Populism as a social protest against neoliberalism

Why is populism (aka anti-establishment "Popular Front" strategy) booming? 
Because neoliberalism is collapsing...

 

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Why is populism booming?  Because neoliberalism is collapsing...

Guardian comment 29 Nov 2018 12:13
 

Populism is a term used instead of the term "mass social protest" and it is advanced be neoliberal propagandists and neoliberal MSM in their attempt to smear the rejection of neoliberalism by the vast swats of the US population.  It means the legitimization of the ruling elite, with such typical charges as corruption, the control of government by financial oligarchy and suppression of wages.  This derogatory meaning of the term "populism"  is an important part of the neoliberal propaganda arsenal, an effective delegitimization dirty trick, similar to "conspiracy theorists" and the "truther".  It was invented by those weasels (which is actually affront to weasels ;-) as a substitute for “social protest” in order to discredit the whole idea of revolt against the neoliberal elite. The revolt against ruling elite, who lost its legitimacy,  has been a part of human history for centuries; in 2016 in the USA it took the form of the election of Trump, which signified the crushing political fiasco of the establishment neoliberal candidate -- Hillary Clinton. 

Rise of social protest (aka "populism") first of all signify loss of the legitimacy of the ruling elite and in modern time discreditation of the current ideology of the ruling party (in case of the USA this is neoliberalism, which as an ideology became dead in 2008. ) Charges of the elite corruption is just a tip of the iceberg in complex process of the loss of legitimacy. Nasty jokes about members of ruling elite (for example, about Clinton sexapades  or Bolton warmongering) and rumors  are two another common factors Rumors ( aka "fake news" in the neoliberal NewSpeak) should be viewed as an improvised news and their proliferation is an important  sign of loss of credibility of the official propaganda channel -- in our case the neoliberal MSM. 

All-in-all we can talk about the creation of what is called "revolutionary situation" when the elite can't govern "as usual" and low and middle classes does not want to continue to live "as usual". Right now we can talk about the loss of legitimacy of the neoliberal ruling elite, which was demonstrated by the defeat of establishing candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016 elections. Trump who won the election proved to be a turncoat and betrayed most of his election promises but the fact remains.

By taking down  the most corrupt representatives in office, some measure that lessen to burden imposed by the neoliberalism and imperial overstretch on the US workers can be leaved. While this does not solve the problem as corruption is a systemic problem under neoliberalism is institualized via revolving doors policy deposing a corrupt congressman or two reliefs some social pressure.  Outside deposing Hillary Clinton, populism in the USA did not fare well in this regard, and such odious politicians as Debbie Wasserman-Schultz managed to be reelected (she was instrumental in pushing Bernie Sanders under then bus and fueling Russiagate hysteria ).  

The 1890s and early 1900s saw the establishment of the Populist and Progressive movements. Both were based on the people’s dissatisfaction with elite and robber barons, the capture of the government and its inability to deal effectively in addressing the problems of the day. During 1880's, workers drew together to form unions to negotiate for better working conditions, shorter hours, high wages. (Steel workers had to work 7 days/wk. Seamstresses worked 6 days/wk, 12 hours/day; no vacation or reimbursement for injuries suffered on the job, which happened quite frequently ). Factory working condition were bad. Dirty, poorly ventilated, unsafe, with almost 1K deaths due to work accidents a week nationwide. Low wages meant the whole family had to work full-time, including mothers and children (sweatshops made children work 14hrs/day). Women earned half as much as men. This situation when both wife and husband need to work to provide a decent standard of living for the family returned under neoliberalism in full force.

The supporters of both these movements had become especially outraged that moneyed special interest groups controlled government, and that the people had no ability to break this control. They soon began to propose a comprehensive platform of political reforms that included women’s suffrage, secret ballots, direct election of U.S.  The press which was not completely captured by the ruling financial oligarchy and intelligence agencies like is the case today played an important role in the movement.

muckraker: A reform-oriented investigative journalist during the Progressive Era. The muckrakers’ work called attention to the problems of the time, including poor industrial working conditions, poor urban living conditions, and unscrupulous business practices. Prominent muckrakers included novelist Upton Sinclair, photographer Jacob Riis, and journalists Ida M. Tarbell and Lincoln Steffens.

The Populists wanted to nationalize railroads, break up big trusts, and get rid of the gold standard, which restricted the money supply. They also advocated an eight-hour workday, women's suffrage, and a progressive income tax. In 1892 Populist presidential candidate James B. Weaver won 8.5 percent of the vote. This movement was the first  to argue for expanding the power of the federal government to serve the welfare of ordinary Americans.  In 1896 Democratic presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, who wanted to abolish the gold standard ( "You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold") was probably the most progressive candidate on this historical period. His speeches belong to the history's most famous speeches. He lost the election to Republican William McKinley but his ideas were deeply influenced the Democratic Party and became the foundation of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal. More radical versions also sprang up during the Depression, which saw the meteoric rise of Huey P. Long, who later was killed. He was a sworn enemy of oligarchs and corporate interests. In the depths of the Depression, Long's "Share Our Wealth" plan called for the federal government to confiscate the fortunes of anyone with more than $8 million in wealth to provide a $5,000 annual income ($71,450 in 2015 dollars) and health care for all American families. As governor, Long built thousands of miles of roads and improved education.

Later In the 1960s,  Alabama Gov. George Wallace, who was VP in Roosevelt administration but later dismissed by corporate forces in  favor of Truman also tried to rally voters on anti-corporatism platform. But at this point corporatism was already entrenched and intelligence agencies created by Truman (FBI, CIA and NSA) became an important factor in the USA political live (J. Edgar Hoover  systematically collected dirt of politicians even before formal establishment of FBI; JFK was killed in 1963, possibly with CIA active participation) so he lost.  Still his third-party presidential bid in 1968 drew 13.6% of the voters.

 

The 2008 financial crisis sparked an explosion of anger against Wall Street and Washington. With Sanders populism reentered the USA politics — his stump speeches would have played well in the 1890s. Please note that now the open revolt is impossible due to "National Security State" with its militarized police and  Total survellance

As MSM are totally controlled by neoliberals, the only viable forms of protest are alternative press, trade unions strikes and the voting booth. And neoliberal MSM try to hush down and discredit this anti-neoliberal sentiment among voters (which resulted in the election of Trump and Brexit in GB) linking it to "far right", xenophobia and anti-immigration sentiment.  (while simultaneously they do love far right in Ukraine, don't they; and any other places were far right dance to the tune from Washington). For example, Bloomberg presstitutes try to define this process strictly in anti-immigration and secular stagnation terms. They avoid mentioning the words neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization (Nationalists and Populists Poised to Dominate European Balloting - Bloomberg)

In the coming 12 months, four of Europe’s five largest economies have votes that will almost certainly mean serious gains for right-wing populists and nationalists. Once seen as fringe groups, France’s National Front, Italy’s Five Star Movement, and the Freedom Party in the Netherlands have attracted legions of followers by tapping discontent over immigration, terrorism, and feeble economic performance. “The Netherlands should again become a country of and for the Dutch people,” says Evert Davelaar, a Freedom Party backer who says immigrants don’t share “Western and Christian values.”

When neoliberal propagandists start using the word populism often that means that propaganda stopped working and people start waking up to the damage neoliberalism has done to societies. Emerging from decades of neoliberal brainwashing, working people class has not yet to realize the enormous task of dismantling neoliberal empire. We see only  opening moments of this unfolding struggle.

Wikipedia is especially bad (this is the case when it can really be called "CIA front" ;-):

Populism is a political ideology that holds that virtuous citizens are mistreated by a small circle of elites, who can be overthrown if the people recognize the danger and work together. Populism depicts elites as trampling on the rights, values, and voice of the legitimate people.[1]

The problem with Wikipedia definition is the people are always mistreated by the elite. That’s the essence of the elite rule. Most of the time they suffer quietly. Only when quantity turns into quality we have a vocal social protest. At this point people wake up to the level of mistreatment and abuse from the elite. While the level of degeneration of the elite prevents emergence of leaders able to cope with the challenges.  Under US neoliberal regime. since 80th social inequality in the USA has reached staggering proportions. Indeed, according to some reports, income inequality in the United States is greater than that which exists in Egypt and Tunisia befor they were spet in color revolutions (aka Arab spring). Of course the repressive apparatus in the USA is much stronger so open protest will be crushed (as quickly happened with the Occupy movement), but to control how people vote at the voting booth during 2016 presidential election is more difficult task. It requires rigging the election, to which Trump alluded several times.  The USA election are rigged by definition, as they do not have checks and balances, like international observers and  representative of both parties during counting process.  Also electronic machines used do not have the paper trail which is tremendous no-no. In general only paper ballots provides some level of verification of the process of counting the votes and usage of voting machines can be viewed as a voter suppression mechanism. 

Labeling social protest against neoliberalism as “populism” is one of the most dirty neoliberal propaganda tricks.

Labeling social protest against neoliberalism as “populism” is one of the most dirty neoliberal propaganda tricks.

And cries about “populism” signify the point when the elite loses part of the  control over previous obedient  “peons”. Propaganda and brainwashing suddenly stop working. As happened with neoliberal propaganda and brainwashing now. That signifies troubles for neoliberalism, troubles that actually started in 2008 (ideology is already dead, but social forces behind it are still strong, so it continues to exist in zombie state) and neoliberal globalization in particular. With secular stagnation, deterioration standards of living for 90% of population, widening social inequality, police brutality, ecological catastrophes, crumbling infrastructure,  and the growing threat of a new world war there is an emerging mass consensus that the great neoliberal experiment stared by Reagan and Thatcher has failed.

Note how Times has written about "color revolution" In Moscow in 2011-2012. Now this is fully applicable to the USA:

In short, 2011 was unlike any year since 1989—but more extraordinary, more global, more democratic, since in ’89 the regime disintegrations were all the result of a single disintegration at headquarters, one big switch pulled in Moscow that cut off the power throughout the system. So 2011 was unlike any year since 1968—but more consequential because more protesters have more skin in the game.

Their protests weren’t part of a countercultural pageant, as in ’68, and rapidly morphed into full-fledged rebellions, bringing down regimes and immediately changing the course of history. It was, in other words, unlike anything in any of our lifetimes, probably unlike any year since 1848, when one street protest in Paris blossomed into a three-day revolution that turned a monarchy into a republican democracy and then—within weeks, thanks in part to the new technologies (telegraphy, railroads, rotary printing presses)—inspired an unstoppable cascade of protest and insurrection in Munich, Berlin, Vienna, Milan, Venice and dozens of other places across Europe.

This discontent is the byproduct of the economic collapse of 2008. During the bubble years there was enough money trickling down to keep peons more or less happy, but now the global financial crisis and economic stagnation make them feel like suckers.

In 2016 the US ruling elite suddenly became aware of the danger from their own social isolation. They did not understand that outside the top 10%, there is the vast swats of working people, whose standard of living undergone an immense and unrelenting deterioration. The end of the USSR in 1991 unleashed an eruption of neoliberal triumphalism, which proclaimed that neoliberalism represents the permanent refutation of Bolshevism (which was true) and "the end of history". They were wrong with the second part as 35 years later that facede of neoliberalism is crumbling and the neoliberal elite is running for cover.

That means Neoliberal political leaders lose the legitimacy in the eyes of substantial strata of people, including the middle class. In other words the situation, which Marxism defines as a “revolutionary situation” arises ( http://www.marxist.com/greece-on-the-brink-of-revolutionary-situation.htm )

In the writings of Lenin and Trotsky, we can find the definition of what is a revolutionary situation. In his book “The failure of the Second International” (1916) Lenin explained:

“What, generally speaking, are the symptoms of a revolutionary situation? We shall certainly not be mistaken if we indicate the following three major symptoms: (1) when it is impossible for the ruling classes to maintain their rule without any change; when there is a crisis, in one form or another, among the “upper classes”, a crisis in the policy of the ruling class, leading to a fissure through which the discontent and indignation of the oppressed classes burst forth. For a revolution to take place, it is usually insufficient for “the lower classes not to want” to live in the old way; it is also necessary that “the upper classes should be unable” to live in the old way; (2) when the suffering and want of the oppressed classes have grown more acute than usual; (3) when, as a consequence of the above causes, there is a considerable increase in the activity of the masses, who uncomplainingly allow themselves to be robbed in “peace time”, but, in turbulent times, are drawn both by all the circumstances of the crisis and by the “upper classes” themselves into independent historical action.

“…..The totality of all these objective changes is called a revolutionary situation. Such a situation existed in 1905 in Russia, and in all revolutionary periods in the West;…”

Trotsky in 1940, in the Emergency Manifesto explained the necessary conditions for the victory of the proletariat:

“The basic conditions for the victory of the proletarian revolution have been established by historical experience and clarified theoretically: (1) the bourgeois impasse and the resulting confusion of the ruling class; (2) the sharp dissatisfaction and the striving towards decisive changes in the ranks of the petty bourgeoisie, without whose support the big bourgeoisie cannot maintain itself; (3) the consciousness of the intolerable situation and readiness for revolutionary actions in the ranks of the proletariat; (4) a clear program and a firm leadership of the proletarian vanguard—these are the four conditions for the victory of the proletarian revolution.” (Manifesto of the Fourth International on Imperialist War and the Imperialist War).

Also, at this point, the neoliberal elite itself became discredited. Attitude to Hillary is a clear indication that this is happening in the USA. People mostly despise her.

From The Guardian comments ( https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/oct/13/birth-of-populism-donald-trump?CMP=fb_us )

sniffmysmellysocks

‘Populism’ is a term used by the neoliberal elite to describe democracy as seen recently in the Brexit referendum.

Oldfranky

A very simple way to explain popularism:- A rise against the perceived norms in politics. In the case of the UK , a vote against the smug over confident career Oxbridge politician, who has not a clue of real life…

Earl_Grey

Call it what you want, but agree, the People are starting to wake up to the fact that they are being screwed. That can only mean one thing, time the Rich start a war that is big enough to distract the People and send a lot of them off to fight in it…

GodfreyRich

The metropolitan establishment have brought this on themselves by ignoring the interests of the British working class and by promoting multiculturalism over traditional British values.

MrHumbug

As I recall, F.D. Roosevelt was also widely branded as a “populist.” Populism is always a movement against the ruling elites on behalf of downtrodden and ignored majority. It is only incidental that modern populism has a “right wing” in aspect, for most of modern history it was decidedly left-leaning since the ruling paradigm of the elite was traditionally of the right variety.

And besides, I consider the whole left/right dichotomy completely out of date and useless in 21st century. We need new terms.


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[Jan 21, 2020] Warren is a political novice, and while she has sharp elbows she's extremely naive and makes blunder after blunder

Notable quotes:
"... I have no confidence in Elizabeth Warren "doing the right thing"; she might be susceptible to the pressure and to the ignominy attached to doing the disastrously wrong thing. ..."
"... *Donald Trump, for his part, is reportedly " privately obsessed " with Sanders, not, it seems, with Biden. ..."
"... From a recent episode of the Jimmy Dore Show, it's the cringe-worthy Warren "Selfie" Gimmick: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5JWIiVMj6g If this doesn't scream "political novice," I don't know what will. ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Jeff W , January 21, 2020 at 1:41 am

" if she does anything less than help elect the last and only progressive with a chance, she damages them both to Biden's benefit "

If Elizabeth Warren's candidacy becomes unviable, the pressure on her to combine her delegates with those of Sanders -- from those supporting Bernie Sanders and those legitimately concerned with Joe Biden's chances against Trump* -- will be enormous . And, if , instead, Warren helps nominate Biden and Biden then goes on to lose to Donald Trump -- as I'm all but certain he will -- it will be all too clear just who played a pivotal role in helping to make that match-up even possible.

I have no confidence in Elizabeth Warren "doing the right thing"; she might be susceptible to the pressure and to the ignominy attached to doing the disastrously wrong thing.

*Donald Trump, for his part, is reportedly " privately obsessed " with Sanders, not, it seems, with Biden.

rusti , January 21, 2020 at 2:07 am

In Sanders' case, his surge in the polls coincided with his emergence as the chief apologist for the Iranian regime. We needed to point out that he would be dangerous as president since he made clear he would appease terrorists and terror-sponsoring nations.

If this is really representative of a line of attack that the Trump campaign plans to use on him, that would be great. I can't imagine anything that would resonate less with voters. But I was a bit surprised to see this in a Bernie fundraising mail:

The wise course would have been to stick with that nuclear agreement, enforce its provisions, and use that diplomatic channel with Iran to address our other concerns with Iran, including their support of terrorism.

What groups are they referring to when they say this? Hezbollah, which is part of Parliament in Lebanon? Iraqi PMF that are loosely integrated with the Iraqi army?

Bill Carson , January 21, 2020 at 2:15 am

Yep, Warren is a political novice, and she's extremely naive. That Massachusetts senate seat was practically handed to her on a silver platter. She has no idea that she was played in '16 and she's being played now.

Arizona Slim , January 21, 2020 at 8:22 am

From a recent episode of the Jimmy Dore Show, it's the cringe-worthy Warren "Selfie" Gimmick: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5JWIiVMj6g If this doesn't scream "political novice," I don't know what will.

[Jan 21, 2020] Warren "Willingness to compromise" = willingness to give obeisance to most of exploitative corporate capitalism

She endorced Hillary in 2016. That tells a lot about her... Now she backstabbed Bernie. What's next?
Notable quotes:
"... Warren has a track record of lying: lied about her dad being a janitor, hers kids going to public school, getting fired for being pregnant, and obviously the Native American heritage. ..."
"... My gut is she is going to endorse Joe Biden and prob got a tease of VP or some other role and all she had to do was kamikaze into Bernie with this. It's backfiring but at this rate and given she's too deep into it now when she drops out she'll prob back Biden as she hasn't shown the integrity to back a guy like Berni. ..."
"... She's toxic now. No one will want her has VP. Sanders supporters despise her, she comes from a small, Democratic state and she's loaded with baggage. She brings nothing to a ticket. She torpedoed any hopes or plans she might have had in that regard. ..."
"... Bernie is labeled as a socialist. Actually he is a real Roosevelt democrat. ..."
"... The most impressive thing I have witnessed about Bernie is that he can extemporaneously recall and explain exactly why he voted as he did on every piece of legislation that he has cast a vote on. in. his. life. It is a remarkable talent. ..."
"... The outcome of the upcoming Iowa Caucus is too hard to predict. All the candidates are very close. Sanders needs to turnout young and working class voters to win. ..."
"... My impression is her supporters are mostly older, mostly female, and mostly centrist. Many want to elect a female pres before they die. Prior to the she said event her supporters second choice were split fairly evenly between Bernie and Biden but the latest fracas is driving her most progressive supporters to Bernie. ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Massinissa , January 21, 2020 at 12:49 pm

"Willingness to compromise" = willingness to give obeisance to most of exploitative corporate capitalism.

Amit Chokshi , January 21, 2020 at 5:52 am

Warren has a track record of lying: lied about her dad being a janitor, hers kids going to public school, getting fired for being pregnant, and obviously the Native American heritage.

As pointed here on NC she's great at grandstanding when bank CEOs are in front of her and doing nothing following that.

My gut is she is going to endorse Joe Biden and prob got a tease of VP or some other role and all she had to do was kamikaze into Bernie with this. It's backfiring but at this rate and given she's too deep into it now when she drops out she'll prob back Biden as she hasn't shown the integrity to back a guy like Berni.

Yves Smith Post author , January 21, 2020 at 5:57 am

I don't see how she is anyone's VP. She is too old. You want someone under 60, better 50, particularly for an old presidential candidate. Treasury Secretary is a more powerful position. The big appeal of being VP is maybe it positions you later to be President but that last worked out for Bush the Senior.

Arizona Slim , January 21, 2020 at 8:24 am

And Bush the Senior lost his re-election bid.

pebird , January 21, 2020 at 9:41 am

Because he asked us to read his lips. And he didn't think we were lip readers.

Oh , January 21, 2020 at 10:57 am

She may be looking to be the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture. /s

Sue E Greenwald , January 21, 2020 at 8:19 am

She's toxic now. No one will want her has VP. Sanders supporters despise her, she comes from a small, Democratic state and she's loaded with baggage. She brings nothing to a ticket. She torpedoed any hopes or plans she might have had in that regard.

jackiebass , January 21, 2020 at 6:40 am

I've watched Bernie for years. Even long before he decided to run for president. He is the same today as he was then. Bernie isn't afraid to advocate for something , even though he will get a lot of backlash. I also believe he is sincere in his convictions. If he says something he believes in it.Something you can't say for the other candidates. Bernie is by far my first choice.

After that it would be Warren. Bernie is labeled as a socialist. Actually he is a real Roosevelt democrat. As a life long democrat, I can't support or vote for a Wall Street candidate. Unlike one of the other commenters, I will never vote for Trump but instead wold vote for a third party candidate. Unfortunate the DNC will do anything to prevent Bernie from being candidate. Progressive democrats need to get out and support a progressive or the nomination will again be stolen by a what I call a light republican.

Robert Hahl , January 21, 2020 at 7:26 am

What is great about Bernie is that he is so sure-footed. It was visible in the hot-mic trap Warren set for him where she got nothing, it actually hurt her.

Anonymous Coward , January 21, 2020 at 3:05 pm

The most impressive thing I have witnessed about Bernie is that he can extemporaneously recall and explain exactly why he voted as he did on every piece of legislation that he has cast a vote on. in. his. life. It is a remarkable talent.

Howard , January 21, 2020 at 6:48 am

The outcome of the upcoming Iowa Caucus is too hard to predict. All the candidates are very close. Sanders needs to turnout young and working class voters to win. By many reports, Warren has an excellent ground game in IA and The NY Times endorsement has given a path for her to pick up Klobuchar voters after round one of the caucus.

Biden is a mystery to me. How the heck is he even running. Obama pleaded with him not to. That being said, it wouldn't surprise me if he finishes in the top two. Buttigieg is the wild card. I think the "electability" argument will hurt him as he can't win after NH.

ALM , January 21, 2020 at 7:51 am

According to a recent poll, Elizabeth Warren is one of the most unpopular senators with voters in her own state as measured against approval rates of all other senators in their states. I find this very surprising for someone with a national profile. What do voters in Massachusetts not like about her?

As for me, I find it more and more difficult to trust Warren because she takes the bait and yields to pressure during a primary when the pressure to back down, moderate, and abandon once championed policy positions and principles is a great deal less than it is during the general election. Warren has gone from Medicare4All to a public option to, in the recent debate, tweaks to the ACA. Despite her roll-out of an ambitious $10 trillion Green New Deal plan, Warren is now to the right of Chuck "Wall Street" Schumer as evidenced by her support of NAFTA 2.0 which utterly fails to address climate change. WTF! Where will she be during a general election?

And her political instincts are awful as recently demonstrated by her woke, badly executed girl power attack against a candidate who has been a committed feminist for his entire political career.

Another Scott , January 21, 2020 at 9:18 am

She also has horrible constituent service. I had an issue with a federal student loan a few years ago (I believe it was the servicer depositing money but not crediting my account and charging me interest and late fees). After getting nowhere with the company, I tried calling her office, figuring that as this was one of her core issues, I would get some response, either help or at least someone who would want to record what happened to her actual constituent. I didn't hear back for about a month, by which time I had resolved the issue – no fees or additional interest through multiple phone calls and emails.

In other words, Elizabeth Warren's constituent service is worse than Sallie Mae's.

T , January 21, 2020 at 9:31 am

The stupid Ponds cold cream lie is the worst. Unless she teed up the "how do you look so young!" question , the corrected answer is to point out the nonsense of talking about a candidates looks and addressing actual sexism.

Instead she has a goofball answer about only using Ponds cold cream which lead to Derm pointing out her alleged method was not good advice and also pointing out that she appears to have used botex and fillers, which I don't think people were talking about before then, in public.

The most generous explanation is she was caught flat-footed and, once again, showed she has terrible instincts.

Just a dumb dumb move.

Stefan , January 21, 2020 at 8:43 am

If Bernie Sanders can get it through the thick noggin of the nation that he stands for and will implement the principles, policies, and values of the New Deal–the attitude that got us through the Great Depression and Wotld War II–he has every chance of being elected the next President of the United States.

Stefan , January 21, 2020 at 8:47 am

Btw, is Inauguration Day just a year away?

The Rev Kev , January 21, 2020 at 9:02 am

Google says Wednesday Jan 20, 2021: Swearing-In Ceremony. And here is a countdown page-

https://days.to/when-is/us-presidential-inauguration/2021

Trust me. By the time it comes around you won't care who gets sworn in as you will just be glad that all the vicious, wretched skullduggery of this year's elections will finally be over.

Pat , January 21, 2020 at 11:11 am

And hoping you get one day of rest before the vicious, wretched skullduggery of undermining the desires of the American people gets started. Obviously Sanders will make the Trump years look a cake walk. Anyone else (Democrat or Trump) we will see lots of 'working for' and 'resistance' type memes while largely doing nothing of the sort, but a whole lot of 'bipartisan' passage of terrible things.

Samuel Conner , January 21, 2020 at 10:25 am

It sounds like Sanders, in the famous 2018 conversation, may have been trying to politely encourage EW to not run in 2020. Her moment was 2016 and she declined to run then when a Progressive candidate was needed. Her run in 2020 to some extent divides the Progressive vote. EW interpreted, perhaps intentionally, Sanders' words to imply that he thinks "no woman can win in 2020", and then weaponized them against him.

The very fact that she is running at all suggests to me that she is not at heart a Progressive and in fact does not want a Progressive candidate to win. If she had run in 2016, Sanders would not have run in order to not divide the Progressive vote. EW knew that Sanders would run in 2020 and planned to run anyway. It is hard for me to not interpret this to be an intentional bid for some of the Progressive vote, in order to hold Sanders down.

Anon , January 21, 2020 at 11:59 am

I agree. She decides to do things based on her own self-interest, and uses progressives as pawns to work her way up in DC. My guess is that Warren chickened out in 2016 and didn't run because maybe she didn't think she had a chance against the Clintons. When Warren saw how well Sanders did against Clinton, how close he was at winning, I think only then she decided that 2020 was a good chance for a progressive, or someone running as a progressive candidate, to win the nomination.

She saw how Sanders had fired up loyal progressive support in the Democratic Party. She chickened out back then when she could have endorsed Bernie in '16, but chose not to, probably hoping not to burn bridges with Clinton in order to get a plum role in her administration. Her non-endorsement in '16 worries me because it shows once again that Warren makes decisions largely based on what is good for her career, not what she thinks is better for the country (if she really is the progressive she claims to be).

Knowing that there was now a strong progressive base ready to vote for a candidate left of Democratic candidates like Biden and Clinton, Warren saw her entry into having a good chance at winning the presidency. Rather than thinking about the implications for Bernie and the possibility of dividing left-wing voters, her desire to become president was more important. Remember, this is exactly what Bernie did not do in 2016 when he urged Warren to run, and was willing to step aside, if she had agreed to do so.

If I had been in Sanders position, I probably would have sat down and talked to Warren about the serious implications of the both of them running in 2020. How he had hoped to build on the momentum from his last campaign and the sexism that was used against Clinton in 2016. Hey, if I had been Sanders, I probably would have told Warren not to run. Not because she's a woman, but because it would have been obvious to Bernie that with Warren running alongside him, they would both end up splitting the progressive vote.

What is happening now between the two of them should have been no surprise to either Bernie or Warren. They are both popular among Democrats who identify as progressive or left-of-center. Democrats will always find a way to shoot themselves in the foot. And I agree that when it becomes evident that one of them cannot win, either Bernie or Warren must step aside for the good of the country and fully back the other. There is no other option if either of them truly wants the other to win the nomination rather than Biden. I'm hoping that Warren will do so since it is becoming more clear that Sanders is the stronger progressive and the stronger candidate who has a better chance at beating both Biden and Trump.

Lambert Strether , January 21, 2020 at 3:37 pm

> "no woman can win in 2020"

The claim was "no woman can win." It was not qualified in any way.

landline , January 21, 2020 at 10:34 am

If sheepdog St. Bernard Sanders begins to look like the presumptive nominee, look for a new candidate to throw her hat into the ring. Her name: Michelle Obama.

Lambert Strether , January 21, 2020 at 3:42 pm

> sheepdog St. Bernard Sanders

I'm so sick of that sheepdog meme (originated by, much as a respect BAR, by a GP activist bitter, I would say, over many years of GP ineffectuality). The elites seem to be pretty nervous about a sheepdog.

pretzelattack , January 21, 2020 at 3:52 pm

if he were a sheepdog, why would the shepherds have to intervene? they wouldn't.

Lee , January 21, 2020 at 10:51 am

And now we have Sanders apologizing for an op-ed in the Guardian by Zephyr Teachout accusing Biden of corruption.

The op-ed simply says what Sanders has said all along, the system is corrupted by big donors. Then she explicitly states the obvious, which Sanders won't at this point say but that Trump certainly will: Biden is a prime example of serving his donors' interests to the detriment of most of the rest of us. Sanders subsequently apologizes for Teachout's baldly true assertion, stating that he doesn't believe that Biden is corrupt.

I guess we're meant to draw a clear distinction between legalized and illegal corruption. I don't know. They both look like ducks to me.

Oh , January 21, 2020 at 11:05 am

Sometimes it's better for Bernie to keep his mouth shut.

Samuel Conner , January 21, 2020 at 11:07 am

I have read that Sanders is the #2 choice of many Iowans who favor JB; it makes a lot of sense for him to not "go negative" on JB in the run-up to the caucuses.

There will be time for plainer speaking. Sanders has been clear about his views on the corrupting influence of corporate money in politics. JB is exhibit #1 within the D primary field and there will be plenty of opportunity to note that.

I suspect that there is a great deal of "method" in what may look to us like "madness" in the Senator's civility.

Samuel Conner , January 21, 2020 at 11:18 am

To put it another way, I doubt very much that Sanders believes that JB's legislative agendas were not significantly influenced by the sources of his campaign funds. And I'm sure that attention will be drawn to this at the right time.

One can charitably affirm that one believes that JB is not a consciously corrupt , pay-for-play, kind of person, while also affirming that of course he has been influenced by the powerful interests that have funded his career, and that this has not served the interests of the American people. All in due course.

jrs , January 21, 2020 at 12:37 pm

The thing is Warren would make the right argument here: that it's the system that is corrupted, and make it well. Too bad she has shown so completely that can't be trusted as a person, because she often looks good on paper

inode_buddha , January 21, 2020 at 1:37 pm

I think Warren misses the key point that the reason why the system is corrupted is because the players in it are corrupted. They can be bought and sold. That is why they have no shame.

Lambert Strether , January 21, 2020 at 3:43 pm

> The thing is Warren would make the right argument here: that it's the system that is corrupted

That's not the right answer at all. The climate crisis, for example, is not caused by a lack of transparency in the oil industry. It is caused by capital allocation decisions by the billionaire class and their servicers in subaltern classes.

urblintz , January 21, 2020 at 11:12 am

"The real game changer around here, though, might be Iowa State University's decision, after years of pressure, to issue new student IDs, enabling 35,000 students to vote, even under Iowa's restrictive new voter-ID law. That's a progressive victory, and in a different media universe, it would be a story even juicier than a handshake." Iowa is not the Twittersphere – Laura Flanders

https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/01/21/iowa-is-not-the-twitterverse/

ptb , January 21, 2020 at 11:23 am

Thanks for giving this the attention it needs, analysis of the primary has been too light on estimation of delegate numbers and strategy.

Prior to Warren's apparent turn to some new direction, the setup for a 3way DNC with a progressive "coalition" was not only conceivable, but actually expected from the polls.

We are on pace for Sanders+Warren's combined delegate total to exceed Biden by a healthy amount (say 4:3) with all others falling below 15% state by state and getting few or no delegates. Obviously subject to snowballing in either direction, but that's the polls now and for most of the past year.

Warren's attack on Sanders, and NYT endorsement, say the national party doesn't expect any such coalition. Therefore Warren has made her choice. That's that.

The path to winning the Dem primary is a little narrower for Sanders, and also for Biden, since he seems to lack the confidence of his the top strata. The DNC screws a lot up but they know how to read polls. I'm pretty sure that running Warren in the General is not their plan A.

Voters in Iowa and the early states (incl. TX and CA) look like they will be deciding it all this year. The tremendous enthusiasm of Sanders followers gives him, IMO, the best ground game of the three. Will be an interesting 6 weeks.

jrs , January 21, 2020 at 12:40 pm

Running Warren in the general might be their plan A. They may not want to win. Of course they might rather have Klobuchar but

Hepativore , January 21, 2020 at 12:52 pm

I do not even trust Warren to hand any delegates she gets to Sanders at this point. Because her campaign staff is so full of Clintonites and neoliberals, she might give them to Biden instead.

She seems to have gone full establishment at this point.

Lambert Strether , January 21, 2020 at 3:39 pm

> I do not even trust Warren to hand any delegates she gets to Sanders at this point. Because her campaign staff is so full of Clintonites and neoliberals, she might give them to Biden instead.

Correct.

ambrit , January 21, 2020 at 1:10 pm

The youngish rehab therapist, a woman, said this morning that of the women running, she likes Klobuchar. "If only her voice wasn't so screechy. And I'm saying this as a woman." She was seriously disturbed by Clinton's attack on Sanders.
Several neighbors are leaning towards Yang.

John k , January 21, 2020 at 1:14 pm

The value of her endorsement

My impression is her supporters are mostly older, mostly female, and mostly centrist. Many want to elect a female pres before they die. Prior to the she said event her supporters second choice were split fairly evenly between Bernie and Biden but the latest fracas is driving her most progressive supporters to Bernie.

This means most of those remaining will probably migrate to Biden if when she drops out even if she recommends Bernie. (If 1/3 of her supporters that had Bernie as their second choice switch to Bernie, then 60% of her remaining supporters have Biden as their second choice.)

2016 was different, Clinton already had the older females. But there was a period where just a little support might have tipped the scale in what was a very tight race.

Anyway, I see going forward she will be mostly holding supporters whose second choice is Biden even as she maybe doesn't reach the 15% barrier
and same with Amy. So I hope they both stay in at least until super tue.

And While I previously thought she was a reasonable choice for veep, I now realize she'd be an awful choice. Maybe treasury if she does endorse which she will do if Bernie looks a winner.

worldblee , January 21, 2020 at 1:35 pm

How can anyone be surprised at the lack of trustworthiness from a politician who chose to endorse Clinton in 2016 rather than Bernie? Warren has been playing the DNC game for a long time now, which ideologically is in line with her lifelong Republican stance before changing to the more demographically favorable party when she was 47. She's not progressive now, and never has been or will be.

[Jan 21, 2020] Warren is a "damaged goods" now: the corporate press has gone all-in on Warren. She simply MUST be a political whore, like Obama, or Hilary/Bill Clinton.

Notable quotes:
"... Bottom line: the corporate press has gone all-in on Warren. ..."
"... I deprecate the comparison, as insulting to wh0res. See at NC here. ..."
"... "She simply MUST be a mercenary, like Obama; might be more apt. ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Both campaigns are backing away from greater public conflict. Whether that holds true in the long run is anyone's guess, but my guess is that it will. Still, the following is clear:

So far, in other words, most of the damage has been borne by Warren as a result of the incident. She may recover, but this could also end her candidacy by accelerating a decline that started with public reaction to her recent stand on Medicare For All. None of this is certain to continue, but these are the trends.

... ... ...

But if Warren's candidacy becomes unviable, as it seems it might -- and if the goal of both camps is truly to defeat Joe Biden -- it's incumbent on Warren to drop out and endorse her "friend and ally" Bernie Sanders as soon as it's clear she can no longer win . (The same is true if Sanders becomes unviable, though that seems much less likely.)

Ms. Warren can do whatever she wants, certainly. But if she does anything less than help elect the last and only progressive with a chance, she damages them both to Biden's benefit, and frankly, helps nominate Biden. She has the right to do that, but not to claim at the same time that she's working to further the progressive movement.


TG , January 21, 2020 at 12:19 am

Bottom line: the corporate press has gone all-in on Warren. She simply MUST be a whore, like Obama, or Hilary/Bill Clinton. If Warren were a real progressive, the big money would never go for her like this.

I will vote for Bernie Sanders. But I will vote for Trump over Warren. Better the moron and agent of chaos that you know, than the calculating vicious backstabber that you don't.

Lambert Strether , January 21, 2020 at 3:26 am

> She simply MUST be a wh0re,

I deprecate the comparison, as insulting to wh0res. See at NC here.

Phillip Allen , January 21, 2020 at 6:48 am

"She simply MUST be a mercenary, like Obama; might be more apt.

Lee , January 21, 2020 at 8:26 am

I favor the term "corporate lickspittle".

russell1200 , January 21, 2020 at 8:47 am

She's got the Clinton's and now Obama folks behind her.

I doubt they are thrilled with her, but probably view as someone they can work with and the other options are worse or too low in the poll numbers. I assume Buttigieg is fine with them, but his numbers are stuck.

doug , January 21, 2020 at 11:28 am

https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/21/politics/hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders-documentary/index.html

You are so right. Hillary says she will not support him if the nominee. Gloves are off. I hope the Sanders campaign has some Karl Rove types .

Amfortas the hippie , January 21, 2020 at 1:54 pm

from the sidebar of that link: https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/21/politics/hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders-2020/index.html

from cilizza, no less. that Hilary speaking thusly is actually good for sanders.

False Solace , January 21, 2020 at 11:17 am

Personally I cannot consider voting for a drone murderer like Trump, who cozies up to the Saudis and has tried to cut SS and Medicare. He's shown what he is, just as Warren has. We'll never get M4A from either one of them.

If it's not Bernie I'm voting Green. I live in a blue state that almost went for Trump last time – my vote potentially matters and will serve as a signal. Voting for the lesser murderous corporatist scum is what got us into this mess. I'm over it. I will not vote for evil.

HotFlash , January 21, 2020 at 3:49 pm

In 2016 I might just have voted for Trump, as a middle finger to the Dem establishment that crowned HRH HRC, since at that time he had not committed any war crimes. But now, no way. One of my unshakeable principles is that I will not vote for a war criminal. Green , write-in, or leave the Pres slot blank. But I hope and pray (and I'm an atheist!) that it doesn't come to this. We really don't have another 4 years to waste on this, the earth can't wait.

Anon , January 21, 2020 at 12:41 am

It's very unfortunate that it has come to this, but I've always been uneasy about Warren. This incident and her accusations against Bernie solidified my suspicions about her. Her being a Republican until her late 40s, her lies about sending her child to public school, her lies about her father being a janitor, her plagiarized cookbook recipes, and claiming to be Native American. It's all so bizarre to me and for a while I had believed her to have a personality disorder that caused compulsive lying. I wanted to feel good about my vote for Warren, but now? If she wins the nomination I'll hold my nose and vote for her, but I don't trust her to not sell out to the neoliberal wing of the Democratic Party. I also don't trust her to endorse Bernie if she drops out before the convention. She didn't endorse him in '16, so what makes progressives think she'll do so this time. It would not surprise me in the least if she endorsed Biden or agrees to be his running mate.

Lambert Strether , January 21, 2020 at 3:27 am

Warren is not agreement-capable. Much as it pains me to say this, the Obama administration was correct to hold her at arm's length.

Adding, that doesn't mean that Sanders can't negotiate with her, if that must be done (to defeat Trump). But any such negotiations cannot proceed on a basis of trust.

JohnnyGL , January 21, 2020 at 8:13 am

The most generous interpretation i can come up with is that i's possible she told the story to several of her clintonite staffers in confidence. Those staffers went to CNN and forced her to stand by her story, even if she didn't want to go public, because she was threatened with staffers calling her a liar.

She might have been mad at Bernie for not bailing her out.

This version, which i don't believe, but consider it possible (not plausible) would be arguably as bad because her staffers got the upper hand and pushed her around.

John Wright , January 21, 2020 at 10:17 am

Warren could have said something to the effect that

"Bernie and I had a private conversation and I believe he suggested that electing a woman president in the USA would be difficult."

"Unfortunately, I mentioned this private conversation to some staffers, who apparently mentioned this to the press."

"This does not mean that I believe Bernie to be sexist."

"I appreciate opinions and advice from someone as experienced as Bernie."

"I want others to know that, private advice supplied to me by anyone will be treated as private information, not to be divulged to the press."

"The staffer responsible for passing this information to the press has been released from the campaign."

"I apologize to Bernie for allowing this to happen."

Reply

jrs , January 21, 2020 at 12:29 pm

The problem is the country has become so irrational and susceptible to soundbites and twitter shame and etc. that you can't even say "electing a women president would be difficult" which might be true, or it becomes like Hillary's deplorable remark, we all know it's true some Trump supporters fit the description, but it gets taken way out of context and exaggerated beyond all recognition.

Reply

Oh , January 21, 2020 at 10:26 am

The "invisible hand" of the Clinton Staffers then forced her not to shake Bernie's hand, I take it.

Reply

jrs , January 21, 2020 at 12:25 pm

She didn't even have to deny it. Should could have just been "That was a private conversation, I will not go into what was said in private. Bernie is a good friend of mine, who has supported women candidates on many occasions".

Reply

none , January 21, 2020 at 12:46 am

Warren will never endorse Bernie. She is not a progressive and the Republican in her is back in operation. But, there is a new Jeep named after her:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EOuTYRlXsAg151I.jpg

Reply

Henry Moon Pie , January 21, 2020 at 1:41 am

But we already had the Tin Lizzie.

Reply

ambrit , January 21, 2020 at 6:30 am

I can't resist.
What we have here is an old fashioned "Lizzie-Faire Capitalist."

Reply

[Jan 21, 2020] Tulsi Gabbard and Rigged Elections by Kurt Nimmo

Notable quotes:
"... Tulsi is spot on about the "debates," which are nothing of the sort. Indeed, they are a form of televised bread and circuses -- bread because most Americans receive some kind of support from the government, and a circus because all circuses are comical, theatrical, and well-scripted. ..."
"... Elizabeth Warren will be unable to break the corporate stranglehold on America. It is pure insanity to believe otherwise. The Democrat and Republican parties -- one party disguised as two -- will not savage corporations with taxation and redoubled punitive regulation, not if they wish to remain in Congress and receive money to run obscenely expensive campaigns. ..."
"... It will take more than a "debate" boycott to send the message. It will take a revolution to finally drain Trump's swamp, end the endless wars, and force transnational corporations and foreign governments (most egregiously Israel) out of the bed they have shared for so long with our "representatives," who are largely nothing more than self-seeking sociopaths on short leashes ..."
"... Kurt Nimmo writes on his blog, Another Day in the Empire, where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research. ..."
Oct 11, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

Tulsi Gabbard , who has at best minimal support by Democrats (around one percent), and zero from the corporate DNC, posted the following video earlier today.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/dPcGFjyGxI4

There are so many of you who I've met in Iowa and New Hampshire who have expressed to me how frustrated you are that the DNC and corporate media are essentially trying to usurp your role as voters in choosing who our Democratic nominee will be.

This, of course, is nothing new, but thanks to Tulsi for reminding us of how "elections" are conducted. In fact, the state long ago corrupted the process and has selected candidates for long as anybody can remember.

How is it possible a cognitively challenged and corrupt hack like Joe Biden is number one in the running -- or was until Elizabeth Warren took that spot away from him? It's possible because Biden is a trusted asset eager to do whatever he is told, same as Obama, Bush the lesser, Clinton (a "brother by another mother"), Bush the elder, Reagan on and on, down the line. Like Hillary Clinton, the Democrat establishment believes it is Biden's "turn" to read the teleprompter. All the others, well, they're spoilers.

They are attempting to replace the roles of voters in the early states, using polling and other arbitrary methods which are not transparent or democratic, and holding so-called debates which are not debates at all but rather commercialized reality television meant to entertain, not inform or enlighten.

That replacement happened decades ago. Trump won the election because our rulers left the election process intact, arrogantly confident their handpicked candidates will win because only those who have come up through the system are permitted to run. It's left intact as a public relations gimmick designed to fool the proles who are, regrettably, all too easy to control -- or were until Trump appeared on the scene.

Just Rumors or Is Hillary Clinton Seriously Considering Another Run for U.S. President in 2020?

Tulsi is spot on about the "debates," which are nothing of the sort. Indeed, they are a form of televised bread and circuses -- bread because most Americans receive some kind of support from the government, and a circus because all circuses are comical, theatrical, and well-scripted.

As for being informed, that's the last thing the ruling elite want. They have us believe in fantasies so absurd they may as well be props in a Luis Buñuel film -- for instance, killing people in foreign lands is humanitarian and the economy is doing great (never mind the unemployed, the homeless, and record debt, both governmental and personal).

In order to bring attention to this serious threat to our democracy, and ensure your voice is heard, I am giving serious consideration to boycotting the next debate on October 15th. I will announce my decision within the next few days. With my deepest aloha, thank you all again for your support.

This is commendable, although, sadly, an almost transparent blip on the political radar screen. Big corporate media will certainly not take notice, and if they perchance do it will be with snide commentary.

The soft totalitarian machine rejects the socialist palliatives of Elizabeth Warren. She appears to be anti-corporatist, and that is inexcusable. Many of our political and social problems are related to the domination of corporations, most of the crony variety.

Elizabeth Warren will be unable to break the corporate stranglehold on America. It is pure insanity to believe otherwise. The Democrat and Republican parties -- one party disguised as two -- will not savage corporations with taxation and redoubled punitive regulation, not if they wish to remain in Congress and receive money to run obscenely expensive campaigns.

Warren will be overshadowed by the Hildabeast, Hillary Clinton , who is determined to be president. She will enter the race sometime next year, overturning the apple cart of other hopefuls, all spouting the same wealth distribution nonsense because, after all, a well-trained and ceaselessly indoctrinated public, most on a modern version of the Roman Cura Annona grain dole, love free stuff (stolen from others).

No way will the DNC accept Elizabeth Warren as the nominee. She will be subverted, the same way Bernie Sanders was.

Most Americans don't trust or like Hillary, but that hardly matters.

The days of Trump may soon be over. If he's not impeached on spurious grounds, he will enter the race under a toxic cloud of accusation and unproven high crimes and misdemeanors greatly amplified by a propaganda media. Polls consistently show he is losing traction, and the MAGA crowd is increasingly disillusioned, unable to realize its populist agenda.

I'm sorry, Tulsi. Your effort to unmask the subversion of the election system will largely fall on deaf ears. As of this morning, the above video garnered a mere 800 views.

It will take more than a "debate" boycott to send the message. It will take a revolution to finally drain Trump's swamp, end the endless wars, and force transnational corporations and foreign governments (most egregiously Israel) out of the bed they have shared for so long with our "representatives," who are largely nothing more than self-seeking sociopaths on short leashes.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Kurt Nimmo writes on his blog, Another Day in the Empire, where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

[Jan 21, 2020] Money Talks, Bullshit Walks on Cable News by Paul Street

Oct 30, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

Is it any wonder that the nation's "liberal" cable news stations CNN and MSNBC can barely contain their disdain for Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign and even (to a lesser degree) for that of Elizabeth Warren while they promote the nauseating center-right candidacies of the bewildered racist and corporatist Joe Biden, the sinister neoliberal corporate-militarist Pete Butiggieg and even the marginal Wall Street "moderates" Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris? Next time you click on these stations, keep a pen and paper handy to write down the names of the corporations that pay for their broadcast content with big money commercial purchases.

I did that at various times of day on three separate occasions last week. Here are the companies I found buying ads at CNN and MSDNC:

American Advisors Group (AAG), the top lender the American reverse mortgage industry (with Tom Selleck telling seniors to trust him that reverse mortgages are not a rip off)

United Health Care, for-profit "managed health care company" with 300,000 employers and an annual revenue of $226 billion, ranked sixth on the 2019 Fortune 500.

Menards, the nation's third largest home improvement chain, with revenue over $10 billion in 2017.

CHANITX, a drug to get off cigarettes ("slow Turkey") sold by the pharmaceutical firm Pfizer, 65th on the Fortune 500.

Tom Steyer (billionaire for president)

Lincoln Financial, 187 th on the Fortune 500, an American holding company that controls multiple insurance and investment management businesses.

Liberty Mutual, an insurance company with more than 50,000 employees in more than 900 locations and ranked 68 th on the Fortune 500 two years ago.

Allstate Insurance: 79 th on the Fortune 500, with more than 45,000 employees.

INFINITI Suburban Utility Vehicle (new price ranging from 37K to 60K), produced by Nissan, the sixth largest auto-making corporation in the world.

RCN (annual revenue of $636 million) WiFi for business

Jaguar Elite luxury autos.

Porsche luxury autos, selling new models priced at $115,000, $145,000, and $163,00, and $294,000.

Mercedes Benz luxury auto, including an SRL-Class model that starts at $498,000

Capital Group, one of the world's oldest and biggest investment management firms, with $1.87 trillion in assets under its control.

Otezla, a plaque psoriasis drug, developed by the New Jersey drug company Celgene and owned by Amgene, a leading California-based biotechnology firm with total assets of $78 billion.

Trelegy, a CPD drug produced by the British company GSK, the world's seventh leading pharmaceutical corporation, with the fourth largest capitalization of any company on the London Stock Exchange.

HunterDouglass – elite windows made by a Dutch multinational corporation with more than 23,000 employees and locations in more than 70 countries.

Humira – drug for Crohn's disease and other ailments, manufactured by Abbvie, with 28,000 global employees and total assets of $59 billion.

Primateme Mist – for breathing, produced by Amphastar Pharmaceuticals.

Glucerna – drug for diabetes, produced by Abbot Laboratories, an American medical company with more than 100,00 employees and total assets of $67 billion.

Prevagen – a controversial drug for brain health produced by Quincy Bioscience

DISCOVER Credit Card, the third largest credit card brand in the U.S., with total assets of $92 billion.

Fidelity Investments, an American multinational financial services corporation with more than 50,000 employees and an operating income of $5.3 billion.

Cadillac XT-6 high-end SUV, starting at $53K, made by General Motors (no. 10 on the Fortune 500 for total revenue), which makes automobiles in 37 countries, employees 173,000 persons, and has total assets $227 billion.

Comfort Inn, owned by Choice Hotels, one of the largest hotel chains in the world, franchising 7,005 properties in 41 countries and territories.

Audible/Amazon – books on tape from the world's biggest mega-corporation Amazon, ranked fifth on the Fortune 500, with 647,000 employees and total assets of $163 billion.

Ring Home Security, owned by Amazon

Coventry Health Insurance, no. 168 on the Fortune 500

SANDALS Resorts International, with 16 elite resort properties in the Caribbean.

Cigna Medicare Advantage, owned by the national health insurer Cigna, no. 229 on the Fortune 500

SoFi Finance, an online personal finance company that provides student loan refinancing, mortgages and personal loans.

Ameriprise Finance, an investment services firm, no. 240 on F500.

It's not for nothing that bit Fortune 500 firms are represented in my anecdotal sponsor list above. Last summer, SQAD MediaCosts reported that a 30-second commercial during CNN's prime-time lineup (Anderson Cooper, Chris Cuomo, and Don Lemon), cost between $7,000 and $12,000. The price has certainly gone up significantly now that Trumpeachment is bringing in new eyeballs.

The three most prominent and recurrent advertising streams appear (anecdotally) to come from Big Pharma (the leading drug companies), insurance (health insurance above all), and finance (investment services/wealth management). These giant concentrated corporate and industry sectors are naturally opposed to the financial regulation and anti-trust policy that Senator Warren says she wants to advance. Amazon can hardly be expected to back the big-tech break-up that Warren advocates.

Big corporate lenders certainly have no interest in making college tuition free, a Sanders promise that would slash a major profit source for finance capital.

The big health insurance firms are naturally opposed both to the Single Payer national health insurance plan that Sanders puts at the top of his platform and to the milder version of Medicare for All that Warren says she backs. Warren and especially Sanders pledge to remove the parasitic, highly expensive profit motive from health insurance and to make publicly funded quality and affordable health care a human right in the U.S. The corporate insurance mafia is existentially opposed to such human decency.

Both of the "progressive Democratic candidates" (a description that fits Sanders far better than it does Warren) loudly promise to slash drug costs, something Pfizer, Abbvie, Amgene, Amphastar, and Abbot Labs can hardly be expected to relish.

None of the big companies buying advertising time on CNN and MSNBC have any interest in the progressive taxation and restored union organizing and collective bargaining rights that Sanders advocates.

The big financial services firms paying for media content on "liberal" cable news stations primarily serve affluent clients, many if not most of whom are likely to oppose increased taxes on the well off.

The resort, tourism, luxury car, and business travel firms that buy commercials on these networks are hardly about to back policies leading to the real or potential reduction of discretionary income enjoyed by upper middle class and rich people.

So, gosh, who do these corporate and financial interests favor in the 2020 presidential election? Neoliberal Corporatists like Joe Biden, Pete Butiggieg, Kamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar, of course. Dutifully obedient to the preferences and commands of the nation's unelected dictatorship of money, these insipid corporate Democrats loyally claim that Sanders and Warren want to viciously "tax the middle class" to pay for supposedly unaffordable excesses like Medicare for All and the existentially necessary Green New Deal.

In reality, Single Payer and giant green jobs programs and more that We the People need and want are eminently affordable if the United States follows Sanders' counsel by adequately and progressively taxing its absurdly wealthy over-class (the top tenth of the upper 1% than owns more than 90% of U.S. wealth) and its giant, surplus-saturated corporations and financial institutions. At the same time, as Warren keeps trying to explain, the cost savings for ordinary Americans will be enormous with the profits system taken out of health insurance.

Sanders reminds voters that there's no way to calculate the cost savings of keeping livable ecology alive for future generations. The climate catastrophe is a grave existential threat to the whole species.

These are basic arguments of elementary social, environmental, and democratic decency that the investors and managers behind and atop big corporations buying commercials on CNN and MSNBC don't want heard. As a result, CNN and MSDNC "debate" moderators and talking heads persist in purveying the, well, fake news, that Sanders doesn't know how to pay Single Payer, free public college, and a Green New Deal.

It's not for nothing that CNN and MSNBC have promoted the hapless Biden over and above Sanders and Warren – this notwithstanding the former Vice President's ever more obvious and embarrassing inadequacy as a candidate.

It's not for nothing that MSNBC and CNN have habitually warned against the supposed "socialist" menace posed by the highly popular Sanders (a New Deal progressive at leftmost) while refusing to properly describe Trump's White House and his dedicated base as pro-fascists. MSDNC has even get a weekly segment to the silver-spooned multi-millionaire advertising executive Donny Deutsch after he said the following on the network last winter:

"I find Donald Trump reprehensible as a human being, but a socialist candidate is more dangerous to this company, country, as far as the strength and well-being of the country, than Donald Trump. I would vote for Donald Trump, a despicable human being I will be so distraught to the point that that could even come out of my mouth, if we have a socialist [Democratic presidential candidate or president] because that will take our country so down, and we are not Denmark. I love Denmark, but that's not who we are. And if you love who we are and all the great things that still have to have binders put on the side. Please step away from the socialism."

It's not for nothing that the liberal cable networks go out of their way to deny Sanders remotely appropriate broadcast time. Or that they habitually and absurdly frame Single Payer health insurance not as the great civilizing social and human rights victory it would be (the long-overdue cost-slashing de-commodification of health care coverage combined with the provision of health care for all regardless of social status and class) but rather as a dangerous and authoritarian assault on Americans' existing (and unmentionably inadequate and over-expensive) health insurance.

Dare we mention that the lords of capital who pay for cable news salaries and content are heavily invested in the fossil fuels and in the relentless economic growth that are pushing the planet rapidly towards environmental tipping points that gravely endanger prospects for a decent and organized human existence in coming decades?

It's not for nothing that the progressive measures advanced by Sanders and supported by most Americans are regularly treated as "unrealistic," "irresponsible," "too radical," "too idealistic," "impractical," and "too expensive."

It's for nothing that Sanders is commonly left out of the liberal cable networks' campaign coverage and "horse race" discussions even as he enjoys the highest approval rating among all the candidates in the running.

With their preferred centrist candidate Joe Biden having performed in a predictably poor and buffoonish fashion (Biden was a terrible, gaffe-prone politician well before his brains started coming out of his ears) falling back into something like a three-way tie with the liberal Warren and the populist progressive Sanders, the liberal cable talking heads and debate moderators have naturally tried to boost "moderate" neoliberal-corporatist "second" and "third tier" Democratic presidential candidates like Butiggieg, Klobuchar and the surprisingly weak Kamala Harris. It's not for nothing that these and other marginal corporate candidates (e.g. Beto O'Rourke) get outsized attention on "liberal" cable stations regardless of their tiny support bases. Even if they can't win, these small-time contenders take constant neoliberal jabs at Sanders and even at the more clearly corporate-co-optable Warren (who proudly describes herself as "capitalist in my bones").

Thanks to Harris's curiously weak showing, Biden's dotard-like absurdity, and the likely non-viability of Butiggieg (the U.S. is not yet primed for two men and a baby in the White House), the not-so liberal cable channels are now joining the New Yok Times and Washington Post in gently floating the possibility of a dark-horse neoliberal Democratic Party newcomer (Michael Bloomberg, John Kerry, Michelle Obama, Sherrod Brown, and maybe even Hillary Clinton herself) to fill Joke Biden's Goldman-and Citigroup-approved shoes in the coming primary and Caucus battles with "radical socialist" Bernie and (not-so) "left" Warren.

So what if running an establishment Obama-Clinton-Citigroup-Council on Foreign Relations Democrat in 2020 will de-mobilize much of the nation's progressive electoral base, helping the malignant white nationalist monster Donald Trump get a second term?

As the old working-class slogan says, "money talks and bullshit walks."

"Follow the money" is the longstanding mantra in campaign finance research and criminal prosecution. It should also apply to our understanding of the dominant media's political news content. U.S. media managers are employed by giant corporations (MSNBC is a division of Comcast NBC Universal, no. 71 on the Fortune 500 and CNN is owned by Turner Broadcasting, no, 68 on the Fortune 500) that are naturally reluctant to publish or broadcast material that might offend the wealthy capitalist interests that pay for broadcasting by purchasing advertisements. As Noam Chomsky has noted, large corporations are not only the major producers of the United States' mass commercial media. They are also that media's top market, something that deepens the captivity of nation's supposedly democratic and independent media to big capital:

"The reliance of a journal on advertisers shapes and controls and substantially determines what is presented to the public the very idea of advertiser reliance radically distorts the concept of free media. If you think about what the commercial media are, no matter what, they are businesses. And a business produces something for a market. The producers in this case, almost without exception, are major corporations. The market is other businesses – advertisers. The product that is presented to the market is readers (or viewers), so these are basically major corporations providing audiences to other businesses, and that significantly shapes the nature of the institution."

At the same time, both U.S. corporate media managers and the advertisers who supply revenue for their salaries are hesitant to produce content that might alienate affluent folks – the people who hire pricey investment advisors, go to Caribbean resorts and buy Jaguars and Mercedes Benzes and count for an ever-rising share of U.S. consumer purchases. It is those with the most purchasing power who are naturally most targeted by advertisers.

Money talks, bullshit talks on "liberal" cable news, as in the legal and party and elections systems and indeed across all of society.

Watch the wannabe fascist strongman Trump walk to a second term with no small help from a "liberal" corporate media whose primary goal is serving corporate sponsors and its own bottom line, not serving social justice, environmental sanity, and democracy – or even helping Democrats win elections.

[Jan 21, 2020] Tucker Carlson Warns 'Mistake' To Assume Trump Victory In November

Notable quotes:
"... RealClearPolitics ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

The president base is clarly more narrow then in 2016: he used anti-war repiblicansand independents aswell as "Anybody but Hillary" voters (large part of Sanders votrs). Part of military is now Tulsi supported and probalywill not vote at all, at least they will not vote for Trump.

Fox News 's Tucker Carlson on Monday warned Republicans not to get complacent, and that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) could wind up taking "many thousands " of votes from President Trump if he is able to secure the Democratic nomination, according to The Hill 's Joe Concha.

"A year from today, we'll be hosting this show from the National Mall as the next president of the United States takes the oath of office," said Carlson, adding "Will that president be Donald Trump? As of tonight, Republicans in Washington feel confident it will be."

https://youtu.be/3eR1Pm7ANLw

"The official economic numbers are strong. The Democratic primaries are a freak show -- elderly socialists accusing each other of thoughtcrimes. Republicans are starting to think victory is assured. That's a mistake ," said Carlson. "America remains as divided as it was three years ago. No matter what happens, nobody's going to win this election in a national landslide. Those don't happen anymore. Trump could lose. Will he? That depends on what he runs on. "

Carlson then showed numbers for Trump on the economy that show while the main indicators are strong, there are some other numbers that should concern the president. He pointed to a Pew Research study that shows just 31 percent of Americans say the economy is helping them and their families, and just 32 percent say they believe the current economy helps the middle class.

Carlson then pivoted to Sanders's potential appeal to certain voter groups and said Republicans need a plan to battle that appeal.

" Bernie Sanders may get the Democratic nomination ," Carlson said. " If he does, every Republican in Washington will spend the next 10 months reminding you that socialism doesn't work , and never has. They'll be right, obviously," Carlson explained. - The Hill

So what's Bernie's appeal?

Recall that a not-insignificant Sanders supporters voted for Trump out of disgust following revelations that Hillary Clinton and the DNC conspirted to rig the 2016 primary against him.

According to Carlson, however, "if Sanders pledges to forgive student loans, he'll still win many thousands of voters who went for Donald Trump last time. Debt is crushing an entire generation of Americans. Republicans need a plan to make it better, or they'll be left behind."

"They're conservative in the most basic sense: They love their families above all," the host concluded. "They distrust radical theories of anything because they know that when the world turns upside down, ordinary people get hurt. They don't want to burn it down. They just want things to get better. The candidate who promises to make them better -- incrementally, but tangibly -- will be inaugurated president a year from today."

According to a RealClearPolitics average of seven (oh so reliable) polls, Sanders would take Trump if he gets the nomination. Tags Politics


MANvsMACHINE , 3 minutes ago link

Bernie doesn't have a ******* chance once he has to debate Trump. Trump will pull every straggly hair from Bernie's nearly bald head.

Mustafa Kemal , 2 minutes ago link

I disagree. Trump hasnt had to debate someone with character and intelligence before.

Boogity , 6 minutes ago link

Carlson is right. The overwhelming majority of Americans live paycheck to paycheck with many working two jobs to make ends meet. The economy sucks for the working and middle class. Facts are stubborn things.

[Jan 21, 2020] Warren as Lizzie-Faire Capitalist.

Jan 21, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

none , January 21, 2020 at 12:46 am

Warren will never endorse Bernie. She is not a progressive and the Republican in her is back in operation. But, there is a new Jeep named after her:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EOuTYRlXsAg151I.jpg

Henry Moon Pie , January 21, 2020 at 1:41 am

But we already had the Tin Lizzie.

ambrit , January 21, 2020 at 6:30 am

I can't resist. What we have here is an old fashioned "Lizzie-Faire Capitalist."

John Zelnicker , January 21, 2020 at 10:28 am

@ambrit
January 21, 2020 at 6:30 am
-- -- -

"Strike three! A sizzling fast ball over the middle of the plate, while the batter just looked dumbfounded"

[Jan 21, 2020] Now with Warren blunder Trump might be able to wipe the floor with her but not only called her "Pocahontas" but also "Bernie backstabber": betrayl of her "friend" Bernie is unforgivable

She made a blunder. That's for sure. but still Warren is a better candidate then Trump.
The shell game between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders has transmogrified. The brutal, post-debate exchange between the duo has the progressive left fearing repeat business from '04: it happened at just the wrong time, only weeks ahead of the first primaries.
Jan 21, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
sounds very much like it, in a kind of ham-fisted, virtue-signaling way -- "Sometimes I fear the American people are still too bigoted to vote for a woman," or something like that. Yet every Clinton staffer was muttering the same thing under her breath at 3 a.m. on November 9, 2016.

What's more, Mrs. Warren never denied that Mr. Sanders only ran in the last election cycle because she declined to do so. Nor can anyone forget how vigorously he campaigned for Mrs. Clinton, even after she and the DNC rigged the primary against him. If Mrs. Warren and her surrogates at CNN are claiming that Bernie meant that a person with two X chromosomes is biologically incapable of serving as president, they're lying through their teeth.

This is how Liz treats her "friend" Bernie -- and when he denies that absurd smear, she refuses to shake his hand and accuses him of calling her a liar on national television. Then, of course, the #MeToo brigades line up to castigate him for having the temerity to defend himself -- further evidence, of course, of his sexism. I mean, like, Bernie is, like, literally Weinstein.

Then there's the "Latinx" thing, which is the absolute summit of progressive elites' disconnect with ordinary Americans. In case you didn't know, Mrs. Warren has been roundly panned for referring to Hispanics by this weird neologism, which was invented by her comrades in the ivory tower as a gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina . The thing is, Spanish is a gendered language. What's more, a poll by the left-wing market research group Think Now found that just 2 percent of Hispanics call themselves "Latinx." (In fact, most prefer the conventional "Hispanic," which is now verboten on the Left because it hearkens back to Christopher Columbus's discovery of La Española .)

So here comes Professor Warren -- white as Wonder Bread, the mattress in her Cambridge townhouse stuffed with 12 million big ones -- trying to rewrite the Spanish language because she thinks it's sexist. How she's made it this far in the primary is absolutely mind-boggling. She doesn't care about Hispanics, much less their culture. Like every employee of the modern education system, she's only interested in processing American citizens into gluten-free offal tubes of political correctness.

Of course, if one of her primary opponents or a cable news "Democratic strategist" (whatever that is) dared to say as much, they'd be hung, drawn, and quartered. Partisan Democrats have trained themselves not to think in such terms. That might not matter much if Mrs. Warren was facing Mitt Romney or John McCain in the general. But she's not. If she wins the primary, she'll be up against Donald Trump. And if you don't think he'll say all of this -- and a whole lot more -- you should apply for a job at CNN.


Very Funny Mr. President a day ago

... running against Mrs. Warren would be a walk in the park

Your imaginary Trump anti-Warren schtick might have worked in 2016, but boy does it come off as unfunny and stale in 2020. He's done too much damage. Not funny anymore. I voted for Trump. After all his betrayals, Warren could rip him to pieces just by standing next to him without saying a word. Her WASP reserve and Okie roots might even seem refreshing after our four-year long cesspool shower with this New York City creep.

Up North Very Funny Mr. President 11 hours ago • edited
Didn't vote for Trump, or Clinton for that matter, cast a protest Libertarian vote. In my red state it hardly matters, but the electoral college is another story. But observed long ago that indeed Warren is just what the author says, a too politically correct north east liberal who would be demolished in the presidential election against Trump. Only Biden or Klobuchar has a chance to unseat the orange man, or maybe better yet a Biden - Klobuchar ticket.
Great CoB Up North 6 hours ago
I've sometimes voted red and sometimes blue, but a Trump Vs Biden contest might well make me bored and disappointed enough to join you going libertarian.
cka2nd Up North 4 hours ago
If the Dems want to lose, Biden and Klobuchar would be a quick ticket to doing so. Warren would get the job done not much slower, unless she pivoted away from social issues.

To quote Phyllis Schlafly's advice to conservatives and the GOP, what the Dems need is "A choice, not an echo." Sanders is the closest the Dems have of offering the voters a real choice, and is the best option to defeat Trump. The D establishment will still pull out all the stops to try to block him, of course, because even they and their big donors would prefer a second Trump term over a New Deal liberal with a socialist gloss, but they may not succeed this time.

Lloyd Conway cka2nd 3 hours ago
Bernie and Tulsi are the most honest and interesting of the Democratic field, even though their politics generally aren't mine. Nonetheless, I wish them well, because they appear to say what they actually think, as opposed to whatever their operatives have focus-group tested.
Mediaistheenemy Up North 4 hours ago
Biden's corruption will come out in the general. We could write up articles of impeachment now. After all, Biden, did actually bribe the Ukraine. He said so himself. On video.
Great CoB Very Funny Mr. President 6 hours ago
I think Trump's unfortunately stronger now than he was in 2016. Clinton's attacks on him were painting him as an apocalyptic candidate who would bring America crashing down. By serving as president for 4 years with a mostly booming economy, Trump's proven them wrong. The corporate media will continue their hysterical attacks on him though, and that will boost his support. I think Hillary Clinton was more dislikeable back then than Warren is now, but Warren is probably even more out of touch. The others might also lose, but she really as a terrible candidate.
Mediaistheenemy Very Funny Mr. President 4 hours ago
What damage has Trump done, as opposed to the damage the media/Dems/deepstate's RESPONSE to Trump has done?
Trump has reduced illegal immigration with the expected subsequent increases in employment and wages, saved taxpayer 1 TRILLION dollars by withdrawing from the Paris accord, killed 2 leading terrorists (finally showing Iran that we aren't their bakshi boys), cut taxes, stood up for gun rights, reduced harmful governmental regulation, and appointed judges that will follow the law instead of feelings and popular culture.
He is also exposing the deep underbelly of the corrupt government in Washington, especially the coup organized between Obama, Hillary, the DNC, Brennan, Comey, Clapper and the hyperpartisan acts of the FBI, CIA, DOJ, IRS and now the GAO (unless you believe that the "non-partisan" GAO released their report which claimed Trump violated the law by holding up Ukranian funds for a few months within the same fiscal year on the same day Nancy forwarded the articles of impeachment by some amazing coincidence).
The problem isn't Trump. The problem is the liars opposing the existential threat Trump poses to the elitists who despise America.
John D 21 hours ago
Three years of Trump has made "academic elitist" look pretty appealing.
Mediaistheenemy John D 4 hours ago
To whom?
New Pres Please 19 hours ago
"For all my reservations about Mr. Trump -- his lagging commitment to
protectionism, his shafting of Amy Coney Barrett, his deportation of
Iraqi Christians, his burgeoning hawkishness, his total lack of
decorum -- he's infinitely preferable to anyone the Democrats could
nominate."

You gloss over a few dozen other failures, most of them bigger than anything you mention here (immigration, infrastructure, more mass surveillance and privacy violations by govt and corporations than even Obama).

Mediaistheenemy New Pres Please 4 hours ago
You realize that the progress Trump has made on immigration is why unemployment is down and wages are up, right?
Most Americans think that's a good thing.
Democrats, not so much.
Ray Woodcock 17 hours ago
I think I disliked the last thing I saw by Davis. Whatever. This one is better. Not perfect -- some of it is out of touch -- but he makes a case. And, sad to say, I concur with his prediction for the election, with or without Warren.
Maybe 14 hours ago
I'm starting to like her. I thought she handled herself well at the last debate. "Presidential". It's been quite a while since we had a real president. Too long.
cka2nd Maybe 4 hours ago
Forgive me, but Democratic voters put way too much store in presidents being Presidential. And they spent way too much time talking about Bush's verbal gaffes and Trump's disgusting personality to get Gore, Kerry or H. Clinton elected.
Angelo Bonilla 11 hours ago • edited
I am Hispanic and don't know anybody that call himself by that silly term "Latinx".
Connecticut Farmer Angelo Bonilla 9 hours ago
As the author wrote, it was invented by academics. One problem with the Democrat Party is that it is teeming with Professor Kingsfield types who are as much connected with the rest of the population as I am with aborigines.
Kevin Burke 10 hours ago
Finally someone said what most people think. Love the imagined Trump comments to Warren..."Relax. Put on a nice sweater, have a cup of tea, grade some papers." As i read those I heard Trump's unique way of speech and was laughing out loud. BTW...Tulsi Gabbard is such an attractive candidate...heard her interviewed on Tucker Carlson and I think could present a real challenge to Trump if she ever rose up to face him in a debate. It's curious someone like Warren shoots to the top, while she remains in the back of the line.
Mediaistheenemy Kevin Burke 3 hours ago
The media deliberately shut her down, just like they are shutting down Bernie. The DNC also doesn't like her (possibly because she resigned as cochair and is critical of Hillary) and seems to have chosen their debate criteria -which surveys they accept-in order to shut her out. I liked her up until she objected to taking out Soleimani-a known terrorist in the middle of a war zone planning attacks on US assets.
Sorry, Trump was spot on in this attack. Tulsi was completely wrong. However, she is honest, experienced, knowledgeable and not psychotic, a refreshing change from the other Dem Presidential candidates. If you haven't figured out yet that CNN is basically the media arm of Warren's campaign, you haven't been paying attention. That is how Warren continues to poll reasonably well.
wakeupmorons 10 hours ago • edited
These arguments amaze me. "Since your candidate is too school marmy, or elitist, or (insert usual democrat insult here), you're giving the electorate no choice but to vote for the most corrupt, openly racist, sexist, psychologically lying, dangerously mentally deranged imbecile in the country".

Because rather than an educated person who maybe comes off as an elitist, we'd rather have a disgusting deplorable who no sane parent would allow in the same room with their daughter.

Lol, and yet writers like this don't even realize the insanity of what they're saying, which is basically "that bagel is 2 days old, so I have choice but to eat this steaming pile of dog crap instead".

Connecticut Farmer wakeupmorons 8 hours ago
"Because rather than an educated person who maybe comes off as an elitist, we'd rather have a disgusting deplorable who no sane parent would allow in the same room with their daughter."

No need for the ad hominem, you are overstating your case. Remember, Trump is "educated" too. And a card-carrying member of the elite. Leave us not kid ourselves, they're all "elites" of one stripe or another. It only matters which stripe we prefer, meaning of course whether they are saying what we want to hear. Of all of the candidates, the only one who does not come off as an "elite" is Tulsi Gabbard, an intelligent woman who is arguably the most interesting of all the candidates--in part because of her active military service. I'd even throw in Andrew Yang, a friendly, engaging person who didn't seem to have an ax to grind. It matters not. Yang is out of the picture and Gabbard has as much of a crack at the Democratic nomination in 2020 as Rand Paul had at the Republican nomination in 2016--essentially zero.

wakeupmorons Connecticut Farmer 8 hours ago
Lol trump is educated too? You've lose all credibility with such comical false equivalencies.

Trump is an absolute imbecile who has failed up his entire life thanks to daddy's endless fortune. If he we born Donald Smith he'd be pumping gas in Jersey, or in jail as a low life con man.

David Naas wakeupmorons 7 hours ago
While I find myself shocked to be found defending anything Trumpean, in all fairness, he is a college grad-u-ate (shades of Lily Tomlin). The value, depth, or scope of his degree may be in question, but he does possess a sheep-skin, and hence must be considered "educated". If one wants to demean his "education" because of his personality, one must also demean a rather broad segment of college grad-u-ates as well.
Connecticut Farmer wakeupmorons 7 hours ago
He graduated from Penn's Wharton School of Business, ergo he is educated. Because a person doesn't hold the same political beliefs as another doesn't mean they can't be "educated." Liz Warren may not hold the same political beliefs as I, but I cannot argue that she isn't educated.
wakeupmorons Connecticut Farmer 6 hours ago
Lol wow, well I'd say it's hilarious that anyone can be so naive to actually think a compete imbecile like trump, who so clearly has never read a book in his life, actually earned his way into college; let alone actually studied and earned a degree.....but then I remember this country is obviously filled with people this remarkable gullible and stupid, as this walking SNL sketch is actually President.
cka2nd wakeupmorons 4 hours ago
I actually think you are spot on in your assessment of what Trump would have become if he wasn't born to money, but you really are behaving like exactly that kind of Democratic voter who gets more exorcised by Trump's personal faults than by his policy ones, the kind of Democrats who couldn't get Al Gore, John Kerry and Hilary Clinton elected.
Mediaistheenemy cka2nd 3 hours ago
Really. You think someone that managed to become President of the United States with no political or military experience would have failed at life if he hadn't had a wealthy father. You really believe that. You don't think any of Trump's success and accomplishments are due to his ambition, drive, energy, determination, executive skills, ruthlessness or media savvy. It was all due to his having a rich father.
Fascinating.
wakeupmorons Mediaistheenemy 3 hours ago • edited
Trump has had no success. He's failed at everything he's ever done. You obviously just know nothing about his actual life, and believe the made up reality TV bullshit.

The only thing he's good at is playing a rich successful man on TV to really, really, stupid, unread, unworldly, naive people....well that and giving racists white nationalists, the billionaire owner class, sexists, bigots, and deplorables, a political home.

cka2nd Mediaistheenemy 2 hours ago
I think Trump is and would have been, sans his father's wealth, one hell of a con man. And I hope to God that he would have ended up in jail for it rather than running a private equity fund, but the latter would have been just as likely.

However, I should have made that distinction in my original comment. No, I do not think that Trump would have ended up a gas station attendant.

wakeupmorons cka2nd 2 hours ago • edited
It's very hard for me to understand how anyone could be so, shall we say sheltered, that they couldn't see him coming a mile away and laugh their ass off.

He's so bad, so transparent with his obvious lies and self aggrandizing, so clearly ignorant and unread and trying to fake it, he's literally like a cartoon's funny over the top version of an idiot con man. I'll never understand how anyone could ever be fooled by it.

In fact sometimes I think 90% of his base isn't fooled, they know he's a joke, but they just don't care. He gives them the white nationalist hate and rhetoric they want, makes "liberals cry", and that all they care about.

It's a lot easier for me to believe THAT then so many people can actually be so stupid and gullible.

wakeupmorons cka2nd 2 hours ago
Say what? What policies? The trillion dollar hand out to the richest corporations in the world, double the deficit? His mind blowing disastrous foreign policy decisions that have done nothing but empowered Russia, Iran and North Korea while destabilizing western alliances? The trade wars that have cost fairness and others billions (forcing taxpayers to bail them out with tens of millions of dollars)? The xenophobia, separating and caging children? Stoking violence and hate and anger among his white nationalist base? His attacks on women reproductive rights? His attacks on all of our democratic institutions, from our free press to our intelligence agencies and congressional oversights?

A pathologically lying racist sexist self serving criminal is enough to disqualify this miscreant from being dog catcher, let alone president. But his policies are even worse.

CrossTieWalker wakeupmorons 2 hours ago
You don't seem to know that the University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League school, or what the Wharton School of Business actually is. Imbeciles do not graduate from the Wharton School.
Mediaistheenemy wakeupmorons 3 hours ago
You think Trump won the US Presidency as his first elected office by being an imbecile?
Interesting "analysis".
wakeupmorons Mediaistheenemy 3 hours ago
Lol, trump is an imbecile, that's not even debatable. What amazes the rest of the entire civilized world outside of the batshit fringe 20% of Americans who make up the Republican voting base is how anyone could possible be conned by such a cartoonish idiot wanna be con man.

It's truly something sane people can't even begin to wrap their heads around.

Tony55398 9 hours ago
Pocahontas speak with forked tongue.
Lloyd Conway 9 hours ago
The Dowager Countess (Downton Abbey, for the un-initiated) nailed her type. In referring to her do-gooder cousin Mrs. Isobel Crawley, she said: "Some people run on greed, lust, even love. She runs on indignation." That sums up Warren perfectly.
I'll take it one step further. I bought one of her books, on the 'two-income trap' and how middle-class families go to the wall to get into good school districts for their children. She and her co-author make some valid points, but the book is replete with cliches about men abandoning their families and similar leftist tropes. If that's the best Harvard Law Warren has to offer, she's not as sharp as she thinks she is, and a bully like Trump will school her fast.
David Naas Lloyd Conway 7 hours ago
Perhaps he would use "Harvard Law Liz" as an epithet?
Lloyd Conway David Naas 3 hours ago • edited
Maybe. Perhaps she'll coin 'Wharton Hog' for the POTUS - or try correcting his English during one of the debates.
Stephen Gould 8 hours ago
Evidently Mr Davis dislikes Warren because of her personal style - but all of Trump's substantive (or even, substance...) issues are acceptable. How shallow of him.
Mediaistheenemy Stephen Gould 3 hours ago
I think he also dislikes her fundamental dishonesty and completely unworkable policies, but I may be projecting.
Stephen Gould Mediaistheenemy 2 hours ago
But those he did not mention in his article. And surely nobody thinks that Warren is more dishonest than Trump?
Tim 7 hours ago
I can't say the two of us exactly line up on everything. But, like Wow: "gluten-free offal tubes of political correctness." Now that's funny! Wish I'd thought of it.
Osse 7 hours ago • edited
I liked Warren until this attempt to stab Bernie in the back plus that childish refusal to shake his hand on national TV. I still don't dislike her, but that was embarrassing. She definitely has character flaws.

But this piece goes over the top. It's Trumpian. Warren certainly has flaws but if you are going to judge a politician by their character, in what universe would Trump come out on top?

Mediaistheenemy Osse 3 hours ago
Better than Warren.
The problem with affirmative action is when you abuse it, as Warren did, you actually rob a genuine minority from a genuine disadvantaged background of their chance.
Warren deliberately misrepresented herself as a Native American, solely for career advancement, and then abandoned her fake identity once she got tenure at Harvard. There was another woman who was an actual minority that had a teaching appointment at Harvard, but Warren beat her out, using her false claims of minority heritage to overcome her competition's actual minority status.
Trump competes on his own.
wakeupmorons Osse 2 hours ago
There what's funny about these arguments. They're basically saying, "your candidate has some flaws, she's very school marmy, and thinks she knows everything."

"Therefore, OBVIOUSLY people have no choice but to instead vote for the raging imbecile, the pathologically lying, corrupt to his core, racist, morally bankrupt, sexist imbecile with the literal temperament of of an emotionally troubled 10 year old."

Lol, and they're serious!

David Naas 7 hours ago
What unpleasant memories Mister Davis has elicited - - - i once had a schoolmarm like that. (Shudder)

It is, however, disturbing that Davis has almost captured the style of Trumptweets. The give-away is a shade more literacy and better grammar in Davis' offerings.

But what of the possibility, as suggested above, that Trump loses to Biden or (Generic Democratic candidate)?

As I tell my liberal friends, the country survived eight years of Priapic Bill, eight years of Dubya and Dubyaer, eight years of BHO, and after four years of Trump is yet standing, however drunkenly.

I think, contra many alarmists, the Republic is much stronger than the average pundit or combox warrior gives it credit.

And, who knows? Maybe the outrage pornography we get from Tweeting birdies will grow stale and passe, and people will yearn for more civil discourse? (Not likely, but one never knows.)

Night King 7 hours ago
I think she's already died and been reincarnated as Greta Thunberg.
Liam781 7 hours ago • edited
Someone hasn't lived that long in Massachusetts, it would seem. "Massachusettsian" is not the word the writer is looking for. It's "Bay Stater".

Likewise, for Connecticut residents, use "Nutmegger" rather than some (always wrong) derivative of the state name.

Michael Warren Davis Liam781 6 hours ago
I refuse to use "Bay Stater" for the same reason I dislike being called "Mike": nicknames are irritating, unless they're outlandish, like "Beanie" or "Boko" or "Buttigieg."

Massachusetts is a beautiful name -- slow and smooth, like the Merrimack. "Massachusettsian" adds a little skip at the end, as the river crashes into the Atlantic at Newburyport. It's the perfect demonym.

Speaking of, I was born and spent the first 18 years of my life in Massachusetts -- about 10 minutes outside Newburyport, where my great-great-something grandparents lived when the Revolution broke out. I don't know how much further back the family tree goes in Mass., but probably further than yours.

Liam781 Michael Warren Davis 5 hours ago • edited
Good luck with that utter nonsense word, then. Bay Stater is not a nickname - it's the longstanding term (and, for some reason, the Massachusetts General Court also blessed it legislatively), from long before my folk lived in New England since the mid-19th century (Connecticut and Massachusetts - hence my reference to Nutmeggers, as my parents made quite clear to us that there were no such things as Connecticutters or Massachusetters or the like and not to go around sounding like fools using the like.)

https://malegislature.gov/L...

Of course, I'd like to recover the old usage of the Eastern States to refer to New England. Right now, its sole prominent residue is the Big E in Springfield....

[Jan 21, 2020] Iran, Trump, and the neoliberal/neoconservative compact by Bill Martin

Notable quotes:
"... In the larger global picture, if the U.S. is to find its own balance in the contemporary world, Friedman argues that the seemingly-endless instability in the Middle East is the first and foremost problem that must be solved. Iran is a major problem here, but so is Israel, and Friedman argues that the US must find the path toward "quietly distanc[ing] itself from Israel" (p.6). ..."
"... This course of action regarding Iran and Israel (and other actors in the Muslim world, including Pakistan and Turkey) is, in Friedman's geopolitical perspective, not so much a matter of supporting U.S. global hegemony as it is recognizing the larger course that the U.S. will be compelled to take. ..."
"... So, it's back to Plan A for the Democrats and the "Left" that would be laughably absurd if it wasn't so reactionary, to get the neoliberal/ neoconservative endless-war agenda back on track, so that the march toward Iran can continue sooner rather than later. For now, the more spectacular the failure of this impeachment nonsense, the better! ..."
Jan 19, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Let's be clear, there is a difference between substituting geopolitical power calculations for a universal perspective on the good of humanity, and, on the other hand, recognizing that the existing layout of the world has to be taken into account in attempts to open up a true politics. (My larger perspective on the problem of "opening" is presented in the long essay, "The Fourth Hypothesis," at counterpunch.org.)

Personally, I find the geopolitical analyses of George Friedman very much worthwhile to consider, especially when he is looking at things long-range, as in his books The Next 100 Years and The Next Decade. The latter was published at the beginning of 2012, and so we are coming to the close of the ten-year period that Friedman discusses.

One of the major arguments that Friedman makes in The Next Decade is that the United States will have to reach some sort of accommodation with Iran and its regional ambitions. The key to this, Friedman argues, is to bring about some kind of balance of power again, such as existed before Iraq was torn apart.

This is the key in general to continued U.S. hegemony in the world, in Friedman's view -- regional balances that keep regional powers tied up and unable to rise on the world stage. (An especially interesting example here is that Friedman says that Poland will be built up as a bulwark between Russia and Germany.)

In the larger global picture, if the U.S. is to find its own balance in the contemporary world, Friedman argues that the seemingly-endless instability in the Middle East is the first and foremost problem that must be solved. Iran is a major problem here, but so is Israel, and Friedman argues that the US must find the path toward "quietly distanc[ing] itself from Israel" (p.6).

This course of action regarding Iran and Israel (and other actors in the Muslim world, including Pakistan and Turkey) is, in Friedman's geopolitical perspective, not so much a matter of supporting U.S. global hegemony as it is recognizing the larger course that the U.S. will be compelled to take.

(As the founder, CEO, and "Chief Intelligence Officer" of Stratfor, Friedman aimed to provide "non-ideological" strategic intelligence. My understanding of "non-ideological" is that the analysis was not formulated to suit the agendas of the two mainstream political parties in the U.S. However, my sense is that Friedman does believe that U.S. global hegemony is on the whole good for the world.)

In his book that came out before The Next Decade (2011), The Next 100 Years (2009), Friedman makes the case that the U.S. will not be seriously challenged globally for decades to come -- in fact, all the way until about 2080!

Just to give a different spin to something I said earlier, and that I've tried to emphasize in my articles since March 2016: questions of mere power are not questions of politics. Geopolitics is not politics, either -- in my terminology, it is "anti-politics."

For my part, I am not interested in supporting U.S. hegemony, not in the present and not in the future, and for the most part not in the past, either.

For the moment, let us simply say that the historical periods of the U.S. that are more supportable -- because they make some contribution, however flawed, to the greater, universal, human project -- are either from before the U.S. entered the road of seeking to compete with other "great powers" on the world stage, or quite apart from this road.

In my view, the end of U.S. global hegemony and, for that matter, the end of any "great nation-state" global hegemony, is a condition sine qua non of a human future that is just and sustainable. So, again, the brilliance that George Friedman often brings to geopolitical analysis is to be understood in terms of a coldly-realistic perspective, not a warmly-normative one.)

Of course, this continued U.S. hegemony depends on certain "wise" courses of action being taken by U.S. leaders (Friedman doesn't really get into the question of what might be behind these leaders), including a "subtle" approach to the aforementioned questions of Israel and Iran.

Obviously, anything associated with Donald Trump is not going to be overly subtle! On the other hand, here we are almost at the end of Friedman's decade, so perhaps the time for subtlety has passed, and the U.S. is compelled to be a bit heavy-handed if there is to be any chance of extricating itself from the endless quagmire.

However, there's a certain fly, a rather large one, in the ointment that seems to have eluded Friedman's calculations: "the rise of China."

It isn't that Friedman avoids the China question, not at all; Friedman argues, however, that by 2020 China will not only not be contending with the United States to have the largest economy in the world, but instead that China will fragment, perhaps even devolve into civil war, because of deep inequalities between the relatively prosperous coastal urban areas, and the rural interior.

Certainly I know from study, and many conversations with people in China, this was a real concern going into the 2010s and in the first half of the decade.

The chapter dealing with all this in The Next 100 Years (Ch. 5) is titled, "China 2020: Paper Tiger," the latter term being one that Chairman Mao used regarding U.S. imperialism. Friedman writes of another "figure like Mao emerg[ing] to close the country off from the outside, [to] equalize the wealth -- or poverty " (p.7).

Being an anti-necessitarian in philosophy, I certainly believe anything can happen in social matters, but it seems as though President Xi Jinping and the current leadership of the Communist Party of China have, at least for the time being, managed to head off fragmentation at the pass, so to speak.

Friedman argued that the "pass" that China especially had to deal with is unsustainable growth rates; but it appears that China has accomplished this, by purposely slowing its economy down.

One of the things that Friedman is especially helpful with, in his larger geopolitical analysis, is understanding the role that naval power plays in sustaining U.S. hegemony. (In global terms, such power is what keeps the neoliberal "free market" running, and this power is far from free.)

*

... ... ...

Two of the best supporters of Trump's stated agenda are Tucker Carlson and Steve Hilton. Neither of them pull any punches on this issue when it comes to Republicans, and both of them go some distance beyond Trump in stating an explicitly anti-war agenda.

They perhaps do not entirely fit the mold of leftist anti-imperialism as it existed from the 1890s through the Sixties (as in the political decade, perhaps 1964-1974 or so) and 1970s, but they do in fact fit this mold vastly better than almost any major figure of the Democratic Party, with the possible exceptions of Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, and Andrew Yang. (But none of them has gone as far as Trump on this question!)

Certainly Elizabeth Warren is no exception, and at the moment of this writing she has made the crucial turn toward sticking the knife back into Bernie's back. That is her job, in my view, and part of it is to seem close to Bernie's positions (whatever their defects, which I'll discuss elsewhere), at least the ones that are more directly "economic," while winking at the ruling class.

There are a few things Carlson and Hilton say on the Iran situation and the Middle East in general that I don't agree with. But in the main I think both are right on where these issues are concerned.

As I've quoted Carlson a number of times previously, and as I also want to put forward Hilton as an important voice for a politics subservient to neither the liberal nor the conservative establishments, here let me quote what Hilton said in the midst of the Iran crisis, on January 5, 2020:

The best thing America can do to put the Middle East on a path that leads to more democracy, less terrorism, human rights and economic growth is to get the hell out of there while showing an absolute crystal clear determination to defend American interests with force whenever they are threatened.

That doesn't mean not doing anything, it means intervening only in ways that help America.

It means responding only to attacks on Americans disproportionately as a deterrent, just as we saw this week and it means finally accepting that it's not our job to fix the Middle East from afar.

The only part of this I take exception to is the "intervening only in ways that help America"-bit -- that opens the door to exactly the kinds of problems that Hilton wants the U.S. to avoid, besides the (to me, more important) fact that it is just morally wrong to think it is acceptable to intervene if it is in one's "interests."

My guess is that Hilton thinks that there is some built-in utilitarian or pragmatic calculus that means the morally-problematic interventions will not occur. I do not see where this has ever worked, but more importantly, this is where philosophy is important, theoretical work and abstract thinking are important.

It used to be that the Left was pretty good at this sort of thing, and there were some thoughtful conservatives who weren't bad, either. (A decent number of the latter, significantly, come from the Catholic intellectual tradition.) Now there are still a few of the latter, and there are ordinary people who are "thoughtful conservatives" in their "unschooled way" -- which is often better! -- but the Left has sold its intellectual soul along with its political soul.

That's a story for elsewhere (I have told parts of it in previous articles in this series); the point here is that the utilitarianism and "pragmatism" of merely calculating interests is not nearly going to cut it. (I have partly gone into this here because Hilton also advocates "pragmatism" in his very worthwhile book, Positive Populism -- it is the "affirmative" other side to Tucker Carlson's critical, "negative" expose, Ship of Fools.)

The wonderful philosophical pragmatism of William James is another matter; this is important because James, along with his friend Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), were leading figures of the Anti-Imperialist League back in the 1890s, when the U.S. establishment was beating the drums loudly to get into the race with Europeans for colonies.

They were for never getting "in" -- and of course they were not successful, which is why "get the hell out" is as important as anything people can say today.

What an insane world when the U.S. president says this and the political establishment opposes him, and "progressives" and "the Left" join in with the denunciations!

It has often been argued that the major utilitarian philosophers, from Bentham and Mill to Peter Singer, have implicit principles that go beyond the utilitarian calculus; I agree with this, and I think this is true of Steve Hilton as well.

In this light, allow me to quote a little more from the important statement he made on his Fox News Channel program, "The Next Revolution," on January 5; all of this is stuff I entirely agree with, and that expresses some very good principles:

The West's involvement in the Middle East has been a disaster from the start and finally, with President Trump, America is in a position to bring it to an end. We don't need their oil and we don't need their problems.

Finally, we have a U.S. president who gets that and wants to get out. There are no prospects for Middle East peace as long as we are there.

We're never going to defeat the ideology of Islamist terror as long as these countries are basket cases and one of the reasons they are basket cases is that our preposterous foreign policy establishment with monumental arrogance have treated the middle east like some chess game played out in the board rooms in Washington and London.

– [foxnews.com, transcribed by Yael Halon]

So then there is the usual tittering about this and that regarding Carlson and Hilton from liberal and progressive Democrats and leftists who support the Democrats, and it seems to me that there is one major reason why there is this foolish tittering: It is because these liberals and leftists really don't care about, for example, the destruction of Libya, or the murder of Berta Caceres.

Or, maybe they do care, but they have convinced themselves that these things have to swept under the rug in the name of defeating the pure evil of Trump. What this amounts to, in the "nationalist" discourse, is that Trump is some kind of nationalist (as he has said numerous times), perhaps of an "isolationist" sort, while the Democrats are in fact what can be called "nationalists of the neoliberal/neoconservative compact."

My liberal and leftist friends (some of them Maoists and post-Maoists and Trotskyists or some other kinds of Marxists or purported radicals -- feminists or antifa or whatever) just cannot see, it simply appears to be completely beyond the realm of their imaginations, that the latter kind of nationalism is much worse and qualitatively worse than what Trump represents, and it completely lacks the substantial good elements of Trump's agenda.

But hey, don't worry my liberal and leftist friends, it is hard to imagine that Joe Biden's "return to normalcy" won't happen at some point -- it will take not only an immense movement to even have a chance of things working out otherwise, but a movement that likes of which is beyond everyone's imagination at this point -- a movement of a revolutionary politics that remains to be invented, as all real politics are, by the masses.

Liberals and leftists have little to worry about here, they're okay with a Deep State society with a bullshit-democratic veneer and a neoliberal world order; this set-up doesn't really affect them all that much, not negatively at any rate, and the deplorables can just go to hell.

*

The Left I grew up with was the Sixties Left, and they used to be a great source of historical memory, and of anti-imperialism, civil rights, and ordinary working-people empowerment.

The current Left, and whatever array of Democratic-Party supporters, have received their marching orders, finally, from commander Pelosi (in reality, something more like a lieutenant), so the two weeks or so of "immense concern" about Iran has given way again to the extraordinarily-important and solemn work of impeachment.

But then, impeachment is about derailing the three main aspects of Trump's agenda, so you see how that works. Indeed, perhaps the way this is working is that Trump did in fact head off, whatever one thinks of the methods, a war with Iran (at this time! – and I do think this is but a temporary respite), or more accurately, a war between Iran and Israel that the U.S. would almost certainly be sucked into immediately.

So, it's back to Plan A for the Democrats and the "Left" that would be laughably absurd if it wasn't so reactionary, to get the neoliberal/ neoconservative endless-war agenda back on track, so that the march toward Iran can continue sooner rather than later. For now, the more spectacular the failure of this impeachment nonsense, the better!

Bill Martin is a philosopher and musician, retired from DePaul University. He is completing a book with the title, "The Trump Clarification: Disruption at the Edge of the System (toward a theory)." His most recent albums are "Raga Chaturanga" (Bill Martin + Zugzwang; Avant-Bass 3) and "Emptiness, Garden: String Quartets nos. 1 and 2 (Ryokucha Bass Guitar Quartet; Avant-Bass 4). He lives in Salina, Kansas, and plays bass guitar with The Radicles.


Dungroanin ,

I have read through finally. And comments too.

My opinion is Bill Martin is on the ball except for one personage- Hilton. If he is Camerons Hilton and architect of the Brexit referendum – for which he is rewarded with a 'seat at the table' of the crumbling Empire. The Strafor man too is just as complicit in the Empires wickedness.

But I'll let Bill off with that because he mentioned the Anti-Imperialist Mark Twain – always a joy to be reminded of Americas Dickens.

On Trump – he didn't use the Nuclear codes 10 minutes after getting them as warned by EVERYONE. Nor start a war with RocketMan, or Russia in Syria, or in Ukraine or with the Chinese using the proxy Uighars, or push through with attempted Bay of Pigs in Venezuela or just now Hong Kong. The Wall is not built and the ineffectual ripoff Obamacare version of a NHS is still there.
Judge by deeds not words.

Soleimani aside – He may have stopped the drive for war. Trumps direct contact with fellow world leaders HAS largely bypassed the war mongering State Department and also the Trillion dollar tax free Foundations set up last century to deliver the world Empire, that has so abused the American peoples and environment. He probably wasn't able to stop Bolivia.
The appointments of various players were not necessarily in his hands as Assad identified- the modern potus is merely a CEO/Chair of a board of directors who are put into place by the special interests who pour billions, 10's of billions into getting their politicians elected. They determine 'National Interests'. All he can do is accept their appointment and give them enough rope to hang themselves – which most have done!
These are that fight clubs rules.

On the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation – after 20 full years of working towards cohesion- they have succeeded. Iran is due to become a full member – once it is free of UN sanctions, which is why Trump was forced into pulling the treaty with them, so that technicality could stop that membership. China is not having it nor is Russia – Putins clear statement re the 'international rules' not being mandatory for them dovetails with the US position of Exceptionality. Checkmate.

As for the Old Robber Baron Banker Pirates idea that they should be allowed a Maritime Empire as consolation- ha ha ha, pull the other one.

The ancient sea trading routes from Africa to China were active for thousands of years before the Europeans turned up and used unequal power to disrupt and pillage at their hearts content.

What made that possible was of course explained in the brilliant Guns, Germs and Steel.

These ancients have ALL these and are equal or advanced in all else including Space, Comms and AI. A navy is not so vital when even nuclear subs are visible from low orbit satellites except in the deepest trenches – not a safe place to hide for months and also pretty crowded with all the other subs trying to hide there. As for Aircraft carrier groups – just build an island! Diego Garcia has a rival.

Double Checkmate.

The Empire is Dead. Long live the Empire.

Dungroanin ,

And this is hilarious about potus turning the tables on the brass who tried to drag him into the 'tank'.

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2020/01/the-betrayal-of-trump-by-larry-c-johnson.html

'Grab the damn fainting couch. Trump told the assembled military leaders who had presided over a military stalemate in Afghanistan and the rise of ISIS as "losers." Not a one of them had the balls to stand up, tell him to his face he was wrong and offer their resignation. Nope. They preferred to endure such abuse in order to keep their jobs. Pathetic.

This excerpt in the Washington Post tells the reader more about the corruption of the Deep State and their mindset than it does about Trump's so-called mental state. Trump acted no differently in front of these senior officers and diplomats than he did on the campaign trail. He was honest. That is something the liars in Washington cannot stomach. '

Rhys Jaggar ,

I am not an expert on US Constitutional Law, but is there any legal mechanism for a US President to hold a Referendum in the way that the UK held a 'Brexit Referendum' and Scotland held an 'Independence Referendum'?

How would a US Referendum in 'Getting the hell out of the Middle East, bringing our boys and girls home before the year is out' play out, I wonder?

That takes the argument away from arch hawks like Bolton et al and puts it firmly in the ambit of Joe Schmo of Main Street, Oshkosh

wardropper ,

Great idea.
Main problem is that most Americans are brought up to think their government is separate from themselves, and should not be seriously criticized.
By "criticized", I mean, taken to task in a way which actually puts them on a playing field where they are confronted by real people.
Shouting insults at the government from the rooftops is simply greeted with indulgent smiles from the guilty elite.

Richard Le Sarc ,

George Friedman is a bog standard Zionist, therefore, out of fear, a virulent Sinophobe, because the Zionists will never control China as they do the Western slave regimes. China surpassed the USA as the world' s largest economy in 2014, on the PPP calculus that the CIA,IMF and just about everyone uses. It' s growing three times as fast as the USA, too. The chance of China fragmenting by 2020 is minuscule, certainly far less than that of the USA. The Chinese have almost totally eliminated poverty, and will raise the living standard of all to a ' middle income' by 2049. It is, however, the genocidal policy of the USA, on which it expend billions EVERY year, to do its diabolical worst to attempt to foment and foster such a hideous fate inside China, by supporting vermin like the Hong Kong fascist thugs, the Uighur salafist terrorist butchers, the medieval theocrats of the Dalai clique and separatist movements in Inner Mongolia, ' Manchuria', Taiwan, even Guandong and Guangxi. It takes a real Western thug to look forward to the ghastly suffering that these villainous ambitions would unleash.

Antonym ,

In RlS's nut shell: China can annex area but Israel: no way!

Dungroanin ,

Which area is China looking to annex?

Richard Le Sarc ,

Ant is a pathological Zionist liar, but you can see his loyalty to ' Eretz Yisrael' , ' ..from the Nile to the Euphrates', and ' cleansed' of non-Jews, can' t you.

alsdkjf ,

I'm surprised that this author can even remember the counter culture of the 60s given his Trump love.

Yet more Trumpism from Off Guardian. One doesn't have to buy into the politics of post DLC corporate owned DNC to know Trump for what he is. A fascist.

It's just amazing this Trump "left". Pathetic.

Antonym ,

Trump .. better than HRC but the guy is totally hypnotized by the level of the New York stock exchanges: even his foreign policy is improvised around that. He simply thinks higher is a proof of better forgetting that 90% of Americans don't own serious quantity of stock and that levels are manipulated by big players and the FED. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/08/business/economy/stocks-economy.html

Look at his dealing with China: tough as much as the US stock market stays benign in the short term. Same for Iran etc.

Sure, he is crippled by Pelosi & the FBI / CIA, but he is also by his own stock dependent mind. Might be the reason he is still alive ???

alsdkjf ,

Trump crippled by the CIA? Trump?

I mean the fascist jerk appointed ex CIA torture loving Pompeo to replace swamp creature oil tycoon as Secretary of State, no?

He appointed torture queen within the CIA to become CIA Director, no?

He went to the CIA headquarters on day one of his Administration to lavish praise, no?

He took on ex CIA Director Woolsey as advisor on foreign policy during his campaign, no?

I tell ya that Trump is a real adversary of the CIA!

Gall ,

Roger that. Trump appoints a dominatrix as DCI. Only a masochist or a sadist would Dream of Gina..you know the head of the torture squad under Bush. Otherwise nice girl. PompAss is a total clown but a dangerous one who even makes John Bolton look sane. Now that's scary!

This guy is Hilary Clinton in drag. The only thing missing is the evil triumphalist cackle after whacking Soleimani. Maybe it wasn't recorded.

So much for "draining the swamp". The Whitehouse has become an even bigger swamp.

Antonym ,

Forgot about John Brennan ex- CIA head or James Clapper ex-DNI honcho?
John Brennan On 'All Roads With Trump Lead To Putin' | The Last Word | MSNBC
They practically too Trump hostage in his first year.

one ,

my take from this article:
There are, among the murderers and assassins in Washington, a couple of characters who appear to have 2% of human DNA.
They author may confirm.

two ,

"israel is right in the cen "
sorry, the muderous regime israel has repeatedly proven, it's never never right . please avoid this usage.

three ,

There are 53 or 54 'I's in the article, including his partner's Is. The author may confirm.

Dungroanin ,

Phew!

That is a lot of words mate. Fingers must be sore. I won't comment more until trying to re-read again except quote this:

"Being an anti-necessitarian in philosophy,.."

I must say i had a wtf moment at that point see ya later.

paul ,

The idea that Trump's recent actions in the Middle East were part of some incredibly cunning plan to avoid war with Iran, strikes me as somewhat implausible, to put it (very) charitably.

Even Hitler didn't want war. He wanted to achieve his objectives without fighting. When that didn't work, war was Plan B. Trump probably has very little actual control over foreign policy. He is surrounded by people who have been plotting and scheming against him from long before he was elected. He heads a chaotic and dysfunctional administration of billionaires, chancers, grifters, conmen, superannuated generals, religious nut jobs, swamp creatures, halfwits and outright criminals, lurching from one crisis and one fiasco to the next. Some of these people like Bolton were foisted upon him by Adelson and various other backers and wire pullers, but that is not to absolve Trump of personal responsibility.

Competing agencies which are a law unto themselves have been free to pursue their own turf wars at the expense of anything remotely resembling a rational and coherent strategy. So have quite low level bureaucrats, formulating and implementing their own policies with little regard for the White House. In Syria, the Pentagon, the CIA, and the State Department went their own way, each supporting competing and mutually antagonistic factions and terrorist groups. Agreements that were reached with Russia over Syria, for example, were deliberately sabotaged by Ashton Carter in 24 hours. Likewise, Bolton did everything he could to wreck Trump's delicate negotiations with N. Korea.

paul ,

Seen in this light, US policy (or the absence of any coherent policy) is more understandable. What passes for US leadership is the worst in its history, even given a very low bar. Arrogant, venal, corrupt, delusional, irredeemably ignorant, and ideologically driven. The only positive thing that can be said is that the alternative (Clinton) would probably have been even worse, if that is possible.

That may also be the key to understanding the current situation. For all his pandering to Israel, Trump is more of a self serving unprincipled opportunist than a true Neocon/ Zionist believer in the mould of Pence, Bolton and Pompeo. For that reason he is not trusted by the Zionist Power Elite. He is too much of a loose cannon. They will take all his Gives, like Jerusalem and the JCPOA, but without any gratitude.

It has taken them a century of plotting, scheming and manoeuvring to achieve their political, financial, and media stranglehold over the US. but America is a wasting asset and they are under time pressure. It is visibly declining and losing its influence. And the parasite will find it difficult to find a similar host. Who else is going to give Israel billions a year in tribute, unlimited free weaponry and diplomatic cover? Russia? Are Chinese troops "happy to die for Israel" asUS ones are (according to their general)?

paul ,

And they are way behind schedule. Assad was supposed to be dead by now, and Syria another defenceless failed state, broken up into feuding little cantons, with Israel expanding into the south of the country. The main event, the war with Iran, should have started lond ago.

That is the reason for the impeachment circus. This is not intended to be resolved one way or the other. It is intended to drag on indefinitely, for months and years, to distract and weaken Trump and make it possible to extract what they want. One of the reasons Trump agreed to the murder of Soleimani and his Iraqi opposite number was to appease some Republican senators like Graham whose support is essential to survive impeachment. They were the ones who wanted it, along with Bolton and Netanyahu.

paul ,

It is instructive that all the main players in the impeachment circus are Jews, under Sanhedrin Chief Priests Schiff and Nadler, apart from a few token goys thrown in to make up the numbers. That even goes for those defending Trump.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Don' t forget that Lebanon up to the Litani is the patrimony of the Jewish tribes of Asher and Naphtali, and, as Smotrich, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, said on Israeli TV a few years ago, ' Damascus belongs to the Jews'.

bevin ,

" China will fragment, perhaps even devolve into civil war, because of deep inequalities between the relatively prosperous coastal urban areas, and the rural interior."

This is not Bill, but Bill's mate the Stratcor geopolitical theorist for hire.

What is happening in the world is that the only empire the globe, as a whole, has ever seen- the pirate kingdom that the Dutch, then the British and finally the US, leveraged out of the plunder and conquest of America -the maritime empire, of sea routes and navies is under challenge by a revival of the Eurasian proto-empires that preceded it and drove its merchants and princes on the Atlantic coast, to sea.

We know who the neo-liberals are the current iteration of the gloomy philosophies of the Scots Enlightenment, (Cobbett's 'Scotch Feelosophy') utilitarianism in its crudest form and the principles of necessary inequalities, from the Austrian School back to the various crude racisms which became characteristic of the C19th.
The neo-cons are the latest expression of the maritime powers' fear of Eurasia and its interior lines of communication. Besides which the importance of navies and of maritime agility crumble.
Bill mentions that China has not got much of a navy. I'm not so sure about that, but isn't it becoming clear that navies-except to shipyards, prostitutes and arms contractors- are no longer of sovereign importance? There must be missile commanders in China drooling over the prospect of catching a US Fleet in all its glory within 500 miles of the mainland. Not to mention on the east coast of the Persian Gulf.
The neo-cons are the last in a long line of strategists, ideologists and, for the most part, mercenary publicists defying the logic of Halford Mackinder's geo-strategy for a lot more than a penny a line. And what they urge, is all that they can without crossing the line from deceitfulness to complete dishonesty: chaos and destabilisation within Eurasia, surrounding Russia, subverting Sinkiang and Tibet, employing sectarian guerrillas, fabricating nationalists and nationalisms.. recreate the land piracy, the raiding and the ethnic explosions that drove trade from the land to the sea and crippled the Qing empire.
The clash is between war, necessary to the Maritime Empire and Peace, vital to the consolidation and flowering of Eurasia.

As to Israel, and perhaps we can go into this later: it looms much larger in the US imagination (and the imaginations the 'west' borrows from the US) than anywhere else. It is a tiny sliver of a country. Far from being an elephant in any room, it is simply a highly perfumed lapdog which also serves as its master's ventriloquist's dummy. Its danger lies in the fact that after decades of neglect by its idiotic self indulgent masters, it has become an openly fascist regime, which was definitely not meant to happen, and, misled by its own exotic theories of race, has come to believe that it can do what it wants. It can't-and this is one reason why Bill misjudges the reasoning behind the Soleimani killing- but it likes to act, or rather threaten to act, as if it could.

(By the way-note to morons across the web-Bill's partner quotes Adorno and writes about him too: cue rants about Cultural Marxism.)

Hugh O'Neill ,

Thanks, Bevin. The article was so long, I had quite forgotten that he laid too much emphasis on the Stratcor Unspeakable. Clever he may be, but not much use without a moral compass. Talking of geo-strategists, you will doubtless be aware of the work of A.T. Mahan whose blueprint for acquisition of inspired Teddy Roosevelt and leaders throughout Europe, Russia, Japan.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Friedman is a snake oil peddler. He tells the ruling psychopaths what they want to hear, like ' China crumbling', their favourite wet-dream.

bevin ,

I agree about Mahan's importance. He understood what lay behind the Empire on which the sun never set but he had enough brains to have been able to realise that current conditions make those fleets obsolete. In fact the Germans in the last War realised that too- their strategy was Eurasian, it broke down over the small matter of devouring the USSR. The expiry date on the tin of Empire has been obvious for a long time- there is simply too much money to be made by ignoring it.
Russia has always been the problem, either real (very occasionally) or latent for the Dutch/British/US Empire because it is just so clear that the quickest and most efficient communications between Shanghai and Lisbon do not go through the Straits of Malacca, the Suez Canal, or round the cape . Russia never had to do a thing to earn the enmity of the Empire, simply existing was a challenge. And that remains the case- for centuries the Empire denounced the Russians because of the Autocracy, then it was the anarchism of the Bolsheviks, then it was the autocracy again, this time featuring Stalin, then it was the chaos of the oligarchs and now we are back with the Tsar/Stalin Putin.

Hugh O'Neill ,

Phenomenal diagnosis, Bevin. However, one suspects that there is still too much profit to be made by the MIC in pursuing useless strategies. I imagine Mahan turning in his grave in his final geo-strategic twist.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Yes-Zionist hubris will get Israel into a whole world of sorrow.

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

More USA Deep State conspiracy theorizing which makes the author American paternalism posing as authorship that is revenue neutral when it ain't.

Any article with mention of mother-'Tucker' Carlson is one that is pure propagandistic tripe in the extreme. Off-G is a UK blog yet this Americanism & worn out aged propaganda still prevails in the minds of US centric myopics writ large across all states in the disunity equally divided from cities to rural towns all.

MOU

johny conspiranoid ,

"More USA Deep State conspiracy theorizing which makes the author American paternalism posing as authorship that is revenue neutral when it ain'"
Is this even a sentence?

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

It was a sentence when I was smoking marijuana yesterday, Johnny C. Today it is still a sentence IMHO, but you transcribed it incorrectly, and forgot the end of the sentence.

NOTE: When I smoke marijuana I am allowed to write uncoordinated sentences. These are the rules in CANADA. If you don't like it write to your local politician and complain bitterly.

MOU

Charlotte Russe ,

Bush, Obama, and Clinton are despicable. In fact, they're particularly disgusting, inasmuch, as they were much more "cognizant" than Trump of how their actions would lead to very specific insidious consequences. In addition, they were more able to cleverly conceal their malevolent deeds from the public. And that's why Trump is now sitting in the Oval Office–he won because of public disgust for lying politicians.

However, Trump is "dangerous" because he's a "misinformed idiot," and as such is extremely malleable. Of course, ignorance is no excuse when the future of humanity is on the line

In any event, Trump is often not aware of the outcome of his actions. And when you're surrounded and misinformed by warmongering neoconservative nutcases, especially ones who donated to your campaign chances are you'll do stupid things. And that's what they're counting on.

alsdkfj ,

Trump is some virtuous example of a truth teller? Trump?

The biggest liar to every occupy the White House and that is saying a lot.

Swamp Monster fascist Trump. So much to love, right?

He could murder one of your friends and you'd still apologize for him, is my guess.

Hugh O'Neill ,

It was a long read, but I got there. In essence, I agreed with 99%, but I hesitate to share too much praise for Trump's qualities as a Human Being – though he may be marginally more Human than the entire US body politic. I was walking our new puppy yesterday when he did his usual attempt to leap all over other walkers. I pleaded their forgiveness and explained that his big heart was in inverse proportion to his small brain. It occurred to me later that the opposite would be pure evil i.e. a small heart but big brain. Capitalism as is now infects the Human Experiment, has reduced both brains and hearts: propagandists believe their own lies, and too few trust their own instincts and innate compassion, ground down by the relentless distractions of lies and 'entertainment' (at least the Romas gave you free bread!).
I get the impression that Trump's world view hasn't altered much since he was about 11 years old. I do not intend to insult all eleven-year-olds, but his naivety is not a redeeming feature of his spoilt brat bully personality. He has swallowed hook, line and sinker every John Wayne cowboy movie and thinks the world can be divided into good guys and bad guys depending on what colour hat they wear. In the days of Black & White TV, it was either black or white. The world seemed so much simpler aged 11 .(1966).

Dungroanin ,

Yet I have yet to see one photo of Trump with a gun or in uniform.

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

The Duck learned to dress appropriately for business, I'll give him that. As a New York Real Estate scion you will never see him dress otherwise. Protocol in business is a contemporary business suit. No other manner of dress is allowed for the executive class in North America or UK.

[Jan 21, 2020] Goldstein 2.0 ISIS has a new big bad leader

Notable quotes:
"... For starters, don't be surprised if his "fortification" of ISIS means Donald Trump can't pull out of Syria after all. Or maybe if ISIS attacks on Iraqi civilians/militias result in the Iraqi parliament revoking their request for the US to remove their troops from Iraqi soil. ..."
"... There's the possibility that ISIS will start a resurgence in Libya, meaning that NATO has to get in there and sort things out. Maybe some furious ISIS fighters will be the ones who assassinate Iranian generals in future. It's much less messy that way. ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | off-guardian.org

For starters, don't be surprised if his "fortification" of ISIS means Donald Trump can't pull out of Syria after all. Or maybe if ISIS attacks on Iraqi civilians/militias result in the Iraqi parliament revoking their request for the US to remove their troops from Iraqi soil.

There's the possibility that ISIS will start a resurgence in Libya, meaning that NATO has to get in there and sort things out. Maybe some furious ISIS fighters will be the ones who assassinate Iranian generals in future. It's much less messy that way.

Or, hell, maybe we'll return to the hits of the 90s and early 2000s, and Islamic jihadists will get back to work in Chechnya.

Whatever happens, ISIS are back baby. And that means that some way, somehow, Mr al-Salbi is about to make the foreign policy goals of the United States much easier.

That's what Goldsteins are for.

harry law ,

.... The US have used Islamic state against both Syria and Iraq, [the enemy of my enemy is my friend].

There can be no doubt that the US are going to use Islamic state to disrupt Iraq, just as they had no qualms about watching [from satellites and spotter aircraft] Islamic state travel 100's of kilometres from Syria to Northern Iraq [Mosul] across the desert, whipping up tons of dust in their Toyota jeeps to put pressure on the Iraqi government. Also as they watched on with equanimity when the Islamic state transported thousands of tanker loads of oil from Syria to Turkey, that is until the Russians bombed those convoys, the US must think everyone is as stupid as they are. If the Iraqis don't drive the US out using all means including violence, they deserve to be slaves.

"Sergey Lavrov earlier called the US-led coalition's refusal to combat al-Nusra "absolutely unacceptable."

"Iraqi security expert Kazim al-Haaj said "US Army troops are preparing and training the ISIL militants in al-Qadaf and Wadi al-Houran regions of Al-Anbar province with the aim of carrying out terrorist attacks and restarting insecurity in Iraq." https://stephenlendman.org/2020/01/trump-regime-shifting-isis-terrorists-from-syria-to-iraq/

[Jan 21, 2020] WaPo columnist endorses all twelve candidates

Highly recommended!
Are WaPo and NYT both encouraging their readerships to split the 'Anybody But Bernie' vote six ways from Super Tuesday? Fantastic!
Jan 21, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

Cassiodorus on Mon, 01/20/2020 - 11:44am Alexandra Petri tells us:

In a break from tradition, I am endorsing all 12 Democratic candidates.

Of course, this is a parody of the NYT's endorsement of Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren , trying to encourage the "who cares about policy we want an identity-politics win" vote. Petri's funniest moment is:

One of two things is wrong with America: Either the entire system is broken or is on the verge of breaking, and we need someone to bring about radical, structural change, or -- we don't need that at all! Which is it? Who can say? Certainly not me, and that is why I am telling you now which candidate to vote for.

[Jan 20, 2020] NYT Editors Hedge Their Bets, Endorse Warren Klobuchar

Fake news are consistent: Klobuchar and not Tulsi ?
Jan 20, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

...

in what the paper described as a "significant break with convention", the members of its editorial board have selected not one, but two candidates - both of them women.

Its chosen candidates are: Elizabeth Warren, the Republican-turned-progressive who for years posed as a Native American to game America's system of affirmative action - and Amy Klobuchar, the midwestern senator from the great state of Minneapolis with a reputation for being an unhinged dragon-lady boss.

That the NYT selected the two remaining women among the top tier of contenders is hardly a surprise: This is, after all, the same newspaper that kicked off #MeToo by dropping the first expose about Harvey Weinstein's history of abusing, harassing and assaulting women just days before the New Yorker followed up with the first piece from Ronan Farrow.

...After all, if the editors went ahead with their true No. 1 choice, Klobuchar, a candidate who has very little chance of actually capturing the nomination, they would look foolish.


DeePeePDX , 2 hours ago link

NYT is like that ex you dumped that won't stop trying to get your attention with increasingly desperate and pathetic acts.

Griffin , 2 hours ago link

Warren is a much better candidate than Biden is in my view.

Warren seems to get into trouble sometimes for all kinds of reasons like most people do, but the problems are usually trivial, more silly than dangerous. There is tendency in her to stick to her guns even when she does not know what she is doing.

When i run into something unexpected or something that seems to be something i don't understand, i usually backtrack and look at the problem from some distance to see what happened and why before trying to correct or fix the problem, rather than just doing something.

Its not a perfect plan, but it seems to work most of the time.

https://9gag.com/gag/ap5AO19

Someone Else , 2 hours ago link

The tennis shoe I threw away last week is a better candidate than Biden. So that's not saying much.

TheManj , 3 hours ago link

NYT remains a joke. Their endorsement is straight up virtue-signalling.

Here's some reality: Warren's latest antics have cemented her image as dishonest and high-strung. Knoblocker has no charisma and remains practically unknown.

John Hansen , 3 hours ago link

Why are foreign ownedNew York Times allowed to meddle in the election?

Where is the investigation?

pitz , 4 hours ago link

I've personally sat down and talked with Klobuchar. Not a lot of depth of intelligence in her, that's for sure, easily manipulated by lobbyists. Warren, at least, knows what the problem is, although she might have swallowed the proverbial Democratic party "kool aid".

spam filter , 4 hours ago link

Warren is the deep state establishment pick. If you must vote Dem, pick someone that isn't, or one the establishment seems to work against. Better yet, vote Trump, safe bet on gun rights, freedoms.

SheHunter , 5 hours ago link

Here's the link. It is a gd editorial.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/01/19/opinion/amy-klobuchar-elizabeth-warren-nytimes-endorsement.html

[Jan 19, 2020] If History Repeats Itself, Is Elizabeth Warren Doomed - Lessenberry Ink

Feud with Sanders complicated Warren position. Like previous blunder it shownthat she isfar from gifted politician.
Jan 19, 2020 | lessenberryink.com

She may, especially if Bernie Sanders falters, win the nomination in Milwaukee next July.

But here's something you might consider:

Once upon a time, there was a liberal Democratic Senator from Massachusetts who won the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary easily, and then swept to the nomination.

His opponent was a largely unpopular Republican president who had deeply divided the country. Democrats thought they could smell victory. On Election Day, their candidate did sweep the northeast and the Pacific west. But except for a few states around Chicago, he lost everything else -- and the presidential election.

His name was John Kerry, and that was 2004.

Once upon another time, there was a Democratic candidate from Massachusetts who made a better-than-expected showing in Iowa, swept New Hampshire, and breezed to the nomination.

By summer, he was 17 points ahead in the polls, and the race looked about over. But then the Republican spin doctors went to work on his record, and his campaign went into a tailspin. In the end, he lost 40 states. His name was Michael Dukakis, and that was 1988.

Advertisement

Now, it is a new century, and one of the front-running candidates for the Democratic nomination is Ms. Warren, another liberal senator from, yes, Massachusetts who is leading in some polls in early key states. Every election is different, of course.

The political landscape isn't the same as it was in 1988 or even 2004. But it would be hard to blame any Democrat who looks at this and asks themselves – haven't we seen this show before?

Doesn't it have an unhappy ending?

This analysis could be faulty. No two campaigns are the same, and most people are still not paying a lot of attention.

To be sure, nobody like Donald Trump has ever been in the White House, and given his negative approval ratings and other obvious weaknesses, an economic downturn could possibly doom his reelection no matter who the Democrats run.

David Brooks, the conservative New York Times columnist, is no fan of Warren's – but thinks she may win because by that time, the nation will realize they have to get rid of Trump, no matter what.

Incidentally, he also thinks it would be the duty of any thinking American to support her if she and Trump are the nominees.

But a New York Times /Siena College poll released Nov. 5 indicates that nominating Elizabeth Warren could be the biggest gift the Democrats could give President Trump. Their survey showed former Vice President Joe Biden beating Trump in virtually every swing state, except for North Carolina.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont led the President narrowly in the three states that decided the last election, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. But Warren trailed in every swing state except Arizona.

Polls are notoriously unreliable, especially this early in any election cycle, and a Washington Post-ABC News poll the same day showed Warren with a 55 to 40 percent lead over Trump.

But even that poll showed the more moderate Biden doing better. The New York Times survey found that many voters just plain did not like Warren, some because they did not like her "Medicare for all," health insurance plan; others because they disliked her personality or speaking style.

Some said they felt like she was lecturing them; others, like Elysha Savarese, a 26-year-old Floridian, said "I just don't feel like she's a genuine candidate. I find her body language to be very off-putting. She's very cold basically a Hillary Clinton clone."

That may be unfair, and it is clear from Warren rallies that many women and men adore her.

There are also a few older Democrats who note that John F. Kennedy was a Democratic senator from Massachusetts, and he was elected. That is true – but it was also six decades ago.

Kennedy, who was perceived as a middle-of-the-road moderate, could count on states like Louisiana and Arkansas and Georgia that no Democrat – certainly not one on the left – has much if any hope of winning today. Additionally, the playing field is different.

Voting strength and electoral votes have shifted dramatically from the Northeast, which was and is JFK and Warren's base, to the South and West. New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts had a combined 93 electoral votes in 1960. They have a mere 60 today.

Florida, which President Kennedy, (like Hillary Clinton) narrowly lost, had 10 electoral votes in 1960; it has 29 today. Geography has become less favorable to a Massachusetts Democrat. The day after Paul Tsongas won the 1992 Democratic primary, the legendary Texas Gov. Ann Richards, a often irreverent Democrat, dryly told a friend of mine, "So they want to give us another liberal from Massachusetts, and this one has a lisp."

Democrats did not, however, nominate Tsongas, but instead chose Bill Clinton, the governor of Arkansas who was perceived as a moderate. That fall, he won.

History does not always repeat itself. But it does, sometimes, provide signposts for the future.

(Editor's Note: A version of this column also appeared in the Toledo Blade.)

[Jan 19, 2020] ISIS had become a proxy army of the CIA; that's likely why Soleimani had to be killed.

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

michael888 , Jan 19 2020 13:19 utc | 114

Almost all of the "terrorism" affecting the West has been Wahabbi Salafist Sunni driven. Iran, despite their religious head, is a more modern sectarian nation than Saudi Arabia. ISIS had become a proxy army of the CIA; that's likely why Soleimani had to be killed. It is time to align with Iran and the Shia for a change. They also have oil! Would send a nice message to our "allies" Israel and Saudi Arabia as well.

Sasha , Jan 19 2020 13:23 utc | 115

Trump has given signals of opposition to the wisdom of the use of jihadi proxies,

@Posted by: BM | Jan 19 2020 11:09 utc | 107

Really?

Revealed: US moves IS leaders to Al-Anbar, Iraq

After only a week or so after this heinous crime, we are assisting already to a new campaign on whitewashing Trump at each of the US military blogs...SST at the head...as always...but following the rest...be it a editorial level, be it at commentariat level...

What part of Trump admitting he personally ordered the murder you have not understood?

What part of Soleimani and Al Muhandis being the main strategic heads of real anti-IS front have you not understood?

[Jan 19, 2020] Warren is the fallback should Sanders not be beaten by Biden. Warren is not a real progressive.

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

c1ue , Jan 18 2020 17:57 utc | 153

@psychedelicatessen #117
You are making a number of assumptions which I don't necessarily agree with.
1) That Sanders and Warren are on the same "side" and are viewed the same by the "establishment". They clearly are not. Warren is the fallback should Sanders not be beaten by Biden. Warren is not a real progressive.
2) Trump vs. Sanders - again, depends on which part of the deep state. It is an error to assume the deep state is any more monolithic than anything else. The most credible breakdown I've seen is that the "deep state" is really 3 parts: the corporates who are happy with Trump, the intel agencies who are not, and the military which was unhappy originally but is now ok since they've come out ahead of the intel agencies and still have representation at the highest levels.
Looking at these same 3 with Sanders: the corporates would/are not happy. The intel agencies are fine with Sanders and so is the military (F35, baby!). So it isn't clear at all the "deep state" overall cares about/hates one more than the other - the constituent groups simply have different goals.
3) Control over petro-dollar dominance. Frankly, I don't see how Trump or Sanders matters there. The tactical plays are very clear: keep the Saudis happy so they won't accede to China wanting to buy Saudi oil in RMB, because the Saudis don't have any other reason to stipulate dollar payments any more.
4) Economic collapse: I am curious as to how you think this will happen. Specifically what is the driver?
If it is de-dollarization - that is going to take decades, unless the US has a debt crisis before then. And frankly, I don't see it coming soon because there is simply too much international trade dollar cushion for the US debt accumulation to be a visible problem for quite some time.
If it is domestic collapse not due to de-dollarization - what is the driver? The economy is already no longer a major manufacturing, etc - with helicopter money going to the 1%. As much as the neoliberals hate it, the reality is that the pain Trump inflicts via the trade war ultimately is net positive for domestic production. It takes a while to make an impact, but the trade war and the anti-China machinations have already caused Chinese manufacturers to move production abroad - and to increase in-US production.
Plus there are ways to extend the runway: health care in particular. That's a big, deep and very popular pot of gold which could be attacked, should Trump desire to do so. As far as I can see, he doesn't have any particular fondness or historical partnerships with the health care/pharma industry.
In 2016, HRC received $32.6M from health care (#1 overall) vs. Trump's $4.9M (#5 overall).
source
Compare with defense: Trump and Clinton were about equal (tied for #1 but only $1M or so).
Trump has also pushed through some laws which definitely aren't liked by the health care folks, like the hospital bill transparency law.

[Jan 19, 2020] Hijacking the Struggles of Others, Elizabeth Warren Style by Kathleen Wallace

Notable quotes:
"... Warren is that person you can never rely on–the one that has no defining characteristic other than self-elevation. Over the years, if it benefited her, she backed a few seemingly decent causes, but it was never about doing the right thing. It was all political expediency and shape shifting. She was a Republican during so many tumultuous years -- even during the Reagan era that propelled us towards what we are going through now hell, she was a Republican until her late 40s. But now she has reinvented herself as a populist, but won't even talk out against Biden, the man from Creditcardlandia. She's a promiscuous virgin, a carnivorous vegan. ..."
"... The treachery of Warren towards Sanders is most likely from some back room deal with Biden. ..."
Jan 17, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org
To say Elizabeth Warren is a political opportunist is not giving her enough credit. She has taken the struggles, as well as the identities of others (women, school teachers, Native Americans, public school supporters, people who are able to tweet with humor, actual humans) and has weaponized these categories until the meaning of it all is lost.

Her tweet about leaving your ghosting boyfriend and getting a dog despite your roommate's objections should have placed her in the pandering hall of fame, and with that should have included a one way trip to some kind of holding cell for the criminally trite.

Her obvious lies (she's not even good at them, shaking and being sketchy with a tweaker-looking-body-vibe-thing when she tries to pull them off) -- well that bit regarding Bernie Sanders has electrified her twitter feed with images of snakes and has even managed to get #RefundWarren trending. At this rate, maybe she can pull in a negative donation for this quarter. What an achievement. The first female candidate to pull that off! Grrrrl Power! Her political instincts are as feeble as her lies -- to have her tell it, she was a selfless public servant most of her career (more like a teacher long enough to mention it, and a corporate lawyer as the subsequent defining profession). Her kids only went to public schools (umm no), she is of native heritage (shouldn't she have helped a bit at Standing Rock with that 1/16600600606006 ancestry that she is so proud of?) . Oh yes, her father was a janitor (again, what? No). She is but a champion for the veracity challenged. That's true at least.

Warren is that person you can never rely on–the one that has no defining characteristic other than self-elevation. Over the years, if it benefited her, she backed a few seemingly decent causes, but it was never about doing the right thing. It was all political expediency and shape shifting. She was a Republican during so many tumultuous years -- even during the Reagan era that propelled us towards what we are going through now hell, she was a Republican until her late 40s. But now she has reinvented herself as a populist, but won't even talk out against Biden, the man from Creditcardlandia. She's a promiscuous virgin, a carnivorous vegan.

This current trend to take on the struggles of others as your own has been powerful of late. Cops pretend to have coffee cups served to them with pig slurs and Warren puts forth that the very individual who actually urged her to run for president in 2016, changed course and told her women can't win (despite ample evidence that Sanders has a track record that is decidedly feminist). I think she said Bernie offered her a cup of coffee in their meeting that had written on it something like "Women can't win, you're a bitch, how's menopause treating you, and also your hair is dry and brittle." (It was a Starbucks Trenta cup so he could go full on misogynist because there was a lotta space to write on–thanks Starbucks, first a war on Christmas, now a war on Women).

So I'd say this is weaponizing a status and taking the struggles of others to pretend they are your own. Stolen valor, really.

For many of us Sanders is a compromise. The changes needed are massive, but he's the closest thing we've got at this point. The hulking size of our nation and the lack of immediacy to those in power over us lends a situation of creating an infantalized population. This is where we are at now. There should be direct accountability and of course we have nothing of the sort. I suspect far in the future, if humans are to survive in any manner, it will go back to some sort of mutual aid, and direct accountability from those making life and death decisions over others, in short, more of a tribal situation. But right now, in our lifetimes, we are tasked with attempting to keep the planet below 150 degrees, to not bake our children before next week.

We have utter nonsense pouring in from the Warren corporate shills and it is wasting our precious time. The recent CNN debate should render that channel irrelevant at best, a direct threat at the worst. Fox comes in with obvious bias, but the CNNs and MSNBCs slip in behaving as if they are reasonable and neutral, assaulting those of us unlucky enough to have to watch them as captives at dental offices. They most certainly help the Warrens and other corporate shills by providing red herring distractions and pleas for incrementalism. This is akin to only turning up your boiling water that you bath in a degree or two every 5 minutes rather than trying to stop the boil. They care about immediate profits and in truth are terribly stupid. Many of us have been raised to be polite and not utter this about others, especially those in power. We look for reasons and conditions for their behavior and choices, but the stark fact is that a lot of these people are ignorant as fuck and want to remain that way -- little or no intellectual curiosity and full of base greed. And this will kill us all.

The treachery of Warren towards Sanders is most likely from some back room deal with Biden. He probably told her that he needs help against Corn Pop and while sniffing her hair and unwashed face, (I'm not being snarky without reason, she shared her beauty routine with the media since that's so pressing in these days of turmoil) well Biden decided that she would be the one to stroke his leg hairs in the oval office as VP.

They are the golden hairs of a golden white man, he says. This is the way of Washington–lots of white men thinking their leg hair is the best, but her instincts were shit to have taken a deal like this. No way in hell is Biden going to win, even if the DNC does manage to prop him up as their candidate.

Trump will have a field day with him (Biden of the reasonable Republican fable) and if they do debate, the entire country might have a collective intracranial bleed from the batshittery that will be spoken.

Trump will be there, all eyes dilated, snorting and speaking gibberish; Biden will be there, all blood eyed and smarmy, talking about how poor kids can be smart too (the more you know). I cry in a corner even considering such a spectacle. I'd rather see Topsy electrocuted than watch that.

Anyway, it's not unlikely that Warren will get a challenger for her senate seat due to this Judas move. The Bernie supporters will be generous with political donations if that individual materializes, I'm sure. But I'm guessing she will try something again in terms of reinvention and she will refer to herself as the politician formally known as Elizabeth Warren and try to get a judge show on antennae tv. I won't watch it even if she hits the gavel and says to leave the ghosting boyfriend and get a dog in the event of a sassy landlord tenant dispute brought before her court.

I plan on ghosting Elizabeth Warren and her lying ass.

Kathleen Wallace writes out of the US Midwest.

[Jan 19, 2020] Warren is The Monkees of Democratic Socialism

Warren is no "progressive," as her beating a retreat from Medicare for All demonstrates. She now has shown herself to be a bald-faced liar as well as a political phony.
Jan 18, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Andrew a day ago

Warren is The Monkees of Democratic Socialism.
Me Andrew a day ago
Warren is the Jussie Smollet of politics. I wonder if she claims Bernie attacked her while wearing a red hat and screaming, "A woman can't win! This is MAGA country!"

It's hillarious that even after the shafting they got in 2016 by CNN there are still some Bernie supporters who are finally catching on to what Trump supporters have been saying the whole time, the MSM are a bunch of lying propagandists. I wonder who these people are who think Bernie is going to fight against the Establishment when he can't even stand up for himself against CNN, Warren, Hillary, the DNC,.... or anyone.

former-vet Me a day ago • edited
I'm with you, Me. I expected to see Bernie come out swinging after that exchange with Senator Warren if he was to have any chance against Trump. Sucking it up for "the team" is loser talk. Warren accused him of blatantly lying on national TV, and he's okay with that?

Kathleen Garvey a day ago

Storm in a tea cup.

This manufactured 'controversy' has absolutely no relevance to electoral chances of either, outside of the campus/media bubble - whose battle lines are already entrenched.

Connecticut Farmer Kathleen Garvey a day ago
Or, as the late historian Daniel Boorstin called it, a "pseudo-event."

[Jan 19, 2020] The cost of Trump rabid militarism

Jan 19, 2020 | journal-neo.org

The United States has spent about $6 trillion on combat operations over the past 20 years, according to Brown University studies . If the warfare ends by 2023, researchers estimate the total cost will be $6.7 trillion at least, not counting the interest on debt.

In total, almost half a million people have died as a result of the wars.

The cost of 87 major programs for the purchase of weapons and military equipment conducted by the US Department of Defense exceeded $2 trillion in 2018, according to the Pentagon's Selected Acquisition Reports (SAR), which detail the implementation of major defense purchases. The combined cost of all procurement programs was determined by the Pentagon to be over $2 trillion. This is equivalent to almost 10% of the annual gross domestic product of the United States ($21.3 trillion).

Trying to justify such exorbitant spending on the army, the US military and political elites actively promote their interests, advertising the national armed forces as the main fighting force. Recently, Joseph F. Dunford, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, declared that 'there are no forces today capable of resisting an attack by the US Army.' Unsurprisingly, the Department of Defense (DoD) desires even more money, although there is no logical explanation as to why the most powerful army on the planet is in need of improvement when everyone else is clearly lagging behind.

But what is the real face of the US Army today and how does the public feel about it?

Global Research correctly remarked that, despite the largest military budget in the world (five times greater than in six other countries), the highest number of military bases in the world (over 180) and the most expensive military-industrial complex, the United States has failed to win a single war in the 21 st century.

Every year, Pew Research Center publishes hundreds of studies on a wide range of topics. Concerning the current problems of the US military, Pew studies note that most American veterans and the majority of the general US public believe that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not worth fighting. Over 60% of the American public is convinced that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not paid off, when the costs and benefits are weighed. Responding to questions about the US military campaign in Syria, 55% of veterans and 58% of the American public said that this campaign failed to pay off as well.

Frustration with the country's military policy has now become a big problem among active US servicemen, veterans, and even among young soldiers who haven't participated in real combat.

The incautious question 'How has serving impacted you?' posted by the Pentagon's official Twitter account, has revealed the deep chasm of the US military's problems. So deep, in fact, that the Pentagon had to urgently close and remove a huge number of subsequent replies, most of which turned out to be very depressing in nature. US Army soldiers and officers shared the shocking consequences of their service, including drug addiction, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders and nightmares – some admitting they had repeatedly wanted to commit suicide.

Currently there are up to 19 million retired veterans 'in the most belligerent democratic country in the world.' Every day, about 20 of them commit suicide. The causes of suicide cited by experts are diverse, the main ones being depressions, nervous breakdowns, spiritual and psychological devastation coupled with guilt for killing innocent people, post-traumatic stress disorder, increased military operations, medical abuse, and personal financial problems. Social media are full of horrific stories about how injured soldiers weren't provided necessary medical attention during military operations, which drove them to shooting themselves in the head. Meanwhile junior army members state that they are basically expendable for their commanders, and all of them combined present an endless means of earning money for the highest elite.

[Jan 19, 2020] Now BoneSpurs Opened the Pandora's Box of Open State Level Assassinations Not Ethical - Inhumane and Imbecilic, really. That's why I am voting for Gabbard this Time. A 2nd Gen Navy Vet. Been to War Zones in the Gulf.

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

IronForge , Jan 18 2020 3:03 utc | 93

The MIC were running about without leashes.

Once they delved into "Conquest and Exploitation", the Military were OverScoped and Few People thought of rebuilding/modernizing Civil Infrastructure and Economy of the Conquered.

Also, IMHO, every Govt-Job that affect the Military and Veterans' Lives should be held by Veterans. Need them to be where the Rubber Meets the Road before sending others into harm's way. I'd go as far to require WH, Congress, Supremes to be Previously Assigned to Combat Units/Hot Zones (FatBoy Pompeo Fails here) - and have Combat Eligible Family be in Active Duty or Drilling Reserves - ready to be sent to the Front Lines should they call for War while running the Republic-turned-Hegemon.

That would include BoneShards' Adult Children and Spouses.

WH have been on a PetroUSD/MIC/PNAC7/AIPAC Bandwagon - which drive down Non-Yielding Nation-States with Sanctions.

Now BoneShards Opened the Pandora's Box of Open State Level Assassinations using Diplomatic Peace Missions as Venues. Worse? Against a Nation-State which can Respond in Kind - AND Develop+Deploy Nuclear WMDs. Not Ethical - Inhumane and Imbecilic, really. That's why I am voting for Gabbard this Time. A 2nd Gen Navy Vet. Been to War Zones in the Gulf.

lysias , Jan 18 2020 3:24 utc | 97

This retired Lieutenant Commander of the U.S. Navy has also been donating to Gabbard.

[Jan 19, 2020] The frantic attempt to deflect attention from US foreign wars and mainly derisive media coverage of Tulsi Gabbard is a case in point. Is she the harbinger of a growing political movement aiming to dismantle the military empire project?

Highly recommended!
Trump has been a kind of part deranged, part clever political monkey wrench thrown into the works of the USA military machine
Notable quotes:
"... I begin with the premise that the United States is a longstanding cultural catastrophe, and is far along the way in the process of destroying itself, after having destroyed or damaged the prospects of much of the planet. ..."
"... Within the context of the attack on Indochina, on the ground and taking place within the spaces left alive after the B52 bombers et al, there was the 'Phoenix Program'. euphemism for the CIA's ambitious program of technocratic torture, assassination, bribery, corruption, and so on, with tens of thousands of murdered victims. And the military destroyed uncounted villages, a la My Lai. ..."
"... Note then that Trump has almost patented the 'fake news' meme. The idea that the msm is lying about and hiding the truth, non-stop propaganda, is an idea that Trump has pushed repeatedly. Most people on the MofA etc are well aware of that. But for many 'normies', that's not quite as obvious. ..."
"... And yes, he himself could be described as the liar in chief. But doesn't deflect from the great collapse in the status of the msm propaganda machine. And that propaganda machine has been very much associated with the CIA via operation Mockingbird and its generations long progeny. ..."
"... So the attack on the media via fake news is a direct attack on the basic indispensable control mechanism of the deep state, and CIA. ..."
"... Note too that after three Years of Trump, the long standing criminality and corruption of the FBI has never looked as obvious. Again, we don't have to give Trump credit. But it happened on his 'watch'. ..."
"... We're not talking miracle cures here. But Trump has been a kind of part deranged, part clever political monkey wrench thrown into the works. As to whether his disruptive arrival has provided openings for more sensible political and cultural innovations remains to be seen. ..."
"... Many of the internal difficulties that the US faces are distinct from militarism, but related to militarism in the sense that a police state keeping control via surveillance and bs, etc, and spending its money on empire, is not going to prioritize clear honest discourse. In the end, one overarching question for the US like the rest of us is: can we achieve honesty and common sense? ..."
Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Robert Snefjella , Jan 17 2020 23:50 utc | 64
Previously, most discussions of the Trump presidency reflexively proceeded to either visceral disgust etc or accolades of some species. Trumps words and manners dominated. As things developed, and actual results were recorded, a body of more sober second thought developed. And a variation on these more experience/reality based assessments is what b has delivered above.

Some of my points that follow are repeats, some are new. On the whole I see Trump as a helpful and positive-result really bad President.

I begin with the premise that the United States is a longstanding cultural catastrophe, and is far along the way in the process of destroying itself, after having destroyed or damaged the prospects of much of the planet.

As one aspect of this cultural catastrophe, let's refer back to the United States attack on Indochina, which accomplished millions of dead and millions of wounded people, and birth defects still in uncounted numbers as a legacy of dioxin etc laden chemical warfare. The millions of dead included some tens of thousands of American soldiers, and even more wounded physically, and even more wounded 'mentally'.

Within the context of the attack on Indochina, on the ground and taking place within the spaces left alive after the B52 bombers et al, there was the 'Phoenix Program'. euphemism for the CIA's ambitious program of technocratic torture, assassination, bribery, corruption, and so on, with tens of thousands of murdered victims. And the military destroyed uncounted villages, a la My Lai.

When asked what it was all about, Kissinger lied in an inadvertently illuminating way: "basically nothing" was how he put it, if memory serves.

During and after the attack on Indochina, the US trained, aided, financed, etc active death squads in Central and South America, demonstrating that the United States was an equal opportunity death dealer.

Now this was a bit of a meander away from the Trump topic, but note that Trump came to power within the above cultural context and much more pathology besides, talking about ending the warfare state. Again, this is not an attempt to portray Trump as either sincere or insincere in that policy. In terms of ideas, it was roughly speaking a good idea.

Another main part of the Trump message was 'let's rebuild America'. And along with the de-militarization and national program of rejuvenation there was the 'drain the swamp' meme, which again resonated. And once again, I am not arguing that Trump was sincere, or for that matter insincere. That's irrelevant to the point I'm trying to make: which could essentially by reduced to: what will be the actual meaning and potential impact of Trump?

Note then that Trump has almost patented the 'fake news' meme. The idea that the msm is lying about and hiding the truth, non-stop propaganda, is an idea that Trump has pushed repeatedly. Most people on the MofA etc are well aware of that. But for many 'normies', that's not quite as obvious.

And yes, he himself could be described as the liar in chief. But doesn't deflect from the great collapse in the status of the msm propaganda machine. And that propaganda machine has been very much associated with the CIA via operation Mockingbird and its generations long progeny.

So the attack on the media via fake news is a direct attack on the basic indispensable control mechanism of the deep state, and CIA.

Note too that after three Years of Trump, the long standing criminality and corruption of the FBI has never looked as obvious. Again, we don't have to give Trump credit. But it happened on his 'watch'.

Now the deep cultural, including political, pathology in the United States, in its many manifestations remain. We're not talking miracle cures here. But Trump has been a kind of part deranged, part clever political monkey wrench thrown into the works. As to whether his disruptive arrival has provided openings for more sensible political and cultural innovations remains to be seen.

The frantic attempt to deflect attention from and give mainly derisive media coverage to Tulsi Gabbard is a case in point. Is she the harbinger of a growing political movement aiming to dismantle the military empire project?

Many of the internal difficulties that the US faces are distinct from militarism, but related to militarism in the sense that a police state keeping control via surveillance and bs, etc, and spending its money on empire, is not going to prioritize clear honest discourse. In the end, one overarching question for the US like the rest of us is: can we achieve honesty and common sense?

[Jan 19, 2020] CNN is Trash

Jan 19, 2020 | failedevolution.blogspot.com

Then CNN turned to a story that it had reported on just prior to the debate, alleging that Sanders had told Senator Elizabeth Warren that he did not believe a woman could be elected U.S. president. The CNN moderator ignored Sanders' assertions that he had a public record going back decades of stating that a woman could be elected president, that he had stayed out of the race in 2015 until Warren decided not to run, and that in fact he had told Warren no such thing. Then came this exchange:
CNN: So Senator Sanders -- Senator Sanders, I do want to be clear here, you're saying that you never told Senator Warren that a woman could not win the election?

SANDERS: That is correct.

CNN: Senator Warren, what did you think when Senator Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?
You don't have to know that you'd be better off with free college and Medicare for All than with yet another war to recognize the bias here.

Many viewers recognized the slant. Many even began to notice the strange double standard in never mentioning the cost of any of the wars, but pounding away on the misleading assertions that healthcare and other human needs cost too much. Here's a question asked by CNN on Tuesday:
" Vice President Biden, does Senator Sanders owe voters a price tag on his health care plan? "

There was even time for this old stand-by bit of name-calling: " Senator Sanders, you call yourself a Democratic Socialist. But more than two-thirds of voters say they are not enthusiastic about voting for a socialist. Doesn't that put your chances of beating Donald Trump at risk? "

So say the people who did so much to elect Donald Trump.
Source, links:
https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/01/17/cnn-is-trash/

[Jan 19, 2020] The fact is, it's impossible to elect a real "populist outsider" as US President. The system is set up to ensure that NEVER happens.

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Jan 18 2020 1:32 utc | 83

I agree with everyone that doesn't believe the political farce/headfake/psyop.

The fact is, it's impossible to elect a real "populist outsider" as US President. The system is set up to ensure that NEVER happens.

I used to get very frustrated by b's failure to understand US politics but it's now clear to me that anti-USA/anti-Empire folks LOVE to talk up Trump because they think they can exploit a rift in USA power elite - a rift that doesn't really exist .

The standard push-back response to someone like me saying that Trump was selected as President is: bu..but Trump is not a puppet! LOL. That's right! He's a faux populist team player . Just like Obama.

I explain more at my blog. Start with this: https://jackrabbit.blog/2018/08/more-evidence-that-trump-was-the-deep-state-choice/ .

<> <> <> <> <> <>

Triangle of power ... corporate, executive government, and military factions

This is naive. It's an outdated theory. Anyone that knows American society knows that power has become concentrated since this theory was first proposed. And that concentration has put EMPIRE FIRST warmongers/neocons at the top of heap.

Furthermore, Russia's willingness to confront USA in 2013 and 2014 had a profound effect on the pampered Empire-builders that thought that they and their progeny would rule the world. The Trump psy-op is their answer to the challenge from Russia and China.

=
Afghanistan and Trump's "lecture" to the Generals

Well, Trump is STILL THERE (in Afghanistan), isn't he?

And I'd be very skeptical of anything WaPo had to say about Trump.

IMO Trump isn't looking to withdraw from Afghanistan, or NATO, or North Korea, or Syria, or anywhere else. He's looking for Generals that have a will to fight. And that's a very scary prospect.

=
the military faction did not concur with his 'America first' isolationist tendencies.

Sorry, virtually everybody that matters in USA ("the 1%") is EMPIRE FIRST. Trump's 'America First' is just a bullshit slogan to fool the masses. Just as much as Obama's "Change You Can Believe In" was.

Trump is NOT an isolationist. Why does this false narrative still persist? Trump's many acts of war attest to his belligerent interventionist nature:

> seizing Venezuelan government assets;

> seizing Syrian oil fields;

> the assassination of an Iranian General;

> reneging on peace terms with North Korean (IMO reneging on a peace deal with a country that you're still technically at war with is an act of war);

> Pulling out of Cold War I arms treaties with Russia and militarizing space;

> taking sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - going against UN resolutions to do so;

> recognizing Golan Heights as Israeli - going against UN resolutions to do so;

> support for the Saudi war against Yemen - which includes arms sales, training, and even targeting.


These countries haven't declared war only because it's impractical to do so.

Why can't people see what charlatans Obama and Trump are? What has Trump done to demonstrate that he will be true to his campaign rhetoric? Nothing! Trump:

- didn't prosecute Hillary;

- didn't "end Obamacare on day one";

- didn't exit from NATO;

- didn't exit from the Middle-east;

- hasn't ended the threat from North Korea;

- hasn't brought jobs back (we just have more low-end jobs);

- hasn't "drained the swamp".

=
Most of the 'dopes and babies' who were in that room have since been fired or retired.

Really? What about this: Obama's Military Coup Purges 197 Officers In Five Years .

b's oversight highlights how the focus on TRUMP!! obscures what the Deep State has really been up to. And how even smart people like b are drawn into false narratives.

=
... Trump seems to have a good chance to win the next election.

Many moa commenters have been saying much the same. But the reasoning that three power centers are lined up for Trump is a red-herring.

Plus, whether Trump wins the next election or not, USA is on a path to war.

!!

[Jan 19, 2020] With "help" like this from CNN, one struggles to imagine what sabotage might look like.

Is Warren Warren the Jussie Smollet of politics. I wonder if she claims Bernie attacked her while wearing a red hat and screaming, "A woman can't win! This is MAGA country!"
Jan 18, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Connecticut Farmer a day ago

SCENARIO I

Joe is conservative, libertarian or possibly both.
Joe opposes Bernie Sanders on ideological grounds.
Ergo, Joe and Bernie have a different worldview.

SCENARIO II

Joe is conservative, libertarian or possibly both.
Joe opposes Liz Warren on ideological grounds.
Ergo, Joe is an unprincipled sexist.

esquimaux 11 hours ago
Being one of Liz' constituents and familiar with her career and her base (consisting of people like me,) I think she faces so little consequence for her "embellishments" at least in part because "we" (her base) inhabit an environment in which, with ease, we adjust facts and perceptions to conform to whatever our self-serving narrative of the moment may be.

We know that Liz will say anything she imagines will be to her advantage and it's okay with "us" that she does. In a way, she's our ideal candidate and media darling because she reflects and affirms our plastic values.

[Jan 18, 2020] Warren always looked like a female careerist with sharp elbows

Jan 18, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

Let's look at the video again shall we?

The audio from the moment where Elizabeth Warren refused to shake Bernie Sanders' hand has been released.

The #DemDebate scuffle came after Warren accused Bernie Sanders of saying, a woman can't win, a claim that contradicts his public comments over decades and one he denies. pic.twitter.com/yVTRkyCb2d

-- BERNforBernie2020RegisterToVote(@BernForBernie20) January 16, 2020

Yep that woman is full of it. You can decide what 'it' is.

Aaron Mate:

Joy Reid should invite this body language expert back, tell the story about the time when a computer hacker inserted homophobic statements into her old blog posts, and ask the expert to analyze whether she's lying.

More from Aaron.

Did this Orwell quote inspire you in the present to make the false claim that a computer hacker wrote your homophobic posts in the past? https://t.co/HsMUGrJj9S

-- Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) January 18, 2020

Brianna Joy


This campaign is owed an apology.
What are they going to do next, phrenology?
This is why no one trusts the media. These people are digging their own professional graves.

People aren't buying what Joy is selling.

joy reid brings on a phrenologist to prove that liz warren's cheekbones make her native and dna test was wrong

Interested timing for this letter to come out Bernie Sanders Called The Democratic Party 'Intellectually Bankrupt' In 1985 Letter

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) once told a fellow left-wing activist that the Democratic Party was too "intellectually bankrupt" to allow the progressive movement to flourish within it.

In a 1985 letter newly obtained by HuffPost in which Sanders debated running for governor, he wrote: "Whether I run for governor or not is really not important. What would be a tragedy, however, is for people with a radical vision to fall into the pathetic camp of the intellectually bankrupt Democratic Party."

----
Sanders' three-paragraph missive was addressed to Marty Jezer, an author and progressive activist in the state. Then-Mayor Sanders was writing in response to an August letter from Jezer in which he apologized that a memo he wrote to Sanders had leaked to the press. While the exact contents of the memo are unclear, Jezer's letter indicates that it encouraged Sanders to run for Congress instead of challenging Kunin.

"1986 is the wrong time for such a race," Jezer, who died in 2005, wrote. "I hope you will listen to the voices of the committed activists around the state. We sink or swim with this together."

Sanders ultimately reached a different conclusion: He ran against Kunin as an independent. But the decision was not without dissent. An editorial from the socialist magazine In These Times criticized Sanders for dividing the left.

"In choosing to create a three-way race, Sanders is dividing the left and making more likely the defeat of an incumbent liberal woman governor by a more conservative Republican," In These Times wrote. (At the time, Kunin was one of only two female governors in the country.)

The editorial prompted Sanders to reply: "I believe that the real changes that are needed in this country are not going to be brought about by working within the Democratic Party or the Republican Party."

----
The Vermont senator's critiques of the Democratic Party are well documented, as CNN reported last July. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, he was adamant that a progressive movement could not be built within the party and was highly critical of the moderate "New Democrats" who argued that the party's progressivism in the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s had alienated voters.

"I think that nationally, the party has on issue after issue sold out so many times that if you go before the people and say, 'Hey, I'm a Democrat,' you don't usually generate a lot of enthusiasm," Sanders said in 1991 about the idea of a progressive trying to work within the party.

Commenting on civil rights activist Jesse Jackson's Democratic presidential runs in the 1980s, Sanders said he did not agree with Jackson's decision to work "within the Democratic Party." (Sanders endorsed Jackson's candidacy.) His skepticism of the party continued in subsequent decades. In 2011, he said Democrats could be called "Republican-lite" for considering cuts to Social Security and Medicare in order to lessen the deficit. And his first presidential campaign in 2016 didn't shy away from blasting the party apparatus.

Sanders' willingness to criticize the Democratic Party speaks to the progressive bona fides highlighted by his supporters. His campaign often relies on decades-old videos of Sanders warning against the Iraq war, multinational trade deals and the climate crisis using the same rhetoric he still uses today.

But the senator's view of the party -- and the role of progressive politics within it -- has evolved. He's since refined his critiques to focus on the "corporate wing of the Democratic Party," which is composed of the same centrists, including organizations like Third Way, that pushed the party to the right during the 1980s and '90s.

----
That hasn't been enough for many of his critics, who accuse him of only half-heartedly campaigning for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016 after dragging out the primary, and question whether he would be willing to support down-ballot Democratic candidates who don't share his progressive ideology.

I recently watched Jimmy's show where he played a clip of Rachel praising Bernie for campaigning so hard for Her. Her wrote him a letter telling him thanks for working so hard to get her elected.

Bernie did 37 rallies for her in 14 days. Hillary only did 8 for Obama. Let's talk about this, Hillary! You worthless ^*#%^! - strife delivery

snoopydawg on Sat, 01/18/2020 - 7:21pm

Cenk might have just sunk his campaign

It turns out media sources might have leaked to one another about Warren-Sanders dispute & that didn't come from @ewarren campaign. Anyone still denying national media has hostility toward @BernieSanders campaign is being purposely obtuse. No one hates progressives more than MSM.

-- Cenk Uygur (@cenkuygur) January 18, 2020

Come on dude this ain't rocket science. It's true that the media has goosed this goose, but Warren doubled down on her accusations.

Man people are flying high on Twitter today. I'm seeing lots of great stuff that I'm not posting here.

[Jan 18, 2020] Warren has showed her true colors

Jan 18, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

c1ue , Jan 17 2020 23:59 utc | 68

Anyone who thinks impeachment will succeed needs to exit the Russiagate/DNC/CNN black hole.
And while I do believe Sanders could beat Trump, I have little faith the Clinton controlled DNC will allow that to happen.

Warren has showed her true colors

Biden is a less competent male HRC and the rest of the field ranges from billionaires to Intel agency drones.

Sure, Trump could lose "if". What matters is the candidate, though and none of the candidates besides Sanders can energize enough people to beat Trump.

Rob , Jan 18 2020 0:29 utc | 75

@Daniel (13). You hit the nail on the head, brother. Trump bears responsibility for all of the shit he has pulled, which includes hiring the worst possible people to advise him and run his administration. Throwing blame on the jackasses around him only proves that he is the biggest jackass of all.

And for the record, U.S. elections rarely turn on foreign policy issues. As Bill Clinton (another jackass, though much smarter) famously said: "It's the economy, stupid."

[Jan 18, 2020] 'Rigging election again' Trump says impeachment all a ploy to... shaft Bernie Sanders -- RT USA News

Notable quotes:
"... "They are bringing him out of so important Iowa in order that, as a Senator, he sit through the Impeachment Hoax Trial," ..."
"... "Crazy Nancy thereby gives the strong edge to Sleepy Joe Biden, and Bernie is shut out again. Very unfair, but that's the way the Democrats play the game. Anyway, it's a lot of fun to watch." ..."
"... Trump's theory isn't plucked entirely out of thin air. With the impeachment trial set to begin on Tuesday, Sanders will have to disrupt his campaign activity in Iowa and return to Washington DC to sit in the Senate, two weeks ahead of the Iowa caucuses. Crucially for Sanders, the trial begins as he edges Biden out of the lead in the polls. ..."
"... Friday's tweet isn't the first time Trump has accused the Democrats of stacking the cards against Sanders. Last April, he suggested that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was "again working its magic in its quest to destroy Crazy Bernie Sanders for the more traditional, but not very bright, Sleepy Joe Biden." ..."
"... whether the impeachment trial is an intentional move to muscle Sanders out of contention or not, The Democratic Party looks in danger of repeating the mistakes that cost it the White House in 2016. ..."
Jan 17, 2020 | www.rt.com
The impeachment trial against Donald Trump is not just a "witch hunt," but a ploy to "rig" the Democratic nomination against Bernie Sanders and in favor of Joe Biden, the US president has claimed. "They are rigging the election again against Bernie Sanders, just like last time, only even more obviously," Trump tweeted on Friday.

They are rigging the election again against Bernie Sanders, just like last time, only even more obviously. They are bringing him out of so important Iowa in order that, as a Senator, he sit through the Impeachment Hoax Trial. Crazy Nancy thereby gives the strong edge to Sleepy...

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 17, 2020

"They are bringing him out of so important Iowa in order that, as a Senator, he sit through the Impeachment Hoax Trial," he continued. "Crazy Nancy thereby gives the strong edge to Sleepy Joe Biden, and Bernie is shut out again. Very unfair, but that's the way the Democrats play the game. Anyway, it's a lot of fun to watch."

Trump's theory isn't plucked entirely out of thin air. With the impeachment trial set to begin on Tuesday, Sanders will have to disrupt his campaign activity in Iowa and return to Washington DC to sit in the Senate, two weeks ahead of the Iowa caucuses. Crucially for Sanders, the trial begins as he edges Biden out of the lead in the polls.

Also on rt.com Impeachment circus begins in earnest, and will change nothing

The caucuses are the first major contest in the presidential primary season, and eight out of the last 12 caucus winners went on to win the Democratic party's nomination.

Sanders' fellow 2020 frontrunner Elizabeth Warren will also return to DC to hear the case against Trump, while Biden, the former Vice President, will be free to stump for support with impunity.

Trump has savaged the case against him from multiple angles, alternately calling it "presidential harassment," a "partisan hoax," and a "witch hunt" led by the "Do Nothing Democrats." Lately, however, the president has taken to stoking division among his opponents, talking up "Crazy Bernie Sanders" surge in the polls and amplifying a brewing feud between Sanders and Warren – two candidates representing the leftist, progressive wing of the Democratic party.

Bernie Sander's volunteers are trashing Elizabeth "Pocahontus" Warren. Everybody knows her campaign is dead and want her potential voters. Mini Mike B is also trying, but getting tiny crowds which are all leaving fast. Elizabeth is very angry at Bernie. Do I see a feud brewing?

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2020

Friday's tweet isn't the first time Trump has accused the Democrats of stacking the cards against Sanders. Last April, he suggested that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was "again working its magic in its quest to destroy Crazy Bernie Sanders for the more traditional, but not very bright, Sleepy Joe Biden."

The Democratic establishment is widely believed to have "rigged" the 2016 primaries in favor of Hillary Clinton, with an email leak from within the DNC revealing the extent of the bias . Clinton was notified of debate questions in advance, her foundation was allowed to staff and fund the DNC, and Sanders' campaign strategy was secretly passed to the Clinton camp.

The rest is history, and whether the impeachment trial is an intentional move to muscle Sanders out of contention or not, The Democratic Party looks in danger of repeating the mistakes that cost it the White House in 2016.

[Jan 18, 2020] Germany behaviour in Naftogas-Gasprom conflict makes zero sense unless you believe that Germany was acting as a proxy on behalf of a greater power

Jan 18, 2020 | www.unz.com

,

Thulean Friend , says: Show Comment December 23, 2019 at 5:34 am GMT
About this whole Ukraine-Russia gas transit thing that Felix is panicking about. It seems Germany had a key role in facilitating the deal.

However, that risk receded this week after Moscow and Kyiv concluded a landmark agreement that will ensure Russian gas continues to transit through Ukraine even after Nord Stream 2 is completed. Germany played a critical role in brokering the agreement and pressuring Russia to maintain Ukraine's transit status.

Why would Germany spend all this time and resources to construct these pipelines and then suddenly pressure Russia to maintain the transit fees? That makes zero sense unless you believe that Germany was acting as a proxy on behalf of a greater power. My pet theory: Germany most likely caved to US pressure and tried to triangulate at the last minute in a bid to stave off a larger German-US conflict.

Thulean Friend , says: Show Comment December 24, 2019 at 4:43 am GMT
@Swedish Family

What Germany wants, it seems to me, is (1) cheap energy for German industry, (2) a maximally weak Russian hand visavi Ukraine (which is now in effect a NATO/EU dependency), and (3) good enough relations with the Kremlin for Russia not to go rogue. Goals (1) and (3) obviously sit uneasily with goal (2), which is why we see so much back and forth.

I agree with (1) and (3) but I'd disagree over (2). I am not convinced Germany cares much about Ukraine's well-being. It is a very small economy (barely over 100 billion USD) and Germany's trade exposure to Ukraine is minimal. It isn't part of NATO, EU or any other major Western framework.

If Ukraine collapsed it would create significant refugee streams but Ukrainians are very easily assimilated into Western European countries, unlike Syrians or Turks, so even in a worse-case scenario the fallout would not be a major problem. If Croats or Serbs can mix into Germany easily, I don't see why Ukrainians would be a problem. Germany's shrinking work force would in fact even need such an influx. The only kink would be Russia's expanding borders if both Belarus+Ukraine was swallowed up but Germany probably would calculate that Russia wouldn't attack a NATO ally (and they wouldn't be wrong). I'm not saying Germany would want such an outcome, only that the worst-case scenario wouldn't be a big problem for them.

I think this has the fingerprints of the US all over it. Trump personally hates Ukraine, which has been documented in leaked documents during the impeachment process and major personalities of the Trumpist movement like Tucker Carlson openly cheers for Russia. So it wasn't Trump or his people who pushed for this but rather the permanent national-security state that was behind it and they are obsessed with keeping Russia down, or inventing fake Russiagate hoaxes to justify their paranoia. Germany made a 180 and suddenly pressured Russia to do something which Germany itself had no interest in keeping for the longest time. That suggests Germany caved to US pressure and tried to do a compromise. The US interest would be for NS2 to be scrapped completely. This was a German attempt at triangulating.

Either way, Ukraine got a big win purely because of Great Power politics over which they had no direct control.

[Jan 16, 2020] Corrupt Clinton Democrats like Biden as just republican in disguise -- wolfs in sheep clothing

In this sense only Sanders, Warren and Tulsi are authentic democrats... Major Pete is definitely a wolf in sheep clothing.
Notable quotes:
"... Today's Democrats want to destroy those social programs you cite. They have wanted to destroy those social programs ever since President Clinton wanted to conspire with "Prime Minister" Gingrich to privatize Social Security. Luckily Monica Lewinsky saved us from that fate. ..."
"... A nominee Sanders would run on keeping Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid in existence. And he would mean it. A nominee Biden might pretend to say it. But he would conspire with the Republicans to destroy them all. ..."
Jan 16, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

drumlin woodchuckles , , January 14, 2020 at 7:13 pm

Today's Democrats want to destroy those social programs you cite. They have wanted to destroy those social programs ever since President Clinton wanted to conspire with "Prime Minister" Gingrich to privatize Social Security. Luckily Monica Lewinsky saved us from that fate.

A nominee Sanders would run on keeping Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid in existence. And he would mean it. A nominee Biden might pretend to say it. But he would conspire with the Republicans to destroy them all.

The ClintoBama Pelosicrats have no standing on which to pretend to support some very popular social programs and hope to be believed any longer. Maybe that is why they feel there is no point in even pretending any more.

drumlin woodchuckles , , January 14, 2020 at 7:22 pm

Bearing in mind the fact that the DemParty would prefer a Trump re-election over a Sanders election, I don't think anyone will be giving Trump any heave ho. The only potential nominee to even have a chance to defeat Trump would be Sanders. And if Sanders doesn't win on ballot number one, Sanders will not be permitted the nomination by an evil Trumpogenic DemParty elite.

Even if Sanders wins the nomination, the evil Trumpogenic Demparty leadership and the millions of Jonestown Clintobamas in the field will conspire against Sanders every way they feel they can get away with. The Clintobamas would prefer Trump Term Two over Sanders Term One. They know it, and the rest of us need to admit it.

If Sanders is nominated, he will begin the election campaign with a permanent deficit of 10-30 million Clintobama voters who will Never! Ever! vote for Sanders. Sanders will have to attract enough New Voters to drown out and wash away the 10-30 million Never Bernie clintobamas.

[Jan 16, 2020] Warren attack on Sanders is backfiring

Jan 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kali , Jan 16 2020 18:40 utc | 12

Now that Warren has been exposed as the charlatan ( The Damned Debates ) many of us knew she was all along, the media is all freaked out that her plan to attack Bernie Sanders is backfiring and that she is losing support rather than gaining it.

It looks to many like she made a deal with the Wall St. crowd funding the DNC who support Biden to attack Bernie for them in exchange for a VP spot.

They are obviously very worried about Biden though because the Trump-GOP attack on Biden over Burisma is coming, and they know they have nothing to stop it. That is what the impeachment is all about ( Impeachment For Dummies: or How progressives were conned into supporting Joe Biden for President ), and what the recent claim of Russia hacking to harm Biden is all about. It is all about trying to protect Biden from the upcoming Trump-GOP Burisma related attack on Biden. So with Biden in trouble and Warren stumbling, expect Hillary to save the day? LOL.

They are worried, but unless Bernie is far ahead when it matters then the superdelegates will save them. But if they do that then they fear many people will go 3rd party next election cycle, meaning the DNC has no chance to beat the GOP in the future if that happens.

What will they do? Right now they are full on trying to threaten their way to keep their new world order as it crumbles around them ( Pax Americana: Between Iraq and A Hard Place ). Times they are a changin.

[Jan 16, 2020] Warren's take on Soleimani's killing

But what was actually good in Soleimani killing? He was an Iranian official and only the fact that the USA is 300 pound gorilla save us from the war for this extra-judicial killing. Because it was essentially a declaration of the war.
Is some weaker state tried the same the result would be complete devastation of both this state and Iran in a protracted war. Israel hides in such cases over Uncle Sam (in other version uncle Schmuel ;-) back so it essentially is allowed the same privileges in extrajudicial killings as the USA, but that will last only as long as the USA dominance in world affairs. After that bill with came due for Isreal and it will not be pretty.
Jan 16, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Ignacio , , January 15, 2020 at 5:58 am

Talking about centrists following strictly Trump's playbook, another good example is Warren's take on Soleimani's killing.

If she believes that she has any chance of defeating Trump as a strong defender of the US against terrorism, she must be drinking some new kind of kool-aid.

Fortunately, in this sense, Sanders is being much more clever than Warren. I see Sanders as the only and last opportunity to avoid the worst.

[Jan 16, 2020] Tulsi: Truth scares those who traffic in lies

Jan 16, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star

January 14, 2020 at 5:03 pm

https://www.youtube.com/embed/BG5sG2Ou-vY?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

[Jan 16, 2020] Good (long) discussion with Tulsi who talks IRAN with Guests Stephen Kinzer Dennis Kucinich - Intro by Kim Iversen - Concord, NH

Jan 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Krollchem , Jan 15 2020 7:25 utc | 135

Good (long) discussion with Tulsi who talks IRAN with Guests Stephen Kinzer & Dennis Kucinich - Intro by Kim Iversen - Concord, NH
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-W9b-_K_Xo&feature=youtu.be

Bernie , Jan 15 2020 8:04 utc | 137

Gen Wesley Clark on US going to war in 7 countries in 5 yrs. This is an interesting YouTube video. It's not if we go to war with Iraq...but when. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTbg11pCwOc


/div>

[Jan 15, 2020] Democracy in action: voters choice in 2016 was limited to the choice between brain cancer and leprosy

Jan 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Trailer Trash , Jan 8 2020 16:32 utc | 105

Trump is such a douchebag. He claims there were no lives lost due to their "early warning system" -- no mention that the "early warning system" was a phone call!

Now he's once again justifying assassination, etc.

pretzelattack , Jan 8 2020 16:39 utc | 110

there was no "better choice" between trump and clinton. i still think clinton represented a greater danger than trump of getting into a war with russia, but they are both warmongers first class. for our next election, we may have a choice between ebola and flesh eating bacteria, or brain cancer and leprosy. if the game is rigged there's no winning it playing by the game's "rules".

[Jan 15, 2020] Trump Officials Stumble and Bumble Over 'Imminent Threats'

Jan 15, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

s the debate over presidential war powers intensifies in Congress, a coterie of key Trump officials hit the Sunday talk shows last weekend to ratchet up the rhetoric on the "imminence" of the attack Iranian General Qassem Soleimani had allegedly planned.

The debate took on added significance after an intelligence briefing provided to House and Senate officials laying out the justification for Soleimani's killing was blasted by members on both sides of the aisle as "insulting," "demeaning," " dismissive " of Congress, and " disdainful ."

"It was this attitude that we don't have to tell Congress, we don't have to include Congress," said Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia. He added that after various scenarios were presented by senators, the administration refused to provide any "commitment to ever come to Congress" no matter what the circumstances.

The president cannot take military action against another nation without Congress's approval, unless it is to defend against an imminent threat to U.S. territories, possessions, or citizens.​

The U.S. is not officially at war with Iran. Yet the Trump administration took the unprecedented step of openly ordering the killing of an Iranian senior state official of a country, without an authorization of military force against that country and without briefing Congress.

On Friday, Pompeo said the attacks were justified because there was "a series of imminent attacks that were being plotted by Qasem Soleimaini, we don't know precisely when and we don't precisely where."

Members of Congress and the media seized upon the quote, charging that it does not sound like the definition of "imminent."

President Trump himself seemed to grasp the importance of stressing that the attack was "imminent" when he added details Friday on Fox News, asserting that Soleimani was plotting attacks on four U.S. embassies.

"I think it would have been four embassies," Trump said. "Could have been military bases, could have been a lot of other things too. But it was imminent."

"We did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy," Trump added. "He was looking very seriously at our embassies, and not just the embassy in Baghdad. I can reveal that I believe it would have been four embassies."

But members of Congress say they were not told that four embassies had been targeted. And when Trump officials were asked Sunday whether that claim was true, one by one they were left sputtering.

Pentagon Chief Mark Esper conceded he "didn't see" intelligence indicating that on CBS's Face the Nation .

"I didn't see one with regard to four embassies," Esper said . "What I'm saying is I share the president's view."

"What the president said was he believed there probably and could've been attacks against additional embassies. I shared that view," said Esper.

National Security adviser Robert O'Brien seemed to imply that members of Congress were at fault for not extracting that information from their intelligence briefing.

"It does seem to be a contradiction. [Trump is] telling Laura Ingraham [about imminent attacks], but in a 75-minute classified briefing, your top national security people never mentioned this to members of Congress. Why not?" Chris Wallace asked O'Brien on Fox News Sunday .

"I wasn't at the briefing," O'Brien answered, "and I don't know how the Q&A went back and forth. Sometimes it depends on the questions that were asked or how they were phrased."

On Meet the Press , O'Brien asserted that "exquisite" intelligence he was privy to showed that "the threat was imminent."

When pressed by Chuck Todd about what the U.S. did to protect the other three embassies under alleged imminent threat, O'Brien declined to give details.

"Is 'imminent' months, not weeks? Are people misinterpreting that word?" asked Todd.

"I think imminent, generally, means soon, quickly, you know, in process. So you know, I think those threats were imminent. And I don't want to get into the definition further than that," said O'Brien.

Pompeo's claim that an attack could be "imminent" even though the U.S. did not "know where or when" it would come is "pretty inconsistent," Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, replied Sunday on Meet the Press.

"To me there's a bigger question too. This is what really infuriated me about the briefing [Trump officials] maintain both in private and in public that a vote by Congress in 2003 or 2002 to go after Saddam Hussein was a vote that now allows them to still be in Iraq and do whatever they want, including killing a foreign general from Iran," said Paul. "And I don't think that's what Congress meant in 2002. We really need to have a debate about whether we should still be in Iraq or in Afghanistan. There needs to be authorization from Congress."

Paul argued that presidents from both parties have, for decades, usurped Congress's war powers, and that it is time for Congress to claw them back.

Said Paul, the founders "wanted to make it difficult to go to war, and I think we've been drifting away from that for a long time, but that's why I'm willing to stand up, not because I distrust President Trump -- actually think he has shown remarkable restraint -- but I'm willing to stand up even against a president of my party because we need to stand up and take back the power."

While the debate over war powers continues, Trump supporters have counter-attacked by questioning the patriotism of those who don't fall in line with their narrative.

Former White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee-Sanders "can't think of anything dumber" than Congress deciding matters of war and peace. Nikki Haley accused Democrats of "mourning" General Soleimani. Congressman Doug Collins said Democrats are " in love with terrorists ." And Lindsey Graham said senators like Lee and Paul are "empowering the enemy" by trying to rein in Trump's war powers.

On Monday, Trump added on Twitter: "The Fake News Media and their Democrat Partners are working hard to determine whether or not the future attack by terrorist Soleimani was 'imminent' or not, & was my team in agreement. The answer to both is a strong YES., but it doesn't really matter because of his horrible past!" If Trump's team was really in agreement, they sure had a good way of hiding it. about the author Barbara Boland is TAC's foreign policy and national security reporter. Previously, she worked as an editor for the Washington Examiner and for CNS News. She is the author of Patton Uncovered , a book about General George Patton in World War II, and her work has appeared on Fox News, The Hill , UK Spectator , and elsewhere. Boland is a graduate from Immaculata University in Pennsylvania. Follow her on Twitter @BBatDC .

=marco01= 4 hours ago

Trump supporters literally do not care if the Trump admin lies to them.

They trust Trump 100%, he can lie to them as much as he wants.

[Jan 12, 2020] MIC along with Wall Street controls the government and the country

Highly recommended!
Jan 12, 2020 | angrybearblog.com
  1. likbez , January 12, 2020 5:30 pm

    Everyone keeps dancing around it: Iraqi PM Abdul-Mahdi has reported that Soleimani was on the way to see him with a reply to a Saudi peace proposal. Who profits from Peace? Who does not?

    The killing of Soleimani, while a tragic even with far reaching consequences, is just an illustration of the general rule: MIC does not profit from peace. And MIC dominates any national security state, into which the USA was transformed by the technological revolution on computers and communications, as well as the events of 9/11.

    The USA government can be viewed as just a public relations center for MIC. That's why Trump/Pompeo/Esper/Pence gang position themselves as rabid neocons, which means MIC lobbyists in order to hold their respective positions. There is no way out of this situation. This is a classic Catch 22 trap.

    The fact that a couple of them are also "Rapture" obsessed religious bigots means that the principle of separation of church and state does no matter when MIC interests are involved.

    The health of MIC requires maintaining an inflated defense budget at all costs. Which, in turn, drives foreign wars and the drive to capture other nations' resources to compensate for MIC appetite. The drive which is of course closely allied with Wall Street interests (disaster capitalism.)

    In such conditions fake "imminent threat" assassinations necessarily start happening. Although the personality of Pompeo and the fact that he is a big friend of the current head of Mossad probably played some role.

    It's really funny that Trump (probably with the help of his "reference group," which includes Adelson and Kushner), managed to appoint as the top US diplomat a person who was trained as a mechanic engineer and specialized as a tank repair mechanic. And who was a long-time military contractor. So it is quite natural that he represents interests of MIC.

    IMHO under Trump/Pompeo/Esper trio some kind of additional skirmishes with Iran are a real possibility: they are necessary to maintain the current inflated level of defense spending.

    State of the US infrastructure, the actual level of unemployment (U6 is ~7% which some neolibs call full employment ;-), and the level of poverty of the bottom 33% of the USA population be damned. Essentially the bottom 33% is the third world country within the USA.

    "If you make more than $15,000 (roughly the annual salary of a minimum-wage employee working 40 hours per week), you earn more than 32.2% of Americans

    The 894 people that earn more than $20 million make more than 99.99989% of Americans, and are compensated a cumulative $37,009,979,568 per year. "

    ( https://www.huffpost.com/entry/income-inequality-crisis_n_4221012 )

[Jan 12, 2020] When the bullets start flying and the bombs start dropping, terrible things can happen that no one has planned for. This is one of the great tragedies of war. Unintended consequences and so-called "collateral damage."

Jan 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mao , Jan 12 2020 8:46 utc | 389

Tulsi Gabbard:

When the bullets start flying and the bombs start dropping, terrible things can happen that no one has planned for. This is one of the great tragedies of war. Unintended consequences and so-called "collateral damage."

[VIDEO]

https://twitter.com/TulsiGabbard/status/1216173675998633984

[Jan 12, 2020] People voice is ignored, there trust constantly abused and their hopes ultimately forsaken.

Jan 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mao , Jan 12 2020 10:48 utc | 403

Populism

If the concerns of ordinary people were not overlooked, if their interests were not neglected and their desires not betrayed, there would be no opportunity for anyone to come along and finally give them the acknowledgement and representation that they deserve since they would already be satisfied.

But their voice is ignored, there trust constantly abused and their hopes ultimately forsaken.

If the public was cared for at all, what reason would there be for them to feel indignation or disappointment? How could there be anything to appeal to at all? How could there be any unspoken sentiment to tap into and arouse? Those who pledge to pull the rug out from under the feet of the establishment criminals that call themselves politicians are smeared and threatened. There cannot be a restoration of positive values and policies, and the public most definitely cannot have their needs not just insincerely addressed, but positively fulfilled. In what kind of world is someone who sympathizes with popular opinion fervently attacked? What does it say about a society that condemns a truly popular leader who is confided in and adored? A leader that vows to give the people their pride and dignity back? To reinstate a semblance of order? To persecute the traitors that have sacrificed their future on the alter of usury and greed? No. The clique must not be held to account for their crimes, and the concept of justice must remain theoretical. The term populist is perceived negatively. But why? I will tell you why. Because the charlatans that call themselves leaders today fear their milk and honey being wrested from their grimy little paws.

Alan Sabrosky

[Jan 12, 2020] US has been preaching human rights while mounting wars and lying.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Over $7 trillion spent while homelessness is rampant. Healthcare is unaffordable for the 99% of the population. ..."
Jan 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Likklemore , Jan 11 2020 17:48 utc | 201

At 2016, here is the long bombing list of the 32 countries by the late William Blum. Did I mention sanctions is an Act of War?

Little u.s. has been preaching human rights while mounting wars and lying. Albright thought the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children were worth it. !!! it was worth killings and maiming.

Over $7 trillion spent while homelessness is rampant. Healthcare is unaffordable for the 99% of the population.

The u.s. will leave Iraq and Syria aka Saigon 1975 or horizontal. It's over.

2020: u.s. Stands Alone.

Searching for friends. Now, after Russiagate here is little pompous: "we want to be friends with Russia." Sanctions much excepting we need RD180 engines, seizure of diplomatic properties. Who are you kidding?

"we seek a constructive and productive relationship with the Russian Federation".

What a bunch of hypocrites? How dare you criticize commenters who see little u.s. in the light of day, not a shining beacon on the hill..

[Jan 12, 2020] Our Orwellian surveillance state the term imminent has been redefined ala doublespeak to mean at any time possible.

Jan 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

UserFriendly , Jan 12 2020 0:53 utc | 338

Can there be any "imminent threat" when one does not know the "who, what, when, where" of the threat?

Ahh you made the common mistake of thinking words have meaning. Just like our Orwellian surveillance state the term imminent has been redefined ala doublespeak to mean at any time possible.
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/01/lies-the-bethlehem-doctrine-and-the-illegal-murder-of-soleimani/

[Jan 12, 2020] The petrodollar is the way in which the US gets the rest of the world to fund its wars

Notable quotes:
"... Economic growth is more about financialising goods and services that were previously free or are/were social goods. There is no real growth; just taxing the living. ..."
"... So, in my view, the only restraint on destroying Iran is capability, is the cost and the risk of retaliation (not just from Iran) - not the destruction of Iran's capital - better for Iran's capital to be destroyed than for Iran to be independent or a competitor. ..."
Jan 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

ADKC , Jan 12 2020 2:10 utc | 359

vk @334

My comment @342 should have read: "The petrodollar is the way in which the US gets the rest of the world to fund its wars,"

---------

Your comment about capitalist accumulation doesn't hold (as a motivator for the US) when we have a capitalist monopolist situation. Rate of profit is not about growth (of real goods); it is about reducing competition and scarcity. When you are the monopolist you can charge what you like but profit becomes meaningless - the monopolist power comes from the control of resources - the monopolistic capitalist becomes a ruler/monarch. You no longer need ever-increasing customers so you can dispense with them if you so chose (by reducing the population). One bottle of water is far more valuable and a lot less trouble to produce that 100 millions bottles of water. There is no point in AI to provide for the needs of "the many"; AI becomes a means to dispense with "the many" altogether.

Economic growth is more about financialising goods and services that were previously free or are/were social goods. There is no real growth; just taxing the living.

So, in my view, the only restraint on destroying Iran is capability, is the cost and the risk of retaliation (not just from Iran) - not the destruction of Iran's capital - better for Iran's capital to be destroyed than for Iran to be independent or a competitor.

[Jan 11, 2020] Blackstone Group , CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman Buys Houses in Bulk to Profit from Mortgage Crisis

Notable quotes:
"... These anecdotal stories about Invitation Homes being quick to evict tenants may prove to be the trend rather than the exception, given Blackstone's underlying business model. Securitizing rental payments creates an intense pressure on the company to ensure that the monthly checks keep flowing. For renters, that may mean you either pay on the first of the month every month, or you're out. ..."
Dec 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

renfro December 19, 2019 at 6:23 am GMT 2,600 Words

Tucker could have done a number on Trump friend Schwarzman too.Mark my words you're gonna have another melt down now that all the people who lost their home and ended up in rentals stop paying their rent that is now 2 1/2 times what their mortgage was.
This is another fake bubble being securitized and sold off. Just like putting people into houses with ARMs who couldnt afford them when the rates went up, Scharzman will fill up his rentals to 99% occupancy with special deals to sell them to investors, when the special deal period runs out and the rent goes up people will move out looking for cheaper housing and the securities wont be worth shit.

Blackstone Group , CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman Buys Houses in Bulk to Profit from Mortgage Crisis

https://corpwatch.org/article/blackstone-group-buys-houses-bulk-profit-mortgage-crisis

You can hardly turn on the television or open a newspaper without hearing about the nation's impressive, much celebrated housing recovery. Home prices are rising! New construction has started! The crisis is over! Yet beneath the fanfare, a whole new get-rich-quick scheme is brewing.
Over the last year and a half, Wall Street hedge funds and private equity firms have quietly amassed an unprecedented rental empire, snapping up Queen Anne Victorians in Atlanta, brick-faced bungalows in Chicago, Spanish revivals in Phoenix. In total, these deep-pocketed investors have bought more than 200,000 cheap, mostly foreclosed houses in cities hardest hit by the economic meltdown.
Wall Street's foreclosure crisis, which began in late 2007 and forced more than 10 million people from their homes, has created a paradoxical problem. Millions of evicted Americans need a safe place to live, even as millions of vacant, bank-owned houses are blighting neighborhoods and spurring a rise in crime. Lucky for us, Wall Street has devised a solution: It's going to rent these foreclosed houses back to us. In the process, it's devised a new form of securitization that could cause this whole plan to blow up -- again.

Since the buying frenzy began, no company has picked up more houses than the Blackstone Group, a major private equity firm. Using a subsidiary company, Invitation Homes, Blackstone has grabbed houses at foreclosure auctions, through local brokers, and in bulk purchases directly from banks the same way a regular person might stock up on toilet paper from Costco.

In one move, it bought 1,400 houses in Atlanta in a single day. As of November, Blackstone had spent $7.5 billion to buy 40,000 mostly foreclosed houses across the country. That's a spending rate of $100 million a week since October 2012. It recently announced plans to take the business international, beginning in foreclosure-ravaged Spain.

Few outside the finance industry have heard of Blackstone. Yet today, it's the largest owner of single-family rental homes in the nation -- and of a whole lot of other things, too. It owns part or all of the Hilton Hotel chain, Southern Cross Healthcare, Houghton Mifflin publishing house, the Weather Channel, Sea World, the arts and crafts chain Michael's, Orangina, and dozens of other companies.

Blackstone manages more than $210 billion in assets, according to its 2012 Securities and Exchange Commission annual filing. It's also a public company with a list of institutional owners that reads like a who's who of companies recently implicated in lawsuits over the mortgage crisis, including Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, UBS, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and of course JP Morgan Chase, which just settled a lawsuit with the Department of Justice over its risky and often illegal mortgage practices, agreeing to pay an unprecedented $13 billion fine.

In other words, if Blackstone makes money by capitalizing on the housing crisis, all these other Wall Street banks -- generally regarded as the main culprits in creating the conditions that led to the foreclosure crisis in the first place -- make money too.

An All-Cash Goliath

In neighborhoods across the country, many residents didn't have to know what Blackstone was to realize that things were going seriously wrong.

Last year, Mark Alston, a real estate broker in Los Angeles, began noticing something strange happening. Home prices were rising. And they were rising fast -- up 20 percent between October 2012 and the same month this year. In a normal market, rising home prices would mean increased demand from homebuyers. But here was the unnerving thing: the homeownership rate was dropping, the first sign for Alston that the market was somehow out of whack.

The second sign was the buyers themselves.

"I went two years without selling to a black family, and that wasn't for lack of trying," says Alston, whose business is concentrated in inner-city neighborhoods where the majority of residents are African American and Hispanic. Instead, all his buyers -- every last one of them -- were besuited businessmen. And weirder yet, they were all paying in cash.

Between 2005 and 2009, the mortgage crisis, fueled by racially discriminatory lending practices, destroyed 53 percent of African American wealth and 66 percent of Hispanic wealth, figures that stagger the imagination. As a result, it's safe to say that few blacks or Hispanics today are buying homes outright, in cash. Blackstone, on the other hand, doesn't have a problem fronting the money, given its $3.6 billion credit line arranged by Deutsche Bank. This money has allowed it to outbid families who have to secure traditional financing. It's also paved the way for the company to purchase a lot of homes very quickly, shocking local markets and driving prices up in a way that pushes even more families out of the game.

"You can't compete with a company that's betting on speculative future value when they're playing with cash," says Alston. "It's almost like they planned this."

In hindsight, it's clear that the Great Recession fueled a terrific wealth and asset transfer away from ordinary Americans and to financial institutions. During that crisis, Americans lost trillions of dollars of household wealth when housing prices crashed, while banks seized about five million homes. But what's just beginning to emerge is how, as in the recession years, the recovery itself continues to drive the process of transferring wealth and power from the bottom to the top.

From 2009-2012, the top 1 percent of Americans captured 95 percent of income gains. Now, as the housing market rebounds, billions of dollars in recovered housing wealth are flowing straight to Wall Street instead of to families and communities. Since spring 2012, just at the time when Blackstone began buying foreclosed homes in bulk, an estimated $88 billion of housing wealth accumulation has gone straight to banks or institutional investors as a result of their residential property holdings, according to an analysis by TomDispatch. And it's a number that's likely to just keep growing.

"Institutional investors are siphoning the wealth and the ability for wealth accumulation out of underserved communities," says Henry Wade, founder of the Arizona Association of Real Estate Brokers.

But buying homes cheap and then waiting for them to appreciate in value isn't the only way Blackstone is making money on this deal. It wants your rental payment, too.

Securitizing Rentals

Wall Street's rental empire is entirely new. The single-family rental industry used to be the bailiwick of small-time mom-and-pop operations. But what makes this moment unprecedented is the financial alchemy that Blackstone added. In November, after many months of hype, Blackstone released history's first rated bond backed by securitized rental payments. And once investors tripped over themselves in a rush to get it, Blackstone's competitors announced that they, too, would develop similar securities as soon as possible.

Depending on whom you ask, the idea of bundling rental payments and selling them off to investors is either a natural evolution of the finance industry or a fire-breathing chimera.

"This is a new frontier," comments Ted Weinstein, a consultant in the real-estate-owned homes industry for 30 years. "It's something I never really would have dreamt of."

However, to anyone who went through the 2008 mortgage-backed-security crisis, this new territory will sound strangely familiar.

"It's just like a residential mortgage-backed security," said one hedge-fund investor whose company does business with Blackstone. When asked why the public should expect these securities to be safe, given the fact that risky mortgage-backed securities caused the 2008 collapse, he responded, "Trust me."

For Blackstone, at least, the logic is simple. The company wants money upfront to purchase more cheap, foreclosed homes before prices rise. So it's joined forces with JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, and Deutsche Bank to bundle the rental payments of 3,207 single-family houses and sell this bond to investors with mortgages on the underlying houses offered as collateral. This is, of course, just a test case for what could become a whole new industry of rental-backed securities.

Many major Wall Street banks are involved in the deal, according to a copy of the private pitch documents Blackstone sent to potential investors on October 31st, which was reviewed by TomDispatch. Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, and Credit Suisse are helping market the bond. Wells Fargo is the certificate administrator. Midland Loan Services, a subsidiary of PNC Bank, is the loan servicer. (By the way, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and PNC Bank are all members of another clique: the list of banks foreclosing on the most families in 2013.)

According to interviews with economists, industry insiders, and housing activists, people are more or less holding their collective breath, hoping that what looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck won't crash the economy the same way the last flock of ducks did.

"You kind of just hope they know what they're doing," says Dean Baker, an economist with the Center for Economic and Policy Research. "That they have provisions for turnover and vacancies. But have they done that? Have they taken the appropriate care? I certainly wouldn't count on it." The cash flow analysis in the documents sent to investors assumes that 95 percent of these homes will be rented at all times, at an average monthly rent of $1,312. It's an occupancy rate that real estate professionals describe as ambitious.

There's one significant way, however, in which this kind of security differs from its mortgage-backed counterpart. When banks repossess mortgaged homes as collateral, there is at least the assumption (often incorrect due to botched or falsified paperwork from the banks) that the homeowner has, indeed, defaulted on her mortgage. In this case, however, if a single home-rental bond blows up, thousands of families could be evicted, whether or not they ever missed a single rental payment.

"We could well end up in that situation where you get a lot of people getting evicted not because the tenants have fallen behind but because the landlords have fallen behind," says Baker.

Bugs in Blackstone's Housing Dreams

Whether these new securities are safe may boil down to the simple question of whether Blackstone proves to be a good property manager. Decent management practices will ensure high occupancy rates, predictable turnover, and increased investor confidence. Bad management will create complaints, investigations, and vacancies, all of which will increase the likelihood that Blackstone won't have the cash flow to pay investors back.

If you ask CaDonna Porter, a tenant in one of Blackstone's Invitation Homes properties in a suburb outside Atlanta, property management is exactly the skill that Blackstone lacks. "If I could shorten my lease -- I signed a two-year lease -- I definitely would," says Porter.

The cockroaches and fat water bugs were the first problem in the Invitation Homes rental that she and her children moved into in September. Porter repeatedly filed online maintenance requests that were canceled without anyone coming to investigate the infestation. She called the company's repairs hotline. No one answered.

The second problem arrived in an email with the subject line marked "URGENT." Invitation Homes had failed to withdraw part of Porter's November payment from her bank account, prompting the company to demand that she deliver the remaining payment in person, via certified funds, by five p.m. the following day or incur "the additional legal fee of $200 and dispossessory," according to email correspondences reviewed by TomDispatch.

Porter took off from work to deliver the money order in person, only to receive an email saying that the payment had been rejected because it didn't include the $200 late fee and an additional $75 insufficient funds fee. What followed were a maddening string of emails that recall the fraught and often fraudulent interactions between homeowners and mortgage-servicing companies. Invitation Homes repeatedly threatened to file for eviction unless Porter paid various penalty fees. She repeatedly asked the company to simply accept her month's payment and leave her alone.

"I felt really harassed. I felt it was very unjust," says Porter. She ultimately wrote that she would seek legal counsel, which caused Invitation Homes to immediately agree to accept the payment as "a one-time courtesy."

Porter is still frustrated by the experience -- and by the continued presence of the cockroaches. ("I put in another request today about the bugs, which will probably be canceled again.")

A recent Huffington Post investigation and dozens of online reviews written by Invitation Homes tenants echo Porter's frustrations. Many said maintenance requests went unanswered, while others complained that their spiffed-up houses actually had underlying structural issues.

There's also at least one documented case of Blackstone moving into murkier legal territory. This fall, the Orlando, Florida, branch of Invitation Homes appeared to mail forged eviction notices to a homeowner named Francisco Molina, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Delivered in letter-sized manila envelopes, the fake notices claimed that an eviction had been filed against Molina in court, although the city confirmed otherwise. The kicker is that Invitation Homes didn't even have the right to evict Molina, legally or otherwise. Blackstone's purchase of the house had been reversed months earlier, but the company had lost track of that information.

The Great Recession of 2016?

These anecdotal stories about Invitation Homes being quick to evict tenants may prove to be the trend rather than the exception, given Blackstone's underlying business model. Securitizing rental payments creates an intense pressure on the company to ensure that the monthly checks keep flowing. For renters, that may mean you either pay on the first of the month every month, or you're out.

Although Blackstone has issued only one rental-payment security so far, it already seems to be putting this strict protocol into place. In Charlotte, North Carolina, for example, the company has filed eviction proceedings against a full 10 percent of its renters, according to a report by the Charlotte Observer.

About 9 percent of Blackstone's properties, approximately 3,600 houses, are located in the Phoenix metro area. Most are in low- to middle-income neighborhoods.

Forty thousand homes add up to only a small percentage of the total national housing stock. Yet in the cities Blackstone has targeted most aggressively, the concentration of its properties is staggering. In Phoenix, Arizona, some neighborhoods have at least one, if not two or three, Blackstone-owned homes on just about every block.

This inundation has some concerned that the private equity giant, perhaps in conjunction with other institutional investors, will exercise undue influence over regional markets, pushing up rental prices because of a lack of competition. The biggest concern among many ordinary Americans, however, should be that, not too many years from now, this whole rental empire and its hot new class of securities might fail, sending the economy into an all-too-familiar tailspin.

"You're allowing Wall Street to control a significant sector of single-family housing," said Michael Donley, a resident of Chicago who has been investigating Blackstone's rapidly expanding presence in his neighborhood. "But is it sustainable?" he wondered. "It could all collapse in 2016, and you'll be worse off than in 2008."


Rebel0007 , says: December 19, 2019 at 6:39 am GMT

This is not surprising that this has happened. All of the de-regulation on Wall Street, lobbied for by Wall Street has allowed this to transpire.

Congress does not even read the bills that they sign into law, let alone write them! Many are written by ALEC American Legislative Exchange Council, the Chamber of Commerce, the Realtor's assosiation, the Medical Industrial Complex, public employee unions, and various other special interest groups!

Why is it a pressing issue to actively promote homosexuality? What is the point? That is really strange! There is a difference between not actively discriminating and actively promoting!

Are they trying to worsen the AIDS epidemic or lower the birth rate? It does not make sense to be actively promoting and encouraging homosexuality.

sally , says: December 19, 2019 at 7:18 am GMT
@Colin Wright There are many venture capitalist that are not Jewish.. Venture Capitalist don't always advertise their wealth. Not everybody in Wall Street or the City of London is Jewish.

I think it is important to separate the Jews from the Zionist , many in that small group (Zionist) are Jewish and Christian but most Jews and most Christians are neither Venture Capitalist nor Zionist. Time after time I have asked my Jewish friends are you are Zionist, and most say they do not really know what Zionism is? Zionism hosts many races among its members; in the states, Christian Zionism is big, maybe bigger even than Jewish Zionism.. see Christian Zionism : The Tragedy and the Turning: the cause of our Conflicts (on DVD) by http://www.Whit.org. .

Zionism is an economic system. Zionism is a winner take all system of Economics . Zionism is like an adult version of the game called King of the Mountain. In such a game, no one is allowed to play unless they first have sufficient resources to be counted, and are then willing to and believe they are personally capable of defeating the then residing well armed king (Oligarch). IMO, all Jews everywhere, would be well advised to avoid being labelled a Zionist<=hence the reason ?

Zionism is not the same as Judaism, its not a race, its not a religion, its not even a culture, it is an economic system with virus like attributes.

mark green , says: December 19, 2019 at 7:23 am GMT
@Lot You are quibbling. You are prevaricating. You are obfuscating.

Joyce has assembled a powerful case against a known cast of financial parasites. This phenomena is hardly new. It brings to mind another financial scandal of a generation ago that was chronicled in James B. Stewart's book 'Den of Thieves'.

The mega-wealthy swindlers of that era were also all Jews: Boesky, Siegel, Levine, Milken, among others. Some twenty years later, another Wall Street Jew, Bernie Madoff, succeeds in pulling off the biggest fraud in US history. There's a pattern here.

Yet all you can do, Lot, is deflect, denigrate, and deny.

Joyce is giving us more actual names. These are the actual perps as well as institutions they hide behind. These ruthless predators collude with one another as they exploit the labor of millions of gentiles worldwide, then shower Jewish causes and philanthropies with their loot. Their tribal avarice is revolting. And insatiable.

Do you deny this phenomena?

Is it all just another 'anti-Semitic canard'?

You even claim [Joyce] is

"retarded and highly uninformed".

Retarded?

He's brilliant and persuasive.

Uninformed?

He's erudite and scholarly.

You, Lot, are demonstrating again devious tribal dishonesty. It's glaring, it's shameful, and it's obvious. This is a trait I've observed in virtually all of your writings. You invariably deflect and deny. But Jewish criminality is real.

Joyce aptly concludes:

[T]he prosperity and influence of Zionist globalism rests to an overwhelming degree on the predations of the most successful and ruthless Jewish financial parasites.

So true. So tragically true.

Rebel0007 , says: December 19, 2019 at 7:28 am GMT
This is a Jewish conspiracy to make Jews look terrible. Congress should slam the breaks here. The de-regulation of the powerful combined with the over-regulation of the powerless is criminally wreckless. Kind of like the friends don't let friends drive drunk approach.

Congress slam the breaks, yeah right, that'll happen! Lol!

This won't end well.

HammerJack , says: December 19, 2019 at 7:30 am GMT
@Colin Wright Andrew Carnegie left behind institutions like Carnegie Hall, Carnegie-Mellon University, and over 2500 Free Libraries from coast to coast, in a time when very little was done to help what we now call the "underprivileged".

In fact, he gave away 90% of his massive fortune–about $75 Billion in current dollars. Funding, in the process, many charities, hospitals, museums, foundations and institutions of learning. He was a major benefactor of negro education.

He was a staunch anti-imperialist who believed America should concentrate its energies on peaceful endeavors rather than conquering and subduing far-off lands.

Although they are even more keen to put their names on things, today's robber barons leave behind mainly wreckage.

PetrOldSack , says: December 19, 2019 at 8:16 am GMT
@anon "Crowing on a pile of dung", global in scope, local and exclusive to thier own.
Ghali , says: December 19, 2019 at 8:46 am GMT
Jews are destroying the world. Everywhere they go, they leave behind nations in ruins. Look at Europe, Africa and the Americas, Jews have left their ugly footprints. Corruption, prostitution, drugs and human trafficking are their trade.
Just passing through , says: December 19, 2019 at 8:56 am GMT
@anon A combination of both I would say, although some would like to make it out that Anglo-Saxons were the epitome of honour, they too resorted to morallly abject tricks and swindles to acquire their wealth.

WASPs allowed Jews into their lands and both of them struck a sort of implicit contract to work together to loot the world, when the word had been sucked dry, the conflict between Jews and WASPs began and Hitler and the National Socialists were a last gasp attempt to save the WASP side from being beaten, in the end higher Jewish verbal IQ gave them the upper edge in the ability to trick people.

It is hard to feel sorry for WASPs, they struck a deal with the Jews centuries ago to work together and were backstabbed, what is happening to these Third World countries will now happen to WASP countries, it is poetic justice. Luckily the torch of civilisation will continue by way of East Asia and Eastern Europe, who were true conservatives in that all they wished was prosperity for their people in their own lands without any aggressive foreign policy moves.

Basically, WASPs thought that they could win in the end, but they were out Jew'd and now they are crying.

The one difference you will notice is that certain subsections of WASPs, notable the British, actually did build infrastructure in the countries they looted, this to me was borne out of a sense of guilt, so to be fair, WASPs were not as parasitic and ruthless as Jews.

But in the end, the more ruthless wins. To quote the Joker

You get what you fucking deserve

Sean , says: December 19, 2019 at 9:44 am GMT
@Lot Kyle Bass's fund is called 'Hayman', maybe because the MSM loathe the Bass family that fellow Texican Bass is not related to. They are not the only ones aware of the drawbacks of a name. Elliot is Singer's middle one.

The article bounces back and forth between two completely different fields: private equity and distressed debt funds

If someone owes you money and you cannot collect, you factor the account, (sell it on) and then people who are going to be a lot less pleasant about it will pay them a visit and have a 'talk' with them. While it is good to have a domestic bankruptcy regime in which innovation and entrepreneurship is encouraged– to the extent that people are not routinely gaming the system–I don't see why Argentina should benefit. Singer became notorious for what he did to Argentina after he bought their debt, and he is pretty upfront about not caring who objects. Puerto Rico is neither foreign or protected by Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code so it is a borderline case, which is probably why the people collecting that debt tried to hide who they were.

The way he took down Jonathan Bush and others led to Bloomberg dubbing Singer 'The World's Most Feared Investor'. Singer buys into companies where he sees the management as as failing to deliver maximum value to the shareholders, then applies pressure to raise the share price (in Bush's case extremely personal pressure) that often leads to the departure of the CEO and sale of the company. That immediate extra value for the shareholder Singer creates puts lots of working people out a job. Because of Singer and his imitators, CEO's are outsourcing and importing replacements for indigenous workers in those services that cannot be outsourced. All the while loath to foster innovation that could bring about long term growth, because that would interfere with squeezing out more and more shareholder value.

Singer is less like a vulture than a rogue elephant that is killing the breeding pair white rhinos on a game reserve, and they are going extinct. Well it's a good thing! Thanks to Singer et al (including Warren Buffett) Trump got elected. According to someone in jail with Epstein, he had an anecdote about Trump being asked by a French girl what 'white trash' was, and Trump replied 'It's me without the money'.

Trump is now essentially funded by three Jews -- Singer, Bernard Marcus, and Sheldon Adelson, together accounting for over $250 million in pro-Trump political money. In return, they want war with Iran.

All to the good. Iran won't leave Saudi Arabia (serious money) alone so Iran is going to have to be crushed as a threat to the Saud family like Saddam before it anyway. If the Jews think they are causing it, let 'em think so.

https://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/trump-creates-a-new-nation/
When the Israelis occupy nearly all of the West Bank with Donald Trump's approval and start "relocating" the existing population, who will be around to speak up? No one, as by that time saying nay to Israel will be a full-fledged hate crime and you can go to jail for doing so

Loudspeaker goes off " All Anti–Zionist Jews to Times Square ".

silviosilver , says: December 19, 2019 at 9:48 am GMT
@Colin Wright No judeophile, but it's 90% demagogic horsehit.

God forbid anybody should ever have to pay back money they borrow! Why, that's utterly Jewish!

These so-called "vulture" funds didn't originate the debt. They simply purchased already existing debt at deeply discounted prices either because the debt was already in default or was at imminent risk of defaulting, which is why the debt sells at a heavy discount, since existing debt holders are often happy to sell cheap and get something rather than hold on and risk getting nothing.

What Joyce zeroes in on is these vulture funds' willingness to use all legal avenues to force debtors to make good on their debts, including seizing the collateral the debtors pledged when they borrowed the money. Joyce chooses to characterize this practice as "Jewish," implying that gentile creditors would instead be overcome with compassion and let the debtors off the hook and wear the loss themselves.

What Joyce regards as a defect of "vulture" funds, others might regard as an benefit. The size of these funds, their legal expertise, and their political connections mean that borrowers can more successfully be held to account. If I owned, say, Puerto Rican debt in my retirement account, the chances that I could make Puerto Rico honor its obligations are much slimmer.

None of this is to suggest that finance, as we today know it, is perfect and that it couldn't be reformed in any way to make its operation more conducive to nationalistic social values, only that anti-cap ideologues like Joyce weave lurid tales of malfeasance out of completely humdrum market economics (which is precisely the same market economics that Tucker Carlson learned about too, btw).

J Adelman , says: December 19, 2019 at 9:53 am GMT
Mr. Joyce
Your obsession with us will prove to be your downfall.
Jewish people have always stood against tyranny against the working class, the poor and other people of color.
The phrases and catch words that you used to vilify Jews are in many cases pulled from the age old tropes used to demonize Jews for centuries and are anti-Semitic through and through. They can't be overlooked nor hidden by claims of legitimate political disagreements.
We know that it is not only the Jewish community that is at risk from unchecked antisemitism, but also other communities that white nationalists target.
I find it very offensive that people like you continue to demonize us for no reason.

I dare you to hold a debate with me on this so called "Jewish Influence".
I am not even hiding my name here.

[Jan 11, 2020] Can The US Assassination Of Qassem Soleimani Be Justified by Barkley Rosser

Notable quotes:
"... We know from various Congressional folks that briefers of Congress have failed to produce any evidence of "imminent" plans to kill Americans Soleimani was involved with that would have made this a legal killing rather than an illegal assassination. ..."
"... As Sergey Lavrov and President Putin have stated for a long time (and long before President Trump came along), the USA is 'agreement incapable'. However, now you have to wonder if any country really trusts any agreement they will make with the USA. Without trust on any level, cooperation/trade treaties and so on on are impossible or eminently disposable, i.e., not worth the paper upon which they are written. ..."
"... 603 Americans killed in Iraq, he says Trump supporters claim, but we had millions of Iraqi's, Syrians, Libyans and others killed or their lives uprooted by Bush and Obama and company – yet they were not assassinated. ..."
"... NO. Shockingly bad decision; you can just manage to glimpse around the edges of the war propaganda the embarrassment and backpedaling for having willingly stepped into such a gigantic steaming pile of excrement. The parade of smooth-faced liars on the MSM asserting that the US is now safer (the "war is peace" crowd) is sickening. Some even have the gall to assert that the enormous crowds in Iran are forced to attend by the repressive regime. Of course, there's no evidence of a provocation and they'll never produce any. ..."
"... I find it interesting that Pompeo was "disappointed" – what did he think would happen? For a Secretary of State, he's obviously extremely out of touch with the rest of the world if he didn't have some realistic idea of how this would go down. ..."
"... One other glaring omission from the article – the only reason there was a US military contractor in Iraq available to be killed in the first place is due to the illegal war based on false premises launched almost two decades ago by the US, which continues to occupy the country to this day. ..."
"... Pretty clear who the terrorists are on this case. ..."
"... Fascinating developments on this issue today. Pompeo admits that nothing was "imminent." Given the very specific definitions of Imminence that draw red lines between what is or is not legal in international law, this could get big very quickly. ..."
"... War hawks dressed in red or blue can become mercenaries and create Go Fund Me drives to protect their investments and any particular country which they have a personal affinity or citizenship. ..."
"... Lest we forget: "War is a racket." ..."
"... How does this meet the internationally recognized legal requirement of "imminent" danger to human life required to kill a political or military leader outside of a declared war? All public statements by the U.S. political and military leadership point to a retaliatory killing, at best, with a vague overlay of preemptive action. ..."
"... If you agree that the "Bethlehem Doctrine" has never been recognized by the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, or the legislatures of the three rogue states who have adopted it, the assassination of Suleimani appears to have been a murder. ..."
"... "I cross-checked a Pentagon casualty database with obituaries and not 1 of the 9 American servicemen killed fighting in Iraq since 2011 died at the hands of militias backed by Suleimani. His assassination was about revenge and provocation, not self-defense." ..."
"... The unsuccessful operation may indicate that the Trump administration's killing of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani last week was part of a broader operation than previously explained, raising questions about whether the mission was designed to cripple the leadership of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or solely to prevent an imminent attack on Americans as originally stated. ..."
"... For some "exceptional" reason we don't recognize international law! We are the terrorists not them. ..."
Jan 11, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Can The US Assassination Of Qassem Soleimani Be Justified? Posted on January 10, 2020 by Yves Smith Yves here. Even though the angst over "what next" with the US/Iran confrontation has fallen a bit, there is still a depressingly significant amount of mis- and dis-information about the Soleimani assassination. This post is a nice high level treatment that might be a good candidate for circulating among friends and colleagues who've gotten a hefty dose of MSM oversimplifications and social media sloganeering.

Update 6:50 AM: Due to the hour, I neglected to add a quibble, and readers jumped on the issue in comments. First, it has not been established who launched the attack that killed a the US contractor. The US quickly asserted it was Kat'ib Hezbollah, but there were plenty of groups in the area that had arguably better motives, plus Kat'ib Hezbollah has denied it made the strike. Second, Kat'ib Hezbollah is an Iraqi military unit.

By Barkley Rosser, Professor of Economics at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Originally published at EconoSpeak

We know from various Congressional folks that briefers of Congress have failed to produce any evidence of "imminent" plans to kill Americans Soleimani was involved with that would have made this a legal killing rather than an illegal assassination. The public statements by administration figures have cited such things as the 1979 hostage crisis, the already dead contractor, and, oh, the need to "reestablish deterrence" after Trump did not follow through on previous threats he made. None of this looks remotely like "imminent plans," not to mention that the Iraqi PM Abdul-Mahdi has reported that Soleimani was on the way to see him with a reply to a Saudi peace proposal. What a threatening imminent plan!

As it is, despite the apparent lack of "imminent plans" to kill Americans, much of the supporting rhetoric for this assassination coming out of Trump supporters (with bragging about it having reportedly been put up on Trump's reelection funding website) involves charges that Soleimani was "the world's Number One terrorist" and was personally responsible for killing 603 Americans in Iraq. Even as many commentators have noted the lack of any "imminent plans," pretty much all American ones have prefaced these questions with assertions that Soleimani was unquestionable "evil" and "bad" and a generally no good guy who deserved to be offed, if not right at this time and in this way. He was the central mastermind and boss of a massive international terror network that obeyed his orders and key to Iran's reputed position as "the Number One state supporter of terrorism," with Soleimani the key to all of that.

Of course, in Iran it turns out that Soleimani was highly respected, even as many oppose the hawkish policies he was part of. He was viewed as crucial to the victory over ISIS/ISIL/Daesh in Iraq, much feared by Iranians. Shia take martyrdom seriously, and he is viewed as a martyr. It appears that even Trump took notice of the massive outpouring of mourning and praise for Soleimani there up to the point of people dying in a stampede in a mourning crowd in his hometown. But, hey, obviously these people simply do not understand that he was The World's Number One Terrorist! Heck, I saw one commenter on Marginal Revolution claiming Soleimani was responsible killing "hundreds of thousands." Yes, this sort of claim is floating around out there.

A basic problem here is that while indeed Soleimani commanded the IGRC al Quds force that supported and supplied various Shia militias in several Middle Eastern nations, these all were (and are) ultimately independent. Soleimani may have advised them, but he was never in a position to order any of them to do anything. Al Quds itself has never carried out any of the various attacks outside of Iran that Soleimani is supposedly personally responsible for.

Let us consider the specific case that gets pushed most emphatically, the 603 Americans dead in Iraq, without doubt a hot button item here in the US. First of all, even if Soleimani really was personally responsible for their deaths, there is the technical matter that their deaths cannot be labeled "terrorism." That is about killing non-combatant civilians, not military personnel involved in combat. I do not support the killing of those American soldiers, most of whom were done in by IEDs, which also horribly injured many more. But indeed this awful stuff happened. But in fact this was all done by Iraqi -based Shia militias. Yes, they were supported by Soleimani, but while some have charged al Quds suppplied the IEDs, this turns out not to be the case. These were apparently made in Iraq by these local militias. Soleimani's al Quds are not totally innocent in all this, reportedly providing some training and some inputs. But the IEDs were made by the militias themselves and planted by them.

It is also the case that when the militias and Americans were working together against ISIS/IISIL/Daesh, none of this happened, and indeed that was still the case up until this most recent set of events, with the death setting off all this an American civilian contractor caught on a base where several Iraqis were killed by a rocket from the Kat'b Hezbollah Iraqi group. Of course with Trump having Soleimani assassinated, this cooperation has ceased, with the US military no longer either fighting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh nor training the Iraqi military. Indeed, the Iraqi parliament has demanded that US troops leave entirely, although Trump threatened Iraq with economic sanctions if that is followed through on.

As it is, the US datinrg back to the Obama administration has been supplying Saudi Arabia with both arms and intelligence that has been used to kill thousands of Yemeni civilians. Frankly, US leaders look more like terrorists than Soleimani.

I shall close by noting the major changes in opinion in both Iran and Iraq regarding the US as a result of this assassination. In Iran as many have noted there were major demonstrations against the regime going on, protesting bad economic conditions, even as those substantially were the result of the illegal US economic sanctions imposed after the US withdrew from the JCPOA nuclear deal, to which Iran was adhering. Now those demonstrations have stopped and been replaced by the mass demonstrations against the US over Soleimani's assassination. And we also have Iran further withdrawing from that deal and moving to more highly enrich uranium.

In Iraq, there had been major anti-Iran demonstrations going on, with these supported to some degree by the highest religious authority in the nation, Ayatollah Ali Sistani. However, when Soleimani's body was being transferred to Iran, Sistani's son accompanied his body. It really is hard to see anything that justifies this assassination.

I guess I should note for the record that I am not a fan of the Iranian regime, much less the IGRC and its former and new commander. It is theocratic and repressive, with many political prisoners and a record of killing protestors. However, frankly, it is not clearly all that much worse than quite a few of its neighboring regimes. While Supreme Jurisprudent Khamenei was not popularly elected, its president, Rouhani, was, who obeyed popular opinion in negotiating the JCPOA that led to the relaxation of economic sanctions, with his power reduced when Trump withdrew from the agreement. Its rival Saudi Arabia has no democracy at all, and is also a religiously reactionary and repressive regime that uses bone saws on opponents and is slaughtering civilians in a neighboring nation.


xkeyscored , January 10, 2020 at 6:12 am

with the death setting off all this an American civilian contractor caught on a base where several Iraqis were killed by a rocket from the Kat'b Hezbollah Iraqi group.
Forgive me if I'm misunderstanding this, but it appears to be presented here as a fact.
Kat'b Hezbollah have denied responsibility for that rocket attack. To the best of my knowledge, no proof whatsoever has been presented that it was not an attack by jihadis in the area, whom Khat'b Hezbollah were fighting, or by others with an interest in stirring the pot.

Cat Burglar , January 10, 2020 at 12:37 pm

They are having a hard time coming up with public evidence to support any justification, aren't they?

The latest was Pence's "keeping it secret to protect sources and methods" meme. Purely speculating here, but I immediately thought, "Oh, Israeli intelligence." Gotta protect allies in the region.

xkeyscored , January 10, 2020 at 1:38 pm

Debka, run by supposedly-former Israeli military intelligence, was enthusing about upcoming joint operations against Iran and its allies a month or two ago. In contrast, they've been uncharacteristically quiet, though supportive of the US, regarding recent developments.

Trump and Netanyahu confirm US-Israel military coordination against threatened Iranian attack

A US-Iran military front is fast shaping up on the Syrian-Iraqi border – with a role for the IDF

Dwight , January 10, 2020 at 6:32 am

Secretary of State Pompeo claimed that Soleimani was responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in Syria. Basically blaming Iran for all deaths in the Syrian war.

Donald , January 10, 2020 at 8:35 am

People more commonly do this with Assad. A complicated war with multiple factions fighting each other, armed by outside sources including the US, most with horrific human rights records, but almost every pundit and politician in the US talks as though Assad killed everyone personally.

Once in a while you get a little bit of honesty seeping in, but it never changes the narrative. Caitlin Johnstone said something about that, not specifically about Syria. The idea was that you can sometimes find facts reported in the mainstream press that contradict the narrative put out by pundits and politicians and for that matter most news stories, but these contradictory facts never seem to change the prevailing narrative.

ChrisFromGeorgia , January 10, 2020 at 9:15 am

That sounds suspiciously like sour grapes and another possible motive for the killing – revenge.

Soleimani led a number of militias that were successful in defeating the Saudi (and CIA) sponsored Sunni jihadis who failed to implement the empire's "regime change" playbook in Syria.

No doubt a lot of guys like Pompeo wanted him dead for that reason alone.

Thuto , January 10, 2020 at 6:36 am

The simple answer NO, killing a sitting army general of a sovereign state on a diplomatic mission resides in the realm of the truly absurd. Twisting the meaning of the word "imminent" far beyond its ordinary use to justify the murder is even more absurd. And the floating subtext to all this talk about lost American lives is that the US can invade and occupy foreign lands, engage in the sanctimonious slaughter of locals and whoever else gets in the way of feeding the bloodlust of Pompeo and his ilk (to say nothing of feeding the outsized ego of a lunatic like Trump), and yet expect to suffer no combat casualties from those defending their lands. It's the most warped form of "exceptional" thinking.

As an aside, I wonder if the msm faithfully pushing the talk about Iran downing that Ukrainian commercial jet is designed to take the heat off a beleaguered Boeing. The investigation hasn't even begun but already we have the smoking gun, Iran did it.

Olga , January 10, 2020 at 8:27 am

Even the question is wrong. The killing was cowardly, outside all international norms (this from a country that dares to invoke "international order" whenever it is suitable), a colossal mistake, a strategic blunder, and plain destructive.
The more one learns about QS' activities, the more it seems that he was "disposed of" precisely because of his unique talent and abilities to bring together the various local factions (particularly, in Iraq), so that then – unified – they could fight against the common enemy (guess who?). He was not guilty of killing amrikans – nor was he planning to – his "sin" was to try and unite locals to push the us out of ME. It was always going to be an uphill battle, but in death he may – in time – achieve his wish.

Susan the other , January 10, 2020 at 11:49 am

I'm in this camp too. But with a twist. Pure speculation here – and I'm sure it would never be exposed, but is there even any proof we did it? Was it an apache helicopter or a drone; whom have we supplied with these things? Who is this bold? Since our military has been dead-set-against assassinating Soleimani or any other leader it seems highly unlikely they proposed this to Trump. Mattis flatly refused to even consider such a thing. So I keep wondering if the usual suspect might be the right one – the Israelis. They have the proper expertise. And the confusion that followed? If we had done it we'd have had our PSAs ready to print. Instead we proffered an unsigned letter and other "rough drafts" of the incident and then retracted them like idiots. As if we were frantic to step in and prevent the Rapture. We could have taken the blame just to prevent a greater war. Really, that's what it looks like to me.

bold'un , January 10, 2020 at 5:19 pm

Surely the whole point of the strike is that it was illegal: that is to say that it was a message to the Iraqis that they are NOT allowed to help Iran evade sanctions, NOT allowed to do oil-for-infrastructure deals with China and NOT allowed to invite senior Iranians around for talks: i.e. Iraq is not yet sovereign and it is the US that makes the rules around there; any disobedience will summarily be punished by the de facto rulers even if that violates agreements and laws applicable in Iraq.

If you disagree, then what should the US do if Iraq does not toe the Western line?

makedonamend , January 11, 2020 at 4:29 am

Hiya Olga & t'Others,

" The killing was cowardly, outside all international norms (this from a country that dares to invoke "international order" whenever it is suitable), a colossal mistake, a strategic blunder, and plain destructive "

I think the immediate impact which has long terms implications for how other countries view USA foreign policy is simply that any high ranking individual from any other country on earth has got to be aware that essentially no international norms now exist. It's one thing to 'whack' a bin Laden or dispose of a Gaddafi but another whole kettle of fish to assassinate a high ranking official going about their business who's no immediate security threat to the USA and when no state of war exists.

For example, might a EU general now acquiesce to demands about NATO? Not saying this is going to happen by a long shot, but still a niggling thought might linger. Surely the individual will be resentful at the very least. I'm also reminded of a story about John Bolton allegedly telling a negotiator (UN or European?) that Bolton knew where the negotiator's family resided. These things add up.

As Sergey Lavrov and President Putin have stated for a long time (and long before President Trump came along), the USA is 'agreement incapable'. However, now you have to wonder if any country really trusts any agreement they will make with the USA. Without trust on any level, cooperation/trade treaties and so on on are impossible or eminently disposable, i.e., not worth the paper upon which they are written.

This is where the middle term ramifications start to kick-in. We know that Russia and China are making some tentative steps towards superficial integration in limited areas beyond just cooperation. Will they find more common ground? Will European countries (and by extension the EU) really start to deliver on an alternative financial clearing system? How will India and Japan react? Does nationalism of the imperial variety re-emerge as a world force – for good or bad?

Will regional powers such as Russia, China, India, France or Iran quietly find more common ground also? But alliances are problematic and sometimes impose limitations that are exploitable. So, might a different form of cooperation emerge?

Long term its all about advantage and trust. Trust is a busted flush now. (My 2 cents, and properly priced.)

vlade , January 10, 2020 at 6:40 am

As Thuto above says, the simple answer is "No". IF S was guilty of all those things ascribed to him, he'd have been judged and sentenced (yes, I do realise Iran would never extradite him etc. etc. – but there would have been a process and after the process, well, some things would be more justifiable). But we have the process because it's important to have a process – otherwise, anyone can find themselves on a hit list for any reason whatsoever.

If the US doesn't want to follow and process, then it can't be suprised if others won't. Ignoring the process works for the strongest, while they are the strongest. And then it doesn't.

timbers , January 10, 2020 at 6:53 am

603 Americans killed in Iraq, he says Trump supporters claim, but we had millions of Iraqi's, Syrians, Libyans and others killed or their lives uprooted by Bush and Obama and company – yet they were not assassinated.

I think – just a guess – the reason Soleimani was killed can be summed up in one word:

Netanyahu.

That, and on a broader, bird's eye view level in broad strokes – Michael Hudson's recent article outlining U.S. policy of preserving USD hegemony at all costs, that has existed since at least the 1950's, which depicts Soleimani's assassination as not a Trump qwerk but a logical application of that policy.

You might say the swamp drainers came to drain the swamp and ended filling it up instead.

Darius , January 10, 2020 at 8:04 am

The mostest terriblest guy in the history of this or any other universe, but the average Joe never heard of until they announced they killed him. His epochal terribleness really flew under the radar.

Wukchumni , January 10, 2020 at 8:14 am

A joke I heard on the slopes yesterday: Nobody had ever heard of Soleimani, and then he blew up overnight, so now everybody knows who he is.

Philo Beddoh , January 10, 2020 at 8:13 am

The swamp drainers are so busy guzzling as much as they can quaff, without drowning; writhing each others' dead-eyed, bloated feeding frenzy; that obscene media distractions need to escalate in sadistic, off-hand terror. But, it's so ingrained into our governance, we just call it democracy?

Susan the other , January 10, 2020 at 12:05 pm

Hudson's take on USD hegemony is reasonable, but I don't think we'd assassinate Soleimani in anticipation of losing it. We have dealt with all the sects in the middle east for a long time and we have come to terms with them, until now. In a time that requires the shutting down of oil and gas production. I think (Carney, Keen, Murphy, etc.) oil is the basis for our economy, for productivity, for the world, that's a no brainer. But my second thoughts go more along the lines that oil and natural gas will be government monopolies directly – no need to use those resources to make the dollar or other currencies monopolies. Sovereign currency will still be a sovereign monopoly regardless of the oil industry. That also explains why we want hands-on control of this resource. And with that in mind, it would seem Soleimani might have been more of an asset for us.

Yves Smith Post author , January 10, 2020 at 8:48 pm

I hate to tell you but as much as we are fans of Hudson, he's all wet on this one. The dollar is the reserve currency because the US is willing to run sustained trade deficits, which is tantamount to exporting jobs. Perhaps more important, my connected economists say they know of no one who has the ear of the military-intel state who believes this either. This may indeed have been a line of thought 50 years ago but it isn't now.

rusti , January 10, 2020 at 7:18 am

much of the supporting rhetoric for this assassination coming out of Trump supporters (with bragging about it having reportedly been put up on Trump's reelection funding website)

I thought I had a pretty strong stomach for this stuff, but it's been really nauseating for me to see the displays of joy and flag waving over the assassination of someone the overwhelming majority of people were wholly unaware of prior to his death. My guess is that it's mostly just a sort of schadenfreude at the squirming of Democrats as they (with few exceptions) fail to articulate any coherent response.

The response should be clear without any caveats, "Trump is a coward who would never gamble with his life, but will happily gamble with the lives of your kids in uniform." This should resonate with most people, I don't believe that neocons really have any grassroots support.

carl , January 10, 2020 at 7:27 am

NO. Shockingly bad decision; you can just manage to glimpse around the edges of the war propaganda the embarrassment and backpedaling for having willingly stepped into such a gigantic steaming pile of excrement. The parade of smooth-faced liars on the MSM asserting that the US is now safer (the "war is peace" crowd) is sickening. Some even have the gall to assert that the enormous crowds in Iran are forced to attend by the repressive regime. Of course, there's no evidence of a provocation and they'll never produce any.

PlutoniumKun , January 10, 2020 at 7:49 am

Politico Europe is reporting that behind Europes seemingly supine response, officials and politicians are 'seething' over the attack. Its clearly seen around the world as not just illegal, but an appalling precedent.

So far, American efforts to convince Europeans of the bright side of Soleimani's killing have been met with dropped jaws .

The Historian , January 10, 2020 at 10:30 am

The silence from other countries on this event has been deafening. And that should tell Trump and Pompeo something, but I doubt if they are smart enough to figure it out.

I find it interesting that Pompeo was "disappointed" – what did he think would happen? For a Secretary of State, he's obviously extremely out of touch with the rest of the world if he didn't have some realistic idea of how this would go down.

Eclair , January 10, 2020 at 11:17 am

One wonders it this will be recalled as the episode in which the US finally jumped the shark.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , January 10, 2020 at 2:56 pm

On one hand, the life of each and every victim of head-separation and droning is as precious as that of one Soleimani.

On the other, the general's is more precious and thus, the behind the scene seething by Europe's politicians and officials. (They and many others are all potential targets now, versus previously droning wedding guests – time to seethe).

Which is it? More precious or equally precious?

Harry , January 10, 2020 at 7:57 am

The more I think about it, the more it seemed like the Administration and its allies were probing to see how far they could go. They bombed PMUs and appeared to get away with it. So then they upped the ante when the Iraqis complained and finally got some moderate push-back. Not taking American lives in the missile strike seems to prove they Iranians didn't want to escalate. Still, I dont know about the Pentagon, but I was impressed with the accuracy.

Procopius , January 10, 2020 at 7:01 pm

I was impressed with the accuracy.

Yes. From the picture at Vineyard of the Saker, they hit specific buildings. There were comments after the drone attack on Abqaiq and Khurais oil fields in KSA that they showed surprising accuracy, but perhaps this time surprised the intelligence agencies. Perhaps that was why Trump declared victory instead of further escalating. This is speculation, of course.

The Rev Kev , January 10, 2020 at 7:23 pm

There is also a good article giving more detail of these attacks and underlining the fact that not a single solitary missile was intercepted. What percentage did the Syrians/Russians manage to intercept of the US/UK/French missiles attack back in 2018? Wasn't it about seventy percent?

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2020/01/the-strike-ttg.html

Yves Smith Post author , January 10, 2020 at 8:51 pm

The Iranians are not done retaliating. They have a history of disproportionate retaliation, but when the right opportunity presents itself, and that routinely takes years. The limited strike was out of character and appears to have been the result of the amount of upset internally over the killing.

Darius , January 10, 2020 at 8:12 am

I have more a lot more respect for the strategic acumen of the Iranian regime than I do for that of the American regime. Now it's led by a collection of fragile male egos and superstitious rapture ready religious fanatics. Before them the regime was led by cowardly corporate suck ups. They all take their cues from the same military intelligence complex.

lyman alpha blob , January 10, 2020 at 8:18 am

One other glaring omission from the article – the only reason there was a US military contractor in Iraq available to be killed in the first place is due to the illegal war based on false premises launched almost two decades ago by the US, which continues to occupy the country to this day.

Pretty clear who the terrorists are on this case.

Amfortas the hippie , January 10, 2020 at 8:55 am

Aye! This!
assume a ladder on a windy day, with a hammer irresponsibly left perched on the edge of the top rung.
if i blithely walk under that ladder just as the wind gusts and get bonked in the head by the falling hammer whose fault is it?
we shouldn't be there in the first damned place.

and as soon as the enabling lies were exposed, we should have left, post haste .leaving all kinds of money and apologies in our wake.
to still be hanging around, unwanted by the locals, all these years later is arrogant and stupid.

during the Bush Darkness, i was accused to my face(even strangled, once!) of being an american-hating traitor for being against the war, the Bush Cabal, and the very idea of American Empire.

almost 20 years later, I'm still absolutely opposed to those things not least out of a care for the Troops(tm) .and a fervent wish that for once in my 50 years i could be proud to be an American.

what a gigantic misallocation of resources, in service of rapine and hegemony, while my fellow americans suffer and wither and scratch around for crumbs.

Mikel , January 10, 2020 at 8:32 am

Another of many questions that remain involve the warped interpretation of "imminent" of the Bethlehem Doctrine. What institution will put a full stop to that doctrine of terror?
It is a global hazard to continue to let that be adopted as any kind of standard.

Susan the other , January 10, 2020 at 12:15 pm

Under the Bethlehem Doctrine the entire political class in the USA, and possibly a few other countries, could be assassinated. What is legal or justified for one is justified for all.

David , January 10, 2020 at 8:33 am

Rosser is an economist rather than a philosopher or. jurist, and so he doesn't appear to realize that "justification" in the abstract is meaningless. An act can only be justified or not according to some ethical or legal principle, and you need to say what that principle is at the beginning before you start your argument. He doesn't do that, so his argument has no more validity than that of someone you get into a discussion with in a bar or over coffee at work.
Legally, of course, there is no justification, because there was no state of armed conflict between the US and Iran, so the act was an act of state murder. It doesn't matter who the person was or what we was alleged to have done or be going to do. There's been a dangerous tendency developing in recent years to claim some kind of right to pre-emptive attacks. There is no such legal doctrine, and the ultimate source of the misrepresentation – Art 51 of the UN Charter – simply recognizes that nothing in the Charter stops a state resisting aggression until help arrives. That's it.
Oh, and of course if this act were "justified" then any similar act in a similar situation would be justified as well, which might not work out necessarily to America's advantage.

Carolinian , January 10, 2020 at 8:36 am

Via ZH site this article is an interesting take on the situation

https://www.spectator.co.uk/2020/01/donald-trump-has-just-blown-up-his-goal-of-isolating-iran/

General Jonathan Shaw, former commander of UK forces in Iraq, put it well: Iran's objectives are political, not military. Their aim is not to destroy any American air base, but to drive a wedge between the US and its Arab allies -- and the Soleimani assassination has achieved more to this end than anything that could have been cooked up in Tehran. The Sunnis are standing down and the US and Israel now once again face being without real friends in the region. When push came to shove, all Kushner's efforts amounted to nothing. How elated the Iranians must be, even in the midst of such a setback.

Which if true means that instead of divide and conquer Trump and Pompeo may instead be practicing unite and be conquered when it comes to US meddling in the Middle East.

The Rev Kev , January 10, 2020 at 10:07 am

I think that I see a danger for Israel here with a very tight pucker factor. I had assumed that if there was a war between Israel and Hezbollah, that Hezbollah would let loose their older rockets first to use up the Israeli anti-missile ordinance that they have. After that would come their modern accurate missiles.

But part of that Iranian attack on those US bases was the use of older missiles that had been retro-fitted with gear for accurate targeting which obviously worked out spectacularly. Israel could assume that Iran would have given Hezbollah the same technology and the implication here is that any first wave of older Hezbollah missiles would just be as accurate as the following barrages of newer missiles.

Susan the other , January 10, 2020 at 12:36 pm

I wonder if it is remotely possible that all countries, say at the UN, could design acceptable language to make oil and natural gas a universal resource with a mandated conservation – agreed to by all. Those countries which have had oil economies and have become rich might agree to it because the use of oil and gas will be so restricted in future that they will not have those profits. But it would at least provide them with some steady income. It would prevent the oil wars we will otherwise have in our rush to monopolize the industry for profit; it would conserve the use of oil/gas and extend it farther out into the future so we can build a sustainable worldwide civilization and mitigate much of the damage we have done to the planet, etc. How can we all come together and make energy, oil and natgas access a universal human right (for the correct use)?

The Rev Kev , January 10, 2020 at 8:38 am

Actually Soleimani was guilty of the deaths of tens of thousands of people. Tens of thousands of ISIS fighters that is. Do they count? The Saudis, Gulf States and the CIA may shed a tear for them but nobody else will. When Soleimani arrived in Baghdad, he was traveling in a diplomatic capacity to help try to ease off tensions between the Saudis and the Iranians. And this was the imminent danger that Trump was talking about. Not an imminent danger to US troops but a danger that the Saudis and Iranians might negotiate an accommodation. Michael Hudson has said similar in a recent article.

I think that what became apparent from that attack last year on the Saudi oil installations was that they were now a hostage. In other words, if the US attacks Iran, then Iran will take out the entirety of Saudi oil production and perhaps the Saudi Royal family themselves. There is no scenario in an Iran-US war where the Kingdom come out intact. So it seems that they have been putting out feelers with the Iranians about coming to an accommodation. This would explain why when Soleimani was murdered, there was radio silence on behalf of the Saudis.

Maybe Trump has worked out that all of the Saudi oil facilities becoming toast would be bad for America too but, more importantly, to himself personally. After all, what is the point of having the Saudis only sell their oil in US dollars if there is no oil to sell? What would such a development do to the standing of the US dollar internationally? The financial crisis would sink his chances for a win this November and that is something that he will never allow. And I bet that he did not Tucker Carlson to tell him that.

nippersdad , January 10, 2020 at 10:17 am

Fascinating developments on this issue today. Pompeo admits that nothing was "imminent." Given the very specific definitions of Imminence that draw red lines between what is or is not legal in international law, this could get big very quickly.

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/477664-pompeo-says-we-dont-know-when-we-dont-know-where-soleimani-had

And the Iraqi's are not backing down.

https://thehill.com/policy/defense/policy-strategy/477651-iraqi-prime-minister-tells-pompeo-to-prepare-a-mechanism-for

Without a SOFA in place that leaves us open to charges of war crimes; prolly not something that Trump wants to see during an election year.

JTMcPhee , January 10, 2020 at 11:36 am

What percent of the presumed Trump base, and imperial Big Business and Banksters, not to mention the sloshing mass of other parts of the electorate subject to "spinning" in the Bernays Tilt-a-Whirl, would give a rat's aff about "war crimes" charges? Drone murders to date, the whole stupid of profitable (to a few, externalities ignored) GWOT, all the sh!t the CIA and CENTCOM and Very Special Ops have done with impunity against brown people and even people here at home, not anything more than squeaks from a small fraction of us.

And Trump is the Decider, yes, who signed off (as far as we know) on killing Soleimani that was lined up by the Borg, but really, how personalized to him would any repentance and disgust or even scapegoat targeting by the Blob really be, in the kayfabe that passes for "democracy in America?"

I always though de Tocqueville titled his oeuvre on the political economy he limned way back when as a neat bit of Gallic irony

xkeyscored , January 10, 2020 at 11:54 am

I don't know. Might Trump benefit from charges of war crimes, spinning them as further proof that the United Nations, International Criminal Court, etc. are controlled by commies and muslims out to get the USA?
As for the imminence of the hypothetical attacks, "There is no doubt that there were a series of imminent attacks being plotted by Qassem Soleimani," Pompeo told the Fox News host. "We don't know precisely when and we don't know precisely where, but it was real."
Remember that imminent=possible at some time in the near or distant future, and
Vice President Dick Cheney articulated shortly after 9/11: in Mr. Suskind's words, "if there was even a 1 percent chance of terrorists getting a weapon of mass destruction -- and there has been a small probability of such an occurrence for some time -- the United States must now act as if it were a certainty." That doctrine didn't prevent Bush's re-election.
https://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/20/books/20kaku.html

shinola , January 10, 2020 at 10:19 am

The assassination was carried out by the Good Ol' USA – ipso facto it was justified.

Shiloh1 , January 10, 2020 at 12:10 pm

Declare victory and bring them all home. Leave behind W's Mission Accomplished banner and pallets of newly printed $100s with Obama's picture.

Along the lines of Bismarck, not worth the life of a single Pomeranian grenadier. Not my 20 year old, not anybody else's in my name, either, especially since this began before they were born.

And to whom will they sell their oil and natural gas? Who cares – its a fungible commodity of perhaps only of concern to our "allies" in Western Europe. Not my problem and great plan to mitigate carbon emissions!

War hawks dressed in red or blue can become mercenaries and create Go Fund Me drives to protect their investments and any particular country which they have a personal affinity or citizenship.

Synoia , January 10, 2020 at 12:13 pm

It is US election year, and much money is to be had by pandering to various piles of money.

Wacking an effective Iranian General is good news to some pile of money, and would encourage the pile of money to the Wacking party.

I see this incident as no more that the behaviors of criminal gangs.

The real question is Quo Bono. The answer appears to be the Israel Supporters giving $ to Trump.

JTMcPhee , January 10, 2020 at 12:47 pm

Lest we forget: "War is a racket."

Monty , January 10, 2020 at 2:36 pm

The whole episode reminds me of a Martin Scorsese plot line. A disagreement among "Made Men". The unfortunate symbolism and 'disrespect' of the embassy protest demanded a response, especially after all the fuss Trump made about Benghazi. Some things cannot be allowed. The Iranians, Russians and Americans probably decided between themselves what would be sufficient symbolism to prevent a war, and so Soleimani was sacrificed to die as a hero/martyr. A small price to prevent things spiraling out of control. The Iranian response seems to add weight to this hypothesis.

Rosario , January 10, 2020 at 12:54 pm

Forgive me for taking this a little more in the direction of theory, but can the rest of the world justify the assassination of CIA/Pentagon/CENTCOM officials in a similar manner given the opportunity? Are these organizations not an analog to Quds? That seems to be more in line with the type of questions we need to be asking ourselves as US citizens in a multi-polar world. This article, despite its best intentions, still hints at an American exceptionalism that no longer exists in the international mind. The US could barely get away with its BS in the 90s, it definitely can't in 2020.

The US no longer has the monopoly on the narrative ("Big Lie") rationalizing its actions, not to say the other countries have the correct narrative, just that, there are a whole bunch of narratives ("Lies") out there being told to the world by various powers that are not the US, and the US is having a difficult time holding on to the mic. The sensible route would be to figure out how to assert cultural and political values/power in this world without the mafiosi methods. Maybe some old fashioned (if not icky, cynical) diplomacy. It is better than spilled blood, or nuclear war.

The US military/intelligence wonks overplayed their hand with Soleimani. I think the Neo-Cons gave Trump a death warrant for Soleimani, and Trump was too self-involved (stupid) to know or care who he was offing. His reaction to the blow back betrays that.

Now he is f*****, along with the chicken-hawks, and they all know it. They just have to sit back and watch Iran bomb US bases because the alternative is a potential big war, possibly involving China and Russia, that can't be fought by our Islamist foreign legions. It'll demand the involvement of US troops on the ground and the US electorate won't tolerate it.

Ashburn , January 10, 2020 at 12:57 pm

Anyone who has worked in the counter-terrorism field knows that when a credible and imminent threat is received the first act is to devise a response to counter the threat. It may involve raising security measures at an airline security checkpoint, it may involve arrests, if possible, of the would-be terrorist(s). It may involve evacuating a building and conducting a search for a bomb. It may involve changing a scheduled appearance or route of travel of a VIP.

The point is to stop the operators behind the threat from completing their terrorist act. What it certainly does NOT involve is assassinating someone who may have given the order but is definitely not involved in carrying out the act. Such an assassination would not only be ineffective in countering the threat but would likely be seen as increasing the motivation behind the attack. Such was the assassination of Soleimani, even if one believes in the alleged imminent threat. This was simply a revenge killing due to Soleimani's success at organizing the opposition to US occupation.

David in Santa Cruz , January 10, 2020 at 1:08 pm

We don't know precisely when and we don't know precisely where, but it was real.

How does this meet the internationally recognized legal requirement of "imminent" danger to human life required to kill a political or military leader outside of a declared war? All public statements by the U.S. political and military leadership point to a retaliatory killing, at best, with a vague overlay of preemptive action.

If you agree that the "Bethlehem Doctrine" has never been recognized by the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, or the legislatures of the three rogue states who have adopted it, the assassination of Suleimani appears to have been a murder.

This is absolutely chilling. These "End Times/Armageddon" lunatics want to destroy the world. Who would Jesus have murdered? They stand the lessons of his state-sanctioned murder on their heads

xkeyscored , January 10, 2020 at 1:13 pm

Mintpress has an interesting article: Study Finds Bots and MAGA Supporters Pushing #IraniansDetestSoleimani Hashtag

A social media disinformation expert studied 60,000 tweets from nearly 10,000 accounts using the hashtag #IraniansDetestSoleimani and found that the most common phrases in those users' biographies were "Make America Great Again" and "Trump."
https://www.mintpressnews.com/study-bots-maga-supporters-iraniansdetestsoleimani-hashtag/264024/

Monty , January 10, 2020 at 2:37 pm

Shocking! /s

Tom Bradford , January 10, 2020 at 1:56 pm

My two-pennyworth? The US press and the circles surrounding Trump are already crowing that he 'won' the exchange. If, as speculated, he went against military advice in ordering this assassination, his 'victory' will only confirm his illusions that he is a military genius, which makes him even more dangerous. There are some rather nasty parallels with the rise of Hitler appearing here.

mauisurfer , January 10, 2020 at 2:03 pm

The claim that Soleimani had killed hundreds of Americans was repeated, word for word, in many articles in the papers of record (e.g., New York Times, 1/7/20; Washington Post, 1/3/20, 1/3/20) as well as across the media (e.g., Boston Globe, 1/3/20; Fox News, 1/6/20; The Hill, 1/7/20).

These "hundreds of Americans" were US forces killed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) during the Iraq War, supposedly made in Iran and planted by Iranian-backed Shia militias. As professor Stephen Zunes pointed out in the Progressive (1/7/20), the Pentagon provided no evidence that Iran made the IEDs, other than the far-fetched claim that they were too sophisticated to be made in Iraq -- even though the US invasion had been justified by claims that Iraq had an incredibly threatening WMD program. The made-in-Iran claim, in turn, was the main basis for pinning responsibility for IED attacks on Shia militias -- which were, in any case, sanctioned by the Iraqi government, making Baghdad more answerable for their actions than anyone in Tehran. Last year, Gareth Porter reported in Truthout, (7/9/19) that the claim that Iran was behind the deaths of US troops was part of Vice President Dick Cheney's plan to build a case for yet another war.

J7915 , January 10, 2020 at 8:47 pm

IIRC the "sophistication claim" was made years ago. Apparently the basic technology is applied in oilfields to pierce oil well lining tubes at the oil layer. So the Iraqis knew all about the basic technique, only needed some more information.

Bill Carson , January 10, 2020 at 2:21 pm

About those "603 American deaths" that Soleimani is posthumously being charged with .

"I cross-checked a Pentagon casualty database with obituaries and not 1 of the 9 American servicemen killed fighting in Iraq since 2011 died at the hands of militias backed by Suleimani. His assassination was about revenge and provocation, not self-defense."

Robert Mackey on Twitter

mauisurfer , January 10, 2020 at 2:24 pm

Larry Johnson:

"The U.S. Government and almost all of the media continue to declare that Iran is the biggest sponsor of terrorism. That is not true. That is a lie. I realize that calling this assertion a lie opens me to accusations of being an apologist for Iran. But simply look at the facts."
"The Trump Administration needs to stop with its infantile ranting and railing about Iran and terrorism. The actual issues surrounding Iran's growing influence in the region have little to do with terrorism. Our policies and actions towards Iran are accelerating their cooperation with China and Russia, not diminishing it. I do not think that serves the longterm interests of the United States or our allies in the Middle East"

read whole story here:

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2020/01/the-facts-about-iran-and-terrorism-by-larry-c-johnson.html

Bill Carson , January 10, 2020 at 2:24 pm

Also this -- -

"On the night the US killed Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, it tried to kill another senior Iranian military official in Yemen, two sources say"

CNN Breaking News on Twitter

Somebody's got some 'splainin' to do.

xkeyscored , January 10, 2020 at 4:00 pm

Thank you, Bill.

The strike targeting Abdul Reza Shahlai, a financier and key commander of Iran's elite Quds Force who has been active in Yemen, did not result in his death, according to four U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

The unsuccessful operation may indicate that the Trump administration's killing of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani last week was part of a broader operation than previously explained, raising questions about whether the mission was designed to cripple the leadership of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or solely to prevent an imminent attack on Americans as originally stated.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/on-the-day-us-forces-killed-soleimani-they-launched-another-secret-operation-targeting-a-senior-iranian-official-in-yemen/2020/01/10/60f86dbc-3245-11ea-898f-eb846b7e9feb_story.html

sierra7 , January 10, 2020 at 2:29 pm

"Justification"????? You're kidding right? "They", those who we firstly "embrace" for our own interests are "for us" until we decide we are "against them"! What a farce our foreign policies are!

For some "exceptional" reason we don't recognize international law! We are the terrorists not them.

rjs , January 10, 2020 at 7:09 pm

NB: the comment i had removed from this post is now posted on a copy of the same post at Angry Bear

oaf , January 10, 2020 at 7:23 pm

the more that is at stake, the less one should listen to advisers

Jack Parsons , January 10, 2020 at 8:25 pm

Prediction for this stupidest of all worlds: Iraq really does boot us out, T-bone siezes on this for its obvious popularity among his base, and uses "He Kept Us Out Of War" for re-election.

Shiloh1 , January 11, 2020 at 10:37 am

Feature, not bug.

Where is my peace dividend after fall of Berlin Wall and Soviet Union?

Poppy and MIC wouldn't have it, hence April Galaspie's "no instructions" response to Saddam's initial inquiry over the Iraq / Kuwait surveying and mineral rights dispute on Kuwait's drilling at the border 30 years ago.

[Jan 11, 2020] People vs money

Notable quotes:
"... It all depends on what the penalties are. Confiscation of hidden assets would chill that behavior, strike one. Loss of the privilege to conduct business with federal and state entities would also chill such behavior, strike two. Finally, for persistent violations of the cap, loss of citizenship and expulsion form the country, three strikes and you are literally out, would be the ultimate penalty. ..."
"... The United States is actually both a federation (hardly unique by the way) and a representative democracy. Whether you call them members of Parliament or members of Congress, their representatives are elected by the people. ..."
Jan 11, 2020 | www.theguardian.com

apacheman -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 23:32

Excuse me?

Huge numbers of people who disagree with me and don't share my particular beliefs are not sociopaths, nothing would stop them from running or holding office, and I've no problem with that.

Are you arguing that sociopaths have an inalienable right to hold office, even though they will inevitably use that office to aggrandize themselves at the expense of everyone else, and could spark a general war just for their own enjoyment and to gather yet more power to themselves?

THAT I'm not ok with, are you?

DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> apacheman , 7 Jul 2018 21:12
How do people who don't share your beliefs get represented if you rig the system to exclude them? People unlike you are sociopaths? It isn't even tempting. Your cost benefit study benefits you. The world is destabilized if your guys don't get in? No surprise.
HauptmannGurski -> Aseoria , 7 Jul 2018 20:26
I know, and Bush I was head of the CIA. Strange that one matters and the other does not.
Sisyphus2 -> Byron Delaney , 7 Jul 2018 20:05
Love this line: "the gig economy combined with record debt and astronomically high rent prices cancel out any potential economic stability for millions of people."

The under-employment rate is also very informative. People working less hours or in lower positions than their investment in education should have returned to them. They are working, but not enough to be able to independently sustain themselves, which makes them insecure in variety of ways.

Aseoria -> ildfluer , 7 Jul 2018 19:52
Do you think the interpreters might turn out to be agents, or perhaps even assassins, from other governments? Or maybe everybody will be knocked out with fentanyl gas at dinner. In the dining room.
Aseoria -> consumerx , 7 Jul 2018 19:47
Typical Good-Cop Bad-Cop from here in the vaunted "Two-Party" system of the USA gov
Janaka77 -> petersview , 7 Jul 2018 19:05
I like the way the Republic of Ireland puts strict restrictions on political spending for their elections - including their presidential elections.
apacheman -> memo10 , 7 Jul 2018 19:02
1. It all depends on what the penalties are. Confiscation of hidden assets would chill that behavior, strike one. Loss of the privilege to conduct business with federal and state entities would also chill such behavior, strike two. Finally, for persistent violations of the cap, loss of citizenship and expulsion form the country, three strikes and you are literally out, would be the ultimate penalty.

The alternative, continuing to allow unlimited wealth accumulation will ultimately destroy democracy and end in a dictatorship nearly impossible to remove without massive casualties. Is that preferable to trying to control the behavior of wealth addicts? Make no mistake: billionaires are addicts, their uncontrollable addiction to more is an extreme form of hoarding dysfunction, one that, like all uncontrolled addictions, has had disastrous consequences for everyone but them.

3. Fewer Representatives means you are concentrating power rather than dispersing it. More means smaller districts, which in turn means more accountability, not less. As it stands now, Congresscritters can safely ignore the wishes of the public, because when someone "represents" nearly a million citizens, it means they actually represent only themselves. If taken in conjunction with item #2, more citizens would be invested in the political process and far more likely to pay attention.

4. The Hare test is a standard written exam that is difficult to cheat. Getting caught at cheating or attempting to cheat would mark one automatically as a sociopath. The latest studies of brain structures show that sociopaths have physically different brains, and those physical differences are detectable. Brain activity as shown by fMRI also clearly marks a sociopath from a normal, since while they can fake emotional responses very well, their brain activity shows their true lack of response to emotionally charged images, words, etc. Using a three-layer test, written>fMRI>genetic should be robust enough to correctly identify most. The stakes are too huge to risk a set of sociopaths and their lackeys control of the machinery of government. The genetic test is the most likely to give problematic results, but if the written is failed, the fMRI would then be done to confirm or reject the written results, while the genetics would be a supplementary confirmation. Widespread genetic testing of politicians and would-bes would undoubtedly advance research and understanding dramatically.

When you do even a casual cost-benefit study, the answer is clear: test them. Ask yourself: is the thwarting of an individual's potential career in politics really that great a cost compared to preventing unknowingly electing a sociopath who could destabilize the entire world?

Janaka77 -> scotti dodson , 7 Jul 2018 18:55

Another big difference of course is a little thing called the law.

Are you under the impression the British don't have rule of law? Their elected representatives make their laws, not their ceremonial royal family. Their royal family's job is to abide by the same laws as every other UK citizen, stay out of politics and promote British tourism and gossip magazines.

Janaka77 -> Ben Groetsch , 7 Jul 2018 18:15

The United States is actually a federal republic, not a democracy.

The United States is actually both a federation (hardly unique by the way) and a representative democracy. Whether you call them members of Parliament or members of Congress, their representatives are elected by the people.

WillisFitnurbut -> Byron Delaney , 7 Jul 2018 17:57

If we move the cheap manufacturing to the US, and wages are lower due to a depression, people will take the jobs, and the job numbers will improve. And China will be toast.


We will never beat China at manufacturing cheap and efficient products using human labor. Robotic labor maybe, but that might not happen for a decade or more at least--if they or another country doesn't beat us to retooling our factories.
Labor and manufacturing will never return in the US--unless we have another world war we win, in which all global production is again concentrated in the US because the rest of the worlds factories are bombed to rubble. Besides, they have the most central location for manufacturing in the world and a cheap source of endless labor.

What they don't have is innovation, tech and freedom to try products out on a free market. We are squandering those advantages in the US when we cut education and limit college education to the masses.

memo10 -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 17:48

The system is not crooked,

Are Americans the most immoral people on earth? I don't think so. Do we have the strictest code of laws on earth? I don't think so either. Yet we have the highest incarceration rate on earth. Higher than authoritarian countries like China & Russia.

This alone should tell you something is wrong with our system. Never mind the stats about differing average sentences depending on race & wealth.

WillisFitnurbut -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 17:42
Doubt implies a reason behind the wrong, where uncertainty implies an unknowing trait--a mystery behind the wrong.

The right, what with all its fake news scams, deep state BS and witch hunt propaganda, is uncertainty at best, a mystery of sorts--it provides us with a conspiracy that can neither be proved or unproven--an enigma.

Doubt, about if Russia meddled in the US election in collusion with the president or at the least his advisors, surely implies something is wrong, especially in the face of criminal charges, doubt is inherent and well intentioned, but not always true and can be proven false in the face of doubt.

Byron Delaney -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 17:00
At one time the US was agrarian and one could subsist via bartering. Consider reliance on for-profit healthcare, transportation systems, debt, credit cards, landlords, grocery stores, and the lack of any ability to subsist without statewide and nationwide infrastructure. Right now, people in the US already die prematurely if they can't afford healthcare. Many are homeless. And this is when things are better than ever? What will happen here is what happened in Europe during WWII. People will suffer, and they will be forced to adopt socialist practices (like the EU does today). People in Europe really did starve to death, and people in India, Africa, and other countries are starving and dying today. China doles out food rations because they practice communism. That's why they have cheap, efficient labor that serves to manufacture products for US consumers. Communism and socialism help American corporations big time.
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> kmacafee , 7 Jul 2018 16:51
Citizens United is a First Amendment decision. Which part of the First Amendment do you want moot? What gives any government the right to decide which assemblies of citizens have no free speech rights?
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> WillisFitnurbut , 7 Jul 2018 16:47
Doubt is everybody's political currency.
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> Byron Delaney , 7 Jul 2018 16:46
You are aware, I imagine, that the US can adjust its money supply to adapt to circumstances? We can feed ourselves. We have our own power sources. We can improvise, adapt, and overcome. Prices go up and down. No big deal. Scaring people for political gain doesn't have the clout it onvce did.
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> tjt77 , 7 Jul 2018 16:40
Are you opposed to people deciding who moves across their nation's borders?
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> Elephantmoth , 7 Jul 2018 16:38
Open Secrets Top Donors, Organizations.
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> memo10 , 7 Jul 2018 16:35
Too many virtue signalers seem to think that only the innocent are ever convicted.
The system is not crooked, but if you can set up a better one that doesn't bankrupt every community, have at it.
DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> WillisFitnurbut , 7 Jul 2018 16:29
You really, really, really like screaming racist, don't you? And slide in a Godwin. Wow. The concept that black pastors would be negatively impacted by financial attacks on their churches never ever occurred to you, did it? You get off on pretending to care about people that you have no direct, routine connection to. How virtuous of you. Wouldn't deliberately harming black churches make you the racist storm trooper?
Byron Delaney -> WillisFitnurbut , 7 Jul 2018 16:08
Violence will break out when credit cards stop working. Can't even imagine what will happen if people are starving. No problem in a socialistic country like Finland, but a big problem here. My guess is that Trump knows the economy is hanging by a thread, so needs to create an alternate reason (trade wars). Or he figures he might as well have a trade war if it's all going to pieces anyway. Of course China manufactures just about everything for the US. If we move the cheap manufacturing to the US, and wages are lower due to a depression, people will take the jobs, and the job numbers will improve. And China will be toast.
WillisFitnurbut -> Byron Delaney , 7 Jul 2018 15:49
Don't forget as the Trump trade war heats up and China decides to sell off US bonds en-masse (they own 1.17 trillion in US debt). That's gonna put a hurt on the already low US dollar and could send inflation soaring. China could also devalue its currency and increase the trade deficit. Combine those with all the things you've pointed out and you've got financial troubles the likes of which no large government has ever dealt with in human history.
Starving people--China can handle in droves; not so much the US. We're talking nasty violence if that kinda stuff happens here.
Melty Clock -> happylittledebunkera , 7 Jul 2018 15:43
True, but the POTUS is a head of state and the PM is not, so there's a limit to how far we should take comparisons.
WillisFitnurbut , 7 Jul 2018 15:05
Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.
Byron Delaney , 7 Jul 2018 15:02
Occupy Wall Street began due to income inequality when the worst effects of the Great Recession were being felt by the population. Wealth inequality has only increased since then.


Right now, the population is held at bay because the media and politicians claim that the economy is so incredibly hot it's overheating. But we know that's a lie. For one, the gig economy combined with record debt and astronomically high rent prices cancel out any potential economic stability for millions of people. This year, 401(k) plans have returned almost nothing (or are going negative). This was also the case in 2016. Savings accounts have returned almost nothing for the last decade (they should be providing approximately 5% interest).

The worker participation rate today is 3.2% below what it was in 2008 (during the Great Recession). The US population, meanwhile, has increased by approximately 24,321,000. That's a 7.68% increase. The labor force has increased by 5% during this time (unemployment rate was relatively similar, 5.6% vs 4%). From June 2008 to June 2018, the labor force increased by approximately 8 million. However, if the worker participation rate was the same now as it was then, there would be approximately 8 million more people in the labor force. If you add 8 million people to the current number of people who are counted as unemployed by the BLS, the unemployment rate is approximately 9%. This is about as high as the unemployment rate got during the depths of the Great Recession, right when Occupy Wall Street was born.

Now, OK, sure, the economy has REPLACED lost jobs, but it has not ADDED jobs for the last decade. The unemployment rate is false. It should be at least 8%. There's many millions of Americans who do not have steady, gainful employment - or any employment - and they are not counted.
The billionaires and their bought politicians are responsible for fixing this. They can fix it and should fix it. Otherwise, the economy and their profits are going to fall off a giant cliff any day now. The next recession has basically already begun, but it can still be alleviated. If things continue as they are, unemployment could be 16% by 2020, with the U6 measure approaching or exceeding 25%. If stocks drop enough, people may starve to death.

kmacafee , 7 Jul 2018 14:11
Who supported Citizen's United? All cons and republicans

Who supports campaign finance reform and legislation that would make Cititzen's United moot? Democrats and progressives

Really tired of the false equivalencies. Republicans are now the polar opposite of Democrats in policy and principles. Vote Blue this November and get rid of the republicans; every single one of them. It can be done if people get out and vote.

memo10 -> apacheman , 7 Jul 2018 14:10
1. Anything is possible but I don't think this is practical. The rich can just cheat on the definition of ownership, pass it around between family members, offshore it, sink it into their businesses in token ways, etc. When you try to take wealth (power) away from the most powerful people in the country they will start devoting SERIOUS resources to getting around it.

3. I'm not saying we need fewer people doing congress's job in total. But we should be electing fewer of them, and letting those fewer people do more hiring/delegating. The way things are now, most of the public only knows much about the president. Everyone else is mostly just a vote for a party. But if the country only voted for 50 Congressmen in total - or even fewer - then we would all have a more careful eye on them. We would know them better and see them more individually. They would have less pressure to toe the party line all the time.

4. As long as there's a written test then it will get cheated. Right now the testing is rarely given and the specific consequences don't determine powerful people's careers. Make it a widespread & important thing and people will learn to cheat it.
The genetic + fMRI research is interesting but the whole thing opens up serious cans of worms. We're talking about DQ'ing somebody from an important career based partially on the results of a genetic screening for a character trait. That's a dangerous business for our whole society to get into. Although I do realize the payoff for this specific instance would be very big.

apacheman -> memo10 , 7 Jul 2018 13:34
1. Why do you think that? Using teams of forensic accountants and outlawing secret accounts would go a long way towards increasing enforceability. But you are viewing it as a legal problem rather than a cultural problem. If an effective propaganda campaign aimed on one level at the public and another level at the billionaires, it could work. Many billionaires are already committed to returning their fortunes to the economy (mostly after they are dead, true). Convince a few and the rest will follow. Give them the lure of claiming the title of the richest who ever were and some would be eager for that place in history.

Anything can be done if the will is there.

2. Income taxes are just a portion of the federal revenues, ~47%. Corporate taxes, parkland fees, excise taxes, ~18% taken together and Social Security make up the rest. Revenues would increase as taxpayers topped off step amounts to keep control. The beauty of it is that Congress would see very clearly where the nation's priorities were. Any politician trying to raise fines so that they had more money under their control would soon find themselves out of office. Unpopular programs would have to be financed out of the 18%, and that would likely make them increase corporate taxes. But most importantly, it would cut the power of politicians and decrease the effectiveness of lobbyists.

3. Actually, we have too few, not too many. The work of governance suffers because there is too much to be done and too few to do it. Spreading the workload and assigning responsibility areas would increase efficiency. Most importantly though, it would break up the oligarchic duopoly that keeps a stranglehold on the nation's politics, and bring more third party candidates into office giving Congress a more diverse culture by adding viewpoints based on other things than business interests.

4. Actually, advances in fMRI equipment and procedures, along with genetics and written testing can prove beyond a reasonable doubt whether or not someone is a sociopath, do some research and you'l see it is true. False positives in any testing regime are always an issue, but tens of millions of workers submit to drug tests to qualify for their jobs, and their jobs don't usually run the risk of plunging the world into war, economic or environmental disasters. False positives are common in the workplace and cost many thousands their jobs.

And there's an easy way to prove you aren't really a sociopath: be honest, don't lie, and genuinely care about people...things sociopaths cannot do over time.

Seriously, it is a societal safety issue that demands to be done, protecting the few against false positives means opening the floodgates for the many sociopaths who seek power over others.

WillisFitnurbut -> ConBrio , 7 Jul 2018 13:25
Not just eliminate--alter and add to it, but since it takes 2/3 majority of the house and senate to amend the constitution--it's not an easy feat--that's why there has only been 17 amendments altogether and two of them are there to cancel each other out!
You see, the beauty behind the National Popular Vote Bill is that it's done on a state by state basis and will only work when the required 270 electoral votes are gained with the bill--this means all voters would have their votes tallied in a presidential election and it eliminates swing states with a winner takes all approach. The electoral college and state control of elections are preserved and every one is happy.
I feel like you've not read up on any of this even though I provide a link. 12 of these bills have been enacted into state law already, comprising of 172 electoral votes and 3,112 legislative sponsors. That's more than halfway there.
To continue to say that changing the way we vote by altering the EC is a fantasy is in itself a fantasy because obviously it is gaining traction across the country.
tjt77 -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 12:51
Which 'side' do you imagine I'm on Mike ? FYI.. Im not a member of any tribe especially regarding the republican or democrat parties... you may have noticed that as part of the progress towards a globalized economy, 'Money' now has open borders...but the restrictions of movement for people are growing as nationalism rises and wealth and the power it yields, becomes ever more concentrated in fewer hands...this is a dangerous precedent and history repeats if lessons of the past are not learned.
I can well recall when humanity and the ability of the individual to attain freedom and liberty based upon the merit of the individual was once celebrated.
What really irks me and causes me to voice my opinion on this forum, ( thank you Guardian for your continued efforts at informing us all and especially for promoting participation) is how easily people are duped .. when 'others' can easily see that they are being lied to. My parents fought for freedom and liberty against vicious tyranny in Europe and paid a HUGE price..by the time the scales had tipped the balance towards fascism, it was far too late for anything other than all out war... the fact that they survived the required sacrifice to pitch in to protect democracy, and the freedom and liberty which comes with it, still seems miraculous..
Gary Daily , 7 Jul 2018 12:20
Billionaires on the left should put some of that money into paying for and distributing subscriptions to newspapers and magazines which live up to the standards of professional journalism. These papers should be made available, free, at high schools, colleges, libraries, and commercial centers of loitering and "neighborly" discussions. May I suggest the NYT, WP, The Guardian, and The Economist.
ConBrio -> WillisFitnurbut , 7 Jul 2018 12:16
The "fact" that there have been 700 attempts to eliminate it should tell you that in all likelihood the The Electoral College will continue.

Whether or not a group of states can effectively circumvent the Constitution is an open question.

aquacalc -> ghstwrtrx7 , 7 Jul 2018 12:01
"What the country sorely needs is a new constitution."

No thanks! The Founders were quite a bit more intelligent than the current national 'brain trust' -- on the both sides of the Aisle -- that would be charged with writing a new Constitution.

memo10 -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 11:48

A defense attorney once told me that his job was one of the toughest out there because an astonishing percentage of defendants are guilty as charged.

That's true. But it doesn't excuse the crooked system whatsoever. It doesn't make the innocent poor people any less innocent.

Dorthy Boatman -> scotti dodson , 7 Jul 2018 11:36
Since when have politicians and rich people ever followed the law? And what recourse would that be exactly?
WillisFitnurbut -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 11:17
I like how you immediately expose your racism, right out of the gate. Haven't you got a storm trooper meeting to head out to soon?
Elephantmoth -> DeltaFoxWhiskyMike , 7 Jul 2018 11:14
Sorry I forgot the link: http://www.http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/business-a-lobbying/318177-lobbyings-top-50-whos-spending-big
Sisyphus2 -> NYbill13 , 7 Jul 2018 10:41
Back to the days of Dickens, workhouses, indentured slaves, etc.

[Jan 11, 2020] American elections are a battle of billionaires. We are merely spectators by David Callahan

Notable quotes:
"... With ever deeper pockets, the rich can more easily afford to pull multiple levers of influence and many are doing exactly that ..."
"... First, the rich have gotten much richer in the last 10 or 15 years. In 2005, the Koch brothers had a combined net worth of around $9bn; now they're worth over $100bn. Mike Bloomberg has added $46bn to his fortune during this same period, while Jeff Bezos – who has been flexing his civic muscle as owner of the Washington Post and is said to be planning a big move into philanthropy – is worth 30 times more today than he was in 2005, a stunning $144bn. ..."
"... Robert Mercer is one example of an ambidextrous funder. The family foundation that he runs with his daughter Rebekah makes millions of dollars in grants to conservative policy groups every year, but Mercer was also among the top GOP campaign donors in 2016 and is also a top investor in Breitbart, the pro-Trump media site. The Mercers have been among the most powerful figures in politics in the past few years – influence that's only been possible because of Robert Mercer's success in the wildly lucrative hedge fund world. Being a star school teacher or nurse doesn't yield the same resources or clout. ..."
"... Bloomberg is another example of multi-faceted donor, on a much larger scale. In addition to investing hundreds of millions of dollars in his own political career, securing three terms as New York's mayor, he's used both charitable and political giving to push his agenda on such issues as climate change, guns and education. Now he's poised to become the biggest donor ever during a midterm election cycle. This enormous influence spending has amounted to just a tiny fraction of his net worth. ..."
"... Bloomberg's support for Democrats and causes like climate change underscores a third change in big money battles over America's future: the surge of new money from left-of-center donors. ..."
| www.theguardian.com

American elections are a battle of billionaires. We are merely spectators David Callahan Depending on your politics, you may either cheer or fear the influence of top donors. In truth, we should be troubled by it

Thu 5 Jul 2018 02.00 EDT Last modified on Thu 5 Jul 2018 02.01 EDT Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via Email 'Economic inequality seems to be translating into civic disparities .' Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Pull up a seat, this year's election is getting interesting.

In one corner, backing the Republican, are billionaire heavyweights like Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers. In the other, wearing the blue trunks, are mega-donors such as Tom Steyer and George Soros, as well as one of the richest Americans of all, Michael Bloomberg , who recently confirmed that he'll spend at least $80m to flip the House of Representatives to the Democrats – in a midterm election that will likely be the most expensive in history.

The rest of us, ordinary citizens without big bank accounts, will certainly play a role in the outcome this November. We cast the votes, after all. But more and more, US politics – along with civic life broadly – often feels like a spectator sport, as a growing array of billionaire super citizens battle it out in the public square.

The outsized clout of the rich is hardly a new story, of course. But this influence game is changing as the dollar signs get bigger and as the wealthy exert influence in more arenas using a more sophisticated array of strategies. The day before news broke about Bloomberg's vast election giving, for example, the Times reported on the successful efforts of a Koch-backed 501(c)(4) group to kill public transportation initiatives across the country.

That same week, the Walton Family Foundation – which has already helped bankroll a quarter of all US charter schools – announced another $100m in education grants. Around the same time, the billionaire activist Tom Steyer launched a new ad attacking Donald Trump that featured audio of children crying in immigrant detention centers. The ad is part of Steyer's unprecedented campaign pushing for Trump's impeachment; he's spent millions of dollars on the effort, on top of some $200m he's made in political contributions since 2014.

Depending on your politics, you may either cheer or fear the influence spending of specific top donors. In truth, we should be troubled about all such spending. Thanks to several factors, economic inequality seems to be translating into civic disparities at a faster pace and in ways that touch more parts of US society.

With ever deeper pockets, the rich can more easily afford to pull multiple levers of influence and many are doing exactly that

First, the rich have gotten much richer in the last 10 or 15 years. In 2005, the Koch brothers had a combined net worth of around $9bn; now they're worth over $100bn. Mike Bloomberg has added $46bn to his fortune during this same period, while Jeff Bezos – who has been flexing his civic muscle as owner of the Washington Post and is said to be planning a big move into philanthropy – is worth 30 times more today than he was in 2005, a stunning $144bn.

With ever deeper pockets, the rich can more easily afford to pull multiple levers of influence and many are doing exactly that, which is a second thing that's changed about the elite power game. Increasingly, top donors are simultaneously putting money into elections, private foundations that press an ideological agenda, 501(c)(4) groups and media.

Robert Mercer is one example of an ambidextrous funder. The family foundation that he runs with his daughter Rebekah makes millions of dollars in grants to conservative policy groups every year, but Mercer was also among the top GOP campaign donors in 2016 and is also a top investor in Breitbart, the pro-Trump media site. The Mercers have been among the most powerful figures in politics in the past few years – influence that's only been possible because of Robert Mercer's success in the wildly lucrative hedge fund world. Being a star school teacher or nurse doesn't yield the same resources or clout.

Bloomberg is another example of multi-faceted donor, on a much larger scale. In addition to investing hundreds of millions of dollars in his own political career, securing three terms as New York's mayor, he's used both charitable and political giving to push his agenda on such issues as climate change, guns and education. Now he's poised to become the biggest donor ever during a midterm election cycle. This enormous influence spending has amounted to just a tiny fraction of his net worth.

Bloomberg's support for Democrats and causes like climate change underscores a third change in big money battles over America's future: the surge of new money from left-of-center donors.

This shift dates back to George W Bush's presidency, when alarmed wealthy Democrats set out to reverse conservative gains. Mixing philanthropic gifts with political donations and 501(c)(4) spending, they bankrolled the creation of Democracy Alliance, the Center for American Progress, and other institutions. Since then, other billionaires have swung behind progressive causes, including tech winners like Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz – who gave $27m to help defeat Trump in the 2016 election – and Steyer, who became an active mega-giver after he retired from his hedge fund six years ago.

The new money flowing from wealthy left-of-center donors, especially in response to Trump's rise, may look like a sign that American pluralism is alive and well in this second Gilded Age. Yes, public life in increasingly drenched in cash, but aren't many viewpoints getting heard as a more ideologically diverse upper class supports various causes and candidates?

Sometimes this is the case. On climate change, for example, progressive donors have helped counter the longstading might of the fossil fuel industry. Economic issues have been another story, though. Polls show that the wealthy are more conservative on such issues, which explains why very little money even from left-of-center donors goes to support work that strongly challenges inequality. Bloomberg's big give for Democrats this year is a case in point: he's made it clear that he wants to support moderate candidates, not populists from the Bernie Sanders wing of the party.

The Democratic party and progressive infrastructure is heavily dependent on patrons who've thrived under America's current form of capitalism and aren't interested in major reforms to that system, however much it fails ordinary workers. In 2016, Trump filled this vacuum with his own brand of economic populism.

There's also been a lack of pluralism among wealthy donors in other areas. The Kochs are having such a big impact on transportation policy because there are few counter-weights to their money in that niche. Top donors can be especially influential in certain states and localities, where there's not a diverse pool of givers. For example, the billionaire Eli Broad has long wielded outsized influence in Los Angeles, especially on education.

There's no easy way to counter the rising power of these super citizens. Campaign finance reform would help, but influence spending now extends far beyond elections, as philanthropy has been weaponized for policy combat.

Ultimately, the best solution to the new civic inequality lies in stronger social movements that convert Americans from spectators to activists. And one of the most reassuring trends of recent years is we've seen a lot of such people power, including the Tea Party, Occupy, Black Lives Matter and #MeToo.

Now we need more of the same, extending to more issues and more places – especially the core challenge of economic inequality. Otherwise, it's hard to see how the United States can escape from a new era of plutocracy.

David Callahan is the author of The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age. He is the founder and editor of Inside Philanthropy

[Jan 10, 2020] America's Hamster Wheel of 'Career Advancement' by Casey Chalk

Notable quotes:
"... Getting Work Right: Labor and Leisure in a Fragmented World ..."
"... The problem is further compounded by the fact that much of the labor Americans perform isn't actually good ..."
Jan 09, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

We're told that getting ahead at work and reorienting our lives around our jobs will make us happy. So why hasn't it? Many of those who work in the corporate world are constantly peppered with questions about their " career progression ." The Internet is saturated with articles providing tips and tricks on how to develop a never-fail game plan for professional development. Millions of Americans are engaged in a never-ending cycle of résumé-padding that mimics the accumulation of Boy Scout merit badges or A's on report cards except we never seem to get our Eagle Scout certificates or academic diplomas. We're told to just keep going until we run out of gas or reach retirement, at which point we fade into the peripheral oblivion of retirement communities, morning tee-times, and long midweek lunches at beach restaurants.

The idealistic Chris McCandless in Jon Krakauer's bestselling book Into the Wild defiantly declares, "I think careers are a 20th century invention and I don't want one." Anyone who has spent enough time in the career hamster wheel can relate to this sentiment. Is 21st-century careerism -- with its promotion cycles, yearly feedback, and little wooden plaques commemorating our accomplishments -- really the summit of human existence, the paramount paradigm of human flourishing?

Michael J. Noughton, director of the Center for Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota, and board chair for Reel Precision Manufacturing, doesn't think so. In his Getting Work Right: Labor and Leisure in a Fragmented World , Noughton provides a sobering statistic: approximately two thirds of employees in the United States are "either indifferent or hostile to their work." That's not just an indicator of professional dissatisfaction; it's economically disastrous. The same survey estimates that employee disengagement is costing the U.S. economy "somewhere between 450-550 billion dollars annually."

The origin of this problem, says Naughton, is an error in how Americans conceive of work and leisure. We seem to err in one of two ways. One is to label our work as strictly a job, a nine-to-five that pays the bills. In this paradigm, leisure is an amusement, an escape from the drudgery of boring, purposeless labor. The other way is that we label our work as a career that provides the essential fulfillment in our lives. Through this lens, leisure is a utility, simply another means to serve our work. Outside of work, we exercise to maintain our health in order to work harder and longer. We read books that help maximize our utility at work and get ahead of our competitors. We "continue our education" largely to further our careers.

Whichever error we fall into, we inevitably end up dissatisfied. The more we view work as a painful, boring chore, the less effective we are at it, and the more complacent and discouraged. Our leisure activities, in turn, no matter how distracting, only compound our sadness, because no amount of games can ever satisfy our souls. Or, if we see our meaning in our work and leisure as only another means of increasing productivity, we inevitably burn out, wondering, perhaps too late in life, what exactly we were working for . As Augustine of Hippo noted, our hearts are restless for God. More recently, C.S. Lewis noted that we yearn to be fulfilled by something that nothing in this world can satisfy. We need both our work and our leisure to be oriented to the transcendent in order to give our lives meaning and purpose.

The problem is further compounded by the fact that much of the labor Americans perform isn't actually good . There are "bad goods" that are detrimental to society and human flourishing. Naughton suggests some examples: violent video games, pornography, adultery dating sites, cigarettes, high-octane alcohol, abortifacients, gambling, usury, certain types of weapons, cheat sheet websites, "gentlemen's clubs," and so on. Though not as clear-cut as the above, one might also add working for the kinds of businesses that contribute to the impoverishment or destruction of our communities, as Tucker Carlson has recently argued .

Why does this matter for professional satisfaction? Because if our work doesn't offer goods and services that contribute to our communities and the common good -- and especially if we are unable to perceive how our labor plays into that common good -- then it will fundamentally undermine our happiness. We will perceive our work primarily in a utilitarian sense, shrugging our shoulders and saying, "it's just a paycheck," ignoring or disregarding the fact that as rational animals we need to feel like our efforts matter.

Economic liberalism -- at least in its purest free-market expression -- is based on a paradigm with nominalist and utilitarian origins that promote "freedom of indifference." In rudimentary terms, this means that we need not be interested in the moral quality of our economic output. If we produce goods that satisfy people's wants, increasing their "utils," as my Econ 101 professor used to say, then we are achieving business success. In this paradigm, we desire an economy that maximizes access to free choice regardless of the content of that choice, because the more choices we have, the more we can maximize our utils, or sensory satisfaction.

The freedom of indifference paradigm is in contrast to a more ancient understanding of economic and civic engagement: a freedom for excellence. In this worldview, "we are made for something," and participation in public acts of virtue is essential both to our own well-being and that of our society. By creating goods and services that objectively benefit others and contributing to an order beyond the maximization of profit, we bless both ourselves and the polis . Alternatively, goods that increase "utils" but undermine the common good are rejected.

Returning to Naughton's distinction between work and leisure, we need to perceive the latter not as an escape from work or a means of enhancing our work, but as a true time of rest. This means uniting ourselves with the transcendent reality from which we originate and to which we will return, through prayer, meditation, and worship. By practicing this kind of true leisure, well treated in a book by Josef Pieper , we find ourselves refreshed, and discover renewed motivation and inspiration to contribute to the common good.

Americans are increasingly aware of the problems with Wall Street conservatism and globalist economics. We perceive that our post-Cold War policies are hurting our nation. Naughton's treatise on work and leisure offers the beginnings of a game plan for what might replace them.

Casey Chalk covers religion and other issues for The American Conservative and is a senior writer for Crisis Magazine. He has degrees in history and teaching from the University of Virginia, and a masters in theology from Christendom College.

[Jan 10, 2020] It is highly doubtful that people reassert their power against National Security state and elect Sanders (as flowed as he is) in 2020?

When people thought in 2016 that they are winning against the National Security state, they were deceived by the candidate who sounded rational during election campaign, but then became Hillary II in three months after inauguration and brought Bush II neocons into his Administration.
So voters were deceived with Clinton, deceived with Bush II, deceived with Obama, deceived with Trump. You now see the tendency...
Jan 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
HarryOrd , Jan 9 2020 19:06 utc | 37
Hi first time commenter on here.

With all that is happening in the U.S right now I can't help but think that it's past time for the people to reassert their power over the National security state, as unrealistic as that might sound.

The Anti war movement is ideologically divided between progressives and libertarian/paleoconservatives, so a political party would not likely be the answer.

Instead perhaps we should consider a grassroots movement to amend the constitution to guarantee U.S neutrality in world affairs (banning both the arming or financing of foreign belligerents) and to ban the Federal government from having a standing military force except in times of actual war. I don't know what chance either would have of actually being passed, but it might at least force a debate on these issues in a way that might resonate better with the average American. Just thought I'd throw that out there. Peace and Solidarity

[Jan 10, 2020] The Saker interviews Michael Hudson

Highly recommended!
Looks like Iran is Catch22 for the USA: it can destroy it, but only at the cost of losing empire and dollar hegemony...
Notable quotes:
"... The United States is now turning on the screws demanding that other countries sacrifice their growth in order to finance the U.S. unipolar empire. In effect, foreign countries are beginning to respond to the United States what the ten tribes of Israel said when they withdrew from the southern kingdom of Judah, whose king Rehoboam refused to lighten his demands (1 Kings 12). They echoed the cry of Sheba son of Bikri a generation earlier: "Look after your own house, O David!" The message is: What do other countries have to gain by remaining in the US unipolar neoliberalized world, as compared to using their own wealth to build up their own economies? It's an age-old problem. ..."
"... The dollar will still play a role in US trade and investment, but it will be as just another currency, held at arms length until it finally gives up its domineering attempt to strip other countries' wealth for itself. However, its demise may not be a pretty sight. ..."
"... Conflict in the ME has traditionally almost always been about oil [and of course Israel]. This situation is different. It is only partially about oil and Israel, but OVERWHHEMINGLY it is about the BRI. ..."
"... The salient factor as I see it is the Oil for Technology initiative that Iraq signed with China shortly before it slid into this current mess. ..."
"... This was a mechanism whereby China would buy Iraq oil and these funds would be used directly to fund infrastructure and self-sufficiency initiatives and technologies that would help to drag Iraq out of the complete disaster that the US war had created in this country. A key part of this would be that China would also make extra loans available at the same time to speed up this development. ..."
"... "Iraq's Finance Ministry that the country had started exporting 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil to China in October as part of the 20-year oil-for-infrastructure deal agreed between the two countries." ..."
"... "For Iraq and Iran, China's plans are particularly far-reaching, OilPrice.com has been told by a senior oil industry figure who works closely with Iran's Petroleum Ministry and Iraq's Oil Ministry. China will begin with the oil and gas sector and work outwards from that central point. In addition to being granted huge reductions on buying Iranian oil and gas, China is to be given the opportunity to build factories in both Iran and Iraq – and build-out infrastructure, such as railways – overseen by its own management staff from Chinese companies. These are to have the same operational structure and assembly lines as those in China, so that they fit seamlessly into various Chinese companies' assembly lines' process for whatever product a particular company is manufacturing, whilst also being able to use the still-cheap labour available in both Iraq and Iraq." ..."
"... Hudson is so good. He's massively superior to most so called military analysts and alternative bloggers on the net. He can clearly see the over arching picture and how the military is used to protect and project it. The idea that the US is going to leave the middle east until they are forced to is so blind as to be ridiculous. ..."
"... I'd never thought of that "stationary aircraft carrier" comparison between Israel and the British, very apt. ..."
"... Trump et al assassinated someone who was on a diplomatic mission. This action was so far removed from acceptable behavior that it must have been considered to be "by any means and at all costs". ..."
"... This article, published by Strategic Culture, features a translation of Mahdi's speech to the Iraqi parliament in which he states that Trump threatened him with assassination and the US admitted to killing hundreds of demonstrators using Navy SEAL snipers. ..."
"... This description provided by Mr Hudson is no Moore than the financial basis behind the Cebrowski doctrine instituted on 9/11. https://www.voltairenet.org/article ..."
"... "The leading country breaking up US hegemony obviously is the United States itself. That is Trump's major contribution The United States is now turning on the screws demanding that other countries sacrifice their growth in order to finance the U.S. unipolar empire." ..."
"... The US govt. have long since paid off most every European politician. Thusly, Europe, as separate nations that should be remain still under the yolk of the US Financial/Political/Military power. ..."
"... In any event, it is the same today. Energy underlies, not only the military but, all of world civilization. Oil and gas are overwhelmingly the source of energy for the modern world. Without it, civilization collapses. Thus, he who controls oil (and gas) controls the world. ..."
"... the link between the US $$$ and Saudi Oil, is the absolute means of the American Dollar to reign complete. This payment system FEEDS both the US Military, but WALL STREET, hedge funds, the US/EU oligarchs – to name just a few entities. ..."
Jan 09, 2020 | thesaker.is

[this interview was made for the Unz Review ]

Introduction: After posting Michael Hudson's article " America Escalates its "Democratic" Oil War in the Near East " on the blog, I decided to ask Michael to reply to a few follow-up questions. Michael very kindly agreed. Please see our exchange below.

The Saker

-- -- -

The Saker: Trump has been accused of not thinking forward, of not having a long-term strategy regarding the consequences of assassinating General Suleimani. Does the United States in fact have a strategy in the Near East, or is it only ad hoc?

Michael Hudson: Of course American strategists will deny that the recent actions do not reflect a deliberate strategy, because their long-term strategy is so aggressive and exploitative that it would even strike the American public as being immoral and offensive if they came right out and said it.

President Trump is just the taxicab driver, taking the passengers he has accepted – Pompeo, Bolton and the Iran-derangement syndrome neocons – wherever they tell him they want to be driven. They want to pull a heist, and he's being used as the getaway driver (fully accepting his role). Their plan is to hold onto the main source of their international revenue: Saudi Arabia and the surrounding Near Eastern oil-export surpluses and money. They see the US losing its ability to exploit Russia and China, and look to keep Europe under its control by monopolizing key sectors so that it has the power to use sanctions to squeeze countries that resist turning over control of their economies and natural rentier monopolies to US buyers. In short, US strategists would like to do to Europe and the Near East just what they did to Russia under Yeltsin: turn over public infrastructure, natural resources and the banking system to U.S. owners, relying on US dollar credit to fund their domestic government spending and private investment.

This is basically a resource grab. Suleimani was in the same position as Chile's Allende, Libya's Qaddafi, Iraq's Saddam. The motto is that of Stalin: "No person, no problem."

The Saker: Your answer raises a question about Israel: In your recent article you only mention Israel twice, and these are only passing comments. Furthermore, you also clearly say the US Oil lobby as much more crucial than the Israel Lobby, so here is my follow-up question to you: On what basis have you come to this conclusion and how powerful do you believe the Israel Lobby to be compared to, say, the Oil lobby or the US Military-Industrial Complex? To what degree do their interests coincide and to what degree to they differ?

Michael Hudson: I wrote my article to explain the most basic concerns of U.S. international diplomacy: the balance of payments (dollarizing the global economy, basing foreign central bank savings on loans to the U.S. Treasury to finance the military spending mainly responsible for the international and domestic budget deficit), oil (and the enormous revenue produced by the international oil trade), and recruitment of foreign fighters (given the impossibility of drafting domestic U.S. soldiers in sufficient numbers). From the time these concerns became critical to today, Israel was viewed as a U.S. military base and supporter, but the U.S. policy was formulated independently of Israel.

I remember one day in 1973 or '74 I was traveling with my Hudson Institute colleague Uzi Arad (later a head of Mossad and advisor to Netanyahu) to Asia, stopping off in San Francisco. At a quasi-party, a U.S. general came up to Uzi and clapped him on the shoulder and said, "You're our landed aircraft carrier in the Near East," and expressed his friendship.

Uzi was rather embarrassed. But that's how the U.S. military thought of Israel back then. By that time the three planks of U.S. foreign policy strategy that I outlined were already firmly in place.

Of course Netanyahu has applauded U.S. moves to break up Syria, and Trump's assassination choice. But the move is a U.S. move, and it's the U.S. that is acting on behalf of the dollar standard, oil power and mobilizing Saudi Arabia's Wahabi army.

Israel fits into the U.S.-structured global diplomacy much like Turkey does. They and other countries act opportunistically within the context set by U.S. diplomacy to pursue their own policies. Obviously Israel wants to secure the Golan Heights; hence its opposition to Syria, and also its fight with Lebanon; hence, its opposition to Iran as the backer of Assad and Hezbollah. This dovetails with US policy.

But when it comes to the global and U.S. domestic response, it's the United States that is the determining active force. And its concern rests above all with protecting its cash cow of Saudi Arabia, as well as working with the Saudi jihadis to destabilize governments whose foreign policy is independent of U.S. direction – from Syria to Russia (Wahabis in Chechnya) to China (Wahabis in the western Uighur region). The Saudis provide the underpinning for U.S. dollarization (by recycling their oil revenues into U.S. financial investments and arms purchases), and also by providing and organizing the ISIS terrorists and coordinating their destruction with U.S. objectives. Both the Oil lobby and the Military-Industrial Complex obtain huge economic benefits from the Saudis.

Therefore, to focus one-sidedly on Israel is a distraction away from what the US-centered international order really is all about.

The Saker: In your recent article you wrote: " The assassination was intended to escalate America's presence in Iraq to keep control the region's oil reserves ." Others believe that the goal was precisely the opposite, to get a pretext to remove the US forces from both Iraq and Syria. What are your grounds to believe that your hypothesis is the most likely one?

Michael Hudson: Why would killing Suleimani help remove the U.S. presence? He was the leader of the fight against ISIS, especially in Syria. US policy was to continue using ISIS to permanently destabilize Syria and Iraq so as to prevent a Shi'ite crescent reaching from Iran to Lebanon – which incidentally would serve as part of China's Belt and Road initiative. So it killed Suleimani to prevent the peace negotiation. He was killed because he had been invited by Iraq's government to help mediate a rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia. That was what the United States feared most of all, because it effectively would prevent its control of the region and Trump's drive to seize Iraqi and Syrian oil.

So using the usual Orwellian doublethink, Suleimani was accused of being a terrorist, and assassinated under the U.S. 2002 military Authorization Bill giving the President to move without Congressional approval against Al Qaeda. Trump used it to protect Al Qaeda's terrorist ISIS offshoots.

Given my three planks of U.S. diplomacy described above, the United States must remain in the Near East to hold onto Saudi Arabia and try to make Iraq and Syria client states equally subservient to U.S. balance-of-payments and oil policy.

Certainly the Saudis must realize that as the buttress of U.S. aggression and terrorism in the Near East, their country (and oil reserves) are the most obvious target to speed the parting guest. I suspect that this is why they are seeking a rapprochement with Iran. And I think it is destined to come about, at least to provide breathing room and remove the threat. The Iranian missiles to Iraq were a demonstration of how easy it would be to aim them at Saudi oil fields. What then would be Aramco's stock market valuation?

The Saker: In your article you wrote: " The major deficit in the U.S. balance of payments has long been military spending abroad. The entire payments deficit, beginning with the Korean War in 1950-51 and extending through the Vietnam War of the 1960s, was responsible for forcing the dollar off gold in 1971. The problem facing America's military strategists was how to continue supporting the 800 U.S. military bases around the world and allied troop support without losing America's financial leverage. " I want to ask a basic, really primitive question in this regard: how cares about the balance of payments as long as 1) the US continues to print money 2) most of the world will still want dollars. Does that not give the US an essentially "infinite" budget? What is the flaw in this logic?

Michael Hudson: The U.S. Treasury can create dollars to spend at home, and the Fed can increase the banking system's ability to create dollar credit and pay debts denominated in US dollars. But they cannot create foreign currency to pay other countries, unless they willingly accept dollars ad infinitum – and that entails bearing the costs of financing the U.S. balance-of-payments deficit, getting only IOUs in exchange for real resources that they sell to U.S. buyers.

This is the situation that arose half a century ago. The United States could print dollars in 1971, but it could not print gold.

In the 1920s, Germany's Reichsbank could print deutsche marks – trillions of them. When it came to pay Germany's foreign reparations debt, all it could do was to throw these D-marks onto the foreign exchange market. That crashed the currency's exchange rate, forcing up the price of imports proportionally and causing the German hyperinflation.

The question is, how many surplus dollars do foreign governments want to hold. Supporting the dollar standard ends up supporting U.S. foreign diplomacy and military policy. For the first time since World War II, the most rapidly growing parts of the world are seeking to de-dollarize their economies by reducing reliance on U.S. exports, U.S. investment, and U.S. bank loans. This move is creating an alternative to the dollar, likely to replace it with groups of other currencies and assets in national financial reserves.

The Saker: In the same article you also write: " So maintaining the dollar as the world's reserve currency became a mainstay of U.S. military spending. " We often hear people say that the dollar is about to tank and that as soon as that happens, then the US economy (and, according to some, the EU economy too) will collapse. In the intelligence community there is something called tracking the "indicators and warnings". My question to you is: what are the economic "indicators and warnings" of a possible (probable?) collapse of the US dollar followed by a collapse of the financial markets most tied to the Dollar? What shall people like myself (I am an economic ignoramus) keep an eye on and look for?

Michael Hudson: What is most likely is a slow decline, largely from debt deflation and cutbacks in social spending, in the Eurozone and US economies. Of course, the decline will force the more highly debt-leveraged companies to miss their bond payments and drive them into insolvency. That is the fate of Thatcherized economies. But it will be long and painfully drawn out, largely because there is little left-wing socialist alternative to neoliberalism at present.

Trump's protectionist policies and sanctions are forcing other countries to become self-reliant and independent of US suppliers, from farm crops to airplanes and military arms, against the US threat of a cutoff or sanctions against repairs, spare parts and servicing. Sanctioning Russian agriculture has helped it become a major crop exporter, and to become much more independent in vegetables, dairy and cheese products. The US has little to offer industrially, especially given the fact that its IT communications are stuffed with US spyware.

Europe therefore is facing increasing pressure from its business sector to choose the non-US economic alliance that is growing more rapidly and offers a more profitable investment market and more secure trade supplier. Countries will turn as much as possible (diplomatically as well as financially and economically) to non-US suppliers because the United States is not reliable, and because it is being shrunk by the neoliberal policies supported by Trump and the Democrats alike. A byproduct probably will be a continued move toward gold as an alternative do the dollar in settling balance-of-payments deficits.

The Saker: Finally, my last question: which country out there do you see as the most capable foe of the current US-imposed international political and economic world order? whom do you believe that US Deep State and the Neocons fear most? China? Russia? Iran? some other country? How would you compare them and on the basis of what criteria?

Michael Hudson: The leading country breaking up US hegemony obviously is the United States itself. That is Trump's major contribution. He is uniting the world in a move toward multi-centrism much more than any ostensibly anti-American could have done. And he is doing it all in the name of American patriotism and nationalism – the ultimate Orwellian rhetorical wrapping!

Trump has driven Russia and China together with the other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), including Iran as observer. His demand that NATO join in US oil grabs and its supportive terrorism in the Near East and military confrontation with Russia in Ukraine and elsewhere probably will lead to European "Ami go home" demonstrations against NATO and America's threat of World War III.

No single country can counter the U.S. unipolar world order. It takes a critical mass of countries. This already is taking place among the countries that you list above. They are simply acting in their own common interest, using their own mutual currencies for trade and investment. The effect is an alternative multilateral currency and trading area.

The United States is now turning on the screws demanding that other countries sacrifice their growth in order to finance the U.S. unipolar empire. In effect, foreign countries are beginning to respond to the United States what the ten tribes of Israel said when they withdrew from the southern kingdom of Judah, whose king Rehoboam refused to lighten his demands (1 Kings 12). They echoed the cry of Sheba son of Bikri a generation earlier: "Look after your own house, O David!" The message is: What do other countries have to gain by remaining in the US unipolar neoliberalized world, as compared to using their own wealth to build up their own economies? It's an age-old problem.

The dollar will still play a role in US trade and investment, but it will be as just another currency, held at arms length until it finally gives up its domineering attempt to strip other countries' wealth for itself. However, its demise may not be a pretty sight.

The Saker: I thank you very much for your time and answers! ­


Col...'the farmer from NZ' on January 09, 2020 , · at 5:19 pm EST/EDT

What a truly superb interview!

Another one that absolutely stands for me out is the below link to a recent interview of Hussein Askary.

As I wrote a few days ago IMO this too is a wonderful insight into the utterly complicated dynamics of the tinderbox that the situation in Iran and Iraq has become.

Conflict in the ME has traditionally almost always been about oil [and of course Israel]. This situation is different. It is only partially about oil and Israel, but OVERWHHEMINGLY it is about the BRI.

The salient factor as I see it is the Oil for Technology initiative that Iraq signed with China shortly before it slid into this current mess.

This was a mechanism whereby China would buy Iraq oil and these funds would be used directly to fund infrastructure and self-sufficiency initiatives and technologies that would help to drag Iraq out of the complete disaster that the US war had created in this country. A key part of this would be that China would also make extra loans available at the same time to speed up this development.

In essence, this would enable the direct and efficient linking of Iraq into the BRI project. Going forward the economic gains and the political stability that could come out of this would be a completely new paradigm in the recovery of Iraq both economically and politically. Iraq is essential for a major part of the dynamics of the BRI because of its strategic location and the fact that it could form a major hub in the overall network.

It absolutely goes without saying that the AAA would do everything the could to wreck this plan. This is their playbook and is exactly what they have done. The moronic and extraordinarily impulsive Trump subsequently was easily duped into being a willing and idiotic accomplice in this plan.

The positive in all of this is that this whole scheme will backfire spectacularly for the perpetrators and will more than likely now speed up the whole process in getting Iraq back on track and working towards stability and prosperity.

Please don't anyone try to claim that Trump is part of any grand plan nothing could be further from the truth he is nothing more than a bludgeoning imbecile foundering around, lashing out impulsively indiscriminately. He is completely oblivious and ignorant as to the real picture.

I urge everyone involved in this Saker site to put aside an hour and to listen very carefully to Askary's insights. This is extremely important and could bring more clarity to understanding the situation than just about everything else you have read put together. There is hope, and Askary highlights the huge stakes that both Russia and China have in the region.

This is a no brainer. This is the time for both Russia and China to act and to decisively. They must cooperate in assisting both Iraq and Iran to extract themselves from the current quagmire the one that the vicious Hegemon so cruelly and thoughtlessly tossed them into.

Cheers from the south seas
Col

And the link to the Askary interview: . https://youtu.be/UD1hWq6KD44

Col...'the farmer from NZ' on January 09, 2020 , · at 8:22 pm EST/EDT
Also interesting is what Simon Watkins reports in his recent article entitled "Is Iraq About To Become A Chinese Client State?"

To quote from the article:

"Iraq's Finance Ministry that the country had started exporting 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil to China in October as part of the 20-year oil-for-infrastructure deal agreed between the two countries."

and

"For Iraq and Iran, China's plans are particularly far-reaching, OilPrice.com has been told by a senior oil industry figure who works closely with Iran's Petroleum Ministry and Iraq's Oil Ministry. China will begin with the oil and gas sector and work outwards from that central point. In addition to being granted huge reductions on buying Iranian oil and gas, China is to be given the opportunity to build factories in both Iran and Iraq – and build-out infrastructure, such as railways – overseen by its own management staff from Chinese companies. These are to have the same operational structure and assembly lines as those in China, so that they fit seamlessly into various Chinese companies' assembly lines' process for whatever product a particular company is manufacturing, whilst also being able to use the still-cheap labour available in both Iraq and Iraq."

and

"The second key announcement in this vein made last week from Iraq was that the Oil Ministry has completed the pre-qualifying process for companies interested in participating in the Iraqi-Jordanian oil pipeline project. The U$5 billion pipeline is aimed at carrying oil produced from the Rumaila oilfield in Iraq's Basra Governorate to the Jordanian port of Aqaba, with the first phase of the project comprising the installation of a 700-kilometre-long pipeline with a capacity of 2.25 million bpd within the Iraqi territories (Rumaila-Haditha). The second phase includes installing a 900-kilometre pipeline in Jordan between Haditha and Aqaba with a capacity of 1 million bpd. Iraq's Oil Minister – for the time being, at least – Thamir Ghadhban added that the Ministry has formed a team to prepare legal contracts, address financial issues and oversee technical standards for implementing the project, and that May will be the final month in which offers for the project from the qualified companies will be accepted and that the winners will be announced before the end of this year. Around 150,000 barrels of the oil from Iraq would be used for Jordan's domestic needs, whilst the remainder would be exported through Aqaba to various destinations, generating about US$3 billion a year in revenues to Jordan, with the rest going to Iraq. Given that the contractors will be expected to front-load all of the financing for the projects associated with this pipeline, Baghdad expects that such tender offers will be dominated by Chinese and Russian companies, according to the Iran and Iraq source."

Cheers
Col

And the link https://oilprice.com/Geopolitics/Middle-East/Is-Iraq-About-To-Become-A-Chinese-Client-State.html#

Anonymouse on January 09, 2020 , · at 5:20 pm EST/EDT
Hudson is so good. He's massively superior to most so called military analysts and alternative bloggers on the net. He can clearly see the over arching picture and how the military is used to protect and project it. The idea that the US is going to leave the middle east until they are forced to is so blind as to be ridiculous.

They will not sacrifice the (free) oil until booted out by a coalition of Arab countries threatening to over run them and that is why the dollar hegemonys death will be slow, long and drawn out and they will do anything, any dirty trick in the book, to prevent Arab/Persian unity. Unlike many peoples obsession with Israel and how important they feel themselves to be I think Hudson is correct again. They are the middle eastern version of the British – a stationary aircraft carrier who will allow themselves to be used and abused whilst living under the illusion they are major players. They aren't. They're bit part players in decline, subservient to the great dollar and oil pyramid scheme that keeps America afloat. If you want to beat America you have to understand the big scheme, that and the utter insanity that backs it up. It is that insanity of the leites, the inability to allow themselves to be 'beaten' that will keep nuclear exchange as a real possibility over the next 10 to 15 years. Unification is the only thing that can stop it and trying to unite so many disparate countries (as the Russians are trying to do despite multiple provocations) is where the future lies and why it will take so long. It is truly breath taking in such a horrific way, as Hudson mentions, that to allow the world to see its 'masters of the universe' pogram to be revealed:

"Of course American strategists will deny that the recent actions do not reflect a deliberate strategy, because their long-term strategy is so aggressive and exploitative that it would even strike the American public as being immoral and offensive if they came right out and said it."

Would be to allow it to be undermined at home and abroad. God help us all.

Little Black Duck on January 09, 2020 , · at 7:01 pm EST/EDT
They're bit part players in decline, subservient to the great dollar and oil pyramid scheme that keeps America afloat.

So who owns the dollar? And who owns the oil companies?

Osori on January 09, 2020 , · at 8:06 pm EST/EDT
I'd never thought of that "stationary aircraft carrier" comparison between Israel and the British, very apt.
Zachary Smith on January 09, 2020 , · at 9:53 pm EST/EDT
Clever would be a better word. Looking at my world globe, I see Italy, Greece, and Turkey on that end of the Mediterranean. Turkey has been in NATO since 1952. Crete and Cyprus are also right there. Doesn't Hudson own a globe or regional map?

That a US Admiral would be gushing about the Apartheid state 7 years after the attempted destruction of the USS Liberty is painful to consider. I'd like to disbelieve the story, but it's quite likely there were a number of high-ranking ***holes in a Naval Uniform.

44360 on January 09, 2020 , · at 5:34 pm EST/EDT
The world situation reminds us of the timeless fable by Aesop of The North Wind and the Sun.

Trump et al assassinated someone who was on a diplomatic mission. This action was so far removed from acceptable behavior that it must have been considered to be "by any means and at all costs".

Perhaps the most potent weapon Iran or anyone else has at this critical juncture, is not missiles, but diplomacy.

Ahmed on January 09, 2020 , · at 5:37 pm EST/EDT
"Therefore, to focus one-sidedly on Israel is a distraction away from what the US-centered international order really is all about."

Thank you for saying this sir. In the US and around the world many people become obsessively fixated in seeing a "jew" or zionist behind every bush. Now the Zionists are certinly an evil, blood thirsty bunch, and certainly deserve the scorn of the world, but i feel its a cop out sometimes. A person from the US has a hard time stomaching the actions of their country, so they just hoist all the unpleasentries on to the zionists. They put it all on zionisim, and completly fail to mention imperialism. I always switced back and forth on the topic my self. But i cant see how a beachead like the zionist state, a stationary carrier, can be bigger than the empire itself. Just look at the major leaders in the resistance groups, the US was always seen as the ultimate obstruction, while israel was seen as a regional obstruction. Like sayyed hassan nasrallah said in his recent speech about the martyrs, that if the US is kicked out, the Israelis might just run away with out even fighting. I hate it when people say "we are in the middle east for israel" when it can easily be said that "israel is still in the mid east because of the US." If the US seized to exist today, israel would fall rather quickly. If israel fell today the US would still continue being an imperalist, bloodthirsty entity.

Azorka1861 on January 09, 2020 , · at 5:57 pm EST/EDT
The Deeper Story behind the Assassination of Soleimani

This article, published by Strategic Culture, features a translation of Mahdi's speech to the Iraqi parliament in which he states that Trump threatened him with assassination and the US admitted to killing hundreds of demonstrators using Navy SEAL snipers.

https://www.veteranstoday.com/2020/01/08/vital-the-deeper-story-behind-the-assassination-of-soleimani/

..

Nils on January 09, 2020 , · at 6:05 pm EST/EDT
This description provided by Mr Hudson is no Moore than the financial basis behind the Cebrowski doctrine instituted on 9/11. https://www.voltairenet.org/article

I wish the Saker had asked Mr Hudson about some crucial recent events to get his opinion with regards to US foreign policy. Specifically, how does the emergence of cryptocurrency relate to dollar finance and the US grand strategy? A helpful tool for the hegemon or the emergence of a new currency that prevents unlimited currency printing? Finally, what is global warming and the associated carbon credit system? The next planned model of continuing global domination and balance of payments? Or true organic attempt at fair energy production and management?

Much thanks for this interview, Saker

Col...'the farmer from NZ' on January 09, 2020 , · at 6:26 pm EST/EDT
With all due respect, these are huge questions in themselves and perhaps could to be addressed in separate interviews. IMO it doesn't always work that well to try to cover too much ground in just one giant leap.

Regards
Col

Mike from Jersey on January 09, 2020 , · at 7:26 pm EST/EDT
I have never understood the Cebrowski doctrine. How does the destruction of Middle Eastern state structures allow the US to control Middle East Oil? The level of chaos generated by such an act would seem to prevent anyone from controlled the oil.
Outlaw Historian on January 09, 2020 , · at 7:48 pm EST/EDT
Dr. Hudson often appears on RT's "Keiser Report" where he covers many contemporary topics with its host Max Keiser. Many of the shows transcripts are available at Hudson's website . Indeed, after the two Saker items, you'll find three programs on the first page. Using the search function at his site, you'll find the two articles he's written that deal with bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, although I think he's been more specific in the TV interviews.

As for this Q&A, its an A+. Hudson's 100% correct to playdown the Zionist influence given the longstanding nature of the Outlaw US Empire's methods that began well before the rise of the Zionist Lobby, which in reality is a recycling of aid dollars back to Congress in the form of bribes.

RR on January 09, 2020 , · at 7:59 pm EST/EDT
Nils: Good Article. The spirit of Nihilism.
Quote from Neocon Michael Ladeen.

"Creative destruction is our middle name, both within our own society and abroad. We tear down the old order every day, from business to science, literature, art, architecture, and cinema to politics and the law. Our enemies have always hated this whirlwind of energy and creativity, which menaces their traditions (whatever they may be) and shames them for their inability to keep pace. Seeing America undo traditional societies, they fear us, for they do not wish to be undone. They cannot feel secure so long as we are there, for our very existence -- our existence, not our politics -- threatens their legitimacy. They must attack us in order to survive, just as we must destroy them to advance our historic mission."

Frank on January 09, 2020 , · at 10:27 pm EST/EDT
@NILS As far as crypto currency goes it is a brilliant idea in concept. But since during the Bush years we have been shown multiple times, who actually owns [and therefore controls] the internet. Many times now we have also been informed that through the monitoring capability's of our defense agency's, they are recording every key stroke. IMO, with the flip of a switch, we can shut down the internet. At the very least, that would stop us from being able to trade in crypto, but they have e-files on each of us. They know our passwords, or can easily access them. That does not give me confidence in e=currency during a teotwawki situation.
Anonymous on January 09, 2020 , · at 6:34 pm EST/EDT
A truly superb interview, thanks Michael Hudson.
David on January 09, 2020 , · at 6:39 pm EST/EDT
One thing that troubles me about the petrodollar thesis is that ANNUAL trade in oil is about 2 trillion DAILY trade in $US is 4 trillion. I can well believe the US thinks oil is the bedrock if dollar hegemony but is it? I see no alternative to US dollar hegemony.
Mike from Jersey on January 09, 2020 , · at 7:17 pm EST/EDT
Excellent article.

The lines that really got my attention were these:

"The leading country breaking up US hegemony obviously is the United States itself. That is Trump's major contribution The United States is now turning on the screws demanding that other countries sacrifice their growth in order to finance the U.S. unipolar empire."

That is so completely true. I have wondered why – to date – there had not been more movement by Europe away from the United States. But while reading the article the following occurred to me. Maybe Europe is awaiting the next U.S. election. Maybe they hope that a new president (someone like Biden) might allow Europe to keep more of the "spoils."

If that is true, then a re-election of Trump will probably send Europe fleeing for the exits. The Europeans will be cutting deals with Russia and China like the store is on fire.

Rubicon on January 09, 2020 , · at 10:22 pm EST/EDT
The critical player in forming the EU WAS/IS the US financial Elites. Yes, they had many ultra powerful Europeans, especially Germany, but it was the US who initiated the EU.

Purpose? For the US Financial Powerhouses & US politicians to "take Europe captive." Notice the similarities: the EU has its Central Bank who communicates with the private Banksters of the FED. Much austerity has ensued, especially in Southern nations: Greece, Italy, etc. Purpose: to smash unions, worker's pay, eliminate unions, and basically allowing US/EU Financial capital to buy out Italy, most of Greece, and a goodly section of Spain and Portugal.

The US govt. have long since paid off most every European politician. Thusly, Europe, as separate nations that should be remain still under the yolk of the US Financial/Political/Military power.

Craig Mouldey on January 09, 2020 , · at 8:19 pm EST/EDT
I have a hard time wrapping my head around this but it sounds like he is saying that the U.S. has a payment deficit problem which is solved by stealing the world's oil supplies. To do this they must have a powerful, expensive military. But it is primarily this military which is the main cause of the balance deficit. So it is an eternally fuelled problem and solution. If I understand this, what it actually means is that we all live on a plantation as slaves and everything that is happening is for the benefit of the few wealthy billionaires. And they intend to turn the entire world into their plantation of slaves. They may even let you live for a while longer.
Mike from Jersey on January 09, 2020 , · at 9:25 pm EST/EDT
Actually, oil underlies everything.

I didn't know this until I read a history of World War I.

As you know, World War One was irresolvable, murderous, bloody trench warfare. People would charge out of the trenches trying to overrun enemy positions only to be cutdown by the super weapon of the day – the machine gun. It was an unending bloody stalemate until the development of the tank. Tanks were immune to machine gun fire coming from the trenches and could overrun enemy positions. In the aftermath of that war, it became apparently that mechanization had become crucial to military supremacy. In turn, fuel was crucial to mechanization. Accordingly, in the Sykes Picot agreement France and Britain divided a large amount of Middle Eastern oil between themselves in order to assure military dominance. (The United States had plenty of their own oil at that time.)

In any event, it is the same today. Energy underlies, not only the military but, all of world civilization. Oil and gas are overwhelmingly the source of energy for the modern world. Without it, civilization collapses. Thus, he who controls oil (and gas) controls the world.

That is one third of the story. The second third is this.

Up till 1971, the United States dollar was the most trusted currency in the world. The dollar was backed by gold and lots and lots of it. Dollars were in fact redeemable in gold. However, due to Vietnam War, the United States started running huge balance of payments deficits. Other countries – most notably France under De Gaulle – started cashing in dollars in exchange for that gold. Gold started flooding out of the United States. At that point Nixon took the United States off of the gold standard. Basically stating that the dollar was no longer backed by gold and dollars could not be redeemed for gold. That caused an international payments problem. People would no longer accept dollars as payment since the dollar was not backed up by anything. The American economy was in big trouble since they were running deficits and people would no longer take dollars on faith.

To fix the problem, Henry Kissinger convinced the Saudis to agree to only accept dollars in payment for oil – no matter who was the buyer. That meant that nations throughout the world now needed dollars in order to pay for their energy needs. Due to this, the dollars was once again the most important currency in the world since – as noted above – energy underlies everything in modern industrial cultures. Additionally, since dollars were now needed throughout the world, it became common to make all trades for any product in highly valued dollars. Everyone needed dollars for every thing, oil or not.

At that point, the United States could go on printing dollars and spending them since a growing world economy needed more and more dollars to buy oil as well as to trade everything else.

That leads to the third part of the story. In order to convince the Saudis to accept only dollars in payments for oil (and to have the Saudis strong arm other oil producers to do the same) Kissinger promised to protect the brutal Saudi regime's hold on power against a restive citizenry and also to protect the Saudi's against other nations. Additionally, Kissinger made an implicit threat that if the Saudi's did not agree, the US would come in and just take their oil. The Saudis agreed.

Thus, the three keys to dominance in the modern world are thus: oil, dollars and the military.

Thus, Hudson ties in the three threads in his interview above. Oil, Dollars, Military. That is what holds the empire together.

Rubicon on January 09, 2020 , · at 10:26 pm EST/EDT
Thank you for thinking through this. Yes, the link between the US $$$ and Saudi Oil, is the absolute means of the American Dollar to reign complete. This payment system FEEDS both the US Military, but WALL STREET, hedge funds, the US/EU oligarchs – to name just a few entities.
Stanislaw Janowicz on January 09, 2020 , · at 8:58 pm EST/EDT
I should make one note only to this. That "no man, no problem" was Stalin's motto is a myth. He never said that. It was invented by a writer Alexei Rybnikov and inserted in his book "The Children of Arbat".
Greg Horrall on January 09, 2020 , · at 9:42 pm EST/EDT
Wow! Absolutely beautiful summation of the ultimate causes that got us where we are and, if left intact, will get us to where we're going!

So, the dreamer says: If only we could throw-off our us-vs-them BS political-economic ideology & religious doctrine-faith issues, put them into live-and-let-live mode, and see that we are all just humans fighting over this oil resource to which our modern economy (way of life) is addicted, then we might be able to hammer out some new rules for interacting, for running an earth-resource sustainable and fair global economy We do at least have the technology to leave behind our oil addiction, but the political-economic will still is lacking. How much more of the current insanity must we have before we get that will? Will we get it before it's too late?

Only if we, a sufficient majority from the lowest economic classes to the top elites and throughout all nations, are able to psychologically-spiritually internalize the two principles of Common Humanity and Spaceship Earth soon enough, will we stop our current slide off the cliff into modern economic collapse and avert all the pain and suffering that's already now with us and that will intensify.

The realist says we're not going to stop that slide and it's the only way we're going to learn, if we are indeed ever going to learn.

Ann Watson on January 09, 2020 , · at 10:42 pm EST/EDT
So now we know why Michael Hudson avoids the Israel involvment – Like Pepe.
Лишний Человек on January 09, 2020 , · at 11:02 pm EST/EDT
Thank you for this excellent interview. You ask the kind of questions that we would all like to ask. It's regrettable that Chalmers Johnson isn't still alive. I believe that you and he would have a lot in common.

Naxos has produced an incredible, unabridged cd audiobook of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. One of Gibbon's observations really resonates today: "Assassination is the last resource of cowards". Thanks again.

[Jan 09, 2020] Protecting the Dollar Standard is the main national security objective of the USA

Jan 09, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Jan 9 2020 19:35 utc | 43

@ Posted by: Cynica | Jan 9 2020 19:20 utc | 38

I agree that, today, protecting the Dollar Standard is the main national security objective of the USA. That is so because issuing the universal fiat currency is a conditio sine qua non of keeping the financial superpower status.

I also agree that the Petrodollar is the base that sustains the Dollar Standard.

But I disagree with the rest:

1) the Cold War didn't begin in 1945, but in 1917 - right after the October Revolution. There's overwhelming documental evidence of that and, in fact, the years of 1943-1945 was the only break it had. Until Stalingrad, the Western allies were still waiting to see if the USSR and the Third Reich could still mutually anihilate themselves (yes, it is a myth the Allies were really allies from 1939, but that's not a very simple demonstration);

2) in the aftermath of WWII, the USA emerged as both the industrial and financial superpower in the capitalist world (i.e. the West). But this was an accidental - and very unlikely - alignment of events. The USA always had imperial ambitions from its foundation (the Manifest Destiny), but there's no evidence it was scheming to dominate the world before 1945. The American ascension was more a fruit of the European imperial superpowers destroying themselves than by any American (or Jewish, as the far-right likes to speculate) design;

3) the USSR had nothing to do with Bretton Woods. BW was a strictly capitalist affair. And it could not be any difference: the USSR was a socialist country, therefore, it didn't have money-capital (money in the capitalist system has three functions: reserve of value, means of exchange and means of payment). The only way it had to trade with the capitalist half of the world was to exchange essential commodities (oil) for hard currency, with which it bought what it needed for its own development (mainly, high technological machines which it could copy and later develop on). So, the USSR didn't "balk" at BW - it was literally impossible for it to pertain to the agreement.


Cynica , Jan 9 2020 19:20 utc | 39

@Kali #22

Michael Hudson is not the only one who's come to understand that maintaining the reserve-currency status of the US dollar (the "dollar hegemony") is the primary goal of US foreign policy. Indeed, it's been the primary goal of US foreign policy since the end of World War II, when the Bretton Woods agreement was put into effect. Notably, the Soviets ended up balking at that agreement, and the Cold War did not start until afterwards. This means that even the Cold War was not really about ideology - it was about money.

It's also important to note that the point of the "petrodollar" is to ensure that petroleum - one of the most globally traded commodities and a commodity that's fundamental to the global economy - is traded primarily, if not exclusively, in terms of the US dollar. Ensuring that as much global/international trade happens in US dollars helps ensure that the US dollar keeps its reserve-currency status, because it raises the foreign demand for US dollars.

vk , Jan 9 2020 19:35 utc | 43
@ Posted by: Cynica | Jan 9 2020 19:20 utc | 38

I agree that, today, protecting the Dollar Standard is the main national security objective of the USA. That is so because issuing the universal fiat currency is a conditio sine qua non of keeping the financial superpower status.

I also agree that the Petrodollar is the base that sustains the Dollar Standard.

But I disagree with the rest:

1) the Cold War didn't begin in 1945, but in 1917 - right after the October Revolution. There's overwhelming documental evidence of that and, in fact, the years of 1943-1945 was the only break it had. Until Stalingrad, the Western allies were still waiting to see if the USSR and the Third Reich could still mutually anihilate themselves (yes, it is a myth the Allies were really allies from 1939, but that's not a very simple demonstration);

2) in the aftermath of WWII, the USA emerged as both the industrial and financial superpower in the capitalist world (i.e. the West). But this was an accidental - and very unlikely - alignment of events. The USA always had imperial ambitions from its foundation (the Manifest Destiny), but there's no evidence it was scheming to dominate the world before 1945. The American ascension was more a fruit of the European imperial superpowers destroying themselves than by any American (or Jewish, as the far-right likes to speculate) design;

3) the USSR had nothing to do with Bretton Woods. BW was a strictly capitalist affair. And it could not be any difference: the USSR was a socialist country, therefore, it didn't have money-capital (money in the capitalist system has three functions: reserve of value, means of exchange and means of payment). The only way it had to trade with the capitalist half of the world was to exchange essential commodities (oil) for hard currency, with which it bought what it needed for its own development (mainly, high technological machines which it could copy and later develop on). So, the USSR didn't "balk" at BW - it was literally impossible for it to pertain to the agreement.

vk , Jan 9 2020 19:40 utc | 45
@ Posted by: vk | Jan 9 2020 19:35 utc | 42

Correction: the three functions of money in capitalism are reserve/store of value, means of exchange and unit of account . I basically wrote "means of exchange" twice in the original comment.

karlof1 , Jan 9 2020 19:45 utc | 47
Cynica @38--

Hello! Michael Hudson first set forth the methodology of the Outlaw US Empire's financial control of the world via his book Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire in 1972. In 2003, he issued an updated edition which you can download for free here .

If you're interested, here's an interview he gave while in China that's autobiographical . And here's his most recent Resume/CV/Bibliography , although it doesn't go into as much detail about his recent work as he does in and forgive them their debts: Lending, Foreclosure, and Redemption From Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year , which for me is fascinating.

His most recent TV appearances are here and here .

karlof1 , Jan 9 2020 19:55 utc | 48
Walter @39--

Bingo! You're the first person here to make that connection aside from myself. You'll note from Hudson's assessment of Soleimani's killing he sees the Outlaw US Empire as using the Climate Crisis as a weapon:

"America's attempt to maintain this buttress explains U.S. opposition to any foreign government steps to reverse global warming and the extreme weather caused by the world's U.S.-sponsored dependence on oil. Any such moves by Europe and other countries would reduce dependence on U.S. oil sales, and hence on the U.S's ability to control the global oil spigot as a means of control and coercion. These are viewed as hostile acts.

"Oil also explains U.S. opposition to Russian oil exports via Nordstream. U.S. strategists want to treat energy as a U.S. national monopoly. Other countries can benefit in the way that Saudi Arabia has done – by sending their surpluses to the U.S. economy – but not to support their own economic growth and diplomacy. Control of oil thus implies support for continued global warming as an inherent part of U.S. strategy....

"This strategy will continue, until foreign countries reject it. If Europe and other regions fail to do so, they will suffer the consequences of this U.S. strategy in the form of a rising U.S.-sponsored war via terrorism, the flow of refugees, and accelerated global warming (and extreme weather)."

c1ue , Jan 9 2020 19:58 utc | 49
@Cynica #38
Financially, the US dollar as reserve currency is enormously beneficial to the US government's ability to spend.
And oil has historically been both a tactical and a strategic necessity; when the US was importing half its oil, this is a lot of money. 8 million bpd @ $50/barrel = $146B. Add in secondary value add like transport, refining, downstream industries, etc and it likely triples the impact or more - but this is only tactical.
Worldwide, the impact is 10X = $1.5 trillion annually. Sure, this is a bit under 10% of the $17.7T in world trade in 2017, but it serves as an "anchor tenant" to the idea of world reserve currency. A second anchor is the overall role of US trade, which was $3.6T in 2016 (imports only).
If we treat central bank reserves as a proxy for currency used in trade, this means 60%+ of the $17.7T in trade is USD. $3.6T is direct, but the $7 trillion in trade that doesn't impact the US is the freebie. To put this in perspective, the entire monetary float of the USD domestically is about $3.6T.
USD as world reserve currency literally doubles (at least) the float - from which the US government can issue debt (money) to fund its activities. In reality, it is likely a lot more since foreigners using USD to fund trade means at least some USD in Central Banks, plus the actual USD in the transaction, plus corporate/individual USD reserves/float.
Again, nothing above is formally linked - I just wanted to convey an idea of just how advantageous the petrodollar/USD as world trade reserve currency really is.

[Jan 08, 2020] As Michael Flynn relates in his interview with Mehdi Hassan, once kicked out, the Obama Administration took steps that they knew would lead to the creation of ISIS in the region, and fired him as the head of the DIA after he had written them a memo warning them about this.

Jan 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

masoud , Jan 7 2020 0:50 utc | 143

@Dan

Iran was definitely involved in organizing, supplying, and even to some extent arming(with small arms) various Iraqi militias. But the best way we know that it wasn't directly involved in attacking US patrols, was that so few soldiers died. Iran has no need to improvise explosive devices, it manufactures landmines on a mass scale which are much more reliable and orders of magnitude more deadly, and operationally easier to use.

Most of the resistance to the US occupation in the Shia regions of Iraq were in the form of non violent demonstrations spearheaded by Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani(who btw is also Iranian).

The nonviolent demonstrators were routinely massacred for their trouble, by both the takfiri resistance and the occupation troops, but eventually succeeded in their demands for a democratic vote wherein they elected a government that demanded the US leave.

And as Michael Flynn relates in his interview with Mehdi Hassan, once kicked out, the Obama Administration took steps that they knew would lead to the creation of ISIS in the region, and fired him as the head of the DIA after he had written them a memo warning them about this.

Michael Flynn, who btw is rabidly anti Iranian, then became the first victim of the Russiagaters when Trump was elected into office.

[Jan 08, 2020] Meghan McCain Has To Ask Warren Three Times To Admit Soleimani Was A Terrorist

Jan 08, 2020 | t.co

Meghan McCain had to ask Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren three times to admit that Qasem Soleimani was a terrorist. Profile image of author Daily Caller Jan 07, 2020 Search results

  1. Sarah Abdallah ‏ @ sahouraxo 16h 16 hours ago More
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    Just a few years ago, CNN was praising Qassem # Soleimani for being the driving force behind the defeat of ISIS. Today they call him a "terrorist" and expect you to believe them.

[Jan 06, 2020] US-NATO-backed Israeli think tank Don't destroy ISIS; it's a 'useful tool' against Iran, Hezbollah, Syria The Grayzone

Notable quotes:
"... Several days after Efraim Inbar's paper was published, David M. Weinberg, director of public affairs at the BESA Center, wrote a similarly-themed op-ed titled "Should ISIS be wiped out?" in Israel Hayom, a free and widely read right-wing newspaper funded by conservative billionaire Sheldon Adelson that strongly favors the agenda of Israel's right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu . ..."
"... On his website, Weinberg includes BESA in a list of resources for " hasbara ," or pro-Israel propaganda. It is joined by the ostensible civil rights organization the Anti-Defamation League and other pro-Israel think tanks, such as the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). ..."
"... In the war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, the CIA and U.S. allies Pakistan and Saudi Arabia armed, trained and funded Islamic fundamentalists in their fight against the Soviet Union and Afghanistan's Soviet-backed socialist government. These U.S.-backed rebels, known as the mujahideen, were the predecessors of al-Qaida and the Taliban. ..."
Jan 06, 2020 | thegrayzone.com

The director of an Israeli think tank backed by the US government and NATO, BESA, wrote that ISIS "can be a useful tool in undermining" Iran, Hezbollah, Syria, and Russia and should not be defeated. By Ben Norton / Salon

According to a US-backed think tank that does contract work for NATO and the Israeli government, the West should not destroy ISIS, the fascist Islamist extremist group that is committing genocide and ethnically cleansing minority groups in Syria and Iraq.

Why? The so-called Islamic State "can be a useful tool in undermining" Iran, Hezbollah, Syria and Russia, argues the think tank's director.

"The continuing existence of IS serves a strategic purpose," wrote Efraim Inbar in "The Destruction of Islamic State Is a Strategic Mistake," a paper published on Aug. 2.

By cooperating with Russia to fight the genocidal extremist group, the United States is committing a "strategic folly" that will "enhance the power of the Moscow-Tehran-Damascus axis," Inbar argued, implying that Russia, Iran and Syria are forming a strategic alliance to dominate the Middle East.

"The West should seek the further weakening of Islamic State, but not its destruction," he added. "A weak IS is, counterintuitively, preferable to a destroyed IS."

BESA Israeli think tank ISIS useful tool

US government and NATO support for ISIS-whitewashing Israeli think tank

Efraim Inbar, an influential Israeli scholar, is the director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, a think tank that says its mission is to advance "a realist, conservative, and Zionist agenda in the search for security and peace for Israel."

The think tank, known by its acronym BESA, is affiliated with Israel's Bar Ilan University and has been supported by the U.S. embassy in Israel, the NATO Mediterranean Initiative, the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, and the Israeli government itself.

BESA also says it "conducts specialized research on contract to the Israeli foreign affairs and defense establishment, and for NATO."

In his paper, Inbar suggested that it would be a good idea to prolong the war in Syria, which has destroyed the country, killing hundreds of thousands of people and displacing more than half the population.

'Stability is not a value in and of itself. It is desirable only if it serves our interests.'

As for the argument that defeating ISIS would make the Middle East more stable, Efraim Inbar maintained: "Stability is not a value in and of itself. It is desirable only if it serves our interests."

"Instability and crises sometimes contain portents of positive change," he added.

Inbar stressed that the West's "main enemy" is not the self-declared Islamic State; it is Iran. He accused the Obama administration of "inflat[ing] the threat from IS in order to legitimize Iran as a 'responsible' actor that will, supposedly, fight IS in the Middle East."

Despite Inbar's claims, Iran is a mortal enemy of ISIS, particularly because the Iranian government is founded on Shia Islam, a branch that the Sunni extremists of ISIS consider a form of apostasy. ISIS and its affiliates have massacred and ethnically cleansed Shia Muslims in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.

Inbar noted that ISIS threatens the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. If the Syrian government survives, Inbar argued, "Many radical Islamists in the opposition forces, i.e., Al Nusra and its offshoots, might find other arenas in which to operate closer to Paris and Berlin." Jabhat al-Nusra is Syria's al-Qaida affiliate, and one of the most powerful rebel groups in the country. (It recently changed its name to Jabhat Fatah al-Sham.)

Hezbollah, the Lebanese-based militia that receives weapons and support from Iran, is also "being seriously taxed by the fight against IS, a state of affairs that suits Western interests," Inbar wrote.

"Allowing bad guys to kill bad guys sounds very cynical, but it is useful and even moral to do so if it keeps the bad guys busy and less able to harm the good guys," Inbar explained.

More Israeli think tankers warn against defeating 'useful idiot' ISIS

Several days after Efraim Inbar's paper was published, David M. Weinberg, director of public affairs at the BESA Center, wrote a similarly-themed op-ed titled "Should ISIS be wiped out?" in Israel Hayom, a free and widely read right-wing newspaper funded by conservative billionaire Sheldon Adelson that strongly favors the agenda of Israel's right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu .

In the piece, Weinberg defended his colleague's argument and referred to ISIS as a "useful idiot." He called the U.S. nuclear deal with Iran "rotten" and argued that Iran and Russia pose a "far greater threat than the terrorist nuisance of Islamic State."

Weinberg also described the BESA Center as "a place of intellectual ferment and policy creativity," without disclosing that he is that think tank's director of public affairs.

After citing responses from two other associates of his think tank who disagree with their colleague, Weinberg concluded by writing: "The only certain thing is that Ayatollah Khamenei is watching this quintessentially Western open debate with amusement."

On his website, Weinberg includes BESA in a list of resources for " hasbara ," or pro-Israel propaganda. It is joined by the ostensible civil rights organization the Anti-Defamation League and other pro-Israel think tanks, such as the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP).

Weinberg has worked extensively with the Israeli government and served as a spokesman for Bar Ilan University. He also identifies himself on his website as a "columnist and lobbyist who is a sharp critic of Israel's detractors and of post-Zionist trends in Israel."

'Stress the "holy war" aspect': Long history of the US and Israel supporting Islamist extremists

Efraim Inbar boasts an array of accolades. He was a member of the political strategic committee for Israel's National Planning Council, a member of the academic committee of the Israeli military's history department and the chair of the committee for the national security curriculum at the Ministry of Education.

He also has a prestigious academic record, having taught at Johns Hopkins and Georgetown and lectured at Harvard, MIT, Columbia, Oxford and Yale. Inbar served as a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and was appointed as a Manfred Wörner NATO fellow.

The strategy Inbar and Weinberg have proposed, that of indirectly allowing a fascist Islamist group to continue fighting Western enemies, is not necessarily a new one in American and Israeli foreign policy circles. It is reminiscent of the U.S. Cold War policy of supporting far-right Islamist extremists in order to fight communists and left-wing nationalists.

In the war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, the CIA and U.S. allies Pakistan and Saudi Arabia armed, trained and funded Islamic fundamentalists in their fight against the Soviet Union and Afghanistan's Soviet-backed socialist government. These U.S.-backed rebels, known as the mujahideen, were the predecessors of al-Qaida and the Taliban.

In the 1980s, Israel adopted a similar policy. It supported right-wing Islamist groups like Hamas in order to undermine the Palestine Liberation Organization, or PLO, a coalition of various left-wing nationalist and communist political parties.

"Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel's creation," Avner Cohen, a retired Israeli official who worked in Gaza for more than 20 years, told The Wall Street Journal.

As far back as 1957, President Dwight Eisenhower insisted to the CIA that, in order to fight leftist movements in the Middle East, "We should do everything possible to stress the 'holy war' aspect."

Ben Norton Ben Norton is a journalist, writer, and filmmaker. He is the assistant editor of The Grayzone, and the producer of the Moderate Rebels podcast, which he co-hosts with editor Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com and he tweets at @ BenjaminNorton . bennorton.com Share Tweet Filed under: Bashar al-Assad , BESA , David M Weinberg , Efraim Inbar , hasbara , Hezbollah , Iran , ISIS , NATO , Russia , Syria

[Jan 06, 2020] Warren Questions if Soleimani Strike Linked to Impeachment -- Look at the Timing Breitbart

Notable quotes:
"... Follow Pam Key On Twitter @pamkeyNEN ..."
Jan 06, 2020 | www.breitbart.com

On Sunday's broadcast of CNN's "State of the Union," 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) questioned if President Donald Trump's reasons for the Qasem Soleimani assassination was to distract from impeachment.

Warren said, "I think that the question that we ought to focus on is why now? Why not a month ago, and why not a month from now? And the answer from the administration seems to be that they can't keep their story straight on this. They pointed in all different directions. And you know, the last time that we watched them do this was the summer over Ukraine. As soon as people started asking about the conversations between Donald Trump and the president of Ukraine and why aid had been held up to Ukraine, the administration did the same thing. They pointed in all directions of what was going on. And of course, what emerged then is that this is Donald Trump just trying to advance Donald Trump's own political agenda. Not the agenda of the United States of America. So what happens right now? Next week, the president of the United States could be facing an impeachment trial in the Senate. We know that he is deeply upset about that. I think that people are reasonably asking why this moment? Why does he pick now to take this highly inflammatory, highly dangerous action that moves us closer to war? We have been at war for 20 years in the Middle East, and we need to stop the war this the Middle East and not expand it."

Tapper asked, "Are you suggesting that President Trump pulled the trigger and had Qasem Soleimani killed as a distraction from impeachment?"

Warren said, "Look, I think that people are reasonably asking about the timing and why it is that the administration seems to have all kinds of different answers. In the first 48 hours after this attack, what did we hear? Well, we heard it was for an imminent attack, and then we heard, no, no, it is to prevent any future attack, and then we heard that it is from the vice president himself and no, it is related to 9/11, and then we heard from president reports of people in the intelligence community saying that the whole, that the threat was overblown. You know, when the administration doesn't seem to have a coherent answer for taking a step like this. They have taken a step that moves us closer to war, a step that puts everyone at risk, and step that puts the military at risk and puts the diplomats in the region at risk. And we have already paid a huge price for this war. Thousands of American lives lost, and a cost that we have paid domestically and around the world. At the same time, look at what it has done in the Middle East, millions of people who have been killed, who have been injured, who have been displaced. So this is not a moment when the president should be escalating tensions and moving us to war. The job of the president is to keep us safe, and that means move back from the edge."

Tapper pressed, "Do you believe that President Trump pulled the trigger on this operation as a way to distract from impeachment? Is that what you think?"

Warren said, "I think it is a reasonable question to ask, particularly when the administration immediately after having taken this decision offers a bunch of contradictory explanations for what is going on."

She continued, "I think it is the right question to ask. We will get more information as we go forward but look at the timing on this. Look at what Donald Trump has said afterward and his administration. They have pointed in multiple directions. There is a reason that he chose this moment, not a month ago and not a month from now, not a less aggressive and less dangerous response. He had a whole range of responses that were presented to him. He didn't pick one of the other ones. He picked the most aggressive and the one that moves us closer to war. So what does everybody talk about today? Are we going to war? Are we going to have another five years, tens, ten years of war in the Middle East, and dragged in once again. Are we bringing another generation of young people into war? That is every bit of the conversation right now. Donald Trump has taken an extraordinarily reckless step, and we have seen it before, he is using foreign policy and uses whatever he can to advance the interests of Donald Trump."

Follow Pam Key On Twitter @pamkeyNEN

[Jan 06, 2020] Anti-War Conservatives Join Protests Against Trump's Iran Confrontation by Hunter DeRensis

Notable quotes:
"... "I think the more people who are prepared to stand up and say it [the assassination] is completely, not only inappropriate, not only illegal, not only unjust, but an act of war to do something like this, the better," said Nicole Rousseau with the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, which has been planning anti-war protests in D.C. since 2002. ..."
"... This is the moment, as Donald Trump embraces the neoconservative dream of war with Iran, that the Republican base must stand on their hind legs, lock arms with their progressive allies, and say no . ..."
"... Tucker Carlson Tonight ..."
Jan 06, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Now is the time for Republicans of conviction to stand together.

t speaks to the state of American politics when for three years the continued defense of Donald Trump's record has been: "well, he hasn't started any new wars." Last week, however, that may have finally changed.

In the most flagrant tit-for-tat since the United States initiated its economic war against Iran in the spring of 2018, the Trump administration assassinated Major General Qasem Soleimani, who for more than 20 years has led the Iranian Quds Force. The strategic mind behind Iran's operations in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and the rest of the Middle East, Soleimani's death via drone strike outside of Baghdad's airport is nothing short of a declaration of open warfare between American and Iranian-allied forces in Iraq.

While the world waits for the Islamic Republic's inevitable response, the reaction on the home front was organized in less than 36 hours. Saturday afternoon, almost 400 people gathered on the muddy grass outside the White House in Washington, D.C., joined in solidarity by simultaneous rallies in over 70 other U.S. cities.

The D.C. attendees and their co-demonstrators were expectedly progressive, but the organizers made clear they were happy to work across political barriers for the cause of peace.

"I think the more people who are prepared to stand up and say it [the assassination] is completely, not only inappropriate, not only illegal, not only unjust, but an act of war to do something like this, the better," said Nicole Rousseau with the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, which has been planning anti-war protests in D.C. since 2002.

Code Pink's Leonardo Flores, when asked what politicians he believed were on the side of the peace movement, named Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders and Republican Senator Rand Paul. "I don't think peace should be a left and right issue," he said. "I think it's an issue we can all rally around. It's very clear too much of our money is going to foreign wars that don't benefit the American people and we could be using that money in many different ways, giving it back to the American people, whether it's investing in social spending or giving direct tax cuts."

This is the moment, as Donald Trump embraces the neoconservative dream of war with Iran, that the Republican base must stand on their hind legs, lock arms with their progressive allies, and say no .

It's happened before. In 2013, when the Obama administration was ready for regime change in Syria, Americans, both left and right, made clear they didn't want to see their sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters die so the American government could install the likes of Abu Mohammed al-Julani in Damascus.

Of course, it was much easier for Republicans to stand up to a Democratic president going to war. "It's been really unfortunate that so much of politics now is driven on a partisan basis," opined Eric Garris, director and co-founder of Antiwar.com, in an interview with TAC . "Whether you're for or against war and how strongly you might be against war is driven by partisan points of view."

When Barack Obama was elected in 2008, the movement that saw millions march against George W. Bush's war in Iraq disappeared overnight (excluding a handful of stalwart organizations like Code Pink). Non-interventionist Republicans can't repeat that mistake. They have to show that if an American president wants to start an unconstitutional, immoral war, it's the principle that matters, not the R or D next to their names.

Garris said the reason Antiwar.com was founded in 1995 was to bridge this partisan divide by putting people like Daniel Ellsberg and Pat Buchanan side by side for the same cause. "These coalitions are only effective if you try to bring in a broad coalition of people," he said. "I want to see rallies of thousands of people in Omaha, Nebraska, and things like that, where they're reaching out to middle America and to the people that are actually going to reach the unconverted."

The right is in the best position it's been in decades to accomplish this. "I don't know if you saw Tucker Carlson Tonight , but it was quite amazing to watch that kind of antiwar sentiment on Fox News," Garris said. "You would not have seen [that] in recent history. And certainly the emergence of The American Conservative magazine has been a really strong signal and leader in terms of bringing about the values of the Old Right like non-interventionism to a conservative audience."

This also includes the core antiwar members of Congress, all of whom are Republican , and new conservative veterans groups like Bring Our Troops Home .

It's the anti-war right, in the Republican tradition of La Follette, Taft, Paul, and Buchanan, that has the power to stop middle America from following Trump into a conflict with Iran. But it's both sides, working together as Americans, that can finally end the endless wars.

Hunter DeRensis is a reporter with The National Interest and a regular contributor to The American Conservative. Follow him on Twitter @HunterDeRensis .

[Jan 06, 2020] Elizabeth Warren on Qasem Soleimani killing- People are reasonably asking, why this moment

Warren kept her ground wonderfully in this exchange. Warren suggests that people are reasonable asking about timing. Also warmongering of Trump.
Jan 06, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Richie Beck , 6 hours ago (edited)

"When everyone else is losing their heads, it is important to keep yours." - Marie-Antoinette, Queen of France and Irony.

Bob Bart , 7 hours ago (edited)

" What is human warfare but just this; an effort to make the laws of God and nature take sides with one party. " ~ Henry David Thoreau

personal cooking , 4 hours ago

China is laughing.US pay attention in middel east now.

[Jan 06, 2020] Tucker Carlson is livid with anger and frustration at Trump's actions .

Jan 06, 2020 | www.unz.com

KA , says: Show Comment January 5, 2020 at 8:57 pm GMT

@Just passing through https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/04/media/fox-news-iran-soleimani/index.html

Tucker Carlson is livid with anger and frustration at Trump's actions .

Death to America is a rallying point for Iran to emphasize the same aspect of American status .
They talk in future . Carlson is reminding that we are already there .

If people woke up with anger at Iran., they would find that the dead horse isn't able to do much but only can attract a lot of attention from far .

The reason Taliban didn't inform Mulla Omar's death was to let the rank and file continues to remain engaged without getting into internal feuding fight .
A trues state of US won't be televised until the horse starts rotting but then that would be quite late .

I don't recall any dissent until this assassination . Now 70 cities are witnessing protests and a few in Media are not happy at all .

There is a big unknown if and when Iran would strike back and at who. Persian is not like khasaogi murderer or Harri kidnapper .

[Jan 05, 2020] "Shit-Life Syndrome," Trump Voters, and Clueless Dems

Notable quotes:
"... Cincinnati Enquirer ..."
"... JAMA Network Open ..."
"... Bruce E. Levine , a practicing clinical psychologist often at odds with the mainstream of his profession, writes and speaks about how society, culture, politics and psychology intersect. His most recent book is Resisting Illegitimate Authority: A Thinking Person's Guide to Being an Anti-Authoritarian―Strategies, Tools, and Models (AK Press, September, 2018). His Web site is brucelevine.net ..."
Jan 05, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

Getting rid of Trump means taking seriously "shit-life syndrome" -- and its resulting misery, which includes suicide, drug overdose death, and trauma for surviving communities.

My state of Ohio is home to many shit-life syndrome sufferers. In the 2016 presidential election , Hillary Clinton lost Ohio's 18 electoral votes to Trump. She got clobbered by over 400,000 votes (more than 8%). She lost 80 of Ohio's 88 counties. Trump won rural poorer counties, several by whopping margins. Trump got the shit-life syndrome vote.

Will Hutton in his 2018 Guardian piece, " The Bad News is We're Dying Early in Britain – and It's All Down to 'Shit-Life Syndrome '" describes shit-life syndrome in both Britain and the United States: "Poor working-age Americans of all races are locked in a cycle of poverty and neglect, amid wider affluence. They are ill educated and ill trained. The jobs available are drudge work paying the minimum wage, with minimal or no job security."

The Brookings Institution, in November 2019, reported : "53 million Americans between the ages of 18 to 64 -- accounting for 44% of all workers -- qualify as 'low-wage.' Their median hourly wages are $10.22, and median annual earnings are about $18,000."

For most of these low-wage workers, Hutton notes: "Finding meaning in life is close to impossible; the struggle to survive commands all intellectual and emotional resources. Yet turn on the TV or visit a middle-class shopping mall and a very different and unattainable world presents itself. Knowing that you are valueless, you resort to drugs, antidepressants and booze. You eat junk food and watch your ill-treated body balloon. It is not just poverty, but growing relative poverty in an era of rising inequality, with all its psychological side-effects, that is the killer."

Shit-life syndrome is not another fictitious illness conjured up by the psychiatric-pharmaceutical industrial complex to sell psychotropic drugs. It is a reality created by corporatist rulers and their lackey politicians -- pretending to care about their minimum-wage-slave constituents, who are trying to survive on 99¢ boxed macaroni and cheese prepared in carcinogenic water, courtesy of DuPont or some other such low-life leviathan.

The Cincinnati Enquirer , in November 2019, ran the story: " Suicide Rate Up 45% in Ohio in Last 11 Years, With a Sharper Spike among the Young ." In Ohio between 2007 and 2018, the rate of suicide among people 10 to 24 has risen by 56%. The Ohio Department of Health reported that suicide is the leading cause of death among Ohioans ages 10‐14 and the second leading cause of death among Ohioans ages 15‐34, with the suicide rate higher in poorer, rural counties.

Overall in the United States, "Suicides have increased most sharply in rural communities, where loss of farming and manufacturing jobs has led to economic declines over the past quarter century," reports the American Psychological Association. The U.S. suicide rate has risen 33% from 1999 through 2017 (from 10.5 to 14 suicides per 100,000 people).

In addition to an increasing rate of suicide, drug overdose deaths rose in the United States from 16,849 in 1999 to 70,237 in 2017, more sharply increasing in recent years . The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that opioids -- mainly synthetic opioids -- were involved in 47,600 overdose deaths in 2017 (67.8% of all drug overdose deaths).

Among all states in 2017, Ohio had the second highest rate of drug overdose death (46.3 per 100,000). West Virginia had the highest rate (57.8 per 100,000).

"In 2016, Donald Trump captured 68 percent of the vote in West Virginia, a state hit hard by opioid overdoses," begins the 2018 NPR story: " Analysis Finds Geographic Overlap In Opioid Use And Trump Support In 2016 ."

The NPR story was about a study published in JAMA Network Open titled " Association of Chronic Opioid Use With Presidential Voting Patterns in US Counties in 2016 ," lead authored by physician James Goodwin. In counties with high rates of opioid use, Trump received 60% of the vote; but Trump received only 39% of the vote in counties with low opioid use. Opioid use is prevalent in poor rural counties, as Goodwin reports in his study: "Approximately two-thirds of the association between opioid rates and presidential voting was explained by socioeconomic variables."

Goodwin told NPR: "It very well may be that if you're in a county that is dissolving because of opioids, you're looking around and you're seeing ruin. That can lead to a sense of despair . . . . You want something different. You want radical change."

Shit-life syndrome sufferers are looking for immediate change, and are receptive to unconventional politicians.

In 2016, Trump understood that being unconventional, including unconventional obnoxiousness, can help ratings. So he began his campaign with unconventional serial humiliations of his fellow Republican candidates to get the nomination; and since then, his unconventionality has been limited only by his lack of creativity -- relying mostly on the Roy Cohn modeled "Punch them harder than they punch you" for anyone who disagrees with him.

I talked to Trump voters in 2016, and many of them felt that Trump was not a nice person, even a jerk, but their fantasy was that he was one of those rich guys with a big ego who needed to be a hero. Progressives who merely mock this way of thinking rather than create a strategy to deal with it are going to get four more years of Trump.

The Dems' problem in getting the shit-life syndrome vote in 2020 is that none of their potential nominees for president are unconventional. In 2016, Bernie Sanders achieved some degree of unconventionality. His young Sandernistas loved the idea of a curmudgeon grandfather/eccentric uncle who boldly proclaimed in Brooklynese that he was a "socialist," and his fans marveled that he was no loser, having in fact charmed Vermonters into electing him to the U.S. Senate. Moreover, during the 2016 primaries, there were folks here in Ohio who ultimately voted for Trump but who told me that they liked Bernie -- both Sanders and Trump appeared unconventional to them.

While Bernie still has fans in 2020, he has done major damage to his "unconventionality brand." By backing Hillary Clinton in 2016, he resembled every other cowardly politician. I felt sorry for his Sandernistas, heartbroken after their hero Bernie -- who for most of his political life had self-identified as an "independent" and a "socialist" -- became a compliant team player for the corporatist Blue Team that he had spent a career claiming independence from. If Bernie was terrified in 2016 of risking Ralph Nader's fate of ostracism for defying the corporatist Blue Team, would he really risk assassination for defying the rich bastards who own the United States?

So in 2020, this leaves realistic Dems with one strategy. While the Dems cannot provide a candidate who can viscerally connect with shit-life syndrome sufferers, the Dems can show these victims that they have been used and betrayed by Trump.

Here in Ohio in counties dominated by shit-life syndrome, the Dems would be wise not to focus on their candidate but instead pour money into negative advertising, shaming Trump for making promises that he knew he wouldn't deliver on: Hillary has not been prosecuted; Mexico has paid for no wall; great manufacturing jobs are not going to Ohioans ; and most importantly, in their communities, there are now even more suicides, drug overdose deaths, and grieving families.

You would think a Hollywood Dem could viscerally communicate in 30 seconds: "You fantasized that this braggart would be your hero, but you discovered he's just another rich asshole politician out for himself." This strategy will not necessarily get Dems the shit-life syndrome vote, but will increase the likelihood that these folks stay home on Election Day and not vote for Trump.

The question is just how clueless are the Dems? Will they convince themselves that shit-life syndrome sufferers give a shit about Trump's impeachment? Will they convince themselves that Biden, Buttigieg, Bloomberg or Warren are so wonderful that shit-life syndrome sufferers will take them and their campaign promises seriously? Then Trump probably wins again, thanks to both shit-life syndrome and shit-Dems syndrome. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Bruce E. Levine

Bruce E. Levine , a practicing clinical psychologist often at odds with the mainstream of his profession, writes and speaks about how society, culture, politics and psychology intersect. His most recent book is Resisting Illegitimate Authority: A Thinking Person's Guide to Being an Anti-Authoritarian―Strategies, Tools, and Models (AK Press, September, 2018). His Web site is brucelevine.net

[Jan 04, 2020] Will Trump welcome the ejection of the US from Iraq - He should by Colonel Lang

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Somehow the Ziocons around Trump have forgotten that the present state of Iraq refused to yield to Obama's demands for a SOFA and in effect expelled the US from the country. ..."
"... The Iraqi parliament is going to vote in emergency session over the issue of the death of al-Muhandis. Will they vote to expel the US from their country? ..."
"... What a lot of commentators seem to overlook is that America has basically declared war on Iraq, while our soldiers are hosted on joint bases with Iraqi soldiers. ..."
"... "We need to get out of Iraq and Syria now. That is the only way that we're going to prevent ourselves from being dragged into this quagmire, deeper and deeper into a war with Iran." Tulsi Gabbard. ..."
"... Assassination of generals, one from an allied country, one from a country with which we have no declared war, and both assassinations performed on the territory of an allied, sovereign country without permission? This is piracy. Why should anyone trust the word of a country which does not honor the most basic of international law? ..."
"... Will we go if they vote that way? I'll go with no. The Neocons desperately want us in Iraq to protect Israel and stick it to Iran as much as possible. They have a laundry list of prepared arguments and we have the dumbest, most compliant, state media in recorded history. We also have a President who believes that intnl law is for weaklings and loves saying 'take the oil'. ..."
"... Take a look at this interview to David Petraeus by FP on yesterday´s summary executions...What you make of this? https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/01/03 He sounds as if he were the brain behind this operation on summary executions..along some other think tankers.. ..."
"... Whoever is President we will have war. The President is just a feckless puppet controlled by the Zionist. I'll never vote again. It's a waste of time and a farce. Hillary or Donald no different just a matter of timing. Obama destroyed Libya and Syria. Bush II the simpleton and his fairy tale WMD lie. I've lost all respect for whatever "the republic" is suppose to be. On top of that the masses are too stupid for democracy to work. ..."
Jan 03, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Qasem Soleimani was an Iranian soldier. He lived by the sword and died by the sword. He met a soldier's destiny. It is being said that he was a BAD MAN. Absurd! To say that he was a BAD MAN because he fought us as well as the Sunni jihadis is simply infantile. Were all those who fought the US BAD MEN? How about Gentleman Johhny Burgoyne? Was he a BAD MAN? How about Sitting Bull? Was he a BAD MAN? How about Aguinaldo? Another BAD MAN? Let us not be juvenile.

The Iraqi PMU commander who died with Soleimani was Abu Mahdi al Muhandis. He was a member of a Shia militia that had been integrated into the Iraqi armed forces. IOW, we killed an Iraqi general. We killed him without the authorization of the supposedly sovereign state of Iraq.

We created the present government of Iraq through the farcical "purple thumb" elections. That government holds a seat in the UN General Assembly and is a sovereign entity in international law in spite of Trump's tweet today that said among other things that we have "paid" Iraq billions of US dollars. To the Arabs, this statement that brands them as hirelings of the US is close to the ultimate in insult.

Somehow the Ziocons around Trump have forgotten that the present state of Iraq refused to yield to Obama's demands for a SOFA and in effect expelled the US from the country.

The Iraqi parliament is going to vote in emergency session over the issue of the death of al-Muhandis. Will they vote to expel the US from their country?

Will we go if they vote that way? We should. If we do not, then we will be exposed as imperialist hypocrites.

Trump should welcome such a vote. He wants to get out of the ME? What greater opportunity could we have to do so?

Let us leave if invited to go. Let the oh, so clever locals deal with their own hatreds and rivalries. pl


phodges , 03 January 2020 at 02:20 PM

What a lot of commentators seem to overlook is that America has basically declared war on Iraq, while our soldiers are hosted on joint bases with Iraqi soldiers.
Elora Danan , 03 January 2020 at 02:39 PM
Thank you, Pat!

But...Elora guesses you are being rhetorical here...because... if he would have died by the sword...would not have he had the opportunity to defend himself against his enemy/opponent?
Instead...he was caught on surprise...unarmed...and hit by an overwhelming force...he was going to some funerals...

Cameron Kelley , 03 January 2020 at 02:56 PM
Thank you, Colonel. We don't know, we don't care, but we can kill - that's not a recipe for success.
Jack , 03 January 2020 at 04:09 PM
"We need to get out of Iraq and Syria now. That is the only way that we're going to prevent ourselves from being dragged into this quagmire, deeper and deeper into a war with Iran." Tulsi Gabbard.

https://twitter.com/tulsigabbard/status/1213168223127949313?s=21

Would we get out if Iraq asks us to do so? I don't think so. There will be a hue & cry about appeasement of terror!

ex PFC Chuck -> Jack... , 03 January 2020 at 05:25 PM
It took Tulsi about 18 hours to get that brief statement out. Can't help but wonder what that delay was all about.
Elora Danan , 03 January 2020 at 04:14 PM
Some impressive images worth thousands words...just to remember everybody that this man was an appreciated human being...doing his duty....for his motherland...and his God....
Elora Danan said in reply to Elora Danan... , 03 January 2020 at 05:07 PM
To better understand the pain of that elderly yazidi woman in the video, some testimony by Rania Khalek on the role of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis ( the other militia commander killed who is being as well slandered as terrorist along Soleimani ...) in stopping yazidi genocide in Iraq when nobody else was giving a damn, less any help, for this people...

https://twitter.com/RaniaKhalek/status/1213198497668833280

divadab , 03 January 2020 at 04:17 PM
Assassination of generals, one from an allied country, one from a country with which we have no declared war, and both assassinations performed on the territory of an allied, sovereign country without permission? This is piracy. Why should anyone trust the word of a country which does not honor the most basic of international law?

And am I alone to be disgusted to see the senior members of our government lie blatantly and constantly, when they're not fellating the nearest likudnik....

Elora Danan , 03 January 2020 at 04:20 PM
Tulsi...may be our last hope...

https://twitter.com/TulsiGabbard/status/1213168223127949313

Tulsi for president!

ISL , 03 January 2020 at 04:27 PM
Dear Colonel, seems you find yourself in Tulsi's (good) company.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=28&v=kToUJaOVgTA&feature=emb_logo

prawnik , 03 January 2020 at 04:32 PM
Trump should, but he won't. Might as well quote Bible verses to a robber.
turcopolier , 03 January 2020 at 04:38 PM
ISL

I have been giving her money every month.

Factotum , 03 January 2020 at 04:57 PM
We go where we are wanted and appreciated. We have no skin in Iraq. Build the Wall and protect our own borders. Concentrate our resources on cyber-security.
A. Pols , 03 January 2020 at 05:48 PM
Tulsi makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately that disqualifies her for the presidency, not because she couldn't execute the functions of the presidency, but because neither the party apparatchiks nor the voters would give her the chance. These days either nationalistic claptrap or promises of more freebies are what carry the day. Quelle domage, eh?

As for the Iraqi parliament voting to expel U.S. forces? That's an interesting question. If they did, they'd better vote to expel the "den of spies" at the embassy and insist on our having a normal sized legation (as all countries would be well advised to do). But if they do, would we leave? I personally doubt it even though it would be best if we did and let the Iraqis do what they will, which would probably be reverting back to some sort of strongman govt, of a type more suited to their cultural traditions and inclinations. It's high time we afforded the rest of the world the type of cultural and political autonomy we claim to revere so much.

So, we leave? A good thing for us and for them and the world at large.

Or, we don't? Then we expose the truth the rest of the world already knows, but we at least expose the truth to our own people who have been fed a steady diet of mendacious BS about what we've been doing over there all these years.

That attack on the "airport limo" vehicles leaving Baghdad airport sure took some nerve on our part to think that we could sell something like that...

And, did Trump actually order it, or did someone else in the MIC order it first and Trump laid claim to it afterwards? Uncle Joe, if he had ordered it, would have afterwards announced the execution of a fall guy and denied any complicity! If Trump didn't order it, he should throw whoever did under the bus instead of crowing and wrapping himself in the flag. I wonder about what actually happened in planning this hit job on prominent military people on their way to a funeral for 31 people who may or may not have had anything whatsoever to do with the death of a single American mercenary in Iraq in an attack by persons unknown on a small outpost.

J , 03 January 2020 at 06:01 PM
It's times like this I wish I was a fly on the wall, listening to what the Russian General Staff conversations regarding this assassination are at this moment.

Trump IMHO would do well to seek Putin's counsel on how to exit the corner that Trump has backed US into. While this spells problems for our US, it also creates additional problems for Russia in the ways that could cause them MAJOR problem as well as in a full blown Mideast War with many players in the mix. Not a good mix either.

Israel can't handle a full blown Mideast War, no matter how much their narcissistic national psyche thinks they can. Israel is a mere postage stamp in a sea of rage, which tsunami waves could very easily consume them. Sheldon Adelson and his Likud/NEOCON blowhards have no concept of what is on the short horizon, that can go one way or the other.

I'm glad I'm retired in this instance. My glass of bourbon is more palatable than the grains of Mideast sand that fixing to get stirred up.

God help us all.

Pat, why does the US military always get left with the shit-storms to clean up after? Why?

Christian J Chuba , 03 January 2020 at 06:32 PM
Will we go if they vote that way? I'll go with no. The Neocons desperately want us in Iraq to protect Israel and stick it to Iran as much as possible. They have a laundry list of prepared arguments and we have the dumbest, most compliant, state media in recorded history. We also have a President who believes that intnl law is for weaklings and loves saying 'take the oil'.

I can hear the talking points already ...
1. 'Obama made the same mistake and it created ISIS.'
2. 'Iran has taken over Iraq, it's not a legitimate request' (look at how we selectively recognize govts in South America and no one blinks).
3. 'Iran will use Iraq as a base to attack us' (yeah, its about 100 miles closer).

I can't stand what we have become, the jackals have taken over and the MSM attacks the very few who are not jackals.

turcopolier , 03 January 2020 at 07:05 PM
A Pols

OK. Who do you think would have had the power to order the strike? Not the CIA, the military would not accept such an order. Not the chairman of the JCS, he is not in the chain of command. That leaves Esper, SECDEF. Really? He looks like a putschist to you? You are ignorant of the American government.

Elora Danan , 03 January 2020 at 07:18 PM
Take a look at this interview to David Petraeus by FP on yesterday´s summary executions...What you make of this? https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/01/03 He sounds as if he were the brain behind this operation on summary executions..along some other think tankers..
Harlan Easley , 03 January 2020 at 07:20 PM
Whoever is President we will have war. The President is just a feckless puppet controlled by the Zionist. I'll never vote again. It's a waste of time and a farce. Hillary or Donald no different just a matter of timing. Obama destroyed Libya and Syria. Bush II the simpleton and his fairy tale WMD lie. I've lost all respect for whatever "the republic" is suppose to be. On top of that the masses are too stupid for democracy to work.