganda is so very effective. They have freedom of speech, see? Though of course saying politically incorrect things might socially kill you, so it's understood you won't do that. You will say PC (including anti-Russian, etc.) platitudes always. So people will not even notice PC propaganda, like fish don't notice they're wet. And when trying to convince a normie, you have to break a very long, almost infinite chain of assumptions, which you won't know how to do.

Take a look at the career of Charles Austin Beard, for example.

He was one of the single most highly-regarded historians in America; his contributions to the field were well-known and massively important. But even he could not break through the pillars of propaganda when he published his book about the folly of Franklin Roosevelt's foreign policy. The "court historians" like Samuel Eliot Morison and Schlesinger, et al, blackballed his work and dismissed it with the most flippant arrogance and lack of care for detail. The major newspapers and periodicals followed suit. Overnight he became all but a pariah. Only a few regional newspapers were willing to treat his work with serious care. To his credit, Beard had anticipated this reaction, but published his works anyway.

After World War 1, revisionism became par for the course in America – the vast majority of historians, journalists, together with the public as a whole, came to agree that America's entry into that conflict had been a selfish mistake. But during and after World War Two, what you call "Anglo-Saxon propaganda" tightened up to a remarkably successful degree, and to this day the pro-interventionist myth of the "great crusade" is all but unimpeachable among the masses. In fact, the anti-revisionists, the "court historians," even managed to defeat the old inter-war consensus about World War One, so that even it is now regarded as an idealistic crusade for democracy! Very remarkable stuff, though sad!

Anonymous [151] Disclaimer , says: April 11, 2019 at 3:54 pm GMT
I would probably do the same thing in Putin's situation. At a very basic level you simply cannot trust people like Assange. Giving refuge to a spy is one thing; you're not going to let him near any state secrets so it's not like he could betray you even if he wanted to (and it's easy to keep an eye on him). For somebody like Assange there's the constant threat that he could turn against you: acquire damaging information and use it as leverage, or simply release it for the sake of his own ego or murky ideals. Too much potential for embarrassment. Snowden was closer in spirit to a spy imo; Assange is more like bin Laden or a mafia boss, the head of a shadowy international organization with significant reach and resources.

It's sort of like the French Foreign Legion: they take a dim view of British and American recruits and generally won't let them join unless they speak French or have prior military experience. The reason is psychological unsuitability: no sensible British or American person interested in a military career would volunteer to be a mercenary for a foreign country over serving in his own country's well-funded armed forces. Romantics and escapists are inherently flaky and unreliable people. That's also why Brazilians are regarded as the best Legion soldiers: they just do it to get EU citizenship

Dmitry , says: April 11, 2019 at 4:04 pm GMT
@Thorfinnsson

that country's national interest.

Ecuador rented a house opposite their main offices in Knightsbridge, and had three agents in the house to permanently monitor Assange on cameras (for a cost of $1 million a year).

So they might be more intelligent than we think?

At the same time, Ecuador's politicians had problems justifying the costs of this to their media.

Perhaps it seems more like this was perceived by Ecuador, as an intelligence operation, to monitor Assange, and get intelligence information they could would use as leverage with the Americans.

Today, the Ecuadorian interior minister is suddenly boasting about how they monitored and have knowledge about two hackers who worked with Assange.

The Alarmist , says: April 11, 2019 at 4:24 pm GMT
@reiner Tor But Trump did say "I love WikiLeaks" during the campaign.
The Alarmist , says: April 11, 2019 at 4:35 pm GMT
@reiner Tor Scotland yard tried to play down their own costs of hanging outside the Ecuadorian embassy, which in 2015 was already estimated to be well over £10m over the prior three years, by saying that a lot of that cost was money they would have spent on policing anyway: Tell that to the rapidly increasing numbers of families of murder victims in the Capital. Oops, careful about saying that in the UK, as the police there will pick you up for a thought-crime.
Cagey Beast , says: April 11, 2019 at 5:29 pm GMT
Trump is scum:
Endgame Napoleon , says: April 11, 2019 at 5:46 pm GMT
Elites around the globe protect each other more than they protect the interests of non-elites in their own nations and any who side with non-elites in any non-trivial way, so it makes sense that Latin American elites side with US elites who favor the mass immigration that has driven down wages for 40 years and the mass exportation of US jobs to Latin American since it 1) boosts the profits of American elites and 2) relieves pressure on Latin American elites.
Matra , says: April 11, 2019 at 6:13 pm GMT
Ecuador seemed to get fed up with Assange – cutting him off from the world, badmouthing him in MSM, etc – early 2018 when he was mostly tweeting about Catalonia. Spain is supposedly Ecuador's closest partner in Europe. The timing could've been coincidental but probably not.
neutral , says: April 11, 2019 at 6:18 pm GMT
@Cagey Beast Trump was always scum, I am endlessly amazed how it took so long for some people to see what he was.
Cagey Beast , says: April 11, 2019 at 6:20 pm GMT
@neutral He was always scum but he was still the better choice than Hillary Clinton. He may still be better than his opponent in 2020. That's how bad things are at the centre of the American empire.

Trump had the potential to be better than he is now but Washington has pushed his back against the wall and his shitty character has thus shown itself in full. He could have been a better President under different circumstances; even with these same character flaws.

Cagey Beast , says: April 11, 2019 at 6:45 pm GMT
@neutral Trump was and still is the chaos candidate. When a better option than sabotage presents itself, then Trump will become the second best choice.

Many, if not most, people knew he was the sabotage candidate when they supported him. Hillary was understood to be worse because she'd maintain and even strengthen a bad system while Trump would bugger it up.

reiner Tor , says: April 11, 2019 at 6:58 pm GMT
@Thorfinnsson The Deep State might already be beyond repair. So perhaps, come the Revolution, new, revolutionary state organs will need to be set up in a clean break with the obscurantist blank slatist regime. The state secrets of these new, revolutionary organs should be protected by any means necessary. But then we'll have free countries for ourselves.

Until then, we don't need to protect the secrets of the oppressive obscurantist regime.

g2k , says: April 11, 2019 at 7:24 pm GMT
Re:Cagey Beast

Disagree here, he's energised the left to a degree that wouldn't have happened had he not been elected and his policies are now no different to what Clinton's would have been. In American politics, what you say appears to matter much more than what you do, so we've now got the perfect storm of someone who talks like a right wing populist, and the resulting backlash, but nothing to show for it. I remember ak mentioning that the only saving grace of his administration being that it had alienated allies, but even that hasnt materialised. The guy is a conman and a sellout, but he's very clearly noticed the fact that European governments will unquestionably obey the US, so it's pointless to treat them with any respect whatsoever: THATs the one and only positive thing I can say about him. Still not looking forward to his successor.

Dmitry , says: April 11, 2019 at 7:50 pm GMT
@The Alarmist Trump said he liked Wikileaks at that time, because they released some embarrassing emails about Hilary Clinton during the 2016 Presidential election.

If they released embarrassing emails about Trump, he would have said the opposite.

Trump will not have any specific principles that would make him support asylum for leakers, or generalized protection for dissidents, unless it might specifically be explained that it would help him in some way (and unless there are emails to leak about his opponent in 2020, how will it help him?).

... ... ...

Anon [137] Disclaimer , says: April 11, 2019 at 8:08 pm GMT
@reiner Tor But Trump would say anything that would get him elected, and he would do many of these things. But, as plutocrat surrounded by plutocrats, he'll never open the market for housing (allow easier re-zoning), or transportation (dismantle the dealership racket), or hospitals / doctors. Yeah, apparently he lacks the levers to reduce housing costs, but he can always fix, or promise to fix, something about Assange, or about Christian-Obamacare conflicts – despite them being equally remote from his mandate. Watch the idiotic boomers drooling all over unz.com about Trump's "efforts" to fix immigration.

These being the highest expenses of an American, I can see who is the idiot here.

Philip Owen , says: April 11, 2019 at 10:25 pm GMT
Hours after Assange was detained, the IMF approved a loan of $4.2 Bn for Ecuador.
Anatoly Karlin , says: Website April 11, 2019 at 10:36 pm GMT
@Philip Owen I seem to have LOL'd prematurely.

It seems to have happened exactly one month ago: https://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2019/03/11/ecuador-pr1972-imf-executive-board-approves-eff-for-ecuador

Cagey Beast , says: April 12, 2019 at 12:47 am GMT
@Cagey Beast Edit: She called Trump a coward but then deleted it:

Trump today: "I know nothing about Wikileaks." Trump three years ago: "Boy, I love reading these WikiLeaks." Liar, traitor, and coward.

Anatoly Karlin , says: Website April 12, 2019 at 12:57 am GMT
@Cagey Beast Lame. (Trump. And Alessandra deleting her Tweet).
Kratoklastes , says: April 12, 2019 at 3:12 am GMT
@simple_pseudonymic_handle The most obvious parallel was the UK's refusal to extradite Gary McKinnon to the US.

McKinnon gained access to 97 US military and NASA networks between early 2001 and 2002. he was also very very shit at covering his tracks.

The US sought extradition; McKinnon's lawyers challenged it on a bunch of grounds; McKinnon won.

Part of the range of stuff that got him off was the refusal of the US to make guarantees that he would not be housed in a SuperMax and that he would not be placed in solitary confinement, That, plus McKinnon's "Asperger's" (diagnosed after he was arrested), was enough for the system to tell the US government to pound sand.

Kratoklastes , says: April 12, 2019 at 3:36 am GMT
I as among the people who warned JA not to go to the UK when he was leaving Sweden. (I've known the guy as a nodding acquaintance since the 1980s and WANK; I'm in he & Suelette's book, under a different pseudonym).

He was warned against one of the classic blunders.

The first two classic blunders are known to all –
never start a land war in Asia , and
never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line .

The third is less well-known:

③ when you've been honeypotted, DO NOT SEEK REFUGE ON A FUCKING ISLAND .

When he ignored us, he was dropped from several DMSes.

For a very smart bloke, his judgement was always suspect: he allowed a fucking nappy like Dumb Shitberg (Domscheit-Berg) inside his circle of confidants.

Baxter , says: April 12, 2019 at 4:17 am GMT
This whole damn country is a pile of lies. I don't know how you guys keep your sanity.
I think America may crack in the next ten years.
I live in a "minority-majority" area. It is all bullshit.
Hey, let's take all the worlds nations, races, ethnicities, religions, cultures, lifestyles, sexual orientations, etc and stick them in one place!
On top of this we have a government that doesn't listen, ruled by special interest group.
My god, how long America?
I can't stand this place anymore.
It's going to be very interesting to see the next 10 years. The country is cracking up.
For my part, I'm learning a foreign language right now, it will come in handy when I have enough money to bail.
Gentleman, there is nothing here worth left of preserving, only rot.
Realist , says: April 12, 2019 at 8:52 am GMT
@Cagey Beast Trump said he loved Wikileaks but Trumped is such a lying, corrupt asshole how can you believe him?
Quintus Sertorius , says: April 12, 2019 at 9:24 am GMT
@Grahamsno(G64) the USA is the new USSR.
Germanicus , says: April 12, 2019 at 10:03 am GMT
I miss a consideration, that wikileaks could be a Mossad/Unit8200 operation.
If I look at the wikileak's site, menu "partners", all is clear to me, "Der Spiegel" and truth are mutually exclusive.
Wikileaks "revealed" an EU plan to use military against the poor human traffickers and Israeli NGOs who bring in these Africans and "refugees". Fascinating, they have once in their evil life a good plan in Brussels, and wikileaks shoots against it.

I think the question for Russian asylum is the same question why Russia did not spell the beans on 911.

Realist , says: April 12, 2019 at 10:10 am GMT
Assange is a hero. He exposed the corrupt, lying government we have so this is another dark episode in American history.
Felix Keverich , says: April 12, 2019 at 10:21 am GMT
@neutral Only low-IQ people still support Trump at this point. Those wouldn't even know who Assange is.
annamaria , says: April 12, 2019 at 5:14 pm GMT
@Meimou The leader of progressives, the dual-loyalty opportunist and CIA stooge Schumer:

Chuck Schumer
@SenSchumer
Now that Julian Assange has been arrested, I hope he will soon be held to account for his meddling in our elections on behalf of Putin and the Russian government.

Schumer is on for Amelec. Happy Pesach!

nsa , says: April 12, 2019 at 6:13 pm GMT
@Hyperborean Trumpstein and his sleazy family keep delivering for the vile jooies and the JudenPresse, JudenTV, and JudenNet will make sure he gets reelected especially if he attacks Iran. Where is Titus now that we need him?

[Apr 12, 2019] By all means, do not vote for Trump ever again

Notable quotes:
"... Trump has reneged on all these promises and in many cases done the exact opposite. I suspect that part of this was deliberate lying on Trump's part but a lot of it is due to his sheer, mind-boggling incompetence, coupled with modest intelligence, and some rather severe personality disorders that have manifested themselves more clearly over time. ..."
"... In his own words, Donald Trump reveals his hypocrisy about Iraq, immigration, health care, abortion, Libya, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton and more. ..."
Apr 12, 2019 | www.unz.com

Jus' Sayin'... , says: April 10, 2019 at 3:47 pm GMT

@WorkingClass Alex Graham is right. I voted for Trump because he promised:

(1) to end the wars the US is fighting as a sock puppet of Israel and her domestic agents, the so-called neocons and the traitorous Zionist fifth column in this country, exemplified by Adelson, Saban, Kushner, et al.;

(2) to restore the rule of law regarding illegal aliens in this country by removing these criminals post haste;

(3) to restore order at the border and end the massive stream of illegals and contraband entering our country every day;

(4) to establish reasonable laws and policies regulating immigration and naturalization so that new immigrants and citizens improve rather than diminish the quality of life for current citizens; and

(5) to eliminate and/or restructure trade agreements so they are bilateral and not destructive of the USA's industrial and economic base.

Trump has reneged on all these promises and in many cases done the exact opposite. I suspect that part of this was deliberate lying on Trump's part but a lot of it is due to his sheer, mind-boggling incompetence, coupled with modest intelligence, and some rather severe personality disorders that have manifested themselves more clearly over time.

By all means, do not vote for Trump ever again. I don't intend to. But please don't consider voting for a Democrat. They will just more efficiently screw us than Trump is doing now.

Agent76 , says: April 10, 2019 at 3:02 pm GMT
Jul 23, 2016 Trump Exposes Trump

In his own words, Donald Trump reveals his hypocrisy about Iraq, immigration, health care, abortion, Libya, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton and more.

[Apr 12, 2019] The real meaning of MAGA for Trump administration

Apr 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Apr 11, 2019 9:44:47 PM | link

MAGA:

- illegally occupy territory (Syria and Afghanistan);

- support genocidal war (Yemen);

- thumb nose at UN resolutions;

- terminate treaties and embargo trade (Iran, North Korea);

- stoke tensions with adversaries (Russia, China, Iran, etc.);

- support idiotic Obama retread in Venezuela;

- shake down your allies;

- militarize space.

Winning:

- excuse killing of journalists (Khashoggi);

- torture whistle-blowers (Manning) and arrest journalists (Assange);

- cut humanitarian aid (Palestinians) to support Apartheid (Isreal);

- take hostages (Meng);

- bomb first, ask questions later (Syria);

- label anyone you don't like a "terrorist", "terrorist organization", or "terrorist state" - then invoke AUMF (Iran);

- expand the swamp (tax cuts, military spending increases, cut regulations, Jared's sweetheart deal, etc.).

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

Not meant to be an exhaustive list.

[Apr 12, 2019] The 'deep state' IS the state! TRump serves the purpose of 'opening doors' for the rest of the gangsters, much the same way as successive Labour govts, here in the UK, opened the door for even more reactionary Tory govts.

Apr 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Barovsky , Apr 11, 2019 10:28:06 AM | link

Posted by: Zanon | Apr 11, 2019 10:11:05 AM | 58

Of course it's a Trump thing as well. The 'deep state' IS the state! TRump serves the purpose of 'opening doors' for the rest of the gangsters, much the same way as successive Labour govts, here in the UK, opened the door for even more reactionary Tory govts.

It's an issue of style versus substance. Ignore Trump's 'style', not that he has much, and concentrate on events. They're seamless. The process continues as it has done for decades.

[Apr 12, 2019] Trump s Betrayal of White America by Alex Graham

Notable quotes:
"... Trump's failure here is his alone. Closing the border could be accomplished with a simple executive order. It has happened before: Reagan ordered the closing of the border when DEA agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena was murdered on assignment in Mexico in 1985, for instance. ..."
"... Trump's empty threats over the past two years have had real-world consequences, prompting waves of migrants trying to sneak into the country while they still have the chance. His recent move to cut all foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador is another empty gesture that will probably have similar consequences. The funds directed to those countries were used for programs that provided citizens with incentives not to migrate elsewhere. (The situation was not ideal from an isolationist point of view, but a wiser man would have built the wall before cutting off the aid.) ..."
"... Trump's betrayal of American workers is perhaps best encapsulated by the fact that one of the members of the advisory board of his National Council for the American Worker (which claims to "enhance employment opportunities for Americans of all ages") is the CEO of IBM, a company that has expressed a preference for F-1 and H-1B visa holders in its job postings. ..."
"... There are more former Goldman Sachs employees in the Trump White House than in the Obama and Bush administrations combined. ..."
"... It is hard to escape the conclusion that Trump is not actually interested in curbing immigration and reversing America's demographic decline. He is a con artist and a coward who is willing to betray millions of white Americans so that he can remain in the good graces of establishment neoconservatives ..."
"... As Ann Coulter has put it, "He's like a waiter who compliments us for ordering the hamburger, but keeps bringing us fish. The hamburger is our signature dish, juicy and grilled to perfection, you've made a brilliant choice . . . now here's your salmon. " ..."
"... Third, he put an end to American funding for Palestinians. This coincided with the passing of a bill that codified a $38 billion, ten-year foreign aid package for Israel. Trump also authorized an act allocating an additional $550 million toward US-Israel missile and tunnel defense cooperation. ..."
"... Trump's track record on Israel shows that he is capable of exercising agency and getting things done. But he has failed to address the most pressing issue that America currently faces: mass immigration and the displacement of white Americans. The most credible explanation for his incompetence is that he has no intention of delivering on his promises. There is no "Plan," no 4-D chess game. The sooner white Americans realize this, the better. ..."
"... We elected America's first Jewish president, nothing more" ..."
Apr 08, 2019 | www.unz.com
"Unlike other presidents, I keep my promises," Trump boasted in a speech delivered on Saturday to the Republican Jewish Congress at a luxury hotel in Las Vegas. Many in the audience wore red yarmulkes emblazoned with his name. In his speech, Trump condemned Democrats for allowing "the terrible scourge of anti-Semitism to take root in their party" and emphasized his loyalty to Israel.

Trump has kept some of his promises. So far, he has kept every promise that he made to the Jewish community. Yet he has reneged on his promises to white America – the promises that got him elected in the first place. It is a betrayal of the highest order: millions of white Americans placed their hopes in Trump and wholeheartedly believed that he would be the one to make America great again. They were willing to endure social ostracism and imperil their livelihoods by supporting him. In return, Trump has turned his back on them and rendered his promises void.

The most recent example of this is Trump's failure to keep his promise to close the border. On March 29, Trump threatened to close the border if Mexico did not stop all illegal immigration into the US. This would likely have been a highly effective measure given Mexico's dependence on cross-border trade. Five days later, he suddenly retracted this threat and said that he would give Mexico a " one-year warning " before taking drastic action. He further claimed that closing the border would not be necessary and that he planned to establish a twenty-five percent tariff on cars entering the US instead.

Trump's failure here is his alone. Closing the border could be accomplished with a simple executive order. It has happened before: Reagan ordered the closing of the border when DEA agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena was murdered on assignment in Mexico in 1985, for instance.

Trump's empty threats over the past two years have had real-world consequences, prompting waves of migrants trying to sneak into the country while they still have the chance. His recent move to cut all foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador is another empty gesture that will probably have similar consequences. The funds directed to those countries were used for programs that provided citizens with incentives not to migrate elsewhere. (The situation was not ideal from an isolationist point of view, but a wiser man would have built the wall before cutting off the aid.)

The past two years have seen a surge in illegal immigration without precedent in the past decade. Since late December, the Department of Homeland Security has released 125,565 illegal aliens into the country. In the past two weeks alone, 6,000 have been admitted. According to current projections, 2019 will witness around 500,000 to 775,000 border crossings. Additionally, about 630,000 illegal aliens will be added to the population after having overstayed their visas. By the end of the year, more than one million illegal aliens will have been added to the population:

These projections put the number of illegal aliens added to the U.S. population at around one to 1.5 million, on top of the 11 to 22 million illegal aliens who are already living across the country. This finding does not factor in the illegal aliens who will be deported, die over the next year, or leave the U.S. of their own will. As DHS data has revealed, once border crossers and illegal aliens are released into the country, the overwhelming majority are never deported.

In February, Trump signed a bill allowing the DHS secretary to add another 69,320 spots to the current H-2B cap of 66,000. On March 29, DHS began this process by announcing that it would issue an additional 30,000 H-2B visas this year. The H-2B visa program allows foreign workers to come to the US and work in non-agricultural occupations. Unlike the H-1B program, a Bachelor's degree is not required; most H-2B workers are employed in construction, maintenance, landscaping, and so on. The demographic most affected by the expansion of the H-2B program will be unemployed working-class Americans. This flies in the face of Trump's promise to protect American workers and stop importing foreigners.

Trump has indicated that he has plans to expand the H-1B visa program as well. "We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S.," he said in a tweet in January.

Trump's betrayal of American workers is perhaps best encapsulated by the fact that one of the members of the advisory board of his National Council for the American Worker (which claims to "enhance employment opportunities for Americans of all ages") is the CEO of IBM, a company that has expressed a preference for F-1 and H-1B visa holders in its job postings.

Trump has been working on legal immigration with Jared Kushner, who has quietly been crafting a plan to grant citizenship to more "low- and high-skilled workers, as well as permanent and temporary workers" (so, just about everyone). Kushner's plan proves the folly of the typical Republican line that legal immigration is fine and that only illegal immigration should be opposed. Under his plan, thousands of illegal aliens will become "legal" with the stroke of a pen.

There is a paucity of anti-immigration hardliners in Trump's inner circle (though Stephen Miller is a notable exception). Trump has surrounded himself with moderates: the Kushners, Mick Mulvaney, Alex Acosta, and others. There are more former Goldman Sachs employees in the Trump White House than in the Obama and Bush administrations combined.

The new DHS secretary, Kevin McAleenan, who was appointed yesterday following Kirstjen Nielsen's resignation, is a middle-of-the-road law enforcement official who served under Obama and Bush and is responsible for the revival of the " catch-and-release " policy, whereby illegal aliens are released upon being apprehended. It was reported last week that Trump was thinking of appointing either Kris Kobach or Ken Cuccinelli to a position of prominence (as an " immigration czar "), but this appears to have been another lie.

Trump's failure to deliver on his promises cannot be chalked up to congressional obstruction. Congress. As Kobach said in a recent interview , "It's not like we're powerless and it's not like we have to wait for Congress to do something. . . . No, we can actually solve the immediate crisis without Congress acting." Solving the border crisis would simply demand "leadership in the executive branch willing to act decisively." Kobach recently outlined an intelligent three-point plan that Trump could implement:

Publish the final version of the regulation that would supersede the Flores Settlement. The initial regulation was published by the Department of Homeland Security in September 2018. DHS could have published the final regulation in December. Inexplicably, DHS has dragged its feet. Finalizing that regulation would allow the United States to detain entire families together, and it would stop illegal aliens from exploiting children as get-out-of-jail free cards. Set up processing centers at the border to house the migrants and hold the hearings in one place. The Department of Justice should deploy dozens of immigration judges to hear the asylum claims at the border without releasing the migrants into the country. FEMA already owns thousands of travel trailers and mobile homes that it has used to address past hurricane disasters. Instead of selling them (which FEMA is currently doing), FEMA should ship them to the processing centers to provide comfortable housing for the migrants. In addition, a fleet of passenger planes should deployed to the processing centers. Anyone who fails in his or her asylum claim, or who is not seeking asylum and is inadmissible, should be flown home immediately. It would be possible to fly most migrants home within a few weeks of their arrival. Word would get out quickly in their home countries that entry into the United States is not as easy as advertised. The incentive to join future caravans would dissipate quickly. Publish a proposed Treasury regulation that prohibits the sending home of remittances by people who cannot document lawful presence in the United States. This will hit Mexico in the pocketbook: Mexico typically brings in well over $20 billion a year in remittances , raking in more than $26 billion in 2017. Then, tell the government of Mexico that we will finalize the Treasury regulation unless they do two things to help us address the border crisis: (1) Mexico immediately signs a "safe third country agreement" similar to our agreement with Canada. This would require asylum applicants to file their asylum application in the first safe country they set foot in (so applicants in the caravans from Central America would have to seek asylum in Mexico, rather than Canada); and (2) Mexico chips in $5 billion to help us build the wall. The threat of ending remittances from illegal aliens is a far more powerful one than threatening to close the border. Ending such remittances doesn't hurt the U.S. economy; indeed, it helps the economy by making it more likely that such capital will be spent and circulate in our own country. We can follow through easily if Mexico doesn't cooperate.

It would not be all that difficult for Trump to implement these proposals. Kobach still has faith in Trump, but his assessment of him appears increasingly to be too generous. It is hard to escape the conclusion that Trump is not actually interested in curbing immigration and reversing America's demographic decline. He is a con artist and a coward who is willing to betray millions of white Americans so that he can remain in the good graces of establishment neoconservatives . At the same time, he wants to maintain the illusion that he cares about his base.

As Ann Coulter has put it, "He's like a waiter who compliments us for ordering the hamburger, but keeps bringing us fish. The hamburger is our signature dish, juicy and grilled to perfection, you've made a brilliant choice . . . now here's your salmon. "

Nearly everything Trump has done in the name of restricting immigration has turned out to be an empty gesture and mere theatrics: threatening to close the border, offering protections to "Dreamers" in exchange for funding for the ever-elusive wall, threatening to end the "anchor baby" phenomenon with an executive order (which never came to pass), cutting off aid to Central American countries, claiming that he will appoint an "immigration czar" (and then proceeding to appoint McAleenan instead of Kobach as DHS secretary), and on and on.

While Trump has failed to keep the promises that got him elected, he has fulfilled a number of major promises that he made to Israel and the Jewish community.

First, he moved the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Trump claimed that the move would only cost $200,000, but in reality it will end up being more than $20 million . The construction of the embassy also led to a series of bloody protests; it is located in East Jerusalem, which is generally acknowledged to be Palestinian territory.

Second, he pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear deal. Netanyahu claimed on Israeli TV that Israel was responsible for convincing him to exit the deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran. (Both Trump and Netanyahu falsely alleged that Iran lied about the extent of its nuclear program; meanwhile, Israel's large arsenal of chemical and biological weapons has escaped mention.) Third, he put an end to American funding for Palestinians. This coincided with the passing of a bill that codified a $38 billion, ten-year foreign aid package for Israel. Trump also authorized an act allocating an additional $550 million toward US-Israel missile and tunnel defense cooperation.

Fourth, he recognized Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights (in defiance of the rest of the world, which recognizes the Golan Heights as Syrian territory under Israeli occupation). Trump's Golan Heights proclamation was issued on March 21 and was celebrated by Israel. Trump's track record on Israel shows that he is capable of exercising agency and getting things done. But he has failed to address the most pressing issue that America currently faces: mass immigration and the displacement of white Americans. The most credible explanation for his incompetence is that he has no intention of delivering on his promises. There is no "Plan," no 4-D chess game. The sooner white Americans realize this, the better.


aandrews , says: April 10, 2019 at 3:17 am GMT

Kushner, Inc. Book Review Part I: The Rise of The Kushner Crime Family

Kushner, Inc. Book Review Part II: The Fall of The Kushner Crime Family

If you haven't picked up a copy of Vicky Ward's book, Kushner, Inc.: Greed. Ambition. Corruption. The Extraordinary Story of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump , you really should.

I haven't read Mr. Graham's essay yet, but I thought those two links would fit in nicely. I stay in a low boil, like it is, and having plodded through both those reviews, I can't stand reading too much on this topic at once.

Something's gotta give. Or are the brainless goy just going to let themselves be led off a cliff?

Oh, yes. There's an interview with Ward on BookTV .

Thinker , says: April 10, 2019 at 4:16 am GMT
Yep. Trump's a lying POS pond scum like the rest of the DC swamp that he said he was going to drain, turns out he is one of them all along. We elected America's first Jewish president, nothing more. He needs to change his campaign slogan to MIGA, Make Israel Great Again, that was the plan of his handlers all along.

What I want to know is, who are those idiots who still keep showing up at his rallies? Are they really that dumb?

Even Sanders came out and said we can't have open borders. I've also heard him said back in 2015 that the H1b visa program is a replacement program for American workers. If he grows a pair and reverts back to that stance, teams up with Tulsi Gabbard, I'll vote for them 2020. Fuck Trump! Time for him and his whole treasonous rat family to move to Israel where they belong.

jbwilson24 , says: April 10, 2019 at 4:51 am GMT
@Thinker " We elected America's first Jewish president, nothing more"

Afraid not, there's plenty of reason to believe that the Roosevelt family and Lyndon Johnson were Jewish.

Your major point stands, though. He's basically a shabbesgoy.

peterAUS , says: April 10, 2019 at 5:05 am GMT
@Dr. Robert Morgan

His "implicitly white" supporters would have abandoned him in droves, not wanting to be associated with a racist, thus pointing up the weakness of implicit whiteness as a survival strategy. And is it actually a survival strategy? A closer look at it makes me think it's more of a racial self-extermination strategy. After all, what kind of a survival strategy is it that can't even admit its goals to itself? And it's exactly this refusal of whites to explicitly state that they collectively want to continue to exist as a race that is the greatest impediment to their doing so. It's an interesting problem with no easy solution. How do you restore the will to live to a race that seems to have lost it? And not only lost its will to live, but actually prides itself on doing so? Accordingly, this "betrayal" isn't a betrayal at all. It's what American whites voted for and want. Giving their country away and accepting their own demographic demise is proof of their virtue; proof of their Christian love for all mankind.

You are definitely onto something here.

Still, I feel it's not that deep and complicated. It could be that they simply don't believe that the danger is closing in.

Boils down to wrong judgment. People who haven't had the need to think hard about serious things tend to develop that weakness.
I guess that boils down to "good times make weak men."

Hard times are coming and they'll make hard men. The catch is simple: will be enough of them in time ?

Real Buddy Ray , says: April 10, 2019 at 5:18 am GMT
@Thomm https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/09/trumps-proposal-for-legal-immigration/499061/
JNDillard , says: April 10, 2019 at 5:20 am GMT
Switching to the Democrats is no solution. The DNC has proven itself to be a criminal organization through sabotaging Sander's campaign and then being instrumental in creating Russophobia, in collusion with Obama, the CIA, the FBI, and the DoJ. The DNC has rules in place stating that super delegates – elitists aligned with the DNC – can vote if one nominee does not win on the first ballot at the National Convention.

Because we have a HUGE number of hats in the Democratic ring, the chances that the nomination will not be decided on a first vote are extremely high, with the result being that the Democratic nominee is not going to be decided by voters in the primaries but by super delegates, i.e., the elitists and plutocrats.

Democracy exists when we vote to support candidates chosen by the elites for the elites; when we stop doing that, the elites turn on democracy. It is a sham; we will have a choice in 2020: between Pepsi and Coke. You are free to choose which one you prefer, because you live in a democracy. For more on the rigging of the democratic primaries for 2020, see

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/04/09/packed-primary-may-let-superdelegates-screw-progressives-again/

[Apr 12, 2019] Was McCain a fake candidate selected to ensure Obama win and Trump another fake candidate who accidentally won?

Apr 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Zachary Smith , Apr 11, 2019 5:39:02 PM | link

@ Circe @164

Odd thing, but suddenly I remember how John McCain came out of nowhere back in 2008. Polling in single digits, suddenly the man is hyped like hell and becomes the candidate. Perfect foil for Obama, I suppose.

Somehow reminds me of 2016, but then Obama was an unknown, not the most hated politician in the US.

^^^

As for "why now" on the arrest of Assange, it diverts attention from a lot of other topics. Some of those will probably never re-surface.

[Apr 11, 2019] A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within.

Notable quotes:
"... He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague ..."
Apr 11, 2019 | www.unz.com

Republic , says: April 10, 2019 at 1:47 pm GMT

Cicero's quotation:

A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself.

For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men.

He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague."

~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

[Apr 10, 2019] A demoralized white working and middle class was willing to believe in anything, deluding themselves into reading between the barren eruptions of his blowzy proclamations. They elevated him to messianic heights, ironically fashioning him into that which he publicly claims to despise: an Obama, a Barry in negative image, hope and change for the OxyContin and Breitbart set

Highly recommended!
Trump betrayed white workers because he knows he can get away with it. For the last thirty years of the 20th century millions of white families were wrenched out of the middle class without a squeak out of any major news outlet or national level politician. Trump himself stiffed his workers in those days and got away with it.
Notable quotes:
"... “In 2008, Obama was touted as a political outsider who will hose away all of the rot and bloody criminality of the Bush years. He turned out to be a deft move by our ruling class. Though fools still refuse to see it, Obama is a perfect servant of our military banking complex. Now, Trump is being trumpeted as another political outsider. ..."
"... A Trump presidency will temporarily appease restless, lower class whites, while serving as a magnet for liberal anger. This will buy our ruling class time as they continue to wage war abroad while impoverishing Americans back home. Like Obama, Trump won’t fulfill any of his election promises, and this, too, will be blamed on bipartisan politics.” ..."
"... Yes, it would have been worse with the Cackling Hyena, but what does that tell ya? ..."
Apr 10, 2019 | www.unz.com

Nicolás Palacios Navarro , says: April 10, 2019 at 8:55 am GMT

I'm not sure why the author of this article seems to be surprised by the actions of Trump and his administration. The collective image of him as a blood-thirsty racist whose hatred of all peoples queer 'n' colored runs marrow and generations-deep -- think of a cross between a street corner John Galt and Ian Smith, daubed with vague overtones of Archie Bunker mingling with Clint Eastwood -- is purely an invention of the media, the left as well as that of the right.

Why or how he became the impromptu pope of white nationalism escapes me. Anyone with ears to listen and eyes to see could find for themselves that he never so much as intimated even muted sympathy for that movement, not during his campaign and certainly not as head of state, media accusations of "dog whistles" and the like notwithstanding.

But a demoralized white working and middle class were willing to believe in anything, deluding themselves into reading between the barren eruptions of his blowzy proclamations. They elevated him to messianic heights, ironically fashioning him into that which he publicly claims to despise: an Obama, a Barry in negative image, "hope and change" for the OxyContin and Breitbart set. Like his predecessor, Trump never really says anything at all. There are grand pronouncements, bilious screeds targeting perceived enemies, glib generalities, but rarely are any concrete, definitive ideas and policies ever articulated. Trump, like Obama, is merely a cipher, an empty suit upon which the dreams (or nightmares) of the beholder can effortlessly be projected, a polarizing figurehead who wields mostly ceremonial powers while others ostensibly beneath him busy themselves with the actual running of the republic.

To observe this requires no great research or expenditure of effort -- he lays it all out there for anybody to hear or read. Unfortunately, the near totality of this country's populace is effectively illiterate and poorly equipped to think critically and independently, preferring to accept the verdicts of their oleaginous talking heads at face value without ever troubling themselves to examine why. (The dubious products of the glorified diploma mills we call "higher education" are often the most gullible and dim-witted.) Trump is the dark magus of racism and bigotry -- boo! Trump is the man of sorrows who will carry aloft Western Civilization resurgent -- yay!

Just as the hysterical left was quickly shattered by the mediocrity that was Barack Obama, so too does the hysterical right now ululate the sting of Donald Trump's supposed betrayal. As with their ideological antipodes, they got what they deserved. Pity that the rest of us have to be carted along for the ride.

Amerimutt Golem , says: April 10, 2019 at 9:39 am GMT

Trump is just a golem -- a creature made by you know who to destroy their enemies like Iran etc, no different from GW or FDR.
anonymous [340] • Disclaimer , says: April 10, 2019 at 10:01 am GMT
Politics, at least at the national level, is a puppet show to channel and periodically blow off dissent.

“In 2008, Obama was touted as a political outsider who will hose away all of the rot and bloody criminality of the Bush years. He turned out to be a deft move by our ruling class. Though fools still refuse to see it, Obama is a perfect servant of our military banking complex. Now, Trump is being trumpeted as another political outsider.

A Trump presidency will temporarily appease restless, lower class whites, while serving as a magnet for liberal anger. This will buy our ruling class time as they continue to wage war abroad while impoverishing Americans back home. Like Obama, Trump won’t fulfill any of his election promises, and this, too, will be blamed on bipartisan politics.”

Linh Dinh, “Orlando Shooting Means Trump for President,” published at The Unz Review, June 12, 2016.

jacques sheete , says: April 10, 2019 at 10:12 am GMT

@Hank

We were “Trumped”. Hard to believe.

What’s so hard to believe? Many of us predicted as much.

PS: It would be more accurate to admit that his supporters have been t Rumped . He stuck it to ya and you enjoyed it. Believe it and remember it.

Yes, it would have been worse with the Cackling Hyena, but what does that tell ya?

[Apr 10, 2019] "First the poor taxpayers, robbed by the politicians of one great party and then by those of the other, turn to a group of free-lance rogues in the middle ground -- non-partisan candidates, Liberals, reformers, or what not: the name is unimportant.

Notable quotes:
"... Then, flayed and pillaged by these gentry as they never were by the old-time professionals, they go back in despair to the latter, and are flayed and pillaged again." ..."
Apr 10, 2019 | www.unz.com

jacques sheete says: April 10, 2019 at 10:50 am GMT

Reed was wrong here. The American voter, for the most part, still doesn't realize any of this.

In June 1922 the Zionist halter was firmly reaffixed
round the neck of American State policy, and though American voter only slowly
realized this, it became immaterial to him which party prevailed at elections.

-Douglas Reed, The Controversy of Zion , p 300-301

jacques sheete , says: April 10, 2019 at 10:56 am GMT

@WorkingClass

Today I switch to the Democrats.

Please, no!

"First the poor taxpayers, robbed by the politicians of one great party and then by those of the other, turn to a group of free-lance rogues in the middle ground -- non-partisan candidates, Liberals, reformers, or what not: the name is unimportant.

Then, flayed and pillaged by these gentry as they never were by the old-time professionals, they go back in despair to the latter, and are flayed and pillaged again."

-H.L.Mencken, Editorial , In The American Mercury, April 1924, pp. 408-412

Antonius , says: April 10, 2019 at 11:10 am GMT
Trump is attacked relentlessly by Israel firsters (both left and right) prior to, and after his investiture as POTUS. How does he respond? How has he responded to relentless attacks on his base? The man has no spine, and no sense of gratitude or morality.

'Not worth feeding' my late grandfather would have said. Although he has made a lot of wealthy petulant people (who despise him and laugh behind his back) even wealthier.

What is needed is a billionaire who has genuine sense of noblesse oblige. Hopeless!

Anon918 , says: April 10, 2019 at 11:30 am GMT

Of course Trump was a gamble. I clearly remember him saying he wanted to get out of Syria, put an end to the endless wars, and he declared himself neutral on the Israel/Palestine issue–those were the biggest reasons I voted for him. Turns out he lied big time.

Now what? Looking at the clown car of presidential candidates just induces political nausea. No matter who gets elected it will be a government of, by, and for Jewish/Israeli/Zionist interests.

In the meantime I see no real progress on putting the brakes on illegals flooding the country. I see no economic miracles in spite of all the spin. Actual unemployment in the US was at 21.2% in March, really not much better than it has been since the 2008 crash ( http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/unemployment-charts ), and record numbers of people are behind on mortgages and car payments, suicide and drug casualties have been skyrocketing.

Our political system is not going to bring any solutions, it has been far too corrupt for far too long.

jacques sheete , says: April 10, 2019 at 11:32 am GMT
@Nicolás Palacios Navarro

Pity that the rest of us have to be carted along for the ride.

That’s the truth, but we ‘re being carted along not for the ride but for the porking.

[Apr 08, 2019] Republican Health Care Lying Syndrome: Even Trump supporters don't believe the party's promises

Notable quotes:
"... When Trump officials insisted that the 2017 tax cut would lead to a decade of miraculous growth, their claim made no sense in terms of the underlying economics, and it flew in the face of decades of evidence. But it was a prediction, not a statement of fact, and it's conceivable (barely) that Trump's people actually believed it. ..."
"... But when Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, went on TV Sunday to declare that "every single plan" Trump has put forward "covered pre-existing conditions," that was just a lie. ..."
Apr 08, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , April 05, 2019 at 01:51 PM

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/01/opinion/republicans-health-care.html

April 1, 2019

Republican Health Care Lying Syndrome: Even Trump supporters don't believe the party's promises.
By Paul Krugman

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and Republican claims about health care.

O.K., it's not news that politicians make misleading claims, some more than others. According to a running tally kept by Daniel Dale of The Toronto Star, as of Monday morning, Donald Trump had said 4,682 false things as president.

But G.O.P. health care claims are special, in several ways. First, they're outright, clearly intentional lies -- not dubious assertions or misstatements that could be attributed to ignorance or misunderstanding. Second, they're repetitive: Rather than making a wide variety of false claims, Republicans keep telling the same few lies, over and over. Third, they keep doing this even though the public long ago stopped believing anything they say on the subject.

This syndrome demands an explanation, and I'll get there eventually. Before I do, however, let's document the things that make G.O.P. health care lies unique.

First, as I said, I'm not talking about mere dubious claims. When Trump officials insisted that the 2017 tax cut would lead to a decade of miraculous growth, their claim made no sense in terms of the underlying economics, and it flew in the face of decades of evidence. But it was a prediction, not a statement of fact, and it's conceivable (barely) that Trump's people actually believed it.

But when Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, went on TV Sunday to declare that "every single plan" Trump has put forward "covered pre-existing conditions," that was just a lie.

Here's what the Congressional Budget Office said in its assessment of the Republicans' American Health Care Act, which would have caused 23 million to lose coverage, and would have passed if John McCain hadn't voted "No": "People who are less healthy (including those with pre-existing or newly acquired medical conditions) would ultimately be unable to purchase comprehensive nongroup health insurance at premiums comparable to those under current law, if they could purchase it at all."

But Mulvaney's pre-existing conditions lie, along with his lie about nobody losing coverage if the lawsuit against Obamacare succeeds, was normal by G.O.P. standards. Which brings me to the second reason this particular form of lying is exceptional: Republicans just keep telling the same lies, over and over. Again and again they have promised to maintain coverage and protect pre-existing conditions -- then offered plans that would cause tens of millions to lose health insurance, with the worst impact on those already suffering from health problems.

The funny thing -- which is my third point -- is that almost nobody seems to believe these lies. On the eve of last year's midterm elections, the public trusted Democrats over Republicans to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions by 58 percent to 26 percent. A margin this big tells us that even Trump supporters knew their man was lying on this issue.

So what's behind the persistence of R.H.L.S. -- Republican health care lying syndrome?

Well, public opinion here is clear: Americans want everyone to have access to health care. There isn't even that much of a partisan divide: An overwhelming majority of Republicans don't believe insurance companies should be allowed to deny coverage or charge more to those with pre-existing conditions.

This public near-unanimity is one reason Medicare is so popular. Getting older -- and thus joining a group with much higher average health costs than the rest of the population -- is, after all, the ultimate pre-existing condition.

But there are only two ways to cover people with pre-existing conditions, and both are anathema to conservative ideology.

One is to have taxpayers pay the bills directly, which is what Medicare does.

The other combines regulation and subsidies. Insurance companies must be prohibited from discriminating based on medical history -- a prohibition that must include preventing them from issuing bare-bones policies that will appeal only to those in good health -- but that won't do the job by itself. Healthy people must also be induced to sign up, to provide a good risk pool, which means subsidizing premiums for those with lower incomes and, preferably although not totally necessary, imposing a penalty on those without insurance.

If the second option sounds familiar, it should. It's what countries like the Netherlands and Switzerland do; it's also a description of, you guessed it, Obamacare.

But Republicans cannot admit that the only way to protect pre-existing conditions is to emulate Democratic policies. The party of Eisenhower, or even the party of Nixon, might have been able to do such a thing, but the party of Fox News cannot.

Nor, however, d