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Who Rules America ?

A slightly skeptical view on the US political establishment and foreign policy

If Ronald Reagan was America's neo-Julius Caesar, his adopted son was the first George Bush (just as J.C. adopted Augustus). And look what THAT progeny wrought. I fully expect that over the next century, no fewer than seven Bushes will have run or become president (mimicking the Roman Caesarian line). Goodbye, American Republic.

From review of Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia by Gore Vidal

Skepticism -> Political Skeptic

News Neoliberalism Recommended books Recommended Links Neoliberal Propaganda: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism The Deep State
Libertarian Philosophy Elite Theory Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization US and British media are servants of security apparatus Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich "Fuck the EU": neocons show EU its real place Neoconservatism as an attack dog of neoliberalism
Corporatism Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia Demexit: Abandonment of Democratic party by working class and lower middle class Democratic Party Neoliberals Monday morning quarterbacking Globalization of Financial Flows Anti-globalization movement Brexit as the start of the reversal of neoliberal globalization
Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite The Iron Law of Oligarchy "Clinton Cash" Scandal: Hillary Clinton links to foreign donors and financial industry Neo-conservatism National Security State Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Hypocrisy of British ruling elite as the template for hypocrisy of neoliberal elite
Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump Anti-Russian hysteria DNC emails leak Anti Trump Hysteria Two Party System as Polyarchy Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Neoliberal war on reality or the importance of controlling the narrative
Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Demonization of Putin Media-Military-Industrial Complex Strzok-gate Fifth Column of Neoliberal Globalization Neoliberal corruption Neoliberalism and Christianity
Pathological Russophobia of the US elite Israel lobby IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement Disaster capitalism American Exceptionalism Predator state Obama: a yet another Neocon
Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime In Foreign Events Coverage Guardian Presstitutes Slip Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment Corruption of Regulators Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult  Neo-Theocracy as a drive to simpler society American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition
Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism Ukraine: From EuroMaydan to EuroAnschluss Civil war in Ukraine Syria civil war Gas Wars Color revolutions New American Militarism
MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Groupthink Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Deception as an art form Mayberry Machiavellians Immigration, wage depression and free movement of workers  Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17?
Compradors vs. national bourgeoisie Talleyrand quotes Otto Von Bismarck Quotes Kurt Vonnegut Quotes Somerset Maugham Quotes George Carlin Propaganda Quotes
Overcomplexity of society Paleoconservatism Non-Interventionism Key Myths of Neoliberalism Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace — business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

FDR. speech after the election (1936)

polyarchy: A system where the participation of masses of people is limited to voting among one or another representatives of the elite in periodic elections. Between elections the masses are now expected to keep quiet, to go back to life as usual while the elite make decisions and run the world until they can choose between one or another elite another four years later. So polyarchy is a system of elite rule, and a system of elite rule that is little bit more soft-core than the elite rule that we would see under a military dictatorship. But what we see is that under a polyarchy the basic socio-economic system does not change, it does not become democratized.

▬William I. Robinson, Behind the Veil, Minute 1:29:15

Skepticism is a useful quality that some people naturally possess and other can develop. but it not a panacea.  As such any "Skeptical" or even "Slightly skeptical" paged by definition suffer from "confirmation bias". They postulate that only information that doe snot correlate well with official position is worth presenting.  the reality is more complex than that. This consideration probably should be kept in mind when reading those pages. While they are an excellent tool for destroying propaganda stereotypes it is your own task to integrate your new understanding under some new paradigm. The  central for those pages is the idea that we live in neoliberal society and will continue to live in it for some type despite the crisis it experience now, because there is no viable alternative on the horizon and resurrection of New Deal capitalism is not possible as the countervailing  forces that existed to keep financial oligarchy in check dissipated, and part of them joined the former enemy.  That means  that we live in an unstable society prone to unleashing wars and falling in major crisis (aka Minsky moments). In this sense Financial crisis of 2008 can be called using Churchill's quote  "This is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end, but it is perhaps the end of the beginning.

"Neoliberalism -- the current social system in the USA and most European countries, Japan, Russia and China (with some minor variations) -- is a very interesting ideology, one that does not dare to speak its name ;-). After a triumphal march of neoliberalism in late 80th and early 90th (with the collapse of the USSR as the high point).

The crescendo of Triumphal march of neoliberalism which stated in 1980th was the collapse of the USSR, which happened in 1991, when Soviet elite switched  sides and  preferred to became "entrepreneurs" like their Western counterparts, privatizing  and looting their own country. Communists proved to be very corruptible folk, especially at Nomenklatura level and they like dollars more then their country. 

But neoliberalism entered the major crisis in 2008. The net result was so called Secular Stagnation. The "end of cheap oil" is another factor that guarantee the continuation of Secular Stagnation.  See Peak Cheap Energy.  

This site is slightly skeptical as for long-term viability of Neoliberalism as a social system. At the same time as bad as neoliberal as a social system was/is in comparison with New Deal Capitalism, that does not  mean the coming successor can't be worse.  If there is a way out of this neoliberal mess that was pushed on us since late 70th, I can't see it.

Right now Neoliberalism  is seriously sick and remind me Bolshevism after WWII. Bolshevism lasted almost 50 years after 1945, and do not see why neoliberalism can't last even longer then that as currently there is no viable alternatives'. For example, Russia which neocons try to paint as ne "Great Satan" is a yet another neoliberal state. Just with a different flavor of neoliberalism which reminds Trumps "national neoliberalism".  After the "triumphal march" of neoliberalism over the globe in the late seventies and 80th with the collapse of the USSR. BTW the collapse of Soviet Union was not what neoliberal propaganda teaches us. In essence Soviet elite (aka nomenklatura)  simply changed sides. The collapse of Bolshevism both as an ideology and the society paralleled the collapse of New Deal capitalism in the USA. Like large part of the USA management elite, Soviet nomenklatura became turncoats. And it was the alliance of management elite and trade unions that was at the core of New Deal capitalism. As soon as it collapsed the New Deal capitalism was replaced with neoliberalism.

But neoliberalism proved to be not a sustainable social system. It need countries to loot. From 1991 to 2000 xUSSR area was such a region. And it prospered.  It lost traction after 2000 and sled in deep crisis in 2008, the crisis which undermined the neoliberal ideology. That means that after 2008 neoliberalism entered zombie state, much like Soviet communism after WWII.  

Due to neoliberalism the USA is no longer a politically stable country. Political animosity after election of Trump reminds a soft civil war, racial hostility is growing, standards of majority of population are either stagnant or fall, neoliberal globalization (with off shoring and outsourcing) as well as automation leave the young unemployed. Epidemic of narco addiction in the USA (which claims 70K victims a year) remind epidemic of alcoholism in the USSR. Both were caused by desperation of people, who can't get a meaningful well paying job and see no future for themselves and their children. Wealth was redistributed to the few and the level of inequality became dangerously high. The working class falls into drugs and anomie. The wars for sustaining and expanding the neoliberal empire and crushing dissenters from neoliberal dogma never end. Meanwhile infrastructure ages and falls behind that of more advanced nations. Anger grows. As the pie shrinks, someone will have to get less pie. And it is not financial oligarchy, or MIC.

Who would thought that 30 years later the winner of the Cold War will enter the phase of decline which in may respects remind many observers  the decline of the USSR.

I would like to repeat again that this decline started  after the crisis of 2008 (the point at which neoliberal ideology collapsed and was discredited, much like communist ideology was after WWII. Trump election and Brexit were two historical events, after which we can attest that neoliberalism is past its prime and entered the phase of decline.  And this decline  created polarization of the society in which ruling neoliberal elite lost legitimacy in the eyes of common people. This is the problem  which  neoliberal elite tried to hide after 2016 Presidential elections under  the smoke screen of Russiagate (which is essence is a color revolution with the goal of deposing Trump)

The neoliberal ideology  which is, essentially, can  be called "market fundamentalism" was discredited earlier, after global financial crisis of 2008.  Much like communism was after WWII when it became clear that it can't secure the standard of living for its population superior to the standard of living of common people in Western European countries (and even most of the East European countries), which remained under the capitalism.

Paradoxically golden days of capitalism in Western Europe and the USA (which lasted till 79th) were possible only because communist states such as USSR existed, as it served as a powerful deterrent against the restoration of power of financial oligarchy. So it's not surprising that the New Deal Capitalism was dismantled after the USSR collapse. Moor did its duty, moor can go ;-). In other words, the mere existence of the USSR, while was not threat to the Western countries social system,  served as a powerful inhibitor of cannibalistic instincts of the elite in the USA and Western countries. It was communism that helped to secured the dominance of the New Deal capitalism till early 80th.

From this point the standard of living of poor and lower middle class in the West started to slide. The first 20 years, till probably 2000 (dot com crisis) the slide was masked by tremendous technological progress in computers and communications. Still outside top 10-20% of population, the slide of the standard of living and the income is a fact.  Outsourcing and offshoring killed many meaningful, well paying jobs. The new level of automation, possible with modern computers, killed some more. The possibility of cheap transcontinental communications also killed IT jobs and helpdesk type which jobs migrated to India and other countries with cheap and qualified labor force.  so loss of manufacturing jobs was amplified by loss of some segments of white color jobs as well.

While neoliberal think tanks and powerful MSM propaganda machine (in which the word neoliberalism is still a taboo) now try to contain damage, the fatal flaws of neoliberal ideology after 2008 financial collapse are apparent and can't be hidden. The key neoliberal country and the key enforcer of neoliberalism over the globe -- the USA -- entered "secular stagnation" period in economics. It is also is trying to fend off the challenge that China economic growth presents to its world dominance.

Brexit and the election of Trump mean that the protest against neoliberal globalization entered  the political mainstream in the USA in 2016:  Hillary Clinton suffered her electoral fiasco because she was the proponent of neoliberal status quo, the proponent  of neoliberal globalization and the wars for expansion of neoliberal empire, the candidate who promised to kick the neoliberal can down the road. 

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark

  Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children...

This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

From the Chance for Peace address delivered before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1953. (Regarded as one of the finest speeches of Eisenhower's presidency.)

 

Trump should probably be viewed as a new stage of this decline of American republic (which for a long time is neither democracy not a republic, but a warmongering empire, a new social system of "inverted totalitarism" as Sheldon Wolin called it ). Some trapping of previous "New Deal style" democracy remained, but most of New  deal achievement  such as using trade unions as countervailing social force to check the greed of capital owners was perverted. During elections Trump used to have anti-globalization inclinations -- anathema to neoliberals -- and that's why he was so viciously attacked after he has won; but those inclinations almost completely disappeared after the election. Trumpism which sometimes is defined as "economic nationalism" (or national neoliberalism, if you wish ;-) includes the following (partially intersecting) elements which are anathema to classic neoliberalism:

  1. Rejection of neoliberal globalization. Use of tariffs to protect domestic manufacturing.
  2. Rejection on neocon dominance in the US foreign policy. Many Americans view neocons as traitors who serves interests  of MIC and Israel at the expense of bottom 80% of the US population.  The same is true about "liberal interventionists" like Hillary, Obama. They are just another favor of neocons.
  3. Rejection of unrestricted immigration. Vigorous persecution and deportation of illegal immigrants and measures to block their entry. Enforcement of border control   (Mexican wall, etc)
  4. Fight against suppression of wages by multinationals via cheap imported labor. Rejection of the idea of global labor market and unrestricted outsourcing of labor to foreign countries. Legal measures against multinationals who tried to offload major part of workforce abroad. 
  5. Fight against the elimination of meaningful, well-paying jobs in the USA via outsourcing and offshoring of manufacturing (which is the essence of neoliberal globalization). Attempts to reverse this trend.
  6. 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;
  7. Détente with Russia;
  8. More pragmatic relations with Israel and suppression of Israeli agents of influence in congress and government (AIPAC and so called dual citizens problem;
  9. Attempt to reverse the offshoring of manufacturing and labor to China and India, as well as addressing the problem of trade deficit;
  10. Rejection of total surveillance on all citizens;
  11. Rejection of rampant militarism and overblown Pentagon and intelligence agencies budgets. The cut of military expenses to one third or less of the current level and concentrating on revival on national infrastructure, education, and science.
  12. Abandonment of maintenance of the "sole superpower" status and global neoliberal empire for more practical and less costly "semi-isolationist" foreign policy concentrating on technological lead in areas where it still exists;
  13. Closing of unnecessary foreign military bases and cutting aid to the current clients.
  14. Rejection of identity politics. No to "unisex bathroom" and other perversions.  No to rampant, destructive  feminism.

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. Please note that Trump was emasculated by the "deep state" and turned into neocon in foreign policy just three-four months into his presidency.  The only action which is along this lines so far was his decision to withdraw from Syria. Whether  it will be implemented remains  to be seen.  His appointments directly contradict those 14 items. People such as Bolton, Pompeo, Haley are anathema to such a program.

Still the fact remains: in 2016 financial oligarchy not only failed to put the desired puppet into White House, but was forced to unleash a color revolution against new POTUS ( Russiagate witch hunt is only the tip of the iceberg in this sense) to put him into compliance, or depose him. Neoliberals and neocons also failed with their color revolution as Brennan machinations (As Professor Stephen Cohen noted Russiagate should be renamed to Intelgate) with Steele dossier backfired that they got under fire from Trump supporters.  And both Brennan and FBI Mayberry Machiavellians suddenly from predators became a pray.  Neoliberal Democrats (Clinton wing of Democratic Party, of DemoRats) while managed to preserve political power over the party of suppress Sunders supporters, overplayed their hand with Russiagate and neo-McCarthyism campaign (which was designed to rally nation around the flag) and might face consequences during midterm elections.  Their only hope is help from the Grand Inquisitor, appointed as a part of coup d'état against Trump launched by intelligence agencies (the core of the "deep state"), Mr. Mueller.

Neocons are actually a cancel of the US society. May be terminal cancer. In any case they are extremely destructive force, MIC lobbyists without any principles or consciousness.  And people without consciousness are called psychopaths.

This is not the first time the "Deep State" (read intelligence agencies+Pentagon+Department of State) in alliance with  neocons and "liberal interventionists" tried to depose elected president. JFK was probably the first, Nixon the second and now Trump might be the third. What is new is complete disappearance of anti-war left and the total conversion under Hillary of Democratic Party into another War Party, the party of militant globalists (which can be a perfect new home for neocons).  Clinton wing of the Democratic Party doesn't want to admit she lost the election because neoliberalism became unpopular among the US electorate.  At the same time "the fifth branch of government" -- the intelligence services proved to be a formidable political force on the US political arena, able to block any attempts to stop feeding and care of military industrial complex. And for this particular reason block any even feeble attempts of rapprochement or cooperation with Russia.

The country now resembles military camp with war propaganda on all major TV channel and newspapers broadcasted 24 x7.  But the cost of "guns instead of butter" policies are growing: the cost of post 9/11 War project  approaches  $5.6 trillion.  Stolen from ordinary Americans under false pretences (As President Eisenhower noted "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." If even small part of those funds were invested within the country we would have high speed tail between all major cities, or at lease might not be having such frequent deadly crashes of Amtrak trains. Among other useful things like better roads, bridges and airports.

Nostalgia for New Deal Capitalism

While I am openly nostalgic for the New Deal capitalism, I understand perfectly well that currently, there is no viable new alternative to neoliberalism. First of all because as in late 70th "managerial class" became yet another turncoat and allied with capital owners, against workers and middle class.  That happened not only in the USA, but in the USSR too (that's why the USSR collapsed; in this case USSR  "managerial class" (nomenklatura) allied and was partially bought by the USA capital owners)

Still the New Deal remain the most humane form of capitalism invented, and our analysis of neoliberalism has distinct "pro New Deal capitalism" bias. But we need to understand that the restoration of the New Deal capitalism looks impossible because the social base of it -- the alliance of corporate management and trade union leaders, was destroyed due to the defection of corporate managers to the side of capital owners. This realignment of political power made possible the restoration of the rule of the financial oligarchy, which happened in the USA in late 1980th.

The new coalition of anti-globalization forces that emerged during Trump election campaign is still pretty amophic political force and is unable to force changes in the society, as easy emasculation of President Trump by the Deep State proved to all of us.  But hopefully it will grow and became better organized politically whether within the Republican Party of outside of it.

Neoliberal regime as the social system under which we live

And yes, my friends, like Molière's play Le Bourgeois gentilhomme character, who was surprised and delighted to learn that he has been speaking prose all his life without knowing it, all of us are living under neoliberal regime at least since 1980, most probably without knowing it.  Current events are much easier to analyze if you use the framework of analyzing neoliberalism as a social system proposed in those pages.  Neoliberalism as a social system replaced the notion of Political party with the collection of neoliberal think tanks, a new class of "professional revolutionaries" who are mercenary political army that fight for the victory of neoliberalism and comprise kind of global Neoliberal International. On interesting nuance is that the idea of "professional revolutionaries" was one of the key innovations  of Bolsheviks and Trotskyites. And we can view neoliberalism as some kind of "Trotskyism for rich." In this  sense this social system is almost as far from real democracy as the USSR one party system. It is something Sheldon Wolin called "inverted totalitarism". In certain aspects it is even more anti-democratic than the capitalism of the Gilded Age with which it has some uncanny similarities (enforcement of the "Law of Jungles" in labor market by suppression of trade unions and "atomization" of individuals as agent who sells themselves on some kind of marketplace, not as human being) .   As Pope Francis noted neoliberalism in anti-Christian system that despise and demonize poor blaming them as incapable to provide "value" to the marketplace, and ignoring their value as a human beings:

... Such an [neoliberal] economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.

Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “disposable” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.

Another interesting aspect of neoliberalism is the existence of so-called "neoliberal rationality" (compare with the "proletarian mindset" of Bolshevism ). As well as the extent of brainwashing of population into this rationality, especially at the university level (via neoclassical economics). As well as  the level and the sophistication of the use of propaganda which includes a set of neoliberal myths very similar to what were created by Bolshevism. For example, the neoliberal myths of "Free trade", "free market" (why not "fair" in both cases?) , "labor market", "human capital", etc.  In reality, the key idea behind this Potemkin Village-style ideological facade is the redistribution of wealth up toward top 1%  (or even more to the top 0.01%).  Exactly like was the case with Bolshevism, which while proclaiming the false facade of "dictatorship of proletariat" mercilessly suppressed unions and kept 90% of population at the standard of living much lower than in Western and even Eastern Europe. Although not close to starvation which is the ideal of neoliberal "plantation economy" (implemented, for example, by Wal-Mart, with its below subsistence wages), with atomized and isolated from each other "debt slaves."

In other words, there are some striking similarities between Soviet nomenklatura and neoliberal oligarchy, similarities that no objective scholar studying neoliberalism  can ignore. See also Two-Party System as Polyarchy -- "the first after the post system" proved to be ideal for neoliberal regime as it allows financial oligarchy preselect  candidates from both Parties. Effectively  turning the election into expensive staged event -- a grandiose political spectacle, if you wish. but with predicted outcome as stage directors who perform casting are members of a close circle of neoliberal elite -- mostly financial oligarchy.  It could have been adopted by Soviet nomenklatura as well, as it very effectively prevents any real challenges to the existing political regime by pre-selection of two candidates running to the given position and two parties, which are essentially a "soft" and "hard" factions of a single party of financial oligarchy. 

The level of "synchronicity" in coverage of foreign events by neoliberal MSM also reminds me the level typical for Soviet Union. With all MSM repeating the State Department talking points and in general going out their skin be politically correct stooges of the neoliberal regime.

Yet another very interesting aspect of neoliberal regime is the level of public apathy, limited  public discourse and even vocabulary (try to find the word "neoliberal" in WaPo ;-)  as well as epidemic of narco-addition (especially in Rust Belt, which is more severely hit by neoliberal globalization with its offshoring and outsourcing). Which is not that dissimilar to the epidemic of alcoholism under Bolshevism. When common people see no future for themselves and their children they tend to engage in self-destructing behaviour.   Sheldon Wolin called this approach to suppressing of dissent "inverted totalitarism."

What is really interesting is that the term "neoliberalism"  has the status of a semi-taboo in the USA, and seldom can be found in articles published by the USA MSM, due to some kind of "silence" pact ;-). the intent of this set of pages intent is to fight this trend and present a "slightly skeptical" view of this important social phenomenon.  

It is also important to understand that the level of hostility to Trump by the "deep state" is directly connected with three main (and very quickly betrayed) promises that Trump made during elections:

  1. No more neoliberal globalization with its offshoring and outsourcing of jobs and industries;
  2. No more wars for expansion of neoliberal empire;
  3. Jobs for all Americans

All three were the direct revision of neoliberal ideology postulates, as well as departure from the "neoliberal rationality".  That's why the counter-attack of both the "Deep State" and neoliberal MSM on Trump was so vicious, with well coordinated set of leaks, appointment of Special Prosecutor (on fake pretext), re-launch of McCarthyism, and campaign of demonization of Trump and his administration in media.  In the level of outrage that writers of Pravda during Stalin "Show Trials" would find  completely in line with their own writings -- they so vividly resembles the attacks on "revisionists" in the USSR during Stalinism, that you may wish to revisit books devoted to those trials  ;-).

Most people do not understand that putsch against Trump is actually tried and true color revolution -- the  first color revolution launched within the USA

What is new in putsch of intelligence services and neoliberal establishment against Trump is presence of classic elements of color revolutions technology. Which were for the first time used within the USA by "neoliberal nomenklatura" to preserve power. Some people call it Purple revolution. The ultimate goal is to remove Trump from power, and if this is not possible to emasculate his for the next four years. Some elements of this technology were previously used probably to depose Nixon. Watergate also involved intelligence agencies (the core of the Deep State) activities directed at the removal of the sitting President. And going back JFK was probably the first President removed by intelligence services.  

Initially color revolution technologies were designed  to topple "unfriendly" to neoliberalism regimes in xUSSR space and "resource nationalists" in the Middle East (as well as against China in Hong Cong). That suggests that after the election of 2016 neoliberals felt a real threat from Trump "revisionism".

Deployment of those technologies does not spell well with the social stability because delegitimization of elected government has lasting negative effects. Just look at Ukraine which was the victim of the most recent "color revolution" experiment. They have now two breakaway regions and the drop of the standard of living of population around 200% or more.  The country also now is a debt slave. In other words when the gin of color revolution is out of the bottle it is not that easy to put it back and the events can turn in the direction not anticipated by the originators of such a color revolution.

See also Neoliberalism


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It's easy to pretend to be a great strategist,
while sitting on the top of the hill,
at the safe distance from the battle in the valley

-- Shota Rustavelli (1172–1216)

[Apr 24, 2019] Trump: Stop buying Iranian oil or face sanctions

Apr 23, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Oil prices are on the rise after the United States announced a new crackdown on Iran's oil exports aiming to reduce them to zero.
Iran's threatening retaliation by blocking the Strait of Hormuz - the world's lifeline of oil from all Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq.
The move has


K kaye , 10 hours ago

Can we sanction food from Pompeo? Looks like his jacket about to burst open...

noshadova , 11 hours ago

Why would the whole world be afraid of USA ? Ans. Greed and lack of integrity by the leaders !

Randy Pederson , 4 hours ago

The US are the only ones that are currently bombing multiple countries at the same time with no declaration of war.

SA SHA , 11 hours ago

Economic Sanctions === Economic Terrorist Attack Recent terrorist attacks indicate that the United States is using extremist organizations to provoke religious wars. The aim is to split Eurasia and make troubles for Europe. The United States is very afraid of peace in Eurasia, because it will make the United States a third world country.

[Apr 24, 2019] I thought Adelson is the heir of Meyer Lansky?

Apr 24, 2019 | www.unz.com

Germanicus , says: April 24, 2019 at 12:27 am GMT

@Art

Hear hear – you are so right – how totally degrading – Adelson is a gambling gangster in China.

I thought Adelson is the heir of Meyer Lansky?

but to have to lick the hand of a man like Adelson, must be one hell of an ignominious degradation.

The thought of the leftist puppets kissing Soros butt is also not really appealing.

[Apr 24, 2019] Mueller Raises More Questions Than Answers -- About the Democrats by Patrick J. Buchanan

Apr 23, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The release of the Mueller report has left Democrats in a dilemma. Consider what Robert Mueller concluded after two years of investigation.

Candidate Donald Trump did not conspire or collude with the Russians to hack the emails of the DNC or John Podesta. Trump did not distribute the fruits of those crimes nor did anyone on his campaign. On collusion and conspiracy, said Mueller, Trump is innocent.

Mueller did not say that Trump did not consider interfering with his investigation. But that investigation nonetheless went on unimpeded. Mueller's document demands were all met. And Mueller did not conclude that Trump obstructed justice.

On obstruction, then, not guilty, by reason of no indictment.

We are told that Trump ranted to subordinates about firing Mueller. Yet as Attorney General Bill Barr pointed out, Trump had excellent reasons to be enraged. He was pilloried for two and a half years over a crime he not only did not commit but that never took place.

From the fall of 2016 to the spring of 2019, Trump was subjected to scurrilous attacks. It was alleged that his victory had been stolen for him by the Russians, that he was an illegitimate president guilty of treason and an agent of the Kremlin, that he was being blackmailed, and that he rewrote the Republican platform on Vladimir Putin's instructions.

All bull hockey, and Mueller all but said so.

Yet the false charges did serious damage to his presidency and the nation.

Mueller Time is Finally Over CNN Disgraces Itself as the Mueller Report Shatters Media Dreams

Answering them has consumed much of Trump's tenure and ruined his plans to repair our dangerously damaged relations with the world's other great nuclear power.

Yet it is the Trump haters who are now in something of a box.

Their goal had been to use "Russiagate" to bring down their detested antagonist, overturn his election, and put him in the history books as a stooge of Putin who, had the truth be known, would never have won the White House.

Mueller failed to sustain their indictment. Indeed, he all but threw it out.

Yet Trump's enemies will not quit now. To do so would be to concede that Trump's defenders had been right all along, and that they had not only done a grave injustice to Trump but damaged their country with their manic pursuit.

And admitting they were wrong would instantly raise follow-up questions.

If two years of investigation by Mueller, his lawyers, and his FBI agents could not unearth hard evidence to prove that Trump and his campaign conspired with the Russians, what was the original evidence that justified launching this historic and massive assault on a presidential campaign and the presidency of the United States?

If there was no collusion, when did Mueller learn this? Did it take two and a half years to discover there was no conspiracy?

The names tossed out as justifying the original investigation are George Papadopoulos and Carter Page. The latter was subjected to four consecutive secret FISA court surveillance warrants.

Yet neither man was ever charged with conspiring with Russia.

Was "Russiagate" a nothingburger to begin with, a concocted excuse for "deep state" agencies to rampage through Trump's campaign and personal history to destroy him and his presidency?

Senator Elizabeth Warren, a presidential candidate, has called for impeachment hearings in the House Judiciary Committee. But her call seems less tied to evidence of high crimes in the Mueller report than to her own anemic poll ratings and fundraising performance in the first quarter.

It is difficult to see how those Democrats and their media allies, who have invested so much prestige and so many hopes in the Mueller report, can now pack it in and concede that they were wrong. Their interests will not permit it; their reputations could not sustain it.

So where are we headed?

The anti-Trump media and second-tier candidates for the Democratic nomination will press the frontrunners to join their call for impeachment. Some will capitulate to the clamor.

But can Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Beto O'Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, or Kamala Harris, each of whom has an agenda to advance, accept becoming just another voice crying out for Trump's impeachment?

The credibility of the Democratic Party is now at issue.

If Mueller could not find collusion, what reason is there to believe that Congressman Jerry Nadler's Judiciary Committee will find it? And then convince the country they have discovered what ex-FBI director Mueller could not?

With conspiracy and collusion off the table, and Mueller saying the case for obstruction is unproven, the renewed attack on Trump takes on the aspect of a naked and desperate "deep state"-media coup against a president they fear they cannot defeat at the ballot box.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever . To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.


Ken Zaretzke April 23, 2019 at 1:31 pm

Why did Mueller hire only Democrats for his team–an unusually large team, at that? Was it because he thought nailing Trump on collusion a surefire thing? And as a surefire thing, there was no need to placate Republicans or provide balance? Who advised or pressured him to do that? Maybe the deep state

An investigation of the FBI's Trump-spying caper, with James Comey at the helm, should look into those matters. To some as yet undetermined extent, Mueller and Comey are joined at the hip. Or if they aren't, let the government prove it. If DOJ's Inspector General doesn't do it, we may need another special counsel to conduct a more thorough investigation. And this time, by someone from outside the Beltway, with no professional or social allegiances to individuals within it.

John S , says: April 23, 2019 at 1:46 pm
" not guilty, by reason of no indictment."

The report itself states that, per OLC, the Special Counsel determined not to make a prosecutorial judgment. It also states that the President is not exonerated of the crime of obstruction.

Stuart Ferguson , says: April 23, 2019 at 4:46 pm
Mr. Buchanan is right: President Trump has been found to be not guilty of working with Russia, but neither the media, nor the neo-cons can possible admit it, or their cause is lost. And one need not personally admire Donald Trump to note the haughty condescension of his opponents, most of whom have been wrong about almost everything for decades.

[Apr 24, 2019] Why then Mueller backed off (in panic) from the indicted' readiness to show up in court?

Apr 24, 2019 | www.unz.com

annamaria , says: April 23, 2019 at 11:19 pm GMT

@Sean "Trump owes the Russians nothing, he was their way to stop Clinton."

-- Sean, you seem as taking really seriously the $4.700 spent by Russians on the Google ads as well as the indictment of Russian "hackers and trolls" (the alleged army of Kremlin) in absentia. Why then Mueller backed off (in panic) from the indicted' readiness to show up in court?

Your thinking is not original: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/democratic-operatives-created-fake-russian-bots-in-alabama-race-designed-to-link-kremlin-to-republican-roy-moore

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-13/google-ceo-exposes-shocking-full-extent-russian-meddling-2016

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/05/04/mueller-russia-interference-election-case-delay-570627

You may have some special grievances against Russia and Russians, but why such obvious depreciation of your intelligence by repeating after Adam Schiff?

[Apr 24, 2019] Gaping holes in CrowdStrike's conclusions

Apr 24, 2019 | www.unz.com

Saoirse , says: April 24, 2019 at 2:30 am GMT

MEMORANDUM FOR : The President

FROM : Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

VIPS Fault Mueller Probe, Criticize Refusal to Interview Assange

" In that Memorandum we described the results of our own independent, agenda-free forensic investigation led by two former Technical Directors of the NSA, who avoid squishy "assessments," preferring to base their findings on fundamental principles of science and the scientific method . Our findings remain unchallenged; they reveal gaping holes in CrowdStrike's conclusions."

[ ]

"We recall that you were apprised of that Memorandum's key findings because you ordered then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo to talk to William Binney, one of our two former NSA Technical Directors and one of the principal authors of that Memorandum . On October 24, 2017, Pompeo began an hour-long meeting with Binney by explaining the genesis of the odd invitation to CIA Headquarters: " You are here because the president told me that if I really wanted to know about Russian hacking I needed to talk to you ."

"On the chance Pompeo has given you no report on his meeting with Binney, we can tell you that Binney, a plain-spoken, widely respected scientist, began by telling Pompeo that his (CIA) people were lying to him about Russian hacking and that he (Binney) could prove it . Pompeo reacted with disbelief, but then talked of following up with the FBI and NSA. We have no sign, though, that he followed through. And there is good reason to believe that Pompeo himself may have been reluctant to follow up with his subordinates in the Directorate of Digital Innovation created by CIA Director John Brennan in 2015. CIA malware and hacking tools are built by the Engineering Development Group, part of that relatively new Directorate. "

[ ]

William Binney , former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Bogdan Dzakovic , former Team Leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Philip Giraldi , CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)

Mike Gravel , former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator

James George Jatras , former U.S. diplomat and former foreign policy adviser to Senate leadership (Associate VIPS)

Larry Johnson , former CIA Intelligence Officer & former State Department Counter-Terrorism Official, (ret.)

Michael S. Kearns , Captain, USAF (ret.); ex-Master SERE Instructor for Strategic Reconnaissance Operations (NSA/DIA) and Special Mission Units (JSOC)

John Kiriakou , former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former Senior Investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Karen Kwiatkowski , former Lt. Col., US Air Force (ret.), at Office of Secretary of Defense watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003

Clement J. Laniewski , LTC, U.S. Army (ret.)

Linda Lewis , WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.)

Edward Loomis , NSA Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)

David MacMichael , former Senior Estimates Officer, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern , former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA presidential briefer (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray , former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East & CIA political analyst (ret.)

Todd E. Pierce , MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)

Peter Van Buren ,U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Robert Wing , U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (former) (associate VIPS)

Ann Wright , U.S. Army Reserve Colonel (ret) and former U.S. Diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq War

https://consortiumnews.com/2019/04/16/vips-fault-mueller-probe-criticize-refusal-to-interview-assange/

{excerpt, emphasis added}

Skeptikal , says: April 24, 2019 at 2:32 am GMT
@Adrian E. Very interesting post.
tulsilookinggood , says: April 24, 2019 at 2:33 am GMT
Phil is on my wall of heroes
Saoirse , says: April 24, 2019 at 2:43 am GMT
@annamaria MEMORANDUM FOR: The Attorney General

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

"Recent forensic examination of the Wikileaks DNC files shows they were created on 23, 25 and 26 May 2016. (On June 12, Julian Assange announced he had them; WikiLeaks published them on July 22.) We recently discovered that the files reveal a FAT (File Allocation Table) system property. This shows that the data had been transferred to an external storage device, such as a thumb drive, before WikiLeaks posted them ."

"FAT is a simple file system named for its method of organization, the File Allocation Table. It is used for storage only and is not related to internet transfers like hacking. Were WikiLeaks to have received the DNC files via a hack, the last modified times on the files would be a random mixture of odd-and even-ending numbe rs."

"Why is that important? The evidence lies in the "last modified" time stamps on the Wikileaks files. When a file is stored under the FAT file system the software rounds the time to the nearest even-numbered second. Every single one of the time stamps in the DNC files on WikiLeaks' site ends in an even number. "

"We have examined 500 DNC email files stored on the Wikileaks site. All 500 files end in an even number -- 2, 4, 6, 8 or 0 . If those files had been hacked over the Internet, there would be an equal probability of the time stamp ending in an odd number . The random probability that FAT was not used is 1 chance in 2 to the 500th power . Thus, these data show that the DNC emails posted by WikiLeaks went through a storage device, like a thumb drive, and were physically moved before Wikileaks posted the emails on the World Wide Web ."

"This finding alone is enough to raise reasonable doubts, for example, about Mueller's indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking the DNC emails given to WikiLeaks. A defense attorney could easily use the forensics to argue that someone copied the DNC files to a storage device like a USB thumb drive and got them physically to WikiLeaks -- not electronically via a hack."

Role of NSA

"For more than two years, we strongly suspected that the DNC emails were copied/leaked in that way, not hacked."

[ ]

For the steering group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity:

William Binney, former NSA Technical Director for World Geopolitical & Military Analysis; Co-founder of NSA's Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center (ret.)

Richard H. Black, Senator of Virginia, 13th District; Colonel US Army (ret.); Former Chief, Criminal Law Division, Office of the Judge Advocate General, the Pentagon (associate VIPS)

Bogdan Dzakovic, former Team Leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)

Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator

James George Jatras, former U.S. diplomat and former foreign policy adviser to Senate leadership (Associate VIPS)

Larry C. Johnson, former CIA and State Department Counter Terrorism officer

John Kiriakou, former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former senior investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Karen Kwiatkowski, former Lt. Col., US Air Force (ret.), at Office of Secretary of Defense watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003

Edward Loomis, Cryptologic Computer Scientist, former Technical Director at NSA (ret.)

David MacMichael, Ph.D., former senior estimates officer, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst; CIA Presidential briefer (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, National Intelligence Council & CIA political analyst (ret.)

Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)

Peter Van Buren, US Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Sarah G. Wilton, CDR, USNR, (ret.); Defense Intelligence Agency (ret.)

Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA

Ann Wright, retired U.S. Army reserve colonel and former U.S. diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq War

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) is made up of former intelligence officers, diplomats, military officers and congressional staffers. The organization, founded in 2002, was among the first critics of Washington's justifications for launching a war against Iraq. VIPS advocates a US foreign and national security policy based on genuine national interests rather than contrived threats promoted for largely political reasons. An archive of VIPS memoranda is available at Consortiumnews.com.

VIPS: Mueller's Forensics-Free Findings

https://consortiumnews.com/2019/03/13/vips-muellers-forensics-free-findings/

[Apr 24, 2019] Trump: Stop buying Iranian oil or face sanctions Inside Story

Apr 23, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Oil prices are on the rise after the United States announced a new crackdown on Iran's oil exports aiming to reduce them to zero.
Iran's threatening retaliation by blocking the Strait of Hormuz - the world's lifeline of oil from all Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq.
The move has

[Apr 24, 2019] Wallbanger

Apr 24, 2019 | www.unz.com

says: April 23, 2019 at 6:15 pm GMT 100 Words What a joke. Trump is a Zionist. The "deep state" is Zionist. The trillionaires are Zionists.

Trump moved the US embassy to Jerusalem. Continues the illegal wars in Syria and Yemen. Unilaterally declares the Golan Heights to be Israeli territory.

Kushner is Genie Energy. Cheney, et al. Stealing Syrian national wealth.

Trump is a tool.

Those who supported Trump are fools. Those who thought Mueller would find impeachable offenses are fools. We are all either fools or tools.


Adrian E. , says: April 23, 2019 at 9:26 pm GMT

@Wallbanger Of course, Trump is pro-Zionist, and he hardly needed any pressure for this. Kushner is a close friend of Netanyahu, and we don't know anything about conflicts between Trump and Kushner.

But I think the Russiagate conspiracy theory still may have served important foreign policy goals.

I think it is important to distinguish between Israeli foreign policy and US neocon foreign policy, even though they are close allies. At least superficially, these are two rather different things, and to me, it is an open question to what degree these differences are only superficial.

US neocons follow the doctrine of „full spectrum dominance". This leads them to having military bases all over the world, stoking up conflicts, and destabilizing countries that have or want good relations with rivals like China and Russia. The idea that such „full spectrum dominance" will be used for the benefit of Israel certainly goes a long way for explaining why neocons think it is worth the price – after all, many US neocons are Jewish Zionists, and many of their lower-rank supporters are Christian Zionists. But their goal of „full spectrum dominance" goes beyond matters related to Israel, it leads to conflicts and tensions all over the world, Israel is just one of the motivating factors.

Israeli foreign policy is very different. It does not share the US' hostility towards other great powers. Israel has good relations with Russia and China. It refused to follow the US and the EU in sanctioning Russia, Netanyahu meets Putin regularly, and, like Trump with the Golan recognition, Putin also gave Netanyahu a present a short time before the elections (retrieving remains of an Israeli soldier who was missing since 1982 from Syria). Of course, Russia and Israel supported different sides in Syria, but they still seem to take into account each other's interest to some degree. Israel also has good relations and a strong economic partnership with China and participates in the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. The general principle seems to be that whenever there is a conflict and rivalry, Israel wants to have good relations and influence on both sides. There are some exceptions, in the Sunni-Shia conflict, Israel only has behind-the-scenes influence on the Sunni-Wahhabi side, but that is probably one of the reasons why good relations with Russia, which has closer contacts with Iran, are important to Israel. In the case of the conflict in Ukraine (which is quite relevant for Israel because many Israeli citizens are from Russia or Ukraine), Israel remained neutral and has strong connections to both sides. Such a policy of keeping good relations with as many powerful nations as possible obviously seems smart for a smaller (albeit in many respects very strong) country in a difficult part of the world.

Of course, the Israeli government is very much aware that there could hardly ever be a powerful country where Israel is as influential as it is in the US. Israel has some significant influence in Western Europe and Russia, criticizing Israel can be risky, and overall, these countries have rather pro-Israeli policies (as does, as far as I know, China). But they will never be as extremely pro-Israeli as the US. There are many votes in the UN were there is just Israel and the US on one side (sometimes together with some tiny micronations that depend on the US). Therefore, it is in Israel's interest that the US tries at all cost to gain influence relative to other great powers that are less extremely pro-Israeli. Thus, US neocons who drive the US towards a costly „full spectrum dominance" policy are unequivocally positive and worthy of support from the perspective of the Israeli government. But for Israeli foreign policy itself, due to risk management considerations, the priorities are different. The best-case scenario for them is that a) Israeli influence in the US remains strong and b) the US can achieve and maintain „full-spectrum dominance" for a long time. But they also know that this best-case scenario is far from assured, and therefore, they also consider good relations between Israel and potentially powerful countries like China and Russia important.

I think Trump's foreign policy ideas (before any pressure was applied to him) was quite close to the Israeli ideas (rather than the positions of the US neocons). Unlike Israel, he had some ideas about confronting China (mainly on trade), and certainly, he wanted pro-Israeli policies, but it seems he also wanted to have a general policy of „getting along" with relatively important countries rather than pursuing „full-spectrum dominance" wherever possible and stoking up proxy conflicts at every occasion. On the whole, it seems Trump wanted a US foreign policy that is closer to the Israeli one than to the one of US neocons. If Israel can „get along" with Russia, why shouldn't the US? The Israeli and international press does not scream „treason" every time Netanyahu and Putin meet (which they do quite often).

This idea of a normalization of US-Russian relations is what led to such strong opposition from US neocons. I think they all knew that it would never be in doubt that Trump's policies would be pro-Israeli. But that was not enough for them. According to them, the US, unlike Israel, has to have a strongly anti-Russian stance.

I think there are two plausible explanations, one that does involve Israel and one that does not. They may both be partially be true (probably, for some US neocons, it is more the one, while for others, it is more the other).

The first explanation is that US neocons who strongly identify with Israel, as I argued above, recognize that Israel should have good relations with Russia and China because of risk management considerations, but at the same time, Israel wants to have the US to have as much power as possible because it will never have as much influence in Russia and China as it has in the US. The Russia hysteria has helped increasing military spending (and Democrats going along with this), which may increase the chances of "full spectrum dominance" – and this dominance will, among other things, be used on behalf of Israel. In that case, it may have been a kind of misunderstanding. Trump may have thought that for neocons, it would be enough if he is pro-Israeli and anti-Iranian and has normal, non-hostile relations with Russia, as Israel has – ignoring that the roles Israel and the US should play according to the neocons are very different.

But I am not so sure if Israel would really have minded much if the US had normalized its relations with Russia. Netanyahu hardly ever was hostile towards Trump, he knew he was a reliable ally. Some may even think it weakens the ability of the US to support Israel if it gets entangled in conflicts and confrontations all over the world. So, I suppose that for many true Israel-firsters, Trump was hardly seen as a problem (as long as he is pro-Israeli and anti-Iranian, and there had hardly been any doubt that he is). There also do not seem to be strong indications about Israeli involvement in Russiagate/Spygate. Some Israelis seem to have been involved in the entrapment of Papadopoulos, but it was not necessarily the Israeli government as a whole that was behind this (they may just have been needed because Israeli energy policy is one of the main specializations of Papadopoulos), and I think there are at least as strong indications of an Israeli involvement on the pro-Trump side. Russiagate/Spygate mainly seems to be an affair of US and British intelligence services, not so much of Israel. Certainly, in the US, many neocons were strongly involved, but it may not have so much to do with Israel. While support of Israel is one of the reasons why some neocons passionately pursue „full-spectrum dominance", for many of them, this has probably become a goal in itself, even in cases in which it is not needed for Israel – partially for ideological reasons, partially because many of them profit from increased military spending.

notanon , says: April 23, 2019 at 4:40 pm GMT
@Rurik

The right ((neocons)), on the other hand, see Trump as a quisling to rally the hated white men into dying for greater Israel. The perfect Commander and Chief of the Janissaries for Zion.

i agree that initially it was always a possibility he was a neocon plant i.e. neocons couldn't get a war in Syria so decided to put up a candidate who'd promise stuff on trade and immigration to get into office but then ignore it all afterwards and just do neocon stuff but

1) if so he didn't need to say the anti-war stuff
and
2) neocons like Kristol hated him and did everything they could to stop him.

You might call them the Alan Dershowitz wing of the Jewish supremacists. I see that mug on Tucker Carlson defending Trump, and he's positively beaming.

right but he'd be beaming like that even more if he knew Trump was originally isolationist but now is compromised and compliant.

too early to tell for sure but my take is if neocons and the media now start going easier on him i think that will prove they got him and want to keep him in office.

(nb it doesn't change anything if he was always a shill or he wasn't but they got him – the end result is the same)

Rurik , says: April 23, 2019 at 6:06 pm GMT
@notanon

1) if so he didn't need to say the anti-war stuff
and

the only reason I was duped into voting for Dubya his first term, was because I was appalled at Clinton's flouting of international law when he bombed Serbia, and Dubya said specifically said he wasn't a "nation builder". Boy oh boy was I chumped by that one.

And we were all chumped by Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, and serial war pig.

But what choice do we have but to at least vote for the peace candidate, and then wait until, on cue, we're all betrayed once again by the Jewish supremacist deepstate.

So far, Trump hasn't started any new wars. So as Mr. Giraldi says, "one hopes"

if neocons and the media now start going easier on him

then we're toast

it seems the only metric we have for determining whether or not a person is rotten to the core, or not, is whether the media likes them, or not.

If the media likes them, then they're as rotten as they come.

If the media hates them, (Ron Paul, Julian Assange

others..)

then there is likely at least something redeeming about them.

The main reason for (pathetically) clinging to some tiny, gossamer wisp of hope for Trump, is that ((they)) continue to be unhinged in their hysterical enmity for all things Trump.

But considering that he's basically giving them everything they want, (sans an all out war on Iran), it seems the main reason they still hate his guts, is because the despised rubes in flyover country still like him. And I suppose because of a few good judges and justices.

But as long as Bubba continues to proudly wear the hat, they're going to hate Donald Trump with a seething malevolence.

And I have to confess to getting great satisfaction by seeing these rats going apoplectic over Trump.

a guilty secret of mine is that everyday that this sick, twisted bitch

https://cdn.newsapi.com.au/image/v1/4dbf746ee84f4a07be81d3e41d1e79c5?width=650

is *not* president, I smile inside.

notanon , says: April 23, 2019 at 6:23 pm GMT
@Rurik yes

it seems the only metric we have for determining whether or not a person is rotten to the core, or not, is whether the media likes them, or not

double yes

notanon , says: April 23, 2019 at 6:34 pm GMT
@Rurik the other potentially relevant thing about Trump imo is he made some comments on 9/11 at the time about how strong the twin towers were (i forget the exact details) which could be construed as walking the edge of disbelief.

this may be related to Brennan in particular having such a hysterical reaction to Trump's candidacy.

Germanicus , says: April 23, 2019 at 6:35 pm GMT
@Rurik

it seems the only metric we have for determining whether or not a person is rotten to the core, or not, is whether the media likes them, or not.

I would contend, this is not a reliable indicator. If they really dislike someone, they will simply not report anything at all. It would be a declared and enforced taboo to report.
Negative publicity is also publicity, and the guys behind the curtain know this.

Realist , says: April 23, 2019 at 6:46 pm GMT
@Rurik

But what choice do we have but to at least vote for the peace candidate, and then wait until, on cue, we're all betrayed once again by the Jewish supremacist deepstate.

It won't change anything, but you won't feel betrayed.

[Apr 24, 2019] Charles Pewitt

Apr 24, 2019 | www.unz.com

says: April 23, 2019 at 9:42 pm GMT 100 Words Trump Is A Complete And Total Whore For Shelly Adelson And Jared Kushner

Shelly Adelson and Jared Kushner push mass legal immigration and illegal immigration and amnesty for illegal alien invaders.

Shelly Adelson and Jared Kushner put the interests of Israel ahead of the interests of the United States.

The DEEP STATE rats are just as evil as Adelson and Kushner.

The USA needs a George Washington or Andrew Jackson To Smash The Treasonous Rats

Tweet from 2015:

Read More Reply Agree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments

Art , says: April 23, 2019 at 9:55 pm GMT

@Rurik Putin is a statesman, whereas Pence and Obama and Trump are lickspittles to cretinous toads like Sheldon Adelson. What that must be like, eh?

It'd be one thing to have to genuflect to a giant of a man, a Caesar or a Bismarck perhaps, but to have to lick the hand of a man like Adelson, must be one hell of an ignominious degradation.

Rurik,

Hear hear – you are so right – how totally degrading – Adelson is a gambling gangster in China.

How low can we go – Jew gambling money from a rival country controls America.

Adelson's money has so far bought Israel, Jerusalem and the Golan – what is next the Third Temple, to be followed by an Iran war?

Do No Harm -- Art

p.s. Is Adelson crazy Kabbalah also?

[Apr 24, 2019] One of the reasons I voted for DJT was because I wanted to know if the unelected elites (who control the Deep State) would ever voluntarily surrender the reigns of power in DC without bloodshed.

Apr 24, 2019 | www.unz.com

JEinCA , says: April 23, 2019 at 11:05 pm GMT

One of the reasons I voted for DJT was because I wanted to know if the unelected elites (who control the Deep State) would ever voluntarily surrender the reigns of power in DC without bloodshed. Now I unequivocally know the answer to that question. There is no democracy, there is no Republic and any Constitutional Rights us American citizens have left hang by a thread (think 1st and 2nd Amendments).

At this point Trump is either a hostage of the Deep State or he has joined them.

[Apr 24, 2019] Only a rabid Israel-firster and Clinton loyalist like Schiff could ignore the excellent report of the patriotic Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS); the report explains why Clinton/DNC emails were never hacked but "leaked."

Apr 24, 2019 | www.unz.com

annamaria , says: April 24, 2019 at 1:50 am GMT

@dale ruff "As for Adam,Schiff, he is a very smart guy "
-- If you say so.

Actually, proclaiming the enormity of Adam Schiff intelligence is so funny that here is a take on the "intelligence" that is the basis for A. Schiff' well-publicized vitriols: https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-07-24/making-shit-us-intelligence-community-collapse-driver "Making Shit Up" – The US Intelligence Community As 'Collapse Driver'

On a serious note, only a rabid Israel-firster and loyalist to Clintons could ignore the excellent report of the patriotic Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS); the report explains why Clinton/DNC emails were never hacked but "leaked."
True to the spirit of the DNC activists, the "progressives" and "liberals" are indifferent to the death of the young DNC operative Seth Rich.

https://consortiumnews.com/2019/03/13/vips-muellers-forensics-free-findings/
https://www.thenation.com/article/a-new-report-raises-big-questions-about-last-years-dnc-hack/

The centerpiece accusation of Kremlin "interference" in the 2016 presidential election was the charge that Russia hacked Democratic National Committee emails and gave them to WikiLeaks to embarrass Secretary Hillary Clinton and help Mr. Trump win.

In 2017, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair asked Comey whether he ever had "access to the actual hardware that was hacked." Comey answered, "In the case of the DNC we did not have access to the devices themselves. We got relevant forensic information from a private party "

we [VIPS] know for sure that the person had to have direct access to the DNC computers or servers in order to copy the emails. The apparent lack of evidence from the most likely source, NSA, regarding a hack may help explain the FBI's curious preference for forensic data from CrowdStrike.

Why the allegedly intelligent A. Schiff has never questioned the conclusions of a private CrowdStrike led by a Russophobic Jewish emigre from Moscow? For an honest person with a degree in law, Schiff should have been demanding an FBI investigation of the server in question. Instead, Adam has been at the forefront of the putsch against POTUS . So much for the "J.D. from Harvard Law School."

By the way, your attempts to impress the readers with your admiration for Harvard are funny.

[Apr 24, 2019] Ukraine An Election for the Oligarchs by Volodymyr Ishchenko

Apr 24, 2019 | socialistproject.ca

March 20, 2019

Five years after the " EuroMaidan " protests in Kiev and elsewhere toppled the government of now-exiled former president Viktor Yanukovych, the people of Ukraine are set to elect a new leader. Over 34 million Ukrainian citizens will be eligible to cast their vote on 31 March , although several million will be prevented from participating due to the ongoing conflict situation in the country's eastern Donbass region. Should none of the candidates receive an absolute majority, a second round of voting will be held on 21 April.

Ukraine consistently ranks among the poorest countries in Europe – last year it overtook Moldova to occupy the top spot in the list. The largest post-Soviet state after Russia in terms of population, it finds itself torn between the European Union promising economic integration and a limited degree of freedom of movement, and deepening the country's relationship with Moscow, the largest consumer of Ukrainian exports to which Ukraine is tied by centuries of shared history, tradition, and repeated conflict.

EuroMaidan exacerbated the country's ongoing economic decline and mounting social pressures in 2013–14, ultimately triggering the war in the Donbass region and the Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula. These tensions have facilitated the rise of a vicious Ukrainian nationalism that the government led by current president Petro Poroshenko is not afraid to manipulate for its own purposes. Attacks on left-wing activists and ethnic minorities are becoming increasingly common, while armed far-right paramilitaries like the so-called "Azov Battalion" are normalized and integrated into mainstream political life.

That said, not everyone in Ukraine is happy about these developments. Although none of the candidates in the upcoming elections offer a particularly radical or progressive vision for the country, voters will at least be able to decide whether to endorse Poroshenko's current course or throw their support behind another figure. Loren Balhorn of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung spoke with Kiev-based sociologist Volodymyr Ishchenko to get a better understanding of the candidates, the state of the county, and what is at stake for the people of Ukraine in 2019.

Loren Balhorn (LB): Ukraine is scheduled to hold presidential elections at the end of the month, preceding elections to the national parliament , or "Verkhovna Rada," later this year. Is there anything special about the timing? What exactly is the president's role in the Ukrainian political system, and what implications will the vote have for parliamentary elections in October?

Volodymyr Ishchenko (VI): The timing is simple: it's been five years since 2014 and the Maidan Uprising, when snap elections were called that saw Viktor Yanukovych and his Party of Regions lose a lot of strength. The first round of the presidential elections is at the end of the month, and it is very likely that there will be a second round because no candidate will receive over 50 per cent (at least according to polls).

The president is very important in Ukrainian politics. The country is formally a parliamentary-presidential system, neither fully parliamentary nor fully presidential, but this is a very uneasy balance of power. The prime minister is an important position elected by the parliamentary majority, but the president also has influence over important government ministers. As is true of many post-Soviet states, however, beyond this formal institutional division of powers the informal divisions are much more decisive. Who is loyal to whom and who is dependent on whom plays a much bigger role in "real" Ukrainian politics than formal powers and privileges.

Petro Poroshenko , the current president, is the most important person in Ukrainian politics. His powers are formally limited but he has other ways to exercise influence and his own party, the "Petro Poroshenko Bloc" that forms the government together with the "People's Front," the party of former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Another important figure in that party is the current Minister of Internal Affairs, Arsen Avakov , who is also a very wealthy man.

LB: Avakov also cultivates ties to the Azov Battalion, no?

VI: This is widely suspected, but the precise nature of those ties has never been proven. I am skeptical of the idea that the Azov Battalion is merely a puppet of Avakov, I suspect it is something like a mutually beneficial cooperation.

If Poroshenko loses we will see a lot of defections by MPs from his bloc. Ukrainian politics operates as what political scientists call a "neopatrimonial regime," meaning it is characterized by rival, informal power blocs. If the Poroshenko Bloc loses, it will reshuffle loyalties in the parliament from one patriarch to another.

LB: What do you mean by "neopatrimonial regime"?

VI: By that I mean Ukrainian politics is characterized by competition between various power blocs, you could also call them pyramids or even clans. Poroshenko builds his pyramid while Arakov builds his own pyramid, etc. The current Prime Minister, Volodymyr Groysman, was originally perceived as a loyalist of Poroshenko, but now even he seems to be cultivating his own pyramid and will probably triangulate between various political blocs.

LB: How did Groysman come to replace Yatsenyuk?

VI: As friction between Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk grew, Poroshenko financed a public campaign against him, attacking him and calling for his resignation. But Yatsenyuk had a lot of support from the West, especially the U.S. Vice-President at the time, Joe Biden. Eventually an agreement was reached that he would step down and be replaced by Groysman.

This represented a conflict between different patrimonial structures within the governing elite, but also reflected a wider conflict between Ukrainian oligarchs and the West more generally. Many leftists in Ukraine see the country as a colony of the United States, but it's much more complicated than that. Ukraine is definitely dependent on Western economic and financial aid, political support against Russia, etc., but it's not a colony – it's not ruled from the American Embassy. Local oligarchs like Poroshenko and Arakov have their own interests that they defend staunchly against the West. At its core, this is a conflict between transnational capital and the local bourgeoisie.

One key issue in these debates, and the crucial issue for the West and the IMF, was corruption and the establishment of "anti-corruption" institutions to ensure transparent rules of the game in Ukraine. But what they call "corruption" is basically the most important advantage that the Ukrainian bourgeoisie has against transnational capital: namely, their property is secure from the state while that of their competitors is not. This is also what scares away potential international investors. Because of this fear, foreign direct investment (FDI) is actually declining despite the Ukrainian government's steps toward Western integration.

LB: So fear of corruption is harming investment?

VI: Yes, although the war is of course another factor.

In the beginning, in 2014 and 2015, we had a lot of people in the government without Ukrainian citizenship who received their positions because they were neoliberal, Western-oriented professionals, like the Lithuanian citizen Aivaras Abromavičius who was a minister under Yatsenyuk. Gradually, those neoliberal reformers were pushed out and replaced by people loyal to the ruling oligarchs. Yatsenyuk being replaced by Groysman was just one particularly important example of this process.

LB: It sounds like a pretty grim scenario. But even if electoral politics is just competition between oligarchic factions, certainly there must be some other issues being debated at least on the surface? What are the dominant themes the candidates are using to attract support?

VI: Poroshenko has been most successful in setting the agenda with an aggressively nationalist campaign – his main slogan is "Army, Faith, Language." He side-lined the socially populist issues that Yulia Tymoshenko tried to raise by portraying the election as a choice between him or Putin and depicting his opponents as puppets of Moscow.

LB: And is it working?

VI: Yes, to some extent. His support has been rising in the polls since the recognition of the independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

LB: Was that split between the Ukrainian Church and Moscow supported by the government?

VI: Yes, it was actively organized by Poroshenko as a strategy to win the election. Formally, the Ukrainian Orthodox church enjoyed broad autonomy but was dependent on the Moscow Patriarchate and was recognized by other Orthodox churches. A separate church founded in the early 1990s, the Kiev Patriarchate, was unrecognized by any other international church but still fairly popular in the country. In reality most people didn't care which church they attended. The split was purely political, there were no theological differences.

Poroshenko started to push the theme in 2017 and 2018 that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was something like an "agent of Moscow" in Ukraine. The details are quite complicated, and to be honest many people in Ukraine didn't really understand these structures until last year either, but for people who care about national issues, who care about Ukraine asserting itself against Russia, this was an important step. Nevertheless, it looks like the majority of local parishes will actually stay with the Moscow Patriarchate.

LB: You have alluded to the conflict with Russia several times now as setting the terms of the debate, and making it easier for politicians to distract from social questions by focusing on nationalism. Is there any kind of visible, vaguely progressive social opposition in the country?

VI: Most politicians and the three leading candidates for the president are not significantly different on the question of the conflict in the Donbass region. Poroshenko, Tymoshenko, and Volodymyr Zelensky are all within the patriotic consensus, although Poroshenko is more militant. Candidates who actually have a different opinion and are not as popular sprang from the former Party of Regions, later branded the "Opposition Bloc." They failed to negotiate a common candidate for the so-called "Southeast," the region where the Russian-speaking minority mostly lives. Despite raising important issues like peace in Donbass, re-claiming national sovereignty from the West, and re-industrialization, these candidates – Yuriy Boyko and Oleksandr Vilkul – are representatives of major oligarchic financial-industrial groups. There is no significant "grassroots" movement behind the issues. There are of course labour struggles, and there have been some strikes, but they are weak. There are some feminist mobilizations but they are miniscule compared to the radical nationalists. Not just the anti-capitalist "Left," but also progressive liberalism is very weak.

The Left is in a bad situation. The Communist Party has been banned. They are appealing the ban but their public visibility has declined to practically zero. Their leader, Petro Symonenko, tried to register as a presidential candidate but was not accepted by the government, and no other relevant left-wing parties exist on the national level.

LB: Government corruption, oligarchic control of the economy, a decimated Left – a lot of this sounds familiar. Couldn't we, at least to some extent, compare conditions in Ukraine to the situation in all of the former Eastern Bloc countries?

VI: I don't think so. EU membership makes a big difference, it imposes certain rules that are absent in Ukraine. The presence of strong oligarchs, for example, is pretty specific. The other Eastern Bloc countries don't have a strong local bourgeoisie, but are largely dominated by Western capital. There are no Polish oligarchs, Czech oligarchs, Hungarian oligarchs – we only hear about Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs. What makes Ukraine different is that the oligarchic system is pluralistic. We have multiple, competing oligarchs, whereas in Russia and Belarus one neopatrimonial pyramid managed to emerge as dominant in the last 15 years.

The promise of EU membership restructured Eastern European politics beginning in the 1990s, whereas this was never a prospect in Ukraine, Russia, or Belarus. But we still didn't see the rise of any figure like Vladimir Putin or an Alexander Lukashenko in Ukraine. I think this has to do with the country's divided identity: almost every election has been framed as a question of "East vs. West," with one candidate supported by the western half and the other by the eastern half. In this sense it's comparable with Donald Trump: any time a Ukrainian president comes to power he is opposed by half the population from day one. This makes it very difficult to consolidate nationwide power.

LB: Are there not also economic aspects to the East/West division?

VI: Yes, the East has more heavy, Soviet-era industry, exporting primarily to the markets of the former USSR and uncompetitive on Western markets. For example, the people supporting Yanukovych and opposing EuroMaidan were at least partially concerned about keeping their jobs in a Ukrainian economy dominated by the EU.

LB: So it's not only a nationalist issue, but also one of bread-and-butter economic issues?

VI: Yes, absolutely.

LB: Speaking of "East vs. West," has anything changed since Ukraine's accession to the visa-free regime for Schengen states in 2017?

VI: That was one of very few positive developments under Poroshenko, and he's touting it a lot during the campaign. Freedom of movement is of course something good and something we support, but it was particularly good for younger, highly educated Ukrainians in the major cities.

It has also facilitated increased labour migration, which has really risen since 2014. I don't have any precise statistics but we're talking about millions of people. Many Ukrainians go to work in Poland, which actively recruits them because they are seen as culturally and linguistically "closer" to Poles (unlike refugees from the Middle East). You could say that cheap Ukrainian labour is subsidizing the Polish economic boom. The Czech Republic is also popular, and Germany will probably be next.

As workers from the eastern EU states like Bulgaria and Poland move west to work they're replaced by cheaper labour from Ukraine, but no one moves to Ukraine. There is a lot of discussion in the Ukrainian media about how it simply does not make sense to work in the country when you can make two or three times more across the border.

LB: But does this not mean that the Ukrainian labour market is gradually getting tighter? Wouldn't it at least theoretically put organized labour in a more advantageous position to fight for higher wages?

VI: Yes, theoretically! But Ukrainian trade unions are very weak, and they have failed to take advantage of the situation.

LB: You recently gave an interview to Jacobin Magazine in which you compared the situation of the Ukrainian Left with that of Latin America in the 1970s. I found that very striking, given that the Left was quite large in Latin America at the time and microscopic in Ukraine today. Could you flesh out that comparison a bit? Where exactly do you see similarities?

VI: Ukraine is a deindustrializing, peripheral economy. Most Soviet-era industry fell apart after 1991, and what remains is not competitive on the Western European market. Ukraine has thus become a supplier of raw materials with low added value like iron. In this sense it is a very peripheral capitalism characterized by extreme inequality and powerful oligarchs, like Latin America. There is also the major role played by far-right paramilitaries – this doesn't happen anywhere else in Europe, except for briefly in former Yugoslavia. We also have a strongly pro-American and highly dependent government, very similar to Latin America.

I think it's logical to look for comparisons and lessons from similar historical social formations. If the Ukrainian Left is looking to fight a corrupt, authoritarian, anti-Communist regime, and given how weak the Left and even liberalism is, we have to work together to fight for basic democratic rights and against the nationalist hysteria to lay the base for a movement that could perhaps become more significant in the future. Here I see parallels to the Latin American Left's struggle against dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s.

LB: Do you think it's possible in a geopolitical situation where tensions between the EU and Russia are so prominent to formulate a broad, democratic programme that stands above this fray?

VI: It's obviously very difficult, but what other options do we have? Become puppets in the geopolitical game? There was a split on the Left in 2014 when many chose EuroMaidan and the "West" while others chose Anti-Maidan and the "Russian" side. Both sides ended up tailing more powerful right-wing forces and failed to formulate their own independent positions.

LB: But would anything else have been possible?

VI: Well, obviously we can't seriously entertain the building of a strong left-wing party under such difficult conditions. What is possible, however, is to maintain some kind of milieu for left-wing ideas. The groups and networks that exist have to consolidate a possible embryo for a strong Left in the future. It's important to be realistic and understand what's possible or completely impossible. We might not be able to formulate some kind of "Third Camp" in Ukrainian politics right now, but that is our objective situation, and we should try to figure out what we can realistically do. We should work on strengthening our groups, our unions, our intellectual initiatives, to hopefully be able to do something bigger in the future.

Corbyn, Podemos, and Mélenchon are inspiring figures, but we need to understand what is specific about the political regime in our country and respond in a specific way. We need to try to expand the range of the possible for left politics at the moment. Even if it isn't so inspiring and very weak, we still have to try. The kind of system that exists in Ukraine can't last forever. There are many contradictions, divisions, and cleavages exacerbated by the ruling groups, and all of these will lead to a situation at some point where weaker groups might become politically relevant and important again.

LB: Before we wrap up I wanted to ask you about the third major candidate, Volodymyr Zelensky . If I understand correctly, he stars in a TV show about a politician and has now become the politician he plays on TV. Is that correct – and is he popular? Does he have a chance at winning or is this a stunt?

VI: Actually, he's currently the most popular politician in the country. According to polls he has significantly more support than both Poroshenko and Tymoshenko, and could very possibly become the president.

There are basically three groups of people voting for him: firstly, fans of his TV show, a very popular comedy about Ukrainian politics. Another large group are just so disappointed and tired of these oligarchs that they will vote for any fresh face.

LB: So he's similar to Donald Trump in some ways?

VI: In some ways, but what's different from Trump is the third group of his supporters, namely people who are voting for him because he is perceived as less nationalist than the other candidates. Zelensky himself is Russian-speaking, he's from the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih, and has attracted lots of support from Russian-speaking citizens.

That makes Zelensky different from Trump – he's actually trying to campaign on unifying themes, not divisive ones. He opposes Poroshenko's attempts to push the Ukrainian language on Russian speakers, for example.

Another thing that makes him different from Trump or Beppe Grillo is that he has no populist movement behind him, or any movement at all for that matter. All he has is his TV show, around which he is now trying to build a political party from scratch. This is different from other populist figures – there was no mass mobilization preceding him. Trump, for example, is obviously somehow a result of the Tea Party movement, while Grillo represents the Five Stars Movement (in Italy).

Another difference is his connection to Igor Kolomoisky, one of Ukraine's richest oligarchs now in opposition to Poroshenko who founded the country's largest bank, Privat Bank, and still owns a controlling share of the national airline. Zelensky's show is broadcast on one of Kolomoisky's eight TV stations, and one of his lawyers is a key architect of Zelensky's party, Sluha Narodu , which translates to "Servant of the People" (also the name of his show). Right now it's not possible to say how independent Zelensky is. I wouldn't call him a puppet, but there are definitely connections to the ruling class.

All of this means that Zelensky will be very weak if he wins, and not only because he's inexperienced. For the first half year he won't have much support in parliament. He has no loyal political party behind him. He will surely get some opportunists to defect from other parties, but hardly a majority. I don't know what he could do in that situation. After the parliamentary elections he might face a more favourable constellation, but it will also depend on how he does in the first months.

It's impossible to say how he would perform as president. He has zero political experience. I fear that he may understand politics even less than Donald Trump. He is a blank page on which anything can be written.

LB: So he reflects the vacuum in civil society more generally?

VI: Exactly. He is a glaring symptom of what's going on in Ukrainian society. People hate the oligarchs, they hate the faces they've seen for decades. Revolutions come and go, elections come and go, but life just gets worse and worse. People don't want another five years of Tymoshenko or Poroshenko and are happy to vote for any recognizable fresh face who isn't implicated in serious corruption. People are voting less out of hope than out of anger. Better to vote for an incompetent comedian than the same old corrupt experts.

At the same time, civil society is so weak that it couldn't put up any competing figure. Only a TV star was able to do that, nobody from the pro-Western, liberal NGOs came even close. None of those figures poll even one per cent. This says a lot about Ukrainian "civil society": it's totally incapable of producing competent, popular leaders.

If he is elected, it will be strong proof that the people are sick of the old style of politics, that they aren't being manipulated by Poroshenko's nationalism and want something better. Nevertheless, I am very sceptical that Zelensky will be able to change anything. Real change in Ukraine will be a much longer process, and will require the building of a different kind of political opposition that we haven't seen in this country for a very long time. •

This article first published on the Rosalux.de website.

[Apr 24, 2019] Is Zelensky up to the president's job Inside Story

President without his own party is lame duck President; a puppet. If it is true that Zelenski is really man of Soros and was elected on Soros money that's a very bad omen. That's probably the worst possible scenario.
At the same time in Ukraine allegiance to a party is weak and some deputies might switch sides forming kind of "Zelenski block" similar to "Block of Petr Poroshenko" so he can create some sudo-party. Also he cancel the reelection of the Parliament. But he will need to deal with Yulia Timoshenko who is the leader of Batkivshchina party and that will not be easy.
Might well be variation of the theme of Saakashvili. Dmitry Babish said that Zelenski is a neoliberal who is surrounded by Soros people and several foreign born ministers that Poroshenko fired. His connection to the notorious oligarch Kolomoyski is another very bad sign.
Notable quotes:
"... hope for Ukraine but I did not know that in Zelensky team there are Soros people according to the specialist in Moscow. ..."
"... I see Ukraine pulled a Trump. Good luck with that. What could possibly go wrong? ..."
Apr 22, 2019 | www.youtube.com

louis ecorchevolle

hope for Ukraine but I did not know that in Zelensky team there are Soros people according to the specialist in Moscow. Anyhow this analysis was very interesting

CHILLEDVIBE29 , 1 day ago

I am studying in Ukraine and I haven't done much background on this man but his up against some uncharted waters

Abraham Tsfaye , 1 day ago

Guatemala also elected a comedian in 2014. It didn't work out for them. Time will tell if is intention is real or he is another fake.

Alex Bort , 1 day ago

Elect a clown - expect circus

CHILLEDVIBE29 , 1 day ago

I am studying in Ukraine and I haven't done much background on this man but his up against some uncharted waters

Abraham Tsfaye , 1 day ago

Guatemala also elected a comedian in 2014. It didn't work out for them. Time will tell if is intention is real or he is another fake.

Alex Bort , 1 day ago

Elect a clown - expect circus

grimm reaper , 11 hours ago

AJ what's your report card on Poroshenko, the chocolate king? I recall Poroshenko ordered his troops to attack and bomb east Ukraine, Ukraine's own territory. I doubt the Russian speaking Ukrainians have a tattoo on their forehead identified them as such. a comic won't do any worse than a US selected oligarch.

travellingbirder , 3 hours ago

USA elected Trump as president, a man with no political experience. In the UK we elect politicians and end up with jokers. Good luck Ukraine I really hope it works for you.

Quy Le , 1 day ago (edited)

I see Ukraine pulled a Trump. Good luck with that. What could possibly go wrong?

[Apr 24, 2019] Who knows what is the real Trump agenda

Apr 24, 2019 | www.unz.com

Mulegino1 , says: April 24, 2019 at 1:20 am GMT

Maybe Trump's agenda is to get the Holy City renamed "Jaredsalem", and Tel Aviv renamed "Telavanka."

[Apr 24, 2019] Bolton works for CIA.

Apr 24, 2019 | www.unz.com

Oh no its the Illuminati , says: April 23, 2019 at 3:56 pm GMT

ChuckO,

Bolton? NSA? Do you mean NSC? Everything we hear about Bolton lately is ideological labeling as a so-called Neocon, more ambiguous bullshit, or tainting him by association with Israelis. Funny how everybody just forgot what Bolton did at the UN, when Bush shoehorned him in there without congressional consent. Bolton personally constipated the drafting of the Summit Outcome Document to remove awkward mentions of the magic word impunity. The old perv put up 700 amendments to obstruct the process.

Now, who cares that much about impunity? And why would it be such a big deal, unless you had impunity in municipal law but the whole world was committed to ending impunity? Cause if you think about it, that's what the whole world has been doing for 70 years, codifying the Pre-CIA Nuremberg Principles as international criminal law and developing state responsibility for internationally wrongful acts as customary and then conventional international law. Who doesn't want that?

CIA. Impunity is CIA's vital interest. They go to war to keep it all the time.

Bolton works for CIA.

DESERT FOX , says: April 23, 2019 at 4:22 pm GMT
@Oh no its the Illuminati See Col. L. Fletcher Proutys book The Secret Team , the CIA is the zionist chain dogs that rule America!
ChuckOrloski , says: April 23, 2019 at 4:54 pm GMT
@DESERT FOX Wisely, DESERT FOX recalled Colonel Fletcher Prouty, and wrote: " the CIA is the zionist chain dogs that rule America!"

Dear DESERT FOX,

As you know, for some very dramatic time, Attorney Garrison held Clay Shaw's feet-to-the-fire while demonstrating the latter businessman's connection to the Israeli company, Permindex.

So naturally, a reasonable & respectful question arises, for which there is likely no available & conclusive determination.

Are CIA, Mossad, and M16 joined as one (1) ruling and globally unaccountable
"(Western) Zionist chain dog" link? Tough one, D.F., but am confident you can intelligently handle it. Thanks & salud!

DESERT FOX , says: April 23, 2019 at 5:27 pm GMT
@ChuckOrloski From what I have read, MI6 is under zionist control and is the template for the CIA and the Mossad and is the controller of both the CIA and the Mossad and all three are under zionist control.

Another good book is The Committee of 300 by Dr. John Coleman a former officer in MI6 and his videos on youtube.

[Apr 24, 2019] Pompeo Finally Tells The Truth 'We Lie, We Cheat, We Steal'

Apr 24, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Streamed live 14 hours ago

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton have vowed to strangle Iran and cut off all oil exports. They claim it's because of Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and missiles and its support for terrorism. In a recent speech at Texas A&M University he finally told the truth about the CIA and the neocons - they lie and cheat and steal. So should we believe him now?

[Apr 24, 2019] Is Pence another Trojan horse in Trump administration: I believe that the NYT op-ed, purportedly by a "senior WH official" that said Trump was a buffoon but there are "adults" in charge of foreign policy at the WH, was written by Pence, at least in part

Apr 24, 2019 | www.unz.com

Anon [204] Disclaimer , says: April 24, 2019 at 2:05 am GMT

This is a good article but it misses a key person, probably the most important, in this whole sorry mess -- Mike Pence.

I strongly suspect Pence has been pulling a soft coup on Trump since Day 1. Pence is the biggest Ziocon there is, we had our first hint during his VP debate in 2016 with Tim Kaine when he said he would go to war with Russia over Syria. Trump countered him in the next debate. I believe that the NYT op-ed, purportedly by a "senior WH official" that said Trump was a buffoon but there are "adults" in charge of foreign policy at the WH, was written by Pence, at least in part. The word "lodestar" was a dead giveaway, and he is the only one who could not be fired. It is clear that the Pence admin is now running our foreign policy. He has been making speeches everywhere to gather support against all "our" enemies – Iran, Ukraine, NKorea, China, Venezuela, Syria.

A while back Trump was furious that Pence had hired (((Jon Lerner))), a Never Trumper and personal advisor to Nikki Haley at the UN as his personal advisor. Not sure if Pence dump him in the end but the fact that he even hired him in the first place should tell you who Pence is. Not since LBJ has there been a VP this involved in foreign policy. Pence is toxic. You can tell Pompeo and Bolton report to him. Wouldn't surprise me if he worked with Rosenstein to bring in Mueller. Pence 's wife despises Trump. She probably only agreed to let Pence be VP because he and his handlers promised her Trump will be impeached so he'd be president.

Of course, Trump is not completely innocent. He is an unprincipled idiot megalomaniac and is easily manipulated. What he's doing with immigration shows you who he really is, a total liar. Kushner the treasonous rat SIL is about to unleash a mass Chindian importation immigration plan that'll piss off all of Trump's base

[Apr 23, 2019] Justin Elliott on Sheldon Adelson by Scott

Notable quotes:
"... This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: Kesslyn Runs , by Charles Featherstone; NoDev NoOps NoIT , by Hussein Badakhchani; The War State , by Mike Swanson; WallStreetWindow.com ; Roberts and Roberts Brokerage Inc. ; Zen Cash ; Tom Woods' Liberty Classroom ; ExpandDesigns.com/Scott ; and LibertyStickers.com . ..."
"... To me, it is not so much the lies that major media organizations may broadcast, but the enormous amount of news of major importance that the networks censor that is doing the greatest harm. ..."
Oct 24, 2018 | scotthorton.org
Journalist Justin Elliott comes on the show to talk about casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who has become one of President Trump's biggest donors. Although Trump derided him early in his campaign, the two have formed a close partnership with Adelson providing tens of millions in funding so long as Trump continues the correct policies with respect to Israel, Palestine, and Iran. Elliott and others have also speculated that Trump is trying to get Adelson approval to open a casino in Japan, helping him to expand his gambling empire in Asia.

Discussed on the show:

Justin Elliott is a reporter for ProPublica . He has produced stories for The New York Times and National Public Radio, and his reporting with NPR on the Red Cross' troubled post-earthquake reconstruction efforts in Haiti won a 2015 Investigative Reporters and Editors award. Follow him on Twitter @JustinElliott .

This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: Kesslyn Runs , by Charles Featherstone; NoDev NoOps NoIT , by Hussein Badakhchani; The War State , by Mike Swanson; WallStreetWindow.com ; Roberts and Roberts Brokerage Inc. ; Zen Cash ; Tom Woods' Liberty Classroom ; ExpandDesigns.com/Scott ; and LibertyStickers.com .

Check out Scott's Patreon page.

William on October 26, 2018 at 5:46 pm

Whether Adelson or some other plutocrat, American politics is awash in money, and it this money is crippling our democracy. I don't think that I have heard this topic discussed on any news program, and I don't expect to. To me, it is not so much the lies that major media organizations may broadcast, but the enormous amount of news of major importance that the networks censor that is doing the greatest harm.

Americans never get to see what they need to know. Keeping the peasants ignorant is the current mass media program, and they are doing a great job of it.

[Apr 23, 2019] Stephen Cohen about Tulsi

Apr 23, 2019 | therealnews.com

PAUL JAY Can I–Can I just intervene for just a sec? The problem here is both on Venezuela and Iran the Democratic Party foreign policy establishment is on the same page as Trump. Netanyahu is on the same page as Trump. The Saudis are on the same page as Trump. When Trump throws this missile, missiles into Syria after the supposed gas attack, Chuck Schumer says finally Trump's acting president -- is a president. The problem is is that as much as these guys vilify and are dangerous -- these guys meaning the Democrats and that whole establishment are dangerous on Russia-

STEPHEN COHEN I don't disagree.

PAUL JAY They'll converge with Trump on some very dangerous stuff in Iran.

STEPHEN COHEN I don't disagree. But that brings me to my final point, I guess, because we are at the time we are in. We now have, I think, at last count 19 or 20 Democratic would be contenders for the presidential nomination; 19 or 20. We need to ask ourselves which, if any, of these people see these dangers clearly, and ask them. But I have a feeling that the mainstream media will not ask them, because these are uncomfortable issues for them. I also think that the one candidate who has embraced a position similar to my own, Tulsi Gabbard, was immediately attacked by NBC, as you know. Scurrilously.

That it's a question of what kind of discussion–because according to our democracy these existential issues that you and I have discussed are discussed during presidential campaigns. This is when we clarify and make our choices. It seems to me this is unlikely to happen, partly because the mainstream media doesn't permit voices like mine any longer. Though they used to welcome me. I used to work for them. It would be interesting to see how they treat Tulsi Gabbard, who's the closest to this kind of anxiety about the new Cold War with Russia, has taken positions on this. There may be others, but I haven't–I haven't noted that. We'll see how they're–if there's an attempt to suppress her view, or to give her a fair time. Now, she'll have to do well in a primary somewhere to get that. But it's a little discouraging that of 19 or 20 Democrats, only one thus far has spoken with some clarity about this, what I consider to be the number one existential issue; the danger of war with Russia.

[Apr 23, 2019] US Hoped Putin Would be a 'Sober Yeltsin' - RAI with Stephen Cohen (3-5)

We've discarded real historical and political analysis for a kind of Russophobia that I actually never experienced in my lifetime before. But this is the second stage. The first stage was demonization of Putin.
Apr 23, 2019 | therealnews.com

PAUL JAY Welcome back to Reality Asserts Itself on The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay. And we're continuing our discussions with Stephen Cohen about Russia and the United States, Trump and Putin. Thanks for joining us again.

STEPHEN COHEN Thank you. For Steven's bio, just look under the video player. Watch the earlier segments. But I'll plug your book. People should read this book. It's important. It's called War with Russia? From Putin and Ukraine to Trump and Russiagate. And let me say, while in the last segment I am arguing with you about how to characterize Trump–and I don't know, maybe we'll argue again–I think your contribution on this issue is extremely important. I know you've been under incredible pressure and getting isolated on this point. And I think it's brave of you to take the stance you do.

OK, let's just move on. In the early years of Putin's presidency the West quite liked him. I guess they thought he would be a continuation of Yeltsin. I think they had expectations that he would help facilitate an American–I don't know what the word–'takeover' is too strong–but allowing American mining companies and energy companies and finance to come in. And instead what emerged was a state with real laws. And an oligarchy emerged, which I think at some point the Russian people will have to deal with, because I don't think it's good for them, but it's up to them. That being said, America didn't get a free-for-all.

But as this relationship with the West became more and more tense–and I think to a large extent for these reasons. The Americans didn't get everything they wanted out of Russia. I don't understand why Putin didn't take more of the Chinese stance, which is avoid direct confrontation as much as you can and build up your strength. And I don't get Crimea. Crimea was–and you suggest in your book–wasn't there an alternative to the annexation? There wasn't, like, an immediate threat. I know there was a right-wing takeover, a far-right takeover of Ukraine. The Americans certainly facilitated and helped engineer it. It is a kind of strategic threat. I mean, I think that's clear, and you've made the case very eloquently. But still, why poke Europe and the United States in the eye and kind of make the case of the anti-detente forces? Oh, look, you know, Russia's on the move. It starts with Crimea, and Georgia will be next, and then it will be the whole of Ukraine.

STEPHEN COHEN Of course they didn't with Crimea, and that's just the argument that people who don't wish to understand the Russian point of view make. It didn't start with Crimea. It began with the expansion of NATO to Russia's borders.

PAUL JAY No doubt.

STEPHEN COHEN Well, not only no doubt, but for Putin and for the Russian political class that was the context and the prism through which they viewed Western–and particularly American–policy toward Russia. So when the Ukrainian crisis began in 2013, let's remember what happened, because it does lead to the annexation of Crimea.

In 2013 the European Union told the then-president of Ukraine, Yanukovych–and he may have been a rotter, but he was constitutionally and legally elected. It would have been a clean election. He was the president–that he needed to sign a economic partnership with the European Union. It meant, in effect, losing his preferred trade status with Russia, which constituted about 40 percent of Ukrainian trade. Not to mention about 3 to 4 million Ukrainians who worked in Russia to support their families were allowed to do so, and allowed to send their salaries back to Ukraine to support their families.

So Ukraine was heavily dependent on Russia economically, and along comes the European Union that wants to exclude Russia from this new arrangement. So Putin says, Putin and his Foreign Minister Lavrov say, look, guys, why not a tripartite arrangement? It would be good for everybody. We'll have an economic preferred agreement with Russia, Ukraine, and the European Union. And Washington and Brussels said no. Russia can't participate. Yanukovych for that reason declined to sign the agreement, and that led to the Maidan uprising. And Yanukovych flees from office to Russia.

So Putin now is sitting in Moscow, and Crimea comes to the fore, because you've got a very right-wing, and I would say crazy, government in power, saying outlandish things. Including, you know, Crimea is ours, and we're going to expel the Russian naval base there, which was there by treaty. They had a lease, I think, 25 years on the base. There were 22,000, by law, Russian soldiers on the Crimean base. They were already there. All right.

So Putin's sitting here. He sees some kind of threat–maybe it's rhetorical. But bad things are happening. This was a very violent uprising. You remember the burning buildings in Kiev and Maidan. If you watched this on TV, this was violence. It was very serious. Snipers killed, I think, 85 to 100 people in Maidan just before Yanukovych fled. They said that the snipers were sent by Yanukovych, but we now know they weren't. They were sent by neofascists, Ukrainian neofascists, on Maidan. But remember, Putin is operating in a context that's moving very fast, very dangerous. Intelligence is sparse, not clear. But there is clearly a new government in Kiev that's laying claim not only to Crimea forever, but to expelling the Russian naval base there. So Putin has to decide.

The back history is Putin never showed any interest in Crimea until that moment. However, it had been an issue in Russian politics when Putin ran for president in 2000. There was a party headed by two very influential men, the former mayor of Moscow, Luzhkov, and the former foreign minister Primakov, who had advocated reuniting Crimea with Russia, because Crimea had traditionally been a Russian province, I think somewhere like–don't speak of ethnicity, speak of language. Something like 85 percent of the population speaks Russian as a native language. I mean, enormous number. It's a Russian province. And it was only an act of accident under Khrushchev that had been assigned administratively when the Soviet Union existed to Ukraine, because Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union.

So what was Putin supposed to do? To the extent that we know how he made the decision, he was told by his intelligence people–all leaders in crisis depend on intelligence people–take Crimea today through a referendum, and peacefully. And by the way, they were polling like crazy. They knew they'd get 85-plus. They knew this. If they had it–and the referendum was completely open. All this crap about 'at gunpoint' is nonsense. I mean, it was a fair referendum. And Gallup has been going back to Crimea and polling. They get the same number; 85 percent want to be with Russia.

Putin is told do it by the ballot, the box, today, or fight a war there tomorrow. That's what he was told. What would you have done in his place? See, it's easy for you, Paul, and me, Steve, to sit here and debate what leaders–Trump, any leader–Kennedy, Putin, should do in a crisis situation without knowing the circumstances, or what we would do in that situation. I mean, they have to act and they have to act fast. And they're dependent on this intelligence.

PAUL JAY OK, but in the book you suggest there might have been an alternative.

STEPHEN COHEN Well, I can just simply tell you what Putin was told as an alternative. One group said "You have to take Crimea now. The polls show Crimeans will vote to join Russia. There is an international law that referendums are binding and legal. We'll have a referendum, we'll get the result, and they'll vote to join Russia and we'll take them in. Do that.".

The other view was "Hold the referendum, but don't welcome them into Russia. Use it as a bargaining card with the West and Kiev when we see how the Maidan so-called revolution–it wasn't a revolution, but the Maidan coup, it was a coup against Yanukovych–let's see what comes next. But that'll be a diplomatic card we could play. Go ahead and have the referendum. They will vote to join Russia, but that doesn't mean because they've requested to join Russia we have to say OK. Just take that and say to the West, look, the Crimean people want to join Russia. We understand that that may be, you know, difficult for you. Can we find a way to solve this problem short of annexation?" In other words, can we get guarantees for Crimea?

So Putin was told that was an option, and he didn't choose it. And I try to put myself in his shoes and see what would I have done? And the problem is I don't know the intelligence. For example, there is a report, I don't believe or disbelieve it, that NATO commandos were found on Crimea, on the peninsula. I don't know if that's true. Maybe it was scuttlebutt. Did Putin know it to be true? I don't know. But we have yet to be told the whole story of what happened between the coup in Kiev–because it was a coup. It overthrew the president–and the decision, Russians don't say 'annex,' they say 'rejoined with,' or 'welcomed Crimea home,' to make that decision. One day we'll know more, and then we'll be able to decide if Putin really had a choice.

PAUL JAY Do you–and I don't, one, have any–I don't have any detailed knowledge about the situation.

STEPHEN COHEN I don't have enough.

PAUL JAY Never mind not knowing the intelligence.

STEPHEN COHEN You understand that's a question mark by what I say. We don't know for sure.

PAUL JAY Yeah. But was–Do you think there might have been an option to have a referendum that took a little–there was more time, maybe get the United Nations involved? Something that gives a little more recognition to it?

STEPHEN COHEN Without naming names-

PAUL JAY And I'm not talking the morality, here. I'm talking tactically.

STEPHEN COHEN Practical politics. The point is that Putin was told–now, mind you, this is–I mean, it's a good thing that he's a former KGB officer, by the way. Henry Kissinger, when he first met Putin, and he learned–this was when Putin was working as deputy mayor in St. Petersburg, and Kissinger met him. And Putin said to Kissinger, "You know, I began in intelligence." And Kissinger said, "That's the best way to start a political career." Kissinger had started in intelligence during the war, right. Because these guys think, and maybe they're right, that if you're trained in intelligence, or you're able to evaluate intelligence–that is, you aren't going to be fooled by your own intelligence people–that you can sort out false intelligence from legitimate intelligence. Putin was in a position, I think, to evaluate the intelligence. So the question that you raise is true. Why didn't they wait? And he was told we can't wait; events are moving too fast.

PAUL JAY In the earlier–last segment–you talked about the pressure on him that he's not proactive enough. Is this partly responding to that kind of pressure?

STEPHEN COHEN Yes. And that's why I want to return to this issue that only once before had Crimea been an issue in Russian politics, when a political party ran against Putin on a platform that we should somehow get Crimea back. They got, I think, two percent of the vote. There was no popular support for this. Putin was disdainful of the idea. In other words, this was something–this was not aggression. This is ridiculous. This was a decision imposed upon him by circumstances that he did not create, but to which he now had to react. And I don't know whether he knew it or not, but that was probably his most historic decision. And I mean–it's not his most historic, but it is part of what will forever define his role for Russians in Russian history forever.

PAUL JAY So let's get to the big underlying question here-

STEPHEN COHEN You can go to Moscow and buy a poster in a shop. At the top is a map of Crimea, a very distinctive peninsula, right? On one side is Krushchev, who signed Crimea over to Ukraine, right, when–in 1954-'55, when the Soviet Union existed. On the other side is a picture of Putin. And it simply says "He gave away. He took back." You can see these in the shops. These were–Khrushchev frivolously, on some anniversary, said OK, Crimea is part of Ukraine. And Putin [got it back].

PAUL JAY In your book [crosstalk] Kissinger saying he might have been drunk that night when he did it.

STEPHEN COHEN Who?

PAUL JAY I think in your book you say that, don't you?

STEPHEN COHEN That's not me.

PAUL JAY Somebody said that Khrushchev might have been drunk the night that he gave Crimea [crosstalk].

STEPHEN COHEN No, I didn't say that. I don't know. But-

PAUL JAY Somebody quotes Kissinger.

STEPHEN COHEN Possibly. But you know, these are–if you're a student of history, and particularly of political leadership, as I like to think I am, this is a Graham Allison practically made a career of writing about the Cuban missile crisis and how the Kennedy team–right? He's famous for studying that. It's a case study in crisis leadership. And Kennedy comes out looking pretty good. By the way, I would say Khrushchev comes out looking pretty good, too, because the Russian reaction could have been different. But now we have Putin in Crimea. He had to make a decision that was imposed upon him. Now, we don't have all the information. But we should be fascinated to study and understand this rather than demonize Putin for doing it.

PAUL JAY OK. Let me–this sort of big, underlying question. Because I mean, Kissinger said that what Putin did in Crimea was an anomaly; that you can't extend anything from that. That does not prove that Russia is on the march and they're going to start threatening other Baltic states, and all this. The Crimea is a very particular situation. Clearly that was not the predominant attitude of the West towards Crimea. So why–it began under Yeltsin, but with Putin–and Putin seemed ready for it. Why didn't the West assimilate Russia into Western capitalism?

... ... ...

STEPHEN COHEN Yeah. Clinton unwisely–not only Clinton. Bill Clinton, not Hillary. And Bill Clinton was president then in the '90s–believed that he was assimilating Russia with his policy toward Yeltsin. That's what he thought. And he was so advised by people such as Strobe Talbott, all of whom should have known better. In fact, Russia descended in the 1990s into the worst and most corrosive economic depression ever in peacetime. Men were dying at 57. I think the collapse of industrial production was greater than it was during our own Great Depression. People were not receiving their wages or their social benefits. The middle class was being vaporized. Gangs were controlling large parts of the economy. Some people even think it was what people call state capture, that private oligarchs had captured the state. Russia was on the verge, if not of actually breaking up, of collapsing.

Now, flash back to that moment, 1999. Russia, the largest territorial country in the world, even after the end of the Soviet Union, laden, laden, stockpiled with every conceivable weapon of mass destruction, from germ, bacterial, chemical, nuclear. What if Russia had broken up? What if? We're talking Apocalypse Now. I would think that people would give Putin a little credit for holding Russia together, reestablishing control over the regions that had these weapons. But he's never given any any, any credit. Russians themselves do. But in the West–Imagine what would have happened. It wasn't just Putin alone. He put together a team, a komanda, as it's called in Russia. No one man can do this. But he chose advisers who understood the situation.

At the time–at the time–this was semi-welcomed in Washington. You remember that Putin came to see the second President Bush, and they went to the ranch. And Bush said "I looked into his eyes and I saw a good soul." And other things like that. And I think you, Paul, are right when you say that they, meaning the people who control our foreign policy, thought that this would be the continuation of the 1990s, except that Putin would be a healthy and sober Yeltsin; that Yeltsin had become dysfunctional, unable to govern the country that the West wanted to assimilate. And when it turned out that Putin wasn't Yeltsin, even though Yeltsin put him in power–indeed, historically speaking Putin could not have been Yeltsin, though he's never given his anti-Yeltsin speech the way Khrushchev gave his anti-Stalin speech. This is interesting. He's been urged to give this speech, by the way; the de-Yeltsinization speech, analogous to Khruschev's de-Stalinization speech. He's never done that. People say he's too loyal, to a fault. Too loyal. Putin. Some trait he's got. They criticize him for it.

But nonetheless, very soon American disillusion in Putin set in. And we can date it. There is there was, and even remains today a New York Times columnist, Nick Kristof. Nicholas Kristof. Who wrote–I think it was 2003. Maybe I'm off a year, year and a half–that he was greatly disillusioned, he, Kristof, that Putin had not turned out to be a sober Yeltsin. Imagine this. In other words, they, to the extent that columnists speak for these great powers, wanted Yeltsin, a person who by then had positive ratings in Russia of about 3 percent, who was hated in Russia for what had happened to the country. But the only grievance in Washington was he wasn't sober and healthy enough to continue the policy. And Putin, they thought at the beginning was a sober healthy Yeltsin. Look at him. And Yeltsin–on what Yeltsin is. They say he's from Yeltsin. He's got to be. But it was clear. If you'd been paying attention it would have been clear it was impossible.

And when it dawned on them they were bitter. And I'm not sure that they started hating on Putin because they personally had been so wrong, their analysis had been wrong, or because they couldn't stand the thought of a non-Yeltsin to this day. Because even today you could read in the New York Times and other analyses, so-called, how great it was under Yeltsin. It wasn't great. It was a country in agony. And it was dangerous to us, with all those weapons.

So you know, we've discarded history. We've discarded real historical and political analysis for a kind of Russophobia that I actually never experienced in my lifetime before. It's much worse now. And remember one thing, as we all go forward and think about Russiagate, which I think is going to be with us in one way or another for decades. But the Putin-phobia, the hating on Putin, began long before Trump was a presidential candidate. Long before. The two got fused together in Russiagate. The loathing for Putin and the loathing for Trump was fused into this thing called Russiagate. Now, who did the initial fusing? In my book I argued it was our intelligence services, and particularly the CIA. We will see. I think we're going to have some investigations now. I may be wrong. I don't think it was the FBI, as people think. I think was Brennan and Obama's CIA that got all this started.

But these–this didn't come out of nowhere. This had been developing, this demonizing of Putin had been going on for years before Trump appeared on the scene. And then bingo, it came together. And we're stuck with it. And it ain't going to go away. And I think it's the worst threat to our national security. I've said Russiagate is the great number one threat to our national security. In the book I do the five greatest threats for our national security. The book is all short pieces. And Russia–Russia and China don't make the top five. Russiagate's number one. Unfortunately you're younger than I am so we can't share these moments together. But there was the Cuban missile crisis, correct?

PAUL JAY Well, I–you know, I was alive. I was very aware of it.

STEPHEN COHEN All right. But it is said that in the history books, in the textbooks, that it's the closest we ever came to nuclear war with Russia, Soviet Russia. Correct?

PAUL JAY If you listen Ellsberg we were seconds from it.

STEPHEN COHEN OK. And yet because of the leadership of Kennedy, and I would add Khrushchev, because it takes two to tango, as Reagan said, these two guys averted Armageddon. Correct? And that's the lesson we've taught our kids and we teach in our textbooks. OK. Imagine today–and it doesn't take a lot of imagining–that we have a Cuban missile crisis-like confrontation. Could be in Venezuela. Could be in Syria. Could be in former Soviet Georgia. Could be in Ukraine. Lots of places. It happens, suddenly. The two nuclear superpowers are eyeball to eyeball like the Cuban missile crisis. Everybody credits Kennedy and Khrushchev for averting the crisis.

This happens tomorrow, do you think the American political class and its media are going to invest Trump with the authority to negotiate a way out of nuclear war? The guy they called the Kremlin puppet? And are they going to credit Putin, the guy they've so demonized, as a partner to avert nuclear war? They will not. And what happens then? The answer is nuclear war. That's why I say we're walking on a razor's edge with this Russiagate demonizing Putin nonsense. We need these two guys, whether we like them or not, to avoid nuclear war. And we are–we have too many situations fraught with war with Russia which could become nuclear war, more than we've ever had before. And the people who've contributed to these situations refuse to acknowledge what they've done. Above all, the mainstream media. What you and I are discussing today should be discussed in the major newspapers and television talk shows in this country nightly. And I guarantee you decades ago it would have been. We've lost our way. And the new way is exceedingly dangerous.

[Apr 23, 2019] Groupthink at the CIA by Philip Giraldi

Looks like tail wags the dog -- CIA controls the US foreign policy and in the last elections also played active role in promoting Hillary. A the level of top brass we have several people mentioned by Giraldi who are probably as dangerous as Allen Dulles was. Brennan is one example.
The parade of rogues that Philip describes is really alarming. Each with agenda that directly harms the USA as a country promoting the interest of military-industrial complex and neocon faction within the government...
Notable quotes:
"... Indeed, one can start with Tenet if one wants to create a roster of recent CIA Directors who have lied to permit the White House to engage in a war crime. Tenet and his staff knew better than anyone that the case against Saddam did not hold water, but President George W. Bush wanted his war and, by gum, he was going to get it if the CIA had any say in the matter. ..."
"... Back then as now, international Islamic terrorism was the name of the game. It kept the money flowing to the national security establishment in the false belief that America was somehow being made "safe." But today the terror narrative has been somewhat supplanted by Russia, which is headed by a contemporary Saddam Hussein in the form of Vladimir Putin. If one believes the media and a majority of congressmen, evil manifest lurks in the gilded halls of the Kremlin. Russia has recently been sanctioned (again) for crimes that are more alleged than demonstrated and President Putin has been selected by the Establishment as the wedge issue that will be used to end President Donald Trump's defiance of the Deep State and all that pertains to it. The intelligence community at its top level would appear to be fully on board with that effort. ..."
"... Remarkably, he also said that there is only "minimal evidence" that Russia is even fighting ISIS. The statement is astonishing as Moscow has most definitely been seriously and directly engaged in support of the Syrian Arab Army. Is it possible that the head of the CIA is unaware of that? It just might be that Pompeo is disparaging the effort because the Russians and Syrians have also been fighting against the U.S. backed "moderate rebels." That the moderate rebels are hardly moderate has been known for years and they are also renowned for their ineffectiveness combined with a tendency to defect to more radical groups taking their U.S. provided weapons with them, a combination of factors which led to their being denied any further American support by a presidential decision that was revealed in the press two weeks ago. ..."
"... Pompeo's predecessor John Brennan is, however, my favorite Agency leader in the category of totally bereft of his senses. ..."
"... Brennan is certainly loyal to his cause, whatever that might be. At the same Aspen meeting attended by Pompeo, he told Wolf Blitzer that if Trump were to fire special counsel Robert Mueller government officials should "refuse to carry out" his orders. In other words, they should begin a coup, admittedly non-violent (one presumes), but nevertheless including federal employees uniting to shut the government down. ..."
"... And finally, there is Michael Morell, also a former Acting Director, who was closely tied to the Hillary Clinton campaign, apparently driven by ambition to become Director in her administration. Morell currently provides commentary for CBS television and is a frequent guest on the Charlie Rose show. Morell considerably raised the ante on Brennan's pre-electoral speculation that there had been some Russian recruitment of Trump people. He observed in August that Putin, a wily ex-career intelligence officer, "trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them [did exactly that] early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump's vulnerabilities In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation." ..."
"... Nothing new. In the '50s CIA was making foreign wars and cultivating chaos at home, and blaming all of it on Russia. In the '80s CIA was cultivating anti-nuke groups to undermine Reagan, and blaming it on Russia. CIA has been the primary wellspring of evil for a long time. ..."
"... Yes you read that right and they are going to the rotten core of this coup against the United States by presenting a report stating that the DNC was "Leaked" not hacked. The real hacking came from President Obama's weaponizing of our intelligence agencies against Russia. ..."
"... The CIA is the USA's secret army, it is not comparable to a real intelligence organization like the British MI5. The CIA is more like WWII SOE, designed to set fire to Europe, Churchill's words. ..."
"... As has been the case for decades the Deep State allows Presidents and legislators to make minor decisions in our government as long as those decisions do not in any way interfere with the Deep State's goals of total world hegemony and increase in overwhelming power and wealth. Those who make the important decisions in this country are not elected. The elected 'officials' are sycophants of the Deep State. ..."
"... The term is appropriated from the use to describe the mutually loyal corps of Ataturkians in the Turkish military and intelligence services who were united in service to uphold the ideal of Ataturkian secular modernisation. The term implies no public accountability or publicity unnecessary to its purposes. ..."
"... The CIA's source, its birth, is from British secret service. Brit spying. And Brit secret service, long before the official founding of MI5, did exactly the kinds of things you note the CIA has done. ..."
"... The Mossad is another direct fruit of Brit secret service, as is the Saudi General Intelligence Presidency. ..."
"... While there can be no doubt about the crackpots in high positions of the most powerful bureaucracies, it seems to me that the CIA loonies are merely shock troops for an even worse bunch of evil psychos, the bankster mafiosi. ..."
"... I am a retired CIA operations officer (something none of the men mentioned by Giraldi are – Brennan was a failed wanna be, couldn't cut it as an ops officer). He is spot on in his comments. The majority of people in the CIA, the ones who do the heavy lifting, are patriotic Americans who are proud of serving their country. I am sure that most voted for Trump as they all know too well the truth about the Clintons and Obama. ..."
"... Giraldi is not the only one to notice the upward progress of the most incompetent yes-men in the Agency. A close look at most of them reveals a track record of little or no operational success balanced by excellent sucking up skills. These characters quickly figured out how to get ahead and doing your job in the field is not it. Of course, most are ego maniacs so they are totally oblivious to their own uselessness. ..."
"... How "Russiagate" began: After the primaries, both Hillary and Donald faced divided political parties even though they had won the nomination. These divisions were worse than the normal situation after contested primaries. On the Democratic side, Hillay had just subverted the will of the voters of her party, who seemed to favor Bernie Sanders over her. Hillay had won with corrupt collusion and rigging amongst the DNC, the higher ranks of the Democratic Party, and major media such as the NYT and CNN. ..."
"... Then, a leak of emails from the DNC HQ publicized her interference in the democratic processes of the Democratic Party. This threatened to ene the Hillary for President campaign right then and there. If the majority of Democrats who'd favored Bernie refused to support Hillary because of her corruption and collusion in denying democracy within the party, she was a sure loser in the fall election. The Hillary camp then immediately started blaming Russia for the exposure of her corruption and rigging of the Democratic process. And that's how "Russiagate" began. ..."
"... Take that bunch of mediocre thinkers, and then make most of them obsessed with their own career advancement above all else. The most dangerous place for a career-obsessed individual is outside the group consensus. ..."
"... So, for instance, Trump should veto the act of war known as the recent sanctions bill. Who cares if it gets overridden? Then he goes back to the voters, who are clearly sick of endless war and who for obvious reasons don't want a nuclear war, and he says this is where I stand. Support me by electing Fill-In-The-Blank to Congress. With the nuclear Doomsday Clock pushing ever closer to midnight, he might just win that fight over the big money and media opposition he's sure to face. ..."
"... Not only has Trump failed to even try to fight the Deep State, but he's also failing to set himself up for success in the next elections. ..."
"... What we are seeing now is The Donald's role in the serial Zionist THEATER. Think deeper about the motive behind Mr. Giraldi's choice to use the Orwellian word "Groupthink" in characterizing the CIA zeitgeist? In the classic work "1984," one observes Big Brother as the catalyst in control of the proles' thought pattern & subsequent action. ..."
"... To rise & FALL as a POTUS is a matter of theater and the American proles are entertained by the political for either 4 or 8 years and the Zionists get their next Chosen actor/actress dramatically sworn in on a bible. ..."
Aug 01, 2017 | www.unz.com

Long ago, when I was a spear carrying middle ranker at CIA, a colleague took me aside and said that he had something to tell me "as a friend," that was very important. He told me that his wife had worked for years in the Agency's Administrative Directorate, as it was then called, where she had noticed that some new officers coming out of the Career Trainee program had red tags on their personnel files. She eventually learned from her boss that the tags represented assessments that those officers had exceptional potential as senior managers. He added, however, that the reverse appeared to be true in practice as they were generally speaking serial failures as they ascended the bureaucratic ladder, even though their careers continued to be onward and upward on paper. My friend's wife concluded, not unreasonably, that only genuine a-holes had what it took to get promoted to the most senior ranks.

I was admittedly skeptical but some recent activity by former and current Directors and Acting Directors of CIA has me wondering if something like my friend's wife's observation about senior management might indeed be true. But it would have to be something other than tagging files, as many of the directors and their deputies did not come up through the ranks and there seems to be a similar strain of lunacy at other U.S. government intelligence agencies. It might be time to check the water supply in the Washington area as there is very definitely something in the kool-aid that is producing odd behavior.

Now I should pause for a moment and accept that the role of intelligence services is to identify potential threats before they become active, so a certain level of acute paranoia goes with the job. But at the same time, one would expect a level of professionalism which would mandate accuracy rather than emotion in assessments coupled with an eschewing of any involvement in the politics of foreign and national security policy formulation. The enthusiasm with which a number of senior CIA personnel have waded into the Trump swamp and have staked out positions that contradict genuine national interests suggests that little has been learned since CIA Director George Tenet sat behind Secretary of State Colin Powell in the UN and nodded sagaciously as Saddam Hussein's high crimes and misdemeanors were falsely enumerated.

Indeed, one can start with Tenet if one wants to create a roster of recent CIA Directors who have lied to permit the White House to engage in a war crime. Tenet and his staff knew better than anyone that the case against Saddam did not hold water, but President George W. Bush wanted his war and, by gum, he was going to get it if the CIA had any say in the matter.

Back then as now, international Islamic terrorism was the name of the game. It kept the money flowing to the national security establishment in the false belief that America was somehow being made "safe." But today the terror narrative has been somewhat supplanted by Russia, which is headed by a contemporary Saddam Hussein in the form of Vladimir Putin. If one believes the media and a majority of congressmen, evil manifest lurks in the gilded halls of the Kremlin. Russia has recently been sanctioned (again) for crimes that are more alleged than demonstrated and President Putin has been selected by the Establishment as the wedge issue that will be used to end President Donald Trump's defiance of the Deep State and all that pertains to it. The intelligence community at its top level would appear to be fully on board with that effort.

The most recent inexplicable comments come from the current CIA Director Mike Pompeo, speaking at the Aspen Institute Security Forum. He began by asserting that Russia had interfered in the U.S. election before saying that the logic behind Russia's Middle Eastern strategy is to stay in place in Syria so Moscow can "stick it to America." He didn't define the "it" so one must assume that "it" stands for any utensil available, ranging from cruise missiles to dinner forks. He then elaborated, somewhat obscurely, that "I think they find anyplace that they can make our lives more difficult, I think they find that something that's useful."

Remarkably, he also said that there is only "minimal evidence" that Russia is even fighting ISIS. The statement is astonishing as Moscow has most definitely been seriously and directly engaged in support of the Syrian Arab Army. Is it possible that the head of the CIA is unaware of that? It just might be that Pompeo is disparaging the effort because the Russians and Syrians have also been fighting against the U.S. backed "moderate rebels." That the moderate rebels are hardly moderate has been known for years and they are also renowned for their ineffectiveness combined with a tendency to defect to more radical groups taking their U.S. provided weapons with them, a combination of factors which led to their being denied any further American support by a presidential decision that was revealed in the press two weeks ago.

Pompeo's predecessor John Brennan is, however, my favorite Agency leader in the category of totally bereft of his senses. In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee back in May, he suggested that some Trump associates might have been recruited by the Russian intelligence service. He testified that "I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and US persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals. It raised questions in my mind whether or not Russia was able to gain the co-operation of those individuals."

In his testimony, Brennan apparently forgot to mention that the CIA is not supposed to keep tabs on American citizens. Nor did he explain how he had come upon the information in the first place as it had been handed over by foreign intelligence services, including the British, Dutch and Estonians, and at least some of it had been sought or possibly inspired by Brennan unofficially in the first place. Brennan then used that information to request an FBI investigation into a possible Russian operation directed against potential key advisers if Trump were to somehow get nominated and elected, which admittedly was a longshot at the time. That is how Russiagate started.

Brennan is certainly loyal to his cause, whatever that might be. At the same Aspen meeting attended by Pompeo, he told Wolf Blitzer that if Trump were to fire special counsel Robert Mueller government officials should "refuse to carry out" his orders. In other words, they should begin a coup, admittedly non-violent (one presumes), but nevertheless including federal employees uniting to shut the government down.

A lesser known former CIA senior official is John McLaughlin, who briefly served as acting Director in 2004. McLaughlin was particularly outraged by Trump's recent speech to the Boy Scouts, which he described as having the feel "of a third world authoritarian's youth rally." He added that "It gave me the creeps it was like watching the late Venezuelan [President Hugo] Chavez."

And finally, there is Michael Morell, also a former Acting Director, who was closely tied to the Hillary Clinton campaign, apparently driven by ambition to become Director in her administration. Morell currently provides commentary for CBS television and is a frequent guest on the Charlie Rose show. Morell considerably raised the ante on Brennan's pre-electoral speculation that there had been some Russian recruitment of Trump people. He observed in August that Putin, a wily ex-career intelligence officer, "trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them [did exactly that] early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump's vulnerabilities In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation."

I and others noted at the time that Putin and Trump had never met, not even through proxies, while we also wondered how one could be both unwitting and a recruited agent as intelligence recruitment implies control and taking direction. Morell was non-plussed, unflinching and just a tad sanctimonious in affirming that his own intelligence training (as an analyst who never recruited a spy in his life) meant that "[I] call it as I see it."

One could also cite Michael Hayden and James Clapper, though the latter was not CIA They all basically hew to the same line about Russia, often in more-or-less the same words, even though no actual evidence has been produced to support their claims. That unanimity of thinking is what is peculiar while academics like Stephen Cohen, Stephen Walt, Andrew Bacevich, and John Mearsheimer, who have studied Russia in some depth and understand the country and its leadership far better than a senior CIA officer, detect considerable nuance in what is taking place. They all believe that the hardline policies current in Washington are based on an eagerness to go with the flow on the comforting inside-the- beltway narrative that paints Russia as a threat to vital interests. That unanimity of viewpoint should surprise no one as this is more of less the same government with many of the same people that led the U.S. into Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. They all have a vested interested in the health and well-being of a fully funded national security state.

And the other groupthink that seems to prevail among the senior managers except Pompeo is that they all hate Donald Trump and have done so since long before he won the election. That is somewhat odd, but it perhaps reflects a fear that Trump would interfere with the richly rewarding establishment politics that had enabled their careers. But it does not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of CIA employees. Though it is admittedly unscientific analysis on my part, I know a lot of former and some current CIA employees but do not know a single one who voted for Hillary Clinton. Nearly all voted for Trump.

Beyond that exhibition of tunnel vision and sheer ignorance, the involvement of former senior intelligence officials in politics is itself deplorable and is perhaps symptomatic of the breakdown in the comfortable bipartisan national security consensus that has characterized the past fifty years. Once upon time former CIA officers would retire to the Blue Ridge mountains and raise Labradors, but we are now into something much more dangerous if the intelligence community, which has been responsible for most of the recent leaks, begins to feel free to assert itself from behind the scenes. As Senator Chuck Schumer recently warned "Let me tell you: You take on the intelligence community -- they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you."

exiled off mainstreet, August 1, 2017 at 5:06 am GMT

In jumping this fascist nihilist shark, the groupthinkers have closed themselves off from the logical conclusion to their viewpoint, which is final annihilation.

Dan Hayes, August 1, 2017 at 5:47 am GMT

Schumer's statement is true (and probably the only such one in his political career!).

annamaria, August 1, 2017 at 6:03 am GMT

Brennan, Morell, and Pompeo should better find ways to justify their salaries: the U.S. has suffered the greatest breach in cybersecurity on their watch:

" an enormous breach of the United States Security Apparatus by as many as 80 Democrat members of Congress (past and present). We rail on about the Russians and Trump, but t he media avoids providing nightly updates about these 5 spies that have compromised Congress ."

http://investmentwatchblog.com/the-awan-brothers-compromised-at-least-80-congregational-computers-and-got-paid-5-million-to-do-it-we-may-never-know-the-extent-of-the-breach/

"In total, Imran's firm was employed by 31 Democrats in Congress, some of whom held extremely sensitive positions on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Committee on Foreign Affair s."

polistra, August 1, 2017 at 6:17 am GMT

Nothing new. In the '50s CIA was making foreign wars and cultivating chaos at home, and blaming all of it on Russia. In the '80s CIA was cultivating anti-nuke groups to undermine Reagan, and blaming it on Russia. CIA has been the primary wellspring of evil for a long time.

Bruce Marshall, August 1, 2017 at 6:39 am GMT

And back to reality we have VIPS Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Yes you read that right and they are going to the rotten core of this coup against the United States by presenting a report stating that the DNC was "Leaked" not hacked. The real hacking came from President Obama's weaponizing of our intelligence agencies against Russia.

That is war, World War Three and it would seem now that Congress is marching that way, but the report below hold the key to fighting back.

http://larouchepub.com/eiw/public/2017/2017_30-39/2017-30/pdf/37-41_4430.pdf

One of the VIPS is William Binney fomer NSA Technical Director, an important expert. leading the group is Ray McGovern with some whit and grace, well yes how about some sanity, to which humor is important to the insight and to stay in the sights of what is clever thievery and worse. Much worse, and there is a twinkle in the eye when realize that it is straight forward.

And Congress could stop it tout sweet, but well old habits but they have taken an Oath of Office, so, so what, yeah they did go after Bernie, so will you challenge your elected officials, either do their sworn duty or resign, for what this sanctions bill against Russia and Iran is a declaration of war, not only against Russia and Iran, but a declaration of war against the United States. for there is no reason to do this against Russia when indeed there are great opportunities to get along, but war is the insanity as it is sedition and treason. Tell them that,

https://larouchepac.com/20170731/breaking-lyndon-larouche-crush-british-coup-against-president

Priss Factor, • Website August 1, 2017 at 7:01 am GMT

Moderate Rebels = Toothfairy Rebels

jilles dykstra, August 1, 2017 at 7:21 am GMT

I wonder if groupthink exists. In any organisation people know quite well why the organisation exists, what the threats are to its existence. If they think about this, I wonder.

The CIA is the USA's secret army, it is not comparable to a real intelligence organization like the British MI5. The CIA is more like WWII SOE, designed to set fire to Europe, Churchill's words. If indeed Trump changes USA foreign policy, no longer trying to control the world, the CIA is obsolete, as obsolete as NATO.

animalogic, August 1, 2017 at 7:44 am GMT

" but President George W. Bush wanted his war and, by gum, he was going to get it if the CIA had any say in the matter."

Not to defend the CIA, but didn't Rumsfeld, doubt the enthusiasm of the CIA for providing the slanted, bogus, "sexed up" intelligence the Executive required to make its "destroy Iraq now" case ? So Rumsfeld therefore set up an independent intelligence agency within the Defence Dept to provide/create the required "intelligence" ?

The Alarmist, August 1, 2017 at 7:45 am GMT

I think they find anyplace that they can make our lives more difficult, I think they find that something that's useful."

Yeah, because that's what resource-constrained countries with limited ability to tap the global capital markets do. Methinks Mr. Pompeo is projecting his and the neocons' fantasies on the Russians.

Realist, August 1, 2017 at 10:14 am GMT

As has been the case for decades the Deep State allows Presidents and legislators to make minor decisions in our government as long as those decisions do not in any way interfere with the Deep State's goals of total world hegemony and increase in overwhelming power and wealth. Those who make the important decisions in this country are not elected. The elected 'officials' are sycophants of the Deep State.

CalDre, August 1, 2017 at 10:43 am GMT

If only Trump would really clean the swamp – particularly the neo-cons and other traitors and globalists. One can dream .

Wizard of Oz, August 1, 2017 at 11:04 am GMT

Being resistant to jargon and catch phrases it is only slowly that I have accepted that "Deep State" is not entirely pretentious waffle when used to describe aspects of the US. However I may not be your only reader PG who would appreciate a clear explanatory description of the American Deep State and how it works.

Here are some suggested parameters.

The term is appropriated from the use to describe the mutually loyal corps of Ataturkians in the Turkish military and intelligence services who were united in service to uphold the ideal of Ataturkian secular modernisation. The term implies no public accountability or publicity unnecessary to its purposes.
And its origins imply that it is not just one in a number of major influences ln government or those who vote for it.

So one has to acknowledge that in the US the Deep State has to be different in the important respect that levers of power are observably wielded by lobbies for the aged, gun owners and sellers, Israel, Wall Street, bio fuels, sugar and other ag, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, the arms industry, Disney and other Hollywood and media, health insurers and the medical profession, and I could go on.

These are all relevant to legal events like votes on impeachment or to hold up appointments. The CIA and FBI together completely united (and note how disunited 9/11 showed them to be) wouldn't remotely approach the old Turkish Deep State's ability to stage a coup. Are all of the putative elements of the Deep State together today as powerful as J.Edgar Hoover with his dirt files on everyone? (A contrast and compare exercise of today's presumed Deep State configuration and modus operandi with the simpler Hoover days might shine some light on who does what and how today. And how effectively).

To avoid lack of focus can a convincing account of the US Deep State be best given in terms of a plausible scenario for

  1. getting rid of Trump as President and/or
  2. maintaining the lunacy and hubris which has the US wasting its substance on totally unnecessary antagonistic relations with China and Russia and interference in the ME?

I would read such accounts with great interest. (Handwavers need not apply).

Jake, August 1, 2017 at 11:26 am GMT

Of course the US Deep State must hate Russia. First, Jews have a very long history of hating Russia and Russians. That never changed. The USSR was not Russia; the USSR was Marxism replacing Russia. Jews tended to love that. Rich Jews from across the world, from the US and the UK of most interest to us, sent money to support the Bolshevik Revolution.

Russia managed to survive the USSR and is slowly coming back around to Russian common sense from the Christian perspective. Neither Jews nor their WASP BFFs can ever forgive that. They want Russia to act now to commit cultural and genetic suicide, like Western Europe and the entire Anglosphere are doing.

Jake, August 1, 2017 at 11:32 am GMT

@polistra The CIA's source, its birth, is from British secret service. Brit spying. And Brit secret service, long before the official founding of MI5, did exactly the kinds of things you note the CIA has done.

The Mossad is another direct fruit of Brit secret service, as is the Saudi General Intelligence Presidency.

jacques sheete, August 1, 2017 at 11:36 am GMT

While there can be no doubt about the crackpots in high positions of the most powerful bureaucracies, it seems to me that the CIA loonies are merely shock troops for an even worse bunch of evil psychos, the bankster mafiosi.

We should always keep that in mind.

Jake, August 1, 2017 at 11:37 am GMT

@CalDre If only

But doing so would mean a voluntary end to playing the role of Sauron, determined to find and wear the One Ring to Rule Them All. The average Elite WASP, and his Jewish BFF, definitely would prefer to destroy the world, at least outside their gated compounds of endless luxury, than to step down from that level of global domination.

Philip Giraldi, August 1, 2017 at 12:02 pm GMT

@Wizard of Oz Wiz – Here is an article I did on the Deep State two years ago. It was one of the first in the US media looking at the issue. It would have to be updated now in light of Trump, but much of what it states is still more-or-less correct.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/deep-state-america/

Jake, August 1, 2017 at 12:09 pm GMT

@jacques sheete Yes, indeed.

But we need to make certain that your use of the word 'mafiosi' does not lead anyone to assume that group has more than a handful of Italians. Jews, WASPs, and continental Germanics each will outnumber Italians by at least 30 to 1.

Chris Bridges, August 1, 2017 at 12:46 pm GMT

I am a retired CIA operations officer (something none of the men mentioned by Giraldi are – Brennan was a failed wanna be, couldn't cut it as an ops officer). He is spot on in his comments. The majority of people in the CIA, the ones who do the heavy lifting, are patriotic Americans who are proud of serving their country. I am sure that most voted for Trump as they all know too well the truth about the Clintons and Obama.

Giraldi is not the only one to notice the upward progress of the most incompetent yes-men in the Agency. A close look at most of them reveals a track record of little or no operational success balanced by excellent sucking up skills. These characters quickly figured out how to get ahead and doing your job in the field is not it. Of course, most are ego maniacs so they are totally oblivious to their own uselessness.

Well before he was elected I had a letter delivered to President Trump in which I outlined in detail what would happen to him if he did not immediately purge the CIA of these assholes. I know that at least some people on his staff read it but, of course, my advice was ignored. Trump has paid dearly for not listening to an ordinary CIA guy who wanted to give him a reality brief on those vicious snakes.

Proud_Srbin, August 1, 2017 at 1:00 pm GMT

Historical facts teach humanity that Anglo-Saxon group of Nations was built on slavery, thuggery and theft of other peace loving Civilizations. We Slavs are the New "niggers", hate is the glue that holds you "toGether".
People of color have been successfully conditioned and practice it as well.
Time will tell how well it holds when balloon bursts and 99% gets called to serve as cannon fodder.
Terrorizing UNARMED and WEAKER is not true test of "superiority" and "exceptionalism".
Tiny, extremely tiny minority of Anglo-Saxons and Satraps understand this.

Bernie voter, August 1, 2017 at 1:20 pm GMT

How "Russiagate" began: After the primaries, both Hillary and Donald faced divided political parties even though they had won the nomination. These divisions were worse than the normal situation after contested primaries. On the Democratic side, Hillay had just subverted the will of the voters of her party, who seemed to favor Bernie Sanders over her. Hillay had won with corrupt collusion and rigging amongst the DNC, the higher ranks of the Democratic Party, and major media such as the NYT and CNN.

Then, a leak of emails from the DNC HQ publicized her interference in the democratic processes of the Democratic Party. This threatened to ene the Hillary for President campaign right then and there. If the majority of Democrats who'd favored Bernie refused to support Hillary because of her corruption and collusion in denying democracy within the party, she was a sure loser in the fall election. The Hillary camp then immediately started blaming Russia for the exposure of her corruption and rigging of the Democratic process. And that's how "Russiagate" began.

Beauracratic Mind, August 1, 2017 at 1:42 pm GMT

@jacques sheete

I wonder if groupthink exists.

It probably does as do group psychoses and group fantasies.. Anyone who's ever served in a beuaracracy knows that groupthink exists.

Take a bunch of mediocre minds. And, they do exist, as Garrison Keiler once famously made a joke out of with his line Welcome to Lake Woebegone, where all the children are above average.

Take that bunch of mediocre thinkers, and then make most of them obsessed with their own career advancement above all else. The most dangerous place for a career-obsessed individual is outside the group consensus. If everyone is wrong, then there is safety in the group. After all, if they are wrong, so was everyone else in the organization. Thus they are immune to attack and censure for being wrong. But if someone takes a position outside of the group consensus, that can be a career-ending move if they are wrong, as now everyone else will be in the I-told-U-So camp. And even if they are correct, they will still be hated and shunned just for being the person who pointed out to the group that they are wrong.

So, you take your typical average mind, and not only do they not have any great insights of their own, but they tend to stick to the group out of sheer survival and then when you take a mass of these mediocre minds you have 'groupthink'.

Eticon, August 1, 2017 at 2:00 pm GMT

@CalDre

If only Trump would really clean the swamp - particularly the neo-cons and other traitors and globalists. One can dream ....

What we've learned from Trump is that 'Draining the Swamp' will take more than an individual. It will take a political movement.

One sees this on the fringes of politics. Someone gets the idea of running for President, and they point out all that is wrong. But, they focus only on their own campaign, their own goal, and they thus gloss over the fact that they'll be outnumbered and powerless even if they win.

Seen this often on the Left. The most recent example is Bernie Sanders. Likewise, had Bernie been elected President, he too would face an entrenched establishment and media with only a small fraction of the Congress supporting him.

Change has to be built from the bottom up. There are no shortcuts. Electing a Trump, or a Nader or a Bernie does not lead to real change. Step one is to build the political movement such that it has real voting block power and which has already won voting majorities in the legislature before the movement achieves the election of a President.

What Trump has needed to be doing for this first two years is to form clear divisions that he could then take to his voters in the mid-term elections. He's needed to lay out his own agenda. So what if he loses votes in Congress? He then takes that agenda back to the voters in 2018 with a nationwide slate of Congressional candidates who support that agenda and runs a midterm campaign asking the voters to help him drain that swamp.

So, for instance, Trump should veto the act of war known as the recent sanctions bill. Who cares if it gets overridden? Then he goes back to the voters, who are clearly sick of endless war and who for obvious reasons don't want a nuclear war, and he says this is where I stand. Support me by electing Fill-In-The-Blank to Congress. With the nuclear Doomsday Clock pushing ever closer to midnight, he might just win that fight over the big money and media opposition he's sure to face.

Not only has Trump failed to even try to fight the Deep State, but he's also failing to set himself up for success in the next elections.

ChuckOrloski, August 1, 2017 at 2:19 pm GMT

@Jake Hey Jake,

It is a serious error to consider President Trump "naive."

What we are seeing now is The Donald's role in the serial Zionist THEATER. Think deeper about the motive behind Mr. Giraldi's choice to use the Orwellian word "Groupthink" in characterizing the CIA zeitgeist? In the classic work "1984," one observes Big Brother as the catalyst in control of the proles' thought pattern & subsequent action.

To rise & FALL as a POTUS is a matter of theater and the American proles are entertained by the political for either 4 or 8 years and the Zionists get their next Chosen actor/actress dramatically sworn in on a bible.

Mr. Trump is neither naive nor stupid. Sheldon Adelson would not donate $millioms to any POTUS wannabe who could not effectively lead the American Groupthink tradition. Subsequently, the political horror show is brought to you in the understandable form of the perpetually elusive Deep State which gets annual Academy Award.

Beware the fake, Jake!,

[Apr 23, 2019] CIA, the counerstone of the deep state, might have agenda that is radically different from the US national interest and reflect agenda of the special interest groups

CIA is actually a state within the state as Church commission revealed and it has an immanent tendency to seek control over "surface state" and media. In other words large intelligence apparatus might well be incompatible with the democratic governance.
Notable quotes:
"... The CIA has a track record of acting out of self interest since its inception and should not be believed. That being said, the public is almost completely unaware of the agency's misdeeds. ..."
May 23, 2017 | nakedcapitalism.com

"In the long run, the CIA can't deceive the Chinese government without also deceiving, in some way, the American public. This leaves us with an obvious problem: Should we believe anything the CIA says?" [RealClearWorld]. "It's a tough question for a democracy to answer. Trust is built on the tacit agreement that the "bad things" an agency does are good for the country.

If the public believes that that is no longer the case – if it believes the agency is acting out of self-interest and not national interest – then the agreement is broken. The intelligence agency is seen as an impediment of the right to national self-determination, a means for the ends of the few."

Huey Long <

RE: Hall of Mirrors/Believing the CIA

The CIA has a track record of acting out of self interest since its inception and should not be believed. That being said, the public is almost completely unaware of the agency's misdeeds.

I think the reason folks like Manning, Snowden and Assange are so reviled by the agency is because they are a threat to the CIA's reputation more than anything else.

[Apr 23, 2019] Crowdstrike and the reprise of the Iraq-WMD Fiasco

Notable quotes:
"... In May, the company, Crowdstrike, determined that the hack was the work of the Russians. As one unnamed intelligence official told BuzzFeed, "CrowdStrike is pretty good. There's no reason to believe that anything that they have concluded is not accurate ..."
"... Perhaps not. Yet Crowdstrike is hardly a disinterested party when it comes to Russia. Crowdstrike's founder and chief technology officer, Dmitri Alperovitch , is also a senior fellow at the Washington think tank, The Atlantic Council, which has been at the forefront of escalating tensions with Russia. ..."
"... As I reported in The Nation in early January , the connection between Alperovitch and the Atlantic Council is highly relevant given that the Atlantic Council is funded in part by the State Department, NATO, the governments of Latvia and Lithuania, the Ukrainian World Congress, and the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk. In recent years, it has emerged as a leading voice calling for a new Cold War with Russia. ..."
"... But meanwhile the steady drumbeat of "blame Russia" is having an effect. According to a recent you.gov/Economist poll, 58 percent of Americans view Russia as "unfriendly/enemy" while also finding that 52 percent of Democrats believed Russia "tampered with vote tallies." ..."
Feb 03, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

Originally from: A Reprise of the Iraq-WMD Fiasco -- Consortiumnews

... ... ...

A Dangerous Replay?

Today something eerily similar to the pre-war debate over Iraq is taking place regarding the allegations of Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election. Assurances from the intelligence community and from anonymous Obama administration "senior officials" about the existence of evidence is being treated as, well, actual evidence.

State Department spokesman John Kirby told CNN that he is "100% certain" of the role that Russia played in U.S. election. The administration's expressions of certainty are then uncritically echoed by the mainstream media. Skeptics are likewise written off, slandered as " Kremlin cheerleaders " or worse.

Unsurprisingly, The Washington Post is reviving its Bush-era role as principal publicist for the government's case. Yet in its haste to do the government's bidding, the Post has published two widely debunked stories relating to Russia (one on the scourge of Russian inspired "fake news", the other on a non-existent Russian hack of a Vermont electric utility) onto which the paper has had to append "editor's notes" to correct the original stories.

Yet, those misguided stories have not deterred the Post's opinion page from being equally aggressive in its depiction of Russian malfeasance. In late December, the Post published an op-ed by Rep. Adam Schiff and former Rep. Jane Harmon claiming "Russia's theft and strategic leaking of emails and documents from the Democratic Party and other officials present a challenge to the U.S. political system unlike anything we've experienced."

On Dec. 30, the Post editorial board chastised President-elect Trump for seeming to dismiss "a brazen and unprecedented attempt by a hostile power to covertly sway the outcome of a U.S. presidential election." The Post described Russia's actions as a "cyber-Pearl Harbor."

On Jan. 1, the neoconservative columnist Josh Rogin told readers that the recent announcement of sanctions against Russia "brought home a shocking realization that Russia is using hybrid warfare in an aggressive attempt to disrupt and undermine our democracy."

Meanwhile, many of the same voices who were among the loudest cheerleaders for the war in Iraq have also been reprising their Bush-era roles in vouching for the solidity of the government's case.

Jonathan Chait, now a columnist for New York magazine, is clearly convinced by what the government has thus far provided. "That Russia wanted Trump to win has been obvious for months," writes Chait.

"Of course it all came from the Russians, I'm sure it's all there in the intel," Charles Krauthammer told Fox News on Jan. 2. Krauthammer is certain.

And Andrew Sullivan is certain as to the motive. "Trump and Putin's bromance," Sullivan told MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Jan. 2, "has one goal this year: to destroy the European Union and to undermine democracy in Western Europe."

David Frum, writing in The Atlantic , believes Trump "owes his office in considerable part to illegal clandestine activities in his favor conducted by a hostile, foreign spy service."

Jacob Weisberg agrees, tweeting: "Russian covert action threw the election to Donald Trump. It's that simple." Back in 2008, Weisberg wrote that "the first thing I hope I've learned from this experience of being wrong about Iraq is to be less trusting of expert opinion and received wisdom." So much for that.

Foreign Special Interests

Another, equally remarkable similarity to the period of 2002-3 is the role foreign lobbyists have played in helping to whip up a war fever. As readers will no doubt recall, Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress, which served, in effect as an Iraqi government-in-exile, worked hand in hand with the Washington lobbying firm Black, Kelly, Scruggs & Healey (BKSH) to sell Bush's war on television and on the op-ed pages of major American newspapers.

Chalabi was also a trusted source of Judy Miller of the Times, which, in an apology to its readers on May 26, 2004, wrote : "The most prominent of the anti-Saddam campaigners, Ahmad Chalabi, has been named as an occasional source in Times articles since at least 1991, and has introduced reporters to other exiles. He became a favorite of hard-liners within the Bush administration and a paid broker of information from Iraqi exiles." The pro-war lobbying of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has also been exhaustively documented .

Though we do not know how widespread the practice has been as of yet, something similar is taking place today. Articles calling for confrontation with Russia over its alleged "hybrid war" with the West are appearing with increasing regularity . Perhaps the most egregious example of this newly popular genre appeared on Jan. 1 in Politico magazine. That essay, which claims, among many other things, that "we're in a war" with Russia comes courtesy of one Molly McKew.

McKew is seemingly qualified to make such a pronouncement because she, according to her bio on the Politico website, served as an "adviser to Georgian President Saakashvili's government from 2009-2013, and to former Moldovan Prime Minister Filat in 2014-2015." Seems reasonable enough. That is until one discovers that McKew is actually registered with the Department of Justice as a lobbyist for two anti-Russian political parties, Georgia's UMN and Moldova's PLDM.

Records show her work for the consulting firm Fianna Strategies frequently takes her to Capitol Hill to lobby U.S. Senate and Congressional staffers, as well as prominent U.S. journalists at The Washington Post and The New York Times, on behalf of her Georgian and Moldovan clients.

"The truth," writes McKew, "is that fighting a new Cold War would be in America's interest. Russia teaches us a very important lesson: losing an ideological war without a fight will ruin you as a nation. The fight is the American way." Or, put another way: the truth is that fighting a new Cold War would be in McKew's interest -- but perhaps not America's.

While you wouldn't know it from the media coverage (or from reading deeply disingenuous pieces like McKew's) as things now stand, the case against Russia is far from certain. New developments are emerging almost daily. One of the latest is a report from the cyber-engineering company Wordfence, which concluded that "The IP addresses that DHS [Department of Homeland Security] provided may have been used for an attack by a state actor like Russia. But they don't appear to provide any association with Russia."

Indeed, according to Wordfence, "The malware sample is old, widely used and appears to be Ukrainian. It has no apparent relationship with Russian intelligence and it would be an indicator of compromise for any website."

On Jan. 4, BuzzFeed reported that, according to the DNC, the FBI never carried out a forensic examination on the email servers that were allegedly hacked by the Russian government. "The FBI," said DNC spokesman Eric Walker, "never requested access to the DNC's computer servers."

What the agency did do was rely on the findings of a private-sector, third-party vendor that was brought in by the DNC after the initial hack was discovered. In May, the company, Crowdstrike, determined that the hack was the work of the Russians. As one unnamed intelligence official told BuzzFeed, "CrowdStrike is pretty good. There's no reason to believe that anything that they have concluded is not accurate . "

Perhaps not. Yet Crowdstrike is hardly a disinterested party when it comes to Russia. Crowdstrike's founder and chief technology officer, Dmitri Alperovitch , is also a senior fellow at the Washington think tank, The Atlantic Council, which has been at the forefront of escalating tensions with Russia.

As I reported in The Nation in early January , the connection between Alperovitch and the Atlantic Council is highly relevant given that the Atlantic Council is funded in part by the State Department, NATO, the governments of Latvia and Lithuania, the Ukrainian World Congress, and the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk. In recent years, it has emerged as a leading voice calling for a new Cold War with Russia.

Time to Rethink the 'Group Think'

And given the rather thin nature of the declassified evidence provided by the Obama administration, might it be time to consider an alternative theory of the case? William Binney, a 36-year veteran of the National Security Agency and the man responsible for creating many of its collection systems, thinks so. Binney believes that the DNC emails were leaked, not hacked, writing that "it is puzzling why NSA cannot produce hard evidence implicating the Russian government and WikiLeaks. Unless we are dealing with a leak from an insider, not a hack."

None of this is to say, of course, that Russia did not and could not have attempted to influence the U.S. presidential election. The intelligence community may have intercepted damning evidence of the Russian government's culpability. The government's hesitation to provide the public with more convincing evidence may stem from an understandable and wholly appropriate desire to protect the intelligence community's sources and methods. But as it now stands the publicly available evidence is open to question.

But meanwhile the steady drumbeat of "blame Russia" is having an effect. According to a recent you.gov/Economist poll, 58 percent of Americans view Russia as "unfriendly/enemy" while also finding that 52 percent of Democrats believed Russia "tampered with vote tallies."

With Congress back in session, Armed Services Committee chairman John McCain is set to hold a series of hearings focusing on Russian malfeasance, and the steady drip-drip-drip of allegations regarding Trump and Putin is only serving to box in the new President when it comes to pursuing a much-needed detente with Russia.

It also does not appear that a congressional inquiry will start from scratch and critically examine the evidence. On Friday, two senators -- Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse -- announced a Senate Judiciary subcommittee investigation into Russian interference in elections in the U.S. and elsewhere. But they already seemed to have made up their minds about the conclusion: "Our goal is simple," the senators said in a joint statement "To the fullest extent possible we want to shine a light on Russian activities to undermine democracy."

So, before the next round of Cold War posturing commences, now might be the time to stop, take a deep breath and ask: Could the rush into a new Cold War with Russia be as disastrous and consequential -- if not more so -- as was the rush to war with Iraq nearly 15 years ago? We may, unfortunately, find out.

James W Carden is a contributing writer for The Nation and editor of The American Committee for East-West Accord's eastwestaccord.com. He previously served as an advisor on Russia to the Special Representative for Global Inter-governmental Affairs at the US State Department.


Don G. , February 5, 2017 at 14:29

Questioning whether the Russians hacked or didn’t hack is playing into the US narrative to demonize Russia. (Putin)
It simple doesn’t matter as all nations hack as much as possible to enhance and protect their national interests. Surely Russia has hacked against the US no more than a tenth of what the US had done against Russia.

The narrative is nothing but a propaganda lie but it’s been accepted by the American people and mostly because of the fight that goes on due to domestic politics, one major party against the other.

There’s a very good reason to stop promoting the narrative because it only helps to bring Americans onside with more efforts to demonize Putin and to keep all sides in the US promoting their aggression worldwide. Americans are likely easily 90% prowar now and will show little or no resistance to the coming war on Iran. <img alt='' src='https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/f05d2bb98b641e9e9ab8f3dc738e31a0?s=60&#038;d=identicon&#038;r=pg' srcset='https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/f05d2bb98b641e9e9ab8f3dc738e31a0?s=120&#038;d=identicon&#038;r=pg 2x' class='avatar avatar-60 photo' height='60' width='60' />

yugo , February 4, 2017 at 13:54

Hysteria has reached fever pitch. Russia’s fake news is apparently so beguiling that it even threatens western democratic discourse. Combine this with its cyber weaponry and Moscow, so we are told, may interfere in this year’s German elections to benefit the hard-right. Such incessant fear mongering has already prompted calls for the censorship of Russian propaganda. It won’t be long before a witch-hunt emerges, directed against ‘fellow travellers’, those who dare to doubt the Russian threat.

They insist the west made matters worse in Ukraine by not acknowledging that it was a classic example of a young state that didn’t naturally command the allegiance of all its peoples. Other examples are Georgia’s Abkhazians and South Ossetians, Moldova’s Trans-Dniester Slavs and Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians.

They also doubt the Russian threat to the Baltic states. What is amazing is Moscow’s temperate response to Estonia and Latvia’s gross violation of international norms in denying citizenship to those of its Russian minority who are not conversant in Estonian and Latvian respectively. Nato and the EU turned a blind eye when membership was granted to these two states.

Fellow travellers furthermore claim the west will keep on floundering in the Middle East as long as it persists in treating Saudi Arabia as a valued ally, while viewing Iran as a permanent enemy. We have for far too long ignored Saudi Arabia’s promotion of Wahhabism and its playing of the destructive sectarian card against ‘apostate’ Shiites. Take the merciless attacks on Shiite worshippers by Sunni jihadis of a Wahhabist persuasion. It occurs with sickening regularity throughout the Middle East. The terrorists attacking westerners are invariably Sunni jihadis, not Shiites. Worse still, Saudi Arabia together with Nato member Turkey facilitated the emergence of Isis. We bizarrely gave priority to toppling Syria’s secular regime.

The first loyalty of these fellow travellers is to their nation state rather than unfettered globalism. No wonder the western elite disparage their national patriotism, calling it populism. It was, after all, the Achilles Heel of Homo Sovieticus. The elite fear the same fate awaits Homo Europaeus and globalist Homo Economicus.

Michael K Rohde , February 3, 2017 at 15:12

This is beginning to look exactly like Iraq 2 and why the same players that led us into that fake war which is still not paid for because the initiators made sure and get themselves a tax cut before they launched it are still being listened to makes it clear. Even with a change in administrations and party our government continues in the same wrong headed direction, to war with the enemies of Israel. When will it stop? When will we take back control of our foreign policy and destiny. <img alt='' src='https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/cc900a84653501242923790946494dbc?s=60&#038;d=identicon&#038;r=pg' srcset='https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/cc900a84653501242923790946494dbc?s=120&#038;d=identicon&#038;r=pg 2x' class='avatar avatar-60 photo' height='60' width='60' />

Michael Hoefler , February 3, 2017 at 23:29

As Ray McGovern said several times (not quoting): that Israel is the elephant in the room. Netayahu will not rest until he has all of the Arab states fighting among themselves. IMO he thinks that that will guarantee Israel protection.
IMO – all that does is put Israel into a continuing worse situation. There will always be someone stronger to come along to overcome them – someday – sometime. If they made peace with those nations and worked with them, traded with them – they would be much safer in the long run.

Banger , February 3, 2017 at 14:22

The mainstream media in th USA and, increasingly in the rest of the West are vehicles for propaganda from various factions within the Imperial Deep State. All these outlets are good for is to map the power relations between these factions at least this the case in the major issues of the day.

This misbehavior going on right now. One factions close to Trump wants to go to war with Iran because, of course there has to be war or the Deep State as a whole stuffers and the people will begin to look at their shakles. The other faction wishes to go to a brinksmanship sort of Cold War situation. The Trumpists believe that making friends with Russia and then destroying Iranian power is the best approach to controlling the MENA region by creating a loose alliance of KSA, Israel, Turkey and Russia in which a weak Iran would be forced to enter the Empire and Russia in return would be given more control of Ukraine and Eastern Europe. I suspect Trump may also want to undercut NATO and the EU. That is my guess. To put it another way, Russia is strong and well led and Iran is not.

stan , February 3, 2017 at 14:17

You can read chapter 6 of Mein Kampf if you want to see how this war propaganda stuff works. It is not group think or mistaken ideas. It is deliberate lies to scare you and a carefully crafted false narrative to make it all seem reasonable. People cannot believe that their leaders would tell such a big lie, and that’s why it works. The goal is murder and conquest to get territory, natural resources, and control of business and commerce. Controlling markets for drugs, gambling, and prostitution is for nickel and dime crooks. Controlling markets for natural resources, banking, and consumer and industrial goods is where the real money is. Think of governments as criminal business syndicates and you aren’t far off. Remember, President Obama had a hit list, flew around plane loads of secret cash to make illegal payoffs, and bragged about offing his opponent in the head and dumping his body in the river.

Jeremy , February 4, 2017 at 11:33

Yes, Stan,well put! you will never see this sort of talk in the articles here, as the consipiracy theorist label is always one to avoid, but I agree that when we think in terms of a group of people trying to attain “security” the same way any other gangster does, it becomes much less far fetched. George Carlin said, “It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it!” Men and women of power and wealth will always do what they have to in order to preserve that power and wealth for their children. There is really no conspiracy needed, just a bunch of people at the top looking after themselves and their families.

Tania Messina , February 3, 2017 at 14:13

Ah, yes, we’ve always needed a boogeyman to keep us all crazed with fear and the neocons busy with their destruction of society. If there is a crazy out there today, it is those neocons and their puppets who were so intent on destroying “seven countries in five years” and not being able to achieve that diabolical end as so neatly planned. And, now, they’re throwing temper tantrums, because, surprise of surprises! a non career politician comes along who uses common sense for a change and dares to say, “Why can’t we be friends with Russia?” With that comment many exhausted Americans perked up and listened while the Dulles boys turned somersaults in their graves!

The arrogance and superiority of those who constantly blame Russia for their alleged expansionist ambitions seem blinded to our own aggressions. Fifteen years in Iraq? We finally have a president who talks of peace and we demonize him as the warmonger ready to press the button, while I seem to remember that it was the other candidate who arrogantly referred to Putin as Hitler!

It is articles like this one by James Carden that we should be teaching in our schools, researching the facts and discussing in our classrooms so that hopefully a new generation might grow up with intelligent exchange rather than the brainwash that has been strangling our society for too many years.

Mark Thomason , February 3, 2017 at 13:04

This controversy is driven by Democratic denial of defeat, and infighting in which those defeated seek to hang on to power inside the Democratic Party. It is the Hillary crowd. It can be evidence free because it is driven by political calculation of private power needs, not truth.

And the WMD fiasco is a perfect comparison, because the same people drove the same sort of fact-free theme for private reasons, as Wolfowitz put it, the story around which varying separate interests could be rallied.

[Apr 23, 2019] Transactional Trumpism

Apr 23, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

Brian 04.21.19 at 2:43 pm

I think the real question is not whether Trump is successful or not. That question is a red herring in American politics today. The real question is whether or not the Democratic "leadership" can allow nomination of a candidate that the Democrat rank and file want. Bernie Sanders should have won the nomination last time. But the superdelegate system gives a literal handful of mandarins the ability to fake the primary process. (I say that as someone who has significant issues with some of Sanders positions.)

Trump won because Hillary was a horrific candidate. Voters stayed home, disgusted. Trump won because the Obama administration didn't deliver hope nor change. He delivered a government of the corporate criminal bankers for them. Middle and working class America got screwed. Black people got screwed worst. Trump won because the utter corruption at the heart of the DNC was exposed for all to see in the emails. Trump win because of the Obama administration making a trade deal top secret classified and trying to force a vote through congress. Not seeing any point in voting, Democrats didnt.

All the evidence since shows the DNC leadership didn't learn anything. They are just as contemptuous of voters, just as manipulative with their window dressing as ever. The Democratic party is the party of endless war even more than the Republicans. It's a party that stopped every effort by Trump to wind down or end war posture with Russia and North Korea. There's now 2 parties in Netanyahu's pocket implementing Likuds insane middle east ideas. Put some solar energy and LGBTQ butter on it with a side of women's rights bullshit and it's "Democrat". But the politicians are just as venal. The legislature just as wildly right wing war mongering.

The 1960's is long over. The Democratic party hasn't seen a new idea since and has converted to govern to the right of Nixon. Way to Nixon's right. The Democratic party is the tool of the Uber-ization of not just America, but the whole world. Flour and break the law to pauperize the working class, and suck money to a few in the SF Bay Area. That's policy now.

You can see it already. Sanders is ahead. But Buttigieg is being anointed. He's the perfect candidate. He's gay! He's out of the closet! And he's a corporate tool who can talk smoothly without speaking a clear word. Best of all, he has ZERO foreign policy experience or positions. So he'll be putty in the hands of the corporations that want endless war for profits. Wall Street wants him. And the street owns the Democratic party. Will he give a flying f*@k about the middle and working class? Will he be anything but another neo-liberal who can be differentiated from a neo-conservative only by mild difference in racism? (Overt vs.covert)

At least Buttigieg isn't Beto O'Rourke, the most completely empty skin in Congress. There's that.

All the evidence I see is no. The Democrat "leadership" don't understand. I predict a Trump win, or else a squeaker election that barely scrapes by with a win.

No matter what, the idiot Democrats won't get it. Pelosi will do her best to cast the Republicans anti-tax anti-government (federal) government culture war in concrete with balanced budget horse manure. The Democrats will continue to force a new cold war on Russia. They will keep backing companies that steal from the middle and working class. (Yes, Uber and Lyft are massive theft operations. They implemented taxi service without licenses. Those licenses cost a lot of money to those who bought them. They put the public at risk causing multiple deaths and assaults from unlicensed taxi drivers.)

Trump's appeal is that he at least talks a game of "f*@k you". Domestically it's all lies on all sides. He lies to everyone. But at least he doesn't lie smoothly like the "good Democrat" candidates do.

Jim Harrison 04.21.19 at 5:17 pm (no link)

Obviously everybody's motives are mixed. The same guys who are calculating the economic advantages of supporting Trump are likely to be cultural nativists too. That said, I think a lot of the traditional Republicans who have come around to heartfelt Trumpism supported him once he got the nomination for rational (zweckrational) reasons. A moderate Democrat like Clinton might not seem like much of a threat, but the era of triangulation is coming to an end no matter who's in charge. The imperative problems of the times -- drastic inequality, economic stagnation, a train wreck of a health care system, climate change -- will have to be faced with measures deeply threatening to the existing order of things, especially since sheer demography is undermining the white Christian base of right-wing politics. Under the circumstances, the only way to defend privilege is to embrace some kind of craziness. The incompetence of the administration and the decline of American power and prestige that goes with it are a trade-off. In any case, though Trump may be worse than necessary, any conservative government will necessarily oversee the debasement of the country in the name of race and religion. As Molly Bloom once murmured, "as well him as another."
eg 04.21.19 at 5:30 pm ( 25 )
I don't believe a whole lot of thought goes into, "I'm for Team Coke because it's not Team Pepsi"

So put me down for #4 and #6 above

Lee A. Arnold 04.22.19 at 1:22 pm (no link)
jim harrison #24: "Under the circumstances, the only way to defend privilege is to embrace some kind of craziness. The incompetence of the administration and the decline of American power and prestige that goes with it are a trade-off."

I think you've put it in a nutshell. But the recognition of this particular thought is prevented in the minds of conservatives, both upper and lower class, by an opposing thought. The conservative logic is that defending privilege is scientifically proper. It is to defend the material hierarchy in which you, yourself, may ascend on your own merits as a productive successful individual. Privilege is not simply "I got mine, so you get yours": it is conservatives' presumed key to capitalism's overall success, thus to defend privilege is to defend the US's status as the world's strongest, most vibrant economy.

There are several reasons why this law of the jungle may no longer remain operational in the US, and they started before Trump 's hastening of US decline. If these reasons ever dawn upon the lower-class conservatives, that awakening may not come yet for 10 or 20 years as the unavoidable bills become due and global financial markets begin to divest from the US as if it were a money-loser. In the meantime the upper class will have taken its money offshore, as foreign economies grow and liberalize investment. Thus it is that neoliberals (in Quinn Slobodian's particular description, of a free-floating globalized financial class that manipulates local national policies) can cut themselves free of the US as it descends further into stratified poverty and brutality. The elites, simply by following the financial markets, will gut the US.

Your quote describes a trade-off that is a vicious circle. It looks impossible to break unless there is a generally agreed-upon rewrite of political economy. I repeat "generally agreed-upon", because the real need is to change a big social preference, and as economists say,"preferences are exogenous", meaning they are prior to the application of the toolkit of modern economics. The US was the first large advanced capitalist country, and it may become the first large advanced democratic socialist country if it is to avoid fascism.

Uncle Jeffy 04.22.19 at 2:05 pm (no link)
Happy Charles Krauthammer Day!

In Memoriam, of course. But his brilliant insight (that there were WMDs in Iraq, and all we needed was a little more time to find them) will live on forever ..

Jay 04.22.19 at 11:43 pm (no link)
or maybe they weren't eager for World War 3 with Russia over Syria or the Ukraine?

I voted for Trump after previously voting for Ralph Nader. And Obama proved beyond a doubt that Nader was right. Meanwhile Trump has done exactly what I hoped he would do; he has shown that our entire election system is rigged by the CIA (obviously not very thoroughly rigged). Like or hate Trump, only a traitor would not be concerned that the CIA is giving marching order to the media and colluding to derail candidates it does not approve of.

Unless a "democrat" stands up who is willing to talk about unconstitutional wars, unconstitutional bailouts, unconstitutional surveillance and unconstitutional rigging of the two major parties, Trump is far better because he is forcing the public to see how corrupt DC is. We have been in a constitutional crisis since at least the 1990's. Of course if you are too weak and stupid to handle any of that discussion, just bury your head and pretend that "racism" is the only reason Trump won.

bruce wilder 04.23.19 at 12:21 am (no link)
Reading the post and comments, I can help but feel the entire agenda is about feeling good about one's own political fecklessness. The abject moral and economic failures of left-neoliberalism / lesser evilism Democratic Party politics are staring at you. And, you are projecting that outward as if Trump is a failure of the Republican Party and its politics!
J-D 04.23.19 at 4:25 am (no link)
Jay

Trump has done exactly what I hoped he would do; he has shown that our entire election system is rigged by the CIA (obviously not very thoroughly rigged).

If you mean that (as a result of Trump's election) most people in the US now believe that that your entire election system is rigged by the CIA, then you're wrong: most people in the US do not believe that your entire election system is rigged by the CIA. On the other hand, you can't mean that as a result of Trump's election you now believe that to be true, because (on your own say-so) you already believed it to be true before Trump's election.

If you mean that as a result of Trump's election you feel justified in priding yourself on having superior insight to the poor dupes who still believe in the system, then I would believe that's how you feel; but perhaps that's not what you mean. I hope that's not what you mean.

Trump is far better because he is forcing the public to see how corrupt DC is

No, the number of people who did not believe that DC was corrupt before Trump but who have come to believe that it is corrupt because of Trump is so small as to be insignificant.

likbez 04.23.19 at 5:58 am (no link)
@Brian 04.21.19 at 2:43 pm ( 18)

First of all thank you for your post. You insights are much appreciated. Some comments:

The real question is whether or not the Democratic "leadership" can allow nomination of a candidate that the Democrat rank and file want.

In reality intelligence agencies control the nomination. And Democratic leadership mainly consists of "CIA-democrats"

Trump won because Hillary was a horrific candidate. Voters stayed home, disgusted. Trump won because the Obama administration didn't deliver hope nor change. He delivered a government of the corporate criminal bankers for them. Middle and working class America got screwed. Black people got screwed worst. Trump won because the utter corruption at the heart of the DNC was exposed for all to see in the emails.

This is a very apt description of reasons for which Trump had won, but anti-war sentiments played also important role and probably should be added to the list. People with neocon foreign policy platform might face hard wing in 2020 as well too. That does not means that voters will not be betrayed again like in case of Trump and Obama, but still

The Democratic party is the party of endless war even more than the Republicans. It's a party that stopped every effort by Trump to wind down or end war posture with Russia and North Korea. There's now 2 parties in Netanyahu's pocket implementing Likuds insane middle east ideas. Put some solar energy and LGBTQ butter on it with a side of women's rights bullshit and it's "Democrat". But the politicians are just as venal. The legislature just as wildly right wing war mongering.

True. But in 2020 that might be their undoing. That's why this corrupt gang is more afraid of Tulsi more then of Trump.

In general the level of crisis of neoliberalism will play important role in 2002 elections, especially if the economy slows down in 2020. Wheels might start coming off the neoliberal cart in 2020; that's why Russiagate hysteria serves as an "insurance policy". It helps to cement the cracks in the neoliberal façade, or at least to attribute them to the chosen scapegoat.

One good thing that Trump has done (beside criminal justice reform) is that he helped to discredit neoliberal media. That effort should be applauded. He really turned the Twitter into a razor to slash neoliberal MSMs.

[Apr 23, 2019] The Conspiracy Against Trump by Philip Giraldi

Lightly edited for clarity...
Notable quotes:
"... One might reasonably ask if America in its seemingly enduring role as the world's most feared bully will ever cease and desist, but the more practical question might be "When will the psychopathic trio of John Bolton, Mike Pompeo and Elliott Abrams be fired so the United States can begin to behave like a normal nation?" ..."
"... This hatred of all things Trump has been manifested in the neoconservative "Nevertrump" forces led by Bill Kristol and by the "Trump Derangement Syndrome" prominent on the political left, regularly exhibited by Rachel Maddow. ..."
"... Whether the Mueller report is definitive very much depends on the people they chose to interview and the questions they chose to ask, which is something that will no doubt be discussed for the next year if not longer. Beyond declaring that the Trump team did not collude with Russia, it cast little light on the possible Deep State role in attempting to vilify Trump and his associates. ..."
"... The media has scarcely reported how Michael Horowitz, the Inspector General of the Department of Justice (DOJ), has been looking into the activities of the principal promoters of the Russiagate fraud. Horowitz, whose report is expected in about a month, has already revealed that he intends to make criminal referrals as a result of his investigation. ..."
"... The first phase of the illegal investigation of the Trump associates involved initiating wiretaps without any probable cause. This eventually involved six government intelligence and law enforcement agencies that formed a de facto task force headed by the CIA's Director John Brennan. Also reportedly involved were the FBI's James Comey, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Department of Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson, and Admiral Michael Rogers who headed the National Security Agency. ..."
"... The British support of the operation was coordinated by the then-director of GCHQ Robert Hannigan who has since been forced to resign. Brennan is, unfortunately still around and has not been charged with perjury and other crimes. In May 2017, after he departed government, he testified before Congress with what sounds a lot like a final unsourced, uncorroborated attempt to smear the new administration ..."
"... The Deep State wants a constant state of tension with 'hostile' countries (Iran, Russia, Venezuela, China, Syria and others). This scares the crap out of ignorant Americans and allows unjustifiable spending on war matériel. ..."
"... The Deep State wants a steady supply of cheap foreign labor to provide wealth to the supporters of the Deep State. ..."
"... You know damn well Adelson sent Bolton and you should also know damn well why the Orange Boy staffed his adm with Zionists. No one in NY except Zionists would associate with Trump. ..."
Apr 23, 2019 | www.unz.com

The real "deplorable" in today's United States is the continuation of a foreign policy based on endless aggression to maintain Washington's military dominance in parts of the world where Americans have no conceivable interest. Many voters backed Donald J. Trump because he committed himself to changing all that, but, unfortunately, he has reneged on his promise, instead heightening tension with major powers Russia and China while also threatening Iran and Venezuela on an almost daily basis. Now Cuba is in the crosshairs because it is allegedly assisting Venezuela. One might reasonably ask if America in its seemingly enduring role as the world's most feared bully will ever cease and desist, but the more practical question might be "When will the psychopathic trio of John Bolton, Mike Pompeo and Elliott Abrams be fired so the United States can begin to behave like a normal nation?"

Trump, to be sure, is the heart of the problem as he has consistently made bad, overly belligerent decisions when better and less abrasive options were available, something that should not necessarily always be blamed on his poor choice of advisers. But one also should not discount the likelihood that the dysfunction in Trump is in part comprehensible, stemming from his belief that he has numerous powerful enemies who have been out do destroy him since before he was nominated as the GOP's presidential candidate. This hatred of all things Trump has been manifested in the neoconservative "Nevertrump" forces led by Bill Kristol and by the "Trump Derangement Syndrome" prominent on the political left, regularly exhibited by Rachel Maddow.

And then there is the Deep State, which also worked with the Democratic Party and President Barack Obama to destroy the Trump presidency even before it began. One can define Deep State in a number of ways, ranging from a "soft" version which accepts that there is an Establishment that has certain self-serving objectives that it works collectively to promote to something harder, an actual infrastructure that meets together and connives to remove individuals and sabotage policies that it objects to. The Deep State in either version includes senior government officials, business leaders and, perhaps most importantly, the managed media, which promotes a corrupted version of "good governance" that in turn influences the public.

Whether the Mueller report is definitive very much depends on the people they chose to interview and the questions they chose to ask, which is something that will no doubt be discussed for the next year if not longer. Beyond declaring that the Trump team did not collude with Russia, it cast little light on the possible Deep State role in attempting to vilify Trump and his associates. The investigation of that aspect of the 2016 campaign and the possible prosecutions of former senior government officials that might be a consequence of the investigation will likely be entertaining conspiracy theorists well into 2020. Since Russiagate has already been used and discarded the new inquiry might well be dubbed Trumpgate.

The media has scarcely reported how Michael Horowitz, the Inspector General of the Department of Justice (DOJ), has been looking into the activities of the principal promoters of the Russiagate fraud. Horowitz, whose report is expected in about a month, has already revealed that he intends to make criminal referrals as a result of his investigation. While the report will only cover malfeasance in the Department of Justice, which includes the FBI, the names of intelligence officers involved will no doubt also surface. It is expected that there will be charges leading to many prosecutions and one can hope for jail time for those individuals who corruptly betrayed their oath to the United States Constitution to pursue a political vendetta.

A review of what is already known about the plot against Trump is revealing and no doubt much more will be learned if and when investigators go through emails and phone records. The first phase of the illegal investigation of the Trump associates involved initiating wiretaps without any probable cause. This eventually involved six government intelligence and law enforcement agencies that formed a de facto task force headed by the CIA's Director John Brennan. Also reportedly involved were the FBI's James Comey, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Department of Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson, and Admiral Michael Rogers who headed the National Security Agency.

Brennan was the key to the operation because the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court refused to approve several requests by the FBI to initiate taps on Trump associates and Trump Tower as there was no probable cause to do so but the British and other European intelligence services were legally able to intercept communications linked to American sources. Brennan was able to use his connections with those foreign intelligence agencies, primarily the British GCHQ, to make it look like the concerns about Trump were coming from friendly and allied countries and therefore had to be responded to as part of routine intelligence sharing. As a result, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Gen. Michael Flynn were all wiretapped. And likely there were others. This all happened during the primaries and after Trump became the GOP nominee.

In other words, to make the wiretaps appear to be legitimate, GCHQ and others were quietly and off-the-record approached by Brennan and associates over their fears of what a Trump presidency might mean. The British responded by initiating wiretaps that were then used by Brennan to justify further investigation of Trump's associates. It was all neatly done and constituted completely illegal spying on American citizens by the U.S. government.

The British support of the operation was coordinated by the then-director of GCHQ Robert Hannigan who has since been forced to resign. Brennan is, unfortunately still around and has not been charged with perjury and other crimes. In May 2017, after he departed government, he testified before Congress with what sounds a lot like a final unsourced, uncorroborated attempt to smear the new administration :

"I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals. It raised questions in my mind whether or not Russia was able to gain the co-operation of those individuals."

Brennan's claimed "concerns" turned out to be incorrect. Meanwhile, other interested parties were involved in the so-called Steele Dossier on Trump himself. The dossier, paid for initially by Republicans trying to stop Trump, was later funded by $12 million from the Hillary campaign. It was commissioned by the law firm Perkins Coie, which was working for the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The objective was to assess any possible Trump involvement with Russia. The work itself was sub-contracted to Fusion GPS, which in turn sub-contracted the actual investigation to British spy Christopher Steele who headed a business intelligence firm called Orbis.

Steele left MI-6 in 2009 and had not visited Russia since 1993. The report, intended to dig up dirt on Trump, was largely prepared using impossible to corroborate second-hand information and would have never surfaced but for the surprise result of the 2016 election. Christopher Steele gave a copy to a retired of British Diplomat Sir Andrew Wood who in turn handed it to Trump critic Senator John McCain who then passed it on to the FBI. President Barack Obama presumably also saw it and, according to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, "If it weren't for President Obama, we might not have done the intelligence community assessment that we did that set off a whole sequence of events which are still unfolding today, notably, special counsel Mueller's investigation."

The report was leaked to the media in January 2017 to coincide with Trump's inauguration. Hilary Clinton denied any prior knowledge despite the fact that her campaign had paid for it. Pressure from the Democrats and other constituencies devastated by the Trump victory used the Steele report to provide leverage for what became the Mueller investigation.

So, was there a broad ranging conspiracy against Donald Trump orchestrated by many of the most senior officials and politicians in Washington? Undeniably yes. What Trump has amounted to as a leader and role model is beside the point as what evolved was undeniably a bureaucratic coup directed against a legally elected president of the United States and to a certain extent it was successful as Trump was likely forced to turn his back on his better angels and subsequently hired Pompeo, Bolton and Abrams. One can only hope that investigators dig deep into what is Washington insiders have been up to so Trumpgate will prove more interesting and informative than was Russiagate. And one also has to hope that enough highest-level heads will roll to make any interference by the Deep State in future elections unthinkable. One hopes.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org .


Realist , says: April 22, 2019 at 11:28 pm GMT

The Deep State plot to undermine the president

The President is part of the Deep State. To understand what the Deep State will and will not tolerate answer these questions.

What do both parties agree on? If they appear to disagree, look to see if anything changes when one party has the power to cause change or does the party in power make excuses to avoid change? Those things that the populus is against but never change or get worse are what the Deep State wants

  1. The Deep State wants a constant state of tension with 'hostile' countries (Iran, Russia, Venezuela, China, Syria and others). This scares the crap out of ignorant Americans and allows unjustifiable spending on war matériel.
  2. The Deep State wants a steady supply of cheap foreign labor to provide wealth to the supporters of the Deep State.
  3. The Deep State wants our financial institutions to never fail (FED 2009) even at the expense of 90% of Americans. The Deep State wants financial institutions to provide financial products to the wealthy which cripples the vast majority of Americans.
  4. The silly internecine squabbles within the Deep State are a ruse to misdirect the public from important issues like constant war, legal and illegal immigrants taking jobs from Americans and the increased transfer of wealth for the 90% to the supper weathy.

There will never be a wall and illegal immigration will continue to be a problem. All the investigations into Trump, the DNC, Hillary and all the rest will never come to justice. The wealth transfer will not stop

Until Americans realize these diversions for what they are and put an end to it through what ever means necessary

renfro , says: April 23, 2019 at 4:28 am GMT

it was successful as Trump was likely forced to turn his back on his better angels and subsequently hired Pompeo, Bolton and Abrams.

Oh plezzze .you sound like you've been drugged. Trump never had any better angels as any reporter and journalist whoever interviewed or investigated him would tell you.

And come on! .You know damn well Adelson sent Bolton and you should also know damn well why the Orange Boy staffed his adm with Zionists. No one in NY except Zionists would associate with Trump.

.

notanon , says: April 23, 2019 at 4:35 am GMT
i think some of the conspiracy was about controlling Trump's foreign policy going forward but i also think some of it was people like Brennan worried CIA collusion with Saudi funded jihadist groups since 9/11 (and possibly before) might come out.
Hiram of Tyre , says: April 23, 2019 at 4:41 am GMT
Right.

A plot to undermine another POTUS who does exactly what the previous ones did: bend over to Israel, continues wars, etc.

Trump is only controlled opposition.

[Apr 23, 2019] Mapping The Countries With The Most Oil Reserves

Apr 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

1969wasgood , 38 minutes ago link

What it really means. 42 more years, and it's gone. 1.531 trillion bbls divided by a no grow of 100 million bbls consumption a day, simple math. And we rant about finding another 50 billion bbls. That only takes the total of the recoverable oil to 1.581 trillion bbls.

Oil will leave us before we leave oil. We are heading for mass starvation. There are no electric fire engines, there are no electric ambulances, there are no electric farm machinery, there are no electric military machinery, there are no electric boats or ships or ferries, there are no electric airplanes, fighter jets, helicopters, there are 1.4 billion cars in the world of which 3 million are electric, if Tesla quadruples production it couldn't replace the gas and diesel powered vehicles in 1200 years, and the Chinese electrics are crap.

deFLorable hillbilly , 1 hour ago link

This map is complete BS. No one, especially some spy agency, knows how much of anything is underground.

The only known fact is current production. "Known Reserves" is a hopelessly politicized exercise in conjecture, primarily for the purpose of securitizing international loans at favorable rates.

Yen Cross , 1 hour ago link

These numbers are complete horse-****.

U.S. Crude Oil, Natural Gas, and Natural Gas Proved Reserves, Year-end 2017

Proved reserves of crude oil in the United States increased 19.5% (6.4 billion barrels) to 39.2 billion barrels at Year-End 2017, setting a new U.S. record for crude oil proved reserves. The previous record was 39.0 billion barrels set in 1970.

USGS Announces Largest Oil And Gas Deposit Ever Assessed In U.S. : The Two-Way : NPR

The USGS says all 20 billion barrels of oil are "technically recoverable," meaning the oil could be brought to the surface "using currently available technology and industry practices."

Between the corrupt politicians, and oil execs. these morons can't even concoct a decent lie anymore.

Minamoto , 1 hour ago link

Those numbers are somewhat laughable... Venezuela's gigantic reserves require lots of processing to get the oil sands into proper crude.

In addition, Russia's total reserves are underestimated as most of Russia's territory has not been geologically explored.

bismillah , 1 hour ago link

Most oil reserve claims with OPEC countries are hugely exaggerated.

And reserve claims by others are faked higher than they really are, too.

[Apr 22, 2019] FBI top brass have been colluding with top brass of CIA and MI6 to pursue ambitious anti-Russian agenda

Highly recommended!
"Carnage needs to destroyed" mentality is dominant among the USA neoliberal elite and drives the policy toward Russia.
They all supported neoconservative extremely ambitious foreign policy agenda directed on weakening Russian and establishing of world dominance. It also seems clear that influential journalists, such as Glenn Simpson was before founding Fusion GPS, along with his wife Mary Jacoby, have been strongly involved in this
Notable quotes:
"... There is reason to suspect that some former and very likely current employees of the FBI have been colluding with elements in other American and British intelligence agencies, in particular the CIA and MI6, in support of an extremely ambitious foreign policy agenda for a very long time. It also seems clear that influential journalists, such as Glenn Simpson was before founding Fusion GPS, along with his wife Mary Jacoby, have been strongly involved in this. ..."
"... This agenda has involved hopes for 'régime change' in Russia, whether as the result of an oligarchic coup, a popular revolt, or some combination of both. Also central have been hopes for a further 'rollback' of Russia influence in the post-Soviet space, both in areas now independent, such as Ukraine, and also ones still part of the Russian Federation, notably Chechnya. ..."
"... And, crucially, it involved exploiting the retreat of Russian power from the Middle East for 'régime change' projects which it was hoped would provide a definitive solution to the – inherently intractable – security problems of a Jewish settler state in the area. ..."
"... Important support for these strategies was provided by the 'StratCom' network centred around the late Boris Berezovsky, which clearly collaborated closely with MI6. As was apparent from the witness list at Sir Robert Owen's Inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko, which produced a report based essentially on a recycling of claims made by the network's members, key players were on your side of the Atlantic – notably Alex Goldfarb, Yuri Shvets, and Yuri Felshtinsky. ..."
"... it seems to me the usa and uk have been tied at the hip for a very long time... when it comes to foreign affairs policy and wars - the one will always vouch for the other without hesitation... it tells me the relationship is really deep.. ..."
"... I and my friends consider it a given that most, if not all, anglo-zionist moves in the ME are to "provide a definitive solution to the – inherently intractable – security problems of a Jewish settler state in the area. " It is an open secret that the izzies are the reason why a few Russians, some Turks, lots of Kurds and countless Arabs are dying in the Syrian battlefields. Another open secret: the takfiris and kurds have been, and are, supported by the West. That the "masters of the universe™" have been conceiving and doubling down on such disastrous policies give lie to their much-vaunted "intelligence". ..."
"... It is the very FACT of Trump even getting elected at ALL which outrages and terrifies them so much. They are used to seeing themselves as successful manipulators and engineers of every major event. They were engineering the whole electoral battlespace to get Clinton elected. The mere fact of Trump's victory in the teeth of their Electoral Engineering for Clinton is an act of defiance which they will not tolerate. ..."
"... And if they fail to bring Trump down at all, they will stand revealed as being defeatable. And this is their big fear. That if people see they have defeated the Borg once on keeping Trump in the teeth of Borg's efforts, that people might try to defeat and smash down the Borg on another issue. And then another. And then another after that. ..."
"... Because it is not possible to do on fundamental level yet, especially with US foreign policy establishment and so called consensus being built almost entirely, in ideological and, most importantly, cadres senses, on the ultimate exceptionalist agenda in which Russia is the ultimate obstacle and enemy. Establishment in saturated with neocons and likes. They are the swamp. ..."
"... They act and believe that they are Olympians. You have to wait for them to age and die before any substantive change in Fortress West's posture; say 2040 ..."
"... In 1977 Zbigniew Brzezinski, as President Carter's National Security Adviser, forms the Nationalities Working Group (NWG) dedicated to the idea of weakening the Soviet Union by inflaming its ethnic tensions. ..."
"... State Department official Henry Precht will later recall that Brzezinski had the idea "that Islamic forces could be used against the Soviet Union. The theory was, there was an arc of crisis, and so an arc of Islam could be mobilized to contain the Soviets." [Scott, 2007, pp. 67] In November 1978, President Carter appointed George Ball head of a special White House Iran task force under Brzezinski. Ball recommends the US should drop support for the Shah of Iran and support the radical Islamist opposition of Ayatollah Khomeini. This idea is based on ideas from British Islamic expert Dr. Bernard Lewis, who advocates the balkanization of the entire Muslim Near East along tribal and religious lines. The chaos would spread in what he also calls an "arc of crisis" and ultimately destabilize the Muslim regions of the Soviet Union ..."
"... About relation Steele-MI6, well, you never leave your IS. Or to put it in another way, you are never out of the scope of your past IS ..."
"... No, three years at tops and could be much sooner if dimes starting dropping by exposed people that don't want to take the fall for their superiors whom they always detested. One possible thing to get the process started sooner is if the recent Russian Intelligence delegation to DC that Smoothie mentions on another thread gave the current administration, as a diplomatic courtesy of course, the audio recordings of Madame Sectary Nuland's infamous mental meltdown at Kaliningrad. No telling what beans were spilled in her moment of panic, but I am willing to bet key names were dropped. Either way the time is coming. ..."
"... Especially, once American policy-makers who saw and experienced war (Ike, George Marshall's generation) departed things started to roll down hill with Reagan bringing on board a whole collection of neocons. ..."
"... Unawareness is always dangerous, a complete blackout in relations between two nuclear powers is more than dangerous--it is completely reckless. Again, the way CW 1.0 is perceived in the current US "elites" it becomes extremely tempting to repeat it. Electing Hillary was another step in unleashing CW 2.0 by people who have no understanding of what they were doing. ..."
"... Obama started crushing US-Russian relations before any campaigns were launched and before Trump was even seriously considered a GOP nominee, let alone a real contender. New confrontation hinged on HRC being elected. In fact, she was one of the major driving forces behind a serious of geopolitical anti-Russian moves. Visceral Russo-phobia became a feature in HRC campaign long before any Steele's Dossier. This was a program. ..."
"... IMO, the bigger problem for American not shying away from wars, or being silent about them , is when your home, your mom and dad' home, the town you grew up in, are immune and away from the war. ..."
"... The security and safety of the two oceans, encourages or at least, in an all volunteer military makes it a secondary problem for regular people, to worry about. ..."
"... A particular interesting feature of those on the British side – in which we now know Christopher Steele must have played a leading role – were the bizarre gyrations those responsible were going through trying to explain away the extraordinary fact that when he had broken the story of his poisoning, Litvinenko had pointed the finger of suspicion at his Italian associate Mario Scaramella. ..."
"... Of course later reports in the Steele Dossier go hand in hand with a larger public relations campaign. Creating reality? Irony alert: as informer/source I would by then know what the other side wants to hear. ..."
Mar 10, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Steele, Shvets, Levinson, Litvinenko and the 'Billion Dollar Don.'

In the light of the suggestion in the Nunes memo that Steele was 'a longtime FBI source' it seems worth sketching out some background, which may also make it easier to see some possible reasons why he 'was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.'

There is reason to suspect that some former and very likely current employees of the FBI have been colluding with elements in other American and British intelligence agencies, in particular the CIA and MI6, in support of an extremely ambitious foreign policy agenda for a very long time. It also seems clear that influential journalists, such as Glenn Simpson was before founding Fusion GPS, along with his wife Mary Jacoby, have been strongly involved in this.

This agenda has involved hopes for 'régime change' in Russia, whether as the result of an oligarchic coup, a popular revolt, or some combination of both. Also central have been hopes for a further 'rollback' of Russia influence in the post-Soviet space, both in areas now independent, such as Ukraine, and also ones still part of the Russian Federation, notably Chechnya.

And, crucially, it involved exploiting the retreat of Russian power from the Middle East for 'régime change' projects which it was hoped would provide a definitive solution to the – inherently intractable – security problems of a Jewish settler state in the area.

Important support for these strategies was provided by the 'StratCom' network centred around the late Boris Berezovsky, which clearly collaborated closely with MI6. As was apparent from the witness list at Sir Robert Owen's Inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko, which produced a report based essentially on a recycling of claims made by the network's members, key players were on your side of the Atlantic – notably Alex Goldfarb, Yuri Shvets, and Yuri Felshtinsky.

The question of what links these had, or did not have, with elements in U.S. intelligence agencies is thus a critical one.

In making some sense of it, the fact that one key figure we know to have been involved in this network was missing at the Inquiry – the former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who disappeared on the Iranian island of Kish in March 2007 – is important.

Unfortunately, I only recently came across a book on Levinson published in 2016 by the 'New York Times' journalist Barry Meier, which is now hopefully winging its way across the Atlantic. From the accounts of the book I have seen, such as one by Jeff Stein in 'Newsweek', it seems likely that its author did not look at any of the evidence presented at Owen's Inquiry.

(See http://www.newsweek.com/2016/05/20/what-really-happened-robert-levinson-cia-iran-454803.html .)

Had he done so, Meier might have discovered that his subject had been, as it were, 'top supporting actor' in the first fumbling attempt by Christopher Steele et al to produce a plausible-sounding scenario as to the background to Litvinenko's death. A Radio 4 programme on 16 December 2006, presented by the veteran BBC presenter Tom Mangold, had been wholly devoted to an account by Shvets, backed up by Levinson. Both of these were, like Litvinenko, supposed to be impartial 'due diligence' operatives.

The notion that any of them might have connections with Western intelligence agencies was not considered. The – publicly available – evidence of the involvement of Shvets, whose surname means 'cobbler' or 'shoemaker' in Ukrainian, in the processing of the tapes of conversations involving the former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma supposedly recorded by Major Melnychenko, which had played a crucial role in the 2004-5 'Orange Revolution' was not mentioned.

Still less was it mentioned that claims that the – very dangerous – late Soviet Kolchuga system, which made it possible the kind of identification of incoming aircraft which radar had traditionally done, without sending out signals which made the destruction of the facilities doing it possible, had been sold by Kuchma to Iraq had proven spurious.

What Shvets had done had been to take – genuine – audio in which Kuchma had discussed a possible sale, and edit it to suggest a sale had been completed.

(See http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence .)

As a former television current affairs producer, I can talk to you of the marvels which London audio editors can produce, very happily. Unfortunately, the days when not all BBC and 'Guardian' journalists were corrupt stenographers for corrupt and incompetent spooks, as Mangold and his like have been for Steele and Levinson, are long gone.

All this has become particularly relevant now, given that Simpson has placed the notorious Jewish Ukrainian mobster Semyon Mogilevich and the 'Solntsevskaya Bratva' mafia group centre stage in his accounts not simply of Trump and Manafort, but also of William Browder. For most of the 'Nineties, Levinson had been a, if not the, lead FBI investigator on Mogilevich.

(On this, see the 1999 BBC 'Panorama' programme 'The Billion Dollar Don', also presented by Tom Mangold, which has extensive interviews both with Mogilevich and Levinson at

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/events/panorama/transcripts/transcript_06_12_99.txt )

In the months leading up to Levinson's disappearance, a key priority for the advocates of the strategy I have described was to prevent it being totally derailed by the patently catastrophic outcome of the Iraqi adventure.

Compounding the problem was the fact that this had created the 'Shia Crescent', which in turn exacerbated the potential 'existential threat' to Israel posed by the steadily increasing range, accuracy and numbers of missiles available to Hizbullah in hardened positions north of the Litani.

These, obviously, provided both a 'deterrent' for that organisation and Iran, and also a radical threat to the whole notion that somehow Israel could ever be a 'safe haven' for Jews, against the supposedly ineradicable disposition of the 'goyim' sooner or later to, as it were, revert to type. The dreadful thought that Israel might not be necessary had to be resisted at all costs.

What followed from the disaster unleashed by the – Anglo-American – 'own goal' in toppling Saddam was, ironically, a need on the part of key players to 'double down.' Above all, it was necessary for many of those involved to counter suggestions from the Russian side that going around smashing up 'régimes' that one might not like sometimes blew up in one's face.

Even more threatening were suggestions from the Russian side that it was foolish to think one could use jihadists without risking 'blowback', and that there might be an overwhelming common interest in combating Islamic extremism.

Another priority was to counter the pushback in the American 'intelligence community' and military, which was to produce the drastic downgrading of the threat posed by the Iranian nuclear programme in the November 2007 NIE and then the resignation of Admiral William Fallon as head of 'Centcom' the following March.

So in 2005 Shvets came to London. He and his audio editors had another 'bite at the cherry' of the Melnychenko tapes, so that material that did in fact establish that both the SBU and FSB had collaborated with Mogilevich could be employed to make it seem that Putin had a close personal relationship with the mobster.

All kinds of supposedly respectable American and British academics, like Professors Karen Dawisha and Robert Service, have fallen for this, hook, line and sinker. It gives a new meaning to the term 'useful idiot.'

(See http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence .)

In a letter sent in December that year by Litvinenko to the 'Mitrokhin Commission', for which his Italian associate Mario Scaramella was a consultant, this was used in an attempt to demonstrate that Mogilevich, while acting as an agent for the FSB and under Putin's personal 'krysha', had attempted to supply a 'mini atomic bomb' – aka 'suitcase nuke' – to Al Qaeda. Shortly after the letter was sent Scaramella departed on a trip to Washington, where he appears to have got access to Aldrich Ames.

(See http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence .)

At precisely this time, as Meier explains, Levinson was in the process of being recruited by a lady called Anne Jablonski who then worked as a CIA analyst. It appears that she was furious at the failure of the operational side at the Agency to produce evidence which would have established that Iran did indeed have an ongoing nuclear programme, and she may well have hoped would implicate Russia in supplying materials.

There are grounds to suspect that one of the things that Berezovsky and Shvets were doing was fabricating such 'evidence.' Whether Levinson was involved in such attempts, or genuinely looking for evidence he was convinced must be there, I cannot say. It appears that he fell for a rather elementary entrapment operation – which could well have been organised with the collaboration of Russian intelligence. (People do get fed up with being framed, particular if 'régime change' is the goal.)

It also seems likely that, quite possibly in a different but related entrapment operation, related to propaganda wars in which claims and counter claims about a polonium-beryllium 'initiator' as the crucial missing part which might make a 'suitcase nuke' functional, Litvinenko accidentally ingested fatal quantities of polonium. A good deal of evidence suggests that this may have been at Berezovsky's offices on the night before he was supposedly assassinated.

It was, obviously, important for Steele et al to ensure that nobody looked at the 'StratCom' wars about 'suitcase nukes.' Here, a figure who has played a key role in such wars in relation to Syria plays an interesting minor one in the story.

Some time following the destruction of the case for an immediate war by the November 2007 NIE, a chemical weapons specialist called Dan Kaszeta, who had worked in the White House for twelve years, moved to London.

In 2011, in addition to founding a consultancy called 'Strongpoint Security', he began a writing career with articles in 'CBRNe World.' Later, he would become the conduit through which the notorious 'hexamine hypothesis', supposedly clinching proof that the Syrian government was responsible for the sarin incidents at Khan Sheikhoun, Ghouta, Saraqeb, and Khan Al-Asal, was disseminated.

Having been forced by the threat of a case being opened against them under human rights law into resuming the inquest into Litvinenko's death, in August 2012 the British authorities appointed Sir Robert Owen to conduct it. (There are many honest judges in Britain, but obviously, if one sets out to find someone who will 'cover up' for the incompetence and corruption of people like Steele, as Lord Hutton did before him, you can find them.)

That same month, a piece appeared in 'CBRNe World' with the the strapline: 'Dan Kaszeta looks into the ultimate press story: Suitcase nukes', and the main title 'Carry on or checked bags?' Among the grounds he gives for playing down the scare:

'Some components rely on materials with shelf life. Tritium, for example, is used in many nuclear weapon designs and has a twelve year half-life. Polonium, used in neutron initiators in some earlier types of weapon designs, has a very short halflife. US documents state that every nuclear weapon has "limited life components" that require periodic replacement (do an internet search for nuclear limited life components and you can read for weeks).'

(For this and other articles by Kaszeta, as also his bio, see http://strongpointsecurity.co.uk ')

What Kaszeta has actually described are the reasons why polonium is a perfect 'StratCom' instrument. In terms of scientific plausibility, in fact there were no 'suitcase nukes', and in any case 'initiators' using polonium had been abandoned very early on, in favour of ones which lasted longer.

For 'StratCom' scenarios, as experience with the 'hexamine hypothesis' has proved, scientific plausibility can be irrelevant.

What polonium provides is a means of suggesting that Al Qaeda have in fact got hold of a nuclear device which they could easily smuggle into, say, Rome or New York, or indeed Moscow, but there is a crucial missing component which the FSB is trying to provide to them. By the same token, of course, that missing component could be depicted as one that Berezovsky and Litvinenko are conspiring to suppl to the Chechen insurgents.

In addition, the sole known source of global supply is the Avangard plant at Sarov in Russia, so the substance is naturally suited for 'StratCom' directed against that country, which its intelligence services would – rather naturally – try to make 'boomerang.'

According to Glenn Simpson, Christopher Steele is a 'boy scout.' This seems to me quite wrong – but, even if it were true, would you want to unleash a 'boy scout' into these kinds of intrigue?

As it is not clear why Kaszeta introduced his – accurate but irrelevant – point about polonium into an article which was concerned with scientific plausibility, one is left with an interesting question as to whether he cut his teeth on 'StratCom' attempting to ensure that nobody seriously interested in CBRN science followed an obvious lead.

In relation to the question of whether current FBI personnel had been involved in the kind of 'StratCom' exercises, I have been describing, a critical issue is the involvement of Shvets and Levinson in the Alexander Khonanykhine affair back in the 'Nineties, and the latter's use of claims about the Solntsevskaya to prevent the key figure's extradition. But that is a matter for another day.

A corollary of all this is that we cannot – yet at least – be absolutely confident that the account in the Nunes memo, according to which Steele was suspended and then dismissed as an FBI source for what the organisation is reported to define as 'the most serious of violations' – the unauthorised disclosure of a relationship with the organisation – is necessarily wholly accurate.

Who did and did not authorise which disclosures to the media, up to and including the extraordinary decision to have the full dossier, including claims about Aleksej Gubarev and the Alfa oligarchs, in flagrant disregard of the obvious risks of defamation suits, and who may be trying to pass the buck to others, remains I think less than totally clear.

Posted at 03:42 PM in As The Borg Turns , Habakkuk , Russia , Russiagate | Permalink


james , 03 February 2018 at 04:33 PM

thanks david... fascinating overview and conjecture..

it seems to me the usa and uk have been tied at the hip for a very long time... when it comes to foreign affairs policy and wars - the one will always vouch for the other without hesitation... it tells me the relationship is really deep..

JohnB , 03 February 2018 at 05:17 PM
David,

Thank you very. As ever you have illuminated a few more things for me. Kaszeta's involvement is interesting. He is someone I am in the middle of researching in relation to Higgins and Bellingcat.

turcopolier , 03 February 2018 at 06:02 PM
james

It is the closest of all international intelligence relationships. It started in WW2. Before that the Brits were though of as a potential enemy. pl

Babak Makkinejad -> turcopolier ... , 03 February 2018 at 06:10 PM
I think the English are using you, they are unsentimental empirical people that only do these that benefit the Number One.
The chief beneficiary of the Coup in Iran was England and not US.
catherine , 03 February 2018 at 06:22 PM
That Newsweek piece about Levinson is very superficial to me.

Re: Levinson

# Who suggested to who 'first' the Iran caper...Anne Jablonski to Levinson or Levinson to Jablonski? It was reported earlier by Meier that in December 2005, when Levinson was pitching Jablonski on projects he might take on when his CIA contract was approved he sent her a lengthy memo about Dawud's potential as an informant.

# Ira Silverman, the Iran hating NBC guy, pitched a Iraq caper to Levinson with Dawud Salahuddin, as his Iran contact and Levinson went to Jablonski with it.

# And what was with Boris Birshstein, a Russian organized crime figure who had fled to Israel and Oleg Deripaska, the "aluminum czar" of Russia whose organized crime contacts have kept him from entering the United States jumping in to help find Levinson? The FBI allowed Deripaska in for two visits in 2009 in exchange for his alleged help in locating Levinson but obviously nothing came of it.

I think there were more little agents/agendas in this than Levinson and Jablonski and US CIA.

Ishmael Zechariah , 03 February 2018 at 06:54 PM
DH,

As usual a wonderful analysis. I admire your insight, integrity and courage. I wish you could write more on why the Borg is so much against Trump, even though they have Kushner, Adelson and Co. running interference for them.

I and my friends consider it a given that most, if not all, anglo-zionist moves in the ME are to "provide a definitive solution to the – inherently intractable – security problems of a Jewish settler state in the area. " It is an open secret that the izzies are the reason why a few Russians, some Turks, lots of Kurds and countless Arabs are dying in the Syrian battlefields. Another open secret: the takfiris and kurds have been, and are, supported by the West. That the "masters of the universe™" have been conceiving and doubling down on such disastrous policies give lie to their much-vaunted "intelligence".

Be safe.

Ishmael Zechariah

Rd , 03 February 2018 at 07:31 PM
Babak Makkinejad said in reply to turcopolier...

The chief beneficiary of the Coup in Iran was England and not US.
..and US is the one who has been paying for it since 1979!!!

kooshy said in reply to Ishmael Zechariah... , 03 February 2018 at 08:21 PM
IZ
My guess is, that he is unpredictable, instantaneous and therefore can't be consistent and reliable, useful idiot needs to be predictable.
kooshy , 03 February 2018 at 08:43 PM
"There is reason to suspect that some former and very likely current employees of the FBI have been colluding with elements in other American and British intelligence agencies, in particular the CIA and MI6, in support of an extremely ambitious foreign policy agenda for a very long time. "

David as usual fascinating work connecting the dots. One question that comes to my mind is about the above point you are making. Is it your understanding or believe that these IC individuals on both side of Atlantic, are pursuing/forcing their (on behalf of the Borg) foreign policy agenda outside of their respected seating governments? If not, why is it that incoming administration cannot stop them? So far I can't see any strategic changes on US foreign policy toward ME or Russia, at tactical level yes but not fundamentally.

different clue , 03 February 2018 at 08:49 PM
Ishmael Zechariah,

( reply to comment 6),

I am not David Habakkuk, obviously. But I will venture a little opinion anyway. It is not enough that the Borgists get their policy preferences. If it were, then Kushner, Adelson and Co. running interference would be enough for them.

It is the very FACT of Trump even getting elected at ALL which outrages and terrifies them so much. They are used to seeing themselves as successful manipulators and engineers of every major event. They were engineering the whole electoral battlespace to get Clinton elected. The mere fact of Trump's victory in the teeth of their Electoral Engineering for Clinton is an act of defiance which they will not tolerate.

And if they fail to bring Trump down at all, they will stand revealed as being defeatable. And this is their big fear. That if people see they have defeated the Borg once on keeping Trump in the teeth of Borg's efforts, that people might try to defeat and smash down the Borg on another issue. And then another. And then another after that.

So that is why the Borg cares so much. They view the Trump election as an insurgency, and they view themselves as waging a counterinsurgency, which they dare not lose.

Jack , 03 February 2018 at 08:54 PM
David,

Thanks for your analysis. I always enjoy and learn from your posts. I wish you would post more often.

In my non-expert opinion, the Borg and the media were all in for Hillary. They were convinced that she was gonna win. To curry favor with the Empress who would be certainly crowned after the election they were eager and convinced that their lawlessness would become a badge for promotion and plum positions in her administration. In their conceit, they believed they could kill two birds with one stroke. They could vilify Putin and create the mass hysteria to checkmate him, while at the same time disparage and frame Trump as The Manchurian Candidate to seal their certain electoral victory.

Unfortunately for them voters in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin didn't buy their sales pitch despite the overwhelming media barrage from all corners. Even news publications who have only endorsed Republican candidates for President for over a century endorsed her.

Trump's election win caused panic among the political establishment, the media and the Deep State. They were already all-in. Their only choice was to double down and get Trump impeached. Now their conspiracy is beginning to unravel. They are doing everything possible to forestall their Armageddon. Of course they have many allies. This battle is gonna be interesting to watch. Trump is clearly getting many Congressional Republicans on side as his base of Deplorables remains solidly behind him. That is what's befuddling the Borg pundits.

SmoothieX12 -> kooshy... , 03 February 2018 at 09:51 PM
So far I can't see any strategic changes on US foreign policy toward ME or Russia, at tactical level yes but not fundamentally.

Because it is not possible to do on fundamental level yet, especially with US foreign policy establishment and so called consensus being built almost entirely, in ideological and, most importantly, cadres senses, on the ultimate exceptionalist agenda in which Russia is the ultimate obstacle and enemy. Establishment in saturated with neocons and likes. They are the swamp. This swamp (Borg, deep state, etc.) still thinks that it can use Cold War 1.0 Playbook and address very real and dangerous American economic issues. They are wrong, since most of them didn't read the playbook correctly to start with.

Babak Makkinejad -> SmoothieX12 ... , 03 February 2018 at 10:10 PM
They act and believe that they are Olympians. You have to wait for them to age and die before any substantive change in Fortress West's posture; say 2040.
kooshy said in reply to SmoothieX12 ... , 03 February 2018 at 10:24 PM
You are right CWII is very much desired and on agenda, but i am not sure of setup, the setup/board has been changed tremendously and IMO benefits the Asian side of Bosphorus, for one thing technology is no longer exclusive, and financial burden is heavier on atlantic side.
catherine said in reply to SmoothieX12 ... , 04 February 2018 at 12:21 AM
''Establishment in saturated with neocons and likes. They are the swamp. ''

The locust keep trying and trying, destruction is their life's work.

'1977-1981: Nationalities Working Group Advocates Using Militant Islam Against Soviet Union'

In 1977 Zbigniew Brzezinski, as President Carter's National Security Adviser, forms the Nationalities Working Group (NWG) dedicated to the idea of weakening the Soviet Union by inflaming its ethnic tensions. The Islamic populations are regarded as prime targets. Richard Pipes, the father of Daniel Pipes, takes over the leadership of the NWG in 1981. Pipes predicts that with the right encouragement Soviet Muslims will "explode into genocidal fury" against Moscow. According to Richard Cottam, a former CIA official who advised the Carter administration at the time, after the fall of the Shah of Iran in 1978, Brzezinski favored a "de facto alliance with the forces of Islamic resurgence, and with the Republic of Iran." [Dreyfuss, 2005, pp. 241, 251 - 256]

'November 1978-February 1979: Some US Officials Want to Support Radical Muslims to Contain Soviet Union'

State Department official Henry Precht will later recall that Brzezinski had the idea "that Islamic forces could be used against the Soviet Union. The theory was, there was an arc of crisis, and so an arc of Islam could be mobilized to contain the Soviets." [Scott, 2007, pp. 67] In November 1978, President Carter appointed George Ball head of a special White House Iran task force under Brzezinski. Ball recommends the US should drop support for the Shah of Iran and support the radical Islamist opposition of Ayatollah Khomeini. This idea is based on ideas from British Islamic expert Dr. Bernard Lewis, who advocates the balkanization of the entire Muslim Near East along tribal and religious lines. The chaos would spread in what he also calls an "arc of crisis" and ultimately destabilize the Muslim regions of the Soviet Union

aleksandar , 04 February 2018 at 04:41 AM
David,

About relation Steele-MI6, well, you never leave your IS. Or to put it in another way, you are never out of the scope of your past IS.

Fred said in reply to Babak Makkinejad... , 04 February 2018 at 08:40 AM
Babak,

"they got US to bail them out during WWII" And how would things have worked out had we not done so?

Fred , 04 February 2018 at 08:46 AM
David,

"There is reason to suspect that some former and very likely current employees of the FBI have been colluding with elements in other American and British intelligence agencies, in particular the CIA and MI6, in support of an extremely ambitious foreign policy agenda for a very long time."

Yes, that is what appears to be just what is coming to light. I wonder just what position Trey Gowdy is going to have since he won't be running for re-election. The rage from the left is palpable. I'm sure the next outraged guy on the left will know how to shoot straighter than the ones who shot up Congressman Scalise or the concert goers at Mandalay Bay.

Anna said in reply to SmoothieX12 ... , 04 February 2018 at 08:48 AM
"They are wrong, since most of them didn't read the playbook correctly to start with."
-- If they have read the important books at all... The ongoing scandal has been revealing a stunning incompetence of the "deciders." Too often they look comical, ridiculous, undignified. This is dangerous, considering their power.
turcopolier , 04 February 2018 at 08:54 AM
Anna

The powerful are often remarkably ignorant. pl

Babak Makkinejad -> Fred... , 04 February 2018 at 10:08 AM
England preferred NAZI Germany to USSR, this is well known. As to what would have happened, the outcome of the war, in my opinion, did not depend on US participation in the European Theatre. All of Europe would have become USSR satellite or joined USSR.
jonst said in reply to Babak Makkinejad... , 04 February 2018 at 11:53 AM
"unsentimental empirical people"? Absolutely disagree with you. Now the Iranians, they strike me as a singularity unsentimental people. Just general impressions, mind you.
Kooshy said in reply to catherine... , 04 February 2018 at 12:06 PM
Yes, US was the first country to proudly deliver Manpads to be used by "rebels" (Mojahadin later Taleban) against USSR in Afghanistan back in 80s. And, as per the architect of support for the rebels (Zbigniew Brzezinski) very proud of it with no regret. With that in mind, I don't see how western politicians, the western governments and their related proxy war planers, will be regretting, even sadden, once god forbid we see passenger planes with loved ones are shot down taking off or landing at various western airports and other places around the word. Just like how superficialy with crocodile tears in their eyes they acted in aftermath of the terrorist events in various western cities in this past 16 years. Gods knows what will happens to us if the opposite side start to supply his own proxies with lethal anti air weapons. "Proudly", I don't think anybody in west cares or will regret of such an escalation.
Phodges said in reply to turcopolier ... , 04 February 2018 at 12:23 PM
Sir

It seems we are being defeated by Cicero's enemy within. Zion is achieving what no one could hope to achieve by force of arms.

David Habakkuk -> catherine... , 04 February 2018 at 01:17 PM
catherine,

In response to comment 5.

I think it likely that what Meier produces is only a 'limited hangout', and am hoping that when the book arrives it will contain more pointers.

It is important to be clear that one is often dealing with people playing very complicated double games.

An interesting document is the 'Petition for Writ of Habeus Corpus' made on behalf of Khodorkovsky's close associate Alexander Konanykhin back in 1997,when the Immigration and Naturalization Service were – apparently at least – cooperating with Russian attempts to get hold of him. An extract:

'During the immigration hearing FBI SA Robert Levinson, an INS witness, confirmed that in 1992 Petitioner was kidnapped and afterwards pursued by assassins of the Solntsevskaya organized criminal group. This organized criminal group is reportedly the largest and the most influential organized criminal group in Russia, and operates internationally.'

(See http://defiancethebook.com/legal/habeas/petition.htm .)

Note the similarities between the 'StratCom' that Khonanykin and his associates were producing in the 'Nineties, and that which Simpson and his associates have been producing two decades later.

Another useful example is provided by a 2004 item in the 'New American Magazine', reproduced on Konanykhin's website:

'One of those who testified on behalf of Konanykhine was KGB defector Yuri Shvets, who declared: "I have a firsthand knowledge on similar operations conducted by the KGB." Konanykhine had brought trouble on himself, Shvets continued, when he "started bringing charges against people who were involved with him in setting up and running commercial enterprises. They were KGB people secretly smuggling from Russia hundreds of millions of dollars . This is [a] serious case, and I know that KGB ... desperately wants to win this case, and everybody who won't step to their side would face problems."'

(See http://konanykhin.com/news/the-konanykhine-case.html .)

So – 'first hand knowledge', from a Ukrainian nationalist – look at what the Chalupas have been doing, it seems not much has changed.

For a rather different perspective on what Konanykhin had actually been up to, from someone in whose honesty – if not always judgement – I have complete confidence, see the testimony of Karon von Gerhke-Thompson to the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services hearings on Russian Money Laundering. In this, she described how she had been approached by him in 1993:

'"Konanykhine alleged that Menatep Bank controlled $1.7bn [£1bn] in assets and investment portfolios of Russia's most prominent political and social elite," she recalled. She said he wanted to move the bank's assets off shore and asked her to help buy foreign passports for its "very, very special clients".

'In her testimony to the committee Ms Von Gerhke-Thompson said she informed the CIA of the deal, and the agency told her that it believed Mr Konanykhine and Mr Khodorkovsky "were engaged in an elaborate money laundering scheme to launder billions of dollars stolen by members of the KGB and high-level government officials".

(For a 'Guardian report, see https://www.theguardian.com/world/1999/sep/23/julianborger ; for the actual testimony, see http://archives-financialservices.house.gov/banking/92299ger.pdf .)

Coming back to Steele's 'StratCom', in July 2008, an item appeared on the 'Newnight' programme of the BBC – which some of us think should by then have been rechristened the 'Berezovsky Broadcasting Corporation' – in which the introduction by the presenter, Jeremy Paxman, read as follows:

'Good evening. The New Russian President, Dmitri Medvedev, was all smiles and warm words when he met Gordon Brown today. He said he was keen to resolve all outstanding difficulties between the two countries. Yada yada yada. Gordon Brown smiled, but he must know what Newsnight can now reveal: that MI5 believes the Russian state was involved in the murder of Alexander Litvinenko by radioactive poisoning. They also believe that without their intervention another London-based Russian, Boris Berezovsky, would have been murdered. Our diplomatic editor, Mark Urban, has this exclusive report.'

(For the transcript presented in evidence to Owen's Inquiry, see http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/ ">https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/">http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/ )

When Urban repeated the claims on his blog, there was a positive eruption from someone using the name 'timelythoughts', about the activities of someone she referred to as 'Berezovsky's disinformation specialist' – when I came across this later, it was immediately clear to me that she was Karon von Gerhke, and he was Shvets.

(For the first part of the exchanges of comments, the second apparently having become unavailable, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/markurban/2008/07/litvinenko_killing_had_state_i.html )

She then described a visit by Scaramella to Washington, details of which had already been unearthed by my Italian collaborator, David Loepp. Her claim to have e-mails from Shvets, from the time immediately prior to Litvinenko's death, directly contradicting the testimony he had given, fitted with other evidence I had already unearthed.

Later, we exchanged e-mails over a quite protracted period, and a large amount of material that came into my possession as a result was submitted by me to the Inquest team, with some of it being used in posts on the 'European Tribune' site.

What I never used publicly, because I could only partially corroborate it from the material she provided, was an extraordinary claim about Shvets:

'He was responsible for bringing in a Kremlin initiative that was walked Vice President Cheney's office on a US government quid pro quo with the Kremlin FSB SVR involving the arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky – a cease and desist on allegations of a politically motivated arrest of Khodorkovsky, violations of rules of law and calls from Russia's expulsion from the G 8 in exchange for favorable posturing of U.S. oil companies on Gazprom's Shtokman project and intelligence on weapon sales during the Yeltsin era to Iraq, Iran and Syria, all documented in reports I submitted to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and MI6.

'Berezovsky's DS could not be on both sides on that isle. His Kremlin FSB SVR sources had been vetted by the CIA and by the National Security Council. They proved to be as represented. As we would later learn, however, he was on Berezovsky's payroll at same time. The FSB SVR general he was coordinating the Kremlin initiative through was S. R. Subbotin, the same FSB SVR general who was investigating Berezovsky's money laundering operations in Switzerland during the same timeframe. His FSB SVR sources surrounding Putin were higher than any Lugovoy could have ever hoped to affiliate with.

'R. James Woolsey (former CIA DCI), Marshall Miller (former law partner of the late CIA DCI William Colby), who I coordinated the Kremlin initiative through that Berezovsky's DS had brought in were shocked to learn that he was affiliated with Berezovsky and Litvinenko. He was in Berezovsky's inner circle and engaged in vetting Russian business with Litvinenko. He operated Berezovsky's Ukraine website, editing and dubbing the now infamous Kuchma tapes throughout the lead up to the elections in the Ukraine. Berezovsky contributed $41 million to Viktor Yushchenko's campaign, which he used in an attempt to force Yushchenko to reunite with Julia Tymoschenko. It failed but would succeed later after Berezovsky orchestrated a public relations initiative through Alan Goldfarb in the U.S. on behalf of Tymoschenko.'

Having got to know Karon von Gerhke quite well, and also been able to corroborate a great deal of what she told me about many things, and discussed these matters with her, it is absolutely clear to me that she was neither fabricating nor fantasising. What later became apparent, both to her and to me, was that in the 'double game' that Shvets was playing, he had succeeded in fooling her as to the side for which he was working.

It seems likely however that the reason Shvets could do what he did was that quite precisely that many high-up people in the Kremlin and elsewhere were playing a 'double game.' In this, Karon von Gerhke's propensity for indiscretion – of which I, like others, was both beneficiary and victim – could be useful.

An exercise in 'positioning', which could be used to disguise the fact that Shvets was indeed 'Berezovsky's disinformation specialist', could be used to make it appear that 'intelligence on weapon sales during the Yeltsin era to Iraq, Iran and Syria' was actually credible.

This could have been used to try to rescue Cheney, Bush and their associates from the mess they had got into as a result of the failure of the invasion to provide any evidence whatsoever supporting the case which had been made for it. It could also have been used to provide the kind of materials justifying military action against Iran for which Levinson and Jablonski were looking, and for similar action against Syria.

Among reasons for bringing this up now is that we need to make sense of the paradox that Simpson – clearly in collusion with Steele – was using Mogilevich and the 'Solnsetskaya Bratva' both against Manafort and Trump and against Browder.

There are various possible explanations for this. I do not want to succumb to my instinctive prejudice that this may have been another piece of 'positioning', similar to what I think was being done with Shvets, but the hypothesis needs to be considered.

A more general point is that people in Washington and London need to 'wise up' to the kind of world with which they are dealing. This could be done quite enjoyably: reading some of Dashiell Hammett's fictions of the United States in the Prohibition era, or indeed buying DVDs of some of the classics of 'film noir', like 'Out of the Past' (in its British release, 'Build My Gallows High') might be a start.

Very much of the coverage of affairs in the post-Soviet space since 1991 has read rather as though a Dashiell Hammett story had been rewritten by someone specialising in sentimental children's, or romantic, fiction (although, come to think of it, that is really what Brigid O'Shaughnessy does in 'The Maltese Falcon.')

The testimony of Glenn Simpson seems a case in point. The sickly sentimentality of these people does, rather often, make one feel as though one wanted to throw up.

Thomas , 04 February 2018 at 01:24 PM
"They act and believe that they are Olympians. You have to wait for them to age and die before any substantive change in Fortress West's posture; say 2040.}

No, three years at tops and could be much sooner if dimes starting dropping by exposed people that don't want to take the fall for their superiors whom they always detested. One possible thing to get the process started sooner is if the recent Russian Intelligence delegation to DC that Smoothie mentions on another thread gave the current administration, as a diplomatic courtesy of course, the audio recordings of Madame Sectary Nuland's infamous mental meltdown at Kaliningrad. No telling what beans were spilled in her moment of panic, but I am willing to bet key names were dropped. Either way the time is coming.

SmoothieX12 -> Anna... , 04 February 2018 at 01:39 PM
- If they have read the important books at all... The ongoing scandal has been revealing a stunning incompetence of the "deciders." Too often they look comical, ridiculous, undignified. This is dangerous, considering their power.

My coming book is precisely about that. Especially, once American policy-makers who saw and experienced war (Ike, George Marshall's generation) departed things started to roll down hill with Reagan bringing on board a whole collection of neocons.

Unawareness is always dangerous, a complete blackout in relations between two nuclear powers is more than dangerous--it is completely reckless. Again, the way CW 1.0 is perceived in the current US "elites" it becomes extremely tempting to repeat it. Electing Hillary was another step in unleashing CW 2.0 by people who have no understanding of what they were doing.

Obama started crushing US-Russian relations before any campaigns were launched and before Trump was even seriously considered a GOP nominee, let alone a real contender. New confrontation hinged on HRC being elected. In fact, she was one of the major driving forces behind a serious of geopolitical anti-Russian moves. Visceral Russo-phobia became a feature in HRC campaign long before any Steele's Dossier. This was a program.

james said in reply to David Habakkuk ... , 04 February 2018 at 03:01 PM
there seems to be no shortage of money for these blatant propaganda exercises..
Babak Makkinejad -> SmoothieX12 ... , 04 February 2018 at 04:14 PM
I think the failure of Deciders is nothing new - Fath Ali Shah attacking Russia, or the abject failure of the Deciders in 1914. Europe is still not where she was in 1890.
begob , 04 February 2018 at 05:20 PM
I read the post and responses early on, so forgive me if this point has been addressed in the meantime. If the memo information on non-disclosure of material evidence to the warrant issuing court is accurate, as soon as that information came to the attention of the authorities (clearly some time ago) there was a duty on them (including the judge(s) who issued the warrants) to have the matter brought back before the court toot sweet. If that had happened it would surely be in the public domain, so on the assumption the prosecutors and maybe even the judge didn't see the need to review the matter, even purely on a contempt/ethics basis, the memo information only seems convincing if the FISA system is a total sham. I really doubt that.
kooshy said in reply to SmoothieX12 ... , 04 February 2018 at 06:20 PM
IMO, the bigger problem for American not shying away from wars, or being silent about them , is when your home, your mom and dad' home, the town you grew up in, are immune and away from the war.

The security and safety of the two oceans, encourages or at least, in an all volunteer military makes it a secondary problem for regular people, to worry about. As I remember that wasn't the case at the end of VN war when i first landed here. At that time even though the war was on the other side of the planet and away from homeland, still people, especially young ones in colleges were paying more attention to the cost of war.

spy killer , 04 February 2018 at 06:55 PM
Diana West has uncovered some interesting "Red Threads" (6 part article at dianawest-dot-net) on all the Fusion GPS folks. Seems ole Russian speaking Nellie Ohr got herself a ham radio license recently. Wonder why she would suddenly need one of those? They are all Marxists with potential connections back to Russia.
English Outsider -> Fatima Manoubia... , 05 February 2018 at 07:23 AM
Been there. I am also a latecomer to SST. You have to read the back numbers. How? My IT expertise dates from the dawn of the internet and was lamentable then but I find Wayback sometimes allows easier searches than the SST search engine. A straight search on google also allows searches with more than one term. This link -

https://twitter.com/pat_lang

- gets you to a chronological list and for recent material is sometimes quicker than fiddling around with search engines. "Categories" on the RH side is useful but then you don't get some very informative comments that cross-refer.

If those sadly elementary procedures fail resort to the nearest infant. There's a blur of fingers on the keyboard and what you want then usually appears. Never ask them how they did it. They get so fed up when you ask them to explain it again.

"Who is David Habakkuk?" That's a quantum computer sited, from internal evidence you pick up from time to time, somewhere in the Greater London area. Cross references like you wouldn't believe and over several fields, so maybe he's two quantum computers.

The "Borg"?. Try Wittgenstein. Likely a prog but you can't be choosy these days. Early on in "Philosophical Investigations" (hope I get this right) he discusses the problem of how you can view as an entity something that has ill-defined or overlapping boundaries. The "Borg" is that "you know it when you see it" sort of thing. A great merit of this site is that the owner and many of the contributors know it from inside.

In general you may regard your new found site as a microcosm of the great battle that is raging in the West. It's a battle between the (probably apocryphal but adequately stated) Roveian view of reality that regards truth as an adjunct to or as a by-product of ideology and Realpolitik and the objective view of reality as something that is damned difficult to get at, and sometimes impossible, but that has a truth in it somewhere that is independent of the views and convictions of the observer. It's a battle that's never going to be won but unless it tilts back closer to common sense it can certainly be lost and the West with it.

jonst said in reply to Babak Makkinejad... , 05 February 2018 at 08:11 AM
Clearly the Labor Party in the UK preferred the USSR to Nazi Germany. (cepting that short interlude where the Soviets signed the Agreement with Hitler, and the Left Organized Leadership all across Europe, for the most part, lined up with Hitler). But for the most part, Labor was Left.
Elements (the ones that won out in the end) of the Conservative Party loathed both Hitler and Stalin. An element of the Conservative Party was sympathetic, but only up to a certain point, with the Nazis. This ended in 1939, sept.

So I don't think it fair, or accurate, to say 'England prefered the Nazis....and even if it not those things, it certainly not "well known", except to the people who have used the false premise to butter their wounds from supporting Stalin in his Pact with Hitler. Or are inclined to bash the British in general.

Babak Makkinejad -> jonst... , 05 February 2018 at 08:29 AM
All right, perhaps I should have said "The English Government". Google "Litvinov", you may discover how the English Government pushed Stalin to make a deal with Hitler to buy USSR time.
Sid Finster said in reply to Jack... , 05 February 2018 at 10:26 AM
Witness the infamous State Department protest memo calling for more war on Syria.

The State Department employees that signed that memo were sure that HRC would win and that their diligent work in pushing the Deep State agenda would sure be rewarded.

Since entering office, Trump appears to have taken the line that if he gives the Deep State everything it demands, he will be allowed to remain in office, even if he is not allowed to remain in power.

Sid Finster said in reply to David Habakkuk ... , 05 February 2018 at 10:31 AM
Explain Marshall Miller's role in this, please. He is someone I know quite well. I also know one of the Chalupas.
begob said in reply to jonst... , 05 February 2018 at 10:56 AM
jonst That's broadly accurate, but specifically Attlee brought the motion of no confidence in Chamberlain, which the conservative appeasers won but which led to Churchill's opportunity. Attlee was essential in cabinet to Churchill's resistance after the retreat of the BEF.
turcopolier , 05 February 2018 at 11:18 AM
FM
What are you doing here? You said you dislike the military. Are you really in the Spanish Basque country? Bilbao maybe? break - David Habakkuk is a private scholar of the Litvinenko murder and Soviet/Russian politics and intelligence affairs. His surname comes from Wales where in the 18th (?) Century the ancestral village were all "chapel" and changed their surnames to Old Testament names. His father was master of one of the Cambridge colleges and David is himself a graduate of Cambridge. pl
Babak Makkinejad -> Fatima Manoubia... , 05 February 2018 at 11:19 AM
Yes, I am Iranian. All "Babak"s are Iranians - except some obscure ones that are Rus - Babakov.
Anna , 05 February 2018 at 02:07 PM
The hard, blinding truth: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/02/05/will-conspiracy-trump-american-democracy-go-unpunished/
"In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations." – Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn
Thomas said in reply to turcopolier ... , 05 February 2018 at 02:08 PM
Colonel,

This troll showed up recently at b's place doing the same accusations. There is group that is running sacred and pulling out all the stops in "info ops" side of the spectrum. The damn fools don't or, most probably, won't get thru their thick heads and even thicker hearts that it is a failed strategy that turns bystanders into their opponents.

Richardstevenhack , 05 February 2018 at 02:36 PM
Here for your edification is the definitive analysis of the GOP memo by Alexander Mercouris over at The Duran.

And it is a masterpriece - and quite long, possibly his longest analysis of anything so far. He buries the counterarguments being passed around by the Democratic opposition and the anti-Trump media.

Mercouris writes on legal affairs alongside his foreign policy stuff and he writes with a lawyer's precision. And in this article he points out that the GOP memo is writter as a legal document - probably by Trey Gowdy - with additional political insertions by Nunes. So it should properly be referred to as the "GOP memo" or the "Gowdy memo", not the Nunes memo."

Why this is important is that the GOP memo is basically written as a defense lawyer would in contesting a case -- this case being the FISA warrant application. Which means its orientation is proving failure to disclose relevant and material information to the FISA court and in some cases rising to the point of contempt of court.

Seriously, read this! The whole thing!

Rampant abuse and possible contempt of Court: what you need to know about the GOP memo
http://theduran.com/rampant-abuse-contempt-court-analysis-gop-memorandum/

blue peacock , 05 February 2018 at 03:25 PM
Sen Grassley releases memo heavily redacted by DOJ/FBI.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-02-05/grassley-graham-blast-fbi-censoring-memo-calling-criminal-probe-trump-dossier

"Seeking transparency and cooperation should not be this challenging," Grassley said in a statement after posting a heavily redacted version of the criminal referral that he and GOP Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina sent to the Justice Department last month. " The government should not be blotting out information that it admits isn't secret. "

I suppose DOJ/FBI believe that by obstructing, stalling and obfuscating they can buy time and that the Republicans in Congress will get tired of the games and go home. This seems like a pretty straightforward memo, highlighting the discrepancy between Steele's court filings and the FBI's version of Steele's discussions with them. Grassley is pointing out that either Steele or the FBI is lying.

What is interesting is the difference in process and ability between the House & Senate. The House can release their memos on its own, even if not declassified by the Executive, whereas the Senate requires the Executive to declassify it's memos that are based on classified documents.

turcopolier , 05 February 2018 at 04:38 PM
FM

We have not had a self declared communist on SST before although LeaNder in her youth may have come close to that exalted status. You might want to read the wiki on me and the CV I have posted on the blog to avoid tedious accusations of this or that. I am thought by some to have some knowledge of the ME so please do not try to lecture me about how much you love the Arabs. I speak their language and have lived with them for a long time. There are people who write to SST who are pro-Trump and some who are anti-Trump. I seek a mixture of views so long as personal insult and invective are eschewed. Personally, I do not belong to a political party and would describe myself as an original intent, strict constructionist.

Trump is the constitutionally and legally elected president of the United States. Your descriptors with regard to him are, in my opinion, only plausible if seen from the point of view of various kinds of leftist including Marxist-Leninists like you. You sound very smug and self-satisfied but we will see if you can have an open mind at all. pl

Kooshy said in reply to Babak Makkinejad... , 05 February 2018 at 04:46 PM
Found him, Ali Babacan XVPM, XFM and M of finance. Yes god forbid, if he is a decendent of Ardisher Babakan and another claimant to Iranian throne, which CIA and Soros can jump on.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ali_Babacan MBA from Northeestern
blue peacock , 05 February 2018 at 04:55 PM
...would describe myself as an original intent, strict constructionist.

Aye. Aye. Sir!

+1

That is why some of us believe the Patriot Act and FISA are both unpatriotic and unconstitutional. SCOTUS disagrees with the few of us.

Babak Makkinejad -> Fatima Manoubia... , 05 February 2018 at 05:03 PM
I do not believe Trump is a misogynists - he stated publicly that he likes beautiful women. I also do not think he is a racist. I think he is the first US leader in many decades who has been willing to publicly talk about US problems. For most other US politicians - they largely live in "the best of all possible worlds".
English Outsider , 05 February 2018 at 06:31 PM
Colonel - sincere apologies if my comment above disrupted the discussion on a fascinating article.

David Habakkuk - I should say that "Quantum Computer" referred solely to the ability to gather and collate great amounts of material. It's an ability I admire. On Steele, you are among other things setting out something that is unfamiliar to me though not to most others here, I imagine, and that is the milieu in which he is or was working as a UK Intelligence operative. That you have also done in previous articles; it doesn't seem to be a particularly savoury milieu. As far as Steele's US activities are concerned, from you I'm not getting the picture of a lone operative, all ties with MI6 neatly severed, working solo in the States on some chance assignment in 2016. I'm getting the picture of someone still very much in the swim and selected because of that.

The only problem with that second picture is the dossier, or the 30% or so of it - what Comey, I think it was, described as "salacious and unverified". Surely that's got to be amateur night. Not something that a practised professional working with other professionals would put his hand to. Does that not support the picture of an ex-operative who's gone off the rails and is fumbling around unsupervised?

The Steele affair touched a nerve. One is always I suppose aware that IC professionals are getting up to all sorts and it doesn't seem improbable that "all sorts" includes political stuff and smear campaigns. But it's not heaps of corpses in Syria or farm boys being sent to certain death in the Ukraine. And even within the UK Intelligence Community and their contractors or whatever they're called, compared with what our IC people have done in the ME or compared with what one fears Hamish de Bretton Gordon might have got himself involved in, Christopher Steele's just a choirboy. Nevertheless there's something deeply repellent about what he did. Whatever your view of Trump there he was, newly elected, obviously wanting to make a go of it, and already faced with difficulties. Then some chancer throws "Golden Showers" in his face and makes his position, not maybe for the insiders but for the general public, that bit more untenable.

So from a UK perspective the question of whether Steele was acting in concert with others in the UK becomes important. If he was truly working solo then that from a UK point of view is regrettable but one of those things. In that case MI6 would just have to tighten up its controls on what ex-operatives get up to, put out the appropriate disclaimers, and that's the end of it as far as the UK is concerned. But if Golden Showers and the rest of it was a "Welcome Mr President" from UK IC professionals as a group then those professionals should be hung drawn and quartered together with whoever set them on.

I've read your article several times now and apart from the fact that much of what you pull together isn't material I'm up on, it doesn't seem to me that you're definitely coming to one conclusion or the other. There are many more facts to come out so perhaps this question is premature, but do you think Steele was acting in concert with others in the UK or was he, at least as far as the UK is concerned, working solo?

kooshy , 05 February 2018 at 07:49 PM
Most Iranian females Named Fatima/ Fatimah after prophet' daughter, call themselves Fati, and if they are of aristocrat type, they are called Bibi Fati Khanam, which is honorable lady Fati and if they are westernized they become Fay or Fifi.
turcopolier , 05 February 2018 at 07:59 PM
EO

Much of your commentary seems directed to David Habakkuk and PT rather than I. I don't think the FBI would have started to pay him until he left UK service. pl

English Outsider , 06 February 2018 at 05:10 AM
Colonel - Further apologies - I should have submitted comment 79 as two items.

Yes, the question about Steele was in response to DH's article. The UK side of the affair is I suppose only a small part of the question you and your Committee are examining but it's a dubious part however one looks at it. Although it's early days yet I was hoping DH, with his encyclopaedic knowledge of the UK intelligence scene, might feel able to cast more light on that UK side.

English Outsider -> Cortes... , 06 February 2018 at 05:53 AM
Cortes - " ... where, exactly, do you expect the great public to look beyond the initial scabrously defamatory storytelling about the "golden showers"? "

I don't think one can expect the public, at least in the UK, to look very far beyond the initial scandal. The investigations and enquiries presently under way in the US are complex and are taking place in a different system. This member of the UK public wouldn't be able to give you a coherent account of those enquiries and I doubt many of my fellows could.

So we have to take on trust, most of us, what we're told. As far as I can tell the underlying theme from the BBC and the media is generally that Trump is subverting the American Justice system in order to ensure his own misdemeanours aren't investigated.

Some of us take that as gospel. Others of us assume that the politicians and the media are untrustworthy and ignore them. I doubt many of us go into much more detail than that. Therefore the original story will stick in our minds.

But for some in the UK there are questions in there as well. How come the UK got mixed up in all this? How much did the UK get mixed up in it?

David Habakkuk -> Sid Finster... , 06 February 2018 at 06:19 AM
Sid Finster,

In response to comment 53.

When I belatedly started looking at the Litvinenko mystery, as a result of a strange email provoked by comments of mine on SST which arrived in my inbox in March 2007 from someone who turned out to be a key protagonist, it was rather obvious that improvised and chaotic 'StratCom' operations had been put into place on both the Russian and British sides to cover up what had happened.

A particular interesting feature of those on the British side – in which we now know Christopher Steele must have played a leading role – were the bizarre gyrations those responsible were going through trying to explain away the extraordinary fact that when he had broken the story of his poisoning, Litvinenko had pointed the finger of suspicion at his Italian associate Mario Scaramella.

When I started delving, I came across some very interesting pieces on Scaramella and related matters posted on the 'European Tribune' website by a Rome-based blogger using the name 'de Gondi' in the period after the story broke.

His actual name is David Loepp, by profession he is an artisan jeweller specialising in ancient and traditional goldsmith techniques, and I already knew and respected his work from his contributions to the transnational internet investigation into the Niger uranium forgeries – an earlier MI6 clusterf**ck.

So in May 2008 I posted a longish piece on that site, setting out the problems with the evidence about the Litvinenko case as I saw them, in the hope of reactivating his interest. This paid off in spades, when he linked to, and translated a key extract from, the request from Italian prosecutors to use wiretaps of conversations with Senator Paolo Guzzanti in connection with their prosecution of Scaramella for 'aggravated calumny.'

The request, which up to not so long ago was freely available on the website of the Italian Senate, was denied, but the extensive summaries of the transcripts provided a lot of material.

(This initial post by me, and later posts by me on that site, are at http://www.eurotrib.com/user/uid:1857/diary. Three posts David Loepp and I produced jointly in December 2012, which have a lot on Scaramella and Shvets, are on his page there, at http://www.eurotrib.com/user/de%20Gondi/diary .)

The extract from the wiretap request which David Loepp posted, which like Litvinenko's letter containing the claims he and Yuri Shvets had concocted about Putin using Mogilevich to attempt to supply Al Qaeda with a 'mini nuclear bomb' is dated 1 December 2005, contains key pointers to the conspiracy. It concludes:

'A passage on Simon Moghilevic and an agreement between the camorra to search for nuclear weapons lost during the Cold War to be consigned to Bin Laden, a revelation made by the Israeli. According to Scaramella the circle closes: camorra, Moghilevic- Russian mafia- services- nuclear bombs in Naples.'

Subsequent conversations make clear that Scaramella left on 6 December 2005 for Washington, on a trip where he was to meet Shvets. The summary of a report on this to Guzzanti reads:

'12) conversation that took place on number [omissis] on December 18, 2005, at 9:41:51 n. 1426, containing explicit references to the authenticity of the declarations of Alexander Litvinenko acquired by Scaramella, to the trustworthiness of the affirmations made by Scaramella in his reports to the commission and to the meetings Scaramella had with Talik after having denounced them [presumably Talik and his alleged accomplices]. (They can talk with HEIMS thanks to the help of MILLER. SHVEZ says that he had been a companion of CARLOS at the academy; SHVEZ has already made declarations and is willing to continue collaboration. Guzzanti warns that a document in Russian arrived in commission in which the name of SCARAMELLA appears several times, these [sic] say that directives to the contrary had been given to Litvinenko. Scaramella says that he went to the meeting with TALIK in the company of two treasury [police] and a cop, Talik spoke of a person from the Ukrainian GRU who would be willing to talk and a strange Chechen ring in Naples. Assassination attempt against the pope, CASAROLI was a Soviet agent.)'

The summary of a later conversation also refers to 'MILLER':

'conversation that took place on number [omissis] on January 13, 2006, at 11:22:11 n. 2287, containing references to Scaramella's sources in relation to facts referred in the Commission, the means by which they were obtained by Scaramella from declarations made abroad, the role of Litvinenko, also on the occasion of declarations made by third parties and the credibility of the news and theses given by Scaramella to the commission (Scaramella reads a text in English on the relation between the KGB and PRODI. Guzzanti asks if its credibility can be confirmed and if the taped declarations can be backed up; Scaramella answers that there were two testimonies, Lou Palumbo and Alexander (Litvinenko), and that the registration made in London at the beginning of the assignment [Scaramella's?] had been authenticated by a certain BAKER of the FBI. As he translates the text from English, Scaramella notes that the person testifying does not say he knows Prodi but only that he thinks that Prodi ...; all those who worked for the person testifying in Scandinavia said that Prodi was "theirs." The affair in Rimini, Bielli is preparing the battle in Rimini. Meetings with MILLER for the three things that are needed. Polemic about Pollari over the pressure exerted on Gordievski.)'

In the exchanges on my May 2008 post, I mentioned and linked to some extraordinary comments on a crucial article by Edward Jay Epstein, in which Karon von Gerhke claimed that his sceptical account fitted with what her contacts in the British investigation had told her. When that July I came across her equally extraordinary claims in response to the BBC's Mark Urban piece of stenography – which Steele may also have had a hand in organising – I found she was referring to precisely that visit to Washington by Scaramella which had been described in the wiretap request.

As you can perhaps imagine, the fact that 'Miller' had featured in the conversations with Guzzanti both as a key contact, who could introduce Scaramella to Aldrich Ames (which is who 'Heims' clearly is), and with whom there had been meetings about 'the three things that are needed' made me inclined to take seriously what Karon von Gerhke said about his role.

In December 2008, I put up another post on 'European Tribune', putting together the material from David Loepp and that from Karon von Gerhke – but not discussing the references to 'Miller.' As I had hoped, this led to her getting in touch.

Among the material with which she supplied me, which I in turn supplied to the Solicitor to the Inquest, were covers of faxes to John Rizzo, then Acting General Counsel of the CIA. From a fax dated 23 October 2005.

'John: See attached email to Chuck Patrizia. Berezovsky alleges he is in possession of a copy of a classified file given to the CIA by Russia's FSB, which he further alleges the CIA disseminated to British, French, Italian and Israeli intelligence agencies implicating him in business associations with the Mafia and to ties with terrorist organizations. Yuri Shvets was authorised/directed by Berezovsky to raise the issue with Bud McFarlane scheduled for Thursday. McFarlane is unaware the issue will be raised with him.'

From a fax dated 7 November 2005:

'John: I am attaching an email exchange between Yuri Shvets and me re: 1) article he published on his Ukraine website on alleged sale of nuclear choke to Iran, which I reproached him on as having been planted by Berezovsky and 2 the alleged FSB/CIA document file that Berezovsky obtained from Scaramella, which Yuri acknowledges in his e-mail to me. Like extracting wisdom teeth to get him to put anything on paper, especially in an e-mail! [NAME REDACTED BY ME – DH] is the source McFarlane referred Yuri to re: Berezovsky's visa issue. She proposed meeting Berezovsky in London. Alleged it would take a year to clear up USG issues and even then could not guarantee him a visa. She too has access to USG intelligence on Berezovsky. Open book.'

From a fax dated 5 December 2005:

'John. From Mario Scaramella to Yuri Shvets to my ears, the DOJ has authorised Mario Scaramella to interview Aldrich Ames with regard to members of the Italian Intelligence Service agent recruited by Ames for the KGB. Scaramella, as you may recall, is who gave Boris Berezovsky's aide, a former FSB Colonel [LITVINENKO – DH], that alleged document number to the FSB file that the CIA disseminated on Berezovsky – a file that Bud McFarlane's "Madam Visa" [NAME REDACTED BY ME – DH] is alleged is totting off to London for a meeting with Berezovsky, who has agreed to retain her re: his visa issue. Quid pro quo's with Berezovsky and Scaramella on the CIA agent currently facing kidnapping charges for the rendition of the Muslim cleric? Scott Armstrong has a most telling file on Scaramella. Not a single redeeming quality.'

In the course of very extensive exchanges with Karon von Gerhke subsequently, we had some rather acute disagreements. It was unfortunate that her filing was a shambles – a crucial hard disk failed without a backup, and the 'hard copies' appeared to be in a chaotic state.

However, the only occasion when I can recall having reason to believe that was deliberately lying to me was when David Loepp unearthed a cache of documentation including the full Italian text of the letter from Litvinenko containing the 'StratCom' designed to suggest that Putin had attempted to supply a 'mini nuclear bomb' to Al Qaeda. Having been asked to keep this between ourselves for the time being, Karon insisted on immediately sending it to her contacts in Counter Terrorism Command, and then produced bogus justifications.

Time and again, moreover, I found that I could confirm statements that she made – see for example the two posts I put up on the legal battles following the death in February 2008 of Berezovsky's long-term partner Arkadi 'Badri' Patarkatsishvili in June and July 2009, which were based on careful corroboration of what she told me.

(I should also say that I acquired the greatest respect for her courage.)

And while Owen and his team suppressed all the evidence from her, and almost all of that from David Loepp, which I had I provided to them, the dossier about Berezovsky is described in a statement made by Litvinenko in Tel Aviv in April 2006, presented in evidence in the Inquiry.

(See http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence ">https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence">http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence .)

Other evidence, moreover, strongly inclines me to believe that there were overtures for a 'quid pro quo', purporting to come from Putin, but that this was a ruse orchestrated by Berezovsky.

Part of the purpose of this would almost certainly have been to supply probably bogus 'evidence' about arms sales in the Yeltsin years to Iraq, Iran and Syria. Moreover, I think there was an article on the second 'Fifth Element' site run by Shvets about the supposed sale of a nuclear 'choke' – whatever that is – to Iran.

The likelihood of the involvement of elements in the FBI in these shenanigans seems to quite high, given what has already emerged about the activities of Levinson. Also relevant may be the fact that the 'declaration' which was part of the attempt to frame Romano Prodi was authenticated, in London, by 'a certain BAKER of the FBI.')

Babak Makkinejad -> David Habakkuk ... , 06 February 2018 at 09:40 AM
Thank you David Habakkuk. Truly sordid and deplorable. WWIII to be initiated on basis of lies.
Jack , 06 February 2018 at 12:06 PM
David

You may already know this but Steele was a no show in a UK court for a deposition on the libel suit.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/02/05/christopher-steele-is-no-show-in-london-court-in-civil-case-over-dossier.amp.html

Babak Makkinejad -> David Habakkuk ... , 06 February 2018 at 01:18 PM
I know something of spectroscopy. The critical issue here is the provenance of the samples and not the sophistication of the techniques used in the analysis itself or its instrumentation. The paragraph that you have quoted:

"To figure out signatures based on various synthetic routes and conditions, Chipuk says that the synthetic chemists on his team will make the same chemical threat agent as many as 2,000 times in an ..." reeks of intellectual intimidation - trying to brow-beat any skeptic by the size of one's instrument - as it were."

And then there is a little matter of confidence level in any of the analysis - such things are normally based on prior statistics - which did not and could not exist in this situation.

LeaNder , 07 February 2018 at 09:16 AM
David, it's no doubt interesting to watch how attention on Victor Ivanov in another deficient inquiry on the British Isles, was managed in that inquiry. If I may, since he pops up again in the Steele dossier. You take what's available? Is that all there is to know?

I know its hard to communicate basics if you are deeply into matters. Usually people prefer to opt out. It's getting way too complicated for them to follow. You made me understand this experience. But isn't this (fake) intelligence continuity "via" Yuri Svets what connects your, no harm meant I do understand your obsession with the case, with what we deal with now in the Steele Dossier? Again, one of the most central figures is Ivanov.

Of course later reports in the Steele Dossier go hand in hand with a larger public relations campaign. Creating reality? Irony alert: as informer/source I would by then know what the other side wants to hear.

By the way, babbling mode, I found your Tom Mangold transcription. It felt it wasn't there on the link you gave. I used the date, and other search terms. Maybe I am wrong. Haven't looked at what the judge ruled out of the collection. Yes, cozy session/setting.

According to Google search there are no other links then your articles here:
http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613093555/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/files/2015/04/HMG000513wb.pdf ">https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/files/2015/04/HMG000513wb.pdf">http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613093555/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/files/2015/04/HMG000513wb.pdf

**********

JAN RICHARD BÆRUG
The Collapsing Wall. Hybrid Journalism. A Comparative Study of Newspapers and Magazines in Eight Countries in Europe

Available online. Haven't read it yet, but journalism as hidden public relations transfer belt would be one of my minor obsessions. ...

Babak Makkinejad -> turcopolier ... , 07 February 2018 at 11:23 AM
I wonder too; their command of the English idiom is very au currant - noticed "opt in/opt out" reference? Too American.

They clearly are not native speakers of German.

LeaNder said in reply to kooshy... , 07 February 2018 at 12:30 PM
why California, Kooshy #18? California among other things left this verbal trace, since I once upon time thought a luggage storage in SF might be free/available now: this is my home, lady.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kish_Island#Economy

Tourists from many -- but not all -- foreign nations wishing to enter Kish Free Zone from legal ports are not required to obtain any visa prior to travel. For those travelers, upon-arrival travel permits are stamped valid for 14 days by Kish officials.

Who are the not all? Can we assume Britain is not one of those? The German link is different. How about the Iranian? or isn't this the Kish we are talking about?

LeaNder said in reply to LeaNder... , 07 February 2018 at 01:14 PM
correcting myself #94:

another Ivanov. I struggled with names (...) in Russian crime novels, admittedly. But that's long ago from times Russian crime and Russian money flows and rogues getting hold of its nuclear material surfaced more often in Europe. 90s

I see Sergei seems to share my interest in the literary genre: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergei_Ivanov#Personal

[Apr 22, 2019] The CIA Takeover of America in the 1960s is the Story of Our Times by Edward Curtin

Apr 22, 2019 | www.unz.com
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" 'We're all puppets,' the suspect [Sirhan Sirhan] replied, with more truth than he could have understood at that moment."

– Lisa Pease, quoting from the LAPD questioning of Sirhan

ORDER IT NOW

When Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated on June 5, 1968, the American public fell into an hypnotic trance in which they have remained ever since. The overwhelming majority accepted what was presented by government authorities as an open and shut case that a young Palestinian American, Sirhan Sirhan, had murdered RFK because of his support for Israel, a false accusation whose ramifications echo down the years. That this was patently untrue and was contradicted by overwhelming evidence made no difference.

Sirhan did not kill Robert Kennedy, yet he remains in jail to this very day. Robert Kennedy, Jr., who was 14 years old at the time of his father's death, has visited Sirhan in prison, claims he is innocent, and believes there was another gunman. Paul Schrade, an aide to the senator and the first person shot that night, also says Sirhan didn't do it. Both have plenty of evidence. And they are not alone.

There is a vast body of documented evidence to prove this, an indisputably logical case marshalled by serious writers and researchers. Lisa Pease is the latest. It is a reason why a group of 60 prominent Americans has recently called for a reopening of, not just this case, but those of JFK, MLK, and Malcom X. The blood of these men cries out for the revelation of the truth that the United States national security state and its media accomplices have fought so mightily to keep hidden for so many years.

That they have worked so hard at this reveals how dangerous the truth about these assassinations still is to this secret government that wages propaganda war against the American people and real wars around the world. It is a government of Democrats, Republicans, and their intelligence allies working together today to confuse the American people and provoke Russia in a most dangerous game that could lead to nuclear war, a possibility that so frightened JFK and RFK after the Cuban Missile Crisis that they devoted themselves to ending the Cold War, reconciling with the Soviet Union, abolishing nuclear weapons, reining in of the power of the CIA, and withdrawing from Vietnam. That is why they were killed.

The web of deceit surrounding the now officially debunked Democratic led Russia-gate propaganda operation that has strengthened Trump to double-down on his anti-Russia operations (a Democratic goal) is an example of the perfidious and sophisticated mutuality of this game of mass mind-control.

The killing of the Kennedys and today's new Cold War and war against terror are two ends of a linked intelligence operation.

Moreover, more than any other assassination of the 1960s, it is the killing of Bobby Kennedy that has remained shrouded in the most ignorance.

It is one of the greatest propaganda success stories of American history.

In her exhaustive new examination of the case, A Lie Too Big To Fail , Lisa Pease puts it succinctly at the conclusion of her unravelling of the official lies that have mesmerized the public:

The assassination of the top four leaders of the political left in the five year period – President John Kennedy in 1963, Malcolm X in 1965, and Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy in 1968 – represented nothing less than a slow-motion coup on the political scene.

If anyone wishes to understand what has happened to the United States since this coup, and thus to its countless victims at home and throughout the world, one must understand these assassinations and how the alleged assassins were manipulated by the coup organizers and how the public was hoodwinked in a mind-control operation on a vast scale. It is not ancient history, for the forces that killed these leaders rule the U.S. today, and their ruthlessness has subsequently informed the actions of almost all political leaders in the years since. A bullet to the head when you seriously talk about peace and justice is a not so gentle reminder to toe the line or else.

"But the way the CIA took over America in the 1960s is the story of our time," writes Pease, "and too few recognize this. We can't fix a problem we can't even acknowledge exists." Nothing could be truer.

Lisa Pease has long recognized the problem, and for the past twenty-five years, she has devoted herself to shedding light on the CIA's culpability, particularly in the Robert Kennedy case. Few people possess the grit and grace to spend so much of their lives walking this path of truth. The extent of her research is dazzling, so dazzling in its voluminous detail that a reviewer can only touch on it here and there. She has written a book that is daunting in its comprehensiveness. It demands focused attention and perseverance, for it runs to over 500 pages with more than 800 footnotes. This book will remain a touchstone for future research on the RFK assassination, whether one agrees or disagrees with all of her detailed findings and speculations. For this book is so vast and meticulous in its examination of all aspects of the case that one can surely find areas that one might question or disagree with.

Nevertheless, Pease fundamentally proves that Sirhan did not shoot RFK and that there was a conspiracy organized and carried out by shadowy intelligence forces that did so. These same forces worked with the Los Angeles Police Department, federal, state, and judicial elements to make sure Sirhan was quickly accused of being the lone assassin and dispatched to prison after a show trial. And the mass media carried out its assigned role of affirming the government's case to shield the real killers and to make sure the cover-up was successful.

No doubt others will investigate this case further. Yet I think no more research is really needed, for as with these other assassinations, additional analyses will only result in pseudo-debates about minutiae. Such debates will only serve to prolong the hallucinatory grip the perpetrators of these crimes have on a day of reckoning, suggesting as they would that we do not really know what happened. This is an old tactic meant to delay forevermore such a day of reckoning.

The facts are clear for all to see if they have the will to truth. All that is now needed is a public tribunal, which is planned for later this year, in which the fundamental, clear-cut facts of these cases are presented to the American public. In the case of Robert Kennedy's assassination as with the others, a little knowledge goes a long way, and only those who are closed to basic logic and evidence will refuse to see that government forces conspired to kill these men and did so because all were seeking peace and justice that was then, and is now, a threat to the war-making forces of wealth and power that control the American government.

Pease writes:

Anyone who has looked closely and honestly at the evidence has realized that more than one person was involved in Robert Kennedy's death. So why can't reporters see this? Why can't the media explain this? Because the media and the government are two sides of the same coin, and those who challenge the government's version of history, as numerous reporters have found out, all too often lose status and sometimes whole careers. Kristina Borjesson published an anthology of such stories in her book Into the Buzzsaw, in which journalists describe how they lost their careers when each of them expressed a truth that the government did not want exposed.

Lisa Pease discloses such truths. I am reporting on her work. Therefore, the mainstream media, except for an extraordinary reporter or two, such as Tom Jackman of The Washington Post , will likely ignore both of us, but the publication where you are reading this is on the side of truth, and in the disclosure of truth lies our hope.

Since more than one person was involved in the killing of RFK, there was – ipso facto – a conspiracy. This is not theory but fact. The fact of a conspiracy. For more than fifty years, mainstream reporters have been cowed by this word "conspiracy," thanks to the CIA. Many others have been intelligence assets posing as journalists, regurgitating the lies. This is a fact.

The official story is that after giving his victory speech for winning the 1968 Democratic California Primary, Kennedy, as he was walking through a crowded hotel pantry, was shot by Sirhan Sirhan, who was standing to his left between 3-6 feet away. Sirhan's revolver held eight bullets, and as he was shooting, he was tackled by a group of large men who subdued him. All witnesses place Sirhan in front of Kennedy and all claim he was firing a gun.

Fact: As the autopsy definitively showed, RFK was shot from the rear at point blank range, three bullets entering his body, with the fatal headshot coming upward at a 45-degree angle from 1-3 inches behind his right ear. Not one bullet from Sirhan's gun hit the Senator. In addition, an audio recording shows that many more bullets than the eight in Sirhan's gun were fired in the hotel pantry that night. It was impossible for Sirhan to have killed RFK.

Let me repeat: More than one gunman, contrary to the government's claims, equals a conspiracy. So why lie about that?

What is amazing is that the obvious conclusion to such simple syllogistic logic (Sirhan in front, bullets in the back, therefore ) that a child could understand has been dismissed by the authorities for fifty-one years. The fact that the government authorities – the LAPD, the Sheriff's Office, the District Attorney, federal and state government officials, the FBI, the CIA – have from the start so assiduously done all in their power to pin the blame on "a lone assassin," Sirhan, proves they are part of a coordinated cover-up, which in turn suggests their involvement in the crime.

The fact that Robert Kennedy was shot from the back and not the front where Sirhan was standing immediately brings to mind the Zapruder film that shows that JFK was killed from the front right and not from the 6 th floor rear where Oswald was allegedly shooting from. That unexpected film evidence was hidden from the public for many years, but when it was finally seen, the case for a government conspiracy was solidified.

While no such video evidence has surfaced in the RFK case, the LAPD made sure that no photographic evidence contradicting the official lies would be seen. As Lisa Pease writes:

Less than two months after the assassination, the LAPD took the extraordinary step of burning some 2,400 photos from the case in Los Angeles County General's medical waste incinerator. Why destroy thousands of photos in an incinerator if there was nothing to hide? The LAPD kept hundreds of innocuous crowd scene photos that showed no girl in a polka dot dress or no suspicious activities or individuals. Why were those photos preserved? Perhaps because those photos had nothing in them that warranted their destruction.

While "perhaps" is a mild word, the cover-up of "the girl in the polka dot dress" needs no perhaps. Dozens of people reported seeing a suspicious, curvaceous girl in a white dress with black polka dots with Sirhan in the pantry and other places. She was seen with various other men as well. The evidence for her involvement in the assassination is overwhelming, and yet the LAPD did all in its power to deny this by browbeating witnesses and by allowing her to escape.

Sandra Serrano, a Kennedy campaign worker and a courageous witness, was bullied by the CIA-connected police interrogator Sergeant Enrique "Hank" Hernandez. She had been sitting outside on a metal fire escape getting some air when the polka dot dress girl, accompanied by a man, ran out and down the stairs, shouting, "We've shot him, we've shot him." When Serrano asked whom did they shoot, the girl replied, "We've shot Senator Kennedy." Then she and her companion, both of whom Serrano had earlier seen ascending the stairs with Sirhan, disappeared into the night. A little over an hour after the shooting Serrano was interviewed on live television by NBC's Sander Vanocur where she recounted this. And there were others who saw and heard this girl say the same thing as she and her companion fled the crime scene. Nevertheless, the LAPD, led by Lieutenant Manuel Pena, also CIA affiliated, who was brought out of retirement to run the investigation dubbed "Special Unit Senator," worked with Hernandez and others to dismiss the girl as of no consequence.

Lisa Pease covers all this and much more. She shows how Sirhan was obviously hypnotized, how the trial was a farce, how the police destroyed evidence from the door frames in the pantry that proved more than the eight bullets in Sirhan's gun were fired, how Officer DeWayne Wolfer manipulated the ballistic evidence, etc. Through years of digging into court records, archives, transcripts, the public library, and doing countless interviews, she proves without a doubt that Sirhan did not kill Kennedy and that the assassination and the cover-up were part of a very sophisticated intelligence operation involving many parts and players. She shows how no matter what route Kennedy took in the hotel that night, the killers had all exits covered and that he would not be allowed to leave alive.

While some of her more speculative points – e.g. that Robert Maheu (Howard Hughes/CIA) was "the most credible high-level suspect for the planner of Robert Kennedy's assassination," that Kennedy was shot twice in the head from behind, etc. are open to debate, they do not detract from her fundamentally powerful case that RFK, like his brother John, was assassinated by a CIA-run operation intended to silence their voices of courageous resistance to an expanding secret government dedicated to war, murder, and human exploitation. The U.S. government of today.

When Bobby Kennedy was entering the kitchen pantry, he was escorted by a security guard named Thane Eugene Cesar, a man long suspected of being the assassin. Cesar was carrying a gun that he drew but denied firing, despite witnesses' claims to the contrary. Conveniently, the police never examined the gun. He has long been suspected of being CIA affiliated, and now Pease says she has found evidence to confirm that. She writes, "It's hard to overstate the significance of finding a current or future CIA contract agent holding Kennedy's right arm at the moment of the shooting."

Yes, it is. As she rightly claims, the CIA takeover of America in the 1960s is the story of our time. And our time is now. None of this is ancient history. That is so crucial to grasp. For those who think that learning the truth about the 1960s assassinations is an exercise in futility reserved for those who are living in the past, they need to think again. Our descent into endless war and massive media propaganda to support it is part of a long-term project that began with the elimination of JFK, Malcom X, MLK, and Robert Kennedy. They were killed for reasons, and those reasons still exist, even if they don't physically, but only in spirit. Their killers roam the land because they have become far more deeply part of the institutional structure of government and the media.

Pease says:

It was horrible that Robert Kennedy was taken from us far too soon. It is horrible that one man has borne the guilt for an operation he neither planned nor willingly participated in. It's horrible the conspiracy was so obvious that bullets had to be lost and switched to hide it. And it's horrible that the mainstream media has never dared to tell the people of this country that the government lied to us about what they really found when they looked into this case. Until the media can deal with the truth of the Robert Kennedy assassination, and until the people can be made aware of the CIA's role in slanting the truth on topics of great importance, America's very survival is in jeopardy .We've come perilously close to losing democracy itself because of fake, CIA-sponsored stories about our history. Should America ever become a dictatorship, the epitaph of our democracy must include the role the mainstream media, by bowing to the National Security state, played in killing it.

By writing A Lie Too Big To Fail, Lisa Pease has done her valiant part in refuting the lie that is now failing. Now it is up to all of us to spread the word of truth by focusing on the fundamental facts so we can finally take back our country from the CIA.

Then we can say with RFK and his favorite poet Aeschylus:

And even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.

[Apr 22, 2019] Mueller's Lies About George Papadopolous by Larry C Johnson

Apr 22, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Mueller's Lies About George Papadopolous by Larry C Johnson

This article provides a comprehensive presentation of facts and an analysis that demonstrates the disengenuity and dishonestly of the Mueller Report with respect to George Papadopolous.

The egregious, dishonest misreprensentation about Papadopolous is introduced on page 1 on page 1 of the Mueller report:

In late July 2016, soon after WikiLeaks's first release of stolen documents, a foreign government contacted the FBI about a May 2016 encounter with Trump Campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos. Papadopoulos had suggested to a representative of that foreign government that the Trump Campaign had received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. That information prompted the FBI on July 31, 2016, to open an investigation into whether individuals associated with the Trump Campaign were coordinating with the Russian government in its interference activities.

The claim that Papadopoulos had information from a source representing Russia is demonstrably false. As I noted in my previous article, Special Counsel Mueller--Disingenuous and Dishonest , the FBI was going after the Trump team as early as September 2015. Let's take a look at George Papadopolous' account: ( The following are excerpts from: George Papadopolous. "Deep State Target." Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/deep-state-target/id1446495998 )

"I really like Energy Stream, but three months into the job, I am approached by a man named Nagi Khalid Idris who offers me a position at the London Centre of International Law Practice.

Idris is an interesting figure. As it turns out, he is the first in a handful of interesting figures I am about to meet. A Sudanese-born UK citizen, he's the founder of EN Education Group Limited -- an education consultancy operation that's core business seems to be placing students from Arab countries in international settings. " (p. 50)

"I really like Energy Stream, but three months into the job, I am approached by a man named Nagi Khalid Idris who offers me a position at the London Centre of International Law Practice.

Idris is an interesting figure. As it turns out, he is the first in a handful of interesting figures I am about to meet. A Sudanese-born UK citizen, he's the founder of EN Education Group Limited -- an education consultancy operation that's core business seems to be placing students from Arab countries in international settings. " (p. 61)

"I really like Energy Stream, but three months into the job, I am approached by a man named Nagi Khalid Idris who offers me a position at the London Centre of International Law Practice.

Idris is an interesting figure. As it turns out, he is the first in a handful of interesting figures I am about to meet. A Sudanese-born UK citizen, he's the founder of EN Education Group Limited -- an education consultancy operation that's core business seems to be placing students from Arab countries in international settings. " (p. 62)

The next day, . . . . "Nagi comes by my office again. His attitude has suddenly changed. It's a night-and-day difference. He starts telling me that there is someone I have to meet, a very important person who will be "very useful to me during my time with Trump. I remember Nagi telling me, "He's a man who knows many people." Then he insists I join him at a conference at Link Campus University in Rome.

And he calls in a director with the LCILP whom I've never laid eyes on.

"You have to meet her," he tells me while we wait. "Her name is Arvinder Sambei. She's setting up our team at the conference, and she can help arrange the introduction." (pp 64-65)

"[Nagi] keeps at me, insisting I had to go to Rome. "It's a three-day conference. It will help you with Trump."

"After that session, I'm sitting in a conference room when Nagi Idris approaches. At his side is a well-dressed man in his mid-fifties.

"George," Nagi says. "This is Professor Joseph Mifsud, and you should talk."

Joseph Mifsud is the man Nagi had planned for me to meet, the man Nagi had asked Arvinder Sambei to contact, and the man Nagi had portrayed as a major player, a guy with diplomatic experience and "extensive contacts. A man, in other words, who can change my life.

It turns out Mifsud has a PhD in Education from Queen's University, Belfast, which isn't exactly what I'd expect from a guy reputed to be politically connected. But Mifsud spins himself as a worldly insider, a guy with an I-have-connections-everywhere arrogance. He offsets that by flashing warmth and interest in me. He asks about my background. He asks if I have Russian contacts. I shake my head.

"I heard you have connections," I say. "And that you might be able to help me with the campaign."

"Oh yes, absolutely. Let's talk tonight. Let's go to dinner." (pp. 70-71)

[At dinner] "Mifsud says: "I'm going introduce you to everyone and set up a meeting between Trump and Putin."

"That's an excellent idea," I say. "You really think it can be arranged?"

"Oh, yes. I can do it."

"That would be amazing." (p. 74)

"Mifsud emails me a few days later when I'm back in London to tell me he wants to introduce me to somebody very important. When am I available?

I respond with some possible dates. Then I head to the LCILP offices where I run into Nagi Idris. He's very excited. He tells me I'm going to meet Putin's niece. That Mifsud knows her and is going to introduce us." (p. 75)

"The lunch is booked for March 24 at the Grange Holborn Hotel,. . . . "When I get there, Mifsud is waiting for me in the lobby with an attractive, fashionably dressed young woman with dirty blonde hair at his side. He introduces her as Olga Vinogradova." (p. 76)

"Mifsud sells her hard. "Olga is going to be your inside woman to Moscow. She knows everyone." He tells me she was a former official at the Russian Ministry of Trade. Then he waxes on about introducing me to the Russian ambassador in London." (p. 77)

"on April 12, "Olga" writes: "I have already alerted my personal links to our conversation and your request. The embassy in London is very much aware of this. As mentioned, we are all very excited by the possibility of a good relationship with Mr. Trump. The Russian Federation would love to welcome him once his candidature would be officially announced."

So I have no choice but to hurry up and wait. I communicate this back to the campaign managers, primarily Stephen Miller." (p. 101)

"Then Mifsud returns from the Valdai conference. On April 26 we meet for breakfast at the Andaz Hotel, near Liverpool Street Station, one of the busiest train stations in London. He's in an excellent mood and claims he met with high-level Russian government officials. But once again, he's very short on specifics. This is becoming a real pattern with Mifsud. He hasn't offered any names besides Timofeev. Then, he leans across the table in a conspiratorial manner. The Russians have "dirt" on Hillary Clinton, he tells me. "Emails of Clinton," he says. "They have thousands of emails." (p. 104)

[In early May 2016] "two military attachés at the US embassy in London, Terrence Dudley and Gregory Baker, reach out to me to set up a meeting. "

(NOTE -- this meeting comes in the wake of controversial comments Papadopolous made to a reporter criticizing UK Prime Minister Cameron). (p. 117).

"They take me to a private club known far and wide as The Rag -- the same place we hosted the 2015 Energy Stream Conference. Its real name is The Army and Navy Club" (p. 117)

"They spare no expense during our meeting, dropping at least $500. They ask me what I'm doing in London." (p.118)

"IT'S A WET, ugly London evening on May 10, 2016, when I go meet Erika Thompson and her boss, Australian High Commissioner Alexander Downer." (p. 125)

"Downer is oozing aggression by comparison. After our introduction, the first thing he says is, "Tell your boss he needs to leave my friend David Cameron alone, and you should leave him alone too.'" (p. 127)

"Downer starts talking: He tells me he's connected to a British security firm called Hakluyt. He boasts about being a board member and that the firm has a great presence in London and close ties to the Obama administration. "We advise many governments," he says." (p. 128)

"And then something happens.

Or more accurately, Downer later claims something happens.

In his version of events, he asks me a question about Russia and Trump.

I then tell him that the Russians have a surprise or some damaging material related to Hillary Clinton.

I have no memory of this. None. Zero. Nada." (p. 130)

The Papadopolous account reveals several things. First, George is an earnest but naïve young man. He did not realize he was being set up.

Second, George's multiple emails to Corey Lewandowski were intercepted by both GCHQ and the NSA. It is clear now, with the benefit of hindsight, that these communications were transmitted as SIGINT Intelligence Reports. Investigation by Attorney Bill Barr will show that these reports were "unmasked."

Third, the people who brokered the contacts with Mifsud -- Nagi and Arvinder Sambei -- have ties to British and US intelligence organizations and the FBI.

Arvinder Sambei's ties, for example, are reported by Disobedient Media :

" Mifsud and Papadopoulos's co-director Arvinder Sambei was also the former FBI British counsel working 9/11 cases for Robert Mueller. She also runs a consultancy which deals with Special Investigative Measure (SIMs) which is just a posh description for covert espionage and evidence gathering. She has worked for major intelligence and national law agencies in the past. She wore two hats as a director of London Centre and a consultant for the Global Center on Cooperative Security (GCCS), a counter-terrorism think tank which is sponsored by the Australia, Canada, UK and US governments. Alexander Downer's former Chief of Staff while at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade now works for the Global Center. Mifsud was also due to meet with Australian private intelligence figures in Adelaide in March 2016. So. Australia is certainly a major focus for the investigation."

Sambei's critical role in introducing Papadopolous to Joseph Mifsud is not, in my view, a mere coincidence.

Joseph Mifsud bears all the hallmarks of an MI-6 intelligence asset (please refer to my previous article, Special Counsel Mueller: Disingenuous and Dishonest . Introducing Papadopolous to Mifsud is a classic humint covert action. In this case the plan was to select an individual -- a naïve, inexperienced eager soul--who had access to the Trump campaign, who could be fed compromising information and put into an incriminating situations that would feed the concocted meme that the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians.

The entire concept of working with the Russians and having Trump meet with Putin was a meme introduced and encouraged by Joseph Mifsud. George Papadopolous was an unwitting, albeit eager, patsy.

Then we have Alexander Downer. He is closely tied to the Clintons. Bill and Alexander signed a deal that produced millions of dollars for the Clinton Foundation. Downer, despite his credentials and pedigree, was not an honest actor. I believe that he was engaged in a pre-planned political dirty trick, to feed the lie that the Trump campaign was working with the Russians to "steal" Hillary's emails.

Remember. The critical meeting with Downer took place while the Russians were ostensibly hacking the DNC. This is not a tin-foil hatted conspiracy theory. The facts are clear.

[Apr 22, 2019] Elizabeth Warren Proposes Wiping Out Almost Everyone's Student Debt

Apr 22, 2019 | www.huffpost.com

On Monday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) released a wide-ranging plan to fix the U.S. college system, with proposals including making two-year and four-year public college free and expanding the size and scope of the federal Pell Grant program. And one particularly radical idea is sure to grab the attention of young people around the country: wiping out student loan debt for the vast majority of American borrowers. "The time for half-measures is over," Warren, one of many politicians and public figures hoping to secure the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, wrote in a post published Monday on Medium. "My broad cancellation plan is a real solution to our student debt crisis. It helps millions of families and removes a weight that's holding back our economy." Last year, outstanding student debt in the U.S. topped $1.5 trillion , a growing financial burden that Warren argues is "crushing millions of families and acting as an anchor on our economy." "It's reducing home ownership rates," she wrote. "It's leading fewer people to start businesses. It's forcing students to drop out of school before getting a degree. It's a problem for all of us." To address the problem, Warren is suggesting what she calls a "truly transformational" approach: wiping out $50,000 in student loan debt for anyone with a household income below $100,000. People with student loans and a household income between $100,000 and $250,000 would receive substantial relief as well. At that point, "the $50,000 cancellation amount phases out by $1 for every $3 in income above $100,000," Warren wrote.

[Apr 22, 2019] On Contact: Russiagate Mueller Report with Aaron Mate

That's a great interview that summarizes Russiagate in a very assessable way. This is exactly repetition of Iraq WDM and subsequent cover up. The consequence is a new higher level of discreditation of neoliberal MSM, at least by Trump supporters They will just ignore those bottomfeeders like Clapper and Brennan.
Endemic of Russophobia is the biggest net result of Russiagate. This is also a big election gift to Trump.
The Deep State did not view Trump as a reliable steward of neoliberal empire and that's why Russiagate was unleashed. And Trump is an embarrassment to the empire, no questions about it.
MadCow spend two year rabidly promoting Russiagate nonsense and she still has her job. That's suggest whom she serves. In other cased she would be discarded like used condom.
Apr 20, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Chris Hedges discusses with Nation reporter Aaron Mate how despite the categorical statement in Robert Mueller's report that Donald Trump and his campaign did not collude with Russia, the conspiracy theories by the nation's mainstream media show little sign of diminishing.

Find RT America in your area: http://rt.com/where-to-watch/
Or watch us online: http://rt.com/on-air/rt-america-air/

Like us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTAmerica
Follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_America Category News & Politics


Amy Marie , 1 day ago

Keep up the awesome work Aaron on RT

S Douglas , 1 day ago

It's great to see some non-propagandist journalism.

Tertiary Adjunct , 1 day ago (edited)

RT, give Aaron a show.

Dan Harris , 1 day ago

Aaron Mate is the absolute perfect foil to Jimmy when he is on the Jimmy Dore show. It is hilarious.

NPC Junk Ogre, TYT Head NPC , 1 day ago

We're all still waiting for MSDNC to bring on Aaron, Glenn Greenwald, Jimmy Dore, Michael Tracey and others on any of their programs. MSDNC has not had on one single lefty who got this fraudulent and disgraceful Stalinesque political investigation right from day one since December of 2016. Not one.

MrB1923 , 1 day ago

THIS is journalism. EVERYTHING else is propaganda.

Eric Disegno , 1 day ago (edited)

Two of the greatest journalists in Real News! Thank You RT!!!

J.L. Goodman , 1 day ago

I've got to admit, I get a massive dopamine rush hearing these two sane, intelligent,critical thinkers, skillfully dissect this convoluted quadrafuck that has wasted some much of our precious time. I literally feel washed clean for a moment.

Scott Turner , 1 day ago (edited)

Thanks for this. Aaron Maté and Chris Hedges keep many people somewhat sane in an insane media world. Depressed, but at least somewhat sane. lol

Mike2020able , 1 day ago

Chomsky : ' Israel ,not Russia, interferes With US Election '

[Apr 22, 2019] 10 factors making Russia election interference the most enduring scandal of the Obama era by Sharyl Attkisson

Apr 22, 2019 | thehill.com

Now, with special counsel Robert Mueller's exhaustive investigation over and no Trump official charged with taking part in any Russki scheme, Russian election interference may turn out to be the most persistent scandal of the Obama era.

To date, it's also one of the most puzzling.

Obama also infamously mocked Republican nominee Mitt Romney in 2012 when Romney suggested Russia was a foe to be reckoned with. This begs the question of whether problems could have been staved off if the president had taken Russia more seriously.

    Inadequate response . Actions that President Obama and his top intel officials did take to mitigate Russian interference proved woefully inadequate. After telling reporters that Russian intelligence operatives attacked Democrats' computer systems, then-CIA Director John Brennan and his colleagues "privately warned their Russian counterparts not to persist with their active measures" and "Obama himself told Russian President Vladimir Putin not to interfere in the election." CNN notes : "These warnings did not work."
    Failure to disclose. Obama intel officials secretly told the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that Russia was targeting the Trump campaign, but paradoxically kept the information secret from the Trump campaign. Experts say legitimate efforts to protect national security typically would include notifying the supposed target of the spying. Intel officials arguably should have alerted all the political campaigns and warned them to be on the lookout, asking if any suspicious contacts had been made.

Recall the FBI had notified the DNC earlier, after determining it had been targeted by Russians. The decision not to likewise loop in the Trump campaign regarding the supposed targeting suggests intel officials were not focused on protecting national security but hoping to entrap Trump campaign officials.

    Targeting Trump. Instead of going after the Russians and working to protect the Trump campaign from possible infiltration, intel officials targeted the Trump campaign. They applied for numerous secret wiretaps to surveil Trump associates. In the process, they apparently violated strict FBI Woods Procedures designed to prevent false or unverified information from being used to obtain wiretaps.
    Suspicious timing. Russia's election interference certainly was not new on election day. Yet only after Trump was elected (instead of Hillary Clinton did President Obama assign his intel officials to issue a public report about Russia's scheme. And only then did he pursue punishment, including sanctions and expulsion of some Russian diplomats from the United States.
    Blame game. After Trump was elected, some of the very Obama officials who failed to prevent Russian interference began a campaign of media leaks and deflection, pointing to Donald Trump and his associates. These officials included FBI Director Comey, CIA Director Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, national security adviser Susan Rice and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power.
    Ignorance. As they investigated foreign interference, intel officials apparently overlooked the role of interests besides the Russians, including Russia's adversary Ukraine and the British. Ex-British spy Christopher Steele built and peddled the anti-Trump "dossier." Former U.K. ambassador to Russia Sir Andrew Wood had a November 2016 meeting with Sen. John McCain in Nova Scotia, where Wood told him about Steele's anti-Trump dossier.
    Russia's link to FBI and Democrats. The FBI overlooked the apparent, admitted "collusion" between Steele and Kremlin-connected Russians who provided opposition research against Trump -- some of it false -- for the dossier. Then, the FBI used the Kremlin-connected Russian research, in part, to obtain wiretaps against Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Why will Russia election interference in 2016 prove to be more enduring than other scandals? A great deal of money and effort has been spent to dismiss other scandals along partisan lines. In this case, people in both political parties agree the interference happened -- and that it happened on Obama's watch. His intel officials appear to have been either distracted, conflicted or asleep at the switch.

Whatever the case, they were inarguably ineffective.

Sharyl Attkisson ( @SharylAttkisson ) is an Emmy Award-winning investigative journalist, author of The New York Times best-sellers "The Smear" and "Stonewalled," and host of Sinclair's Sunday TV program, " Full Measure ."

[Apr 22, 2019] Greenwald calls media reaction to Mueller report 'genuinely stunning' by Julia Manchester

Those neoliberal MSM bottomfeeders were just doing their paid jobs prompting Russiagate hysteria... They continue to live in a bizarre and perverted Russiagate fantasy land because they are unable to admit that you was completely wrong. And that destroyed thier credibility.
It also exposed neoliberal MSM as completely subservient to intelligence services and raises that question of the second Church Committee hearing on influence of CIA on the USA media.
I am sure the Brennan and Clapper will not be fired without some hearings about their role in unleashing the current neo-McCarthyism complain. They will continue to poison the atmosphere. And it is pipe dream to expect that they will be prosecuted.
Apr 22, 2019 | thehill.com
Robert Mueller 's report is "genuinely stunning," accusing the press of continuing to promote the "conspiracy" that President Trump 's campaign conspired with Russia in 2016.

"I find that genuinely stunning as somebody who's been a pretty harsh media critic for more than a decade," Greenwald, co-founding editor at The Intercept, told hosts Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton. "My bar for their behavior is, I think, rather low, and yet they somehow descended beneath it.

"The reality is that for three years there has been a conspiracy theory that has dominated our political and media discourse, which is that Donald Trump conspired with Russia over the 2016 election and that he's an agent of the Russian government along with many of his associates," he continued.

"In the Mueller report in one section after the next said either they couldn't establish that or there was no evidence for it, and yet they're acting as though it said exactly the opposite, that this conspiracy theory was demonstrated and proven and vindicated," he said. "They're living in some bizarre fantasy land because they're worried that admitting that they got this story wrong will damage their credibility."

"Pretending they got it right is just worsening the problem," he added.

... ... ..

-- Julia Manchester

[Apr 22, 2019] Mueller Report Brings Into Focus Obama s Attempted Coup Against Trump

Notable quotes:
"... Americans should be marching in the streets at this attempted coup but we are so doped with mindless entertainment that we no longer care. We are becoming a system where as long as you don't challenge the 2 party system you are allowed your freedom to make money and to say whatever you want so long as it doesn't have consequences. ..."
Apr 10, 2019 | community.oilprice.com

shadowkin , 04/10/2019 01:49 AM

The irony of the Mueller investigation that was demanded by Democrats because they thought it would show Trump colluded with Russia to win the Presidency is that it has blown up in their faces by exposing in greater detail how Obama and the Deep State attempted first, to throw an election in favor of one candidate, Hillary Clinton, and second, attempted a coup once Trump was elected via investigations and false claims.

Once Trump won the election, the Deep State used their accomplices in the msm to convince the American public that Donald J Trump stole the election with the collaboration of the Russians. In this way they sought to remove him by impeachment.

It turns out the Deep State were the ones who were acting as agents of Russia seeking to tear America apart.

Consider:

Americans should be marching in the streets at this attempted coup but we are so doped with mindless entertainment that we no longer care. We are becoming a system where as long as you don't challenge the 2 party system you are allowed your freedom to make money and to say whatever you want so long as it doesn't have consequences.

Any more details of Mueller's report due to be released by AG Barr are likely to reveal more of the rotted core of the Deep State and their machinations and not, as Democrats think, damaging info about Trump.

[Apr 22, 2019] "Ukrainization uber alles" is not supported by population. That's why Poroshenko lost

It is clear that like in Trump vs Hillary situation many voted not for Zelensky but against Poroshenko. Coul be that the same screwed political consultants who ensured Trump victory work in Ukraine.
Zelensky is that same candidate as Obama, Trump and Macron: he has zero political history. So you can project into him the expectation of electorate and that trick works. During the campaign, concerns were raised over his links to the oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi (he proposed a tax amnesty and a 5% flat tax for big business ).
From Wikipedia: In an interview in December 2018, Zelensky stated that as President he would try to end the ongoing War in Donbass by negotiating with Russia . [49] As he considered the leaders of the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic (DPR and LPR) to be Russia's "puppets", it would "make no sense to speak with them". [49] He did not rule out holding a referendum on the issue. [50] [49] In an interview published three days before the 2019 presidential election (on 21 April) Zelensky stated that he was against granting the Donbass region "special status". [51] In the interview he also said that if he were elected President he would not sign a law on amnesty for the militants of the DPR and LPR. [51]
Edited Google translation.
Using phase form cult novel The Golden Calf by Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov "Children of lieutenant Schmidt" Poroshenko can be called a son of undersecretary Nuland. He has no space for maneuver, space for negotiation as confrontation with Russia is the geopolitical goal of neocon establishment which stands behind Victoria Nuland. That's probably why he lost.
Apr 22, 2019 | ukraina.ru

Poroshenko's triad -- "faith, army, language" -- was not born from scratch. Poroshenko emphasized Ukrainization of all aspects of the country's life. In culture, history, even the economics. Especially in the economics. All these decisions, orders and sanctions were aimed at cutting economic ties with Russia under very simple ideological basis -- "Ukrainization uber alles"

Of course, this was a gesture of despair of the man who came to power via "Washington Obcom" at a time when Ukraine already lost a part of its territory -- the Crimea and was on the verge of even greater loss -- Donbass, and maybe the entire South-East.

Poroshenko in this situation enforced blatant confrontation with Russia (instead of negotiations and search of compromises) as the tool to unite the nation against common enemy. Having accepted the obvious situation in which he can do nothing to return the lost territories (and it would be unprofitable for him politically), he pushed the confrontation as if there is no tomorrow, please his US sponsors. Which resulted is sliding of the standard of living as lost markets at the East were not compensated by new market at the West. He unleashed personal war with Russia hoping that it will help to survive him politically and instead it backfired.

In other words Poroshenko assumed that he can unite Ukranina peole of the base of the his fight with Russia. A common enemy always unites rulers and people.

However, during the presidential elections, which were held just five years after the triumph of nationalist ideology on EuroMaydan, it turned out that this the majority of the population does not share this ideology with Pyotr Alekseevich. And that the sliding standard of living, rampant inflation and personal corruption of EuroMaydan junta has a greater weight.

The majority, apparently, doesn't want exclusivity of the Ukrainian nation... They want European standard of living.

[Apr 22, 2019] Comedian Zelenski wipes floor with Porkie.

Apr 22, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Hoarsewhisperer , Apr 21, 2019 2:31:54 PM | link

Ukraine election exit poll:
Comedian Zelenski wipes floor with Porkie.
Z = 75%: P = 23%

[Apr 22, 2019] Are US neocons "the possessed" ?

Apr 22, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Apr 21, 2019 7:26:35 PM | link

For Easter Sunday, Strategic-Culture refers us to Dostoyevsky's The Possessed thanks to Martin Sieff's "The Beast Behind the Mask: The US Fanatical Passion to Destroy Venezuela" . Two of his milder paragraphs help describe how the world views Outlaw US Empire actions and explain why most nations are "no longer with us":

"Yet so desperate are America's neo-liberals, as well as neo-conservatives to topple democratically twice –elected President Maduro that they are pulling off their bright smiling wholesome masks that are the public face of globalization to reveal the snarling, cowardly, crazed little creeps behind them.

"We saw this phenomenon last week when Fareed Zakaria, the Golden Pin-Up Boy of global liberalism, used his two supposedly most influential platforms – his talk show on CNN and op-ed page access in The Washington Post to call for the immediate toppling of Maduro and then for a full superpower confrontation with Russia as well."

The article is actually quite fitting for Easter--Global death of the fealty to the Outlaw US Empire while those nations seek resurrection and far better prospects with BRI/EAEU. National leaders unwilling to see the Devilish/Satanic nature of the Outlaw US Empire that's so evident for all to see must think hard on what they're partnering with. If they continue their partnership, then their citizenry will do the proper thing and exorcize such leaders from their body politic. Globally, there's only one entity that's similar in nature to the Outlaw US Empire--Zionistan--two equally, evilly possessed threats to humanity.

[Apr 22, 2019] Jews vs Zionists

Apr 22, 2019 | www.unz.com

While it clear anti-Seminissm to hate Jews as the ethnic groups, it is quite different about Zionism -- Jewish nationalism with the elements of supremacist ideology that puts Israel as the central symbol of "jeweshnessh"

In the eyes of Spokoiny, the three types of contemporary anti-Semitism, be it Left, Right or Islamic ("which is not only fascistic but outright genocidal," according to Spokoiny) are in fact one by nature: "there's just one type of anti-Semitism that simply dresses its ugly persona in different ideological garments." So it isn't just the Jews that should be reunited; the Goyim, or shall we say the rest humanity, aren't diverse either, their oppositions to Jewish politics, Israel or Zionism are only a matter of "different ideological garments."

In Spokoiny's universe, the Jews are hated for being Jews. It is not that some oppose Israel for being racist, expansionist and genocidal. It is not because some may be upset that the Israeli Lobby dominates Western foreign affairs in the open. It is not because American and British boys and girls are sent to fight and die in Zio-con wars, it is not because some have noticed that it was a bunch of prominent Jewish intellectuals who have managed to reshape the Western ethos by means of so-called progressive ideologies. It is not because the media seems to be biased in favour of a criminal state, which happens to be a Jewish one. In Spokoiny, reasoning and self-reflection are pushed aside. In his universe some just hate Jews blindly, irrationally and for no reason.

But Spokoiny may as well be right. There is a common element in the Left-wing, Right-wing, Christian and Islamic opposition to Jewish politics, culture and ideology: opposition to choseness is how Bernard Lazare described it in his 1894 Zionist text Antisemitism: Its History and Causes . There is a shared common ground that unites all those so-called 'anti-Semites.' The alleged 'enemies of the Jews' are people who want the Jewish past to be subject to scrutiny like all other historical chapters, Israeli barbarism to be curtailed, Wall Street to be restricted, Palestine to be free. They want globalisation to be halted, immoral interventionism to die out. The so-called 'anti-Semites' actually follow the Zionist promise, they want Jews to finally assimilate and become 'people like all other people.' The so-called 'enemies of the Jews' are upholding the most enlightened rational universalist ethical positions. They treat Jews as ordinary people and expect their state and institutions to subscribe to ethical standards.

Spokoiny hates Alain Soral, the French intellectual who was sentenced this week to one year in prison by a French court for "negationisme" (history revisionism).

In the eyes of French Jewish institutes and Spokoiny, Soral is the ultimate enemy. He has managed to present a unifying message that appeals to the Left, the Right and Muslim immigrants. Soral calls for a universal reconciliation, between them all under a French nationalist egalitarian ethos. The French Jewish institutions see Soral's call as a vile anti-Semitic message as it doesn't seem to accommodate Jewish exceptionalism. However, some Jews have joined Soral's movement. But they clearly demoted themselves to French patriots. They left chosenism behind, they see themselves primarily as French.

"We in the Jewish community need to believe him (Soral)." Spokoiny writes, "We need to stop participating in the divide-and-conquer game of those who hate us." In other words, Spokoiny wants to see Jews as one monolithic identity. One that sticks together and exercises its power. If Spokoiny or anyone else thinks that such politics may eradicate anti-Semitism, he or she must be either naïve or just stupid . What Jews need to do is to self-reflect, to ask themselves why anti-Semitism is rising again. Jews must identify their own role in this emerging reality. Rather than constantly blaming their so called 'haters,' Jews may want to repeat the early Zionist exercise and ask what is exactly in Jewish culture, identity and politics that makes Jewish history into a chain of disasters.


Johnny Rottenborough , says: Website April 19, 2019 at 2:18 pm GMT

The conclusion of Chapter 1 of Jewish History, Jewish Religion by Israel Shahak:

There are two choices which face Israeli-Jewish society. It can become a fully closed and warlike ghetto, a Jewish Sparta, supported by the labour of Arab helots, kept in existence by its influence on the US political establishment and by threats to use its nuclear power, or it can try to become an open society. The second choice is dependent on an honest examination of its Jewish past, on the admission that Jewish chauvinism and exclusivism exist, and on an honest examination of the attitudes of Judaism towards the non-Jews.

The second choice would require Jews to 'demote themselves' to mere humanity. There seems to be no hope of that.

Bloody Bill , says: April 19, 2019 at 4:10 pm GMT
Good article Atzmon.

Jews do seem to be incapable or completely unwilling to self-reflect on their behavior and its effects. Instead, they pathologize the goyim saying its somehow inherent.

Zionism is despised all over the political spectrum. So called anti-semitism is not just some far right nazi ideology. Leftists, muslims, blacks etc. are all seeing Jewish behavior as a real threat.

The hostility and destructive, subversive behavior to western culture and institutions is despised by the right. The left hates the racist and hostile murderous behavior to the Palestinians. Both hate the zio-con wars.

Jews are not in a good situation. However, most of them are completely unwilling to change their behavior. In fact, they seem to be pushing even harder and faster. It is not looking like there is going to be a good outcome for the Jews at the rate they're currently going.

Colin Wright , says: Website April 19, 2019 at 4:41 pm GMT
' what is exactly in Jewish culture, identity and politics that makes Jewish history into a chain of disasters '

One wonders to what extent exactly this characterization is accurate. Even if it is true to some extent, can't the history of all peoples be characterized as a 'chain of disasters'?

Take the Jews of any particular region: the Ukraine, say. Okay, fine -- they suffered the pogroms associated with Khmelnitsky's uprising and the Holocaust. Some would add the pogroms of late Tsarist Russia, but here's an unpleasant fact: those weren't all that big a deal

Meantime, what about the gentiles? Well, first off, I don't think anyone did well out of Khmelnitsky's uprising: gentiles were being slaughtered in job lots as well. Then there were the artificial famines of Stalin's regime, which were inflicted primarily -- exclusively? -- on the Christian peasantry. The Nazis weren't nice to Ukrainian gentiles either. There was the holocaust of the Mongol invasions.

Etc. Things are tough all over. We could engage in the same compare and contrast for Spanish Jews and gentiles, French Jews and gentiles, German Jews and gentiles, and so on. Some evils were inflicted mostly on the Jews, some mainly on the gentiles, some indifferently on both.

Even if one could establish that Jews have come in for more than their fair share of abuse, it's obviously a wild distortion of the past to see Jews alone as victims. The Thirty Years War was catastrophic for German gentiles as well as German Jews. 75% of the German gentile civilians trapped in Konigsberg when it fell to the Russians wound up being murdered, starved to death, or otherwise done in. Was it better to be a Jew or a gentile then?

Jews don't have a monopoly on victimhood, and to assume otherwise is to indulge in a pernicious fantasy. We wind up agreeing that Jews are uniquely entitled to misbehave, because they alone have been abused. Neither end of that proposition is valid.

Edward Huguenin , says: April 19, 2019 at 7:56 pm GMT
"Anti-semite" has lost its sting, because every justified criticism of the Zionist Israeli government is declared to be anti-semitism. The word is so overused and misapplied as to be useless. Indeed, to be declared "anti-semite" by the Israel Lobby is to be declared a person of high moral conscience.

[Apr 22, 2019] Decades long image of MI6. Apparently MI6 it is not populated with the high IQ, highly educated professionals any more. They average intelligence careerists who cannot play on international stage. In case of Skripals poisoning the script is poor, directing mediocre, inconsistencies and deep holes in story negate logics

Apr 22, 2019 | www.youtube.com
Darko Fius, 1 month ago

Decades long "image" of London's spy school fall spectacularly apart, apparently it is not populated with the high IQ, highly educated brass any more, average intelligence however cannot play on international stage, script is poor, directing mediocre, inconsistencies and deep holes in story negate logics...

it is time that London joins Washington, hand in hand, like lowers to seek fortunes elsewhere, the prey is still to be found in oligarchs of Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Romania and the like places with spineless political caricatures.

Go London go...there is no fortune for you in EU...and by now you stench of your morals and ethics reaches shores of smallest island on GMT+12 time scale.

[Apr 22, 2019] Zacharova On the "Dead Cat" Strategy West Now Relies on Absurdist Bait and Switch Tactics!

Mar 08, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Subscribe to Vesti News https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa8M...

It's been a year since the Salisbury incident. We still don't have the investigative conclusion. We don't know who's responsible and how exactly the Skripals were poisoned or if they were even poisoned at all. But international relations sure were poisoned. It appears that our ambassador to Britain, the esteemed Alexander Yakovenko is a spy decorated with military medals.


Leon Allan Davis , 1 month ago

Why don't the Russians just lay out the facts of the story as told by the British? The Brits story is so stupid it makes zero sense... According to the British media Skripal and his daughter came into contact with "military grade" Novichok nerve agent and both survived... Even though they said a tiny drop can be fatal... The poor woman who did die was a homeless drug addict. Supposedly, her boyfriend found a bottle of "perfume" in a "perfume box" that was in a trash receptacle. The boyfriend retrieved it from the waste bin and gave it to to the unfortunate woman. She died. According to the British government, Russian spies put the Novichok in the perfume bottle and planted the bottle in the trash bin so the boyfriend would find it... Personally, I blame the death of the homeless woman on a "false flag" operation run by British intelligence. Someone had to die. Why not an "expendable"? Meanwhile, the Skripals remain under house arrest, cut off from the outside world... And no one in the British media has asked to talk to them. No one.

08x840234 , 1 month ago

The British story about the Skripals is falling apart. First we were told an off duty police officer found them. Then we are told that an off duty nurse helped the police officer. Then it was the off duty nurse that found them and was helped by the police officer. Then it was the daughter of the off duty nurse that found them. Then the off duty nurse turned out to be Britain's highest ranking female military medic. Then we are told the police officer never attended them and had been sent to their house the following day. This week the local TV news channel (BBC Points West) interviewed a woman that said SHE was the first one to find the Skripals who were alone on the bench frothing at the mouth. She claims she walked over and was going to phone an ambulance when a female police officer arrived. Then the female police officer was interviewed and stated she was driving her police van and was the first on scene after someone had phoned them for help. She also stated that although she didn't know what was wrong with the Skripals, she thought the vomit on the ground was suspicious and requested a Hazmat team in full protective gear to remove the vomit.

anirudh mathur , 1 month ago

Happy women day Mrs zakharhova

Kostas K , 1 month ago

Maria is an intelligent in a very high level, fiery and articulate. The British political system would trade at least half of their politicians for one of her.

KnightInShiningASMR , 1 month ago

Vladimir,can you find out if England has just set up Ireland by sending someone there and having them post flammable packages back to England? The addresses were so vague that they should have alerted someone in the postal service,especially since England is on high alert for terror attacks.That says to me that the government knew they were coming.ISIS would claim responsibility for a silent fart in a packed room.No-one in Ireland has claimed responsibility for the packages,probably because it's "highly likely" that England has set up Ireland.If the Brits are found to be behind it,like black people and Israeli's have been caught out spraying racist graffiti against themselves,Salisbury will be even more questionable.Elliot Abrams shipped arms in "aid" convoys,so now no-one believes the aid to Venezuela isn't hiding weapons.What have the filthy Brits been caught doing in recent years that would make them look guilty like Elliot Abrams?

Terry Bromley , 1 month ago

Terry F Bromley, Brilliant, Maria Zacharova just smashing we look after her

johnrb88 , 1 month ago

Maria Zacharova may be simply too decent a human being to realise that the west is run by a mafia-like cabal that cares not a jot for their own peoples, let alone those in foreign realms. She looks for logical explanations that might account for actions, but needs to face the reality that monumental greed and corruption have hollowed out all corridors of power in western governments. Any semblance of an unbiased independent media went extinct a long time ago, replaced by well placed operatives from the intelligence agencies, who manage a vast array of pseudo "journalists". The western puppet regimes are simply useful idiots who obey instructions, they sell themselves for money and privilege. In other words, traitors to the people who put them in office. Those public officials and politicians who perhaps had a shred of integrity get eliminated, or compromised by indiscretions that are held over them, or by simple intimidation tactics -- the classic "carrot and stick" method. Russians lifted themselves from the disastrous days of "perestroika" and have restored their nation to near normalcy. The west may at some point do the same, but it will take a complete collapse of their present totalitarian regimes to start the healing, if it is to happen. With each passing day, the zombification of the masses continues, let us hope it has not already got to the stage where a return to a better world becomes unattainable.

István Vicze , 1 month ago (edited)

Mrs Spokeswoman really nailed it: US & UK resort to this Dead Cat tactics everyday now. That was the Case with Kosovo, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Syria & now Venezuela. However, they only manage to bait in their "Allies" (better said Vassals)- and then they fail to deliver since Syria. Russian Intervention & People waking up to their Lies makes their Case less and less credible. The paralel Universe they are creating inside their brainwashing Media is fading away. And that makes them the more dangerous...

twaters57 , 1 month ago

It's sad when the only real news people in the US can get is from the Russian media. The west is financially and morally bankrupt. Thank you Zacharova and Russia for telling the truth about the evil deeds of the west. Median approval of U.S. leadership across 134 countries and areas stands at a new low of 30%, according to a new Gallup report. Maybe the tide is finally turning and the evil deeds of the west will be exposed.

Bob Mitchell , 1 month ago

I think the underlying cause of all the UK anti-Russia carry ons goes right back to the damage you did to them during the Crimean War...you bloodied their nose and they have never forgiven you...silly buggers! 💥💥💥🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺

Robin Wood , 1 month ago (edited)

The Roman-Israeli Brits are born liars, but liars will always fall apart because their stories never add up. I suspect that the Skripals were never even poisoned but paid by the British to confirm the lie. The Western politicians have become so corrupt that you cannot believe a word coming from their lying mouths. Over the decades they have become so confident that everybody would swallow their reckless lies that they don't even care what they say and what they do without thinking or caring about the consequences of their actions.

Nico Montinola , 1 month ago

Amazing how slick & classy the Russians are nowadays. I think US and US industrial standards are still higher but Russia has improved a lot!

kee yong loh , 1 month ago

To UK & US: Please show some respect for world ordinary people. We are not stupid. We are intelligent & also kind compassionate human beings. U're insulting our intelligence!

Robert Tony , 1 month ago

I think they have completely lost the plot, relying on stupidity and arrogance to achieve the least amount possible in the messiest most insane way possible. Seriously, the publicly state the reality, conduct regime change operations, to get US troops into and country and then charge 150% of cost of that occupation, protection, straight out of a Mafioso playback, only their blind arrogance and ignorance, make that kind of public stance possible. Any government that signs onto it, traitors to their own people, selling out to an foreign occupation, using Americans forces to sustain autocratic control of that country, those citizens paying for the bullets Americans will use to kill them, should they try to end the occupation. The more forces required to quell the public, the more they bill the occupied country and the MORE PROFITABLE IT BECOMES, utter insanity. Only utterly blind stupidity could make that public statement possible, beyond something you would expect from a backward third world country and some despot drunk on power, nope, this from the USA, the not home of freedom, the not home of justice and clearly the not home of democracy, the best people killers on the planet, ready to back militarily any despot it puts in charge, at the expense of their victims. Any sane country would hide this embarrassment, nope the US proud.

· doubleplusgood · ʞɐǝdsʞɔnp · , 1 month ago

Imagine a parallel universe where Maria is the British Prime Minister. The British politicians are not in her league. She is notionally just a spokeswoman, in Britain we don't have such free speaking spokesmen. It seems everything said in Britain has to be a lie. So refreshing and much more intellectually engaging to have the truth. There is the small matter of appearance, nobody in British politics now or ever is dressed as well as Maria. Or this show's host. I also like it how Maria has her notes on her phone.

[Apr 22, 2019] Mike Pompeo reveals true motto of CIA: 'We lied, we cheated, we stole'

This memorable statement is at 3:53 ;-)
Apr 22, 2019 | www.youtube.com

JR says: April 22, 2019 at 6:27 am

One would be naive to expect any truth from Pompeo. Self satisfied creature considers this funny too. How deep can one sink..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsnAR3yqfQ0

[Apr 22, 2019] Congress members and top talking heads as foot soldiers of neo-McCarthyism campaign unleashed by intelligence agencies

Apr 22, 2019 | theduran.com

Originally from: Russian collusion was no more than "conspiracy porn" created by Clinton and Obama

But, for the past three years, elite Democratic Party partisans, along with their media partners, force-fed thousands of "Bombshell" headlines to millions of Americans, without ever providing a lick of evidence. The absence of evidence supporting their outrageous lies coupled with the results of Mueller's investigation and Barr's conclusions establishes collusion – not between Russia and the Trump family to influence the 2016 presidential election, but amongst the Democrats and mass media to delegitimize the
Trump presidency.

The Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said, "We saw cold, hard evidence of the Trump campaign, and indeed the Trump family, eagerly intending to collude with Russia." Pelosi has never presented any evidence to support this claim or any of the many other suspect claims the speaker has made.

The Chairman of House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff said, "I have evidence of collusion with Russia and kompromat. It's all in plain sight." Schiff regularly repeated this claim to the public yet never provided any evidence. He appeared on CNN, MSNBC, NBC, and ABC over 150 times and was never called out for repeating these lies over and over again.

Congressman Eric Swalwell on MSNBC said, "Donald Trump is a Russian agent; we have evidence Trump and his family colluded with Russia." Swalwell has parroted this and many other claims since 2016. Evidence provided: none.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters stated, "Trump and his buddies are scumbags who are all Putin's puppets; we will Impeach 45." Waters has been shrieking "Impeach 45" since election day in 2016. Water's reason: she hates Trump and the entire Grand Old Party "GOP."

Many other Democratic members of Washington DC's swamp echoed similar propaganda that mobilized the Trump "resistance." Their hit list of frequent salacious claims included "Trump in handcuffs;" "The entire Trump family, frog-marched, and jailed forever;" "Treason, much worse than Watergate, we have evidence;" "Trump has been a Russian asset since 1987;" "Trump is a racist, sexist, misogynist, Islamophobic, homophobic, transphobic, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, white-national, white-supremacist;"
and let's not forget "He's the next Hitler." This "hit list" has become the Democratic party mantra since Donald trump announced his candidacy in 2015.

Ex-Central Intelligence Agency "CIA" director John Brennan, who just so happens to be on MSNBC's payroll, also weighed in on Trump. "Trump's behavior is treasonous. He committed high crimes and misdemeanors. There is evidence that proves many people in Trump's orbit are guilty of serious crimes and indictments are coming, and soon. Trump committed Treason" The penalty for committing "treason" in America, death. Brennan never provided any evidence. Brennan's lies have destroyed the CIA's reputation and credibility.

Viewers of CNN, MSNBC, NBC, and ABC were inundated with purposeful misrepresentations that continuously promised faithful audiences that Mueller and his team had "mountains" of evidence of Trump's collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice. Day after day, these media outlets repeated how Mueller would deliver an indictment of President Trump, who had committed "treason and high crimes and misdemeanors" that would lead to his impeachment and jail time. The corrupt media represented that Trump's family members, who were also guilty of similar crimes, would be sent to prison. All the above were outrageous lies.

In fact, the only convictions that arose through the Mueller investigation were low-level process crimes which had NOTHING to do with Trump. $25 million wasted, bravo! These salacious accusations proved to be part of an elaborate scheme to delegitimize the sitting president and his administration in order to remove him from office. However, the Democrats and mass media could not have done it without FBI Director James Comey's exploitation of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
We know the whole coup d'état was facilitated by FBI Director James Comey's October 20, 2016 submission of a 66-page application to the FISA court.

Comey and Sally Quillian Yates, the Deputy Attorney General of the United States, signed this application. Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, the presiding judge of the secret FISA court, granted an order that led to our intelligence agencies spying on the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump. The FBI ran a counter-intelligence investigation named "Crossfire Hurricane" on Trump's campaign.

Comey's FISA application was largely based on information contained in the Steele dossier, a dossier written by a disgraced MI6 agent named Christopher Steele. The dossier made wild, unsubstantiated claims and was financed by the campaign of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee via Clinton's law firm Perkins Coie through a company named Fusion GPS.

In a meeting with President Trump in early January 2017, James Comey told President Trump about the existence of the Steele dossier and told him not to worry about it. Comey stated that the dossier's contents were salacious, unverified, and untrue. Apparently, James Comey knew, yet never disclosed to Judge Collyer, that the Steele dossier was garbage prepared by political partisans that did not want Trump to be
elected and financed by Hillary Clinton's campaign. Three days after Comey's meeting with Trump the entire Steele dossier was "leaked" to numerous media sources and published in it's entirety on Buzzfeed with no mention that none of the claims in the Steele dossier had been verified.

Comey signed and submitted two more FISA applications, one in Jan 2017, and another in April 2017 which relied upon the Steele dossier. FISA Judge Michael W. Mosman signed the January renewal, and Judge Anne C. Conway signed the April renewal.

Apparently, Comey never disclosed, to any of the FISA judges, that the Steele dossier was: paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign, and the DNC, or that the Department of Justice's Bruce Ohr had warned on the credibility of the unverified Steele Dossier, or that Bruce Ohr's wife worked for Fusion GPS and helped back door the Steele dossier into the FBI, or that the dossier was filled with baseless allegations, lies, and
propaganda. It appears that four secret court, FISA, judges were lied to in order to kick- off the biggest scandal in history.

FBI's Deputy Director Andrew McCabe recently stated during Congressional testimony that "without the Steele dossier, the FISA warrants would have never been granted." Recent reports suggest that it was ex-CIA director John Brennan who insisted that the Steele dossier be included in the intelligence report used to request the FISA warrants. Senator Rand Paul has issued a call that Brennan be called to testify under oath in Congress.

The entire Mueller investigation would have never been possible without this fake dossier being used to illegally obtain FISA warrants by the omission of material facts within the original FISA application and the three subsequent renewal applications.

Why is Judge Collyer not looking into these and other material misrepresentations used in the FISA application to obtain search warrants to spy on Americans and on a presidential campaign by its opposition and enabled by a weaponized Obama Department of Justice? The silence of secret FISA court Judges Mosman, Conway, and Dearie is frightening. America's secret courts should be abolished.

[Apr 22, 2019] Our Iran Policy Is Run By Fanatics

Apr 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Trump administration won't be issuing any more waivers to importers of Iranian oil:

The Trump administration is poised to tell five nations, including allies Japan, South Korea and Turkey, that they will no longer be exempt from U.S. sanctions if they continue to import oil from Iran.

U.S. officials say Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to announce on Monday that the administration will not renew sanctions waivers for the five countries when they expire on May 2.

Refusing to offer new sanctions waivers is the latest sign that Trump is once again giving in to the most extreme Iran hawks. When sanctions on Iran's oil sector went into effect last November, the administration initially granted waivers to the top importers of Iranian oil to avoid a spike in the price of oil, but that is now coming to an end. The economic war that the U.S. has been waging against Iran over the last year is about to expand to include some of the world's biggest economies and some of America's leading trading partners. It is certain to inflict more hardship on the Iranian people, and it will damage relations between the U.S. and other major economic powers, including China and India, but it will have no discernible effect on the Iranian government's behavior and policies. India, China, and Turkey are practically guaranteed to ignore U.S. demands that they eliminate all Iranian oil imports.

Josh Rogin reported on the same story:

The decision to end waivers has implications for world oil markets, which have been eagerly anticipating President Trump's decision on whether to extend waivers. The officials said market disruption should be minimal for two reasons: supply is now greater than demand and Pompeo is also set to announce offsets through commitments from other suppliers such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Trump spoke about the issue Thursday with the UAE's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

Between the administration's Venezuela and Iran oil sanctions and increased instability in Libya (also supported by the Trump administration), oil prices are nonetheless likely to rise. Even if they don't, Trump's Iran obsession is causing significant economic dislocation for no good reason as part of a regime change policy that can't and won't succeed. It cannot be emphasized enough that the reimposition of sanctions on Iran is completely unwarranted and represents a betrayal of previous U.S. commitments to Iran and our allies under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The decision to refuse any new sanctions waivers is a clear sign that the most fanatical members of the Trump administration have prevailed in internal debates and U.S. Iran policy is held hostage to their whims.


liberal, says: April 21, 2019 at 11:44 pm

Maybe Trump will reap the benefits of this if oil prices go up a lot and it torpedos his reelection in 2020.

One thing I'm really not clear on how are these proposed sanctions against third parties (e.g. Japan, etc etc) not a violation of trade agreements? Are there escape clauses in those agreements that allow the US to do these things, or is it merely that these other countries are (usually) not willing to rely on the trade agreements' protections because, at the end of the day, it would mean a trade war with the US, which they're not willing to countenance?

JR , says: April 22, 2019 at 6:27 am
One would be naive to expect any truth from Pompeo. Self satisfied creature considers this funny too. How deep can one sink..

https://www.youtube.com/embed/tsnAR3yqfQ0?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

cosmo , says: April 22, 2019 at 7:19 am
Iran policy ??? What about foreign policy in general ?? Interventionism is NOT what Americans want, or can afford! No more lives & limbs (and dollars) for foreign countries!!
Dry Dock , says: April 22, 2019 at 8:34 am
"Between the administration's Venezuela and Iran oil sanctions and increased instability in Libya (also supported by the Trump administration), oil prices are nonetheless likely to rise. Even if they don't, Trump's Iran obsession is causing significant economic dislocation for no good reason "

But there is a good reason. Forcing up oil prices is a shot in the arm for the Saudi economy. Remember "Israel first, and Saudi Arabia second". That formula explains most of Trump's foreign policy, the rest being a jumble of random impulses and the consequences of infighting among his advisors.

KXB , says: April 22, 2019 at 10:24 am
Gas is already $3.20 in the Chicago suburbs, and we are not into the summer driving season yet. Overseas – India is going to the poll. India imports most of its oil, and Iran is a major supplier. Yes, the Saudis have been trying to get India to switch over to more Saudi imports – but it would look like "strong" Modi is giving in to Trump and MBS.
TheSnark , says: April 22, 2019 at 10:59 am
We are going to sanction China for buying Iranian oil? Does anyone seriously think they are going to submit to that gracefully? Japan and Korea might, they are much smaller and stuck with us. But China?

And I seriously doubt that sanctioning India for buying Iranian oil will advance our strategic alliance with them, either.

[Apr 22, 2019] Boeing s 737 Max Debacle The Result of a Dangerously Pro-Automation Design Philosophy

Notable quotes:
"... "One of the problems we have with the system is, why put a system like that on an airplane in the first place?" said Slack, who doesn't represent any survivors of either the Lion Air or Ethiopia Airlines crashes. "I think what we're going to find is that because of changes from the (Boeing 737) 800 series to the MAX series, there are dramatic changes in which they put in controls without native pitch stability. It goes to the basic DNA of the airplane. It may not be fixable." ..."
"... But it's also important that the pilots get physical feedback about what is going on. In the old days, when cables connected the pilot's controls to the flying surfaces, you had to pull up, hard, if the airplane was trimmed to descend. You had to push, hard, if the airplane was trimmed to ascend. With computer oversight there is a loss of natural sense in the controls. There is only an artificial feel, a feeling that the computer wants the pilots to feel. And sometimes, it doesn't feel so great. ..."
"... An airplane approaching an aerodynamic stall cannot, under any circumstances, have a tendency to go further into the stall. This is called "dynamic instability," and the only airplanes that exhibit that characteristic -- fighter jets -- are also fitted with ejection seats. ..."
"... The airframe, the hardware, should get it right the first time and not need a lot of added bells and whistles to fly predictably. This has been an aviation canon from the day the Wright brothers first flew at Kitty Hawk. ..."
"... When the flight computer trims the airplane to descend, because the MCAS system thinks it's about to stall, a set of motors and jacks push the pilot's control columns forward. It turns out that the flight management computer can put a lot of force into that column -- indeed, so much force that a human pilot can quickly become exhausted trying to pull the column back, trying to tell the computer that this really, really should not be happening. ..."
"... MCAS is implemented in the flight management computer, even at times when the autopilot is turned off, when the pilots think they are flying the plane. In a fight between the flight management computer and human pilots over who is in charge, the computer will bite humans until they give up and (literally) die ..."
"... Like someone with narcissistic personality disorder, MCAS gaslights the pilots. And it turns out badly for everyone. "Raise the nose, HAL." "I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that." ..."
"... Travis also describes the bad business incentives that led Boeing to conceptualize and present the 737 Max as just a tweak of an existing design, as opposed to being so areodynamically different as to be a new plane .and require time-consuming and costly recertification. To succeed in that obfuscation, Boeing had to underplay the existence and role of the MCAS system: ..."
"... Travis also explains why the FAA allows for what amounts to self-certification. This practice didn't result from the usual deregulation pressures, but from the FAA being unable to keep technical experts from being bid away by private sector players. Moreover, the industry has such a strong safety culture (airplanes falling out of the sky are bad for business) that the accommodation didn't seem risky. ..."
"... The 737 Max saga teaches us not only about the limits of technology and the risks of complexity, it teaches us about our real priorities. Today, safety doesn't come first -- money comes first, and safety's only utility in that regard is in helping to keep the money coming. The problem is getting worse because our devices are increasingly dominated by something that's all too easy to manipulate: software ..."
Apr 22, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Even though Boeing is scrambling to fix the software meant to counter the 737 Max's increased propensity to stall as a result of the placement of larger, more fuel=efficient engines in a way that reduced the stability of the plane in flight, it's not clear that this will be adequate in terms of flight safety or the public perception of the plane. And even though the FAA is almost certain to sign off on Boeing's patch, foreign regulators may not be so forgiving. The divergence we've seen between the FAA and other national authorities is likely to intensify. Recall that China grounded the 737 Max before the FAA. In another vote of no confidence, even as Boeing was touting that its changes to its now infamous MCAS software, designed to compensate for safety risks introduced by the placement of the engines on the 737 Max, the Canadian air regulator said he wanted 737 Max pilots to have flight simulator training, contrary to the manufacturer's assertion that it isn't necessary. Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that American Airlines is developing 737 Max flight simulator training .

But a fundamental question remains: can improved software compensate for hardware shortcomings? Some experts harbor doubts. For instance, from the Spokane Spokesman-Review :

"One of the problems we have with the system is, why put a system like that on an airplane in the first place?" said Slack, who doesn't represent any survivors of either the Lion Air or Ethiopia Airlines crashes. "I think what we're going to find is that because of changes from the (Boeing 737) 800 series to the MAX series, there are dramatic changes in which they put in controls without native pitch stability. It goes to the basic DNA of the airplane. It may not be fixable."

"It is within the realm of possibility that, if much of the basic pitch stability performance of the plane cannot be addressed by a software fix, a redesign may be required and the MAX might not ever fly," [aviation attorney and former NASA aerospace engineer Mike] Slack said.

An even more damming take comes in How the Boeing 737 Max Disaster Looks to a Software Developer in IEEE Spectrum (hat tip Marshall Auerback). Author Greg Travis has been a software developer for 40 years and a pilot. He does a terrific job of explaining the engineering and business considerations that drove the 737 Max design. He describes why the plane's design is unsound and why the software patch in the form of MCAS was inadequate, and an improved version is unlikely to be able to compensate for the plane's deficiencies.

Even for those who have been following the 737 Max story, this article has background that is likely to be new. For instance, to a large degree, pilots do not fly commercial aircraft. Pilots send instructions to computer systems that fly these planes. Travis explains early on that the As Travis explains:

In the 737 Max, like most modern airliners and most modern cars, everything is monitored by computer, if not directly controlled by computer. In many cases, there are no actual mechanical connections (cables, push tubes, hydraulic lines) between the pilot's controls and the things on the wings, rudder, and so forth that actually make the plane move ..

But it's also important that the pilots get physical feedback about what is going on. In the old days, when cables connected the pilot's controls to the flying surfaces, you had to pull up, hard, if the airplane was trimmed to descend. You had to push, hard, if the airplane was trimmed to ascend. With computer oversight there is a loss of natural sense in the controls. There is only an artificial feel, a feeling that the computer wants the pilots to feel. And sometimes, it doesn't feel so great.

Travis also explains why the 737 Max's engine location made the plane dangerously unstable:

Pitch changes with power changes are common in aircraft. Even my little Cessna pitches up a bit when power is applied. Pilots train for this problem and are used to it. Nevertheless, there are limits to what safety regulators will allow and to what pilots will put up with.

Pitch changes with increasing angle of attack, however, are quite another thing. An airplane approaching an aerodynamic stall cannot, under any circumstances, have a tendency to go further into the stall. This is called "dynamic instability," and the only airplanes that exhibit that characteristic -- fighter jets -- are also fitted with ejection seats.

Everyone in the aviation community wants an airplane that flies as simply and as naturally as possible. That means that conditions should not change markedly, there should be no significant roll, no significant pitch change, no nothing when the pilot is adding power, lowering the flaps, or extending the landing gear.

The airframe, the hardware, should get it right the first time and not need a lot of added bells and whistles to fly predictably. This has been an aviation canon from the day the Wright brothers first flew at Kitty Hawk.

Travis explains in detail why the MCAS approach to monitoring the angle of attack was greatly inferior to older methods .including having the pilots look out the window. And here's what happens when MCAS goes wrong:

When the flight computer trims the airplane to descend, because the MCAS system thinks it's about to stall, a set of motors and jacks push the pilot's control columns forward. It turns out that the flight management computer can put a lot of force into that column -- indeed, so much force that a human pilot can quickly become exhausted trying to pull the column back, trying to tell the computer that this really, really should not be happening.

Indeed, not letting the pilot regain control by pulling back on the column was an explicit design decision. Because if the pilots could pull up the nose when MCAS said it should go down, why have MCAS at all?

MCAS is implemented in the flight management computer, even at times when the autopilot is turned off, when the pilots think they are flying the plane. In a fight between the flight management computer and human pilots over who is in charge, the computer will bite humans until they give up and (literally) die

Like someone with narcissistic personality disorder, MCAS gaslights the pilots. And it turns out badly for everyone. "Raise the nose, HAL." "I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that."

Travis also describes the bad business incentives that led Boeing to conceptualize and present the 737 Max as just a tweak of an existing design, as opposed to being so areodynamically different as to be a new plane .and require time-consuming and costly recertification. To succeed in that obfuscation, Boeing had to underplay the existence and role of the MCAS system:

The necessity to insist that the 737 Max was no different in flying characteristics, no different in systems, from any other 737 was the key to the 737 Max's fleet fungibility. That's probably also the reason why the documentation about the MCAS system was kept on the down-low.

Put in a change with too much visibility, particularly a change to the aircraft's operating handbook or to pilot training, and someone -- probably a pilot -- would have piped up and said, "Hey. This doesn't look like a 737 anymore."

To drive the point home, Travis contrasts the documentation related to MCAS with documentation Cessna provided with an upgrade to its digital autopilot, particularly warnings. The difference is dramatic and it shouldn't be. He concludes:

In my Cessna, humans still win a battle of the wills every time. That used to be a design philosophy of every Boeing aircraft, as well, and one they used against their archrival Airbus, which had a different philosophy. But it seems that with the 737 Max, Boeing has changed philosophies about human/machine interaction as quietly as they've changed their aircraft operating manuals.

Travis also explains why the FAA allows for what amounts to self-certification. This practice didn't result from the usual deregulation pressures, but from the FAA being unable to keep technical experts from being bid away by private sector players. Moreover, the industry has such a strong safety culture (airplanes falling out of the sky are bad for business) that the accommodation didn't seem risky. But it is now:

So Boeing produced a dynamically unstable airframe, the 737 Max. That is big strike No. 1. Boeing then tried to mask the 737's dynamic instability with a software system. Big strike No. 2. Finally, the software relied on systems known for their propensity to fail (angle-of-attack indicators) and did not appear to include even rudimentary provisions to cross-check the outputs of the angle-of-attack sensor against other sensors, or even the other angle-of-attack sensor. Big strike No. 3.

None of the above should have passed muster. None of the above should have passed the "OK" pencil of the most junior engineering staff, much less a DER [FAA Designated Engineering Representative].

That's not a big strike. That's a political, social, economic, and technical sin .

The 737 Max saga teaches us not only about the limits of technology and the risks of complexity, it teaches us about our real priorities. Today, safety doesn't come first -- money comes first, and safety's only utility in that regard is in helping to keep the money coming. The problem is getting worse because our devices are increasingly dominated by something that's all too easy to manipulate: software

I believe the relative ease -- not to mention the lack of tangible cost -- of software updates has created a cultural laziness within the software engineering community. Moreover, because more and more of the hardware that we create is monitored and controlled by software, that cultural laziness is now creeping into hardware engineering -- like building airliners. Less thought is now given to getting a design correct and simple up front because it's so easy to fix what you didn't get right later .

It is likely that MCAS, originally added in the spirit of increasing safety, has now killed more people than it could have ever saved. It doesn't need to be "fixed" with more complexity, more software. It needs to be removed altogether.

There's a lot more in this meaty piece . Be sure to read it in full.

And if crapification by software has undermined the once-vanuted airline safety culture, why should we hold out hope for any better with self-driving cars?


Fazal Majid , April 22, 2019 at 2:11 am

Automation is not the issue. Boeing cutting corners and putting only one or two angle of attack sensors is. Just like a man with two clocks can't tell the time, if one of the sensors malfunctions, the computer has no way of knowing which one is wrong. That's why Airbus puts three sensors in its aircraft, and why Boeing's Dreamliner has three computers with CPUs from three different manufacturers to get the necessary triple redundancy.

Thus this is really about Boeing's shocking negligence in putting profits above safety, and the FAA's total capture to the point Boeing employees did most of the certification work. I would add the corrosion of Boeing's ethical standards was completely predictable once it acquired McDonnell-Douglas and became a major defense contractor.

Yves Smith Post author , April 22, 2019 at 8:08 am

I beg to differ since it looks like you didn't read the article in full, as a strongly recommended. The article has a section on the cost of fixing hardware problems versus software problems. Hardware problems are enormously costly to fix.

The plane has a hardware problem resulting from Boeing not being willing to risk having to recertify a fuel efficient 737. So rather than making the plane higher off the ground (new landing gear, which other articles indicate was a non-starter since it would lead to enough other changes so as to necessitate recertification) and trying to fix a hardware problem with software. That has two knock-on problems: it's not clear this will ever be adequate (not just Travis' opinion) and second, it's risky given the software industry's propensity to ship and patch later. Boeing created an additional problem, as Travis stresses, by greatly underplaying the existence of MCAS (it was mentioned after page 700 in the documentation!) and maintaining the fiction that pilots didn't need simulator training, which some regulators expect will be the case even after the patch.

You also miss the point the article makes: the author argues (unlike in banking), the FAA coming to rely on the airlines for certification wasn't a decision they made, but an adaptation to the fact that they could no longer hire and retain the engineers they needed to do the work at the FAA on government pay scales. By contrast, at (say) the SEC, you see a revolving door of lawyers from plenty fancy firms. You have plenty of "talent" willing to work at the SEC, but with bad incentives.

Susan the other` , April 22, 2019 at 10:57 am

Thank you for reviewing this. 700+ pages! I thought it was paywalled bec. so slow to download. The resistance to achieving fuel efficiency is front and center these days. One thing I relate it to is the Macron attitude of punishing the fuel consumer to change the market. Cart before horse. When the FAA sent down fuel efficiency requirements it might have been similarly preemptive, now in hindsight. There should have been legislation and regulation which adjusted the profitability of the airline industry via better tax breaks or regulations against aggressive competition. The safety of airlines would have been upheld if the viability of the company were protected. So even domestic protectionism when it comes to safety. And in so doing, the FAA/congress could also have controlled and limited airline use which tries to make up in volume for all the new costs it incurs. It's a serious problem when you are so carefree as a legislator that you let the free market do it. What a mess. Quality is the first thing to go.

foppe , April 22, 2019 at 11:41 am

reminds me of what was said about risk departments inside banks -- deliberately lowly paid, so that anyone with skills would move on or easily be hired away. Was it you? Bill Black? Luyendijk? I don't remember. Either way..

Marley's dad , April 22, 2019 at 11:45 am

I did read the article completely and I was an aircraft commander of a C-141A during the Viet Nam war and I am a degreed electrical engineer.

Having flown the C-141A for several thousand hours I am very familiar with the aircraft pitching up almost uncontrollably. A favorite trick that C -141 flight instructors pulled on pilots new to aircraft was to tell the student pilot to "go around" (for the first time during his training) on an approach. The student pilot followed the flight manual procedure and started to raise the nose while advancing the throttles to full power. However, what wasn't covered in the flight manual was the fact that a HUGE trim change occurred when the engines went from near idle to full power. To regain control, it took both hands (arms) to move the yoke away from your chest while running nose down trim. While you were doing this the airplane was trying to stand on its tail. On the other hand none of us ever forgot the lesson.

The C-141 was not fly by wire; however all control surfaces were equipped with hydraulic assist and "feel springs" to mimic control feel without the hydraulics. The feel springs for the elevators must have been selected using a human subject like Arnold Schwarzenegger because (in my opinion) they were much stronger than necessary. The intent was to prevent the pilots from getting into excessive angles of pitch, which absolutely would occur if you weren't prepared for it on a "go around".

What Fazal & V have said is basically correct. The max has four angle of attack vanes. The MAIN problem was that Boeing decided to go cheap and only connect one of the vanes to the MCAS. If they had connected two, the MCAS would be able to determine that one of them was wrong and disconnect itself. That would have eliminated the pitch down problem that caused the two crashes.

Connecting that second AOA vane would not have created any certification issues and would have made Boeing's claim about the "Max" being the "same" as previous versions much closer to the truth. Had they done that we wouldn't be talking about this.

Another solution would have been to disable the MCAS if there was significant counter force on the yoke applied by the pilot. This has been used on autopilot systems since the 1960's. But not consistently. The proper programming protocol for the MCAS exists and should have been used.

I agree that using only one AOA vane and the programming weren't the only really stupid things that Boeing did in this matter. Insufficient information and training given to the pilots was another.

flora , April 22, 2019 at 12:05 pm

Yes.
second, it's risky given the software industry's propensity to ship and patch later.
-this is one of the main themes in the Dilbert cartoon strip.

the author argues (unlike in banking), the FAA coming to rely on the airlines for certification wasn't a decision they made, but an adaptation to the fact that they could no longer hire and retain the engineers they needed to do the work at the FAA on government pay scales.

-That's what happens when you make 'government small enough to drown in a bathtub' , i.e. starve of the funds necessary to do a good job.

My 2¢ . Boeing's decision to cut manufacturing corners AND give the autopilot MCAS system absolute control might have been done (just a guess here, based on the all current the 'self-driving' fantasies in technology ) to push more AI 'self-drivingness' into the airplane. (The 'We don't need expensive pilots, we can use inexpensive pilots, and one day we won't need pilots at all' fantasy.) Imo, this makes the MCAS system, along with the auto AI self-driving systems now on the road no better than beta test platforms And early beta test platforms, at that.

It's one thing when MS or Apple push out a not quite ready for prime time OS "upgrade", then wait for all the user feedback to know where it the OS needs more patches. No one dies in those situations (hopefully). But putting not-ready for prime time airplanes and cars on the road in beta test condition to get feedback? yikes . my opinion.

Anarcissie , April 22, 2019 at 3:31 pm

It is interesting that a software bug that appears in the field costs very roughly ten times as much as one caught in QA before being released, yet most managements continue to slight QA in favor of glitzy features. I suppose that preference follows supposed customer demand.

WestcoastDeplorable , April 22, 2019 at 2:14 pm

It's not only the 737 Max that endangers Boeing's survival; it's this:

https://www.aljazeera.com/investigations/boeing787/

15 workers at their N. Charleston SC assembly plant were asked if they would fly on the plane they build there; 10 said NO WAY!

Alex V , April 22, 2019 at 3:23 am

Boeing, the FAA, and the airlines seriously screwed up the introduction of this aircraft so badly it cost lives. The article by Travis is however written by someone out of his depth, even though he has more familiarity with aircraft and software than the average person. There are numerous factual errors and misrepresentations, which many commenters (with more detailed knowledge of the subjects) on the article point out. One of the principles of aviation safety is to identify and fix failures without finger pointing, in order to encourage a culture of openness and cooperation. The tone of the article takes the opposite approach while trying to argue from (undeserved) authority. I agree with his critique that these incidents are a result capitalism run amok – that should, in my opinion, be separate from a discussion of the technical problems and how to fix them.

Thuto , April 22, 2019 at 4:51 am

If Boeing had adhered to that cardinal principle of openness, there might be no failure to fix via "a culture of openness and cooperation". These catastrophic failures were a result of Boeing not being open with its customers about the safety implications of its redesign of the 737 Max and instead choosing the path of obfuscation to sell the idea of seamless fleet fungibility to airlines.

Knifecatcher , April 22, 2019 at 5:00 am

Looking through the comments the complaints about the article seemed to be in one of three areas-

– Questioning the author's credentials (you're just a Cessna pilot!)
– Parroting the Boeing line that this was all really pilot error
– Focusing on some narrow technical element to discredit the article

The majority of comments were in agreement with the general tenor of the piece, and the author engaged politely and constructively with some of the points that were brought up. I thought the article was very insightful, and sometimes it does take an outsider to point out that the emperor has no clothes.

I'd like to see a reference for your assertion that the "principles of aviation safety" preclude finger pointing. Unless I'm very much mistaken the whole purpose of an FAA accident investigation is to determine the root cause, identify the responsible party, and, yes, point fingers if necessary.

Alex V , April 22, 2019 at 5:57 am

This is one example:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crew_resource_management

The general point I was trying to make, perhaps poorly worded, is that the only goal is to identify the problem and fix it, and not to focus primarily on assigning blame as vigorously as possible. Mistakes occur for many reasons – some of them nefarious, some not. Excessive finger pointing, especially before a full picture of what went wrong has been developed, fosters a tendency to coverups and fear, in my opinion.

Regarding your other points, the technical details are vital to understand clearly in almost any aviation incident, as there is never one cause, and the chain of events is always incredibly complex. Travis' analysis makes the answers too easy.

skippy , April 22, 2019 at 6:23 am

From what I understand the light touch approach was more about getting people to honestly divulge information during the investigation period, of which, assisted in determining cause.

I think you overstate your case.

Alex V , April 22, 2019 at 6:58 am

This "light touch" approach is used throughout the aviation industry, all the way from initial design to aircraft maintenance, as the purpose is to make sure that anyone, no matter the rank or experience, can bring up safety concerns before incidents occur without fear of repercussions for challenging authority. It's likely that this cornerstone of aviation culture was ignored at too many points along the way here.

I am not defending Boeing, the FAA, or the airlines. Serious, likely criminal, mistakes were made by all.

I however take issue with Travis' approach of assigning blame this early and vigorously while making errors in explaining what happened. He especially attacks the the development process at Boeing, since software is his speciality, although he makes no claims as to having worked with real time or avionics software, aside from using products incorporating it. These are quite different types of software from normal code running a website or a bank. He does not, and can not, know what occurred when the code was written, yet makes significant declarations as to the incompetence of the engineers and coders involved.

If he were leading the investigation, I believe the most likely outcome would be pushback and coverup by those involved.

flora , April 22, 2019 at 12:19 pm

It's likely that this cornerstone of aviation culture was ignored at too many points along the way here.

I am not defending Boeing, the FAA, or the airlines. Serious, likely criminal, mistakes were made by all.

I however take issue with Travis' approach of assigning blame this early

I don't disagree with your description of how it used to be. However, since the FAA has reduced its regulatory role, and by extension given aircraft manufactures more leash to run with ideas that shouldn't be followed, we're left with the situation that large, potentially crippling tort lawsuits are one of the only checks left on manufacturer stupidity or malfeasance. Think of the Ford Pinto bolt-too-long-causing-gas-tank-explosions case. If the FCC won't make manufacturers think twice when internal engineers say 'this isn't a good idea, isn't a good design', maybe the potential of a massive lawsuit will make them think twice.

And this is where we get into pointing the finger, assigning blame, etc. I'm assuming there are good engineers at Boeing who warned against these multiple design failure and were ignored, the FCC was see-no-evil here-no-evil, and the MCAS went forward. Now come the law suits. It's the only thing left to 'get Boeing's attention'. I don't know if Travis' is too early. It's likely there's been plenty of chatter among the Boeing and industry engineers already. imo.

charles 2 , April 22, 2019 at 3:35 am

Training a pilot is building a very complicated automation system : what kind of thought process do you expect within the short timeframe (few minutes) of a crisis in a cockpit ? Kant's critique of pure reason ?Somehow people seem more comfortable from death coming from human error (I.e. a bad human automation system) that death coming from a design fault, but a death is a death

The problem is not automation vs no automation, it is bad corner-cutting automation vs good systematic and expensive automation. It is also bad integration between pilot brain based automation and system automation, which also boils out to corner cutting, because sharing too much information about the real behaviour of the system (if only it is known accurately ) increases the complexity and the cost of pilot training.

Real safety comes from proven design (as in mathematical proof). It is only achievable on simple systems because proofing is conceptually very hard. A human is inevitably a very complex system that is impossible to proof, therefore, beyond a certain standard of reliability, getting the human factor out of the equation is the only way to improve things further. we are probably close to that threshold with civil aviation.

Also, I don't see anywhere in aircraft safety statistics any suggestion of "crapification" of safety see https://aviation-safety.net/graphics/infographics/Fatal-Accidents-Per-Mln-Flights-1977-2017.jpg Saying that the improvement is due only the better pilot training and not to more intrinsically reliable airplanes is a stretch IMHO.

Similarly, regarding cars, the considerable improvement in death per km travelled in the last 30 years cannot be attributed only to better drivers, a large part comes from ESP and ABS becoming standard (see https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/811182 ). If this is not automation, what is ?

Yves Smith Post author , April 22, 2019 at 7:57 am

It looks as if you didn't read the piece. The problem, which the author makes explicit, is the "ship now, patch later" philosophy that is endemic in software design.

And it would be better to look at flight safety stats within markets. You have great swathes of the emerging world starting to fly on airplanes during this period. I'm not saying the general trend isn't correct, but I would anticipate it's to a significant degree attributable to the maturation of emerging economy air systems. For instance, I flew on Indonesia's Garuda in the early 1990s and was told I was taking a safety risk; I'm now informed that it's a good airline. Similarly, in the early 1980s I was doing business in Mexico, and the McKinsey partner I was traveling with (who as a hobby read black box transcripts from plane crashes) was very edgy on the legs of our travels when we had to use AeroMexico (as in he'd natter on in a way that was very out of character for a typical older WASP-y guy, he was close to white knuckle nervous).

Marley's dad , April 22, 2019 at 10:28 am

Garuda's transition from "safety risk" to "good airline" was an actual occurrence. At one point Garuda and all other Indonesian air lines were prohibited from flying in the EU because of numerous crashes that were the result of management issues, that forced the airline(s) to change their ways.

Darius , April 22, 2019 at 10:11 am

ABS is an enhancement. MCAS is a kludge to patch up massive weaknesses introduced into the hardware by a chain of bad decisions going back almost 20 years.

Boeing should have started designing a new narrow-body when they cancelled the 757 in 2004. Instead, they chose to keep relying on the 737. The end result is MCAS and 300+ deaths.

Harrold , April 22, 2019 at 11:16 am

I'm not sure Boeing can design a fresh aircraft any more.

Olga , April 22, 2019 at 4:17 am

"There are numerous factual errors and misrepresentations, which many commenters (with more detailed knowledge of the subjects) on the article point out."
Not sure why anyone would mis-characterise comments. The first comment points out a deficiency, and explains it. There was only one other commenter, who alleged errors – but without explaining what those could be. He was later identified by another person as a troll. Almost all other comments were complimentary of the article. So why make the above assertion?

Yves Smith Post author , April 22, 2019 at 7:43 am

We have a noteworthy number of newbie comments making poorly-substantiated digs at the Spectrum IEEE piece. We've also seen this sort of non-organic-looking response when we've put up pro-union pieces when political fights were in play, like Wisconsin's Scott Walker going after unions.

AEL , April 22, 2019 at 9:29 am

Travis does indeed play fast and loose with a number of things. For example, his 0-360 engine does *not* have pistons the size of dinner plates (at a 130mm bore it isn't even the diameter of a particularly large saucer). MCAS is a stability augmentation system not stall prevention system and the 737 MAX wasn't "unstable" it was insufficiently stable. The 737 trim system acts on the stabilizer not the elevator (which is a completely different control surface). etc.

For the most part, it doesn't affect the thrust of his arguments which are at a higher level. However it does get distracting.

Harrold , April 22, 2019 at 11:19 am

"the 737 MAX wasn't "unstable" it was insufficiently stable"

The passengers are not "dead", they are insufficiently alive.

Olga , April 22, 2019 at 12:00 pm

Thank you – I was beginning to wonder what the difference was between unstable and insufficiently stable. Not that this is a subject to make jokes about.

JBird4049 , April 22, 2019 at 1:50 pm

Not that this is a subject to make jokes about.

Yeah, but sometimes the choice is to laugh or cry, and after constantly going WTF!?! every time I read about this horror, even mordantly grim humor is nice.

Walt , April 22, 2019 at 2:30 pm

Yes, stabilizer trim on the 737 acts on the horizontal stabilizer, not the elevator or "pilots' control columns."

As a former "73" pilot, I too find the author's imprecision distracting.

ChristopherJ , April 22, 2019 at 5:21 am

Investigators pipe up, but my understanding of a proper investigation is: a. find out what happened; b. find out why the incident occurred; c. what can be done to prevent.

The public opinion has already sailed I think, against the company. If negligent, adverse-safety decisions were made, the head people should be prosecuted accordingly.

Yet, I feel this isn't going to happen despite the reality that billions of humans never want to fly a boeing jet again. Why would you risk it? Toast and deservedly imho

Ape , April 22, 2019 at 5:35 am

"Agile" "use-case driven" software development: very dangerous, takes the disruptive, crappification approach (under some hands) of trying to identify the minimum investment to hit the minimal requirements, particularly focusing on an 80/20 Pareto rule distribution of efforts.

Which may be good enough for video delivery or cell-phone function, but not for life-critical or scientifically-critical equipment

JeffC , April 22, 2019 at 12:59 pm

Many people here are assuming Boeing uses modern software-development methodology in spite of flaws that make such an approach iffy in this field. Why assume that?

When I worked, many years ago now, as a Boeing software engineer, their software-development practices were 15 years behind the rest of the world. Part of that was sheer caution and conservatism re new things, precisely because of the safety culture, and part of it was because they did not have many of the best software people. They could rarely hire the best in part because cautious, super-conservative code is boring. Their management approach was optimized to get solid systems out of ordinary engineers with a near incomprehensible number of review and testing steps.

Anyone in this audience worked there in software recently? If not, fewer words about how they develop code might be called for. Yes, the MCAS system was seriously flawed. But we do not have the information to actually know why.

False Solace , April 22, 2019 at 1:40 pm

> Anyone in this audience worked there in software recently? If not, fewer words about how they develop code might be called for.

4/16 Links included a lengthy spiel from Reddit via Hacker News by a software engineer who worked at Boeing 10 years ago (far more recently than you) which detailed the horrors of Boeing's dysfunctional corporate culture at length. This is in addition to many other posts covering the story from multiple angles.

NC has covered this topic extensively. Maybe try familiarizing yourself with their content before telling others to shut up.

JeffC , April 22, 2019 at 2:32 pm

Excuse me? Are ad hominem attacks fine now? I didn't tell anyone to "shut up" or contradict the great amount of good reporting on Boeing's management dysfunction.

I just pointed out that at one time, yes way back there, there was a logic to it and that the current criticism here of its software-development culture in particular seems founded on a combination of speculation and general disgust with the software industry.

Whatever else I am or however wrong I may sometimes be, I am an engineer, and real engineers look for evidence.

NN , April 22, 2019 at 5:50 am

Moving the engines in itself didn't introduce safety risks, this tendency to nose up was always there. The primary problem is Boeing wanted to pretend MAX is the same plane as NG (the previous version) for certification and pilot training purposes. Which is why the MCAS is black box deeply hardwired into the control systems and they didn't tell pilots about it. It was supposed to be invisible, just sort of translating layer between the new airframe and pilots commanding it as the old one.

And this yearning for pre-automation age, for directly controlling the surfaces by cables and all, is misguided. People didn't evolve for flying, it's all learned the hard way, there is no natural way to feel the plane. In fact in school they will drill into you to trust the instruments and not your pedestrian instincts. Instruments and computers may fail, but your instincts will fail far more often.

After all 737 actually is old design, not fly by wire. And one theory of what happened in the Ethiopian case is that when they disengaged the automatic thing, they were not able to physically overcome the aerodynamic forces pushing on the plane. So there you have your cables & strings operated machine.

Yves Smith Post author , April 22, 2019 at 7:40 am

I don't see basis for your assertion about safety risks given the counter-evidence in the form of the very existence of the MCAS software. Every article written on it points out it was to prevent the possibility of the plane stalling out when "punching up". And as the article describes, there were two design factors, the placement of the engines and the nacelles, which led to it generating too much lift in certain scenarios.

And your argument regarding what happened when the pilot turned off the autopilot is yet another indictment of Boeing's design. This is not "Oh bad pilots," this is "OMG, evidence of another Boeing fuckup." This is what occurred when the pilots disabled MCAS per instructions.

Have you not heard of purely mechanical systems that allow for the multiplication of force? It's another Boeing design defect that the pilots couldn't operate the flight stabilizer when the plane was under takeoff stresses. That's a typical use case! And it was what Boeing told pilots to do and it didn't work! From Reuters (apparently written before the black box detail revealed that the pilots could not control the stabilizers):

Boeing pointed to long-established procedures that pilots could have used to handle a malfunction of the anti-stall system, regardless of whether the pilots knew MCAS existed.

That checklist tells pilots to switch off the two stabilizer trim cutout switches on the central console, and then to adjust the aircraft's stabilizers manually using trim wheels.

And that's one of they should worry about most, since that's one of highest risk times for flight, and the plane should have been engineered with that scenario in mind. This raises the possibility that the inability of the pilots to handle the plane manually in takeoff also somehow resulted from the changes to the aerodynamics resulting from the placement of the bigger engines.

This is his argument about how the reliance on software has led to undue relaxation of good hardware design principles:

The original FAA Eisenhower-era certification requirement was a testament to simplicity: Planes should not exhibit significant pitch changes with changes in engine power. That requirement was written when there was a direct connection between the controls in the pilot's hands and the flying surfaces on the airplane. Because of that, the requirement -- when written -- rightly imposed a discipline of simplicity on the design of the airframe itself. Now software stands between man and machine, and no one seems to know exactly what is going on. Things have become too complex to understand.

NN , April 22, 2019 at 9:08 am

I'll cite the original article:

Pitch changes with power changes are common in aircraft. Even my little Cessna pitches up a bit when power is applied. Pilots train for this problem and are used to it.

Again, the plane already had the habit of picthing up and the changes didn't add that. The question isn't if, but how much and what to do about it. Nowhere did I read MAX exceeds some safety limits in this regard. If Boeing made the plane to physically break regulations and tried to fix it with software then indeed that would be bad. However, I'm not aware of that.

As for the Ethiopian scenario, I was talking about this article . It says when they tried manual, it very well could be beyond their physical ability to turn the wheels and so they were forced to switch electrical motors back on, but that also turned up MCAS again. In fact it also says this seizing up thing was present in the old 737 design and pilots were trained to deal with it, but somehow the plane become more reliable and training for this failure mode was dropped. This to me doesn't look like good old days of aviation design ruined by computers.

JerryDenim , April 22, 2019 at 5:57 pm

You should read the Ethiopian Government's crash preliminary crash report. Very short and easy to read. Contains a wealth of information. Regarding the pilot's attempt to use the manual trim wheel, according to the crash report, the aircraft was already traveling at 340 knots indicated airspeed, well past Vmo or the aircraft's certified airspeed when they first attempted to manually trim the nose up. It didn't work because of the excessive control forces generated by high airspeeds well beyond the aircraft's certification. I'm not excusing Boeing, the automated MCAS nose down trim system was an engineering abomination, but the pilots could have made their lives much easier by setting a more normal thrust setting for straight and level flight, slowing their aircraft to a speed within the normal operating envelope, then working their runaway nose-down pitch emergency.

none , April 22, 2019 at 6:21 am

I didn't like the IEEE Spectrum piece very much since the author seemed to miss or exaggerate some issues, and also seemed to confuse flying a Cessna with being expert about large airliners or aerospace engineering. The title says "software engineer" but at the end he says "software executive". Executive doesn't always mean non-engineer but it does mean someone who is full of themselves, and that shows through the whole article. The stuff I'm seeing from actual engineers (mostly on Hacker News) is a little more careful. I'm still getting the sense that the 737 MAX is fundamentally a reasonable plane though Boeing fucked up badly presenting it as a no-retraining-needed tweak to the older 737's.

There's some conventional wisdom that Boeing's crapification stems from the McDonnell merger in 1997. Boeing, then successful, took over the failing and badly managed McDonnell. The crappy McDonnell managers then spent the next years pushing out the Boeing managers, and subsequently have been running Boeing into the ground. I don't know how accurate that is, but it's a narrative that rings true.

Yves Smith Post author , April 22, 2019 at 7:20 am

You are misrepresenting the Hacker News criticisms, and IMHO they misrepresent the piece. They don't question his software chops. And if you really knew the software biz, "software executive" often = developer who built a company (and that includes smallish ones). The guy OWNS a Cessna, which means he's spent as much on a plane as a lot of people spend on a house. If he was a senior manager as you posit, that means at large company, and no large company would let an employee write something like this. He's either between gigs or one of the top guys in a smallish private company where mouthing off like this won't hurt the business. Notice also his contempt for managers in the article).

He's also done flight simulator time on a 757, and one commentor pointed out that depending on the simulator, it could be tantamount to serious training, as in count towards qualifying hours to be certified to fly a 757.

They do argue, straw manning his piece, that he claims the big failure is with the software. That in fact is not what the article says. It says that the design changes in the 737 Max made it dynamically unstable, which is an unacceptable characteristic in any plane, no matter what size. He also describes at length the problem of relying on only one sensor as an input to the MCAS and how that undermined having the pilots be able to act as a backup .by looking at each other's instrumentation results.

The idea that he's generalizing from a Cessna is absurd. He describes how Cessnas have the pilot having greater mechanical control than jets like the 737. He describes how the pilots read the instrument results from each side of the plane, something which cannot occur in a Cessna, a single pilot plane. He refers to the Cessna documentation to make the point that the norm is to over-inform pilots as to how changes in the software affect how they operate the plane, not radically under-inform them as Boeing did with the 737 Max.

As to the reasonableness of Travis' concerns, did you miss that a former NASA engineer has the same reservations? Are you trying to say he doesn't understand how aircraft hardware works?

Alex V , April 22, 2019 at 8:02 am

A few points:

He owns a 1978 Cessna 172 , goes for about $70K, so not quite house prices, more like a nice Tesla, whose drive by wire systems he seems to trust far more for some reason.

In regard to "dynamic instability" being unacceptable, this is a red herring. Most modern airliners rely on flight characteristic augmentation systems in normal operation, trim systems being the most common. Additionally, there are aircraft designed to be unstable (fighters) but rely on computers to fly them stably, to greatly increase manoeuvrability.

In regard to Cessnas being single pilot planes, the presence of flight controls on both sides of the cockpit would somewhat bring into question this assertion .? Most 172s do however have only one set of instrumentation. When operating with two pilots (as with let's say a student pilot and instructor) you would still have the issue of two pilots trying to agree on possibly faulty readings from one set of non-redundant instruments.

Yves Smith Post author , April 22, 2019 at 8:27 am

No, it's a 1979 Cessna, and you don't know when he bought it and how much use it had, since price is significantly dependent on flight hours. The listings I show it costs over $100K. A quick Google search says a plane with a new feel is closer to $300K. Even $100K in equity is more than most people put down when buying a house

He also glides, and gliders often own or co-own their gliders.

The author acknowledges your point re fighters. Did you miss that he also says they are the only planes where pilots can eject themselves from the aircraft? Arguing from what is acceptable for a fighter, where you compromise a lot on other factors to get maneuverability, to a commercial jet is dodgy.

Alex V , April 22, 2019 at 9:39 am

According to the registration it became airworthy in 1978, so perhaps that is the model year.

https://uk.flightaware.com/resources/registration/N5457E

Regarding fighters and instability, I'm not the one that stated it's "an unacceptable characteristic in any plane, no matter the size".

I am completely on Travis' side when it comes to the issues with culture and business that brought on these incidents. Seeing however that these affected and overrode good engineering, I believe it's vitally important that the engineering is discussed as accurately as possible. Hence my criticism of the piece.

Yves Smith Post author , April 22, 2019 at 1:08 pm

Had you looked at prices as you claimed to, Cessnsa 172s specify the year in the headline description. 1977 v. 1978 v 1979 on a page I got Googling for 1979.

You are now well into the terrain of continuing to argue for argument sake.

PlutoniumKun , April 22, 2019 at 8:34 am

I agree with you that the article is good and the criticisms I've read seem largely unmerited (quite a few of those btl on that article are clearly bad faith arguments), but just to clarify:

That in fact is not what the article says. It says that the design changes in the 737 Max made it dynamically unstable, which is an unacceptable characteristic in any plane, no matter what size.

My understanding (non-engineer, but long time aviation nerd) is that many aircraft, including all Airbus's are dynamically unstable and use software to maintain stability. The key point I think that the article makes is that there is a fundamental difference between designing hardware and software in synchronicity to make a safe aircraft (i.e Airbus), and using software as a fudge to avoid making hard decisions when the hardware engineers find they can't overcome a problem without spending a fortune in redesigns.

Hard engineering 'fudges' are actually really common in aircraft design – little bumps or features added to address stability problems encountered during testing – an example being the little fore planes on the Tupolev 144 supersonic airliner. But it seems Boeing took a short cut with its approach and a lot of people paid for this with their lives. Only time will tell if it was a deep institutional failure within Boeing or just a flaw caused by a rushed roll-out.

I've personal experience of a catastrophic design flaw (not one that could kill people, just one that could cost hundreds of millions to fix) which was entirely down to the personal hang-ups of one particular project manager who was in a position to silence internal misgivings. Of course, in aircraft design this is not supposed to happen.

Thuto , April 22, 2019 at 6:21 am

I'm reminded of the famous "software is eating the world" quote by uber VC Marc Andreessen. He posits that in an era where Silicon valley style, software led disruption stalks every established industry, even companies that "make things" (hardware) need a radical rethink in terms of how they see themselves. A company like Boeing, under this worldview, needs to think of itself as a software company with a hardware arm attached, otherwise it might have its lunch eaten by a plucky upstart (to say nothing of Apple or Google) punching above its weight.

It's not farfetched to imagine an army of consultants selling this "inoculate yourself from disruption" thinking to companies like Boeing and being taken seriously. With Silicon valley's obsession with taking humans out of the loop (think driverless cars/trucks, operator-less forklifts etc) one wonders whether these accidents will highlight the limitations of technology and halt the seemingly inexorable march towards complex automation reducing pilots to cockpit observers coming along for the ride.

jonst , April 22, 2019 at 6:41 am

so perhaps Trump lurched blindly into the truth?

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/12/trump-says-planes-too-complex-after-crash-of-boeing-jet-in-ethiopia.html

WobblyTelomeres , April 22, 2019 at 7:30 am

"native pitch stability"

Let me guess. The author prolly flies a Cessna 172. [checks article]. Yep.

The 172 is one of the most docile and forgiving private planes ever. Ignore that my Mom flew hers into a stand of trees.

Yves Smith Post author , April 22, 2019 at 8:32 am

Ad homimem and therefore logically invalid. Plus reading comprehension problem. The "native pitch stability" comment was from Mike Slack, a former NASA engineer, and not Travis, the Cessna owner.

Mel , April 22, 2019 at 9:39 am

I think that the point is that there are aircraft that don't take over the controls and dive into the ground. It's possible to have these kinds of aircraft. These kinds of aircraft are good to have. It's like an existence proof.

Octopii , April 22, 2019 at 8:28 am

No, not dangerously pro-automation. More like dangerously stuck in the past, putting bandaids on a dinosaur to keep false profits rolling in. AF447 could be argued against excessive automation, but not the Max.

tegnost , April 22, 2019 at 9:13 am

i think they are real profits. And the automation that crashed two planes over a short time span and it wasn't excessive? Band aids on what was one of the safest planes ever made (how many 737's crashed pre 737 max? the hardware problem was higher landing gear along with engines that were larger and added lift to the plane. MCAS was intended to fix that. It made it worse. I won't be flying on a MAX.

Carolinian , April 22, 2019 at 8:29 am

Thanks for the article but re the above comments–perhaps that 737 pilot commenter should weigh in because some expert commentary on this article is badly needed. My impression from the Seattle Times coverage is that the MCAS was not implemented to keep the plane from falling out of the sky but rather to finesse the retraining issue. In other words a competent pilot could handle the pitch up tendency with no MCAS assist at all if trained or even informed that such a tendency existed. And if that's the case then the notion that the plane will be grounded forever is dubious indeed.

Yves Smith Post author , April 22, 2019 at 8:44 am

This isn't quite correct, and I suggest you read the article in full.

The issue isn't MCAS. It is that MCAS was to compensate for changes in the planes aerodynamics that were so significant that it should arguably have been recerttified as being a different plane. That was what Boeing was trying to avoid above all Former NASA engineer Mike Slack makes that point as well. Travis argues that burying the existence of MCAS in the documentation was to keep pilots from questioning whether this was a different plane:

It all comes down to money, and in this case, MCAS was the way for both Boeing and its customers to keep the money flowing in the right direction. The necessity to insist that the 737 Max was no different in flying characteristics, no different in systems, from any other 737 was the key to the 737 Max's fleet fungibility. That's probably also the reason why the documentation about the MCAS system was kept on the down-low.

Put in a change with too much visibility, particularly a change to the aircraft's operating handbook or to pilot training, and someone -- probably a pilot -- would have piped up and said, "Hey. This doesn't look like a 737 anymore." And then the money would flow the wrong way.

Carolinian , April 22, 2019 at 9:30 am

I think you just said what I said. My contention is that the only reason the plane could ever be withdrawn is that the design is so inherently unstable that this extra gizmo–the MCAS–was necessary for it to fly. Whereas it appears the MCAS was for marketing purposes and if it had never been added to the plane the two accidents quite likely may never have happened–even if Boeing didn't tell pilots about the pitch up tendency.

But I'm no expert obviously. This is just my understanding of the issue.

Darius , April 22, 2019 at 11:48 am

From what I've read at related links in the last week, a significant element is common type rating. Manufacturers don't have to go through expensive recertification if their modifications are minor enough, earning a common type rating. Thus, the successive incarnations of the 737 over the decades.

I'm only a layman, but a citizen who tries to stay informed and devours material on this topic. The common type rating merry go round needs to stop. It seems at least that a new engine with a different position that alters the basic physics of the plane shouldn't qualify for common type rating, which should be reserved only for the most minor of modifications.

barrisj , April 22, 2019 at 12:30 pm

As one who has followed the entirety of the MAX stories as detailed by the Seattle Times aviation reporters, it all comes back to "first principles": a substantive change in aerodynamics by introduction of an entirely new pair of engines should have required complete re-engineering of the airframe. We know that Boeing eschewed that approach, largely for competitive and cost considerations, and subsequently tried to mate the LEAP engines to the existing 737 airframe by installing the MCAS, amongst other design "tweaks", i.e., "kludging" a fix. Boeing management recognized that this wouldn't be the "perfect" aircraft, but with the help of a compliant FAA and a huge amount of "self-assessment", got the beast certified and airborne -- -- until the two crashes, that is. Whether the airlines and/or the flying public will ever accept the redo of MCAS and other ancillary fixes is highly problematic, as the entire concept was flawed from the kick-off.
Also, it should be mentioned in passing that even the LEAP engines are having some material-wear issues:
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/cfm-reviews-fleet-after-finding-leap-1a-durability-i-442669/

b , April 22, 2019 at 8:46 am

Th IEEE Spectrum piece is somewhat reasonable but the author obvious lacks technical knowledge of the 737. He also does not understand why MCAS was installed in the first place.

For example:
– "However, doing so also meant that the centerline of the engine's thrust changed. Now, when the pilots applied power to the engine, the aircraft would have a significant propensity to "pitch up," or raise its nose.
– The MAX nose up tendency is a purely aerodynamic effect. The centerline of the thrust did not change much.

– "MCAS is implemented in the flight management computer, "
– No. It is implemented in the Flight Control Computer of which there are two. (There is only on FMC unit.)

-" It turns out that the Elevator Feel Computer can put a lot of force into that column -- "
– The Elevator Feel unit is not a computer but a deterministic hydraulic-mechanical system.

– "Neither such [software] coders nor their managers are as in touch with the particular culture and mores of the aviation world as much as the people who are down on the factory floor, "
– The coders who make the Boeing and Airbus systems work are specialized in such coding. Software development for aircrafts It is a rigid formularized process which requires a deep understanding of the aviation world. The coders appropriately implement what the design engineers require after the design review confirmed it. Nothing less, nothing more.

and more than a dozen other technical misunderstandings and mistakes.

If the author would have read some of the PPRUNE threads on the issue or asked an 737 pilot he would have known all this.

Senator-Elect , April 22, 2019 at 10:35 am

This.

Harrold , April 22, 2019 at 11:28 am

And yet the fact remains that the 737MAX is grounded world wide and costing Boeing and airlines millions every day.

Yves Smith Post author , April 22, 2019 at 1:11 pm

Given what has happened with Boeing manufacture (787s being delivered with tools and bottles rattling around in them), you have no basis for asserting how Boeing does software in practice these days.

And you have incontrovertible evidence of a coding fail: relying on only one sensor input when the plane had more than one sensor. I'm sorry, I don't see how you can blather on about safety and coders supposedly understanding airplanes with that coded in.

JeffC who actually worked at Boeing years ago and said the coding was conservative (lots of people checked it) because they were safety oriented but also didn't get very good software engineers, since writing software at Boeing was boring.

johnf , April 22, 2019 at 9:05 am

I still have some trouble blaming the 737 losses, ipso facto, on using automation to extend an old design. There are considerably more complex aircraft systems than MCAS that have been reliably automated, and building on a thoroughly proven framework usually causes less trouble than suffering the teething problems of an all new design.

At the risk of repeating the obvious, a basic principle of critical systems, systems which must be reliable, is that they can not suffer from single point failures. You want to require at least two independent failures to disturb a system, whose combined probability is so low that other, unavoidable failure sources predominate, for example, weather or overwhelming, human error.

This principle extends to the system's development. The design and programming of a (reliable) critical system can not suffer from single point failures. This requires a good many, skilled people, paying careful attention to different, specific stages of the process. Consider a little thing I once worked on: the indicator that confirms a cargo door is closed, or arguably, that is neither open nor unlatched. I count at least five levels of engineers and programmers, between Boeing and the FAA, that used to validate, implement and verify the work of their colleagues, one or more levels above and/or below: to insure the result was safe.

I bet what will ultimately come out is that multiple levels of the validation and verification chain have been grievously degraded ("crapified") to cut costs and increase profits. The first and last levels for a start. I am curious and will ask around.

Darius , April 22, 2019 at 11:58 am

The MAX isn't a proven framework. Boeing fundamentally altered the 737 design by shifting the position of the engines. The MCAS fudge doesn't fix that.

The Rev Kev , April 22, 2019 at 9:10 am

My own impression is that there seems to be a clash between three separate philosophies at work here. The first is the business culture of Boeing which had supplanted Boeing's historical aviation-centric ways of doing things in aircraft design. The bean-counters & marketing droids took over, outsourced aircraft construction to such places as non-union workshops & other countries, and thought that cutting corners in aircraft manufacture would have no long-term ill effects. The second philosophy is that of software design that failed to understand that the software had to be good to go as it was shipped and had little understanding of what happens when you ship beta-standard software to an operational aircraft in service. This was to have fatal consequences. The third culture is that of the pilots themselves which seek to keep their skills going in an aviation world that wants to turn them into airplane-drivers. If there is any move afoot to have self flying aircraft introduced down the track, I hope that this helps kill it.
Boeing is going to take a massive financial hit and so it should. Heads should literally roll over this debacle and it did not help their case when they went to Trump to keep this plane flying in the US without thought as to what could have happened if a US or Canadian 737 MAX had augured in. The biggest loser I believe is going to be the US's reputation with aviation. The rest of the aviation world will no longer trust what the FAA says or advise without checking it themselves. The trust of decades of work has just been thrown out the door needlessly. Even in the critical field of aircraft crash investigation, the US took a hit as Ethiopia refused the demands that the black boxes be sent to the US but sent them instead to France. That is something that has flown under the radar. This is going to have knock-on effects for decades to come.

Susan the other` , April 22, 2019 at 11:56 am

Beginning to look like a trade war with the EU. airbus, boeing, vw, US cars; but haven't seen Japan drawn into this yet. Mercedes Benz is saying EV cars are nonsense, they actually create more pollution than diesel engines and they are recommending methane gasoline (that sounds totally suicidal), and hydrogen power. Hydrogen has always sounded like a good choice, so why no acclaim? It can only be the resistance of vested interests. The auto industry, like the airline industry, is frantically trying to externalize its costs. Maybe we should all just settle down and do a big financial mutual insurance company that covers catastrophic loss by paying the cost of switching over to responsible manufacturing and fuel efficiency. Those corporations cooperate with shared subsidiaries that manufacture software to patch their bad engineering – why not a truce while they look for solutions?

voislav , April 22, 2019 at 9:34 am

The whole 737 development reminds me of a story a GM engineer told me. Similarly to the aviation industry, when GM makes modifications to an existing part on a vehicle, if the change is small enough the part does not need to be recertified for mechanical strength, etc. One of the vehicles he was working on had a part failure in testing, so they looked at the design history of the part. It turns out that, similarly to 737, this was a legacy part carried over numerous generations of the vehicle.

Each redesign of the vehicle introduced some changes, they needed to reroute some cabling, so they would punch a new hole through the part. But because the change was small enough the engineering team had the option of just signing off on the change without additional testing. So this went on for years, where additional holes or slits were made in the original part and each change was deemed to be small enough that no recertification was necessary. The cumulative change from the original certification was that this was now a completely different part and, not surprisingly, eventually it failed.

The interesting part of the story was the institutional inertia. As all these incremental changes were applied to the part, nobody bothered to check when was the last time part was actually tested and what was the part design as that time. Every step of the way everybody assumed their change is small enough not to cause any issue and did not do any diligence until a failure occured.

Which brings me back to the 737, if I am not mistaken, 737 MAX is, for certification purposes, considered an iteration of the original 737. The aircraft though is very different than the original, increased wingspan (117′ vs 93′), length (140′ vs. 100′). 737 NG is similarly different.

So for me the big issue with the MAX is the institutional question that allowed a plane so different from the original 737 certification to be allowed as a variant of the original, without additional pilot training or plane certification. Upcoming 777X has the same issue, it's a materially different aircraft (larger wingspan, etc.) that has a kludge (folding wingtips) to allow it to pass as a variant of the original 777. It will be interesting to see, in the wake of the MAX fiasco, what treatment does the 777X get when it comes to certification.

Susan the other` , April 22, 2019 at 12:35 pm

The FAA needs to be able to follow these tweaks. Maybe we citizens need a literal social contract that itemizes what we expect our government to actually do.

Matthew G. Saroff , April 22, 2019 at 9:35 am

There are also allegations of shoddy manufacturing on the 787 at Boeing's South Carolina (union busting) facility .

BTW, I do not believe that the problems are insoluble, or as a result of a design philosophy, but rather it is a result of placing sales over engineering.

There are a number of aerodynamic tweaks that could have dealt with this issue (larger horizontal tail comes to mind, but my background is manufacturing not aerodynamics), but this would require that pilots requalify for a transition between the NG and the MAX, which would likely mean that many airlines would take a second look at Airbus.

Carolinian , April 22, 2019 at 10:37 am

Your link was fully discussed in yesterday's Links.

cm , April 22, 2019 at 10:41 am

Yeah, that was a fascinating (and scary) article. Worth reading!

vomkammer , April 22, 2019 at 9:41 am

We should avoid blaming "software" or "automation" for this accident. The B737 MAX seems to be a case of "Money first, safety second" culture, combined with insufficent regulatory control.

The root of the B737 MAX accidents was an erroneous safety hazard assessment: The safety asessment (and the FAA) believed the MCAS had a 0.6 authority limit. This 0.6 limit meant that an erroneous MCAS function would only have limited consequences. In the safety jargon, its severity was classifed as "Major", instead of "Catastrophic".

After the "Major" classification was assigned, the subsequente design decions (like using a single sensor, or perhaps insufficient testing) are acceptable and in line with the civil aviation standards.

The problem is that the safety engineer(s) failed to understand that the 0.6 limit was self-imposed by the MCAS software, not enforced by any external aircraft element. Therefore, the MCAS software could fail in such a way that it ignored the limit. In consequence, MCAS should have been classifed "Catastrophic".

Everybody can make mistakes. We know this. That is why these safety assessments should be reviewed and challenged inside the company and by the FAA. The need to launch the MAX fast and the lack of FAA oversight resources surely played a greater role than the usage of software and automation.

oaf , April 22, 2019 at 9:46 am

Yves: Thanks for this post; it has (IMO) a level-headed perspective. It is not about assigning *blame*, it is about *What, Why, and How to Prevent* what happened from re-occurring. Blame is for courts and juries. Good luck finding jurors who are not predisposed; due to relentless bombardment with parroted misinformation and factoids.

YY , April 22, 2019 at 10:13 am

I wonder how often MCAS kicked in on a typical 737MAX flight, in situation where the weather vane advising of angle attack was working as per normal. Since we are excluding the time when auto-pilot is working and also the time when the flaps are down, there is only a very small time window immediately after take off. I would venture to guess that the MCAS would almost always adjust the plane at least once. This is once too many, if one is to believe that the notion of design improvement includes improvement in aerodynamic behavior. The fact that MCAS could only be overridden by disabling the entire motor control of the trim suggests that the MCAS feature is absolutely necessary for the thing to fly without surprise stalls. There is no excuse in a series of a product for handling associated with basic safety becoming worse with a new model. Fuel efficiency is laudable and a marketable thing, but not when packaged together with the bad compromise of bad flight behavior. If the fix is only by lines of code, they really have not fixed it completely. We know they are not going to be able to move the engines or the thrust line or increase the ground clearance of the plane so the software fix will be sold as the solution. While it probably does not mean that there will be more planes being trimmed to crash into the ground, it does make for some anxiety for future passengers. Loss of sales would not be a surprise but more of a surprise will be the deliveries that will be completed regardless.

Alex V , April 22, 2019 at 10:34 am

MCAS was intended to rarely if ever activate. It is supposed to nudge the aircraft to a lower angle of attack if AoA is getting high to cause instability in certain parts of the flight envelope. An overly aggressive takeoff climb would be an example. Part of the problem is that a faulty AoA sensor resulted in the system thinking it was at this extreme case, repeatedly, and in a way that was difficult for the pilots to identify since they had not been properly trained and the UX was badly implemented.

YY , April 22, 2019 at 10:52 am

Yes I've heard that. But do not believe it, given how it is implemented. So I really would like to know how it behaves in non-catastrophic situations. If so benign, why not allow it to turn off without turning off trim controls? Did not the earlier 737's not need this feature?

Alex V , April 22, 2019 at 2:19 pm

In a non-catastrophic situation, and if functioning correctly, it's my understanding it would felt by the flight crew as mild lowering of the nose by the system. This is is to keep the plane from increasing angle of attack, which could lead to a stall or other instability.

It's my understanding MCAS should be treated as a separate system from the trim controls, although they both control the pitch of the stabilator. Trim controls are generally not "highly dynamic", in that the system (or pilot) sets the trim value only occasionally based primarily on things like the aircraft weight distribution (this could however change during a flight as fuel is burned, for example). MCAS on the other hand, while monitoring AoA continuously in flight modes where it is activated only kicks in to correct excessive inputs from the pilots, or as a result of atmospheric disturbances (wind shear would be one possible cause of excessive AoA readings).

Neither trim nor MCAS are required to manually fly the plane safely if under direct pilot control and the the pilot is fully situationally aware.

Earlier 737s did not need this feature due to different aerodynamic properties of the plane. They however still have assistive features such as stick shakers to help prevent leaving the normal flight envelope.

Some technical details here:

http://www.b737.org.uk/mcas.htm

Alex V , April 22, 2019 at 2:47 pm

I've read a bit more in regard to allowing MCAS to turn off without turning off trim, I have no idea why it was implemented as it was, since previous 737s allow separate control of trim and MCAS. More here:

https://feitoffake.wordpress.com/2019/04/06/overview-of-many-failures-by-boeing-in-designing-the-boeing-737-max/

This however still doesn't change the fact that neither is required to fly the plane, given proper training and communication, both of which were criminally lacking.

John , April 22, 2019 at 10:13 am

IBG, YBG corporate decisions by people who will probably never fly in these planes, complete regulatory capture and distract with the little people squabbling over technical details. In China there would probably already have been a short trial, a trip to the river bank, a bullet through the head, organ harvesting for the corporate jocks responsible. Team Amrika on the way down.

Synoia , April 22, 2019 at 10:27 am

On the subject of software, the underlying issue of ship and patch later is because the process of software is full of bad practice.

Two examples, "if" and "new".

If is a poor use of a stronger mechanism, FSMs, or Finite State Machines.
'new' is a mechanism that leads to memory leaks, and crashes.

I developed some middleware to bridge data between maineframs and Unix systems that ran 7×24 for 7 years continuously without a failure, because of FSMs and static memory use.

Anarcissie , April 22, 2019 at 5:14 pm

The problem of poor quality in software, like poor quality in almost anything else, is not technological.

BillC , April 22, 2019 at 10:50 am

In an email to me (and presumably to all AAdvantage program members) transmitted at 03:00 April 17 UTC ( i.e. , 11 PM April 16 US EDT), American Airlines states that it is canceling 737 MAX flights through August 19 (instead of June 5 as stated by the earlier newspaper story cited in this post).

Eliminating introductory and concluding paragraphs that are marketing eyewash (re. passenger safety and convenience), the two payload paragraphs state in their entirety:

To avoid last-minute changes and to accommodate customers on other flights with as much notice as possible before their travel date, we have made the decision to extend our cancellations for the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft through August 19, 2019, while we await recertification of the MAX.

While these changes impact only a small portion of our more than 7,000 departures each day this summer, we can plan more reliably for the peak travel season by adjusting our schedule now. Customers whose upcoming travel has been impacted as a result of the schedule change are being contacted by our teams.

I'm surprised this has not already appeared in earlier comments. Anybody else get this?

Yves Smith Post author , April 22, 2019 at 1:13 pm

Will update, thanks!

Peak BS , April 22, 2019 at 11:24 am

Now do Tesla & their bs Tesla Autonomy Investor Day please.

It appears to have it all from beta testing several ton vehicles on public roads, (like BA's beta testing of the MAX) to regulatory capture( of NTSB, & NTHSA as examples) and a currently powerful PR team.

Apparently they're going to show off their "plan" how one will be able to use their Tesla in full autonomous mode while every other OEM sez it can't be done by the end of this year let alone within a couple decades as the average person perceives autonomous driving.

Watch it live here at 11am PCT: https://livestream.tesla.com

737 Pilot , April 22, 2019 at 2:05 pm

First of all, I didn't read the article, so I'm not going to critique it. There were some comments in the excerpt that Yves provided that I think require some clarification and/or correction.

The 737 is not a fly-by-wire (FBW) aircraft. There are multiple twisted steel control cables that connect the flight control in the cockpit to the various control surfaces. The flight controls are hydraulically assisted, but in case of hydraulic (or electric) failure, the cable system is sufficient to control the aircraft.

In both the 737NG and the MAX, there are automation functions that can put in control inputs under various conditions. Every one of these inputs can be overridden by the pilot.

In the case of the recent MAX accidents, the MCAS system put in an unexpected and large input by moving the stabilizer. The crews attempted to oppose this input, but they did so mostly by using elevator input (pulling back on the control column). This required a great deal of arm strength which they eventually could not overcome. However, if either pilot had merely used the strength of their thumb to depress the stabilizer trim switch on the yoke, they could have easily opposed and cancelled out whatever input MCAS was trying to put in. Why neither pilot took this fairly basic measure should be one of the key areas of investigation.

These comments are not intended in any way to exonerate Boeing, the FAA, and the compromises that went into the MAX design. There is a lot there to be concerned about. However, we are not dealing with a case of an automation system that was so powerful and autonomous that pilots could not override what it was trying to do.

marku52 , April 22, 2019 at 5:13 pm

Bjorn over at Leeham had this analysis:
"the Flight Crew followed the procedures prescribed by FAA and Boeing in AD 2018-23-51. And as predicted the Flight Crew could not trim manually, the trim wheel can't be moved at the speeds ET302 flew."

In other words, the pilots followed the Boeing recommended procedure to turn off the automatic trim, but at the speeds they were flying and the large angle that MCAS has moved the stabilizer to, the trim wheels were bound up and could not be moved by human effort.

https://leehamnews.com/2019/04/05/bjorns-corner-et302-crash-report-the-first-analysis/

They then turned electric trim on to try to help their effort, and MCAS put the nose down again.

Also: Did no one ever test the humans factors of this in a simulator? At HP, when we put out a new printer, we had human factors bring in average users to see if using our documentation, they could install the printer.

It is mind-blowing to me that Boeing and the FAA can release an Air Worthiness Directive (The fix after the Lion crash) that was apparently never simulator tested to see if actual humans could do it.

stevelaudig , April 22, 2019 at 2:50 pm

The bureaucratic decision-making model is the same as that which gifted us with the Challenger 'accident' which was no accident.

ChrisPacific , April 22, 2019 at 4:13 pm

None of the above should have passed muster. None of the above should have passed the "OK" pencil of the most junior engineering staff, much less a DER [FAA Designated Engineering Representative].

That's not a big strike. That's a political, social, economic, and technical sin .

This is the thing that has been nagging me all along about this story. The "most junior engineering staff" thing is not an exaggeration – engineers get this drilled into them until it's part of their DNA. I read this and immediately thought that it points to a problem of culture and values (a point I was pleased to see the author make in the next paragraph). Bluntly, it tells us that the engineers are not the ones running the show at Boeing, and that extends even to safety critical situations where their assessment should trump everything.

One of two things needs to happen as a result of this. Either Boeing needs to return to the old safety first culture, or it needs to go out of business. If neither happens, we are going to see a lot more planes falling out of the sky.

VietnamVet , April 22, 2019 at 7:15 pm

I want to reemphasize that all airplane crashes are a chain of events; if one event does not occur there are no causalities. Lion Air flight should never have flow with a faulty sensor. But afterwards when the elevator jackscrew was found in the full nose down position that forced the plane to dive into the Java Sea, Boeing and FAA should have grounded the fleet until a fix was found. The deaths in Ethiopia are on them. The November 2018 737-8 and -9 Airworthiness Directive was criminally negligent. Without adequate training the Ethiopian Airline pilots were overwhelmed and not could trim the elevator after turning off the jackscrew electric motor with the manual trim control due to going too fast with takeoff thrust from start to finish. With deregulation and the end of government oversight, the terrible design of the 737 Max is solely on Boeing and politicians who deregulated certification. Profit clearly drove corporate decisions with no consideration of the consequences. This is popping up consistently now from VW to Quantitative Easing, or the restart of the Cold War. Unless the FAA requires pilot and copilot simulator training on how to manually trim the 737 Max with all hell breaking loose in the cockpit, the only recourse for customers is to boycott flying Boeing. Ultimately the current economic system that puts profit above all else must end if humans are to survive.

[Apr 22, 2019] the United States has the highest level of inequality among the advanced countries and one of the lowest levels of opportunity -- with the fortunes of young Americans more dependent on the income and education of their parents than elsewhere.

Apr 22, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , April 20, 2019 at 04:20 AM

Progressive Capitalism Is Not an Oxymoron
https://nyti.ms/2GpsQoQ
NYT - Joseph E. Stiglitz - April 19, 2019

We can save our broken economic system from itself.


Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 04:23 AM
Despite the lowest unemployment rates since the late 1960s, the American economy is failing its citizens. Some 90 percent have seen their incomes stagnate or decline in the past 30 years. This is not surprising, given that the United States has the highest level of inequality among the advanced countries and one of the lowest levels of opportunity -- with the fortunes of young Americans more dependent on the income and education of their parents than elsewhere.

But things don't have to be that way. There is an alternative: progressive capitalism. Progressive capitalism is not an oxymoron; we can indeed channel the power of the market to serve society.

In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan's regulatory "reforms," which reduced the ability of government to curb the excesses of the market, were sold as great energizers of the economy. But just the opposite happened: Growth slowed, and weirder still, this happened in the innovation capital of the world.

The sugar rush produced by President Trump's largess to corporations in the 2017 tax law didn't deal with any of these long-run problems, and is already fading. Growth is expected to be a little under 2 percent next year.

This is where we've descended to, but not where we have to stay. A progressive capitalism based on an understanding of what gives rise to growth and societal well-being gives us a way out of this quagmire and a way up for our living standards.

Standards of living began to improve in the late 18th century for two reasons: the development of science (we learned how to learn about nature and used that knowledge to increase productivity and longevity) and developments in social organization (as a society, we learned how to work together, through institutions like the rule of law, and democracies with checks and balances).

Key to both were systems of assessing and verifying the truth. The real and long-lasting danger of the Trump presidency is the risk it poses to these pillars of our economy and society, its attack on the very idea of knowledge and expertise, and its hostility to institutions that help us discover and assess the truth.

There is a broader social compact that allows a society to work and prosper together, and that, too, has been fraying. America created the first truly middle-class society; now, a middle-class life is increasingly out of reach for its citizens.

America arrived at this sorry state of affairs because we forgot that the true source of the wealth of a nation is the creativity and innovation of its people. One can get rich either by adding to the nation's economic pie or by grabbing a larger share of the pie by exploiting others -- abusing, for instance, market power or informational advantages. We confused the hard work of wealth creation with wealth-grabbing (or, as economists call it, rent-seeking), and too many of our talented young people followed the siren call of getting rich quickly.

Beginning with the Reagan era, economic policy played a key role in this dystopia: Just as forces of globalization and technological change were contributing to growing inequality, we adopted policies that worsened societal inequities. Even as economic theories like information economics (dealing with the ever-present situation where information is imperfect), behavioral economics and game theory arose to explain why markets on their own are often not efficient, fair, stable or seemingly rational, we relied more on markets and scaled back social protections.

The result is an economy with more exploitation -- whether it's abusive practices in the financial sector or the technology sector using our own data to take advantage of us at the cost of our privacy. The weakening of antitrust enforcement, and the failure of regulation to keep up with changes in our economy and the innovations in creating and leveraging market power, meant that markets became more concentrated and less competitive.

Politics has played a big role in the increase in corporate rent-seeking and the accompanying inequality. Markets don't exist in a vacuum; they have to be structured by rules and regulations, and those rules and regulations must be enforced. Deregulation of the financial sector allowed bankers to engage in both excessively risky activities and more exploitive ones. Many economists understood that trade with developing countries would drive down American wages, especially for those with limited skills, and destroy jobs. We could and should have provided more assistance to affected workers (just as we should provide assistance to workers who lose their jobs as a result of technological change), but corporate interests opposed it. A weaker labor market conveniently meant lower labor costs at home to complement the cheap labor businesses employed abroad.

We are now in a vicious cycle: Greater economic inequality is leading, in our money-driven political system, to more political inequality, with weaker rules and deregulation causing still more economic inequality.

If we don't change course matters will likely grow worse, as machines (artificial intelligence and robots) replace an increasing fraction of routine labor, including many of the jobs of the several million Americans making their living by driving.

The prescription follows from the diagnosis: It begins by recognizing the vital role that the state plays in making markets serve society. We need regulations that ensure strong competition without abusive exploitation, realigning the relationship between corporations and the workers they employ and the customers they are supposed to serve. We must be as resolute in combating market power as the corporate sector is in increasing it.

If we had curbed exploitation in all of its forms and encouraged wealth creation, we would have had a more dynamic economy with less inequality. We might have curbed the opioid crisis and avoided the 2008 financial crisis. If we had done more to blunt the power of oligopolies and strengthen the power of workers, and if we had held our banks accountable, the sense of powerlessness might not be so pervasive and Americans might have greater trust in our institutions.

There are many other areas in which government action is required. Markets on their own won't provide insurance against some of the most important risks we face, such as unemployment and disability. They won't efficiently provide pensions with low administrative costs and insurance against inflation. And they won't provide an adequate infrastructure or a decent education for everyone or engage in sufficient basic research.

Progressive capitalism is based on a new social contract between voters and elected officials, between workers and corporations, between rich and poor, and between those with jobs and those who are un- or underemployed.

Part of this new social contract is an expanded public option for many programs now provided by private entities or not at all. It was a mistake not to include the public option in Obamacare: It would have enriched choice and enhanced competition, lowering prices. But one can design public options in other arenas as well, for instance for retirement and mortgages. This new social contract will enable most Americans to once again have a middle-class life.

As an economist, I am always asked: Can we afford to provide this middle-class life for most, let alone all, Americans? Somehow, we did when we were a much poorer country in the years after World War II. In our politics, in our labor-market participation, and in our health we are already paying the price for our failures.

The neoliberal fantasy that unfettered markets will deliver prosperity to everyone should be put to rest. It is as fatally flawed as the notion after the fall of the Iron Curtain that we were seeing "the end of history" and that we would all soon be liberal democracies with capitalist economies.

Most important, our exploitive capitalism has shaped who we are as individuals and as a society. The rampant dishonesty we've seen from Wells Fargo and Volkswagen or from members of the Sackler family as they promoted drugs they knew were addictive -- this is what is to be expected in a society that lauds the pursuit of profits as leading, to quote Adam Smith, "as if by an invisible hand," to the well-being of society, with no regard to whether those profits derive from exploitation or wealth creation.

ken melvin -> Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 06:07 AM
https://www.cbpp.org/research/poverty-and-inequality/a-guide-to-statistics-on-historical-trends-in-income-inequality

Check out the inequality curves about half way thru the article

anne -> Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 06:19 AM
In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan's regulatory "reforms," which reduced the ability of government to curb the excesses of the market, were sold as great energizers of the economy. But just the opposite happened: Growth slowed, and weirder still, this happened in the innovation capital of the world....

-- Joseph Stiglitz

[ Really important. ]

anne -> Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 06:41 AM
Part of this new social contract is an expanded public option for many programs now provided by private entities or not at all. It was a mistake not to include the public option in Obamacare: It would have enriched choice and enhanced competition, lowering prices. But one can design public options in other arenas as well, for instance for retirement and mortgages. This new social contract will enable most Americans to once again have a middle-class life....

-- Joseph Stiglitz

[ What a splendid essay. ]

anne -> Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 07:21 AM
https://twitter.com/paulkrugman/status/1119592496173129728

Paul Krugman‏ @paulkrugman

Very good and smart from one of our greatest economists. (I don't think laypeople fully appreciate Joe Stiglitz's greatness as a theorist) "Progressive capitalism" is a good phrase, in part because it does involve reviving a lot of the original progressive agenda

6:23 AM - 20 Apr 2019

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 08:28 AM
Good choice. THANKS!
Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 04:28 AM
Socialist! Capitalist! Economic Systems as Weapons
in a War of Words https://nyti.ms/2ZncMwz
NYT - Andrew Ross Sorkin - April 19, 2019

The economist Joseph Stiglitz discusses Bernie Sanders, social policy and how we define ourselves -- and one another.

Joseph Stiglitz settled into a booth at his favorite diner on the Upper West Side last week with a curious, almost satisfied smile on his face.

He won a Nobel Prize nearly two decades ago for identifying the inequities and imperfections in market economies and has spent a career warning of the perils of wealth concentration, railing against monopoly power and championing higher taxes.

At last, a lot of people seem to be listening.

"It's been a long fight," he said.

The cause has been taken up by the new stars of the left, like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and can trace much of its current momentum to the rumpled rabble-rousing of Senator Bernie Sanders. The policy points Mr. Stiglitz talks about -- a higher minimum wage, a public option for health insurance and more -- could just as easily come from the mouths of any of those seeking to unseat President Trump in 2020.

And yet they demonstrate how the words we choose to talk about our economic priorities are almost as important as the priorities themselves.

Last year, for the first time in a decade, a Gallup poll showed that Democrats had a more positive view of socialism than they did of capitalism. Those two words may play a pivotal role in our next election: Some Democrats have embraced the label of socialist, one long attacked by Republicans. And even some of those who have profited most from American-style free markets have worried about their sustainability, with the billionaire investor Ray Dalio going so far as to say that "capitalism is broken."

Mr. Stiglitz, stabbing his fork into his salad, said he believed there had been a critical misunderstanding of the terms themselves -- and the economic theories behind them -- that had allowed for their weaponization.

"The meanings of the words have changed over time," said Mr. Stiglitz, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton and a former chief economist of the World Bank. And the words have become the subject of a branding battle crossing political and generational divides.

The professor in Mr. Stiglitz shared a history lesson that reached back to the early 20th century, about how socialism and communism became linked. And he made the case that Mr. Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, wasn't actually a socialist -- at least as the identity has long been defined.

Mr. Sanders's agenda -- which drew a fair share of cheers during a Fox News town-hall-style meeting this week -- is not focused on "ownership of the means of production" or a statist system, Mr. Stiglitz said. "He's really concerned about the social contract of health, education," he added.

It is not surprising that Mr. Sanders's supporters trend young, a group for which the word "socialism" holds no fears of conflict with the Soviets or baggage associated with the Berlin Wall.

"Some people are trying to attach more emotions to the historical legacy of socialism
, which was never the same as communism, but in the United States those distinctions have gotten blurred," Mr. Stiglitz said.

The attacks from the right have been anything but subtle. Just this month, Mr. Trump declared, "We're going into the war with some socialists." And Republicans have posited that Venezuela's challenged economy is the inevitable result of any movement in the policy directions embraced by the left.

The word leaves a bad taste even in the mouths of many on the left, including Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, who lived through the height of the Cold War. "I do reject socialism as an economic system," she said on "60 Minutes" last weekend. "If people have that view, that's their view. That is not the view of the Democratic Party."

(In Europe, Mr. Stiglitz said, similarly minded politicians might rightly be called social democrats. A simple switch in word order emphasizes the "social" instead of "socialist.")

It all comes back to semantics, Mr. Stiglitz said. And perception was on his mind when titling his new book, "People, Power and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent," which is to be published next week.

In it, he maps out a plan that he calls a "social contract" to improve jobs, health, education, housing and retirement. In fact, it wouldn't be surprising if it turned into the economic platform for a presidential candidate.

Mr. Stiglitz proposes using a combination of market forces and government nudges -- a higher minimum wage and an expanded earned-income tax credit, for example -- to help the poorest among us. He also supports a "public option" to improve competition in the private sector in areas like health care and even retirement savings.

That's not to say he views government as a panacea. For example, he wants to see the mortgage industry privatized. "In a private-sector economy, to have this huge piece of the economy that's not run by the private sector is odd," he said. Still, he also recommends a public option so that the government could support the mortgage market in certain cases.

Mr. Stiglitz said he had chosen "progressive capitalism" for his book's title because he worried about triggering a visceral reaction to the word "socialism."

"I'm trying to avoid some of the emotions that are still attached," he said. "I try in my title to use progressive capitalism to try to say I believe in a market economy, but I also believe in government regulation."

Even as popular figures on the left have embraced the label of socialist -- Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America -- others have sought, like Mr. Stiglitz, to underscore their capitalist views. Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., who formally announced his candidacy for president this week, calls himself a proponent of "democratic capitalism."

If the evolving meaning of socialism strikes you as an inventive bit of rebranding, Mr. Stiglitz believes the conservative idea of American capitalism as an unfettered free-market system is itself a myth.

"There is no Darwinian capitalism," he said. "Everybody would say you need some degree of regulation of banks. I mean, no one is talking about real laissez-faire banking."

Even the word "capitalist" has evolved, Mr. Stiglitz said. It is only since the late 20th century and the rise of the economist Milton Friedman, he contends, that "capitalist" stopped being a dirty word. It was once used in what he called "a pejorative way."

Capitalists were "people who were exploiting workers," he said.

That is an opinion, of course. And it is a view that is not hard to come by in some circles now, either.

Language changes, and as convenient as it can be to use linguistic shorthand, it's important to remember that beneath the words are ideas -- the things we should be talking about.

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 04:34 AM
Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz on "People,
Power and Profits: Progressive Capitalism
for an Age of Discontent"
https://www.moaf.org/events/general/2019-04-24-nobel-laureate-joseph-stiglitz-on-people-power-and-profits-progressive-capitalism-for-an-age-of-discontent

Evening Lecture Series

Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 | 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Event Location:
Fordham University – Lincoln Center Campus
140 West 62 Street, McNally Amphitheatre | Ground Floor

... Stiglitz has long sounded the alarm about growing economic inequality in the United States. As chief economist of the World Bank and Chairman of Clinton's Council of Economic Advisors, he saw first-hand the toll that financial deregulation, globalization and government inaction can take on a community. This has played out over and over again in cities and towns across the United States, feeding into the resentment that fueled Donald Trump's election in 2016. The question we should ask ourselves today, Stiglitz says, is "What can we do about it?"

In his new book, People, Power and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent, Stiglitz answers that question by laying out a 21st Century Social Contract to rebuild the American middle class and reinvigorate the American economy. Many candidates will likely use Stiglitz's timely advice in their 2020 presidential campaigns.

Prof. Stiglitz will be interviewed by Bruce Greenwald, the Robert Heilbrunn Professor of Finance and Asset Management at Columbia Business School and the academic co-director of the Heilbrunn Center for Graham & Dodd Investing. Described by The New York Times as "a guru to Wall Street's gurus," Greenwald is an authority on value investing with additional expertise in productivity and the economics of information.

[Apr 22, 2019] Interior Secty Bernhardt is corrupt...he's gotta go and right now

Apr 22, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

im1dc , April 21, 2019 at 12:26 PM

Interior Secty Bernhardt is corrupt...he's gotta go and right now

He corrupted the Interior Dept by violating his Ethics Agreement banning his participation with his former Lobbyist clients until 8/18

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/04/21/david-bernhardt-water-law-interior-department-1370107

"Interior's Bernhardt worked closely on matters he promised to avoid"

'New disclosures of the secretary's schedule add to questions surrounding his ties to past lobbying clients, including a California water district'

By ANNIE SNIDER...04/21/2019...06:57 AM EDT

"Interior Secretary David Bernhardt began working on policies that would aid one of his former lobbying clients within weeks of joining the Trump administration, according to a POLITICO analysis of agency documents -- a revelation that adds to the ethics questions dogging his leadership of the agency.

Bernhardt's efforts, beginning in at least October 2017, included shaping the department's response to a key portion of a water infrastructure law he had helped pass as a lobbyist for California farmers, recently released calendars show. The department offered scant details at the time about meetings that Bernhardt, then the deputy secretary, held with Interior officials overseeing water deliveries to the farmers, leading many observers to believe he was steering clear of the issues he had previously lobbied on.

But newly disclosed schedule "cards" prepared by Interior officials for Bernhardt show more than three dozen meetings with key players on California water issues, including multiple lengthy meetings on specific endangered species protections at the heart of his previous work. Those appointments were only vaguely identified on his official calendars.

Interior's inspector general is probing whether Bernhardt violated ethics rules by working on policies he had pushed as a lobbyist for the Westlands Water District, a job that earned his former firm more than $1.3 million in the five years before he returned to government service.

Bernhardt's ethics agreement barred him from participating in any "particular matters" involving Westlands until August 2018, one year after he arrived at the agency, and it was only after that recusal period ended that then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke publicly tasked him with working on California water issues. But the newly released information shows that Bernhardt had weighed in on discussions around Westlands' policy priorities for nearly a year by that point."...

[Apr 22, 2019] Current Neo-McCarthyism hysteria as a smoke screen of the UK and the USA intent to dominate European geopolitics and weaken Russia and Germany

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... North Stream is a problem as the goal is to economically weaken Russia, tie the EU to the USA via energy supplies and support our new client state -- Ukraine. ..."
"... But this is also related to attempts to prevent/weaken the alliance of Russia and China. As geopolitical consequences of this alliance for the USA-led neoliberal empire are very bad ..."
Jul 24, 2018 | angrybearblog.com

likbez , July 24, 2018 12:23 am

@run75441 July 23, 2018 2:02 pm

Best bet is for Russia to want to trade with the US and Europe. The gas pipeline will not be enough leverage on Germany as it provides 9% of their needs.

Yes. And that's against the USA interests (or more correctly the US-led neoliberal empire interests). North Stream is a problem as the goal is to economically weaken Russia, tie the EU to the USA via energy supplies and support our new client state -- Ukraine.

As you know, nothing was proven yet in Russiagate (and DNC hacks looks more and more like a false flag operation, especially this Guccifer 2.0 personality ), but sanctions were already imposed. And when the US government speaks "Russia" in most cases they mean "China+Russia" ;-). Russia is just a weaker link in this alliance and, as such, it is attacked first. Russiagate is just yet another pretext after MH17, Magnitsky and such.

To me the current Anti-Russian hysteria is mainly a smokescreen to hide attempt to cement cracks in the façade of the USA neoliberal society that Trump election revealed (including apparent legitimization of ruling neoliberal elite represented by Hillary).

And a desperate attempt to unite the society using (false) war propaganda which requires demonization of the "enemy of the people" and neo-McCarthyism.

But this is also related to attempts to prevent/weaken the alliance of Russia and China. As geopolitical consequences of this alliance for the USA-led neoliberal empire are very bad (for example, military alliance means the end of the USA global military domination; energy alliance means that is now impossible to impose a blockade on China energy supplies from Middle East even if Iran is occupied)

In this sense the recent descent into a prolonged fit of vintage Cold War jingoistic paranoia is quite understandable. While, at the same time, totally abhorrent. My feeling is that unless Russia folds, which is unlikely, the side effects/externalities of this posture can be very bad for the USA. In any case, the alliance of Russia and China which Obama administration policies forged spells troubles to the global neoliberal empire dominated by the USA.

Trump rejection of existing forms of neoliberal globalization is one sign that this process already started and some politicians already are trying to catch the wind and adapt to a "new brave world" by using preemptive adjustments.

Which is why all this Trump-Putin summit hysteria is about.

Neither hard, nor soft neoliberals want any adjustments. They are ready to fight for the US-led neoliberal empire till the last American (excluding, of course, themselves and their families)

[Apr 22, 2019] Personally, I was especially shocked when Prince Charles casually compared Putin to Hitler. Oh, and he is not supposed to succumb to his own propaganda

Apr 22, 2019 | kunstler.com

EvelynV April 21, 2019 at 12:29 pm #

Prior to the war Bolshevism was so reviled the West refused Russia's pleas to form an alliance to oppose Hitler, in particular to ward off what they knew would be Hitler's assault on Czechoslovakia. Stalin rebuffed at every attempt, finally to buy time for Russia to prepare for what he knew would be Hitler coming for them, formed the non-aggression pact.

The Russians with the material aid from Churchill did a merciless amount of the heavy lifting that kept Hitler from focusing on crossing the Channel. Churchill was willing to float supply ships in British blood to aid the Russians any way possible knowing full well if Russia collapsed to the German onslaught Britain would be next.

Russia even today should be our best friend in the world. The reason I hated Hillary Clinton.

FincaInTheMountains April 21, 2019 at 11:31 am #

Personally, I was especially shocked when Prince Charles casually compared Putin to Hitler. Oh, and he is not supposed to succumb to his own propaganda.

The fact is that the British, unlike the Americans, really suffered greatly from the Nazis and fought with them in an almost hopeless situation. Moreover, we all should be grateful to them for the fact that in the 40s they had already declared Hitler's Germany an infernal force, and a war with it a Christian, that is, Holy War.

But after the war, something happened, and in all countries of the anti-Hitler coalition there were pro-Nazi coups. And this wave rolled exactly from England, and not from Trumen's America.

Personally, I think that the British, being completely devastated by the war, feeling the iron fingers of American business at their throats, made a deal with the devil and allowed Bormann's money, which is so well depicted in "17 Moments of Spring", to be legalized in transnational corporations.

No, of course the role of Truman, Harriman, Thyssen, Dulles and Prescott Bush was very great and they did at some point make state policy their conviction that the United States fought on the wrong side during WWII.

But they were opposed by the American army, which fought against the Nazis in Western Europe and saw Dachau concentration camp with their own eyes. And in 1952, the Truman Doctrine went into oblivion.

Especially American soldiers did not like the fact that Truman and Dulles created an army of German soldiers in Denmark, which they wanted to throw against the Soviet Army in Germany. They were completely confident about the outcome of this battle, given the combat experience of the Soviet Army, and after the instant defeat of the Kwantung Army and the Korean War, it became clear to the American military that, despite a certain number of atomic bombs, the American army would not even be able to stop the Alaskan invasion army of General Oleshev.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/14th_Army_(Soviet_Union)

And Truman withdrew his candidacy, and General Eisenhower, becoming President of the United States, for a while stopped the part of the Democratic Party that supported Democratic President Truman and Republican Senator McCarthy, a great friend of the Kennedy family. And it was here that Great Britain entered the game, scared to death by Truman, who during this time quite clearly showed how he appreciates the "English world".

For several years, a wave of reprisals against the people who played the most prominent role in the defeat of Hitler's Germany swept the world.

First they dealt with Turing, whose value is difficult to overestimate, then General Bradley, holder of the orders of Suvorov and Kutuzov, was dismissed from the post of chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff and soon resigned, soon someone surrendered Burgess, coordinator of the Cambridge Five, in Israel, they drowned Altalena and dealt with Irgun, which consists entirely of former prisoners of concentration camps, and in Poland begins the reprisal of the Stalinist Marshal of the Soviet Union Konstantin Rokossovsky.

So the English monarchy has its skeletons in the closet, in which it is afraid to admit even to itself, and over time it turned into a cognitive dissonance (if not psychosis) between the memory of its participation in the "Holy War", sincere hatred for Hitler's Germany and the need to cooperate with Adenauer and his "economic miracle", clearly financed not only by the Marshall Plan, but also by Bormann's money.

[Apr 22, 2019] Trump's tone on Mueller report changes after initial upbeat view

Apr 22, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , April 20, 2019 at 09:11 AM

Trump's tone on Mueller report changes after initial upbeat view
https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2019/04/20/trump-tone-mueller-report-changes-after-initial-upbeat-view/s77V84hJjYGdc4WTS6F5kJ/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

JILL COLVIN - Associated Press - April 20, 2019

WASHINGTON ( -- President Donald Trump is lashing out at current and former aides who cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, insisting the deeply unflattering picture they painted of him and the White House was ''total bullshit.''

In a series of angry tweets from Palm Beach, Florida, Trump laced into those who, under oath, had shared with Mueller their accounts of how Trump tried numerous times to squash or influence the investigation and portrayed the White House as infected by a culture of lies, deceit and deception.

''Statements are made about me by certain people in the Crazy Mueller Report, in itself written by 18 Angry Democrat Trump Haters, which are fabricated & totally untrue,'' Trump wrote Friday, adding that some were ''total bullshit & only given to make the other person look good (or me to look bad).''

The attacks were a dramatic departure from the upbeat public face the White House had put on it just 24 hours earlier, when Trump celebrated the report's findings as full exoneration and his counselor Kellyanne Conway called it ''the best day'' for Trump's team since his election. While the president, according to people close to him, did feel vindicated by the report, he also felt betrayed by those who had painted him in an unflattering light -- even though they were speaking under oath and had been directed by the White House to cooperate fully with Mueller's team.

The reaction was not entirely surprising and had been something staffers feared in the days ahead of the report's release as they wondered how Mueller might portray their testimony and whether the report might damage their relationships with Trump.
... ... ...

In one particularly vivid passage, Mueller recounts how Trump called McGahn twice at home and directed him to set in motion Mueller's firing. McGahn recoiled, packed up his office and threatened to resign, fearing the move would trigger a potential crisis akin to the Saturday Night Massacre of firings during the Watergate era.

In another section, Mueller details how Trump questioned McGahn's note-taking, telling the White House counsel that, ''Lawyers don 't take notes'' and that he'd ''never had a lawyer who took notes.''

''Watch out for people that take so-called ''notes,'' when the notes never existed until needed,'' Trump said in one of his tweets Friday. Others whose contemporaneous notes were referenced in the report include former staff secretary Rob Porter and Reince Priebus, Trump's first chief of staff.

Trump ended his tweet with the word, ''a...'' suggesting more was coming. More than eight hours later, he finally completed his thought, calling the probe a ''big, fat, waste of time, energy and money'' and threatening investigators by saying, ''It is now finally time to turn the tables and bring justice to some very sick and dangerous people who have committed very serious crimes, perhaps even Spying or Treason.'' There is no evidence of either.

... ... ...

[Apr 22, 2019] Bernie Sanders and the Myth of the 1 Percent. The very rich are richer than people imagine.

Apr 22, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , April 18, 2019 at 04:22 PM

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/18/opinion/bernie-sanders-tax.html

April 18, 2019

Bernie Sanders and the Myth of the 1 Percent
The very rich are richer than people imagine.
By Paul Krugman

A peculiar chapter in the 2020 presidential race ended Monday, when Bernie Sanders, after months of foot-dragging, finally released his tax returns. The odd thing was that the returns appear to be perfectly innocuous. So what was all that about?

The answer seems to be that Sanders got a lot of book royalties after the 2016 campaign, and was afraid that revealing this fact would produce headlines mocking him for now being part of the 1 Percent. Indeed, some journalists did try to make his income an issue.

This line of attack is, however, deeply stupid. Politicians who support policies that would raise their own taxes and strengthen a social safety net they're unlikely to need aren't being hypocrites; if anything, they're demonstrating their civic virtue.

But failure to understand what hypocrisy means isn't the only way our discourse about politics and inequality goes off the rails. The catchphrase "the 1 Percent" has also become a problem, obscuring the nature of class in 21st-century America.

Focusing on the top percentile of the income distribution was originally intended as a corrective to the comforting but false notion that growing inequality was mainly about a rising payoff to education. The reality is that over the past few decades the typical college graduate has seen only modest gains, with the big money going to a small group at the top. Talking about "the 1 Percent" was shorthand for acknowledging this reality, and tying that reality to readily available data.

But putting Bernie Sanders and the Koch brothers in the same class is obviously getting things wrong in a different way.

True, there's a huge difference between being affluent enough that you don't have to worry much about money and living with the financial insecurity that afflicts many Americans who consider themselves middle class. According to the Federal Reserve, 40 percent of U.S. adults don't have enough cash to meet a $400 emergency expense; a much larger number of Americans would be severely strained by the kinds of costs that routinely arise when, say, illness strikes, even for those who have health insurance.

So if you have an income high enough that you can easily afford health care and good housing, have plenty of liquid assets and find it hard to imagine ever needing food stamps, you're part of a privileged minority.

But there's also a big difference between being affluent, even very affluent, and having the kind of wealth that puts you in a completely separate social universe. It's a difference summed up three decades ago in the movie "Wall Street," when Gordon Gekko mocks the limited ambitions of someone who just wants to be "a $400,000-a-year working Wall Street stiff flying first class and being comfortable."

Even now, most Americans don't seem to realize just how rich today's rich are. At a recent event, my CUNY colleague Janet Gornick was greeted with disbelief when she mentioned in passing that the top 25 hedge fund managers make an average of $850 million a year. But her number was correct.

One survey found that Americans, on average, think that corporate C.E.O.s are paid about 30 times as much as ordinary workers, which hasn't been true since the 1970s. These days the ratio is more like 300 to 1.

Why should we care about the very rich? It's not about envy, it's about oligarchy.

With great wealth comes both great power and a separation from the concerns of ordinary citizens. What the very rich want, they often get; but what they want is often harmful to the rest of the nation. There are some public-spirited billionaires, some very wealthy liberals. But they aren't typical of their class.

The very rich don't need Medicare or Social Security; they don't use public education or public transit; they may not even be that reliant on public roads (there are helicopters, after all). Meanwhile, they don't want to pay taxes.

Sure enough, and contrary to popular belief, billionaires mostly (although often stealthily) wield their political power on behalf of tax cuts at the top, a weaker safety net and deregulation. And financial support from the very rich is the most important force sustaining the extremist right-wing politics that now dominates the Republican Party.

That's why it's important to understand who we mean when we talk about the very rich. It's not doctors, lawyers or, yes, authors, some of whom make it into "the 1 Percent." It's a much more rarefied social stratum.

None of this means that the merely affluent should be exempt from the burden of creating a more decent society. The Affordable Care Act was paid for in part by taxes on incomes in excess of $200,000, so 400K-a-year working stiffs did pay some of the cost. That's O.K.: They (we) can afford it. And whining that $200,000 a year isn't really rich is unseemly.

But we should be able to understand both that the affluent in general should be paying more in taxes, and that the very rich are different from you and me ­ -- and Bernie Sanders. The class divide that lies at the root of our political polarization is much starker, much more extreme than most people seem to realize.

anne -> anne... , April 18, 2019 at 04:35 PM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=nEQS

January 30, 2018

Real Disposable Personal Income and Real Median Weekly Earnings, 1980-2018

(Indexed to 1980)


https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=nEQX

January 30, 2018

Real Disposable Personal Income and Real Median Weekly Earnings, 1988-2018

(Indexed to 1988)

JohnH -> anne... , April 18, 2019 at 06:13 PM
The usual media suspects, the Trump-Putin conspiracy crowd, ignored this: Bernie was a smashing success on FoxNews Bethlehem, Pa townhall.
veryone agrees: Bernie Sanders' Fox News appearance was a major success.

"Sanders takes on Fox -- and emerges triumphant," proclaimed Politico. Vice judged Bernie's appearance "victorious." The Washington Post opined that Bernie's stellar performance "suggest[s] that [Trump] can, indeed, be beaten." The Atlantic, usually eager to declare that Bernie has blundered, conceded that "it paid off."

But most coverage restricts its analysis to Sanders' 2020 election prospects, overlooking the true significance of the event. It's not just that he's willing to make a pitch to Fox's viewership and thus stands a better chance at winning the presidency -- it's that the Right could lose some of the working-class support it doesn't deserve, a process that could easily snowball out of their control."
https://jacobinmag.com/2019/04/berni-sanders-town-hall-fox-news

And when Bernie asked the crowd if they would exchange their company health care plan for M4A, the crowd went nuts.

Of course, Krugman, Pelosi, and the corrupt, centrist Democratic establishment will continue to assure us that 'people are happy with their corporate coverage." BS!!!

The 'no, we can't' crowd here will undoubtedly assure us that 'sure, they'd love universal coverage, but it's not politically feasible.' They need to watch the Fox Town Hall. If it's not feasible, then it's because Democrats don't want it (in deference to insurance companies,) not because it's not feasible.

JohnH -> ken melvin... , April 18, 2019 at 10:14 PM
No surprise there. In geopolitics, one bad deed deserves another...US constantly interfering in others' politics, too. Sadly, Democrats will seize on this to push for confrontation with Russia. Question is, what do they want, nuclear war?

What's sickly ironic to me is that Democrats could care less about the security of the voting system, even after the stolen elections of 2000 and 2004.. Why is it OK for billionaires and corporation to rig electronic voting machines against Democrats? Where was a Mueller Commission back then?

Personally, I think that billionaires' election theft is much more effective and consequenctial than any Russian meddling, which was probably not that effective anyway.

JohnH -> ken melvin... , April 18, 2019 at 10:34 PM
Sanders has clearly demonstrated what resonates with progressive voters...and even with many Fox viewers.

But Pelosi and the corrupt Democratic establishment ignore that...and can't even come up with any coherent message or an appealing agenda at all. Instead, they insist on continuously replaying Hillary's sour grapes. What is the point? How many votes will Hillary's bitterness get for Democrats?

[Apr 22, 2019] Senator Elizabeth Warren on Friday called for lawmakers to start impeachment proceedings against President Trump, saying he obstructed Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election

That's a third Warren blunder after reparations blunder and Indian heritage blunder. She might be out of the race soon...
Does not she understand that impeachment of Trump means President Pence? What is idiotic statement. She is definitely no diplomat and as such does not belong to WH.
Apr 22, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 09:23 AM

Elizabeth Warren calls for impeachment
proceedings against President Trump
https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2019/04/19/elizabeth-warren-calls-for-impeachment-proceedings-against-president-trump/yWVMo0TSkBeuYDSSeBuP5L/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

Danny McDonald - April 19, 2019

Senator Elizabeth Warren on Friday called for lawmakers to start impeachment proceedings against President Trump, saying he obstructed Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Warren became the first of the Democratic presidential candidates to unambiguously call for impeachment proceedings. Most senior Democrats in Congress have stopped far short of it following the delivery of Mueller's 448-page report.

"The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty,'' the Massachusetts Democrat said on Twitter. "That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States."

Also Friday, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena for an unredacted version of Mueller's report as Congress escalates its investigation. Trump and other Republicans dismissed the report's findings.

The redacted version of Mueller's report details multiple efforts Trump made to curtail a Russia probe he feared would cripple his administration. While Mueller declined to recommend that Trump be prosecuted for obstruction of justice, he did not exonerate the president, all but leaving the question to Congress.

The report stated, "If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she doesn't support impeachment without bipartisan backing because it would be too divisive for the nation She signaled she wanted the House to continue to fulfill its constitutional oversight role.

''We believe that the first article -- Article 1, the legislative branch -- has the responsibility of oversight of our democracy, and we will exercise that,'' she said in Belfast on Friday.

Representative Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat who chairs the Judiciary Committee, said, ''It now falls to Congress to determine the full scope of that alleged misconduct and to decide what steps we must take going forward.'' He expects the Justice Department to comply by May 1.

On Twitter Friday, Warren said the report "lays out facts showing that a hostile foreign government attacked our 2016 election to help Donald Trump and Donald Trump welcomed that help. Once elected, Donald Trump obstructed the investigation into that attack."

She said Mueller "put the next step in the hands of Congress," adding in another tweet that "[t]o ignore a President's repeated efforts to obstruct an investigation into his own disloyal behavior would inflict great and lasting damage on this country, and it would suggest that both the current and future Presidents would be free to abuse their power in similar ways."

According to a Warren aide, the senator started to read the Mueller report Thursday during a plane ride back to Boston following campaign stops in Colorado and Utah.

Warren, according to the aide, felt it was her duty to say what she thought after reading the report but does not plan to emphasize impeachment on the campaign trail.

Mary Anne Marsh, a Boston-based Democratic strategist who is not connected to any presidential campaign, said Warren has been the first Democratic candidate to stake out numerous policy stances during the campaign. Her impeachment statement will force everyone else running for president to take a position, Marsh said.

"More often than not the field is reacting to her positions," she said.

Warren's call for impeachment proceedings, Marsh said, "shows she's willing to lead."

"She's willing to make the hard calls," Marsh said.

After the Mueller report's release, Trump pronounced it ''a good day'' and tweeted ''Game Over.'' Top Republicans in Congress saw vindication in the report as well. On Friday, Trump was even more blunt, referring to some statements about him in the report as "total bullshit."

House minority leader Kevin McCarthy said it was time to move on and said Democrats were attempting to ''vilify a political opponent.'' The California lawmaker said the report failed to deliver the ''imaginary evidence'' incriminating Trump that Democrats had sought. ...

Now, liberals are pressing the House to begin impeachment hearings, and the issue is cropping up on the presidential campaign trail.

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a Democrat who is running for president, was asked Friday if Trump should be impeached as he made an appearance at a Stop & Shop union picket line in Malden .

"I think that Congress needs to make that decision," he said. "I think he may well deserve it, but my focus, since I'm not part of Congress, but I am part of 2020, is to give him a decisive defeat at the ballot box, if he is the Republican nominee in 2020."

On Friday, Julián Castro, a former housing secretary running for the Democratic nomination, said he thought "it would be perfectly reasonable'' for Congress to open impeachment proceedings.

Senator Kamala Harris, a California Democrat who is running for president, told MSNBC on Thursday that she also thinks Mueller should testify. When asked about impeachment proceedings, she told that outlet, "I think that there's definitely a conversation to be had on that subject, but first I want to hear from Bob Mueller."

Cory Booker, the New Jersey senator running for president, was asked about impeachment during a campaign trip to Nevada. Specifically in regard to impeachment, he said, ''There's a lot more investigation that should go on before Congress comes to any conclusions like that.''

In the House, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York is now signed on to an impeachment resolution from fellow Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

But senior leaders remain cool to the idea.

Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the number two in the House Democratic leadership, told CNN on Thursday, "Based on what we have seen to date, going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point." However, Hoyer quickly revised his comments, saying "all options are on the table."

ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 11:11 AM
Let the impeachment circus begin.

We need to get to the bottom of a special counsel calling the president a "criminal" having gotten no indictments!

Let each topic be examined and witnesses deposed in the house live on C-SPAN! With questions from both sides.

There will be only take one vote in the senate to fail, but we need to get to the bottom of Mueller's untoward remarks in the report.

From the little I read it seems the report, in tone at least, despises fact and is politically motivated.

[Apr 22, 2019] Trump has been placed in office for purposes of churn for markets because of the deflationary pressures brought about from uncertainty on the finance side of America's balance sheets finance ledgers.

Apr 22, 2019 | kunstler.com

Robert White April 20, 2019 at 12:42 pm #

Trump is the chosen representative of the Oligopoly & elite top ten per cent of the wealth transferring opportunist class that make their financial gains from participation within the cartel & concomitant rigged system.

If P.T. Barnum II cannot manage to drum up the requisite market volatility in an across-the-board Secular Stagnation global market the United States of America will fall prey to competition from the alternative superpowers that are currently poised to interlope on previously controlled territories that the USA has traditionally held as their own. T

he GFC ushered in an about face for USD hegemony & USA exceptionalism [read manifest destiny] that needs to be reassessed in light of dwindling market share & trade deficits.

The Duck has been placed in office for purposes of churn for markets because of the deflationary pressures brought about from uncertainty on the finance side of America's balance sheets & finance ledgers.

P.T. Barnum II would only be turfed from office if Wall Street started to implode the dark pool derivatives universe again as they did in 08 when Obama was ushered into office as an apologist for the incompetency of his peers on Wall Street & the Republican Party. The banking sector knew full well that the default government of Obama was guaranteed in light of the market crash that ended the Bush era totalitarianism.

RW

volodya April 20, 2019 at 3:17 pm #

RW I agree with a lot of what you say. But I would say that Hillary was the chosen rep, the problem being that she lost the election. So, while Trump may not have been the number one pick, the opportunist class, as you call them, will make do. So far, and especially with the corporate tax cut, I think he's been ok for them and as a further example I point to his arguing for lower interest rates to keep the Wall Street party going.

As to deflationary pressures, I presume you're talking about downward pressure on asset prices.

I can't imagine that the banking sector was disappointed by Obama's policies w.r.t. QE, suppression of interest rates, and especially his policy of "too-big-to-jail". And his appointment of Mary Jo White. In my view appointing Mary Jo was as laughable as appointing a mafia lawyer or consigliere as a big city police commissioner.

ozone April 20, 2019 at 6:14 pm #

volodya, Your reply to Robert White reinforces his point: They *all* work for the same masters/grifters/skimmers/legal criminals/extractors.

(Your posts often reflect this. I'm puzzled as to why you seem to think his viewpoint is somehow "partisan" here.)

ozone April 20, 2019 at 6:52 pm #

And, yes, we knew Obama was just another slick operator, installed as "cover". The average voter never took the time to wonder, "Where TF did *he* come from?", or bothered to check who was stuffing his war chest with filthy lucre.
Hornswoggled again!

The fine trick is never to give the voters anyone to vote for; this way the status quo is maintained and the public is kept at each others throats.

We should probably be concerned that the end of Empathy Road crumbles into a vast, cold waste that stretches endlessly away. Those who tread there are no longer human. At the rate we're approaching that waste, there will be no need for plunging off of any cliff.

Robert White April 20, 2019 at 7:42 pm #

HRC was the chosenite before she slipped & fell helplessly in front of cameras owned by publishers intent on getting a scoop presidential race ending snapshot of the Democratic frontrunner ending her whole career in one fell swoop on international news networks all over the world.

When the networks ran the newsreels on Hillary falling into the arms of campaign personnel that was a game over moment in history. Hillary just did not have the health to be a presidential candidate and The Duck was still waddling on duck's feet at that juncture on the clock.

Heck, even the bookies knew that HRC was too lame to run after she was conspicuously hospitalized with an infection that was immediately treated by her physician. Americans don't want presidential candidates that are not healthy enough to run the gauntlet of elections. She lost on the basis of her poor health and national news reels that showed her incapable of even walking to a parked waiting van. 'Mericans don't vote for raggedy Ann or Andy. To be presidential is to be able to stand on one's own two feet at all times. Hillary could not pass the standing on her own two feet clause in the tacit agreement that she was attempting to make with the American voter at that time in history.

RW

JohnAZ April 20, 2019 at 12:44 pm #

The irony of all these arguments is so obvious to those of us who have been around long enough to witness or be involved in the Cold War. Russia was an archenemy because they were a socialist state opposed to private ownership capitalism. We had just fought a war against two totalitarian states.

JohnAZ April 20, 2019 at 1:00 pm #

The irony is that the Russian Federation has become privatized over the last two decades and the US more socialized. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren et al are very close to converting this country to a Communist State. That will be the end result if the Left's coup is successful in 2020.

The reaction of the Red States to the control by the Deep State will be interesting.

On this big picture, Trump is unimportant. Try to picture a post Trump America after a coup, Pence will be the next target, think Buttigieg, until the capitalist basis of the country is destroyed.

The real problem is that the Liberals will just keep coming, being financed by the globalists, and coming and coming until they have their way. We are currently witnessing it. What can be done to stop them, permanently.

The irony again is that the Left has convinced a large part of America that Trump and the Deplorables are responsible for the Russian "takeover", yet the real source of the takeover is the result of the Leftist campaigns.

The last attempted overthrow of the US basic tenets created the civil war and history shows what it took to stop the Confederacy.

beantownbill. April 20, 2019 at 1:54 pm #

The American public's stupidity cannot be overestimated. I know this, but still find it hard to believe that it would elect the likes of Bernie, Liz and Buttplug (BLB).

Keep in mind, the only elected Massachusetts politician in the past 100 years was JFK, but he was a phenomenon and might have lost in 1964. Coolidge never ran, Dukakis lost and so did Kerry. We've never elected a self-described socialist, either. Buttplug is too weird for the typical American. AOC is too young.

No, we'll probably have a mainstream, same old-same old president.

The Great and Infernal Truthiness of Lil Debbie Snack Packaging April 20, 2019 at 2:19 pm #

I can't agree with this theory of candidate change .

Obama, and then Trump is all the evidence you need that the carbon dioxide expelled by American voters is reaching toxic levels. The old Milankovitch cycles of American political economy are long gone.

A fellow related today that he thought Boot-edge-edge would be rejected for being too gay. Sentiments like this have front-run historical campaigns for the last 12 years.

At some point even the morbidly obese have to push away from the buffet table. Expect the candidate change.

Candidate change is real.

BackRowHeckler April 20, 2019 at 2:28 pm #

Coolidge did run and win, 1924.

BackRowHeckler April 20, 2019 at 2:30 pm #

'Keep cool with Coolidge", was the campaign slogan.

Pretty good slogan.

malthuss April 20, 2019 at 2:42 pm #

The American public's stupidity cannot be overestimated.
Who owns the media?
who engineered this?

Janos Skorenzy April 20, 2019 at 3:36 pm #

I asked the Captain the same thing. He doesn't know or doesn't want to know. Or he knows and doesn't know at the same time, depending on which helps him stay the same and in denial. Double think as Orwell put it.

Exscotticus April 20, 2019 at 2:30 pm #

>>> The end of the the Mueller probe doesn't in the least mean that it's over.

Oh we never expected collusionist Dems to go gentle into that good night. I mean did the birthers ever accede to reality?

But all Dems can do now is spin while the rest of the nation moves on. And you better hope they move on. The alternative is that Team Trump starts going after the conspirators of this soft coup.

[Apr 22, 2019] T>wisting the tools of justice and state to slander

Apr 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Mueller's inclusion of information on obstruction of justice that portrays unbecoming conduct by the president that nonetheless doesn't rise to the level of indictable crime allows Democrats to decide where to take this next. Mueller has not tossed the ball to a Democratic Congress to play out its check and balance role so much as handed dirt to Democratic politicians to use as they see fit. It's an odd end for the righteous Robert Mueller, twisting the tools of justice and state to slander.

And as with collusion, we already know the ending on obstruction. Mueller did not indict because the evidence did not support it. Attorney General Bob Barr and his deputy Rod Rosenstein, by law the actual intended recipients of the report, agreed with Mueller. Trump's actions were lawful. Though some of them were troublesome and even immoral, they were not criminal. Most significantly, Mueller could not indict on obstruction because it was not possible to determine that Trump had showed the legally required corrupt intent. All of that precedes any consideration given to Department of Justice and Office of Legal Counsel advice that a sitting president cannot be indicted.

If Mueller had an obstruction case, he would have made it. He could have specifically recommended indictment and made explicit that the complex legal issues around presidential obstruction meant a decision was beyond his and the attorney general's constitutional roles and must be addressed by Congress via impeachment. He could have indicted any number of people in Trump's inner circle, or issued a sealed indictment against post-White House Trump himself. He could have said that he couldn't indict solely because of DOJ/OLC rules and therefore explicitly created a road map for impeachment to guide the next step.

None of that happened. Mueller had no reason to speak in riddles, show restraint, send signals, embed hidden messages , or hint at things that others should do. He could have swung in any number of ways but instead found reason to leave the bat on his shoulder. Volume II should have ended there.

But it seems obvious from reading the report that stories alleging that members of Mueller's team saw evidence of obstruction that they found "alarming and significant" were true. Barr did a great disservice in omitting at least mention of this from his summary, as it forms the bulk of Volume II and will fuel nearly everything that happens next.

Despite no indictment, the report outlines 10 instances containing elements of obstructed justice by Trump, with a suggestion (volume II, page 8) that someone may want to look again. Apparently not everyone on Mueller's team agreed with the boss's conclusion that the evidence was insufficient, and Mueller chose to allow what is essentially dissent Talmudically contradicting his major Volume II conclusion to be baked into his own work.

Mueller was tasked with making an unambiguous decision: either to prosecute or not. He made it, and then included pages of reasons suggesting he might be wrong even as he also found space to say that the dissent might also be missing the key element of corrupt intent. There is no explanation for this confusing, ambiguous, and jumbled departure from traditional prosecutorial judgment. The final line (volume II, page 182) reads like a Twilight Zone script: "while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

One focus of the dissent is on Trump firing former FBI director James Comey. For this to be obstruction, Trump would have had to have fired Comey with the corrupt intent to impede the investigation. The Mueller report is clear that this was not what happened. Despite the public messaging, the firing was related to Comey's mishandling of the Clinton email case. The report shows that the president was angry at Comey for telling him privately that he was not under investigation but refusing to say so publicly, as Comey had done (once) for Hillary Clinton. Volume II, page 75: "Substantial evidence indicates that the catalyst for the president's decision to fire Comey was Comey's unwillingness to publicly state that the president was not personally under investigation." That's not obstruction of justice; it's presidential rage.


Fellkirk , says: April 19, 2019 at 2:33 pm

So no Russia conspiracy after all. After all that.

One can't help wondering how it might have gone had Israel rather than Russia been the foreign target of the investigation. After all, the FBI tells us that Israeli spying against America is as intense as Russian and Chinese spying. The Israelis are more advanced in some ways. There is no Russia-America Political Action Committee, for example. No Russian Sheldon Adelson either.

After the Mueller fracas dies down, we can expect Russia and China to develop methods and mechanisms that parallel those Israel uses to meddle in our elections and threaten our politicians. It's safer, and far more effective.

Donald , says: April 19, 2019 at 2:41 pm

This lefty tends to agree with you. There are so many issues where Trump can legitimately be described as awful and on a personal level he is awful. On some of the issues (and on his personality), some of the TAC conservatives around here would agree with me. Larison rips into Trump almost every day.

So what do our wonderful Democratic progressive leaders and journalists (with rare exceptions) do? They zero in on a McCarthyite conspiracy theory where Trump is innocent.

Freaking geniuses.

Still, Trump is a sleaze and I leave it to the lawyers to determine if the "obstruction" charge will go anywhere.

JR , says: April 20, 2019 at 2:25 pm

Mueller's performs malpractice as a prosecutor by stating:
"While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

WorkingClass , says: April 21, 2019 at 6:51 am

Mueller could not give the Democrats and the deep state the president's head. But he did encourage them to continue the quest. The chances of Trump's reelection are thereby greatly enhanced. The left won't have anything better to do than impeach the president for another six years.

Alex (the one that likes Ike) , says: April 20, 2019 at 5:31 am

the report very specifically and literally does not exonerate the president for all his conduct covered in the report

The report DOES NOT exonerate Trump; it says explicitly that "If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts, that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment."

I agree that's not an indictment, but it's decidedly not an exoneration either. So it seems like *Boland is disgracing herself,* trying to spin the Mueller Report into something favorable to the president.

Have you looked at the report? It explicitly

"While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

Seriously, folks, stop grasping at straws. It looks pathetic. Ever heard of "innocent unless proven guilty"? One of the basic legal principles – ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat – if y'all haven't. If something assumed to be an evidence or a testimony cannot indict, it *automatically* exonerates. Grow up and face it. And start actually campaigning if you wanna have even the smallest chance in 2020. I can assure you that your collusion delusion is among the last things voters of any social, racial, ethnic, religious or regional backgrounds care about.

Groucho , says: April 21, 2019 at 4:04 pm

Reading the comments here it is clear that Trump derangement syndrome is alive and well at TAC.

There are two possible outcomes in a legal inquiry, indictment and exoneration. The fact that Mueller could not indict on collusion means Trump was exonerated. Mueller punted on the issue of obstruction of justice because he could not prove that either and for him to imply otherwise is dishonest and borders and prosecutorial misconduct.

A trace of common sense would lead one to ask why Trump would obstruct an investigation into a crime that he surely knew he did not commit?

One doesn't have to be a Trump fan to marvel at the mendacity and stupidity that liberal elite's have displayed in refusing to face reality.

[Apr 22, 2019] Ken Starr's effort cost 120 million and was just as stupid as this one

Apr 22, 2019 | kunstler.com

James Hansen April 19, 2019 at 1:01 pm #

Ken Starr's effort cost 120 million and was just as stupid as this one. So the Republicans got a taste of their own medicine, the really bad thing to come out of this is the possibility of nuclear war with Russia.

FincaInTheMountains April 19, 2019 at 1:11 pm #

Another adept of the Hanlon's Razor who is forgetting that the Republicans started all kinds of investigations against the Clintons not because Bill screwed somebody in the Oval Office, but because Hillary cheated in 1992 presidential elections by using a spoiler Ross Perot, which violated all gentlemen's agreements of the American elite.

James Hansen April 19, 2019 at 1:31 pm #

They appointed Ken Starr to be the most powerful prosecutor in the U.S. with unlimited money, manpower and time based on not even speculation. They had nothing, if it were not for Linda Tripp's backstabbing of her friend Monica Lewinsky the whole thing would of ended much earlier.

Ken Starr threatened Monica and everyone within 100 miles of her with long prison sentences if she did not reveal every detail, which he leaked to the press on a daily basis. It was dirty politics at its finest.

100th Avatar April 19, 2019 at 3:35 pm #

Of course. Because a serial philanderer, womanizer, and/or rapist getting oral sex from a very young intern in a government office and then lying about is is not serious. A me-too moment. Now imagine if Trump did that.

100th Avatar April 21, 2019 at 12:19 pm #

There are people that are willfully ignorant. You are willfully stupid, but you're intensely partisan, which perhaps explains your conundrum.

There are severe grounds for punishment in the federal workplace for having sex with your subordinate. In your office. On government time.

Even more severe if found lying about it during the course of an investigation/review.

You can blame a vast rightwing conspiracy, a witch-hunt, or your melodramatic claim of "coup", but it is a settled conclusion that Bill Clinton is a womanizer, serial philander, and accused rapist.

But he is a D, which is all that matters for the useful voting idiots.

[Apr 22, 2019] The Mueller report and the campaign against Russia by Joseph Kishore

Notable quotes:
"... "Russia's interference in the campaign was the core issue that Mr. Mueller was appointed to investigate," the Times writes, "and if he stopped short of accusing the Trump campaign of overtly cooperating with the Russians -- the report mercifully rejects speaking of 'collusion,' a term that has no meaning in American law -- he was unequivocal on Russia's culpability: 'First, the Office determined that Russia's two principal interference operations in the 2016 US presidential election -- the social media campaign and the hacking-and-dumping operations -- violated US criminal law." ..."
"... In the key passage, the Times complains that Trump has failed to take this supposed interference in American politics seriously. "Culpable or not," the editors write, "he must be made to understand that a foreign power that interferes in American elections is, in fact, trying to distort American foreign policy and national security." ..."
"... "Distort foreign policy " By this is meant the CIA-backed imperialist operations in Syria and the campaign against Russia itself. ..."
"... In addition to the conflicts over foreign policy, the anti-Russia campaign has been aimed at criminalizing domestic opposition and justifying an unprecedented attack on free speech, including the censorship of the internet, utilizing Google, Facebook, and other social media companies, under the absurd pretext that the online operations of Russia are responsible for social conflict within the United States. ..."
Apr 20, 2019 | www.wsws.org

The release of the report by special counsel Robert Mueller on allegations of Russian interference in the US election and alleged collusion with the Trump administration has reignited the ferocious factional warfare within the American ruling class.

An editorial published Friday evening by the New York Times very clearly reveals, after two years, what this conflict was all about. As the World Socialist Web Site has repeatedly insisted, dominant factions of the military-intelligence apparatus, whose demands have been channeled by the Democratic Party and the media, will not accept any retreat from an intensification of the conflict with Russia.

The editorial board statement is published under the headline, "The Mueller Report and the Danger Facing American Democracy," with the subhead, "A perceived victory for Russian interference poses a serious risk for the United States."

It begins, "The report of the special counsel Robert Mueller leaves considerable space for partisan warfare over the role of President Trump and his political campaign in Russia's interference in the 2016 election. But one conclusion is categorical: 'The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.'"

This statement is a backhanded acknowledgement that the Mueller report fails to substantiate many of the wild claims, promoted by the media including the Times , of collusion or direct coordination between the 2016 Trump campaign and the Russian government. However, what the Times is more concerned with is the underlying -- and no less unfounded -- claim, that Russia has attacked "American democracy" and that an aggressive response is necessary.

"Russia's interference in the campaign was the core issue that Mr. Mueller was appointed to investigate," the Times writes, "and if he stopped short of accusing the Trump campaign of overtly cooperating with the Russians -- the report mercifully rejects speaking of 'collusion,' a term that has no meaning in American law -- he was unequivocal on Russia's culpability: 'First, the Office determined that Russia's two principal interference operations in the 2016 US presidential election -- the social media campaign and the hacking-and-dumping operations -- violated US criminal law."

In the key passage, the Times complains that Trump has failed to take this supposed interference in American politics seriously. "Culpable or not," the editors write, "he must be made to understand that a foreign power that interferes in American elections is, in fact, trying to distort American foreign policy and national security."

"Distort foreign policy " By this is meant the CIA-backed imperialist operations in Syria and the campaign against Russia itself.

In addition to the conflicts over foreign policy, the anti-Russia campaign has been aimed at criminalizing domestic opposition and justifying an unprecedented attack on free speech, including the censorship of the internet, utilizing Google, Facebook, and other social media companies, under the absurd pretext that the online operations of Russia are responsible for social conflict within the United States.

Regurgitating the unsubstantiated assertions of the intelligence agencies, which the Mueller report also accepts, the Times denounces "a social media campaign [by Russia] intended to