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From Military-Industrial Complex to Media-Military-Industrial Complex: Review of literature

Pseudoscience  > Who Rules America

News Neo-fascism Recommended Links The Deep State The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum Homepage Predator state Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism
Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Neoconservatism National Socialism and Military Keysianism American Exceptionalism Andrew Bacevich on the New American Militarism Ethno-lingustic Nationalism Nation under attack meme
Corporatism War is racket Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few US and British media are servants of security apparatus War is a Racket - Incredible Essay by General Smedley Butler Economics of Peak Energy
National Security State / Surveillance State Big Uncle is Watching You Social Sites as intelligence collection tools Is Google evil ? Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition Military Bureaucracy and Military Incompetence Bureaucratic Collectivism
Color revolutions Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Nulandgate Sanctions against Russia Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? The Far Right Forces in Ukraine Russian Ukrainian Gas wars
Understanding Mayberry Machiavellis  Ron Paul War and Peace Quotes Corporatism quotes Politically Incorrect Humor Humor Etc

Introduction

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

"Their goals may or may not coincide with the best interests of the American people. Think of the divergence of interests, for example, between the grunts who are actually fighting this war, who have been eating sand and spilling their blood in the desert, and the power brokers who fought like crazy to make the war happen and are profiteering from it every step of the way."

- Bob Herbert, "Spoils of War," The New York Times, April 10, 2003

"Militarism means a domination of the military man over the civilian, an undue emphasis on military needs, policies, spirit, values and ideals. . . a readiness to defend one's country's interests by force of arms, the acceptance of the military profession as honourable and necessary.

Peter Phillips. The Tragedy of Nazi Germany

If the ability to anticipate future dangers for the nation is the mark of a truly great president then Dwight D. Eisenhower is the greatest president of the XX century.  He was the last Republican president to deliver broad-based prosperity. During his presidency, the gains from growth were widely shared and the incomes of the poorest fifth actually grew faster than the incomes of the top fifth. As a result, America became more equal than ever before or since. Under Ike, the marginal tax rate on the richest Americans reached 91%. Eisenhower also presided over the creation of the interstate highway system – the largest infrastructure project in American history — as well as the nation’s biggest expansion of public schools. It’s no coincidence that when Eisenhower was president, over a third of all private sector workers were unionized. Ike can’t be credited for this but at least he didn’t try to stop it or legitimize firing striking workers, as did Ronald Reagan.

At the same time Dwight D. Eisenhower was an architect of the USA "deep state" and subverting by deep state of constitutional republic. Because the backbone of military industrial complex is not Pentagon (although it is definitely a part of it), it is three letter agencies such as CIA, FBI, NSA and DOE.  David Talbot's book The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government fingers CIA director Allen Dulles as the person who plotted and directed the JFK assassination, and portrays him as a psychopath who managed to rise to the high echelons of power. Unfortunately, the book is rather deficient as history, as explained by David M. Barrett in this review

And it was  Dwight D. Eisenhower who appointed Dulles brothers to CIA and State Department creating the most dangerous and reckless tandem the USA history ever known and putting the last nail into the coffin of constitutional republic.  It was his administration that organized coupe on Iran deposing legitimate government and installing a puppet regime, the prolog of many color revolutions accomplished the USA ever since (including Chile, and many other Latin American republics, and later the xUSSR space). See The Brothers John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War Stephen Kinzer. Here is one  enlightening Amazon review of the book

Jacob G. Hornberger  on October 8, 2013
 A Fantastic Book!

The book is fascinating and gripping. I couldn't put it down. It goes a long way in explaining the plight in which the United States finds itself today.

The book's general focus is on the actions of the CIA and the State Department during the early period of the Cold War, specifically 1947 through the late 1960s and the role that the Dulles brothers played during that period of time. John Foster Dulles was serving as Secretary of State and Allen Dulles was serving as director of the CIA. The book specifically focuses on six regime-change operations during the Dulles brothers' tenure: Iran, Guatemala, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cuba, and the Congo, including the first presidentially authorized assassinations of foreign leaders in American history.

We live in a time today when many Americans exalt the national-security state. They honestly believe that if it weren't for the big standing army, the overseas military empire, the CIA, and the NSA, the United States wouldn't exist for very long. Without the national-security state, these Americans honestly believe, America would quickly fall to the communists, the terrorists, the illegal aliens, the drug dealers, or some combination thereof.

They sing the praises of the troops and automatically assume that the more people they kill over there, they safer we are here at home. They glorify the CIA, even while not knowing exactly what it's doing--and, more important, not wanting to know. They like the fact that the NSA is spying on them but would prefer not knowing that it's spying on them. They simply cannot imagine living the life that our American ancestors lived for more than a century and a half before World War II --a life without a national security state.

Such Americans block out of their minds the fact that a free society and a national-security state are irreconcilable. In fact, they've convinced themselves that they're free because of the national security state.

Books like Kinzer's help to pierce through the falsehoods and misconceptions about the military and the CIA that grip the minds of so many Americans. The book shows how the United States veered off into a different direction after World War II, a direction involving much dark-side activity that the national-security state kept secret from the American people and which the American people, for their part, simply didn't want to know about.

It was all justified under fighting the communists or, more specifically, keeping America safe and secure from America's World War II partner and ally, the Soviet Union, which supposedly was orchestrating a worldwide communist movement designed to conquer and control the entire world.

There was the CIA's coup in Iran, which ousted the popular Mohammad Mossadegh from power and reinstalled the brutal dictatorial regime of the Shah. There was the CIA's ouster of the democratically elected president of Guatemala and his replacement by a brutal military dictatorship. There was the CIA's instigation of a horrific civil war in Indonesia. There was the CIA's plan to assassinate the leader of the Congo. There was the CIA's coup and the assassination of the U.S.-appointed leader of South Vietnam. There was the CIA's invasion of Cuba and repeated assassination attempts on the life of Fidel Castro.

Never mind that there were other factors involved, such as the nationalization of British oil interests in Iran or the nationalization of land in Guatemala belonging to a U.S. corporation with which the Dulles brothers had close ties. And never mind that Third World rulers simply wanted to stay out of Cold War politics. What mattered was that whenever any foreign ruler didn't do what U.S. officials wanted him to do, that made his regime a Cold War enemy and, therefore, subject to regime-change, including through assassination. The mindset was "If you're not with us, then you're against us." Neutrality was out of the question.

And never mind that Americans and others around the world are still suffering the horrific results of these regime-change operations. Just look at the state of U.S.-Iran relations. Or the hundreds of thousands of graves in Guatemala as a result of the civil war that the CIA's coup brought about. Or the continuous brutal U.S. embargo against Cuba. Or the families who still grieve the loss of loved ones in Vietnam and here in the United States.

It was all a new direction for America, a dark direction, one that the American people had never before engaged in. And it was all justified under the rubric of "the communist threat," specifically the supposed danger that the communists were everywhere and were coming to get us and take over our country, much like we hear about the terrorists today.

Why is this early period of the Cold War so relevant to today? Because the foreign policy-civil liberties woes that America faces today are rooted in that period. That's why that an understanding of that period is so critically important to understanding what we need to do to extricate ourselves from the morass in which we find ourselves. Restoring the right direction for our nation, a direction based on sound moral, economic, and legal principles, necessarily entails an examination of where American went wrong after World War II.

Another great book about this period is The War State: The Cold War Origins Of The Military-Industrial Complex And The Power Elite, 1945-1963 by Michael Swanson. That book provides the best summary of the military component of the national-security state during the Cold War. If you read both books--The War State and The Brothers -- you will have an almost perfect understanding of how we got into this mess, what the mess has done to our nation, and what we need to do to get out.--Jacob Hornberger, president, The Future of Freedom Foundation

But paradoxically Dwight Eisenhower's presidency is probably better remembered less for what he did than for what he said while heading for the exit. In a nationally televised address on January 17, 1961, only four days before John F. Kennedy's inaugural and three years from the event which might well be considered to be coup d'etat which brought military-industrial complex in full control of all branches of the government (JFK assassination).

Eisenhower warned of the dangers of "undue influence" exerted by the "military-industrial complex." In other word appearance on the scene a new and formidable political force represented by arm manufactures, intelligence agencies, Army brass and selected supplies industries (oil industry comes to mind) and financial oligarchy.

But the term is more then undue influences, it's actually about a gradual, but inevitable transition of power to MIC either by stealth coup or open coup d'etat. And as soon as MIC came on political scene, it inevitably transforms the state into some variant of totalitarian state, such an "inverted totalitarism" or National Security State. It's not exactly "WAR IS PEACE. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength", but close enough.

This warning represents the historical importance of Eisenhower's farewell address. Here is the video of the address:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWiIYW_fBfY

Eisenhower cautioned that maintaining a large, permanent military establishment was "new in the American experience," and suggested that an "engaged citizenry" offered the only effective defense against the "misplaced power" of the military-industrial lobby. But there are two problems with his warning:

We can state, that the key result of the second World War was the establishment of the rule of military industrial complex in all major countries, but first of all in the USA. Here is a relevant quote from his famous speech:

Throughout America's adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people. Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt both at home and abroad.

Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology -- global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger is poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle -- with liberty the stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment.

Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in newer elements of our defense; development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture; a dramatic expansion in basic and applied research -- these and many other possibilities, each possibly promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we wish to travel.

But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs -- balance between the private and the public economy, balance between cost and hoped for advantage -- balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between actions of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.

The record of many decades stands as proof that our people and their government have, in the main, understood these truths and have responded to them well, in the face of stress and threat. But threats, new in kind or degree, constantly arise. I mention two only.

IV.

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.

Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientifictechnological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system -- ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

V.

Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society's future, we -- you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

VI.

Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.

Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.

Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war -- as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years -- I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.

Happily, I can say that war has been avoided. Steady progress toward our ultimate goal has been made. But, so much remains to be done. As a private citizen, I shall never cease to do what little I can to help the world advance along that road.

What we have today is nothing but a full spectrum dominance of military-intelligence-industrial-academic-banking complex (and please note that Wall Street is closely interconnected with CIA and State Department;

Via revolving door mechanisms the US foreign policy is dictated not by US national interests but by interests of top 100 or so largest US corporations). In 2013 the private equity firm KKR named the retired general and CIA director David Petraueus as the chairman of its global institute. Earlier the same year, Sir John Sawers, The former head of Britain MI6 became Chairman of Macro Advisory Partners, a firm that advices business and government on geopolitics (Christina Freeland, Atlantic, May 2015, p 82) Those two examples are just tip of the iceberg, of a much larger trend of intermarriage of intelligence community and Wall Street.

From The Sorrows of Empire:

The 725 U.S. military bases acknowledged by the Department of Defense do not include the many used for communications espionage, control of the world's oil supply, or those that are simply too embarrassing for the government to speak about openly (such as the fourteen permanent bases being built in Iraq). - The United States maintains about 347,000 soldiers, airmen, and marines at military bases in 140 of 189 member states of the United Nations. - The American military budget is so large that the next-highest military budget in the world- Russia's-is only fourteen percent of our own. - Ninety-three percent of the American budget dedicated to international affairs is allocated to the military and only seven percent to the State Department. - The Congressional Budget Office projects federal deficits over the next five years of more than $1 trillion, on top of an already existing government debt in February 2003 of $6.4 trillion. Military operations in Iraq so far have cost $143 billion; reconstruction will run from between $50 and $100 billion.

We can view MIC as consisting of three parts: federal institutions,  academia (military or intelligence oriented research labs and individual researchers in universities), and private contractors. The latter is the fastest growing segment   (The Military-Industrial Complex is Real, And It’s Bigger Than Ever - The Daily Beast):

As the iconic Washington Post investigation detailed, there are 1,931 private companies working on counterterrorism, homeland security, and intelligence. Throughout the D.C. area, 33 buildings containing 17 million square feet of office space have been built since 9/11—the equivalent of 22 Capitol buildings. But despite the growth of government national-security workers, some 500,000 private contractors also have top security clearances.

This might be defensible if private contractors actually saved taxpayer dollars, but they don’t. According to a 2008 study by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, contractors made up 29 percent of intelligence agency workforce but cost the equivalent of 49 percent of personnel budgets. Consider the fact that Snowden made $122,000 a year in his brief Hawaii-based gig for Booz Allen Hamilton, offering evident tech savvy but only a GED. The average annual salary for a person with a GED is only $37,200. This isn’t an industry interested in belt-tightening.0

The proliferation of military-industrial complex contractors has helped propel the D.C. metro area to include seven of the top 10 wealthiest counties in the United States. Contra Snowden’s formal education, five of the top six counties for college-educated workers are in the D.C. metro area. The overlap between the two is not surprising: Loudoun, Arlington, and Fairfax counties in Virginia are particularly plush places to be in 2013.

If you want to find out what’s really happening in politics and government, follow the money. When it comes to national security, civic concerns compete with financial self-interest—and guess which often wins the tug of war?

The problem, of course, is not just a matter of money. It is the amount of overlap and inevitable turf battles that occur when multiple organizations—both private and public—all strive to prove their relevance to protect their self-interest. To use another example from the Post’s “Top Secret America” series, there are 51 federal organizations and military commands tracking the flow of money in terrorist networks. This just can’t be the most effective way to accomplish the mission.

But the military-industrial complex has a trump card to play with members of Congress and the public: nobody wants to argue with national security, especially when the very real threat of terrorism exists. This ain’t no phantom menace: more than 45 jihadist terror plots had been stopped before the 10th anniversary of 9/11. But the combination of real threat and opaque multibillion-dollar budgets leads inevitably to a lack of transparency and accountability. That’s where the risk of not just information-dragnet overreach but also the risk of leakers like Ed Snowden comes in. With this level of complexity in the system, security is ironically almost impossible to maintain.

Abstracting from the ideological bent, totalitarian regimes like USSR (or China) can also be viewed as examples of MIC dominance in the form of merger arms manufacturers, military contractors and the state institutions including top brass of Communist Party, the merger that creates a variant of National Security State depicted in his novel "1984".  Moreover the dissolution of the USSR as the result of the bankruptcy of its overcentralized economic model ("state socialism" -- not that different from state capitalism) is directly related to the destruction of the USSR economy imposed by Soviet  militarily industrial complex (see Are We Going Down Like the Soviets World). Although arm race with USA played significant role, Soviet military establishment willingly overplayed its hand and killed the host. Collapse of communist ideology and emergence of Neoliberalism was just a final strew that broke the camel back as KGB brass realized that they will be better off under capitalism and changed sides (with gentle encouragements via multimillion bribes from CIA). Still, China, which uses the same bankrupt ideological doctrine with political life dominated by the same Communist Party, managed to survive and even economically prosper using strange mix of communist ideology in governing the state with Neoliberalism in economics in selected economic zones of the country. Extremes meet and while Marxism was highly collectivist, while Neoliberalism is highly individualists "Homo homini lupus est" style ideology it  reuses one of core components of Trotskyism -- the idea of Permanent Revolution, which was creatively transformed into Permanent Export of Democracy.   The latter is just a  smoke screen for forced export of neoliberalism into other countries, via color revolution (Serbia, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine), or armed invasions (Iraq, Libya) )

In other words MIC dominance means inevitable transformation of modern states into National Security State fighting typical for such a state "Perpetual war for perpetual peace."

There are  other important factors/tendencies that contributed to the dominance media-military-industrial complex in the USA

  1. Relentless war mongering propaganda of corporate-controlled media. Like in Third Reich MIC dominance is supported by relentless propaganda and brainwashing with mechanisms polished since Reagan to perfection. There is now no problem to create an "enemy of the people" when the elite wants and it does not matter which country or individual is selected as an enemy. The essence of elite politics in this area was best formulated by Hermann Goering, President of the Reichstag, Nazi Party, and Luftwaffe Commander in Chief

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

  2. American exceptionalism. American exceptionalism should probably be more correctly called US-specific version of far right nationalism, a milder variant of  one that existed in 30th of the last century in national-socialist countries of Europe, such as Italy, Germany and Spain.  The way in which American elite as a whole relates with the rest of the world demonstrates a strong nationalistic (as in "cultural nationalism"), imperial point of view. That means that mass media presents events only from the particular  point of view, with the brainwashed lemmings believing that their nation, or culture, is superior to all others. This often produces prejudice, xenophobia and inter-group and in-group violence, with the latter directed at suppression of dissent. Indeed, the United States’ inflated sense of eminence create additional, non-economic stimulus for the country elite to act in  fundamentally ethnocentric neo-fascist ways, and to strive for unilateral rule of the world.
  3. Two party system invented by elite of Great Britain which in case of "winner takes all" more of assigning elected officials inevitably leads to the dominance of a single party -- party of large capital.  Clinton sell-out of Democratic party and Blair sell out of labor party are not exception in this case, they are the rule. "Winner takes all" system proved to be perfect for inverted totalitarism type of regimes, including the US neoliberalism as it naturally lead to two party system in which both party represent capital.  
  4. Conversion of system of governance to "Deep state" which essentially make elections optional, but they still continue to exist in an emasculated "two parties system" form with disenfranchised, brainwashed voters, a highly malleable mass that can be pushed for any real rulers bidding.  Mainly as a facade, Potemkin village to provide the legitimacy for ruling elite.
Those factors are covered in more detail in special pages:

Military Industrial Complex as another, more politically correct name for Corporatism


Bacevich traces the end of the republic to the start of both wars, which gave rise to the "ideology of national security." The mission of the new Department of Defense is not defense, but to project power globally where we will view any nation as a threat that tries to match us in military might.

The term MIC ("Military-Industrial Complex") is also closely related to the phenomena that is defined by the term corporatism and the term National Security State. In a way,  it is just a more politically correct way to describe corporatism as a social system. The term corporatism is taunted by the link to Mussolini Italy and quite often is associated with the term "Italian fascism". As such this association instantly makes the discussion more emotional and defensive.

Like the term corporatism, the term "Military-Industrial Complex" is used to denote a mutation of state in which the dominant power belong to the large corporations and banks allied with the government (with officials  moving freely between private industry and government via revolving doors) including, but not limited to, a political block between the military and the industrial producers of military equipment and their lobbyists in Congress. In a sense, the key result of WWII was that Nazi Germany and its allies lost, but corporatism as a political movement they represented, actually won. Alliance of government (both Congress and executive branch) and corporate interests is the defining feature of this new form of political regime.

In a sense, the key result of WWII was that Nazi Germany and its allies lost, but corporatism as a political movement they represented, actually won.  Alliance of government (both Congress and executive branch) and corporate interests is the defining feature of this new form of political regime.

 Eisenhower initially wrote "military-industrial-congressional complex" (the term, which is of course is more precise as corporatism is a marriage of state and large corporations, but also more divisive), but changed it moved by strong advice to omit "congressional." We can see his political abilities and instincts of this great president in action in his final speech. It became a hit and people sited it, without understanding the depth and the real meaning of the warning, as well as the nature of the danger: mutation of the state into corporatist national security state which completely excludes public from the political process.

The term is easily extended to any group of corporations for which a significant part of revenue comes from the government contracts or in other way is guaranteed by government, or which depend from the expansion of market by government force (especially foreign expansion). In this sense we can talk about financial complex as another candidate for close and dangerous alliance with government .

No matter what set of industries are the key members of the alliance with the government, the press is controlled by the same players. The net result is a super-aggressive (we are the dominant player and you suckers should not stand on our way), jingoistic foreign policy oriented on acquiring new and protecting old markets. In this sense one of the defining features of such a regime is seeking/protecting/opening foreign markets using direct military power (aka invasions) or threat of thereof. That's why, the USA foreign policy seems unchanged the last 60 years, regardless of who controls the executive, and or, the legislative branches of government.

On the other hand it can be viewed as an implementation of Military Keynesianism: a government economic policy in which the government devotes large amounts of spending to the military in an effort to increase economic growth and the speed of technological advancement (via dual use technologies). Many fundamental technologies such as computers, large scale integral circuits, Internet, GPS, etc are the net results of adoption and enhancement of former military-oriented technologies by the civilian sector.

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer's seven characteristics of a National Security State

  "Four sorrows are certain to be visited on the United States. Their cumulative effect guarantees that the U.S. will cease to resemble the country outlined in the Constitution of 1787.
  1. First, there will be a state of perpetual war, leading to more terrorism against Americans wherever they may be and a spreading reliance on nuclear weapons among smaller nations as they try to ward off the imperial juggernaut.
  2. Second is a loss of democracy and Constitutional rights as the presidency eclipses Congress and is itself transformed from a co- equal `executive branch' of government into a military junta.
  3. Third is the replacement of truth by propaganda, disinformation, and the glorification of war, power, and the military legions.
  4. Lastly, there is bankruptcy, as the United States pours its economic resources into ever more grandiose military projects and shortchanges the education, health, and safety of its citizens."

Chalmers A. Johnson

National security state is the most common form of corporatism that exist in XX and XXI century. In his book "Brave New World Order" (Orbis Books, 1992, paper), Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer identified seven characteristics of a National Security State [4]:

All those features were also typical for Bolsheviks regime in the USSR, so the term "neo-bolshevism" is also applicable. Here is a pretty telling  Amazon review of The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project)

 'War is a Racket' - General Smedley Butler USMC, April 1, 2004

Am I the only one who thinks the the rest of his countryman are nuts? For the past 60 years and three generations, Americans have been led to believe that that spending billions for the Defense of the country is not only necessary but patriotic.

Forget conspiracy theories and ideological agendas, just contemplate one fact: The USA spends more on military and intelligence funding in 2004 than it has spent at any one time in history. Fourteen carrier groups to defeat the two remaining countries of the axis of evil, N. Korea and Iran? 750 and counting military bases outside the USA? However, the government tells us it is powerless to defend the country against an attack from a terrorist group with WMD???

So, the next time you watch television and the commentator tells you why we need another aircraft carrier, more tanks, more F-16's, etc., ask yourself: Who are we defending ourselves against? And, as Chalmers Johnson points out, follow the money!

This book is an excellent primer on how our beloved country is being led down the road to ruin by a group of people who are lining the pockets of themselves and their friends and supporters. All of this is being done in the name of Democracy, Freedom and Globalization. But, why do we want to liberate people who sit on oil while those countries being ruthlessly exploited and practically enslaved are ignored since they can contribute little or nothing to the "world economy" (pick any poor third world country)?

This review is written by a conservative American, cold war supporter and US Navy veteran (like Chalmers Johnson) who believes in the old Republic (when is the last time you heard that word mentioned in the era of the imperial presidency). Forget whether you are democrat or republican, take the blinders off and seek the truth, excellently told by Chalmers Johnson.

Origins and history

 "The CIA is Wall Street. Wall Street is the CIA"

 Michael Ruppert

As US phenomenon  military industrial complex was the result of confluence of several powerful forces which has no countervailing forces to check them::

And those process were not limited to the USA. The concept of "deep state" actually originated in Turkey. And MIC suckling resources out of the economy has been one of the factors of collapse of the USSR with elements of the same that can be observed in such different  countries as Israel, Pakistan, China, Brazil and France.

The most important fact is the presence of intelligence agencies in this combination of forces and close alignment of intelligence agencies with Wall Street (the first head of CIA came directly from a leading Wall Street Law firm).  This hypertrophied role of intelligence agencies in military part of media-military-industrial complex essentially guarantied that it will soon escape civilian control and turn into "state within a state". Or as they call it now the Deep State.

Essentially Dwight Eisenhower correctly predicted inevitable collapse of American democracy, which actually happened in 1963 and gradual but inevitable transformation of the state into National Security State, the conversion which actually started with signing by Truman National Security Act of 1947  which created major three letter agencies (CIA, DOD, FBI and NSA) and was in full force during Eisenhower administration. Despite his understanding of the danger and some attempt to reverse the process Dwight Eisenhower was unable even to slow down this process during his administration, although it did cut military. 

We can distinguish several phases of conversion of the USA into National Security State:

JFK assassination as a coup detat of MIC against the "old state"

50th anniversary of JFK assassination and the key cue bono question about assassination:

Church Committee is the common term referring to the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, a U.S. Senate committee chaired by Senator Frank Church, to investigate the illegal intelligence gathering by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after the Watergate incident. It also investigated the CIA and FBI conduct relating to the JFK assassination.

Numerous books about the assassination suggest that in case actions of government represent a threat to their interests, elements of military industrial complex can overthrow the United States government by force of arms and that's can well be one interpretation of events which happened on November 22, 1963. HSCA had found that there were at least 2 shooters. The circumstances of JFK assassination are so troubling and confusing that they create an impression of CIA coup d'etat. This impression is strengthened by the fact that the US intelligence communities actively deceived the public and stonewalled the JFK murder investigation. This possibility is explored in several books such as Coup d'Etat in America The CIA and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Alan J. Weberman, Michael Canfield and German book JFK: Staatsstreich in Amerika. The reading of the former book suggests that some of the same forces the did Kennedy in also brought about the downfall of Nixon. Here is one Amazon review of the book:

The authors believe that two of the tramps arrested in Dealey Plaza that day were Howard Hunt and Frank Sturgis, and that JFK was killed by the CIA and Cuban exiles angry over the Bay of Pigs. The assassination was then made to look like the work of Castro. "Members of a specially trained assassination squad called Operation Forty were briefed on their roles in the conspiracy. A CIA agent named Lee Harvey Oswald, who had a high 'expendability rating,' was chosen to play the role of 'patsy' in the killing...Oswald was led to believe he was part of a plot to assassinate Castro when in reality he was being set up as a pro-Castro scapegoat...But the officials of the Cuban consulate in Mexico City refused to issue Oswald a visa. If they had acted differently, and the visa had been found on Oswald's person after the assassination, most Americans would have been convinced that [he] was an agent of Fidel Castro...His CIA case officer ordered him to bring a rifle to the depository on the same day Kennedy was visiting Dallas and told him that there would be a message waiting for him somewhere in the building around 12:30 that day."

There were two men behind the grassy knoll and two phony SS men behind the TSBD. "Meanwhile, the killers, disguised as tramps, hid in some nearby boxcars..." Tippit was supposed to silence Oswald but Oswald shot him first; he then went to the Texas Theater so he would be arrested in front of lots of people to guarantee that he would be taken alive. Ruby was ordered by the mob to kill him.

Bertrand Russell's famous question about the Warren Commission's conclusions, "If, as we are told, Oswald was the lone assassin, where is the issue of national security?" was never answered.

That creates a distinct impression that intelligence services ("Big Intelligence") play a very important role in what is called MIC and are the core component of the modern National Security State. To the extent that instead of the term "media military industrial complex" we probably should use "media military intelligence industrial complex". As John Chuckman noted in his Nov 6, 2013 essay HOW AMERICA LEARNED TO PLAY GOD

The record of arrogance and abuse by security organizations, such as CIA or the FBI, is long and costly, filled with errors in judgment, abuse of power, incompetence, and immense dishonesty. Owing to the black magic of classified secrecy, much of the record involves projects about which we will never know, but even what we do know about is distressing enough. And I’m not sure that it can be any other way so long as you have Big Intelligence. Apart from Big Intelligence’s own propensity towards criminal or psychopathic behavior, one of the great ironies of Big Intelligence is that it will always agree to bend, to provide whatever suppressions and fabrications are requested by political leaders working towards the aims of the other great anti-democratic institutions, the military and the corporations. This became blindingly clear in the invasion of Iraq and, even before that, in the first Gulf War.

Among other things by access to "dirt" on politicians they provide powerful political filtering system so that none undesirable slips into important office:

America’s political system, honed and shaped over many decades, fits comfortably with these institutions. National elections are dominated by a two-party duopoly (being kept that way through countless institutional barriers deliberately created to maintain the status quo) , both these parties are dominated by huge flows of campaign contributions (contributions which form what economists call an effective barrier to entry against any third party seriously being able to compete), both parties embrace much the same policies except for some social issues of little interest to the establishment, and election campaigns are reduced to nothing more than gigantic advertising and marketing operations no different in nature to campaigns for two national brands of fast food or pop. It takes an extremely long time for a candidate to rise and be tested before being trusted with the huge amounts of money invested in an important campaign, and by that time he or she is a well-read book with no surprising chapters.

If for any reason this political filtering system fails, and someone slips through to an important office without having spent enough time to make them perfectly predictable, there still remains little chance of serious change on any important matter. The military-industrial-intelligence complex provides a molded space into which any newcomer absolutely must fit. Just imagine the immense pressures exerted by the mere presence of senior Pentagon brass gathered around a long polished oak table or a table surrounded by top corporate figures representing hundreds of billions in sales or representatives or a major lobbying group (and multi-million dollar financing source for the party). We see the recent example of popular hopes being crushed after the election of Obama, a man everyone on the planet hoped to see mend some of the ravages of George Bush and Dick Cheney. But the man who once sometimes wore sandals and bravely avoided a superfluous and rather silly flag pin on his lapel quickly was made to feel the crushing weight of institutional power, and he bent to every demand made on him, becoming indistinguishable from Bush. Of course, the last president who genuinely did challenge at least some of the great institutional powers, even to a modest extent, died in an ambush in Dallas.

Snowden revelations of NSA activities in the USA

New round of debates about the dominance of military industrial complex and the level of control it exert over civil society was caused by recent revelations about NSA activities in the USA (see Big Uncle is Watching You).

Technology changes can really change the society. And not always in a beneficial for the society way. There is such thing as "blowback" in technologies. We can view recent NSA activities revealed by Snowden as a classic example of such blowback connected with the spread of Internet.  And it is a mistake to assume that such activities started with September 11 events and that Bush II was totally responsible for converting the USA into national-security state.  The technology was ready long before September 11 and what is available is always used by clandestine agencies.  They tend to adopt technology as soon as it is available, being in a pervert way "early adopters" of any communication technology. And this happens not only in the USA although the USA as technological leader was the most profoundly affected.

It might well be the Rubicon was crossed around JFK assassination time. On August 17, 1975 Senator Frank Church stated on NBC's Meet the Press without mentioning the name of the NSA (Church Committee - Wikipedia ):

In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.[11]

The creation and use of databases of personal information and the systematic records (archives) of communications of citizens started simultaneously with NSA creation. The first targets were mail and telegraph. Some of this experience came from specialists of Third Reich. At the height of the Cold War in the 1950s, law enforcement and intelligence leaders like J. Edgar Hoover at the F.B.I. and Allen Dulles at the C.I.A. aggressively recruited onetime Nazis of all ranks as secret, anti-Soviet “assets,” declassified records show. They believed the ex-Nazis’ intelligence value against the Russians outweighed what one official called “moral lapses” in their service to the Third Reich. The agency hired one former SS officer as a spy in the 1950s, for instance, even after concluding he was probably guilty of “minor war crimes.” And in 1994, a lawyer with the C.I.A. pressured prosecutors to drop an investigation into an ex-spy outside Boston implicated in the Nazis’ massacre of tens of thousands of Jews in Lithuania, according to a government official (In Cold War, U.S. Spy Agencies Used 1,000 Nazis - NYTimes.com).

Recording of all email envelopes (which was also done for snail mail) started long before email was invented and became established practice since the WWII. It just a new name now -- collection of metadata. Recording metadata of phone calls and often the calls themselves first started before WWII and technology was polished on international calls, which for obvious reasons are of great interest to all governments.

We don't know then it was extended on domestic calls, this this was trivial extension of already existing capacity and probably abuse was stated gradually as soon as power of computers allow that. That means around 1958. Even in early 1960 three letter agencies were already semi-autonomous entities, a state within the state. And as assassination on President Kennedy had shown they were audacious enough to bypass Congress.

I think that the first attempt to create a comprehensive nation-wide intelligence network that monitors sentiments of the citizens and hunt enemies of the state goes as far bask as Napoleon and his famous minister of police Joseph Fouché. Or may be it even goes as far back as to Byzantine Empire with its first in history systematic network of spies. As for recording of mail envelopes, we can even claim that this function for international mail (in a form of "black chambers") is as old as states are. In the USA it started in full force in August 1919 when J. Edgar Hoover became head of the Bureau of Investigation's new General Intelligence Division—also known as the Radical Division because its explicit goal was to monitor and disrupt the work of domestic radicals.

Hoover and his chosen assistant, George Ruch monitored a variety of U.S. radicals with the intent to punish, arrest, or deport them. Targets during this period included Marcus Garvey; Rose Pastor Stokes and Cyril Briggs; Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman; and future Supreme Court justice Felix Frankfurter, whom Hoover nicknamed as "the most dangerous man in the United States".

After 9/11 and the passage of the USA Patriot Act, the USA government got all the pre-conditions necessary for installing a regime of aggressive total surveillance. Which actually was a hidden intent and 9/11 was just a convenient pretext much like Tonkin incident in Vietnam war. And in this respect Ed Snowden whatever is his motivation (which might be not as simple as most people assume) did the right thin thing, when he with risk to his life informed the US public and the world about those activities. You may approve those revelations you may disapprove them (and they did damage the USA as a state), but keeping them secret from the US public is a crime.

NSA technically is a data collection agency. While it has legitimate function to monitor information that is crossing the national border, we need to understand that the abuse of this function and extension of it into domestic communications started nor after 9/11, but in 1950th. But the capacities to do this type of work had grown dramatically over last four decades. In a way NSA became a victim of growing power of computers and as well inherent tendency of bureaucracies, especially government bureaucracies to expand and self-justify their expansion. The classic case was the USSR where KGB was a real state within the state and sometimes it was not completely clear whether the Party controls KGB or KGB controls the Party.

In other words expansionism is an immanent quality, the second nature of large bureaucracies, and unless there is countervailing force it can be deadly for the society at large, as we observe in case with three letter agencies, which tend to escape from civil control and form a state within a state. In a way any state with powerful thre-letter agencies stand with one leg in a tyranny, even if it class itself a democracy. and that fact was already known to everybody in 1975. Actually just after president Kennedy assassination, which, no matter which version of events you adopt, in all cases indirectly pointed out that three letter agencies jumped out of control of civil government. As one Guardian reader commented "The pernicious thing is that it is in the nature of bureaucracies in general and spy agencies in particular to expand beyond reason unless there is effective oversight. In the case of intelligence agencies it has proven impossible to control them."

The nature of bureaucracies in general and spy agencies in particular to expand beyond reason unless there is effective oversight. In the case of intelligence agencies it has proven impossible to control them.

But that also means that most of those efforts are highly politicized, inefficient waist of resources as typical for large bureaucracies which are not so far technological but political bodies (see Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition).

We can admire the immortal foresight of Secretary of State Henry Stimson's  who closed the Cipher Bureau in 1929.  But this highly ethical, moral and courageous act deprived the U.S. of the capacity to read foreign diplomatic cables as world-wide threats grew.  So it was quickly reversed. In a way technology dictates the level of government surveillance in the society and in Internet society it looks like this level is permanently set on "high". That does not mean that we can't fight it. Yes, we can ;-)

MIC and dynamics of malignant growth of bureaucratic organizations

The idea that US foreign policy is affected by pressures imposed on US president  and his administration by the "national security oligarchy" interested mainly in self-preservation and expansion of their power in not new.

While major factors were conversion of the USA into empire and attempt to secure the world dominance, there was some internal dynamic connected with perverting of goals for which organization was created by any large bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is an organizational model rationally designed to perform complex tasks efficiently. Military and intelligence communities are classic examples of large bureaucratic organizations, and they are characterized by formalized rules and regulations, systematic record-keeping and archiving of past decisions, formalized planning for the future, hierarchies of status, defined career paths (within the organization and across organizations), a concern for organizational identity, and other features. Establish culture is "sticky" and is a very hard thing for any large bureaucratic organization to change. Reforms that run against a long-standing ethos -- especially chose that emphasize restraint and cut the power of the organization -- are very difficult to achieve

But most large bureaucracies, especially government, military and security  organizations (CIA, NSA FBI) quickly pervert the gols for which organization was created and start to pursue agenda of their own substituting official goal with the  goals of organization growth, and growth of power of top brass. In short that are subject to the same The Iron Law of Oligarchy as political parties.

So they have immanent propensity to become states with a state. For example the goal of army brass became to increase state engagement in any military conflict (aka "surge"). So despite the fact that bureaucracies are governed by rules make them something like staffed with human robots, where rules serve as a program governing the robot behavior. But as in sci-fi such robots very soon start to demonstrate behavior that was not designed by the original programmers ;-).

Once the bureaucracy commits itself to a course of action, it rarely adjusts its path. Bureaucracies prize continuity over innovation and cling to the prevailing orthodoxy even if that means moving strait till everybody start to fall from the cliff.  With the notable exception of the top layer of hierarchy ;-)

While each bureaucracy is created with particular mandate, like Frankenstein it very soon it escape the control of its creators and start living the life of its own, pursuing goals that might nothing to do, or worse completely opposite to those to achieve which it was created. At some point a new phenomenon called organizational culture emerge. the latter comprises an interlocking set of goals, roles, processes, values, communications practices, attitudes and assumptions. The elements fit together as a self-reinforcing system and are resistant to any attempt to change it. Hierarchy, with its attendant multiple layers of goals, roles, accountabilities, values and communication channels became entrenched.

Principal agent problem and growth of national security oligarchy

Any bureaucracy is a political coalition that is designed to protect and enrich its members and first of all top brass (see Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition). And that goal explicitly conflict with the goal of efficient and dispassionate service that they theoretically should provide. That means that there is inherent contradiction within any large bureaucratic organization. that also means that one of the most central problem of bureaucracies is Principal-agent problem  which is essentially another side of  The Iron Law of Oligarchy. This problem recently (in 2008) get some attention in respect to financial sector:

In political science and economics, the principal-agent problem or agency dilemma treats the difficulties that arise under conditions of incomplete and asymmetric information when a principal hires an agent, such as the problem that the two may not have the same interests, while the principal is, presumably, hiring the agent to pursue the interests of the former. The “agency problem” is an inherent dysfunction in all principal/agent relationships, a dysfunction so powerful that such relationships can never fully achieve their stated objectives.

. Here is how Wikipedia defines this relationship

The principal–agent problem or agency dilemma occurs when one person or entity (the "agent") is able to make decisions that impact, or on behalf of, another person or entity: the "principal". The dilemma exists because sometimes the agent is motivated to act in his own best interests rather than those of the principal. The agent-principal relationships is a useful analytic tool in political science and economics, but may also apply to other areas.

Common examples of this relationship include corporate management (agent) and shareholders (principal), or politicians (agent) and voters (principal).[1] For another example, consider a dental patient (the principal) wondering whether his dentist (the agent) is recommending expensive treatment because it is truly necessary for the patient's dental health, or because it will generate income for the dentist. In fact the problem potentially arises in almost any context where one party is being paid by another to do something, whether in formal employment or a negotiated deal such as paying for household jobs or car repairs.

The problem arises where the two parties have different interests and asymmetric information (the agent having more information), such that the principal cannot directly ensure that the agent is always acting in its (the principal's) best interests,[2] particularly when activities that are useful to the principal are costly to the agent, and where elements of what the agent does are costly for the principal to observe. Moral hazard and conflict of interest may arise. Indeed, the principal may be sufficiently concerned at the possibility of being exploited by the agent that he chooses not to enter into a transaction at all, when that deal would have actually been in both parties' best interests: a suboptimal outcome that lowers welfare overall. The deviation from the principal's interest by the agent is called "agency costs".[2]

But this problem is no less acute in intelligence organizations. By their statute it is very difficult to control them and check action of their brass. Which means intelligence brass became a new type of players within the elite with its own agenda, which they fiercely defend.   Scaremongering is one typical demonstration of "Principal-agent problem" with intelligence organization and military. That's why any attempt to downsize those organization usually are doomed to be a failure.  Inflating security threats is the way of preservation and growth for those organization.

“Looting” is a reasonably violent word that conveys with some degree of accuracy the essence of principal-agent problem. Perverse incentives is more politically correct work meaning essentially the same.  Attempts to constrain  looting by large government organizations such as CIA, NSA and FBI using laws and regulation, or at the individual level by replacing top brass, proved inefficient.

Criminal prosecution is difficult to launch against top officers of such organization and RICO status is inapplicable despite the fact that in many way they demonstrate behavior typical of organized crime. At the same time Stalinism-style purges, while definitely effective contradict norms of the modern societies.  Changing situation via regulation is difficult as "national security oligarchy" controls lawmakers and, as Obama elections had shown, also might well controls the nomination of presidential candidates from both parties. 

There are three laws that govern this process of corruption:

Even in cases of indoctrination with ideology which inhibits those impulses, corruption of the organizational elite of security services is a serious problem as collapse of the USSR demonstrated to the surprised world. Only an idiot (or PR prostitute ;-) would say that it was angry Russians who overthrow the Communist regime; in reality it was Communist elite, and first of all KGB elite which changed flags and privatized the state resources.

This is the key to understanding complex dynamics in large organization, where bureaucracies that often engage in actions that look close to absurd (or are absurd) to the uninitiated, but are always directed on preservation and enhancement of power of top bureaucrats.  One of the most important features of bureaucracies is that along with "functional side" it also necessarily becomes a political coalition which relentless, consistently and skillfully fights for self-preservation and growth of its influence, often sacrificing "functional" part like pawns in the chess game.  As soon as self-preservation become the paramount concern, the original purpose of the bureaucracy to provide efficient and dispassionate service ("functional part") is subverted and buried beneath the higher priority activities of  providing benefits, increasing staffing, and, the most importantly, increasing budgets ("political part").

As soon as self-preservation become the paramount concern, the original purpose of the bureaucracy to provide efficient and dispassionate service ("functional part") is subverted and buried beneath the higher priority activities of  providing benefits, increasing staffing, and, the most importantly, increasing budgets ("political part").

Tendency of mature bureaucracies to pervert their organizational, functional goals necessitates periodic purges and reorganizations. One of the first political party which understood this complex dynamic were Bolsheviks, who under Stalin instituted periodic purges of  State-employed bureaucrats ("apparatchiks"), so that the fear for their well-being (and often life) served as a powerful countervailing force to the natural tendency of bureaucracy to pervert its goals. Which of course have had only temporary effect. 

In the USA similar mechanisms of appointing as head of government agencies by political appointees (who are often, unfortunately, are completely incompetent in the area of activity they were made responsible for) is much less effective, but also has its positive sides.  The US Congress looks more stagnant then the USSR Politburo with the average serving term of senators probably exceeding twice of more the term of a typical Politburo member.

Limitation of term of the President along with natural change of  political objectives  serves as a periodic, but very mild reorganizing force. This effect is watered down by the short term assigned to the presidency as in such short  period it is impossible to institute substantial changes in top departments such as Department of State and Department of Defense (which actually has budget larger then GDP of the USSR and is probably less efficient in spending those money that the socialist economy of the USSR). 

Intelligence community is another part that tend quickly escape the control and pervert the goal for which particular organization was created. Here natural tendency of any large bureaucracy to try to enlarge their sphere of influence and minimize the control from  above looks really menacing to the very existence of democratic government in the country as Church Committee discovered long ago. To members of the commission CIA looked more like a tail which wags the dog, then as a regular part of the government, and as Assassination of President Kennedy had shown this is really the case. And it was the chief of FBI J. Edgar Hoover   who convincingly proved that that idea of rotation of high level executives in the US government has well defined exceptions. None of presidents dared to touch him until he died in the office occupying it for almost 40 years (1935-1972).

In large corporation the role similar to Stalin purges can play periodic changing of location of headquarters, as election of president of the corporation and its board are typically formal and are run by the same clique that runs the organization.

Security and intelligence bureaucracies as perfect environment for authoritarians and sociopaths

Another negative side of bureaucracies is that they serve as perfect environment for Authoritarians (especially Double High Authoritarians)  as well as sociopaths. See The psychopath in the corner office and Analogy between corporate and psychopathic behavior

So it is interesting that the term psychopathic is applicable to bureaucracies too, not only to individuals. Bureaucracies can demonstrate several of typical psychopathic traits. Like psychopathic managers, bureaucracies often prevent subordinates doing their jobs and prevent employees fulfilling their duties. The term Psychopathic corporation is often used to highlight the connection between corporate psychopaths and modern government organizations and mega-corporations. Here is a short but very useful list from Our Church Administration is Critically Infected « Another Voice

1.Illogical Thinking: The lack of independent, critical thinking.

2. Highly Compartmentalized Minds: Authoritarians’ ideas are poorly integrated with one another.

3. Double Standards : When your ideas live independent lives from one another it is pretty easy to use double standards in your judgments. You simply call up the idea that will justify (afterwards) what you’ve decided to do.

4. Hypocrisy: The leaders of authoritarian movements sometimes accuse their opponents of being anti-democratic and anti-free speech when the latter protest against various books, movies, speakers, teachers and so on.

5. Blindness To Themselves: self-righteousness.

6. A Profound Ethnocentrism: Ethnocentrism means dividing the world up into in-groups and out-groups…….in-groups are holy and good…out-groups are evil and Satanic.

7. Dogmatism: the Authoritarian’s Last Ditch Defense: By dogmatism I mean relatively unchangeable, unjustified certainty. Loyal followers obey without questions…..

The key feature of such companies is  that do not treat employees as humans, they treat them as animals to be culled when appropriate. 

Andrew Bacevich analysis of "New American Militarism" and its connection with American Exceptionalism, neocons and evangelicals

Professor Andrew Bacevich wrote several short books on the subject. Among them we can note two:

While both books are excellent the weakness of Bacevich approach is that he does not see connection between Neoliberalism demand for economic expansion and "New American Militarism". He provide sharp critique of neocons but never ask the question: which political forces brought those pathetic second or third rate thinkers to the forefront of formulation of the US foreign policy and maintain them for more then a decade after Iraq debacle. He also mistakenly believe that American people who were completely estranged from any influence on nation's policies bear some guilt for the policy which was formulated to benefit the first hundred of the largest US corporations,

The Limits of Power The End of American Exceptionalism

Here is one Amazon reader review of he first book (Amazon.com David R. Cook Dave Cook's review of The Limits of Power The End of American E...)

David R. Cook, August 15, 2008

Cliche or not, this is a "Must Read" book

This is the bluntest, toughest, most scathing critique of American imperialism as it has become totally unmoored after the demise of the Soviet Communist empire and taken to a new level by the Bush administration. Even the brevity of this book - 182 pages - gives it a particular wallop since every page "concentrates the mind".

In the event a reader knows of the prophetic work of the American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr, you will further appreciate this book. Bacevich is a Niebuhr scholar and this book essentially channels Niebuhr's prophetic warnings from his 1952 book, "The Irony of American History". The latter has just been reissued by University of Chicago Press thanks to Andrew Bacevich who also contributed an introduction.

In essence, American idealism as particularly reflected in Bush's illusory goal to "rid the world of evil" and to bring freedom and democracy to the Middle East or wherever people are being tyrannized, is doomed to failure by the tides of history. Niebuhr warned against this and Bacevich updates the history from the Cold War to the present. Now our problems have reached crisis proportions and Bacevich focuses on the three essential elements of the crisis: American profligacy; the political debasing of government; and the crisis in the military.

What renders Bacevich's critique particularly stinging, aside from the historical context he gives it (Bush has simply taken an enduring American exceptionalism to a new level), is that he lays these problems on the doorstep of American citizens. It is we who have elected the governments that have driven us toward near collapse. It is we who have participated willingly in the consumption frenzy in which both individual citizens and the government live beyond their means. Credit card debt is undermining both government and citizenry.

This pathway is unsustainable and this book serves up a direct and meaningful warning to this effect. Niebuhrian "realism" sees through the illusions that fuel our own individual behavior and that of our government. There are limits to American power and limits to our own individual living standards and, of course, there are limits to what the globe can sustain as is becoming evident from climate changes.

... ... ...

Edwin C. Pauzer VINE VOICE on September 24, 2008

... ... ...

According to the author, the US has reached its limit to project its power in the world. His rationale for this conclusion are three central crises we now face: economic and cultural, political, and military, all of which are our own making.

The first crisis is one of profligacy. Americans want more, whether it is wealth, credit, markets, or oil, without consideration for cost or how these things are acquired. There is complete apathy in what policies are being produced as long as they provide plenty.

The political crisis was born of our mobilization in World War II to meet the threat of tyranny, and from the Cold War to meet the challenge of the Soviet Union. Both gave rise to unprecedented presidential power, an ineffectual Congress, and a disastrous foreign policy. Bacevich contends that our legislature no longer serves their constituents or the common good "but themselves through gerrymandering, doling out prodigious amounts of political pork, seeing to the protection of certain vested interests" with the paramount concern of being re-elected. Our presidents have been willing accomplices in keeping the American dream or greed alive by using our military as part of a coercive diplomatic tool to feed and fuel the first crisis.

Bacevich traces the end of the republic to the start of both wars, which gave rise to the "ideology of national security." The mission of the new Department of Defense is not defense, but to project power globally where we will view any nation as a threat that tries to match us in military might. At the same time, the largest intelligence agencies in the world are created to afford us more security, but after seventy years are unable to defend our cities and buildings in the US while it worries about intrigues worldwide. Competition and rivalry lead to a lack of cooperation, intelligence, and security when it was needed most.

The third crisis is our military which has been employed to satisfy the neuroses of the first and second crises. The author puts much of the blame squarely at the feet of inept military leadership, which he believes has confused strategy with operations. Content with the resilience of the American fighting man or woman, he is scathing in his critique of their leadership finding them "guilty of flagrant professional malpractice, if not outright fraud." He illustrates how improvised explosive devices that cost no more than a pizza have checked a military that is designed for speed and maneuver--that was considered invincible.

Andrew Bacevich contends that nothing will change as long as Americans are told to go to Disney World instead of making sacrifices, as long as the same one half percent of our population continue to populate the military that the president sees as his personal army, as long as an apathetic public and an ineffectual Congress continue to make periodic, grand gestures of curbing presidential power, the United States will have reached the limits of its power and exceptionalism.

This book profoundly moved me, and I was impressed by the insight that Professor Bacevich could bring in such few pages. Passages of this book should be plastered in the halls and offices of Congress, as well as the West Wing.

This book really stands out as a jewel in a sea of mediocre publications by radio and TV personalities who think they know what they are talking about when it comes to economics or geopolitics. The difference is that Andrew Bacevich does

--without exception.

Also Recommended:

The New American Militarism

There are several very insightful reviews of Bacevich latest book The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War on Amazon. I strongly recommend to read them.

Bacevich argues that the new militarism came about because of a convergence of several social forces (and as such has significant social base):

For your convenience some of  them which I judge to be the most insightful are reproduced below:

Andrew J. Bacevich's The New American Militarism: How Americans Are seduced By War, Oxford University Press, New York, 2005, ISBN 0-19-517338-4, is the most coherent analysis of how America has come to its present situation in the world that I have ever read. Bacevich, Professor of International Relations and Director of the Center for International Relations at Boston University, is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and holds a Ph.D. in history from Princeton. And he is retired military officer. This background makes him almost uniquely qualified to comment on the subject.

Bacevich admits to an outlook of moderate conservatism. But in ascribing fault for our plight to virtually every administration since W.W. II, he is even handed and clear eyed. Since he served in the military, he understands the natural bureaucratic instincts of the best of the officer corps and is not blinded by the almost messianic status that they have achieved in the recent past.

His broad brush includes the classic period, the American Revolution - especially the impact of George Washington, but he moves quickly to the influence of Woodrow Wilson and his direct descendants of our time, the Neoconservatives. The narrative accelerates and becomes relevant for us in the depths of the despair of Vietnam. At that juncture, neocon intellectuals awakened to the horror that without a new day for our military and foreign policy, the future of America would be at stake. At almost the same time, Evangelical Christians abandoned their traditional role in society and came to views not dissimilar to the neocons. America had to get back on track to both power and goodness. The results of Vietnam on American culture, society, and - especially - values were abhorrent to both these groups.

The perfect man to idealize and mythologize America's road back was Ronald Reagan. Again, Bacevich does not shrink from seeing through the surreal qualities brought to the Oval Office by Reagan to the realities beneath them. The Great Communicator transformed the Vietnam experience into an abandonment of American ideals and reacquainted America with those who fought that horrible war. Pop culture of the period, including motion pictures such as Top Gun and best selling novels by many, including Tom Clancy completely rehabilitated the image of the military.

The author describes how Evangelical leaders came to find common cause with the neocons and provided the political muscle for Reagan and his successors of both parties to discover that the projection of military might become a reason for being for America as the last century closed.

One of his major points is that the all volunteer force that resulted from the Vietnam experience has been divorced from American life and that sending this force of ghosts into battle has little impact on our collective psyche. This, too, fit in with the intellectual throw weight of the neocons and the political power of the Evangelicals.

Separate from but related to the neocons, Bacevich describes the loss of strategic input by the military in favor of a new priesthood of intellectual elites from institutions such as the RAND Corporation, The University of Chicago and many others. It was these high priests who saw the potential that technology provided for changing the nature of war itself and how American power might be projected with `smart weapons' that could be the equivalent of the nuclear force that could never be used.

So it was that when the war we are now embroiled in across the globe - which has its antecedents back more than twenty years - all of these forces weighed heavily on the military leaders to start using the force we'd bought them. The famed question by Secretary of State Madeline Albright to General Colin Powell: "What's the point of having this superb military that you're always talking about if we can't use it?" had to have an answer and the skirmishes and wars since tended to provide it.

Bacevich clearly links our present predicaments both at home and abroad to the ever greater need for natural resources, especially oil from the Persian Gulf. He demolishes all of the reasons for our bellicosity based on ideals and links it directly to our insatiable appetite for oil and economic expansion. Naturally, like thousands of writers before him, he points out the need for a national energy policy based on more effective use of resources and alternative means of production.

It is in his prescriptions that the book tends to drift. The Congress must do its constitutionally mandated jobs or be thrown out by the people. Some of his ideas on military education are creative and might well close the gap between the officer corps and civilians that he points to as a great problem.

But it is the clearly written analysis that makes this book shine. It should be a must read for those who wonder how we got to Iraq and where we might be heading as a society. The nation is in grave danger, and this is a book that that shows how we got to this juncture. Where we go from here is up to us. If we continue as we are, our options may narrow and be provided by others.

READ THIS BOOK

===This review is from: The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War (Hardcover)

In his book The New American Militarism (2005), Andrew Bacevich desacralizes our idolatrous infatuation with military might, but in a way that avoids the partisan cant of both the left and the right that belies so much discourse today. Bacevich's personal experiences and professional expertise lend his book an air of authenticity that I found compelling. A veteran of Vietnam and subsequently a career officer, a graduate of West Point and later Princeton where he earned a PhD in history, director of Boston University's Center for International Relations, he describes himself as a cultural conservative who views mainstream liberalism with skepticism, but who also is a person whose "disenchantment with what passes for mainstream conservatism, embodied in the present Bush administration and its groupies, is just about absolute." Finally, he identifies himself as a "conservative Catholic." Idolizing militarism, Bacevich insists, is far more complex, broader and deeper than scape-goating either political party, accusing people of malicious intent or dishonorable motives, demonizing ideological fanatics as conspirators, or replacing a given administration. Not merely the state or the government, but society at large, is enthralled with all things military.

Our military idolatry, Bacevich believes, is now so comprehensive and beguiling that it "pervades our national consciousness and perverts our national policies." We have normalized war, romanticized military life that formally was deemed degrading and inhuman, measured our national greatness in terms of military superiority, and harbor naive, unlimited expectations about how waging war, long considered a tragic last resort that signaled failure, can further our national self-interests. Utilizing a "military metaphysic" to justify our misguided ambitions to recreate the world in our own image, with ideals that we imagine are universal, has taken about thirty years to emerge in its present form. It is this marriage between utopians ends and military means that Bacevich wants to annul.

How have we come to idolize military might with such uncritical devotion? He likens it to pollution: "the perhaps unintended, but foreseeable by-product of prior choices and decisions made without taking fully into account the full range of costs likely to be incurred" (p. 206). In successive chapters he analyzes six elements of this toxic condition that combined in an incremental and cumulative fashion.

  1. After the humiliation of Vietnam, an "unmitigated disaster" in his view, the military set about to rehabilitate and reinvent itself, both in image and substance. With the All Volunteer Force, we moved from a military comprised of citizen-soldiers that were broadly representative of all society to a professional warrior caste that by design isolated itself from broader society and that by default employed a disproportionate percentage of enlistees from the lowest socio-economic class. War-making was thus done for us, by a few of us, not by all of us.
  2. Second, the rise of the neo-conservative movement embraced American Exceptionalism as our national end and superior coercive force as the means to franchise it around the world.
  3. Myth-making about warfare sentimentalized, sanitized and fictionalized war. The film Top Gun is only one example of "a glittering new image of warfare."
  4. Fourth, without the wholehearted complicity of conservative evangelicalism, militarism would have been "inconceivable," a tragic irony when you consider that the most "Christian" nation on earth did far less to question this trend than many ostensibly "secular" nations.
  5. Fifth, during the years of nuclear proliferation and the fears of mutually assured destruction, a "priesthood" of elite defense analysts pushed for what became known as the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA). RMA pushed the idea of "limited" and more humane war using game theory models and technological advances with euphemisms like "clean" and "smart" bombs. But here too our "exuberance created expectations that became increasingly uncoupled from reality," as the current Iraq debacle demonstrates.
  6. Finally, despite knowing full well that dependence upon Arab oil made us vulnerable to the geo-political maelstroms of that region, we have continued to treat the Persian Gulf as a cheap gas station. How to insure our Arab oil supply, protect Saudi Arabia, and serve as Israel's most important protector has always constituted a squaring of the circle. Sordid and expedient self interest, our "pursuit of happiness ever more expansively defined," was only later joined by more lofty rhetoric about exporting universal ideals like democracy and free markets, or, rather, the latter have only been a (misguided) means to secure the former.

Bacevich opens and closes with quotes from our Founding Fathers. In 1795, James Madison warned that "of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other." Similarly, late in his life George Washington warned the country of "those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hotile to republican liberty."

K. Johnson:

 Relevant and Objective, January 3, 2007

... ... ...

The author astutely reinforces the fact that the Militarist Mentality won't change, regardless of which political party is in control of the Executive and Houses of Congress in the United States. Here only some examples out of many:

Entry of the U.S. military into the Middle East:

THE CARTER DOCTRINE:

The Carter Doctrine was prescribed at the State of the Union Address in 1980. Another civilian prescription utilizing the military as medicine to alleviate and even cure, political symptoms. This Doctrine began a new era of U.S. involvement in the Middle East, specifically using the American military to enforce its economic interests and lifestyle dependence on oil. The Carter Doctrine was a major shift in American foreign policy in the Middle East. It specifically stated that use of the military can and will be used to enforce U.S. economic interests.

At his State of the Union Address, Carter stated:

"Any attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be declared as an assault on the vital interest of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force" (p. 181).

Worth noting is that the Carter Doctrine was declared during the Cold War, when there was a adversary to check U.S interests. Today, that rival is gone.

Some argue the so-called 'War on Terror' is merely a historical continuation of American foreign policy interests in using its military to promote its geo-political and economic interests.

WAR AS SPECTATOR SPORT:

War has been, and now is presented as a spectacle. No different than a spectator sport. Live reports, video display, and laymen presentations of new technology, usually via video, to the civilian public at press conferences.

One example of many are current U.S. newspaper reports: they don't use the term "wounded" when reporting about American soldiers in Iraq. They use the euphemistic term, "injured." "17 Iraqis 'wounded' and 3 American soldiers 'injured.'" Similar to a football game. Slogans such as "Shock and Awe, Support the Troops," and deck of cards identifying the most wanted Baath party members. "Freedom is not Free." Many American military personel (and civilians) have internalized this propaganda.

Using Hollywood To Enhance "Honor" and perpetuate myths:

Bacevich carefully details the planned and choreographed footage of George W. Bush dressed as a fighter pilot on the USS Abraham Lincoln. This was intentionally and specifically lifted from the movie "Top Gun." Immediately after this planned footage, an action figure doll was created and sold for $39.99. It was called the "Elite Force Aviator: George W. Bush: U.S. President and Naval Aviator" (p. 31).

Well-dressed, handsome, and beautiful anchors report about the war in such series as "The Week in War." More simulation of the spectator sport of war in our pop culture. One segment in the "Week in War program" is called "The Fallen," where the photo of a soldier, his name, age, and hometown are presented, and the date of his death. Then the cameramen go to his family's home. Often a family picture of the "fallen soldier" is shown. Then, an interview with the somber, and at times tearful family in their living room, sitting on their couch: "He was a good kid. He always wanted to help people."

The "Fallen" is related to a concept that the Germans began about 300 years ago. This concept is called the "Cult of the Fallen Soldier." When a soldier is killed in war he is elevated to a higher status because of his death. He is placed on a pedestal, because somehow, and in some enigmatic way, he "sacrificed" for a noble cause that is often abstract or confusing to the public. To further simplify the confusion and sullenness resulting from the soldier's death, religion is often injected into the deceased soldiers elevation on a pedestal. You can see this Cult of the Fallen Soldier in Arlington, Virgina today, and in many military cemeteries around the world.

GLORIFICATION OF THE MILITARY THROUGH MOVIES:

Bacevich notes moves and their role. "Top Gun" had a tremendous impact in many ways. Pop culture, and Navy recruiting sky-rocketing. As for the flurry of "Vietnam war movies," again the noble concepts of "courage, honor, fear, triumph" are latently and explicitly reinforced to the public of all ages and socio-economic levels.

It took me a chapter or two to get used to Bacevich's writing style, but I grew to like it.

Chapters: 1) Wilsonians Under Arms 2) The Military Professions at Bay 3) Left, Right, Center 4) California Dreaming 5) Onward 6) War Club 7) Blood for Oil 8) Common Defense

"Support" for the military is often incorrectly linked with one's "patriotism." This faulty thinking is perpetuated by the electronic and print media in often subtle forms but extremely effective forms, and at times very explicit and in aggressive manners. The government intentionally steers the publics' focus to the 'Military aspects of war' to avoid attention to the more realistic and vital 'political aspects.' The latter being at the real heart of the motivation, manner, and outcome of most *political* conflicts.

Bacevich notes journalists: journalist Thomas Friedman complained that a Super Bowl half-time show did not honor the "troops." He then drove to the Command Center to visit and speak with the "troops." Soon after, he carried on with his own self-centered interests, like everyone else.

The military in and of itself is not dangerous nor pernicious. The military doesn't formulate foreign policy. The military just implements it, carrying out the orders and instructions of elitist civilians who have never served in the armed forces. It's not the military nor the men and women serving in it, we must be wary of. It's the civilians masters with vested interests in the governmental and corporate world who must be held accountable.

General Creighton Abrams wanted to diminish the influence of civilian control over the military after Vietnam. Civilians and politicians were making military decisions. It seems the situation is similar in 2007. Chairman of the JCS Peter Pace sounds political. History will be the judge.

This is a very insightful book for those interested in recent history as well as the current situation the United States is in. The troops should be supported for what they do. Because unfortunately they are the ones that pay the price for elitist decisions made by upper-class civilians from the Ivy League cliques that run the U.S. politically and economically.

... ... ...

Robert S. Frey
An Informed, Insightful, and Highly Readable Account of American Foreign Policy Today, December 23, 2006

... What I found most beneficial was that the book presented well-argued alternative historical "meta-narratives" that are much more closely aligned with post-World War II historical events and processes than the ones currently accepted as "conventional wisdom." A case in point is the periodization of World War IV beginning with President Carter's pronouncements regarding the Persian Gulf area in 1980 rather than with the terrorist attacks on America on 9/11. "The New American Militarism" carefully and credibly brings together the many seemingly disparate actions, decisions, and events of the past 60+ years (e.g., the atomic bombing of Japan, Vietnam, oil shortages of the 1970s and 80s, the end of the Cold War, the First Gulf War, etc.) and illustrates important patterns and trends that help to explain why United States' foreign policy is what it is today. Dr. Bacevich's book helps us understand and appreciate that the global projection of American military power today has deep roots in the national decisions and behaviors of the second half of the twentieth century.

Robert S. Frey, M.A., MBA, MSM
Adjunct Professor, History
Brenau University

Dr. Lee D. Carlson

Interesting, insightful, and motivating, October 21, 2006

...If one examines carefully American history, it is fair to say that Americans have been reluctant to go to war, preferring instead to settle conflicts via negotiation and trade agreements. Americans have been led to the horrors of war kicking and screaming, and breath a sigh of relief when they are over. Historically, Americans have applied extreme skepticism to those politicians, like Woodrow Wilson, who wanted to participate in World War I to make the world "safe for democracy." So if Americans are "seduced by war", as the author contends they have been in recent decades, an explanation must be found. It is tempting to say that they have been merely "brainwashed", and contemporary neuroscience lends some credence to this claim, but one must still be open to alternative explanations, and let the evidence determine the proper interpretation. Once the causes have been identified, it becomes necessary to find methodologies and strategies to counter these causes, lest we find ourselves in another unnecessary and brutal conflict, initiated by some who do not directly participate in it, and have no intention ever to do so.

... ... ...

R. Albin:

 Exceptional Polemic; 4.5 Stars, October 19, 2006

This concise and well written book is the best kind of polemic; clear, well argued, and designed to provoke debate. Bacevich is definitely interested in persuading readers of the truth of his views but his calm and invective free prose, insistence on careful documentation, and logical presentation indicate that his primary concern is promote a high level of discussion of this important issue. Bacevich argues well that a form of militarism based on an exaggerated sense of both American mission and American power, specifically military power, has infected public life. He views this militarism as both leading to unnecessary and dangerous adventures abroad, epitomized by the Iraq fiasco, and corrupting the quality of domestic debate and policy making. Beyond documenting the existence of this phenomenon, Bacevich is concerned with explicating how this form of militarism, which he views as contrary to American traditions, came to be so popular.

Bacevich argues well that the new militarism came about because of a convergence of actions by a number of different actors including our professional military, neoconservative intellectuals and publicists, evangelical Christians, resurgent Republican party activists, and so-called defense intellectuals. For a variety of reasons, these sometimes overlapping groups converged on ideas of the primacy of American military power and the need to use it aggressively abroad. Bacevich devotes a series of chapters to examining each of these actors, discussing their motivations and actions, often exposing shabby and inconsistent thinking. Some of these, like the role of neoconservative intellectuals and the Religous Right, are fairly well known.

Others, like the behavior of professional military over the last generation, will be novel to many readers. Bacevich's chapters have underlying themes. One is the persisent occurrence of ironic events as the actions of many of these groups produced events counter to their goals. The post-Vietnam professional military attempted to produce a large, vigorous military poised to fight conventional, WWII-like, combats. This force was intended to be difficult for politicians to use. But as these often highly competent professionals succeeded to restoring the quality of the American military, the temptation to use it became stronger and stronger, and control escaped the professionals back into the hands of politicians as varied as Bush II and Clinton. Another theme is that politicians seized on use military force as an alternative to more difficult and politically unpalatable alternatives. Jimmy Carter is described correctly as initiating the American preoccupation with control of the Persian Gulf oil supplies, which has generated a great deal of conflict over the past generation. Bacevich presents Carter as having to act this way because his efforts to persuade Americans to pursue sacrifice and a rational energy policy were political losers. Ronald Reagan is presented as the epitome of this unfortunate trend.

Bacevich is generally convincing though, perhaps because this is a short book, there are some issues which are presented one-sidedly. For example, its true that Carter began the military preoccupation with the Persian Gulf. But, its true as well that his administration established the Dept. of Energy, began a significant program of energy related research, moved towards fuel standards for vehicles and began the regulatory policies that would successfully improve energy efficiency for many household items. No subsequent administration had done more to lessen dependence on foreign oil.

Bacevich also omits an important point. As he points out, the different actors that sponsored the new militarism tended to converge in the Republican Party. But, as has been pointed out by a number of analysts, the Republican Party is a highly disparate and relatively unstable coalition. The existence of some form of powerful enemy, perceived or real, is necessary to maintain Republican solidarity. The new militarism is an important component of maintaining the internal integrity of the Republican party and at unconciously appreciated as such by many important Republicans.

An interesting aspect of this book is that Bacevich, a West point grad, former career Army officer, and self-described cultural conservative, has reproduced many of the criticisms put forward by Leftist critics.

Bacevich concludes with a series of interesting recommendations that are generally rational but bound to be controversial and probably politically impossible. Again, this is an effort to change the nature of the discussion about these issues.

Adam Bahner
How Permanent Military Deployment Became Congruent With World Peace, June 29, 2006

In The New American Militarism, Andrew J. Bacevich contends that American culture and policy since the end of the Cold War has merged a militaristic ethos with a utopian global imaginary. He notes that American militarism is a "bipartisan project" with "deep roots" that even garner support on the political margins, with some leftist activists seeing a humanitarian mission for U.S. global military hegemony. He traces these roots to the worldview of Woodrow Wilson, who envisioned a globe "remade in America's image and therefore permanently at peace." Yet Wilson's view was moderated by a public and policy perception of war as an ugly, costly, brutal, traumatic and unpredictable last resort. This is corroborated by the massive military demobilizations that followed U.S. involvement in both world wars. Bacevich also points to works of popular culture, from Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet On The Western Front to Oliver Stone's Platoon, that reflect on the inhumanity of war from World War I through Vietnam.

Bacevich sees a massive deviation from these historical trends after the end of the Cold War. While conceding that a permanent military mobilization was expected during the Cold War (from roughly NSC-68 to the fall of the Berlin Wall)--no significant demobilization followed. Forces slated for deactivation were quickly mobilized for Operation Desert Storm. No successful popular culture critiques of that war's brutality would emerge. The author sees the end of the cold war and Desert Storm as framing a period of "new American militarism" that breaks from historical precedent in several regards. He claims that since the 1988 presidential campaign, the character of the presidency has emphasized military more than civilian leadership. This contradicts previous presidents of military stature (e.g. Grant, Eisenhower) who obsessively positioned themselves as civilians. Post-Cold War military budgets have been dramatically larger despite no global adversary. The public has uncritically accepted a permanent military stance. The perception of war as ghastly and treacherous has been replaced with war as a clinical and technologically managed spectacle. The link between the covenant of citizenship and military service has been replaced by a specialized force of volunteers. The numbers of veterans serving in congress has steadily decreased since World War II. Bacevich correlates this with the shunning of military service by elites as the military has increasingly drawn from areas of the population that are poor and brown. Because of this, force is "outsourced" and in turn the stature of soldiers has dramatically increased through an infrastructure of praise by the majority who are not involved in military operations. Senior military officers have tremendous clout in politics, policy, and spending.

To understand this new militarism, Bacevich notes that it is point-for-point an inversion of Vietnam's military milieu. There, politicians up through the president framed themselves as civilians, officers felt out of touch with bureaucratic decisions, and war was perceived as carnal and bumbling. The book traces cultural responses to Vietnam that reformed the American relationship to militarism. As military leaders like Creighton Abrams sought to mandate broad political investment for military action by creating interdependence with reserves and to limit the criteria for deployment with the Weinberger doctrine, politicians like Ronald Reagan rehabilitated an American demoralization that peaked with Carter's failed Operation Eagle Claw by invoking popular culture mythologies like Rambo.

Bacevich is unabashedly religious. He ultimately couches America's outsourced and technocratic militarism as a departure from natural Gods in the pursuit of a scientistic idol that more perfectly regulates human affairs. He openly sees in this scientism the same flaw and outcome as Communism or Fascism. He suggests that affirmation of military service across economic privilege would raise the stakes of military engagements and help to contradict the cultural illusions that form the basis of American militarism. (That war is technical, distant, clinical, predictable, outsourced, humane, and everything contrary to what writers like Remarque tell us.) He meticulously synthesizes a new paradigm that relates the difficult subjects of military policy and popular sanction. In this regard, The New American Militarism is an exciting contribution to historical scholarship.

M. Ward:

The New American Militarism - A Bipolar Look at Todays State of Affairs, February 4, 2006

...The book is about American militarism, which Bacevich describes as the "misleading and dangerous conceptions of war, soldiers, and military institutions" that have become part of the American conscience and have `perverted' US national security policy. According to Bacevich, American militarism has subordinated the search for the common good to the permanent value of military effectiveness that will bankrupt the US economically and morally. Bacevich supports this thesis by discussing issues that have contributed to this state of affairs.

Bacevich believes the current state of American militarism has roots dating back to the Wilson administration. Wilson's vision was to remake the world in America's image. God Himself willed the universal embrace of liberal democracies and Wilson saw the US as a `divine agent' to make the world a safe and democratic place. Today, with no serious threat to keep our military forces in check, we are now, more than ever, free to spread liberal democracy using military force, if necessary.

Considering the military, Bacevich makes the point that the militarism of America is also due, in part, to the officer corps of the US military trying to rehabilitate the image and profession of the soldier after the Vietnam War. Officers attempted to do this by reversing the roles of the soldiers and the politicians that was problematic during the Vietnam War. They tried to establish the primacy of the military over the civilians in decisions as to how to use the military. The Weinberger and Powell doctrines were the manifestation of this idea by spelling out conditions for the use of the US military in combat.

Neo-conservatives further enhanced the trend of militarism. They see US power as an instrument for good and the time was right to use the military to achieve the final triumph of Wilson's idea of spreading American liberal democracy around the globe.

Religion also played a role. According to Bacevich, evangelical Protestants see the US as a Christian nation singled out by God and Americans are His chosen people. These evangelicals believed the Vietnam War was not only a military crisis, but also a cultural and moral crisis threatening our status. Evangelicals looked to the military to play a pivotal role in saving the US from internal collapse due to the higher expression of morals and values found in the military. The military would become the role model to reverse the trend of godlessness and social decay.

Another set of actors that contributed to American militarism were the defense intellectuals whose main contribution was to bring the military back under civilian control. According to Bacevich, they laid the groundwork of our current policy of `preventative war' and reinforced American militarism.

Finally, Bacevich accuses politicians of deceiving the American public as to the true nature of American militarism by wrapping militarism in the comfortable trappings of nationalism. By using labels such as the Global War on Terrorism, politicians are using a political sleight-of-hand trick to hide our true militaristic nature in patriotic terms. Bacevich concludes his book with a list of recommendations to mitigate the current trend of American militarism.

... ... ...

David Friedman:

...Refreshingly, Bacevich approaches the new American militarism as neither a Democrat nor Republican, from neither the left nor the right. No doubt, those with a stake in defending the policy of the present Administration no matter how foolish, or in castigating it as the main source of our current militarism, will see "bias" in this book. The truth though is that Bacevich makes a genuine effort to approach his subject in a spirit of open and disinterested inquiry. He has earned the right to say, near the end of his book, that "this account has not sought to assign or impute blame." As a result, he is not stymied by the possibility of embarrassing one political side or the other by his arguments or conclusions. This leads to a nuanced and highly independent and original treatment of the subject.

In chronicling the rise of American militarism, Bacevich rightly starts with Wilson's vision of American exceptionalism: an America leading the world beyond the slaughterhouse of European battlefields to an international order of peaceful democratic states. But where President Wilson wanted to create such a world for the express purpose of rendering war obsolete, Bacevich notes that today's "Wilsonians" want to export American democracy through the use of force. He follows this overview with an insider's thumbnail history of American military thinking from Vietnam to the first Gulf war. He explains how the military in effect re-invented itself after Vietnam so as to make it far more difficult "to send the Army off to fight while leaving the country behind." Today's highly professionalized and elite force is largely the result of this thinking. In turn this professional military presented to the country and its civilian leaders a re-invented model of war: war waged with surgical precision and offering "the prospect of decision rather than pointing ineluctably toward stalemate and quagmire." Gulf War I was the triumphant culmination of this model. The unintended and ironic consequence, of course, was that war and the aggressive projection of American military power throughout the world came to be viewed by some in our nation's leadership as an increasingly attractive policy option.

The body of the book analyzes how the legitimate attempt to recover from the national trauma of Vietnam led ultimately to a militarism increasingly reflected in crucial aspects of American life. In religion he traces how a "crusade" theory of warfare has supplanted the more mainstream "just war" theory. In popular culture he discusses the rise of a genre of pop fiction and movies reflecting a glamorized and uncritical idealization of war (he examines "An Officer and A Gentleman", "Rambo: First Blood Part II", and "Top Gun" as examples). In politics he identifies the neo-conservative movement as bringing into the mainstream ideas that "a decade earlier might have seemed reckless or preposterous"; for example the idea that the United States is "the most revolutionary force on earth" with an "inescapable mission" to spread democracy -- by the sword if necessary. Bacevich calls these ideas "inverted Trotskyism", and notes that the neo-conservative movement shares with Mao the assumption that revolution springs "from the barrel of a gun".

Bacevich concludes his book with a pithy ten-point critique offered as a starting point for "a change in consciousness, seeing war and America's relationship to war in a fundamentally different way." Among his points are greater fidelity to the letter and the spirit of the Constituional provisions regarding war and the military, and increased strategic self-sufficiency for America. Perhaps the most important points of his critique are those about ending or at least reducing the current disconnect between er how we might reduce

Patrick Connor

... If you criticize anything about the United States, you're automatically anti-Bush. If you question the wisdom of viewing the military as a first-option in handling international problems, you're even worse: a liberal anti-Bush peacenick. History supposedly demonstrates that diplomacy never works with any "tyrant" (whatever that is), while war allegedly always work. It's just one stark claim after another, with never any gray area in the middle.

If you read the book, this "you're either with us or with the terrorists, either dream war or hate President Bush" mentality should remind you of something. It very closely resembles the description Bacevich gives of neoconservatism, which he says engenders a worldview that is constantly in crisis mode. Things are always so dire for neocons, Bacevich explains, that only two feasible options present themselves at any given time: doing what the neocons want (usually deploying military force in pursuit of some lofty but unrealistic goal), or suffering irreversible and potentially fatal setbacks to our national cause.

... ... ...

Their most important objective was to ensure that no more Wilsonian misadventures (like Vietnam) would happen. The officer corps did this by carving out a space of authority for the top brass, from which they could have unprecedented input in policy decisions, and be able to guide strategy and tactics once the military deployed into action. After ascending to a position of greater prominence, they implemented the "Weinberger Doctrine," followed by the "Powell Doctrine," both specifically tailored to avoid Vietnam-style quagmires. The Gulf War, claims Bacevich, saw the fruition of fifteen years of hard work to accomplish these reforms. And they worked beautifully.

However, the end of the last decade saw the Neo-conservatives challenge the status quo. And with the election of W. Bush, they were finally in a position where their ideas could again have a disproportionate influence on foreign policy. What we now have in Iraq is another military quagmire, where the solution must be political, but where military occupation renders political solutions impossible...

Andrew S. Rogers:

 Baedecker on the road to perdition, December 5, 2005

I was sorry to see Andrew J. Bacevich dismiss Chalmers Johnson's 2004 The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project) quite as quickly as he did (on page 3 of the introduction, in fact), because I think these two books, taken together, provide probably the best -- and certainly the most historically-informed -- look at the rise and consequences of American empire. I endorse "The New American Militarism" as heartily as I did "The Sorrows of Empire."

Bacevich's capsule summary of Johnson's work notwithstanding, both these books take the long view of America's international military presence and are quick to grasp one key point. As Bacevich notes on page 205, "American militarism is not the invention of a cabal nursing fantasies of global empire and manipulating an unsuspecting people frightened by the events of 9/11. Further, it is counterproductive to think in these terms -- to assign culpability to a particular president or administration and to imagine that throwing the bums out will put things right."

In several insightful chapters, Bacevich traces the rise of militarism over the course of several administrations and many decades. A former Army officer himself, the author is particularly insightful in charting the efforts of the military's officer corps to recover from the stigma of Vietnam and reshape the *ethos* of the armed services as an elite intentionally separate from, and morally superior to, the society it exists to defend. But the officers are only one of the strands Bacevich weaves together. He also looks at the influence of the "defense intellectuals;" the importance of evangelical Christians and how their view of Biblical prophecy shapes their understanding of politics; the rise of (yes) the neo-conservatives; and even the role of Hollywood in changing America's understandings of the "lessons of Vietnam" and the re-glamorization of the military in films like "Top Gun."

The author is a sharp-eyed analyst, but also an engaging writer, and he gives the reader a lot to think about. I was intrigued, for example, by his discussion of how "supporting the troops" has become the *sine qua non* of modern politics and how doing so has replaced actual military service as an indicator of one's love of country. More fundamentally, his identification and analysis of "World War III" (already over) and "World War IV" (currently underway, and declared [surprisingly] by Jimmy Carter) struck me as a remarkably useful lens for interpreting current events.

In tying his threads together, Bacevich is not afraid to make arguments and draw conclusions that may make the reader uncomfortable. As the passage I quoted above makes clear, for example, someone looking for a straightforward declaration that "It's all Bush's fault!" will have to go someplace else. As a further implication of the above passage, Bacevich argues that the "defense intellectuals," the evangelicals, and even the neocons were and are doing what they believe are most likely to promote peace, freedom, and the security of the American people. "To the extent that we may find fault with the results of their efforts, that fault is more appropriately attributable to human fallibility than to malicious intent" (p. 207). Additionally, Bacevich is unashamed of his military service, holds up several military leaders as heroes, has some choice words for the self-delusions of leftist "peace activists," and even argues that federal education loans should be made conditional on military service.

This doesn't mean the president and his fellow conservatives get off much easier, though. Bacevich is roundly critical of Bush and his administration, including Colin Powell; dismisses the Iraq invasion ("this preposterous enterprise" [p. 202]); and in a move that will probably get him crossed off the Thayer Award nominations list, suggests officer candidates be required to graduate from civilian universities instead of West Point (his alma mater) or Annapolis -- intellectually-isolated institutions that reinforce the officer caste's separation from civil society.

So this book isn't one that will blindly reinforce anyone's prejudices. In part for that reason -- but mostly for its trenchant analysis, readable prose, and broad historical view -- I'm happy to list "The New American Militarism" as one of the best and most important books I've read in some time. Perhaps even since "The Sorrows of Empire."

Izaak VanGaalen:
 Militarism and Public Opinion, August 12, 2005

According to many of the custodians of public opinion, Andrew Bacevich has earned his right to a fair hearing. Not only is he a graduate of West Point, a Vietnam veteran, and a conservative Catholic, he is a professor of international relations and a contributor to "The Weekly Standard" and "The National Review." Obviously, if he were a left-leaning anti-war Democrat and a contributor to, say, "The Nation," he wouldn't be taken seriously as a critic of American militarism - he would be merely another "blame-America-first" defeatist.

Bacevich sees militarism manifesting itself in some disquieting ways. Traditionally America has always gauged the size of its military with the magnitude of impending threats. After the Civil War, World War I and II, the military was downsized as threats receded. Not so after the fall of the Soviet Union. The military budget has continued to grow and the expenditures are greater - by some measures - than all other countries combined. American military forces are now scaling the globe and the American public seems quiet comfortable with it. And everyone else is growing uneasy.

The mindset of the current officer corps is dominant control in all areas "whether sea, undersea, land, air, space or cyberspace." In other words, supremacy in all theaters. Self-restraint has given way to the normalization of using military force as a foreign policy tool. From 1989 (Operation Just Cause) to 2002 (Operation Iraqi Freedom) there have been nine major military operations and a number of smaller ones. The end of the Cold War has given the US a preponderance of military strength (the proverbial unipolar moment) that has enamoured successive administrations with the idea of using military force to solve international problems. In earlier times, war was always an option of the last resort, now it is a preventative measure.

War, according to Bacevich, has taken on a new aesthetic. During World War I and II, and also Vietnam and Korea the battlefield was a slaughterhouse of barbarism and brutality. Now, with the advent of the new Wilsonianism in Washington, wars are seen as moments of national unity to carry out a positive agenda, almost as if it were international social work.

The modern soldier is no longer looked upon as a deadbeat or a grunt, but rather as a skilled professional who is undertaking socially beneficial work. In fact, in a poll taken in 2003, military personnel consider themselves as being of higher moral standards than the nation they serve.

In the political classes, the Republicans have traditionallly been staunchly pro-military, but now even Democrats have thrown off their ant-military inclinations. When Kerry was running for president he did not question Bush's security policies, he was actually arguing that Bush had not gone far enough. Kerry wanted to invest more in military hardware and training. Even liberal Michael Ignatieff argues that US military intervention should be used to lessen the plight of the oppressed and that we should be assisting them in establishing more representative government.

But superpowers are not altruistic; they are only altruistic to the extent that it serves their self-interest. That's probably why Ignatieff will not get much of a hearing and Bacevich will. This book should give us pause as to why the range of opinion in the America on the use of military force is so narrow. If there is one voice that stands a chance of being heeded, it is from this conservative ex-soldier. \

Douglas Doepke:

The US may have been an expansionist and aggressive power as history shows. But unlike European peers, the American public never really took to the seductions of militarism. That is, until now. This is an important and occasionally brilliant book that tells a forty-year tale of creeping over-reliance on the military. And a heck-of an important story it is. I like the way Bacevich refuses to blame the Bush administration, even though they're the ones who've hit the accelerator. Actually the trend has been in motion for some time, especially since 1980 and Reagan's revival of military glory, contrived though it was.

Each chapter deals with an aspect of this growing militariism movement. How intellectual guru Norman Podhoretz and other elites got the big engine together, how twenty million evangelical passengers abandoned tradition and got on board, and how a crew of enthusiastic neo-cons charted a destination -- nothing less than world democracy guaranteed by American military might. All in all, the ride passes for a brilliant post-cold war move. Who's going to argue with freeing up the Will of the People, except for maybe a few hundred million Sharia fanatics. Yet, it appears none of the distinguished crew sees any contradiction between dubious means and noble end, nor do they seem particularly concerned with what anybody else thinks. (Sort of like the old Soviets, eager to spread the blessings of Scientific Socialism.) However, as Bacevich pounts out, there's a practical problem here the crew is very alert to. Policing the world means building up the institutions of the military and providing a covering mystique to keep John Q. Public supportive, especially with tax dollars and blood supply. In short, the mission requires sanitizing the cops on the beat and all that goes into keeping them there. It also means overcoming a long American tradition of minding-one's-own-business and letting the virtues of democratic self-governance speak for themselves. But then, that was an older, less "responsible" America.

Bacevich's remedies harken back to those older, quieter traditions -- citizen soldiers, a real Department of Defense, a revived Department of State, and a much more modest role in international affairs.With this book, Bacevich proves to be one of the few genuine conservatives around, (a breed disappearing even faster than the ranks of genuine liberals). Much as I like the book, especially the thoughtful Preface, I wish the author had dealt more with the economic aspects of build-up and conquest. But then that might require a whole other volume, as globalization and the number of billion-dollar servicing industries expands daily. At day's end, however, someone needs to inform a CNN- enthralled public that the military express lacks one essential feature. With all its hypnotizing bells and whistles, history shows the momentum has no brakes. Lessons from the past indicate that, despite the many seductions, aggressive empires make for some very unexpected and fast-moving train wrecks. Somebody needs to raise the alarm. Thanks Mr. Bacevich for doing your part.

Still his critique of neocons is a class of its own has value in itself as it comes from professional military officer. Professor Bacevich argues  that the US new militarism which emerged after the dissolution of the USSR is the result of a convergence of actions by a number of different groups including our professional military, neoconservative intellectuals and publicists, evangelical Christians, resurgent Republican party activists, and so-called defense intellectuals (see New American Militarism).

Andrew Bacevich has a wonderful essay, in the form of an open letter to Paul Wolfowitz, in the current Harper's. You have to subscribe to read it -- but, hey, you should be subscribing to any publication whose work you value. This essay isolates the particular role Wolfowitz had in the cast of characters that led us to war. As a reminder, they included:

But Paul Wolfowitz was in a category of his own because he was the one who provided the highest-concept rationale for the war. As James Galbraith of the University of Texas has put it, "Wolfowitz is the real-life version of Halberstam's caricature of McNamara" [in The Best and the Brightest].

Bacevich's version of this assessment is to lay out as respectfully as possible the strategic duty that Wolfowitz thought the U.S. would fulfill by invading Iraq. Back before the war began, I did a much more limited version of this assessment as an Atlantic article. As Bacevich puts it now, Wolfowitz was extending precepts from his one-time mentor, Albert Wohlstetter, toward a model of how the United States could maximize stability for itself and others.

As with the best argumentative essays, Bacevich takes on Wolfowitz in a strong rather than an oversimplified version of his world-view. You have to read the whole thing to get the effect, but here is a brief sample (within fair-use limits):

With the passing of the Cold War, global hegemony seemed America's for the taking. What others saw as an option you, Paul, saw as something much more: an obligation that the nation needed to seize, for its own good as well as for the world's....

Although none of the hijackers were Iraqi, within days of 9/11 you were promoting military action against Iraq. Critics have chalked this up to your supposed obsession with Saddam. The criticism is misplaced. The scale of your ambitions was vastly greater.

In an instant, you grasped that the attacks provided a fresh opportunity to implement Wohlstetter's Precepts, and Iraq offered a made-to-order venue....In Iraq the United States would demonstrate the efficacy of preventive war.... The urgency of invading Iraq stemmed from the need to validate that doctrine before the window of opportunity closed.

Bacevich explains much more about the Wohlstetter / Wolfowitz grand view. And then he poses the challenge that he says Wolfowitz should now meet:
One of the questions emerging from the Iraq debacle must be this one: Why did liberation at gunpoint yield results that differed so radically from what the war's advocates had expected? Or, to sharpen the point, How did preventive war undertaken by ostensibly the strongest military in history produce a cataclysm?
 

Not one of your colleagues from the Bush Administration possesses the necessary combination of honesty, courage, and wit to answer these questions. If you don't believe me, please sample the tediously self-exculpatory memoirs penned by (or on behalf of) Bush himself, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Tenet, Bremer, Feith, and a small squad of eminently forgettable generals...

What would Albert [Wohlstetter] do? I never met the man (he died in 1997), but my guess is that he wouldn't flinch from taking on these questions, even if the answers threatened to contradict his own long-held beliefs. Neither should you, Paul. To be sure, whatever you might choose to say, you'll be vilified, as Robert McNamara was vilified when he broke his long silence and admitted that he'd been "wrong, terribly wrong" about Vietnam. But help us learn the lessons of Iraq so that we might extract from it something of value in return for all the sacrifices made there. Forgive me for saying so, but you owe it to your country.
 

Anyone who knows Andrew Bacevich's story will understand the edge behind his final sentence. But you don't have to know that to respect the challenge he lays down. I hope Paul Wolfowitz will at some point rise to it.

For another very valuable assessment of who was right and wrong, when, please see John Judis's piece in The New Republic.

The disastrous period on neocon domination in Bush II administration was not accidental

The disastrous period on neocon domination in Bush II administration was not accidental . It was a natural development of previous trends. But this was the first time when the USA foreign policy decisions were dominated by a small clique of mostly Jewish "defense intellectuals". James Mann called this new breed of super aggressive and reckless  "defense intellectuals" "Vulcans" and allied with them figures like Colin Power and Condoleezza Rice by deceit dragged the USA into Iraq war which brought a disastrous consequences for the USA. Consequences that we are feeling right now.

Neocon's worldview can be summed up as the following four themes (Rise of the Vulcans by James Mann Political Books)

  1. The belief in the centrality and efficacy of American Military power.
  2. The belief in America as a force for good around the globe.
  3. The unfettered optimism of American capabilities and the rejection of American decline.
  4. The reluctance to enter into agreements or accommodations with other countries.

 Here is a short overview of the book Rise of the Vulcans by James Mann Political Books that covers the same theme as Bacevich's books:

Realize: When George W. Bush was elected as President he had no prior foreign policy experience and frequently bumbled on naming other foreign leaders.  Not only did Bush have no experience, he also did not have a basic rudimentary conception about America’s role in the world or specific foreign policy other than his campaign platitudes against “nation building.”  To strengthen that weakness, Bush sought to surround himself with a cabinet team of experienced and trusted members that he could ultimately rely on to help him forge a path.  Enter the Vulcans.  Author James Mann puts together an enthralling account of the rise of the Bush cabinet and their place in the last 30 to 40 years in contemporary history with his book Rise Of The Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet.

Broadly, the book is the mini biographies of Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Richard Armitage, Paul Wolfowitz, and Condoleeza Rice.  However, by detailing the careers of these people Mann also gives the reader great insight into modern foreign policy, from the Nixon era to Bush II.  The book was published in 2004 so it lacks the hindsight that we now have 6 years later with regards to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, yet this detracts not at all from the book.  Rise Of The Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet, I have no doubt, will become a central reference point to any future inquisitor looking into American policy from the 1970’s on.

Many may be tempted to classify all of the subjects as neoconservatives, however one of the driving themes of the book is the role of the foreign policy realists versus the idealists (neo-cons).  Yet this was not just a battle that occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union as some may have asserted.  Even in the midst of the Cold War, there was definite conservative in-fighting between the pragmatists, led by the Kissinger camp, and the neo-cons, who believed that America’s military might must be unchallenged.  Rumsfeld opposed Kissinger’s policy of détente and played an active role in the Ford Administration in decreasing the power and influence that Kissinger once had.

While Rumsfeld and Cheney believed mightily in American military might and hegemony, it might be hard to classify them as idealists of spreading democracy throughout the world.  However, Paul Wolfowitz meets the classic definition of neoconservative which spread from the Dixie Democrats who left the Democratic Party to join the Republicans in the Reagan Revolution.  Wolfowitz was an academic greatly admired for his intelligence.  He was highly influenced by the ideology of Leo Strauss and was also mentored by Scoop Jackson, US Senator from Washington.  Wolfowitz spent his whole career in the Defense Department and focused on policies that opposed the ideas of moral relativity or balance of power.  Instead Wolfowitz operated from a stance that Democracy and justice were grand ideas that should be spread throughout the world through the might and force of the US military.  It should also be noted that Wolfowitz had been focused on Iraq as a threat to Middle East stability long before the Middle East was on anybody’s map.

Powell and Armitage were often the counter balance to the Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz/Cheney forces, not only in Bush II but also Bush I.  Powell was also a dynamic political figure who ascended Washington’s power structure with amazing speed and was always an admired figure.  Both Powell and Armitage believed in a strong American military and were proponents of a hefty defense budget.  However, where they differed from the other cabinet members was in how the use of force should be applied.  Powell believed that if force was to be applied it must be done with the support of the public, with overwhelming force, and with a clear, communicable goal in mind.  This mindset, shared by Armitage, became known as the Powell Doctrine and was shaped by the experience of Vietnam.  The Vietnam experience made Powell and Armitage suspicious of the civilian leaders like Rumsfeld and Cheney who may recklessly damage the military and American power by engaging long term commitments with no exit plans.

Condoleeza Rice was mentored in the camp of Brent Scowcroft who was a realist.  Rice, a specialist in Russia, came to government in the first Bush Administration and made a lasting impression on everyone she worked for.  When George W. Bush was putting together a foreign policy team during his campaign, he instantly connected with Rice on a personal level and made her a central part of putting together his foreign policy.  Mann portrays Rice as somewhat amorphous, her ideas and beliefs are seemingly tied to the politics and she oftens acts as a sounding board to Bush II.  Instead of becoming a proponent of her realist background, she instead starts to reflect the President and his beliefs which were largely shaped by the dominant members of his cabinet.  In other words, Rice aimed to please, it seems, more than to persuade.

The book culminates with the decision to invade Iraq and Mann sums up that decision as a reflection of the Vulcan’s world view with four themes:

  1. The belief in the centrality and efficacy of American Military power.
  2. The belief in America as a force for good around the globe.
  3. The unfettered optimism of American capabilities and the rejection of American decline.
  4. The reluctance to enter into agreements or accommodations with other countries.

Mann makes an understated point that most historians make a clear distinction, a line in the sand, marking the end of the Cold War as the distinctive point where American foreign policy changed.  Yet, it started to occur much earlier than that with the rise of these Vulcan’s and their world view.  The end of the Cold War was merely a middle point in the chapter.  The fact that the US has mostly had Republican Presidents in the last 40 years the Vulcans have remained in power and shaped the events of modern history and to understand that story you have to understand their story.  James Mann gives a clearly written and highly detailed account of some of the most influential actors in American politics.  Rise Of The Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet is an utterly fascinating account and should be read by anyone seeking answers on the role of America in the world today.

Militarization of science

The militarization of science, particularly at physics, biology and medicine (anthrax research, experiments on humans in Guatemala, etc)  is widespread trend at the University level. Unfortunately it should be called not an aberration, but a a feature of US academic science. Recently social sciences such as psychology and anthropology were also put into service of MIC (The Militarization of Social Science CIFAS)

One of the most notable was COIN system:

 Human Terrain System, a COIN application, was conceived as a means to employ social science as a force multiplier in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq: embedded with combat patrols, anthropologists would map the human terrain across the full spectrum of conflict, and recommend to commanders methods by which they could more effectively achieve strategic goals by engaging “the people” as “the center of gravity” in their operations. The “social science” evolved into a major focus on “social networks,” which, once described, could be analyzed to reveal such critical features as “key informants,” “influencers,” and “centers of influence,” and how, for example, information may travel among participants in the network. It was believed that such analyses could offer important insights on how insurgent sympathies originate, are diffused, mobilize adherents, and are then translated into the organization and commission of hostile actions that threaten ISAF forces; or conversely, how they could be prevented or stopped. More specifically, individuals could be targeted, and then either rewarded or eliminated. Pioneered by anthropologists, such as Julian Barnes, Elizabeth Bott, Clyde Mitchell, Jeremy Boissevain, Fredrik Barth, Joan Vincent, and others, who used them to study kinship, ethnic and political organization, and agricultural production, trade, and markets, among other topics, the study of social networks and social networks analysis have become a staple of ethnographic fieldwork.

For example, I made extensive use of them studying the production, distribution, use, and misuse of illegal drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, and marijuana, in low-income neighborhoods of New York City and several Caribbean islands, which I reported in The Ganja Complex: Rastafari and Marijuana (Lexington Books 2000). Let me tell you about them, as you may then appreciate how valuable a tool they have been in traditional, or academic, anthropology and social science.

Armed with Expertise, The Militarization of American Social Research during the Cold War

During the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon launched a controversial counterinsurgency program called the Human Terrain System. The program embedded social scientists within military units to provide commanders with information about the cultures and grievances of local populations. Yet the controversy it inspired was not new. Decades earlier, similar national security concerns brought the Department of Defense and American social scientists together in the search for intellectual weapons that could combat the spread of communism during the Cold War. In Armed with Expertise, Joy Rohde traces the optimistic rise, anguished fall, and surprising rebirth of Cold War–era military-sponsored social research.

Seeking expert knowledge that would enable the United States to contain communism, the Pentagon turned to social scientists. Beginning in the 1950s, political scientists, social psychologists, and anthropologists optimistically applied their expertise to military problems, convinced that their work would enhance democracy around the world. As Rohde shows, by the late 1960s, a growing number of scholars and activists condemned Pentagon-funded social scientists as handmaidens of a technocratic warfare state and sought to eliminate military-sponsored research from American intellectual life.

But the Pentagon's social research projects had remarkable institutional momentum and intellectual flexibility. Instead of severing their ties to the military, the Pentagon’s experts relocated to a burgeoning network of private consulting agencies and for-profit research offices. Now shielded from public scrutiny, they continued to influence national security affairs. They also diversified their portfolios to include the study of domestic problems, including urban violence and racial conflict. In examining the controversies over Cold War social science, Rohde reveals the persistent militarization of American political and intellectual life, a phenomenon that continues to raise grave questions about the relationship between expert knowledge and American democracy.

In his article The Militarization of American Life  Justin Raimondo notes

March 27, 2013 | Antiwar.com

It isn’t just them, however: militarism is a disease that spreads without effort, once it’s implanted in the body politic. It quite naturally infects the sciences, what with the diversion of scientific and technical talent that might have gone into productive civilian projects, and I’m not just talking about the hard sciences. Witness the co-opting of the "soft" science of anthropology by the same people who brought us the war in Afghanistan and the "COIN" strategy that was supposed to give us victory. These folks have created the so-called Human Terrain System, which seeks to utilize anthropology as a weapon in counterinsurgency warfare. Billions are being poured into "scientific research" on how best to subdue recalcitrant natives out in the colonies: when you’re talking about the military-industrial complex, it isn’t just Lockheed-Martin and Boeing.

The marriage of science and militarism is nothing new, but there are some resistors. As Inside Higher Education reports:

"The eminent University of Chicago anthropologist Marshall Sahlins resigned from the National Academy of Sciences on Friday, citing his objections to its military partnerships and to its electing as a member Napoleon Chagnon, a long-controversial anthropologist who is back in the news thanks to the publication of his new book, Noble Savages." [Hat tip: Jordan Bloom at The American Conservative]

You don’t have to be an anthropologist to get in on the action: yes, you too can access via live webcast the April 3 Pentagon/NAS "workshop," "New Directions in Assessing Individuals and Groups,"and hear the keynote address by Frederick Vollrath, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness and Force Management. I’ll bet those anthropologists are making out like bandits!

As for Napoleon Chagnon – could a novelist have gotten away with such a name? – he is an extremely dubious character who apparently believes violence is not only genetically encoded in humans, but that there is an evolutionary bias in favor of homicidal homo sapiens. Instead of an atavistic trait surviving from pre-civilized man, wars of aggression – according to the Chagnonite version of biological determinism – are the mark of high civilization. It is a Bizarro World perspective on the nature of human progress, one that owes much to that great anthropologist, the Marquis de Sade.

Chagnon dismisses his critics as "left-wing anthropologists" and "anti-Darwinian romantics": he and his claque present themselves as true "scientists," and treat the study of anthropology – that is, of human nature – as if it were one of the "hard" sciences, like chemistry. Armed with "scientific" certitude, their one-dimensional view of life – "impoverished," as one critic remarked – is the perfect instrument of the modern Warfare State: bloodless, dogmatic, and cruel. Chagnon’s elevation to the NAS – which used to be a prestigious organization – is an absolute disgrace, and Prof. Sahlins was right to render his resignation in protest.

Citing his own objections to Chagnon’s research methods – see here – Sahlins went on to explain the core reason for his resignation. Because of "the toll" that military action overseas "has taken on the blood, treasure, and happiness of American people, and the suffering it has imposed on other peoples,” Sahlins said, “the NAS, if it involves itself at all in related research, should be studying how to promote peace, not how to make war."

In this age of Empire, militarism pervades American culture like a poisonous fog, hypnotizing a complacent population with narratives that valorize and justify a foreign policy of perpetual war. It reaches into every corner of everyday life, from the war propaganda spewed forth by the "mainstream" media to the movies we watch and what we learn in "science" class. Once this kind of cultural rot sets in, it is hard to root out: this is the true meaning of decadence, of a society suffering the latter stages of a fatal hubris.

Yet root it out we must. The battle for peace must be waged on the cultural and scientific front, as well as in the day to day world of the pundits and the Washington policy wonks. Indeed, victory on the battlefield of the culture necessarily precedes success on the political front, as we should have learned back in the 1960s.

In best traditions of Third Reich psychologists participated in the design of torture methods in Guatanamo.

Militarization of cyberspace


"In 1990, only a quarter of a million people used the Internet; today a third of the world population is connected and the growth is exponential. Our understanding of the implications for international relations struggles to keep up." -- Joseph S. Nye, Harvard University; author of The Future of Power

Innovative weapons were always in the focus of military and intelligence agencies planners. And Cyberspace is not an exception. First of all it proved to be a tremendous resource for SIGINT. Not accidentally, on June 23, 2009 Defense Secretary Robert Gates signed a memorandum  which established the U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM). The order specifies that the new office will be a "subordinate unified command" under U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM). According to the memorandum, CYBERCOM "will reach initial operating capability not later than October 2009 and full operating capability not later than October 2010." Lt. General Keith Alexander, the  Director of National Security Agency (NSA) was assigned to lead this new intelligence unit that reside at Fort Meade, Maryland, the NSA headquarters.

But even earlier that that, around 1996, the US military became interesting in usage of malware and established research programs which at the end of the day proceed several weaponazed malware packages used to attack Iranian uranium enrichment facilities and collect intelligence information from computer of researchers involved in this project.

During the occupation on Iraq the USA (which first established full control over Iraq cellular networks) launched comprehensive metadata collection which allow them to identify "suspicious persons" without analyzing content of the communication, just based on pattern of connection of their cell phones.  Those efforts were later transferred and implemented within the USA and were subject of so called "Snowden revelations" in which it became clear the NSA blatantly overstepped all legal boundaries and essentially treated the US population as "enemy combatants". 

Technological supremacy of the USA allow not only dominate cyberspace intelligence activities, but also created preconditions for future attacks via set of backdoor in equipment and software produced by US companies. After Stixnet, the equipment from leading US companies such as Dell, Cisco and HP as well as software companies such as Microsoft is now reasonably suspected of having backdoor that allow NSA access to the data/traffic. Even if there is no such backdoors US produced equipment is now tainted from the security standpoint and there will be conscious efforts to limit its use in government and military of other countries. That especially badly hurt CISCO and Microsoft.  

And it is now government not some hacker groups who use sophisticated malicious code and hacking platforms to compromise computer networks worldwide. Private companies, government entities, critical infrastructure and citizens are all potential targets.

The overall activities of government entities in cyberspace are generally described as the “militarization of the cyberspace.” Governments are investing significant resources to improve their cyber capabilities, creating ‘cyberarmies’ to defend attacks from cyber space.

Smart phones, which initially were productivity enhancing device, now more and more are viewed by individuals as "eyes and ears" of the government. With predictable results on more security conscious individuals withdrawing from this market (which does not ends interception of all their call and collection of metadata as those activities does not depend on the type of the phone used (although geo-location is more difficult with regular phone -- you need to record the tower with which the phone is communicating)   

See also:

Establishment of regime of total survellance:
Against whom total surveillance is directed

The basic principle underlying Neoliberalism, which is a dominant social system in the USA and most other countries  is “to make rich people happy and make everybody else frightened.” The MIC has used a succession of bogeymen—the Soviets, Communist insurgents around the world, and now global terrorism—to scare taxpayers into supporting core defense programs whose technologies ultimately spin off into private hands

Total surveillance is not about terrorism. It's about population control. Terrorism is a false pretext -- a smoke screen, if you like. Let's state clearly -- the main goal of total surveillance was the same since it was introduced in Nazi Germany. it's the same as in former German Democratic Republic (with its famous STASI). In all cases it is to prevent any challenge to the ruling elite or in US-speak "regime change".   In other words total surveillance is part and parcel of the totalitarian state even if it more reserved as for violence form called inverted totalitarism.

State actors and well funded terrorist organization are a difficult nut to clack. that have access to technology and know how. that means that NSA has great difficulties intercepting and decoding traffic that is intended to be hidden. But for "open" traffic the situation is completely different. Here they are king of the hill.  Of cause correlation of open traffic can reveal some hidden information, but this is a pretty expensive undertaking.

The term "Deep state" as synonym of MIC dominance with a special emphasis on the role of intelligence agencies

The term “Deep State” was coined in Turkey and is said to be a system composed of high-level elements within the intelligence services, military, security, judiciary and organized crime. In British author John le Carré’s latest novel, A Delicate Truth, a character describes the Deep State as

“… the ever-expanding circle of non-governmental insiders from banking, industry and commerce who were cleared for highly classified information denied to large swathes of Whitehall and Westminster.”

The term means an association of elements of government. security services, selected top-level figures of financial oligarchy and industry that is effectively able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed as expressed through the formal political process. Assassination of JFK was probably a pivotal moment in the US history, the historical moment when "deep state" really came to power. In this sense Patriot Act was just an icing on the cake: like "nomenklatura"  rule in the USSR the system actually stands above the law.

In other words this is a hidden set of political actors and powerful institutions that are concealed within the wider, “visible” state which, essentially, took over the functions of traditional state, leaving such organization of Executive branch, President, congress and courts mainly ceremonial role. Such transformation is well explained by the The Iron Law of Oligarchy and in various forms happened in Third Reich, the USSR, Turkey, China and many other countries.

As for aggressive foreign policy there is one important difference between "predator states" and fascist regimes: extreme, rabid nationalism is typical only for fascist regimes, but is not a defining feature of "predator states". But aggressive foreign policy is and that's why the term invented by Jamie Galbraith ( “the predator state”) in his book bearing that title aptly reflect the defining feature of such states. In other words aggressive foreign policy is an immanent feature of the regime -- such regimes are almost always are engaged in some kind of war. Related, but more narrow term is "disaster capitalism" introduced by Naomi Klein which explodes the myth that the global free market triumphed democratically. Her Shock Doctrine book is the gripping story of how America’s “free market” policies were pushed through the throat of states in trouble, and prevailed through the brutal exploitation of disaster-shocked people and countries.

US armament industry implementation of the slogan War is peace, freedom is slavery

Since WWII there were very few years when the USA was not fighting some local war or two or even three. This is a powerful testament of MIC dominance in society and, especially, the power of lobby of major arms manufactures.

Of course, both the American society and the U.S. armaments industry today are different then it was when Dwight Eisenhower made his farewell speech. See also The Farewell Address 50 Years Later. The USA now is the world's greatest producer and exporter of arms on the planet. It is spending more on armed equipment and research than all other nations combined -- while converting all American citizens into "debt slaves" to do so.

It also stations over 500,000 troops, and untold number of spies, contractors, consultants, etc. on more than 737 bases around the world in 130 countries (even this is not a complete count) at a cost of near 100 billions a year. The 2008 Pentagon inventory includes 190,000 troops in 46 nations and territories, and 865 facilities in more than 40 countries and overseas U.S. territories. In just Japan, we have almost hundred thousand people who are either members of US forces or are closely connected to US. The explicit purpose is to provide control over as many nations as possible. Funny, but among other items Pentagon also maintains 234 golf courses around the world, 70 Lear Jet airplanes for generals and admirals (to make it more convenient to fly there), and a ski resort in the Bavarian Alps.

Statistics compiled by the Federation of American Scientists analyzed by Gore Vidal show 201 military operations initiated by the U.S. against others between the end of WWII and 9/11 - none of which directly resulted in the creation of a democracy. These included Iran (1953, 1979), Guatemala (1954), Cuba (1959-present), Congo (1960), Brazil (1964), Indonesia (1965), Vietnam (1961-73), Laos (1961-73), Cambodia (1969-73), Greece (1967-73), Chile (1973), Afghanistan (1979-present), El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua (1980s), Iraq (1991-present), Panama (1989), Grenada (1983). (The Korean War is a notable positive exception.)

Per Johnson, Carter's national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and former CIA director Gates made it clear that U.S. aid to the mujaheddin began six months prior to the Soviet invasion, and helped to provoke it (with the direct goal of seeking Vietnam for Soviet troops). So the USA by-and-large created, organized and financed global Islamic fundamentalist forces, which at some point became less controllable from the former center.

A recent 'Newsweek' article also pointed out waste in the Pentagon - Secretary Gates estimates there are 30 levels between himself and line officers, and expects by 2020 for the U.S. to have 'only' 20X China's number of advanced stealth fighters; other researchers recently found 530 deputy assistant secretaries of defense, compared to 78 in 1960. See also Dismantling the Empire .

Despite the economic decline, of may be because of it, New Militarism is now pandemic, supported by both parties and aggressively used by Republican Party to maintain the unity of fragile coalition of rag tag groups (see Understanding Mayberry Machiavellians). Neo-conservative ideology still dominates foreign policy and its essence (spread of "liberal democracy" with a shadow goal of defending/promoting own geo-strategical interests and first of all access to cheap oil) is not that different from the old Soviets militarism, eager to spread or "defend" the blessings of "Scientific Socialism (Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks and Poles remember those attempts all too well).

While far from historic high (reached during World War II, when it represented 20% of the civilian workforce) US military still employs 2.2 million people, or about 2% of the civilian workforce. So they represent a society within a society. If we add Department of Energy and military contractors like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, United Technologies. L-3 Communications, etc as well as servicing firms such as Halliburton/KBR/Blackwater/DynCorp we can add to this figure another million people. That means that all-in all at least three million US citizen directly or indirectly works for military-industrial complex.

There are also around five million (five million !!!) people in the USA with security clearance. Of them about three million has top security clearance.

But what is more important that military-industrial complex spends up to 50% of all taxes:

In Fiscal Year 1999 the Department of Defense awarded $118 billion to contractors for goods and services. The "Big Three" in the defense industry -- Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon -- alone accounted for 26% of all defense contracts in FY'99.

In fiscal year 2003 the United States Government will spend on the military more than all the rest of the countries on Earth combined. Current expenditures are 437 billion and our past obligations are 339 billion, this equals 776 billion. 46% of our Taxes go to the Military Industrial Complex: http://www.warresisters.org/piechart.htm.This figure doesn't even begin to account for all of the off-budget, black projects, homeland security nor the 40+ billion the United States Government will spend on intelligence in 2003. -- Mark Elsis Lovearth, Jan. 8, 2002

Pentagon's Anual Top Ten Defense Contractors

Lockheed Martin Corp. $17.0 billion
Boeing Co. $16.6 billion
Northrop Grumman Corp. $8.7 billion
Raytheon Co. $7.0 billion
General Dynamics Corp. $7.0 billion
United Technologies Corp. $3.6 billion
Science Applications International Corp. $2.1 billion
TRW Inc. $2.0 billion
Health Net, Inc. $1.7 billion
L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc. $1.7 billion

Sheldon Wolin's  concept of "inverted totalitarism" as the USA specific form of MIC dominance

Arrival on political scene of military industrial complex inevitably lead to its political dominance and establishing of some variant of National Security State with managed democracy which is promoted by subservient, corrupt and totally controlled media. But this new regime, called by Sheldon Wolin "Inverted totalitalism"  is different from such classic "National Security State" as Third Reich.

Sheldon Wolin, who taught the history of political philosophy from Plato to the present in Berkeley and Princeton, introduced the term "inverted totalitarism", which probably can be better called neo-bolshevism. This is an interesting, uniquely American variant of National Security State. He thinks that the latter is based on two forces:

See an excellent review of his book at AlterNet:

"Among the factors that have promoted inverted totalitarianism are the practice and psychology of advertising and the rule of "market forces" in many other contexts than markets, continuous technological advances that encourage elaborate fantasies (computer games, virtual avatars, space travel), the penetration of mass media communication and propaganda into every household in the country, and the total co-optation of the universities. Among the commonplace fables of our society are hero worship and tales of individual prowess, eternal youthfulness, beauty through surgery, action measured in nanoseconds, and a dream-laden culture of ever-expanding control and possibility, whose adepts are prone to fantasies because the vast majority have imagination but little scientific knowledge.

Masters of this world are masters of images and their manipulation.

Wolin reminds us that the image of Adolf Hitler flying to Nuremberg in 1934 that opens Leni Riefenstahl's classic film "Triumph of the Will" was repeated on May 1, 2003, with President George Bush's apparent landing of a Navy warplane on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln to proclaim "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq."

It a way it is so similar to the brand of totalitarism practiced in the late USSR that some call the USA USSA. It has the same strong "total surveillance" tendencies. It looks exactly like Bolshevism minus:

As Oscar Wilde's once noted: "The truth is seldom pure and never simple". Here is a relevant quote:

Wolin writes, "Our thesis is this: it is possible for a form of totalitarianism, different from the classical one, to evolve from a putatively 'strong democracy' instead of a 'failed' one." His understanding of democracy is classical but also populist, anti-elitist and only slightly represented in the Constitution of the United States. "Democracy," he writes, "is about the conditions that make it possible for ordinary people to better their lives by becoming political beings and by making power responsive to their hopes and needs." It depends on the existence of a demos -- "a politically engaged and empowered citizenry, one that voted, deliberated, and occupied all branches of public office." Wolin argues that to the extent the United States on occasion came close to genuine democracy, it was because its citizens struggled against and momentarily defeated the elitism that was written into the Constitution.

"No working man or ordinary farmer or shopkeeper," Wolin points out, "helped to write the Constitution." He argues, "The American political system was not born a democracy, but born with a bias against democracy. It was constructed by those who were either skeptical about democracy or hostile to it. Democratic advance proved to be slow, uphill, forever incomplete. The republic existed for three-quarters of a century before formal slavery was ended; another hundred years before black Americans were assured of their voting rights. Only in the twentieth century were women guaranteed the vote and trade unions the right to bargain collectively. In none of these instances has victory been complete: women still lack full equality, racism persists, and the destruction of the remnants of trade unions remains a goal of corporate strategies. Far from being innate, democracy in America has gone against the grain, against the very forms by which the political and economic power of the country has been and continues to be ordered." Wolin can easily control his enthusiasm for James Madison, the primary author of the Constitution, and he sees the New Deal as perhaps the only period of American history in which rule by a true demos prevailed.

To reduce a complex argument to its bare bones, since the Depression, the twin forces of managed democracy and Superpower have opened the way for something new under the sun: "inverted totalitarianism," a form every bit as totalistic as the classical version but one based on internalized co-optation, the appearance of freedom, political disengagement rather than mass mobilization, and relying more on "private media" than on public agencies to disseminate propaganda that reinforces the official version of events. It is inverted because it does not require the use of coercion, police power and a messianic ideology as in the Nazi, Fascist and Stalinist versions (although note that the United States has the highest percentage of its citizens in prison -- 751 per 100,000 people -- of any nation on Earth). According to Wolin, inverted totalitarianism has "emerged imperceptibly, unpremeditatedly, and in seeming unbroken continuity with the nation's political traditions."

The genius of our inverted totalitarian system "lies in wielding total power without appearing to, without establishing concentration camps, or enforcing ideological uniformity, or forcibly suppressing dissident elements so long as they remain ineffectual. A demotion in the status and stature of the 'sovereign people' to patient subjects is symptomatic of systemic change, from democracy as a method of 'popularizing' power to democracy as a brand name for a product marketable at home and marketable abroad. The new system, inverted totalitarianism, is one that professes the opposite of what, in fact, it is. The United States has become the showcase of how democracy can be managed without appearing to be suppressed."

Uniqueness of the "power agencies" elite and militarism as the business model of this part of the USA elite

MIC elite is uniquw in a sense that it closely resembled the Politburo of CPSU. What distinguishes the “power agencies elite” (Russians use the term "siloviki" when talking about those agencies and their elite)  from other elite groups in American society such as closely related to them financial oligarchy, is that this is thier elite position is not based solely on the ownership of property. Like CEO of large corporation they are in a position to rip benefits from advancement of thier corporation. And that, unfortunately, means that for them militarism is a way of advancement of thier own business interests.  The MIC elite’s goal is not to protect the nation from emerging threats, but “to appropriate the lion’s share of existing wealth for the military establishment”  If necessary by creation of new threats (like Islamic fundamentalism which was organized, financed and molded into formidable political force by the USA MIC). In other words like financial oligarchy they are predatory/parasitic in relation to the "host nation" and as such they represent serious threat for the civil society. 

... the U.S. military establishment from the 1940s onward was initially a means to an end in the process of stabilizing the world economy and serving national security interests, but -- over time -- became an end in itself, serving the interests of an elite group that uses the projection of power as a way to justify the continued expansion of military spending.

 This line of thinking is well illustrated by the paper of Aminata M. Kone The Military-Industrial Complex in the United States Evolution and Expansion from World War II to the War on Terror   which we will reproduce  in full: 

Student Pulse 2013, Vol. 5 No. 08

After World War II, the United States military gradually came into a position of overwhelming dominance in the world. Military spending in the United States far outpaces that of other countries, with their world share of military expenditures at 41% in 2011, followed by Russia and China with only eight and four percent respectively (SIPRI 2012). This has been the case since the Second World War and has been justified in different ways over time. The arguments for continued military dominance have ranged from “long-term economic gains” at the start of the war (Shoup and Murray 1977, cited in Hossein-zadeh 2006: 45) to Soviet containment during the Cold War, “a broader responsibility of global militarism” since the 1980s (Ryan 1991, cited in Hossein-zadeh 2006: 73), and most recently the need to protect citizens against Islamic fundamentalism and terrorist attacks. Nevertheless, there has been consistent concern that powerful groups in military, political, and corporate positions, profiteering from conflict and sharing interests in intensifying defense expenditure, have become the primary actors for making and administering U.S. foreign policy. Today the scope of the defense industry is now much bigger than legitimate security needs justify (see, for example, Moskos 1974, Mintz 1985, Waddell 2001 and Hossein-zadeh 2006).

This analysis argues that expansion of the U.S. military establishment from the 1940s onward was initially a means to an end in the process of stabilizing the world economy and serving national security interests, but -- over time -- became an end in itself, serving the interests of an elite group that uses the projection of power as a way to justify the continued expansion of military spending. This essay is divided into two sections: the first focuses on the origins of America’s military-industrial complex, beginning with a definition of the elite group that the complex comprises. Next, by focusing on the period in which the foundation for the complex was laid – the Second World War – it is argued that the complex arose unintentionally in some ways, although important characteristics of it were visible from the start. Third, military Keynesianism, often used to defend high military budgets once the complex was in place, will be discussed and refuted. The second section focuses on the most important argument in favor of high military budgets today: the need to protect American citizens from the global threat of terrorism. It is argued that public perceptions of the causes of terrorism are incorrect, yet have been gladly utilized and fostered by the American military-industrial complex to justify an ineffective global war.

The Evolving Military-Industrial Complex in the United States

What distinguishes the “power elite” that constitutes the military-industrial complex from other powerful groups in American society who also seek advancement of their own interests, is that this is not a ruling class based solely on the ownership of property (Mills 1956, cited in Moskos 1974: 499-500). Rather, it is a coalition of civilian agencies that formally shape military policy (such as the Senate and the CIA), military institutions, private firms, research institutions and think tanks – all centered on and linked to the Pentagon (Hossein-zadeh 2006: 13). As a result of power arising from the occupancy in top bureaucratic positions as well as from capital ownership, the interests of the ruling elite go beyond the mere accumulation of wealth and include desires to maintain themselves in power and to press for specific forms of public policy. Their most important common interest is intensifying defense expenditure. War profiteering in itself is not new – wars have always been fought at least in part for economic gains. Today’s military-industrial complex is different in that it treats war as a business: the ruling elite’s goal of having a large military establishment is not to expand the nation’s wealth, but “to appropriate the lion’s share of existing wealth for the military establishment” (Hossein-zadeh 2006: 90). As a consequence, decisions on defense allocation, arms production and military operations are motivated by desires for profit and personal power, not necessarily by security requirements.

This is not to say that expansion of the military budget has always been an ‘end’ for a powerful group of elites, but in fact was initially a means to serve other ends. The first big expansion of the military establishment took place in the early years of the Second World War, when the U.S. had legitimate concerns for its own national security due to such events as the attack on Pearl Harbor, and feared the war would negatively impact foreign trade. Military expansion is a logical result of the former concern, as it is a means to preserve physical security. However, it is closely linked to the latter concern, too. The Council on Foreign Relations, one of the nation’s most influential think foreign policy think-tanks, advised the U.S. government that it needed free access to markets and raw materials in all regions outside of continental Europe for economic self-sufficiency. To this end, the U.S. advocated globalization and open economic cooperation through multilateralism. At the time, the crisis of the ‘30s and the war had made the concept of the free market highly unpopular. This made “military supremacy for the U.S. within the non-German world” a complementary requirement to ensure all countries within the “U.S.-led, non-German Grand Area,” including Japan, would accept American conditions (Shoup and Murray 1977, cited in Hossein-zadeh 2006: 45). In short, military spending was not yet an end in itself, it was the combined result of needing to increase power in the face of security challenges and wanting to restore trust in and stabilize the global capitalist system.

Key characteristics of the current military-industrial complex, however, were already present when the objectives of U.S. foreign policy during World War II were drafted. As Hossein-zadeh points out, a brief look at the social status and class composition of the Council on Foreign Relations, which consisted of wealthy, influential people with ties to major industrial corporations and politicians, shows that a ruling class shaped major government policies “operating through the institutional umbrella of the Council, and providing intellectual justification for major foreign policy overhauls” (2006: 41). The military-industrial complex in its present form might not have been in place then or have been created intentionally, but clearly there already was a power elite based on more than capital ownership, and strong ties between the military, political, and corporate spheres.

After World War II, the Cold War stabilized U.S. foreign policy for over forty years1. With its demise, a “vacuum in the organizing principles of national government” had emerged (Waddell 2001: 133). Even if unintended, the military-industrial complex was well in place by now, and suggestions to curtail the military budget were met with fierce opposition. However, cutting back on non-military public expenditures while an expensive military establishment is preserved proved harder to justify with the loss of the perceived Soviet threat. An argument in favor of military spending that has been used consistently is that it boosts economic growth (Dreze 2000: 180). Mintz, for instance, notes that the military-industrial complex is seen by many to have “considerable influence on levels of employment, … the profitability of arms manufacture and the scope of exports” (1983: 124).

The view that large military spending is an effective means of demand stimulation and job creation, and hence of economic growth, is called military Keynesianism. Keynes’ (non-military) theory holds that in times of inadequate purchasing power, the (non-military) private sector becomes wary of expansion, and so the government should spend money in order to boost the stagnant economy by stimulating demand. Since expansion of the military industry is a government investment, it could have the desired economic effects in times of recession. However, it is important to keep in mind that Keynes argues for little government spending in times of high employment and sufficient demand. Military Keynesianists seem to ignore this fact completely and have argued for high government expenditures even during the Golden Age after World War II – and in no other sector than the military-industrial one. This can only be explained by the fact that it is a constantly shrinking number of people experiencing the economic benefits of high military spending (Waddell 2001: 135). The same people tend to switch positions between the Pentagon, its prime contractors and lobbying think tanks supporting those contractors, meaning that military spending is no longer an economic stimulus for the entire nation. Instead, it has become a redistributive mechanism of national resources in favor of the wealthy (Hossein-zadeh 2006: 226).

Cashing In on the War on Terror

What gets lots in the debate over the economic consequences of military spending is the effect it has on international stability. An old principle asserts that military threats are essential in preventing wars from occurring (Dreze 2000: 1178), but an overly extended military establishment means actual military operations are necessary from time to time to ‘prove’ the necessity of the army. And indeed, militarists have found that the most effective manner of convincing the American public of the need of a large military establishment is the constant ‘discovery’ of external threats. The threat currently most emphasized by the U.S. is global terrorism. We argue that while some fears of Islamic fundamentalism are justified, most are not; and that the threat of terrorism is not logically followed by higher military investment.

The U.S. is not being fair in its assessment of the Arab threat. Public discourse today implies that Islam is inherently more rigid and anti-modern than other religions. Huntington famously predicted that most major conflicts would be between Muslims and non-Muslims, as “Islam has bloody borders” (1993: 12). In 1990, historian Bernard Lewis described a “surge of hatred” rising from the Islamic world that “becomes a rejection of Western civilisation as such” (cited in Coll 2012). Richard Perle, American neoconservative militarist and advisor to Israel’s Likud Party, proposes a strategy of “de-contextualization” to explain acts of terrorism and violent resistance to occupation, arguing that we must stop trying to understand the territorial, geopolitical and historical reasons that some groups turn to fundamentalism; instead, reasons for the violence of such groups must be sought in the Islamic way of thinking (Hossein-zadeh 2006: 101).

Religious fundamentalism, however, is universal: it arises in response to modernity and secularism, both of which tend to weaken or threaten religious traditions. John Voll points out that by the early 1990s, “violent militancy was clearly manifest among Hindu fundamentalists, Buddhists in Sri Lanka, Jewish fundamentalists in Israel and others elsewhere” (1994, cited in Hossein-zadeh 2006: 110-11). As one scholar points out, if the Bosnians, the Palestinians and the Kashmiris are asked about their borders they would say that, respectively, Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism are the ones that have bloody borders (Ahmed 2002: 29). Yet statements like the ones by Huntington, Lewis and Perle cited above single out Islam as the most dangerous potential enemy of the West. They all interpret the militancy of Islamic fundamentalism as being somehow directly caused by distinctive Islamic doctrines and traditions (Voll 1994, cited in Hossein-zadeh 2006: 111) and attribute terrorist attacks to “pathological problems of the Muslim mind” (Hossein-zadeh 2006: 101). In doing so, they posit a characteristic supposedly shared by Muslims from Indonesia through Iran to Senegal, that makes conflict with the West inevitable.

An incorrect assessment of the roots of terrorism does not justify the extent to which the U.S. expanded its military activity after 2001; nor does it explain why it continues to fight an ineffective war. As Peña points out, a larger military would not have prevented the tragedy of 9/11, and it will not prevent future terrorist actions (2001, cited in Snider 2004). Terrorism, much like the war that is fought against it, is a means of pursuing objectives, not an actor. It cannot be stopped by military action as fighting does nothing to address the issues that terrorists feel can only be resolved violently; if anything, this is more likely to lead to a vicious cycle of constantly growing military budgets and an ever higher number of terrorist attacks. As one author put it: “the moral crusade to end terrorism can only begin with a realistic assessment of its cause” (Snider 2004). So far, the global war on terror has done little to eradicate terrorism.

On the contrary, it seems the threat of an attack is now bigger: the number of terrorist attacks worldwide has increased from just over 1800 in 2001, to a staggering five-thousand ten years later (START 2012). The question that arises, then, is why successive U.S. administrations have found it so difficult to accept that perhaps their assessment of the causes of terrorism is incorrect; that perhaps, the policies built on their premises are not effective, but rather a self-fulfilling prophecy, leading to a vicious cycle of constantly expanding military activities and an increasing number of individuals who believe their grievances cannot be settled non-violently. This has everything to do with the never-ending need for militarism: 9/11 was approached by the U.S. as an opportunity for aggression. The attacks, however heinous, were approached by the government not as crimes (which would require criminal prosecution and law enforcement), but as a personal attack against Americans (Hossein-zadeh 2006: 91). With the views expressed by Huntington, Lewis and Perle widespread among the American public already, pre-emptive war and military expansion was easily justifiable to Americans. After all, how would dialogue help if the Muslim mind is pathologically troubled? An American citizen might cringe at the idea, but it is true: the 9/11 tragedy “came from heaven to an administration determined to ramp up military budgets” (Johnson 2004: 64).

Conclusion

This essay has sought to argue that the U.S. military-industrial complex was the unintentional result of both a desire to stabilize the global capitalist system and to protect national security interests, but that military spending is now closely linked to the personal interests of a small, influential group of elites. In the first section, it was illustrated that the context of the Second World War made increased military expenditures a necessary means to other ends, although the power elite that would eventually come to benefit from these expenditures was already in place. Once in place, this power elite has constantly needed to justify the disproportionate allocation of national resources to the military establishment. Emphasizing the economic benefits of military investment by drawing on Keynesian theory is a way of doing so, but military Keynesianists seem to give a one-sided account of the theory, one that suits their interests.

The second section focused on the global war on terror, arguing that the U.S. is capitalizing on public fears which are based on an incorrect assessment of the causes of terrorism. The war on terror has done little to eradicate terrorism, but as long as the public continues believing it is a necessary war, the U.S. military-industrial complex will continue using it as an opportunity to keep military budgets high.

References


1.) The U.S. did have to rethink the expenses of their policies during the crisis of the ‘70s, when expanding on both warfare and welfare became too expensive. Allocating taxpayers’ money to the military had become harder to justify for several reasons; by this time, however, the military-industrial complex was well in place. Beneficiaries of militarism succeeded in maintaining high military budgets, mainly by exaggerating the ‘Soviet threat’ (such as in the now-discredited Team B report by the Committee on the Present Danger). This was clearly a way of defining the elite group’s interests in terms of national interests and is relevant to the topic, but it is not within the scope of the essay to discuss this in detail.


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"All democracies turn into dictatorships - but not by coup. The people give their democracy to a dictator, whether it's Julius Caesar or Napoleon or Adolf Hitler. Ultimately, the general population goes along with the idea... That's the issue that I've been exploring: How did the Republic turn into the Empire ... and how does a democracy become a dictatorship? "

Star Wars filmmaker George Lucas

[Nov 20, 2016] Obama and Clinton Are Complicit in Creating ISIS

See also Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS
Notable quotes:
"... The origins of Daesh, known commonly as the Islamic State or ISIS, tie back directly to Obama and Clinton policy delusions and half measures of the Iraq and Syria conflicts. ..."
"... The FSA exerted zero control over the dozens of rival militias fighting each other and the Assad regime in Damascus. The Syrian Rebel groups were like dozens of hungry baby vultures in a nest all competing for resources, and the worst and meanest destroyed their counterparts using the aid given them by their misguided American benefactors. ..."
"... The Sunni Arab Gulf states piled on behind the U.S. government to help their Sunni brethren with more arms and cash. The result was a true race to the bottom of Syrian Rebel groups. ..."
"... The chaos sewn globally by ISIS today grew directly from the bad seeds planted by the Clinton/Obama failures in the basics of statecraft. ..."
"... Obama/Clinton continued to approach the Middle East with the same naivety that led the Bush Administration into Iraq in the first place. For all of the criticism that Obama levied on Bush, he continued to apply a deeply delusional Washington perspective to Middle Eastern politics and culture - ignoring all we should have learned in 13 years of Iraq conflict and warfare. ..."
Jun 16, 2016 | breitbart.com

The origins of Daesh, known commonly as the Islamic State or ISIS, tie back directly to Obama and Clinton policy delusions and half measures of the Iraq and Syria conflicts.

With the recent release of an August 2012 classified intelligence memo to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton detailing the presence of the organization that became ISIS among the Syrian oppositional forces supported by the West, it's important to remember the history of exactly how the Islamic State arose from the ashes of a failed Obama/Clinton foreign policy.

The Syrian "Arab Spring" agitations that began in March 2011, where majority Sunnis rebelled against an Assad run Alawite Shia Ba'th Party, quickly dissolved into a multi sided proxy war. Clinton State Department policy grew into helping these Sunni rebels under the banner of the "Free Syrian Army (FSA)" with weapons, money and diplomatic support.

However, the reality is that the FSA existed only in the minds of the State Department leadership. The FSA exerted zero control over the dozens of rival militias fighting each other and the Assad regime in Damascus. The Syrian Rebel groups were like dozens of hungry baby vultures in a nest all competing for resources, and the worst and meanest destroyed their counterparts using the aid given them by their misguided American benefactors.

The Sunni Arab Gulf states piled on behind the U.S. government to help their Sunni brethren with more arms and cash. The result was a true race to the bottom of Syrian Rebel groups. All the while the Assad regime's traditional allies of Russia and Iran provided weapons, training, and even thousands of fighters themselves to combat the U.S. supported Sunni rebels. The Obama/Clinton team couldn't even do a proxy war correctly.

The chaos sewn globally by ISIS today grew directly from the bad seeds planted by the Clinton/Obama failures in the basics of statecraft.

... ... ...

Obama/Clinton continued to approach the Middle East with the same naivety that led the Bush Administration into Iraq in the first place. For all of the criticism that Obama levied on Bush, he continued to apply a deeply delusional Washington perspective to Middle Eastern politics and culture - ignoring all we should have learned in 13 years of Iraq conflict and warfare.

Erik Prince is a former Navy SEAL, founder of Blackwater, and currently a frontier market investor and concerned parent.

[Aug 22, 2016] A Hard Look at the War Criminals, Um, Hawks Who Say Never Trump

Notable quotes:
"... Let's start with the last bit: "the leader of the free world." That's what journalists used to call the U.S. president, and occasionally the country as a whole, during the Cold War. Between the end of World War II and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the "free world" included all the English-speaking countries outside Africa, along with western Europe, North America, some South American dictatorships, and nations like the Philippines that had a neocolonial relationship with the United States. ..."
"... I have absolutely no doubt that he and his eastern European countrymen were far from free. I do wonder, however, how free his counterparts in the American-backed Brazilian, Argentinian, Chilean, and Philippine dictatorships felt. ..."
"... Some countries in the Third World refused to be pawns in the superpower game, and created a non-aligned movement , which sought to thread a way between the Scylla and Charybdis of the U.S. and the Soviet Union. ..."
"... Among its founders were some of the great Third World nationalists: Sukarno of Indonesia, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, and Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, along with Yugoslavia's President Josip Broz Tito. ..."
August 22, 2016 | naked capitalism
Posted on August 22, 2016 by Yves Smith Yves here. This article by Rebecca Gordon does a fine job of calling out the recklessness and disregard for the law of a group of foreign policy "experts" who signed a letter calling Trump unfit for office. But it's disconcerting to see Rebecca Gordon document how these individuals have engaged in the same sort of unacceptable behavior that they Trump would undertake, and then argue that Trump is obviously dangerous, and by implication, Clinton is not. Clinton is fully on board with the policies that these experts represent, so how exactly is she better? Gordon needs to make a case, not just assert superiority in the face of facts she presents that indicate otherwise. Gordon tries arguing for Manafort as proof that Trump is tainted. But Manafort was a recent hire and has just been dispatched, while long-term Clinton key player John Podesta's firm also appears to have advised pro-Russia parties in Ukraine .

By Rebecca Gordon, who teaches in the philosophy department at the University of San Francisco. She is the author of American Nuremberg: The U.S. Officials Who Should Stand Trial for Post-9/11 War Crimes (Hot Books). Her previous books include Mainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post-9/11 United States and Letters from Nicaragua . Originally published at TomDispatch

It's not every day that Republicans publish an open letter announcing that their presidential candidate is unfit for office. But lately this sort of thing has been happening more and more frequently . The most recent example: we just heard from 50 representatives of the national security apparatus, men - and a few women - who served under Republican presidents from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush. All of them are very worried about Donald Trump.

They think we should be alerted to the fact that the Republican standard-bearer "lacks the character, values, and experience to be president."

That's true of course, but it's also pretty rich, coming from this bunch. The letter's signers include, among others, the man who was Condoleezza Rice's legal advisor when she ran the National Security Council (John Bellinger III); one of George W. Bush's CIA directors who also ran the National Security Agency (Michael Hayden); a Bush administration ambassador to the United Nations and Iraq (John Negroponte); an architect of the neoconservative policy in the Middle East adopted by the Bush administration that led to the invasion of Iraq, who has since served as president of the World Bank (Robert Zoellick). In short, given the history of the "global war on terror," this is your basic list of potential American war criminals.

Their letter continues, "He weakens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world."

There's a sentence that could use some unpacking.

What Is The "Free World"?

Let's start with the last bit: "the leader of the free world." That's what journalists used to call the U.S. president, and occasionally the country as a whole, during the Cold War. Between the end of World War II and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the "free world" included all the English-speaking countries outside Africa, along with western Europe, North America, some South American dictatorships, and nations like the Philippines that had a neocolonial relationship with the United States.

The U.S.S.R. led what, by this logic, was the un-free world, including the Warsaw Pact countries in eastern Europe, the "captive" Baltic nations of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, the People's Republic of China (for part of the period), North Korea, and of course Cuba. Americans who grew up in these years knew that the people living behind the " Iron Curtain " were not free. We'd seen the bus ads and public service announcements on television requesting donations for Radio Free Europe , sometimes illustrated with footage of a pale adolescent man, his head crowned with chains.

I have absolutely no doubt that he and his eastern European countrymen were far from free. I do wonder, however, how free his counterparts in the American-backed Brazilian, Argentinian, Chilean, and Philippine dictatorships felt.

The two great adversaries, together with the countries in their spheres of influence, were often called the First and Second Worlds. Their rulers treated the rest of the planet - the Third World - as a chessboard across which they moved their proxy armies and onto which they sometimes targeted their missiles. Some countries in the Third World refused to be pawns in the superpower game, and created a non-aligned movement , which sought to thread a way between the Scylla and Charybdis of the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

Among its founders were some of the great Third World nationalists: Sukarno of Indonesia, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, and Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, along with Yugoslavia's President Josip Broz Tito.

Other countries weren't so lucky. When the United States took over from France the (unsuccessful) project of defeating Vietnam's anti-colonial struggle, people in the U.S. were assured that the war that followed with its massive bombing, napalming, and Agent-Oranging of a peasant society represented the advance of freedom against the forces of communist enslavement. Central America also served as a Cold War battlefield, with Washington fighting proxy wars during the 1980s in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, where poor campesinos had insisted on being treated as human beings and were often brutally murdered for their trouble. In addition, the U.S. funded, trained, and armed a military dictatorship in Honduras, where John Negroponte - one of the anti-Trump letter signers - was the U.S. ambassador from 1981 to 1985.

The Soviet Union is, of course, long gone, but the "free world," it seems, remains, and so American officials still sometimes refer to us as its leader - an expression that only makes sense, of course, in the context of dual (and dueling) worlds. On a post-Soviet planet, however, it's hard to know just what national or geographic configuration constitutes today's "un-free world." Is it (as Donald Trump might have it) everyone living under Arab or Muslim rule? Or could it be that amorphous phenomenon we call "terrorism" or "Islamic terrorism" that can sometimes reach into the "free world" and slaughter innocents as in San Bernardino , California, Orlando , Florida, or Nice , France? Or could it be the old Soviet Union reincarnated in Vladimir Putin's Russia or even a rising capitalist China still controlled by a Communist Party?

Faced with the loss of a primary antagonist and the confusion on our planet, George W. Bush was forced to downsize the perennial enemy of freedom from Reagan's old " evil empire " (the Soviet Union) to three "rogue states," Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, which in an address to Congress he so memorably labeled the " axis of evil ." The first of these lies in near ruins; the second we've recently signed a nuclear treaty with; and the third seems incapable of even feeding its own population. Fortunately for the free world, the Bush administration also had some second-string enemies to draw on. In 2002, John Bolton, then an undersecretary of state (and later ambassador to the U.N.), added another group "beyond the axis of evil" - Libya, Syria, and Cuba. Of the three, only Cuba is still a functioning nation.

And by the way, the 50 Republican national security stars who denounced Donald Trump in Cold War terms turn out to be in remarkably good company - that of Donald Trump himself (who recently gave a speech invoking American Cold War practices as the basis for his future foreign policy).

"He Weakens U.S. Moral Authority…"

After its twenty-first century wars , its " black sites ," and Guantánamo , among other developments of the age, it's hard to imagine a much weaker "moral authority" than what's presently left to the United States. First, we gave the world eight years of George W. Bush's illegal invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as CIA torture sites, "enhanced interrogation techniques," and a program of quite illegal global kidnappings of terror suspects ( some of whom proved innocent of anything). Under President Obama, it seems we've traded enhanced interrogation techniques for an "enhanced" use of assassination by drone (again outside any "law" of war, other than the legal documents that the Justice Department has produced to justify such acts).

When Barack Obama took office in January 2009 his first executive order outlawed the CIA's torture program and closed those black sites. It then looked as if the country's moral fiber might be stiffening. But when it came to holding the torturers accountable, Obama insisted that the country should "look forward as opposed to looking backwards" and the Justice Department declined to prosecute any of them. It's hard for a country to maintain its moral authority in the world when it refuses to exert that authority at home.

Two of the letter signers who are so concerned about Trump's effect on U.S. moral authority themselves played special roles in "weakening" U.S. moral authority through their involvement with the CIA torture program: John Bellinger III and Michael Hayden.

June 26th is the U.N.'s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. To mark that day in 2003, President Bush issued a statement declaring, "Torture anywhere is an affront to human dignity everywhere. The United States is committed to the world-wide elimination of torture, and we are leading this fight by example."

The Washington Post story on the president's speech also carried a quote from Deputy White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan to the effect that all prisoners being held by the U.S. government were being treated "humanely." John Rizzo, who was then the CIA's deputy general counsel, called John Bellinger, Condoleezza Rice's legal counsel at the National Security Council, to express his concern about what both the president and McClellan had said.

The problem was that - as Rizzo and his boss, CIA director George Tenet, well knew - many detainees then held by the CIA were not being treated humanely. They were being tortured or mistreated in various ways. The CIA wanted to be sure that they still had White House backing and approval for their "enhanced interrogation" program, because they didn't want to be left holding the bag if the truth came out. They also wanted the White House to stop talking about the humane treatment of prisoners.

According to an internal CIA memo , George Tenet convened a July 29, 2003, meeting in Condoleezza Rice's office to get the necessary reassurance that the CIA would be covered if the truth about torture came out. There, Bellinger reportedly apologized on behalf of the administration, explaining that the White House press secretary had "gone off script," mistakenly reverting to "old talking points." He also "undertook to [e]nsure that the White House press office ceases to make statements on the subject other than [to say] that the U.S. is complying with its obligations under U.S. law."

At that same meeting, Tenet's chief counsel, Scott Muller, passed out packets of printed PowerPoint slides detailing those enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, so that Bellinger and the others present, including Rice, would understand exactly what he was covering up.

So much for the "moral authority" of John Bellinger III.

As for Michael Hayden (who has held several offices in the national security apparatus), one of his signature acts as CIA Director was to approve in 2005 the destruction of videotapes of the agency's waterboarding sessions. In a letter to CIA employees, he wrote that the tapes were destroyed "only after it was determined they were no longer of intelligence value and not relevant to any internal, legislative, or judicial inquiries."

Of course destroying those tapes also meant that they'd never be available for any future legislative or judicial inquiry. The letter continued,

"Beyond their lack of intelligence value… the tapes posed a serious security risk. Were they ever to leak, they would permit identification of your CIA colleagues who had served in the program, exposing them and their families to retaliation from al-Qaeda and its sympathizers."

One has to wonder whether Hayden was more concerned with his CIA colleagues' "security" from al-Qaeda or from prosecution. In any case, he deprived the public - and any hypothetical future prosecutor - of crucial evidence of wrongdoing.

Hayden also perpetuated the lie that the Agency's first waterboarding victim, Abu Zubaydah - waterboarded a staggering 83 times - was a crucial al-Qaeda operative and had provided a quarter of all the information that the CIA gathered from human subjects about al-Qaeda. He was, in fact, never a member of al-Qaeda at all. In the 1980s, he ran a training camp in Afghanistan for the mujahedin , the force the U.S. supported against the Soviet occupation of that country; he was, that is, one of Ronald Reagan's " freedom fighters ."

Bellinger later chimed in, keeping the Abu Zubaydah lie alive by arguing in 2007 on behalf of his boss Condoleezza Rice that Guantánamo should remain open. That prison, he said, "serves a very important purpose, to hold and detain individuals who are extremely dangerous [like] Abu Zubaydah, people who have been planners of 9/11."

"He Appears to Lack Basic Knowledge About and Belief in the U.S. Constitution, U.S. Laws, and U.S. Institutions…"

That's the next line of the open letter, and it's certainly a fair assessment of Donald Trump. But it's more than a little ironic that it was signed by Michael Hayden who, in addition to supporting CIA's torture project, oversaw the National Security Agency's post-9/11 secret surveillance program. Under that program , the government recorded the phone, text, and Internet communications of an unknown number of people inside and outside of the United States - all without warrants .

Perhaps Hayden believes in the Constitution, but at best it's a selective belief. There's that pesky 4th Amendment, for example, which guarantees that

"[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Nor does Hayden appear to believe in U.S. laws and institutions, at least when it comes to the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which established the secret courts that are supposed to issue exactly the sort of warrant Hayden's program never requested.

John Negroponte is another of the signers who has a history of skirting U.S. laws and the congress that passes them. While ambassador to Honduras, he helped develop a murderous " contra" army, which the United States armed and trained to overthrow the government of neighboring Nicaragua. During those years, however, aid to the contras was actually illegal under U.S. law. It was explicitly prohibited under the so-called Boland Amendments to various appropriations bills, but no matter. "National security" was at stake.

Speaking of the Constitution, it's instructive to take a look at Article 6, which states in part that "all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land." Such treaties include, for example, the 1928 Kellogg-Briand non-aggression pact (whose violation was the first charge brought against the Nazi officials tried at Nuremberg ) and Article 51 of the U.N. charter, which permits military action only "if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations."

In 1998, Robert Zoellick, another of those 50 Republicans openly denouncing Trump, signed a different letter , which advocated abrogating those treaties. As an associate of the Project for a New American Century , he was among those who urged then-President Bill Clinton to direct "a full complement of diplomatic, political, and military efforts" to "remove Saddam Hussein from power." This was to be just the first step in a larger campaign to create a Pax Americana in the Middle East. The letter specifically urged Clinton not to worry about getting a Security Council resolution, arguing that "American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council."

... ... ...

relstprof , August 22, 2016 at 2:02 am

At least give us some lesser evilism, Prof. Gordon. No? But really, Clinton's endorsement of Kissinger and the lack of political and MSM response to that endorsement is perhaps the most shocking thing. My introduction to Kissinger's crimes was via Hitchens, who then promptly backed the Bush regime's interventionism. I shouldn't be surprised anymore at establishment Three-Card Monte.

Next homework assignment for Gordon: Hillary on Kissinger. What it means, why it matters.

Better yet: we should get John Oliver on it.

clarky90 , August 22, 2016 at 2:24 am

(1) The Republican Party is ALSO the Party of the Great Redeemer, Abraham Lincoln.

(2) Word(s) are not Things, they are change, change, changing signifiers of nothing.

(3) The divide (spectrum) is NOT, left to right! The Neo-Bolsheviks (cons/libs) have used money and influence to appropriate (own) BOTH the "Left" and the "Right". They own (as in bought and sold "own") the discussion.

(4) The true spectrum is up and down. The 99% vs the 1%.

(5) 1%ers, aspiring 1%ers, the service staff of the 1% (managers etc) should definitely vote for Hillary Clinton. She is the candidate (voice for) The Unique.

(6) Donald Trump is seeking to be a voice for the 99%. IMO, this make him The Progressive.(The Walt Whitman Progressive) People who see themselves as members of the Masses, The People, The Crowd, The Gaia, The 99%, EveryMan/EveryWoman/EveryGender

(7) Trump does not look or sound the way most of us imagine, The Redeemer should look. (Obama was a perfectly looking redeemer, IMO, except, he was a false messiah ). IMO, Trump is the Redeemer, the real McCoy .

(8) " Inattentional blindness, also known as perceptual blindness , is a psychological lack of attention that is not associated with any vision defects or deficits. It may be further defined as the event in which an individual fails to recognize an unexpected stimulus that is in plain sight. When it simply becomes impossible for one to attend to all the stimuli in a given situation, a temporary blindness effect can take place as a result; that is, individuals fail to see objects or stimuli that are unexpected and quite often salient."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inattentional_blindness

Trump is right in front of us. Stop listening to all the bullshit and open your eyes and ears to what is going on. (IMO, of course!)

digi_owl , August 22, 2016 at 3:09 am

The empire is naked.

jgordon , August 22, 2016 at 3:31 am

No matter how bad Trump is, Hillary is worse. Hell I wouldn't be voting for Trump if Hillary weren't in the race, that's for damn sure.

So just go ahead and keep doing more oppo research on Trump. Please–I beg you. Because no matter what you manage to pull out of your butt I'm just nodding my head and saying to myself, "yep. Probably true, but still far better than Hillary."

Madmamie , August 22, 2016 at 4:22 am

" But it's disconcerting to see Rebecca Gordon document how these individuals have engaged in the same sort of unacceptable behavior that they Trump would undertake, and then argue that Trump is obviously dangerous, and by implication, Clinton is not. Clinton is fully on board with the policies that these experts represent, so how exactly is she better? Gordon needs to make a case, not just assert superiority. "

Isn't this just another good example of why we shouldn't be afraid of the truth and plain talk? When we finally start using words like "liar", "cheater", "thief" "murderer" "assassin" to describe those (politicians) guilty of such crimes, we might be able to get rid of them. PC is too often a trap for the one practicing it. It dims the bright lights we want to shine on the wrong-doer and robs us of our ability to debate . There's a reason why plain-talking demagogues like Trump are so successful. Instead of wrapping ourselves even more tightly in the saran wrap of genteel good manners (sometimes just another way of showing superiority?) we should be honing our language skills and engaging with the enemy.

Pavel , August 22, 2016 at 6:46 am

Here's to using the right words. "War" (or, nowadays, military intervention or (ha!) humanitarian intervention - what's "humanitarian" about dropping bombs and destroying infrastructure and causing environmental devastation?) is murder .

Bill Clinton, George Bush, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton - all mass murderers. The latter two who weep public tears every time there is a mass shooting in the US that kills a dozen or so victims. Hillary is all about "arms control" in the US and slammed Bernie because he was too "lenient" on guns, while she razed Libya and caused the spread of masses of weapons from Libya to Syria.

There is mass murder going on in Yemen as I type, aided and abetted by the US military, using weapons sold by Obama and HRC to the Saudis.

Trump is a bloviating idiot (at best) but a simple question: how many people has he actually killed compared to Bush, Obama, and the two Clintons? And never forget Albright's "it was worth it" comment regarding 500,000 Iraqi children killed as a result of Bill Clinton's sanctions.

The hypocrisy of all this is stunning.

Tom , August 22, 2016 at 6:54 am

"The Iraq war was a big, fat, mistake. George Bush made a mistake. We can make mistakes .. but this one was a beauty!"
Donald Trump

EndOfTheWorld , August 22, 2016 at 7:18 am

If Hill actually shows up for the debates, this is one thing Donald can hammer her about without people screaming at him for being mean to the little lady--which is what they will do if he rips into her on some of the other stuff he will rip into her on. HRC will hide behind her skirts, like the phony "feminist" she is.

Pavel , August 22, 2016 at 7:47 am

I just stumbled on a new post at CounterPunch regarding Hillary's fake "feminism", including the following 'grafs:

During her husband's presidency, Hillary was a vocal advocate for the barbaric sanctions regime, as well as the No-Fly Zone and other belligerent actions taken by her husband against the Iraqi Government of Saddam Hussein. In fact, many experts have noted that the Clinton Iraq policy essentially laid the groundwork for George W. Bush's invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. In particular, Hillary was a leading proponent of the sanctions which, according to the UN, killed roughly 500,000 children.

And, of course, there's Hillary's infamous support for Bush's Iraq War when she was a Senator from New York. Clinton explained to the Council on Foreign Relations in December 2003, "I was one who supported giving President Bush the authority, if necessary, to use force against Saddam Hussein. I believe that that was the right vote….I stand by the vote." Of course this was in the immediate aftermath of the invasion of Iraq and subsequent capture of Saddam Hussein, a time when one could still justify support for a war that, just a few years later, proved to be politically unpalatable, to say nothing of it being an egregious war crime, as we all knew from the beginning.

And Hillary was not perturbed in the slightest at the hundreds of thousands of women and children whose lives were irrevocably destroyed by the war and its aftermath, one which is still being reckoned with today.

Hillary and Bill – the power couple tag team of Washington – also led the charge to bomb Serbia in 1999. During the 78 days of "Operation Allied Force" more than 2,000 civilians were killed, including 88 children. Naturally, this was of little consequence to the great feminist heroine Hillary who, according to biographer Gail Sheehy, proudly proclaimed "I urged [Bill Clinton] to bomb [Serbia]." The barbarism and sheer viciousness of someone who gleefully takes credit for the deaths of scores of children and countless thousands of women should give anyone who believes in the Hillary the feminist mythos serious pause.

Who could forget Libya? In the war championed by Hillary Clinton, who is regarded by experts as being the loudest voice in favor of regime change against Gaddafi and the destruction of the country, tens of thousands of women were raped, lynched, and murdered by the glorious "rebels" (read terrorists) backed by Clinton and her imperial coterie . Perhaps the great feminist hero could speak to the children of Misrata, Sirte, and Bani Walid who have now grown up without their mothers and fathers, and explain to them just how "worth it" the war was. Maybe Clinton could look mothers in the eyes and tell them how the deaths of their children from war, disease, and terrorism is a small price to pay for the foreign policy objectives of Washington.

[My emphasis]

–Eric Draitser: Hillary Clinton: The Anti-Woman 'Feminist'

Amazing the amount of cognitive dissonance going on with the Clinton "liberal" supporters.

Ché Pasa , August 22, 2016 at 7:33 am

The failure of so many partisans to recognize what is going on is startling. This is really one of the most remarkable political seasons in my memory, and I go back to Stevenson/Eisenhower days. (Criminy.)

We're watching what amounts to a reversal of political polarities, with the Democrats led by Hillary becoming sort of hopped-up post-modern high-end Republicans (what the Republicans would have become if they hadn't gone insane with power during and following the Reagan regime) and the Republicans becoming the party of a hopped-up and angry rabble. Their spokesman is Trump, but he's not their leader by any means. For the moment, there isn't one, but if this reversal/realignment is sustained - and I think it will be - there will be a Leader of the Rabble. It's too juicy an opportunity to resist.

Hillary is signaling in every way possible that she will govern as a hot-dog Republican, fully on board with the War Party which has been the driving force of the Republican and a significant part of the Democratic establishment since Bush the Old. Hillary is become what Jeb! was supposed to be.

The Establishment's War Party is fully on board with Herself as well.

This could turn ugly very quickly. They have been telling us very loudly that they want a confrontation with Russia and then with China to establish once and for all the dominance of the American Empire over the entire globe. They are prepared - and apparently eager - to crush any resistance with whatever force they choose, whenever they choose. Moscow and Beijing to be turned to seas of glowing glass if they do not yield sufficiently and in a timely fashion.

That's the threat this War Party under Mrs. Clinton holds out.

That is the threat the Republicans and their Party would have held out if the War Party had continued to hold sway within it. Trump has short-circuited that by insisting that glassing the "terrorists" is the right course of action, leaving the Russians and Chinese pretty much alone. Except that's not what the War Party wants. The "terrorists" in fact are their allies in the quest for ultimate power.

Instead, the goal seems to be to dismember/destroy Russia and to contain and control China, exploiting both for whatever resources can be extracted, ultimately leaving both as empty husks.

Trump says he has other goals, but they amount to a similar program with somewhat different victims.

Partisans see one as ultimate Evil, the other as Less Evil and therefore Good.

But it's a goon show. The War Party is determined to have its way again. Clinton will follow their lead; Trump would try to lead it. Neither we nor they can escape it.

When somebody comes up with a way to disable the War Party within the permanent government, I'll listen. Until then, we are as they say, f**ked.

[Aug 22, 2016] Secret File Confirms Trump Claim: Obama, Hillary Founded ISIS to Oust Assad

Here we need to distinguish the events in Syria and event sin Iraq. Creating of salafist army in Iraq was the result of Iraq war. Color revolution attempted in Syria and arming of the opposition were all done on Obama watch. The USA trained and armed "moderate Syria opposition" but the problem is that there was no any moderate opposition -- they trained members of radical group who for the sake of training and getting arms pretended to be "moderate". .
Notable quotes:
"... A 2012 defense intelligence report, originally stamped SECRET exposes that the US-backed anti-Assad coalition at the time was spearheaded by al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) that soon after cobbled together to form the Daesh terror network. ..."
"... "There is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syria (Hasak and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want," in what can only conceivably be construed as a call for the formation of a Daesh "caliphate" in Syria. ..."
"... Again, the opposition that the Obama administration deemed to be the "legitimate representative of the Syrian people" was led by the precursors to the Daesh terror network, AQI and ISI, with Washington employing a policy of feigned ignorance agreeing to provide arms, aid, and support to other factions of the opposition knowing that these groups would potentially function as a conduit. ..."
"... The US policy of utilizing jihadist extremists in proxy wars carries with it a haunting track record dating back to the CIA support, during the Reagan administration, of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan that spawned off the now deceased terror mastermind Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda terror network. ..."
sputniknews.com

The Obama Administration's policy of supporting Salafist opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad saw the United States unwittingly support the creation of the Daesh 'caliphate' in Syria.

A 2012 defense intelligence report, originally stamped SECRET exposes that the US-backed anti-Assad coalition at the time was spearheaded by al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) that soon after cobbled together to form the Daesh terror network.

The report exposes that while the United States refused to directly aide and support AQI and ISI pursuant to restrictions imposed by domestic anti-terror laws, State Department and Pentagon officials were well aware that the so-called 'moderate' rebels were intertwined with the terrorist militants who were the vanguard of the fighting force. Somewhat fantastically, the United States finds itself in a similar predicament in its anti-Assad proxy war vis-à-vis another former al-Qaeda affiliate, al-Nusra Front.

"AQI, through the spokesman of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), Abu Muhammad al-Adnani… is calling on the Sunnis in Iraq, especially the tribes in the border regions (between Iraq and Syria), to wage war against the Syrian regime," said the report.

It continued: "Opposition forces are trying to control the eastern areas (Hasaka and Der Zor) adjacent to the Western Iraqi provinces (Mosul and Anbar), in addition to neighboring Turkish borders. Western countries, the Gulf States and Turkey are supporting these efforts."

"There is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syria (Hasak and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want," in what can only conceivably be construed as a call for the formation of a Daesh "caliphate" in Syria.

In December 2012, only months after the defense intelligence report, President Obama caved to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the more hawkish wing of the national security establishment saying the United States considered the opposition to be "the legitimate representative of the Syrian people."

Again, the opposition that the Obama administration deemed to be the "legitimate representative of the Syrian people" was led by the precursors to the Daesh terror network, AQI and ISI, with Washington employing a policy of feigned ignorance agreeing to provide arms, aid, and support to other factions of the opposition knowing that these groups would potentially function as a conduit.

Indications are that the Obama administration failed to appropriately apprehend the danger posed by the Daesh terror network with the President calling the group al-Qaeda's "JV Team" and with his own former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Michael Flynn's assessment predicting in intricate detail the rise and reach of the jihadist group going largely ignored.

The US policy of utilizing jihadist extremists in proxy wars carries with it a haunting track record dating back to the CIA support, during the Reagan administration, of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan that spawned off the now deceased terror mastermind Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda terror network.

[Aug 22, 2016] Daesh-Gate: The Scandal That Could End Hillary Clintons Campaign

Notable quotes:
"... "The supply of weapons to Daesh and its creation happened like this. Secretary of State Clinton was able to convince Barack Obama (who it is said played a passive role in this story) to deliver weapons to the enemies of the governments in Syria and Libya. To this end, a huge cache of American weapons was sold to Qatar. The tiny Persian Gulf principality with a huge budget paid for the weapons and even transferred a large sum into the accounts of the Clinton Foundation. The weapons were sent to Islamist extremists in Benghazi in eastern Libya near Egypt. They were distributed there by small-time Egyptian thugs, and were then used to overthrow Gaddafi." ..."
"... "After Gaddafi was toppled, the weapons were sent from Libya to Syria, and to the rebels there. Notably, Clinton and Obama had no doubt that the rebels were Islamist extremists with close ties to al-Qaeda. The top-secret dispatch from the Pentagon said point blank that the Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) militants knew Syria well, and have been fighting against the Assad regime from the outset. Western countries, Turkey and the Gulf monarchies supported their plan to seize eastern Syria, where it would be possible to create a support base like the one that was set up in Benghazi, Libya. And that's how Daesh emerged in Syria." ..."
"... Further, Shamir noted, "Obama and Clinton also contributed to the rise of Daesh in Iraq. While Iraq was occupied by US forces, under President George W. Bush, the Americans created a Shia government in Baghdad, inciting the Sunnis against it; then, under Clinton and Obama, the Americans left, leaving Sunni areas flooded with a sea of small arms and military equipment. All the Islamists had to do was climb into the American Hummers and raise their black flags." ..."
Aug 21, 2016 | sputniknews.com via REUTERS/ Carlos Barria

Opinion

Russian-Israeli journalist and political analyst Israel Shamir offers his insights on why Trump's comments about Obama and Clinton being 'the founders of ISIS' may just put an end to Hillary Clinton's White House ambitions.

"Hillary Clinton, the candidate from the Democratic Party for the US presidency, is on easy street, or so it would seem," Shamir wrote, in a recent op-ed analysis for Svobodnaya Pressa. "She has the reigning president on her side. She has the New York Times and the Washington Post on her side, along with the national television networks. It might seem that she's got this election locked up. And that might have been the case, a few years ago; no one would have even heard about her rival, Donald Trump. But now, in the age of networking technologies, things aren't as easy for her."

"The gadfly in her Garden of Eden turned out to be Julian Assange, the Australian hacker who has been locked up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for four years now. First he published the Democratic Party's email correspondence, showing that its leaders had conspired to get rid of Bernie Sanders. The chair of the party had to resign, and the man who appeared to leak the materials was found dead on a street in Washington. But Clinton proved capable of coming to an agreement with Sanders. He received good money, bought a new house, published a book, and joined with Clinton, calling on his supporters to vote for her."

"Then," the journalist noted, "Julian Assange unveiled more of Clinton's correspondence, declaring that it was Madame Clinton – during her time as Secretary of State, who supplied arms to Daesh (ISIL/ISIS), listed as a terrorist organization both in the US and in Europe. Furthermore, Assange said, she lied under oath when she told the Senate that she does not know anything about the supply of weapons to the terrorists."

"Assange's statements could have been silenced, but they were picked up on by Donald Trump. He accused Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama of creating Daesh, of being sympathetic to Daesh and its aims, of leading a phony war against the terrorist group, costing the American taxpayer a great deal of money, and bringing a tidy sum for Mrs. Clinton and her foundation."

"Michael Mcfaul," the former US ambassador to Russia, "accused Trump of articulating 'Putin's propaganda'. The Pentagon too was indignant; after ten thousand sorties against Daesh (or fifty thousand, according to some sources), they are still being accused of aiding the terrorists! A considerable scandal erupted. But Trump and Assange were right."

"The supply of weapons to Daesh and its creation happened like this. Secretary of State Clinton was able to convince Barack Obama (who it is said played a passive role in this story) to deliver weapons to the enemies of the governments in Syria and Libya. To this end, a huge cache of American weapons was sold to Qatar. The tiny Persian Gulf principality with a huge budget paid for the weapons and even transferred a large sum into the accounts of the Clinton Foundation. The weapons were sent to Islamist extremists in Benghazi in eastern Libya near Egypt. They were distributed there by small-time Egyptian thugs, and were then used to overthrow Gaddafi."

"After Gaddafi was toppled, the weapons were sent from Libya to Syria, and to the rebels there. Notably, Clinton and Obama had no doubt that the rebels were Islamist extremists with close ties to al-Qaeda. The top-secret dispatch from the Pentagon said point blank that the Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) militants knew Syria well, and have been fighting against the Assad regime from the outset. Western countries, Turkey and the Gulf monarchies supported their plan to seize eastern Syria, where it would be possible to create a support base like the one that was set up in Benghazi, Libya. And that's how Daesh emerged in Syria."

Further, Shamir noted, "Obama and Clinton also contributed to the rise of Daesh in Iraq. While Iraq was occupied by US forces, under President George W. Bush, the Americans created a Shia government in Baghdad, inciting the Sunnis against it; then, under Clinton and Obama, the Americans left, leaving Sunni areas flooded with a sea of small arms and military equipment. All the Islamists had to do was climb into the American Hummers and raise their black flags."

"Then, according to the dispatch published by Wikileaks, and used by Donald Trump, Daesh received weapons from the US. The arms were theoretically meant to be delivered to the so-called 'moderate opposition', but Washington knew that they were falling into the hands of Al-Qaeda [via its Syrian branch, the Nusra Front] and Daesh. The leader of the Daesh militants in Pakistan admitted to having received weapons from the US. And in this Trump was right to accuse Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama. 'They dream of Hillary Clinton', Trump said of the terrorist group."

In other words, Shamir noted, "before our eyes, the secret of the creation of this nest of terrorists and extremists is being revealed. We might have expected this, recalling that in their own time, the US filled Afghanistan with arms and brought the Islamists, along with bin Laden, to power in that country. At that time, Reagan was fighting the Soviet Union. Now, in Syria, Clinton and Obama are carrying out the will of the Israeli lobby, which dreams of eternal war in the Middle East. In Iraq and Syria, Washington is fighting Iranian influence."

Therefore, Shamir noted, for now at least, "Moscow's talk of joint efforts with the US against Daesh is just that – talk, even if it is necessary and useful. Not every truth should be laid out immediately, and the Kremlin understands this."

"Assange has promised to publish additional evidence linking Hillary Clinton to the supply of weapons to Daesh soon, even though a lot has been published already. Then, when this reaches the American electorate, they will yet be able to pull off a November surprise."

Ultimately, Shamir wrote, "the self-assured Mrs. Clinton and the Democratic establishment is more and more reminiscent of a 'collective Boris Godunov' [a Russian tsar in the late 16th century]. They consider themselves to be the anointed kings, and despise not only Trump, but his voters as well – the working and middle class. But more and more, the words of Pushkin come to mind: 'There may be a great disaster. Such a disaster that Boris will hardly hold the crown on his clever head.'"

[Aug 21, 2016] Can The Deep State Be Cured Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... The "Obama Doctrine" a continuation of the previous false government doctrines in my lifetime, is less doctrine than the disease, as David Swanson points out . But in the article he critiques, the neoconservative warmongering global planning freak perspective (truly, we must recognize this view as freakish, sociopathic, death-cultish, control-obsessed, narcissist, take your pick or get a combo, it's all good). Disease, as a way of understanding the deep state action on the body politic, is abnormal. It can and should be cured. ..."
"... The deep state seems to have grown, strengthened and tightened its grip. Can a lack of real money restrain or starve it? I once thought so, and maybe I still do. But it doesn't use real money, but rather debt and creative financing to get that next new car, er, war and intervention and domestic spending program. Ultimately it's not sustainable, and just as unaffordable cars are junked, stripped, repossessed, and crunched up, so will go the way of the physical assets of the warfare–welfare state. ..."
"... Because inflated salaries , inflated stock prices and inflated ruling-class personalities are month to month, these should evaporate more quickly, over a debris field once known as some of richest counties in the United States. Can I imagine the shabbiest of trailer parks in the dismal swamp, where high rises and government basilicas and abbeys once stood? I'd certainly like to. But I'll settle for well-kept, privately owned house trailers, filled with people actually producing some small value for society, and minding their own business. ..."
"... Finally, what of those pinpricks of light, the honest assessments of the real death trail and consumption pit that the deep state has delivered? Well, it is growing and broadening. Wikileaks and Snowden are considered assets now to any and all competitors to the US deep state, from within and from abroad – the Pandora's box, assisted by technology, can't be closed now. The independent media has matured to the point of criticizing and debating itself/each other, as well as focusing harsh light on the establishment media. Instead of left and right mainstream media, we increasingly recognize state media, and delightedly observe its own struggle to survive in the face of a growing nervousness of the deep state it assists on command. ..."
"... Watch an old program like"Yes, Minister" to understand how it works. Politicians come and go, but the permanent state apparatchiks doesn't. ..."
"... The "deep state" programs, whether conceived and directed by Soros' handlers, or others, risks unintended consequences. The social division intended by BLM, for example could easily morph beyond the goals. The lack of law due to corruption is equally susceptible to a spontaneous reaction of "the mob," not under the control of the Tavistock handlers. There's an old saying on Wall St; pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. ..."
www.zerohedge.com

Submitted by Karen Kwiatkowski via LewRockwell.com,

So, after getting up late, groggy, and feeling overworked even before I started, I read this article . Just after, I had to feed a dozen cats and dogs, each dog in a separate room out of respect for their territorialism and aggressive desire to consume more than they should (hmm, where have I seen this before), and in the process, forgot where I put my coffee cup. Retracing steps, I finally find it and sit back down to my 19-inch window on the ugly (and perhaps remote) world of the state, and the endless pinpricks of the independent media on its vast overwhelmingly evil existence. I suspect I share this distractibility and daily estrangement from the actions of our government with most Americans .

We are newly bombing Libya and still messing with the Middle East? I thought that the wars the deep state wanted and started were now limited and constrained! What happened to lack of funds, lack of popular support, public transparency that revealed the stupidity and abject failure of these wars?

Deep state.Something systemic, difficult to detect, hard to remove, hidden. It is a spirit as much as nerves and organ. How do your starve it, excise it, or just make it go away? We want to know. I think this explains the popularity of infotainment about haunted houses, ghosts and alien beings among us. They live and we are curious and scared.

The "Obama Doctrine" a continuation of the previous false government doctrines in my lifetime, is less doctrine than the disease, as David Swanson points out . But in the article he critiques, the neoconservative warmongering global planning freak perspective (truly, we must recognize this view as freakish, sociopathic, death-cultish, control-obsessed, narcissist, take your pick or get a combo, it's all good). Disease, as a way of understanding the deep state action on the body politic, is abnormal. It can and should be cured.

My summary of the long Jeffrey Goldberg piece is basically that Obama has become more fatalistic (did he mean to say fatal?) since he won that Nobel Peace Prize back in 2009 . By the way, the "Nobel prize" article contains this gem, sure to get a chuckle:

"Obama's drone program is regularly criticized for a lack of transparency and accountability, especially considering incomplete intelligence means officials are often unsure about who will die. "

[M]ost individuals killed are not on a kill list, and the government does not know their names," Micah Zenko, a scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations told the New York Times."

This is about all the fun I can handle in one day. But back to what I was trying to say.

The deep state seems to have grown, strengthened and tightened its grip. Can a lack of real money restrain or starve it? I once thought so, and maybe I still do. But it doesn't use real money, but rather debt and creative financing to get that next new car, er, war and intervention and domestic spending program. Ultimately it's not sustainable, and just as unaffordable cars are junked, stripped, repossessed, and crunched up, so will go the way of the physical assets of the warfare–welfare state.

Because inflated salaries , inflated stock prices and inflated ruling-class personalities are month to month, these should evaporate more quickly, over a debris field once known as some of richest counties in the United States. Can I imagine the shabbiest of trailer parks in the dismal swamp, where high rises and government basilicas and abbeys once stood? I'd certainly like to. But I'll settle for well-kept, privately owned house trailers, filled with people actually producing some small value for society, and minding their own business.

Can a lack of public support reduce the deep state, or impact it? Well, it would seem that this is a non-factor, except for the strange history we have had and are witnessing again today, with the odd successful popular and populist-leaning politician and their related movements. In my lifetime, only popular figures and their movements get assassinated mysteriously, with odd polka dot dresses, MKULTRA suggestions, threats against their family by their competitors (I'm thinking Perot, but one mustn't be limited to that case), and always with concordant pressures on the sociopolitical seams in the country, i.e riots and police/military activations. The bad dealings toward, and genuine fear of, Bernie Sanders within the Democratic Party's wing of the deep state is matched or exceeded only by the genuine terror of Trump among the Republican deep state wing. This reaction to something or some person that so many in the country find engaging and appealing - an outsider who speaks to the growing political and economic dissatisfaction of a poorer, more indebted, and more regulated population – is heart-warming, to be sure. It is a sign that whether or not we do, the deep state thinks things might change. Thank you, Bernie and especially Donald, for revealing this much! And the "republicanization" of the Libertarian Party is also a bright indicator blinking out the potential of deep state movement and compromise in the pursuit of "stability."

Finally, what of those pinpricks of light, the honest assessments of the real death trail and consumption pit that the deep state has delivered? Well, it is growing and broadening. Wikileaks and Snowden are considered assets now to any and all competitors to the US deep state, from within and from abroad – the Pandora's box, assisted by technology, can't be closed now. The independent media has matured to the point of criticizing and debating itself/each other, as well as focusing harsh light on the establishment media. Instead of left and right mainstream media, we increasingly recognize state media, and delightedly observe its own struggle to survive in the face of a growing nervousness of the deep state it assists on command.

Maybe we will one day soon be able to debate how deep the deep state really is, or whether it was all just a dressed up, meth'ed up, and eff'ed up a sector of society that deserves a bit of jail time, some counseling, and a new start . Maybe some job training that goes beyond the printing of license plates. But given the destruction and mass murder committed daily in the name of this state, and the environmental disasters it has created around the world for the future generations, perhaps we will be no more merciful to these proprietors of the American empire as they have been to their victims. The ruling class deeply fears our judgment, and in this dynamic lies the cure.

Jim in MN Tallest Skil Aug 20, 2016 8:22 PM

I made a list of steps that could be taken to disrupt the Beast. It's all I can offer but I offer it freely.

https://www.scribd.com/document/67758041/List-of-Demands-October-6-2011

4:00 AM October 6, 2011

Kitchen Table, USA

LIST OF DEMANDS TO PROTECT THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FROM FINANCIAL CATASTROPHE

I.CURB CORRUPTION AND EXCESSIVE POWER IN THE FINANCIAL ARMS OF THE US GOVERNMENT

A. FEDERAL RESERVE

1. Benjaman Bernanke to be removed as Chairman immediately

2. New York Federal Reserve Bank and all New York City offices of the Federal Reserve system will be closed for at least 3 years

3. Salaries will be reduced and capped at $150,000/year, adjusted for official inflation

4. Staffing count to be reduced to 1980 levels

5. Interest rate manipulation to be prohibited for at least five years

6. Balance sheet manipulation to be prohibited for at least five years

7. Financial asset purchases prohibited for at least five years

B. TREASURY DEPARTMENT

1. Timothy Geithner to be removed as Secretary immediately

2. All New York City offices of the Department will be closed for at least 3 years

3. Salaries will be reduced and capped at $150,000/year, adjusted for official inflation

4. Staffing count to be reduced to 1980 levels

5. Market manipulation/intervention to be prohibited for at least five years

7. Financial asset purchases prohibited for at least five years

II. END THE CORRUPTING INFLUENCE OF GIANT BANKS AND PROTECT AMERICANS FROM FURTHER EXPOSURE TO THEIR COLLAPSE

A. END CORRUPT INFLUENCE

1. Lifetime ban on government employment for TARP recipient employees and corporate officers, specifically including Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase

2. Ten year ban on government work for consulting firms, law firms, and individual consultants and lawyers who have accepted cash from these entities

3. All contacts by any method with federal agencies and employees prohibited for at least five years, with civil and criminal penalties for violation

B. PROTECT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FROM FURTHER HARM AT THE HANDS OF GIANT BANKS

1. No financial institution with assets of more than $10billion will receive federal assistance or any 'arm's-length' bailouts

2. TARP recipients are prohibited from purchasing other TARP recipient corporate units, or merging with other TARP recipients

3. No foreign interest shall be allowed to acquire any portion of TARP recipients in the US or abroad

III. PREVENT CORPORATE ACCOUNTING AND PENSION FUND ABUSES RELATED TO THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS

A. CORPORATE ACCOUNTING

1. Immediately implement mark-to-market accounting rules which were improperly suspended, allowing six months for implementation.

2. Companies must reserve against impaired assets under mark-to-market rules

3. Any health or life insurance company with more than$100 million in assets must report on their holdings and risk factors, specifically including exposure to real estate, mortgage-backed securities, derivatives, and other exotic financial instruments. These reports will be to state insurance commissions and the federal government, and will also be made available to the public on the Internet.

B. PENSION FUNDS

1. All private and public pension funds must disclose their funding status and establish a plan to fully fund accounts under the assumption that net real returns across all asset classes remain at zero for at least ten years.

Winston Churchill -> Sam Clemons Aug 20, 2016 7:26 PM

Watch an old program like"Yes, Minister" to understand how it works. Politicians come and go, but the permanent state apparatchiks doesn't.

sinbad2 -> Winston Churchill Aug 20, 2016 7:58 PM

Sir Humphrey Appleby: You know what happens when politicians get into Number 10; they want to take their place on the world stage.

Sir Richard Wharton: People on stages are called actors. All they are required to do is look plausible, stay sober, and say the lines they're given in the right order.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Some of them try to make up their own lines.

Sir Richard Wharton: They don't last long.

rlouis Aug 20, 2016 7:47 PM

The "deep state" programs, whether conceived and directed by Soros' handlers, or others, risks unintended consequences. The social division intended by BLM, for example could easily morph beyond the goals. The lack of law due to corruption is equally susceptible to a spontaneous reaction of "the mob," not under the control of the Tavistock handlers. There's an old saying on Wall St; pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered.

The failed coup in Turkey is a significant indication of institutional weakness and also vulnerability. The inability to exercise force of will in Syria is another. The list of failures is getting too long.

[Aug 21, 2016] Hillary and the War Party

Notable quotes:
"... You haven't heard much from the Democrats lately about foreign policy or global agendas – indeed virtually nothing at the Philadelphia convention and little worthy of mention along the campaign trail. ..."
"... But no one should be fooled: a Clinton presidency, which seems more likely by the day, can be expected to stoke a resurgent U.S. imperialism, bringing new cycles of militarism and war. The silence is illusory: Clintonites, now as before, are truly obsessed with international politics. ..."
"... A triumphant Hillary, more "rational" and "savvy" than the looney and unpredictable Donald Trump, could well have a freer path to emboldened superpower moves not only in Europe but the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Pacific. While the candidate has not revealed much lately, she is on record as vowing to "stand up" to Russia and China, face off against Russian "aggression", escalate the war on terror, and militarily annihilate Iran the moment it steps out of line (or is determined by "U.S. intelligence" to have stepped out of line) in its nuclear agreement with global powers. ..."
"... A new Clinton presidency can be expected to further boost the U.S./NATO drive to strangle and isolate Russia, which means aggravated "crises" in Ukraine and worrisome encounters with a rival military power in a region saturated with (tactical, "usable") nuclear weapons. Regime change in Syria? Hillary has indeed strongly pushed for that self-defeating act of war, combined with an illegal and provocative no-fly zone - having learned nothing from the extreme chaos and violence she did so much to unleash in Libya as Secretary of State. ..."
"... Democratic elites say little publicly about these and other imperial priorities, preferring familiar homilies such as "bringing jobs back" (not going to happen) and "healing the country" (not going to happen). Silence appears to function exquisitely in a political culture where open and vigorous debate on foreign-policy is largely taboo and elite discourse rarely surpasses the level of banal platitudes. And Hillary's worshipful liberal and progressive backers routinely follow the script (or non-script) while fear-mongering about how a Trump presidency will destroy the country (now that the Sanders threat has vanished). ..."
"... Who needs to be reminded that Hillary's domestic promises, such as they are, will become null and void once urgent global "crises" take precedence? The Pentagon, after all, always comes first. ..."
"... There is a special logic to the Clintonites' explosive mixture of neoliberalism and militarism. They, like all corporate Democrats, are fully aligned with some of the most powerful interests in the world: Wall Street, the war economy, fossil fuels, Big Pharma, the Israel Lobby. They also have intimate ties to reactionary global forces – the neofascist regime in Ukraine, Israel, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf states. ..."
"... Predictably, Trump's "unreliability" to oversee American global objectives has been an ongoing motif at CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. ..."
"... Jackie was reported as saying "that what worried President Kennedy during that very dangerous time was that a war might be started – not by men with self-control and restraint, but by little men, the ones moved by fear and pride." ..."
www.counterpunch.org
You haven't heard much from the Democrats lately about foreign policy or global agendas – indeed virtually nothing at the Philadelphia convention and little worthy of mention along the campaign trail. Hillary Clinton's many liberal (and sadly, progressive) supporters routinely steer away from anything related to foreign policy, talk, talk, talking instead about the candidate's "experience", with obligatory nods toward her enlightened social programs. There is only the ritual demonization of that fearsome dictator, Vladimir Putin, reputedly on the verge of invading some hapless European country. Even Bernie Sanders' sorry endorsement of his erstwhile enemy, not long ago denounced as a tool of Wall Street, had nothing to say about global issues. But no one should be fooled: a Clinton presidency, which seems more likely by the day, can be expected to stoke a resurgent U.S. imperialism, bringing new cycles of militarism and war. The silence is illusory: Clintonites, now as before, are truly obsessed with international politics.

A triumphant Hillary, more "rational" and "savvy" than the looney and unpredictable Donald Trump, could well have a freer path to emboldened superpower moves not only in Europe but the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Pacific. While the candidate has not revealed much lately, she is on record as vowing to "stand up" to Russia and China, face off against Russian "aggression", escalate the war on terror, and militarily annihilate Iran the moment it steps out of line (or is determined by "U.S. intelligence" to have stepped out of line) in its nuclear agreement with global powers. Under Clinton, the Democrats might well be better positioned to recharge their historical legacy as War Party. One of the great political myths (and there are many) is that American liberals are inclined toward a less belligerent foreign policy than Republicans, are less militaristic and more favorable toward "diplomacy". References to Woodrow Wilson in World War I and Mexico, Harry Truman in Korea, JFK and LBJ in Indochina, Bill Clinton in the Balkans, and of course Barack Obama in Afghanistan (eight years of futile warfare), Libya (also "Hillary's War"), and scattered operations across the Middle East and North Africa should be enough to dispel such nonsense. (As for FDR and World War II, I have written extensively that the Pearl Harbor attacks were deliberately provoked by U.S. actions in the Pacific – but that is a more complicated story.)

... ... ...

A new Clinton presidency can be expected to further boost the U.S./NATO drive to strangle and isolate Russia, which means aggravated "crises" in Ukraine and worrisome encounters with a rival military power in a region saturated with (tactical, "usable") nuclear weapons. Regime change in Syria? Hillary has indeed strongly pushed for that self-defeating act of war, combined with an illegal and provocative no-fly zone - having learned nothing from the extreme chaos and violence she did so much to unleash in Libya as Secretary of State. There are currently no visible signs she would exit the protracted and criminal war in Afghanistan, a rich source of blowback (alongside Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Israel). Increased aerial bombardments against ISIS in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and elsewhere? More deployments of American troops on the ground? Such ventures, with potentially others on the horizon, amount to elaborate recipes for more blowback, followed by more anti-terror hysteria, followed by more interventions. Uncompromising economic, diplomatic, and military support of Israeli atrocities in Palestine? Aggressive pursuit of the seriously mistaken "Asian Pivot", strategy, a revitalized effort to subvert Chinese economic and military power – one of Clinton's own special crusades? No wonder the Paul Wolfowitzes and Robert Kagans are delighted to join the Hillary camp.

No wonder, too, that billionaire super-hawk Haim Saban has pledged to spend whatever is needed to get the Clintons back into the White House, convinced her presidency will do anything to maintain Palestinian colonial subjugation. Meeting with Saban in July, Hillary again promised to "oppose any effort to delegitimate Israel, including at the United Nations or through the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement." She backs legislative efforts begun in several states to silence and blacklist people working on behalf of Palestinian rights. For this her celebrated "pragmatism" could work quite effectively.

Democratic elites say little publicly about these and other imperial priorities, preferring familiar homilies such as "bringing jobs back" (not going to happen) and "healing the country" (not going to happen). Silence appears to function exquisitely in a political culture where open and vigorous debate on foreign-policy is largely taboo and elite discourse rarely surpasses the level of banal platitudes. And Hillary's worshipful liberal and progressive backers routinely follow the script (or non-script) while fear-mongering about how a Trump presidency will destroy the country (now that the Sanders threat has vanished).

Amidst the turmoil Trump has oddly surfaced to the left of Clinton on several key global issues: cooperating instead of fighting with the Russians, keeping alive a sharp criticism of the Iraq war and the sustained regional chaos and blowback it generated, ramping down enthusiasm for more wars in the Middle East, junking "free trade" agreements, willingness to rethink the outmoded NATO alliance. If Trump, however haphazardly, manages to grasp the historical dynamics of blowback, the Clinton camp remains either indifferent or clueless, still ready for new armed ventures – cynically marketed, as in the Balkans, Iraq, and Libya, on the moral imperative of defeating some unspeakable evil, usually a "new Hitler" waging a "new genocide". Who needs to be reminded that Hillary's domestic promises, such as they are, will become null and void once urgent global "crises" take precedence? The Pentagon, after all, always comes first.

... ... ...

...At the other extreme, Clinton emerges in the media as the most "rational" and "even-tempered" of candidates, ideally suited to carry out the necessary imperial agendas. A tiresome mainstream narrative is that Hillary is "one of the best prepared and most knowledgeable candidates ever to seek the presidency." And she is smart, very smart – whatever her flaws. All the better to follow in the long history of Democrats proficient at showing the world who is boss. The media, for its part, adores these Democrats, another reason Trump appears to have diminished chances of winning. Further, the well-funded and tightly-organized Clinton machine can count on somewhat large majorities of women, blacks, and Hispanics, not only for the march to the White House but, more ominously, to go along with the War Party's imperial spectacle of the day. Most anything – war, regime change, bombing raids, drone strikes, treaty violations, JFK-style "standoffs" – can escape political scrutiny if carried out by "humanitarian", peace-loving Democrats. Bill Clinton's war to fight "genocide" and "ethnic cleansing" in the Balkans, cover for just another U.S./NATO geopolitical maneuver, constitutes the perfect template here.

There is a special logic to the Clintonites' explosive mixture of neoliberalism and militarism. They, like all corporate Democrats, are fully aligned with some of the most powerful interests in the world: Wall Street, the war economy, fossil fuels, Big Pharma, the Israel Lobby. They also have intimate ties to reactionary global forces – the neofascist regime in Ukraine, Israel, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf states.

... In March 121 members of the Republican "national security community", including the warmongers Wolfowitz, Robert Kagan, and Brent Scowcroft, signed a public letter condemning Trump for not being sufficiently dedicated to American (also Israeli?) interests. Trump compounded his predicament by stubbornly refusing to pay homage to the "experts" – the same foreign-policy geniuses who helped orchestrate the Iraq debacle. A more recent (and more urgent) letter with roughly the same message has made its way into the public sphere. Predictably, Trump's "unreliability" to oversee American global objectives has been an ongoing motif at CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal.

Returning to the political carneval that was the Democratic convention, amidst all the non-stop flag-waving and shouts of "USA!" Hillary made what she thought would be an inspiring reference to Jackie Kennedy, speaking on the eve of her husband's (1961) ascent to the White House. Jackie was reported as saying "that what worried President Kennedy during that very dangerous time was that a war might be started – not by men with self-control and restraint, but by little men, the ones moved by fear and pride."

We can surmise that JFK was one of those "big men" governed by "restraint". History shows, however, that Jackie's esteemed husband was architect of probably the worst episode of international barbarism in U.S. history – the Vietnam War, with its unfathomable death and destruction – coming at a time of the Big Man's botched CIA-led invasion of Cuba and followed closely by the Cuban Missile Crisis, where the Big Man's "restraint" brought the world frighteningly close to nuclear catastrophe. As for "fear" and "pride" – nothing permeates JFK's biography of that period more than those two psychological obsessions.

Could it be that Hillary Clinton, however unwittingly, was at this epic moment – her breakthrough nomination – revealing nothing so much as her own deeply-imperialist mind-set?

Carl Boggs is the author of The Hollywood War Machine, with Tom Pollard (second edition, forthcoming), and Drugs, Power, and Politics, both published by Paradigm.

[Aug 20, 2016] No, Ambassador McFaul Putin Didn't Order Me to Fall in Love with Donald Trump

Notable quotes:
"... Former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul penned a scathing piece in the Washington Post accusing the Kremlin of intervening in the American election, based solely on the evidence of a harsh article regarding Clinton published by Sputnik News. Boy, was he wrong! ..."
"... On Wednesday night, Michael McFaul took to the Washington Post to opine that the article was part of a Kremlin-led conspiracy to subvert the American election, referring to the person running the Sputnik Twitter account (that particular day being me) as a "Russian official," before warning (threatening) that we "might want to think about what we plan to do" if Clinton becomes president. ..."
"... Pursuant to 18 US Code Chapter 115, I'd be writing this article to you from prison, if not awaiting a death sentence, if I were writing content ordered down to me by the Kremlin with a view towards subverting the American election. I am instead writing this piece from my favorite coffeeshop in downtown DC. I am not a Russian official. Our staff members are not Russian officials. We are not Kremlin controlled. We do not speak with Vladimir Putin over our morning coffee. ..."
"... In fact, the Atlantic Council's Ben Nimmo leveled a completely different view on Friday morning, calling our coverage "uncharacteristically balanced," but arguing that, because we report generally negative stories on both candidates, our real target is American democracy itself. ..."
"... It may surprise Mr. McFaul and Mr. Nimmo to learn that, in my previous work on political campaigns, I actually helped fundraise for Hillary Clinton - the candidate whose inner circle is now labelling my colleagues and I as foreign saboteurs. It is neither my fault nor Sputnik's fault that Secretary Clinton's campaign has devolved into one predicated upon fear and conspiracy, where the two primary lines are "the Russians did it" and that she is not Trump. ..."
"... The fact that more than 50% of the country dislikes both presidential candidates is not a Kremlin conspiracy. Would it be appropriate for us to present to our readers an alternate universe a la MSNBC, which defended Clinton's trustworthiness by saying she only perjured herself three times? ..."
"... Returning to the substance of the article to which Mr. McFaul took exception. This piece was written because it was newsworthy - it informed our readers and forced them to think. The provocative headline of the story was based on a statement by Trump that is a bit of a stretch (notice the air quotes on the title), but which highlights a major policy decision made by this administration that has not been properly scrutinized by the mainstream media. In the article, for those who actually read it, I refer to the 2012 DNI report that correctly calculated that Obama's policy in Syria would lead to the development of a Salafist entity controlling territory and that this outcome was "wanted." Hence, the title. ..."
"... Today, the Obama Administration grapples with a similar debate over whether to continue to support the "moderate rebels" in Syria, despite the fact that they have now melded with al-Nusra (an al-Qaeda affiliate until they rebranded), under the banner of the Army of Conquest in Syria. ..."
sputniknews.com

Former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul penned a scathing piece in the Washington Post accusing the Kremlin of intervening in the American election, based solely on the evidence of a harsh article regarding Clinton published by Sputnik News. Boy, was he wrong!

My name is Bill Moran. A native Arizonan, I have worked on dozens of Democratic Party campaigns, and am more recently a proud writer for Sputnik's Washington, DC bureau.

It also seems, as of Thursday morning, that I am the source of controversy between the United States and Russia - something I never quite could have imagined - for writing an article that was critical of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with a stinging headline and a harsh hashtag.

So, what is this controversy all about? This weekend I published a piece with the headline, "Secret File Confirms Trump Claim: Obama, Hillary 'Founded ISIS' to Oust Assad." I also tweeted out this story from our platform with the hashtag #CrookedHillary. Guilty as charged.

On Wednesday night, Michael McFaul took to the Washington Post to opine that the article was part of a Kremlin-led conspiracy to subvert the American election, referring to the person running the Sputnik Twitter account (that particular day being me) as a "Russian official," before warning (threatening) that we "might want to think about what we plan to do" if Clinton becomes president.

I feel it is necessary to pause, here, before having a substantive argument about the article's merits and purpose within the public discourse, to address the severity of the accusation leveled against me and Sputnik's staff (not by name until now), and its disturbing implications on freedom of speech, dissent, and American democracy - implications that I hope Mr. McFaul, other public proponents of the Hillary campaign, and the cadre of Russian critics consider.

Pursuant to 18 US Code Chapter 115, I'd be writing this article to you from prison, if not awaiting a death sentence, if I were writing content ordered down to me by the Kremlin with a view towards subverting the American election. I am instead writing this piece from my favorite coffeeshop in downtown DC. I am not a Russian official. Our staff members are not Russian officials. We are not Kremlin controlled. We do not speak with Vladimir Putin over our morning coffee.

Mr. McFaul worked side-by-side with the former Secretary of State in the Obama Administration, and his routine accusations that Trump supporters are siding with Putin leaves me to imagine that he is a Clinton insider if not a direct campaign surrogate. That such a public official would suggest reprisals against those with differing viewpoints in the event that she wins is disturbing.

Our outlet does not endorse or support any particular US presidential candidate, but rather reports news and views for the day in as diligent a manner as we possibly can. This is evident in our very harsh headlines on Trump, which Mr. McFaul failed to review before making his attack.

In fact, the Atlantic Council's Ben Nimmo leveled a completely different view on Friday morning, calling our coverage "uncharacteristically balanced," but arguing that, because we report generally negative stories on both candidates, our real target is American democracy itself.

It may surprise Mr. McFaul and Mr. Nimmo to learn that, in my previous work on political campaigns, I actually helped fundraise for Hillary Clinton - the candidate whose inner circle is now labelling my colleagues and I as foreign saboteurs. It is neither my fault nor Sputnik's fault that Secretary Clinton's campaign has devolved into one predicated upon fear and conspiracy, where the two primary lines are "the Russians did it" and that she is not Trump.

Donald Trump has the lowest approval rating since presidential polling began. Until recently, Clinton had the second lowest approval rating since presidential polling began. Their numbers are worse than even Barry Goldwater and George Wallace, in fact.

The fact that more than 50% of the country dislikes both presidential candidates is not a Kremlin conspiracy. Would it be appropriate for us to present to our readers an alternate universe a la MSNBC, which defended Clinton's trustworthiness by saying she only perjured herself three times?

There is a reason why both presidential candidates have received less than fawning coverage from our outlet: they have not done anything to warrant positive coverage. My colleagues, also Americans, like so many others in this country, wish they would.

Returning to the substance of the article to which Mr. McFaul took exception. This piece was written because it was newsworthy - it informed our readers and forced them to think.

The provocative headline of the story was based on a statement by Trump that is a bit of a stretch (notice the air quotes on the title), but which highlights a major policy decision made by this administration that has not been properly scrutinized by the mainstream media.

In the article, for those who actually read it, I refer to the 2012 DNI report that correctly calculated that Obama's policy in Syria would lead to the development of a Salafist entity controlling territory and that this outcome was "wanted." Hence, the title.

Today, the Obama Administration grapples with a similar debate over whether to continue to support the "moderate rebels" in Syria, despite the fact that they have now melded with al-Nusra (an al-Qaeda affiliate until they rebranded), under the banner of the Army of Conquest in Syria.

We do not pretend that these decisions exist in a vacuum with a clear right and wrong answer upon which no two intelligent people differ, but this is a matter worthy of public discourse.

And what about that hashtag? Why would I use #CrookedHillary? I mean, I could have put #Imwithher, but I wasn't trying to be ironic. When a hashtag is featured at the end of a sentence, its purpose is for cataloging. Some people, usually non-millennials, use hashtags as text to convey a particular opinion. I was not doing that. I also used #NeverTrump in a separate article.

But Mr. McFaul lazily cherry-picked, and then labeled (maybe unwittingly) Sputnik's American writers traitors to this country.

That, I personally, expect an apology for.

[Aug 20, 2016] Hillary Clinton Could Easily Push America into Open Conflict with Russia

nationalinterest.org
One especially disturbing trend in global affairs is the marked deterioration in relations between the United States and Russia. Much will depend on the outcome of the upcoming U.S. presidential election. Donald Trump has staked out a reasonably conciliatory policy toward Moscow. And in the highly improbable event that Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson emerged victorious, the United States would certainly pursue a less interventionist, confrontational foreign policy toward Russia as well as other countries.

But Trump and a handful of other dissenters have triggered the wrath of the foreign-policy establishment by daring to suggest that Washington's Russia policy may be unwise and that the two countries have important mutual interests. Most anti-Russian hawks are backing Hillary Clinton, and the implications of a Clinton victory are extremely ominous. When Russia annexed Crimea, Clinton compared Russian president Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler-a comparison so extreme that it drew dissents even from some usual supporters. Yet there is no doubt that she would take a very hard line toward Moscow. Among other things, Clinton recommended that the United States impose a no-fly zone in Syria despite the risk that it could mean shooting down Russian military aircraft that were operating at the request of the Syrian government. Anyone who is that reckless is not likely to retreat from confrontations in eastern Europe or other arenas. Indeed, she has already called for not only more financial assistance but more military aid to Ukraine.

... ... ...

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at the National Interest, is the author of 10 books and more than 600 articles on international affairs.

 Informed • 2 days ago

Congrats! The author discovered the obvious: Hillary is a warmongering neocon willing to pursue totally suicidal policy with Russia. She is not called “Mrs. WWIII” for nothing. If we are to survive, this monster should be nowhere near the White House.

Anthony Informed • 2 days ago

It's not her it's George Soros he's funding her and Merkel two of the most pathetic politicians I've seen especially dopey Merkel. Soros is also funding blm and a Arab version in israel look at the leaked emails. If you don't know sata... I mean soros then you should just type his name into Google he sold his own people out to Hitler and said it was the best thing he ever did enough said

Informed Anthony • 2 days ago

You might be right. Soros looks like he had died already, but he is as greedy as ever. Looks like he plans to bribe God almighty: otherwise why would he need so much money so late in his life? Soros or CIA must have something really damning on Merkel: she is consistently working against her own country for more than two years now. Hillary just follows the money, preferring the consensus between AIPAC and Saudis. The buyers and the goods they buy are all disgusting.

donnasaggia • 7 hours ago

We need to shift the analysis somewhat. While Russia (and this author) may (correctly) believe that fighting terrorism is a common interest of Russia and the US, the fact is, the US has no interest in fighting terrorism. Long ago Bush openly declared that he is not concerned about Osama bin Laden, and Obama continues to arm the so-called moderates, who are really a faction of al Qaeda. These neocon regime change wars are not about terrorism -- except in the sense that the US uses terrorist factions to attempt to overthrow legitimate leaders like Assad and Gaddafi. Rather than fighting terrorism, the US uses it as a weapon. The Russians are playing by one set of rules, but the US is using another.

Frank Blangeard • a day ago

There will be no 'second Cold War' because the United States never ended the first Cold War.
alan Frank Blangeard • a day ago
Amen, brother!
alan • a day ago
No other country on earth, save Israel, has legitimate interests or security concerns other than the United States. No spheres other than the western hemispheric one under the control of the US are ever to be considered acceptable. This arrogant hegemon is headed for a fall. Preferably, since I am an American I hope it will be a long slow peaceful one. Athens was as arrogant as the American empire. Athens was defeated by a coalition led by Sparta.
Joe Stevens alan • a day ago
Pride always comes before the fall. In this case, it will be a big fall!
ApqIA • 2 days ago
A needed countermeasure, a difficult one, even unlikely -- but it would stand a chance of deterring the US' insane ambitions.

A full military alliance between Russia and China, with integrated conventional and nuclear forces, that would consider an attack on one an attack on both, and a two-nation nuclear retaliation for any nuclear attack. The alliance could also offer membership to other threatened nations, such as Iran.

Would include technology transfers between the two partners, which among other things would assure China of adequate engines for its aircraft. Perhaps joint business ventures would ease Russian unease at losing business: they can sell armaments together.

The US points nuclear warheads at both nations, so the US constitutes a credible existential threat to both nations.

Its depraved, aggressive idea of global "leadership" is a threat to all humanity, and any and all measures to deter it are worth the effort.

Want evidence? Here's its OWN map of the world, divided into American military provinces.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/w...

This development would confront Washington with something like Hitchcock's "Birds" scenario -- how many "fronts" can the US fight in at once? scenario. The Eurasian land mass is a vast, impregnable fortress and US military planners already despair at Russian mobile nukes.

Unfortunately, only even greater insanity can really hope to deter the American lunatics and self-absordbed interventionists like Hillary.

ApqIA  -> Duane • a day ago

Georgia was a US-sponsored comic opera.

Syria was an attempt to use terrorists to get rid of Assad. Failing.

Ukraine was an attempt to get Ukraine in NATO, taking Crimea was a step to avoid a NATO base in the Black Sea.

Since before Pearl Harbor, the US has employed the tactic of creating a situation where an opponent has to choose an unacceptable outcome or use force.

What's the rate for a US-salaried troll?

Bilguun Khurelbaatar  -> ApqIA • 12 hours ago

Actually I believe that all those who call others as "Russian troll" are mostly Ukrainian trolls. It's easy to find them, they call everyone, even neutral minded people as putin troll, and all they demand is to arm Ukraine, nuke Russia etc...

Robert Willis • 18 hours ago

Excellent article. Hillary Clinton was instrumental in pushing for the Invasion of Iraq, which turned what was essentially a functional state into an ISIS hellhole. As Secretary of State, she was THE personality behind the destruction of Libya, now another Islamist breeding machine with a ruined economy & brutalized population. She has done everything in her power to destabilize Syria & has succeeded beyond her wildest dreams. Now millions of economic migrants are flooding into Europe, which will likely become a Caliphate under Sharia law within 100 years. Clinton's hands are soaked in blood of tens of thousands of men, women, & children. Her thirst for more is unquenchable. She is as much of a war criminal as her hero & good friend Henry Kissinger. All the media can do is scream endless unfounded accusations of Trump being a racist, yet they never mention a whisper of what Clinton has done & intends to do.

deliaruhe • 19 hours ago

"Unfortunately, given the growing probability of a Clinton victory in November, U.S.-Russian relations, already in bad shape, are likely to deteriorate further."

Hillary isn't exactly known for her wisdom and judgement (especially in her choice of role models and mentors--i.e., Albright and Kissinger), and she's very good at shooting herself in the foot on a regular basis (e.g., her Putin-as-Hitler hyperbole). She will soon become the imperial president of an empire in decline, and empires in decline are at their most dangerous.

I think this will end up being the saddest American election ever.

(Excellent article, by the way.)

Dank Lastname • 2 days ago

If Hillary dragged NATO into a war with Russia her incompetent leadership would see the collapse of the US and the Russian occupation of Eastern Europe.

Mikhailovich • 15 hours ago

When the money is your god and financial elite employs politicians to run the country, what else we can expect? It looks the American militarism can be tamed by efficient nuclear deterrent or other major power and there are no other way to avoid big war.

alan  -> JPH • a day ago

That's the tragedy of the situation. Trump has shown he is not a captive to the foreign policy consensus of the economic, social, and political elite of the New York-Wash DC beltway. He does not believe in intervention anywhere and everywhere. That I heartily endorse. On all other points he is totally unqualified and unacceptable. We are left with a war-mongering Neo-Con thug. When She takes office, begin the countdown---war is coming, a very big war

 

[Aug 20, 2016] Hillary's Neoconservatives

August 19, 2016 | The American Conservative

Her embrace of hawks is more than an electoral strategy.

The Hillary Clinton campaign has recently been trumpeting endorsements from neoconservatives. The candidate's embrace of figures such as Robert Kagan, Max Boot, and Eliot Cohen-all once regarded as anathema to the contemporary left-has engendered a wave of pushback from progressive critics.

Jane Sanders, wife of Bernie, is the most recent high-profile objector, publicly expressing queasiness about Clinton's perceived allying with "architects of regime change." Now, predictably, the pushback has been met with its own pushback, including from Brian Beutler of The New Republic, who cautions progressives not to fret.

... ... ...

Kagan, who not so long ago was denounced by liberal Iraq War opponents, co-signed a June report with Michèle Flournoy-the likely candidate for defense secretary under Clinton-calling for escalated U.S. military presence in Syria, a policy that could lead to all-out ground war or direct confrontation with Russia. So it seems he may already be on Clinton's hawkish team in waiting.

Few reputable critics would argue that Hillary is herself a neoconservative. Far more plausible is that she'll enable the implementation of a neoconservative foreign-policy agenda by casting the neoconservatives' goals in liberal-interventionist terms, thus garnering Democratic support for initiatives that would face widespread opposition were they spearheaded by a Republican president. Lobe has written that Hillary represents "the point of convergence between liberal interventionism … and neoconservatism," and Hillary's willingness to empower a foreign-policy establishment featuring neoconservatives shows that they have in fact received concrete reputational benefit from lining up behind her.

Hillary may operate on the premise that anything that might conceivably garner her additional votes is justified on that basis alone. Yet even on that premise, heralding neoconservative ideologues doesn't make sense. Again, neoconservatives have virtually no support in the electorate, as the recent Republican primary contest indicated. Their base is mostly among elites. Beyond that, there's a serious chance that continuing to tout these people will actually damage her electoral fortunes by alienating left-wing voters who might be cajoled into voting for the Democratic ticket, but can't countenance the possibility of ushering the Iraq-invasion architects of the George W. Bush era back into power.

So if there's no obvious electoral upside, the most likely reason why Hillary is reaching out to such characters is a deceptively simple one: she shares common interests with them, respects their supposed expertise, and wants to bring them into her governing coalition. For that, anyone interested in a sane foreign policy over the next eight years should be exceedingly worried.

Michael Tracey is a journalist based in New York City.

[Aug 20, 2016] Trip Reports from Sanders Delegates at the Democrat National Convention

Notable quotes:
"... Perhaps the most surreal point of the night is when a military leader speaks to how much butt we're going to kick once Hillary is elected, the Sanders delegates start the chant, "Peace, Not War", and the rest of the arena drowns this out with chants of 'U.S.A ..."
"... We discussed how it felt Orwellian, like the two minutes of hate in 1984. "Having chants of 'No More War' attempted to be drowned out by chants of 'USA' was baffling," Alan Doucette, Bernie delegate from Las Vegas, said. "To me, USA is a symbol of justice and equality and not warmongering and looking for excuses to go to war. That's what I want it to be and what it should be." ..."
"... "The most dislocating experience was General Allen's speech, with so many military brass on display, and the 'fight' between No More War and USA. That was chilling. Note, No More War is not: War Criminal! Or similarly 'disrespectful' stuff; it's simply a demand not to make our present worse with more 'hawkish' 'interventionist' 'regime change' wars and war-actions." ..."
"... The US 2016 election is different. You actually have a huge choice to make. Do you vote(or not vote) to support the Washington establishment, which is clearly pushing for war with Russia, or do you vote Trump who doesn't want such a war? Your choice. ..."
"... why would you even contemplate gambling that we can survive 4 years of Clinton without a nuclear war? ..."
naked capitalism
Militarism

Mark Lasser (CO): "Perhaps the most surreal point of the night is when a military leader speaks to how much butt we're going to kick once Hillary is elected, the Sanders delegates start the chant, "Peace, Not War", and the rest of the arena drowns this out with chants of 'U.S.A.'"

Carole Levers (CA): " I was harassed by five Hillary delegates who got in my face while I was sitting in my seat. They told me that we needed to quit chanting, go home, and that we did not belong there. They added that by chanting "No More Wars" we were disrespecting the veterans. I replied that none of us were disrespecting the veterans. We were honoring them by NOT WANTING ANY MORE DEAD VETERANS, killed in illegal wars for the profits of the wealthy. I reiterated that we were exercising our first amendment rights to which one replied that WE (Bernie delegates) had no rights. I was later shoved by a Hillary delegate into the metal frame of the seats."

Carol Cizauskas (NV): "We heard other Bernie delegates chanting "No more war" and then the "opposing team" of Hillary delegates thundering over those chants with "USA." It was darkly eerie. We discussed how it felt Orwellian, like the two minutes of hate in 1984. "Having chants of 'No More War' attempted to be drowned out by chants of 'USA' was baffling," Alan Doucette, Bernie delegate from Las Vegas, said. "To me, USA is a symbol of justice and equality and not warmongering and looking for excuses to go to war. That's what I want it to be and what it should be."

#SlayTheSmaugs (NY): "The most dislocating experience was General Allen's speech, with so many military brass on display, and the 'fight' between No More War and USA. That was chilling. Note, No More War is not: War Criminal! Or similarly 'disrespectful' stuff; it's simply a demand not to make our present worse with more 'hawkish' 'interventionist' 'regime change' wars and war-actions."

Lauren Steiner (CA): "[Clinton supporters] decided to chant with us when we chanted 'Black Lives Matter.' But for some reason, they found 'No More War' to be offensive and shouted "USA" right after. At first, I was puzzled by the fact that they were shouting exactly what Trump supporters shout at his rallies. Then, after all the bellicose speeches and the fact that they had so many Republicans endorsing Clinton, it hit me that perhaps it was because they were courting Republicans now. They didn't care about our support anymore."

Ike, August 18, 2016 at 1:02 pm

I am reading Primary Colors by Anonymous. It is entertaining as well as reaffirming a suspected baseline of conduct.

Lambert Strether, August 18, 2016 at 1:11 pm

Primary Colors (by Joke Line (Joe Klein)) is terrific. The movie is good too. I am so happy and amazed that I live in a world where John Travolta plays Bill Clinton in a movie.

Jeremy Grimm, August 18, 2016 at 1:31 pm

The harassment and dirty tricks pulled against the Sanders people - as described in these collected reports - leaves me wondering whether Sanders actually won the nomination. It would have been much more politic for the Hillary people to let the Sanders delegates blow off steam and wait until the nomination and end of the convention to circle the wagons in "unity". If Hillary clearly won the nomination then the stupidity and arrogance in team Hillary's treatment of the Sanders people speaks to a new level of disdain for the 99%. The business about the $700 hotels and the misinformation and lack of information provided from team Sanders raises other questions.

trent, August 18, 2016 at 2:17 pm

Wow, all those testimonials from the democrat convention are an eye opener, for some. Hillary's soft Nazism on full display for any of the still true believers. Yet the press calls trump the Nazi. Trump is crazy, but its almost an honest craziness compared to Hillary. She's nuts, but manipulates everything she can to hide it. I'll take out in the open crazy, easier to plan for.


EoinW, August 19, 2016 at 8:51 am

I haven't voted in years. In Canada, however, we've never been given a choice on anything. Doesn't matter if the election is federal, provincial or municipal, no issues just personalities.

The US 2016 election is different. You actually have a huge choice to make. Do you vote(or not vote) to support the Washington establishment, which is clearly pushing for war with Russia, or do you vote Trump who doesn't want such a war? Your choice.

But why would you even contemplate gambling that we can survive 4 years of Clinton without a nuclear war? Speculating on global warming or third party movements kind of lose their significance during a nuclear winter.

Patricia

This young woman turned it into a tale, "The Bullshittery of the DNC":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHD_bj5fXO0

[Aug 20, 2016] The Perfect GOP Nominee by  Maureen Dowd

What is amazing is that such column was published is such a sycophantic for Hillary and openly anti-Trump rag as NYT. In foreign policy Hillary is the second incarnation of Cheney... Neocons rules NYT coverage of Presidential race and, of course, they all favor Hillary. Of course chances that some on neocons who so enthusiastically support her, crossing Party lines are drafted, get M16 and send to kill brown people for Wall Street interests now is close to zero. Everything is outsourced now. But still, it is simply amazing that even a lonely voice against neocon campaign of demonization of Trump got published in NYT ...
Simply amazing !!!
Notable quotes:
"... Hillary will keep the establishment safe. Who is more of an establishment figure, after all? Her husband was president, and he repealed Glass-Steagall, signed the Defense of Marriage Act and got rid of those pesky welfare queens. ..."
"... Hillary often seems more Republican than the Gotham bling king, who used to be a Democrat and donor to Democratic candidates before he jumped the turnstile. ..."
"... Hillary is a reliable creature of Wall Street. Her tax return showed the Clintons made $10.6 million last year, and like other superrich families, they incorporated with the Clinton Executive Services Corporation (which was billed for the infamous server). Trump has started holding up goofy charts at rallies showing Hillary has gotten $48,500,000 in contributions from hedge funders, compared to his $19,000. ..."
"... Unlike Trump, she hasn't been trashing leading Republicans. You know that her pals John McCain and Lindsey Graham are secretly rooting for her. There is a cascade of prominent Republicans endorsing Hillary, donating to Hillary, appearing in Hillary ads, talking up Hillary's charms. ..."
"... Robert Kagan, a former Reagan State Department aide, adviser to the McCain and Mitt Romney campaigns and Iraq war booster, headlined a Hillary fund-raiser this summer. Another neocon, James Kirchick, keened in The Daily Beast , "Hillary Clinton is the one person standing between America and the abyss." ..."
"... The Democratic nominee put out an ad featuring Trump-bashing Michael Hayden, an N.S.A. and C.I.A. chief under W. who was deemed "incongruent" by the Senate when he testified about torture methods. And she earned an endorsement from John Negroponte, a Reagan hand linked to American-trained death squads in Latin America. ..."
"... Politico reports that the Clinton team sent out feelers to see if Kissinger, the Voldemort of Vietnam, and Condi Rice, the conjurer of Saddam's apocalyptic mushroom cloud, would back Hillary. ..."
"... The Hillary team seems giddy over its windfall of Republicans and neocons running from the Trump sharknado. But as David Weigel wrote in The Washington Post, the specter of Kissinger, the man who advised Nixon to prolong the Vietnam War to help with his re-election, fed a perception that "the Democratic nominee has returned to her old, hawkish ways and is again taking progressives for granted." ..."
"... Hillary is a safer bet in many ways for conservatives. Trump likes to say he is flexible. What if he returns to his liberal New York positions on gun control and abortion rights? ..."
"... Trump is far too incendiary in his manner of speaking, throwing around dangerous and self-destructive taunts about "Second Amendment people" taking out Hillary, or President Obama and Hillary being the founders of ISIS ..."
"... Hillary, on the other hand, understands her way around political language and Washington rituals. Of course you do favors for wealthy donors. And if you want to do something incredibly damaging to the country, like enabling George W. Bush to make the worst foreign policy blunder in U.S. history, don't shout inflammatory and fabricated taunts from a microphone. ..."
"... You must walk up to the microphone calmly, as Hillary did on the Senate floor the day of the Iraq war vote, and accuse Saddam of giving "aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda," repeating the Bush administration's phony case for war. If you want to carry the GOP banner, your fabrications have to be more sneaky. ..."
"... "You must walk up to the microphone calmly, as Hillary did on the Senate floor the day of the Iraq war vote, and accuse Saddam of giving "aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda," repeating the Bush administration's phony case for war." ..."
"... Anyone who believes Bill Clinton didn't know exactly what was going on is just kidding themselves. One clue, for example. They moved the WMD 'intelligence" investigation to the DOD under Paul Wolfowitz. LOL! ..."
"... Thomas Frank, the author of "What's the Matter with Kansas?" and "Listen Liberal: Or What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?" echoes Ms. Dowd's sentiments. In a recent column Frank says that with Trump certain to lose, you can forget about a progressive Clinton. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/13/trump-clinton-elec... ..."
"... "America's two-party system itself has temporarily become a one-party system. And within that one party, the political process bears a striking resemblance to dynastic succession. … Come November, Clinton will have won her great victory – not as a champion of working people's concerns, but as the greatest moderate of them all." ..."
"... We've also managed to select one of biggest dissemblers, enablers, war hawks, fungible flip-floppers, pay for play con artists, scandal mongerers candidates since Tricky Dicky. Congratulations America! We did it. As Alexis de Tocqueville said, "Wet get the government we deserve." ..."
"... The reaction by many to Ms Dowd's column clearly shows that the "save the world" "lesser evil" argument only works is one is willing to suspend belief on the demonstrated evil of Hillary Clinton. ..."
"... Clinton could well take us to war against Russia. In Syria, Clinton is spoiling to give Russia a punch in the nose, on the theory that Russia will back down and the US will have a free hand there. She advocates a a no-fly zone for Russian jets in Syria. The idea there is to create a confrontation, shoot down a couple of Russian jets and teach them a lesson. There is also the CIA and Pentagon "Plan B" for the Syrian negotiations. ..."
"... It's always wonderful to see when the truth comes out in the end: Hillary is the perfect Repulican candidate and this is also prove of the fact that on finance and economic issues Democrats and old mainstream Republicans have been in in the same pocket...even under Obama. ..."
"... One night after the election on the Carson show Goldwater quipped that he didn't know how unpopular a president he would have been until Johnson adopted his policies... ..."
"... All the things you say about Hillary are true. She is an establishment favorite. She did indeed vote to support Bush and his insane desire to invade Iraq. ..."
"... Did we all forget the millions who went for Bernie and his direct and aggressive confrontation of Hillary's Wall Street/corporate ties? That was a contest between what used to be the Dem party of the people and the corporate friendly Dem party of today. We understood then that Hillary represented the Right; why the surprise now? (The right pointing arrow on the "H" logo is so appropriate.) ..."
"... There are reasons Hillary is disliked and distrusted by nearly a majority of us. My reasons are she is of and for the oligarchs and deceitful enough to run as a populist. ..."
"... America tried to liberalize in the 1960's and the response was swift and violent as three of the greatest liberal lions and voices the country has ever known - JFK, MLK and RFK - were gunned down. ..."
"... While one can endlessly argue the specific details of those ghastly assassinations of America's liberal superstars, in my view, all three of those murders rest on the violent, nefarious right-wing shoulders and fumes of moneyed American 'conservatism' that couldn't stand to share the profits of their economic parasitism with society. ..."
"... I truly believe that Congressional Republicans in the House are already drafting articles of impeachment should Hillary become President. Dowd may claim that Republicans are in lock step with her, but don't be surprised when the talk of impeachment starts soon after Jan 20, 2017. ..."
"... We need a multi party system. With 2 parties dominating the politics, its like having a monopoly of liberalism or conservatism which just does not represent the width and depth of views our citizens resonate with. Having voted democrat all my life, to me Hillary does not represent my choice (Bernie does). ..."
"... This annoys me..."like enabling George W. Bush to make the worst foreign policy blunder in U.S. history" Maureen is talking about Hillary, but she might as well be talking about her own newspaper. Hillary got it wrong, but so did the New York Times editorial board. ..."
"... The Bush Administration hinted that the anti-war people were traitors and terrorist sympathizers and everybody got steamrolled. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/22/opinion/culture-war-with-b-2-s.html ..."
"... HRC couldn't have asked for a better opponent if she'd constructed him out of a six-foot pile of mildewed straw. By running against Trump, the whole Trump and nothing but the Trump, and openly courting neocon war criminals and "establishment" Republicans, she's outrageously giving CPR to what should have been a rotting corpse of a political party by now. ..."
"... By giving new life to the pathocrats who made Trump possible, Clinton is only making her own party weaker and more right-wing, only making it easier for down-ticket Republicans to slither their way back into power.... the better to triangulate with during the Clinton restoration. Grand Bargain, here we come. TPP, (just waiting for that fig leaf of meager aid for displaced American workers) here we come. Bombs away. ..."
"... She'll have to stop hoarding her campaign cash and share it with the down-ticket Democrats running against the same well-heeled GOPers she is now courting with such naked abandon. ..."
"... The Empress needs some new clothes to hide that inner Goldwater Girl. ..."
August 13, 2016 | The New York Times

All these woebegone Republicans whining that they can't rally behind their flawed candidate is crazy. The G.O.P. angst, the gnashing and wailing and searching for last-minute substitutes and exit strategies, is getting old. They already have a 1-percenter who will be totally fine in the Oval Office, someone they can trust to help Wall Street, boost the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, cuddle with hedge funds, secure the trade deals beloved by corporate America, seek guidance from Henry Kissinger and hawk it up - unleashing hell on Syria and heaven knows where else.

The Republicans have their candidate: It's Hillary. They can't go with Donald Trump. He's too volatile and unhinged. The erstwhile Goldwater Girl and Goldman Sachs busker can be counted on to do the normal political things, not the abnormal haywire things. Trump's propounding could drag us into war, plunge us into a recession and shatter Washington into a thousand tiny bits.

Hillary will keep the establishment safe. Who is more of an establishment figure, after all? Her husband was president, and he repealed Glass-Steagall, signed the Defense of Marriage Act and got rid of those pesky welfare queens.

Pushing her Midwestern Methodist roots, taking advantage of primogeniture, Hillary often seems more Republican than the Gotham bling king, who used to be a Democrat and donor to Democratic candidates before he jumped the turnstile.

Hillary is a reliable creature of Wall Street. Her tax return showed the Clintons made $10.6 million last year, and like other superrich families, they incorporated with the Clinton Executive Services Corporation (which was billed for the infamous server). Trump has started holding up goofy charts at rallies showing Hillary has gotten $48,500,000 in contributions from hedge funders, compared to his $19,000.

Unlike Trump, she hasn't been trashing leading Republicans. You know that her pals John McCain and Lindsey Graham are secretly rooting for her. There is a cascade of prominent Republicans endorsing Hillary, donating to Hillary, appearing in Hillary ads, talking up Hillary's charms.

Robert Kagan, a former Reagan State Department aide, adviser to the McCain and Mitt Romney campaigns and Iraq war booster, headlined a Hillary fund-raiser this summer. Another neocon, James Kirchick, keened in The Daily Beast , "Hillary Clinton is the one person standing between America and the abyss."

She has finally stirred up some emotion in women, even if it is just moderate suburban Republican women palpitating to leave their own nominee, who has the retro air of a guy who just left the dim recesses of a Playboy bunny club.

The Democratic nominee put out an ad featuring Trump-bashing Michael Hayden, an N.S.A. and C.I.A. chief under W. who was deemed "incongruent" by the Senate when he testified about torture methods. And she earned an endorsement from John Negroponte, a Reagan hand linked to American-trained death squads in Latin America.

Politico reports that the Clinton team sent out feelers to see if Kissinger, the Voldemort of Vietnam, and Condi Rice, the conjurer of Saddam's apocalyptic mushroom cloud, would back Hillary.

Hillary has written that Kissinger is an "idealistic" friend whose counsel she valued as secretary of state, drawing a rebuke from Bernie Sanders during the primaries: "I'm proud to say Henry Kissinger is not my friend."

The Hillary team seems giddy over its windfall of Republicans and neocons running from the Trump sharknado. But as David Weigel wrote in The Washington Post, the specter of Kissinger, the man who advised Nixon to prolong the Vietnam War to help with his re-election, fed a perception that "the Democratic nominee has returned to her old, hawkish ways and is again taking progressives for granted."

And Isaac Chotiner wrote in Slate, "The prospect of Kissinger having influence in a Clinton White House is downright scary."

Hillary is a safer bet in many ways for conservatives. Trump likes to say he is flexible. What if he returns to his liberal New York positions on gun control and abortion rights?

Trump is far too incendiary in his manner of speaking, throwing around dangerous and self-destructive taunts about "Second Amendment people" taking out Hillary, or President Obama and Hillary being the founders of ISIS. And he still blindly follows his ego, failing to understand the fundamentals of a campaign. "I don't know that we need to get out the vote," he told Fox News Thursday. "I think people that really wanna vote are gonna get out and they're gonna vote for Trump."

Hillary, on the other hand, understands her way around political language and Washington rituals. Of course you do favors for wealthy donors. And if you want to do something incredibly damaging to the country, like enabling George W. Bush to make the worst foreign policy blunder in U.S. history, don't shout inflammatory and fabricated taunts from a microphone.

You must walk up to the microphone calmly, as Hillary did on the Senate floor the day of the Iraq war vote, and accuse Saddam of giving "aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda," repeating the Bush administration's phony case for war. If you want to carry the GOP banner, your fabrications have to be more sneaky.

As Republican strategist Steve Schmidt noted on MSNBC, "the candidate in the race most like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney from a foreign policy perspective is in fact Hillary Clinton, not the Republican nominee."

And that's how Republicans prefer their crazy - not like Trump, but like Cheney.

JohnNJ, New jersey August 14, 2016

For me, this is her strongest point:

"You must walk up to the microphone calmly, as Hillary did on the Senate floor the day of the Iraq war vote, and accuse Saddam of giving "aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda," repeating the Bush administration's phony case for war."

There are still people who believe her excuse that she only voted for authorization, blah, blah, blah.

Anyone who believes Bill Clinton didn't know exactly what was going on is just kidding themselves. One clue, for example. They moved the WMD 'intelligence" investigation to the DOD under Paul Wolfowitz. LOL!

Red_Dog , Denver CO August 14, 2016

Thomas Frank, the author of "What's the Matter with Kansas?" and "Listen Liberal: Or What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?" echoes Ms. Dowd's sentiments. In a recent column Frank says that with Trump certain to lose, you can forget about a progressive Clinton. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/13/trump-clinton-elec...

"America's two-party system itself has temporarily become a one-party system. And within that one party, the political process bears a striking resemblance to dynastic succession. … Come November, Clinton will have won her great victory – not as a champion of working people's concerns, but as the greatest moderate of them all."

And great populist uprising of our times will be gone --- probably for many years.

FDR Liberal , Sparks, NV August 14, 2016

Spot on column Ms. Dowd.

As Americans we are to blame that these two major party candidates are the only viable ones seeking the presidency. Yes, fellow citizens we are to blame because in the end we are the ones that voted for them in various primaries and caucuses. And if you didn't attend a caucus or vote in a primary, you are also part of problem.

In short, it is not the media's fault, nor is it the top .1%, 1% or 10% fault, nor your kids' fault, nor your parents' fault, nor your neighbors' fault, etc.

It is our fault because we did this together. Yes, we managed y to select a narcissist, xenophobe, anti-Muslim, racist, misogynist, and dare I say buffoon to the GOP ticket.

We've also managed to select one of biggest dissemblers, enablers, war hawks, fungible flip-floppers, pay for play con artists, scandal mongerers candidates since Tricky Dicky. Congratulations America! We did it. As Alexis de Tocqueville said, "Wet get the government we deserve."

Martin Brod, NYC August 14, 2016

The reaction by many to Ms Dowd's column clearly shows that the "save the world" "lesser evil" argument only works is one is willing to suspend belief on the demonstrated evil of Hillary Clinton.

The Green Party and Libertarian parties provide sane alternatives to the two most distrusted candidates of the major parties. As debate participants they
would offer an alternative to evil at a time when the planets count-down clock is racing to mid-night.

pathenry, berkeley August 14, 2016

Clinton could well take us to war against Russia. In Syria, Clinton is spoiling to give Russia a punch in the nose, on the theory that Russia will back down and the US will have a free hand there. She advocates a a no-fly zone for Russian jets in Syria. The idea there is to create a confrontation, shoot down a couple of Russian jets and teach them a lesson. There is also the CIA and Pentagon "Plan B" for the Syrian negotiations.

If the negotiations fail, give stingers to our "vetted allies". Who will those stingers be used against? Russia. At least the ones not smuggled to Brussels. And then there is the plan being bandied about by our best and brightest to organize, arm and lead our "vetted allies" in attacks on Russian bases in Syria. A Bay of Pigs in the desert. A dime to a dollar, Clinton is supportive of these plans.

All of this is dangerous brinksmanship which is how you go to war.

Mike A. , East Providence, RI August 14, 2016

The second Pulitzer quality piece from the NYT op-ed columnists in less than a month (see Charles Blow's "Incandescent With Rage" for the first).

heinrich zwahlen , brooklyn August 14, 2016

It's always wonderful to see when the truth comes out in the end: Hillary is the perfect Repulican candidate and this is also prove of the fact that on finance and economic issues Democrats and old mainstream Republicans have been in in the same pocket...even under Obama.

For real progressives it's useless to vote for her and high time to start a new party. Cultural issues are not the main issues that pain America, it's all about the money stupid.

JohnD, New York August 14, 2016

... One night after the election on the Carson show Goldwater quipped that he didn't know how unpopular a president he would have been until Johnson adopted his policies...

Lee Elliott , Rochester August 14, 2016

You've written the most depressing column I've read lately. All the things you say about Hillary are true. She is an establishment favorite. She did indeed vote to support Bush and his insane desire to invade Iraq. But it was that vote kept her from being president in 2008. Perhaps that will convince her to keep the establishment a little more at arm's length. When there is no other behind for them to kiss, then you can afford to be a little hard to get.

As for Trump, he is proving to be too much like Ross Perot. He looks great at first but begins to fade when his underlying lunacy begins to bubble to the surface.
Speaking of Perot, I find it an interesting coincidence that Bill Clinton and now Hillary Clinton will depend on the ravings of an apparent lunatic in order to get elected.

citizen vox, San Francisco August 14, 2016

Why the vitriol against Dowd? Did we all forget the millions who went for Bernie and his direct and aggressive confrontation of Hillary's Wall Street/corporate ties? That was a contest between what used to be the Dem party of the people and the corporate friendly Dem party of today. We understood then that Hillary represented the Right; why the surprise now? (The right pointing arrow on the "H" logo is so appropriate.)

Last week's article on how Hillary came to love money was horrifying; because Bill lost a Governor's race, Hillary felt so insecure she called all her wealthy friends for donations. Huh?! Two Harvard trained lawyers asking for financial help?! And never getting enough money to feel secure?! GIVE ME A BREAK (to coin a phrase).

There are reasons Hillary is disliked and distrusted by nearly a majority of us. My reasons are she is of and for the oligarchs and deceitful enough to run as a populist.

If readers bemoan anything, let it be that the populist movement of the Dem party was put down by the Dem establishment. We have a choice between a crazy candidate of no particular persuasion and a cold, calculating Republican. How discouraging.

Thanks, Maureen Dowd.

Chris, Louisville August 14, 2016

Maureen please don't ever give up on Hillary bashing. It needs to be done before someone accidentally elects her as President. She is most like Angela Merkel of Germany. Take a look what's happening there. That is enough never to vote for Hillary.

Susan e, AZ August 14, 2016

I recall the outrage I, a peace loving liberal who despised W and Cheney, felt while watching the made for TV "shock and awe" invasion of Iraq. I recall how the"liberal Democrats" who supported that disaster with a vote for the IRW could never quite bring themselves to admit their mistake - and I realized that many, like Hillary, didn't feel it was a mistake. Not really. It was necessary for their political careers.

For me, its not a vote for Hillary, its a vote for a candidate that sees killing innocent people in Syria (or Libya, or Gaza, etc.) as the only way to be viewed as a serious candidate for CIC. I'm old enough to remember another endless war, as the old Vietnam anti-war ballad went: "I ain't gonna vote for war no more."

John, Switzerland August 14, 2016

Maureen Dowd is not being nasty, but rather accurate. It is nasty to support and start wars throughout the ME. It is nasty to say (on mic) "We came, we saw, he died" referring to the gruesome torture-murder of Qaddafi.

Will Hillary start a war against Syria? Yes or no? That is the the "six trillion dollar" question.

Socrates , is a trusted commenter Downtown Verona, NJ August 13, 2016

It's hard to a find a good liberal in these United States, not because there's anything wrong with liberalism or progressivism, but because Americans have been taught, hypnotized and beaten by a powerfully insidious and filthy rich right-wing to think that liberalism, progressivism and socialism is a form of fatal cancer.

America tried to liberalize in the 1960's and the response was swift and violent as three of the greatest liberal lions and voices the country has ever known - JFK, MLK and RFK - were gunned down.

While one can endlessly argue the specific details of those ghastly assassinations of America's liberal superstars, in my view, all three of those murders rest on the violent, nefarious right-wing shoulders and fumes of moneyed American 'conservatism' that couldn't stand to share the profits of their economic parasitism with society.

The end result is that political liberals are forced to triangulate for their survival in right-wing America, and you wind up with Presidents like Bill Clinton and (soon) Hillary Clinton who know how to survive in a pool of right-wing knives, assassins and psychopaths lurking everywhere representing Grand Old Profit.

... ... ...

Dotconnector, New York August 14, 2016

The trickery deep within the dark art of Clintonism is triangulation. By breeding a nominal Democratic donkey with a de facto Republican elephant, what you get is a corporatist chameleon. There's precious little solace in knowing that this cynical political hybrid is only slightly less risky than Trumpenstein.

And the fact that Henry Kissinger still has a seat at the table ought to chill the spine of anyone who considers human lives -- those of U.S. service members and foreign noncombatants alike -- to have greater value than pawns in a global chess game.

Bj, is a trusted commenter Washington,dc August 13, 2016

I truly believe that Congressional Republicans in the House are already drafting articles of impeachment should Hillary become President. Dowd may claim that Republicans are in lock step with her, but don't be surprised when the talk of impeachment starts soon after Jan 20, 2017. They didn't succeed with Bill. And they were chomping at the bit to try to impeach Obama over his use of executive orders and his decision not to defend an early same sex marriage case. They are just waiting for inauguration to start this process all over again - another circus and waste of taxpayer money.

petey tonei, Massachusetts August 14, 2016

Two party system is not enough for a country this big, with such a wide spectrum of political beliefs. We need a multi party system. With 2 parties dominating the politics, its like having a monopoly of liberalism or conservatism which just does not represent the width and depth of views our citizens resonate with. Having voted democrat all my life, to me Hillary does not represent my choice (Bernie does). Heard on NPR just today from on the ground reporters in Terre Haute, Indiana, the bellwether of presidential elections, the 2 names that were most heard were Trump and Bernie Sanders, not Hillary. Sadly, Bernie is not even the nominee but he truly represents the guts, soul of mid America

Schrodinger, is a trusted commenter Northern California August 14, 2016

This annoys me..."like enabling George W. Bush to make the worst foreign policy blunder in U.S. history" Maureen is talking about Hillary, but she might as well be talking about her own newspaper. Hillary got it wrong, but so did the New York Times editorial board.

What about Ms Dowd herself? Of the four columns she wrote before the vote on October 11th, 2002, only two mentioned the war vote, and one of those was mostly about Hillary. Dowd said of Hillary that, "Whatever doubts she may have privately about the war, she is not articulating her angst as loudly as some of her Democratic colleagues. She knows that any woman who hopes to be elected president cannot have love beads in her jewelry case."

In her column 'Culture war with B-2's', Dowd comes out as mildly anti-war. "Don't feel bad if you have the uneasy feeling that you're being steamrolled", Dowd writes, "You are not alone." Fourteen years later that column still looks good, and I link to it at the bottom. However, Dowd could and should have done a lot more. I don't think that anybody who draws a paycheck from the New York Times has a right to get on their high horse and lecture Hillary about her vote. They ignored the antiwar protests just like they ignored Bernie Sanders' large crowds.

The Bush Administration hinted that the anti-war people were traitors and terrorist sympathizers and everybody got steamrolled. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/22/opinion/culture-war-with-b-2-s.html

Karen Garcia , is a trusted commenter New Paltz, NY August 13, 2016

HRC couldn't have asked for a better opponent if she'd constructed him out of a six-foot pile of mildewed straw. By running against Trump, the whole Trump and nothing but the Trump, and openly courting neocon war criminals and "establishment" Republicans, she's outrageously giving CPR to what should have been a rotting corpse of a political party by now.

By giving new life to the pathocrats who made Trump possible, Clinton is only making her own party weaker and more right-wing, only making it easier for down-ticket Republicans to slither their way back into power.... the better to triangulate with during the Clinton restoration. Grand Bargain, here we come. TPP, (just waiting for that fig leaf of meager aid for displaced American workers) here we come. Bombs away.

With three months to go before this grotesque circus ends, Trump is giving every indication that he wants out, getting more reckless by the day. And that's a good thing, because with her rise in the polls, Hillary will now have to do more on the stump than inform us she is not Trump. She'll have to ditch the fear factor. She'll have to start sending emails and Tweets with something other than "OMG! Did you hear what Trump just said?!?" on them to convince voters.

She'll have to stop hoarding her campaign cash and share it with the down-ticket Democrats running against the same well-heeled GOPers she is now courting with such naked abandon.

The Empress needs some new clothes to hide that inner Goldwater Girl.

[Aug 19, 2016] Whatever you tell yourself about the sacrifices US soldiers are making in your peacemaking wars in the ME, the overwhelming majority of those killed and wounded in modern US led military actions are not Americans

Notable quotes:
"... The problem with just sitting back and let you invade any country you like is that we all have to live in the world you make. You're certainly correct to point out that there are many things 'we foreigners' don't understand about America. ..."
"... What we do know is that whatever you tell yourself about the sacrifices US soldiers are making in your peacemaking wars in the ME, the overwhelming majority of those killed and wounded in modern US led military actions are not Americans. I fully believe that many Americans are intensely patriotic and love their country. I also believe that there are many subcultures within America that 'we foreigners' cannot understand. ..."
"... You believe your nation's commitment to its military is somehow special? Prove it. Instead we get American exceptionalism proudly on display. ..."
crookedtimber.org

kidneystones 08.03.16 at 12:37 am 87

84@ The problem with just sitting back and let you invade any country you like is that we all have to live in the world you make. You're certainly correct to point out that there are many things 'we foreigners' don't understand about America.

What we do know is that whatever you tell yourself about the sacrifices US soldiers are making in your peacemaking wars in the ME, the overwhelming majority of those killed and wounded in modern US led military actions are not Americans. I fully believe that many Americans are intensely patriotic and love their country. I also believe that there are many subcultures within America that 'we foreigners' cannot understand.

What is also clear from your comment is that you, and perhaps some others, believe that this love of country and rich tapestry of subcultures somehow makes Americans very, very special and beyond criticism.

We understand this much: Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor – 68 civilian casualties.

The US response: "..on the night of March 9-10, 1945…LeMay sent 334 B-29s low over Tokyo from the Marianas. Their mission was to reduce the city to rubble, kill its citizens, and instill terror in the survivors, with jellied gasoline and napalm that would create a sea of flames. Stripped of their guns to make more room for bombs, and flying at altitudes averaging 7,000 feet to evade detection, the bombers, which had been designed for high-altitude precision attacks, carried two kinds of incendiaries: M47s, 100-pound oil gel bombs, 182 per aircraft, each capable of starting a major fire, followed by M69s, 6-pound gelled-gasoline bombs, 1,520 per aircraft in addition to a few high explosives to deter firefighters. [25] The attack on an area that the US Strategic Bombing Survey estimated to be 84.7 percent residential succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of air force planners…

The Strategic Bombing Survey, whose formation a few months earlier provided an important signal of Roosevelt's support for strategic bombing, provided a technical description of the firestorm and its effects on Tokyo: The chief characteristic of the conflagration . . . was the presence of a fire front, an extended wall of fire moving to leeward, preceded by a mass of pre-heated, turbid, burning vapors . . . . The 28-mile-per-hour wind, measured a mile from the fire, increased to an estimated 55 miles at the perimeter, and probably more within. An extended fire swept over 15 square miles in 6 hours . . . . The area of the fire was nearly 100 percent burned; no structure or its contents escaped damage."

The survey concluded-plausibly, but only for events prior to August 6, 1945-that

"probably more persons lost their lives by fire at Tokyo in a 6-hour period than at any time in the history of man. People died from extreme heat, from oxygen deficiency, from carbon monoxide asphyxiation, from being trampled beneath the feet of stampeding crowds, and from drowning. The largest number of victims were the most vulnerable: women, children and the elderly."

The raids continue for all the 'best' military reasons…

"In July, US planes blanketed the few remaining Japanese cities that had been spared firebombing with an "Appeal to the People." "As you know," it read, "America which stands for humanity, does not wish to injure the innocent people, so you had better evacuate these cities." Half the leafleted cities were firebombed within days of the warning. US planes ruled the skies. Overall, by one calculation, the US firebombing campaign destroyed 180 square miles of 67 cities, killed more than 300,000 people and injured an additional 400,000, figures that exclude the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki." (My italics) http://apjjf.org/-Mark-Selden/2414/article.html

kidneystones 08.03.16 at 12:59 am

@ 86 Both my parents served. My grand-fathers served, and most of my uncles and great-uncles served – you know, the whole mess from being shot to dying in hospitals years after the war from gas attacks. And I served, nothing special about any of this.

You believe your nation's commitment to its military is somehow special? Prove it. Instead we get American exceptionalism proudly on display.

Should all the foreigners in your debt salute, or simply prostrate ourselves in awe?

We're done.

[Aug 19, 2016] 6 Problems With Medias Reaction To Trumps ISIS Comments

This is a very important article and I strongly recommend to read it in full to understand how neoliberal propaganda works.
This is nice example of how difficult is for ordinary person to cut threw media lies and get to the truth. So some level of brainwashing is inevitable unless you use only alternative media. Neoliberal MSM are disgusting and are lying all the time, but unless you use WWW and foreign sources (like people in the in the USSR did -- substitute radio for WWW, as it did not existed yet) that is not much else.
Notable quotes:
"... Donald Trump did something downright shocking for a debate a few days before an important Republican primary. He went after the country's last Republican president, George W. Bush. Hard. He went after the Republican Party's general foreign policy approach. Hard. ..."
"... Obviously, the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake. All right? … The war in Iraq, we spent $2 trillion, thousands of lives, we don't even have it. Iran has taken over Iraq with the second-largest oil reserves in the world. Obviously, it was a mistake. George Bush made a mistake. We can make mistakes. But that one was a beauty. We should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East. … I want to tell you. They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction, there were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction. ..."
"... Trump said, "The World Trade Center came down during your brother's reign, remember that… That's not keeping us safe." ..."
"... Compare that little vignette with this week, when Donald Trump repeatedly said that President Obama and Hillary Clinton were founders/co-founders/MVPs of ISIS. ..."
"... DT: I don't care. He was the founder. His, the way he got out of Iraq was that that was the founding of ISIS, okay? ..."
"... Vanity Fair ..."
August 12, 2016 | thefederalist.com

Back in February, candidates for the Republican nomination for president debated each other in South Carolina. The Saturday evening discussion was raucous. Donald Trump did something downright shocking for a debate a few days before an important Republican primary. He went after the country's last Republican president, George W. Bush. Hard. He went after the Republican Party's general foreign policy approach. Hard.

Moderator John Dickerson asked him about his 2008 comments in favor of impeaching George W. Bush. He had said that year that Bush had "lied" to get the United States into a war in Iraq. Trump said to Dickerson:

Obviously, the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake. All right? … The war in Iraq, we spent $2 trillion, thousands of lives, we don't even have it. Iran has taken over Iraq with the second-largest oil reserves in the world. Obviously, it was a mistake. George Bush made a mistake. We can make mistakes. But that one was a beauty. We should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East. … I want to tell you. They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction, there were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction.

Jeb Bush attempted to defend his brother's honor, saying, "And while Donald Trump was building a reality TV show, my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe. And I'm proud of what he did."

Trump said, "The World Trade Center came down during your brother's reign, remember that… That's not keeping us safe."

And on it went. Yes, many in the crowd booed. Yes, many Republicans opposed his conspiracy theories about George W. Bush. The media were able to report Trump's challenges to Republican foreign policy without weighing in on the veracity of his claims. The most interesting thing of all? Trump easily won the South Carolina primary a week later with 33 percent of the vote.

Compare that little vignette with this week, when Donald Trump repeatedly said that President Obama and Hillary Clinton were founders/co-founders/MVPs of ISIS. Even though the media had more than shot their outrage wad for the week, the media doubled, tripled, even quadrupled down on their outrage for the Wednesday night-Thursday news cycle. Here are six problems with the media's complete meltdown over the remarks.

  1. Why Did This Become an Issue Now and Not 7 Months Ago?

    Republicans who oppose Trump claim the media encouraged Trump when he was setting fire to Republican opponents but have fought him tooth and nail in the general. Ammunition for that claim includes the distinct ways the media have reacted to his long-standing claim that Obama and Clinton founded ISIS.

    As the Washington Examiner notes, Trump said this three times in January alone:

    'They've created ISIS. Hillary Clinton created ISIS with Obama,' he said during a campaign rally in Mississippi.

    Trump restated the claim in an interview on CBS in July. 'Hillary Clinton invented ISIS with her stupid policies,' he said. 'She is responsible for ISIS.'

    He said it again during a rally in Florida one month later. 'It was Hillary Clinton – she should take an award from them as the founder of ISIS.'

    Needless to say, the media response to these comments was more bemused enabling than the abject horror they reserved for this week. The full media meltdown over something Trump has been saying all year long is at best odd and unbecoming. At worst, it suggests deep media corruption.

  2. Hyperliteralism

    Listen, Trump might be an effective communicator with his core audience, but others have trouble understanding him. His speaking style couldn't be more removed from the anodyne and cautious political rhetoric of our era. This can be a challenge for political journalists in particular. His sentences run on into paragraphs. He avoids specificity or contradicts himself when he doesn't. His sentences trail into other sentences before they finish. He doesn't play the usual games that the media are used to. It's frustrating.

    So the media immediately decided Trump was claiming that Obama had literally incorporated ISIS a few years back. And they treated this literal claim as a fact that needed to be debunked.

    Politifact gave the claim one of their vaunted "pants on fire" rulings: ... ... ...

    The "fact" "check" admits that both President Barack Obama's leadership in Iraq and Hillary Clinton's push to change regimes in Libya led to the explosion of ISIS but says that since Trump said he really, totally, no-joke meant Obama and Clinton were co-founders, that they must give him a Pants On Fire rating.

    Even ABC News had a piece headlined, "Obama Is Not the 'Founder' of ISIS – These Guys Are." Nobody can be this stupid, not even our media.

    As for the CNN chyron which appears to be deployed never in the case of Hillary Clinton's many serious troubles with truth-telling, or when Joe Biden told black voters that Republicans were going to "put y'all back in chains," but repeatedly in the case of Donald Trump speaking hyperbolically, this tweet is worth considering:

  3. Failure to Do Due Diligence

    On Thursday morning, Trump did a radio interview with Hugh Hewitt. The media clipped one part of his answer and used it to push a narrative that Donald Trump was super serial about Obama literally going to Baghdad, attending organizational meetings, and holding bake sales to launch his new organization ISIS.

    Kapur's tweet went viral but so did about eleventy billion other reporter tweets making the same point. The Guardian headline was "Trump reiterates he literally believes Barack Obama is the 'founder of Isis'."

    You really need to listen to the interview to get the full flavor of how unjournalistic this narrative is.

    Yes, Trump does reiterate over and over that Obama is the founder of ISIS. And yes, he says he really meant to say Obama founded ISIS. But that's definitely not all. How hard is it to listen for an additional minute or read an additional few words? The relevant portion of the interview is from 15:25 to 16:53. So this is not a huge investment of your time.

    First off, let's note for our hyperliteral media that Trump says "I'm a person that doesn't like insulting people" a few seconds before Hewitt asks about the ISIS comments. (Fact check: Pants on fire, amiright?) In this minute and a half, Trump says "I meant he's the founder of ISIS. I do. He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give her, too, by the way, Hillary Clinton." Hewitt pushes back, saying that Obama is trying to kill ISIS. Trump says:

    DT: I don't care. He was the founder. His, the way he got out of Iraq was that that was the founding of ISIS, okay?

    Here, journalists and pundits, is your first slap across the face that maybe, just maybe, Trump is not talking about articles of incorporation but, rather, something else entirely.

    Hewitt says, yeah, but the way you're saying it is opening you up to criticism. Was it a mistake? Trump says not at all. Obama is ISIS's most valuable player. Then Trump asks Hewitt if he doesn't like the way he's phrasing all this! And here's where journalists might want to put on their thinking caps and pay attention. Hewitt says he'd say that Obama and Hillary lost the peace and created a vacuum for ISIS, but he wouldn't say they created it:

    HH: I don't. I think I would say they created, they lost the peace. They created the Libyan vacuum, they created the vacuum into which ISIS came, but they didn't create ISIS. That's what I would say.

    DT: Well, I disagree.

    HH: All right, that's okay.

    DT: I mean, with his bad policies, that's why ISIS came about.

    HH: That's…

    DT: If he would have done things properly, you wouldn't have had ISIS.

    HH: That's true.

    DT: Therefore, he was the founder of ISIS.

    HH: And that's, I'd just use different language to communicate it, but let me close with this, because I know I'm keeping you long, and Hope's going to kill me.

    DT: But they wouldn't talk about your language, and they do talk about my language, right?

    Now, this is undoubtedly true. When people critique Obama's policies as Hewitt did, the media either call the critic racist or ignore him. When Trump critiques Obama's policies, they do talk about the way he does it. Maybe this means the message gets through to people.

    No matter what, though, the media should have stuck through all 90 seconds of the discussion to avoid the idiotic claim that Trump was saying Obama was literally on the ground in Iraq running ISIS' operations. He flat-out admits he's speaking hyperbolically to force the media to cover it.

  4. Pretending This Rhetoric Is Abnormal

    People accuse their political opponents of being responsible for bad things all the time. Clinton accused Trump of being ISIS' top recruiter. Bush's CIA and NSA chief said Trump was a "recruiting sergeant" for ISIS. Former NYC mayor Rudy Guiliani said Hillary Clinton could be considered a founding member of ISIS. Here was Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, just a few weeks ago, making a completely false claim of Republican's literal ties to ISIS:

    Carly Fiorina and Rick Santorum placed blame for ISIS on Obama and Clinton. Sen. John McCain said Obama was "directly responsible" for the Orlando ISIS attack due to his failure to deal with the terror group. President Obama said he couldn't think of a more potent recruiting tool for ISIS than Republican rhetoric in support of prioritizing help for Christians who had been targeted by the group. Last year, Vanity Fair published a piece blaming George W. Bush for ISIS. Heck, so did President Obama. There are many other examples. This type of rhetoric may not be exemplary, but we shouldn't pretend it's unique to Trump.


  5. Missing Actual Problems with His Comments

    Huge kudos to BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski for avoiding the feigned outrage/fainting couch in favor of an important critique of Trump's comments. He didn't pretend to be confused by what Trump was saying. By avoiding that silliness, he noticed something much more problematic with Trump's comments.

    Trump has cited the conservative critique of President Obama's Iraq policy - that the withdrawal of troops in 2011 led to a power vacuum that allowed ISIS to flourish - in making the claim.

    'He was the founder of ISIS, absolutely,' Trump said on CNBC on Thursday. 'The way he removed our troops - you shouldn't have gone in. I was against the war in Iraq. Totally against it.' (Trump was not against the war as he has repeatedly claimed.) 'The way he got out of Iraq was that that was the founding of ISIS, OK?' Trump later said.

    But lost in Trump's immediate comments is that, for years, he pushed passionately and forcefully for the same immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq. In interview after interview in the later 2000s, Trump said American forces should be removed from Iraq.

    Read the whole (brief) thing. One of the Trump quotes in the piece specifically has him acknowledging the civil unrest in Iraq that led to ISIS flourishing. It's a devastating critique and a far smarter one than the silly hysteria on display elsewhere.

  6. We're Still Not Talking about Widespread Dissatisfaction with Our Foreign Policy

    Let's think back to the opening vignette. Trump went into the South in the middle of the Republican primary and ostentatiously micturated over George W. Bush's Iraq policy. The voters of South Carolina rewarded him with a victory.

    Here's the real scandal in this outrage-du-jour: by pretending to think that Trump was claiming Obama had operational control over ISIS' day-to-day decision making, the media failed to cover widespread dissatisfaction with this country's foreign policy, whether it's coming from George W. Bush or Barack Obama.

    Many Americans are rather sick of this country's way of fighting wars, where enemies receive decades of nation-building instead of crushing defeats, and where threats are pooh-poohed or poorly managed instead of actually dealt with.

    Trump may be an uneven and erratic communicator who is unable to force that discussion in a way that a more traditional candidate might, but the media shouldn't have to be forced into it. Crowds are cheering Trump's hard statements about Obama and Clinton's policies in the Middle East because they are sick and tired of losing men, women, treasure and time with impotent, misguided, aimless efforts there.

    The vast majority of Americans supported invading Iraq, even if many of them deny they supported it now. Americans have lost confidence in both Republican and Democratic foreign policy approaches. No amount of media hysteria will hide that reality.

Mollie Ziegler Hemingway is a senior editor at The Federalist. Follow her on Twitter at @mzhemingway

[Aug 19, 2016] Historical amnesia also includes forgetting Barack Obama was the boss when Clinton was secretary and forgetting Barack Obama is still president pursuing insane war-mongering policies long after Clinton is gone

Obama is a neocon and is fully dedicated to expansion and maintenance of the US global neoliberal empire, at any cost for the US population. Racism card play against Trump, who opposes neoliberal interventionism, is a variant of the classic " Divide et impera" strategy
Notable quotes:
"... Incidentally, historical amnesia also includes forgetting Barack Obama was the boss when Clinton was secretary and forgetting Barack Obama is still president pursuing insane war-mongering policies long after Clinton is gone ..."
"... Historical amnesia means forgetting the Democratic Party isn't socialist or leftist ..."
"... Historical amnesia means forgetting all foundations are ways for the wealthy to shelter money and exercise influence, Koch's, Rockefeller's, Carnegie's, Ford's, Soros', not just Clintons'. Historical amnesia means forgetting this government has always conducted foreign policy at the behest of special interests. ..."
"... Vilifying millions of people in preference to even asking if Trump hasn't got massive elite support is deeply, profoundly reactionary. Divide et impera has been the rulers' game for centuries. ..."
crookedtimber.org

stevenjohnson 08.12.16 at 3:45 pm

Incidentally, historical amnesia also includes forgetting Barack Obama was the boss when Clinton was secretary and forgetting Barack Obama is still president pursuing insane war-mongering policies long after Clinton is gone and forgetting Barack Obama is still president, and won't even be a lame duck till November.

Historical amnesia means forgetting the Democratic Party isn't socialist or leftist, despite Bernie Sanders' long career as a sort of socialist (only informally a Democrat.)

Historical amnesia means forgetting to even ask what "Watergate" was, and if or how it mattered (or didn't.)

Historical amnesia means forgetting all foundations are ways for the wealthy to shelter money and exercise influence, Koch's, Rockefeller's, Carnegie's, Ford's, Soros', not just Clintons'. Historical amnesia means forgetting this government has always conducted foreign policy at the behest of special interests.

(Yes, Lupita believes that imperialism actually pays off for the whole country, which presumably is why when her preferred rich people try to get their own she'll be for that. Nonetheless, the idea is bullshit. At this point, I can only imagine people don't call her out on that because they actually agree that "we" are all in it together with our owners.)

Historical amnesia includes forgetting Trump has run for president before, with the same personality and the same tactics and the same party base. It is unclear how the essentially racist nature of the vile masses has changed so much in four years.

Vilifying millions of people in preference to even asking if Trump hasn't got massive elite support is deeply, profoundly reactionary. Divide et impera has been the rulers' game for centuries.

[Aug 19, 2016] Russian hackers story is propagated to create a distraction form DNC emails revelations and an excuse for pundits to engage in groundless speculation and fake ourage

Moreover story about the Russkies carrying out a plot to influence the US election is so much juicier than a real story about Clinton's minions doing the humdrum work of influencing US elections by unethical means. It is somewhat similar to "Romney dog" story.
Notable quotes:
"... It is a story offered without proof for the purposes of creating a distraction, since it becomes an excuse for pundits engaging in groundless speculation and poses of outrage. Because a far-fetched story about the Russkies carrying out an 11-dimensional plot to influence the U.S. election is so much juicier than a pedestrian story about Clinton's minions doing the humdrum work of . . . influencing U.S. elections by unethical means. ..."
"... The convoluted and imaginative stories about Guccifer and so on are just that, stories. The U.S. has an enormous and expensive surveillance state apparatus in place. So proof is, presumably, readily available if someone in authority wants to offer it. In the meantime, we have self-styled consultants blowing smoke ..."
crookedtimber.org

kidneystones 08.08.16 at 11:42 pm 396

Lanny Davis, longtime Clinton ally and DNC hack, explaining in great detail ( on Fox no less) why the Romney dog story makes the Republican candidate (is a Mormon the same as an atheist, Debbie?) unfit for the office of the President.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/01/13/romneys-dog-on-car-roof-story-makes-him-unfit-to-be-president.html

bruce wilder 08.08.16 at 11:45 pm 397

awy @ 389: why is russian hacking of the dnc a preposterous story?

It is a story offered without proof for the purposes of creating a distraction, since it becomes an excuse for pundits engaging in groundless speculation and poses of outrage.

Because a far-fetched story about the Russkies carrying out an 11-dimensional plot to influence the U.S. election is so much juicier than a pedestrian story about Clinton's minions doing the humdrum work of . . . influencing U.S. elections by unethical means.

The convoluted and imaginative stories about Guccifer and so on are just that, stories. The U.S. has an enormous and expensive surveillance state apparatus in place. So proof is, presumably, readily available if someone in authority wants to offer it. In the meantime, we have self-styled consultants blowing smoke.

But, hey, the Democrat's Platform promises: "Democrats will protect our industry, infrastructure, and government from cyberattacks." Hillary is going to get on that real soon now.

[Aug 19, 2016] The supress the disclosure of the DNC emails required a preposterous story of Russian hacking, followed by a gotcha accusing Trump of asking Putin to become a latter day Watergate burglar.

Notable quotes:
"... We here in CT comments lead a quiet, parochial life. In the larger world, the disclosure of the DNC emails required a preposterous story of Russian hacking, followed by a gotcha accusing Trump of asking Putin to become a latter day Watergate burglar. ..."
crookedtimber.org

bruce wilder 08.08.16 at 5:07 pm

RP @ 375: the DNC Email

We here in CT comments lead a quiet, parochial life. In the larger world, the disclosure of the DNC emails required a preposterous story of Russian hacking, followed by a gotcha accusing Trump of asking Putin to become a latter day Watergate burglar.

I have no sympathy for Trump, who made his bones as birther-in-chief. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

But, I do have some sympathy for the rest of us, who are the objects of these manipulations. The email discussing whether they can push the atheist hot-button or the Jew hot-button and get a predictable response from voters disturbs me because it seems that the propaganda has drowned out everything else.

It is one thing when they're wearing out the gay hot-button or the xenophobia hot-button or trying to get the anti-semite hot-button to work again, but I get the idea that there's only hot-buttons, only manipulation. There's no considered, deliberate purpose behind any of it. Hillary Clinton is so pre-occupied affirming support for Israel and condemning Iran or ISIS or Russia, that there's no room left for formulating reality-based policy or explaining such a policy to the American people.

[Aug 18, 2016] After I donated $9600 to Obama's campaigns, I got seven White House Christmas cards, genuinely autopenned by President and Mrs. Obama. These are of course very nice, but what I was hoping to buy was an end to things like rendition, torture, and death by killer robots from the sky

Notable quotes:
"... These are of course very nice, but what I was hoping to buy was an end to things like rendition, torture, and death by killer robots from the sky. I guess it takes more money to buy nice things like that. ..."
crookedtimber.org

Layman, 08.11.16 at 2:19 pm

engels @ 595

That's a story about contributions of $200 or more. I'm guessing those contributions buy no influence at all. In fact, I'm not guessing: I, personally, donated a total of $9600 to Obama's campaigns, which were so influential that I was able to score 7 (so far) White House Christmas cards, genuinely autopenned by President and Mrs. Obama.

These are of course very nice, but what I was hoping to buy was an end to things like rendition, torture, and death by killer robots from the sky. I guess it takes more money to buy nice things like that.

[Aug 18, 2016] Whether Trump or Clinton, the next president is very likely to be impeached and convicted

Notable quotes:
"... In particular, criticizing Clinton by falsely assigning her responsibility for Obama's policies fails because it's so transparently dishonest. The notion that Clinton made Libya policy for the UN ambassador Power is dubious enough. ..."
"... The further implication that she manipulated Obama is silly on the face of it. It was Obama who dealt with Cameron and Sarkozy, who were above her pay grade. The Syrian policies continued after she was gone, nearly coming to open war entirely without her. ..."
"... Also, the insistence on using the years of nonsense dispensed by rabid right wingers spouting all sorts of crazed BS about how crooked Billary is, is endorsing the Mighty Wurlitzer. Jerry Falwell was speaking truth to power when he ranted about Vince Foster? ..."
"... It is of course true that Trump isn't unprecedented. His great precedent is of course Richard Nixon, who also had a plan. ..."
"... Whether Trump or Clinton, the next president is very likely to be impeached and convicted ..."
"... The infunny thing is, either Pence (a Ted Cruz without testicles,) or Kaine (an Obama DNC chair and thoroughly vetted Armed Service committeeman,) are nightmares. ..."
crookedtimber.org

stevenjohnson 08.09.16 at 3:46 pm

Criticizing Clinton from the right is just as reactionary as criticizing Trump from the right. Further, assigning an individual such personal responsibility denies the reality of a bipartisan system that administers an imperialist government with only a formal simulacrum of popular support. That is, this "criticism" is fundamentally from the right.

In particular, criticizing Clinton by falsely assigning her responsibility for Obama's policies fails because it's so transparently dishonest. The notion that Clinton made Libya policy for the UN ambassador Power is dubious enough. The careers of Stevenson and Bolton alone show that the potential importance of security council veto means the President reserves direct supervision for himself, no matter what an organizational chart may say.

The further implication that she manipulated Obama is silly on the face of it. It was Obama who dealt with Cameron and Sarkozy, who were above her pay grade. The Syrian policies continued after she was gone, nearly coming to open war entirely without her. The implication that for a Secretary of State to sell weapons to foreign nations isn't constituent service borders on the silly. Besides, isolationism is not left win, never has been, never was.

And the implication that the any US government would ever favor supporting a leftish president in Latin America because of its commitment to democracy thoroughly falsifies the nature of the US government. Disappearing left criticism of Obama is thoroughly reactionary.

Also, the insistence on using the years of nonsense dispensed by rabid right wingers spouting all sorts of crazed BS about how crooked Billary is, is endorsing the Mighty Wurlitzer. Jerry Falwell was speaking truth to power when he ranted about Vince Foster? Buying into this is buying decades of reactionary propaganda. I suppose this is mindlessness enough to satisfy people who alleged that SYRIZA was going to save Greece (the rock that should by the way have sunk Jacobin magazines credibility, leaving next to the Titanic,) or Bernie Sanders was starting a revolution.

It is of course true that Trump isn't unprecedented. His great precedent is of course Richard Nixon, who also had a plan. I suppose F. Foundling eager awaits Trump's great "Nixon goes to China" moment. I have no idea why.

Whether Trump or Clinton, the next president is very likely to be impeached and convicted. As to which one it is, there has really never been much doubt that Clinton in the end will gain enough minority support to carry the big cities. But if the reactionaries depress the turnout enough, Trump has a shot at an electoral college victory, especially given the precedents on how votes are counted.

The infunny thing is, either Pence (a Ted Cruz without testicles,) or Kaine (an Obama DNC chair and thoroughly vetted Armed Service committeeman,) are nightmares.

[Aug 18, 2016] Clinton is actively seeking Henry Kissingers endorsement.

Notable quotes:
"... Hillary Clinton's respect for Kissinger has been noted before I think, and it's awful. Even if she were free of that shithead, though, her current goal is to demolish Trump. Voices on the GOP side really are important to erode his support not just among voters but within the party and the donor base. This could be a historic walloping. If monsters can help the effort to flip the senate, court the monsters. ..."
crookedtimber.org
Ah, it's official: Clinton is actively seeking Henry Kissinger's endorsement. The man who helped scuttle the peace talks in 1968, prolonging the Vietnam War by seven years, at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives. Who was at the heart of the secret bombing of Cambodia and Laos-personally selecting targets for bomber runs-which led to the destabilization of Cambodia and ultimately the Khmer Rouge and the Cambodian genocide. Who firmly backed the Pakistani military in its genocidal slaughter in Bangladesh. As Greg Grandin, whose book about Kissinger is must-reading, wrote not so long ago, "The full tally hasn't been done, but a back-of-the-envelope count would attribute 3, maybe 4 million deaths to Kissinger's actions, but that number probably undercounts his victims in southern Africa."

This is the man whose support Hillary wants. Because Kissinger sways so many votes in Ohio or Georgia? No, because he's prudential, realistic, respectable, unlike that irresponsible reckless madman Donald Trump.

I'm actually beginning to welcome the "we've never had someone as bad as Trump before" meme. I can't think of a greater (and deliciously unintentional) indictment of the United States than that claim. http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/clinton-republican-elder-statesmen-kissinger-226680#ixzz4GklOFXfV 441

Corey Robin 08.09.16 at 5:02 pm

Greg's actually just written an excellent piece on the abomination that is Henry Kissinger and Clinton's attempt to secure his endorsement.

https://www.thenation.com/article/henry-kissinger-hillary-clintons-tutor-in-war-and-peace/

LFC 08.09.16 at 5:07 pm 442
A glance at the Politico piece reveals it's a bit vague on the details, saying that, according to an unnamed source, the Clinton campaign has "sent out feelers" to Kissinger, Baker, Schultz, and Rice. But yeah, that's a mistake. Her campaign doesn't need them, and why HRC does not do everything to keep her distance from Kissinger - I mean as a political matter (if they want to be on friendly terms in private life, I guess that's their business) - is mystifying. Maybe Bill Clinton, who attended anti-Vietnam War protests in London while a student at Oxford, shd have a long talk w/ HRC about the period. Since, though she lived through it, it apparently did not make that much of an impact. Anyway, I'd be surprised if Kissinger ends up publicly endorsing her.

The Temporary Name 08.09.16 at 5:09 pm

This is the man whose support Hillary wants. Because Kissinger sways so many votes in Ohio or Georgia? No, because he's prudential, realistic, respectable, unlike that irresponsible reckless madman Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton's respect for Kissinger has been noted before I think, and it's awful. Even if she were free of that shithead, though, her current goal is to demolish Trump. Voices on the GOP side really are important to erode his support not just among voters but within the party and the donor base. This could be a historic walloping. If monsters can help the effort to flip the senate, court the monsters.

Corey Robin 08.09.16 at 5:13 pm 445

It's really not mystifying. Clinton has long courted that imprimatur of foreign policy mainstream respectability, and while the origins of that courting may have been instrumental and strategic, pure political calculation, it has since become a part of her political identity. I don't this is cynicism anymore; she believes it.

Meanwhile, the poll numbers keep climbing for her. Virtually every mainstream journalist now recognizes what some of us have been saying for months. Absent a "miracle," as Rothenberg says here, Trump will be squashed.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/08/09/donald-trump-needs-a-miracle-to-win/?wpisrc=nl_most-draw5&wpmm=1

[Aug 18, 2016] Given that the 'securityestablishment' consists almost entirely of quasi-fascists and grifters looking to get richer acting as agents for defense manufacturers and private security companies, these folks clearly see which candidate is likely to provide more of the filthy lucre.

Notable quotes:
"... Dem hacks are promoting the fiction that Sanders, again an Independent, will magically become the most powerful voice in the senate and a strong check (cough, cough) on the worst excesses of HRC and her many neocon friends and admirers. ..."
"... Given that the 'securityestablishment' consists almost entirely of quasi-fascists and grifters looking to get richer acting as agents for defense manufacturers and private security companies, these folks clearly see which candidate is likely to provide more of the filthy lucre. Wall st. and the Kochs both want a Clinton-Ryan partnership for 2016. ..."
crookedtimber.org

LFC 08.09.16 at 2:11 am

Do you expect Philip Zelikow, John Negroponte, Eliot Cohen and the other 'natl security' signatories of the letter, and now Susan Collins, to behave other than as they are behaving?

Is Negroponte going to sign a letter saying "I am a right-wing jerk w blood on my hands who worked for, among others, that idiot Reagan and by the way I can't vote for Trump who is also a jerk, very much in line w the jerk I worked for"?

Is Susan Collins going to write an oped saying "I am a (supposedly) moderate Repub Senator from Maine who supported McCain and now I'm going to be inconsistent and not vote for Trump even though he's basically not too different from McCain. Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds."? [I think Trump is somewhat worse than McCain, but I'm accepting the premise for the sake of argument.]

As for Alter, maybe he shd know better than to tweet the Collins oped, but I'm not going to get into that.

kidneystones 08.09.16 at 2:28 am

Perhaps the best part of supporting Trump is that he's almost universally loathed by virtually all the 'right people' elites on both sides of the aisle, and the 'morally-minded' billionaires.

I've argued before that I expect he'll accomplish less than 1/10th of what he wants to do.

Dem hacks are promoting the fiction that Sanders, again an Independent, will magically become the most powerful voice in the senate and a strong check (cough, cough) on the worst excesses of HRC and her many neocon friends and admirers.

Given that the 'securityestablishment' consists almost entirely of quasi-fascists and grifters looking to get richer acting as agents for defense manufacturers and private security companies, these folks clearly see which candidate is likely to provide more of the filthy lucre. Wall st. and the Kochs both want a Clinton-Ryan partnership for 2016.

So, take your chances with Trump, or be prepared for another 4-8 years of no press conferences, no transparency, and the same screw everyone but the rich policies that have brought us all to this unhappy pass. Safer with Hillary?

You betcha!

Keith 08.09.16 at 3:20 am

RNB, our military-intelligence sector is so dedicated to spending their whole budget every year, even to the detriment of our national defense, that any idiot could see through them.

And any idiot clearly has.

Donald 08.09.16 at 11:57 am

I suspect the reason that neocons hate Trump is not because he is a dangerous maniac, but became he isn't the precise type of dangerous maniac they prefer. He shows contempt for the establishment idiots that favored the Iraq War, not that Trump opposed it himself. That by itself would be unforgivable for them.

Sanders was hated by many Democrats for the same reason–he pointed out that Clinton supported the Iraq War and therefore had bad judgment, which undercuts the whole argument based on her expertise in foreign policy. I am in no way saying that Sanders is the same as Trump. I voted for Sanders and would vote for almost anyone against Trump.

It's possible to be terrified by the possibility of a Trump presidency and also be cynical about the motives of the torture apologists and warmongers who criticize him.

Rich Puchalsky 08.09.16 at 12:49 pm

Donald: "I suspect the reason that neocons hate Trump is not because he is a dangerous maniac, but became he isn't the precise type of dangerous maniac they prefer."

The whole concept of "recklessness" doesn't really have much meaning in this context. The foreign policy establishment failed to actually reduce the number of nuclear weapons when it was possible to do so, for no better reason than because it would have harmed the military-industrial complex. They have signally failed to do anything to restrain the ability of the President to declare war at will, instead preferring convenience in carrying out whatever ad hoc goal is current. They are steadily in the process of converting alliances from deterrents to war to possible triggers for war. They did not take any steps to sanction or put on trial war criminals who committed aggressive war and torture. And the establishment candidate, HRC, just accused (through surrogates) of carrying out an act of war against the U.S. (the supposed hacking incident) and declared Russia to be our enemy. And if and when all of this falls into the hands of a demagogue, it will supposedly be the demagogue that is reckless, not the establishment. Therefore we must always vote for the establishment, because they've made the machine so dangerous to run that supposedly if they step away from the controls for a moment it will blow up. That's nonsense. If they continue doing that for long enough, eventually people will vote for a demagogue as the only other choice - and Trump won't be the last one.

Another bit of nonsense is the whole constellation of ideas around unity, solidarity, allyship, "we must work together", "no circular firing squad" etc. There is no unity or solidarity and the whole idea that there is is manipulative - the people who call on it are not anyone's allies. People have different goals. If the reason we're supposed to work together despite having different goals is to defeat Trump, then we are not allies. We're each just going to do the minimum needed to defeat Trump, and then we're enemies.

428

bruce wilder 08.09.16 at 1:42 pm

For all the talk of how Trump is endangering Republican Party candidates down ballot, Clinton is working hard to take no advantage for the Democratic Party or progressive ideas. The "minimum needed to defeat Trump" is conspicuously not anything likely to discredit or drive from office the corrupt war mongers. Clinton seems determined to leave the Republican Party strong and progressive Democrats weak and marginalized.

[Aug 18, 2016] Trump is no crazier than the current Democratic president

Notable quotes:
"... How many ordinary Americans under the age of 40 can look in the mirror and find the stuff of not one, but two autobiographies? That certainly speaks a remarkable level of – what shall we call it? Well, probably not modesty. ..."
"... 'if you don't support O, you're David Duke in a dress' stuff. No need to dredge up the practical politics of Hope and Change at this late date. ..."
crookedtimber.org

kidneystones 08.12.16 at 7:00 am 669

@ 668 "Mr. Obama told Patrick Gaspard, his political director, at the start of the 2008 campaign, according to The New Yorker. "I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors."

"But there's more evidence that he's batshit crazy. He declaimed that he knew more about ISIS than all the generals. He will trust no one's judgment but his own."

So, your argument is that Obama (your Muslim socialist) should never have been trusted to be in the Oval Office.

And that by these, your standards, Trump is no crazier than the current Democratic president.

Fair enough.

https://www.aei.org/publication/obama-im-a-better-intelligence-briefer-than-my-intelligence-briefers/

kidneystones 08.12.16 at 7:39 am 671

@670 "I won't even look up the quote"

Oh, you don't need to. That boat sailed the moment you decided to make Obama level hubris grounds for ineligibility. Obama's 'accomplishments prior to entering the Senate in 2004 are the stuff of legend to the clueless, of course.

How many ordinary Americans under the age of 40 can look in the mirror and find the stuff of not one, but two autobiographies? That certainly speaks a remarkable level of – what shall we call it? Well, probably not modesty.

My life twice – plenty for everyone like to learn from! The perfect preparation for a great presidency. That and my love of basketball. That's what makes me so smart! Did anyone notice I'm young, black and handsome? Ignore that, please.

And we are where we are. I've elided the 'if you don't support O, you're David Duke in a dress' stuff. No need to dredge up the practical politics of Hope and Change at this late date.

Trump in 2016!

[Aug 16, 2016] Diary of an Ex-Neocon

Notable quotes:
"... If the New York Post is their Pravda , then The Weekly Standard is the neocons' Iskra , where the ideological twists and turns of the Party Line are explicated at some length ..."
"... The cynical might suspect that this last is a form of neoconservative special pleading, designed to spirit the war party intellectuals away from the scene when the Bush policy goes down in flames ..."
"... Robert Kagan and Max Boot are shilling for Hillary, with more of their comrades soon to follow-the former Scoop Jackson Democrats have come full circle, their survival skills fully intact. ..."
"... They "certainly won't disappear in the way that American communism or segregation have," says McConnell , and one big reason is because "Perhaps most importantly neoconservatism still commands more salaries-able people who can pursue ideological politics as fulltime work in think tanks and periodicals-than its rivals." Which means "the reports of the movement's demise"-and I've authored a few of those-"are thus very much exaggerated." ..."
"... McConnell isn't just an observer, with a keen eye for detail: he projects himself into these geopolitical conundrums, imbued with the sort of empathy that connects both himself and the reader to real human suffering, a quality that makes him a trenchant critic of U.S. policy in the Middle East. ..."
"... McConnell likes the Israelis, supports their right to nationhood, and yet insists that we treat them as a normal country, not a pampered child who throws tantrums to get what it wants. He is measured, rational, compassionate, and, most of all, very well informed. We find out many things along the way, such as the real nature of the "good deal" that Yasser Arafat rejected, and rightly so. ..."
The American Conservative
McConnell's wit, especially sharp when cutting up his former comrades, had me laughing out loud. Describing Fred Barnes's Rebel in Chief , a hagiography of George W. Bush, he writes : "For readers who might wonder what it is like to be a North Korean and required to read formulaic biographies of great helmsman Kim Il Sung and his son, an afternoon spent with Rebel in Chief should provide a proximate answer."

If the New York Post is their Pravda , then The Weekly Standard is the neocons' Iskra , where the ideological twists and turns of the Party Line are explicated at some length, and not without some elegance, as McConnell notes. The weekly's key role in diverting the Bush administration into Iraq after the 9/11 attacks is here laid out in all its Machiavellian sinuosity. And the distinctly Soviet air of the Kristolian style is illustrated quite nicely by McConnell's description of the magazine's covers, a typical one being "George W. Bush, gesticulating before an audience of troops, arm extended in a Caesarian pose. 'The Liberator,' the Standard headline proclaimed. Flatter the leader who will do your bidding."

Yet there is a bit more to the literature of the courtier than appears on the surface. Flatter the king, get close enough to whisper in his ear-and then, if necessary, bury the knife deep in his back. Barnes depicts Bush as the bold leader who defied "the crabbed views of experts. And lest we forget, it is Bush alone who has done this, not his advisors. The cynical might suspect that this last is a form of neoconservative special pleading, designed to spirit the war party intellectuals away from the scene when the Bush policy goes down in flames." Which is precisely what happened, as McConnell chronicles in detail.

The damage this political cult has done to the American polity, and to the Middle East, cannot even be calculated: how much, after all, is a human life worth? What about hundreds of thousands of lives? Yet they never seem to be finally defeated: as McConnell puts it , "if disrespecting the neoconservatives is emerging as a minor national sport, it should be enjoyed and tempered with realism." Sure, "the last few years have been difficult for the faction," but "they have other options." As they stream back into the Democratic Party after being steamrollered by Donald Trump- Robert Kagan and Max Boot are shilling for Hillary, with more of their comrades soon to follow-the former Scoop Jackson Democrats have come full circle, their survival skills fully intact.

They "certainly won't disappear in the way that American communism or segregation have," says McConnell , and one big reason is because "Perhaps most importantly neoconservatism still commands more salaries-able people who can pursue ideological politics as fulltime work in think tanks and periodicals-than its rivals." Which means "the reports of the movement's demise"-and I've authored a few of those-"are thus very much exaggerated."

Well, yes, that's unfortunately true. We've heard of the neocons' demise so many times that the prospect has now become somewhat hopeless: they just keep reincarnating themselves in another form. But that shouldn't stop us from hoping against hope.

In spite of this book's title, there is much more to it than the storied history of the neocons as seen from inside the tent. There are sections on Israel, the run up to the Iraq war, President Obama, reflections on history, Russia and NATO, racial politics, and more. McConnell is at his best when he writes in the first person: a trip through Syria and Palestine, detailed in " Divided and Conquered ," reveals a perception honed to the finest detail, and a sensitivity and compassion that invariably breaks through a reserved WASP-y persona. McConnell isn't just an observer, with a keen eye for detail: he projects himself into these geopolitical conundrums, imbued with the sort of empathy that connects both himself and the reader to real human suffering, a quality that makes him a trenchant critic of U.S. policy in the Middle East.

That critique is laid out in a long essay, " The Special Relationship With Israel: Is It Worth the Cost? " in which the history and consequences of our protracted and expensive patronage of the Jewish state is analyzed and detailed in ways you haven't seen or read before. McConnell likes the Israelis, supports their right to nationhood, and yet insists that we treat them as a normal country, not a pampered child who throws tantrums to get what it wants. He is measured, rational, compassionate, and, most of all, very well informed. We find out many things along the way, such as the real nature of the "good deal" that Yasser Arafat rejected, and rightly so.

At the end of a long " Open Letter to David Horowitz on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict ," in which the author takes apart the irascible pro-Israel fanatic's argument that the Palestinians aren't really a people and should just get lost, he writes; "David, I hope you know this letter is written in a spirit of friendly, even comradely, disagreement and that it comes from someone who has plenty of appreciation for everything you have done since you came out as a 'Lefty for Reagan' seventeen years ago, and who was an avid Ramparts reader a dozen years before that."

For my part, he gives Horowitz far too much credit, but that's an essential part of the author of Ex-Neocon : a gentleness that allows him to appreciate the talent and achievements of his ideological opposite numbers, even as he tears their arguments to shreds. His personality comes through in a way that is understated and yet strong. Here he is in Virginia Beach , canvassing for Obama during the 2012 election, riding around with a bunch of female volunteers, two black and one white:

It was a curiously moving experience. … I have led most of my life not caring very much whether the poor voted, and indeed have sometimes been aware my interests aligned with them not voting at all. But that has changed. And so one knocks on one door after another in tiny houses and apartments in Chesapeake and Newport News, some of them nicely kept and clearly striving to make the best of a modest lot, others as close to the developing world as one gets in America. And at moments one feels a kind of calling-and then laughs at the Alinskian presumption of it all. Yes, we are all connected.

So what was this ex-neocon, former campaign manager for Pat Buchanan's last presidential run, and former editor of The American Conservative doing canvassing for Barack Obama? You really have to read this book to find out.

Justin Raimondo is editorial director of Antiwar.com and the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement .

[Aug 15, 2016] US War Crimes or 'Normalized Deviance'  by Nicolas J S Davies

After the dissolution of the USSR the US elute went completely off rails and started to devour not only other countries, but the USA itself.  Neoliberals (like Bolsheviks int he past) are cosmopolitan by definition and consider the USA as just a host to implement their plan. They have zero affinity with the common people of the USA. For them they are just tools for creation and maintnace of the global neoliberal empire. So their allegiance is not to the USA but to the global neoliberal empire.  It's the same behaviour that characterized Bolsheviks in Russia.
Notable quotes:
"... Then, once the Obama administration had massively escalated the CIA's drone program as an alternative to kidnapping and indefinite detention at Guantanamo, it became even harder to acknowledge that this is a policy of cold-blooded murder that provokes widespread anger and hostility and is counter-productive to legitimate counterterrorism goals – or to admit that it violates the U.N. Charter's prohibition on the use of force, as U.N. special rapporteurs on extrajudicial killings have warned . ..."
"... The deviant U.S. foreign policy bureaucracy has branded the formal rules that are supposed to govern our country's international behavior as "obsolete" and "quaint", as a White House lawyer wrote in 2004 . And yet these are the very rules that past U.S. leaders deemed so vital that they enshrined them in constitutionally binding international treaties and U.S. law. ..."
"... In 1945, after two world wars killed 100 million people and left much of the world in ruins, the world's governments were shocked into a moment of sanity in which they agreed to settle future international disputes peacefully. The U.N. Charter therefore prohibits the threat or use of force in international relations. ..."
"... The U.N. Charter's prohibition against the threat or use of force codifies the long-standing prohibition of aggression in English common law and customary international law, and reinforces the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy in the 1928 Kellogg Briand Pact . The judges at Nuremberg ruled that, even before the U.N. Charter came into effect, aggression was already the "supreme international crime." ..."
"... No U.S. leader has proposed abolishing or amending the U.N. Charter to permit aggression by the U.S. or any other country. And yet the U.S. is currently conducting ground operations, air strikes or drone strikes in at least seven countries: Afghanistan; Pakistan; Iraq; Syria; Yemen; Somalia; and Libya. U.S. "special operations forces" conduct secret operations in a hundred more . U.S. leaders still openly threaten Iran, despite a diplomatic breakthrough that was supposed to peacefully settle bilateral differences. ..."
"... Although torture was authorized from the very top of the chain of command, the most senior officer charged with a crime was a Major and the harshest sentence handed down was a five-month prison sentence. ..."
"... –U.S. rules of engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan have included: systematic, theater-wide use of torture ; orders to "dead-check" or kill wounded enemy combatants; orders to "kill all military-age males" during certain operations; and "weapons-free" zones that mirror Vietnam-era "free-fire" zones. ..."
"... A U.S. Marine corporal told a court martial that "Marines consider all Iraqi men part of the insurgency", nullifying the critical distinction between combatants and civilians that is the very basis of the Fourth Geneva Convention. ..."
"... –For the past year, U.S. forces bombing Iraq and Syria have operated under loosened rules of engagement that allow the in-theater commander General McFarland to approve bomb- and missile-strikes that are expected to kill up to 10 civilians each. ..."
"... Left In The Dark ..."
"... Nobody was charged over the Ghazi Khan raid in Kunar province on Dec. 26, 2009, in which U.S. special forces summarily executed at least seven children, including four who were only 11 or 12 years old. ..."
"... More recently, U.S. forces attacked a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, killing 42 doctors, staff and patients, but this flagrant violation of Article 18 of the Fourth Geneva Convention did not lead to criminal charges either. ..."
"... Richard Barnet explored the deviant culture of Vietnam-era U.S. war leaders in his 1972 book Roots Of War ..."
"... The U.S. role in anti-democratic coups in Iran, Guatemala, the Congo, Brazil, Indonesia, Ghana, Chile and other countries was veiled behind thick layers of secrecy and propaganda. A veneer of legitimacy was still considered vital to U.S. policy, even as a culture of deviance was being normalized and institutionalized beneath the surface. ..."
"... When Nicaragua asked the U.N. Security Council to enforce the payment of reparations ordered by the court, the U.S. abused its position as a Permanent Member of the Security Council to veto the resolution. Since the 1980s, the U.S. has vetoed twice as many Security Council resolutions as the other Permanent Members combined, and the U.N. General Assembly passed resolutions condemning the U.S. invasions of Grenada (by 108 to 9) and Panama (by 75 to 20), calling the latter "a flagrant violation of international law." ..."
"... President George H.W. Bush and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher obtained U.N. authorization for the First Gulf War and resisted calls to launch a war of regime change against Iraq in violation of their U.N. mandate. Their forces massacred Iraqi forces fleeing Kuwait , and a U.N. report described how the "near apocalyptic" U.S.-led bombardment of Iraq reduced what "had been until January a rather highly urbanized and mechanized society" to "a pre-industrial age nation." ..."
"... Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq ..."
consortiumnews.com
August 15, 2016 | Consortiumnews

The U.S. foreign policy establishment and its mainstream media operate with a pervasive set of hypocritical standards that justify war crimes - or what might be called a "normalization of deviance," writes Nicolas J S Davies.

Sociologist Diane Vaughan coined the term "normalization of deviance" as she was investigating the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle in 1986. She used it to describe how the social culture at NASA fostered a disregard for rigorous, physics-based safety standards, effectively creating new, lower de facto standards that came to govern actual NASA operations and led to catastrophic and deadly failures.

Vaughan published her findings in her prize-winning book , The Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Technology, Culture and Deviance at NASA , which, in her words, "shows how mistake, mishap, and disaster are socially organized and systematically produced by social structures" and "shifts our attention from individual causal explanations to the structure of power and the power of structure and culture – factors that are difficult to identify and untangle yet have great impact on decision making in organizations."

 

President George W. Bush announcing the start of his invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.

When the same pattern of organizational culture and behavior at NASA persisted until the loss of a second shuttle in 2003, Diane Vaughan was appointed to NASA's accident investigation board, which belatedly embraced her conclusion that the "normalization of deviance" was a critical factor in these catastrophic failures.

The normalization of deviance has since been cited in a wide range of corporate crimes and institutional failures, from Volkswagen's rigging of emissions tests to deadly medical mistakes in hospitals. In fact, the normalization of deviance is an ever-present danger in most of the complex institutions that govern the world we live in today, not least in the bureaucracy that formulates and conducts U.S. foreign policy.

The normalization of deviance from the rules and standards that formally govern U.S. foreign policy has been quite radical. And yet, as in other cases, this has gradually been accepted as a normal state of affairs, first within the corridors of power, then by the corporate media and eventually by much of the public at large.

Once deviance has been culturally normalized, as Vaughan found in the shuttle program at NASA, there is no longer any effective check on actions that deviate radically from formal or established standards – in the case of U.S. foreign policy, that would refer to the rules and customs of international law, the checks and balances of our constitutional political system and the experience and evolving practice of generations of statesmen and diplomats.

Normalizing the Abnormal

It is in the nature of complex institutions infected by the normalization of deviance that insiders are incentivized to downplay potential problems and to avoid precipitating a reassessment based on previously established standards. Once rules have been breached, decision-makers face a cognitive and ethical conundrum whenever the same issue arises again: they can no longer admit that an action will violate responsible standards without admitting that they have already violated them in the past.

This is not just a matter of avoiding public embarrassment and political or criminal accountability, but a real instance of collective cognitive dissonance among people who have genuinely, although often self-servingly, embraced a deviant culture. Diane Vaughan has compared the normalization of deviance to an elastic waistband that keeps on stretching.

 

At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as "shock and awe."

Within the high priesthood that now manages U.S. foreign policy, advancement and success are based on conformity with this elastic culture of normalized deviance. Whistle-blowers are punished or even prosecuted, and people who question the prevailing deviant culture are routinely and efficiently marginalized, not promoted to decision-making positions.

For example, once U.S. officials had accepted the Orwellian "doublethink" that "targeted killings," or "manhunts" as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called them, do not violate long-standing prohibitions against assassination , even a new administration could not walk that decision back without forcing a deviant culture to confront the wrong-headedness and illegality of its original decision.

Then, once the Obama administration had massively escalated the CIA's drone program as an alternative to kidnapping and indefinite detention at Guantanamo, it became even harder to acknowledge that this is a policy of cold-blooded murder that provokes widespread anger and hostility and is counter-productive to legitimate counterterrorism goals – or to admit that it violates the U.N. Charter's prohibition on the use of force, as U.N. special rapporteurs on extrajudicial killings have warned .

Underlying such decisions is the role of U.S. government lawyers who provide legal cover for them, but who are themselves shielded from accountability by U.S. non-recognition of international courts and the extraordinary deference of U.S. courts to the Executive Branch on matters of "national security." These lawyers enjoy a privilege that is unique in their profession, issuing legal opinions that they will never have to defend before impartial courts to provide legal fig-leaves for war crimes.

The deviant U.S. foreign policy bureaucracy has branded the formal rules that are supposed to govern our country's international behavior as "obsolete" and "quaint", as a White House lawyer wrote in 2004 . And yet these are the very rules that past U.S. leaders deemed so vital that they enshrined them in constitutionally binding international treaties and U.S. law.

Let's take a brief look at how the normalization of deviance undermines two of the most critical standards that formally define and legitimize U.S. foreign policy: the U.N. Charter and the Geneva Conventions.

The United Nations Charter

In 1945, after two world wars killed 100 million people and left much of the world in ruins, the world's governments were shocked into a moment of sanity in which they agreed to settle future international disputes peacefully. The U.N. Charter therefore prohibits the threat or use of force in international relations.

As President Franklin Roosevelt told a joint session of Congress on his return from the Yalta conference, this new "permanent structure of peace … should spell the end of the system of unilateral action, the exclusive alliances, the spheres of influence, the balance of power, and all the other expedients that have been tried for centuries – and have always failed."

The U.N. Charter's prohibition against the threat or use of force codifies the long-standing prohibition of aggression in English common law and customary international law, and reinforces the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy in the 1928 Kellogg Briand Pact . The judges at Nuremberg ruled that, even before the U.N. Charter came into effect, aggression was already the "supreme international crime."

No U.S. leader has proposed abolishing or amending the U.N. Charter to permit aggression by the U.S. or any other country. And yet the U.S. is currently conducting ground operations, air strikes or drone strikes in at least seven countries: Afghanistan; Pakistan; Iraq; Syria; Yemen; Somalia; and Libya. U.S. "special operations forces" conduct secret operations in a hundred more . U.S. leaders still openly threaten Iran, despite a diplomatic breakthrough that was supposed to peacefully settle bilateral differences.

President-in-waiting Hillary Clinton still believes in backing U.S. demands on other countries with illegal threats of force, even though every threat she has backed in the past has only served to create a pretext for war, from Yugoslavia to Iraq to Libya. But the U.N. Charter prohibits the threat as well as the use of force precisely because the one so regularly leads to the other.

The only justifications for the use of force permitted under the U.N. Charter are proportionate and necessary self-defense or an emergency request by the U.N. Security Council for military action "to restore peace and security." But no other country has attacked the United States, nor has the Security Council asked the U.S. to bomb or invade any of the countries where we are now at war.

The wars we have launched since 2001 have killed about 2 million people , of whom nearly all were completely innocent of involvement in the crimes of 9/11. Instead of "restoring peace and security," U.S. wars have only plunged country after country into unending violence and chaos.

Like the specifications ignored by the engineers at NASA, the U.N. Charter is still in force, in black and white, for anyone in the world to read. But the normalization of deviance has replaced its nominally binding rules with looser, vaguer ones that the world's governments and people have neither debated, negotiated nor agreed to.

In this case, the formal rules being ignored are the ones that were designed to provide a viable framework for the survival of human civilization in the face of the existential threat of modern weapons and warfare – surely the last rules on Earth that should have been quietly swept under a rug in the State Department basement.

The Geneva Conventions

Courts martial and investigations by officials and human rights groups have exposed "rules of engagement" issued to U.S. forces that flagrantly violate the Geneva Conventions and the protections they provide to wounded combatants, prisoners of war and civilians in war-torn countries:

–The Command's Responsibility report by Human Rights First examined 98 deaths in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan. It revealed a deviant culture in which senior officials abused their authority to block investigations and guarantee their own impunity for murders and torture deaths that U.S. law defines as capital crimes .

Although torture was authorized from the very top of the chain of command, the most senior officer charged with a crime was a Major and the harshest sentence handed down was a five-month prison sentence.

–U.S. rules of engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan have included: systematic, theater-wide use of torture ; orders to "dead-check" or kill wounded enemy combatants; orders to "kill all military-age males" during certain operations; and "weapons-free" zones that mirror Vietnam-era "free-fire" zones.

A U.S. Marine corporal told a court martial that "Marines consider all Iraqi men part of the insurgency", nullifying the critical distinction between combatants and civilians that is the very basis of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

When junior officers or enlisted troops have been charged with war crimes, they have been exonerated or given light sentences because courts have found that they were acting on orders from more senior officers. But the senior officers implicated in these crimes have been allowed to testify in secret or not to appear in court at all, and no senior officer has been convicted of a war crime.

Nobody was charged over the Ghazi Khan raid in Kunar province on Dec. 26, 2009, in which U.S. special forces summarily executed at least seven children, including four who were only 11 or 12 years old.

More recently, U.S. forces attacked a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, killing 42 doctors, staff and patients, but this flagrant violation of Article 18 of the Fourth Geneva Convention did not lead to criminal charges either.

Although the U.S. government would not dare to formally renounce the Geneva Conventions, the normalization of deviance has effectively replaced them with elastic standards of behavior and accountability whose main purpose is to shield senior U.S. military officers and civilian officials from accountability for war crimes.

The Cold War and Its Aftermath

The normalization of deviance in U.S. foreign policy is a byproduct of the disproportionate economic, diplomatic and military power of the United States since 1945. No other country could have got away with such flagrant and systematic violations of international law.

But in the early days of the Cold War, America's World War II leaders rejected calls to exploit their new-found power and temporary monopoly on nuclear weapons to unleash an aggressive war against the U.S.S.R.

General Dwight Eisenhower gave a speech in St. Louis in 1947 in which he warned, "Those who measure security solely in terms of offensive capacity distort its meaning and mislead those who pay them heed. No modern nation has ever equaled the crushing offensive power attained by the German war machine in 1939. No modern nation was broken and smashed as was Germany six years later."

But, as Eisenhower later warned, the Cold War soon gave rise to a "military-industrial complex" that may be the case par excellence of a highly complex tangle of institutions whose social culture is supremely prone to the normalization of deviance. Privately, Eisenhower lamented, "God help this country when someone sits in this chair who doesn't know the military as well as I do."

That describes everyone who has sat in that chair and tried to manage the U.S. military-industrial complex since 1961, involving critical decisions on war and peace and an ever-growing military budget . Advising the President on these matters are the Vice President, the Secretaries of State and Defense, the Director of National Intelligence, several generals and admirals and the chairs of powerful Congressional committees. Nearly all these officials' careers represent some version of the "revolving door" between the military and "intelligence" bureaucracy, the executive and legislative branches of government, and top jobs with military contractors and lobbying firms.

Each of the close advisers who have the President's ear on these most critical issues is in turn advised by others who are just as deeply embedded in the military-industrial complex, from think-tanks funded by weapons manufacturers to Members of Congress with military bases or missile plants in their districts to journalists and commentators who market fear, war and militarism to the public.

With the rise of sanctions and financial warfare as a tool of U.S. power, Wall Street and the Treasury and Commerce Departments are also increasingly entangled in this web of military-industrial interests.

The incentives driving the creeping, gradual normalization of deviance throughout the ever-growing U.S. military-industrial complex have been powerful and mutually reinforcing for over 70 years, exactly as Eisenhower warned.

Richard Barnet explored the deviant culture of Vietnam-era U.S. war leaders in his 1972 book Roots Of War . But there are particular reasons why the normalization of deviance in U.S. foreign policy has become even more dangerous since the end of the Cold War.

In the aftermath of World War II, the U.S. and U.K. installed allied governments in Western and Southern Europe, restored Western colonies in Asia and militarily occupied South Korea . The divisions of Korea and Vietnam into north and south were justified as temporary, but the governments in the south were U.S. creations imposed to prevent reunification under governments allied with the U.S.S.R. or China. U.S. wars in Korea and Vietnam were then justified, legally and politically, as military assistance to allied governments fighting wars of self-defense.

The U.S. role in anti-democratic coups in Iran, Guatemala, the Congo, Brazil, Indonesia, Ghana, Chile and other countries was veiled behind thick layers of secrecy and propaganda. A veneer of legitimacy was still considered vital to U.S. policy, even as a culture of deviance was being normalized and institutionalized beneath the surface.

The Reagan Years

It was not until the 1980s that the U.S. ran seriously afoul of the post-1945 international legal framework it had helped to build. When the U.S. set out to destroy the revolutionary Sandinista government of Nicaragua by mining its harbors and dispatching a mercenary army to terrorize its people, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) convicted the U.S. of aggression and ordered it to pay war reparations.

The U.S. response revealed how far the normalization of deviance had already taken hold of its foreign policy. Instead of accepting and complying with the court's ruling, the U.S. announced its withdrawal from the binding jurisdiction of the ICJ.

When Nicaragua asked the U.N. Security Council to enforce the payment of reparations ordered by the court, the U.S. abused its position as a Permanent Member of the Security Council to veto the resolution. Since the 1980s, the U.S. has vetoed twice as many Security Council resolutions as the other Permanent Members combined, and the U.N. General Assembly passed resolutions condemning the U.S. invasions of Grenada (by 108 to 9) and Panama (by 75 to 20), calling the latter "a flagrant violation of international law."

President George H.W. Bush and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher obtained U.N. authorization for the First Gulf War and resisted calls to launch a war of regime change against Iraq in violation of their U.N. mandate. Their forces massacred Iraqi forces fleeing Kuwait , and a U.N. report described how the "near apocalyptic" U.S.-led bombardment of Iraq reduced what "had been until January a rather highly urbanized and mechanized society" to "a pre-industrial age nation."

But new voices began to ask why the U.S. should not exploit its unchallenged post-Cold War military superiority to use force with even less restraint. During the Bush-Clinton transition, Madeleine Albright confronted General Colin Powell over his "Powell doctrine" of limited war, protesting, "What's the point of having this superb military you're always talking about if we can't use it?"

Public hopes for a "peace dividend" were ultimately trumped by a "power dividend" sought by military-industrial interests. The neoconservatives of the Project for the New American Century led the push for war on Iraq, while "humanitarian interventionists" now use the "soft power" of propaganda to selectively identify and demonize targets for U.S.-led regime change and then justify war under the "responsibility to protect" or other pretexts. U.S. allies (NATO, Israel, the Arab monarchies et al) are exempt from such campaigns, safe within what Amnesty International has labeled an "accountability-free zone."

Madeleine Albright and her colleagues branded Slobodan Milosevic a "new Hitler" for trying to hold Yugoslavia together, even as they ratcheted up their own genocidal sanctions against Iraq . Ten years after Milosevic died in prison at the Hague, he was posthumously exonerated by an international court.

In 1999, when U.K. Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told Secretary of State Albright the British government was having trouble "with its lawyers" over NATO plans to attack Yugoslavia without U.N. authorization, Albright told him he should "get new lawyers."

By the time mass murder struck New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, the normalization of deviance was so firmly rooted in the corridors of power that voices of peace and reason were utterly marginalized.

Former Nuremberg prosecutor Ben Ferencz told NPR eight days later, "It is never a legitimate response to punish people who are not responsible for the wrong done. … We must make a distinction between punishing the guilty and punishing others. If you simply retaliate en masse by bombing Afghanistan, let us say, or the Taliban, you will kill many people who don't approve of what has happened."

But from the day of the crime, the war machine was in motion, targeting Iraq as well as Afghanistan.

The normalization of deviance that promoted war and marginalized reason at that moment of national crisis was not limited to Dick Cheney and his torture-happy acolytes, and so the global war they unleashed in 2001 is still spinning out of control.

When President Obama was elected in 2008 and awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, few people understood how many of the people and interests shaping his policies were the same people and interests who had shaped President George W. Bush's, nor how deeply they were all steeped in the same deviant culture that had unleashed war, systematic war crimes and intractable violence and chaos upon the world.

A Sociopathic Culture

Until the American public, our political representatives and our neighbors around the world can come to grips with the normalization of deviance that is corrupting the conduct of U.S. foreign policy, the existential threats of nuclear war and escalating conventional war will persist and spread.

President George W. Bush pauses for applause during his State of the Union Address on Jan. 28, 2003, when he made a fraudulent case for invading Iraq. Seated behind him are Vice President Dick Cheney and House Speaker Dennis Hastert. (White House photo)

This deviant culture is sociopathic in its disregard for the value of human life and for the survival of human life on Earth. The only thing "normal" about it is that it pervades the powerful, entangled institutions that control U.S. foreign policy, rendering them impervious to reason, public accountability or even catastrophic failure.

The normalization of deviance in U.S. foreign policy is driving a self-fulfilling reduction of our miraculous multicultural world to a "battlefield" or testing-ground for the latest U.S. weapons and geopolitical strategies. There is not yet any countervailing movement powerful or united enough to restore reason, humanity or the rule of law, domestically or internationally, although new political movements in many countries offer viable alternatives to the path we are on.

As the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists warned when it advanced the hands of the Doomsday Clock to 3 minutes to midnight in 2015, we are living at one of the most dangerous times in human history. The normalization of deviance in U.S. foreign policy lies at the very heart of our predicament.

Nicolas J S Davies is the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq . He also wrote the chapters on "Obama at War" in Grading the 44th President: a Report Card on Barack Obama's First Term as a Progressive Leader.

[Aug 15, 2016] Why Hillary Clinton Should Not Be The Democratic Presidential Nominee

Notable quotes:
"... The Ambassador's urging to her said: "The actions of June 28 can only be considered a coup d'etat. ... It bears mentioning that, whereas the resolution [by the junta] adopted June 28 refers only to Zelaya, its effect was to remove the entire executive branch. ... His forced removal by the military was clearly illegal, and [puppett-leader Roberto] Micheletti's ascendance as 'interim president' was totally illegitimate." ..."
"... However, instead, she joined with then-Senator Jim DeMint (now head of the Heritage Foundation and the chief sponsor of the political career of Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz) in propping up the fascist regime. ..."
www.huffingtonpost.com

Hillary's corruption goes beyond that, however.

When a fascist putsch, a coup d'etat, overthrew at gunpoint the popular progressive democratic President of Honduras on 28 June 2009, and all countries of the world except Israel and the United States promptly declared the junta-installed government illegitimate, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton refused to join all other nations in rejecting the fascist regime. As I previously reported this matter in detail, the U.S. Ambassador to Honduras told her in a cable, that President Manuel Zelaya had been illegally replaced by the junta-appointed stooge Roberto Michelettti, yet she still refused.

The Ambassador's urging to her said: "The actions of June 28 can only be considered a coup d'etat. ... It bears mentioning that, whereas the resolution [by the junta] adopted June 28 refers only to Zelaya, its effect was to remove the entire executive branch. ... His forced removal by the military was clearly illegal, and [puppett-leader Roberto] Micheletti's ascendance as 'interim president' was totally illegitimate."

However, instead, she joined with then-Senator Jim DeMint (now head of the Heritage Foundation and the chief sponsor of the political career of Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz) in propping up the fascist regime.

Promptly Honduras descended into hell, suddenly having the world's highest murder-rate, and becoming a haven of narco-trafficking. What was Hillary thinking? She expressed contempt for Zelaya, but what was really happening here was that American international companies liked paying their Honduran contractors sub-human wages to workers at their plants in Honduras. The Honduran aristocrats owned those factories, and the U.S. aristocrats shared with them the profits from this "free-market" slavery. What did Hillary care about the ongoing terror, murders, and soaring narco-trafficking?

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

[Aug 14, 2016] Myths We Create in Order to Sleep at Night

www.counterpunch.org

This week we also published a terrific piece by John LaForge, which demolishes once and for one of America's most cherished lies: that the US simply had to drop two nuclear bombs on Japanese cities to end the war and save hundreds of thousands of US and Japanese lies. Even Curtis "Mad Bomber" LeMay knew this was bullshit. So did Ike, who sent word to Truman that he thought the plan was insane. You can see why the myth took root. What nation that sees itself a force of goodness and virtue and humanity could live with itself after incinerating two cities and unleashing nuclear terror upon the world?

[Aug 14, 2016] Isn't it about time for the President to do something to earn that Peace Prize?

www.counterpunch.org
As the current US President and Nobel Peace Prize winner prepares to leave office with a record of a Tuesday morning kill list, unconscionable drone attacks on civilians, initiating bombing campaigns where there were none prior to his election and, of course, taunting Russian President Vladimir Putin with unsubstantiated allegations, the US-backed NATO has scheduled AEGIS anti ballistic missile shields to be constructed in Romania and Poland, challenging the integrity of INF Treaty for the first time in almost thirty years.

In what may shed new light on NATO/US build-up in eastern Europe, Russian Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov denied US charges in June, 2015 that Russia had violated the Treaty and that the US had "failed to provide evidence of Russian breaches." Commenting on US plans to deploy land-based missiles in Europe as a possible response to the alleged "Russian aggression" in the Ukraine, Lavrov warned that ''building up militarist rhetoric is absolutely counterproductive and harmful.' Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov suggested the United States was leveling accusations against Russia in order to justify its own military plans.

In early August, the US Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration authorized the final development phase (prior to actual production in 2020) of the B61-21 nuclear bomb at a cost of $350 – $450 billion. A thermonuclear weapon with the capability of reaching Europe and Moscow, the B61-21 is part of President Obama's $1 trillion request for modernizing the US aging and outdated nuclear weapon arsenal.

Isn't it about time for the President to do something to earn that Peace Prize?

Renee Parsons has been a member of the ACLU's Florida State Board of Directors and president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist and staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC.

[Aug 14, 2016] Do not confuse the left with Democrats. The latter are moderate Republicans at best. Hillary is to the right of Nixon and Eisenhower

Notable quotes:
"... You're confusing the left with Democrats. One of the clarifying things about this year is how clear it is that's not true. ..."
"... There is ample evidence that a solid majority of those identifying as or tending to generally vote Democratic (not quite the same as party registration, but in less openly corrupt and weird times, that was how polling defined D voters) rejected Hillary Clinton as a candidate, but were prevented from knowing about her opponent, being able to vote in the primary, or having their completed ballot counted as they had marked it. ..."
"... Bernie's endorsement should have been tied to the release of those speeches. After all, he made quite a big deal about those speeches during his campaign appearances. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com

zapster , August 13, 2016 at 11:04 pm

And again, everyone is just pretending that the monumental election fraud that just occurred is completely irrelevant. I'm mystified as to why. To me, it's a national catastrophe that a party can simply suspend democracy completely, flip machine counts, deregister or reregister hundreds of thousands of Bernie voters (and yes, it was very specifically Bernie voters), subtract votes during the count and add them to Clinton in real time–and everyone accepts this as entirely legitimate?

Doesn't the complete cancellation of democracy by a dynastic family bother anyone??? Why even vote?

Lambert Strether Post author , August 12, 2016 at 5:02 pm

You're confusing the left with Democrats. One of the clarifying things about this year is how clear it is that's not true.

dcblogger , August 12, 2016 at 7:11 pm

You're confusing the left with Democrats. One of the clarifying things about this year is how clear it is that's not true.

so good, it had to be repeated

aab , August 12, 2016 at 7:23 pm

Today's reminder that the Democratic Party (which, as Lambert points out below, is NOT the same as "the left") did not nominate an Iraq War supporter through any kind of democratic process. There is ample evidence that a solid majority of those identifying as or tending to generally vote Democratic (not quite the same as party registration, but in less openly corrupt and weird times, that was how polling defined D voters) rejected Hillary Clinton as a candidate, but were prevented from knowing about her opponent, being able to vote in the primary, or having their completed ballot counted as they had marked it.

pretzelattack , August 13, 2016 at 6:31 am

the dnc's contempt for it's own voters takes a backseat to nobody! usa! usa!

Mark John , August 12, 2016 at 6:03 pm

My question is why should a progressive vote for Hillary Clinton?

If a progressive wants to show the strength of her movement and also the number of folks who represent her values, a progressive would vote for Stein.

Perhaps it could be argued that if a certain progressive lives in a swing state, she should consider voting for Clinton to prevent Trump from taking office, but that is no most progressive voters.

But, in general, a progressive voting for a candidate such as Clinton who is so actively courting big money and establishment Republicans. . .that would dilute and weaken the progressive presence in my view.

rich , August 12, 2016 at 6:50 pm

Now that HRC released her taxes can we expect the transcripts, too? Hillary Clinton has been looking into releasing her transcripts for paid speeches to Wall St. and other special interests for 189 days http://iwilllookintoit.com/

Arizona Slim , August 12, 2016 at 7:11 pm

Bernie's endorsement should have been tied to the release of those speeches. After all, he made quite a big deal about those speeches during his campaign appearances.

Steve C , August 12, 2016 at 8:26 pm

That sure would have been gutsy, and a great idea.

Pavel , August 13, 2016 at 1:09 am

They got to Bernie somehow. Cf the scene in Godfather II where the mobster sees his Sicilian relative sitting in the back of the room and changes his story.

Kim Kaufman , August 12, 2016 at 7:34 pm

More details of the organizing efforts: A Bernie Sanders Delegate Tells a Very Different Story About the DNC to the one We've Been Fed

There's another side to the story… http://www.lifeandnews.com/articles/a-bernie-sanders-delegate-tells-a-very-different-story-about-the-dnc-to-the-one-weve-been-fed-by-the-party-and-media-at-large/

Lambert Strether Post author , August 13, 2016 at 2:25 am

That's very good. We're getting a lot of stories like this, including from our own #SlayTheSmaugs. At some point, I'd like to aggregate them. Readers, do you know of any other field reports from Philly?

[Aug 14, 2016] Morell's claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin is somehow controlling Donald Trump is a claim of a career sycophant pandering to neocon lobby

"For Michael Morell, as with many other CIA careerists, his strongest suit seemed to be pleasing his boss and not antagonizing the White House" His loyalty is to qhoewver occupies White House, not necessarily to the truth. "Morell [was] at the center of two key fiascoes: he "coordinated the CIA review" of Secretary of State Colin Powell's infamous Feb. 5, 2003 address to the United Nations and he served as the regular CIA briefer to President George W. Bush. Putting Access Before Honesty" Rise of Another CIA Yes Man – Consortiumnews
Notable quotes:
"... Let the bizarreness of that claim sink in, since it is professionally impossible to recruit an agent who is unwitting of being an agent, since an agent is someone who follows instructions from a control officer. ..."
"... However, since Morell apparently has no evidence that Trump was "recruited," which would make the Republican presidential nominee essentially a traitor, he throws in the caveat "unwitting." Such an ugly charge is on par with Trump's recent hyperbolic claim that President Obama was the "founder" of ISIS. ..."
"... Looking back at Morell's record, it was not hard to see all this coming, as Morell rose higher and higher in a system that rewards deserving sycophants. I addressed this five years ago in an article titled "Rise of Another CIA Yes Man." That piece elicited many interesting comments from senior intelligence officers who knew Morell personally; some of those comments are tucked into the end of the article. ..."
August 13, 2016 | Antiwar.com

As for Morell's claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin is somehow controlling Donald Trump, well, even Charlie Rose had stomach problems with that and with Morell's "explanation." In the Times op-ed, Morell wrote: "In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation."

Let the bizarreness of that claim sink in, since it is professionally impossible to recruit an agent who is unwitting of being an agent, since an agent is someone who follows instructions from a control officer.

However, since Morell apparently has no evidence that Trump was "recruited," which would make the Republican presidential nominee essentially a traitor, he throws in the caveat "unwitting." Such an ugly charge is on par with Trump's recent hyperbolic claim that President Obama was the "founder" of ISIS.

Looking back at Morell's record, it was not hard to see all this coming, as Morell rose higher and higher in a system that rewards deserving sycophants. I addressed this five years ago in an article titled "Rise of Another CIA Yes Man." That piece elicited many interesting comments from senior intelligence officers who knew Morell personally; some of those comments are tucked into the end of the article.

Read more by Ray McGovern

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He is a 30-year veteran of the CIA and Army intelligence and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). McGovern served for considerable periods in all four of CIA's main directorates.

[Aug 14, 2016] Spooks in the Grindhouse

Notable quotes:
"... Kill the Messenger ..."
www.counterpunch.org

It seems like I've known Nicholas Schou forever, though we just pressed flesh for the first time last year in the LBC. His ground-breaking reporting on the Contra-Cocaine network in southern California was crucial source material for a book that Cockburn and I wrote called Whiteout. Nick's own book on Gary Webb is excellent and it was turned into a fine movie, Kill the Messenger. Now Nick has published a new book, Spooked, a terrific and timely history of how the CIA manipulates the media and Hollywood (both useful idiots of the Agency). And, speaking of the devil, here Nick is telling us all about it in the latest installment of CounterPunch Radio with the indefatigable Eric Draitser.

[Aug 14, 2016] An Urgent History Lesson in Diplomacy with Russia

www.counterpunch.org
As the current US President and Nobel Peace Prize winner prepares to leave office with a record of a Tuesday morning kill list, unconscionable drone attacks on civilians, initiating bombing campaigns where there were none prior to his election and, of course, taunting Russian President Vladimir Putin with unsubstantiated allegations, the US-backed NATO has scheduled AEGIS anti ballistic missile shields to be constructed in Romania and Poland, challenging the integrity of INF Treaty for the first time in almost thirty years.

In what may shed new light on NATO/US build-up in eastern Europe, Russian Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov denied US charges in June, 2015 that Russia had violated the Treaty and that the US had "failed to provide evidence of Russian breaches." Commenting on US plans to deploy land-based missiles in Europe as a possible response to the alleged "Russian aggression" in the Ukraine, Lavrov warned that ''building up militarist rhetoric is absolutely counterproductive and harmful.' Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov suggested the United States was leveling accusations against Russia in order to justify its own military plans.

In early August, the US Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration authorized the final development phase (prior to actual production in 2020) of the B61-21 nuclear bomb at a cost of $350 – $450 billion. A thermonuclear weapon with the capability of reaching Europe and Moscow, the B61-21 is part of President Obama's $1 trillion request for modernizing the US aging and outdated nuclear weapon arsenal.

Isn't it about time for the President to do something to earn that Peace Prize?

[Aug 14, 2016] Neoliberabal DemoRats betrayed workers on purpose, selling themselves to Wall Street

Notable quotes:
"... Graph: the liberal economists who support Clinton-Obama-Clinton-omics have long claimed that job losses in 'low value-added' occupations like manufacturing would be made up for in the high value-added industries. In fact, employment for the prime-age workers who must work to live has plummeted since NAFTA was passed as low-wage and increasingly contingent service sector jobs have replaced manufacturing employment. This has required the robots-stole-their-jobs fallacy as productivity (the 'benefit' of automation) has fallen to five-decade lows. Source: St. Louis Federal Reserve. ..."
"... Graph: The Clinton's state-capitalism works for their Wall Street patrons by transferring a larger piece of an economy in decline to it while using identity politics to divide working class interests. Liberal economists understood that resurgent capitalism would redistribute income and wealth upward but argued that 'we all benefit' from the rich being made richer. This was derided as 'trickle-down' economics when Ronald Reagan re-introduced the concept. As history has it, the actual result is broad economic decline where the already wealthy use state power to immiserate the 'bottom' 80% – 90% of the population. Source: St. Louis Federal Reserve. ..."
www.counterpunch.org

From The Day After Election Day by Rob Urie

Those frightened at the prospect of Donald Trump being elected need to explain precisely where they were when Democrats launched their three-decade-long class war against the great majority of the American people. The Clintons passed NAFTA in 1994 after Republicans had been unable to get it passed because of (righteous) opposition from organized labor. They 'freed' Wall Street from social accountability while making it more dependent than ever on government bailouts. They cut social spending while increasing the economic vulnerability of the poor. Both the dotcom stock bubble and the housing bubble began under the Clintons and were caused by their finance-friendly policies. The Clintons are singularly responsible for the Democrats' turn toward finance capitalism that has dispossessed the middle class, immiserated the working class and left the poor to fight over the crumbs that fall to them.

In the abstract, but never-the-less relevant, terms of economic theory the Clintons separated claims on economic production from that-which-was-produced. The claims went to one group- connected financiers, as the task of economic production remained with a freshly diminished working class. This politicized money system can be seen most clearly in the distance between those who received 'free' money in the Wall Street bailouts and those who didn't. Bankers, hedge funds and private equity received billions in low interest 'non-recourse' loans while the American political establishment urged austerity as the moral antidote appropriate for the rest of us. The spectacle of bankers, with the support of leading figures in the Obama administration, claiming that their clearly defrauded borrowers presented a 'moral hazard' to them would be as implausible in fiction as it was true in fact.

naftaclint2

Graph: the liberal economists who support Clinton-Obama-Clinton-omics have long claimed that job losses in 'low value-added' occupations like manufacturing would be made up for in the high value-added industries. In fact, employment for the prime-age workers who must work to live has plummeted since NAFTA was passed as low-wage and increasingly contingent service sector jobs have replaced manufacturing employment. This has required the robots-stole-their-jobs fallacy as productivity (the 'benefit' of automation) has fallen to five-decade lows. Source: St. Louis Federal Reserve.

The political establishment now circling the wagons around Hillary Clinton feeds at the trough of money creation and depends on the misdirection that in 'normal' circumstances nature ties its distribution to economic product produced. Upon his election in 1992 Bill Clinton claimed to have inherited an 'unexpectedly' large budget deficit that tied his hands with respect to social spending. The result was that Mr. Clinton abandoned his political program except inasmuch as the 'private' economy that included Wall Street, arms manufacturers, pharmaceutical and telecommunications companies and the insurance industry were 'freed' from social accountability as government funds and privileges continued to be directed to them. The money was somewhere 'found' to bomb Iraq for eight years but that needed to keep the poor living indoors and eating regular meals had to be cut because the Federal budget deficit required it.

Upon election Barack Obama did essentially the same thing claiming a fiscal emergency in 2010 that required cutting Social Security and Medicare as he spent $6 trillion – $14 trillion to save Wall Street. That unlimited funds were found for Wall Street but none could be found to restore the fortunes of the victims of Democratic 'trade' agreements and the predatory finance of Wall Street renders evident the class-war being perpetrated by the Democrats. Liberal economists- court jesters dressed in the garb of storied academics, prattled on about the 'zero-lower bound' (cartoon monetary economics) as the Clintons and Barack Obama forewent the power of the public purse that FDR used to create the Federal jobs programs that brought tens of thousands of desperate citizens out of the misery of the Great Depression.

When Hillary Clinton outlined her 'economic' program she claimed that upon election she would direct Congress to create ten million jobs rebuilding infrastructure without explaining how this jibed with her public career as a deficit hawk, how rebuilding infrastructure would create ten million jobs when Mr. Obama's program created at best a few thousand and why this wouldn't be just one more Clinton scam to shove public resources to their cronies? As the Wall Street bailouts demonstrated, the public purse is virtually bottomless when social emergencies require rectification. The problem is that Hillary Clinton has spent her career poisoning the well for public expenditures in the public interest through both the misdirection that taxes are a binding constraint on public expenditures and by corrupting the public realm to the point where nothing works as advertised.

naftaclin3

Graph: The Clinton's state-capitalism works for their Wall Street patrons by transferring a larger piece of an economy in decline to it while using identity politics to divide working class interests. Liberal economists understood that resurgent capitalism would redistribute income and wealth upward but argued that 'we all benefit' from the rich being made richer. This was derided as 'trickle-down' economics when Ronald Reagan re-introduced the concept. As history has it, the actual result is broad economic decline where the already wealthy use state power to immiserate the 'bottom' 80% – 90% of the population. Source: St. Louis Federal Reserve.

Bill Clinton and / or Barack Obama could have created government jobs programs to employ dispossessed workers at living wages just like FDR did. They could have even claimed the economic emergencies they helped create as reasons for doing so. Mainstream economic theory has 'free-trade' beneficiaries compensating those displaced by it. However, the Clintons and Mr. Obama chose instead to promote the right-wing lie of a binding budget constraint to limit and / or preclude increased social spending more effectively than the old-line Republican misery squad could have ever imagined possible. So the question for Hillary Clinton is: will she prove her husband and Barack Obama to be ruling class tools for lying about Federal budget constraints on social spending or will she maintain the lie to renege on her promise of creating ten million jobs?

Jay Gould once speculated that he "could hire one-half of the working class to kill the other half." Rising liberal vitriol directed against working class supporters of Donald Trump pits the near-precariat with 'private' health insurance, pensions and recovered home equity against those without them with little apparent understanding of the broadly declining circumstances for all but the very rich (graph above). Democrats sold trade agreements, deregulation, privatization and balanced budgets as ways to 'grow the economic pie.' With history having demonstrated otherwise, the Party leadership now wants to change the subject. Barack Obama is selling the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) 'trade' agreement as a geopolitical endeavor. Hillary Clinton now claims she will recover the ghost of FDR that national Democrats spent the last forty-years exorcising. In the parlance: whatever.

The day after Election Day will be like any other in the sense that the problems of looming environmental catastrophe, gratuitous wars and long-term economic decline will remain profit-generating 'opportunities' in the realm of official concern. The American political establishment is calcified and out of ideas. The problem is that the residual rationales and institutional tendencies lean toward catastrophe generation. Democrats saved Wall Street in particular, and finance capitalism more generally, to kill again. The most destructive militarists in modern history have attached themselves to Hillary Clinton and the American war machine. Unless functional politics are recovered and asserted outside the electoral system more of the same is the outcome that Western political economy is designed to produce.

Rob Urie is an artist and political economist. His book Zen Economics is published by CounterPunch Books.

[Aug 14, 2016] Professor Destroys CNN Anchor on Trump and Russia

Senator Joseph McCarthy shadow in Clinton campaign. Remember the famous phrase Have You No Sense of Decency
Aug 5, 2016 | YouTube

Neo McCarthyism witch hunt against Trump instead of debate of a proper national policy is a sign of corrupted neoliberal media. They want the preservation and expantion of thier global empire at any cost for american people.

Reckless branding of Trump as Russian agent is coming from Clinton campaign and it needs to stop

[Aug 14, 2016] In Defense of Trump's Name-Calling

Notable quotes:
"... "She is the one that caused all this problem with her stupid policies," Trump said, referring to Hillary Clinton. "You look at what she did with Libya, what she did with Syria. Look at Egypt, what happened with Egypt, a total mess. She was truly - if not the - one of the worst secretaries of state in the history of the country. She talks about me being dangerous. She's killed hundreds of thousands of people with her stupidity." ..."
"... Trump is absolutely right. Hillary voted for the invasion of Iraq, which killed a million people. As I've pointed out , it wasn't just an immoral decision - it was a stupid one ..."
"... As secretary of state, Clinton never met a war she didn't love. Under her watch and following her counsel, the United States armed radical jihadis who are now terrorists , helped topple Moammar Gaddafi , expanded a civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of Libyans and reduced one of the most advanced nations in Africa into a failed state . Then she turned around and did the same exact thing to Syria. ..."
"... Ted Rall , syndicated writer and the cartoonist for ANewDomain.net ..."
"... is the author of the book " Snowden ," the biography of the NSA whistleblower. ..."
December 15, 2015 | counterpunch.org

There is, on the other hand, something wonderfully refreshing about Donald Trump's gleeful deployment of the S-word.

"She is the one that caused all this problem with her stupid policies," Trump said, referring to Hillary Clinton. "You look at what she did with Libya, what she did with Syria. Look at Egypt, what happened with Egypt, a total mess. She was truly - if not the - one of the worst secretaries of state in the history of the country. She talks about me being dangerous. She's killed hundreds of thousands of people with her stupidity."

Trump is absolutely right. Hillary voted for the invasion of Iraq, which killed a million people. As I've pointed out, it wasn't just an immoral decision - it was a stupid one, since anyone with a half a brain could see at the time that Saddam probably didn't have WMDs, and that Bush's war would be a disaster.

As secretary of state, Clinton never met a war she didn't love. Under her watch and following her counsel, the United States armed radical jihadis who are now terrorists, helped topple Moammar Gaddafi, expanded a civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of Libyans and reduced one of the most advanced nations in Africa into a failed state. Then she turned around and did the same exact thing to Syria.

Stupid.

Let Hillary's supporters take offense. How is unfair, wrong or intemperate to call out a foreign policy record that fits the dictionary definition of "stupid" - doing the same thing over and over, even though it never works? Stupid is as stupid does. Hillary is stupid, especially on foreign policy, and Trump is right to say so.

Winner or loser, Trump has done political debate in America a huge favor by freeing "stupid" from the rhetorical prison of words and phrases polite people aren't allowed to use.

Interestingly, stupid people aren't all losers and losers aren't always stupid in Trumpworld. Hillary Clinton has one hell of a resume, which she has parlayed into a big pile of cash. She is, by Trump standards, a winner (albeit a stupid one). If I met Trump, I'd ask him if a smart person can be a loser (possible example: he called the obviously smart Russell Brand a loser, but also a "dummy").

Pre-Trump, American politics and culture suffered from a lack of stupid-calling. I am serious.

"There has been a long tradition of anti-intellectualism in America, unlike most other Western countries," Ray Williams wrote last year in Psychology Today. Insults reflect a society's values. Americans value macho masculinity, good looks and youth, so our top slurs accuse their victims of being effeminate, weak, ugly, fat, old and outdated. In France, where the life of the mind is prized so much that one of the nation's top-rated TV shows featured philosophers and auteurs discussing politics and culture over cigarettes, there are few things worse than being called stupid and having it stick. A society that ranks "stupid" as of its worst insults lets it be known that being smart is at least as important as being tough or hot or buff.

So, Donald Trump, thanks for dropping those S-bombs.

Ted Rall, syndicated writer and the cartoonist for ANewDomain.net, is the author of the book "Snowden," the biography of the NSA whistleblower.

[Aug 14, 2016] The US/European/Saudi/Israeli policy in the ME and Central Asia can be summed up by one word: Destabilization

Notable quotes:
"... It is providing a steady stream of military-age Sunni males to sow ever more creative chaos (terrorism, crime and other forms of "cultural enrichment") in the European and American homelands. Obama and Hillary have been faithful servants of this policy. The architects of this policy will not allow it to be derailed by some big-mouth real-estate developer. ..."
"... Defense Intelligence Agency document declassified last year shows that the Obama administration was warned in August of 2012 that if it continued it's policies, a radical Islamic regime could form in eastern Syria. Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State at this time. ..."
"... So in my humble opinion, not only are Obama and Clinton the founders of ISIS, they are the parents that gave birth to his freak of nature known as ISIL/ISIS. ..."
"... Bush had to invade...of all countries....Iraq....while the perpetrators of 911 were in Afghanistan, and in the Saudi Royal family which bankrolled the 911 operation. The invasion and destruction of Iraq, the phony elections of leaders who walked away with pallets of US dollars, only handed Iraq to Iran through the Shii'ia imams ..."
"... Bush started a war in the wrong country, this makes him one of the worst presidents in History... ..."
www.yahoo.com

F. E. Dec, 8 hours ago

The US/European/Saudi/Israeli policy in the ME and Central Asia can be summed up by one word: Destabilization. Or what the neocon globalists call "creative chaos". What did it create? Artificially high oil prices to line the pockets of the House of Saud and the House of Bush. It created the conditions for ramping up heroin production from Afghanistan, pipelined through the DIA/CIA with military assets. (The US government is the largest drug cartel ever). It is providing a steady stream of military-age Sunni males to sow ever more creative chaos (terrorism, crime and other forms of "cultural enrichment") in the European and American homelands. Obama and Hillary have been faithful servants of this policy. The architects of this policy will not allow it to be derailed by some big-mouth real-estate developer.

Bill, 7 hours ago

Defense Intelligence Agency document declassified last year shows that the Obama administration was warned in August of 2012 that if it continued it's policies, a radical Islamic regime could form in eastern Syria. Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State at this time.

The report said "There is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria, and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition wants, in order to isolate the Syrian regime". Lt. General Michael Flynn said; "it was a willful decision to do what they're doing. Supporting Salafist's, Al Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood". So in my humble opinion, not only are Obama and Clinton the founders of ISIS, they are the parents that gave birth to his freak of nature known as ISIL/ISIS.

Al, 14 hours ago

When America was attacked on 911, the world inhaled waiting for our response. It could have been anything from a nuke on Afghanistan's mountains where the Taliban and Al Qaeda came together with Osama, or an invasion of Afghanistan and the rounding up of all these thugs for hangings.

The world would never have said even a word, including Russia. But, no Bush had to invade...of all countries....Iraq....while the perpetrators of 911 were in Afghanistan, and in the Saudi Royal family which bankrolled the 911 operation. The invasion and destruction of Iraq, the phony elections of leaders who walked away with pallets of US dollars, only handed Iraq to Iran through the Shii'ia imams.

Bush started a war in the wrong country, this makes him one of the worst presidents in History...

[Aug 13, 2016] F. William Engdahl - Ambassador John Bass - professional CIA agent provocateur

This transformation of State Department into the branch of CIA started under Madeleine Albright and reached crescendo during Hillary Clinton.
Notable quotes:
"... I personally have suggested investigating the person of the US Ambassador in Ankara John Bass, who was Ambassador in Republic of Georgia in 2008 and who was involved in dirty business in Iraq, and also seems to be involved in "Color revolution" in Kiev. There are very few "traditional" diplomats in a state department. ..."
Katehon think tank

The new evidence of the US participation in the coup attempt in Turkey emerged. Greek press published a photo made a day before the coup. It shows the US ambassador in Turkey John Basse together with the Turkish senior officer, who looks like one of the leaders of the coup Col. Ali Yazıcı (former military adviser to President Erdogan). They had a private meeting in Cengelkoy café the day before the coup.

F. William Engdahl - historian, economic researcher, writer comments this:

The US right now is on a defensive. Erdogan has openly challenged leading NATO generals. There is investigation of evidences of the US involvement in the coup. I personally have suggested investigating the person of the US Ambassador in Ankara John Bass, who was Ambassador in Republic of Georgia in 2008 and who was involved in dirty business in Iraq, and also seems to be involved in "Color revolution" in Kiev. There are very few "traditional" diplomats in a state department.

[Aug 13, 2016] Assange lawyer is dead

www.zerohedge.com

fishpoem Jacksons Ghost Aug 12, 2016 11:38 AM

Yep. Yet another convenient "accident," eh? https://www.theguardian.com/law/2016/may/01/john-rwd-jones-obituary

NumberNone Jacksons Ghost Aug 12, 2016 11:39 AM

It wasn't yesterday but it was determined to be suicide by train...because a brilliant attorney could not think of any easier way to commit suicide than throw himself in front of a moving train.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/archives/news/1138414/britains-top-human-rights...

SokPOTUS Jacksons Ghost Aug 12, 2016 11:51 AM

Happened April 22, 2016; but yes. Unless this is yet a second Assange lawyer to hit a train in the face this year....

http://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/renowned_lawyer_who_represented_julian_assange_died_after_being_struck_by_train_in_west_hampstead_1_4507283 OverTheHedge Jacksons Ghost Aug 12, 2016 1:00 PM

I can forsee a number of FBI agents also being hit by trains in the near future.

Lots of new job openings for young millennial who want to make a difference.

Sigh

ebear OverTheHedge Aug 12, 2016 3:30 PM "

I can forsee a number of FBI agents also being hit by trains in the near future."

If they've had the proper training they won't be standing near the track or watching the train as it approaches. If they've had the proper training, the person who tries to push them will go under the train.

Martial arts, firearms, pursuit and evasive driving, general situational awareness - all part of FBI training. Not as easy as bumping a lawyer or journalist.

N0TME Jacksons Ghost Aug 12, 2016 1:10 PM

Died in an apparent suicide? I say pushed, but what do I know.

http://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/renowned_lawyer_who_represented_julian_assange_died_after_being_struck_by_train_in_west_hampstead_1_4507283

ebear

N0TME Aug 12, 2016 3:14 PM

I've never understood people who stand toes to the line when a train enters the station. You know it's going to stop, so what's the rush? Situational Awareness demands that you stand well back from any potential danger, near an exit, facing the entrance, etc.

Police and military are well aware of these principles - even in defensive driving you have the slogan "where is the present danger?" Walk facing oncoming traffic, step out and away from dark doorways, back alleys, bridge pillars etc.

Take the stairs sometimes, take the elevator other times - drive to work one route, drive a different route home - mix them up. Take a taxi, get out at a random location and take a bus the rest of the way. Eat at different restaurants at different times. Do not establish a pattern. At all times carry a firearm.

These principles should be part of basic lawyer training, especially when taking on dangerous cases. Same goes for journalists. There are professional courses that deal with these subjects. Take one.

Whatever your goals in life, you can't achieve them if you don't survive. Last night I passed a fatal traffic accident where it was obvious the person turning left was killed by someone running a red light. Don't move off on the green right away.... pause and look around. That person is dead because he didn't follow that basic rule. So much for his life goals.

I'm preaching to the choir here, but maybe someone who doesn't know will read this and it will help them survive. As the Donald said, it's all about winning and you can't win if you don't survive.

[Aug 12, 2016] Longing for a strong hand

Notable quotes:
"... that was struggling for democratic norms through the electoral process ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com

"In the past three decades, the share of U.S. citizens who think that it would be a 'good' or 'very good' thing for the 'army to rule'-a patently undemocratic stance-has steadily risen. In 1995, just one in sixteen respondents agreed with that position; today, one in six agree. While those who hold this view remain in the minority, they can no longer be dismissed as a small fringe, especially since there have been similar increases in the number of those who favor a 'strong leader who doesn't have to bother with parliament and elections' and those who want experts rather than the government to 'take decisions' for the country.

Nor is the United States the only country to exhibit this trend. The proportion agreeing that it would be better to have the army rule has risen in most mature democracies, including Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. … Lower support for democracy seems especially high among younger adults." [ Conversable Economist ] ( original ).

I'm sure that for many Trump will spring to mind, but it's also noteworthy that the Democrat nomenklatura just spent a solid year stamping out a movement that was struggling for democratic norms through the electoral process . Not perhaps the best of tactics, if a healthy democracy, as opposed to a well-funded Democrat Party, is your goal.

[Aug 12, 2016] Tactic of Accusing Critics of Kremlin Allegiance Has Long, Ugly History in the USA

Notable quotes:
"... The party left me… ..."
"... "The larger conclusion from the data is that the Trump campaign - both through the support Trump generates among working-class whites and the opposition he generates among better educated, more affluent voters - has accelerated the ongoing transformation of the Democratic Party. Once a class-based coalition, the party has become an alliance between upscale well-educated whites and, importantly, ethnic and racial minorities, many of them low income" ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com

"Democrats' Tactic of Accusing Critics of Kremlin Allegiance Has Long, Ugly History in U.S." [The Intercept].

The party left me…

"The larger conclusion from the data is that the Trump campaign - both through the support Trump generates among working-class whites and the opposition he generates among better educated, more affluent voters - has accelerated the ongoing transformation of the Democratic Party. Once a class-based coalition, the party has become an alliance between upscale well-educated whites and, importantly, ethnic and racial minorities, many of them low income" [Thomas Edsall, New York Times]. Citing this tweet:

[Aug 11, 2016] Breedlove Network Sought Weapons Deliveries for Ukraine

High level military commanders are more politicians then commanders. And if they belong to neocons this is a dangerous and potentially explosive combination. Especially if State Department is fully aligned with Pentagon, like happened under Secretary Clinton tenure.
Notable quotes:
"... He had exaggerated Russian activities in eastern Ukraine with the overt goal of delivering weapons to Kiev. ..."
"... "I think POTUS sees us as a threat that must be minimized,... ie do not get me into a war????" Breedlove wrote in one email, using the acronym for the president of the United States. How could Obama be persuaded to be more "engaged" in the conflict in Ukraine -- read: deliver weapons -- Breedlove had asked former Secretary of State Colin Powell. ..."
"... Breedlove sought counsel from some very prominent people, his emails show. Among them were Wesley Clark, Breedlove's predecessor at NATO, Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs at the State Department, and Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to Kiev. ..."
"... One name that kept popping up was Phillip Karber, an adjunct assistant professor at Georgetown University in Washington DC and president of the Potomac Foundation, a conservative think tank founded by the former defense contractor BDM. By its own account, the foundation has helped eastern European countries prepare their accession into NATO. Now the Ukrainian parliament and the government in Kiev were asking Karber for help. ..."
"... According to the email, Pakistan had offered, "under the table," to sell Ukraine 500 portable TOW-II launchers and 8,000 TOW-II missiles. The deliveries could begin within two weeks. Even the Poles were willing to start sending "well maintained T-72 tanks, plus several hundred SP 122mm guns, and SP-122 howitzers (along with copious amounts of artillery ammunition for both)" that they had leftover from the Soviet era. The sales would likely go unnoticed, Karber said, because Poland's old weapons were "virtually undistinguishable from those of Ukraine." ..."
"... Karber noted, however, that Pakistan and Poland would not make any deliveries without informal US approval. Furthermore, Warsaw would only be willing to help if its deliveries to Kiev were replaced with new, state-of-the-art weapons from NATO. Karber concluded his letter with a warning: "Time has run out." Without immediate assistance, the Ukrainian army "could face prospect of collapse within 30 days." ..."
"... In March, Karber traveled again to Warsaw in order to, as he told Breedlove, consult with leading members of the ruling party, on the need to "quietly supply arty ( eds: artillery ) and antitank munitions to Ukraine." ..."
"... In an email to Breedlove, Clark described defense expert Karber as "brilliant." After a first visit, Breedlove indicated he had also been impressed. "GREAT visit," he wrote. Karber, an extremely enterprising man, appeared at first glance to be a valuable informant because he often -- at least a dozen times by his own account -- traveled to the front and spoke with Ukrainian commanders. The US embassy in Kiev also relied on Karber for information because it lacked its own sources. "We're largely blind," the embassy's defense attaché wrote in an email. ..."
"... At times, Karber's missives read like prose. In one, he wrote about the 2014 Christmas celebrations he had spent together with Dnipro-1, the ultranationalist volunteer battalion. "The toasts and vodka flow, the women sing the Ukrainian national anthem -- no one has a dry eye." ..."
"... Karber had only good things to report about the unit, which had already been discredited as a private oligarch army. He wrote that the staff and volunteers were dominated by middle class people and that there was a large professional staff that was even "working on the holiday." Breedlove responded that these insights were "quietly finding their way into the right places." ..."
"... In fact, Karber is a highly controversial figure. During the 1980s, the longtime BDM employee, was counted among the fiercest Cold War hawks. Back in 1985, he warned of an impending Soviet attack on the basis of documents he had translated incorrectly. ..."
"... He also blundered during the Ukraine crisis after sending photos to US Senator James Inhofe, claiming to show Russian units in Ukraine. Inhofe released the photos publicly, but it quickly emerged that one had originated from the 2008 war in Georgia. ..."
"... The reasons that Breedlove continued to rely on Karber despite such false reports remain unclear. Was he willing to pay any price for weapons deliveries? Or did he have other motives? The emails illustrate the degree to which Breedlove and his fellow campaigners feared that Congress might reduce the number of US troops in Europe. ..."
"... General Breedlove's departure from his NATO post in May has done little to placate anyone in the German government. After all, the man Breedlove regarded as an obstacle, President Obama, is nearing the end of his second term. His possible successor, the Democrat Hillary Clinton, is considered a hardliner vis-a-vis Russia. ..."
"... What's more: Nuland, a diplomat who shares many of the same views as Breedlove, could move into an even more important role after the November election -- she's considered a potential candidate for secretary of state. ..."
"... The now famous and appropriate quote from President Eisenhower: ..."
"... In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. ..."
"... The idea of NATO as a defence organisation, following the 2nd World War was quite rational. The history of this organisation however, has shown, how a well meant intention can be misused to force through policies, which have nothing to do with the original purpose. Currently it would appear to have no other role, than to provide high ranking army officers with well paid employment, which can only be justified by way of international conflicts. In the absence of conflict, NATO would have no other cause for existence. ..."
"... The Cold War continues, only the enemy is not the Soviet Union but Russia. Ever since the war against Napoleon Russia has emerged as a threat to certain European interests, at first liberal and nationalist interests. After the Bolshevik Revolution the enemy was still Russia, now revitalized with extreme Bolshevik ideology. Hitler used this effectively to target liberals, leftists and especially Jews. ..."
"... After the fall of Communism nothing has really changed. The West is still urged to resist the Russian threat, a threat invented by Polish, Baltic, and Ukrainian nationalists and perhaps Fascists. Donald Trump alone seems impervious to this propaganda. Let's at least give him credit in this case, if not in many others. NATO has become a permanent anti-Russian phony alliance, financed by America. ..."
"... These people are hell-bent to bring the world to the brink of war, with lies and excuses about fear of Russian attacks. So Poland was willing to step into the conflict with Ukraine and deliver lethal armament? All the while afraid of Russia invading it? ..."
"... Philip Breedlove is a war monger and should be fired from his position. The efforts of the group around him seeking to secure weapons for the Ukraine to intensify the conflict must have happened with Breedlove's knowledge and support. If not, then he is not capable to meet the demands of his job and should be dismissed for incompetence. Either way, this guy is unacceptable. ..."
"... Ms. Nuland is the same us official recorded by Russian intelligence trying to manipulate events in Ukraine before the overthrow of the president and all the tragic events that followed. That she is still working for US state dept. is puzzling to say the least. ..."
"... Very simple, he is attempting to INVENT a NEW ROLE for NATO, as it is well known in the domain of sociology: any organization strives for survival, especially when it becomes OBSOLETE. ..."
"... nato Breedhate? ..."
"... SPON was always parotting him. And SPON member Benjamin Bidder and many other SPON guys were foaming at the mouth with war rhetoric all the time in 2014-15. Shame on those fools. Finally, with this contribution you are approaching your real job. And this is to distribute information instead of propaganda. ..."
SPIEGEL ONLINE (SPON)
The newly leaked emails reveal a clandestine network of Western agitators around the NATO military chief, whose presence fueled the conflict in Ukraine. Many allies found in Breedlove's alarmist public statements about alleged large Russian troop movements cause for concern early on. Earlier this year, the general was assuring the world that US European Command was "deterring Russia now and preparing to fight and win if necessary."

The emails document for the first time the questionable sources from whom Breedlove was getting his information. He had exaggerated Russian activities in eastern Ukraine with the overt goal of delivering weapons to Kiev.

The general and his likeminded colleagues perceived US President Barack Obama, the commander-in-chief of all American forces, as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel as obstacles. Obama and Merkel were being "politically naive & counter-productive" in their calls for de-escalation, according to Phillip Karber, a central figure in Breedlove's network who was feeding information from Ukraine to the general.

"I think POTUS sees us as a threat that must be minimized,... ie do not get me into a war????" Breedlove wrote in one email, using the acronym for the president of the United States. How could Obama be persuaded to be more "engaged" in the conflict in Ukraine -- read: deliver weapons -- Breedlove had asked former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Breedlove sought counsel from some very prominent people, his emails show. Among them were Wesley Clark, Breedlove's predecessor at NATO, Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs at the State Department, and Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to Kiev.

One name that kept popping up was Phillip Karber, an adjunct assistant professor at Georgetown University in Washington DC and president of the Potomac Foundation, a conservative think tank founded by the former defense contractor BDM. By its own account, the foundation has helped eastern European countries prepare their accession into NATO. Now the Ukrainian parliament and the government in Kiev were asking Karber for help.

Surreptitious Channels

On February 16, 2015, when the Ukraine crisis had reached its climax, Karber wrote an email to Breedlove, Clark, Pyatt and Rose Gottemoeller, the under secretary for arms control and international security at the State Department, who will be moving to Brussels this fall to take up the post of deputy secretary general of NATO. Karber was in Warsaw, and he said he had found surreptitious channels to get weapons to Ukraine -- without the US being directly involved.

According to the email, Pakistan had offered, "under the table," to sell Ukraine 500 portable TOW-II launchers and 8,000 TOW-II missiles. The deliveries could begin within two weeks. Even the Poles were willing to start sending "well maintained T-72 tanks, plus several hundred SP 122mm guns, and SP-122 howitzers (along with copious amounts of artillery ammunition for both)" that they had leftover from the Soviet era. The sales would likely go unnoticed, Karber said, because Poland's old weapons were "virtually undistinguishable from those of Ukraine."

       A destroyed airport building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk        : Thousands were killed in fighting during the Ukraine conflict.      Zoom AFP

A destroyed airport building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk : Thousands were killed in fighting during the Ukraine conflict.

Karber noted, however, that Pakistan and Poland would not make any deliveries without informal US approval. Furthermore, Warsaw would only be willing to help if its deliveries to Kiev were replaced with new, state-of-the-art weapons from NATO. Karber concluded his letter with a warning: "Time has run out." Without immediate assistance, the Ukrainian army "could face prospect of collapse within 30 days."

"Stark," Breedlove replied. "I may share some of this but will thoroughly wipe the fingerprints off."

In March, Karber traveled again to Warsaw in order to, as he told Breedlove, consult with leading members of the ruling party, on the need to "quietly supply arty ( eds: artillery ) and antitank munitions to Ukraine."

Much to the irritation of Breedlove, Clark and Karber, nothing happened. Those responsible were quickly identified. The National Security Council, Obama's circle of advisors, were "slowing things down," Karber complained. Clark pointed his finger directly at the White House, writing, "Our problem is higher than State," a reference to the State Department.

... ... ...

'The Front Is Now Everywhere'

Karber's emails constantly made it sound as though the apocalypse was only a few weeks away. "The front is now everywhere," he told Breedlove in an email at the beginning of 2015, adding that Russian agents and their proxies "have begun launching a series of terrorist attacks, assassinations, kidnappings and infrastructure bombings," in an effort to destabilize Kiev and other Ukrainian cities.

In an email to Breedlove, Clark described defense expert Karber as "brilliant." After a first visit, Breedlove indicated he had also been impressed. "GREAT visit," he wrote. Karber, an extremely enterprising man, appeared at first glance to be a valuable informant because he often -- at least a dozen times by his own account -- traveled to the front and spoke with Ukrainian commanders. The US embassy in Kiev also relied on Karber for information because it lacked its own sources. "We're largely blind," the embassy's defense attaché wrote in an email.

At times, Karber's missives read like prose. In one, he wrote about the 2014 Christmas celebrations he had spent together with Dnipro-1, the ultranationalist volunteer battalion. "The toasts and vodka flow, the women sing the Ukrainian national anthem -- no one has a dry eye."

Karber had only good things to report about the unit, which had already been discredited as a private oligarch army. He wrote that the staff and volunteers were dominated by middle class people and that there was a large professional staff that was even "working on the holiday." Breedlove responded that these insights were "quietly finding their way into the right places."

Highly Controversial Figure

In fact, Karber is a highly controversial figure. During the 1980s, the longtime BDM employee, was counted among the fiercest Cold War hawks. Back in 1985, he warned of an impending Soviet attack on the basis of documents he had translated incorrectly.

He also blundered during the Ukraine crisis after sending photos to US Senator James Inhofe, claiming to show Russian units in Ukraine. Inhofe released the photos publicly, but it quickly emerged that one had originated from the 2008 war in Georgia.

By November 10, 2014, at the latest, Breedlove must have recognized that his informant was on thin ice. That's when Karber reported that the separatists were boasting they had a tactical nuclear warhead for the 2S4 mortar. Karber himself described the news as "weird," but also added that "there is a lot of 'crazy' things going on" in Ukraine.

The reasons that Breedlove continued to rely on Karber despite such false reports remain unclear. Was he willing to pay any price for weapons deliveries? Or did he have other motives? The emails illustrate the degree to which Breedlove and his fellow campaigners feared that Congress might reduce the number of US troops in Europe.

Karber confirmed the authenticity of the leaked email correspondence. Regarding the questions about the accuracy of his reports, he told SPIEGEL that, "like any information derived from direct observation at the front during the 'fog of war,' it is partial, time sensitive, and perceived through a personal perspective." Looking back with the advantage of hindsight and a more comprehensive perspective, "I believe that I was right more than wrong," Karber writes, "but certainly not perfect." He adds that, "in 170 days at the front, I never once met a German military or official directly observing the conflict."

Great Interest in Berlin

Breedlove's leaked email correspondences were read in Berlin with great interest. A year ago, word of the NATO commander's "dangerous propaganda" was circulating around Merkel's Chancellery. In light of the new information, officials felt vindicated in their assessment. Germany's Federal Foreign Office has expressed similar sentiment, saying that fortunately "influential voices had continuously advocated against the delivery of 'lethal weapons.'"

Karber says he finds it "obscene that the most effective sanction of this war is not the economic limits placed on Russia, but the virtual complete embargo of all lethal aid to the victim. I find this to be the height of sophistry -- if a woman is being attacked by a group of hooligans and yells out to the crowd or passersby, 'Give me a can of mace,' is it better to not supply it because the attackers could have a knife and passively watch her get raped?"

General Breedlove's departure from his NATO post in May has done little to placate anyone in the German government. After all, the man Breedlove regarded as an obstacle, President Obama, is nearing the end of his second term. His possible successor, the Democrat Hillary Clinton, is considered a hardliner vis-a-vis Russia.

What's more: Nuland, a diplomat who shares many of the same views as Breedlove, could move into an even more important role after the November election -- she's considered a potential candidate for secretary of state.

bubasan 07/28/2016

Upon reading this article, I am reminded of Dwight D Eisenhowers Farewell speech to the American Public on January 17, 1961. So long as we continue the PC mentality of NOT Teaching History, as it really was, we are going to repeat past mistake's. The now famous and appropriate quote from President Eisenhower:

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.

Inglenda2 07/28/2016

The idea of NATO as a defence organisation, following the 2nd World War was quite rational. The history of this organisation however, has shown, how a well meant intention can be misused to force through policies, which have nothing to do with the original purpose. Currently it would appear to have no other role, than to provide high ranking army officers with well paid employment, which can only be justified by way of international conflicts. In the absence of conflict, NATO would have no other cause for existence.

PeterCT 07/28/2016

Why is Breedlove so fat? He is setting a bad example to his troops. Show all comments

turnipseed 07/29/2016

The Cold War continues, only the enemy is not the Soviet Union but Russia. Ever since the war against Napoleon Russia has emerged as a threat to certain European interests, at first liberal and nationalist interests. After the Bolshevik Revolution the enemy was still Russia, now revitalized with extreme Bolshevik ideology. Hitler used this effectively to target liberals, leftists and especially Jews.

After the fall of Communism nothing has really changed. The West is still urged to resist the Russian threat, a threat invented by Polish, Baltic, and Ukrainian nationalists and perhaps Fascists. Donald Trump alone seems impervious to this propaganda. Let's at least give him credit in this case, if not in many others. NATO has become a permanent anti-Russian phony alliance, financed by America.

90-grad 07/31/2016

Quite detailed article. Not being published in the german website. How to describe these people, basically just trying to ignite bigger conflicts, or even war. Hardliner, hawks, to me not strong enough. These are criminals of war, and they should be named accordingly. These are exactly the kind of persons, who helped Bush to invade Irak, basing on false informations to the public. And their peace endangering activities help politicians like H.Clinton to keep the peoble in fear, solely to their own benefit. Disgusting!

huguenot1566 07/31/2016

Extremely disturbing

I don't even know here to begin. Breedlove, Karber, Clark all Americans, seemingly on their own without Obama's permission, trying to exaggerate or fabricate evidence in order to start a war with Russia and the danger to the world is profoundly terrifying (Iraq 2003). The US Embassy in Ukraine saying they were in the dark and therefore relying on information from a college professor, Karber, who still thinks we're in the Cold War along with Clark who was retired & meddling in an unofficial capacity as far as the story implies tells me they should be brought up on charges. And Breedlove is supposed to follow orders not make up his own policy & then try & manufacture evidence supporting that policy to start war. If the US Embassy in Ukraine says they were in the dark then clearly they were fishing for info to proactively involve themselves in another nation & region's personal business. Congress & the U.S. military should investigate as these actions violate the U.S. Constitution. Thankfully, Germany and NATO is able to say no. It tells Americans that something isn't right on their end of this.

verbatim128 07/31/2016

Look who was crying wolf!

These people are hell-bent to bring the world to the brink of war, with lies and excuses about fear of Russian attacks. So Poland was willing to step into the conflict with Ukraine and deliver lethal armament? All the while afraid of Russia invading it? We, public opinion and most Western peace-loving folk, are played like a fiddle to step into the fray to "protect" and further some age-old ethnic and nationalistic rivalries. Time to put an end to this.

gerhard38 08/01/2016

Fucking war monger

Philip Breedlove is a war monger and should be fired from his position. The efforts of the group around him seeking to secure weapons for the Ukraine to intensify the conflict must have happened with Breedlove's knowledge and support. If not, then he is not capable to meet the demands of his job and should be dismissed for incompetence. Either way, this guy is unacceptable.

aegiov 08/01/2016

Ms. Nuland is the same us official recorded by Russian intelligence trying to manipulate events in Ukraine before the overthrow of the president and all the tragic events that followed. That she is still working for US state dept. is puzzling to say the least. good reporting. thank you.

titus_norberto 08/02/2016

The Front Is Now Everywhere, indeed...

Quote: 'The Front Is Now Everywhere', yes indeed, we can go back to the Wilson administration, he invented the League of Nations and his nation did not even joined.

There is a folly in American presidents, they believe they can solve worlds problems, especially in the Middle East, with two invariable results:

1- utter failure plus CHAOS; and

2- utter disregard for DOMESTIC GOVERNANCE.

Now, the fact that the front is NOW 2016 everywhere is the result of failure one. Donald Trump is the result of failure two. There is another aspect to consider, what is General Breedlove doing ? Very simple, he is attempting to INVENT a NEW ROLE for NATO, as it is well known in the domain of sociology: any organization strives for survival, especially when it becomes OBSOLETE.

vsepr1975 08/03/2016

nato Breedhate?

w.schuler 08/09/2016

Fat Bredlove is a war monger

This is true and it was obvious from the very beginning. But SPON was always parotting him. And SPON member Benjamin Bidder and many other SPON guys were foaming at the mouth with war rhetoric all the time in 2014-15. Shame on those fools. Finally, with this contribution you are approaching your real job. And this is to distribute information instead of propaganda.

[Aug 10, 2016] Neocon Nightmare The Truth Behind the Attacks on Chuck Hagel

Notable quotes:
"... This Week with George Stephanopoulos. ..."
"... America: Our Next Chapter ..."
"... But the lowest point his critics have gone to is to insinuate, or even claim outright, that Hagel is an anti-Semite. That slanderous charge is being led by Elliott Abrams. He's now a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, but you might remember him as the man convicted in 1991 of two counts of withholding information from Congress (he was pardoned by outgoing President George H.W. Bush). He claims that Hagel "seems to have some kind of problem with Jews," and, in the Weekly Standard ..."
"... Of course, the reason the opposition to Hagel is so desperate and so focused on side-issues or made-up charges is because they don't want a debate that would shine a spotlight on their spectacular and disastrous failure in Iraq. "This is the neocons' worst nightmare," says Richard Armitage, who was Deputy Secretary of State under Colin Powell, "because you've got a combat soldier, successful businessman and senator who actually thinks there may be other ways to resolve some questions other than force." ..."
Mar 17, 2013 | www.huffingtonpost.com

If President Obama's second term includes decision making as bold and intelligent as his nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense, his presidency might finally fulfill the promise of audacity and change that rallied so many to his campaign five years ago. In fact, the more ridiculous the claims being made by Hagel's critics become, the more the real reasons they don't want him -- and the wisdom of the choice -- come into stark relief.

The latest canard is about Hagel's supposed "temperament." The charge was made this past Sunday by Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, appearing on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

"I think another thing, George, that's going to come up is just his overall temperament," said Corker, "and is he suited to run a department or a big agency or a big entity like the Pentagon?" Given that this was a new one, Stephanopoulos asked, slightly incredulously, "Do you have questions about his temperament?" Corker replied, "I think there are numbers of staffers who are coming forth now just talking about the way he has dealt with them."

Ah yes, his temperament. It's a modern-day male version of the old dig that used to be directed at women, that they might be "PMSing" and therefore shouldn't be put too close to big boy military equipment. It's also worth pointing out that this line of attack is coming from a party that thoroughly approved of that shrinking violet of a Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld. It's further worth noting that the opposition to Hagel is being led partly by Senator John McCain, the same guy who thought it prudent to potentially put Sarah Palin second in line to the presidency -- and whose own "temperament" has often been called into question.

But if Hagel's temperament is somehow relevant, it puts me in mind of the quote by Lincoln who, when approached by some of Grant's critics about the general's drinking, is supposed to have said: "Let me know what brand of whiskey Grant uses. For if it makes fighting generals like Grant, I should like to get some of it for distribution."

In response to Corker's charge, Politico's Playbook quoted an email from a senior administration official: "This line of attack is a new low. By contrast, Sen. Hagel intends to take the high road in the confirmation process as he defends his strong record." Well, it's certainly a contemptible charge, but whether it's a new low is debatable. There's already been plenty of competition for that title.

Now, I'm not saying Chuck Hagel is perfect or that I agree with every position he's ever taken, but leadership isn't about conforming to a checklist. Hagel is being nominated for a particular job, and for that job, he has a strong record. And this is exactly why his critics are grasping for straws -- because they don't want to discuss that record, nor what this debate is really about: the Iraq War.

Yes, then-Senator Hagel voted for the resolution to authorize the war. But even before the vote, he expressed more reservations than most of his colleagues. "You can take the country into a war pretty fast," he said in 2002, "but you can't get us out as quickly, and the public needs to know what the risks are." In his 2008 book America: Our Next Chapter he writes that he voted to authorize military force only as a last option, but the Bush administration had not tried to "exhaust all diplomatic efforts," and that "it all comes down to the fact that we were asked to vote on a resolution based on half truths, untruths, and wishful thinking."

And after the war began, he became one of the administration's most vocal critics. Among his statements over the course of the war:

As I wrote back in 2006, criticisms like these were much stronger than what most Democrats were saying at the time. And Hagel was right. We often bemoan the fact that those in Washington who get it wrong never seem to be held accountable, and those who get it right (even if not right away) always seem to be marginalized. Well, this nomination is how the system should -- but seldom does -- work. That's why this nomination, even though Hagel is a Republican, shouldn't be looked at as another attempt by President Obama to curry favor with the opposition. It's the best kind of decision -- one made not to placate some interest group, but, rather, in the interest of the country. As Senator Jack Reed said of the nomination on Sunday, "Chuck has the wherewithal and the ability to speak truth to power. He's demonstrated that throughout his entire career. That is a value that is extraordinarily important to the president." And to the country.

"When I think of issues like Iraq," Hagel said in 2006, "of how we went into it -- no planning, no preparation, no sense of consequences, of where we were going, how we were going to get out, went in without enough men, no exit strategy, those kinds of things -- I'll speak out. I'll go against my party."

And that kind of thinking is all the more powerful coming from a man with two Purple Hearts -- and who still has shrapnel lodged in his chest as a reminder, not that he needs one, of what war is really like.

"Chuck knows that war is not an abstraction," the president said when announcing the nomination. "He understands that sending young Americans to fight and bleed in the dirt and mud, that's something we only do when it's absolutely necessary. 'My frame of reference,' he has said, is 'geared towards the guy at the bottom who's doing the fighting and the dying.'" That's why, in the lead up to the Iraq War, Hagel pointed out the fact that decisions were being made by those who hadn't "sat in jungles or foxholes and watched their friends get their heads blown off." And for that he was called an "appeaser."

The president added that it was in the Senate where he came to admire Hagel's "courage and his judgment, his willingness to speak his mind -- even if it wasn't popular, even if it defied the conventional wisdom."

And if you doubt whether Hagel's views go against the conventional wisdom, at least in Washington, just witness the hysterical, desperate pushback to his nomination. This isn't about temperament, or abortion or gay rights (not that those aren't important issues). It's about the path U.S. foreign policy took at the beginning of the last decade, directed by the neocons. As the New York Times' Jim Rutenberg put it, "The campaign now being waged against Mr. Hagel's nomination as secretary of defense is in some ways a relitigation of that decade-old dispute."

He's right -- to an extent. Where I think he's off is that this isn't a relitigation -- because the disaster that was, and is, the Iraq War was never actually litigated in the first place. We've never really had that debate. Those who conceived it (badly) and executed it (even more badly) were never held accountable. And they are now the ones trying to torpedo the very idea that someone who is thoughtful and careful about sending our soldiers to die might actually have a role in that decision.

Rutenberg writes that this debate is "a dramatic return to the public stage by the neoconservatives whose worldview remains a powerful undercurrent in the Republican Party." That is some undercurrent. If it's below the surface, then what is the top current?

It's not like Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham are back-benchers. The latter called Hagel's nomination an "in-your-face nomination" and an "incredibly controversial choice." Sadly, in today's Washington the idea that someone who is skeptical and cautious about the consequences of U.S. military intervention should lead the Pentagon is indeed "incredibly controversial." Turning around conventional wisdom in Washington is no small endeavor, which is why this nomination is so important.

A week later, with an almost comical lack of self-awareness, Senator Graham contrasted Hagel's decision making with that of Graham's BFF, Senator McCain. "I think [Hagel] was very haunted by Vietnam," Graham said, unlike McCain who "doesn't look at every conflict through the eyes of his Vietnam experience -- you know, 'We shouldn't have been there, it went on too long, we didn't have a plan.'" Yes, thank God we left that kind of thinking back in Vietnam -- no instances of it since then, right?

The relationship between Hagel and McCain goes back a long time. McCain was one of Hagel's earliest supporters and Hagel was one of the few who jumped on the "Straight Talk Express," back when McCain was taking on what he called "agents of intolerance" in the Republican Party. Unlike McCain, Hagel managed to stay on the Straight Talk Express. And now McCain is grasping at straws over Hagel's skepticism about success of the surge strategy in Iraq, something McCain finds "bizarre." Back when it was being considered, Hagel said "This is a Ping-Pong game with American lives," and that "we better be damn sure we know what we're doing, all of us, before we put 22,000 more Americans into that grinder."

Since then it's become accepted gospel in Washington that the surge was successful. Accepted gospel that is, once again, wrong. Doug Ollivant was an army planning officer in Iraq who was one of those who actually implemented the surge. "The surge really didn't work, per se," Ollivant, now with the New America Foundation, says, adding, "Fundamentally, it was the Iraqis trying to find a solution, and they did."

A study by U.S. Special Forces officer Maj. Joshua Thiel came to the same conclusion. Thiel looked at where and when the additional surge troops were deployed and compared that to subsequent drops in violence. As Foreign Policy's Robert Haddick put it,

Thiel concluded that there was no significant correlation between the arrival of U.S. reinforcements and subsequent changes in the level of violence in Iraq's provinces... the connection between surge troops and the change in the level of incidents seems entirely random.
Another straw being grasped at by McCain is the question, "Why would [Hagel] oppose calling the Iranian revolutionary guard a terrorist organization?"

He's referring to the fact that Hagel didn't sign a letter to the European Union designating Hezbollah a terror group. Hagel's defense was that he "didn't sign on to certain resolutions and letters because they were counter-productive and didn't solve a problem." In other words, Hagel refused to posture. A cardinal sin in Washington. Just as he also said that use of reductivist buzzwords and phrases like "cut and run" cheapen the debate and debase the seriousness of war. How refreshing. And it points to the fact that not only do we need better military policy, we also need a more intelligent way of talking about that policy as a means of making it better.

But the lowest point his critics have gone to is to insinuate, or even claim outright, that Hagel is an anti-Semite. That slanderous charge is being led by Elliott Abrams. He's now a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, but you might remember him as the man convicted in 1991 of two counts of withholding information from Congress (he was pardoned by outgoing President George H.W. Bush). He claims that Hagel "seems to have some kind of problem with Jews," and, in the Weekly Standard, offers as evidence "the testimony of the Jewish community that knew him best is most useful: Nebraskans. And the record seems unchallenged: Nebraskan Jewish activists and officials have said he was hostile, and none -- including Obama supporters and Democratic party activists -- have come forward to counter that allegation."

Actually, it has been challenged -- by, among others, activist Gary Javitch, who, according to the Forward is "considered by locals to be an expert on the local Jewish political scene." Though Javitch is no fan of Hagel, when asked by the Forward if he though Hagel was biased against Jews, he said "no." He also said that "to make such an accusation you need to be very careful," and that Hagel "never demonstrated anything like that in all the meetings I had with him."

What's amazing is that the Council on Foreign Relations would allow its credibility to be used to advance an accusation like this. In response, a CFR official told Al-Monitor's Laura Rozen that the views of their experts are "theirs only" and that "the Council on Foreign Relations takes no institutional position on matters of policy." But this isn't policy, it's character assassination. Does the Council take no official position on that? As the Daily Beast's Ali Gharib writes:
Abrams should be challenged by media and by his fellow scholars in the think tank world to find any member in good standing of the Nebraska Jewish community who will say on the record that they consider their former Senator an anti-Semite. Failing that, Abrams should issue a public apology to Hagel for making this scurrilous charge.
Of course, the reason the opposition to Hagel is so desperate and so focused on side-issues or made-up charges is because they don't want a debate that would shine a spotlight on their spectacular and disastrous failure in Iraq. "This is the neocons' worst nightmare," says Richard Armitage, who was Deputy Secretary of State under Colin Powell, "because you've got a combat soldier, successful businessman and senator who actually thinks there may be other ways to resolve some questions other than force."

A nightmare for some but a welcome change for the country. This week, HuffPost is launching a new series focusing on President Obama's second term called "The Road Forward: Obama's Second Term Challenges."

In the first installment, Howard Fineman writes that "Obama is in an unusually strong position to deliver on the potential of his second term -- but only if he has the will and wherewithal to turn ballot-box victory into real-life results," and asks whether Obama "will be shrewd, persistent and tough enough to turn great promise into true greatness."

We'll see. But if the nomination of Chuck Hagel is any indication, the road forward is looking much better than what's behind us. Though the upcoming hearings on Hagel's nomination are unlikely to feature the real debate on Iraq that the country deserves, hopefully his tenure will indeed be the departure from the kind of thinking that got us into it that his critics so desperately fear.

Follow Arianna Huffington on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ariannahuff

[Aug 10, 2016] Lying Neocon War Propagandist of the Week

Notable quotes:
"... Jewish World Review ..."
www.lewrockwell.com

December 28, 2015

Thomas DiLorenzo

There's always a lot of competition for the title of "Lying Neocon War Propagandist." I would like to nominate for this week's award, one George Will. In the course of a long-winded hissy fit over Donald Trump's political success to date published in Jewish World Review, Will goes berserk over Trump's intransigence over the neocon agenda of starting a war with Russia. Smoke must have been coming out of his ears when he quoted Trump as saying that the U.S. government has killed a lot of people, too, referring to all of the government's endless military interventions in the Middle East, after being told of the alleged killing of journalists in Russia.

George Will responded to this by saying: "Putin kills journalists, the U.S. kills terrorists." Will is not stupid; he cannot possibly believe that all deaths in the Middle East caused by U.S. military intervention over the past quarter of a century have been of "terrorists." There are numerous sources of the civilian death count there, and it is safe to say that Donald Trump is right and George Will is wrong: The civilian death count is in the hundreds of thousands. This includes at least 200 journalists such as Tareq Ayoub, who was killed on April 3, 2003 when a U.S. warplane bombed the Al Jazeera offices in Baghdad. And of course the U.S. military also bombs hospitals, as the entire world learned a few months ago. (Thanks to Chris C. for info on the bombing of the Al Jazeera offices).

And by the way, there is obviously no evidence that Putin ordered the murder of journalists. ABC News "journalist" (Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!) George Stephanopoulos repeated this latest neocon talking point in an interview with Trump. When Trump asked him for proof, he had NONE). This doesn't prove that Putin did not order the murder of journalists, something the U.S. government has done hundreds of times, but it does prove what a liar and establishment shill George Stephanopoulos is.

5:35 pm on December 28, 2015 Email Thomas DiLorenzo

[Aug 09, 2016] Accusations of Trump is being fascist as another attempt to marginalize him

Notable quotes:
"... broadly, fascism is an alliance of the state, the corporation, and the military, anyone who doesn't see that today needs to go back to their textbooks. ..."
"... The only way they have avoided complete revolt has been endless borrowing to fund entitlements, once that one-time fix plays out the consequences will be apparent. The funding mechanism itself (The Fed) has even morphed into a neo-liberal tool designed to enrich Capital while enslaving Labor with the consequences. ..."
"... The article I cited above in Vox canvasses the opinion of five serious students of fascism, and none of them believe Trump is a fascist. I'd be most interested in knowing what you have been reading. ..."
"... If anything it is merely a very crude descriptive model of the political process. It doesn't define fascism as a particular set of beliefs that make it a distinct political ideology that can be differentiated from other ideologies ..."
"... Indeed by your standard virtually every state that has ever existed has to a greater or lesser extent been "fascist". ..."
"... My objection to imprecise language here isn't merely pedantic. The leftist dismissal of right wing populists like Trump (or increasingly influential European movements like Ukip, AfD, and the Front national) as "fascist" is a reductionist rhetorical device intended to marginalize them by implying their politics are so far outside of the mainstream that they do not need to be taken seriously. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com
Lexington , June 2, 2016 at 12:50 pm

"Fascism" has become the prefered term of abuse applied indiscriminately by the right thinking to any person or movement which they want to tar as inherently objectionable, and which can therefore be dismissed without the tedium of actually engaging with them at the level of ideas.

Most of the people who like to throw this word around couldn't give you a coherant definition of what exactly they understand it to signify, beyond "yuck!!"

In fairness even students of political ideology have trouble teasing out a cosistent system of beliefs, to the point where some doubt fascism is even a coherent ideology. That hardly excuses the intellectual vacuity of those who use it as a term of abuse, however.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , June 2, 2016 at 4:39 pm

Precisely 3,248 angels can fit on the head of a pin. Parsing the true definition of "fascism" is a waste of time, broadly, fascism is an alliance of the state, the corporation, and the military, anyone who doesn't see that today needs to go back to their textbooks.

As far as the definition "neo-liberalism" goes, yes it's a useful label. But let's keep it simple: every society chooses how resources are allocated between Capital and Labor. The needle has been pegged over on the Capital side for quite some time, my "start date" is when Reagan busted the air traffic union. The hideous Republicans managed to sell their base that policies that were designed to let companies be "competitive" were somehow good for them, not just for the owners of the means of production.

The only way they have avoided complete revolt has been endless borrowing to fund entitlements, once that one-time fix plays out the consequences will be apparent. The funding mechanism itself (The Fed) has even morphed into a neo-liberal tool designed to enrich Capital while enslaving Labor with the consequences.

Lexington , June 2, 2016 at 10:31 pm

fascism is an alliance of the state, the corporation, and the military, anyone who doesn't see that today needs to go back to their textbooks

Which textbooks specifically?

The article I cited above in Vox canvasses the opinion of five serious students of fascism, and none of them believe Trump is a fascist. I'd be most interested in knowing what you have been reading.

As for your definition of "fascism", it's obviously so vague and broad that it really doesn't explain anything. To the extent it contains any insight it is that public institutions (the state), private businesses (the corporation) and the armed forces all exert significant influence on public policy. That and a buck and and a half will get you a cup of coffee. If anything it is merely a very crude descriptive model of the political process. It doesn't define fascism as a particular set of beliefs that make it a distinct political ideology that can be differentiated from other ideologies (again, see the Vox article for a discussion of some of the beliefs that are arguably characteristic of fascist movements). Indeed by your standard virtually every state that has ever existed has to a greater or lesser extent been "fascist".

My objection to imprecise language here isn't merely pedantic. The leftist dismissal of right wing populists like Trump (or increasingly influential European movements like Ukip, AfD, and the Front national) as "fascist" is a reductionist rhetorical device intended to marginalize them by implying their politics are so far outside of the mainstream that they do not need to be taken seriously. Given that these movements are only growing in strength as faith in traditional political movements and elites evaporate this is likely to produce exactly the opposite result. Right wing populism isn't going to disappear just because the left keeps trying to wish it away. Refusing to accept this basic political fact risks condemning the left rather than "the fascists" to political irrelevance.

[Aug 09, 2016] They knew nothing about the coup in Turkey! - Defend Democracy Press

Notable quotes:
"... German parliamentarians are preparing to ask for sanctions against the USA, Britain and France also. According to those parliamentarians, by implementing the Chaos Strategy in the Middle East, in order to "promote democracy", as they kept saying, Washington, London and Paris are directly responsible for the refugee crisis, the terror attacks and the whole pattern of instability which has now engulfed Turkey as well. ..."
"... Mr. Erdogan, President of one of the most important NATO countries, did not meet any of his Western counterparts, but he is going to Russia to meet President Putin, and his closest advisors are proposing that he should institute an alliance with Russia, like Kemal, and wage war against "the Crusaders". ..."
"... The perspective of a strategic alliance between Ankara and Moscow is the definition of a nightmare for US and Israeli planners. They certainly did not start all those wars just to see a bloc of Russia, Turkey, Iran and Syria being formed in the Middle East, not to mention, potentially, a huge crisis in NATO. ..."
www.defenddemocracy.press

The US Ambassador to Ankara explains why his country knew nothing about what was going to happen in Turkey

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/no-us-planning-support-knowledge-in-coup-attempt-in-turkey-ambassador.aspx?pageID=238&nID=102529&NewsCatID=510

In the meantime Austrian and German politicians compare the coup in Turkey with the Reichstag fire in 1933. But they don't know who set the fire

https://www.rt.com/news/354909-austria-germany-nazi-turkey/

A leftist politician in Germany wants sanctions against Turkey

http://www.thelocal.de/20160802/left-party-politician-calls-for-sanctions-against-turkey

According to our information this is only the first step. German parliamentarians are preparing to ask for sanctions against the USA, Britain and France also. According to those parliamentarians, by implementing the Chaos Strategy in the Middle East, in order to "promote democracy", as they kept saying, Washington, London and Paris are directly responsible for the refugee crisis, the terror attacks and the whole pattern of instability which has now engulfed Turkey as well.

According also to our information, top US and Israeli officials are outraged at what is happening. They now have to cancel all family vacation planning and concentrate on how to handle an unbelievable new situation. Mr. Erdogan, President of one of the most important NATO countries, did not meet any of his Western counterparts, but he is going to Russia to meet President Putin, and his closest advisors are proposing that he should institute an alliance with Russia, like Kemal, and wage war against "the Crusaders".

Radicals around Erdogan call for war "against Crusaders"

The perspective of a strategic alliance between Ankara and Moscow is the definition of a nightmare for US and Israeli planners. They certainly did not start all those wars just to see a bloc of Russia, Turkey, Iran and Syria being formed in the Middle East, not to mention, potentially, a huge crisis in NATO.

We are still not there and nobody knows if we will reach that point. Russia and Turkey, as history proves, have seriously conflicting interests. As for Erdogan himself, he cannot win over the Kurds by military means and neither can the Kurds win what they want by war. All that is certain is that we are heading straight for very serious conflicts.

Fortunately for them, and probably for us also, European politicians do not consider any alteration of their vacation programs. They are continuing their enjoyment of their holidays, waiting for Washington to take its decisions.

D.K.

[Aug 09, 2016] Fantastic progress of democracy New York Times barely notice the new war in Libya!

www.defenddemocracy.press

Defend Democracy Press

[Aug 08, 2016] The communists of China are seeking a long-term partnership with Russia – a nominally capitalist country? Of course, Russia is seeking the same with China

Blowback for sleazy Barack Obama neocon policies is coming. And it will not be pretty...
marknesop.wordpress.com

Patient Observer , August 7, 2016 at 4:48 pm

Isn't it interesting that the communists of China are seeking a long-term partnership with Russia – a nominally capitalist country? Of course, Russia is seeking the same with China.

July 1, China marked an important date on July 1. It was the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. Chairman Xi Jinping addressed the solemn meeting devoted to this event. In addition to the praises of "Long live!" (And deservedly so, since the CCP has much to be proud of) there was Chairman Xi's speech which was short, but very important.

"The world is on the verge of radical change. We see how the European Union is gradually collapsing, as is the US economy - it is all over for the new world order. So, it will never again be as it was before, in 10 years we will have a new world order in which the key will be the union of China and Russia. "

http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/08/china-openly-offers-russia-alliance.html

If the above translation is accurate I wonder what is meant by …key will be the union of China and Russia . In any event, it appears that ideology is not at the core of the unity; its something much deeper and more resilient. I offer that it is a shared view that embraces a realization that the world can no longer accept global hegemony from the West otherwise catastrophe is virtually certain in the form of (pick one or two): nuclear war, financial or ecological collapse. Their mission is basically to save the world from Western insanity which handily trumps anything that may separate them.

And, I think that the Chinese and Russians are far too wise to seek global hegemony for themselves. The trick for them will be taking down the Western house of cards without triggering a catastrophic miscalculation by the West. …Whew, now time for an hot fudge sundae.

marknesop , August 7, 2016 at 8:28 pm
I think it's mutual disgust with the USA's blatant and shameless rigging of the playing field in every contest. If America can't win, then it's a loss for all of mankind. And it blabbers constantly and loudly about its values, and then does things which completely contradict those supposed values, and never appears to notice anything unusual or untoward about it.

[Aug 08, 2016] Russia scholar Stephen Cohen shuts down CNN shill host who tries to link Trump to Putin

Notable quotes:
"... I know a bit about Russian people and one thing I know is this; the U.S. is ignorant of their culture, values and intelligence; a gross miscalculation of an adversary. ..."
"... The neo-cons are crazy (like rabid dogs) but not overtly suicidal, I think (not sure actually). ..."
www.moonofalabama.org

MadMax2 | Aug 7, 2016 7:02:32 AM | 50

- YouTube Did he get it?Nope

Youtube:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mCMyHJJrdDw
Source:
https://twitter.com/shekunchik/status/762055101930475520

jfl | Aug 7, 2016 7:43:54 AM | 52

@50 mm2

Stephen Cohen got it. He got shut down. And the talking head at CNN made a note never to have this guy on again. CNN's just had all the conversation - and then some - that they ever want to have with this guy. We'll never see Stephen Cohen on TNC TV again.

V. Arnold | Aug 7, 2016 8:51:16 AM | 57

jfl | Aug 7, 2016 8:08:41 AM | 56

Yes, both. I'm well aware of the long and somewhat "bumpy" history going back decades (many) and see this as a mutual joust against a common enemy/hegemon. Russia is well aware of it's vast area and consequent resources making it a prize like no other on the planet.

It's Russia's curse and wealth at the same time. It's there's to lose if they play badly.

I know a bit about Russian people and one thing I know is this; the U.S. is ignorant of their culture, values and intelligence; a gross miscalculation of an adversary.

Together they (PRC and Russia) are the perfect foil to the U.S. aggression.

The neo-cons are crazy (like rabid dogs) but not overtly suicidal, I think (not sure actually).

[Aug 08, 2016] Washington political mess: Internet rumors for the curious

Notable quotes:
"... Who knows if he'll embrace better relations with Russia...? We don't. You cant know. He's all over the shop. We do know trigger-happy-hitlery's objectives though. That I would probably vote for him if I were a US citizen doesn't say anything about me, it speaks more about the state of decay the American political system is in - in dire need of a coup, a radical. ..."
"... The Don's security detail need to be very wary of any grassy knolls. ..."
www.moonofalabama.org
ProPeace | Aug 7, 2016 10:39:36 AM | 60

...
As Hillary Clinton's Democratic Party's "motion to dismiss" was nearing to be heard by the US Federal Court, this report notes, the main witness for JamPAC was attorney Lucas-but who, according to the Washington D.C. police report, was mysteriously discovered dead on 2 August: "R-1 reports she arrived home at 1913 hours and located her boyfriend Subject-1 laying unconscious on the bathroom floor. R-1 immediately called 911.DCFD Engine 9 responded and found no signs consistent with life. Subject-1 remained on scene".

With attorney Lucas now being the latest victim of Hillary Clinton's "killing spree", this report says, the lawsuit against her Democratic Party will now be postponed because he is unable to testify, and it may be dismissed entirely because his testimony was so crucial as to if proper service was made or not-and that the Clinton cabal "obviously" knew about beforehand when filing their motion a fortnight before his death.

As to how Hillary Clinton's cabal is able to accomplish their "Night of the Long Knives" murderous acts, this report continues, is due to the "assassin network" established by what the SVR labels as one of the most feared CIA operatives ever encountered by Russian intelligence-former CIA director, and deputy director, Mike Morell.

Director Morell, this report explains, joined the CIA in 1980 and became an important operative in "Operation Cyclone" that sought to destroy the government of Afghanistan that had been aligned with the then Soviet Union.

Morell's main duties within the CIA during the early 1980's, this report details, was in establishing a network whereby terrorists, assassins and weapons were able to flow freely between the United States, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan-and was aided by one of his top Pakistani operatives Khizr Khan-about whom the SVR previously reported on, and as we detailed in our report US Media Support Of Khizr Khan Who Enabled 9/11, Boston Marathon And San Bernardino Terror Attacks Stuns Russia.

So entrenched was Morell in the CIA's "active terror network", this report continues, he was not only present with President Bush during the 11 September 2001 (9/11) attacks, he was, also, present when President Obama ordered the killing of CIA operation Tim Osman-otherwise known as Osama bin Laden.

With Morell being a "diehard supporter" of Hillary Clinton, and responsible for the lies she told about the Benghazi terror attack, this report continues, in 2013 he left the CIA a month after Clinton resigned as Secretary of State and founded a mysterious private intelligence company called Beacon Global Strategies LLC (BGS) where he is listed as a "Senior Consular".

Beacon Global Strategies, however, this report details, is far from a "normal" private intelligence company as the SVR categorizes it as an "assassination/propaganda" organization created expressly for the use and protection of top American elites and whose funding came from Claude Fontheim, a former Clinton adviser who now serves as a lobbyist to the US-China Exchange Foundation, a nonprofit reportedly used by Chinese government officials and Hong Kong tycoons to shape American policy toward China-and whose clients, including Hillary Clinton, include Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
...

Noirette | Aug 7, 2016 10:56:44 AM | 61

james @ 4. Digging a bit deeper we might want to characterize the fundamental nature of the US Empire or err 'Pax Amerikana.' This is actually, for me, very difficult to do, as compared, say to the British Empire. How to describe it fully?

Chatter about AFRICOM, a 1000 military bases, Wall Street, the destruction of Lybia, etc. isn't explanatory enough.

Part of the problem is that much is hidden from sight (Deep State shadow dealings), and the 'rule based' aspect is (post WW2 structure, UN, EU, etc.) very strong, with the rules moot, applied selectively through arm-twisting, etc. Coupled with another aspect, i.e. the prevalent US-W ideology, which is a kind of end-of-history dictate: free-market capitalism of a kind, pro-"democracy", 'freedom' from despots, dictators, God anointed/religious rule, very narrow personal 'freedom' (identity politics, sexual mores, social rising thru competition, etc.) This system easily manipulates ppl into an Orwellian space (more J. Huxley in fact.)

It also has many characteristics of Mafia-type arrangements, a criminal class dominating, aspect not much discussed. The upshot: the system is opaque, secretive and highly complex. In its multiple ramifications, intersections amongst them (military, Gvmt/politics, security, finance, corporate, media, int'l relations..) Power of whatever kind (military, media, whatever) is only effective when it can coordinate with others to effect control. (Imagine a mess of a systemic diagram with 100s of boxes, nodes, heavy and light arrows.) Not looking good for the US at present.

Trump is proposing (provided we read his confused comments, pronoucements, at face value, and interpret) a simplification of the system, which is the only thing to do with complex systems that get out of hand. (Turn off district 3, put all efforts into fixing pipelines in 1..)

Others in their own ways are doing the same. Le Pen with 'New Nationalism', even ISIS in way (long story, as supported by outsiders…) Sanders is a different case - he tried once again to exploit the 'hopie changie' with a 'harking back to the past' - a 'new' New Deal - while not adressing any vital issues in any way.

- not shilling for the Donald - attention should be put on non-est. candidates, music of the future.

MadMax2 | Aug 7, 2016 11:43:18 AM | 63

@61 Noirette

One coup deserves another. You're right about how the establishment is not able to correct it's path without a radical shift, a guy like Sanders would have been absorbed and subverted - he offered merely band aid solutions. Ron Pauls platform may well have worked...his 'End The Fed' policy attacked a pillar, a thick root cause of how the establishment is able to baffle with bullshit.

In some way, The Don's schizophrenic-stream-of-consciousness delivery is perfect for much the subliminally mindf*cked US electorate. He gives all the sound bites a host of large demographics need, let's just throw a tonne of shit out there now, see what happens, and tighten up the message later on. Even if he contradicts what he says the very next moment he opens his mouth it doesn't matter...his charisma can counter that most of the time.

Who knows if he'll embrace better relations with Russia...? We don't. You cant know. He's all over the shop. We do know trigger-happy-hitlery's objectives though. That I would probably vote for him if I were a US citizen doesn't say anything about me, it speaks more about the state of decay the American political system is in - in dire need of a coup, a radical.

The Don's security detail need to be very wary of any grassy knolls.

james | Aug 7, 2016 12:39:58 PM | 66

@61 noirette/63 madmax/65 jfl - noirette- i like the way you process all the myriad ways of considering the american empire... i do the same. it's impossible to come up with a clear vision of how it works, which is one ongoing part of it - to remain a mystery.. it will always be a part of a process of change too.

whether some force/s have hi-jacked the usa for their own narrower agenda - it sure appears that way to me.. trump appears to offer a spontaneous response to ordinary americans place in a country spiraling out of the realm it was thought to be (out of control basically), not that any one view on a country remains static.. the idea of the simplicity of his message with regard to foreign policy is appealing.. what he would do in power is more of an unknown then what history tells us hillary clinton will do... i would be voting for trump if i was in the usa, partly the msm witch hunt on him which i think in my own way is more of those mysterious forces behind the scene guiding the usa into an ever widening ditch of it's own making, leaving many more people to suffer or worse.. thanks for everyone's comments..

[Aug 07, 2016] Commentary The worlds best cyber army doesn't belong to Russia

Notable quotes:
"... The NSA identified Peña's cellphone and those of his associates using advanced software that can filter out specific phones from the swarm around the candidate. These lines were then targeted. The technology, one NSA analyst noted, "might find a needle in a haystack." The analyst described it as "a repeatable and efficient" process. ..."
"... Another NSA operation, begun in May 2010 and codenamed FLATLIQUID, targeted Pena's predecessor, President Felipe Calderon. The NSA, the documents revealed, was able "to gain first-ever access to President Felipe Calderon's public email account." ..."
"... At the same time, members of a highly secret joint NSA/CIA organization, called the Special Collection Service, are based in the U.S. embassy in Mexico City and other U.S. embassies around the world. It targets local government communications, as well as foreign embassies nearby. For Mexico, additional eavesdropping, and much of the analysis, is conducted by NSA Texas, a large listening post in San Antonio that focuses on the Caribbean, Central America and South America. ..."
"... Unlike the Defense Department's Pentagon, the headquarters of the cyberspies fills an entire secret city. Located in Fort Meade, Maryland, halfway between Washington and Baltimore, Maryland, NSA's headquarters consists of scores of heavily guarded buildings. The site even boasts its own police force and post office. ..."
"... One top-secret operation, code-named TreasureMap, is designed to have a "capability for building a near real-time interactive map of the global Internet. … Any device, anywhere, all the time." Another operation, codenamed Turbine, involves secretly placing "millions of implants" - malware - in computer systems worldwide for either spying or cyberattacks. ..."
"... Yet there can never be a useful discussion on the topic if the Obama administration continues to point fingers at other countries without admitting that Washington is engaged heavily in cyberspying and cyberwarfare. ..."
"... The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA From 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America ..."
Aug 4, 2016 | Reuters
National attention is focused on Russian eavesdroppers' possible targeting of U.S. presidential candidates and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Yet, leaked top-secret National Security Agency documents show that the Obama administration has long been involved in major bugging operations against the election campaigns -- and the presidents -- of even its closest allies.

The United States is, by far, the world's most aggressive nation when it comes to cyberspying and cyberwarfare. The National Security Agency has been eavesdropping on foreign cities, politicians, elections and entire countries since it first turned on its receivers in 1952. Just as other countries, including Russia, attempt to do to the United States. What is new is a country leaking the intercepts back to the public of the target nation through a middleperson.

There is a strange irony in this. Russia, if it is actually involved in the hacking of the computers of the Democratic National Committee, could be attempting to influence a U.S. election by leaking to the American public the falsehoods of its leaders. This is a tactic Washington used against the Soviet Union and other countries during the Cold War.

In the 1950s, for example, President Harry S Truman created the Campaign of Truth to reveal to the Russian people the "Big Lies" of their government. Washington had often discovered these lies through eavesdropping and other espionage.

Today, the United States has morphed from a Cold War, and in some cases a hot war, into a cyberwar, with computer coding replacing bullets and bombs. Yet the American public manages to be "shocked, shocked" that a foreign country would attempt to conduct cyberespionage on the United States.

NSA operations have, for example, recently delved into elections in Mexico, targeting its last presidential campaign. According to a top-secret PowerPoint presentation leaked by former NSA contract employee Edward Snowden, the operation involved a "surge effort against one of Mexico's leading presidential candidates, Enrique Peña Nieto, and nine of his close associates." Peña won that election and is now Mexico's president.

The NSA identified Peña's cellphone and those of his associates using advanced software that can filter out specific phones from the swarm around the candidate. These lines were then targeted. The technology, one NSA analyst noted, "might find a needle in a haystack." The analyst described it as "a repeatable and efficient" process.

The eavesdroppers also succeeded in intercepting 85,489 text messages, a Der Spiegel article noted.

Another NSA operation, begun in May 2010 and codenamed FLATLIQUID, targeted Pena's predecessor, President Felipe Calderon. The NSA, the documents revealed, was able "to gain first-ever access to President Felipe Calderon's public email account."

At the same time, members of a highly secret joint NSA/CIA organization, called the Special Collection Service, are based in the U.S. embassy in Mexico City and other U.S. embassies around the world. It targets local government communications, as well as foreign embassies nearby. For Mexico, additional eavesdropping, and much of the analysis, is conducted by NSA Texas, a large listening post in San Antonio that focuses on the Caribbean, Central America and South America.

Unlike the Defense Department's Pentagon, the headquarters of the cyberspies fills an entire secret city. Located in Fort Meade, Maryland, halfway between Washington and Baltimore, Maryland, NSA's headquarters consists of scores of heavily guarded buildings. The site even boasts its own police force and post office.

And it is about to grow considerably bigger, now that the NSA cyberspies have merged with the cyberwarriors of U.S. Cyber Command, which controls its own Cyber Army, Cyber Navy, Cyber Air Force and Cyber Marine Corps, all armed with state-of-the-art cyberweapons. In charge of it all is a four-star admiral, Michael S. Rogers.

Now under construction inside NSA's secret city, Cyber Command's new $3.2- billion headquarters is to include 14 buildings, 11 parking garages and an enormous cyberbrain - a 600,000-square-foot, $896.5-million supercomputer facility that will eat up an enormous amount of power, about 60 megawatts. This is enough electricity to power a city of more than 40,000 homes.

In 2014, for a cover story in Wired and a PBS documentary, I spent three days in Moscow with Snowden, whose last NSA job was as a contract cyberwarrior. I was also granted rare access to his archive of documents. "Cyber Command itself has always been branded in a sort of misleading way from its very inception," Snowden told me. "It's an attack agency. … It's all about computer-network attack and computer-network exploitation at Cyber Command."

The idea is to turn the Internet from a worldwide web of information into a global battlefield for war. "The next major conflict will start in cyberspace," says one of the secret NSA documents. One key phrase within Cyber Command documents is "Information Dominance."

The Cyber Navy, for example, calls itself the Information Dominance Corps. The Cyber Army is providing frontline troops with the option of requesting "cyberfire support" from Cyber Command, in much the same way it requests air and artillery support. And the Cyber Air Force is pledged to "dominate cyberspace" just as "today we dominate air and space."

Among the tools at their disposal is one called Passionatepolka, designed to "remotely brick network cards." "Bricking" a computer means destroying it – turning it into a brick.

One such situation took place in war-torn Syria in 2012, according to Snowden, when the NSA attempted to remotely and secretly install an "exploit," or bug, into the computer system of a major Internet provider. This was expected to provide access to email and other Internet traffic across much of Syria. But something went wrong. Instead, the computers were bricked. It took down the Internet across the country for a period of time.

While Cyber Command executes attacks, the National Security Agency seems more interested in tracking virtually everyone connected to the Internet, according to the documents.

One top-secret operation, code-named TreasureMap, is designed to have a "capability for building a near real-time interactive map of the global Internet. … Any device, anywhere, all the time." Another operation, codenamed Turbine, involves secretly placing "millions of implants" - malware - in computer systems worldwide for either spying or cyberattacks.

Yet, even as the U.S. government continues building robust eavesdropping and attack systems, it looks like there has been far less focus on security at home. One benefit of the cyber-theft of the Democratic National Committee emails might be that it helps open a public dialogue about the dangerous potential of cyberwarfare. This is long overdue. The possible security problems for the U.S. presidential election in November are already being discussed.

Yet there can never be a useful discussion on the topic if the Obama administration continues to point fingers at other countries without admitting that Washington is engaged heavily in cyberspying and cyberwarfare.

In fact, the United States is the only country ever to launch an actual cyberwar -- when the Obama administration used a cyberattack to destroy thousands of centrifuges, used for nuclear enrichment, in Iran. This was an illegal act of war, according to the Defense Department's own definition.

Given the news reports that many more DNC emails are waiting to be leaked as the presidential election draws closer, there will likely be many more reminders of the need for a public dialogue on cybersecurity and cyberwarfare before November.

(James Bamford is the author of The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA From 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America. He is a columnist for Foreign Policy magazine.)

[Aug 06, 2016] Saudi Arabia funds and exports Islamic extremism The truth behind the toxic U.S. relationship with the theocratic monarchy

Notable quotes:
"... What is not contested, on the other hand, is that Saudi elites in the business community and even segments of the royal family support extremist groups like al-Qaida. U.S. government cables leaked by WikiLeaks admit "donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide." ..."
"... During the Cold War - and particularly during the Soviet war in Afghanistan throughout the 1980s - the U.S., hand-in-hand with Saudi Arabia, actively encouraged religious extremism. They stressed that socialist and communist movements were often atheistic, and pitted far-right religious fundamentalists against the secular leftists. The remnants of this policy are the extremist movements we see throughout the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia today. ..."
"... In order to decimate the left in the Cold War, the U.S. emboldened, armed and trained the extreme-right. The Frankenstein's monsters it created in the pursuit of this policy are the al-Qaedas and ISISes of the world. ..."
"... Saudi Arabia is truly a country that was created through Western imperialism. Before Roosevelt met with King Ibn Saud, Saudi Arabia was a relatively weak country with little global political influence. It was Western, and principally U.S., patronage that turned Saudi Arabia into what it is today. ..."
"... Women are essentially second-class citizens in Saudi Arabia. They are given nowhere near equal rights with men - who basically own their wives and daughters - and cannot travel without men accompanying them. Unemployment rates are skyrocketing among women, even though many are educated, and they were only just granted the right to vote in December 2015 - although they do not have any actual effectual politicians to vote for under an absolute monarchy. ..."
"... The U.S. will realize that there really is an easy way to stop terrorism: It will stop participating in it, and end its alliance with Saudi Arabia. ..."
"... "There was no 'overthrow.'" ..."
"... I've seen for myself the investments that Saudi Arabia has made in Kyrgyzstan to turn their Muslim majority into a destabilizing force. They pay for brand new Mosques with gleaming spires, and these are the locations where the local Muslims become radicalized and where guns, ammunition and explosives are held. ..."
"... one reason the usa government loves saudi is that the government activities enrich the officers of state. dubya not only promoted a war, he enriched his family with munitions contracts. look at the 'carlyle group.' ..."
"... It's no wonder the average Middle Easterner thinks the US is behind ISIS. ..."
www.salon.com

"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it." So advised world-renowned public intellectual Noam Chomsky, one of the most cited thinkers in human history.

The counsel may sound simple and intuitive - that's because it is. But when it comes to Saudi Arabia, the U.S. ignores it.

Saudi Arabia is the world's leading sponsor of Islamic extremism. It is also a close U.S. ally.

... ... ...

Saudi Arabia is a theocratic absolute monarchy that governs based on an extreme interpretation of Sharia (Islamic law). It is so extreme, it has been widely compared to ISIS. Algerian journalist Kamel Daoud characterized Saudi Arabia in an op-ed in The New York Times as "an ISIS that has made it."

"Black Daesh, white Daesh," Daoud wrote, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS. "The former slits throats, kills, stones, cuts off hands, destroys humanity's common heritage and despises archaeology, women and non-Muslims. The latter is better dressed and neater but does the same things. The Islamic State; Saudi Arabia."

"In its struggle against terrorism, the West wages war on one, but shakes hands with the other," Daoud continued. "This is a mechanism of denial, and denial has a price: preserving the famous strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia at the risk of forgetting that the kingdom also relies on an alliance with a religious clergy that produces, legitimizes, spreads, preaches and defends Wahhabism, the ultra-puritanical form of Islam that Daesh feeds on."

In the past few decades, the Saudi regime has spent an estimated $100 billion exporting its extremist interpretation of Islam worldwide. It infuses its fundamentalist ideology in the ostensible charity work it performs, often targeting poor Muslim communities in countries like Pakistan or places like refugee camps, where uneducated, indigent, oppressed people are more susceptible to it.

Whether elements within Saudi Arabia support ISIS is contested. Even if Saudi Arabia does not directly support or fund ISIS, however, Saudi Arabia gives legitimacy to the extremist ideology ISIS preaches.

What is not contested, on the other hand, is that Saudi elites in the business community and even segments of the royal family support extremist groups like al-Qaida. U.S. government cables leaked by WikiLeaks admit "donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide."

Supporters of the Saudi monarchy resist comparisons to ISIS. The regime itself threatened to sue social media users who compared it to ISIS. Apologists point out that ISIS and Saudi Arabia are enemies. This is indeed true. But this is not necessarily because they are ideologically different (they are similar) but rather because they threaten each other's power.

There can only be one autocrat in an autocratic system; ISIS' self-proclaimed Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi refuses to kowtow to present Saudi King Salman, and vice-versa. After all, the Saudi absolute monarch partially justifies his rule through claiming that it has been blessed and ordained by God, and if ISIS' caliph insists the same, they can't both be right.

Some American politicians have criticized the U.S.-Saudi relationship for these very reasons. Former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham has been perhaps the most outspoken critic. Graham has called extremist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda "a product of Saudi ideals, Saudi money and Saudi organizational support."

... ... ...

Sen. Graham has nevertheless insisted that the possibility that elements of the Saudi royal family supported the 9/11 attackers should not be ruled out. In his 2004 book "Intelligence Matters: The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia, and the Failure of America's War on Terror," Graham further argued these points, from his background within the U.S. government.

The independent, non-partisan Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania has detailed the allegations and possible evidence - or lack thereof - of Saudi ties to the 9/11 attacks on its website FactCheck.org.

Whatever its role, what is clear is that Saudi Arabia's support for violent extremist groups is well documented. Such support continues to this very day. In Syria, the Saudi monarchy has backed al-Nusra, al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate. The U.S. government has bombed al-Nusra, but its ally Saudi Arabia is funding it.

Yet despite its brutality and support for extremism, the U.S. considers the Saudi monarchy a "close ally." The State Department calls Saudi Arabia "a strong partner in regional security and counterterrorism efforts, providing military, diplomatic, and financial cooperation." It stated in September 2015 it "welcomed" the appointment of Saudi Arabia to the head of a U.N. human rights panel. "We're close allies," the State Department remarked.

... ... ...

During the Cold War - and particularly during the Soviet war in Afghanistan throughout the 1980s - the U.S., hand-in-hand with Saudi Arabia, actively encouraged religious extremism. They stressed that socialist and communist movements were often atheistic, and pitted far-right religious fundamentalists against the secular leftists. The remnants of this policy are the extremist movements we see throughout the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia today.

In order to decimate the left in the Cold War, the U.S. emboldened, armed and trained the extreme-right. The Frankenstein's monsters it created in the pursuit of this policy are the al-Qaedas and ISISes of the world.

... ... ...

Saudi Arabia is truly a country that was created through Western imperialism. Before Roosevelt met with King Ibn Saud, Saudi Arabia was a relatively weak country with little global political influence. It was Western, and principally U.S., patronage that turned Saudi Arabia into what it is today.

The Saudi monarchy presents itself as modernized, yet it is still feudal in essence. There is almost no developed civil society in Saudi Arabia, because the regime has made all independent institutionalized forms of dissent illegal.

Women are essentially second-class citizens in Saudi Arabia. They are given nowhere near equal rights with men - who basically own their wives and daughters - and cannot travel without men accompanying them. Unemployment rates are skyrocketing among women, even though many are educated, and they were only just granted the right to vote in December 2015 - although they do not have any actual effectual politicians to vote for under an absolute monarchy.

... ... ...

If it is truly interested in stopping terrorism, then, the U.S. and the rest of the West will heed Chomsky's advice. The U.S. will realize that there really is an easy way to stop terrorism: It will stop participating in it, and end its alliance with Saudi Arabia.

Ben Norton is a politics staff writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton.

Publicola,

@RobertSF claims without evidence:

"There was no 'overthrow.'"

CIA documents directly contradict your claim.

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

CIA admits role in 1953 Iranian coup

Declassified documents describe in detail how US – with British help – engineered coup against Mohammad Mosaddeq

Monday 19 August 2013

The CIA has publicly admitted for the first time that it was behind the notorious 1953 coup against Iran's democratically elected prime minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, in documents that also show how the British government tried to block the release of information about its own involvement in his overthrow.

On the 60th anniversary of an event often invoked by Iranians as evidence of western meddling, the US national security archive at George Washington University published a series of declassified CIA documents.

"The military coup that overthrew Mosaddeq and his National Front cabinet was carried out under CIA direction as an act of US foreign policy, conceived and approved at the highest levels of government," reads a previously excised section of an internal CIA history titled The Battle for Iran.

The documents, published on the archive's website under freedom of information laws, describe in detail how the US – with British help – engineered the coup, codenamed TPAJAX by the CIA and Operation Boot by Britain's MI6...

Mosaddeq's overthrow, still given as a reason for the Iranian mistrust of British and American politicians, consolidated the Shah's rule for the next 26 years until the 1979 Islamic revolution. It was aimed at making sure the Iranian monarchy would safeguard the west's oil interests in the country.

The archived CIA documents include a draft internal history of the coup titled "Campaign to install a pro-western government in Iran", which defines the objective of the campaign as "through legal, or quasi-legal, methods to effect the fall of the Mosaddeq government; and to replace it with a pro-western government under the Shah's leadership with Zahedi as its prime minister".

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/19/cia-admits-role-1953-iranian-coup

(emphasis mine)

T Kosciuszko,

{The Nixon administration created a "Twin Pillars" Middle East policy, in which the U.S.-backed monarchies in Saudi Arabia and Iran were considered pillars of stability. In 1953, the CIA backed a coup that overthrew Iran's first and only democratically elected head of state, Mohammad Mosaddegh}

That is a rather odd correlation -- Mr. Nixon was inaugurated in 1973 -- 20 yrs after the CIA/MI6 (Mossad was likely lurking, too) toppled Mr. Mosaddegh.

The Nixon effect stems from Mr. Kissinger's amorous connection -- he made love to Saudi Arabia, and they had a child named Petro-$. It was the birth of the greatest financial con in Human history.

If one has a grasp of the nature of the Supreme Power behind that curtain, the events unfolding in the world right now, make much sense.

Helmey91,

I've seen for myself the investments that Saudi Arabia has made in Kyrgyzstan to turn their Muslim majority into a destabilizing force. They pay for brand new Mosques with gleaming spires, and these are the locations where the local Muslims become radicalized and where guns, ammunition and explosives are held.

They were successful in starting an armed revolution against of the Kyrgis government in 2010 in this otherwise peaceful country where Muslims and non-Muslims had coexisted for years in peace and harmony. (During my visit, I even had a Muslim business owner thank George Bush during my visit for our USAID support - I was shocked. Muslims are not the enemy. Extremists and authoritarian governments like SA are. They don't want the two cultures to mix.)

Saudi Arabia is by far the biggest opponent to peace in the Middle East.

al loomis,

one reason the usa government loves saudi is that the government activities enrich the officers of state. dubya not only promoted a war, he enriched his family with munitions contracts. look at the 'carlyle group.'

http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/NEW304A.html

asynchronicity,

It's no wonder the average Middle Easterner thinks the US is behind ISIS.

walkingmountain,

Until the problem of Saudi Arabia is solved, the problems in the Middle East will not be solved. We thought we could go in the back door by changing Iraq, but we only made things worse. Take away the oil and we would have invaded after 9/11.
The royal family is basically paying off the radicals to leave them, and their wealth, alone.

ELYDOG 5ptsFeatured

Americans have to accept that fact that the U.S. and other western governments prefer fundamentalism - which sells us oil - to democracy, socialism or Arab nationalism. It loves a good theocracy. These really are feudal regimes.

In Palestine, in Afghanistan, in Libya, in Iraq and now Syria, the U.S. and its allies have DIRECTLY funded Al Quada and its offshoots. Much of the weaponry sent from Libya to Syria for 'secular freedom fighters' ended up in the hands of Daesh. The U.S. has worked to crush partially secular regimes over and over again, even using the early Islamic Hamas fundamentalists in Palestine against the PLO, DFLP, PFLP etc. Before that they undermined Nasser, Mossedegh, and ANY left nationalists in sight.

All for oil. It is still the oil barons and the militarists that back the Saudis and this will not change until the US. government is undermined itself.

mwcarlton 5ptsFeatured

These issues are being debated over on MIchael Totten's web site.

http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/blog/michael-j-totten/saudi-iranian-eruption

For once I fear I am in full agreement with Ben Norton.

[Aug 05, 2016] Hillary on the USA nuclear weapon use

Notable quotes:
"... Because it does mean that they have to look very carefully at their society, because whatever stage of development they might be in their nuclear weapons program in the next 10 years during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them. ..."
"... The warmongering neocon woman gets a little careless in the second part of her statement, forgetting "nuclear" and reverting to the 2008 declaration. Worse, she says that even if they don't have nukes quite yet, an attack on Holy Israel means it's "glow-in-the-dark" time in Iran. ..."
"... It really is a tragic thing to be talking about. That's the way the Madeleine Albright ***** – the one who has declared that any woman who doesn't vote for Hillary will go to hell – put it when speaking of 500,000 dead Iraqi kids. Darned shame, but it had to be done. ..."
"... Just think of it – the First and the Last woman president. ..."
angrybearblog.com
Zachary Smith August 5, 2016 6:55 pm

Hillary 2008: "George Stephanopoulos: "Senator Clinton, would you [extend our deterrent to Israel]?"

Hillary Clinton: "Well, in fact … I think that we should be looking to create an umbrella of deterrence that goes much further than just Israel. Of course I would make it clear to the Iranians that an attack on Israel would incur massive retaliation from the United States, but I would do the same with other countries in the region."

Massive Retaliation has always had the meaning of a 'massive' nuclear attack.

Hillary 2016: "MR. CUOMO: Iran: some language recently. You said if Iran were to strike Israel, there would be a massive retaliation. Scary words. Does massive retaliation mean you'd go into Iran? You would bomb Iran? Is that what that's supposed to suggest?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, the question was if Iran were to launch a nuclear attack on Israel, what would our response be? And I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran. And I want them to understand that.

Because it does mean that they have to look very carefully at their society, because whatever stage of development they might be in their nuclear weapons program in the next 10 years during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them.

That's a terrible thing to say, but those people who run Iran need to understand that, because that perhaps will deter them from doing something that would be reckless, foolish, and tragic."

The warmongering neocon woman gets a little careless in the second part of her statement, forgetting "nuclear" and reverting to the 2008 declaration. Worse, she says that even if they don't have nukes quite yet, an attack on Holy Israel means it's "glow-in-the-dark" time in Iran.

It really is a tragic thing to be talking about. That's the way the Madeleine Albright ***** – the one who has declared that any woman who doesn't vote for Hillary will go to hell – put it when speaking of 500,000 dead Iraqi kids. Darned shame, but it had to be done.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2008/04/iran-a24.html

https://votesmart.org/public-statement/335164/abc-good-morning-america-transcript#.V6UUn5Ma3ow

But move on – it's the insane Trump who can't be trusted with nukes.

Don't even think about a possibility why Hillary might be so devoted to Israel. When she was in the Senate the woman went to a prayer breakfast with some of the most repulsive of the Conservative Republicans. Nobody at all is talking about Hillary's religion. If she is one of the Rapture types, her access to nukes would mean an End-Timer finally has a chance to force God to get off the pot and start with the Second Coming.

Just think of it – the First and the Last woman president.

likbez , August 5, 2016 11:29 pm

Hi Zachary,

> Just think of it – the First and the Last woman president.

You are right. She is a huge danger. Not only due to her frail health, age and history of blood clots. As Huma Abedin noted in her deposition, she often is "confused". Which means that she does not have "normal" level of situational awareness.

For some specialties like airplane pilots this is a death sentence. Unfortunately, if elected, she can take the country with her.

While the USSR existed, as bad as it was for people within its borders, it was a blessing for the people of the USA, as it kept the elite in check and frightful to behave in "natural, greedy and delusional "Masters of the Universe" way".

After the dissolution of the USSR and the "triumphal march" of neoliberalism, the US elite by-and-large lost the sense of self-preservation.

If you read what Hillary utters like "no fly zone" in Syria and other similar staff, to me this looks like a sign of madness, plain and simple. No reasonable politician should go of the cliff like that, if stakes are not extremely high.

And MSM try to sell her as a more reasonable politician then Trump. In reality she is like Kelvin absolute zero. You just can't go lower. The only hope is that she is a puppet and it does not matter what she utters.

But if we take her statements about Syria and Russia at face value, she is either dangerously ignorant or (more probably) is a female sociopath.

Like sociopaths she has no self-control, no sense of self-preservation, no boundaries.

So her arrogant and reckless behavior as for "getting rich quick" and with the private "bathroom" email server is a sign of more general and more dangerous tendency.

Neocons are still way too powerful. They dominate MSM and essentially dictate the agenda.

So we can only pray to God to spare us.

[Aug 05, 2016] https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jul/10/texas-older-women-politics-us-election#comments

Notable quotes:
"... Politically, the Reagan/Thatcher period broke the socially-democratic post-WWII consensus in favour of economic neo-liberalism, which became the new consensus... and once the Cold War was over, there was no real 'peace dividend' and the agreements for global free-trade/globalisation were struck. ..."
"... We weren't robbed. We gave our country away. Republics that operate in a Democratic manner cannot be left to themselves any more than one should leave a three-year-old child alone...but we did. ..."
"... Is the middle class disappearing? Since the middle class is the majority, one has to ask why. Why is the majority population of the United States slipping into "Lower Class" status? Simple: the Majority allowed it to happen by not saying "No!" often enough. ..."
"... Our government here in the United States is a wonder, a thing of genius passed down from the Founders (most of whom would be on "Do not Fly" lists today). ..."
"... Politics: policies are never discussed in detail in ANY election. The WHAT, HOW, WHERE, WHEN, WHY and COST is never provided in detail by the politicians. Every thing in the politicians mind is open ended, and may or may not be adopted, considered, or maybe a totally different thing than what they were elected for. ..."
"... WWII's impact on media tended to paper over many of the differences and tensions that have been present in American life. Aside from the period during WWII and in the few decades after, vitriol has been the norm in U.S. media going back to the 1790s. The idea of a media culture that was objective and bipartisan is a newer idea. ..."
"... Noam Chomsky talked about this in "The Corporation." Our division and increased level of emotional isolation is a direct result of marketing attacks on the human psyche designed to get us to buy more products and services. ..."
"... While some may fantasize about a society run by women, what we know from experience is that women in power act and speak just like men, that is, they also act solely in their own parochial personal political interest and say whatever is necessary to win their next election. ..."
"... Civility and all the claims about it are largely the reason the abominable Reagan era free market economics have shattered the U.S. Economy. ..."
"... Much the better to forget civility in the face of bankster monsters who have worked to destroy the English speaking world and everyone else in it. Civilty is just plain crap in the face of the policies of neoliberalism. ..."
www.theguardian.com
Reddenbluesy , 2016-07-10 14:13:37
I suspect we're seeing the consequences of two events... one political, the other financial (heavily determined by the political, which happened first).

Politically, the Reagan/Thatcher period broke the socially-democratic post-WWII consensus in favour of economic neo-liberalism, which became the new consensus... and once the Cold War was over, there was no real 'peace dividend' and the agreements for global free-trade/globalisation were struck.

That lead to the banking crisis/collapse in 2008, and to the 'solution' whereby most governments imposed 'austerity' and debt on ordinary people to keep most of the bankers 'functional' and 'solvent' ...and not only were the bankers not adequately regulated to curtail their activities, but they carried on paying themselves mega-currency bonuses for using taxpayer guarantees to rescue their dysfunctional businesses.

As the UK-EU Referendum result has proved, populist politicians spouting bullsh*t can succeed in this environment; especially when 'decent politicians' abdicate their responsibilities.

Kyllein MacKellerann , 2016-07-10 19:13:38
Here in the U.S. we're learning that we've created a monster by essentially doing nothing. While the Police turned themselves into "Occupying Forces" who "Enforced the laws on a resistant populace" and created a poisonous "Us vs. Them" situation...we were watching game shows. As the Elites in the government crafted laws to protect themselves from the civil laws that govern the rest of us, we were obsessing over soap operas. As fellow citizens were targeted on account of race, nationality, or language, we were busy with planning our vacations and where to spend them.

We weren't robbed. We gave our country away. Republics that operate in a Democratic manner cannot be left to themselves any more