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Trump election time foreign policy platform

Trump was the only candidate who during his election campaign was against neoliberal globalization as well as against neoliberal wars for the expansion of US-led global neoliberal empire (but also only until he was elected)

During elections he looked like the best chance to prevent military confrontation with Russia in Syria and the risk of WWIII. After elections he looks quote opposite experiencing political metamorphose similar to Obama who became Bush II in foreign policy in just 100 days: another masterful "bait and switch maneuver"

The last time America saw a strong paleo-conservative was Pat Buchanan in 1996. An early win in Louisiana caused Buchanan to place second in Iowa and first in New Hampshire. Lacking money, Buchanan was steamrolled by the establishment in Arizona and, in terms of paleo-conservatism, many thought he was the Last of the Mohicans. Trump's campaign is Buchananesque with one difference: Trump has money... --  by Joseph R. Murray II (Orlando Sentinel, Aug 12, 2015)

News Brexit as the start of the reversal of neoliberal globalization Donald Trump -- an unusual fighter against excesses of neoliberal globalization Recommended Links  Trump vs. Deep State Anti Trump Hysteria Shoot-first-ask-questions-later: Trump adventurism in ME Trump betrayal of his foreign policy platform Trump Colin Powell moment
The Deep State Trump economic platform TTP, NAFTA and other supernational trade treates Anti-globalization movement Immigration, wage depression and free movement of workers Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Blowback against neoliberal globalization Immigration and free movement of workers Hillary role in Syria bloodbath
 Zombie state and coming collapse of neoliberalism Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Nation under attack meme  American Exceptionalism  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"
Corporatist Corruption Predator state Neocons New American Militarism Myth about intelligent voter Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Corporatism National Security State Non-Interventionism
Libertarian Philosophy The Iron Law of Oligarchy Principal-agent problem Neoliberalism US Presidential Elections of 2012   Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc
 
"There is one political party in this country, and that is the party of money. It has two branches, the Republicans and the Democrats, the chief difference between which is that the Democrats are better at concealing their scorn for the average man."

-- Gore Vidal

“The Democrats are the foxes, and the Republicans are the wolves – and they both want to devour you.” So what does that make Libertarians? Avian flu viruses?”

-- Leonard Pinkney

The race is no contest when you own both horses. That is why no matter which political party is in power nothing really changes other than the packaging. The puppets who drink at the champagne fountains of the powerful do the bidding of their masters. The people are superfluous to the process.

-- Daniel Estulin

In the “democracy” that America has evolved to, money counts more than people. In past elections, the votes were counted, now they are going to start weighing them.

America The Counter-Revolution - Salem-News.Com

(T)he rich elites of (the USA) have far more in common with their counterparts in London, Paris, and Tokyo than with their fellow American citizens … the rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its well being except as a place to extract loot. Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it.”

-- Mike Lofgren

Note: On April 6, 2016 Trump surrendered to neocons. Events after April 6, 2017 are discussed at Trump after his Colin Powell moment. The election image of Trump
(like in case of king of "bait and switch" Obama it proved to be false) -- he easily betrayed his election promises


Introduction

Note: this article was written long before the election as as such does not reflect subsequent events such as Trump attack on Syria.

Both choices in US Presidential election 2016 were dismal, but they are unequal in their gravity options. All this blabbering about Trump future appointment of "wrong" (aka reactionary) Supreme Court justices, slashing taxes for rich, elimination of inheritance tax,  and other similar things make sense if and only if the country continues to exist. Which is not given due to the craziness and the level of degeneration of neoliberal elite, especially neocons that infest Washington, DC, Obama administration (including Obama himself),   as well as "bloodthrusty" democrats like  Hillary (“no fly zone in Syria” is one example of her craziness). While formally neocons are aligned with Republican party, they feel at home at Democratic Party too as it became the second War Party in Washington. And war (cold or hot are OK, as long as neocons personally do not need to fight in the trenches and somebody else need to die in wars of neoliberal empire expansion) is all they want. Neocons are, in essence, MIC lobbyists. Playing chicken with a nuclear power for the sake of providing MIC with outside profits and maintaining the US global dominance is a crazy policy that exhausts country resources, and impoverish population, like previously was the case with British and Spanish empires.

Neocons rule the roost in both parties, which essentially became a single War Party with two wings. They completely appropriated formulation of the US foreign policy and dominate the State Department and Pentagon. In this sense Trump is a real outlier (or was, before he was elected). Simplified his foreign policy platform includes two simple and very attractive for the US population slogan, that are completely opposite to Washington official foreign policy doctrine, enforced by "deep state"

So the hissy fit the deep state displayed before December 19  (classic "Russians are under every bed" hysteria, supported by all neoliberal MSM, including WaPo, NYT, CNN, ABC, MSBNC, etc) was not about Russia, it was about the danger that the current neocon-driven foreign policy that was a hallmark of the US forign policy during the  last four administrations (Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and Obama) will be abandoned by Trump administration.

The fact the American people discarded  Hillary Clinton is encouraging. As a neocon warmonger she belongs to the dust bin of history. But as it  is not clear whether Trump is capable to deliver his key foreign policy promises/objectives, such a detente with Russia, and no new wars of neoliberal empire expansion. Deep state is way too strong for a single maverick, or even a group of like minded mavericks  change the US foreign policy. Even if they have unconditional support of US military (as Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard demonstrated with her recent bill):

On December 8, 2016, Gabbard introduced the Stop Arming Terrorists Act to prevent the U.S. government from sponsoring international terrorist groups through funding and the provision of armaments, intelligence, and training. The act was modeled on the Boland Amendment and was endorsed by the Progressive Democrats of America and the U.S. Peace Council.[107][108]

The chances are high that Trump he will be co-opted by Washington neocons and gradually will became Bush IV or Obama II.  That will be really unfortunate development.  In this chess game, Trump having weaker figures and position in labyrinth of power will need to find  new people ready to go and skillfully navigate around the neocon swamp and MIC land mines. The only countervailing force are US military, who are fighting all those neocon wars and who really hate neocon chickenhawks, and know their real price. Separately, Trump has suggested a new rules prohibiting lobbying for five years after service in his administration and total prohibition of being lobbyist of foreign states. That is really revolutionary  and this alone make Trump distinct from a typical Washington politicians. But those parasites will definitely fiercely resists such sensitive for their family budget change.

Trump looks like the only chance somewhat to limit their influence and reach some détente with Russia. And I would not be surprised one bit if Dick Cheney, Victoria Nuland, Paul Wolfowitz and Perle voted for Hillary. Robert Kagan and papa Bush publicly declared such an intention. And the fact Hillary is a staunch neocon, and always was.  A wolf in sheep clothing, if we are talking about real anti-war democrats, not the USA brand of DemoRats. She is a crazy warmonger, no question about it, trying to compensate a complete lack of diplomatic skills with jingoism and saber rattling. In foreign policy area she was John McCain in pantsuit. Here is one interesting quote ( nakedcapitalism.com )

“What scares me is my knowledge of her career-long investment in trying to convince the generals and the admirals that she is a ‘tough bitch’, ala Margaret Thatcher, who will not hesitate to pull the trigger. An illuminating article in the NY Times  revealed that she always advocates the most muscular and reckless dispositions of U.S. military forces whenever her opinion is solicited. ”

But it looks that many people in the USA were able to understand that the choice in this particular case was between the decimation of the last remnants of the New Deal and a real chance of WWIII. Those are two events of completely difference magnitude: one is reversible (and please note that Trump is bound by very controversial obligations to his electorate and faces hostile Congress), the other is not.

Neoliberalism after 2008 entered zombie state so while it is still strong aggressive and bloodthirsty it might not last for long. And in such cases the defeat of democratic forces on domestic front is temporary. That means vote against Hillary.

Trump rejects neocon platform of forcefully converting all states in the globe into neoliberal protectorates using color revolutions and brute military force, including drone based assassinations (The Wholesale Failure of American Foreign Policy The American Conservative): 

Airstrikes and drone attacks are accidentally killing thousands of civilians, aid workers, wedding parties, and now even the troops of a nation against whom we are not at war. Each of these mistakes, repeated hundreds of times over the past 15 years, creates more antagonism and hatred of the United States than any other single event. Whatever tactical benefit some of the strikes do accomplish, they are consumed in the still-worsening strategic failure the misfires cause.

Bottom line: The use of military power since 2001 has:

These continued and deepening failures kill unknown numbers of innocent civilians each year, intensify and spread the hatred many have of America, and incrementally weaken our national security. But these military failures have another, less obvious but more troubling cost.

Official election platform

With the exception of Iran, which for some reason he hates so much, that he wants to risk a war with it, Trump speaks more like a paleoconservative  then a neocon.  He is more reasonable as for US-Russian relation that bloodthirsty warmonger Hillary (which is an easy task because "this woman" wet kiss neocons all the time).

His focus in relations with China, while also hawkish  in more about trade balance and "bringing jobs home" issues, not so much about South Sea military adventures (U.S.-China Trade Reform Donald J Trump for President):

How We Got Here: Washington Politicians Let China Off The Hook

In January 2000, President Bill Clinton boldly promised China’s inclusion in the World Trade Organization (WTO) “is a good deal for America. Our products will gain better access to China’s market, and every sector from agriculture, to telecommunications, to automobiles. But China gains no new market access to the United States.” None of what President Clinton promised came true. Since China joined the WTO, Americans have witnessed the closure of more than 50,000 factories and the loss of tens of millions of jobs. It was  not a good deal for America then and it’s a bad deal now. It is a typical example of how politicians in Washington have failed our country.

The most important component of our China policy is leadership and strength at the negotiating table. We have been too afraid to protect and advance American interests and to challenge China to live up to its obligations. We need smart negotiators who will serve the interests of American workers – not Wall Street insiders that want to move U.S. manufacturing and investment offshore.

The Goal Of The Trump Plan: Fighting For American Businesses And Workers

America has always been a trading nation. Under the Trump administration trade will flourish. However, for free trade to bring prosperity to America, it must also be fair trade. Our goal is not protectionism but accountability. America fully opened its markets to China but China has not reciprocated. Its Great Wall of Protectionism uses unlawful tariff and non-tariff barriers to keep American companies out of China and to tilt the playing field in their favor.

If you give American workers a level playing field, they will win. At its heart, this plan is a negotiating strategy to bring fairness to our trade with China. The results will be huge for American businesses and workers. Jobs and factories will stop moving offshore and instead stay here at home. The economy will boom. The steps outlined in this plan will make that a reality.

When Donald J. Trump is president, China will be on notice that America is back in the global leadership business and that their days of currency manipulation and cheating are over. We will cut a better deal with China that helps American businesses and workers compete.

The Trump Plan Will Achieve The Following Goals:

  1. Bring China to the bargaining table by immediately declaring it a currency manipulator.
  2. Protect American ingenuity and investment by forcing China to uphold intellectual property laws and stop their unfair and unlawful practice of forcing U.S. companies to share proprietary technology with Chinese competitors as a condition of entry to China’s market.
  3. Reclaim millions of American jobs and reviving American manufacturing by putting an end to China’s illegal export subsidies and lax labor and environmental standards. No more sweatshops or pollution havens stealing jobs from American workers.
  4. Strengthen our negotiating position by lowering our corporate tax rate to keep American companies and jobs here at home, attacking our debt and deficit so China cannot use financial blackmail against us, and bolstering the U.S. military presence in the East and South China Seas to discourage Chinese adventurism.

Details of Donald J. Trump’s US China Trade Plan:

Declare China A Currency Manipulator

We need a president who will not succumb to the financial blackmail of a Communist dictatorship. President Obama’s Treasury Department has repeatedly refused to brand China a currency manipulator – a move that would force China to stop these unfair practices or face tough countervailing duties that level the playing field.

Economists estimate the Chinese yuan is undervalued by anywhere from 15% to 40%. This grossly undervalued yuan gives Chinese exporters a huge advantage while imposing the equivalent of a heavy tariff on U.S. exports to China. Such currency manipulation, in concert with China’s other unfair practices, has resulted in chronic U.S. trade deficits, a severe weakening of the U.S. manufacturing base and the loss of tens of millions of American jobs.

In a system of truly free trade and floating exchange rates like a Trump administration would support, America's massive trade deficit with China would not persist. On day one of the Trump administration the U.S. Treasury Department will designate China as a currency manipulator. This will begin a process that imposes appropriate countervailing duties on artificially cheap Chinese products, defends U.S. manufacturers and workers, and revitalizes job growth in America. We must stand up to China’s blackmail and reject corporate America’s manipulation of our politicians. The U.S. Treasury’s designation of China as a currency manipulator will force China to the negotiating table and open the door to a fair – and far better – trading relationship.

End China’s Intellectual Property Violations

China’s ongoing theft of intellectual property may be the greatest transfer of wealth in history. This theft costs the U.S. over $300 billion and millions of jobs each year. China’s government ignores this rampant cybercrime and, in other cases, actively encourages or even sponsors it –without any real consequences. China’s cyber lawlessness threatens our prosperity, privacy and national security. We will enforce stronger protections against Chinese hackers and counterfeit goods and our responses to Chinese theft will be swift, robust, and unequivocal.

The Chinese government also forces American companies like Boeing, GE, and Intel to transfer proprietary technologies to Chinese competitors as a condition of entry into the Chinese market. Such de facto intellectual property theft represents a brazen violation of WTO and international rules. China’s forced technology transfer policy is absolutely ridiculous. Going forward, we will adopt a zero tolerance policy on intellectual property theft and forced technology transfer. If China wants to trade with America, they must agree to stop stealing and to play by the rules.

Eliminate China’s Illegal Export Subsidies And Other Unfair Advantages

Chinese manufacturers and other exporters receive numerous illegal export subsidies from the Chinese government. These include - in direct contradiction to WTO rules - free or nearly free rent, utilities, raw materials, and many other services. China’s state-run banks routinely extend loans these enterprises at below market rates or without the expectation they will be repaid. China even offers them illegal tax breaks or rebates as well as cash bonuses to stimulate exports.

China’s illegal export subsidies intentionally distorts international trade and damages other countries’ exports by giving Chinese companies an unfair advantage. From textile and steel mills in the Carolinas to the Gulf Coast’s shrimp and fish industries to the Midwest manufacturing belt and California’s agribusiness, China’s disregard for WTO rules hurt every corner of America.

The U.S. Trade Representative recently filed yet another complaint with the WTO accusing China of cheating on our trade agreements by subsidizing its exports. The Trump administration will not wait for an international body to tell us what we already know. To gain negotiating leverage, we will pursue the WTO case and aggressively highlight and expose these subsidies.

China’s woeful lack of reasonable environmental and labor standards represent yet another form of unacceptable export subsidy. How can American manufacturers, who must meet very high standards, possibly compete with Chinese companies that care nothing about their workers or the environment? We will challenge China to join the 21 st Century when it comes to such standards.

The Trump Plan Will Strengthen Our Negotiating Position

As the world’s most important economy and consumer of goods, America must always negotiate trade agreements from strength. Branding China as a currency manipulator and exposing their unfair trade practices is not enough. In order to further strengthen our negotiating leverage, the Trump plan will:

  1. Lower the corporate tax rate to 15% to unleash American ingenuity here at home and make us more globally competitive. This tax cut puts our rate 10 percentage points below China and 20 points below our current burdensome rate that pushes companies and jobs offshore.
  2. Attack our debt and deficit by vigorously eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in the Federal government, ending redundant government programs, and growing the economy to increase tax revenues. Closing the deficit and reducing our debt will mean China cannot blackmail us with our own Treasury bonds.
  3. Strengthen the U.S. military and deploying it appropriately in the East and South China Seas. These actions will discourage Chinese adventurism that imperils American interests in Asia and shows our strength as we begin renegotiating our trading relationship with China. A strong military presence will be a clear signal to China and other nations in Asia and around the world that America is back in the global leadership business.

Trump challenges after the election

This topic is covered in more details at Trump vs. Deep State

As professor  Andrew Levine wrote in Trouble Ahead With Trump and For Himon (CounterPunch, Nov 18, 2016).  

And his views on relations with Russia and China, regime change wars, and imperial overreach, as best they can be ascertained, are a lot wiser and less lethal than hers.  These are not so much left-right issues as matters of common sense.

Clinton’s overriding concern was and always has been to maintain and expand American world domination — in the face of economic decline, and at no matter what cost.  Trump wants, or says he wants, to do business with other countries in the way that he did with sleaze ball real estate moguls and network executives, people like himself.   He wants to make deals.

The Trump way is, as they say, “transactional.”  The idea is to wheel and deal on a case-by-case basis, with no further, non-pecuniary end in view.

... ... ...

Better that, though, than a foreign policy dedicated to keeping America the world’s hegemon. That is the foreign policy establishment’s aim; it is therefore Clinton’s too. It is the way of perpetual war. Trump’s way is far from ideal, but it is less wasteful, less onerous and less reckless.

During the campaign, Trump would sometimes speak out against banksters and financiers, especially the too-big-to-fail and too-big-to-jail kind. For some time, though, the “populist” billionaire has been signaling to his class brothers and sisters in the financial “industry” that he is more likely to deregulate than to regulate their machinations.

This will become even clearer once Trump settles on key Cabinet posts and on his economic advisors. It is already plain, though, that the modern day counterparts of Theodore Roosevelt’s “malefactors of great wealth” have little to fear; they and Trump are joined by indissoluble bonds of class-consciousness and solidarity.

Many of the rich and heinous were skeptical of Trump’s candidacy at first; because he is such a loose cannon. But now that he has won, the bastards are sucking up; and glee is returning to Wall Street.

Trump is now starting too to allay the fears of the movers and shakers of the National Security State. He still has a way to go, however. We can therefore still hope that they are right to worry. What is bad for them is good for the country.

Clinton’s defeat also seems to have unnerved their counterparts in European capitals, at NATO headquarters in Brussels, and in Japan, South Korea and other countries where the presence of the American military has been very very good for the few at the top, and disastrous for ordinary people.

If he means it, then more power to him. The United States and the rest of the world would be well rid of the American dominated military alliances now in place; NATO most of all. However, having talked with him, Obama is now telling the Europeans that Trump is fine with NATO. Time will tell.

Then there is Israel. Trump thinks that the blank check the ethnocratic settler state already gets from the United States isn’t nearly enough. So much for allies paying their own way!

However, even if Trump leaves America’s perpetual war regime and its military alliances intact, some good could come just from him being at the helm – not so much because, as a wheeler and dealer, he would be less inclined actually to start wars than has become the norm, but because he is vile enough, and enough of an embarrassment, to undermine America’s prestige, hastening the day when the hegemon is a hegemon no more.

This would be good for most Americans, and good for the world.

The election he won has already done a lot to explode the idea, more widely believed at home than abroad, that American “democracy” is somehow a model for the world.

Trump election time position on Russia

Campaign trail rhetoric is not the same as actual foreign policy after the elections.  As Sputnik reported (Russia-US Relations Under Trump 'There Will Be Dialogue and Agreements')

"The Democrats consider their views to be the ultimate truth. It is impossible to reach any agreement with them in this respect. They are not focused on national interests, but rather on globalist goals and universal human values. In this sense the ability of Obama's team to reach deals has passed into legend," he said. "In recent years, Russia has not tried to engage in meaningful diplomacy with the Obama administration since it was useless."

But negotiation will be tough because Trump explicit position is to seek advantages for the USA, not equal deals. He might possibly cooperate on tackling Daesh in Syria. If so, this will mark a major departure from Russia's relations with the US under the Obama administration in recent years. But the problem is the Congress which is infected with war hawks (mostly chickenhawks).

Real Trump position on Russia would be more clear when he selects his candidate for the Secretary of State. So far his views were encouraging: he is not in favor of direct confrontation that Obama administration pursued and Clinton administration would probably convert into armed conflict. Here are some additional details from Russophobic Guardian presstitute Shawn Walker (The Guardian, July 7, 2016):

Page, an investment banker who previously worked in Russia, insisted he was in Russia on a private visit, although he is likely to meet Russian officials when he gives the commencement speech at the New Economic School in Moscow on Friday. He refused to comment on whether he had any meetings with officials planned.

... ... ...

Trump himself has has often praised the Russian leader during the campaign, saying in a December interview “he’s running his country and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country”.

The presumptive Republican nominee has expressed his confidence that he would build a good relationship with the Russian president telling reporters last year: “I think I would get along very well with Vladimir Putin.”

He also defended the Russian leader against accusations that Putin has ordered the killing of journalists, telling ABC News “In all fairness to Putin, you’re saying he killed people. I haven’t seen that. I don’t know that he has. Have you been able to prove that? Do you know the names of the reporters that he’s killed? Because I’ve been – you know, you’ve been hearing this, but I haven’t seen the names,”

The announced topic of Page’s discussion was “the evolution of the world economy”, but much of it involved semi-coherent analysis of the former Soviet republics of Central Asia.

In passing, Page castigated the US for interfering in the internal affairs of other countries and pursuing "regime change" in former Soviet countries. He said Russia and the US could have better relations in future, but this would be “contingent upon US’s refocus toward resolution of domestic challenges”. However, when pressed on details he was evasive.

In March, Page told Bloomberg that his experience on the ground doing deals in Russia and Central Asia would make him better placed to give advice than “people from afar, sitting in the comfort of their think tanks in Washington”. It is unclear how close he is to Trump and how much weight his advice holds with the presidential candidate.

Page repeatedly emphasised that he was in Russia as a private citizen rather than as an emissary of Trump. However, it is connections with the presidential candidate which prompted the New Economic School to invite him to give their keynote annual speech. In previous years, the commencement speeches at the university have been given by high-profile figures, including Barack Obama in 2009.

In December, Putin referred to Trump as a “colourful” person who was the “absolute leader” of the US presidential race, comments which prompted Trump to respond in turn that he was flattered by the praise. “When people call you brilliant, it’s always good, especially when the person heads up Russia,” Trump said, adding incorrectly that Putin had called him a “genius”.

Last month, Putin clarified the comments, saying he had not endorsed Trump, but welcomed his stance on relations with Russia.

“Here’s where I will pay close attention, and where I exactly welcome and where on the contrary I don’t see anything bad: Mr Trump has declared that he’s ready for the full restoration of Russian-American relations. Is there anything bad there? We all welcome this, don’t you?”

Trump election time position on Iran

Trump declared the Obama nuclear deal, the deal which helped to keep oil prices very low since mid 2014, "disastrous" and suggested it would be one of the first arrangements he would "renegotiate" after he assumes the office of the presidency in January, 2017.

"They are laughing at the stupidity of the deal we’re making on nuclear," Trump said of the Iranians, in an interview last summer with CNN. "We should double up and triple up the sanctions and have them come to us. They are making an amazing deal."

It is unlear why he calls this stupidity. IMHO this was a very shrewd move, then decimated Russia economic, as Russia budget depends of world prices and also heavily hit KAS, Venezuela and other oil producing nations. Putting some of them on the wedge of bankruptcy. In American Conservative   Daniel Larison  gave very insightful overview of Trump position, which is shared by his close advisors such as General Flynn (Trump and Iran The American Conservative):

Scott McConnell asks what we could expect from Trump on foreign policy, specifically on Iran:

The greater neoconservative goal, of course, is the prevention any American rapprochement with Iran, keeping the sanctions going till they have a president willing to start a war on the country. How does Trump fit into that?

I have tried to avoid writing about Trump as much as possible over the last few months, because it is generally a waste of time to attempt to analyze the policy views of an opportunistic demagogue, but since the question has been asked here I’ll try to answer it.

As far as I can tell, Trump endorses the hard-liners’ position on the nuclear deal. He has characteristically denounced it in the most hyperbolic terms, he is preparing to share a stage with the only other presidential candidate that can match him in demagogic rhetoric to repeat these denunciations, and two of the groups sponsoring the rally that Trump will attend are among the most fanatical hawkish organizations in the U.S. He has also repeated some of the most ludicrous and dishonest hawkish talking points about what the deal requires of the U.S. For instance, he recently repeated the lie that the deal obliges the U.S. to defend Iran from an Israeli attack:

He then claimed that there’s something in the Iran deal saying if someone attacks Iran, “we have to come to their defense.” And so he interpreted that to conclude, “If Israel attacks Iran, according to that deal, I believe the way it reads… that we have to fight with Iran against Israel.”

This is complete and utter nonsense, so it doesn’t surprise me that Trump believes it (or at least claims to believe it). This is the sort of deliberate distortion of the deal’s contents that hard-line “pro-Israel” hawks like to indulge in. Rubio said something similar to this in his questioning of Kerry earlier in the summer.

It should tell us everything we need to know about Trump’s views on foreign policy that he buys into these lies and repeats them. There are all kinds of reasons not to trust Trump’s judgment, but his statements on the nuclear deal are sufficient to prove that his foreign policy judgment is horrible.

Trump election time position on free trade and victims of neoliberal globalization

From Gaius Publius When Trump Talks Trade, Voters Listen naked capitalism

Before you read, though, take a moment to watch less than two minutes of Donald Trump above, from his victory speech after winning in Michigan and Mississippi. I’ve cued it up to start at the remarks I want to highlight, Trump discussing our trade deficit.

Now Thomas Frank, writing in The Guardian. He starts by noting the utter invisibility of real working Americans to our elite class, including our media elites, and especially our liberal media elites (my emphasis throughout):

Millions of ordinary Americans support Donald Trump. Here’s why

When he isn’t spewing insults, the Republican frontrunner is hammering home a powerful message about free trade and its victims

Let us now address the greatest American mystery at the moment: what motivates the supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump?

I call it a “mystery” because the working-class white people who make up the bulk of Trump’s fan base show up in amazing numbers for the candidate, filling stadiums and airport hangars, but their views, by and large, do not appear in our prestige newspapers. On their opinion pages, these publications take care to represent demographic categories of nearly every kind, but “blue-collar” is one they persistently overlook. The views of working-class people are so foreign to that universe that when New York Times columnist Nick Kristof wanted to “engage” a Trump supporter last week, he made one up, along with this imaginary person’s responses to his questions.

When members of the professional class wish to understand the working-class Other, they traditionally consult experts on the subject. And when these authorities are asked to explain the Trump movement, they always seem to zero in on one main accusation: bigotry. Only racism, they tell us, is capable of powering a movement like Trump’s, which is blowing through the inherited structure of the Republican party like a tornado through a cluster of McMansions.

The conclusion of these writers is this:

The Trump movement is a one-note phenomenon, a vast surge of race-hate. Its partisans are not only incomprehensible, they are not really worth comprehending.

And yet…

A lot of people are racists, including those not supporting Trump. But people have other concerns as well, especially working people. They are dying faster than they used to, from drugs and despair, and they fear for their jobs and their families, for very good reasons. This economy is failing them.

They also hate — and understand — “free trade.”

Trump Also Talks Trade

Donald Trump talks about more than just race and immigration. He talks about trade and the trade deficit, an issue that powered Bernie Sanders to his Michigan victory as well. From the New York Times:

Trade and Jobs Key to Victory for Bernie Sanders

Democratic presidential candidate had campaigned in Traverse City, Mich., in decades until Senator Bernie Sanders pulled up to the concert hall near the Sears store on Friday. Some 2,000 people mobbed him when he arrived, roaring in approval as he called the country’s trade policies, and Hillary Clinton’s support for them, “disastrous.”

“If the people of Michigan want to make a decision about which candidate stood with workers against corporate America and against these disastrous trade agreements, that candidate is Bernie Sanders,” Mr. Sanders said in Traverse City, about 250 miles north of Detroit.

Mr. Sanders pulled off a startling upset in Michigan on Tuesday by traveling to communities far from Detroit and by hammering Mrs. Clinton on an issue that resonated in this still-struggling state: her past support for trade deals that workers here believe robbed them of manufacturing jobs. Almost three-fifths of voters said that trade with other countries was more likely to take away jobs, according to exit polls by Edison Research, and those voters favored Mr. Sanders by a margin of more than 10 points.

There is no question — America’s billionaire-friendly, job-destroying trade policy is toxic — again, literally. That’s why Obama and his bipartisan “free trade” enablers in Congress have to pass TPP, if they can, in post-election lame duck session. TPP is also toxic to political careers, and only lame ducks and the recently-elected can vote for it.

Frank again on Trump:

Last week, I decided to watch several hours of Trump speeches for myself. I saw the man ramble and boast and threaten and even seem to gloat when protesters were ejected from the arenas in which he spoke. I was disgusted by these things, as I have been disgusted by Trump for 20 years. But I also noticed something surprising. In each of the speeches I watched, Trump spent a good part of his time talking about an entirely legitimate issue, one that could even be called left-wing.

Yes, Donald Trump talked about trade. In fact, to judge by how much time he spent talking about it, trade may be his single biggest concern – not white supremacy. Not even his plan to build a wall along the Mexican border, the issue that first won him political fame. He did it again during the debate on 3 March: asked about his political excommunication by Mitt Romney, he chose to pivot and talk about … trade.

It seems to obsess him: the destructive free-trade deals our leaders have made, the many companies that have moved their production facilities to other lands, the phone calls he will make to those companies’ CEOs in order to threaten them with steep tariffs unless they move back to the US.

On the subject more generally, Frank adds:

Trade is an issue that polarizes Americans by socio-economic status. To the professional class, which encompasses the vast majority of our media figures, economists, Washington officials and Democratic power brokers, what they call “free trade” is something so obviously good and noble it doesn’t require explanation or inquiry or even thought. Republican and Democratic leaders alike agree on this, and no amount of facts can move them from their Econ 101 dream.

To the remaining 80 or 90% of America, trade means something very different. There’s a video going around on the internet these days that shows a room full of workers at a Carrier air conditioning plant in Indiana being told by an officer of the company that the factory is being moved to Monterrey, Mexico and that they’re all going to lose their jobs.

As I watched it, I thought of all the arguments over trade that we’ve had in this country since the early 1990s, all the sweet words from our economists about the scientifically proven benevolence of free trade, all the ways in which our newspapers mock people who say that treaties like the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement allow companies to move jobs to Mexico.

Well, here is a video of a company moving its jobs to Mexico, courtesy of Nafta. This is what it looks like. The Carrier executive talks in that familiar and highly professional HR language about the need to “stay competitive” and “the extremely price-sensitive marketplace.” A worker shouts “Fuck you!” at the executive. The executive asks people to please be quiet so he can “share” his “information”. His information about all of them losing their jobs.

Frank goes to greater length, and again, please click through. But you get the idea. This is what Trump is speaking to, whether he means what he says or not, and this is what his voters are responding to, whether they like his racism or not. After all, haven’t you, at least once, voted for someone with qualities you dislike because of policies you do like?

Whose Fault Is This? Both Parties, But Especially the Democratic Elites

One final point. Frank takes on the issue of responsibility:

Trump’s words articulate the populist backlash against liberalism that has been building slowly for decades … Yet still we cannot bring ourselves to look the thing in the eyes. We cannot admit that we liberals bear some [or most] of the blame for its emergence, for the frustration of the working-class millions, for their blighted cities and their downward spiraling lives. So much easier to scold them for their twisted racist souls, to close our eyes to the obvious reality of which Trump_vs_deep_state is just a crude and ugly expression: that neoliberalism has well and truly failed.

I am certain, if this comes up in a general election debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, she could very likely get her clock cleaned; not certainly, but certainly very likely. First, she can only equivocate, and Trump will have none of it. (Trump: “Let me understand. You were for this before you were against it? So … will you be for it again next year? I’m just trying to understand.”)

Second, this is a change election, Trump is one of only two change candidates in the race, and Clinton is not the other one.

Here’s that Carrier Air Conditioning “we’re moving to Mexico” video that Frank mentioned above. Take a look, but prepare to feel some pain as you watch:


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[Apr 14, 2018] The Deep State Closes In On The Donald

Apr 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Yet here is the even more unexplainable part of this sorry episode that amounts to the Deep State waging the Donald. The remaining rebels capitulated on Sunday and the government re-upped the evacuation deal. That is, the remnants of Jaish al-Islam are now all dead or have boarded busses--along with their families---and are already in Idlib province.

That's right. There is no opposition left in Douma and it has been liberated by the Syrian army, including release of the 3,200 pro-government hostages who had been paraded around the town in cages by the Saudi Arabia funded warriors of Islam who had terrorized it.

According to the Syrian government, no traces of chemicals or even bodies have been found. They could be lying, of course, but with the OPCW investigators on the way to Douma who in their right mind would not wait for an assessment of what actually happened last Saturday?

That is, if you are not caught up in the anti-Russian hysteria that has engulfed official Washington and the mainstream media. Indeed, the Syrian government has now even welcomed the international community to come to Douma, where the Russians claim there is absolutely nothing to see:

Speaking with EuroNews, Russia's ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizov, said "Russian military specialists have visited this region, walked on those streets, entered those houses, talked to local doctors and visited the only functioning hospital in Douma, including its basement where reportedly the mountains of corpses pile up. There was not a single corpse and even not a single person who came in for treatment after the attack."

"But we've seen them on the video!" responds EuroNews correspondent Andrei Beketov.

"There was no chemical attack in Douma, pure and simple," responds Chizov. "We've seen another staged event. There are personnel, specifically trained - and you can guess by whom - amongst the so-called White Helmets, who were already caught in the act with staged videos."

In short, if they are lying, it would not be hard to ascertain. Presumably, the Donald could even send Jared Kushner--flack jacket and all---to investigate what actually happened at Douma.

Alas, the Donald has apparently opted for war instead in a desperate maneuver to keep the Deep State at bay.

Either way, we think he's about done, and in Part 2 we will explore why what's about to happen next should be known to the history books, if there are any, as "Mueller's War".

[Mar 26, 2018] Brexit: UK Capitulates

Notable quotes:
"... The UK is clearly past the point where it could undo Brexit . There was pretty much no way to back out of Brexit, given the ferocious support for it in the tabloids versus the widespread view that a second referendum that showed that opinion had changed was a political necessity for a reversal. Pundits and politicians were cautious about even voicing the idea. ..."
"... The UK still faces high odds of significant dislocations as of Brexit date . All sorts of agreements to which the UK is a party via the EU cease to be operative once the UK become a "third country". These other countries have every reason to take advantage of the UK's week and administratively overextended position. Moreover, these countries can't entertain even discussing interim trade arrangements (new trade deals take years) until they have at least a high concept idea of what the "future relationship" with the EU will look like. Even though it looks likely to be a Canada-type deal, no one wants to waste time negotiating until that is firmed up. ..."
"... On the World Service this morning, the BBC reported from the "cultural front line against Putin". A playwright (perhaps a member of playwrights against Putin) was given half an hour from 5 am to witter on. This is half an hour more than what Brexit will get on the airwaves today. ..."
"... I think the key thing that is driving the politics for the moment is that May has shown an absolute determination to hold on to power at any cost, and she realises that having a transition agreement is central to this. ..."
"... I think you are right that the main political priority now in London is preserving May in her position. ..."
"... -- and I mean no -- ..."
Mar 26, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

A reader was kind enough to ask for a Brexit update. I hadn't provided one because truth be told, the UK press has gone quiet as the Government knuckled under in the last round of negotiations.

It is a mystery as to why the hard core Brexit faction and the true power brokers, the press barons, have gone quiet after having made such a spectacle of their incompetence and refusal to compromise. Do they not understand what is happening? Has someone done a whip count and realized they didn't have the votes if they tried forcing a crisis, and that the result would probably be a Labour government, a fate they feared far more than a disorderly Brexit?

As we've pointed out repeatedly, the EU has the vastly stronger negotiating position. The UK could stomp and huff and keep demanding its super special cherry picked special cake all it wanted to. That was a fast track to a crash-out Brexit. But it seems out of character for the Glorious Brexit true believers to sober up suddenly.

Some observations:

The transition deal is the much-decried "vassal state ". As we and others pointed out, the only transition arrangement feasible was a standstill with respect to the UK's legal arrangements with the EU, save at most some comparatively minor concessions on pet issues. The UK will remain subject to the authority of the ECJ. The UK will continue to pay into the EU budget. As we'd predicted, the transition period will go only until the end of 2020.

The UK couldn't even get a break on the Common Fisheries Policy. From the Guardian :

For [fisherman Tony] Delahunty's entire career, a lopsided system of quotas has granted up to 84% of the rights to fish some local species, such as English Channel cod, to the French, and left as little as 9% to British boats. Add on a new system that bans fishermen from throwing away unwanted catch and it becomes almost impossible to haul in a net of mixed fish without quickly exhausting more limited quotas of "choke" species such as cod .

Leaving the EU was meant to change all that .Instead, growing numbers of British fishermen feel they have been part of a bait-and-switch exercise – a shiny lure used to help reel in a gullible public. Despite only recently promising full fisheries independence as soon as Brexit day on 29 March 2019, the UK government this week capitulated to Brussels' demand for it to remain part of the common fisheries system until at least 2021, when a transition phase is due to end. Industry lobbyists fear that further cave-ins are now inevitable in the long run as the EU insists on continued access to British waters as the price of a wider post-Brexit trade deal.

The one place where the UK did get a win of sorts was on citizen's rights, where the transition deal did not make commitments, much to the consternation of both EU27 and UK nationals. Curiously, the draft approved by the EU27 last week dropped the section that had discussed citizens' rights. From the Express :

Italy's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Angelino Alfano, demands EU citizens' rights be protected after Brexit .

The comments from Italy's foreign minister come after the draft Brexit agreement struck between Britain and the EU on Monday was missing "Article 32", which in previous drafts regulated the free movement of British citizens living in Europe after Brexit.

The entire article was missing from the document, which goes straight from Article 31 to Article 33.

MEPs from the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Labour, Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru have written to Brexit Secretary David Davis for clarification about the missing article, while citizens' group British in Europe said the document failed to provide them with "legal certainty".

A copy of the letter sent to Mr Davis seen by the Independent said: "As UK MEPs we are deeply worried about what will happen to British citizens living in EU27 member states once we leave the EU.

This issue has apparently been pushed back to the April round of talks. I have not focused on the possible points of contention here. However, bear in mind that EU citizens could sue if they deem the eventual deal to be too unfavorable. Recall that during the 2015 Greece-Troika negotiations, some parties were advocating that Greece leave the Eurozone. A counterargument was that Greek citizens would be able to sue the Greek government for their loss of EU rights.

The UK is backing into having to accept a sea border as the solution for Ireland. As many have pointed out, there's no other remedy to the various commitments the UK has already made with respect to Ireland, as unpalatable as that solution is to the Unionists and hard core Brexiters. The UK has not put any solutions on the table as the EU keeps working on the "default" option, which was included in the Joint Agreement of December. The DUP sabre-rattled then but was not willing to blow up the negotiations then. It will be even harder for them to derail a deal now when the result would be a chaotic Brexit.

The UK is still trying to escape what appears to be the inevitable outcome. The press of the last 24 hours reports that the UK won't swallow the "backstop" plan that the EU has been refining, even though it accepts the proposition that the agreement needs to have that feature . The UK is back to trying to revive one of its barmy ideas that managed to find its way into the Joint Agreement, that of a new super special customs arrangement.

Politico gives an outline below. This is a non-starter simply because the EU will never accept any arrangement where goods can get into the EU without there being full compliance with EU rules, and that includes having them subject to the jurisdiction of the ECJ and the various relevant Brussels supervisory bodies. Without even hearing further details, the UK's barmy "alignment" notions means that the UK would somehow have a say in these legal and regulatory processes. This cheeky plan would give the UK better rights than any EU27 member. From Politico :

The key issues for debate, according to one senior U.K. official, is how the two sides can deliver "full alignment" and what the territorial scope of that commitment will be -- the U.K. or Northern Ireland.

The starting point of the U.K.'s position will be that "full alignment" should apply to goods and a limited number of services sectors, one U.K. official said.

On the customs issue, the proposal that Northern Ireland is subsumed into the EU's customs territory is a non-starter with London

The alternative would be based on one of the two customs arrangements set out by the government in August last year and reaffirmed by May in her Mansion House speech. They are either a customs partnership -- known as the "hybrid" model internally -- or the "highly streamlined customs arrangement" known by officials as "max-fac" or maximum facilitation.

The hybrid model would mean the U.K. continuing to police its border as if it were the EU's customs border, but then tracking imports to apply different tariffs depending on which market they end up in -- U.K. or EU. Under this scenario, because Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland would share an external EU customs border, as they do now, it would remove the need for checks on the land border between the two.

The complexity and unprecedented nature of this solution has led to accusations from the Brussels side that it amounts to "magical thinking."

The "max-fac" model is simpler conceptually but would represent a huge logistical effort for U.K. customs authorities. It would involve the use of technological and legal measures such as electronic pre-notification of goods crossing the border and a "trusted trader" status for exporters and importers, to make customs checks as efficient as possible.

While the U.K. will present both customs arrangements as possible ways of solving this aspect of the Irish border problem, one senior official said that the "hybrid" model was emerging as the preferred option in London.

The UK is already having trouble getting its customs IT upgrade done on time, which happens to be right before Brexit. As we wrote early on, even if the new programs are in place, they won't be able to handle the increased transactions volume resulting from of being outside the EU, and I haven't seen good figures as to what the impact would be of the UK becoming a third country but having its transition deal in place. In other words, even if the "mac-fac" scheme were acceptable to the EU (unlikely), the UK looks unable to pull off getting the needed infrastructure in place. Even for competent shops, large IT projects have a high failure rate. And customs isn't looking like a high capability IT player right now.

So the play for the EU is to let the UK continue to flail about and deliver Ireland "solutions" that are dead on arrival because they violate clearly and consistently stated EU red lines. The UK will then in say September be faced with a Brexit deal that is done save Ireland, and it then have to choose between capitulating (it's hard to come up with any way to improve the optics, but we do have a few months for creative ideas) or plunging into a chaotic Brexit.

The EU27 reaffirmed the EU's red lines in the most unambiguous language possible . F rom their "Guidelines" published March 23 :

6.The approach outlined below reflects the level of rights and obligations compatible with the positions stated by the UK

7. In this context, the European Council reiterates in particular that any agreement with the United Kingdom will have to be based on a balance of rights and obligations, and ensure a level playing field. A non-member of the Union, that does not live up to the same obligations as a member, cannot have the same rights and enjoy the same benefits as a member.

The European Council recalls that the four freedoms are indivisible and that there can be no "cherry picking" through participation in the Single Market based on a sector-by-sector approach, which would undermine the integrity and proper functioning of the Single Market.

The European Council further reiterates that the Union will preserve its autonomy as regards its decision-making, which excludes participation of the United Kingdom as a third-country in the Union Institutions and participation in the decision-making of the Union bodies, offices and agencies. The role of the Court of Justice of the European Union will also be fully respected.

8. As regards the core of the economic relationship, the European Council confirms its readiness to initiate work towards a balanced, ambitious and wide-ranging free trade agreement (FTA) insofar as there are sufficient guarantees for a level playing field. This agreement will be finalised and concluded once the UK is no longer a Member State.

The EU also reaffirmed the obvious, "Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed."

The EU nevertheless has relented in its negotiating tactics . The EU's initial approach was to put the most contentious issues up front: the exit tab, Ireland, freedom of movement. You will notice it has achieved closure only only one of those issues where the EU's initial position had been that they had to be concluded before the two sides would discuss "the future relationship," as in trade. This is the opposite of the approach that professional negotiators use, that of starting with the least contentious issues first to establish a working relationship between both sides and create a sense of momentum, and then tackling the difficult questions later. The EU has now allowed the UK to defer resolving the messy issue of Ireland twice, and it is not clear if any progress has been made on the citizens' rights matter.

The UK is clearly past the point where it could undo Brexit . There was pretty much no way to back out of Brexit, given the ferocious support for it in the tabloids versus the widespread view that a second referendum that showed that opinion had changed was a political necessity for a reversal. Pundits and politicians were cautious about even voicing the idea.

As we've pointed out, coming up with the wording of the referendum question took six months. In the snap elections last year, the Lib Dems set forth the most compact timeline possible for a Brexit referendum redo which presupposed that the phrasing had been settled. That was eight months. And you'd have to have a Parliamentary approval process before and a vote afterwards (Parliament is sovereign; a referendum in and of itself is not sufficient to change course).

Spain has been making noises about Gibraltar but they aren't likely to mean much . I could be proven wrong, but I don't see Spain as able to block a Brexit deal. Article 50 says that only a "qualified majority" vote is required to approve a Brexit agreement. Spain as a lone holdout couldn't keep a deal from being approved. And I don't see who would join Spain over the issue of Gibraltar. In keeping, Spain joined with the rest of the EU27 in approving the latest set of texts.

The UK still faces high odds of significant dislocations as of Brexit date . All sorts of agreements to which the UK is a party via the EU cease to be operative once the UK become a "third country". These other countries have every reason to take advantage of the UK's week and administratively overextended position. Moreover, these countries can't entertain even discussing interim trade arrangements (new trade deals take years) until they have at least a high concept idea of what the "future relationship" with the EU will look like. Even though it looks likely to be a Canada-type deal, no one wants to waste time negotiating until that is firmed up.

Like it or not, May is the ultimate survivor . Politico described the method in her seeming madness :

May has lasted in office longer than many pundits predicted she would because, weak as her grip on power may have been since she lost her parliamentary majority last year, she has timed her surrenders cleverly.

It looks chaotic and undignified, but the prime minister has hunkered down and let pro- and anti-Brexit factions in her party shout the odds in the media day and night, squabble publicly about acceptable terms for a deal, leak against each other and publish Sunday newspaper columns challenging her authority.

Then in the few days before a European summit deadline for the next phase of a deal, she has rammed the only position acceptable to Brussels through her Cabinet and effectively called the hard Brexiteers' bluff.

But what kind of leader marches her country into at worst an abyss and at best a future of lower prosperity, less clout, and no meaningful increase in autonomy? Like it or not, the UK is a small open economy, and its leaders, drunk on Imperial nostalgia, still can's stomach the idea that the UK did better by flexing its muscle within the EU that it can ever do solo.


Which is worse - bankers or terrorists , March 26, 2018 at 5:55 am

I'm curious as to the ramifications of the Northern Ireland sea border. Is reunification possible with the ROI, given that the Unionists have been completely castrated?

I'm a Californian so am not one that is tuned into the history.

PlutoniumKun , March 26, 2018 at 6:29 am

Theoretically, there is no fundamental problem with a NI sea border and NI remaining within the UK. Northern Ireland already has its own Assembly and its own laws (the Assembly is suspended at the moment), so it can, if the EU agreed, stay within the EU (albeit without a separate vote or voice at the table). There are precedents for this, such as the dependant territories of France . It would be constitutionally messy, but if authorized by Parliament in London and in the EU itself, it would likely be legally watertight so far as I am aware.

Hardline Unionists oppose this partly because they are ideologically opposed to the EU anyway (although its highly likely many of their constituents don't agree), but also because they see this as a 'thin end of the wedge' leading to a United Ireland. More thoughtful Unionists realise that a sort of 'foot in both camps' approach might actually be an economic boon to Northern Ireland – it could attract a lot of investment from companies wishing easy access to both the internal UK market and Europe.

Colonel Smithers , March 26, 2018 at 6:26 am

Thank you, Yves.

"The UK press has gone quiet as the Government knuckled under in the last round of negotiations." The MSM, corporate or government (BBC and Channel 4), are under orders to go quiet. In any case, it's easier and more fun to cover the anti-semites and anti-transgender whatever in the Labour Party, Trump's extra-marital goings-on and whatever dastardly plot Putin has come up with.

On my 'phone's news feed yesterday and today, the Corbyn's anti-Semitism is not shifting from the top line. The only change is from where the latest article is sourced.

On the World Service this morning, the BBC reported from the "cultural front line against Putin". A playwright (perhaps a member of playwrights against Putin) was given half an hour from 5 am to witter on. This is half an hour more than what Brexit will get on the airwaves today.

How are things playing out locally, Buckinghamshire in my case? The economy is slowing down. More shops are closing. Some IT contractors report contracts not being renewed and having to look for business outside the UK. East Europeans working in farming, care and social services have been replaced in many, but not all, cases by immigrants from south Asia. An cabbie and restaurateur report the worst festive season and first quarter of the year for many, many years.

At Doncaster races last Saturday, the opening day of the flat season, some bookies were offering odds of Tory victory in 2022, if not an earlier khaki one. It seems that May is a survivor and Corbyn's Labour has peaked. All very depressing.

PlutoniumKun , March 26, 2018 at 6:41 am

I think the key thing that is driving the politics for the moment is that May has shown an absolute determination to hold on to power at any cost, and she realises that having a transition agreement is central to this. I've also been puzzling over the relative acquiescence of the hard Brexiteers – I think they've been told by their paymasters that accepting a lousy transitional deal is the key to a 'clean' and firm Brexit. I believe the phrase Gove was reported as using was that they should 'keep their eye on the prize'. I think, as Yves says, the Tory establishment fears a move against May will precipitate a Corbyn government, so they see it as a strategic necessity to keep her in position, and postpone the main Brexit fallout for later.

Of lesser importance, but also I think a relevant consideration given the strong support given by Merkel, Barnier and Tusk to the Irish PM, Varadkar, is that he is rumoured to be planning a snap election in the autumn. His stance on Brexit has proven popular and he sees the time as ripe to go for an overall majority (he is currently leading a minority government). He is very much an EU establishment favourite, so I don't doubt that some of the motivation is to help his domestic politics by giving him what are perceived as 'wins' over Brexit.

If this is the case, then barring an unexpected event, I think there will be a strong political push on both sides to sign off a transition deal which would be both a complete surrender by the UK, but with sufficient spin by a supportively dim witted UK press will allow her to push the whole Brexit issue politically to one side for a year or two. The Tories will be hoping that this can be sold to the public as a success for long enough for them to work out how to stop Corbyn.

David , March 26, 2018 at 8:22 am

I'm taking the liberty of re-posting a comment I made yesterday on one of the links – a Richard North piece – to which none of the usual Brexit scholars responded (Sunday .). It bears very much on this discussion and echoes a number of points made above.

"Richard North's Brexit article is well informed as one would expect, but I think that, like a lot of other commentators, he's missing something. May is a post-modern politician, ie there is no particular link between what she says and does, and her understanding of its impact on the real world. Only her words and actions actually count, and, whether it's threatening Russia or threatening Brussels, real-world consequences don't form part of the calculation, insofar as they actually exist. Her only concern (and in this she is indeed post-modernist) is with how she is perceived by voters and the media, and as a consequence whether she can hang onto her job. I think May has decided that she will have an agreement at any cost, no matter if she has to surrender on every single issue, and throw Northern Ireland to the wolves. She wants to be seen as the Prime Minister who got us "out of Europe," just as Ted Heath got us in. The content of the final deal is secondary: not that she wouldn't prefer to please the City and the Brexit ultras if she could, but if there's a choice she will sacrifice them for a picture of her shaking hands with Barnier and waving the Union Jack with the other hand. The resulting chaos can then be blamed on a treacherous Europe. Indeed, if May can stick it out until next year, I think she'll keep her job. What a thought." I think many of the hardline Brexiters have the same idea – the political prize is exiting the EU: the damage is a secondary consideration. Any deal, no matter how humiliating, can be spun in the end as a triumph because we will have broken the shackles of Brussels.

I'd add that the EU's emphasis on the priority to give to NI was an each-way bet, as I argued at the time. Either the Tory government collapsed, and something more reasonable took its place, or May gave way on everything else, in the hope of surviving and somehow finding a NI solution later. This has indeed proved to be the case.

Finally, I wouldn't put too much store by the imperial nostalgia argument, not least because few Brexiters were even alive then. The real nostalgia is for an independent Britain capable of playing a role on the world stage, perhaps at the head of a coalition of likeminded nations. The idea of a Commonwealth Free Trade area, for example, was raised in the 1975 EU referendum debate, and has its ultimate origins in the ideas of Mill and others in the 19th century for a kind of British superstate, incorporating Australia, New Zealand, Canada and perhaps South Africa. Its ghost still walks.

Finally, let's not get too carried away with the small size of the British economy. It's the fifth or sixth largest economy in the world, depending on how you calculate it, ahead of Russia, India, Italy and Spain.

PlutoniumKun , March 26, 2018 at 9:12 am

Thanks for that, David.

I think you are right that the main political priority now in London is preserving May in her position. Whether or not she does a good deal (or any other good policy work) has become irrelevant. Its all about survival, and keeping Corbyn at bay.

Michael KILLIAN , March 26, 2018 at 9:30 am

Who are the 'wolves' to whom NI may be thrown? More interesting, who are the strange Tory Brexiteers, not exactly in sync with the needs and expectations of the City of London, big business in Britain, etc? The people for whom an imperial past is still a ghost that walks? A possible answer here:
https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n05/william-davies/what-are-they-after

templar555510 , March 26, 2018 at 9:33 am

Thank you David. I agree with your definition of the present Brexit set-up and May herself as post-modernist . The same could be said even more so about Trump . They have in their very different ways taken politics to a place beyond policies and even identities ( it's most recent iteration ) to this very new place where the public ( translation : American people ) simply roll over and get out of bed the next day to whatever is new and move on whether it be bombing in Syria, or Trump and a prostitute . I think the technology of the smart phone and everything that emanates from it is the handmaiden to this change . The speed of daily life as orchestrated by the smart phone has brought us all , whether we like it or not, to this post-modern , everything is a cultural construct , position which is possibly the most terrifying reality the West has ever had to face and yet it barely registers .

vlade , March 26, 2018 at 9:45 am

On your last point – it used to be larger. It would have been inconcievable even 50 years ago that the UK's economy could be compared with Spain's.

The point being that the correlation of physical closeness and trade is about as close as you get in economics to a natural law. The UK is now spurning (wilfully limiting its access to) the closest and the richest markets it has. That will have impact – and no amount of Brexiter's wishful thinking will replace it – if for nothing else, the likelyhood of the UK SMEs suddenly wanting to export to China/India/NZ/whatever is not going to grow with Brexit. Those who wanted and could, already do. The other don't want and are unlikely to want to in a new world.

Olivier , March 26, 2018 at 3:52 pm

Vlade, 50 years ago Africa still started at the Pyrenées, as the saying was in France. It is not that the UK has shrunk so much as that Spain has dramatically improved its position. So, unhelpful comparison. How the UK fared over those 50 years relative to, say, France and Germany or even Italy, would be more instructive.

Marlin , March 26, 2018 at 5:15 pm

In relation to France it stayed roughly the same. But actually the share of British GDP to world GDP is much smaller and international specialisation and globalisation is much increased. For the question if the UK can act as a "big" economy in relation to economic policy the latter is more important.

The Rev Kev , March 26, 2018 at 9:39 am

You watch. About the same time that the British wake to find that the elites have sold them down the river through devastating incompetence and sheer bloodymindedness, they will find that in the transition to Brexit that the government would have voted themselves all sorts of laws that will give them authoritarian powers. And then it will be too late.
It won't matter how bad May is at that point and she might just resign and let somebody else deal with all the fallout over the new regulations at which time she will be kicked upstairs to the House of Lords. Isn't the way that it works in practice? Don't make any preparations, tell the people that they have got it all organized, then when it all hits they start pumping out emergency orders and the like.

Anonymous2 , March 26, 2018 at 10:44 am

It all seems quite curious does it not (curiouser and curiouser?). I wonder if I smell a rat? Forgive me; I have a suspicious nature. I was thinking partly of the role of Gove, which prompted some idle musings.

Gove is reportedly telling people who support Brexit to keep their eyes on the prize, by which he is said to mean letting the clock run down to 29 March 2019 at which time the UK is officially out of the EU. When I read Gove, I tend to think Murdoch, who pulls Gove's strings. Yves quite rightly asks what the press barons are about; that is generally worth knowing when it comes to UK politics. Is Murdoch playing a longer game?

The argument goes that once the UK is out of the EU it will be much harder to get support for it to go back in again as the UK would only be allowed back in without the special privileges it had negotiated for itself over the decades : opt out from Euro, Schengen, various justice issues, the budget rebate. Is this determining Murdoch's approach at the moment – ensure that the UK is outside the EU at almost any cost before proceeding to the next stage, when Ministers will be largely unable to call Brussels in to help them against him and his allies?

Why might Murdoch want to do that? There is talk that May will be ditched once she does a deal. If it is seen as a bad deal then she becomes the scapegoat (and Gove steps in to her shoes?). Post March 2019, it might then be the plan to seek to undercut the effect of any deal struck now by, for example, pulling out of the Good Friday Agreement if that proves to be an obstacle to the trade deals Fox is so keen to sign (is he expecting kickbacks?). At that point the UK might declare that with the demise of the GFA it was no longer constrained by the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement with regards to the Irish Border and with one leap the UK would be free. I have seen cynics suggest that the men of violence in Northern Ireland might be encouraged to go on a bit if a spree to justify claims that the GFA had failed.

I hope I am wrong but as I said I have a suspicious nature and, having watched more of Murdoch's machinations than I have ever wished, know that he is very capable of playing a long game.

PlutoniumKun , March 26, 2018 at 11:06 am

I'm loath to indulge in conspiracy theorising, but when it comes to Brexit (and Northern Ireland) conspiracies are legion and real.

I'm sure in any spiders web Murdoch will be found in the middle of it, and there is certainly something up, thats the only explanation for the low key response of the hard Brexiters. It wouldn't surprise me if he has realised that a tanking UK economy isn't exactly good for his investments (its also worth noting that it seems to have belatedly been realised by the UK media economy that many of them will have to up sticks to Europe if they are to keep broadcasting rights).

My guess is that they 'have a plan' which will involve Gove playing middle man, but actually working for a decisive Brexit doing his duty for the country at some stage to step into Mays shoes. All sorts of behind the scenes promises (mostly jobs, no doubt) have probably been made. I suspect a centre piece of it would be a dramatic repudiation of any deal, supposedly on the UK's terms.

As for Northern Ireland, anything is possible. Several of the Loyalist terrorist groups have been shown over the years to be little more than puppets of the security forces, they will do what they are told. And there have long been rumours that at least one of the fringe Republican groups is so completely infiltrated that they are similarly under control. There have been nearly 50 years of shady assassinations and bombings in NI and the Republic which have the fingerprints of intelligence services, so quite literally, I could believe almost anything could happen if it was in their interest. People who c ould maintain a boys home as the centre of a paedophile ring for political purposes are capable of almost anything.

Clive , March 26, 2018 at 11:56 am

Oh yes, this is a big part of the history of "the troubles". So much of what went on in that conflict was beneficial to the U.K. government. Budget, manpower, little oversight, draconian powers and a lot more besides was enabled merely because of the paramilitary activities. It's not hard to look for well documented examples -- such as the mass warrantless surveillance of all U.K.- Republic telecommunications http://www.lamont.me.uk/capenhurst/original.html by the U.K. security services.

And virtually everyone in the dissident republican movement was under constant monitoring which was put down to "luck" https://www.independent.co.uk/news/how-ira-plotted-to-switch-off-london-1266533.html when schemes were foiled. And even then, there was so much self licking ice creams going on with the RUC effectively knowing about and even setting up IRA hits which were carried out by informants https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_McGartland .

And, there's more, a lot of provisional activity was just your common or garden organised crime -- protection rackets, kidnapping and bribery.

To say that the troubles were merely to do with republicanism and unionism is like saying US Civil War was only about racism and ignoring the politics and the economics.

David , March 26, 2018 at 12:37 pm

I think that we should remember how much the anti-EU fraternity in politics and the media have had a symbiotic, if not downright parasitic, relationship with the EU itself. Much of their commerce depended on us being members, and so being able to strike poses and make cheap cracks about Europe and Brussels. I have a feeling that reality is starting to dawn, and they are standing to understand that politics will be a great deal more complicated, and probably nastier, after Brexit than even it is now.They'll have to find something else to complain about for easy applause instead of just bashing Brussels.
As for conspiracy theories, well I have the same skepticism about them of most people who've worked in government, and I happen to have been reasonably close to a number of people who had to deal with these issues in the 1970s and 1980s. There was certainly complicity in some cases, and some of the actors involved broke the rules badly , but it's a stretch from that to talk of conspiracies. With what objective? And what objective would such conspiracies have today, and how could they be implemented? The universal refrain among everyone I knew involved in the security forces at the time was Get Us Out of Here.

Anonymous2 , March 26, 2018 at 12:56 pm

To avoid confusion, I was not so much thinking conspiracy as trying to get inside Murdoch's head.

What might his objectives be? Well, the first of course is more power and wealth for himself, but he is not above making mischief.

Clive , March 26, 2018 at 1:02 pm

It'll put a cat amongst the pigeons and no mistake. If I may put in a word from the deplorables who voted Brexit, there's a lot which -- for both the UK and the EU -- was made a whole lot easier because a problem issue could simply be labelled as the British complaining and not understanding The Project.

Take energy. It was probably energy supply as much as Greece and the Ukraine which tipped me over into Brexit. At the behest of the U.K., the European energy industry became, at least in theory, a pan-continental endeavour free from national restrictive practices. Well, a fat lot of good that turned out to be. As exemplified by the recent cold weather snap, UK wholesalers when faced with a shortfall in natural gas supplies spiked the offer price into the stratosphere http://mip-prod-web.azurewebsites.net/PrevailingViewGraph/ViewReport?prevailingViewGraph=ActualPriceGraph&gasDate=2018-03-26 . No -- and I mean no -- EU suppliers made any bids. Now, it's either a Single Market or it isn't. It either looks and acts like it's subject to market forces or it doesn't. The rules are either enforced properly amongst all participants or they aren't. Irony's of irony's, when the U.K. needed an augmented natural gas input to match system demand, the only country to answer their doorbell was Russia. That, and some U.K. big capacity users releasing stocks from storage.

Now, the smell of the nationalist pulling up the drawbridge in energy supply is causing the Commission to try to document how in fact the Single Market sometimes isn't a market at all but just a token gesture and is working on the usual eurofudge http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2018.032.01.0052.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2018:032:TOC (the contortions of which did genuinely have me laughing out loud). There's going to be a lot more of this to come once the U.K. can't be the donkey this kind of tail is routinely pinned on.

And it'll be the same in the U.K. of course. Without the EU ready to play it's role of perpetual bogeyman, we'll have no one to blame but ourselves. And I still cannot, in all honesty, say anything other than bring it on.

(ask me in 5 years if I still think the same..!)

Ape , March 26, 2018 at 1:44 pm

People have avoided the difficulty of reciprocal citizen's rights. How can the UK reciprocate with all the EU countries? Simultaneously? Where UK non-citizen residents can relocate for 30 years to an EU country then relocate back in the same way that a Brit in France can move to Germany for 30 years and then move back under current rules? It's even worse if you consider reciprocity to include the rights of all people outside their citizenship country's right to relocate.

The only obvious solution is to reduce Brits to the same status of any immigrant to a EU country. That means not being able to shift your permanent residency without applying for immigration.

Unless you are blue card eligible that's non-trivial.

[Mar 18, 2018] Globalists Or Nationalists Who Owns The Future by Patrick Buchanan

Mar 13, 2018 | Buchanan.org

Robert Bartley, the late editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal, was a free trade zealot who for decades championed a five-word amendment to the Constitution: "There shall be open borders."

Bartley accepted what the erasure of America's borders and an endless influx or foreign peoples and goods would mean for his country.

Said Bartley, "I think the nation-state is finished."

His vision and ideology had a long pedigree.

This free trade, open borders cult first flowered in 18th-century Britain. The St. Paul of this post-Christian faith was Richard Cobden, who mesmerized elites with the grandeur of his vision and the power of his rhetoric.

In Free Trade Hall in Manchester, Jan. 15, 1846, the crowd was so immense the seats had to be removed. There, Cobden thundered:

"I look farther; I see in the Free Trade principle that which shall act on the moral world as the principle of gravitation in the universe -- drawing men together, thrusting aside the antagonisms of race, and creed, and language, and uniting us in the bonds of eternal peace."

Britain converted to this utopian faith and threw open her markets to the world. Across the Atlantic, however, another system, that would be known as the "American System," had been embraced.

The second bill signed by President Washington was the Tariff Act of 1789. Said the Founding Father of his country in his first address to Congress: "A free people should promote such manufactures as tend to make them independent on others for essential, particularly military supplies."

In his 1791 "Report on Manufactures," Alexander Hamilton wrote, "Every nation ought to endeavor to possess within itself all the essentials of national supply. These comprise the means of subsistence, habitat, clothing and defence."

This was wisdom born of experience.

At Yorktown, Americans had to rely on French muskets and ships to win their independence. They were determined to erect a system that would end our reliance on Europe for the necessities of our national life, and establish new bonds of mutual dependency -- among Americans.

Britain's folly became manifest in World War I, as a self-reliant America stayed out, while selling to an import-dependent England the food, supplies and arms she needed to survive but could not produce.

America's own first major steps toward free trade, open borders and globalism came with JFK's Trade Expansion Act and LBJ's Immigration Act of 1965.

By the end of the Cold War, however, a reaction had set in, and a great awakening begun. U.S. trade deficits in goods were surging into the hundreds of billions, and more than a million legal and illegal immigrants were flooding in yearly, visibly altering the character of the country.

Americans were coming to realize that free trade was gutting the nation's manufacturing base and open borders meant losing the country in which they grew up. And on this earth there is no greater loss.

The new resistance of Western man to the globalist agenda is now everywhere manifest.

We see it in Trump's hostility to NAFTA, his tariffs, his border wall.

We see it in England's declaration of independence from the EU in Brexit. We see it in the political triumphs of Polish, Hungarian and Czech nationalists, in anti-EU parties rising across Europe, in the secessionist movements in Scotland and Catalonia and Ukraine, and in the admiration for Russian nationalist Vladimir Putin.

Europeans have begun to see themselves as indigenous peoples whose Old Continent is mortally imperiled by the hundreds of millions of invaders wading across the Med and desperate come and occupy their homelands.

Who owns the future? Who will decide the fate of the West?

The problem of the internationalists is that the vision they have on offer -- a world of free trade, open borders and global government -- are constructs of the mind that do not engage the heart.

Men will fight for family, faith and country. But how many will lay down their lives for pluralism and diversity?

Who will fight and die for the Eurozone and EU?

On Aug. 4, 1914, the anti-militarist German Social Democrats, the oldest and greatest socialist party in Europe, voted the credits needed for the Kaiser to wage war on France and Russia. With the German army on the march, the German socialists were Germans first.

Patriotism trumps ideology.

In "Present at the Creation," Dean Acheson wrote of the postwar world and institutions born in the years he served FDR and Truman in the Department of State: The U.N., IMF, World Bank, Marshall Plan, and with the split between East and West, NATO.

We are present now at the end of all that.

And our transnational elites have a seemingly insoluble problem.

To rising millions in the West, the open borders and free trade globalism they cherish and champion is not a glorious future, but an existential threat to the sovereignty, independence and identity of the countries they love. And they will not go gentle into that good night.

[Mar 14, 2018] We will probably never learn why President Trump turned on Rex Tillerson. If we ever do, it may be because Neocons are furious reality refuses to bend to their fantasies.

Notable quotes:
"... I agree with you all that replacing Rex Tillerson, who could not be brow-beaten all the time, with Mike Pompeo, "who agrees with me," further isolates the Trump Whitehouse and makes the world that more dangerous. ..."
Mar 14, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

RC 13 March 2018 at 09:11 PM

I agree with you all that replacing Rex Tillerson, who could not be brow-beaten all the time, with Mike Pompeo, "who agrees with me," further isolates the Trump Whitehouse and makes the world that more dangerous.

But, am I alone in noting a tendency of President Trump to fire his staff without warning, at considerable distance, and to deny that anything he might have done was a reason for poor polling?

The first time we saw this was the dismissal of Corey Lewandowski, the man who was with Candidate Trump 24 / 7 for 18 months of Primaries. Corey arrives at his desk in Trump Tower at 6:00 am and is asked to join Trump Jr. He reaches Jr.'s office and is assigned a security guard to vacate his office. "What have I done?" he asks and Jr. does not reply. On 5th Avenue he calls Trump's personal number. The Donald says that "They are killing us." and hangs up. Corey is persuaded to meet Dana Bash of CNN and is extremely loyal to his former boss, while saying he has no idea about the firing. On leaving the studio, Trump calls him to say how proud he was of Corey. A nice gesture, but inadequate given Corey's personal sacrifice. (Let Trump Be Trump -- Lewandowski and Bossie 128 - 133.)

We will probably never learn why President Trump turned on Rex Tillerson. If we ever do, it may be because Neocons are furious reality refuses to bend to their fantasies.

[Mar 02, 2018] Fatal Delusions of Western Man by Pat Buchanan

Highly recommended!
At the core of Trumpism is the rejection of neoliberalism
Pat Buchanan does not understand neoliberalism well and mixes apples with oranges, but the key idea expressed here stands: " Consider this crazed ideology of free trade globalism with its roots in the scribblings of 19th-century idiot savants, not one of whom ever built a great nation. Adhering religiously to free trade dogma, we have run up $12 trillion in trade deficits since Bush I. Our cities have been gutted by the loss of plants and factories. Workers' wages have stagnated. The economic independence Hamilton sought and Republican presidents from Lincoln to McKinley achieved is history."
Notable quotes:
"... Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever." ..."
Mar 02, 2018 | www.unz.com

At Yalta, Churchill rose to toast the butcher:

"I walk through this world with greater courage and hope when I find myself in a relation of friendship and intimacy with this great man, whose fame has gone out not only over all Russia, but the world. We regard Marshal Stalin's life as most precious to the hopes and hearts of all of us."

Returning home, Churchill assured a skeptical Parliament, "I know of no Government which stands to its obligations, even in its own despite, more solidly than the Russian Soviet Government."

George W. Bush, with the U.S. establishment united behind him, invaded Iraq with the goal of creating a Vermont in the Middle East that would be a beacon of democracy to the Arab and Islamic world.

Ex-Director of the NSA Gen. William Odom correctly called the U.S. invasion the greatest strategic blunder in American history. But Bush, un-chastened, went on to preach a crusade for democracy with the goal of "ending tyranny in our world."

... ... ...

After our victory in the Cold War, we not only plunged into the Middle East to remake it in our image, we issued war guarantees to every ex-member state of the Warsaw Pact, and threatened Russia with war if she ever intervened again in the Baltic Republics.

No Cold War president would have dreamed of issuing such an in-your-face challenge to a great nuclear power like Russia. If Putin's Russia does not become the pacifist nation it has never been, these guarantees will one day be called. And America will either back down -- or face a nuclear confrontation. Why would we risk something like this?

Consider this crazed ideology of free trade globalism with its roots in the scribblings of 19th-century idiot savants, not one of whom ever built a great nation. Adhering religiously to free trade dogma, we have run up $12 trillion in trade deficits since Bush I. Our cities have been gutted by the loss of plants and factories. Workers' wages have stagnated. The economic independence Hamilton sought and Republican presidents from Lincoln to McKinley achieved is history.

But the greatest risk we are taking, based on utopianism, is the annual importation of well over a million legal and illegal immigrants, many from the failed states of the Third World, in the belief we can create a united, peaceful and harmonious land of 400 million, composed of every race, religion, ethnicity, tribe, creed, culture and language on earth.

Where is the historic evidence for the success of this experiment, the failure of which could mean the end of America as one nation and one people?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever."

likbez , March 2, 2018 at 6:47 am GMT

Pat Buchanan does not understand neoliberalism well and mixes apples with oranges, but the key idea expressed here stands:

" Consider this crazed ideology of free trade globalism with its roots in the scribblings of 19th-century idiot savants, not one of whom ever built a great nation. Adhering religiously to free trade dogma, we have run up $12 trillion in trade deficits since Bush I. Our cities have been gutted by the loss of plants and factories. Workers' wages have stagnated. The economic independence Hamilton sought and Republican presidents from Lincoln to McKinley achieved is history."

The truth is that now Trump does not represent "Trumpism" -- the movement that he created which includes the following:

– rejection of neoliberal globalization;
– rejection of unrestricted immigration;
– fight against suppression of wages by multinationals via cheap imported labor;
– fight against the elimination of meaningful, well-paying jobs via outsourcing and offshoring of manufacturing;
– rejection of wars for enlargement and sustaining of neoliberal empire, especially NATO role as global policemen and wars for Washington client Israel in the Middle East;
– détente with Russia;
– more pragmatic relations with Israel and suppression of Israeli agents of influence;
– revision of relations with China and addressing the problem of trade deficit.
– rejection of total surveillance on all citizens;
– the cut of military expenses to one third or less of the current level and concentrating on revival on national infrastructure, education, and science.
– abandonment of maintenance of the "sole superpower" status and global neoliberal empire for more practical and less costly "semi-isolationist" foreign policy; closing of unnecessary foreign military bases and cutting aid to the current clients.

Of course, the notion of "Trumpism" is fuzzy and different people might include some additional issues and disagree with some listed here, but the core probably remains.

Of course, Trump is under relentless attack (coup d'état or, more precisely, a color revolution) of neoliberal fifth column, which includes Clinton gang, fifth column elements within his administration (Rosenstein, etc) as well from remnants of Obama administration (Brennan, Comey, Clapper) and associated elements within corresponding intelligence agencies. He probably was forced into some compromises just to survive. He also has members of the neoliberal fifth column within his family (Ivanka and Kushner).

So the movement now is in deep need of a new leader.

Miro23, March 3, 2018 at 7:55 am GMT
@likbez

That's a good summary of what the public voted for and didn't get.

And whether Trump has sold out, or was blackmailed or was a cynical manipulative liar for the beginning is really irrelevant. The fact is that he is not doing it – so he is just blocking the way.

At some point the US public are going to have to forget about their "representatives" (Trump and Congress and the rest of them) and get out onto the street to make themselves heard. The population of the US is 323 million people and if just 1/2 of 1% (1,6 million) of them decided to visit Congress directly the US administration might get the message.

pyrrhus, March 3, 2018 at 2:15 am GMT

@anon

Finally, Pat understands that the American [Neoliberal] Empire and habit of intervention all over the world is a disaster.

[Mar 02, 2018] Si>nce 1980th, very little has been done by US Federal Government for the benefit of the common citizen. A great deal has been done to facilitate the degradation of the standard of living of common citizen by the global one percent and by the costs of maintaining global neoliberal empire

Notable quotes:
"... Based on historical evidence, to believe that Trump (with his party - Republican control of House and Senate) will change our course is naive. By contrast, Obama D had both houses also - we got WAR, cash for clunkers, foreclosures, bank bailouts and health care by AHIP with runaway costs. ..."
Aug 20, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

fast freddy | Aug 20, 2017 3:12:28 PM | 133

In fifty years, very little has been done by US Federal Government which benefits the common citizen. A great deal has been done to facilitate the degradation of the common citizen by the global one percent. We have a new world order as called for by GHW Bush.

Based on historical evidence, to believe that Trump (with his party - Republican control of House and Senate) will change our course is naive. By contrast, Obama D had both houses also - we got WAR, cash for clunkers, foreclosures, bank bailouts and health care by AHIP with runaway costs.

Rodger | Aug 20, 2017 3:37:22 PM | 137
ANON

Trump is and has been carrying out his own policies to enrich those that already have everything and to repeal any regulations that were put into place to protect the people. Have you not noticed that he lined his cabinet with Goldman Sachs (which he blasted HRC for associating her self with.

Like I said he and his gang are doing what they want to help enrich themselves on the backs of the rest of us. Wake up and quit upholding these lying pieces of excrement they are no different than the ones before them.

Trump is a dirty businessman the things that he is doing are to benefit him and his family and to screw the rest of us and tell us how great it is for us. You my man have drank from the Trump cup and think that anything that speaks against him is "fake news" when in reality Trump and the likes of Breitbart are the "fake news" a little truth but a bunch of spin

[Mar 02, 2018] Trump_vs_deep_state as bastard neoliberalism vs classic neoliberalism

In this state the current war between factions of the US elite reminds Stalin fight against "globalists" like Trotsky, who were hell-bent of the idea of world revolution.
Notable quotes:
"... I would define Trump_vs_deep_state as "bastard neoliberalism" which tries to combine domestic "100% pure" neoliberalism with the rejection of neoliberal globalization as well as partial rejection of expensive effort for expansion of US led neoliberal empire via color revolutions and military invasions, especially in the Middle East. ..."
"... That makes screams of "soft neoliberals" from Democratic Party at "hard neoliberals" at Republican Party really funny indeed. Both are essentially "latter-day Trotskyites", yet they scream at each other, especially Obama/Clinton supporters ;-) ..."
"... But in reality Democratic sheeple are just a different type of wolfs -- wolfs in sheep clothing. And Hillary was an old, worn "classic neoliberal" shoe, which nobody really wants to wear. ..."
"... Trump does not intend to change the neoliberal consensus of what government should do domestically, and what should be the relationship between US government and business community. ..."
Dec 27, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

likbez -> likbez... December 26, 2016 at 08:08 PM

I would define Trump_vs_deep_state as "bastard neoliberalism" which tries to combine domestic "100% pure" neoliberalism with the rejection of neoliberal globalization as well as partial rejection of expensive effort for expansion of US led neoliberal empire via color revolutions and military invasions, especially in the Middle East.

That's what seems to be the key difference of Trump_vs_deep_state from "classic neoliberalism" or as Sklar called it "corporate liberalism".

From Reagan to Obama all US governments pray to the altar of classic neoliberalism. Now we have a slight deviation.

That makes screams of "soft neoliberals" from Democratic Party at "hard neoliberals" at Republican Party really funny indeed. Both are essentially "latter-day Trotskyites", yet they scream at each other, especially Obama/Clinton supporters ;-)

In this sense Krugman recent writings are really pathetic and signify his complete detachment from reality, or more correctly attempt to create an "artificial reality" in which bad wolf Trump is going to eat Democratic sheeple. And in which media, FBI, and Putin are responsible entirely for Hillary's loss.

But in reality Democratic sheeple are just a different type of wolfs -- wolfs in sheep clothing. And Hillary was an old, worn "classic neoliberal" shoe, which nobody really wants to wear.

Trump does not intend to change the neoliberal consensus of what government should do domestically, and what should be the relationship between US government and business community.

But the far right movement that he created and led has different ideas.

So it might be an interesting period to watch.

[Mar 02, 2018] The main reason much of the highest echelons of American power are united against Trump might be that they're terrified that -- unlike Obama -- he's a really bad salesman for the US led neoliberal empire. This threatens the continuance of their well oiled and exceedingly corrupt gravy train

Highly recommended!
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. ..."
"... 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 02, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Originally from discussion at Sic Semper Tyrannis Another SIGINT compromise ...

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 02, 2018] Trump betrayal of Trumpism

But Trump himself was quickly neutered (in just three month) and now does not represents "Trumpism" (rejection of neoliberal globalization, unrestricted immigration for suppression of wages, rejection of elimination of jobs via outsourcing and offshoring of manufacturing, rejection of wars for enlargement and sustaining of neoliberal empire, especially NATO role as global policemen and wars for Washington client Israel in Middle east, detente with Russia etc) in any meaningful way. He is just an aging Narcissist in power.
Looks like Trump became a variant of Hillary minus sex change operation.
Notable quotes:
"... He supports same sex relations and marriage of the same. ..."
"... He is by nature a situational leader -- not typically a conservatives methodology of leadership ..."
"... . He mistakes support and loyalty for agreement. ..."
"... He seems too weak to stand his ground on key issues. Syria, (missile attack) ..."
"... His willingness to ignore -- Israel-US problematic relationship. ..."
"... I am leary of anyone who says tough things about immigration, but quietly backpedals or openly does the same -- DACA. ..."
Mar 02, 2018 | www.unz.com

EliteCommInc. , March 1, 2018 at 3:38 pm GMT

it's easy to come away from CPAC energy and enthusiasm thinking your headline is an accurate description of what is happening in the GOP. I am more conservative thankfully in my views than most members at CPAC. And while I may not be the typical voter. I can say categorically, that :trumoing" is not in my blood. Let's look what a consevative had to consider when evaluating Pres Trump:

3. He supports same sex relations and marriage of the same.

... ... ...

5. He is by nature a situational leader -- not typically a conservatives methodology of leadership

... ... ...

8 . He mistakes support and loyalty for agreement.

9. He seems too weak to stand his ground on key issues. Syria, (missile attack)

10. His willingness to ignore -- Israel-US problematic relationship.

11. He thinks that Keynesian policy is a substitute for economic growth. monetary policy.

12. I am leary of anyone who says tough things about immigration, but quietly backpedals or openly does the same -- DACA.

[Mar 02, 2018] The deplorables, having found one another, need to hang together until we find real leadership. Trump, whatever he is, is not a leader.

"Note about Miss Mona Charin: the two agree on so many points on foreign policy, especially Israel, it's hard to see her disdain. I think she rejects his troublesome demeanor and attitude. Presidential decorum is a big deal to many."
Notable quotes:
"... The sixty plus millions of people who voted Trump are politically diverse. They have one thing in common. They were not persuaded by the loud, continuous and shameless lying of the corporate media. Rather they were motivated by it. ..."
Mar 02, 2018 | www.unz.com

WorkingClass , March 2, 2018 at 2:14 am GMT

@EliteCommInc.

Now his other supporters might say, considered against all the other candidates -- he's better. Hmmmm, well, that's why I voted for him.

Thank you. My bullet points would differ from yours but in the end I also voted for Trump. The sixty plus millions of people who voted Trump are politically diverse. They have one thing in common. They were not persuaded by the loud, continuous and shameless lying of the corporate media. Rather they were motivated by it.

The deplorables, having found one another, need to hang together until we find real leadership. Trump, whatever he is, is not a leader.

[Mar 02, 2018] Trump and DACA

Notable quotes:
"... He is by nature a situational leader -- not typically a conservatives methodology of leadership ..."
"... . He mistakes support and loyalty for agreement. ..."
"... His willingness to ignore – Israel-US problematic relationship. ..."
"... I am leary of anyone who says tough things about immigration, but quietly backpedals or openly does the same -- DACA. ..."
Mar 02, 2018 | www.unz.com

EliteCommInc. , March 1, 2018 at 3:38 pm GMT

it's easy to come away from CPAC energy and enthusiasm thinking your headline is an accurate description of what is happening in the GOP. I am more conservative thankfully in my views than most members at CPAC. And while I may not be the typical voter. I can say categorically, that :trumoing" is not in my blood. Let's look what a consevative had to consider when evaluating Pres Trump:

1. He has spent most of his life supporting the murder of children.

2. He supports a national healthcare policy

3. He supports same sex relations and marriage of the same.

4. He ha absolutely little or n o knowledge about scripture or its intent in practice.

5. He is by nature a situational leader -- not typically a conservatives methodology of leadership

6. He can't reconcile historical criticism from deciphering a realistic image of the country.

7. He thinks that the country has disadvantaged whites and the previous executive that indication.

8. He mistakes support and loyalty for agreement.

9. He seems too weak to stand his ground on key issues. Syria, (missile attack)

10. His willingness to ignore – Israel-US problematic relationship.

11. He thinks that Keynesian policy is a substitute for economic growth. monetary policy.

12. I am leary of anyone who says tough things about immigration, but quietly backpedals or openly does the same -- DACA.

Now his other supporters might say, considered against all the other candidates -- he's better. Hmmmm, well, that's why I voted for him. But that vote is not unconditional or inconsiderate of where this executive and my conservative principles part company. On a personal note -- someone who does not grasp celibacy in theory and practice -- is probably not going to have a conservative bone in his core. There's one aspect of Pres. trump that makes me leary -- but I will bite my tongue. What I have noted is on the record.

The fact that he says things that amount to standing up to democrats and liberals is one thing, but what he engages in as to policy in many respects may not be that far off from their own. Laugh -- he does think someone should stand up for people of faith -- that's a relief.

Note about Miss Mona Charin: the two agree on so many points on foreign policy, especially Israel, it's hard to see her disdain. I think she rejects his troublesome demeanor and attitude. Presidential decorum is a big deal to many.

EliteCommInc. , March 1, 2018 at 3:45 pm GMT
Integrity matters
Alden , March 1, 2018 at 8:28 pm GMT
@EliteCommInc.

It wasn' t Trump who back pedaled on DACA. He issued the executive order that would rescind it. But in accord with Marbury vs Madison 1804, just 2 low level judges, one in Hawaii and one in Brooklyn NYC overturned the executive order.

The DoJ appealed it went to the Supreme court last week. The Supreme Court refused to hear it.

So the rulings of just 2 low level judges prevailed over the executive order of an elected president.

It wasn't Trump who back pedaled. It was our ridiculous judicial supremacy legal system that ruled that the DACAs can stay. It's nothing new, it's been that way since 1804.

Only 2 presidents defied a Supreme Court ruling: Jackson in his order to expell Indians and Lincon's Suspending haveas corpus for the 4 years of the civil war.

Face it, this country has been ruled by judges from the beginnning.

Abortion? If it were not for abortion the black criminal affirmative action neighborhood and school destroying demographic would be at least 25 percent of the population instead of 12 percent.

No city or school has been able to withstand more than about a 10 percent black population. 25 percent is totally destructive.

The anti homosexual thing is in the Jewish part of the Bible, not the Christian part. I for one can't understand why so called Christians are so obsessed with the sex rape polygamy lie cheat steal and massacre Jewish part of the Bible.

The 2 parts are total opposites. One is kill slay massacre lie cheat and steal. The other is be good and generous sexually chaste virtuous and avoid war and massacring a defeated enemy.

Don't blame Trump for losing on DACA. Blame our judicial supremacy system of government

MarkinLA , March 1, 2018 at 9:35 pm GMT
@Alden

He backpedaled on DACA by not rescinding it on his first day in office like he promised. He did so by creating a deadline and asking Congress do fix it rather than just take it apart like he promised.

This district court judges do not have the power to tell a President that he must maintain a clearly unconstitutional program that was created with nothing but the stroke of the President's pen. He can and should simply ignore the lower courts ruling and force the Supreme Court to get off their butts and reign in these lower courts that think they have the power to make law.

The only reason the courts think they have this power is because everybody defers to them. It is one thing for the court to rule that some law is unconstitutional but quite another for courts to determine how those laws are implemented and what powers the executive has – even when they have nothing to do with those enumerated in the Constitution.

The framers of the Constitution expected men, with all their lust for power, to jealously guard their power and in so doing make it hard for any one part of the governmnt to get too strong. However, now we have cowards in Congress ceding their power to the President so they don't have to make tough decisions that they will be hels accountable for on election day and we have weak Presidents hiding behind ridiculous rulings from unelected judges.

EliteCommInc. , March 1, 2018 at 10:01 pm GMT
The betrayal has absolutely with a court ruling. His offered compromise is the issue and make no mistake that was no compromise.

I could get in to some other choices the Pres could have chosen on the law created by DHS. But we'd be having a discussion issues pertaining the use of government agencies to in effect make laws without Congressional approval or the consent by the executive. Clearly with the DACA memo, it's clear that its existence rests on the discretion of the executive's enforcement of the law.

But as with most people, I get the excuse but the courts made me do it or wouldn't let me do it. government. He could have issues his memo for his current DHS head to amend the document, period. But I am dipping my toe where it need not be dipped to remain where I came in -- this president caved as he has on several issues. His supposed deal is exemplary of his choice to lob missiles and send troops into Syria.

He gets convinced he is being a "good guy". His hand ringing about a situation he himself created is further indication of his willingness to betray principles come as to why people like myself voted for him.

I have gone to bat for this executive even at the expense of my own moral codes for the sake of fairness. No. His offerings were a betrayal with or without the cover of a court ruling.

https://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/s1-exercising-prosecutorial-discretion-individuals-who-came-to-us-as-children.pdf

https://fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/R44764.pdf

EliteCommInc. , March 1, 2018 at 10:04 pm GMT
@MarkinLA

I rarely express agreement -- but on this occasion –

I think the above is substantially on point.

[Feb 16, 2018] Is Donald Trump Morphing Into A Neocon Interventionist by Doug Bandow

One year later we can say with confidence, yes he morphed into a neocon in foreign policy.
What is especially bad is that Trump executed "bait and switch" maneuver as smoothly as Obama. Devastating.
Notable quotes:
"... So now it gets me thinking like this: Who are Mr. Bandow's clients today? ..."
"... Some say that the reason for Trump's total reversal of his campaign-position on Russia is the American Deep State (the U.S. aristocracy and its agents). I agree with that view. ..."
"... I believe the American people are beginning to realize the CIA has the obsession for multiple, unending wars all for the benefit of Wall Street. ..."
"... It appears "military-industrial complex" or "deep state" refuses to take step back and insists on sucking more money from taxpayers. On first glance all is great for them, bombing of Middle East will continue, and so will military expansion at cost of civilian programs. However, ramifications to rest of the world should not be dismissed. EU countries are divided on following Washington hard line against Russia or diverge with USA. Currently, EU is cracking and might fall apart. Some in USA would cheer it but in long run it will mean loss of strongest US supporter against China. Regarding Middle East, Trump punished victims of AlQaeda and did nothing against financiers of AlQaeda, which will only increase local tensions. So indeed, not a great start... ..."
"... While I basically agree that Trump is not following through on his campaign, we must keep in mind that the campaign of his opponent was for MUCH more of the same, new wars, vastly increased fighting in current wars. So more of the same is in fact a big step down from the alternative. ..."
"... Stop those wars. They don't serve us. ..."
"... Trump's a liar, and his whole campaign was a calculated fraud from the beginning. We're the victims of a "bait-and-switch" scam. ..."
"... Because he lied. Just like he lied about draining the swamp and just restocked it with new varmints from Goldman Sachs and even an ex-Soros employee. Nothing new for me. Been watching elections for about 60 years and this is same ole. America can't take much more of this before it collapses and splits apart. The world isn't going to take much more from dc either. God help us. We are in a pickle! ..."
Apr 20, 2017 | nationalinterest.org

Why Is Trump Abandoning the Foreign Policy that Brought Him Victory The National Interest Blog

Candidate Donald Trump offered a sharp break from his predecessors. He was particularly critical of neoconservatives, who seemed to back war at every turn.

Indeed, he promised not to include in his administration "those who have perfect resumes but very little to brag about except responsibility for a long history of failed policies and continued losses at war." And he's generally kept that commitment, for instance rejecting as deputy secretary of state Elliot Abrams, who said Trump was unfit to be president.

Substantively candidate Trump appeared to offer not so much a philosophy as an inclination. Practical if not exactly realist, he cared more for consequences than his three immediate predecessors, who had treated wars as moral crusades in Somalia, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. In contrast, Trump promised: "unlike other candidates for the presidency, war and aggression will not be my first instinct."

Yet so far the Trump administration is shaping up as a disappointment for those who hoped for a break from the liberal interventionist/neoconservative synthesis.

The first problem is staffing. In Washington people are policy. The president can speak and tweet, but he needs others to turn ideas into reality and implement his directives. It doesn't appear that he has any foreign policy realists around him, or anyone with a restrained view of America's international responsibilities.

Rex Tillerson, James Mattis and H. R. McMaster are all serious and talented, and none are neocons. But all seem inclined toward traditional foreign policy approaches and committed to moderating their boss's unconventional thoughts. Most of the names mentioned for deputy secretary of state have been reliably hawkish, or some combination of hawk and centrist-Abrams, John Bolton, the rewired Jon Huntsman.

Trump appears to be most concerned with issues that have direct domestic impacts, and especially with economic nostrums about which he is most obviously wrong. He's long been a protectionist (his anti-immigration opinions are of more recent vintage). Yet his views have not changed even as circumstances have. The Chinese once artificially limited the value of the renminbi, but recently have taken the opposite approach. The United States is not alone in losing manufacturing jobs, which are disappearing around the world and won't be coming back. Multilateral trade agreements are rarely perfect, but they are not zero sum games. They usually offer political as well as economic benefits. Trump does not seem prepared to acknowledge this, at least rhetorically. Indeed he has brought on board virulent opponents of free trade such as Peter Navarro.

The administration's repudiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership was particularly damaging. Trump's decision embarrassed Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, who had offered important economic concessions to join. More important, Trump has abandoned the economic field to the People's Republic of China, which is pushing two different accords. Australia, among other U.S. allies, has indicated that it now will deal with Beijing, which gets to set the Pacific trade agenda. In this instance, what's good for China is bad for the United States.

In contrast, on more abstract foreign policy issues President Trump seems ready to treat minor concessions as major victories and move on. For years he criticized America's Asian and European allies for taking advantage of U.S. defense generosity. In his March foreign policy speech, he complained that "our allies are not paying their fair share." During the campaign he suggested refusing to honor NATO's Article 5 commitment and leave countries failing to make sufficient financial contributions to their fate.

Yet Secretaries Mattis and Tillerson have insisted that Washington remains committed to the very same alliances incorporating dependence on America. Worse, in his speech to Congress the president took credit for the small uptick in military outlays by European NATO members which actually began in 2015: "based on our very strong and frank discussions, they are beginning" to "meet their financial obligations." Although he declared with predictable exaggeration that "the money is pouring in," no one believes that Germany, which will go from 1.19 to 1.22 percent of GDP this year, will nearly double its outlays to hit even the NATO standard of two percent.

Trump's signature policy initiative, rapprochement with Russia, appears dead in the water. Unfortunately, the president's strange personal enthusiasm for Vladimir Putin undercut his desire to accommodate a great power which has no fundamental, irresolvable conflicts with the America. Contrary to neocon history, Russia and America have often cooperated in the past. Moreover, President Trump's attempt to improve relations faces strong ideological opposition from neoconservatives determined to have a new enemy and partisan resistance from liberal Democrats committed to undermining the new administration.

President Trump also appears to have no appointees who share his commitment on this issue. At least Trump's first National Security Adviser, Mike Flynn, wanted better relations with Russia, amid other, more dubious beliefs, but now the president seems alone. In fact, Secretary Tillerson sounded like he was representing the Obama administration when he demanded Moscow's withdrawal from Crimea, a policy nonstarter. Ambassador-designate Huntsman's views are unclear, but he will be constrained by the State Department bureaucracy, which is at best unimaginative and at worst actively obstructionist.


taavitheman , March 10, 2017 4:04 PM

"Unfortunately, the president's strange personal enthusiasm for Vladimir Putin undercut his desire to accommodate a great power which has no fundamental, irresolvable conflicts with the America."

I did my due diligence on the writer after this absolutely baffling argument that has no basis on certain fundamental laws of geopolitics. Referring to this: https://www.bloomberg.com/n...

So now it gets me thinking like this: Who are Mr. Bandow's clients today? Figures...

Eric Zuesse , March 14, 2017 8:24 AM

Some say that the reason for Trump's total reversal of his campaign-position on Russia is the American Deep State (the U.S. aristocracy and its agents). I agree with that view.

Sarastro92 Eric Zuesse , March 19, 2017 11:43 AM

And other say you're a sap for believing a bunch of half-baked one-liners that Trump often contradicted in the same sentence... He never had a coherent policy on anything, no less foreign policy... so don't complain now that he's showing his true colors

tom Eric Zuesse , March 19, 2017 10:28 AM

The USA should FORCE other nations to use DIPLOMACY as a means to preventing wars. If they don't, they lose all support, financial and otherwise, from the USA. This would include Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The only thing Trump should take a look at in all this is the INHUMANE policies that previous administrations have used to placate the military/industrial clique's appetite for money and blood! If it's going to be "America First" for Trump's administration, it better start diverting this blood money to shore up America's people and infrastructures!

America2028 , March 12, 2017 1:19 PM

Most of these issues come down to the fact that President Trump doesn't have anything resembling a "grand strategy", or even a coherent foreign policy. His views are often at odds with each other (his desire to counter China economically and his opposition to the TPP, for example), and I suspect that most were motivated by a desire to get votes more than any kind of deep understanding of global affairs.

R. Arandas , March 10, 2017 9:36 PM

Most of his supporters, at least from what I can tell, are actually quite resolutely against entering a new war, and are strongly condemnatory of the neo-conservatism that involved the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In fact, according to the polls taken at the time, more Democrats favored military intervention in Syria than Republicans did.

olde reb R. Arandas , March 21, 2017 5:53 PM

I believe the American people are beginning to realize the CIA has the obsession for multiple, unending wars all for the benefit of Wall Street.

Ref. http://farmwars.info/?p=15338 . A FACE FOR THE SHADOW GOVERNMENT

mladenm , March 11, 2017 8:45 AM

It appears "military-industrial complex" or "deep state" refuses to take step back and insists on sucking more money from taxpayers. On first glance all is great for them, bombing of Middle East will continue, and so will military expansion at cost of civilian programs. However, ramifications to rest of the world should not be dismissed. EU countries are divided on following Washington hard line against Russia or diverge with USA. Currently, EU is cracking and might fall apart. Some in USA would cheer it but in long run it will mean loss of strongest US supporter against China. Regarding Middle East, Trump punished victims of AlQaeda and did nothing against financiers of AlQaeda, which will only increase local tensions. So indeed, not a great start...

Mark Thomason , March 11, 2017 11:13 AM

While I basically agree that Trump is not following through on his campaign, we must keep in mind that the campaign of his opponent was for MUCH more of the same, new wars, vastly increased fighting in current wars. So more of the same is in fact a big step down from the alternative.

That does not excuse doing more of the same, but just asserts that we did get some of what we voted for/against.

We should get the rest of it. Stop those wars. They don't serve us.

richardvajs Guest , March 19, 2017 1:46 PM

There are similarities between Trump and Putin . The GOP and its rich corporate members have decided to use Trump as the oligarchs in Russia used Yeltsin. The oligarchs used a drunken Yeltsin to pry the natural resources out of the public commons for the grabbing by the oligarchs. Likewise, our rich are going to use an unwitting Trump to lower their taxes to nothing while delivering austerity to the 99%.
To the oligarchs' surprise and dismay, Yeltsin's incompetence led to Putin and his scourge of the oligarchs. So will Trump's incompetence lead to the end of our system of crony capitalism and the rebirth of socialism such as the New Deal, and higher taxes.
The crooked bastards can never be satisfied even with 3/4 ths of the whole pie, so no-one should pity them for being hoisted on their own petard.

Asia at War , April 30, 2017 12:52 AM

Trump forgot what he promised to the people. He sold his soul to the devil. I hope he doesn't send more of our children to die for the "Deep state."

Doug Nusbaum , March 21, 2017 5:17 PM

I'm sorry --- Trump had a foreign policy? As near as I can tell, he just said whatever the crowd in front of him wanted to hear. Or do you have evidence to the contrary? Remember that this is a man who can be shown, in his own words, to have been on all sides of almost every issue, depending on the day of the week, and the phase of the moon.

Stefan Reich , March 20, 2017 6:13 AM

You really take all that time to analyze the guy instead of just seeing he is a madman? Wouldn't that be faster?

gentry_gee , March 20, 2017 3:41 AM

He, they, the US, that is, must obey Israel. Israel wants Assad gone in the end for their territorial expansion. It also helps the oil companies and isolates Russia further into a geostrategic corner.

dieter heymann , March 19, 2017 11:58 AM

This headline is way over the top. The first and foremost foreign policy statement which brought numerous voters to Trump was the US-Mexico wall and at least some of that wall will be constructed. Hence it is the only promise which has not (yet) changed except for who will pay for it.

OBTUSEANGLE , March 19, 2017 9:39 AM

The truth can be buried, but eventually it will be exposed. Only a matter of time.

Harold Smith , March 19, 2017 12:34 AM

Why must we give Trump the benefit of the doubt and assume that his campaign presentations were made in good faith? That is a very generous assumption.

There's a simple and more logical explanation for what's going on with "foreign policy" in the "Trump" administration: Trump's a liar, and his whole campaign was a calculated fraud from the beginning. We're the victims of a "bait-and-switch" scam.

freewheelinfranklin543 , March 18, 2017 4:03 PM

Because he lied. Just like he lied about draining the swamp and just restocked it with new varmints from Goldman Sachs and even an ex-Soros employee. Nothing new for me. Been watching elections for about 60 years and this is same ole. America can't take much more of this before it collapses and splits apart. The world isn't going to take much more from dc either. God help us. We are in a pickle!

dieter heymann , March 18, 2017 9:35 AM

The fundamental problem of exonerating Trump and blaming this non-reversal on the non-existing "deep state" is believing that anything a candidate said on the campaign trail can be executed when that candidate becomes president. Such reversal has happened so frequently in our history that it is truly amazing that " he does not do what he promised" still has adherents.

There is no reversal. I see reality clashing with words. I do not blame Trump for reversals. I see some shift from unrealistic to more realistic. It is called learning on the job.

Elelei Guhring , March 11, 2017 8:06 AM

Every political position on the planet is stuck in the 80s. There is no one with a will to change what is happening, mostly because no one wants to get tarred and feathered once the:

a) economy implodes upon itself in the most glorious Depression to ever happen, and;

b) world war 3 erupts but engaging such a variety of opponents, from Islam to China and Russia and even minor trivial players such as North Korea, and;

c) civil disobedience in the western world rivals that of even third world revolutions as people revolt against a failure to protect them from Islamic violence, to preserve their standard of living and their perceived futures. Lots of change coming, but nothing that any politician is promising.

Politicians are dinosaurs. We are entering a world where large numbers of people will make things happen. It's called Democracy.

An Eastern European , March 11, 2017 2:10 AM

Trump will remain close to Putin ideologically and he might continue to admire the man as a strong leader BUT there is one thing that neither Putin nor Trump can change and it is that Russia and America are natural rivals. Geopolitics. Land vs Sea. Eurasia vs Atlantic. Heartland vs Outer Rim.

Trump is hawk, don't be mislead. You cannot have a great country if you're not willing to kill and die for it. Russia knows that. Which is why Putin made Russia great again after the horror of the Yeltsin years. Now America knows that too.

[Feb 03, 2018] Sanders on Trump s State of the Union: Not a word on Nuclear War threat, anti-Russian and anti-Iranian crusades!

Jan 30, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press
Watch: Bernie Sanders' Response to Trump State of the Union

"Here's the story that Trump failed to mention "

Following President Donald Trump's State of the Union address on Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) offered a response.

"I want to take a few minutes of your time to respond to Trump's State of the Union speech," Sanders announced. "But I also want to talk to you about the major crises facing our country that, regrettably, Trump chose not to discuss."

And, he added, "I want to offer a vision of where we should go as a nation which is far different than the divisiveness, dishonesty, and racism coming from the Trump Administration over the past year."

Watch:

... ... ...

The complete text of Sanders' prepared remarks follow:

Good evening. Thanks for joining us.

Tonight , I want to take a few minutes of your time to respond to President Trump's State of the Union speech. But I want to do more than just that. I want to talk to you about the major crises facing our country that, regrettably, President Trump chose not to discuss. I want to talk to you about the lies that he told during his campaign and the promises he made to working people which he did not keep.

Finally, I want to offer a vision of where we should go as a nation which is far different than the divisiveness, dishonesty, and racism coming from the Trump Administration over the past year.

President Trump talked tonight about the strength of our economy. Well, he's right. Official unemployment today is 4.1 percent which is the lowest it has been in years and the stock market in recent months has soared. That's the good news.

But what President Trump failed to mention is that his first year in office marked the lowest level of job creation since 2010. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 254,000 fewer jobs were created in Trump's first 11 months in office than were created in the 11 months before he entered office.

Further, when we talk about the economy, what's most important is to understand what is happening to the average worker. And here's the story that Trump failed to mention tonight .

Over the last year, after adjusting for inflation, the average worker in America saw a wage increase of, are you ready for this, 4 cents an hour, or 0.17%. Or, to put it in a different way, that worker received a raise of a little more than $1.60 a week. And, as is often the case, that tiny wage increase disappeared as a result of soaring health care costs.

Meanwhile, at a time of massive wealth and income inequality, the rich continue to get much richer while millions of American workers are working two or three jobs just to keep their heads above water. Since March of last year, the three richest people in America saw their wealth increase by more than $68 billion. Three people. A $68 billion increase in wealth. Meanwhile, the average worker saw an increase of 4 cents an hour.

Tonight , Donald Trump touted the bonuses he claims workers received because of his so-called "tax reform" bill. What he forgot to mention is that only 2% of Americans report receiving a raise or a bonus because of this tax bill.

What he also failed to mention is that some of the corporations that have given out bonuses, such as Walmart, AT&T, General Electric, and Pfizer, are also laying off tens of thousands of their employees. Kimberly-Clark, the maker of Kleenex and Huggies, recently said they were using money from the tax cut to restructure -- laying off more than 5,000 workers and closing 10 plants.

What Trump also forgot to tell you is that while the Walton family of Walmart, the wealthiest family in America, and Jeff Bezos of Amazon, the wealthiest person in this country, have never had it so good, many thousands of their employees are forced onto Medicaid, food stamps, and public housing because of the obscenely low wages they are paid. In my view, that's wrong. The taxpayers of this country should not be providing corporate welfare to the wealthiest families in this country.

Trump's Broken Promises

Now, let me say a few words about some of the issues that Donald Trump failed to mention tonight , and that is the difference between what he promised the American people as a candidate and what he has delivered as president.

Many of you will recall, that during his campaign, Donald Trump told the American people how he was going to provide "health insurance for everybody," with "much lower deductibles."

That is what he promised working families all across this country during his campaign. But as president he did exactly the opposite. Last year, he supported legislation that would have thrown up to 32 million people off of the health care they had while, at the same time, substantially raising premiums for older Americans.

The reality is that although we were able to beat back Trump's effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, 3 million fewer Americans have health insurance today than before Trump took office and that number will be going even higher in the coming months.

During his campaign, Trump promised not to cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.

As president, however, he supported a Republican Budget Resolution that proposed slashing Medicaid by $1 trillion and cutting Medicare by $500 billion. Further, President Trump's own budget called for cutting Social Security Disability Insurance by $64 billion.

During Trump's campaign for president, he talked about how he was going to lower prescription drug prices and take on the greed of the pharmaceutical industry which he said was "getting away with murder." Tonight he said "one of my greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs."

But as president, Trump nominated Alex Azar, a former executive of the Eli Lilly Company -- one of the largest drug companies in this country -- to head up the Department of Health and Human Services.

Trump spoke about how in other countries "drugs cost far less," yet he has done nothing to allow Americans to purchase less expensive prescription drugs from abroad or to require Medicare to negotiate drug prices – which he promised he would do when he ran for president.

During the campaign, Donald Trump told us that: "The rich will not be gaining at all" under his tax reform plan.

Well, that was quite a whopper. As president, the tax reform legislation Trump signed into law a few weeks ago provides 83 percent of the benefits to the top one percent, drives up the deficit by $1.7 trillion, and raises taxes on 92 million middle class families by the end of the decade.

During his campaign for president, Trump talked about how he was going to take on the greed of Wall Street which he said "has caused tremendous problems for us.

As president, not only has Trump not taken on Wall Street, he has appointed more Wall Street billionaires to his administration than any president in history. And now, on behalf of Wall Street, he is trying to repeal the modest provisions of the Dodd-Frank legislation which provide consumer protections against Wall Street thievery.

What Trump Didn't Say

But what is also important to note is not just Trump's dishonesty. It is that tonight he avoided some of the most important issues facing our country and the world.

How can a president of the United States give a State of the Union speech and not mention climate change? No, Mr. Trump, climate change is not a "hoax." It is a reality which is causing devastating harm all over our country and all over the world and you are dead wrong when you appoint administrators at the EPA and other agencies who are trying to decimate environmental protection rules, and slow down the transition to sustainable energy.

How can a president of the United States not discuss the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision which allows billionaires like the Koch brothers to undermine American democracy by spending hundreds of millions of dollars to elect candidates who will represent the rich and the powerful?

How can he not talk about Republican governors efforts all across this country to undermine democracy, suppress the vote and make it harder for poor people or people of color to vote?

How can he not talk about the fact that in a highly competitive global economy, hundreds of thousands of bright young people are unable to afford to go to college, while millions of others have come out of school deeply in debt?

How can he not talk about the inadequate funding and staffing at the Social Security Administration which has resulted in thousands of people with disabilities dying because they did not get their claims processed in time?

How can he not talk about the retirement crisis facing the working people of this country and the fact that over half of older workers have no retirement savings? We need to strengthen pensions in this country, not take them away from millions of workers.

How can he not talk about the reality that Russia, through cyberwarfare, interfered in our election in 2016, is interfering in democratic elections all over the world, and according to his own CIA director will likely interfere in the 2018 midterm elections that we will be holding. How do you not talk about that unless you have a very special relationship with Mr. Putin?

What Trump Did Talk About

Now, let me say a few words about what Trump did talk about.

Trump talked about DACA and immigration, but what he did not tell the American people is that he precipitated this crisis in September by repealing President Obama's executive order protecting Dreamers.

We need to seriously address the issue of immigration but that does not mean dividing families and reducing legal immigration by 25-50 percent. It sure doesn't mean forcing taxpayers to spend $25 billion on a wall that candidate Trump promised Mexico would pay for. And it definitely doesn't mean a racist immigration policy that excludes people of color from around the world.

To my mind, this is one of the great moral issues facing our country. It would be unspeakable and a moral stain on our nation if we turned our backs on these 800,000 young people who were born and raised in this country and who know no other home but the United States.

And that's not just Bernie Sanders talking. Poll after poll shows that over 80 percent of the American people believe that we should protect the legal status of these young people and provide them with a path toward citizenship.

We need to pass the bi-partisan DREAM Act, and we need to pass it now.

President Trump also talked about the need to rebuild our country's infrastructure. And he is absolutely right. But the proposal he is bringing forth is dead wrong.

Instead of spending $1.5 trillion over ten years rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, Trump would encourage states to sell our nation's highways, bridges, and other vital infrastructure to Wall Street, wealthy campaign contributors, even foreign governments.

And how would Wall Street and these corporations recoup their investments? By imposing massive new tolls and fees paid for by American commuters and homeowners.

The reality is that Trump's plan to privatize our nation's infrastructure is an old idea that has never worked and never will work.

Tonight , Donald Trump correctly talked about the need to address the opioid crisis. Well, I say to Donald Trump, you don't help people suffering from opioid addiction by cutting Medicaid by $1 trillion. If you are serious about dealing with this crisis, we need to expand, not cut Medicaid.

Conclusion/A Progressive Agenda

My fellow Americans. The simple truth is that, according to virtually every poll, Donald Trump is the least popular president after one year in office of any president in modern American history. And the reason for that is pretty clear. The American people do not want a president who is compulsively dishonest, who is a bully, who actively represents the interests of the billionaire class, who is anti-science, and who is trying to divide us up based on the color of our skin, our nation of origin, our religion, our gender, or our sexual orientation.

That is not what the American people want. And that reality is the bad news that we have to deal with.

But the truth is that there is a lot of good news out there as well. It's not just that so many of our people disagree with Trump's policies, temperament, and behavior. It is that the vast majority of our people have a very different vision for the future of our country than what Trump and the Republican leadership are giving us.

In an unprecedented way, we are witnessing a revitalization of American democracy with more and more people standing up and fighting back. A little more than a year ago we saw millions of people take to the streets for the women's marches and a few weeks ago, in hundreds of cities and towns around the world, people once again took to the streets in the fight for social, economic, racial and environmental justice.

Further, we are seeing the growth of grassroots organizations and people from every conceivable background starting to run for office – for school board, city council, state legislature, the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate.

In fact, we are starting to see the beginning of a political revolution, something long overdue.

And these candidates, from coast to coast, are standing tall for a progressive agenda, an agenda that works for the working families of our country and not just the billionaire class. These candidates understand that the United States has got to join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee health care to all as a right, not a privilege, through a Medicare for All, single-payer program.

They understand that at a time of massive income and wealth inequality, when the top one-tenth of one percent now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, we should not be giving tax breaks for billionaires but demanding that they start paying their fair share of taxes.

They know that we need trade policies that benefit working people, not large multi-national corporations.

They know that we have got to take on the fossil fuel industry, transform our energy system and move to sustainable energies like wind, solar and geothermal.

They know that we need a $15 an hour federal minimum wage, free tuition at public colleges and universities, and universal childcare.

They understand that it is a woman who has the right to control her own body, not state and federal governments, and that woman has the right to receive equal pay for equal work and work in a safe environment free from harassment.

They also know that if we are going to move forward successfully as a democracy we need real criminal justice reform and we need to finally address comprehensive immigration reform.

Yes. I understand that the Koch brothers and their billionaire friends are planning to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in the 2018 mid-term elections supporting the Trump agenda and right-wing Republicans. They have the money, an unlimited amount of money. But we have the people, and when ordinary people stand up and fight for justice there is nothing that we cannot accomplish. That has been the history of America, and that is our future.

Thank you all and good night.

Published at https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/01/30/watch-bernie-sanders-response-trump-state-union

[Jan 22, 2018] Ivanka Trump Told by Steve Bannon: 'You're Just Another Staffer Who Doesn't Know What You're Doing,' New Book Claims by Melina Delkic

Jan 22, 2018 | www.yahoo.com

January 22, 2018

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon once told Ivanka Trump: "You're just another staffer who doesn't know what you're doing," according to a new book.

Related: Ivanka Trump's "special place in hell" for child predators comment trolls Roy Moore rally

Bannon, who has long critiqued and clashed with Ivanka's and her husband Jared Kushner's roles in the White House, tried to put the president's daughter in her place in one instance detailed in the book.

"My daughter loves me as a dad...You love your dad. I get that. But you're just another staffer who doesn't know what you're doing," Bannon said, The Washington Post reported when it published excerpts on Monday.


The revelation is part of the latest book about life inside the White House. Howard Kurtz, host of the Fox News show Media Buzz, wrote the book Media Madness: Donald Trump, The Press, And The War Over The Truth, set to be released on January 29.

The new book, though perhaps not as sensational as the explosive tell-all Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, contains several new alleged revelations about the administration. Along with reports of the turbulent relationship between Ivanka Trump and Bannon, are claims that the president himself leaked information to journalists, that his aides referred to his behavior as "defiance disorder" and that his staff was "blindsided" when he accused former President Barack Obama of wiretapping his phones.

[Jan 20, 2018] Will Steve Bannon s Testimony Bring Down Jared by Abigail Tracy

A more interesting question is how those testimonies might affect Bannon -- he is in a very hot water now. If he thought that the meeting was so incriminating why he did not contact FBI and just decided to feed juicy gossip to Wolff?
Also he was not present at the meeting and was not a member of Trump team until two months later. From who he got all this information ? Was is just a slander by disgruntled employee?
Notable quotes:
"... To reiterate, those comments were not aimed at Don Jr. ..."
"... Bannon has denied that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government during the election ..."
"... Wolff also quotes the former White House strategist as saying, "This is all about money laundering. [Robert] Mueller chose [senior prosecutor Andrew] Weissmann first and he is a money-laundering guy. Their path to fucking Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr., and Jared Kushner . . . It's as plain as a hair on your face." ..."
"... Bannon then zeroed in on Kushner specifically, adding that "[i]t goes through Deutsche Bank and all the Kushner shit. The Kushner shit is greasy. They're going to go right through that. They're going to roll those two guys up and say play me or trade me." ..."
Jan 16, 2018 | www.vanityfair.com

"The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor -- with no lawyers. They didn't have any lawyers," Bannon is quoted as saying in Fire and Fury. "Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it's all of that, you should have called the F.B.I. immediately." Bannon reportedly speculated that the chance the eldest Trump son did not involve his father in the meeting "is zero."

When Bannon's comments became public, Trump excoriated his former strategist, whom he accused of having "lost his mind." But while Bannon has since apologized for the remarks and sought to walk back a number of the quotes, he's stopped short of denying that he viewed the Trump Tower meeting as treasonous. Instead, he's merely shifted the blame away from Trump Jr. and onto Manafort. "My comments were aimed at Paul Manafort, a seasoned campaign professional with experience and knowledge of how the Russians operate. He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning, and not our friends. To reiterate, those comments were not aimed at Don Jr. ," Bannon said in a statement to Axios. ( Bannon has denied that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government during the election .)

... ... ...

Though the Trump Tower meeting took place before Bannon joined the Trump campaign, Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House panel, told CNN last week that he plans to question Bannon about "why this meeting at Trump Tower represented his treason and certainly unpatriotic at a minimum."

Jared Kushner's "greasy shit"

Wolff also quotes the former White House strategist as saying, "This is all about money laundering. [Robert] Mueller chose [senior prosecutor Andrew] Weissmann first and he is a money-laundering guy. Their path to fucking Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr., and Jared Kushner . . . It's as plain as a hair on your face." (Trump Jr., Kushner, and Manafort have all denied wrongdoing.) Bannon then zeroed in on Kushner specifically, adding that "[i]t goes through Deutsche Bank and all the Kushner shit. The Kushner shit is greasy. They're going to go right through that. They're going to roll those two guys up and say play me or trade me."

He and Trump's son-in-law have never seen eye to eye; their White House feuds were a poorly kept secret, and following his ouster, Bannon has given numerous interviews knocking Kushner, including one to my colleague Gabriel Sherman in which he questioned Kushner's maturity level. If Bannon has dirt on Kushner, he will likely get his chance to reveal it; Schiff also declared his intent to question Bannon on "the basis of his concern over money laundering."

[Jan 16, 2018] The Darkest Time in American History

Notable quotes:
"... What do you think? Perhaps almost 60,000 Americans dying in Vietnam was a darker time. Or maybe when Hitler's armies rolled across Europe, Japan surprise attacked Pearl Harbor, and 400,000 American soldiers died World War II. ..."
"... Anyone who thinks Trump's Presidency is the darkest time in American history is a poor student of American history. And I must assume their lives are pretty amazing if this is the worst they have ever felt. ..."
Jan 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Via The Daily Bell

The darkest time in American history.

I saw someone refer to the Trump Presidency as "possibly the darkest time in American history." I've heard some iteration of that many times from people still in a frenzy over the Trump Administration.

I'm not a big Trump fan. I wasn't a big Obama fan either. But their presence in office did not and does not hang over my life like a dark cloud. They really aren't that important.

Yes, they have the ability to make life more difficult for many. It is unfortunate that any politicians have that much control over our day to day lives.

But the darkest time in American history ?

What do you think? Perhaps almost 60,000 Americans dying in Vietnam was a darker time. Or maybe when Hitler's armies rolled across Europe, Japan surprise attacked Pearl Harbor, and 400,000 American soldiers died World War II.

For Japanese Americans, FDR's presidency was likely a darker time, as they sat in detainment facilities. Their crime was having Japanese ancestors.

In 1918 the Spanish Flu swept across the globe killing at least 20 million people worldwide, 675,000 Americans. At the same time, soldiers were coming home from WWI blinded by chemicals and mutilated by bombs.

And that is just going back one century. American history also includes the Civil War, slavery, and the Whiskey Rebellion .

Anyone who thinks Trump's Presidency is the darkest time in American history is a poor student of American history. And I must assume their lives are pretty amazing if this is the worst they have ever felt.

... ... ...

Look at where it left the global warming alarmists . They wanted to reduce pollution, which is a noble cause. But they lied about the goals, they lied about the causes, and they exaggerated the timetable. It's the classic boy who cried wolf.

... ... ...

I used to be paranoid about the government. Obviously, some of that paranoia is well founded. They do monitor communications and disrupt online discourse . They do violate rights . They are oppressive in many ways.

But those are not things I can readily change. I can protect myself, and I can try to show others how to change things for the better. But I can't control everything, and I can't control others .

... ... ...

[Jan 16, 2018] Out Trump Expels CNN's Jim Acosta From Oval Office Over Shiteholegate Questions Zero Hedge

Jan 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

"Mr. President," Acosta shouted three times, finally getting Trump's attention, "Did you say that you want more people to come in from Norway? Did you say that you wanted more people from Norway? Is that true Mr. President?" Acosta barked at Trump.

" I want them to come in from everywhere everywhere. Thank you very much everybody ," Trump replied while Acosta continued to interject.

" Just Caucasian or white countries, sir? Or do you want people to come in from other parts of the world people of color ," Acosta asked - effectively calling Trump racist, to which Trump looked Acosta directly in the eye and simply said:

"Out!"

Watch here:

me title=

Different angle:

me title=

Acosta spoke about the incident with Wolf Blitzer afterwards and said it was clear the president was ordering him out of the room. Acosta said he tried to ask his questions again when Trump and Nazarbayev gave a joint statement later on, but Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley "got right up in my face" and started shouting at him to block out any questions.

"It was that kind of a display," Acosta recalled. "It reminded me of something you might see in less democratic countries when people at the White House or officials of a foreign government attempt to get in the way of the press in doing their jobs."

Acosta and CNN were infamously humiliated after Trump called them "fake news" during a January, 2017 press conference in which Acosta attempted to shoehorn a question in front of another reporter:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Xy2U55fIBx0

Meanwhile, Acosta was shut down in December by White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders after he tried to grandstand during a press briefing over being called "Fake News," telling her that sometimes reporters make "honest mistakes."

Sanders shot back; "When journalists make honest mistakes, they should own up to them. Sometimes, and a lot of times, you don't," only to be temporarily cut off by Acosta.

"I'm sorry, I'm not finished," Sanders fired back, adding "There is a very big difference between making honest mistakes and purposefully misleading the American people... you cannot say it's an honest mistake when you're purposely putting out information you know is false."

[Jan 14, 2018] Trump Stumped As Bannon-Backed Roy Moore Wins Alabama Republican Primary By Landslide

Bannon backed candidate later lost. So much for this Bannon "success".
This idea of Trump playing 6 dimensional chess is a joke. It's the same explanation that was pushed for Obama disastrous neocon foreign policy. Here is one very apt quote: "What Trump has done are disasters, and equates to treason. Selling billions of dollars of weapons the our enemies the terrorists/Saudis, killing innocent people in Syria, and Yemen, sending more troops to Afghanistan..." What 6-dimetional chess?
According to Occam razor principle the simplest explanation of Trump behaviour is probably the most correct. He does not control foright policy, outsourcing it to "generals" and be does not pursue domestic policy of creating jobs as he promised his electorate. In other words, both in foreign policy and domestic policy, he became a turncoat, betraying his electorate, much like Obama. kind of Republican Obama.
And as time goes by, Trump looks more and more like Hillary II or Republican Obama. So he might have problems with the candidates he supports in midterm elections. His isolationism, if it ever existed, is gone. Promise of jobs is gone. Detente with Russia is gone. What's left?
Note the level disappointment of what used to be Trump base in this site comment section...
Notable quotes:
"... In a serious rebuke for President Trump (and perhaps moreso for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell), ousted judge and alt-right favorite Roy Moore has won the Alabama Republican Primary by a landslide ..."
"... The Steve Bannon-backed candidate, who defied court orders to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom and refused to recognize gay marriage after the Supreme Court's June 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, is leading by 9.6 points with 92% of the votes counted... ..."
"... These attacks on Bannon were one of the most prominent news stories in the first week following Trump's election victory. It didn't take long, however, for a counter-attack to emerge - from the right-wing elements of the Jewish community. ..."
"... Bannon is a true fucking patriot trying to pull this once great country from the sinkhole. ..."
"... I think the reality is that this was a message to McConnell much more than Trump. That message is simple: I'm coming to kill your career. Bannon went out of his way to say he fully supports Trump (despite backing the opposite candidate). And, let's face it, if Bannon buries McConnell, he's doing everyone a service, Trump included. ..."
"... The echo chamber media "is so surprised" that in Germany and the US we are seeing a rising tide of pissed off people, well imagine fucking that? Leaving the echo chamber and not intellectually trying to understand the anger, but living the anger. ..."
"... Well, we can only hope that Trump gets the message. He was elected to be President of the USA, not Emperor of the World. Quote from that Monty Python film: "He's not the Messiah; he's a very naughty boy!" ..."
"... A cursory background reading on Roy Moore tells me that he is one of the worst types for public office. And he might just turn out to be like Trump -- act like an anti-swarm cowboy and promise a path to heaven, then show his real colors as an Establishment puppet once the braindead voters put him in office. ..."
"... When Trump won the Republican nomination, and then the Presidency it was because people were rebelling against the establishment rulers. There is considerable disgust with these big government rulers that are working for themselves and their corporate cronies, but not for the US population. ..."
"... Trump seems to have been compromised at this point, and his support of the establishment favourite, Luther Strange is evidence that he isn't really the outsider he claimed to be. Moore's victory in Alabama says the rebellion still has wheels, so there is some hope. ..."
"... In Missouri where I live, the anti-establishment Republican contender for the upcoming US Senatorial 2018 race is Austin Peterson. It will be interesting to see how he, and his counterparts in other states do in the primaries. Both of the current Missouri Senators are worthless. ..."
"... I remember well the last "3-Dimensional Chess master" Obama while he too was always out maneuvering his apponents, per the media reports... ..."
"... Every now and then Trump tends to make huge blunders, and sometimes betrayals without knowing what he is doing. "Champions"- (great leaders) do not do that. ..."
"... What Trump has done are disasters, and equates to treason. Selling billions of dollars of weapons the our enemies the terrorists/Saudis, killing innocent people in Syria, and Yemen, sending more troops to Afghanistan... ..."
"... It is epitome of self-delusion to see people twisting themselves into pretzels, trying to justify/rationalize Trump's continuing display of disloyalty to America ..."
"... YOU CAN'T BE A ZIONIST AND AN AMERICAN FIRSTER, IT IS ONE OR THE OTHER. ..."
Sep 27, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Congratulations to Roy Moore on his Republican Primary win in Alabama. Luther Strange started way back & ran a good race. Roy, WIN in Dec!

In a serious rebuke for President Trump (and perhaps moreso for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell), ousted judge and alt-right favorite Roy Moore has won the Alabama Republican Primary by a landslide

The Steve Bannon-backed candidate, who defied court orders to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom and refused to recognize gay marriage after the Supreme Court's June 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, is leading by 9.6 points with 92% of the votes counted...

... ... ...

However, as Politco reported this evening, President Donald Trump began distancing himself from a Luther Strange loss before ballots were even cast, telling conservative activists Monday night the candidate he's backing in Alabama's GOP Senate primary was likely to lose ! and suggesting he'd done everything he could do given the circumstances.

Trump told conservative activists who visited the White House for dinner on Monday night that he'd underestimated the political power of Roy Moore, the firebrand populist and former judge who's supported by Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon, according to three people who were there.

And Trump gave a less-than full-throated endorsement during Friday's rally.

While he called Strange "a real fighter and a real good guy," he also mused on stage about whether he made a "mistake" by backing Strange and committed to campaign "like hell" for Moore if he won.

Trump was encouraged to pick Strange before the August primary by son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner as well as other aides, White House officials said. He was never going to endorse Alabama Republican Rep. Mo Brooks, who has at times opposed Trump's agenda, and knew little about Moore, officials said.

... ... ...

Déjà view -> Sanity Bear •Sep 26, 2017 11:19 PM

AIPAC HAS ALL BASES COVERED...MIGA !

On Sept. 11, the Alabama Daughters for Zion organization circulated a statement on Israel by Moore, which started by saying the U.S. and Israel "share not only a common Biblical heritage but also institutions of representative government and respect for religious freedom." He traced Israel's origin to God's promise to Abram and the 1948 creation of modern Israel as "a fulfillment of the Scriptures that foretold the regathering of the Jewish people to Israel."

Moore's statement includes five policy positions, including support for U.S. military assistance to Israel, protecting Israel from "Iranian aggression," opposing boycotts of Israel, supporting Israel at the United Nations, and supporting direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations without outside pressure. He added, "as long as Hamas and the Palestinian Authority wrongly refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist, such negotiations have scant chance of success."

While those views would give Moore common ground with much of the Jewish community regarding Israel, most of the state's Jewish community has been at odds with Moore over church-state issues, such as his displays of the Ten Commandments in courthouses, and his outspoken stance against homosexuality, both of which led to him being ousted as chief justice.

http://www.sjlmag.com/2017/09/alabama-senate-candidates-express.html?m=1

justa minute -> Déjà view •Sep 27, 2017 2:53 AM

moore misreads the Bible as most socalled christians do. they have been deceived, they have confused the Israel of God( those who have been given belief in Christ) with israel of the flesh. They cant hear Christs own words, woe is unto them. they are living in their own selfrighteousness, not good. they are going to have a big surprise for not following the Word of God instead following the tradition of men.

They were warned over and over in the Bible but they cant hear.

I Claudius -> VinceFostersGhost •Sep 27, 2017 6:27 AM

Forgive? Maybe. Forget? NEVER!! He tried to sell "US" out on this one. We now need to focus on bringing "Moore" candidates to the podium to run against the RINO's and take out McConnell and Ryan. It's time for Jared and Ivanka to go back to NYC so Jared can shore up his family's failing empire. However, if his business acumen is as accurate as his political then it's no wonder the family needed taxpayer funded visas to sell the property. Then on to ridding the White House of Gen Kelly and McMaster - two holdover generals from the Obama administration - after Obama forced out the real ones.

Clashfan -> Mycroft Holmes IV •Sep 26, 2017 11:33 PM

Rump has hoodwinked his supoprt base and turned on them almost immediately. Some refuse to acknowledge this.

"Ha! Your vote went to the Israel first swamp!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Gdw_MVY1Vo

Déjà view -> Clashfan •Sep 27, 2017 1:00 AM

MIGA !

These attacks on Bannon were one of the most prominent news stories in the first week following Trump's election victory. It didn't take long, however, for a counter-attack to emerge - from the right-wing elements of the Jewish community. The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) came to Bannon's defense and accused the ADL of a "character assassination" against Bannon.

http://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-1.807776

The Wizard -> Oh regional Indian •Sep 26, 2017 10:12 PM

Trump should figure out the Deep State elites he has surrounded himself with, don't have control of the states Trump won. Trump thought he had to negotiate with these guys and his ego got the best of him. Bannon was trying to convince him he should have stayed the course and not give in.


Theosebes Goodfellow -> Oh regional Indian •Sep 26, 2017 10:35 PM

~"American politics gets moore strange by the day..."~

Technically speaking OhRI, with Moore's win politics became less Strange, or "Strange less", or "Sans Luther", depending on how one chose to phrase it [SMIRK]

Adullam -> Gaius Frakkin' Baltar •Sep 26, 2017 11:05 PM

Trump needs to fire Jared! Some news outlets are saying that it was his son in law who advised him to back Strange. He has to quit listening to those who want to destroy him or ... they will.

overbet -> Killtruck •Sep 26, 2017 9:41 PM

Bannon is a true fucking patriot trying to pull this once great country from the sinkhole.

Juggernaut x2 -> overbet •Sep 26, 2017 10:07 PM

Trump better pull his head out of his ass and quit being a wishy-washy populist on BS like Iran- the farther right he goes the greater his odds of reelection because he has pissed off a lot of the far-righters that put him in- getting rid of Kushner, Cohn and his daughter and negotiating w/Assad and distancing us from Israhell would be a huge help.

opport.knocks -> Juggernaut x2 •Sep 26, 2017 11:19 PM

Distancing us from Israel... LOLOLOLOL

https://youtu.be/tm5Je73bYOY

The whole Russiagate ploy was a diversion from (((them)))

NoDebt -> Killtruck •Sep 26, 2017 9:42 PM

I think the reality is that this was a message to McConnell much more than Trump. That message is simple: I'm coming to kill your career. Bannon went out of his way to say he fully supports Trump (despite backing the opposite candidate). And, let's face it, if Bannon buries McConnell, he's doing everyone a service, Trump included.

Oldwood -> NoDebt •Sep 26, 2017 10:08 PM

I think it was a setup.

Bannon would not oppose Trump that directly unless there was a wink and a nod involved.

Trump is still walking a tightrope, trying to appease his base AND keep as many establishment republicans at his side (even for only optics). By Trump supporting Strange while knowing he was an underdog AND completely apposed by Bannon/his base he was able to LOOK like he was supporting the establishment, while NOT really. Trump seldom backs losers which makes me think it was deliberate. Strange never made sense anyway.

But what do I know?

Urahara -> NoDebt •Sep 27, 2017 12:20 AM

Bannon is hardcore Isreal first. Why are you supporting the zionist? It's an obvious play.

general ambivalent -> Urahara •Sep 27, 2017 2:23 AM

People are desperate to rationalise their failure into a victory. They cannot give up on Hope so they have to use hyperbole in everything and pretend this is all leading to something great in 2020 or 2024.

None of these fools learned a damn thing and they are desperate to make the same mistake again. The swamp is full, so full that it has breached the banks and taken over all of society. Trump is a swamp monster, and you simply cannot reform the swamp when both sides are monsters. In other words, the inside is not an option, so it has to be done the hard way. But people would prefer to keep voting in the swamp.

Al Gophilia -> NoDebt •Sep 27, 2017 3:58 AM

Bannon as president would really have those swamp creatures squirming. There wouldn't be this Trump crap about surrounding himself with likeminded friends, such as Goldman Sachs turnstile workers and his good pals in the MIC.

Don't tell me he didn't choose them because if he didn't, then they were placed. That means he doesn't have the clout he pretends to have or control of the agenda that the people asked him to deliver. His backing of Stange is telling.

Lanka -> LindseyNarratesWordress •Sep 26, 2017 11:07 PM

McMaster and Kelly have Trump under house arrest.

Bobbyrib -> LindseyNarratesWordress •Sep 27, 2017 5:38 AM

He will not fire Kushner or Ivanka who have become part of the swamp. I'm so sick of these 'Trump is a genius and planned this all along.'

To me Trump is a Mr. Bean type character that has been very fortunate and just goes with the flow. He has nearly no diplomacy, or strategic skills.

NoWayJose •Sep 26, 2017 10:35 PM

Dear President Trump - if you like your job, listen to these voters. Borders, Walls, limited immigrants (including all those that Ryan and McConnell are sneaking through under your very nose), trade agreements to keep American jobs, and respect for our flag, our country, and the unborn!

nevertheless -> loveyajimbo •Sep 26, 2017 11:19 PM

I had hope for Trump, but as someone who reads ZH often, and does not suffer from amnesia (like much of America), I knew he was way too good to be true.

We all know his back tracking, his flip flops...and while the media and many paid bloggers like to spin it as "not his fault", it actually is.

His sending DACA to Congress was the last straw. Obama enacted DACA with a stroke of his pen, but Trump "needed to send it to Congress so they could "get it right". The only thing Congress does with immigration is try and get amnesty passed.

Of course while Trump sends DACA to Congress, he does not mind using the military without Congress, which he actually should do.

Why is it when it's something American's want, it has to go through the "correct channels", but when its something the Zionists want, he does it with the wave of his pen? We saw the same bull shit games with Obama...

Dilluminati •Sep 26, 2017 11:02 PM

Anybody surprised by this is pretending the civility at the workplace isn't masking anger at corporate America and Government. I'll go in and put in the 8 hours, I'm an adult that is part of the job. However I'm actually fed up with allot of the stupid shit and want the establishment to work, problem is that we are witnessing failed nations, failed schools, failed healthcare, even failed employment contracts, conditions, and wages.

The echo chamber media "is so surprised" that in Germany and the US we are seeing a rising tide of pissed off people, well imagine fucking that? Leaving the echo chamber and not intellectually trying to understand the anger, but living the anger.

You haven't seen anything yet in Catalonia/Spain etc, Brexit, or so..

This is what failure looks like: That moment the Romanovs and Louis XVI looked around the room seeking an understanding eye, there was none.

Pascal1967 •Sep 26, 2017 11:19 PM

Dear Trump:

Quit listening to your moron son-in-law, swamp creature, Goldman Sachs douchebag son-in-law Kushner. HE SUCKS!! If you truly had BALLS, you would FIRE his fucking ass. HE is The Swamp, He Is Nepotism! THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HATE HIM.

MAGA! LISTEN TO BANNON, DONALD.

DO NOT FUCK THIS UP!

ROY MOORE, 100%!!!!

You lost, Trump ... get your shit together before it is too late!

ElTerco •Sep 26, 2017 11:28 PM

Bannon was always the smarts behind the whole operation. Now we are just left with a complete idiot in office.

Also, unlike Trump, Bannon actually gives a shit about what happens to the American people rather than the American tax system. At the end of the day, all Trump really cares about is himself.

samsara •Sep 26, 2017 11:25 PM
I think most people get it backwards about Trump and the Deplorables.

I believed in pulling troops a from all the war zones and Trump said he felt the same

I believed in Legal immigration, sending people back if here illegal especially if involved in crime, Trump said he felt the same.

I believed in America first in negotiating treaties, Trump said he felt the same.

I didn't 'vote' for Trump per se, he was the proxy.

We didn't leave Him, He left us.

BarnacleBill •Sep 26, 2017 11:31 PM

Well, we can only hope that Trump gets the message. He was elected to be President of the USA, not Emperor of the World. Quote from that Monty Python film: "He's not the Messiah; he's a very naughty boy!" It's high time he turned back to the job he promised to do, and drain that swamp.

napper •Sep 26, 2017 11:47 PM

A cursory background reading on Roy Moore tells me that he is one of the worst types for public office. And he might just turn out to be like Trump -- act like an anti-swarm cowboy and promise a path to heaven, then show his real colors as an Establishment puppet once the braindead voters put him in office.

America is doomed from top (the swarm) to bottom (the brainless voters).

Sid Davis •Sep 27, 2017 1:40 AM

When Trump won the Republican nomination, and then the Presidency it was because people were rebelling against the establishment rulers. There is considerable disgust with these big government rulers that are working for themselves and their corporate cronies, but not for the US population.

Trump seems to have been compromised at this point, and his support of the establishment favourite, Luther Strange is evidence that he isn't really the outsider he claimed to be. Moore's victory in Alabama says the rebellion still has wheels, so there is some hope.

In Missouri where I live, the anti-establishment Republican contender for the upcoming US Senatorial 2018 race is Austin Peterson. It will be interesting to see how he, and his counterparts in other states do in the primaries. Both of the current Missouri Senators are worthless.

nevertheless -> pfwed •Sep 27, 2017 7:33 AM

I remember well the last "3-Dimensional Chess master" Obama while he too was always out maneuvering his apponents, per the media reports...

LoveTruth •Sep 27, 2017 2:56 AM

Every now and then Trump tends to make huge blunders, and sometimes betrayals without knowing what he is doing. "Champions"- (great leaders) do not do that.

nevertheless -> LoveTruth •Sep 27, 2017 7:16 AM

What Trump has done are disasters, and equates to treason. Selling billions of dollars of weapons the our enemies the terrorists/Saudis, killing innocent people in Syria, and Yemen, sending more troops to Afghanistan...

But most treasonous of all was his sending DACA to "get it right", really? Congress has only one goal with immigration, amnesty, and Chump knows dam well they will send him legislation that will clearly or covertly grant amnesty for millions and millions of illegals, dressed up as "security".

Obama enacted DACA with the stroke of a pen, and while TRUMP promised to end it, he did NOT. Why is it when it's something Americans want, it has to be "Constitutional", but when it comes form his banker pals, like starting a war, he can do that unilaterally.

archie bird -> nevertheless •Sep 27, 2017 7:45 AM

Bernie wants to cut aid to Israel https://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2017/09/25/bernie-sanders-yeah-i...

nevertheless •Sep 27, 2017 8:04 AM

It is epitome of self-delusion to see people twisting themselves into pretzels, trying to justify/rationalize Trump's continuing display of disloyalty to America, and loyalty to Zionism.

Trump should always have been seen as a likely Zionist shill. He comes form Jew York City, owes everything he is to Zionist Jewish bankers, is a self proclaimed Zionist...

YOU CAN'T BE A ZIONIST AND AN AMERICAN FIRSTER, IT IS ONE OR THE OTHER.

Either Zero Hedge is over run with Zionist hasbara, giving cover to their boy Chump, or Americans on the "right" have become as gullible as those who supported Obama on the "left".

[Jan 14, 2018] Bannonism Will Live On by Matt Purple

Notable quotes:
"... The Constitution of Liberty ..."
"... The Camp of the Saints ..."
"... As for Bannon himself, his downfall has been fast and unceremonious: trashed by the president after he gossiped to Michael Wolff, abandoned by his deep-pocketed Mercer family funders, sacked by Breitbart, and then forced to watch as Trump indicated in a meeting earlier this week that he could sign a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Marat's downfall saw him elevated into a revolutionary martyr; Bannon has been banished into exile. ..."
"... But revolutions don't die with their figureheads. Bannonism won't either because, unlike the ethereal ideas behind liberalism and conservatism, it's found visceral real-world resonance -- among blue collars who see economic nationalism as a glimmer of hope among boarded-up plants, service-members frustrated with fruitless wars, young men flummoxed by modern feminism, right-wing activists frustrated with their political party's perceived impotence. Taunt Bannon all you like, but the imprint he leaves behind will be far larger than one spurious tell-all. ..."
"... The last blast of paleconservatism was Perot and the strong late 1990s economy halted that movement. ..."
"... The biggest thing lacking of the Bannon/Trump movement is how push back against the economic elite. Trump is governing exactly like an establishment Republican. Look at Trump/Perry ideas on saving coal which was properly turned down. This plan was unbelievably awful and not the right way for a better electric system and was simply handing Murray and First Energy a bunch money. ..."
"... Conservatism stands for stability and community. The accretions of "limited government" and "lower taxes", charming they may be as mantras, are more libertarian (Classic Liberal) than they are conservative ..."
"... A bomb-throwing Bolshevik like Bannon truly belongs on The Left, but in these days of abysmal ignorance of civics, it doesn't matter. "Bannonism" may live on, but thanks to the crackpot nature of its cobbled-together ideology, will remain a niche religion much like hard-core anarcho-libertarianism. ..."
"... Given the current atmosphere of outrage porn, willful ignorance and gleeful brutality, I do not have much hope for a Burkean conservatism to thrive, at least until after the pending social collapse ..."
"... Bannon will likely fade into oblivion via the Bourbon barrel, and the name Trump may become synonymous with "traitor" (but not like the media elite would hope). These men did not create a movement nor inspire anything. They were both savvy enough to see the political reality in this country and to give it voice. They will go, but the reality will remain. Ironically, but predictably, both men will likely be laid low by their own egos. But, so it goes ..."
"... The reality that supersedes these egotistical, narcissistic men is the fact that the traditional core of the American people have "woke" to the fact of their betrayal by the elite class to whom they have entrusted the leadership of this country for decades. They have awakened to find decay and rot throughout every American institution and to discover that these elites have enriched themselves beyond measure with the wealth of the nation at the cost of the workers and taxpayers who make that wealth possible. They have awakened to their own replacement and now realize the disdain with which they are viewed by those who would be their "masters." ..."
"... These Deplorables, white, working, taxpaying, Bible-believing, gun-owning MEN(!), are not going back into the opioid sleep of blissed out suburbia. They are now aware of the ill-hidden hatred which the elite class has for them and the future of serfdom to which these elites have fated them and their children. Gentlemen, a beast is being born out here in the hinterlands. It will not be put back in the cage ..."
Jan 12, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Bannon is an imperfect ideologue. He has a gargantuan ego that often leads him astray, perhaps lately towards the delusion that he himself would be a better populist messenger than the man he helped elect. But he's also hit on a paradox at the core of today's American conservatism. Conservatives, in theory at least, look with skepticism upon grand projects and giant leaps, which too often end up rupturing with the societal traditions they hold dear. Yet much of what conservatives support today is actually quite radical: banning all or most abortions, rolling back the regulatory state, rejecting decades of orthodoxy on the issue of climate change, a massive downshift of power from the federal government to states and localities, a moral ethic rooted in Christianity rather than identity politics -- and lately questioning the "liberal international order" in favor of something more nationalist and protectionist. The enactment of such an agenda would cause a good deal of upheaval and uncertainty, exactly the sort of void conservatives' forebears feared most.

Some have wrangled with this contradiction by scaling back their proposals, claiming great problems can be addressed with light-touch solutions, like child tax credits to arrest sagging birth rates. Others, much of Conservative Inc. it seems, are fine pretending this tension doesn't exist at all. Bannon's approach has been to gleefully embrace conservatism's radical side. Disagree with him all you like (and I do), but his is a perfectly logical position. His ascent -- some would say his transformation -- is a predictable consequence of conservatives yearning for something increasingly distant from the modern world, just as did young people in the quietly simmering 1950s. Indeed, there are many stylistic similarities between the radicals of today and those half a century ago: the "for the lulz" performance art of a Milo Yiannopoulos contains an echo of the prankster Yippies, for example. Those who lack cultural power can sell out, they can evolve, they can retreat to the catacombs -- or they can take Bannon's approach, they can transgress and pump their fists and try to burn it all down.

Bannon's digestible binaries -- establishment versus the people, globalists versus Americans -- are easily superimposed on an electorate that's itself divided both economically and culturally. Red states and the Rust Belt have for decades been the victims of bad federal policy; Bannonism gives them an abstract enemy to blame, a valve for their fury. The algorithmic and library-voiced Mitt Romney and the earnest Paul Ryan seem woefully inadequate by comparison: have those praying they run for higher office again learned nothing? In The Constitution of Liberty , F.A. Hayek critiques conservatism by defining it as "a brake on the vehicle of progress" and observing that a mere decrease in speed "cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." Likewise, while conventional taxes-and-terrorism Republican rhetoric doesn't feel like much of a heave on the ship's wheel, Bannonism furnishes a clear vision, a real change, swords to wield, dragons to slay. Guess which one has greater appeal right now?

The modern right has always had a whiff of radicalism about it, with origins in pushback against the 60s counterculture, a second wind in Newt Gingrich's legislative reformation, and late-life vitality in the Saul Alinsky-invoking tea party. But it's with Bannon that the odor has become most pungent. He is an unlikely revolutionary. An early profile from Bloomberg Businessweek in 2015 portrays him as more of an operative than anything, determined to professionalize a conservative movement that had made too many unforced errors. Other pre-Trump appearances found Bannon worrying about the national debt and extolling his Catholic faith. It's a windy road from there to storming the barricades under Donald Trump's sigil, but it's one many conservatives have traveled in recent years. The challenge for more traditional Republicans will be fashioning a new politics that quenches voters' burning thirst for change -- a position they've arrived at themselves, not been brainwashed into by Fox News -- while circumventing Bannonism's conflagrations and The Camp of the Saints ugliness.

As for Bannon himself, his downfall has been fast and unceremonious: trashed by the president after he gossiped to Michael Wolff, abandoned by his deep-pocketed Mercer family funders, sacked by Breitbart, and then forced to watch as Trump indicated in a meeting earlier this week that he could sign a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Marat's downfall saw him elevated into a revolutionary martyr; Bannon has been banished into exile.

But revolutions don't die with their figureheads. Bannonism won't either because, unlike the ethereal ideas behind liberalism and conservatism, it's found visceral real-world resonance -- among blue collars who see economic nationalism as a glimmer of hope among boarded-up plants, service-members frustrated with fruitless wars, young men flummoxed by modern feminism, right-wing activists frustrated with their political party's perceived impotence. Taunt Bannon all you like, but the imprint he leaves behind will be far larger than one spurious tell-all.

Matt Purple is the managing editor of The American Conservative

collin January 11, 2018 at 8:50 am

There is always a level of Bannonism /Paleoconservatism in the US politics but who knows how impactful it will be.
  1. Probably the biggest issue for Bannon was Trump was elected in 2016 and our nation did not want or need a Leninist. (It wasn't 2008 anymore)
    Frankly most conservatives were satisfied that HRC and Obama were not President and did not want massive changes.
  2. The whole the people and globalist division is too simplistic and there are a lot 'People' that support free trade or relatively open borders. (For instance I don't see the economic benefit of steel tariffs at all.)
  3. The last blast of paleconservatism was Perot and the strong late 1990s economy halted that movement.
  4. We still don't know how much a pushback on Trump/Bannonism will be. Trump is not popular and the House is endangered.

5) The biggest thing lacking of the Bannon/Trump movement is how push back against the economic elite. Trump is governing exactly like an establishment Republican. Look at Trump/Perry ideas on saving coal which was properly turned down. This plan was unbelievably awful and not the right way for a better electric system and was simply handing Murray and First Energy a bunch money.

David Nash , says: January 11, 2018 at 9:12 am
It is a cardinal error to confuse conservatism with The Right, as much as it is to conflate liberalism with The Left.

Conservatism stands for stability and community. The accretions of "limited government" and "lower taxes", charming they may be as mantras, are more libertarian (Classic Liberal) than they are conservative. (Thanks loads, Frank Meyer.)

A bomb-throwing Bolshevik like Bannon truly belongs on The Left, but in these days of abysmal ignorance of civics, it doesn't matter. "Bannonism" may live on, but thanks to the crackpot nature of its cobbled-together ideology, will remain a niche religion much like hard-core anarcho-libertarianism.

Given the current atmosphere of outrage porn, willful ignorance and gleeful brutality, I do not have much hope for a Burkean conservatism to thrive, at least until after the pending social collapse.

Navy Jack , says: January 11, 2018 at 12:14 pm
Bannon will likely fade into oblivion via the Bourbon barrel, and the name Trump may become synonymous with "traitor" (but not like the media elite would hope). These men did not create a movement nor inspire anything. They were both savvy enough to see the political reality in this country and to give it voice. They will go, but the reality will remain. Ironically, but predictably, both men will likely be laid low by their own egos. But, so it goes.

The reality that supersedes these egotistical, narcissistic men is the fact that the traditional core of the American people have "woke" to the fact of their betrayal by the elite class to whom they have entrusted the leadership of this country for decades. They have awakened to find decay and rot throughout every American institution and to discover that these elites have enriched themselves beyond measure with the wealth of the nation at the cost of the workers and taxpayers who make that wealth possible. They have awakened to their own replacement and now realize the disdain with which they are viewed by those who would be their "masters."

These Deplorables, white, working, taxpaying, Bible-believing, gun-owning MEN(!), are not going back into the opioid sleep of blissed out suburbia. They are now aware of the ill-hidden hatred which the elite class has for them and the future of serfdom to which these elites have fated them and their children. Gentlemen, a beast is being born out here in the hinterlands. It will not be put back in the cage.

The writer's allusion to the French Revolution is somewhat telling. The history of the West is replete with moments of savagery and destruction directed inwardly. It will be so again. When these Deplorables turn on their keepers, it will not be pretty. The Progressive elites who believe that they can control and shape "narratives" to harness that power are fools. The cloistered intellectuals who believe that they can "opt" out of the coming clash are dreaming.

The traditional core of the American people are no different than their ancestors. They just don't live as close to the edge as those folks did. But when they are backed up to that edge, when betrayal has been made clear and the institutions are revealed for the Oz that they have become, they will recall that old hatred that still courses in the Western man's veins and will react in ways that will chill the blood. The imaginary "crimes" with which "privileged whites" are damned by the rioting Cultural Marxists will escape imagination and leap into reality. God help us.

JonF , says: January 11, 2018 at 1:30 pm
Re: The last blast of paleconservatism was Perot and the strong late 1990s economy halted that movement.

Perot, for whom I voted in 1992 but not 1996, was not a paleoconservative, but rather a pragmatic centrist. Compare his position on social issues with Pat Buchanan's (Buchanan being Mr. Paleoconservative -- and who ran in 1992 too)

[Jan 13, 2018] Remarks of Stephen Bannon at a Conference at the Vatican

Looks like Bannon is really weak in political economy. He does not even use the term neoliberalism. Go here to read the full transcript of his speech.
One very interesting quote is ""I believe we've come partly off-track in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union and we're starting now in the 21st century, which I believe, strongly, is a crisis both of our church, a crisis of our faith, a crisis of the West, a crisis of capitalism."
Notable quotes:
"... That war triggered a century of barbaric -- unparalleled in mankind's history -- virtually 180 to 200 million people were killed in the 20th century, and I believe that, you know, hundreds of years from now when they look back, we're children of that: We're children of that barbarity. This will be looked at almost as a new Dark Age. ..."
"... I believe we've come partly offtrack in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union and we're starting now in the 21st century, which I believe, strongly, is a crisis both of our church, a crisis of our faith, a crisis of the West, a crisis of capitalism. ..."
"... I see that every day. I'm a very practical, pragmatic capitalist. I was trained at Goldman Sachs, I went to Harvard Business School, I was as hard-nosed a capitalist as you get. I specialized in media, in investing in media companies, and it's a very, very tough environment. And you've had a fairly good track record. So I don't want this to kinda sound namby-pamby, "Let's all hold hands and sing 'Kumbaya' around capitalism." ..."
"... One is state-sponsored capitalism. And that's the capitalism you see in China and Russia. I believe it's what Holy Father [Pope Francis] has seen for most of his life in places like Argentina, where you have this kind of crony capitalism of people that are involved with these military powers-that-be in the government, and it forms a brutal form of capitalism that is really about creating wealth and creating value for a very small subset of people. And it doesn't spread the tremendous value creation throughout broader distribution patterns that were seen really in the 20th century. ..."
"... The second form of capitalism that I feel is almost as disturbing, is what I call the Ayn Rand or the Objectivist School of libertarian capitalism. And, look, I'm a big believer in a lot of libertarianism. I have many many friends that's a very big part of the conservative movement -- whether it's the UKIP movement in England, it's many of the underpinnings of the populist movement in Europe, and particularly in the United States. However, that form of capitalism is quite different when you really look at it to what I call the "enlightened capitalism" of the Judeo-Christian West. It is a capitalism that really looks to make people commodities, and to objectify people, and to use them almost -- as many of the precepts of Marx -- and that is a form of capitalism, particularly to a younger generation [that] they're really finding quite attractive. And if they don't see another alternative, it's going to be an alternative that they gravitate to under this kind of rubric of "personal freedom." ..."
Jan 13, 2018 | the-american-catholic.com

Buzzfeed has the remarks of Stephen Bannon, former CEO of Breitbart News , and currently appointed by President Elect Trump to be his chief advisor, at a conference at the Vatican in the summer of 2014:

Steve Bannon:

Thank you very much Benjamin, and I appreciate you guys including us in this. We're speaking from Los Angeles today, right across the street from our headquarters in Los Angeles. Um. I want to talk about wealth creation and what wealth creation really can achieve and maybe take it in a slightly different direction, because I believe the world, and particularly the Judeo-Christian west, is in a crisis. And it's really the organizing principle of how we built Breitbart News to really be a platform to bring news and information to people throughout the world. Principally in the west, but we're expanding internationally to let people understand the depths of this crisis, and it is a crisis both of capitalism but really of the underpinnings of the Judeo-Christian west in our beliefs.

It's ironic, I think, that we're talking today at exactly, tomorrow, 100 years ago, at the exact moment we're talking, the assassination took place in Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferdinand that led to the end of the Victorian era and the beginning of the bloodiest century in mankind's history. Just to put it in perspective, with the assassination that took place 100 years ago tomorrow in Sarajevo, the world was at total peace. There was trade, there was globalization, there was technological transfer, the High Church of England and the Catholic Church and the Christian faith was predominant throughout Europe of practicing Christians. Seven weeks later, I think there were 5 million men in uniform and within 30 days there were over a million casualties.

That war triggered a century of barbaric -- unparalleled in mankind's history -- virtually 180 to 200 million people were killed in the 20th century, and I believe that, you know, hundreds of years from now when they look back, we're children of that: We're children of that barbarity. This will be looked at almost as a new Dark Age.

But the thing that got us out of it, the organizing principle that met this, was not just the heroism of our people -- whether it was French resistance fighters, whether it was the Polish resistance fighters, or it's the young men from Kansas City or the Midwest who stormed the beaches of Normandy, commandos in England that fought with the Royal Air Force, that fought this great war, really the Judeo-Christian West versus atheists, right? The underlying principle is an enlightened form of capitalism, that capitalism really gave us the wherewithal. It kind of organized and built the materials needed to support, whether it's the Soviet Union, England, the United States, and eventually to take back continental Europe and to beat back a barbaric empire in the Far East.

That capitalism really generated tremendous wealth. And that wealth was really distributed among a middle class, a rising middle class, people who come from really working-class environments and created what we really call a Pax Americana. It was many, many years and decades of peace. And I believe we've come partly offtrack in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union and we're starting now in the 21st century, which I believe, strongly, is a crisis both of our church, a crisis of our faith, a crisis of the West, a crisis of capitalism.

And we're at the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict, of which if the people in this room, the people in the church, do not bind together and really form what I feel is an aspect of the church militant, to really be able to not just stand with our beliefs, but to fight for our beliefs against this new barbarity that's starting, that will completely eradicate everything that we've been bequeathed over the last 2,000, 2,500 years.

Now, what I mean by that specifically: I think that you're seeing three kinds of converging tendencies: One is a form of capitalism that is taken away from the underlying spiritual and moral foundations of Christianity and, really, Judeo-Christian belief.

I see that every day. I'm a very practical, pragmatic capitalist. I was trained at Goldman Sachs, I went to Harvard Business School, I was as hard-nosed a capitalist as you get. I specialized in media, in investing in media companies, and it's a very, very tough environment. And you've had a fairly good track record. So I don't want this to kinda sound namby-pamby, "Let's all hold hands and sing 'Kumbaya' around capitalism."

But there's a strand of capitalism today -- two strands of it, that are very disturbing.

  1. One is state-sponsored capitalism. And that's the capitalism you see in China and Russia. I believe it's what Holy Father [Pope Francis] has seen for most of his life in places like Argentina, where you have this kind of crony capitalism of people that are involved with these military powers-that-be in the government, and it forms a brutal form of capitalism that is really about creating wealth and creating value for a very small subset of people. And it doesn't spread the tremendous value creation throughout broader distribution patterns that were seen really in the 20th century.
  2. The second form of capitalism that I feel is almost as disturbing, is what I call the Ayn Rand or the Objectivist School of libertarian capitalism. And, look, I'm a big believer in a lot of libertarianism. I have many many friends that's a very big part of the conservative movement -- whether it's the UKIP movement in England, it's many of the underpinnings of the populist movement in Europe, and particularly in the United States.

    However, that form of capitalism is quite different when you really look at it to what I call the "enlightened capitalism" of the Judeo-Christian West. It is a capitalism that really looks to make people commodities, and to objectify people, and to use them almost -- as many of the precepts of Marx -- and that is a form of capitalism, particularly to a younger generation [that] they're really finding quite attractive. And if they don't see another alternative, it's going to be an alternative that they gravitate to under this kind of rubric of "personal freedom."

The other tendency is an immense secularization of the West. And I know we've talked about secularization for a long time, but if you look at younger people, especially millennials under 30, the overwhelming drive of popular culture is to absolutely secularize this rising iteration.

... ... ...

[Jan 13, 2018] Steve Bannon on white nationalism, Donald Trump agenda - CBS News

Notable quotes:
"... "I'm not a white nationalist, I'm a nationalist. I'm an economic nationalist," Bannon told the news outlet earlier this week. "The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f -- ed over." ..."
"... "Look, are there some people that are white nationalists that are attracted to some of the philosophies of the alt-right? Maybe," Bannon told Mother Jones in August. "Are there some people that are anti-Semitic that are attracted? Maybe. Right? Maybe some people are attracted to the alt-right that are homophobes, right? But that's just like, there are certain elements of the progressive left and the hard left that attract certain elements." ..."
"... "It's everything related to jobs," Bannon said and seemingly bragged about how he was going to drive conservatives "crazy" with his "trillion-dollar infrastructure plan." ..."
"... "With negative interest rates throughout the world, it's the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Ship yards, iron works, get them all jacked up," he proposed. "We're just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution -- conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement." ..."
"... Bannon, in the Reporter interview, also gave some insight into how he viewed his political foes (presumably, liberals and the media) -- and the "darkness" he touts in fighting against them. ..."
Jan 13, 2018 | www.cbsnews.com

Steve Bannon, the chief strategist and right-hand man to President-elect Donald Trump, denied in an interview that he was an advocate of white nationalism -- and gave hints instead about how his brand of "economic" nationalism will shake up Washington.

In The Hollywood Reporter, Bannon, the controversial former head of Breitbart News who went on to chair Mr. Trump's presidential campaign, discussed why he believed his candidate won the election.

"I'm not a white nationalist, I'm a nationalist. I'm an economic nationalist," Bannon told the news outlet earlier this week. "The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f -- ed over."

Bannon's appointment to the White House has drawn criticism from Democrats and several civil liberties groups, in part because of his (and Breitbart's) strong association with the alt-right , a political movement with strains of white supremacy.

In the past, the former Breitbart CEO has admitted the alt-right's connections to racist and anti-Semitic agendas.

"Look, are there some people that are white nationalists that are attracted to some of the philosophies of the alt-right? Maybe," Bannon told Mother Jones in August. "Are there some people that are anti-Semitic that are attracted? Maybe. Right? Maybe some people are attracted to the alt-right that are homophobes, right? But that's just like, there are certain elements of the progressive left and the hard left that attract certain elements."

In the Reporter interview, Bannon challenged the notion that racialized overtones dominated the Trump campaign on the trail. He predicted that if the administration delivered on its election promises, "we'll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we'll govern for 50 years."

"It's everything related to jobs," Bannon said and seemingly bragged about how he was going to drive conservatives "crazy" with his "trillion-dollar infrastructure plan."

"With negative interest rates throughout the world, it's the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Ship yards, iron works, get them all jacked up," he proposed. "We're just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution -- conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement."

Bannon, in the Reporter interview, also gave some insight into how he viewed his political foes (presumably, liberals and the media) -- and the "darkness" he touts in fighting against them.

"Darkness is good," Bannon said. "Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That's power. It only helps us when they...get it wrong. When they're blind to who we are and what we're doing."

[Jan 09, 2018] Steve Bannon and Trump's Populist Victory by Jeremy Cooper

Notable quotes:
"... When Donald Trump burst onto the scene, Bannon had found what he is quoted describing as a "blunt instrument for us," a man who had "taken this nationalist movement and moved it up twenty years." ..."
"... the rise of Bannon and Trump holds lessons for the Dissident Right. One of them: despite how powerful the Establishment may appear, there are fatal disconnects between it and the people it rules -- for example, on social and identity issues. Thus, many members of this Ruling Class, such as the Republican strategists who predicted a Jeb or Rubio victory, have been more successful in deluding themselves than they have been in building any kind of effective base. Similarly, Clinton campaign operatives believed, without much evidence, that undecided voters would eventually break in their favor. Because the thought of a Trump presidency was too horrifying for them to contemplate, they refused to recognize polls showing a close race, ignored the Midwest and sauntered their candidate off to Arizona in the final days. ..."
"... Of course, currently the ideas that Bannon fought for appear to be on the wane, leading him to declare upon leaving the White House that the "Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over." [ Weekly Standard, August 18, 2017] ..."
"... But this is probably somewhat of an exaggeration. I doubt that Bannon laments the fact that the current president is Donald Trump rather than Hillary Clinton or Marco Rubio. But it has proved much more difficult to change government policy than to win an election. Unlike GOP strategists, the Deep State appears to know what it is doing. ..."
www.unz.com

Republished from VDare.com

Throughout 2016, I would occasionally turn on the television to see how the punditocracy was responding to the mounting Trump tsunami . If you get most of your news online, watching cable news is frustrating. The commentary is so dumbed down and painfully reflective of speaker's biases, you can always basically guess what's coming next. With a few exceptions -- above all Ann Coulter 's famous June 19, 2015 prediction of a Trump victory on Bill Maher -- these pundits again and again told us that Trump would eventually go away, first after he made this or that gaffe, then after he "failed" in a debate, then after people actually started voting in the primaries.

Finally, after having been wrong at every point during the primaries, they just as confidently predicted that the Republican primary voter had foolishly done nothing more than assure that Hillary Clinton would be the next president.

The most interesting cases to me: the " Republican strategists ," brought on to CNN and MSNBC to give the audience the illusion that they were hearing both sides: Nicole Wallace, Steve Schmidt, Ana Navarro, Rick Wilson, Margaret Hoover, Todd Harris. Mike Murphy even convinced donors to hand him over $100 million to make Jeb Bush the next president -- [ Jeb's 2016 departure draws out Mike Murphy critics , By Maeve Reston, February 22, 2016]

With campaigns and donors throwing money at these people, and the Main Stream Media touting them, it was easy to assume they must know what they were talking about. Significantly, each of these pundits was a national security hawk, center-right on economic issues, and just as horrified by " racism " and " sexism " as their Leftist counterparts . By a remarkable coincidence, the " strategic " advice that they gave to Republican candidates lined up perfectly with these positions. Their prominence was a mirage created by the fact that the MSM handed this token opposition the Megaphone because they did not challenge the core prejudices of the bipartisan Ruling Class.

And of course they were all humiliated in a spectacular fashion, November 8 being only the climax. Joshua Green begins his book Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency by giving us a view inside the Trump campaign on election night, before tracing Steve Bannon's path up to that point. Reliving the journey is one of the joys of Green's work, which is mostly an intellectual biography of Steve Bannon, with a special focus on his relationship with Trump and the election.

Bannon joined the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016 without any previous experience in electoral politics. But like the candidate himself, the Breitbart editor showed that he understood the nature of American politics and the GOP base better than Establishment Republicans. The "strategists'" supposed "expertise," "strategic advice," and "analysis" was in reality built on a house of cards. (In fact, the Bannon-Trump view of the electorate is closer to the consensus among political scientists that, unlike more nationalist and populist policies, Republican Establishment positions have relatively little popular support. [ Political Divisions in 2016 and Beyon d | Tensions Between and Within the Two Parties, Voter Study Group, June 2017]).

One key example: Green recounts how after Obama's re-election, the GOP Establishment was eager to surrender on immigration, supporting the bipartisan Amnesty/ Immigration Surge Gang of Eight bill . GOP leaders had neutralized Fox News, leaving Breitbart.com, talk radio and guerilla websites like VDARE.com as the only resistance. But the bill died due to a grass-roots revolt, partly inspired by Breitbart's reporting on the flood of Central American "child" refugees t he Obama Regime was allowing across the southern border. GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his congressional seat in a shock upset in the primaries. And little over a year later, Donald Trump became a candidate for president with opposition to illegal immigration as his signature issue.

Bannon at Breitbart.com gave the Republican base what it wanted. Moral: in a democracy, you always have a chance at winning when public opinion (or at least intraparty opinion) is on your side.

Green traces Bannon's journey from his Irish-Catholic working-class roots and traditionalist upbringing, to his time in the Navy, at Harvard Business School and Goldman Sachs, and finally Breitbart.com and the pinnacle of American politics. The picture that emerges is of a man with principles and vigor, refusing to submit to the inertia that is part of the human condition, with enough confidence to realize that life is too short to not make major changes when staying on the current path is not going to allow him to accomplish his goals.

For example, Bannon originally wanted a career in defense policy, and took a job in the Pentagon during the Reagan administration. Yet he was off to Harvard Business School when he realized that the rigid bureaucracy that he was a part of would not let him move up to a high-level position until he was middle-aged. Decades later, after taking over his website upon the unexpected death of Andrew Breitbart in 2012, it would have been easy to go low-risk -- sticking to Establishment scripts, making life comfortable for Republican elites, implicitly submitting to the taboos of the Left. Instead , he helped turn Breitbart News into a major voice of the populist tide that has been remaking center-right politics across the globe.

When Donald Trump burst onto the scene, Bannon had found what he is quoted describing as a "blunt instrument for us," a man who had "taken this nationalist movement and moved it up twenty years."

From Green, we learn much about Bannon's intellectual influences. Surprisingly, although he was raised as a Roman Catholic and maintains that faith today, we find out that Bannon briefly practiced Zen Buddhism while in the Navy. There are other unusual influences that make appearances in the book, including Rightist philosopher Julius Evola and René Guénon, a French occultist who eventually became a Sufi Muslim. Although not exactly my cup of tea, such eccentric intellectual interests reflect a curious mind that refuses to restrict itself to fashionable influences.

It's incorrect to call Devil's Bargain a biography. There is practically no mention of Bannon's personal life -- wives, children. I had to Google to find out that he has three daughters. His childhood is only discussed in the context of how it may have influenced his beliefs and political development.

Rather, we get information on Bannon's intellectual and career pursuits and his relationships with consequential figures such as mega-donor Robert Mercer, Andrew Breitbart and Donald Trump.

As Bannon exits the White House and returns to Breitbart, we must hope that Bannon and the movement he's helped to create accomplish enough in the future to inspire more complete biographies.

But the rise of Bannon and Trump holds lessons for the Dissident Right. One of them: despite how powerful the Establishment may appear, there are fatal disconnects between it and the people it rules -- for example, on social and identity issues. Thus, many members of this Ruling Class, such as the Republican strategists who predicted a Jeb or Rubio victory, have been more successful in deluding themselves than they have been in building any kind of effective base. Similarly, Clinton campaign operatives believed, without much evidence, that undecided voters would eventually break in their favor. Because the thought of a Trump presidency was too horrifying for them to contemplate, they refused to recognize polls showing a close race, ignored the Midwest and sauntered their candidate off to Arizona in the final days.

Of course, currently the ideas that Bannon fought for appear to be on the wane, leading him to declare upon leaving the White House that the "Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over." [ Weekly Standard, August 18, 2017]

But this is probably somewhat of an exaggeration. I doubt that Bannon laments the fact that the current president is Donald Trump rather than Hillary Clinton or Marco Rubio. But it has proved much more difficult to change government policy than to win an election. Unlike GOP strategists, the Deep State appears to know what it is doing.

In his memoir Nixon's White House Wars , Pat Buchanan writes about how, despite playing a pivotal role in the election of 1968, the conservative movement was mostly shut out of high-level jobs:

Then there was the painful reality with which the right had to come to terms. Though our movement had exhibited real power in capturing the nomination for Barry Goldwater and helping Nixon crush the Rockefeller-Romney wing of the Republican Party, and though we were

playing a pivotal role in the election of 1968, the conservative movement was mostly shut out of high-level jobs:

Then there was the painful reality with which the right had to come to terms. Though our movement had exhibited real power in capturing the nomination for Barry Goldwater and helping Nixon crush the Rockefeller-Romney wing of the Republican Party, and though we were veterans of a victorious presidential campaign, few of us had served in the executive branch. We lacked titles, resumes, credentials Our pool of experienced public servants who could seamlessly move into top positions was miniscule compared to that of the liberal Democrats who had dominated the capital's politics since FDR arrived in 1933.

History repeated itself in 2016, when Donald Trump would win the presidency on a nationalist platform but find few qualified individuals who could reliably implement his agenda.

If nationalists want to ensure that their next generation of leaders is able to effectively implement the policies they run on, they are going to have to engage in the slow and tedious project of working their way up through powerful institutions.

Bannon may have been and remains an "outsider" to the political Establishment. But nonetheless, throughout his life he has leveraged elite institutions such as Harvard, Goldman Sachs, the Republican Party, and even Hollywood in order to become financially independent and free to pursue his political goals.

If enough of those on the Dissident Right forge a similar path, we can be sure that future nationalist political victories will be less hollow. Jeremy Cooper is a specialist in international politics and an observer of global trends. Follow him at @NeoNeoLiberal .

Clyde Wilson > , August 29, 2017 at 12:29 pm GMT

Is there any evidence that Trump even tried to find the right people to fill the offices?

Jobless > , August 30, 2017 at 6:52 pm GMT

@Clyde Wilson Is there any evidence that Trump even tried to find the right people to fill the offices? Having dabbled ever so slightly in this process in the spring, my impression is that there is a mechanism run largely by lawyers from the big DC law firms (presumably one for each party) who are the gatekeepers for applicants. The result of this system, which I have little doubt that the "Trump Team" did not try to take on (after all, they had only a couple of months to put together the beginnings of a team, and that left little or no time replacing The Swamp Machine ) is that the key positions throughout the administration are largely filled with lawyers from connected law firms. After all, who better to administer the government than lawyers -- ? -- ?

At any rate, my experience with the process was: on your marks, get set, nothing. 30 years experience in and around federal government, but not a lawyer. Don't call us, we don't want to talk to you. (I also made clear in my cover letter that the key motivator for my application -- and first ever political contributions -- was Trump and his agenda. In retrospect, this "admission" was probably a kiss of death. I was a Trumpite. Eeeewww -- -- -- (I may well not have been qualified for anything, but I'm SURE I was disqualified by my support for Trump )

The triumph of the Swamp.

Clyde Wilson > , August 30, 2017 at 9:08 pm GMT

We have here perhaps the key to Trump's tragic failure. It was our last shot.

Sep 03, 2017 | www.unz.com
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[Jan 08, 2018] Steve Bannon Backpedals On Comments In New Book On Trump by Igor Bobic

Too little, too late. Also Bannon by demonizing Russians has shown that his is a dangerous warmonger. And a weak politician.
Notable quotes:
"... Bannon added that his comments to Wolff were "aimed at Paul Manafort," the former Trump campaign manager who has been charged as part of an investigation into possible collusion between the Russian government and members of Trump's team. Manafort was also at the 2016 Trump Tower meeting. Manafort, Bannon said, "should have known how the Russians operate. He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning and not our friends. ..."
"... Bannon released the statement after a three-day barrage of criticism from Trump and his allies. The president dubbed Bannon "Sloppy Steve." Bannon's statement also followed a CNN appearance on Sunday by Stephen Miller, the president's senior policy adviser and former Bannon ally, who eviscerated his comments to Wolff as "grotesque." ..."
Jan 08, 2018 | www.huffingtonpost.com

The former White House aide said Donald Trump Jr. is a "patriot and a good man." Steve Bannon backpedaled on comments to journalist Michael Wolff, whose explosive new book sparked a backlash against the former top Donald Trump aide over his remarks about a meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016. According to the book, released a week early due to high demand, the former White House strategist called the infamous meeting in New York between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian operatives at Trump Tower "treasonous."

In a statement to Axios on Sunday, Bannon heaped praise on Trump and his agenda, and called Don Jr. a "patriot and a good man." "My comments about the meeting with Russian nationals came from my life experiences as a Naval officer stationed aboard a destroyer whose main mission was to hunt Soviet submarines to my time at the Pentagon during the Reagan years when our focus was the defeat of 'the evil empire' and to making films about Reagan's war against the Soviets and Hillary Clinton's involvement in selling uranium to them, " Bannon said in the statement.

Bannon added that his comments to Wolff were "aimed at Paul Manafort," the former Trump campaign manager who has been charged as part of an investigation into possible collusion between the Russian government and members of Trump's team. Manafort was also at the 2016 Trump Tower meeting. Manafort, Bannon said, "should have known how the Russians operate. He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning and not our friends.

To reiterate, those comments (about the meeting with the Russians) were not aimed at Don Jr." In the statement, Bannon again denied that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. And though he did not deny any of the remarks that were attributed to him in the book, Bannon said he regretted "that my delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr has diverted attention from the president's historical accomplishments in the first year of his presidency."

Bannon released the statement after a three-day barrage of criticism from Trump and his allies. The president dubbed Bannon "Sloppy Steve." Bannon's statement also followed a CNN appearance on Sunday by Stephen Miller, the president's senior policy adviser and former Bannon ally, who eviscerated his comments to Wolff as "grotesque."

Earlier Sunday, Trump railed about what he called Wolff's "Fake Book" on Twitter:

[Jan 06, 2018] Bannon dismissed the far-right as irrelevant: Ethno-nationalism -- it's losers. It's a fringe element.

Notable quotes:
"... Economic nationalism is a term used to describe policies which are guided by the idea of protecting domestic consumption, labor and capital formation, even if this requires the imposition of tariffs and other restrictions on the movement of labour, goods and capital. It is in opposition to Globalisation in many cases, or at least on questions the unrestricted good of Free trade. It would include such doctrines as Protectionism, Import substitution, Mercantilism and planned economies. ..."
"... Examples of economic nationalism include Japan's use of MITI to "pick winners and losers", Malaysia's imposition of currency controls in the wake of the 1997 currency crisis, China's controlled exchange of the Yuan, Argentina's economic policy of tariffs and devaluation in the wake of the 2001 financial crisis and the United States' use of tariffs to protect domestic steel production. ..."
"... Think about what a trade war with China would do. It would crash the world economy as China tried to cash in on it US Treasury holdings with the US likely defaulting......just one possible scenario. ..."
"... Here is Bannon's latest: Bannon dismissed the far-right as irrelevant: "Ethno-nationalism!it's losers. It's a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more." "These guys are a collection of clowns," he added. Bannon is no friend of White Nationalists. ..."
"... I think Bannon is an authentic economic nationalist, and one that Trump feels is good counsel on those matters. If this is so, then Bannon cannot be trying to provoke a trade war with China, since that would be an economic catastrophe for the US (and China and the rest of the world). I'm hoping he's playing bad cop and eventually Trump will play good cop in negotiations for more investment by China in the US and other goodies in exchange for 'well, not much' from the US. Similar to what the US dragged out of Japan in the 80s nd 90s. ..."
"... Bannon (and most of his followers) have no trust in the corporate sector as they are to a large degree Globalists - they used the US and then threw it aside in pursuit of profit elsewhere. For that, he would even call them traitors. So you could call him a Nationalist. ..."
"... Bannon does not seem himself as an "ethno-nationalist". Yet his slanderous contempt for the liberal ethos/values of many Americans would tend to make one question if he can be called a Nationalist. ..."
"... If Bannon was a Zionist, he would never make the comments he does against the financial sector ..."
"... Isn't exceptionalism the same as narcissism? ..."
"... At least the concern for 10 million in Seoul (mostly missing in the discussion of other leaders) show he is not a psychopath ..."
Aug 17, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org
psychohistorian | Aug 17, 2017 1:53:13 AM | 4
So lets start parsing this economic nationalism that Bannon is making happen with Trump.

Economic nationalism is a term used to describe policies which are guided by the idea of protecting domestic consumption, labor and capital formation, even if this requires the imposition of tariffs and other restrictions on the movement of labour, goods and capital. It is in opposition to Globalisation in many cases, or at least on questions the unrestricted good of Free trade. It would include such doctrines as Protectionism, Import substitution, Mercantilism and planned economies.

Examples of economic nationalism include Japan's use of MITI to "pick winners and losers", Malaysia's imposition of currency controls in the wake of the 1997 currency crisis, China's controlled exchange of the Yuan, Argentina's economic policy of tariffs and devaluation in the wake of the 2001 financial crisis and the United States' use of tariffs to protect domestic steel production.

Think about what a trade war with China would do. It would crash the world economy as China tried to cash in on it US Treasury holdings with the US likely defaulting......just one possible scenario.

At least now, IMO, the battle for a multi-polar (finance) world is out in the open.....let the side taking by nations begin. I hope Bannon is wrong about the timing of potential global power shifting and the US loses its empire status.

psychohistorian | Aug 17, 2017 2:19:03 AM | 5
I thought that maybe Bannon was being a bit too forthright in his recent comments and perhaps he has just painted a big bullseye on his back for the racist clowns he has used to aim at. Check this out: Bannons colleagues disturbed by interview with left wing publication
Realist | Aug 17, 2017 3:18:01 AM | 8
Here is Bannon's latest: Bannon dismissed the far-right as irrelevant: "Ethno-nationalism!it's losers. It's a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more." "These guys are a collection of clowns," he added. Bannon is no friend of White Nationalists.

Clueless Joe | Aug 17, 2017 5:24:06 AM | 13

Bannon can be perfectly mature, adult and realist on some points and be totally blinded by biases on others - him wanting total economic war against China is proof enough. So I don't rule out that he has a blind spot over Iran and wants to get rid of the regime. I mean, even Trump is realist and adult in a few issues, yet is an oblivious fool on others.

Kind of hard to find someone who's always adult and realist, actually. You can only hope to pick someone who's more realist than most people. Or build a positronic robot and vote for him.

fairleft | Aug 17, 2017 6:35:17 AM | 15

I think Bannon is an authentic economic nationalist, and one that Trump feels is good counsel on those matters. If this is so, then Bannon cannot be trying to provoke a trade war with China, since that would be an economic catastrophe for the US (and China and the rest of the world). I'm hoping he's playing bad cop and eventually Trump will play good cop in negotiations for more investment by China in the US and other goodies in exchange for 'well, not much' from the US. Similar to what the US dragged out of Japan in the 80s nd 90s.

likklemore | Aug 17, 2017 10:51:54 AM | 28

@ Everybody who bought into the MSM Steve Bannon promoted white supremacy and through Breitbart. Suggested you read his world view expressed in remarks at Human Dignity Institute, Vatican Conference 2014

Progressives and Steve Bannon have something surprising in common: hating Wall Street

Pop quiz! Which major American political figure said the following:

  • "The 2008 crisis is really driven I believe by the greed, much of it driven by the greed of the investment banks."
  • "I think the bailouts in 2008 were wrong."
  • "[N]ot one criminal charge has ever been brought to any bank executive associated with 2008 crisis."
  • "The Republican Party "is really a collection of crony capitalists that feel that they have a different set of rules" and are "the reason that the United States' financial situation is so dire."

LINK

and here is BusinessInsider's analysis of Bannon's worldview:

LINK

In the Vatican talk, Bannon described in length and detail how he views the biggest issues of the day:

  • He wants to tear down "crony capitalism": "a brutal form of capitalism that is really about creating wealth and creating value for a very small subset of people.[.]
  • He is against Ayn Rand's version of libertarianism: "The second form of capitalism that I feel is almost as disturbing, is what I call the Ayn Rand or the Objectivist School of libertarian capitalism.[.]
  • He believes the West needs to wage "a global war against Islamic fascism": "They have a Twitter account up today, ISIS does, about turning the United States into a "river of blood" if it comes in and tries to defend the city of Baghdad. And trust me, that is going to come to Europe.[.]
  • He believes the capitalism of the "Judeo Christian West" is in crisis: "If you look at the leaders of capitalism at that time, when capitalism was I believe at its highest flower and spreading its benefits to most of mankind, almost all of those capitalists were strong believers in the Judeo-Christian West.[.]
  • He believes the racists that are attracted to Trump will become increasingly irrelevant: [.]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

this recent Bannon interview with The American Prospect will now go viral. Drudgereport headlines the WAPO spin.

fastfreddy | Aug 17, 2017 11:05:47 AM | 31

Except for the selective Zion-flavored warmongering, Bannon appears to be an intelligent and thoughtful person. Also crafty. Is he not "Trump's Brain" in the way that Rove was Bush's Brain?

RUKidding | Aug 17, 2017 12:23:40 PM | 34

@30 Just Sayin'

Agree. I think Bannon's quite bright and very very clever and crafty.

However, if anyone believes the lies he spewed yesterday about white supremacists, let me enlighten you that that's what's called "good PR" or something. Bannon is someone whom I hold quite responsible for contributing to the rise of White Supremacy in the USA, which I consider a clear and present danger. Bannon's dismissive hand waving yesterday is meant to dissemble. Guess some are willing to buy what he was selling yesterday. Not me.

Caveat Emptor.

karlof1 | Aug 17, 2017 12:30:01 PM | 36

The first group to call themselves Progressives were the 19th century Populists. Their mantle was adopted by T. Roosevelt and other like-minded Republicans. Lafollette and Wallace are perhaps the best remembered Progressives--yes, FDR is portrayed as one, but when examined really isn't: Eleanor was far more Progressive and since she was people also thought he was too. Once Wallace was ousted from government, Democrats reverted to their old ways, although Truman did order the military to desegregate--perhaps his only Progressive act. JFK was in the process of becoming a Progressive in the months prior to his murder. LBJ very reluctantly made some Progressive noises in his War on Poverty that he was essentially forced into thanks to massive ethnic strife and related riots during the 60s. But essentially since the beginning of WW2, Progressives and their goals vanished from the political landscape. Nader brought it back to the fringe from the wilderness, but the so-called Progressive Caucus really isn't Progressive thanks to its war promotion.

Admittedly, I don't know much about Steve Bannon; he certainly isn't a Progressive, but he doesn't seem to be a Regressive either. The points he made at the Vatican Talk supplied by likklemore @28 are rather encouraging in an anti-Deep State manner. So, his interaction with The American Prospect I don't see as surprising--he's seeking allies: "'It's a great honor to finally track you [Robert Kuttner] down. I've followed your writing for years and I think you and I are in the same boat when it comes to China. You absolutely nailed it.'... Bannon explained that his strategy is to battle the trade doves inside the administration while building an outside coalition of trade hawks that includes left as well as right. Hence the phone call to me." I think Kuttner will discover Bannon will "still [be] there" after Labor Day, so he might as well make his travel plans.

likklemore | Aug 17, 2017 12:45:43 PM | 38
@ Just Sayin' 30

I won't give you a pass. Your bias and lack of intelligence is on great display.
Read and understand as Bannon is proven right on events.

The $28 - trillion (US dollar) global bailouts in 2008 is proven to have failed. A handful on Wall Street became trillionaires instead of being suited in special stripes.
Negative interest rates steal the retirement savings of seniors. Pensions and Insurance companies cannot meet promised payouts.

And all is fine. Corruption flourishes. Judeo-Christian moral values are not in crisis.

les7 | Aug 17, 2017 12:27:02 PM | 35

@12... "Bannon is a fascist" I'm not so sure. Mussolini defined fascism as being an alliance of corporate and state powers... but Bannon (and most of his followers) have no trust in the corporate sector as they are to a large degree Globalists - they used the US and then threw it aside in pursuit of profit elsewhere. For that, he would even call them traitors. So you could call him a Nationalist.

@ 8 as you say... Bannon does not seem himself as an "ethno-nationalist". Yet his slanderous contempt for the liberal ethos/values of many Americans would tend to make one question if he can be called a Nationalist.

@ 9 If Bannon was a Zionist, he would never make the comments he does against the financial sector (see @28).

@28 Bannon would never call himself a Socialist, but the most logical expression of his individualist views when applied to the business world are expressed by none other than Ayn Rand. The financial world simply got legal cover to act on the views that he rails against. Bannon does not like what he sees when the rules he claims for himself are given to the rest of the world. Which makes him an "Exceptionalist"??

Isn't exceptionalism the same as narcissism?

At least the concern for 10 million in Seoul (mostly missing in the discussion of other leaders) show he is not a psychopath.

[Jan 05, 2018] Trump the Eradicator, by Eric Margolis - The Unz Review

Jan 05, 2018 | www.unz.com

Trump's campaign to return manufacturing to America and repatriate profits held overseas makes good business sense. The ravaging of America's once mighty industrial base to boost corporate profits was a crime against the nation by unscrupulous Wall Street bankers and short-sighted, greedy CEO's.

The basis of industrial power is the ability to make products people use. Shockingly, US manufacturing has shrunk to only 14% of GDP. Today, America's primary business has become finance, the largely non-productive act of paper-passing that only benefits a tiny big city parasitic elite.

Trump_vs_deep_state is a natural reaction to the self-destruction of America's industrial base. But the president's mania to wreck international trade agreements and impose tariff barriers will result in diminishing America's economic and political influence around the globe.

Access to America's markets is in certain ways a more powerful political tool than deployment of US forces around the globe. Lessening access to the US markets will inevitably have negative repercussions on US exports.

Trump has been on a rampage to undo almost every positive initiative undertaken by the Obama administration, even though many earned the US applause and respect around the civilized world. The president has made trade agreements a prime target. He has targeted trade pacts involving Mexico, Canada, the EU, Japan, China and a host of other nations by claiming they are unfair to American workers. However, a degree of wage unfairness is the price Washington must pay for bringing lower-cost nations into America's economic orbit.

This month, the Trump administration threatened new restrictions against 120 US trade partners who may now face much higher tariffs on their exports to the US.

Trump is in a hurry because he fears he may not be re-elected. He is trying to eradicate all vestiges of the Obama presidency with the ruthlessness and ferocity of Stalinist officials eradicating every trace of liquidated commissars, even from official photos. America now faces its own era of purges as an uneasy world watches.

[Jan 01, 2018] Donald Trump s National Security Strategy by Thierry Meyssan

I strongly doubt that there is a break from the principle that the United States of America was the world's only superpower
Notable quotes:
"... During the mandates of George Bush Jr. and Barack Obama, the documents defining their National Security Strategies were based on the principle that the United States of America was the world's only superpower. They could wage the " endless war " advocated by Admiral Arthur Cebrowski, in other words they could systematically destroy any political organisation in the already unstable areas of the planet, beginning with the " Greater Middle East ". The Presidents indicated their projects for every region of the world. All that the unified fighting Commands had to do was apply these instructions. ..."
"... He once again uses his slogan " America First! " and makes it his philosophical foundation. Historically, this formula is still associated with support for Nazism, but this is not its original meaning. It was initially a way of breaking with Roosevelt's Atlantist policy - the alliance with the British Empire in order to govern the world. ..."
Jan 01, 2018 | www.voltairenet.org

During the mandates of George Bush Jr. and Barack Obama, the documents defining their National Security Strategies were based on the principle that the United States of America was the world's only superpower. They could wage the " endless war " advocated by Admiral Arthur Cebrowski, in other words they could systematically destroy any political organisation in the already unstable areas of the planet, beginning with the " Greater Middle East ". The Presidents indicated their projects for every region of the world. All that the unified fighting Commands had to do was apply these instructions.

Donald Trump's National Security Strategy breaks almost entirely with this literature. It conserves certain of the mythological elements of these previous mandates, but attempts above all to reposition the United States as the Republic it was in 1791 (which is to say at the moment of compromise with the Bill of Rights ) and no longer as the Empire that it became on 11 September 2001.

The role of the White House, its diplomacy and its armed forces is no longer to rule the world, but to protect " the interests of the people of the United States ".

In his introduction, Donald Trump marks his difference with his predecessors by denouncing the policies of " régime change " and " world democratic revolution " adopted by Ronald Reagan and managed under successive administrations by Trotskyite senior civil servants. He reaffirms the classic realpolitik as declared by Henry Kissinger for example, founded on the idea of " sovereign nations ".

The reader will however keep in mind that certain intergovernmental agencies of the " Five Eyes " group, (Australia, Canada, the United States, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom), such as the National Endowment for Democracy, are still directed by Trotskyists.

Donald Trump distinguishes three types of difficulty that his country is going to have to face -

  1. First of all, the rivalry with Russia and China;
  2. Next, the opposition of " rogue states " (North Korea and Iran) in their respective regions;
  3. Finally, the threat to international law embodied by the jihadist movements and transnational criminal organisations.

Although he too considers the United States to be the incarnation of Good, he does not diabolise his rivals, adversaries and enemies, but attempts to understand them, unlike his predecessors.

He once again uses his slogan " America First! " and makes it his philosophical foundation. Historically, this formula is still associated with support for Nazism, but this is not its original meaning. It was initially a way of breaking with Roosevelt's Atlantist policy - the alliance with the British Empire in order to govern the world.

The reader will remember that the first cabinet of the Obama administration gave an excessive place to the members of the Pilgrim Society (no connection with the Mont-Pelerin Society), in other words a very private club presided by Queen Elizabeth II. This was the group which piloted the financial après-crise of 2008.

In order to guide this policy of returning to the Republican principles of 1791 and independence from British financial interests, Donald Trump poses four pillars:

- The protection of the people of the United States, its homeland and its way of life;
- The prosperity of the United States;
- The power of its armies;
- The development of its influence.

Thus, he does not imagine his strategy in opposition to his rivals, his adversaries and his enemies, but as a function of his Republican and independent ideal.

In order to avoid misinterpretation, he specifies that while he may consider that the United States is an example for the world, it is neither possible nor desirable to impose its way of life on others - particularly since this way of life could not be considered as the " inevitable final outcome of progress ". He does not think of international relations as being the rule of the United States over the world, but as the search for " reciprocal relations " with his partners.

The four pillars of the America First doctrine of National Security

- The protection of the people of the United States implies, above all, the restoration of the frontiers (terrestrial, aerial, maritime, spatial and cyber-spatial) which have been progressively destroyed by the globalists.

These frontiers are intended to neutralise the use of weapons of mass destruction by terrorist and criminal groups, and also to contain pandemics and prevent the entry of drugs or illegal immigrants. Concerning the cyber-spatial frontiers, Donald Trump notes the necessity of securing the Internet by giving priority, successively, to National Security, Energy, the Banks, Health, Communications and Transports. But all that remains rather theoretical.

While, since the presidency of Richard Nixon, the war against drugs had been selective, aimed not at drying up the flood of illegal substances, but at directing it towards certain ethnic minorities, Donald Trump responds to a new need. Aware of the collapse of life expectancy exclusively affecting white males under Barack Obama, the despair that it caused and the opioïd epidemic that ensued, Trump considers that the fight against the cartels is a question of national survival.

Speaking of the war against terrorism, it is not clear whether he is referring to the " lone wolves " who continue to fight even after the fall of the Caliphate, as was the case with certain groups of the Waffen SS after the fall of the Reich, or the maintenance of the British system of jihadism. If the second hypothesis is correct, it would be a clear retraction of his declarations of intention during his electoral campaign and the first months of his presidency. He would therefore be obliged to clarify the evolution of relations between Washington and London, as well the consequences of this change concerning the management of NATO.

In any case, we note a strange passage from the text which states as follows - " The United States will work with their allies and partners to dissuade and destabilise other groups which threaten the homeland - including the groups sponsored by Iran, like the Lebanese Hezbollah ".

For all anti-terrorist actions, Donald Trump considers limited alliances with other powers, including Russia and China.

Finally, concerning the resilience of the United States, he validates the programme of " Continuity of Government ", although it was the direct beneficiary of the coup d'Etat of 9/11. However, he states that citizens who are engaged and informed are the basis of this system, which would seem to avert the danger of a replay of such an event.

- Concerning the prosperity of the United States , a condition for the development of his Defense programme, Donald Trump is a champion of the " American dream ", the " minimal State ", and the theory of " trickle-down economics " (from top to bottom). He therefore conceives of an economy based on free exchange and not financialisation. Taking the opposite point of view from the commonly-believed idea that free exchange was an instrument of Anglo-Saxon imperialism, he affirms that it is only fair for the primary actors if the new actors accept the rules. He claims that several states -- including China -- are profiting from this system without ever having entertained the intention of adopting its values.

He bases himself on this idea -- and not on the analysis of the appearance of a transnational class of the super-rich -- in order to denounce multilateral commercial agreements.

He continues by announcing the deregulation of all sectors where State intervention is unnecessary. At the same time, he is planning the opposition to all interventions by foreign States and their nationalised businesses, which could distort fair exchanges with the United States.

He intends to develop theoretical research and its technical applications, and to support invention and innovation. For that, he plans for special and advantageous conditions of immigration in order to generate a " brain drain " towards the United States. Considering the skills thus acquired, not as the means for establishing a toll-booth on the world economy via patents, but as the motor of the US economy, he intends to create a National Security file of these techniques and to protect them in order to maintain his advance.

Finally, on the subject of the access to sources of energy, he observes that for the first time, the United States is self-sufficient. He warns against policies initiated in the name of global warming, which implies limiting the use of energy. Here, Donald Trump is not talking about the financialisation of ecology, but is clearly lobbing a stone into the garden of France, promoter of the " greening of finance ". Replacing this question in a more general context, he affirms that the United States will support any States which are victims of energy blackmail.

- Affirming that while the United States is no longer the sole superpower, it is the dominant power, he states that his central security objective is the maintenance of this military preeminence , in accordance with the Roman adage Si vis pacem, para bellum [ 1 ].

He first observes that " China is attempting to exclude the United States from the Indo-Pacific region, to extend the reach of its State-run economic model, and to reorganise the region to its own advantage ". According to Trump, Beijing is in the process of building the world's second military capability (under the authority of General Xi Jinping) leaning for support on the skills of the United States.

As for Russia, " it is seeking to re-establish its status as a great power and create spheres of influence at its borders ". To that purpose, it is " attempting to weaken the influence of the United States in the world and separate the USA from its allies and partners. It perceives NATO and the European Union as threats ".

This is the first analysis of the goals and means of the rivals of the United States. Contrary to the " Wolfowitz doctrine ", the White House no longer considers the European Union as a competitor, but as the civilian wing of NATO. Breaking with the strategy of economic sabotage of the European Union by George Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton, Donald Trump posits the possibility of cooperating with his rivals (which are now Russia and China), but only from a " position of strength ".

The current period sees the return of military competition, with three players this time. Knowing the tendency of military men to prepare for the last war, rather than trying to imagine the next, it is a good idea to rethink the organisation and allocation of the armies while remembering that your rivals will position themselves in whatever sector they choose. We should note that it is not in this chapter that Donald Trump evokes the Pentagon's Achilles heel, but much earlier in the text. It is in his introduction, at a moment when the reader is absorbed in philosophical considerations, that he mentions the new breed of Russian weapons, and in particular their capacity to inhibit the commands and controls of NATO equipment.

The Pentagon must renew its arsenal, both in quantity and in quality. It has to abandon the illusion that its technological superiority (in reality, now overtaken by Russia) can make up for its inferiority in numbers. There follows a long study of the domains of armament, including nuclear weapons, which have to be modernised.

Donald Trump intends to inverse the current functioning of the Defense industry. The industry currently tries to sell its products to the Federal state -- Trump hopes that the Federal state will launch its own offers, and that the industrials will respond to these new needs. We know that today, the Defense industry no longer has the engineers it needs to realise new projects. The failure of the F-35 is the most striking example of this. The change for which the President is hoping therefore supposes the prior organisation of the " brain drain " towards the United States which he has already evoked.

As far as Intelligence is concerned, he has adopted the theories of his ex-National Security advisor General Michael Flynn. He wants to reposition not only the Defense Intelligence Agency, but the entire " Intelligence community ". The objective is no longer being able to pinpoint, at any moment, one terrorist chief or another, but being able to anticipate the strategic evolutions of its rivals, adversaries and enemies. This means abandoning the obsession with GPS and high-tech gadgets in order to rehabilitate analysis.

Finally, he considers the State Department to be a tool enabling the creation of a positive environment for his country, including with his rivals. It is no longer the means of extending the interests of multinational companies, which it was under George Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton, nor the organiser of the Empire which it became under Bush Jr. and Barack Obama. US diplomats therefore need to regain a little political dexterity.

- The chapter dedicated to the influence of the United States clarifies the end of the " globalisation " of the " American way of life ". The United States will not seek to impose their values on others. They will treat all people equally, and will valorise those who respect the rule of law.

In order to encourage those countries who might wish to become partners, but whose investments are governed by the State, he plans to offer them alternatives solutions which would facilitate the reform of their economy.

Concerning intergovernmental organisations, he announces that he will refuse to hand over the slightest part of sovereignty if it must be shared with countries who question the constitutional principles of the USA - a direct allusion to the International Criminal Court, for example. On the other hand, he says nothing about the extra-territoriality of US Justice, which violates the constitutional principles of other countries.

Finally, reviewing the long tradition which came from the compromise of 1791, he affirms that the United States will continue to support those who fight for human dignity or religious freedom (not to be confused with freedom of conscience).

It is only after this long exposé that Donald Trump addresses the regional application of his doctrine. Nothing new is announced, apart from an alliance with Australia, India and Japan to contain China and combat North Korea.

At best we learn about two new approaches to the Middle East. Experience with Daesh has shown that the main problem is not the Israëli question, but that of the jihadist ideology. And what Washington blames Iran for is the perpetuation of the cycle of violence by its refusal to negotiate.

By default, the reader understands that the Pentagon has to abandon the project by Admiral Arthur Cebrowski that Donald Rumfeld imposed on 11 September. The " endless war " is over. The tension should not only stop spreading throughout the world, but lessen in the Greater Middle East.

Donald Trump's National Security doctrine is very solidly constructed, on the historical level (we can see the influence of General Jim Mattis) and on the philosophical level (following ex-Special advisor Steve Bannon). It is based on a rigorous analysis of the challenges to US power (in conformity with the work of General H. R. McMaster). It validates the State Department's budget cuts (operated by Rex Tillerson). Contrary to the received wisdom of US journalists, the Trump administration has managed to develop a coherent synthesis which clearly distances itself from previous visions.

However, the absence of an explicit regional strategy attests to the extent of the ongoing revolution. Nothing guarantees that the military leaders will apply this new philosophy in their respective domains - particularly since we were able to note, only a few days ago, the collusion between US Forces and the jihadists in Syria. Thierry Meyssan

Translation
Pete Kimberley

[Dec 27, 2017] Bannon Puts Jared Through the Grinder - POLITICO Magazine

Notable quotes:
"... Informing Vanity Fair that Kushner's hunt for political smut led him to over-fraternize with the Russians might not be the best way for Bannon to throw special counsel Robert S. Mueller III off the collusion scent. ..."
"... Sherman's piece reveals the cognitive split that evolved between Bannon and others, specifically Trump, on how to handle the mess that had been created. "Goldman Sachs teaches one thing: don't invent shit. Take something that works and make it better," Bannon told Sherman. He said he consulted with Bill Clinton's former lawyer Lanny Davis about how the Clintons responded to Ken Starr's probe. "We were so disciplined. You guys don't have that," Bannon recalls Davis advising him. "That always haunted me when he said that," Bannon told Sherman. Bannon said the investigation was an attempt by the establishment to undo the election, but he took it seriously and warned Trump he was in danger of being impeached. ..."
"... There's even more hot Bannon on Kushner action. Bannon tells of an Oval Office meeting he attended with Trump, Kushner and Kushner's wife Ivanka Trump in which he called Ivanka "the queen of leaks." "You're a fucking liar!" Ivanka allegedly responded. Hard to know how to score this round, but shattering the public image of Ivanka as poised princess must have been satisfying for a guy who called Javanka "the Democrats." ..."
"... Although "people close to Kushner, who decline to be named" told the Times they don't think the Mueller investigation exposes him to legal jeopardy, the young prince isn't taking chances. The Washington Post reports that his lawyer, Abbe Lowell, has been shopping for a "crisis public relations firm" over the past two weeks. (Senator Robert Menendez, the recent beneficiary of a deadlocked corruption trial, is another Lowell client.) ..."
"... Why hire super flacks now? Does Kushner sense disaster? Another Bannon offensive? The Flynn plea bargain exposed him -- according to the press -- as the "very senior member" of the Trump transition team described in court documents who told former national security adviser Michael Flynn to lobby the Russian ambassador about a U.N. resolution on Israeli settlements. Maybe he's just buying reputation insurance. Or maybe he's taken to heart Chris Christie's scathing comments. Christie was squeezed out of the Trump transition early on, some say by Kushner who is said to hold a grudge against Christie who, when he was federal prosecutor, put Kushner's father in jail . This week Christie said that Kushner "deserves the scrutiny" he's been getting. It was almost as if Christie and Bannon were operating a twin-handled grinder, cranking out an extra helping of Kushner's tainted reputation. ..."
"... President Putin and President Trump occupied the same page about the scandal this week in what was either a matter of collusion or of great minds thinking alike. Speaking at a four-hour media event in Moscow, Putin blamed the scandal on the U.S. "deep state" and said, "This is all made up by people who oppose Trump to make his work look illegitimate." According to CNN , Trump took the opportunity this week to call the Russia investigation "bullshit" in private. In public, he told reporters, "There's absolutely no collusion. I didn't make a phone call to Russia. I have nothing to do with Russia. Everybody knows it." ..."
Dec 27, 2017 | www.politico.com

Former Trump chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon milled his former Oval Office colleague Jared Kushner into a bloody chunk of battle sausage this week and smeared him across the shiny pages of Vanity Fair . You've got to read Bannon's quote three or four times to fully savor the tang of its malice and cruelty. After scorning the Russia collusion theories as fiction, Bannon acknowledged the grisly reality that the Russia investigation poses for his former boss. And he blamed it all on Kushner, for having created the appearance that Putin had helped Trump. Dropping Kushner head first into the grinder, Bannon turned the crank.

"[Kushner was] taking meetings with Russians to get additional stuff. This tells you everything about Jared," Bannon told the magazine's Gabriel Sherman. "They were looking for the picture of Hillary Clinton taking the bag of cash from Putin. That's his maturity level."

Informing Vanity Fair that Kushner's hunt for political smut led him to over-fraternize with the Russians might not be the best way for Bannon to throw special counsel Robert S. Mueller III off the collusion scent. So what was the big man in the Barbour coat up to?

That Bannon and Kushner skirmished during their time together in the White House has been long established. Kushner advocated the sacking FBI Director James B. Comey, for example, and Bannon opposed it. He later told 60 Minutes that the firing was maybe the worst mistake in "modern political history" because it precipitated the hiring of the special counsel and had thereby expanded the investigation.

Sherman's piece reveals the cognitive split that evolved between Bannon and others, specifically Trump, on how to handle the mess that had been created. "Goldman Sachs teaches one thing: don't invent shit. Take something that works and make it better," Bannon told Sherman. He said he consulted with Bill Clinton's former lawyer Lanny Davis about how the Clintons responded to Ken Starr's probe. "We were so disciplined. You guys don't have that," Bannon recalls Davis advising him. "That always haunted me when he said that," Bannon told Sherman. Bannon said the investigation was an attempt by the establishment to undo the election, but he took it seriously and warned Trump he was in danger of being impeached.

Bannon's gripe against Kushner in Vanity Fair continues: He claims that Donald Trump's disparaging tweets about Attorney General Jeff Sessions were designed to provide "cover" for Kushner by steering negative media attention toward Sessions and away from Kushner as he was scheduled to testify before a Senate committee.

There's even more hot Bannon on Kushner action. Bannon tells of an Oval Office meeting he attended with Trump, Kushner and Kushner's wife Ivanka Trump in which he called Ivanka "the queen of leaks." "You're a fucking liar!" Ivanka allegedly responded. Hard to know how to score this round, but shattering the public image of Ivanka as poised princess must have been satisfying for a guy who called Javanka "the Democrats."

Getting mauled by Steve Bannon might not be the worst thing to happen to the president's son-in-law this week. He and Ivanka were sued by a private attorney for failing to disclose assets from 30 investment funds on their federal financial disclosure forms. Perhaps more ominous for Kushner, and according to the New York Times , federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have subpoenaed Deutsche Bank records about Kushner's family's real estate business. "There is no indication that the subpoena is related to the investigation being conducted by Robert S. Mueller III," the Times allowed. Yeah, but wouldn't you want to be there when Mueller's team invites Bannon in to talk to him about the Vanity Fair article, and they ask him, "What did you mean about Jared taking meetings with Russians to get additional stuff? Like, what stuff?"

Although "people close to Kushner, who decline to be named" told the Times they don't think the Mueller investigation exposes him to legal jeopardy, the young prince isn't taking chances. The Washington Post reports that his lawyer, Abbe Lowell, has been shopping for a "crisis public relations firm" over the past two weeks. (Senator Robert Menendez, the recent beneficiary of a deadlocked corruption trial, is another Lowell client.)

Why hire super flacks now? Does Kushner sense disaster? Another Bannon offensive? The Flynn plea bargain exposed him -- according to the press -- as the "very senior member" of the Trump transition team described in court documents who told former national security adviser Michael Flynn to lobby the Russian ambassador about a U.N. resolution on Israeli settlements. Maybe he's just buying reputation insurance. Or maybe he's taken to heart Chris Christie's scathing comments. Christie was squeezed out of the Trump transition early on, some say by Kushner who is said to hold a grudge against Christie who, when he was federal prosecutor, put Kushner's father in jail . This week Christie said that Kushner "deserves the scrutiny" he's been getting. It was almost as if Christie and Bannon were operating a twin-handled grinder, cranking out an extra helping of Kushner's tainted reputation.

President Putin and President Trump occupied the same page about the scandal this week in what was either a matter of collusion or of great minds thinking alike. Speaking at a four-hour media event in Moscow, Putin blamed the scandal on the U.S. "deep state" and said, "This is all made up by people who oppose Trump to make his work look illegitimate." According to CNN , Trump took the opportunity this week to call the Russia investigation "bullshit" in private. In public, he told reporters, "There's absolutely no collusion. I didn't make a phone call to Russia. I have nothing to do with Russia. Everybody knows it."

Everybody, perhaps, except former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Appearing on CNN , Clapper used direct language to bind former KGB officer Putin to Trump tighter than a girdle to a paunch. "[Putin] knows how to handle an asset, and that's what he's doing with the president," Clapper said. "I think some of that experience and instincts of Putin has come into play here in his managing of a pretty important account for him, if I could use that term, with our president."

Writing in Newsweek , Jeff Stein collected other tell-tale signs of Trump's cooptation: He refused to take Russian meddling in the election seriously. He responds favorably to Putin's praise and seems to crave more. He dismisses worries about his circle's connections to Kremlin agents before the election and during the transition -- and he tried to call off the Flynn investigation.

It's enough to make you wonder why Bannon thinks Kushner is the enemy, not Trump.

******

If you've read this far, you're probably disappointed that more didn't happen in the Trump Tower scandal this week. Sue me in small claims court via email to Shafer.Politico@gmail.com . My email alerts never believed in collusion, my Twitter feed is set to cut a plea deal with Mueller, and my RSS feed has several crisis PR firms on retainer.

[Dec 16, 2017] Brexit, Trump, and the Dangers of Global 'Jihad' HuffPost by Ben Railton

For 1995 the book Jihad vs. McWorld was really groundbreaking.
Also the concept of "Neoliberal jihad is valid, but it is better to call it Neoliberal World revolution as it was borrowed from Trotskyism
Notable quotes:
"... Jihad vs. McWorld ..."
"... In the two decades since Barber's book, this conflict has seemed to play out along overtly cultural lines: with Islamic extremism representing jihad, in opposition to Western neoliberalism representing McWorld. ..."
"... Linking Brexit and Trump to global right-wing tribal nationalisms doesn't mean conflating them all, of course. ..."
"... Yet at the same time, we can't understand our 21st century world without a recognition of this widespread phenomenon of global, tribal nationalism. ..."
Dec 11, 2017 | www.huffingtonpost.com

In his ground-breaking 1995 book Jihad vs. McWorld , political scientist Benjamin Barber posits that the global conflicts of the early 21st century would be driven by two opposing but equally undemocratic forces: neoliberal corporate globalization (which he dubbed "McWorld") and reactionary tribal nationalisms (which he dubbed "Jihad"). Although distinct in many ways, both of these forces, Barber persuasively argues, succeed by denying the possibilities for democratic consensus and action, and so both must be opposed by civic engagement and activism on a broad scale.

In the two decades since Barber's book, this conflict has seemed to play out along overtly cultural lines: with Islamic extremism representing jihad, in opposition to Western neoliberalism representing McWorld. Case in pitch-perfect point: the Al Qaeda terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Yet despite his use of the Arabic word Jihad, Barber is clear that reactionary tribalism is a worldwide phenomenon -- and in 2016 we're seeing particularly striking examples of that tribalism in Western nations such as Great Britain and the United States.

Britain's vote this week in favor of leaving the European Union was driven entirely by such reactionary tribal nationalism. The far-right United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and its leader Nigel Farage led the charge in favor of Leave , as exemplified by a recent UKIP poster featuring a photo of Syrian refugees with the caption " Breaking point: the EU has failed us ." Farage and his allies like to point to demographic statistics about how much the UK has changed in the last few decades , and more exactly how the nation's white majority has been somewhat shifted over that time by the arrival of sizeable African and Asian immigrant communities.

It's impossible not to link the UKIP's emphases on such issues of immigration and demography to the presidential campaign of the one prominent U.S. politician who is cheering for the Brexit vote : presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump. From his campaign-launching speech about Mexican immigrant "criminals and rapists" to his proposal to ban Muslim immigration and his "Make American Great Again" slogan, Trump has relied on reactionary tribal nationalism at every stage of his campaign, and has received the enthusiastic endorsement of white supremacist and far-right organizations as a result. For such American tribal nationalists, the 1965 Immigration Act is the chief bogeyman, the origin point of continuing demographic shifts that have placed white America in a precarious position.

The only problem with that narrative is that it's entirely inaccurate. What the 1965 Act did was reverse a recent, exclusionary trend in American immigration law and policy, returning the nation to the more inclusive and welcoming stance it had taken throughout the rest of its history. Moreover, while the numbers of Americans from Latin American, Asian, and Muslim cultures have increased in recent decades, all of those communities have been part of o ur national community from its origin points . Which is to say, this right-wing tribal nationalism isn't just opposed to fundamental realities of 21st century American identity -- it also depends on historical and national narratives that are as mythic as they are exclusionary.

Linking Brexit and Trump to global right-wing tribal nationalisms doesn't mean conflating them all, of course. Although Trump rallies have featured troubling instances of violence, and although the murderer of British politican Jo Cox was an avowed white supremacist and Leave supporter, the right-wing Islamic extremism of groups such as Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Boko Haram rely far more consistently and centrally on violence and terrorism in support of their worldview and goals. Such specific contexts and nuances are important and shouldn't be elided.

Yet at the same time, we can't understand our 21st century world without a recognition of this widespread phenomenon of global, tribal nationalism. From ISIS to UKIP, Trump to France's Jean-Marie Le Pen, such reactionary forces have become and remain dominant players across the world, influencing local and international politics, economics, and culture. Benjamin Barber called this trend two decades ago, and we would do well to read and remember his analyses -- as well as his call for civic engagement and activism to resist these forces and fight for democracy.

Ben Railton Professor & public scholar of American Studies, Follow Ben Railton on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AmericanStudier

[Dec 15, 2017] Sic Semper Tyrannis Watergate Deja Vu and Fake News by Publius Tacitus

Notable quotes:
"... The real story is that the FBI, the NSA and the CIA effectively conspired to try to destroy the Presidency of Donald Trump. Hardly anyone in the media, mainstream or fringe, are writing about this fact and trying to rally public support for action. What is one to say when confronted with the fact that the FBI paid money to a former British spy for alleged dirt on Donald Trump that was initially commissioned by the Clinton campaign. And who is the FBI Agent paying for the dossier? Why a fellow now revealed as a Clinton partisan. ..."
"... How much of what we see is the real DJT and how much is a projected public persona? ..."
"... DJT's threat to "drain the swamp" has created fear, uncertainty and doubt amongst the swamp folk. They naturally fight back. By definition, all swamp critters must toe the neocon line else they would have been fired by previous incumbents. They are all therefore fair game for DJT. ..."
"... I admire your persistence and agree with the points you make in this and your other posts on the topic of Trump. This is an extremely important subject matter. A President was elected, lawfully, and a bunch of stupid ninnies got their panties in a knot over that and are therefore more or less willing to support a Borgist ("deep state", if you prefer) coup d'état. Said ninnies are immune to the rational arguments you present because they are not intelligent, they are hyper emotional and many of them belong to a cult called "[neo]liberalism" (or the "progressive movement", if you prefer). ..."
"... You mention briefly the Steele affair. I still find it difficult to believe that an ex-UK Intelligence Officer can get mixed up in American politics to this extent and scarcely an eyebrow raised. Surely someone's asking questions somewhere about this? The facts are clear enough, for once. ..."
"... And, off stage, a slow but powerful campaign exposing many of Trumnp's enemies as corrupt, perverted hypocrites. And, from time to time, unexpected presents like Brazile's book. But faster please ..."
"... I agree about the Trump Derangement Syndrome that has afflicted the media. I think they are suffering from O.C.T.D.: Obsessive Compulsive Trump Disorder. There are some in the media who are of the opinion that this may not be working with most Americans. ..."
"... The crucial point is not about respect for the man. It is respect for the office. All men are flawed, and high position exposes additional flaws. It is evident, to this outside observer, that Trump won "fair and square" according to the established procedures. The variety of "dirty tricks" used against him, both before the election and after, is astounding. There was a "back room" negotiation on election eve, visible in public as the long delay in final over-the-top results, and Trump's apology to his supporters for the delay, "it was complicated". ..."
"... He was smart enough to get elected, defeating a dozen professional republicans and the Democratic machinery along with the MSM. "In the end you will see that he does not live up to your expectations." I thought he was a boor and a mediocre showman. In that regard he's exceeded mine by surviving this long. ..."
"... You are correct that there is no public source yet confirming the FBI paid Steele. However, the FBI's refusal to turn over relevant documents regarding their relationship with Steele tells me there was money paid. What is indisputable is that the information in the dossier was used as a predicate to seek permission from a FISA court to go after Trump and his team. That is outrageous. ..."
"... Hillary, Bush, Obama and "the establishment" knew unconsciously not to "rock the boat". Trump was seen as too independent and uneducated in the ways of The Borg to be trusted. He had un-borg-like views like "..what the hell are we doing supporting Al Quida?" "...grab her in the pussy.." "..lets make Jerusalem the capital of Israel.." "lets get along with Russia.." "..the Media is fake and biased.." all very un-PC and un-borg-like positions. Too disruptive of the status quo. Might actually solve some problems and reduce the importance of government. ..."
"... I think the Borg determined he was N.O.K. (Not Our Kind). And he has royally pissed off the Media and he is in a death fight with the Media. ..."
"... This is increasingly my take as well -- the FBI, CIA and NSA do seem to have "conspired" to destroy Donald Trump. I finger Brennan, Clapper, Susan Rice, Benjamin Rhodes, and maybe Samantha Power as being involved in the flood of illegal leaks earlier in the year that did so much to pave the way for Mueller's appointment. ..."
"... Are you aware that the Office of Inspector General has been investigating politicization of the FBI and DOJ for 11 months now? The investigation was brought about at the recommendation of certain members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I believe. Among the allegations being looked into is that DOJ/FBI have highly political agents that should have at least recused themselves from certain investigations and that their politics may have influenced the course of the investigations. ..."
"... Given the revelations around Strzok, Rhee and Weissman, on Mueller's team, you'd think we'd be hearing more about OIG case. IMO, we are about to though. ..."
"... I'm also stunned by the stupidity of the Democrats. Any liberal who believes the intelligence agencies is a fool. They've just shown us their true nature by blocking the release of several thousand pages of records relating to the assassination of President Kennedy. ..."
"... If someone had told me 5 years ago that I would in 2017 consider Fox News to be the most reliable MSM news outlet, I would have rolled around on the ground laughing hysterically. Yet it is true. I am not quite sure what I should deduce from this but I think it is something along the lines of "one cannot be too cynical about the news media". ..."
"... He certainly gives them plenty of ammunition. However, I believe a great deal of the vituperative outrage directed at him has much (possibly primarily) to do with exactly whom he bested in the general election. Not to pile on, but see David E. Solomon's comments on this thread. ..."
"... One can't underestimate the cult of personality that was so carefully crafted around Hillary Clinton for the past two decades. Their chosen strategy of identity politics only kicked it into hyper-drive over the past eight years. ..."
Dec 08, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

That sure sounds a lot like the current state of the media. We have witnessed this type of hysteria ourselves in just the last two days. First there was the Brian Ross debacle, which entailed Ross peddling the lie that Trump ordered Flynn to contact the Russians. That "fake news" elicited an emotional orgasm from Joy Behar on The View. She was on the verge of writhing on the floor as she prematurely celebrated what she thought would seal the impeachment of Donald Trump. Whoops. Ross had to retract that story.

... ... ...

Watergate and "Russiagate" do share a common trope. During Watergate the Washington Post was mostly a lone voice covering the story. Washington Post publisher at the time, Kate Graham, reportedly remarked that she was worried that none of the other papers were covering the story. And it was an important story. It exposed political corruption and abuse of power and a threat to our democracy.

How is that in common with Russiagate? The real story is that the FBI, the NSA and the CIA effectively conspired to try to destroy the Presidency of Donald Trump. Hardly anyone in the media, mainstream or fringe, are writing about this fact and trying to rally public support for action. What is one to say when confronted with the fact that the FBI paid money to a former British spy for alleged dirt on Donald Trump that was initially commissioned by the Clinton campaign. And who is the FBI Agent paying for the dossier? Why a fellow now revealed as a Clinton partisan.

Publius Tacitus , 05 December 2017 at 11:52 PM
It is a shame you wanted to start the discussion with such a stupid comment. I have made no representation whatsoever about the intelligence or lack of intelligence of Trump. I have expressed nothing regarding "my expectations" for him or his policies. I get it. You don't like the man and want to grind a meaningless axe.
EEngineer said in reply to David E. Solomon... , 06 December 2017 at 01:12 AM

How much of what we see is the real DJT and how much is a projected public persona?

There's truth and lies, but then there's just plain old bullshit which has nothing to do with either. He seems to throw a ton of it around as a diversionary tactic. I understand the technique, but I can't see through the smoke screen to divine what he's up to or who he really is. So I continue to dispassionately observe.

walrus , 06 December 2017 at 01:49 AM
DJT's threat to "drain the swamp" has created fear, uncertainty and doubt amongst the swamp folk. They naturally fight back. By definition, all swamp critters must toe the neocon line else they would have been fired by previous incumbents. They are all therefore fair game for DJT.
sbjonez , 06 December 2017 at 02:36 AM
Maybe a citation could be offered here, but there does not appear to be any support for the assertion made by the author of this piece that "...the FBI paid money to a former British spy for alleged dirt on Donald Trump...".There were reports that the FBI 'considered' paying Steele to continue his work, ( a not altogether uncommon practice), yet within the more responsibly researched reports it was also clearly stated that in the end the FBI did not in fact pay Steele anything for any work at all.
Dr. George W. Oprisko , 06 December 2017 at 03:32 AM
As it happens the FBI and most probably the others were created by executive order.

Perhaps it's time to end them by executive order.......

INDY

Eric Newhill said in reply to Publius Tacitus ... , 06 December 2017 at 03:32 AM
PT,
I admire your persistence and agree with the points you make in this and your other posts on the topic of Trump. This is an extremely important subject matter. A President was elected, lawfully, and a bunch of stupid ninnies got their panties in a knot over that and are therefore more or less willing to support a Borgist ("deep state", if you prefer) coup d'état. Said ninnies are immune to the rational arguments you present because they are not intelligent, they are hyper emotional and many of them belong to a cult called "[neo]liberalism" (or the "progressive movement", if you prefer).

When you belong to a cult, you must suspend reason; make it subordinate to the hive mind. You lose all perspective. They believe all kids of ridiculous notions that fail to withstand the most basic rational scrutiny; like Islam and feminism can be allies, socialism would work if only it were applied correctly, if a man puts on a dress he has actually become a woman and that such a person would make a good 11 series in the military, low skill/low IQ immigrants - legal or otherwise - are actually good for the country......so of course they believe that a coup d'état is appropriate when the target is Trump. In their madness they have convinced themselves that Trump is uniquely dangerous. He is going to destroy the world via ignoring global warming, tax cuts, immigration reform, pushing the nuclear button just for fun; all of the above and maybe more. You know this, of course. You did mention "Trump Derangement Syndrome".

As for the rest of the subject matter, personally, I feel that what with all that has been revealed about the FBI, CIA and NSA, someone should be bringing the involved members of these agencies up on charges related to treason, sedition or whatever legal terms are correct. Actually, these people should have their doors kicked down and be brought out in hand cuffs. Death sentences should be on the table and should be applied when legally possible.

This is no more Watergate than a man in a dress is a woman.

The depths to which the govt, populace and values of this country have degenerated have never been more on display than in this witch hunt. We are in very bad shape. The media is thoroughly scurrilous. Officials in bureaucracies are treasonous and have no respect for the rule of law. Half of the citizens are insane and support the media and the traitors.

If someone doesn't at least just pull the plug on this "investigation", it's going to ruin what's left of this country. It may be too late. A lot of ninnies are going to wake up to a very harsh reality.

Peter Reichard , 06 December 2017 at 05:21 AM
From day one the Republicans were trying to impeach Bill Clinton by investigating every dark corner of the Clintons' past and present until they could find something that would stick. Same thing with Trump except this time it goes far beyond the opposition party to include elements of the government, most of the media and even leading members of his own party. Elections be damned, we have an empire to maintain and he is seen by the establishment as too impulsive, unstable and so far uncontrollable to be allowed to stay in power. While no threat to the sacred cows of Wall Street and Israel or even to drain the swamp they are terrified of his unpredictability, hence the full court press unprecedented in American history to remove him from office. My very low opinion of Trump doesn't blind me to the dangers inherent in this effort. \
English Outsider -> Publius Tacitus ... , 06 December 2017 at 05:45 AM
PT - Isn't the point you've just made central? The issues here are far more important than the personalities?

I like what I've seen of our PM, Mrs May. Nice person, to my outsider's way of thinking. Doesn't alter the fact that I consider her policies and philosophy to be hopeless. And since we're never going to meet her in the pub that's what counts. Would it not be possible to separate things out in the same way with Trump? Set on one side the partisan arguments about his personality - politics is not a TV show - and consider him on the basis of what he may or may not do or be able to do?

You mention briefly the Steele affair. I still find it difficult to believe that an ex-UK Intelligence Officer can get mixed up in American politics to this extent and scarcely an eyebrow raised. Surely someone's asking questions somewhere about this? The facts are clear enough, for once.

JMH said in reply to David E. Solomon... , 06 December 2017 at 07:29 AM
Actually, I think he shares many of Bismark's qualities: "a political genius of a very unusual kind [whose success] rested on several sets of conflicting characteristics among which brutal, disarming honesty mingled with the wiles and deceits of a confidence man. He played his parts with perfect self-confidence, yet mixed them with rage, anxiety, illness, hypochrondria, and irrationality. ... He used democracy when it suited him, negotiated with revolutionaries and the dangerous Ferdinand Lassalle, the socialist who might have contested his authority. He utterly dominated his cabinet ministers with a sovereign contempt and blackened their reputations as soon as he no longer needed them. He outwitted the parliamentary parties, even the strongest of them, and betrayed all those ... who had put him into power. By 1870 even his closest friends ... realized that they had helped put a demonic figure into power.[6]"-wiki

Bernie can be Lasalle.

Patrick Armstrong , 06 December 2017 at 07:55 AM
I think, I hope, I believe, I persuade myself that all is unfolding as it should. Mueller turns up nothing but further examples of officials pimping themselves out to foreign governments; meanwhile revelations of bias on his team; meanwhile chewing away at the Fusion GPS thing (one of the key pillars); meanwhile investigation of the FBI. And, off stage, a slow but powerful campaign exposing many of Trumnp's enemies as corrupt, perverted hypocrites. And, from time to time, unexpected presents like Brazile's book. But faster please
Martin Oline , 06 December 2017 at 08:02 AM
I agree about the Trump Derangement Syndrome that has afflicted the media. I think they are suffering from O.C.T.D.: Obsessive Compulsive Trump Disorder. There are some in the media who are of the opinion that this may not be working with most Americans. I saw two pieces this morning from BBC and The New York Times:

Perhaps this is the start of a change or a recognition that the MSM's habitual crying wolf behavior is not resonating with Main Street. I can only hope, but I stopped watching the national news long ago.

Ken Roberts , 06 December 2017 at 08:30 AM
The crucial point is not about respect for the man. It is respect for the office. All men are flawed, and high position exposes additional flaws. It is evident, to this outside observer, that Trump won "fair and square" according to the established procedures. The variety of "dirty tricks" used against him, both before the election and after, is astounding. There was a "back room" negotiation on election eve, visible in public as the long delay in final over-the-top results, and Trump's apology to his supporters for the delay, "it was complicated".

That truly is water under the bridge, and at least must be so, if you wish to preserve your republic. You all have the right to withhold consent and trash what you and your fathers and grandfathers have achieved. Most will not like the outcome. But I sincerely hope that you, each and collectively, instead will choose the positive aspects of this model:

"... that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

Best wishes,
kr

Greco , 06 December 2017 at 08:56 AM
The ABC story had to be "clarified" given they originally reported Flynn had contacted the Russians DURING the election when in fact it was AFTER the election. The story had consequences on the stock market: https://seekingalpha.com/article/4129355-cost-fake-news-s-and-p-500 This all happened on the eve of the passage of Trump's tax cuts and it seemed timed to hurt the stock market. It may even possibly have torpedoed the tax cuts by putting into question Trump's legal standing as president.
jdledell , 06 December 2017 at 10:04 AM
I detest Trump as a person but still acknowledge that he is our current President. I will continue to fight against the implementation of his policies and work hard to to try to insure he does not win a second term. Other than that in 3 more years the American people will have an opportunity to judge his performance and make a decision on his worthiness to continue as President. That is as it should be.

Trump has taken some hard shots, some deserved and some not. That is the nature of our current political system. When Trump traveled the nation proclaiming Obama was not American born and thus an illegitimate President is also an example of "all is fair in War and politics".

Fred -> David E. Solomon... , 06 December 2017 at 10:20 AM
David,

He was smart enough to get elected, defeating a dozen professional republicans and the Democratic machinery along with the MSM. "In the end you will see that he does not live up to your expectations." I thought he was a boor and a mediocre showman. In that regard he's exceeded mine by surviving this long.

Publius Tacitus -> sbjonez... , 06 December 2017 at 10:35 AM
You are correct that there is no public source yet confirming the FBI paid Steele. However, the FBI's refusal to turn over relevant documents regarding their relationship with Steele tells me there was money paid. What is indisputable is that the information in the dossier was used as a predicate to seek permission from a FISA court to go after Trump and his team. That is outrageous.
rjj said in reply to JMH... , 06 December 2017 at 11:19 AM
is this doom-and-gloom or hope-assaulting-experience? Am guessing that the only thing he has shares with Old Otto is a preference for the classic method of donning trousers.

OOPS! there's this (was reminded of it by the hyperventilatory "breaking news" about Blackwater/Erik Prince):

Bismarck held von Holstein in high esteem, and when the latter went to him with his plan for establishing a vast organization of almost universal spying, the Chancellor of the new German Empire immediately grasped the advantages he could obtain from it. ....

Von Holstein ... had one great ambition; that of knowing everything about everybody and of ruling everybody through fear of the disclosures he could make were he at any time tempted to do so. ....

The German Foreign Office knew everything and made use of everything .... In the Prussian Intelligence Department as Holstein organized it there was hardly a person of note or consequence in Europe about whom everything was not known, including, of course, his weaknesses and cupboard skeletons. And this knowledge was used when necessary without any compunction or remorse. ....

His first care, whenever an individual capable at a given moment of playing a part, no matter how humble, in the great drama attracted his attention, was to ferret out all that could be learned about him or her. With few exceptions he contrived to lay his finger on a hidden secret. Once this preliminary step had been performed to his satisfaction, the rest was easy. The unfortunate victim was given to understand that he would be shamed publicly at any time, unless . . . unless . . .

https://archive.org/details/firebrandofbolsh00radz

As this has been the SOP of Karl Rove (presumably), of Jedgar, and before that [__fill in the blanks___], the only thing unprecedented about the Prince/Blackwater story is the disregard for omerta.

DISCLAIMER: The Princess Radziwill who published the passage on von Holstein was an opportunistic swashbucklereuse type and [guessing] would have been so even in less horrifically interesting times.

walter , 06 December 2017 at 12:06 PM
My humble opinion on what is going on. "The Borg" are individuals whose self-interest is tied to perpetuating "business as usual" in Washington DC. FBI agents, CIA, NSA need domestic and foreign conflict to aggrandize and justify their positions. They do not want our national problems solved...god forbid, budgets, salaries, bonuses, future contracting and consulting jobs might be reduced or eliminated.

Hillary, Bush, Obama and "the establishment" knew unconsciously not to "rock the boat". Trump was seen as too independent and uneducated in the ways of The Borg to be trusted. He had un-borg-like views like "..what the hell are we doing supporting Al Quida?" "...grab her in the pussy.." "..lets make Jerusalem the capital of Israel.." "lets get along with Russia.." "..the Media is fake and biased.." all very un-PC and un-borg-like positions. Too disruptive of the status quo. Might actually solve some problems and reduce the importance of government.

I think the Borg determined he was N.O.K. (Not Our Kind). And he has royally pissed off the Media and he is in a death fight with the Media.

Sid Finster , 06 December 2017 at 12:16 PM
I find the whole idea that "Deutsche Bank has branches in Russia and lends money to Russian borrowers, therefore Russians control Deutsche Bank" idea to be comical.

I have clients who also regularly borrow money from Deutsche Bank. Are they now Russians? Are they controlled now by Russians? Do Russians control them? What role does DB play in all this web of control?

If I have my mortgage at the same bank as a slum lord/toxic waste generator/adult bookstore owner/CIA operative, am I now his puppet?

Asking for a friend.

Does nobody understand how banking law works? (in Germany and the US, banks are forbidden to lend to any client or client group in an amount that would give the borrower de facto control over the operations of the bank). Of course the smarter conspiracy theorists understand this. Any stick to beat a dog.

Sid Finster said in reply to English Outsider ... , 06 December 2017 at 12:18 PM
The difference is that the establishment/Deep State/Borg/whatever you want to call it approves of Steele's activities.
Dr. Puck said in reply to Dr. George W. Oprisko ... , 06 December 2017 at 12:27 PM
FYI History of the FBI. www.fbi.gov/history/brief-history
Sylvia 1 , 06 December 2017 at 12:48 PM
This is increasingly my take as well -- the FBI, CIA and NSA do seem to have "conspired" to destroy Donald Trump. I finger Brennan, Clapper, Susan Rice, Benjamin Rhodes, and maybe Samantha Power as being involved in the flood of illegal leaks earlier in the year that did so much to pave the way for Mueller's appointment.

What I fail to understand is why Democrats are sitting back and cheering as these agencies work together to destroy a duly elected President of the USA. Does anyone really believe that if these agencies get away with it this time they will stop with Trump?
All these agencies are out of control and are completely unaccountable.

Eric Newhill , 06 December 2017 at 12:51 PM
PT,

Are you aware that the Office of Inspector General has been investigating politicization of the FBI and DOJ for 11 months now? The investigation was brought about at the recommendation of certain members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I believe. Among the allegations being looked into is that DOJ/FBI have highly political agents that should have at least recused themselves from certain investigations and that their politics may have influenced the course of the investigations.

Given the revelations around Strzok, Rhee and Weissman, on Mueller's team, you'd think we'd be hearing more about OIG case. IMO, we are about to though.

Peter VE said in reply to Sylvia 1... , 06 December 2017 at 05:05 PM
I'm also stunned by the stupidity of the Democrats. Any liberal who believes the intelligence agencies is a fool. They've just shown us their true nature by blocking the release of several thousand pages of records relating to the assassination of President Kennedy. If they can't allow the truth to come out after 54 years, they surely can't be trusted to be truthful about today's information.
Cvillereader said in reply to Eric Newhill... , 06 December 2017 at 06:54 PM
Fox News, which has been fairly reliable of late, reported last night that the FBI OIG report will be finalized and made public sometime in the next 4-5 weeks.
blue peacock , 07 December 2017 at 12:18 AM
Publius Tacitus
The real story is that the FBI, the NSA and the CIA effectively conspired to try to destroy the Presidency of Donald Trump.

How can this conspiracy be investigated? Who could do it? Clearly not anyone from the DoJ, FBI, CIA and NSA as they are fully compromised.

JamesT -> Cvillereader... , 07 December 2017 at 12:48 AM
If someone had told me 5 years ago that I would in 2017 consider Fox News to be the most reliable MSM news outlet, I would have rolled around on the ground laughing hysterically. Yet it is true. I am not quite sure what I should deduce from this but I think it is something along the lines of "one cannot be too cynical about the news media".
Imagine , 07 December 2017 at 12:50 AM
Real News: Outstanding official independent post-mortem of Charlottesville. Includes maneuver tactics, I think y'all will like it.

http://www.charlottesville.org/home/showdocument?id=59615

AK said in reply to English Outsider ... , 07 December 2017 at 04:06 AM
English Outsider,

"Any idea why?"

He certainly gives them plenty of ammunition. However, I believe a great deal of the vituperative outrage directed at him has much (possibly primarily) to do with exactly whom he bested in the general election. Not to pile on, but see David E. Solomon's comments on this thread.

One can't underestimate the cult of personality that was so carefully crafted around Hillary Clinton for the past two decades. Their chosen strategy of identity politics only kicked it into hyper-drive over the past eight years.

Still, this phenomenon existed long before Trump, The Politician, and even before Obama and his own cult. Many of these people were able to put their expectations on hold for eight long years. Obama was a result they could at least live with temporarily - " Just eight more years, and then they owe her. "

They had their very structures of reality built around a certain outcome, which didn't come to pass. So, the disappointment was all the more bitter when they realized that their waiting was in vain. That's a tidal wave of cognitive dissonance unleashed by that unimaginable (for some) occurrence of her defeat. He didn't put paid to Martin O'Malley or even Bernie Sanders. He vanquished The Queen. That sort of thing never goes down lightly.

AK said in reply to Richardstevenhack ... , 07 December 2017 at 04:23 AM
Richardstevenhack,

" As I've said before, I think Trump only ran for President for 1) ego, and 2) he knows he will have access to billions of dollars of business deals once he leaves office, with the cachet of having been President.

You might as well assert that lions only hang out around watering holes because 1) there's water there, and 2) gazelles and zebras have to drink water. Can you point me to one President from living memory who did not 1) run for the Office at least partially out of ego, and 2) take advantage in his subsequent "private life" of these exact perks of having held the Office? I ask seriously, because it seems you are pining for a nobility in presidential politics which to my recollection hasn't existed for at least three generations. Cincinnatus, they ain't. Maybe Ike, but anyone else is a real stretch.

[Dec 08, 2017] What is your take on this fellow Peter P. Strzok II. There is not much information out there on a person who seems to be pretty influential in DC / FBI / Foreign Intel circles.

Notable quotes:
"... What is your take on this fellow Peter P. Strzok II? His back history is purportedly Georgetown, Army Intelligence (his father PP Strzok I is Army Corp of Engineers), and was until recently deputy director of counterintelligence at FBI with focus on Russia and China. ..."
"... He is the fellow who altered Comey's draft to read "extremely careless" instead of "grossly negligent", he interviewed HRC, Mills, Abedin (and gave the latter two immunity); he pushed for the continued payment of Steele in the amount of $50,000 for further Dossier research in the face of some resistance (cf James Rosen); ..."
"... he also interviewed Flynn, and for most of the first half of 2017 and for all of 2016 appears to have been the most important and influential agent working on the HRC-Trump-Russia nexus. James Rosen suggests he has CIA connections as well. ..."
"... He certainly would have had CIA connections if he was involved in CI activities targeting Russian and China. ..."
Dec 08, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

WJ , 05 December 2017 at 08:16 PM

Sir,

What is your take on this fellow Peter P. Strzok II? His back history is purportedly Georgetown, Army Intelligence (his father PP Strzok I is Army Corp of Engineers), and was until recently deputy director of counterintelligence at FBI with focus on Russia and China.

He is the fellow who altered Comey's draft to read "extremely careless" instead of "grossly negligent", he interviewed HRC, Mills, Abedin (and gave the latter two immunity); he pushed for the continued payment of Steele in the amount of $50,000 for further Dossier research in the face of some resistance (cf James Rosen);

he also interviewed Flynn, and for most of the first half of 2017 and for all of 2016 appears to have been the most important and influential agent working on the HRC-Trump-Russia nexus. James Rosen suggests he has CIA connections as well.

The dude has also no internet presence. There is not much information out there on a person who seems to be pretty influential in DC / FBI / Foreign Intel circles.

He screwed up, and a lawyer, sent texts, and now is gone. Does he strike you as fishy at all, or is this kind of stuff pretty common for people in his field and position.

turcopolier , 05 December 2017 at 09:36 PM
WJ

I know nothing of him other than what is in the press but his partisan interference in investigations appears to be a blot on the honor of the FBI but then I am old fashioned. pl

fanto said in reply to WJ... , 05 December 2017 at 10:51 PM
WJ,
I first learned about this man from a comment of David Habakkuk (in an earlier post) and was curious to learn more about him. As you point out, ´internet is not your friend´ in his case. Your comment gives so far the most information about his doings. Thank you. According to David Habakkuk that surname is polish, but it possibly be other slavic origin as well ( possibly Jidish ?)
The Twisted Genius -> WJ... , 05 December 2017 at 11:27 PM
WJ,

Given Strzok's career, I wouldn't expect to find much, if anything, about him on the internet. If he spent his career working "in the shadows," he rightly would have stayed off the internet. He certainly would have had CIA connections if he was involved in CI activities targeting Russian and China. Anyone actively working in a classified environment would be grossly negligent to allow himself to be plastered all over the internet. Why do you think I still use a light cover of TTG just to post here years after retiring? It's just force of habit.

I was glad to hear that Mueller banished him to HR as soon as his anti-Trump emails were discovered. If he stayed, he would have cast an ugly shadow over the Mueller investigation. It's much like the partisan shadow extending over much of the NY FBI office. Their pro-Trump/anti-Clinton stance was notorious. I also think the FBI should review the entire Clinton email server file in light of this.

rjj said in reply to The Twisted Genius ... , 06 December 2017 at 12:20 PM
Don't know how bureaucracies work in DC. Remembering how placement in HR was a goal for activists. HR is obscure and unglamorous - how is it banishment for someone with an agenda who works in the shadows?

[Dec 01, 2017] Elite needs a kill switch for their front men and women

marknesop.wordpress.com
Patient Observer , July 23, 2016 at 7:07 pm
An interesting article on John McCain. I disagree with the contention that McCain hid knowledge that many American POWs were left behind (undoubtedly some voluntarily choose to remain behind but not hundreds ). However, the article touched on some ideas that rang true:

Today when we consider the major countries of the world we see that in many cases the official leaders are also the leaders in actuality: Vladimir Putin calls the shots in Russia, Xi Jinping and his top Politburo colleagues do the same in China, and so forth. However, in America and in some other Western countries, this seems to be less and less the case, with top national figures merely being attractive front-men selected for their popular appeal and their political malleability, a development that may eventually have dire consequences for the nations they lead. As an extreme example, a drunken Boris Yeltsin freely allowed the looting of Russia's entire national wealth by the handful of oligarchs who pulled his strings, and the result was the total impoverishment of the Russian people and a demographic collapse almost unprecedented in modern peacetime history.

An obvious problem with installing puppet rulers is the risk that they will attempt to cut their strings, much like Putin soon outmaneuvered and exiled his oligarch patron Boris Berezovsky.

One means of minimizing such risk is to select puppets who are so deeply compromised that they can never break free, knowing that the political self-destruct charges buried deep within their pasts could easily be triggered if they sought independence. I have sometimes joked with my friends that perhaps the best career move for an ambitious young politician would be to secretly commit some monstrous crime and then make sure that the hard evidence of his guilt ended up in the hands of certain powerful people, thereby assuring his rapid political rise.

The gist is that elite need a kill switch on their front men (and women).

http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-when-tokyo-rose-ran-for-president/

Cortes , July 24, 2016 at 11:16 am

Seems to be a series of pieces dealing with Vietnam POWs: the following linked item was interesting and provided a plausible explanation: that the US failed to pay up agreed on reparations…

http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-relying-upon-maoist-professors-of-cultural-studies/

marknesop , July 24, 2016 at 12:29 pm
Remarkable and shocking. Wheels within wheels – this is the first time I have ever seen McCain's father connected with the infamous Board of Inquiry which cleared Israel in that state's attack on USS LIBERTY during Israel's seizure of the Golan Heights.
Cortes , July 25, 2016 at 9:08 am
Another stunning article in which the author makes reference to his recent acquisition of what he considers to be a reliably authentic audio file of POW McCain's broadcasts from captivity. Dynamite stuff. The conclusion regarding aspiring untenured historians is quite downbeat:

http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-will-there-be-a-spotlight-sequel-to-the-killing-fields/

marknesop , July 25, 2016 at 10:40 am
Also remarkable; fantastic. It's hard to believe, and a testament to the boldness of Washington dog-and-pony shows, because this must have been well-known in insider circles in Washington – anything so damning which was not ruthlessly and professionally suppressed and simply never allowed to become part of a national discussion would surely have been stumbled upon before now. Land of the Cover-Up.

yalensis , July 25, 2016 at 3:40 pm

So, McCain was Hanoi Jack broadcasting from the Hanoi Hilton?

[Nov 28, 2017] Trump Wants Peace With Erdogan - The Military Wants To Sabotage It

Notable quotes:
"... "President Trump instructed [his generals] in a very open way that the YPG will no longer be given weapons. He openly said that this absurdity should have ended much earlier ," Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters after the phone call. ..."
"... The YPG is the Syrian sister organization of the Turkish-Kurdish terror group PKK. Some weapons the U.S. had delivered to the YPK in Syria to fight the Islamic State have been recovered from PKK fighters in Turkey who were out to kill Turkish security personal. Despite that, supply for the YPG continued. In total over 3,500 truckloads were provided to it by the U.S. military. Only recently the YPK received some 120 armored Humvees , mine clearance vehicles and other equipment. ..."
"... The generals in the White House and other parts of the administration were caught flat-footed by the promise Trump has made. The Washington Post writes : "Initially, the administration's national security team appeared surprised by the Turks' announcement and uncertain what to say about it. The State Department referred questions to the White House, and hours passed with no confirmation from the National Security Council." ..."
"... The U.S. military uses the YPG as proxy power in Syria to justify and support its occupation of north-east Syria, The intent of the occupation is , for now, to press the Syrian government into agreeing to a U.S. controlled "regime change": ..."
"... When in 2014 the U.S. started to use Kurds in Syria as its foot-soldiers, it put the YPG under the mantle of the so called Syrian Democratic Forces and paid some Syrian Arabs to join and keep up the subterfuge. This helped to counter the Turkish argument that the U.S. was arming and supporting terrorists. But in May 2017 the U.S. announced to arm the YPG directly without the cover of the SDF. The alleged purpose was to eliminate the Islamic State from the city of Raqqa. ..."
"... A spokesperson of the SDF, the ethnic Turkman Talaf Silo, recently defected and went over to the Turkish side. The Turkish government is certainly well informed about the SDF and knows that its political and command structure is dominated by the YPK. The whole concept is a sham. ..."
"... Sometimes it's hard to see if Trump actually believed what he was saying about foreign policy on the campaign trail -- but either way it doesn't matter much as he seems incapable of navigating the labyrinth of the Deep State even if he had in independent thought in his head. I don't expect US weapons to stop making their way into Kurdish hands as they try to extend their mini-Israel-with-oil foothold in Syria. But it would certainly be a welcome sight if the US left Syria alone for once! ..."
"... Trump personally sent General Flynn to recruit back Erdogan and the Turks right before the election. Flynn wrote his now infamous editorial "Our ally Turkey is in crisis and needs our support" and published in "The Hill". http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/foreign-policy/305021-our-ally-turkey-is-in-crisis-and-needs-our-support ..."
"... But if you know the role he played for Trump in the campaign and then the post-election role as soon to be NSC advisor, you will see that Trump was sending him to bring Turkey back into the fold after the coup attempt by CIA, Gulen and Turkey's AF and US State Dept failed. ..."
"... Trump wanted to prevent the Turkish Stream. It was a huge rival to his LNG strategy. All these are why Flynn did what he did for Trump. Now Trump has to battle CIA and State, as well as the CENTCOM-Israeli plans for insurgencies in Syria. It's not just the Kurd issue or the other needs of NATO to hold the bases in Turkey. It's the whole southwest containment of Russian gas and Russian naval power, and the reality of sharing the Mediterranean as well as MENA with the Bear. ..."
"... Furthermore, I've always been suspicious of Erdogan's 'turn' toward Russia. Many have suspected that the attempted coup was staged by Erdogan (with CIA help?) so as to enable Erdogan to remain in office. IMO Erdogan joined the 'Assad must go!' effort not just because he benefited from the oil trade but because he leans toward Sunnis (Surely he was aware of the thinking that: the road to Tehran runs through Damascus .) ..."
Nov 28, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

President Trump is attempting to calm down the U.S. conflict with Turkey . The military junta in the White House has different plans. It now attempts to circumvent the decision the president communicated to his Turkish counterpart. The result will be more Turkish-U.S. acrimony.

Yesterday the Turkish foreign minister surprisingly announced a phone call President Trump had held with President Erdogan of Turkey.

United States President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke on the phone on Nov. 24 only days after a Russia-Turkey-Iran summit on Syria, with Ankara saying that Washington has pledged not to send weapons to the People's Protection Units (YPG) any more .

"President Trump instructed [his generals] in a very open way that the YPG will no longer be given weapons. He openly said that this absurdity should have ended much earlier ," Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters after the phone call.

Trump had announced the call:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

Will be speaking to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey this morning about bringing peace to the mess that I inherited in the Middle East. I will get it all done, but what a mistake, in lives and dollars (6 trillion), to be there in the first place!
12:04 PM - 24 Nov 2017

During the phone call Trump must have escaped his minders for a moment and promptly tried to make, as announced, peace with Erdogan. The issue of arming the YPG is really difficult for Turkey to swallow. Ending that would probably make up for the recent NATO blunder of presenting the founder of modern Turkey Kemal Atatürk and Erdogan himself as enemies.

The YPG is the Syrian sister organization of the Turkish-Kurdish terror group PKK. Some weapons the U.S. had delivered to the YPK in Syria to fight the Islamic State have been recovered from PKK fighters in Turkey who were out to kill Turkish security personal. Despite that, supply for the YPG continued. In total over 3,500 truckloads were provided to it by the U.S. military. Only recently the YPK received some 120 armored Humvees , mine clearance vehicles and other equipment.

The generals in the White House and other parts of the administration were caught flat-footed by the promise Trump has made. The Washington Post writes : "Initially, the administration's national security team appeared surprised by the Turks' announcement and uncertain what to say about it. The State Department referred questions to the White House, and hours passed with no confirmation from the National Security Council."

The White House finally released what the Associated Press called :

a cryptic statement about the phone call that said Trump had informed the Turk of "pending adjustments to the military support provided to our partners on the ground in Syria."

Neither a read-out of the call nor the statement AP refers to are currently available on the White House website.

The U.S. military uses the YPG as proxy power in Syria to justify and support its occupation of north-east Syria, The intent of the occupation is , for now, to press the Syrian government into agreeing to a U.S. controlled "regime change":

U.S. officials have said they plan to keep American troops in northern Syria -- and continue working with Kurdish fighters -- to pressure Assad to make concessions during peace talks brokered by the United Nations in Geneva, stalemated for three years now. "We're not going to just walk away right now," Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said last week.

To solidify its position the U.S. needs to further build up and strengthen its YPG mercenary forces.

When in 2014 the U.S. started to use Kurds in Syria as its foot-soldiers, it put the YPG under the mantle of the so called Syrian Democratic Forces and paid some Syrian Arabs to join and keep up the subterfuge. This helped to counter the Turkish argument that the U.S. was arming and supporting terrorists. But in May 2017 the U.S. announced to arm the YPG directly without the cover of the SDF. The alleged purpose was to eliminate the Islamic State from the city of Raqqa.

The YPG had been unwilling to fight for the Arab city unless the U.S. would provide it with more money, military supplies and support. All were provided. The U.S. special forces, who control the YPG fighters, directed an immense amount of aerial and artillery ammunition against the city. Any potential enemy position was destroyed by large ammunition and intense bombing before the YPG infantry proceeded. In the end few YPG fighters died in the fight. The Islamic State was let go or eliminated from the city but so was the city of Raqqa . The intensity of the bombardment of the medium size city was at times ten times greater than the bombing in all of Afghanistan. Airwars reported :

Since June, an estimated 20,000 munitions were fired in support of Coalition operations at Raqqa . Images captured by journalists in the final days of the assault show a city in ruins

Several thousand civilians were killed in the indiscriminate onslaught.

The Islamic State in Syria and Iraq is defeated. It no longer holds any ground. There is no longer any justification to further arm and supply the YPG or the dummy organization SDF.

But the generals want to continue to do so to further their larger plans. They are laying grounds to circumvent their president's promise. The Wall Street Journal seems to be the only outlet to pick up on the subterfuge:

President Donald Trump's administration is preparing to stop sending weapons directly to Kurdish militants battling Islamic State in Syria, dealing a political blow to the U.S.'s most reliable ally in the civil war, officials said Friday.

...

The Turkish announcement came as a surprise in Washington, where military and political officials in Mr. Trump's administration appeared to be caught off-guard. U.S. military officials said they had received no new guidance about supplying weapons to the Kurdish forces. But they said there were no immediate plans to deliver any new weapons to the group. And the U.S. can continue to provide the Kurdish forces with arms via the umbrella Syrian militant coalition

The "military officials" talking to the WSJ have found a way to negate Trump's promise. A spokesperson of the SDF, the ethnic Turkman Talaf Silo, recently defected and went over to the Turkish side. The Turkish government is certainly well informed about the SDF and knows that its political and command structure is dominated by the YPK. The whole concept is a sham.

But the U.S. needs the YPG to keep control of north-east Syria. It has to continue to provide whatever the YPG demands, or it will have to give up its larger scheme against Syria.

The Turkish government will soon find out that the U.S. again tried to pull wool over its eyes. Erdogan will be furious when he discovers that the U.S. continues to supply war material to the YPG, even when those deliveries are covered up as supplies for the SDF.

The Turkish government released a photograph showing Erdogan and five of his aids taking Trump's phonecall. Such a release and the announcement of the call by the Turkish foreign minister are very unusual. Erdogan is taking prestige from the call and the public announcement is to make sure that Trump sticks to his promise.

This wide publication will also increase Erdogan's wrath when he finds out that he was again deceived.

Posted by b on November 25, 2017 at 12:14 PM | Permalink

WorldBLee | Nov 25, 2017 12:48:12 PM | 1

Sometimes it's hard to see if Trump actually believed what he was saying about foreign policy on the campaign trail -- but either way it doesn't matter much as he seems incapable of navigating the labyrinth of the Deep State even if he had in independent thought in his head. I don't expect US weapons to stop making their way into Kurdish hands as they try to extend their mini-Israel-with-oil foothold in Syria. But it would certainly be a welcome sight if the US left Syria alone for once!
Red Ryder | Nov 25, 2017 12:49:33 PM | 2
Trump personally sent General Flynn to recruit back Erdogan and the Turks right before the election. Flynn wrote his now infamous editorial "Our ally Turkey is in crisis and needs our support" and published in "The Hill". http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/foreign-policy/305021-our-ally-turkey-is-in-crisis-and-needs-our-support

Some interpret this act on Election eve as a pecuniary fulfillment by Flynn of a lobbying contract (which existed).

But if you know the role he played for Trump in the campaign and then the post-election role as soon to be NSC advisor, you will see that Trump was sending him to bring Turkey back into the fold after the coup attempt by CIA, Gulen and Turkey's AF and US State Dept failed.

Flynn understood the crucial need for US and NATO to hold Turkey and prevent the Russians from getting Erdogan as an ally for Syria and the Black Sea, the Balkans and Mediterranean as well as Iran, Qatar and Eurasia. Look at what has transpired between Turkey and Russia since. Gas will be flowing through the Turkish Stream and Erdogan conforms to Putin's wishes.

Trump wanted to prevent the Turkish Stream. It was a huge rival to his LNG strategy. All these are why Flynn did what he did for Trump. Now Trump has to battle CIA and State, as well as the CENTCOM-Israeli plans for insurgencies in Syria. It's not just the Kurd issue or the other needs of NATO to hold the bases in Turkey. It's the whole southwest containment of Russian gas and Russian naval power, and the reality of sharing the Mediterranean as well as MENA with the Bear.

Flynn was on it for Trump. And the IC and State want him prosecuted for defying their efforts to replace Erdogan with a stooge like Gulen. It looks like Mueller is pursuing that against the General.

Harry | Nov 25, 2017 1:18:07 PM | 3
Its not a problem for US to drop Kurds if they are no longer needed, BUT for now they are essential for US/Israel/Saudi goals, therefore you can bet 100% Kurds support will continue. Trump's order (he hasn't made it official either) will be easily circumvented.

The real question is, what Resistance will do with the backstabbing Kurds? It wont be easy to make a deal while Kurds maintain absurd demands and as long as they have full Axis of Terror support.

Go Iraq's way like they reclaimed Kirkuk? US might have sitten out that one, I doubt they'll allow this to happen in Syria as well, unless they get something in return.

alabaster | Nov 25, 2017 1:19:42 PM | 4
While America's standard duplicity of saying one thing while doing the opposite has been known for decades, they have been able to play games mainly because of the weakness of the other actors in the region.
The tables have turned now, but America still thinks it holds top dog position.
Wordplay, semantics and legal loopholes wont be tolerated for very long, and when hundreds of US boots return home in body bags a choice will have to be made - escalate, or run away.
Previous behavior dictates run away, but times have changed.
A cornered enemy is the most dangerous, and the USA has painted itself into a very small corner...
Jean | Nov 25, 2017 1:35:55 PM | 5
Gee. While reading B's article what got to my mind is: "Turkey is testing the ground". Whatever Trump said to Erdogan on the phone, it seems to me that the Turks are playing a card to see how the different actors in the US that seems to follow different agendas will react. If Turkey concludes that the US will continue to back YPG, it's split from the US and will be definitive.

Erdogan is shifting away from US/NATO. He even hinted today that he might talk to Assad. That's huge! I wouldn't be surprised if Turkey leaves NATO sooner than later. And if it's the case, it will be a major move of a tectonic amplitude.

Peter AU 1 | Nov 25, 2017 1:36:09 PM | 6
Trump.. "Will be speaking to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey this morning about bringing peace to the mess that I inherited in the Middle East. I will get it all done, but what a mistake, in lives and dollars (6 trillion), to be there in the first place!"

General Wesley Clark - seven countries in five years with Iran last on the list = "Get it all done"?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RC1Mepk_Sw

Jen | Nov 25, 2017 2:36:10 PM | 7
Surely by now Erdogan must realise that whatever the US President says and promises will be circumvented by the State Department, the Pentagon, the 17 US intel agencies (including the CIA and the NSA) and rogue individuals in these and other US government departments and agencies, and in Congress as well (Insane McCain comes to mind)? Not to mention the fact that the Israeli government and the pro-Israeli lobby on Capitol Hill exercise huge influence over sections of the US government.

If Erdogan hasn't figured out the schizoid behaviour of the US from past Turkish experience and the recent experience of Turkey's neighbours (and the Ukraine is one such neighbour), he must not be receiving good information.

Though as Jean says, perhaps Erdogan is giving the US one last chance to demonstrate that it has a coherent and reliable policy towards the Middle East.

Hausmeister | Nov 25, 2017 3:37:06 PM | 8
Jen | Nov 25, 2017 2:36:10 PM | 6

Well, the US policy has been coherent and reliable in the last years. It enhanced local conflicts, supported both sides at the same time but with different intensities. Whoever wins would be "our man". Old stuff since the Byzantine period. It always takes a lot of time to prove the single actions that were done. In most cases we learn about it years later. The delay is so big and unpleasant that quite a number of folks escapes to stupid narratives that explain everything in one step, and therefore nothing. By the way: is the interest of Kurds to remain under the umbrella of the Syrian state but not be governed by Baath type of Arabic nationalism illegitimate?

stonebird | Nov 25, 2017 3:44:32 PM | 9
How can Trump have his cake and eat it?

The Kurds (PKK basically) are only necessary to give a "face" to the force the US is trying to align in E. Syria. The "fighting" against ISIS (if there really was any) is coming to a close. The Chiefs of ISIS have been airlifted to somewhere nearby, and the foreign mercenary forces sent elsewhere by convoy. ALL the valuable personnel have now become "HTS2" with reversible vests. These, plus the US special forces are the basis of a new armed anti-Syrian force. (Note that one general let slip that there are 5'000 US forces in E-Syria - not the 500 spoken of in the MSM).
So Trump may well be correct in saying that the Kurds (specifically) will not get any more arms - because they have other demands and might make peace with the Syrian Government, to keep at least some part of their territorial gains. The ISIS "bretheren" and foreign mercenaries do not want any peaceful solution because it would mean their elimination.. So The CIA and Pentagon will probably continue arms supplies to "HTS2" - but not the Kurds.

(ex-ISIS members; Some are from Saudi Arabia, Qatar - the EU and the US, as well as parts of Russia and China. They are not farming types but will find themselves with some of the best arable land in Syria. Which belonged to Syrian-arabs-christians-Druzes-Yadzis etc. Who wil want their properties back.)

Note that the US forces at Tanf are deliberately not letting humanitarian help reach the nearby refugee camp. Starvation and deprivation will force many of the younger members to become US paid terrorists.

james | Nov 25, 2017 4:00:51 PM | 10
thanks b.. i tend to agree with @4 jean and @5 jen... the way i see it, there is either a real disconnect inside the usa where the president gets to say one thing, but another part of the establishment can do another, or trump has made his last lie to turkey here and turkey is going to say good bye to it's involvement with the usa in any way that can be trusted.. seems like some kind of internal usa conflict to me at this point, but maybe it is all smoke and mirrors to continue on with the same charade.. i mostly think internal usa conflict at this point..
A P | Nov 25, 2017 4:34:19 PM | 11
Odd that no one has mentioned the fact the US was behind the attempted coup, where Erdogan was on a plane with two rogue Syrian jets that stood down rather than execute the kill shot. I have read opinion that the fighter pilots were "lit up" by Russian missile batteries and informed by radio they would not survive unless they shut down their weapons targeting immediately. This is probably a favour Putin reminds Erdogan of on a regular basis, whenever Erdo tries to play Sultan. The attempted coup/asassination also shows Erdogan exactly how much he can trust the US/Zionists at any level.

And Edrogan must also know Syria was once at least partly in the US-orbit, as Syria was the destination for many well-documented US-ordered rendition/torture cases. It is probable Mossad (or their proxy thugs) killed Assad's father and older brother, so Erdo knows he's better relying on Putin than Trumpty Dumbdy.

Virgile | Nov 25, 2017 5:09:38 PM | 12
Erdogan is about to make a u-turn toward Syria. He is furious at Saudi Arabia for boycotting its ally Qatar, for talking about owning Sunni Islam and by the continuous support of Islamists and Sunni Kurds in Syria.
Erdogan is preparing the turkish public opinion to a shift away from the USA-Israeli axis. This may get him many points in the 2019 election if the war in Syria is stopped, most Syrian refugees are back, Turkish companies are involved in the reconstruction and the YPG neutralized. Erdogan has 1 year and half to make this to happen. For that he badly needs Bashar al Assad and his army on his side.

Therefore he is evaluating what is the next move and he needs to know where the USA is standing about Turkey and Syria. Until now the messages from the USA are contradictory yet Erdogan keeps telling his supporters that the USA is plotting against Turkey and against Islam. Erdogan's reputation also is been threatened by the outcome of Reza Zarrab's trial in the US where the corruption of his party may be exposed.

That is why Erdogan is making another check about the US intentions before Erdogan he starts the irreversible shift toward the Iran-Russia (+Qatar and Syria) axis.

dirtyoilandgas | Nov 25, 2017 6:13:37 PM | 13
missing in this analysis is oil gas ... producers, refiners, slavers, middle crooks, and the LNG crowd :Israel, Fracking, LNG and wall street... these are the underlying directing forces that will ultimately dictate when the outsiders have had enough fight against Assad over Assad's oil and Assad's refusal to allow outsiders to install their pipelines. Until then, gangland intelligence agencies will continue the divide, destroy and conquer strategies sufficient to keep the profits flowing. The politicians cannot move until the underlying corruptions resolve..
les7 | Nov 25, 2017 6:59:27 PM | 14
The word 'byzantine' has been used for centuries to describe the intricate and multi-leveled forms of agreement, betrayal, treachery and achievement among the shifting power brokers in the region. The US alone has three major and another three minor players at work - often fighting each other. If however, it thinks it can outplay people whose lives are steeped in such a living tradition, it is sadly deluded and will one day be in for a very rude surprise. Even the Russians have had difficulty navigating that maze.

When confronted with such a 'Gordian knot' of treachery and shifting alliances, Alexander the Great drew his sword and cut through it with a vision informed by the sage Socrates as taught by Aristotle.

Despite claiming to represent such a western heritage, the US has no such Socratic wisdom, no Aristotelian logic, and no visionary leadership that could enable it to do what Alexander did. Lacking this, it is destined to get lost in its' own hubris, and be consumed by our current version of that region's gordian knot.

flankerbandit | Nov 25, 2017 7:53:29 PM | 15
'Hausmaus' @7 says...
'...By the way: is the interest of Kurds to remain under the umbrella of the Syrian state but not be governed by Baath type of Arabic nationalism illegitimate?..'

...showing that he either knows only the crap spouted by wikipedia...or nothing at all about the Baath party...

...which happens to be a socialist and secular party interested in pan-Arab unity...not nationalism...[an obvious oxymoron to be pan-national and 'nationalist' at the same time...]

Of course there is always a 'better way'...right Hausmaus...?

The Baath socialism under Saddam in Iraq was no good for anyone we recall...especially women, students, sick people etc...

A 'better way' has since been installed and it is working beautifully...all can agree...

Same thing in Libya...where the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya was no good for anyone...

Of course everyone wanted the 'Better Way'...all those doctoral graduates with free education and guaranteed jobs...a standard of living better than some European countries...etc...

Again...removing the 'socialist' Kadafi has worked out wonderfully...

We now have black African slaves sold in open air markets...where before they did all the broom pushing that was beneath the dignity of the Libyan Arabs...

...and were quite happy to stay there and have a job and paycheck...instead of now flooding the shores of Italy in anything that can float...

Oh yes...why would anyone in Syria want to be governed by the socialist Baath party...?

...especially the Kurds...who just over the border in Turkey are not even recognized as humans...never mind speaking their own language...

Oh yes yes yes...we all want the 'Better Way'...

It's a question of legitimacy you see...

Daniel | Nov 25, 2017 7:55:00 PM | 16
I'd really hoped that Donald Trump® would be the "outsider" that both the MSM and he have been insisting he is for the past couple of years. Other than the Reality TV Show faux conflicts with which the MSM entertains us nightly, I see no such "rogue" Administration.

This say one thing, and do the other has been US foreign policy forever.

Recall, for instance that on February 21, 2014, Obama's State Department issued a statement hailing Ukrainian President Yanukovych for signing an agreement with the "pro-democracy Maidan Protest" leaders in which he acquiesced to all of their demands.

Then, on February 22, 2014, the US State Department cheered the "peaceful and Constitutional" coup after neo-nazis stormed the Parliament.

A few months later, Secretary of State Kerry hailed the Minsk Treaty to end the war in Ukraine. Later that day, Vickie Nuland said there was no way her Ukies would stop shelling civilians, and sure enough they didn't (until they'd been on the retreat for weeks, and came whimpering back to the negotiations table).

A couple years later, Kerry announced that the US and Russia would coordinate aerial assaults in Syria. The next day, "Defense" Secretary Carter said, "no way," and within a week or so, we "accidentally" bombed Syrian forces at Deir ez Zoir for over an hour.

From my perspective, they keep us chasing the next squirrel, while bickering amongst each other about each squirrel. But the wolves are still devouring the lambs, with only the Bear preventing a complete extinction.

flankerbandit | Nov 25, 2017 8:16:50 PM | 17
Some good comments here with food for thought...

What we know with at least some level of confidence...

Dump is not the 'decider'...the junta is...he's just a cardboard cutout sitting behind the oval office desk...

And he's got no one to blame but himself...he came in talking a big game about cleaning house and got himself cleaned out of being an actual president...

This was inevitable from the moment he caved on Flynn...the only person he didn't need to vet with the senate...and a position that wields a lot of power...

This was his undoing on many levels...not only because he faced a hostile deep state and even his own party in congress with no one by his side [other than Flynn]...

...but because it showed that he had no balls and would not stand by his man...

This is not the stuff leaders are made of...

The same BS we see with Turkey is playing out with Russia on the Ukraine issue...

Now the junta and their enablers in congress want to start sending offensive arms to Ukraine...Dump and his platitudes to Putin...no matter how much he may mean it...mean nothing...he's not in charge...

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/410942-trump-putin-friendly-words/

Yeah, Right | Nov 25, 2017 9:44:37 PM | 18
I think that Jean @4 has the best take on this: Erdoğan went very public on Trump's "promise" in a classic put-up-or-shut-up challenge to the USA.

Either the word of a POTUS means something or it doesn't, and if it doesn't then Turkey is going to join Russia in concluding that the USA as simply not-agreement-capable.

Erdoğan will then say "enough!!!", give the USA the two-finger-salute, and then take Turkey out of NATO.

And the best thing about it will be that McMaster, Kelly and Mathis will be so obsessed with playing their petty little games that they won't see it coming.

ritzl | Nov 25, 2017 11:08:38 PM | 19
It's hard to tell what Erdoğan is doing or intending other than that he is navigating something - objective TBD. It'll be interesting to see if he constrains the use of Incirlik airbase should the US keep arming the YPG/PKK forces. Airpower is the enabler (sole enabler, IMO) of the/any Kurdish overreach inside Syria. Seems like Erdoğan holds the ace card in this muddle but has yet to play it.
Grieved | Nov 25, 2017 11:32:17 PM | 20
@18 ritzl

Seems like Turkey has more than one card to play. A commenter on another site mentioned recently that the US really doesn't want Erdogan to have that S-400 system from Russia. Got me thinking, could Russia have deliberately loaded Erdogan's hand with that additional card to help him negotiate with the US?

Turkey may well leave NATO and as others have pointed out, this would be a game changer far beyond the matter of the US's illegal presence in NE Syria. This possibility brings immense existential gravitas to Erdogan's position right now. He could ask for many concessions at this point, not to leave. And from the Eurasian point of view, it doesn't matter if he leaves or stays, while from the western view, it matters greatly.

Would the US give up Syria, in order to keep Turkey in NATO? It's a western dichotomy, not one that affects Asia. It would be simple to throw S-400 at that dynamic to watch it squirm.

Jackrabbit | Nov 25, 2017 11:42:26 PM | 21
The plays the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King.

- Hamlet

As the endgame plays out, Erdogan's conscience may be revealed.

b has made the point that the partition that US-led proxy forces have carved out is unsustainable. But it would be sustainable if Erdogan can be convinced to allow trade via Turkey.

For that reason, I thought Trump's ceasing direct military aid to the Kurds made sense as it provided Erdogan with an excuse to allow land routes for trade/supply. Erdogan can argue that he wants to encourage such good behavior and doesn't want to make US an enemy (Turkey is still a NATO country).

Furthermore, I've always been suspicious of Erdogan's 'turn' toward Russia. Many have suspected that the attempted coup was staged by Erdogan (with CIA help?) so as to enable Erdogan to remain in office. IMO Erdogan joined the 'Assad must go!' effort not just because he benefited from the oil trade but because he leans toward Sunnis (Surely he was aware of the thinking that: the road to Tehran runs through Damascus .)

Hasn't Erdogan's vehement anti-Kurdish stance done R+6 a disservice? It seems to me that it has helped USA to convince Kurds to fight for them and has also been a convenient excuse for Erdogan to hold onto Idlib where al Queda forces have refuge. If Erdogan was really soooo angry with Washington, and soooo dependent on Moscow, then why not relax his anti-Kurdish stance so as to bring Kurds back into the Syrian orbit?

Seby | Nov 26, 2017 12:25:05 AM | 22
tRump just wants to hide the truth that he is castrated and with a tiny penis, like his hands.

Also just cares about money and soothing his narcissism. So f***'in American, in the worst sense!

Ian | Nov 26, 2017 12:29:05 AM | 23
Jackrabbit @20:
Erdogan may feel that if he relaxed his stance against the Syrian Kurds, it could embolden Turkish Kurds to further pursue their agenda. It would also make him appear weak towards his supporters.
Fernando Arauxo | Nov 26, 2017 1:45:51 AM | 24
Erdogan is NOT going to leave NATO. Why should he? It would be the stupidest chess move ever? He's in the club and they can't kick him out. He can cause all the trouble he wants and hobble that huge machine that is the western alliance. He will not get EU membership, but he has his NATO ID CARD and that ain't bad. Erdo now knows that the poor bastard Trumps is WORTHLESS that he is a toothless executive in name only. This is a wake up call, if I were Erdo, I would be very afraid of the USA and it's Syria, MENA policy. It is being run by LUNATICS and is a slow moving train wreak. So for now, Erdo must be looking at Moscow, admiring Putin for this is a man who has his shit together and truly knows how to run a country. Maybe even a sense of admiration and more respect for Putin is even present. If I were Erdo, I'd double down in my support for Russia's Syria policy.
Hausmeister | Nov 26, 2017 3:46:55 AM | 25
@ flankerbandit | Nov 25, 2017 7:53:29 PM | 14

You do not get it:
„...which happens to be a socialist and secular party interested in pan-Arab unity...not nationalism..."
According to this ideology the coherence of a society comes from where? And who is excluded if one applies it?
So your contribution is just a rant using rancidic rhetoric tools. But I will not call you „flunkerbandit". My advice is to move to this area and have a look into such a society from a more close position. Armchair type of vocal leadership does not help.

Anon | Nov 26, 2017 5:11:53 AM | 26
In the Obama years there was a:

Which policy is Trump really up against?

Jen | Nov 26, 2017 6:38:32 AM | 27
Anon @ 25: Tempted to say Trump is up against all of them plus NSA policy, FBI policy, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) policy and the policies of, what, 12 other intel agencies?
https://www.businessinsider.com.au/17-agencies-of-the-us-intelligence-community-2013-5?r=US&IR=T
Yeah, Right | Nov 26, 2017 7:27:43 AM | 28
@23 "Erdogan is NOT going to leave NATO. Why should he?"

I guess one possible reason would be this: as long as Turkey remains in NATO then he is obliged to allow a US military presence in his country, and that's just asking for another attempt at a military coup.

After all, wasn't Incirlik airbase a hotbed of coup-plotters during the last coup attempt?

arbetet | Nov 26, 2017 10:14:56 AM | 29
This came up:

SDF official: Kurds will join the Syrian Arab Army ranks!

Harry | Nov 26, 2017 10:33:01 AM | 30
@ arbetet | 29

"when the Syrian settlement is achieved, Syria's democratic forces will join the Syrian army."
"When the Syrian state stabilizes, we can say that the Americans did what they said, then withdraw as they did in Iraq and set a date for their departure and leave."

Nothing new here, nothing good either. Kurds so far are keeping up their demands of de-facto independence under fig-leaf of "we are part of federalised Syria" with weak central government and autonomous Kurds. Thats how US plan to castrate Syria. Russia offered cultural autonomy, Kurds rejected.

As for Americans "withdrawing" willfully, it never happened. Iraq had to kick them out, and then US used ISIS and Kurds to get back in.

As for Syria's stabilization part, US is doing everything in its power to prevent it.

dan of steele | Nov 26, 2017 11:00:06 AM | 31
@Yeah Right #26
Turkey is not obliged to keep foreign troops in their country to remain in NATO. De Gaulle invited the US to leave France in 1967 but is still a member of NATO
Yeah, Right | Nov 26, 2017 5:18:37 PM | 32
@31 France actually withdrew from NATO in 1966. It remained "committed" to the collective defence of western Europe, without being, you know, "committed" to it.

So, yeah, France kicked all the foreign troops out of France in 1967, precisely because its withdrawal from NATO's Integrated Military Command meant that the French were no longer under any obligation to allow NATO troops on its soil.

But France had to formally withdraw from that Command first, and the reason that de Gaulle gave for withdrawing were exactly that: remaining meant ceding sovereignty to a supra-national organization i.e. NATO Integrated Military Command.

That France retained "membership" of NATO's political organizations even after that withdrawal was little more than a fig-leaf.

After all, NATO's purpose isn't "political", it is "military".

fast freddy | Nov 26, 2017 6:21:33 PM | 33
"The Decider" is Trump's apparent self image. He can't be enjoying the Presidency and the controls exerted upon him by others among the "Deep State" (whom I suppose have effectively cowed him into behaving via serious threats).

If he already had money and power, as it appears that he had, he gained little by taking the crown. He has less power because he is now controlled by a number of forces (CIA, NSA, Media, MIC and etc.) as he remains under constant assault by his natural opposition.

Big mistake dumping Flynn.

Now you take another kind of asshole in the person of Obama - a guy that had nothing - you have a malleable character who enjoys the pomp and circumstance. Really didn't need any persuading to do anything required of him.

psychohistorian | Nov 26, 2017 11:30:16 PM | 34
Here is a recent report from the Turkish Prime Minister supporting Trump's "lie" about ending support for the Kurds....what will history show occured?

ISTANBUL, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Sunday that his country is expecting the United States to end its partnership with the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military wing, the People's Protection Units (YPG).

"Since the very beginning, we have said that it is wrong for the U.S. to partner with PKK's cousin PYD and YPG in the fight against Daesh (Islamic State) terrorist group," Yildirim told the press in Istanbul prior to his departure for Britain.

Ankara sees the Kurdish groups as an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fighting against the Turkish government for over 30 years, while Washington regards them as a reliable ground force against the Islamic State (IS), also known as Daesh.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday spoke to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the phone, pledging not to provide weapons to the YPG any more, an irritant that has hurt bilateral ties, according to the Turkish side.

Yildirim noted that Washington has described it as an obligation rather than an option to support the Kurdish groups on the ground. "But since Daesh (IS) is now eliminated then this obligation has disappeared," he added.

Julian | Nov 27, 2017 12:47:45 AM | 35
It would be nice if Erdogan when withdrawing from NATO (Assuming he does this in the next 12-18 months) would say something like.
"We really like President Trump - and we trust his word implicitly. The problem is, although we trust his word, we know he is not in control so his word is useless and best ignored. Though of course - we still trust he means well."

That would be a nice backhander to hear from Erdopig.

Quentin | Nov 27, 2017 8:48:51 AM | 36
Speculation about Turkey leaving NATO seems farfetched. Turkey has NATO over a barrel. It has been a member for decades and what would it gain by leaving? Nothing. By staying it continues to influence and needle at the same time. Turkey will only leave when NATO throws it out, which isn't going to happen.
Willy2 | Nov 27, 2017 11:53:09 AM | 37
- According to Sibel Edmonds there're 2 coups being prepared. One against Trump and one against Erdogan.

[Nov 16, 2017] Is Donald Trump the New Mikhail Gorbachev

Perestroika and Trump_vs_deep_state has one important thing in common -- they arose out of deep crisis of the Soviet Society and the US neoliberal society, correspondingly
Notable quotes:
"... The reasoning of Gorbachev's program of perestroika -- as an attempt to both transcend tired Soviet orthodoxies while remaining loyal to the underlying assumptions of the regime -- also explains the attraction of Trump_vs_deep_state to many conservative intellectuals, voters, and activists. Trump_vs_deep_state gives its followers the allure of reckoning with the conservative movement's inadequacies while remaining faithful to its underlying assumptions about economics and the role of the state. ..."
"... For all its recklessness, it is this faction of Right that has indeed grappled with a nation whose poor- and lower-middle class face the erosion of both wages and a formerly rich institutional fabric ..."
"... When Bannon calls for Americans to understand themselves as citizens with "certain responsibilities and obligations," it's a subtle -- if incomplete and disingenuous -- recognition that the vocabulary of "liquid modernity" cannot rescue us from the very fruits it created. ..."
"... The Hayekian claim that any language of social justice commences a perilous journey towards serfdom was perhaps necessary to combat midcentury sirens of collectivism. But today it is more often representative of an age fearful of placing demanding claims upon our lives ..."
"... Someone else at TAC asked a similar question, and the answer is, no: Trump is no Gorbachev. If anything he is our Boris Yeltsin. And no, that is not intended as a compliment. MEOW , says: November 15, 2017 at 12:07 am Good points. Gorby was a realist like the Chinese. They could not depress a people's living standards with an inferior system of exchange, production, and distribution. The word was out about living standard differences. The one-world movement is very different. It means to disable all our traditions and differences (Happy Holidays for Merry Christmas – rewriting history etc) in order to allow a different cabal to prevail in this artificially created vacuum. Mac61 , says: November 15, 2017 at 6:46 am Gorbachev said we must set aside all ideology and look at all things through the light of morality. Trump is not capable of that. Bannon tried to ally Trump_vs_deep_state with Judeo-Christian morality. That project seems incomplete at the moment. Egypt Steve , says: November 15, 2017 at 9:26 am I suppose if you compare any two things, you can find some points of similarity somewhere. M1798 , says: November 15, 2017 at 9:32 am You ask for a more expansive welfare state, but didn't Make the case that our current welfare state does any public good. Food stamps and disability payments subsidize mothers to not keep the father around and fathers to not work to provide for their families. We have job training programs, yet you fail to make the case that they serve any long term good. And even our most popular welfare programs, social security and Medicare, are financially unsustainable. You wrote this article as if the GOP has legislated in the same way as their rhetoric, yet the we saw the failure to repeal Obamacare as proof that this isn't true. Dan Green , says: November 15, 2017 at 9:39 am I subscribe to what Hayek coined, the road to serfdom. Once The Social Democratic Welfare State is fully implemented , as we witness today, the state cannot make it work. Currently the model is subsidized with debt. John , says: November 15, 2017 at 10:49 am If there were an award in journalism for the hottest of takes, this might be a strong finalist for this year's. Otherwise LOL. vern , says: November 15, 2017 at 11:38 am Trump is none of the above. His only purpose in government was for his own ego gratification and to increase his wealth. He is a puppet for whoever is close enough for him to pull his strings. His favorite world leaders all happen to be autocrats who care little about civil liberties or human rights. He cares about wins and losses (ego) He is not religious, it is just a smoke screen he has put up so he can hide his worse tendencies and use it to block criticism. spite , says: November 15, 2017 at 11:57 am People that write these kind of articles just never get it (actually they probably do but cannot say these things openly). It has to do with race, whether you like this reason or not – this is the underlying fundamental issue at play here. Being replaced by another people is not going to sit well with some, one would think this is stating the obvious but it seems that the fear to broach this topic makes people come up with all kinds of reasonings that simply do not admit the truth of this. I know that anything to do with race causes so called conservatives to have abject fear (even this comment has a high chance of being censored), but you simply cannot ignore this anymore. Alex , says: November 15, 2017 at 11:59 am Oh, please. I am from the former Soviet Union. I know who Gorbachev was. He was a democrat, Trump is a dictator. Gorbachev was able to talk and listen to people, Trump is very good in insulting and blaming people. I can continue forever. They have nothing in common as human beings. connecticut farmer , says: November 15, 2017 at 12:34 pm " in which the state is again recognized as a limited but essential expression of our shared life together, where we are members not just of a market but a "great common enterprise" in which solidarity and justice are indeed tangible things." This phrase unfortunately constitutes a blemish on an otherwise fine and thoughtful article. Exactly what does the phrase "limited but essential expression of our shared life together" mean? "Limited" by what? What "great common enterprise"? What "solidarity"? Ours is a country where commonality of purpose–to the extent that it has ever existed in the first place– appears to be vanishing at an exponential level. Lots of questions. No answers. polistra , says: November 15, 2017 at 1:10 pm Obama is more like Gorbachev. The last attempt to rebrand the old system, hoping to make it more palatable. Trump may turn out to be more like Yeltsin if he starts doing SOMETHING. So far the fake image of "Trump" is causing all sorts of reactions and changes, but the actual Trump has done nothing at all. He just emits meaningless noises, handing his enemies free ammunition. ..."
Nov 16, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com
TAC' s own Rod Dreher recently highlighted an American professor's exchange with an African diplomat, who compared Donald Trump to Mikhail Gorbachev. Just as the last Soviet premier unwittingly became "the man who destroyed a superpower," Trump in this view is recklessly squandering the United States' global position. But upon reflection, the analogy holds for another reason: Whatever Trump's own mixture of "irritable mental gestures," Trump_vs_deep_state -- as articulated by Steve Bannon, Laura Ingraham, Michael Anton & Company -- can be read as a sort of perestroika for the American Right.

A reader may naturally look warily at the comparison. Can one discern a link between the rhetoric of Breitbart and Gorbachev's exhortation, "to reject obedience to any dogma, to think independently, to submit one's thoughts and plans of action to the test of morality"? However reaching, the comparison may allow us to discern why debates over immigration and trade now capture the conservative imagination in a way not reducible to "white identity politics" or reflexive loyalty to the president.

The reasoning of Gorbachev's program of perestroika -- as an attempt to both transcend tired Soviet orthodoxies while remaining loyal to the underlying assumptions of the regime -- also explains the attraction of Trump_vs_deep_state to many conservative intellectuals, voters, and activists. Trump_vs_deep_state gives its followers the allure of reckoning with the conservative movement's inadequacies while remaining faithful to its underlying assumptions about economics and the role of the state. The appeal of nationalist rhetoric is not reducible to nativism, though it might be for some. Instead, Bannon's program offers conservatives a safe exit ramp from self-critical thinking, allowing them to both grapple with an erosion of work and community among America's economic losers, while maintaining most of an existing right-wing economic program.

In a 1987 message to the Communist Party's Central Committee, Gorbachev flaunted the Soviet order for its "conservative inclinations, inertia, and desire to brush aside everything that didn't fit into habitual patterns." This is the same critique offered by the Jacksonian Right of the conservative establishment. "The whole enterprise of Conservative Inc.," wrote Michael Anton in his famous "Flight 93 Election" essay, "reeks of failure. Its sole recent and ongoing success is its own self-preservation."

For all its recklessness, it is this faction of Right that has indeed grappled with a nation whose poor- and lower-middle class face the erosion of both wages and a formerly rich institutional fabric Laura Ingraham's description of "a working class hammered by globalization" would not seem foreign to readers of Our Kids, Hillbilly Elegy, or Janesville . At its most tone-deaf, the Right responds with incantations to "rekindle the rugged individualism of America's founding, frontiers, and Constitution." But even those on the center-right with sincere empathy frequently offer only small-ball politics. For all their merits , a modest increase of the Child Tax Credit, repeal of occupational licensing, vouchers for improved geographic mobility, and moral exhortations for coastal elites to escape their bubble do not match the gravity of the moment. In a certain way, the Bannonite call for the wall and ripping up trade agreements is a rebellion against a purely technocratic politics without boldness of purpose. When Bannon calls for Americans to understand themselves as citizens with "certain responsibilities and obligations," it's a subtle -- if incomplete and disingenuous -- recognition that the vocabulary of "liquid modernity" cannot rescue us from the very fruits it created.

Trade and immigration are becoming the signature benchmarks for this new movement. Yet the Jacksonian shift allows conservatives to still maintain their aversion to a strong, active welfare state, an institution all other Western center-right parties have come to terms with. Limiting the fluid movement of goods and people, in this view, will accomplish the same goals as a state modeled on social or Christian-democratic purposes: We do not need to expand child tax credits or pursue ambitious investments of retraining and vocational education. All our struggling labor markets demand is "stopping the importation of cheap labor." At the same time, we can press ahead to repeal Obamacare and the tentacles of the administrative state, for economic nationalism can ameliorate our social problems far better than any program arising out of the Washington cesspool. Perhaps this strategy explains why, according to Pew Research , the president maintains far more support among "Core Conservatives" than "Country First" and "Market Skeptic" Republicans. The Trump revolution is ultimately not a decisive schism from old-time William F. Buckley-style fusionism, no matter what both supporters and Never Trumpers allege.

Systematic free-marketers may point out accurately how Trump_vs_deep_state can be just as economically redistributive as any welfare program. This is all true, but to most conservative activists, all this subtle redistribution and subsidizing looks far more hidden than paid-family leave or public investments in early childhood or prenatal care. In other words, Trump_vs_deep_state's attraction derives not from its wholesale rejection of traditional American conservatism, but its potential to keep its core tenets of the right alive -- even as neoliberalism's inadequacies suggest what is needed is a more vigorous discussion of what conservatism means in the public sphere.

If Trump_vs_deep_state's fundamental attraction to most conservative writers and activists derives from its ability to revise but sustain their movement, it is difficult to see how it will be to evolve into a credible governing program. This is not because a more hawkish line on immigration and trade is a fundamental betrayal of the "liberal world order." Indeed, one need only read Paul Collier George Borjas Michael Lind , Peter Skerry , or Dani Rodrik to find sustained, reasonable critiques of the establishment consensus on these matters.

But none of these authors would present their heterodox dissents as singular solutions for restoring the American (or Western) social contract. Just as Gorbachev's ambition was not to revitalize Russia but the Soviet Union, so is Trump_vs_deep_state not a program to save the Republic, or even a more narrow "Middle America." Despite the Jacobin rhetoric, the Trump_vs_deep_state of Bannon, Anton, and Ingraham is ultimately a rearguard maneuver to preserve a conservative movement whose even devoted partisans recognize has not aged gracefully since 1989. To keep it alive, wrecking the "globalist" consensus on immigration and trade must be pursued, regardless of the absence of any discernible benefit for the white working class.

What would a true revolution for American conservatism look like? It should start with the (early) thought of George Will, who wrote in the New Republic that, "if conservatism is to engage itself with the way we live now, it must address government's graver purposes with an affirmative doctrine of the welfare state." Conservatives must "come to terms with a social reality more complex than their slogans," where equality of opportunity is assumed as given. The Hayekian claim that any language of social justice commences a perilous journey towards serfdom was perhaps necessary to combat midcentury sirens of collectivism. But today it is more often representative of an age fearful of placing demanding claims upon our lives .

The Right must again recover the wisdom held by Disraeli, Churchill, and the (early) domestic neoconservatives, in which the state is again recognized as a limited but essential expression of our shared life together, where we are members not just of a market but a "great common enterprise" in which solidarity and justice are indeed tangible things. Accepting this truth will be a harder project than tightening the border and combating Chinese mercantilism, worthy though such things may be. But it will be far more revolutionary, even historic, than anything the present Trumpian revolution offers.

David Jimenez, a recent graduate of Bowdoin College and a Fulbright Scholar in Romania, works on campus outreach at a Washington think-tank.

EngineerScotty , says: November 14, 2017 at 11:22 pm

Someone else at TAC asked a similar question, and the answer is, no: Trump is no Gorbachev. If anything he is our Boris Yeltsin.

And no, that is not intended as a compliment.

MEOW , says: November 15, 2017 at 12:07 am
Good points. Gorby was a realist like the Chinese. They could not depress a people's living standards with an inferior system of exchange, production, and distribution. The word was out about living standard differences. The one-world movement is very different. It means to disable all our traditions and differences (Happy Holidays for Merry Christmas – rewriting history etc) in order to allow a different cabal to prevail in this artificially created vacuum.
Mac61 , says: November 15, 2017 at 6:46 am
Gorbachev said we must set aside all ideology and look at all things through the light of morality. Trump is not capable of that. Bannon tried to ally Trump_vs_deep_state with Judeo-Christian morality. That project seems incomplete at the moment.
Egypt Steve , says: November 15, 2017 at 9:26 am
I suppose if you compare any two things, you can find some points of similarity somewhere.
M1798 , says: November 15, 2017 at 9:32 am
You ask for a more expansive welfare state, but didn't Make the case that our current welfare state does any public good. Food stamps and disability payments subsidize mothers to not keep the father around and fathers to not work to provide for their families. We have job training programs, yet you fail to make the case that they serve any long term good. And even our most popular welfare programs, social security and Medicare, are financially unsustainable. You wrote this article as if the GOP has legislated in the same way as their rhetoric, yet the we saw the failure to repeal Obamacare as proof that this isn't true.
Dan Green , says: November 15, 2017 at 9:39 am
I subscribe to what Hayek coined, the road to serfdom. Once The Social Democratic Welfare State is fully implemented , as we witness today, the state cannot make it work. Currently the model is subsidized with debt.
John , says: November 15, 2017 at 10:49 am
If there were an award in journalism for the hottest of takes, this might be a strong finalist for this year's. Otherwise LOL.
vern , says: November 15, 2017 at 11:38 am
Trump is none of the above. His only purpose in government was for his own ego gratification and to increase his wealth.

He is a puppet for whoever is close enough for him to pull his strings. His favorite world leaders all happen to be autocrats who care little about civil liberties or human rights.

He cares about wins and losses (ego) He is not religious, it is just a smoke screen he has put up so he can hide his worse tendencies and use it to block criticism.

spite , says: November 15, 2017 at 11:57 am
People that write these kind of articles just never get it (actually they probably do but cannot say these things openly). It has to do with race, whether you like this reason or not – this is the underlying fundamental issue at play here. Being replaced by another people is not going to sit well with some, one would think this is stating the obvious but it seems that the fear to broach this topic makes people come up with all kinds of reasonings that simply do not admit the truth of this. I know that anything to do with race causes so called conservatives to have abject fear (even this comment has a high chance of being censored), but you simply cannot ignore this anymore.
Alex , says: November 15, 2017 at 11:59 am
Oh, please. I am from the former Soviet Union. I know who Gorbachev was. He was a democrat, Trump is a dictator. Gorbachev was able to talk and listen to people, Trump is very good in insulting and blaming people. I can continue forever. They have nothing in common as human beings.
connecticut farmer , says: November 15, 2017 at 12:34 pm
" in which the state is again recognized as a limited but essential expression of our shared life together, where we are members not just of a market but a "great common enterprise" in which solidarity and justice are indeed tangible things."

This phrase unfortunately constitutes a blemish on an otherwise fine and thoughtful article. Exactly what does the phrase "limited but essential expression of our shared life together" mean? "Limited" by what? What "great common enterprise"? What "solidarity"? Ours is a country where commonality of purpose–to the extent that it has ever existed in the first place– appears to be vanishing at an exponential level.

Lots of questions. No answers.

polistra , says: November 15, 2017 at 1:10 pm
Obama is more like Gorbachev. The last attempt to rebrand the old system, hoping to make it more palatable. Trump may turn out to be more like Yeltsin if he starts doing SOMETHING. So far the fake image of "Trump" is causing all sorts of reactions and changes, but the actual Trump has done nothing at all. He just emits meaningless noises, handing his enemies free ammunition.
grumpy realist , says: November 15, 2017 at 2:30 pm
Gorbachev had brains. Trump has none, and is very easily manipulated by anyone who points a camera at him and tells him how great he is.

If you don't believe me, look at how the Chinese manipulated Trump on this last trip to Asia.

Ken Zaretzke , says: November 15, 2017 at 6:22 pm
"For all its recklessness, it is this faction of Right that has indeed grappled with a nation whose poor- and lower-middle class face the erosion of both wages and a formerly rich institutional fabric."

But Trump might already be betraying it, as this article on banking (de)regulation suggests. It doesn't bode will for what the tax reform bill would mean for the 80% in the bottom quintiles of the population.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/15/business/bank-regulation.html

S T Lakshmikumar , says: November 15, 2017 at 8:36 pm
Unfortunately the entrenched social democratic welfare state will not lead to serfdom but to a dysfunctional society. This is the lesson from independent india which has no political party representing individualistic policies. The current Hindu nationalist party in power caters to Hindu sentiments but a redistributive economic policy. As an outsider i see USA following the same path with islands of functionality sustaining barely, the rest. Hopefully the author would join in a length discussion with me on this

[Nov 12, 2017] Trump is not the brightest bulb and he is not well informed. I dislike nearly all of his policies.

There is some important to note "cognitive dissonance" here: if Trump is as stupid as appears from his current policies why in the past he was insightful enough to understand important events in proper light? Something here does not compute...
Notable quotes:
"... Trump was bright enough to build up a billion dollar business empire, to win the Republican nomination against the wishes of most the the Republican establishment, and to win the election over the Clinton/Establishment machine. ..."
"... He was bright enough to note immediately after the 9/11 false flag the absurdity of aspects of what became the official narrative; ..."
"... And his anti-NWO strong emphasis on national sovereignty, and upon taking office his immediate repudiation of the nation-state disempowering and democracy-defeating TPP, are imo evidence of combining bright and gutsy. ..."
"... And he has been bright and gutsy enough to directly take on mass media bs and to call out, as no other promenent person has, the 'fake news', the mass media propaganda system; and playfully, and rather brightly, offers his direct line to the public via twitter. ..."
"... And along with Putin, Trump has earned more mass media and establishment invective, attacks, and condemnation than just about anyone in my living memory. So he must be doing something right. ..."
"... When someone is referred to as "not the brightest bulb", this is a cliché way of denoting stupidity in someone else, but it is a often a somewhat perilous joust, suggesting a suspect self-inflation. As far as not being well informed, that of course depends on what specific matters are being referred to. It has been said that a bunch of highly intelligent people with access to all sorts of information bombed Indochina mercilessly for years; for. as the highly intelligent and overflowing with information Dr. Kissinger noted, basically nothing. ..."
"... I listened to Trump carefully during his campaign speeches. He'd deliver a long "stream of consciousness" sentence that seemed to go all over the place. But when he'd finished the sentence you realised he'd in fact covered all the points he needed to make. And had done so while at the same time picking up and factoring in the audience response. I think he may be very bright indeed and quick on his feet. ..."
"... His policies? I think we have to accept one unpalatable fact. An American politician who doesn't ostentatiously support Israel doesn't get to be an American politician, if that's not a circular way of saying it. Since that to a lesser extent is the case in England as well - you saw the trouble Corbyn got into recently - one either has to isolate oneself from political discussion or just accept that most politicians of any importance here or in the States will be defective in that respect. That sounds heartless, given what the Palestinians are going through, and given what Israel's neighbours are going through; but ceasing to strive for a little because we cannot have more is even less acceptable. ..."
"... One final point. You've seen the re-election in Germany of Mrs Merkel - no idea how since none of the people I meet in Germany would have dreamed of voting for her, but she's still there. You've seen a dead-beat government elected in the UK as well. And in France you've seen the election of Macron! In America that pattern was broken. I think it might have been a fluke - I have relatives in the States who are dyed in the wool Democrats but who just couldn't stomach the candidate they put up, and it seems there were many like them. But fluke or not they now have a President who, judging by the way they attack him, is an opponent of the type of policies that have led us to our present pass. He seems to have pretty well the entire American establishment and the media against him so he may not get that far. But surely a slim chance of getting out of the hopeless mess that is our politics in the West at present is better that the certainly of sinking further into it? ..."
Nov 12, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Trump was bright enough to build up a billion dollar business empire, to win the Republican nomination against the wishes of most the the Republican establishment, and to win the election over the Clinton/Establishment machine.

He was bright enough to note immediately after the 9/11 false flag the absurdity of aspects of what became the official narrative; and for example to question the safety of the deluge of vaccines that kids especially are being subjected to, while simultaneously there is an unprecedented 'epidemic' of autism and asthma in children.

And his anti-NWO strong emphasis on national sovereignty, and upon taking office his immediate repudiation of the nation-state disempowering and democracy-defeating TPP, are imo evidence of combining bright and gutsy.

And he has been bright and gutsy enough to directly take on mass media bs and to call out, as no other promenent person has, the 'fake news', the mass media propaganda system; and playfully, and rather brightly, offers his direct line to the public via twitter.

And along with Putin, Trump has earned more mass media and establishment invective, attacks, and condemnation than just about anyone in my living memory. So he must be doing something right.

When someone is referred to as "not the brightest bulb", this is a cliché way of denoting stupidity in someone else, but it is a often a somewhat perilous joust, suggesting a suspect self-inflation. As far as not being well informed, that of course depends on what specific matters are being referred to. It has been said that a bunch of highly intelligent people with access to all sorts of information bombed Indochina mercilessly for years; for. as the highly intelligent and overflowing with information Dr. Kissinger noted, basically nothing.

EnglishOutsider | Nov 11, 2017 7:15:21 PM | 26
"Trump is not the brightest bulb and he is not well informed. I dislike nearly all of his policies."

"b" - I listened to Trump carefully during his campaign speeches. He'd deliver a long "stream of consciousness" sentence that seemed to go all over the place. But when he'd finished the sentence you realised he'd in fact covered all the points he needed to make. And had done so while at the same time picking up and factoring in the audience response. I think he may be very bright indeed and quick on his feet.

Not well informed? I can't argue with that, not after Khan Shaykhun, but the same blanket of misinformation that covers almost all of us in Europe or the States will presumably cover New York property developers. In the echo chamber that is Washington DC I doubt there's much chance of remedying that. I speak to responsible well-educated people regularly whose knowledge of what is happening abroad you would condemn as pitifully inadequate. Rightfully so. Those of you who have a more accurate idea of the facts are few, and those of us who hear you are also in a tiny minority. That's a fact of life and we can no more condemn Trump for being ill-informed than we can the most of your and my neighbours.

I pin my hopes on the fact that he does have a good intuition and is, as I say, quick on his feet. With such a person reality has a better chance of getting through than it would with the usual tunnel vision politician.

His policies? I think we have to accept one unpalatable fact. An American politician who doesn't ostentatiously support Israel doesn't get to be an American politician, if that's not a circular way of saying it. Since that to a lesser extent is the case in England as well - you saw the trouble Corbyn got into recently - one either has to isolate oneself from political discussion or just accept that most politicians of any importance here or in the States will be defective in that respect. That sounds heartless, given what the Palestinians are going through, and given what Israel's neighbours are going through; but ceasing to strive for a little because we cannot have more is even less acceptable.

His other policies? You do not write on the economy on your site. The European economies, that of the UK in particular, and the American economy, are in a bad way. Urgently so. I can therefore only put forward as a view that the solutions proposed by Trump in 2016 offered the only chance, if a slim one, of turning that round.

One final point. You've seen the re-election in Germany of Mrs Merkel - no idea how since none of the people I meet in Germany would have dreamed of voting for her, but she's still there. You've seen a dead-beat government elected in the UK as well. And in France you've seen the election of Macron! In America that pattern was broken. I think it might have been a fluke - I have relatives in the States who are dyed in the wool Democrats but who just couldn't stomach the candidate they put up, and it seems there were many like them. But fluke or not they now have a President who, judging by the way they attack him, is an opponent of the type of policies that have led us to our present pass. He seems to have pretty well the entire American establishment and the media against him so he may not get that far. But surely a slim chance of getting out of the hopeless mess that is our politics in the West at present is better that the certainly of sinking further into it?

Peter AU 1 | Nov 11, 2017 6:37:08 PM | 23
karlof1 20

If by chance Trump or anyone is genuine about taking down the deep state, they cannot do it by running around in a pathetic attempt trying to fix small issues.

They would have to leave the machine to carry on as normal and go for its foundations. I thought about this months ago, and now looking at the latest events, this could be what is happening.

[Nov 02, 2017] The Democratic Law Firm Behind the Russian Collusion Narrative by Scott Ritter

The real question is so much Russian influence as the US intelligence agencies influence on 2016 presidential elections. Brennan in particular. He bet of Hillary Clinton and lost. After that he was instrumental in launching "color revolution" against Trump. In which the the critical step was to appoint "special prosecutor".
Notable quotes:
"... But even more is emerging that could take the Russia story in a totally new direction -- namely that the infamous dossier compiled by former British Secret Intelligence Service officer Christopher Steele was bought and paid for by a law firm , Perkins Coie, working on behalf of both the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC). ..."
"... The extent to which the Steele Dossier influenced the intelligence underpinning Mueller's probe has yet to be determined with any certainty. In January, the U.S. intelligence community published the unclassified ICA, which was derived from a compilation of intelligence reports and assessments conducted by the FBI, CIA, and NSA. Many of the allegations made in the ICA mirror reporting contained in the Steele Dossier. So striking are the similarities that there are real concerns among some senior Republican lawmakers that the ICA merely reflects "echoes" of the Steele Dossier reported back via liaison with foreign intelligence services who had access to it (namely the British Secret Intelligence Service) or whose own sources were also utilized by Steele. ..."
"... An examination of the nexus between the dossier and the publication of the Russian ICA, however, shows that Litt was less than truthful in his denials. Material from the Steele Dossier was, in fact, shared with the FBI and U.S. intelligence community in July of 2016, and seems to have been the driving force behind the intelligence briefings provided to the so-called Gang of Eight who served as the initial impetus for an investigation into Russian meddling that eventually morphed into the 2017 Russian ICA. ..."
"... Moreover, while Perkins Coie had its hands all over the dossier, it was also massaging the Russian hack narrative for mainstream media primetime. ..."
"... The political law practice of Perkins Coie was started in 1981 under the leadership of Bob Bauer , who went on to become the White House Counsel to President Barack Obama. Today, the practice is headed by Marc Elias , who has been described as "the Democrats' go-to attorney an indispensable figure in the party." Elias oversees the work of 18 attorneys representing nearly every Democratic senator, as well as the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and Hillary for America, which oversaw the Clinton campaign. ..."
"... Sussman, after coordinating with Wasserman-Schultz, approached the FBI and tried to get them to publicly attribute the intrusion to Russia. ..."
"... When the FBI refused, citing a need to gain access to the DNC servers before it could make that call, Sussman balked and, again with the full support of the DNC, instead coordinated a massive publicity effort intended to link Russia to the DNC breach through an exclusive to the Washington Pos t ..."
"... According to the Washington Post , in early August 2016, the CIA director John Brennan came into possession of "sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladimir Putin's direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race." This intelligence was briefed to the Gang of Eight. Almost immediately, information derived from this briefing began to leak to the media. "Russia's hacking appeared aimed at helping Mr. Trump win the November election," officials with knowledge of Brennan's intelligence told the New York Times . The intelligence, referred to as "bombshell," allegedly "captured Putin's specific instructions on the operation's audacious objectives -- defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump." ..."
"... The question is was the investigation supposed to uncover whatever it uncovere, or was it supposed to fabricate the discovery? If it was fabrication, yes, they should be condemned. ..."
"... My best guess is that some part of the US intelligence community is involved in the election manipulation. Overthrowing foreign governments or undermining the EU is one thing, colluding with a foreign power to manipulate the US election is quite another. Note, by the way, the absence of any reference to George Papadopulous or Viktor Yanukovych. ..."
"... But it is obvious that most of the Beltway including the spook world badly wants a proxy war with Russia, Iran, and Syria. As usual we are killing people overseas under Presidents of both parties and as usual the United States of narcissism can only complain about what dastardly foreigners allegedly did to us. ..."
"... Someone help me out here. If Clinton (or her very close associates) pay huge bucks to Russians to get dirt (even if it is made up dirt) on Trump, that is good, because it hurts Trump. But if Trump associates simply have conversations with Russians, full stop (cf. Michael Flynn, or anyone else who spoke with the Russian ambassador), that is criminal. Is this not sort of a double standard? ..."
"... We're expected to believe Crowdstrike's report on Russian hacking but we can't examine the evidence. We're expected to believe that Perkins Coie went rogue and decided to spend $12 million without informing any of its clients. ..."
"... What a bunch of hogwash. There's a cover up here, but it's not what the complicit media is portraying. The cover up is of the past 8 years of misdeeds by the Deep State, the Clintons and the Obama Administration. ..."
"... I think the story is even more obvious than this. They wanted to spy on aspects of the Trump campaign but they legally couldn't. The FBI told them they needed a reason to tap the phones and read the mail. They paid a guy to put together a dossier that would allow them to get FISA warrants to do the spying they wanted to do illegally. They just needed the dossier to say certain things to get it past a FISA judge. They did this and tapped his phones and read his emails and texts for the purpose of beating him in the election. It is really that simple of a story. ..."
"... Given Hillary's past pay to play lobbying and her disregard for national security, it would seem appropriate to have investigate if members of the Clinton campaign had contacts with the Russian Ambassador or Russian "operatives. We now know that the dossier relied on collaboration with Russian officials. ..."
"... In my opinion, Mueller has disgraced his former and present positions by collaborating in this conjured affair that obfuscates the real crimes occurring during the Obama administration. ..."
"... Crooked Hillary and her klan never thought for a second they wouldn't be able to cover up democrat crimes. The Clinton Crime Family is in full panic mode. No one seems to remember why Mueller quit as director of the FBI. He was disgusted by the Obama administration covering up lawlessness. ..."
"... Why didn't the FBI insist on examining the DNC servers? Something's not right. ..."
"... I voted for Clinton, but as the lesser evil on various issues, chiefly domestic and environmental. Clinton is not in Putin's pocket. She is in the pocket of Netanyahu, and the Saudis. Trump doesn't really seem to be in Putin's pocket -- he has neocons and others working hard to ensure that he gets into a confrontation with Iran. Basically he too is in the pocket of the Israelis and the Saudis. ..."
"... The mainstream ignores this. The countries with real influence on our policies don't have to favor one party over the other. They have them both in their pocket. ..."
"... As time goes on, I don't think Russia "meddled" in US elections as much as US politicians of both parties corruptly attempted to rig the elections. Seems to me that the demonization of Russia is bi-partisan because the US military industrial complex needs a "bogey man" to justify its billions$$$$ and just about ALL politicians need that money to stay in power. ..."
Oct 31, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Democratic Law Firm Behind the Russian Collusion Narrative How a high-powered practice contracted oppo-research on Trump -- and then pushed a hack story.

Credit: Shutterstock/ Mark Van Scyoc The ongoing investigation headed by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller into alleged collusion between the campaign of then-candidate Donald Trump and the Russian government has moved into a new phase, with a focus on purported money laundering. On Monday, indictments were filed against former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his longtime associate Rick Gates.

But even more is emerging that could take the Russia story in a totally new direction -- namely that the infamous dossier compiled by former British Secret Intelligence Service officer Christopher Steele was bought and paid for by a law firm , Perkins Coie, working on behalf of both the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

The current controversy isn't so much over the contents of the dossier -- despite some of the reporting, none of the relevant claims contained within have been verified. Rather, the issue in question is how opposition research derived from foreign intelligence sources and paid for by the Clinton campaign and the DNC ended up influencing the decision to prepare the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, the contents of that assessment, and the subsequent investigations by the U.S. Congress and a special prosecutor.

The extent to which the Steele Dossier influenced the intelligence underpinning Mueller's probe has yet to be determined with any certainty. In January, the U.S. intelligence community published the unclassified ICA, which was derived from a compilation of intelligence reports and assessments conducted by the FBI, CIA, and NSA. Many of the allegations made in the ICA mirror reporting contained in the Steele Dossier. So striking are the similarities that there are real concerns among some senior Republican lawmakers that the ICA merely reflects "echoes" of the Steele Dossier reported back via liaison with foreign intelligence services who had access to it (namely the British Secret Intelligence Service) or whose own sources were also utilized by Steele.

According to Robert Litt , who served as general counsel to former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper, this mirroring was nothing more than coincidence. "The dossier itself," Litt wrote in a recent Lawfare blog , "played absolutely no role in the coordinated intelligence assessment that Russia interfered in our election. That assessment, which was released in unclassified form in January but which contained much more detail in the classified version that has been briefed to Congress, was based entirely on other sources and analysis."

Moreover, Litt noted, the decision in December 2016 to brief President-elect Trump on the existence of the Steele Dossier and provide him with a two-page summary of that document, was not a reflection that "the Intelligence Community had relied on it in any way, or even made any determination that the information it contained was reliable and accurate." It was rather, Litt said, a need to share with Trump the fact that the document existed and was being passed around Congress and the media.

An examination of the nexus between the dossier and the publication of the Russian ICA, however, shows that Litt was less than truthful in his denials. Material from the Steele Dossier was, in fact, shared with the FBI and U.S. intelligence community in July of 2016, and seems to have been the driving force behind the intelligence briefings provided to the so-called Gang of Eight who served as the initial impetus for an investigation into Russian meddling that eventually morphed into the 2017 Russian ICA.

Moreover, while Perkins Coie had its hands all over the dossier, it was also massaging the Russian hack narrative for mainstream media primetime.

The political law practice of Perkins Coie was started in 1981 under the leadership of Bob Bauer , who went on to become the White House Counsel to President Barack Obama. Today, the practice is headed by Marc Elias , who has been described as "the Democrats' go-to attorney an indispensable figure in the party." Elias oversees the work of 18 attorneys representing nearly every Democratic senator, as well as the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and Hillary for America, which oversaw the Clinton campaign.

It was in the latter two roles that Elias, acting on behalf of his clients, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington, D.C.-based company that, according to its website , "provides premium research, strategic intelligence, and due diligence services." Fusion GPS had previously been contracted by the Washington Free Beacon "to provide research on multiple candidates in the Republican presidential primary." However, when it became clear that Trump was going to secure the Republican Party nomination, the contract with Fusion GPS was terminated. According to a letter sent by Perkins Coie to Fusion GPS sometime in March 2016, Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of Fusion GPS, met with Elias and lobbied for the job of conducting opposition research on behalf of the Clinton campaign. In April 2016, Simpson's company was retained by the firm through the end of the election cycle.

Perkins Coie is also home to Michael Sussman , a partner in the firm's Privacy and Data Security Practice, who was retained by the DNC to respond to the cyber-penetration of their server in the spring of 2016. When, in late April 2016, the DNC discovered that its servers had been breached, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, then chairwoman of the DNC, turned to Perkins Coie and Sussman for help. Sussman chaired the meetings at the DNC regarding the breach, and, on May 4, 2016, he reached out to Shawn Henry , a former FBI agent who headed the incident response unit for the private cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, for assistance in mitigating the fallout from the breach. According to CrowdStrike, it was immediately able to detect the presence of hostile malware that it identified as Russian in origin. Sussman, after coordinating with Wasserman-Schultz, approached the FBI and tried to get them to publicly attribute the intrusion to Russia.

When the FBI refused, citing a need to gain access to the DNC servers before it could make that call, Sussman balked and, again with the full support of the DNC, instead coordinated a massive publicity effort intended to link Russia to the DNC breach through an exclusive to the Washington Pos t , which was published in concert with a dramatic CrowdStrike technical report detailing the intrusion, ominously named "Bears in the Midst."

This public relations campaign started the media frenzy over the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC server, enabling every facet of the story that followed to be painted with a Russian brush -- normally with a spokesperson from either the DNC or Hillary for America taking the lead in promulgating the story.

It was about this same time that Elias decided to expand the scope of Fusion GPS's opposition research against Trump, going beyond the simple mining of open-source information that had been the hallmark of the firm's work up until that time, and instead delving into the active collection of information using methodologies more akin to the work of spy agencies. The person Fusion GPS turned to for this task was Steele

Key persons within the Clinton campaign and the DNC denied any knowledge of either the decision by Perkins Coie to hire Fusion GPS for the purpose of gathering opposition research, or to tap Steele to conduct this task. Elias reportedly made use of money already paid to the firm by the Clinton campaign and the DNC to fund the work of Fusion GPS, creating the conditions for deniability on the part of his clients. This decision meant that Perkins Coie, as a firm, had ownership of the Steele Dossier; expenditures of firm assets require the approval of either the management or executive committee of the firm (Elias sits on the executive committee).

But as far as intelligence products go, the Steele Dossier is as sketchy as it gets. It's an amalgam of poorly written "reports" cobbled together from what Vanity Fair called "angry émigrés," "wheeling and dealing oligarchs," and "political dissidents with well-honed axes to grind." These are precisely the kind of sources intelligence professionals operating in Russia in the early 1990s -- Steele was assigned to Moscow from 1990 to 1993 -- would have had access to. Such sources also produce information that professional analysts normally treat with more than a modicum of skepticism when preparing national-level intelligence products.

The very first report produced by Steele, dated June 20, 2016, was chock full of the kind of salacious details justifying its explosive title, "Republican Candidate Donald Trump's Activities in Russia and Compromising Relationship with the Kremlin." The substantive charges leveled in the report centered on three unnamed sources -- a senior Foreign Ministry official, a former top-level Russian intelligence officer, and a senior Russian financial official -- whom Steele accessed through a "trusted compatriot." The report alleged that Russia had been feeding the Trump campaign "valuable intelligence" on Clinton, and that this effort was supported and directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. A second report, dated June 26, 2016, focused exclusively on "Russian State Sponsored and Other Cyber Offensive (Criminal) Operations."

These reports were delivered to Elias at a critical time -- on July 22, when Wikileaks released thousands of emails believed to have been sources from the DNC hack . These emails detailed the internal deliberations of the DNC that proved to be embarrassing to both Clinton and the DNC leadership -- Wasserman-Schultz was compelled to resign due to the revelations set forth in these emails. This leak took place on the eve of the Democratic National Convention when Clinton was to be selected as the Democrats' candidate for president. The Clinton campaign blamed Russia. "Russian state actors," Robby Mook, the Clinton campaign manager told the press , "were feeding the email to hackers for the purpose of helping Donald Trump."

If Elias thought the publication of the DNC emails would spur the U.S. intelligence community to join both the DNC and the Clinton campaign in pointing an accusatory finger at Russia, he would be disappointed. When questioned by CNN's Jim Sciutto at the 2016 Aspen Security Forum as to whether or not the DNI shared the White House's view that there was no doubt Russia was behind the hack of the DNC emails, Clapper responded, "I don't think we are quite ready to make a call on attribution I don't think we are ready to make a public call on that yet." Noting that there was still some uncertainty about exactly who was behind the DNC cyber-penetration, Clapper stated that he was taken aback by the media's "hyperventilation" over the DNC email issue, pointing out that the intelligence community did not "know enough to ascribe motivation" at that time.

According to the Washington Post , in early August 2016, the CIA director John Brennan came into possession of "sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladimir Putin's direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race." This intelligence was briefed to the Gang of Eight. Almost immediately, information derived from this briefing began to leak to the media. "Russia's hacking appeared aimed at helping Mr. Trump win the November election," officials with knowledge of Brennan's intelligence told the New York Times . The intelligence, referred to as "bombshell," allegedly "captured Putin's specific instructions on the operation's audacious objectives -- defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump."

This intelligence, allegedly from a "human source" linked to a foreign intelligence service, is at the center of the current spate of Russian meddling investigations. Was this source a product of the CIA's own efforts, as DNI General Counsel Litt contends, or was this an "echo" of the work done by Steele? The answer may lie in the actions of both Elias and Steele, who in the aftermath of the Democratic National Convention, and on the heels of the statement by DNI Clapper that he wasn't ready to commit to Russian attribution, shared the first two reports with both the FBI and members of the intelligence community. Steele also sat down with U.S. officials to discuss the details of these reports , which presumably included the sourcing that was used.

The parallels between the information contained in the initial report filed by Steele and the "bombshell" intelligence that prompted Brennan's decision to brief the Gang of Eight are too close to be casually dismissed. Of particular note is Steele's "Source C," a senior Russian "financial official" who had "overheard Putin talking" on at least two occasions. Was this the source that Brennan cited when it came to Putin's "specific instructions"? The cause and effect relationship between the decision by Marc Elias to brief U.S. intelligence officials on the aspects of the Steele Dossier, and Brennan's coming into possession of intelligence that virtually mirrors the reporting by Steele, cannot be dismissed out of hand.

The future of the Trump presidency will be determined by the various investigations currently underway. Those efforts have been influenced, in one way or another, by reporting sourced to Perkins Coie, including the designation of Russia as the responsible party behind the DNC cyber-breach and the Steele Dossier. These investigations are linked in their unquestioning embrace of the conclusions set forth in the 2017 Russia Intelligence Community Assessment that Russia was, in fact, meddling in the election. However, the genesis of that finding, both in terms of Russian involvement in the DNC hack and the "bombshell" intelligence introduced by Brennan in August 2016, has gone largely unquestioned by the investigators.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of Deal of the Century: How Iran Blocked the West's Road to War (Clarity Press, 2017). MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR

Youknowho , says: October 30, 2017 at 11:09 pm

The question is was the investigation supposed to uncover whatever it uncovere, or was it supposed to fabricate the discovery? If it was fabrication, yes, they should be condemned. But if it was a question of "tell us what you find, good, bad, or indifferent" then uncovering what might be treasonable activity would be called a patriotic act.
SpecialAgentA , says: October 31, 2017 at 9:00 am
Was it a 'leak' or a 'hack'? Both terms are used here, almost interchangeably, but isn't that an essential issue to explain and clarify?
balconesfault , says: October 31, 2017 at 9:35 am
All of this and not one mention of how much of the controversy Donald Trump could defuse by simply releasing his tax returns and allowing more transparency into his financial relationships with the Russian oligarchy.
Bob Salsa , says: October 31, 2017 at 10:48 am
Ritter's underlying 'logic' here extended would have us believe Alan Turin's breaking of the Enigma Machine was done in collusion with Nazi U-boat commanders.
Michael Kenny , says: October 31, 2017 at 11:28 am
The spooks are still scared silly of Russiagate. "Hillary paid" doesn't mean "Hillary fabricated". That Mr Ritter is reduced to such a manifestly silly argument shows just how spooked the spooks are. My best guess is that some part of the US intelligence community is involved in the election manipulation. Overthrowing foreign governments or undermining the EU is one thing, colluding with a foreign power to manipulate the US election is quite another. Note, by the way, the absence of any reference to George Papadopulous or Viktor Yanukovych.
David G. , says: October 31, 2017 at 12:26 pm
Given that Russia's insiders (not to mention former-officials) are no more lined up with Putin than US counterparts and political actors are behind any current US administration or opponent, within and without the party in power, there are presumably Russian actors who would like to undermine Putin.

To the extent "the Russians" may be behind particular efforts – including information/disinformation – related to the 2016 US election, might they not have sought to undermine foreign and (Russian) domestic proponents of US-Russian detente?

Donald (the left leaning one) , says: October 31, 2017 at 12:42 pm
" Overthrowing foreign governments or undermining the EU is one thing, colluding with a foreign power to manipulate the US election is quite another. "

This is a joke. I have no concern one way or the other about whether Trump colluded with Russia – if laws were broken, prosecute the lot of them. But it is obvious that most of the Beltway including the spook world badly wants a proxy war with Russia, Iran, and Syria. As usual we are killing people overseas under Presidents of both parties and as usual the United States of narcissism can only complain about what dastardly foreigners allegedly did to us.

In DC we have a vicious fight between the McCain-Clinton forces and the Trump forces. It's a choice between warmongers.

m , says: October 31, 2017 at 1:16 pm
Donald (the left leaning one), I agree with your concluding comment that we are left with a choice between two warmongers, no question about that. However if you look at the corruption in the deep state in the Uranium One deal, how it was approved and now nobody, I mean nobody knows anything about FBI informant and gag order on him for the last 8 years it is just mind boggling. Oh well after all these years I think the African dictators have more integrity than our elected officials.
a person who once spoke to a Russian but regrets it now , says: October 31, 2017 at 1:58 pm
Someone help me out here. If Clinton (or her very close associates) pay huge bucks to Russians to get dirt (even if it is made up dirt) on Trump, that is good, because it hurts Trump. But if Trump associates simply have conversations with Russians, full stop (cf. Michael Flynn, or anyone else who spoke with the Russian ambassador), that is criminal. Is this not sort of a double standard?
Laramie , says: October 31, 2017 at 3:12 pm
I've worked at large law firms, been a partner at several and litigated against Perkins Coie, so I know a bit about them. Knowing the industry and this firm in particular, I can say without reservation that this statement is ridiculous: "Elias reportedly made use of money already paid to the firm by the Clinton campaign and the DNC to fund the work of Fusion GPS, creating the conditions for deniability on the part of his clients." That does not and would not happen with a $12 million expense.

Mr. Ritter does not come out and say it, but there's a plausible explanation for all of this Russia nonsense we've been hearing about for the past year. Until the day after the election, 99.9% of Democrats were convinced that Hillary Clinton would win. Once enshrined in office, all of the misdeeds that they'd been getting away with for the past decade -- the Clinton Foundation, Uranium One, the Pay-to-Play politics, etc. -- would be swept under the rug.

November came, and that didn't happen. Democrats were both floored and caught with their pants down. Now, all of their dirty laundry was going to come out into the open. It was only a matter of time.

So, what did they do? The same thing Democrats always do. The best defense is an offense. 'Always accuse your opponents of doing whatever wrong you've committed.' All of the sudden, it wasn't just that 'Russians hacked the election.' It became, 'the Trump campaign secretly colluded with the Russians.' The Steele dossier was leaked, the FBI was briefed which in turn briefed Obama, the Gang of Eight and Trump. Next, a Special Prosecutor had to be appointed to investigate.

But, where does it all lead? Back to Hillary, through Perkins Coie, and through many of the same Deep State players who were complicit in the misdeeds.

We now learn that Comey, Mueller and Rosenstein all knew about Russians attempting to buy influence through donations to the Clinton "charity," but they turned a blind eye when Uranium One was up for approval.

We now learn that Clinton and the DNC paid for the Steele dossier then fed it to Comey, who leaked it.

We're expected to believe Crowdstrike's report on Russian hacking but we can't examine the evidence. We're expected to believe that Perkins Coie went rogue and decided to spend $12 million without informing any of its clients.

What a bunch of hogwash. There's a cover up here, but it's not what the complicit media is portraying. The cover up is of the past 8 years of misdeeds by the Deep State, the Clintons and the Obama Administration.

Carolinatarheel , says: October 31, 2017 at 3:35 pm
I find it curious that Crooked Mueller charged two republicans just as Crooked Hillary and the DNC were identified for paying Russians for smear documents! America First!
Nick , says: October 31, 2017 at 4:06 pm
I love how the origins of the project (Free Beacon/Paul Singer) are merely a footnote in this terribly written piece.
Jake , says: October 31, 2017 at 4:14 pm
How is it not true? Reports indicate that Mr. Steele did indeed use paid sources within Russia to compile the "dossier" on Trump. Steele used money paid by the Clinton campaign labeled as "legal fees". There is a reason Hillary, DWS, Podesta and the others have all lied.
Quek , says: October 31, 2017 at 4:40 pm
I think the story is even more obvious than this. They wanted to spy on aspects of the Trump campaign but they legally couldn't. The FBI told them they needed a reason to tap the phones and read the mail. They paid a guy to put together a dossier that would allow them to get FISA warrants to do the spying they wanted to do illegally. They just needed the dossier to say certain things to get it past a FISA judge. They did this and tapped his phones and read his emails and texts for the purpose of beating him in the election. It is really that simple of a story.
Cjones1 , says: October 31, 2017 at 4:51 pm
Did Obama's White House Counsel Bauer and Perkins Coie's Elias engage in a conspiracy to smear Trump and benefit the Clinton campaign?

Did they orchestrate a campaign trick, using the Fusion GPS dossier and an insider leaking DNC emails to Wikileaks,that falsely smeared the Trump team?

Hillary and Fusion GPS both lobbied against business restrictions proposed and imposed by the Magnitsky legislation and both received bonuses and payments from Russian entities with ties to the Putin gang.

Given Hillary's past pay to play lobbying and her disregard for national security, it would seem appropriate to have investigate if members of the Clinton campaign had contacts with the Russian Ambassador or Russian "operatives. We now know that the dossier relied on collaboration with Russian officials.

Given that several levels under the 17 intelligence heads of the Obama administration, including former FBI Director Mueller, participated in suppressing known Russian bribery, obfuscated and obstructed the investigation into Hillary's national security violations & pay to play schemes, and apparently conspired using a dossier, containing Russian supplied information, to throw the last Presidential election, it is time to bring the Obama political appointees and Clinton campaign officials to justice and stop the interference affecting the Trump administration.

In my opinion, Mueller has disgraced his former and present positions by collaborating in this conjured affair that obfuscates the real crimes occurring during the Obama administration.

Zardoz , says: October 31, 2017 at 5:13 pm
The Russian SVR RF was no doubt inside the DNC's server, just as it was no doubt inside of Hillary Clinton's private unsecured email server on which she did all of her State Department business.

But that does not necessarily mean that the SVR RF released the damning evidence about the corruption of the DNC & its machinations to influence the outcome of the Election to Wikileaks. I believe Seth Rich was the source of that damning evidence.

Since there was allegedly some evidence of the Russian hacking, the DNC conveniently blamed the Wikileaks story on them.

But the fact the Democrats refused to turn over the supposedly hacked DNC server to the FBI suggests there is something seriously wrong with the Democ"rats" story.

Don Juan , says: October 31, 2017 at 5:23 pm
Crooked Hillary and her klan never thought for a second they wouldn't be able to cover up democrat crimes. The Clinton Crime Family is in full panic mode. No one seems to remember why Mueller quit as director of the FBI. He was disgusted by the Obama administration covering up lawlessness.
CapitalistRoader , says: October 31, 2017 at 5:49 pm
All of this and not one mention of how much of the controversy Hillary Clinton could defuse by simply releasing all of the government emails she kept on a private server in order to keep them away from FOIA requests and allowing more transparency into her financial relationships with the Russian oligarchy.
swb , says: October 31, 2017 at 5:57 pm
Nice try at deflection, but it is not likely to stop Muller because he has an actual brain. On the other hand, the comments indicate that the conspiracy types are on board. Now I have it on good authority that there are ties between Steele and Benghazi as well so it is time to wrap this all up together into a unified story.
Virginia Farmer , says: October 31, 2017 at 6:08 pm
Since most of the posters here seem to be partisan I'm sure that no one will like my preference: Lock both Trump and HRC up and put them in the same cell to save us money. They are both crooked and any attempt to accuse one and defend the other is futile.
MM , says: October 31, 2017 at 6:38 pm
Karen Finney, formerly of the Clinton 2016 campaign, on October 29th:

"I think what's important, though, is less who funded it than what was in the dossier."

In the same interview:

"We also learned this week that Cambridge Analytica, the company that was basically the data company for the [Trump] campaign, reached out to Julian Assange of Wikileaks."

Did everybody catch that?

In today's Democratic Party, it is perfectly acceptable to pay foreign sources for dirt, fabricated or not, on your domestic political opponent.

But it is totally unacceptable to reach out to Wikileaks, with no money involved, for dirt on your domestic political opponent. I'll note that Wikileaks has relied on whistle-blower sources and has not been shown to have published any false information in its entire 10-year existence.

Absolutely gorgeous

Zardoz , says: October 31, 2017 at 7:01 pm
The Russian SVR RF was likely inside the DNC's server, just as it was likely inside of Hillary Clinton's private unsecured email server on which she did all of her State Department business.

But that does not necessarily mean that the SVR RF released the evidence about the rotten corruption of the DNC & its machinations to influence the outcome of the Election to Wikileaks. I believe Seth Rich was the source of that evidence.

Since there was allegedly some evidence of the Russian hacking, the DNC conveniently blamed the Wikileaks story on them.

But the fact the Democrats refused to turn over the supposedly hacked DNC server to the FBI suggests that there is something seriously wrong with the Democ"rats" story.

Lenny , says: October 31, 2017 at 7:10 pm
To all of those who think that paying a foreign informant money to give you info is the same thing as accepting help from a foreign government, you have some screws lose.

Furthermore, the help that Trump received was in the form of emails that have been stolen from an American citizen, a federal offence.

The whole Uranium one non story is based on a book that his own author admitted he has no evidence of malfeasance by HRC , and who was paid for his effort by the Mercers.

Also, the Uranium cannot be exported outside the USA anyway, because the law prevents it, no matter who owns the company

JR , says: October 31, 2017 at 7:31 pm
To all those who think what Hillary campaign did is the same thing as what Trump campaign did: Can you with a straight face think that Hillary is in Putin's pocket? I don't think so. The issue, if you're being honest, is that a lot of people on the other side can easily see Trump being in Putin's pocket. And so far he (Trump) has done nothing to disprove that. Remember the Glee that the neocons had when Trump ordered a few missiles at Syria..guess what nothing came off it and Assad is still very much in power and no one cares anymore (an outcome that I am fine with). You think things would have been the same if Hillary was in power?

But at the end of the day, we're left to wonder whether Trump is doing Putin's bidding Just because so far he has done nothing that has been antagonistic towards Russian interests (Iran notwithstanding because nothing is going to come off it, all it is going to do is make US look impotent, which will be fine by Putin).

jlee67 , says: October 31, 2017 at 8:46 pm
Why didn't the FBI insist on examining the DNC servers? Something's not right.
b. , says: October 31, 2017 at 9:21 pm
If only Sanders had ever exclaimed something like "The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn Russians!"

If there is any kind of actual evidence of state actors in the various efforts to force transparency on the Clinton campaign and the DNC, it is now tainted by the association with Steele, Simpson, Elias, which appear to have repeatedly acted against client privileges and privacy – peddling results paid for by one client to another, leaking information paid for by clients to the press, Congress, the FBI – or have acted with client permission, while a former "spy" is accessing and potentially endangering networks maintained by his former employer, a foreign intelligence service known for its ability to find yellowcake.

Only the Democrats can show such staggering ineptitude.

The plot needs some new, exciting turn at this point. Let us speculate that the Steele Dossier was in fact a false flag operation, allowing "Russians" to discredit not one, but two presidential campaigns, not one, but two presidential candidates, a twofer that makes whomever becomes President look like an idiot. One of the most ridiculous propositions of this whole affair has been the claim that Putin would seriously care which incompetent and corrupt American gets to prosecute the self-inflicted ruin of this blighted nation for the next four years.

It's morons all the way down.

Central Virginia Cantor Ejector! , October 31, 2017 at 11:16 pm
@Virginia Farmer : "Lock both Trump and HRC up and put them in the same cell to save us money. They are both crooked and any attempt to accuse one and defend the other is futile."

Right on! "Virginia Farmer" for President!

Donald ( the left leaning one) , says: November 1, 2017 at 12:09 am
"To all those who think what Hillary campaign did is the same thing as what Trump campaign did: Can you with a straight face think that Hillary is in Putin's pocket?"

I'm not very partisan. I voted for Clinton, but as the lesser evil on various issues, chiefly domestic and environmental. Clinton is not in Putin's pocket. She is in the pocket of Netanyahu, and the Saudis. Trump doesn't really seem to be in Putin's pocket -- he has neocons and others working hard to ensure that he gets into a confrontation with Iran. Basically he too is in the pocket of the Israelis and the Saudis.

The mainstream ignores this. The countries with real influence on our policies don't have to favor one party over the other. They have them both in their pocket.

Donald ( the left leaning one) , says: November 1, 2017 at 12:14 am
M --

Yeah, I can't keep up with all the twists and turns. I read just enough to see both sides ( the partisan ones) live in closed cognitive universes. I suspect there is plenty of corruption and dishonesty to go around, even if we restricted ourselves to real or alleged Russian ties. But I wonder what would turn up if we really looked into how our foreign policy sausage is made?

VikingLS , says: November 1, 2017 at 1:14 pm
@Donald ( the left leaning one)

In my annoyance I overstated it a little, but this thread is a good example of what I was saying about a lot of the liberal commenters on TAC. I don't read a lot of these comments and see people who are giving the article much thought.

BTW I was about to write the exact same thing to JR you did regarding the Saudis and the Israelis.

Cynthia McLean , says: November 1, 2017 at 1:17 pm
As time goes on, I don't think Russia "meddled" in US elections as much as US politicians of both parties corruptly attempted to rig the elections. Seems to me that the demonization of Russia is bi-partisan because the US military industrial complex needs a "bogey man" to justify its billions$$$$ and just about ALL politicians need that money to stay in power.

[Oct 26, 2017] BuzzFeed's Golden Showers debacle is classic yellow press fake

Notable quotes:
"... When I first read the memos, I knew none of the backstory, and looked forward to the salacious content to bring this clown down, particularly any facts showing that the Trump people had prior knowledge of the Russian hacks - a Watergate-sized story, if true, even if the effects of the hacks on the election are being overblown. But with nearly 40 years of investigative experience, mostly on international issues, the wording of the memos quickly caused me to slam on the breaks, because they were worded in such a way as to make confirmation of the charges impossible. The rule involved in making professional judgments on these kinds of things is simple: you look for information that can be proven either true or false, and from that factual template, you then build out one incontrovertible fact at a time. These memoranda had no such facts, with the possible exception of Cohen's trip to Prague, which the FBI told the WSJ was false. ..."
washingtonbabylon.com

From: BuzzFeed's Golden Showers Washington Babylon

... think it was wrong for BuzzFeed to publish it and the media company bears responsibility for this debacle, which has made the entire profession look even worse and generated sympathy for, of all people, Donald Trump.

Simpson's firm is being berated at the moment but there are a lot of companies in Washington who do the same thing - namely produce political and business intelligence for paying clients - and they operate openly and everyone, including journalists, know who they are. In terms of political intelligence, there are firms who work for Democrats and firms that work for Republicans, and some who work for both. The Democrats don't have a monopoly on these firms as one might imagine from the current hysteria.

... ... ...

As has been widely reported, the Trump dossier had circulated for many months - at least as far back as August - and even though there was a fever on the part of the media to get anti-Trump stories into print, everyone with the exception of David Corn of Mother Jones declined to write about the "dossier," and even he only referred to parts of it. The fact that dozens of journalists reviewed these documents and declined to use them, on the grounds that their allegations could not be verified shows that the information contained within them was very shaky.

I read the documents online and it's clear that they are thinly sourced and there were apparently serious errors in them, for example the bit about Trump's attorney's trip to Prague...

... ... ...

Whatever you think of Trump, he won this embarrassing election under the rules of the game. (And yes, Hillary won the popular vote and in a serious democracy she would have been declared the winner, but we are stuck for the time being with the Electoral College.) The Golden Showers story is quite a sensational accusation to make given that he was about 10 days out from inauguration. If Hillary had won the election would Buzzfeed have posted an unproven dossier on her that alleged she had hired prostitutes during an overseas trip to Ukraine? I seriously doubt it, especially given Buzzfeed's notable pro-Hillary tilt during the campaign.

... ... ...

When Chuck Todd accused Smith of publishing "fake news," he suggested that BuzzFeed was just being a good Internet news organization and not letting the media and political elite keep information from the public. This would be easier to take more seriously if BuzzFeed is not so obviously a part of the media elite and doesn't fraternize so comfortably with the political elite like most other news outlets. BuzzFeed was chasing clicks and that's fine, but dressing this up as public service doesn't cut it and especially given the political calculations involved.

BuzzFeed's other excuse was that the documents were already being talked about and were referred to in the Intelligence Community's very dubious report on Trump. But the documents appear to have been given to various agencies by political figures seeking to burn Trump, which BuzzFeed was only too happy to help out with. So it appears that Trump's political enemies and media enemies were working together to get this information out before the inauguration.

I'd also note here one peculiar, and possibly unethical, thing about the New York Times' behavior here. The Times, like everyone but BuzzFeed, didn't publish the report but they wrote quite a bit about it. In an early story it said that they would not identify the research firm behind the leaked memos because of "a confidential source agreement with The New York Times." Then it revealed the firm's name in a later story and edited the earlier one to take out the line about their confidential source agreement.

So it looks like the Times violated a confidentiality agreement, which is pretty troubling...

... ... ...

Note: I'd strongly urge anyone following this story to friend long-time investigative journalist and researcher Craig Pyes on Facebook. ....

Here is an excerpt:

When I first read the memos, I knew none of the backstory, and looked forward to the salacious content to bring this clown down, particularly any facts showing that the Trump people had prior knowledge of the Russian hacks - a Watergate-sized story, if true, even if the effects of the hacks on the election are being overblown. But with nearly 40 years of investigative experience, mostly on international issues, the wording of the memos quickly caused me to slam on the breaks, because they were worded in such a way as to make confirmation of the charges impossible. The rule involved in making professional judgments on these kinds of things is simple: you look for information that can be proven either true or false, and from that factual template, you then build out one incontrovertible fact at a time. These memoranda had no such facts, with the possible exception of Cohen's trip to Prague, which the FBI told the WSJ was false.

[Oct 26, 2017] Putin Warns Of Soft Coup Against Trump; Calls Golden Shower Dossier Creators Worse Than Prostitutes

Notable quotes:
"... Warning that a "soft coup" is being waged against Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he sees attempts in the United States to "delegitimize" US President-elect Donald Trump using "Maidan-style" methods previously used in Ukraine, where readers will recall president Yanukovich was ousted in 2014 following a violent coup, which many suspect was conducted under the auspices of the US State Department and assorted US intelligence operations. ..."
"... Putin said he doesn't believe that Donald Trump met with prostitutes in Russia, calling the accusations part of a campaign to undermine the election result, and suggested that an internal political struggle is underway in the United States despite the fact that the presidential election is over, and added that reports of alleged Russian dossier on Trump are fake as "our security services do not chase every US billionaire." ..."
Jan 17, 2017 | www.thedailysheeple.com
Warning that a "soft coup" is being waged against Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he sees attempts in the United States to "delegitimize" US President-elect Donald Trump using "Maidan-style" methods previously used in Ukraine, where readers will recall president Yanukovich was ousted in 2014 following a violent coup, which many suspect was conducted under the auspices of the US State Department and assorted US intelligence operations.

Putin said he doesn't believe that Donald Trump met with prostitutes in Russia, calling the accusations part of a campaign to undermine the election result, and suggested that an internal political struggle is underway in the United States despite the fact that the presidential election is over, and added that reports of alleged Russian dossier on Trump are fake as "our security services do not chase every US billionaire."

Unsubstantiated allegations made against Trump are "obvious fabrications," Putin told reporters in the Kremlin on Tuesday. "People who order fakes of the type now circulating against the U.S. president-elect, who concoct them and use them in a political battle, are worse than prostitutes because they don't have any moral boundaries at all," he said.

The Russian president, cited by BBG, said that Trump wasn't a politician when he visited Moscow in the past and Russian officials weren't aware that he held any political ambitions.

[Oct 25, 2017] Did John McCain Launder Dodgy Trump Intel Dossier

Looks like the US Senate is a real can of worms...
Notable quotes:
"... One involved the media, which in October were given and encouraged to publish the "report" by the authors of the report (or their sponsors), purportedly a former British intelligence officer working for a private intelligence company ..."
"... Remember, we have a dubious report constructed for the purpose of discrediting Donald Trump, which was first commissioned by one of his Republican primary rivals and later completed under the patronage of someone in Hillary's camp. ..."
"... Enter John McCain. According to media reports, the dossier was handed to Sen. McCain -- again, a strong Trump opponent and proponent of conflict with Russia -- by a former UK ambassador (who presumably received it from the source, a former British intelligence officer). ..."
"... Senator McCain is the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, one of the most powerful members of the US Senate. Consider the impact of being handed a strange report by some private intelligence-firm-for-hire or a media outlet versus being handed a report by one of the most powerful men in the US government. McCain's involving himself in the case gave the report a sense of legitimacy that it would not otherwise have had. Was this "laundering" intentional on his part? We do not know, but given his position on Trump and Russia that possibility must be considered. ..."
"... So great was the pressure on McCain to come clean on his decision to meet privately with the FBI Director to hand over this report that he released a statement earlier today portraying himself as nothing more than a good citizen, passing information to the proper authorities for them to act on if they see fit. ..."
Jan 11, 2017 | ronpaulinstitute.org

We all know what money laundering is. When you need to hide the fact that the money in your possession comes by way of nefarious sources, you transfer it through legitimate sources and it appears clean on the other end. It's standard practice among thieves, extortionists, drug dealers, and the like.

The same practice can even be used to "clean" intelligence that comes by dubious sources, and sometimes even US Senators may involve themselves in such dark activities. Case in point US Senator John McCain (R-AZ), whose virulent opposition to Donald Trump is outmatched only by his total dedication to fomenting a new cold (or hot?) war with Russia.

While the world was caught up in the more salacious passages from a purported opposition research report on Donald Trump showing all manner of collusion with Putin's Russia -- and Russia's possession of blackmail-able kompromat on Trump -- something very interesting was revealed about the custody of the information. The "dossier" on Trump seemed to follow two chains of custody. One involved the media, which in October were given and encouraged to publish the "report" by the authors of the report (or their sponsors), purportedly a former British intelligence officer working for a private intelligence company. Only David Corn of Mother Jones bit, and his resulting story picked over the report to construct a mess of innuendo on Trump's relation to Russia that was short on any evidence.

The other chain of custody is what interests us. Remember, we have a dubious report constructed for the purpose of discrediting Donald Trump, which was first commissioned by one of his Republican primary rivals and later completed under the patronage of someone in Hillary's camp. It was created for a specific political purpose, which may have tainted its reception among more objective governmental sources had that been known.

Enter John McCain. According to media reports, the dossier was handed to Sen. McCain -- again, a strong Trump opponent and proponent of conflict with Russia -- by a former UK ambassador (who presumably received it from the source, a former British intelligence officer).

Senator McCain then felt duty-bound to bring this "intelligence report" directly (and privately) to the personal attention of FBI Director James Comey. From this hand-off to Comey, the report then became part of the Intelligence Community's assessment of Russian interference in the US presidential election.

Senator McCain is the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, one of the most powerful members of the US Senate. Consider the impact of being handed a strange report by some private intelligence-firm-for-hire or a media outlet versus being handed a report by one of the most powerful men in the US government. McCain's involving himself in the case gave the report a sense of legitimacy that it would not otherwise have had. Was this "laundering" intentional on his part? We do not know, but given his position on Trump and Russia that possibility must be considered.

So great was the pressure on McCain to come clean on his decision to meet privately with the FBI Director to hand over this report that he released a statement earlier today portraying himself as nothing more than a good citizen, passing information to the proper authorities for them to act on if they see fit.

Do you believe the Senator from Arizona?


Copyright © 2017 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
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[Oct 25, 2017] The Definitive Demise of the Debunked Dodgy Dossier on The Donald

Notable quotes:
"... For Donald Trump, all attempts to gain a foothold in the USSR and then in Russia in 30 years of travel and negotiations failed. Moscow did not have a Trump Tower of its own, although Trump boasted every time that he had met the most important people and was just about to invest hundreds of millions in a project that would undoubtedly be successful. ..."
"... Trumps' largest business success in Russia was the presentation of a Trump Vodka at the Millionaire Fair 2007 in Moscow. This project was also a cleansing; In 2009 the sale of Trump Vodka was discontinued. ..."
"... puts his name on stuff ..."
"... (2) Zhirinovsky Is The Very Last Person Putin Would Use For A Proxy ..."
"... Such a delicate plan – to reach the election of a President of the US by means of Zhirinovsky – ensures a skeptical smile for every Russian at best. He is already seventy and has been at the head of a party with a misleading name for nearly thirty years. The Liberal Democratic Party is neither liberal nor democratic. If their policies are somehow characterized, then as right-wing populism. Zhirinovsky is known for shrill statements; He threatened, for example, to destroy the US by means of "gravitational weapons". ..."
"... Why Would Russian Intelligence Agencies Sources Have Talked to Steele? ..."
"... But the report, published on the BuzzFeed Internet portal, is full of inconsistencies and contradictions. The problem is not even that there are a lot of false facts. Even the assumption that agents of the Russian secret services are discussing the details with a former secretary of a hostile secret service in the midst of a highly secret operation by which a future President of the US is to be discredited appears strange. ..."
"... Exactly. For the intelligence community and Democrat reliance on Steele's dossier to be plausible, you have to assume 10-foot tall Russkis (1) with incredibly sophisticated strategic, operational, and technical capabilities, who have (2) performed the greatest intelligence feat of the 21st and ..."
"... Donald Trump went on Howard Stern for, like, decades. The stuff that's right out there for whoever wants to roll those tapes is just as "compromising" as anything in the dodgy dossier, or the "grab her by the pussy" tape, for that matter. As Kowaljow points out, none of it was mortally wounding to Trump; after all, if you're a volatility voter who wants to kick over the table in a rigged game, you don't care about the niceties. ..."
"... transition ..."
"... And that's before we get to ObamaCare, financial regulation, gutting or owning the CIA (which Trump needs to do, and fast), trade policy, NATO, China, and a myriad of other stories, all rich with human interest, powerful narratives, and plenty of potential for scandal. Any one of them worthy of A1 coverage, just like the Inaugural crowd size dogpile that's been going on for days. ..."
"... Instead, the press seems to be reproducing the last gasps of the Clinton campaign, which were all about the evils of Trump, the man. That tactic failed the Clinton campaign, again because volatility voters weren't concerned with the niceties. And the same tactic is failing the press now. ..."
Jan 23, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
by Lambert Strether of Corrente .

In the midst of the hysteria about Russian interference in the 2016 election - 52% of Democrat voters believe it's definitely or probably true that "Russia tampered with vote tallies" , a view for which there is no evidence whatever, and which is a depressing testimony to the power of propaganda to produce epistemic closure in liberals as well as conservatives - came Buzzfeed's 35-page "dodgy dossier" on Donald Trump, oppo that the researcher, Christopher Steele , peddled during the election proper, but was unable to sell, not even to an easy mark like Jebbie. (There's a useful debunking of Steele's report in the New York Review of Books , of all places.) Remember the piss jokes? So two-weeks ago Amazingly, or not, a two-page summary to Steele's product had been included in a briefing given to Trump (and Obama). A weary Obama was no doubt well accustomed to the intelligence community's little ways, but the briefing must have been quite a revelation to Trump. I mean, Trump is a man who knows shoddy when he sees it, right?

In any case, a link to the following story in Hamburg's ridiculously sober-sided Die Zeit came over the transom: So schockiert von Trump wie alle anderen ("So shocked by Trump like everyone else"). The reporter is Alexej Kowaljow , a Russian journalist based in Moscow. Before anyone goes "ZOMG! The dude is Russian !", everything Kowaljow writes is based on open sources or common-sense information presumably available to citizens of any nation. The bottom line for me is that if the world is coming to believe that Americans are idiots, it's not necessarily because Americans elected Trump as President.

I'm going to lay out two claims and two questions from Kowaljow's piece. In each case, I'll quote the conventional, Steele and intelligence community-derived wisdom in our famously free press, and then I'll quote Kowaljow. I think Kowaljow wins each time. Easily. I don't think Google Translate handles irony well, but I sense that Kowaljow is deploying it freely.

(1) Trump's Supposed Business Dealings in Russia Are Commercial Puffery

Here's the section on Russia in Time's article on Trump's business dealings; it's representative. I'm going to quote it all so you can savor it. Read it carefully.

Donald Trump's Many, Many Business Dealings in 1 Map

Russia

"For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia," Trump tweeted in July, one day before he called on the country to "find" a batch of emails deleted from Hillary Clinton's private server. Nonetheless, Russia's extraordinary meddling in the 2016 U.S. election-a declassified report released by U.S. intelligence agencies in January disclosed that intercepted conversations captured senior Russian officials celebrating Trump's win-as well as Trump's complimentary remarks about Russian President have stirred widespread questions about the President-elect's pursuit of closer ties with Moscow. Several members of Trump's inner circle have business links to Russia, including former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who consulted for pro-Russia politicians in the Ukraine. Former foreign policy adviser Carter Page worked in Russia and maintains ties there.

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump's incoming national security adviser, has been a regular guest on Russia's English-language propaganda network, RT , and even dined with Putin at a banquet.

During the presidential transition, former Georgia Congressman and Trump campaign surrogate Jack Kingston told a gathering of businessmen in Moscow that the President-elect could lift U.S. sanctions.

According to his own son, Trump has long relied on Russian customers as a source of income. "Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets," Donald Trump Jr. told a Manhattan real estate conference in 2008 , according to an account posted on the website of trade publication eTurboNews. "We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia." Back to map .

Read that again, if you can stand it. Do you see the name of an actual business, owned by Trump? Do you see the name of any businessperson who closed a deal with Trump? Do you, in fact, see any reporting at all? At most, you see commercial puffery by Trump the Younger: "Russians [in Russia?] make up a pretty [qualifier] disproportionate [whatever that means] cross-section [whatever that means] of a lot of [qualifier] our assets."

Now Kowaljow (via Google Translate, so forgive any solecisms):

For Donald Trump, all attempts to gain a foothold in the USSR and then in Russia in 30 years of travel and negotiations failed. Moscow did not have a Trump Tower of its own, although Trump boasted every time that he had met the most important people and was just about to invest hundreds of millions in a project that would undoubtedly be successful.

Trumps' largest business success in Russia was the presentation of a Trump Vodka at the Millionaire Fair 2007 in Moscow. This project was also a cleansing; In 2009 the sale of Trump Vodka was discontinued.

Because think about it: Trump puts his name on stuff . Towers in Manhattan, hotels, casinos, golf courses, steaks. Anything in Russia with Trump's name on it? Besides the failed vodka venture? No? Case closed, then.

(2) Zhirinovsky Is The Very Last Person Putin Would Use For A Proxy

From The Hill's summary of Russian "interference" in the 2016 election:

Five reasons intel community believes Russia interfered in election

The attacks dovetailed with other Russian disinformation campaigns

The report covers more than just the hacking effort. It also contains a detailed list account of information warfare against the United States from Russia through other means.

Political party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who the report lists as a "pro-Kremlin proxy," said before the election that, if Trump won, Russia would 'drink champagne' to celebrate their new ability to advance in Syria and Ukraine.

Now Kowaljow:

The report of the American intelligence services on the Russian interference in the US elections, published at the beginning of January, was notoriously neglected by Russians, because the name of Vladimir Zhirinovsky was mentioned among the "propaganda activities of Russia", which had announced that in the event of an election victory of Trump champagne to want to drink.

Such a delicate plan – to reach the election of a President of the US by means of Zhirinovsky – ensures a skeptical smile for every Russian at best. He is already seventy and has been at the head of a party with a misleading name for nearly thirty years. The Liberal Democratic Party is neither liberal nor democratic. If their policies are somehow characterized, then as right-wing populism. Zhirinovsky is known for shrill statements; He threatened, for example, to destroy the US by means of "gravitational weapons".

If, therefore, the Kremlin had indeed had the treacherous plan of helping Trump to power, it would scarcely have been made known about Zhirinovsky.

The American equivalent would be. Give me a moment to think of an American politician who's both so delusional and such a laughingstock that no American President could possibly consider using them as a proxy in a devilishly complex informational warfare campaign Sara Palin? Anthony Weiner? Debbie Wasserman Schultz? Na ga happen.

And now to the two questions.

(3) Why Would Russian Intelligence Agencies Sources Have Talked to Steele?

Kowaljow:

But the report, published on the BuzzFeed Internet portal, is full of inconsistencies and contradictions. The problem is not even that there are a lot of false facts. Even the assumption that agents of the Russian secret services are discussing the details with a former secretary of a hostile secret service in the midst of a highly secret operation by which a future President of the US is to be discredited appears strange.

Exactly. For the intelligence community and Democrat reliance on Steele's dossier to be plausible, you have to assume 10-foot tall Russkis (1) with incredibly sophisticated strategic, operational, and technical capabilities, who have (2) performed the greatest intelligence feat of the 21st and 20th centuries, suborning the President of the United States, and whose intelligence agencies are (3) leakly like a sieve. Does that make sense? (Of course, the devilish Russkis could have fed Steele bad data, knowing he'd then feed it to the American intelligence agencies, who would lap it up, but that's another narrative.)

(4) How Do You Compromise the Uncompromisable?

Funny how suddenly the word kompromat was everywhere, wasn't it? So sophisticated. Everybody loves to learn a new word! Regarding the "Golden Showers" - more sophistication! - Kowaljow writes:

But even if such a compromise should exist, what sense should it have, since the most piquant details have long been publicly discussed in public, and had no effect on the votes of the elected president? Like all the other scandals trumps, which passed through the election campaign, they also remained unresolved, including those who were concerned about sex.

This also includes what is known as a compromise, compromising material, that is, video shots of the unsightly nature, which can destroy both the political career and the life of a person. The word Kompromat shines today – as in the past Perestroika – in all headlines; It was not invented in Russia, of course. But in Russia in the Yeltsin era, when the great clans in the power gave bitter fights and intensively used the media, works of this kind have ended more than just a brilliant career. General Prosecutor Jurij Skuratov was dismissed after a video had been shown in the country-wide television channels: There, a person "who looks like the prosecutor's office" had sex with two prostitutes.

Donald Trump went on Howard Stern for, like, decades. The stuff that's right out there for whoever wants to roll those tapes is just as "compromising" as anything in the dodgy dossier, or the "grab her by the pussy" tape, for that matter. As Kowaljow points out, none of it was mortally wounding to Trump; after all, if you're a volatility voter who wants to kick over the table in a rigged game, you don't care about the niceties.

Conclusion

It would be nice, wouldn't it, if our famously free press was actually covering the Trump transition , instead of acting like their newsrooms are mountain redoubts for an irrendentist Clinton campaign. It would be nice, for example, to know:

  1. The content and impact of Trump's Executive Orders.
  2. Ditto, regulations.
  3. Personnel decisions below the Cabinet level. Who are the Flexians?
  4. Obama policies that will remain in place, because both party establishments support them. Charters, for example.
  5. Republican inroads in Silicon Valley.
  6. The future of the IRS, since Republicans have an axe to grind with it.
  7. Mismatch between State expectations for infrastructure and Trump's implementation

And that's before we get to ObamaCare, financial regulation, gutting or owning the CIA (which Trump needs to do, and fast), trade policy, NATO, China, and a myriad of other stories, all rich with human interest, powerful narratives, and plenty of potential for scandal. Any one of them worthy of A1 coverage, just like the Inaugural crowd size dogpile that's been going on for days.

Instead, the press seems to be reproducing the last gasps of the Clinton campaign, which were all about the evils of Trump, the man. That tactic failed the Clinton campaign, again because volatility voters weren't concerned with the niceties. And the same tactic is failing the press now. Failing unless, of course, you're the sort of sleaze merchant who downsizes the newsroom because, hey, it's all about the clicks.

[Oct 25, 2017] Ex-MI6 officer Christopher Steele in hiding after Trump dossier

Notable quotes:
"... BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said Mr Steele had previously been an intelligence officer - rather than agent - in MI6, who would have run a team of agents as an intelligence gatherer. ..."
"... Intelligence agencies considered the claims relevant enough to brief both Mr Trump and President Obama last week. ..."
"... But the allegations have not been independently substantiated or verified and some details have been challenged as incorrect by those who are mentioned. ..."
"... Mr Trump himself was briefed about the existence of the allegations by the US intelligence community last week but has since described them as fake news, accusing the US intelligence services of leaking the dossier. ..."
Jan 12, 2017 | www.bbc.com

An ex-MI6 officer who is believed to have prepared memos claiming Russia has compromising material on US President-elect Donald Trump is now in hiding, the BBC understands.

Christopher Steele, who runs a London-based intelligence firm, is believed to have left his home this week.

The memos contain unsubstantiated claims that Russian security officials have compromising material on Mr Trump.

The US president-elect said the claims were "fake news" and "phoney stuff".

Mr Steele has been widely named as the author of a series of memos - which have been published as a dossier in some US media - containing extensive allegations about Mr Trump's personal life and his campaign's relationship with the Russian state.

... ... ...

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said Mr Steele had previously been an intelligence officer - rather than agent - in MI6, who would have run a team of agents as an intelligence gatherer.

However, as Mr Steele was now working in the private sector, our correspondent said, there was "probably a fair bit of money involved" in the commissioning of the reports.

He said there was no evidence to substantiate the allegations and it was still possible the dossier had been based on what "people had said" about Mr Trump "without any proof".

Donald J. Tump Twit

@realDonaldTrump

James Clapper called me yesterday to denounce the false and fictitious report that was illegally circulated. Made up, phony facts. Too bad!

... ... ...

Obama briefing

The 35-page dossier on Mr Trump - which is believed to have been commissioned initially by Republicans opposed to Mr Trump - has been circulating in Washington for some time.

Media organisations, uncertain of its credibility, initially held back from publication. However, the entire series of reports has now been posted online, with Mr Steele named as the author.

Intelligence agencies considered the claims relevant enough to brief both Mr Trump and President Obama last week.

But the allegations have not been independently substantiated or verified and some details have been challenged as incorrect by those who are mentioned.

Mr Trump himself was briefed about the existence of the allegations by the US intelligence community last week but has since described them as fake news, accusing the US intelligence services of leaking the dossier.