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Demexit: Abandonment of Democratic party by working class and lower middle class due to "Clinton betrayal"

After twenty year of betrayal of working class Democrats face the consequences of their "Clinton strategy" in full force: workers abandoned them in droves

News Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Recommended Links US Presidential Elections of 2016 Democratic Party Monday morning quarterbacking Superdelegates at Democratic National Convention Zombie state and coming collapse of neoliberalism
Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Bernie Sanders as sheepdog for Hillary TTP, NAFTA and other supernational trade treates DNC emails leak: switfboating Bernie Sanders Populism Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak
Clinton Cash and Hillary Clinton links to financial industry Hillary Clinton email scandal Swiftboating Trump: Khan gambit against Trump at the Democratic Convention Anti Trump Hysteria Anti-globalization movement Hillary as a pathological liar Lesser evil trick of legitimizing a disastrous, corrupt neoliberal politicians in US elections
Neoconservatism Obama: a yet another Neocon Hillary health issues Female Sociopaths Bill Clinton With Bill possibly again occupying White House bedroom his sexapades became Hillary campaign issue Hillary Clinton defense of the middle aged rapist of a 12 years old girl
Media-Military-Industrial Complex New American Militarism Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime American Exceptionalism Color revolutions Deception as an art form Madeleine Albrigh as a model for Hillary
Clinton Cash The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich Crisis of Character A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill, and How They O Hillary the Other Woman Dolly Kyle Amazon.com Books The Clintons' War on Women Roger Stone, Robert Morrow Amazon.com Books Bill Clinton New Gilded Age President Patrick J. Maney 9780700621941 Amazon.com Books The Secret Life of Bill Clinton The Unreported Stories Ambrose Evans-Pritchard  Amazon.com Books Partners in Crime The Clintons' Scheme to Monetize the White House for Personal Profit Jerome Corsi  Amazon
Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Neocons Credibility Scam Leo Strauss and the Neocons Lawrence Summers Sandy Weill: the banker who bought Bill Clinton Robert Rubin, the man who helped to convert the USA into banana republic
Diplomacy by deception Corruption of Regulators The Deep State Machiavellism Noble Lie Hillary role in cover up of Bill Clinton sexapades Nation under attack meme
Predator state The Iron Law of Oligarchy Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Inverted Totalitarism == Managed Democracy == Neoliberalism Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Politically Incorrect Humor  Etc
   

Bill, Hillary, Barack and the rest should do the decent and honorable thing: disappear completely, along with the rest of their vicious elitist Neoliberal Democrat ilk. Progressives who have insisted on backing these criminals – and who have tried to bully those of us on the actual left into joining them in that ugly and viciously circular embrace – need to make themselves over or just drop off the face of the political landscape and let people who are more serious and radical step in.

www.counterpunch.org - Nov 12, 2016, 7:00 PM

 

Trump was right to point out that the Clintons and their allies atop the Democratic National Committee rigged the game against Bernie.

This rigging was consistent with the neoliberal corporate Democratic Party elite’s longstanding vicious hatred of left-wing of the party and anti-plutocratic populists. They hate and viciously fight them in the ranks of their pro-Wall Street Party. It's "Clinton Third Way Democrats" who essentially elected Trump, because Bernie for them is more dangerous than Trump.

The Democratic party became a neoliberal party of top 10% (may be top 20%), the party of bankers and white collar professionals. "Soft" neoliberals, to distinguish them from "hard" neoliberals (GOP).

Under Bill Clinton the Democrats have become the party of Financial Oligarchy. At this time corporate interests were moving to finance as their main activity and that was a very profitable betrayal for Clintons. They were royally remunerated for that.

Clintons have positioned the Dems as puppets of financial oligarchy and got in return two major things:

  1. Money for the Party (and themselves)
  2. The ability to control the large part of MSM, which was owned by the same corporations, who were instrumental in neoliberal takeover of the USA.

When the neoliberal media have to choose between their paymasters and the truth, their paymasters win every time. Like under Bolshevism, they are soldiers of the Party. In any case, starting from Clinton Presidency Democratic Party turned into a party of neoliberal DemoRats and lost any connection with the majority of the USA population.

Like Republicans they now completely depends on "divide and conquer" strategy. Essentially they became "Republicans light." And that's why they used "identity wedge" politics to attract African American votes and minorities (especially woman and sexual minorities; Bill Clinton probably helped to incarcerate more black males than any other president).

As if Spanish and African-American population as a whole have different economic interests than white working class and white lower middle class.

So Dems became a party which represents an alliance of neoliberal establishment and minorities, where minorities are duped again and again (as in Barack Obama "change we can believe in" bait and switch classic). This dishonest playing of race and gender cards was a trademark of Hillary Clinton campaign.

Clintons understood well that their  "The Third Way" turn represents the major betrayal of the working class, but they counted (and pretty successfully until 2016) on the fact that white working class "has nowhere to go" and will vote for them anyway, as a lesser evil. But in 2016 they were up to a big and unpleasant  surprise -- white working class turned to right wing populists. So Clinton Democrat are instrumentals in the big "Far right Renaissance". They essentially created all the necessary preconditions for it.

All those hissy hits of Democrats (and subservant to neoliberals MSM; see, for example Krugman in NYT) after Hillary Clinton landmark defeat just reflect this fact.

The best article on this issue that so far I managed to find is Sophia A. McClennen article in Salon:

10 reasons why #DemExit is serious Getting rid of Debbie Wasserman Schultz is not enough  by

Salon.com

Shortly after Bernie Sanders publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton a new hashtag trended on Twitter: #DemExit.  The hashtag offered Sanders supporters a chance to vent their frustrations with the Democratic Party and with the sense that their candidate had been pressured into an endorsement.  Rather than reach out to these disaffected voters, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) ignored them. Understood within the larger narrative that Sanders supporters were just whining brats who refused to concede and move on, #DemExit was dismissed as just more sour milk.

But now that the latest leak of DNC emails proves that Sanders supporters have a legitimate right to feel cheated, #DemExit increasingly seems like an appropriate response to a rigged system.

The new leak shows that the DNC never took the Sanders campaign seriously, even when he was winning state after state. Rather than recognize that Sanders was attracting new voters to the party, members of the DNC chose to mock them and close ranks around Clinton.

Here are 10 reasons why the #DemExit movement has a valid reason to want nothing to do with the DNC.  Having DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz resign is not enough for #DemExit supporters because their concerns run throughout the ranks of the DNC. Until party leaders take these concerns seriously they will have to spend their convention watching potential voters jump ship.

1.     Superdelegates

It is important to recognize that frustrations over party politics are not uniquely tied to the email leaks. The frustration over the superdelegate system is one clear example that distrust of the DNC goes deeper. The fact that the party even has superdelegates is a sign of its anti-democratic, pro-oligarchy stance. As Branko Marcetic of In These Times reports the superdelegate system was created specifically to challenge the will of voters. According to Marcetic, “When a Sanders supporter criticized superdelegate Howard Dean for sticking with Clinton despite Sanders’ landslide victory in Vermont, Dean tweeted back: “Superdelegates don’t represent the people.”

While there have been new negotiations to adjust the role of superdelegates, these concessions still give too much power to the party elite.

In addition, the fact that Clinton superdelegates were regularly reported by the media in her delegate tally contributed to the sense that Sanders couldn’t win.  So it was not just the existence of the superdelegates; it was the way they were covered by the corporate media that pissed off Sanders supporters. Any party with a superdelegate system should be prepared to alienate voters.  This time it worked.

2.     The Debate Schedule

The DNC created a debate schedule designed to make it hard for candidates to challenge Clinton’s status as the “presumptive” nominee.  Debates were held on weekends, at times that conflicted with other events, and were generally slotted to attract fewer viewers. From the start, well before it was clear that Sanders was gaining momentum, folks were already complaining that the debate schedule was slanted towards Clinton. According to a piece in The National Review from November some Democrats thought it was no accident the DNC scheduled a debate in Iowa on the night of a big Iowa Hawkeyes game.  The next two debates were also scheduled for less viewer heavy weekend slots.

The drama over the debate schedule got worse as the DNC refused to add more debates to give Sanders a chance to continue to build momentum.  As The Intercept reports the DNC laughed at the idea of adding another debate prior to the California primary, even though Fox News offered to host one.  Fox News wrote that, “the race is still contested, and given that you sanctioned a final trio of debates, the last of which has not yet been held, we believe a final debate would be an excellent opportunity for the candidates to, as you said when you announced these debates, ‘share Democrats’ vision for the country.’”  There never was a California debate set up. Not on Fox News or any other venue.

3.     Campaign finance

Back in April the Sanders campaign questioned “serious apparent violations” of campaign finance laws under a joint fundraising deal between Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee.  The Sanders camp alleged that the joint fundraising agreement offered Clinton a chance to “launder” money through the DNC.  “While the use of joint fundraising agreements has existed for some time — it is unprecedented for the DNC to allow a joint committee to be exploited to the benefit of one candidate in the midst of a contested nominating contest,” said Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ campaign manager.

Politico reported that legal experts gave conflicting views on whether the practice constituted a violation of campaign finance law.  But whether or not it was legal was not the only point.  Larry Noble, the general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center, who served for 13 years as general counsel at the Federal Election Commission, stated that “It clearly goes against what was intended for the joint fundraising committees.”  Given the already significant war chest Clinton had to run her campaign it is not surprising that Sanders supporters would find this news disturbing.

4.     Refusal to Address Claims of Election Fraud

According to a piece from the Observer on calls in California to have the DNC investigate election fraud, “Voter tampering has been frequently cited in California, with many alleging their party registration was changed without their consent. In Riverside County, district attorney Mike Hestrin confirmed voters’ party affiliations were changed without their knowledge.” And that was just one part of the story from California.

The primary elections were rife with claims of election fraud. From the purging of voter rolls (Brooklyn) to cutting poll locations (Arizona, Rhode Island, Puerto Rico), to the debacle of the California primary, there were numerous situations where the DNC could and should have called for an investigation. Despite the fact that in many cases it was Democratic voters that were directly affected, the DNC made no move to support voters’ claims of election fraud.

5.     The Democratic Party Platform

The recent fights over the DNC platform reveal a real lack of support for progressive policy, especially on key economic issues.  As Marcetic reported for In These Timesthere’s no denying that the platform compromises on certain core progressive values.”  While some suggested that the new platform was a “win” for Sanders, in the end the platform submits to corporate will on many issues

Committee delegates selected by Clinton and Wasserman Schultz voted down several measures dear to progressives’ hearts: “amendments advocating single-payer health care and a $15 minimum wage indexed to inflation, several proposals to halt climate change, language criticizing Israeli ‘occupation’ of Palestine and an amendment explicitly opposing the TPP trade agreement.” As Marcetic shows, delegates to the committee with corporate ties were among the most avid in promoting pro-business policy completely out of step with the sort of progressive values that once separated Democrats from Republicans. Unsurprisingly, those very same delegates were the ones connected to Clinton and Wasserman Schultz.

6.     Documented Attempts to Discredit / Dismiss Sanders

As if the previous issues were not evidence enough to justify the #DemExit movement, the Guccifer 2.0 leaks now offer Sanders supporters copious examples of ways that the DNC simply did not respect the Sanders campaign.  It is important to note that Wasserman Schultz was not alone in this general attitude. Even more disturbing, we have no examples of any DNC staffer suggesting that Sanders deserved a better shake than he was getting.  Some of the most egregious examples can be found here.

7.     DNC Collusion with Media

The corporate media was no ally to the Sanders campaign. With AP calling the primary for Clinton before California, New Mexico, New Jersey, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota were set to vote, many Sanders’ supporters felt betrayed by the press. As Bill Boyarsky reports for Truthdig, “The story was not just a scoop. It fed the hostility and cynicism of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ fervent supporters.”

The Guccifer 2.0 leaks also reveal a disturbing pattern of collusion between the media and the DNC to support Clinton and not Sanders.  Luis Miranda, the national communications director for the DNC, communicated with reporters from both Politico and the Wall Street Journal in efforts to discredit Sanders. In one email thread, Miranda told Politico he would “point out… some of the issues” with Sen. Sanders’ DNC committee appointments, but only “off the record.”  Miranda also helped craft “talking points”  to be used by the Clinton campaign in response to the Hillary Victory Fund’s money laundering allegations referenced above.

DNC Press Secretary Mark Paustenbach also vetted a Politico story by reporter Ken Vogel before it was sent to editors:  “Vogel gave me his story ahead of time/before it goes to his editors as long as I didn’t share it,” Paustenbach wrote to Miranda. “Let me know if you see anything that’s missing and I’ll push back.”

And then there are the messages that show how Wasserman Schultz pressured MSNBC after it criticized her “unfair” treatment of Sanders.

8.     False Claims of Neutrality

Perhaps one of the most enervating features of the story is the fact that the leaked documents counter Wasserman Schultz’s claims that the DNC was neutral.  There simply is no evidence of neutrality at all–only evidence of bias. It makes moments like Wasserman Schultz’s interview with “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah where he asked her to respond to allegations that she has been cock-blocking Sanders seem like an orchestrated cover-up exist and they make the DNC look really bad. Rather than worry about Russian hacks, the DNC should worry about its integrity.

Today the polling for a potential Donald Trump win is increasingly frightening.  Even Michael Moore is predicting a Trump win.  While there are a variety of forces that are working together to advance the Trump campaign, the DNC’s actions are certainly not helping. If Trump wins in November, the DNC will certainly bear a good portion of the blame.

Sophia A. McClennen is Professor of International Affairs and Comparative Literature at the Pennsylvania State University. She writes on the intersections between culture, politics, and society. Her latest book, co-authored with Remy M. Maisel, is, Is Satire Saving Our Nation? Mockery and American Politics


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Old News ;-)

[Apr 16, 2018] Why democratic party is better then Republican in the USA

Apr 16, 2018 | caucus99percent.com

"The Democratic Party is better than the Republican Party in the way that manslaughter is slightly better than murder: It might seem like a lesser crime, but the victim can't really tell the difference." -- Michael Harriot

[Apr 05, 2018] Barack Obama supporters outraged by Bernie Sanders's 'deplorable' attack on Democratic Party on anniversary of Martin Luther King assassination by Peter Stubley

Apr 05, 2018 | independent.co.uk

Vermont Senator says business model of Democratic Party has been a failure for 15 years

Bernie Sanders has triggered a backlash by making comments interpreted as an attack on [Wall Street/CIA troll] Barack Obama on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King. The senator for Vermont appeared to criticise the first black US President as he branded the Democratic Party a "failure".

Speaking in Jackson, Mississippi, he said Democrats had lost a record number of legislative seats. "The business model, if you like, of the Democratic Party for the last 15 years or so has been a failure,'' said the Vermont Senator...Mr Sanders's comments were quickly branded "patronising" and "deplorable".

[Apr 02, 2018] How the East can save the West by The Saker

Notable quotes:
"... Frankly, Saker reads too much into this Chinese article. It is not about Russia. It is not because Skrypal hoax dialed ritual Russophobia over eleven. It just is a coincidence. Yet before loosing the elections Hillary was promising military war with Russia. Yet before winning the elections Trump was promising economic war with China. ..."
"... Russia`s biggest weakness is the incompetent, useless leaders they had from the 80`s to Yeltsin. The mess that the USSR left behind with unstable states on its borders with no treaty to prevent NATO expansion was a huge gift to the US that just keeps giving!! ..."
"... I`ll go as far as saying this gift to the US might lead to Russia`s end as a country in its present form. You can hardly blame the US I mean in 1990 Russia agreed to basically throw the towel in and live in a US dominated world in practice. Whatever they say about promises at the time that lasted for as long as their breath was warm ..."
"... the problem right now is the Imperial US (ruled from Israel). If it succeeds in destroying Russia, then the Chinese are irrelevant, and have nothing to say about anything. ..."
"... The US public are irretrievably useless and are going to have to go the whole way, with WW3 and/or an economic collapse, with the best bet being on WW3 (which they may well lose). ..."
Apr 01, 2018 | www.unz.com

Europe: My honor is solidarity!

"That tells you all you need to know about the difference between modern Britain and the government of Vladimir Putin. They make Novichok, we make light sabers. One a hideous weapon that is specifically intended for assassination. The other an implausible theatrical prop with a mysterious buzz. But which of those two weapons is really more effective in the world of today?".

(Boris Johnson)

Let's begin this discussion with a few, basic questions.

Question one: does anybody sincerely believe that "Putin" (the collective name for the Russian Mordor) really attempted to kill a man which "Putin" himself had released in the past, who presented no interest for Russia whatsoever who, like Berezovsky , wanted to return back to Russia , and that to do the deed "Putin" used a binary nerve agent? Question two: does anybody sincerely believe that the British have presented their "allies" (I will be polite here and use that euphemism) with incontrovertible or, at least, very strong evidence that "Putin" indeed did such a thing? Question three: does anybody sincerely believe that the mass expulsion of Russian diplomats will somehow make Russia more compliant to western demands (for our purposes, it does not matter what demands we are talking about)? Question four: does anybody sincerely believe that after this latest episode, the tensions will somehow abate or even diminish and that things will get better? Question five: does anybody sincerely believe that the current sharp rise in tensions between the AngloZionist Empire (aka the "West") does not place the Empire and Russia on collision course which could result in war, probably/possibly nuclear war, maybe not deliberately, but as the result of an escalation of incidents?

If in the zombified world of the ideological drones who actually remain in the dull trance induced by the corporate media there are most definitely those who answer "yes" to some or even all of the questions above, I submit that not a single major western decision maker sincerely believes any of that nonsense. In reality, everybody who matters knows that the Russians had nothing to do with the Skripal incident, that the Brits have shown no evidence, that the expulsion of Russian diplomats will only harden the Russian resolve, that all this anti-Russian hysteria will only get worse and that this all puts at least Europe and the USA, if not the entire planet, in great danger.

And yet what just happened is absolutely amazing: instead of using fundamental principles of western law (innocent until proven guilty by at least a preponderance of evidence or even beyond reasonable doubt), basic rules of civilized behavior (do not attack somebody you know is innocent), universally accepted ethical norms (the truth of the matter is more important than political expediency) or even primordial self-preservation instincts (I don't want to die for your cause), the vast majority of western leaders chose a new decision-making paradigm which can be summarized in two words:

"highly likely" "solidarity"

This is truly absolutely crucial and marks a fundamental change in the way the AngloZionist Empire will act from now on. Let's look at the assumptions and implications of these two concepts.

First, "highly likely". While "highly likely" does sound like a simplified version of "preponderance of evidence" what it really means is something very different and circular: "Putin" is bad, poisoning is bad, therefore it is "highly likely" that "Putin" did it. How do we know that the premise "Putin is bad" is true? Well -- he does poison people, does he not?

You think I am joking?

Check out this wonderful chart presented to the public by "Her Majesty's government" entitled "A long pattern of Russian malign activity":

In the 12 events listed as evidence of a "pattern of Russian malign activity" one is demonstratively false (2008 invasion of Georgia), one conflates two different accusations (occupation of Crimea and destabilization of the Ukraine), one is circular (assassination of Skripal) and all others are completely unproven accusations. All that is missing here is the mass rape of baby penguins by drunken Russian sailors in the south pole or the use of a secret "weather weapon" to send hurricanes towards the USA. You don't need a law degree to see that, all you need is an IQ above room temperature and a basic understanding of logic. For all my contempt for western leaders, even I wouldn't make the claim that they all lack these. So here is where "solidarity" kicks-in:

"Solidarity" in this context is simply a "conceptual placeholder" for Stephen Decatur 's famous " my country, right or wrong " applied to the entire Empire. The precedent of Meine Ehre heißt Treue just slightly rephrased into Meine Ehre heißt Solidarität also comes to mind.

Solidarity simply means that the comprador ruling elites of the West will say and do whatever the hell the AngloZionists tell them to. If tomorrow the UK or US leaders proclaim that Putin eats babies for breakfast or that the West needs to send a strong message to "Putin" that a Russian invasion of Vanuatu shall not be tolerated, then so be it: the entire AngloZionist nomenklatura will sing the song in full unison and to hell with facts, logic or even decency!

Solemnly proclaiming lies is hardly something new in politics, there is nothing new here. What is new are two far more recent developments: first, now everybody knows that these are lies and, second, nobody challenges or debunks them. Welcome to the AngloZionist New World Order indeed!

The Empire: by way of deception thou shalt do war

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar and the father of it.

(John 8:44)

ORDER IT NOW

Over the past weeks I have observed something which I find quite interesting: both on Russian TV channels and in the English speaking media there is a specific type of anti-Putin individual who actually takes a great deal of pride in the fact that the Empire has embarked on a truly unprecedented campaign of lies against Russia. These people view lies as just another tool in a type of "political toolkit" which can be used like any other political technique. As I have mentioned in the past, the western indifference to the truth is something very ancient coming, as it does, from the Middle-Ages: roughly when the spiritual successors of the Franks in Rome decided that their own, original brand of "Christianity" had no use for 1000 years of Consensus Patrum . Scholasticism and an insatiable thrust for worldly, secular, power produced both moral relativism and colonialism (with the Pope's imprimatur in the form of the Treaty of Tordesillas ). The Reformation (with its very pronounced Judaic influence) produced the bases of modern capitalism which, as Lenin correctly diagnosed, has imperialism as its highest stage. Now that the West is losing its grip on the planet (imagine that, some SOB nations dare resist!), all of the ideological justifications have been tossed away and we are left with the true, honest, bare-bones impulses of the leaders of the Empire: messianic hubris (essentially self-worship), violence and, above all, a massive reliance on deception and lies on every single level of society, from the commercial advertisements targeted at children to Colin Powell shaking some laundry detergent at the UNSC to justify yet another war of aggression.

Self-worship and a total reliance on brute force and falsehoods -- these are the real "Western values" today. Not the rule of law, not the scientific method, not critical thought, not pluralism and most definitely not freedom. We are back, full circle, to the kind of illiterate thuggery the Franks so perfectly embodied and which made them so infamous in the (then) civilized world (the south and eastern Mediterranean). The agenda, by the way, is also the same one as the Franks had 1000 years ago: either submit to us and accept our dominion, or die, and the way to accept our dominion is to let us plunder all your riches. Again, not much difference here between the sack of the First Rome in 410, the sack of the Second Rome in 1204 and the sack of the Third Rome in 1991. As psychologists well know, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

Interestingly, the Chinese saw straight through this strategic psyop and they are now sounding the alarm in their very official Global Times : (emphasis added)

The accusations that Western countries have hurled at Russia are based on ulterior motives, similar to how the Chinese use the expression "perhaps it's true" to seize upon the desired opportunity. From a third-person perspective, the principles and diplomatic logic behind such drastic efforts are flawed, not to mention that expelling Russian diplomats almost simultaneously is a crude form of behavior. Such actions make little impact other than increasing hostility and hatred between Russia and their Western counterparts ( ) The fact that major Western powers can gang up and "sentence" a foreign country without following the same procedures other countries abide by and according to the basic tenets of international law is chilling. During the Cold War, not one Western nation would have dared to make such a provocation and yet today it is carried out with unrestrained ease. Such actions are nothing more than a form of Western bullying that threatens global peace and justice. ( ) It is beyond outrageous how the US and Europe have treated Russia. Their actions represent a frivolity and recklessness that has grown to characterize Western hegemony that only knows how to contaminate international relations. Right now is the perfect time for non-Western nations to strengthen unity and collaborative efforts among one another. These nations need to establish a level of independence outside the reach of Western influence while breaking the chains of monopolization declarations, predetermined adjudications and come to value their own judgment abilities. ( ) The West is only a small fraction of the world and is nowhere near the global representative it once thought it was. The silenced minorities within the international community need to realize this and prove just how deep their understanding is of such a realization by proving it to the world through action.

As the French say " à bon entendeur, salut! ": the Chinese position is crystal clear, as is the warning. I would summarize it as so: if the West is an AngloZionist doormat, then the East is most definitely not.

[Sidebar: I know that there are some countries in Europe who have, so far, shown the courage to resist the AngloZionist Diktat . Good for them. I will wait to see how long they can resist the pressure before giving them a standing ovation]

The modern Ahnenerbe' Generalplan Ost

The decision, therefore, lies here in the East; here must the Russian enemy, this people numbering two hundred million Russians, be destroyed on the battlefield and person by person, and made to bleed to death

(Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler)

Still, none of that explain why the leaders of the Empire have decided to engage in a desperate game of "nuclear chicken" to try to, yet again, force Russia to comply with its demands to "go away and shut up". This is counter-intuitive and I get several emails each week telling me that there is absolutely no way the leaders of the AngloZionist Empire would want a war with Russia, especially not a nuclear-armed one. The truth is that while western leaders are most definitely psychopaths, they are neither stupid nor suicidal, and neither were Napoleon or Hitler! And, yes, they probably don't really want a full-scale war with Russia. The problem is that these rulers are also desperate, and for good cause.

Let's look at the situation just a few months ago. The US was defeated in Syria, ridiculed in the DPRK, Trump was hated in Europe, the Russians and the Germans were working on North Stream, the British leaders forced to at least pretend to work on Brexit, the entire "Ukrainian" project had faceplanted, the sanctions against Russia had failed, Putin was more popular than ever and the hysterical anti-Trump campaign was still in full swing inside the USA. The next move by the AngloZionist elites was nothing short of brilliant: by organizing a really crude false flag in the UK the Empire achieved the following results:

The Europeans have been forced right back into the Anglosphere's fold ("solidarity", remember?) The Brexiting Brits are now something like the (im-)moral leaders of Europe again. The Russians are now demonized to such a degree that any accusation, no matter how stupid, will stick. In the Middle-East, the US and Israel now have free reign to start any war they want because the (purely theoretical) European capability to object to anything the Anglos want has now evaporated, especially now that the Russians have become "known chemical-criminals" from Ghouta to Salisbury At the very least, the World Cup in Russia will be sabotaged by a massive anti-Russian campaign. If that campaign is really successful, there is still the hope that the Germans will finally cave in and, if maybe not outright cancel, then at least very much delay North Stream thereby forcing the Europeans to accept, what else, US gas.

This is an ambitious plan and, barring an unexpected development, it sure looks like it might work. The problem with this strategy is that it falls short of getting Russia to truly "go away and shut up". Neocons are particularly fond of humiliating their enemies (look at how they are still gunning for Trump even though by now the poor man has become their most subservient servant) and there is a lot of prestige at stake here. Russia, therefore, must be humiliated, truly humiliated, not just by sabotaging her participation in Olympic games or by expelling Russian diplomats, but by something far more tangible like, say, an attack on the very small and vulnerable Russian task force in Syria. Herein lies the biggest risk.

The Russian task force in Syria is tiny, at least compared to the immense capabilities of CENTCOM+NATO. The Russians have warned that if they are attacked, they will shoot down not only the attacking missiles but also their launchers. Since the Americans are not dumb enough to expose their aircraft to Russian air defenses, they will use air power only outside the range of Russian air defenses and they will use only cruise missiles to strike targets inside the "protection cone" of the Russians air defenses. The truth is that I doubt that the Russians will have the opportunity to shoot down many US aircraft, at least not with their long-range S-300/S-400 SAMs. Their ubiquitous and formidable combined short to medium range surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery weapon system, the Pantsir, might have a better chance simply because it's location is impossible to predict. But the real question is this: will the Russians shoot back at the USN ships if they launch cruise missiles at Syria?

My strictly personal guess is that they won't unless Khmeimim, Tartus or another large Russian objective (official Russian compounds in Damascus) are hit. Striking a USN ship would be tantamount to an act of war and that is just not something the Russians will do if they can avoid it. The problem with that is this restraint will, yet again, be interpreted as a sign of weakness, not civilization, by the "modern Franks" (visualize a Neanderthal with a nuclear club in his fist). Should the Russians decide to act à la American and use violence to "send a message", the Empire will immediately perceive that as a loss of face and a reason to immediately escalate further to reestablish the "appropriate" hierarchy between the "indispensable nation" and the "gas station masquerading as a country". So here is the dynamic at work

Russia limits herself to words of protests ==>> the Empire sees that as a sign of weakness and escalates

Russia responds in kind with real actions==>> The Empire feels humiliated and escalates

Now look at this from a Russian point of view for a second and ask yourself what you would do in this situation?

The answer, I think, is obvious: you try to win as much time as possible and you prepare for war. The Russians have been doing exactly that since at least early 2015.

For Russia this is really nothing new: been there, done that, and remember it very, very well, by the way. The "western project" for Russia has always been the same since the Middle-Ages, the only difference today is the consequences of war. With each passing century the human cost of the various western crusades against Russia got worse and worse and now we are not only looking at the very real possibility of another Borodino or Kursk, and not even at another Hiroshima, but at something which we can't even really imagine: hundreds of millions of people die in the course of just a few hours.

How do we stop that?

Is the West even capable of acting in a different way?

I very much doubt it.

The one actor who can stop the upcoming war: China

There is one actor which might, perhaps, stop the current skid towards Armageddon: China. Right now, the Chinese have officially declared that they have what they call a " comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation " later shortened to " strategic partnership ". This is a very apt expression as it does not speak of an "alliance": two countries of the size of Russia and China cannot have an alliance in the traditional sense -- they are too big and different for that. They are, however, in a symbiotic relationship, that both sides understand perfectly (see this White Paper for details). What this means in very simple terms is this: the Chinese cannot let Russia be defeated by the Empire because once Russia is gone, they will be left one on one with a united, triumphal and infinitely arrogant West (likewise I would argue that Russia cannot afford to have Iran defeated by the Empire for exactly the same reasons, and neither can Iran let the Israelis destroy Hezbollah). Of course, in terms of military power, China is a dwarf compared to Russia, but in terms of economic power Russia is the dwarf when compared to China in this "strategic community of interests". Thus, China cannot assist Russia militarily. But remember that Russia does not need this if only because military assistance is what you need to win a war. Russia does not want to win a war, Russia desperately needs to avoid a war! And here is where China can make a huge difference: psychologically.

Yes, the Empire is currently taking on both Russia and China, but everybody, from its leaders to its zombified population, seems to think that these are two, different and separate foes. [We can use this opportunity to most sincerely thank Donald Trump for so "perfectly" timing his trade war with China.] They are not: not only are Russia and China symbionts who share the same vision of a prosperous and peaceful Eurasia united by a common future centered around the OBOR and, crucially, free from the US dollar or, for that matter, from any type of major US role, but Russia and China also stand for exactly the same notion of a post-hegemonic world order: a multi-polar world of different and truly sovereign nations living together under the rules of international law. If the AngloZionists have their way, this will never happen. Instead, we will have the New World Order promised by Bush, dominated by the Anglosphere countries (basically the ECHELON members, aka the "Five Eyes") and, on top of that pyramid, the global Zionist overlord. This is something China cannot, and will not allow. Neither can China allow a US-Russian war, especially not a nuclear one because China, like Russia, also needs peace.

Conclusion

I don't see what Russia could do to convince the Empire to change its current course: the US leaders are delusional and the Europeans are their silent, submissive servants. As shown above, whatever Russia does it always invites further escalation from the Empire. Of course, Russia can turn the West into a pile of smoldering radioactive ashes. This is hardly a solution since, in the inevitable exchange, Russia herself will also be turned into a similar pile of smoldering radioactive ashes by the Empire. In spite of that, the Russian people have most clearly indicated by their recent vote that they have absolutely no intention of caving in to the latest western crusade against them. As for the Empire, it will never accept the fact that Russia refuses to submit. It therefore seems to me that the only thing which can stop Armageddon would be for the Chinese to ceaselessly continue to repeat to the rulers of the Empire and the people of the West what the wrote in the article quoted above: that " The West is only a small fraction of the world and is nowhere near the global representative it once thought it was" and "the silenced minorities within the international community need to realize this and prove just how deep their understanding is of such a realization by proving it to the world through action."

History teaches us that the West only strikes against those opponents it sees as defenseless or, at least, weaker. The fact that the Popes, Napoleon or Hitler were wrong in their evaluation of the strength of Russia does not change this truism. In fact, the Neocons today are making exactly the same mistake. So telling them about the fact that Russia is much stronger than what the western propaganda says and which, apparently, many western rulers believe (you always end up believing your own propaganda), does not help. Russian "reminders of reality" will do no good simply because the West is out of touch with reality and lacks the ability to understand its own limitations and weaknesses. But if China stepped in and conveyed that crucial message " The West is only a small fraction of the world " and that the rest of the world will prove this " through action " then other countries will step in and a war can be averted because even the current delusion-based "solidarity" will collapse in the face of a united Eurasia.

Russia alone cannot continue to carry the burden of stopping the messianic psychopaths ruling the Empire.

The rest of the world, led by China, now needs to step in to avert the war.


NoseytheDuke , March 30, 2018 at 6:49 am GMT

This plan for global dominance has been over 100 years in the making and has already cost over 100 million lives so far. How likely is it for them to back off now? The Chinese are far from stupid so it will be interesting to see how they view the situation and act.

I've stated previously that the people who really can put a halt to it are Americans themselves but it won't be easy. The ideal situation would be a mass mutiny of US military personnel and the line, The Empire: by way of deception thou shalt do war should probably read, The Israeli Empire: by way of deception thou shalt do war. It would be useful to repeat this ad nauseam until it truly sinks in for US military personnel that the US is a supplicant to Israel and to understand who they will be fighting and dying for. A mass mutiny would be the best way to save their families and future.

Anon [425] Disclaimer , March 30, 2018 at 7:16 am GMT
Again, not much difference here between the sack of the First Rome in 410, the sack of the Second Rome in 1204 and the sack of the Third Rome in 1991. As psychologists well know, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

But all three Romes were empires too filled with lies.

yurivku , March 30, 2018 at 11:00 am GMT
Oh, appears it's China who should do something !

But I think that if stupid westerners won't wake up, -- nobody will help. China is big and possibly can think that in world where no Russia, no Europe nor US/Canada are exist, some place will still be for China.

It's "higly posssible" a mistake, but if silly westerners will continue to munch their MSM grass their shadows will be printed on the walls of history.
Actually they deserve to be.

Seamus Padraig , March 30, 2018 at 11:53 am GMT

"Solidarity" in this context is simply a "conceptual placeholder" for Stephen Decatur's famous "my country, right or wrong" applied to the entire Empire.

Kind of disappointed in the Saker here. Just like liberals, he omits the rest of Decatur's famous toast: "Our country -- in her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right , and always successful, right or wrong. [ Emphasis mine. ]" Decatur was not trying to encourage amoral behavior, such as that which we now see with the AngloZionists running Washington.

By the way, I've heard the Russians are now telling a joke about Boris Johnson: they're saying he was poisoned with durachok (bonehead)!

Issac , March 30, 2018 at 3:53 pm GMT
China has deep ties to the western empire. Russians would be drinking too deeply from their own propaganda to miss this fact. Indeed, the latest crippling of Trumpist reform was lead by heavily Chinese invested men Ryan and McConnell. Israel has a strong grip on US foreign policy for obvious reasons, but Israel has no reason to see Russia bullied into submission. China does.

It should be plain to any objective observer of global politics that the west is internally incoherent and will wane in power by the crush weight of demographic change alone. China observes this and realizes the only long-term competitor to their ascendant position, one generation hence, is an independent Russia. Far better for the Chinese that Russia is mortally wounded or harried into Chinese vassal status before the west breaks down into a third world non-entity.

Fran Macadam , March 30, 2018 at 5:22 pm GMT
The real reasons for the expulsions is the revelation of Russia's next generation war weapons. It was taken up as an invitation to fight, not to make peace, and making it as hard as possible for Russians to either influence opinion or gather information.

Somebody wanted Skripal dead, and while it may be a useful false flag provocation, with his involvement with the Steele Dossier a possible trigger, it could be serving more than one purpose. As usual, we are assigning to the Russkies both more omnipotence and stupidity than is merited. I supoose it is our own elites who believe their omniscience in surveilling all of us means they are also smarter than the rest of us. Maybe

Boris M Garsky , March 30, 2018 at 6:18 pm GMT
Well said and accurate. There is no consensus among the hoipolloi with the neocon push for war. This will never come about. The west is desperate, no doubt, and will continue to beat its chest, much to its own detriment. If the west intended on war, it would have come about. Time is not on their side. The neocons have backed themselves into a corner and, therefore, must create chaos, camouflage, obfuscation, in order to bamboozle the world until they can safely go back into their holes. Most likely, they are looking for concessions. Remember the Wasserman-Schuiltz spy scandal? Remember the many deadly false flags being exposed to the public for what they are?
Arioch , Website March 30, 2018 at 6:25 pm GMT
Frankly, Saker reads too much into this Chinese article. It is not about Russia. It is not because Skrypal hoax dialed ritual Russophobia over eleven. It just is a coincidence. Yet before loosing the elections Hillary was promising military war with Russia. Yet before winning the elections Trump was promising economic war with China.

USA ruling 1% was making a strategic choice year ago.

When Trump got elected he inherited the raging war. He could not stop it, obviously. Then he turned it overboard. He started demanding so many wars at once that US Army got overstretched and paralyzed. Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Itan, Yemen, Korea, new European garrisons . Trump send Army to prepare to war everywhere and now Pentagon can not scratch together enough forces to attack anywhere specifically.
By his "clumsy and incompetent bravado" Trump neutralized the army, made and exposed it as incapable pretend-force.

Now Trump can switch to his programme -- economic war with China.

And that is why Chinese diplomats and media run crazy. Now it is their war, not Russia's. Now their tails are on the line. Now Russia mostly can move to backlines to lick wounds while China would exchange blows and collect bruises.

This turned recent Chinese statements so bald and pushing. This, and not a concern for Russia.

JVC , March 30, 2018 at 6:42 pm GMT
something the Russians might consider -- immediately cutting off all gas to Europe and restoring such service for payment only in gold or the new "petrol yuan" . Europe depends heavily on that Russian Gas, and such a move would re-align some European thinking. Replacing it with US provided LPG would take far too long and be much more expensive having to be shipped by sea

In fact, maybe if Russia, China, the other brics and aligned countries suddenly cut off all ties to the west, it would hasten the coming economic collapse of the EU and US, and that dreamed of multipolar world would arise from the ashes.
Better that than the ashes of a nuclear exchange I would think.

CARLOS231 , March 30, 2018 at 6:57 pm GMT
China is too smart to show its hand yet, they are building their economic & military strength quietly, they don't want to scare the westerners yet with threats.

Russia`s biggest weakness is the incompetent, useless leaders they had from the 80`s to Yeltsin. The mess that the USSR left behind with unstable states on its borders with no treaty to prevent NATO expansion was a huge gift to the US that just keeps giving!!

I`ll go as far as saying this gift to the US might lead to Russia`s end as a country in its present form. You can hardly blame the US I mean in 1990 Russia agreed to basically throw the towel in and live in a US dominated world in practice. Whatever they say about promises at the time that lasted for as long as their breath was warm .

Carlton Meyer , Website March 30, 2018 at 9:16 pm GMT
How the East Can Save the West

A couple centuries ago the phrase "The White Man's Burden" was used to explain why citizens of Western nations must devote resources to civilize the world. Gore Vidal used "The Yellow Man's Burden" to explain why citizens of Asian nations were devoting so much wealth to keep the USA and much of Europe wealthy. If our citizens suddenly lost 30% of their annual income due to tax increases and spending cuts needed to truly balance our national budgets, they would be outraged. They might learn that this was the result of "free trade", which might result in revolution and wars. Those who have profited off "free trade" by selling out their citizens know its best to let the working class learn this truth slowly.

_____________________

Trump's proclamation to pull out of Syria may be good news, but probably not. He hired psychopath Bolton, so we can assume the US military is just consolidating forces in Iraq to hold off attacks whilst they bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. The Iraqis aren't our allies, they just act to get free stuff, and they will know we are not bombing Iran to save Iranians. It might be wise to get our troops out of Iraq too!

____________________________

To answer:

Let's begin this discussion with a few, basic questions.

Question one (thru five): does anybody sincerely believe

Yes, this bimbo does, and she's the State Department spokesman. The State Department is still infected with Clinton-hysteria and uses sexy women to spin lies so the foreign press doesn't laugh and scorn absurd BS too loudly. The American press are just stenographers and eagerly copy her lies. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dL9UxED4uuI

Sergey Krieger , March 30, 2018 at 9:50 pm GMT
The problem is that Russia/USSR submitted once and the West think it can be achieved again. Hence everything must be made clear. No partners word should be used and the West must be clearly warned that violence of unimaginable level will be used if they dare and what will follow if Russian force anywhere attacked and that any use of nukes against Russia means the end of humanity.

Unfortunately acting adequately and carefully Russia never was able to avoid war. It is in the books. Right now bets are life on earth hence being too careful and being perceived as weak is a bad thing. Russia IMHO must act boldly. Respond to USA and UK harassment by cutting diplomatic relations and giving straight terse warning.

myself , March 30, 2018 at 10:27 pm GMT
@Godfree Roberts

I think what disturbs China about this whole situation regarding the ENTIRE Western world (US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia) is not simply that it is an overreaction to Russia, but the whole idea that one particular people -- the Russian people -- have once again been SINGLED OUT for collective intimidation and eventually for possible dismemberment.

China has very long and very bitter experience of this itself. In the 19th century, the imperial powers, for some reason, ganged up on China.

In other parts of the world, the experience of other backward peoples was with but ONE particular Empire (ex. only the Americans vs the Amerinds, only the Spanish in South America, only Great Britain in India and Australia, only Russians in Central Asia and Siberia, and only Japanese in Korea. The British, French, Germans, Italians and Belgians each had separate RIVAL spheres in Africa, and ditto for South-East Asia.

But when it came to China, ALL these competing powers set aside their differences. It's as if they said to each other "Hey, China is so enormous and juicy, we should not fight among ourselves, there's enough for everyone!" Unbelievably vicious.

And now, we see the same pattern. the whole Western world against Russia. I think in this instance, the Han don't need anyone to tell them what to think -- it is 100% certain they do not approve of what the collective West is doing.

Miro23 , March 30, 2018 at 10:37 pm GMT

But if China stepped in and conveyed that crucial message "The West is only a small fraction of the world"

They can do better than this, and explicitly state that a nuclear war with Russia is a nuclear war with China -- just to make it clear -- and let the US do some more realistic calculations.

Seamus Padraig , March 30, 2018 at 10:45 pm GMT
@Issac

Israel has a strong grip on US foreign policy for obvious reasons, but Israel has no reason to see Russia bullied into submission.

Sure they do: Syria.

Seamus Padraig , March 30, 2018 at 10:47 pm GMT
@Arioch

"war is a path of deceit. When you are strong -- pretend weak ."

Am familiar with Sun-tzu a well. But what are you saying here? That the UK is stronger than Russia. I would definitely have to disagree with that proposition!

Miro23 , March 30, 2018 at 11:06 pm GMT
@Issac

It should be plain to any objective observer of global politics that the west is internally incoherent and will wane in power by the crush weight of demographic change alone. China observes this and realizes the only long-term competitor to their ascendant position, one generation hence, is an independent Russia.

Maybe, but the problem right now is the Imperial US (ruled from Israel). If it succeeds in destroying Russia, then the Chinese are irrelevant, and have nothing to say about anything.

myself , March 30, 2018 at 11:15 pm GMT
Something just occurred to me.

The recent THREATENED tariffs have an INTERESTING TIMING to them. It is being used by Washington to convince China to stay passive as the West takes down Russia. Conversely, if China "bends the knee", then the West promises that the threats won't materialize. (The West loves worthless promises). Washington calculates that the mere threat of tariffs will make China stand by as a neighbor is destroyed. Any turmoil in your neighbor's house, spills over into yours whether you want it to or not. A neighbor is a neighbor, period.

And THAT, IMHO, is why the protectionist threats are happening NOW. Don't get me wrong, the tariffs were going to happen anyway, eventually. China, whatever it does, cannot escape them.

But to threaten a trade war RIGHT NOW with the one power guaranteed to be Russia's economic lifeline (we know that China couldn't care less what Russia does in its backyard, in the Ukraine) while preparing to attack Russia itself? Well, the whole thing is WAY TOO OBVIOUS.

And if someone like me can see, so can a lot of other people in Moscow and Beijing. Washington thinks its being "smart", but they are so ridiculously easy to read.

myself , March 30, 2018 at 11:24 pm GMT
@Seamus Padraig

No, not that UK is really stronger than Russia but appears weaker. It's that the West is actually not capable of defeating Russia but loudly shouts that it CAN defeat them easily, and tries to look powerful and intimidating to Russia. In this situation, the weaker-positioned West pretends to Russia that we are stronger, and we want Russia to believe us. That way, it won't come to actual war, and we think Russia will back down. It's an extremely risky plan.

Miro23 , March 30, 2018 at 11:26 pm GMT
@peterAUS

That could, perhaps, take minds of US citizens from shopping and social media to, perhaps, more serious matters.

Won't hold my breath.

Taking everything into account, I think the you're right. The US public are irretrievably useless and are going to have to go the whole way, with WW3 and/or an economic collapse, with the best bet being on WW3 (which they may well lose).

myself , March 30, 2018 at 11:39 pm GMT
In fact, it's very possible RUSSIA is NOT, at this time, the target of Western aggression. Sure, the West shall SURELY try to destroy Russia, but the urgency is not there YET. Maybe the real target right now is CHINA, shortly to have the world's largest economy in absolute terms. They must be destroyed NOW! The West is trying to cut a deal with Russia: "Stab China in the back, and bow down to us. You can live A LITTLE LONGER, before we come for you. Otherwise we get pissed and kill you TODAY".

An entirely plausible master-plan from Washington, London and Paris. Also a pretty transparent one, if it's the case. The problem with this "Divide and Conquer" plan, aside from being easy to read, is that it counts on both Russia and China to be dumb enough to believe they are not BOTH in the cross-hairs. How stupid does the West think China and Russia are?

myself , March 30, 2018 at 11:47 pm GMT
@Miro23

It would have a psychological effect, at most. Russia has 5,000 warheads, China only admits to having around 500 or 600 strategic city-killers. They may have more, but if you don't admit something it doesn't count for deterrence. Maybe a decade from now, as China builds its arsenal, the statement could be much more effective.

Mikel , March 31, 2018 at 12:09 am GMT
No, the Chinese are surely disgusted with this bullying behavior of the West (even many Europeans are, just read the comments to the news in the different media outlets) but China cannot seriously confront the West. That would make them lose trillions of dollars in exports and investments and put an abrupt end to their miraculous but still ongoing economic development. Not gonna happen anytime soon.

The situation will continue to deteriorate until some sort of modus vivendi is reached (like at the beginning of the first Cold War). Or perhaps it's just been too long since the last World War and the time is ripe for the next one.

As for the Skripal murder attempt, it's hard to imagine Putin ordering it at this time and in that manner but it's not that hard to imagine someone from the Kremlin sewers being behind it.

In the somewhat less likely scenario of a false flag operation, I would consider an Israeli asymmetrical response to the recent downing of their jet by the Syrians with obvious help from the Russians. They have plenty of experience in extraterritorial assassinations and more than enough knowledge to fabricate a Russian-like nerve agent.

Franklin , March 31, 2018 at 12:22 am GMT
@Anon

I respect and value Saker as a commentator on Russian and military affairs. Those are his areas of expertise and professional experience. I do not value him as a historian, because there enters into his writing a clear bias. I respect the fact of his commitment to his Orthodox faith, but I don't appreciate being almost hammerlocked into having to take a side in his prejudices.

He has a way of lumping 1,000 years of exceedingly complex history into what amounts practically to silly formulas that remind one of adolescent pique. West is characterized by "thuggery," whereas the "East," is presumably the source -- and is possibly the monopoly -- of the virtues Saker has in mind, while Western-like manifestations of military violence and conquest are unknown there.

And there is this pearl: "Scholasticism and an insatiable thrust for worldly, secular, power produced both moral relativism and colonialism " This is downright embarrassing in its silliness. Of course, after deep study of Aquinas or Bonaventure the light comes on: moral relativism! Clearly, subtlety and essential distinctions are not the Saker's strong points, to say the least, when it comes to registering his annoyance and bitterness in his 1000 year view of "the West," whereas sweeping and frankly spectacularly inept generalizations are. One is really tempted to accuse him of a lack of intellectual integrity when it comes to these matters.

At root, Saker is a highly emotional and touchy "rooter" for Orthodoxy. Fine, that's his right, but he is no scholar. One looks in vain either for impartiality, for breadth and depth of understanding and sympathy, and hence for generosity of spirit. Thankfully, there are many great scholars of history, East and West.

Johann Ricke , March 31, 2018 at 1:01 am GMT
@myself

In the 19th century, the imperial powers, for some reason, ganged up on China.

That's the opposite of reality. If they had ganged up on China, each would have taken large piece for itself. In reality, they were overawed by China, and tried to preserve it much as they tried to preserve Ottoman rule against both breakup and dismemberment by Russia. The Ottomans were too far gone, so they failed in both respects. But they did manage to prevent China's breakup while failing to keep Russia from annexing a large chunk of Chinese territory.

Heck, they even helped China defeat the millenarian Taiping rebels who racked up a large body count during their rebellion. Note that when the Jurchens detected internal rebellion during the Ming dynasty, they waited until the imperial armies were occupied with rebel suppression before delivering the coup de grace to the Ming dynasty. The Western powers were too tied up competing with each other to really cooperate in anything more than avenging the honor of their envoys and getting trading posts set up on Chinese territory.

myself , March 31, 2018 at 2:06 am GMT
@Johann Ricke

By "ganging up" I refer to the way in which China was COLLECTIVELY FORCED to extend any and all concessions granted any single Imperial Power to ALL Imperial powers. And all the Imperial powers were on-board with this policy , again as a unified group.

For example, if Russia forced a railroad treaty on China, China by unequal, at-gun-point "Treaty" with the Eight Powers (at the time Great Britain, France, Japan, Germany, Russia, The United States, Austria-Hungary and Italy) would also have to grant EVERYONE railroad concessions in their respective zones.

Or say if China was forced to open trade relations by America, China would automatically be forced to open trade to EVERYONE ELSE , and even the instigators in that case, the United States, would force China to do it. All in the name of the relevant Treaties, of course.

Also by mutual agreement among the imperial powers, they would not support China in any efforts to get better terms in any negotiation with any other power . So Russia refused to, say provide support for Chinese efforts to fend off the Japanese, though normally it might have done so. This was because, both being part of the Imperial Powers grouping, Russia and Japan had agreed to co-exist in mutual exploitation of China.

It was all designed so that China would have no ability to shift its favor diplomatically from one power to another, but had to negotiate from a position of deliberately imposed weakness. Diplomacy was the only tool available to China in that execrably weak state, pathetic as that tool was. By collective agreement among the Empires, that tool was taken away.

In effect, exploitation of China became a COOPERATIVE project between such disparate rivals as Britain, France and Germany, or United States, Japan and Russia. Such a thing, of a coordinated desire to apportion one country among many, was not seen anywhere else in the Colonial Age .

That is my meaning when I referred to the Empires "ganging up" on China.

Issac , March 31, 2018 at 2:37 am GMT
@Miro23

How absurd. The foremost producer of virtually all modern goods is irrelevant without Russia? A weakened Russia is a boon to Chinese expansion into their desired role as Eurasian leader state. The only irrelevant nations are in the West as their post-national suicide becomes all the more certain.

Anonymous [392] Disclaimer , March 31, 2018 at 4:03 am GMT
@Issac

Ridiculous, China needs Russia as Russia is a perfect complement to Chinas weaknesses. In fact, neither China nor Russia could have picked a better strategic partner than each other as neither country could confront the West on it's own but together the West cannot topple either nation. No other combination between countries would provide near as much synergies.

China is not looking to expand into Russia. Why would they when they have a shrinking population. They are expanding into the SCS in order to keep their oil lines free.

The real strategic advantage Russia and China have with each other is the OBOR. This is key to everything and is the reason why the West is targeting Russia so aggressively.

myself , March 31, 2018 at 8:13 am GMT
@Anonymous

If Mackinder's Heartland theory is at play, and you want to cut China off from Europe, taking down Russia would seem to be an enormous effort to accomplish that. There are much easier ways. Why not just lobby your European "allies" not to trade at all with China? Mission accomplished, and no war with Russia as a bonus. If the EU won't follow the Empire's orders, you need to take out not only Russia, but probably Pakistan, and all the Central Asian nations, plus Iran and Turkey. If not, and you only destroy one or a few of these, China's One Belt One Road reaches Europe anyway.

Also don't forget the outright blockade of China's maritime trade to be conducted by the U.S. Navy -- kind of an act of war in itself.

Seems far easier, if you want to slow China down, to just ORDER America's NATO allies to stop all trade with China. The rest of the world all together won't be able to fill the gap, not any time soon.

Voila, you lower China's GDP growth by some significant percentage, using just strong-arm diplomacy in Europe.

Buys America another full decade as number one economy, maybe.

myself , March 31, 2018 at 8:29 am GMT
In the fevered dreams of Western strategists, they hope for Russia and China to turn on each other, sparing the Atlantic powers the trouble. Then, they come in and pick up the pieces. They hope to replicate the success of Britain in playing off France against Germany pre-World War One. The problem is they have in fact encouraged the Sino-Russian strategic alignment, not hindered it.

No matter, after all, there can never be such a thing, thought the British, of a long-term common interest between France and Germany -- a "European Union" will never come about. French and Germans naturally hate each other! Right?

And how did Britain make out with that thinking? How will America make out in coming decades? In geopolitics, not that well. Not as long as we are short-sighted.

Anon [384] Disclaimer , March 31, 2018 at 2:11 pm GMT

"solidarity"

Those with the power, and the happily ruled, have always needed synonyms for "obedience." Solidarity is a choice in line with our social-mediatic times and the related communication standards.

Herald , March 31, 2018 at 3:36 pm GMT
@myself

As well as being extremely risky it's also bloody stupid and doomed to failure.

Arioch , March 31, 2018 at 3:40 pm GMT
@Seamus Padraig

I mean, like i said above, Johnson and other western politicians are not "boneheads" (intellectually weak) as you said, no, they are smart (intellectually strong) and pretending, faking their intellectual weakness (appearance of stupidity)

Sean , March 31, 2018 at 5:35 pm GMT
Answers:-
One and two. Proof beyond reasonable doubt does not mean there is no chance of a mistake, and the standard necessary for thinking Putin responsible is less than what would be needed for finding him guilty in a court of law. He cannot hide behind his country and diplomatic immunity while claiming the protection of British Law for evidence necessary to convict someone on trial for a capital offence.

Three. We want nothing from Russia , for indeed they have nothing to offer. To go away and shut up is the most they can do, and that is why are sending the worst of the Russian goons back were they came from, whether they want to go back or not (they would love to stay in London*).

Four. Punishment is essential, otherwise they will see weakness.

Five. No chance of nuclear war or any other kind or war. Russia is destined to become the lonely old man of Europe. It has nothing anyone wants at the price of being treated like an imbecile, and our diplomats dislike living there*).

Arioch , March 31, 2018 at 8:22 pm GMT
@TT

Oh, we have a copypaste contest? Okay then, i'd copy here my reply at saker's blog too.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[MORE]
> China will be blackmailed into submission.

Wooop! Then it is not "existential threat" for China.
Clash for power, clash for sovereignty, clash fo prosperity -- but not for survival.

> Russia & China are working closely

Which does not mean China's role is making harsh diplomatic statements in favor of Russia. At least it was not so before today. So i think it is not today either. Also remember that Chinese social mindset is build upon idea of "indebting with gifts and aids" and then requesting payback when they need it. Which means Russia should be very wary about accepting any help from China unless it wishes to be seen by China as a deeply indebted beggar incapable of sustaining itself. And since diplomatic situation for Russia is not deadly critical I do not think Russia needed that newspaper article. If Russia would request China's support of the kind -- it would be in official diplomatic venues like UN.

> Russia needs to save Syria for its own skin
> Iran needs to save its skin

But is it so for China? Is China in critical need of sovereign and friendly Syria? I doubt it.

> China has been backing up with big cheque book for last few years, signing hundreds of billions deal with upfront payments to prop Russia economy for prolong war.

Which is very important, but is not diplomatic statements nor Chinese newspaper articles.

That is exactly the Chinese role in this fight like i said many times before -- economic and financial warfare is Chinese responsibility, while military and diplomatic warfare is Russian's.

> Global times news mostly reflected the China think tank policy that they wish to propagate to English speaking world.

And here we are getting back to the topic. Why such a harsh, explicitly worded article did appeared today? Was it because of Russia or of China itself? Was that article reaction to some new threat to Syria, to russia, or to China itself?
And i believe in the latter option. This article is not linked to any recent events around Russia, it is caused by Sino-American relations shift.

> China has sensed West is tightened noose around Russia to cut it off from world, seeing from Olympic & now the Skirpal circus

Skripal affair is much less than Olympics was. Even European states many did not jumped Skripal wagon. Additionally, if Russia would be "cut off from Western world" -- what the West did not dared to do even in 2014 on the height of Crimea and MH17 accusations and on the hopes of "gas station" imminent and fast collapse, so would hardly dare now just because some Skripal -- but if Russia would somehow gets politically isolated from the West, what bad is it for China? Russia would become more dependent on China, like many of the trade with West would had to go through Chinese "laundry". China gets more influence over Russia. Russia gets much more limited in its options. Good (for China) development, why hurry to cancel it before Russia even asked for ?

> Trade war will be too bloody for the world

Yes, but the said trade war is not having Russia as primary adversary -- Russian economy i not that significant to the western world, and for USA in particular it has but zero significance. The trade war we see igniting -- is the war against China. China can no more be "wise monkey up the trees", when USA moved their chaingun aim from Russia onto China. Now China is being shot at, and the article is Chinese response to China being attacked. Not to anything around Russia.

> You are silly self center viewer

Frankly, it is exactly the opposite here. It is you who claim Russia being behind that article in Global Time. It is me who claims Russia has no any relation to the timing and wording of that article.

> China special force is operating in Syria.

Maybe it is, but seems no one ever saw those operations.

> Lot of weapons supply to SAA.

Maybe they are, but can you name those Chinese weapons and show me where SAA is employing it?

> Lot of money pump in to sustain Syria war,

If they are, then China does it part of the fight, good. Like USA supplied money and material to fighting European states during WW2. However that has no relation with the Global Times article being discussed.

> always throwing allies under bus whenever possible,

.because Putin is evil and just enjoys every opportunity to do bad thing. Always. I wish i would hear somethign remotely creative from you.

> hence Russia deserve to be raped by West like 1990 is natural.

Oh, i see. Yet another russophobic preaching that "Russians should repent and repay, repay, and repent", then frustrated when Russia shrugs this lecture off.

Vidi , March 31, 2018 at 8:34 pm GMT
@Anonymous

And, as you said, the west has many ways of neutralizing China.

Don't forget that China has an enormous internal market too, which in time should be larger than the U.S. and EU combined. European countries that stay out of this vast and rapidly growing market will be cutting their own throats. Good luck convincing them to do that.

[Apr 02, 2018] Russophobia Anti-Russian Lobby and American Foreign Policy by A. Tsygankov

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I wanted to investigate whether the growing volume of criticism toward Russia, sometimes by people who could hardly claim to be knowledgeable about the country, concealed a political agenda. ..."
"... I discovered evidence of Russophobia shared by different circles within the American political class and promoted through programs and conferences at various think tanks, congressional testimonies, activities of NGOs, and the media. Russophobia is not merely a critique of Russia, but a critique beyond any sense of proportion, waged with the purpose of undermining the nation's political reputation. ..."
"... To these individuals, Russophobia is merely a means to pressure the Kremlin into submitting to the United States in the execution of its grand plans to control the world's most precious resources and geostrategic sites. In the meantime, Russia has grown increasingly resentful, and the war in the Caucasus in August 2008 has demonstrated that Russia is prepared to act unilaterally to stop what it views as US unilateralism in the former Soviet region. ..."
"... Anti-American attitudes are strongly present in Russian media and cultural products, as a response to the US policies of nuclear, energy, and military supremacy in the world. Extreme hegemonic policies tend to provoke an extreme response, and Russian nationalist movements and often commentators react harshly to what they view as unilateral encroachment on Russia's political system and foreign policy interests. Russia's reactions to these policies by the United States are highly negative and frequently inadequate, but hardly more extreme than the American hegemonic and imperial discourse. ..."
"... The central objective of the Lobby has been to preserve and strengthen America's power in the post-Cold War world through imperial or hegemonic policies. The Lobby has viewed Russia with its formidable nuclear power, energy reserves, and important geostrategic location as a major obstacle in achieving this objective. Even during the 1990s, when Russia looked more like a failing state3 than one capable of projecting power, some members of the American political class were worried about the future revival of the Eurasian giant as a revisionist power. In their percep- tion, it was essential to keep Russia in a state of military and economic weakness-not so much out of emotional hatred for the Russian people and their culture, but to preserve American security and promote its val- ues across the world. To many within the Lobby, Russophobia became a useful device for exerting pressures on Russia and controlling its policies. Although to some the idea of undermining and, possibly, dismembering Russia was personal, to others it was a necessity of power dictated by the realities of international politics. ..."
"... According to this dominant vision, there was simply no place in this "New American Century" for power competitors, and America was destined eventually to assume control over potentially threatening military capabilities and energy reserves of others. As the two founders of the Project for the New' American Century (PNAC), William Kristol and Robert Kagan, asserted when referring to the large military forces of Russia and China, "American statesmen today ought to recognize that their charge is not to await the arrival of the next great threat, but rather to shape the international environment to prevent such a threat from arising in the first place."4 ..."
"... Russia was either to agree to assist the United States in preserving its world-power status or be forced to agree. It had to either follow the U.S. interpretation of world affairs and develop a political and economic system sufficiently open to American influences or live as a pariah state, smeared by accusations of pernicious behavior, and in constant fear for its survival in the America-centered world. As far as the U.S. hegemonic elites were concerned, no other choice was available. ..."
"... This hegemonic mood was largely consistent with mainstream ideas within the American establishment immediately following the end of the Cold War. For example, 1989 saw the unification of Germany and the further meltdown of the Soviet Union, which some characterized as "the best period of U.S. foreign policy ever."5 President Jimmy Carter's former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski envisioned the upcoming victory of the West by celebrating the Soviet Union's "grand failure."6 ..."
"... Charles Krauthammer, went as far as to proclaim the arrival of the United States' "unipolar moment," a period in which only one super- power, the United States, would stand above the rest of the world in its military, economic, and ideological capacity ..."
"... The mid-1990s saw the emergence of post-Soviet Russophobia. The Lobby's ideology was not principally new, as it still contained the three central myths of Sovietophobia left over from the Cold War era: Russia is inherently imperialist, autocratic, and anti-Western. This ideology now had to be modified to the new conditions and promoted politically, which required a tightening of the Lobby's unity, winning new allies within the establishment, and gaining public support.15 ..."
"... During the period of 2003-2008, Vice President Richard Dick Cheney formed a cohesive and bipartisan group of Russia critics, who pushed for a more confrontational approach with the Kremlin. ..."
"... Cheney could not tolerate opposition to what he saw as a critical step in establishing worldwide US hegemony. He was also harboring the idea of controlling Russia's energy reserves.91 ..."
"... In Russia, however, the Cold War story has been mainly about sovereignty and independence, rather than Western-style liberalism. To many Russians it is a story of freedom from colonization by the West and of preserving important attributes of sovereign statehood. ..."
"... In a world where neocolonialism and cultural imperialism are potent forces, the idea of freedom as independence continues to have strong international appeal and remains a powerful alternative to the notion of liberal democracy. ..."
"... The West's unwillingness to recognize the importance of this legitimizing myth in the role of communist ideology has served as a key reason for the Cold War.5 Like their Western counterparts, the Soviets were debating over methods but not the larger assumptions that defined their struggle. ..."
"... Yet another analyst wrote "at the Cold War's end, the United States was given one of the great opportunities of history: to embrace Russia, the largest nation on earth, as partner, friend, ally. Our mutual interests meshed almost perfectly. There was no ideological, territorial, his- toric or economic quarrel between us, once communist ideology was interred. We blew it. We moved NATO onto Russia's front porch, ignored her valid interests and concerns, and, with our 'indispensable-nation' arrogance, treated her as a defeated power, as France treated Weimar Germany after Versailles."114 ..."
Jun 09, 2017 | www.amazon.com

It was during the spring of 2006 that I began this project. I wanted to investigate whether the growing volume of criticism toward Russia, sometimes by people who could hardly claim to be knowledgeable about the country, concealed a political agenda.

As I researched the subject, I discovered evidence of Russophobia shared by different circles within the American political class and promoted through programs and conferences at various think tanks, congressional testimonies, activities of NGOs, and the media. Russophobia is not merely a critique of Russia, but a critique beyond any sense of proportion, waged with the purpose of undermining the nation's political reputation.

... ... ....

Although a critical analysis of Russia and its political system is entirely legitimate, the issue is the balance of such analysis. Russia's role in the world is growing, yet many U.S. politicians feel that Russia doesn't matter in the global arena. Preoccupied with international issues, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, they find it difficult to accept that they now have to nego- tiate and coordinate their international policies with a nation that only yesterday seemed so weak, introspective, and dependent on the West. To these individuals, Russophobia is merely a means to pressure the Kremlin into submitting to the United States in the execution of its grand plans to control the world's most precious resources and geostrategic sites. In the meantime, Russia has grown increasingly resentful, and the war in the Caucasus in August 2008 has demonstrated that Russia is prepared to act unilaterally to stop what it views as US unilateralism in the former Soviet region.

And some in Moscow are tempted to provoke a much greater confrontation with Western states. The attitude of ignorance and self-righteousness toward Russia tells us volumes about the United States' lack of preparation for the twenty-first century's central challenges that include political instability, weapons proliferation, and energy insecurity. Despite the dislike of Russia by a considerable number of American elites, this attitude is far from universally shared. Many Americans understand that Russia has gone a long way from communism and that the overwhelming support for Putin's policies at home cannot be adequately explained by high oil prices and the Kremlin's manipulation of the public-despite the frequent assertions of Russophobic observers.

Balanced analysts are also aware that many Russian problems are typical difficulties that nations encounter with state-building, and should not be presented as indicative of Russia's "inherent drive" to autocracy or empire. As the United States and Russia move further to the twenty-first century, it will be increasingly important to redefine the relationship between the two nations in a mutually enriching way.

Political and cultural phobias are, of course, not limited to those of an anti-Russian nature. For instance, Russia has its share of America-phobia -- a phenomenon that I have partly researched in my book Whose World Order (Notre Dame, 2004) and in several articles. Anti-American attitudes are strongly present in Russian media and cultural products, as a response to the US policies of nuclear, energy, and military supremacy in the world. Extreme hegemonic policies tend to provoke an extreme response, and Russian nationalist movements and often commentators react harshly to what they view as unilateral encroachment on Russia's political system and foreign policy interests. Russia's reactions to these policies by the United States are highly negative and frequently inadequate, but hardly more extreme than the American hegemonic and imperial discourse.

The Anti-Russian Lobby

When the facile optimism was disappointed, Western euphoria faded, and Russophobia returned ... The new Russophobia was expressed not by the governments, but in the statements of out-of-office politicians, the publications of academic experts, the sensational writings of jour- nalists, and the products of the entertainment industry. (Rodric Braithwaite, Across the Moscow River, 2002)1

....

Russophobia is not a myth, not an invention of the Red-Brovvns, but a real phenomenon of political thought in the main political think tanks in the West . .. [T]he Yeltsin-Kozyrev's pro-U.S. "giveaway game" was approved across the ocean. There is reason to say that the period in ques- tion left the West with the illusion that Russia's role was to serve Washington's interests and that it would remain such in the future. (Sergei Mikoyati, International Affairs /October 2006j)2

This chapter formulates a theory of Russophobia and the anti-Russian lobby's influence on the U.S. Russia policy. 1 discuss the Lobby's objec- tives, its tactics to achieve them, the history of its formation and rise to prominence, and the conditions that preserved its influence in the after- math of 9/11.1 argue that Russophobia has been important to American hegemonic elites in pressuring Russia for economic and political conces- sions in the post-Cold War era.

1. Goals and Means

Objectives

The central objective of the Lobby has been to preserve and strengthen America's power in the post-Cold War world through imperial or hegemonic policies. The Lobby has viewed Russia with its formidable nuclear power, energy reserves, and important geostrategic location as a major obstacle in achieving this objective. Even during the 1990s, when Russia looked more like a failing state3 than one capable of projecting power, some members of the American political class were worried about the future revival of the Eurasian giant as a revisionist power. In their percep- tion, it was essential to keep Russia in a state of military and economic weakness-not so much out of emotional hatred for the Russian people and their culture, but to preserve American security and promote its val- ues across the world. To many within the Lobby, Russophobia became a useful device for exerting pressures on Russia and controlling its policies. Although to some the idea of undermining and, possibly, dismembering Russia was personal, to others it was a necessity of power dictated by the realities of international politics.

According to this dominant vision, there was simply no place in this "New American Century" for power competitors, and America was destined eventually to assume control over potentially threatening military capabilities and energy reserves of others. As the two founders of the Project for the New' American Century (PNAC), William Kristol and Robert Kagan, asserted when referring to the large military forces of Russia and China, "American statesmen today ought to recognize that their charge is not to await the arrival of the next great threat, but rather to shape the international environment to prevent such a threat from arising in the first place."4

Russia was either to agree to assist the United States in preserving its world-power status or be forced to agree. It had to either follow the U.S. interpretation of world affairs and develop a political and economic system sufficiently open to American influences or live as a pariah state, smeared by accusations of pernicious behavior, and in constant fear for its survival in the America-centered world. As far as the U.S. hegemonic elites were concerned, no other choice was available.

This hegemonic mood was largely consistent with mainstream ideas within the American establishment immediately following the end of the Cold War. For example, 1989 saw the unification of Germany and the further meltdown of the Soviet Union, which some characterized as "the best period of U.S. foreign policy ever."5 President Jimmy Carter's former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski envisioned the upcoming victory of the West by celebrating the Soviet Union's "grand failure."6

In his view, the Soviet "totalitarian" state was incapable of reform. Communism's decline was therefore irreversible and inevitable. It would have made the system's "practice and its dogma largely irrelevant to the human conditions," and communism would be remembered as the twentieth century's "political and intellectual aberration."7 Other com- mentators argued the case for a global spread of Western values. In 1990 Francis Fukuyama first formulated his triumphalist "end of history" thesis, arguing a global ascendancy of the Western-style market democracy.®

... ... ...

Marc Plattner declared the emergence of a "world with one dominant principle of legitimacy, democracy."9 When the Soviet system had indeed disintegrated, the leading establishment journal Foreign Affairs pronounced that "the Soviet system collapsed because of what it was, or more exactly, because of what it was not. The West 'won' because of what the democracies were-because they were free, prosperous and successful, because they did justice, or convincingly tried to do so."10 Still others, such as Charles Krauthammer, went as far as to proclaim the arrival of the United States' "unipolar moment," a period in which only one super- power, the United States, would stand above the rest of the world in its military, economic, and ideological capacity.11

In this context of U.S. triumphalism, at least some Russophobes expected Russia to follow the American agenda. Still, they were worried that Russia may still have surprises to offer and would recover as an enemy.12

Soon after the Soviet disintegration, Russia indeed surprised many, although not quite in the sense of presenting a power challenge to the United States. Rather, the surprise was the unexpectedly high degree of corruption, social and economic decay, and the rapid disappointment of pro-Western reforms inside Russia. By late 1992, the domestic economic situation was much worsened, as the failure of Western-style shock ther- apy reform put most of the population on the verge of poverty. Russia was preoccupied not with the projection of power but with survival, as poverty, crime, and corruption degraded it from the status of the indus- trialized country it once was. In the meantime, the economy was largely controlled by and divided among former high-ranking party and state officials and their associates. The so-called oligarchs, or a group of extremely wealthy individuals, played the role of the new post-Soviet nomenklatura; they influenced many key decisions of the state and suc- cessfully blocked the development of small- and medium-sized business in the country.13 Under these conditions, the Russophobes warned that the conditions in Russia may soon be ripe for the rise of an anti-Western nationalist regime and that Russia was not fit for any partnership with the United States.14

The mid-1990s saw the emergence of post-Soviet Russophobia. The Lobby's ideology was not principally new, as it still contained the three central myths of Sovietophobia left over from the Cold War era: Russia is inherently imperialist, autocratic, and anti-Western. This ideology now had to be modified to the new conditions and promoted politically, which required a tightening of the Lobby's unity, winning new allies within the establishment, and gaining public support.15

... ... ...

The impact of structural and institutional factors is further reinforced by policy factors, such as the divide within the policy community and the lack of presidential leadership. Not infrequently, politicians tend to defend their personal and corporate interests, and lobbying makes a difference in the absence of firm policy commitments.

Experts recognize that the community of Russia watchers is split and that the split, which goes all the way to the White House, has been responsible for the absence of a coherent policy toward the country. During the period of 2003-2008, Vice President Richard Dick Cheney formed a cohesive and bipartisan group of Russia critics, who pushed for a more confrontational approach with the Kremlin. The brain behind the invasion of Iraq, Cheney could not tolerate opposition to what he saw as a critical step in establishing worldwide US hegemony. He was also harboring the idea of controlling Russia's energy reserves.91

Since November 2004, when the administration launched a review of its policy on Russia,92 Cheney became a critically important voice in whom the Lobby found its advocate. Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and, until November 2004, Colin Powell opposed the vice president's approach, arguing for a softer and more accommodating style in relations with Moscow.

President Bush generally sided with Rice and Powell, but he proved unable to form a consistent Russia policy. Because of America's involvement in the Middle East, Bush failed to provide the leadership committed to devising mutually acceptable rules in relations with Russia that could have prevented the deterioration in their relationship. Since the end of 2003, he also became doubtful about the direction of Russia's domestic transformation.93 As a result, the promising post-9/11 cooperation never materialized. The new cold war and the American Sense of History

It's time we start thinking of Vladimir Putin's Russia as an enemy of the United States. (Bret Stephens, "Russia: The Enemy," The Wall Street Journal, November 28, 2006)

If today's reality of Russian politics continues ... then there is the real risk that Russia's leadership will be seen, externally and internally, as illegitimate. (John Edwards and Jack Kemp, "We Need to Be Tough with Russia," International Herald Tribune, July 12, 2006)

On Iran, Kosovo, U.S. missile defense, Iraq, the Caucasus and Caspian basin, Ukraine-the list goes on-Russia puts itself in conflict with the U.S. and its allies . . . here are worse models than the united Western stand that won the Cold War the first time around.

("Putin Institutionalized," The Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2007) In order to derail the U.S.-Russia partnership, the Lobby has sought to revive the image of Russias as an enemy of the United States. The Russophobic groups have exploited important differences between the two countries' historical self-perceptions, presenting those differences as incompatible.

1. Contested History

Two versions of history

The story of the Cold War as told from the U.S. perspective is about American ideas of Western-style democracy as rescued from the Soviet threat of totalitarian communism. Although scholars and politicians disagreed over the methods of responding to the Soviet threat, they rarely questioned their underlying assumptions about history and freedom.' It therefore should not come as surprise that many in the United States have interpreted the end of the Cold War as a victory of the Western freedom narrative. Celebrating the Soviet Union's "grand failure"-as Zbigniew Brzezinski put it2-the American discourse assumed that from now on there would be little resistance to freedom's worldwide progression. When Francis Fukuyama offered his bold summary of these optimistic feelings and asserted in a famous passage that "what we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War... but the end of history as such,"3 he meant to convey the disappearance of an alternative to the familiar idea of free- dom, or "the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government."4

In Russia, however, the Cold War story has been mainly about sovereignty and independence, rather than Western-style liberalism. To many Russians it is a story of freedom from colonization by the West and of preserving important attributes of sovereign statehood.

In a world where neocolonialism and cultural imperialism are potent forces, the idea of freedom as independence continues to have strong international appeal and remains a powerful alternative to the notion of liberal democracy. Russians formulated the narrative of independence centuries ago, as they successfully withstood external invasions from Napoleon to Hitler. The defeat of the Nazi regime was important to the Soviets because it legitimized their claims to continue with the tradition of freedom as independence.

The West's unwillingness to recognize the importance of this legitimizing myth in the role of communist ideology has served as a key reason for the Cold War.5 Like their Western counterparts, the Soviets were debating over methods but not the larger assumptions that defined their struggle.

This helps to understand why Russians could never agree with the Western interpretation of the end of the Cold War. What they find missing from the U.S. narrative is the tribute to Russia's ability to defend its freedom from expansionist ambitions of larger powers. The Cold War too is viewed by many Russians as a necessarily defensive response to the West's policies, and it is important that even while occupying Eastern Europe, the Soviets never celebrated the occupation, emphasizing instead the war vic- tory.6 The Russians officially admitted "moral responsibility" and apolo- gized for the Soviet invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia.7 They may be prepared to fully recognize the postwar occupation of Eastern Europe, but only in the context of the two sides' responsibility for the Cold War. Russians also find it offensive that Western VE Day celebrations ignore the crucial contribution of Soviet troops, even though none of the Allies, as one historian put it, "paid dearer than the Soviet Union for the victory. Forty Private Ivans fell in battle to every Private Ryan."8 Victory over Nazi Germany constitutes, as another Russian wrote, "the only undisputable foundation of the national myth."9

If the two sides are to build foundations for a future partnership, the two historical narratives must be bridged. First, it is important to recognize the difficulty of negotiating a common meaning of freedom and accept that the idea of freedom may vary greatly across nations. The urge for freedom may be universal, but its social content is a specific product of national his- tories and local circumstances. For instance, the American vision of democracy initially downplayed the role of elections and emphasized selection by merit or meritocracy. Under the influence of the Great Depression, the notion of democracy incorporated a strong egalitarian and poverty-fighting component, and it was not until the Cold War- and not without its influence-that democracy has become associated with elections and pluralistic institutions.10 Second, it is essential to acknowledge the two nations' mutual respon- sibility for the misunderstanding that has resulted in the Cold War. A historically sensitive account will recognize that both sides were thinking in terms of expanding a territorial space to protect their visions of security. While the Soviets wanted to create a buffer zone to prevent a future attack from Germany, the Americans believed in reconstructing the European continent in accordance with their ideas of security and democracy. A mutual mistrust of the two countries' leaders exacerbated the situation, making it ever more difficult to prevent a full-fledged political confronta- tion. Western leaders had reason to be suspicious of Stalin, who, in his turn, was driven by the perception of the West's greed and by betrayals from the dubious Treaty of Versailles to the appeasement of Hitler in Munich. Arrangements for the post-World War II world made by Britain, the USSR, and the United States proved insufficient to address these deep-seated suspicions.

In addition, most Eastern European states created as a result of the Versailles Treaty were neither free nor democratic and collaborated with Nazi Germany in its racist and expansionist policies. The European post-World War 1 security system was not working properly, and it was only a matter of time before it would have to be transformed.

Third, if an agreeable historical account is to emerge, it would have to accept that the end of the Cold War was a product of mutually beneficial a second Cold War, "it also does not want the reversal of the U.S. geopolitical gains that it made in the decade or so after the end of the Cold War."112 Another expert asked, "What possible explanation is there for the fact that today-at a moment when both the U.S. and Russia face the common enemy of Islamist terrorism-hard-liners within the Bush administration, and especially in the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, are arguing for a new tough line against Moscow along the lines of a scaled-down Cold War?"113

Yet another analyst wrote "at the Cold War's end, the United States was given one of the great opportunities of history: to embrace Russia, the largest nation on earth, as partner, friend, ally. Our mutual interests meshed almost perfectly. There was no ideological, territorial, his- toric or economic quarrel between us, once communist ideology was interred. We blew it. We moved NATO onto Russia's front porch, ignored her valid interests and concerns, and, with our 'indispensable-nation' arrogance, treated her as a defeated power, as France treated Weimar Germany after Versailles."114

[Apr 02, 2018] Confronting Russophobia by Srdja Trifkovic

Notable quotes:
"... The roots of Russophobia's emotional appeal to the left seem clear: It comes as a huge mental relief to the ultrasensitive liberal mind to be able to hate an outside group with impunity, and even to appear virtuous in the process . Of course, the object of that animus is a Christian and European nation that stubbornly refuses to be postmodernized, or become gripped by self-hate and morbid introspection; a nation not ashamed of its past and unwilling to surrender its future to alien multitudes; a nation where nobody obsesses over transgender bathrooms, microaggressions, and other "issues" indicative of a society's moral and intellectual decrepitude. ..."
"... The liberals' ideological and emotional Russophobia has blended seamlessly with the bread-and-butter hostility to Russia shared by Deep State operatives in the intelligence and national-security apparatus, in the military-industrial complex, and in the congressional duopoly. ..."
"... The late Anna Politkovskaya thus wrote in the Los Angeles Times 12 years ago that "it is common knowledge that the Russian people are irrational by nature." It is impossible to imagine a mainstream publication publishing a similar statement about Jews or Muslims. ..."
"... Cheesepopes be gaslighting ..."
"... Nothing give a NYC Wall Street banker more of a wet dream than the possibility of war between the goy. Oil, white slaves, truly a banker's dream come true. ..."
Apr 23, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
by Srdja Trifkovic via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

There is a paranoid, hysterical quality to the public discourse on Russia and all things Russian in today's America. The corporate media machine and its Deep State handlers have abdicated reason and common decency in favor of raw hate and fear-mongering. We have not seen anything like it before, even in the darkest days of the Cold War.

The roots of Russophobia's emotional appeal to the left seem clear: It comes as a huge mental relief to the ultrasensitive liberal mind to be able to hate an outside group with impunity, and even to appear virtuous in the process . Of course, the object of that animus is a Christian and European nation that stubbornly refuses to be postmodernized, or become gripped by self-hate and morbid introspection; a nation not ashamed of its past and unwilling to surrender its future to alien multitudes; a nation where nobody obsesses over transgender bathrooms, microaggressions, and other "issues" indicative of a society's moral and intellectual decrepitude.

The liberals' ideological and emotional Russophobia has blended seamlessly with the bread-and-butter hostility to Russia shared by Deep State operatives in the intelligence and national-security apparatus, in the military-industrial complex, and in the congressional duopoly. The result is a surreal narrative that mixes supposedly unprovoked "Russian aggression" in Ukraine, hostile intent in the Baltics, serial war crimes in Syria, political destabilization in Western Europe, and gross interference in America's "democratic process". The result is an altogether fictitious "existential threat," which has made President Trump's intended détente with Moscow impossible. He may have been serious about turning over a new leaf, but the Deep State counterpressure proved just too great. A solid rejection front emerged, left and right, conservative and liberal, which extends even into his own team and finally inhibited him from making moves that could have appeared too friendly to Putin.

The Russophobes' narrative is unrelated to Russia's actual policies. It reflects a deep odium of the elite class toward Russia-as-such. That animosity has been developing in its current form since roughly the time of the Crimean War, when in his Letters From Russia the Marquis de Custine said that the country's "veneer of European civilization was too thin to be credible."

"No human beings, black, yellow or white, could be quite as untruthful, as insincere, as arrogant-in short, as untrustworthy in every way-as the Russians," President Theodore Roosevelt wrote in 1905. John Maynard Keynes, after a trip to the Soviet Union in 1925, wondered whether the "mood of oppression" might be "the fruit of some beastliness in the Russian nature." J. Robert Oppenheimer opined in 1951 that, in Russia, "We are coping with a barbarous, backward people." More recently, Sen. John McCain declared that "Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country." "Russia is an anti-Western power with a different, darker vision of global politics," Slate wrote in early 2014, even before the Ukrainian crisis reached its climax.

This narrative has two key pillars. In terms of geopolitics, we see the striving of maritime empires-Britain before World War II, and the United States after - to "contain" and if possible control the Eurasian heartland, the core of which is of course Russia. Equally important is the already noted cultural antipathy, the desire not merely to influence Russian policies and behavior but to effect an irreversible transformation of Russia's identity. Some of the most viscerally Russophobic stereotypes come from Russia herself, from those members of Moscow's "intelligentsia" who feel more at home in New York or London than anywhere in their own country. The late Anna Politkovskaya thus wrote in the Los Angeles Times 12 years ago that "it is common knowledge that the Russian people are irrational by nature." It is impossible to imagine a mainstream publication publishing a similar statement about Jews or Muslims.

The Russophobic frenzy comes at a cost. It further devalues the quality of public discourse on world affairs in the United States, which is already dismally low. It has already undermined the prospects for a mutually beneficial new chapter in U.S.-Russian relations, based on a realist assessment that those two powers have no "existential" differences - and share many actual and potential commonalities. It perpetrates the arrogant delusion that there is a superior, "Western" model of social and cultural thought and action that can and should be imposed everywhere, but especially in Russia.

Saddest of all, Russophobic mania prolongs the European civil war that exploded in July 1914, continued in 1939, and has never properly ended - not even with the fall of the Berlin Wall. It would be in the American interest, as well as Russia's and Europe's, for that conflict to end, so that the existential challenge common to all- that of resurgent jihad and Europe's demographic crisis - can be properly addressed.

francis soyer , Apr 23, 2017 7:28 PM

Cheesepopes be gaslighting

Blue Balls -> francis soyer , Apr 23, 2017 7:35 PM

Nothing give a NYC Wall Street banker more of a wet dream than the possibility of war between the goy. Oil, white slaves, truly a banker's dream come true.

Ramesees -> Blue Balls , Apr 23, 2017 7:39 PM

We don't have to go to war with Russia, but let's agree that Russia is, at a minimum, a rival.

Lumberjack -> Ramesees , Apr 23, 2017 7:40 PM

Wrong. China is.

Ramesees -> Lumberjack , Apr 23, 2017 7:43 PM

Russia has its own interests, just like the United States. Sometimes our interests align, more often they do not.

How is that any different than China, other than Russia's demographic death spiral that will eliminate them as a rival in 50-75 years?

knukles -> Ramesees , Apr 23, 2017 7:46 PM

Why can't we all just get along?

Dizzy Malscience -> knukles , Apr 23, 2017 8:16 PM

..it seems like our foreign policy is like an angry poor, innocent "motorist", whacked out on amphetamines, speeding over 100 mph and destined to drown in his liberal negro lottery swimming pool.

Volkodav -> Ramesees , Apr 23, 2017 8:09 PM

missed fact Russian demographic is much improve

sure better than europe

Centerist -> Volkodav , Apr 23, 2017 8:24 PM

Da, comrade. Russian demographic is much improve. Population shrink less fast now.

Lumberjack -> Lumberjack , Apr 23, 2017 8:10 PM

Comment: why US allies Israel, Saudi Arabia are cosying up to China

http://m.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2082673/comment-w...

Furthermore...

Breaking:

The United States is closely watching a recent increase in piracy off the coast of Somalia, a senior U.S. military official said on Sunday as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visited an important military base in Djibouti.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-mattis-africa-idUSKBN17P0C7?utm_ca ...

-----

Hate to use huffpo but this is relevent...

Why China and Saudi Arabia Are Building Bases in Djibouti http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph-braude/why-china-and-saudi-arabi_b_ ...

Then this:

http://thediplomat.com/2017/02/the-chinese-navys-djibouti-base-a-support ...

malek -> Ramesees , Apr 23, 2017 7:49 PM

"Russia is, at a minimum, a rival."

If I ignore your bullshit "but at the maximum..." implication:

So what do you conclude from that. Is it a bad thing to have rivals? Should we strive to turn every remaining rival into a vassal? Is there a limit on methods allowed toward a rival?

Centerist -> Ramesees , Apr 23, 2017 8:20 PM

I'll give you a green arrow to make up for the narrow-mindedness of the simpletons who all gave you red arrows.

We don't need a war with Russia, and the US won't instigate one, either. The juice wouldn't be worth the squeeze.

With all of that being said, Russia is a rival to the US in other parts of the world. The US isn't the only country with a desire for influence around the world.

As much as there is a "Russo-phobia" being perpetuated in the US, you can bet a buck that there is an "Ameri-phobia" being perpetuated out there.

The big difference is that in Russia, they don't have message boards full of people sh*tting on their own country.

Lumberjack -> Centerist , Apr 23, 2017 9:03 PM

They will accomplish the war by proxy.

Centerist -> Lumberjack , Apr 23, 2017 9:17 PM

Well, that is kind of how major powers compete for influence. It takes two to tango. We can't exactly engage in war by proxy if the Russians aren't involved in it, too.

monk27 -> Blue Balls , Apr 23, 2017 7:49 PM

I hate to say it but the so called "elites", in charge of our beloved deep state controlling everything, are quite stupid -- This continuous news hysteria, against whatever subject du jour our intelligentsia decides to float publicly, proves beyond any reasonable doubt that said "elites" suffer from a combination of low IQ, partial education (at best !), and high self-delusion... We might get to witness nuclear war, just because our "elites" are too idiotic to realize what a nuclear war really is...

dsty , Apr 23, 2017 7:29 PM

Yes ZH, tell us once again how wonderful and humane Putin's Russia is.

Don't forget the loving relationship he has with little Kimmy of NK.

Billy the Poet -> dsty , Apr 23, 2017 7:34 PM

I see no such thing in this article. Can you provide quotes to support your criticism?

rccalhoun -> dsty , Apr 23, 2017 7:39 PM

dsty-- ZH does promote putin too much (ZH bias), but ZH is correct in that the MSM has the full court press on to instigate

and insult russia in any way possible.

my question; why the fuck does the USSA stick their fucking nose into everything? if the USSA wants supreme power...then go

conquer these nations and see how that works out.

Justin Case -> rccalhoun , Apr 23, 2017 7:47 PM

They stick their hook nose into everything because they want to own the whole 4th rock from the sun. These people are ill, very ill and as I read these comments it's obvious that some just don't get it yet.

Pure Evil -> Justin Case , Apr 23, 2017 7:59 PM

If we're the fourth rock from the sun, then the other three rocks between us and the sun are.......Venus, Mercury and ?

Implied Violins -> Pure Evil , Apr 23, 2017 9:03 PM

Nibiru. Or Wormwood. Nemesis? Planet X?? Ah fuck it.

knukles -> rccalhoun , Apr 23, 2017 7:48 PM

Which tells us that since we all live rent free in Tyler's pro-Russian basement, that we're now on 2 different sets of lists? That's disturbing.

Brazen Heist -> dsty , Apr 23, 2017 7:40 PM

Do tell us of that more loving butt-buddy relationship the US government has with the Wahhabi terrorist state.

Squid Viscous -> dsty , Apr 23, 2017 8:08 PM

Dsty, dirty stinking tacky yid?

35 Whelen , Apr 23, 2017 7:39 PM

"haven't seen anything like this since the darkest days of the cold war" ... that's because the media was by and large pro-Soviet.

Normalcy Bias , Apr 23, 2017 7:41 PM

All of this B.S. Russophobia evolved from a convenient distraction from the CONTENT of the leaked DNC emails, and has been amplified because of the symbiosis with Neoconservative/Globalist strategies.

dilligaff , Apr 23, 2017 7:42 PM

What amazes me is how well the propaganda seems to be working. There's a bunch of old farts (not that I'm really young!) at the gym every morning talking about how awesome it is that we bombed Syria and it'll show that bastard Putin we're tough and mean business. "America, Fuck yeh!" I wanted to ask them if they were mentally defective or just fucking retards...

Justin Case -> dilligaff , Apr 23, 2017 7:49 PM

Typical merica pie. Fuck tarts

UncleChopChop -> dilligaff , Apr 23, 2017 7:50 PM

sad

monk27 -> dilligaff , Apr 23, 2017 7:51 PM

Propaganda works very well with stupid subjects; the dumber the better...

Reaper -> dilligaff , Apr 23, 2017 7:58 PM

They "think/emote" alike, because each fears the others would otherwise discover their real ignorance.

Reaper , Apr 23, 2017 7:42 PM

Hate = emote. Emote = antithesis of reason. Hate controls the hater. Ergo, the creators of the hate control the haters.

medium giraffe -> Reaper , Apr 23, 2017 8:02 PM

Pretty much. Society has opted to run on emotion rather than fact, emotional manipulation being the key part of the most popular forms of entertainment. Sadly this bleeds into our dealings with each other which are increasingly emotional or insulting. Most of human behaviour and attitudes are due to fear, particularly the egoic fear of inadequacy. As a control mechanism, fear is a formidable tool. But fear is also a choice.

Reaper -> medium giraffe , Apr 23, 2017 8:18 PM

Fear is less effective tool than respect, especially in diplomacy. http://www.businessinsider.com/dale-carnegie-on-habits-of-influential-pe...

aloha_snakbar , Apr 23, 2017 7:44 PM

"Say Russia one more time... I DARE you"...

IranContra , Apr 23, 2017 7:50 PM

The Strategic Culture Foundation who published this piece has an evil agenda, and they are not even friends of Putin. They are very subtle warmongers. You will see when the time comes.

Putin was duped by Iran in Syria, Iran got Syria, not Putin. Trump and Saudi can give Russia what it needs to survive, if Putin stops being duped by deceptive hegemonial Iran.

Billy the Poet -> IranContra , Apr 23, 2017 7:56 PM

The Saudis gave us September 11 -- the gift that keeps on giving. But I doubt that Putin's jealous.

earleflorida -> IranContra , Apr 23, 2017 8:39 PM

"Iran approves six presidential candidates-- blocks Ahmadinejad"

have you any ideal how powerful this nutjob was? ahmadinejab was so powerful at one tyme he challenged the actual ayatollah position as last word! now, this guy was nuts!!! http://news.antiwar.com/2017/04/20/iran-approves-six-presidential-candidates-blocks-ahmadinejad/

sbenard , Apr 23, 2017 8:00 PM

This reminds me of when the ZerroHedge owners mentioned that Bloomberg article several months back that involved an interview of a former Zero Hedge writer blowing the lid off this place. He mentioned how pro-Russia the ZH owners were. This article suggests that he may have been right after all!

number06 -> sbenard , Apr 23, 2017 8:10 PM

Its pretty obvious many around here are in the superbowl ring stealing midgets pocket

stpioc -> sbenard , Apr 23, 2017 8:16 PM

Here is that article showing the Russiophile Zerohedgers:

http://rightwingers.org/forums/thread-156.html

Yea, we shouldn't be afraid of a country with nukes, that invades it's neigbours, has an uber crony economy the size of Italy's, dominated by oligarchs in mining and the obligation to keep friendly with the Kremlin or risk being put in jail and have your assets taken away on trumped up charges. The country that murders it's opponents and critics with nasty stuff like Polonium, even abroad, that interferes in others elections with misinformation campaigns and troll factories, that is on the side of the ayatolla's of Iran and the mass murderer in Syria, helping him by bombing hospitals and refugees, only to be "recognized as a player again on the world stage" A coutry of alcoholics with one of the lowest life expectancy in the developed world. Really, a model state.

As Paul Graig Roberts, the inhouse idiot here noted, Putin for the Nobel peace price!

Neochrome -> stpioc , Apr 23, 2017 8:33 PM

Which of the above does NOT apply to US and even worse?

Volkodav -> sbenard , Apr 23, 2017 8:24 PM

maybe here is one few places balance from the foamy mouth MSM

ZH far more logic, reason informed visitors

momprayn , Apr 23, 2017 8:28 PM

Wikileaks has disclosed the tactic to blame Russia for the election results, Trump's collusion, etc. back to spring of 2016 --- I remember when they started making those "Russia" comments. They wanted to start the thoughts about him/his staff being in collusion with the Russians. That was to hopefully make more decide not to vote for him and in case he won, use it to prove election fraud, treason and somehow impeach him.

Those who know about the Globalists NWO agenda, Deep State, Neocons, etc. realize we've all been lied to about Russia (among all the other lies) since the end of the Cold War. for "their" agenda purposes - need for continuous wars for MIC, etc. also. Putin is not as portrayed at all. Russia is not the "big bad Commie" beast that wants to take over the world as they want us to believe to "justify" another war.

Putin is an Eastern Orthodox Chrsitian who protects Christians, hates and fights terrorists and Globalism. He is not a Globalist. We have those goals in common and Pres. Trump and Putin would be a fantastic duo that when united, terrorism and Globalism would finally be dealt death blows,

Our enemies within know that and therefore they're trying to do everything they can to hurt that relationship and not let it happen because it would mean finally - the end of their evil world order plan.

VW Nerd -> momprayn , Apr 23, 2017 8:45 PM

Excellent assessment. I'll have to share it with my sister. She's a Republican Russia/Iran/Syria hater.

Neochrome , Apr 23, 2017 8:34 PM

Amount of pressure applied commensurate to strength of a country in question. For some of them all it takes is a stern talk from the ambassador, Russia right now is safely beyond the US ability to apply the required pressure, including the threat of Nuclear War. What is happening instead is that world being interconnected the way it is, applying pressure at hardened point that is Russia is also increasing pressure at other weaker points as well, pretty much all over the world. EU and NATO are posturing against Russia in display of lunacy that is symptomatic for the West, it seems that God is taking away humans ability to reason. Day 1, Russia announces indefinite cuts of gas supplies to Europe, stocks crater, world economy craters, Russia and China who were hoarding gold watch the West collapse like a house of cards while passing the popcorn. The End.

earleflorida -> Neochrome , Apr 23, 2017 8:51 PM

"Where Empires go to Die?"?!?

Afghanistan is about to go full retard again, as taliban cuts ussa out of heroin billions--- as our afghan troops turn their weapons on their masters[1]

seems, we bunker-busted the wrong cavity?

http://news.antiwar.com/tag/afghanistan/

Spinkbottle , Apr 23, 2017 8:51 PM

The Jewish media has been obsessed with this business about Russia allegedly influencing the recent 2016 U.S. election. This obsession has concealed the real problem with foreign influence over the American electoral system. It isn't Russian influence that's the problem, it is Israeli influence that's the problem.

Below is a list of stories showing how Israelis or Jews substantively connected to Israel have been subverting the American electoral process.

https://www.dailystormer.com/israel-is-the-main-foreign-power-subverting-the-american-election-system/

globalintelhub , Apr 23, 2017 8:55 PM

Read it and weep www.splittingpennies.com

Son of Captain Nemo , Apr 23, 2017 8:59 PM

You know we will have turned the corner when Donald Trump gives the American people a "Fireside Chat" and tells the public the real reasons the media spearheads a constant barrage of hate filled anti-Russian LYING PROPAGANDA filled rhetoric... BECAUSE

A) THEY ARE THE WORLDS LEADER IN OIL PRODUCTION B) HAVE NO DEBT C) HAVE THERE OWN BALANCE OF PAYMENT CREDIT SYSTEM MIR THAT WILL REPLACE THE WESTERN CENTRAL BANK(S) SYSTEM "SWIFT"

And after he delivers that truthful message he will NEVER BE ALLOWED TO EVER AGAIN... He will probably be shot like HOWARD BEALE in the movie NETWORK... Or WWWIII will be LAUNCHED!!!

[Apr 01, 2018] Big American Money, Not Russia, Put Trump in the White House: Reflections on a Recent Report by Paul Street

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Running against what she (wrongly) perceived (along with most election prognosticators) as a doomed and feckless opponent and as the clear preferred candidate of Wall Street and the intimately related U.S foreign policy elite , including many leading Neoconservatives put off by Trump's isolationist and anti-interventionist rhetoric, the "lying neoliberal warmonger" Hillary Clinton arrogantly figured that she could garner enough votes to win without having to ruffle any ruling-class feathers. ..."
"... Smart Wall Street and K Street Democratic Party bankrollers have long understood that Democratic candidates have to cloak their dollar-drenched corporatism in the deceptive campaign discourse of progressive- and even populist-sounding policy promise to win elections. ..."
"... Trump trailed well behind Clinton in contributions from defense and aerospace – a lack of support extraordinary for a Republican presidential hopeful late in the race. ..."
"... one fateful consequence of trying to appeal to so many conservative business interests was strategic silence about most important matters of public policy. Given the candidate's steady lead in the polls, there seemed to be no point to rocking the boat with any more policy pronouncements than necessary ..."
"... Misgivings of major contributors who worried that the Clinton campaign message lacked real attractions for ordinary Americans were rebuffed. The campaign sought to capitalize on the angst within business by vigorously courting the doubtful and undecideds there, not in the electorate ..."
"... Of course, Bill and Hillary helped trail-blaze that plutocratic "New Democrat" turn in Arkansas during the late 1970s and 1980s. The rest, as they say, was history – an ugly corporate-neoliberal, imperial, and racist history that I and others have written about at great length. ..."
"... My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency ..."
"... Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton ..."
"... The Condemnation of Little B: New Age Racism in America ..."
"... Still, Trump's success was no less tied to big money than was Hillary's failure. Candidate Trump ran strangely outside the longstanding neoliberal Washington Consensus, as an economic nationalist and isolationist. His raucous rallies were laced with dripping denunciations of Wall Street, Goldman Sachs, and globalization, mockery of George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq, rejection of the New Cold War with Russia, and pledges of allegiance to the "forgotten" American "working-class." He was no normal Republican One Percent candidate. ..."
"... Globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very wealthy. But it has left millions of our workers with nothing but poverty and heartache ..."
"... "In a frontal assault on the American establishment, the Republican standard bearer proclaimed 'America First.' Mocking the Bush administration's appeal to 'weapons of mass destruction' as a pretext for invading Iraq, he broke dramatically with two generations of GOP orthodoxy and spoke out in favor of more cooperation with Russia . He even criticized the 'carried interest' tax break beloved by high finance" (emphasis added). ..."
"... "What happened in the final weeks of the campaign was extraordinary. Firstly, a giant wave of dark money poured into Trump's own campaign – one that towered over anything in 2016 or even Mitt Romney's munificently financed 2012 effort – to say nothing of any Russian Facebook experiments [Then] another gigantic wave of money flowed in from alarmed business interests, including the Kochs and their allies Officially the money was for Senate races, but late-stage campaigning for down-ballot offices often spills over on to candidates for the party at large." ..."
"... "In a harbinger of things to come, additional money came from firms and industries that appear to have been attracted by Trump's talk of tariffs, including steel and companies making machinery of various types [a] vast wave of new money flowed into the campaign from some of America's biggest businesses and most famous investors. Sheldon Adelson and many others in the casino industry delivered in grand style for its old colleague. Adelson now delivered more than $11 million in his own name, while his wife and other employees of his Las Vegas Sands casino gave another $20 million. ..."
"... Peter Theil contributed more than a million dollars, while large sums also rolled in from other parts of Silicon Valley, including almost two million dollars from executives at Microsoft and just over two million from executives at Cisco Systems. ..."
"... Among those were Nelson Peltz and Carl Icahn (who had both contributed to Trump before, but now made much bigger new contributions). In the end, along with oil, chemicals, mining and a handful of other industries, large private equity firms would become one of the few segments of American business – and the only part of Wall Street – where support for Trump was truly heavy the sudden influx of money from private equity and hedge funds clearly began with the Convention but turned into a torrent " ..."
"... The critical late wave came after Trump moved to rescue his flagging campaign by handing its direction over to the clever, class-attuned, far-right white- and economic- nationalist "populist" and Breitbart executive Steve Bannon, who advocated what proved to be a winning, Koch brothers-approved "populist" strategy: appeal to economically and culturally frustrated working- and middle-class whites in key battleground states, where the bloodless neoliberal and professional class centrism and snooty metropolitan multiculturalism of the Obama presidency and Clinton campaign was certain to depress the Democratic "base" vote ..."
"... Neither turnout nor the partisan division of the vote at any level looks all that different from other recent elections 2016's alterations in voting behavior are so minute that the pattern is only barely differentiated from 2012." ..."
"... An interesting part of FJC's study (no quick or easy read) takes a close look at the pro-Trump and anti-Hillary Internet activism that the Democrats and their many corporate media allies are so insistently eager to blame on Russia and for Hillary's defeat. FJC find that Russian Internet interventions were of tiny significance compared to those of homegrown U.S. corporate and right-wing cyber forces: ..."
"... By 2016, the Republican right had developed internet outreach and political advertising into a fine art and on a massive scale quite on its own. ..."
"... Breitbart and other organizations were in fact going global, opening offices abroad and establishing contacts with like-minded groups elsewhere. Whatever the Russians were up to, they could hardly hope to add much value to the vast Made in America bombardment already underway. Nobody sows chaos like Breitbart or the Drudge Report ." ..."
"... no support from Big Business ..."
"... Sanders pushed Hillary the Goldman candidate to the wall, calling out the Democrats' capture by Wall Street, forcing her to rely on a rigged party, convention, and primary system to defeat him. The small-donor "socialist" Sanders challenge represented something Ferguson and his colleagues describe as "without precedent in American politics not just since the New Deal, but across virtually the whole of American history a major presidential candidate waging a strong, highly competitive campaign whose support from big business is essentially zero ." ..."
"... American Oligarchy ..."
"... teleSur English ..."
"... we had no great electoral democracy to subvert in 2016 ..."
"... Only candidates and positions that can be financed can be presented to voters. As a result, in countries like the US and, increasingly, Western Europe, political parties are first of all bank accounts . With certain qualifications, one must pay to play. Understanding any given election, therefore, requires a financial X-ray of the power blocs that dominate the major parties, with both inter- and intra- industrial analysis of their constituent elements." ..."
"... Elections alone are no guarantee of democracy, as U.S. policymakers and pundits know very well when they rip on rigged elections (often fixed with the assistance of U.S. government and private-sector agents and firms) in countries they don't like ..."
"... Majority opinion is regularly trumped by a deadly complex of forces in the U.S. ..."
"... Trump is a bit of an anomaly – a sign of an elections and party system in crisis and an empire in decline. He wasn't pre-approved or vetted by the usual U.S. " deep state " corporate, financial, and imperial gatekeepers. The ruling-class had been trying to figure out what the Hell to do with him ever since he shocked even himself (though not Steve Bannon) by pre-empting the coronation of the "Queen of Chaos." ..."
"... His lethally racist, sexist, nativist, nuclear-weapons-brandishing, and (last but not at all least) eco-cidal rise to the nominal CEO position atop the U.S.-imperial oligarchy is no less a reflection of the dominant role of big U.S. capitalist money and homegrown plutocracy in U.S. politics than a more classically establishment Hillary ascendancy would have been. It's got little to do with Russia, Russia, Russia – the great diversion that fills U.S. political airwaves and newsprint as the world careens ever closer to oligarchy-imposed geocide and to a thermonuclear conflagration that the RussiaGate gambit is recklessly encouraging. ..."
Mar 30, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

"She Doesn't Have Any Policy Positions"

On the Friday after the Chicago Cubs won the World Series and prior to the Tuesday on which the vicious racist and sexist Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, Bernie Sanders spoke to a surprisingly small crowd in Iowa City on behalf of Hillary Clinton. As I learned months later, Sanders told one of his Iowa City friends that day that Mrs. Clinton was in trouble. The reason, Sanders reported, was that Hillary wasn't discussing issues or advancing real solutions. "She doesn't have any policy positions," Sanders said.

The first time I heard this, I found it hard to believe. How, I wondered, could anyone run seriously for the presidency without putting issues and policy front and center? Wouldn't any serious campaign want a strong set of issue and policy positions to attract voters and fall back on in case and times of adversity?

Sanders wasn't lying. As the esteemed political scientist and money-politics expert Thomas Ferguson and his colleagues Paul Jorgensen and Jie Chen note in an important study released by the Institute for New Economic Thinking two months ago, the Clinton campaign "emphasized candidate and personal issues and avoided policy discussions to a degree without precedent in any previous election for which measurements exist .it stressed candidate qualifications [and] deliberately deemphasized issues in favor of concentrating on what the campaign regarded as [Donald] Trump's obvious personal weaknesses as a candidate."

Strange as it might have seemed, the reality television star and presidential pre-apprentice Donald Trump had a lot more to say about policy than the former First Lady, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a wonkish Yale Law graduate.

"Courting the Undecideds in Business, not in the Electorate"

What was that about? My first suspicion was that Hillary's policy silence was about the money. It must have reflected her success in building a Wall Street-filled campaign funding war-chest so daunting that she saw little reason to raise capitalist election investor concerns by giving voice to the standard fake-progressive "hope" and "change" campaign and policy rhetoric Democratic presidential contenders typically deploy against their One Percent Republican opponents. Running against what she (wrongly) perceived (along with most election prognosticators) as a doomed and feckless opponent and as the clear preferred candidate of Wall Street and the intimately related U.S foreign policy elite , including many leading Neoconservatives put off by Trump's isolationist and anti-interventionist rhetoric, the "lying neoliberal warmonger" Hillary Clinton arrogantly figured that she could garner enough votes to win without having to ruffle any ruling-class feathers. She would cruise into the White House with no hurt plutocrat feelings simply by playing up the ill-prepared awfulness of her Republican opponent.

If Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Chen (hereafter "JFC") are right, I was on to something but not the whole money and politics story. Smart Wall Street and K Street Democratic Party bankrollers have long understood that Democratic candidates have to cloak their dollar-drenched corporatism in the deceptive campaign discourse of progressive- and even populist-sounding policy promise to win elections. Sophisticated funders get it that the Democratic candidates' need to manipulate the electorate with phony pledges of democratic transformation. The big money backers know it's "just politics" on the part of candidates who can be trusted to serve elite interests (like Bill Clinton 1993-2001 and Barack Obama 2009-2017 ) after they gain office.

What stopped Hillary from playing the usual game – the "manipulation of populism by elitism" that Christopher Hitchens once called "the essence of American politics" – in 2016, a year when the electorate was in a particularly angry and populist mood? FJC's study is titled " Industrial Structure and Party Competition in an Age of Hunger Games : Donald Trump and the 2016 Presidential Election." It performs heroic empirical work with difficult campaign finance data to show that Hillary's campaign funding success went beyond her party's usual corporate and financial backers to include normally Republican-affiliated capitalist sectors less disposed than their more liberal counterparts to abide the standard progressive-sounding policy rhetoric of Democratic Party candidates. FJC hypothesize that (along with the determination that Trump was too weak to be taken all that seriously) Hillary's desire get and keep on board normally Republican election investors led her to keep quiet on issues and policy concerns that mattered to everyday people. As FJC note:

"Trump trailed well behind Clinton in contributions from defense and aerospace – a lack of support extraordinary for a Republican presidential hopeful late in the race. For Clinton's campaign the temptation was irresistible: Over time it slipped into a variant of the strategy [Democrat] Lyndon Johnson pursued in 1964 in the face of another [Republican] candidate [Barry Goldwater] who seemed too far out of the mainstream to win: Go for a grand coalition with most of big business . one fateful consequence of trying to appeal to so many conservative business interests was strategic silence about most important matters of public policy. Given the candidate's steady lead in the polls, there seemed to be no point to rocking the boat with any more policy pronouncements than necessary . Misgivings of major contributors who worried that the Clinton campaign message lacked real attractions for ordinary Americans were rebuffed. The campaign sought to capitalize on the angst within business by vigorously courting the doubtful and undecideds there, not in the electorate " (emphasis added). Hillary Happened

FJC may well be right that a wish not to antagonize off right-wing campaign funders is what led Hillary to muzzle herself on important policy matters, but who really knows? An alternative theory I would not rule out is that Mrs. Clinton's own deep inner conservatism was sufficient to spark her to gladly dispense with the usual progressive-sounding campaign boilerplate. Since FJC bring up the Johnson-Goldwater election, it is perhaps worth mentioning that 18-year old Hillary was a "Goldwater Girl" who worked for the arch-reactionary Republican presidential candidate in 1964. Asked about that episode on National Public Radio (NPR) in 1996 , then First Lady Hillary said "That's right. And I feel like my political beliefs are rooted in the conservatism that I was raised with. I don't recognize this new brand of Republicanism that is afoot now, which I consider to be very reactionary, not conservative in many respects. I am very proud that I was a Goldwater girl."

It was a revealing reflection. The right-wing Democrat Hillary acknowledged that her ideological world view was still rooted in the conservatism of her family of origin. Her problem with the reactionary Republicanism afoot in the U.S. during the middle 1990s was that it was "not conservative in many respects." Her problem with the far-right Republican Congressional leaders Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay was that they were betraying true conservatism – "the conservatism [Hillary] was raised with." This was worse even than the language of the Democratic Leadership Conference (DLC) – the right-wing Eisenhower Republican (at leftmost) tendency that worked to push the Democratic Party further to the Big Business-friendly right and away from its working-class and progressive base.

Of course, Bill and Hillary helped trail-blaze that plutocratic "New Democrat" turn in Arkansas during the late 1970s and 1980s. The rest, as they say, was history – an ugly corporate-neoliberal, imperial, and racist history that I and others have written about at great length. (I cannot reprise here the voluminous details of Mrs. Clinton's longstanding alignment with the corporate, financial, and imperial agendas of the rich and powerful. Two short and highly readable volumes are Doug Henwood, My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency [OR Books, 2015]; Diana Johnstone, Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton [CounterPunch Books, 2015]. On the stealth, virulent racism of the Clintons in power, see Elaine Brown's classic volume The Condemnation of Little B: New Age Racism in America [2003].)

What happened? Horrid corporate Hillary happened. And she's still happening. The "lying neoliberal warmonger" recently went to India to double down on her "progressive neoliberal" contempt for the "basket of deplorables" (more on that phrase below) that considers poor stupid and backwards middle America to be by saying this : "If you look at the map of the United States, there's all that red in the middle where Trump won. I win the coasts. But what the map doesn't show you is that I won the places that represent two-thirds of America's gross domestic product (GDP). So I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward" (emphasis added).

That was Hillary Goldman Sachs-Council on Foreign Relations-Clinton saying "go to Hell" to working- and middle-class people in Iowa, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, Indiana, and West Virginia. It was a raised middle and oligarchic finger from a super-wealthy arch-global-corporatist to all the supposedly pessimistic, slow-witted, and retrograde losers stuck between those glorious enclaves (led by Wall Street, Yale, and Harvard on the East coast and Silicon Valley and Hollywood on the West coast) of human progress and variety (and GDP!) on the imperial shorelines. Senate Minority Leader Dick Durbin had to go on television to say that Hillary was "wrong" to write off most of the nation as a festering cesspool of pathetic, ass-backwards, lottery-playing, and opioid-addicted white-trash has-beens. It's hard for the Inauthentic Opposition Party (as the late Sheldon Wolin reasonably called the Democrats ) to pose as an authentic opposition party when its' last big-money presidential candidate goes off-fake-progressive script with an openly elitist rant like that.

Historic Mistakes

Whatever the source of her strange policy silence in the 2016 campaign, that hush was "a miscalculation of historic proportion" (FJC). It was a critical mistake given what Ferguson and his colleagues call the "Hunger Games" misery and insecurity imposed on tens of millions of ordinary working- and middle-class middle-Americans by decades of neoliberal capitalist austerity , deeply exacerbated by the Wall Street-instigated Great Recession and the weak Obama recovery. The electorate was in a populist, anti-establishment mood – hardly a state of mind favorable to a wooden, richly globalist, Goldman-gilded candidate, a long-time Washington-Wall Street establishment ("swamp") creature like Hillary Clinton.

In the end, FJC note, the billionaire Trump's ironic, fake-populist "outreach to blue collar workers" would help him win "more than half of all voters with a high school education or less (including 61% of white women with no college), almost two thirds of those who believed life for the next generation of Americans would be worse than now, and seventy-seven percent of voters who reported their personal financial situation had worsened since four years ago."

Trump's popularity with "heartland" rural and working-class whites even provoked Hillary into a major campaign mistake: getting caught on video telling elite Manhattan election investors that half of Trump's supporters were a "basket of deplorables." There was a hauntingly strong parallel between Wall Street Hillary's "deplorables" blooper and the super-rich Republican candidate Mitt Romney's infamous 2012 gaffe : telling his own affluent backers saying that 47% of the population were a bunch of lazy welfare cheats. This time, though, it was the Democrat – with a campaign finance profile closer to Romney's than Obama's in 2012 – and not the Republican making the ugly plutocratic and establishment faux pas .

"A Frontal Assault on the American Establishment"

Still, Trump's success was no less tied to big money than was Hillary's failure. Candidate Trump ran strangely outside the longstanding neoliberal Washington Consensus, as an economic nationalist and isolationist. His raucous rallies were laced with dripping denunciations of Wall Street, Goldman Sachs, and globalization, mockery of George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq, rejection of the New Cold War with Russia, and pledges of allegiance to the "forgotten" American "working-class." He was no normal Republican One Percent candidate. As FJC explain:

"In 2016 the Republicans nominated yet another super-rich candidate – indeed, someone on the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans. Like legions of conservative Republicans before him, he trash-talked Hispanics, immigrants, and women virtually non-stop, though with a verve uniquely his own. He laced his campaign with barely coded racial appeals and in the final days, ran an ad widely denounced as subtly anti-Semitic. But in striking contrast to every other Republican presidential nominee since 1936, he attacked globalization, free trade, international financiers, Wall Street, and even Goldman Sachs. ' Globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very wealthy. But it has left millions of our workers with nothing but poverty and heartache . When subsidized foreign steel is dumped into our markets, threatening our factories, the politicians do nothing. For years, they watched on the sidelines as our jobs vanished and our communities were plunged into depression-level unemployment.'"

"In a frontal assault on the American establishment, the Republican standard bearer proclaimed 'America First.' Mocking the Bush administration's appeal to 'weapons of mass destruction' as a pretext for invading Iraq, he broke dramatically with two generations of GOP orthodoxy and spoke out in favor of more cooperation with Russia . He even criticized the 'carried interest' tax break beloved by high finance" (emphasis added).

Big Dark Money and Trump: His Own and Others'

This cost Trump much of the corporate and Wall Street financial support that Republican presidential candidates usually get. The thing was, however, that much of Trump's "populist" rhetoric was popular with a big part of the Republican electorate, thanks to the "Hunger Games" insecurity of the transparently bipartisan New Gilded Age. And Trump's personal fortune permitted him to tap that popular anger while leaping insultingly over the heads of his less wealthy if corporate and Wall Street-backed competitors ("low energy" Jeb Bush and "little Marco" Rubio most notably) in the crowded Republican primary race.

A Republican candidate dependent on the usual elite bankrollers would never have been able to get away with Trump's crowd-pleasing (and CNN and FOX News rating-boosting) antics. Thanks to his own wealth, the faux-populist anti-establishment Trump was ironically inoculated against pre-emption in the Republican primaries by the American campaign finance "wealth primary," which renders electorally unviable candidates who lack vast financial resources or access to them.

Things were different after Trump won the Republican nomination, however. He could no longer go it alone after the primaries. During the Republican National Convention and "then again in the late summer of 2016," FJC show, Trump's "solo campaign had to be rescued by major industries plainly hoping for tariff relief, waves of other billionaires from the far, far right of the already far right Republican Party, and the most disruption-exalting corners of Wall Street." By FJC's account:

"What happened in the final weeks of the campaign was extraordinary. Firstly, a giant wave of dark money poured into Trump's own campaign – one that towered over anything in 2016 or even Mitt Romney's munificently financed 2012 effort – to say nothing of any Russian Facebook experiments [Then] another gigantic wave of money flowed in from alarmed business interests, including the Kochs and their allies Officially the money was for Senate races, but late-stage campaigning for down-ballot offices often spills over on to candidates for the party at large."

"The run up to the Convention brought in substantial new money, including, for the first time, significant contributions from big business. Mining, especially coal mining; Big Pharma (which was certainly worried by tough talk from the Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, about regulating drug prices); tobacco, chemical companies, and oil (including substantial sums from executives at Chevron, Exxon, and many medium sized firms); and telecommunications (notably AT&T, which had a major merge merger pending) all weighed in. Money from executives at the big banks also began streaming in, including Bank of America, J. P. Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo. Parts of Silicon Valley also started coming in from the cold."

"In a harbinger of things to come, additional money came from firms and industries that appear to have been attracted by Trump's talk of tariffs, including steel and companies making machinery of various types [a] vast wave of new money flowed into the campaign from some of America's biggest businesses and most famous investors. Sheldon Adelson and many others in the casino industry delivered in grand style for its old colleague. Adelson now delivered more than $11 million in his own name, while his wife and other employees of his Las Vegas Sands casino gave another $20 million.

Peter Theil contributed more than a million dollars, while large sums also rolled in from other parts of Silicon Valley, including almost two million dollars from executives at Microsoft and just over two million from executives at Cisco Systems. A wave of new money swept in from large private equity firms, the part of Wall Street which had long championed hostile takeovers as a way of disciplining what they mocked as bloated and inefficient 'big business.' Virtual pariahs to main-line firms in the Business Roundtable and the rest of Wall Street, some of these figures had actually gotten their start working with Drexel Burnham Lambert and that firm's dominant partner, Michael Milkin.

Among those were Nelson Peltz and Carl Icahn (who had both contributed to Trump before, but now made much bigger new contributions). In the end, along with oil, chemicals, mining and a handful of other industries, large private equity firms would become one of the few segments of American business – and the only part of Wall Street – where support for Trump was truly heavy the sudden influx of money from private equity and hedge funds clearly began with the Convention but turned into a torrent "

The critical late wave came after Trump moved to rescue his flagging campaign by handing its direction over to the clever, class-attuned, far-right white- and economic- nationalist "populist" and Breitbart executive Steve Bannon, who advocated what proved to be a winning, Koch brothers-approved "populist" strategy: appeal to economically and culturally frustrated working- and middle-class whites in key battleground states, where the bloodless neoliberal and professional class centrism and snooty metropolitan multiculturalism of the Obama presidency and Clinton campaign was certain to depress the Democratic "base" vote . Along with the racist voter suppression carried out by Republican state governments (JFC rightly chide Russia-obsessed political reporters and commentators for absurdly ignoring this important factor) and (JFC intriguingly suggest) major anti-union offensives conducted by employers in some battleground states, this major late-season influx of big right-wing political money tilted the election Trump's way.

The Myth of Potent Russian Cyber-Subversion

As FJC show, there is little empirical evidence to support the Clinton and corporate Democrats' self-interested and diversionary efforts to explain Mrs. Clinton's epic fail and Trump's jaw-dropping upset victory as the result of (i) Russian interference, (ii), then FBI Director James Comey's October Surprise revelation that his agency was not done investigating Hillary's emails, and/or (iii) some imagined big wave of white working-class racism, nativism, and sexism brought to the surface by the noxious Orange Hulk. The impacts of both (i) and (ii) were infinitesimal in comparison to the role that big campaign money played both in silencing Hillary and funding Trump.

The blame-the-deplorable-racist-white-working-class narrative is belied by basic underlying continuities in white working class voting patterns. As FJC note: " Neither turnout nor the partisan division of the vote at any level looks all that different from other recent elections 2016's alterations in voting behavior are so minute that the pattern is only barely differentiated from 2012." It was about the money – the big establishment money that the Clinton campaign took (as FJC at least plausibly argue) to recommend policy silence and the different, right-wing big money that approved Trump's comparative right-populist policy boisterousness.

An interesting part of FJC's study (no quick or easy read) takes a close look at the pro-Trump and anti-Hillary Internet activism that the Democrats and their many corporate media allies are so insistently eager to blame on Russia and for Hillary's defeat. FJC find that Russian Internet interventions were of tiny significance compared to those of homegrown U.S. corporate and right-wing cyber forces:

"The real masters of these black arts are American or Anglo-American firms. These compete directly with Silicon Valley and leading advertising firms for programmers and personnel. They rely almost entirely on data purchased from Google, Facebook, or other suppliers, not Russia . American regulators do next to nothing to protect the privacy of voters and citizens, and, as we have shown in several studies, leading telecom firms are major political actors and giant political contributors. As a result, data on the habits and preferences of individual internet users are commercially available in astounding detail and quantities for relatively modest prices – even details of individual credit card purchases. The American giants for sure harbor abundant data on the constellation of bots, I.P. addresses, and messages that streamed to the electorate "

" stories hyping 'the sophistication of an influence campaign slickly crafted to mimic and infiltrate U.S. political discourse while also seeking to heighten tensions between groups already wary of one another by the Russians miss the mark.' By 2016, the Republican right had developed internet outreach and political advertising into a fine art and on a massive scale quite on its own. Large numbers of conservative websites, including many that that tolerated or actively encouraged white supremacy and contempt for immigrants, African-Americans, Hispanics, Jews, or the aspirations of women had been hard at work for years stoking up 'tensions between groups already wary of one another.' Breitbart and other organizations were in fact going global, opening offices abroad and establishing contacts with like-minded groups elsewhere. Whatever the Russians were up to, they could hardly hope to add much value to the vast Made in America bombardment already underway. Nobody sows chaos like Breitbart or the Drudge Report ."

" the evidence revealed thus far does not support strong claims about the likely success of Russian efforts, though of course the public outrage at outside meddling is easy to understand. The speculative character of many accounts even in the mainstream media is obvious. Several, such as widely circulated declaration by the Department of Homeland Security that 21 state election systems had been hacked during the election, have collapsed within days of being put forward when state electoral officials strongly disputed them, though some mainstream press accounts continue to repeat them. Other tales about Macedonian troll factories churning out stories at the instigation of the Kremlin, are clearly exaggerated."

The Sanders Tease: "He Couldn't Have Done a Thing"

Perhaps the most remarkable finding in FJC's study is that Sanders came tantalizingly close to winning the Democratic presidential nomination against the corporately super-funded Clinton campaign with no support from Big Business . Running explicitly against the "Hunger Games" economy and the corporate-financial plutocracy that created it, Sanders pushed Hillary the Goldman candidate to the wall, calling out the Democrats' capture by Wall Street, forcing her to rely on a rigged party, convention, and primary system to defeat him. The small-donor "socialist" Sanders challenge represented something Ferguson and his colleagues describe as "without precedent in American politics not just since the New Deal, but across virtually the whole of American history a major presidential candidate waging a strong, highly competitive campaign whose support from big business is essentially zero ."

Sanders pulled this off, FJC might have added, by running in (imagine) accord with majority-progressive left-of-center U.S. public opinion. But for the Clintons' corrupt advance- control of the Democratic National Committee and convention delegates, Ferguson et al might further have noted, Sanders might well have been the Democratic presidential nominee, curiously enough in the arch-state-capitalist and oligarchic United States

Could Sanders have defeated the billionaire and right-wing billionaire-backed Trump in the general election? There's no way to know, of course. Sanders consistently out-performed Hillary Clinton in one-on-one match -up polls vis a vis Donald Trump during the primary season, but much of the big money (and, perhaps much of the corporate media) that backed Hillary would have gone over to Trump had the supposedly "radical" Sanders been the Democratic nominee.

Even if Sanders has been elected president, moreover, Noam Chomsky is certainly correct in his recent judgement that Sanders would have been able to achieve very little in the White House. As Chomsky told Lynn Parramore two weeks ago, in an interview conducted for the Institute for New Economic Thinking, the same think-tank that published FJC's remarkable study:

"His campaign [was] a break with over a century of American political history. No corporate support, no financial wealth, he was unknown, no media support. The media simply either ignored or denigrated him. And he came pretty close -- he probably could have won the nomination, maybe the election. But suppose he'd been elected? He couldn't have done a thing. Nobody in Congress, no governors, no legislatures, none of the big economic powers, which have an enormous effect on policy. All opposed to him. In order for him to do anything, he would have to have a substantial, functioning party apparatus, which would have to grow from the grass roots. It would have to be locally organized, it would have to operate at local levels, state levels, Congress, the bureaucracy -- you have to build the whole system from the bottom."

As Chomsky might have added, Sanders oligarchy-imposed "failures" would have been great fodder for the disparagement and smearing of "socialism" and progressive, majority-backed policy change. "See? We tried all that and it was a disaster!"

I would note further that the Sanders phenomenon's policy promise was plagued by its standard bearer's persistent loyalty to the giant and absurdly expensive U.S.-imperial Pentagon System, which each year eats up hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars required to implement the progressive, majority-supported policy agenda that Bernie F-35 Sanders ran on.

"A Very Destructive Ideology"

The Sanders challenge was equally afflicted by its candidate-centered electoralism. This diverted energy away from the real and more urgent politics of building people's movements – grassroots power to shake the society to its foundations and change policy from the bottom up (Dr. Martin Luther King's preferred strategy at the end of his life just barely short of 50 years ago, on April 4 th , 1968) – and into the narrow, rigidly time-staggered grooves of a party and spectacle-elections crafted by and for the wealthy Few and the American Oligarchy 's "permanent political class" (historian Ron Formisano). As Chomsky explained on the eve of the 2004 elections:

"Americans may be encouraged to vote, but not to participate more meaningfully in the political arena. Essentially the election is a method of marginalizing the population. A huge propaganda campaign is mounted to get people to focus on these personalized quadrennial extravaganzas and to think, 'That's politics.' But it isn't. It's only a small part of politics The urgency is for popular progressive groups to grow and become strong enough so that centers of power can't ignore them. Forces for change that have come up from the grass roots and shaken the society to its core include the labor movement, the civil rights movement, the peace movement, the women's movement and others, cultivated by steady, dedicated work at all levels, every day, not just once every four years sensible [electoral] choices have to be made. But they are secondary to serious political action."

"The only thing that's going to ever bring about any meaningful change," Chomsky told Abby Martin on teleSur English in the fall of 2015, "is ongoing, dedicated, popular movements that don't pay attention to the election cycle." Under the American religion of voting, Chomsky told Dan Falcone and Saul Isaacson in the spring of 2016, "Citizenship means every four years you put a mark somewhere and you go home and let other guys run the world. It's a very destructive ideology basically, a way of making people passive, submissive objects [we] ought to teach kids that elections take place but that's not politics."

For all his talk of standing atop a great "movement" for "revolution," Sanders was and remains all about this stunted and crippling definition of citizenship and politics as making some marks on ballots and then returning to our domiciles while rich people and their agents (not just any "other guys") "run [ruin?-P.S.] the world [into the ground-P.S.]."

It will take much more in the way of Dr. King's politics of "who' sitting in the streets," not "who's sitting in the White House" (to use Howard Zinn's excellent dichotomy ), to get us an elections and party system worthy of passionate citizen engagement. We don't have such a system in the U.S. today, which is why the number of eligible voters who passively boycotted the 2016 presidential election is larger than both the number who voted for big money Hillary and the number who voted for big money Trump.

(If U.S. progressives really want to consider undertaking the epic lift involved in passing a U.S. Constitutional Amendment, they might want to focus on this instead of calling for a repeal of the Second Amendment. I'd recommend starting with a positive Democracy Amendment that fundamentally overhauls the nation's political and elections set-up in accord with elementary principles and practices of popular sovereignty. Clauses would include but not be limited to full public financing of elections and the introduction of proportional representation for legislative races – not to mention the abolition of the Electoral College, Senate apportionment on the basis of total state population, and the outlawing of gerrymandering.)

Ecocide Trumped by Russia

Meanwhile, back in real history, we have the remarkable continuation of a bizarre right-wing, pre-fascist presidency not in normal ruling-class hands, subject to the weird whims and tweets of a malignant narcissist who doesn't read memorandums or intelligence briefings. Wild policy zig-zags and record-setting White House personnel turnover are par for the course under the dodgy reign of the orange-tinted beast's latest brain spasms. Orange Caligula spends his mornings getting his information from FOX News and his evenings complaining to and seeking advice from a small club of right-wing American oligarchs.

Trump poses grave environmental and nuclear risks to human survival. A consistent Trump belief is that climate change is not a problem and that it's perfectly fine – "great" and "amazing," in fact – for the White House to do everything it can to escalate the Greenhouse Gassing-to-Death of Life on Earth. The nuclear threat is rising now that he has appointed a frothing right-wing uber-warmonger – a longtime advocate of bombing Iran and North Korea who led the charge for the arch-criminal U.S. invasion of Iraq – as his top "National Security" adviser and as he been convinced to expel dozens of Russian diplomats. Thanks, liberal and other Democratic Party RussiaGaters!

The Clinton-Obama neoliberal Democrats have spent more than a year running with the preposterous narrative that Trump is a Kremlin puppet who owes his presence in the White House to Russia's subversion of our democratic elections. The climate crisis holds little for the Trump and Russia-obsessed corporate media. The fact that the world stands at the eve of the ecological self-destruction, with the Trump White House in the lead, elicits barely a whisper in the reigning commercial news media. Unlike Stormy Daniels, for example, that little story – the biggest issue of our or any time – is not good for television ratings and newspaper sales.

Sanders, by the way, is curiously invisible in the dominant commercial media, despite his quiet survey status as the nation's "most popular politician." That is precisely what you would expect in a corporate and financial oligarchy buttressed by a powerful corporate, so-called "mainstream" media oligopoly.

Political Parties as "Bank Accounts"

One of the many problems with the obsessive Blame-Russia narrative that a fair portion of the dominant U.S. media is running with is that we had no great electoral democracy to subvert in 2016 . Saying that Russia has "undermined [U.S.-] American democracy" is like me – middle-aged, five-foot nine, and unblessed with jumping ability – saying that the Brooklyn Nets' Russian-born center Timofy Mozgof subverted my career as a starting player in the National Basketball Association. In state-capitalist societies marked by the toxic and interrelated combination of weak popular organization, expensive politics, and highly concentrated wealth – all highly evident in the New Gilded Age United States – electoral contests and outcomes boil down above all and in the end to big investor class cash. As Thomas Ferguson and his colleagues explain:

"Where investment and organization by average citizens is weak, however, power passes by default to major investor groups, which can far more easily bear the costs of contending for control of the state. In most modern market-dominated societies (those celebrated recently as enjoying the 'end of History'), levels of effective popular organization are generally low, while the costs of political action, in terms of both information and transactional obstacles, are high. The result is that conflicts within the business community normally dominate contests within and between political parties – the exact opposite of what many earlier social theorists expected, who imagined 'business' and 'labor' confronting each other in separate parties Only candidates and positions that can be financed can be presented to voters. As a result, in countries like the US and, increasingly, Western Europe, political parties are first of all bank accounts . With certain qualifications, one must pay to play. Understanding any given election, therefore, requires a financial X-ray of the power blocs that dominate the major parties, with both inter- and intra- industrial analysis of their constituent elements."

Here Ferguson might have said "corporate-dominated" instead of "market-dominated" for the modern managerial corporations emerged as the "visible hand" master of the "free market" more than a century ago.

We get to vote? Big deal.

People get to vote in Rwanda, Russia, the Congo and countless other autocratic states as well. Elections alone are no guarantee of democracy, as U.S. policymakers and pundits know very well when they rip on rigged elections (often fixed with the assistance of U.S. government and private-sector agents and firms) in countries they don't like, which includes any country that dares to "question the basic principle that the United States effectively owns the world by right and is by definition a force for good" ( Chomsky, 2016 ).

Majority opinion is regularly trumped by a deadly complex of forces in the U.S. The list of interrelated and mutually reinforcing culprits behind this oligarchic defeat of popular sentiment in the U.S. is extensive. It includes but is not limited to: the campaign finance, candidate-selection, lobbying, and policy agenda-setting power of wealthy individuals, corporations, and interest groups; the special primary election influence of full-time party activists; the disproportionately affluent, white, and older composition of the active (voting) electorate; the manipulation of voter turnout; the widespread dissemination of false, confusing, distracting, and misleading information; absurdly and explicitly unrepresentative political institutions like the Electoral College, the unelected Supreme Court, the over-representation of the predominantly white rural population in the U.S. Senate; one-party rule in the House of "Representatives"; the fragmentation of authority in government; and corporate ownership of the reigning media, which frames current events in accord with the wishes and world view of the nation's real owners.

Yes, we get to vote. Super. Big deal. Mammon reigns nonetheless in the United States, where, as the leading liberal political scientists Benjamin Page and Martin Gilens find , "government policy reflects the wishes of those with money, not the wishes of the millions of ordinary citizens who turn out every two years to choose among the preapproved, money-vetted candidates for federal office."

Trump is a bit of an anomaly – a sign of an elections and party system in crisis and an empire in decline. He wasn't pre-approved or vetted by the usual U.S. " deep state " corporate, financial, and imperial gatekeepers. The ruling-class had been trying to figure out what the Hell to do with him ever since he shocked even himself (though not Steve Bannon) by pre-empting the coronation of the "Queen of Chaos."

He is a homegrown capitalist oligarch nonetheless, a real estate mogul of vast and parasitic wealth who is no more likely to fulfill his populist-sounding campaign pledges than any previous POTUS of the neoliberal era.

His lethally racist, sexist, nativist, nuclear-weapons-brandishing, and (last but not at all least) eco-cidal rise to the nominal CEO position atop the U.S.-imperial oligarchy is no less a reflection of the dominant role of big U.S. capitalist money and homegrown plutocracy in U.S. politics than a more classically establishment Hillary ascendancy would have been. It's got little to do with Russia, Russia, Russia – the great diversion that fills U.S. political airwaves and newsprint as the world careens ever closer to oligarchy-imposed geocide and to a thermonuclear conflagration that the RussiaGate gambit is recklessly encouraging.

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[Mar 31, 2018] Where Have You Gone, George McGovern by Maj. Danny Sjursen

Notable quotes:
"... Still, George McGovern was a humble man who carried the burden, and honor, of his military service with grace. Though proud of his service, he was never constrained by it. When he saw a foolish war, an immoral war -- like Vietnam -- he stood ready to dissent. He was an unapologetic liberal and unwavering in his antiwar stance. These days, his kind is an endangered species on Capitol Hill and in the Democratic National Committee. McGovern died in 2012. His party, and the United States, are lesser for his absence. ..."
"... Today's Democrats are mostly avid hawks, probably to the right of Richard Nixon on foreign policy. ..."
"... Heck, even Gen. David "Generational War" Petraeus , once found himself in some hot water when -- in a rare moment of candor -- he admitted that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of US favoritism for Israel." Translation: US policy toward Israel (and, no doubt, the foolhardy 2003 invasion of Iraq) make American soldiers less safe. ..."
"... So does the basic post-9/11 American policy of sovereignty violation and expansive military intervention whenever and wherever Washington feels like it -- so long as it's in the name of fighting (you guessed it) "terrorism." ..."
"... George McGovern -- a true patriot, a man who knew war but loved peace -- wouldn't recognize the likes of Klobuchar, Clinton, Schumer and company. He'd be rightfully embarrassed by their supplication to the national warfare state. ..."
"... In 1972, McGovern's presidential campaign (as, to some extent, Bernie's did) reached out to impassioned youth in the "New Left," and formed a rainbow coalition with African-Americans and other minority groups. His Democrats were no longer the party of Cold War consensus, no longer the party of LBJ and Vietnam. No, McGovern's signature issue was peace, and opposition to that disastrous war. ..."
"... His campaign distributed pins and T-shirts bearing white doves . Could you even imagine a mainstream Democrat getting within 1,000 meters of such a symbol today? Of course not. ..."
Mar 29, 2018 | original.antiwar.com

This article originally appeared at TruthDig .

He knew war well -- well enough to know he hated it.

George McGovern was a senator from South Dakota, and he was a Democrat true liberals could admire. Though remembered as a staunch liberal and foreign policy dove, McGovern was no stranger to combat. He flew 35 missions as a B-24 pilot in Italy during World War II. He even earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for executing a heroic emergency crash landing after his bomber was damaged by German anti-aircraft fire.

Still, George McGovern was a humble man who carried the burden, and honor, of his military service with grace. Though proud of his service, he was never constrained by it. When he saw a foolish war, an immoral war -- like Vietnam -- he stood ready to dissent. He was an unapologetic liberal and unwavering in his antiwar stance. These days, his kind is an endangered species on Capitol Hill and in the Democratic National Committee. McGovern died in 2012. His party, and the United States, are lesser for his absence.

Today's Democrats are mostly avid hawks, probably to the right of Richard Nixon on foreign policy. They dutifully voted for Bush's Iraq war . Then, they won back the White House and promptly expanded an unwinnable Afghan war . Soon, they again lost the presidency -- to a reality TV star -- and raised hardly a peep as Donald Trump expanded America's aimless wars into the realm of the absurd.

I've long known this, but most liberals -- deeply ensconced (or distracted) by hyper-identity politics -- hardly notice. Still, every once in a while something reminds me of how lost the Democrats truly are.

I nearly spit up my food the other day. Watching on C-SPAN as Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., gleefully attended a panel at the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference, I couldn't help but wonder what has happened to the Democratic Party. The worst part is I like her, mostly. Look, I agree with Sen. Klobuchar on most domestic issues: health care, taxes and more. But she -- a supposed liberal -- and her mainstream Democratic colleagues are complicit in the perpetuation of America's warfare state and neo-imperial interventionism. Sen. Klobuchar and other Democrats' reflexive support for Israel is but a symptom of a larger disease in the party -- tacit militarism.

AIPAC is a lobbying clique almost as savvy and definitely as effective as the NRA. Its meetings -- well attended by mainstream Democrats and Republicans alike -- serve as little more than an opportunity for Washington pols to kiss Benjamin Netanyahu's ring and swear fealty to Israel. Most of the time, participants don't dare utter the word "Palestinian." That'd be untoward -- Palestinians are the unacknowledged elephants in the room .

The far right-wing Israeli government of Netanyahu, who is little more than a co-conspirator and enabler for America's failed project in the Middle East, should be the last group "liberals" pander to. That said, the state of Israel is a fact. Its people -- just like the Palestinians -- deserve security and liberty. Love it or hate it, Israel will continue to exist. The question is: Can Israel remain both exclusively Jewish and democratic? I'm less certain about that. For 50 years now, the Israeli military has divided, occupied and enabled the illegal settlement of sovereign Palestinian territory , keeping Arabs in limbo without citizenship or meaningful civil rights.

This is, so far as international law is concerned, a war crime. As such, unflinching American support for Israeli policy irreversibly damages the U.S. military's reputation on the "Arab street." I've seen it firsthand. In Iraq and Afghanistan, hundreds and thousands of miles away from Jerusalem, captured prisoners and hospitable families alike constantly pointed to unfettered US support for Israel and the plight of Palestinians when answering that naive and ubiquitous American question: "Why do they hate us?"

Heck, even Gen. David "Generational War" Petraeus , once found himself in some hot water when -- in a rare moment of candor -- he admitted that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of US favoritism for Israel." Translation: US policy toward Israel (and, no doubt, the foolhardy 2003 invasion of Iraq) make American soldiers less safe.

So does the basic post-9/11 American policy of sovereignty violation and expansive military intervention whenever and wherever Washington feels like it -- so long as it's in the name of fighting (you guessed it) "terrorism." So, which "liberals" are raising hell and ringing the alarm bells for their constituents about Israeli occupation and America's strategic overreach? Sen. Klobuchar? Hardly. She, and all but four Democrats, voted for the latest bloated Pentagon budget with few questions asked. Almost as many Republicans voted against the bill. So, which is the antiwar party these days? It's hard to know.

Besides, the Dems mustered fewer than 30 votes in support of the Rand Paul amendment and his modest call to repeal and replace America's outdated, vague Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). All Sen. Paul, a libertarian Republican, wanted to do was force a vote -- in six months -- to revisit the AUMF. This wasn't radical stuff by any means. The failure of Paul's amendment, when paired with the absolute dearth of Democratic dissent on contemporary foreign policy, proves one thing conclusively: There is no longer an antiwar constituency in a major American political party. The two-party system has failed what's left of the antiwar movement.

By no means is Amy Klobuchar alone in her forever-war complicity. Long before she graced the halls of the Senate, her prominent precursors -- Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer (to name just a few) -- rubber-stamped a war of aggression in Iraq and mostly acquiesced as one president after another (including Barack Obama) gradually expanded America's post-9/11 wars. When will it end? No one knows, really, but so far, the US military has deployed advisers or commandos to 70 percent of the world's countries and is actively bombing at least seven . That's the problem with waging clandestine wars with professional soldiers while asking nothing of an apathetic public: These conflicts tend to grow and grow, until, one day -- which passed long ago -- hardly anyone realizes we're now at war with most everyone.

So where are the doves now? On the fringe, that's where. Screaming from the distant corners of the libertarian right and extreme left. No one cares, no one is listening, and they can hardly get a hearing on either MSNBC or Fox. It's the one thing both networks agree on: endless, unquestioned war. Hooray for 21st century bipartisanship.

Still, Americans deserve more from the Democrats, once (however briefly) the party of McGovern. These days, the Dems hate Trump more than they like anything. To be a principled national party, they've got to be more than just anti-Trump. They need to provide a substantive alternative and present a better foreign policy offer. How about a do-less strategy: For starters, some modesty and prudent caution would go a long way.

George McGovern -- a true patriot, a man who knew war but loved peace -- wouldn't recognize the likes of Klobuchar, Clinton, Schumer and company. He'd be rightfully embarrassed by their supplication to the national warfare state.

In 1972, McGovern's presidential campaign (as, to some extent, Bernie's did) reached out to impassioned youth in the "New Left," and formed a rainbow coalition with African-Americans and other minority groups. His Democrats were no longer the party of Cold War consensus, no longer the party of LBJ and Vietnam. No, McGovern's signature issue was peace, and opposition to that disastrous war.

His campaign distributed pins and T-shirts bearing white doves . Could you even imagine a mainstream Democrat getting within 1,000 meters of such a symbol today? Of course not.

Today's Dems are too frightened, fearful of being labeled "soft" (note the sexual innuendo) on "terror," and have thus ceded foreign policy preeminence to the unhinged, uber-hawk Republicans. We live, today, with the results of that cowardly concession.

The thing about McGovern is that he lost the 1972 election, by a landslide. And maybe that's the point. Today's Democrats would rather win than be right. Somewhere along the way, they lost their souls. Worse still, they aren't any good at winning, either.

Sure, they and everybody else "support the troops." Essentially, that means the Dems will at least fight for veterans' health care and immigration rights when vets return from battle. That's admirable enough. What they won't countenance, or even consider, is a more comprehensive, and ethical, solution: to end these aimless wars and stop making new veterans that need "saving."

Major Danny Sjursen, an Antiwar.com regular, is a U.S. Army officer and former history instructor at West Point. He served tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has written a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghost Riders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge . He lives with his wife and four sons in Lawrence, Kansas. Follow him on Twitter at @SkepticalVet and check out his new podcast "Fortress on a Hill," co-hosted with fellow vet Chris 'Henri' Henrikson.

[ Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.]

Copyright 2018 Danny Sjursen

[Mar 29, 2018] The US is by no means a "functioning democracy with proper rule of law". More like a corrupt plutocracy

Mar 29, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Aseoria -> ID6902426 , 28 Mar 2018 12:48

The US has been cracking down on protected First Amendment rights for years now. Just heard that someone was kicked off the post office lawn last week for protesting, so FIrday's peace vigil may be at risk again.We haven't had any problems with the police harassing us for probably 12 years, but that may be raising its head again.

The US government has a lot to answer for in terms of press freedom and its reaction to organized protest. One only need remember the clusterfuck at Standing Rock during the final months of Obama's presidency to see that this country has major problems with racism, violence, liberty, equality, fraternity. The US is by no means a "functioning democracy with proper rule of law". More like a corrupt plutocracy riding full-speed into overt fascism, where who you know and who you blow makes the most difference if you wind up in trouble with the law.

I never take First Amendment rights for granted. I am totally aware that if you don't use your rights, and often, you lose them. I have never had an account on Facebook, but sometimes I cruise other people's pages to the extent that Zuckerburg will allow without gathering my information(or maybe they can get it if you just look at a page). Always thought it was a supremely wrong idea to allow your identity to be taken away by some fat cat with a clever idea.

[Mar 28, 2018] It's Not a Conspiracy Anymore; Public Belief in 'Deep State' Soars by Mike Whitney

Notable quotes:
"... Monmouth University Poll ..."
"... It's impossible to overstate the significance of the survey. The data suggest that representative democracy is a largely a fraud, that congressmen and senators are mostly sock-puppets who do the bidding of wealthy powerbrokers, and that the entire system is impervious to the will of the people. These are pretty damning results and a clear indication of how corrupt the system really is. ..."
"... So, along with the fact, that most Americans think democracy is a pipe-dream, a clear majority also believe that the country has changed into a frightening, lock-down police state in which government agents gather all-manner of electronic communications on everyone without the slightest suspicion of wrongdoing. ..."
"... There's no doubt in my mind that the relentless attacks on Donald Trump have reinforced the public's belief that the country is controlled by an invisible group of elites whose agents in the bureaucracy follow their diktats ..."
"... Brennan says "America will triumph over you." But whose America is he talking about? The American people elected Trump, he is the legitimate president of the United States. Many people may not like his policies, but they respect the system that put him in office. ..."
"... Brennan and his cadres of rogue agents have been at war with Trump since Day 1. Brennan does not accept the results of the election because it did not produce the outcome that he and his powerful constituents wanted. Brennan wants to destroy Trump. He even admits as much in his statement. ..."
"... And why do Brennan and his fatcat allies hate Trump so much? They don't. Because it's not really about Trump. It's about the presidency, the highest office in the land. The US Plutocrat Class honestly believe that they are entitled to govern the country that they physically own. It's theirs, they own it and they are taking it back. That's what this is all about ..."
Mar 28, 2018 | www.unz.com

On Monday, the Monmouth University Polling Institute released the results of a survey that found that "a large bipartisan majority feel that national policy is being manipulated or directed by a 'Deep State' of unelected government officials .. [1] Public Troubled By Deep State, Monmouth University Polling Institute

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from March 2 to 5, 2018 with 803 adults in the United States. The results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

https://www.monmouth.edu/polling-institute/reports/m...31918/

According to the survey:" 6-in-10 Americans (60%) feel that unelected or appointed government officials have too much influence in determining federal policy. Just 26% say the right balance of power exists between elected and unelected officials in determining policy. Democrats (59%), Republicans (59%) and independents (62%) agree that appointed officials hold too much sway in the federal government. ("Public Troubled by 'Deep State", Monmouth.edu)

The survey appears to confirm that democracy in the United States is largely a sham. Our elected representatives are not the agents of political change, but cogs in a vast bureaucratic machine that operates mainly in the interests of the behemoth corporations and banks. Surprisingly, most Americans have not been taken in by the media's promotional hoopla about elections and democracy. They have a fairly-decent grasp of how the system works and who ultimately benefits from it. Check it out:

" Few Americans (13%) are very familiar with the term "Deep State ;" another 24% are somewhat familiar, while 63% say they are not familiar with this term. However, when the term is described as a group of unelected government and military officials who secretly manipulate or direct national policy, nearly 3-in-4 (74%) say they believe this type of apparatus exists in Washington. Only 1-in-5 say it does not exist." Belief in the probable existence of a Deep State comes from more than 7-in-10 Americans in each partisan group "

So while the cable news channels dismiss anyone who believes in the "Deep State" as a conspiracy theorist, it's clear that the majority of people think that's how the system really works, that is, "a group of unelected government and military officials secretly manipulate or direct national policy."

It's impossible to overstate the significance of the survey. The data suggest that representative democracy is a largely a fraud, that congressmen and senators are mostly sock-puppets who do the bidding of wealthy powerbrokers, and that the entire system is impervious to the will of the people. These are pretty damning results and a clear indication of how corrupt the system really is.

The Monmouth survey also found that "A majority of the American public believe that the U.S. government engages in widespread monitoring of its own citizens and worry that the U.S. government could be invading their own privacy." .

"Fully 8-in-10 believe that the U.S. government currently monitors or spies on the activities of American citizens, including a majority (53%)who say this activity is widespread Few Americans (18%) say government monitoring or spying on U.S. citizens is usually justified, with most (53%) saying it is only sometimes justified. Another 28% say this activity is rarely or never justified ." ("Public Troubled by 'Deep State", Monmouth.edu)

So, along with the fact, that most Americans think democracy is a pipe-dream, a clear majority also believe that the country has changed into a frightening, lock-down police state in which government agents gather all-manner of electronic communications on everyone without the slightest suspicion of wrongdoing. Once again, the data suggests that the American people know what is going on, know that the US has gone from a reasonably free country where civil liberties were protected under the law, to a state-of-the-art surveillance state ruled by invisible elites who see the American people as an obstacle to their global ambitions–but their awareness has not evolved into an organized movement for change. In any event, the public seems to understand that the USG is not as committed to human rights and civil liberties as the media would have one believe. That's a start.

There's no doubt in my mind that the relentless attacks on Donald Trump have reinforced the public's belief that the country is controlled by an invisible group of elites whose agents in the bureaucracy follow their diktats. From the time Trump became the GOP presidential nominee more than 18 months ago, a powerful faction of the Intelligence Community, law enforcement (FBI) and even elements form the Obama DOJ, have vigorously tried to sabotage his presidency, his credibility and his agenda. Without a scintilla of hard evidence to make their case, this same group and their dissembling allies in the media, have cast Trump as a disloyal collaborator who conspired to win the election by colluding with a foreign government. The magnitude of this fabrication is beyond anything we've seen before in American political history, and the absence of any verifiable proof makes it all the more alarming. As it happens, the Deep State is so powerful it can wage a full-blown assault on the highest elected office in the country without even showing probable cause. In other words, the president of the United States is not even accorded the same rights as a common crook. How does that happen?

Over the weekend, former CIA Director and "Russia-gate" ringleader John Brennan fired off an angry salvo at Trump on his Twitter account. Here's what he said:

"When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America America will triumph over you."

Doesn't Brennan's statement help to reinforce the public's belief in the Deep State? How does a career bureaucrat who has never been elected to public office decide that it is appropriate to use the credibility of his former office to conduct a pitch-battle with the President of the United States?

Brennan says "America will triumph over you." But whose America is he talking about? The American people elected Trump, he is the legitimate president of the United States. Many people may not like his policies, but they respect the system that put him in office.

Not so, Brennan. Brennan and his cadres of rogue agents have been at war with Trump since Day 1. Brennan does not accept the results of the election because it did not produce the outcome that he and his powerful constituents wanted. Brennan wants to destroy Trump. He even admits as much in his statement.

And Brennan has been given a platform on the cable news channels so he can continue his assault on the presidency, not because he can prove that Trump is guilty of collusion or obstruction or whatever, but because the people who own the media have mobilized their deep state agents to carry out their vendetta to remove Trump from office by any means possible.

This is the "America" of which Brennan speaks. Not my America, but deep state America.

And why do Brennan and his fatcat allies hate Trump so much? They don't. Because it's not really about Trump. It's about the presidency, the highest office in the land. The US Plutocrat Class honestly believe that they are entitled to govern the country that they physically own. It's theirs, they own it and they are taking it back. That's what this is all about

... ... ...

[Mar 27, 2018] Brzezinski's Heritage West Wants Total Partition and Defeat of Russia

Notable quotes:
"... The views and opinions expressed by Srdja Trifkovic are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik. ..."
Mar 03, 2018 | sputniknews.com
1 5 0 On Monday, a number of European countries, as well as the United States and Canada, announced they were expelling Russian diplomats over the Skripal case. Radio Sputnik discussed the significance of the diplomatic response by the Western powers with Srdja Trifkovic, a US journalist and writer on international affairs. Sputnik: What is your overall assessment about what has happened with this diplomatic response by so many countries? How significant is it?

Srdja Trifkovic: The overall impression is that rational discourse has given way to collective hysteria and that it is indeed remarkable. The extent to which the bandwagon has successfully started rolling while we don't even have elementary answers to the questions concerning the case itself.

The second important and discouraging aspect is that continental European countries have followed the Anglo-American lead in Russophobia and this represents a further trial of the Atlanticist domination over Europe. It is indeed remarkable when both Germany and France, the putative leaders of independent European foreign policy, have been reduced to the status of automatic followers of the lead supported by Washington especially when we bear in mind that the initial round of sanctions in 2014 against Russia was dictated by the United States which had nothing to lose in the proceedings and to the detriments of Europeans' interests.

So overall I think that, one we have the hysterical phase of Russophobic discourse in the West which is not amenable to any rational arguments and two, we have a successful degradation of European diplomacy to the status of pliant satellites comparable to East Germany and Bulgaria vis-à-vis Brezhnev.

Sputnik: Do you think there was some classified evidence that was presented that proves beyond a shadow of doubt that Russia was involved or do you think that the fact that there are 11 countries who have not joined in the protest perhaps hints at the fact that this was not the case?

Srdja Trifkovic: Well, first of all, I would say that President Putin, Foreign Minister Lavrov and others would not have made such categorical denials of Russian involvement if there was any possibility of a smoking gun which could effectively show to the world that they were not telling the truth.

And secondly, it is always possible to present some equivocal evidence in the form that even if that indicates the modus operandi of intelligence agencies nevertheless does not disclose outright state secrets. In fact, we've seen that in the past and I don't think that it would be possible for such confidential information to be disclosed to the diplomats and foreign ministers of EU countries as divergent as the 27 are, without risking these very sources.

So I really believe that if you look at the countries which have taken measures against Russia, they almost read like who is who of those who are prepared to follow the US lead and if you look at those reluctant to do so, including Austria, Hungary, Cyprus, Greece, we are looking at those who actually have a more independent foreign policy. So I don't think it's a reflection of the quality of possible intelligence, it is simply a reflection of the determination of decision-makers of those countries to preserve a modicum of independence.

Sputnik: What would you say about the level to which the actions that were actually taken by individual countries? What can you say about the numbers game that's being played? What do you think determined the number of diplomats?

Srdja Trifkovic: Some of these countries are absolutely insignificant countries like the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, which also expelled one Russian and it's just a pathetic non country. On the other hand in the United States obviously it is a matter of regret that President Trump's initially stated intention to have detente with Russia has been subverted by the deep state, it is a long story but now we have really reached the end of the road with the appointment of Pompeo to State Department and Bolton as the national security adviser.

So we can really look at Trump as the would-be drainer of the swamp who has been swallowed by the swamp. And I think that we are in for a long haul. I was in Moscow two weeks ago and coming again next week and sometimes I am surprised that some of my Russian interlocutors are insufficiently aware of the animosity or end of the rule Russophobic sentiment that currently prevails among the Western elites, both political and academic and media. It's almost pathetic when some Russians still use the term "our Western partners," because for partnership you need to have a modicum of mutual respect and trust and these people really seriously want to destroy Russia.

They want to delegitimize the Russian political system and process as we have seen with the public commentary on President Putin's re-election and they want nothing short of regime change, which would then lead to a permanent and irreversible change of Russia's national character and possibly the country's partition along the lines allocated by Zbigniew Brzezinski. With these people partnership is impossible and Russia needs to be prepared for a long and sustained period of confrontation .

The views and opinions expressed by Srdja Trifkovic are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

[Mar 27, 2018] West pushing anti-Russia conspiracy theories for achieving political economic advantage

Notable quotes:
"... "should go away and shut up;" ..."
"... "[Sergei Skripal] was handed in to Britain as a result of an exchange. So, why should Russia hand in a man that is of any importance or that is of any value? It's unimaginable. If he's handed in – so Russia quits with him. He's of zero value or zero importance," ..."
"... "America stands ready to help Poland and other European nations diversify their energy supplies so that you can never be held hostage to a single supplier," ..."
"... "If we want to have the United States' LNG supplies in Central Europe, we also want to see the United States getting tough on Nord Stream 2, which means getting tough on Russia," ..."
"... "getting tough on Russia." ..."
"... "The draft law makes clear that they're pursuing economic interests and we think that's not acceptable," ..."
"... "Aggressively combining foreign policy issues with American economic interests and saying: 'We want to drive Russian gas out of the European market so we can sell American gas there is definitely not something we can accept.'" ..."
"... "We are determined to maintain open channels of dialogue with Russia," ..."
Mar 27, 2018 | www.rt.com

Once again, the West has tossed out the democratic baby with the bath water, scapegoating Russia for a mysterious crime on UK territory without a shred of evidence. To understand why, just follow the money. Any hope that Western capitals would come to their democratic senses and demand that PM Theresa May provide some proof that Russia was behind an alleged assassination attempt on Sergei Skripal, a former Russian intelligence officer turned British spy, were dashed on Monday. Sixteen EU states fell in lockstep behind the US and UK, taking the dramatic measure of banishing Russian diplomats.

Breaking: US to expel 48 Russian embassy workers in Washington, D.C. and 12 at the Russian mission to the U.N. U.S. says they were intel officers using diplo status as cover. pic.twitter.com/mRuwY8Tes6

-- Patrick Tucker (@DefTechPat) March 26, 2018

Meanwhile, back in the land of the free, Trump enthusiastically joined the inquisition, saying he would expel 60 Russian diplomats 'personae non grata,' and shut down the Seattle consulate. Good to see that the American leader practices cool-headed moderation in times of uncertainty.

Short of an actual military conflict with Russia, it would be hard to imagine the situation getting any worse. Most worrisome is the peddling of pulp-fiction conspiracy theories against Russia, which compels Western officials to compensate for their wild imaginations with hysterical, inflammatory outbursts that border on sheer madness.

How else to explain the comment by UK Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson, who spoke like a kid at the playground when he said Russia "should go away and shut up;" or that of Boris Johnson, the British foreign minister, who had the audacity and historical ignorance to compare Russia's hosting of this year's World Cup to the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany.

So, what is motivating self-satisfied Western countries, like the US and Britain, to forward such slanderous claims against Russia without a hint of legal due process? After all, it cannot be denied that Russia would have stood to gain nothing from targeting Skripal.

"[Sergei Skripal] was handed in to Britain as a result of an exchange. So, why should Russia hand in a man that is of any importance or that is of any value? It's unimaginable. If he's handed in – so Russia quits with him. He's of zero value or zero importance," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in an exclusive interview with RT.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/7ATdRpvQKvI

When we ask the question, 'Cui bono' – who stands to benefit the most from an assassination attempt on a man of absolutely no consequence to Moscow – the most credible answer always comes back to 'Russia's accusers.'

Follow the money

Since Washington has taken by far the severest steps against Russia over the Skripal fallout, it would be fair to ask if the US stands to gain anything from the wave of Russophobia now sweeping the West, which got its start, incidentally, as a direct result of 'Russiagate.'

Against the backdrop of the Skripal scandal are extremely lucrative gas contracts with EU countries that Russia has dutifully fulfilled since the Soviet heydays. Today, Russia supplies about 40 percent of Europe's gas. The US, however, with its fracking-backed liquefied natural gas (LNG) program, is anxious to get a piece of the pie.

In July, Donald Trump paid a visit to Poland, where he pledged to boost exports of LNG to Central Europe, as well as challenge Russia's market on energy supplies.

"America stands ready to help Poland and other European nations diversify their energy supplies so that you can never be held hostage to a single supplier," Trump told reporters after talks with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

The comment was odd since, even at the height of the Cold War, Europe never froze due to its gas being turned off in the middle of the night by Moscow.

Read more © Joshua Roberts Entangling alliances or scoring at home? Why US went out of its way with Russian diplomat expulsions

Marek Matraszek, founder of the lobby firm CEC Government Relations, offered a very disturbing comment about Washington's push to supply LNG to Europe.

"If we want to have the United States' LNG supplies in Central Europe, we also want to see the United States getting tough on Nord Stream 2, which means getting tough on Russia," Matraszek said .

I am very curious to know exactly what Matraszek had in mind when he spoke about "getting tough on Russia." Would he approve of the current bilateral breakdown between the nuclear powers? I certainly hope not.

In light of the massive prospects for gross profit on the European continent, would Western capitals not be tempted – tempted, at the very least – to deny Moscow the benefit of the doubt whenever highly suspicious criminal cases arise, like the present one regarding Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia?

In an effort to slander Russia and push it out of lucrative markets, they may be tempted to milk the situation for all its worth – which is exactly what is happening now. To doubt that possibility would require a deep misunderstanding of the geopolitical realities as they have played out over the course of the last decade, complete with a massive propaganda campaign aimed at everything related to Russia – from the Olympic Games to anti-terrorist operations in Syria to criminal cases in foreign lands.

Meanwhile, as the showdown between the US and Russia over EU gas supplies festers, especially in light of Nord Stream 2, the German-Russia venture that would double direct Russia gas supplies, the ongoing US sanction regime against Russia is beginning to look suspect.

Commenting on Trump's passage in August of brand new sanctions against Russia, then German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel was brave enough to mention the elephant in the room.

"The draft law makes clear that they're pursuing economic interests and we think that's not acceptable," he said .

"Aggressively combining foreign policy issues with American economic interests and saying: 'We want to drive Russian gas out of the European market so we can sell American gas there is definitely not something we can accept.'"

Meanwhile, it is not only in the energy sector where the United States - and to a lesser degree the UK - stands to gain from wrecked relations with Russia, but in the defense sector as well.

The UK regularly ranks as Europe's leading weapons exporter, behind the United States globally, which remains the world's leading arms exporter. Much of the expenditure comes from NATO member states, which were just put on notice by Trump to keep their military spending at 2 percent of GDP, at the very same time Washington was going out of its way to portray Russia as a belligerent nation, when it has been the West that has been hell-bent on fomenting regime change around the world. Now that's certainly an interesting sales strategy.

Romanian Prime Minister @VioricaDancila said that the government decisions to purchase #HIMARS missile systems and multirole corvettes were important steps in improving the capability of the Romanian armed forces as a @NATO and EU member #defence pic.twitter.com/EEYk4Sk5MR

-- Radio Romania International (@RRInternational) February 15, 2018

Can this propaganda campaign against Russia work? I believe the answer is no, for many reasons. First, it is not just the Russians who understand that they are being played by major powers in a conspicuous attempt to gain geopolitical and economic advantage.

Thus far, nearly half of the EU's member states have refrained from committing a gesture of "solidarity" with London, deciding not to expel Russian diplomats. Those 'conscientious objectors' are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Slovakia and Slovenia.

"We are determined to maintain open channels of dialogue with Russia," Austrian government spokesperson Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal told RIA Novosti.

In many ways, this represents a victory for Russia – albeit a bittersweet one – that London failed to get so many countries on board its anti-Russia juggernaut.

This needs to be emphasized. The majority of the EU countries did not join in this mass expulsion. As for those that did, expulsions were mostly pro forma, undertaken in order to keep the British happy. Why then the wildly disproportionate response from Trump? https://t.co/4FldvIS80W

-- George Szamuely (@GeorgeSzamuely) March 26, 2018

Second, Russia is actively diversifying its economy away from Western markets in preparation for a worse-case scenario. For example, the "$55bn Power of Siberia pipeline will start carrying gas 3,000km to China next year. The company is also spending $13bn on a pipeline to Turkey," the Financial Times reported.

Finally, as Russia understands that they are up against some very dishonest players, the country has made tremendous inroads to producing many of the things it once depended upon imports to have, and we are not just talking about cheese. The Russian authorities have even prepared a backup plan in the event that Russia is terminated from the SWIFT international payment system. Although, of course, Russia would prefer not to have to take such drastic steps, the unfortunate situation in many Western capitals, where otherwise intelligent people are pointing fingers and hurling unfounded accusations at Russia, without critical evidence or due process – once hallmarks of the Western judicial system – make such steps absolutely vital.

All things considered, Russia will survive this storm, as it has done so many other times in the past against far graver enemies, and stronger than ever.

@Robert_Bridge

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Trends: Facebook West pushing anti-Russia conspiracy theories for achieving political & economic advantage Comparing Russia to Nazi Germany is 'disgusting' – Kremlin on Johnson's 'Hitler' remarks

[Mar 24, 2018] Why the UK, the EU and the US Gang-Up on Russia by James Petras

Highly recommended!
For the greater part of a decade the US, the UK and the EU have been carrying out a campaign to undermine and overthrow the Russian government and in particular to oust President Putin. Fundamental issues are at stake including the real possibility of a nuclear war. "
Why do the Western regimes now feel Russia is a greater threat then in the past? Do they believe Russia is more vulnerable to Western threats or attacks? Why do the Western military leaders seek to undermine Russia's defenses? Do the US economic elites believe it is possible to provoke an economic crisis and the demise of President Putin's government? What is the strategic goal of Western policymakers? Why has the UK regime taken the lead in the anti-Russian crusade via the fake toxin accusations at this time?
Notable quotes:
"... For the greater part of a decade the US, the UK and the EU have been carrying out a campaign to undermine and overthrow the Russian government and in particular to oust President Putin. Fundamental issues are at stake including the real possibility of a nuclear war. ..."
"... First and foremost, during the 1990's the US degraded Russia, reducing it to a vassal state, and imposing itself as a unipolar state. ..."
"... Secondly, Western elites pillaged the Russian economy, seizing and laundering hundreds of billions of dollars. ..."
"... Thirdly, the US seized and took control of the Russian electoral process, and secured the fraudulent "election" of Yeltsin. ..."
"... With the collapse of the Yeltsin regime and the election of President Putin, Russia regained its sovereignty, its economy recovered, its armed forces and scientific institutes were rebuilt and strengthened. Poverty was sharply reduced and Western backed gangster capitalists were constrained, jailed or fled mostly to the UK and the US. ..."
"... As the entire US unipolar fantasy dissolved it provoked deep resentment, animosity and a systematic counter-attack. The US's costly and failed war on terror became a dress rehearsal for the economic and ideological war against the Kremlin ..Russia's historical recovery and defeat of Western rollback intensified the ideological and economic war. ..."
"... Russia is not a threat to the West: it is recovering its sovereignty in order to further a multi-polar world. President Putin is not an "aggressor" but he refuses to allow Russia to return to vassalage. ..."
"... The Western regimes recognize that Russia is a threat to their global dominance; they know that Russia is no threat to invade the EU, North America or their vassals. ..."
"... Western regimes believe they can topple Russia via economic warfare including sanctions. In fact Russia has become more self-reliant and has diversified its trading partners, especially China, and even includes Saudi Arabia and other Western allies. ..."
Mar 20, 2018 | unz.com
Originally from: www.globalresearch.ca Prof. James Petras Global Research, March 21, 2018 Region: Europe , Russia and FSU Theme: History , Intelligence , US NATO War Agenda

Introduction

For the greater part of a decade the US, the UK and the EU have been carrying out a campaign to undermine and overthrow the Russian government and in particular to oust President Putin. Fundamental issues are at stake including the real possibility of a nuclear war.

The most recent western propaganda campaign and one of the most virulent is the charge launched by the UK regime of Prime Minister Theresa May . The Brits have claimed that Russian secret agents conspired to poison a former Russian double-agent and his daughter in England , threatening the sovereignty and safety of the British people. No evidence has ever been presented. Instead the UK expelled Russian diplomats and demands harsher sanctions, to increase tensions. The UK and its US and EU patrons are moving toward a break in relations and a military build-up.

A number of fundamental questions arise regarding the origins and growing intensity of this anti-Russian animus.

Why do the Western regimes now feel Russia is a greater threat then in the past? Do they believe Russia is more vulnerable to Western threats or attacks? Why do the Western military leaders seek to undermine Russia's defenses? Do the US economic elites believe it is possible to provoke an economic crisis and the demise of President Putin's government? What is the strategic goal of Western policymakers? Why has the UK regime taken the lead in the anti-Russian crusade via the fake toxin accusations at this time?

This paper is directed at providing key elements to address these questions.

The Historical Context for Western Aggression

Several fundamental historical factors dating back to the 1990's account for the current surge in Western hostility to Russia.

First and foremost, during the 1990's the US degraded Russia, reducing it to a vassal state, and imposing itself as a unipolar state. Secondly, Western elites pillaged the Russian economy, seizing and laundering hundreds of billions of dollars. Wall Street and City of London banks and overseas tax havens were the main beneficiaries Thirdly, the US seized and took control of the Russian electoral process, and secured the fraudulent "election" of Yeltsin. Fourthly, the West degraded Russia's military and scientific institutions and advanced their armed forces to Russia's borders. Fifthly, the West insured that Russia was unable to support its allies and independent governments throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. Russia was unable to aid its allies in the Ukraine, Cuba, North Korea, Libya etc.

With the collapse of the Yeltsin regime and the election of President Putin, Russia regained its sovereignty, its economy recovered, its armed forces and scientific institutes were rebuilt and strengthened. Poverty was sharply reduced and Western backed gangster capitalists were constrained, jailed or fled mostly to the UK and the US.

Russia's historic recovery under President Putin and its gradual international influence shattered US pretense to rule over unipolar world. Russia's recovery and control of its economic resources lessened US dominance, especially of its oil and gas fields.

As Russia consolidated its sovereignty and advanced economically, socially, politically and militarily, the West increased its hostility in an effort to roll-back Russia to the Dark Ages of the 1990's. The US launched numerous coups and military intervention and fraudulent elections to surround and isolate Russia . The Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Russian allies in Central Asia were targeted. NATO military bases proliferated.

Russia's economy was targeted : sanctions were directed at its imports and exports. President Putin was subject to a virulent Western media propaganda campaign. US NGO's funded opposition parties and politicians.

As the entire US unipolar fantasy dissolved it provoked deep resentment, animosity and a systematic counter-attack. The US's costly and failed war on terror became a dress rehearsal for the economic and ideological war against the Kremlin ..Russia's historical recovery and defeat of Western rollback intensified the ideological and economic war.

The UK poison plot was concocted to heighten economic tensions and prepare the western public for heightened military confrontations.

Russia is not a threat to the West: it is recovering its sovereignty in order to further a multi-polar world. President Putin is not an "aggressor" but he refuses to allow Russia to return to vassalage.

President Putin is immensely popular in Russia and hated by the US precisely because he is the opposition of Yeltsin -- he has created a flourishing economy; he resists sanctions and defends Russia's borders and allies.

Conclusion

In a summary response to the opening questions.

The Western regimes recognize that Russia is a threat to their global dominance; they know that Russia is no threat to invade the EU, North America or their vassals. Western regimes believe they can topple Russia via economic warfare including sanctions. In fact Russia has become more self-reliant and has diversified its trading partners, especially China, and even includes Saudi Arabia and other Western allies.

The Western propaganda campaign has failed to turn Russian voters against Putin. In the March 19, 2018 Presidential election voter participation increased to 67% . .Vladimir Putin secured a record 77% majority. President Putin is politically stronger than ever.

Russia's display of advanced nuclear and other advanced weaponry has had a major deterrent effect especially among US military leaders, making it clear that Russia is not vulnerable to attack.

The UK has attempted to unify and gain importance with the EU and the US via the launch of its anti-Russia toxic conspiracy. Prime Minister May has failed. Brexit will force the UK to break with the EU.

President Trump will not replace the EU as a substitute trading partner. While the EU and Washington may back the UK crusade against Russia they will pursue their own trade agenda; which do not include the UK.

In a word, the UK, the EU and the US are ganging-up on Russia, for diverse historic and contemporary reasons. The UK exploitation of the anti-Russian conspiracy is a temporary ploy to join the gang but will not change its inevitable global decline and the break-up of the UK.

Russia will remain a global power. It will continue under the leadership of President Putin. The Western powers will divide and bugger their neighbors -- and decide it is their better judgment to accept and work within a multi-polar world.

*

Prof. James Petras is a Research Associate of the CRG.

[Mar 22, 2018] I think that in much of the world The World Cup is a bigger deal than the Olympics. That's why Brits want to undermine it with Skripal affair

Notable quotes:
"... I think that in much of the world The World Cup is a bigger deal than the Olympics. I knew some athletes here in Canada who had their athletic careers ended by our boycott of the 1980 Olympics (after years and years of hard work). I'm surprised western intelligence agencies have not done more to undermine Russia's world cup. They may yet. ..."
"... Outside of North America the World Cup is definitely a much bigger event than the Olympics. ..."
"... I just thought we would see the same nonsense we saw to undermine the Sochi Olympics, this just seems much more than just derogatory media coverage, or officials boycotting attending the event. I was interested to see Professor Richard Sakwa, his book on the Ukraine crisis is probably the best out there, interviewed on RT regarding this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcKQ-4Qqel0 ..."
Mar 22, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

JamesT , 21 March 2018 at 09:48 PM

LondonBob

I think that in much of the world The World Cup is a bigger deal than the Olympics. I knew some athletes here in Canada who had their athletic careers ended by our boycott of the 1980 Olympics (after years and years of hard work). I'm surprised western intelligence agencies have not done more to undermine Russia's world cup. They may yet.

LondonBob -> JamesT ... , 22 March 2018 at 04:24 AM
Outside of North America the World Cup is definitely a much bigger event than the Olympics. I already have my tickets for England v Panama in Nizhny Novgorod, as well as a second round match in Moscow.

I don't care much for the Olympics, although I do like the Winter Olympics. I just thought we would see the same nonsense we saw to undermine the Sochi Olympics, this just seems much more than just derogatory media coverage, or officials boycotting attending the event. I was interested to see Professor Richard Sakwa, his book on the Ukraine crisis is probably the best out there, interviewed on RT regarding this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcKQ-4Qqel0

[Mar 21, 2018] An insane anti-Putin propaganda campaign in the West helped Russian people to learn their lesson: another Yeltsin or Gorbachev in Russia are now highly unlikely. In fact, the West will regret the day Putin is gone.

Mar 21, 2018 | www.unz.com

yurivku , Next New Comment March 21, 2018 at 12:53 pm GMT

@jilles dykstra

" As far as we all know now are quite hard times to Russia and to the world as a whole. "

Why do we have these hard times ?
Could it be globalisation, western greed, and western aggression ?

Well, probably it can be more clear for those who are attacking and humiliating Russia in all directions? The West-ZUS-UK

But I think it's just an agony of Empire seeing the world order is about to change. And yes it's "western greed" which have a "western aggression" as a consequence.

The "globalisation" actually IS that world order which the West trying to establish. Russia in all times in all its internal structure was a subject of annexation and submission. But we never agreed and never will do it, until alive. The West is too stupid to get that simple thing to know and leave us to live as we are about to.

[Mar 21, 2018] The coma patients at the service of Her Majesty

Notable quotes:
"... Well, the party lime is pretty different: "Treat Russia Like the Terrorist It Is. Whether the Skripal poisoning can be conclusively pinned on Moscow is beside the point." https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-03-09/u-k-spy-poisoning-treat-russia-like-the-terrorist-it-is ..."
"... The fact that neither Putin personally nor Russia benefits from the death of Skripal is obvious to any sane person. ..."
"... In addition, statements that gas called "Novichok could be made only in Russia is a known lie. This poison was created forty years ago in the USSR, so to have this gas can, at a minimum, all countries of the former Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. The inventor of the gas has fled to the US, and the chemical composition of the gas is known and now it can be manufactured it any relatively developed country. ..."
"... It would be possible not to poison Skripal by gas, but simply to strike on the head by the bust of Dzerzhinsky. It would be the same level of evidence, of the guilt of the FSB, the KGB successor of the successor of the VChK. ..."
"... Basically, we have a political elite who needs an enemy to distract their own people from what they are doing and oh, do they miss the Soviet Union. ..."
Mar 21, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com


Tiktaalik, , March 20, 2018 at 5:50 am

Well, the party lime is pretty different: "Treat Russia Like the Terrorist It Is. Whether the Skripal poisoning can be conclusively pinned on Moscow is beside the point." https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-03-09/u-k-spy-poisoning-treat-russia-like-the-terrorist-it-is
James from Durham ,, March 20, 2018 at 8:13 am
I'm a socialist. I don't understand how a conservative is getting this so right! There is a mad rush to judgment and anyone who wants to ask questions is getting accused of being unpatriotic.
rus_programmer ,, March 20, 2018 at 10:11 am
Quite a sensible article. The fact that neither Putin personally nor Russia benefits from the death of Skripal is obvious to any sane person.

In addition, statements that gas called "Novichok could be made only in Russia is a known lie. This poison was created forty years ago in the USSR, so to have this gas can, at a minimum, all countries of the former Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. The inventor of the gas has fled to the US, and the chemical composition of the gas is known and now it can be manufactured it any relatively developed country.

It would be possible not to poison Skripal by gas, but simply to strike on the head by the bust of Dzerzhinsky. It would be the same level of evidence, of the guilt of the FSB, the KGB successor of the successor of the VChK.

Serge ,, March 20, 2018 at 11:36 am
At the end of 1980s there was a project started by KGB supposed (1) to detect possible channels of security leakage, and (2) to begin spreading misinformation to potential adversaries. Different names were used to test different security leaks. The name "NOVICHOK" used to identify misinformation given to one of suspects, Vil Mirzayanov who was not chemist but rather a clerk. Very soon this security leakage was detected, and tons of other misinformation supplied to Mirzayanov, who was immediately secretly discharged from access to any real project. Mirzayanov was allowed to publish this fake info in NYT (around 1992-95?), and then to escape from Russia in 1995.

Since that time NATO has spent about $10 billions to develop protection tools against this fake "NOVICHOK"

P.S. The Russian word NOVICHOK stands for "a newbie"; from Russian grammar point of view, there is no chance such word to be assigned to any chemical weapon. It was assigned to Mirzayanov who was "a newbie" to this sort of projects at that time.

mark_be ,, March 20, 2018 at 12:43 pm
Cui bono: every murder of a Russian dissident/defector/oligarch/critical journalist, cannot possibly have happened on Putin's orders or with his tacit approval, because it reflects badly on Russia.

So, we have two possible explanations: some Western intelligence agency is murdering those people, probably without the knowledge of their own government (you'd have think that someone in elected office would have stopped such a programme by now); or the Russian Putin opposition is killing its own people, both in Russia and abroad. If the goal of such an operation is the destabilization of the Putin regime through Western sanctions, it is obviously not working.

You say cui bono, I say Occam's razor. Putin takes out those who might threaten him, raises his popularity, the sanctions are used to cover up his own disastrous economical policies, and in the end nothing changes.

b. ,, March 20, 2018 at 12:58 pm
We *knew* Iraq had no nukes, and we knew that the Bush administration lied, and we knew that "WMD" is the kind of BS we make up when there are no nukes.

Buchanan is not arguing in good faith. What Maine, Tonkin and WMD are about is *lies*, lies in service of criminal acts of aggression, lies to facilitate a premeditated violation of the Constitution as well as international law.

That is frankly a more important issue than the – justified and necessary – doubts regarding the attempted Skripal assassination and the motives behind it.

This is also true of an ongoing campaign employing drones – some controlled by CIA illegal combatants – and kill teams to implement collective punishment and ideological cleansing by means of sustained assassination – based on "signatures" provided by the likes of Google or Booz Allen. The US has no standing to judge the assassination attempts of others, just as our government can no longer meaningfully speak out on aggressive acts of war, collective punishment, and torture. A house divided cannot stand for anything.

Will Harrington ,, March 20, 2018 at 1:19 pm
Emil Bogdan

You say that the burden of proof is on the accused? That works in many parts of the world, but I hope that we here in the US have had a better standard of Justice. The burden of proof falls upon the accuser, in this case Britain. There is no ther standard that America should accept if we are to remain true to American principals. Not that I expect that our current oligarchy will care about principals.

SteveM ,, March 20, 2018 at 1:24 pm
"Cui bono?"

Exactly. Putin's long term strategy is an integrated Pan-Eurasian economic architecture in which Europe would be a major customer segment. That is why the EAEU was stood up by Russia and the BRI stood up by China. With supporting investment platforms like the AIIB to enable the initiatives.

Given that objective, why would Russia/Putin seek to totally wreck its relationship with Europe? More importantly what would be the motive and objectives for Russia to attack Poland and the Baltic Republics – the fear-monger threats du jour? When an overrun of Poland would create 30+ million subversive malcontents that Russia would have to govern, and when there are only minority ethnic Russian populations in the Baltics?

The driving force behind the illogical and incoherent demonization of Russia is the Washington War Party that froths up the political environment with the militarized fear-mongering. Because as Fran Macadam notes, there's Big Money in it. And the Neocon war-monger mouthpieces need some Big Enemies to keep themselves relevant, busy and living very large on the $200K – $600K salaries they collect at the bought off Think Pimp Tanks.

A crazed U.S. foreign policy that has been completely militarized is a train wreck waiting to happen. And us taxpayers will yet again be stuck with the bills to clean up the wreckage.

Will Harrington ,, March 20, 2018 at 1:25 pm
John S

Sovietologists? Now this, more than anything else, explains the reflexive anti-Russia hysteria. Who cares what historians dealing with the twentieth century Soviet Union think about current events? Historians provide useful insight, yes, but that does not mean they are conversant with current events. What you are doing is throwing in a fear laden buzzword. Basically, we have a political elite who needs an enemy to distract their own people from what they are doing and oh, do they miss the Soviet Union.

ScottA ,, March 20, 2018 at 1:53 pm
Our leaders are enthusiastic about being aggressive with the Russians, but the America Empire has a problem attracting enough volunteers to join the military.

For example, the Air Force has a shortage of 2,000 pilots and the Navy has a shortage of mechanics that they need to work on their on their aircraft.

Minnesota Mary ,, March 20, 2018 at 2:39 pm
The U.S. and Britain showed more respect to Joseph Stalin, the Butcher, than it has shown to Putin. The demonization of Putin in all the mainstream media outlets is the tip-off to me that Putin must be a pretty good guy doing some good things for Russia.

"If the world hates you know that it has hated me first. If the world loves you it is because you belong to the world." -- Jesus Christ

Tiktaalik ,, March 20, 2018 at 3:09 pm
>>Given the poison used it means one to two things -- either it was Russian secret services or the Russians have lost control over their poisons. Either one is a nasty thought.

Why? It was presumably created 40 years ago. Pretty much to time for information to spread around.
E.g., Kim's brother was presumably (again) poisoned by VX. Does it mean that it was MI-6? It's a British invention after all.

In any case, this story stinks, pardon for a word pun. A 'military grade agent' and no casualties. How could it be?

>>Why do it? To prove they can. To prove that no matter where you go they can get you -- that there is no safety.

Safety from what? This guy was non-entity, nobody knew him. More importantly, he has been already punished and pardoned, so double no sense.

>>I am sure Gary Kasparov is feeling a bit worried right now and Bill Browder is thinking of moving somewhere new.

Well, I'd suspect that Rodchenko and Khodorkovskiy are more evident sacrificial targets.

>>You ask Cui bono? Who do you think?

Western secret services, non?

EarlyBird ,, March 20, 2018 at 3:52 pm
Pat asks important questions. Unless we ever see the "evidence" to which Boris Johnson refers, or other direct evidence that this hit (and others) in Britain was directed by the Kremlin, it's worth continuing to ask them.

"Who benefits?" Indeed, it could be rogue Russian agents or Western agents attempting to further drive a wedge between the West and Russia.

But it could also be Putin signalling that the Russia which held onto traitorous spies between 2006 and 2010 is over.
It could be him simply trying to show that he can reach people inside the West, a pure flexing of muscle, a warning to future would-be traitors and Western governments. It could be to make America's allies nervous about Putin's relationship with his American puppet, Trumpolini. It could be just Putin sowing chaos and attempting to create discord among Western governments.

Skepticism about the latest pronouncements is valid, but Occam's Razor still applies. If it growls like a Russian bear and kills like a Russian bear

Light Horse Harry ,, March 20, 2018 at 3:58 pm
Who could be so phillistine as to suggest, on the eve of the World Cup, that Premier Andropov's KGB protege', Major Putin, would one day stoop to whacking a traitorous defector from the Party Line ?

The mind is repelled !

Now pass the polonium popcorn.

Tiktaalik ,, March 20, 2018 at 4:47 pm
>>Skepticism about the latest pronouncements is valid, but Occam's Razor still applies. If it growls like a Russian bear and kills like a Russian bear

Occam's Razor, my backside. Some guys from MI-5 tried to kill him like they killed David Kelly and Gareth Williams before. It's as credible as it gets, exactly the same amount of evidence.

Ken Zaretzke ,, March 20, 2018 at 5:00 pm
"But what is missing here is the Kremlin's motive for the crime."

Whereas rogue agents in the CIA or M16 would have a strong motive, by tarnishing the image of Russia and Putin.

sianka ,, March 20, 2018 at 5:28 pm
About the coma patients at the service of Her Majesty http://www.youtube.com/embed/g3CQ_4KEehw
Kuzmich Mar , , March 20, 2018 at 6:15 pm
Russia is guilty always. Russia is guilty in principle. If Russia is innocent, then it is guilty that she is innocent.

[Mar 19, 2018] That it is just too Wile E. Coyote method of poinsoning

"I'm surprised they didn't happen to "find" the assassin's Russian passport lying on the ground next to the victims!"
Mar 19, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Bemused Observer -> DownWithYogaPants Sun, 03/18/2018 - 11:56 Permalink

Seriously...I think these 'conspiracy theorists' have been watching too many Hollywood movies.

This is what I want to SCREAM every time I hear this shit...Why the HELL would Russia, or anyone else, bother to use such a messy, traceable and complicated method to kill this guy? Especially when there are SO MANY WAYS it could have been done that wouldn't have garnered all the attention, and that would have left no traces? They could have sent someone to shove him in front of a train or something, or staged a 'botched robbery'.

Reminds me of the stupid assassination methods the CIA wanted to use on Castro...poisoning his beard? Really? Well, aside from the fact that it is just too 'Wile E. Coyote' to be taken seriously, did anyone ask, if such an assassin could get close enough to poison his beard, why he wouldn't go with a more dependable method?

Snaffew -> Bemused Observer Sun, 03/18/2018 - 16:43 Permalink

exactly why all the fingerprints of this assassination attempt point to the NSA/CIA. Which is more absurd...their methods or the gullible public?

An Shrubbery -> Bemused Observe r Mon, 03/19/2018 - 01:42 Permalink

+1 for "Wile E. Coyote method" lol

Snaffew -> pawn • Sun, 03/18/2018 - 16:41 Permalink

I blame the wildly dumbed down and complicit media here in the US and in our "allies" abroad. They spit out whatever the government feeds to them without a single ounce of effort to validate the stories they frantically preach to the ignorant public. Damn, I can't believe how many times people will be duped into trillion dollar wars and they still are die hard believers in the ethics and truthfulness of the US gov't. Morons---

dussasr -> Kafir Goyim • Sat, 03/17/2018 - 21:13 Permalink

It makes little sense that Russia would assassinate someone using a technique that would immediately implicate them. I'm surprised they didn't happen to "find" the assassin's Russian passport lying on the ground next to the victims! <

0

lakecity55 -> Kafir Goyim Sun, 03/18/2018 - 21:00 Permalink

The only "issue" the Atlanticists can bring up in the "Press" are CWs against the RF and Syria.

It's patently obvious the entire affair is a FF and made up out of a bolt of whole cloth.

The Atlanticists' claims are Pure Bullshit.

((They)) want Russia, and they will kill, lie, cheat and steal to get her back.

WE will pay the price unless they are stopped.

JohannSennefelder -> DaiRR Sun, 03/18/2018 - 07:41 Permalink

I disagree. If a government is going to terminate a spy they don't botch the job by letting him get to a hospital. In Putin's Russia they know how to terminate most efficiently. I may be wrong but this is a pretext for something more aggressive/dangerous.

I got a bad feeling about this situation...

philip88 -> JohannSennefelder Sun, 03/18/2018 - 10:33 Permalink

Me too...

Something big is coming..😱

Griffin -> JohannSennefelder Sun, 03/18/2018 - 13:36 Permalink

It is interesting that the incident took place only 12 km from Porton Down, a government run top secret facility that works on chemicals.

Maybe this was a accident, and the target was supposed to be something that would have had a more powerful impact.

It looks to me that its not entirely impossible that May may end up eating a big slice of humble pi.

lakecity55 -> Griffin Sun, 03/18/2018 - 21:02 Permalink

May is not going to like it when she comes out of her Bunker to find all of the UK a smoking nuclear wasteland.

"Shit! There's nobody left to boss around!!"

bh2 -> JohannSennefelder Sun, 03/18/2018 - 16:08 Permalink

Every war begins with a lie.

PeterLong -> DaiRR Sun, 03/18/2018 - 10:47 Permalink

And the proof that this attack ever happened is?

[Mar 19, 2018] Salisbury Hysteria Exposes the Chauvinism and Hypocrisy of British Elites

Notable quotes:
"... Everything they say is true of brexiters is actually far more true of them ..."
Mar 19, 2018 | russia-insider.com

Salisbury Hysteria Exposes the Chauvinism of British Elites Everything they say is true of brexiters is actually far more true of them

Crypto • 2 days ago ,

Nothing I have ever seen in my life is more ludicrous, more absurd and more unjust than this display in parliament.

1691 Crypto 2 days ago ,

Remember the MH17 tragedy. It was worst. The whole western world was screaming Russia/Putin.

[Mar 18, 2018] After Triumph of neoliberalism the USA gradually and slowly are descending into tribalism due to the loss of jobs, the drug epidemic and sliding] standard of living for majority of population due to wars for the expansion of neoliberal empire and redistribution of wealth up

Neoliberalism as social system tend to self-destruct. Much like Bolshevism (neoliberalism actually can be viewed as Trotskyism for the rich with the same dream of "world revolution" as the central part of the religion and a slightly modified Marxism slogan -- "financial elites of the world unite" ).
Mar 11, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

"This week, Congressional Democrats released a detailed tax hike plan that they promised to implement if given majority control of the House and Senate after the 2018 midterm elections. So much for the crocodile tears about the deficit-- Democrats want to raise taxes not to reduce the debt, but rather to spend that tax hike money on boondoggle projects.

As you might expect, hold onto your wallets ."

-------------------

OK. That will work. (irony) So, they will raise both corporate and personal income taxes if they gain control of the congress. That will work as a political program (irony). The California state government will probably back that. (no irony)

Well, there is always Stormy Daniels to fall back on as an issue. She was interviewed outside a strip joint yesterday where she was to perform. "You call me a whore? she said. I tell you I am a successful whore." I suppose the idea is to alienate Trump's evangelical base from him. Oh, well, this theme rings a bit hollow. Trump's base knew what they were voting for ... pl

https://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanellis/2018/03/09/democrats-release-tax-hike-plan/#45c6c0367b9e

Posted at 04:14 PM in Politics | Permalink



ISL , 10 March 2018 at 04:55 PM

Dear Colonel,

in fairness to our friends the democrats, the Dems. are proposing an infrastructure plan that is woefully inadequate, and propose to rescind the recent tax cuts.

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/03/07/senate-democrats-tax-cuts-infrastructure-392523

Personally, I am just not feeling the electoral excitement.

Of course those suffering TDS (trump derangement syndrome) will applaud undoing Trump agenda, but then again, they were going to vote Democrat anyway and cut a check, which IMO is the real point. Funny how now they want to do infrastructure, but not during the Obama years.

Personally, wrt the tax cuts, I am ambivalent. Anyone who pays anywhere near the official rate needs to hire a good tax accountant. Net effect on businesses that already take all available deductions will be a percent or two on gross. A 2% weaker dollar would have a far bigger benefit for businesses (but worse for the banks).

turcopolier , 10 March 2018 at 05:26 PM
ISL
the only reason the individual tax rate is important is the effect on LLCs and S corps. Nevertheless, the corporate tax rate cut is the more important. pl
VietnamVet , 10 March 2018 at 05:27 PM
Colonel,

Have you seen the movie "Wind River" yet? It is the best depiction I've seen of the USA descending into tribalism due to the loss of jobs, the drug epidemic and environmental exploitation.

NBC News daily has Kumbaya propaganda to facilitate importing of cheap labor and goods. But, what good is a service economy if there is no service? Just like Soviet propaganda, corporate media today is in service of the oligarch owners and sold out party elite. It tries to avoid the truth. Although, NBC did report on the astronomical rise in cost of ambulance service. A couple thousand dollars for mile and half trip to the hospital. They said it was due to the 2008 recession and the cutting of local volunteer emergency services to save tax money.

Rather than tax the wealthy and corporations, the middle class is going into debt to pay for education, medical bills, and $40 Northern Virginia one-way tolls. Federal taxes on the middle class support the endless wars.

I agree the Democrats shot themselves in the foot because they are unconcerned for the bottom 80% except for their identity issues. They serve their paymasters. The recent Italian election documents the complete collapse of left leaning parties that ignored the plight of the workers in the West. To me, to win, the left in America must write off student debt, implement Medicare for All, end the forever wars and tax George Soros, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Pierre Omidyar, the Koch Brothers and the Walton Family to pay for it. To work, criminal bankers need to be jailed and corporate boards required to manage for long term profits that benefit society not just quarterly and themselves only.

Eric Newhill , 10 March 2018 at 05:30 PM
Well that settles it. I thought that maybe the Dems were just acting delusional to coddle their base. This settles it. They actually ARE delusional.

So in addition to replacing us with an infinite number of illiterate third worlders, taking our guns and jailing us for using the wrong pronoun out of an ever evolving list of hundreds they are going to take more of our hard earned money. Yeah, how can they not sweep the 2018 elections with a platform like that. Sheesh.

different clue , 10 March 2018 at 05:52 PM
I never did support the Trump tax cuts. I regard them as being mainly mainstream Republican tax cuts. President Trump supports them and signed them for all the economic benefits reasons he cited and cites. But the Republicans' main reason for seeking them remains their long term goal of destroying Social Security and privatizing the Social Security money . . . the money I and everyone else have been pre-paying double for ever since the Great Reagan Rescue of 1983. They sought these tax cuts in order to increase vastly the deficit and the debt. Their expectation is that the next inevitable recession

will make the debt so-nearly-unpayable as to give them another opportunity to accuse Social Security of causing the debt and of being unaffordable.

So I would support cancellation of the Republican tax cuts for that reason. I would be defending my Social Security against longstanding Republican efforts to destroy it and retro-steal all the money I have been paying ( and will keep paying) every since 1983. (Actually, since 1980 when I worked at half the rate of FICA taxation as after 1983). But then, I have said years ago in comments that I would like to see taxes re-raised against the Bush's Base class to recover all the Social Security pre-payment money which was future-looted-from to give the Bush's Base class a tax cut instead. A tax cut which President Obama supported and ratified when he conspired with Boehner and McConnell to make the self-sunsetting Bush Tax cuts into permanent tax cuts. That's why I now call them the Bushobama Tax cuts now.

There is boondoggle and there is needed repair. The "high speed railway" proposed and haltingly begun in California is a boondoggle. Fixing all the rotting and decaying bridges and all the potholes is needed repair. ( Come to Michigan to see some impressive potcraters). The present and future space program is an investment in possible futures and in technological advances. Government spending can be a boondoggle but it doesn't have to be.

At least some of the Democrats have decided to run on something specific instead of vague emotional appeals only. Something specific can either be voted "for" or "against".

(The Democrats should remember that "tax restoration" may not be enough to get all the votes they think they are due. There are enough bitter berners out here who remain convinced that applying political chemotherapy against the malignant metastatic clintonoma and the Yersiniobama pestis plague infection afflicting the Democratic Party is more important right now than "more democrats". There is, and will be, a growing effort to defeat every piece of Clintonite scum and Obamazoid filth which dares to call itself a "Democrat" in every election that one of these things runs in. The Democratic Party has to be made into a New Deal Party again, and that means purging and burning every trace of Clinton and Obama out of the Party. If any DLC/Third Way/Hamilton Project/ Pink Pussy Hat/ Rainbow Oligarchy Democrats are reading this, they should consider themselves warned.)

Karl Kolchak , 10 March 2018 at 06:25 PM
If Trump's evangelical base was willing to ignore the p-grabber tape, I doubt this will do much to change their minds. Don't tell CNN, they were running the story 24/7 even as the Senate, including many Democrats such as the odious Mark Warner, was voting to roll back the fairly toothless restrictions on the big banks passed after the 2008 financial crash.

This is the REAL reason Trump will not be removed even if impeached--he's too valuable to the political class as a never ending media freak show that allows them to get away with whatever they want while the idiot public is distracted.

Jack -> turcopolier ... , 10 March 2018 at 06:25 PM
Exactly, Sir, it is the corporate tax cut that is the big deal because it starts to level the playing field for small businesses. The largest corporations hardly pay any tax anyway because they have the armies of tax lawyers and accountants to leverage all the

[Mar 13, 2018] The CIA takeover of the Democratic Party by Patrick Martin

Notable quotes:
"... World Socialist Web Site ..."
"... If on November 6 the Democratic Party makes the net gain of 24 seats needed to win control of the House of Representatives, former CIA agents, military commanders, and State Department officials will provide the margin of victory and hold the balance of power in Congress. ..."
"... Since its establishment in 1947 -- under the administration of Democratic President Harry Truman -- the CIA has been legally barred from carrying out within the United States the activities which were its mission overseas: spying, infiltration, political provocation, assassination. These prohibitions were given official lip service but ignored in practice. ..."
"... The Church Committee in particular featured the exposure of CIA assassination plots against foreign leaders like Fidel Castro, Patrice Lumumba in the Congo, General Rene Schneider in Chile, and many others. More horrors were uncovered: MK-Ultra, in which the CIA secretly subjected unwitting victims to experimentation with drugs like LSD; ..."
"... Operation Mockingbird, in which the CIA recruited journalists to plant stories and smear opponents; Operation Chaos, an effort to spy on the antiwar movement and sow disruption; Operation Shamrock, under which the telecommunications companies shared traffic with the NSA for more than a quarter century. ..."
"... The Church and Pike committee exposures, despite their limitations, had a devastating political effect. The CIA and its allied intelligence organizations in the Pentagon and NSA became political lepers, reviled as the enemies of democratic rights. The CIA in particular was widely viewed as "Murder Incorporated." ..."
"... The last 15 years have seen a massive expansion of the CIA and other intelligence agencies, backed by an avalanche of media propaganda, with endless television programs and movies glorifying American spies and assassins ..."
"... Zero Dark Thirty ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... The media campaign alleging Russian intervention in the 2016 US elections has been based entirely on handouts from the CIA, NSA and FBI, transmitted by reporters who are either unwitting stooges or conscious agents of the military-intelligence apparatus. This has been accompanied by the recruitment of a cadre of top CIA and military officials to serve as highly paid "experts" and "analysts" for the television networks . ..."
"... This process was well under way in the administration of Barack Obama, which endorsed and expanded the various operations of the intelligence agencies abroad and within the United States. Obama's endorsed successor, Hillary Clinton, ran openly as the chosen candidate of the Pentagon and CIA, touting her toughness as a future commander-in-chief and pledging to escalate the confrontation with Russia, both in Syria and Ukraine. ..."
"... The CIA has spearheaded the anti-Russia campaign against Trump in large part because of resentment over the disruption of its operations in Syria, and it has successfully used the campaign to force a shift in the policy of the Trump administration on that score. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... The 2018 election campaign marks a new stage: for the first time, military-intelligence operatives are moving in large numbers to take over a political party and seize a major role in Congress. The dozens of CIA and military veterans running in the Democratic Party primaries are "former" agents of the military-intelligence apparatus. This "retired" status is, however, purely nominal. Joining the CIA or the Army Rangers or the Navy SEALs is like joining the Mafia: no one ever actually leaves; they just move on to new assignments. ..."
"... The author also recommends: ..."
Mar 13, 2018 | www.wsws.org

In a three-part series published last week, the World Socialist Web Site documented an unprecedented influx of intelligence and military operatives into the Democratic Party. More than 50 such military-intelligence candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination in the 102 districts identified by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as its targets for 2018. These include both vacant seats and those with Republican incumbents considered vulnerable in the event of a significant swing to the Democrats.

If on November 6 the Democratic Party makes the net gain of 24 seats needed to win control of the House of Representatives, former CIA agents, military commanders, and State Department officials will provide the margin of victory and hold the balance of power in Congress. The presence of so many representatives of the military-intelligence apparatus in the legislature is a situation without precedent in the history of the United States.

Since its establishment in 1947 -- under the administration of Democratic President Harry Truman -- the CIA has been legally barred from carrying out within the United States the activities which were its mission overseas: spying, infiltration, political provocation, assassination. These prohibitions were given official lip service but ignored in practice.

In the wake of the Watergate crisis and the forced resignation of President Richard Nixon, reporter Seymour Hersh published the first devastating exposure of the CIA domestic spying, in an investigative report for the New York Times on December 22, 1974. This report triggered the establishment of the Rockefeller Commission, a White House effort at damage control, and Senate and House select committees, named after their chairmen, Senator Frank Church and Representative Otis Pike, which conducted hearings and made serious attempts to investigate and expose the crimes of the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency.

The Church Committee in particular featured the exposure of CIA assassination plots against foreign leaders like Fidel Castro, Patrice Lumumba in the Congo, General Rene Schneider in Chile, and many others. More horrors were uncovered: MK-Ultra, in which the CIA secretly subjected unwitting victims to experimentation with drugs like LSD;

Operation Mockingbird, in which the CIA recruited journalists to plant stories and smear opponents; Operation Chaos, an effort to spy on the antiwar movement and sow disruption; Operation Shamrock, under which the telecommunications companies shared traffic with the NSA for more than a quarter century.

The Church and Pike committee exposures, despite their limitations, had a devastating political effect. The CIA and its allied intelligence organizations in the Pentagon and NSA became political lepers, reviled as the enemies of democratic rights. The CIA in particular was widely viewed as "Murder Incorporated."

In that period, it would have been unthinkable either for dozens of "former" military-intelligence operatives to participate openly in electoral politics, or for them to be welcomed and even recruited by the two corporate-controlled parties. The Democrats and Republicans sought to distance themselves, at least for public relations purposes, from the spy apparatus, while the CIA publicly declared that it would no longer recruit or pay American journalists to publish material originating in Langley, Virginia. Even in the 1980s, the Iran-Contra scandal involved the exposure of the illegal operations of the Reagan administration's CIA director, William Casey.

How times have changed. One of the main functions of the "war on terror," launched in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, has been to rehabilitate the US spy apparatus and give it a public relations makeover as the supposed protector of the American people against terrorism.

This meant disregarding the well-known connections between Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders and the CIA, which recruited them for the anti-Soviet guerrilla war in Afghanistan, waged from 1979 to 1989, as well as the still unexplained role of the US intelligence agencies in facilitating the 9/11 attacks themselves.

The last 15 years have seen a massive expansion of the CIA and other intelligence agencies, backed by an avalanche of media propaganda, with endless television programs and movies glorifying American spies and assassins ( 24 , Homeland , Zero Dark Thirty , etc.)

The American media has been directly recruited to this effort. Judith Miller of the New York Times , with her reports on "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq, is only the most notorious of the stable of "plugged-in" intelligence-connected journalists at the Times , the Washington Post , and the major television networks. More recently, the Times has installed as its editorial page editor James Bennet, brother of a Democratic senator and son of the former administrator of the Agency for International Development, which has been accused of working as a front for the operations of the Central Intelligence Agency.

The media campaign alleging Russian intervention in the 2016 US elections has been based entirely on handouts from the CIA, NSA and FBI, transmitted by reporters who are either unwitting stooges or conscious agents of the military-intelligence apparatus. This has been accompanied by the recruitment of a cadre of top CIA and military officials to serve as highly paid "experts" and "analysts" for the television networks .

In centering its opposition to Trump on the bogus allegations of Russian interference, while essentially ignoring Trump's attacks on immigrants and democratic rights, his alignment with ultra-right and white supremacist groups, his attacks on social programs like Medicaid and food stamps, and his militarism and threats of nuclear war, the Democratic Party has embraced the agenda of the military-intelligence apparatus and sought to become its main political voice.

This process was well under way in the administration of Barack Obama, which endorsed and expanded the various operations of the intelligence agencies abroad and within the United States. Obama's endorsed successor, Hillary Clinton, ran openly as the chosen candidate of the Pentagon and CIA, touting her toughness as a future commander-in-chief and pledging to escalate the confrontation with Russia, both in Syria and Ukraine.

The CIA has spearheaded the anti-Russia campaign against Trump in large part because of resentment over the disruption of its operations in Syria, and it has successfully used the campaign to force a shift in the policy of the Trump administration on that score. A chorus of media backers -- Nicholas Kristof and Roger Cohen of the New York Times , the entire editorial board of the Washington Post , most of the television networks -- are part of the campaign to pollute public opinion and whip up support on alleged "human rights" grounds for an expansion of the US war in Syria.

The 2018 election campaign marks a new stage: for the first time, military-intelligence operatives are moving in large numbers to take over a political party and seize a major role in Congress. The dozens of CIA and military veterans running in the Democratic Party primaries are "former" agents of the military-intelligence apparatus. This "retired" status is, however, purely nominal. Joining the CIA or the Army Rangers or the Navy SEALs is like joining the Mafia: no one ever actually leaves; they just move on to new assignments.

The CIA operation in 2018 is unlike its overseas activities in one major respect: it is not covert. On the contrary, the military-intelligence operatives running in the Democratic primaries boast of their careers as spies and special ops warriors. Those with combat experience invariably feature photographs of themselves in desert fatigues or other uniforms on their websites. And they are welcomed and given preferred positions, with Democratic Party officials frequently clearing the field for their candidacies.

The working class is confronted with an extraordinary political situation. On the one hand, the Republican Trump administration has more military generals in top posts than any other previous government. On the other hand, the Democratic Party has opened its doors to a "friendly takeover" by the intelligence agencies.

The incredible power of the military-intelligence agencies over the entire government is an expression of the breakdown of American democracy. The central cause of this breakdown is the extreme concentration of wealth in the hands of a tiny elite, whose interests the state apparatus and its "bodies of armed men" serve. Confronted by an angry and hostile working class, the ruling class is resorting to ever more overt forms of authoritarian rule.

Millions of working people want to fight the Trump administration and its ultra-right policies. But it is impossible to carry out this fight through the "axis of evil" that connects the Democratic Party, the bulk of the corporate media, and the CIA. The influx of military-intelligence candidates puts paid to the longstanding myth, peddled by the trade unions and pseudo-left groups, that the Democrats represent a "lesser evil." On the contrary, working people must confront the fact that within the framework of the corporate-controlled two-party system, they face two equally reactionary evils.

Patrick Martin

The author also recommends:

Palace coup or class struggle: The political crisis in Washington and the strategy of the working class

[Mar 12, 2018] Here's a real lefty, not like the fake ones who own the Democratic party today

Mar 12, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

ben , Mar 11, 2018 4:05:16 PM | 2

Here's a real lefty, not like the fake ones who own the Democratic party today. The Jimmy Dore show. Scroll down to the March 9 show.

https://jimmydorecomedy.com/home/

[Mar 12, 2018] Why vote for a fake Republican when you can vote for a real one: Meet the Democrats' 'Dirty Dozen' Working to Gut Financial Reforms

Notable quotes:
"... By Marshall Auerback is a market analyst and commentator. Originally published at Alternet ..."
"... This act of regulatory vandalism highlights everything that is corrupt about our political system. ..."
Mar 12, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on March 10, 2018 by Yves Smith Yves here. As depressing and predictable as it is to see Democrats yet again prostituting themselves to financiers, payback may finally be coming. From Lambert in Water Cooler yesterday :

Senate: Poll: Five Senate Dems would lose to GOP challenger if elections held today" [ The Hill ]. "New polls published Thursday morning in Axios show Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) would all lose reelection to GOP challengers if voters were heading to the polls this week." Blue Dogs all. Why vote for a fake Republican when you can vote for a real one?

So these Blue Dogs who are gutting the already underwhelming Dodd Frank may not be with us much longer, at least politically. And even though the party is remarkably insistent on adhering to a strategy of corporate toadying that has led it to hemorrhage seats at all levels of government, if these seats all go red, it might be a message even the Democrats might not be able to ignore.

By Marshall Auerback is a market analyst and commentator. Originally published at Alternet

This act of regulatory vandalism highlights everything that is corrupt about our political system.

As if to maximize the possibility of another major financial crisis, the Trump administration and the GOP have recently been busy undercutting the limited safeguards established a decade ago via Dodd-Frank. The latest example of this stealth attack on Wall Street reform is the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, appropriately sponsored by Republican Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Appropriate, because this is literally a "crapo" bill. It provides a few "technical tweaks" to Dodd-Frank in the same way in which protection payouts to organized crime provide businesses with "insurance" against property damage. In reality, it is an act of regulatory vandalism, which highlights everything that is corrupt about our political system.

We have grown to expect no less from the GOP, whose sole r aison d'etre these days seems to be filling the trough from which America's fat cats can perpetually gorge themselves. What is truly disturbing, however, is that the Republican effort is being given bipartisan cover by more than a dozen Democratic senators: Doug Jones (Ala.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (both from Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Gary Peters (Mich.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Chris Coons (Del.), and Tom Carper of Delaware. To this esteemed group, we should also add Senator Angus King (ME), an Independent who regularly caucuses with the Democrats. So, in reality, it's a filibuster-proof "Baker's Dirty Dozen." Digging into the details, perhaps this is what Senator Mitch McConnell had in mind when he predicted more bipartisanship in Congress this year . In co-sponsoring this bill, the 13 senators are providing cover for the GOP when the inevitable fallout comes, dissipating the Democrats' political capital with the electorate in the process.

Yes, we get it: some of these senator incumbents are in red states that voted heavily for Donald Trump in the last election. And the latest polls suggest many are vulnerable in this year's elections. But the last time we checked, there didn't seem to be an overwhelming wave of populist protest demanding regulatory relief for banks. All 50 states -- red and blue -- suffered from the last financial crisis, and it's hard to believe voters in Montana, West Virginia, North Dakota, Indiana or Missouri would be more likely to support Senators Tester, Manchin, Heitkamp, Donnelly or McCaskill because they backed a bank deregulation bill (which in reality goes well beyond helping small community banks). Nor do the 2018 races factor as far as Senators Warner, Coons, or Bennet are concerned, given that none are up for re-election this year.

No, the more likely answer is money, plain and simple. The numbers aren't in for 2017, but an analysis of the Federal Election Commission data from the 2016 election appears to explain what is driving this newfound solicitousness toward the banks. The Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) points out that "nine of the twelve Democrats supporting the deregulatory measure count the financial industry as either their biggest or second-biggest donor." (At least now we have a better understanding as to why Hillary Clinton's " responsibility gene " induced her to select running mate Tim Kaine, who received "large contributions from Big Law partners that represent Wall Street," as opposed to a genuine finance reformer, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren. Senator Warren is vigorously opposing the new bill.)

We also know ( courtesy of the CRP ) that Mark Warner's last campaign in 2014:

"included among his 20 largest donors the mega Wall Street banks Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase. Goldman's employees and PACs gave Warner's campaign $71,600 while JPMorgan Chase gave the Warner campaign committees $50,566 Senator Heidi Heitkamp is also up for reelection this year and her number one contributor at present is employees and/or PACs of Goldman Sachs which have contributed $79,500 thus far."

Naturally, all of the senators claim their motives are pure. With no hint of irony, a spokesman for Tim Kaine suggested that , "Campaign contributions do not influence Senator Kaine's policy positions." Likewise, an aide for Mark Warner vigorously contested the idea that campaign donations from Wall Street ever influenced the Virginia senator's decision-making on policy matters. Sure, and it was shocking to find out that gambling took place in Rick's Café.

It is true, as Senator Jon Tester (another co-sponsor) notes , that the proposed changes introduced in the Crapo bill (notably the increase in the asset size from $50 billion to $250 billion of those banks that are considered "systemically important" and therefore subject to greater oversight and tighter rules) do not affect the likes of Wall Street banks such as Citigroup, JP MorganChase, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, all of which are still covered by the most stringent oversight provisions of Dodd-Frank. But the increased asset threshold does exempt the U.S. bank holding companies of systemically significant foreign banks: Deutsche Bank, UBS and Credit Suisse, all of whom were implicated in multiple violations of both American and international banking laws in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis.

Deutsche Bank alone has paid billions of dollars for its role in perpetuating mortgage fraud, money-laundering and interest rate manipulation (the LIBOR scandal), which ideally should invite more regulatory scrutiny, not less. Instead, a new law ostensibly crafted to provide a few "technical fixes" for Dodd-Frank is now reducing the regulatory oversight of a bank that has been cited in an IMF report as one of Germany's "global systemically important financial institutions." Translating the couched-IMF-speak, the report suggests that Deutsche Bank on its own has the potential to set off a new global contagion, given the scale of its derivatives exposure. Not only too big to fail, but evidently too big to regulate properly either, aided and abetted by members of a party who claim to be appalled at the level of corruption in the Trump administration.

Another side-effect of raising the regulatory threshold to $250 billion in assets is that it diminishes the chance of obtaining an early warning detection signal from somewhat smaller financial institutions. As the experience of Lehman Brothers or Bear Stearns illustrated, smaller problems that remain hidden in the shadows can ultimately metastasize if left alone, and become much bigger -- and more systemically dangerous -- later.

So when Senator Kaine nobly suggests that he is merely providing relief for "small community banks and credit unions" in his home state, or Jon Tester argues that he is only helping local banks suffering from Dodd-Frank's regulatory overkill, both are being extraordinarily disingenuous. The reality is that increasing the oversight threshold by 500 percent does not just help a few "small community banks and credit unions" crawl out from a thicket of onerous and costly regulation. Even former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, who favored some regulatory relief for community banks, felt that $250 billion threshold was excessive ly lax.

In fact, ( per the Americans for Financial Reform ), the increase "removes the most severe mandate for 25 of the 38 largest banks," which together "account for over $3.5 trillion in banking assets, more than one-sixth of the U.S. total." Additionally, as Pat Garofalo writes : "The bill also includes an exemption from capital standards -- essentially the amount of money that banks need to have on hand in case things go south -- that benefits some big financial firms, and even more are lobbying to be included." In other words, this isn't just George Bailey's friendly neighborhood bank that is getting some regulatory relief here.

All of this newfound regulatory laxity comes at a time when many of the largest Wall Street banks have again resurrected the same practices that almost destroyed them a decade ago. Bank credit analyst Chris Whalen observes : "The leader of this effort is none other than Citigroup (NYSE:C), which has surpassed JP MorganChase (NYSE:JPM) to become the largest derivatives shop in the world. Citi has embraced the most notorious product of the roaring 2000s, the synthetic collateralized debt obligation or 'CDO' security, a product that fraudulently leverages the real world and literally caused the bank to fail a decade ago."

Another example: Trump and his henchman, Mick Mulvaney, have also joined the big banks in attacking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which by virtue of the Crapo act, will be blocked "from collecting key data showing when and where families of color are being overcharged for home loans or steered into predatory products."

Let's be honest here: even in its original form, Dodd-Frank was the bare minimum the government could have done in the wake of the 2008 disaster. But lobbyists, paid-for politicians and co-opted bank-friendly regulators have been busy "applying technical fixes" to the bill virtually from the moment it was passed a decade ago. The upshot is that the much-trumpeted Wall Street reform is a joke when compared to the comprehensive legislation passed in the aftermath of the Great Depression (which set the stage for decades of relative financial stability). Under Dodd, the banks are purportedly subject to "meaningful stress tests" ( in the words of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell ), but the tests are neither particularly stressful, nor do they adequately reflect today's twin dangers of off-balance sheet leverage and the concentration of big banks' on-balance sheet assets in relatively low-return loans.

What should have been done after the global financial crisis? Professors Eric Tymoigne and Randall Wray proposed the following :

"Any of the 'too big to fail' financial institutions that needed funding should have been required to submit to Fed oversight. Top management should have been required to proffer resignations as a condition of lending (with the Fed or Treasury holding the letters until they could decide which should be accepted -- this is how Jessie Jones resolved the bank crisis in the 1930s). Short-term lending against the best collateral should have been provided, at penalty rates. A comprehensive 'cease and desist' order should have been enforced to stop all trading, all lending, all asset sales, and all bonus payments until an assessment of bank solvency could have been completed. The FDIC should have been called-in (in the case of institutions with insured deposits), but in any case, the critically undercapitalized institutions should have been dissolved according to existing law: at the least cost to the Treasury and to avoid increasing concentration in the financial sector."

A number of conclusions can be drawn from this whole sordid episode. An obvious one is that our model of campaign finance is completely broken. While it is encouraging to see some Democratic politicians increasingly adopting the Sanders model of fundraising, swearing off large corporate donations , not enough are doing so. Democrats are united in their concern pertaining to foreign threats that pose risks to the integrity of U.S. elections, but the vigorous opposition to Vladimir Putin and the Russians isn't extended to the domestic oligarchs destroying American democracy (and the economy) from within.

The whole history behind Senator Crapo's bill shows how quickly bank lobbyists can routinely exploit their financial muscle to turn a seemingly innocuous bill into something which pokes yet more holes into the Swiss Cheese-like rules already in place for Dodd. The Baker's Dirty Dozen have accepted donations from Wall Street that not only constrain their ability to implement genuine reforms in finance (and other areas) but also discourage the mobilization of voters, who see this legislative horror show, and consequently opt out of showing up to vote at elections because they know that the system is rigged and dominated by corporate cash (making their votes irrelevant).

Ironically, no less a figure than Donald Trump exploited that voter cynicism in 2016. In striking contrast to every other Republican presidential nominee since 1936, he attacked globalization, free trade, international financiers, and Wall Street (and made effective mockery of Hillary Clinton's ties to Goldman Sachs) and thereby mobilized blue-collar voters in marginal Rust Belt states, giving him his path to the presidency. Of course, we now know that this was all bait-and-switch politics, likely facilitated by forces outside the U.S., along with large corporation donations from domestic elites. We've probably reached the endgame as far as this " investment approach to politics " as it disintegrates into a cesspool of corruption and further financial fragility. It may take another crash before this problem is truly fixed.

In the meantime, this bipartisan subversion of Wall Street reform not only risks making the next crisis at least as bad as 2008, but also reinforces the notion that both parties are equally corrupt, catalyzing the collapse of the American political order . In a further sick twist of fate, the twin corrosive forces of "golden rule politics" (i.e., he who has the gold rules) and a rapidly deflating "bubble-ized" economy could all come to a head under the watch of Donald the Unready. But he won't own this disaster alone, thanks to the help of compromised Wall Street Democrats.

  1. Jen

    Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan from my deep purple state of NH both, voted to allow the bill to proceed. And of course my esteemed congress critter, Annie Kuster, did her bit in congress. Only 968 days until I can exact my retribution on Shaheen at the polls, first and foremost for her vote in favor of fast track, but damned if she doesn't give me another good reason on almost a daily basis.

[Mar 11, 2018] Reality Check: The Guardian Restarts Push for Regime Change in Russia by Kit

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... This,,,"Russia appears lost, a global menace, a moral vacuum, a far greater threat than it ever was during the cold war." Should be changed to "The Guardian appears lost, a global menace, a moral vacuum, a far greater threat than it ever was during the cold war." ..."
"... The Guardian has consistently propagandised for regime changes inspired by Washington NeoCons, those of Libya, Syria, Ukraine and is ramping up their propaganda machine toward North Korea, Venezuela and now Russia itself having promoted destabilisation on its borders in Ukraine. ..."
"... On top of what I said yesterday, if Russian oligarchs do pull all their money out of Britain, the British economy would crash, it being highly dependent on the services sector (constituting 80% of Britain's GDP in 2016 according to Wikipedia) and the financial services industry in particular. So if all those Russian billions swirling through Britain's financial system are "dodgy", that's because the system itself encouraged those inflows. ..."
"... "Poor little Britain" which actually spends on par with Russia in terms of its military budget, despite the fact that a) it's a much smaller country to defend and is surrounded by water, and b) it's part of NATO with the US as its staunch defender so it really doesn't need a standalone military anyway. ..."
"... From what's emerging now, it seems there simply were no assassins wandering round Salisbury. Instead, it appears Mr Skripal for some reason has a house full of nerve gas, or enough of it at least to take out himself, his daughter and a policeman who inspected the premises. ..."
"... There is one key element that proves that the Russians didn't do it: The Russians aren't so clumsy as to poison over a dozen other people at the same time. ..."
"... The whole piece is an emotionally charged rant, bordering on hysteria, based on a transparent tissue of lies, distortions and absolutely stunning hypocrisy; and this coming from the 'liberal' 'left of centre' Guardian! ..."
Mar 11, 2018 | off-guardian.org

Mark Rice-Oxley, Guardian columnist and the first in line to fight in WWIII.

The alleged poisoning of ex-MI6 agent Sergei Skripal has caused the Russophobic MSM to go into overdrive. Nowhere is the desperation with which the Skripal case has been seized more obvious than the Guardian. Luke Harding is spluttering incoherently about a weapons lab that might not even exist anymore . Simon Jenkins gamely takes up his position as the only rational person left at the Guardian, before being heckled in the comments and dismissed as a contrarian by Michael White on twitter. More and more the media are becoming a home for dangerous, aggressive, confrontational rhetoric that has no place in sensible, adult newspapers.

For example, Mark Rice-Oxley's column in today's Guardian:

Oh, Russia! Even before we point fingers over poison and speculate about secret agents and spy swaps and pub food in Salisbury, one thing has become clear: Russia appears lost, a global menace, a moral vacuum, a far greater threat than it ever was during the cold war.

Read this. It's from a respected "unbiased", liberal news outlet. It is the worst, most partisan political language I have ever heard, more heated and emotionally charged than even the most fraught moments of the Cold War. It is dangerous to the whole planet, and has no place in our media.

If everything he said in the following article were true, if he had nothing but noble intentions and right on his side, this would still be needlessly polarizing and war-like language.

To make it worse, everything he proceeds to say is a complete lie.

Usually we would entitle these pieces "fact checks", but this goes beyond that. This? This is a reality check.

Its agents pop over for murder and shopping

FALSE: There's no proof any of this ever happened. There has been no trial in the Litvinenko case. The "public inquiry" was a farce, with no cross-examination of witnesses, evidence given in secret and anonymous witnesses. All of which contravene British law regarding a fair trial.

even while its crooks use Britain as a 24/7 laundromat for their ill-gotten billions, stolen from compatriots.

TRUE sort of: Russian billionaires do come to London, Paris, and Switzerland to launder their (stolen) money. Rice-Oxley is too busy with his 2 minutes of hate to interrogate this issue. The reason oligarchs launder their money here is that WE let them. Oligarchs have been fleeing Russia for over a decade. Why? Because, in Russia, Putin's government has jailed billionaires for tax evasion and embezzling, stripped them of illegally acquired assets and demanded they pay their taxes. That's why you have wanted criminals like Sergei Pugachev doing interviews with Luke Harding, complaining he's down to his "last 270 million" .

When was the last time a British billionaire was prosecuted for financial crimes? Mega-Corporations owe literally billions in tax , and our government lets them get away with it.

Its digital natives use their skills not for solving Russia's own considerable internal problems but to subvert the prosperous adversaries that it secretly envies.

FALSE: Russiagate is a farce, anyone with an open-mind can see that . The reference to Russians envying the west is childish and insulting. The 13, just thirteen, Russians who were indicted by Mueller have no connection to the Russian government, a nd allegedly campaigned for many candidates , and both for and against Trump. They are a PR firm, nothing more.

It bought a World Cup,

FALSE: The World Cup bids are voted on, and after years and years of investigation the US/UK teams have found so little evidence of corruption in the Russia bid that they simply stopped talking about it. If the FBI had found even the slightest hint of financial malpractice, would we ever have stopped hearing about it?

invaded two neighbours

False: A European Union investigation found that Georgia was to blame for the start of the (very brief, very humiliating) Russo-Georgian war . It lasted a week. That a week-long conflict started by the other side is evidence of "global threat" in a world where Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya have happened is beyond hypocritical it is delusional.

Regarding the second "neighbour": Ukraine. Ukraine and Russia are not at war. Ukraine has claimed to have been "invaded" by Russia many times but has never declared war. Why? Because they rely on Russian gas to live, and because they know that if Russia were to ever REALLY invade, the war would last only just a big longer than the Georgian one. The "anti-terrorist operation" in Ukraine was started by the coup government in 2014. Since that time over 10,000 people have died. The vast majority killed by the governments mercenaries and far-right militias many of whom espouse outright fascism .

bombed children to save a butcher in the Middle East.

MISLEADING: The statement is trying to paint Russia/Assad as deliberately targeting children, which is clearly untrue. Russia is operating in Syria in full compliance with international law. Unlike literally everybody else bar Iran. When Russia entered the conflict, at the invitation of the legitimate Syrian government, Jihadists were winning the war. ISIS had huge swathes of territory, al-Qaeda affiliates had strongholds in all of Syria's major cities. Syria was on the brink of collapse. Rice-Oxley is unclear whether or not he thinks this is a good thing.

Today, ISIS is obliterated, Aleppo is free and the war is almost over. Apparently Syria becoming another Libya is preferable to a secular government winning a war against terrorists and US-backed mercenaries.

And now it wants to start a new nuclear arms race.

FALSE: America started the arms race when they pulled out of the anti-ballistic missile treaty. Putin warned at the time it was a dangerous move . America then moved their AEGIS "defense shield" into Eastern Europe . Giving them the possibility of first-strike without retaliation. This is an untennable position for any country. Putin warned, at the time, that Russia would have to respond. They have responded. Mr Rice-Oxley should take this up with Bush and Cheney if he has a problem with it.

And before the whataboutists say, "America does some of that stuff too", that may be true, but just because the US is occasionally awful it doesn't mean that Russia isn't.

MISLEADING: America doesn't do "some of that stuff". No, America aren't "occasionally awful". They do ALL of that stuff, and have been the biggest destructive force on the planet for over 70 years. Since Putin came to power America has carried out aggressive military operations against Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and Syria. They have sanctioned and threatened and carried out coups against North Korea, Ukraine, Iran, Honduras, Venezuela and Cuba. All that time, the US has also claimed the right to extradite and torture foreign nationals with impunity. The war crimes of American forces and agencies are beyond measure and count.

We are so used to American crimes we just don't see them anymore. Imagine Putin, at one his epic four-hour Q&A sessions, off-handedly admitting to torturing people in illegal prison camps . Would we ever hear the end of it?

Even if you cede the utterly false claim that Russia has "invaded two neighbours", the scale of destruction just does not compare.

Invert the scale of destruction and casualties of Georgia and Iraq. Imagine Putin's government had killed 500,000 people in Georgia alone, whilst routinely condemning the US for a week-long war in Iraq that killed less than 600 people. Imagine Russia kidnapped foreign nationals and tortured them, whilst lambasting America's human rights record.

The double-think employed here is literally insane.

Note to Rice-Oxley and his peers, pointing out your near-delusional hypocrisy is not "whataboutism". It's a standard rhetorical appeal to fairness. If you believe the world shouldn't be fair, fine, but don't expect other people not to point out your double standards.

As for poor little Britain, it seems to take this brazen bullying like a whipping boy in the playground who has wet himself. Boycott the World Cup? That'll teach them!

FALSE: Rice-Oxley is trying to paint a picture of false weakness in order to promote calls for action. Britain has been anything but cooperative with Russia. British forces operate illegally in Syria , they arm and train rebels. They refused to let Russian authorities see the evidence in the Litvinenko case, and refused to let Russian lawyers cross-examine witnesses. Britain's attitude to Russia has been needlessly, provocatively antagonistic for years.

Russians have complained that the portrayal of their nation in dramas such as McMafia is cartoonish and unhelpful, a lazy smear casting an entire nation as a ludicrous two-dimensional pantomime villain with a pocketful of poisonous potions .Of course, the vast majority of Russians are indeed misrepresented by such portrayals, because they are largely innocent in these antics.

TRUE: Russians do complain about this, which is entirely justifiable. The western representation of Russians is ignorant and racist almost without exception. It is an effort, just like Rice-Oxley's column, to demonize an entire people and whip up hatred of Russia so that people will support US-UK warmongering.

Most ordinary Russians are in fact also victims of the power system in their country, which requires ideas such as individual comfort, aspiration, dignity, prosperity and hope to be subjugated to the wanton reflexes of the state

FALSE: Putin's government has decreased poverty by over 66% in 17 years . They have increased life-expectancy, decreased crime, and increased public health. Pensions, social security and infrastructure have all been rebuilt. These are not controversial or debated claims. The Guardian published them itself just a few years ago. That is hardly a state where hope and aspiration are put aside.

Why is Russian power like this: cynical, destructive, zero-sum, determined to bring everything down to a base level where everyone thinks the worst of each other and behaves accordingly?

MISLEADING FALLACY: This is simply projection. There is no logical basis for this statement. He is simply employing the old rhetorical trick of asking WHY something exists, as a way of establishing its existence. This allows the (dishonest) author to sell his own agenda as if it solves a riddle. Before you can explain something, you need to establish an explanandum something which requires explaining. This is the basic logical process that our dear author is attempting to circumvent. We don't NEED to explain why Russian power is like this, because he hasn't yet established that it is .

I think there are two reasons. The most powerful political idea in Russia is restoration. A decade of humiliation – economic, social and geopolitical – that followed its rebirth in 1991 became the defining narrative of the new nation.

MISLEADING LANGUAGE: Describing the absolute destruction caused by the fall of the USSR as "rebirth" is an absurd joke. People sold their medals, furniture and keepsakes for food, people froze to death in the streets.

At times, even the continued existence of the Russian Federation appeared under threat.

TRUE: This is true. Russia was in danger of Balkanisation. The possibility of dozens of anarchic microstates, many with access to nuclear weapons, was very real. Most rational people would consider this a bad thing. The achievement of Putin's government in pulling Russia back from the brink should be applauded. Especially when compared with our Western governments who can barely even maintain the functional social security states created by their predecessors. Compare the NHS now with the NHS in 2000, compare Russia's health service now to 17 years ago. Who do you think is really in trouble?

The second reason is that the parlous internal state of Russia – absurdist justice, a threadbare social safety net, a pyramid society in which a very few get very rich and the rest languish – creates moral ambivalence.

PROJECTION: he actually makes this statement without even a hint of irony. The Tory government has killed people by slashing their benefits, and homeless people froze to death during the recent blizzards. The overall trend of British social structure has been down, for decades. Poverty is increasing all the time , food banks are opening and people are increasingly desperate. We are trending down. 20%, one in five British people, now live in poverty .

In that same time, as stated above, Russia's poverty has gone down and down. 13% of Russians live in poverty, almost half the UK rate. In 2014, before we sanctioned Russia, it was only 10%. Even the briefest research would show this. Columnists like Rice-Oxley go out of their way to avoid inconvenient facts.

What is to be done? I wouldn't respond with empty threats, Boris Johnson. No one cares.

Here we come to the centre of the shrubbery maze, up until now the column was just build up. Establishing a "problem" so he can pitch us a "solution".

There are only two weaknesses in this bully's defences. The first is his money. Britain needs to do something about the dodgy Russian billions swilling through its financial system. Make it really hard for Kremlin-connected money to buy football clubs or businesses or establish dodgy limited partnerships; stop oligarchs from raising capital on the London stock exchange. Don't bother with sanctions. Just say: "No thanks, we don't want your business."

FALSE: This shows not even the most basic understanding of the way money works. Money being made in Russia and spent in London is bad fo Russia. Sending billionaires back to Russia would inject money INTO the Russian economy. Either Rice-Oxley is actually a moron, or he is being deliberately dishonest.

What he REALLY means is that we should put pressure on the oligarchs, not to the hurt the Russian economy, but in the hopes the oligarchs will turn on Putin and remove him by undemocratic means.

He is pushing for backdoor regime change. And if you think I'm reading too much into this, then here

The second is public opinion. The imminent presidential election is a foregone conclusion, but the mood in Russia can turn suddenly, as we saw in 1991, 1993 and 2011-2012.

Notice how quickly he dismisses the democratic will of the Russian people. Poor, stupid, "envious" Russians aren't equipped to make their own decisions. We need to step in. "Public opinion" turning means a colour revolution. It means US backed regime change in a nuclear armed super-power. Backed by the cyberwarriors paid to spread Western propaganda online.

Maybe it's time to try some new digital hearts-and-minds operation. In the internet age, Russians have already shown how public opinion can be manipulated. Perhaps our own secret digital marvels can embark on the kind of information counter-offensive to win over the many millions of Russians who share our values. Perhaps they already are.

The hypocrisy is mind-blowing, when I read this paragraph I was dumb-founded. Speechless. For months we've been hearing about how terrible Russia is for allegedly interfering in the American election. Damaging democracy with reporting true news out of context and some well placed memes.

Our response? Our defense of our "values"? Use the armies of online propagandists our governments employ – their existence was reported in the Guardian – in order to undermine, or undo the democratic will of the Russian people. Rice-Oxley is positing this with a straight face.

Russia is such a destabilising threat to "our democratic values", such a moral vacuum, that we must use subterfuge to undermine their elections and remove their popular head of state.

Rice-Oxley wants to push and prod and provoke and antagonise a nuclear armed power that, at worst, is guilty of nothing but playing our game by our rules and winning. He wants to build a case for war with Russia, and he's doing it on bedrock of cynical lies.

It's all incredibly dangerous. Hopefully they'll realise that before it's too late. For all our sakes.


vexarb says March 11, 2018

Meanwhile, back in the real world, Putin's 10 year plan for the future of Russia. Putin is a builder, like Peter the Great. He is a seeker after excellence, like Catherine the Great. If his 10 year plan can achieve the half of what he set out in his recent speech, the name Putin will go down in history with the same sobriquet.

The most important part of Putin's March 1st speech:

https://thesaker.is/the-most-important-part-of-putins-march-1st-speech/

And on the village level, because that's where most of the real work of the world is done, a snippet BTL from Auslander who lives in the Crimea: "the first implications of anti corruption efforts are obvious in our little village. We'll see how it pans out but everyone can, and should, assist in this task. The proof will be in the pudding when The West starts screaming about certain kind, gentle and innocent 'businessmen' who end up counting trees [in Siberia?] for a decade or three."

Jay Q says March 10, 2018
Take a look at this wretched piece in the Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/10/sergei-skripal-case-proved-charge-putin-attempted-murder

I wonder how much longer the general readership over there will cotton on to the pro-war and propaganda agenda of the Guardian and leave it en masse? It's as dishonest as The Sun.

M. says March 10, 2018
"Poor little Britain", with half the population, a much smaller territory ,and being part of the largest military alliance in the world, spends only 10 billions less than Russia in "defense". One of those "defense" strategies included in the budget, one that all those commentators vilifying Russia conveniently ignore, is to blow up weddings, funerals and entire villages with missiles fired from drones. No trial, no public kill list, no record of people killed, no accountability. That is sanctioned, extra-judicial murder of suspects and everyone around them. And these progressive commentators, eager to spread prosperity by any mean, seem to be ok with it.

Update: as I was writing this I noticed that The Guardian has a piece by (of all people!), Simon Jenkins, which, yes, takes for granted that the assassination attempt was carried out by the Russians, but asks if there is a moral difference between that and killing suspects with drone strikes. For that, he has been labeled an useful idiot and "an apologist for attempted mass murder on British soil". Highly amusing if you ask me, but also a terrifying example of how straying if only a little bit from the official line ("yes, the Russians tried to kill this guy, they are the worst, but maybe we should have a look at ourselves and our (kind of) inappropriate tendency to murder everyone we want") has to be punished. There are no ifs or buts while at the two minutes of hate. Now even the pieces that are there to give a semblance of balance have to be torn apart by those liberal, prosperity loving persons that can´t seem to be able to condemn the murder of children at will. Now it is time to express hatred towards Goldstein, I mean, of course, Putin and everything Russia.

Greg Bacon says March 10, 2018
This,,,"Russia appears lost, a global menace, a moral vacuum, a far greater threat than it ever was during the cold war." Should be changed to "The Guardian appears lost, a global menace, a moral vacuum, a far greater threat than it ever was during the cold war."

All suffering from PTDS AKA Putin-Trump Derangement Syndrome.

stevehayes13 says March 10, 2018
The Russophobes over at the Guardian (and the rest of the corporate media) would be well advised to review the trial of Julius Streicher at the Nuremberg Tribunal.
Sheila Coombes says March 10, 2018
The Guardian has consistently propagandised for regime changes inspired by Washington NeoCons, those of Libya, Syria, Ukraine and is ramping up their propaganda machine toward North Korea, Venezuela and now Russia itself having promoted destabilisation on its borders in Ukraine.

I find it the ultimate paradox that a publication purporting to be 'liberal' acts so enthusiastically for deadly regime changes from this once Trotskyist but now extreme Right Wing group. There is nothing 'liberal', 'humanitarian', or moral about promotion of deadly regime changes that have destroyed previously peaceful nations and murdered hundreds of thousands in the process. Guardian for the geopolitical goals of the self-declared 'exceptional' Empire, the new 'master race' that of the US.

Big B says March 10, 2018
One final observation on the Skripal case (for now): this stuff is so toxic. We don't know what the stuff is: nevertheless, we know it is so toxic, can only be made by a state, and needs careful expert handling. We know this because every paper and TV channel has by now emphasised that this stuff is so toxic, etc. If we missed the "nerve agents and what they do to you" coverage: we can ascertain for ourselves from the men in the hazmat suits, the this stuff must be so toxic. The Army have now been deployed: on hand after completing the largest CW exercise ever held, 'Toxic Dagger'; they are now employing their specialist skills to carry out "Sensitive Site Operations" because this stuff is you get it by now. In another piece of pure theater: police in hazmat suits were examining the grave of Alexander and Liudmila Skripal because even after a year or more buried underground, you can't be too careful, because this stuff is A woman from the office next to Zizzi was taken ill (maybe she had the risotto con pesce) because even after a week, and next door, traces of this stuff can still be

11 (or 16) people were hospitalised from the effects of 'this stuff': the first attending officer, Nick Bailey, is only just out of ICU and lucky to be alive. The Skripal's are not so lucky: and on "palliative care" according to H de Bretton-Gordon. Yet the eye-witness calling himself 'Jamie Paine' was close enough to get coughed on; and the unnamed passing doctor and nurse that attended the Skripals at the scene, clearing their airways, are all fine (despite being hospitalised). Yet PC Bailey nearly died? Funny that?

When first you practice to deceive: someone in the propaganda department must have noticed this glaring inconsistency. Enter, stage right, former Met Chief Ian (now Lord) Blair (guess who was leading the Met when Litvinenko was poisoned?): to clarify that PC Bailey was contaminated when he was the first officer to enter the Skripal's home – not attend them in Salisbury. This allowed the Torygraph and Fox to speculate that Yulia brought a contaminated present for her father (which she kept in a drawer for a week, because this stuff is so toxic?). The Torygraph's previous spin: that Skripal was poisoned for his contributions to the Pissgate dossier were torpedoed by Orbis (Steele's company). Speaking on Radio 4: after pushing the Buzzfeed "14 other deaths" dodgy dossier; Blair said "So there maybe some clues floating around in here." Yes, clues that you are lying? This is pure theater: only it is more Morecambe and Wise than Shakespeare.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/09/russian-spy-may-have-poisoned-home-police-believe/

DomesticExtremist says March 10, 2018
Theatre indeed.

Check out the report from C4News (mute the sound).

Two guys plodding around in fluorescent breather suits, another couple with gas masks, but behind them firemen in normal uniform and no gas masks and the reporter 20 feet in front, in civvies wih no protective gear at all.

Virulent nerve agent threat? Theatre, and not very convincing at that.

BigB says March 10, 2018
Another day, another story: now the BBC, Torygraph (contradicting its own article above), Wiltshire Police, and Nick Bailey himself all confirmed that he became ill after attending the Skripals. So now we know they are lying: the house story concocted by Blair was a complete fabrication. The "nerve agent" appears to be only selectively toxic!
http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/journalnewsindex/16078868.Police_officer_in_hospital_over_nerve_agent_attack_releases_first_statement/
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/08/russian-spy-poisoning-police-officer-struck-rare-nerve-agent/
flaxgirl says March 10, 2018
It just seems like the so very patronizing nonsense you'd see in a right-wing publication.
Edwige says March 10, 2018
Or the tune you'd hear played on the "mighty wurlitzer".
BigB says March 10, 2018
Flaxgirl: a bit OT, but not too much as this event does not seem to have too much basis in reality: on the question of fabrication the UK Home Office held an event this week – Security and Policing 2018 – where the "Live Demo Area" was sponsored by Crisis Cast. I though you might interested? Are they providing critical incident training: or the critical incidents themselves is a legitimate question after the events in Salisbury?

https://www.securityandpolicing.co.uk/security-policing-live/demo/

As featured on UK Column News (from 22:52.)
https://www.ukcolumn.org/ukcolumn-news/uk-column-news-6th-march-2018

Francis Lee says March 10, 2018
I suppose by now we should be used to the nauseating, self-righteous bluster dished out on a daily basis by the Anglo-Zionist media. The two minutes hate by the flabby 'left' liberals who now have apparently joined forces with the demented US neo-cons in openly baying for a war against Russia. How, exactly did these people expect Russia to react to the abrogation of the ABM agreement, marching NATO right up to Russia's doorstep, staging coups in the Ukraine and Georgia, having the US sixth fleet swanning around in the Black Sea? Of course, Russia reacted as any other self-respecting state would react to such blatant provocations. And this includes the US during the Cuba crisis and its self-proclaimed right to intervene in its sphere of influence – Latin America – and for that matter anywhere else on the planet. And it does so A L'outrance.

But I was foregetting, the Anglo-Zionist axis has a divine mission mandated by the deity to reconfigure the world and bring democracy and freedom to those "Lesser breeds without the Law" (Kipling). Of course, this updated version of 'taking up the white man's burden' by the 'exceptional people' may involve mass murder, mayhem, destruction and chaos, unfortunately necessary in the short(ish) run. But these benighted peoples should realise it is for their own good, and if this means starving to death 500,000 Iraqi children through sanctions, well, it was 'worth it' according to the lovely Madeline Albright. This is the language and methodology of a totalitarian imperialism. As someone has remarked the Anglo-zionist empire is not on the wrong side of history, it is the wrong side of history.

The arrogance, ignorance and crass venality of these people is manifest to the point of parody.

Jen says March 10, 2018
I agree with Mark Rice-Oxley that Russian oligarchs should pull their money out of Britain and return it to Russia to invest in businesses there. That would be the ethical thing for them to do, to fulfill their proper tax obligations and stop using Britain as a tax haven.

I hear that Russia has had another bumper wheat harvest and is now poised to take over from Australia as the major wheat exporter to Egypt and Indonesia, the world's biggest buyers of wheat. So if Russian oligarchs are wondering where to put their money in, wheat production, research into improving wheat yields and the conditions wheat is grown in are just a few areas they can invest in.

Be careful what you wish for, Mr Rice-Oxley – your wish might come true bigger than you realise!

Jen says March 11, 2018
On top of what I said yesterday, if Russian oligarchs do pull all their money out of Britain, the British economy would crash, it being highly dependent on the services sector (constituting 80% of Britain's GDP in 2016 according to Wikipedia) and the financial services industry in particular. So if all those Russian billions swirling through Britain's financial system are "dodgy", that's because the system itself encouraged those inflows.

Who's really "dodgy", Mr Rice-Oxley?

David C. Lee (@worldblee) says March 10, 2018
"Poor little Britain" which actually spends on par with Russia in terms of its military budget, despite the fact that a) it's a much smaller country to defend and is surrounded by water, and b) it's part of NATO with the US as its staunch defender so it really doesn't need a standalone military anyway.
Emily Durron says March 9, 2018
The Guardian are scum. Lying, deceiving, warmongering, hating scum. I would love to parachute them all into East Ghouta.
Fair dinkum says March 9, 2018
"It's them, over there, they are evil. We must stop them. They are coming for us, they will take our children and steal our i phones !!! Arrgh!!!" "I'll have another strong short black thanks"
bevin says March 9, 2018
Their world is falling apart- in Korea and the Middle East the Empire is on the verge of eviction. All the certitudes of yesteryear are dissolving. Even the Turks, who, famously, held the line in Korea when the PLA attacked and the US Eighth Army fled south, are now on the other side. The same Turks who hosted US nuclear armed strategic missiles so openly that the USSR sent missiles of its own to Cuba.
As to the UK, the economy is contracting and the economic infrastructure is cracking up- living standards are plummeting and the only recourse of those responsible for the mess-the officers on the bridge- is propaganda. Like the Empire the British Establishment has been living on the fruits of its own propaganda for so long that, when it is exposed as merely empty bullying, there is nothing left but to resort to more lies in the hope that they will obscure raw and looming reality.

In The Guardian newsroom the water is three feet deep and rising inexorably, the ship is sinking and all hands are required to bail or the screens will go black. There is no time to wait for developments, for investigations to be completed, for evidence- every ounce of strength must be thrown into the defiance of nature, the shocking nakedness of reality.

There is something very significant about the way that simultaneous attacks of impotent russophobic dementia are eating away the brains of the rulers on both sides of the Atlantic.

The game, which has been going the same way for about 500 years, is up. The maritime empire is becoming marginal and the force that it has used, throughout these centuries, no longer overwhelms. The cruisers and carriers no longer work except to intimidate those not worth frightening.

There is only one thing left for the Empire and its hundreds of thousands of apparatchiki-from cops to pundits, from Professors to jailers- either they adjust to a new dispensation because the Times are Changing or they blow themselves and the whole planet up.

Thomas Peterson says March 9, 2018
From what's emerging now, it seems there simply were no assassins wandering round Salisbury. Instead, it appears Mr Skripal for some reason has a house full of nerve gas, or enough of it at least to take out himself, his daughter and a policeman who inspected the premises.
Thomas Prentice says March 9, 2018
Cleary the Guardian was swallowed up by England's fascist regime controlled by the City of London when it surrendered its hard drives to the regime for examination and/or destruction in the wake of the Snowden revelations.

The Guardian ownerships also sold their souls -- although the Guardian had already been in decline before they nabbed Glenn Greenwald. When he left, the Guardian lost ALL presumptive credibility.

Now The Guardian is just an organ of regime propaganda like the BBC (thank GOd for OffGuardian) and here is the island nation AGAIN asserting its dominance over the whole world, but this time on behalf of his brawnier brother, the EUSE, aka Exceptional US Empire.

One wonders how much longer the Russians will put up with this now that it is CLEAR that -- for the first time ever -- the Russians have complete military and nuclear superiority over "The West."

I'll bet Putin won't invade Ukraine, Germany, France, Brussels and England from the North and from the sea in the wintertime.

The Big Problem Is YThat Americans are afraid -- frightened -- but they are NOT afraid or frightened of a particular tbhing -- it is a generic fright. So they are no longer afraid of nuclear war. Trotsky said A'meria was the strongest nation but also the most terrified' and nothing has changed except military and nuclear superiority along with economic clout has shifted to Russia and China. Were Americans afraid of nuclear war -- or say, of an invasion from Saskatchewan or Tamaulipas -- there might be hope.

But somewhere along the time beginning with Clinton, Americans didn't worry their pretty little heads about nuclear war or American wars on everybody anywhere any longer so long as it didn't disturb their creature comforts and shopping and lattes by coming to the homeland. The Nuclear Freeze movement was, after all, a direct response to Reagan's "evil empire" military buildup in the 1980s and then voila he and Gorbachev negotiated away a whole class of nuclear weapoms and Old Bush promised NAto wouldn;t expand. Hope. Then that sneaky little bastard Clinton started expanding Nato on behalf of the Pentagon / CKIA / NSA / miklitary /congressional industyrial complex.

None of this suggests tht it will end pretty.

vierotchka says March 9, 2018

Maybe it's time to try some new digital hearts-and-minds operation. In the internet age, Russians have already shown how public opinion can be manipulated. Perhaps our own secret digital marvels can embark on the kind of information counter-offensive to win over the many millions of Russians who share our values. Perhaps they already are.

He really is taking Russians for idiots and fools!

vierotchka says March 9, 2018
There is one key element that proves that the Russians didn't do it: The Russians aren't so clumsy as to poison over a dozen other people at the same time.
MichaelK says March 9, 2018
The whole piece is an emotionally charged rant, bordering on hysteria, based on a transparent tissue of lies, distortions and absolutely stunning hypocrisy; and this coming from the 'liberal' 'left of centre' Guardian!

It's rather scary. The Guardian screaming for a crusade aimed at toppling the Russian system and replacing it with something else, something closer to 'our values.' The moralizing is shocking and grotesque. I really wish the ground would just open up and swallow the Guardian whole. We'd be far better off with out it.

[Mar 11, 2018] I often think that, a the machinery of surveillance and repression becomes so well oiled and refined, the ruling oligarchs will soon stop even paying lip service to 'American workers', or the "American middle class" and go full authoritarian

Highly recommended!
Are powerful intelligence agencies compatible even with limited neoliberal democracy, or democracy for top 10 or 1%?
Notable quotes:
"... I recall during the George II administration someone in congress advocating for he return of debtor's prisons during the 'debat' over ending access to bankruptcy ..."
"... Soros, like the Koch brothers, heads an organization. He has lots of "people" who do what he demands of them. ..."
"... Let's give these guys (and gals, too, let's not forget the Pritzkers and DeVoses and the Walton Family, just among us Norte Americanos) full credit for all the hard work they are putting in, and money too, of course, to buy a world the way they want it -- one which us mopes have only slave roles to play... ..."
Mar 11, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg -> Harry... 10 March 2018 at 06:25 PM

You have a good point, but I often think that, a the machinery of surveillance and repression becomes so well oiled and refined, the ruling oligarchs will soon stop even paying lip service to 'American workers', or the "American middle class" and go full authoritarian. Karl Rove's dream to return the economy to the late 19th Century standard.

The Clintonoid project seems set on taking it to the late 16th century. Probably with a return of chattel slavery. I recall during the George II administration someone in congress advocating for he return of debtor's prisons during the 'debat' over ending access to bankruptcy

JTMcPhee -> to steve... 11 March 2018 at 12:56 PM
Soros, like the Koch brothers, heads an organization. He has lots of "people" who do what he demands of them.

Do you really contend that Soros and the Koch brothers, and people like Adelson, aren't busily "undermining American democracy," whatever that is, via their organizations (like ALEC and such) in favor of their oligarchic kleptocratic interests, and going at it 24/7?

The phrase "reductio ad absurdam" comes to mind, for some reason...

Let's give these guys (and gals, too, let's not forget the Pritzkers and DeVoses and the Walton Family, just among us Norte Americanos) full credit for all the hard work they are putting in, and money too, of course, to buy a world the way they want it -- one which us mopes have only slave roles to play...

[Mar 11, 2018] It looks like the USA descending into tribalism due to the loss of jobs, the drug epidemic and environmental exploitation

Loss of legitimacy of neoliberal elite reminds loss of legitimacy of Nomenklatura in the USSR.
This descent "into tribalism due to the loss of jobs, the drug epidemic and environmental exploitation " also reminds epidemic of alcoholism due to lack of persepdtives both in job environment and housing crisis, where young families did not have a space to live in the USSR.
The logical end on the US empire might well be the USSR style crisis. which might eventually lead to the disintegration of the country.
Notable quotes:
"... NBC News daily has Kumbaya propaganda to facilitate importing of cheap labor and goods. But, what good is a service economy if there is no service? Just like Soviet propaganda, corporate media today is in service of the oligarch owners and sold out party elite. It tries to avoid the truth. Although, NBC did report on the astronomical rise in cost of ambulance service. A couple thousand dollars for mile and half trip to the hospital. They said it was due to the 2008 recession and the cutting of local volunteer emergency services to save tax money. ..."
"... I agree the Democrats shot themselves in the foot because they are unconcerned for the bottom 80% except for their identity issues. They serve their paymasters. ..."
"... The recent Italian election documents the complete collapse of left leaning parties that ignored the plight of the workers in the West. To me, to win, the left in America must write off student debt, implement Medicare for All, end the forever wars and tax George Soros, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Pierre Omidyar, the Koch Brothers and the Walton Family to pay for it. To work, criminal bankers need to be jailed and corporate boards required to manage for long term profits that benefit society not just quarterly and themselves only. ..."
Mar 10, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

VietnamVet 10 March 2018 at 05:27 PM

Colonel,

Have you seen the movie "Wind River" yet? It is the best depiction I've seen of the USA descending into tribalism due to the loss of jobs, the drug epidemic and environmental exploitation.

NBC News daily has Kumbaya propaganda to facilitate importing of cheap labor and goods. But, what good is a service economy if there is no service? Just like Soviet propaganda, corporate media today is in service of the oligarch owners and sold out party elite. It tries to avoid the truth. Although, NBC did report on the astronomical rise in cost of ambulance service. A couple thousand dollars for mile and half trip to the hospital. They said it was due to the 2008 recession and the cutting of local volunteer emergency services to save tax money.

Rather than tax the wealthy and corporations, the middle class is going into debt to pay for education, medical bills, and $40 Northern Virginia one-way tolls. Federal taxes on the middle class support the endless wars.

I agree the Democrats shot themselves in the foot because they are unconcerned for the bottom 80% except for their identity issues. They serve their paymasters.

The recent Italian election documents the complete collapse of left leaning parties that ignored the plight of the workers in the West. To me, to win, the left in America must write off student debt, implement Medicare for All, end the forever wars and tax George Soros, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Pierre Omidyar, the Koch Brothers and the Walton Family to pay for it. To work, criminal bankers need to be jailed and corporate boards required to manage for long term profits that benefit society not just quarterly and themselves only.

[Mar 08, 2018] Deep state vs "surface state" struggle: the deep state is winning

Mar 08, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

likbez -> Dave... 08 March 2018 at 11:44 PM

Dave,

Is it so difficult to understand that there are strong incentives to create the "Russia Threat" to hide the crisis of neoliberalism in the USA. The current can of political worms and infighting in Washington, DC between POTUS and intelligence agencies factions supporting anti-trump color revolution clearly demonstrate that this crisis is systemic in nature. In this sense, we can talk about the transformation of the US political system into something new.

One feature of this new system is that the US foreign policy now is influenced, if not controlled by intelligence agencies. The latter also proved to be capable of acting as the kingmakers in the US Presidential elections (this time with side effects: derailing Sanders eventually led to the election of Trump; that's why efforts to depose Trump commenced immediately.)

A large part of the US elite is willing to create the situation of balancing on the edge of nuclear war because it allows them to swipe the dirt under the carpet and unite the nation on bogus premises, suppressing the crisis of confidence in the neoliberal elite. Neo-McCarthyism witch hunt serves exactly this purpose.

Also now it is clear that the intelligence agencies and Pentagon, play active, and maybe even decisive part in determining the US foreign policy, US population and elected POTUS be damned.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and his staff showed this new arrangement in Syria in July 2017. And the fact that he was not fired on the spot might well signify the change in political power between the "deep state" and the "surface state". With the latter one step closer to being just a Potemkin Village.

Sid Finster said in reply to Dave... , 08 March 2018 at 05:09 PM
So now we are supposed to believe unquestioningly the word of torturers, perjurers and entrapment artists, all talking about alleged evidence that we are not allowed to see?

Did you learn nothing from the "Iraqi WMD" fiasco or the "ZOMG! Assad gassed his own peoples ZOMG!" debacle?

Funny how in each of these instances, the intelligence community's lies just happened to coincide with the agenda of empire.

Flavius said in reply to LeaNder... , 08 March 2018 at 01:54 PM
It will be interesting to see why the interviewing FBI Agents to whom Flynn has admitted to the Mueller Op telling a lie, or lies, did not avail Flynn the opportunity of the 'lie circumstantial." From what I think I know about the case, the answers to the questions put to Flynn were already known to the Agents from wire overhears; and their substance did not constitute a crime in any case. Why would not the Agents interviewing Flynn have said "If you're telling me this, we have reason to think that you're mistaken?" If I'm correct in my understanding, in my opinion, the Agents conducted themselves in a very chickenshit fashion and I would suspect an Agenda was in play.

Making a more general observation regarding the Mueller Op, it seems to me that not the least reprehensible effect of its existence is that de facto it has usurped the authority of the White House and the State Department to conduct Foreign Policy vis a vis Russia. For example, I doubt very much whether Mueller cleared his ridiculous indictment relating to the Russian troll farm, a requirement that at one time would have been SOP for any FBI Office or USAtty Office bringing an indictment of this kind. And even if Mueller did, what would, what could the WH or State response have been given the mishapen political climate and the track record of outrageous leaking that so far have gone on without consequence to the leaker.

So the net effect is that Mueller's office is conducting our Russian foreign policy. Authority without either responsibility or expertise is not a desirable thing when it comes to forging correct relations with a nuclear power.

[Mar 08, 2018] Kleptocracy the most typical form of corruption under neoliberalism, where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the financial oligarchy at the expense of the wider population, now even without pretense of honest service

Notable quotes:
"... he Dems disgust me with their neo-McCarthyism and the Repubs disgust me because of the way they are playing out their hand right now as well. Games within corrupt games, and yet normal behavior especially in waning empires (or other types of polities, including powerful int'l corporations). ..."
"... Chapter 14 of Guns, Germs and Steel is titled "From Egalitarianism to Kleptocracy" and it used to be available online but my old link is dead and I couldn't find a new one. But a basic definition should suffice: "Kleptocracy, alternatively cleptocracy or kleptarchy, is a form of political and government corruption where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population, often without pretense of honest service." I have no idea how one turns this around and I doubt it's even possible. ..."
"... The Real Reason Establishment Frauds Hate Trump and Obsess About Russia https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2018/02/20/the-real-reason-establishment-frauds-hate-trump-and-obsess-about-russia/ ..."
"... Blaming Russia for all the nation's problems serves several key purposes for various defenders of the status quo. For discredited neocons and neoliberals who never met a failed war based on lies they didn't support, it provides an opportunity to rehabilitate their torched reputations by masquerading as fierce patriots against the latest existential enemy. Similarly, for those who lived in denial about who Obama really was for eight years, latching on to the Russia narrative allows them to reassure themselves that everything really was fine before Trump and Russia came along and ruined the party. ..."
Mar 01, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Valissa -> jsn... , 01 March 2018 at 07:44 PM

jsn @16 & 40, in complete agreement with you. Great comments! T he Dems disgust me with their neo-McCarthyism and the Repubs disgust me because of the way they are playing out their hand right now as well. Games within corrupt games, and yet normal behavior especially in waning empires (or other types of polities, including powerful int'l corporations).

Chapter 14 of Guns, Germs and Steel is titled "From Egalitarianism to Kleptocracy" and it used to be available online but my old link is dead and I couldn't find a new one. But a basic definition should suffice: "Kleptocracy, alternatively cleptocracy or kleptarchy, is a form of political and government corruption where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population, often without pretense of honest service." I have no idea how one turns this around and I doubt it's even possible.

Back when I used to subscribe to STRATFOR, founder George Friedman always made a point of evaluating the elites of whatever country he was analyzing and how they operated amongst themselves and relative to the people and how effective they were or were not in governing a country. But he never did that for the US. I would have paid extra for that report! But of course he could not stay in business if he did such a thing as those people are his clients.

I think Mike Krieger over at Liberty Blitzkrieg nails it from another perspective with this post:

The Real Reason Establishment Frauds Hate Trump and Obsess About Russia https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2018/02/20/the-real-reason-establishment-frauds-hate-trump-and-obsess-about-russia/

Blaming Russia for all the nation's problems serves several key purposes for various defenders of the status quo. For discredited neocons and neoliberals who never met a failed war based on lies they didn't support, it provides an opportunity to rehabilitate their torched reputations by masquerading as fierce patriots against the latest existential enemy. Similarly, for those who lived in denial about who Obama really was for eight years, latching on to the Russia narrative allows them to reassure themselves that everything really was fine before Trump and Russia came along and ruined the party.

By throwing every problem in Putin's lap, the entrenched bipartisan status quo can tell themselves (and everybody else) that it wasn't really them and their policies that voters rejected in 2016, rather, the American public was tricked by cunning, nefarious Russians. Ridiculous for sure, but never underestimate the instinctive human desire to deny accountability for one's own failures. It's always easier to blame than to accept responsibility.

That said, there's a much bigger game afoot beyond the motivations of individuals looking to save face. The main reason much of the highest echelons of American power are united against Trump has nothing to do with his actual policies. Instead, they're terrified that -- unlike Obama -- he's a really bad salesman for empire. This sort of Presidential instability threatens the continuance of their well oiled and exceedingly corrupt gravy train. Hillary Clinton was a sure thing, Donald Trump remains an unpredictable wildcard.

... Obama said all the right things while methodically doing the bidding of oligarchy. He captured the imagination of millions, if not billions, around the world with his soaring rhetoric, yet rarely skipped a beat when it came to the advancement of imperial policies. He made bailing out Wall Street, droning civilians and cracking down on journalists seem progressive. He said one thing, did another, and people ate it up. This is an extraordinarily valuable quality when it comes to a vicious and unelected deep state that wants to keep a corrupt empire together.

Trump has the exact opposite effect. Sure, he also frequently says one thing and then does another, but he doesn't provide the same feel good quality to empire that Obama did. He's simply not the warm and fuzzy salesman for oligarchy and empire Obama was, thus his inability to sugarcoat state-sanctioned murder forces a lot of people to confront the uncomfortable hypocrisies in our society that many would prefer not to admit.

------------

I can't stand Kushner's smirky face and got a good chuckle from this prince's fall as I am not a fan of his passion for Israel. But I don't think he's a stupid idiot either. He's probably very smart in business, but he seems to have no feel for politics. Trump is much better at it than Kushner. Of course they are going after Kushner as a way to attack and disadvantage Trump. Politics is a form of warfare after all.

My take is that Trump survives but mostly contained by the Borg

[Mar 07, 2018] Putin Says US Political System Eating Itself Up, Explains Preparation For Nuclear War

There is a Russian term for the political condition into which the USA political establishment has arrived: The USA became "nedogovorosposobniy" -- a derogatory term for people who are iether mentally incapacitated or are such crooks that nobody can't be rely on signed by them treaties and who can break any promises given and signed in writing with ease.
After painful months of negotiation with the US, Sergei Lavrov regretfully announced that the Americans were such. There are rules, and the Americans do not know how to observe them. There are boundaries, but no-one has taught them to the Americans. In this sense, the Russians, the Chinese, and the Iranians are grown-ups. It is possible to do business with them without risking the survival of the species.'
That's a sign of a "failed state"
Notable quotes:
"... He described the Western sanctions over Crimea and the insurgency in eastern Ukraine as part of "illegitimate and unfair" efforts to contain Russia, adding that "we will win in the long run." He added that "those who serve us with poison will eventually swallow it and poison themselves." ..."
Mar 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Putin then ... vented his frustration with the U.S. political system saying " it has demonstrated its inefficiency and has been eating itself up."

" It's quite difficult to interact with such a system, because it's unpredictable ," Putin said.

Russian hopes for a detente and better ties with Washington have been dashed by the ongoing congressional and FBI investigations into allegations of collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia. Speaking about the bitter tensions in Russia-West relations, Putin said they have been rooted in Western efforts to contain and weaken Russia.

"We are a great power, and no one likes competition," he said.

Turning his attention to a particularly sensitive topic, Putin said he was dismayed by what he described as the U.S. role in the ouster of Ukraine's Russia-friendly president in February 2014 amid massive protests.

Putin charged that the U.S. had asked Russia to help persuade then-President Viktor Yanukovych not to use force against protesters and then "rudely and blatantly" cheated Russia, sponsoring what he called a "coup. " Russia responded by rushing through a referendum in Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, whose result was an overwhelming majority voting to join Russia.

" Few expected us to act so quickly and so resolutely, not to say daringly ," Putin said.

He described the Western sanctions over Crimea and the insurgency in eastern Ukraine as part of "illegitimate and unfair" efforts to contain Russia, adding that "we will win in the long run." He added that "those who serve us with poison will eventually swallow it and poison themselves."

Responding to a question about Russia's growing global leverage, Putin responded: "If we play strongly with weak cards, it means the others are just poor players, they aren't as strong as it seemed, they must be lacking something."

* * *

Finally, Putin, who presented a sweeping array of new Russian nuclear weapons last week , voiced hope that nuclear weapons will never be used -- but warned that Russia will retaliate in kind if it comes under a nuclear attack.

"The decision to use nuclear weapons can only be made if our early warning system not only detects a missile launch but clearly forecasts its flight path and the time when warheads reach the Russian territory," he said. "If someone makes a decision to destroy Russia, then we have a legitimate right to respond."

He concluded ominously: "Yes, it will mean a global catastrophe for mankind, for the entire world. But as a citizen of Russia and the head of Russian state I would ask: What is such a world for, if there were no Russia?" Tags War Conflict Politics

Comments Vote up! 66 Vote down! 7

Shitonya Serfs Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:23 Permalink

Aim for CA, DC, and NYC, Putin...don't forget Seattle

Cry Baby Moe -> Shitonya Serfs Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:26 Permalink

"Yes, it will mean a global catastrophe for mankind, for the entire world. But as a citizen of Russia and the head of Russian state I would ask: What is such a world for, if there were no Russia?"

peace in the world? Happiness for all?

y3maxx -> Cry Baby Moe Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:28 Permalink

Absolutely true....Trump is a balanced man compared to the unbalanced Deep State and Congress.

BullyBearish -> y3maxx Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:30 Permalink

"...would you want to live in a world without classic coke?"

skbull44 -> BullyBearish Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:31 Permalink

Making the MIC great again!!

https://olduvai.ca

ThanksChump -> skbull44 Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:38 Permalink

Many Americans are angry that Soviet socialists threw their communist comrades out. Putin, a better capitalist than most US presidents in recent decades, hates communists as much as everyone else does.

Go live in Best Korea, Communist scum.

Luc X. Ifer -> ThanksChump Wed, 03/07/2018 - 13:51 Permalink

Well. It was obvious for some time that a corrupt gov will lead unfortunately to capitalism going rogue and eating itself up. Don't get me wrong, is not the capitalism failure is the failure of the ones who supposedly had to ensure the existence of a true free but balanced market, and that's the gov, so as in the former Soviet bloc this proves again that too big and powerful gov naturally evolves into an oligarchy which drives the system to self cannibalize.

silver140 -> Luc X. Ifer Wed, 03/07/2018 - 14:36 Permalink

The US doesn't have a corrupt government, it has corporate fascist rulers who have puppets posing as politicians who pretend to be in a government.

samsara -> skbull44 Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:58 Permalink

Ah, Www.dieoff.com

Remember it?

scaleindependent -> samsara Wed, 03/07/2018 - 14:27 Permalink

Never heard of it. Thanks

[Mar 01, 2018] Putin The Man Who Stopped Washington s Regime Change Rampage by Mike Whitney

What Washington really haptes about Putin is that he has refused to comply with their diktats and has openly rejected their model of a "unipolar" world order.
Notable quotes:
"... The attacks on Putin began sometime in 2006 during Putin's second term when it became apparent that Russia was going to resist the looting and exploitation the US requires of its vassal states. ..."
"... That's right, Russia was thrown under the bus because they wanted to control their own oil and their own destiny. ..."
"... John Edwards and Jack Kemp were appointed to lead a CFR task force which concocted the absurd pretext that that Putin was "rolling back democracy" in Russia. ..."
"... What Washington really despises about Putin is that he has refused to comply with their diktats and has openly rejected their model of a "unipolar" world order. ..."
"... Despite Russia's efforts to assist the US in its War On Terror, Washington has continued to regard Putin as an emerging rival that would eventually have to be confronted. The conflict in Ukraine added more gas to the fire by pitting the two superpowers against each other in a hot war that remains unresolved to this day. ..."
"... But Syria was the straw that broke the camel's back. Russia's intervention in the Syrian War in September 2015 proved to be the turning point in the 7 year-long conflagration. By rolling back the CIA-trained militants, Putin bloodied Washington's nose and forced the Pentagon to adopt a backup plan that relied heavily on Kurdish proxies east of the Euphrates. ..."
"... The Syria humiliation precipitated the Russia-gate Information Operation (IO) which is the propaganda component of the current war on Russia. The scandal has been an effective way to poison public perceptions and to make it look like the perpetrator of aggression is really the victim. ..."
"... Putin clearly blames the United States for the rise of ISIS and the surge in global terrorism. He also condemns Washington's strategy to use terrorist organizations to achieve its own narrow strategic objectives. (regime change) More important, he uses his platform at the United Nations to explain why he has deployed the Russian Air-force to bases in Syria where it will it will be used to conduct a war against Washington's jihadist proxies on the ground. ..."
"... The only place where people have a negative view of Putin is in the United States (14 percent) and EU (28 percent), the two locations where he is relentlessly savaged by the media and excoriated by the political class. ..."
"... The problem is that the propaganda power structure behind the yankee imperium is probably too powerful for rationality to triumph, so we are in for serious trouble. ..."
"... After having spent 36 years in the West and having seen Westerners vote for the likes of Blair, Sarkozy or Macron, I have a very low opinion of Western intelligence, and Western moral relativism and indifference with regards to the crimes their elected leaders committed abroad. ..."
"... China is a rival but an odd kind of rival. Let's not forget that the US, over the last 30 whatever years has enthusiastically facilitated China's rise. China has become the world's factory because the US and other countries Co's want CHEAP labour. ..."
"... American liberals support lifting living standards and ending poverty? You mean, the same American liberals who support 'free' trade and importing unlimited amounts of scab labor? You must have us confused with some other country, Mike. ..."
"... not like he had a choice. dc was about to have it's hands on his throat and he finally reacted. That was ukraine. syria was him trying to protect another one of his naval bases. the bear simply reacted to attempts at cutting off it's legs. ..."
"... Putin inherited a broken Russia in 2000. A Russia on the verge of collapse due to misrule of drunkard Yeltsin and body blows administered by US/NATO. A broken down military; economy in shambles; demographic collapse. During his presidency US/EU/NATO engineered a collapse of oil prices and assaults on ruble: what exactly was Putin supposed to non-passively do to counter the collapse of world oil prices, for example? ..."
"... Putin was wise enough and cautious enough not to go head-to-head with US/NATO until his military and economy were in good enough shape to do and make a difference, as in Syria for example. It would have been very bad for Russia to act prematurely and get bled dry, which warmongering US Neocons were hoping for. ..."
"... Obviously Putin knows the strengths and weaknesses of Russia better than any of us here. He is butting heads with the combined military industrial might of US+EU: that block has a lot of human resources, wealth, worldwide financial and political influence. Also Putin has to – has to – improve the living standards of citizens of RF, so he cannot afford to get into an expensive arms race with the West. Putin is doing very well with what he has, as far as human and military-industrial resources Russia has. ..."
"... When asked by a Germany-based academic where Russia had most seriously gone wrong in the past decade and a half, Putin said he had too readily laid his trust in the West, which he then accused of having abused its relationship with Moscow to further its own interests." ..."
"... America is in a very ugly spot and getting worse everyday. Living here I can sense it. Americans are going crazy. Pathetic how they are trying and build hate for Russia/Putin mainly because America got triple fucked across the ME and especially in Syria. Very sad. ..."
"... America's greatest historical truth: in foreign policy the USA just cannot learn from experience. We keep making the same mistakes. Stupid, idiotic, nation building b/s. ..."
"... In my opinion, the USA, until now, could afford to conduct foreign policy for internal reasons ..."
"... The reason why the US empire will follow the British empire into the graveyard is because they are based on the same model – trying to prevent others from becoming equal to them instead of trying to get better than the competitors. ..."
"... GB was preoccupied with preventing Germany from surpassing them – and guess what? They succeeded. And where is the British empire now? ..."
"... US is on a similar path of self-destruction. First they made China an economic superpower and now they want to contain them militarily. Good luck with that. ..."
"... The money that the US spent on military misadventures – they could have bribed with far lesser amount of money the various "dictatorships" that they were so democratically inclined to topple – and would have achieved better results. Instead of using those money to make US better – for their citizens, they are trying to prevent the world from catching up with them – British style. ..."
Feb 28, 2018 | www.unz.com

"It is essential to provide conditions for creative labor and economic growth at a pace that would put an end to the division of the world into permanent winners and permanent losers. The rules of the game should give the developing economies at least a chance to catch up with those we know as developed economies. We should work to level out the pace of economic development, and brace up backward countries and regions so as to make the fruit of economic growth and technological progress accessible to all. Particularly, this would help to put an end to poverty, one of the worst contemporary problems." Vladimir Putin, President Russian Federation, Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club

Putin wants to end poverty? Putin wants to stimulate economic growth in developing countries? Putin wants to change the system that divides the world into "permanent winners and losers"? But, how can that be, after all, Putin is bad, Putin is a "KGB thug", Putin is the "new Hitler"?

American liberals would be surprised to know that Putin actually supports many of the same social issues that they support. For example, the Russian President is not only committed to lifting living standards and ending poverty, he's also a big believer in universal healthcare which is free under the current Russian Constitution. Naturally, the Russian system has its shortcomings, but there has been significant progress under Putin who has dramatically increased the budget, improved treatment and widened accessibility. Putin believes that healthcare should be a universal human right. Here's what he said at the annual meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club:

"Another priority is global healthcare . All people in the world, not only the elite, should have the right to healthy, long and full lives. This is a noble goal. In short, we should build the foundation for the future world today by investing in all priority areas of human development." (Vladimir Putin, President Russian Federation, Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club)

How many "liberal" politicians in the US would support a recommendation like Putin's? Not very many. The Democrats are much more partial to market-based reforms like Obamacare that guarantee an ever-increasing slice of the pie goes to the giant HMOs and the voracious pharmaceutical companies. The Dems no longer make any attempt to promote universal healthcare as a basic human right. They've simply thrown in the towel and moved on to other issues.

Many Americans would find Putin's views on climate change equally surprising. Here's another clip from the Valdai speech:

"Ladies and gentlemen, one more issue that shall affect the future of the entire humankind is climate change. I suggest that we take a broader look at the issue .What we need is an essentially different approach, one that would involve introducing new, groundbreaking, nature-like technologies that would not damage the environment, but rather work in harmony with it, enabling us to restore the balance between the biosphere and technology upset by human activities.

It is indeed a challenge of global proportions. And I am confident that humanity does have the necessary intellectual capacity to respond to it. We need to join our efforts, primarily engaging countries that possess strong research and development capabilities, and have made significant advances in fundamental research. We propose convening a special forum under the auspices of the UN to comprehensively address issues related to the depletion of natural resources, habitat destruction, and climate change. Russia is willing to co-sponsor such a forum .." Valdai)

Most people would never suspect that Putin supports a global effort to address climate change. And, how would they know, after all, bits of information like that– that help to soften Putin's image and make him seem like a rational human being– are scrubbed from the media's coverage in order to cast him in the worst possible light. The media doesn't want people to know that Putin is a reflective and modest man who has worked tirelessly to make Russia and the world a better place. No, they want them to believe that he's is a scheming tyrannical despot who's obsessive hatred for America poses a very real threat to US national security. But it's not true.

Putin is not the ghoulish caricature the media makes him out to be nor does he hate America, that's just more propaganda from the corporate echo-chamber. The truth is Putin has been good for Russia, good for regional stability, and good for global security. He pulled the Russian Federation back from the brink of annihilation in 2000, and has had the country moving in a positive direction ever since. His impact on the Russian economy has been particularly impressive. According to Wikipedia:

"Between 2000 and 2012 Russia's energy exports fueled a rapid growth in living standards, with real disposable income rising by 160%. In dollar-denominated terms this amounted to a more than sevenfold increase in disposable incomes since 2000. In the same period, unemployment and poverty more than halved and Russians' self-assessed life satisfaction also rose significantly."

Inequality is a problem in Russia just like it is in the US, but the vast majority of working people have benefited greatly from Putin's reforms and a system of distribution that –judging by steady uptick in disposable incomes – is significantly superior to that in the United States where wages have flatlined for over 2 decades and where virtually all of the nation's wealth trickles upward to the parasitic 1 percent.

Since Putin took office in 2000, workers have seen across-the-board increase in wages, benefits, healthcare and pensions. Poverty and unemployment have been reduced by more than half while foreign investment has experienced steady growth. Onerous IMF loans have been repaid in full, capital flight has all-but ceased, hundreds in billions in reserves have been accumulated, personal and corporate taxes have been slashed, and technology has experienced an unprecedented renaissance. The notorious Russian oligarchs still have a stranglehold on many privately-owned industries, but their grip has begun to loosen and the "kleptocracy has begun to fade."

Things are far from perfect, but the Russian economy has flourished under Putin and, generally speaking, the people are appreciative. This helps to explain why Putin's public approval ratings are typically in the stratosphere. (70 to 80 percent) Simply put: Putin the most popular Russian president of all time. And his popularity is not limited to Russia either, in fact, he typically ranks at the top of most global leadership polls such as the recent Gallup International End of Year Survey (EoY) where Putin came in third (43 percent positive rating) behind Germany's Angela Merkel (49 percent) and French President Emmanuel Macron. (45 percent) According to Gallup: "Putin has gone from one in three (33 percent) viewing him favourably to 43 percent, a significant increase over two years."

The only place where people have a negative view of Putin is in the United States (14 percent) and EU (28 percent), the two locations where he is relentlessly savaged by the media and excoriated by the political class. This should come as no surprise to Americans who know that the chances of stumbling across an article that treats Putin with even minimal objectivity is about as likely as finding a copper coin at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. The consensus view of the western media is that Putin is a maniacal autocrat who kills journalists and political opponents (no proof), who meddles in US elections to "sow discord" and destroy our precious democracy (no proof), and who is conducting a secret and sinister cyberwar against the United States. (no proof). It's a pathetic litany of libels and fabrications, but its impact on the brainwashed American people has been quite impressive as Gallup's results indicate. Bottom line: Propaganda works.

The attacks on Putin began sometime in 2006 during Putin's second term when it became apparent that Russia was going to resist the looting and exploitation the US requires of its vassal states. This is when the powerful Council on Foreign Relations funded a report titled "Russia's Wrong Direction" that suggested that Russia's increasingly independent foreign policy and insistence that it control its own vast oil and natural gas resources meant that "the very idea of a 'strategic partnership' no longer seems realistic." That's right, Russia was thrown under the bus because they wanted to control their own oil and their own destiny.

John Edwards and Jack Kemp were appointed to lead a CFR task force which concocted the absurd pretext that that Putin was "rolling back democracy" in Russia. They claimed that the government had become increasingly authoritarian and that the society was growing less "open and pluralistic". Kemp and Edwards provided the ideological foundation upon which the entire public relations campaign against Putin has been built. Twelve years later, the same charges are still being leveled at Putin along with the additional allegations that he meddled in the 2016 presidential elections.

Needless to say, none of the nation's newspapers, magazines or broadcast media ever publish anything that deviates even slightly from the prevailing, propagandistic narrative about Putin. One can only assume that the MSM's views on Putin are either universally accepted by all 325 million Americans or that the so-called "free press" is a wretched farce that conceals an authoritarian corporate machine that censors all opinions that don't promote their own malign political agenda.

What Washington really despises about Putin is that he has refused to comply with their diktats and has openly rejected their model of a "unipolar" world order. As he said at the annual Security Conference at Munich in 2007:

"The unipolar world refers to a world in which there is one master, one sovereign; one center of authority, one center of force, one center of decision-making. At the end of the day this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within."

Despite Russia's efforts to assist the US in its War On Terror, Washington has continued to regard Putin as an emerging rival that would eventually have to be confronted. The conflict in Ukraine added more gas to the fire by pitting the two superpowers against each other in a hot war that remains unresolved to this day.

But Syria was the straw that broke the camel's back. Russia's intervention in the Syrian War in September 2015 proved to be the turning point in the 7 year-long conflagration. By rolling back the CIA-trained militants, Putin bloodied Washington's nose and forced the Pentagon to adopt a backup plan that relied heavily on Kurdish proxies east of the Euphrates. At present, US Special Forces and their allies are clinging to a strip of arid wasteland in the Syrian outback hoping that the Pentagon brass can settle on a forward-operating strategy that reverses their fortunes or brings the war to a swift end.

The Syria humiliation precipitated the Russia-gate Information Operation (IO) which is the propaganda component of the current war on Russia. The scandal has been an effective way to poison public perceptions and to make it look like the perpetrator of aggression is really the victim. More important, failure in Syria has led to a reevaluation of how Washington conducts its wars abroad. The War on Terror pretext has been jettisoned for a more direct approach laid out in the Trump administration's National Defense Strategy. The focus going forward will be on "Great Power Competition", that is, the US is subordinating its covert proxy operations to more flagrant displays of military force particularly in regards to the "growing threat from revisionist powers", Russia and China. In short, the gloves are coming off and Washington is ramping up for a land war.

Putin has become an obstacle to Washington's imperial ambitions which is why he's has been elevated to Public Enemy Number 1. It has nothing to do with the fictitious meddling in the 2016 elections or the nonsensical "rolling back democracy" in Russia. It's all about power. In the United States the group with the tightest grip on power is the foreign policy establishment. These are the towering mandarins who dictate the policy, tailor the politics to fit their strategic vision, and dispatch their lackeys in the media to shape the narrative. These are the people who decided that Putin must be demonized to pave the way for more foreign interventions, more regime change wars, more bloody aggression against sovereign states.

Putin has repeatedly warned Washington that Russia would not stand by while the US destroyed one country after the other in its lust for global domination. He reiterated his claim that Washington's "uncontained hyper-use of force" was creating "new centers of tension", exacerbating regional conflicts, undermining international relations, and "plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts." He has pointed out how the US routinely displayed its contempt for international law and "overstepped its national borders in every way." As a result of Washington's aggressive behavior, public confidence in international law and global security has steadily eroded and "No one feels safe. I want to emphasize this," Putin thundered in Munich. "No one feels safe."

On September 28, 2015 Putin finally threw down the gauntlet in a speech he delivered at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly in New York. After reiterating his commitment to international law, the UN, and state sovereignty, he provided a brief but disturbing account of recent events in the Middle East, all of which have gotten significantly worse due to Washington's use of force. Here's Putin:

"Just look at the situation in the Middle East and Northern Africa Instead of bringing about reforms, aggressive intervention destroyed government institutions and the local way of life. Instead of democracy and progress, there is now violence, poverty, social disasters and total disregard for human rights, including even the right to life

The power vacuum in some countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa obviously resulted in the emergence of areas of anarchy, which were quickly filled with extremists and terrorists. The so-called Islamic State has tens of thousands of militants fighting for it, including former Iraqi soldiers who were left on the street after the 2003 invasion. Many recruits come from Libya whose statehood was destroyed as a result of a gross violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 ."

US interventions have decimated Iraq, Libya, Syria and beyond. Over a million people have been killed while tens of millions have been forced to flee their homes and their countries. The refugee spillover has added to social tensions across the EU where anti-immigrant sentiment has precipitated the explosive growth in right wing groups and political organizations. From Northern Africa, across the Middle East, and into Central Asia, global security has steadily deteriorated under Washington's ruthless stewardship. Here's more from Putin:

"The Islamic State itself did not come out of nowhere. It was initially developed as a weapon against undesirable secular regimes. Having established control over parts of Syria and Iraq, Islamic State now aggressively expands into other regions .It is irresponsible to manipulate extremist groups and use them to achieve your political goals, hoping that later you'll find a way to get rid of them or somehow eliminate them ."

Putin clearly blames the United States for the rise of ISIS and the surge in global terrorism. He also condemns Washington's strategy to use terrorist organizations to achieve its own narrow strategic objectives. (regime change) More important, he uses his platform at the United Nations to explain why he has deployed the Russian Air-force to bases in Syria where it will it will be used to conduct a war against Washington's jihadist proxies on the ground.

Putin: "We can no longer tolerate the current state of affairs in the world."

Less than 48 hours after these words were uttered, Russian warplanes began pounding militant targets in Syria.

Putin again: "Dear colleagues, relying on international law, we must join efforts to address the problems that all of us are facing, and create a genuinely broad international coalition against terrorism .Russia is confident of the United Nations' enormous potential, which should help us avoid a new confrontation and embrace a strategy of cooperation. Hand in hand with other nations, we will consistently work to strengthen the UN's central, coordinating role. I am convinced that by working together, we will make the world stable and safe, and provide an enabling environment for the development of all nations and peoples."

So, here's the question: Is Putin "evil" for opposing Washington's regime change wars, for stopping the spread of terrorism, and for rejecting the idea that one unipolar world power should rule the world? Is that why he's evil, because he won't click his heels and do as he's told by the global hegemon?

We should all be so evil.


Renoman , February 28, 2018 at 10:32 am GMT

Leader of the free World.
Robert Magill , February 28, 2018 at 11:00 am GMT
The dumbest thing about the US focus on Russia and Putin is that it leaves China, our actual rival, free to continue its march to overwhelming mastery of the entire Eastern Hemisphere. Without firing a shot or wasting a bullet China has moved into a position of influence the US has dreamed of for a century.

The next war, if it comes, will be over something like Cobalt. The future lies in big and plentiful electric batteries and China and Russia between them control almost 50% of the known supply of Cobalt, while the US has none. Stand by and wait, folks.

https://robertmagill.wordpress.com/2015/01/11/mr-bernays-to-dr-goebbels-to-s-h-i-t-3/

macilrae , February 28, 2018 at 2:11 pm GMT

The only place where people have a negative view of Putin is in the United States (14 percent) and EU (28 percent), the two locations where he is relentlessly savaged by the media and excoriated by the political class.

I would be staggered is only 14 percent of Americans had a negative view of Putin – almost everybody I have spoken to has completely swallowed the media line. In Europe UK in particular has been brainwashed against him – southern Europe far less so. The 28 percent is more realistic.

Harold Smith , February 28, 2018 at 2:41 pm GMT
@Robert Magill

Is China trying to trash our constitution? Is China invading other countries, killing people with missiles and bombs all over the world, staging "color revolutions" and subverting legitimate governments in the "West"? Is China patrolling the Gulf of Mexico and putting missiles in Mexico and Canada? China hasn't done anything bad to me or to anyone I know, so please explain how China is "our" "rival"?

exiled off mainstreet , February 28, 2018 at 3:37 pm GMT
This is a great article. The problem is that the propaganda power structure behind the yankee imperium is probably too powerful for rationality to triumph, so we are in for serious trouble.
Tailgunner Joes talking liver , February 28, 2018 at 3:50 pm GMT
Magisterial article.

There's a simple reason why Putin is talking sense. He's doing nothing more than stating customary international law. Those economic quotes have been set out in a series of UN resolutions including A/RES/41/128 on the right to development. This is the acquis of the civilized world. No country in the world opposes it – except the USA. The US votes alone against it every time it comes up, even though customary international law is US federal and state common law under the Supreme Court decision, The Paquete Habana.

Mr. Whitney has accepted the official framing that it's all about Putin. That clever decision makes his article more provocative. Calm appraisal of the current official foreign devil is inherently inflammatory. However, this has nothing to do with Putin. Rigid legalist that he is, his hands are tied. Russia has ratified the ICESCR.

Russia has ratified the ICESCR. The USA has not. Here are some of the rights Russians have that you do not:

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CESCR.aspx

OHCHR has a convenient compilation showing how each government meets its legal obligations and commitments. The synoptic heatmap below shows the US deep down in the shithole with Wahhabi headchoppers and neocolonial African presidents-for-life.

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Indicators/Pages/HRIndicatorsIndex.aspx

The exhaustively documented fact here is, the Russian state meets world standards. The US government does not. The Russian government respects, protects, and fulfils human rights. The US government fights tooth and nail to keep them out of your reach, and negates your incomplete half-assed constitutional rights with statist red tape. Russians get a better deal than you do. Merely by reciting the law as he does, Putin would win a fair election here with Roosevelt-scale majorities, again and again. That's why he drives the US government up the wall.

Beckow , February 28, 2018 at 4:23 pm GMT
Where is it the propaganda campaign going? We have seen this before as preparation for a war or a regime change. In Russia both are unlikely to succeed. That leaves an ever increasing propaganda bombast in the West, people brainwashed to the point where outright racism against anything 'Russian' will become widespread. Then what? Move movies with white Russian villains, as if that is what threatens West the most?

Russia can neither be isolated, nor 'collapsed' economically, nor ignored. It is too resource rich and powerful. Russia could possibly be checked in a second tier conflict (Syria?), but that would be of minimal consequence. Ukraine could be escalated, but there Russia has an enormous local logistics advantage, it would be a disaster for Kiev. And Russia is on friendly terms with China, its only potential military threat on land.

Propaganda by itself does nothing, it is only means to an end. West is in no position to go beyond propaganda, so we might experience a bizarre example of a mindless propaganda that goes on and on. As with all propaganda the main target is the domestic population – in other words it is the common people in the West who are being propagandised and in effect made more stupid, less capable of making rational decisions.

Even a slight u-turn is at this point unthinkable, almost all elites have too visibly engaged in the evil-Russia talk, how could they let go of it? We are stuck, we might get saved by an unrelated 'big event' somewhere else. If not, this could just be fatal, after all this belligerent talk we could perish because somebody dared to call Clinton a satan on Facebook. And they didn't use their real name – the horror .

dearieme , February 28, 2018 at 5:08 pm GMT
My own view is that Putin is probably as trustworthy and honest as any other ex-KGB man. On the other hand he does come across as intelligent, cautious, and calm. Especially when compared to the crook Hillary or the oaf Trump.
Si1ver1ock , February 28, 2018 at 5:34 pm GMT
@Tailgunner Joes talking liver

Great comment. I tried to follow the links but got an error:

The connection has timed out

The server at http://www.ohchr.org is taking too long to respond.

The site could be temporarily unavailable or too busy. Try again in a few moments.
If you are unable to load any pages, check your computer's network connection.
If your computer or network is protected by a firewall or proxy, make sure that Firefox is permitted to access the Web.

This is starting to bother me. Stuff is disappearing from the web. Look at the link below to an Al Jazeera documentary which has disappeared from YouTube and the web.

Attempting to play the video gives a message:

This video is unavailable.

https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/peopleandpower/2010/03/201031761541794128.html

Si1ver1ock , February 28, 2018 at 5:38 pm GMT
Nowadays being Pro Truth now makes you Anti American.

Sad.

and

Edie P , February 28, 2018 at 8:36 pm GMT
Si1ver1ock, interesting problems you're having. I had no problem with the links, but then the magic of Tor means I'm reaching them from the Netherlands. State censorship is harder when you can access suppressed URLs from a couple dozen different countries.

( https://www.torproject.org/download/download-easy.html.en )

anonymous Disclaimer , February 28, 2018 at 11:50 pm GMT
@Robert Magill

Please do respond, and in good faith, to the reply of commenter Harold Smith. I share his apparent concern that you may be conflating the interests of the American people with the imperial ambitions of their Uncle Sam.

Robert Magill , March 1, 2018 at 1:19 am GMT
@Harold Smith

Harold Smith,

I feel we have a problem with the term 'rival' here. All the negatives you describe represent a rivalry that I in no way imply in my statements. Rivalry can be strictly limited to trade and business and not in the war-making processes you are citing. I tried to point out that we as a nation miss the mark in constantly demonizing Russia, who is certainly no rival in trade and business, while China certainly is.
Our zealous attacking of rivals has a long history and is not easily abandoned. However, I am afraid our national focus in this unproductive way will cause us as a people to not be aware of where our serious competition is actually coming from and be able to deal with it in a timely fashion.

Robert Magill , March 1, 2018 at 1:20 am GMT
@anonymous

See my reply to Harold Smith.

Harold Smith , March 1, 2018 at 2:52 am GMT
@Robert Magill

"I feel we have a problem with the term 'rival' here. All the negatives you describe represent a rivalry that I in no way imply in my statements. Rivalry can be strictly limited to trade and business and not in the war-making processes you are citing."

In your original comment you said:

"The dumbest thing about the US focus on Russia and Putin is that it leaves China, our actual rival, free to continue its march to overwhelming mastery of the entire Eastern Hemisphere. Without firing a shot or wasting a bullet China has moved into a position of influence the US has dreamed of for a century."

Since a big part of the U.S. "focus" on Russia is military encirclement, confrontation by proxy, the threat of direct conflict even nuclear war, etc., this statement clearly suggests a "military solution" to "contain" an economically "rising" China, IMO. (After all, when the only tool the U.S. "government" has is a hammer, everything looks like a nail).

But so what if China has some kind of "mastery" of the Eastern hemisphere? To the extent that's true, at least they didn't do it by way of lawless imperial treachery.

The U.S. is losing influence all over the world because it's making itself hated; it's imposing itself everywhere and squandering everything of value on the hopeless pursuit of world domination and control.

"I tried to point out that we as a nation miss the mark in constantly demonizing Russia, who is certainly no rival in trade and business, while China certainly is."

The thing is "we" don't demonize Russia "as a nation"; rather, it's done by the Satanic ruling class that hates Russia – not for any rational reason, but for the same reason that Cain hated Abel: because "evil" hates a "good" example.

"Our zealous attacking of rivals has a long history and is not easily abandoned."

Unless you're going change the definition of "rival" again, I should point out that the U.S. "government" doesn't generally attack "rivals" but deems any country that asserts its sovereign independence and refuses to take orders an "enemy", subject to economic, political and military attack.

"However, I am afraid our national focus in this unproductive way will cause us as a people to not be aware of where our serious competition is actually coming from and be able to deal with it in a timely fashion."

You seem to be conflating "us as a people" with the U.S. "government" which has by now lost even the pretense of moral and constitutional legitimacy, and thus has nothing remotely to do with what's in the best interests of "us as a people".

Ilyana_Rozumova , March 1, 2018 at 5:34 am GMT
@Harold Smith

Here is the explanation. China is economic rival to US. That is not only inconvenient, rival, it is the most efficient and most dangerous rival, because who is wining the economic competition is pushing out the opponent from world markets.

LarryS , March 1, 2018 at 5:51 am GMT
@Harold Smith

Somebody wants white Christians to kill each other. Again.

Vojkan , March 1, 2018 at 6:52 am GMT
That people in the West believe the lies that TPTB concoct for their consumption, I can conceive, though only after a convoluted intellectual effort, for given all the now exposed deceit, one is left in wonder as to why the masses still believe proven liars.

After having spent 36 years in the West and having seen Westerners vote for the likes of Blair, Sarkozy or Macron, I have a very low opinion of Western intelligence, and Western moral relativism and indifference with regards to the crimes their elected leaders committed abroad.

Still, I can't figure out if TPTB believe their own narrative. It takes a very peculiar mindset to be able to live in permanent lies. Contrary to truth which can exist per se and is therefore essentially cost-free, lies demand permanent maintenance and have high maintenance cost.
So, TPTB of the West are either delusional in thinking they can maintain their lies ad vitam aeternam, or they are mythomaniacs. Either way, just think what happens when lies cannot be maintained any more and the liars don't want to relinquish power.

Bear in mind that lying being effectively irrational, they cannot be considered as rational actors. Prepare your shelters folks.

Ludwig Watzal , Website March 1, 2018 at 8:02 am GMT
Very seldom, I've read such a realistic article on President Putin and his policy. I've been following not only his administration but also that of the US Empire, and I'm always flabbergasted about the US elites demonization of this leader. He belongs to the few leaders who got their act together compared to the political exorcists in Washington. The real thugs and psychopaths are the members of the American political elite and their cheerleaders in the fawning US mainstream media. Following their analysis, I often think they stem from lunatics who are coming from outer space.
animalogic , March 1, 2018 at 9:05 am GMT
@Robert Magill

Yes, China is a rival but an odd kind of rival. Let's not forget that the US, over the last 30 whatever years has enthusiastically facilitated China's rise. China has become the world's factory because the US and other countries Co's want CHEAP labour.
So -- Dr Frankenstein is now scared of his own monster. Oh the irony !

Truthmatters , March 1, 2018 at 9:41 am GMT
In the last two weeks a virtual book burning has begun on YouTube. Scores of independent truth seeking channels have been deleted. Some were pretty amateur and sensationalist, many were good, top notch investigative fact checking in nature. Many had large numbers of subscribers, a few had 100,000s subscribers.

Common denominator seemed to question official mainstream media narrative on mass shootings, 9/11, war on terror, human sex trafficking, Clinton Foundation corruption, and even UFO coverups. One channel was a woman skilled at body language commenting on videos of people like John Podesta being interviewed as to whether he was lying.

None of these channels advocated violence, quite the contrary. Most couched opinion alongside probable facts by asking deductive and inductive questions. The YouTube virtual book burning appears to have gathered pace in last week.

So much for free speech in the fake but very slickly fake Western democracies. Where the geopolitical narrative is uniformly uniform.

Seamus Padraig , March 1, 2018 at 9:43 am GMT

American liberals would be surprised to know that Putin actually supports many of the same social issues that they support. For example, the Russian President is not only committed to lifting living standards and ending poverty, he's also a big believer in universal healthcare which is free under the current Russian Constitution.

American liberals support lifting living standards and ending poverty? You mean, the same American liberals who support 'free' trade and importing unlimited amounts of scab labor? You must have us confused with some other country, Mike.

"I suggest that we take a broader look at the issue .What we need is an essentially different approach, one that would involve introducing new, groundbreaking, nature-like technologies that would not damage the environment, but rather work in harmony with it "

I note that he says nothing about 'cap and trade,' or any other Western bankster-scam. I have nothing against renewable energy–whether or not global warming is real.

PiltdownMan , March 1, 2018 at 11:01 am GMT
For the West, the demonization of Vladimir Putin is not a policy; it is an alibi for the absence of one. -- Henry Kissinger in 2014.
Swan Knight , Website March 1, 2018 at 11:18 am GMT
Vladimir Putin is the World's greatest leader since Robert E Lee
Astuteobservor II , March 1, 2018 at 12:50 pm GMT
not like he had a choice. dc was about to have it's hands on his throat and he finally reacted. That was ukraine. syria was him trying to protect another one of his naval bases. the bear simply reacted to attempts at cutting off it's legs.

that is actually very, very passive.

Robert Magill , March 1, 2018 at 1:49 pm GMT
@ animalogic

"China has become the world's factory because the US and other countries Co's want CHEAP labour. "

We all know the drill here. China makes stuff cheap so that WalMart can undercut competitors and grow rich. Therefore, alas, what can be done? Except that WalMart has over four hundred stores IN CHINA and plans to build forty more! So what's our excuse now for not being able to compete?

Avery , March 1, 2018 at 2:18 pm GMT
@Harold Smith

{Russia had not been so passive over the years,}

Putin inherited a broken Russia in 2000. A Russia on the verge of collapse due to misrule of drunkard Yeltsin and body blows administered by US/NATO. A broken down military; economy in shambles; demographic collapse. During his presidency US/EU/NATO engineered a collapse of oil prices and assaults on ruble: what exactly was Putin supposed to non-passively do to counter the collapse of world oil prices, for example?

Putin was wise enough and cautious enough not to go head-to-head with US/NATO until his military and economy were in good enough shape to do and make a difference, as in Syria for example. It would have been very bad for Russia to act prematurely and get bled dry, which warmongering US Neocons were hoping for.

Obviously Putin knows the strengths and weaknesses of Russia better than any of us here. He is butting heads with the combined military industrial might of US+EU: that block has a lot of human resources, wealth, worldwide financial and political influence. Also Putin has to – has to – improve the living standards of citizens of RF, so he cannot afford to get into an expensive arms race with the West. Putin is doing very well with what he has, as far as human and military-industrial resources Russia has.

TailgunnerJoes Talking Liver , March 1, 2018 at 2:33 pm GMT
Alden, sounds like you stopped with the maps and didn't read any of the underlying documents because of the preconceptions you wear on your sleeve: "idealistic pie in the sky by and by UN treaties impossible to effect." Those preconceptions happen to coincide with the residual message of one persistent strand of US statist propaganda.

Have you ever read, in any US institution or medium, criticism as comprehensive and incisive as this?

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/LACRegion/Pages/USIndex.aspx

IGs can't do this. Courts can't begin to do this. Congress wouldn't dare do this. Media would never do it if they could. The recommendations are legally binding and the US government knows it. Each review is videoed. You haven't lived until you've seen State and Justice bureaucrats crawling and sniveling and tying themselves in logical knots, making fools of themselves in the most public forum in the world. You get to watch the US regime bleeding influence and standing and 'soft power.' It's public disgrace in front of the 96% of the world outside the US iron curtain. You may not want to watch impartial legal experts make a laughingstock of the USG, but everybody else in the world watches with amusement, so you might as well know.

Treaty body review has driven more reforms than Congress ever did. You know perfectly well how bad your government sucks, what a useless parasite it is. The treaty bodies and charter bodies give you more say than either state-controlled political party. Face it, human rights review is all you got. When your government sucks, you go over its head to the world.

Harold Smith , March 1, 2018 at 4:11 pm GMT
@Avery

"During a policy talk at the Valdai Discussion Club, the Russian leader spoke on a number of issues, especially criticizing U.S. foreign policy moves across the globe and lauding Russia's increasingly relevant role as a world power. When asked by a Germany-based academic where Russia had most seriously gone wrong in the past decade and a half, Putin said he had too readily laid his trust in the West, which he then accused of having abused its relationship with Moscow to further its own interests."

http://www.newsweek.com/russia-putin-reveal-biggiest-mistake-trusting-west-688998

Well maybe you can make Vladimir Putin feel better about this. You can tell him that blindly trusting the corrupt "West" (in the face of shamelessly obvious provocations) was actually not a mistake at all, since Russia couldn't have done a single thing about it anyway, right?

EugeneGur , March 1, 2018 at 4:40 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

Putin has drubbed Russia's economy.

This is a ridiculous statement. When Putin came aboard, there was no Russian economy to speak of. Now it's grown strong enough to withstand the events in Ukraine, sanctions and what not and even derive benefits from these challenges. I am not saying everything's coming up roses but it could hardly be expected considering the deep hole Russia dug itself into in the 1990s.

the entire region is upset with Putin's behavior as they have seen Putin's behavior in Crimea and the Donbas.

The entire region, it you mean our Eastern European neighbors, can like it or lump it. They, Poland in particular, participated very willingly and actively in the coup in Ukraine. Crimea and Donbass are direct, and perfectly predictable, consequences of that coup. If they forgot the law of physics that every action has a reaction, this is just as good a reminder as any.

the thing is, because of the recent study by J. Leroy Hulsey, Putin could still do it, but I predict that he unfortunately will do nothing of the kind.

EugeneGur , March 1, 2018 at 4:57 pm GMT
@Harold Smith

blindly trusting the corrupt "West" (in the face of shamelessly obvious provocations) was actually not a mistake at all, since Russia couldn't have done a single thing about it anyway, right?

Actually, it could've done a lot. Right at the beginning, Russia could've refused to trust in the word of the West's leaders about the NATO expansion and demand guarantees. A formal treaty plus a couple of remaining military bases, say, in Poland and East Germany, would've sufficed. This likely would've saved Yugoslavia as well.

Russia could've refrained from stopping the development of many weapon system and from destroying others. It could've also kept its own industry (civil aviation comes to mind) instead of relying on cooperation with the West. It could've refrained from allowing the US troops to use the Russia territory to move supplies to Afghanistan. Even recently it did occur to someone exceedingly smart to order aircraft carriers in France – speaking about trust! I do hope they learned their lesson, finally.

jilles dykstra , March 1, 2018 at 5:43 pm GMT
@Avery

In my opinion Putin is the man who saves us from a worldwide USA yoke

windwaves , March 1, 2018 at 6:07 pm GMT
Great Article.

America is in a very ugly spot and getting worse everyday. Living here I can sense it. Americans are going crazy. Pathetic how they are trying and build hate for Russia/Putin mainly because America got triple fucked across the ME and especially in Syria. Very sad.

America's greatest historical truth: in foreign policy the USA just cannot learn from experience. We keep making the same mistakes. Stupid, idiotic, nation building b/s. Come on dudes !

This is just a phase, we will turn it around and make America great again ( as opposed to israel which was never great anyway). It is just a question of how long it will take.

It will start the day when we'll tell that terrorist, shit-hole country called israel to go the hell, fight your own wars, pay for your own wars.

When Ukies attack , March 1, 2018 at 6:25 pm GMT
@EugeneGur

GDP per capita tripled on Putin's watch. That's one reason why he has public approval numbers that US politicians couldn't dream of.

jilles dykstra , March 1, 2018 at 6:58 pm GMT
@windwaves

In my opinion, the USA, until now, could afford to conduct foreign policy for internal reasons. Because of this the Sept 11 shock, while in reality it meant very little, as USA citizens working in the Netherlands soon afterwards said 'we have 30.000 traffic deaths each year'.

edNels , March 1, 2018 at 7:46 pm GMT
@Harold Smith

Good comeback there that was one of the best ones in a while!

I'm sorry, but no we're not. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we here in the "West" are living under a Satanic judeo-communist dictatorship, bent on world domination and control at any cost.

The difference between corporate state, and totalitarian state like old Soviet system is getting blurier all the time. Like planned economies of command systems, now they just create money for the cronies, who might as well be commies, and they don't give a care about what's true or honest, they lie and that's, like you mentioned, (Satanic), the truth isn't in 'em.

FB , March 1, 2018 at 8:01 pm GMT
@Seamus Padraig

' I note that he says nothing about 'cap and trade,' or any other Western bankster-scam. I have nothing against renewable energy–whether or not global warming is real '

Good comment however the environment is about more than just 'global warming' which may or may not be man-caused there is no scientific certainty but certainly what looks like a concerted push by certain quarters

But there is also habitat loss the toxins introduced through pollution industrial farming and the problems it causes with erosion, bad food etc

Putin's comments and Mike's citation of them reflect a thoughtful and realistic approach to at least start looking at these problems

Anon Disclaimer , March 1, 2018 at 8:15 pm GMT
Anon from TN
The author is painting Putin as larger-than-life figure, which he isn't. Just like the Soviet Union was not defeated by the US, but actually collapsed due to internal problems, regime change rampage is over largely because the United States pushed their luck and overextended themselves, and not just thanks to Putin. Throughout history, all dominant empires lose their grip and eventually crumble (remember Roman or British), and now it's the turn of the US Empire. Fortunately or unfortunately, the next will be the Chinese Empire, not Russian. (PS. Muslims missed the train. Again)
The Alarmist , March 1, 2018 at 10:57 pm GMT
@Harold Smith

It's not like he used the term 'enemy,' which too many unfortunately resort to in these discussions. During Cold War 1.0, a lot of us referred to the Sovs as the 'Adversary' because it was a less loaded term than enemy, though many equate the two. Are the Chinese rivals? Sure. Are they adversaries? You bet, especially when we keep stepping into their back yard. Are they enemies? The will be if we keep stepping into their back yard and telling them how to behave with their next door neighbours. All of this applies to Russia as well.

Cyrano , March 1, 2018 at 11:15 pm GMT
The reason why the US empire will follow the British empire into the graveyard is because they are based on the same model – trying to prevent others from becoming equal to them instead of trying to get better than the competitors.

GB was preoccupied with preventing Germany from surpassing them – and guess what? They succeeded. And where is the British empire now?

From an empire on which the sun never sets, pretty soon they'll be a country where the sun never rises – thanks to their stupid immigration policies and preoccupations with Russia (still!), like they (the British) are still even a factor in the global power games.

US is on a similar path of self-destruction. First they made China an economic superpower and now they want to contain them militarily. Good luck with that.

The money that the US spent on military misadventures – they could have bribed with far lesser amount of money the various "dictatorships" that they were so democratically inclined to topple – and would have achieved better results. Instead of using those money to make US better – for their citizens, they are trying to prevent the world from catching up with them – British style.

If anything the British military record was at least better than US's, at least they used to win wars – they pretty much went down undefeated – but they did went down and US military doesn't have the same success rate and even if they did, they will not accomplish holding the world back – same as Britain didn't.

renfro , March 1, 2018 at 11:26 pm GMT

American liberals would be surprised to know that Putin actually supports many of the same social issues that they support. For example, the Russian President is not only committed to lifting living standards and ending poverty, he's also a big believer in universal healthcare which is free under the current Russian Constitution

I do not see anything 'liberal' in Putin's ideas, certainly not as in the liberal agendas in the US.

I see him advocating Balance . creating a better order for the needs of populations and interactions between nations . therefore preserving nations, people and earth. Balance is not rocket science .nature is the ultimate example of balance, when it is tampered with all species eventually suffer.

Florin , March 2, 2018 at 12:06 am GMT
The neocons were/are Zionist in essence and mainly Jewish in thought leadership – this is inarguable. Also inarguable, though I am not aware of very many well-written essays on the topic, is that under Yeltsin, brought to power in no small part by US meddling, there was a fire sale of Russian assets – something arranged very largely by Jewish economists and Jewish bureaucrats. And the new 'oligarchs?' Why 6 of 7 of the most enriches were Jews in a nation <3% Jewish.

Ukraine was largely a coup by Nuland, Pyatt, Feltman ato help Jewish oligarchs in Ukraine who suddenly found themselves in the very top of the new govt. Jewish names pop up inordinately as to authors and editors of unhinged Russophobic articles. At what point do we say that the mideast wars are driven by Jews, so, disproportionately (maybe even mainly as to the media) is the aggression and disinfo on Russia.

The Jewish Problem is to be taken seriously. We need to find a way to discuss it, rescued from Zionists and bona fide Judeophobes. Our lives may well depend on it.

[Feb 24, 2018] The Mueller Indictments The Day the Music Died by Daniel Lazare

The size of funds that Democrats and Republicans operated were in billions. And , IRA staffers purchased just $100,000 worth of Facebook ads, 56% of which ran after Election Day. So only $44K was spent during election campaign.
There author is wrong about color revolution against Trump. It is progressing.
One interesting side effect will be ruthless suppression of the US influence in Russian elections. Bismark famously remarked that "the Russians are slow to saddle up, but ride fast." Here media dogs also are off leash and there will be innocent victims, blamed in treason and other nefarious activities just to voicing dissent. Russiagate discredited neoliberal fifth column in Russia, making them all "enemies of the people".
Notable quotes:
"... After nine months of labor, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller thus brought forth a mouse. Even if all the charges are true – something we'll probably never know since it's unlikely that any of the accused will be brought to trial -- the indictment tells us virtually nothing that's new. ..."
"... Yes, they persuaded someone in Florida to dress up as Hillary Clinton in a prison uniform and stand inside a cage mounted on a flatbed truck. And, yes, they also got another "real U.S. person," as the indictment terms it, to stand in front of the White House with a sign saying, "Happy 55th Birthday Dear Boss," a tribute, apparently, to IRA founder Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the convicted robber turned caterer whose birthday was three days away. Instead of a super-sophisticated spying operation, the indictment depicts a bumbling freelance operation that is still giving Putin heartburn months after the fact. ..."
"... Not that this has stopped the media from whipping itself into a frenzy. "Russia is at war with our democracy," screamed a headline in the Washington Post. "Trump is ignoring the worst attack on America since 9/11," blared another. " Russia is engaged in a virtual war against the United States through 21st-century tools of disinformation and propaganda," declared the New York Times, while Daily Beast columnist Jonathan Alter tweeted that the IRA's activities amounted to nothing less than a "tech Pearl Harbor." ..."
"... This makes the Dems seem crass, unscrupulous, and none too democratic. But then Mudde gave the knife a twist. The real trouble with the strategy, he said, is that it isn't working: ..."
"... No collusion means no impeachment and hence no anti-Trump "color revolution" of the sort that was so effective in Georgia or the Ukraine. Moreover, while 53 percent of Americans believe that investigating Russiagate should be a top or at least an important priority according to a recent poll , figures for a half-dozen other issues ranging from Medicare and Social Security reform to tax policy, healthcare, infrastructure, and immigration are actually a good deal higher – 67 percent, 72 percent, or even more. ..."
"... " the Russia-Trump collusion story might be the talk of the town in Washington, but this is not the case in much of the rest of the country." Out in flyover country, rather, Americans can't figure out why the political elite is more concerned with a nonexistent scandal than with things that really count, i.e. de-industrialization, infrastructure decay, the opioid epidemic, and school shootings. As society disintegrates, the only thing Democrats have accomplished with all their blathering about Russkis under the bed is to demonstrate just how cut off from the real world they are. ..."
"... But Russiagate is not just about regime change, but other things as well. One is repression. Where once Democrats would have laughed off Russian trolls and the like, they're now obsessed with making a mountain out of a molehill in order to enforce mainstream opinion and marginalize ideas and opinions suspected of being un-American and hence pro-Russian. If the RT (Russia Today) news network is now suspect -- the Times described it not long ago as "the slickly produced heart of a broad, often covert disinformation campaign designed to sow doubt about democratic institutions and destabilize the West" – then why not the BBC or Agence France-Presse? How long until foreign books are banned or foreign musicians? ..."
"... "I'm actually surprised I haven't been indicted," tweets Bloomberg columnist Leonid Bershidsky. "I'm Russian, I was in the U.S. in 2016 and I published columns critical of both Clinton and Trump w/o registering as a foreign agent." When the Times complains that Facebook "still sees itself as the bank that got robbed, rather than the architect who designed a bank with no safes, and no alarms or locks on the doors, and then acted surprised when burglars struck," then it's clear that the goal is to force Facebook to rein in its activities or stand by and watch as others do so instead. ..."
"... But Russiagate is about something else as well: war. As National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster warns that the "time is now" to act against Iran, the New York Times slams Trump for not imposing sanctions on Moscow, and a spooky "Nuclear Posture Review" suggests that the US might someday respond to a cyber attack with atomic weapons, it's plain that Washington is itching for a showdown that will somehow undo the mistakes of the previous administration. The more Trump drags his feet, the more Democrats conclude that a war drive is the best way to bring him to his knees. ..."
"... Thus, low-grade political interference is elevated into a casus belli while Vladimir Putin is portrayed as a supernatural villain straight out of Harry Potter. But where does it stop? Libya has been set back decades, Syria, the subject of yet another US regime-change effort, has been all but destroyed, while Yemen – which America helps Saudi Arabia bomb virtually around the clock – is now a disaster area with some 9,000 people killed, 50,000 injured, a million-plus cholera cases, and more than half of all hospitals and clinics destroyed. ..."
"... The more Democrats pound the war drums, the more death and destruction will ensue. The process is well underway in Syria, the victim of Israeli bombings and a US-Turkish invasion, and it will undoubtedly spread as Dems turn up the heat. If the pathetic pseudo-scandal known as Russiagate really is collapsing under its own weight, then it's not a moment too soon. ..."
"... The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy ..."
"... A minor quibble was how at the end the author kept referring to how the "U.S" or "Washington" were the forces for the regime changes or flat-out destruction of nations Israel wants destroyed. The crappy little pesthole has been the barely-concealed mastermind of all the "Wars For Israel" which have turned the US of A into a bankrupt laughingstock. ..."
"... As ludicrous as Russiagate became, it was no joke, and became a real amplifier of the threat of nuclear war, and the relentlessly increasing militarization of America. Without the enthusiastic help of the corporate media, the whole phony narrative would never have got off the ground. Of course the criminals we call the intelligence community did all they could to give it legs, as well. We can only pray that it fades away now, and is not replaced with something else like a shooting war. But that hope is fading now on several fronts ..."
"... That was NOT to remove Trump, which was always a long shot and would only produce Pence and angry motivated Trump voters in the next election. ..."
"... The Trump derangement syndrome had a calculated purpose to keep donors giving after they were outraged by the waste of their donations. They'd been acting like a donor-strike was in progress. This cured that. ..."
"... This fed off the Stages of Grief reactions of those who'd so confidently expected a Hillary win. That helped do it, but was not the real motive. Those who initiated and shaped it were more directed, and aimed at the money. That is why the more likely things to blame, like Comey, were set aside in favor of the easy target of a foreign enemy which was familiar from recent Cold War. ..."
"... Having only as reference my own personal take on our news media the infamous MSM, is that these journalistic bandits are only in the game of twisting the news for the ratings, and to promote their own opportunistic careers. The corporate owned media has replaced responsible reporting with salaisuus promotions of often tragic events in a way that tends to in my eyes be a mere exploitation of these tragedies, as we viewers become glued to our TV screens. ..."
Feb 24, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Fads and scandals often follow a set trajectory. They grow big, bigger, and then, finally, too big, at which point they topple over and collapse under the weight of their own internal contradictions. This was the fate of the "Me too" campaign, which started out as an exposé of serial abuser Harvey Weinstein but then went too far when Babe.net published a story about one woman's bad date with comedian Aziz Ansari. Suddenly, it became clear that different types of behavior were being lumped together in a dangerous way, and a once-explosive movement began to fizzle.

So, too, with Russiagate. After dominating the news for more than a year, the scandal may have at last reached a tipping point with last week's indictment of thirteen Russian individuals and three Russian corporations on charges of illegal interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. But the indictment landed with a decided thud for three reasons:

It failed to connect the Internet Research Agency (IRA), the alleged St. Petersburg troll factory accused of political meddling, with Vladimir Putin, the all-purpose evil-doer who the corporate media say is out to destroy American democracy. It similarly failed to establish a connection with the Trump campaign and indeed went out of its way to describe contacts with the Russians as "unwitting." It described the meddling itself as even more inept and amateurish than many had suspected.

After nine months of labor, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller thus brought forth a mouse. Even if all the charges are true – something we'll probably never know since it's unlikely that any of the accused will be brought to trial -- the indictment tells us virtually nothing that's new.

Yes, IRA staffers purchased $100,000 worth of Facebook ads, 56 percent of which ran after Election Day. Yes, they persuaded someone in Florida to dress up as Hillary Clinton in a prison uniform and stand inside a cage mounted on a flatbed truck. And, yes, they also got another "real U.S. person," as the indictment terms it, to stand in front of the White House with a sign saying, "Happy 55th Birthday Dear Boss," a tribute, apparently, to IRA founder Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the convicted robber turned caterer whose birthday was three days away. Instead of a super-sophisticated spying operation, the indictment depicts a bumbling freelance operation that is still giving Putin heartburn months after the fact.

Not that this has stopped the media from whipping itself into a frenzy. "Russia is at war with our democracy," screamed a headline in the Washington Post. "Trump is ignoring the worst attack on America since 9/11," blared another. " Russia is engaged in a virtual war against the United States through 21st-century tools of disinformation and propaganda," declared the New York Times, while Daily Beast columnist Jonathan Alter tweeted that the IRA's activities amounted to nothing less than a "tech Pearl Harbor."

All of which merely demonstrates, in proper backhanded fashion, how grievously Mueller has fallen short. Proof that the scandal had at last overstayed its welcome came five days later when the Guardian, a website that had previously flogged Russiagate even more vigorously than the Post, the Times, or CNN, published a news analysis by Cas Mudde, an associate professor at the University of Georgia, admitting that it was all a farce – and a particularly self-defeating one at that.

Mudde's article made short work of hollow pieties about a neutral and objective investigation. Rather than an effort to get at the truth, Russiagate was a thinly-veiled effort at regime change. "[I]n the end," he wrote, "the only question everyone really seems to care about is whether Donald Trump was involved – and can therefore be impeached for treason.

With last week's indictment, the article went on, "Democratic party leaders once again reassured their followers that this was the next logical step in the inevitable downfall of Trump." The more Democrats play the Russiagate card, in other words, the nearer they will come to their goal of riding the Orange-Haired One out of town on a rail.

This makes the Dems seem crass, unscrupulous, and none too democratic. But then Mudde gave the knife a twist. The real trouble with the strategy, he said, is that it isn't working:

"While there is no doubt that the Trump camp was, and still is, filled with amoral and fraudulent people, and was very happy to take the Russians help during the elections, even encouraging it on the campaign, I do not think Mueller will be able to find conclusive evidence that Donald Trump himself colluded with Putin's Russia to win the elections. And that is the only thing that will lead to his impeachment as the Republican party is not risking political suicide for anything less."

Other Objectives of "Russiagate"

No collusion means no impeachment and hence no anti-Trump "color revolution" of the sort that was so effective in Georgia or the Ukraine. Moreover, while 53 percent of Americans believe that investigating Russiagate should be a top or at least an important priority according to a recent poll , figures for a half-dozen other issues ranging from Medicare and Social Security reform to tax policy, healthcare, infrastructure, and immigration are actually a good deal higher – 67 percent, 72 percent, or even more.

Summed up Mudde: " the Russia-Trump collusion story might be the talk of the town in Washington, but this is not the case in much of the rest of the country." Out in flyover country, rather, Americans can't figure out why the political elite is more concerned with a nonexistent scandal than with things that really count, i.e. de-industrialization, infrastructure decay, the opioid epidemic, and school shootings. As society disintegrates, the only thing Democrats have accomplished with all their blathering about Russkis under the bed is to demonstrate just how cut off from the real world they are.

But Russiagate is not just about regime change, but other things as well. One is repression. Where once Democrats would have laughed off Russian trolls and the like, they're now obsessed with making a mountain out of a molehill in order to enforce mainstream opinion and marginalize ideas and opinions suspected of being un-American and hence pro-Russian. If the RT (Russia Today) news network is now suspect -- the Times described it not long ago as "the slickly produced heart of a broad, often covert disinformation campaign designed to sow doubt about democratic institutions and destabilize the West" – then why not the BBC or Agence France-Presse? How long until foreign books are banned or foreign musicians?

"I'm actually surprised I haven't been indicted," tweets Bloomberg columnist Leonid Bershidsky. "I'm Russian, I was in the U.S. in 2016 and I published columns critical of both Clinton and Trump w/o registering as a foreign agent." When the Times complains that Facebook "still sees itself as the bank that got robbed, rather than the architect who designed a bank with no safes, and no alarms or locks on the doors, and then acted surprised when burglars struck," then it's clear that the goal is to force Facebook to rein in its activities or stand by and watch as others do so instead.

Add to this the classic moral panic promoted by #MeToo – to believe charges of sexual harassment and assault without first demanding evidence "is to disbelieve, and deny due process to, the accused," notes Judith Levine in the Boston Review – and it's clear that a powerful wave of cultural conservatism is crashing down on the United States, much of it originating in a classic neoliberal-Hillaryite milieu. Formerly the liberal alternative, the Democratic Party is now passing the Republicans on the right.

But Russiagate is about something else as well: war. As National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster warns that the "time is now" to act against Iran, the New York Times slams Trump for not imposing sanctions on Moscow, and a spooky "Nuclear Posture Review" suggests that the US might someday respond to a cyber attack with atomic weapons, it's plain that Washington is itching for a showdown that will somehow undo the mistakes of the previous administration. The more Trump drags his feet, the more Democrats conclude that a war drive is the best way to bring him to his knees.

Thus, low-grade political interference is elevated into a casus belli while Vladimir Putin is portrayed as a supernatural villain straight out of Harry Potter. But where does it stop? Libya has been set back decades, Syria, the subject of yet another US regime-change effort, has been all but destroyed, while Yemen – which America helps Saudi Arabia bomb virtually around the clock – is now a disaster area with some 9,000 people killed, 50,000 injured, a million-plus cholera cases, and more than half of all hospitals and clinics destroyed.

The more Democrats pound the war drums, the more death and destruction will ensue. The process is well underway in Syria, the victim of Israeli bombings and a US-Turkish invasion, and it will undoubtedly spread as Dems turn up the heat. If the pathetic pseudo-scandal known as Russiagate really is collapsing under its own weight, then it's not a moment too soon.

Daniel Lazare is the author of several books including The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace).


Zachary Smith , February 24, 2018 at 1:25 pm

First thing I checked before reading this was to check for instances of misuse of the term "liberal". When I found none at all, the piece suddenly looked very promising. And it was a fine essay!

A minor quibble was how at the end the author kept referring to how the "U.S" or "Washington" were the forces for the regime changes or flat-out destruction of nations Israel wants destroyed. The crappy little pesthole has been the barely-concealed mastermind of all the "Wars For Israel" which have turned the US of A into a bankrupt laughingstock.

With that small objection on record, I will declare this was great.

BobH , February 24, 2018 at 2:05 pm

Zachary, I wouldn't get too hung up on words like "liberal" which have been used and abused to become almost meaningless but yes, "the Democratic Party is now passing the Republicans on the right." Somehow I think they believe they can pick up enough "moderate" Republicans in the midterms to make up for the "angry white males"(& intellectuals) they lost in the last election the same losing strategy.

mike k , February 24, 2018 at 1:41 pm

As ludicrous as Russiagate became, it was no joke, and became a real amplifier of the threat of nuclear war, and the relentlessly increasing militarization of America. Without the enthusiastic help of the corporate media, the whole phony narrative would never have got off the ground. Of course the criminals we call the intelligence community did all they could to give it legs, as well. We can only pray that it fades away now, and is not replaced with something else like a shooting war. But that hope is fading now on several fronts

Mark Thomason , February 24, 2018 at 1:41 pm

From its first moment, this was a Team Hillary exercise, decided on by her in the days right after the election and promoted through her media contracts that had been an extension of her campaign.

Why? At first they seemed to imagine it possible to reverse the election outcome.

Then it shifted to Trump hate. Why?

That was NOT to remove Trump, which was always a long shot and would only produce Pence and angry motivated Trump voters in the next election.

The Trump derangement syndrome had a calculated purpose to keep donors giving after they were outraged by the waste of their donations. They'd been acting like a donor-strike was in progress. This cured that.

This fed off the Stages of Grief reactions of those who'd so confidently expected a Hillary win. That helped do it, but was not the real motive. Those who initiated and shaped it were more directed, and aimed at the money. That is why the more likely things to blame, like Comey, were set aside in favor of the easy target of a foreign enemy which was familiar from recent Cold War.

It was completely cynical, guided by the same greed that had produced the candidacy of Hillary and run it the whole time, doing fund raising in friendly places instead of campaigning in swing states.

JDQ , February 24, 2018 at 2:00 pm

..please do read this. It gives Liberals more a bashing than Conservatives

Joe Tedesky , February 24, 2018 at 2:40 pm

Having only as reference my own personal take on our news media the infamous MSM, is that these journalistic bandits are only in the game of twisting the news for the ratings, and to promote their own opportunistic careers. The corporate owned media has replaced responsible reporting with salaisuus promotions of often tragic events in a way that tends to in my eyes be a mere exploitation of these tragedies, as we viewers become glued to our TV screens.

This is the way the MSM sell too many needless pharmaceutical products, and their drugs are products, to insurance ad's and somehow make commercial space for the MIC defense contractors. This is how the MSM makes real money, as they forfeited our learning of anything worthwhile, as to pave the way for more exploitation of our country's struggles with everything and anything, but all forfeited simply to make the MSM more money.

It goes without saying that we the American public aren't necessarily as fooled, and tricked, as our masters would like to believe we are. So to explain away the Empire's failings certain forces from within our nation's Beltway are hard at work trying to blame all of their misgivings on another, and that another is Vladimir Putin and his American engineered misunderstood Russians. For this reason our MSM hardly ever put the real Putin on our television screens. No never, these American media producers always when describing Putin, use a prop, or a slimy squinty eyed shirtless Russian stereotype instead. For our MSM ever to air a speech of Putin, or do as Oliver Stone did, is beyond question, so don't wait up kids to see ever steady Vladimir on our American TV sets because it just isn't going to happen.

So now our MSM is exploiting the Florida mass shooting, and it is with their slants and predisposed opinions where I lose faith in anything our media does. Even as terrible as this Florida school shooting was, our MSM must politicize and adhere left right slants to this story as in their daff journalistic heads this is what they must do. Like I said this is my opinion taken from my own experiences, so take my comment for what it is, and not from any references I happened upon.

[Feb 20, 2018] Russophobia is a futile bid to conceal US, European demise by Finian Cunningham

Highly recommended!
This is an old method to unite the nation against external enemy. Carnage (with so much oil and gas) needs to be destroyed. And it's working only partially with the major divisions between Trump and Hillary supporters remaining open and unaffected by Russiagate witch hunt.
Notable quotes:
"... It is an age-old statecraft technique to seek unity within a state by depicting an external enemy or threat. Russia is the bête noire again, as it was during the Cold War years as part of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... Russophobia -- "blame it all on Russia" -- is a short-term, futile ploy to stave off the day of reckoning when furious and informed Western citizens will demand democratic restitution for their legitimate grievances. ..."
"... The dominant "official" narrative, from the US to Europe, is that "malicious" Russia is "sowing division;""eroding democratic institutions;" and "undermining public trust" in systems of governance, credibility of established political parties, and the news media. ..."
"... A particularly instructive presentation of this trope was given in a recent commentary by Texan Republican Representative Will Hurd. In his piece headlined, "Russia is our adversary" , he claims: "Russia is eroding our democracy by exploiting the nation's divisions. To save it, Americans need to begin working together." ..."
"... He contends: "When the public loses trust in the media, the Russians are winning. When the press is hyper-critical of Congress the Russians are winning. When Congress and the general public disagree the Russians are winning. When there is friction between Congress and the executive branch [the president] resulting in further erosion of trust in our democratic institutions, the Russians are winning." ..."
"... The endless, criminal wars that the US and its European NATO allies have been waging across the planet over the past two decades is one cogent reason why the public has lost faith in grandiose official claims about respecting democracy and international law. ..."
"... The US and European media have shown reprehensible dereliction of duty to inform the public accurately about their governments' warmongering intrigues. Take the example of Syria. When does the average Western citizen ever read in the corporate Western media about how the US and its NATO allies have covertly ransacked that country through weaponizing terrorist proxies? ..."
"... The destabilizing impact on societies from oppressive economic conditions is a far more plausible cause for grievance than outlandish claims made by the political class about alleged "Russian interference". ..."
"... Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV. ..."
Feb 20, 2018 | www.rt.com

Russophobia - "blame it all on Russia" - is a short-term, futile ploy to stave off the day of reckoning when furious and informed Western citizens will demand democratic restitution for their legitimate grievances

It is an age-old statecraft technique to seek unity within a state by depicting an external enemy or threat. Russia is the bête noire again, as it was during the Cold War years as part of the Soviet Union.

But the truth is Western states are challenged by internal problems. Ironically, by denying their own internal democratic challenges, Western authorities are only hastening their institutional demise.

Russophobia -- "blame it all on Russia" -- is a short-term, futile ploy to stave off the day of reckoning when furious and informed Western citizens will demand democratic restitution for their legitimate grievances.

The dominant "official" narrative, from the US to Europe, is that "malicious" Russia is "sowing division;""eroding democratic institutions;" and "undermining public trust" in systems of governance, credibility of established political parties, and the news media.

This narrative has shifted up a gear since the election of Donald Trump to the White House in 2016, with accusations that the Kremlin somehow ran "influence operations" to help get him into office. This outlandish yarn defies common sense. It is also running out of thread to keep spinning.

Paradoxically, even though President Trump has rightly rebuffed such dubious claims of "Russiagate" interference as "fake news", he has at other times undermined himself by subscribing to the notion that Moscow is projecting a campaign of "subversion against the US and its European allies." See for example the National Security Strategy he signed off in December.

Pathetically, it's become indoctrinated belief among the Western political class that "devious Russians" are out to "collapse" Western democracies by "weaponizing disinformation" and spreading "fake news" through Russia-based news outlets like RT and Sputnik.

Totalitarian-like, there seems no room for intelligent dissent among political or media figures.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has chimed in to accuse Moscow of "sowing division;" Dutch state intelligence claim Russia destabilized the US presidential election; the European Union commissioner for security, Sir Julian King, casually lampoons Russian news media as "Kremlin-orchestrated disinformation" to destabilize the 28-nation bloc; CIA chief Mike Pompeo recently warned that Russia is stepping up its efforts to tarnish the Congressional mid-term elections later this year.

On and on goes the narrative that Western states are essentially victims of a nefarious Russian assault to bring about collapse.

A particularly instructive presentation of this trope was given in a recent commentary by Texan Republican Representative Will Hurd. In his piece headlined, "Russia is our adversary" , he claims: "Russia is eroding our democracy by exploiting the nation's divisions. To save it, Americans need to begin working together."

Congressman Hurd asserts: "Russia has one simple goal: to erode trust in our democratic institutions It has weaponized disinformation to achieve this goal for decades in Eastern and Central Europe; in 2016, Western Europe and America were aggressively targeted as well."

Lamentably, all these claims above are made with scant, or no, verifiable evidence. It is simply a Big Lie technique of relentless repetition transforming itself into "fact" .

It's instructive to follow Congressman Hurd's thought-process a bit further.

He contends: "When the public loses trust in the media, the Russians are winning. When the press is hyper-critical of Congress the Russians are winning. When Congress and the general public disagree the Russians are winning. When there is friction between Congress and the executive branch [the president] resulting in further erosion of trust in our democratic institutions, the Russians are winning."

As a putative solution, Representative Hurd calls for "a national counter-disinformation strategy" against Russian "influence operations" , adding, "Americans must stop contributing to a corrosive political environment".

The latter is a chilling advocacy of uniformity tantamount to a police state whereby any dissent or criticism is a "thought-crime."

It is, however, such anti-democratic and paranoid thinking by Western politicians -- aided and abetted by dutiful media -- that is killing democracy from within, not some supposed foreign enemy.

There is evidently a foreboding sense of demise in authority and legitimacy among Western states, even if the real cause for the demise is ignored or denied. Systems of governance, politicians of all stripes, and institutions like the established media and intelligence services are increasingly held in contempt and distrust by the public.

Whose fault is that loss of political and moral authority? Western governments and institutions need to take a look in the mirror.

The endless, criminal wars that the US and its European NATO allies have been waging across the planet over the past two decades is one cogent reason why the public has lost faith in grandiose official claims about respecting democracy and international law.

The US and European media have shown reprehensible dereliction of duty to inform the public accurately about their governments' warmongering intrigues. Take the example of Syria. When does the average Western citizen ever read in the corporate Western media about how the US and its NATO allies have covertly ransacked that country through weaponizing terrorist proxies?

How then can properly informed citizens be expected to have respect for such criminal government policies and the complicit news media covering up for their crimes?

Western public disaffection with governments, politicians and media surely stems also from the grotesque gulf in social inequality and poverty among citizens from slavish adherence to economic policies that enrich the wealthy while consigning the vast majority to unrelenting austerity.

The destabilizing impact on societies from oppressive economic conditions is a far more plausible cause for grievance than outlandish claims made by the political class about alleged "Russian interference".

Yet the Western media indulge this fantastical "Russiagate" escapism instead of campaigning on real social problems facing ordinary citizens. No wonder such media are then viewed with disdain and distrust. Adding insult to injury, these media want the public to believe Russia is the enemy?

Instead of acknowledging and addressing real threats to citizens: economic insecurity, eroding education and health services, lost career opportunities for future generations, the looming dangers of ecological adversity, wars prompted by Western governments trashing international and diplomacy, and so on -- the Western public is insultingly plied with corny tales of Russia's "malign influence" and "assault on democracy."

Just think of the disproportionate amount of media attention and public resources wasted on the Russiagate scandal over the past year. And now gradually emerging is the real scandal that the American FBI probably colluded with the Obama administration to corrupt the democratic process against Trump.

Again, is there any wonder the public has sheer contempt and distrust for "authorities" that have been lying through their teeth and playing them for fools?

The collapsing state of Western democracies has got nothing to do with Russia. The Russophobia of blaming Russia for the demise of Western institutions is an attempt at scapegoating for the very real problems facing governments and institutions like the news media. Those problems are inherent and wholly owned by these governments owing to chronic anti-democratic functioning, as well as systematic violation of international law in their pursuit of criminal wars and other subterfuges for regime-change objectives.

Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.

[Feb 19, 2018] The Free Market Threat to Democracy by John Weeks

Notable quotes:
"... In addition, financial capital leads to inequality, and that inequality, as you've seen in the United States and in Europe and many other places, it increases. And suddenly, not suddenly, but bit by bit, people begin to realize that they aren't getting their share and that means that the government, to protect capitalism, must use force to maintain the order of financial capital. And I think Trump is the fulfillment of that, and I think there are other examples too which I can go into. So, basically, my argument is that with the rise of finance and its unproductive activities, you've got the decline in living standards of the vast majority, and in order to maintain order in such a system where people no longer think that they're sort of getting their share, and so justice doesn't become, a just distribution doesn't become the reason why people support this system, increasingly it has to be done through force. ..."
"... I think that as The Real News has pointed out, that many of Trump's policies appear just to be more extreme versions of things that George Bush did, and in some cases not that much different from what Barack Obama did. ..."
"... The difference with Trump is, he has complete contempt for all of those constraints. That is, he is an authoritarian. I don't think he's a fascist, not yet, but he is an authoritarian. He does not accept that there are constraints which he should respect. There are constraints which bother him, and he wants to get rid of them, and he actually takes steps to do so. ..."
"... Erdoğan so infamously said? "Democracy is like a train. You take it to where you want to go and then you get off." No. Progressive view is that democracy is what it's all about. Democracy is the way that we build the present and we build a future. ..."
"... I think that the struggle in the United States is extremely difficult because of the role of the big money and the media, which you know more about than I do. But it is a struggle which we have to keep at, and we have to be optimistic about it. It's a good bit easier over here, but as we saw, and you reported, during the last presidential election, a progressive came very close to being President of the United States. That, I don't think was a one-off event, not to be repeated. I think it lays the basis for hope in the future. ..."
"... The democratic nation-state basically operates like a criminal cartel, forcing honest citizens to surrender large portions of their wealth to pay for stuff like roads and hospitals and schools. ..."
"... Any hierarchic system will be exploited by intelligent sociopaths. Systems will not save us. ..."
"... What I gleaned from my quick Wikiread was the apparent pattern of economic inequality causing the masses to huddle in fear & loathing to one corner – desperation, and then some clever autocrat subverts the energy from their F&L into political power by demonizing various minorities and other non-causal perps. ..."
"... Like nearly every past fascism emergence in history, US Trumpismo is capitalizing on inequality, and fear & loathing (his capital if you will) to seize power. That brings us to Today – to Trump, and an era (brief I hope) of US flirtation with fascism. Thank God Trump is crippled by a narcissism that fuels F&L within his own regime. Otherwise, I might be joining a survivalist group or something. :-) ..."
Feb 17, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves here. This Real News Network interview with professor emeritus John Weeks discussed how economic ideology has weakened or eliminated public accountability of institutions like the Fed and promote neo[neo]liberal policies that undermine democracy.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/o9bXo1f5r0I

SHARMINI PERIES: It's The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. The concept of the [neo]liberal democracy is generally based on capitalistic markets along with respect for individual freedoms and human rights and equality in the face of the law. The rise of financial capital and its efforts to deregulate financial markets, however, raises the question whether [neo]liberal democracy is a sustainable form of government. Sooner or later, democratic institutions make way for the interests of large capital to supersede.

Political economist John Weeks recently gave this year's David Gordon Memorial Lecture at the meeting of the American Economic Association in Philadelphia where he addressed these issues with a talk titled, Free Markets and the Decline of Democracy. Joining us now is John Weeks. He joins us from London to discuss the issues raised in his lecture. You can find a link to this lecture just below the player, and John is, as you know, Professor Emeritus of the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies and author of Economics of the 1%: How Mainstream Economics Serves the Rich, Obscures Reality and Distorts Policy. John, good to have you back on The Real News.

JOHN WEEKS: Thank you very much for having me.

SHARMINI PERIES: John, let me start with your talk. Your talk describes a struggle between efforts to create a democratic control over the economy and the interest of capital, which seeks to subjugate government to the interest, its own interest. In your assessment, it looks like this is a losing battle for democracy. Explain this further.

JOHN WEEKS: Yeah, so I think that Marx in Capital, in the first volume of Capital, refers to a concept called bourgeois right, by which he meant that, you said it in the introduction, that in a capitalist society there is a form of equality that mimics the relationship of exchange. Every commodity looks equal in exchange and there is a system of ownership that you might say is the shadow of that. I think more important, in the early stages of development of capitalism, of development of factories, that those institutions or those factories prompted the growth of trade unions and workers' struggles in general. Those workers' struggles were key to the development, or further development of democracy, freedom of speech, a whole range of rights, the right to vote.

However, with the development of finance capital, you've got quite a different dynamic within the capitalist system. Let me say, I don't want to romanticize the early period of capitalism, but you did have struggles, mass struggles for rights. Finance capital produces nothing productive, it doesn't do anything productive. So, what finance capital does basically is it redistributes the income, the wealth, the, what Marx would call the surplus value, from other sectors of society to itself. And it employs relatively few people, so that dynamic of the capital, industrial capital, generating its antithesis So, that a labor movement doesn't occur under financial capital.

In addition, financial capital leads to inequality, and that inequality, as you've seen in the United States and in Europe and many other places, it increases. And suddenly, not suddenly, but bit by bit, people begin to realize that they aren't getting their share and that means that the government, to protect capitalism, must use force to maintain the order of financial capital. And I think Trump is the fulfillment of that, and I think there are other examples too which I can go into. So, basically, my argument is that with the rise of finance and its unproductive activities, you've got the decline in living standards of the vast majority, and in order to maintain order in such a system where people no longer think that they're sort of getting their share, and so justice doesn't become, a just distribution doesn't become the reason why people support this system, increasingly it has to be done through force.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right, John. Before we get further into the relationship between neo[neo]liberalism and democracy, give us a brief summary of what you mean by neo[neo]liberalism. You say that it's not really about deregulation, as most people usually conceive of it. If that's not what it's about, what is it, then?

JOHN WEEKS: I think that if you think about the movements in the United States, and as much as I can, I will take examples from the United States because most of your listeners will be familiar with those, beginning in the early part of the twentieth century, in the United States you have reform movements, the breaking up of the large monopolies, tobacco monopoly, a whole range of Standard Oil, all of that. And then of course under Roosevelt you began to get the regulation of capital in the interests of the majority, much of that driven by Roosevelt's trade union support. So, that was moving from a system where capital was relatively unregulated to where it was being regulated in the interests of the vast majority. I also would say, though, I won't go into detail, to a certain extent it was regulated in the interest of capital itself to moderate competition and therefore, I'd say, ensure a relatively tranquil market environment.

Neo[neo]liberalism involves not the deregulation of the capitalist system, but the reregulation of it in the interest of capital. So, it involves moving from a system in which capital is regulated in the interests of stability and the many to regulation in a way that enhances capital. These regulations, to get specific about them, restrictions on trade unions, as you, on Real News, a number of people have talked about this. The United States now have many restrictions on the organizing of trade unions which were not present 50 or 60 years ago, making it harder to have a mass movement of labor against capital, restrictions on the right to demonstrate, a whole range of things. Then within capital itself, the regulations on the movement of capital that facilitate speculation in international markets. We have a capitalism in which the form of regulation is shifted from the regulation of capital in the interest of labor to regulation of capital in the interest of capital.

SHARMINI PERIES: John, give us a brief summary of the ways in which neo[neo]liberalism undermines democracy.

JOHN WEEKS: Well, I think that there are many examples, but I'm going to focus on economic policy. For an obvious case is the role of the Central Bank, in the case of the United States' Federal Reserve System, in which reducing its accountability to the public, one way you can do that is by assigning goals to it, such as fighting inflation, which then override other goals. Originally, the Federal Reserve System, its charter, or I'll say its terms of reference, if you want me to use that phrase, included full employment and a stable economy. Those have been overridden in more recent legislation, which puts a great emphasis on the control of inflation. Control of inflation basically means maintaining an economy at a relatively high level of unemployment or part-time employment, or flexible employment, where people have relatively few rights at work. And that the Central Bank becomes a vehicle for enforcing a neo[neo]liberal economic policy.

Second of all, probably most of your viewers will not remember the days when we had fixed exchange rates. We had a world of fixed exchange rates in those days that represented the policy, which government could use to affect its trade and also affect its domestic policy. There have been deregulation of that. We now have floating exchange rates. That takes away a tool, an instrument of economic policy. And in fiscal policy, there the, here it's more ideology than laws, though there are also laws. There's a law requiring that the government balance its budget, but more important than that, the introduction into the public consciousness, I'd say grinding into the public consciousness, the idea that deficits are a bad thing, government debt is a bad thing, and that's a completely neo[neo]liberal ideology.

In summary, one way that the democracy has been undermined is to take away economic policy from the public realm and move it to the realm of experts. So, we have certain allegedly expert guidelines that we have to follow. Inflation should be low. We should not run deficits. The national debt should be small. These are things that are just made up ideologically. There is no technical basis to them. And so, in doing that, you might say, the term I like to use is, you decommission the democratic process and economic policy.

SHARMINI PERIES: John, speaking of ideology, in your talk you refer to the challenge that fascism posed or poses to neo[neo]liberal democracies. Now, it is interesting when you take Europe into consideration and National Socialist in Germany, for example, appeal mostly to the working class, as does contemporary far-right leaders in Poland and Hungary, that they support more explicit neo[neo]liberal agendas. Why would people support a neo[neo]liberal agenda that exasperate inequalities and harm public services that they depend on, including jobs?

JOHN WEEKS: I think that to a great extent it is country-specific, but I can make generalizations. First of all, I'm talking about Europe, because you raised a case in some European countries, and then I'll make some comments about the United States and Trump, if you want me to. I think in Europe, a combination of three things resulted in the rise of fascism and authoritarian movements which are verging on fascism. One is that the European integration project, which let me say that I have supported, and I would still prefer Britain not to leave the European Union, but nevertheless, the European Union integration project has been a project run by elites.

It has not been a bottom-up process. It has been a process very much run by elite politicians, in which they get together in closed door, and they make policies which they subsequently announce, and many of the decisions they come to being extremely, the meaning of them being extremely opaque. So, therefore, you have the development in Europe of the European Union which, not from the bottom up, but very much from the top down. You might suggest from the top, but I'm not sure how much goes down. That's one.
The second key factor, I would say, for about 20 years in European integration, it was relatively benign elitism because it was social democratic, it had the support of the working class, or the trade unions, at any rate. Then, increasingly, it began to become neo[neo]liberal. So, you have an elite project which was turning into a neo[neo]liberal project. Specifically, what I mean by neo[neo]liberal is where they're generating flexibility rules for the labor market, austerity policies, bank, balanced budgets, low inflation, the things I was talking about before.

Then the third element, toxic, the most toxic of them, but the other, they're volatile, is the legacy of fascism in Europe. Every European country, with the exception of Britain, had a substantial fascist movement in the 1920s and 1930s. I can go into why Britain didn't sometime. It had to do with the particular class struggle of the, I mean, class structure of Britain. Poland, ironically enough, though, is one of them. It was overrun by the Nazis, and occupied, and incorporated into the German Reich. Ironically, it had a very right-wing government with a lot of sympathies towards fascism when it was invaded in the late summer of 1939.

France had a strong fascist movement. Of course, Italy had a fascist government, and Hungary, where now you have a right-wing government, a very strong fascist movement. The incorporation of these countries into the Soviet sphere of influence, or the empire, as it were, did not destroy that fascism. It certainly suppressed it, but it didn't destroy it. So, as soon as the European project began to transform into a neo[neo]liberal project, and that gathered strength in the early 1990s, I mean, the neo[neo]liberal aspect of the European Union gathered strength in the early 1990s, exactly when you were getting the "liberation" of many countries from Soviet rule. And so, when you put those together, it led to, It was a rise of fascism waiting to happen and now it is happening.

SHARMINI PERIES: John, earlier, you said you'll factor in Trump. How does Trump fit into this phenomena?

JOHN WEEKS: I think that as The Real News has pointed out, that many of Trump's policies appear just to be more extreme versions of things that George Bush did, and in some cases not that much different from what Barack Obama did. Now, though I wouldn't go too deeply into that, I think that that is the most serious offenses by Obama that have been carried on by Trump have to do with the use of drones and the military. But at any rate, but there's a big difference from Trump. For the most part, the previous Republican presidents, and Democratic presidents, accepted the framework of, the formal framework of [neo]liberal democracy in the United States. That is, formally accepted the constraints imposed by the Constitution.

Now, of course, they probably didn't do it out of the goodness of their heart. They did it because they saw that the things that they wanted to achieve, the neo[neo]liberal goals that they wanted to achieve were perfectly consistent with the Constitution's framework and guarantees of rights and so on, that most of those rights are guaranteed in a way that's so weak that you didn't have to repeal the first 10 Amendments of the Constitution in order to have repressive policies.

The difference with Trump is, he has complete contempt for all of those constraints. That is, he is an authoritarian. I don't think he's a fascist, not yet, but he is an authoritarian. He does not accept that there are constraints which he should respect. There are constraints which bother him, and he wants to get rid of them, and he actually takes steps to do so. What you have in Trump, I think, is a sea change. You have a, we've had right-wing presidents before, certainly. What the difference with Trump is, he is a right-wing president that sees no reason to respect the institutions of democratic government, or even, you might say, the institution of representative government. I won't even use a term as strong as "democratic." That lays the basis for an explicitly authoritarian United States, and I'd say that we're beginning to see the vehicle by which this will occur, the restriction on voting rights. Of course, that was going on before Trump, it does in a more aggressive way. I think the, soon, we will have a Supreme Court that will be quite lenient with his tendency towards authoritarian rule.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right, John. Let's end this segment with what can be done. I mean, what must be done to prevent neo[neo]liberal interests from undermining democracy? And who do you believe is leading the struggle for democracy now, and what is the right strategy that people should be fighting for?

JOHN WEEKS: Well, one thing, I think, where I'd begin is that I think progressives, as The Real News represents, and Bernie Sanders, and all the people that support him, and Jeremy Corbyn over here, I'll come back to talk about a bit about Jeremy. We must be explicit that we view democracy, by which we mean the participation of people at the grassroots, their participation in the government, we view that as a goal. It's not merely a technique, or a tool which, what was it that Erdoğan so infamously said? "Democracy is like a train. You take it to where you want to go and then you get off." No. Progressive view is that democracy is what it's all about. Democracy is the way that we build the present and we build a future.

I'm quite fortunate in that I live in perhaps the only large country in the world where there's imminent possibility of a progressive, left-wing, anti-authoritarian government. I think that is the monumental importance of Jeremy Corbyn and his second-in-command, John McDonnell, and others like Emily Thornberry, who is the Foreign Secretary. These people are committed to democracy. In the United States, Bernie Sanders is committed to a democracy, and a lot of other people are too, Elizabeth Warren. So, I think that the struggle in the United States is extremely difficult because of the role of the big money and the media, which you know more about than I do. But it is a struggle which we have to keep at, and we have to be optimistic about it. It's a good bit easier over here, but as we saw, and you reported, during the last presidential election, a progressive came very close to being President of the United States. That, I don't think was a one-off event, not to be repeated. I think it lays the basis for hope in the future.

... ... ...


JTMcPhee , February 17, 2018 at 9:35 am

"Informed speculation" with lots of footnotes and offshoots in this Reddit skein: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/1llyf7/about_how_much_in_todays_money_was_30_pieces_of/

"A lot of money" in those days- Some say JI "bought land" with the shekels. An early form of asset swap? A precursor to current financialist activities?

WobblyTelomeres , February 17, 2018 at 10:44 am

Good article. If it were any bleaker, I'd suspect Chris Hedges having a hand in writing it.

The democratic nation-state basically operates like a criminal cartel, forcing honest citizens to surrender large portions of their wealth to pay for stuff like roads and hospitals and schools.

There it is, the Gorgon Thiel, surrounded by terror and rout.

James T. Cricket , February 18, 2018 at 3:46 am

I suppose you've read this.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/10/10/sam-altmans-manifest-destiny

Here's a quote:

"Altman felt that OpenAI's mission was to babysit its wunderkind until it was ready to be adopted by the world. He'd been reading James Madison's notes on the Constitutional Convention for guidance in managing the transition. 'We're planning a way to allow wide swaths of the world to elect representatives to a new governance board,' he said."

I was having trouble choosing which of the passages in this article to provide a mad quote from. Some other choices were
Altman's going to work with the Department of Defense, then help defend the world from them.
Or:
OpenAI's going to take over from humans, but don't worry because they're going to make it (somehow) so OpenAI can only terminate bad people. Before releasing it to the world.
Or:
Altman says 'add a 0 to whatever you're doing but never more than that.'

But if this sort of wisdom (somehow) doesn't work out well for everybody and the world collapses, he's flying with Peter Thiel in the private jet to the New Zealand's south island to wait out the Zombie Apocalypse on a converted sheep farm. (Before returning to the Valley work with more startups?)

These are your new leaders, people

David , February 17, 2018 at 7:56 am

I think it's revealing that the only type of democracy discussed, in spite of the title, is "[neo]liberal democracy", which the host describes as "based on capitalistic markets along with respect for individual freedoms and human rights and equality in the face of the law."

I've always argued that [neo]liberal democracy is a contradiction in terms, and you can see why from that quotation. [neo]liberalism (leaving aside special uses of the term in the US) is about individuals exercising their personal economic freedom and personal autonomy as much as they can, with as little control by government as possible.

But given massive imbalances in economic power, the influence of media-backed single issue campaigns and the growth of professional political parties, policy is decided by the interventions of powerful and well-organised groups, without ordinary people being consulted. At the end, Weeks does start to talk of grassroots participation, but seems to have no more in mind than a campaign to get people to vote for Sanders in 2020, which hardly addresses the problem. The answer, if there is one, is a system of direct democracy, involving referendums and popular assemblies chosen at random.

This has been much talked about, but since you would have the entire political class against you, it's not going to happen. In the meantime, we are stuck with [neo]liberal democracy, whose contradictions, I'm afraid are becoming ever more obvious.

JTMcPhee , February 17, 2018 at 8:45 am

"Contradictions?" One question for me at least would be whether the features and motions of the current regime are best characterized as "contradictions." If so, to what? And implicit in the use of the word is some kind of resolution, via actual class conflict or something, leading to "better" or at least "different." All I see from my front porch is more of the same, and worse. "The Matrix" in that myth gave some comforting illusions to the mopery. I think the political economy/collapsed planet portrayed in "Soylent Green" is a lot closer to the likely endpoints.

At least in the movie fable, the C-Suite-er of the Soylent Corp. as the lede in the film, was sickened of what he was helping to maintain, and bethought himself to blow his tiny little personal whistle that nobody would really hear, and got axed for his disloyalty to the ruling collective. I doubt the ranks of corporatists of MonsantoDuPont and LockheedMartin and the rest include any significant numbers of folks sickened by "the contradictions" that get them their perks and bennies and power (as long as they color inside the lines.)

Eustache De Saint Pierre , February 17, 2018 at 9:33 am

I hope I am way off the mark, but within that genre & in terms of where we could be heading, the film " Snowpiercer " sums it up best for me- a dystopian world society illustrated through the passengers on one long train.

Michael C , February 17, 2018 at 8:46 am

Thanks for the Real News Network for covering issues that never see the light of day on the corporate media and never mentioned by the Rachel Maddow's of the "news" shows.

torff , February 17, 2018 at 10:02 am

Can we please put a moratorium on the term "free market"? It's a nonsense term.

Yves Smith Post author , February 17, 2018 at 6:59 pm

Yes, I wrote about that at length in ECONNED. I kept the RNN headline, which used it, but should have put "free market" in quotes.

Katz , February 18, 2018 at 11:09 am

I actually like the term and find it useful, insofar as it describes an ideology -- as oposed a real political-economic arrangement. The presence of "free markets" may not be a characteristic of the neo[neo]liberal phase, but the belief in them sure is.

(Which is not to say there aren't people who don't believe in free markets but do invoke them rhetorically for other ends. That's a feature of many if not most successful ideologies.)

Jim Haygood , February 17, 2018 at 10:59 am

' Originally, the Federal Reserve charter included full employment and a stable economy. Those have been overridden in more recent legislation, which puts a great emphasis on the control of inflation.

Eh, this is fractured history. The Fed was set up in 1913 as a lender of last resort -- a discounter of government and private bills.

In late 1978 Jimmy Carter signed the Humphrey Hawkins Act instructing the Fed to pursue three goals: stable prices, maximum employment, and moderate long-term interest rates, though the latter is rarely mentioned now and the Fed is widely viewed as having a dual mandate.

The Fed's two percent inflation target it simply adopted at its own initiative -- it's not enshrined in no Perpetual Inflation Act.

' We had a world of fixed exchange rates which government could use to affect its trade and also affect its domestic policy. We now have floating exchange rates. That takes away a tool. '

LOL! This is totally inverted and flat wrong. The Bretton Woods fixed exchange rate system prevented radical monetary experiments such as QE which would have broken the peg. Nixon unilaterally suspended fixed exchange rates in 1971 because he was unwilling to take the political hit of formally devaluing the dollar (or even more unlikely, sweating out Vietnam War inflation with falling prices to maintain the peg).

Floating rates are a new and potentially lethal monetary tool which have produced a number of sad examples of "governments gone wild" with radical monetary experiments and currency swings. Bad boys Japan & Switzerland come readily to mind.

To render history accurately requires getting hands dirty with dusty old books. Icky, I know. :-(

RBHoughton , February 17, 2018 at 6:24 pm

Yes but globalisation meant that all central banks and finance ministers had to act concertedly as in G-20 and similar meetings. While we may talk of floating exchange rates, each country fixes its interest rate to maintain parity with the others. Isn't that so?

Yves Smith Post author , February 17, 2018 at 7:00 pm

Ahem, you skip over that the full employment goal was added to the Fed mandate in 1946, long before the inflation goal was added.

The Rev Kev , February 17, 2018 at 7:29 pm

I think that the key piece of info is that the Federal Reserve was created on December 23rd, 1913. That sounds like that it was slipped in the legislative back door when everybody was going away for the Christmas holidays.

Steven Greenberg , February 17, 2018 at 11:26 am

===== quote =====
Second of all, probably most of your viewers will not remember the days when we had fixed exchange rates. We had a world of fixed exchange rates in those days that represented the policy, which government could use to affect its trade and also affect its domestic policy. There have been deregulation of that. We now have floating exchange rates. That takes away a tool, an instrument of economic policy. And in fiscal policy, there the, here it's more ideology than laws, though there are also laws. There's a law requiring that the government balance its budget, but more important than that, the introduction into the public consciousness, I'd say grinding into the public consciousness, the idea that deficits are a bad thing, government debt is a bad thing, and that's a completely neo[neo]liberal ideology.
===== /quote =====

This makes absolutely no sense and seems to have the case exactly backward. Our federal government has no rule that the budget must be balanced. Fixed exchange rates were not a tool that could be used to affect trade and domestic policy in a good way.

Lee Robertson , February 17, 2018 at 11:42 am

Any hierarchic system will be exploited by intelligent sociopaths. Systems will not save us.

Susan the other , February 17, 2018 at 1:29 pm

I enjoyed John Weeks' point of view. He's the first person I've read who refers to the usefulness of a fixed exchange rate. Useful for a sovereign government with a social spending agenda. We have always been a sovereign government with a military agenda which is at odds with a social agenda.

Guns and butter are a dangerous combination if you are dedicated to at least maintaining the illusion of a "strong dollar." That's basically what Nixon finessed. John Conally told him not to worry, we could go off the gold standard and it wasn't our problem since we were the reserve currency – it was everybody else's problem and we promptly exported our inflation all around the world. And now it has come home to roost because it was fudging and it couldn't last forever.

Much better to concede to some fix for the currency and maintain the sovereign power to devalue the dollar as necessary to maintain proper social spending. I don't understand why sovereign governments cannot see that a deficit is just the mirror image of a healthy social economy (Stephanie Kelton).

And to that end "fix" an exchange rate that maintains a reasonable purchasing power of the currency by pegging it to the long term health of the economy. What we do now is peg the dollar to a "basket of goods and services"- Ben Bernanke. That "basket" is effectively "the market" and has very little to do with good social policy.

There's no reason we can't dispense with the market and simply fiat the value of our currency based on the social return estimated for our social investments. Etc. Keeping the dollar stubbornly strong is just tyranny favoring those few who benefit from extreme inequality.

ebbflows , February 17, 2018 at 4:19 pm

Bancor. Then some got delusions of grandeur.

albert , February 17, 2018 at 2:23 pm

" Democracy is not under stress – it's under aggressive attack, as unconstrained financial greed overrides public accountability ."

I request a lessatorium* on the term 'democracy', because there aren't any democracies. Rather than redefine the term, why not use a more accurate one, like 'plutocracy', or 'corporatocracy'.
-- -- -- -
* It's like a moratorium, you just do less of it.

Paul Cardan , February 17, 2018 at 2:37 pm

What is this democracy of which you speak?

Tomonthebeach , February 17, 2018 at 4:30 pm

I had not given much thought to "Fascist" until the term was challenged as a synonym for "bully." So, I started reading Wikipedia's take on Fascismo. What I discovered was the foremost, my USA education did not teach jack s -- about Fascism – and I went to elite high school in libr'l Chicago.

Is Fascism right or left? Does it matter? What goes around comes around.

What I gleaned from my quick Wikiread was the apparent pattern of economic inequality causing the masses to huddle in fear & loathing to one corner – desperation, and then some clever autocrat subverts the energy from their F&L into political power by demonizing various minorities and other non-causal perps.

Like nearly every past fascism emergence in history, US Trumpismo is capitalizing on inequality, and fear & loathing (his capital if you will) to seize power. That brings us to Today – to Trump, and an era (brief I hope) of US flirtation with fascism. Thank God Trump is crippled by a narcissism that fuels F&L within his own regime. Otherwise, I might be joining a survivalist group or something. :-)

Synoia , February 17, 2018 at 6:32 pm

Left and right are more line circle that a line.

I view the extreme left and extreme right, meeting somewhere, hidden, at the back of a circle.

c_heale , February 17, 2018 at 7:29 pm

I always believed this too!

+1

flora , February 17, 2018 at 8:01 pm

Neoliberalism involves not the deregulation of the capitalist system, but the reregulation of it in the interest of capital. So, it involves moving from a system in which capital is regulated in the interests of stability and the many to regulation in a way that enhances capital.

Prominent politicians in the US and UK have spent their entire political careers representing neoliberalism's agenda at the expense of representing the voters' issues. The voters are tired of the conservative and [neo]liberal political establishments' focus on neoliberal policy. This is also true in Germany as well France and Italy. The West's current political establishments see the way forward as "staying the neoliberal course." Voters are saying "change course." See:

'German Politics Enters an Era of Instability' – Der Speigel

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/german-political-landscape-crumbling-as-merkel-coalition-forms-a-1193947.html

[Feb 19, 2018] Russian Meddling Was a Drop in an Ocean of American-made Discord by AMANDA TAUB and MAX FISHER

Highly recommended!
Very weak analysis The authors completely missed the point. Susceptibility to rumors (now called "fake new" which more correctly should be called "improvised news") and high level of distrust to "official MSM" (of which popularity of alternative news site is only tip of the iceberg) is a sign of the crisis and tearing down of the the social fabric that hold the so social groups together. This first of all demonstrated with the de-legitimization of the neoliberal elite.
As such attempt to patch this discord and unite the US society of fake premises of Russiagate and anti-Russian hysteria look very problematic. The effect might be quite opposite as the story with Steele dossier, which really undermined credibility of Justice Department and destroyed the credibility o FBI can teach us.
In this case claims that "The claim that, for example, Mrs. Clinton's victory might aid Satan " are just s a sign of rejection of neoliberalism by voters. Nothing more nothing less.
Notable quotes:
"... It has infected the American political system, weakening the body politic and leaving it vulnerable to manipulation. Russian misinformation seems to have exacerbated the symptoms, but laced throughout the indictment are reminders that the underlying disease, arguably far more damaging, is all American-made. ..."
"... A recent study found that the people most likely to consume fake news were already hyperpartisan and close followers of politics, and that false stories were only a small fraction of their media consumption. ..."
Feb 18, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

That these efforts might have actually made a difference, or at least were intended to, highlights a force that was already destabilizing American democracy far more than any Russian-made fake news post: partisan polarization.

"Partisanship can even alter memory, implicit evaluation, and even perceptual judgment," the political scientists Jay J. Van Bavel and Andrea Pereira wrote in a recent paper . "The human attraction to fake and untrustworthy news" -- a danger cited by political scientists far more frequently than orchestrated meddling -- "poses a serious problem for healthy democratic functioning."

It has infected the American political system, weakening the body politic and leaving it vulnerable to manipulation. Russian misinformation seems to have exacerbated the symptoms, but laced throughout the indictment are reminders that the underlying disease, arguably far more damaging, is all American-made.

... ... ...

A recent study found that the people most likely to consume fake news were already hyperpartisan and close followers of politics, and that false stories were only a small fraction of their media consumption.

Americans, it said, sought out stories that reflected their already-formed partisan view of reality. This suggests that these Russians efforts are indicators -- not drivers -- of how widely Americans had polarized.

That distinction matters for how the indictment is read: Though Americans have seen it as highlighting a foreign threat, it also illustrates the perhaps graver threats from within.

An Especially Toxic Form of Partisanship

... ... ...

"Compromise is the core of democracy," she said. "It's the only way we can govern." But, she said, "when you make people feel threatened, nobody compromises with evil."

The claim that, for example, Mrs. Clinton's victory might aid Satan is in many ways just a faint echo of the partisan anger and fear already dominating American politics.

Those emotions undermine a key norm that all sides are served by honoring democratic processes; instead, they justify, or even seem to mandate, extreme steps against the other side.

Advertisement Continue reading the main story

In taking this approach, the Russians were merely riding a trend that has been building for decades. Since the 1980s , surveys have found that Republicans and Democrats' feelings toward the opposing party have been growing more and more negative. Voters are animated more by distrust of the other side than support for their own.

This highlights a problem that Lilliana Mason, a University of Maryland political scientist, said had left American democracy dangerously vulnerable. But it's a problem driven primarily by American politicians and media outlets, which have far louder megaphones than any Russian-made Facebook posts.

"Compromise is the core of democracy," she said. "It's the only way we can govern." But, she said, "when you make people feel threatened, nobody compromises with evil."

The claim that, for example, Mrs. Clinton's victory might aid Satan is in many ways just a faint echo of the partisan anger and fear already dominating American politics.

Those emotions undermine a key norm that all sides are served by honoring democratic processes; instead, they justify, or even seem to mandate, extreme steps against the other side.

[Feb 17, 2018] Russia condemned and defined as the enemy of America with laughably little evidence (effing Facebook posts being about the extent of it) .... not a word about JEWISH MONEY controlling the entire political system in the USA. When Netanyahu gets 29 standing ovations from Congress should that not have triggered an FBI Investigation

Taking oil price to 30th or 40th is a strategic goal of the USA in relation to Russia. Listen at 3:30.
Notable quotes:
"... Appeasing interview with a shockingly cheap incompetent former CIA head Woolsey. If this man seriously represents the intellectual level of the CIA, then the USA will implode even faster than in ten years. ..."
"... You are exactly right. U$ politicians are uninformed, stupid, detached from reality, selfish and they think like schoolyard kids do. ..."
"... They are the product of the US society as a whole. ..."
"... Craig Murray nailed this issue stone dead for all time a few years ago, when he wrote:"[neo]liberal interventionism, the theory that bombing brown people is good for them". ..."
"... In the former The Ukraine, the Jewish Quisling oligarch dictator, Poroshenko, has been appointing foreigners to positions of power (SackOfShvilli is but one). He supported this by stating: "Ukrainians are too corrupt to rule themselves." When will we in America hear such a statement from our leaders to justify the appointment of Jews and paid Judaeophiles to all positions of power? ..."
"... I'm just waiting for Yevgeny Prigozhin to hold a press conference in Russia to claim that Hillary Clinton paid him to run the Internet Research Agency to besmirch her opponent- watch the fireworks :) It's all a hall of mirrors. ..."
"... The Internet Research Agency couldn't have possibly been more ineffective, which points to it's main purpose being to besmirch Trump (more more likely it was just an unimportant hobby of Prigozhin). ..."
"... Sure the United States has, they have been doing it since 1953 with the overthrow of Iran, to as recently as 2012 Russian Election, 2014 Ukraine Election, the UK referendum on 23 June 2016 on Brexit and currently trying to overthrow it this year. These are just a few and there is a very long list of other countries also. The United States in now in Russia and Hungry today meddling it their elections. Got to get the right people in office so they will cow-tow to the United States. ..."
"... What an admission! trump doesn't want more drilling for oil to Americans to use. It is for export and for foreign interference ..."
"... and if the price of oil would go down to 30/40$ that would make a unhappy input and so would be the saudis and you fracking industry would go down the toilet and thy will drag the banks with them. What a moron. And US oil companies would like that alot too ..."
Feb 17, 2018 | theduran.com

Gano1 , February 17, 2018 10:31 AM

The USA has lost all morality, they are so hypocritical it is risible.

Patricia Dolan , February 17, 2018 10:25 AM

What Russian expansionism??? Look at the US expansionism..........get a grip!

Ann Johns Patricia Dolan , February 17, 2018 2:51 PM

Another tiresome, butthurt yank/wank? Between the new One Belt, One Road Chinese initiative, the Russians taking control of ME oil production and the fact that america has NO answers to help it's declining empire, it would seem to the non-partisan observer that america is well and truly f***ed. You must be talking about their debt expansionism, $20 TRILLION and rising by the second.

Vera Gottlieb Patricia Dolan , February 17, 2018 2:29 PM

US expansionism...really? Where? 😜

Mario8282 Vera Gottlieb , February 17, 2018 2:58 PM

Syria? Libya? Yemen? Africa, Afgh...

Vera Gottlieb Mario8282 , February 17, 2018 3:00 PM

And you left out Latin America...

Mario8282 Vera Gottlieb , February 17, 2018 3:05 PM

This is why I left with the dots... The list would end up with America itself (an endless spree of false flags and deception schemes).

Patricia Dolan Mario8282 , February 17, 2018 6:11 PM

Thank you Mario......let's not forget Ukraine, Kosovo, Bosnia, the entirety of eastern Europe, the entirety of northern Africa, Rwanda, the Congo, Venezuela, Chili, Guatemala, Panama, Jeeeeeeeze etc......

Patricia Dolan Vera Gottlieb , February 17, 2018 6:07 PM

get a grip......and turn your TV off!

Terry Ross Patricia Dolan , February 17, 2018 6:08 PM

'twas sarcasm Patricia.

Patricia Dolan Terry Ross , February 17, 2018 6:18 PM

I guess the WINKS need to be LARGER!!!! LOL

ThereisaGod , February 17, 2018 10:05 AM

Russia condemned and defined as the enemy of America with laughably little evidence (effing Facebook posts being about the extent of it) .... not a word about JEWISH MONEY controlling the entire political system in the USA. When Netanyahu gets 29 standing ovations from Congress should that not have triggered an FBI "Investigation"? Nah ... nothing happening there. It is breathtaking that THIS is the Alice-In-Wonderland world we inhabit.

Ton Jacobs, Human Guardians , February 17, 2018 10:02 AM

Appeasing interview with a shockingly cheap incompetent former CIA head Woolsey. If this man seriously represents the intellectual level of the CIA, then the USA will implode even faster than in ten years.

christianblood Ton Jacobs, Human Guardians , February 17, 2018 12:32 PM

(...If this man seriously represents the intellectual level of the CIA, then the USA will implode even faster than in ten years...)

You are exactly right. U$ politicians are uninformed, stupid, detached from reality, selfish and they think like schoolyard kids do.

Jesse Marioneaux christianblood , February 17, 2018 12:43 PM

They are the product of the US society as a whole.

christianblood Jesse Marioneaux , February 17, 2018 12:57 PM

They indeed are! U$A! U$A! U$A!

tom , February 17, 2018 11:14 AM

Craig Murray nailed this issue stone dead for all time a few years ago, when he wrote:"[neo]liberal interventionism, the theory that bombing brown people is good for them".

journey80 , February 17, 2018 12:37 PM

Yeah, that's hilarious. Join the murdering creep in a giggle, Laura, that's cute. Here's a global criminal who should have been hung years ago for crimes against humanity. No one in their right mind would treat this creep with anything but contempt and horror, let alone find him funny.

Franz Kafka , February 17, 2018 12:17 PM

In the former The Ukraine, the Jewish Quisling oligarch dictator, Poroshenko, has been appointing foreigners to positions of power (SackOfShvilli is but one). He supported this by stating: "Ukrainians are too corrupt to rule themselves." When will we in America hear such a statement from our leaders to justify the appointment of Jews and paid Judaeophiles to all positions of power?

journey80 Franz Kafka , February 17, 2018 12:34 PM

We don't need to hear it, we're living it.

Franz Kafka journey80 , February 17, 2018 3:33 PM

My profound and sincere condolences. You are getting the 'Democracy Treatment' by the West. I hope some of you survive to tell the tale and take revenge.

Franz Kafka , February 17, 2018 12:09 PM

Are those ears or bat-wings? WOW! Yet another Jewe, pretending not be be. I guess he would say that the USA murdered all the Indians and enslaved Africans 'for their own good' as well.
Talmudo-Satanism is the pernicious underlying ideology of the people who have taken over, not just the USA, but, lets face it, the entire West.

Vera Gottlieb , February 17, 2018 2:28 PM

What a bunch of ingrates we are...not appreciating all that the CIA is doing for us. We must thank them instead of complaining.

Trauma2000 , February 17, 2018 5:30 PM

Lets not forget that the U.$.A. meddled in Australia's election of the Whitlam Government. (And several governments there after as soon as they realised they could get away with it an nothing would happen to them). The United States are a bunch of sick puppies; really sick puppies the way they have treated Australia.

So much for being allies. With allies like the United States you don't need enemies (Unless the U.$. doctors them up for you to force you to pay them more money for weapons and protection).

And it makes me sick that so many 'naive' people around the world keep falling for the SH*T that comes out of their mouths.

When dealing with the United States there are a few rules to follow. (Apologies to the innocent Americans out there but 'they' allow their government to do some unspeakable horrors to the world.)

  • Rule One: If an American politician is speaking, then they are lying to you.
  • Rule Two: If an American Politician is quiet, they they want you to believe a lie.
  • Rule Three: If you have relations with the United States, you will be lied to.

And that goes for the entire planet no matter who the United States is speaking to.

End of story.

Shue Trauma2000 , February 17, 2018 5:51 PM

Worst part is the our Gov can't think ahead, if they keep antagonising China on behalf of the Seppo's China will eventually pull their mineral imports and our economy will crash overnight.

HappyCynic , February 17, 2018 4:31 PM

Yes, nobody doubts that the US interferes with elections in other countries - we're the good guys, so this is ok :)

I'm just waiting for Yevgeny Prigozhin to hold a press conference in Russia to claim that Hillary Clinton paid him to run the Internet Research Agency to besmirch her opponent- watch the fireworks :) It's all a hall of mirrors.

The Internet Research Agency couldn't have possibly been more ineffective, which points to it's main purpose being to besmirch Trump (more more likely it was just an unimportant hobby of Prigozhin).

John R Balch Jr , February 17, 2018 6:31 PM

Sure the United States has, they have been doing it since 1953 with the overthrow of Iran, to as recently as 2012 Russian Election, 2014 Ukraine Election, the UK referendum on 23 June 2016 on Brexit and currently trying to overthrow it this year. These are just a few and there is a very long list of other countries also. The United States in now in Russia and Hungry today meddling it their elections. Got to get the right people in office so they will cow-tow to the United States.

Graeme Pedersen , February 17, 2018 6:11 PM

I believe john Key was sent from the U$A (Merrill Lynch) to ruin our economy in New Zealand as well.

janbn , February 17, 2018 5:37 PM

What an admission! trump doesn't want more drilling for oil to Americans to use. It is for export and for foreign interference.

Aidi Deduction , February 17, 2018 4:51 PM

Frederick the Great concluded that to allow governments to be dominated by the majority would be disastrous: "A democracy, to survive, must be, like other governments a minority persuading a majority to let itself be led by a minority."

General Kreeg , February 17, 2018 4:13 PM

Russian Trolls are all of a sudden the Russian Gov't.

fredd , February 17, 2018 3:18 PM

and if the price of oil would go down to 30/40$ that would make a unhappy input and so would be the saudis and you fracking industry would go down the toilet and thy will drag the banks with them. What a moron. And US oil companies would like that alot too

Mario8282 , February 17, 2018 2:56 PM

...and the US bombed half of the world's countries for their own good too. US made Libya a slave market for humanity's good as well. Oboomer even got the Nobel Peace Prize for it.

K Walker , February 17, 2018 2:55 PM

I would be greatly relieved if the USA government merely tweeted instead of invading and indulging in regime change.

Kevin S , February 17, 2018 12:55 PM

Talk about the pinnacle of hypocrisy!

[Feb 17, 2018] Delegitimization of ruling elite is an approriate word for the current crisis

Notable quotes:
"... This rings true as well; "The implications for the future of the American republic were terrifying, Tesich concluded. His words are haunting to read today: We are rapidly becoming prototypes of a people that totalitarian monsters could only drool about in their dreams. All the dictators up to now have had to work hard at suppressing the truth. We, by our actions, are saying that this is no longer necessary, that we have acquired a spiritual mechanism that can denude truth of any significance. In a very fundamental way we, as a free people, have freely decided that we want to live in some post-truth world." ..."
"... This also applies to the UK. What goodwill, mythology ("worldliness, pragmatism") etc. that was attached by continentals to the UK has been "exploded". ..."
"... Lately, I've detected a certain sense of malaise among my fellow citizens. In my opinion, it's long been apparent that this won't end well. All of these factors points to a day of reckoning that is rapidly approaching. Perhaps the prevalence of school shootings is acting as the proverbial canary in the coal mine? ..."
"... Don't think that the elite have not noticed the way things are moving. In my own line of work I interact with the 1% on a regular basis. I can tell you that even though they are doing better that ever, there is a sense of discreet terror. It's obvious when they discuss all the ways that they're trying to replicating their own advantages in the education of their little darlings. ..."
"... I think it's dawning on us that we're not re-experiencing the moment before the election of Franklin Roosevelt, and the beginning of the New Deal, we're actually just now realizing the necessity of the daunting task of organizing, which makes our times resemble 1890 more than 1935. ..."
"... Even if it takes half as much time to defeat the Robber Barons this go-round, many of us will not see anything resembling ' victory ' in our lifetimes, so we have to make adjustments in our expectations, and accept the monumental nature of the tasks ahead. ..."
"... I think delegitimization is upon us. General malaise is nearly to the point of a general strike. The house of cards is in a slow motion but certain wind storm. Those thousand dollar checks at Wal-Mart payday will vanish overnight while the wealthy reap tax benefits for years on end. We are down to the twenty seven percent (Dems) waging false battles with the twenty six percent (Reps). Only the 47 percent rest of us will grow in numbers from here on out. ..."
"... The Anglo-American countries can not be anything but in a class of their own. They include the mother country with former colonies, some especially successful, and rule the world by virtue of language, wealth and, often necessarily, violence, almost always gratuitous. ..."
"... Violence has an effect on peoples lives at both the giving and receiving ends. ..."
"... Image you are in Baghdad on the glorious, glittering night of Shock and Awe to get a feel for things. That happened when the US was supposedly great. ..."
"... Intelligence makes us pessimists, and our will makes us optimists. ..."
"... But Trump is not the problem here, only the Front Man for something larger. Even during the early oughts one could perceive a fundamental societal drift, empowered by a 'conservative' (read: fascist) willingness to do whatever was necessary in pursuit of their particular vision. It is not a vision of returning disempowered white folks to some rosy past that never existed; I sense a more feudal vision, with princes and lords in gated communities, with peasants conned into doing their bidding, every day being fleeced even further. ..."
"... The angst feels not like the angst of an impending, singular catastrophe, but rather the angst of decline. There's a late empire feel to the current mood: leaders without agency, more interested in their own, internal sense of normalcy and maintaining their perches, perches that increasingly feel pointless as they're all just listless figureheads doing what the Magister Militum tells them to do. ..."
"... The military feels all-encompassing yet simultaneously incapable of exercising its will in the theater of war, so dispersed and aimless, as the missions are no longer about winning wars but about resume building ..."
"... Civililizations don't collapse like falling off a table. They stress resources of materials and people and such stresses build and build. This has serious psychological impacts. ..."
"... The moderate catastrophic disasters like Trumps election cause much bigger disruptions to the civilizational equilibrium, but only for a time. We all know deep inside that what comes next in Brexit or say Trumps removal will actually be worse than what we have now. ..."
"... For me the frame changed with the restart of the Cold War. I remember "Duck and Cover, McCarthyism, John Birchers, and Who Lost China". It has all come back. The Democrats are idiots for scapegoating Russia. President Donald Trump is incompetent. ..."
"... Jones Marathon ..."
Feb 17, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

HopeLB , February 16, 2018 at 8:43 am

All of the warnings, predictions, knowledge, tech advances and humor of sci-fi, real science, history, and literature alike has boiled down to this? This low quality "news" that reports on the latest predictable, preventable outrage/injustice when it not intentionally turning up the hysteria/fear tuner? It's like living in a simulation of a society ruled by the insane and hearing about its unwinding day after day.

This rings true as well; "The implications for the future of the American republic were terrifying, Tesich concluded. His words are haunting to read today: We are rapidly becoming prototypes of a people that totalitarian monsters could only drool about in their dreams. All the dictators up to now have had to work hard at suppressing the truth. We, by our actions, are saying that this is no longer necessary, that we have acquired a spiritual mechanism that can denude truth of any significance. In a very fundamental way we, as a free people, have freely decided that we want to live in some post-truth world."

https://www.thenation.com/article/post-truth-and-its-consequences-what-a-25-year-old-essay-tells-us-about-the-current-moment/

Yeat's captures the inexorable feel of our times perfectly;

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

THE SECOND COMING

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Colonel Smithers , February 16, 2018 at 9:04 am

Thank you.

This also applies to the UK. What goodwill, mythology ("worldliness, pragmatism") etc. that was attached by continentals to the UK has been "exploded".

This makes me wonder whether the US will exist in its current form. Is it desirable? Genuine questions from someone who visits annually, including "fly over", and enjoys doing so. I don't see the UK existing as currently constituted much beyond the next decade.

camelotkidd , February 16, 2018 at 8:42 am

Lately, I've detected a certain sense of malaise among my fellow citizens. In my opinion, it's long been apparent that this won't end well. All of these factors points to a day of reckoning that is rapidly approaching. Perhaps the prevalence of school shootings is acting as the proverbial canary in the coal mine?

Don't think that the elite have not noticed the way things are moving. In my own line of work I interact with the 1% on a regular basis. I can tell you that even though they are doing better that ever, there is a sense of discreet terror. It's obvious when they discuss all the ways that they're trying to replicating their own advantages in the education of their little darlings.

Watt4Bob , February 16, 2018 at 8:45 am

I'm starting to think that what we are experiencing is the realization that we've spent way too much time expecting that explaining our selves, our diverse grievances, and our political insights would naturally result in growing an irresistible movement that would wash over, and cleanse our politics of the filth that is the status quo.

It is sobering to realize that it took almost four decades for the original Progressive Era organizers to bring about even the possibility of change.

I think it's dawning on us that we're not re-experiencing the moment before the election of Franklin Roosevelt, and the beginning of the New Deal, we're actually just now realizing the necessity of the daunting task of organizing, which makes our times resemble 1890 more than 1935.

Government by the people, and for the people has been drowned in the bath-tub, and the murderers have not only taken the reigns of power, but have convinced half the population that their murderous act represents a political correction that will return America to greatness.

It remains to be seen whether we will find it in our hearts to embrace both the hard, and un-glamorous work of relieving the pain inflicted by the regime that has engulfed us, and the necessity of embracing as brothers and sisters those who haven't yet realized that it is the rich and powerful who are the problem, and not all the other poor and oppressed.

The difficulty of affecting political change might be explained the way Black-Smiths describe their problem;

Life so short the craft so long to learn.

Even if it takes half as much time to defeat the Robber Barons this go-round, many of us will not see anything resembling ' victory ' in our lifetimes, so we have to make adjustments in our expectations, and accept the monumental nature of the tasks ahead.

Eureka Springs , February 16, 2018 at 10:32 am

"that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

A nice excerpt from the non-binding Gettysburg address. Too bad he was referring to a system of governance which never existed.

In a conversation with several friends yesterday.. all of us found among our greatest despairs the behavior of our long time friends who are Democrats. Much more pig-headed and determined to stay that way than Republicans ever were during the Bush Jr. years. Pretending we live in some sort of system (much less a party) which could or would possibly represent. Seemingly incapable of listening, blinded by delusion and propaganda demanding anyone in their presence double down on what's failed so many of us for far longer than we have lived.

All of us men in our fifties. Hard working. None of us had kids of our own, but several are in relationships with women who did. None of us have anything close to high living standards. Barely getting by now with great uncertainty ahead. Hell, we all own our homes outright, drive ten to twenty year old cars, buy most clothes second hand, grow much of our own food, cut our own firewood, several live off the grid entirely. Only one has access to health care and that's because he's on disability due to spinal injury on the job and an inherited heart condition. He's also the only one who might be able to get by in 'retirement' years on what he will receive. Every one of the rest of us realized if we lose our current jobs we would be hard pressed to replace them at half the income we have now.

I went to orientation for jury duty this week. Out of a hundred and fifty people I was the only man wearing a button down shirt and a sport coat. The only man who removed his hat in the courtroom. And I felt like a freak. It was all I could do to not ask the judge about jury nullification. The only reason I held back is because I knew every citizen in the joint just wanted out of there.

I think delegitimization is upon us. General malaise is nearly to the point of a general strike. The house of cards is in a slow motion but certain wind storm. Those thousand dollar checks at Wal-Mart payday will vanish overnight while the wealthy reap tax benefits for years on end. We are down to the twenty seven percent (Dems) waging false battles with the twenty six percent (Reps). Only the 47 percent rest of us will grow in numbers from here on out.

Watt4Bob , February 16, 2018 at 11:20 am

Only the 47 percent rest of us will grow in numbers from here on out.

So there is our hope. Personally, I suspect that Trump's working-class supporters will join us sooner than the deluded, diehard Clintonista faction of the democratic base. And let's hope the false battles don't turn into real battles. It's obvious there are some who would love to have us throwing rocks at each other, or worse.

juliania , February 16, 2018 at 12:58 pm

Yes, indeed, you have it. Delegitimization is the appropriate word. My thought on seeing the headline that 17 died in the Florida school shooting was how many months to go before the school year ends. I won't read anything about the shooter, or the deaths, or the bravery and self sacrifice. There have been too many; there will be far too many more.

It is an end-of-Vietnam moment. It is a moment for poems such as the above mentioned, and for me T.S.Eliot's 'Four Quartets'.

Petter , February 16, 2018 at 8:45 am

Book: The Administration of Fear – Paul Virilio. From the back cover: We are facing the emergence of a real, collective madness reinforced by the synchronization of emotions: the sudden globalization of affects in real time that hits all of humanity at the same time, and in the name of Progress. Emergency exit: we have entered a time of general panic.
-- --

suffer , February 16, 2018 at 8:46 am

what is your suffering of choice?

http://mentalfloss.com/article/58230/how-tell-whether-youve-got-angst-ennui-or-weltschmerz

Colonel Smithers , February 16, 2018 at 8:51 am

Thank you to Yves and the NC community.

Perhaps because I live in the UK, I echo particularly what Clive, Windsock and Plutonium Kun say.

Having spent much of the winter in Belgium, Mauritius, Spain and France, so none Anglo-Saxon, it was a relief to get away from the UK in the same way as JLS felt. Although these countries have their issues, I did notice their MSM appear not as venal as the UK and US MSM and seem more focused on local bread and butter. Brexit and Trump were mentioned very briefly, the latter nothing as hysterical and diversionary as in the UK and US. There were little identity politics on parade. Locals don't seem as worn out, in all respects, as one observes in Blighty.

With regard to PK's reference about Pearl Harbour, I know some well informed remainers who want a hard Brexit just for the relief that it will bring. Others, not necessarily remainers, have no idea what's going on and think Trump is a bigger threat. I must confess to, often, sharing what the former think, if only to bring the neo-liberal house down once and for all.

All this makes me think whether anglo-saxon countries are in a class of their own and how, after Brexit, the EU27 will evolve, shorn of the UK. This is not to say that the UK (the neo-liberal bit) is the only rotten apple in the EU.

If it was not for this site and community, I know of no other place where I would get a better source of news, insight and sanity. I know a dozen journalists, mainly in London, well and echo what Norello said.

Quentin , February 16, 2018 at 11:43 am

The Anglo-American countries can not be anything but in a class of their own. They include the mother country with former colonies, some especially successful, and rule the world by virtue of language, wealth and, often necessarily, violence, almost always gratuitous.

Violence has an effect on peoples lives at both the giving and receiving ends. What was this school shooting? The 13th or something since the beginning of the year. War. Nuclear war. A fear of war is the undertone which has been droning (!) on long before Donald Trump took power. Image you are in Baghdad on the glorious, glittering night of Shock and Awe to get a feel for things. That happened when the US was supposedly great.

LizinOregon , February 16, 2018 at 11:33 pm

Is pretending all is well a rational defense against the overwhelming feeling that there is nothing an individual can do to deflect the trajectory we are on? And the emotional energy it takes to keep up that pretense is exhausting.

Jane , February 16, 2018 at 9:30 am

I understand she's eager to leave but where to?! Isnt everywhere infected with this angst?

Yves Smith Post author , February 16, 2018 at 12:13 pm

She spends a lot of time in Asia .

Steve , February 16, 2018 at 9:37 am

I think for myself and others that the complete hopelessness of our situation is starting to take more of a toll. The amount of personal and social capital used to finally get some sanity back in government after Bush and the disastrous wasted opportunity of Obama that led to Trump is overwhelming. The complete loss of fairness is everywhere and my pet one this week is how Experian after losing over 200 million personal financial records is now advertising during the Olympics as the personal security service experts instead of being prosecuted out of business.

DJG , February 16, 2018 at 9:52 am

Yesterday was peculiar, Yves Smith. You should have sent me an e-mail! My colleagues were having meltdowns (overtired, I think). My computers were glitchy. The WWW seemed to switch on and off all day long. I am of a mind that it has to due with the false spring: We had a thaw in Chicago.

Like Lambert, and I won't speak for Lambert, who can speak for himself, I am guardedly optimistic: I have attended Our Revolution meetings here in Chicago as well as community meetings. There are many hardworking and savvy people out there. Yet I also believe that we are seeing the collapse of the old order without knowing what will arise anew. And as always, I am not one who believes that we should advocate more suffering so that people "learn their lesson." There is already too much suffering in the world–witness the endless U.S. sponsored wars in the Middle East. (The great un-covered story of our time: The horrors of the U.S.-Israeli-Saudi sponsored massacres from Algeria to Pakistan.)

I tend to think that the Anglo-American world is having a well-deserved nervous breakdown.

I note on my FB page that a "regular Democrat" is calling for war by invoking Orwell. When someone has reached that point of rottenness, not even knowing that Orwell was almost by nature anti-war, the rot can only continue its collapse.

So I offer Antonio Gramsci, who in spite of everything, used to write witty letters from prison. >>

My state of mind brings together these two sentiments and surpasses them: I am pessimistic because of intelligence, but a willed optimist. I think, in every circumstance, of the worst scenario so I can marshal all of my reserves of will and be ready to overcome the obstacle. I never allow myself illusions, and I have never had disappointments. I am always specially armed with endless patience, not passive or inert, but patience animated by perseverance.
–Antonio Gramsci, letter to his brother Gennaro, December 1929. Translation DJG.

Every collapse brings intellectual and moral disorder in its wake. So we must foster people who are sober, have patience, who do not despair when faced with the worst horrors yet who do not become elated over every stupid misstep. Intelligence makes us pessimists, and our will makes us optimists.
–Antonio Gramsci, first Prison Notebook, 1929-1930. Translation DJG.

So: Commenting groundlings and comrades, we must be alert, somewhat severe in our judgments of people and of the news, and yet open to a revolution that includes bread and roses.

Eclair , February 16, 2018 at 11:52 am

Nice find, DJG: "Our intelligence makes us pessimists, and our will makes us optimists."

Too big for a bumper sticker . but good for a bedside table or the bathroom mirror. To remind us that, for the realists, being optimistic takes an effort of will, a determined reach every single morning to find just one small thing that will keep us going for that day and give us hope for the future. It could be a rosy sunrise, or the imminent arrival of a grandchild, or a packet of seeds ready to be sown. Or meeting a good friend for coffee, or mastering a new dance step or a difficult passage on the fiddle.

Not denial of the world's shameful faults and of our increasingly precarious position within it, but a refusal to allow them to grind us down completely.

Left in Wisconsin , February 16, 2018 at 2:34 pm

Intelligence makes us pessimists, and our will makes us optimists.

My favorite quote. What else is there?

And if you want to know who the enemy is, it is all those whose cure for what ails us is either "Just going on living your life (i.e. shopping)" or "just vote". I view the current period of disquiet and all of us wondering what we can and should do, and who will be alongside us, or opposed to us, when we do.

Lambert Strether , February 16, 2018 at 5:22 pm

> Pessimism of the the intellect, optimism of the will

I think -- call me Pollyanna if you wish -- that optimism of the intellect is warranted as well. My only concern is that collapse will come (or be induced) when "the good guys,"* let us say, are still to weak to take advantage of the moment. That's why I keep saying that gridlock is our friend.

* Who in the nature of the case have been unaccustomed to wielding real power.

Eclair , February 16, 2018 at 6:08 pm

I have been fortunate, in the past decade, to have 'hung out' with lots of 20-somethings (and a few older beings) who have been passionately optimistic about what they can accomplish against the forces of darkness. From the environmentalists who are fighting the corporations who would build pipelines and LNG terminals to activists building tiny houses for the homeless and working with the city to find land to place them on, and those who happily get arrested for sleeping under a blanket, in protest against 'urban camping' bans, to a woman who for the last five years has served Friday night meals for all, on sidewalks in front of businesses supporting the urban camping ban.

And, I have been constantly in awe of those who, in the face of centuries of being relocated, dispossessed, despised and massacred, will not give up on protecting their lands and their way of life. These Lakota and Kiowa and Dineh people are truly optimistic that they will prevail. Or, perhaps fatalistic is a better description; hey know they may die trying.

The Rev Kev , February 16, 2018 at 9:57 am

Looks like this article has a lot of legs on it but will wait to read more commentator's thoughts and ideas before doing so myself. Too much to take in. In the meantime. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WatQeG5fMU

R , February 16, 2018 at 10:19 am

As a New Zealander living in the USA for around 7 years now (but routinely spending Christmas months back in NZ, and often multi month stints remote working in Europe) the 'tension' just living in the USA – NYC / LA is through the roof.

I can remember being in Vienna some time after trump won, a few days shy of returning to the US and wondering what the hell I was thinking – and that's related to people / media's reaction to trump just as much as trump being in charge.

It's hard to put your finger on exactly what it is – partly just the 'big metropolis' thing.. but there's also something else nasty in the air.

Similar (but amplified) feeling at work last week at the office as one quarter of the company were sacked on a days notice – a downsizing at a start up that supposedly has 'great culture'.

It's that nasty squeeze of fast capitalism I believe that has a grip on everyone's psyche – elevated fear levels, etc.

Re-read Ames' 'going postal' a few weeks back, which covers brilliantly the vicious cultural turn under Reagan.

Ps – Naked Capitalism has become my 'News refuge' having dropped off social media entirely, and wanting to avoid the general insanity of the news cycle but not disengage, thank you!

tegnost , February 16, 2018 at 10:22 am

It's not so much the presence of angst that I see, among my working brethren we're pretty numb to the current hopeless future and tend to focus instead on the present for efficiencies sake, for if one thinks too much about the hopeless future it's hard to get up and get going on fighting back the tide and muddling through the hopeless present that will be more hopeless if you don't do anything. (as an aside my opinion is that this psychology has much to do with the current homeless crisis it takes confidence to try and those who can delude themselves into doing so seem to be a little better off) But now the angst is in the the 10%er's in my acquaintance, who claim to be really worried about nuclear war. Not surprisingly they're mostly informed by npr, which as far as I can see makes people really stupid. The trump as crazy fascist narrative has them in it's clutches so much so that his weekend I had to give the "don't be too pessimistic b/c if the world doesn't end you will be unprepared for it, and if it ends who cares?" speech normally reserved for youngsters who see no point in trying due to end of the world thinking (as anecdote since when I was in college in the early '80's I was pretty certain there would be a nuclear war and made different choices than the best ones,, anyone remember the star wars missile defense system?). That said I think the "we're all gonna die" theme is just more bs sour grapes and more proof that the residence of hopelessness is actually the democrat partisans who refuse to live in the present, so denial is where they are at. But isn't that the thing about angst, it doesn't have to be real to effect one's life negatively, and I'm hearing it from people who I think should know better, but I read nc daily and live out in the woods (highly recommended, almost as good as being in another country as the rural areas of the US are actually another country) and npr was so unhinged this weekend that I felt that even the reporters were having a hard time mustering the outrage. As Hope said commenting on the uber series
"What a pleasure it is to read a genuine (and all too rare) piece of financial analysis."
I couldn't agree more, and I might send it on to a 10%er, but they seem kind of fragile lately and I don't know if they could handle "uber is a failing enterprise", they might not get out of bed

tegnost , February 16, 2018 at 1:31 pm

oops sorry that was hana not hope

Travis Bickle , February 16, 2018 at 10:22 am

Don't know if I'm any more sensitive than you guys, and I'm certainly not that good at articulating what's going in with something this subtle.

I will say that when the dogs stop barking its time to start getting REALLY worried. What we may now be hearing, or not hearing, may be a sign of fatigue, but more depressingly, impending resignation. EVERY day for the past year there's been yet another affront, and the opposition has been ineffective in any meaningful sense. Trump has apparently learned that the way to parry any thrust is to counter with something even more outrageous, literally in a matter of minutes. The initiative he is thus able to maintain is scary, and something I see no way to surmount.

But Trump is not the problem here, only the Front Man for something larger. Even during the early oughts one could perceive a fundamental societal drift, empowered by a 'conservative' (read: fascist) willingness to do whatever was necessary in pursuit of their particular vision. It is not a vision of returning disempowered white folks to some rosy past that never existed; I sense a more feudal vision, with princes and lords in gated communities, with peasants conned into doing their bidding, every day being fleeced even further.

Hence, having the means, though by no means being rich, I began my move off-shore over ten years ago. I now have 3 passports and permanent residency on as many continents. What Jerri-Lynn senses is very, very real, as I learned in the US over Xmas past in a series of vignettes I'll spare anyone reading this. I was sharing my experiences there to a local student recently (here in South America) who had once lived in the US and who continues to be enamored of the now frayed, and largely repudiated, American Dream. As I explained to him, it's not a pretty picture, and hardly one to succumb to.

My sense is that the media has succeeded in instilling into the North American zeitgeist a sense of the US being At War against the rest of the world, not unlike that of the mentality of Israel, which has a far more real situation to contend with. The tragedy, in the case of the US, is that it really, really does not have to be like this. This is a hole we have begun digging ourselves into only recently, as opposed to Israel, which at this point can hardly see the light of day.

At some point this mentality becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and while the US could easily turn itself around, the momentum is strong and decidedly in the other direction. The vision of the fascists and the imperatives of the media pretty much guarantee the US, and by extension the world, is on a collision course with negative time and space.

Left in Wisconsin , February 16, 2018 at 2:37 pm

Everything holds until it doesn't.

Lambert Strether , February 16, 2018 at 5:30 pm

Herbert Stein disagrees with Godot's Vladimir: ""If something cannot go on forever, it will stop."

Andrew Watts , February 16, 2018 at 10:33 am

I'm probably the last person able to comment on this topic having spent the last three months ignoring the news and not even reading Naked Capitalism daily. I was never bothered by the big stories like the drama over North Korea which I thought of as nothing more than a psy-op incidentally aimed at the American populace. Nor did I find Liberal Hezbollah (The Resistance) or #Metoo to be anything more than a joke. I kinda suspected that American culture would be plagued by another round of hysterical superstition driven by Calvinist social-jihadism.

If there seems to be a lack of consequential events it's because history doesn't move as swiftly as we might want. It doesn't mean that we aren't moving towards more worldview shattering events which will challenge the ability of our body politic to react to them. The United States continues to collapse driven by external and internal factors. The lack of clarity and unity of action will eventually usher in the end of the empire aboard. The inability of our ruling class to respond to Trump's election in such a manner which would constructively restore faith in our institutions will only accelerate the process at home. There isn't a lack of stories which serve as a useful guide through history. The story about American troops being ambushed and dying in Niger was significant.

A few years before the Islamic State steamrolled through Iraq and Syria it was mostly unnoticed that the French were contending with rebels marauding through their African protection racket in Mali and the Central African Republic. The fact that the US is having to prop up the French and that the chaos has been migrating southward is significant especially given the economic factors at stake. Another story I found interesting was a recent DW article about the woeful state of readiness of the German military given it is assuming leadership of a prominent position in NATO. It notably reveals that in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis and euro crisis the Germans, but probably the European countries as a whole, have been strip-mining their military budgets which is something that America did during the Great Depression. I'm sure there is even more stories out there that are little pieces of a much larger puzzle but to be honest I've mostly spent my downtime playing video games.

Don't judge me.

Andrew Watts , February 16, 2018 at 9:16 pm

True enough. It shouldn't go unnoticed that Obama was calling for NATO nations to increase their military spending 'til they reach 2% of their GDP. The Germans wouldn't theoretically have any trouble meeting under normal circumstances. It's also a far cry from what Germany spent on the eve of both World Wars.

kareninca , February 16, 2018 at 8:58 pm

"Basically everything and anything anti-Republican & anti-Trump that gets published on Facebook gets re-posted on our church Facebook page."

Hmmm. Are you losing parishioners as a result? Or gaining them? It doesn't seem to me like what people would be looking for in a faith community – an overload of politics – but what do I know.

Oh, I see that you've already sort of answered that question.

CalypsoFacto , February 16, 2018 at 4:19 pm

the tendency to excessive rage when identity is questioned is a feature of narcissism. excessive, misplaced, out of proportion rage (at being denied what was expected, at being wrong, at being seen as incompetent, whatever conflicts with the rager's identity) is what this sounds like to me. which is I guess another form of not thinking enough, unfortunately narcissism isn't curable.

in fact so much of this thread makes me feel like we're all suffering a bit as grey rocks in a narcissistic abuse scenario. the narcissism is at the individual level and at the societal level; we're all just trying to keep our heads down and avoid the maelstrom, which keeps increasing in intensity to get our attention back.

freedeomny , February 16, 2018 at 11:36 am

What I have noticed is: a sense of powerlessness and not being able to control basic aspects of your life .that at any moment things could spiral widely out of control; people have become more enraged, meaner and feel they don't even have to be polite anymore (my friends and I have noticed this even with drivers); people who normally would be considered comfortable are feeling more and more financially insecure. Almost everyone I know feels this tension and is trying to figure out what they need to do to survive – I know several who are exploring becoming expats. I think we are rapidly moving towards a breaking point .

windsock , February 16, 2018 at 11:37 am

https://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/cheer-up-the-apocalypse-isn-t-coming-and-life-s-getting-better-a3768606.html

PKMKII , February 16, 2018 at 11:58 am

The angst feels not like the angst of an impending, singular catastrophe, but rather the angst of decline. There's a late empire feel to the current mood: leaders without agency, more interested in their own, internal sense of normalcy and maintaining their perches, perches that increasingly feel pointless as they're all just listless figureheads doing what the Magister Militum tells them to do.

The military feels all-encompassing yet simultaneously incapable of exercising its will in the theater of war, so dispersed and aimless, as the missions are no longer about winning wars but about resume building. Same for the security agencies, whose invasive practices feel less like a preparation for a 1984-style security state, and more a cover for their own incompetence and inability to do proper legwork, as these mass shootings seem to inevitably come with the revelation about how authorities were alerted prior to the fact of the shooter's warning signs and did no follow up. Meanwhile, standards of living decline for the vast majority of Americans, the sense of national unity is eroding as regional and rural/urban identities are superseding that of country. Not to mention the slow simmer that is global warming and climate change.

So yeah, nothing that translates to a flashy headline or all-at-once collapse, but definitely an angst of a slow slide down, with too much resistance to the change needed to reverse it.

polecat , February 16, 2018 at 2:53 pm

My feeling is that the U$A, along with various sovereign entities around much the planet will, within a decade or so, cease to exist in their current form. When people coalesce and societies reform, is when one gets/is forced .. to choose their 'new' afilliation(s) !

It will be facinating to behold, if one is alive to partake in it ! As for positive, or negative outcomes who knows ?

Wyoming , February 16, 2018 at 12:01 pm

Yves

I believe that what is happening is that slowly but surely the numbers of people who are subconsciously reacting to the ongoing collapse of civilization are growing. They are uneasy, anxious, deflated, waiting for Godot, in depression and so on.

Civililizations don't collapse like falling off a table. They stress resources of materials and people and such stresses build and build. This has serious psychological impacts. Numbness to new is bad news. Or what used to be bad news has to be Trumped by exceedingly bad news before folks can rise to deal with them, but for a shorter time than they had the ability they used to. As the number of people grows who have reached their capacity to tolerate the stress we will find mor