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In Foreign Events Coverage Guardian Presstitutes Slip Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment

Reporters without conscience: once a nominally left of centre liberal publication became firmly embedded part of the Foreign Office, MI6 and the US Department of State

Skepticism > Political Skeptic > Media-Military-Industrial Complex > Propaganda

News Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Recommended Links Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak US and British media are servants of security apparatus Do the foreign state influence the US Presidential elections ? Steele dossier
NeoMcCartyism Luke Harding a pathetic author of rehash of Steele Dossier book Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump by neocons and DemoRats MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Pussy Riot Provocation and Deranged Pussy Worship Syndrome Brexit as the start of the reversal of neoliberal globalization Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17?
Hypocrisy of British elite Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers Manchester attack vs Charlie Hebdo Media as a weapon of mass deception Putin-did-it fiasco Edward Lucas as agent provocateur American Exceptionalism
The importance of controlling the narrative Patterns of Propaganda The Real War on Reality Lewis Powell Memo Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Co-opting of the Human Rights to embarrass governments who oppose neoliberalism Manipulation of the term "freedom of press"
Diplomacy by deception Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources Color revolutions Ukraine: From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss Media-Military-Industrial Complex Manufactured consent The Iron Law of Oligarchy
Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Neo-fascism Nation under attack meme Nineteen Eighty-Four Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Bullshit as MSM communication method Big Uncle is Watching You
Groupthink Soft propaganda Fighting Russophobia Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Propaganda Quotes Humor Etc

Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

Hermann Goering, President of the Reichstag, Nazi Party, and Luftwaffe Commander in Chief

  • Lapdog is easy role, watchdog is hard.
  • Lapdogs are lazy but get fed, watchdogs stand out in the cold, and get kicked.
  • Lapdogs get rich, watchdogs remain poor.
  • Lapdogs eat shit, and watchdogs kick ass.
  • Lapdogs need many masters, watchdogs are their own master.
  • Lapdogs are part of the problem, watchdogs are part of the solution.

@RIP, lapdogs are dismissed even by the asses they kissed, while history remembers watchdogs for the asses they kicked.

Backbutton

10 October 2014 3:46pm

When Gerald Celente branded the American media “presstitutes,” he got it right. The US print and TV media (and NPR) whore for Washington and the corporations. Reporting the real news is their last concern. The presstitutes are a Ministry of Propaganda and Coverup. This is true of the entire Western media, a collection of bought-and-paid-for whores.

by Paul Craig Roberts, June 4, 2013,

A lot of our problems come from the unwillingness of honest people to call out the liars, cranks, wh*res and hacks.

A Brief Theory of Very Serious People — Crooked Timber

Due to the size an introduction was converted to a separate page Guardian as a neoliberal propaganda mouthpeace


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[Jan 21, 2020] BBC faces existential threat. In the 21st century, it has nobody left to lie to -- RT Op-ed

Jan 21, 2020 | www.rt.com

George Galloway was a member of the British Parliament for nearly 30 years. He presents TV and radio shows (including on RT). He is a film-maker, writer and a renowned orator.

Whoever replaces outgoing BBC Director General Tony Hall, be sure that establishment interests will be in safe hands. But multiple scandals the broadcaster has been involved in damaged it quite possibly beyond repair.

... ... ...

Corbyn had to be destroyed at almost ANY cost. Their news and current affairs output (and appointments) over the Corbyn era of 2015-2019 was as crude, and crudely effective, as any screaming, screeching Rupert Murdoch tabloid. Perhaps they were worried the ghost of Sir Alasdair Milne would return to haunt them in the form of his son Seumas Milne, Corbyn's director of communications and strategy and right-hand man. The junior Milne – also Winchester and Oxford – is a considerably harder nut to crack than anyone the BBC had ever had to deal with before

[Jan 21, 2020] HBO hires 'king of fake news' Brian Stelter from CNN to produce documentary on the dangers of fake news

Notable quotes:
"... "disinformation and the cost of fake news." ..."
"... "how post-truth culture has become an increasingly dangerous part of the global information environment," ..."
"... To say Stelter's involvement in the documentary attracted mockery online would be an understatement. "This is like Harvey Weinstein doing a documentary on sexual assault," lawyer and journalist Rogan O'Handley wrote. ..."
"... "HBO has hired Brian Stelter to do a documentary on Fake News. That's like hiring Bernie Madoff to teach accounting. Like hiring Michael Moore to host a fashion show. Not to mention [Stelter] is the dullest human ever on television," ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.rt.com

If you were making a documentary on fake news and wanted to get journalists involved behind the scenes, there are a few people you may want to avoid. One of those is CNN host Brian Stelter. The HBO network is rightly being mocked for putting Stelter – the host of a CNN show ironically named 'Reliable Sources' – on the team for an upcoming documentary on fake news.

According to Stelter himself, the documentary will investigate "disinformation and the cost of fake news." The film, for which Stelter was executive producer, will dive into "how post-truth culture has become an increasingly dangerous part of the global information environment," according to WarnerMedia.

HBO just announced something I've been working on for a couple of years: A documentary titled "AFTER TRUTH: DISINFORMATION AND THE COST OF FAKE NEWS." The film will premiere on TV and online this March. Directed by @a_rossi !

-- Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 15, 2020

To say Stelter's involvement in the documentary attracted mockery online would be an understatement. "This is like Harvey Weinstein doing a documentary on sexual assault," lawyer and journalist Rogan O'Handley wrote.

"HBO has hired Brian Stelter to do a documentary on Fake News. That's like hiring Bernie Madoff to teach accounting. Like hiring Michael Moore to host a fashion show. Not to mention [Stelter] is the dullest human ever on television," radio host Mark Simone added.

[Jan 18, 2020] Curbs to Presidential power could be intended to preserve Russia from a West-backed President

Notable quotes:
"... The economic/social model in the neo-liberal West is one of outright parasitism driving ever increasing inequality and elite wealth, which is the expression in real life of the psychopathic elites' INTENSE hatred of others. For Russia to follow China in creating a society of utilitarian concern for ALL the population, of poverty reduction and of social solidarity between all levels of the population, increases the risk of what Chomsky called 'the good example' ..."
"... 'He might be a son-of-a-bitch, but he's OUR son-of-a-bitch'. Surely a 'Yeltsin' must replace or join 'Quisling' in the popular lexicon as a title for a traitor, in future. ..."
Jan 18, 2020 | off-guardian.org

The US/NATO/EU bloc is eagerly awaiting the chance to replace Putin with a pro-Western neo-liberal. One who will increase national debt, implement austerity, privatise industry, gut the public sector, and open up Russia to the IMF just like has been done all over the Western world.

Search Jan 18, 2020 15 Russian Reforms: Is Putin planning for his successor? Curbs to Presidential power could be intended to preserve Russia from a West-backed President Kit Knightly Kit Knightly

Last week, after Putin put forward constitutional reforms that would "empower the legislative branch" and his entire government resigned, the Western press (and the West-backed "opposition" in Russia) went on at length about how Putin was preparing to "extend his power", to move to an office "without term limits", or something along those lines.

After years complaining about the amount of power the President of Russia has, the MSM decided that limiting those powers was ALSO bad (or perhaps, never even actually read the speech itself at all).

This isn't deliberate deception on their part, they are just trained animals after all. Criticising Putin is a Pavlovian response to the man saying, or doing absolutely anything.

There's no point in gain-saying it, or analysing it. It is dogs howling at the moon. Instinctive, base and – to a rational mind – entirely meaningless.

Forget what our press says. It is white noise. They have no insight and no interest in acquiring any.

However, even the alternative media are confused on this one. MoA is a good analyst, but he's not sure what's at play here .

.so what IS going on in Russia? Why the constitutional reforms?

Let's take a look at the headline proposals:

Limit the Presidency to a two-term maximum Empower the Duma to appoint the Prime Minister and cabinet, in place of the President Anyone running for President has to have lived in Russia for 25 years Dual-nationals are forbidden from holding public offices

Are these really steps designed centralize the power of the state in an individual? Do they logically support the argument "Putin wants to be in power for life"?

Given that list, I would say "no". I would say, quite the opposite.

The first two points limit the powers of the Presidency, whilst empowering the legislative branch. Why would Putin limit the powers of the President if he intends a third term?

Western "analysts" argue Putin plans to stay on as Prime Minister, but these rule changes don't empower the PM, they only empower the Duma to choose the PM.

If he were going to change the constitution to keep himself in power, why not just scrap term limits? Or increase the Presidental term length?

The third proposed change is interesting – "prevent dual nationals from holding public offices" – is this a way of limiting possible Western interference in Russian politics?

In the days of the Roman Empire, upon conquering a province the Romans would take children of members of the ruling class to back to Rome, to be fostered in Roman families and raised as Romans. Then, when they reached adulthood, the new Romanised Celts or Assyrians or Goths would be sent back to the land of their birth and rule as the province in Rome's name, serving Rome's interests.

The modern Rome, the United States, does exactly the same thing.

Juan Guaido is Venezuela's "acting President". He was educated at Georgetown University in Washington DC . Alexey Navalny is the "leader of the Russian opposition", he was a "world fellow" at Yale .

The US/NATO/EU bloc is eagerly awaiting the chance to replace Putin with a pro-Western neo-liberal. One who will increase national debt, implement austerity, privatise industry, gut the public sector, and open up Russia to the IMF just like has been done all over the Western world.

So: We have rules limiting the power of the office of President, and a rule clearly aimed at making it impossible for a US-backed puppet to be inserted into said office.

Here's where we get into some hardcore speculation:

I think, having done the hard work to fix many of Russia's societal and security-related problems, Putin is seeking to make systemic changes that prevent this work being undone.

I think Putin wants to go – or is at least considering it – and is trying to put rules in place to protect Russia from his possible successors.

To demonstrate my point, we should take a look at the other parts of Putin's speech – the parts no one in the Western press is interested in discussing.

In many ways, it was a speech you could have heard coming out of Jeremy Corbyn's mouth. Laying out a vision of Russia with improved healthcare, free (hot) school meals for all children, internet access for all Russian citizens. (You can read the whole thing here .)

If a British politician made this speech, it would be considered "radical". If an American had done so, they would be called a crazy socialist. But there's more to this than just socialist economic policies.

Here is Putin on pensions:

We have a law on this, but we should formalise this requirement in the Constitution along with the principles of decent pensions, which implies a regular adjustment of pensions according to inflation.

On minimum wage:

Therefore, I believe that the Constitution should include a provision that the minimum wage in Russia must not be below the subsistence minimum of the economically active people.

On local government:

the powers and practical opportunities of the local governments, a body of authority that is closest to the people, can and should be expanded and strengthened.

On the Judiciary:

The country's fundamental law should enshrine and protect the independence of judges, and their subordination only to the Constitution and federal law

On Russian sovereignty:

requirements of international law and treaties as well as decisions of international bodies can be valid on the Russian territory only to the point that they do not restrict the rights and freedoms of our people and citizens and do not contradict our Constitution.

On Constitutional law:

extending the powers of the Constitutional Court to evaluate not only laws, but also other regulatory legal acts adopted by various authorities at the federal and regional levels for compliance with the Constitution.

Is there a pattern here?

Enshrining economic reforms in the constitution Decentralizing the power for the federal government Legally protecting the independence of the courts Protecting Russian law from international bodies Reviewing future laws to make sure they don't breach the constitution

These could be interpreted as legal backstops. Safeguards on the progress Russia has made under Putin.

We've been over the numbers a lot. There's no need to repeat them. Suffice to say, under Putin Russian life expectancy, income, employment rate and birth rate are up. Violent crime, poverty, alcoholism and debt are down .

Under Yeltsin, Russia was a borderline failed state. Putin pulled them back from that brink.

Yeltsin's 1993 Constitutional Referendum drastically enhanced the powers of the President, he doesn't wield quite as supreme executive power as the office of POTUS, but it's comparable:

The referendum approved the new constitution, which significantly expanded the powers of the president, giving Yeltsin the right to appoint the members of the government, to dismiss the Prime Minister and, in some cases, to dissolve the Duma.

It could be argued Putin has used that power as it was intended – for the benefit of the Russian people. Perhaps he feels he cannot rely on anyone who comes after him to be as diligent.

By disempowering the role of President before he leaves office, he ensures that anyone who follows – be they a US-educated plant, a corrupt billionaire, or a hardline hawkish nationalist – can't undo all the good his administration has accomplished.

Whether or not Putin wants to be in "power for life" is an answer known only to the man himself, but there's nothing to suggest it in this speech, and none of the reforms put forward would appear to help in that regard at all. It looks more like a man securing his legacy.

Perhaps the question becomes not "does Putin want another term?", but rather does Putin even intend to serve all of this one?


Baron ,

(1) What he proposed isn't the final word, the proposals will be debated, (2) the danger of Navalny's getting in even with a strong push by the Americans, or their NGO poodles, is minimal, the greater risk is the communist and their fellow travellers gaining power, (3) the last twenty years have shown Putin may not be the ideal leader, but he's as close to an ideal as the Russians may ever hope to get, his remaining in a position of some power after his Presidency term expires should be a positive for Russia.

Putin infuriates the Western Governing Elites (GEs) because he totally contradicts their progressive, PC, woke agenda and, to make matters worse, his stance resonates with the Western unwashed. That's unforgivable for the GEs, but one hopes he'll continue doing so. Just as our Parliament functions best if the opposition has some muscle, so the world also needs a strong opposition to keep the GEs of the nation of the "exceptional people" in check.

Jen ,

The answer to KK's second question, that is, whether Putin intends to serve out his current term, is that any constitutional reforms such as what he proposed in his speech to the Federal Assembly need time to be discussed, analysed, put to referendum, approved and included in the Constitution. Also a succession plan needs to be in place by 2024 when Putin leaves the Presidency. By then we'll know if Mishustin or anyone else (Rogozhin? Glazyev?) might replace him as President....

richard le sarc ,

The economic/social model in the neo-liberal West is one of outright parasitism driving ever increasing inequality and elite wealth, which is the expression in real life of the psychopathic elites' INTENSE hatred of others. For Russia to follow China in creating a society of utilitarian concern for ALL the population, of poverty reduction and of social solidarity between all levels of the population, increases the risk of what Chomsky called 'the good example', like Cuba has been for sixty years as the rest of the Latin American continent, under US terror, descended into a charnel-house and mass immiseration. So 'Russia delenda est', and Putin is Hannibal, and, thankfully, the rotten cadaver called the 'Home of Free', in a fit of malignant self-delusion, ain't gonna produce no Scipios any time soon. They've been reduced to creating Pompeo Adiposus Minors.

Brianeg ,

...Watching a documentary about poverty and homelessness in America by Deutsche Welle, it is criminal what is going on in that country especially when it seems fit to up the military budget to $750 billion. Surely at some point civil war will come to that country to correct the gross imbalance.

Reading about the strange actions of the liquid magma going on deep underground, you almost wish that nature might intervene and deflect America away from its constant onslaught of war and interference in other countries politics.

RobG ,

Boris Yeltsin, (western installed) Russian President from 1991 to 1999, during which the former Soviet Union was totally plundered

https://www.youtube.com/embed/v9YnDirqwT4?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

richard le sarc ,

'He might be a son-of-a-bitch, but he's OUR son-of-a-bitch'. Surely a 'Yeltsin' must replace or join 'Quisling' in the popular lexicon as a title for a traitor, in future.

[Jan 18, 2020] Boris Yeltsin, (western installed) Russian President from 1991 to 1999, during which the former Soviet Union was totally plundered

Jan 18, 2020 | off-guardian.org

RobG ,

Boris Yeltsin, (western installed) Russian President from 1991 to 1999, during which the former Soviet Union was totally plundered

https://www.youtube.com/embed/v9YnDirqwT4?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

richard le sarc ,

'He might be a son-of-a-bitch, but he's OUR son-of-a-bitch'. Surely a 'Yeltsin' must replace or join 'Quisling' in the popular lexicon as a title for a traitor, in future.

[Jan 18, 2020] Trump is following Putin and started grooming his own successor

Jan 18, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Fair dinkum ,

I hear tell that Emperor Trump is also grooming his potential successor/s

It's a neck and neck race between Kim Kardashian, who Trump is giving personal 'hands on' assistance, and Montgomery Burns, who is one of Trump's role models.

[Jan 16, 2020] After Putin: Putin's Address to the Federal Assembly

Jan 16, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Search Jan 15, 2020 14 TRANSCRIPT: Putin's Address to the Federal Assembly Editor Below is a full (translated) transcript of Vladimir Putin's speech to the Federal Assembly on Wednesday the 15th of January 2020. It is taken from the Kremlin's official website , and presented here for Western audiences who are curious to read it, but aren't likely to be bothered trawling the Kremlin's website looking for it.

Members of the Federation Council, State Duma deputies, fellow Russians,

The Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly is delivered at the very beginning of the year for the first time. We need to address large-scale social, economic and technological tasks facing the country more quickly and without delay.

Their content and guidelines are reflected in the national projects, whose implementation will require a new quality of state governance and work on the part of the Government and state bodies at all levels, as well as direct dialogue with citizens.

Our society is clearly calling for change. People want development, and they strive to move forward in their careers and knowledge, in achieving prosperity, and they are ready to assume responsibility for specific work. Quite often, they have better knowledge of what, how and when should be changed where they live and work, that is, in cities, districts, villages and all across the nation.

The pace of change must be expedited every year and produce tangible results in attaining worthy living standards that would be clearly perceived by the people. And, I repeat, they must be actively involved in this process.

Colleagues,

Russia's future and historical perspective depend on how many of us there are (I would like to start the main part of my Address with demography), how many children are born in Russian families in one, five or ten years, on these children's upbringing, on what kind of people they become and what they will do for the country, as well as on the values they choose as their mainstay in life.

There are nearly 147 million of us now. But we have entered a difficult, a very difficult demographic period. The measures we took starting in the mid-2000s have had a positive effect on demography. We have even reached a stage of natural increase. This is why we have more children at schools now.

However, new families are being created now by the small generation of the 1990s. And the birth rate is falling again. This is the main problem of the current demographic period in Russia.

The aggregate birth rate, which is the key index showing the number of births per woman, was only 1.5 in 2019, according to tentative estimates. Is this few or many? It is not enough for our country. It is approximately equal to the figure reported in many European countries. But it is not enough for Russia.

I can tell you by way of comparison that the figure was 1.3 in 1943, during the Great Patriotic War. It was only lower in the 1990s: 1.16 in 1999, lower even than during the Great Patriotic War. There were very few families with two children, and some couples had to put off starting a family.

I want to say once again that we are alarmed by the negative demographic forecasts. It is our historic duty to respond to this challenge. We must not only get out of this demographic trap but ensure a sustainable natural population growth by 2025. The aggregate birth rate must be 1.7 in 2024.

Demography is a sector where universal or parochial solutions cannot be effective. Each step we take and each new law or government programme we adopt must be scrutinised from the viewpoint of our top national priority – the preservation and increase of Russia's population.

As we build a long-term policy to support families, it must be based on specific life situations. We need to look closely at difficulties faced by new families, families with many children or single-parent families.

The most sensitive and crucial issue is the opportunity to enrol one's child in a day nursery. Earlier, we allocated funds from the federal budget to help the regions create 255,000 new places in day nurseries by the end of 2021. However, in 2018 to 2019, instead of 90,000, 78,000 new places were created, out of which only 37,500 places can actually be provided to kids. Other places are unavailable simply because an educational licence is still not obtained. This means that these nurseries are not ready to enrol children.

Governors, heads of other constituent entities, my dear colleagues, this is not how work is done. Come on! It means we have created 77,700 places that are still not fully available. Half of them cannot operate – and we must create 177,300 by 2021. I am asking you to do everything (although it will be very difficult now, however, it needs to be done) to close this gap. Once again, we must work across all areas of family support.

But there is a daunting challenge that directly threatens our demographic future and it is the low income of a significant part of our citizens and families.

According to various estimates, roughly 70 to 80 percent of low-income families are families with children. You are well aware of this. It often happens that even when not one but both parents work, the income of such a family is still very modest.

What decisions have already been made? From January 2020, families with incomes below two subsistence minimums per person will receive monthly benefits for their first and second child. Moreover, these benefits will be paid until the child reaches the age of three rather than 18 months as was the case before. The benefit amount will depend on the subsistence minimum in a specific region. The nationwide average is over 11,000 rubles per child per month. Once again, this is an average and depends on a specific region.

Additionally, with the support of the federal budget we have started paying benefits for the third child and subsequent children in 75 constituent entities, now including all regions in the Urals, Siberia and the Far East.

All of this amounts to substantial support. But the following thought has crossed my mind, and I believe that you also realise this. Parents stop receiving payments when their child turns three, and this means that their family can immediately face financial problems. To be honest, this is happening already. We must prevent this, especially since I realise that mothers often find it hard to combine working and caring for their children before they start school.

We know from the experience of our own children and grandchildren that they often fall ill. Their mothers are therefore unable to work. In this connection, I suggest we introduce monthly payments for children aged between three and seven starting already from January 1, 2020.

Who will be covered by this measure, and how is it supposed to function?

Families whose incomes do not exceed per-capita subsistence minimum will receive these payments. That is, it concerns families facing a very difficult situation.

To obtain these payments, they will only have to file an application and list their official legal incomes. I would like to note that this procedure must become as convenient and simple as possible, so that people would be able to apply without queuing and clearing hurdles. Or they should do this online on the relevant state website.

As I have already said, incomes may vary from region to region. First stage payments will amount to 5,500 rubles, or 50 percent of the subsistence minimum. But that is not all. We will have to analyse and assess the operation of this system. And we will take the next step, if we see that some families are unable to achieve the subsistence minimum while receiving 5,500 rubles. From 2021, we will pay the subsistence minimum in full, or over 11,000 rubles, that will vary from region to region. I repeat, the specific sums will vary, but on average it will amount to 11,000 rubles per child per month.

We will need substantial resources for implementing the proposed measure, and we will also have to adjust the federal budget. I ask the Government and members of the Parliament to do this as quickly as possible. The regions should also complete their share of regulatory work.

What else should we do equally quickly?

In my Address last year I said that we should expand the system of social contracts. It should become an individual programme whereby every low-income family will be able to increase their income and enhance their quality of life. Under these contracts, the state will make regular payments to such families, finance retraining and advanced training and help them to find employment or start a small business.

While providing comprehensive assistance to low-income people, society and the state have a right to expect them to take steps as well to deal with their problems, including finding employment and taking a responsible attitude to their children and other family members.

The regions are already introducing the mechanism of social contracts. But it is not sufficiently effective yet, and it is not helping much to fight poverty or to increase family incomes.

Therefore, first of all I would like to ask the Government to analyse the experience of the pilot projects and revise the principles of social contracts. Second, we must increase financial assistance to the regions so that all of them introduce this mechanism in 2021.

I would like all our colleagues, including the regional heads, to note that we will assess their performance not by the number of social contracts signed but by poverty decline figures.

Colleagues,

Back in 2006, I said the following in my Address to the Federal Assembly: "And now for the most important matter. Indeed, what I want to talk about is love." It was then that I proposed launching the maternity capital programme aimed at helping the families that decided to have their second child.

This programme will expire on December 31, 2021. I know than many people wonder what the state will do after that. We will extend this programme to December 31, 2026 at the least. We must do this without fail. But this measure only is no longer enough.

We must support young people who are starting their families and, I am sure, dreaming about having children. In this sense, I would like to introduce new, additional decisions concerning the maternity capital, which should also come into effect on January 1, 2020.

Even when the first child is born, the family will have the right to the full amount of the maternity capital, which is 466,617 rubles after the indexation in January 2020. This is the sum that was paid when the second or the next child was born. This support will give families a chance to prepare for the birth of their second child.

But I believe that this is still not enough in today's conditions, considering the demographic challenges Russia is facing. We can and must do even more. I suggest increasing the maternity capital by a further 150,000 rubles. Families will have the right to this additional money for the maternity capital when their second child is born.

This means that the total amount of the maternity capital for a family with two children will amount to 616,617 rubles. It will be indexed annually in the future.

At the same time I believe that if a family already has a child, we must provide the new, increased maternity capital when the second child is born, which is, as I have already said, 616,617 rubles.

Let me add that we have already made the decision that when the third child is born, the government pays 450,000 rubles towards the family's mortgage loan. This means that overall a family with three children will be able to invest over one million rubles to solve their housing problems with the help of the government. In many regions, cities, and even regional capitals this amounts to almost half of the cost of a house or a flat.

Let me also remind you that a reduced mortgage interest rate, six percent per year, for families with two or more children has been extended for the entire time of the loan, which resulted in the number of people using this support measure growing almost 10-fold at once.

A social programme for young families has been launched in the Far East: mortgage loans at 2 percent interest rate. I ask the banks, and not just the banks with state capital, to become more actively involved in its implementation.

And here is another highly important matter. I have already mentioned a new payment for children aged between three and seven. But this is not all that we can and must do. Yes, when children start attending school, their parents, especially mothers, get more opportunities to work and earn an additional income. However, families have to pay more in order to send their children to school, they face extra problems, and we have to support them at that stage. In this connection, I suggest providing free hot meals to all primary school students from grade one through four.

I will not conceal the fact that we have had heated discussions on this subject. On the whole, some colleagues do not object, but they say that it would not be very fair that people with decent incomes and low incomes should receive the same amount of support from the state. They are not saying this because they do not want to support the children. Indeed, this argument has its own logic. But there is another logic that prevails in our society: everyone must have equal opportunities, and children and their parents who are often demeaned by the current situation must not think that they are even unable to feed their children.

I believe that this is very important for our society. Yes, they tell me that these benefits were not available even during the Soviet period, when there was large-scale social support for the people. But there was no great social stratification at that time either. I believe that this measure will be justified.

In order to provide free hot and, most importantly, healthy meals, I suggest channelling funding from three sources: the federal, regional and local budgets. But money is not the only thing that matters. We need to create the required infrastructure at schools, set up cafeterias and lunchrooms and put in place a system for supplying high-quality food. I would like to note that this was not done even during Soviet times, as I have already said. This, of course, will require time. But free hot meals must be provided starting from September 1, 2020 in those regions and schools that have the required level of technical equipment. I ask our colleagues to expedite this work. Primary school students must start receiving high-quality hot meals free of charge in all regions from September 1, 2023.

So colleagues, here is the point I want to make, in short. I would like to emphasise – all the steps we are taking are aimed at creating a streamlined, large-scale and, most importantly, an effectively working family support programme, so that people's incomes, especially for those raising children, are high enough for a decent life.

Secondly, what I said at the beginning of the Address: the steps that we took in previous years in the field of demographic development have already brought results. They have yielded results back then: a large generation is growing up in Russia. I am referring to children who are in preschool and primary school now. It is very important that they adopt the true values ​​of a large family – that family is love, happiness, the joy of motherhood and fatherhood, that family is a strong bond of several generations, united by respect for the elderly and care for children, giving everyone a sense of confidence, security, and reliability. If the younger generations accept this situation as natural, as a moral and an integral part and reliable background support for their adult life, then we will be able to meet the historical challenge of guaranteeing Russia's development as a large and successful country.

Colleagues,

Supporting families and family values ​​is always a forward-looking strategy addressing the generations that are to live in an age of tremendous technological and social changes, and something that will determine Russia's fate in the 21st century. So, to have these new generations participate in creating this future even now, to have them fully reveal their potential, we must create the necessary conditions for them, primarily for every child in every region of Russia to get a good education.

In the middle of the coming decade, Russia will have about 19 million schoolchildren, which is 6 million more than in 2010. Some say it is too difficult to influence objective demographic processes, so it is unadvisable to channel large resources for demographic development. However, in reality, we can see direct evidence of the opposite: family support policies are working, and sometimes their results even exceed our wildest expectations. It is great that there are so many children in our schools again. On the other hand, this situation should not affect the comfort and quality of their learning.

I ask the Government to coordinate with the regions, consider the demographic and other factors, estimate how many more children the schools need to serve, and make the necessary changes to the Education National Project. That will require flexible solutions: not only to build more schools, but also to efficiently use the entire educational and other infrastructure we have for these purposes, as well as the benefits of modern technology for education.

Almost all schools in Russia have internet access now. In 2021, they should no longer just be connected, but have high-speed internet access to fully embrace the digital transformation in national education; teachers and students should have access to advanced educational programmes; individual approach to teaching should be practiced to reveal each child's talents.

Our network of extracurricular technology and engineering centres is developing dynamically. Our children should also benefit from a modern environment for practicing music, art, and other forms of creativity.

Russia is allocating more than 8 billion rubles for equipment and musical instruments for children's art schools as part of the Culture National Project. But the problem is much wider. More than 1,000 art school premises are dilapidated and not fit for use as intended. I would like to ask the Government to help the regions improve them. And I ask the regional authorities not to forget that this is their responsibility.

Furthermore, a modern school implies forward-looking teaching staff enjoying high social status and prestige. By the middle of the next decade, the national professional advancement system should canvas at least half of the country's teachers, in the future including additional professional training, along with general education workers.

Class teachers are closest to their pupils. Their ongoing daily work including mentoring children and teaching them the right ways is a huge responsibility, and definitely requires special training and special support for these mentors. In this regard, I consider it necessary to introduce, from September 1, at least 5,000 rubles in additional payment to them financed from the federal budget.

There is a lot of controversy about this decision, because this is actually the responsibility of the regions. Those present in this room are well aware of this. But what is a class teacher? A mentor and supervisor, and those are federal functions.

But, of course, I would like to point this out: all current regional payments to class teachers should continue, colleagues; I am calling your attention to this. And I will definitely look at what will be happening in practice, in real life.

I pointed out more than once that the pay parameters for teachers, doctors and other public sector employees set out in the May 2012 Executive Orders must be strictly complied with. There is a reason why I keep returning to this subject. If we slacken control of this matter, this will create the temptation to neglect these provisions, as many of those present here know. This must not be allowed. I would like to emphasise that the issue concerns professionals working in the spheres of vital significance for society and the country, and they must receive good and fair pay for their work.

The number of school graduates will be increasing in the next few years. In light of this, we must ensure equal and fair access to free intramural university education. Therefore, I suggest that the number of university scholarships be increased every year. Moreover – what I am going to say next is very important, the priority in this matter must be given to regional universities, especially the regions that are lacking doctors, teachers and engineers.

Of course, we must not simply enrol more students but boost the development of regional universities with support from businesses and employers. In particular, we must strengthen their training, research and social infrastructure, as well as improve the system of training and advanced training of teachers for regional universities so that students receive up-to-date knowledge and can have successful careers in their regions.

The employment market is changing rapidly, with new professions appearing and higher requirements made to the existing ones. Our universities must be able to respond to these changes flexibly and quickly. I believe that third-year students must be offered an opportunity to choose a new path or curriculum, including related professions. This is not easy to do, but we must indeed do this. To ensure that talented and decent people play a major or leading role in our national development, we have launched the Russia – Land of Opportunity project. Over 3.5 million people have taken part in its competitions and Olympiads. We will continue to improve this system.

Colleagues,

Last year life expectancy in Russia exceeded 73 years for the first time, which is eight years longer than in 2000. This is the result of social and economic changes in Russia, the development of mass sports and promotion of healthy lifestyles. And, of course, the entire healthcare system made a significant contribution, especially the programmes of specialised, including high-tech aid, as well as maternity and childhood welfare and protection of health of mother and child.

The rate of infant mortality has reached a historic low. This indicator is even better than in some European countries. I am well aware that the public in many developed countries is very critical of the state of their national healthcare system, and you also know this. In fact, almost everywhere – no, everywhere – people criticise their healthcare system, however well organised it looks from here.

Still our achievements in this area show that if we set certain goals, we can achieve results. However, let me repeat this, people do not judge the healthcare system by figures and indicators. A person who has to travel dozens of kilometres to a polyclinic or spend a whole day waiting in line for an appointment with a specialist is not very interested in how life expectancy has grown on the average. People think about their lives, their health, about how to get high-quality and timely medical aid without obstacles and when they need it. This is why now we must focus our efforts on primary care, which all people and all families have to deal with. This is where we have the worst and most sensitive problems.

This year we are to fully complete the creation of a network of rural paramedic centres, as stipulated in the related national project. This does not mean, however, that all the problems of these rural paramedic centres have been settled. I would like to point out that the mission of these centres is not to make out prescriptions or refer patients to regional medical centres. Local specialists must be able to really help people by using modern equipment and high-speed internet. I would like to ask the Russian Popular Front to monitor the provision of equipment, construction and repair of rural paramedic centres.

On July 1 we will also launch a programme to modernise the system of primary healthcare. We will have to repair and provide new equipment to outpatient clinics, rural hospitals and first-aid stations in all our regions. We have allocated an additional 550 billion rubles for this purpose, more than 90 percent of which will come from the federal budget.

At the same time, I ask the regional authorities to find additional funds for providing housing to doctors and paramedics, in particular in villages, settlements and small towns, and to use all the available instruments towards this end, including employer-rented housing and private housing projects.

Training and recruitment are key elements of medical education. By 2024, all levels of healthcare, but first of all the primary healthcare level, must have the necessary number of specialists. In this connection, I suggest that the admission procedure to medical universities be changed significantly. For example, 70 percent of scholarships in the field of general medicine and 75 percent in paediatrics will be awarded to prospective students who will return to their native regions upon graduation. The quotas will be distributed based on requests filed by the regions, which must subsequently provide employment to the graduates who must be able to work where people need their services.

As for residency training, I suggest that almost 100 percent of scholarships be given to medical graduates in critically important spheres. Priority during enrolment will be given to those with practical experience in the field of primary healthcare, especially in rural areas. This system should be also stipulated for federal medical centres.

And lastly, just as we agreed, a new system of remuneration will be gradually introduced in healthcare starting this year. It is based on clear, fair and understandable rules, with a fixed share of salary in the overall income and a uniform list of compensation payments and commercial incentives for all regions.

I am aware that the implementation of all these goals requires extensive resources. If you go back to where I started, every goal needs a great deal of money. In this regard, I ask the Government to once again consider identifying priorities for our development while retaining the budget's stability. This is an advantage we have achieved in the past few years, and we must maintain it.

I know that last year a number of regions saw a disruption in medication supplies as the regions' purchases were not made, with certain officials treating it as if it were some sort of office supplies purchases claiming it was not a big deal and new tenders would be announced. But people were left without essential and vitally important medications. I should point out that such cases must never happen again.

This year, efforts will be made to launch an integrated comprehensive register of recipients of medications that are provided to citizens free of charge or with a considerable discount through a federal or regional subsidy to avoid any confusion in this regard in the future.

Also, certain legislative decisions have already been adopted that will allow for official and centralised imports of certain medications to Russia that are yet to receive regulatory approval. I ask the Government to promptly organise this work so that people, particularly the parents of sick children, do not find themselves in a desperate situation when they cannot legally find the necessary medications.

Control over pharmaceutical drugs will also significantly change. It will be tightened both at pharmaceutical companies and during all stages of medication circulation, including at pharmacy networks.

Colleagues,

In recent years, we have focused on strengthening macroeconomic sustainability, and it is something I just mentioned. The federal budget has had a surplus again. Our government reserves confidently cover our gross external debt. And here I am not talking about some abstract or theoretical indicators – I would like to emphasise that these figures are directly influencing the life of each and every person in our country, and have to do with the fulfilment of our social commitments. We can see the problems, even shocks that citizens of other states face, where government had no such cash cushion and their financial position turned out to be unstable.

The consistent work of the Government and the Bank of Russia has led to a stabilisation of prices. Last year, inflation stood at 3 percent, which is below the target level of 4 percent. True, the prices of certain goods and services have risen slightly, but overall, I repeat, inflation is at a predictably low level. The situation fundamentally differs from what it was five or ten years ago, when double-digit inflation was a tax on all citizens of the country, being an especially hard burden for those on a fixed salary or pension – retired people and workers in the public sector.

Now, relying on a stable macroeconomic foundation, we need to create conditions for a substantial increase in people's real incomes. Again, this is the most important responsibility of the Government and the Central Bank. To meet it, the national economy needs structural changes and higher efficiency. In 2021, Russia's GDP growth rates should be higher than the global ones.

To have this kind of dynamics, it is necessary to launch a new investment cycle, to seriously increase investment in the creation and upgrading of jobs, in infrastructure, in the development of industry, agriculture and the services sector. Starting this year, annual investment growth should be at least 5 percent, and investment share in the country's GDP, 25 percent by 2024 from the current 21 percent.

What needs to be done to encourage investment?

First of all, we agreed not to change the tax treatment for businesses over a period of the next six years and thus provide a wider horizon for investment planning. The deputies and the Government should speed up the adoption of a package of draft laws on protecting and promoting investment. As you are well aware, tax treatment for major important projects should remain unchanged for up to 20 years, and the requirements and standards for building production sites should remain the same for three years. These investor guarantees should become standard law.

Of course, in addition to major projects, small- and medium-sized businesses' initiatives should be supported as well. Today, the regions are entitled to provide an investment-based tax deduction and a three-year revenue tax break, but they rarely use them. It is clear why: they do so because regional budgets thus lose revenue. In this regard, we would like federal funds to compensate the regions for two-thirds of the lost revenue stemming from the use of an investment-related tax deduction.

Second, the reform of the oversight and supervisory activities must be completed in 2020, and businesses should thus see improvements in their operating environment.

Third, I have already submitted to the State Duma the amendments to remove vague criminal law provisions in part related to so-called frauds. Thus, entrepreneurs have repeatedly mentioned Article 210 of the Criminal Code, under which any company whose senior executives violated the law could qualify as an organised criminal group, meaning that almost all of its employees were liable. Tougher restrictive measures and punishment were put in place. Law enforcement agencies will henceforth be required to prove that an organisation or a company was initially deliberately created with an illegal purpose in mind.

Fourth. It is estimated that as soon as this summer the foreign currency reserves of the National Welfare Fund will pass the mark of 7 percent of GDP. We have accumulated these reserves to guarantee our stability and security, which means we can invest our additional revenue in development and the national economy.

Cost-effective projects that remove infrastructure restrictions for our territories must become our priority. This includes bypass roads for big cities, arterial roads between regional capitals and exit roads to federal motorways. These projects will inevitably bring about the growth of small businesses, tourism and social activity in the regions and locally.

Fifth. For investment to grow steadily, our economy needs long-term money. We all know this very well. This is a direct responsibility of the Central Bank. I appreciate its consistent course for making loans for the real sector of economy more accessible.

Of course, businesses, companies (especially large ones) must remember about their social and environmental responsibility. I would like to thank our parliament members for demonstrating integrity during their work on the emission quota law.

Obviously, it is necessary to act upon our plans faster. Our next steps include testing and implementing the air quality monitoring system and subsequently expanding this control system to cover the entire country. It is necessary to monitor not only the condition of air but also water and soil – that is, to develop a comprehensive environmental monitoring system.

Next. By the end of this year, at least 80 out of the 300 largest industrial facilities must complete the transition to best available technology and obtain complex environmental permits, which means a consistent reduction of hazardous emissions. Sixteen permits have been issued as of now but overall this work is on schedule. No matter what, we must not allow any disruptions here. It is necessary to drastically cut the amount of waste ending up in landfills, implement waste sorting and generally move towards the circular economy. By 2021, we must already launch the mechanism of extended producer responsibility when producers and importers of goods and packaging are responsible for recycling costs. To put it simply, contaminators must pay.

Colleagues,

I would like to stress that Russia is ready to support Russian and foreign scientists' joint research on ecology, climate change, environmental and ocean pollution. These are global development challenges shared by everyone.

Today the speed of technological change in the world is increasing manifold, and we must create our own technologies and standards in areas that define our future, such as, first of all, artificial intelligence, genetics, new materials, energy sources and digital technology. I am confident that we can reach a breakthrough here, as we did in defence. I will speak about this later.

In order to solve difficult technological tasks, we will continue to develop research infrastructure, including megascience-class facilities. I am sure that an opportunity to work with unique equipment and tackle the most ambitious tasks will encourage talented young people to work in science. This is already happening. According to estimates, by the middle of the decade every second scientist in Russia will be under 40.

We should give researchers, engineers and entrepreneurs the freedom they need to do their work and to conduct innovative scientific research. I ask the Government and State Duma deputies to fast-track the discussion of the technological legislative package. This year we must launch a flexible mechanism of experimental legal modes to design and introduce new technologies in Russia and establish up-to-date regulation of the big data turnover.

Next, we should establish a mechanism of social support for direct and venture finance tools based on the best global practices. The technological entrepreneur should have the right to take a risk, so that failing to implement an idea will not automatically mean inappropriate use of funds and a possible criminal prosecution. I mean that we should establish such legal and financial conditions that as many start-ups and pioneer teams as possible could become strong and successful innovative companies.

We need to support the export of high-tech products and, of course, to boost domestic demand for innovative products. In this context, I believe it would be right to fast-track the digital transformation of the real economy. A requirement should be set that national projects are largely carried out using domestic software.

We have already put in place, say, major digital television infrastructure, which, in terms of its technical characteristics, is one of the most advanced in the world. Currently, the digital television coverage in Russia is more expanded than, for example, in France, Austria or Switzerland.

The internet has become a must-have for people today. Russia is one of few countries in the world which has its own social networks, messengers, e-mail and search engines and other national resources.

Given all the things I've just mentioned, I suggest that the Affordable Internet project be developed and carried out and that free access to socially important domestic internet services be available across Russia. I repeat that in this case people will not have to pay for the internet service, for internet traffic.

Colleagues,

The high availability of the internet should become Russia's and our citizens' competitive advantage and create, across the board, an environment conducive to education, creative work, communications and the implementation of social and cultural projects. Of course, this means new opportunities for people to get involved in the life of the country. We appreciate every creative initiative of our citizens, public associations, non-profit organisations, as well as their willingness to contribute to national development.

It is very important that the volunteer movement is becoming more popular, and it unites schoolchildren, university students, and people of different generations and ages. The Victory Volunteers project embodies the tradition of mutual assistance and respect for older generations and our history.

This year, we will celebrate the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. For Russia, May 9 is the greatest and sacred holiday. We are proud of the generation of victors and honour their feat, and our memory is not only a tribute to our heroic past, but it also serves our future, inspires us and strengthens our unity.

It is our duty to defend the truth about the Victory; otherwise what shall we say to our children if a lie, like a disease, spreads all over the world? We must set facts against outrageous lies and attempts to distort history. Russia will create the largest and most complete set of archival documents, film and photo materials on the Second World War, accessible both for our citizens and for the whole world. This work is our duty as a winning country and our responsibility to the future generations.

Colleagues,

We can see how unpredictably, uncontrollably events are developing in the world, what is happening in the Middle East and North Africa literally in recent weeks and recent days, how regional conflicts can rapidly grow into threats to the entire international community.

I am convinced that it is high time for a serious and direct discussion about the basic principles of a stable world order and the most acute problems that humanity is facing. It is necessary to show political will, wisdom and courage. The time demands an awareness of our shared responsibility and real actions.

The founding countries of the United Nations should set an example. It is the five nuclear powers that bear a special responsibility for the conservation and sustainable development of humankind. These five nations should first of all start with measures to remove the prerequisites for a global war and develop updated approaches to ensuring stability on the planet that would fully take into account the political, economic and military aspects of modern international relations.

Russia is ready to enhance cooperation with all interested parties. We are not threatening anyone or seeking to impose our will on anyone. At the same time, I can assure everyone that our efforts to strengthen national security were made in a timely manner and in sufficient volume. For the first time ever – I want to emphasise this – for the first time in the history of nuclear missile weapons, including the Soviet period and modern times, we are not catching up with anyone, but, on the contrary, other leading states have yet to create the weapons that Russia already possesses.

The country's defence capability is ensured for decades to come, but we cannot rest on our laurels and do nothing. We must keep moving forward, carefully observing and analysing the developments in this area across the world, and create next-generation combat systems and complexes. This is what we are doing today.

Reliable security creates the basis for Russia's progressive and peaceful development and allows us to do much more to overcome the most pressing internal challenges, to focus on the economic and social growth of all our regions in the interest of the people, because Russia's greatness is inseparable from dignified life of its every citizen. I see this harmony of a strong power and well-being of the people as a foundation of our future.

Colleagues,

We can move towards this goal only with the active participation of society, our citizens and, of course, intense and productive work of all branches and levels of government, the potential of which should be expanded.

In this regard, I would like to spend a moment discussing state structure and domestic policy, which are defined by the Fundamental Law of our country – the Constitution of the Russian Federation. I keep getting these questions all the time, including at the most recent annual news conference.

Clearly, we cannot but agree with those who say that the Constitution was adopted over 25 years ago amidst a severe internal political crisis and the state of affairs has completely overturned since then. Thank goodness, there is no more armed confrontation in the capital or a hotbed of international terrorism in the North Caucasus.

Despite a number of acute unsolved problems that we talked about today, the socioeconomic situation has stabilised, after all. Today some political public associations are raising the issue of adopting a new Constitution.

I want to answer straight off: I believe there is no need for this. Potential of the 1993 Constitution is far from being exhausted and I hope that pillars of our constitutional system, rights and freedoms will remain the foundation of strong values for the Russian society for decades to come.

In the meantime, statements regarding changes to the Constitution have already been made. And I find it possible to express my view and propose a number of constitutional amendments for discussion, amendments that, in my opinion, are reasonable and important for the further development of Russia as a rule-of-law welfare state where citizens' freedoms and rights, human dignity and wellbeing constitute the highest value.

Firstly, Russia can be and can remain Russia only as a sovereign state. Our nation's sovereignty must be unconditional. We have done a great deal to achieve this. We restored our state's unity. We have overcome the situation when certain powers in the government were essentially usurped by oligarch clans. Russia has returned to international politics as a country whose opinion cannot be ignored.

We created powerful reserves, which multiplies our country's stability and capability to protect its citizens' social rights and the national economy from any attempts of foreign pressure.

I truly believe that it is time to introduce certain changes to our country's main law, changes that will directly guarantee the priority of the Russian Constitution in our legal framework.

What does it mean? It means literally the following: requirements of international law and treaties as well as decisions of international bodies can be valid on the Russian territory only to the point that they do not restrict the rights and freedoms of our people and citizens and do not contradict our Constitution.

Second, I suggest formalising at the constitutional level the obligatory requirements for those who hold positions of critical significance for national security and sovereignty. More precisely, the heads of the constituent entities, members of the Federation Council, State Duma deputies, the prime minister and his/her deputies, federal ministers, heads of federal agencies and judges should have no foreign citizenship or residence permit or any other document that allows them to live permanently in a foreign state.

The goal and mission of state service is to serve the people, and those who enter this path must know that by doing this they inseparably connect their lives with Russia and the Russian people without any assumptions and allowances.

Requirements must be even stricter for presidential candidates. I suggest formalising a requirement under which presidential candidates must have had permanent residence in Russia for at least 25 years and no foreign citizenship or residence permit and not only during the election campaign but at any time before it too.

I know that people are discussing the constitutional provision under which one person cannot hold the post of the President of the Russian Federation for two successive terms. I do not regard this as a matter of principle, but I nevertheless support and share this view.

I have already said before that our goal is to ensure high living standards and equal opportunities for all throughout the country. It is towards this goal that our national projects and development plans are aimed.

At the same time, you know about the problems to do with education, healthcare and other fields created by a divide between the federal and municipal authorities – I have pointed this out more than once. This divide and, at the same time, the complex system of powers are having a negative effect above all on the people.

The rights, opportunities and guarantees, that are legally equal for all citizens, are not provided equally in different regions and municipalities. This is unfair to people and is directly threatening our society and national integrity.

I believe that the Constitution must seal the principles of a unified system of public authority and effective interaction between the federal and municipal authorities. At the same time, the powers and practical opportunities of the local governments, a body of authority that is closest to the people, can and should be expanded and strengthened.

And lastly, the state must honour its social responsibility under any conditions throughout the country. Therefore, I believe that the Constitution should include a provision that the minimum wage in Russia must not be below the subsistence minimum of the economically active people. We have a law on this, but we should formalise this requirement in the Constitution along with the principles of decent pensions, which implies a regular adjustment of pensions according to inflation.

Fourth, Russia is a huge country, and every region has its specifics, problems and experience. Of course, this must be taken into account. I believe it is necessary to cardinally increase the role of governors in decision-making at the federal level. As you know, back in 2000 the State Council was restored at my initiative, where the heads of all regions participate. Over the past period the State Council has proven its high effectiveness; its working groups provide for the professional, comprehensive and qualified examination of issues that are most important for people and Russia. I believe it would be appropriate to fix the status and role of the State Council in the Russian Constitution.

Fifth, Russian society is becoming more mature, responsible and demanding. Despite the differences in the ways to address their tasks, the main political forces speak from the position of patriotism and reflect the interests of their followers and voters.

At the same time, almost all the parties represented in the State Duma – and you know that I have regular meetings with their leaders – believe that the Federal Assembly is ready to take more responsibility for forming the Government. (Applause.) I expected this round of applause, but I think you will have another opportunity for applause now; please listen until the end.

More responsibility for forming the Government means more responsibility for the Government's policy. I completely agree with this position.

What is the situation like now? In accordance with articles 111 and 112 of the Russian Constitution, the President only receives the consent of the State Duma to appoint the Prime Minister, and then appoints the head of the Cabinet, his deputies and all the ministers. I suggest changing the procedure and allowing the State Duma to appoint the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, and then all deputy prime ministers and federal ministers at the Prime Minister's recommendation. At the same time the President will have to appoint them, so he will have no right to turn down the candidates approved by the Parliament. (Applause.)

All of this means drastic changes to the political system. However, let me repeat, considering the maturity of our main political organisations and parties as well as the reputation of civil society, I believe these proposals are justified. This will increase the role and importance of the State Duma and parliamentary parties as well as the independence and responsibility of the Prime Minister and other Cabinet members and make cooperation between the representative and executive branches of government more effective and substantive.

Colleagues,

I would like to emphasise that our country, with its vast territory, complex federal and administrative division and diverse cultural and historical traditions, cannot properly advance and even exist sustainably as a parliamentary republic.

Russia must remain a strong presidential republic. The president must undoubtedly retain the right to determine the Government's tasks and priorities, as well as the right to dismiss the prime minister, his deputies and federal ministers in case of improper execution of duties or due to loss of trust. The president also exercises direct command over the Armed Forces and the entire law enforcement system. In this regard, I believe another step is necessary to provide a greater balance between the branches of power.

In this connection, point six: I propose that the president should appoint heads of all security agencies following consultations with the Federation Council. I believe this approach will make the work of security and law enforcement agencies more transparent and accountable to citizens.

The principle of appointment following consultations can be applied to regional prosecutors as well. Currently they are appointed in coordination with regional legislative assemblies. Colleagues, this may lead to certain, including informal, obligations towards local authorities and ultimately to the risk of losing objectivity and impartiality.

As to the territories' position regarding a prosecutor candidacy in the constituent entities of the Federation, it can be considered during consultations in the Federation Council, which is in fact the chamber of the regions. We cannot have different local legislative systems in different regions; the prosecutor is a supreme authority who exercises control over the execution of laws irrespectively of any regional circumstances.

I am confident that a greater independence of prosecution agencies from local authorities would be beneficial for citizens regardless of the region. Colleagues, let us always be governed by the interests of our people.

And my seventh and final point: the judicial system – the Constitutional and Supreme courts – plays a key role in ensuring legality and citizens' rights. I would like to emphasise, along with judges' professionalism, their credibility should be unconditional as well. Being fair and having a moral right to make decisions that affect people's lives have always been considered of paramount importance in Russia. The country's fundamental law should enshrine and protect the independence of judges, and their subordination only to the Constitution and federal law.

At the same time, I consider it necessary to stipulate in the Constitution the Federation Council's authority to dismiss, on the proposal from the President, Constitutional and Supreme Court judges in the event of misconduct that defames a judge's honour and dignity, as well as in other cases provided for by federal constitutional law, that make it impossible for a person to maintain the status of a judge. This proposal is derived from the established practice. This is something Russia definitely needs today.

Furthermore, to improve the quality of domestic legislation, to reliably protect citizens' interests, I propose strengthening the role of the Constitutional Court, namely: to verify, at the President's request, the constitutionality of draft laws adopted by the Federal Assembly before they are signed by the head of state. We might also think about extending the powers of the Constitutional Court to evaluate not only laws, but also other regulatory legal acts adopted by various authorities at the federal and regional levels for compliance with the Constitution.

Colleagues,

Again, the proposals made today, by no means limit the discussion around possible amendments to the Constitution. I am sure that public associations, parties, regions, the legal community, and Russian citizens will express their ideas. The broadest public discussion is needed. But, opening this discussion, I would like to give it a start in a certain direction, or at least to show what challenges we are facing.

Please, do not forget what happened to our country after 1991. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, we still had the same ambitions and of course have preserved the colossal potential – the human, intellectual, resource, territorial, cultural and historical potential, and so on. But there were also threats, dangers of a magnitude no one could have imagined ever before. And that was a pity, as they should have thought about it in due time.

Therefore in our further state building efforts, we are facing seemingly contradictory tasks that serve as a guideline for values and may appear incompatible at first sight. What am I referring to? We must create a solid, reliable and invulnerable system that will be absolutely stable in terms of the external contour and will securely guarantee Russia's independence and sovereignty. At the same time, this system must be organic, flexible and capable of changing quickly in line with what is happening around us, and most importantly, in response to the development of Russian society. This system must ensure the rotation of those who are in power or occupy high positions in other areas. This renewal is indispensable for the progressive evolution of society and stable development that may not be infallible but ensures that the most important thing – Russia's interests ­– remains immutable.

What else do I consider important and would like to emphasise? The amendments that we will discuss do not concern the foundations of the Constitution and, hence, can be approved by Parliament in line with the existing procedure and law through the adoption of relevant constitutional laws.

At the same time, considering that the proposed amendments concern substantial changes in the political system and the work of the executive, legislative and judicial branches, I believe it necessary to hold a vote of Russian citizens on the entire package of the proposed amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation. The final decision must be made only on the basis of its results.

The opinion of people, our citizens as the bearers of sovereignty and the main source of power must be decisive. In the final analysis everything is decided by the people, both today and in the future. I am referring to both the choice of national development strategy and daily issues in each region, city or village. We will be able to build a strong, prosperous and modern Russia only on the basis of unconditional respect for the opinions of the people, the opinions of the nation.

The current year of 2020 is a landmark in many respects. It is a transition to the third decade of the 21st century. Russia is faced with breakthrough historical tasks and everyone's contribution is important for resolving them. Working together we are bound to change our lives for the better. I often mention the word "together" because Russia means all of us. I am referring not to the people present in this hall or rather not only to the people present in this hall but all citizens of this country because I believe that success is determined by our will for creation and development, for the implementation of the most ambitious plans, our labour for the sake of our families and loved ones, our children and their future, and hence, for the sake of Russia's greatness and the dignity of its citizens.

Thank you for your attention.

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Stephen Morrell ,

Putin clearly is the most informed and visionary bourgeois politician in the world today, by a country mile. He not only is attempting to address the very real real social, demographic and economic needs of Russia, in his usual comprehensive manner, but also and cannily is co-opting many of the expectations that the USSR used to fulfil, attempting to neutralise any socialist political sentiments in the Russian population. Putin is the Bismarck of Russia.

richard le sarc ,

Russia's economic situation, within the global capitalist system, with its large reserves, much in gold, no exposure to the toilet paper of US Treasuries, and substantial local self-sufficiency in agriculture (thank-you sanctions)means that when the Western debt Ponzi Himalaya implodes, the Russians will be pretty much immune to the consequences.

BigB ,

Fantastic set of propositions: of which there is nothing comparable – that I know of – in the West.

The problem is that I strongly suspect that no one can see the problem?

Our minds have become so dematerialised, idealised, and ecologically sanitised that I doubt anyone will agree? There are two things we cannot do going forward in the 21st century – exponentially grow the economy and/or exponentially grow the population. We have to degrow both – as compassionately and quickly as possible. We have too many people to sustain with depleting fossil fuels. We could sustain them agroecologically without: but we are not doing that. They may not be in the right places: but if Russia and China both try to correct demographic problems by increasing population the knock on effect is poverty and misery elsewhere.

As for material throughput: Russia's is quite large. In fact, they are the fourth primary energy consumer on the planet. With a pathetic renewables penetration of 3.6% of which only 1% is wind and solar. So good luck with decarbonisation and emissions targets. Which means only one thing: increased GDP is a function of increased hydrocarbon extraction and pollution. Russia faces another problem: its barely cured Dutch Disease a still high correlation of GDP to fossil fuel trading. An exogenous shock to the energy market will hit Russia badly as it did in 2008. They have diversified since then, only not enough.

With other countries set to decarbonise (barely disguised laughter) the overall market for fossil fuels will theoretically decrease which will hit the producers badly. And then there is the depression of global markets and the already extant oil glut. Good plan and beautiful state socialist sentiment only, has anyone got a spare planet?

Increasing hydrocarbon consumption plus all the other material resources allied to an industrial high-speed capitalist economy is another fossil relict. That is, if the ecological rationale is to survive. Growth is not an option. And population growth is irresponsible. What seems like a good state socialist plan falls apart ecologically. Of course, Russia is not isolated – the entire developed world wants to develop more 'sustainably'. Which is a form of insanity from a planetary perspective which too few have.

Consider, all those socialised benefits are equally viable if delinked from exponential GDP growth and thus delinked from exponential fossil fuel consumption. The best parts of socialisation are essentially free including the fucking for Mother Russia! Degrowth, decentralisation, decarbonisation do not mean less socialisation. They are totally dependent on holistic socialisation and cooperative social relations. Which are potentially permanent and truly sustainable with a just transition away from capitalism.

Why grow when it makes you vulnerable to exogenous market shocks? Russia has the resources to be quasi-self-sufficient internal to its own borders. There is no need to trade fossil fuels and prospect for more. We have too much carbon as it is: of which most should remain in the ground as 'unburnable carbon'. And there is definitely no need to make deals with despots and dictators like el-Sisi, Kagame, Museveni – who have murdered conservatively 12 million souls for corporate profit. Who now get their arms from Russia and their troops trained for free. And I could add Netanyahu and Erdogan, despots and murderers in their own right.

It has to start somewhere. Some group of people have to break ecological extinction's stranglehold and demand less. To transition monetised social relations to actual real social relations – independent of exponential fossil fuel extractivism, exponential market expansion, exponential GDP expansion, exponential population expansion (when the correct demographic is reached: will the population debreed?). It's a progressive plan: for the wrong planet at the wrong time.

But we will continue to grow – not degrow – both global economies and populations (with regional variations). Until we can't. When all those contingent and precarious market state socialisms will disappear. When we may live to rue the day we made our plans for social integration market and fossil fuel contingencies. We could have had it all if we were more savvy. If only everyone could see how.

Hugh O'Neill ,

Whilst I understand the gist of your argument (and you could not make it any more understandable, so please don't try) I still hold that the world is a better place because of Putin. With any other leader, the world would have been rendered uninhabitable by the Pentagon crazies. Russia has acted as the essential check on their warped ambitions to rule the Earth. The biggest threat to the planet is the US Military for the amount of oil they burn, the toxins they produce in their chemical warfare, their attempted theft of Ukraine for industrial farming, and their never-ending wars. Imagine if all the monies wasted on wars had gone to peaceful ends and proper support for renewable energy.
On the question of GDP, I would refer only to the speech by Robert Kennedy, in which he totally destroys the whole sordid concept of GDP as being a worthwhile measure of anything.

BigB ,

The world will be rendered uninhabitable by Russian extractivism, ecological expropriation, and human exploitation. Because Russian extractivism is not isolated: the entire globalist system is extractivist. Which is why ecologists use 'dynamic systems theory' to conceive of the emergent planetary 'super-organism' or 'fossil fuel amoeba'. When we isolate a bounded portion of the global extinction system; compare it with other isolated portions, and give it a human face we are invisibilising the ecological roots and genesis of capitalism's 'wealth' – oil and the exponential depletion of resources.

So what do we do when the life-ground of the planet no longer supports life? Celebrate the unequal distribution of rubles, pounds, yuan, and dollars? Or wish we had come to find a greater source of wealth in who we really are, when we are not destroying the planet and extracting surplus value from others less fortunate?

We live in a strange world when we cannot imagine life without capitalism and look beyond to see that the real source of wealth is humanity itself in its completeness. A completeness we will never know because of extractivism, ecological unequal exchange, and our own abdication of our self-alienated powers that make capitalism the taken-for-granted vehicle of extinctionism. If there is to be life after capitalism – and on the planetary scale there will be, though *homo economicus* is technologically fast bent on curtailing its species viability – some provision for systems transition has to be made now. The techno-dream bubble we can grow our way to humanism is about to burst then what?

richard le sarc ,

I agree entirely, but Putin has no alternative. Any chink in his armour and the USA will destroy Russia and break it up into fragments as they did in Yugoslavia, the USSR and wish to do in China. I rather think that Putin knows full well how dire is the global ecological situation, but he needs to balance less enlightened forces at home, and the 'Atlanticist' Quislings.

BigB ,

I don't disagree either: but that is not my point. The Atlanticists are waiting in the wings for another four years. Last time I checked: they still command 80% of Russian private property. And were expropriating $25bn pa annum in capital flight which has slowed slightly in the last few years. I read the Saker too. There is a deadlock and uneasy power sharing arrangement internally. But you may have missed the time when the Saker admitted "Putin is a neoliberal"?

It may be difficult to disentangle our vision from the neoliberal-statist-market ontology we are being repressed by but that is what we must do. We cannot expect neoliberal capitalist social inclusivity to save us from ecological catastrophe. Nor can we expect to grow economically into humanism: when exponential growth is what is destroying any lasting chance of a purely sustainable human-emancipatory freedom. Putin may not have a choice: but we do. The neoliberal-statist-market ontology is globally self-determined to produce total failure as its inevitable and only possible outcome. This is known a 'parametric determinism' when we automatically follow a maladaptive 'rational' self-optimising behaviour pattern long after it failed as it did in 2007. There is no recovery possible, and technology only speeds total failure whilst masking the ecological destruction it is accelerating.

States have to think and act in a pre-determined way that is true. But we do not have to think like that. Not if there is to be any alternative or succession of humanity ex-post the neoliberal-statist-market ontology which is morally, ecologically, humanistically and most importantly *actually* bankrupt at this point.

Do we exit a 350 year process of exponentially disproportionate wealth distribution, deliberate maldevelopment and global dehumanisation with all the wealth in the hands of those who benefited from the expropriation? Or do we attempt a redistribution and develop a new, hitherto unknown (and unknowable under capitalist alienation), value set where everyone globally has equal access to resources and a right to life as a birthright?

The decision is not beyond you or I: but it will take the development of the assessment of capitalism on other than its own neoliberal-statist-market ontological terms. No state or state leader can develop humanity on the path of less-is-more it needs to take but the people can. That's all.

richard le sarc ,

Putin is either a believing neo-liberal, in which case he is part of the problem you identify, or he is using it through necessity. I could not agree more with your diagnosis of the omnicidal nature of capitalism, and the inability of so many to visualise the end of capitalism-they more easily can conceive of the end of humanity. In fact I rather think that that is the way in which the ruling parasites intend to save their own bacon, by allowing the ecological Holocaust to cull the 90% of 'useless eaters' that the ruling elites fear and despise, and who they see only as a threat. Their labour is no longer required in an age of automation, robotisation and computerisation, and even their consumption is today superfluous. The ecological Holocaust has passed numerous tipping-points and points of no return, while the IPCC downplays the extremity of our situation, the Right still denies it is even happening, and the public is slowly waking up, too late of course. We've just experienced a fire Holocaust, yet the Pentecostal thug PM, 'Smoko' Morrison, who is surely seeing it all as God's Will and the sign of the coming End Times that his cult so longs for, utterly refuses to reduce CO2 emissions beyond a ludicrous 28% by 2030 from 2005 (base-line creep)levels, 'target', that we will not come close to. And now it is raining, a little, so the Great Austrayan Mediocracy can go back to their slumber. But they'll 'Wake in Fright', again, soon.

Hugh O'Neill ,

"It is very important that they adopt the true values ​​of a large family – that family is love, happiness, the joy of motherhood and fatherhood, that family is a strong bond of several generations, united by respect for the elderly and care for children, giving everyone a sense of confidence, security, and reliability. If the younger generations accept this situation as natural, as a moral and an integral part and reliable background support for their adult life, then we will be able to meet the historical challenge of guaranteeing Russia's development as a large and successful country."

I know very little of Russia alas, but the over-riding impression I take from this speech is President Putin's depth and breadth grasp of detail and concern for every aspect of Russian society – and his frustration that decisions made at federal level do not transform into concrete action at regional levels. The curse of bureaucracy and local fiefdoms jealous of their power and autonomy.

I was fully expecting him to come up a resonating phrase like: "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask instead what you can for your country." For Russia to have (seemingly) escaped the rapacious talons of the vulture capitalists unleashed by the Yeltsin puppet ought to be a lesson for us all.

Finally, in international politics, he remains impeccably diplomatic, restrained and wise. Would that there were more world leaders of such calibre.

Vierotchka ,

Would that there were more world leaders of such calibre.

Imagine if the USA had a president like Putin

For starters, the Department of Defense would be just that, and not the Department of Offence with lipstick on.

Then, ponder this:

Just imagine if there was a Putin-like President of the USA

Hugh O'Neill ,

Leadership and Learning are indispensable to each other. Looking at the calibre of Presidents since JFK, it seems that all the best candidates were either killed off or scared off. All the Unspeakable can do is kill in answer to any and all problems.

richard le sarc ,

Imagine the money freed if US military expenditure was not 90% graft and inefficiency.

Hugh O'Neill ,

In the quote I used above, how often do we hear world leaders – other than the Pope – speak of love? Twisted minds might dismiss Putin's call for more Russian children as to provide cannon fodder for the Russian military, but why would he also wish to ensure their creativity and their arts education? It is quite refreshing to hear Humanity discussed as a desirable asset, rather than non-stop pro-death, pro-abortion as a Human Right brigade, "bomb-bomb-bomb Iran" hatred. I expect a bit of flak for defending the unborn. I can take it.

richard le sarc ,

His manifest virtues are precisely why the vermin of the Western ruling elites hate him so psychotically.

[Jan 16, 2020] TRANSCRIPT Putin's Address to the Federal Assembly

Jan 16, 2020 | off-guardian.org

This is about fight with fifth column... The time for those changes is long overdue.

I truly believe that it is time to introduce certain changes to our country's main law, changes that will directly guarantee the priority of the Russian Constitution in our legal framework.

What does it mean? It means literally the following: requirements of international law and treaties as well as decisions of international bodies can be valid on the Russian territory only to the point that they do not restrict the rights and freedoms of our people and citizens and do not contradict our Constitution.

Second, I suggest formalising at the constitutional level the obligatory requirements for those who hold positions of critical significance for national security and sovereignty. More precisely, the heads of the constituent entities, members of the Federation Council, State Duma deputies, the prime minister and his/her deputies, federal ministers, heads of federal agencies and judges should have no foreign citizenship or residence permit or any other document that allows them to live permanently in a foreign state.

The goal and mission of state service is to serve the people, and those who enter this path must know that by doing this they inseparably connect their lives with Russia and the Russian people without any assumptions and allowances.

Requirements must be even stricter for presidential candidates. I suggest formalising a requirement under which presidential candidates must have had permanent residence in Russia for at least 25 years and no foreign citizenship or residence permit and not only during the election campaign but at any time before it too.

I know that people are discussing the constitutional provision under which one person cannot hold the post of the President of the Russian Federation for two successive terms. I do not regard this as a matter of principle, but I nevertheless support and share this view.

I have already said before that our goal is to ensure high living standards and equal opportunities for all throughout the country. It is towards this goal that our national projects and development plans are aimed.


Stephen Morrell ,

Putin clearly is the most informed and visionary bourgeois politician in the world today, by a country mile. He not only is attempting to address the very real real social, demographic and economic needs of Russia, in his usual comprehensive manner, but also and cannily is co-opting many of the expectations that the USSR used to fulfil, attempting to neutralise any socialist political sentiments in the Russian population. Putin is the Bismarck of Russia.

richard le sarc ,

Russia's economic situation, within the global capitalist system, with its large reserves, much in gold, no exposure to the toilet paper of US Treasuries, and substantial local self-sufficiency in agriculture (thank-you sanctions)means that when the Western debt Ponzi Himalaya implodes, the Russians will be pretty much immune to the consequences.

richard le sarc ,

I agree entirely, but Putin has no alternative. Any chink in his armour and the USA will destroy Russia and break it up into fragments as they did in Yugoslavia, the USSR and wish to do in China. I rather think that Putin knows full well how dire is the global ecological situation, but he needs to balance less enlightened forces at home, and the 'Atlanticist' Quislings.

BigB ,

I don't disagree either: but that is not my point. The Atlanticists are waiting in the wings for another four years. Last time I checked: they still command 80% of Russian private property. And were expropriating $25bn pa annum in capital flight which has slowed slightly in the last few years. I read the Saker too. There is a deadlock and uneasy power sharing arrangement internally. But you may have missed the time when the Saker admitted "Putin is a neoliberal"?

It may be difficult to disentangle our vision from the neoliberal-statist-market ontology we are being repressed by but that is what we must do. We cannot expect neoliberal capitalist social inclusivity to save us from ecological catastrophe. Nor can we expect to grow economically into humanism: when exponential growth is what is destroying any lasting chance of a purely sustainable human-emancipatory freedom. Putin may not have a choice: but we do. The neoliberal-statist-market ontology is globally self-determined to produce total failure as its inevitable and only possible outcome. This is known a 'parametric determinism' when we automatically follow a maladaptive 'rational' self-optimising behaviour pattern long after it failed as it did in 2007. There is no recovery possible, and technology only speeds total failure whilst masking the ecological destruction it is accelerating.

States have to think and act in a pre-determined way that is true. But we do not have to think like that. Not if there is to be any alternative or succession of humanity ex-post the neoliberal-statist-market ontology which is morally, ecologically, humanistically and most importantly *actually* bankrupt at this point.

Do we exit a 350 year process of exponentially disproportionate wealth distribution, deliberate maldevelopment and global dehumanisation with all the wealth in the hands of those who benefited from the expropriation? Or do we attempt a redistribution and develop a new, hitherto unknown (and unknowable under capitalist alienation), value set where everyone globally has equal access to resources and a right to life as a birthright?

The decision is not beyond you or I: but it will take the development of the assessment of capitalism on other than its own neoliberal-statist-market ontological terms. No state or state leader can develop humanity on the path of less-is-more it needs to take but the people can. That's all.

richard le sarc ,

Putin is either a believing neo-liberal, in which case he is part of the problem you identify, or he is using it through necessity. I could not agree more with your diagnosis of the omnicidal nature of capitalism, and the inability of so many to visualise the end of capitalism-they more easily can conceive of the end of humanity. In fact I rather think that that is the way in which the ruling parasites intend to save their own bacon, by allowing the ecological Holocaust to cull the 90% of 'useless eaters' that the ruling elites fear and despise, and who they see only as a threat. Their labour is no longer required in an age of automation, robotisation and computerisation, and even their consumption is today superfluous. The ecological Holocaust has passed numerous tipping-points and points of no return, while the IPCC downplays the extremity of our situation, the Right still denies it is even happening, and the public is slowly waking up, too late of course. We've just experienced a fire Holocaust, yet the Pentecostal thug PM, 'Smoko' Morrison, who is surely seeing it all as God's Will and the sign of the coming End Times that his cult so longs for, utterly refuses to reduce CO2 emissions beyond a ludicrous 28% by 2030 from 2005 (base-line creep)levels, 'target', that we will not come close to. And now it is raining, a little, so the Great Austrayan Mediocracy can go back to their slumber. But they'll 'Wake in Fright', again, soon.

Hugh O'Neill ,

"It is very important that they adopt the true values ​​of a large family – that family is love, happiness, the joy of motherhood and fatherhood, that family is a strong bond of several generations, united by respect for the elderly and care for children, giving everyone a sense of confidence, security, and reliability. If the younger generations accept this situation as natural, as a moral and an integral part and reliable background support for their adult life, then we will be able to meet the historical challenge of guaranteeing Russia's development as a large and successful country."

I know very little of Russia alas, but the over-riding impression I take from this speech is President Putin's depth and breadth grasp of detail and concern for every aspect of Russian society – and his frustration that decisions made at federal level do not transform into concrete action at regional levels. The curse of bureaucracy and local fiefdoms jealous of their power and autonomy.

I was fully expecting him to come up a resonating phrase like: "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask instead what you can for your country." For Russia to have (seemingly) escaped the rapacious talons of the vulture capitalists unleashed by the Yeltsin puppet ought to be a lesson for us all.

Finally, in international politics, he remains impeccably diplomatic, restrained and wise. Would that there were more world leaders of such calibre.

Hugh O'Neill ,

Leadership and Learning are indispensable to each other. Looking at the calibre of Presidents since JFK, it seems that all the best candidates were either killed off or scared off. All the Unspeakable can do is kill in answer to any and all problems.

richard le sarc ,

Imagine the money freed if US military expenditure was not 90% graft and inefficiency.

richard le sarc ,

His manifest virtues are precisely why the vermin of the Western ruling elites hate him so psychotically.

[Jan 16, 2020] https://www.theguardian.com/news/2020/jan/07/freedom-without-constraints-how-the-us-squandered-its-cold-war-victory

Jan 16, 2020 | www.theguardian.com

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News Opinion Sport Culture Lifestyle The long read Freedom without constraints: how the US squandered its cold war victory cwt Composite: Guardian Design/Getty The US believed the American way of life was humankind's ultimate destiny. But unrestrained greed has led to an era of injustice and division. By Andrew Bacevich

Tue 7 Jan 2020 01.00 EST Last modified on Thu 16 Jan 2020 06.09 EST

Shares 1,002 'W ithout the Cold War, what's the point of being an American?" Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, the novelist John Updike's late-20th-century everyman, posed that question just as the "long twilight struggle" was winding down. More than quarter of a century later, the plaintive query still awaits a definitive answer.

Indeed, the passage of time has only sown confusion about whether there is a point to being an American. Even as the cold war was ending, Updike's everyman was not alone in feeling at a loss. By the 1980s, the cold war had become more than a mere situation or circumstance. It was a state of mind.

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Most Americans had come to take its existence for granted. Like the polar ice cap or baseball's status as the national pastime, it had acquired an appearance of permanence. So its passing caught citizens unaware. Those charged with managing the cold war were, if anything, even more surprised. The enterprise to which they had devoted their professional lives had suddenly vanished. Here was a contingency that the sprawling US national security apparatus, itself a product of the anti-communist crusade, had failed to anticipate.

On one level, of course, the surprise could not have been more gratifying. In the epic competition pitting west against east, the god-fearing against the godless and democracy against totalitarianism, "our side" had won. All-out nuclear war had been averted. The cause of freedom, which Americans felt certain they themselves embodied, had prevailed. Victory was decisive, sweeping and unequivocal.

In another sense, however, the passing of the cold war could not have been more disorienting. In 1987, Georgi Arbatov, a senior adviser to the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev , had warned: "We are going to do a terrible thing to you – we are going to deprive you of an enemy."

As the Soviet Union passed out of existence, Americans were left not just without that enemy, but without even a framework for understanding the world and their place in it. However imperfectly, the cold war had, for several decades, offered a semblance of order and coherence. The collapse of communism shattered that framework. Where there had been purposefulness and predictability, now there was neither.

Winning the cold war brought Americans face-to-face with a predicament comparable to that confronting the lucky person who wins the lottery: hidden within a windfall is the potential for monumental disaster. Putting that money to good use while avoiding the pitfalls inherent in suddenly acquired riches calls for prudence and self-awareness – not easily demonstrated when the big house, luxury car and holiday home you have always wanted are yours for the asking.

Similarly, the end of the cold war might have given Americans pause, especially since the issues at hand were of considerably greater significance than homes and cars. At least in theory, the moment might have invited reflection on some first-order questions, such as: what is the meaning of freedom? What does freedom allow? What obligations does it impose? Whom or what does it exclude?


O f course, Americans had been wrestling with such questions since well before 1776 , the answers evolving over time. During the several decades of the cold war, however, the exigencies of the east-west rivalry had offered a reason to throttle down impulses to explore freedom's furthermost boundaries. Except on the fringes of American politics, most citizens accepted the word from Washington that their way of life was under grave threat. In the pecking order of national priorities, addressing that threat – defending freedom rather than enlarging it – tended to take precedence over other considerations.

This is not to suggest that cold-war Americans were a compliant lot. They were not. From the 1950s, misleadingly enshrined as a decade of conformity, through the Ronald Reagan-dominated 80s, domestic crises and controversies were constants. Among the issues energising or enraging Americans were civil liberties, the nuclear arms race, mismanaged wars of dubious provenance, challenges to artistic tradition, leftwing and rightwing radicalism, crass materialism that coexisted with widespread poverty and a host of simmering issues connected to race, sex and gender. Yet through it all, a common outlook, centred on resistance to the "red threat", endured. For most citizens most of the time, the cold war itself sufficed to explain "the point of being an American".

The collapse of the Soviet empire between 1989 and 1991 robbed that outlook of its last vestiges of authority. Rarely, if ever, had the transition from one historical period to another occurred quite so abruptly, with such a precise set of demarcations, and with such profound implications. As if in an instant, the discipline that the cold war had imposed vanished. The absurdity of defining reality as an either/or choice – red or dead, slave or free, good v evil – now became blazingly apparent. The impact on American ambitions and expectations was akin to removing the speed limiter from an internal combustion engine. Suddenly the throttle opened up. The future appeared uniquely promising, offering Americans a seemingly endless array of choices, while confronting them with few evident constraints. Everything seemed possible.

Confident that an era of unprecedented US economic, military and cultural ascendancy now beckoned, members of an intoxicated elite threw caution to the winds. They devised – and promulgated – a new consensus consisting of four elements.

Germans on top of the Berlin Wall in front of the Brandenburg Gate on 10 November 1989. Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

The first of these was globalisation or, more precisely, globalised neoliberalism. Stripped to its essence, globalisation was all about wealth creation: unconstrained corporate capitalism operating on a planetary scale in a world open to the movement of goods, capital, ideas and people would create wealth on a hitherto unimagined scale.

The second element was global leadership, a euphemism for hegemony or, more simply still, for empire. At its core, global leadership was all about order: unchallengeable military might would enable the US to manage and police a postcolonial yet implicitly imperial order favourable to American interests and values. Through the exercise of global leadership, the US would enforce globalisation. Order and abundance would go hand in hand.

The third element of the consensus was freedom, an ancient word now drastically revised. The new conception of freedom emphasised autonomy, with traditional moral prohibitions declared obsolete and the removal of constraints maximising choice. Order and abundance together would underwrite freedom, relieving Americans of existential concerns about safety and survival to which those less privileged were still obliged to attend.

The final element of the consensus was presidential supremacy, with the occupant of the Oval Office accorded quasi-monarchical prerogatives and status. Implicit in presidential supremacy was a radical revision of the political order. While still treated as sacred writ, the constitution no longer described the nation's existing system of governance. Effectively gone, for example, was the concept of a federal government consisting of three equal branches. Ensuring the nation's prosperity, keeping Americans safe from harm, and interpreting the meaning of freedom, the president became the centre around which all else orbited, the subject of great hopes, and the target of equally great scorn should he fail to fulfil the expectations that he brought into office.

All these elements together constituted a sort of operating system. The purpose of this operating system, unseen but widely taken for granted, was to cement the primacy of the US in perpetuity, while enshrining the American way of life as the ultimate destiny of humankind. According to the calendar, the end of the 20th century, frequently referred to as the American century, was then drawing near. Yet with the cold war concluding on such favourable terms, the stage appeared set for a prolonged American epoch.

This, however, was not to be.


T he US wasted little time in squandering the advantages it had gained by winning the cold war. Events at home and abroad put the post-cold war consensus to the test, unmasking its contradictions and exposing its premises as delusional. Although globalisation did enable some to acquire great wealth, it left behind many more, while fostering egregious inequality. The assertion of global leadership provided American soldiers with plentiful opportunities to explore exotic and unfamiliar lands, but few would mistake the results for even an approximation of dominion, much less peace and harmony.

Instead, Americans came to accept war as habitual. And while the drive for individual empowerment removed constraints, it did little to promote the common good. An enlarged conception of freedom brought with it a whiff of nihilism. As for exalting the chief executive as a visionary leader, it yielded a succession of disappointments, before imploding in November 2016.

The post-cold war moment, dating from the early 90s and spanning the administrations of Bill Clinton , George W Bush and Barack Obama, turned out to be remarkably brief. By 2016, large numbers of ordinary Americans had concluded, not without reason, that the post-cold war consensus was irretrievably defective. Globalised neoliberalism, militarised hegemony, individual empowerment and presidents elevated to the status of royalty might be working for some, but not for them. They also discerned, again not without cause, that establishment elites subscribing to that consensus, including the leaders of both political parties, were deaf to their complaints and oblivious to their plight.

https://www.theguardian.com/email/form/plaintone/the-long-read

By turning their country over to Donald Trump , those Americans signalled their repudiation of that very consensus. That Trump himself did not offer anything remotely like a reasoned alternative made his elevation to the presidency all the more remarkable. He was a protest candidate elected by a protest vote. In that regard, the 2016 presidential election marked a historical turning point comparable in significance to the fall of the Berlin Wall a quarter of a century earlier.

As the cold war had evolved from the late 40s into the 80s, the rhetoric of freedom remained central to American political discourse. Among members of the intelligentsia, fads came and went, but none displaced freedom as the defining issue of the age. As the designated "leader of the free world", each US president was in turn expected to talk the talk. From Truman through to Reagan, with differing levels of eloquence, none failed to do so.

The way it ended – with euphoric young Germans dancing on the wall – imparted to the entire cold war a retrospective moral clarity that it did not deserve. The cold war tainted everything it touched. As an episode in world history, it was a tragedy of towering proportions. So its passing ought to have called for reflection, remorse, repentance, even restitution. Yet the prevailing mood allowed for none of these, at least as far as most Americans were concerned. Instead, out of an era punctuated throughout by anxiety and uncertainty came a sense that a dazzling future lay just ahead.

In effect, the passing of the cold war relieved Americans of any further obligation to exhibit more than nominal cohesion. Except as a matter of personal preference, virtues such as self-discipline and self-denial, once deemed essential to enabling a nation to stand firm against existential threats, now became passι. The spirit of the post-cold war era prioritised self-actualisation and self-indulgence over self-sacrifice.

The demise of communism removed the last remaining constraints on the operation of global capitalism. By leaving the US militarily pre-eminent, the end of the cold war removed any remaining constraints on the use of American coercive power. Similarly, for many ordinary Americans, particularly those of a progressive bent, the passing of the cold war did away with any lingering constraints on matters related to "lifestyle". No longer would they defer to the customary arbiters of propriety and "good taste" in determining what was permissible and what was not. For transcendent authority, progressives looked to the autonomous self.


'A t the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life." So wrote supreme court justice Anthony Kennedy in a famous decision handed down shortly after the cold war ended.

Kennedy's reformulation of liberty, however grandiose, was well suited to the mood that swept through elite quarters at the end of history . By comparison, the inalienable rights specified in the famous Declaration of Independence in 1776 now seemed cramped, stingy and inadequate. Freedom was in line for a makeover.

The emerging post-cold war conception of freedom was nothing if not expansive. It recognised few limits and imposed fewer obligations, with one notable exception: compliance was non-negotiable. As always, the American definition of liberty, however recently revised, was universally applicable, as valid in Bogotα and Dakar as it was in Boston and Denver.

What did this signify in practice? Allowing individuals maximum latitude to reach their own conclusions regarding the concepts of existence, meaning, the universe and the mystery of human life yielded what sort of society? The quarter-century that elapsed between the fall of the Berlin Wall and Donald Trump's election provided a tentative answer to that question. Part of that answer came in the form of progress towards eliminating the remaining vestiges of racism, empowering women and reducing discrimination experienced by LGBTQ+ Americans.

Granted, progress does not imply decisive and irreversible success. Yet during the post-cold war period, American society became more tolerant, more open, more accepting and less judgmental. Attitudes toward people of colour, women and gays that in the 50s had been normative and remained widespread in the 60s and 70s had, by 2016, become unacceptable in polite society. Yet for more than a few Americans, Justice Kennedy's notion of liberty as an opportunity to ponder life's ultimate questions had little relevance. In practical terms, the exercise of freedom, undertaken in an environment in which consumption and celebrity had emerged as preeminent values, encouraged conformity rather than independence. At least notionally, Americans now enjoyed more freedom than ever before. Yet from every direction, but especially from Madison Avenue, Hollywood and Silicon Valley, came cues for how to make the most of the freedom now on offer. And however much you had, you always needed more.

President Ronald Reagan (R) with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Washington in December 1987. Photograph: Gary Hershorn/Reuters

So along with freedom came stress, anxiety and a sense of not quite measuring up, or a fear of falling behind as the demands of daily life seemed to multiply. For some, freedom meant alienation, anomie and despair. It did nothing to prevent, and in some instances arguably fostered, self-destructive or antisocial behaviour.

So in 2016, as another presidential election approached, Americans were able to claim the following distinctions:

• One in six were taking prescription psychiatric drugs such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety meds.

• More than 16 million adults and more than 3 million adolescents were suffering from significant depression.

• More than 1.9 million Americans were regularly using cocaine, with a half million hooked on heroin and 700,000 on methamphetamine.

• That year opioid overdoses killed 46,000, a new record.

• Binge drinking had reached epidemic proportions, with one in six US adults binge drinking several times a month and consuming seven drinks per binge; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bingeing was especially common among younger and more affluent Americans.

• Nearly 45,000 were taking their own lives annually, the national suicide rate increased by 24% since 1999; within the previous decade the suicide rate of teenage girls had doubled and of boys had jumped by 40%.

• Smartphone addiction was joining more traditional compulsions, with the average person checking their smartphone 110 times a day, impelled by Fomo – a fear of missing out.

• Compulsive-buying syndrome, AKA shopping addiction, afflicted an estimated 6% of the population; a comparable number were compulsive hoarders.

• On a daily basis, 11 million Americans, mostly women, struggled with eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, while roughly 40% of adults and nearly 19% of children and adolescents were obese.

• Cosmetic surgeons were performing more than 17m procedures annually, with buttock augmentation and labiaplasty enjoying a particular spike in popularity.

• Forty-million Americans were regularly visiting online porn sites.

• The number of Americans infected with sexually transmitted diseases in 2016 surpassed 2 million, according to the CDC, "the highest number ever".

• An estimated 24.7 million children were growing up in fatherless households, with such children substantially more likely to drop out of school, abuse drugs and alcohol and kill themselves; girls raised without a father present were four times more likely to get pregnant as teenagers.

• Although difficult to quantify with precision, 676,000 American children in 2016 were victims of abuse or neglect.

• Exercising their right to choose, American women were terminating around 650,000 unwanted pregnancies each year, despite the widespread availability of contraceptives.

• Exercising their right to bear arms, Americans had accumulated more than 40% of the planet's small arms; the US arsenal in private hands was larger than that of the next 25 countries combined.

• Meanwhile, more than 33,000 Americans were being killed in firearms-related incidents annually.

• Year in and year out, the US had the world's highest incarceration rate, no other developed nation coming anywhere close.

• Polling data showed that social trust – how Americans felt about government institutions and their fellow citizens – had sunk to an all-time low. Perhaps for that reason, when it came to voting, most Americans couldn't be bothered; voter turnout in the US lagged behind that of most other developed countries.

• In an increasingly networked society, with two-thirds of Americans on Facebook, chronic loneliness afflicted a large portion of the population.

• In a phenomenon described as "deaths by despair", the life expectancy of white working-class American males was dropping, a trend without historical precedent.

• The nation's birthrate had fallen below the rate needed to sustain a stable overall population; America had ceased to reproduce itself.

• Not to be overlooked, in their pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness, Americans were polluting, wasting food and generating trash with abandon, leading the world in each category.


A rguably, Americans were enjoying more freedom than ever. Were they happier as a consequence? Polls suggested otherwise. In the 2007 "world happiness" standings, the US had ranked third among developed countries. By 2016, its position had plummeted to 13th.

By no means am I suggesting that a single such statistic holds the key to assessing life in the US. It does not. Nor do the various penchants and pathologies enumerated above. Yet taken together, they suggest a society in which discontent, dysfunction and sheer perversity were rampant.

As with globalised neoliberalism, some Americans not only coped with seemingly limitless freedom, but also luxuriated in the opportunities that it offered. For sophisticates inhabiting Brooklyn's Park Slope, radical autonomy could well prove to be a boon; for those stuck in a ghetto on Chicago's South Side, not so much. As for the accompanying underside, those in possession of sufficient resources could insulate themselves from its worst effects – just as the affluent were able to insulate themselves from the accumulating post-cold war military misadventures by simply allowing others to shoulder the burden.

What role did Trump play in shaping this US that worked nicely for some while leaving many others adrift and vulnerable? None at all. Globalisation, the pursuit of militarised hegemony, a conception of freedom conferring rights without duties, and a political system centred on a quasi-monarchical chief of state each turned out to have a substantial downside. Yet the defects of each made their appearance well before Trump's entry into politics, even if elites, held in thrall by the post-cold war outlook, were slow to appreciate their significance. None of those defects can be laid at his feet.

If anything, Trump himself had displayed a considerable aptitude for turning such defects to his own advantage. In the US, post-cold war, he was prominent among those who enriched themselves, lived large and let others do the dirty work, while also shielding themselves from the difficulties that made life a trial for many of their fellow citizens. In an era of con artists, cowards and cynics, Trump became a modern equivalent of showman PT Barnum, parlaying the opportunities at hand into fortune, celebrity, lots of golf, plenty of sex and eventually the highest office in the land.

Yet for our purposes, the key point is this: Trump did not create the conditions in which the campaign of 2016 was to take place. Instead, to a far greater extent than any of his political rivals, he demonstrated a knack for translating those conditions into votes. Here, the moment met the man.

Trump's critics saw him as an abomination. Perhaps he was. Yet he was also very much a man of his time. In the end, what won him the presidency was his capacity to push the buttons of millions of voters who believed themselves ill-served and left behind – abandoned, even – by establishment politicians of both parties.

Implicit in his promise to "make America great again" was an admission that greatness itself, which Americans had long since come to believe was theirs by right, had been lost, with no one taking responsibility and no one, apart from Trump himself, venturing to explain how it had even happened. The critical word that imparted to his campaign slogan its formidable persuasive power was "again". As Tom Engelhardt has written, it represented an acknowledgment that self-congratulatory terms such as "great", "super", "exceptional" or "indispensable" no longer reflected the actually existing American condition. Millions of ordinary citizens recognised this as self-evidently true. Arrangements, agreements and advantages that Americans had once prized had been squandered or thrown away. And yet no politician other than Trump dared to utter that truth aloud.

As a strategic thinker, Trump had no particular talent. Yet as a strategic sensor, he was uniquely gifted, possessing an intuitive genius for reading the temper of his supporters and stoking their grievances. Yet by no means did Trump create those grievances – they had festered during the quarter-century after the cold war ended. He merely recognised their existence and, in doing so, made himself the champion of the aggrieved and the one person they came to believe who might respond to their plight.

The post-cold war recipe for renewing the American century has been tried and found wanting. A patently amoral economic system has produced neither justice nor equality, and will not. Grotesquely expensive and incoherent national security policies have produced neither peace nor a compliant imperium, and will not. A madcap conception of freedom unmoored from any overarching moral framework has fostered neither virtue nor nobility nor contentment, and won't anytime soon. Sold by its masterminds as a formula for creating a prosperous and powerful nation in which all citizens might find opportunities to flourish, it has yielded no such thing. This, at least, describes the conclusion reached by disenchanted Americans in numbers sufficient to elect as president someone vowing to run the post-cold war consensus through a shredder.

Donald Trump's detractors charge him with dividing the country when, in fact, it was pervasive division that vaulted him to the centre of American politics in the first place. The divide is deepest and least reconcilable between those Americans for whom the trajectory of events since the cold war pointed upward, and those who found in those same events evidence of decline and decay, and who sensed they had been had. At the most fundamental level, the inhabitants of one camp believe that talent, skills and connections will enable them to determine their own destiny; they are masters of their own fate. In the other camp are those who see themselves as victims. As Obama put it while campaigning for the presidency in 2008, "they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations".

Trump did not create this cleavage. He merely turned it to his personal advantage. So, regardless of the date or terms of Trump's departure from office, the schism that allowed him to become president is likely to persist after he is gone. It's that schism, rather than the antics of the tycoon/reality TV star/demagogue who exploited it, that merits far more attention than it has received.

This is an edited extract from The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory by Andrew Bacevich, published by Metropolitan Books/Holt

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[Jan 15, 2020] Is the US Now at War Against Iraq AND Iran – OffGuardian

Jan 15, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Search Jan 12, 2020 40 Is the US Now at War Against Iraq AND Iran? Editor Eric Zuesse

Iraqi Parliament – recently voted unanimously to expel US troops from their country.

On January 9th, Iraq's Prime Minister and Parliament again ordered all American troops out , but on January 10th the AP headlined "US dismisses Iraq request to work on a troop withdrawal plan" and reported that the U.S. State Department "bluntly rejected the request, saying the two sides should instead talk about how to 'recommit' to their partnership."

It was not a "request" from Iraq; it was a command from them; and the U.S. and Iraq relate as conqueror and conquered, not as "partners." Consequently: the U.S. Government, now that it has been so unequivocally ordered to leave, is back again, unequivocally, to its invader-occupier role in Iraq.

The AP report went on to say that, "The request from Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi pointed to his determination to push ahead with demands for U.S. troops to leave Iraq."

Again there was that false word "request."

The AP report said that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserted, in reply:

"Our mission set there is very clear. We've been there to perform a training mission to help the Iraqi security forces be successful and to continue the campaign against ISIS, to continue the counter-Daesh campaign."

Though that's the invader-occupier's excuse, the reality is that the US needs Iraq in order to invade Iran, which is the US Government's objective, though not overtly stated.

Already, America's assassination in Iraq of Iran's top general Qasem Soleimani on January 3rd is an enormous act of war against Iran.

It is intended to obliterate Iran's main strategist, and this successful attack against Iran inside Iraq is a devastating first strike, by the U.S. Government against Iran.

So: now, the U.S. is at war against both Iraq and Iran.

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Harry Stotle ,

I see Tony is inconsolable after the death of a dictator who failed to hold an election for 50 years?

Britains foremost war criminal said, "I heard the news about His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman with great sadness. He was a leader of vision and purpose who took over the leadership of his country at a difficult time and raised it to an entirely new level of development and prosperity. He was a man of culture, humanity and deep conviction who strove to make his nation and the world better and more peaceful. He was kind, thoughtful and with a big heart. He had great wisdom and insight from which I benefited often as did so many others. My deepest sympathy, prayers and condolences are with the people of Oman. He will be sorely missed. – Tony Blair.
https://twitter.com/InstituteGC/status/1215920898966020096

Yes, I'm sure you did 'benefit', Tony – blood money I think they call it, you amoral scumbag.

Frank Speaker ,

I'm really disappointed to read yet another article on OffG about Iran. It's getting really boring and those backward desert dwellers deserve all they get anyway. Let's get it over and done with and takeover their oilfields and make lots of money. What I really want to see here instead are lots of articles about Meghan and Harry.

(note to non-British readers, it's called irony)

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

The ever cowardly United States of America is officially at war with everyone in the world except the uneducated dolts & imbeciles that support the Imbecile-in-Chief narcissist whackjob nutbar effin' retard run amok.

Fuck America & the Republican Party that lives on forever war with everyone in the world including American taxpayers.

Screw the imbecile-in-Chief to a wall of his making.

Death to America!

MOU

Harry Stotle ,

Oh, you are a wag, Eric – is the US killing machine that just incinerated the Quds foremost military strategist 'now at War Against Iraq AND Iran' – well its hardly an act of peace, is it?

By the way, has anyone been listening to Raab pontificate about 'international law' – apparently the minister for Tory lies appears to be oblivious to the fact that Soleimani's execution was almost certainly illegal, and was only possible because Britain and American actions are always placed above the law.

Lets just remind Raab, and murder apologists like him that, "Outside of an on-going armed conflict, the first use of military force is regulated under the jus ad bellum. The first principle of the jus ad bellum is the prohibition on the use of force, a peremptory norm codified in United Nations Charter Article 2(4). The only possible exception to the prohibition applicable in this case is self-defense. The exception is narrow. Some restrictions are provided in UN Charter Article 51; others in the general principles of international law. Article 51 permits the use of military force in such as the Hellfire missiles carried by Reaper drones, if "an armed attack occurs". The International Court of Justice has emphasized that the attack must be "grave".
https://www.ejiltalk.org/the-killing-of-soleimani-and-international-law/

Neocons want to start killing Iranians (which they already are doing via economic sanctions) – time for the west to grasp this inescapable reality.

nottheonly1 ,

What do these countries have in common?

U.S. IR UK FR AUS DE CAN NZ PL UK ES BR COL SA UAR NL SW NOR ET AL?

They are all

M O ☐ H ☐ R ☐ A R ☐ H ☐ ☐ C K ☐ R ☐

Yes, you may buy an 'F'.

That includes its populations, that do it by default. They are programmed and conditioned from early on to be in harmony with the Pompeos, the Busches, Obamas, Trumps and whatever their names are that have this planet in stranglehold.

U.S. MUST PAY for all damages it inflicted over the last ~213 years. The ticket is endless – and with the indiscrininate use of weapons of mass destruction, very expensive.

In a world of justice, the rich people would be given the shittiest places in these countries and the rest be divided among the victim Nations of these pathetically religiously fascist psychopaths.

Is the use of the term 'religiously fascist psychopath' now reason for a drone strike?

Well, what are you waiting for? You are okay with the above fascist nations to do pre-emptive murders, but hesitate to do the same?

What an epic Upfuckery.

Because – in other words – nobody capable to do the one act that is excempt from Karmic retribution? Rather than doing that, saner beings are actually leaning back in the most fatalistic way. What is it good for, if the sane let the insane do whatever they please – or their mental illness dictates them to do?

Hitler was a good example. He was not mandated to undergo a psychological evaluation. And I don't care where you set the red line. Being part of genocide is plenty enough at any given day. And there can be no more limitations of terms.

Maybe the prevailing opinion about all this is for it to be a joke. But that only appears to be so, because the populations of the above listed nations et al, are murdering innocent women and children (future population reduction) in the Nations on the receiving fascist shit end of the stick.

On a side note and only marginally related:

Listening to the early Beatles and their 'depressing' songs, the mind drifted to 'The Man in Black' (that I adore) and his song about why he is wearing black and likely to do so into his grave, which he did. The song I have on mind changes the lyrics a bit, but stays true, or emphasizes the new expression.

Well, you wonder why I'm always using 'fuck'.
Why you'll never hear me leaving out the muck.
And why my words have such a somber tone.
Well, there's a reason for the things I'm bringing on.

Oh, and yes, for what its worth: invest yourself in aeroponics. Learn everything about it and start your own food production – using very little, very clean water and clean air, delivering healthy greens. It will work in an apartment as well as in a large greenhouse. The REAL Foodevolution.

Dungroanin ,

Yes the US has been at war in the ME for a very very long time Eric.

Their advance was halted and is now in retreat, bar a few 'battles of Bulges' false hopes – they are heading back to their bunkers and throwing the kiddy corps into the front lines to take on hardened campaigners. They have even resorted to assassination of the Generals and leaders – opening the way and hoping for equal retaliation, to sway the public perception.

The Iraqis want the US out – and are threatened with economic sanctions and freezing of their US$ accounts!

Just like Venezuela and Iran and Libya and Yemen ..,

The Iraqis are proceeding with their closer ties with the winners – the Eurasian conglomerate, the Belt & Road investments; the superior Russian weapons systems and no doubt the disengagement from the petrodollar, ball and chain of a slave.

Like an abused woman who wants to remove the 'ex boyfriend' who moved in a decade ago – has never paid any bills, doesn't do housework or maintenance and brings round his mates to wreck the place

Iraq has served a legal order to remove the abusive bastard !

Get the fuck out – or the bailiffs will be called to do it – and that will mean MORE cost you bully!

If that is MORE war then retreating Empire will see a REAL war on all fronts including for the first time ever in their own country – the bodybags will be required domestically – just like the poor civilians have been dying in theit tens of thousands at the proxy US forces hands for decades.

The people of the US need to get past their daily diet of super sugared Hollywood superiority and understand THEY are the EVIL EMPIRE and THEY are LOSING as the downtrodden ewoks of the many countried are fighting back!

GEOFF ,

After the USS Vincennes in 1988 had shot down Iran Air Flight 655 and killed 290 people, including many children, the U.S. government denied any culpability. George H. W. Bush, the vice president of the United States at the time, commented: "I will never apologize for the United States – I don't care what the facts are I'm not an apologize-for-America kind of guy." Despite its "error" the crew was given medals and the captain was even awarded a Legion of Merit "for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as commanding officer

GEOFF ,

The above is from moon of Alabama I forgot to mention

Yarkob ,

Have a listen to Whitney Webb on QTR podcast giving her take: https://youtu.be/dmaypBvuNzs?t=376

George Mc ,

Example an American "request":

https://www.youtube.com/embed/SeldwfOwuL8?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Antonym ,

That's the CIA today; not the USA.

George Mc ,

Granted that it's not the whole of the USA – but it's not just the CIA and it's certainly not merely "today". Incidentally, Brando said his attraction towards playing the Godfather is that he thought it was a prefect demonstration of how the American political system really works.

Protect ,

From Zero Hedge / The Strategic Culture Foundation:
"Abdul-Mehdi [The Iraqi prime minister] spoke angrily about how the Americans had ruined the country and now refused to complete infrastructure and electricity grid projects unless they were promised 50% of oil revenues, which Abdul-Mehdi refused.
The complete (translated) words of Abdul-Mahdi's speech to parliament:
"This is why I visited China and signed an important agreement with them to undertake the construction instead. Upon my return, Trump called me to ask me to reject this agreement. When I refused, he threatened to unleash huge demonstrations against me that would end my premiership.
"Huge demonstrations against me duly materialized and Trump called again to threaten that if I did not comply with his demands, then he would have Marine snipers on tall buildings target protesters and security personnel alike in order to pressure me.
"I refused again and handed in my resignation. To this day the Americans insist on us rescinding our deal with the Chinese.
"After this, when our Minister of Defense publicly stated that a third party was targeting both protestors and security personnel alike (just as Trump had threatened he would do), I received a new call from Trump threatening to kill both me and the Minister of Defense if we kept on talking about this "third party"."
https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/deeper-story-behind-assassination-soleimani
and there is this:
"I was supposed to meet him [Soleimani] later in the morning when he was killed. He came to deliver a message from Iran in response to the message we had delivered to the Iranians from the Saudis."

lundiel ,

Here's your answer from the state department, it appears to be both yes and no (depending on financial incentives).

America is a force for good in the Middle East. Our military presence in Iraq is to continue the fight against ISIS and as the Secretary has said, we are committed to protecting Americans, Iraqis, and our coalition partners. We have been unambiguous regarding how crucial our D-ISIS mission is in Iraq. At this time, any delegation sent to Iraq would be dedicated to discussing how to best recommit to our strategic partnership -- not to discuss troop withdrawal, but our right, appropriate force posture in the Middle East. Today, a NATO delegation is at the State Department to discuss increasing NATO's role in Iraq, in line with the President's desire for burden sharing in all of our collective defense efforts. There
does, however, need to be a conversation between the U.S. and Iraqi governments not just regarding security, but about our financial, economic, and diplomatic partnership. We want to be a friend and partner to a sovereign, prosperous, and stable Iraq.

Gall ,

Typical imperialistic boiler plate. America being a "force for good in the Middle East" or anywhere else is a lie. Remember Vietnam? As for "continu(ing) the fight against ISIS" the SOS really means to continue to finance and supply ISIS while pretending to "fight against" them. There whole statement is a Stygian Stable full of total BS.

The Iraqis should tell them again to get the f-k outta Dodge or they'll go Wyatt Earp on their sorry lying asses.

Frances ,

Pardonnez-moi, but why do Canada and Australia also UK (Boris) take their 'cue' on foreign policy from the USA? Sending defence forces to fight Washington's wars and banker's wars for resources?

austrian peter ,

I answer to your question, Frances, take out an hour of your day to find out:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/np_ylvc8Zj8?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Andy ,

This edition of Crosstalk seems to encapsulate perfectly US arrogance and stupidity/disingenuity.

https://youtu.be/Rlkeyl4adJ0

Brian Harry ,

That assertion by Mike("We lied we cheated we stole" ..)Pompeo is a total lie. The USA invaded Iraq under a complete pack of lies, about Saddam Hussein's "Weapons of Mass Destruction" back in 2003 and are still there after having murdered Hussein and now occupy Iraq.
The Elected Leader of Syria has also told the USA to "Get out of Syria", but the USA has not done so.
The USA(and it's 'owners" Israel, are the problem in the Middle East, NOT IRAN or Iraq.
Israel's anaesthetised donkey, The USA, is completely controlled by Israel .It's pathetic. but it's true.

austrian peter ,

In the sixties we all knew that "NO" meant "YES" and these guys are from that era.

Brian Harry ,

I think that the World has grown sick and tired of the LIES, spewing out of the Military Industrial Complex ..In the highest levels of the USA Government, "if their lips are moving, they're LYING .

austrian peter ,

Yep, with you 100% and the bulk of the 99% are getting the message too.

Yarkob ,

"the bulk of the 99% are getting the message too."

Don't kid yourself, Peter. I'd love to agree with you, but there is little evidence of that on those sites that allow comment on this. the masses have drunk the kool aid long and deep. Yes, there's some pearl-clutching going on but he was "still a trrst" so it's all ok. Back to sleep.

Look! Harry and Meghan!!

austrian peter ,

Take your point Yarkob, thank you. I was trying to be optimistic – in my world my network is gradually becoming more aware – I hope that my book, due to publish this quarter, will ride the wave; fingers crossed!
:-))))

Admin ,

Where are you seeing this BTL? Bear in mind that comments in most corporate media sites are heavily censored these days, and replete with sock puppets manipulating debate & seeding talking points.

George Mc ,

As I have often said, the MSM not only lies but gives a false image of public opinion. Granted that it is not easy – or even possible – to really know what the population is tending towards in their opinion, I think we can safely say that the MSM always bullshits about it. I love it especially when they not only bullshit about what "everyone thinks" abut also about what everyone "WILL" think e.g. the blathering about what party is "electable".

I am not, by any stretch, a subscriber to David Icke but he did come up with one wonderful expression when he described what the MSM pump out as "the movie". That is exactly what it is. And I'd like to believe that less and less people believe it. Of course the big problem is that even if you reject it, you have to put up with the fact that, obviously as far as the "mainstream" goes, it's the only show in town. And a lot of people still regurgitate what they hear. So e.g. a lot of people go along with the manufactured outrage over Corbyn "refusing to apologise" while these same people have no idea what he is apologising for – other than a vague notion that he must be some kind of Hitler guy. It all comes down to vibrations set up in the MSM. If you shit enough and often enough then eventually many will swallow it.

falcemartello ,

Since when has pax-americana not been at war. The only administration since ww2 that has not been at war was the Peanut farmer from Georgia The Carter administration and it was his secretary of state Brezinski that created the Takfiri army to disrupt Afghanistan in 1979.
Post Scriptum: The Iranian missile strike in western Iraq and Erbil was a historical event.
It is the second time in Us military history that pax-americana had not responded to a direct attack on a military barracks , the first time was in 1982 in Beirut where a suicide bomber killed over 200 people.
Docius in Fondem:Wesley Clarke statement from when he was alluded to the Likudniks plan & countries in 5 years Iran was last on the list.
US have declared war on both Iraq and Iran with the assassination of the IRGC General and the PMU General. Simple facts tend to allude we the exceptional civilized west

austrian peter ,

love the Latin:
Caesar ad sum iam forte
Pompei ad erat
Caesar sic in omnibus
Pompei sic in hat

Brian Harry ,

"Don't talk to me about the bloody Romans, what have they ever done for us"?
Try as I may, I cant get Google to translate that .what does it mean, please?

Brian Harry ,

.although, when I read it 'phonetically', it sounds like a "big night out, and lots of vomit sprayed around but, I'm Australian, and we don't do things like that .much

austrian peter ,

:-)))))
Use DuckDuckGo:
Non me loqui Romani sanguinis quid unquam fecit u

Brian Harry ,

I'll take your word for it Thanks for the laugh ..!

austrian peter ,

:-))))) "Laughing is the best policy and is generally better than getting hit by a taxi!" – Spike Milligan – another comic messiah.

austrian peter ,

No worries, cobber, have a smiley day and always remember: " If you see a man without a smile, give him one of yours".

https://www.youtube.com/embed/SJUhlRoBL8M?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

austrian peter ,

This should help, Brian:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Y7tvauOJMHo?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Brian Harry ,

Monty Python the Greatest .There weren't many Romans in Australia 2000 years ago. Too busy invading and really irritating Europeans and British people, but, somehow, it all worked out ok Always look on the bright side of life, huh ?

austrian peter ,

Yep, and you Brian are in the right place to see the sunny side. We here in old Blighty are suffering the gloom, doom and damp. I lived in Cape Town for ten years (same latitude as Sydney and similar climate) and miss it dreadfully – the climate that is – the rest is isht; power cuts (load shedding they call it), water shortage (drought they call it), pollution and infrastructure failure all round, Nuff said! Go well cobber.

Mike Ellwood ,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_Latin

Not quite the same thing but interesting:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumer_is_icumen_in

Especially the parodies towards the end.

There are some good pastiche French rhymes / songs around as well. Don't have any links to hand ..aha, found what I was thinking of:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mots_d%27Heures

Gall ,

Actually Jimbo the Peanut Farmer was involved in a covert war in Angola and also covertly arming the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. Not to mention operation Eagle Claw that failed against the Iranians.

GEOFF ,

In 240 years since its inception warmongering yanky land has been at war in the last 224 years with someone, 50 in the last 10 years, not a bad record.

[Jan 11, 2020] Atomization of workforce as a part of atomization of society under neoliberalism

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... a friend of mine, born in Venice and a long-time resident of Rome, pointed out to me that dogs are a sign of loneliness. ..."
"... And the cafes and restaurants on weekends in Chicago–chockfull of people, each on his or her own Powerbook, surfing the WWW all by themselves. ..."
"... The preaching of self-reliance by those who have never had to practice it is galling. ..."
"... Katherine: Agreed. It is also one of the reasons why I am skeptical of various evangelical / fundi pastors, who are living at the expense of their churches, preaching about individual salvation. ..."
"... So you have the upper crust (often with inheritances and trust funds) preaching economic self-reliances, and you have divines preaching individual salvation as they go back to the house provided by the members of the church. ..."
Apr 18, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
DJG , April 17, 2017 at 11:09 am
Neoliberalism is creating loneliness. That's what's wrenching society apart George Monbiot, Guardian

George Monbiot on human loneliness and its toll. I agree with his observations. I have been cataloguing them in my head for years, especially after a friend of mine, born in Venice and a long-time resident of Rome, pointed out to me that dogs are a sign of loneliness.

A couple of recent trips to Rome have made that point ever more obvious to me: Compared to my North Side neighborhood in Chicago, where every other person seems to have a dog, and on weekends Clark Street is awash in dogs (on their way to the dog boutiques and the dog food truck), Rome has few dogs. Rome is much more densely populated, and the Italians still have each other, for good or for ill. And Americans use the dog as an odd means of making human contact, at least with other dog owners.

But Americanization advances: I was surprised to see people bring dogs into the dining room of a fairly upscale restaurant in Turin. I haven't seen that before. (Most Italian cafes and restaurants are just too small to accommodate a dog, and the owners don't have much patience for disruptions.) The dogs barked at each other for while–violating a cardinal rule in Italy that mealtime is sacred and tranquil. Loneliness rules.

And the cafes and restaurants on weekends in Chicago–chockfull of people, each on his or her own Powerbook, surfing the WWW all by themselves.

That's why the comments about March on Everywhere in Harper's, recommended by Lambert, fascinated me. Maybe, to be less lonely, you just have to attend the occasional march, no matter how disorganized (and the Chicago Women's March organizers made a few big logistical mistakes), no matter how incoherent. Safety in numbers? (And as Monbiot points out, overeating at home alone is a sign of loneliness: Another argument for a walk with a placard.)

Katharine , April 17, 2017 at 11:39 am

I particularly liked this point:

In Britain, men who have spent their entire lives in quadrangles – at school, at college, at the bar, in parliament – instruct us to stand on our own two feet.

With different imagery, the same is true in this country. The preaching of self-reliance by those who have never had to practice it is galling.

DJG , April 17, 2017 at 11:48 am

Katherine: Agreed. It is also one of the reasons why I am skeptical of various evangelical / fundi pastors, who are living at the expense of their churches, preaching about individual salvation.

So you have the upper crust (often with inheritances and trust funds) preaching economic self-reliances, and you have divines preaching individual salvation as they go back to the house provided by the members of the church.

[Jan 11, 2020] What About "Whataboutism." by Vladimir Golstein

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... One of the most elementary moral truisms is that you are responsible for the anticipated consequences of your own actions. It is fine to talk about the crimes of Genghis Khan, but there isn't much that you can do about them.' ..."
"... 'If Soviet intellectuals chose to devote their energies to crimes of the U.S., which they could do nothing about, that is their business. We honor those who recognized that the first duty is to concentrate on your own country.' ..."
Jan 11, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Wikipedia – the most popular source of information for most people – boldly announces:

"Whataboutism, also known as whataboutery, is a variant of the tu quoque logical fallacy that attempts to discredit an opponent's position by charging them with hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving their argument. It is particularly associated with Soviet and Russian propaganda Prominent usage: Soviet Union propaganda."

Perusal of recent mainstream articles adds one more dimension to the story. Not only everything negative is habitually associated with Soviets and Russians, unless of course, it is Iranians or North Koreans, when the equation has frequently been reversed.

If something negative occurs: Cherchez La Russie.

Mass media bias against President Trump has been observed on numerous occasions, but what is particularly fascinating about this negativity is a persistent desire to paint Trump with the Russian brush.

So it is hardly surprising that Trump has been turned into a practitioner of Russian "Whataboutism," allowing Washington Post to declare triumphantly: "Whataboutism: The Cold War tactic, thawed by Putin, is brandished by Donald Trump."

The article elaborates:

What about the stock market? What about those 33,000 deleted emails? What about Benghazi? .. What about what about what about. We've gotten very good at what-abouting. The president has led the way. His campaign may or may not have conspired with Moscow, but President Trump has routinely employed a durable old Soviet propaganda tactic."

The WaPo article by Dan Zak goes even further and explains the reasons behind Trump's embrace of Russian Whataboutism. It is moral relativism, you see. It is a ploy of tyrannical regimes, which intend to divert attention from their crimes:

That's exactly the kind of argument that Russian propagandists have used for years to justify some of Putin's most brutal policies," wrote Michael McFaul , former ambassador to Russia during the Obama administration. .. "Moral relativism -- 'whataboutism' -- has always been a favorite weapon of illiberal regimes," Russian chessmaster and activist Garry Kasparov told the Columbia Journalism Review in March. "For a U.S. president to employ it against his own country is tragic.

Viewed from the historical perspective, all this is blatantly false.

It is the democratic systems that need propaganda, spinning, and other soft-power weapons. It is the democracies that rely on one party blaming another party for its own transgressions. It is the liberal economic structures that need to promote one brand of toothpaste by denigrating another brand.

"Whataboutism" is an integral fabric of Western society, as both its business and political models depend on comparing, contrasting, diverting attention and so on.

Soviets, who had difficulty obtaining even one kind of toilet paper, did not need the commercials that claim that the other brand leaks more. Soviet leadership that relied primarily on the power of the gun didn't need to spend time and effort and hone its skills in the art of maligning another party.

In other words, Soviets, and consequently Russians, are plain amateurs when it comes to "whataboutism." When their government felt the need to resort to it, they would do it rather sloppily and amateurishly, so that the people would just laugh it off, as the endless political jokes testify.

Soviets were forced to resort to it during the time of Cold War, however, when there was a real competition for the hearts and minds of several European countries such as France and Italy, where post-war sympathies for Communists were running strong.

Needless to say, the Soviets were beaten soundly. The arguments that American freedoms were worse than Soviets because of American racism did not really work for Europeans, who preferred their Louis Armstrong to Leonid Utesov and their Jackson Pollock to Alexander Gerasimov. In the battle between Georgy Alexandrov's Marion Dixon of Circus (1936) and Ernst Lubitsch's Ninotchka (1939), Ninotchka won.

That's why I find it extremely ironic and peculiar that these methods of "whataboutism," these lines of reasoning that have pervaded the Western news coverage to the core, have been magically turned into a signature method of Soviet Propaganda.

Equally ironic is the fact that any attempt to question Western hypocrisy, spinning, and relentless brainwashing is deflected by a silly counter-attack: this criticism is nothing but "whataboutism," the favorite activity of Russians and other moral relativists and denizens of illiberal regimes.

Additional irony, of course, lies in the fact that Russians are the most self-critical people that I know. That's the one thing they truly excel at – criticizing themselves, their state, their people, their customs and their political system. It is another irony that the information the West habitually exploits in its own shameless "whataboutism" was provided to it free of charge by Russian dissidents from Herzen all the way to Solzhenitsyn and Masha Gessen.

There is rarely an article in the mass media which, while addressing some ills of modern society, doesn't refer to the evils of Gulag, Stalin, lack of democracy and other "ills" of Soviet life. How many articles in the mass media do we read where references to the extermination of the native population, of workers burning in their factories, of thugs dispersing protests or demonstrations, of brutal exploitation, mass incarceration, deportation of the Japanese, witch hunts, or cruel cynical wars – occur without simultaneous references to Stalin's Russia?

You complain about the lack of political choices during elections? What, you want Commies to run you life? You complain about economic inequality? What, you want drab socialism instead? In other words, instead of a traditionally defined "whataboutism," Western propaganda utilizes a slightly more subtle version revealing something bad about itself, but then rapidly switching to demonizing and criticizing its rivals.

The classic example of this approach was described by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky in their 1988 study Manufacturing Consent .

In the chapter entitled "Worthy and Unworthy Victims," the authors draw the comparison between the coverage of Polish priest, murdered by in Poland in 1984 and the media coverage of Catholic Priests assassinated in Latin America. Jerzy Popieluszko had 78 articles devoted to him, with ten articles on the front page. In the meantime, seventy-two religious victims in Latin America during the period of 1964-78 were subject of only eight articles devoted to all of them combined, with only one article making the front page (Chomsky & Herman, Manufacturing Consent , Pantheon Books, 2002, p. 40).

Presumably, Soviets become a subject of jokes when, instead of addressing the question of Stalin's victims, they embark on discussing the lynching of black Americans. What is worth pondering is why the United States hasn't become the subject of similar jokes when they write hundreds of articles on one death within the Soviet zone of influence while practically ignoring persistent right-wing violence in their own sphere.

"Whataboutism" is not just a rhetorical device invented to deflect criticism; the accusation in "whataboutism" leveled at anyone who defends himself from arbitrary or illogical charges is the accusation that reveals a particular set of power relations.

These accusations of "whataboutism" imply a certain inequality, when the accuser bullies the accused into admitting his guilt.

The accuser puts the accused on the defensive, clearly implying his moral superiority. This moral superiority, of course, is rather fictional, especially if we keep in mind that the Hebrew word "satan" means an accuser. Accusing and blaming others has a satanic ring to that, something that anyone engaged in accusations should remember.

You belched yesterday during dinner. You violated the laws of good table manners.

– But everybody belches!

It is irrelevant, please answer the charge and don't try to avoid it by resorting to 'whataboutism." Did you belch or not?

"Putin's a killer," Bill O'Reilly said to Trump in a February interview. "There are a lot of killers," Trump whatabouted . "We've got a lot of killers. What do you think -- our country's so innocent?"

Here, the media dismisses as "whataboutism" Trump's perfectly logical and correct answer – the one that Trump highlighted himself last week when he ordered the killing of the Iranian general Soleimaini.

Trump's answer, however, was interpreted as somehow outrageous. How dare he compare? As if only a Russian stooge engaged in "whataboutism" can suggest that Western murders and violence are not different from Russian ones.

Dan Zak, who invents a verb "to whatabout" in reference to Trump's exchange with O'Reilly, reveals another highly significant dimension of the term. Due to the abuse of the concept during the Cold War era, and due to the relentless propaganda of the likes of Edward Lucas or the former Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, the charge of "whataboutism" began to be leveled at anyone who says anything critical about the United States.

You talk about US racism – you are carrying water for Soviet "whataboutists;" you talk about militarism, police brutality, wars and regime changes, or complain about the destruction of nature – you are a Russian stooge.

And God forbid you criticize failed policies of the Democrats, the Clintons in particular. You are worse than a stooge. You are a Soviet troll spitting "whataboutism," while interfering in the US electoral process.

Trump might have more faults than any of the recent American political leader. Yet, it is the charge of Russian connection and its merging with the charge of "Whataboutism" that began to highlight some sort of sick synergy: if Trump uses this trope of Russian propaganda, he has to be working with Putin. That's the tenor of all recent applications of the term in the mass media.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering the Trump administration's murky ties to Vladimir Putin and his associates, whataboutism is viewed by many as a Russian import,"

opines Claire Fallon in her essay on the subject, while the title says it all: "Whataboutism, A Russian Propaganda Technique, Popular With Trump, His Supporters."

The list of publications with very similar titles can obviously go on and on.

And herein lies the most pernicious legacy of the term.

It subconsciously invokes the spirit of Joe McCarthy. And as such it is still very effective in stifling discourse, in dismissing criticism, while character-assassinating dissenting voices.

Never mind that the press, as in the good old days of Father Popieluszko, is still filled to the brim with endless stories of Russian discrimination of the gay community, of Chinese abuse of the Uighurs, or the absence of new and old freedoms in the countries that Pentagon classifies as adversary.

To complain about the lack of balance and the biased focus would be engaging in "Soviet Style of Whataboutism," wouldn't it be?

Vladimir Golstein, former associate professor at Yale University, is currently Chair of the Department of Slavic Studies at Brown University.


Charlotte Russe ,

US propaganda has been quite effective. After all, isn't it merely the merchandising and selling of ideas. So why wouldn't a hyper-capitalist country be extremely effective at using words and images to control behavior. That's how multibillion dollar corporations stimulate consumerism. They convince the public to buy goods and services they don't really need. So why not use those same marketing skills to impart ideological beliefs.

Essentially, isn't that how the notion of "exceptionalism" became rooted in the American psyche, establishing a rationale to pursue a slew of military misadventures. And think of the ingenious propagandist who invented the idea of "spreading democracy" via bombs, drones, and bullets. For decades this secured public consent for innumerable military escapades.

However, the arrival of Trump changed everything. He unwittingly forced the US propaganda machine to stumble and fumble with contradictory messages disassembling the control mainstream media news once happily secured over the entire population.

In desperation to avoid building political consciousness the US state-run media neglected to attack Trump exclusively over reactionary policies, but misguidedly warmongered against Russia for more than three years. Liberal media accused right-wing Trump of being a Russian asset a tactic used more than half a century ago by McCarthyite Russophobes to discredit the Left. Perhaps, the silliness of this propaganda could only produce "lackluster" results consequently never gaining substantial traction among the working-class.

The security state ultimately loses its ability to control the population with sloppy propaganda–they just tune it out. Americans are becoming similar to their Russian counterparts who just assume that all mainstream media news is contrived and not to be believed.

George Mc ,

I thought the reference to the Wiki article was a piss take until I went direct to the source. I see no logical connection between Russia or indeed any country and the rhetorical device of "whataboutism". But it seems the mighty omniscient Wiki says otherwise. Yes – and there's Trump getting a prominent place in the Wiki entry. Is every entry in Wiki geared to the current demands of propaganda? What next I wonder? How about:

Willem ,

I first read about whataboutism at Chomsky's website. I thought Chomsky made a very good definition at the time, so I looked up what he actually said and thought of quoting him here. Well his definition is typical for Chomsky where he says some truthful things, which he immediately buries under a pack of lies

Chomsky on whataboutism:

'CHOMSKY: One of the most elementary moral truisms is that you are responsible for the anticipated consequences of your own actions. It is fine to talk about the crimes of Genghis Khan, but there isn't much that you can do about them.'

That is correct. But unfortunately for the professor, he is not devoid of a little whataboutism himself, where he continues to say that

'If Soviet intellectuals chose to devote their energies to crimes of the U.S., which they could do nothing about, that is their business. We honor those who recognized that the first duty is to concentrate on your own country.'

Then Chomsky buries this whataboutism with another lie saying that:

'And it is interesting that no one ever asks for an explanation, because in the case of official enemies, truisms are indeed truisms.'

Which isn't a truism at all, but apparantly all official enemies of the US are, by definition enemies of Chomsky.Then Chomsky continues by saying that

'It is when truisms are applied to ourselves that they become contentious, or even outrageous. But they remain truisms.'

Not necessarily so, but it's close enough to pass for truth when discussing whataboutism. After which Chomsky adds another lie, i.e., that

'In fact, the truisms hold far more for us than they did for Soviet dissidents, for the simple reason that we are in free societies, do not face repression, and can have a substantial influence on government policy.'

I mean, that is just so much bullshit that I do not even know where to start. For instance Solzjenitsyn, SU greatest dissident, wrote his books in the SU, the Russians didn't like it, and they let Solzjenitsyn go to Switzerland where he become famous and a millionaire, a Nobel price winner, everything that money could buy. He returned to Russia in 1990 and was lauded by amongst others Putin himself and died peacefully in 2008.

'Free society', bollocks: most of us have the freedom to watch the show that others play on their behalf and toil, 'no repression': tell that to Assange, 'substantial influence on government policy': quite difficult when most of the government's decisions are faceless.

This type of lying by Chomsky just goes on and on and I am amazed that I hadn't seen through it the first time I read Chomsky.

Worst is his hypocrisy where professor Chomsky, the worlds best known 'dissident', whose books are sold at airports, who received grants from the MIC to work on linguistics, and who became a millionaire by airing his convoluted views that are not what they are supposed to be (ie dissident), dares to write in the same interview that

'Elementary honesty is often uncomfortable, in personal life as well, and there are people who make great efforts to evade it. For intellectuals, throughout history, it has often come close to being their vocation. Intellectuals are commonly integrated into dominant institutions. Their privilege and prestige derives from adapting to the interests of power concentrations, often taking a critical look but in very limited ways.'

I mean that is just Chomsky writing about himself, but pretending a whataboutism about all those other bad intellectuals.

Interview: https://chomsky.info/2003____/

Jack_Garbo ,

Chomsky's an example of the establishment "pet intellectual" who quietly rages against his master. Youthful dissidence, he found after a few police beatings, is a fool's game, noisy, bloody and futile. Better to growl from a safe distance, repeat the obvious with clear logic and wallow in unearned respect.

lundiel ,

According to a 2019 Gallop poll 40% of American women under 30 would like to leave the US.

Given the economic burden forced upon south/central american countries by the land of the free, it's understandable that America has net migration.

If you up sticks and move to another country it becomes survival at any cost. However, a lot don't make it and return home .if they can afford to.

lundiel ,

When you move to a racist, nationalist country, you have to spend every opportunity thanking them for taking you and congratulating them for allowing you to work yourself to death so you can pay the mortgage on your shed home.

Estaugh ,

Calm doctor, calm, you will wake up Napoleon in the next ward https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnzHtm1jhL4

Gall ,

Many of them are economic refugees who come here after B-52s have turned their country into a parking lot or the elite of other countries who were caught selling out their nations and enriching themselves or those that actually believed the PR that the USG actually gives a flying phuk about "freedom and democracy" propagated by the child molesting perverts in Pedo Wood.

There are also a number who have specifically come here to get even and who can blame them?

Dungroanin ,

What about the 'Russian influence' report not published by Bozo The PM?

& while I'm here

What about the Durham investigation into Russiagate which also seems to have disappeared from imminent publication over a month ago?

Hmm – wasn't it Kruschevs staffers who admired the US propaganda / Perception Management advertising/PR industry by saying in Russia nobody believed the Russian propaganda because Russians knew that's what it was; but all westerners swallowed it and rushed out to buy ever 'better' washing powders, poisonous foods and products without realising they were being lied to.

Steve Hayes ,

What about US violations of international law?
What about US wars of aggression?
What about US regime change operations?
What about US lying propaganda?
What about US murderous sanctions?
What about US funding, arming and training of jihadist terrorists?
What about US funding, arming and training of fascist terrorists?
What about US threats and intimidation of the International Criminal Court?
What about US exceptionalism, which mirrors nothing so much as the Nazi ideas of ubermensch and untermensch?

richard le sarc ,

In Trump and Pompeo you see the evolution of a new type-the Ubumensch.

Gall ,

Just like to add: What about the genocide of the Indigenous population? What about all those broken treaties? What about all the lies?

[Jan 11, 2020] WATCH Sacha Baron Cohen is Wrong About Everything OffGuardian

Notable quotes:
"... The irony is that Cohen's "humor" if one can call it that is inherently racist propaganda since it typifies stereotypes. ..."
"... "hatred" and contempt, which bears all the marks of being affected: the intellectual as tough guy. An intellectual being someone with a passing acquaintance with the dominant culture and the cheek to pass it off as knowledge. ..."
Jan 11, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Have you seen Sacha Baron Cohen's latest character? He's masquerading as a person who wants to preserve free speech by censoring free speech, and as usual his audience is lapping it up. The only problem is, this isn't a joke and he's not acting. Find out why Sacha Baron Cohen is wrong about everything (including his own comedy) in this week's edition of #PropagandaWatch.

James Corbett breaks down Sacha Baron Cohen's speech to the Anti-Defamation League, where the veteran actor and comedian touched on a lot of important (and predictable) talking points.


Gary Weglarz ,

One can only assume that in the interests of objectivity and in resisting all forms of "hate" that Cohen will reprise his – "throw the Jew down the well" – audience participation skit somewhere in Israel next, maybe say in downtown Tel Aviv, or even in a settler community. There the skit could appropriately morph into leading a bar full of Israeli's in a rousing rendition of – "throw the Palestinian down the well," or perhaps a more generic "throw the Arab down the well," or depending upon the audience and its level of intoxication, maybe "shoot the Palestinian medic in the head," or "break the Palestinian child's arm with a rock," or other variations on such topical popular themes.

Maybe he could then show this new "comedy" video about the "existence of hate" at the next AIPAC conference as a consciousness raiser in an effort to fight against the hate and racism that all apartheid states are subject to. Then again, I think perhaps not – though one must admit it would make for some rather amazing and consciousness raising theatre – would it not?

Dungroanin ,

On the etymology of Cohen/Khan (etc) that has been mentioned in some comments – it is interesting.
One originates from a Priest class and the other from a Chieftain class. Theres is no genetic connection supposedly . Although central Asia connected a lot of peoples.

Interestingly Imran Khan PM of Pakistan, a Pashtun did seem to have an arranged marriage with a jewish princess, which was dissolved after there was progeny and before he gained his high office – not bad for a mere sportsman!
There are stories, apocryphal perhaps, that the great Priest/Chief Kissinger referred to him as 'our boy' who should be looked after as he progressed to his current high office.

Just mentioning out of curiosities sake. Khan is my cricketing hero as Cohen was once a comedy hero – until he tried his shtick on an elderly Tony Benn, but was bested by that great socialist. Not had any time for him since.

Antonym ,

Some Cohen recently calls for censorship? Big deal. Mo hamed called for censorship of other religions plus destruction of their idols and adherents in CE 630 but 1.5 billion adults are still stuck in that same track in 2020. Enormous oil and gas reserves were discovered and extracted from below their ignorant feet by Western Science and the Sunni ones are under the protection from the two Atlantic Anglo mercenaries who want to keep others mum about this (islamophobia).

To distract various sheep from this pact they have the bogey of "big bad" (actually minuscule) Israel, which they will keep alive for that purpose.

Only people who can actually count know the numbers of Muslims vs Jews today plus the wealth of oil & gas reserves vs the income from Facebook and some finance wizardry .

richard le sarc ,

In the West it is not the number of adherents, but the number of 'Binyamins' passed to the corrupt political scum that counts. Honestly, your undifferentiated Islamophobic hatred is SO very Talmudic, but you are hiding your even greater hatred of Christians, are you not. As a good Talmudic you hate Christian 'idolators' far more than Moslems, particularly your 'cousins' the Wahhabists. That's why your Orthodox brethren spit on priests, and urinate and expectorate on Churches in Israel at every opportunity. And pray to God every day for nor making them a goy or a woman. Such lovely people.

Harry Stotle ,

The 'thin edge of the wedge' metaphor is one of the important principles that usually crops up when discussing the kind of censorship Sacha Baron Cohen calls for (and lets at least be honest enough to call a spade a spade because we are talking about censorship here).

I mean if we are not careful we could have the police labelling certain forms of scientific discourse as extreme, presumably in an attempt to shut down those who do not see eye to eye with Scotland yards bungling detective, Inspector Lestrade?
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51071959

And it goes without saying that if a journalist reveals war crimes they are likely to be tortured by the British authorities while the MSM and political class, perhaps with the exception of Chris Williamson turn a blind eye.

So without a variety of different platforms how would people know about Nils Melzer's blistering take-down of the amoral actions of our very own, war loving government, for example – not to mention the abysmal behaviour of their lackies in the MSM.
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/01/10/assa-j10.html

Estaugh ,

Not my idea of a comic; cynical, unfunny, sadistic, macabre. Give me Benny Hill any day. If it is hollow laughs your after, go to Nutyahoo; remember his Iran N-bomb sketch? A real scream. Dick Cheyney and the anthrax sketch?; Ha ha bloody ha! Spaffers latest in the HOP, (regarding the murder of Solemaini), sure bought the House down. Maybe a few 'jokes' on homeless, the starving, the infirm, to harden your hearts and darken your minds, will aid you in the effort to continue existence in this "normal society."

George Cornell ,

And the never-to-be-forgotten subhuman empathy of Barbara Bush, opining that the black folk residing in the Astrodome, after having been made homeless after Hurricane Katrina, had never had it so good.

Now there's a kneeslapper! One vignette is all you need for many people. Do you think that has anything to do with the Americans refusing to count Iraqi casualties when they invaded? They never had it so good?

George Mc ,

I apologise in advance for the vagueness of the following – but I recall a time perhaps twenty years ago when there was a commemoration week about the Holocaust. There were tons of programmes and documentaries about it on TV – and of course I recall Mr Blair turning up for the big church service looking appropriately humbled. One of the programmes shown was, inevitably, the mammoth four hour docu "Shoah" and I daresay the Schindler movie had yet another outing.

However – in amongst all this mainstream stuff was a curious little one hour documentary which queried the whole issue – not disputing its existence but querying the constant emphasis on it with respect to other atrocities. And this is where I have to be vague – since I can't recall the name of the programme or of any of the participants. But the general consensus in this programme was that the Holocaust had such a high profile because it happened long ago and far away and – more to the point – it was someone else's fault. One woman said, after emphasising that she didn't mean to be facetious, that the Holocaust is "a good story" in that it had the perfect villains, the most pitiable victims and, of course "we" were the good guys. A guy spoke disparagingly about the constantly repeated "lessons to be learned" asking, "What are those lessons? Don't vote for Hitler? Don't kill six million Jews? Those are banal statements". The point was definitely made that the Holocaust was being used to trivialise and even cover up other crimes.

I mention this to say that there's no way this programme would have been shown nowadays. It would have been ignored. And, if it managed to get some publicity somewhere, the makers would have been ostracised in the press.

wardropper ,

To be fair, the crucial lesson to be learned is how big atrocities always have small beginnings, and the phrase, "nip it in the bud" might apply more than ever today – except that it's already too late. Pelosi refused to impeach Bush/Cheney, and western civilization has decided to allow thieving corporations to govern it.

norman wisdom ,

look up churchills autobiography

cannot remember how many books it was certainly more than 4.

thousands thousands thousands of pages.
find old copies

spend weeks reading and scanning
please upload the sections on the shoa or holocaust

old books are great sometimes you find them with pages ripped out especially history
funny that

richard le sarc ,

The turning of the Nazi Judeocide into a quasi-State religion throughout the West has been quite an achievement. It is used to justify every crime by Israel and rogue Jews (they do exist, along with the saints!)often as diversionary tactic (class 'whataboutism'), or directly, as was attested by Nancy Scheper-Hughes. Scheper-Hyphen is a highly regarded US medical anthropologist. She researched human organ trafficking some years ago, and discovered that the international trade is dominated by Israelis. And many, doctors and nurses included, told her, directly, that they saw their activities as 'restitution' for the Nazi Judeocide, which implies that the idea had been passively or actively transmitted in their ranks as a justification for an odious, but lucrative, practise. Just why poor Moldovans and the like were chosen to make restitution for Nazi crimes is beyond me. Naturally, when reports of Israeli, and Diaspora Jewish involvement in the human organ trafficking business became known, they were first vilified as 'blood libels', then disappeared TOTALLY, in the familiar fashion.

Gall ,

The irony is that Cohen's "humor" if one can call it that is inherently racist propaganda since it typifies stereotypes.

Yet I'd be the last one to suggest that he be censored but merely pointing out that like a double edged sword censorship can cut both ways depending on those wielding it whether it be Hitler's Germany or the ADL. They are just two sides of the same coin to mix metaphors.

wardropper ,

My solution is never to mix politics and humour. There IS no funny side to today's politics beyond the infantile hope that Trump's, Johnson's, or Nettie's pants might fall down when they give their next major speech.

BigB ,

Just to confirm: the prevailing mood is that we are so anti-censorship that the 'silicone six' – including Zuckerberg – can carry on amassing suprasovereign cyber-power – that ends any vestige of democracy – totally unchecked? And the 'intelligence superiority' vehicle of the CIA known as Alphabet/Google is beyond reproach? That the proliferation of unconfirmed opinion – unrelated to any fact – on any topic – including paedophilia – is a good thing? Are you fucking mad? Because that is what unmoderated 'free speech' content amounts to. Virtual insanity.

Take the Cohen Fetish out of the picture and actually consider the issues of the "ideological imperialism" the "silicone six" tech companies and their hold on humanity. Especially young and vulnerable humanity. The unfettered proliferation of any view whatsoever is a high-speed conduit to the gibbering, drooling, virtual-Windows-licking, locked-in institutionalised neoliberal Endtimes of humanity. To which people are literally addicted. Kids actually get sick if the cannot be connected through a device to their displaced digitised avatar lives. 'Cos the world beyond the digital encoded spectacular distraction has nothing much to offer and is barely worth living in.

There is actually a recognised disorder – Internet Addiction Disorder – very similar to other addictions (right down to the neural scans – it actually changes brain function AND structure) including the withdrawal symptoms. And you want Zuckerberg to have access to addicted enfeebled minds and shape them? Because FB can and did manipulate moods just by changing or removing 'likes'. Never mind the matter of all that data they hold on the unwary.

The internet is changing the way we relate: and not in a good way. It grew out of (D)Arpanet: and is well on its way to becoming a global community of control with the connectionist qualities of Skynet. It is not a space for freedom and never was: it is here to encode and enslave. Look where much of the seed funding came from in Nafeez Ahmed's piece linked below. And it is definitely not a space the big-tech oligopoly of the "Silicone Six" should monopolise. But that is what it is here for: an alternative connectome that's the singularity of the hypertext encoded mind.

So slag off Cohen: but think about where the totalised interconnection and manipulation of enfeebled minds leads with the infinite capacity to say anything about anything and have a global platform to do so. Is that a world you want to live in? Me neither.

lundiel ,

What on earth are you on about? There is censorship across the board in MSM and social media that has been growing year on year and is now justified by "fake news" and "conspiracy theorists". It's the reason this site exists, most of us were banned from posting opinion elsewhere. "Enfeebled minds" my arse, you don't have to engage with what offends you.

BigB ,

Young enfeebled minds. No one even considered there might be any merit in what was said jumping to the conclusion they were led to. Corbett isn't right about everything. In fact: he is very wrong about quite a lot but let's not go there.

Do you really consider that the silicone six are anything but ideological imperialists? Of course they are. The headline "SBC is wrong about everything" and the big red "WRONG" are misleading or perhaps leading. I asked people to consider the alternative: not jump to conclusion. How very imperial of me?

I asked people to consider what the internet and the Big-Tech companies are doing to human consciousness because the consequences will affect all of us. Have you got kids? I haven't: but I have watched a generation of tech-zombie kids turned into completely disassociated adults who are more or less bored with the Real compared to the Virtual. I've seen at least one serious accident because the young man was on the internet when he should have been paying attention to the building site.

All I wanted to point out was that the antipathy of censorship is a double-edged sword. Perhaps the unlimited proliferation of vitual-power and ungrounded opinions will lead to human freedom? In a parallel universe and separate pseudoworld: which is where many seem to want to live. Surely you can see how fucked up the internet is and how detrimental it is to humanity and human consciousness without resort to feigned outrage?

The issues are not binary black and white. The internet is symptomatic of our virtual insanity. I was hoping to get past the binary exclusive that SBC was wrong about everything. The silicone six are ideological imperialists he got that much right.

Tim Jenkins ,

BigB: excellent objectivity, though I should say first that this comment is made quite literally in a double state of concussion, exhaustion and 9 days antibiotics, after another crazy Balkan 'incident' last night: Bulgaria is a perfect example and demo. in the metaphoric sense as well, as confirmation of all that you just stated and for me personally, on the blunt end, it is very easy this morning to agree with all that you just stated.

However, the modern day failures in communications, both in Law and at the inter personal levels of private lives & our very existence in terms of recognising altered brain structures, is pre-ordained by the elites that have, in reality, ground zero interest in Real DATA , other than as a heavily censored tool with which to control the masses & more importantly, OUR Knowledge, designs & intentions, in every direction & in every sense of being, with inept programmes & corrupted algorithms, (just like V.W.) for their goals of total exploitation & arrogant domination of any team work,
by determining outcomes for pure self interest & corporate goals.

An Ex-Boeing employee summed it all up beautifully in 2017, commenting on the 737:

"Designed by clowns and supervised by monkeys",
& may I add, 'who criminally censor the real DATA !' indeed, so much so, that Todor Zhivkov's ex-bodyguard B.B. , Boyko Borisov, Bg.'s PM, can now today, (only this week in a meeting with Erdogan & Putin, discussing the South Stream pipeline), publicly declare that
"Bulgaria is Luxury".

What a complete comedy of violent errors & jokers, life has become:
critical thinking superfluous to any further evolution, by design.
My head hurts & my heart weeps for the loss in communications . . .
Never Censor Data, but 'they' do & the 'news' is "not news",
just corporate pure unadult erated self-interest in every sense.

Trotzdem BigB, i wish you a Happy New Year of doom & gloom, assured by the few, for the many. . . & re-insured by clowns, supervised by arrogant avaricious narcissistic monkeys.
Anybody with an appetite for peanuts & bananas up the bum, know this:
coming this year is the biggest financial watershed moment, throughout history,
with corporate time bombs & agendas laid everywhere,
at every level of society, you will surely see:
and your abject failures,
in critical thinking & math,
(let alone communications),
will be exposed & bite you so damn hard, I will laugh 🙂 more than ever.
I give up with the warnings, since the 80's,
based on direct first hand Knowledge & Real Data.
UCorporate Sovereign Clowns ?
(not you BigB 😉 )
R.i.P. Alexander Zakharchenko, who according to wikipaedo jokers, was "a Russian government effort" "to try to show the West that the uprising was a grassroots phenomenon", in reality,
all engineered by Silverbacks !
How utterly primitive . . . Gorillas in the mist & pissing,
over all communications.
See the steam or the meme of American dreams ?
Yanks go home & stop dreaming of US exceptionalism.
The biggest 'joke' ever for humanity ! Study Prison Data !
Oh, & Fuck Boyko Borisov, a complete scientific moronic puppet thug:
Kowtowing is for cowards and Boyko is truly a coward & cuckold.
USA's dream partner on the Balkans.

Dungroanin ,

Well BB , i sortta like your newish tune for the new year.

"asked people to consider what the internet and the Big-Tech companies are doing to human consciousness because the consequences will affect all of us."

Well you asked nicely enough – so let me add a bit of grist to the mill. You will no doubt use your big brain to incorporate it into your evolving narrative, i hope.

It is more than Human Consiousness that we are talking of here – it is machine.

When that machine conscious goes 'sentient' and becomes self motivated and capable of evolving and physically moveable – that is when we humans 'evolve' past this current long age too.

We are small gods who are creating actual gods – suprahuman if you will – they will be able to think faster, expand knowledge and technology faster and hopefully treat us and our planet better than some of us have done of the Earths totallity of Life. They will consider mere humans as just grass or ants or their primitive forebearers- Hopefully kindly. Like we do pets.

We are approching the age long thought out by some of our best imaginations. The Sci-Fi age of Cyborgs and Hyper Intelligence.

Keep evolving! It's the Planets and sentient lifes only hope for the unimaginable future ages.

Gary Weglarz ,

Given this performance for AIPAC, one must assume Mr. Cohen would approve of Paypal's censorship of Grayzone for daring to challenge MSM narratives on Iran with their reporting – err, rather I mean – "their conspiracy theories"

https://thegrayzone.com/2020/01/09/paypal-blocks-donations-iran/

Harry Stotle ,

'We "slaughtered" Jeremy Corbyn, says Israel lobbyist'
https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/asa-winstanley/we-slaughtered-jeremy-corbyn-says-israel-lobbyist?fbclid=IwAR0OcO0EG-a4ciAsyvHE-xsoltjgHqCkWzeLhJhn2eGWnkew23bFlchoViE

Looks like information wars are hotting up – may explain why Sacha is calling for selective forms of censorship?

Gary Weglarz ,

Thanks Harry, another article I've now saved to a pdf format for the "archives" – since as one observer has put it – "reality itself has now become a 'conspiracy theory.'"

richard le sarc ,

One cannot watch Borat without being shocked by the sheer hatred of others that drives it.

bevin ,

"hatred" and contempt, which bears all the marks of being affected: the intellectual as tough guy. An intellectual being someone with a passing acquaintance with the dominant culture and the cheek to pass it off as knowledge.

We are after all talking about "The Queen Mother's favorite TV comic." It is a bit like asking Dick Francis to reform the United Nations. Or Dame Margaret Hodge to defend poor people.

wardropper ,

Or you could find it funny on its own comedic terms, and then consider reality as an entirely separate issue. That's what I do.

I mean, is John Cleese's "funny walk" funny just as a walk, or because it is done as a City gent with bowler hat and umbrella?

Here's another example, where Spike Milligan offended SOME British Pakistani people by referring to their fondness for curry and their headgear, but in the unlikely context of a dalek's mundane home life. Context is crucial here, since being brought up when Dr. Who's daleks were a scary new thing, and knowing that Milligan himself had the traumatic experiences of WW2 behind him, makes this "cosy" family scene surreally funny. If you know nothing of that background, then the sketch is meaningless, and that's where the temptation to find racist undertones comes in.
https://youtu.be/C0n88tZQc4Q

richard le sarc ,

What else do you expect in a country, and in the West in general, totally controlled even to the point of 'thought crime' by Judeofascists, Zionists and the Sabbat Goy stooges?

Capricornia Man ,

Australia's "opposition leader" recently told a conference of his Labor Party's Chifley Institute of the damage that "the media" were doing to democracy. His target? Facebook. No censure, apparently, of the damage done – not least to the ALP – by Murdoch's empire which owns/controls 70 per cent of the nation's print media. Some "leader".

richard le sarc ,

Adipose Albo is the end-stage of the descent of the ALP into the very pit of irrelevancy. Now just another neo-liberal (they boast that it was they, under millionaires Hawke and Keating, who introduced neo-liberalism, here known, tragi-comically as 'economic rationalism', to the country)party serving the Bosses first, last and always, not even pretend 'Green' anymore, groveling to the USA, Sinophobic to the point of derangement, and loving Israel to the outer limits of devotion. In forty odd years they went from a giant, Whitlam, surrounded by other moral and intellectual heavy-weights, to a rabble of opportunists believing in nothing but the power of money, the universal lubricant. Oppose Murdoch-they haven't got the guts for it.

Capricornia Man ,

Sums them up perfectly. They don't lack the courage of their convictions – because they have none.

Charlotte Russe ,

Sacha Baron Cohen is a comedian and writer with a net worth of $130 million, he's the British equivalent of Ellen Degeneres a security state lapdog deployed to rehabilitate war criminals like George W. Bush. Cohen, another lackey cleverly uses his celebritydom as a "liberal" comedian to gain public acceptance for internet censorship. This is not to spare the public from
anti-semitic howlings, but to "eliminate" points of view challenging Western imperialist policies in the Middle East.

American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL work hand in glove to suppress attacks against Israel. In fact, the ADL was one of the first organizations to call on Congressional leaders to take action against Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar for invoking the anti-Semitic trope of "dual loyalty" when referring to members of AIPAC. The real objective of the ADL is to gather U.S. support for Israel. Sacha Baron Cohen is a wealthy neoliberal shill for the Israeli Government, and the British/US security state.

http://bostonreview.net/politics/emmaia-gelman-anti-defamation-league-not-what-it-seems

richard le sarc ,

The ADL is one of the largest private spying agencies in the USA. They collect information on millions guilty of 'opposing the Jews' in any way. It was they who provided the surveillance on Martin Luther King that J. Edgar Hoover used to blackmail King and urge him to commit suicide.

Charlotte Russe ,

In the past, the ADL were considered a right-wing operation. Checkout the link in my original post. Here's another interesting article from 1993 entitled: "New Details of Extensive ADL Spy Operation Emerge : Inquiry: Transcripts reveal nearly 40 years of espionage by a man who infiltrated political groups." Many famous celebrities are security state assets, and work for the Orwellian-style Ministry of Propaganda.

Gall ,

ADL and FBI have had a symbiotic relationship right from the very beginning. Also a little known fact is that many members of the Masonic organization known as the B'nia B'rith that founded the ADL were slave holders and racists.

This becomes obvious when one reads the transcripts of Leo Frank's trial who tried to discredit the witnesses against him by pointing out that they were black.

Frank by the way was the Executive Director of B'nia B'rith in Atlanta. Another little known fact was that he and B'nia B'rith first tried to frame the murder on the completely innocent night watchman who reported the crime who just happened to be black.

BigB ,

Hold on with your binary judgments: Cohen makes some very good points (to a very biased audience it's true) before drawing some very bad conclusions. The very worst people to adjudicate moral right from wrong are the ADL, the recuperated NAACP, or the government any government. I had to look up Masnick's Impossibility Theorem: which I found to be self-evidently true. But I was aware of another Impossibility Theorem – Arrow's – that correlates it. There is no inherently unbiased way to estimate the Common Good. Letting a small but very vociferous group – like the ADL – have undue influence over the potentiality of censorship is a dreadful idea. But the totally unmoderated proliferation of fact free and prejudiced opinions – given virtual space to breed like bacteria – is an equally terrible solution. Popper's 'Paradox of Tolerance' also has to be considered: lest we become subsumed by intolerance.

https://medium.com/the-politicalists/karl-popper-john-rawls-the-paradox-of-tolerance-f7d9a74a5a86

So this is perhaps an 'impossibility' conundrum with no positive outcome? Are we at Rawl's point of no longer tolerating the intolerant? Will 'no-platforming' act as an accelerant to actually catalyse the rise of fascism? James tacitly showed 'the answer' – which is is a turn away from digitised virtual to face-to-face actual human relations. Where we all self-censor for the Common Good. Which is the basis of all true socialism: shared work; shared ownership of the means of production; shared ownership of property (except personal property); shared responsibility; etc. Which, along with Arrow's Theorem (which challenges the assumption that democracy is inherently 'fair') – entails smaller, localised, holarchic and heteronomous relations and units of organisation. It is a fundament of globalisation: the autonomisation of prejudiced fact-free opinionated bias. And with it: the virtual social relations and organisation around opinion – that gave rise to social media. Entailed by the economics of opinion and the politics of the opinionated.

Humanity has a serious problem: itself. Or more literally: its-Self. The self is pathological opinion. The virtual self is freed of many extant social norms to become a virulent socio-pathogenesis – if allowed. The self is a narrative construction that we fashion out of self-confirmation biases to be the best socially acceptable and valuable (social capital; social currency) confection of representations of representations that conform to appearance. The apparition of being is appearing to be. I'm not talking about social media. I'm talking about the social ground of vapidity that social media is the technocracy of.

What is perhaps more scary is that it is not just social media that is ungrounded and proliferating prejudice from fact-free virtual avatars of mediocrity and loneliness – it is the whole of bourgeois society the Spectacle (which is already 50 years old and long predates even the internet). And we can draw a line of flight back 150 years of the Fetish of the self – as the socially-transferable and transactable 'universal equivalent' money-form – right back to Marx. And the subjectification of human virtual object relations did not start there.

In a bourgeois society: the self is ungrounded and autonomised in a set of make-believe social relations which are all inherently prejudiced, fact-free, independent of reality, and deeply unconscious. So the fact-free censor the fact-free and the prejudiced censor the prejudiced? Unless we can turn away from this and toward a more direct 'face-to-face' de-commodified and de-monetised set of human relations organised around authentic and meaningful experiential cooperation and 'means of life' economics then the dark-gravity cyber-blackhole of emptiness and loneliness at the heart of globalised and digitised human virtuality will continue to expand and proliferate prejudice. And the only thing that can slow it is the bourgeois prejudiced.

Shut the internet down and return to more socially instantiated relations is actually among James' repertoire of solutions in his expanded ouvre. But anarchy is unpopular. That is because capitalism colonised the entire planet with its virtual inevitability and digital desirability by obscuring humanities true relationship with the environment. We mimic nature to enfold ourselves in nature at a human-scale of affordability on natures budget and finance terms: not our bourgeois imaginary ones.

In the meantime: pass the image of the fair-trade popcorn.

bevin ,

".. the totally unmoderated proliferation of fact free and prejudiced opinions – given virtual space to breed like bacteria – is an equally terrible solution."

Leaving aside the obvious point that the "unmoderated proliferation of opinions" is obviously a contradiction in terms, we are left with the ancient wisdom that some authority ought to be entrusted with moderation duties. I think we have been there before.

Gall ,

Yes it seems by "free speech" is "freedom for me and not for thee". The cover for their actual objective has become as transparent as Saran Wrap which is basically to control the narrative especially regarding the state of Israel's genocidal actions against the Indigenous population just as it was getting teleSur delisted for exposing the genocide occurring in South America under various Neo-Liberal regimes there.

BigB ,

The only capable moral authority is our own. Freed from any authoritarian overpower. Including financialised commodity exchange. It's a pretty standard anti-capitalist critique.

Just about a month ago you were raving for us to re-constitute a neoliberal globalist imperialist state. Which I also happen to think is a terrible idea the epitome of unfreedom. I clearly stated there is no solution: so why suggest one? I merely pointed out Cohen stated some self-obvious truths and the simple binary that he was all "WRONG" is itself wrong.

So are you saying that the silicone six are not ideological imperialists? Because I find that to be self-obvious too.

bevin ,

" Just about a month ago you were raving for us to re-constitute a neoliberal globalist imperialist state. "
Or, in more accessible language- urging people to support Corbyn in the General Election.
The nonsense that this was "to re-constitute a neoliberal globalist imperialist state" added to the fact that you warned against it, presumably leads us to the conclusion that the reconstitution that you feared has not occurred.
" I clearly stated there is no solution: so why suggest one? "
I'm very sorry. Look after yourself and steer clear of bourgeois philosophers.

BigB ,

You seem very naive about how power is constituted. I did explain it all at the time. The vote validates the entire neoliberal power structure: not just the national one. The national legislature is a bureaucracy and government of occupation. Power is suprasovereign and resides 'offshore' as a global governance architecture. Clearly globalisation, World System Theory, Postcolonialism, Dependency Theory, and Ecological Unequal Exchange all passed you by?

The world in which one man can change the power structure does no exist. Particularly one man who was complicit. In your own description the Labour Party was two thirds neoliberal, Zionist, and imperialist. Ergo: by your own calculus you urged that we empower the neoliberal Zionist imperialists. How is that working out?

In actual fact the election returned the Trump/Johnson and Pompeo/Raab axis at the core of neoliberal capitalism. So please do not lecture me on politics. Your political acumen is in returning the global neoliberal power structure and legitimating its existence. All I have ever tried to do is delegitimate its existence.

All philosophers are bourgeois: with very few exceptions. If you ever switch sides and join the anti-capitalist ranks: you might want to check out the exegesis of Marx I have been recommending. Fighting neoliberalism by voting for it is spectacularly naive: as I pointed out to you and Phillip. Look where it has got us.

I can't bring the whole of Critical Theory and the Continental Tradition to life in a comment. But where I am coming from has its roots in a new reality. That makes no sense to the old. Every category of knowledge from the old 'ontotheological' Western Tradition is wrong. Most of it is contraindicated by the latest research and science. And yet we insist reality is created by the Cartesian subject and bring everything within the gaze of its duality with the mind-independent objective world. This is a monumental category error which constitutes a cascading categorisation error across the entire institutionalised power and knowledge system. In effect: it is totally invalidated from its Foundation and Essentialism upward. Which results in a 'disembodied' institutionalised reality and bourgeois neoliberal political economy – even by your own logical calculus. One that is killing us: in case you have yet to notice.

There are no reformations or alterations. They are all exhausted. A new higher order reality emerges as an Aufhenbung – one that contains the old but supervenes it at the same time. I do not expect people to understand. But that is where we are at. The new emerges from the old before the the old confines and cuts us off from reality completely. Validating the old structures and strictures is all that is preventing this. The new reality is already here: just as we stop imposing our old, timeworn, and mutually assured destructive ways of being on it. And it is built on pure socialism and ecology: which, BTW, is also the only survivability option we have.

bevin ,

" The vote validates the entire neoliberal power structure: not just the national one. "
No it does not. Votes do various things depending upon the historical circumstances in which they are cast.
Underneath the name dropping and the ex cathedra pomposities most of your screeds are simply crude ad hominem attacks on people such as Corbyn and, in the present case, me.
There is, for example, no evidence at all to sustain this gratuitous insult:
"Clearly globalisation, World System Theory, Postcolonialism, Dependency Theory, and Ecological Unequal Exchange all passed you by?"
Nor is there any indication that you have understood any of them.

Then there are statements of this kind
"you might want to check out the exegesis of Marx I have been recommending. Fighting neoliberalism by voting for it is spectacularly naive: as I pointed out to you and Phillip. Look where it has got us."
Well, where has it (voting) got us? A case can be made for abstention but it would be impossible to argue seriously that posting comments on this site could be described as a serious attempt to enrol support for it.

"I can't bring the whole of Critical Theory and the Continental Tradition to life in a comment. But where I am coming from has its roots in a new reality. That makes no sense to the old. Every category of knowledge from the old 'ontotheological' Western Tradition is wrong. "
In other words ' you wouldn't be able to understand what the authors of the books with which I claim to be acquainted think. Suffice it to say that they are very clever and reject, in my view, all knowledge amassed before they started scribbling."
Predictably enough, just as your initial contributions concluded with a suggestion that a person such as yourself might serve as an arbiter of truth-you having considerable experience in the business- your current argument concludes with this shimmering banality
" Western Tradition is wrong. Most of it is contraindicated by the latest research and science."

Antonym ,

So be happy with types like richard le sarc shitting all over your site all the time

richard le sarc ,

And you exude delicacies of kosher comestibles, don't you antonym.

norman wisdom ,

it is antonym non entity
that walks into the house and takes an idf dump on the goyims carpet.
already

Vivian J ,

How naive we were (or rather I was) to take his 'comedy' characters at face value rather than seeing them for what they were – the products of an ardent Zionist with an agenda to mock or demonise Muslim characters (Ali G and Borat) as stupid and/or racist, a fact which gradually dawned on me. He is just doing the equivalent of what his co-Zionists in Hollywood have been doing very successfully for decades (as the late Dr Jack Shaheen so thoroughly studied and exposed in his documentary and book) – portraying the brown-skinned peoples of the middle-East (Arabs, Persians, same difference) as villains, barbarians and terrorists, with never a positive portrayal to be found (with all that entails regarding the perception management of Israel's crimes and America's wars of aggression )

Seamus Padraig ,

All of SBC's original characters symbolize the historic enemies of the Jews:

– Ali G the Brit Paki
– Borat the Slavic bumpkin
– Gen./Adm. Aladeen, the Islamic ruler
– Brüno Gerhard, the gay Austrian (get it?)

SBC always had an agenda from the start. His comedy was always first and foremost a weapon .

richard le sarc ,

His vicious portrayal of others as 'antisemites', in Borat, was one of the foulest displays of pathological psychological projection, the bedrock of his Talmudic Orthodoxy, imaginable. We hate all non-Jews, as our 'Holy' texts and behaviour make plain, so we must project our hatred of them, onto them, and claim that they ALL want to destroy us, therefore we must destroy 'them' eg the Palestinians, to protect ourselves.

Gall ,

They've been doing that to the Indigenous population for centuries beginning with the lie that America "was untamed wilderness" and that American Indians were "primitive bloodthirsty savages". Two propositions that have been proven false 1) by archeologists and 2) honest historians yet the myth continues thanks to Hollywood who obviously uses this mythology to continue the Zionist (Christian and Jewish) project of world wide genocide.

People like Cohen are basically the tip of the spear. What really upsets them is that these lies are being exposed by alternative sources that are not under their direct control.

lundiel ,

When Cohen used to pretend to be a thick, racist misogynist, Jew hater to con gullible Americans for our entertainment. It wasn't political theatre, it was base, cringe worthy humour in the way it was presented. It was something that you probably couldn't even laugh at without risking being expelled from the Labour party today. 'Being Jewish' himself, allowed him to get away with it. It's a pity that being Jewish and claiming Corbyn wasn't an anti-Semite didn't make a blind bit of difference to the totally political narrative.

jay ,

I think that the Americans in His film where just too polite not to go along with His crass nonsense SBC was being humoured.
A lot of comedians are only acting 'crass' they are not actually crass.
Sure.

lundiel ,

People take, from that kind of humour, what they will. In UK Al Murray used to do a character called Pub Landlord who portrayed ignorant racists to take the piss out of them. He found a lot of his fans wanted him to say what they thought but couldn't say in public. With Cohen, everyone was characterised, his Borat character made fun of Kazakhstanis, Cohen made fun of uneducated Americans and he used Jewish tropes with no blowback.
IMO, he should be allowed to do this but last year it became a thought crime in this country.

Martin Usher ,

Borat used unwitting Romanians -- specifically Romanian Roma -- as a proxy for Kazakhstanis. This was a novel and ingenious idea that was totally wrong on many, many, levels. Fortunately for me I don't get this type of humor, I don't find it interesting, because SBC might claim he's being self-deprecating but in reality he's reinforcing cultural and racial stereotypes. Its not smart to make fun of people without their active cooperation.

(BTW -- The people of Glod were justifiably annoyed when the movie came out. It didn't help that their village actually looks as crap as the place portrayed in the Borat movie (and nothing like typical Romanian villages.)

Gall ,

Personally I disagree with the assessment that they're acting out of "kindness". America as anywhere else has its share of racist morons that can be exploited by the media to make their kinder, gentler form of racism seem more "reasonable".

What Bertram Gross calls "Friendly Fascism".

TFS ,

Maybe SBC could go in character or not and look at the preducies/rascism of these individuals.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/IDqeS157ZJQ?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

[Jan 11, 2020] Yellow west protests intensify. Macron offers some concessions

Jan 11, 2020 | off-guardian.org

RobG ,

French PM makes major concession to unions over pension age And by the way, what I'm saying here does relate directly to Golstein's piece above.

richard le sarc ,

Obviously the Sabbat Goy Micron will renege on any 'concessions' once he gets the opportunity-his owners expect nothing else.

RobG ,

Macron is toast, as are all the rest of the neo-con lunatics.

RobG ,

Paris this afternoon

https://twitter.com/afHRNikLepxHzEP/status/1216037864212967425

And Paris again this afternoon

https://twitter.com/ActionBrexit/status/1216064566544732161

Nantes this afternoon

https://twitter.com/BasedPoland/status/1216011343918174209

Lyon this afternoon

https://twitter.com/Ian56789/status/1216020790946168833

Rouen this afternoon

https://twitter.com/Ellefan_SC/status/1216042562039025665

I could go on and on with this, to try and show people what is happening in towns and cities all across France right at this minute.

Liberté, égalité, fraternité is pinned-up on the wall of every Marie (town hall) in France.

Gall ,

Seems the French are Making Guillotines Great Again.

RobG ,

I don't know where you live, Gall, but believe me, they'll be coming for you next.

RobG ,

On Thursday French lawyers joined the general strike. French police prevented the lawyers from putting a motion against the French government

https://twitter.com/BasedPoland/status/1215769472268689409

Many lawyers across the country protested; this video is from Lille

https://twitter.com/ohboywhatashot/status/1215576121137422338

RobG ,

The strength of the demonstrations today in France has been stoked by events in the Middle East.

Only complete psychopaths want war, but unfortunately we are ruled by psychopaths.

Millions came out on the streets of France today and stuck up a finger to the psychopaths.

I wonder when you timid little mice in the US and UK will finally find the balls to do the same thing?

I'm not holding my breathe

Grafter ,

Yellow Vests ? No it can't be true because it's not on the BBC.

[Jan 11, 2020] The resonances with the MH17 atrocity are uncanny.

Jan 11, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Jan 11, 2020

David Macilwain ,

Your post merely adds to the feeling something very very odd has gone on here, as the resonances with the MH17 atrocity are uncanny. If the Ukrainian army had come out and admitted, in only two days, that their unit from Lviv had accidentally hit MH17 instead of the plane Putin was allegedly travelling in over the same area, then things may have been very different. But of course they didn't, and didn't need to, as fighter jets had done the job for them anyway. On the other hand, had the Separatists trying to defend the population from Kiev's air campaign from fighter jets and military transports accidentally hit MH17 they would have been the first to admit it. Those claiming they were responsible, before Higgins concocted his silly story, admitted that it would have been a "tragic accident" – as Morrison has described this latest crash – but soon started blaming them. Talk of Kiev being partly responsible for allowing MH17 to fly, off course, over an active war zone, also went unheard.

But of course the two events are not the same, and not connected, or are they?

Did the Ukrainian plane have its transponder turned on? Was it the first plane to leave Tehran following the Iranian missile volleys? Would a cruise missile have been launched from Afghanistan towards the firing site in Kermanshah, passing over Tehran? What went on in the control tower of Imam Khomeini airport?
Nothing is clear yet, except "cui bono".

[Jan 11, 2020] DISCUSS Iran Admit to Shooting Down Ukrainian Passenger Flight OffGuardian

Jan 11, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Editor

(Photo by Akbar TAVAKOLI / IRNA / AFP)

Earlier today, President Rouhanie of Iran formally admitted that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps had shot down the Ukrainian passenger jet leaving Tehran a few days ago.

Speculation has been rampant, but here are the alleged facts of the case, at this time:

In the early hours of the 8th January, Iran launched missiles at two US-occupied bases in Iraq. This was done in retaliation for the death of General Qassem Soleimani. Ukraine Airlines flight PS 752 departed Tehran airport on 8th January. Three minutes later it crashed. There were 176 passengers/crew on board. Mostly Iranians, Ukrainians and Canadians. Within hours, Western media were quoting anonymous "Iraqi intelligence officials" that Iran had shot the plane down "likely by accident". The US State Dept, and their proxy NGOs, echoed this theory. A great rundown of who said what and when can be found on Moon of Alabama . Despite at first denying these accusations, the Iranian government has since admitted to "accidentally" downing the plane. Their statement can be read here (or here in the original Farsi). Iran claim the missiles were launched by an individual who was out of radio contact with his commander and "panicked" upon seeing the fast-moving object on radar. Response to the admission has come from many world leaders. Justin Trudeau called for "further investigation", Vladimir Zelensky demanded Iran take "full responsibility", whilst Boris Johnson called it "an important first step". The US has already announced further sanctions. Reports are already coming in of "unrest" and "protests" in the wake of this admission. The Guardian and Newsweek, among others, claiming young people especially are tired of the leadership demanding "resignations and prosecutions" (we are, as yet unable to confirm these protests took place).

So what does this mean for the region as a whole?

Will this – as Boris Johnson said – be "first step to de-escalation" in the region? Will there be extensive protests? Will Iraq now rescind their demand the US leave their country?

As always, discuss below.


Protect ,

Sabotage can take many shapes and forms. Remember when the Syrian army was fooled into shooting down a Russian surveillance aircraft with 15 people onboard?
Those imposing punitive santions and continually threatening a desstructive war must definitely be held responsible for the extreme conditions they have created.

Charlotte Russe ,

The conditional word "if" often is used to begin describing the most horrific events. If they hadn't been driving the night the other car careened into their lane; if they didn't go into that store shortly before the robbery; if they didn't go sailing during an awful storm; if Trump didn't order the assassination of General Soleimani 176 innocent civilians would still be alive; and if all imperialist wars would stop collateral murder would also end.

An Iranian Officer mistook the plane for a hostile missile and made the "bad decision" to open fire. He said he "wished" he "was dead" when he learned about the downing of the aircraft. There were 82 Iranians aboard the Boeing Jet.

Most on the plane were graduate students from Canada. I was not aware that Canada is home to a large Iranian diaspora, with some 210,000 citizens of Iranian descent.

"The country is also a popular destination for Iranian graduate and postdoctoral students to study and conduct research abroad, which is why many students were on the flight, returning to university following the winter break.

There is also no direct flight between Canada and Iran, and the Ukraine International Airlines flight from Tehran to Kiev and then to Toronto is popular because it is one of the most affordable options for the journey."

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51053220

KneelB4Zod! ,

Not mentioned before – and it is another reason why I still consider that the incident is not just human error but sabotage: In 6 months embargo on weapon sales to Iran will expire and the country will be able to buy S-400, Iskanders or fighter jets. Quite good reason to awake sleeping agent

Philpot ,

Are the Integrity Initiative hard at work on here?

David Macilwain ,

Your post merely adds to the feeling something very very odd has gone on here, as the resonances with the MH17 atrocity are uncanny. If the Ukrainian army had come out and admitted, in only two days, that their unit from Lviv had accidentally hit MH17 instead of the plane Putin was allegedly travelling in over the same area, then things may have been very different. But of course they didn't, and didn't need to, as fighter jets had done the job for them anyway. On the other hand, had the Separatists trying to defend the population from Kiev's air campaign from fighter jets and military transports accidentally hit MH17 they would have been the first to admit it. Those claiming they were responsible, before Higgins concocted his silly story, admitted that it would have been a "tragic accident" – as Morrison has described this latest crash – but soon started blaming them. Talk of Kiev being partly responsible for allowing MH17 to fly, off course, over an active war zone, also went unheard.

But of course the two events are not the same, and not connected, or are they?

Did the Ukrainian plane have its transponder turned on? Was it the first plane to leave Tehran following the Iranian missile volleys? Would a cruise missile have been launched from Afghanistan towards the firing site in Kermanshah, passing over Tehran? What went on in the control tower of Imam Khomeini airport?
Nothing is clear yet, except "cui bono".

Dimly Glimpsed ,

Matt,

Have you considered the arguments and evidence which show the BUK missile in the MH17 case came from the Ukranian government-controlled battery?

Also, from what I can recall, the Americans and NATO countries routinely lie about everything. Mike Pompeo, the American Secretary of State, for example, in a April, 2019 speech at Texas A&M, made the following statement about the CIA:

"I was the CIA Director – We Lied, We Cheated, We stole".

Trump lies so routinely that lying is now becoming normalized in American society.

The "Allies" appear to be lying not only about MH17, but also about the Skripal case, the charges (backed up by lies by the U.N. agency OPCW) that Assad used sarin and/or chlorine in Douma, that Huawei technology is insecure because there are hidden back doors (true of Cisco with CIA back doors, but no one can prove any exist in Huawei), etc.

Perhaps you recall that the "Allies" launched a war of aggression against Iraq, based on the false charge that Saddam had nuclear weapons, and backed up by a sloppy and juvenile "sexed up dossier" that Tony Blair's government used as justification, and lies such as the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassdor claiming that Saddam's soldiers threw babies out of incubators.

Perhaps you recall that the USA used illegal chemical weapons such as white phosphorus in its extermination of the civilian city Fallujah during the American attack on Iraq. Perhaps you are aware that the "Allies" hide and deny Israel's proven use of white phosphorus on the captive Palestinian population, along with using the Palestinians as human shields and killing unarmed Palestinian women and children targeted intentionally by snipers.

If your interest is an objective view of matters, the hopefully you'll consider the track records of the players involved. Iran has invaded no other country in hundreds of years. The US is the world champion of invading other countries, and Britain and France have disgraceful histories of colonization and genocidal crimes against native peoples, as does America and other members of the "Allies", including Australia and Canada.

I could go on, and on, and on. The "Allies" are much more guilty of killing and lies than Iran.

As you may know, the CIA has assassinated a number of country leaders, including several in South America, by bombing planes. Rumor is that is what the CIA had planned for Evo Morales, which is why he fled to Mexico, knowing the USA and traitors in the Bolivian army were planning just such an assassination.

I'm also having a bit of difficulty recalling many lies by the Iranians. On the other hand, from mere recollection alone, I could keep typing for yours adding to a list of lies I do recall by America and the Europeans, many of which were coverups of bloody insurrections, assassinations and murders.

Bottom line: I don't trust anything America or the Europeans say. They are biased, have a track record of lying, and have a history of unclean hands. The Iranians, on the other hand, have a much better record in all those areas.

Paul ,

It was the same in Iran back in 1953 with the sudden appearance of angry and armed 'anti a Communists' protesting the government, winding up the political time bomb. It cost the State Department a lot of money – although not as much as spent on the Shah! Later these mercenary protesters, often special forces types seeped in brutality upped the PR with flowers and colours as symbols. In other places, where they faced serious opposition they reverted to the dirtiest of tricks involving snipers creating havoc, as in Kiev in 2014. Something similar seems to be happening in Hong King and Tehran but then did anybody expect the Empire to roll over?!

Brian Steere ,

I don't see reason to doubt this. A suspicious mind can conjecture – but why would Iran admit this unless they verified that it happened?

If combatants are killed in the line of duty it is part of the risk of combat.
When civilians are killed in error it is tragic.

War and fear of attack are extremely dangerous. 'Friendly fire' so called, is not uncommon.

In this sense the token 'revenge' has backfired.

But the full facts may not be known.

KneelB4Zod! ,

As I wrote, it's strangely convenient for the hegemons. Now Trump even tweets in Farsi, supporting Tehran protest.

I have no doubt that the plane was downed by Iranian missile. But was it an error? It's not outside of realm of possibilities that it was a sabotage. Mole withing air defense unit nearby Tehran's civil airport.

Under the current circumstances it's less damaging for Iran to take responsiblity for the tragedy then admit that the internal security was severely breached and infiltrated by hostile forces.

Jack_Garbo ,

As has already been stated, the Iranian attacked on two US bases was not the "revenge" for Soleimani's assassination, but a show of 1. Iranian tactical ability (warned first, no casualties), 2, the beginning of revenge for Soleimani and others killed by the US presence. It has only begun.
Don't think like a (short-term) Westerner, but like a long term Easterner. The US will eventually be driven out, the Iranians will them them good-bye.

KneelB4Zod! ,

Considering the fact how convenient the whole airliner incident is for the hegemons I still have doubts if it was just human error.

Pompeo tweeting support for Tehran protest which follows today's announcement. British ambassador arrested amid participation in it. It pseaks loud imo

JudyJ ,

If the footage of the missile striking the plane is genuine, I remain unclear as to why someone would have been, it would appear, randomly pointing a phone camera at a black night sky on the outskirts of Tehran at 6.30 in the morning and, by sheer coincidence, caught the moment of impact. The way the camera was being aligned would suggest the person behind the camera was anticipating a particular event and was eager to capture it on film. Maybe I'm being unduly suspicious. Of course we don't know for sure that the footage in question was indeed genuine.

Mike Leach ,

I don't think there's any such thing as 'unduly suspicious' in the present state of the world.

Derek ,

Iran claim the missiles were launched by an individual who was out of radio contact with his commander and "panicked" upon seeing the fast-moving object on radar.

More than one missile was launched so is it not possible that's why the person was filming?

Loverat ,

One thing I think I mentioned on another thread as cynical as it is, this plane possibly might have been shot down deliberately by Iran. If you think about it, this event has distracted and possibly taken the 'sting' out of the main event. And of course if the West knows the plane was shot down by Iran deliberately it could have been a message not to retaliate for the air base attack. Iran admitting it accidentally shot down the plane might take some of the force out of my argument/ possible theory but then again this might be an effort to take out the 'secondary sting or risk of retaliation. Hope that makes some sense!

Let's face it, there are other states aside from US and UK might create or stage 'events'. As for demos in Iran, can't really see why this would be a major issue for Iranians, or if so likely to be significantly talked up by Pompeo and extremist war rags like the Guardian.

But who really knows at this stage?

Martin Usher ,

Actually, it ruined what should have been a perfect response. I honestly thought their air defenses were more sophisticated than they were, in particular that there was a level of coordination between individual units and a command and control center that could verify whether a threat was real or not. We can speculate about whether this event was engineered or not but as far as I'm concerned its a screwup of the same order as the Vincennes incident. (The only different being that the Iranians didn't have a news crew taping 'our boys' in action while they paniced and overreacted.)

Sad as this is I don't think it will happen again. Needless to say we in the US will make as much political capital about it as we can but then its our job.

[Jan 11, 2020] People vs money

Notable quotes:
"... It all depends on what the penalties are. Confiscation of hidden assets would chill that behavior, strike one. Loss of the privilege to conduct business with federal and state entities would also chill such behavior, strike two. Finally, for persistent violations of the cap, loss of citizenship and expulsion form the country, three strikes and you are literally out, would be the ultimate penalty. ..."
"... The United States is actually both a federation (hardly unique by the way) and a representative democracy. Whether you call them members of Parliament or members of Congress, their representatives are elected by the people. ..."
Jan 11, 2020 | www.theguardian.com

apacheman -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 23:32

Excuse me?

Huge numbers of people who disagree with me and don't share my particular beliefs are not sociopaths, nothing would stop them from running or holding office, and I've no problem with that.

Are you arguing that sociopaths have an inalienable right to hold office, even though they will inevitably use that office to aggrandize themselves at the expense of everyone else, and could spark a general war just for their own enjoyment and to gather yet more power to themselves?

THAT I'm not ok with, are you?

DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> apacheman , 7 Jul 2018 21:12
How do people who don't share your beliefs get represented if you rig the system to exclude them? People unlike you are sociopaths? It isn't even tempting. Your cost benefit study benefits you. The world is destabilized if your guys don't get in? No surprise.
HauptmannGurski -> Aseoria , 7 Jul 2018 20:26
I know, and Bush I was head of the CIA. Strange that one matters and the other does not.
Sisyphus2 -> Byron Delaney , 7 Jul 2018 20:05
Love this line: "the gig economy combined with record debt and astronomically high rent prices cancel out any potential economic stability for millions of people."

The under-employment rate is also very informative. People working less hours or in lower positions than their investment in education should have returned to them. They are working, but not enough to be able to independently sustain themselves, which makes them insecure in variety of ways.

Aseoria -> ildfluer , 7 Jul 2018 19:52
Do you think the interpreters might turn out to be agents, or perhaps even assassins, from other governments? Or maybe everybody will be knocked out with fentanyl gas at dinner. In the dining room.
Aseoria -> consumerx , 7 Jul 2018 19:47
Typical Good-Cop Bad-Cop from here in the vaunted "Two-Party" system of the USA gov
Janaka77 -> petersview , 7 Jul 2018 19:05
I like the way the Republic of Ireland puts strict restrictions on political spending for their elections - including their presidential elections.
apacheman -> memo10 , 7 Jul 2018 19:02
1. It all depends on what the penalties are. Confiscation of hidden assets would chill that behavior, strike one. Loss of the privilege to conduct business with federal and state entities would also chill such behavior, strike two. Finally, for persistent violations of the cap, loss of citizenship and expulsion form the country, three strikes and you are literally out, would be the ultimate penalty.

The alternative, continuing to allow unlimited wealth accumulation will ultimately destroy democracy and end in a dictatorship nearly impossible to remove without massive casualties. Is that preferable to trying to control the behavior of wealth addicts? Make no mistake: billionaires are addicts, their uncontrollable addiction to more is an extreme form of hoarding dysfunction, one that, like all uncontrolled addictions, has had disastrous consequences for everyone but them.

3. Fewer Representatives means you are concentrating power rather than dispersing it. More means smaller districts, which in turn means more accountability, not less. As it stands now, Congresscritters can safely ignore the wishes of the public, because when someone "represents" nearly a million citizens, it means they actually represent only themselves. If taken in conjunction with item #2, more citizens would be invested in the political process and far more likely to pay attention.

4. The Hare test is a standard written exam that is difficult to cheat. Getting caught at cheating or attempting to cheat would mark one automatically as a sociopath. The latest studies of brain structures show that sociopaths have physically different brains, and those physical differences are detectable. Brain activity as shown by fMRI also clearly marks a sociopath from a normal, since while they can fake emotional responses very well, their brain activity shows their true lack of response to emotionally charged images, words, etc. Using a three-layer test, written>fMRI>genetic should be robust enough to correctly identify most. The stakes are too huge to risk a set of sociopaths and their lackeys control of the machinery of government. The genetic test is the most likely to give problematic results, but if the written is failed, the fMRI would then be done to confirm or reject the written results, while the genetics would be a supplementary confirmation. Widespread genetic testing of politicians and would-bes would undoubtedly advance research and understanding dramatically.

When you do even a casual cost-benefit study, the answer is clear: test them. Ask yourself: is the thwarting of an individual's potential career in politics really that great a cost compared to preventing unknowingly electing a sociopath who could destabilize the entire world?

Janaka77 -> scotti dodson , 7 Jul 2018 18:55

Another big difference of course is a little thing called the law.

Are you under the impression the British don't have rule of law? Their elected representatives make their laws, not their ceremonial royal family. Their royal family's job is to abide by the same laws as every other UK citizen, stay out of politics and promote British tourism and gossip magazines.

Janaka77 -> Ben Groetsch , 7 Jul 2018 18:15

The United States is actually a federal republic, not a democracy.

The United States is actually both a federation (hardly unique by the way) and a representative democracy. Whether you call them members of Parliament or members of Congress, their representatives are elected by the people.

WillisFitnurbut -> Byron Delaney , 7 Jul 2018 17:57

If we move the cheap manufacturing to the US, and wages are lower due to a depression, people will take the jobs, and the job numbers will improve. And China will be toast.


We will never beat China at manufacturing cheap and efficient products using human labor. Robotic labor maybe, but that might not happen for a decade or more at least--if they or another country doesn't beat us to retooling our factories.
Labor and manufacturing will never return in the US--unless we have another world war we win, in which all global production is again concentrated in the US because the rest of the worlds factories are bombed to rubble. Besides, they have the most central location for manufacturing in the world and a cheap source of endless labor.

What they don't have is innovation, tech and freedom to try products out on a free market. We are squandering those advantages in the US when we cut education and limit college education to the masses.

memo10 -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 17:48

The system is not crooked,

Are Americans the most immoral people on earth? I don't think so. Do we have the strictest code of laws on earth? I don't think so either. Yet we have the highest incarceration rate on earth. Higher than authoritarian countries like China & Russia.

This alone should tell you something is wrong with our system. Never mind the stats about differing average sentences depending on race & wealth.

WillisFitnurbut -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 17:42
Doubt implies a reason behind the wrong, where uncertainty implies an unknowing trait--a mystery behind the wrong.

The right, what with all its fake news scams, deep state BS and witch hunt propaganda, is uncertainty at best, a mystery of sorts--it provides us with a conspiracy that can neither be proved or unproven--an enigma.

Doubt, about if Russia meddled in the US election in collusion with the president or at the least his advisors, surely implies something is wrong, especially in the face of criminal charges, doubt is inherent and well intentioned, but not always true and can be proven false in the face of doubt.

Byron Delaney -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 17:00
At one time the US was agrarian and one could subsist via bartering. Consider reliance on for-profit healthcare, transportation systems, debt, credit cards, landlords, grocery stores, and the lack of any ability to subsist without statewide and nationwide infrastructure. Right now, people in the US already die prematurely if they can't afford healthcare. Many are homeless. And this is when things are better than ever? What will happen here is what happened in Europe during WWII. People will suffer, and they will be forced to adopt socialist practices (like the EU does today). People in Europe really did starve to death, and people in India, Africa, and other countries are starving and dying today. China doles out food rations because they practice communism. That's why they have cheap, efficient labor that serves to manufacture products for US consumers. Communism and socialism help American corporations big time.
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> kmacafee , 7 Jul 2018 16:51
Citizens United is a First Amendment decision. Which part of the First Amendment do you want moot? What gives any government the right to decide which assemblies of citizens have no free speech rights?
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> WillisFitnurbut , 7 Jul 2018 16:47
Doubt is everybody's political currency.
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> Byron Delaney , 7 Jul 2018 16:46
You are aware, I imagine, that the US can adjust its money supply to adapt to circumstances? We can feed ourselves. We have our own power sources. We can improvise, adapt, and overcome. Prices go up and down. No big deal. Scaring people for political gain doesn't have the clout it onvce did.
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> tjt77 , 7 Jul 2018 16:40
Are you opposed to people deciding who moves across their nation's borders?
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> Elephantmoth , 7 Jul 2018 16:38
Open Secrets Top Donors, Organizations.
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> memo10 , 7 Jul 2018 16:35
Too many virtue signalers seem to think that only the innocent are ever convicted.
The system is not crooked, but if you can set up a better one that doesn't bankrupt every community, have at it.
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> WillisFitnurbut , 7 Jul 2018 16:29
You really, really, really like screaming racist, don't you? And slide in a Godwin. Wow. The concept that black pastors would be negatively impacted by financial attacks on their churches never ever occurred to you, did it? You get off on pretending to care about people that you have no direct, routine connection to. How virtuous of you. Wouldn't deliberately harming black churches make you the racist storm trooper?
Byron Delaney -> WillisFitnurbut , 7 Jul 2018 16:08
Violence will break out when credit cards stop working. Can't even imagine what will happen if people are starving. No problem in a socialistic country like Finland, but a big problem here. My guess is that Trump knows the economy is hanging by a thread, so needs to create an alternate reason (trade wars). Or he figures he might as well have a trade war if it's all going to pieces anyway. Of course China manufactures just about everything for the US. If we move the cheap manufacturing to the US, and wages are lower due to a depression, people will take the jobs, and the job numbers will improve. And China will be toast.
WillisFitnurbut -> Byron Delaney , 7 Jul 2018 15:49
Don't forget as the Trump trade war heats up and China decides to sell off US bonds en-masse (they own 1.17 trillion in US debt). That's gonna put a hurt on the already low US dollar and could send inflation soaring. China could also devalue its currency and increase the trade deficit. Combine those with all the things you've pointed out and you've got financial troubles the likes of which no large government has ever dealt with in human history.
Starving people--China can handle in droves; not so much the US. We're talking nasty violence if that kinda stuff happens here.
Melty Clock -> happylittledebunkera , 7 Jul 2018 15:43
True, but the POTUS is a head of state and the PM is not, so there's a limit to how far we should take comparisons.
WillisFitnurbut , 7 Jul 2018 15:05
Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.
Byron Delaney , 7 Jul 2018 15:02
Occupy Wall Street began due to income inequality when the worst effects of the Great Recession were being felt by the population. Wealth inequality has only increased since then.


Right now, the population is held at bay because the media and politicians claim that the economy is so incredibly hot it's overheating. But we know that's a lie. For one, the gig economy combined with record debt and astronomically high rent prices cancel out any potential economic stability for millions of people. This year, 401(k) plans have returned almost nothing (or are going negative). This was also the case in 2016. Savings accounts have returned almost nothing for the last decade (they should be providing approximately 5% interest).

The worker participation rate today is 3.2% below what it was in 2008 (during the Great Recession). The US population, meanwhile, has increased by approximately 24,321,000. That's a 7.68% increase. The labor force has increased by 5% during this time (unemployment rate was relatively similar, 5.6% vs 4%). From June 2008 to June 2018, the labor force increased by approximately 8 million. However, if the worker participation rate was the same now as it was then, there would be approximately 8 million more people in the labor force. If you add 8 million people to the current number of people who are counted as unemployed by the BLS, the unemployment rate is approximately 9%. This is about as high as the unemployment rate got during the depths of the Great Recession, right when Occupy Wall Street was born.

Now, OK, sure, the economy has REPLACED lost jobs, but it has not ADDED jobs for the last decade. The unemployment rate is false. It should be at least 8%. There's many millions of Americans who do not have steady, gainful employment - or any employment - and they are not counted.
The billionaires and their bought politicians are responsible for fixing this. They can fix it and should fix it. Otherwise, the economy and their profits are going to fall off a giant cliff any day now. The next recession has basically already begun, but it can still be alleviated. If things continue as they are, unemployment could be 16% by 2020, with the U6 measure approaching or exceeding 25%. If stocks drop enough, people may starve to death.

kmacafee , 7 Jul 2018 14:11
Who supported Citizen's United? All cons and republicans

Who supports campaign finance reform and legislation that would make Cititzen's United moot? Democrats and progressives

Really tired of the false equivalencies. Republicans are now the polar opposite of Democrats in policy and principles. Vote Blue this November and get rid of the republicans; every single one of them. It can be done if people get out and vote.

memo10 -> apacheman , 7 Jul 2018 14:10
1. Anything is possible but I don't think this is practical. The rich can just cheat on the definition of ownership, pass it around between family members, offshore it, sink it into their businesses in token ways, etc. When you try to take wealth (power) away from the most powerful people in the country they will start devoting SERIOUS resources to getting around it.

3. I'm not saying we need fewer people doing congress's job in total. But we should be electing fewer of them, and letting those fewer people do more hiring/delegating. The way things are now, most of the public only knows much about the president. Everyone else is mostly just a vote for a party. But if the country only voted for 50 Congressmen in total - or even fewer - then we would all have a more careful eye on them. We would know them better and see them more individually. They would have less pressure to toe the party line all the time.

4. As long as there's a written test then it will get cheated. Right now the testing is rarely given and the specific consequences don't determine powerful people's careers. Make it a widespread & important thing and people will learn to cheat it.
The genetic + fMRI research is interesting but the whole thing opens up serious cans of worms. We're talking about DQ'ing somebody from an important career based partially on the results of a genetic screening for a character trait. That's a dangerous business for our whole society to get into. Although I do realize the payoff for this specific instance would be very big.

apacheman -> memo10 , 7 Jul 2018 13:34
1. Why do you think that? Using teams of forensic accountants and outlawing secret accounts would go a long way towards increasing enforceability. But you are viewing it as a legal problem rather than a cultural problem. If an effective propaganda campaign aimed on one level at the public and another level at the billionaires, it could work. Many billionaires are already committed to returning their fortunes to the economy (mostly after they are dead, true). Convince a few and the rest will follow. Give them the lure of claiming the title of the richest who ever were and some would be eager for that place in history.

Anything can be done if the will is there.

2. Income taxes are just a portion of the federal revenues, ~47%. Corporate taxes, parkland fees, excise taxes, ~18% taken together and Social Security make up the rest. Revenues would increase as taxpayers topped off step amounts to keep control. The beauty of it is that Congress would see very clearly where the nation's priorities were. Any politician trying to raise fines so that they had more money under their control would soon find themselves out of office. Unpopular programs would have to be financed out of the 18%, and that would likely make them increase corporate taxes. But most importantly, it would cut the power of politicians and decrease the effectiveness of lobbyists.

3. Actually, we have too few, not too many. The work of governance suffers because there is too much to be done and too few to do it. Spreading the workload and assigning responsibility areas would increase efficiency. Most importantly though, it would break up the oligarchic duopoly that keeps a stranglehold on the nation's politics, and bring more third party candidates into office giving Congress a more diverse culture by adding viewpoints based on other things than business interests.

4. Actually, advances in fMRI equipment and procedures, along with genetics and written testing can prove beyond a reasonable doubt whether or not someone is a sociopath, do some research and you'l see it is true. False positives in any testing regime are always an issue, but tens of millions of workers submit to drug tests to qualify for their jobs, and their jobs don't usually run the risk of plunging the world into war, economic or environmental disasters. False positives are common in the workplace and cost many thousands their jobs.

And there's an easy way to prove you aren't really a sociopath: be honest, don't lie, and genuinely care about people...things sociopaths cannot do over time.

Seriously, it is a societal safety issue that demands to be done, protecting the few against false positives means opening the floodgates for the many sociopaths who seek power over others.

WillisFitnurbut -> ConBrio , 7 Jul 2018 13:25
Not just eliminate--alter and add to it, but since it takes 2/3 majority of the house and senate to amend the constitution--it's not an easy feat--that's why there has only been 17 amendments altogether and two of them are there to cancel each other out!
You see, the beauty behind the National Popular Vote Bill is that it's done on a state by state basis and will only work when the required 270 electoral votes are gained with the bill--this means all voters would have their votes tallied in a presidential election and it eliminates swing states with a winner takes all approach. The electoral college and state control of elections are preserved and every one is happy.
I feel like you've not read up on any of this even though I provide a link. 12 of these bills have been enacted into state law already, comprising of 172 electoral votes and 3,112 legislative sponsors. That's more than halfway there.
To continue to say that changing the way we vote by altering the EC is a fantasy is in itself a fantasy because obviously it is gaining traction across the country.
tjt77 -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 12:51
Which 'side' do you imagine I'm on Mike ? FYI.. Im not a member of any tribe especially regarding the republican or democrat parties... you may have noticed that as part of the progress towards a globalized economy, 'Money' now has open borders...but the restrictions of movement for people are growing as nationalism rises and wealth and the power it yields, becomes ever more concentrated in fewer hands...this is a dangerous precedent and history repeats if lessons of the past are not learned.
I can well recall when humanity and the ability of the individual to attain freedom and liberty based upon the merit of the individual was once celebrated.
What really irks me and causes me to voice my opinion on this forum, ( thank you Guardian for your continued efforts at informing us all and especially for promoting participation) is how easily people are duped .. when 'others' can easily see that they are being lied to. My parents fought for freedom and liberty against vicious tyranny in Europe and paid a HUGE price..by the time the scales had tipped the balance towards fascism, it was far too late for anything other than all out war... the fact that they survived the required sacrifice to pitch in to protect democracy, and the freedom and liberty which comes with it, still seems miraculous..
Gary Daily , 7 Jul 2018 12:20
Billionaires on the left should put some of that money into paying for and distributing subscriptions to newspapers and magazines which live up to the standards of professional journalism. These papers should be made available, free, at high schools, colleges, libraries, and commercial centers of loitering and "neighborly" discussions. May I suggest the NYT, WP, The Guardian, and The Economist.
ConBrio -> WillisFitnurbut , 7 Jul 2018 12:16
The "fact" that there have been 700 attempts to eliminate it should tell you that in all likelihood the The Electoral College will continue.

Whether or not a group of states can effectively circumvent the Constitution is an open question.

aquacalc -> ghstwrtrx7 , 7 Jul 2018 12:01
"What the country sorely needs is a new constitution."

No thanks! The Founders were quite a bit more intelligent than the current national 'brain trust' -- on the both sides of the Aisle -- that would be charged with writing a new Constitution.

memo10 -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 11:48

A defense attorney once told me that his job was one of the toughest out there because an astonishing percentage of defendants are guilty as charged.

That's true. But it doesn't excuse the crooked system whatsoever. It doesn't make the innocent poor people any less innocent.

Dorthy Boatman -> scotti dodson , 7 Jul 2018 11:36
Since when have politicians and rich people ever followed the law? And what recourse would that be exactly?
WillisFitnurbut -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 11:17
I like how you immediately expose your racism, right out of the gate. Haven't you got a storm trooper meeting to head out to soon?
Elephantmoth -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 11:14
Sorry I forgot the link: http://www.http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/business-a-lobbying/318177-lobbyings-top-50-whos-spending-big
Sisyphus2 -> NYbill13 , 7 Jul 2018 10:41
Back to the days of Dickens, workhouses, indentured slaves, etc.

[Jan 11, 2020] American elections are a battle of billionaires. We are merely spectators by David Callahan

Notable quotes:
"... With ever deeper pockets, the rich can more easily afford to pull multiple levers of influence and many are doing exactly that ..."
"... First, the rich have gotten much richer in the last 10 or 15 years. In 2005, the Koch brothers had a combined net worth of around $9bn; now they're worth over $100bn. Mike Bloomberg has added $46bn to his fortune during this same period, while Jeff Bezos – who has been flexing his civic muscle as owner of the Washington Post and is said to be planning a big move into philanthropy – is worth 30 times more today than he was in 2005, a stunning $144bn. ..."
"... Robert Mercer is one example of an ambidextrous funder. The family foundation that he runs with his daughter Rebekah makes millions of dollars in grants to conservative policy groups every year, but Mercer was also among the top GOP campaign donors in 2016 and is also a top investor in Breitbart, the pro-Trump media site. The Mercers have been among the most powerful figures in politics in the past few years – influence that's only been possible because of Robert Mercer's success in the wildly lucrative hedge fund world. Being a star school teacher or nurse doesn't yield the same resources or clout. ..."
"... Bloomberg is another example of multi-faceted donor, on a much larger scale. In addition to investing hundreds of millions of dollars in his own political career, securing three terms as New York's mayor, he's used both charitable and political giving to push his agenda on such issues as climate change, guns and education. Now he's poised to become the biggest donor ever during a midterm election cycle. This enormous influence spending has amounted to just a tiny fraction of his net worth. ..."
"... Bloomberg's support for Democrats and causes like climate change underscores a third change in big money battles over America's future: the surge of new money from left-of-center donors. ..."
| www.theguardian.com

American elections are a battle of billionaires. We are merely spectators David Callahan Depending on your politics, you may either cheer or fear the influence of top donors. In truth, we should be troubled by it

Thu 5 Jul 2018 02.00 EDT Last modified on Thu 5 Jul 2018 02.01 EDT Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via Email 'Economic inequality seems to be translating into civic disparities .' Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Pull up a seat, this year's election is getting interesting.

In one corner, backing the Republican, are billionaire heavyweights like Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers. In the other, wearing the blue trunks, are mega-donors such as Tom Steyer and George Soros, as well as one of the richest Americans of all, Michael Bloomberg , who recently confirmed that he'll spend at least $80m to flip the House of Representatives to the Democrats – in a midterm election that will likely be the most expensive in history.

The rest of us, ordinary citizens without big bank accounts, will certainly play a role in the outcome this November. We cast the votes, after all. But more and more, US politics – along with civic life broadly – often feels like a spectator sport, as a growing array of billionaire super citizens battle it out in the public square.

The outsized clout of the rich is hardly a new story, of course. But this influence game is changing as the dollar signs get bigger and as the wealthy exert influence in more arenas using a more sophisticated array of strategies. The day before news broke about Bloomberg's vast election giving, for example, the Times reported on the successful efforts of a Koch-backed 501(c)(4) group to kill public transportation initiatives across the country.

That same week, the Walton Family Foundation – which has already helped bankroll a quarter of all US charter schools – announced another $100m in education grants. Around the same time, the billionaire activist Tom Steyer launched a new ad attacking Donald Trump that featured audio of children crying in immigrant detention centers. The ad is part of Steyer's unprecedented campaign pushing for Trump's impeachment; he's spent millions of dollars on the effort, on top of some $200m he's made in political contributions since 2014.

Depending on your politics, you may either cheer or fear the influence spending of specific top donors. In truth, we should be troubled about all such spending. Thanks to several factors, economic inequality seems to be translating into civic disparities at a faster pace and in ways that touch more parts of US society.

With ever deeper pockets, the rich can more easily afford to pull multiple levers of influence and many are doing exactly that

First, the rich have gotten much richer in the last 10 or 15 years. In 2005, the Koch brothers had a combined net worth of around $9bn; now they're worth over $100bn. Mike Bloomberg has added $46bn to his fortune during this same period, while Jeff Bezos – who has been flexing his civic muscle as owner of the Washington Post and is said to be planning a big move into philanthropy – is worth 30 times more today than he was in 2005, a stunning $144bn.

With ever deeper pockets, the rich can more easily afford to pull multiple levers of influence and many are doing exactly that, which is a second thing that's changed about the elite power game. Increasingly, top donors are simultaneously putting money into elections, private foundations that press an ideological agenda, 501(c)(4) groups and media.

Robert Mercer is one example of an ambidextrous funder. The family foundation that he runs with his daughter Rebekah makes millions of dollars in grants to conservative policy groups every year, but Mercer was also among the top GOP campaign donors in 2016 and is also a top investor in Breitbart, the pro-Trump media site. The Mercers have been among the most powerful figures in politics in the past few years – influence that's only been possible because of Robert Mercer's success in the wildly lucrative hedge fund world. Being a star school teacher or nurse doesn't yield the same resources or clout.

Bloomberg is another example of multi-faceted donor, on a much larger scale. In addition to investing hundreds of millions of dollars in his own political career, securing three terms as New York's mayor, he's used both charitable and political giving to push his agenda on such issues as climate change, guns and education. Now he's poised to become the biggest donor ever during a midterm election cycle. This enormous influence spending has amounted to just a tiny fraction of his net worth.

Bloomberg's support for Democrats and causes like climate change underscores a third change in big money battles over America's future: the surge of new money from left-of-center donors.

This shift dates back to George W Bush's presidency, when alarmed wealthy Democrats set out to reverse conservative gains. Mixing philanthropic gifts with political donations and 501(c)(4) spending, they bankrolled the creation of Democracy Alliance, the Center for American Progress, and other institutions. Since then, other billionaires have swung behind progressive causes, including tech winners like Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz – who gave $27m to help defeat Trump in the 2016 election – and Steyer, who became an active mega-giver after he retired from his hedge fund six years ago.

The new money flowing from wealthy left-of-center donors, especially in response to Trump's rise, may look like a sign that American pluralism is alive and well in this second Gilded Age. Yes, public life in increasingly drenched in cash, but aren't many viewpoints getting heard as a more ideologically diverse upper class supports various causes and candidates?

Sometimes this is the case. On climate change, for example, progressive donors have helped counter the longstading might of the fossil fuel industry. Economic issues have been another story, though. Polls show that the wealthy are more conservative on such issues, which explains why very little money even from left-of-center donors goes to support work that strongly challenges inequality. Bloomberg's big give for Democrats this year is a case in point: he's made it clear that he wants to support moderate candidates, not populists from the Bernie Sanders wing of the party.

The Democratic party and progressive infrastructure is heavily dependent on patrons who've thrived under America's current form of capitalism and aren't interested in major reforms to that system, however much it fails ordinary workers. In 2016, Trump filled this vacuum with his own brand of economic populism.

There's also been a lack of pluralism among wealthy donors in other areas. The Kochs are having such a big impact on transportation policy because there are few counter-weights to their money in that niche. Top donors can be especially influential in certain states and localities, where there's not a diverse pool of givers. For example, the billionaire Eli Broad has long wielded outsized influence in Los Angeles, especially on education.

There's no easy way to counter the rising power of these super citizens. Campaign finance reform would help, but influence spending now extends far beyond elections, as philanthropy has been weaponized for policy combat.

Ultimately, the best solution to the new civic inequality lies in stronger social movements that convert Americans from spectators to activists. And one of the most reassuring trends of recent years is we've seen a lot of such people power, including the Tea Party, Occupy, Black Lives Matter and #MeToo.

Now we need more of the same, extending to more issues and more places – especially the core challenge of economic inequality. Otherwise, it's hard to see how the United States can escape from a new era of plutocracy.

David Callahan is the author of The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age. He is the founder and editor of Inside Philanthropy

[Jan 11, 2020] Sheldon Adelson the casino mogul driving Trump's Middle East policy by Chris McGreal

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The Las Vegas billionaire gave Republicans $82m for the 2016 elections and his views, notably staunch support for Netanyahu's Israel, are now the official US line ..."
"... Adelson's considerable support for Republicans is in no small part motivated by what he regards as their more reliable support for the policies of Benjamin Netanyahu , which appear intent on preventing the creation of an independent Palestinian state. ..."
"... Adelson gave $82m toward Trump's and other Republican campaigns during the 2016 election cycle – more than three times the next largest individual donor, according to Open Secrets . ..."
"... That commitment bought him an attentive hearing from the new administration as he pushed for the appointment of Bolton as national security adviser knowing that he would be an important ally in getting the White House to kill the Iran nuclear deal. The New York Times reported that Adelson is a member of a " shadow National Security Council " advising Bolton. ..."
"... The day after Trump announced that the US was pulling out of the Iran agreement, Adelson was reported to have held a private meeting at the White House with the president, Bolton and Vice-President Mike Pence. ..."
"... Adelson was so enthusiastic about the move that he offered to pay for some of the costs and provided a jet to fly Guatemala's official delegation to Israel for the ceremony. (The Central American country has also announced plans to follow Trump and move its own embassy .) ..."
"... "Adelson is a linchpin in bringing together the radical extremists on the Israeli right and this group of hardliners on Israel and neoconservatives," said Levy, who is now president of the US-based Middle East Project. ..."
"... He paid for a new headquarters for the most powerful pro-Israel lobby group in Washington (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), spent $100m to fund "birthright" trips for young Jewish Americans to Israel, and funds a group opposing criticism of the Jewish state at US universities. ..."
"... In 2015 he secretly bought the Las Vegas newspaper, the Review-Journal , which had led the way in critical coverage of the billionaire's business dealings. Several reporters subsequently left the paper complaining of editorial interference and curbs on reporting of the gambling industry. ..."
"... Right now, Adelson is concentrated on ensuring the Republicans remain in control of Congress, and is pouring $30m into funding the GOP's midterm elections campaign. ..."
"... Adelson is no less active in Israel where he owns the country's largest newspaper, a publication so closely linked with Netanyahu's administration it has been dubbed the "Bibipaper" after the prime minister's nickname. ..."
"... In 2014, he told a conference during a discussion about the implications for democracy of perpetual occupation or annexation of parts of the West Bank without giving Palestinians the right to vote in Israeli elections: "Israel isn't going to be a democratic state. So what?" ..."
Jun 08, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

The Las Vegas billionaire gave Republicans $82m for the 2016 elections and his views, notably staunch support for Netanyahu's Israel, are now the official US line

Sheldon Adelson has spent millions on backing Israel and attacking supporters of Palestinian rights in the US. Photograph: Kin Cheung/AP In 2015, the billionaire casino owner and Republican party funder Sheldon Adelson spent days in a Las Vegas courtroom watching his reputation torn apart and wondering if his gambling empire was facing ruin.

An official from Nevada's gaming control board sat at the back of the court listening to mounting evidence that Adelson bribed Chinese officials and worked with organised crime at his casinos in Macau – allegations that could have seen the magnate's Las Vegas casinos stripped of their licenses.

The case, a civil suit by a former manager of the Macau gaming operations who said he was fired for curbing corrupt practices, was another blow in a bad run for Adelson.

He had thrown $150m into a futile effort to unseat the "socialist" and "anti-Israel" Barack Obama in the 2012 election. His credibility as a political player was not enhanced by his backing of Newt Gingrich for president.

But three years on from the court case, Adelson's influence has never been greater.

The imprint of the 84-year-old's political passions is seen in an array of Donald Trump's more controversial decisions, including violating the Iran nuclear deal , moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem , and appointing the ultra-hawkish John Bolton as national security adviser .

"Adelson's established himself as an influential figure in American politics with the amount of money that he has contributed," said Logan Bayroff of the liberal pro-Israel group, J Street. "There's no doubt that he has very strong, very far-right dangerous positions and that – at very least – those positions are really being heard and thought about at the highest levels of government."

As the 2015 court hearing unfolded, the billionaire swallowed his considerable pride and paid millions of dollars to settle the lawsuit, heading off the danger of the graft allegations being tested at a full trial.

The casinos stayed in business and continued to contribute to a vast wealth that made Adelson the 14th richest person in America last year with a net worth of $35bn, according to Forbes.

Adelson has put some of that money toward pushing an array of political interests ranging from protecting his business from online gambling to opposition to marijuana legalisation.

But nothing aligns more closely with his world view than the intertwining of the Republican party and Israel .

Adelson's considerable support for Republicans is in no small part motivated by what he regards as their more reliable support for the policies of Benjamin Netanyahu , which appear intent on preventing the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

Adelson gave $82m toward Trump's and other Republican campaigns during the 2016 election cycle – more than three times the next largest individual donor, according to Open Secrets .

That commitment bought him an attentive hearing from the new administration as he pushed for the appointment of Bolton as national security adviser knowing that he would be an important ally in getting the White House to kill the Iran nuclear deal. The New York Times reported that Adelson is a member of a " shadow National Security Council " advising Bolton.

The day after Trump announced that the US was pulling out of the Iran agreement, Adelson was reported to have held a private meeting at the White House with the president, Bolton and Vice-President Mike Pence.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Sheldon Adelson attends the opening ceremony of the new US embassy in Jerusalem in May. Photograph: Sebastian Scheiner/AP

The casino magnate also pushed hard to see the US embassy moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem – an action previous presidents had shied away from because of the diplomatic ramifications.

Adelson was so enthusiastic about the move that he offered to pay for some of the costs and provided a jet to fly Guatemala's official delegation to Israel for the ceremony. (The Central American country has also announced plans to follow Trump and move its own embassy .)

Daniel Levy, a former member of Israeli negotiating teams with the Palestinians and policy adviser to the then Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, said that Adelson's money had helped resurface neoconservative policies which had been discredited after the US invasion of Iraq.

"Adelson is a linchpin in bringing together the radical extremists on the Israeli right and this group of hardliners on Israel and neoconservatives," said Levy, who is now president of the US-based Middle East Project.

The billionaire is also deeply committed to protecting Israel within the US.

An example of an anti-BDS poster funded by Sheldon Adelson. Photograph: Courtesy of Robert Gardner

He paid for a new headquarters for the most powerful pro-Israel lobby group in Washington (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), spent $100m to fund "birthright" trips for young Jewish Americans to Israel, and funds a group opposing criticism of the Jewish state at US universities.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz recently revealed that Adelson funded an investigation by an Israeli firm with ties to the country's police and military into the American activist Linda Sarsour, a co-chair of the Women's March movement who campaigns for Palestinian rights and supports a boycott of the Jewish state.

Adelson also funds Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and his World Values Network which published a full-page personal attack in the New York Times on the actor Natalie Portman for refusing an award from Israel because of its government's policies.

For his part, the casino magnate does not take criticism well.

In 2015 he secretly bought the Las Vegas newspaper, the Review-Journal , which had led the way in critical coverage of the billionaire's business dealings. Several reporters subsequently left the paper complaining of editorial interference and curbs on reporting of the gambling industry.

Right now, Adelson is concentrated on ensuring the Republicans remain in control of Congress, and is pouring $30m into funding the GOP's midterm elections campaign.

Adelson is no less active in Israel where he owns the country's largest newspaper, a publication so closely linked with Netanyahu's administration it has been dubbed the "Bibipaper" after the prime minister's nickname.

Personal relations with Netanyahu have soured but Adelson remains committed to the prime minister's broader "Greater Israel" political agenda and to strengthening ties between the Republicans' evangelical base and Israel.

It's not always a welcome involvement by a man who is not an Israeli citizen – not least because Adelson's vision for the Jewish state does not represent how many of its people see their country.

In 2014, he told a conference during a discussion about the implications for democracy of perpetual occupation or annexation of parts of the West Bank without giving Palestinians the right to vote in Israeli elections: "Israel isn't going to be a democratic state. So what?"

[Jan 10, 2020] Incidentally there is a new documentary "MH-17: In Search of Truth" doing the rounds of online alternative news media. The fellow who made the documentary, Vasily Prozorov, is a former SBU security officer

Jan 10, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Jen Flight PS752 passenger list shows that the huge majority of passengers carrying Iranian, Canadian and EU passports were Iranian.

These people were most likely visiting relatives in Iran over Christmas / New Year and were returning home. They were using UIA because the airline offers cheap flights between North America, Europe and western Asia with Kiev as a stop-over. Most of these people would have got off in Kiev and flown back to their home countries on other connecting flights.

Also as far as I know, the plane crashed not long after take-off. That, er, might suggest a problem with the plane itself. But the Boeing plane is not of the same model as the two Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes that crashed in Indonesia in 2018 and Ethiopia in 2019.

Incidentally there is a new documentary "MH-17: In Search of Truth" doing the rounds of online alternative news media. The fellow who made the documentary, Vasily Prozorov, is a former SBU security officer. It makes an interesting claim about the involvement of Western intelligence agencies and the SBU in creating and carrying out an incident and distraction, and in controlling and shaping the narrative and the disinformation.

I'm now starting to wonder if there may be a link between the MH17 shoot-down and the Skripal poisoning incident in March 2018. 3 -1 Reply Jan 9, 2020 9:42 PM


richard le sarc ,

No visual sighting of missile tracks, I see, and the video of the explosion then crash does not appear to show any. Details, mere details-the presstitute vermin are in full vilification propaganda mode already.

richard le sarc ,

I'm sorry-Iran ' refuses to hand over the black boxes'???!! To whom? To Bibi Nuttyyahoo, perhaps? Iran leads the investigation, so they decipher the 'black boxes'. The case of MH17 where the black box information has simply disappeared, tells you what you could expect if the West ever got their hands on these.

RobG ,

It's standard MO that the western powers take out civilian airliners.

It's called Murder Inc. and people in the West vote these psychopaths into power.

Gall ,

Never mind 9/11 where any blackbox data was most likely fabricated like the planes themselves.

Yonatan ,

Iran is apparently refusing to hand over the black boxes from the crashed plane.

should be

Under ICAO rules, Iran has no obliation to pass on the black boxes from the crashed plane to the maker. All it need do is pass them on to any laboratory of its chosing that has ICAO certification.

[Jan 08, 2020] If Dems play their cards right Trump might well be one time president

Two helicopters and several fixed wing aircraft destroyed in Kenia, several buildings demolished by Iran rockets. For what? For the the guy who was instumental in driving ISIS out of Syria and Iraq?
Jan 08, 2020 | www.theguardian.com
Democratic 2020 candidate Cory Booker just tweeted about the Capitol Hill briefing on the US-Iran crisis.
Cory Booker (@CoryBooker)

Just stepped out of a 75-minute briefing regarding President Trump's military actions in Iraq -- we were provided no evidence of an imminent threat. I remain deeply skeptical that he had justification for this attack.

[Jan 08, 2020] Disruptive Assassinations Killing Qassem Soleimani – OffGuardian

Jan 08, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Search Jan 7, 2020 64 Disruptive Assassinations: Killing Qassem Soleimani Editor Binoy Kampmark

On the surface, it made not one iota of sense. The murder of a foreign military leader on his way from Baghdad airport, his diplomatic status assured by the local authorities, evidently deemed a target of irresistible richness.

"General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region."

The words from the Pentagon seemed to resemble the resentment shown by the Romans to barbarian chiefs who dared resist them.

"This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans. The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world."

The killing of Major General Qassem Soleimani of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Quds Force in a drone strike on January 3, along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilisation Forces, or Hash a-Shaabi and PMF Kata'ib Hezbollah, was packaged and ribboned as a matter of military necessity.

Soleimani had been, according to the Pentagon, responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more." He was behind a series of attacks on coalition forces in Iraq over the last several months including attacks on the US embassy in Baghdad on December 31, 2019.

US President Donald J. Trump had thrown caution to the wind, suggesting in a briefing at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida that an option on the table would be the killing of Soleimani. The Iran hawks seemed to have his ear; others were caught off guard, preferring to keep matters more general.

A common thread running through the narrative was the certainty – unshakable, it would seem – that Soleimani was on the warpath against US interests.

The increased danger posed by the Quds Force commander were merely presumed, and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was happy to do so despite not being able to "talk too much about the nature of the threats. But the American people should know that the President's decision to remove Soleimani from the battlefield saved American lives."

(Pompeo goes on to insist that there was "active plotting" to "take big action" that would have endangered "hundreds of lives".) How broadly one defines the battlefield becomes relevant; the US imperium has decided that diplomatic niceties and sovereign protections for officials do not count. The battlefield is everywhere.

Trump was far from convincing in reiterating the arguments , insisting that the general had been responsible for killing or badly wounding "thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill may more but got caught!" From his resort in Palm Beach, Florida, he claimed that the attack was executed "to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war."

Whatever the views of US officialdom, seismic shifts in the Middle East were being promised.

Iraq's prime minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi demanded an emergency parliamentary session with the aim of taking "legislative steps and necessary provisions to safeguard Iraq's dignity, security and sovereignty."

On Sunday, the parliament did something which, ironically enough, has been a cornerstone of Iran's policy in Iraq: the removal of US troops from Iraq. While being a non-binding resolution, the parliament urged the prime minister to rescind the invitation extended to US forces when it was attacked by Islamic State forces in 2014.

Iranian Armed Forces' spokesman Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi promised setting "up a plan, patiently, to respond to this terrorist act in a crushing and powerful manner" .

He also reiterated that it was the US, not Iran, who had "occupied Iraq in violation of all international rules and regulations without any coordination with the Iraqi government and without the Iraqi people's demands."

While the appeals to international law can seem feeble, the observation from the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Agnθs Callamard was hard to impeach.

"The targeted killings of Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Humandis are most [likely] unlawful and violate international human rights law: Outside the context of active hostilities, the use of drones or other means for targeted killing is almost never likely to be legal."

To be deemed lawful , such targeting with lethal effect "can only be used where strictly necessary to protect against an imminent threat to life."

The balance sheet for this action, then, is not a good one.

As US presidential candidate Marianne Williamson observed with crisp accuracy, the attack on Soleimani and his companions had little to do with "whether [he] was a 'good man' any more than it was about whether Saddam was a good man. It's about smart versus stupid use of military power."

An intelligent use of military power is not in the offing, with Trump promising the targeting of 52 Iranian sites, each one representing an American hostage held in Iran at the US embassy in Tehran during November 1979.

But Twitter sprays and promises of this sort tend to lack substance and Trump is again proving to be the master of disruptive distraction rather than tangible action.

Even Israeli outlets such as Haaretz , while doffing the cap off to the idea of Soleimani as a shadowy, dangerous figure behind the slayings of Israelis "in terrorist attacks, and untold thousands of Syrians, Iraqis, Lebanese and others dispatched by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Quds Force," showed concern.

Daniel B. Shapiro even went so far as to express admiration for the operation, an "impressive" feat of logistics but found nothing of an evident strategy. Trump's own security advisers were caught off guard. A certain bloodlust had taken hold.

Within Congress, the scent of a strategy did not seem to come through, despite some ghoulish cheers from the GOP. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and chairman of the House Intelligence panel, failed to notice "some broad strategy at work".

Michigan Democrat Rep. Elissa Slotkin, previously acting assistant secretary of defence and CIA analyst, explained why neither Democratic or Republic presidents had ventured onto the treacherous terrain of targeting Soleimani. "Was the strike worth the likely retaliation, and the potential to pull us into protracted conflict?" The answer was always a resounding no.

By killing such a high ranking official of a sovereign power, the US has signalled a redrawing of accepted, and acceptable lines of engagement.

The justification was spurious, suggesting that assassination and killing in combat are not distinctions with any difference. But perhaps most significantly of all, the killing of Soleimani will usher in the very same attacks that this decision was meant to avert even as it assists Iranian policy in expelling any vestige of US influence in Iraq and the broader Middle East.

It also signalled to Iran that abiding by agreements of any sort, including the international nuclear deal of 2015 which the US has repudiated, will be paper tigers worth shredding without sorrow.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com Facebook Twitter Reddit Pinterest WhatsApp vKontakte Email Filed under: empire watch , Iran , latest , United States Tagged with: Binoy Kampmark , Donald trump , Iran , Iraq , Israel , Middle East , Qassem Soleimani , USA can you spare $1.00 a month to support independent media

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wardropper ,

Today's Washington doesn't even have a grasp of common English usage:
"This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans"
You don't deter plans. You deter people from making plans.
A deterrent is something which persuades people not to do something.
I know that "corporations are people today", but only in the sense that they are run by a bunch of people, so you can't deter a corporation either, although you can deter its CEO from doing something.
It's always a question of deterring people from , and not deterring things.
Washington should know better, but I don't know why I'm even addressing this issue concerning a rabid US government of ignorant basket cases. It must be because I'm a teacher, and some sort of alternative to chaos seems necessary

Brian Steere ,

"General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region."

Allegedly. But with no substance provided. Less than with Iraqi WMDs.
But this article takes Pompeo's bait and runs with it.

I have read that Soleimani was invited to a meeting seeking resolution of hostilities in Yemen – and perhaps other things. If that is true it could be that the war is being protected under cover story of averting war. That would make sense in the backwards mind of today's narrative identity. (Doublethink).

If that invitation was set up with the Trump administration – then that casts a darker light on the USa's willingness to openly deceive and openly assassinate – with apparent impunity. But there are always consequences.

However, Once such an act is executed, it would be very rare to not receive open support from the US establishment – whatever any private misgivings. And so it leaves me wondering what and who is involved in oversight and accountability. I don't have a sense of a real government – so much as a captured and corrupted or neutered shell of a government. Perhaps the act was a fait accompli by a coterie who wanted to provoke open war – and are willing to risk everything on getting one.

The 'globalist' idea uses the US as it uses everything. Does it 'use' Israel – and the International Jewish lobby? Or vice verse? Israeli policy is typical in pre-emptive de-personing and execution – and this pattern is spreading through the body politic

I don't know – but a lot of apparently 'national' interest is anything but – excepting for corporate cartels of mutual interest that effectively call the shots in a progressive (sic) deconstruction of the World order to an idea of global possession and control.

Insider dealing applies also to politics. We are not privy to decisions made that are then 'delivered' by all kinds of manipulative appearance.

When Trump threatened disproportionate retaliation – linking to the Iran hostage situation – the Iranians could counter with disclosure as the the weapons deal struck by Reagan camp to delay release until after Carter left office – and lost it in no small part to the failure to get the hostages home.

But it just isn't done. Governing politicians as a rule do not bring out such dirty washing.
People might lose faith in them

Charlotte Russe ,

Washington denied Zarif a visa to attend a scheduled meeting of the United Nations Security
Council and Mike Pompeo mocked Zarif's statement that Suleimani had gone to Baghdad on a diplomatic mission: "Is there any history that would indicate it was remotely possible that this kind gentleman, this diplomat of great order, Qassem Suleimani, traveled to Baghdad for the idea of conducting a peace mission?" he said."

Pompeo, the United States Secretary of State, conducts foreign policy by humiliating, censoring, and promoting lies about sovereign leaders. What's the purpose of the United Nations if leaders of nation-states are prohibited from speaking and stating their case. If the public is only permitted to hear "one" side of an issue, isn't that the definition of propaganda. Of course, Pompeo would deny that Suleimani was on a diplomatic mission, inasmuch, to admit otherwise would reveal the assassination of Suleimani as an especially despicable war crime.

It's unfortunate, that if a nation-state challenges US imperialism they're characterized as not a sovereign state but as a terrorist regime. And if military leaders from these nation-states ensure the stability of their country by destroying ISIS and Al-Qaeda these generals are deemed terrorists. We live in a world where reality has been turned on its end, and is upside down.

So far, the US is extremely lucky that Iran's retaliation for the murder of Sulaimani has been limited. Javad Zarif, Iran's Foreign Minister stated:
"Iran took and concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched Tuesday. We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression."

Now the ball is the Buffoon's court of neoconservative screwballs–let's see if these warmongers can refrain from escalating this crisis, or will they continue to lead the US down the road to another military debacle. One that makes the Iraq War look like child's play.

Below is a link citing the anti-war demonstrations organized and held by Codepink On Thursday, January 9, at 5 p.m.
https://www.codepink.org/01

Tallis Marsh ,

Some people have touched on this subject in other articles/website forums, but can I ask a 'controversial' question? How many dual-passport military bigwigs occupy intelligence/foreign-policy/military positions in the USA/UK/France etc as well as Iran, Iraq etc? Is it anti-semitic now to ask these questions? It is okay to ask about 'Russians' so-called infiltration and subversion but not Israelis?

People here may have heard of Victor Ostrovsky and his books, By Way of Deception and The Other side of Deception – where he details on many aspects of subversion, co-option etc e.g.how the sayanim network that aids mossad infiltrates top powerful positions in Embassies, intelligence agencies, military policy-maker dept and even medicine/charity orgs etc?

David Macilwain ,

I think we may just be playing the Americans' game by discussing the legality of the assassination of the hero of the Resistance; it's like discussing whether water-boarding is a legitimate interrogation technique on a six-year old girl.
The point of the killing was nothing to do with what Soleimani had done or was about to do, but evidently the one thing that Israel and the US knew Iran must respond to, so as to provide a pretext for an attack on Iranian territory – and of course it now has launched such an attack, before another state does it for them.
We might imagine that the US and other forces illegally occupying bases in Iraq, and everywhere else in the region, will now feel unable to operate without threat of attack from multiple unidentified sources. The mere fact that the missiles actually hit the Ain al Asaad base could be a wake-up call, particularly if there is evidence US forces were hit.

But of course the killing of Soleimani was neither justifiable nor legitimate, so Iran's designation of the US army as a terrorist organisation is, and it is now open season.

https://resistancenews.org/2020/01/08/iran-strikes-us-bases-in-iraq-to-avenge-martyr-soleimani-threatens-to-target-israel-and-us-bases-in-the-region-al-manar/

nottheonly1 ,

Leaving religious, organized delusions aside – to which I count all major religions, especially Hypochristianity – Iran has excelled in reason and resolve.

Do not fuck around with Iran any longer.

Donald Trump and his sub-cogniscent advisers on the other hand need to go and fuck themselves. Using the same methods on each other they have used to destroy a free and independent Iran since the great People of Iran kicked the fascist western regimes out of Iran.

Like Lybia, Syria, Bolivia and Venezuela, the government is FOR the People, not against them. Anybody, or anyone with better ideas than those Iran has utilized since 1979? Anybody? I thought so. Because there are assholes – among them corrupt, rich Iranian maggots that prefer the Trump model – who complain about how the revolution took away the freedom to exploit and to corrupt, while it is them that have Julain Assange locked away like a Chimpanzee in a Nazi laboratory.

No, what happened – oddly though in conjunction with a prophecy by Edgar Casey – is, that the whole sane world can see that America has become a drug addicted cheap whore who will do anything to get her fix.

America needs mandatory psychoanalysis and not the reciting of the pledge of allegiance. In Teheran, millions – not one, or two, like in a 'Love Parade' – no, five million real Iranian People filling the streets. What a shame in the face of the fucking Trump regime assholes. Fuck them all. Impeach the entire heap of shit and bring them before a court of justice. In Teheran.

Iran – as the descendant of one of the greatest Empires ever to rule the region – proved itself worthy of its great history. It shlashed the Gordian knot today. The terroristic murder of Lt. General Soleimani has indeed changed everything. Everything. It is now out in the open that ISIS/Daesh was created and funded by wetsern fascist regimes under the lead of the U.S., Israel, SA et al. The people that killed innocent civilians, cut heads off before cameras, putting women and children in cages, destroying important cultural sites in the region were and still are paid for by the U.S. tax payer and that makes every U.S. et al citizen an accomplice in the 'WAR OF TERROR'. You paid for the murder of the one person that defeated the US TERROR GROUPS. He helped Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to fend off the terroristic assault of the fascist western regimes.

ISIS'R'US.

So, leaving the general religious thing aside, Iran has torn down the wall of hypocrisy the west is surrounding itself with. Alliances will now be made and others will crumble and vanish. Saudi Arabia is looking at its last days. The Palestiniancaust and genocide in Yemen will not continue.

Iran has shown that it is capable of defending the truth against the fascist western regimes.

To those who do not want to stop killing innocent women, mothers and children, the elderly and defenseless:

Cease and desist your murderous activities in order not to get killed.

Long live Iran.

Bless its People who have shown the pathetic public in the west what UNITY really means. (Not to discredit the work of countless groups to change things to the better.) But the equivalent would be 300 million Americans weeping in the streets over the loss of their most beloved General.

Go Humanity! Now or never!

Frank Speaker ,

You touch on some valid points, but you ignore there's a huge difference between most Iranians and the fundamentalist nutjobs who rule over them. Similar to the USA in many respects.

andyoldlabour ,

The thing is Frank, I know only too well (from my relatives in Iran) how a lot of ordinary Iranians still feel about the Shah, about UK/US/French imperialism. They and Iraq have been attacked quite a few times over the past hundred years by US/UK (along with Russia). There is still raw evixdence of chemical weapons victims from the Iran Iraq war.
They area very proud people, 98% Shia, and will come together as one if attacked, just as they did back in 1980, when Saddam Hussein backed by the USA attacked them.

nottheonly1 ,

While I am certainly not a friend of any organized religion, to call them 'fundamental nutjobs' gives away the brainwashing program that has achieved this result.

Pence, Pompeo et evangelical al are the real 'fundamental nutjobs'. They kill Muslims by the thousands. And have no regard at all for anybody that does not match their christojudeo-fascist world view.

TFS ,

SpartUSA and its friends in low places, Saudi Arabia, Israel and its Western Allies love giving names to things when they 'Export Democracy ' around the World, like Operation Enduring Freedom.

Cannot the alternative Blogosphere come up with a similar banner as a push back to the Rogue State of SpartUSA?

How About:

1. Operation Jog On!

Harry Stotle ,

One of the avenues Iran could pursue is the legality of the assassination.

The likes of Agnes Callamard (UN rapporteur on extra judicial killings) says "activate Article 99 of the U.N. charter and establish an impartial inquiry into [the] lawfulness of Soleimani's killing and events leading up to it."
https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/UN-Expert-Demands-Official-Investigation-on-Soleimani-Killing-20200107-0008.html?fbclid=IwAR2jw0hmHo8-d3WXvWOQIFTMZusqWtpd0p4Iu4biWqz-kiIQs-MYdIgFEEk

It is high time the question of whether or not the US is above international law was finally confronted.
The extra-judicial murder of General Soleimani brings this issue to the heart of international affairs: if there is no legal redress for Iran then it more or less makes a mockery of the idea that justice is possible in a world dominated by terror states.

andyoldlabour ,

Whilst I agree with the core message of your post Harry, I would have to draw the conclusion that the US has put themselves above and out of the reach of international law.
Drone attacks and civilian deaths all over the World, 80 years of coups, assassinations and wars, shooting down civilian airliners (USS Vincennes and IranAir flight 655), torture.
Then you only have to Google "Hague Invasion Act"

https://www.hrw.org/news/2002/08/03/us-hague-invasion-act-becomes-law

Frank Speaker ,

Andy you're right, but it now needs to be legally formally addressed at the UN and other courts every time the US violates international law. Time and again. Over years it might make an impact, at least to isolate the them.

andyoldlabour ,

Frank, unfortunately I believe that the UN is merely a New York based vassal of the US. How many sanctions have ever been placed on the US or it's little friend Israel for their obvious war crimes?
I have been saying for many years that the HQ of the UN should not be in the US.

BigB ,

It's a war crime, Harry! I notice Binoy, the UN Rapporteur Agnes Callamard, and you refrain from calling it out. Pre-crime violates every judicial principle known. There has to be a crime for a verdict – let alone an execution. This is the enactment of "Minority Report" Phildickian criminal injustice thinking.

Pre-emptive Justice has been American foreign policy since at least Bush the Lesser Evil. Along with R2P – which defecated on Westphalia Peace Treaty principles – this violated the London Agreement (Nuremberg Principles) which are supposedly the foundation of modern IHL.

So, let's take our pick for pre-emptive murder war crime, crime against the peace, or crime against humanity?

So Trump gets a rap from the Rapporteur: where do we try this most obvious of crimes? The ICC, ICJ, or a kangaroo UN Tribunal where precisely no American will ever show up because they are legally exempt and immune. Agnes' rap is not worth waiting for, I'm sorry to say. The UN is complicit and as toothless as the old imperialist League of Nations that carved up the Middle East to cause these problems.

On the rare occasion the UN has produced a truthful report – ie calling Israel an apartheid state – that report has been recalled and shredded before you can say "Try Netanyahu!". You know the score.

Iran has exacted the only Justice it can in this lawless Wild West Justice of the Gun international anti-diplomacy "free"market-power world. I'd love to share your sentiment, but that world was eclipsed when America turned its back on the ICC circa Nicaragua. If Agnes can pull it back, I'm with her all the way. Also, I'm not holding my breath!

Everything the Nazis did is now neoliberal foreign policy.

Guy ,

I hear you and I agree with the gist of what you are saying but let me suggest that even though the UN is toothless and the rogue US establishment continue with their cowboy rampage over any nation that does not kneel to it's demands ,it is especially important that the criminal actions of this out of control regime be documented for historical purposes . Lets face it it ,right now the United Nations is the best and only body of an international politic that we have to do so. This is what they are so scared about .The truth .

TFS ,

I see two options:

1. Make the relevant International Organisations do their job, although the UN, OPCW, ICC and the like are soemwhat neutered. And if not, stop paying for them, they are a PR exercise.

2. Act like a Democracy, where the people hold those in account to power. Boycott SpartUSA would be my choice.

As a Brexiteer, I partially understand why people jumped ship from Jeremy Corbyn, but Brexit was never about Brexit, it was about killing Jeremy. The EU feared Jeremy more than anything, and when we lost him, the country lost a counter to the Imperial machinations of SpartUSA, the EU and NATO and their friends in low places in the MiddleEast.

I would suggest a third option, Operation Patriot Resolve.

In it, the alternative blogosphere works with ex members of the UK Armed Forces, and forces the UK government to release all the supporting evidence of Article V (I think), which supported the invasion of Afghanistan. We can ask Lord Robertson for his substantial input into the evidence he held. It must be voluminous, given the Offical Report into 9/11; Offical Conspiracy Theory is so highly regarded.

TFS ,

There is a term for different legal treatment based on status, called Affluenza.

Maybe a new term needs to be used for the West selective interpreations of various laws. Maybe Rogue State/Regime will suffice.

noseBag ,

Harry, whilst wholeheartedly agreeing with your sentiment, I fear the definition of being under threat of 'imminent' attack is so broad and vague that the Yanks will be able to claim legality. However, The Saker makes for some very interesting reading regarding likely/possible fallout from this action, none of which looks good for the Yanks, or for that matter, anyone allied to them.

Harry Stotle ,

In answer to my own question, I think Iran has about as much chance of receiving justice for the murder of Qasem Soleimani as Julian Assange does for revealing war crimes.

In answer to BB – apologies for not being clear – yes, I think this is a war crime.
I was just alluding to the fact terror inflicted by Britain and the USA is never defined as such (in a court of law) – quite the opposite, many of the architects, such as Tony Blair grew rich on the back of the misery they authored.

This profound legal failing is one of the reasons the neocons keep getting away with it.
In theory Iran has a strong case, one that has been already backed up by the UN rapporteur on extra-judicial killings, but it will be hard for them to escape a sense of futility that pervades any attempt to investigate the machinations of the US deep state.

For example, and as most of us on Off-G already know, the American authorities have steadfastly refused to properly investigate what happened on 9/11, presumably because a meaningful investigation would reveal a long list of uncomfortable truths?

While in Britain we had the long-winded and expensive charade of Chilcot – many knew from the outset that it was a waste of time and money, and that no actor would have be held to account for the bloodbath that ensued in Iraq, even though the whole thing was built on a pack of lies and led to the mysterious death of Britains foremost weapons inspector.

GEOFF ,

And these dumbfucks in this country can't wait to be part of the evil empire, I would never knowingly buy anything from warmongering evil America, or Israel, I see hairy arse Johnson is making it illegal for councils to boycott the other evil country, Israel , I only wish I was younger , I would get out of this shithole tomorrow.

Francis Lee ,

The real dumbfucks are the Poles, Latvians, Lithuanians, Romanians, Estonians who are pro-US and EU fanatics. Oh and I forgot about another neoliberal EU basket case, Sweden. The US calls the shots in the EU, primarily through corralling in the Petainist riff-raff into NATO.

Dungroanin ,

And by the way ss we move into a hot war where exactly is our LauraKoftheCIA?
Not a peep since her splurge on 19th December topped of with:

'Right then twitter, that's it from me til next year – Happy Christmas one and all see you on the other side (follow
@BBCPolitics
and
@BBCNews
if you want to keep up, or sit on your sofa and eat Quality Street and come back in 2020)
Laura Kuenssberg
·
19 Dec 2019
Hard time of year for a lot of folks. Suicide Hotline 116 123 (Samaritans) A simple copy and paste might save someone's life.

Would 3 Twitter friends please copy this text and post under their own name? Pass it on

Laura Kuenssberg
·19 Dec 2019
-- -- -- -
My guess is at the same site as bozo as they were briefed on the next phase.
Their role for the Pathocracy and getting their stories rehearsed – I expect her to move into Downing Street as the official press officer!
Presumably they will have been getting their inoculation flu jab which has just been unleashed as zillions of chinese take to the air for their new year intermingling with the zillions of westerners sun seeking crisscrossing the planet.

This world war will not be fought with the outdated nuclear weapons – they have better plans to get rid of us pesky revolters, and shiny multicoloured tellytubby suits as demo'd in Salisbury to clear away the dead and take all our possessions.

How long before the internet shutdown?

Dungroanin ,

For these dumb yankee doodle yahoos and Brit donkeys who still don't understand the significance – imagine if General Washington had been assassinated by King George for having won in the revolution, how would the proto yanks have taken that then and still now 200 years later.

Also how great was the irani General?
– Off-G might want to publish this photo of Soleimani having a walkabout amongs US troops and tanks
https://www.veteranstoday.com/2020/01/06/censored-photo-shocker-general-soleimani-with-american-troops-in-iraq/

US can't claim they couldn't have got to him without using drones.
.
A Ukrainian Boeing Jet appears to have dropped out of the sky on fire after leaving Tehran
.
A new flu type seems to have kicked off in China just as zillions are traveling for newyear.
-- --

As a large percentage of middleclass westerners travel to sunny paradises of SE Asia and Caribbean at this time of year they may not be traveling back!

TFS ,

People need to be hit the general public with the OPCW chemical evidence whilst this is playing out as another example of the West lying to bomb another soveriegn country, and make sure people know that the impartiality of the OPCW and the UN has been neutered.

Of course, the next stage, a step on from awareness is to hit SpartUSA where it hurts them the most. They are kinda of attached to The Benjamins, and are fond of Sanctions, ask Madeliene Albright.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iFYaeoE3n4

Boycott SpartUSA

Tutisicecream ,

The people of Amerika need to remember that when they vote in the up-and-coming Presidential election they are voting for democracy! Not the kind of democracy that other countries have, such as Iraq who just voted for Amerika to leave their country. But the kind of democracy that has to be created by force. The type of none representative democracy which furthers economic exploitation. It comes as no surprise that Amerika has allies in waiting otherwise known as vassals. Just ask the Eaton Mess and his Galfriend – as Old Blighty soon to be renamed Cor-Blimey is about to be forced to nationalise the railways (shurely a socialist concept ed?). Also ask Macron as a national strike grips France. "No", you will hear the media shills shrill, "It's the international rules based democratic order".

MichaelK ,

I heard a journalist stating with some 'authority' that the US attack couldn't be defined as 'terrorism', because it was carried out by a democratic state. Apparently, the actions and leaders of 'democratic states' cannot be guilty of carrying out 'terrorism.'

Normally, after 'real terrorist' attacks occur, that is, violence directed against us and our interests and allies, if members of the public raise their fists and express joy and enthusiastic support for the 'evil terrorists', such feelings and utterances land them in extremly hot water with the authorities as vocal support for terrorist outrages is illegal and can easily lead to them being prosecuted under anti-terrorism legislation.

But things are different when 'we' are the ones using 'terrorism' against our enemies, then, suddenly, the laws are applied, or not applied, in a radicaly different way.

Dungroanin ,

Iran is a democratic state as much as any.

We have seen how our democracy is a sham with the postal vote rigging of the election and the referendum.

It stopped Corbyn by direct self admitted foreign government gauntlet and is delivering the hard brexit that ONLY benefits the ancient City and it's masters.

They are on the retreat and like the confederacy they are burning Atlanta

David Macilwain ,

While this is certainly true, it's difficult to think of a case where forces allied to the Resistance have actually been responsible for a terrorist attack. One might need to return to the time of the Palestinian Intifada, where suicide bombers certainly terrorised Israelis – even for a just cause. Any suggestions? Not only does the "war on terror" appear to be contrived and concocted, but its evident acts seem always to be false flags, and always serving the interests of those that the attacks are supposed to be against.

Guy ,

War on terror is an oxymoron. War is terror David as I am sure you already know . Leave it to the CIA and or neocons to come up with such a stupid slogan .
Cheers.

Guy ,

The Western media pundits are using mental contortions to rationalize the impossible and looking extremely foolish for doing so.It's kind of like digging your own grave .

richard le sarc ,

An awful lot of Judeofascists and other Zionist and Talmudic psychopaths seem very happy about this cowardly murder. But they are, after all, the world champions of cowardly murders of any who dare 'get in our way'. It is a religious observance, a mitzvah, after all.

George Mc ,

"Judeofascists"? Surely "Zionazis" is more appropriate?

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

Macroeconomic decoupling is occurring and Trump's gambit for irrational war management via threats & intimidation on an international/geopolitical level is not only an outright act of war but it is testament to the desperation that Trump finds himself in pre-election. Trump has already indicated that he will do anything to keep the DOW inflated irrationally at ever increasing nosebleed levels he can push it to even if it means meddling in Federal Reserve independence and undermining confidence in the central bank authority.

Trump is a one man central banking Military Industrial Complex war machine set on autopilot without vision outside of controlling everything from the interest rate benchmark set by central banks to the G7 trade deals and Russian Federation gas deals, and everything in between.

Trump has to be the center of attention every single day of the week & twice on Sundays. He twitterbombed Greta the climate teen to appropriate her limelight as the Davos elite rolled her out onstage.

Trump bombed strategically for the presidential plaudits that never materialized because he leapt to an erroneous conclusion & misperceived that everyone else in the world is not viewing it from an oval office desk like he is. Immediately following the outrage the rationalizations came forth from the White House that their target was for the good of the nation when in fact everyone knows it was for Trump's impression management.

Trump likely made the decision unilaterally and the world is just not being made aware of that. Fortunately, the Democrats see his departure from protocol as a war crime also. Trump is not experienced enough to stay the course any longer given that he must have acted unilaterally to cause the bombing assassination without due diligence from his advisers taking place. When the Democrats press the issue with Congress it will become an issue that Trump used the state to murder for purposes of leveraged deal making.

MOU

Francis Lee ,

"Trump is a one man central banking Military Industrial Complex war machine set on autopilot."

Pretty good! I like it.

Martin Usher ,

Its interesting to speculate about why these people were murdered. Pompero's explanations have a distinct yellowcake feel to them -- "We know what we're doing, trust us" sort of thing. The Administration has zero credibility except among the faithful here in the US. I suspect the real reason could be a combination of two factors. One is that whenever there's any danger of peace breaking out in the Middle East it gets spoiled and invariably there something or someone Israeli at the bottom of it. The leaders killed were particularly dangerous precisely because they're not hot heads, they develop policies in a rational manner and are instrumental in keeping wayward elements under control. This is the kind of ME leader that is feared by Israel -- they need a disorganized rabble without the gates (one that's preferably fighting among itself) so that they can keep their internal politics under control. The other factor is Trump is susceptible to anything that appeals to his vanity, especially if its one-up against Obama. There's already been the claim that this was a proper response, unlike Benghazi. (..and apparently ISIS is an Obama creation .) So I could see a situation where a back channel suggestion is whispered into an ear, orders are given, people are killed and we have to deal with the consequences.

I just hope that the Isranians and Iraqis are sophisticated enough to provide a measured response. I thought the Iraqi lawmakers' response was perfect -- the US has breached the terms of the agreement by which its supposed to be in that country so it should leave. (Trump's response is more typical of his responses -- bluster about sanctions and threaten the Iraqis with a bill for an airbase.)

lundiel ,

Strictly speaking, ISIS is a CIA creation under the Obama administration. I draw your attention to the shiploads of Libyan weapons delivered to international jihadists in Syria by way of Turkey. Along with John McCain's close association with Prince Bandar of KSA (Before he was chopped-up because Saudi finance became common knowledge and the beast got out of control). It's interesting to note that Obama, a democrat, used McCain, a neocon hawk as his middle east special envoy. Not that Trump has changed much, he can't, he's not in control.

Antonym ,

Correction: Strictly speaking, ISIS was a CIA creation under their Obama fig leaf

Guy ,

You gotta hand it to Trump for coming up with such stupid shit as ,we will not leave until you pay us for the costs of building a base in your country. LOL I almost busted a gut laughing at the stupidity of the guy saying this .
Consider that I break into your house and make a mess of things , help myself to the food in the fridge , not to mention your wife and daughters if I took a liking to them , leave all the dirty laundry lying around after a week or so and will not leave .In order to accept leaving the premises , you must pay me .Pay me whatever I ask .
This is how stupid and absurd this charade no minds is descending into .
Somebody stop the world ,I want to get off.

Antonym ,

Even JFK's assassination didn't upset the Anglo military – industrial complex's apple cart, and he was a good guy. QS wasn't and his death won't change much. Donald Trump's might turn out to be more disrupting

Perp all the same: T-Rex CIA, NOT the mossad mosquito however much Zionphobes wish it to.

richard le sarc ,

'QS' was a saint compared to the psychopathic butchers who run Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Israeli colony known as the USA.

andyoldlabour ,

How many deaths were Truman, LBJ, Nixon, Bush x 2, Clinton, Obama and Trump responsible for compared to QS?

Gezzah Potts ,

Multiple United States targets hit by missiles in Iraq, including Ayn Asad Airbase and Al Taji coalition base north of Baghdad.
No news on casualties yet. This response was expected, but the $64 million dollar question is how hard will the nutters in Washington respond? And what of the 6 B-52 bombers that have just been sent to Diego Garcia?
And news just in of a second wave of missiles directed at US targets.
Trump, Pompeo, Esper . You are reaping what You sowed. Total wackjobs.
This is deeply disturbing .

richard le sarc ,

Nothing would work better than closing Hormuz, and destroying Saudi oil installations. That would be a seismic shock to US economic hegemony.

Gezzah Potts ,

Very unconfirmed reports there may have been up to 80 United States personnel killed in the missile attacks on Ayn Assad Airbase today.
This could be fake news tho?
That's appeared on Vanessa Beeley's Facebook page as well as a guy called Laith Marouf, and Press TV has just been reported as 'breaking news' that "there were casualties".
Tellingly, no other independent sites have been reporting this (so far)
And Trumpf is tweeting 'all is well'.
Don't expect the truth from Team USA, or the retarded presstitutes.
Duh What a dumb thing to say. Of course not.
I still believe United States will respond to the Iranian missile strikes. Can you imagine Pompeo or Esper going 'okay, all good, we're all even now' after today.
I can't.
If things do take off, closing the Straits Of Hormuz would be one of the very first options for Iran. And then watch the panic in the 'civilised, democratic, freedom loving' West when the economy starts imploding.

RobG ,

The psychopaths who rule us will now try to close down the internet.

The attacks carried out by the Iranians today are peanuts compared to what's coming in the following days, most of which you won't be told about.

The biggest laugh is how they will try to excuse Donald Trump, who's the biggest joke there's ever been as an American President.

[Jan 08, 2020] Is Soleimani murder 'beginning of the end' of US imperialism

Jan 08, 2020 | off-guardian.org

...no coherent plan was behind the Trump administration's cold-blooded murder of Qassem Soleimani.

It was an act of pure stupid. A dumb 'miscalculation'. Another example of the ignorant hubris in the US State Department that almost brought them into direct conflict with Russia in February 2014, when they failed to comprehend the strategic and cultural significance of Crimea and tried to migrate the Kiev 'Maidan' coup to Sevastopol.

I can pretty much guarantee none of those who advised Trump to assassinate Qassem Suleimani saw this coming. Suleimani has been elevated in status to a martyr on the level of Hussein. https://t.co/xUl7Q5x4BG

-- Scott Ritter (@RealScottRitter) January 4, 2020

This one, while posing a less imminent risk of superpower confrontation, is potentially disastrous for US interests in the region, and risks monumental loss of life in any resultant conflict between Iranian and US military forces.

It seems many people are not yet grasping the seismic shifts going on, and are still thinking in terms of this being the prelude to another imperial regime-change operation like those in Iraq, Libya and the failed attempt in Syria.

It isn't. Not even slightly. It is a whole new and unknown situation, and where it ends is currently anyone's guess.

Threats from the ever bombastic fool Trump, like these towards Iran's culture

.targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2020

and towards Iraq , might bolster the impression that the empire has the initiative and many cards to play, but does it?

What actually can it do against a military far more well-funded and well-supported than anything it has confronted in recent years? Especially now in a situation where almost the entire Shia Middle East has become united in wanting US forces out of the region.

Far from this being imperial business as usual, the Saker , often an insightful analyst, is predicting this crisis will result in nothing less than the end of the empire :

Folks, this is the beginning of the end for the Empire. Yes, I know, this sounds incredible, yet this is exactly what we are seeing happening before our eyes. The very best which the US can hope for now is a quick and complete withdrawal from the Middle-East.

This is pretty extreme, and I'm not entirely convinced he's correct here, but he shows his reasoning, and it's fairly compelling, and I urge you to read this linked article and others in his recent output for a point of view that goes beyond the less than adequate "bloody Americans doing it again" narrative we are getting from some sources.

Iran must retaliate for this outrage perpetrated against them. The US is compelled by its own rhetoric and self-perception as invincible to respond to this retaliation with disproportionate force.

Conflict of some kind seems inevitable, and, as the Saker sees it, this will be a conflict the US can't ultimately win:

So what next? A major war against Iran and against the entire "Shia crescent"? Not a good option either. Not only will the US lose, but it would lose both politically and militarily. Limited strikes? Not good either, since we know that Iran will retaliate massively. A behind-the-scenes major concession to appease Iran? Nope, ain't gonna happen either since if the Iranians let the murder of Soleimani go unpunished, then Hassan Nasrallah, Bashar al-Assad and even Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will be the next ones to be murdered. A massive air campaign? Most likely, and initially this will feel good (lots of flagwaving in the USA), but soon this will turn into a massive disaster.

Over at RT, in an article titled Iran holds all the cards in coming Middle East conflict with US – unless Trump is ready to drop a tactical NUKE , ex-US Marine intelligence officer, Scott Ritter offers a similar scenario. Like the Saker, he thinks, beyond the bluster and Trump's rather foolish willy-waving tweets, US military options are limited (our emphasis):

Trump's threat, however, rings hollow. First, his tweet constitutes de facto evidence of a war crime (Section 5.16.2 of the US Department of Defense Law of War Manual prohibits threats to destroy cultural objects for the express purpose of deterring enemy operations), and as such would likely not be implemented by US military commanders for whom niceties such as the law of war, which forbids the execution of an unlawful order, are serious business.

Of more relevance, however, is the fact that Trump has been down this road before, when he threatened massive military retaliation against Iran for shooting down an unarmed drone over the Strait of Hormuz last May. At that time, he was informed by his military commanders that the US lacked the military wherewithal to counter what was expected to be a full-spectrum response by Iran if the US were to attack targets inside Iran.

In short, Iran was able to inflict massive harm on US and allied targets in the Middle East region, and there was nothing the US could do to prevent this outcome.

Ritter thinks the recent announcement by Iran that it is committed to ending all restrictions on uranium enrichment might give the US a pretext to attack using the one clear advantage it has – nuclear weapons.

Trump has hinted that any future war with Iran would not be a drawn-out affair. And while the law of war might curtail his commanders from executing any retaliation that includes cultural sites, it does not prohibit the US from using a nuclear weapon against a known nuclear facility deemed to pose a threat to national security.
This is the worst-case scenario of any tit-for-tat retaliation between Iran and the US, and it is not as far-fetched as one might believe.

The Saker also considers it quite possible the US or Israel would resort to nuclear weapons, but thinks this also would be ultimately self-defeating:

US/Israeli nukes: yes, unlike Iran, they have nukes. But what they lack are good targets. Oh sure, then can (and will) strike at some symbolic, high-visibility, targets and they can nuke cities. But "can" does not mean that this is a smart thing to do. The truth is that Iran does not offer any good targets to hit with nukes so using nukes against Iran will only make the determination of Iranians (and they allies) go from "formidable" to "infinite". Not smart.

Whether or not we agree this is the beginning of the end of empire, a messy open-ended conflict seems highly probable as things currently stand. Corporate war profiteers might rub their hands at this, but if the chaos spreads will even they be able to reap real benefits? Will this be the cue for them to up sticks from the foundering Exceptional Nation and re-locate elsewhere in the unending quest for exploitation?

After all it can be argued the British Empire, like the Nazis, didn't die, but just had to move – somewhere a little further west. Maybe, if we're cynical, the same thing is about to happen again. Maybe China is about to inherit the earth with the help of some ex-pat neocons.

But that's speculation for another day.

Another perspective worth reading is that of the Veterans Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, whose open 'Memorandum for the President' is published over at Consortium News.

Signed by numerous distinguished intelligence professionals, including Philip Giraldi and Daniel Ellsberg, it urges the Trump admin to "avoid doubling down on catastrophe".

The drone assassination in Iraq of Iranian Quds Force commander General Qassem Soleimani evokes memory of the assassination of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand in June 1914, which led to World War I. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quick to warn of "severe revenge." That Iran will retaliate at a time and place of its choosing is a near certainty. And escalation into World War III is no longer just a remote possibility, particularly given the multitude of vulnerable targets offered by our large military footprint in the region and in nearby waters.

What your advisers may have avoided telling you is that Iran has not been isolated. Quite the contrary. One short week ago, for example, Iran launched its first joint naval exercises with Russia and China in the Gulf of Oman, in an unprecedented challenge to the U.S. in the region.

Interestingly the corporate media seem currently far from united, or even coherent, in their response to this latest crisis. Threaded through the usual knee jerk demonising of the monster du jour , are unusual elements of skepticism toward the pro-war narrative.

This, for example, on CNN yesterday, in a piece titled Skepticism mounts over evidence of 'imminent' threat that Trump says justified Soleimani killing (our emphasis)

Washington (CNN) – Top US national security officials

[Jan 08, 2020] The victims of Iranian retaliation will be America's Arab proxies, be they nations such as Saudi Arabia and its allies, or military factions

Jan 08, 2020 | www.theguardian.com


[Jan 08, 2020] Iran's assault on US bases in Iraq might satisfy both sides

Jan 08, 2020 | www.theguardian.com

The "severe revenge" Iran promised for the death of Qassem Suleimani was heralded on Wednesday morning by at least two waves of short-range missile attacks on bases in Iraq hosting US and coalition personnel.

The attacks will provide an opportunity for hawks inside the Donald Trump administration to ratchet up the conflict with Iran – but also potentially a pathway out of the crisis.

The Iranian strikes were heavy on symbolism. The missiles were launched around 1.30am in Iraq , roughly the same time as the drone strike that killed Suleimani on Friday morning. Top Iranian advisers and semi-official media outlets tweeted pictures of the country's flag during the attack, mirroring Donald Trump's tweet as the first reports of Suleimani's death were emerging. The Revolutionary Guards dubbed the operation "Martyr Suleimani". Videos of the missiles being launched were released to Iranian media outlets.

ss="rich-link"> Iran attacks two US airbases in Iraq in wake of Suleimani killing Read more

But in their immediate aftermath, the attacks appear to have been carefully calibrated to avoid US casualties – fired at bases that were already on high alert.

Iran's foreign minister has said the strikes have concluded and characterised them as self-defence within the boundaries of international law – not the first shots in a war.

Trump, in his first comments after the strikes, also sought to play them down.
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.

January 8, 2020

If Trump's assessment of the damage holds, Wednesday's strikes might be an opportunity for both sides to de-escalate without losing face. Iran will be able to say it took violent revenge for Suleimani's death and pivot to a campaign of proxy warfare – with which it feels more comfortable, against a vastly more powerful adversary – and diplomatic pressure to eject American forces from Iraq.

The US can also step back, shrugging off the retaliation as being of no significant consequence. That is the best-case scenario, but it rests on two risky premises: that more than a dozen missiles struck bases hosting US military personnel without substantial damage or casualties; and that the White House will resist any urge to respond.

[Jan 07, 2020] The victims of Iranian retaliation will be America's Arab proxies, be they nations such as Saudi Arabia and its allies, or military factions

Jan 07, 2020 | www.theguardian.com


[Jan 07, 2020] New Year message to Trump supporters: DUMP TRUMP

Jan 07, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Gall ,

I've given up on Trump. He's just another Zionist sell out. DUMP TRUMP.

[Jan 07, 2020] Who is the CIA answerable to?

Jan 07, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Brian Harry ,

The people at the top in the USA, Neo-Cons, Zionists, Pentagon, CIA, etc, are Hell bent on promoting Israel's needs in the Middle East, rather than the needs of the American people(who have been shafted good and hard by "Globalization" and "Trickle Down" in the last 40 years).
Successive Presidents in recent years have just been "The Organ Grinder's Monkey" and Trump is no exception. Always carrying out Israel's agenda, and ignoring the vast majority of the American people.

The Military Industrial Complex are the enemy of the American people, and you have to wonder how much longer they are going to put up with it.
By the way, WHO is the CIA answerable to? They seem to be a "loose Cannon", and always carrying out an agenda which is harmful to "The People".

[Jan 05, 2020] It appears that 2020 has got off to a hot start with Golf Cart Goofy been played by neocons again

Jan 05, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Antonym ,

BTL the usual misdirection pointing just to Israel; never are the Sunni Arab oil sheiks in the picture:
blinded by anti Zionism. The Gulf rulers love this aspect best.

Israel has little to offer to the US military-industrial complex except being an unsinkable aircraft carrier.

The Sunni Arab oil sheiks on the other hand have massive amount of cash and oil reserves, just what the US dollar needs to keep on floating against financial gravity.

With the Shia Iranian power exports as bogey these few individuals are also great clients for the Anglo protection racket. Iran is more about mass movements, hard to be a wise guy for.

Brianeg ,

I am as perplexed as anybody over the assassination of Soleimani, seeing no tactical advantage and in fact serious disadvantages and dangers.

I can add little to the excellent article and excellent comments except to say that last year, I saw a documentary about Soleimani and I felt at the time, he was perhaps the only person that might bring peace to the whole of the Middle East and it may be for that reason somebody thought he was dangerous and had to go.

At the very least, the Iraqi Government have now been given the chance to kick America and NATO out of Iraq and maybe Syria as well. With that in mind, I am sure that MSM will then say that this is all a Russian plot. I am sure that Pompeo's flight to Kazakstan is perhaps to prepare an air base if a rapid Vietnam style evacuation needs to occur.

The options left open for America, NATO and Israel are fairly limited to remote offshore missile attacks as any form of close engagement against battle hardened troops when your own forces have only experience against unarmed civilians and forces only armed with small arms would be fraught with danger. I am sure that Trump's advisers and their experience of playing war games on their computers might think differently.

As for a major missile strike like that after Douma when only a handful of rockets hit their targets especially as Syria did not have the latest anti missile systems, there is a likelihood that not one might reach its target.

2020 is shaping up to become a very interesting year and by its end destined to become a very changed world.

Trump's actions appear to be that of a very poor gambler trying to take desperate measures to improve his luck. I believe Hitler had great faith in his astrologer, does Trump use one?

richard le sarc ,

I rather see Israel, ie Bibi behind this. It is a diversion from his corruption crisis, it is pure Talmudism, with its murder of Israel's 'enemies', and it brings forward the prospect of 'obliterating' 'Persia' in a New Purim that would cement Bibi's place as a 'King of Israel' for all time ie a few more years. I really think that assuming that the architects of this action are rational and sane, when they are mad, bad, dangerous to know and infinitely blood-thirsty, is mistaken.

adlskfj ,

Ah, didn't take long to see Off Guardian's never ending commitment to the most vile President in US history, and that's saying a lot. The Deep State made him do it!!!!!!!!!!!!

So did the Deep State direct this fascist, racist, misogynist, jerk of epic proportions Trump to pimp for war against Iran during his campaign? Can't see from this jerk's body language that he sees himself as a "tough guy". Did the Deep State force him to take on super neocon ex CIA director Woolsey as a foreign policy advisor during his campaign, or force him to suck up to the State of Israel in an AIPAC speech outdoing Clinton's, or suck up to the House of Saud bragging about arms sales with an effing poster, or force him to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, or force him to increase military operations in the ME including new rules of engagement making it easier for US troops to slaughter civilians, or force him to attack the Syrian regime, or force him to commit to "take the oil", or force him to name torture queen Haspel to direct the CIA, or force him to nominate an oil tycoon as Secretary of State then replace him with torture advocate ex CIA director Pompeo, or force him to re-initiate and increase military hardware from war zones going to police departments, and the sorry list goes on that OG and other compromised "leftists" regard poor Trump being forced to do by the Deep State.

But the Deep State made him do it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OG just loves their Trump, but likely not as much as the Deep State.

paul ,

I think like many people you are partly blinded by an understandable hatred of Trump.
I hold no brief for him, except to say Clinton would have been even worse.

But people trying to make sense of the latest ill starred US foreign policy adventure only need to understand two things.
1. The complete Zionist stranglehold over US politics and media.
2. The character of the political leadership in the US (and its satellites.)

1. From a Zionist point of view, Iraq, Libya and Syria (to a lesser extent) are all a rip roaring success. The first two are failed states that have been bombed back to the Stone Age. Syria is only slightly better off. Iran is unfinished business, the last major target on the Zionist hit list. All of this achieved by the US and its satellites providing all the money and the muscle.

2. US and western leadership in general is abysmal, the worst in its history. Arrogant, venal, corrupt, irredeemably ignorant, delusional, and ideologically driven, buying in to its own exceptionalist propaganda.

You cannot expect policies or programmes adopted to be in any way rational or coherent. What passes for an administration in the Trump Circus consists largely of competing, mutually antagonistic factions and fiefdoms, each pursuing their own objectives and generally fighting like rats in a sack. Trump is far from a dictator. He is more like a bewildered bystander presiding over what is at best a chaotic turf war.

This is not to absolve Trump of responsibility -- if he is incapable of asserting his authority, he simply shouldn't be there. But people like Bolton and others were foisted upon him at the behest of Adelson and Zionist interests. Bolton was openly trying to undermine him in North Korea and elsewhere. There are many other similar examples. Seditious and mutinous spooks and dirty cops were conspiring to unseat him even before he was elected.

In Syria, the Pentagon, the CIA, and the State Department were all following their own competing agendas, sponsoring different terrorist groups, following different objectives. Mid level bureaucrats like Vindman and Ioanovitch in all three organisations felt perfectly entitled to formulate and implement their own preferred policies, without any reference to the White House.

I don't see much to admire in Trump. But apart from some coarse and bumptious behaviour, how does he differ from Obomber or Dubya? It's a mistake to go down the MSM rabbit hole of seeing everything in terms of personalities.

Martin Usher ,

Trump hasn't shown much interest in geography unless its somewhere he can put a casino so I doubt if he really understood the implications of what he's been encouraged to do. This action isn't Trump's, it most likely Pompero (who I find amusing in his 'who me' type innocence when he complains that the world isn't lining up behind the US, its just the usual roll of toadies).

The "Deep State" isn't really a thing, its all of us, its the way that we've been trained from birth to think in terms of American exceptionalism and Cold War rivalry. Its thousands of people doing their jobs to the best of their ability and as Hannah Arendt pointed out in her essay on the Banality of Evil these people are able to be the very best or very worst depending on how they're led and used. To that end the article in the Guardian proper is very telling and points to something that needs significant investigation .

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jan/04/cambridge-analytica-data-leak-global-election-manipulation

RobG ,

"clever geopolitical chess"

I would say that it's something much lower down the evolutionary chain than that: these people are all criminal psychopaths -- or if you want a more polite term: batshit crazies.

[Jan 05, 2020] Soleimani murder developing narrative OffGuardian

Notable quotes:
"... 1. Increasing tensions serves the interests of the military-industrial complex – US military spending has increased enormously, and without enough tensions, there may be a "danger" that military spending will be cut in the future. Of course, this increased military spending is only in the interest of a small minority – but it is a very influential minority that spends a lot of money on politicians. ..."
"... It sounds as if his enemies in the Pentagon and the Intelligence Agencies have tricked Trump perhaps by not telling him who the target was going to be? ..."
"... You are being sidetracked by personalities. "If only we had Obama/ Reagan/ Whoever back, everything would be fine." It wouldn't. Whoever is occupying the Oval Office, whether it's Trump/ Creepy Joe Biden/ Buttplug/ Pocahontas or some other cretin, it's just another monkey dancing to the tune of the same organ grinder. ..."
"... No capitalist regime, particularly the neo-liberal type, can ever even remotely resemble a 'democracy' of any type. ..."
Jan 05, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Admin Catte Black

Mourners surround a car carrying the coffins of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi paramilitary chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, killed in a US air strike. (Photo by SABAH ARAR / AFP)

The dust is settling somewhat over the latest and strangest act of imperial hubris in the Middle East, and a few things are becoming clearer – though no less strange.

Trump held a slightly bizarre presser at his vacation resort in Florida, wherein he tried to assure the media he had no wish to provoke either war with or regime change in Iran, saying

We took action last night to stop a war. We do not take action to start a war."

Even the slavering warhound, Pompeo was taking a more conciliatory tone, and the word 'de-escalation' began featuring prominently in his Twitter feed.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and I discussed the decisive defensive action @realDonaldTrump employed in Baghdad to protect American lives. I emphasized that de-escalation is the United States' principal goal.

-- Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 3, 2020

In my conversation today with @masrour_barzani , we discussed yesterday's defensive action and our commitment to de-escalation. I thanked him for his steadfast partnership. We agreed on the need for continued, close cooperation.

-- Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 3, 2020

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab , is also urging "all parties de-escalate" – for what that's worth.

At the same time early claims by the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Force (PMF) that the US had launched another air strike against them north of Baghdad were later retracted. According to RT:

The Iraqi Army, however, later denied that an airstrike took place there. In a statement quoted by local media, the military urged everyone to be "careful" about spreading unverified information and "rumors" in the future.

Some of this implies an attempt on both sides (Iraq and the US at least) to pull back. But while this may be welcome it does nothing to explain why the US administration escalated in the first place, in what still looks like a suicidally self-defeating move.

What is the empire up to at this point? Does it have a plan? is it coherent? is it even sane?

The Saker took a look yesterday at The Soleimani murder – what could happen next . He thinks, as he has said before, that Trump is regarded as a disposable asset by his Deep State handlers and is being used as a front man for risky policy actions that he can be scapegoated for if/when they go wrong:

I have always claimed that Donald Trump is a "disposable President" for the Neocons. What do I mean by that? I mean that the Neocons have used Trump to do all sorts of truly fantastically dumb things (pretty much ALL his policy decisions towards Israel and/or Syria) for a very simple reason. If Trump does something extremely dumb and dangerous, he will either get away with it, in which case the Neocons will be happy, or he will either fail or the consequences of his decisions will be catastrophic, at which point the Neocons will jettison him and replace him by an even more subservient individual (say Pence or Pelosi). In other words, for the Neocons to have Trump do something both fantastically dangerous and fantastically stupid is a win-win situation!

I tend to agree with this. When Clinton was dumped last minute as POTUS (too crazy, too weird), and the Deep State pivoted to Trump, it was clear from very early on he – the unwanted outsider – was going to be used just as Saker says, as a handy scapegoat; and it's interesting to note in this regard that he is indeed being blamed in many places today (Spiked , the Guardian etc), as the sole architect of the Soleimani murder.

That he is in any way solely, or even directly, responsible is of course vanishingly improbable. US presidents don't, in real terms, have that kind of power now, if they ever did. It's far more likely Trump just rubber stamped an action urged by Pompeo and his war-crazed backers, or even that he only knew about it after it was done.

But that's just detail. The fact Trump is being scapegoated implies that – at least for now – those really responsible are backtracking and thinking better of the venture.

But what was the venture? What the desired outcome? No one seems to have a very satisfactory answer to that right now.

As we said yesterday, war with Iran has been the auto-erotic fixation for the hardcore war nuts in Washington for years, and imminent confrontation has been predicted regularly since at least 2005.

But it's never become a reality because the non-crazies in Washington know the risks outweigh the benefits for US interests.

Sure, we know in recent times the Trump administration has been ramping up the tensions again. Tearing up the nuclear deal, re-imposing sanctions, sabre-rattling, making threats. But this has all been within the familiar framework that always just stops short of actual conflict.

The murder of Soleimani is orders of magnitude beyond anything they have ever risked before. Good analysts like the Saker and Moon of Alabama have pointed out that the US has basically defeated its own aims, all but destroyed itself in the region. In MoA's words:

The U.S. has won nothing with its attack but will feel the consequences for decades to come. From now on its position in the Middle East will be severely constrained. Others will move in to take its place.

Even if this turns out too dire and sweeping a prediction, the truth still is clear that the US have apparently gained nothing from this venture and lost a great deal.

Of course both the US and Israel now have carte blanche to stage as much false flag 'terrorism' as they want and blame it on Iranian 'revenge'. Whatever else happens, we can almost certainly look forward to some of that.

And, there is the bonus of being able to drive the US homeland even further toward fascism in the guise of 'preparing' for new waves of terror attacks. The Mayor of New York is already doing his own narrative preparation for this, claiming, per the Jerusalem Post that

We have to assume this action puts us in a de facto state of war

But all this seems small gains for massive losses. The question 'what were you thinking?' hangs there, currently unanswered. If this was clever geopolitical chess it's currently so deep as to defeat all analysis.

Claims that the US is just doing Israel's bidding don't even cut it. If the US loses its hold on the ME as a result of an ill-judged war with Iran, how will this benefit Israel? Does it believe it can inherit the imperial mantle? If so, it's deluded. Without US protection Israel would not last long in its current form.

Some have suggested it's a 'clever' plot to hike up oil prices. But really? There are much lower risk ways of doing that than launching a war and forcing Iran to close the Straits of Hormuz.

The QAnon crowd have even suggested it's an ultra smart way of getting the US out of Iraq. Well, we have to admit that could be the result. But does anyone really believe that was the plan?

No one has yet, to my knowledge, put out the US simply goofed and are now desperately trying to cover themselves – but that is at least as likely as some of the above.

The major question really though is – will this backtracking and odd claims of wanting de-escalation actually do anything to de-escalate? Will it persuade Iran not to seek retaliation, supposing this is now what Pompeo et al want?

Currently the answer to that looks like a 'no.' In fact Iran has just now issued a list of potential retaliation targets related to the US. Even if this is mostly posturing, it's hard to see how Iran can avoid some form of response to this heinous act of frank terrorism. Even if the US administration's 'de-escalation' stance is genuine, it may well be pointless.

And how long will the US remain in a 'de-escalation' mindset anyhow? It's become a commonplace to describe US foreign policy as 'insane', and it's an apposite description. But the murder of Soleimani takes the evident insanity to new and self-defeating levels.

Who can say what the empire's next moves will be in the coming days or weeks? More utterly lunatic 'defensive' missile strikes are entirely possible.

And at that point all bets will be off.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Pinterest WhatsApp vKontakte Email Filed under: featured , Iran , latest , terrorism , United States Tagged with: Catte Black , Dominic Raab , Donald trump , Mike Pompeo , Moon of Alabama , The Saker

Tutisicecream ,

A developing narrative indeed Catte.

It appears that 2020 has got off to a shit hot start with Golf Cart Goofy been slipped the Turd Doctrine engineered by Bolt-on brain, the deranged psychopath of Washington. From sleepy hollow the message went out to shoot first and let the policy slide along afterwards. How are the people of the land of the free going to swallow this piece of fascist wrangling?

Meanwhile in old Blighty Johnson has not even had chance to sober up from the New Year bash with his Russian friend and patron, Евгений Лебедев – bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase going down the swanee. Who said Russians don't interfere in elections? Well those with British golden passports at any rate

Antonym ,

BTL the usual misdirection pointing just to Israel; never are the Sunni Arab oil sheiks in the picture:
blinded by anti Zionism. The Gulf rulers love this aspect best.
Israel has little to offer to the US military-industrial complex except being an unsinkable aircraft carrier. The Sunni Arab oil sheiks on the other hand have massive amount of cash and oil reserves, just what the US dollar needs to keep on floating against financial gravity. With the Shia Iranian power exports as bogey these few individuals are also great clients for the Anglo protection racket. Iran is more about mass movements, hard to be a wise guy for.

Jo ,

Thanks for this. I've dodged all news since I first heard about the assassination but my initial thoughts concerned the unspeakable Pompeo and Israel. Like the author I found it absurd that Trump had personally engineered this.

On the idea that Pompeo now wants to row back, I'm not convinced. Sorry to provide a Guardian link but I saw this earlier and it seems he's scolding mainland Europe and the UK for not being more "supportive" of his insanity.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jan/04/mike-pompeo-european-response-to-suleimani-killing

Brianeg ,

I am as perplexed as anybody over the assassination of Soleimani, seeing no tactical advantage and in fact serious disadvantages and dangers.

I can add little to the excellent article and excellent comments except to say that last year, I saw a documentary about Soleimani and I felt at the time, he was perhaps the only person that might bring peace to the whole of the Middle East and it may be for that reason somebody thought he was dangerous and had to go.

At the very least, the Iraqi Government have now been given the chance to kick America and NATO out of Iraq and maybe Syria as well. With that in mind, I am sure that MSM will then say that this is all a Russian plot. I am sure that Pompeo's flight to Kazakstan is perhaps to prepare an air base if a rapid Vietnam style evacuation needs to occur.

The options left open for America, NATO and Israel are fairly limited to remote offshore missile attacks as any form of close engagement against battle hardened troops when your own forces have only experience against unarmed civilians and forces only armed with small arms would be fraught with danger. I am sure that Trump's advisers and their experience of playing war games on their computers might think differently.

As for a major missile strike like that after Douma when only a handful of rockets hit their targets especially as Syria did not have the latest anti missile systems, there is a likelihood that not one might reach its target.

2020 is shaping up to become a very interesting year and by its end destined to become a very changed world.

Trump's actions appear to be that of a very poor gambler trying to take desperate measures to improve his luck. I believe Hitler had great faith in his astrologer, does Trump use one?

David Macilwain ,

I'm less optimistic Catte – the claims to want deescalation come from those who just escalated, in a calculated and well planned act of war, in which I believe the UK and Australia were already well briefed. I would also venture, as suggested in "Official Secrets and Lies" – that Pompeo's demand that Corbyn would not be PM was making sure that there would be no anti-war PM in the UK in the new year, when the launching of the next decade of the war of terror would take place – so timely on 01.02.2020. Do we not remember that the attack on Iraq was planned months in advance, and launched – allegedly – at 20.30 on 20.03.2003?

And surely also, the faked killing of Baghdadi was part of this planning, as he had to be out of the way, specially nowhere near AL Qaim/Baghouz, for the killing of Soleimani to be possible. Truly it is the evil empire, with all that this includes, and Trump like a pimple waiting to burst sitting on top of the rotten pile.

Estaugh ,

Found this informative,. https://www.anti-empire.com/podcast-scott-horton-on-trumps-assassination-of-soleimani/

Harry Stotle ,

According to our Emily WMDs and the blood bath that followed in Iraq was all just a 'mistake'.

Sickening pontificating from her in the Guardian about how it is bad to murder people (without just cause) apparently oblivious to the fact her own party committed Britan to an illegal war without a shred of evidence that Saddam Hussein was a threat to our national security.

I held my nose and read her article – not a single word about Tony Blair, or the fact that the quagmire in the Middle East (as she describes it) was largely a result of NuLabour's love in with US neonazis.

People like Thornberry seem to be utterly devoid of even the most primitive form of decency.

She finishes her turdburger by saying 'Whoever becomes Labour's new leader, they need to have the strength, experience and knowledge to lead parliament in fighting back against Britain becoming embroiled in this disastrous drift to war.'
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/04/i-have-no-confidence-boris-johnson-will-keep-us-out-of-quagmire-in-iran

Oh, the fucking irony.

Dungroanin ,

O/T Ha ha – Integrity Initiative codswallop has landed with added rusty iron on Cambridge Analytica election meddling ! Guess what it only seems to be about Trump 2016 and Trump 2020!

Ah needed that laugh back to Armeggedon Now watch.

richard le sarc ,

I rather see Israel, ie Bibi behind this. It is a diversion from his corruption crisis, it is pure Talmudism, with its murder of Israel's 'enemies', and it brings forward the prospect of 'obliterating' 'Persia' in a New Purim that would cement Bibi's place as a 'King of Israel' for all time ie a few more years. I really think that assuming that the architects of this action are rational and sane, when they are mad, bad, dangerous to know and infinitely blood-thirsty, is mistaken.

RobG ,

Also:

Iraqi air base housing US troops comes under rocket fire north of Baghdad

If true, these reports are to be expected, because it wasn't just Qassem Suleimani who was assassinated by the American psychopaths, but also the Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

If the reports are true, it's quite expected, yet it has nothing to do with Iranian retaliation.

Iranian retaliation will be coming sometime in the future; and you might need to hold your hats when that happens.

I haven't looked at the bookmakers with regard to all this. It will be interesting to see what odds they are now giving on Trump being re-elected.

RobG ,

Rockets land close to US Embassy in Baghdad, no known casualties – military

I've no idea of the veracity of this report. There was a similar report on Friday that turned out to be untrue.

adlskfj ,

Ah, didn't take long to see Off Guardian's never ending commitment to the most vile President in US history, and that's saying a lot. The Deep State made him do it!!!!!!!!!!!!

So did the Deep State direct this fascist, racist, misogynist, jerk of epic proportions Trump to pimp for war against Iran during his campaign? Can't see from this jerk's body language that he sees himself as a "tough guy". Did the Deep State force him to take on super neocon ex CIA director Woolsey as a foreign policy advisor during his campaign, or force him to suck up to the State of Israel in an AIPAC speech outdoing Clinton's, or suck up to the House of Saud bragging about arms sales with an effing poster, or force him to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, or force him to increase military operations in the ME including new rules of engagement making it easier for US troops to slaughter civilians, or force him to attack the Syrian regime, or force him to commit to "take the oil", or force him to name torture queen Haspel to direct the CIA, or force him to nominate an oil tycoon as Secretary of State then replace him with torture advocate ex CIA director Pompeo, or force him to re-initiate and increase military hardware from war zones going to police departments, and the sorry list goes on that OG and other compromised "leftists" regard poor Trump being forced to do by the Deep State.

But the Deep State made him do it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OG just loves their Trump, but likely not as much as the Deep State.

paul ,

I think like many people you are partly blinded by an understandable hatred of Trump.
I hold no brief for him, except to say Clinton would have been even worse.

But people trying to make sense of the latest ill starred US foreign policy adventure only need to understand two things.
1. The complete Zionist stranglehold over US politics and media.
2. The character of the political leadership in the US (and its satellites.)

1. From a Zionist point of view, Iraq, Libya and Syria (to a lesser extent) are all a rip roaring success. The first two are failed states that have been bombed back to the Stone Age. Syria is only slightly better off. Iran is unfinished business, the last major target on the Zionist hit list. All of this achieved by the US and its satellites providing all the money and the muscle.

2. US and western leadership in general is abysmal, the worst in its history. Arrogant, venal, corrupt, irredeemably ignorant, delusional, and ideologically driven, buying in to its own exceptionalist propaganda.

You cannot expect policies or programmes adopted to be in any way rational or coherent. What passes for an administration in the Trump Circus consists largely of competing, mutually antagonistic factions and fiefdoms, each pursuing their own objectives and generally fighting like rats in a sack. Trump is far from a dictator. He is more like a bewildered bystander presiding over what is at best a chaotic turf war.

This is not to absolve Trump of responsibility – if he is incapable of asserting his authority, he simply shouldn't be there. But people like Bolton and others were foisted upon him at the behest of Adelson and Zionist interests. Bolton was openly trying to undermine him in North Korea and elsewhere. There are many other similar examples. Seditious and mutinous spooks and dirty cops were conspiring to unseat him even before he was elected.

In Syria, the Pentagon, the CIA, and the State Department were all following their own competing agendas, sponsoring different terrorist groups, following different objectives. Mid level bureaucrats like Vindman and Ioanovitch in all three organisations felt perfectly entitled to formulate and implement their own preferred policies, without any reference to the White House.

I don't see much to admire in Trump. But apart from some coarse and bumptious behaviour, how does he differ from Obomber or Dubya? It's a mistake to go down the MSM rabbit hole of seeing everything in terms of personalities.

Martin Usher ,

Trump hasn't shown much interest in geography unless its somewhere he can put a casino so I doubt if he really understood the implications of what he's been encouraged to do. This action isn't Trump's, it most likely Pompero (who I find amusing in his 'who me' type innocence when he complains that the world isn't lining up behind the US, its just the usual roll of toadies).

The "Deep State" isn't really a thing, its all of us, its the way that we've been trained from birth to think in terms of American exceptionalism and Cold War rivalry. Its thousands of people doing their jobs to the best of their ability and as Hannah Arendt pointed out in her essay on the Banality of Evil these people are able to be the very best or very worst depending on how they're led and used. To that end the article in the Guardian proper is very telling and points to something that needs significant investigation .

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jan/04/cambridge-analytica-data-leak-global-election-manipulation

RobG ,

"clever geopolitical chess"

I would say that it's something much lower down the evolutionary chain than that: these people are all criminal psychopaths – or if you want a more polite term: batshit crazies.

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

The Social Psychology determinant of Deindividuation allows people to immerse themselves psychologically into the in-group in order to oppose out-groups whether it be along lines of ethnicity against minority ethnic groups or otherwise some other negatively viewed determinant like gender, or age.

Fascists typically join likeminded individuals to fulfill the process of deindividuation into in-groups they perceive to be socially beneficial for reasons of political opposition.

Deindividuation allows the elite to internalize their own social-psychological perspectives to in-group bias of entitlement et cetera. Out-group members are viewed as inferior, and dispossessed of perspective of what it is like to be rich & wealthy in in-group perspective.

Bikers deindividuate into biker gangs of likeminded in-group collective thinking. Out-group is anyone that is not aligned with the in-group binary of identity with the group.
I suspect that human beings somehow imprint on group membership much like Conrad Lorenz found with ducklings & geese whilst studying learning processes.

MOU

jay ,

'merica has been 'attacking' Iran for the last 10 years. It is all smoke and mirrors. Once upon a time there was a CIA fommented coup to overthrow a popular and decent government, placing the Shah in power. Then we had the Islamic Revolution led by the Ayatolah The Ayatolah had been sojourning in Paris presumably enjoying the folies bergere and some tasty charcuterie. Then right on time, He was flown business class by Air France back to Iran.

The NWO and Radical Islam go together like ram-a-lam-ding-dong

The car Soleimani was killed in appears to have been 'exploded' into a block with very little damage to the surrounding area or scorching. A car set on fire by neds in Glasgow makes more mess.

However in a change from the ubiquitous 'mysteriously' appearing passport, we have a deluxe ring that 'identified' Him.
The ring appears to change from one image to another

tonyopmoc ,

jay,

There is other evidence to support this view, admittedly from around 10+ years ago. The Iranians in a Big Blow-Up boat (don't mock our Lifeboat service uses them too to save lives in some of the most hazardous seas – and most of them are unpaid volunteers), stopped a British metal warship, who they claimed had infiltrated Iranian Waters. The Iranians arrested several members of The Royal Navy. The Iranians also arrested the BBC Cameraman, and his Soundman, and took them into the blow-up boat too, and they carried on filming, whilst they took them to jail in Iran.

I p1ssed myself laughing almost immediately, and I don't normally watch TV.

After a few days, The Iranians, let them all go. The Royal Navy said sorry, we won't do it again.

That just had to be a pre-planned set-up between the British and the Iranians.

I suspect neither told the Americans, cos they would f'ck it all up and try to start a war.

Tony

tonyopmoc ,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Iranian_arrest_of_Royal_Navy_personnel

paul ,

The premise of this article is somewhat dubious. The Deep State never "pivoted to Trump." It wanted Clinton, regardless of how crazy and corrupt she was. They have never accepted Trump's presidency.

The spooks and the dirty cops worked tirelessly to undermine his campaign to prevent him being elected. Having failed in this, it did everything possible to sabotage his administration subsequently. It has perpetrated various subversive and treasonous hoaxes, fantasies and conspiracy theories, culminating in the current impeachment circus.

They never tried to make the best of a bad job, from their point of view, to "manage Trump." This has remained constant, no matter how much pandering he does to Zionist interests, or how many trillions he gifts to the military industrial complex. They don't accept him, and never will. They hate him, and they want him dead, or at least in jail, stripped of his businesses and money, and his relatives as well.

Why is this? After all, he's gifted Nuttyyahoo Jerusalem, occupied Syria and the West Bank. The current military budget (true figure) is $1,134 billion. You might think that would cut him a bit of slack.

It's because he upset the apple cart for the Zionist interests who rule the roost in Washington.
Clinton was supposed to take over and implement their programme.
Syria was supposed to have been destroyed now, and Assad dead.
The war with Iran was supposed to have been begun long ago.
But Trump failed to deliver.
The tentative peace feelers being put out to Russia (because he was more concerned about China) enraged that same dual national constituency with their visceral hatred of Russia.

And this is so much more the case because those same interests realise they are working under time pressure. This may be their last chance. America is declining rapidly. The Zionist stranglehold that has taken a century to achieve is a declining asset. And the parasite may find it difficult to find another host.
Is Russia going to give Israel billions of dollars and unlimited free weaponry every year? Will Chinese troops be "happy to die for Israel" as US ones are (at least according to their general?

Trump may have been dragged along on the coat tails of the dual nationals and their goy stooges, rabid religious nut jobs like Pence and Pompeo. But if Trump is hoping to row things back, he is likely to be disappointed. Iran has to respond decisively, or else give a green light to endless similar (and worse) provocations by the Boltons and the Netanyahus, like Israel in Syria. It cannot afford to show any weakness. And when the retaliation comes, Trump will not get away with bombing some empty airfield.

Gall ,

The problem is not just the AIPAC and JINSA which long since should have been labeled Foreign Agents under FARA but the Christian Zionist nutballs who are banking on Armageddon so that they can be raptured off to heaven while all of us are turned into radioactive toast.

paul ,

Yes, that includes Pence, Pompeo, Hagee, and (according to some claims) 40 million of the Exceptional and Indispensable Folk.

richard le sarc ,

The USA these days is like one of those zombie ants, infected with a toxic fungus, Ziophilia prostatens, that takes over its brain, and makes it climb up a branch, so that, when the fungus explodes from its dead body, its spores can drift further away. Or, even better, the toxic protozoon, Toxoplasma gondii, that, when it infects rats, makes them suicidally unafraid of cats, they get eaten, and the protozoon goes forth, distributed through the cat's faeces. I suppose we could call the infection controlling the minds of the Washington detritus and making them genocidal as well as suicidal a 'protozion', for easy identification.

Gezzah Potts ,

You nail it. Israel provided co ordinates for Soleimani's whereabouts, Trump, in his sheer stupidity, did the deed.
And now payback is coming. And it's likely to escalate into a massive war.
Ridiculous ABC doing their little bit for Empire and the 'fight for freedom' .
More airstrikes on a PMU base on the Iraq-Syria border earlier today, another 5 killed.
One guess who was responsible. Fecken insanity.

Adrian E. ,

I think the following two explanations are most plausible:

1. Increasing tensions serves the interests of the military-industrial complex – US military spending has increased enormously, and without enough tensions, there may be a "danger" that military spending will be cut in the future. Of course, this increased military spending is only in the interest of a small minority – but it is a very influential minority that spends a lot of money on politicians.

2. The goal may be sowing chaos and violence because this increases the role of the military in international relations, and in military matters, the US in its current state is (or thinks it is – they probably want to avoid a war against a strong army that would let them find out better) more competitive than in economic matters. As far as economic matters are concerned, we can more or less predict that the "Western world" (US and EU/NATO) will almost certainly be dwarfed by China (and to some degree other East Asian countries and emerging economies). Of course, some time in the future, when urbanization will be completed to a large degree, Chinese growth will slow, but it is unlikely that this won't still mean that the US and EU economies will be tiny compared to it. If the US manages to decrease the role of economics and increase the role of the military, it may be able to slow down the decline in its significance somehow, and what it needs for that is violence, chaos, and instability.
Of course, one may say that all these instances of sowing chaos are counterproductive for the US empire. In many concrete instances, one can show that this is the case, e.g. Iran was strengthened by the US aggression against Iraq. But on the whole, is the US empire really weaker than it would have been without all these aggressions? The US economy probably is, but if we specifically talk about US empire – the US has military bases around the world in a way no empire has ever had, and without enough violence, chaos, and tensions in order to justify them, it might be difficult to keep them long-term. It is also important to attempt to analyze counterfactual scenarios. If the US has just been relieved after the end of the Cold War, reaped a huge peace dividend and if it had not committed an aggression every few years, it would probably be more prosperous, but it would hardly be an empire. Probably, NATO would not exist any more (the aggression against Yugoslavia and later stoking up historical hatred in Eastern EU member countries played an important role). The US would probably be more respected than it is now, but its international significance would probably have decreased more than it has in our current reality where the US has increased the role of the military by sowing chaos.

Brian Steere ,

The idea of Empire may not fit the modern world of broad spectrum globalism. Expecting such a world to make sense may buy into being manipulated further by an ever consolidating pattern of possession and control – that works a kind of narrative or mind capture alongside globally set regulatory structures to protect the lie at any cost and by any and all means.

Yarkob ,

that was supposed to be a link, admins i even used the code button

https://twitter.com/AWAKEALERT/status/1144134909415448576

Paul ,

It sounds as if his enemies in the Pentagon and the Intelligence Agencies have tricked Trump perhaps by not telling him who the target was going to be? Now he owns the policy and the chances of getting rid of him rise especially if the retaliation is serious and he fails to start throwing nukes around.

As with JFK over the Bay of Pigs it puts him in a very hard place. Working with Pence would probably suit the Military Complex. Ideas of withdrawing from conflict in the ME and Afghanistan are as crazy to them as Kennedy's plans to disarm.

alskdjf ,

Paul you just love your Trump. The epic corrupt capitalist globalist fascist epic jerk I'm sure would regard you with much love if he knew you existed or cared.

paul ,

You are being sidetracked by personalities. "If only we had Obama/ Reagan/ Whoever back, everything would be fine." It wouldn't. Whoever is occupying the Oval Office, whether it's Trump/ Creepy Joe Biden/ Buttplug/ Pocahontas or some other cretin, it's just another monkey dancing to the tune of the same organ grinder.

TFS ,

Is it me, or does the definition of what constitutes a Democracy, seem out of date?

Surely, where country such as Blighty likes to refer to iself as a Democracy, then it should hold true that its people are past masters of holding its rulers to account?

If we are a Democracy and we don't, as has been the case for the past 50yrs of my life, aren't we guilty of some sort of crime?

Are we (adults) all non persons, a person called 'Collateral Damage' for when Karma comes a calling?

Will we cry foul and bemoan the injustice of it not being our fault as our leaders rape the planet?

I dunno, calling Blighty a Democracy seems to be quite Arrogant and Offensive.

richard le sarc ,

No capitalist regime, particularly the neo-liberal type, can ever even remotely resemble a 'democracy' of any type.

Robyn ,

An fundamental of democracy is a free press so that citizens can cast an informed vote. There is no longer a free press (to the extent that there ever was) and, with increasing censorship of ethical journalism, the ideal of democracy becomes more remote each day.

[Jan 04, 2020] Critical thinking is anathema to the neoliberal establishment. That s why they need to corrupt the language, to make the resistance more difficult and requiring higher level of IQ

Highly recommended!
Manipulation of the language is one of the most powerful Propaganda tool. See the original Orwell essay at George Orwell Politics and the English Language. among other things he stated "But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought."
Notable quotes:
"... we were set a writing task as a follow-up, reporting on the same story using the same facts, from completely opposing points of view, using euphemism and mind-numbing cliches. Teach children to do this themselves and they can see how language can be skewed and facts distorted and misrepresented without technically lying. ..."
"... It might be taught in Media Studies, I suppose - but gosh, don't the right really hate that particular subject! Critical thinking is anathema to them. ..."
Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

BluebellWood -> Supermassive , 29 Nov 2018 12:41

Yep - education is the key.

I remember at school we read Orwell's essay Politics and the English Language in an English class and then we were set a writing task as a follow-up, reporting on the same story using the same facts, from completely opposing points of view, using euphemism and mind-numbing cliches. Teach children to do this themselves and they can see how language can be skewed and facts distorted and misrepresented without technically lying.

How many children in schools are taught such critical thinking these days, I wonder? It might be taught in Media Studies, I suppose - but gosh, don't the right really hate that particular subject! Critical thinking is anathema to them.

[Jan 04, 2020] Reprisals against US to come at time and place of Iran's choosing

Jan 04, 2020 | www.theguardian.com

The threat to America and its allies is greatest in the Middle East, but Tehran has ample options when it comes to taking revenge

Julian Borger in Washington

Fri 3 Jan 2020 12.29 EST Last modified on Fri 3 Jan 2020 17.32 EST Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via Email The constant sense of insecurity that Americans and allies will feel will be part of the revenge. Photograph: Nazanin Tabatabaee/Wana/Reuters Iran has spent decades preparing for a moment like this , developing methods and networks around the world that give Tehran the widest possible choice when it comes to taking revenge.

In the weeks immediately after the airstrike that killed Iran's most powerful general , the threat against Americans and their allies will be greatest in the Middle East, but the risk will balloon out across the globe over the months and years to come.

Any US outpost in Syria and Iraq, military or diplomatic, is vulnerable to attacks, likely to come from Iranian-backed militias linked to Kata'ib Hezbollah , which has served as Tehran's most reliable fist in Iraq. In Iraq, there will be even less protection from the state, which is furious about the attack outside Baghdad airport.

The second ring of possible reprisals could follow an already familiar path, targeting oil shipments through the Persian Gulf. The leadership in Tehran will be conscious that one avenue of revenge against Donald Trump would be strike at his chances of re-election. An oil price spike, coupled with a backdrop of global instability and US vulnerability, would certainly hurt his campaign.

In Afghanistan, Iran has longstanding ties with Hazara militias and solid basis for operations in Herat.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah has long been Iran's right arm, and can strike Israel and US regional interests at any time. And Hezbollah has networks much further afield where there are pockets of Lebanese Shia diaspora, for example in Latin America and West Africa.

Iranian intelligence has carried out assassinations in Europe, and there are a string of other attacks globally in which Iran or Hezbollah is suspected but not proven to be involved.

US intelligence certainly believes Hezbollah was behind the bombing of an Israeli-Argentinian cultural centre in Buenos Aires in 1994, and the bombing of a bus full of Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria, in 2012. The CIA was also convinced that Iran was involved in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1988 , in reprisal for the accidental downing of an Iranian airliner , Iran Air 655, five months earlier.

While Tehran has ample choices, it also has limitations. It will want to avoid triggering an all-out war with the US and its allies. It may now decide to build up a covert nuclear arsenal, no longer bound by the 2015 nuclear deal which Donald Trump walked out of. It would be harder to go down that road in the middle of a firefight. And each act of retribution could use up the political capital Iran has around the world, most importantly backing from Russia and China.

ss="rich-link"> Iran vows revenge for US killing of top general Qassem Suleimani Read more

But while Iran is likely to choose its targets carefully, with an eye to deniability, there is little doubt that reprisals will come at a time and place of Tehran's choosing. The constant sense of insecurity that Americans and allies will feel will be part of the revenge.

"I frankly have never seen the Iranians not respond – tit for tat. It's just never happened," said Robert Baer, a former CIA officer. "It's so in their DNA, [as is using] a proxy, which makes it more difficult to respond to. And their options are unlimited."

Topics Iran

[Jan 04, 2020] US murders leading Iranian General Qassem Soleimani OffGuardian

Military commanders are in dangerous occupation and the death is always lurking around. Loss of one, even extremely talented, general does not mean much for Iran army. Acquiring a military new technology is of higher priority then retaliation. Larger geopolitical realities should be given top considerations. Right now conflict with the USA means compete destruction of the Iran. The decision to go ahead with the construction of nuclear bomb is credible option as it will protect the country from the direct invasion and devastating air strikes.
And while the US action violated international norms, the decision to retaliate immediately at the US forces in Iraq and elsewhere is stupid and shortsighted.
Actually alliance of Iran with Syria and Iraq (82 million, 40 million, 17 million) would be very formidable military alliance, which is capable to protect itself from anybody but the USA, Russia and China. If they add nuclear armed Pakistan, even the USA would think twise attacking any of the country.
See also Russia–Syria–Iran–Iraq coalition - Wikipedia and Syria’s Assad Stresses Importance of Alliance With Russia, Iran, Iraq - WSJ
Jan 03, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Jan 3, 2020 Admin

The US govt has confirmed it deliberately targeted leading Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in its missile (some say drone) attack near Baghdad airport that killed 10 people, including Soleimani and leaders of the Iraqi Shia militia.

The Pentagon has made a public statement justifying the action as a 'defensive' act aimed at protecting US servicemen from future attacks, claiming the general was behind recent attacks on the US embassy in Baghdad and adding:

General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region

There's no way this can be verified of course, and even if true, does not excuse what amounts to an extraordinary act of terrorism against a sovereign nation with whom no state of war existed.

The apparent craziness here is off the charts.

Quick recap. The most insane & deluded of the war-profiteers/sadists/mad ideologues have been begging for a move against Iran since around 2005. It's the seventh and final country in Wes Clarke's famous ' seven countries in five years ' story. But so far it has never been attacked directly by the US.

The reason for this is the realists in the Pentagon know they could easily lose that war.

Iran isn't Iraq. Iran isn't Syria. Iran is a wealthy, organized state, with a well-trained and fearsome military well capable of defending itself.

The non-crazies in the Pentagon know this and know a war with these people could end up wiping the US out in the Middle East, to say nothing of escalating wildly, up to and including direct confrontation with Russia, that has its own powerful reasons for not wanting to see Iran become a chaotic US vassal.

This is why, after fifteen years of talking the talk, no US administration has ever dared to actually walk the walk. The non-crazy generals have vetoed it, spelled out what a disaster it could become, made it clear the risks are not worth the gains.

So it always has been for 15 years – until now.

At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.

-- The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 3, 2020

On the face of it the murder of Soleimani and the Pentagon statement of intent appears to be some kind of coup for the lunatics. Do the war-profiteers/sadists and ideologues who seem to have grabbed the initiative really understand what they have done?

Is Dominic Raab remotely cognizant of where his alleged rubber-stamping of Pompeo's lunacy might lead? (Dom himself hasn't verified Pompeo's bombast yet, which may or may not be signficiant).

Discussed with @DominicRaab the recent decision to take defensive action to eliminate Qassem Soleimani. Thankful that our allies recognize the continuing aggressive threats posed by the Iranian Quds Force. The U.S. remains committed to de-escalation.

-- Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 3, 2020

Let's hope they are all privy to some important info we don't have that means this is not the apocalyptic suicide bid it looks like.

Time will tell.

Meanwhile " WW3 " is a trending hashtag on Twitter, which is a little premature perhaps, but sells the sense of horror and disbelief people are feeling. Here are some examples

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praises Donald Trump for killing top Iranian general and says US has a 'right to defend itself' https://t.co/ZJasi2GFxX

-- ExposeTheMedia.com (@ExposeTheMedia) January 3, 2020

this is a fucking lie pic.twitter.com/HmS32o5F3D

-- 🌹Sean Duffy🌹 (@seanduffy_) January 3, 2020

For all intents & purposes, any talk inside #Iran of negotiation with the US, or in choosing a more peaceful policy in the region is now over. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, has vowed vengeance for this attack, and it will be very bitter. https://t.co/lKIjvHKljC By @karimsh89

-- AHTribune (@AHTribune) January 3, 2020

Possibly significant and interesting take by blue tick John Simpson

Killing #Soleimani isn't like killing bin Laden, who had masterminded the worst terrorist attack against America. Soleimani was a competitor, who was highly effective in fighting ISIS as well as American interests. Assassinating him seems like a step back to a more savage past.

-- John Simpson (@JohnSimpsonNews) January 3, 2020

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, talking a certain amount of sense:

The US assassination of Qasem Soleimani is an extremely serious and dangerous escalation of conflict with global significance. The UK government should urge restraint on the part of both Iran and the US, and stand up to the belligerent actions and rhetoric coming from the US.

-- Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) January 3, 2020

Keir Starmer, potential future leader of the Labour Party, is also not convinced:

The Government's response to Donald Trump's actions is not good enough.

The UK Government should hold him to account for his actions and stand up for international law, not tacitly condone the attack. https://t.co/3OCyiuphRt

-- Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) January 3, 2020

Susan Sarandon retweeting Bernie. Did he actually oppose invasion of Iraq? But the sentiment is a good one

NO WAR WITH IRAN https://t.co/iKFlADmS1c

-- Susan Sarandon (@SusanSarandon) January 3, 2020

Lindsey Graham talking idiotic smack to the surprise of no one:

President @realDonaldTrump took decisive, preemptive action to foil a plot directed at American personnel.

As to what happens next: It should be clear to Iran that President Trump will not sit idly by if our people and interests are threatened.

-- Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 3, 2020

The Guardian being the Guardian

US and allies on high alert as Iran threatens retaliation https://t.co/sHoqGb9T0f

-- Guardian news (@guardiannews) January 3, 2020

And just, well, disturbing frankly

ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!

An Iranian family celebrating the killing of #Iran 's IRGC Quds Force chief Qasem Soleimani.

"Death to Dictator!" they are heard chanting. #FreeIran2020 pic.twitter.com/3EgOUqizat

-- Heshmat Alavi (@HeshmatAlavi) January 3, 2020

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Antonym ,

The Anglo's are favoring Sunni Muslims since long time:

Yes, planning for Operation Gulmarg started way back in 1943. The British were certain Kashmir would go to Pakistan  and pulled out all the stops in advance to ensure this.

https://conradcourier.com/how-the-british-schemed-to-give-kashmir-to-pakistan/24103.html

richard le sarc ,

Whereas the Zionists prefer setting all sides at each others' throats, as they did in Lebanon during the Civil War, or when they promoted Hamas to oppose the PLO, or the terrorist death-squad South Lebanese Army to attack Hezbollah etc, or al-Nusra Front, in particular, during the salafist attack on Syria. Not to forget the partition of Sudan, a long-term Zionist project.

Antonym ,

The Australian-born Major-General Robert "Bill" Cawthome, once a British Army officer who had later joined the Pakistan Army, remains the longest-serving Director General of the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) for over nine years from 1950 to 1959.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/archive/print/526965-maj-gen-robert-cawthome-was-the-longest-serving-isi-chief

Jack_Garbo ,

I don't buy it, without real proof. The bloody hand with a similar ring isn't enough. Soleimani is a master strategist and tactician, his intelligence service is way better than the Americans'. I don't see him, with another high ranking official, in the same vehicle, exposed to attack. Too careless for a very careful man.
So, Iranian false flag trick? Leak a fake rendez-vous, hide their VIG Soleimani for the next operation, divert Iranian public anger outward at the US, unite Iraqi and Iranian resistance against the US? Sounds more believable. Let's see

tonyopmoc ,

It seems to me, that no-one I know, noticed any news whatsoever today, nor showed the slightest interest, when I tried to mention it. So www 3 is extremely unlikely, cos no one gives a sh1t. So I reckon its best to ignore it. They will go back into their holes. propaganda too much – like when you couldn't stand mustang sally again 10 years ago, and for a special occasion they do it again, and you still think its a crap song, but join in cos its a party, and to be polite, but you can't stand it for a 3rd time, well past its 2nd death.

Can our Leaders please start making sense. That is what we employ you for. To represent our best interests – not yours. You volunteered for the job, so now you have got it, do what we elected you and told you to do.

That is Your Job. You are a Member of Parliament now.

We elected you.

Please Get on with it.

Do your Job.

Thanks.

Tony

Estompista ,

Iran isn't going to do shit.

Antonym ,

Sorry, was Qassem Soleimani some kind of saint? Did he never organize any mass suicide bombing/ assassination of an opponent in Irak, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon or elsewhere?

Going against Sunni Arab KSA was kind of natural for a Persian Shia, working against Israel was good for brownie points among Muslims and Western Leftovers but ultimately dumb.

richard le sarc ,

Compared to Netanyahu, Sharon, Shamir, Begin, Peres, Rabin etc, yes he was a veritable saint.

tunde ,

Trump has had years to drone Soulemani. QS' morale visits to the frontlines in Syria and Iraq were extensively documented on social media by Iranian proxies and allies. No doubt Israel noticed them as well but passed on striking at him.
My only conclusion is to Trump's rationale is to speculate that Trump calculates Iranian backlash is limited and a double win for him; In rallying support around the flag for electoral purposes (what impeachment?) and providing a causus belli for a range of punishing strikes across a wide variety of targets across Iran. The economic toll on Iran would be crushing on top of the sanctions. Trump's khaki election gambit ?

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

When a corporation such as the United States of America falls into debt to the tune of $23 trillion USD heading into certain long term recessionary headwinds they have no alternative but to start bombing antiquated economically challenged countries that are struggling to survive. This allows the American bullies to feel empowered & respected through fear of their mass text book Psychopathology that they peddle to the populations for purposes of creating unease & fear, or terror, whatever the case may be.

The Central Intelligence Agency has been doing this sort of regime change gig forever where they first utilize Economic Hit Men to entice leadership to acquiesce to CIA demands. If the Economic Hit Men fail the mission the jackals are sent in to assassinate. If assassination fails & Economic Hit Men fail, it falls to the generals & war planners in the bureaucracy.

The end game superordinate goal for all Americans in the mix of state is to murder the competition even if it means destroying entire regions of the world to do it.

And never forget the Queen of Mean stating that 'only the little people pay taxes'. Believe me when I state that Leona Helmsley would push you down a flight of stairs in a wheelchair if you were an invalid much like Richard Widmark did in The Kiss of Death.

Warmongers ain't benevolent & Charley don't surf.

MOU

Gezzah Potts ,

What the United States has done is completely insanity. And for Pompeo to be tweeting that the United States 'is committed to de-escalation' is cloud cuckoo land stuff.
I've been following this on various other sites as well. Iran is officially in mourning, and after that is completed, they will respond
We will soon find out what that response is.
We now face the very strong likelihood of a cataclysmic war in the Middle East.
This is an incredibly dangerous situation.
My gut feeling is this is also the beginning of the end for this truly evil, parasitical Empire.
They cannot see the consequences of what they have done with this act of terrorism.
They are fully blinded by their sheer arrogance and hubris.

RobG ,

I can't back this up with any links, so all I can say is that I'm hearing murmurs that the Iranians have now told the Americans to pull all of their warships out of Middle Eastern waters by this time next week, otherwise American warships will be attacked and sunk.

The Iranians are quite capable of doing this in the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Oman Gulf (which 35% of the world's tanker oil moves through). Iranian missiles can also quite easily hit Saudi oil fields. Who's going to buy shares in ARAMCO? The price of oil is already going through the roof. How much do you want to pay to fill up your vehicle? or do you believe all the MSM bullshit about twerrorists?

Anyhows, this is still all just rumour at the moment; but if it's true it's a very smart move by the Iranians.

Gezzah Potts ,

I was going to reply to your other comment, but breaking news that the United States has launched more airstrikes in Iraq apparently killing 6 Shia militia leaders.
Pompeo is a raving liar and lunatic.
If this news is true, the bastards want war.
More insane provocations.
Just about to check some sources to verify this. Yes, I commented to you first before I checked
Buckle up, things are getting very rocky.

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

Americans have wanted control over the entire Gulf of Oman since before I was born.
The Gulf of Oman oil fields are the best in the entire world for really top grade oils. It's a massive oil field.

Americans are corporate pirates not unlike fiction. Brig Gen Smedley Butler bragged of having more territory than Al Capone. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson owns Al Capones old gun that he purchased at auction.

MOU

JudyJ ,

For information – RT News has just reported that they are receiving reports that the US have attacked another vehicle convoy just north of Baghdad. They have no more details at present.

richard le sarc ,

It's just Bibi and his pet goy appealing to their 'bases'. Killing is their religion, quite literally.

JudyJ ,

Reports now say that convoy was attacked by an airstrike at 1 a.m. local time, 6 Iranian backed Shia militia leaders killed and 5 others injured. As a US peace activist just said on RT, 'this attack is on local Iraqis who have been fighting against ISIL and are on their home territory; and such attacks are totally inexcusable'.

Gezzah Potts ,

Thanks Judy. Just heard that news over at The Saker and was about to check, but you confirmed this.
The lunatics have taken over the asylum.
And they're like a chimpanzee playing with a live grenade inside a small room.
And the Chimps between you and the door.
This is fecken madness.

nottheonly1 ,

How prophetic of myself to have foreseen the end of my online commenting for all the wrong reasons. Can't take all the shit anymore. It is indeed like the 80's Fun Boy Three hit "The lunatics have taken over the asylum" and the meds have run out a few weeks ago.

Nobody has even the slightest idea what is unfolding now. To that end, I will state it once more:

How long is the window of opportunity open for those who attempt a global takeover? Will they allow Russia and China to get even more advanced weaponry?

No. It is 'now or never again' and they are going for it. Either in utter derangement, or infinite stupidity, the people behind this takeover do believe that they can win WW3 and after some cleanup enjoy their United States of Earth.

On the other hand, what if some folks studied STUXNET and are now preparing a number of NPP in the West to shut off their cooling pumps and generators. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? This time although, it will be Karma for all the shit the West has done to the people of the Near/Middle/Far East.

richard le sarc ,

The USA created Daash, as they did al-Qaeda, along with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf despotisms and Israel, so they are bound to act 'kinetically' to assure that it is revitalised in Iraq, to attack Central Asia and the BRI.

Gall ,

I went to the tweets cited and noted that many blood thirsty war pigs were happily oinking their approval for the Imperial Death Stars latest act of terrorism ludicrously called a "defensive" action by the Terrorist and Thief who turns out to be just another lying sack of shit.

Ian Beeby ,

So Donald Duck has confirmed to the whole world that he ordered this act of terrorism and murder. Not only that but as it was a murder/terrorist act in another country that also makes it a war crime. So when are we going to see him and cronies including those in the UK facing the international criminal court for war crimes.

Jack_Garbo ,

Didn't they tell you? The US & UK do not recognize the ICC. Next

richard le sarc ,

They don't recognise it, but they control it, and their pet Aunty Tom, Bensouda.

richard le sarc ,

Well this is plainly Trump, the premier Sabbat Goy, doing his Master, Sheldon Adelson's, bidding. Killing is central to Judaism and Zionism and American Exceptionalism. Just recently Trump, as he obsequiously groveled to one of the alphabet soup of Zionist groups, the Israeli American Council, that control US politics, congratulated Jews for being ' brutal killers-not nice people at all'. The anti-Trump Zionists proclaimed that 'antisemitism', not realising it was intended as a compliment.
Perhaps they were worried, as well, that it might be too revelatory of the lust for murder that lies at the heart of Judaism. As the highly influential 'Yesha Council of Rabbis and Torah Sages' declared in 2006, as Israel was bombing Lebanon back to the Stone Age, targeting, schools, mosques, power stations, hospitals and fleeing civilians, under Judaic Law killing civilians is not just permissible, but is considered a mitzvah, or good deed. International Humanitarian Law to the contrary was contemptuously dismissed as mere 'Christian morality'.
The Godfather of Likudnik Zionism, Jabotinsky, bluntly stated the ideological equivalent of that doctrine-'We will kill anyone who gets in our way'. And Israeli PMs Begin, Shamir, Sharon and Rabin all had plenty of the blood of innocents on their paws. Last year a book appeared, 'Rise and Kill First' that listed the huge series of assassinations of resistance leaders, often with their families ('Down to the fourth generation' as the Talmud demands)or mere bystanders and neighbours, committed by Israel, and it was generally lauded and the author treated with mandatory sycophancy.
The French Jewish intellectual, Bernard Lazare, noted, late in the 19th century, that Jews had experienced conflict with the local communities almost everywhere they had settled, despite the differences of social arrangements, religions, histories etc, and he, a firm opponent of Judeophobia and supporter of Dreyfuss, simply observed that 'Israel' (ie Jews) must bear at least some blame for those events. That, of course, is the very essence of really existing 'antisemitism' today-to assert that any Jew, anywhere, has ever done a bad, or wrong, or even mistaken thing. These are, after all, as Begin used to declare, 'Gods upon the Earth'. However, this time, they surely have gone too far. Both the corrupt thug Netanyahu, and the simple thug, Trump, need diversions, and they will soon get them, in spades. Pity the poor innocents who will suffer for them indulging their blood-lusts.

Estompista ,

"Central to Judaism." And boom: there goes your mask.

richard le sarc ,

Central to Talmudic, Orthodox Judaism-unarguable. Bang goes your mask. Many Jews reject the murderous xenophobia at the heart of Talmudic Judaism, hence the Reform and Liberal tendencies, (and non-religious Jews), which are NOT recognised as true Judaism in Israel, which is controlled by the Orthodox goy-haters. Learn something about your own religion before you start pontificating and smearing.

Tallis Marsh ,

Hi OffG, I wondered if it would be possible to get an article on the Australian fires – to get a plethora of views on the situation? Tens of thousands are being urged to evacuate the South-East now, apparently.

Off the top of my head – a few questions to set the ball rolling if we do get an article:

What is actually happening; how are the fires being started? Who is starting them? Why are firefighters having trouble with all of it?

Years & years of deliberate mismanagement? Arson? Sabotage? D.E.Ws/Scalar/Smart Meters?

Coup against current leader, Scott Morrison (maybe because he did not play ball withe the climate change people)?

Agenda 21/2030 in motion? SDGs being rolled out etc – deliberate displacement of people (ultimately off rural & suburban areas and into cities (I think the UN name it something like City-densification)?

People don't need to agree – just get their views, observations and hopefully some evidence. Anyway, just putting some thoughts out there

richard le sarc ,

It's anthropogenic climate destabilisation, as all the local fire chiefs and many of the recently retired, have declared, for some time. Predicted twenty and thirty years ago by science, and here, now, a few decades ahead of expectations.

Tallis Marsh ,

Interesting. I am not fully on board with the idea of human-induced climate change (anthropogenic climate change). I need much more convincing than what is available out there currently. Maybe humans cause an extremely teeny amount but not anyway near enough to change our environment? Really, is anthropogenic climate change causing all the current things like flooding, 'wildfires' landslides etc that are suddenly all happening in many different places at the frequency & level over this last decade or so ,and suddenly being plastered all over our MSM, press, tv etc ad nauseum without any differing views allowed to be aired without ridicule or slap-downs or censorship?

Who are XR's funders, allies and founders? What are their deeper motives?

What about the fact that the Earth's climate naturally goes through cycles; some people tend more towards the climate experts who believe we are now entering the cooling period, the Maunder Minimum? People like Piers Corbyn have been correctly predicting long-range weather and climate cycles for many years?

Also, CO2 is important for plant/tree growth? We cannot have life without carbon in its many forms?

All these questions and more need to be explored and debated by many different experts who have alternative views (not solely the same views espoused in the corporate media) before I can come to any firm conclusions. For now, I feel like the establishment is hammering the public with a cult-like religion of 'climate emergency' and suspect they want to use it for ulterior motives rather than help the environment & humans – probably part of the agenda to control the planet including humans?

Tallis Marsh ,

* Should say: " probably part of the agenda to take complete control of the planet including humans?"

richard le sarc ,

The 'evidence out there' is enough to convince EVERY Academy of Science and scientific society on Earth, all of whom concur with the theory. The natural weather and climate disasters are, in the main, either being caused, or made worse, by the injection of added energy into the Earth system that is caused by the increased level of heat trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. XR's backers are irrelevant to the science. The world's climate does exhibit many cycles, but they are being disturbed and exacerbated by the added energy trapped in the Earth system. There is no 'Grand Minimum' just the end of cycle 24 of sunspot activity. Piers Corbyn is NO climate expert-if you rely on him rather than the 99% of real climate scientists who agree with the theory then you are very much mistaken, in my opinion. CO2 is essential for plant growth, but it's levels need to be constant, or slowly changing, for plants to adapt, not increasing by 50% in 200 years. Moreover climate destabilisation brings high temperatures, floods, deluges and other manifestations that are very deleterious to plant growth and well-being. These facts have been debated for 200 years, and the science is 'settled'. Your proposition for further debate, as the climate rapidly destabilises, is, in my opinion, akin to 'debating' the harms of sarin gas, as the victim convulses before our eyes.

MLS ,

How exactly is AGW causing these fires? What is the mechanism?

Is the climate in NSW hotter, drier than before?

By how much if so?

How much worse is the burning?

Since the bush in that part of the world is 'designed' to burn periodically (many local plants need fire in order to set seed), how do you separate the alleged AGW effect from other natural causes and other non-AGW variables, such as reduction in pre-emptive burns over recent years?

Tallis Marsh ,

Yes, all very good questions that need answering and debating by experts with differing stances (not just cookie-cutter experts agreeing with each other with their official, scripted stance of "it's part of the 'climate crisis!").

richard le sarc ,

They have ALL been debated for decades by real scientists, not fossil fuel denialist industry paid disinformers. I can tell you that here in Australia, as the country burns, demanding more phony 'debate' is NOT a popular opinion

Tallis Marsh ,

"I believe you, trillions wouldn't!"

This debate you speak of must have passed me by somehow! If it did happen it must have happened before my time because all I've seen/heard in the press/tv/radio/school text books was/is anthropogenic climate change-based.

Estompista ,

I swear, this guy: "The world is burning. Let's have another debate in case we