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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 Libertarian Philosophy Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA National Security State
Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few The Iron Law of Oligarchy Elite Theory Cold War II Pathological Russophobia of the US elite
"Fuck the EU": neocons show EU its real place The Deep State Strzok-gate Neo-conservatism Media-Military-Industrial Complex Two Party System as Polyarchy Neoliberal war on reality or the importance of controlling the narrative
Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak DNC emails leak Anti Trump Hysteria Trump vs. Deep State Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism
Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization Ukraine: From EuroMaydan to EuroAnschluss Civil war in Ukraine Syria civil war Russian Ukrainian Gas Wars Color revolutions Demonization of Putin
Fifth Column of Neoliberal Globalization Anti-globalization movement Neoliberal corruption Neoliberalism and Christianity Brexit as the start of the reversal of neoliberal globalization Disaster capitalism IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement
Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Corporatism New American Militarism Ethno-linguistic Nationalism American Exceptionalism Predator state Obama: a yet another Neocon
Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? 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
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 War and Peace Quotes
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)

[Feb 16, 2019] What other organization/group then CIA is capable of such as perfect job of covering their tracks

Feb 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

Peredur , says: February 12, 2019 at 11:02 pm GMT

@ariadna "What other organization/group is capable of such as perfect job of covering their tracks."

It is the organization that controls the government and the media that is capable of doing this. In other words, the same organization that was responsible for 9/11 and other major deceptions. It compartmentalizes knowledge of operational details using the need-to-know rule, but it can still be regarded as the same overall entity carrying out all of these deceptions, with the same general goals always applying.

[Feb 16, 2019] There is a tendency, especially among dissenters and conspiracy theorists, to equate the Kennedy family with the Gracchi brothers of the great late Roman republic

Feb 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

Miville , says: Website February 12, 2019 at 8:29 pm GMT

There is a tendency, especially among dissenters and conspiracy theorists, to equate the Kennedy family with the Gracchi brothers of the great late Roman republic, a model of a good opportunity for the Republic to evolve for the best and that was missed thanks to timely assassinations. Unfortunately that's not the case : JFK was rather a behavioural model of utter political servility, to the point of psychic codependence, towards the media sphere. He was actually the first American president to have been entirely made by the media, and especially by the most intensively Jewish ones as well as by the Hollywood actors' milieu : people even worse than the power elite proper. Anyway the American presidential institution was designed right from the start as a hidden imperial monarchy by adoption where none is admitted except from families having being initiated into the inner occult circles of the oligarchy and consecrated their whole progeny to come for one century and more : there never was the slightest risk that a US President disobey. The fact that the father had slight pro-Nazi inclinations should fool no one : Israel's Likud party has always collaborated with such figures among the non-Jews and anyway JFK's family is nearly Jewish on his mother's side. The American republic, though draping in Roman architecture and symbols, is clearly far more Carthaginian in outlook.

If JFK is to be compared with a Roman character it would be more with a kind of Nero, judging by his general private conduct, his lavish use of public money for private luxuries, and his abundant use of secret services to dispose of no longer useful women. He was all shape and no substance, and also known for a preference for false flags as the royal way to disentangle all diplomatic quandaries, and some of those false flags were so ridiculous that they fell flat, like the Bay of Pigs operation where he had given the orders to simulate the return of Christ. JFK had been put into power to accomplish a very specific mission : highjacking the Catholic Church into a religion 100% compliant with American interests and values (not an easy task) and also with Zionist theology : a most preposterous (and pervert) task but which he carried out in a brillant way. Up to then that religion had been the most opposite to the American enterprise, even more so than the communist enterprise, after the VII Council which that president was made to supervise as a nominal Catholic, the religion was made into some kind of neo-episcopalian thing. JFK did it mostly through the assassinations of countless prelates who would oppose such a turn. JFK also launched the Moonlanding mission in perfect knowledge, through Van Allen and Von Braun, that it was not feasible due to the impossibility to send any living being into space beyond a quite low orbit : he just counted on Hollywood. What he didn't realize is that it would be simpler for the American secret services to ensure the perfect secrecy of his own scheme to eliminate him once all orders to make it work were given. Had he escaped or survived the assassination in Dallas he would have been rapidly known as the very disappointing false liberal and real decadent machiavellian prince he was, one year of tabloid media coverage would have revealed him as an embarrassment to America, even though he was most probably due to die from his chronic illness before campaining for reelection. Thanks to his assassination he was transfigurated from the Nero he was into a kind of perfect tragic hero he was to become in the American dreamworld. In brief he was killed for obeying just to well, to the point of being more useful after death as a model, not for dissent of any kind (even though like all corrupt politicians who feel death to be impending he started making timid regrets and confessions about the power structure around him just a few days before, but in doing so he did no better than for instance FBI's Hoover or France's Mitterrand or Israel's Sharon just before entering mysterious coma).

Let us not be fooled by some allegations as to him having envisioned to do away with the FED by giving back the American state the right to print money : all he did in reality was allowing the American state to emit BONDS (not currency units) payable in metallic silver rather than in USD proper, a way different thing, actually a first move (by avowing the USD was subject to inflation in metallic terms as a judicial precedent to impose other decisions later on) to stealthily undo the convertibility of the dollar into precious metal as was to be finalized under Nixon. Let us not be deluded he envisioned doing away with the CIA : if anything JFK was an overuser of its assassination services, he just wished for the agency, which was then quite decentralized, to be eventually conflated with the FBI. And let us not imagine he was anti-Israel : when he refused Israel the authorization to go nuclear that was under the American Nuclear Industry Lobby's pressure which was then a more Jewish thing than its Israeli counterpart : Israel was seen as too young, too lefty, too hippie-like to be entrusted with everything at once, the real Jewish capital of the world was Manhattan, not Tel Aviv. Israel as an offshore power centre was still in construction and JFK's only concern, shared by his close Jewish appointees as well as by most conservative American Jews, was that it might fall under Soviet pressure for lack of maturity in operating secret services. In those kinds of affairs JFK heeded and obeyed the voice of best-established moneyed interests without delving too much deeply. Thanks to the JFK perfect model of media-tailored politicians the way was paved for Clinton and Obama to come thereafter as natural heirs.

[Feb 16, 2019] The Broken Presidential Destiny of JFK, Jr. by Laurent Guyénot

Feb 16, 2019 | www.unz.com
JFK Jr. as conspiracy theorist

Let's move on to the next question: how dedicated was John to getting to the bottom of his father's assassination?

According to testimonies from his friends, John Junior was haunted by the death of his father and quite knowledgeable about independent investigations contradicting the Warren Report. In 1999, he was not a newcomer to JFK conspiracy theories; his quest for truth had started as early as the late 1970s. His old high school girlfriend Meg Azzoni, in her self-published book, 11 Letters and a Poem: John F. Kennedy, Jr., and Meg Azzoni (2007), writes that as a teenager, JFK, Jr. was questioning the official version of his father's death: "His heartfelt quest was to expose and bring to trial who killed his father, and covered it up." [28] Quoted in John Koerner, Exploding the Truth: The JFK Jr., Assassination, Chronos Books, 2018, kindle k. 540-45. Don Jeffries, author of Hidden History, claimed that "another friend of JFK, Jr.'s adult inner circle, who very adamantly requested to remain anonymous, verified that he was indeed quite knowledgeable about the assassination and often spoke of it in private." [29] Quoted in Koerner, Exploding the Truth, op. cit., k. 540-5. JFK Jr., said Jeffries in a radio interview, was on "a Shakespearian quest," "to avenge his father's death," like young Hamlet. [30] https://midnightwriternews.com/mwn-episode-093-donal...fk-jr/

John is the only Kennedy to have shown a serious determination to pursue this truth, besides his uncle Bobby. And he took the risk of making his interest public in October 1998, when he released a special "Conspiracy Issue" of George magazine , which included an article by Oliver Stone titled "Our Counterfeit History," introduced on the cover as "Paranoid and Proud of It!"

In an article published in 2009 , journalist Wayne Madsen claimed that, two weeks after John's death, "I was scheduled to meet with Kennedy at his magazine's offices in Washington, DC to discuss hiring on as one of a few investigative journalists Kennedy wanted to dig deep into a number of cases, but most importantly that of his father's assassination." [31] Wayne Madsen, "JFK Jr.'s Plane Crash Was Originally Treated As Murder Investigation," Wayne Madsen Report, August 12, 2009, on http://www.whale.to/c/jfk_jr5.html. Madsen told more details to Jeffries, who reports them in his book Hidden History: An Expose of Modern Crimes, Conspiracies, and Cover-Ups in American Politics, Skyhorse publishing, 2016, kindle k. 3981. (There is no confirmation of Madsen's claim.)


Jake , says: February 11, 2019 at 2:30 pm GMT

... ... ..

If Joe Kennedy Jr had not died in WW2, they would have killed him, because he was the smartest and toughest of the four brothers.

The WASPs and their Jewish allies assumed they could control JFK because of his war injury and resulting lifetime of medication, as well as from his having chosen to be a playboy when he assumed Joe Jr would be President. But in the White House, JFK began to understand that US was going to have major troubles if it did not pull out of Vietnam sooner rather than later and it if did not rein in Israel. He likely would have dumped LBJ in '64, and that was enough to guarantee his death.

Bobby Kennedy had to go because he was indispensable to John's movements in understanding how the Brits and their Jewish allies had cost the America that was neither WASP Elite nor Jewish a great deal. Plus, from his time working on organized crime, Bobby Kennedy knew that all big time organized crime was significantly funded by Jews and that at some point, virtually all major Jewish American big business and prominent law firms had direct ties to Jewish organized crime. And as President, Bobby Kennedy would have applied such knowledge to Israel. And so Bobby Kennedy had to be killed.

I have long assumed that some alliance of CIA and Mossad, meaning WASP and Jewish, was behind Chappaquiddick. No need to kill Teddy, because he was the least intelligent Kennedy brother, as well as the only coward.

Why risk JFK Jr? Get rid of him before he holds any office. Do not risk any movement growing up around him, because he might turn out to be some combo of his dad and dead uncles.

So Bobb

restless94110 , says: February 11, 2019 at 7:19 pm GMT
@Jake

I have long assumed that some alliance of CIA and Mossad, meaning WASP and Jewish, was behind Chappaquiddick. No need to kill Teddy, because he was the least intelligent Kennedy brother, as well as the only coward.

What makes you think that he was not supposed to die in that crash? He got out by the skin of his teeth, could not save his companion. What would be a better smear on the Kennedys that Teddy died with some woman in his lap?

As it turned out, he survived but forever smeared anyway

SunBakedSuburb , says: February 11, 2019 at 8:29 pm GMT
Interesting article. I believe JFK Jr.'s death was the result of a conspiracy, but the author's assertion that Mossad was responsible leaves me with doubt. Hillary Clinton was the person who had the most to gain from JFK Jr.'s demise; they were both on the same trajectory: the open New York senate seat, followed by a run to the White House. The Clintons have been shadow government players since at least the 1980s when, while governor, Bill helped facilitate the CIA's trafficking of guns and drugs in Arkansas, which is a state with a significant Rockefeller presence. The demoness Hillary is where investigators of JFK Jr.'s death should start. Whether that leads to the Mossad, I don't know. My guess would be a domestic CIA network.
Steve Naidamast , says: February 11, 2019 at 8:30 pm GMT
I very much like the writing by Laurent Guyénot and I have read all of the articles by him that I have come across including purchasing his book, "From Yaweh to Zion".

And I have no doubt that some insidious form of foul play was what killed JFK Jr. and his wife.

As one who flew aircraft many years ago I can attest to the fact that on a fog-ridden night it is very easy to succumb to vertigo and crash your plane into the ground. You can do this very easily as well with the current bevy of highly sophisticated aircraft simulations that are available.

However, JFK Jr. was, to my knowledge, a consummate pilot and would have never attempted such a flight unless he was intsrument rated. As a result, he would have not succumbed to to the effects of vertigo since he would have been concentrating on his instruments.

Also, I understand that this was basically a night flight, which by law required an instrument rating.

From these generalizations alone one can see that JFK Jr. would have known how to fly his plane.

If the eyewitnesses to the explosion are credible along with other supporting evidence than there is no way any legitimate investigation could have concluded with verdict of "pilot error", unless of course JFK Jr. knowingly took a bomb on board his plane with the intent of blowing himself and his passengers up. A highly unlikely scenario.

If one were to look at the "only available picture" of JFK Jr.'s aircraft in this piece, even a layperson could see that there is no scarring anywhere to be seen on the debris, which would have been used then to support the stupidity of "pilot error".

You can see the same nonsense with the 911 pictures of the Pentagon after it was struck. There is literally no debris in any of those pictures from an aircraft freshly blown to pieces by its strike on the E-wing of the Pentagon.

Considering the insidiousness of the Clintons, especially Hillary herself, the author paints an excellent portrait of a likely pathway for the support and implementation of an assassination of JFK Jr through her. Given Hillary's background (and rabid incompetence) in nefarious operations such as the destruction of Libya, I wouldn't put it past this women to work with other planners to prevent JFK Jr. from obstructing her planned ascent into the US Senate from New York.

Despite her popularity in New York State, which was somewhat overrated in the media, many never considered her a welcome representative of our state. And JFK Jr. would have wiped the floor with her in a political contest.

Steve Naidamast , says: February 11, 2019 at 8:39 pm GMT
@Achmed E. Newman Achmed

As a former flyer myself, it is aviation law that you cannot fly any aircraft at night or non-VFR conditions without being instrument rated. If this was a night flight as stated then the moon could have been out lighting up every aspect of earth and still only instrument-rated pilots could fly.

And the airport he flew out of would have never allowed such a flight-plan for a non-instrument rated pilot unless they wanted to lose their license to operate an airport.

Cyrano , says: February 11, 2019 at 8:46 pm GMT
If JFK Jr. could send a message from the other world – it should probably be: "Don't cry for me Argentina".

Just because his father was a president (of dubious quality and of dubious control over the deep state – it probably was, as usual – vice versa, the deep state controlled him), doesn't mean that they had presidential DNA in their genes.

Sons of presidents are usually worse than their fathers in the same role. I have only 2 examples but they are adequate enough to prove the point. GW Bush was 10 times the disaster of a president his father was. And also Justin Trudeau is not even 1% the prime minister his father was. In fact, if JFK jr, lived long enough to be elected a president – he probably would have been the American Justin Trudeau.

Carlton Meyer , says: Website February 11, 2019 at 9:15 pm GMT
Our media ignored breaking news a few years ago that Kennedy's TWA "conspiracy theory" was proven true. TWA Flight 800 did not explode in mid-air because of an electrical short. It was accidentally hit by a US Navy anti-aircraft missile during a training exercise.

An outstanding 2013 documentary: "TWA Flight 800" appeared on Netflix, but was removed after just a few weeks. It featured two senior federal NTSB investigators of TWA 800 who declared the investigation was a cover-up by the Clinton administration, and waited until they retired to speak out. Several books have appeared that provide undeniable evidence, such as:

http://militarycorruption.com/flight-800/

DESERT FOX , says: February 11, 2019 at 9:29 pm GMT
@SunBakedSuburb Agree, the book Compromised, Clinton, Bush and the CIA by Terry Reed shows the connection between the Bushes and Clintons and the CIA and FBI and their CIA hit teams, or just read the customer comments on the book at Amazon.com.
renfro , says: February 11, 2019 at 9:50 pm GMT
@Diversity Heretic As a 30 year instrument rated pilot myself I would agree except for .."and the overstressed airframe comes apart."
In light civilian air craft that is very rare and usually caused by some defect already existing.
Unless the NTSB itself is lying and the radar records and the recovery divers are lying I go with their determination.
First, the debris field was only 120 feet, if the plane had exploded or broken up in the air it would have been scattered over a larger area.
Second, records show the plane entered a banking turn in excess of 45 degrees, which is not recommended and dangerous .It can cause a accelerated stall and if you don't have the altitude to recover from it before you hit the ground or you panic you go 'spiraling' down and smash into whatever is below, you like the ocean.
So I really am not into the plane being blown up theory.

'A performance study of the radar data revealed that the target began a descent from 5,500 feet about 34 miles west of MVY. The speed during the descent was calculated to be about 160 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS), and the rate of descent was calculated to have varied between 400 and 800 feet per minute (fpm). About 2138, the target began a right turn in a southerly direction. About 30 seconds later, the target stopped its descent at 2,200 feet and began a climb that lasted another 30 seconds. During this period of time, the target stopped the turn, and the airspeed decreased to about 153 KIAS. About 2139, the target leveled off at 2,500 feet and flew in a southeasterly direction. About 50 seconds later, the target entered a left turn and climbed to 2,600 feet. As the target continued in the left turn, it began a descent that reached a rate of about 900 fpm. When the target reached an easterly direction, it stopped turning; its rate of descent remained about 900 fpm. At 2140:15, while still in the descent, the target entered a right turn. As the target's turn rate increased, its descent rate and airspeed also increased. The target's descent rate eventually exceeded 4,700 fpm. The target's last radar position was recorded at 2140:34 at an altitude of 1,100 feet. (For a more detailed description of the target's [accident airplane's] performance, see Section, "Tests and Research," Subsection, "Aircraft Performance Study.")

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

On July 20, 1999, the airplane wreckage was located by U.S. Navy divers from the recovery ship, USS Grasp, at a depth of about 120 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. According to the divers, the recovered wreckage had been distributed in a debris field about 120 feet long and was oriented along a magnetic bearing of about 010/190 degrees. The main cabin area was found in the middle of the debris field.
At 2139:50, the airplane entered a left turn, while slightly increasing altitude to 2,600 feet. The airplane reached a maximum bank angle of 28 degrees left-wing-down (LWD) and a maximum vertical acceleration of 1.2 Gs in this turn. When the maximum LWD bank angle was obtained, the altitude started to decrease at a descent rate close to 900 fpm. The LWD attitude was maintained for approximately 15 seconds until the airplane was heading towards the east. At 2140:07, the airplane bank angle returned to wings level. At 2140:15, with the airplane continuing towards the east, it reestablished a descent close to 900 fpm and then started to increase its bank angle in a RWD direction at nearly a constant rate. As the airplane bank angle increased, the rate of descent increased, and the airspeed started to increase. By 2140:25, the bank angle exceeded 45 degrees , the vertical acceleration was 1.2 Gs, the airspeed increased through 180 knots, and the flightpath angle was close to 5 degrees airplane nose down. After 2140:25, the airplane's airspeed, vertical acceleration, bank, and dive angle continued to increase, and the right turn tightened until water impact

https://www.ntsb.gov/about/employment/_layouts/ntsb.aviation/brief2.aspx?ev_id=20001212X19354&ntsbno=NYC99MA178&akey=1

Rodney1111 , says: February 11, 2019 at 9:56 pm GMT
Creating conspiracy theories is lots of fun, and sometimes can even be productive, but for this one you really do have to go overboard ignoring Occam's Razor:

In reality, everyone who has ever acquired any kind of pilot's licence has been told repeatedly in training something like: "Understand, that without getting sufficient instruction to qualify for an instrument rating, if you lose visual reference to the ground, during the day or at night, you will be toast. Experiments have consistently shown that, even the world's most brilliant and experienced pilots, if they lose visual reference to the ground and cannot see the instruments to assess carefully what they are saying, in every case lose control of the aircraft in less than 45 seconds. And, having lost control, do not realize it, and are unable to figure out that they need to regain it, let alone what they need to do."

Most people find this surprising, which is why in the later stages of basic training a demonstration is usually done in which the pilot wears a hood that prevents him from seeing outside the aircraft, and is instructed to maintain straight and level flight. The instructor removes the student's hood when the aircraft is in a rapidly accelerating, 45 degree bank, descending turn, when the pilot had imagined he was still flying straight and level. I can vouch that this is a persuasive demonstration!

This isn't mere speculation. Loss of control is the inevitable consequence of a non-instrument rated pilot losing sight of the ground. It is enormously probable that this was JFK Jr's issue.

AriusArmenian , says: February 11, 2019 at 9:59 pm GMT
I remember a little after JFK was assassinated a report of a statement by an government official, I think someone in the FBI, saying there is evidence of a conspiracy to kill JFK and other Kennedy family members. What happens is that after an attack or bombing the media filters are not coordinated for hours or days but then controls and directives kick in the narratives get stabilized. I always watch the news reports right after the event to catch leaks. The above reported statement was never again reported by anyone.

It is certainly looking like Israel had a hand in many operations inside the US to control its foreign policy and make sure major narratives are pro-Israel like the UK has a long history (at least from WW2 on) of using dirty tricks to control the US. Since US foreign policy is substantially controlled by the UK, Saudis, and Israel, we must suspect any of them of trying to keep control of the US with all sorts of dirty tricks. Israel in a prime candidate for assassinations and false flag operations in the US as they certainly knew by the 1960's that the survival of Israel depended on US support. There are just too many dual passport holders in these events to ignore this any longer.

Peredur , says: February 11, 2019 at 10:01 pm GMT
Implicitly, this article takes the position that Jackie Kennedy was not involved in the JFK assassination conspiracy, but there is an intriguing connection between the Bouvier family and the assassination via a person named George de Mohrenschildt, who was a close friend of both the Bouviers and Oswald.
renfro , says: February 11, 2019 at 10:21 pm GMT
@Steve Naidamast That isnt correct.
There are 3 types of licenses a person can get:
Sport Flyer license restricted to local area and only certain types of small aircraft.
Recreational License restricted to local area and daylight hours only.
Private Pilot License ..not restricted, can fly at night . at their own risk

I did a lot of night time flying before I got my instrument rating. But wasn't stupid enough to fly in bad weather day or night.

niteranger , says: February 11, 2019 at 10:31 pm GMT
@Sean I have no idea if JFK Jr. was bombed out of the sky by our friends in the Mossad, CIA, or other wonderful entities. But years ago an ex CIA guy told me bluntly that the reason the CIA and intelligence agencies get away with stuff is because much of it no one would be believe they would even try thus the invention of the Conspiracy Theory.

The Kennedys were family of egomaniacs and were often careless and their itinerary through life was filled with many people they destroyed and cast by the side of the road. They believed they were really the chosen ones and their opinion and their way of doing things were right and everyone else was wrong. So they mirrored the Jews except they were Irish.

lysias , says: February 11, 2019 at 10:51 pm GMT
@Peredur Mohrenschildt seems to have been Oswald's CIA handler for a while, but months before the JFK assassination he went off to Haiti. There's nothing to connect him with the JFK assassination, especially if -- as seems likely -- Oswald was not the shooter who killed JFK.
anon [228] Disclaimer , says: February 11, 2019 at 10:54 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer TWA Flight 800 Investigators Claim the Official Crash Story Is a Lie
A new film claims the official government report on the crash of TWA Flight 800 in 1996 is an elaborate fabrication, but the most shocking part of the story is that charges are being leveled by the very investigators who put the report together.
A new film claims the official government report on the crash of TWA Flight 800 in 1996 is an elaborate fabrication, but the most shocking part of the story is that charges are being leveled by some of the very investigators who put the report together. Six experts who appear in the film were members of the National Transportation Safety Board investigation team that concluded the crash was an accident, but they now claim they were silenced by their superiors. The movies, "TWA Flight 800" will debut on EPIX TV next month, on the 17-year anniversary of the crash.
https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/06/twa-flight-800-film-coverup/314092/
jeff stryker , says: February 11, 2019 at 11:24 pm GMT
@Che Guava JFK junior was really just not that bright. He failed the bar exam at least once. As Larry Elders once said, the best thing you could say about JFK junior was that he was a down-to-earth guy who never pretended to be more than an average person who happened to be rich.

Supposedly he loved alcohol and was obsessed with porn-he was friends with Irish-America's one porn mogul in a gallery of Jews, Larry Flint.

He was handsome-some say that his father was Onassis and not Kennedy, believable considering his Mediterranean looks which were nothing like Kennedy's fair Irish looks (Though JFK junior was eternally proud of his Irish roots).

His magazine was alright, supposedly advised under-the-table by Larry Flynt again.

Anon [257] Disclaimer , says: February 12, 2019 at 1:30 am GMT
@Che Guava The magazine was in big trouble financially. It never did break even although the Kennedy PR machine and the Kennedy worshiping media pushed it for years
George was financed by the big French International publisher Hachette. Hachette was getting ready to stop financing a losing publication. The combination of People and New Republic just never worked.

I don't remember any announcements that JFKjr planned to run for any office. It was just speculation and part of the endless media coverage of JFKjr which increased a thousand times after he got married

Anon [257] Disclaimer , says: February 12, 2019 at 8:05 am GMT
There's a book Nemesis that claims that Jackie visited Onassis on his yacht in September? October? 1963 and they arranged that Jackie would divorce jack and marry Onassis ic Hack lost the 64 election

[Feb 16, 2019] Is Tulsi Gabbard for Real by Philip Giraldi

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The lineup of Democrats who have already declared themselves as candidates for their party's presidential nomination in 2020 is remarkable, if only for the fact that so many wannabes have thrown their hats in the ring so early in the process. In terms of electability, however, one might well call the seekers after the highest office in the land the nine dwarfs. Four of the would-be candidates – Marianne Williamson a writer, Andrew Yang an entrepreneur, Julian Castro a former Obama official, Senator Amy Klobuchar and Congressman John Delaney – have no national profiles at all and few among the Democratic Party rank-and-file would be able to detail who they are, where they come from and what their positions on key issues might be.

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has a national following but she also has considerable baggage. The recent revelation that she falsely described herself as "American Indian" back in 1986 for purposes of career advancement, which comes on top of similar reports of more of the same as well as other resume-enhancements that surfaced when she first became involved in national politics, prompted Donald Trump to refer to her as "Pocahontas." Warren, who is largely progressive on social and domestic issues, has been confronted numerous times regarding her views on Israel/Palestine and beyond declaring that she favors a "two state solution" has been somewhat reticent. She should be described as pro-Israel for the usual reasons and is not reliably anti-war. She comes across as a rather more liberal version of Hillary Clinton.

And then there is New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, being touted as the "new Obama," presumably because he is both black and progressive. His record as Mayor of Newark New Jersey, which launched his career on the national stage, has both high and low points and it has to be questioned if America is ready for another smooth-talking black politician whose actual record of accomplishments is on the thin side. One unfortunately recalls the devious Obama's totally bogus Nobel Peace Prize and his Tuesday morning meetings with John Brennan to work on the list of Americans who were to be assassinated.

Booker has carefully cultivated the Jewish community in his political career, to include a close relationship with the stomach-churning "America's Rabbi" Shmuley Boteach, but has recently become more independent of those ties, supporting the Obama deal with Iran and voting against anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) legislation in the Senate. On the negative side, the New York Times likes Booker, which means that he will turn most other Americans off. He is also 49 years old and unmarried, which apparently bothers some in the punditry.

California Senator Kamala Harris is a formidable entrant into the crowded field due to her resume, nominally progressive on most issues, but with a work history that has attracted critics concerned by her hard-line law-and-order enforcement policies when she was District Attorney General for San Francisco and Attorney General for California. She has also spoken at AIPAC , is anti-BDS, and is considered to be reliably pro-Israel, which would rule her out for some, though she might be appealing to middle of the road Democrats like the Clintons and Nancy Pelosi who have increasingly become war advocates. She will have a tough time convincing the antiwar crowd that she is worth supporting and there are reports that she will likely split the black women's vote even though she is black herself, perhaps linked to her affair with California powerbroker Willie Brown when she was 29 and Brown was 61. Brown was married, though separated, to a black woman at the time. Harris is taking heat because she clearly used the relationship to advance her career while also acquiring several patronage sinecures on state commissions that netted her hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The most interesting candidate is undoubtedly Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who is a fourth term Congresswoman from Hawaii, where she was born and raised. She is also the real deal on national security, having been-there and done-it through service as an officer with the Hawaiian National Guard on a combat deployment in Iraq. Though in Congress full time, she still performs her Guard duty.

Tulsi's own military experience notwithstanding, she gives every indication of being honestly anti-war. In the speech announcing her candidacy she pledged "focus on the issue of war and peace" to "end the regime-change wars that have taken far too many lives and undermined our security by strengthening terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda." She referred to the danger posed by blundering into a possible nuclear war and indicated her dismay over what appears to be a re-emergence of the Cold War.

Not afraid of challenging establishment politics, she called for an end to the "illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government," also observing that "the war to overthrow Assad is counter-productive because it actually helps ISIS and other Islamic extremists achieve their goal of overthrowing the Syrian government of Assad and taking control of all of Syria – which will simply increase human suffering in the region, exacerbate the refugee crisis, and pose a greater threat to the world." She then backed up her words with action by secretly arranging for a personal trip to Damascus in 2017 to meet with President Bashar al-Assad, saying it was important to meet adversaries "if you are serious about pursuing peace." She made her own assessment of the situation in Syria and now favors pulling US troops out of the country as well as ending American interventions for "regime change" in the region.

In 2015, Gabbard supported President Barack Obama's nuclear agreement with Iran and more recently has criticized President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the deal. Last May, she criticized Israel for shooting "unarmed protesters" in Gaza, but one presumes that, like nearly all American politicians, she also has to make sure that she does not have the Israel Lobby on her back. Gabbard has spoken at a conference of Christians United for Israel, which has defended Israel's settlement enterprise; has backed legislation that slashes funding to the Palestinians; and has cultivated ties with Boteach as well as with major GOP donor casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. She also attended the controversial address to Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in March 2015, which many progressive Democrats boycotted.

Nevertheless, Tulsi supported Bernie Sanders' antiwar candidacy in 2016 and appears to be completely onboard and fearless in promoting her antiwar sentiments. Yes, Americans have heard much of the same before, but Tulsi Gabbard could well be the only genuine antiwar candidate that might truly be electable in the past fifty years.

What Tulsi Gabbard is accomplishing might be measured by the enemies that are already gathering and are out to get her. Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept describes how NBC news published a widely distributed story on February 1 st , claiming that "experts who track websites and social media linked to Russia have seen stirrings of a possible campaign of support for Hawaii Democrat Tulsi Gabbard."

But the expert cited by NBC turned out to be a firm New Knowledge, which was exposed by no less than The New York Times for falsifying Russian troll accounts for the Democratic Party in the Alabama Senate race to suggest that the Kremlin was interfering in that election. According to Greenwald, the group ultimately behind this attack on Gabbard is The Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD), which sponsors a tool called Hamilton 68 , a news "intelligence net checker" that claims to track Russian efforts to disseminate disinformation. The ASD website advises that "Securing Democracy is a Global Necessity."

ASD was set up in 2017 by the usual neocon crowd with funding from The Atlanticist and anti-Russian German Marshall Fund. It is loaded with a full complement of Zionists and interventionists/globalists, to include Michael Chertoff, Michael McFaul, Michael Morell, Kori Schake and Bill Kristol. It claims, innocently, to be a bipartisan transatlantic national security advocacy group that seeks to identify and counter efforts by Russia to undermine democracies in the United States and Europe but it is actually itself a major source of disinformation.

For the moment, Tulsi Gabbard seems to be the "real thing," a genuine anti-war candidate who is determined to run on that platform. It might just resonate with the majority of American who have grown tired of perpetual warfare to "spread democracy" and other related frauds perpetrated by the band of oligarchs and traitors that run the United States. We the people can always hope.


peterAUS , says: February 14, 2019 at 7:41 pm GMT

For the moment, Tulsi Gabbard seems to be the "real thing," a genuine anti-war candidate who is determined to run on that platform.

Be that as it may, what is conspicously missing from the article are some minor things:
1. What's her angle about immigration?
This:
https://votesmart.org/public-statement/1197137/rep-tulsi-gabbard-calls-on-congress-to-pass-the-dream-act#.XGXEplUza1s
Not optimistic.
2. What's her angle about "outsourcing" jobs overseas?
This:
https://www.votetulsi.com/node/25011
Not bad, but, still ..

Just those two. We can leave the rest of "globo-homo" agenda off the table, for the moment.
And, the last but not the least, that nagging angle about automation and (paid) work in general. Let's not get too ambitious here. Those two, only, should suffice at the moment.

Si1ver1ock , says: February 14, 2019 at 8:09 pm GMT
I like Tulsi. but she hasn't been tested in a presidential campaign yet. At least we will have someone who could put peace on the ballot.

She should write a book pulling her policies together and use it to get some publicity.

Adrian E. , says: February 14, 2019 at 9:14 pm GMT
Regularly Americans vote for the less interventionist candidate. 2008, an important reason for Obama's victory against Hillary Clinton and John McCain was that he had been against the Iraq war. 2000, George W. Bush said he was against nation building. Then, after they are elected, the neocons remain in power. Something similar again with Donald Trump who campaigned against stupid wars in the Middle East and now has surrounded himself with some of the most extreme neocons.

Of course, it is impossible to predict whether it will be the same with Tulsi Gabbard, but unlike these other candidates in the past , she puts her rejection of neocons and regime change wars so much into the center of her campaign that it should be assumed that she is serious – otherwise it would be complete betrayal. However, if she is serious about this and is elected, she will be fought by the deep state and its allies in the media much more harshly than Trump, who isn't even consistently anti-neocons, just not reliably pro-neocon. What they would probably do to her would make spygate, the Russiagate conspiracy theory, and the Muller investigation look harmless. She might end like JFK (a VP who is just as anti-neocons might increase the chances of survival).

But despite all the risks, I think it is worth trying. If the US was a parliamentary democracy with proportional representation and the neocons had their own party, it would hardly have more than a handful of seats in Congress. Although they don't have, a significant base of their own, neocons have remained in power for a long time, whoever was elected. At the moment, Tulsi Gabbard is probably the best hope for ending their long reign.

2stateshmustate , says: February 15, 2019 at 12:10 am GMT
Michael Chertoff, huh. That says it all. If there was any justice in this country Mr. Chertoff would have long since been tried for treason for his involvement in the 911 attack.
anonymous [241] Disclaimer , says: February 15, 2019 at 12:30 am GMT
She'll be sabotaged by relentless smears and other dirty tricks. Only someone bought and owned will be allowed to be a candidate which means the MIC must continue being fed enormous amounts of money and war hysteria constantly being stoked. She won't have a chance. Besides, the Dem party has gotten radical and out of touch with the majority of Americans so who really wants them in? There's no cause for optimism anywhere one looks.
anarchyst , says: February 15, 2019 at 1:40 am GMT
@2stateshmustate Chertoff was a part of 9-11. His company supplies the "backscatter radar" machines used at American airports
Gg Mo , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:21 am GMT
@the grand wazoo Has anyone discussed the possibility of Tulsi being "marketed" or long-game "branded" through intentional theatre as "anti-war" ? Greenwald himself has questionable backers and the WWF good guy/bad guy character creations (like Trump's pre-election talking points concerning illegal wars , now stuffed down the memory holes of many), all the FAKE and distracting "fights" etc etc

See Corbett/Sibel Edmonds on Greenwald

jack daniels , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:48 am GMT
@peterAUS Any serious Democratic candidate, and to some extent any Republican, must fly through the flack of Deep State anti-populist guns. I am skeptical about Gabbard because her policy views are already too good to be true. She is "cruisin' for a bruisin'" and there is already a campaign to erase her from the debate in the manner in which Ron Paul was erased a few years back. Gabbard is an attractive woman and on camera she comes across as aggressive and a quick-thinking, highly articulate debater. Like Trump her instinct is to meet force with counter-force rather than roll with the punches and I think that is her best chance. In that way she calls the bluff of her opponents: Just how confident are they that in the end the public will prefer war to peace? These points add up to a realistic chance of success but given the Deep State's stranglehold on the media she is definitely a long shot.
Biff , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:04 am GMT
De ja vu. I remember reading these very similar(not exactly but similar) sentiments about Barack Obama back in 2008. What a load of crap that turned out to be, but I do understand that not all politicians are cut from the same dung heap, so it is probably best to find out who is funding the little pricks while they are campaigning – for once they are elected, payback is due.

In the case of Obama it was Robert Rubin(of Goldman Sachs) who bankrolled him, and of course, once elected it was bank bailout time. Then once Ghaddaffi's gold back Dinar became a monetary powerhouse, he committed another crime for the bankers.

"Is she the real deal?"

Elect her and you'll find out, and there lies the problem – you get to find out when it's too late. On the other hand, she could actually be honest and sincere, but that alone disqualifies her as a politician (the kind that Americans are used to anyway).

NTL, she's got people's attention and if for anything else – the people are anti-war, but the monied power brokers are definitely not which begs the question – will democracy actually happen?

animalogic , says: February 15, 2019 at 8:04 am GMT
@Adrian E. Don't know much about this lady. If she is "fair dinkum" in her anti war/anti-imperialism stance her only chance to get into power & then get things done will be to gain a massive, committed popular following.

She will need to use tactics from both the Sanders & Trump play-books. She will need to appeal to a good number in both the Sanders & Trump constituencies. Regardless, she will need an iron-will & tsunami of charisma .

LondonBob , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:26 am GMT
@Biff Obama was a creation of the Pritzker and Crowne families, although the puppet did decide he wanted to somewhat act on his own. Gabbard is certainly taking flak from the Israel firsters, and her debating Trump on foreign policy in a US Presidential election would be a real paradigm shift.
RobinG , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:10 pm GMT
@renfro Where do you get this "obsessive hatred of Muslims and Islam?"

She's been [insistent and consistent] using the term 'radical Islamic terrorists' which, unfortunately, is an accurate description of ISIS (the bane of the ummah). OTOH, last year Tulsi was a featured speaker at a Moslem conference in NJ, and she has been outspoken about freedom of religion and mutual respect. If you've got some evidence that she excludes Islam from that, please show it.

RobinG , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:35 pm GMT
@jack daniels

[Gabbard's] policy views are already too good to be true.

Not really. Too good to be true would be if she understood Putin in the context of the US and oligarch rape of Russia in the 1990's and how he has restored the Russian economy and dignity; and if she recognized (openly) the US role in the Maidan coup and accepted the validity of the Crimean decision to return to Russia.

Unfortunately, even though she's taken a brave position on ending US regime-change war on Syria, in many other respects she remains quite conventional. She also promotes fear of DPRK, and who knows what she thinks about China.

she comes across as aggressive and a quick-thinking, highly articulate debater.

Aggressive? Composed, confident, yes. Aggressive, no. Calm under fire is more like it. Take a look at the whole interview on Morning Joe. She really outclasses those squirming bitches. BUT, notice her (short) responses on Putin and Assad ("adversary" and "no"), real Judas moments. Does she believe that, or is she clinging to the Overton Window?
https://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/rep-gabbard-assad-is-not-an-enemy-of-the-us-1438093891865

Forcible Overthrow time , says: February 15, 2019 at 5:41 pm GMT
Tulsi's presidential timber but she's wasting her life with the Democrats. Their consulting apparatchiks are going to stuff a bunch of incoherent slogans up her butt. If she wants a real antiwar platform she should steal it wholesale from Stein and Ajamu Baraka. Baraka built a complete and consistent law-and-order platform. He's the only real antiwar candidate in this country.

Of course the Democrat's CIA handlers will crush Tulsi if she starts to make sense, so she's going to have to take her supporters and jump to the Greens.

She will lose, but arbitrary forcible repression of the party will discredit bullshit US electoral pageantry once and for all. Then we move into the parallel government zone in conformity with world-standard human rights law and destroy the parasitic kleptocratic USA.

peterAUS , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:12 pm GMT
@jack daniels You know .there IS one thing nobody wants, really, to talk about.

.given the Deep State's stranglehold on the media she is definitely a long shot

Why, in this age, the "stronghold on the media" is so decisive? A person who gets the most of media exposure wins? That's how it works?
Or, do anyone reading and posting here gets his/her information from the "media"? I'd say not.

Isn't the bottom, the very heart of the matter NOT a Deep State, Dem Joos, Anglo-Saxons, Masons, Illuminati and .whatever but simple, eternal, laziness and stupidity of an average person?
Or, even worse: the real, true, needs and wants of an average person are simply "breads and circuses". Nothing more.
Combine those two and here we are.

I am aware that throws the spanner into works of those into Aryans, White supremacy, Western man and similar stuff, but, the conclusion seems inevitable.

That's the heart of the problem "we" face at the moment. How to fix it, or even is it possible, I don't know. Have some ideas, of course.

anon [194] Disclaimer , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:31 pm GMT
@2stateshmustate

If there was any justice in this country Mr. Chertoff would have long since been tried for treason for his involvement in the 911 attack.

The arc of something or other is long but tends toward justice er something like that:

Chertoff's business partner Mike Hayden had a stroke last November and is still "getting good care and working hard at therapy."

No doubt US taxpayers are paying to rebuild Scumbag Hayden's fried circuits.
Pity.

never-anonymous , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:54 pm GMT
CIA Giraldi probably has more Cherokee DNA than Warren. Another fact he failed to provide to the Government during the security clearance process. The troll has supported the republican establishment all his career, this distinguishes him from the trolls that support the democratic establishment all of their careers. The fact that people can debate the relative merits of political leaders from the dark lagoon reveals their complete lack of rational thought. No politician decides anything important.
Tulip , says: February 15, 2019 at 7:39 pm GMT
@Anonymous No, then she is toast in Hawaii politics, and she is probably running not because she plans on winning, but to raise her profile and perhaps open doors for herself on the national or state level, which won't happen if you shoot yourself in the foot at the same time.

Besides, leaving aside Krishna consciousness, she is too close to Sanders to get any traction among the Republicans. I suppose getting the bipartisan support of the Internet kook vote is something, but hard to translate into political office.

RobinG , says: February 15, 2019 at 8:19 pm GMT
@Tulip

..getting the bipartisan support of the Internet kook vote is something, but hard to translate into political office.

Brilliant.

Dem Juche , says: February 16, 2019 at 12:25 am GMT
You're never going to get anything worthwhile from a Democratic politician because they're indoctrinated worse that the brightest little Pioneer in Juche class. Take Ro Khana's meaningless pap.

https://fellowtravelersblog.com/2018/10/23/ro-khanna-five-principles/

What is this 'we should' crap? The law is perfectly clear. The right to self-defense is subject to necessity and proportionality tests, and invariably subject to UN Charter Chapter 7 in its entirety. See Article 51. Instead of this 'restraint' waffle, just say, the president must commit to faithfully execute the supreme law of the land, including UN Charter Chapter 7 and Article 2(4). That means refrain from use or threat of force. Period.

Second, national security is not a loophole in human rights. Khana uses the legally meaningless CIA magic word 'threat.' Under universal jurisdiction law, it is a war crime to declare abolished, suspended or inadmissible in a court of law the rights and actions of the nationals of the hostile party. Domestic human rights are subject to ICCPR Article 4, HRC General Comment 29, and the Siracusa Principles. Instead of CIA's standard National Security get-out clause, state explicitly that US national security means respect, protection and fulfillment of all human rights. To enforce that, ratify the Rome Statute or GTFO.

Third, internationalism is OK as far as it goes, but Ro Khana doesn't deal with the underlying problem: CIA has infested State with focal points and dotted-line reports, and demolished the department's capacity for pacific resolution of disputes. You have to explicitly tie State's mission to UN Charter Chapter 6, and criminalize placement of domestic CIA agents in State.

Fourth, Congressional war-making powers are useless with Congress completely corrupted. Bring back the Ludlow Amendment, war by public referendum only, subject to Article 51.

Rich , says: February 16, 2019 at 5:21 am GMT
Tulsi is a far Left democrat. She supports raising taxes to pay for free college for people earning less than 125K and universal health care, she actually joined protesters against the Dakota Access Pipeline, has a 100% rating from NARAL and Planned Parenthood, supports homosexual marriage (changed her previous position in 2012), and has an F rating from the NRA. She's a Lefty. Not for me, anyway.
Ilyana_Rozumova , says: February 16, 2019 at 5:25 am GMT
In any case she is less vulnerable. She can call any opposition a misogynist.
Biff , says: February 16, 2019 at 5:30 am GMT
@obwandiyag

I like the one on here who says the Democrat party has "gotten radical."

I assume this is sarcasm, but there is no denying the fact that the neocons(radical whack jobs) have jumped ship from the Republicans and attached themselves to the Democrats (although there are filtering back into the Trump administration – drunk with power they'll suck up to anyone)

The DNC NeverTrump crowd is all but calling for a nuclear exchange with Russia because they colluded with Trump to throw the election, and they pose a National Security threat to the United States(in their head). Hillary also went on to say that Russians Hacking the DNC is another 9/11. The radical Antifa crowd is made up of 99.999999% of Democratic voters.

[Feb 16, 2019] Libya was a war crime.

Max Boot along with other neocons should be in jail.
Feb 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Stephen J. , February 15, 2019 a t 1:43 pm

The article states: " but by 2011 Boot had another war in mind. 'Qaddafi Must Go,' Boot declared in The Weekly Standard. In Boot's telling, the Libyan dictator had become a threat to the American homeland." -- -- - There is reported evidence that Libya was a war crime. And the perpetrators are Free. See info below:

"They Speak "

"The destruction of Libya by NATO at the behest of the UK, the US and France was a crime, one dripping in the cant and hypocrisy of Western ideologues " John Wight, November 27, 2017. https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/27/libya-chose-freedom-now-it-has-slavery/

They speak of "The Rule of Law" while breaking the law themselves They are the dangerous hypocrites that bombed Libya, and created hell Thousands upon thousands are dead in this unfortunate country Many would still be alive, if our "leaders" had not been down and dirty

Libya is reportedly a war crime and the war criminals are free Some of them are seen posturing on the world stage and others are on T.V. Others have written books and others are retired from public office And another exclaimed: "We came, we saw, he died" as murder was their accomplice

They even teamed up with terrorists to commit their bloody crimes And this went unreported in the "media": was this by design? There is a sickness and perversion loose in our society today When war crimes can be committed and the "law" has nothing to say

Another "leader" had a fly past to celebrate the bombing victory in this illegal war Now Libya is in chaos, while bloody terrorists roam secure And the NATO gang that caused all this horror and devastation Are continuing their bloody bombings in other unfortunate nations

The question must be asked: "Are some past and present leaders above the law? Can they get away with bombing and killing, are they men of straw? Whatever happened to law and order in the so- called "democracies"? When those in power can get away with criminality: Is that not hypocrisy?

There is no doubt that Libya was better off, before the "liberators" arrived Now many of its unfortunate people are now struggling to exist and survive The future of this war torn country now looks very sad and bleak If only our "leaders" had left it alone; but instead hypocrisy: They Speak

"The cause of the catastrophe in Libya in Libya was the seven month US-NATO blitzkrieg from March to October 2011 in which thousands of bombs and rockets rained down on that unfortunate land which was governed by President Muammar Ghaddafi whom the West was determined to overthrow by assisting a rebel movement." Brian Cloughley, 12.02.2019 https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/02/12/in-libya-we-came-saw-he-died-will-there-repeat-in-venezuela.html

[More info on all of this at link below] http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2019/02/they-speak.html

[Feb 16, 2019] Trump as a> visibly unhinged president -- think of him, in axis-of-evil terms, as a rogue state of one ruling over divided and an increasingly unhinged aggressive country

Notable quotes:
"... There was a desperately weakened and impoverished Russia (still with its nuclear arsenal more or less intact) that, as far as they were concerned, had been mollycoddled by President Bill Clinton's administration. There was a Communist-gone-capitalist China focused on its own growth and little else. And there were a set of other potential enemies, "rogue powers" as they were dubbed, so pathetic that not one of them could, under any circumstances, be called "great." ..."
"... It was as clear as glass that the world -- the whole shebang -- was there for the taking ..."
"... Charles Krauthammer who, in February 2001, six months before the ... attacks of September 11th, wrote a piece swooning over the new Bush administration's "unilateralism" to come and the "Bush Doctrine" which would go with it. In the process, he gave that administration a green light to put the pathetic Russians in their nuclear place and summed the situation up this way: ..."
"... "America is no mere international citizen. It is the dominant power in the world, more dominant than any since Rome. Accordingly, America is in a position to reshape norms, alter expectations, and create new realities. How? By unapologetic and implacable demonstrations of will." ..."
"... "How did USA's oil get under Iraq's sand?" said a typical protest sign ..."
"... And yet, wrong as they may have been on such subjects, don't sell Krauthammer and the rest of that neocon crew short. They were, in their own way, also prophets, at least domestically speaking. After all, Rome, like the United States, had been an imperial republic. That republic was replaced, as its empire grew, by autocratic rule, first by the self-anointed emperor Augustus and then by his successors. Arguably, 18 years after Krauthammer wrote that column, the American republic might be heading down the same path. After all, so many years later, the neocons, triumphantly risen yet again in Washington ( both in the administration and as its critics), finally have their Caesar. ..."
"... All of this not only gave Americans a visibly unhinged president -- think of him, in axis-of-evil terms, as a rogue state of one -- but an increasingly unhinged country. ..."
"... Think of it not as an obituary for a single loopy president, a man who, with his "great, great wall," has indeed been an opiate of the masses (for his famed base, at least) in the midst of an opioid crisis hitting them hard. Yes, Donald J. Trump, reality TV star and bankruptee , he of the golden letters, was elevated to a strange version of power by a troubled republic showing signs of wear and tear. It was a republic feeling the pressure of all that money flowing into only half-noticed distant wars and into the pockets of billionaires and corporate entities in a way that turned the very idea of democracy into a bad joke. ..."
"... Someday, if people ask the obvious question -- not who lost Afghanistan, but who lost America? -- keep all those failed imperial wars and the national security state that went with them in mind when you try to answer. Cumulatively, they had a far more disruptive role than is now imagined in toppling the dominos that sent us all careening on a path to nowhere here at home. And keep in mind that, whatever Donald Trump does, the Caesarian die was cast early in this century as the neocons crossed their own Rubicon. ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tom Engelhardt via TomDispatch.com,

What dreamers they were! They imagined a kind of global power that would leave even Rome at its Augustan height in the shade. They imagined a world made for one, a planet that could be swallowed by a single great power. No, not just great, but beyond anything ever seen before -- one that would build (as its National Security Strategy put it in 2002) a military "beyond challenge." Let's be clear on that: no future power, or even bloc of powers, would ever be allowed to challenge it again.

And, in retrospect, can you completely blame them? I mean, it seemed so obvious then that we -- the United States of America -- were the best and the last. We had, after all, outclassed and outlasted every imperial power since the beginning of time. Even that other menacing superpower of the Cold War era, the Soviet Union, the " Evil Empire " that refused to stand down for almost half a century, had gone up in a puff of smoke.

Imagine that moment so many years later and consider the crew of neoconservatives who, under the aegis of George W. Bush, the son of the man who had "won" the Cold War, came to power in January 2001. Not surprisingly, on viewing the planet, they could see nothing -- not a single damn thing -- in their way. There was a desperately weakened and impoverished Russia (still with its nuclear arsenal more or less intact) that, as far as they were concerned, had been mollycoddled by President Bill Clinton's administration. There was a Communist-gone-capitalist China focused on its own growth and little else. And there were a set of other potential enemies, "rogue powers" as they were dubbed, so pathetic that not one of them could, under any circumstances, be called "great."

In 2002, in fact, three of them -- Iraq, Iran, and North Korea -- had to be cobbled together into an " axis of evil " to create a faintly adequate enemy, a minimalist excuse for the Bush administration to act preemptively. It couldn't have been more obvious then that all three of them would go down before the unprecedented military and economic power of us (even if, as it happened, two of them didn't).

It was as clear as glass that the world -- the whole shebang -- was there for the taking.

... ... ...

As President Bush would put it in an address at West Point in 2002,

"America has, and intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenge, thereby making the destabilizing arms races of other eras pointless, and limiting rivalries to trade and other pursuits of peace."

In other words, jihadists aside, it was all over. From now on, there would be an arms race of one and it was obvious who that one would be. The National Security Strategy of that year put the same thought this way:

"Our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build-up in hopes of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States."

Again, anywhere on the planet ever .

Look at more or less any document from the period and you'll sense that they weren't shy about touting the unprecedented greatness of a future global Pax Americana . Take, for instance, columnist Charles Krauthammer who, in February 2001, six months before the ... attacks of September 11th, wrote a piece swooning over the new Bush administration's "unilateralism" to come and the "Bush Doctrine" which would go with it. In the process, he gave that administration a green light to put the pathetic Russians in their nuclear place and summed the situation up this way:

"America is no mere international citizen. It is the dominant power in the world, more dominant than any since Rome. Accordingly, America is in a position to reshape norms, alter expectations, and create new realities. How? By unapologetic and implacable demonstrations of will."

"How Did USA's Oil Get Under Iraq's Sand?"

And soon enough after September 11th, those unapologetic, implacable demonstrations of will did, in fact, begin -- first in Afghanistan and then, a year and a half later, in Iraq. Goaded by Osama bin Laden, the new Rome went into action.

Of course, in 2019 we have the benefit of hindsight, which Charles Krauthammer, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and the rest of that crew didn't have as they applied their Roman-style vision of an imperial America to the actual world. It should be added, however, that the millions of people who hit the streets globally to protest the coming invasion of Iraq in the winter of 2003 -- "How did USA's oil get under Iraq's sand?" said a typical protest sign (which Donald Trump would have understood in his own way) -- had a far better sense of the world than did their American rulers-to-be. Like the Soviets before them , in fact, they would grievously confuse military power with power on this planet.

More than 17 years later, the U.S. military remains stuck in Afghanistan, bedeviled in Iraq, and floundering across much of the Greater Middle East and Africa on a planet with a resurgent Russia, and an impressively rising China. One-third of the former axis of evil, Iran, is, remarkably enough, still in Washington's gunsights , while another third (North Korea) sits uncomfortably in a presidential bear hug. It's no exaggeration to say that none of the dreams of a new Rome were ever faintly fulfilled. In fact, if you want to think about what's been truly exceptional in these years, it might be this: never in history has such a great power, at its height, seemed quite so incapable of effectively applying force, military or otherwise, to achieve its imperial ends or bring its targets to heel.

And yet, wrong as they may have been on such subjects, don't sell Krauthammer and the rest of that neocon crew short. They were, in their own way, also prophets, at least domestically speaking. After all, Rome, like the United States, had been an imperial republic. That republic was replaced, as its empire grew, by autocratic rule, first by the self-anointed emperor Augustus and then by his successors. Arguably, 18 years after Krauthammer wrote that column, the American republic might be heading down the same path. After all, so many years later, the neocons, triumphantly risen yet again in Washington ( both in the administration and as its critics), finally have their Caesar.

Hail, Donald J. Trump, we who are about to read your latest tweet salute you!

A Rogue State of One

Let's note some other passing parallels between the new Rome and the old one. As a start, it's certainly accurate to say that our new American Caesar has much gall (divided into at least three parts). Admittedly, he's no Augustus, the first of a line of emperors, but more likely a Nero, fiddling while, in his case, the world quite literally burns . Still, he could certainly say of campaign 2016 and what followed: Veni, Vidi, Tweeti (I came, I saw, I tweeted). And don't forget the classic line that might someday be applied to his presidency, " Et tu , Mueller?" -- or depending on who turns on him, you can fill in your name of choice.

One day, it might also be said that, in a country in which executive power has become ever more imperial (as has the power of the Senate's majority leader), blowback from imperial acts abroad has had a significant, if largely hidden, hand in crippling the American republic, as was once true of Rome. In fact, it seems clear enough that the first republican institution to go was the citizen's army. In the wake of the Vietnam War, the draft was thrown out and replaced by an "all-volunteer" force, one which would, as it came to fight on ever more distant battlefields, morph into a home-grown version of an imperial police force or foreign legion . With it went the staggering sums that, in this century, would be invested -- if that's even the word for it -- in what's still called "defense," as well as in a vast empire of bases abroad and the national security state, a rising locus of power at home. And then, of course, there were the never-ending wars across much of the Greater Middle East and parts of Africa that went with all of that. Meanwhile, so much else, domestically speaking, was put on the equivalent of austerity rations. And all of that, in turn, helped provoke the crisis that brought Donald Trump to power and might, in the end, even sink the American system as we've known it.

The Donald's victory in the 2016 election was always a sign of a deep disturbance at the heart of an increasingly unequal and unfair system of wealth and power. But it was those trillions of dollars -- The Donald claims seven trillion of them -- that the neocons began sinking into America's " infinite " wars, which cost Americans big time in ways they hardly tracked or noticed . Those trillions didn't go into shoring up American infrastructure or health care or education or job-training programs or anything else that might have mattered to most people here, even as untold tax dollars -- one estimate: $15,000 per middle-class family per year -- went into the pockets of the rich. And some of those dollars, in turn, poured back into the American political system (with a helping hand from the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision) and, in the end, helped put the first billionaire in the Oval Office. By the 2020 election campaign, we may achieve another all-American first: two or even three of the candidates could be billionaires.

All of this not only gave Americans a visibly unhinged president -- think of him, in axis-of-evil terms, as a rogue state of one -- but an increasingly unhinged country. You can feel so much of this in President Trump's confused and confusing attempts to both end American wars and ratchet them up , 17-and-a-half -- he always claims " almost 19 " -- years after the invasion of Afghanistan. You can feel it in his gut-level urge to attack the "deep state" and yet fund it beyond its wildest dreams. You can feel it in his attempts to create a corps of "my generals" and then fire them all. You can feel the unhinged nature of events in a world in which, after so many years of war, America's enemies still seem to have the formula for staying afloat, no matter what Washington does. The Taliban in Afghanistan is on the rise ; al-Shabaab in Somalia, is still going strong ; the Houthis in Yemen remain functional in a sea of horror and starvation; ISIS, now without its caliphate, has from Syria to the Philippines , Africa to Afghanistan , become a distinctly global brand ; al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula thrives , while terror groups more generally continue to spread .

You can feel it in the president's confused and confusing explanations for his urges to withdraw American troops in days or four months or whenever from Syria and do the same or maybe not exactly in Afghanistan. (As he said in his State of the Union address, American troops would both withdraw and "focus" on "counterterrorism" in that country.) You can feel it in the way, after so many years of visible failure, the neocons are once again riding high in Washington, ascendant both in his administration and as critics of its global and military policies.

These days, who even remembers that classic early Cold War question -- who lost China? -- that rattled American domestic politics for years, or later, the similar one about Vietnam? Still, if Donald Trump ever truly does withdraw American forces from Afghanistan (undoubtedly leaving this country's allies in a Vietnam-style ditch), count on foreign policy establishmentarians in Washington and pundits around the country to ask an updated version of the same question: Did Donald Trump lose Afghanistan?

But no matter what happens, don't make the mistake of blaming him. It's true that he tweeted endlessly while the world burned, but he won't be the one who "lost" Afghanistan. It was "lost" in the grisly dreams of the neocons as the century began and it's never truly been found again.

Of course, we no more know what's going to happen in the years ahead than the neocons did in 2001. If history has taught us anything, it's that prediction is the diciest of human predilections. Still, think of this piece as an obituary of sorts. You know, the kind major newspapers write about those still living and then continually update until death finally occurs.

Think of it not as an obituary for a single loopy president, a man who, with his "great, great wall," has indeed been an opiate of the masses (for his famed base, at least) in the midst of an opioid crisis hitting them hard. Yes, Donald J. Trump, reality TV star and bankruptee , he of the golden letters, was elevated to a strange version of power by a troubled republic showing signs of wear and tear. It was a republic feeling the pressure of all that money flowing into only half-noticed distant wars and into the pockets of billionaires and corporate entities in a way that turned the very idea of democracy into a bad joke.

Someday, if people ask the obvious question -- not who lost Afghanistan, but who lost America? -- keep all those failed imperial wars and the national security state that went with them in mind when you try to answer. Cumulatively, they had a far more disruptive role than is now imagined in toppling the dominos that sent us all careening on a path to nowhere here at home. And keep in mind that, whatever Donald Trump does, the Caesarian die was cast early in this century as the neocons crossed their own Rubicon.

Hail, Caesar, we who are about to die salute you!

[Feb 16, 2019] Why has the Democratic party turned into the party of the upper class

Feb 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Kurt Gayle , February 15, 2019 at 9:44 am

Last night on "Tucker Carlson Tonight," Tucker interviewed J.D. Vance. The interview is called "Why has the Democratic party turned into the party of the upper class" (February 14, 2019)

Carlson: Well for generations everybody in America knew what the stereotypes were for the two political parties. Democrats were the party of the working class: Coal miners, factory workers, your local beat cop. Republicans were the party of lawyers, and doctors, and they spent a lot of time at country clubs. Remember? Things have changed a lot. Now Democrats have become the party of the elite professional class. They're consultants, i-bankers, socialites eager to lecture you about open borders, global warming, from their gated communities. Nobody knows that change better, or has watched it more carefully than the author of "Hillbilly Elegy," J.D. Vance. We spoke to him recently about it:

Carlson: J.D. Vance: Thanks for joining us. Because you don't live in Washington and you think bigger thoughts than the rest of us who are completely consumed by this dumb new cycle, I want to ask you a broader question: The parties have re-aligned. They don't represent the same people they thought they represented, or that they've represented for the last 70 years. I'm not sure their leaders understand this, but you do. Who do the parties represent as of right now?

Vance: Well, at a big level the Democratic Party increasingly represents professional class elites and Republicans represent middle and working class wage earners in the middle of the country. Now I will say I think Democratic leaders kind of get this. If you look at the big proposals from the 2020 presidential candidates: Universal child care, debt-free college, even medicare for all which is framed as this lurch to the left, but is really just a big hand-out to doctors, physicians, pharmaceutical companies and hospitals. The sort of get that they're the party of the professional class and a lot of their policies are geared towards making life easier for professional class Americans. The problem I have is that my party, the Republican Party, hasn't quite figured out that we basically inherited a big chunk of the old FDR coalition: The middle of the country, working and middle class blue collar folks, the sort of people who work, pay their taxes, send their kids into the military -- that's increasingly the base of the Republican Party, but the Republican donor elites are actually not aligned with those folks in a lot of ways and so there's this really big miss-match, big-picture, within the Republican Party.

Carlson: So I'm completely fascinated by what you just said -- something I've never thought of in my life -- that medicare for all is actually a sop for the professional class. That's a whole separate segment and I hope you'll come back and unpack that all. But more broadly what you're saying I think is that the Democratic Party understands what it is, and who it represents, and affirmatively represents them. They do things for their voters. But the Republican Party doesn't actually represent its own voters very well.

Vance: Yes, that's exactly right. I mean look at who the Democratic Party is -- and look, I don't like the Democratic Party's policies; most of the time I disagree with them -- but I at least admire that they know who their voters are and they actually -- just as raw, cynical politics -- do a lot of things to serve those voters. Now look at who Republican voters increasingly are: They're people who disproportionately serve in the military, but Republican foreign policy has been a disaster for a lot of veterans. They're disproportionately folks who want to have more children, they're people who want to have more single-earner families, they're people who don't necessarily want to go to college, but they want to work in an economy where, if you play by the rules, you could actually support a family on one income. Have Republicans done anything for those people, really, in the last 15 or 20 years? I think you can point to some policies of the Trump administration -- certainly instinctively the President gets who his voters are and what he has to do to service those folks -- but at the end of the day the broad elite of the party, the folks who really call the shots, the think-tank intellectuals, the people who write the policy, I just don't think they realize who their own voters are. Now the slightly more worrying implication is that maybe some of them do realize who their voters are, they just don't actually like those voters a lot.

Carlson: Well, that's it. So, I watch the Democratic Party and I notice that if there's a substantial block within it -- it's this unstable coalition of all these groups that have nothing in common -- but the one thing they have in common is that the Democratic Party will protect them. You criticize a block of Democratic voters and they're on you like a wounded wombat -- they'll bit you! The Republicans watch their voters come under attack and sort of nod in agreement: Yeah, these people should be attacked.

Vance: That's absolutely right. If you talk to people who spent their lives in DC -- I know you live in DC, I've spent a lot of my life here -- the people who spend their time in DC, who work on Republican campaigns, who work at conservative think-tanks -- now this isn't true of everybody -- but a lot of them actually don't like the people who are voting for Republican candidates these days. And if you ultimately boil down the Never Trump phenomenon -- what is the Never Trump phenomenon? -- I was very critical of the President during the campaign -- but the Never Trump phenomenon is primarily not about the President. It's about the people who are most excited about somebody who was anti-elitest effectively taking over the Republican Party. They recognize that Trump was -- whatever his faults -- a person who instinctively understood who Republicans needed to be for. And at the end of the day, I think they don't think they necessarily want the Republican Party to be for those folks. They don't like the policies that will come from it, they don't like necessarily the country that will come from it, and so there's a lot of vitriol directed at people who voted for Donald Trump, whether excitedly or not.

Carlson: If the Republican Party has a future, it'll be organized around the ideas you just laid out -- maybe led by you or by somebody who thinks like you, I'm serious. That's what it needs. I think. J.D. Vance. Thank you.

Vance: Thanks, Tucker.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/fK2-wmwI5gU?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

[Feb 16, 2019] Why Are These Professional War Peddlers Still Around? Pundits like Max Boot and Bill Kristol got everything after 9/11 wrong but are still considered experts. by Tucker Carlson

Notable quotes:
"... As Trump found himself accused of improper ties to Vladimir Putin, Boot agitated for more aggressive confrontation with Russia. Boot demanded larger weapons shipments to Ukraine. ..."
"... Boot's stock in the Washington foreign policy establishment rose. In 2018, he was hired by The Washington Post as a columnist. The paper's announcement cited Boot's "expertise on armed conflict." ..."
"... Republicans in Washington never recovered. When Trump attacked the Iraq War and questioned the integrity of the people who planned and promoted it, he was attacking them. They hated him for that. Some of them became so angry, it distorted their judgment and character. ..."
"... Almost from the moment Operation Desert Storm concluded in 1991, Kristol began pushing for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. In 1997, The Weekly Standard ran a cover story titled "Saddam Must Go." If the United States didn't launch a ground invasion of Iraq, the lead editorial warned, the world should "get ready for the day when Saddam has biological and chemical weapons at the tips of missiles aimed at Israel and at American forces in the Gulf." ..."
"... Under ordinary circumstances, Bill Kristol would be famous for being wrong. Kristol still goes on television regularly, but it's not to apologize for the many demonstrably untrue things he's said about the Middle East, or even to talk about foreign policy. Instead, Kristol goes on TV to attack Donald Trump. ..."
"... Trump's election seemed to undo Bill Kristol entirely. He lost his job at The Weekly Standard after more than 20 years, forced out by owners who were panicked about declining readership. He seemed to spend most of his time on Twitter ranting about Trump. ..."
"... By the spring of 2018, Kristol was considering a run for president himself. He was still making the case for the invasion of Iraq, as well as pushing for a new war, this time in Syria, and maybe in Lebanon and Iran, too. Like most people in Washington, he'd learned nothing at all. ..."
"... Creating complex and convincing false narratives to support demonic purposes is HARD WORK, and requires big pay. ..."
"... Lots of spilled ink here that's pretty meaningless without an answer to the following: Why does Trump employ John Bolton and Elliot Abrams? Explain Trump and Pence and Pompeo's Iran obsession and how it's any better than Kristol/Boot? ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

One thing that every late-stage ruling class has in common is a high tolerance for mediocrity. Standards decline, the edges fray, but nobody in charge seems to notice. They're happy in their sinecures and getting richer. In a culture like this, there's no penalty for being wrong. The talentless prosper, rising inexorably toward positions of greater power, and breaking things along the way. It happened to the Ottomans.

Max Boot is living proof that it's happening in America.

Boot is a professional foreign policy expert, a job category that doesn't exist outside of a select number of cities. Boot has degrees from Berkeley and Yale, and is a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has written a number of books and countless newspaper columns on foreign affairs and military history. The International Institute for Strategic Studies, an influential British think tank, describes Boot as one of the "world's leading authorities on armed conflict."

None of this, it turns out, means anything. The professional requirements for being one ofthe world's Leading Authorities on Armed Conflict do not include relevant experience with armed conflict. Leading authorities on the subject don't need a track record of wise assessments or accurate predictions. All that's required are the circular recommendations of fellow credential holders. If other Leading Authorities on Armed Conflict induct you into their ranks, you're in. That's good news for Max Boot.

Boot first became famous in the weeks after 9/11 for outlining a response that the Bush administration seemed to read like a script, virtually word for word. While others were debating whether Kandahar or Kabul ought to get the first round of American bombs, Boot was thinking big. In October 2001, he published a piece in The Weekly Standard titled "The Case for American Empire."

"The September 11 attack was a result of insufficient American involvement and ambition," Boot wrote. "The solution is to be more expansive in our goals and more assertive in their implementation." In order to prevent more terror attacks in American cities, Boot called for a series of U.S.-led revolutions around the world, beginning in Afghanistan and moving swiftly to Iraq.

"Once we have deposed Saddam, we can impose an American-led, international regency in Baghdad, to go along with the one in Kabul," Boot wrote. "To turn Iraq into a beacon of hope for the oppressed peoples of the Middle East: Now that would be a historic war aim. Is this an ambitious agenda? Without a doubt. Does America have the resources to carry it out? Also without a doubt."

In retrospect, Boot's words are painful to read, like love letters from a marriage that ended in divorce. Iraq remains a smoldering mess. The Afghan war is still in progress close to 20 years in. For perspective, Napoleon Bonaparte seized control of France, crowned himself emperor, defeated four European coalitions against him, invaded Russia, lost, was defeated and exiled, returned, and was defeated and exiled a second time, all in less time than the United States has spent trying to turn Afghanistan into a stable country.

Things haven't gone as planned. What's remarkable is that despite all the failure and waste and deflated expectations, defeats that have stirred self-doubt in the heartiest of men, Boot has remained utterly convinced of the virtue of his original predictions. Certainty is a prerequisite for Leading Authorities on Armed Conflict.

In the spring of 2003, with the war in Iraq under way, Boot began to consider new countries to invade. He quickly identified Syria and Iran as plausible targets, the latter because it was "less than two years" from building a nuclear bomb. North Korea made Boot's list as well. Then Boot became more ambitious. Saudi Arabia could use a democracy, he decided.

"If the U.S. armed forces made such short work of a hardened goon like Saddam Hussein, imagine what they could do to the soft and sybaritic Saudi royal family," Boot wrote.

Five years later, in a piece for The Wall Street Journal , Boot advocated for the military occupation of Pakistan and Somalia. The only potential problem, he predicted, was unreasonable public opposition to new wars.

"Ragtag guerrillas have proven dismayingly successful in driving out or neutering international peacekeeping forces," he wrote. "Think of American and French troops blown up in Beirut in 1983, or the 'Black Hawk Down' incident in Somalia in 1993. Too often, when outside states do agree to send troops, they are so fearful of casualties that they impose rules of engagement that preclude meaningful action."

In other words, the tragedy of foreign wars isn't that Americans die, but that too few Americans are willing to die. To solve this problem, Boot recommended recruiting foreign mercenaries. "The military would do well today to open its ranks not only to legal immigrants but also to illegal ones," he wrote in the Los Angeles Times . When foreigners get killed fighting for America, he noted, there's less political backlash at home.

♦♦♦

American forces, documented or not, never occupied Pakistan, but by 2011 Boot had another war in mind. "Qaddafi Must Go," Boot declared in The Weekly Standard . In Boot's telling, the Libyan dictator had become a threat to the American homeland. "The only way this crisis will end -- the only way we and our allies can achieve our objectives in Libya -- is to remove Qaddafi from power. Containment won't suffice."

In the end, Gaddafi was removed from power, with ugly and long-lasting consequences. Boot was on to the next invasion. By late 2012, he was once again promoting attacks on Syria and Iran, as he had nine years before. In a piece for The New York Times , Boot laid out "Five Reasons to Intervene in Syria Now."

Overthrowing the Assad regime, Boot predicted, would "diminish Iran's influence" in the region, influence that had grown dramatically since the Bush administration took Boot's advice and overthrew Saddam Hussein, Iran's most powerful counterbalance. To doubters concerned about a complex new war, Boot promised the Syria intervention could be conducted "with little risk."

Days later, Boot wrote a separate piece for Commentary magazine calling for American bombing of Iran. It was a busy week, even by the standards of a Leading Authority on Armed Conflict. Boot conceded that "it remains a matter of speculation what Iran would do in the wake of such strikes." He didn't seem worried.

Listed in one place, Boot's many calls for U.S.-led war around the world come off as a parody of mindless warlike noises, something you might write if you got mad at a country while drunk. ("I'll invade you!!!") Republicans in Washington didn't find any of it amusing. They were impressed. Boot became a top foreign policy adviser to John McCain's presidential campaign in 2008, to Mitt Romney in 2012, and to Marco Rubio in 2016.

Everything changed when Trump won the Republican nomination. Trump had never heard of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He had no idea Max Boot was a Leading Authority on Armed Conflict. Trump was running against more armed conflicts. He had no interest in invading Pakistan. Boot hated him.

As Trump found himself accused of improper ties to Vladimir Putin, Boot agitated for more aggressive confrontation with Russia. Boot demanded larger weapons shipments to Ukraine. He called for effectively expelling Russia from the global financial system, a move that might be construed as an act of war against a nuclear-armed power. The stakes were high, but with signature aplomb Boot assured readers it was "hard to imagine" the Russian government would react badly to the provocation. Those who disagreed Boot dismissed as "cheerleaders" for Putin and the mullahs in Iran.

Boot's stock in the Washington foreign policy establishment rose. In 2018, he was hired by The Washington Post as a columnist. The paper's announcement cited Boot's "expertise on armed conflict."

It is possible to isolate the precise moment that Trump permanently alienated the Republican establishment in Washington: February 13, 2016. There was a GOP primary debate that night in Greenville, South Carolina, so every Republican in Washington was watching. Seemingly out of nowhere, Trump articulated something that no party leader had ever said out loud. "We should never have been in Iraq," Trump announced, his voice rising. "We have destabilized the Middle East."

Many in the crowd booed, but Trump kept going: "They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none. And they knew there were none."

Pandemonium seemed to erupt in the hall, and on television. Shocked political analysts declared that the Trump presidential effort had just euthanized itself. Republican voters, they said with certainty, would never accept attacks on policies their party had espoused and carried out.

Republican voters had a different reaction. They understood that adults sometimes change their minds based on evidence. They themselves had come to understand that the Iraq war was a mistake. They appreciated hearing something verboten but true.

Rival Republicans denounced Trump as an apostate. Voters considered him brave. Trump won the South Carolina primary, and shortly after that, the Republican nomination.

Republicans in Washington never recovered. When Trump attacked the Iraq War and questioned the integrity of the people who planned and promoted it, he was attacking them. They hated him for that. Some of them became so angry, it distorted their judgment and character.

♦♦♦

Bill Kristol is probably the most influential Republican strategist of the post-Reagan era. Born in 1954, Kristol was the second child of the writer Irving Kristol, one of the founders of neoconservatism.

The neoconservatism of Irving Kristol and his friends was jarring to the ossified liberal establishment of the time, but in retrospect it was basically a centrist philosophy: pragmatic, tolerant of a limited welfare state, not rigidly ideological. By the time Bill Kristol got done with it 40 years later, neoconservatism was something else entirely.

Almost from the moment Operation Desert Storm concluded in 1991, Kristol began pushing for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. In 1997, The Weekly Standard ran a cover story titled "Saddam Must Go." If the United States didn't launch a ground invasion of Iraq, the lead editorial warned, the world should "get ready for the day when Saddam has biological and chemical weapons at the tips of missiles aimed at Israel and at American forces in the Gulf."

After the September 11 attacks, Kristol found a new opening to start a war with Iraq. In November 2001, he and Robert Kagan wrote a piece in The Weekly Standard alleging that Saddam Hussein hosted a training camp for Al Qaeda fighters where terrorists had trained to hijack planes. They suggested that Mohammad Atta, mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, was actively collaborating with Saddam's intelligence services. On the basis of no evidence, they accused Iraq of fomenting the anthrax attacks on American politicians and news outlets.

Under ordinary circumstances, Bill Kristol would be famous for being wrong. Kristol still goes on television regularly, but it's not to apologize for the many demonstrably untrue things he's said about the Middle East, or even to talk about foreign policy. Instead, Kristol goes on TV to attack Donald Trump.

Trump's election seemed to undo Bill Kristol entirely. He lost his job at The Weekly Standard after more than 20 years, forced out by owners who were panicked about declining readership. He seemed to spend most of his time on Twitter ranting about Trump.

Before long he was ranting about the people who elected Trump. At an American Enterprise Institute panel event in February 2017, Kristol made the case for why immigrants are more impressive than native-born Americans. "Basically if you are in free society, a capitalist society, after two, three, four generations of hard work, everyone becomes kind of decadent, lazy, spoiled, whatever." Most Americans, Kristol said, "grew up as spoiled kids and so forth."

In February 2018, Kristol tweeted that he would "take in a heartbeat a group of newly naturalized American citizens over the spoiled native-born know-nothings" who supported Trump.

By the spring of 2018, Kristol was considering a run for president himself. He was still making the case for the invasion of Iraq, as well as pushing for a new war, this time in Syria, and maybe in Lebanon and Iran, too. Like most people in Washington, he'd learned nothing at all.

Tucker Carlson is the host of Fox News 's Tucker Carlson Tonight and author of Ship of Fools: How A Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution (Simon & Schuster). This excerpt is taken from that book.


Patrick Constantine February 14, 2019 at 10:50 pm

Trump isn't the only one hated by useless establishment Republicans – with essays like this so will Tucker. Thanks for this takedown of these two warmongering know-nothings. I wish Trump all the time was like he was at that debate in S Carolina where he said what every American knows: the Iraq invasion was stupid and we should not have done it!
Anne Mendoza , says: February 15, 2019 at 2:10 am
So why are these professional war peddlers still around? For the same reason that members of the leadership class who failed and continue to fail in the Middle East are still around. There has not been an accounting at any level. There is just more talk of more war.
polistra , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:54 am
Well, the headline pretty much answers its own question if you know the purpose of Experts. In any subject matter from science to economics to politics, Experts are paid to be wrong. Nobody has to be paid to observe reality accurately with his own senses and rational mind. Every living creature does that all the time. It's the basic requirement of survival.

Creating complex and convincing false narratives to support demonic purposes is HARD WORK, and requires big pay.

snake charmer , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:49 am
""The September 11 attack was a result of insufficient American involvement and ambition," Boot wrote. "The solution is to be more expansive in our goals and more assertive in their implementation.""

In other words, if we had only squandered even more blood and treasure, why, everything would have been fine.

Why do so many true believers end up with some variation on the true believer's wheeze: "Communism didn't fail ! It was never tried!" Then again one can't be sure that Boot is a true believer. He might be a treacherous snake trying to use American power to advance a foreign agenda.

Mike , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:55 am
This is an Exocet missile of an article. Both hulls compromised, taking water. Nice.
John S , says: February 15, 2019 at 7:11 am
This is beautiful, Boot has been rewarded for every horrible failure...
Tom Gorman , says: February 15, 2019 at 8:36 am
Mr. Carlson,

Max Boot has indeed been an advocate of overseas intervention, but you fail to point out that he has recanted his support of the Iraq War. In his 2018 book "The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I left the American Right," he states:

". . . I can finally acknowledge the obvious: it (The Iraq War) was all a big mistake. Saddam Hussein was heinous, but Iraq was better off under his tyrannical rule than the chaos that followed. I regret advocating the invasion and feel guilty about all the lives lost. It was a chastening lesson in the limits of American power."

I'm glad to see that Boot, along with yourself and other Republicans, realize that American use of force must have a clear objective with reasonable chance of success. I suggest you send this article to John Bolton. I'm not sure he agrees with you.

Dawg , says: February 15, 2019 at 9:29 am
Great article, Mr. Tucker. I hope folks also read Mearsheimer & Walt on the Iraq War. From chapter 8 of their book: http://mailstar.net/iraq-war.html
David LeRoy Newland , says: February 15, 2019 at 9:34 am
Excellent article. It's a shame that the Bush era GOP took Boot and Kristol seriously. That poor judgment led Bush to make the kinds of mistakes that gave Democrats the opening they needed to gain power, which in turn led them to make even more harmful mistakes.
Collin , says: February 15, 2019 at 9:55 am
Being against the Iraq 2 I find this populist arguing very 'eye-rolling' as you were pimping this war to death back in the day. (In fact I remember Jon Stewart being one of the few 'pundits' that questioned the war in 2003 & 2004.) And has dovish as Trump as been, his administration is still filled with Hawks and if you are concerned about wars then maybe use your TV show for instead of whining for past mistakes:

1) The administration action in Iran is aggressive and counter-productive to long term peace. The nuclear deal was an effective way of ensuring Iran controlling behavior for 15 years as the other parties, Europe and China, wanted to trade with Iran. (Additionally it makes our nation depend more on the Saudia relationship in which Washington should be slowly moving away from.)

2) Like it or not, Venezuela is starting down the steps of mission creep for the Trump Administration. Recommend the administration stay away from peace keeping troops and suggest this is China's problem. (Venezuela in debt to their eyeballs with China.)

3) Applaud the administration with peace talks with NK but warn them not to overstate their accomplishments. It is ridiculous that the administration signed big nuclear deals with NK that don't exist.

John In Michigan , says: February 15, 2019 at 9:59 am
I find it amazing that Boot is considered one of the "world's leading authorities on armed conflict,"yet never appears to have served in any branch of the armed forces, nor even heard a shot fired in anger. He is proof that academic credentials do not automatically confer "expertise."
Packard Day , says: February 15, 2019 at 10:26 am
Any war, anytime, any place, and cause just so long as American boys and girls can be in the middle of it.

Welcome to the American NeoCon movement, recently joined by Republican Never Trumpers, elected Democrats, and a host of far too many underemployed Beltway Generals & Admirals.

Joshua Xanadu , says: February 15, 2019 at 10:46 am
From a reformed Leftist, thank you Tucker for calling out the stank from the Republicans. The detailed compilation of lowlights from Max Boot and Bill Kristol (don't forget Robert Kagan!) should be etched in the minds of the now pro-war Democratic Party establishment.
Taras 77 , says: February 15, 2019 at 10:57 am
Being a neocon war monger means that you will never have to say you are sorry. The press will give them a pass every single time.

It is all about Israel-being wrong 100% of the time means it is all good because it was in the service of Israel.

Paul Reidinger , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:07 am
Yet another reason not to read the Washington Post.
Anja Mast , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:13 am
Tucker!!! When did you start writing for TAC?!?!

I laughed out loud while reading this, and continued laughing through to the end, until I saw who had the audacity to tell the truth about these utter incompetent failures (who have failed upwards for more than a decade now) who call themselves "foreign policy experts." Yeah -- "experts" at being so moronically wrong that you really start wondering if perhaps the benjamins from another middle eastern nation, that can't be named, has something to do with their worthless opinions, which always seem to do made for the benifit of the nameless nation.

So hurrah for you!!! Let the truth set us all free! Praise the Lord & Sing Songs of Praise to his Name!!!! Literally that's how great it is to hear the pure & unvarnished TRUTH spoken out loud in this publication!

I hope you get such awesome feedback that you are asked to continue to bless us with more truths! Thank you! You totally made my day!

And thank you for your service to this country, where it used to be considered patriotic to speak the truth honestly & plainly!

Joe , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:14 am
Why Are These Professional War Peddlers Still Around? Simple, leaders like Trump keep them around, e.g. Pompeo, Bolton and Abrams.
David Biddington , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:22 am
John Bolton and Eliot Abrams on Team Trump, gearing up with Bibi to attack Iran is of no concern to sir?
George Crosley , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:22 am
"Once we have deposed Saddam, we can impose an American-led, international regency in Baghdad, to go along with the one in Kabul," Boot wrote.

To which the reader might reasonably reply, "What do you mean we , Paleface?"

When I see Max Boot or Bill Kristol in uniform, carrying a rifle, and trudging with their platoon along the dusty roads of the Middle East, I'll begin to pay attention to their bleats and jeremiads.

Until that day, I'll continue to view them as a pair of droning, dull-as-ditchwater members of the 45th Word-processing Brigade. (Company motto: "Let's you and him fight!")

Frank Goodpasture III , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:29 am
It is my understanding that HRC led the charge to overthrow and hang Gaddafi in spite of a reluctant Obama administration. Did Boot, in fact, influence her?
marku52 , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:29 am
"Most Americans, Kristol said, "grew up as spoiled kids and so forth."" Unintentional irony, one must presume. Still it is astonishing that it took someone as addled as DJT to point out the obvious–Invading Iraq was a massive mistake.

Where were the rest of the "adults"

Jimmy Lewis , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:41 am
Boot, Kristal, Cheney, and Rumsfeld should all be in jail for war crimes.
jk , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:53 am
Just like Eliot Abrams, John McCain, GWB, Dick Cheney, Rumsfeld or any other neocon, there is no justice or punishment or even well deserved humiliation for these parasites. They are always misinformed, misguided, or "well intentioned."

The US can interfere with sovereign governments and elections at will I guess and not be responsible for the the unintended consequences such as 500k+ killed in the Middle East since the Iraq and Afghan debacle.

There are sugar daddies from the MIC, the Natsec state (aka the Swamp), AIPAC, and even Jeff Bezos (benefactor of WaPo) that keep these guys employed.

You need to be more critical of Trump also as he is the one hiring these clowns. But other than that, keep up the good work Mr. Carlson!

Allen , says: February 15, 2019 at 12:09 pm
These Chairborne Rangers in Washington know nothing about war. They are the flip side of the radical Dems. "Hey, we lost in 2016. Let's do MORE of what made us lose in the first place!"
D , says: February 15, 2019 at 12:53 pm
Would've been nice if you wrote this about Bolton, Adams, Pompeo, Pence, or any of the other sundry neocon lunatics in the Trump administration.

Nonetheless, always good to see a takedown of Boot and Kristol.

J Thomsen , says: February 15, 2019 at 1:07 pm
The GOP is as much an enemy to the Trump revolution as the left. The Bush/Clinton/Obama coalition runs DC – controls the federal workforce, and colludes to run the Federal government for themselves and their pet constituents.

Trump should have stuck it out on the shutdown until those federal workers left. I think it was called RIF wherein after 30 days, he could dump the lot of em.

THE GOP IS NOT THE PARTY OF LESS GOVERNMENT. That's there motto for busy conservatives who don't have the time or inclination to monitor both sides of the swamp.

THEY ALL HAVE GILLS . we need to starve em out.

Joe from Pa , says: February 15, 2019 at 1:10 pm
Lots of spilled ink here that's pretty meaningless without an answer to the following: Why does Trump employ John Bolton and Elliot Abrams? Explain Trump and Pence and Pompeo's Iran obsession and how it's any better than Kristol/Boot?

What's going on in Yemen?

sanford sklansky , says: February 15, 2019 at 1:18 pm
Funny how when liberals said it was wrong to be in Iraq they were vilified. Yes some conservatives changed their minds. Trump however is all over the map when it comes to wars. http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176527/

[Feb 16, 2019] Two planes hit two towers and three towers fall down. You would not believe that if it were in a movie

Feb 16, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

GoldenDonuts , 1 hour ago link

911 was the greatest false flag ever. Two planes hit two towers and three towers fall down. You would not believe that if it were in a movie. Then quick as a wink. It seemed like the "homeland security" legislation was already written. Poof there goes your civil rights, and your constitution is nothing but toilet paper.

911 and the Kennedy assassination need to be really investigated.

JBL , 42 minutes ago link

they spent more money on the lewinsky investigation than 9/11 + JFK's assassination combined

calito , 1 hour ago link

"And it couldn't have been headier, even after a tiny Islamist terror outfit hijacked four American jets and took out New York's World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. "

BEEEEEEP!

Article immediately disqualified!

[Feb 15, 2019] CAPE Fear The Bulls Are Wrong. Shiller's Measure Is the Real Deal

Notable quotes:
"... The CAPE aims to correct for those distortions. It smooths the denominator by using not current profits, but a ten-year average, of S&P 500 earnings-per-share, adjusted for inflation. Today, the CAPE for the 500 reads 29.7. It's only been that high in two previous periods: Before the crash of 1929, and during the tech bubble from 1998 to 2001, suggesting that when stocks are this expensive, a downturn may be at hand. ..."
"... is 36.1% higher ..."
"... Here's the problem that the CAPE highlights. Earnings in the past two decades have been far outpacing GDP; in the current decade, they've beaten growth in national income by 1.2 points (3.2% versus 2%). That's a reversal of long-term trends. ..."
"... Right now, earnings constitute an unusually higher share of national income. That's because record-low interest rates have restrained cost of borrowing for the past several years, and companies have managed to produce more cars, steel and semiconductors while shedding workers and holding raises to a minimum. ..."
"... t's often overlooked that although profits grow in line with GDP, which by the way, is now expanding a lot more slowly than two decades ago, earnings per share ..."
"... The reason is dilution. Companies are constantly issuing new shares, for everything from expensive acquisitions to stock option redemptions to secondary offerings. New enterprises are also challenging incumbents, raising the number of shares that divide up an industry's profits faster than those profits are increasing. Since total earnings grow with GDP, and the share count grows faster than profits, it's mathematically impossible for EPS growth to consistently rise in double digits, although it does over brief periods––followed by intervals of zero or minuscule increases. ..."
"... The huge gap between the official PE of 19 and the CAPE at 30 signals that unsustainably high profits are artificially depressing the former. and that profits are bound to stagnate at best, and more likely decline. ..."
"... In an investing world dominated by hype, the CAPE is a rare truth-teller ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

For the past half-decade, a controversial yardstick called the CAPE has been flashing red, warning that stock prices are extremely rich, and vulnerable to a sharp correction. And over the same period, the Wall Street bulls and a number of academics led by Jeremy Siegel of the Wharton School, have been claiming that CAPE is a kind of fun house mirror that makes reasonable valuations appear grotesquely stretched.

CAPE, an acronym "Cyclically-adjusted price-to-earnings ratio," was developed by economist Robert Shiller of Yale to correct for a flaw in judging where stock prices stand on the continuum from dirt cheap to highly expensive based on the current P/E ratio. The problem: Reported earnings careen from lofty peaks to deep troughs, so that when they're in a funk, multiples jump so high that shares appear overpriced when they're really reasonable, and when profits explode, they can skew the P/E by creating the false signal that they're a great buy.

The CAPE aims to correct for those distortions. It smooths the denominator by using not current profits, but a ten-year average, of S&P 500 earnings-per-share, adjusted for inflation. Today, the CAPE for the 500 reads 29.7. It's only been that high in two previous periods: Before the crash of 1929, and during the tech bubble from 1998 to 2001, suggesting that when stocks are this expensive, a downturn may be at hand.

The CAPE's critics argue that its adjusted PE is highly inflated, because the past decade includes a portion of the financial crisis that decimated earnings. That period was so unusual, their thinking goes, that it makes the ten-year average denominator much too low, producing what looks like a dangerous number when valuations are actually reasonable by historical norms. They point to the traditional P/E based on 12-month trailing, GAAP profits. By that yardstick today's multiple is 19.7, a touch above the 20-year average of 19, though exceeding the century-long norm of around 16.

I've run some numbers, and my analysis indicates that the CAPE doesn't suffer from those alleged shortcoming, and presents a much truer picture than today's seemingly reassuring P/E. Here's why. Contrary to its opponents' assertions, the CAPE's earnings number is not artificially depressed. I calculated ten year average of real profits for six decade-long periods starting in February of 1959 and ending today, (the last one running from 2/2009 to 2/2019). On average, the adjusted earnings number rose 22% from one period to the next. The biggest leap came from 1999 to 2009, when the 10-year average of real earnings advanced 42%.

So did profits since then languish to the point where the current CAPE figure is unrealistically big? Not at all. The Shiller profit number of $91 per share is 36.1% higher than the reading for the 1999 to 2009 period, when it had surged a record 40%-plus over the preceding decade. If anything, today's denominator looks high, meaning the CAPE of almost 30 is at least reasonable, and if anything overstates what today's investors will reap from each dollar they've invested in stocks.

Indeed, in the latest ten-year span, adjusted profits have waxed at a 3.2% annual pace, slightly below the 3.6% from 1999 to 2009, but far above the average of 1.6% from 1959 to 1999.

Here's the problem that the CAPE highlights. Earnings in the past two decades have been far outpacing GDP; in the current decade, they've beaten growth in national income by 1.2 points (3.2% versus 2%). That's a reversal of long-term trends. Over our entire 60 year period, GDP rose at 3.3% annually, and profits trailed by 1.3 points, advancing at just 2%. So the rationale that P/Es are modest is based on the assumption that today's earnings aren't unusually high at all, and should continue growing from here, on a trajectory that outstrips national income.

It won't happen. It's true that total corporate profits follow GDP over the long term, though they fluctuate above and below that benchmark along the way. Right now, earnings constitute an unusually higher share of national income. That's because record-low interest rates have restrained cost of borrowing for the past several years, and companies have managed to produce more cars, steel and semiconductors while shedding workers and holding raises to a minimum.

Now, rates are rising and so it pay and employment, forces that will crimp profits. I t's often overlooked that although profits grow in line with GDP, which by the way, is now expanding a lot more slowly than two decades ago, earnings per share grow a lot slower, as I've shown, lagging by 1.3 points over the past six decades.

An influential study from 2003 by Rob Arnott, founder of Research Affiliates, and co-author William J. Bernstein, found that EPS typically trails overall profit and economic growth by even more, an estimated 2 points a year.

The reason is dilution. Companies are constantly issuing new shares, for everything from expensive acquisitions to stock option redemptions to secondary offerings. New enterprises are also challenging incumbents, raising the number of shares that divide up an industry's profits faster than those profits are increasing. Since total earnings grow with GDP, and the share count grows faster than profits, it's mathematically impossible for EPS growth to consistently rise in double digits, although it does over brief periods––followed by intervals of zero or minuscule increases.

The huge gap between the official PE of 19 and the CAPE at 30 signals that unsustainably high profits are artificially depressing the former. and that profits are bound to stagnate at best, and more likely decline. The retreat appears to have already started. The Wall Street "consensus" Wall Street earnings forecast compiled by FactSet calls for an EPS decline of 1.7% for the first quarter of 2017, and zero inflation-adjusted gains for the first nine months of the year.

In an investing world dominated by hype, the CAPE is a rare truth-teller .

[Feb 15, 2019] Oil Rises as Aramco Said to Cut Output at Biggest Offshore Field

KSA and Russia together can drive oil price to anywhere they wish... Wall street sharks can do nothing with those giants if they cut oil output.
Notable quotes:
"... Russia plans to accelerate the output cuts it agreed to with OPEC+. ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

Oil climbed as Saudi Arabia was said to curtail some output from its Safaniyah offshore oil field, the largest in the world.

Futures in New York rose as much as 2.2 percent Friday, pushing toward its biggest weekly gain in a month. Saudi Arabia was said to trim supply from Safaniyah to repair a damaged power cable, while Russia plans to accelerate the output cuts it agreed to with OPEC+.

... ... ...

Saudi Arabian Oil Co.'s Safaniyah field has the capacity to pump 1.2 million to 1.5 million barrels of crude a day, and is a major component of the Arab Heavy grade. The cable was damaged in an accident about two weeks ago and repairs are expected to be completed by early March, people with knowledge of the matter said.

[Feb 15, 2019] FOIA Docs Reveal Obama FBI Covered Up Chart Of Potential Hillary Clinton Crimes

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Neither these talking points nor the chart of potential violations committed by Clinton and her associates have been released. ..."
"... Rybicki writes: By NLT [no later than] next Monday, the Director would like to see a list of all cases charged in the last 20 years where the gravamen of the charge was mishandling classified information. It should be in chart form with: (1) case name, (2) a short summary for content (3) charges brought, and (4) charge of conviction. ..."
"... According to a December, 2017 letter from Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) to FBI Director Christopher Wray, fired FBI agent Peter Strzok changed the language regarding Clinton's conduct from the criminal charge of "gross negligence" to "extremely careless." ..."
"... "Gross negligence" is a legal term of art in criminal law often associated with recklessness. According to Black's Law Dictionary, gross negligence is " A severe degree of negligence taken as reckless disregard ," and " Blatant indifference to one's legal duty, other's safety, or their rights ." "Extremely careless," on the other hand, is not a legal term of art. ..."
"... 18 U.S. Code § 793 "Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information" specifically uses the phrase "gross negligence." Had Comey used the phrase, he would have essentially declared that Hillary had broken the law. ..."
"... And now, thanks to the Judicial Watch FOIA, we know that the FBI also went to great lengths to justify letting Clinton off the hook with a "chart" of her offenses. ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

FOIA Docs Reveal Obama FBI Covered Up "Chart" Of Potential Hillary Clinton Crimes

by Tyler Durden Fri, 02/15/2019 - 17:30 1.7K SHARES

The top brass of the Obama FBI went to great lengths to justify their decision not to recommend charges against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information, according to Judicial Watch , which obtained evidence that the agency created a 'chart' of Clinton's offenses.

The newly obtained emails came in response to a court ordered Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that the DOJ had previously ignored.

Via Judicial Watch (emphasis ours):

[Redacted] writes : I am still working on an additional page for these TPs that consist of a chart of the statutory violations considered during the investigation , and the reasons for the recommendation not to prosecute, hopefully in non-lawyer friendly terms

Strzok forwards to Page, Jonathan Moffa and others : I have redlined some points. Broadly, I have some concerns about asking some our [sic] senior field folks to get into the business of briefing this case, particularly when we have the D's [Comey's] statement as a kind of stand alone document. In my opinion, there's too much nuance, detail, and potential for missteps. But I get they may likely be asked for comment.

[Redacted] writes to Strzok, Page and others : The DD [Andrew McCabe] will need to approve these before they are pushed out to anyone. At the end of last week, he wasn't inclined to send them to anyone. But, it's great to have them on the shelf in case they're needed.

[Redacted] writes to Strzok and Page : I'm really not sure why they continued working on these [talking points]. In the morning, I'll make sure Andy [McCabe] tells Mike [Kortan] to keep these in his pocket. I guess Andy just didn't ever have a moment to turn these off with Mike like he said he would.

Page replies : Yes, agree that this is not a good idea.

Neither these talking points nor the chart of potential violations committed by Clinton and her associates have been released.

Rybicki writes: By NLT [no later than] next Monday, the Director would like to see a list of all cases charged in the last 20 years where the gravamen of the charge was mishandling classified information. It should be in chart form with: (1) case name, (2) a short summary for content (3) charges brought, and (4) charge of conviction.

If need be, we can get it from NSD [National Security Division] and let them know that the Director asked for this personally.

Please let me know who can take the lead on this.

Thanks!

Jim

Page forwards to Strzok : FYSA [For your situational awareness]

Strzok replies to Page : I'll take the lead, of course – sounds like an espionage section question Or do you think OGC [Office of the General Counsel] should?

And the more reason for us to get feedback to Rybicki, as we all identified this as an issue/question over a week ago.

Page replies : I was going to reply to Jim [Rybicki] and tell him I can talked [sic] to you about this already. Do you want me to?

***

Recall that the FBI agents involved made extensive edits to former FBI Diretor James Comey's statement exonerating Hillary Clinton - changing the language to effectively downgrade the crime of mishandling classified information so that they could recommend no charges.

According to a December, 2017 letter from Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) to FBI Director Christopher Wray, fired FBI agent Peter Strzok changed the language regarding Clinton's conduct from the criminal charge of "gross negligence" to "extremely careless."

"Gross negligence" is a legal term of art in criminal law often associated with recklessness. According to Black's Law Dictionary, gross negligence is " A severe degree of negligence taken as reckless disregard ," and " Blatant indifference to one's legal duty, other's safety, or their rights ." "Extremely careless," on the other hand, is not a legal term of art.

According to an Attorney briefed on the matter, "extremely careless" is in fact a defense to "gross negligence": "What my client did was 'careless', maybe even 'extremely careless,' but it was not 'gross negligence' your honor." The FBI would have no option but to recommend prosecution if the phrase "gross negligence" had been left in.

18 U.S. Code § 793 "Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information" specifically uses the phrase "gross negligence." Had Comey used the phrase, he would have essentially declared that Hillary had broken the law.

And now, thanks to the Judicial Watch FOIA, we know that the FBI also went to great lengths to justify letting Clinton off the hook with a "chart" of her offenses.


Son of Captain Nemo , 3 minutes ago link

Well...

When you are both confirmed war criminals your Secretary of State and POTUS with a body count of the skeletons in each of your respective closet(s) spending money you don't have ( https://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2017/msu-scholars-find-21-trillion-in-unauthorized-government-spending-defense-department-to-conduct/ ) with your Treasury and AG Eric Holder covering it up and never being approved by your Congress or OMB for at least 4 coups and occupation(s) that we know about...

Why would anyone be at all surprised by what was already in the immortal words of Don "9/11" Rumsfeld "known" "knowns"?!!!

Rinse and Repeat for the current POTUS carrying the torch of full CRIMINALITY in occupying places we no longer can afford or sustain!

tymwltl , 4 minutes ago link

The real problem here is that once faith in government is destroyed by the very agencies we would hope to be honest to the end, the end of that government is at hand and all Hell is about to break loose. Hold on tight to your Constitution and all the Amendments for tyranny is at our doorsteps.

Fantasy Free Economics , 34 minutes ago link

The government is a tool.

http://quillian.net/blog/organized-crime-owns-your-government/

JailBanksters , 43 minutes ago link

One big Muther Fracker circle jerk

And not a Russian in sight, but plenty of Zionists though

novictim , 1 hour ago link

The FBI and DOJ, the NSA and CIA are infiltrated and infested with Anti-American anti-patriots who think that their job is to protect a ideological faction supporting globalism and neoliberalism.

These are the rotting fruits of 60 years of Socialist/Communist/Cultural Marxist indoctrination at the level of public education and University level academia.

We have to face this now. The problem is massively bigger than McCabe or Comey or Brennan or their low-level flunkies.

tavistock 2.0 , 1 hour ago link

Coup De'etat.

[Feb 15, 2019] Losing a job in your 50s is especially tough. Here are 3 steps to take when layoffs happen by Peter Dunn

Unemployment usually is just six month or so; this is the time when you can plan you "downsizing". You do not need to rush.
Often losing job logically requires selling your home and moving to a modest apartment, especially if no children are living with you. At 50 it is abut time... You need to do it later anyway, so why not now.
But that's a very tough decision to make... Still, if the current housing market is close to the top, this is one of the best moves you can make. Getting from your house several hundred thousand dollars allows you to create kind of private pension to compensate for losses in income till you hit your Social Security check, which currently means 66.
$300K investment in A quality bonds that returns 3% per year are enough to provides you with $24K per year "pension" from 50 to age of 66. That allows you to pay for the apartment and amenities. The food is extra...
This way you can take lower paid job and survive.
And in this case you 401k remains intact and can supplement your SS income later on. Simple Excel spreadsheet can provide you with a complete picture of what you can afford and what not. Actually ability to walk of fresh air for 3 or more hours each day worth a lot of money ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... Losing a job in your 50s is a devastating moment, especially if the job is connected to a long career ripe with upward mobility. As a frequent observer of this phenomenon, it's as scary and troublesome as unchecked credit card debt or an expensive chronic health condition. This is one of the many reasons why I believe our 50s can be the most challenging decade of our lives. ..."
"... The first thing you should do is identify the exact day your job income stops arriving ..."
"... Next, and by next I mean five minutes later, explore your eligibility for unemployment benefits, and then file for them if you're able. ..."
"... Grab your bank statement, a marker, and a calculator. As much as you want to pretend its business as usual, you shouldn't. Identify expenses that don't make sense if you don't have a job. Circle them. Add them up. Resolve to eliminate them for the time being, and possibly permanently. While this won't necessarily lengthen your fuse, it could lessen the severity of a potential boom. ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

... ... ...

Losing a job in your 50s is a devastating moment, especially if the job is connected to a long career ripe with upward mobility. As a frequent observer of this phenomenon, it's as scary and troublesome as unchecked credit card debt or an expensive chronic health condition. This is one of the many reasons why I believe our 50s can be the most challenging decade of our lives.

Assuming you can clear the mental challenges, the financial and administrative obstacles can leave you feeling like a Rube Goldberg machine.

Income, health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, bills, expenses, short-term savings and retirement savings are all immediately important in the face of a job loss. Never mind your Parent PLUS loans, financially-dependent aging parents, and boomerang children (adult kids who live at home), which might all be lurking as well.

When does your income stop?

From the shocking moment a person learns their job is no longer their job, the word "triage" must flash in bright lights like an obnoxiously large sign in Times Square. This is more challenging than you might think. Like a pickpocket bumping into you right before he grabs your wallet, the distraction is the problem that takes your focus away from the real problem.

This is hard to do because of the emotion that arrives with the dirty deed. The mind immediately begins to race to sources of money and relief. And unfortunately that relief is often found in the wrong place.

The first thing you should do is identify the exact day your job income stops arriving . That's how much time you have to defuse the bomb. Your fuse may come in the form of a severance package, or work you've performed but have't been paid for yet.

When do benefits kick in?

Next, and by next I mean five minutes later, explore your eligibility for unemployment benefits, and then file for them if you're able. However, in some states severance pay affects your immediate eligibility for unemployment benefits. In other words, you can't file for unemployment until your severance payments go away.

Assuming you can't just retire at this moment, which you likely can't, you must secure fresh employment income quickly. But quickly is relative to the length of your fuse. I've witnessed way too many people miscalculate the length and importance of their fuse. If you're able to get back to work quickly, the initial job loss plus severance ends up enhancing your financial life. If you take too much time, by your choice or that of the cosmos, boom.

The next move is much more hands-on, and must also be performed the day you find yourself without a job.

What nonessentials do I cut?

Grab your bank statement, a marker, and a calculator. As much as you want to pretend its business as usual, you shouldn't. Identify expenses that don't make sense if you don't have a job. Circle them. Add them up. Resolve to eliminate them for the time being, and possibly permanently. While this won't necessarily lengthen your fuse, it could lessen the severity of a potential boom.

The idea of diving into your spending habits on the day you lose your job is no fun. But when else will you have such a powerful reason to do so? You won't. It's better than dipping into your assets to fund your current lifestyle. And that's where we'll pick it up the next time.

We've covered day one. In my next column we will tackle day two and beyond.

Peter Dunn is an author, speaker and radio host, and he has a free podcast: "Million Dollar Plan." Have a question for Pete the Planner? Email him at AskPete@petetheplanner.com. The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.

[Feb 15, 2019] The Deep Hurt Lessons From American Coups

Notable quotes:
"... American imperialists (and many Americans) truly believe that they are superior and that the world would become a better place if nations submitted to their leadership ..."
"... Early promoters of American intervention were zealous patriots. They proclaimed love of country and loyalty to the flag. Yet they could not imagine that people from non-white countries might feel just as patriotic. ..."
"... Americans have been said to be ignorant about the world. ..."
"... Violent intervention in other countries always produces unintended consequences. ..."
"... Generations of American foreign policy makers have made decisions on three assumptions: the US is the indispensable nation that must lead the world; this leadership requires toughness; and toughness is best demonstrated by the threat or use of force. ..."
"... Most American interventions are not soberly conceived, with realistic goals and clear exit strategies. ..."
"... Foreign intervention has weakened the moral authority that was once the foundation of America's political identity. Today many people around the world see it as a bully, recklessly invading foreign lands. ..."
"... Nations lose their virtue when they repeatedly attack other nations. ..."
"... America is the HIGHLY narcissistic, high functioning, psychopathic garden variety neighbor, highly destructive businessman you work hard to avoid. ..."
"... As Taleb nicely put: Our political leaders have no skin in the game and are completely unaccountable. Best preconditions for disaster! ..."
"... They even call the idea of not mass murdering people 'isolationism'. Hey, well guess what? I don't want to murder other people who never bothered me. ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Michael Welton via Counterpunch.org,

As the world watches aghast at another US and allies' attempt to engineer a coup in Venezuela, I would like to offer a few insights from Stephen Kinzer' provocative chapter, "The deep hurt," (pp. 227-250) in his book, The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of the American Empire (2017). This remarkable text carries some hope and lessons for all of us. It tells the story of the great conflict around the turn of 20th century about the role that the US might play in either dominating the world or building a cosmopolitan democracy where all people feel secure that they reside in one country, the earth.

Indeed, Kinzer states:

"Anti-imperialists decisively influenced American history by helping to ensure that the first burst of American annexation would be the last" (p. 228).

Even swash-buckling Teddy Roosevelt was influenced, losing his zest for the idea of conquest. When he charged into the White House he held two views simultaneously, intervene to help other people, without oppressing them. Kinzer thinks that this dichotomy "torments our national psyche" (p. 229). In the early parts of the book Kinzer sets out the anti-imperialist (Mark Twain) and pro-imperialist visions (Henry Cabot Lodge). These speeches are worth gathering round for reflection.

During the following hundred years much of what the anti-imperialists predicted has come to pass. The United States has become an "actively interventionist power. It has projected military or covert power into dozens of countries on every continent except Antarctica"(ibid.). George Frisbie Hoar was right, Kinzer points out, when he "warned that intervening in other lands would turn the United States into a 'vulgar, commonplace empire founded upon physical force"" (ibid.).

Anti-imperialists also predicted that an "aggressive foreign policy would have pernicious effects at home" (ibid.). Military budgets have soared to heights unimaginable in the days of fervent expansionism in the 1898 war with the Philippines. The armaments industries wield extraordinary clout. The wealth-soaked elites dominate politics. The invasion and overthrowing of distant regimes resides in the hands of a few decision-makers. And militaristic values and rituals saturate American life and expunge peaceful ones.

To be sure, American intervention brought some material blessings (good schools and orderly systems of justice, etc) and rising American power was perceived as "good for everyone simply because it means strengthening the world's most beneficent nation" (p. 230). The expansionists of 1898 believed that America was "inherently benevolent," and subject nations would rally around the May pole in celebratory dance. "The opposite happened .Carl Schurz was right when he warned that dominating foreigners would ultimately force Americans to 'shoot them down because they stand up for their independence'" (p. 231).

Kinzer states that: " In the face of profound new challenges, Americans are once again debating the role of the United States in the world. Should it intervene violently in other countries? This remains what Senator William V. Allen called it in 1899: 'The greatest question that has ever been presented to the American people'" (p. 231). American culture carries a current of anti-imperialism and commitment to an international legal order. They played a big role in the establishment of the UN and nurturing global governance. They remain the world's only superpower with enormous capacity to move towards building the cosmopolitan world order. What is evident now in this dark moment of history is that the world as it is, is not the way it has to be.

It is difficult, I think, for the United States with its inordinate military might and present delusionary self-understanding to wrench itself free from wanting to intervene for political and economic reasons. Many in the post-WW I world had placed their bet for a better world on the Presbyterian professor Woodrow Wilson. Famously, Wilson triggered immense hopefulness to the disenfranchised in the colonies of European powers. He preached that they should "choose the sovereignty under which the shall live" (p. 232). In office, American troops were dispatched to intervene in Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Russia .Like his predecessors -- and successors -- Wilson insisted that he was doing it for the good of the target countries. Americans would leave them alone, he promised, as soon as they learned 'to elect good men'" (ibid.). Today scholars speak of the "shattered peace" of the post-WW I world. Was the desire to begin building, slowly, carefully, a cosmopolitan world order, as Jan Smuts thought, an "impossible dream"?

Kinzer observes that "this most compassionate of presidents not only invaded countries that defied the United States, but studiously ignored appeals from colonized people outside Europe, notably in Egypt, India, Korea, and Indochina. His hypocrisy set the stage for generations of war and upheaval" (ibid.). Margaret MacMillan's lively and densely detailed book, Paris 1919 (2001) , provides the stories for these outcast colonized countries.

Today, the US has intervened one more time. The difference now may well be that there is little pretence that the US is engaging in the bully politics of "might is right." They don't care two hoots about what the world thinks. They do not give a damn about the self-determination of all countries and peoples. This invasion is stripped of any moral or legal justification. The US has decided to declare the Speaker of the House, Juan Guaido, president. This is unheard of! And Canada has forsaken the best of its liberal and social democratic traditions of adherence to rule of law to hitch its caboose to the US's rampaging imperialist train.

There are several lessons that Kinzer draws from American history of intervention that our worth careful reflection.

1) American imperialists (and many Americans) truly believe that they are superior and that the world would become a better place if nations submitted to their leadership . The United States would be better off, Kinzer says, if it became a learning nation and not a teaching one.

2) Early promoters of American intervention were zealous patriots. They proclaimed love of country and loyalty to the flag. Yet they could not imagine that people from non-white countries might feel just as patriotic. Love of country was a mark of civilization. Lesser peoples, therefore, couldn't grasp it.

3) Americans have been said to be ignorant about the world. They are, says Kinzer, but so are other peoples. The difference is that American leaders, puffed with a sense of mission, acted on ignorance. American leaders see little reason to bother learning about the nations whose affairs they intrude.

4) Violent intervention in other countries always produces unintended consequences. Cuba was turned into a protectorate in 1901. A fine idea? It led ultimately to a bitter anti-American regime. Intervention in the Philippines sparked waves of nationalism across East Asia that contributed to the Communist revolution in China in 1949. Later American interventions also had terrible results planners never anticipated. From Iran and Guatemala to Iraq and Afghanistan, intervention has devastated societies and produced violent anti-American passion.

5) Generations of American foreign policy makers have made decisions on three assumptions: the US is the indispensable nation that must lead the world; this leadership requires toughness; and toughness is best demonstrated by the threat or use of force. Thus: America is inherently righteous; its influence on rest of world always benign.

6) Most American interventions are not soberly conceived, with realistic goals and clear exit strategies. But violent invasions always leave so-called "collateral damage": families killed, destroyed towns, ruined lives, damaged land.

7) The argument that the United States intervenes to defend "freedom" rarely matches facts on the ground. Many (most?) interventions prop up predatory regimes. The goal is simply to increase American power rather than to liberate the suffering.

8) Foreign intervention has weakened the moral authority that was once the foundation of America's political identity. Today many people around the world see it as a bully, recklessly invading foreign lands. The current invasion of Venezuela is such an example. The name "United States" is associated with bombing, invasion, occupation, night raids, covert action, torture, kidnapping, and secret prisons. Who wants to be saved by America? John Bolton recently threatened Maduro with prison in Guantanamo if he doesn't get the hell out of Venezuela.

9) Nations lose their virtue when they repeatedly attack other nations. That loss, as Washington predicted, has cost the United States its felicity. Kinzer says that the US can regain it only by understanding its own national interests more clearly. He thinks it is late for the United States to change its course in the world -- but not too late.


Leguran , 5 hours ago link

America has not become an interventionist power. What has happened is a Coup d'Etat has been staged through Congressional rules that give unconstitutional powers to a tiny group on the basis of their 'seniority' and reconcilliation committee appointment. These few, not the American people want intervention, war, you name it. They spent $5 trillion in the Middle East alone. So, let's not blame the American people.

CatInTheHat , 5 hours ago link

5) Generations of American foreign policy makers have made decisions on three assumptions: the US is the indispensable nation that must lead the world; this leadership requires toughness; and toughness is best demonstrated by the threat or use of force. Thus: America is inherently righteous; its influence on rest of world always benign.

6) Most American interventions are not soberly conceived, with realistic goals and clear exit strategies. But violent invasions always leave so-called "collateral damage": families killed, destroyed towns, ruined lives, damaged land.

7) The argument that the United States intervenes to defend "freedom" rarely matches facts on the ground. Many (most?) interventions prop up predatory regimes. The goal is simply to increase American power rather than to liberate the suffering.

8) Foreign intervention has weakened the moral authority that was once the foundation of America's political identity. Today many people around the world see it as a bully, recklessly invading foreign lands. The current invasion of Venezuela is such an example. The name "United States" is associated with bombing, invasion, occupation, night raids, covert action, torture, kidnapping, and secret prisons. Who wants to be saved by America? John Bolton recently threatened Maduro with prison in Guantanamo if he doesn't get the hell out of Venezuela."

America is the HIGHLY narcissistic, high functioning, psychopathic garden variety neighbor, highly destructive businessman you work hard to avoid. How any American can see the US and it's people as exceptional is beyond me. No yellow vests anti WAR protests have evolved to STOP the US genocidal killing machine.

The US, the white supremacist nation has zero trouble killing maiming and displacing millions of brown Muslims & Christians in 3 world countries. This WILL come home to roost as what the Zionazi empire of psychopaths does to other countries they will do to US

Son of Captain Nemo , 5 hours ago link

9) "Nations lose their virtue when they repeatedly attack other nations. That loss, as Washington predicted, has cost the United States its felicity. Kinzer says that the US can regain it only by understanding its own national interests more clearly. He thinks it is late for the United States to change its course in the world -- but not too late."...

I don't even think Teddy as self righteous and psychopathic as he was at the turn of the 20th Century would have ponied up to cannibalizing his own ( https://wikispooks.com/wiki/9-11/Israel_did_it ) in order to build ever more "pretexts" through the torture and murder of other sovereign nations simply as a means to "control" resources for the good of his $currency and it's banks and not a Country and it's peoples under the rule of law to a parasite/cyst that it is willing to die for ( https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-19/top-us-general-says-american-troops-should-be-ready-die-israel ) before it's own Nation!...

It is not only "too late" Mr. Kinzer... It's epitaph was written large almost 18 years ago when it's people chose not to address that crime of betrayal and treason to it's Constitution and stood idly by as it's government squandered it children's childrens childrens wealth for that lie ( https://www.ae911truth.org/news/506-grand-jury-to-hear-9-11-evidence-an-interview-with-the-lawyers-who-made-it-happen )

Moribundus , 6 hours ago link

Another gr8 lesson about American freedom and democracy is in book: The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. Americans should know that before slaves from Africa white trash from Britain was shipped as slaves. See: They were white and they were slaves.

Nunyadambizness , 6 hours ago link

" Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all. ... In the execution of such a plan nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations and passionate attachments for others should be excluded, and that in place of them just and amicable feelings toward all should be cultivated....

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial, else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other....

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. ... GEORGE WASHINGTON

I wish we had listened.

Smi1ey , 6 hours ago link

Foreign intervention has weakened the moral authority that was once the foundation of America's political identity. Today many people around the world see it as a bully, recklessly invading foreign lands.

Meanwhile, their own people in America see them as Satan worshiping pedophiles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LS8i7C7JJ14

Chupacabra-322 , 8 hours ago link

As the raises & sets one can be assured of one thing. People are gullible as ****.

schroedingersrat , 11 hours ago link

As Taleb nicely put: Our political leaders have no skin in the game and are completely unaccountable. Best preconditions for disaster!

Dick Buttkiss , 6 hours ago link

Indeed, as that's the nature of the state in any and all its iterations. Reform it? Yes. But only by eradicating it altogether. Why? Because, as the great Albert Jay Nock said,

"Sending in good people to reform the state is like sending in virgins to reform the whorehouse."

Think this is impossible? Think again...

IntercoursetheEU , 14 hours ago link

McCabe, evil whitey on the front line here too? ; chickens coming home to roost finally? Guess there are two kind of people, those who work for a living, and the barbarians who appropriate the fruits of other's labor.

Justapleb , 14 hours ago link

Mark Twain wrote savagely and derisively about the Moro Massacre, where the US killed around a thousand Filipino natives who were hiding in a dormant volcano, they just rimmed it with artillery and killed everyone.

Because they would not pay tribute. We waterboarded about 200 important people, the equivalent of mayors and councilmen, ranking officers in militias we had no business disbanding.

1898 was lies and deceit from the outset. We promised the Philippine General Aguinaldo that if he fought the Spanish on land, then we would fight them at sea. In exchange for victory over the Spanish, the Philippines would be freed from colonization.

Except then we took it ourselves and killed anyone who disagreed. Slaughter, rape, torture, it was never for one moment noble. The USA granted the Philippines its independence after the Japanese conquered them, lol.

DFGTC , 14 hours ago link

Empires do not give up power, their grip weakens ... Empires do not devolve back into "republics", they crash and burn ... And there are really only two options: a) soft collapse b) hard collapse (there is no [c] option)

Kokito , 7 hours ago link

Exactly -The article was written by another delusional trying to reconstruct/masquerade the US criminal empire behind the a new facelift, too little too late. The guy didn't get the memo from Putin/Xi, telling him tat it is a multipolar world & that the US criminal empire is death & that it will never come back in any shape, way or form, to violate international law & carry out war crimes.

keep the bastards honest , 14 hours ago link

American or uk coups are not beneficial. Very sad. Checking USA coups online there is a huge list, after the Allende govt in Chile, comes Australia, the Whitlam govt, much loved, but ousted in a coup, bloodless by his choice. The people were waiting for Gough to call them out. Newspaper staff arrived from overseas.

first day in office his govt had let the conscientious objectors out of the 2 years they were serving in jail. There had been mass demonstrations against Aus participation and incarceration to no avail with the previous govt. Brought back our Australians from Vietnam, and twenty or 30 or more major things. Every day.

Chuckster , 15 hours ago link

We have learned nothing. Apparently we are using the taming of the lion method which has been used for thousands of years to take control of countries on Venezuela. The apparent goal is to take over several Latin and south American countries. Will this be good or bad? Our past history indicates it will be a disaster. Have we had any successes?

Atalanta , 15 hours ago link

Craving for respect. This started after the first bite in the apple, history said. Religion is based on that happening. Americans invented the extra load called fastest. Watch Hollywood portraying it. Respect shown all over the show for plain murderers. Graveyard managers and priest making the picture complete. Making that part of the world the right place for a second coming. Resulting in sending all believers to the place named hell.

lnardozi , 15 hours ago link

The fact that this is not taken for granted is exactly what is wrong with America. If only we could just learn to leave other people alone unless attacked. They even call the idea of not mass murdering people 'isolationism'. Hey, well guess what? I don't want to murder other people who never bothered me. I can't say I'm a Christian, but aren't they supposed to disagree with this sort of thing? They're also supposed to be like 80% of the population, why don't we ever hear, 'murder bad' from them?

[Feb 15, 2019] MSNBC "Terrified Of Anti-War Voices" Says Fired Anti-War Host Phil Donahue - YouTube

Notable quotes:
"... They divide us with race, sex, and religion. If we came together all the working class people, from every race, you'd see the oligarchs true face. They'd innact martial law in a heartbeat, and run to their underground base in the Ozarks. That's the painful truth. ..."
"... That's why Richard Nixon replaced the draft with a lottery that has evolved into a volunteer armed forces. We were nearly the verge of another civil war in this country. ..."
"... So Jimmy, once again, hit it out of the ballpark with this podcast on why the war hawks fear Tulsi ..."
"... She really scares the war hawks and just as importantly she scares the huge profits these war hawks and allied corporations (the parent company of GE which owns MSNBC makes turbine engines for the military) have made off these unnecessary and tragic wars since the 9/11 attacks. ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Anders Stöök , 1 day ago

Phil Donahue was not a sellout like Rachel Maddow.

Humphking , 1 day ago

They divide us with race, sex, and religion. If we came together all the working class people, from every race, you'd see the oligarchs true face. They'd innact martial law in a heartbeat, and run to their underground base in the Ozarks. That's the painful truth.

George Hoffman , 1 day ago (edited)

I served in Vietnam (31 May 1967 - 31 May 1968), so I'm approximately around the same age as Phil. I told everyone I knew that if we invaded Iraq - this was during the lead-up in 2002 to vote on GWB's Iraq War resolution - having just a volunteer armed forces in the strategic sense, let alone the invasion of Iraq would violate international covenants against illegal wars of aggression - we would eventually have down the road a military blunder and a foreign policy debacle that would rival the one we had in the Vietnam War.

If GWB had somehow convinced the American people and the Congress to bring back the draft after the 9/11 attacks, I assure you we would have withdrawn from Afghanistan and Iraq long, long ago. But the war hawks in Congress and the Pentagon love their private, (essentially) quasi-mercenary volunteer armed forces after how badly they got burnt during the anti-war protests against the Vietnam War.

That's why Richard Nixon replaced the draft with a lottery that has evolved into a volunteer armed forces. We were nearly the verge of another civil war in this country.

So Jimmy, once again, hit it out of the ballpark with this podcast on why the war hawks fear Tulsi. Remember they can't smear her based on the fact that she was an officer who did two tours of duty in the war zone, so they try to smear her because she is supposedly a puppet of Putin, that is, a fifth columnist or fellow traveler as they did during the Red Scare in the McCarthy era. I would definitely vote for her as a fellow war veteran for president, but she has a very hard road to travel to win the nomination.

She really scares the war hawks and just as importantly she scares the huge profits these war hawks and allied corporations (the parent company of GE which owns MSNBC makes turbine engines for the military) have made off these unnecessary and tragic wars since the 9/11 attacks.

Rick C-137 , 1 day ago (edited)

MSNBC is complicit in the deaths of millions. As evil as evil gets.

John Henni , 1 day ago

Chris Matthews is the definition of Corporate shill.

[Feb 15, 2019] Trump = Obama = CIA meddling in every country. Presidents never change, only the perception of the morons changes

Notable quotes:
"... Why does the USA care about internal Venezuelan politics? Because it cares about every country's politics and demands every country bow down and kneel to the USA. The voters, aka morons, support this, both liberal and right wing, and have for generations. ..."
"... The morons pay their taxes to meddle in other countries and for a giant military to slaughter people who do not obey. ..."
Feb 14, 2019 | www.unz.com

never-anonymous says: February 14, 2019 at 6:21 pm GMT 100 Words

@nietzsche1510

Venezuela invasion thing is double-faceted: a trap for Trump & a bluff. if the invasion is, then bye-bye 2020 election, mission accomplished. if no invasion on sight then the bluff of Pompeo-Bolton-Abrams is called & the 2020 reelection assured. Venezuela in the role of bait.

The real issue lies in the voting class which cowers in fear all day long and seeks saviors every four years via rigged circus. Trump = Obama = CIA meddling in every country. Presidents never change, only the perception of the morons changes.

Why does the USA care about internal Venezuelan politics? Because it cares about every country's politics and demands every country bow down and kneel to the USA. The voters, aka morons, support this, both liberal and right wing, and have for generations.

The morons pay their taxes to meddle in other countries and for a giant military to slaughter people who do not obey. Freedom at the point of a gun. Nothing quite says democracy like having the US president tell the Venezuelans how to run their country.

[Feb 15, 2019] Tulsi Gabbard Pres. Trump -- STOP treating our troops as political pawns - YouTube

Notable quotes:
"... Establishment NeoCons and Neolibs are going to erase Tulsi's candidacy by not mentioning her, not including her in polls, and not letting into debates. Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich received this treatment in 2008/2012 ... because of their Antiwar stance. ..."
Feb 14, 2019 | www.youtube.com

More on Tulsi Gabbard:

https://www.tulsi2020.com/about


Grey Skeptic , 18 hours ago

Tulsi, I sincerely hope you go all the way. You embody what this country desperately needs. Keep fighting them against the smears.

Lakshya Sharma , 18 hours ago

People need leaders like you who address the real needs.

man , 16 hours ago

Best thing about tulsi is that she stood for Bernie when Bernie didn't stood for himself

mattisava , 18 hours ago (edited)

#Tulsi2020 #TULSIrEVOLution #MakeAntiwarGreatAgain

Establishment NeoCons and Neolibs are going to erase Tulsi's candidacy by not mentioning her, not including her in polls, and not letting into debates. Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich received this treatment in 2008/2012 ... because of their Antiwar stance.

Gabriel Arcari , 17 hours ago

Yes Tulsi!! That goes for corporate democrats as well...

R R , 18 hours ago

Make America honest again!!

xXRAGING- DEATHXx , 18 hours ago

A True Leader, right there. #TULSI2020

Trident , 18 hours ago

"America First" shoots missiles at Syria...

Keith Gilbertson , 14 hours ago

You're being blacklisted like a third party candidate. Might as well form a new party, Tulsi. Aloha Party.

Barney Google , 16 hours ago

America's worst enemies are in Washington and the MSM. LET'S TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK! NO MORE REGIME CHANGE WARS TULSI2020 FEEL THE ALOHA!

Randy Hartono , 18 hours ago

Wooooow it's true... Treated like a tools

passane74 , 15 hours ago (edited)

Damn ! Short and powerful true. May God bless President Tulsi 2020 and America.

Benjamin Henderson , 13 hours ago

Michigan loves you Tulsi

Judicial78 , 11 hours ago

I get goosebumps every time I listen to this lady speak, even without the dramatic music. Happy Valentines day to the heart of America, Tulsi Gabbard!!

Judith Schwartzbacker , 15 hours ago

tulsi/bernie2020.

I really don't think Bernie is going to run. and tulsi should announce early on that her pick for vp is bernie. bernie for domestic solutions and tulsi for foreign ones. That's the winning ticket.

If the dnc rigs the election again then i think the people should conduct our own regime change here with tulsi as our commander-in-chief of the peoples' army. this nonsense has to stop.

[Feb 15, 2019] Morning Joe Attacks Tulsi For Opposing War - YouTube

Notable quotes:
"... I'm not American but after seeing how Tulsi Gabbard conducted herself in this (so called) interview I urge ALL thinking Americans to put all of their support behind her candidacy for the Presidency. ..."
Feb 07, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Bob McDonnel , 1 week ago

Lol the establishment is scared of her! Go Tulsi!

Gary Purkeljc , 1 week ago (edited)

Assad is an "adversary" to the US because Assad isn't controlled by Israel and Saudi Arabia.

GoogIe+ , 6 days ago (edited)

"What are Assad's interests?" - That's what I'd call, a knockout Tusi punch. Totally caught that reporter blind-sighted. Nice one Tulsi!

Horatio Jones , 6 days ago

I'm not American but after seeing how Tulsi Gabbard conducted herself in this (so called) interview I urge ALL thinking Americans to put all of their support behind her candidacy for the Presidency.

Shane Baldwin , 6 days ago

Tulsi Gabbard is the populist Progressive we've been looking for.

Ana Suri , 1 week ago

I am a Syrian and I appreciate everything Tulsi Gabbard is trying to do to stop regime change. The US media is criminal and responsible for the blood shed in Syria and many other places. Assad was never an enemy to the US or other western countries.

Jay Smathers , 6 days ago (edited)

Gabbard is young, but her metal shows in this clip as she just smiles at the msnbc stupidity. She doesn't even take these jokers seriously, and that is going to allow her to go over their heads and connect directly with the public. This is actually awesome.

jim seko , 4 days ago

If Russia was actually helping Tulsi Gabbard, Bernie Sanders, and Jill Stein etc, the Russians are the good guys.

Unlawful_Falafel , 1 week ago

you know what is sad? i trust RT more than MSM.

Dakota Walker , 6 days ago

These smears only drive me to vote for her.

C.M. Butler , 1 week ago

I am a Trump supporter on the right but truly appreciate Jimmy Dore. I am hopeful that the left & right can unite against these pro-war establishment propagandists. Let's stop foreign wars, neocon/neolib policies & MSM deceit ... then we can debate progressive vs conservative issues.

linwood ellsworth , 3 days ago

I'm a veteran and would agree 100% with Tulsi Gabbard. People are catching on. There are only 67 thumbs down. Great video.

John Theos , 6 days ago (edited)

Putin actually said that, other than the cold war, Russia and the U.S. have always been allies, and that's what he wants. I have two recent videos where Putin is calling for peace and good relations with America. Do I really need to find the links and post them here? I'm a busy man. Let's all help Jimmy, Ron and Steph by doing some homework. Americans should stop smearing good people and start applying some critical thinking skills. "Putin-puppets"?

What about " military industrial complex puppets" who robotically repeat false Russian collusion accusations in order to silence honest dissent? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

ArgentiumTea , 4 days ago

It's funny Jimmy Dore, Secular Talk, The Humanist Report and others all support her but not The Young Turks "the home of the progressives"

Paula Laflamme , 2 days ago

Hey Jimmy, hey Jimmy! Have you seen the vid of Putin talking to the western press? I think it was 2015 or so. He's calmly talking about NATO and weapons being put on Russia's borders and how bad it would be if this goes ahead and Russia has to respond. He's practically pleading with them to let the American people know this doesn't have to happen. I saw him saying much the same thing in a Charlie Rose interview before Rose moved into the Big Bucks on network TV. Yet as things were heating up about Russia Rose never mentioned this as he sat at that morning show desk.

Karl Letcher , 1 week ago (edited)

Katie, who has never served, asks Tulsi, who has, to explain herself to the military. These people are as clueless as they are shameless.

je suis Informaticien , 6 days ago

america create their ennemies, all the wars just for isra hell

Tony Skwara , 6 days ago

I hate MSNBC

Lirrulewon , 6 days ago

She is one hot veteran if i may add

Ken Texican , 4 days ago

MSNBC and especially the panel of Morning Joe are some of the most shameless tools in America. If DC is a sewer inhabited by big fat sewer rats; then Kasie (and her ilk), are the plague-infected fleas that take their blood-meals from those rats.

[Feb 15, 2019] Media Erasing Tulsi Gabbard From Presidential Campaign by The Jimmy Dore Show

Feb 15, 2019 | The Jimmy Dore Show

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ScottTheAngel , 1 day ago

This is a good reason to vote for her the only thing she represents is good and they want her gone it seems, she has the majority of America on her mind.

Unlawful_Falafel , 1 day ago

ok, it's official. i'm voting for tulsi gabbard, since clearly the corrupt establishment doesn't want me to and would rather i vote warren.

kastlerock01 , 1 day ago

They did the exact same thing to Ron Paul during his 2012 bid. There are so many videos showing how they cheated him it's almost comical.

Joe Gibbs , 1 day ago

It looks like your political system is very broken. Corrupted by money and greed.

Laura LeDoux , 1 day ago

I was a huge Bernie fan in the last election, but I would love it if he holds a huge press conference to announce his plans and instead gives a HUGE endorsement to Tulsi. That would be a great way to stick it to the media and give her more coverage.

Syncopator , 1 day ago (edited)

They need to make sure Tulsi won't make it to any debates, because they can't allow the discussion that would ensue about expensive, illegal and useless military adventures that we need to stop. And in a debate, they can't simply interrupt her like they can in an interview. That's not a discussion they can allow because people could think they might actually have a choice in the matter. For war mongers, they sure are chicken-shits who obviously don't even have any confidence in their own arguments in favor of it.

Tony Quinn , 21 hours ago

The media did they exact same thing to Ron Paul for the same reason. Bill O'Reilly hated Ron Paul.

Sykes , 1 day ago

Politics as usual. Voters always end up with two oligarch picks that have been groomed to mouth what they are told. MSM employees are not independent thinkers either. The two party system has been around for a long time, although in reality it is one party with a and b choices.

MsLuath , 1 day ago

She is smart, honest and courageous. Of course they will do all they can to dismiss her.

[Feb 15, 2019] Am> important factor in Venezuela situation is that the Gene Sharp's non-violent action regime change system has been busted somewhat. The new potential victims are not as naive and know which ropes will pulled

Notable quotes:
"... It's likely that the Brazilian and Colombian governments don't command the loyalty of their armed forces (especially the foot soldiers who would have shoulder the burden of invasion) to the extent that the Venezuelan government under Maduro does of its own. Especially if money allocated to the armed forces in Brazil and Colombia has gone to a few favored individuals in the officer hierarchies while the grunts have seen no increased pay or support, or have even seen their pay levels dwindle as their responsibilities grow. ..."
"... That's a possible scenario in Brazil given that since Dilma Rousseff's impeachment as President in 2016 it has been governed by corrupt neoliberal politicians. ..."
"... In Venezuela's situation, the crux is in how prepared are the Venezuelan officers to defend their own country on an officer's salary and on promises of future rewards by Maduro and his team. Therefore, nationalism and patriotism of the military may be that little straw which tips the balance in favour of keeping Venezuela free. At least we hope ..."
"... The last two places where Gene's revolutions have worked out were Macedonia and Armenia, but there is not much there to steal (rather profitless victories). ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jen, Feb 14, 2019 5:09:06 PM | 24Kiza @ 19:

Far more likely that Brazil and Colombia refuse to commit any troops or other support for a US-led coalition to invade Venezuela. These countries have long borders going through thinly populated tropical forest or mountain areas with Venezuela.

They don't want the prospect of fighting continuous border wars with militias that would sap their own military strength and which could go deep into their own territories. Imagine how unpopular that would make their current governments with their publics.

It's likely that the Brazilian and Colombian governments don't command the loyalty of their armed forces (especially the foot soldiers who would have shoulder the burden of invasion) to the extent that the Venezuelan government under Maduro does of its own. Especially if money allocated to the armed forces in Brazil and Colombia has gone to a few favored individuals in the officer hierarchies while the grunts have seen no increased pay or support, or have even seen their pay levels dwindle as their responsibilities grow.

That's a possible scenario in Brazil given that since Dilma Rousseff's impeachment as President in 2016 it has been governed by corrupt neoliberal politicians.

Kiza , Feb 14, 2019 6:37:07 PM | link

@ Jen 24

Thanks for providing further detail into the inner workings of the US appointed Columbian and Brazilian military. I do not think that those two militaries do not want to get involved in Venezuela, but they are not volunteering forward to be the thieve's fools on an officer's salary.

Any military which would leave its border is a mercenary, which means that the pay/benefits must be more proportional to the loot than even to the risk (i.e. they want a huge cut).

In Venezuela's situation, the crux is in how prepared are the Venezuelan officers to defend their own country on an officer's salary and on promises of future rewards by Maduro and his team. Therefore, nationalism and patriotism of the military may be that little straw which tips the balance in favour of keeping Venezuela free. At least we hope.

The second important factor is that the Gene Sharp's "non-violent action" regime change system (revolution in a box) has been busted somewhat. The new potential victims are not as naive and as unprepared as the initial victims of the "branded revolutions" were.

Therefore, the resistance to thievery is increasing. In case of Venezuela, the "revolutionaries", including the Random Guy, have been trained by the late Gene's best apostles, organisation Otpor, but it still has not worked out yet. The last two places where Gene's revolutions have worked out were Macedonia and Armenia, but there is not much there to steal (rather profitless victories).

I like to view Gene Sharp as the Lenin of the end of the 20th century. It is just so sad how much of human history is all about thieving on the back of highbrow principles and pretend-humanitarian ideologies . I pity people who argue about communism versus capitalism and any other ideologies. C'est tout la meme chose, someone is always taking someone else's women and cattle, only packaged in (MSM) verbal bullshit.

[Feb 15, 2019] Venezuela - Media Find Trump's Coup Plan Does Not Work

The leading figures were Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Pompeo and Senator Marco Rubio as well as hawks in in the National Security Council
Notable quotes:
"... Bolton and Pompeo are both experienced politicians and bureaucrats. They likely knew that their plan was deeply flawed and would require much more than Trump would normally commit to. My hunch is that the soon coming mission creep was build into their plan, but that they did not reveal that. ..."
"... The U.S. said it was paying for the aid but wanted Colombia to find trucks and drivers to move it in. The Colombians said no one would accept the mission because the Venezuelan military would arrest them. The aid remains in warehouses near the border. ..."
"... The little spontaneous support the Random Guyidó had in some parts of the population is already lessening. Yesterday's demonstration he had called for saw less attendance than the one on January 23. ..."
"... f the U.S. does not do more than it has done so far the government under President Maduro can sit this out. The sanctions and the lack of oil revenue will create many immediate problems. But in a few weeks Venezuelan oil will have found new buyers. Fresh money will come in and new sources for imports of medicine and staple food will have been found. ..."
"... Over the same time the Random Guy will lose support. The party he nominally leads only won 20% of the votes. The other opposition parties were never informed of his plan to declare himself president. Their support for the step was lukewarm and will cool further. They may in the end support the mediation talks Maduro has offered and which the UN, Uruguay and Mexico also support. The talks could lead to new parliament and/or presidential elections in a year or two and thereby solve the situation. ..."
"... Waging an open war against that country would be very messy, expensive and difficult to justify. To start and support a guerilla war - Elliott Abrams specialty - takes time also costs a lot of money. The chances to win it are low. Moreover Trump wants to get re-elected but could lose many votes over both scenarios. ..."
"... Venezuela follows the neoliberal doctrine, perhaps not by choice, but they buy what they can't produce. Now they can't buy much and they do not produce much but oil, and they are denied payment by their biggest customer of oil. Ouch. Their gold in London cant be used. Revenues from Citgo are denied. Cant even sell their overseas assets now. ..."
"... People need to eat, once they start going hungry they become more receptive to change. US wont use force unless Venezuela is so beaten down by lack of food and medicines they can be rolled over without much of a fight, perhaps after softening them up with mercenaries or other countries troops ..."
"... Its a process. There is no hurry for the US. Time is on their side. That's the reality. Chinise refineries cant handle too much of their heavy oil and its not about to intervene in any military conflict, and Russia does not need their oil plus Venezuela owes them a lot of money, and they own 49% of Citgo and its US refineries. They will cut a deal that minimizes their losses. ..."
"... I find an interesting parallel between Syria and Venezuela. The US allies who are supposed to sacrifice for the regime change and thieving of the neighbouring country. When US assembled a Thieving Coalition on behalf of Israel to rip apart Syria, Turkey and GCC (Saudis) were the prominent local members, just as Columbia and Brazil in ripping apart Venezuela (also with puppet master Israel on top). ..."
"... We usually think of Israel only as a tormenter of the Palestinians. But Israel is much, much more - it is the Capo Di Tutti i Capi of the global crime. Tormenting Palestinians is only a hobby, a sport, but destroying countries to steal their wealth is the day job. US is a dumb bully, the blunt tool that the Israel Crime Syndicate uses for stealing on a global scale. This is my new perspective after Israel's involvement in the coup in Venezuela. ..."
"... I've been following this story on Telesur and MintPress News for a few days. It confirms the theory that what the US could be doing is igniting -- inadvertently -- civil wars in the Lima Group countries. ..."
"... The Washington Mafia won't admit defeat that easily. Some false flag action somewhere at the border or the u.s. embassy will come. The howling of the Relotius media will be deafening. Maybe a Colombian or a Brazilian military is stupid enough to do what Tronald Dumb would rather avoid in consideration of his electorate. ..."
"... It's likely that the Brazilian and Colombian governments don't command the loyalty of their armed forces (especially the foot soldiers who would have shoulder the burden of invasion) to the extent that the Venezuelan government under Maduro does of its own. Especially if money allocated to the armed forces in Brazil and Colombia has gone to a few favored individuals in the officer hierarchies while the grunts have seen no increased pay or support, or have even seen their pay levels dwindle as their responsibilities grow. ..."
"... That's a possible scenario in Brazil given that since Dilma Rousseff's impeachment as President in 2016 it has been governed by corrupt neoliberal politicians. ..."
"... those are good parallels between syria and venezuala that you draw and to which i agree with.. my thought on trump is basically - it doesn't matter who is in the presidents seat in the usa, as the president seems to have little to say on that matter.. ..."
"... One other thing also to consider is that in addition to conventional armed forces, Venezuela also has popular defense committees and militias among urban and rural communities who would be fighting any invasion forces. ..."
"... If the US nag croaks financially, EU will not be much of a replacement, whilst the potential of parasitising on Russia and China approaches zero. Therefore, I conclude that "strategy of flogging the nag to death" is not really a strategy, it is an urge. That is, it comes from a mix of chutzpah, psychopathy and pig manure in the nature of the parasite. After all, who puts up a sofa on top of a hill of a stolen land to watch the final extinction of the previous owner. Obviously, this goes far beyond just stealing the women and the cattle. ..."
"... These guys are pretty smart. Many like to think otherwise, perhaps it makes them feel better. You can't judge their actions by Hollywood standards of winning and losing. Chaos and denial of resources to anyone opposed to the Empire is enough of a Win , at least temporarily. Its a long game they play, its been played for over a century now, even much longer. ..."
"... The elites, referred to by Plato as Philosopher Kings , want to rule the world as living Gods, or at least their descendants. It's only over the last 150-250 years or so that control of science, finance, military, capitalism and democracy (manipulated via the printing press) gave them the means to realize their goals. It was a long road for them, operating through secret societies and monopoly control of money and government debt, and dealing with factions who were bound by morality (hence the war on religion) . In the battle between Good and Evil tbe good guys have been annihilated or at least silenced, at least in the West and most likely much of the East. ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
b , Feb 14, 2019 2:23:41 PM | link
On January 25, two days after Random Guyidó declared himself President of Venezuela, the lack of planing in the U.S. coup attempt was already obvious :
My impression is that Trump was scammed. It was long evident that he gives little attention to details and does not think things through. Most likely Bolton, Pompeo and Rubio presented him with a three step plan:

Phase 1. Support the self declared president Guaidó; Phase 2: ... (wishful thinking) ...; Phase 3: Take half of their oil!
...
Bolton and Pompeo are both experienced politicians and bureaucrats. They likely knew that their plan was deeply flawed and would require much more than Trump would normally commit to. My hunch is that the soon coming mission creep was build into their plan, but that they did not reveal that.

The U.S. coup planners and their Venezuelan puppets had hoped that the Venezuelan military would jump to their side. That was wishful thinking and unlikely to happen. They also thought up some "humanitarian aid" scheme in which pictures of trucks crossing a long blocked bridge would soon shame the Venezuelan president into stepping down. That was likewise nonsense.

Unless the U.S. is willing and able to escalate, the coup attempt is destined to fail.

'Western' media now recognize that phase 2 of the coup plan is in deep trouble. Today the Guardian , Bloomberg and the New York Times all describe growing frustration with the lack of success.

The Guardian notes :

[T]hree weeks after Guaidó electrified the previously rudderless opposition movement by declaring himself interim leader, there are signs his campaign risks losing steam.

An anticipated mass defection of military chiefs – which opposition leaders admit is a prerequisite to Maduro's departure – has not materialized, and Maduro's inner-circle has begun claiming it has weathered the political storm.

Bloomberg writes :

Since Juan Guaido declared himself interim president three weeks ago and offered amnesty to officers who abandon Maduro, more than 30 countries led by the U.S. have hailed the move, waiting for the military to follow. There hasn't been a rush to his side.

...

In a country with more than 2,000 generals and admirals, only one top officer -- who commands no troops -- has pledged allegiance to Guaido.

...

This is a major reason why the revolution isn't moving as quickly as some had hoped when Guaido electrified the world on Jan. 23 with his declaration. This has led to impatience and finger-pointing. U.S. policy makers and those around Guaido -- as well as leaders in Brazil and Colombia -- are eyeing one another and worrying about failure. Officials in each camp have said privately they assumed the others had a more developed strategy.

The NY Times shows similar frustration :

[The opposition's] goal was to bring the supplies into Venezuela, forcing a confrontation with Mr. Maduro, who has refused the help. This would cast Mr. Maduro in a bad light, opposition leaders said, and display their ability to set up a government-like relief system in a nation where the crumbling economy has left many starving, sick and without access to medicine.

But there was no dramatic confrontation.

The "aid" delivery failed, according to Bloomberg , for lack of planning and coordination :

Worry about what comes next has intensified . At a meeting in the U.S. embassy in Bogota, Colombia, last week, military, intelligence and civilian leaders from both countries discussed ways of moving humanitarian aid into Venezuela. There was a sense of frustration in the air, according to a participant who agreed to discuss it on condition of anonymity.

The U.S. said it was paying for the aid but wanted Colombia to find trucks and drivers to move it in. The Colombians said no one would accept the mission because the Venezuelan military would arrest them. The aid remains in warehouses near the border.

At similar meetings in the Colombian border city of Cucuta, a person who attended said the dynamic was the same -- the U.S. expecting Colombia to find the means to deliver the aid and the Colombians saying they can't.

The opposition is only now thinking up its own crazy scheme for delivering the "aid":

In Cúcuta, members of the opposition say they are considering options to physically force the shipment into Venezuela.

Omar Lares, a former opposition mayor in exile in Cúcuta, said organizers want people to surround an aid truck on the Colombian side and accompany it to the bridge. A crowd of thousands would be gathered on the other side to push through a security cordon, move the containers blocking the bridge, and accompany the aid into Venezuela.

"One group over there, one over here, and we'll make one large human chain," he said.

And what does he think the battalion of Venezuelan soldiers between the two groups will do? Just step aside and allow an invasion of their country?

The struggle could make for some marketable TV pictures but it would not achieve anything. The lack of planning is daunting even to the lobbyists in Washington DC:

" The opposition has created immense expectations, and it's not at all clear they have a plan for actually fulfilling them ," said David Smilde, a Venezuela analyst at the Washington Office on Latin America.

The U.S. coup plotters and their Venezuelan proxies seem to recognize that there will be no imminent change :

Addressing a congressional hearing, the US special envoy on Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, claimed "Maduro and his band of thieves" were finished. He claimed international pressure meant "there is a storm brewing inside the Maduro regime that will eventually bring it to an end".

But while Abrams said Washington was "hopeful and confident" of Maduro's demise he admitted it was "impossible to predict" when it might come. The US would maintain pressure "over the next weeks and months", he added, suggesting a quick resolution is no longer expected.

Opposition leaders have spent recent days trying to dampen expectations that Maduro's exit is imminent.

Juan Andrés Mejía, an opposition leader and Guaidó ally, admitted that goal "could take some time".

The little spontaneous support the Random Guyidó had in some parts of the population is already lessening. Yesterday's demonstration he had called for saw less attendance than the one on January 23. He now says that he will force the 'aid' crossing on February 23 but he does not seem to have a real plan to achieve that:

President of the National Assembly Guaido also promised the country that US-delivered humanitarian aid will "enter the country no matter what" on February 23, issuing an "order" for the military to allow it to enter. However, military leaders have dismissed these calls, with the Central Defense Region tweeting in response that the armed forces would not take any orders from an "imperial lackey."

"One month after the swearing in we have done it. This February 23 the humanitarian aid will enter the country. The Armed Forces have 11 days to decide if they are on the side of the Venezuelans and the Constitution or on that of the usurper," he claimed in reference to President Maduro.

I f the U.S. does not do more than it has done so far the government under President Maduro can sit this out. The sanctions and the lack of oil revenue will create many immediate problems. But in a few weeks Venezuelan oil will have found new buyers. Fresh money will come in and new sources for imports of medicine and staple food will have been found.

Over the same time the Random Guy will lose support. The party he nominally leads only won 20% of the votes. The other opposition parties were never informed of his plan to declare himself president. Their support for the step was lukewarm and will cool further. They may in the end support the mediation talks Maduro has offered and which the UN, Uruguay and Mexico also support. The talks could lead to new parliament and/or presidential elections in a year or two and thereby solve the situation.

The U.S. would not be satisfied by a compromise solution. Trump is now committed to 'regime change' in Venezuela. But how can he do it?

Waging an open war against that country would be very messy, expensive and difficult to justify. To start and support a guerilla war - Elliott Abrams specialty - takes time also costs a lot of money. The chances to win it are low. Moreover Trump wants to get re-elected but could lose many votes over both scenarios.

What else then can he do?

Posted by b on February 14, 2019 at 01:58 PM | Permalink

Comments Venezuelaanalysis just posted short interviews with Random Guyido supporters. They all sound frustrated and disappointed:
https://twitter.com/venanalysis/status/1096124587316834304


chet380 , Feb 14, 2019 2:28:06 PM | link

Have Russia and/or China taken any steps to provide any medications that may be urgently required by Venezuelan hospitals or doctors? ...one or two planeloads would seem to get it done
Sally Snyder , Feb 14, 2019 2:37:23 PM | link
Here is an article that looks at an aspect of life in Venezuela that never gets mentioned in the Western media:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/02/venezuelas-socially-responsible-banking.html

Given the nation's massive economic potential, America's bankers must be excited about the prospect of even higher profitability based on increased business opportunities in the nation that has the world's largest oil reserves.

Kiza , Feb 14, 2019 2:50:59 PM | link
Simply put, whilst the regime change in Venezuela is faltering the Trump's retreat to Deep State is escalating. After a couple of months of no movement in Venezuela, he will be forced to commence his first open war.

Clintons, Bushes and Obama started theirs, how could Trump disappoint? Starting a war would complete the outcome which is a mirror image (opposite) to what Trump promised and was elected on.

Some would say that Trump's achievement is zero. Yet, the system which delivered two worst Presidential candidates ever in history is to blame. Trump was just the worst candidate for President. If the other, worstest candidate won, there already would have been no Venezuela and no US, the World would have been a pile of radioactive dust. It is still not impossible that the worst candidate could achieve the same as the worstest, but for the other one the outcome was a virtual certainty.

As to 2020 election, expect deja vu - Republican Trump the Worst and some Democratic the Worstest. Who are you gonna vote for? Who with brains will waste time voting?

CE , Feb 14, 2019 2:59:14 PM | link
Backlash is arriving already. The people of Haiti are toppling their corrupt US puppet president in naked anger over his betrayal of Venezuela when he voted with the Empire's dictate in a January OAS event declaring Maduro "illegimite". Must read :

Haiti's Unfolding Revolution Is Directly Linked to Venezuela's

Myrisa , Feb 14, 2019 3:00:24 PM | link

Yet, this is Granma a few hours ago:
'Between February 6 and 10 of 2019, several military transport aircraft have flown to the Rafael Miranda Airport in Puerto Rico, the San Isidro Air Base in the Dominican Republic, and other strategically located Caribbean Islands, most certainly without the knowledge of the governments of those nations. These flights took off from U.S. military facilities where Special Operation Troops and U.S. Marine Corps units operate. These units have been used for covert operations, even against leaders of other countries.'
US Militiary Adventure Against Venezuela Must be Stopped
dh , Feb 14, 2019 3:08:00 PM | link
@2 Interesting video. Those people are obviously starving, dressed in rags and desperate for toilet paper.
james , Feb 14, 2019 3:24:37 PM | link
thanks b... you said this in one of your previous post - they don't have a plan!

@5 kiza - lol! - the way i see it, trump is almost the most successful as he hasn't engaged in a direct war, and had to work thru other ones started by other presidents... i like entertaining the idea it is trump against the deep state... it is a fun thought, but i think it is extremely unrealistic.. trump will do what he is told even if it is in a round about way.. if the deep state want a war, he will cosign it.. as b also shared - all the sanctions on russia haven't let up and instead have just increased steadily since he entered office.. trump may talk a good line - no more wars, why can't we be friends with russia and etc - but he is missing in action on these same fronts.. now, maybe if he can hold off on following Netanyahu's war plan for Iran, or hold off on bombing Venezuela or whatever he is supposed to do here, he might have a chance for a 2nd term... the democrats have shown real skill in shooting themselves in the foot! anything is possible..

i too enjoyed the congresswomen who was up on anti-Semite charges taking a real strip out of Elliot Abrams yesterday.. kudos to her for going for it..

Peter AU 1 , Feb 14, 2019 3:30:30 PM | link
Nobody volunteering to be the martyrs as yet, so some will have to be volunteered. The Trump regime has put a lot of work into gaining Venezuelan oil, so I doubt they will be stopped by a little hiccup.
psychohistorian , Feb 14, 2019 3:35:40 PM | link
I didn't see this posting from Reuters about the next ploy in b's posting

"(Reuters) - President Donald Trump will give a speech on Venezuela in Miami on Monday and voice support for Venezuela's National Assembly President Juan Guaido, whom the United States considers the legitimate president of that country, a White House official said on Wednesday. Trump is to make remarks on Venezuela and "the dangers of socialism" at Florida International University in Miami, the official said."

We have had this discussion before but there is only top/bottom and not left/right. That said, the elite are now setting up to cast top/bottom as capitalism/socialism......neither of which exist in the same way that TOP/BOTTOM does.

Within the definition of TOP/BOTTOM one could suggest that

Capitalism is where (TOP) a historical elite perpetuate the God of Mammon global finance jackboot without oversight and TBTF on the BOTTOM that acts like powerless zombies, and

Socialism is where the God of Mammon global finance is a set of public utilities as a managed resource for the public commons and strict restrictions are made on ongoing ownership of private property

Pft , Feb 14, 2019 3:39:29 PM | link
Cant say its failed. Too soon.

Venezuela follows the neoliberal doctrine, perhaps not by choice, but they buy what they can't produce. Now they can't buy much and they do not produce much but oil, and they are denied payment by their biggest customer of oil. Ouch. Their gold in London cant be used. Revenues from Citgo are denied. Cant even sell their overseas assets now.

People need to eat, once they start going hungry they become more receptive to change. US wont use force unless Venezuela is so beaten down by lack of food and medicines they can be rolled over without much of a fight, perhaps after softening them up with mercenaries or other countries troops

Its a process. There is no hurry for the US. Time is on their side. That's the reality. Chinise refineries cant handle too much of their heavy oil and its not about to intervene in any military conflict, and Russia does not need their oil plus Venezuela owes them a lot of money, and they own 49% of Citgo and its US refineries. They will cut a deal that minimizes their losses.

karlof1 , Feb 14, 2019 3:47:59 PM | link
Max Blumenthal continues to try and reclaim his former position as a believable journalist. I provided his observational tweet on the previous Venezuelan thread, and do so again :

"At Tuesday's opposition march, among the most ferociously anti-Chavista elements in Venezuela, I struggled to find a single person willing to openly support a direct US military intervention. Not that Bolton, Rubio, or Abrams would care."

Of course, those sentiments do pose a problem for the Orange Gringo. Down the thread is a cute cartoon vid that will bring out the wry smile in most.

There's more at Venezuela Analysis's Twitter , Dan Cohen's exploits being just one of several.

Tom Welsh , Feb 14, 2019 4:10:29 PM | link

'"The opposition has created immense expectations, and it's not at all clear they have a plan for actually fulfilling them," said David Smilde, a Venezuela analyst at the Washington Office on Latin America'.

No. Actually, the US government and media have created immense expectations. Apparently Trump's plans as President and Commander-in-Chief are just as half-baked as his business projects were.

Blooming Barricade , Feb 14, 2019 4:12:34 PM | link
Alex Jones hails police state Reichstag fire like decision by neocon Trump, paymaster for lovely neocons like PNAC members Bolton, Abrams... https://www.infowars.com/watch/?video=5c65d736187ef30017a797ec
George Lane , Feb 14, 2019 4:17:37 PM | link
Recommend these two interviews from today:
  • FM Jorge Arreaza with Sharmini Peries: here .
  • And Roberto Lovato professor at UCLA on Democracy Now (they're redeeming themselves a bit IMO with their Venezuela coverage, considering their abysmal coverage of Syria and "Russiagate"): here .
Lochearn , Feb 14, 2019 4:19:12 PM | link
@ 6

Thanks for the link, CE. Very interesting. I had heard nothing about events in Haiti until this.

Kiza , Feb 14, 2019 4:36:46 PM | link
@james 9
Thanks for all your previous comments as well as this one. I do not subscribe to the concept that Trump is a Deep State puppet. Even the horrible Obama was not. All those sh**bags enter the vice of Presidency and after being squeezed a little by the Deep State wizards behind the curtain, they start dancing to the tune. The system selects them on the basis of low resistance, that is on the basis of being worthless, characterless individuals. Watch the pre-selection/Primaries debates to realise how it comes to the final match between the worst and the worstest.

But I find an interesting parallel between Syria and Venezuela. The US allies who are supposed to sacrifice for the regime change and thieving of the neighbouring country. When US assembled a Thieving Coalition on behalf of Israel to rip apart Syria, Turkey and GCC (Saudis) were the prominent local members, just as Columbia and Brazil in ripping apart Venezuela (also with puppet master Israel on top).

The Syria rip off failed because of what I called "the honesty between the thieves". It appears that the Venezuela rip off is faltering due to the same reason. Perhaps it is an in-built, systemic weakness of thieving coalitions that all the members want a piece of the dismembered victim, but are too careful to sacrifice more of their own blood and money than the next to achieve it.

Israel passes the buck down to US, US passes the buck down to Columbia and Brazil, Columbian and Brazilian regimes try to pass it down to some internal fool, but those are hard to find.

The thieving, murdering pyramid falters for the lack of self-sacrificial, extremist fools (rarer in South America than in Middle East).

We usually think of Israel only as a tormenter of the Palestinians. But Israel is much, much more - it is the Capo Di Tutti i Capi of the global crime. Tormenting Palestinians is only a hobby, a sport, but destroying countries to steal their wealth is the day job. US is a dumb bully, the blunt tool that the Israel Crime Syndicate uses for stealing on a global scale. This is my new perspective after Israel's involvement in the coup in Venezuela.

bevin , Feb 14, 2019 4:38:42 PM | link
Thanks @6 for that link.

I've been following this story on Telesur and MintPress News for a few days. It confirms the theory that what the US could be doing is igniting -- inadvertently -- civil wars in the Lima Group countries.

Talking of which: The Canadian government is looking very weak. There are calls for Trudeau's resignation after the unveiling of a corruption scandal involving Lavalin which was heavily involved in the Libyan war in which Canada played a leading and ignominious role -- Pilots, enforcing the 'no fly' zone, were said afterwards to have been disillusioned, having been used as Al Qaeda's Air Force.

Canada has been taking the lead as a US surrogate in propagandizing for regime change in Venezuela, if there is a government crisis it could lead to Freeland taking Trudeau's place. On the other hand it might lead to a saner person being appointed to Foreign Affairs.

Pnyx , Feb 14, 2019 4:40:49 PM | link
The Washington Mafia won't admit defeat that easily. Some false flag action somewhere at the border or the u.s. embassy will come. The howling of the Relotius media will be deafening. Maybe a Colombian or a Brazilian military is stupid enough to do what Tronald Dumb would rather avoid in consideration of his electorate.
bevin , Feb 14, 2019 4:48:38 PM | link
@21 The last thing that the Colombian military want is to get involved in a guerrilla war in Venezuela, it would very likely be their last.

And the same might be said of the Brazilian Army, like the Colombians its main function is to suppress domestic dissent.

On another angle: there is a Mark Curtis story about Venezuela's attempt to win a UNSC seat a few years back. And the UK Labour government's horrified reaction: https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/splash-venezuela-winning-un-security-council-seat-would-be-ghastly

The Hang Nail , Feb 14, 2019 4:49:11 PM | link
I'm not sure the plan was ever meant to be a success. Oh sure, Rubio would have loved it if the military stepped in and took over but he probably felt there was no real downside.

If in 6 months Maduro is still in power Guaido will be able to keep claiming Maduro is illegitimate.

He can run across the border to Colombia and in the next election claim it is fraudulent because he is not allowed to run. Meanwhile, sanctions will continue to do their magic and eventually the people will stop supporting Maduro, not because they want the opposition in charge, but because they want sanctions lifted.

At that point the military will be easily able to take over and launch elections that only allow US-backed candidates. No big deal for Trump. What does it cost him? We have plenty of oil for the time being. This kind of plan has few downsides (other than being extremely immoral).

Jen , Feb 14, 2019 5:09:06 PM | link
Kiza @ 19:

Far more likely that Brazil and Colombia refuse to commit any troops or other support for a US-led coalition to invade Venezuela. These countries have long borders going through thinly populated tropical forest or mountain areas with Venezuela.

They don't want the prospect of fighting continuous border wars with militias that would sap their own military strength and which could go deep into their own territories. Imagine how unpopular that would make their current governments with their publics.

It's likely that the Brazilian and Colombian governments don't command the loyalty of their armed forces (especially the foot soldiers who would have shoulder the burden of invasion) to the extent that the Venezuelan government under Maduro does of its own. Especially if money allocated to the armed forces in Brazil and Colombia has gone to a few favored individuals in the officer hierarchies while the grunts have seen no increased pay or support, or have even seen their pay levels dwindle as their responsibilities grow.

That's a possible scenario in Brazil given that since Dilma Rousseff's impeachment as President in 2016 it has been governed by corrupt neoliberal politicians.

karlof1 , Feb 14, 2019 5:20:55 PM | link
The Hang Nail @23--

The problem with your hypothesis is the Venezuelan People support the Bolivarian Revolution AND its constitution by over 80% as was shown in one of the first threads on this topic.

Thanks to the People's Media, TeleSur, the People are well informed of the economic war being waged against them, and they well know what abandoning the Revolution would mean--they just celebrated a holiday dedicated to a revolt against a previous Yankee-backed Dictator. Furthermore, the majority of the planet's people through their governments back Maduro.

Stonewalling the offered dialog by Maduro goes against the Opposition's interest, just as sitting out elections has every time. And if polls related to BigLie Media believability within the Outlaw US Empire can be used as a proxy indicator, then it isn't doing a good job manufacturing consent globally either.

South of the Border, majorities in every nation loathe the Gringo-Yankee Imperialist, so reactionary governments can only stay in power through force. Bevin notes Lima Group nations are already experiencing Blowback, and Haiti's already in revolt--again.

james , Feb 14, 2019 5:56:25 PM | link
@19 kiza..

thanks... those are good parallels between syria and venezuala that you draw and to which i agree with.. my thought on trump is basically - it doesn't matter who is in the presidents seat in the usa, as the president seems to have little to say on that matter..

they are compliant, or made to be compliant to agenda that seems to override every dream a normal american might have for some role of harmony on the world stage which always includes war, or some threat of war, with endless sanctions in prep for more of the same.. all to secure the us$ and yes - i think israel plays a pivotal role in all this as well.

i like @24 jen's overview on the response that is more likely from the new puppets surrounding venezuala..

@6 CE.. thanks also for that link!

jo6pac , Feb 14, 2019 6:02:37 PM | link
#6
Thanks for the link also.
spudski , Feb 14, 2019 6:05:39 PM | link
https://nationalpost.com/news/world/was-a-u-s-cargo-jet-smuggling-arms-to-rebels-in-venezuela-these-flight-patterns-sure-look-weird
Blooming Barricade , Feb 14, 2019 6:08:37 PM | link
@20 Yes, Christina Freeland formed the Lima Group with her Ukrianian fascism's ideological partners: Bolsonaro and his party alongside Columbia and to an extent Argentina. South America a haven for Nazis once more.
karlof1 , Feb 14, 2019 6:13:07 PM | link
OT--FYI--OT

Sorry but there are two items I deem important to share with barflies here instead of posting to the end of a dead open thread.

China's Policy Paper on EU from December 2018. In stark contrast with one nation and its vassals:

"China will stay committed to pursuing peaceful development, comprehensively deepening reform and breaking new grounds in opening-up on all fronts, and building a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind in order to create new opportunities for and make fresh contributions to world peace and development."

"Putin's Lasting State" or "Modern Russian Governance Explained," by Vladislav Surkov, Tr. Dimitry Orlov. Excerpt:

"And so the Russian state continues, now as a new type of state that has never existed here before. It took form mostly in the middle of the 2000s, and so far it has been little studied, but its uniqueness and its viability are now apparent.

The stress tests which it has passed and is now passing have shown that this specific, organically arrived at model of political functioning provides an effective means of survival and ascension of the Russian nation not just for the coming years, but for decades and, most likely, for the entire next century."

Both provide an amazing counterpoise to what we see the Outlaw US Empire doing. A very curious proposal from the last article:

"[T]the political system that has been made in Russia is fit to serve not just future domestic needs but obviously has significant export potential."

lgfocus , Feb 14, 2019 6:23:19 PM | link
Karlof1@25

The import of what you said is that the people of Venezuela are well informed. The people of the Evil Empire and its vassals are not. Thirteen weeks of revolt in France and a week in Haiti -- Evil Empire MSM -- crickets.

lgfocus , Feb 14, 2019 6:27:23 PM | link
One of my favorite quotes

"All states can be placed on a continuum which ranges from states whose authority is based on their power to states whose power is based on their authority." Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Christian Chuba , Feb 14, 2019 6:47:43 PM | link
The Rank and file vs the Generals in the military

My favorite talking point is how anyone who is interviewed in the U.S. insists that the 'rank and file' are with the new President and only a handful of the most corrupt, upper echelon Generals still support Maduro.

And I really love it when the Sock Puppets who do the interviews nod their heads as if this is some great new insight when they should respond, 'how the hell do you know, when were you in Venezuela?'

dh , Feb 14, 2019 6:55:02 PM | link
Richard Branson to the rescue. He is organizing "a wonderful line-up of international and regional artists" to get the humanitarian aid into Venezuela: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-14/branson-plans-live-aid-style-concert-on-venezuela-s-border
Jay , Feb 14, 2019 7:20:32 PM | link
And here's the former Spanish Prime Minister writing in the New York Times pretending that the coup he supports in Venezuela is "restoring democracy":

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/14/opinion/felipe-gonzalez-venezuelan.html

He tries to pull a fast one and pretend that Maduro wasn't elected.

Jen , Feb 14, 2019 7:29:21 PM | link
Kiza @ 33: Thanks for the compliment but I was really only guessing! Although it's not difficult to think that any increases in Brazil's military budget that Bolsonaro makes (and the country is on austerity spending and cutting back on social programs) are likely to go into buying foreign (ie US) armaments, enriching Bolsonaro's allies in the military and in Brazil's own armaments production, and not into better pay and conditions for soldiers.

One other thing also to consider is that in addition to conventional armed forces, Venezuela also has popular defense committees and militias among urban and rural communities who would be fighting any invasion forces. This is something we MoA barflies had not considered before as few of us live in countries where militia groups have been allowed to exist and even receive government support and money for arms and training. https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/13968

frances , Feb 14, 2019 7:30:17 PM | link
reply to Kiza 19

"We usually think of Israel only as a tormenter of the Palestinians. But Israel is much, much more - it is the Capo Di Tutti i Capi of the global crime. Tormenting Palestinians is only a hobby, a sport, but destroying countries to steal their wealth is the day job. US is a dumb bully, the blunt tool that the Israel Crime Syndicate uses for stealing on a global scale. This is my new perspective after Israel's involvement in the coup in Venezuela."

This is how I see Israel as well, one difference though; IMO the US is being used to bully yes, but it is also being destroyed and once dead Israel will move on to its next victim

karlof1 , Feb 14, 2019 7:39:18 PM | link
Jay @36--

That's the gist of the narrative, that "democracy's being restored" instead of usurped. Fortunately, that narrative is well past its sell date and its rot is all too plain for many to see. It only works on the blindly indoctrinated, which fortunately are no longer a majority within the Outlaw US Empire.

jrkrideau , Feb 14, 2019 7:45:13 PM | link
@ 35 dh

The thing is Venezuela does not need a concert, it needs the money the US has been stealing and, maybe the gold that the UK will not give back.

A few billion probably would help a lot. Venezuelan finances would still be shaky but heck even just a billion would help.

I wonder if Branson is doing this to deliberately blacken Madero's image?

dh , Feb 14, 2019 7:54:10 PM | link
@42 It would be interesting to know who got Branson involved. He probably sees Guaido as young and progressive. Maduro not so much. It shows which side of the fence Branson sits on.
Kiza , Feb 14, 2019 7:56:24 PM | link
@ Jen 37
Yes, you are absolutely right, the last line of defence of Venezuela is what is usually called the "territorial defence". I have never seen a territorial defence act effectively in a military situation, and I am guessing that this is because of poor leadership, poor armaments and amateurs against professionals. Having written all this, it is the remnants of the "defence popular" which would be the bedrock of the guerrilla resistance. Therefore, do not count on them stopping a professional military invasion, but do count on them increasing the cost of the Mission Accomplished to the "peace keepers", that is those who want to have peace just to enjoy their loot.

@ frances 38

Dear Frances, you raise this very interesting point about why a rider would flog his nag to death. I know that there are two opposite strategies in the biological world - parasites which maintain their host and parasites which kill their host. I simply do not understand the strategy of a parasite killing its host. This would be a sensible strategy only in a situation of plentiful replacement hosts, but both US and EU host are pretty warn out nags.

If the US nag croaks financially, EU will not be much of a replacement, whilst the potential of parasitising on Russia and China approaches zero. Therefore, I conclude that "strategy of flogging the nag to death" is not really a strategy, it is an urge. That is, it comes from a mix of chutzpah, psychopathy and pig manure in the nature of the parasite. After all, who puts up a sofa on top of a hill of a stolen land to watch the final extinction of the previous owner. Obviously, this goes far beyond just stealing the women and the cattle.

OSINT-suggests , Feb 14, 2019 7:59:25 PM | link
Exxon-Mobil drilling exploration analyses results scheduled announcements at South Eastern Mediterranean basin (location is situated a small birds flying distance south from Akrotiri British base in Cyprus which will be obviously harbor HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier/s designed from ground up for F-35 deployment) were accidentally cancelled a few days short before the Venezuela situation was grabbing the international headlines.

Day before yesterday unexpectedly the results were forwarded to the presses. It was being timed to synch with the Venezuela humanitarian 'crisis' show?

What's the hidden message here? No oil revenues for you Med folks to use for boosting social programmes political strategies?

frances , Feb 14, 2019 8:24:46 PM | link
reply to Kiza 44

" Therefore, I conclude that "strategy of flogging the nag to death" is not really a strategy, it is an urge. That is, it comes from a mix of chutzpah, psychopathy and pig manure in the nature of the parasite. After all, who puts up a sofa on top of a hill of a stolen land to watch the final extinction of the previous owner. Obviously, this goes far beyond just stealing the women and the cattle."

I agree, given the kill or be killed pathology of Israel's leadership combined with its death grip on the US govt, all I see is a US collapse.
Israel in its madness assumes that somehow out of all of this it will rule the ME so why would it have further need of its American dead horse?
To me, Israel has a Circe (Game of Thrones) mentality; lots of schemes, little to show for it other than the death of others, lots of others.

OSINT-suggests , Feb 14, 2019 8:29:47 PM | link
From R.B wiki-page:

"1981–1987: Package holiday industries and Virgin Atlantic Airways success

Branson's first successful entry into the airline industry was during a trip to Puerto Rico. His flight was cancelled, so he decided to charter his own plane the rest of the way and offer a ride to the rest of the stranded passengers for a small fee in order to cover the cost.[24]

In 1982, Virgin purchased the gay nightclub Heaven."

To me it suggests that the guy might have been involved in kompromat operations in some MI-sonething back at the day?

karlof1 , Feb 14, 2019 9:01:17 PM | link
Jon Schwartz :

"Abrams lied again" during his House testimony. Time to arrest and charge him again!

AntiSpin , Feb 14, 2019 9:50:24 PM | link
@ Jen | Feb 14, 2019 7:29:21 PM | 37

You're right – a war is all but inconceivable. Here are the numbers: The Venezuelan army numbers 500,000 members. In addition, there are the uniquely Venezuelan entities known as the national, regional and municipal-level militias numbering two million more citizens under arms.

Modern military theory posits that an invading force must number at least three times the numbers of the defensive force. The US military cannot muster even an equivalent number to those who would be waiting for them "behind every blade of grass."

Even a strictly air attack intended to wreak widespread destruction and leave nothing but chaos (a US specialty) would suffer significant casualties from the very sophisticated air defense systems in Venezuela.

Of course, no quantity of dead military would be of slightest concern to the oligarchs in the US and in Venezuela who would hope to make a killing from all the killing, but some substantial number of US politicians would worry about the effect on their constituencies, and the results in their vote counts next year.

A US military assault on Venezuela would be extremely stupid, and would wreak havoc on the political class in DC.

bevin , Feb 14, 2019 9:51:33 PM | link
The popular militias are not Venezuela's last line of defence, but the key to it. Venezuela is one of those are countries in which the government can distribute arms and munitions to the populace without fear that they will be used against it. And that is why so far the allure of invading Venezuela, on behalf of the US and rich people everywhere, is not sufficient to attract Colombia or Brazil.

As I have said before there is a real possibility that, by provoking the Venezuelan masses back into active defence of the Bolivarian system, the imperialists risk starting a war of poor against rich that would find eager partisans from Patagonia to Panama.

It would be instructive to consider the vast amounts of money and military that it took to bring FARC to the negotiating table. The reason why Colombia has been invited into NATO is that, for the past three decades NATO, in the form of US, UK and mercenaries, plus the narcotics industry's paramilitaries, plus Israel have been spending billions to suppress a guerrilla uprising in the jungle. And FARC fought entirely on its own, without regular assistance from any outside power.

What Venezuela must do, however, is to do as Cuba did and become self sufficient in foodstuffs. It has to break away from its dependency on commodity exports/imports. There is no reason why it cannot achieve this within months. But to do so it has to break from the bourgeoisie, who have broken decisively with it, and expropriate their 'property.'

Such an example would thrill millions across the continent and around the world, millions who would rally- as Britain's dockers did in 1919 when they refused to load ships supplying the anti-Bolshevik forces in Russia- to the support of the people of Venezuela fighting for the right to govern themselves.

michaelj72 , Feb 14, 2019 10:35:15 PM | link
I don't really believe the Regular Guy nor the opposition want 'elections'.... why should they? they have essentially lost nearly all of the 30 or more elections since 1998 and yet they keep howling about elections. They just can't accept it - that they only have 20-30% of the population with them.

They want power - and some/many of them are now willing to call on the USA to intervene and give them illegitimate power through a coup d'etat and/or military sabotage and subversion. they want a return of the totally pernicious and anti-democratic Oligarchy which rules for hundreds of years until Chavez kicked them out..... These guys are so arrogant that they are talking, among other nefarious things, about seizing/using funds in the bank accounts of the Venezuelan embassy in DC

really it's time for Maduro to do something a bit more sane and radical because these guys are out of control, or he'll lose - in other words, use the courts... but he keeps talking about "sooner or later" , well it looks to me like later is getting pretty late

Venezuela opposition takes steps to seize oil revenue as Maduro issues threat
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics/venezuela-opposition-takes-steps-to-seize-oil-revenue-as-maduro-issues-threat-idUSKCN1Q228J

psychohistorian , Feb 14, 2019 11:01:58 PM | link
Venezuela is a proxy battlefield for the Western way/NOT-Western way. I don't want to throw ism definitions at the sides when I believe it it all about the money....global private finance versus alternatives like China, Russia, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela....I am missing ???

Anyway, I think this "existential" conflict is being forced now before the alternatives get more influence on the "slave" Western nations.

I don't like to think about the repressive environment that will exist in the remaining Western block of nations after this global "divorce".

In the coming "public discussion" about capitalism/socialism will the true power of those that own global private finance be exposed? I hope so but keep seeing identity politics, wars, etc. being played against the chances.

Pft , Feb 14, 2019 11:21:13 PM | link
Antispin@49

"A US military assault on Venezuela would be extremely stupid, and would wreak havoc on the political class in DC."

It would be stupid. Which is precisely why it wont happen, except as fake humanitarian intervention after Venezuela is divided and weakened from sanctions and starvation. It could happen earlier with a FF attack killing a large number of Americans blamed on Venezuela, but the US has been very cautious about putting troops in harms way since Vietnam. We engage against enemies we know cant hurt us much.

These guys are pretty smart. Many like to think otherwise, perhaps it makes them feel better. You can't judge their actions by Hollywood standards of winning and losing. Chaos and denial of resources to anyone opposed to the Empire is enough of a Win , at least temporarily. Its a long game they play, its been played for over a century now, even much longer.

The elites, referred to by Plato as Philosopher Kings , want to rule the world as living Gods, or at least their descendants. It's only over the last 150-250 years or so that control of science, finance, military, capitalism and democracy (manipulated via the printing press) gave them the means to realize their goals. It was a long road for them, operating through secret societies and monopoly control of money and government debt, and dealing with factions who were bound by morality (hence the war on religion) . In the battle between Good and Evil tbe good guys have been annihilated or at least silenced, at least in the West and most likely much of the East.

[Feb 15, 2019] False flag now is a real possibility and would be natural next step in color revolution scenario according to Gene Sharp textbooks

Notable quotes:
"... I have to agree with the false flag suggestions. anyone who saw abrams get reamed by omar yesterday saw the true face of delusional and unaccountable psychopathy at work. the closest he's ever come to paying for his war crimes was a brief period before a pardon and as such he's more entitled and fearless than the average deep state scumbag. add the typical zionist persecution complex ("pre-traumatic stress disorder") and a healthy dose of spite and it's clear this won't end until it has to. ..."
"... As for the western media, they'll screech no matter what happens. I "hate watch" the BBC's american coverage and it is even more painful than you'd think. They're fixated at an autistic level on "OMG TEH AID WTF!!!!111!!" and parade out rando "opposition" types who claim they're tortured martyrs while wearing make-up in a new york TV studio. ..."
"... I have to agree with the false flag suggestions. anyone who saw abrams get reamed by omar yesterday saw the true face of delusional and unaccountable psychopathy at work. the closest he's ever come to paying for his war crimes was a brief period before a pardon and as such he's more entitled and fearless than the average deep state scumbag. add the typical zionist persecution complex ("pre-traumatic stress disorder") and a healthy dose of spite and it's clear this won't end until it has to. ..."
"... As for the western media, they'll screech no matter what happens. I "hate watch" the BBC's american coverage and it is even more painful than you'd think. They're fixated at an autistic level on "OMG TEH AID WTF!!!!111!!" and parade out rando "opposition" types who claim they're tortured martyrs while wearing make-up in a new york TV studio. ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

The pair | Feb 14, 2019 7:45:04 PM | link

[Feb 15, 2019] Market shelves in the scruffy Colombian town of Puerto Santander are loaded with Venezuelan maize flour, rice, cheese spread and more, heavily subsidized consumer goods smuggled by government officials and ordinary citizens alike and sold at big mark-ups.

Feb 15, 2019 | www.unz.com

APilgrim , says: February 14, 2019 at 10:32 am GMT

Communists are unable to repeal the laws of: thermodynamics and/or supply & demand.

'Pocketing 1,000% Markup, Venezuelans Smuggle Out Precious Food', Oscar Medina, Matthew Bristow, Bloomberg, February 12 2019, 6:00 AM February 12 2019, 5:40 PM, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/smugglers-pocket-1-000-markup-120000549.html https://www.bloombergquint.com/business/pocketing-1-000-markup-venezuelans-smuggle-out-precious-food

Market shelves in the scruffy Colombian town of Puerto Santander are loaded with Venezuelan maize flour, rice, cheese spread and more, heavily subsidized consumer goods smuggled by government officials and ordinary citizens alike and sold at big mark-ups. Gasoline is ferried from Venezuela too, as people cash in on the arbitrage opportunities created by extreme price distortions. The spectacle of food being spirited out of a country where hunger is becoming epidemic shows in microcosm how Maduro's socialist government has created an economic and humanitarian disaster. While this black-market trade has been going on for years now, it's jarring to witness it at a time when much of the world has thrown its support behind efforts by Maduro's rival, Juan Guaido, to bring emergency supplies into the country. "It makes you angry to see these products for sale," said Lisbeth Cisneros, 28, a pregnant mother of four who fled the Venezuelan town of San Cristobal three months ago and works as a street vendor on the Colombian side of the border. "The situation is horrible over there."

APilgrim , says: February 14, 2019 at 10:34 am GMT
Can the Venzalon Black Marketers EXPORT the foreign aid relief shipments fast enough to continue STARVING the Venezuelan People?

Now the food is FREE, not just subsidized.

RVBlake , says: February 14, 2019 at 10:44 am GMT
@israel shamir I read the link The setting for this incident is British soldiers and colonists under siege at Fort Pitt by Indians allied with Pontiac. There is no evidence for any sustained program of attempting to infect Indians with smallpox in U.S. history. This charge is of a piece with the general use of the term "genocide" regarding American relations with the Indians. And it is equally fallacious.
Digital Samizdat , says: February 14, 2019 at 11:01 am GMT

In this struggle, President Trump is his own bitter enemy. He seeks approval of the War Party, and his own base will be disappointed by his actions.

Sad but true. Trump is over. Any Qanons out there still trying desperately to convince themselves that he's secretly fighting the deep state are just delusional specimens at this point. Don't get me wrong: I'm still glad Hillary's still not president. I'm just saddened that there'll be no MAGA but then, I guess that was always unlikely.

A bigger problem is that Venezuela had become a monoculture economy: it exports oil and imports everything else. It does not even produce food to feed its 35 million inhabitants. Venezuela is a victim of neoliberal doctrine claiming that you can buy what you can't produce. Now they can't buy and they do not produce. Imagine a democratic Saudi Arabia hit by blockade.

This point is worth emphasizing, since it's not a problem unique to Venezuela. In fact, the Globalist institutions (IMF, WorldBank, USAid, etc.) have worked tirelessly for decades now to increase third-world countries' dependence on import-export agriculture, rather than encouraging them to become more self-sufficient. Instead of extending them credit to grow food for the domestic market, for example, the WorldBank will only extend them credit to grow crops–usually dry crops like cotton–for export, forcing them to import much of the food they need. Meanwhile, Washington throws crazy subsidies at agri-giants like Monsanto (rather than 'small family farms') to encourage them to export more of their GMO garbage to these countries. Just ask the Mexicans what happened to their domestic corn-growing industry after NAFTA came into effect. Now, all those Mexicans who lost their farms are up in the US working as laborers for the very agri-businesses that put them out of business in the first place!

But hey: sactionable countries, broke farmers heading pa' norte to look for work, and constant instability throughout the third world–those are all features of the NWO, not bugs.

By the way, am I the only one who thinks Juan Guaidó looks sort of like a gay Obama?

Moi , says: February 14, 2019 at 12:25 pm GMT
@Svigor Is the genocide of Native Americans also a myth???
Johnny Smoggins , says: February 14, 2019 at 2:15 pm GMT
Unlike Asians and Arabs, Latin Americans don't have it in them to fight a war. Sure they can bluster, but like Africans, it's all just chest puffing noise.

When the U.S. decides to go in, they'll meet little resistance. The tragedy will be what comes later as when the U.S. exported democracy to Iraq, Syria and Libya. Rich Venezuelans will make out like bandits, the poor will be reduced to selling their daughters.

What surprises me is the silence of both the left and Hispanics. Trump is about to do a regime change in a Latin American socialist country and they have nothing to say about it.

therevolutionwas , says: February 14, 2019 at 2:42 pm GMT
@mike k Socialism is bad. The US government is a big bully that is self destructing. Not a lot of good news out there.
Jake , says: February 14, 2019 at 2:45 pm GMT
Israel Shamir should have better sense than to spread the 'diseased blankets' given by Americans to the Indians nonsense. Even the link fails to come close to proving a single case. First, the only known written suggestion that anyone had considered it is from Colonial days – those are officers of the British Empire. Second, the one case of a possible such transmission, and it perhaps an accident, also is from the Colonial era.

The most genocidally inclined Americans with power and authority who might have done such a thing, Union Generals Sherman and Sheridan, did not take advantage of their positions to do such an evil.

Anonymous [166] Disclaimer , says: February 14, 2019 at 3:14 pm GMT
The real decimation of the Native American population was caused by diseases brought by the Spanish to which they had no immunity. This occurred before widespread settlement on the Eastern seaboard.

Yes, there was one recorded incident of an army officer giving infected blankets to the Indians but that was not a widespread program in itself.

But we digress.

nietzsche1510 , says: February 14, 2019 at 4:53 pm GMT
Venezuela invasion thing is double-faceted: a trap for Trump & a bluff. if the invasion is, then bye-bye 2020 election, mission accomplished. if no invasion on sight then the bluff of Pompeo-Bolton-Abrams is called & the 2020 reelection assured. Venezuela in the role of bait.
bluedog , says: February 14, 2019 at 6:00 pm GMT
@Anonymous And of course the trail of tears by the Cherokees and later by the Navaho added to it, as hundreds if thousand didn't died from the lack of blankets and the lack of food, only to be used as forced labor living in holes in the ground young women selling them selves for a loaf of bread while they built a fort.The truth was we tried to kill off by any means as many as we could for the dead has no claim to the land.!!!.!!c
bluedog , says: February 14, 2019 at 6:05 pm GMT
@Jake Hmm I believe it was Sherman to said "kill the children for nits breed lice" and surly don't leave out Custer who the Indians call the 'eastern sun" for he always attacked as the sun came up attacking friendly villages as well as those not so friendly !!

[Feb 15, 2019] Starving Venezuela into Submission by Israel Shamir

Notable quotes:
"... First, you starve people; then you bring them humanitarian aid. This was proposed by John McNaughton at Pentagon: bomb locks and dams, by shallow-flooding the rice, cause widespread starvation (more than a million dead?) "And then we shall deliver humanitarian aid to the starving Vietnamese". Or, rather, "we could offer to do [that] at the conference table." Planning a million dead by starvation, in writing: if such a note would be found on the ruins of the Third Reich, it would seal the story of genocide, it would be quoted daily. But the story of the genocide of the Vietnamese is rarely mentioned nowadays. ..."
"... They did it in Syria, too. At first, they brought weapons for every Muslim extremist, then they blockaded Damascus, and then they sent some humanitarian aid, but only to the areas under rebel control. ..."
"... The Israelis practice it in Gaza. They block all export or import from the Strip, interdict fishing in the Mediterranean and drip-feed the captive Palestinians by 'humanitarian aid'. Jews, being Jews, make it one better: they made the EU to pay for the humanitarian aid to Gaza AND to buy the aid stuff from Israel. This made Gaza an important source of profit for the Jewish state. ..."
"... Timeo danaos et dona ferentes ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... Agence France-Press ..."
"... Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net ..."
Feb 14, 2019 | www.unz.com

You are so kind-hearted! I shed a tear thinking of American generosity. "So many delightful goodies: sacks of rice, canned tuna and protein-rich biscuits, corn flour, lentils and pasta, arrived at the border of troubled Venezuela – enough for one light meal each for five thousand people", – reported the news in a sublime reference to five thousand fed by Christ's fishes and loaves. True, Christ did not take over the bank accounts and did not seize the gold of those he fed. But 21st century Venezuela is a good deal more-prosperous than 1st century Galilee. Nowadays, you have to organise a blockade if you want people to be grateful for your humanitarian aid.

This is not a problem. The US-UK duo did it in Iraq, as marvellous Arundhati Roy wrote in April 2003 (in The Guardian of old, before it turned into an imperial tool): After Iraq was brought to its knees, its people starved, half a million of its children killed, its infrastructure severely damaged the blockade and war were followed by you guessed it! Humanitarian relief. At first, they blocked food supplies worth billions of dollars, and then they delivered 450 tonnes of humanitarian aid and celebrated their generosity for a few days of live TV broadcasts. Iraq had had enough money to buy all the food it needed, but it was blocked, and its people received only some peanuts.

And this was rather humane by American standards. In the 18th century, the British colonists in North America used more drastic methods while dispensing aid to disobedient natives. The Red Indians were expelled from their native places, and then they were provided humanitarian aid: whiskey and blankets. The blankets had been previously used by smallpox patients . The native population of North America was decimated by the ensuing epidemics from this and similar measures. Probably you haven't heard of this chapter of your history: the USA has many Holocaust museums but not a single memorial to the genocide near home. It is much more fun to discuss faults of Germans and Turks than of your own forefathers.

First, you starve people; then you bring them humanitarian aid. This was proposed by John McNaughton at Pentagon: bomb locks and dams, by shallow-flooding the rice, cause widespread starvation (more than a million dead?) "And then we shall deliver humanitarian aid to the starving Vietnamese". Or, rather, "we could offer to do [that] at the conference table." Planning a million dead by starvation, in writing: if such a note would be found on the ruins of the Third Reich, it would seal the story of genocide, it would be quoted daily. But the story of the genocide of the Vietnamese is rarely mentioned nowadays.

They did it in Syria, too. At first, they brought weapons for every Muslim extremist, then they blockaded Damascus, and then they sent some humanitarian aid, but only to the areas under rebel control.

This cruel but efficient method of breaking nations' spirit has been developed by lion tamers for years, perhaps for centuries. You have to starve the beast until it will take food from your hands and lick your fingers. 'Starvation-taming', they call it.

The Israelis practice it in Gaza. They block all export or import from the Strip, interdict fishing in the Mediterranean and drip-feed the captive Palestinians by 'humanitarian aid'. Jews, being Jews, make it one better: they made the EU to pay for the humanitarian aid to Gaza AND to buy the aid stuff from Israel. This made Gaza an important source of profit for the Jewish state.

So in Venezuela they follow an old script. The US and its London poodle seized over 20 billion dollars from Venezuela and from Venezuelan national companies. They stole over a billion in gold ingots Venezuela had trustingly deposited in the cellars of the Bank of England.

Well, they said they will give this money to a Venezuelan Random Dude, rather. To the guy who already promised to give the wealth of Venezuela to the US companies. And after this daylight robbery, they bring a few containers of humanitarian aid to the border and wait for the rush of bereft Venezuelans for food.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted : "The Venezuelan people desperately need humanitarian aid. The U.S. & other countries are trying to help, but Venezuela's military under Maduro's orders is blocking aid with trucks and shipping tankers. The Maduro regime must LET THE AID REACH THE STARVING PEOPLE."

Venezuelans aren't starving, even though they are going through difficulties. The biggest noise is made by the wealthy, as always. If Pompeo wants to help Venezuelans, he might lift the sanctions, return the funds, lift the blockade. The biscuits he wants to provide are of but little use.

President Maduro is right when he refuses to let this hypocrisy bribe the stomachs and hearts of his people. It is not just that he remembers his Virgil and knows, Timeo danaos et dona ferentes , "beware gift-bearing Greeks." There are too many American and Colombian soldiers around the pending delivery place, and this place is suspiciously close to an airport with an extra-long runway suitable for a an airlift.

The US is known for its propensity to invade its neighbours: Panama was invaded in 1989 to keep the Panama Canal in American hands and to roll back the agreement signed by the good-hearted President Jimmy Carter. President George Bush Sr sent his airborne troops in after calling Panama president "a dictator and cocaine smuggler". This is exactly what President Trump says about Venezuela's president.

They are likely to use this aid to invade and suborn Venezuela. Wisely, Maduro began large military exercises to prepare the army in case of invasion. The situation of Venezuela is dire enough even without invasion. Their money has been appropriated, their main oil company is as good as confiscated; and there is a strong fifth column waiting for Yankees in Caracas.

ORDER IT NOW

This fifth column consists mainly of compradors , well-off young folk with a smattering of Western education and upbringing, who see their future within the framework of the American Empire. They are ready to betray the unwashed masses and invite the US troops in. They are supported by the super-rich, by representatives of foreign companies, by Western secret services. Such people exist everywhere; they tried to organise the Gucci Revolution in Lebanon, the Green Revolution in Iran, the Maidan in the Ukraine. In Russia they had their chance in the winter of 2011/2012 when their Mink-Coat Revolution was played at Moscow's Bolotnaya Heath.

In Moscow they lost when their opponents, the Russia-First crowd, bettered them by fielding a much-bigger demo at Poklonnaya Hill. The Western news agencies tried to cover the defeat by broadcasting pictures of the Putin-supporters demo and saying it was the pro-Western Heath. Other Western agencies published pictures of 1991 rallies saying they were taken in 2012 on the Heath. In Moscow, nobody was fooled: the mink-coat crowd knew they were licked.

In the Ukraine, they won, for President Yanukovich, a hesitant and pusillanimous man of two minds, failed to gather massive support. It is a big question whether Maduro will be able to mobilise Venezuela-First masses. If he is, he will win the confrontation with the US as well.

Maduro is rather reticent; he hasn't disciplined unruly oligarchs; he does not control the media; he tries to play a social-democrat game in a country that is not Sweden by long shot. His subsidies have allowed ordinary people to escape dire poverty, but now they are used by black marketeers to siphon off the wealth of the nation. Far from being a disaster zone, Venezuela is a true Bonanza, a real Klondike: you can fill a tanker with petrol for pennies, smuggle it to neighbouring Colombia and sell it for market price. Many supporters of the Random Guy have made small fortunes this way, and they hope to make a large killing if and when the Americans come.

A bigger problem is that Venezuela had become a monoculture economy: it exports oil and imports everything else. It does not even produce food to feed its 35 million inhabitants. Venezuela is a victim of neoliberal doctrine claiming that you can buy what you can't produce. Now they can't buy and they do not produce. Imagine a democratic Saudi Arabia hit by blockade.

In order to save the economy, Maduro should drain the swamp, end the black market and profiteering, encourage agriculture, tax the rich, develop some industry for local consumption. It can be done. Venezuela is not a socialist state like orderly Cuba, nor a social-democratic one like Sweden and England in 1970s, but even its very modest model of allowing the masses to rise out of misery, poverty and ignorance seems too much for the West.

It is often said there are two antagonists in the West, the Populists and the Globalists, and President Trump is the Populist leader. The Venezuela crisis proved these two forces are united if there is a chance to attack and rob an outsider country. Trump is condemned at home when he calls his troops back from Afghanistan or Syria, but he gains support when he threatens Venezuela or North Korea. He can be sure he will be cheered on by Macron and Merkel and even by The Washington Post and The New York Times .

He has the real WMD, the Weapons of Mass Deception, to attack Venezuela, and these WMD had been activated with the beginning of the creeping coup. When a rather unknown young politician, the leader of a small neoliberal rabidly pro-American fraction in the Parliament, Random Dude, claimed the title of president, he was immediately recognised by Trump, and the Western media reported that the people of Venezuela went out in mass demos to greet the new president and demand Maduro's removal.

They beamed videos of huge Caracas demos back to Venezuela. Not many viewers abroad noticed that the video was old, filmed in 2016 demos, but the Venezuelans saw that at once. They weren't fooled. They knew that there is no chance for a big protest demo on that day, the day of a particularly important baseball game in the professional league between Leones of Caracas and Cardenales de Lara from Barquisimeto.

But the WMD kept lying. Here is a report by Moon of Alabama : the reports of large anti-government rallies are fake news or prophecies hoping to become self-fulfilling ones:

Agence France-Press stated at 11:10 utc yesterday that "tens of thousands" would join a rally.

AFP news agency @AFP -- 11:10 utc -- 2 Feb 2019

Tens of thousands of protesters are set to pour onto the streets of Venezuela's capital #Caracas Saturday to back opposition leader Juan Guaido's calls for early elections as international pressure increased on President #Maduro to step down http://u.afp.com/Jouu

They lie that there are army deserters spoiling for a fight with the army. The young guys CNN presented weren't deserters, and they didn't live in Venezuela. Even their military insignia were of the kind discarded years ago, as our friend The Saker noticed .

However, these lies won't avail -- my correspondents in Caracas report that there are demos for and against government (for Maduro slightly bigger crowds), but the feelings aren't strong. The crisis is manufactured in Washington, and the Venezuelans aren't keen to get involved.

That's why we can expect an American attempt to use force, preceded by some provocation. Probably it won't be a full-blown war: the US never fought an enemy that wasn't exhausted prior to the encounter. If the Maduro administration survives the blow, the crisis will take a low profile, until sanctions do their work and further undermine the economy.

ORDER IT NOW

In this struggle, President Trump is his own bitter enemy. He seeks approval of the War Party, and his own base will be disappointed by his actions. His sanctions will send more refugees to the US, wall or no wall. He undermines the unique status of the US dollar by weaponising it. In 2020, he will reap what he sow.

Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net


Cyrano , says: February 13, 2019 at 2:57 am GMT

I am pretty sure that there won't be any military intervention by US in Venezuela. How do I know this? Well, if it was any other nation, – for example a nation of people whose brains have been turned into mush by decades long propaganda – then I would be worried.

Luckily, US have one of the best informed populations on earth – they have all those bastions of truth like CNN, CBS, NYT and so on. That's why I am fairly certain that the US wouldn't dare to attack Venezuela. Their peace-loving nation wouldn't let them.

The only way it can happen is if in the next few weeks a group of Venezuelan terrorists hijacked few planes and flew them into some tall buildings in the US. That's the only way that the public opinion in the peace loving nation can be swayed towards war.

Remember, every time the US has gone to war, they had to stage various versions of 9/11 – in order to convince the well informed and peace loving Americans that someone hates their freedoms, so they have to go over there to fight for those freedoms, rather than wait over here for someone to bring the fight to them.

Cyrano , says: February 13, 2019 at 2:57 am GMT
I am pretty sure that there won't be any military intervention by US in Venezuela. How do I know this? Well, if it was any other nation, – for example a nation of people whose brains have been turned into mush by decades long propaganda – then I would be worried.

Luckily, US have one of the best informed populations on earth – they have all those bastions of truth like CNN, CBS, NYT and so on. That's why I am fairly certain that the US wouldn't dare to attack Venezuela. Their peace-loving nation wouldn't let them.

The only way it can happen is if in the next few weeks a group of Venezuelan terrorists hijacked few planes and flew them into some tall buildings in the US. That's the only way that the public opinion in the peace loving nation can be swayed towards war.

Remember, every time the US has gone to war, they had to stage various versions of 9/11 – in order to convince the well informed and peace loving Americans that someone hates their freedoms, so they have to go over there to fight for those freedoms, rather than wait over here for someone to bring the fight to them.

israel shamir , says: February 13, 2019 at 8:58 am GMT
@Verymuchalive According to numbers from Venezuela's Ministry of Agriculture, after relatively stagnant food production throughout the 1990s, from 2003 to 2011 milk production increased by 230 percent, beef production by 19 percent, chicken by 60 percent, rice by 25 percent, corn by 116 percent, and beans by 320 percent.

As can be seen, the claims among Chavez's critics of a decrease in food production are simply false. And while it is true that there have been food shortages, the real reason is quite different from what the media reports. An impressive increase in food production in recent years has simply been outpaced by growing consumption that has increased even more rapidly, creating supply problems in many basic items and the need to import increasing amounts of food. Though often cited as a major failure of the Chavez government, it is actually the result of millions of poor Venezuelans eating better and consuming more than ever before. As one Venezuelan recently said to an opposition activist who insisted that empty supermarket shelves were proof of the government's failures and demanded to know, "Then where is the milk?": "The milk," he replied, "is in the bellies of Venezuela's poor."
https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/7513

As for the USSR, only now the Russians are coming to the levels of modest affluence circa 1985, after the disaster of anti-communist rule in 1990s.
Russian Communism is a secularised Russian Orthodox Christianity. Likewise, American system is secularised Judaism.

renfro , says: February 14, 2019 at 6:25 am GMT
BRAVO OMAR ..2 nd time in my life I have seen balls in congress.

Venezuela Envoy Elliott Abrams Lose His Cool During Tense Exchange With Rep. Ilhan Omar

Watch the video at link

"Mr. Abrams, in 1991 you pleaded guilty to two counts of withholding information from Congress regarding your involvement in the Iran-Contra affair, for which you were later pardoned by president George H.W. Bush," began Omar. "I fail to understand why members of this committee or the American people should find any testimony that you give today to be truthful."

"If I could respond to that " interjected Abrams.

"It was not a question," shot back Omar.

After a brief exchange in which Abrams protested "It was not right!" Omar cut Abrams off, saying "Thank you for your participation."

February 13, 2019

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51105.htm

Wally , says: February 14, 2019 at 8:09 pm GMT
@bluedog Please present you proof your 'forced labor living in holes in the ground, women selling themselves for bread'.
You cannot, or you would have.

We note your avoidance of the facts. Violent Stone Age 'Indians':
– kept slaves
– were in constant states of war with other tribes
– treated & traded women like cattle
– practiced genocide against other 'Indian' tribes
– used crude environmentally destructive slash & burn agricultural methods
– decimated the animal populations
– the first acts by them when they got horses from the Spaniards was to attack and decimate other tribes
– engaged in cannibalism
– roasted people alive
– routinely butchered children
– engaged in human sacrifice
– constant rapes
– took scalps from their enemies

https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~kw/crichton.html
"The noble savage is a fantasy, and it was never true. That anyone still believes it, 200 years after Rousseau, shows the tenacity of religious myths"

Willem , says: February 14, 2019 at 8:12 pm GMT
What the author refers to is called: 'winning hearts and minds' (wham)

John Pilger has an intersting article about wham, and how that worked in Vietnam

http://johnpilger.com/articles/mourn-on-the-fourth-of-july

Now featuring in Venezuela?

RVBlake , says: February 14, 2019 at 10:02 pm GMT
@bluedog I've read biographies of Custer and can only recall two villages attacked by him at the head of his regiment, the 7th U.S. Cavalry. In November 1868 he led an attack on the Cheyenne encampment on the Washita River, in Oklahoma. Reports differ on the casualties, but this was decidedly not a friendly village. The second is his celebrated and perhaps precipitous attack on the massive summer encampment of Lakota/Cheyenne/Arapaho on the Little Bighorn River.in June of 1876. They had refused President Grant's order to return to their reservations the previous January, and placed themselves subject to military action. He had been involved in other skirmishes with hostile Indians, in Kansas in 1867 and on the Yellowstone Expedition of 1873, but I'm unaware of any other attacks on villages.
APilgrim , says: February 14, 2019 at 10:41 pm GMT
@Wally Pock-faced smallpox survivors were immune.

Cowpox inoculations conferred immunity.

The English used biological warfare, as did the Romans.

Deal with it.

APilgrim , says: February 14, 2019 at 10:48 pm GMT
@bluedog The Cherokee committed treason in the War of 1812, by fighting for the British.

The Cherokee got their just desserts.

Whah!

APilgrim , says: February 14, 2019 at 10:58 pm GMT
@RVBlake Lt. Col. George Armstrong (Autie) Custer died by his own hand, when his mounted escape failed.

Not that I blame him for eating a bullet, in an active Indian massacre.

APilgrim , says: February 14, 2019 at 11:04 pm GMT
@Wally The 'civilized-tribes' of the Eastern Seaboard were the best of the lot.

The Pueblos were OK.

Most of the rest are as you described.

Verymuchalive , says: February 14, 2019 at 11:06 pm GMT
@Denis

I'm hardly a communist myself, but not everything can be blamed on communism. Venezuela is not a communist state by any stretch of the imagination, and Chavez and Maduro can hardly be compared to Lenin and Stalin, that's just a bit too much .

I didn't claim that Chavez and Maduro were Communists. Only that they had had a disastrous effect on Venezuelan agriculture as Lenin and Stalin had on Soviet agriculture – though of course Bolshevism was many degrees worse. I said elsewhere that Chavez used money from oil to import ever more food from abroad, rather than stimulate indigenous food production. I said that this was a very odd form of Socialism. In fact, it's not Socialism at all.
Back in the 1970s and 1980s – if, like me, you are old enough to remember – there were a number of pseudo-Communist 3rd World States, like North Yemen, Angola and Ethiopia. Beneath the very thin veneer, they were kleptocracies run to benefit those in power.
Venezuela is a similar pseudo-Socialist kleptocracy. Before he obtained power, Chavez presented himself as a Reformer, rather than a Socialist. Afterwards, he claimed he was " Bolivarian Socialist ".
Oil is a very capital intensive industry. If you fail to invest sufficiently, then production will tail off, particularly the heavy, sulphurous product Venezuela produces. Chavez took this money and used it to bribe the masses in welfare payments. Talk about being bribed by your own money ! As much money if not more was stolen by the kleptocracy for their own benefit – over $200bn or more if Forbes is to believed.
Oil production has gone down from 3.5bbp day before Chavez to 2.4bbp day on his death. It is now down to 1 bbp day. By the end of the year, it will be be 0.5bbp day or less, regardless of what America does.
I totally agree with you. The US should stay out of this conflict. Whether it wishes to embargo Venezuelan crude imports is up to the American government. Otherwise, keep out. Regardless, the Venezuelan Government would collapse within 18 months. Venezuela will need a great deal of aid, not only to reconstruct their country, but also to invest heavily in oil production. If the Us supplies this, let them have the oil. It will be the most expensive oil in the world

Gringo , says: February 15, 2019 at 1:57 am GMT
A bigger problem is that Venezuela had become a monoculture economy: it exports oil and imports everything else. It does not even produce food to feed its 35 million inhabitants. Venezuela is a victim of neoliberal doctrine claiming that you can buy what you can't produce.

Under two decades of Chavismo, Venezuela became much more a monoculture economy than it used to be. Oil exports as a percentage of Venezuelan exports increased from 71.7% in 1998, the year Chávez was elected, to 97.8% by 2013. Which implies that Chávez was following, to quote your words, a "neoliberal doctrine claiming that you can buy what you can't produce."

Yet you say this about the current Chavismo opponent.

When a rather unknown young politician, the leader of a small neoliberal rabidly pro-American fraction in the Parliament, Random Dude, claimed the title of president,

You inform us the leader of the opposition is "neoliberal," which implies that Maduro and Chavismo are NOT neoliberal, in fact are far from being neoliberal. Yet you also inform us that Chavismo, in its two decades in power followed "neoliberal doctrine claiming that you can buy what you can't produce."

You are not making sense.

Fuel exports (% of merchandise exports)
1998 71.7%
2013 97.8%

https://data.worldbank.org/country/venezuela-rb?view=chart

Gringo , says: February 15, 2019 at 2:02 am GMT
Venezuelans aren't starving, even though they are going through difficulties.

Venezuelans report big weight losses in 2017 as hunger hits (Feb 21,2018)

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelans reported losing on average 11 kilograms (24 lbs) in body weight last year and almost 90 percent now live in poverty, according to a new university study on the impact of a devastating economic crisis and food shortages.
Over 60 percent of Venezuelans surveyed said that during the previous three months they had woken up hungry because they did not have enough money to buy food. About a quarter of the population was eating two or less meals a day, the study showed.

Last year, the three universities found that Venezuelans said they had lost an average of 8 kilograms during 2016. This time, the study's dozen investigators surveyed 6,168 Venezuelans between the ages of 20 and 65 across the country of 30 million people.

Most people would term "difficulties" a euphemism for that.

Gringo , says: February 15, 2019 at 2:40 am GMT
@israel shamir As can be seen, the claims among Chavez's critics of a decrease in food production are simply false.

FAO Stats tell us otherwise. You could find no data beyond 2011? Probably because your information source, the Venezuelan Ministry of Agriculture didn't want to release embarrassing data.

Chávez was elected in 2016. FAO Stats inform us that from 1998 to 2016,
Venezuela's net per capita Crops (PIN) production has fallen 35.7%.
Venezuela's net per capita Cereals, Total production (here corn and rice) has fallen 46.9%.

Cereals production fell a further 17% in 2017. From 2014-2017, Cereals production in Venezuela fell 59%.

Cereals, total production, metric tons
2014 3,597,762
2015 2,294,532
2016 1,782,326
2017 1,475,140

"Claims among Chavez's critics of a decrease in food production are simply false ?" As they say in Venezuela, "Dime otro de vaqueros." Tell me another cowboy story. Tell me another fish tale.

FAO Stats: Production Indices
Net per capita Production Index Number (2004-2006 = 100)
Cereals,Total
Crops (PIN)

http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#country/236 Cereals production 2014-2017

[Feb 15, 2019] Israel lobby proves Ilhan Omar's point

Feb 12, 2019 | www.youtube.com

US Representative Ilhan Omar's (D-Minnesota) tweet is a critique of US-Israel collusion in the Middle East, Institute for Public Accuracy's Sam Husseini tells RT America's Manila Chan. #RTAmerica #InQuestionRT #QuestionMore

[Feb 15, 2019] Glenn Greenwald Defends Rep. Ilhan Omar Criticizing Israeli Lobby AIPAC Is Not Anti-Semitic - YouTube

Feb 11, 2019 | www.youtube.com

https://democracynow.org - Democratic Congressmember Ilhan Omar of Minnesota is facing criticism today after commenting on a tweet by Glenn Greenwald. On Sunday, Greenwald tweeted, "GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy threatens punishment for @IlhanMN and @RashidaTlaib over their criticisms of Israel.

It's stunning how much time US political leaders spend defending a foreign nation even if it means attacking free speech rights of Americans." Rep. Omar retweeted his post and added the line: "It's all about the Benjamins baby."

She later named AIPAC as the organization paying American politicians to be pro-Israel.

[Feb 14, 2019] Pension vs. 401(k) Comparing Retirement Plans

Feb 14, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

2 hours ago The biggest difference is that employers on average contribute 1/3 to your 401K that they contributed on your behalf for your pension.

[Feb 14, 2019] "What else then can Trump can do in Venezuela

Feb 14, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Derrick , Feb 14, 2019 2:11:32 PM | link

"What else then can he do?"

Purchase large caliber hand gun
Load gun with large caliber dum dum bullets
Take aim at foot (either will do)
Pull trigger.

Oh! Wait! I think he's already done that.

Taffyboy , Feb 14, 2019 3:28:00 PM | link

..."Trump is now committed to 'regime change' in Venezuela. But how can he do it?"...

Well maybe he can show how great he is and drive the aid truck himself personally and then go to Maduro and ask him to leave. That would be a show of force indeed.

Cheers.

[Feb 13, 2019] Condensate can't replace heavy oil

IEA is one-half EU marketing agency with the explisit goal to keep oil price low, and one half a research organization. In different reports one role can be prevalent.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that margins for U.S. Gulf Coast refiners have declined to the lowest levels since late 2014, based on recent price trends in certain grades of crude oil and petroleum products. https://www.eia.gov/petroleum/weekly/
Comment on Yahoo are absolutly idiotic. I have dount only a couple more or less reasonable comment in the first 48. This level of incompetence and brainwashing is simply amazing.
Feb 13, 2019 | news.yahoo.com

The "call" on OPEC crude is now forecast at 30.7 million bpd in 2019, down from the IEA's last estimate of 31.6 million bpd in January.

U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela have choked off supply of the heavier, more sour crude that tends to yield larger volumes of higher-value distillates, as opposed to gasoline. The move has created disruption for some refiners, but has not led to a dramatic increase in the oil price in 2019.

"In terms of crude oil quantity, markets may be able to adjust after initial logistical dislocations (from Venezuela sanctions)", the Paris-based IEA said.

"Stocks in most markets are currently ample and ... there is more spare production capacity available."

Venezuela's production has almost halved in two years to 1.17 million bpd, as an economic crisis decimated its energy industry and U.S. sanctions have now crippled its exports.

Brent crude futures have risen 20 percent in 2019 to around $63 a barrel, but most of that increase took place in early January. The price has largely plateaued since then, in spite of the subsequent imposition of U.S. sanctions.

"Oil prices have not increased alarmingly because the market is still working off the surpluses built up in the second half of 2018," the IEA said.

"In quantity terms, in 2019, the U.S. alone will grow its crude oil production by more than Venezuela's current output. In quality terms, it is more complicated. Quality matters."

dlider909, 7 hours ago Story will change in 30 days.

Robert, 7 hours ago ... ... ...

What this report fails to do is to pay the appropriate homage to American oilfield roughnecks...

ralf

7 hours ago Nonsense. I see military action against Venezuela soon, just because of our thirst for oil.
Talk about shale is like talk about Moon conquests, not supported by hard facts.

[Feb 13, 2019] A Study in Professional Power Why Do the Big 4 Accountants Survive by Richard Murphy

Notable quotes:
"... By Richard Murphy, a chartered accountant and a political economist. He has been described by the Guardian newspaper as an "anti-poverty campaigner and tax expert". He is Professor of Practice in International Political Economy at City University, London and Director of Tax Research UK. He is a non-executive director of Cambridge Econometrics . He is a member of the Progressive Economy Forum. Originally published at Tax Research UK ..."
"... Like much of political economy, this is a story of power. In the first instance this was professional power. The big firms did, as professional institutes developed, have the means to dominate them. They were in the capital cities where those institutes were usually based. They had the means to release partner time to manage those institutes' affairs. They had the motive to do so. That was ring-fencing their profit. The big firms, then, used their power to set the rules for their professions. ..."
"... Have been reading The Billion-Dollar Whale about the 1MDB mega-heist, facilitated by auditors and bank compliance officers at every step as the Malaysian people were fleeced of billions to pay for sickening rounds of parties, yachts, champagne baths, jewelry, gambling, and garish mansions. "Odious debt" if ever there were. ..."
"... Good topic to cover. The accounting firms are right up there with the ratings agencies as 'high priests' of capital whose blessing is required if your are to be welcome into the halls of power. ..."
Feb 12, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

A Study in Professional Power: Why Do the Big 4 Accountants Survive? Posted on February 13, 2019 by Yves Smith Yves here. While many people go into "my eyes glaze over" mode when the topic of accountants comes up, you ignore them at your peril. In the US, boards and executives escape liability if they can say they were acting on the advice of professionals. Lawyers are the main liability shields for corporate bigwigs, but pliant accountants are also very helpful.

And why don't shareholders who've been hurt due to professionals signing off on crooked corporate conduct sue? They can't. As we wrote in ECONNED:

Legislators also need to restore secondary liability. Attentive readers may recall that a Supreme Court decision in 1994 disallowed suits against advisors like accountants and lawyers for aiding and abetting frauds. In other words, a plaintiff could only file a claim against the party that had fleeced him; he could not seek recourse against those who had made the fraud possible, say, accounting firms that prepared misleading financial statements. That 1994 decision flew in the face of sixty years of court decisions, practices in criminal law (the guy who drives the car for a bank robber is an accessory), and common sense. Reinstituting secondary liability would make it more difficult to engage in shoddy practices.

In other words, the only party that can sue an accounting firm for engaging in fraudulent conduct is his immediate client .who almost certainly is in on the con. Lovely.

By Richard Murphy, a chartered accountant and a political economist. He has been described by the Guardian newspaper as an "anti-poverty campaigner and tax expert". He is Professor of Practice in International Political Economy at City University, London and Director of Tax Research UK. He is a non-executive director of Cambridge Econometrics . He is a member of the Progressive Economy Forum. Originally published at Tax Research UK

I was asked very recently why it was that the big 4 firms of accountants survive. This is an issue I have been considering with Len Seabrooke and Saila Stausholm at Copenhagen Business School. The academic paper on the subject is in progress. Let me offer a plain English perspective for now.

Like much of political economy, this is a story of power. In the first instance this was professional power. The big firms did, as professional institutes developed, have the means to dominate them. They were in the capital cities where those institutes were usually based. They had the means to release partner time to manage those institutes' affairs. They had the motive to do so. That was ring-fencing their profit. The big firms, then, used their power to set the rules for their professions.

Leading the way at a technical level as well, in a profession lead from these firms and not by either government or academia, these firms also innovated in ways that ring fenced their market. I suspect that this may have provided the strongest incentive for the creation of consolidated accounts – which were not a universal requirement for group companies until the 1940s. When consolidated accounts required that multinational groups be treated as single entities their auditors, who I strongly suspect sold its benefit to governments who then made it a legal requirement, could in turn demand that they were the sole group auditor. The global spread of a select few firms was guaranteed. The rise of the global firm was the consequence.

These firms succeeded. The firms then sold consultancy advising other companies to copy the success of their global company clients by also becoming global using a structure that guaranteed market growth in auditing for the big accountants. The market for the big audit firms was reinforced.

As this was happening in the 50s and 60s another phenomena was growing, which was the tax haven. Slowly at first, but steadily as the British empire (in particular) receded, the opportunity to hide nefarious activity, as well as profits and so tax bills in such places, grew. Did the big firms go there before their clients? Or did they have to go because some clients had already gone? It's a question to be answered. But if the firms were to maintain their demand that they must be sole auditor, worldwide, at least in name, then if the global entities they were helping spawn moved to tax havens then they too had to go there.

And they did not miss the opportunity. Already used to lobbying and forming opinion on legislation in the countries from which they originated, and well aware of the coercive power this gave them over their clients, the governments of new tax havens must have seemed easy pickings to the big accountants of the day. And so they were. Whole rafts of legislation were influenced by such firms as they peddled in tax havens the secrecy that opposed the transparency they sold elsewhere. The opportunities must have seemed unlimited.

But the timeline has now reached the 70s, and life was not so good for accountants. Airlines failed back then, with people noticing that their accounts gave no hint that they owned or used planes. In contrast, aeroplane engine makers were claiming that they had value when the products they were developing at enormous cost for the time were unlikely to push anything into the sky. Accounts were not providing a true and fair view.

In the face of significant threats to the profession from an outraged public (well, at least those parts losing money as a result of these failings) the big firms reclaimed the initiative. Accounting standards – supposedly written in the public interest and for the benefit of all stakeholders – were created and governments that were too trusting by half gave them the force of law. The power of the big accountants was reinforced, rather than diminished, by the accounting debacles of that era. Now they could write the rules; say they had the power of law; force them onto their clients and the rest of the profession; and in the process pull themselves ahead of the competing pack. They could do that by advising on the very rules they had created; by claiming to be the only people who could audit them; and by making sure that because some only applied to larger enterprises the knowledge of their use did not trickle down into the profession as a whole.

And they exploited this to the full. The era of capital market liberalisation and globalisation simply provided greater opportunity to do this, whilst the new and more relaxed ethics of this period promoted the use of tax havens in ways previously unforeseen, and the firms jumped with both feet into this market as well, producing tax avoidance schemes by the bucket load.

And things only got better. Although the accountants failed miserably to deliver what they promised when accounting standards were first developed, because they entirely ignored the needs of almost all users of accounts, their capture of the process was so complete that when the European Union was looking for a set of single accounting standards they adopted the Big 4 created International Financial Reporting Standards as quasi law, which has now led to their adoption in more than a hundred countries worldwide, with a parallel process taking place in the USA, Japan and other influential markets. The ability of these firms to control the world's view of capitalism appeared complete, and they reaped the rewards.

And then some cracks appeared. There was a global financial crisis, which accounts had not anticipated. And there was a global loss of tax revenue, which accountants appear to have facilitated through tax havens. And rather annoying people pointed out both failings. You would have thought that the fundamental failure of their product, in the form of accounting standards, and the fundamental failure of their ethics, evidenced by their use of tax havens and sale of tax avoidance products, would have done for these firms. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth, hence the question I was asked. How are they surviving?

Let me reiterate how we got here, because the clue is in the process.

The result is that the big four are now integral to company law, auditing law, accounting law, the law of many tax havens, the structure of the accounting profession and the structure of many of its clients. Their desire to protect their ability to make supernormal profit has created a situation where the entire process of law surrounding companies has been captured for their benefit, and the behaviour of whole markets has been distorted in their favour as a result.

But what they did to achieve this result was display an ability to innovate. Whenever under criticism, they delivered an alternative. When their ethics were questioned, they produced a supposed new standard. When the market demand that they change, for example post Enron, that's what they appeared to do, enough to keep people at bay. And all the time, chameleon like, they emerged from each threat with their power reinforced because they are so integral to the process of corporate regulation that government has effectively abandoned to them.

That is how they have survived. But that also suggests how the process is changed. Government has to reclaim this process.

And it has to determine who will write the alternatives. None of that will be easy. But with adequate investment it is entirely possible. These firms have captured significant parts of the processes of capitalism for their own ends. If we are to still have mixed economies, and I think we should, then this process of capture has to be disrupted, in the public interest. It is only by doing so that the power of the Big 4 will be challenged. Nothing else will change it.

That's the issue we face. And since there is no challenge right now the Big 4 will go on. And on. Which is right now just as they want it.

timotheus , February 13, 2019 at 5:30 am

Have been reading The Billion-Dollar Whale about the 1MDB mega-heist, facilitated by auditors and bank compliance officers at every step as the Malaysian people were fleeced of billions to pay for sickening rounds of parties, yachts, champagne baths, jewelry, gambling, and garish mansions. "Odious debt" if ever there were.

Colonel Smithers , February 13, 2019 at 5:53 am

Thank you, Yves.

"In the process they captured the tax havens and their legislatures, and used them for their own purposes." That is certainly the case in Mauritius where the former deputy PM and finance minister, Xavier-Luc Duval, worked for KPMG in London and Port-Louis. In the UK, Patricia Hewitt left the cabinet and Commons to head public policy and affairs for one of the Big Four.

It's not just the legislatures, the former CFO to the royal family, Sir Michael Peat,was senior partner at KPMG. So was his great grandfather, a scion of the Barclay banking family and founder of Peat Marwick. Former KPMG employees hold and have held senior regulatory positions in the UK. KPMG seems to be the go to firm.

Thuto , February 13, 2019 at 8:32 am

Thank You Colonel Smithers.

Meanwhile, down in SA:

1. VBS Mutual Bank looted into curatorship.

2. Cape Town HQD and dual listed in Frankfurt and Joburg, retailer Steinhoff International has shed over 90% of its market value due to an "accounting scandal" (with ordinary pensioners losing billions in the process).

3. The Guptas, through their companies and aided by their man Jacob Zuma as state president, brazenly looted state coffers on a massive scale.

As the enablers-in-chief, KPMG is woven into the common thread running across all these scandals. Not to worry though, they've thrown a few executives under the bus and are currently on a charm offensive reminding the public just how ethical a bunch they all are in spite of providing cover for these nefarious activities and will surely emerge from this with their "power reinforced".

PS: Steinhoff has set up an "ethics hotline" run by who? KPMG, wonders truly never cease

Colonel Smithers , February 13, 2019 at 9:12 am

Thank you, Thuto.

I know Steinhoff well from my time at HSBC in Johannesburg and London, 2003 – 6. It had yet to become the plaything of Wiese.

KPMG is similar woven into UK scandals.

You are right to use the term "enabler in chief". It's the entire professional services industry. Law firms, too. The UK Big Four are now setting up legal, advertising and corporate finance practices.

I was at the Blue Eagle, soon to be ABSA red in the rest of Africa, from 2014 – 6. A friend was fired from the nest after querying why one of the Big Four was hired to manage its client on boarding remediation at a higher cost and on a longer timescale than her team could do. The management wanted the Big Four as a firewall. Ironically, she joined one of the Big Four a few months later. Her settlement, which included a gagging order, precluded her from working for six months.

Thuto , February 13, 2019 at 11:11 am

"It's the entire professional services industry". Amen to that

vlade , February 13, 2019 at 6:11 am

This is a topic that gets raised now and them (more often recently) in the UK – that auditors/accountants should bear responsibility for fraud etc., and should not be just mindless box tickers.

The Rev Kev , February 13, 2019 at 6:45 am

A question for those of us not in the know. With Neoliberalism you can say that it has an intellectual back-office with places like the Chicago school of economics. Is there an intellectual back-office of sorts for accountancy that enable these Big Four to justify their accountancy rules as well? Or do they get to make it up as they go along?

Independent Accountant , February 13, 2019 at 9:02 am

Having the government do audits will make things worse. In the US, the PCAOB is the Big Four's cartel enforcer. The PCAOB should be dissolved and the law changed to facilitate suits against CPAs. Let the plaintiff's bar discipline the CPA profession.
Uncle Sam had the FED create stress tests. Why? To convince the public the FED had things under control and the banking system is sound. Why would government audits be better than the stress tests?
Uncle Sam could break up the Big Four into the not so sweet 16. Will it? Or does the Big Four do exactly what Uncle Sam wants? Are the "problems" we see, feature or bug?

whine country , February 13, 2019 at 9:24 am

Yes, the plaintiffs bar worked very well in my early days as a CPA. Particularly because CPAs, like other professionals, had PERSONAL liability and could not hide behind the corporate wall. This is one of those things that worked very well in real life but someone (if it wasn't economists it was persons of the same ilk) proved it was theoretically impossible. Hence, all professionals are now corporations where before they weren't even allowed to be called a business. From the perspective of a professional accountant with years of watching how the system works we are, ironically, failing because of accountability. We have a smoothly functioning form of capitalism that manifests in "Heads I win, tails you lose". That fundamental principal has been ignored from the late '70s to today at our extreme peril culminating in the GFC where it was taken to the extreme of "Heads I win, tails I win more and you lose more.

johnnygl , February 13, 2019 at 9:13 am

Good topic to cover. The accounting firms are right up there with the ratings agencies as 'high priests' of capital whose blessing is required if your are to be welcome into the halls of power.

whine country , February 13, 2019 at 9:35 am

Yet they're no better than Moody's or Fitch's ratings – bought and paid for. We know that they are, we're just haggling about the price.

whine country , February 13, 2019 at 9:33 am

For anyone interested, NN Taleb writes eloquently about two subjects which are germane: experts and skin in the game, for the same reasons as the author of this piece. The Big Four are so-called experts and they have no skin in the game. This as Taleb, makes us all fools who have been hoodwinked because failure to understand that abuses of these two issues is what has ruined capitalism in our lifetimes. Like the frog put in a pot of water which is slowly heated, I watched this happen over my career. It is our formerly functioning capitalist system that is the frog in the water.

lyman alpha blob , February 13, 2019 at 1:18 pm

Thanks for this. There have always been some accounting practices that were supposedly "Generally Accepted" that made me scratch my head as they didn't seem to lead to any greater transparency, and in fact often quite the opposite.

[Feb 13, 2019] After Collusion Case Collapses, House Dems Set To Launch Vast Russia Probe 2.0

Feb 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Barely a day has passed since Richard Burr signaled that the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia had turned up nothing substantive - and certainly not a "contract signed in blood" declaring "hey Vlad, we're going to collude".

And already, more details are leaking out about the Democrats' plans to launch a wide ranging investigation that not only will re-litigate the collusion narrative, but will also reportedly focus on allegations of money laundering and other financial improprieties.

Mueller is just the beginning. House Democrats plan a vast probe of President Trump and Russia -- with a heavy focus on money laundering -- that will include multiple committees and dramatic public hearings, and could last into 2020.

Here's more from Axios:

The state of play: The aggressive plans were outlined yesterday by a Democratic member of Congress at a roundtable for Washington reporters. The member said Congress plans interviews with new witnesses, and may go back to earlier witnesses who "stonewalled" under the Republican majority.

Why it matters: The reporters, many of them steeped in the special counsel's investigation, came away realizing that House Dems don't plan to depend on Robert Mueller for the last word on interference in the 2016 election.

Instead, Dems will use their new subpoena power to produce a voluminous exposé of their own.

The investigation will involve multiple committees, and by all accounts be far more critical than the House probe that ended last year.

At least three committees are already involved: The House Intelligence Committee is taking the lead, coordinating with House Financial Services on money-laundering questions and with House Foreign Affairs on Russia.

Democrats are considering ways to uncover what was said in a Trump private meeting with Putin, "whether that's subpoenaing the notes or subpoenaing the interpreter or other steps."

On the issue of Trump family finances, the president said he's "not in a position to draw red lines."

"I am concerned that he may have drawn a red line that the Department of Justice may be observing."

"If we didn't look at his business...we wouldn't know what we know now about his efforts to pursue what may have been the most lucrative deal of his life, the Trump Tower in Moscow - something the special counsel's office has said stood to earn the family hundreds of millions of dollars."

"Now, most of his stuff isn't building anymore: It's licensing , and it doesn't make that kind of money. So, this would have been huge."

"[T]he fact that the president says now: 'Well, it's not illegal and I might have lost the election. Why should I miss out, basically, on all that money?' He may very well take the same position now: 'I might not be re-elected, and so why shouldn't I...still pursue it?'"

Of course, none of this should come as a surprise: Maxine Waters and Adam Schiff (who are two prime candidates for the source of the latest round of leaks) have made no secret of their plans to subpoena Deutsche Bank to learn more about its lending relationship with the president. And as Dems prepare to let the subpoeanas fly, we imagine we'll be learning more in the near future.


alfbell , 52 minutes ago link

Adam Schitt, a real slimy, corrupt politician. Maxine Waters, another financial and political criminal. If you could get them to spill their guts you'd be amazed at all the transgressions they have committed during their careers (they'd go to prison for certain). These two should be shot off into space or something. Shouldn't be allowed to continue harrassing the POTUS.

Lynn Trainor , 1 hour ago link

Since the Mueller probe is ending and no longer serves as a shield from having to answer questions concerning his own corruption, Adam Schiff had to get a new probe going so he'd have an excuse to conveniently remain silent on questions he'd rather not address. Schiff is the very one who should be investigated.

Bokkenrijder , 2 hours ago link

I think the Dems have switched tactics; forget about impeaching Donnie's while he's in office when he could theoretically pardon himself, and instead focus on dragging out the investigation(s) until he has left office.

When Donnie realizes this, he'll be EVEN MORE compliant with serving the neocons, the Deep State and The Swamp.

I always doubted that Donnie ever intended to "drain the swamp," but I fear that he'll become an even bigger neocon warmonger now that the Dems have him checkmate.

The results of the investigation don't matter, the Dems will simply pull more ******** out of their collective Go-Green asses and start new investigations, all financed by the taxpayers of course.

The real collusion of course is between Trump and Israel/AIPAC, but ssshhhhhhh, you're not allowed to talk about that. That's a big """""secret.""""

[Feb 13, 2019] Sic Semper Tyrannis WHY THE DNC WAS NOT HACKED BY THE RUSSIANS by Binney and Johnson

Looks like Gussifer 2.0 person is a fake created to cover tracks and ofload the blame to Russians.
Notable quotes:
"... The phrase, "moderate confidence" is intelligence speak for "we have no hard evidence." ..."
"... Instead, the NSA only claimed to have moderate confidence in the judgement regarding Russian meddling. If the NSA had hard intelligence to support the judgement the conclusion would have been stated as "full confidence." ..."
"... Why does a cyber security company wait 45 days after allegedly uncovering a massive Russian attack on the DNC server to take concrete steps to safeguard the integrity of the information held on the server? This makes no sense. ..."
"... We know one thing for certain -- CrowdStrike did not take steps to shutdown and repair the DNC network until 18 days after the last email was copied from the server. ..."
"... Taken together, these disparate data points combine to paint a picture that exonerates alleged Russian hackers and implicates persons within our law enforcement and intelligence community taking part in a campaign of misinformation, deceit and incompetence. ..."
Feb 13, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

By William Binney, former Technical Director NSA & Larry Johnson, former State CT and CIA

The FBI, CIA and NSA claim that the DNC emails published by WIKILEAKS on July 26, 2016 were obtained via a Russian hack, but more than three years after the alleged "hack" no forensic evidence has been produced to support that claim. In fact, the available forensic evidence contradicts the official account that blames the leak of the DNC emails on a Russian internet "intrusion". The existing evidence supports an alternative explanation--the files taken from the DNC on between 23 and 25May 2016 and were copied onto a file storage device, such as a thumb drive.

If the Russians actually had conducted an internet based hack of the DNC computer network then the evidence of such an attack would have been collected and stored by the National Security Agency. The technical systems to accomplish this task have been in place since 2002. The NSA had an opportunity to make it clear that there was irrefutable proof of Russian meddling, particularly with regard to the DNC hack, when it signed on to the January 2017 "Intelligence Community Assessment," regarding Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election :

We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump's election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.

The phrase, "moderate confidence" is intelligence speak for "we have no hard evidence." Thanks to the leaks by Edward Snowden, we know with certainty that the NSA had the capability to examine and analyze the DNC emails. NSA routinely "vacuumed up" email traffic transiting the U.S. using robust collection systems (whether or not anyone in the NSA chose to look for this data is another question). If those emails had been hijacked over the internet then NSA also would have been able to track the electronic path they traveled over the internet. This kind of data would allow the NSA to declare without reservation or caveat that the Russians were guilty. The NSA could admit to such a fact in an unclassified assessment without compromising sources and methods. Instead, the NSA only claimed to have moderate confidence in the judgement regarding Russian meddling. If the NSA had hard intelligence to support the judgement the conclusion would have been stated as "full confidence."

We believe that Special Counsel Robert Mueller faces major embarrassment if he decides to pursue the indictment he filed -- which accuses 12 Russian GRU military personnel and an entity identified as, Guccifer 2.0, for the DNC hack -- because the available forensic evidence indicates the emails were copied onto a storage device.

According to a DOJ press release on the indictment of the Russians, Mueller declares that the emails were obtained via a "spearphising" attack:

In 2016, officials in Unit 26165 began spearphishing volunteers and employees of the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, including the campaign's chairman. Through that process, officials in this unit were able to steal the usernames and passwords for numerous individuals and use those credentials to steal email content and hack into other computers. They also were able to hack into the computer networks of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) through these spearphishing techniques to steal emails and documents, covertly monitor the computer activity of dozens of employees, and implant hundreds of files of malicious computer code to steal passwords and maintain access to these networks.

The officials in Unit 26165 coordinated with officials in Unit 74455 to plan the release of the stolen documents for the purpose of interfering with the 2016 presidential election. Defendants registered the domain DCLeaks.com and later staged the release of thousands of stolen emails and documents through that website. On the website, defendants claimed to be "American hacktivists" and used Facebook accounts with fictitious names and Twitter accounts to promote the website. After public accusations that the Russian government was behind the hacking of DNC and DCCC computers, defendants created the fictitious persona Guccifer 2.0. On the evening of June 15, 2016 between 4:19PM and 4:56PM, defendants used their Moscow-based server to search for a series of English words and phrases that later appeared in Guccifer 2.0's first blog post falsely claiming to be a lone Romanian hacker responsible for the hacks in the hopes of undermining the allegations of Russian involvement.( https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/grand-jury-indicts-12-russian-intelligence-officers-hacking-offenses-related-2016-election )

Notwithstanding the DOJ press release, an examination of the Wikileaks DNC files do not support the claim that the emails were obtained via spearphising. Instead, the evidence clearly shows that the emails posted on the Wikileaks site were copied onto an electronic media, such as a CD-ROM or thumbdrive before they were posted at Wikileaks. The emails posted on Wikileaks were saved using the File Allocation Table (aka FAT) computer file system architecture.

An examination of the Wikileaks DNC files shows they were created on 23, 25 and 26 May respectively. The fact that they appear in a FAT system format indicates the data was transfered to a storage device, such as a thumb drive.

How do we know? The truth lies in the "last modified" time stamps on the Wikileaks files. Every single one of these time stamps end in even numbers. If you are not familiar with the FAT file system, you need to understand that when a date is stored under this system the data rounds the time to the nearest even numbered second.

We have examined 500 DNC email files stored on Wikileaks and all 500 files end in an even number -- 2, 4, 6, 8 or 0. If a system other than FAT had been used, there would have been an equal probability of the time stamp ending with an odd number. But that is not the case with the data stored on the Wikileaks site. All end with an even number.

The DNC emails are in 3 batches (times are GMT).

Date       Count Min Time Max Time FAT Min Id Max Id
2016-05-23 10520 02:12:38 02:45:42 x    3800  14319
2016-05-25 11936 05:21:30 06:04:36 x       1  22456
2016-08-26 13357 14:11:36 20:06:04 x   22457  44053    

The random probability that FAT was not used is 1 chance in 2 to the 500th power or approximately 1 chance in 10 to the 150th power - in other words, an infinitely high order. This data alone does not prove that the emails were copied at the DNC headquarters. But it does show that the data/emails posted by Wikileaks did go through a storage device, like a thumbdrive, before Wikileaks posted the emails on the World Wide Web.

This fact alone is enough to raise reasonable doubts about Mueller's indictment accusing 12 Russian soldiers as the culprits for the leak of the DNC emails to Wikileaks. A savvy defense attorney will argue, and rightly so, that someone copied the DNC files to a storage device (Eg., USB thumb drive) and transferred that to Wikileaks.

We also tested the hypothesis that Wikileaks could have manipulated the files to produce the FAT result by comparing the DNC email files with the Podesta emails (aka Larter file) that was released on 21 September 2016. The FAT file format is NOT present in the Podesta files. If Wikileaks employed a standard protocol for handling data/emails received from unknown sources we should expect the File structure of the DNC emails to match the file structure of the Podesta emails. The evidence shows otherwise.

There is further compelling technical evidence that undermines the claim that the DNC emails were downloaded over the internet as a result of a spearphising attack. Bill Binney, a former Technical Director of the National Security Agency, along with other former intelligence community experts, examined emails posted by Guccifer 2.0 and discovered that those emails could not have been downloaded over the internet as a result of a spearphising attack. It is a simple matter of mathematics and physics.

Shortly after Wikileaks announced it had the DNC emails, Guccifer 2.0 emerged on the public stage, claiming that "he" hacked the DNC and that he had the DNC emails. Guccifer 2.0 began in late June 2016 to publish documents as proof that "he" had hacked from the DNC.

Taking Guccifer 2.0 at face value -- i.e., that his documents were obtained via an internet attack -- Bill Binney conducted a forensic examination of the metadata contained in the posted documents based on internet connection speeds in the United States. This analysis showed that the highest transfer rate was 49.1 megabytes per second, which is much faster than possible from a remote online connection. The 49.1 megabytes speed coincides with the download rate for a thumb drive .

Binney, assisted by other colleagues with technical expertise, extended the examination and ran various tests forensic from the Netherlands, Albania, Belgrade and the UK. The fastest rate obtained -- from a data center in New Jersey to a data center in the UK--was 12 megabytes per second, which is less than a fourth of the rate necessary to transfer the data, as it was listed from Guccifer 2.

The findings from the examination of the Guccifer 2.0 data and the Wikileaks data does not prove who copied the information to a thumbdrive, but it does provide and empirical alternative explanation that undermines the Special Counsel's claim that the DNC was hacked. According to the forensic evidence for the Guccifer 2.0 data, the DNC emails were not taken by an internet spearphising attack. The data breach was local. It was copied from the network.

There is other circumstantial evidence that buttresses the conclusion that the data breach was a local effort that copied data.

First there is the Top Secret information leaked by Edward Snowden. If the DNC emails had been hacked via spearphising (as alleged by Mueller) then the data would have been captured by the NSA by means of the Upstream program (Fairview, Stormbrew, Blarney, Oakstar) and the forensic evidence would not modify times - the data would be presented as sent.

Second, we have the public reporting on the DNC and Crowdstrike, which provide a bizarre timeline for the alleged Russian hacking.

It was 29 April 2016, when the DNC claims it became aware its servers had been penetrated (see https://medium.com/homefront-rising/dumbstruck-how-crowdstrike-conned-america-on-the-hack-of-the-dnc-ecfa522ff44f ). No claim yet about who was responsible.

According to CrowdStrike founder, Dimitri Alperovitch, his company first detected the Russians mucking around inside the DNC server on 6 May 2016. A CrowdStrike intelligence analyst reportedly told Alperovitch that :

Falcon had identified not one but two Russian intruders: Cozy Bear, a group CrowdStrike's experts believed was affiliated with the FSB, Russia's answer to the CIA; and Fancy Bear, which they had linked to the GRU, Russian military intelligence.

( https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a49902/the-russian-emigre-leading-the-fight-to-protect-america/ )

And what did CrowdStrike do about this? Nothing. According to Michael Isikoff, CrowdStrike claimed their inactivity was a deliberate plan to avoid alerting the Russians that they had been "discovered." This is nonsense. If a security company detected a thief breaking into a house and stealing its contents, what sane company would counsel the client to do nothing in order to avoid alerting the thief?

We know from examining the Wikileaks data that the last message copied from the DNC network is dated Wed, 25 May 2016 08:48:35. No DNC emails were taken and released to Wikileaks after that date.

CrowdStrike waited until 10 June 2016 to take concrete steps to clean up the DNC network. Alperovitch told Esquire's Vicky Ward that :

Ultimately, the teams decided it was necessary to replace the software on every computer at the DNC. Until the network was clean, secrecy was vital. On the afternoon of Friday, June 10, all DNC employees were instructed to leave their laptops in the office.

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a49902/the-russian-emigre-leading-the-fight-to-protect-america/

Why does a cyber security company wait 45 days after allegedly uncovering a massive Russian attack on the DNC server to take concrete steps to safeguard the integrity of the information held on the server? This makes no sense.

A more plausible explanation is that it was discovered that emails had been downloaded from the server and copied onto a device like a thumdrive. But the culprit had not yet been identified. We know one thing for certain -- CrowdStrike did not take steps to shutdown and repair the DNC network until 18 days after the last email was copied from the server.

The final curiosity is that the DNC never provided the FBI access to its servers in order for qualified FBI technicians to conduct a thorough forensic examination. If this had been a genuine internet hack, it would be very easy for the NSA to identify when the information was taken and the route it moved after being hacked from the server. The NSA had the technical collection systems in place to enable analysts to know the date and time of the messages. But that has not been done.

Taken together, these disparate data points combine to paint a picture that exonerates alleged Russian hackers and implicates persons within our law enforcement and intelligence community taking part in a campaign of misinformation, deceit and incompetence. It is not a pretty picture.

[Feb 13, 2019] My understanding is that the Democratic Party person who passed the USB stick to Craig Murray was not Seth Rich

Feb 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jen , Feb 12, 2019 10:54:05 PM | link

James @ 65, Spudski @ 54, Bevin @ 38:

My understanding is that the Democratic Party person who passed the USB stick to Craig Murray was not Seth Rich. Seth Rich died on 10 July 2016 and Murray received the USB stick in September of the same year. So there were quite a few disgruntled Democratic Party whistleblowers at the time.

spudski , Feb 12, 2019 11:48:22 PM | link
@Jen 70

You're right - Seth Rich was not alive in September 2016. Craig Murray says he received a package in a wooded area near the American University in Washington DC in September 2016 from "the source" and that the leak source was the deed of a disgruntled Democrat employee.

james , Feb 13, 2019 1:12:42 AM | link
@71 jen / 73 spudski... i went and checked craigs site, but was unable to find him mentioning this.. i did re-read his post from july 3rd 2017 that came up in a search of seth rich.. The Stink Without a Secret

to quote from it.. "That is it. To this day, that is the sum total of actual "evidence" of Russian hacking. I won't say hang on to it as a fact, because it contains no relevant fact. But at least it is some form of definable allegation of something happening, rather than "Russian hacking" being a simple article of faith like the Holy Trinity.

But there are a number of problems that prevent this being fact at all. Nobody has ever been able to refute the evidence of Bill Binney, former Technical Director of the NSA who designed its current surveillance systems. Bill has stated that the capability of the NSA is such, that if the DNC computers had been hacked, the NSA would be able to trace the actual packets of that information as those emails travelled over the internet, and give a precise time, to the second, for the hack. The NSA simply do not have the event – because there wasn't one. I know Bill personally and am quite certain of his integrity.

As we have been repeatedly told, "17 intelligence agencies" sign up to the "Russian hacking", yet all these king's horses and all these king's men have been unable to produce any evidence whatsoever of the purported "hack". Largely because they are not in fact trying. Here is another actual fact I wish you to hang on to: The Democrats have refused the intelligence agencies access to their servers to discover what actually happened. I am going to say that again.

The Democrats have refused the intelligence agencies access to their servers to discover what actually happened." - why is that???

Jackrabbit , Feb 13, 2019 7:21:34 AM | link
james, jen, spudski, bevin

Look at the interviews of Seth Rich's family on Youtube. The interviews are just weird. And the Seth Rich family has acted in a weird way too.

pantaraxia , Feb 13, 2019 8:07:59 AM | link
Seymour Hersh, surreptitiously taped while discussing Seth Rich's murder.

Seymour Hersh discussing Wikileaks DNC leaks Seth Rich & FBI report (6:30 min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJpQPGeUeQY

Jackrabbit , Feb 13, 2019 8:39:31 AM | link
As you consider the weirdness of the Rich family, also keep in mind the substantial efforts made to discredit and disable Assange/Wikileaks and Trump's call, in summer 2016) for Putin to release Hillary's lost emails.

The timeline is as follows:

January 2016
FBI report says Hillary emails contained highly classified info
By this time, Trump has all but locked up the GOP nomination - Michael Bloomberg makes urgent public announcement that may enter the race to prevent Sanders and Trump from winning.

February 2016
Never Trump Movement is born

March/April 2016
Trump hires Manafort

May 2016
DNC is hacked

June 2016
Trump Jr. meets with Russians that say they have info about Hillary

July 2016
Wikileaks publishes DNC emails (July 22)
Trump">https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/28/us/politics/donald-trump-russia-clinton-emails.html">Trump calls on Putin to release Hillary's lost emails (July 28)

July 2016
Manafort resigns/is fired

September 2016
Flynn signs agreement with Turk company Inovo BV: $500k "sweatheart deal"

October 2016
Assange's Internet access is terminated for the first time due to "election interference" by publishing DNC emails

November 2016
Flynn's agreement with Turk company ends on election day (Nov 8)
Flynn accepts position as National Security Advisor (Nov 18)

January 2017
Flynn is under investigation due to his work for Inovo BV
Chuck Schumer says Intel agencies "have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you"

February 2017
Trump fires Flynn after he is evasive/untruthful about his conversation with Russian Ambassador

>> Trump's positioning as pro-Russia was bolstered by his hiring pro-Russia Manafort who has links to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. This is a strange choice for the "America First" Trump campaign.

>> Assange/Wikileaks and Flynn are all ultimately snared by anti-Russia hysteria. Wikileaks would later be described as a "hostile intelligence agency" and Assange as a "Russian agent".

spudski , Feb 13, 2019 10:38:17 AM | link
james @75

CM does say this in a December 2016 post:

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/12/cias-absence-conviction/
[The overall extract is between the lines below.]
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I had a call from a Guardian journalist this afternoon. The astonishing result "was that for three hours, an article was accessible through the Guardian front page which actually included the truth among the CIA hype:

"The Kremlin has rejected the hacking accusations, while the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has previously said the DNC leaks were not linked to Russia. A second senior official cited by the Washington Post conceded that intelligence agencies did not have specific proof that the Kremlin was "directing" the hackers, who were said to be one step removed from the Russian government.
Craig Murray, the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, who is a close associate of Assange, called the CIA claims "bullshit", adding: "They are absolutely making it up."
"I know who leaked them," Murray said. "I've met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian and it's an insider. It's a leak, not a hack; the two are different things.
"If what the CIA are saying is true, and the CIA's statement refers to people who are known to be linked to the Russian state, they would have arrested someone if it was someone inside the United States.
"America has not been shy about arresting whistleblowers and it's not been shy about extraditing hackers. They plainly have no knowledge whatsoever."

But only three hours. While the article was not taken down, the home page links to it vanished and it was replaced by a ludicrous one repeating the mad CIA allegations against Russia and now claiming – incredibly – that the CIA believe the FBI is deliberately blocking the information on Russian collusion.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

jackrabbit

Thanks for the info. The Seth Rich story always bothered me. I also recall that in one article CM was quoted as saying that who he got the leaked materials was not "the source." Was the original source SR?

james , Feb 13, 2019 12:18:47 PM | link
@84/87 jr / @91 spudski... thanks for all that..

i tend to believe julian assange when he says the stakes are very high when one is involved in sharing information that could be detrimental others - a large organization in particular, and etc..

I suppose the 2 choices here are one believes either Seth Rich was murdered in a bad part of Washington dc - conceivable, or that someone knew he had passed the emails and wanted to kill him for it..

If you believe 2 - then you have to come up with a reason for why they had to kill him.. The reason jr appears to offer is it makes Russia and WikiLeaks the 2 main suspects, as opposed to seth rich.. and on and on it goes..

I lean towards the later view which jr articulates, but i don't expect to ever find out..

[Feb 13, 2019] Pro-Israel Lobby Caught Boasting of Its Influence in Washington by Ryan Grim

Feb 13, 2019 | theintercept.com

A debate about the power in Washington of the pro-Israel lobby is underway, after Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., responded sharply to reports that Republican leader Kevin McCarthy was targeting both Omar and fellow Muslim Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat from Michigan.

Omar quoted rap lyrics -- " It's all about the Benjamins baby " -- to suggest McCarthy's move was driven by the lobby's prolific spending. Asked specifically who she was referring to, Omar responded, " AIPAC !"

The debate over the influence of pro-Israel groups could be informed by an investigation by Al Jazeera, in which an undercover reporter infiltrated the Israel Project, a Washington-based group, and secretly recorded conversations about political strategy and influence over a six-month period in 2016. That investigation, however, was never aired by the network -- suppressed by pressure from the pro-Israel lobby .

In November, Electronic Intifada obtained and published the four-part series, but it did so during the week of the midterm elections, and the documentary did not get a lot of attention then.

In it, leaders of the pro-Israel lobby speak openly about how they use money to influence the political process, in ways so blunt that if the comments were made by critics, they'd be charged with anti-Semitism.

"Congressmen and senators don't do anything unless you pressure them."

David Ochs, founder of HaLev, which helps send young people to American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual conference, described for the reporter how AIPAC and its donors organize fundraisers outside the official umbrella of the organization, so that the money doesn't show up on disclosures as coming specifically from AIPAC. He describes one group that organizes fundraisers in both Washington and New York. "This is the biggest ad hoc political group, definitely the wealthiest, in D.C.," Ochs says, adding that it has no official name, but is clearly tied to AIPAC. "It's the AIPAC group. It makes a difference; it really, really does. It's the best bang for your buck, and the networking is phenomenal." (Ochs and AIPAC did not immediately return The Intercept's requests for comment.)

Without spending money, Ochs argues, the pro-Israel lobby isn't able to enact its agenda. "Congressmen and senators don't do anything unless you pressure them. They kick the can down the road, unless you pressure them, and the only way to do that is with money," he explains.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/XytkI7afHcQ

He describes a fundraiser for Anthony Brown, a Democrat running for Congress in Maryland, as typical. "So we want the Jewish community to go face to face in this small environment, 50, 30, 40 people, and say, 'This is what's important to us. We want to make sure that if we give you money, that you're going to enforce the Iran deal.' That way, when they need something from him or her, like the Iran deal, they can quickly mobilize and say look, we'll give you 30 grand. They actually impact," Ochs tells the reporter.

Such a claim is not so different from what Omar was describing, and for which she was roundly condemned. In the wake of Omar's tweets, the Washington Post, for instance, reported , "The American Jewish Committee demanded an apology, calling her suggestion that AIPAC is paying American politicians for their support 'demonstrably false and stunningly anti-Semitic.'" (On Monday, Omar apologized for her tweets, but insisted that AIPAC and other lobbyist groups are harmful to U.S. politics.)

In the censored documentary, Ochs went on to describe a fundraiser hosted by Jeff Talpins , a hedge fund giant, as similar as well. "In New York, with Jeff Talpins, we don't ask a goddamn thing about the fucking Palestinians. You know why? 'Cause it's a tiny issue. It's a small, insignificant issue. The big issue is Iran. We want everything focused on Iran," Ochs says. "What happens is Jeff meets with the congressman in the back room, tells them exactly what his goals are -- and by the way, Jeff Talpins is worth $250 million -- basically they hand him an envelope with 20 credit cards, and say, 'You can swipe each of these credit cards for a thousand dollars each.'"

Ochs explains that the club in New York required a minimum pledge of $10,000 to join and participate in such events. "It's a minimum commitment. Some people give a lot more than that."

AIPAC, on its own website , recruits members to join its "Congressional Club," and commit to give at least $5,000 per election cycle.

Eric Gallagher, a top official at AIPAC from 2010 to 2015, tells the Al Jazeera reporter that AIPAC gets results. "Getting $38 billion in security aid to Israel matters, which is what AIPAC just did," he notes at one secretly recorded lunch. "Everything AIPAC does is focused on influencing Congress."

The film, called "The Lobby," was produced by Al Jazeera's investigative unit, and features hidden-camera footage obtained by the reporter, who posed as a Jewish, pro-Israel activist from Britain who wanted to volunteer with the Israel Project. Join Our Newsletter Original reporting. Fearless journalism. Delivered to you. I'm in Outfitted with a luxury apartment in Dupont Circle, the reporter hosted multiple gatherings and otherwise socialized broadly within the pro-Israel community, winning the confidence of senior officials, who divulged insider details, many of which have been leaked and created international news.

A companion version of the film, which looked at the Israel lobby's influence in the United Kingdom, did make it to air and was the subject of intense controversy. It exposed a plot by an Israeli embassy official in the United Kingdom to "take down" pro-Palestinian members of Parliament, leading to his resignation.

That film, however, included a snippet of footage from the United States. Officials here quickly realized that they, too, had been infiltrated. In the U.K., the Israel lobby lodged an official complaint claiming the series was anti-Semitic, but the U.K.'s communications agency rejected the claim, finding that "the allegations in the programme were not made on the grounds that any of the particular individuals concerned were Jewish and noted that no claims were made relating to their faith."

Pro-Israel officials in the United States, rather than file an official complaint, exerted political pressure. A bipartisan group of 19 lawmakers wrote to the Justice Department requesting an investigation into "the full range of activities undertaken by Al Jazeera in the United States," and suggesting that the organization be made to register as a foreign agent. Ultimately, Qatar bent to the pressure and killed the documentary.

[Feb 13, 2019] Making Globalism Great Again by C.J. Hopkins

Highly recommended!
Pretty biting satire
Notable quotes:
"... So how did Trump finally get the liberal corporate media to stop calling him a fascist? He did that by acting like a fascist (i.e., like a "normal" president). Which is to say he did the bidding of the deep state goons and corporate mandarins that manage the global capitalist empire the smiley, happy, democracy-spreading, post-fascist version of fascism we live under. ..."
"... Notwithstanding what the corporate media will tell you, Americans elected Donald Trump, a preposterous, self-aggrandizing ass clown, not because they were latent Nazis, or because they were brainwashed by Russian hackers, but, primarily, because they wanted to believe that he sincerely cared about America, and was going to try to "make it great again" (whatever that was supposed to mean, exactly). ..."
"... Unfortunately, there is no America. There is nothing to make great again. "America" is a fiction, a fantasy, a nostalgia that hucksters like Donald Trump (and other, marginally less buffoonish hucksters) use to sell whatever they are selling themselves, wars, cars, whatever. What there is, in reality, instead of America, is a supranational global capitalist empire, a decentralized, interdependent network of global corporations, financial institutions, national governments, intelligence agencies, supranational governmental entities, military forces, media, and so on. If that sounds far-fetched or conspiratorial, look at what is going on in Venezuela. ..."
"... And Venezuela is just the most recent blatant example of the empire in action. ..."
Feb 11, 2019 | www.unz.com

Maybe Donald Trump isn't as stupid as I thought. I'd hate to have to admit that publicly, but it does kind of seem like he has put one over on the liberal corporate media this time. Scanning the recent Trump-related news, I couldn't help but notice a significant decline in the number of references to Weimar, Germany, Adolf Hitler, and " the brink of fascism " that America has supposedly been teetering on since Hillary Clinton lost the election.

I googled around pretty well, I think, but I couldn't find a single editorial warning that Trump is about to summarily cancel the U.S. Constitution, dissolve Congress, and proclaim himself Führer . Nor did I see any mention of Auschwitz , or any other Nazi stuff which is weird, considering that the Hitler hysteria has been a standard feature of the official narrative we've been subjected to for the last two years.

So how did Trump finally get the liberal corporate media to stop calling him a fascist? He did that by acting like a fascist (i.e., like a "normal" president). Which is to say he did the bidding of the deep state goons and corporate mandarins that manage the global capitalist empire the smiley, happy, democracy-spreading, post-fascist version of fascism we live under.

I'm referring, of course, to Venezuela, which is one of a handful of uncooperative countries that are not playing ball with global capitalism and which haven't been "regime changed" yet. Trump green-lit the attempted coup purportedly being staged by the Venezuelan "opposition," but which is obviously a U.S. operation, or, rather, a global capitalist operation. As soon as he did, the corporate media immediately suspended calling him a fascist, and comparing him to Adolf Hitler, and so on, and started spewing out blatant propaganda supporting his effort to overthrow the elected government of a sovereign country.

Overthrowing the governments of sovereign countries, destroying their economies, stealing their gold, and otherwise bringing them into the fold of the global capitalist "international community" is not exactly what most folks thought Trump meant by "Make America Great Again." Many Americans have never been to Venezuela, or Syria, or anywhere else the global capitalist empire has been ruthlessly restructuring since shortly after the end of the Cold War. They have not been lying awake at night worrying about Venezuelan democracy, or Syrian democracy, or Ukrainian democracy.

This is not because Americans are a heartless people, or an ignorant or a selfish people. It is because, well, it is because they are Americans (or, rather, because they believe they are Americans), and thus are more interested in the problems of Americans than in the problems of people in faraway lands that have nothing whatsoever to do with America. Notwithstanding what the corporate media will tell you, Americans elected Donald Trump, a preposterous, self-aggrandizing ass clown, not because they were latent Nazis, or because they were brainwashed by Russian hackers, but, primarily, because they wanted to believe that he sincerely cared about America, and was going to try to "make it great again" (whatever that was supposed to mean, exactly).

Unfortunately, there is no America. There is nothing to make great again. "America" is a fiction, a fantasy, a nostalgia that hucksters like Donald Trump (and other, marginally less buffoonish hucksters) use to sell whatever they are selling themselves, wars, cars, whatever. What there is, in reality, instead of America, is a supranational global capitalist empire, a decentralized, interdependent network of global corporations, financial institutions, national governments, intelligence agencies, supranational governmental entities, military forces, media, and so on. If that sounds far-fetched or conspiratorial, look at what is going on in Venezuela.

The entire global capitalist empire is working in concert to force the elected president of the country out of office. The US, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Denmark, Poland, the Netherlands, Israel, Brazil, Peru, Chile, and Argentina have officially recognized Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela, in spite of the fact that no one elected him. Only the empire's official evil enemies (i.e., Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Cuba, and other uncooperative countries) are objecting to this "democratic" coup. The global financial system (i.e., banks) has frozen (i.e., stolen) Venezuela's assets, and is attempting to transfer them to Guaido so he can buy the Venezuelan military. The corporate media are hammering out the official narrative like a Goebbelsian piano in an effort to convince the general public that all this has something to do with democracy. You would have to be a total moron or hopelessly brainwashed not to recognize what is happening.

What is happening has nothing to do with America the "America" that Americans believe they live in and that many of them want to "make great again." What is happening is exactly what has been happening around the world since the end of the Cold War, albeit most dramatically in the Middle East. The de facto global capitalist empire is restructuring the planet with virtual impunity. It is methodically eliminating any and all impediments to the hegemony of global capitalism, and the privatization and commodification of everything.

Venezuela is one of these impediments. Overthrowing its government has nothing to do with America, or the lives of actual Americans. "America" is not to going conquer Venezuela and plant an American flag on its soil. "America" is not going to steal its oil, ship it "home," and parcel it out to "Americans" in their pickups in the parking lot of Walmart.

What what about those American oil corporations? They want that Venezuelan oil, don't they? Well, sure they do, but here's the thing there are no "American" oil corporations. Corporations, especially multi-billion dollar transnational corporations (e.g., Chevron, ExxonMobil, et al.) have no nationalities, nor any real allegiances, other than to their major shareholders. Chevron, for example, whose major shareholders are asset management and mutual fund companies like Black Rock, The Vanguard Group, SSgA Funds Management, Geode Capital Management, Wellington Management, and other transnational, multi-trillion dollar outfits. Do you really believe that being nominally headquartered in Boston or New York makes these companies "American," or that Deutsche Bank is a "German" bank, or that BP is a "British" company?

And Venezuela is just the most recent blatant example of the empire in action. Ask yourself, honestly, what have the "American" regime change ops throughout the Greater Middle East done for any actual Americans, other than get a lot of them killed? Oh, and how about those bailouts for all those transnational "American" investment banks? Or the billions "America" provides to Israel? Someone please explain how enriching the shareholders of transnational corporations like Raytheon, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin by selling billions in weapons to Saudi Arabian Islamists is benefiting "the American people." How much of that Saudi money are you seeing? And, wait, I've got another one for you. Call up your friendly 401K manager, ask how your Pfizer shares are doing, then compare that to what you're paying some "American" insurance corporation to not really cover you.

For the last two-hundred years or so, we have been conditioned to think of ourselves as the citizens of a collection of sovereign nation states, as "Americans," "Germans," "Greeks," and so on. There are no more sovereign nation states. Global capitalism has done away with them. Which is why we are experiencing a "neo-nationalist" backlash. Trump, Brexit, the so-called "new populism" these are the death throes of national sovereignty, like the thrashing of a suffocating fish before you whack it and drop it in the cooler. The battle is over, but the fish doesn't know that. It didn't even realize there was a battle until it suddenly got jerked up out of the water.

In any event, here we are, at the advent of the global capitalist empire. We are not going back to the 19th Century, nor even to the early 20th Century. Neither Donald Trump nor anyone else is going to "Make America Great Again." Global capitalism will continue to remake the world into one gigantic marketplace where we work ourselves to death at bullshit jobs in order to buy things we don't need, accumulating debts we can never pay back, the interest on which will further enrich the global capitalist ruling classes, who, as you may have noticed, are preparing for the future by purchasing luxury underground bunkers and post-apocalyptic compounds in New Zealand. That, and militarizing the police, who they will need to maintain "public order" you know, like they are doing in France at the moment, by beating, blinding, and hideously maiming those Gilets Jaunes (i.e., Yellow Vest) protesters that the corporate media are doing their best to demonize and/or render invisible.

Or, who knows, Americans (and other Western consumers) might take a page from those Yellow Vests, set aside their political differences (or at least ignore their hatred of each other long enough to actually try to achieve something), and focus their anger at the politicians and corporations that actually run the empire, as opposed to, you know, illegal immigrants and imaginary legions of Nazis and Russians. In the immortal words of General Buck Turgidson, "I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed," but, heck, it might be worth a try, especially since, the way things are going, we are probably going end up out there anyway.

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and political satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23 , is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant Paperbacks. He can be reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org .

[Feb 13, 2019] Look Pompeo is posting on ZH

Feb 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Einstein101 , 6 hours ago link

Furious China Accuses US Of Fabricating Threats, Slams Huawei Boycott As "Hypocritical And Immoral"

Huawei has no one else to blame for this but itself. The way the company has violated US laws, defrauding banks with its attempts to dodge the US sanction on Iran.

The American Sanctions on Iran are an international necessity, They May Even Help To Stop The Misery And Suffering Of The Iranian People.

schroedingersrat , 6 hours ago link

Look Pompeo is posting on ZH

[Feb 13, 2019] Mueller investigation must be one of the few government programmes that makes money!

Feb 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Tom , Feb 12, 2019 10:58:59 PM | link

psychohistorian #41

How much has been spent, to date, on Russiagate? Well it seems that the Muller investigation has cost about $25 million.

The Muller investigation has seized $26.7 million from Manafort plus an additional $1.9 million from others charged my Muller. Must be one of the few government programmes that makes money!

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/news/83470/mueller-investigation-costly-but-millions-seized-from-manafort-have-it-on-track-to-break-even

[Feb 13, 2019] Pelosi utter the truth about Russiagate

I hope that Russiagate is indeed "finished", but I think it needs to be draped with garlic-clove necklaces, shot up with silver bullets, sprinkled with holy water, and a wooden stake driven through its black heart just to make sure. Once Russiagate is fixed in people's minds, whether true or not, it's hard to kill it
Put more succinctly, I fear that Russiagate won't be finished until Rachel Maddow days in MSNBC are finished. ;) And don't forget that she have built her career on anti Russian propaganda and earns $30K a day to spew anti-Russian nonsense.
Feb 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

In a recent statement House leader Nancy Pelosi was reduced to accuse Trump campaign officials of doing their job:

"The indictment of Roger Stone makes clear that there was a deliberate, coordinated attempt by top Trump campaign officials to influence the 2016 election and subvert the will of the American people. ...

No one called her out for spouting such nonsense.

[Feb 13, 2019] Saw this comin' from a mile away....the "reluctant candidate"

"No one in this world, so far as I know -- and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me -- has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby." H.L. Mencken.
Feb 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

frances , Feb 12, 2019 7:27:16 PM | link

Just an aside:
Saw this comin' from a mile away....the "reluctant candidate":
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-02-12/michelle-obama-going-run-president-2020
Zachary Smith , Feb 12, 2019 7:49:07 PM | link
@ frances #59

...As for myself, I'd vote for a random US citizen chosen from a pool of non-druggie non-criminal people under 65 if such a person was running against Trump. Male, female, black, white, yellow, or purple - but not the wife of Obama.

[Feb 13, 2019] The guardian "stands by the story" by censoring critical comments, while never bothering to try to defend the actual reporting

What "pretzelattack" does not understand is for whom Luke Harding actually works. Intelligence agencies control The Guardian and shape forums in the direction they consider beneficial.
Notable quotes:
"... As far as upholding our Community Standards is concerned, The Guardian has decided to stand by the article and thus The Guardian views comments such as yours as misrepresentation. ..."
Feb 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

pretzelattack , Feb 13, 2019 11:07:59 AM | link

fu guardian.
Hello "pretzelattack",

When you take issue with Editorial decisions of the Guardian, the Moderation team is the wrong place to address it. You would have better luck following the procedures outlined on https://www.theguardian.com/info/complaints-and-corrections.

As far as upholding our Community Standards is concerned, The Guardian has decided to stand by the article and thus The Guardian views comments such as yours as misrepresentation.

There is also the matter that most of your removed comments are Off Topic for the discussions on which you post them, which breaches point 8 of our Community Standards.

8. Keep it relevant. We know that some conversations can be wide-ranging, but if you post something which is unrelated to the original topic ("off-topic") then it may be removed, in order to keep the thread on track. This also applies to queries or comments about moderation, which should not be posted as comments.

Premoderation is usually only a temporary measure. Post consistently in line with the community standards you agreed to abide by when creating your account and the sanction will be lifted and full commenting privileges restored to your account. Post consistently against the spirit of the community standards and you risk a permanent ban.

Best wishes

Meg,

Community Moderator

Links: The Guardian's Community Standards & FAQs

This was about the blatant bullshit, by Luke Harding, about Assange and manning meeting at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

"The guardian stands by the story" by censoring critical comments, while never bothering to try to defend the actual reporting.

Of course, that would be difficult since there is no evidence that Manafort somehow whisked himself (maybe a dr. who tardis) in and out of one of the most heavily surveilled sites in the world.

"Independent journalism" at its finest.

[Feb 13, 2019] A glossary of exploitive economics: 'Lean in' and 8 other bad business buzzwords that should be phased out written by Yes! Magazine and TruthDig A radical pessimist's glossary of exploitative economics.

Jan 17, 2019 | www.alternet.org

The near future is more likely to be a neoliberal dystopia than the tech-enabled utopia conjured up by big business, writes Peter Fleming in The Worst Is Yet to Come: A Post-Capitalist Survival Guide . He argues that we need "radical pessimism" to aim for the future we actually want, and aids the effort with sardonic humor that skewers the mythologies of our exploitative economic system.

In 1949, the right-wing economist F. A. Hayek published an essay entitled "The Intellectuals and Socialism," which aimed to change the way capitalism thought about itself. Up until then, he argued, it was mainly the socialists who had claimed the intellectual space of utopianism.

Hayek sought to rectify this. Free-market conservatives ought to come up with their own utopias and sell them to the public as glorious futures to come. Capitalist individualism and a minimal state were prominent components, elevated like secular gods.

As with most utopian blueprints, however, when put into practice, the outcome was frequently appalling. Yet these failures didn't stop the power elite from trying again, no matter how many casualties fell along the way. That's why capitalism today consists of an uneasy confluence of brazen destructiveness and implacable self-confidence, convinced that we will soon be approaching a Panglossian Best of All Possible Worlds.

The problem is that the worst is yet to come. We therefore require a good understanding of the ideological terrain upon which that struggle will unfold. Most importantly, we won't necessarily see the clean death of neoliberalism but an exaggerated and unsustainable deepening of it. It will then buckle under its own weight, yielding a windswept post-capitalist dystopia if nothing is done to counteract it now.

Mainstream economic theory might first appear rational and objective, especially given its clinical quantification of human behavior. The mathematical models and algebraic theorems add to the veneer of scientificity. But beneath the numbers is an unyielding and often mysterious faith in the rectitude of monetary individualism. That conviction is conveyed in buzzwords and fads, many of which have entered daily life, and will only intensify in the next few years. We require a counter-lexicon. Towards that end, here is my take on some of the key features of the bad business utopias that are busy colonizing the future.

Glossary

Artificial Intelligence:

Machine learning and robotics that soon may be capable of reflective cognition, with much attention focusing on work and employment.

Automation of production has defined capitalism from the start. As has the fear (or hope) that machines will soon replace most of the workforce. The application of Artificial Intelligence in the "second machine age" will center on routine cognitive work (e.g., accountants and airline pilots) and nonroutine manual jobs (e.g., care providers, drivers, and hairdressers). However, this is where fantasy enters the picture. Namely, capitalism without laborers, a dream that is integral to neoliberal economics. In reality, AI will probably follow the same path as previous waves of automation: mechanizing certain parts of a job rather than replacing it entirely, especially the skilled part that affects wages. Moreover, the old Keynesian point still holds: Workers are also consumers. Thus, the disappearance of labor would also eliminate consumption, which is integral to capitalism. That might not be a bad thing, as advocates of "fully automated luxury communism" suggest. However, a bleaker scenario is possible. The retention of a highly polarized and class-based society (as we have today) but without labor or consumption, given the widespread application of AI. This would represent a kind of inverted rendition of capitalism. High-tech and primitive. This model of society has no name yet, but something like "Blade Runner Capitalism" might suffice.

Corporate Social Responsibility:

A concept designed to spread t